“Athelhampton” – Built 1485 in Dorchester, Dorset, England

Listing Description

"The magnificent oak front door opens into a hall which is formed by the Screens Passage, adjacent to The Great Hall. The staircase is ahead and the more informal family rooms found to the right-hand side and beyond.

The Great Hall is one of the finest examples of 15th Century domestic architecture in England with a timbered roof which remains substantially as it was built before 1500. Much of the heraldic glass also dates from this time and there is delicate linenfold panelling and a screen with unusually long panels. The oriel window in the south wall contains some fine tracery and 16th Century heraldic glass. It depicts the marriage alliances of the Martyn family namely the - de Loundres, de Pydele, de Clevedon, Faringdon, Cheverell, Daubeny, Kelway and Wadham.

The crest in each case is the chained ape. The family motto was ‘he who looks at Martyn's ape, Martyn's ape shall look at him'. At the very top of the first window is a celestial monkey with angel's wings. He gazes bird-like into a gilded mirror that shows his reflection in its glass. The ape, which now wears a Saxon crown and carries a mace is the heraldic badge of the Cooke family.

From the Great Hall a 15th Century doorway leads to the King's Ante Room which is oak panelled with a timbered ceiling and a window with the arms of Martyn, Tregonwel and Kelway. The Wine Cellar is below the original solar and two 16th Century arches open out of the King's Ante Room into The Great Chamber or Drawing Room."

OHDO Notes

There are additional photos on the Athelhampton House & Gardens website. If the price is a little over your budget you are able to visit the home and gardens for just the price of admission. Visit the listing agency for a longer description of this property.

Location: AthelhamptonDorchester, Dorset, DT2 7LG. At the time of this post, guide price is £7,500,000 ($9,811,807 USD). For more information on this property contact Savills .

Additional info: Wiki Athelhampton
Photos via Savills. If the agency links give a 404 or "page not found", it may have been taken off the market. The Rightmove link is here for easier readability but do not rely on the status there as the links may expire. USD rate does not automatically update so check XE.com for current rate. OHD Overseas does not represent any property shown here. Prices may change and may not include additional fees or will vary, check the agency links to verify. OHDO does not update prices or keep track of the status.

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  • Kelly, Admin

    Kelly, Admin

    Thanks to Keith S. for sharing this one with us. I could get lost in those gardens and see why they are open to the public.

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    Lancaster John

    I would happily live in that cottage home (or heck, even the stables) if the mega-millionaire owners would let me enjoy those gardens!

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      That IS without a doubt, the weirdest motto I’ve ever heard of! It brings to mind Robert DeNiro looking into a mirror, asking over and over again, “You lookin’ at me?”
      I wonder if that’s basically the meaning, or if its something else?

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    I can’t even imagine how it would feel, just to walk in those old rooms. In just the pictures, it’s like you get sucked into the soul of the place. And then you see electric lights, and it’s like jarring! This one just takes you back to another time and another place. This kind of place is why I used to collect all the books and magazines I did, to just steep myself in the feelings of these places.

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    I think this is probably one of the most impressive homes I’ve seen here, and that’s a lot to say! Absolutely stunning! Thank you Keith and Kelly!

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    WOW! What a spectacular home! It seems fairly “livable” without being completely overwhelming….. you don’t want to spend EVERY minute drooling and gawking! *grin*

    That copper bath tub would sure look awesome in my bathroom. I’m almost done with my complete re-build of it, but I’m pretty sure that copper beauty wouldn’t fit! *sigh*

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    Laurie W.

    One of the great country houses in England! Except for an unfortunate fire in 1992 that destroyed the attic & south wing first floor (2nd floor in America), though its layout has been somewhat changed over its lifetime, it is in splendid shape and obviously much valued and loved by its residents. Both house and garden are Grade 1 which tells a lot about its historic importance. Thomas Hardy visited often — his father was a stonemason who worked on the house — and Hardy set at least 2 of his writings at Athelhampton. Historic importance aside, it is just beautiful and I wish I lived there!

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    I wish there had been more photos! This house is beautiful! One thing. Since heating way throughout most of this house’s life so far has depended on fireplaces or wood/coal stoves, why are the ceilings so high? It would have made the house so much harder to heat. Was that something builders did, to show that the owners could afford all that fuel feeding the fireplaces or stoves?
    And, those pyramid cut bushes in the gardens. What are they? Just beautiful!

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