Chettle | Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine:
The name Chettle comes from the Saxon for a deep valley, which describes the area very well.
Sometime around 1106 a nunnery was established here under the patronage of Henry I. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the estate passed to the crown, until Elizabeth I sold it to the Chafin family, in whose hands it remained until 1818.
A lovely red-brick manor house in Queen Anne style, designed by architect Thomas Archer for George Chafin in 1710. Archer created an elegant masterpiece of English Baroque to replace an earlier Elizabethan house. The highlight of Archer's design is the sweeping double staircase in the Oak Entrance Hall, where the seperate arms describe an elegant arc and meet at the first floor balcony.
Chettle House, for it is hardly visible from the narrow lanes which surround it.
The church at Chettle is St Mary's, which was once supposedly the home of a font designed by Vanbrugh and described by Roland Gant as being 'up against the greensward, romantically dark and solemn and primly enclosed by iron railings'.
The lovely 16th century parish church, which is an attractive Decorated Gothic building with several Chafin family tombs.
After the death of the last Chafin without heir, the house was purchased by the Castleman family of Wimborne.
Edward Castleman died in 1946 and his descendants the Bourke family still own and run the estate today.
In 1996 this building was refurbished and opened as the Castleman Hotel and Restaurant by Teddy Bourke and his wife Barbara, since when it has featured in numerous guides, as well as newspaper and magazine editorial. Sadly Teddy Bourke died in 2011 and his skills as raconteur and host are greatly missed but Barbara and the rest of the team continue the good work.
To the north lies Cecil Beaton’s old estate Ashcombe House, which was bought by Madonna and Guy Ritchie.
It has no crime, full employment, cheap housing... and is owned by the lord of the manor. So is this the perfect English village? - News - London Evening Standard:
Teddy Bourke: Lawyer and conservationist devoted to the West Country - Obituaries - News - The Independent:
Edward Bourke, the youngest of three children of Leslie and Esther Bourke, was born in 1941 at Chettle House. His mother had inherited the house, village and more than 1,000 acres but debts of more than £30,000 meant that disposals were necessary.
Edward Timothy Castleman Bourke, solicitor, restaurateur and hotelier: born Chettle, Dorset 6 August 1941; married 2005 Barbara Garnsworthy; died Chettle 21 August 2011.
The vicious family war tearing apart England's most perfect village: It's been in the same family for 400 years. But now scheming siblings in a Domesday Book hamlet are putting the 'feud' into feudal | Daily Mail Online:
Indeed, the Bourke family itself has appeared to outsiders to be a model of civility, amicably dividing the assets of the estate so that one son, Patrick, ran Home Farm and took over Chettle House in 1966, shortly before the family matriarch, Esther, died. Meanwhile, his brother Teddy, a solicitor and bon viveur, established the Castleman Hotel in the estate’s old Dower House and ran the lumber business with their sister, Susan Favre, who oversaw the estate.
They have been at loggerheads since their brother Teddy’s death 21 August 2011, and have not exchanged a single word over the past two years.
Just look at the neighbours: Crichel House, directly to the south of Chettle, was bought for £34 million last year by American hedge fund billionaire Richard L Chilton. To the north lies Cecil Beaton’s old estate Ashcombe House, which was bought by Madonna and Guy Ritchie for £10 million in 2001 (English country house of former resident and artist/designer Cecil Beaton).
But how much longer will the integrity of Chettle, one of only a handful of family-run, feudal estates across the country, remain intact?
Chettle Fete - Fete/Fair in Blandford Forum, Blandford Forum - Dorset: "Chettle Fete (20/06/2015)"
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