The Goodwood Estate Archives

This record is held by West Sussex Record Office

Details of The Goodwood Estate Archives
Title: The Goodwood Estate Archives
Reference: GOODWOOD
Description:

It is too easy to assume that a catalogue consisting mainly of title deeds can hold little of immediate interest in comparison with personal and family papers. To some extent this may be true, but it is nevertheless unquestionable that the deeds here represent a large amount of material of great value and interest, especially for the study of topography. (For a comprehensive introduction to the historical and topographical value of title deeds, see J.M.L. Booker, The Wiston Archives [in the process of publication]. As with the Wiston MSS., the Goodwood title deeds illustrate the growth of the estate from its centre, and cover a compact area which is not covered by any other collection of West Sussex deeds) The most noticeable gap in the collection is in the manorial section, where little has survived of the documentation for the period before the Dukes built up the estate. (Other collections in the West Sussex Record Office may supplement the Goodwood archives in this respect; e.g. Add. MSS. 1735-1801. for the Manor of Brimfast and Fishers) In some parishes, title deeds--manorial or otherwise--do go back to late medieval tenure, but survival of early material is haphazard. However, the later history of the Goodwood Estate is covered in great detail by the manorial documents, title deeds, maps and administration accounts.

 

There is much material in this collection to attract economic, agrarian and social historians wishing to study the development of a great estate. Together the documents give a very complete picture of Goodwood's history, the diverse elements of which are to a great extent brought together by the estate administration papers. The Race-Course, (Probably Goodwood's most widely-famed asset. Since 1802, when the 3rd Duke first constructed the course, it has been one of the foremost in the racing world. The first permanent grandstand was built in 1904 Today Ascot and Goodwood are the only two privately-owned courses in the country.) for instance, is well documented in Estate accounts, inventories and correspondence.

 

Two large groups of records relating to the Dukedoms of Aubigny and Gordon respectively have been regarded as separate sections, partly because of their general nature but also because of their intrinsic importance and interest. The basic history of the descent of each of these titles is given in the preface to the relevant section, and the reader is asked to refer to these before embarking on research on the original documents. A special note should also be taken of the short explanatory account of the litigation relating to the Aubigny estates and to the warnings about the provenance and arrangement of the Aubigny papers.

 

From the family and personal letters we learn about the writers themselves, their immediate family and friends, and events in their day-to-day life, not only in this country but, for example, in Italy, Germany, France or Canada; some personal letters also incorporate vivid accounts of events which now find a place in our national history, such as those written during the Jacobite Risings and the Napoleonic and South African Campaigns. Letters written in the course of official duties, either at local or at national level, can often serve as a supplement to the official or public records relating to the same matters, not only by providing more detailed information about the affairs in question, but also by revealing contemporary feelings and attitudes and thus explaining the motivation for what might otherwise be an incomprehensible course of action. Correspondence relating to the administration of the family properties (households and estates) or to the purchase of carriages, horses, furniture, clothing and other personal items, of obvious general interest for the cultural background, domestic conditions and trade during the periods covered, will often provide unexpected details about the items purchased or the locality in which the property is situated.

 

The picture built up from the personal papers listed in this volume and the insight into the individual tastes and characters of members of the family as a whole could not easily be gained from other sources. The collection is essentially that of one family and, apart from the lamentable lack of papers relating to the 3rd Duke, it contains a well-balanced and representative selection of the documents one might expect to have survived for such a family.

Date: 1418-1984
Held by: West Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Arrangement:

Little clarification should be needed with regard to the arrangement of contents, which is straightforward and self-explanatory. The Yeakell and Gardner estate surveys are listed under 'Manorial Records'. Rentals will be found in the 'Manorial', and in the 'Estate; Accounts' sections, Plans and schedules of documents may be found with the deeds to which they relate, as well as in their individual sections.

 

'The title deeds of the Goodwood Estate were received in complete disorder and some which came from His Grace's London solicitors were found to be those missing from bundles formerly at Goodwood House. There were practically no original bundles but, for obvious reasons, bundles which appear to have been undisturbed have been retained in their entirety even if the deeds seem to be part of a group relating to more than one property.

 

The majority of the family papers have been arranged in sections under persons (mainly the Dukes and their children--other than their heirs) with sub-sections under the subjects or classes which were either common throughout or of sufficient importance to warrant special attention in view of the interests and activities of the particular individuals. Any documents which do not fall within these sub-sections and which can be assigned to a particular person (It should be noted that some of the papers put under 'Public Office' of the 3rd Duke may equally well relate to the 4th Duke; their position in the catalogue has been largely governed by the date of the events to which the documents relate.) or his children have been put in chronological order at the beginning of the records relating to that person. A prefatory note at the head of each person's section gives the dates of his birth, marriage and death and lists his children and their marriages; as it also contains a bibliography of the more important works relating to the people included in that section, it was not considered necessary to compile a general bibliography for the volume as a whole.

Language: English
Extent: 209 series
Administrative History:

GOODWOOD today comprises a stately mansion, a magnificent park, a flourishing estate with its own private airfield, and one of England's most famous and beautiful race-courses. Three hundred years ago, however, it was a small unknown house with a modest park and farm, barely suitable as the hunting lodge for which the young Charles, 1st Duke of Richmond, bought it in 1695. The history of the estate which the Duke and his successors created at Goodwood is elaborately and exhaustively covered by the huge collection of archives listed here.

