The Twickenham Museum
People : Landowners and Gentry

Thomas Stonor
Catholic owner of Stonor Park, Henley
1677 - 1724

Takes over Twickenham Manor

Thomas Stonor was connected with a property in Whitton from 1696 but he probably came to Twickenham in 1716, taking over Twickenham Manor, its House and land, from Henry St John Bolingbroke. Bolingbroke, attainted of high treason had of necessity escaped to France, although he was pardoned in 1723.

Writing to his friend Caryll on 6 August 1717, Pope recorded that he had lately visited Stonor, by boat, from Chiswick. This offers a delightful picture of him disembarking on Twickenham’s riverside and walking up Church Lane, St Mary’s Church to his right, to the Manor House at the lower end of Church Street. In the lane, to his left, there might have been a newly built house, now The Twickenham Museum.

Stonor had, in 1696 married Isabella, daughter of Lord Belasyse. Belasyse had died in 1689 and his wife in 1694 and Isabella was probably heir to the Whitton property. As such, she may have transferred ownership to her husband on marriage.

Isabella died in 1705 and Stonor remarried: there were fifteen children from the second marriage, none from the first. Four children of this marriage were buried in Twickenham between 1716 and 1721. His second wife died on 28 January 1721/2. According to The British Journal a daughter was married at Twickenham in January 1723/4. No marriages are recorded in the registers for St Mary's between 20 March 1711 and 12 June 1726, and Stonor had actually vacated the Manor House in 1721, so this marriage may have been elsewhere.

By 1715 the Belasyse house had been acquired by Nathaniel Pigott and it is possible that, as one of the defending lawyers for the lords in the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, he both advised Bolingbroke and Stonor and moved to Whitton.

Little is known of Stonor's time at Twickenham; he may have only regarded himself as a caretaker of the property pending Bolingbroke's return. In fact this did not happen, the estate was sold, forfeited, in 1722 and Stonor left. His second wife, Winifred Roper, daughter of Christopher, 5th Lord Teynham, died in January that year. Alexander Pope noted this in a letter to Caryll in May. Pope had visited Stonor Park but found Thomas away. When he died he described him as "a very easy, human and gentlemanly Neighbour" in a letter to Robert Digby dated 1 September 1724.

Son leases house in Montpelier Row

After Thomas died his son and heir, also Thomas (1710-1772), took a lease of a house in Montpelier Row between 1733 and 1740. This was no 23, probably South End House from its position in the register.

He was not satisfied with the state of the main road and the Vestry minutes for 22 August 1736 record that "Whereas an indictm't hath been preferred by Thomas Stonor Esquire & is now depending ag[ains]t the Inhabitants of this parish for not repairing & amending a certain lane… leading from the Crown Inn near Montpellier Row to Mrs Vernon's Park Gate lying next to Isleworth it is apprehended that this parish is not liable to repair…" There was no further record of the complaint.

Mrs Vernon was then at Twickenham Park and the lane became the main road to Richmond. Passing Marble Hill and Cambridge Park it led to the Richmond Ferry, giving access to London.


Further reading:

George Sherburn, The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, Oxford, 1956
A C B Urwin, The Manor House Twickenham, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society Paper no 60, 1987
Parish Registers & Vestry Minutes, St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham
There are substantial records at Stonor Park, Henley

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