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Historic Buildings of Dorset, England

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  • Dennis Gabor, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1971 (1900 - 1979)
    Dennis Gabor CBE, FRS (original Hungarian name: Gábor Dénes; 5 June 1900 – 8 February 1979) was a Hungarian-British electrical engineer and physicist, most notable for inventing holography, for which h...
  • Sir Anthony Ashley, 1st Bt., PC (1551 - 1628)
    Born 1551. Born 1551. Born 1551. Member of the Privy Council. .1551, 1st s. of Anthony Ashley of Damerham, Wilts. by Dorothy, da. of John Lyte of Lytes Cary, Som.; bro. of Robert. educ. New...
  • Sir Henry Strangeways (c.1500 - 1544)
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  • Sir Giles Strangeways (1528 - 1562)
    Family and Education b. 13 or 20 Apr. 1528, s. and h. of Henry Strangways by Margaret, da. of George Manners, 11th Lord Ros. educ. Corpus, Oxf. 1541. m.Oct./Nov. 1546, Joan (d.1603), da. of John Wadh...

Historic Buildings of Dorset

England

Image right - Athelhampton Hall, Dorchester, Dorset

Image Geograph © Copyright Sarah Smith and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

The object of this project is to provide information about historic buildings in the county of Dorset, with links to sub-projects for specific buildings as appropriate. GENi profiles of people associated with those establishments can be linked to this project and/or to individual projects where they have been set up.

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Historic Buildings of Britain and Ireland - Main Page

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Historic houses in alphabetical order

Including Castles, Abbeys, Priories, Manor Houses, Mansions, Stately Homes, Country houses, Estate houses, Courts, Halls, Parks and other listed buildings of historic interest.


A

Ashley Manor Lady Joan Plecy married Sir John Hamelyn (d. 1399), high sheriff of Somerset. When Sir John died there were no male heirs and the estate went to Sir John's daughter Egidia, by his second wife, who married Robert Ashley. The family estate, initially known as the Ashley Manor, has belonged to the Ashleys and Ashley-Coopers ever since.

The cornerstone of St Giles House, home to the Earl of Shaftesbury, was laid by Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, (then 2nd Baronet), later Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury on 19 March 1650. The country house was built on the remains of Ashley Manor. Incorporating late medieval work in the basement and cellars, the continued construction of the main body of St Giles House was initiated in 1651.

Sir Anthony Ashley, MP, 1st Baronet

Athelhampton Hall, Dorchester, Dorset (also known as Admiston or Adminston) The Domesday Book records that in 1086 the Bishop of Salisbury, with Odbold as tenant, held the manor, then called Pidele. The name Aethelhelm appears in the 13th century, when Athelhampton belonged to the de Loundres family. In 1350 Richard Martyn married the de Pydele heiress, and their descendant Sir William Martyn (who was Lord Mayor of London in 1492) received licence to enclose 160 acres (65 ha) of land to form a deer park and a licence to fortify the manor. Sir William Martyn had the current Great Hall built in about 1493. Sir Robert Long bought Athelhampton House in 1665 from Sir Ralph Bankes.


B

Brownsea Castle


C

Charborough House https://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/82/87/3e/73/534448491fd9a480/charborough_house_original.jpg

Image Geograph © Copyright John Lamper and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence







Clouds Hill The small building has colourwashed brick walls and a tiled roof. It was probably built as forester's cottage in the early 19th century. The lintel over the door now bears a Greek inscription οὐ φροντὶς ("Why Worry"). It is a Grade II listed building as "Lawrence of Arabia's Cottage, Clouds Hill". Lawrence first rented the cottage in 1923 while stationed at nearby Bovington Camp with the Tank Corps. He made it habitable with the help of a friend, then bought it in 1925 and used it as a holiday home. He described it as an earthly paradise and wrote "Nothing in Clouds Hill is to be a care upon the world. While I have it there shall be nothing exquisite or unique in it. Nothing to anchor me."[citation needed] The cottage had no electric lights and three living rooms, described as an eating room, book room and music room. For heat insulation Lawrence had the eating room lined with asbestos that was covered in aluminium foil, and he kept his food under glass domes. In the book room he installed a large leather divan, and in the music room above it he had his gramophone "with a huge amplifier horn", a leather sofa and chair. In 1935 Lawrence left the Royal Air Force and lived at Clouds Hill. A few weeks later, at the age of 46, he suffered severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident close to the cottage, and died in the nearby Bovington Camp hospital on 19 May 1935. The following year, his heir, his brother A. W. Lawrence gave Clouds Hill to the National Trust. It is now a museum, dedicated to Lawrence. The cottage remains largely as Lawrence left it at his death. It features an exhibition detailing Lawrence's life, and most of his original furniture and possessions.The cottage reflects his complex personality and links to the Middle East. The circular Lawrence of Arabia Trail starts and finishes at Bovington's The Tank Museum, taking in Clouds Hill and the churchyard of St Nicholas' Church in Moreton, Lawrence's final resting place.

Cranborne Manor dates back to c. 1207/8, and was originally a hunting lodge. It was remodelled for the 1st Earl of Salisbury in the early 17th century. The main seat of the earls and marquesses of Salisbury is Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, and Cranborne Manor is often the home of the heir to the title, who uses the courtesy title Viscount Cranborne. The estate consists of a 3,000 acre in hand farm and over 1,700 acres of woods, as well as the park and gardens. The Manor Garden contains a water mobile named 'La Source' created by Angela Conner.

Crichel House Classical Revival country house near the village of Moor Crichel in Dorset, England. The house has an entrance designed by Thomas Hopper and interiors by James Wyatt. It is surrounded by 400 acres (160 hectares) of parkland, which includes a crescent-shaped lake covering 50 acres (20 hectares). The original Tudor house, owned by the Napier family, was largely destroyed in an accidental fire in 1742 and was rebuilt by John Bastard of Blandford and Francis Cartwright for Sir William Napier. Humphrey Sturt, of Horton, in Dorset, acquired the estate in 1765 on his marriage with Diana, the aunt and heir of Sir Gerard Napier, the 6th and last baronet and extensively remodelled the house. The Bastard family collaborated to enlarge the shell of Crichel in 1771-73; the new interiors were designed by James Wyatt (1772–80), with painted decor by Biagio Rebecca, chimneypieces by John Devall, and furniture by John Linnell (1778–79) and Ince and Mayhew (1768–78). Further construction in the 19th century included an entrance designed by Thomas Hopper in 1831, and alterations by William Burn. A wing on the north side of the house was demolished in the 20th century, when many country houses were reduced in size. From 1946 to 1961, Crichel House was the home of Cranborne Chase School, a boarding independent school for girls, which relocated to New Wardour Castle, near Tisbury in Wiltshire. The Crichel Estate is notable for the Crichel Down Affair, where the owners, Toby and Mary Anna Marten took on the Government and won the right to buy back land bought by compulsory purchase. The remodelling by Humphrey Sturt involved moving the village of Moor Crichel a mile to the south and many of the villagers were moved to Witchampton. This was so that the parkland could be landscaped and the original site of Moor Crichel is now submerged beneath the lake. Humphrey Sturt stopped short of moving St Mary's Church, which remains today. However, this is an urban myth. George IV, while Prince Regent, stayed at Crichel House. Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, the only child of his loveless marriage with Caroline of Brunswick, made Crichel House her home for a time under the care of Lady Rosslyn and Lady Ilchester.


D

Damory Castle d'Amorie, and also Damory Court. Later owned by the Ryves family. Robert Ryves (1490-1551) Later became a farm, but today is known as the 'Damory Hotel'.The Ryves name is superimposed on the crest of the family which is, a blue hand on a red & white background.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/00/9e/a2/ca/5344483f5346aa44/deans_court_wimborne_original.jpg Deans Court - Wimborne,

Image Geograph © Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Built in the 8th century for the Abbess of Wimborne; became the Deanery to Wimborne Minster in the mid- 10th century, and a family home in the mid C16th century. The redbrick structure was built in 1725, around the Saxon hall, with some Renaissance stained glass still surviving.