 

Originally, the most important house and estate in the Goodwood area was Halnaker (whose park is immediately adjacent to that of Goodwood). (See Francis W. Steer: A Short History and description of Halnaker House (1958))

 

In 1105 it was owned by Robert de Haia from whom it passed to Roger de St. John, and then to Elizabeth Bonville, who married Thomas West, Lord de la Warr. In 1561 it was granted to Henry, 12th Earl of Arundel, and it then passed to John, Lord Lumley, who sold it to John Morley in 1587. It remained in the Morley family until Mary Morley (who had married James, 10th Earl of Derby in 1704) died in 1752, and left the estate to Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, who sold it to the 3rd Duke of Richmond in 1765 for £48,000. In contrast, within a mile of Halnaker stood the house at Goodwood. It is difficult to ascertain with any accuracy the early history of its owners. The derivation of the name is in dispute, though it is believed to be Saxon, and to be mentioned in Domesday Book. (See English Place Name Society: vol. VI. The Place Names of Sussex, by A. Mawer & F.M. Stenton. Also The Victoria History of the County of Sussex, vol. 4.) In 1540 it formed part of the Halnaker Estate; Henry, Earl of Arundel, and John, Lord Lumley, both held it in the 16th century. (See Goodwood / E290 and E679) Henry, Earl of Arundel, surrendered it to the Crown, and it was regranted to him in 1561. From 1565/6, the Goodwood MSS. provide the history, (See from Goodwood/E732) recording that in that year the House and lands were conveyed to John, Lord Lumley and his wife. They sold the property in 1583/4 to Henry and Elizabeth Walrond(e) for £2,400. In 1608, it was conveyed to Sir Edward Francis (seneschal and supervisor of the Petworth House estates while the 9th Earl of Northumberland was in the Tower) (See Catalogue of the Petworth House Archives, vol. I. edited by F.W. Steer and N. H. Osborne (1968); and Lord Leconfield, Petworth Manor in the Seventeenth Century (1954)) who conveyed it to the 9th Earl himself in 1614. (For Lower Park. Old Park, Goldings Coppice, etc., not conveyed to the Earl, see Goodwood/E694-696) In 1616/17, the Earl had Goodwood House rebuilt (See Goodwood/E732-813 and W.S.R.O., M.P. 854) at a cost of over £550, and then in 1656/7 the estate was sold for £2,400 to John Caryll junior, of Harting, who sold it again in 1675 for £3,500 to Anthony Kemp(e). In 1690 it was sold for £4,000 to Charles, Earl of Middleton and again in 1693 to Charles, Earl of Shrewsbury and William Rowley, Esq. for £3,500. Finally, in 1695-7 it was bought by Charles, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox for £4,100. (Many printed histories give facts widely divergent from this account. However, with the exception of Goodwood MS. 752 (a 19th century 'explanatory note' on the sale to the Earl of Northumberland) the deeds in this catalogue give a perfectly clear picture of the descent of the property)

 

The property is described (See Goodwood/E772) as 'Goodwood Park and Goodwood House or Place, with all messuages, barns, etc., belonging in [East] Hampnett, West Hampnett, and Boxgrove .... The house was simply a 'mansion house or capital messuage', and was used by the Duke (whose titular estates were in Yorkshire and Scotland (See The Complete Peerage. vol. X. pp. 836, 837)) as a hunting lodge, and occasional residence. The estate consisted of little more than the immediate Park and farmland in Boxgrove and East and West Hampnett. It was developed little during the early eighteenth century, with the notable exception of the 2nd Duke's purchase of the manors of Singleton and Charlton, in 1730. This extended the estate northwards across the Downs, and included the forests of Singleton and Charlton. Charlton very soon became the centre for the Charlton Hunt, which remained one of the most famous and fashionable in England until after the death of the 2nd Duke in 1750. In 1732, the Duke had a hunting lodge built at Charlton, called Fox Hall, (See the Earl of March. The Records of the Old Charlton Hunt (1910): and I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, Sussex, p. 127 and p. 36) and in 1735, land was surrendered to his use, to enable him to 'make a Beautifull Green before his hunting Seat at Charlton'. (See Goodwood/ E3766)

 

The 2nd Duke and his wife and children took a lively interest in the Park and estate. In 1743, Roger Morris (See The Dictionary of National Biography under Robert Morris. Roger was carpenter and principal engineer to the Board of Ordnance. He died in 1749. He also built the Chichester Council House) was engaged to build the imposing 'Carné's Seat', (Vide infra, for comment by Viscount Palmerston) and the Duchess and her daughters spent seven years in decorating the nearby Shell House, with 'incredible delicacy (Adam delicacy before Adam)'. (I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, Sussex (1965). p. 229; see also ibid., p. 37) The Duke himself took a particular interest in the trees and plants of the Park, and, under the guidance of Sir Peter Collinson (1694-1768) (the eminent horticulturist), planted large numbers of evergreen, cork, and other oaks, and cedars, and beeches, all skilfully suited to the landscape and views and providing picturesque walks and rides. The potential of Goodwood Park had also attracted the interest of the architect Colen Campbell, (He died in 1729) who produced a design for Goodwood House and Park in 1723/4 (See Goodwood / E5067. It was published in vol. 3 of his Vitruvius Britannicus. See also Goodwood / 135) which was never carried out.

