Castle Goring

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Castle Goring
North side of Castle Goring.jpg
Castle Goring's Gothic north side
General information
Architectural styleGreco-Palladian and Gothic
Town or cityWorthing, West Sussex
ClientSir Bysshe Shelley
Design and construction
ArchitectJohn 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, the renowned poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, would live at Castle Goring; however, he drowned in Italy aged just 29, so he never took possession of the house.

In 1845, Mary Shelley, who inherited the building as widow of the poet, sold it to tenant Sir George Brooke-Pechell who'd been residing at the property since 1825. It is currently owned by Lady Colin Campbell.[4]


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 original 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[5] near Rome.

English Heritage has described Castle Goring as "the most complete example of the 'carnival-style' of the era".[6]

As the building has always been in private ownership, 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 relatively few photographs of the building exist in the public domain. However, in 2016 the present owner, Lady Colin Campbell, allowed the interior of the building to be 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 Lady Colin Campbell was a subject on the ITV show Through the Keyhole. Further views of the interior, including the glass dome which is 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.[7] Their daughter Gwendoline married her cousin, Arthur W Fitzroy Somerset, who held the same offices for Sussex.[8] 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.[9] Lady Colin Campbell is now the new owner.[citation needed]

The future[edit]

Castle Goring

By the start of the 21st century, the future of this magnificent building had 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".

Structural surveyors working on behalf of Worthing Borough Council tried, unsuccessfully, 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 legal 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.[10] 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, requiring a further estimated £2 million to restore the property.[11] Lady Colin Campbell purchased the property and in November 2015, she said that she had decided to be a contestant on the popular television show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in order to be able to afford to replace the castle's roof.[12]

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.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1025839)". National Heritage List for 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. ^ Lady Colin Campbell (website retrieved 28 September 2018):
  5. ^ "Castle Goring - Summary". Strutt and Parker Estate Agents. Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 11980 § 119797". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  8. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 11974 § 119731". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  9. ^ Elleray, D Robert (1998), Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History E300195311
  10. ^ "United Kingdom - Castle Goring". Projects Cameron Powell. Cameron Powell. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Castle Goring, Arundel Road , Worthing - South Downs (NP)". Heritage At Risk Register. Historic England. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. 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