Major Percy Marlborough Stewart

“I suddenly said to my wife: “we’re terribly dull people, let’s travel around the world and then we shall have something to talk about”.

So said Major Percy Marlborough Stewart, adventurer, traveller, scholar, philanthropist, collector and environmentalist.

Major Stewart (1871-1962) was an extraordinary man. Descended from the Earls of Galloway, and through them the Spencer-Churchills, his godfather was the Duke of Marlborough and he was 2nd cousin to Winston Churchill.

He and his wife Katharine bought the estate in 1904 and then devoted their lives to creating gardens of outstanding beauty while finding time to make 8 world tours!

Often accompanied by his wife the Major visited every continent (except Antartica), explored remote regions and collected a remarkable range of cultural and religious exhibits. Many of these have been recognised by UNESCO as of national and international importance.

On his death, his wife having predeceased him and there being no children, Major Stewart (knowing that it was also his wife’s wish) willed that the Gardens and the Collection should be left in trust for the benefit of the people of Pocklington. It is this Charitable Trust that now manages the estate.

Photograph: Major Percy Marlbough Stewart.

(Stewart Museum Archive)

Major Percy Stewart