This liberty always belonged to the lords of the manor. It is not improbable that, before this liberty was constituted, the town of Fordington, whose church is dedicated to St. George, may have been the capital of, and given name to, the hundred of St. George, which in the Inquisitio Gheldi goes by the name of Dorcestra hundred.
HIGHER BURTON, LOWER BURTON, in Charminster; DALWOOD, in Stockland; FORDINGTON; HERMITAGE; LOOP GROUND, Dorchester, Holy Trinity; WHITWELL, in Frome Whitfield.
Fordington is a large village adjoining to Dorchester on the east, and was anciently a suburb to it, and part of it. It seems to derive its name from the ford or passage over the River Frome. 29 Edw. III. [1344/5] Queen Isabel had a grant of a market on Tuesdays, and a fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. George, in her manor here."
In Domesday Book Fortitone, together with Sutone, Gelingham, and Frome, are included in the survey of Dorchester, under the head of "Terra Regis," then belonging to the King. See p. 345. When it was separated from Dorchester does not appear. In the black book of the Exchequer, in a charter of Bernard Pullus or Poleyn of Polingston near Charminster, mention is made of the hundred of St. George of Dorchester. 2 Hen. II.  Earl Reginald held in Fortintun and Dorcester 60L. 6 John the King  granted to Robert de Novo Burgo, in exchange for Porstock, Stafford, and Nettlecumb, eight librates of land here, to be held by him and his heirs, as the head of the barony, as Porstock had been; and also gave him 10 solidates of rent here. After this it seems to have come to the Crown. 14 Hen. III.  a tallage was assessed on the counties of Dorset and Somerset, and the sheriffs rendered an account of, and paid for, Fordington 7L. 14 Hen. III. it was granted for life to Henry fil. Nicholai; who, 15 Hen. III.  paid 32L. for the farm of this manor, granted him by the King for life." 28 Edw. I. Edmund Earl of Cornwall held at his death the manor of Fordington of the King in chief, and the hamlet of Whitwell belonging to that manor; and also 13s 4d. rent to be received of the abbot of Bindon for tenements in Knighton and West Forsehill ["in Purbeck], belonging to the same; and one-fourth of a fee which John Chantmarle held of him in Dalwood, doing suit at his court at Fordington from three weeks to three weeks; also an hermitage in Blakemore, and the advowson. Afterwards this manor, and the hamlet of Whitwell, were allotted to Margaret his relict, sister to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford. King Edward I. when he caused his demesnes through England to be tallaged, granted to the great men of this realm that they should have like tallage of their tenants in such manors as were formerly ancient demesnes of the Crown; and by his writ commanded the sheriff of Dorset that if this manor was ancient demesne, and used to be tallaged, he should cause the said Margaret to have the tallage of this manor, which she held in dower. 10 Edw. II.  Hugh Audeleigh and Margaret his wife, widow of Pierce Gaveston, had a grant of this manor and the hamlet of Whitwell, and several manors in the counties of Lincoln, Rutland, Suffolk, Norfolk, Berks, and Essex. The said Margaret died seised of the premises 16 Edw. III.  said to be held by her in dower of the inheritance of Edward King of England, his heir. After this it was annexed to the duchy of Cornwall and principality of "Wales.
By a charter roll dated from the Tower July 9, .and assigned to the 16th Edward III.[1341/2] the King, " considering that the Earldom of Cornwall, now called the Duchy of Cornwall, has sustained a large diminution of its former rights, and desiring to reinstate (reintegrare) the said Duchy," gives among other properties to the said Duke (viz. the Black Prince),”the manor of Fordyngton with the hamlet of Whitewell and its other appurtenances in the county of Dorset, which were recently members and parcels of the said Duchy, etc. and which our beloved and faithfull Hugh de Audele, Earl of Gloucester and Margaretta his wife, now deceased, held for the life of the said Margaret, by the grant of the Lord Edward late King of England, our father, and which now by the death of the said Margaret are in our hands."
32 Edw. III. [1357/8] Isabella late Queen of England, the King's mother, at her death held this manor for term of life, by lease [ex dimissione], of Edward Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, parcel of that duchy." 9 Rich. II.  Joan late Princess of Wales held at her death one-third of this manor in dower [nomine dotis] of the King in chief; Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, her son and heir, aet. 30.