E

Eastbury Park was designed by Vanbrugh for George Dodington, who was Secretary to the Treasurer of the Navy. Construction started in 1718 and was completed under the stewardship of Dodington's nephew, George Dodington, 1st Baron Melcombe, in 1738 at a final cost £140,000: it had a large garden which was designed by Charles Bridgeman. The house was inherited by Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple in 1762, who had no use for it, and he had it demolished in 1782. The service wing, designed by Vanbrugh and built at the same time as the rest of the mansion, survived the demolition and became known as Eastbury House. It became a Grade I listed building in 1955

Edmondsham House An elegant Tudor house with Georgian additions standing in over 6 acres of lovely gardens featuring rare trees and colurful Spring bulbs. The house was built in 1598 for Thomas Hussey, using local brick to create a striking Dutch-style residence. Hussey's descendant, John Fry Hussey, added the two flanking wings between 1740-1750, also using Flemish or Dutch gables. In 1837 the Tudor brickwork frontage was remodelled with stucco rendering to create the look we see today. We do not know when the first house was built at Edmonsham, but there are family deeds dating back to 1392. The central, Tudor, block is 5 bays wide and stands three-storeys high. The interiors feature a beautifully carved 17th century staircase, and mostly 19th century decoration. Beside the house is a walled kitchen garden, and nearby is a Victorian stable block and a dairy from the same period. Of particulat interest is a cock-pit used in the medieval period. Woodland walks run through the grounds. Edmondsham is very much a family home; the house has been owned by the same family for over 400 years, and house tours are led by a member of the family. Near the house is the 12th century parish church, almost entirely rebuilt in the Victorian period. The main features of historic interest are the grave slabs to the Hussey and Fry families, which have been placed upright around the walls.


F

Fiddleford Manor (or Fiddleford Mill) is a medieval manor house located near Sturminster Newton, Dorset. It is thought to have been originally built around 1370 for William Latimer, the sheriff of Somerset and Dorset, after the manor passed to him in 1355. The house is now owned by English Heritage and open for the public to visit throughout the year; however, there is an adjoining building to the north that continues to serve as a private residence and is not open to the public. The present day site—set in a T-shape—comprises a two-storey solar and half of the hall to the east of that, both with open timber roofs; the foundations of the west range and an extension of the hall are now visible only as earthworks. The house is unusual among its class of building in retaining many of its original features; this despite having undergone many alterations during its 600-year history. It has been described as having "perhaps the most spectacular manor house interior in Dorset." In the sixteenth century the solar wing was extended to the north and the hall remodelled by architect Thomas White and his wife Anne; the house remained in the White family until at least the time of Charles I. After the Restoration, it was bought by Sir Thomas Freke and retained by his descendants, the Pitt-Rivers family; they reduced the length of the hall by 2 metres (6.6 ft), it having previously extended almost to the River Stour, and added a new fireplace and ceiling. By 1956, however, the 18th-century building had been demolished and the original, 14th-century part was derelict; by 1962, only the northern wing remained habitable, and the original section passed into state ownership. The house underwent restoration during the 1970s by the Department for the Environment—now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Forde Abbey


G

Gloucester House is a former royal residence in the seaside resort of Weymouth on the south coast of England. It was the summer residence of Prince William Henry Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1743–1805), fourth son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and brother of King George III. During his recovery from porphyria in 1789, George III spent some time convalescing there. Having been a hotel for most of the 20th century, it is now a private residence, having been renamed Gloucester Lodge after conversion into flats. The lower ground floor contains a pub and restaurant known as the Cork and Bottle.


H

Highcliffe Castle


I

J

K

Kingston Lacy

Kingston Maurward House is a large Georgian English country house set in a 750-acre (3 square km) estate in Dorset situated in the Frome valley two miles east of Dorchester. The mansion was built by George Pitt (1663-1735) of Stratfield Saye House, cousin of William Pitt the Elder, between 1717 and 1720 on the estate brought to him by his second wife Lora daughter of Audley Grey. The mansion was in red brick, but after derogatory comments from King George III, Pitt clad the house in Portland limestone. Much of the house is now used by Kingston Maurward College, though some of it is used for private functions. Thomas Hardy lived nearby and later referred to Kingston Maurward House as "Knapwater House" in his novel Desperate Remedies.

