Stourhead, the seat of the baronet family of Hoare, on the SW verge of Wiltshire, 2½ miles NW by W of Mere. It occupies the site of a noble Saxon castle, belonged from the time of Richard II. till that of Anne to the Stourtons, passed then to the Meres, and in 1720 to the Hoares; was rebuilt partly in 1720, partly in 1800; comprises a centre and two wings with Corinthian decorations; contains a rich collection of pictures and a museum; and stands amidst grounds very famous for both natural beauty and artificial ornature. The old Bristol High Cross stands in the grounds. It was erected in High Street, Bristol, 1373; restored and one stage added, 1633; taken down in 1733, and shortly afterwards erected on College Green, Bristol; again taken down in 1763; given to Henry Hoare, Esq. of Stourhead, by whom it was removed and erected there, 1766; restored by Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare, sixth baronet, in 1895, it having then fallen into a most dangerous condition.
Online maps of Stourhead are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Henry Hoare, son of Sir Richard Hoare, founder of Hoare's Bank, purchased the manor of Stourton from John Meres in 1717. He quickly demolished the house and started to build a new mansion house on the site. He died before completing it, in 1725, but his son, another Henry (knicknamed 'The Magnificent') completed it.
The house and gardens were given to The National Trust by Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare, 6th Bt. in 1946, although the family still have rooms in the house.