Stourpaine is our village in the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset, England, on the River Stour

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Manor House Ancient Monument

Manor House Ancient Monument

Earthworks on Site of Manor House

The conjectural view of Stourpaine is based on what remains of its ancient heart. A manor house sits within its defensive banks and ditches and the adjacent church shows off its new tower. The river Stour is closer than now and unrestrained, flooding adjacent meadows and filling the ditch of the manor house when in flood. The surrounding forests are giving way to felling and burning, and newly fertilized soil is being cultivated for the first time. Beyond the palisaded manor is a further enclosure for animals. Around the church the street plan of Stourpaine is beginning to emerge. The houses, like the manor, are of timber frame construction, or of cob, and thatched with long straw. Only the church has dressed stone and a tile roof. Above the manor, to the left of the picture, is a small road which would one day become the A350. Below the manor, in the nineteenth Century, the great embankment of the new railway would sever the manor and river for ever. At a time when new development is closing in around the historic core of the village it is important to know and respect its past the church and the manor house, now only recognisable by its earthworks in the field, have had an important link since the Norman conquest, and probably before. Knowing our past is the first step in protecting it.                                           John Ashurst RIBA and John Stitt - February 2004
STOURPAINE (9)                                                   HBMC RECORDS OFFICE SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENTS RECORD Dorset  (SEMESTERS 9-11) 3-SEP-1987 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COUNTY NO. Dorset 241 SAM PRN    30501 DISTRICT/BOROUGH  North Dorset PARISH     Stourpaine NGR        ST859093 HT OD (METRES)   40 FILE AA 61623/1 SITE NAME Earthworks on Site of Manor House DESCRIPTION A   square   moat   with   quite   considerable   inner   bank,   especially   in   SE   corner,   and   larger   less   protected   enclosure   to   S, overlying remains of earlier circular moat with inner bank lying mostly in S enclosure. {1} Small   square   entrenchment,   sides   30yds,   perhaps   site   of   manor   house,   though   local   tradition   alleges   it   be   an   old   mill bay. Small circular enclosure said to be a cockpit. {2} Many   surface   irregularities   like   minor   depressions,   banks,   scarps,   some   vague   platforms   (probably   building   sites). Site of manor house is square level platform with no sign of masonry. Moat is deeper on E than W because of W facing   slope.   Moat   much   damaged,   7m   wide,   l.5-3m   deep,   upcast   used   to   form   inner   bank   7m   wide   and   1.8m   high. Immediately   S   of   the   moat   is   oval   earthwork   formed   by   bank   7m   wide,   0.5m   high,   and   outer   ditch   6m   wide   and 0.3m   deep.   This,   with   enclosure   bank   to   E   and   bank   and   ditch   forming   S   angle   of   area   are   all   doubtless   Medieval occupation. Relative dates of moat and oval earthwork not determined. {3} Moat   (class   A2{b})   occupies   N   third   of   site.   N   side   and   N   third   of   E   side   almost   completely   filled   in,   only   marked   by   a scarp,   3ft   high   along   edges   of   island.   Rest   of   E   side   and   all   of   S   and   W   sides   bounded   by   deep   wide   ditch,   now   dry but   once   wet.   Pond   covers   NW   corner.   External   bank   lft   high   along   W   side.   Modern   spoil   heap   in   SE   corner   of   interior. No   entrance   or   causeway   visible.   Adjoining   S   side   of   moat   are   remains   of   rectangular   banked   enclosure   of   2   acres, bounded   on   E   by   low   spread   bank   and   on   S   by   bank   3ft   high   with   external   ditch.   1st   edition   of   OS   25"   map   shows 50Yds   of   bank   at   S   end   of   W   side:   this   was   perhaps   destroyed   when   railway   was   built   1863.   Lying   against   moat   is roughly   circular   earthwork   with   internal   diameter   100ft,   bounded   by   low   bank   and   external   ditch.   Gap   in   NW   part   of bank. This certainly later than moat. {4} Morphology   and   dimensions   as   {4},   W   part   of   site   under   cultivation   but   remainder   grassland,   good   condition   apart from entrance to farm. Inner bank on E side looks artificially high, possibly as a result of rubbish dumping. Ditch full of weeds. {5} SlTE TYPE Moat PERIOD Medieval SPEC. PERIOD - FORM Earthwork SITE TYPE Enclosure PERIOD Medieval SPEC. PERIOD - FORM Earthwork PROPORTION SCHED.  1   SURVIVAL WITHIN AREA  5   CONDITION  B   AREA ??
Zoom-in view of the Earthworks - drawing Ashhurst