Kingston Russell


L

Langtry Manor

Leeson House There has probably been a dwelling of some sort on or near the site of the present house since Saxon times. The site was recorded in the Domesday book as 'Lestington', meaning "the farm of the followers of Lest". In 1805 Reverend John Dampier knocked down most of the farmhouse and built a new home, calling it Leeson house. He later sold it to the wealthy Garland family from Poole to use as a second home. In 1903, it was sold again and became a boarding school for girls. In 1940, the girls were sent home during World War II. The house was taken over by the Air Ministry and was used for top secret Radar research. From Leeson they completed the world's first successful tracking of a submarine, in Swanage Bay. Due to concerns about the safety of the project it was moved inland after only 18 months. Several air raid shelters still exist on site. There is a project to convert a bomb shelter to attract the Greater Horseshoe Bat to roost. After the war it became a boy's boarding pre-prep school until in 1967 Leeson House was officially opened as a Field Studies Centre.

Lulworth Castle The foundations for Lulworth Castle were laid in 1588, and it was completed in 1609, supposedly designed by Inigo Jones. The castle was built as a hunting lodge by Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon, a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk. In 1641, Humphrey Weld, a grandson of Humphrey Weld, purchased it from Howard's heir, Lord Howard de Walden. The castle was seized by the Roundheads during the English Civil War, who used it as a garrison. Weld regained the property after the war finished. A Roman Catholic Chapel was built in the grounds in 1786. Following the French Revolution, the surviving members of the French Royal Family were allowed to use Lulworth as one of their residences-in-exile. Charles X of France also stayed there briefly following the Revolution of July 1830. The castle was gutted by fire on 29 August 1929 and was left as a roofless ruin, the family building a new residence for themselves nearby. In the 1970s, restoration work began with the help of English Heritage. The restoration, finished in 1998, included a new roof and restored surviving walls in the interior, but no new internal walls or replacements for the destroyed upper floors were constructed. The castle is still owned by the Weld Family and is a tourist attraction, holding medieval-themed events. Part of the Lulworth Estate is in use as an MoD firing range as well as a wildlife conservation area.


M

Mappowder Court built in 16th Century byt the Coker family, was by all accounts a grand mansion: they reputedly made their fortune from the slave trade. The entrance pillars to their estate topped with sculptured Negro heads proclaiming and celebrating the importance of the family and their involvement with this dreadful trade. The Coker’s left the parish in 1610 and sold the house and estate in 1745. Some members of the family remained in Mappowder between 1610 and 1745; this is evidenced by memorials in the church and cursory glance through the parish register will also confirm this. It was The Hon. John Spencer who acquired Mappowder Court from the Coker’s. His descendants became the Earls Spencer and one of their daughters, before her untimely death, was the mother of a future King. The Spencer family demolished the grand mansion and replaced it with a smaller house. Later the Wingfield-Digby family purchased the property and held it until the outbreak of the First World War; it has been sold and bought several times since.

Max Gate the former home of Thomas Hardy and is located on the outskirts of Dorchester, Dorset, England. Hardy designed and lived in Max Gate from 1885 until his death in 1928. He lived there with his first wife Emma, and then with his second wife Florence. It was there that he wrote Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge, as well as much of his poetry. In 1940, Hardy's sister Kate left the house to the National Trust with the stipulation that it should be lived in. The house has been continually occupied since then. It was first opened to the public in 1994 with restricted access and limited opening times for a few days a week. Beginning in 2011 the National Trust opened all three floors of the house to the public five days a week (from March to October), allowing access to the hall, dining room, drawing room, two studies, the dining room and the kitchen. In 2013 two bedrooms were also opened up for the first time, including the room where Thomas Hardy wrote the Mayor of Casterbridge and where he died. The house contains several pieces of Hardy's furniture, although his study has been relocated to the Dorset County Museum.[

