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Mapperton wedding venue

Mapperton awarded £140,000 grant for wedding venue conversion

Mapperton Estate has been awarded a grant of almost £140,000 by the Southern Dorset Local Action Group.

The LEADER grant of £139,782 will go towards converting a 17th century coach house into a new wedding venue and providing improved facilities for visitors. The project is expected to create seven new jobs at Mapperton House & Gardens near Beaminster.

Voted the ‘nation’s finest manor house’ by Country Life magazine, Mapperton is the family home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich.

As part of an ongoing programme of improvements, the conversion of the coach house will also include a new café, commercial kitchen and lavatories. A new access road and parking area were laid this summer.

Luke Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke, said: “We are very pleased that LEADER has chosen to fund this conversion project, which we believe will become Dorset’s finest country house wedding venue, bringing more employment and wider economic benefits to the area.

“The Coach House will be a unique entertainment space which will host weddings and other events for up to 120 people. In addition, we will convert part of the building into a new café alongside other improvements for visitors.

“The building will be heated by our new biomass boiler system, using wood harvested from the estate.

“We hope the work will start in November and expect it to be completed around April next year.

Sir Christopher Lees, chair of the Southern Dorset LAG Executive Committee added: “This project was strongly supported by the Southern Dorset LAG. The money will help provide a far better experience for the visitors to Mapperton, and, in the Committee’s view, promote tourism away from the coast in the beautiful countryside of Dorset.

“We are immensely proud to be able to support this expansion by Mapperton Estate, as it will provide sustainability to the business and added employment in the heart of Dorset.”

The project has been designed by Raise Architects based in Sherborne and led by Andy Foster.

He said: “Converting a 17th century building into a contemporary entertaining space is both challenging and highly rewarding.

“Apart from two new doorways the internal fabric of the building will remain untouched, and visitors will therefore be able to appreciate the exposed stonework, orignal cross beams, wall posts and corbels.

“The building will however benefit from the addition of roof insulation, new timber flooring and many of the external doors will be restored.

“Raise Architects are passionate about finding new uses for historic buildings and are delighted to be working on such an important Dorset conservation project.”

LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England, where the local community decides where grants would have the most benefit. Opportunities to increase the length of the tourist season and create full time, year round employment are priorities for the Southern Dorset Local Action Group.

Grants are European funding and as such are available until 2019. Applications are welcomed by the LAG at any time for capital projects in small and micro businesses, farming, forestry, rural communities and tourism.

 

Mapperton Dorset volunteers

Would you like to join the Mapperton team of volunteers?

A call has gone out for more volunteers to join the team showing off Mapperton House and Gardens to visitors.

Guided tours of the Jacobean manor house near Beaminster give small groups of visitors the opportunity to see inside the family home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich.

One volunteer is Annemarie Henham, former head of school at a Nottinghamshire comprehensive.

Annemarie, who moved to Chilfrome in Dorset after her retirement, is now helping to set up an education programme for young people in the local community.

“I had been to Mapperton to look round the gardens when we were househunting – and it was absolutely gorgeous,” she said.

“Then my husband mentioned that they were looking for volunteers and I came along to find out more. However – in addition to volunteering – I’ve also been helping Mapperton create its first education programme for schools.

“This is an exciting new venture and we are looking forward to inviting teachers to Mapperton in September so they can see at first hand what a wonderfully rich learning environment it is. Mapperton offers a wealth of opportunities for young learners to explore, engage, and be inspired. ”

Luke Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke, said that Mapperton’s team of volunteers is key to providing visitors with a memorable experience.

“We are always looking for new volunteers to join our team, and would very much like to hear from anyone with an interest in British history who enjoys  meeting and talking to new people.

“We’re very lucky to be working with Annemarie who has kindly volunteered as a tour guide.  With her background as a head of school, Annemarie is also helping us set up a new education programme which we plan to launch later this year.

“All our volunteers come from very diverse backgrounds and each brings something different to their roles here.”

Volunteers are entitled to travel expenses and light refreshments in the Sawmill Café for each visit.

Anyone interested should contact the Estate Office on 01308 862645 or email office@mapperton.com.

mapperton three inch fools

Musical Shakespeare – Twelfth Night Sunday 20 August 2017

The Three Inch Fools are a five-strong troupe of actors with all manner of musical instruments, travelling with set, props, costumes and camping gear, performing a highly imaginative and vibrantly musical take on Shakespeare’s plays.

