Goodwood House

Goodwood House

Goodwood House Staircase

Goodwood House Staircase

Goodwood House is a country house in Westhampnett, West Sussex, England. It is the seat of the Duke of Richmond and is a Grade I listed building. The house and its grounds are the site of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, whilst elsewhere on the estate the Goodwood Circuit motorsport track hosts the annual Goodwood Revival, and Goodwood Racecourse hosts "Glorious Goodwood" and a number of other race meetings. The estate also includes the Goodwood Golf Course and a cricket pitch, home to Goodwood Cricket Club. The Monarch's Way long-distance footpath crosses the downs from west to east, passing immediately south of the racecourse.


The first Duke of Richmond, illegitimate son of Charles II by his French mistress, Louise de Kérouaille, originally rented Goodwood to enjoy the foxhunting with the nearby Charlton Hunt, then the most fashionable hunt in the country. In 1697 he bought the house, built in 1616-17 by the 9th Earl of Northumberland - known as the ‘Wizard Earl’ - whose main home was at Petworth. There is evidence that a house had existed at Goodwood as early as 1570. Colen Campbell’s floorplan of 1724 shows the small Jacobean house with gabled ends and, later, sash windows which must have been added by the first or second Duke.


The 2nd Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1701-50) was very cultured and went on the Grand Tour (1719-22) as a young man. His love of art and architecture led to the rebuilding of Richmond House in London and additions to Goodwood. He was the longest serving Master of the Horse of the eighteenth century. His other interests included gardening, natural history (he had a menagerie at Goodwood), cricket and hunting (he was Master of the Charlton Hunt). He fought at the Battle of Dettingen and under the Duke of Cumberland in the ’45 campaign against Bonnie Prince Charlie. When his grandmother died in 1734 he became Duke of Aubigny. The Duke employed Matthew Brettingham to enlarge the house to the south, with a pedimented front based on William Kent’s Devonshire House in Piccadilly. This was unfinished when the Duke died in 1750 so it was left to Sir William Chambers to complete the interiors. His son, the third Duke of Richmond, employed a young James Wyatt to remodel and extend the north wing (now mainly demolished) in 1771. This included the Tapestry Drawing Room which was decorated in 1776-7. In 1791, the family’s main seat, Richmond House in Whitehall, London, burnt down. Much of the great art collection was saved and James Wyatt added two great wings to showcase it, taking advantage of the sweeping views across the park. To give unity to the two new wings and Brettingham’s south wing, Wyatt added copper-domed turrets framing each façade.


The 3rd Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1735-1806) inherited from his father when he was only fifteen. He went on the Grand Tour and studied at the University of Leyden where he read medical science. As a soldier, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Minden and was made a Field Marshall in 1796. He was British Ambassador to the Court of Louis XV at Versailles in 1765-6 and took an active role in the House of Lords. From 1782 he was Master of the Ordnance and founded the Royal Ordnance Survey to map the whole of Britain at one inch to the mile. Like his father, he was interested in art and architecture. His marriage to Lady Mary Bruce, daughter of the third Earl of Ailesbury, produced no children, so he was succeeded by his nephew, Charles. When the third Duke died in 1806 he left massive debts, so the wing containing the Ballroom was only completed in 1836, when the fifth Duke of Richmond inherited the Scottish properties of his maternal uncle, the last Duke of Gordon. When the present Duke and Duchess of Richmond moved into the house in the late 1960s, the north wing was riddled with dry rot. The decision was taken to demolish the wing but preserve the Tapestry Drawing Room. During this period, the external colonnade and modern kitchens were added to the rear of the house. In 1994 the Duke’s son and daughter-in-law, the Earl and Countess of March and Kinrara, moved into the house and completed an extensive refurbishment programme, restoring the rooms to their original Georgian glory.