Melbury House in Melbury Sampford near Evershot, Dorset, has been the seat of the Strangways family of Dorset since the estate was sold in 1500 by William Bruning to Henry Strangways. The present house was rebuilt after 1546 by his son, Sir Giles Strangways (died 1562), using ham stone from a quarry nine miles away. Though Sir Giles lived extravagantly and encumbered his considerable estate with debts at his premature death, at Melbury he built a conservative house, "a courtyard with no frills", as Mark Girouard described it, "apart from the one gesture of its tower". This remarkable feature, a hexagonal tower, rises near the intersection of three ranges of buildings, filled above the level of adjoining roofbeams with banks of tall arched windows of many leaded panes that offer views in every direction over the rolling landscape of the park and the countryside beyond. Its roof has mock battlements. It was altered and extended in 1692 by Thomas Strangways, under the direction of Watson, a local mason-builder who is probably to be identified with John Watson of Glashampton, Gloucestershire. It was further modernized in the 19th century. The house has remained in the same family, passed from the Strangways heiress to Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester, who took the additional name of Strangways in right of his wife's mother's mother. When Horace Walpole visited Melbury, he admired the paintings and tapestries in "apartments most richly and abundantly furnished". The pioneer of photography Henry Fox Talbot was born in the house. Thomas Hardy made use of Melbury House, as "King's Hintock Court", for passing mentions in "The Duke's Reappearance" in A Changed Man and Other Tales and in A Group of Noble Dames, 1891.

Milton Abbey School


N

O

P

Parnham House Parnham was acquired by Richard de Strode during the reign of Henry VI, on his marriage with Elizabeth Gerard. Following the marriage of Robert Strode with Elizabeth Hody in 1522, an existing house on the site was rebuilt. This building comprised the hall, porch, and north wing, and was considerably extended by Robert Strode's son, John (d 1581), and his grandson, Sir Robert. A survey of the Pamham estate drawn up for Sir John Strode of Chantmarle, Dorset (qv), who inherited the estate c 1628, refers to a base court, together with three orchards, out gardens, and ponds extending to some 4 acres (1.6ha) (Oswald 1959). Despite the murder of Sir John's widow at Parnham by a Parliamentary soldier during the Civil War, the Strode family remained in occupation until 1764 when the male line failed. The estate then passed to Sir John Oglander of Nun well, Isle of Wight (qv), but the new owners did not reside at Parnham. During their absence, the house was reduced in size, with the base court and gatehouse being demolished (ibid). In the early C19, Sir William Oglander returned to Parnham, commissioning John Nash (1752-1835) to renovate and improve the house in 1810. In 1896 the last member of the Oglander family died, and Parnham was sold to Vincent Robinson who housed his art collection in the house. The house was described, and the gardens illustrated, in Country Life in 1908, but Robinson died the following year. The estate was purchased in 1911 by Dr Hans Sauer, who undertook extensive work on the interior of the house, and laid out new formal gardens inspired by those of Montacute, Somerset (qv), replacing the earlier C19 scheme illustrated three years previously in Country Life. The identity of the professional designer, if any, responsible for these gardens remains uncertain (Mowl 2003), although they have traditionally been attributed to Inigo Thomas (1866-1950), who had earlier worked at Athelhampton, Dorset (qv) and Chantmarle, Dorset (qv). Dr Sauer remained at Parnham only until 1914, when the property was sold to Mr Rhodes-Moorhouse for his son, William, who was killed during the First World War. Following the First World War, Parnham was used as a country club, and was then sold in 1930 to Edward Bullivant who returned it to domestic use. During the Second World War it was requisitioned for use by the US Army. In 1955/6, when Bullivant's son moved to Anderson Manor, Dorset (qv), the estate was divided, and the house converted into a nursing home. From 1973 Parnham stood empty for three years until it was purchased in 1976 by the furniture designer John Makepeace, who converted the stables and coach house to workshops and ran his School for Craftsmen in Wood in the house (guidebook). The house was again sold in 2001 and the site reverted to single, private ownership.

