"without question the most picturesque house in the county"
Sir Frederick Treves
composed of three Saxon words, athel, signifying noble, ham, a home or habitation, and ton, denoting the superlative degree; the home of Æthelhelme, the Saxon Duke who was killed while commanding the Dorset men in an engagement to resist the invading Danes at Portland in AD 837.
500 years later the manor was owned by the noble Martyn family. Richard III was killed in battle at Bosworth Field in 1485, where Thomas Martyn was also slain after switching allegiance to Henry Tudor. His son Sir William Martyn inherited Athelhampton and built the Tudor Great Hall that is at the heart of this Dorset house today.
The house was extended in Elizabethan times and the Catholic Martyn family died out in 1595. The ancient manor became a humble farmhouse for almost 3 centuries until 1891, when it was purchased by the enigmatic young Victorian gentleman Mr Alfred Cart de Lafontaine who restored the manor house and with his Architect, Francis Inigo Thomas created the fabulous gardens.
Today you can visit this exquisite example of Tudor architecture, with over 20 rooms open to explore, and fine furnishings and antiques. You can walk around the 12 acres of award-winning gardens that surround the manor, find out why Thomas Hardy loved the place, and learn about the ghostly goings on.
Athelhampton is an amazing day out in Dorset for individuals or groups.
Every year at Athelhampton we plan an exciting range of events for you to enjoy.
Our friends at Chapterhouse Theatre have worked with Athelhampton for over 20 years, and each year deliver a fabulous performance.
We have extended our offering to add more for you to enjoy each year.