Athelhampton House: A Reader’s Historic Tudor in England

by hookedonhouses on April 6, 2012

A reader named Andrea wrote me about her family’s historic Tudor in England called Athelhampton House. Much of it has been standing for over 5 centuries, which is hard for most of us in the U.S. to wrap our heads around (here, anything over 100 is considered old!).

Sir William Martyn built the main hall in 1485, and it remained in the Martyn family for 4 generations. In 1891 it was purchased by Alfred Cart de Lafontaine who restored the house and gardens to how they look today.

Athelhampton is now owned by the Cooke family. Patrick Cooke and his wife Andrea continue to improve and care for the house and gardens while living here with their two young boys. I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into an historic home like this one, so my hat’s off to them!

It’s located just outside Dorchester in Dorset. You can rent the house for events like weddings and film shoots.

I can picture a Masterpiece Classic being filmed here, can’t you? This bedroom looks like something Jane Eyre would sleep in at Thornfield Hall:

They open the house to the public, and I’d love to see it in person someday. I’ve been to England a couple of times and really enjoyed house tours like these.

That’s a statue of Queen Victoria in the garden:

Can you imagine living in and caring for a grand old estate like this, filled with so much history? Considering how long it takes me to get around to doing all the basic maintenance in my own (fairly new, not very big) house, I’m not sure I would be up to the task!

Visit the Athelhampton website for more photos and information. Thanks to Andrea for telling me about it!

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Heatherly April 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

My dream! Although my 99 year old house is keeping me on my toes as it is.

Laura April 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

Um, no! Our 1960 house is enough. Granted I don’t have a staff, which is what I imagine is required for a property like that.

Great post,
Laura @ cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot

jeana April 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

WOW! That would be amazing…and like you said, a ton of work! We just bought a 90 yr old home that I’m sure will be keeping us busy!

Charmaine April 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

This house reminds me of series Poldark.

Spring April 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

My kids color on the walls still so I can’t even imagine trying to take care of something that enormous and wonderful and historical without going crazy. What a gorgeous house!

Also, that tub? *wipes drool off monitor*

Sarah @ housecrazy April 6, 2012 at 10:41 am

I always wonder who actually lives in massive estates like that (besides the royal family)… it is fascinating to know that a family with YOUNG children lives here!
Two boys in a grand historic mansion? They must be well behaved little guys! I would need to hire a entire staff just to pick up after my little hooligans!
Beautiful building with such rich history!

Luciane at Homebunch.com April 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

Oh, my goodness, Julia! This is incredible. I can’t see myself living in something so “grand” (I love houses that feels “homey”), but I really can appreciate the beauty of this place.

Thanks for sharing and have a Happy Easter!

xo

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Jenny Allworthy April 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

This gorgeous home was used as a location for “From Time to Time”. This 2009 film was directed and adapted for film by Julian Fellowes and stars Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville. Might be interesting for anyone who enjoyed Downton Abbey and is a nice one to watch with kids.

“A haunting ghost story spanning two worlds, two centuries apart. When 13 year old Tolly finds he can mysteriously travel between the two, he begins an adventure that unlocks family secrets laid buried for generations. ” from IMDb

hookedonhouses April 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

Oh, really? I had no idea. I don’t think I’ve seen that one. Hope Netflix has it–thanks, Jenny!

dakky April 13, 2012 at 12:01 am

Ooh, thanks for that. I love Hugh Bonneville – he suits those period productions so well.

Maggy April 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

Julia, I have to agree w/ the rest of the comments and say that *that* is one splendid abode. WOW! Your followers are an amazing and very eclectic group!

Wonderful post; many thanks to you Andrea Cooke for sharing their estate and its history with us.

laney April 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm

…oh i think it is absolutley wonderful…there is just something so special about the english home… and people…thank you both… andrea and julia…for sharing! blessings laney

Kim April 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

What a gorgeous place! I don’t know why, but I just love old English homes. They have such beautiful details that you don’t see in homes today.

Patience April 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I would live there, despite the upkeep.

Mel Mel April 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Wow! Don’t think I could personally live there but I sure would love to visit! What an incredible house!

Rebecca C. April 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

It’s probably a bit messier than the photos show with two young children running around. I just love it. I bet there’s plenty of hiding places and wonderful rooms for the kids. Thanks for sharing this.

E. George April 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Hi Julia we have a few historic homes here but not as old as the Brits you guys are older than us. The English have very strict rules with their historic buildings god help you if you buy anything 1st or 2nd grade listed you need a money tree. I have watched many of their restoration programs it is complicated and expensive but I find it fascinating and the end result beautiful. Thankyou for sharing. Till next time regards Esther from Sydney. PS hope you have a wonderful Easter with lots of chocolates to enjoy.

Maria April 7, 2012 at 12:27 am

My goodness, how lovely. And let me 2nd swooning over the bath tub. I wonder how they heat it? Pretty penny I’m sure.

Cheryl Stoy April 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

Fantastic…I like it way better than Buckingham Palace. I hate to think of the upkeep but it is worth every penny. The family has done well to keep the property beautiful and in the family. And thanks for the movie suggestion “From Time to Time”…I will hit Netflix up for it.

inner-outerbeauty.com April 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

Such a beautiful house, you can really feel the history! A great deal of work though, and not very cheap when somethings needs restoring…

Edward April 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

That is one of the most gorgeous baths I have ever seen. I love the rug, the mirror, the wall covering….but oh, to polish that tub!

Laura April 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

Very beautiful – love the grounds!

lee dingle April 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

The maturity of the landscape is so incredible. What a beautiful home with an such an engaging history.

Deanna @ TheChangingHouse April 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Oh, that’s much too fancy for me! Gorgeous, though!

Jane George April 8, 2012 at 12:42 am

Awesome. I bet there are ghosts. And I also love the copper tub. Similar, I think, to the ones used in the film Penelope and the first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes.

Megan April 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I knew this house looked familiar – I’d seen it on HGTV’s Keys to the Castle! http://www.hgtv.com/video/keys-to-the-castle-uk-video/index.html

It looks REALLY cool, but also like a lot of work!

hookedonhouses April 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Wow! Thanks for that link, Megan!

Sheryl April 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

Large old estates like this always has me wondering what the floor plan is like. I’m all about how the house is pieced together.

This house is lovely but more than I could probably handle. Wouldn’t mind spending a night or two in it though.

Liz (@violetposy) April 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

Just beautiful! I’m looking for a new house and my husband has banned me from choosing anything built before 1700 – the meanie :)

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