We recommend that you bring blankets/chairs to sit on. Do bring coats and warm clothing, and if rain is forecast bring a raincoat. We ask that you don’t bring umbrellas as these can obscure the view for other people in the audience. In the event of rain the performance will continue! The performance starts at 2.30pm, picnics welcome from 1pm.

The performance is in the grounds at Mapperton at 2.30pm on Sunday 20 August 2017. Tickets are £15 for adults; £12 for concessions (senior citizens and under-18s), obtainable from the Mapperton Estate office on 01308 862645, or on the gate.

easter trail

Easter Garden Trail for children – Easter Monday 17 April

Follow the clues through the gardens on our Easter Monday Trail for children – with a prize at the end! 11am to 3pm on Easter Monday 17 April. Children’s Trail entry £3. Normal garden entry applies for adults.

Samuel Pepys exhibit to highlight historic Restoration

Diaries by the 1st Earl of Sandwich and his cousin Samuel Pepys, marking an historic royal moment, will be a highlight for visitors to Mapperton House, this summer.

The day King Charles II boarded a ship on the coast of Holland to return from exile on 23 May 1660 was chronicled by both men, who were in attendance on the Charles, formerly the Naseby.

The then Admiral Edward Montagu was head of the fleet and captained the ship on the King’s triumphal return to English soil after nine years.

Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, and Montagu’s younger cousin, was a clerk in the Navy Office at the time and later became Secretary to the Navy, responsible for preparing the fleet for the Dutch Wars.

Later given the title of Earl of Sandwich as recognition for his part in restoring Charles to the throne, Edward Montagu’s handwritten journal gives a fascinating picture of a hugely important day in the history of the English monarchy.

Pepys’ writings include lively and often amusing accounts direct from the King on how his dishevelled state meant he was often mistaken for a “rogue’ during his flight from Cromwell’s forces and how he at one point was forced to drink alcohol to prove he wasn’t a Roundhead.

The Earl of Sandwich says: ”Samuel Pepys captures everyone’s imagination and he seems the perfect vehicle to explain what was happening in the 17th century, especially when the King came back to claim the throne.

“The soon-to-be 1st Earl was given the task of bringing his Majesty home on board his ship, the newly renamed ‘Charles’.

“We hope our visitors will enjoy this exhibit and we are very lucky to have our team of volunteer guides on hand to help us interpret these wonderful stories.”

Mapperton House is open for guided tours from 2 April 2017.

The Sawmill Mapperton

Brassica restaurant to run The Sawmill at Mapperton

Mapperton House and Gardens is delighted to announce a new partnership with an award-winning West Dorset restaurant.

Cass Titcombe and Louise Chidgey of Brassica restaurant in nearby Beaminster will take over the management of Mapperton’s café, The Sawmill, from the beginning of April.

Brassica is the only restaurant in Dorset to appear in The Sunday Times list of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants in 2017.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke, who runs Mapperton, the family home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, said: “Over just a few short years Cass and Louise have developed an outstanding reputation at Brassica for delicious food, and this has now been recognised by The Sunday Times in their Top 100 listing.

“We are really pleased that they are now partnering with us at Mapperton, and customers at The Sawmill can look forward to scrumptious lunches and teas.”

Brassica Chef-Director Cass Titcombe said: “We are delighted to be taking over the The Sawmill at Mapperton at a very exciting time.

“We are looking forward to offering visitors homemade cakes, cream teas, a range of light lunch dishes and of course, some memorable sandwiches, all with some of Brassica’s signature touches!”

Brassica Director Louise Chidgey added: “We have given The Sawmill a small revamp, and put in some new lighting, while retaining its friendly feel.

“We will also be exhibiting artwork from the Room at the End gallery at Little Toller Books at Toller Fratrum, near Dorchester, which we hope our customers will enjoy looking at while they eat.”

The Sawmill will open on Sunday 2 April until the end of October, every day except Saturdays, from 11am to 5pm.

Mapperton Gardens open on 1 March and the house opens for guided tours from 2 April.

Mapperton Dorset biomass

Mapperton installs biomass energy system

Work has begun on the installation of a new biomass energy system at Mapperton.

