Prepared by Emma Knytleigh
|The Blake Family
origins are unclear-- as is the source of his income-- but by the 1770s he was successful
businessman and trader. Such was his success that he could afford to create Stoney Grove
and to commission one of the leading lights of the time, Culpability Heath, to design it.
Blake moved in with his young wife Fanny in 1782 when their daughter Mary was born, but
sadly he died two years later.
Mary Blake, mistress of Stoney Grove following her mothers death, married late in life. Little is known of her husband John Beadle. Mrs. Mary Blake Beadle proved very long-lived and was reportedly a strong presence in the house until her eventual death in 1879.
Stoney Grove was a lively social centre from the 1860s through the 1890s. William Hall entertained lavishly, and in 1882, was co-captain with the famed W.G. Grace at a game between the 'Friends of Stoney Grove' and Australia held on the property. The young man enjoyed good company, and mixed with bold men and beautiful ladies, before marrying his lovely young secretary, Elizabeth Kent (1874-1939), in 1897. The couple had three children: Ellen (1899-1973), Basil (1901-1962), and Montgomery (1909-1995), the last generation to live in the house.
William Hall died twelve years later, and the widowed Elizabeth lived quietly with her family at Stoney Grove until her death in 1939.
Of the children, it was Basil Blake Hall who showed the earliest promise. Educated at Eton and Christ College, Cambridge from 1919-1922, he took a degree in History and was an star cricketer for his College. After his fiancee tragically perished in a boating accident, Basil remained a bachelor for the remainder of his life. During the 1930s he was politically active, but following the outbreak of the Second World War he became quite reclusive.
During the Post War years, Basil Hall developed a keen interest in history, and authored a book on Puckering's past. Sadly, the manuscript has been lost. Basil Hall died in 1962.Montgomery Kent Hall also attended Eton, but did not go on to University. Instead, he spent his entire life at Stoney Grove, enjoying the company of his family and neighbors, and involving himself in the life of the villages. The last of the Blake line, he died in 1995, in the home he where he was born. He stipulated in his will that "the house, contents and landscape remain intact, staff remain employed for life, and that Stoney Grove should be lived in as a happy family home."
In 1999, Simon Tinsley and Ann Simmons purchased the house and grounds.
The couple intend to research its history more thoroughly and to restore the property to
its former glory. A guidebook on Stoney Grove is forthcoming.