History

A potted house history

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The garden history

Stourhead garden has inspired artists throughout the centuries © NT/David Cousins

Stourhead garden has inspired artists throughout the centuries

'A living work of art'. That's how a magazine described Stourhead when it first opened its doors in the 1750s.

This world-famous garden was designed by Henry Hoare II as a series of carefully constructed views, like scenes from a landscape painting.

 

The garden history

This photograph reveals just how much has changed in the garden since 1938 © Country Life

This photograph reveals just how much has changed in the garden since 1938

Henry Hoare II built a dam to form the lake and around it he positioned classical temples, Gothic buildings and rare and exotic trees.

Although the garden is something of a secluded world, there are glimpses out to the wider landscape; to an estate of working farms and ancient hamlets.

The garden history

Stourhead today is still beautiful all year round whatever the weather © Stourhead/Charlotte Toop

Stourhead today is still beautiful all year round whatever the weather

Henry Hoare II's garden was at the forefront of the 18th-century English landscape movement.

For his fantastic achievement Henry was nicknamed 'the Magnificent'. Today Stourhead is essentially the same as Henry’s vision – a timeless paradise.

The Hoare family

Sir Henry Hoare gave Stourhead to National Trust in 1946

Sir Henry Hoare gave Stourhead to National Trust in 1946

The Hoare family have owned Stourhead since the early 1700s when Henry Hoare I bought the land from the Stourton family.

Discover how the Hoare family changed and developed Stourhead over the past 300 years. Find out about the connection between the son of a horse dealer, a family bank and a 'living work of art' at Stourhead.

Hoare's Bank

The Hoare family had a successful career in banking, which enabled them to buy Stourhead.

Hoare’s Bank is the last independent bank and the Hoare family is still in charge and running the bank today.

A view across the lawn to St Peter’s Church, Stourton © National Trust/Charlotte Toop

A view across the lawn to St Peter’s Church, Stourton

The Saxon Stourtons

The original manor house at Stourton was described in the 17th century as evoking 'the time of the old English Barons'.

The medieval pile was pulled down by Henry Hoare I in 1718 to make way for the Palladian house.

There's an effigy of Edward, the sixth Lord Stourton, and his wife Agnes in Stourton church.

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