Historic houses - Dyrham Park, near Bath, England
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The old farmhouse remains in the centre of Dyrham Park.
The building of Dyrham Park
This imposing property was once a farm. The top of the roof of the original farmhouse can be seen between the two 'new' wings of the house added by William Blathwayt.
The farm was owned by the Wynter family and their daughter Mary was heir to the property.
William, 37, married Mary, 36, in 1686 and the couple had three children. Mary died five years after their wedding, leaving William to raise their three young children.
William was a commoner but worked for Charles II, James II, William and Mary and Queen Anne.
He was surveyor and auditor-general of plantation revenues in the colonies and was often given gifts in kind including building materials which he used for Dyrham Park.
After Mary's death, William preserved his wife's bedroom in the original farmhouse but had two huge extensions added to the house and had a large formal garden designed and built.
He had the Latin family motto His utere mecum (translated as Share all this with me) inscribed over the door.
William's elder son, also William, continued to make further extensions.
What to see
The house is well preserved and the dining room and ballroom give an indication of the importance of Dyrham Park in its heyday.
The downstairs is also well preserved and fitted out with bread ovens, and a mechanical fireplace in which the steam rising up the chimney drives a pulley system which turns meat roasting on a rotisserie in front of the fire.
The 250 acres of gardens and grounds are well worth a stroll. A bus ferries visitors from the car park at the entry to the house and back regularly through the day.
The church which is attached to the house is also worth seeing, especially for the tomb nad the hand-drawn litter for carrying coffins.
The kitchen, Dyrham Park, Bath, England.
Dyrham Park was first recorded in the early 1500s and drawn on a Saxon map in 1577.
With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, eight years before William Blathwayt married Mary, deer herds became a new fashion.
The deer at Dyrham Park are Fallow Deer, a breed thought to be native to England.
The fireplace and machinery, Dyrham Park, Bath.
Dyrham Park, Dyrham, Bath, UK
Opening times for different sections of the house, basement and kitchen, garden, deer park, shop and tea rooms vary depending on the time of year and maintain requirements. See the website for opening times.
Drinks and meals
The old stables have been made into a sytlish tea room offering cream tea, lunches, hot and cold drinks and snacks, from local seasonal produce when possible.
Indoor and outdoor seating is available. The tea rooms are wheel-chair accessible.
A courtyard kiosk also sells freshly ground coffee, a selection of teas, ice-creams, snacks and sandwiches.
Entry to the garden and park only is £4.50 for adults and £2.50 for children, or £9.90 for a family.
Entry to the whole property including the house is £11.10 for adults and £5.80 for children or £27.80 for a family.
Discounts apply for Gift Aid entries.