Wolfeton House is a fine early Tudor and Elizabethan manor house set in water-meadows near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Cerne.
The building is a substantial remnant of the house built by the Trenchards, once one of the leading families in Dorset.
The estate passed to John Trenchard by marriage in 1480. He and his son, Thomas Trenchard, built a compact courtyard house on the site.
In the late-16th century Sir George Trenchard extended the south range and embellished the building. He added the splendid plaster ceilings, fireplaces and panelling dating from around 1580.
This was the peak of Wolfeton's prosperity and from this period onwards the house gradually declined. In the late-18th century Wolfeton House was abandoned by Sir George's descendants and it was later sold to cousins.
By 1800 the chapel in the north range was in ruins and in 1822 - 28 other parts of the house were demolished.
In 1862 the property was purchased by W.H.P.Weston who repaired the remaining buildings and carried out some modifications.
The present owner is a kinsman of the Trenchard family and since 1973 he has carried out further restoration to the house.
Wolfeton House is approached through the medieval Gatehouse that was once attached to north and south ranges of the early Tudor house. This led through to the small courtyard of the Trenchard's house. The detached Gatehouse is flanked by two unmatched round towers.
One of the towers is still used as a dovecote. A small room to the right, now known as the Chapel, contains a series of fascinating wooden panels showing the Signs of the Zodiac and Occupations of the Months. These panels were brought here when the house was reduced in size.
The present house is formed from the south-west corner of the original building.
The house consists of the Hall with its intricately carved mullioned windows and battlemented stair turret and the three-bay Elizabethan addition to the west. Between the two buildings is a small garderobe projection.
The entrance to the house is through a groin-vaulted passageway to the north. This has linen-fold panelling and leads to the Elizabethan stone staircase. The staircase dates from 1580 and is one of the finest of its type to survive in England.
The house contains some fine pictures and furniture. The Hall is situated to the east is entered through an elaborately carved doorway. The room was much altered in the 19th century and contains some early 16th century panels and 17th century portraits.
The Elizabethan wing to the west contains the Parlour and the Dining Room. These rooms have superb carved wooden doorways and chimneypieces dating from the late-16th or early-17th century. The plaster ceilings also date from the same period.
In Elizabethan times there was a lavishly decorated great chamber or Gallery with a barrel ceiling of plaster above these rooms.
This was subsequently divided up but the present owner has removed the divisions and it is now possible to see the splendid proportions of the original room and its impressive stone chimneypiece.