Damerham is a village in W Hampshire, on the NW edge of the New Forest, 8 miles S of Salisbury and 3 miles NW of Fordingbridge. It has been a part of Hampshire only since 1895, when 8 parishes on the SE edge of Wiltshire (South Damerham, Martin, Melchet Park, Plaitford, West Wellow, Toyd Farm with Allenford, Whitsbury and East Bramshaw) were transferred. The village straggles along a network of roads following the line of a stream called Ashford Water. It has centres at its N and S ends, suggesting an assart from the woodland which still surrounds it, but the church, in the centre, is in an otherwise uninhabitated part.
St George’s has an aisled nave (a 3 bay aisle to the N and a 2 bay aisle to the S), with a doorway in the S aisle under a long 15thc porch, and a blocked N dooway. The tower is on the S side of the nave at the E end, and has a weatherboarded upper storey and a leaded pyramid roof. The chancel was originally 12thc , and has the remains of blocked arcades visible inside and out on the N and S sides. These do not match – the N arcade is of 2 pointed bays and the S of 2 round-headed wider bays extending further E. 12thc work is found on the N arch of the tower, on the N nave arcade, which has been clumsily reworked in the later Middle Ages, and on the N, and possibly also the S chancel arcade. More interesting than any of these is a tympanum depicting a horseman riding down a fallen enemy, reset over the S nave doorway. There is also a Christ in Majesty relief, possibly c.1200, reset in the gable of the S porch, and a large loose chevron voussoir.
South Damerham was royal demesne of the Saxon kings as early as the 9thc, and in 940-46 King Edmund granted land at Damerham, Martin and Pentridge to his queen Aethelflaeda on condition that she should bequeath it to the church of Glastonbury when she died. This she did, and the entire manor was thus held by the abbey in 1066 and 1086.
|Diameter of tympanum||0.95m|
|Height of lower block||0.44m|
|Height of tympanum (both blocks)||0.57m|
Plain jambs largely of reddish brown blocks supporting quirked hollow chamfered imposts, decorated on their faces only: the E with a row of beading below a row of sawtooth; the W with a row of lozenges with drilled centres immediately above the quirk and flat above that, The arch is plain with voussoirs alternately white and green.
Plain unmoulded arch and jambs, but these are not continuous – the arch is wider than the jambs, and there is a step below the level of the 1st order impost. This is untidily cut back, and might originally have served both orders. The jambs are largely of reddish brown blocks, while the arch has alternate green and reddish brown voussoirs for the most part.
Compound respond, probably with three shafts. Both visible capitals have flat leaf volutes with crocket-like tips and plain chamfered neckings.
Cylindrical with a multi-trumpet scallop capital with recessed shields.
As W respond.
A compound respond of 3 shafts, the central one wider. The three capitals are plain tapered blocks, but all have been remade in plaster with no separate imposts but a vertical abacus with a horizontal inscribed groove. The base is low and bulbous with the remains of a plain roll necking.
Engaged half-column respond on a base with a double roll, like two neckings one above the other, on a square block with its upper corners chamfered to form triangles. The capital is a plain tapered block with a roll necking, a row of beading at the bottom of the abacus and a quirked hollow chamfered impost that is clearly reset.
|Length of block||0.36m|
|Thickness of block||0.21m|
|Width at extrados||0.17m|
|Width at intrados||0.16m|
S. Alford, ‘Romanesque architectural sculpture in Dorset: a selective catalogue and commentary,’ Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Proceedings 106 (1984), 1-22, especially 4-5, 19.
A. Borg, private communication.
English Heritage Listed Building 143909.
N. Pevsner and D. Lloyd, The Buildings of England. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Harmondsworth 1967, 188-89.
Victoria County History: Hampshire. IV (1911), 590-91.