Thursday, June 23, 2011


I had chosen the B&B in Romsey so that we could visit the gardens of Mottisfont close by.


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.

The gate house.

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.

As the day warmed the heady scent of musk and tea roses perfumed the air.

Souvenir de Mme Auguste Charles, Bourbon rose 1886.

How perfect to sit in a corner of the garden and enjoy this magnificent garden.

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.

Behind the house is a walled garden with central lawn surrounded by herbaceous borders.

In the far corner, behind a yew tree is the privy which drained into the back lane!

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.


  1. Wonderful pictures and loving your tour!! So glad that the weather has been kind to you.

  2. Love the tours!!! What an incredible memorable trip. Thanks for sharing. I have to admit, I am with David, I would have been watching the fisherman and wanting to fish. One thing I have truly missed is the opportunity to get out and fish. In time.. in time. =)
    Beautiful post.

  3. More great gardens. That walled one, reminds me of pictures of your garden. You have that touch of the Southwest in yours, though. Lovely.

    I can imagine David was wishing for his rod and reel. Those trout were tempting.

    Again, thanks...

  4. I was just planning on making a quick stop on your site and to leave a comment (belatedly) to thank you for visiting me on GBBD. Instead I have spent the last 20 or 30 minutes enjoying your tour of English gardens. Thank You!

  5. You're killing me with the photos of rose-covered cottages!

    Beautiful stuff -- thanks for sharing!

  6. This was so enjoyable. I loved seeing where Thomas grew many of his favorite roses. I love the roses too you know. :) Oh to be in England in the summertime. Anywhere but hot Oklahoma or Texas 'eh? I'm glad you're enjoying your trip. Thanks for bringing us along.~~Dee

  7. Is that the same River Test that appears in Watership Down?