Hawkchurch (St. John the Baptist)

HAWKCHURCH (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Axminster, partly in the hundred of Cerne, Totcombe, and Modbury, and partly in that of Uggscombe, Dorchester division of Dorset, 3¼ miles (E. N. E.) from Axminster; containing, with the tything of Phillyholme, 820 inhabitants. The parish is pleasantly situated on the river Axe, by which it is bounded on the north-west, and comprises 3929 acres, whereof 332 are waste land or common. The soil on the higher grounds is a light sandy mould, resting on a tenacious clay, and in the lower grounds a rich loamy clay; limestone is found, and burned for manure: the surface is finely diversified with hill and dale. From the summit of an eminence called Lambert's Castle, which has an elevation of more than 900 feet, is an extensive view of the sea and of the adjacent country. Wylde Court, the seat of Lord Bridport, was the residence of Colonel Wyndham, who entertained Charles II. the night previous to his attempted embarkation at Charmouth. Nearly 200 of the labouring class are employed in spinning twine: flax and hemp were formerly cultivated to a great extent. A fair for stock is held in June on Lambert's Castle Hill, and lasts for two days. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £23. 2. 11.; net income, £430; patrons, Messrs. Newnham: the glebe comprises 60 acres. The church is a small edifice, containing some Norman portions, and several insertions in the early and later English styles, with various modern alterations; among the early details are two fine Norman arches with zig-zag mouldings. In the church is a monument to Admiral Sir William Domett, G.C.B., the intimate friend of Nelson, and captain of the fleet in the expedition to Copenhagen. On the hill are some remains of an ancient fortification, and vestiges of a Roman encampment.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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