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Stonor Park (Stonor House) (Stonora)

  • House & Family History: Stonor has a red-brick Elizabethan façade that covers a 13th century hall range, a 14th century hall, and 18th century alterations. The house has been home to the Stonor family for over 800 years (the village of Stonor took its name from the family, who came to live in the area in 1190). The Stonors were once one of the greatest families in England; however, after Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy, they became Popish Recusants for refusing to accept the monarch as head of the church in England. In 1577 Dame Cecily Stonor paid £50,000 in fines (approximately £169 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index) for failure to conform to parts of the Penal Laws; she was later imprisoned for her part in harboring St. Edmund Campion at Stonor in 1581. Her son, John Stonor, was exiled to France for life as a result of involvement in the same episode. To pay the continual fines for refusing to conform to the Anglican Church, all the family's estates, except those surrounding the house, had been sold by 1650. In spite of their persecution, the Stonors persisted in remaining Catholic and played an important role in keeping Roman Catholicism alive in England for hundreds of years. In 1829 the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed; this act formally ended recusancy and permitted Catholics to take a role in public life. The Stonor family's Barony of Camoys, in abeyance since the death of Hugh, 2nd Baron, in 1426, was thus allowed to be brought out of abeyance in 1889 in favor of Thomas Stonor, a descendant of Margaret, one of the sisters of Hugh. The current Lord Camoys was lord chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth II from 1998 until 2000.

    Collections: There is a fine collection of family portraits, tapestries, bronzes, and ceramics at Stonor. Some silver gilt was sold at Christie's on March 21, 1979 for £72,800.

    Comments: "If I had to suggest to a visitor who only had one day to sample the beauties of Oxfordshire, I would suggest a visit to Stonor and a walk through its delectable park." —John Steane

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Stonor has a prehistoric circle of standing stones (like a mini Stonehenge) that, amazingly, survives very likely in its original position in front of the house and the chapel (one of the circle stones has been visibly incorporated into the southeast corner of the chapel). Behind the house is a fine Italianate walled garden.

    Chapel & Church: The flint and stone 14th century chapel features an early brick tower that is believed to be the first example of the use of brick in Britain since the Romans left in the 5th century. The Stonor family has worshiped here for 800 years. The chapel is one of only three in England that has celebrated mass without a break since the Reformation.

  • Architect: John Aitkins

    Date: 1758-59
    Designed: Hall alterations for Thomas Stonor

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  • John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. III, 1820.

    Country Life: CVIII, 1094, 1188, 1282, 1950. CLVIII, 1794, 1975.

  • Title: How to Read a Country House
    Author: Musson, Jeremy
    Year Published: 2005
    Reference: pg. 12
    Publisher: London: Ebury Press
    ISBN: 009190076X
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, 1990
    Author: Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (Editors)
    Year Published: 1990
    Reference: pgs. P 204, P 205
    Publisher: London: Debrett's Peerage Limited (New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.)
    ISBN: 0312046405
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Movie Locations: A Guide to Britain & Ireland
    Author: Adams, Mark
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: Boxtree
    ISBN: 0752271695
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "The Living Daylights" (1987 - as the Secret Service estate where a top rival spy is being guarded). "Danny, the Champion of the World" (1989 - TV movie). "Possession" (2002).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Ralph Thomas Campion George Sherman Stonor, 7th Baron Camoys; Stonor family here since the 13th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01491-638-587

    Fax: 01491-639-348

    Email: enquiries@stonor.com

    Website: https://www.stonor.com

    Historic Houses Member: Yes