Situated on the banks of the River Test, Mottisfont Abbey is a former 13th century priory with extensive gardens and river walks. After the dissolution of the Monasteries the priory was acquired by William Lord Sandys whose family owned it for some 400 years. Gilbert Russell bought the estate in 1934 and began making changes to the house and gardens, finally commissioning Rex Whistler to redesign the former entrance hall in the south wing into a Gothic drawing room. Gilbert Russell died in 1942, his widow gave the house and estate to the National Trust in 1957, although she continued to live at Mottisfont until 1972. During the Second World War the house become a hospital with 80 patients.