Melcombe Horsey 

Records relating to Melcombe Horsey held in the

Dorset History Centre.

Information from The National Archives "Access to Archives" (A2A)

These records will be transcribed and abstracts put on this website, as time and institutions permit.

Dorset Record Office: Dorset Quarter Sessions [QDE(L)/54-64] 1780-1832 44 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Pitt-Rivers Estate Archive 1294-1966 30 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Coombes Archive 1136-1963 8 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Dorset Quarter Sessions [Register of Electors] 1833-1938 7 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Andrews, Son and Huxtable Solicitors Archive 1524-1912 6 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Hilton Parish 1603-1994 4 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Encombe Estate Archive 1344-1949 4 hit(s)  
Dorset Record Office: Melcombe Horsey Parish, alias Melcombe Bingham 1690-1992 3 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Howard, Shreeve and Turnbull of Blandford, Architects 1889-1985 2 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Bere Regis Parish 1607-1997 1 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Buckland Newton Parish 1568-1995 1 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Milton Abbas Parish 1637-1994 1 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Melcombe Horsey Church of England School 1914-1945 1 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Edens of Sherborne 1900-1977 1 hit(s)

Dorset Record Office: Traill, Castleman-Smith and Wilson, Solicitors 1544-1943 1 hit(s)



Records relating to Melcombe Horsey NOT held in the
Dorset History Centre.


Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society Library, Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Old Card Index – Vestry Minutes 1640-1920 [typed manuscript]

The following information comes from Access to Archives

These records will be transcribed and abstracts put on this website, as time and institutions permit.

Lambeth Palace Library

Commonwealth records 1560-1693. 2 hit(s).

PARLIAMENTARY SURVEYS. Copies of surveys - ref. COMM/12A
FILE - VOLUME 5 - ref.  COMM/12A/5  - date: 1650-1656 [from Scope and Content] Milton Abbas, Ibberton, Chesilborne, Woolland perpetual curacy, Melcombe Horsey Rectory & Bingham Melcombe, Hilton Vicarage, Stoke Wake Rectory, Sherborne, Oborne & Castleton

FILE - VOLUME 6 - ref.  COMM/12A/6  - date: 1650. [from Scope and Content] Melcombe [...] Horsey Rectory


Cornwall Record Office

Arundell of Lanherne and Trerice [AR/3] 1259-1940. 1 hit.

Catalogue Ref. AR. Creator(s): Arundell family of Lanherne and Trerice, Cornwall


FILE  [no title] - ref.  AR/3/642  - date: [16th century]. [from Scope and Content] Instruction to impound the cattle of four men from the ground that 'Melcum' men challenge [Melcombe Regis or Melcombe Horsey, Dorset?].


West Sussex Record Office, Chichester

Additional Manuscripts, catalogue 10 1490-1957. 1 hit.

Catalogue Ref. Add Mss 6080 – 6846. Creator(s): West Sussex Record Office, Chichester.

[Access Conditions] Open to consultation, unless otherwise stated.

Deeds - parishes of Horsham


FILE - Conveyance. Consideration £1550 - ref.  Add Mss 6711  - date: 29 September 1887. [from Scope and Content] (a) William Watts, of Lanceston, co. Dorset, gent., and Richard Caines Watts, of Melcombe Horsey, co. Dorset; (b) Sydney Watts, of Yeovil, co. Somerset, gent; (c) Walter Cobb, of Silverdale Lodge, co. Kent, gent


English Heritage National Monuments Record 

Album of photographs 1870-1900. 1 hit. Catalogue Ref. NBR69.

FILE - Album of photographs - ref.  AL0384  - date: 1870 – 1900. [Access Conditions] Public item: GENERAL EXTERIOR VIEW (General view) - ref.  AL0384/007/01  - date: 1870 – 1900. [Access Conditions] Public [from Scope and Content] Address/Location: Binghams Melcombe House, Binghams Melcombe, Melcombe Horsey, Dorset



Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society

 Melcombe Horsey Entries in the Cumulative Index of the Proceedings

Available online at the Dorset County Museum site

Copies of the articles can be bought via the website.

