St. Mary’s Church Winterborne Stickland. Grade 1 listed (NGR ST83404 10462. Latitude: 50.8409 / 50°50'27”N Longitude: -2.2363 / 2°14'10”W) (Lead author and photos PB unless otherwise stated)
St. Mary’s sits on the Chalk; next to the one winter-stream and within the dendritic pattern of otherwise dry valleys radiating through the Chalk of the North Dorset escarpment. From pre-Conquest times; two manors, Quarrelston(e) running northwards, and Stickland below it had adjacent open field systems on the valley floor around the junction of Winterborne Houghton valley and the main N-S Bryanston to Clenston route-way. The stream down Water Lane from Houghton may dry up for years at a time and both villages have evidence of abandonment if not desertion. Not till the next manor southwards, of Clenston, does this brook become the Winterborne river. Over time, Quarrelston(e) farm became part of Stickland and the remaining manor land was amalgamated with Bryanston. The original Quarrelston(e) family name but with a single r. was used by 18th century John Hutchins, while today it has become spelled as Quarleston(e).
The chancel and nave of St. Mary’s date back to the 13th century, while the Quarrelston chapel, aka the Aisle chapel or even now the Tomb chapel, dates from the 15th century, (John Hutchins) and was fashionably updated along with the St. Mary nave windows from 1716. The west tower was added in late 15th or early 16th century and the porch also added in the latter. In the east wall of the porch is now seen a damaged 14th century Norman period archway tympanum, depicting the crucifixion, which had been recovered in 1890 from at least twice de-constructed and re-used building stone. The church itself has remained, throughout, within the same footprint and the local flint is assembled variously
between rubble, squared rubble and dimensional limestone laid coursed, un-coursed and even chequer-boarded. So the overall effect is very mixed and includes cement rendering on some walling to the east. Classical stylings were introduced for internal alterations from 1716 assisted by the Blandford architects and re-building specialists the Bastard brothers, John and William. They added the round headed nave windows, contemporary almost with those of 1713 at St. Mary, Charlton Marshall; where an entire re-build had been designed by Thomas Bastard, father of the two brothers who gained fame for re-building Blandford after the devastating 1731 fire. Finally in the restorations of 1892, glazed tiles were added to the chancel flooring but the floor plan and structural details in stone remained as they were.
The Skinner Tomb
Close inspection reveals: 1) just one macro-fossil, a snail shell in this polished to translucent Belgian Black slab of remarkably 7ft x 3ft 6ins x 2 1/2ins. 2) A transparent oxidisation patch revealing masses of endothyrid foraminifera (microfossils) 3) Probably sunlight and or abrasion has revealed smudgy foram, coral, brachiopod, crinoid and bivalve particles to the 4) LED illuminated hand loupe. 5) The polish has fully oxidised out the black organic carbon along the window facing ledger slab. (the post-polish oxidisation of limestone is not rare but as yet unexplained.) 6) Despite hardness and liability to conchoidal fracture, the Namur/Meuse Belgian Black sculpts well for the expert and retains durability very well. 7) The tomb base again is remarkable. Probably constructed RCHM of only five slabs of once whitewashed Portland-Portland oolitic limestone and each one both symmetrically shaped and with classically symmetrical decoration. But see No 3. above.
These blue/white digital images reveal 3-D microfossil remains in translucent black stone better, than in merged shades of black/grey adjustments. .For further information on Carboniferous Limestone see our Building stones section.
The Sutton Monument
Typical macro-fossils of the Black and the Blue Carboniferous Kilkenny limestone.
5. and 6. Corals in the Sutton monument are of some 4-5mm in diameter are seen in a variety of species and preservation.
Semi-circular sculpted crucifixion panel of Purbeck stone
For further information see Building stones section on Carboniferous Limestone)
References: RCHM Dorset Vol III Part 2