History of the Estate
Goodwood House was built in 1697 but the story goes back to a much smaller house in a nearby downland village, and back still further to the city of London.
The first Duke of Richmond, son of King Charles ll and his French mistress Louise de Keroualle, had a passion for hunting which led him to search for a country retreat away from Richmond House, his town house in London. He bought the original Jacobean house in Goodwood Park in 1697, hunting in the nearby village of Charlton where he later used Fox Hall as his base for what had become a highly popular and fashionable hunt.
Goodwood House itself was later extended and the 3rd Duke of Richmond had grand plans for an octagon but he ran out of funds and the building was never completed. But he commissioned the architect James Wyatt to extend the house, build an orangery and the magnificent stables next to the house itself. The Duke’s hounds were comfortably housed in the The Kennels, also designed by Wyatt, and which have recently been restored to form the clubhouse for members of the various Goodwood sporting clubs. A man of extraordinary vision and energy, the 3rd Duke laid the foundations of the great house and estate that we see today.
He was an active politician, serving in cabinet, and became British Ambassador to Paris where he collected the beautiful tapestries, furniture and porcelain displayed in Goodwood House to this day.
In 1802 he set about re-forming the landscape on top of the Downs above his home to establish a racecourse where he raced with members of the Sussex Militia. Today the racecourse is a world-renowned sporting arena, often described as the most beautiful racecourse in the world.
Throughout the last three centuries, the Dukes of Richmond have gathered an impressive art collection and the estate has constantly been renewed and rejuvenated to meet the challenges of successive new opportunities. The house lies at the heart of what is now a world-famous sporting estate with a group of dynamic businesses which include horse racing, motor racing, golf, aviation, forestry, organic farming and a privately run hotel, all within a mile of the house.
The modernisation of the estate was inspired by the 10th Duke of Richmond who returned to his family home after a successful career in business. He opened the house and its art collections to the public, expanded the horse racing programme and brought major international sporting events to the house and surrounding parkland.
Latterly his son the Earl of March has further developed the family home to meet the challenges of the 21st century, reviving the motor racing events first established by his Grandfather, the 9th Duke, and investing in the original downland golf course, the organic farms, the Goodwood Hotel and restoring the house itself to its former Regency glory. Creating the Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival, he has put Goodwood firmly on the international calendar as one of the great centres of sport and entertainment in the world.