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Near Athelhampton House, Dorset Country Hotel

Athelhampton is one of the finest 15th century manor houses in England set in superb gardens.

During the late 15th C, Sir William Martyn built the hall which is the core of the house as it is today and remains virtually unaltered.

Sir William was, in 1492, Lord Mayor of London and a member of a local family who had acquired the manor in the 14th century. Subsequent centuries have all seen successive owners adding to, and even removing from, Athelhampton House.

A 160 acres deer park was created in 1485. The West Wing and Gatehouse were added in 1550. In 1862, the gatehouse was demolished and the Church of St. John at Athelhampton built. The magnificent formal gardens at Athelhampton House were built in 1891 by Alfred Cart de Lafontaine. Francis Iniago Thomas designed four ham stone courts, a series of outdoor rooms, in the Elizabethan style with a series of ponds and a formal canal. In 1920-1 the North Wing at the rear of the house was built.

There is even reputed to be a ghost of Athelhampton, an ape, which belonged to one of the Martyns in the sixteenth century. He can apparently be heard as he tries to escape from the secret staircase and cellar in which he was trapped.

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