Moignes Court, Owermoigne (Lead authors Jo Thomas and Alan Holiday)
Moignes Court is a private house which is occasionally opened to the public, for instance in Dorset’s Architectural Heritage Week in September.
Moignes Court is made of a great variety of stone types, some of which are readily recognised due to their local provenance. The oldest part of the building is made of rubble walls with ashlar quoins. These include examples of Portland oolitic shelly limestone and Purbeck Limestone, some of which is ostracod rich. The source of these is likely to be from the Ridgeway quarries where there were a number of quarries until late 19th/early 20th C in the Purbeck Limestone. The Purbeck Limestone could be Cypris Freestone, Cypris being a type of ostracod mentioned above. It is less likely that the stone was derived from Purbeck or Portland because of the distance involved in transporting bulky and heavy material by horse and cart along poor roads in medieval times. Poxwell is the nearest source where both Portland and Purbeck Stone have been quarried. Some of the Purbeck Limestone is what appears to be Broken Shell Limestone or Burr but this has been used in the newer parts of the building constructed in the latter part of the 19th C when transport was somewhat easier and could have come from Purbeck rather than the Ridgeway Quarries. Alternatively it could have been used for restoration of the older part of Moignes Court.
The Bath Stone (picture to the right) is often used for detailing for doors and windows as it is easier to work (carve) than Portland or Purbeck Stone. Bath Stone is used in the newer part of Moignes Court built in late Victorian times. The stone could have been transported to the area by rail (1850s) from the stone mines in the Bath area.
It is recorded that some of the window detail (first floor) in the older part of the house is Ham Stone from near Yeovil.
There is also some very coarse shelly limestone which is probably Purbeck Limestone but is much coarser than is typical and of unknown provenance. This also has a strong crystalline calcite cement (matrix).
Bath Stone is also used in the earlier part of the building and could have replaced earlier, possibly medieval windows, if they were in a poor state of repair. Similar stone is used in many local buildings such as St John’s Church, on Greenhill in Weymouth. Here also the Bath Stone has undergone significant weathering helped by proximity to the sea and exposure to the elements. Bath Stone is more easily weathered than Portland and Purbeck Stone and so some of the examples used in Moignes Court are quite badly weathered.
Amongst the stone used there are pieces of flint and also shelly sandstone. There is also some creamy yellow fine grained limestone with little obvious structure and this could be Caen Stone from Normandy. Much was imported from France for building purposes after the Norman Conquest and many older buildings used a variety of stone depending on what was available.