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Description

Mompesson House

Mompesson House has a beautiful and elegant interior. Being smaller than most National Trust properties, it keeps a cosy feel. It has been restored and presented as it looked in the 18th century and featured as Mrs Jennings’ London home in the 1995 film adaption of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Of particular note is the elaborate plasterwork detailing birds, nymphs and mythological kings. The contemporary panelling and magnificent oak staircase are also a highlight. The house is full of lovely examples of period furniture including an original Queen Anne needlepoint chair, a brass and mother-of-pearl table and a toilet table (or dressing table) by Hepplewhite. There is also a nationally important Turnbull collection of 18th century glasses.

To complete the visit make sure you see the charming walled garden with pergola, roses, lavender beds and stunning herbaceous borders. The garden tearoom serves light refreshments and a mouth-watering choice of homemade cakes and scones.

 

History

This 18th century Grade I listed house was begun by Sir Thomas Mompesson, who at the time was MP for the Salisbury constituency. Built from the same local Chilmark stone as the cathedral, it was finished in 1701 by Mompesson’s son Charles, also an MP but for nearby Old Sarum. His initials can be seen on the heads of the water downpipes.

The house then passed by marriage to the Longueville family, and then to the Townsend family. One of the Townsends was the flamboyant artist Miss Barbara Townsend who lived there for all her 96 years. From 1942-46 it was the official residence of The Bishop of Salisbury. In 1952 the freehold was purchased from the Church of England by the architect Dennis Martineau who, recognising its national importance, immediately gave the property to the National Trust.

Opening Details

As with nearby Arundells, the Mompesson House, gardens and tea room are open every day except Thursday and Friday from late March to late October. Opening hours are from 11am to 5pm



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