About the Stonehouse Court
Welcome to Stonehouse Court, a 17th century Manor House hotel set in six acres of stunning grounds. Boasting 36 bedrooms, outstanding food and some of the finest wedding and events facilities in the region, all overlooking the beautiful Stroud Water Canal and rolling hills of the Stroud Valley.
Our gardens and lawns offer the ideal spot for a stroll or a game of croquet, or even a glass of Pimms if the mood takes you. While you’ll find our restaurant, terrace, bar, and conference suites all located in the Manor House, alongside a number of guest rooms. Nestled seamlessly alongside this, our Garden Wing comprises further guest rooms and the newly-refurbished Caroline Suite offers extensive banqueting and conferencing facilities.
A Brief History
The Domesday Book and Williams D’Ow
Stonehouse Court Hotel has always been closely related to the History of Stonehouse, for it was the Manor House that controlled the surrounding estates under the feudal system of the time. A settlement at Stonehouse is recorded in the Domesday Book. In Anglo-Saxon it was known as Stanhus and the rights and tenements of the Manorial Lordship were granted to William D’Ow by his cousin William the Conqueror.
It is not clear for how long William D’Ow held the tenancy of the Manor of Stonehouse. Lords of the Manor were dependant upon the favours of the King and disfavour meant lands were forfeit to the crown. It was common for tenancy to change hands within, as well as between reigns, very often several times between the same families.
In 1281 the rights were granted to John Giffard. Parish records show him to pay tithes of £1 6s 8d (£1.34) for the benefit of his tenants. The Giffard family were in and out of favour with the King monotonous regularity. The last of the Giffards, also John, plotted with the Earls of Lancaster and Hereford against homosexual Edward II. In 1322, John was taken prisoner at Boroughbridge and afterwards was taken to Gloucester, where he was hung, drawn and quartered. Needless to say, his land was granted to John, Lord Maltravers, by Edward III. This was the same Maltravers who played a full part in the foul murder of Edward II. In 1338 he earned the Kings displeasure, once more the estate was seized and granted this time to a Hugh de Spencer and Maurice Berkeley “to hold it against the Welsh on payment of a rose annually”. Hence today the town’s Coat of Arms is the rose.
The War of Roses
Maltravers soon regained the Kings favour and the Manorial rights were regranted to the family in 1357. The male issue of the Maltravers family died out, a daughter Eleanor married John Fitzalan whose own lineage descended through the Earls of Arundel and thus the Manor came to them. It was during their tenancy that a minor battle of the Wars of the Roses (1399-1485) took place at the estate. Although there appears to be no military or historical record of this battle, there is clear evidence on the estate of the defensive earthworks thrown up as a fortification. This is the embankment along the top where in the 18th century the canal was cut.
The Earls of Arundel
The period of occupancy of the Earls of Arundel is undoubtedly the most interesting in the history of the house. The Arundels have always been a powerful force in the history of our monarchy, as Earls and later, Dukes; as Fitzalans, as Mowbrays and as Fitzalan-Howards. Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Arundel, Duke of Norfolk, was a close friend of Sir Thomas Moore who was beheaded for refusing the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Mowbray himself was later beheaded for some other treasonable offence.
In 1559 the Arundels sold the Manor to a William Stanford and a William Fowler for £1092 16s 2d and in 1568 William Fowler succeeded wholly to the rights and tenements of the Manor. It was William Fowler’s son, Steven, who rebuilt the house in 1601.
The Cloth Trade
During the 18th and 19th centuries the area prospered greatly from the cloth trade and in 1843 a canal was cut through the south of the estate. In 1862 a railway line was navigated through the north of the estate to link Stonehouse with Nailsworth but the decline of the cloth trade meant the canal and the railway fell into disuse. The canal last carried freight in the 1930’s and the railway in 1966.
Caroline and the Butler
The Manor had by 1907 passed down a female line of the Fowlers by various family marriages until it was sold that year to a local businessman, a Mister Winterbotham. He and his wife, Caroline, had occupied the house for only a year when disaster struck. In the early hours of the morning of 30th May 1908 fire gutted the house, leaving only the exterior walls and the main interior walls intact. The Winterbothams immediately set to rebuilding the house.
The fire is responsible for the unauthenticated ghost of Stonehouse Court. The butler, John Henry is supposed to have been infatuated with Caroline Winterbotham. On seeing her arm-in-arm with her husband he flew into a fit of jealous rage, retired to his room at the top of the house and supposedly set fire to his bed. Two scullery maids trapped in the fire were burnt to death. In a fit of remorse John Henry hanged himself and now haunts the Crellin Tower.
Carol Winterbotham occupied the house until her death in 1975 at the age of 100. The house went to business use and taken as a hotel in 1983. Even now there have been very few changes and the house is much as it was after it was rebuilt and still includes some of the original Tudor panelling which survived the fire of 1908.