After this it was frequently granted by the Crown to many persons for term of life. 9 Rich. II. John Trevet, kt. had a grant of it. 1 Hen. IV. it was granted for life to Baldwyn de Bereford. 18 Hen. VI. this manor, which Isabele wife of Hugh Mortimer held for life, was granted to William Stafford for life. 2 Edw. IV. [1461/2] Thomas Gill, junior. late escheator of Dorset, rendered an account of 26L. for the farm or rent of Fordington The demesne of Fordington occurs (inter alia) in a grant of the duchy of Cornwall by Edward IV. A.R. 12 and 13, [1472 - 1474] to his " first begotten son" Prince Edward. 19 Edw. IV. [1479/80] Katharine Arundel died seised of this manor.'' 16 Eliz.  it was demised to Thomas Warren, paying 33L. 2s. 1d. 20 Eliz. the demesne lands of the manor were granted to Maurice Brown for 21 years. 8 Jac. I. [1609/1610] this manor and the hamlet of Whitwell were granted to Henry Prince of Wales ; and, 13 Jac.I.[1614/5] to Charles Prince of Wales, in which principality it is now vested.
It is a large and extensive manor, as appears by the list of the tithings in this liberty; and anciently lands in other places were held of it, viz. in Forsehull in Purbeck, and Knighton in Winfrith, Hartley in Great Minterne, and in Lydenholt. 8 Hen. IV.  Isabella, who was wife of John Kendel, held at her death, of the Prince of England, 40 a. of land belonging to this manor. 15 Hen. III.  the services of Burton, Dalwood, Hartleigh, and Whitewell, belonged to this manor. Here is an officer, called Reeve, yearly chosen by the steward of the manor, and his business is to collect the lord's rents.
The Churchill family," say Hutchins’s continuators, " had once a mansion situate in a part of Fordington, called Britain, why called so nobody can tell; it was an ancient edifice of stone, standing long since in the recollection of the present inhabitants of Fordington. It is said to have been something like the present house of Colliton, and stood quite on the bank of the Frome. [Footnote: Of Colliton house a view was supposed to be given in Gentlemans Magazine volume lxx page 123 but not at all like it; Ibid p217. Mrs Churchill died here April 13 1800. Her remains were interred in the family vault in St Peters church Dorchester. The corpse was followed to church by the girls of the Sunday scholls to the number of 41, attended by two mistresses, all in close mourning, given them by the Rev. Mr Churchill, agreeably to his mothers request]. It was taken down when the estate to which it belonged was purchased by the Darner family. The late Mr. Pitt had once a seat in Fordington, now totally destroyed. The easternmost part of Fordington is called Icen Town. It may be so corrupted from East Town, pronounced by the lower class of people Easten Town, and so brought to Icen Town. The word East, when joined to another, is very often pronounced Easten; but a conjecture may be hazarded that it is properly and likely to have been so called originally from its proximity to the Icening way, as it almost meets it, and so called Icen Town. However it may be, it has been called Icen Town from time immemorial, as the oldest persons now living there say it was so called by their forefathers."
The road into the east end of Fordington being through a deep water, by which the lives of people were endangered and horses injured, an Act passed, 18 George II. to empower Mrs. Lora Pitt of Kingston to make a new way at her own expense through Fordington Moor, 1900 feet long and 36 broad; which was done at the expense of 1500L. [Footnote: Roman hypocaust discovered in making this road] She also built a bridge of three arches over a branch of the river Frome. This road was begun 1746, and finished 1747. The bridge was finished October, 1747. A little north-east from Fordington was a large bridge of three arches over the river Frome, called Stockinbridge, which was ordered to be repaired by the county 1689, but was taken down at the beginning of the present century.
Mohun's bridges, mentioned also in Dorchester," are in this parish.
The poor of this parish being very numerous and distressed, William Morton Pitt, esq. in the year 1795 established a spinning-school and weaving and bleaching here to promote industry among the inhabitants.
Fordington field, on the south side of Dorchester, is the largest in the county. " This luxuriant and extensive manor," adds the continuator of this work, " contains upwards of 4,000 a. of arable, meadow, and pasture; and is divided into 65 tenements or livings, denominated in the court-rolls places and half-places, which are held under the lord of the manor by grants for lives. Of the above 4,000 a. about 1,300 are annually sown with corn, and on the remainder are fed 4,912 head of cattle. A proposal was lately brought forward by the agents of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to inclose the cornfields and wastes; but at a meeting held at the King's Arms in Dorchester, February 2, 1801, for the purpose of considering the eligibility of the scheme, it was negatived by a majority of the tenants holding the small livings, who were of opinion that the intended inclosure would be injurious to their interests."
“In this parish," says Hutchins, " are many remarkable antiquities. In the fields on the south side of Dorchester are many barrows (some of them very large), one of which was dug down some years ago. Roman coins are frequently ploughed up here.
