The Vernon family of Hanbury Hall

A painting of BOWATER VERNON (1683-1735) with Hanbury Hall and its formal garden, by John Wootton, 1734

From their beginnings as the Elizabethan rectors of Hanbury parish, the Vernons rose to become one of the most prominent families in Worcestershire.

The Vernon genes brought forth the famous lawyer, Thomas Vernon, several local MPs and a baronet. However the same genes also gave rise to a Vernon who created one of the great domestic scandals of the late 18th century and another who felt more at home in Argentina than the green acres of Hanbury.

The story of the Vernon family has not run smoothly, slightly contradicting the Vernon family moto - Vernon semper viret (Vernon always flourishes).

Thomas Vernon (1654-1721)

Thomas amassed a fortune as an eminent Chancery barrister for 40 years, as well as becoming Whig MP for Worcester in 1715. He married Mary Keck in 1680 but they had no children so the estate was passed to his cousin.

Bowater Vernon (1683-1735)

Bowater swiftly went about spending Thomas' fortune. However, the survey he commissioned from Dougharty (a local surveyor) to complete has been invaluable in helping us with the restoration of the early 18th-century garden.

Emma Vernon (1755-1818)

As a young heiress Emma made fashionable changes to the house and, most notably, swept away the original early 18th-century gardens.

She caused great scandal when she ran off with the local curate whilst already married. Find her portrait which was painted to celebrate the first of her three marriages when she was just 22 years old.

Sir Harry Foley Vernon (1834-1920)

Harry gained his baroncy due to the way in which he managed his estate during the depression. He was a leading figure in the Yeomanry being one of the few people who had held three commissions at the same time.

Lady Georgina Vernon (1840-1928)

Lady Georgina was mother to three surviving children. She won awards for bee-keeping, loved drawing, set up the local Red Cross and both she and her husband, Harry were hugely active and respected in the local community.

Sir Bowater George Vernon (1865-1940)

Returing from Argentina, George married, although later became estranged from his wife with whom he had no children. He later adopted a parlour maid, Ruth Powick, who became his companion. Suffering greatly from heart disease, George committed suicide in 1940.

Find out more

Pick up a copy of the guidebook on your next visit to find out more. You can also join a morning taster tour, or talk to our knowledgeable room guides.