- Brief History
Going back as far as William the Conqueror and the Domesday Book first drafted in 1086, the land around ‘Stoctone’ is recorded as being granted to Hugh de Grentemaisnell. By descent, the land is then passed to Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester, who founded Leicester Abbey in 1143. In 1157 he presented Stoughton to the Abbey and the land soon became one of the Abbey’s principal farmlands or granges, with extensive arable crops and pasture for livestock. Over the next 400 years the Abbots improved and increased the size of the estate with Abbot John Penny erecting Stoughton Grange in the 15th Century.
Following the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII’s between 1536 and 1541, the land was transferred to the Crown. In 1543, as part of dissolution, a property called the ‘Grange of Stoughton’ was leased by the Crown to John More, a member of the royal household. From then the property was occupied by a succession of favoured gentry until 1560 when Stoughton Grange was ‘granted’ by Queen Elizabeth I to John Harrington and George Burden. They in turn sold on the property to Thomas Farnham and from this point onwards the house known as Stoughton Grange descended with the Manor (adjacent to the present church in Stoughton Village) and was occupied by the lords of the manor.
For 200 years the estate remained in the ownership of the Beaumont family until 1737 when Sir George Beaumont died a bachelor and the estate was inherited by his surviving sister and nephew, William Bushby. Bushby’s daughter, Anne married Anthony Keck and the property remained in the family for a further 200 years until Henry Leycester Powys-Keck, who was the last member of the family to have full possession of the estate. When in 1912 Henry died, the estate was offered for sale by Warner, Sheppard &Wade in 1913, with a total of 6,700 acres (approximately 10.5 square miles) but much of the estate failed to sell at that time.
In 1919, the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd bought some of the estate for £24,000 including Stoughton Grange. For reasons unknown, the main house at Stoughton Grange was demolished in 1926. The walled garden which originally contained the vegetable gardens, orchard and conservatory was sold in 1930 and a house built within. This house is called ‘The Pantiles’ and was designed by architects Pick, Everard, Keay and Gimson.
The Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd owned most of the land in and around Stoughton and by 1954 it farmed over 4,600 acres concentrating on milk production with over 555,000 gallons produced from almost 900 dairy cows. The main dairy and farm buildings were at Grange Farm and a number of these buildings have been converted to shops, offices and leisure facilities to create the Stoughton Grange Rural Centre.
South East of Leicester, Helen Boynton (2004)
British History Online
Stoughton Parish Plan (December 2004)
- Walled Kitchen Garden
The surviving East wall of the WKG is dated in burnt brick headers, 1765. It matches the brickwork of the West and North walls. This occurs after change of ownership of the estate to the Kecks in 1737. There is also documentary evidence of a very productive WKG in June 1831. GM
The WKG measures c. 0.7 acre and is rectangular, the longer sides running East/West. The WKG is slightly off a strict North/South axis being tilted northeast to southwest. It is unclear if the land slopes. An article of 1830 states ‘the garden’s situation was low’.GM
The 1886 O/S map shows Stoughton Grange located to the South and East of its long driveway towards the village of Stoughton. The garden front of the house faced South East.
To the South West of the Grange are nineteenth century stables and Farm Buildings with the WKG directly to the East. Only 3 WKG walls survive. The South wall has been replaced closer to the Gartree Road by a new garden wall and entry (see above).
Footpaths ran directly from the Grange to a Frameyard and to the East of the WKG.
The 1886 O/S map suggests there were slips around 3 sides of the WKG (W N. & E.) The North slip was probably a Frameyard as it is shown with a series of frames and a long, lean-to glass house on the South face of a boundary wall to the North. SC. This wall had lean-to buildings along its North face lining an extant lane between it and Stoughton Grange. The Farm buildings form its Western boundary, whilst the East side was open to the Pleasure Garden to the South of the Grange.
1930 the WKG containing vegetable gardens, orchard, and glasshouse to the South of the manor house was sold and a house called ‘The Pantiles’ was built, designed by Pick, Everard, Keay & Gimson. The South wall of the WKG (which faced Gartree Road) was demolished and rebuilt with double gated entrance further south of the original WKG South wall and closer to the Gartree Road.
Current Use: A 1930’s house (The Pantiles) and its pleasure garden have been built within the site of the original WKG. The rebuilt south wall nearer to the Gartree Road is linked by extensions to the West and East walls.
Also surviving, part overgrown and part belonging to the garden of the 1930’s house, is the site of an original Frameyard, its wall to the North and the raised site of its lean-to buildings.
Many of the Stoughton Grange Farm Buildings to the West of the original WKG survive and are currently being used for commercial activities:
A new 2-acre Kitchen Garden utilising the outer side of the East WKG wall was created in 2021 by the Steamin-Billy Company which has acquired the land around the WKG including the former site of Stoughton Grange, the lake, woodland, and fields for commercial and recreational purposes. The company is developing walk ways; a new farm park, woodland wedding venue; short stay holiday chalets in the nearby fields; formal gardens on the site of the demolished manor house; and a restaurant, public house, gin distillery, and farm shop within the restored farm buildings - with the aim of sourcing produce locally, including from its own adjacent new farm and kitchen garden.
See our full research report on the Walled Kitchen Garden here: Stoughton Grange