" On the ridge of hills half way between Dorchester and Weymouth is a semi-circle of barrows, ranged in order, and distinguished by travellers both going and returning.
“In May 1747, on. digging chalk to make the above-mentioned road, near the pound, were discovered, at the depth of four or five feet, above 200 skeletons. They generally lay north and south, some inclined east and west. The skulls were remarkably thick, and many of the teeth very sound. By the side of one lay a sword blade, 2 and a half feet long; six inches seemed to have been broken, or eaten off by rust. They were reinterred in the churchyard, or in pits dug on the place; and seem to be the remains of persons who fell in the Danish wars, and their different direction might be intended to distinguish the Pagans from the Christians; or, they might be such as died in the great plague 1346, 19 Edw.III.[Note 1346 is actually 20 Edw III] ; and as this spot is near the churchyard, it may be presumed that it was formerly part of it. Mr. Willis says churchyards were in ancient times more extensive than now; that of St. Peter's at St. Alban's being near five acres; and Dr. Plot,
in his History of Staffordshire, p. 371, says, that of St. Michael at Lichfield contained six or seven
acres. They were lessened or taken in by degrees."
The continuators of this work add. " In the year 1788, in taking down some cottages a little west of the pound in this parish, and removing some earth, several skeletons were discovered, some large, some small, as if of men, women, and children. One in particular was found in a sitting posture, another as if thrown in neck and heels tied together, also a sword, and one or two different weapons beside, but all now lost."
[Footnote: They also add here, though the notice is somewhat misplaced: "In the autumn of 1779 five skeletons were dug up about a quarter of a mile from the spot where Frome Whitfield church stood, or, as some call it, Hollis farm, in a field called Pond Close, from the circumstance of there being a pond in one corner of the close. A pit in the north-west corner. The soil, earth, and gravel mixed. The men were digging the ground to plant firs and shrubs, and the pickaxes struck against a stone repeatedly. The men, out of curiosity, removed the earth to take up the stone, and underneath found a skeleton; and searching further they discovered in all five skeletons, laid in exact order, the heads to the west, lower than the feet, owing perhaps to the situation of the ground, and inclosed in stone coffins, in the following manner: a large stone set up edgeways at the head and feet; a stone placed in the same manner between each skeleton, and a broad one of the same kind laid flat on the top to cover them, but on a stone at the bottom the soil, gravel, and larger earth mixed. They were about five feet ten inches long, perhaps one inch difference. The men covered up the coffins as they found them].
Fordington lies contiguous to the east wall of the Roman town of Durnovaria, extending from the south-east corner to the point at which the Via Iceniana is reputed to have entered that station. The church stands on high ground, a few hundred yards to the eastward of the south-east angle of the wall. Besides the 'discoveries above mentioned in the addendum to the last edition of this work, it is recorded that in 1810, in excavations made nearer to the Roman wall than the spot just spoken of, human skeletons were found in great numbers, certainly not fewer than 100, and numerous urns of various forms, and fragments were discovered. The bodies were lying in various directions, and at varying depths, from 4 ft. to nearly the depth opened [13 ft.] ; of those found deep in the chalk, the bones were white and entire, but light in weight; those not so deep, and surrounded with brown chalk or earth (probably placed round them at the interment), fell to pieces and crumbled away on endeavoring to remove them: the teeth were almost universally good and white, in most instances were in complete sets in the jaw, and not any carious. There were taken up and preserved about 20 urns of different forms and sizes, some of brown earth, others of a reddish kind; some ornamented around with a netlike figure ; others with diagonal lines; others surrounded with a wavelike ornament. An urn without contents was frequently found near a body, generally close to the head. The largest urns contained bones partially consumed by fire, and generally without any mixture of earth, as if collected from the burning of the body, the more destructible parts of which were consumed, and probably formed the black earth or ashes near the urn ; some were covered with a patera containing charcoal. Most of the small urns did not contain any bones or ashes, and were found near the unburnt skeleton; probably an interment after the practice of burning had ceased. A coin of Hadrian of middle brass was found lying on the breast of one of the bodies; it appeared to have been inclosed in linen or some perishable substance, which, on attempting to remove, pulverized into a black powder; the sternum on which it lay is indelibly stained with a green tint, evidently the effect of the corrosion of the coin; the coin is not in good preservation. Not any other was discovered. A number of small round iron knobs were found; also some iron rings, about 2 in. in diameter.
