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Goadby Marwood Hall

Goadby Marwood Hall sits elegantly in the centre of the village close to the small 13th Century church of St. Denys. The oldest parts of the building in the east wing date from the early 17th Century or possibly earlier, with the main part of the building to the north constructed in the mid-17th Century. Parts of the house were later extensively remodelled with a new south façade added in the Palladian style during the mid-18th Century.


The Hall is probably the site of the medieval Manor of Goadby mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 at which time the chief tenants were Geoffrey de la Guerche and Robert of Bucy. Like many of the place names in northeast Leicestershire, the name of the village is of Old Norse origin and translates as ‘the homestead (bye) of Gauti’ (an Old Norse personal name). It appears in the Domesday Book as ‘Goltebi' or 'Goutebi’.


In the early 13th Century, the village was known as Gouteby Quatremars after the family that held the Manor at that time. Sir Adam Quartremars died in about 1235, and the estate passed to his son-in-law (some sources state brother-in-law), Sir Geoffrey Maureward. The suffix Maureward replaced Quatremars in the village name around the mid-13th Century, but the spelling we use today, ‘Goadby Marwood’, did not come to be the accepted one until around 150 years ago.

The Maurewards held the Manor of Goadby until the early 15th Century when, following the death of Sir Thomas Maureward in 1424, the title passed to his son-in-law, Sir Thomas Beaumont. Sir Thomas's son and heir, John Beaumont, was killed at the Battle of Towton in 1461 fighting for the Lancastrian King, Henry VI, and forfeited his estates posthumously, although they were restored to his son, Sir John Beaumont in 1485 by Henry VII. The Beaumonts continued as Lords of Goadby until 1575 when Sir George Villiers of Brooksby Hall purchased the estate and title from his stepbrother, Nicholas Beaumont. Following the death of his first wife, George married his widowed cousin, Mary Beaumont.

George Villiers, the infamous 1st Duke of Buckingham, eldest son of Sir George Villiers and Mary Beaumont, spent a large part of his adolescence at Goadby. Handsome and ambitious, the Duke of Buckingham was a royal favourite and statesman who virtually ruled England during the last years of King James I and the first years of the reign of Charles I. He was extremely unpopular with the rest of the Court and with the common people, and the failure of his aggressive, erratic foreign policy increased the tensions that eventually exploded in the Civil War between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. He was assassinated at Portsmouth in August 1628.

It was under the tenure of George, 2nd Baronet Villiers, son of William Villiers the eldest son of Sir George Villiers by his first wife, that the north part of Manor House, today known as Goadby Hall, was rebuilt, and large parts of this earlier building still exist today. The Villiers retained the Manor of Goadby until the early 1680s at which time it was sold to the Lowe family.

Henry Lowe was a businessman and sugar plantation owner who spent much of his time in Jamaica. He married Elizabeth Long whose family owned the island's extensive Seven Plantations Estate, and on the death of her father, Samuel Long, in 1683, the Long family's Jamaican properties passed to Henry. Henry and Elizabeth had three children, Samuel, Elizabeth and Susanna; all were born in St. Catherine, Jamaica. Henry Lowe died in 1714 in Jamaica, and his estate was inherited by his son, Samuel.

It seems that Samuel was quite extravagant, Nichols in The History and Antiquities of Leicestershire quotes an account by the Reverend Francis Peck, Rector of Goadby, which describes how, in 1727, Samuel ordered fish to be brought in from Derbyshire to stock the Bellemere Pond. Trout were apparently ‘brought in buckets on men’s heads who walked night and day with them, and were delivered alive, at 12d a piece, and put into his ponds, …’ Samuel died in August 1731 at Goadby, he was just 37 years old. He had never married and had no legitimate children, so as stipulated in his father’s last will and testament, the estates were passed to his sisters, Elizabeth and Susanna. This passage from The Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Project demonstrates how reliant the Lowe family was on negro slaves to work their sugar plantations:

Samuel Lowe of Britain, Esquire. Estate probated in Jamaica in 1732. Slave-ownership at probate: 317 of whom 164 were listed as male and 153 as female. 69 were listed as boys, girls or children. Total value of estate at probate: £14704.16 Jamaican currency of which £8065 currency was the value of enslaved people.

Following Samuel's death, the Goadby Marwood estate was directed by the Court of Chancery to be sold on behalf of creditors and was purchased by Peter Wyche in 1735. The Wyche family lived at the Hall through the mid-1700s and made further alterations to the property resulting in the building we see today, the façade of which dates to around 1750.


Peter Wyche was born in 1708 in the Indian province of Gujarat, the son of a wealthy East India Company Merchant. He lived at Goadby Marwood Hall until his death in 1763. Wyche’s eldest son, named Peter after his father, died at the age of 15, and his youngest son, John, a Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Guards, died just four years after his father. Peter Wyche also had two daughters, one predeceased her father, and the other was born severely disabled. Hence, the Goadby Marwood estate remained in the family for just 30 years.

In 1765, an act was passed conferring the estate of the late Peter Wyche to John, Marquis of Granby, eldest son and heir apparent of the 3rd Duke of Rutland, for the sum of £30,000.

The Marquis of Granby lived at Goadby for a short time during the mid-1760s. He had an impressive army career and was appointed Colonel of The Royal Horse Guards (Blues and Royals) and later Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. At the Battle of Warburg during The Seven Years War, he is said to have 'lost his hat and wig, forcing him to salute his commander without them'. This incident is commemorated by the British Army tradition that non-commissioned officers and troopers of the Blues and Royals are the only soldiers of the British Army who may salute without wearing headdress.

