DiCamillo Companion

Mottisfont Abbey (Mottesfont Abbey)

  • Earlier Houses: The current house has, at its core, an Augustinian priory that was converted to a private house in the 16th century during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

    House & Family History: Mottisfont began life as a 12th century Augustinian priory (the "font" in its name comes from the spring the priory was built near); after the Dissolution of the Monasteries the priory was gifted to a favorite of Henry VIII's, Lord Sandys, whose great house, The Vyne, is not far away. Lord Sandys took the king's gift in hand and created a private home out of the medieval priory; this was later altered and enlarged in the 18th century. Lord Sandys received Elizabeth I at Mottisfont on two occasions. The drawing room houses a masterpiece executed for Maud Russell in 1938–39 by Rex Whistler: a trompe l'oeil mural that appears to be Gothic plasterwork. The magnificent artwork was the last major work finished by Whistler before he was killed in World War II. The house and grounds were gifted to the National Trust in 1957 by Maud Russell.

    Collections: Mottisfont houses a large collection of early 20th century art donated by Derek Hill to the National Trust to be shown at Mottisfont in memory of his friend Maud Russell.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds contain magnificent trees, walled gardens, and the National Collection of Old-Fashioned Roses, and still retains the spring or font from which its name is derived. The estate includes Mottisfont Village and surrounding farmland and woods.

  • Architect: Norah Lindsay

    Date: 1930s
    Designed: Parterre

    View all houses

    Architect: Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe

    Date: 1936
    Designed: Lime-tree Walk

    View all houses
  • Country Life: L, 652, 1921. CXV, 1310,1398, 1954.

  • Title: National Trust Handbook 2008, The
    Author: Peel, Lucy (Editor)
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pg. 140
    Publisher: England: The National Trust
    ISBN: 9780707804064
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Ruth Rendell Mysteries" [aka "Inspector Wexford"] (1988 - TV series, in the episode "A Guilty Thing Surprised"). "Great Expectations" (2011 - BBC TV mini series).
  • Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Sandys, 2nd Baron Sandys, 16th century. The Rev. Sir John Barker Mill, 19th century. Gilbert and Maud Russell, 1934-72.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01794-340-757

    Fax: 01794-341-492

    Email: mottisfontabbey@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No