What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
AND THE HOME OF RICHARD COBDEN
=How to get there.=–Train from Waterloo. L. and S.W. Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Midhurst. =Distance from London.=–64-1/2 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 2 to 3-1/4 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 10s. 2d. 6s. 6d. 5s. 0-1/2d. Return 17s. 10d. 11s. 3d. 10s. 0d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The Angel,” “Spread Eagle," “New Inn,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–Train from Victoria and London Bridge. London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway.
Though only a small town, Midhurst is a place of some antiquity, and was of some size prior to the Conquest. It is situated in Mid-Sussex on the Rother, and on a site close by it, now marked only by a mound, was the castle of the Bohuns, a powerful Norman family, who were lords of the manor here. In 1547, King Edward VI. was entertained with great splendour here. It is curious to note that the custom of ringing the curfew bell is still maintained at Midhurst.
The town is picturesque, and contains many old houses and buildings of interest, notably those in West Street and Wool Lane, near the church, and the Grammar School at the further end of the town, where Sir Charles Lyell and Richard Cobden were educated. Cobden was born at Durnford, close to Midhurst. Durnford House, built for him by the nation, is still standing, and at Cocking Causeway is a monument to his memory.
In Cowdray Park, within easy walking distance, are the ruins of the magnificent Tudor mansion, Cowdray House, destroyed by fire in 1793. There was an old tradition, “The Curse of Cowdray,” that the building should perish by fire and water, and this was curiously fulfilled, for the house was burnt and the last Lord Montague drowned almost on the same day.
A custodian who shows visitors over Cowdray House has a cottage here. Over what remains of the entrance gateway are the arms of Sir Anthony Browne, the favourite of King Henry VIII.; and on the porch are the initials of the Earl of Southampton.
West Lavington Church, beautifully situated on a height two miles south of Midhurst, has in its churchyard the grave of Richard Cobden, the political reformer, and originator of Free Trade. Cardinal Manning was rector here at one period.
[Illustration: F. Coze, Midhurst. COBDEN’S PEW IN HEYSHOTT CHURCH.
The pew is immediately beneath the pulpit, in which a small brass plate may be noticed. Here Cobden regularly worshipped.]