Appalled at the lack of financial help for wounded soldiers forced out of service by disability, the Marquis purchased public houses which he gifted to them in order to provide a living. This generosity to ex-servicemen ruined the Marquis financially, he died at Scarborough in 1770, having incurred substantial debts. The numerous pubs that now bear his name provide a fitting memorial to his generosity.

In 1766, the Goadby Marwood estate was transferred by indenture to the 3rd Duke of Rutland, who subsequently bequeathed it to his illegitimate son, Captain Edward Manners. As a young man, Edward Manners spent most of his time at Belvoir Castle, but he moved to Goadby sometime in the late 1770s with his mistress, Ann Stafford. Edward and Ann lived at Goadby Hall for several decades and they had a large number of illegitimate children together, including Edward Manners who became Rector of Goadby in 1825 and inherited the entire estate following the death of his mother in 1827.

Around 1850, Edward sold the estate to his cousin, John Henry Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland but retained the right to live at the property until his death. Sometime after 1851, in failing health, Edward chose to move to the smaller Rectory, and The Hall was occupied by his daughter, Louisa Julia, and her husband and cousin, George Norman, grandson of the 4th Duke of Rutland. It seems that relations between the Reverend and his daughter were somewhat strained at times, and this resulted in an incident that ended up in the courts and was the talk of the entire county.

George Norman held the position of Receiver and Administrator of the Rutland Estates over which he held almost complete control for more than 50 years. He was gifted Goadby Hall for his lifetime by the 6th Duke, and the Norman family lived there until George Norman's death in 1890, after which the property remained empty for a short time.

Following the death of George Norman, the Hall reverted to John, 7th Duke of Rutland, who, after making extensive renovations in 1891, let the property to Algernon Turnor of Stoke Rochford Hall, a British civil servant and financial secretary to the Post Office. Algernon Turnor was a keen huntsman and regularly rode with the local Belvoir Hunt. He and his wife, Henrietta Stewart, divided their time between their London house and country retreat. Shortly before the census was taken in 1911, the Turnors left Goadby Marwood, and Goadby Hall was occupied by Captain Robert Sheriffe, his wife, Muriel Vickers, and daughters, Joan and Monica.


By 1920, the Duke of Rutland estate, like many others, was facing a severe cash-flow crisis. The Duke had rolled over debts incurred when Belvoir Castle was rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th Century and these, together with the sudden decline in agricultural income and higher taxation imposed after The Great War, forced the 8th Duke of Rutland to sell over 13,000 acres of his Leicestershire estates. The sale included Goadby Hall as well as the cottages, houses and surrounding farms of Goadby village. The incumbent of the Hall, Captain Sheriffe, purchased the property and the Sheriffe family remained at Goadby Hall throughout the 20th Century, with daughter, Monica Sheriffe, who never married, living there until her death in 1999.

Following Monica’s death, Goadby Hall passed to her god-daughter, the Honourable Victoria Monica Watson and husband Anthony Henry Westropp. Vicky and Harry Westropp set about a programme of restoration of the house and grounds, and they worked tirelessly, restoring the neglected house and redesigning the gardens based on 18th Century plans. Following the restoration, Vicky Westropp wrote a detailed account which gives a fascinating insight into the complexities of the process. 

The gardens include a series of lakes covering about 10 acres which were used extensively during the 18th and 19th Centuries for fishing and shooting. The drawing to the right was made by historian and writer, Walter Evelyn Manners, the grandson of Fursan Manners, the eldest son of Captain Edward Manners and Ann Stafford. During his long life, Walter made copious notes on the Manners family and Goadby Hall, his work is part of the Myles Thoroton Hillyard Collection held by Nottingham University Archives.

The Hall grounds at one time housed a large kennel of Otterhounds, which gave its name to The Dog Kennel Pond, and the Blackborne Pond was named for Levett Blackborne, the brother-in-law of Roosilia Drake, Captain Edward Manner’s sister, and a great friend of Edward’s.

Today, the beautiful gardens and lakes of Goadby Marwood Hall are open to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme, and tours of the house and gardens are available via Historic Houses.

The Restoration of The Hall, Goadby Marwood, June 2000

A Description of Goadby Marwood Hall by Walter Evelyn Manners, 1892

Occupants of Goadby Marwood Hall from census records

The Last Will & Testament of Henry Lowe

Goadby Marwood Hall.jpg

Goadby Marwood Hall, south façade, 21st Century.

Goadby Hall 6.jpg

Goadby Marwood Hall, north façade and gardens,

21st Century.

George Villiers 1st Duke of Buckingham -

George Villliers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, attributed to the studio of Daniel Mytens the Elder.

National Maritime Museum, Greenich, London, Caird Collection.

John, Marquis ofGranby, by Joshua Reynol

John, Marquis of Granby,

by Joshua Reynold, c. 1765.

Roosilia Drake.jpg

Roosilia Drake by Henry Pickering, illegitimate daughter of John, 3rd Duke of Rutland and his mistress, Elizabeth Drake.

Roosilia was sister to Captain Edward Manners. 

Workmen at  Goadby Hall.jpg

Workmen photographed at Goadby Hall possibly during renovation in the early 1890s.

The census return of 1891 shows a number of decorators and carpenters lodging at various

cottages in the village.

Sketch of the Hall Ponds by Walter Manne

Sketch of The Hall ponds by Walter Evelyn Manners.

Click to enlarge.

Goadby lakes.jpg

The Hall lakes, 21st Century.

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