St. Hubert’s Church, Corfe Mullen (SY97670 98350, latitude 50.7847, longitude -2.0346), Lead author: JT
The parish of Corfe Mullen, on the south bank of the River Stour west of Wimborne, has a long history. There are Iron Age barrows and the meeting of two Roman roads. The north-south Roman road starts in Poole Harbour, at Hamworthy, connecting Vespasian’s headquarters at Lake to Old Sarum. The east-west road connects Dorchester and Winchester.
The nave and chancel of St. Hubert’s church were built in the 13th century of Heathstone, which was found locally in concretions in the sands of the London Clay and Poole Formation. The church was built on the first reliably dry ground south of the River Stour, and a 14th century cross in the churchyard is said to be the site of earlier Christian gatherings. The tower was first built in the 15th century, and rebuilt with the original stone in the 20th century. The church has a clay tiled roof with five courses of Purbeck stone tiles at the verge.
1. St. Hubert’s from the north. The nave and chancel are 13th century, but are rendered on this side. The tower was rebuilt of the original heathstone in the 20th century. The north transept was built in the 19th century of brick made at Knoll Manor brickworks, using the London Clay, West Park Farm Member. The roof has 4 lower courses of Purbeck stone tiles, with clay tiles above, also made locally.
The scattered blocks of Purbeck limestone would have arrived in Hamworthy, after being carried across Poole Harbour in flat-bottomed boats. For onward transport the stone was then loaded into sea-going ships. It is possible that the stone could have been carried up the Roman Road to Corfe Mullen, but as that is a steep and undulating route, transport by sea and up the Stour, seems more likely.
1)Field N, Norris P & L, ISBN 0 9513113 0 1 (no date) "Corfe Mullen, The Origins of a Dorset Village"; published by Richards Estate Agents of Corfe Mullen.
2) A guide to the parish church of St. Hubert, Corfe Mullen. No date, but price 1/-, and most of the advertisers are long gone.
All text and images by JT, June 2017