Lord Stanley was created the 1st Earl on the battlefield of Bosworth by Henry VII; the 7th Earl was beheaded for his loyalty to Charles I. The 12th Earl started the world famous horse race and the 13th Earl was an eminent natural historian. The 14th Earl was Prime Minister three times while the 15th Earl was Foreign Secretary in the Conservative Government and Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Liberal Government. The 16th Earl was President of the Board of Trade and Governor – General of Canada. The 17th Earl was Minister of War during the First World War and the British Ambassador to France after the War, and the 18th Earl founded Knowsley Safari Park.
Set in approximately 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of gently undulating parkland, Knowsley Estate has been the home of the Stanley family since the late 14th century. The beautiful park was landscaped with the advice of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1770s and it was probably he who flooded a 25 hectare (62 acre) lake to feed the water-gardens around the Hall. The park was extended in the nineteenth century and is enclosed by a stone wall 15km (9 ½ miles) long, within which are many follies, including an Octagonal Georgian Temple, a log cabin presented by the Canadian people, and a boat-house designed by William Burn. At times in its long history, the park has contained a racecourse and (reputedly) a gold-mine. Today it is maintained to the same immaculate standard as ever and used for a range of enterprises and events. Knowsley Hall still incorporates some parts of its original fifteenth-century structure, but succeeding generations have each altered or embellished the building. Architects who have contributed to its development include John Foster (1810-22), William Burn (1836-39), W.H. Romaine Walker (1908-14), and the Hon. Claud Phillimore (1953-54).
For hundreds of years, members of our family have made significant contributions to the socio-cultural, political and economic spheres of their time. However, on further reflection, each of these achievements also resides within our own living history, as we constantly reconnect with and reinterpret historic events. Looking forward, we hope to continue to draw on the magnificent accomplishments of our ancestors, while at the same time building on these.