 

The 3rd Duke succeeded his father in 1750 at the age of 15. and, ten years later, in 1760, he began to make his contribution to the Goodwood estate. He commissioned Sir William Chambers (1726-1796) to build a new house at Goodwood. It was a south-facing house, of Portland Stone, still not remarkable for its size, but a great improvement on the building of 1616. At the same period (1757-63) Chambers built the Stables at Goodwood, which are still one of the most impressive buildings in the Park. This was the beginning of the dramatic development of the estate and of its importance. The estate which the Duke had inherited in 1750 covered some 1,100 acres of land, of which about 200 were parkland; when he died in 1806, he left his nephew over 17,000 acres. The development began with his purchasing the Halnaker Estate in 1765, which considerably enlarged his parkland, and extended his lands into the manors or parishes of Halnaker, Boxgrove, Walberton, Tangmere, Barnham, East Lavant and Oldbury and Seabeech. Halnaker House had been declining in importance for some years before, and once the estate came into the Duke of Richmond's possession it ceded the local pre-eminence to Goodwood. With his subsequent purchase of the manors of Atherington in Climping. Brimfast and Fishers in North Mundham, Woodcote in Westhampnett, Mid-Lavant (or Raughmere), West Lavant, West Preston in Rustington, West Stoke, Westhampnett and East Dean, (See Francis W. Steer, The Lavington Archives (1964)) a very compact estate, running along the Downs to the north of Chichester, and spreading southwards to the coast to the east of Chichester, was eventually formed.

 

With the growth of local importance of both house and estate, and the national high standing of the Dukes of Richmond, the 3rd Duke found the house of 1760 too small for his needs. (In 1788 the 2nd Viscount Palmerston (In the 'Tour of Sussex' section of his Travel Diary: Hampshire Record Office, ref. 27M60/1924. A copy of this is in W.S.R.O., M.P. 854) described it as 'An irregular old House... with some comfortable rooms but little worthy of particular notice. The Offices form a handsome Building near the House, and ye Duke is making a Dog Kennel which is an object from ye House, and which is both within and without, in a Style of Elegance unknown hitherto in that Species of Building'.) He therefore conceived a grandiose scheme for a new house, an octagonal building round an open courtyard, and he commissioned the architect James Wyatt (Wyatt. 1746-1813, designed several buildings in West Sussex, including West Dean House, Chichester Assembly Rooms and Petworth House of Correction. He probably designed the Duke of Richmond's house and racing stables at Itchenor) to execute it. However, the cost of this scheme was found to be prohibitive, and the Duke had to modify his ideas. The house James Wyatt eventually created formed only three sides of the octagon, and incorporated a modification of Chambers's original building at the northwest, and more of his work in the portico in the centre of the south front. Though it does not rank with Wyatt's best work, being transitional in style, built in an unfamiliar material, (Flint, which the 3rd Duke used for much of his building, Collecting and preparing the stone gave employment to pauper labourers, male and female. See D. Jacques, A Visit to Goodwood, p. 18; Goodwood/ E5423-5) and subject to the 3rd Duke's scheme, it is nonetheless an impressive building and contains some finely proportioned rooms. The building was begun between 1790 and 1800, though there are indications that it was planned a decade or so earlier. (I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, Sussex (1965), p. 228. Anthony Dale, in his biography of Wyatt, places his work on Goodwood between 1787 and 1806.) Wyatt also designed the cottages, outbuildings and lodges which were built in the late 18th century, including Molecomb House and the very fine Kennels which Lord Palmerston so admired. (Information on architecture is taken mainly from: I. Nairn and N. Pevsner. Sussex (1965); Anthony Dale, James Wyatt (1956); Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 'List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest'.)

 

Another attraction of the Park under the 3rd Duke was the menagerie which he inherited from his father. (See the Earl of March, A Duke and his Friends (1911)) Of this then fashionable institution, Viscount Palmerston notes (In the 'Tour of Sussex' section of his Travel Diary: Hampshire Record Office, ref. 27M60/1924. A copy of this is in W.S.R.O., M.P. 854) 'The Park is pleasing and in ye upper part of it some distance from ye House, which stands low, is a Menagerie, now going to decay, but originally very Pretty, a little farther up a Building called Carney's Seat from which there is a very fine View of Chichester, and all ye adjacent Country, with the Sea, Spithead, and the Isle of Wight'. Eventually, as Palmerston indicates, the Duke was forced to close this embryonic zoo; probably the expense of stocking and maintenance was exorbitant, and the mortality rate high. (A statue of a lioness marks the grave of one of the favourite 'pets' of the 3rd Duke's sisters.)

