William Castleman - (whose surname will be familiar to anyone who has walked around the Catleman Trailway around Wimborne) was a Steward to the Hanham Estate. His eldest son, Edward also became a Steward to the Bankes Estate and his youngest son Charles was proactive in bringing the railway to Wimborne. Wm Catleman also managed estates at Sturminster Marshall and as he became more wealthy he bought land in Wimborne and built this house.
The house was built in 1823; designed by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville with features of the building being of particular interest and relating to the political and social climate of those early years of the 1800s. This was a time following the Napoleonic Wars and men involved had returned home to relative poverty. There had been an economic depression and in 1815, the Corn Laws had been introduced limiting imports if wheat and resulting in an increase in the price of bread - the staple food of the poorest. There had been the Peterloo Massacre in the North-West where soldiers had fired into crowds of protesters - and in 1812 the Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval had been assassinated - times indeed, of unrest !
William Castleman therefore feared that his home might be attacked and this led to much thicker walls being included along with mostly false windows facing the town - all contriving to ensure privacy and separate the family from the labouring classes.
The building has been a High School for Girls and a Chinese restaurant, as well as a Drinking Club. It was bought in 1939 by the Urban District Council and used as a Civic Centre until 1974.It is now the home of the East Dorset Heritage Trust.