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Dorset Map

Last Visited: 2015

The West Courtyard

The West Courtyard

Mapperton is often referred to as Mapperton House and Gardens which is probably because the gardens are more interesting than the house.

The house dates back to the 1540s, and was partly rebuilt and extended in the 1660s. The estate was owned by same family the from Norman times until just after the First World War, often passing through the female line.

The Fountain Court

The Fountain Court

In 1919 it was bought by Mrs Ethel Labouchere the widow of a merchant banker, and it is currently the home of the Earl of Sandwich and his wife.

The Earl's father, Victor Montagu (who renounced his title) moved here in 1955 from the larger Hinchingbrooke House, near Huntingdon, bringing with him the family collection. As a result, the house feels a bit overstuffed, with many of the pieces looking like they belong in a much bigger property. Interesting, none the less.

It is, however, the gardens that are the glory. What we see today is largely the work of Ethel Labouchere who set out the main part of the gardens in the bottom of a steep valley in memory of her husband. The current Earl and his father have both improved and extended the gardens over the years.

For opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the official site detailed below.

The Fountain Court

The Fountain Court

The current owner's most famous ancestor is of course John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He is remembered for calling for a slice of meat between two slices of bread whilst he was busy at his desk, thus naming if not inventing the sandwich. Whether he was holding a hand of playing cards at the time is a matter of debate.

He held many high offices, but was noted for his incompetence and corruption. This led some to suggest that his epitaph should read, "Seldom has any man held so many offices and accomplished so little."