Pennsylvania Castle was built in 1797-1800 to designs by renowned architect James Wyatt for John Penn, Governor of Portland and grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. The chosen site overlooked the English Channel, facing out to sea, on a platform above Church Ope Cove. Penn had discovered the area on one of his trips with King George III to the Weymouth and Portland area, and decided the platform above the cove was a perfect spot for a marine mansion. The completion of the castle in 1800 was celebrated with an official opening by King George III's daughter Princess Elizabeth. Later during the same year, King George III, and the queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, visited Penn's new mansion on their wedding anniversary, and a celebration was held at Pennsylvania Castle. After sea bathing had become incredibly popular for its health benefits through King George III, Penn had a bath built below the gardens of his castle, known as John Penn's Bath. However when it was completed, the Court Leet demanded an annual rent for its use after it was built on Common Land. Penn refused to pay, and the bath was abandoned, with the remains still in existence today. After Penn died on 21 June 1834, the castle became occupied for a period by Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, who were the sons of William Penn, and also the joint proprietors of the Pennsylvania state. The castle later appeared as "Sylvania Castle" in Hardy's 1892 novel "The Well-Beloved". During World War II, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and General de Gaulle visited the castle, where they met to finalise their plans for the liberation of Europe (D-Day). In 1950 the private residence was turned into a successful hotel, known as "The Pennsylvania Castle Hotel", which continued to operate until the 1990s. In 2011 the mansion was sold by the widow of the former owner, Stephen Curtis, a solicitor with business interests in Russia, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2004. The castle sold for £4 million, its asking price, to a buyer from Australia. After the brief spell as a private home, the castle was made available as a holiday home, also catering for weddings, private and corporate functions and other events.

Purse Caundle Manor was built in the 15th century under the instruction of Richard Long, who bought 575 acres of land here in 1428. The manor's site was recorded as early as the Domesday Book in 1086, when it was a tenancy of Athelney Abbey.


Q

R

S

//s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/49/fe/74/b3/5344483f5355dcd4/st_original.jpg St Giles House, Wimborne St Giles (see also Ashley Manor above

Image Geograph © Copyright Maigheach-gheal and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Sir Anthony Ashley, MP, 1st Baronet http://www.shaftesburyestates.com/stgileshouse.php






Sherborne Castle is the ruin of a 12th century castle in the grounds of the mansion. The old castle was built as the fortified palace of Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of England and still belonged to the church in the late 16th century. Sherborne Lodge After passing through Sherborne on the way to Plymouth, Sir Walter Raleigh fell in love with the castle, and Queen Elizabeth relinquished the estate, leasing it to Raleigh in 1592. Rather than refurbish the old castle, Raleigh decided to construct a new lodging for temporary visits, in the compact form for secondary habitations of the nobility and gentry, often architecturally sophisticated, that was known as a lodge. The new house, Sherborne Lodge, was a four-story, rectangular building completed in 1594. The antiquary John Aubrey remembered it as "a delicate Lodge in the park, of Brick, not big, but very convenient for its bigness, a place to retire from the Court in summer time, and to contemplate, etc." It had four polygonal corner turrets with angled masonry as if they were actually to serve for military defence, which Nicholas Cooper suggests "may be an obeisance to the old building". Its most progressive feature for its date was the entrance, disguised in one of the corner towers so as not to spoil the apparent symmetry of the facade, which was centred on a rectangular forecourt. The entrance vestibule also contained a winder stairwell and gave directly on the hall. During Raleigh's imprisonment in the Tower, King James leased the estate to Robert Carr and then sold it to Sir John Digby, 1st Earl of Bristol in 1617. In the 1620s, the Digby family, in order to suit the lodge to a more permanent seat, added four wings to the house in an architectural style similar to the original, retaining the original corner towers. In the Civil War Sherborne was strongly Royalist, and the old castle was left in ruins by General Fairfax of the Parliamentary forces in 1645. The name "Sherborne Castle" was then applied to the new house, though today the term Sherborne New Castle is generally used to refer to it, in the same manner as "Sherborne Old Castle" is used for the ruins. Through the early and mid-18th century William, 5th Lord Digby, who laid out the grounds praised by Alexander Pope, and his heirs Edward, 6th Lord Digby, who inherited in 1752, and Henry, 7th Lord, created Earl Digby, laid out the present castle gardens, including the 1753 lake designed by Capability Brown, which separates the old and new castles. The ruins of the old castle are part of the gardens, being conspicuous amongst the trees across the lake. King George III visited the house and gardens in 1789, shortly before awarding Henry Digby with a peerage. When Edward, 2nd and last Earl Digby died in 1856 the house was passed to the Wingfield Digby family, who still own the house. The house was modernised by the architect Philip Charles Hardwick. In the First World War the house was used by the Red Cross as a hospital and in the Second World War as the headquarters for the commandos involved in the D-Day landings.