The 250 kilowatt boiler will provide hot water and heating for Mapperton House, The Sawmill restaurant and nearby properties.

Wood from the estate will be harvested and chipped to fuel the boiler as part of Mapperton’s commitment to using sustainable energy sources.

The installation is being carried out by the 5D Group, based in Plymouth, with ground work by Wedgewood Groundworks from Tiverton.

Biomass is the fourth largest energy source in the world after oil, coal and gas. It involves the production of renewable energy using sustainably managed plant and wood fuels primarily in chip, log or pellet form.

 

snowdrop sundays mapperton

Snowdrop Sundays herald the coming of spring

Snowdrops – they’re only tiny, but here at Mapperton we love them because they are one of the first signs of spring!

We want to share them on our two popular Snowdrop Sundays on 5 and 12 February 2017.

The humble Galanthus nivalis (that’s ancient Greek and Latin for milk-white flower of snow) is among the first of the flowers to show their face.

Come to the Gardens and see the carpet of white spreading under the beech trees and alongside the paths in the spring garden.

The daffodils should be on their way too and velvety buds are appearing on the trees.

Snowdrop Sundays – two chances to visit

The Gardens will be open from 11am to 4pm on each of the Snowdrop Sundays.

Admission is £4.50 for adults and under-16s can come in for free. Proceeds will support the National Gardens Scheme and Perennial, the gardeners’ charity.

Thanks to the volunteers from the National Gardens Scheme locally, tea, coffee and a wonderful array of cakes will be available in the cosy Sawmill Café.

Don’t miss the chance to see the back of winter and join us soon.

“All the snow will melt; the cold winds will be driven away; we shall rule; all will become green, and then you will have companions, syringas, laburnums, and roses; but you are the first, so graceful, so delicate!” 

Extract from The Snowdrop, by Hans Christian Andersen.

Autumn Charity Garden Fair

Autumn Charity Garden Fair brought in the crowds

Crowds of green-fingered gardeners made the recent charity Garden Fair at Mapperton House the most successful autumn fair yet.

Almost 1,000 plant fans attended the Fair on 18 September and a share of the proceeds will go to Oxfam.

More than 25 specialist nurseries took part alongside craft, garden gift and food stands.

Lady Sandwich said: “ We were delighted that so many people took advantage of a perfect day and came to the Fair, which was our most successful autumn sale so far.

“Over the years many charities, both local and national, have benefited from the spring and autumn fairs.

“People who came to the Fair stayed on to take a walk around the gardens gardens or joined a guided tour of the house and enjoyed refreshments in the Sawmill Café. We are very much looking forward to the next plant fair in April.”

Don’t forget that Mapperton House and Gardens are open to the public until the end of October. We look forward to seeing you.

Maggie Wattling volunteer at Mapperton House

Volunteers needed to join the Mapperton House team!

Mapperton House is recruiting more volunteer guides.

Due to a significant increase in visitor numbers this year, extra members of the team are needed to show people round our beautiful Jacobean manor house, family home of the Earl of Sandwich.

Maggie Wattling, of South Perrott, has been taking tour groups round the house since the start of the season at Easter.

She says it is exciting and enjoyable and would appeal to anyone who loves meeting and talking to people.

“My husband and I had moved to Dorset from France last October. I am retired, but I thought I would like a little job,” says Maggie.

“Then I met a local lady who had rented a house on the Mapperton estate and she told me that Lord Sandwich was looking for people to be volunteers at the house.

“Lord Sandwich took me round to start with. He was so kind and he is a fund of stories.

“Being a guide here is all about people. I like to talk to and meet people and you meet so many here – different nationalities and visitors from all over Britain.

“We all have a set of notes and then we tell the tale in the way it works for us.

“I enjoy it very much and people are so nice. You need to be able to look somebody in the eye and speak to them, and perhaps put on a bit of a performance!”

Lord Sandwich says that ideally guides would have an interest in English history and heritage.

“Above all, they need patience and understanding of people’s needs, including the young, elderly and disabled. People who prefer not to be guides are valuable as stewards and as back-up for other volunteers,” he adds.

Volunteers are entitled to travel expenses and light refreshments in the Sawmill Café for each visit.

Anyone interested should contact the Estate Office on 01308 862645 or email office@mapperton.com