The Domesday Book records that in 1086 the Bishop of Salisbury, with Odbold as tenant, held the manor, then called Pidele. The name Aethelhelm appears in the 13th century, when Athelhampton belonged to the de Loundres family. In 1350 Richard Martyn married the de Pydele heiress, and their descendant Sir William Martyn (who was Lord Mayor of London in 1492) received licence to enclose 160 acres (65 ha) of land to form a deer park and a licence to fortify the manor.
Sir William Martyn had the current Great Hall built in about 1493. A West Wing and Gatehouse were added in 1550, but in 1862 the Gatehouse was demolished. Sir Robert Long bought Athelhampton House in 1665 from Sir Ralph Bankes. In 1684 an attempt was made by the court[clarification needed] to sequester the estate from the then owner, James Long Esquire (son of Sir James Long, 2nd Baronet), to recover a debt, but this seems to have been unsuccessful. The estate passed down through the Long family to William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley (Viscount Wellesley, later 5th Earl of Mornington), who sold it in 1848 to George Wood. In 1891, the house was acquired by the antiquarian Alfred de Lafontaine, who carried out restoration to the interior and added the North Wing in 1920–21.
At the same time de Lafontaine engaged Inigo Thomas to create one of England's great gardens as a series of "outdoor rooms" inspired by the Renaissance. 20 acres (8.1 ha) of formal gardens are encircled by the River Piddle, and consist of eight walled gardens with numerous fountains and pavilions, plus a balustraded terrace, statues, obelisks and vistas through gate piers. Great Court contains 12 giant yew pyramids set around the pool by the great terrace. The lawn to the west has an early 16th-century circular dovecote, and the south terrace features a vast Magnolia grandiflora and a Banksian rose. Pear trees cover the old walls and support roses and Clematis.
Athelhampton's commercial interests including some pubs and restaurants in Dorset are run by a partnership between Patrick & Andrea Cooke, the present owners, and Owen Davies. The Martyrs Inn in the historic village of Tolpuddle 1.6 miles (3 km) away has high profile links[clarification needed] with Athelhampton.
Across the A35 road is the former Church of England parish church of St John, built in 1861–62 to move the old parish church away from the house. St John's was designed by the Dorchester architect John Hicks, who employed Thomas Hardy at the time. The Diocese of Dorchester declared the St John's redundant in 1975, after which it fell into disrepair. The church, its pews and most of the graveyard were bought[by whom?] in 1984. It is now used by the Antiochian Orthodox parish of St Edward King and Martyr. A congregation worships at services at the church every Sunday.
Great Western Railway steam locomotive 6971 Athelhampton Hall, was one of the 71 Modified Hall Class locomotives used for passenger and freight in south and southwest England. British Railways withdrew 6971 from service in October 1965 and she was scrapped. The locomotive's nameplates are displayed at Athelhampton.
- The House was used as a location for the 1972 film, Sleuth, when it was owned by Robert Cooke, MP.
- The house and gardens were also used for the main filming location of the Doctor Who serial The Seeds of Doom.
- Julian Fellowes used the house for his children's film From Time to Time based on The Chimmneys of Green Knowe.
- Newman, John; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1972). Dorset. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 80–83. ISBN 0 14 071044 2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Athelhampton.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Athelhampton Hall.|
- Athelhampton (official website)
- "Marevna's Studio" at Athelhampton House where the Russian émigrée cubist painter Marie Vorobieff, known also as Marevna, stayed and worked between 1949 and 1957 
- Orthodox parish of St. Edward, King and Passionbearer
- Athelhampton in the Domesday Book