Charles LENNOX became the 2nd Duke of Richmond in May, 1723. He is perhaps best known for his patronage of cricket, although he had a great many other interests. He was influential in furthering knowledge of natural history as well as the prevention of smuggling.
He was born at Goodwood on May 18, 1701, the son of the 1st Duke of Richmond and grandson of Charles II. At the age of 12, he was injured when his horse threw him, but this did not dampen his enthusiasm for hunting and he became Master of the famous Charlton Hunt, later known as the Goodwood Hunt, when his son moved the kennels there. He entered into an arranged marriage to
Lady Sarah Cadogan when he was 18 and she was only 13, her dowry helping to pay his father’s debts. They married at The Hague in the Netherlands. The marriage was surprisingly successful, Lady Sarah supporting him and sharing his interests, such as the Foundling Hospital in London, of which Richmond was one of the founding Governors.
Richmond was related by marriage to Sir Hans Sloane, president of the Royal Society, of which the Duke became a member himself when he was only 22. He developed an interest in natural history, planting trees and shrubs at Goodwood which had only just been introduced in England. Richmond established a menagerie at Goodwood, which housed lions, tigers, bears, raccoons, a monkey and an armadillo, among others. They did not all thrive. Sick animals were treated by Sir Hans Sloane and the bodies of some of the animals who died were probably sent to him for dissection.
Near the house, in the High Wood, Richmond created the ‘Ruined Abbey’, sometimes known as the Rock Dell. A mock gothic entrance formed the entry to a small series of tunnels ‘The Catacombs’ beautifully lined in brick, which housed the animals. A stone monument over a favourite lion’s grave can be seen at Goodwood today. Richmond’s menagerie was in decline by 1748, however, his son, the 3rd Duke, did continue to keep moose.
Richmond captained his own cricket team, and one of his grooms, Thomas Waymark, became a professional cricketer who ended up playing against his former employer when he moved to Berkshire. In 1727, Richmond played two games against Alan Brodrick’s XI and written Articles of Agreement were drawn up beforehand. These are the earliest known written rules of cricket.
A controversial return match in 1731 against Thomas Chambers’ Middlesex XI nearly caused a riot. The game ended at the pre-arranged time but had started late because the Duke was delayed.
The crowd became angry, Sussex players ‘having the shirts torn off their backs.’ Richmond appears to have conceded the game to Chambers, to avoid litigation.
In 1733, Richmond broke his leg and could no longer play himself, so he became the patron of the cricket club at Slindon, which bordered on his Goodwood estate. It flourished under his patronage.
The earliest surviving scorecard from June 2, 1744, records a match at the Artillery Ground between London. Slindon won by 55 runs. After Richmond’s death, Sussex cricket was less successful until the rise of Brighton Cricket Club in the 1790s.
The Duke was a fervent anti-Jacobite and fought as Lieutenant-General in the campaign against the 1745 Jacobite uprising under George II’s son, the Duke of Cumberland. This could be one of the reasons why Richmond led the campaign against smuggling in Sussex, as some smugglers acted as Jacobite spies and others allowed Jacobites to travel between England and France in their boats.
Richmond was instrumental in bringing to justice members of the Hawkhurst Gang who had been involved in the vicious murders of a customs officer and a witness in 1748. The ringleaders were tried at the Guildhall in Chichester and hanged in 1749.
Later that year, a book on smuggling in Sussex appeared, written by an anonymous ‘gentleman of Chichester’. A letter written to the Duke makes it almost certain that Richmond was the author.
by Lorna Still, Volunteer at The Novium Museum
The aim of the work was to put an end to support for smugglers by the general public. It describes ‘The Inhuman and Unparalleled Murders’ in vivid detail and the words are accompanied by equally lurid copperplate illustrations. These can currently be seen in the Novium’s ‘Cutlasses and Contraband’ exhibition. The Hawkhurst Gang had been effectively disabled and the smuggling problem was greatly reduced in Sussex. Richmond died soon after this, in 1750, and was buried in Chichester Cathedral.