Fascinating Facts

Wentworth Woodhouse Estate is a private family owned estate which is managed and maintained by its owners, Mr Clifford Newbold and his family, who purchased the property in 1999.

The surrounding land within the Park, historically part of a single estate, continues to be owned by the Fitzwilliam (Wentworth) Estates and the Fitzwilliam Wentworth Amenity Trust.

The house has 22 listed buildings or structures of special or exceptional interest, most of which are Grade II Listed features in the parkland such as garden ornaments or garden architecture.

Around Wentworth Village are a number of footpaths, with one running through the Wentworth Woodhouse Estate. These footpaths and bridleways connect with the Trans-Pennine Trail.

Wentworth Village lies to the northwest of the Estate and retains the traditional character of an estate village.

There were 60 family members and servants living in the house in the early 17th Century.

In the mid-18th century the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham employed over 100 servants and staff in the house alone, many of whom came from the village. Wentworth Village was almost entirely dependent on the great house.

The 4th Earl Fitzwilliam was known for his sensitivity and kindness as well as his friendships with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Kent.

A visit to Wentworth Woodhouse by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York in 1789 secured the upward reputation of the family: over 20,000 people congregated on the lawn.

The Earls Fitzwilliam was patrons of Gillows of Lancaster, the furniture maker and in 1832 commissioned a suite of gilt wood furniture for the Whistlejacket room. They were also patrons of the celebrated firm of Wright and Elwick based in Wakefield.

In 1835 a young Princess Victoria stayed at Wentworth Woodhouse from Monday 14th September to Friday 18th September. Her personal diary entries say the following “It is a very fine edifice, and is an immense house, it would be impossible for me to attempt even to give anything like a description of it.”

In 1841 over 1000 were employed directly in occupations ranging from carpenters, masons, joiners and labourers, to gardeners, housekeepers, servants and more unusual jobs such as “rat catcher” and “state bed maker”.

In 1845 gas was installed in the house and stables, including gas lamps to the front of the house.

The 6th Earl Fitzwilliam had eight sons, all called William, and six daughters.

In 1782 a Telegraphic bell ringing apparatus was supplied by Julius Sax at a cost of £81.

In 1904 electricity was installed in part of the house by E Wingfield Bowles, a consulting engineer.

From 1907-1920 the Sheffield Simplex car and motorcycle manufacturer operated, based in Sheffield and Kingston Upon Thames. The company received financial backing from aristocrat and coal magnate Earl Fitzwilliam and some of the cars were manufactured in the Stableblock at Wentworth Woodhouse.

In 1908 a new heating plant was installed.

In 1912 King George V and Queen Mary stayed at Wentworth. A total of 76 bedrooms were required for the Royal Visit.

In 1944 Peter 8th Earl Fitzwilliam was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his courage after completing 12 missions on the motor gunboats during WW II.

1949 witnessed the principal sale of contents from the house, including pictures, furniture, ornaments and 14 four poster beds.

Wentworth Woodhouse was listed grade 1 in 1952.

Shortly before his death in 1979, the 10th Earl Fitzwilliam transferred Wentworth Village into a charitable trust with rents from the properties used to improve its amenities and to maintain the standard of housing.

In 1999 John Martin Robinson suggested that “the failure of Wentworth Woodhouse to become a stately home open to the public after the second world war and thus to have secured its future like Chatsworth or Woburn is an architectural tragedy… instead the house has been dogged by repeated misfortune: the premature death in 1948 of the 8th Earl Fitzwilliam, without male issue; piecemeal sale of contents; a split inheritance of chattels and the property; and not least open cast mining of the park at the instigation of Emmanuel Shinwell, Minister of Fuel in Attlee’s Labour Government”

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