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Visit to Athelhampton House with SPAB Dorset

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29 Oct 2021, 10:30 – 16:00

Athelhampton House, Puddletown, Dorchester DT2 7LG, UK

About The Event

At 10.30, the tour will start. — We will begin with a tour of the parts of the house that are open to the general public (they are not admitted until 11am so we have a head start). — We will go to the Great Hall, built in 1485, for a description of the history of the house, both in terms of ownership and the various physical stages in its construction. An especially nice feature of Athelhampton is that it was never “modernised” wholesale, and so still retains large parts of the original Tudor buildings. Also, I probably won’t be able to resist mentioning my new children’s book which actually has a scene, set in 1583, in the kitchen that is being reconstructed, but I promise to be brief! — Then we will go outside,, to the back of the house, where the Elizabethan kitchen is, where we will meet the architect, Stefan Pittman (subject to final confirmation), and review external brickwork and mullions, so see how the Tudor sections interconnect with later construction. — Then we will enter the house from the back. This is the building site zone. Suitable clothing should be worn; in particular, floors are highly uneven and there is lots of dust. There is no major structural work, aside some wall-pinning which is already complete, so hard hats are not required but can be worn if desired. — We will go to the kitchen, and see the great Elizabethan arch for the kitchen range that is being fully revealed, with strip out of the modern supporting structures underneath. Note: a limecrete floor is being laid, and depending on the stage of setting, that may affect access, but we will still be able to get close enough to see all that is going on. — The various stages of the work will be described, including structural work, the installation of Elizabethan-style cooking ranges, the revealing of the hatchways for inbound and outbound plates to the serving place nearby, the treatment of the floor including the local sourcing of stone from Purbeck.

That will then mark the end of the formal tour, probably around noon. — The group will be welcome to then look around the houses again, and the Grade 1 listed gardens. — This is an Elizabethan re-enactment day and so there will be quite a sizeable group in authentic costumes in the house throughout the day, they are able to answer questions on Elizabethan clothes and practices. — The cafe is open throughout the day until 4pm for food and drinks.

The charge will be £12 per person.

Numbers will be limited to 30. For some parts of the tour, such as when we are hearing the history and viewing the external wall, the whole group can be together, for other parts we may need to split into two groups. We can arrange the details once we know how many are coming.

See website: for details of how to get there etc.

Please bring hard hats if you can, high vis vests and safety (or at least sturdy) boots. We will try to have some spares on site.


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