The ruins at Cowdray Estate, often referred to as Cowdray Castle, are the remains of one of the country’s greatest Tudor houses.
Why was the house important?
Sir David Owen, thought to be the illegitimate son of Henry VII’s father, began work on Cowdray House, having demolished the family home of the Bohuns, local lords of the manor who lived in the original Manor House in the late 1200s, which was named ‘Coudraie’, the French name for hazel wood.
Cowdray House is known to have been visited by King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. Other lesser known facts about Cowdray House is that Guy Fawkes worked here as a footman under the ownership of the 1st Viscount Montague.
The remains you see today are Grade I listed and are managed by the Cowdray Heritage Trust.
Why was it ruined?
The house was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1793. The Kitchen Tower was the only part to remain intact, and it is possible to visit it during events. Some restoration work took place between 1909-1914 which has allowed the ruins to remain as they stand, as a fantastic example of Tudor architecture.
Can I visit the ruins?
You can walk from Midhurst town centre across the causeway towards the Cowdray Ruins, however they are closed for general visiting. You are able to visit parts of the ruins during a guided tour or during one of Cowdray’s heritage events.