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The history of Mottistone Gardens and Estate

A view between a gap in a hedge of two people walking in front of the old stone walls of the house at Mottistone Garden and Estate
The house at Mottistone Gardens and Estate | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Nestled in a natural hollow beneath the downs, it’s not hard to see why there’s been some form of building at Mottistone for over a thousand years. Discover how the estate and garden evolved and came through disaster.

An ancient site with a varied past

First mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, the manor as it stands today was created during the 15th and 16th centuries. The surrounding gardens are nowhere near as ancient. Initially created in the 1960s, the team of National Trust gardeners have built upon the original design to create a varied planting scheme.

Over the years the estate has had mixed fortunes, with the house weathering a landslide, and the garden becoming a farmyard. Thankfully, the grounds and manor at Mottistone have been restored and are both a peaceful garden and a beautiful private home.

The timeline below shows you more about the history of both the garden and the manor.

A timeline of the house and garden at Mottistone


The Domesday Book

The existence of Mottistone Manor is recorded in the Domesday Book.

Visitors in the garden at Mottistone, Isle of Wight

Discover more at Mottistone Gardens and Estate

Find out when Mottistone Gardens and Estate is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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The long view from Mottistone Common to the white cliffs of Tennyson Down in the far distance

Exploring the estate at Mottistone 

With wide-open spaces and far-reaching views, there is plenty to do on the estate from walking and cycling to discovering remains of a Neolithic long barrow.

A garden path lined with spring flowers and trees in blossom in Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight

Explore the garden at Mottistone Gardens and Estate 

Discover a garden packed full of interest with deep flower borders, wandering paths, clipped hedging, an orchard and far-reaching views to the sea.

An image of a small single storey wooden building called The Shack in the grounds of Mottistone Garden and Estate, which is stood on stone pillars and clad in wooden singles

The Shack at Mottistone Gardens and Estate 

The Shack was a neat, compact retreat for 1930s architects Seely & Paget where they designed projects like Eltham Palace. It is still furnished as it would have been in their time.

Overhead view of an octagonal table with the figure of Silenus, a drunken follower of Bacchu, in The Library at Claydon House in Buckinghamshire


Learn about people from the past, discover remarkable works of art and brush up on your knowledge of architecture and gardens.