Castle Goring

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Castle Goring
North side of Castle Goring.jpg
Castle Goring's Gothic north side
General information
Architectural style Greco-Palladian and Gothic
Town or city Worthing, West Sussex
Country England
Completed 1797-1798[1]
Cost £90,000
Client Sir Bysshe Shelley
Design and construction
Architect John Rebecca

Castle Goring is a Grade I listed country house in Worthing, in Sussex, England.[2] One of Worthing's two Grade I listed buildings (deemed by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport to be of exceptional interest), it has been described by architectural critic Ian Nairn as reflecting "the equivocal taste of the 1790s as well as anywhere in the country."[3]

Castle Goring was designed by John Rebecca for Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet. It was intended that his grandson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, would live at Castle Goring; however, the poet drowned in Italy aged just 29, so he never took possession.

In 1845, Mary Shelley, who inherited the building as widow of the poet, sold it to Brooke-Pechel. It is currently owned by Lady Colin Campbell, first wife of Lord Colin Ivar Campbell, younger son of the Eleventh Duke of Argyll.


When it was built in the 1790s, Castle Goring was in the far north of the parish. Since Goring-by-Sea 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 kilometres from the centre of Goring.

Castle Goring lies adjacent to the A27 road from Worthing to Chichester, at grid reference TQ 102056, to the northwest 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 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[4] near Rome.

English Heritage has described Castle Goring as "the most complete example of the 'carnival-style' of the era".[5]

Little is known about the interior. There is known to be a glass dome in the centre of the building above a spiral staircase. The building's owners do not welcome visitors and only relatively few photographs of the building exist in the public domain. However, in 2016 the interior of the building was extensively filmed and shown in an ITV documentary, Lady C and the Castle. On 7 January 2017, the castle's interior and exterior were also shown when owner Lady Colin Campbell was a subject on the ITV show Through the Keyhole. Further views of the interior, including the glass dome said to be the oldest in the UK in a private home (and in need of extensive renovation) were shown in an episode of Salvage Hunters on Quest in 2017.


Castle Goring was designed by John Rebecca for Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet. The building was the first of several that Rebecca designed in the Georgian era around the then 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.

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.[6] Their daughter Gwendoline married her cousin, Arthur W Fitzroy Somerset, who held the same offices for Sussex.[7] 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 until 2014.[8] Lady Colin Campbell is now the new owner.[citation needed]

The future[edit]

The future of Castle Goring currently looks bleak

The future of this magnificent building has looked bleak. Castle Goring had been left to decay to the point that it was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register, which described its situation as "very grave". Historic England described Castle Goring as being of priority category A, its highest priority. It was defined as at "immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed".

Surveyors working on behalf of Worthing Borough Council 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 set 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.[9] However, it was 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.

In 2013, the castle was sold for £700,000, needing an estimated £2 million to restore the property.[10] Lady Colin Campbell purchased the property

In November 2015, Lady Colin Campbell said that she had decided to be a contestant on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! so that she could afford to replace the castle's roof.[11]

The Heritage at Risk Register reports that consent for change of use to a wedding/conference venue has been granted and repairs to the roof, stairs and structural timbers have been carried out. It is now priority category F.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (302214)". Images of England. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Historic England. "Castle Goring (1025839)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Nairn, Ian and Pevsner, Nikolaus(1965), "Sussex: Buildings of England" ISBN 0-14-071028-0
  4. ^ "Castle Goring - Summary". Strutt and Parker Estate Agents. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 11980 § 119797". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  7. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 11974 § 119731". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  8. ^ Elleray, D Robert (1998), Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History E300195311
  9. ^ "United Kingdom - Castle Goring". Projects Cameron Powell. Cameron Powell. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Davies, Gareth (18 November 2015). "Castle Goring in Worthing's new owner revealed as I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! star". The Argus. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Castle Goring, Arundel Road , Worthing - South Downs (NP)". Heritage At Risk Register. Historic England. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°50′24″N 0°26′07″W / 50.84000°N 0.43528°W / 50.84000; -0.43528