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Sir Richard Colt Hoare – catalogue of books and manuscripts

Sir Richard Colt Hoare was born 9 December 1758 died 19 May 1838. He was a descendant of the famous banking family which was founded in the 17th century and is still in existence.     antiquarian, archaeologist, artist and in his youth a keen traveller. He married Hester Lyttelton of Hagley, Worcestershire who died after the birth of their second child in 1785. Almost immediately Colt Hoare went abroad and for nearly six years travelled extensively only once returning briefly to England. In Italy and Sicily during he was accompanied by his tutor John ‘Warwick’ Smith and the painter Francis Nicholson during which he produced books of sketches and watercolours which recorded his tour.

In 1785 he inherited the Stourhead estate from Henry Hoare II who also known as ‘The Magnificent’ as the creator of the renowned gardens which were later modified by his grandson. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1787 and returned to live at Stourhead when European wars made travel too hazardous. He built two wings on either side of the Colen Campbell designed house for his Library and Art Gallery.

Towards the end of the century his interests turned to the study of the ancient sites on his estate and in the surrounding countryside of Wiltshire. He financed William Cunnington’s excavations which resulted in the publication of Ancient Wiltshire (1812-1819). In 1798 he and William Cunnington made the first excavation of Stonehenge and there followed tours of Wales 1804 and he translated Itinerarium Cambriae. His parish histories of Wiltshire (1822-1844) were completed after his death and published as The History of Modern Wiltshire.


The Sir Richard Colt Hoare catalogue consists of 8 boxes of documents – click on the links to open a PDF listing of the contents.

In addition, there is a listing of books and tracts by or about Sir Richard Colt Hoare

When quoting MSS numbers they should be prefixed by DZSWS.MSS

Abbreviations :          

  • RCH – Sir Richard Colt Hoare
  • WmC – William Cunnington
  • nd – no date

Sandra Haynes


  • Portrait of Sir Richard Colt Hoare – frontispiece of Ancient Wiltshire
  • Finds from Bush Barrow – watercolour by Philip Crocker engraved for Ancient Wiltshire
  • Bradley House, Maiden Bradley by John Buckler. Commissioned by Sir Richard Colt Hoare.

Sir Richard Colt Hoare

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