Henry Charles Keith, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1845–1927) started as a Junior Lord of the Treasury at the age of 24, becoming Under Secretary for War at 27. To assist the failing family finances, he served abroad as Governor-General of Canada (1883–88) and Viceroy of India (1888–94). After his return he became Secretary of State for War, Foreign Secretary and Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. He was responsible for negotiating the Anglo-Japanese Agreement in 1902, and the Entente Cordiale with France in 1904. Despite the demands of high office, he and his wife took a close interest in the estate and the village of Derry Hill, choosing to be buried in the village churchyard. Lady Lansdowne was made one of the first Companions of Honour in recognition of her welfare work in the First World War.
Henry William Edmund, 6th Marquess of Lansdowne (1872–1936), eldest son of the 5th Marquess, was keenly interested in the history of the family and the estate and wrote numerous books and papers on subjects relating to the Bowood archives. He died in 1936 and his two surviving sons were killed on active service in 1944, within a few days of each other…
Thus it was that the present Lord Lansdowne’s father succeeded his cousin Charles Hope, 7th Marquess of Lansdowne (1917–1944).
George John Charles, 8th Marquis of Lansdowne (1912-1999) was the only son of Lord Charles Mercer Nairne, second son of the 5th Marquess, who was killed at Ypres in 1914. After the War he followed a political career, becoming Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office (1958–62) and Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (1962–64) and for Commonwealth Relations (1963–64). It was he who took the difficult decision to demolish the Big House at Bowood in 1955, in order to be able to continue to live at Bowood and keep the estate in the possession of the family.
Bowood is now the home of Charles Maurice and Fiona, 9th Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne. The family moved back into Bowood House in 1972 where the youngest of the four children, William, was born. Both William and Arabella, the eldest, were married in the chapel. For the first time in its long history, the house has been permanently lived in. Lord Lansdowne was active in local government since 1964 at parish, district and county levels and was a member of the South West Economic Planning Council from 1972 to 1977. His primary objective since moving back in to Bowood House has been to modernise and transform The Bowood Estate into the viable business it is today.