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19th Century

17th Baron Stourton. On 11/12 October 1805 the estate including the house, pleasure ground and the richly timbered park of 3,218 acres, 3 roods and 25 perches, was sold at Garroways Coffee House in London to Lord Stourton for £153,315. Lord Stourton had recently parted with the manor of Bonham. A further 642 acres, 3 roods and 5 perches was acquired for £40,000 on 4 July 1810. In 1810 the total estate was approximately 4,016 acres. (Page 582 ‘The History of The Noble House of Stourton, 1899’). He renamed the house ‘Stourton Towers’.

The ancient house of Stourton arose from the town of Stourton in Wiltshire from before the conquest. They can trace their lineage, in direct male line, from one Botolph Stourton, Lord of Stourton, who married Anne, daughter of Godwin, Earl of the West Saxons, and was therefore brother-in-law to Harold II, the last of the Saxon kings, and Edward the Confessor. After the battle fought at Stourton in 878 against the Danes, while King Alfred was sleeping, Botolph Stourton had all the dead bodies removed on sledges. This early act of environmental awareness was rewarded by King Alfred who called his army together and granted Botolph and his descendants the badge of the sledge which is to be found to date on all the Stourton coat of arms. In 1066 Botolph Stourton took a chief lead under King Harold at the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings and after the disastrous defeat of the latter place was one of the last of the Saxon chiefs to hold out against William the Norman, afterwards William I. In 1413 Sir William Stourton became speaker of the House of Commons. His son was made the first Baron of Stourton (of Stourton, Wilts.) by Henry VI on the 13th day of May, 1448 for services rendered to the King during the war. Lord Stourton held the Duke of Orleans in custody at Stourton (in Wilts.) for over a year.

Charles, Duke of Orleans, was the son of Louis d’Orléans and the grandson of Charles V of France. His uncle was Charles VI. He was thus a member of the royal family – and the father of Louis XII. By his twenty-first birthday, his parents were dead – his father murdered by the Burgundian faction – and his first wife, Isabel, had died in childbirth. In that same year he was captured by the English at the battle of Agincourt and spent the next quarter of a century as a captive, moved from one nobleman’s castle to another and traveling regularly in the company of one or other of his “hosts” to London to conduct business or attempt to further peace negotiations between France and England. During those long years the duke was never kept in a prison but rather as a “guest under house arrest” (he moved, on average, every four years) in castles owned by a sequence of important noblemen: Sir John Cornwall, Lord Fanhope, William de la Pole (earl of Suffolk, later duke), Sir Reginald Cobham, and Sir John Stourton, among others.

Attached to the present building and dedicated to St. Mary, the chapel at Allerton was built by Charles Philip, 17th Baron Stourton, in 1807, having started the Roman Catholic mission here soon after purchasing the estate that year. The chapel was considerably enlarged and improved in 1837 by his son and successor, William Joseph, 18th Baron Stourton, who added transepts and vaults under the sanctuary, to which certain members of the family who had been buried in St. Martin’s church at Allerton were removed. The chapel was further enlarged when the house was rebuilt in l848-1854. At that time part of the Dining Room of the old mansion was thrown into the tribune.


Charles, 19th Baron Stourton, according to family history recorded in The Heritage of the Noble House of Stourton (1899), ‘Charles, 19th Baron Stourton, pulled down the old mansion at Allerton the greater part of which had been build by His Royal Highness, The Duke of York, though one wing of the original house, the ancient house of the Mauleverers of Allerton, was then standing. It was replaced by the present mansion. The demolition of the old building was commenced on September 4th, 1848, the Foundations of the new mansion being laid in 1849. The demolition of the old and the erection of the new buildings were proceeded with simultaneously, the materials of the former structure being used, as far as they would go, in the erection of the present mansion. Most of the English oak and other wood used came from the estate’. Another source records, however, the “earlier two story house around courtyard converted and encased by George Martin as service wing with two story north wing. Courtyard fitted with two story kitchen with five wooden galzed roof. New house built to the west.” The stone was dug at Pool Bank, near Arthington, and as the quarry was opened expressly for this mansion, it was closed immediately after the building was finished. The Dining Room of the old house survived and is now called the chapel room and is located next to the chapel. The original exterior wall and window of this room can be seen from the front of the house. The structure was finished in l851 and a part of it was first occupied in the following year. Some of the outhouses, however, were not completed until 1854 and the terraces not until the end of 1855. Work in the Dining Room was delayed due to financial considerations and was not finished until 1874. The architect for the house, then called Stourton Castle, was Mr. George Martin who lived at 85 Baker Street, London (14 Connaught Terrace, London, on earlier drawings) and who died prior to 1871, the exact date not known. Plans for the Dining Room and ceiling in the Drawing Room are signed by Benjamin Baud, an architect who had submitted designs for the Houses of Parliament competition in 1834. Plans for the designs of woodcarving were signed by Richard Ellis, Riley Fortune and David Chippindale.

Alfred Joseph, 23 Baron Mowbray, 24 Baron Segrave and 20th Baron Stourton Charles, the19th Baron Stourton, died on Christmas Eve 1872 and was succeeded by Alfred Joseph, 20th Baron Stourton, senior co-heir to Baronies of Howard, Braose of Gower, Greystock, Ferrers of Wemme, Talbot, Strange of Blackmere, Furnival and Gifford of Brimmesfield and co-heir to the baronies of Kerdestan, Verdon and Fitz Payne. The abeyance to the Baronies of Mowbray (created in 1283) and Seagrave (created 1295) was determined in his favour in l878.