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Saturday 3 August 2013

George III visits Lulworth 3 August 1789

A royal visit

On 3 August 1789, George III and Queen Charlotte visited Lulworth Castle which is situated less than 20 miles from where they were staying in Weymouth, Dorset.

Lulworth Castle - rear view

The Gentleman’s Magazine gave a full report of the visit:

As it is quite difficult to read, I have transcribed it as best I can:
Monday 3

His Majesty having signified his pleasure to make his long-intended visit to Lulworth castle, the antient and hospitable seat of Mr Weld, the Southampton was got in readiness to convey their Majesties and suite to that delightful seat; but both wind and tide proving contrary, they were more than six hours on their passage. At four in the afternoon, the company were safely landed on the beach and conveyed in their own carriages [two miles] to the castle.
As soon as they approached the gate, they were met by the country-people for some miles round, assembled in sporting groups about the castle, with music playing, in the highest extasy of joy; and, on their entrance, were received with the utmost politeness by Mr Weld and family. On ascending the steps, eight of the children, dressed in uniform, and placed one above another, joined in chorus, singing “God save the King” as their Majesties entered the vestibule. Their Majesties, highly gratified, staid and partook of an elegant collation, served in new gilt plate, and displayed in the highest taste. 
They then were conducted to the beautiful chapel, where they heard an anthem performed in so excellent a style, that their Majesties could not help expressing their approbation of the performers, both vocal and instrumental. The guns of the castle fired a royal salute both on their Majesties approach, and at their departure: and though they were six hours in bearing-up, they were not more than two on their return. 
Their Majesties were landed at the pier at Weymouth at a quarter after nine, in high spirits, having ate drunk, and sung, the whole trip. Their Majesties, having commanded a play, very condescendingly dispatched a messenger to order that the farce should be performed before the play, that the company might not languish for want of amusement.
The Chapel of St Mary's, Lulworth
Source used:
Urban, Sylvanus, The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle (1789)

Photographs by Andrew Knowles -


  1. Useful, new-to-me detail about the farce and play.

    But a sad post -- if only the King could have retained his health and good spirits.

    1. I think it is fascinating that George III openly visited and seemed to approve of the Welds and the Chapel of St Mary's when he was vehemently opposed to Catholic emancipation - the issue over which Pitt resigned in 1801.