Dorset home of Lord Nelson’s Thomas Hardy up for sale
The former Dorset home of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, the man to whom the dying Admiral Lord Nelson uttered the immortal words: “kiss me Hardy”, is up for sale with a guide price of £1.5 million.
Portesham House, in the picturesque village of Portesham in Dorset, was home to Hardy until 1807, two years after he had knelt at Nelson’s deathbed during the Battle of Trafalgar.
Sir Thomas, born at Kingston Russell House, Long Bredy, first went to sea as a captain’s servant at the age of 12, but left after six months to continue his education at Crewkerne Grammar School in Somerset. Back at sea he rose through the ranks and in 1798 was promoted to captain of Nelson’s flagship HMS Vanguard. In 1803 Sir Thomas was reunited with Nelson on HMS Victory and two years later the pair led the British forces into battle against the joint French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar.
Grade II-listed, 500-year-old Portesham House is set in 1.2 acres of land and is described by Peter Lane, from estate agents Savills, as: “A quintessential Georgian village house and a little slice of British history. It is one of the most historically important houses in Dorset. It is thought to be of Tudor origin and was remodelled in the Georgian period.
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“It has many original features including a fine reception hall and staircase and several fireplaces. The house has also had comprehensive and sympathetic improvements including the addition of a utility room, a store room and a magnificent kitchen and breakfast room providing access to, and extensive views of, the gardens. It is a very special house indeed.”
A pretty mill steam runs through the garden.
Nelson was fatally shot by a French sniper as he paced the deck of HMS Victory with Hardy.
Hardy, created a baronet in 1806, went on to become First Naval Lord, declined to become an MP, and encouraged the introduction of steam ships. He left Portesham House in 1807 after marrying Lady Louisa Berkely, the daughter of his Commander in Chief, but the house remained in his family until the estate was broken up.
A 65ft high monument to Hardy, erected in his honour in 1844, and now owned by the National Trust, looks down on the village from nearby Blackdown Hill.