 -  - deed, Volume 58 page 69
 -  - icehouse, Volume 86 page 228
 -  - Manor House, Volume 15 pages xl-xlii; Volume 36 pages xxix-xxx; Volume 51 pages 78-81
 -  -  - armorial bearings, Volume 45 pages 134-138
 -  - round barrow, excavation, Volume 38 pages 74-80
 - Bowdens Hill, excavation of cross dyke, Volume 79 page 115; Volume 100 pages 36-42
 - Bowdens, Bronze Age socketed axe-head, Volume 73 page 114
 - church,
 -  - bells, Volume 19 page 27; Volume 24 pages 131-132; Volume 27 page 108; Volume 51 pages 251-252;             Volume 60 page 117; Volume 90 pages 313-314
 -  - description, Volume 51 pages 78-80 & 246-252
 -  - goods inventory, 1552, Volume 26 page 102
 -  - note by Sir Stephen Glynne, 1865, Volume 45 pages 37-38
 -  - screen, Volume 42 pages 79-80
 - Hog Hill, surface finds from Celtic fields, Volume 73 pages 113-114; Volume 76 page 76

 - incumbents and patrons, 1542-1731, Volume 73 page 142  See RECTORS & PATRONS section
 - medieval deer-park, Volume 85 pages 145-148


Melcombe Horsey References in Other Academic Papers & Books


Roman Britain in 1999 in Britannia, Vol. 31. (2000), pp. 371-431+433-449, by B. C. Burnham; L. J. F. Keppie; A. S. Esmonde Cleary; M. W. C. Hassall; R. S. O. Tomlin; Barry C. Burnham.

Page 425, by A. S. Esmonde Cleary

Melcombe Horsey: 42 siliquae, pot sherds and lead fragments to c. A.D. 402. 387

Footnote 387: “Information from Dr. R. Bland, British Museum”.

Definition of the word: Siliqua. (n.) Same as Silique.

(n.) A weight of four grains; a carat; - a term used by jewellers, and refiners of gold.


The Conversion of Wessex in The English Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 27. (Jul., 1892), pp. 437-443, by T. S. Holmes. Published 1892.

pp. 442 & 3.

“Nor in our summary can we pass over two other groups of churches which tell of the connexion of Wessex with the shrine of the Apostles and the monastery on the Caelian Hill. Surely these dedications suggest as the founders of these churches the early missionaries of the church of Wessex. They are those dedicated either to St. Andrew or to SS. Peter and Paul. Somerset is studded all over with churches dedicated to St. Andrew. Some thirty-six in all claim him as their patron. Of course some of these, like Cheddar, Banwell, and Wiveliscombe, were the daughters of St. Andrew’s of Wells. In Dorset there are more than a dozen with the same dedication. From Yetminster, where also the old church is under the protection of St. Andrew, there is a connected line of such churches-Minterne, Alton Pancras, Melcombe Horsey, and Milborne-as far as Bloxworth. The cluster at the north of Salisbury is probably due to some later cause. But we cannot doubt that in this we see the influences of that reverence for the monastery on the Caelian Hill which we know clung to the immediate disciples of Aldhelm and his fellow-workers. And the same may be said of the other group. “


The Ferryman and His Fee: A Study in Ethnology, Archaeology, and Tradition in Folklore, Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society, Vol. 68, No. 1. (Mar., 1957), pp. 257-269, by L. V. Grinsell.

Table 2. England: Inhumations With Roman Coins

138-61AD          Antoninus Pius  Dorset   Melcombe Horsey          Ref: Warne, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, iii, no.98


Land Classification in Dorset: A Study of Land Classification with Special Reference to Agricultural Distributions in Dorset in Transactions No. 6, (1937), pp. 1-61. Institute of British Geographers, by L. Ellis Tavener.

Page 8, 1st para.

“Between the River Frome and the River Stour, the downlands increase in elevation and are more deeply dissected by the valleys. This area is covered by poor, shallow soils; but more fertile loamy strips occur in the valleys where chalk downwash has mixed with gravel deposits and pebbles. The chief elevations in this area are at Melcombe Horsey, 856 feet, Bulbarrow Hill, 902 feet, and Batcombe Hill, 864 feet.”


Sotheby’s London – advert. in The Burlington Magazine, October 1978.


Friday, 3rd November 1978 at 11am.


From the Collection of the Rt. Hon. Lord Southborough

Removed from Bingham’s Melcombe, Dorset

A Charles II walnut day bed, 152.4 cm long by 55.2 cm wide

A James I oak side table, 85.7 cm high, by 92.7 cm diameter

A Charles II walnut arm chair

Enquiries about this sale should be addressed to Philip Hewat-Jaboor

[There are 3 beautiful photo’s, probably still under copyright]



Useful links to Melcombe Horsey material on other websites


Church Plans Online

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

Directories Online

Domesday Book Online

Dorset Coast Digital Archive Choose Interactive Maps & then Tithe Apportionments   (Melcombe Horsey not yet onsite 24.2.2005)

Dorset Historic Churches Trust – Bingham’s Melcombe page

Dorset County Council 2001 Census Analysis

Dorset County Museum

Dorset Parish Registers Index

DRAKE Family Genealogy

Family Search:    LDS website – IGI, censuses etc.

