nearly 700 years, the Stourton family had owned this property
before it was purchased by Henry Hoare I in 1717. Hoare demolished
the original house and replaced it with a Palladian house and
renamed the property Stourhead.
The 100 acre gardens were the original design of Henry Hoare II
starting in 1740. The gardens are based on a pathway around the
lake with contrived long views of classical temples. In 1791 Sir
Richard Colt Hoare began the arboretum, mainly with deciduous
trees from North America, and began the collection of
rhododendrons. The present planting, however, dates mainly from
the late 19th and 20th centuries. Ornamental conifers were added
by the Victorians and the late Sir Henry Hoare planted many new
varieties of rhododendrons.