This fine home was constructed at a cost of 12,000 Pounds in 1878 by J.T. Henderson formerly of Belleville. It was originally referred to as “Thurreson Place” and served as a family home. J.T. Henderson was “trained in the law…” but instead opened a very successful mercantile house in Perth from which he sold various products such as dry goods, liquor, and steamer tickets. It was located on the corner of Wilson and Foster Streets. When Mr. Henderson passed away, his daughter, Jessie Mabel, stayed on in the home with her mother and ‘spinster’ sister, Florence.
Jessie Mabel was married to John A. Stewart, a local man of considerable wealth and prominence in Perth. He practiced law and at various times was President of Wampole Co. Ltd., the Andrew Jergens’ Company Ltd., and the Perth Shoe Company. He was one of the partners in the McLaren Brewery and Distillery and local newspaper, The Perth Expositor.
J.A. Stewart was elected into the House of Commons in 1918 and served as Minister of Railways and Canals in the Meighen Administration; he was also Mayor of Perth for two terms. Mrs. Stewart had a park designed and constructed as a memorial to him. Beautiful Stewart Park is located on Haggart’s Island on the site of the former McLaren Distillery, directly behind the Perth Town Hall on Gore Street. The Park was gifted to the town with the condition that the town promised never to charge admission to the park and there was to be no commerce in the park. Hence today, the very famous Stewart Park Music Festival held every July (voted in the top 100 festivals in Canada) is completely free.
The Stewarts Tudorized the prevailing Italiante look of the Manor by adding leaded bay windows plus a porte-cochere. They also added on the back part of The Manor (notice the difference in colour of brick) as the servants’ quarters. They had an upstairs maid, a downstairs maid, a cook, two gardeners and a chauffeur on staff. The carriage house behind the Manor (where the current owners live) was constructed originally for the livery, and then the chauffeur.
After her death in April 1956 and having lived in the Manor for more than sixty years, the house was purchased by a very close family friend, Eric & Eleanor Sabiston and family. Mr. Sabiston was viewed as the son the Stewarts never had, and had successfully filled the position of President of the Perth Shoe Co. for over 35 years. The Stewarts in their last will & testament offered Mr. Sabiston first right of refusal for Thurreson Place. The Sabiston’s are reported to have enjoyed the “Big House” and hosted many lavish parties for the elite of the era. Many locals nicknamed the Manor “Sabiston Castle” due to its size and surrounding stone wall.
In the early 1970’s, owner & founder Catherine Doornberg with her daughter Suzanne converted the Manor from a Private Residence into a senior’s home. At that time residents of the Manor were charged $10.00 per day which included housekeeping, meals, security, and the opportunity live in such a grand home. The Manor could occupy up to 24 residents.
In the 1990’s Phil & Gisela Aston purchased the Manor from Catherine Doornberg. They continued to operate as a Seniors Home but eventually closed it and converted The Manor into an Inn with Restaurant. By the mid to late 90’s the Restaurant was closed and the Manor was downsized to a Bed and Breakfast.
In April 2002 The Manor was purchased by Michael Dwyer & David Marshall, or “The Manor Boyz” as the folks of Perth fondly referred to them. The Partners restored, renovated, and applied the concept of Boutique Hotel to the Manor. Offering on-site Event Planning for Corporate and Special Events made perfect sense for this magnificent venue. They installed ensuite private baths in all guest rooms, as well as direct dial phones with private voicemail, Televisions, CD & DVD players, wireless internet, fine linens, and all the amenities you currently enjoy today.
May 4th 2011, Michael & David turned over the keys to Gordon, Linda, & their daughter Tyanna Craig of Kingston, Ontario. Gordon was a Professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University until his retirement in August, 2018, and both play with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra – the clarinet section! They came to the Manor more by chance as Gordon had wanted to open a restaurant and Linda firmly said “NO!” The Manor was an excellent compromise. They have united their two passions of music and food in that Gordon does all the cooking for the Manor – breakfasts, to weddings, to special event dinners and they frequently produce concerts from Classical to Folk to Jazz with tasty samplings from the Manor kitchen at receptions.
Gordon and Linda have continued to restore The Manor in its original character with the addition of a few modern amenities such as central heat and air conditioning. They continue to learn new things about The Manor every day as people share their stories and connections to The Manor, and with every restoration project. In summer of 2018, they had the balcony over the porte-corchere restored by Frank Greer Masonry. When cleaning the ornatmental stones to reset, Frank discovered the names of the original masons enscribed in the stone and the date 1929! The stone has been replaced with the names and date showing – you can see it through the sliding glass doors in the sitting area on the second floor – take a look – but please do not go out onto the balcony itself.
The Manor and grounds continue to be restored and resemble very closely the design Mrs. Stewart had originally intended. In the spring and summer months, varieties of antique trees and unusual flowers bloom once again.
The Tradition Continues…
We look forward to your visit.