Tom Jones Slept Here

Published: 09/05/2023 By Mark Lewis

Imagine Thomas Hardy’s Tess arriving on her wedding night with Angel Clare to a beautiful, isolated, cottage in the West Dorset countryside. As the light fades on their prophetic day, water is drawn from a well and candles lit and then the words are heard “cut” as the director of the BBC drama calls it a wrap and the actors Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne retire to their respective trailers.

The setting is 1 Lower Sturthill Cottage, between Puncknowle and Burton Bradstock, and nestled in a secluded position at the end of a near-mile-long track deep in the West Dorset countryside, and one of the hidden gems that Symonds & Sampson will be offering for sale by auction on 8 June.

Residential partner at Symonds & Sampson’s Bridport office, Steve Allen, says ‘Very few people will know that this property exists; it is one of the most atmospheric properties I have seen in some while. It is a two-bedroom cottage with outbuildings, stream, bluebell wood and 8 acres of pastureland, overlooking a lake, but that is only a part of the story. ‘It is ‘off grid’ – water is by a private supply, there is no mains electricity  (the last occupant used a generator) and a new private drainage system will need to be installed. Flagstone floors, exposed beams, cruck timbers and screens, open fireplaces with bressummer beams and window seats transport you back in time – certainly as far back as Hardy – and I can quite see why it became a popular film set.

‘A sign on the outside boasts that Tom Jones slept here, and I immediately thought of the Welsh heartthrob who is still able to sell out venues at the age of 82. I was interested to learn that it was, instead, the title character of Henry Fielding’s novel of the same name which was partly filmed at the cottage in 1963 and starred Albert Finney’.

Auctioneer Mark Lewis of Symonds & Sampson adds ‘There is undoubtedly much that could be done to the property, but it is so charming and unique that a buyer may wish to do nothing at all. The buildings, pastureland and woodland walks will delight, and I feel sure it will be bought by someone who will love and cherish it. It is very romantic – hopefully, the ending for the buyer will be happier than poor Tess.’

The property is being offered for sale by auction on 8 June 2023 with a Guide of £395,000. Find the details here, or contact Steve Allen at our Bridport office on 01308 422092 To discuss selling or buying property at auction, contact our auction team, details below:


Meet the Property Auctions Team

Mark Lewis

Senior Partner
Sturminster Newton


Department: Residential Sales, Property Auctions, Sturminster Newton Sales, Professional
Service: RICS Registered Valuer, RICS Valuer, Selling, Buying, Agency

01258 473766
07970 684786
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Meredith Wallis

Auction Partner
Blandford, Sturminster Newton, Wimborne


Department: Residential Sales, Property Auctions, Blandford Sales, Sturminster Newton Sales, Wimborne Sales
Speciality: Agency, Selling, Buying
01202 843190
07470 050577
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Graham Barton

Consultant Auctioneer and Surveyor


Department: Residential Sales, Property Auctions, Professional, Axminster Sales
Service: Agency, Buying, Selling, RICS Registered Valuer, RICS Valuer 

01297 33122
07395 046382
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