Castle Goring's Gothic north side
|Architectural style||Greco-Palladian and Gothic|
|Town or city||Worthing, West Sussex|
|Client||Sir Bysshe Shelley|
|Design and construction|
The building to some extent defies categorisation, being neither fully a castle, nor is it fully in Goring. The word is often used for English country houses constructed after the castle-building era (c.1500) and not intended for a military function. One of Worthing's two Grade I listed buildings (deemed by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport to be of exceptional interest), this is without doubt Worthing's most important building in terms of its architecture. It has been described by Ian Nairn as reflecting "the equivocal taste of the 1790s as well as anywhere in the country."
When it was built in the 1790s, Castle Goring was in the far north of the parish. Since Goring became part of the borough of Worthing in 1929, development has extended to the borders of the Castle Goring estate, and the estate now borders on the West Durrington area of the town, several km from the centre of Goring. Castle Goring lies adjacent to the A27 road from Worthing to Chichester, to the north-west of Worthing. It also lies within the South Downs National Park next to ancient woodland at Titnore Wood.
The building has a front and rear of entirely different styles. The north side of Castle Goring is Gothic and is thought to resemble Arundel Castle 8 km (5.0 mi) to the west, while the south side has a Greco-Palladian front of yellow brick, said to be a copy of the Villa Lante near Rome.
|“||By the deepest standard, all this was fiddling while Blake's Albion was beginning to burn but what a splendidly sophisticated and self-aware end to an age!||”|
English Heritage have described Castle Goring as
|“||the most complete example of the 'carnival-style' of the era...A fragile gem of a country house, the Grade I listed building now urgently requires major repairs.||”|
Surprisingly little is known about the interior of this once magnificent country house. There is known to be a glass dome in the centre of the building above a one-magnificent spiral staircase. The building's owners do not welcome visitors and only relatively few photographs of this impressive building exist in the public domain.
Castle Goring was designed by John Rebecca for Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet. The building proved to be the first of several buildings that Rebecca would design in the Georgian era around the fashionable resort town of Worthing. Sir Bysshe Shelley's son, Sir Timothy Shelley, preferred to live at Field Place near Horsham. It was intended that his son, Percy Bysshe Shelley, would live at Castle Goring; however, the poet drowned in Italy aged just 29, so he never took possession of Castle Goring.
In 1825, Sir Timothy Shelley let the building to Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sir George Brooke-Pechell, 4th Baronet of Paglesham, lord of the manor of Angmering, who was Liberal MP for Brighton from 1835-1860. In 1845, Mary Shelley, who inherited the building as widow of the poet, sold it to Brooke-Pechel. Brooke-Pechel's daughter, Adelaide, married Sir Alfred FC Somerset, who was Deputy Lieutenant for Middlesex and Justice of the Peace for Middlesex. Their daughter Gwendoline married her cousin, Arthur W Fitzroy Somerset, who held the same offices for Sussex. Aside from a period in the 1870s and 1880s when the property was let to the Burrell family, the property has remained with the Somerset family to this day.
The future of this once magnificent building currently looks bleak. Castle Goring has been left to decay to the point that it is on English Heritage’s list of neglected buildings who describe its situation as "very grave". English Heritage describes Castle Goring as being of priority category A, its highest priority. Priority category A is defined as "immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed."
Surveyors working on behalf of Worthing Borough Council have tried to gain access to the building several times. A full survey of Castle Goring was finally carried out in July 2003, using the council's powers to gain entry. The report was completed in January 2004 and it sets out details of the repairs considered necessary to "retain the architectural and historic importance of the building and sets out a timescale over which the repairs should be carried out".
It is known that an evaluation study was carried out for a golf resort within the castle estate. However it is not clear whether the building itself would have been renovated under the scheme.
In 2010 Castle Goring and its estate was included in the South Downs National Park.
- English Heritage. "Castle Goring (1025839)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Nairn, Ian and Pevsner, Nikolaus(1965), "Sussex: Buildings of England" ISBN 0-14-071028-0
- "Castle Goring - Summary". Strutt and Parker Estate Agents. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Lundy, Darryl. "p. 11980 § 119797". The Peerage.[unreliable source?]
- Lundy, Darryl. "p. 11974 § 119731". The Peerage.[unreliable source?]
- Elleray, D Robert (1998), Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History E300195311
- "CASTLE GORING". Strutt and Parker Estate Agents. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Cooper, Rob (1 May 2013). "Mystery bidder buys 18th century Grade I listed castle for knockdown price of £700,000 (but the repair bill will top £2m)". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Castle Goring". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
- worthing.gov.uk/media/media,99410,en.pdf "Conservation Area Appraisal - Castle Goring" (PDF). Worthing Borough Council. Retrieved 13 March 2013.