Turning off the B3147 by the small sign to Wolfeton House instead of the grand drive you might expect, you find yourself on a farm track across the water meadows. Keep going, because just when you are sure that it is a wild goose chase, youʼll find the parking area.
Then as soon as you get your first sight of the house you realise that you have found somewhere rather special and that the risk to your carʼs suspension was worth it.
Ahead of you are two fourteenth century round towers flanking a Tudor Gatehouse dated 1534. Going through the gateway you come to what is almost a separate building connected only by a single story covered passage. This is a building of two halves.
The South Front
The nearer part is roughly contemporary with the gatehouse and was built by Thomas Trenchard who owned the property between 1495 and 1550. His great-grandson Sir George Trenchard, who owned the property between 1557 and 1630, rebuilt the Elizabethan western end of this house, together with an Entrance Front, a Service Wing and a Chapel.
The North Porch
In the 18th century the Trenchards moved to a newer house in Lytchett Matravers, and eventually sold Wolfeton in 1807. Most of Sir Thomasʼs house was demolished soon after, leaving just the buildings we see today.
The property changed hands several times and was eventually divided up into flats. The current owners Captain Thimbleby, who is distantly related to the Trenchards, and his wife took over the property in the 1973, and have lovingly restored it.
The gatehouse is let as a holiday home through the Landmark Trust and, apart from a small room on the ground floor which now serves as a tiny Chapel, it is not open to the public.
The rest of the house is open to the public, and the inside of the building, which you are not allowed to photograph, is every bit as charming as the exterior. Itʼs a nice size as well; the sort of place you could imagine living in.
For opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the Historic Houses Association site detailed below.
Incidentally, just to confuse matters, the guidebook refers to Wolfeton as Wolveton throughout. The Landmark Trust also prefers this spelling.