William Ponsonby (1704 – March 11, 1793) was the 2nd Earl of Bessborough, who in 1761 commissioned Sir William Chambers to design a country home at Roehampton. Sir William was best known at the time as the architect of Somerset House. The property, named Parkstead, was finished two years later. It was later renamed as Bessborough House and later still as Manresa. At its peak the Bessborough estate was 14 acres stretching from Richmond Park to Kingston Road. The house was passed through the family but by 1825 was being used less and less and later leased to a banker, Abraham Wildey Robarts. For his part Ponsonby served in both the Irish and the British House of Commons, before entering the House of Lords, and held office as a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, and as Postmaster General of the United Kingdom.
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