Sherborne House is a large house in the market town of Sherborne, Dorset, England. Designed by Benjamin Bastard, the former country house that has been converted into a school and has been designated by Historic England as a Grade 1 listed building. Sherborne House was a subject for the BBC's "Restoration" programme, but failed to win its round. In September 2010 it was shrouded in scaffolding.

Smedmore House had historically belonged to the Smedmore family, however they sold it to William Wyot in 1392. Around 1426 it passed into the Clavell family with the marriage of William's granddaughter Joanna to John Clavell. The Clavells also inherited the manor of Barneston, near Church Knowle, from Joanna's cousin John de Stoke, and it was Barneston that was to be their main residence for the next 200 years. John Clavell's descendant Sir William Clavell (1568–1644) earned his knighthood fighting in Ireland for Elizabeth I against the Earl of Tyrone. On his return to England he engaged in various projects to exploit the oil shale found in the cliffs near Kimmeridge. Initially he attempted the production of alum, but this infringed on a monopoly granted by James I, and his works were confiscated. He then set up works for the production of glass and salt, using the shale as fuel. The chief disadvantage of burning shale was the smell - one of Clavell's neighbours compared it to a "close stool". In order to be closer to — but upwind of — these works Sir William set about building a new house at Smedmore. However, along with the losses incurred from his alum works, this proved to be ruinously expensive and he ran up debts of some £20,000. He was therefore forced to sell much of the land he had inherited, including Barneston. Sir William married Mabel Roper, a great-granddaughter of Sir Thomas More, but the marriage proved childless. His heir was therefore his nephew John Clavell, who had gained notoriety as a highwayman but fame as a poet. Sir William therefore effectively disinherited all of his immediate family, and left Smedmore House to a distant cousin, Roger Clavell of Langcotes, near Winfrith Newburgh. Roger died in 1686, having outlived all his sons. Smedmore therefore passed his grandson, Edward Clavell (1675–1738). He had been born in Cossimbazar in Bengal, where his father, Walter Clavell (1639–1677), had been a merchant for the East India Company. Edward partially rebuilt the house, and was succeeded by his sons: firstly Edward (1721–1744) and then George (1725–1774). George made considerable alterations to the house, including building the current frontage. On his death, it passed to his nephews, the sons of his sister Margaret and her husband William Richards: firstly George Richards (1755–1817) and then Rev. John Richards (1759–1833). Each of these adopted the name of Clavell upon inheriting Smedmore House. John Clavell-Richards, who had previously been the rector of Church Knowle, is chiefly remembered for building the Clavell Tower, a folly on the cliff-top near Kimmeridge which was relocated and restored in 2008. After his death there was a court case that invalidated his alleged Will. Instead a deal between his surviving Heirs-in-Law ensured that Smedmore House remained in the family, under the ownership of his niece, Louisa Pleydell (1790–1863), and her husband, Lieutenant Colonel John Mansel (1776–1863). It has remained in the Mansel family ever since, the present owner being the historian Philip Mansel — a direct descendant of the William Wyot who bought Smedmore over 600 years ago.