In 1839 some remarkable remains were brought to light in the course of excavations made in lowering the hill in the High-street of Fordington. The site of these discoveries is immediately between the excavations of 1747 and those of 1810. The workmen, in the course of their labours, exhumed the remains of more than 50 bodies. They had been all deposited entire, with the exception of two instances ; in one of which a small quantity of burnt human bones was found, mingled with a little charcoal and ashes; and, in the other, some fragments of a large sepulchral urn were turned up, bearing evidence of having been used in an interment by cremation. About half the interments were in the direction of north-east and south-west; the others north-west and south-east; the heads being placed indifferently: and it is a peculiar circumstance that, in almost every instance, two bodies were found in close proximity to each other, one lying at right angles to the other, either at the head or foot, in the form of a .Roman T; and it should be remarked that those bodies lying north-west and south-east appear to have been of subsequent interment, lying almost invariably at a less depth, and frequently so placed that a deeper excavation would have disturbed the other interment. Two of the bodies were lying with the face downwards. That all these bodies had been interred in coffins is manifest. On each side, or at the head and feet, were nails of good construction, of various length, from 2 in. to 5 in. with clear indications of having been used to fasten planks, the grain of the wood, preserved by the oxydization of the metal, being evident on many.
One of the interments was marked by peculiar circumstances. The remains were those of a, young female, whose body had been inclosed in a coffin, and beneath the scull were found several elegantly formed glass pins, some green and some blue, tapering to an exceedingly fine point. They
were from 2 and a half inches. to nearly 3in. in length, and had a beautiful appearance, being coated with the " electrum " of the antiquaries, produced by incipient decomposition of the glass.
Across the neck of another female was a necklace of small glass and amber beads; the glass chiefly blue; perforated, and united by minute brass links. Round the wrist of this female was an armilla of that bituminous shale found on the coast near Kimmeridge, in this county, and of which the pieces termed Kimmeridge coal money were made. This armilla had been turned, finished in a manner indicating an advanced state of art, highly polished, grooved, and neatly notched by way of ornament; its interior diameter being 2 and a half in. An amulet, or large bead, of the same material, well turned, polished, and ornamented with lines running round it, was found lying at the right foot of this female. It was nearly spherical, being 1 and a quarter inches in the longer, and 1 inch. in the shorter diameter, perforated through the shorter diameter. At the left foot of this body was a small elegant vessel of fine red ware. It had originally a narrow elongated neck, which was broken. From the shoulder to the foot it stood 7 in. high, by 2 in. and a half in diameter at the widest part.
One other armilla and another amulet or bead of the Kimmeridge coal were found with another interment; the armilla being polished but unornamented; the amulet very similar. Another armilla of smaller dimensions was found, formed of double brass wire twisted.
In another interment, at the foot of the body— also that of a female—a considerable number (about 120) of beads were turned up, of various kinds, glass, amber, bone, pearl, and clay, all perforated; one having a dependent heart-shaped amber amulet. There were also several minute bone rings. Some of the beads, both of amber and glass, had been rudely cut into facets.
With another body had been deposited two vessels of hard black ware, of good manipulation, made in a potter's wheel, the one almost globular, 5 in. high and the same in diameter; the other nearly upright, 4 in. high by 3in. in diameter, having a bandlike ornament formed of the zigzag.
There were also found numerous fragments of pottery of various sorts, of brown, red, and black ware, some indicating ah advanced state of art, one glazed, others covered with a shining black pigment, one of a light buff-coloured clay, tinted with a dark-brown on the outside, with an ornamental scroll of white paint. Of the fragments sufficient was obtained in several instances to restore the shape and size of the vessels, which were very various, but generally of similar character to those found in recognized Romano-British interments. These vessels were chiefly small, and presented no indication of any interment by cremation, excepting in the instance before mentioned.
On the breast of one body was a peculiar and somewhat ponderous bronze buckle, doubtless used with a belt, traces of decayed leather being observable about it.
Two coins only were discovered, one of Postumus, of the common third brass, lying within one of the graves; the other, also of third brass, a coin of Constantine, bearing the legend " Soli invicto comiti." This one was taken from the mouth of the skeleton, the jawbone yet green through the oxydization of the metal. These coins, together with the several ornaments mentioned above, have been deposited by the Rev. Henry Moule who discovered them, in the Museum at Dorchester.
Between the legs of one of the bodies was a curious mass—nearly a quart—of small pebbles, apparently brought from the sea-shore, varying in size from that of a small pea to that of a marble ; the angles abraded by the action of water, and the surfaces polished as if by constant friction, or being worn about the person.
