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Photographer: Kelbert McFarland Photography


The Baronets of Laughton & Earls of Chichester

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

We are starting a new series, similar to our American Presidents' Houses series which is ongoing, which will cover the etstates of English nobility. Today in history (September 25, 1694) Prime Minister Henry Pelham was born. His brother, the Duke of Newcastle, was also Prime Minister at one point, making his father Baron Thomas Pelham unique in birthing two Prime Ministers. Prime Minister Henry lived at Wimbourne House in London which he had built in a Palladian style by architect William Kent in the mid 18th century. Like many of the houses we look at on this blog, the house can now be rented for events via the Ritz Hotel.

Below is a picture of what the ballroom looked like at the turn of the century.

The event spaces now have a pared down look that is perfect for florals as seen below.

Careful restorations were made after Pelham's descriptions including restoring grisaille painted ceilings. The Pelham family next moved into a house known as Pelham House in Lewes.

Once again, this house is presently used for events and as a hotel. It is a Georgian red brick house. However, the hotel rooms are completely modern. The dining area below shows off the house's old charm.

The brother mentioned above, Prime Minister & Duke of Newcastle Thomas Pelham, had a great-grandson also named Thomas Pelham who was made Earl of Chicester. He inherited the Stamner House estate from his father.

This beautiful house can also be rented for events. It looks amazing with uplighting as shown below.

It was constructed by the French architect Nicholas Dubois in 1722 in a Palladian style (favored by the Pelhams).

Above is one of the rooms at Stamner which is now a bar and below is a ballroom still used for parties today. The son/grandsons or the 2nd and 3rd Earls moved to Stratton Street in London and we do not know which house was theirs though we will update if we can find out.

However the 4th Earl Pelham resided back at Stamner House and the 5th Earl (his brother) was a reverend and so may have lived elsewhere. Below is a photo of his son the 6th Earl Pelham at his house.

His son, the 7th Earl Pelham died after about a week of his earldom, making it the shortest tenure. It appears the family seat at Stamner was maintained through the 8th Earl Pelham with the 9th living at Little Durnford Manor today. This is the house he purchased for his family after Stamner was sold.

Above is Little Durnford Manor the current seat of the Pelham Baronets & Earls. The heir apparent is a cousin named Richard Anthony Henry Pelham. It is also of note the current Lord & Lady have a daughter named Lady Eliza Catherine Pelham who lives in London. She was recently married (below) and had a baby.

We do not know where the original Pelham Baronets lived in medieval times before Baron Thomas Pelham who we first mentioned had the two prime minister sons. He was preceded by at least a century of Pelham Baronets and before them two more centuries of Pelham knights in Laughton. We know they were landowners but Laughton Manor as it stands today was built after the original gentry. A photo of it is below.

Before perhaps even arriving at Laughton (though Laughton is in Domesday so it could have been there) the family name was De Pelham and they of course go back to about 1066. We can't wait to cover our next noble family from the Norman Conquest to today.