When the 7th Duke succeeded in 1858 his inheritance was deeply in debt. He was a scholar, a deeply religious and serious man who had a great sense of duty. He was determined not to sell property but to make it viable; if he was obliged to lay off staff he would create future employment.
In the 1880s, the railway reached Eastbourne and it changed from a small fishing port to a major seaside resort requiring infrastructure that the Duke funded as part of his good works. His work as a town planner in Eastbourne stands as a memorial to him today.