 

The 3rd Duke's greatest legacy to the archives and probably the pride of the whole collection, is the series of estate maps and manorial surveys. From the 1760's onwards, the Duke employed the distinguished cartographers Thomas Yeakell and William Gardner, who produced beautiful and extremely accurate maps of Chichester and its environs, of Sussex, and, in particular, of the Duke's estate. (See Crone, Campbell and Skelton, 'Landmarks in British Cartography', The Geographical Journal, vol. 128 (1962), pp. 406-430; T. R. Holland, 'The Yeakell and Gardner Maps of Sussex', Sussex Archaeological Collections, vol. 95 (1957), pp. 94-104. For a discussion of the work of Yeakell, Gardner and Glot, see W.S.R.O., M.P. 103.) The estate surveys proper cover the manors of Boxgrove and Halnaker, East Dean, Singleton and Charlton, West Preston, East Lavant, Mid-Lavant and Tangmere. There is sometimes more than one set of maps for any one manor, and they vary in size, detail and decoration. Perhaps the most striking and ornate is one of the surveys of Boxgrove and Halnaker, (Goodwood/ E30) a beautiful volume bound in red leather, measuring 16 cm x 11.1 cm, containing separate maps of each tithing and manor, and of the lands held by each tenant (even holdings of only one field), as well as detailed maps of strip-holdings in the Common Fields. Each map is coloured and lettered to correspond to a comprehensive key and each is surrounded by a decorative border. By contrast, the largest volumes (e.g. Goodwood/ E32) measure 66.3 cm x 48.5 cm, are bound in rough calf and are much plainer and less painstakingly finished. The whole series, compiled in the 1770's and 1780's provides the most valuable and informative documentation of the estate's geography and of the history of the land and its tenants.

 

The 4th Duke succeeded his uncle in 1806, and died in Canada in 1819. As his duties took him to Ireland and to Canada for long periods he was seldom at Goodwood himself, and certainly had not time to do more than maintain the newly enlarged estate and put the finishing touches to the new House. It was the 5th Duke who again took up the business of expansion and consolidation of landholding. He added to the estate the manors of East Wittering, Felpham, East Hampnett and East Itchenor, as well as land in Chichester, South Bersted, Bosham, Funtington, Oving and Rumboldswhyke. He also made numerous exchanges of land with neighbouring landowners. In his capable hands, and through his intense interest in the land, in his tenants, and in agricultural methods, the estate flourished. After his death in 1850, the 6th Duke continued his work, and although there was little expansion there was continued consolidation and rationalisation of the land-holding. The landscape of the Park was further enhanced by the planting of more trees. The 6th Duke took a particular interest in the estate buildings and he had about 400 estate cottages built; these greatly improved living conditions, and were used as models by neighbouring landowners. (See Petworth House/ 1119.) During the present century the 7th, 8th and 9th Dukes have continued the traditions of their family, and maintained the handsome Park and still extensive estate, in the face of rising costs and prohibitive taxation. The recent history of the estate, and its adaptation to the 20th century way of life, is as full of interest as that of earlier and perhaps more romantic times.

 

Louise Renée de Penancoët de Keroualle, daughter of Guillaume de Penancoët, Sieur de Keroualle in Brittany, was appointed Maid of Honour to Henrietta Duchess of Orleans (sister of Charles II) in 1668, and when Henrietta visited her brother in 1670 to negotiate a secret treaty at the behest of Louis XIV, Louise was among those who accompanied her to England. Upon Henrietta's tragic death shortly after her return to France, Louise, who had already captured Charles II's attention, was sent to England by Louis XIV as a spy. It was intended that by fostering Charles' awakened interest and establishing herself in his affections she could influence him to remain loyal to his secret alliance with France. Her beauty, intelligence and culture soon found her a high place among Charles' favourites and these same qualities, coupled with a deep mutual affection, made her the 'most absolute' (See G.E.C. (ed.) The Complete Peerage, vol. X (1945), p. 608.) of the king's mistresses. She bore him one child, Charles, in 1672. After the birth of her son Louise was naturalised and, in August 1673, she was created Baroness Petersfield, Countess of Fareham and Duchess of Portsmouth for the term of her life. Also in 1673 Louis XIV granted her the fief of Aubigny in Berry and, in 1684, at Charles II's persuasion, he also created her Duchess of Aubigny. During Charles II's lifetime Louise was generously provided for, but the annuity of £8,600 which he had granted her in 1676 fell into arrears after his death in 1685 and was eventually withdrawn altogether by William III. Her straitened circumstances and the general enmity directed towards her after Charles' death forced her to return to France. There she lived mainly on her estate at Aubigny, where she founded a convent c.1734. Although in receipt of a pension from the King of France she was in constant financial difficulties and the reclamation of her English annuity in 1716 did little to alleviate these. When she died at the age of 85 in 1734 all her English titles became extinct.

