For more than 1000 years people have used this spring fed pool as a meeting place.
It is believed that the origin of the name Mottisfont came from a combination of the word moot, meaning meeting place in Saxon times, and font. In 1201 an Augustinian Priory was built here and many pilgrims came to visit its ancient relics. Following the dissolution the priory was converted to a tudor house which was later remodeled to resemble the current buildings. The estate was given to the Trust in 1957. The property is renowned for its collection of old fashioned roses grown before 1900. During his lifetime Graham Stuart Thomas, who was employed by the Trust, collected hundreds of roses. When the owners of Mottisfont gave up using the walled garden it seemed to be the perfect place to showcase his collection.
Thomas designed the garden himself, dividing the enormous walled area into four quarters with lawns and herbaceous borders.
He mixed many of his one time blooming roses in with perennials to give added interest throughout the season.
A second garden was created in the late 80s, just outside the walled garden. Here, in a graveled area, roses trained on 4x4 posts make a striking display.
We continued our walk around the property, past the pleached limes and onto the lawns.
The yews are clipped once a year with hand shears.
Inside the house we went down into the cellarium which dates back to the 12th century and likely underpinned the prior's house. This is all that remains of the original priory and would have been used for storing all the provisions for the priory.
In a corner of one of the rooms in the house the wall has been removed to expose a section of the original building.
As we drove away from the property, over the fast flowing River Test, David looked longingly at the lone fisherman on the bank.
Would he be lucky enough to catch one of the many trout we saw under the bridge?
We continued on our journey stopping in Salisbury to visit Mompesson House.
If you saw the movie Sense and sensibility you may recognize the house as the one used in the movie. Built by Charles Mompesson in 1701, the elegant Queen Ann town house is situated in the Cathedral Close in Salisbury. Step through the door and you will step back in time. The house is decorated and filled with furniture of the period. A collection of 17th century glass fills a display cabinet in the dining room.
We strolled over the green to walk around the cathedral. We had no time to go inside as we needed to get to Ilminster, and our B&B for the night.