The History of Wentworth Woodhouse

Thomas Wentworth First Earl of Strafford

Thomas Wentworth
First Earl of Strafford

Wentworth Woodhouse, standing in a park of 250 acres & situated about four miles from Rotherham, with its East Front of over 600 feet & its courts & buildings covering three acres or more of ground, is ranked as perhaps the very largest of the country palaces created by our 18th Century Whig Magnates.

It was the home of Charles 1st’s ill-fated administrator, Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford. There were Wentworths at Wentworth in the 13th Century & there they continued until 1695. Then, on the death of William 2nd Earl of Strafford, son of the 1st Earl, it passed to Thomas Watson, a son of his sister who had married Edward 2nd Baron Rockingham. He died in 1723 & was succeeded by his only son, Thomas Wentworth, who was created 1st Marquess of Rockingham in 1746 & died in 1750. He was succeeded by his fifth & youngest son, Charles, 2nd & last Marquess of Rockingham, who died in 1782 without issue.

Wentworth then passed to William 4th Earl Fitzwilliam, who was the eldest son of the Marquess’ eldest sister who had married the 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam of Milton. It remained in the hands of the Fitzwilliam family until 1989. The house & around 90 acres of land were then bought by Mr Wensley Haydon-Baillie, a businessman, who was here for 10 years. In 1999, it was bought by Mr Clifford Newbold & his family, who spent many years in the process of restoring the house to its former glory. The house has recently been purchased by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust who will continue to look after and restore the house for the future.

The history of Wentworth Woodhouse, as well as the village of Wentworth, is inextricably linked with the history of the great aristocratic families – the Wentworths, Watsons & Fitzwilliams – who presided over it for generations.

The Domesday Book

Wentworth in The Domesday Book – 1086
Image courtesy of Professor JJN Palmer & George Slater, & sourced from domesdaymap.co.uk

  • Hundred: Strafforth
  • Area: West Riding
  • County: Yorkshire
  • Total population: 4 households
  • Total tax assessed: 2.8 geld units
  • Head of manor: Wath upon Dearne
  • Taxable units: Taxable value 8.3 geld units
  • Value: Value to lord in 1066 £2. Value to lord in 1086 £0.5
  • Households: 4 villagers. 8 smallholders
  • Ploughland: 3 ploughlands (ploughs possible). 1 lord’s plough teams. 1 men’s plough teams
  • Other resources: Woodland 14 * 5 furlongs
  • Lord in 1066: Rethar
  • Lord in 1086: Roger of Bully
  • Tenant-in-chief in 1086: Roger of Bully

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