 

Charles Stuart, Duke of Lennox, Duke of Richmond and Seigneur of Aubigny died in 1672 and with him ended the male line of Sir John Stuart of Darnley. (See The Complete Peerage, vol. X (1945), pp. 834-836.) The nearest collateral male heir was King Charles II. In 1675 all the English and Scottish titles which had reverted to the Crown on the Duke of Richmond's death in 1672, were conferred by the King on Charles Lennox, his natural son by Louise de Keroualle. In 1681 the young Duke was installed as a Knight of the Garter and appointed Governor of Dumbarton Castle and Master of the Horse, while in 1683 he was also appointed High Steward of the City of York. Between the years 1675 and 1680, by way of further recognition, the King also granted his son Richmond Castle in Yorkshire, the lands of Lennox in Scotland, an annuity of £2,000 and a duty on all sea coal shipped from Newcastle. The Duke, who was naturalised in France by letters patent in January 1685, accompanied his mother to France when she left England a few months after Charles II's death in February of that same year. Whilst in France he professed the Roman Catholic faith, but in 1692 he rejoined the Anglican communion. Finding little preferment under Louis XIV he had returned to England by 1689 when the first definite connection of the family with Goodwood can be established. (In 1689 the Corporation of St. Pancras in Chichester was presented a fat buck for their annual dinner by the 'Duke of Richmond at Goodwoode'. Kent op. cit., p. 3.) In June 1695 he agreed to purchase the 'mansion house of Goodwood and all the lands belonging thereto', and in December 1697 the property, already heavily mortgaged, was conveyed to him for £4,100. (See Goodwood/ E784 and E793, 794.) Although originally only a hunting box, Goodwood was undoubtedly a family home by 1701 when Charles, the eldest son of the first Duke and Anne his wife, was born there. The Duke had married Anne (Brudenell) widow of Henry, 2nd Baron Belasyse of Worlaby, early in 1693, but apart from a group of letters addressed to Louise de Keroualle and a series of personal and household bills starting in 1694, no other documents have survived in this collection for the Duke or his family before 1704. The fact that little of any significance survives for the Duke even after that date may at first sight be difficult to understand as, although he was only 51 when he died, he had held various high public offices from a very early age, had been in close contact with three successive sovereigns and had mixed with several notable persons of his day. The key lies in an understanding of his character, for, besides being a notoriously bad correspondent, he had an 'unfortunate propensity for being everything by turns and nothing long'. (Lord March, A Duke and His Friends, p. 3.) Quite early in life he admits to his mother that he applied himself to nothing, and in later life many of his private or leisure activities, although of potential interest to the contemporary chronicler, were not of a nature to provide an accumulation of documentary evidence.

 

On the other hand the excellent collection of archives that have survived for his eldest child, the 2nd Duke, represents in its many aspects an equally short but contrastingly rewarding life. The time spent on the Grand Tour, in the company of his tutor (and lifelong friend) Tom Hill, if not of immediate cultural benefit, was put to advantage, however unconsciously, in that it served by its social success not only to satisfy the natural restlessness of an active young man, but also to alleviate the dissatisfaction caused by a potentially disastrous marriage. (The marriage which was solemnised at The Hague immediately before his departure on the Tour had been arranged to settle a gambling debt incurred by his father. He was 18 and his bride Sarah. daughter of the Earl of Cadogan, a rather plain girl of only 13.) In fact, the marriage turned out very happily and a good selection of family letters has survived to bear witness to the lifelong love of the Duke for his wife and to the affection of both parents for their children. Also reflected in their personal papers and letters are the many cultural and leisure pursuits which fired his and his family's interests. As 'a patron of the politer parts' (Goodwood/ 103. Letter from Tom Hill.) the Duke encouraged and assisted contemporary artists, scientists, authors and playwrights, often bringing them into the circle of his own family, to the reciprocal benefit of both protégé and family. As a sportsman he helped formalise and develop the game of cricket, and under his mastership the Charlton (later Goodwood) Hunt became the first established pack in the country. (See also W.S.R.O. Add. MS. 10,913.) With respect to his service to the nation, the posts and honours (For a list of these see The Complete Peerage, vol. X (1945), pp. 838, 839.) the 2nd Duke accepted were regarded as real responsibilities not sinecures, and the welcome detail in the relevant papers that have survived owes much to this sense of personal responsibility. This is particularly noticeable in the papers relating to military affairs for, although his active service life was relatively short compared with some of the later members of the family, the information about the officers and serving men and their living conditions is unusually precise. The same sense of responsibility is revealed in his attitude to local and county affairs. In 1722, as Earl of March, he represented Chichester in Parliament, in 1735 he was Mayor of the city and in 1749 High Steward. He also played an active and interested part in such matters as the care and relief of the poor, the administration of justice, the suppression of crime, the improvement of highways and the upkeep and preservation of public monuments and buildings. The upkeep and management of his own properties also concerned him, and although it is to be regretted that no visible evidence remains of the improvements he effected in respect of his London home, evidence of the renovations and embellishments he made at Goodwood may still be gathered. The ménagerie was short-lived, but delightful mementos such as Carne's Seat and the Shell House have fortunately survived as a heritage from 'a man even more remarkable for the manner in which he lived in the distinguished rank he held in his country, than for the rank itself'. (A. Trembley Instructions d'un père à ses enfans, sur la nature et sur la religion, 1775.)