The 4th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1764-1819) was a military man, becoming a full General in 1814. Owing to the considerable debts left by his uncle, he spent very little time at Goodwood. In 1807 he was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and from 1814 he and his wife lived in Brussels. In 1818 he was appointed Governor General of Canada where he died tragically of rabies the following year, having been bitten by a pet fox. His wife, Charlotte, was the eldest daughter of the fourth Duke of Gordon. Their eldest son, Charles, inherited the titles. The 5th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1791-1860) was also a soldier, serving in the Peninsula War as ADC to the Duke of Wellington and at Waterloo as ADC to the Prince of Orange. He was Postmaster General and ADC to Queen Victoria. In 1836, he inherited the Scottish properties from his maternal uncle, the fifth and last Duke of Gordon, changing his surname to Gordon Lennox. This enabled him to finish the additions begun at Goodwood by the third Duke. He married Caroline, the daughter of the famous Marquess of Anglesey who lost his leg at Waterloo, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles.


The 6th Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny (1845-1928) was a prominent politician serving as President of the Board of Trade (1867-8) and Lord President of the Council (1874-80). Queen Victoria recreated the title Duke of Gordon for him in 1874. A model landlord, he carried out many improvements on the Estate and built two hundred cottages for Estate employees. His wife, Frances, was the niece of the diarist, Charles Greville. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles. Charles, 7th Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny (1845-1928) served as a soldier and M.P. for West Sussex and Chichester. A widower for much of his life, he enjoyed going to Gordon Castle in Scotland each year for the sport. His first wife was Amy Ricardo (who died in 1879) and his second wife was Isabel Craven. His eldest son, Charles, inherited the dukedoms.


Charles, 8th Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny (1870-1935) also served as a soldier and saw active service in the South African War as ADC to Field Marshall Earl Roberts. He was unable to fight in World War I as he had contracted polio which left him wheel-chair bound. He wrote two books: Records of the Old Charlton Hunt (1910) and A Duke and His Friends, The Life and Letters of the Second Duke of Richmond (1911). He married Hilda Brassey, granddaughter of the famous railway pioneer, Thomas Brassey. Tragically, their eldest son, Charles, was killed on the British Eastern Front in 1919, where he was supporting the White Russians against the Bolsheviks, so the titles went to their second son, Frederick. Frederick, 9th Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny (1904 - 1989) was passionate about cars and planes. He trained as a motor mechanic on the shop floor of Bentley and became a racing driver, winning the Brooklands Double 12 Race in 1931. He sold the Scottish Estates in 1935 to settle the death duties on his father’s death. During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force. After the war, he turned the wartime Westhampnett airfield into the Goodwood Motor Circuit which was Britain’s most prestigious circuit for eighteen years from 1948-1966. He married Elizabeth, daughter of the Reverend Thomas Hudson and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles, the present Duke.


Visits are by guided tour only. There is one disabled toilet in the House. The House, tearoom and shop are fully accessible for wheel-chair users. Ramp access is available at the Front Entrance. All rooms open to the public are situated on the ground floor and there are no stairs to negotiate. An accessible lavatory is also available in the State Rooms. Information sheets are available in every room to provide details on works of art where labels are inaccessible to wheelchair users. These are also available to visitors in large print on request. Disabled visitors driving themselves are welcome to park their vehicles on either side of the turning circle at the front of the House; alternatively, if they are not driving they may be dropped off and then collected at the Front Door. A manual wheel-chair is available for hire at no charge, but should be booked in advance. They have a hearing loop available on request for visitors on guided tours at no charge, but this should also be booked in advance. Assistance dogs are the only dogs that are welcomed. For the Festival of Speed there are two dedicated raised viewing platforms. One is located next to the Kinrara Enclosure opposite Goodwood House; the other is situated alongside the Startline Grandstand (which is covered). Both of these viewing platforms have battery re-charging facilities for motorised wheelchairs. There is also wheelchair access and space undercover within the Pheasantry Grandstand.


Location : Goodwood House, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PX

Transport : Chichester (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 665 stops nearby.

Opening Times : 13 March – 24 October, Sundays and Mondays 13:00 to 17:00; Sunday to Thursday through August

Tickets : Adults £9.50;   Children under 13 Free.

Tickets Afternoon Tea : September 1st to October 24th: Adults £34.50 per person inc. entry fee - 14:00 to 16:30

Tel. : 01243 755000