The Pierreponts were based in north and central Nottinghamshire until the marriage of Henry de Pierrepont to Annora de Manvers at the end of the 13th century brought the estate at Holme, four miles from Nottingham, into the family. It was not until 1633 that the Thoresby estate was purchased by Sir Robert Pierrepont. The medieval Pierreponts were prominent local landowners and politicians, and two of them, Sir Robert de Pierrepont in the fourteenth century, and Sir Henry Pierrepont in the fifteenth century, also distinguished themselves on the battlefield.
Sir George Pierrepont (d 1564), Sir Henry Pierrepont (d 1616), and Sir Robert Pierrepont (d 1643) presided over a period of expansion and consolidation of the family estates. Sir George Pierrepont purchased a number of former monastic estates in Nottinghamshire following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. Sir Robert Pierrepont (1584-1643) was created Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1628, and purchased extensive estates in North Nottinghamshire (Thoresby, Laxton etc.), Derbyshire (Beighton, Calow, Owlcotes and Heath), Lincolnshire (Newball, Hagworthingham, Crowle, Hemingby, Langton-by-Wragby) and Yorkshire (Adwick upon Dearne, Wothersome, and Ingleby Arncliffe). The Orton Longueville estate in Huntingdonshire came to him through his marriage.
Following Robert's death in 1643, his eldest son Henry, created Marquess of Dorchester in 1645, succeeded to the Holme Pierrepont and Orton Longueville estates. However, most of the Earl's purchased estates were settled on his second son William Pierrepont (d 1679) of Tong Castle (Shropshire) and later of Thoresby. William's eldest son, Robert Pierrepont, inherited the Thoresby and Lincolnshire estates, and also acquired the West Dean (Wiltshire and Hampshire) estate through his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir John Evelyn. The Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Shropshire properties were again left to younger sons.
The Marquess of Dorchester died without male issue in 1680, when he was succeeded as 3rd Earl of Kingston by his great-nephew Robert Pierrepont. From then on, Thoresby became the main residence, in preference to Holme Pierrepont Hall. The 3rd Earl died in 1682, being succeeded in turn by his brother William as 4th Earl and, in 1690, by another brother Evelyn (c.1665-1726) as 5th Earl.
The 5th Earl of Kingston inherited the Holme Pierrepont, Thoresby, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire and Wiltshire estates at his accession. He sold Orton Longueville in 1706, but inherited the Beighton and Adwick estates on the death of Samuel Pierrepont of Oldcotes in 1707. He also acquired the Shropshire and other Yorkshire estates, together with an estate at Hanslope (Buckinghamshire), on the death of his uncle, Baron Pierrepont of Hanslape, in 1715. He was created Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1715, and was succeeded in 1726 by his grandson Evelyn (1711-73). The 2nd Duke of Kingston developed his property in Bath, which remained in the family until its sale in 1874. However, other estates in Yorkshire (except Adwick) were sold during the eighteenth century, as were Hanslope in 1763, Tong in 1764 and West Dean after 1773.
The male line died out with the 2nd Duke of Kingston in 1773. The estates were inherited in 1788, following the death of the Duke's widow, by his nephew Charles Medows (1737-1816), despite the legal challenges of Charles's elder brother Evelyn, who initiated a successful court case against the Countess of Kingston for bigamy. Charles assumed the surname Pierrepont in 1788, and was created Viscount Newark in 1796 and Earl Manvers in 1806. He was succeeded by Charles Herbert, the 2nd Earl (1778-1860), Sydney William Herbert, the 3rd Earl (1825-1900), Charles William Sydney, the 4th Earl (1854-1926), and Evelyn Robert, the 5th Earl (1888-1940).
The first four generations of Earls Manvers were all based very firmly in Nottinghamshire, taking local offices appropriate to their status, and interesting themselves greatly in local affairs. The family's wealth, almost all of which came from careful management of landed property, enabled the 3rd Earl Manvers to build the present sumptuous Thoresby Hall from 1864 to 1871. However, as rent receipts for agricultural land fell in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the family began selling some of their estates. Properties in Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire were sold in the 1910s and 1920s, and some of the outlying Nottinghamshire estates in the 1930s. Death duties following the death of the 5th Earl in 1940 forced the sale of the Holme Pierrepont estate. By 1950 the estate was limited to properties in Perlethorpe, Budby, Edwinstowe, Laxton, Kneesall, Kersall and Eakring, plus chief rents from Weston, and rents from canal, railway and utility companies on the old Holme Pierrepont estate. With the 6th Earl's death, in 1955, the Manvers title became extinct. His widow remained at Thoresby Hall, which was sold in 1980, until her death in 1984.