Sunday, 28 July 2013

Avebury Manor Timeline

1114 - Benedictine priory founded on the site.

1378 - Priory is dissolved, a succession of chaplains take charge.

1411 - Priory passes into the hands of Fotherinhay College.

1545 - Fotheringhay College relinquishes ownership of the estate for other lands. The estate passes to the Crown.

1547 - The Crown grants Sir William Sharington of Lacock Abbey, ownership of the estate.

1551 - William Dunch, Auditor of the Royal Mint, buys the estate for £2000. The existing house is newly rebuilt between 1555-1580.

1581 - The Manor passes to William Dunch’s son, Walter.

1594 - Walter predeceased his father.

1595 - William Dunch’s widowed daughter-in-law, Debora and her second husband, Sir James Mervyn - High Sheriff of Wiltshire, become outright owners of Avebury Manor. Dovecot dispute saw Richard Truslowe defeated.

1640 - Sir John Stawell of Cothelstone buys Avebury Manor for £8,500 from Debora’s son William, named after his grandfather. Stawell is imprisoned at the end of the Civil War. Avebury is sequestered by Parliament.

1652 - Avebury sold to George Long but later reverts back to Sir John Stawell on the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Sir John’s son, then grandson inherit.

1694 - Sir Richard Holford, Master in Chancery, buys Avebury for £7,500.

1718 - Sir Richard Holford dies and leaves Avebury Manor to his widow Suzanna.

1722-1742 - Various sons of the Holford’s inherit Avebury: Samuel, Richard, Staynor and finally half-brother Arthur Jones.

1789 - Arthur Jones dies, passing the Manor to his chosen successor, Ann (Nanny) Williamson. Her husband, Colonel Adam Williamson, who was made Governor of Jamaica.

1798 - 'Sir' Adam Williamson dies suddenly at Avebury. The Manor passes to Richard Jones, Arthur Jones’s nephew from the 1742 era.

1816 - The Kemm family move in as tenant farmers.

1873 - The Jones family sell the Manor to brewer and politician Sir Henry Meux.

1883 - Ownership passes to Sir Henry’s son, also Henry. The Kemms’ remain as tenants till 1902.

1889 - Thomas Kemm dies at 83 leaving his two unmarried daughters, Everdell and Marian as tenants of the estate.

1900 - Sir Henry Meux junior dies.

1902 - The Kemm daughters move to Yorkshire, relinquishing their tenancy.

1902 - Sir Henry Meux’s widow lets the estate to Lt-Colonel Leopold and Nora Jenner.

1907 - The Jenners’ buy the estate from Sir Henry Meux’s widow. They lovingly restore the Manor adding the West Library c1920.

1920 - The Jenners’ sell Avebury Manor ‘farm’ to J Peake-Garland but retain the Manor.

1929 - Having lost money in overseas investments the Jenners’ are forced to lease Avebury Manor to the Benson family. The Jenners’ move to Bath, never to return other than to be buried side-by-side in St.James church Avebury.

1935 - The Jenners’ lease the Manor to Alexander Keiller.

1937 - Alexander Keiller buys Avebury Manor from the Jenners’ and establishes the Morven Institute of Archaeological Research.

1942 - The Morven Institute is disbanded and much of Keiller’s property, including the stone circle is sold to the National Trust for £12,000; the Trust declines to buy the Manor deeming it too expensive.

1955 - The Manor is sold to Sir Francis Knowles, a research biologist. Keiller dies at his home in Kingston Surrey. His widow Gabrielle, donates the Avebury museum and his collection to the nation in 1966.

1974 - Sir Francis Knowles dies.

1976 - Sir Francis Knowles widow, Lady Knowles, sells the Manor to Michael Brudenell-Bruce, 8th Marquess of Ailesbury.

1981 - The Brudenell-Bruces’ return to their ancestral home in Savernake Forest selling the Manor to Mr and Mrs Nevill-Glidden.

1988 - Entrepreneur, Kenneth King buys the Manor for £1 million with plans to turn it into an ‘Elizabethan Experience’ causing much local controversy.

1991 - The National Trust buys the Manor from the Official Receivers after Kenneth King is declared bankrupt. The Manor is leased to a private tenant on the understanding it must remain open to the public for a limited time.

2009 - Tenants lease expires and is not renewed. Manor is left empty but open to the public.

2010 - The BBC approaches The National Trust.

2011 - The BBC and The National Trust agree to an extensive themed makeover for the Manor and kitchen garden.

2012 - The Avebury Manor Project opens.


Avebury Manor Archives
British History Online
The Manor Reborn by Siân Evans, a The National Trust publication
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Wessex Archaeology

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