The Hoare family at Stourhead

Sir Henry the Magnificent who created the pleasure grounds at Stourhead in Wiltshire

Stourhead was created in the 18th century by a banking family, the Hoares. The bank was originally founded in the 17th century by Sir Richard Hoare. Its funds aided the development of Stourhead's garden, house and estate under seven members of the Hoare family, until it passed to the National Trust in 1946.

Follow the line of succession to find out how these key members of the family shaped Stourhead.

Sir Richard Hoare (1648-1718)

The son of a horse-dealer, Sir Richard founded Hoare’s bank in 1672. It prospered and he was knighted by Queen Anne. His second son, Henry Hoare I, became a partner in the bank.

Henry Hoare I (1677-1725)

Henry Hoare I, 'Good Henry', bought Stourton manor in 1717. He replaced it with the Palladian house we know today, christening it Stourhead. Unfortunately, Henry died just before his new house was completed at the age of 47. Henry’s widow, Jane, continued to work on the estate, and eventually his son, Henry Hoare II, inherited.

Henry Hoare II (1705-1785)

Henry Hoare II, 'Henry the Magnificent', was a successful partner in the bank. He furnished Stourhead house with paintings and sculpture, much of which remains. He created Stourhead’s iconic landscape garden, with its lake, temples and monuments.

Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838)

Henry Hoare II chose his grandson, Richard Colt Hoare, as heir. He added the Regency library and picture gallery to the house. He also made significant changes in the garden and across the estate.

Sir Henry Hugh Hoare (1762-1841)

Henry Hugh inherited Stourhead from his brother, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, who had outlived his sons. In his three years at Stourhead, Henry Hugh added the portico to the house and rebuilt the obelisk in Bath stone.

Sir Hugh Richard Hoare (1787-1857)

A partner in the bank, Hugh Richard inherited from his father, Sir Henry Hugh. He retired from the bank in 1845 with a considerable allowance, which he dedicated to many improvements across the estate.

Sir Henry Ainslie Hoare (1824-1894)

Hugh Richard's nephew, Sir Henry Ainslie Hoare, was next to inherit Stourhead. He enjoyed a lively social life in the city, and shooting, hunting and other countryside pursuits when he was at Stourhead, but Ainslie’s flamboyant lifestyle eventually forced him to leave the bank. In 1883 he had to resort to auctioning Stourhead paintings, furniture and books to raise money during an agricultural depression. He left Stourhead in 1885.

Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare (1865-1947)

Succeeding his cousin, Henry Ainslie, Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare devoted his life to Stourhead. He restored the estate after a period of neglect, and even oversaw the total restoration of Stourhead house after a devastating fire in the house in 1902. His son, Harry Hoare, was to be heir to the estate, but was killed in the First World War. Determined to keep the estate intact, Sir Henry gave Stourhead to the National Trust in 1946.