By Louisa McRobb

This year National Trust are celebrating 40 years of Mompesson House being opened to visitors. The house is situated in one of the most famous addresses in Salisbury, the Cathedral Close, and it’s hard not to be taken aback by it.

The impressively symmetrical Mompesson really does drag you in and it doesn’t fail to disappoint inside either!  It was first built in 1700s for Sir Thomas Mompesson, the MP of Salisbury at the time.  However the history of the house is drawn to Denis Martineau and his family, when buying the house in 1952 he promised it to the National Trust when he died.

Mompession House Salisbury 

Martineau only used the house as a holiday home, which is remarkable seeing how large it is! Although in the Library there are some charming photos of him and his family who seem to be enjoying their second home, a lovely addition! 

When he died in 1975 he did leave it to the National Trust but contrary to expectations not any of the contents.  The house was completely bare and as the National Trust wanted to refurbish the house, as it would have been in its prime during the 18th Century, they had a lot of work to do! 

It took the National Trust two years to open the building to the public and all the furnishings found in each of the rooms may not be original but they are a good as they would have been in Georgian times. 

The house itself is grand; the large drawing room downstairs really stands out. Positioned at the back of the house facing the garden, it’s a beautifully painted deep red room with a gorgeous fireplace and piano.

Large Drawing Room

There are friendly volunteers welcoming you into each room offering facts and knowledge. Very accommodating, as if like me you it’s your first visit to Mompesson they really help you out with their breadth of knowledge.

The staircase is another impressive feature, with Oak wood and a large window facing the garden allowing natural light through you can see each and every detail. Looking up the staircase you can imagine it as a family home in the halcyon days.

The Library was my favourite room, it still contains Martineau’s curtains and the colour of the wall and ceiling are still as they would’ve been in the 1950s.  A great aspect of the room is that you can sit on the furniture, allowing you to really get a feel for it.

Upstairs there are two bedrooms, in the south east there’s a wardrobe that is thought to have come all the way from America! Another great furnishing is the dressing table with fold out mirrors, quirky and different; I thought I could do with one! 

The last room is an exhibition comprising of original photos, newspaper articles, and images of the development from 1975-1977. A nice finish to a glorious house.  Outside in the beautifully well-kept garden is a lovely tearoom and a National Trust shop.

Mompession House Garden
 
A great visit for the avid historians or families alike, Salisbury is a magnificent medieval city with the house being in the Cathedral Close it’s a great stop off point before you see the Cathedral and its grounds. Another place not to miss out on is Roly’s Fudge shop, only metres away from Mompesson, be sure to stop in and pick up some homemade fudge!

To find out more about things to do in Salisbury click here. Plus don’t forget to check out the places to stay in and around Salisbury and make a break out of it. 

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