The bodies lay at various depths, being all interred in the solid chalk.
The above constitute all the leading circumstances connected with these interesting discoveries; and it will be seen that they comprise several peculiarities.
It is clear from the locality, and from all the associated indications, that the more recent exhumations, together with those of 1747 and 1810, were made upon the site of the burial-ground of the Romano-British city of Durnovaria, founded after the conquest of the Durotriges by Vespasian, and the abandonment of their ancient metropolis, Dunium (Maiden Castle). The interments of children, of females bedecked with their ornamental attire, and of males, with whose remains were deposited sepulchral vessels which indicated a deliberate and well-arranged depositure, prove this to have been the cemetery of a settled people, and not the hurried burial of those who fell in battle. The practice of burying the dead in established cemeteries, set apart outside the walls of the city, and chiefly by the highways, appears to have been introduced. into Britain by the Romans, with whom it was the general custom (not in Italy only, but in the more distant provinces conquered by them), as well as with the Greeks and some other heathen nations, and with the Jews. Nor, indeed, was interment within the walls of a city permitted amongst the Christians until 300 years after our era.
The ornaments of the Kimmeridge coal constitute a highly interesting feature in these interments; and go far to set at rest much of the ingenious conjecture that has been bestowed upon the "coal money," with great skill and much learning, as to its being a relic of Phoenician intercourse. The productions of the Kimmeridge lathe are here found associated with decidedly Romano-British remains; and the fragility of the material repudiates any assumption that they could have been preserved in use for any considerable number of years. See Vol. I. pages 556—563.
There is no reason to doubt that the burial place of the city of Durnovaria continued to be so occupied down to the practice adopted in the seventh century, of burying the dead in churchyards ; at which time, probably, a Christian church was built on or immediately contiguous to its very site, dedicated to St. George, a saint who was at that time acquiring great veneration in this country; from which church of St. George the hundred has derived its name. This merging of the practice of interment into that of burying in cemeteries connected with a church is not a singular occurrence, as the ancient cemetery of the church at Chesterford was situated on a site of the more ancient Roman burial place; and that it was the case here is supported by the tradition still current that the churchyard anciently comprised many acres of ground.
The particulars of these discoveries in 1839 are chiefly gathered from a communication by the late Mr. John Sydenham, to the Gentleman's Magazine of May in that year.
The Rev. Henry Moule who found the coins, and after a long period succeeded in decyphering the obverse of that of Constantine, conceives that, since the coin of Postumus was much worn, and that of Constantine evidently new when deposited, the date of the interments, which were very uniform in character, could hardly be later than the close of the third or very beginning of the fourth century.
Whilst excavations were in progress (in 1840) for making a vault in Fordington churchyard, immediately underneath the foundation of the north wall were found the remains of a horse with a bit in its mouth, a brass buckle, and other relics of the bridle. It is probable that the animal was slain on the grave of some warrior. The bit is of iron, with cheek-rings of brass. The rings are in fine preservation, but the iron is greatly corroded.
Many of these latter relics have been deposited in the Dorset County Museum at Dorchester by the Rev. H. Moule.
Mambury or Maumbury, Maundbury.
This celebrated monument of antiquity, the first discovery of which we owe to Sir Christopher Wren's journeys to the Isle of Portland, was afterwards examined with great attention by Dr. Stukeley, who, in his Itinerarium Curiosum, has given us a very large account of it, with five draughts of it; but he has sometimes indulged his imagination too much.
The geometrical ground plot of it makes plate 1.
A view from the entrance, plate li.
A view from the south-west, plate lii.
The present appearance, with sections of the shortest and longest diameter, plate liii.
The several etymologies that Dr. Stukeley offers, are from maigne, in British a seat; or maum, which in Oxfordshire signifies land consisting of a mixture of white clay and chalk, of which this work is chiefly composed; or from mummings or mummeries, our ancient name of sports and plays, probably derived from mimus. If we derive it from the Saxon Madm, a vessel, from the hollowness of the cavity of it; and bury, a corruption of burh, it may signify the hollow fort or earthwork. But, its use considered, the etymology which expresses that may be most probable.
Roger Gale derived the name from maen, a great stone, which lay at the entrance when he saw it in 1719.
