|The Stonor Mansion|
The Stonors were among those described as respectable "recusants," people who refused to attend Church of England services; respectable because they did not join in any plots to overthrow the monarchy. It was possible, even in the turbulent times of Queen Elizabeth I, to be openly Catholic and still enjoy royal favor. A notable case was the composer William Byrd, who wrote music for the Chapel Royal and for the Catholic Mass.
The Stonor family sheltered another famous martyr, the Jesuit priest Edmund Campion. Campion's printing press was discovered at the Stonor house after Campion was arrested in 1581. Dame Cecily Stonor, who had already been paying yearly fines equivalent to 50,000 pounds ($77,000) in today's money, and her son John were arrested as well.
She stoutly refused to renounce her faith in which, she declared, she found "nothing taught in it but great virtue and sanctity, and so by the grace of God I will live and die in it." The heavy fines and confiscation of Catholic lands depleted the wealth of the Stonors, who by the 14th century had owned 22 manors in eight counties plus 60 acres (24 hectares) of land in the center of London.