Book Review: Wentworth Woodhouse: The House, the Estate and the Family

Happy New Year, gentle readers!

Published in May 2021 by Pen & Sword History, Wentworth Woodhouse: The House, The Estate, & The Family by Melvyn Jones, Joan Jones, and Stephen Cooper, is a readable and well-researched overview of the history of one of Britain’s great houses. Although there are twelve chapters, this book is a slim volume, which I can imagine would be a great gift shop buy for someone visiting the great house (and I do hope this is being stocked by them there!). There are 152 pages, including an index, a handy historical timeline, and six pages of notes and references. The cover is gorgeous, and no surprises there, given that it was designed by Jon Wilkinson (who wonderfully designed the cover of my book, Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain).

In terms of the amount of Stuart-era-specific history contained in the book, this is a little disappointing—although I personally learned a good deal that I hadn’t known before—such as the fact that this house is very much connected with Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1641. The Stuart period is covered in the first chapter and a bit in the second chapter, but I would say most of the book is about the nineteenth century to the twentieth century and I think locals in particular who grew up around the area in the 1940s and 1950s will find the last chapters pleasantly nostalgic. I personally enjoyed learning about Earl Fitzwilliam’s adventure to South America in the early 1900s, where, among other places, he visited Valparaiso, Chile, where several of my cousins live (and for this chapter alone I’ll probably send a copy to my mother).

There are many excellent images throughout, which I think is a great plus, and the book, whilst a bit brief, is nevertheless most informative and enjoyable.

I received this review copy from P&S History in exchange for an honest review.

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