LXXII.—STANLEY HOUSE, KING'S ROAD. (St. MARK'S COLLEGE).
The National Society for Promoting Education of the Poor, etc.
General description and date of structure.
Faulkner tells us (fn. 1) that Stanley House was rebuilt about 1691, but
that the new building was left in an unfinished state, and was not inhabited
for some years. Beaver corroborates (fn. 2) the re-building by stating that in
1887 the foundations of the first house were partially exposed a few yards
to the south of the present structure. It would seem from the character
of the architecture that the house in its present form was not erected until
the reign of George I., although we find tenants as early as 1701. It is
an excellent example of a Georgian house of two storeys, with
blocked cornice and slate hipped roof. There are three dormer
windows on both the south and north fronts, with pedimental heads,
the centre one in each case being circular. The interior has good,
plain panelling, and a staircase of rather poor detail. The only remarkable
feature is an elaborate doorway leading from the Hall to the principal
room on the ground floor. It is circular-headed with carved key block,
and is supported by fluted Ionic columns, carrying a broken pediment
with medallions. In a sketch by Mr. Beaver an urn is shown over the
keyblock, but that is now missing. The whole design seems somewhat
earlier than the house and might conceivably have been made for the
work as begun in 1691.
Sir Robert Stanley, second son of William, sixth Earl of Derby, married Elizabeth,
daughter of Sir Arthur Gorges, who possessed large portions of the Sir Thomas
More estate in Chelsea, and who lived at Gorges House, which had been built for
his father, just north of Lindsey House. Upon his marriage, Sir Robert Stanley
seems to have taken up his residence in Chelsea at Stanley House, then called
"Brickills," a part of the Gorges property. Faulkner quotes (fn. 3) a lease of the house and
five acres from Lady Elizabeth Gorges to her daughter, Lady Elizabeth Stanley,
in 1637, and by the former's will dated 1643, it appears that Lady Stanley bought the
property from her mother. Stanley House is shown with seven acres of land in
Hamilton's map (Plate 1). Two children of Sir Robert Stanley were baptised
at Chelsea Church in 1629 and 1631 respectively, and on his death in 1632, he was
buried there, and an important monument erected to his memory bearing his own
bust and those of his two infant children.
After her husband's death, Lady Stanley married her cousin, Theophilus, fourth
Earl of Lincoln. There are two baptisms recorded in the parish registers, referring
to his children by a former wife, so that he seems to have been already resident in
Chelsea. Lady Elizabeth, then Countess of Lincoln, died in 1675, and was buried at
the old church.
The Stanley family, of whom Mr. Randall Davies gives a pedigree in his Chelsea
Old Church, (fn. 4) remained in possession of the house until the death of William Stanley,
Sir Robert's grandson, in 1691. The return for the Hearth Tax (1662) gives the
name of Sir Charles Stanley for 11 hearths. (fn. 5) There are numerous entries in the parish
register concerning the various members of the family, all of whom were buried at
Chelsea. William Stanley was the last of his line, and after his death Faulkner tells us
that the house was rebuilt, "and being left in an unfinished state was for several
The first occupant of the new building—which is the present house—whose name
we find is Thomas White, who is entered in the rate–books for 1701. He is followed by
Joseph Collins from 1703 to 1726. From 1728 until 1751 (with some interruptions)
we find the name of Thomas Arundell, son of Henry, the fifth Lord Arundell. His
name appears in the Monthly Chronicle, May 20, 1729, as living here and Faulkner says
the house belonged to him in 1724. From the latter we learn that in 1743 Admiral Sir
Charles Wager died here. He had captured a Spanish treasure fleet in 1708 off
Cartagena. He was created rear-admiral 1707, was knighted 1709, and became
admiral in 1731, being First Lord of the Admiralty from 1733–1742. He was buried
in Westminster Abbey. Lady Wager resided here until 1748. The name of John
Jackson occurs from 1754 to 1772, to be followed by Mrs. Frances Southwell (1773
to 1775) and Mary Southwell in 1777.
The following is taken from Mr. Beaver's summary (fn. 6) of Faulkner's account of
subsequent residents:—"Miss Southwell, who married Lord Chief Justice Eyre,
sold the place in 1777 to the Countess of Strathmore, an enthusiastic botanist. The
Countess built extensive conservatories and hot–houses and stored them with a valuable collection of exotics. The miserable story of the lady's sorrows, after her unfortunate marriage with a rascal named Bowes, is related by Jesse Foot and also at some
length by Faulkner. The Countess sold Stanley House to Mr. Lochee , of the
military academy at Little Chelsea; and among its subsequent occupants we find
Richard Warren, M.D., [entered in the rate–books from 1780 to 1794] who died
in 1797, Mr. Leonard Morse, of the War Office, (died about 1815), and William
Hamilton, British Envoy at the Court of Naples, and a famous virtuoso." He
was Secretary to Lord Elgin and superintended the transportation of the
marbles of the Parthenon from Athens. He built the large Hall on the east
side of Stanley House, and inserted some casts of the Elgin marbles, which are still
in their place in the walls. From a letter of Miss Burney's we read that Hamilton let
his house to a Mrs. Gregor in 1821. In Theodore Hook's journal is a note of his
attendance at "W. Hamilton's party, Stanley Grove," on July 5th, 1826. To quote
from Beaver again: "About 1828 this house was occupied by the Marquis of
Queensberry and in 1830–1 by Colonel Grant (at a rental of £1,000 a year). Finally,
in 1840, Mr. Hamilton sold the house and grounds to the National Society (for £9,000)
who built there after the designs of Mr. Blore, a training school for teachers known as
St. Mark's College. The first principal was the Rev. Derwent Coleridge, son of
Samuel Taylor Coleridge and brother of Hartley Coleridge."
Stanley House is now the residence of the principal of the College, the Rev.
Robt. Hudson, M.A.