By the 13th century, ownership had passed to the priory of Christ Church, which held it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1540’s. During the 17th century, King James 1st granted the manor of Puddletown to Henry Hastings, the second son of the Earl of Huntingdon. In 1724, Puddletown manor passed into the hands of Robert Walpole, the second Earl of Orford and the son of England’s first Prime Minister.
The manor remained in Walpole family ownership for several generations and they, in turn, leased it at one stage to General Thomas Garth, principal equerry to King George III (1738-1820). It was during his tenure that the young Princesses, Mary, Sophia and Amelia frequently stayed at the house, as did the Duke of York and the Prince Regent’s only daughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales. Even to this day, one of the bedrooms is called the Princesses’ Suite.
So close was General Garth to the Royal family that he adopted King George III’s illegitimate grandson and raised him at the house. Each of its owners improved and extended the house and, in recent years, it has been subject of a complete, and very sympathetic, restoration and luxurious upgrading. As a result, this Grade II* listed property was presented with the Dorset Architectural Heritage Award.
Access to the property is through a pair of impressive iron gates to a large, gravelled turning circle in front of the house, where you will find:
Reception Hall. Drawing Room. Dining Room. Sitting Room. Library/Breakfast Room, Study, Kitchen and Garden Room with a fully equipped gym, fussball, table tennis and pool tables.
Principal bedroom with ensuite bathroom. Seven further bedrooms (including one on the ground floor), each with its own tastefully appointed bathroom.
Beautiful formal gardens with extensive lawns (including a croquet lawn), plus rose garden, kitchen garden, paddock, woodland and ha-ha.
Staff accommodation, Garaging for 5 cars.
Nine acres of secluded, private, walled grounds to enjoy.
A full team, including butler, chef and housekeeping can be available to recreate the nostalgic, traditional 'Downton Abbey' English experience.
The Old Manor is situated in the quiet village of Puddletown, five miles from the County Town of Dorchester. The amazing Jurassic Coast, with beautiful little coves, like Lulworth, and fantasmagorical rock formations, like Durdle Door, is only 20 minutes drive away. Dorset is Hardy country and many of the places in his fictional county of Wessex are based on real places and houses in the area around Puddletown (called Weatherbury in Far from the Madding Crowd) and Dorchester (better known in Hardy’s novels as Casterbridge). The famous author was born just the other side of Puddletown forest from The Old Manor and, while his ashes are buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, his heart lies just a couple of miles away in the churchyard of St. Michael’s, Stinsford.
Other towns within easy reach include Weymouth (13 miles away), Sherbone, and Bournemouth (Bournemouth Airport, which is 22 miles away, enjoys the facility of being able to host private jets flying directly from anywhere in North America) and even London is only 120 miles away.
Sporting pursuits on the Estate or in the area include clay pigeon shooting, croquet and horseriding, as well as National Hunt racing at Wincanton, and Flat Racing at Bath and Salisbury. Water sports, sailing and fishing can be enjoyed off the spectacular Dorset Coast and golf is available at Dorchester, Yeovil and Sherborne. It is possible arrange for guests to join a shooting party at Sherborne Castle (in season) and, for the accomplished horseman or woman, to ride out with the Portman Hunt.