The Four Martyn Sisters of Athelhampton

Tragedy and Wealth in Tudor Dorsetshire

Chapter 6 : Afterwards

The strands of tragedy that had surrounded the four sisters gave way to happier times, with more than fifteen of their children surviving to adulthood. There is good evidence that many of their descendents are alive today.

Athelhampton house was divided into four parts after Sir Nicholas’ death in 1596, as he had intended – one quarter for each sister or to be more exact, for each of their husbands and their descendents. However, this arrangement did not persist for long. Over the following decades, the shares of Jane and Frances were combined under the ownership of the descendents of Elizabeth. They in turn sold this three-quarters share in 1665 to Sir Robert Long.

So, it was only the family of the youngest sister, Anne, who retained an interest in the house for the long term. They held it for over a quarter of a millennium, finally relinquishing it around 1860 to George Wood, who had recently acquired the other three-quarters and thus bought the house back into a single ownership. The ownership of Athelhampton by those of the Martyn bloodline thus came to an end almost four hundred years after they had built the present house in 1485.