A special visit to Godolphin

Godolphin Duke of Leeds visit 1909

In 1909 the 10th Duke of Leeds made a special visit to Godolphin. This was only the second visit, on record, the Duke of Leeds made to Godolphin in the 134 years he owned Godolphin.

The Duke of Leeds

Godolphin estate came into the hands of Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds, in 1785, following the death of Francis, 2nd Baron Godolphin of Helston, who died childless. Thomas had married Mary Godolphin in 1740. Although Godolphin was owned by the Dukes of Leeds until 1920, they are only recorded as  visiting on two occasions, and during their ownership Godolphin was occupied by tenant farmers.

A special visit to Godolphin

One such occasion was the 28th May 1909, when George Godolphin Osborne the 10th Duke of Leeds visited Godolphin. This visit was quite an event; all the farm tenants at Godolphin pooled together some money to purchase a Silver Greyhound. On the 28th May 1909 William Trerise Richards along with the other farm tenants at Godolphin at this time, presented this Silver Greyhound to the Duke of Leeds – pictured below.

Presentation of the Silver Greyhound to the 10th Duke of Leeds
Godolphin Duke of Leeds visit 1909_2
Presentation of the Silver Greyhound to the 10th Duke of Leeds

A book was created to mark this event, with all the farm tenants listed as well as this opening text on the first page:

“TO THE MOST NOBLE GEORGE GODOLPHIN 10TH DUKE OF LEEDS. We the unsigned being the tenantry and those connected with the management of your Cornish Estates hereby respectfully beg to offer for your acceptance a SILVER GREYHOUND as a mark of our respect and esteem and as a slight recognition of the kind liberal and considerate treatment which we have always received at your hands as our Landlord and venture to express the hope that the friendly relationship which has always existed between your Grace and your Cornish Tenantry may long continue”

Why a Silver Greyhound and where is it now?

The 10th Duke of Leeds was described as a thorough, all round sportsman and was noted for breeding and racing greyhounds, he even had his own kennels at Hornby Castle.

Today we don’t know where this Silver Greyhound is. Tony Clifford a member of Godolphin’s volunteer research group has been trying to track down its whereabouts. The trail ends in 1931 when most of the Hornby Castle estate was sold off to clear the gambling debts of the 11th Duke of Leeds. However it is confirmed that the Silver Greyhound was not included in this auction, so where is it now? If you know anything related to this we’d love to hear about it, please email godolphin@nationaltrust.org.uk with any information.