Maunsel House is a magnificent 13th Century Manor set in
one hundred acres of stunning parkland at the heart of sprawling two thousand
acre estate, compromising of farms, lakes, woodlands, walnut groves, orchards,
Somerset Wetlands, cottages and ancient barn. In AD 1086 (Doomsday), the manor
was called ‘Maunsel’ being derived from the French meaning ‘Sleeve of Land’ and
was granted to Count Eustace of Boulogne, kinsman of William the Conqueror.
the time of Henry II, William De Erleigh granted Maunsel to Philip Arbalistarius
as a dowry to his daughter Mabel on payment of two pigs every Whitsuntide at his
court of Durston. His son Philip married the daughter of Sir Hugh d’Auderville
and assumed the Surname of Maunsel.
Philip de Maunsel became progenitor
of the family with the surname ‘Maunsell’ and ‘Mansel’. The estate passed to the
Bacon family of Norfolk and then to the Slade family. The Slade family between
1772 and 1868 built two further wings of Maunsel, to the North and West. In more
recent times, Sir Ben has undertaken an extensive restoration program for both
the house and the surrounding estate. This has included the buying back of
various parts of land sold off by ancestors and returning the house to a
Thomas Slade who was a Naval architect, designed Nelsons Ship ‘Victory’. A model
of the ship itself can be found on the upstairs landing of Maunsel House. Sir
Alfred Slade 3rd Baronet was born 28th May 1834, (son of Sir Frederick Slade,
2nd Baronet). Sir Alfred fought in the Crimean War and later became the Receiver
General of the Inland Revenue.
General Sir John Slade (his father also called John) bought
Maunsel House in 1772. He was awarded 1st Baronet for services during the war.
He also famously danced with Marie Antoinette who gave him a snuff box when he
was a young man.
Slade was the daughter of British admiral Sir Edmond Warre Slade and went to
India in 1925. Gandhi renamed her with the Indian name Mirabehn in recognition
of her devotion to him and his cause. She accompanied Gandhi to the roundtable
talks with the British and later was imprisoned alongside him in Aga Khan Palace
Jail.After Gandhi's death she continued running an ashram, or spiritual
community, until 1956.
Cuthbert Slade 4th Bt, son of Sir Alfred married and had three children; Barbara
Constance Slade, Captain Sir Alfred Fothringham Slade 5th Bt, and Sir Michael
Nial Slade 6th Bt. Sir Benjamin Julian Alfred Slade 7th Bt is the son of Sir
Michael Nial Slade. He was born 22nd May 1946 and educated at Millfield School,
Somerset. He worked in various different businesses in Australia before
returning to London in 1971 to work as a stockbroker in the City of
Sir Benjamin founded Shirlstar Container Transport Limited
in 1973 with £200 and built the business up into a leading container transport
company. Shirlstar Container Transport Ltd later became part of Shirlstar
(Holdings) Ltd and the container fleet was sold in the late 1980s. Since then,
Sir Benjamin's business interests have diversified into high technology, food
retail, property investment, agricultural land and insurance. The very quaint
thing was when 'Sir Ben' and Kirsty went round last thing to ask the
non-residents to make their way as it was time to 'lock up' - this made it all
so real that we were staying in their home.
Our room was at the top of the
house called the Park Room, the sloping ceiling made
it hard to stand at the sides of the high bed. The decor was very in keeping
with the period of the house
The Chaucer Room
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Warden
of Petherton Park lived at Maunsel House for ten years in the 1390's while he
wrote The Canterbury Tales. His tales were based on local characters such as The
Wife of Bath who was based on a local lady who married five times in St
Michael's Church (the estate church). Chaucer's brother, John O'Gaunt was
another famous visitor to Maunsel.
Alfred stayed in this splendid room, named after him, whilst his army
camped nearby in North Newton before the Battle of Wedmore
Lady Slade Room
Queen Matilda came to stay
here in the 1140's. She was named successor to Henry I and fought with her
cousin King Stephen to claim the throne. King John stayed many times as he had
favourite hunting parks in North Petherton.
ALL A STUNNING VENUE TO HOLD A RECEPTION