Lower Slaughter Manor History
The name Lower Slaughter does not recall some fearful bygone carnage as might be supposed. It is said to originate from the name of a Norman Knight, Philip de Sloitre, who was granted land in the area by William the Conqueror. The name proved too much of a “tongue twister” for the peasants who corrupted it to ‘slaughter’. Some say it derives from an Anglo-Saxon word, meaning ‘muddy or watery place’. The first written record is recorded in The Doomsday Book where the name is spelt “Sclostre”.
The history of the Manor dates back nearly 1000 years. It is known that a Manor house stood on the site before the Conquest, even as early as 1004 A.D.
In 1443, the Manor became a convent housing nuns from the order Syon, the order was granted the land during this period. The two storey Dovecote that still stands in the grounds is said to have supplied the nuns with nourishment.
Some 100 years or so later, after King Henry VIII’s break with Rome in 1543 and the subsequent dissolution of the monasteries, the Manor was returned to the crown in 1603, during the reign of King James I. The Manor was granted in 1611 to Sir George Whitmore, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire and remained in the family until 1964. In 1655, Sir George’s son contracted Valentine Strong to build a house at Lower Slaughter “for the sum of £200.00 in lawful English money”. Valentine Stong was a very important Stone Mason and was stated to be of national importance. His son, Thomas, was the principal contractor employed by Sir Christopher Wren in the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Although much altered by later generations, the house retains some interior fittings. One being the stone fireplace in the lounge dated 1658. The Drawing Room has a splendid ceiling, contemporary with the building, enriched with medallions of fruit, flowers and figures of angelic females and birds.
To the side of the Manor, stands the very unusual stable block, dated 1770, which hosts a fine central clock tower. A small addition was made to the east of the building in 1864 and in 1891. A larger wing was added on the east side and also a gazebo window on the staircase landing, overlooking the gardens to the north.
The house was built on a high basement and in one of the basement rooms is a mural inscription, which reads:
"A good character is valuable to everyone, but especially to servants. For it is their bread and butter and without it they cannot be admitted a creditable family, and happy it is that the best of characters is in everyone’s power to deserve” Richard White, 1771.