Mottisfont is about twenty minutes from where I live so I’m lucky enough to be able to visit at any time during the year. My sister was staying in June, so we decided to take advantage of the evening openings and enjoy the roses in the Walled Garden on a lovely summer’s day. But unfortunately the weekend was not warm with showers threatening at any moment. And because it was cold, there was no overpowering smell of roses. However, it was still beautiful and we were protected from the wind by the high brick walls.
I drive to Mottisfont along the back roads but if you are coming from M3, leave at Junction 8 on the A303 towards Andover. Just before Stockbridge and after the village of Kings Somborne, turn right following the signs to Mottisfont.
The rose garden was laid out by Graham Stuart Thomas for the National Trust in 1972/73.
Recorded as belonging to William the Conqueror in the Domesday Book, Mottisfont was owned by William Briwere by the end of the twelfth century; he founded a Priory of Augustinian monks c.1201. The Priory was disbanded during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and given to Sir William Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys, who transformed the priory buildings into a house centred around two courtyards with two wings either side of the existing church nave – the sacristy and cellarium can still be seen on the lower ground floor.
The property was bought by Gilbert and Maud Russell in 1934. They restored the house and commissioned several garden designers to create different parts of the garden to reflect the history of the house. Norah Lindsay designed a box-edged knot-garden in front of the house taking her inspiration from a piece of Tudor glass which has since been lost.
There’s the usual National Trust shop while one of the cafes is in the converted stable yard.