Kingston Lacy takes its name from its ancient lords the Lacys, Earls of Lincoln, who held it together with Shapwick and Blandford. It lies about two miles north-west from Wimborne Minster, and has for a long period been the seat of the family of Bankes, whose mansion-house stands here nearly in the centre of a nobly wooded park. The house was originally built by Sir Ralph Bankes, commencing immediately after the Restoration in 1660, on the supposed site of a palace of the West-Saxon Kings, under the superintendence of John Webb architect, after designs bequeathed by Inigo Jones. The original plan of the handsome and well-proportioned suite of reception rooms and principal arrangement of the interior remain nearly the same, but the whole of the exterior, which was formerly of red brick with stone quoins, was faced over with Caen stone, and embellished with decorations and details in the purest Italian style under the care of the late William John Bankes, esq. who, commencing his extensive improvements and alterations immediately upon his accession to the property in 1834 (with the assistance of the then rising architect of the day the late Sir Charles Barry, R. A.) did not live to see the completion of a work which, fully carried out, may now be ranked among the purest specimens of this style of architecture in the kingdom. The magnificent staircase of white Carrara marble, 30 feet in width, mounting from the entrance-hall to the second floor, with all the rich art-treasures with which it is profusely decorated and furnished, the bronze vases on highly-wrought pedestals, statues by the late Baron Marochetti, exquisite groups of fruits and game, and relievo's in Italian stone and marbles, the rare and very perfect Grecian antique candelabrum which terminates the upper flight of the balustrade of variegated marbles, are all results of the foreign travels and unequalled taste and genius of the same member of the family who in his day deservedly held a place in the very first rank of the acknowledged connoisseurs and dilettanti of this country.
The illustrious James, Duke of Ormond rented Kingston Lacy for some years, during the minority of the successor of Sir Ralph Bankes, and died in the house 1688.