Mottisfont – a Hampshire find

9649642280_4f5d138f5e_b

It was the name that spoke to me – Mottisfont – I have never heard of it and until I joined the National Trust, it would have remained a mystery.  Thank goodness I joined for this is a spectacular house – and one of the few that I have seen that was successfully transformed from a priory to a private dwelling following the devastation of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.

9646391855_48a9d2e6ff_b

What about this name then?  Mottisfont?  Well it’s thought to date back to the Saxon word for “moots”or meeting so meeting by a ‘font’ or a natural spring.

9646410285_d0049cdc10_b

The facade you see today dates back to the Georgian period but you can still see its Tudor roots in the remaining chimneys – and those of the Augustinian priory – the remains of the vaulted cellarium or giant ‘larder’ still stands and elements of the priory cloisters were incorporated into the Tudor building, dating back to 1201.

9649664162_2790c77b14_b

There have been a succession of owners but perhaps the most interesting is Ian Fleming’s friend, Maud Russell, a wealthy patroness of the arts – it was she who bequeathed the estate to the National Trust.  I love especially her commission from Rex Whistler of the trompe l’oeil murals in the saloon or as it’s now known – The Whistler Room.

9649697978_cf3f1834f9_b

Maud also had a penchant for secret panels – some of which open to show the remains of the priory underneath.  Her vision was playful, comfortable and respectful to the past.

9646975445_0262ea578a_b

Thanks to the River Test running through the Estate, the grounds (1,645 acres or 665 hectares) are magnificent – especially the Walled Gardens and the ancient trees – planes mostly dating back to the 19th century.

9646460117_38b0d76198_bThe thing I liked best here are the little vignettes which the National Trust has set up – little set pieces that speak to the previous owner and which give you a sense of how it must have been in their lifetime.  Look carefully here, and there’s a cigarette in the ashtray even – shocking in this day and age!

9649691798_b53f5b22f7_b

I have to say that I have fallen just a little in love with Mottisfont and will be returning in the Autumn – nicely done National Trust, nicely done.

Mottisfont Abbey, near Romsey, SO51 0LP.

Contributor & photographer:  Sue Lowry

Follow A3Traveller on Twitter:  @A3Traveller; and me on Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, on YouTube and Pinterest.  I also operate another blog for my company MagellanPR – http://www.magellanstraits.com.  They can be followed on Twitter:  @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: