Estate management at Goodwood in the mid nineteenth century: A study in changing roles and relationships

Buzzing, Pauline (1989). Estate management at Goodwood in the mid nineteenth century: A study in changing roles and relationships. PhD thesis The Open University.



This is an investigation of management in the mid-nineteenth century, and of changing roles and relationships of key figures on the Goodwood Estate. The study examines the workings of an estate belonging to the fifth Duke of Richmond, a committed protectionist during the period when he had to cone to terms with the Repeal of the Corn Laws. It considers the Duke's paternalism as expressed in his altitude to Repeal, in the daily running of his own estate, in his dealings with agents, farmers, estate workers and the local townspeople of Chichester.

Richmond's paternalism was concerned with the moral improvement of those within his sphere, and the study examines the estate's financial resources which supported that paternalism, and the management structure which the fifth Duke created. The role of agent at Goodwood was particularly significant, and displayed change at a time of development for the estate, when a management hierarchy began to develop. The balances of rural society which Richmond maintained were in potential conflict with his task of leading improved agriculture. Such improvement needed dynamic change, which was not encouraged in a highly traditional, rural context such as the west of Sussex.

The study tests Errile's concept of the golden age against the evidence from estate papers, particularly in the light of the depression of 1849-1853. Efficiency in the Duke's own farming was not enough: there was a need to spread agricultural improvement among his tenant farmers. Farms, farmers and farming practice indicate that the spread of good practice was no easy task, and that progress was made by employing a variety of tactics. The estate was subject to a variety of pressures which impinged on its authority structure, and the mid-century was far from being a time of untroubled progress and unqualified prosperity.

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