Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Athelhampton House and Gardens

Backing onto the River Piddle and surrounded by lovely gardens, Athelhampton is one of the finest houses of its period.  Begun in 1485 by Sir William Martyn, a prosperous London merchant who later became Lord Mayor, the house has a beautiful facade of warm limestone, with rows of mullioned windows and an oriel.  Inside you can tour many of the rooms, including the Great Hall which is at the heart of the house.

The house remained in the Martyn family for the next 4 generations, but in 1891 it was purchased by Alfred Cart de Lafontaine, who set about restoring the house and creating the formal gardens that can be seen today.

The house is currently run by the grandson of Robert Victor Cooke who purchased the house in 1957.

Athelhampton is reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in Dorset, with a pair of duellists, the Grey Lady and a pet ape apparently being amongst its ghostly occupants!  All was quiet on the day we visited we're glad to say!

However, we met a visiting group of MG enthusiasts proudly showing off their cars with the house as an impressive backdrop!

Wandering around the grounds you can see the old dove cote which is still in use.

No visit to Athelhampton is complete without a stroll around the lovely 19th century Italianate formal gardens, which include the impressive court of yew pyramids.


  1. Hello Karen and Nick, Just wanted to let you know yet again how gorgeous the photos for your latest two postings are ~ beautiful to see the field of poppies as well as the very lovely and ancient Athelhampton. Not sure how many people know about your blog, but I am sure if more people did they would enjoy it as much as I do. I feel like I am the sole possessor of a very fine secret though . Hope you will continue to post all the interesting info along with your outstanding photographs. I shall certainly be stopping by and keen to see where your travels have taken you and what has caught your eye. I love history , particularly English history so your blog has particular appeal for me, coupled with another passion, a love of the beauty of the natural world (and Britain especially ) Thank you so much for sharing your explorations.

  2. Dorset Allsorts7 July 2011 at 07:27

    Hi Valkrye, thank you so much for your lovely comment! We're glad you enjoy popping into our blog from time to time and hope you continue to find items that interest you. It makes all the effort worthwhile when you know people enjoy looking at your photos and posts. Thanks again. Karen & Nick