Before the time of Sir C. Wren it was always called, as the common people call it now, Mambury or Mamebury ring. Mamebury being derived in the opinion of some writers from malm or mame (as it is called in the Dorset dialects), a kind of earthy chalk, of which it consists; and bury, taken in its common sense, of an earthwork, as in Poundbury, Woodbury, Cadbury, &c
It is not improbable King Arthur's round table, near Penrith, in Cumberland, may have been a similar work, especially as an evident amphitheatre in Wales, without the walls of Caerleon, goes by that name. This last is level with the surface of the field, except to the east, where the bank rises 7 ft. higher, 74 yards in diameter from east to west, and 64 from north to south, and 7 yards deep in the middle; the bottom and sides covered with grass ; the sides have a gentle slope, and the proprietor of the ground remembers to have seen a piece of a wall opened, which he took for part of the seats. In England there are three more, one at Silchester, in Hampshire, which is of the same dimensions and form as this, and built with the same materials.'' Another near Richborough Castle, in Kent; and a third near St. Just, Penworth, in Cornwall, which Dr. Borlase ascribes to the Britons.
Whether King Coel's kitchen near Colchester, or a similar cavity at Walbury, near Bishop's Stortford, in Essex, were of this sort is uncertain, being excavations in the earth, whereas these others are formed of mounds raised on its surface. Dr. Stukeley found another at Chesterford, on the Essex road to Cambridge. " Most amphitheatres," he observes, " are placed out of cities for wholesomeness, and on high ground for the benefit of perflation, much recommended by Vitruvius; that of Bordeaux is 400 paces without the city. That in this parish is situated on a plain in the open fields, about a quarter of a mile, or 1,600 feet, south-west from the walls of Dorchester, on a gentle ascent all the way to it, close by the Roman road which runs thence to Weymouth. Westward from it you see Poundbury, Maiden Castle, and the tops of the south hills as far as the eye can reach, covered with an incredible number of Celtic barrows. It is raised on the solid chalk upon a level, without any ditch about it. The jambs at the entrance are somewhat worn away. Half the work is about 5 and a half ft.under the surface of the ground, the greater part of the chalk dug out of the cavity within, and the rest fetched from elsewhere ; probably it was framed of solid chalk, cemented by mortar made of burnt chalk, and covered with turf.
This is artfully set on the top of a plain, declining to the north-east, whereby the rays of the sun falling upon the ground hereabouts are thrown off to a distance by reflection, and the upper end of the ampitheatre, for the major part of the day, has the sun behind the spectators. The whole is delineated from four centres. In the ground it is a true circle; and upon the top is a walk of 8 ft. broad, gradually ascending from the ends upon the longest diameter to its highest elevation in the middle upon the shortest diameter, where it reaches up the whole series of seats of the spectators, who marching hence distribute themselves therein from all sides without hurry and tumult. On the top is a terrace of 12 ft. broad at least, besides the parapet outwardly 5 ft. broad, and 4ft. high, but somewhat injured on the side next the gallows, by the trampling of men and horses at executions. There are three ways leading up to the terrace; one at the upper end, over the cavea, and one at each side upon the shortest diameter, going from the elevated part of the circular walk. Several horses abreast may go upon this, ascending by the ruins of the cavea. This receptacle of the gladiators, wild beasts, &c. is supposed to have been at the upper end, under the ascent to the terrace, there being vaults under that part of the body of the work. The area is no doubt exceedingly elevated by manuring and ploughing for many years; yet it still preserves a concavity; for the descent from the entrance is very great, and you may go down as into a shallow pit. The middle part of it is now 10 ft. or 12 ft. lower than the level of the field; and that, especially about the entrance, is much lowered by ploughing, because the end of the circular walk there, which should be even with the ground, is a good deal above it, and has filled up the area thereabouts with its ruin. On the outside of the upper end is a large round tumor, a considerable way beyond the exterior verge, and regular in figure, which certainly has been somewhat appertaining to the work. There are two rising square plots on the shortest diameter, 4ft. above the level of the walk or terrace, capable of holding 24 people each. Their sides' breadth is 15 ft.; their length from north to south 20 ft.; and they stand somewhat near the upper end, not precisely on the shortest diameter. There is a seeming irregularity of the terrace on both sides at the lower end, for it is higher within than without; yet this produces no ill effect, but rather renders its appearance the more regular; for when you stand in the centre within, the whole circuit of the terrace seems as if really of one level; but on the outside the verge of the north-easterly part is sloped off gradually- towards the entrance, where the declivity is conformable with it. Hence the exterior contour also appears of an equal height. The circular walks cut the whole breadth into two equal parts upon the shortest diameter; probably making an equal number of seats above and under it. Dr. Stukeley says, it is computed to consist of about an acre of ground, and was originally about 140ft. diameter the shortest way, and 220ft. the longest. The famous amphitheatre at Verona is but 233 and 136, and the vast Colisaeum at Rome but 263 and 165, reckoned by the French foot, a larger measure. By an accurate admeasurement taken for this work, it was found that the
Greatest perpendicular height of the rampart above the level of the arena, was 30 Feet. 0 Inches.