The Old Bailey, London – Proceedings, 1674 to 1834

Rector of Melcombe Horsey’s Welcome Letter

St. Andrew’s Church, Melcombe Horsey on Michael Day’s Dorset Churches website

Society of Genealogists Library – Dorset Sources

U.K. Database of Historic Parks and Gardens

Walking in Dorset website

The Western Front Association – List of Wooden Grave Markers



St. Andrew’s Church, Melcombe Horsey
 History & Description


There is evidence in the fabric of the current building that an earlier structure stood on this site. A fragment of a 12th century font is built into the East arch of the tower and there are two 13th century coffin lids are in the graveyard just to the West of the tower. The library of the Dorset County Museum holds records dating from AD 1150 onwards relating to this church. The present building appears to date from the 14th century, with the tower, nave and Bingham Chapel being mid-14th century. The door, South Porch and Horsey Chapel date from the late 15th century and the chancel was built in 1844. For information about the dedication to St. Andrew, see The Conversion of Wessex in the Records relating to Melcombe Horsey section, under Melcombe Horsey References in Books & Academic Papers.


The patrons were always the Lords of Melcombe Horsey. In 1919, the estate was sold by Captain G.H.L.F. Pitt-Rivers, but he retained the patronage. In 1925, a united benefice of Hilton, Melcombe Horsey & Cheselbourne was created. The Bishop of Salisbury presents for Hilton and the Pitt-Rivers family for the other two churches.



The South Porch and Horsey Chapel are clearly part of the same 15th century structure. The hood mould over the South window has the letters I and C interlaced on the left and an R on the right. I can find no note in the literature as to what these might represent. The hood moulding corbels of the Horsey Chapel represent male and female heads. There’s an upside down scratch dial on the South East buttress of the chapel.

The 1844 building of the chancel utilised: flint, dark brown ironstone, Purbeck Marble Rag, Purbeck and Ham stone.

Several Bingham memorials lie outside their family chapel, including an altar tomb.  

An early North door has been blocked off.

The low embattled tower boasts turret stairs, a Decorated West Window and on its Northern side, a gargoyle.



The porch contains a Hamstone canopied niche and pedestals for three figure. High up and easily missed are two carved stone masks.

Inside the door on the right there is a niche, probably once containing a holy water stoop.

The Horsey Chapel is separated from the nave by an oak screen with the initials S.T.F. for Sir Thomas Freke and the date 1619 on the reverse side. Sir Ralph Horsey buried 1612 and his wife, Lady Edith buried 1628 lie beneath a Hamstone marker. There is an ogee arched piscina with a stone bracket above. The chapel has been laid out with the Jacobean communion table and the 1905 reredos, both taken from the chancel. The reredos was carved by a carpenter in Dewlish. The pews in the chapel are ancient. There are two figures in the chapel’s East window - St. Jerome and St. Augustine wearing academic robes and a pileus (doctor’s cap). Each is seated with a book and labelled in black letters. The glass is 15th century. There is a further fragment in a roundel. The South window contains the Turges arms (azure, a chevron between three crosslets fitche within a border or) in a vesica piscis supported by a figure. The Turges were Lords of Melcombe Horsey.

The chancel was apparently completely rebuilt in 1844. There is a Communion Table and a Jacobean chair. There are also two coffin stools, which the parish records show were made in 1789 and cost 14 shillings.

The Bingham Chapel contains numerous memorials and the blocked up rood loft stair can be seen. In 1929, the altar tomb stone was placed on the West wall to prevent further damage on the floor. It commemorates Richard and Joanna Bingham and dates to 1524. Joanna was the daughter of John Delalynde. A hatchment hangs in the chapel: Bingham quarters 1 & 6, Turbeville 2, Chaldicott 3, Pottinger 4, Batt 5. The chapel was restored in 1999. The new oak pews bear the Bingham coat of arms. The stone altar was commissioned from local sculptor, Leo Reynolds. The new floor is Marnhull stone. The chapel contains fragments of 14th & 15th century glass, including a crowned head with a halo.

On the North wall of the nave are memorials to the Bosworth Smith family, owners of the manor house from 1896 to 1948. Also commemorated is Robert Norris, a Colporteur (peddler) of the British and Foreign Bible Society who died in 1873. A war memorial brass plaque contains just two names from WW1, there thankfully being no casualties from the parish in WW2. The North window contains a rope intertwining the letters I and H, representing John Horsey. The window also contains tiller and rudder designs barded round with rope, plus a fish caught in a snare and other figures.