 

A further less tangible inheritance from the 2nd Duke to be seen today is the family characteristic which combines a happy spirit of innovation with a fine appreciation of a beautiful environment. These qualities were already evident in the 3rd Duke of Richmond, the seventh child but eldest surviving son of the 2nd Duke; under his care the Sussex estate was developed and enlarged to much the same extent as exists today; the world famous racecourse on the Downs was started by him; and the present house was of his inspiration, many of its more beautiful contents and furnishings also being acquired during his lifetime. On the death of his father the 3rd Duke, then only 15, was entrusted at his father's urgent behest to the care of Abraham Trembley a remarkable man of many interests--biology, philosophy, education, religion, politics, science. The next five and a half years spent in Trembley's company exerted a profound influence on the Duke; the Grand Tour undertaken during this period was a triumphal procession from one place of interest to the next and served as an invaluable experience to both travellers who were received everywhere with equal enthusiasm by persons of high rank and eminent men of science and letters. Similar contacts with famous and influential persons were made and maintained throughout his life by the Duke who had a great fund of affection for his fellow-men and an immense capacity for useful activity. He was nearly 72 when he died and, like his father, had led a full and rewarding life filling the various offices (For a list of these see The Complete Peerage, vol. X (1945), pp. 840-842.) he held both locally and nationally with dignity and sincerity. It is therefore particularly to be regretted that so little evidence of his personal activities and interests survives among these family records. It was long thought that the 3rd Duke's papers had perished in the fire at Richmond House, London, in 1791, but a contemporary account of the fire which appeared in the Public Advertiser (see Goodwood / 172) specifically mentions that they were all saved. The answer may, however, lie in the Duke's will (see Goodwood / 261) in which he bequeaths to his natural daughter Henrietta Ann Le Clerc 'all such Letters, Copies of Letters Correspondence Manuscript Books and written papers of every kind belonging to me at my death whether relating to public or private Affairs . . . and whether found at my House at Goodwood or my House at Whitehall or elsewhere as bear date or have been written since the decease of my Father and do not concern the Titles to any of my Estates and property But I desire her to offer to any persons living at my decease to return to them all letters that such persons may have written to me'. He further desires that his executors deliver all such papers' over to her as soon as they conveniently can they themselves looking at them no more than may be necessary to make . . . Selection and not suffering any other person to examine or peruse them'. From this it may be assumed that Henrietta dispersed or destroyed many of the papers either in too faithful compliance with her father's injunction that no-one except the original authors should have the papers, or merely through a lack of respect for documents themselves. It is therefore probable that thus were lost not only the majority of such papers and correspondence as related to his private and family concerns but also many possibly invaluable items concerning either his military, political and diplomatic careers or his two terms of office as Master-General of the Ordnance. Little also remains to record the active and influential part he played in local and county affairs and politics (he was for example Lord Lieutenant of Sussex for forty-four years) or of his academic interests (he was a member or founder-member of various national learned societies). Therefore, although the relatively small number of papers that have survived in respect of the Duke's public affairs do afford a few tantalising glimpses into this part of his life, no balanced assessment can really be made from them of the full range of his activities or of the rectitude, foresight and perseverance he manifested in their execution, while from the handful of private papers little is learnt about his sense of family obligation and the natural affection he revealed for those who were closest to him. The Duke had no legitimate issue but his natural daughter Henrietta Le Clerc, and his servant (The Annual Register 1807 (which inaccurately reports his death as occurring on 2 Jan. 1807), calls her his housekeeper and wrongly asserts that her three daughters by the Duke are mentioned in his will. She was however undoubtedly his mistress in view of the provision in his will for any son which she should bear before or within ten months of the testator's death.) Mrs. Bennett who were amply provided for both during and after his lifetime, are among the members of his household who were especially remembered in his will.

 

When the 3rd Duke died on 29 December 1806 he was succeeded by his nephew Charles, the only son of Lord George Lennox. Regrettably few papers of outstanding importance or relevance survive in this collection in respect of either the public or the private life of this, the 4th, Duke. Much of his life was spent overseas and although he was M.P. for Chichester between 1790 and 1806, High Steward for the city in 1807 and Lord Lieutenant of the County between 1816 and 1819, he in fact took very little part either in general local affairs or in the personal running of his estate. (The major part of his correspondence in this collection is with the stewards or agents who looked after his affairs in this country after his succession to the title.) Before his succession to the title in 1806 he had seen active service in the army and, from 1784 to 1795, had served as secretary to the 3rd Duke when he was Master-General of the Ordnance. From a knowledge of his incessant travelling, and of his enjoyment in sharing a game of cricket and other sports with officers and 'common soldiers' whenever the opportunity presented itself, of from anecdotes such as those relating to his duels with the Duke of York and Theophilus Swift in 1789 and his attendance as a civilian spectator at the Battle of Waterloo, one may gather that he enjoyed the role of an active participator in life and his very activity probably left little occasion for the writing or collecting of personal papers, but it is nevertheless difficult to understand why nothing, apart from a handful of letters and one 'diploma', should survive before 1806 Two large collections of letters mainly comprising his correspondence from 1807 to 1818 when he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Governor General of Canada, are now in the National Library of Ireland and among the Sackville MSS, in the Kent Archives Office, but few personal records survive after 1813. The Irish letters include several hundred from the 1st Duke of Wellington but again, although there are many letters among the correspondence of the 4th Duke's wife, his own papers in this collection contain disappointingly few items relating to Wellington, who was a close personal friend of theirs for many years. The Duke's appointment as Governor General of the British Settlements in North America in 1818 took him overseas once more and, characteristically, he immediately set out on a tour of inspection: in 1819, whilst still on the tour, he died tragically of hydrophobia.