External longest diameter 343 Feet. 6 Inches.
External shortest diameter 339 Feet.0 Inches.
Internal longest diameter 218 Feet.6 Inches.
Internal shortest diameter 163 Feet. 0 Inches.
First ascent from the arena to the greatest curve height 30 Feet. 0 Inches.
The breadth of the side of the work, or solid, taken upon the ground plot, is equal to one-half of the longest diameter of the area, or a fourth of the whole longest diameter. Its perpendicular altitude, from the top of the terrace to the bottom of the area, is a fourth of the longest diameter of the area. In the middle of each side is a cuneus or parcel of seats of near 30 ft. broad, just over the more elevated part of the circular work, reaching up to the terrace, which swells out above the concavity of the whole, and answers to the rising ground in the middle of the terrace. Dr. Stukeley computes it capable of containing 12,960 persons.
At Mrs. Channing's execution ----
[Footnote:- Mary, daughter of Richard Brookes of Dorchester was married to Richard Channing, a grocer, by compulsion of her parents; but keeping company with some former gallants, she by her extravagance almost ruined her husband, and then poisened him by giving him white mercury, first in rice milk, and twice afterwards in a glass of wine. At the summer assizes 1705, she was tried before Judge Price, made a notable defence was found guilty and condemned, but pleaded her belly. She was remanded and delivered of a child 11 weeks before her death. At the Lent Assizes following she was recalled to her former sentence, and was first strangled then burnt, in the middle of the area of this work, March 21 1705, aet. 19; but persisted in her innocence to the last. Tradition reports, that there was a woman burnt in the same place, for the same crime, 100 years before. See “Serious Admonitions to Youth, in a short Account of the Life, Trial, Condemnation, and Execution of Mrs. Mary Channing, who for poisoning her Husband was burnt at Dorchester on Thursday March 21st 1705/6, with practical Reflections. Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. London: printed Benjamin Bragge, at the Black Raven, in Paternoster Row.]
----there was supposed to be 10,000 spectators present, who filled the sides, tops, and area of this work, which is the completest of this kind in England. Some years ago a silver coin was ploughed up here, which fell into the hands of Mr. Pownall of Lincoln, on the face of which was this inscription: IMP. M. IVL. PHILIPPVS AYG. On the reverse, LAETIT. FTINDAT. and a genius or fortune, with a garland in the right hand, and the helm of a ship in the left. This emperor reigned A.D. 240. But this work was probably made under the government of Agricola, who taught and encouraged the Britons to build temples, baths, amphitheatres, &c. in order to introduce luxury, and soften the fierce and rough temper of that people. See a plan of it in the annexed Plate.
Pomery or Poundbury
The situation, size, and form, of this camp, so much resembling that by Amesbury in "Wilts, induced Dr. Stukeleya to suppose it a camp made by Vespasian when he was employed hereabouts in the conquest of the Belgae, consequently more ancient than the adjacent Roman city. He describes it in the following terms : " It stands half a mile west from Dorchester, in a pasture called
Pomery, upon the brink of the river, which is very steep; the form square, the rampart high, but the ditch inconsiderable, except at the angle by the river, because, standing on high ground, they dug the earth clear away before it, and threw it entirely into a vallum; so that its height and steepness, wherein its strength consists, is the same as if a regular ditch was made in level ground. The chief entrance was on the south side. There was another next the river, made with the greatest art; for a narrow path is drawn all along between the edge of the precipice and the vallum; and beyond the camp, west, for a long way, a small trench is cut upon the said edge, which seems designed to prevent the ascent of cavalry, if they should pass the river. The ground rises in the middle, as was usual among the Romans. Near the south side is a tumulus too, which was probably Celtic, extant before the camp was made. The name Poundbury is taken from its inclosure round this tumulus, as a pound."
Coker, Camden, and Speed make it a Danish work, raised by Sweno King of Denmark, A.D. 1002, when he besieged, took, and destroyed Dorchester. [for which there appears to be no sufficient authority]. This opinion is countenanced by its situation on an eminence, and opposite to the castle, which lay east of it.
