The Speakers' Parlour at Clandon Park

This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.

The Onslow family have provided three Speakers for the House of Commons over the centuries, each residing over the House's debates, determining which members may speak and generally maintaining order. See them celebrated in the Speakers’ Parlour at Clandon Park.

The Speakers’ Parlour
The Speakers Parlour is a celebration of parliamentary achievement and pride in ancestry. To celebrate the Onslow earldom in 1801 the new Earl redecorated and refurbished the room.

Much of the furniture is from the period of the 1st Earl whilst the chimneypiece was designed by Leoni in the 1720s. The room is still themed around the Speakers and much of their memorabilia can be seen here.

The three Onslow Speakers
Richard Onslow is often called the Black Speaker and is important not only as the first Onslow Speaker, but also as the link between his family and Surrey by marrying Catherine Hardinge of Knowle Park in Cranleigh. He became Speaker on October 2nd 1566 and his task was to mediate between Queen Elizabeth and her MPs.

Lord Richard Onslow III became MP for Guildford in 1679. He was elected Speaker in 1708, at the second attempt. Richard was responsible for improving the ‘old’ Clandon Park. It was Richard’s son, Thomas, who was responsible for rebuilding Clandon Park in the English Palladian style we see today.

Arthur Onslow, later known as the Great Speaker, became secretary to his Uncle Lord Richard III when Richard became Chancellor. On January 23 1728 Arthur was elected Speaker of the House and then unanimously re-elected in 1735, 1741, 1747 and 1754, setting a record for long service. Arthur was an outstanding Speaker, well deserving of the title Great and was widely eulogised when he eventually resigned.