Stoneleigh Abbey was founded by the Cistercians in 1154, but very little trace remains of the original Abbey buildings except for the 14th-century Gatehouse.One of the seats of the Leigh family, Stoneleigh Abbey has played house to several people of note, including King Charles I, Queen Victoria, and novelist Jane Austen.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the estate was acquired by Sir Thomas Leigh, Lord Mayor of London in 1558, and a house was built on the site of the monastic buildings. It was the home of the Leigh family from 1561 to 1990.
Between 1714 and 1726 a new palatial four-storey fifteen-bay west wing was built to designs by architect Francis Smith of Warwick and provides an impressive range of state apartments.
After many tragic events including a fire in 1960, the house was left in a run-down state, that could no longer be looked after by the Leigh family so was sold to a preservation charitable trust, but when this also failed the Abbey was saved by a new independent charitable Trust set up by Chairman Mr Tony Bird OBE, a local businessman with the vision, knowledge and enthusiasm to bring Stoneleigh Abbey back to life.
The Historic house can be viewed by guided tours which run Sunday-Thursday.
You can also now get a glimpse of the house history in the new Vaulted hall Tea room, formally the house staff dining and rest room. With over 900 years of history locked within the very walls of the main house there is so much to learn and discover, so don't miss out on a guided tour if you are visiting us.Click here to book your tickets
Over the years Stoneleigh Abbey has played host to many names that we know very well. One of them being novelist Jane Austen.
The Reverend Thomas Leigh is a relative of Jane Austen's mother. Jane Austen stayed with her mother in August 1806 as his guests. Many people feel that Stoneleigh Abbey was the model for Mansfield Park. But it is the reaction, of Jane's mother to the Abbey that is most interesting. During her visit with Jane, she wrote a long letter to her daughter-in-law Mary detailing the house, the food, the servants.