It seems to derive its name of Pomery, from the Latin Pomserium [Footnote: Much more probably, however, from Pund, A.S. a pound or fold, and Burh, a fort; a name which accurately describes its appearance] which, according to Livy, was a space of ground both within and without
the walls of a city, which the augurs at its first building solemnly consecrated, and on which no edifices were suffered to be raised. The form is a parallelogram; but the south vallum somewhat shorter than the north. Its length 378 paces, the breadth 147. The vallum is pretty high; on the north it is partly worn away, or was never raised; on the east there appears to have been a double one, part of which is discontinued. The principal entrance is on the east; besides which there are three more; one at the north-east angle; another at the south-west; and a third on the south side. In this field, and near this work, the knights of the shire are elected. A plan of it may be seen in the annexed Plate.
The Bath and 'Weymouth Railway passes by a tunnel under this earthwork; and in the cutting made for this purpose coins of Claudius Gothicus, Postumus, Salonina, Constantinus junior, Victorinus, Tetricus, Constantius, &c. were found; evidently marking a Roman occupation of the later period.
On making the new way, a very little east of Segar's Orchard, at the entrance into Dorchester, foundations of buildings were dug up; pieces of very thick glass; and fragments of Roman brick of a bright red colour, from one to three inches thick, and none above six inches long. Some appeared by the concavity to have belonged to a hypocaust.
a small farm, anciently belonging to the chapel of St. John in Dorchester; and granted, 3 Edw.VI. [1548/9] to John Churchill of Dorchester. It is supposed to be now included under the general names of Lowds. There are other places not far distant, called also Duddle, which lie in Puddletown, and cannot be the same as are meant here.
a small farm, situate as the former, a mile east from Fordington. In 1613 Louds Field, anciently Grayswick, consisting of 800 a., rented at 5L. per annum, belonged to Mr. John Churchill; but other lands had been added to it. In more recent times it came to the Hon. Lionel Darner of Came; and in 1867 belongs to "William Wharton Burdon, esq.
2 Rich. III. they came into the King's hands by the attainder of Thomas Marquis of Dorset,
value per annum 261. 8s d
These mills, and Mill Street, in Bindon liberty, adjoining on the north to Fordington, had 28 a.of land belonging to them, 1613. King John gave the mill here, which Henry Schyrewite held, and another without Dorchester, which Edward Palmer held, to Bindon abbey. 12 and 13 John  the monks of Bindon, tenants of the King's demesne, held 20s. in the mill of Fordington, and the abbot 30s. in the mill of Dorchester. In 1293 the temporalities of that abbey in Fordington were valued at 9L, 2 Eliz. a messuage and two mills under one roof, called. Lotts Mills," belonging to Bindon abbey, were granted to Robert Davye and Henry Dynne. 6 Eliz.  a fine was levied between John Strangeman, gent. plaintiff, and John Hayward, gent. and Margaret his wife, deforcients, concerning these mills, and 113 a. of land in Fordington, for which the plaintiff paid 140L . 19 Jac. I. [1620/1] John Churchill at his death held these mills, and 26 cottages, and 65 a. of land in Fordington, value 40s." Afterwards they came to Churchill Rose, esq. of whom the Earl
of Shaftesbury bought them; but in 1867 they belong to the representatives of the late John Legge and others.
There is a curious effigy over one of the windows in this mill, consisting of a figure holding a shield, on which is inscribed, "Do -WELL TO AL MEN;" and by the side of it another rude panel with the initials W. C. bound together by a knot, and the date 1590.
in Bindon liberty, lie a quarter of a mile west from Dorchester, and seem anciently to have belonged to the abbey of Bindon. 21 Eliz.  two watermills, called west mills, and a fishery in the manor of Fordington, were granted to Francis Staverton for 21 years. They afterwards came to George Gould, esq. as heir to the Countess of Abingdon, and are held of the manor of Fordington. In 1867 they belong to Lionel Bridle and others.
The Church of St George Fordington
“This prebendal church," says Hutchins, "was dedicated to St. George, 1405 [Footnote: Dean Chandlers register] was anciently called the church of St. George in Dorchester, and gave name to the hundred of St. George. It is ancient, large, and well built; and, standing on a rising ground, shows itself to much advantage at a great distance. It is in form of a cross, and consists of a chancel, tiled (rebuilt 1750 by Mrs. Pitt, the impropriator), a body, transept or cross aisle, and a north aisle to the chancel, all covered with lead, and compass-roofed. The south aisle has two round pillars, with Saxon [Norman] capitals, but the arches are pointed. The tower is 80 feet high, adorned with battlements and pinnacles, and contains five bells and a clock. Little remains of antiquity appear, except the vestiges of a rood-loft near the chancel;