OVERVIEW | HISTORY | FAMILY | FAMILY TREE
The History of Stonor is characterised most strongly by continuities - those of family and of adherence to their faith. The site has been owned by the Stonor family for over 850 years, and excellent records are available to document their activities and contribution to local and national life throughout that time. Since the family has been close to successive monarchs, the story of the Stonor family mirrors closely the many developments in English life through the last nine centuries.
Even more closely the history is tied to the fortunes
and travails of Catholics. Most particularly this refers
to the dark days of the Reformation and Penal Laws,
and the steady re-emergence of Catholics since then,
including Catholic Emancipation in 1829, leading to
renewed participation in the public life of the 19th,
20th & 21st centuries.
The buildings themselves, the portraits and other works
of art, as well as documents on show in the house, illustrate
these themes of continuity today. The core of the house
at Stonor is a group of medieval buildings. The first
recorded building, (now the tearoom and shop), dates
from the late 12th century. The second, 1350 hall, was
divided into the present small Gothic Revival Hall,
The Drawing Room, Dining Room and bedroom above. By
approximately 1540, the House had adopted a formal "E"
shape, and brick facades had been introduced to cover
the timber and flint buildings behind, some of which
are intact behind the present front.
For the next 200 years of Recusancy, no building and
little maintenance was possible. However, some relief
of the Penal Laws was in place by the late-18th century.
Externally, additions were made and the full Georgian
front and windows were installed from 1759. At around
the same time, major changes were made inside the house,
with the second hall, dating from 1350, being extensively
remodelled and decorated in the Gothic style. The drawing
room and dining room now occupying the space of the
older hall were the subject of further alterations in
Since then there has been little change in layout, but
extensive renovations and redecorations have been made
throughout the last 50 years. The Park retains much
of its 18th century planting and layout. The garden
is still enclosed by its old walls. The visitor today
largely sees Stonor as it has looked since the 1760's.