Cowdray Ruins is popular with residents and tourists. Picture: Steve Robards

History of Midhurst: From the Gunpowder plot to Doctor Who

The market town Midhurst is situated on the River Rother.

By Charlotte Harding
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 8:51 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 11:38 am

It stands within the grounds of Midhurst Castle, which was owned by the de Bohum family, the castle who abandoned in favour of Cowdray in 1280.

Cowdray House and Cowdray Park, which is the home of British polo are very popular with residents and tourists alike.

The village of Easebourne, a mile north-east of the town centre, is known for its many houses with yellow-painted window frames and doors, which indicates the properties belong to the Cowdray Estate.

The Cowdray Ruins is one of England’s most important early Tudor Houses.

Said to have been visited by both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. In September 1793, whilst undergoing repairs and refurbishments for the impending marriage of the 8th Viscount Montagu, a fire destroyed most of the property. The kitchen tower is the only part still intact.

In the late 1500s the owner of Cowdray House Anthony-Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montagu, briefly employed Guy Fawkes as a footman. In 1605 Browne was briefly arrested in connection with the Gunpowder Plot due to employing Fawkes and because he stayed away from parliament on November 5 following a warning from co-conspirator Robert Catesby. No charges were brought.

War of the World novelist H.G. Wells lived there during the 1880s, working briefly as an chemist apprentice before joining Midhurst Grammar School as an assistant teacher.

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