Travel through the English county of Wiltshire and you can expect to encounter flint and red-bricked façades, as well as plenty of quaint churches dating back to the Middle Ages, and a myriad of rolling green hills. It’s also here where you’ll find many a filming location, including one from the 1995 Sense and Sensibility Film in the form of Mompesson House.
A brief history of Mompesson House
Mompesson House was built for a man of the same name, Charles Mompesson, a local MP whose family had long dealt in politics. Constructed during the early 1700s and located within Cathedral Close, just steps away from the historic Salisbury Cathedral, the Townhouse is well worth a visit on any trip to the city.
The former family home is typical of the era; four rooms up and four down. On the ground floor, there’s a dining room, a small drawing room, formal drawing room, and library, while the upper floor houses several bedrooms. Once inside the entryway, the focal point of the house is an ornate oak staircase, as well as plenty of beautiful plaster mouldings.
All of the rooms are now set just as the house would have been at the turn of the 18th-century, with the exception of the library (a room to the back of the house which was renovated during the 1950s). Although the furniture is all antique, none of it is original to Mompesson.
Highlights of the collections within Mompesson House include notable fine drinking glasses, lots of 17th-century portraits, and several historic pieces of furniture. In the following century, the Longueville family inherited Mompesson. They then resided there up until the late 1930s.
During the 1940s, the house was inhabited by Bishop of Salisbury at the time, Neville Lovett. Mompesson was then purchased by architect Mr Denis Martineau, who immediately gifted the house to the National Trust in 1952. Martineau then resided in Cathedral Close up until his death in the 1970s when the trust set about opening the house to the public.
Mompesson House: 1995 Sense & Sensibility Filming Location
Over the years, the timeless classic by Jane Austen has been adapted again and again for both home viewers, as well as the big screen. One of the more popular versions of the book turned screenplay is that of 1995, and stars the likes of Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, and Emma Thompson.
Within the 1995 Sense and Sensibility movie, Mompesson House was used as the house of Mrs Jennings. Scenes filmed within the house were shot in every room apart from the library and smaller drawing room. The architecture of Mompesson House in Queen Anne, a style which refers to the English Baroque which was so popular during the reign of Queen Anne.
Visit Mompesson House
Easy to reach via foot from pretty much anywhere in central Salisbury, today, the house is owned and managed by the National Trust. Should you want to visit for yourself, Mompesson House is open every day of the week during the late spring, summer, and early autumn.
To the back of the house, in a beautifully appointed garden, there’s a coffee shop selling teas, coffees, and cakes among the shrubs. If you’re a national trust member, then entry to the house is free. Otherwise, tickets currently cost £6.80 for an adult.
Nearby things to do in Salisbury and beyond
Nearby attractions of interest during your visit to Salisbury include a visit to Old Sarum (a cathedral and royal castle all set within an Iron Age Hillfort), as well as Salisbury Plain (a chalk plateau home to an abandoned village and several neolithic settlements), and, of course, Stonehenge. In fact, the most famous prehistoric site in England can be found just a twenty-minute drive from Salisbury city centre.
For fans of visiting filming locations, it’s also worth noting that the stunning village of Lacock is also located in Wiltshire. Situated just under an hour from Salisbury via car, this quintessentially British settlement was used to film the likes of Harry Potter and Cranford. More scenes from the 1995 Sense and Sensibility movie were also filmed in Lacock, which featured as Meryton, the Bennett family’s town.
I visited Salisbury at the end of June 2018 with Visit Wiltshire. However, all opinions, words, and photos are my own!