It was built in the 1630's as a place to party by John 'Crump' Dutton who owned the Sherborne Estate a couple of miles down the road. You've got to admire a guy who has a huge house but the wants another place just for entertaining his friends. Going into the house you certainly sense an ambiance of the place that has seen alot of fun. The building is basically a very grand grandstand at the finishing post of a mile long walled enclosure for the chase. This was a time when fortunes were won and lost through gambling. Deer were chased along this course by hounds whom the participants bet upon. Unless the stakes reached a certain amount the deer had an escape route at the end.
There are some good pieces of furniture to see and some lovely pictures. In the entrance hall are a pair of William Kent tables. Sadly, stripped of the original gilding and missing their marble tops but still very impressive.
The main room is upstairs and has a balcony overlooking the "finishing post". What a room! Interesting pictures and amongst the furniture two great trunks. The leather on them looks to be Russian reindeer hide similar to some still being taken off the Metta Catharina which we have used in the past for re-upholstery. The chased metalwork on them is as good as you will see and I believe they were gifts from Charles I.
I won't spoil your visit by going through all the other treasures so do try and visit the house if you are in the area. You can also go to Burford which is very close. Charming town and great church and also Sherborne. The house is now flats and not open though there is a lovely walk beside it through the woods with fun bits to amuse the children if you have any with you.
Hope you enjoy it . Well worth the gamble.
By Simon Clarke.