The real history of Stonor is a history of characters. For over 850 years the family have left their mark in both private and public life. The faces looking out from the portraits around the house tell stories of service to the country, family life and great curiosity of the expanding world.
The first mention of Stonor is ‘Stanora Lege’, or ‘stony hill’, appearing in AD 774 with the first recorded family member, Robert De Stanora, living there during the late 12th Century.
Throughout the next three centuries the family prospered, acquiring lands and titles, administering lucrative wardships and farming their flocks of sheep. Stonors fought in great battles, held high office and displayed an uncanny knack of marrying rich heiresses from powerful local families.
This expansion was curtailed with Henry VIII’s Act of Supremacy as the Catholic Stonors refused to accept the monarch as head of the church. This unwavering commitment to their faith came at a great cost, and by 1650 all of the Stonor estates, barring the Stonor Valley, had been sold to pay recusancy fines.
After generations of lobbying, the Catholic Emancipation Act was eventually passed in 1829 at which point the 3rd Lord Camoys once more embraced government and public life. The late Lord Thomas Camoys served as Lord Chamberlain to the Queen until 2000 whilst his son Lord William Camoys served in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Stonor is now home to three generations of the Stonor family – The Lord and Lady Camoys reside in the main house with their three children and Lady Elisabeth Camoys lives in the recently restored 16th Century Wool House.