Remains on a fresco were found in 1824 when placing the memorial to Richard Bingham. One part was of a large St. Christopher carrying the Christ child over a stream containing fish and a mermaid with a comb and a looking glass. The other portion was of St. Michael weighing a soul, his left hand holding a bible and his right hand raised in benediction. Unfortunately, the fresco was plastered over again.

The West window is a memorial to Charles W. Bingham, Rector from 1842 to 1882. It is of the church’s patron saint, St. Andrew.

The present Norman font was brought from the chapel at Higher Melcombe in 1951. The earlier one, bought in Blandford in 1751, was given to the new church at Swanage.



In 1552, there were three bells.: O BEATA TRINITAS  Dia. 39 ½ ins.; REGINA COELI ALLA ALLA  Dia. 36 ins.; A LYCHE Bell. The Lyche bell was sold in 1844. The other two hang today in the belfry, but REGINA COELI is well travelled. In 1891, it was sold to raise money for church restoration and taken to Dorchester station. However, Wordsworth Bishop of Salisbury ordered its return to Melcombe Horsey. In 1920, it was sold again but wouldn’t fit at Sturminster Marshall. In 1923, it was bought back by a local resident. It remained on the tower floor until 1970, when it was re-hung and both bells were modified to chime only.  

The history and description above have been freely borrowed from several sources, including the church guide and the proceedings of the Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society. St. Andrew’s Church is open from 9am to 4pm but sits in the middle of a private estate. Access is allowed to the church, but keep strictly to the gravel path. It is a beautiful multi-coloured church in a picturesque setting, well worth a visit.

The current Rector, the Rev. Tony Monds, has an information page for the united parishes of Milton Abbas (St. James) Hilton (All Saints) Cheselbourne (St. Martin) & Melcombe Horsey (St. Andrew)

 For more pictures of the church, visit: Dorset Historic Churches Trust – Bingham’s Melcombe page




St. Andrew’s Church, Melcombe Horsey

Rectors & Patrons


From an article in Volume 73 (page 142) of the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society - Incumbents and Patrons, 1542-1731.


Reginald DOWLE                       inst. 19 August 1530 occurs 1552

Thomas MASTER                      comp. 2 November 1554

Robert DUCK                             inst. 1559.  will proven 1583

William ARNOLD MA                 Christ Church, Oxford.  inst. 1582.  resigned or died 1616

Robert ARNOLD BA                   Wadham College, Oxford.  inst. 29 July 1616.  died about 1647

Hope SHERARD BA                  Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Nominated by the House of Lords 7 February 1647/8.  occurs 19 August 1657

William FELTON                        will proven 1660

John MARTYN BA                     Oriel College, Oxford.  Inst. 29 January 1660/1. 

deprived after the revolution for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance

Nathaniel HIGHMORE MA          Trinity College, Oxford.  Inst. 30 July 1690.  died 1723

John PITT MA                            Wadham College, Oxford.  Inst.1723.  died 1733


1554                 Sir John HORSEY knt.

1616                 Repentance ARNOLD widow.  By gift of Thomas STOUGHTON esq. & Edith his wife

1661 & 1690      Thomas FREKE esq.

1723                 George PITT jnr. of Shroton esq.

From the noticeboard inside the church



St. Andrew’s, Melcombe Horsey Parish


Walter De Colerne


Wm. Arnold


Robert De Wynchecumb


Robert Arnold


Wm. Oleby


Hope Sherard


Wm. Stykelane


Wm. Felton


John Vowel


John Martyn


Wm. Cerne


Nath. Highmore


Stephen Frankeleyn


John Pitt


Robert Offcote


John Hutchins


Henry Chicele


Thomas H. Stephens


John Maylard


Edmund Smith


John Stacey


John Davis


John Nolton


Charles W. Bingham


Wm. Crampisley


Joseph Hall


Nicholas Kempston


John H. Wilkinson


John Bavys


Henry De B. Dillon-Trenchard


Richard Steward


Pierce R. Butler


Wm. Deneys


Wm. Fenn


Henry Thorp


Harry A. Caryl


Thomas Smyth


Gwyn A. Thomas


Wm. Synkelar


Frank William Pugh


Henry Criche


Brian D. Colin


John Loder


David Pennal


Augustin Horsey


J. N. Michael Creed Meredith


Reg. Dowle


Stanley M. Royle


Thomas Masters


Robin S. Ferguson


Robert Duck


Justin M. Bailey


Below the board hangs a notice: Made From Timber Felled In Melcombe Park By Brigadier C. H. Woodhouse.