About Mapperton House
Mapperton House and Gardens in the village of Beaminster in Dorset has its roots in the Domesday Book (as Malperetone – ‘farm where maple trees grow’) and since the 11th century it has been owned by just four families – Brett, Morgan, Brodrepp and Compton. It is the current home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich one of the most beautiful in the country and was described by County Life magazine as ‘the nation’s finest manor house.’
History of Mapperton House
The majority of the mansion dates back to the 1660s when it was renovated by its then owner, Richard Brodrepp. It is a perfect example of Stuart era architecture and design: the north wing still has remnants of the Tudor manor that stood here before. As you explore the house you take a journey back through history, with centuries of design, architecture and decorations complimenting each other throughout every room. Much of the elegant plaster and panelling from the 17th centuries can still be seen today.
In 1919 Mapperton was bought by Ethel Labouchere. The current owners, the Montagus (the Earl and Countess of Sandwich) acquired the house on her death in 1955.
The magnificently-kept gardens are rich in history and reflect three distinct time periods. On the top level croquet lawn there is evidence of a 17th century parterre and as you wander around you’ll find 1920s Italianate grounds, a 1950s wild garden and an orangery and topiary added in the 1960s by the current Earl’s father.
Art lovers are also well catered for with the Sandwich Collection featuring works by Lely, Van de Velde the Younger, Scott, Reynolds and Hogarth. There are several portraits of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich and Charles II’s first General-at-Sea in the 1660s and the ship models and naval paintings date mainly from this period.
Mapperton House today
Quintessentially British, the house and gardens are open from Sunday through to Thursday, and are free for Historic Houses and RHS members. There’s a quaint cafe in the old coachhouse and plenty of parking on site. Allow a couple of hours to wander round the glorious grounds and soak up the atmosphere.
There are even events held at Mapperton throughout the year such music recitals, theatrical performances, cream teas, charity plant fairs and Easter egg hunts but please refer to the website for details as many of these need to be pre-booked.
Getting to Mapperton House
Mapperton is nestled in rural Dorset – the nearest towns, Beaminster and Bridport, are 5 and 15 minutes away respectively. The house is clearly signed from Beaminster: follow them not your sat nav as one way measures are sometimes in operation. The roads are winding and narrow, particularly within the estate itself, so drive carefully.
It is possible, if slightly convoluted, to get here by public transport – from Bridport, head on a bus to Beaminster and change to the B2, hopping out at Storridge Hill. From there it’s a 25 minute walk to the house itself.