 

His wife Charlotte (who was the first daughter and, after 28 May 1836, heir of line of Alexander 4th Duke of Gordon) survived him by twenty-three years. A rich collection of correspondence with eminent people both in England and in Europe, and papers relating to her attendance upon royalty survive as a witness to the fact that her husband's untimely death was in no way regarded as a signal for her retirement from society, and an equally fine collection of family letters reveal that she also figures as an important member of the family circle until her death in 1842.

 

Charles, 5th Duke of Richmond, was born in 1791 at Richmond House, Whitehall, just over four months before it was destroyed by fire. He received a commission in the army in 1809 and acted as A.D.C. to the Duke of Wellington from 1810 to 1814. In February 1814 he would almost certainly have died from a wound in the chest received at the Battle of Orthez (Stoke Clump on Bow Hill was planted on the Duke's orders as a memorial to the battle. See Sussex County Magazine, vol. 10. p. 366.) were it not for the prompt and decisive treatment of a young surgeon, Archibald Hair. The Duke maintained a lifelong friendship with Hair who later became his private secretary and who in this capacity probably helped the other secretaries, Arthur Stephens and J. B. Freeland, who conscientiously filed and preserved many of the Duke's letters and papers. This remarkable collection of official, political and semi-private papers and correspondence (much of which is with leading figures in several different spheres) forms the basis of the 5th Duke's personal records and, starting in 1830, covers the rest of his political career. After the Battle of Waterloo, at which he was present as A.D.C. to the Prince of Orange, the Duke retired from active service but, in the capacity of a Colonel of the Sussex Militia (from 1819 until his death) he maintained a lively interest in military matters. (Kent, op. cit., p. 113. 'Whenever the Militia was mobilized the colonel was at his post as the head of his regiment, leaving the comforts of his own home to occupy the field-officers' quarters in the "hut" barracks at Chichester'. He also 'liked to put the Militia through their evolutions in Goodwood Park'.) He also devoted much of his time to local and county affairs and, like the 3rd Duke, concerned himself personally with the management of his Sussex and Scottish (In August 1836 he succeeded to the Scottish estates on the death of his maternal uncle George, 5th Duke of Gordon. It was also at that time that he took the additional surname of Gordon by Royal Licence.) estates. The Annual Register when reporting his death in 1860 said that 'he was esteemed by his tenantry as one of the best of landlords'; this was undoubtedly true for, personally and politically, he championed the cause of British agriculture and the agricultural labourer, and his own tenants enjoyed conditions of an exceptionally high standard for the period. The agricultural labourer was not, however, the only oppressed or forgotten class of person who found an advocate or supporter in the Duke. Applications for help which many others in a similar position either ignored or treated with indifference were all carefully considered, and employment was often given to help the 'unworthy ... to establish for themselves an honest and industrious character'. (Kent, op, cit., p. 184) As a result of reforms instituted by the Duke of Richmond as Postmaster General, persons who had previously worked for a pittance as substitutes for absentee sinecurists, were employed as established personnel, receiving due remuneration for their work and all sinecurists were dismissed. Veterans of the Peninsular campaign--1794 to 1814--seemingly forgotten by all but the Duke and a few of his followers, finally received public recognition of their services in 1850 when the medals the Duke had fought for on their behalf for so long were finally awarded. In this cause as in many another the Duke found himself in opposition to his personal friend the Duke of Wellington; fortunately the friendship did not suffer, for both men recognized that all private feeling should be set aside in respect of matters of public importance. The same integrity which the Duke manifested in his relations with Wellington was evident throughout his political career, often forcing him to take a dissenting or minority standpoint, and this, coupled with the constant indifferent health which followed his early war wound, caused him to play a less active role in Government than his interest and ability merited. As it was, most of the major issues of the day claimed his attention and in this respect the reader is again reminded that the catalogue entries for the parliamentary letters and papers serve only as a guide to the full range of these issues.

 

A similar caution must be made in respect of the political papers and correspondence of his son the 6th Duke of Richmond and 1st Duke of Gordon, (In 1876 he was created 1st Duke of Gordon by Queen Victoria in recognition of his services to the Crown.) for although the many important public appointments held by the Duke (For a list of these see The Complete Peevage, vol. X (1945), p. 846.) and the range of his interests and correspondents are more fully represented in the catalogue entries in this volume, there nevertheless remain many persons, subjects and issues of potential interest which have not been specifically mentioned. The Duke's life and career resemble in many ways those of the 3rd and 5th Dukes: like them he had a long and rewarding life; like them his first choice of career was the army (from 1842-1852 he too was A.D.C. to the Duke of Wellington); like them he later became an able and distinguished politician, pursuing the successful outcome of the causes he supported with the same integrity of spirit and the same disregard for personal popularity that his predecessors had shown; like them he enjoyed the friendship and regard of his Sovereign; like them he took a major part in local and county affairs (upon the reform of Local Government in 1889 he was appointed the first Chairman of the West Sussex County Council and served in this capacity until his death in 1903); and, like them he took a great personal interest in his estates, effecting many improvements and embellishments, particularly in respect of the house and park at Goodwood and in bringing the working and living conditions of his tenants up to an even higher standard than before.

