We were on our way to Poole for a short visit and decided to make a detour to see Breamore House, which had been recommended by a friend. We had a very enjoyable and informative guided tour, from which we quickly learned the correct pronunciation of the name: it is Bremmer Hice. It was completed in 1583 by the Dodington family. It was purchased in the 18th century by Sir Edward Hulse, who was a Baronet and Royal Physician. It is still in the Hulse family to this day. The house suffered a major fire in 1856.
The highlights of the tour were the great hall, the paintings and tapestries and several Tudor beds. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed so I have no pictures. We also learned that the estate was used by the Americans under General Patten during the Second World War, specifically for the preparation for the assault on Omaha beach.
Opposite the entrance is this fine tower. It was built as a water tower, although no longer used as such, in the 19th century. I suspect this was after the fire mentioned above. It is very charming.
After the tour we walked back down the drive to visit the Saxon church of St Mary's which lies just outside the grounds. The church was probably (according to the helpful information leaflet) founded by Ethelred II (The Unready) around 1000 AD and was originally a Minster church. Alterations were made in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries and there was the inevitable restoration during the 19th century. This included removing external plaster to reveal the flint and stonework.
Inside, the archway to the South Porticus (on the right in the picture) contains a Saxon inscription from Ethelred's reign. It is translated as Here is manifested the word to thee.
At the chancel end there are the remains of wall paintings from the 13th and 15th centuries.
Conditions: grey, wet.
Rating: four stars. A delightful place, well worth a visit.