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Film Set Hire at Goodnestone Park

The Manor House

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Goodnestone Park

Bonnington Cottage

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Goodnestone Park Gardens

Our History

Built in 1704

Brook Bridges built Goodnestone Park in 1704, not long after he purchased the estate. The year, scratched into one of the bricks at the front of the main house, is still visible today. Bonnington (where Bonnington cottage is located) became part of Goodnestone Estate in 1710 and is now the oldest part of the estate. Bonnington was the principal seat of a branch of the Boys family. An eminent Kentish family, their roots are traceable as far back as the Norman Conquest. 

The grounds of Goodnestone Park underwent several transformations following its purchase. In the early 1700s, William Harris recorded a bird’s-eye view of the estate showing the house surrounded by extensive formal gardens. Later in the 1700s, Sir Brook Bridges, the 3rd baronet and great-grandson of Brook Bridges replaced the gardens with a landscape park, a style in fashion at the time. These latest alterations were recorded in a view by the artist Arthur Devis.

Goodnestone Park Print
Stately Home Wedding Venue
a significant history

The 3rd baronet was also responsible for two of the most significant pieces of family history for Goodnestone Park. The first event was his marriage to Fanny Fowler, co-heiress of the barony of FitzWalter. The ancient peerage of FitzWalter was established in 1295 by the grandson of Robert FitzWalter.

Robert FitzWalter was instrumental in forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 and earned his place as a prominent figure in history. The barony of FitzWalter was also prominent throughout the Tudor period as several FitzWalters were leading courtiers and politicians. In 1529, Viscount FitzWalter also became the Earl of Sussex. The title passed on through his family line until the title eventually became extinct.

Links to Jane Austen

Sir Brook Bridges and Fanny Fowler’s daughter, Elizabeth, provided the next significant event by her marriage to Edward Austen, brother of the famous novelist Jane Austen. Edward and his young wife spent their early married life in a house on the Goodnestone estate.

Jane became a regular guest at the time, and following a stay at Goodnestone Park in 1796, Jane began writing her first novel, Pride and Prejudice. Edward and Elizabeth’s daughter, Fanny, also became one of Jane’s favourite correspondents. 

Stunning gardens at Goodnestone Park, a unique Kent wedding venue
to the present day

Goodnestone passed to the Plumptre Family when Eleanor Bridges, sister of the 5th and 6th Baronets, married Henry Western Plumptre in 1828. The ties to FitzWalter were restored when their grandson claimed the Fitzwalter Barony in 1924. 

The Goodnestone estate also played a role in World War II when it was requisitioned by the War Office. It was a common practice to repurpose stately homes for the war effort. Goodnestone was no exception and was taken over by the British army. Some alterations were necessary to accommodate tanks, such as laying the concrete surface to the North Drive and avenue. Margaret Fitzwalter and Brook Fitzwalter took up the massive task of restoring the house and gardens to their former glory after the war.

In 2015 the owners, Lord and Lady Fitzwalter refurbished the Grade II Listed House into holiday accommodation and developed the Cafe and Gardens into a rural destination. The hospitality business is run by them and their son Ed Plumptre.


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