 

A similar personal interest in the progress of agricultural methods and in the welfare of the agricultural tenant was evident in Charles Henry, 7th Duke of Richmond and 2nd Duke of Gordon, who was born in 1845 and may be considered as one of the quietly great Victorians. When he died in 1928 he was rightly described (See The Sussex County Magazine, vol. 2, p. 118.) as a person of unostentatious generosity, not given to standing in the limelight of public popularity. His personal life was clouded by tragedy on more than one occasion--he married twice but both wives died young and he was for forty years a widower; in the first World War he lost his third son, Lord Bernard Charles Gordon Lennox, killed in France in 1914. Then in 1915 his eldest son (later 8th Duke) contracted polio and was left an invalid for the rest of his life. In 1919 a further loss followed when his grandson (and heir presumptive) Lord Settrington was killed, aged 20, while on active service with the British military expedition to Archangel. This young man had already seen service in France having been taken prisoner by the Germans in April 1918. Where others may have become embittered by these personal losses the Duke found a fund of strength to continue his public duties and service to the community. Having served in the regular army between 1865 and 1869 he became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Sussex Militia, commanding it for over twenty-five of his thirty years in this capacity. During this period he took his regiment to South Africa, and for his services during the campaign he was mentioned in Despatches and made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. Although not such a prominent political figure as his two immediate predecessors, he was a well-supported and popular representative for the county of West Sussex between 1868 and 1885, and for the Chichester constituency between 1885 and 1888. He was a member of the West Sussex County Council until his death in 1928, serving as Chairman to the Authority from 1907 to 1917. His other public duties (For a list of some of his appointments see The Complete Peerage, vol. X (1945), p. 847.) and the personal acts of kindness and generosity for which he was noted have provided little documentary evidence for this present collection, but the historian of the future may well find further research material among other private papers and official records as they become progressively available for access in the course of time.

 

The element of time also governs the availability of and access to the records of the 8th and 9th Dukes of Richmond and Gordon, and the inclusion of any documents in this catalogue (particularly those of more recent date) does not necessarily imply that they may be used without restriction.

 

The 8th Duke was born in 1870 and, like his ancestors, joined the army as soon as his formal education (at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford) was completed. Having served in the South African Campaign as A.D.C. to Field-Marshal Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts [afterwards Earl Roberts] he then entered the Irish Guards with a commission upon the formation of that regiment in 1900. He retired in 1911 with the rank of Major and joined the Sussex Yeomanry in which he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1915, on the eve of his departure to Gallipoli in command of his regiment he was struck down by polio; this illness prevented him from serving in the war and left him unable to walk for the remaining twenty years of his life. Although he was also thus precluded personally from taking his full part in most of the normal public activities of his high position both before and after his succession to the Dukedom in 1928, many of his duties, particularly those of a social or charitable nature, were undertaken on his behalf by his wife Hilda, Duchess of Richmond. (After his death in 1935 she continued her work until very late in her long and active life. She died in December 1971, aged 99.) Despite his difficulties, however, the Duke maintained a lively interest in things: he served as a member of the West Sussex County Council from 1911 to 1930, wrote two books--Records of the Old Charlton Hunt (1910) and A Duke and his Friends (1911) (See Goodwood/ 147 and 148 for the original manuscript of this book about the 2nd Duke of Richmond.) --capably administered his own estate and, with the characteristic family concern for others, involved himself in the welfare of people less materially fortunate than himself.

 

His son, the present and 9th Duke of Richmond and Gordon, was born in 1904 and like his father was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. On leaving Oxford in 1924 he became an apprentice with the newly founded and later famous Bentley Motors Ltd., and remained actively engaged in the motor and aircraft industry until the second World War when he served with the Royal Air Force. In the early thirties he was a successful racing driver, winning, amongst other events, the 500 mile race at Brooklands in 1930. In 1936 he succeeded his mother as a County Councillor on the West Sussex County Council. During the second World War, his home was at the disposal of the 1st London Hospital and part of the estate was used as a war-time airfield. After the war the Duke converted the perimeter track of the airfield into a motor-racing circuit which functioned very successfully until 1966 when it was closed because of the possible danger of accidents involving spectators. In founding the track and in the other changes he rendered in respect of the estate the Duke acted almost traditionally. The race-track was a modern parallel of the innovation effected 125 years earlier by the 3rd Duke when he opened the horse-racing rack to the public on his private estate and, like those of his predecessors, his other changes to the Sussex estate have brought it up-to-date without altering the essential and unique character of the whole.

Subjects:
  • Boxgrove, Sussex
  • Boxgrove, West Sussex
Creator Names:
  • Lennox, Gordon-, family, Dukes of Richmond and Gordon
  • Gordon-Lennox family, Dukes of Richmond and Gordon
Conditions of access:

Students wishing to consult the MSS. should note that permission is to be obtained first, from the West Sussex County Archivist at the West Sussex County Record Office, Chichester. Open Access is extended to all archives dating from before and up to the death of the 8th Duke of Richmond in 1935.

Note:

Any document quoted in research or published work should be given the reference Goodwood MS. followed by the appropriate number (e.g. Goodwood MS. E328, or Goodwood MSS. E24-29). The words 'By courtesy of His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and with acknowledgments to the West Sussex County Record Office and the County Archivist', should accompany quotations from the archives, as an expression of thanks for permission to use the Goodwood Archives.

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