Tyneham House – One of Purbeck’s Finest Country Houses
Tyneham House, or ‘The Great House’ as it was more commonly known was the home of the Bonds. The Bond family owned Tyneham and as a result, much of the village life revolved around their grand family home. In it’s heyday Tyneham House was one of the most beautiful country houses in Dorset.
Orginally built in 1523, the three story Elizabethan mansion was set in beautiful grounds with immaculate lawns, lime trees, palms and other tropical plants that were able to survive in the humid micro-climate of the valley.
After the forced evacuation of Tyneham, Tyneham house was used to house members of the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) who were billeted there during the war. After the war it was boarded up and remained more or less intact up until the late 1960s. Some missing roof tiles the only real sign of neglect.
“Two Members of the WAAF Sitting Outside Tyneham House”
After that though, the Great House was stripped of most of it’s valuable possessions. Almost all of the interior was taken out so that it could be used in other country houses in England. It is said that much of it was also taken to the United States.
Soon after this, Tyneham House was reduced to rubble by the army.
It had been assessed and decided that it couldn’t be restored, thus leaving demolition as the only option. Despite this assessment, photographic evidence shows that this was clearly not the case and the Great House could have easily been restored and preserved much like the church and school were.
The circumstances were clearly different though. Few people had ever seen Tyneham House, let alone knew the whereabouts of it. Unlike the church and school which were well and truly in the public eye, Tyneham House was hidden away in Tyneham’s Great Wood, roughly half a mile from the village itself.
Before the destruction of Tyneham House, most of the interior and anything else that was salvageable were taken away to other parts of the country and even as far away as America. In the interview with former resident, Doug Churchill, he recalls standing in the woods seeing the army stripping the house bare and loading the contents into trucks.
“The remains of Tyneham House before it was finaly demolished. Looking like only a shadow of
it’s former glory, it could have been restored.”
Many people believe that because Tyneham House hidden away in the Great Wood, it enabled the army to act quickly in destroying this wonderful country mansion. Why? Well, many people feel it was to cover up that most of the interior had been stripped by army personnel.
The Army have since realised that this was a huge mistake and would rather keep whatever is left of Tyneham House out of the public’s eye.. Thus it is left hidden away in the Great Wood and is impossible to see when visiting the village itself.
There are still some vantage points in the surrounding countryside where it’s still possible to see the the remains of this once grand building, all be it, from a distance.
Tyneham House as it is today. Hidden away in the trees, it’s strictly off limits to the public.