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Athelhampton is one of the finest 15th Century houses in England, hotel blandford forum containing many magnificently furnished rooms including The Great Hall of 1485 and the newly opened Library. The glorious Grade I gardens, dating from 1891, contain the world-famous topiary pyramids, fountains, the River Piddle and collections of tulips, magnolias, roses, clematis and lilies in season. hotel blandford forum
The Great Hall is one of the finest examples of 15th Century domestic architecture in the country. The timbered roof remains substantially as it was when it was built, in 1485. The formal and architectural are hotel blandford forum balanced by woodland and riverside scenes. The formal gardens within the ham stone walls were designed by Francis Inigo Thomas and built by Alfred Cart de Lafontaine between 1891-1899. All through the gardens are water features with ponds and fountains and the River Piddle. The Great Court, contains the world famous pyramids. The yew trees are now thirty feet high and are over 100 years old. The view of the pyramids from the Terrace across to the house is spectacular.
The Corona is in the Elizabethan manner, with tall obelisks reaching up from walls which are alternately curving up and down. The lead vase, into which the fountain falls, is in the manner of William Kent. There is a blue and white theme to this garden with lavender in the height of summer. Disabled access is to the ground floor and gardens only.
Thomas Hardy & Athelhampton "Athelhall" Thomas Hardy’s father, a builder, was involved in restoration works to the Great Hall and West Wing roofs in the 19th Century. It was during these times that Thomas Hardy himself first visited Athelhampton and at the age of 19 he painted a water colour of the south front with the gate-house (demolished in 1862). Hardy often visited Athelhampton with his first wife Emma to see the Wood-Homers who lived at Athelhampton from 1848-91 Hardy was also lunching at Athelhampton with his second wife, Florence as guests of the then owner Alfred Cart de Lafontaine when news broke that World War I had been declared on 4th August 1914. He noted in his diary that all present panicked because no-one had laid a stock of food! The Church of St John's, Athelhampton was built whilst Hardy was working with the Dorchester architect John Hicks and Hardy’s cousin Tryphena Sparks worked at the school opposite. Later Hardy wrote the short story The Waiting Supper which is set in the house and grounds. The poem The Children and Sir Nameless refers to the tombs of the Martyns who built Athelhampton in 1485. Also a sad poem The Dame of Athelhall.
1971 Sleuth - Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier House & Gardens were exclusively used for all the exterior shots. This also included the erection of a maze specially for the film in the sunken part of the Great Court and also the addition of a number of statues beside the front drive. The opening sequence sees Michael Caine arriving at the house in a "K" registration red MGB Roadster, the new car of the day. This car has been a resident here for a few years following its restoration and is paraded on special occasions and not surprisingly when the MG Owners club meet here.
Dorchester is a market town in southern central Dorset, England, on the River Frome at the junction of the A35 and A37 roads, 20 miles (32 km) west of Poole and 8 miles (13 km) north of Weymouth 5miles west of Athelhampton. In 2001 the town had a population of 16,171. There were 7,386 dwellings in 2001 and 205 shops in 1991. Dorchester has been the county town of Dorset since 1305. The town has two private schools, three first schools, two middle schools and one upper school. The upper school, The Thomas Hardye School, can trace its origins back to 1569, when it was founded by a Dorchester merchant of that name. The Dorset County Museum is centrally located in a Gothic-style building.