Mapperton

 

Photographs of the parish, we hope you enjoy them.
All photographs Sally Beadle, 2009-2015

 

 

The Church of All Saints, dating from the 12th century and also built of Ham stone, adjoins Mapperton House. Described in 1291 as a chapel to Netherbury, it was rebuilt by Richard Brodrepp in 1704 and extensively repaired in 1846. The doorway is medieval and the font is 12th century. The church has windows of 16th and 17th century painted and stained glass and 17th century choir stalls, communion rail and pulpit. There are a number of monumental inscriptions in the church. Although baptisms and marriages took place in the church, the parish paid threepence a year for the privilege of burials at Netherbury, due to the rocky ground at Mapperton. There are only 5 burial entries for Mapperton since 1793. In 1971 the parish was joined to Melplash and in 1977 All Saints Church was sold to Mr Montagu and became a private chapel to the estate. It is possible to visit the church when the gardens are open.

 

 

All Saint's Church, Mapperton

Mapperton House (with All Saint's Church adjoining)



Mapperton House

Mapperton House

Old School

The Posy Tree (above left) at Mapperton marks where Dead Man’s Lane (above right) branches off from the road to the village.  It was down this lane and across the hill to Netherbury that bodies were taken for burial.  When the plague struck Mapperton, the villagers of Netherbury, armed with staves, met the cortege of the first plague victims and refused to allow them to progress to Netherbury for fear of infection.  A pit was dug on South Warren Hill and the plague victims were buried there.  Human bones sometimes surface in that area.  There is some confusion as to the facts of this story.  One theory is that the plague struck Mapperton in 1348, soon after it first arrived in England by ship at Melcombe, near Weymouth, and that the Posy Tree was an oak tree.  Another states that the bubonic plague struck Mapperton in 1582, killing 80 villagers, whilst a third argues that the plague of 1665 was the one which wiped out the village of Mapperton and that the tree was a sycamore.  As there is nothing in the parish records to indicate the death of such a large number of people in 1665, this, together with various other strong arguments, makes the 1582 date more likely.  The Posy Tree - so named as mourners passing it carried posies of sweet smelling herbs and plants to cover up the smell of the corpses and protect against infection – although old and past its prime, is unlikely to be the original tree.
22 Nov 2015: Visitors to Mapperton will look in vain for the famous Posy Tree as seen in the above photo.  The tree was very old and had become unsafe and in August 2011 it was removed.  The opening to Dead Man's Lane looked very empty until a new, young sycamore tree was planted during 2015 to replace the old one.  It will be many years before the young tree will be able to fill either the physical or historic space left by its predecessors, but it is good to know that the tradition is being continued.

The cottages at Mythe (see below), once the homes of farm labourers and their families - the descendants of whom are spread all over the world - remain now only as ruins, their stone having been removed for use elsewhere on the estate. The 1841 census shows 8 families living there, in probably only 4 or 5 small dwellings.  By the 1920s the cottages were in ruins, except for a pair of semi-detached cottages which were occupied until the early 1950s.

 

Mythe Gardens and Orchard

Track to Mythe

Washing Room, Mythe

Mythe Cottage 1

Mythe Cottage 1

Mythe Cottage 1

Mythe Cottage 2

Mythe Cottage 2

Mythe Cottage 2

These photos taken in 1979 correspond most closely to the third photo of Cottage One above, although the diamond shaped one is not taken from the same angle.  It can clearly be seen how much more there was of the cottage 30+ years ago!  The photos give a much better idea of what the cottage(s) would have looked like when still inhabited.

This photo is believed to be of one of the Mythe Cottages.  I think it is of what I have called Cottage 2 in the photos of the ruins above.  I have been down to the cottages with the photo and the background and gable end match up, although there are more trees there now.  According to someone who lived in Cottage 1 in the 1920s,  Cottage 2 was already rubble then

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