Many visitors to the area are confused by the relationship between Wentworth Woodhouse in Wentworth and the nearby Wentworth Castle at Stainborough.
The Stainborough branch of the Wentworth family is descended from Thomas Wentworth, nephew of the 1st Earl of Strafford (of the first creation).
When the 2nd Earl of Strafford died in 1695 without issue, Thomas Wentworth felt that he should have inherited the title and the Wentworth Woodhouse estate, however he was granted only the lesser title of Lord Raby and the estate passed to the 2nd Earl’s sister Anne Wentworth, then wife of the 1st Marquis of Rockingham.
The Stainborough Wentworths were somewhat aggrieved by the loss of “their” title and property and were determined to regain their rightful place in the nobility.
Thomas Wentworth Lord Raby was a rich and influential member of the diplomatic service and spent a considerable amount of money converting Stainborough Hall into “Wentworth Castle”, employing the leading Berlin architect Johannes von Bodt to create one of the most impressive Baroque fronts in the country; he was also a close adviser to Queen Anne and persuaded her to re-create the title of Earl of Strafford in his favour.
A kind of tit-for-tat building battle then took place between the two familiies which was carried on by Thomas Wentworth’s son William. The Rockinghams rebuilt the West Front of Wentworth Woodhouse in the Baroque style and then, when fashions changed, both families went on to rebuild the other sides of their houses in the new Palladian style. In the end it seems that the Rockingham family “won” managing to extend the Palladian East Front of Wentworth Woodhouse to 600 feet.
For more information about Wentworth Castle and its gardens we would suggest that you visit the official Wentworth Castle Web Site. Visitors to the area will find that Wentworth Castle is much more accessible than Wentworth Woodhouse which is in private hands.