Introducing The Old Manor House, Puddletown, Dorset, Great Britain

The estate at Puddletown in the heart of Dorset was granted originally to Richard de Redvers, who came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.


The History of The Old Manor House
13th Century

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.

18th Century

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.

21st Century

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.

Thomas Hardy was born nearby and would have been familiar with the house. Puddletown appeared in his books under the name Weatherbury. Hardy appears to have been a very early feminist to judge from some of the ideas he puts into his characters’ thoughts.

“Why is it that a woman can see from a distance what a man cannot see close?”
— Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native


Amenities and Facilities.
Gravelled turning circle

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, Chinese Morning Room, Kitchen/Breakfast Room, Staff Kitchen and Ballroom/Function Room, licensed for weddings and ideal for conferences and functions (can comfortably seat 80 for dinner). Garaging for 5 cars and ample parking. Nine bedrooms altogether, all with private bathrooms plus a couple of spares.

Topiary and weathered stone

Nine acres of secluded, private, walled grounds to enjoy. Beautiful formal gardens with extensive lawns, (including a, croquet lawn), plus rose garden, kitchen garden, paddock, woodlands and ha-ha.


picture perfect for weddings, conferences, presentations - and balls

And so to bed

Splendoured sleep on Vi-Spring mattresses, probably the most comfortable in the world.

State-of-the-art kitchen,

with a comforting AGA at its heart.


The Chinese Morning room

East facing and an ideal retreat for coffee and the newspapers after breakfast.

Fun and hi-tech below stairs

A fully-equipped gym and a games room are in the basement with a piano, table football, shove ha’penny, table tennis and a pool table plus the boiler room, like the engine room of an ocean-going liner, designed to keep upstairs cosy.


“So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, or at least some remote and distant hope…”
— Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles

The Surrounding Area

Things to do in and around the Old Manor House area

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.

“Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…”
— Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Get in touch

For further information and reservations, please telephone John Dennison-Smith
on +44 (0)1935 815185, email: or use the contact form below.