Exploring the Charlton Hunt

James Peill, curator of the Goodwood Collection, looks at the new exhibition at Goodwood:

Wednesday, 24th August 2016, 9:16 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:49 am
Grey Cardigan with Tom Johnson, Huntsman of the Charlton hounds, seen through the Archway by John Wootton.
Grey Cardigan with Tom Johnson, Huntsman of the Charlton hounds, seen through the Archway by John Wootton.

To eighteenth-century ears, the Charlton Hunt was synonymous with some of the best sport in the country and Mr Roper was its celebrated huntsman. Indeed, it is one of the earliest recorded foxhunts in the world and its fame drew the elite of society, including the Dukes of Monmouth, St Albans and Richmond, the dashing illegitimate sons of King Charles II. Richmond bought nearby Goodwood as a comfortable place to stay and entertain his illustrious friends during the hunting season. His son, the second Duke, shared his love of the chase and when he became Master, such was the success and desirability of the hunt, he decided that membership should be restricted only to those who had been elected. Almost every noble family in the land had a representative at Charlton, including half of the Knights of the Garter. Lord Burlington designed for the members a handsome banqueting house at Charlton where they met after hunting, and many built themselves hunting-boxes in the village, including the second Duke of Richmond. Richmond’s hunting-box still stands; known as Fox Hall, it is now owned by the Landmark Trust and available to rent.

The most important day in the history of the Charlton Hunt took place on 26th January 1739 when in ‘the greatest chase that ever was’ hounds ran continuously from their first find at 8.15 a.m. until they killed at 5.50 p.m., covering a distance of approximately fifty-seven miles with just the Duke and two others present at the end. When the hunt was moved to Goodwood in the mid-eighteenth century, it was known as the Duke of Richmond’s Hounds and magnificent kennels were built by the architect James Wyatt with an ingenious central-heating system, a century before Goodwood House had its own heating.

Our small exhibition explores the history of the Charlton Hunt and its association with the Dukes of Richmond. Documents and books associated with the hunt from the Goodwood archive are on display. Over three hundred years later, Goodwood still revolves around sport and sharing those individual passions of the dukes with the many thousands of visitors who come here every year.

Goodwood House Summer Exhibition: The Charlton Hunt

1st August – 31st August 2016

Sundays to Thursdays, 1- 5 pm (last admission 4 pm)


Reader offer: Luxury Afternoon Tea for Two £34.50. To book call the Ticket Office on 01243 755 055.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.