Stalbridge In 1618 Mervyn Tucher (or Audley), 2nd Earl of Castlehaven, who had inherited Stalbridge Park from his father, decided to build a mansion house on his Stalbridge estate. He enclosed an area used as common land to the northwest of the church, moving tenant farmers out, and built a Jacobean style mansion, the fifth largest house in Dorset. In 1631 the earl's eldest son James brought a case against him for "unnatural practices", and he was subsequently executed. James sold the house to Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork. After his father's death, the scientist Robert Boyle became Lord of the Manor, and the house was his residence between 1644 and 1655. It was here that he conducted many of his experiments. At some point during the house's history a 2 metre high stone wall was built around the boundary of Stalbridge Park. There is some argument as to when and why the wall was built. It may have been commissioned by Castlehaven as a status symbol, work for French prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars, or as work for local labourers in times of high unemployment. By 1822 the house was in poor repair and the current owner, the Marquess of Anglesey, had it demolished. By 1827 all that remained was the raised area where it had stood. The stone was sold off and much of it is in use elsewhere in the town, including the large farm house which now stands in the park. There are many popular local myths and ghost stories about the demise of the house, mostly involving a fire destroying the house. Stalbridge Park features in Thomas Hardy's Wessex as "Stapleford Park".


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Thomas Hardy's Cottage in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, is a small cob and thatch building that is the birthplace of the English author Thomas Hardy. He was born there in 1840 and lived in the cottage until he was aged 34—during which time he wrote the novels Under the Greenwood Tree (1872) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)—when he left home to be married to Emma Gifford. The cottage was built by Hardy's great-grandfather in 1800. It is now a National Trust property, and a popular tourist attraction. The property has a typical cottage garden, and the interior displays furniture which, although not from the Hardy family, is original to the period. The property is situated on the northern boundary of Thorncombe Wood. It is only three miles from Max Gate, the house that he designed and lived in with Emma from 1885 until his death in 1928.


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Wolfeton House passed to John Trenchard by marriage in 1480. He and his son, Thomas Trenchard, built a compact courtyard house on the site. In the late 16th century Sir George Trenchard extended the south range and embellished the building. He added the splendid plaster ceilings, fireplaces and panelling dating from around 1580. This was the height of Wolfeton's prosperity; from this period onwards the house's quality began to decline. Wolfeton House was abandoned by Sir George's descendants and it was later sold to cousins in the late 18th century. By 1800 the chapel in the north range was crumbling to the ground, and in 1822–28 other parts of the house followed. The property was purchased in 1862 by W. H. P. Weston, who repaired the remaining buildings and carried out some modifications. The present-day owner is a relative of the Trenchard family. Since he took ownership of the home in 1973 he has carried out further restoration to the structure. The entrance to the Wolfeton House is through the medieval Gatehouse that was once connected to north and south areas of the early Tudor house. This went through to the small courtyard of the house. The compact original courtyard section of the current building dates back to about 1480. Possibly dating back to Roman times, the house has been the country seat of several families, including the Mohuns and Trenchards. The current building is a relic built by the Trenchard family, once being one of the most prominent families in Dorset during the 16th century. A Thomas Hardy Dictionary states this house may have been "The Manor-House of the Drenghards" in Hardy's "The Lady Penelope."

Woolbridge Manor House Woolbridge Manor is said to have been garrisoned in the English Civil War and still has some of the metal bars set into the remaining ground floor stone mullion windows, as well as a wooden security bar across the front door. Woolbridge Manor was at some time partially demolished and was once much bigger, possibly forming a hollow square with an enclosed courtyard in the center. It is rumoured that a tunnel runs under the river from the Manor to Bindon Abbey. The Manor was mentioned in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles as Wellbridge House where Tess and Angel Clare had their unfortunate honeymoon. They drove by the level road along the valley to a distance of a few miles, and, reaching Wellbridge, turned away from the village to the left, and over the great Elizabethan bridge which gives the place half its name. Immediately behind it stood the house wherein they had engaged lodgings, whose exterior features are so well known to all travellers through the Froom Valley; once portion of a fine manorial residence, and the property and seat of a D'Urberville, but since its partial demolition a farm-house. In the house on the first floor landing are the two old mural portraits of Tess's ancestors also mentioned in the book. A local legend, also mentioned in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, states that a phantom coach crosses the bridge by Woolbridge Manor at night, but only those with Turberville blood can see it. Various versions of the legend exist, but one] associates the coach with the elopement of John Turberville of Woolbridge with Anne, the daughter of Thomas Howard, 1st Viscount Howard of Bindon.

Wyke Castle - folly in the Weymouth village Wyke Regis in Dorset, where Edmund Selous, ornithologist and barrister, lived in the folly with his wife.


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