The Fitzmaurices, of Norman origin, settled in Ireland in the Twelfth century. In 1692, the marriage of Thomas Fitzmaurice and Anne Petty, the only daughter of the scientist and philosopher, Sir William Petty (1623-1687) transformed the family fortunes.
In 1751 their son, John Fitzmaurice (1706-1761) legally changed his name to Petty. He was created 1st Earl of Shelburne in 1753.
William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne (1737-1805) .
William was a soldier and Whig politician. He was Prime Minister from 1782-83 and created 1st Marquess of Lansdowne in 1784.
William created the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne for negotiating peace with America at the end of the War of Independence. He was married twice and father to three children. He was a passionate collector of antiquities and works of art.
John Henry Petty, 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne (1765-1809).
John was a politician and traveler. He was a Whig Member of Parliament for Wycombe from 1786-1802.
Suffering from ill health and the burden of debts inherited from his father he survived his father by only four years. He was forced to sell most of his father’s collection of antiquities and art.
Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780-1863)
Henry was a politician, philanthropist and patron to the arts. Until he succeeded his half-brother as 3rd Marquess in 1809, Henry was Whig Member of Parliament for Calne and then for the University of Cambridge.
In a career of over fifty years in politics he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and was three times Lord President of the Council. He made many improvements to Bowood and like his father built-up an outstanding collection of art and antiquities.
He was born Henry Petty but in 1818 legally changed the family name to Petty-Fitzmaurice after the death of his cousin Francis Thomas Fitzmaurice without issue.
Henry Thomas Petty-Fitzmaurice, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne (1816-1866).
Henry was the second son of the 3rd Marquess. He succeeded to the title after the death of his elder brother the Earl of Kerry in 1836.
Like his father he was a Whig politician. He was a Whig Member of Parliament for Calne for 20 years and an Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1856-58. He was also Chairman of the Great Western Railway.
His wife was Emily de Flahaut, granddaughter of Prince Talleyrand and daughter of the Comte de Flahaut, who was Napoleon Bonaparte’s Aide-de-Camp.
Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1845-1927).
Henry was a politician and an Imperial statesman. He spent over 50 years in politics in Britain and abroad. He served as Governor-General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Lords.
Even with these demands he also took a keen interest in local politics in Wiltshire where he was Lord Lieutenant and President of the Wiltshire Territorial Association.
Henry William Edmund Petty-Fitzmaurice, 6th Marquess of Lansdowne (1872-1936).
Henry was a soldier, politician and writer. He served as a soldier in the Boer War and in the First World War, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
He was a Unionist Member of Parliament for West Derbyshire from 1908-1918 and a member of the Senate of the Irish Free State from 1922-29.
Charles Hope Petty-Fitzmaurice, 7th Marquess of Lansdowne (1917-1944).
Charles was a solider and was killed in action on 30 August 1944 aged twenty-seven fighting in Italy during the Second World War.
George John Charles Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice, 8th Marquis of Lansdowne (1912-1999).
George was a soldier and Conservative politician. He was the only son of Lord Charles Mercer Nairne, second son of the 5th Marquess and first cousin of the 7th Marquess.
After fighting in the Second World War he followed a career in politics becoming Minister of State for Colonial Affairs and for Commonwealth Relations. In 1955 he took the difficult decision to demolish the Big House at Bowood ensuring that the family could continue to live there.
Charles Maurice Petty-Fitzmaurice, 9th Marquis of Lansdowne (b. 1941) is a businessman and peer.
Since 1964 Charles has served in local government at parish, district and county levels.
He was President of the Historic Houses Association from 1988-93 and served as Vice Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire from 2012-16.
In 2001 he was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order after retiring as a member of the Prince’s Council of the Duchy of Cornwall.
Bowood House & Gardens is open everyday from 1st April – 1st November.
Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00 with last admissions at 16:00 daily.
Bowood House & Gift Shop opens from 10:00 – 16:30 last entry at 16:00
Adventure Playground and The Den opens from 10:00 closes at 16:45
*Please be advised that our staff will begin locking the equipment from 16:30.
Treehouse Café opens from 9:30 – 17:00
The Stables Pantry is now open daily, located in Bowood House, serving a seasonal hot and cold buffet, cream teas, and refreshments. 10:00 – 16:30 – Refreshments. 12:00 – 14:15 – Lunch.
2023 Day Ticket Prices:
Available to purchase online HERE
Can I travel to Bowood using public transport?
Bus – Routes 33 and X33 (Chippenham to Devizes) go through Derry Hill Village.
Route 55 stops on the A4 close to the turning into Derry Hill Village.
It is approximately 1½ miles from the entrance gate to Admissions for the House & Gardens.
Train – The nearest mainline station is Chippenham. Taxis are available or you can take the 55 bus to Studley crossroads.
Which entrance do I use?
The entrance to the House and Gardens is at the other end of Derry Hill village, just off the A4. You will enter via a White Gate. If using Satellite Navigation, please use postcode SN11 9NF.
All are signposted from the A4 and A342.
Please note: There is no access from the Golden Gates entrance to Bowood Hotel, Spa, and Golf Resort opposite the Lansdowne Arms public house in Derry Hill.
The Woodland Gardens (open from 14th April to early June) are located off the A342 between Derry Hill and Sandy Lane. For Satellite Navigation please use the postcode SN11 9PG.
Is there a car and coach park at Bowood?
Free parking is available opposite the Treehouse Café and the main Admission point as well as the Woodland Gardens.
Can coaches drop passengers at Bowood House?
It is possible for coaches to drop off and collect passengers from the House by prior arrangement. Please call 01249 812 102 for all group booking enquiries.
For more information, please call: 01249 812 102 or email: email@example.com