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Country Life in Dorset

By Linda Tancs

Mapperton has been touted as England’s finest manor house. Located in Dorset, it was entered in the Domesday Book 1086 as Malperetone and was owned by a sheriff. Today’s Jacobean manor house still shows vestiges of the Tudor manor of the 1540s from which it originated. It’s the home of the Montagus, currently the Earl and Countess of Sandwich. Their ancestor, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, is credited with putting roast beef between two slices of bread. Perhaps his more notable achievement was reorganizing the navy and improving its ships. Seafaring achievement is likewise evident in the life of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, who became Charles II’s first general-at-sea. Their portraits are in the Sandwich collection, along with pictures by Lely, Van de Velde the Younger, Scott, Reynolds and Hogarth. Be sure to visit the gardens, rated as one of the top in the southwest. Tucked into a steep north-south combe, the period gardens descend among tumbling hills and unspoiled countryside.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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