Midhurst

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An historic market town developed by the Normans and which now stands at the heart of the South Downs National Park in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It was a market town and trading centre soon after the Norman Conquest, and its many ancient buildings reflect its rich history.

The centre of Midhurst is a statutory conservation area with more than 100 listed properties. Many buildings are older than they seem, having had successive layers of modernisation added to them. Look behind Georgian facades and you will find much older buildings in disguise.

Some outstanding buildings include:

Cowdray Ruins – the remains of a magnificent Tudor Mansion (technically in Easebourne parish), damaged by fire in 1793, but still a nationally important example of a Tudor nobleman’s house. Open to the public www.cowdray.org.uk

 

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The Old Library – Once consisted of five cottages dating from the late 1500s.  Until recently, it was the Midhurst Library  which must have been one of the oldest public library buildings in the land. Impressive beams are visible inside. It is now home to the Midhurst Town Council.

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Parish Church – The Norman foundation was largely rebuilt in Victorian times. Adjacent to the market square and Old Town Hall (1551).

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Spread Eagle Hotel – The earliest parts date from 1430 and other parts from around 1650. Some modern additions. The hotel annexe is a Tudor building.

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Red Lion Street – has some of the oldest buildings in Midhurst.

Capron House  – Formerly the Grammar School. Former pupils include H G Wells. Now partly occupied as the head office of the National Park Authority.

More information is available from the Midhurst Town Trail [see ‘Publications’].