Pictures of Athelhampton
in the county of Dorset
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For outstanding quintessentially English towns and showcase villages the county of Dorset has a goodly share. It abounds in a superb blend of fine Tudor houses and thatched cottages of enviable charm. The village of Athelhampton has a harmonious display of both, with the stylish Athelhampton House ranking as one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture in England.
Athelhampton lies close to the little River Piddle which almost entirely encircles Athelhampton House which was built in the 15th-century by Sir William Martyn who was granted the lands and a license to build upon them by King Henry VII in the year 1483. He began the house around 1485. Since then, either by succession or purchase the house has many owners, the most recent being Patrick Cooke who took over the running of the estate in 1995.
This is a home of quite magnificent proportions, the beauty of the glowing stone exterior is matched only by the intricate, decorative work to the stunningly furnished interior. In the Great Hall the timbered roof remains much as it was when it was built. Here, the focal point is a massive chandelier dating back to 1756 and a lovely Flemish tapestry. In the Library there is Oak panelling from late in the 19th-century and a handsome Marble bust of Queen Victoria. The Dining Room has fascinating furniture and the beams and cornices show fine carving from the 15th-century. In the State Bedroom there is a truly magnificent tester bed belong to the period of Charles I. Other rooms include the King's Ante-Room, Great Chamber and curiously, the wine cellar is open to public view. There are a number of other rooms, all full of interest and splendour.
In the grounds there are statues, an ancient dove-cot, beautiful yews, sweeping lawns, lovely roses and herbaceous borders. An enchanting little stream and a waterfall complete the magical back-drop for this superb historic house. Interestingly, the place was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and Thomas Hardy painted a water colour of the house. Given its great age Athelhampton House is not without a fascinating stories of the people who have lived in it, there are colourful legends of ghostly and mysterious deeds all of which adds a measure of excitement to your visit. Both house and gardens are open to the public.
Places to visit include; Thomas Hardy's Cottage NT, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Monkey World, Clouds Hill NT, Portland Harbour and Chesil Bank Nature Reserve.
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