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Midhurst: Sussex towns and villages

PUBLISHED: 11:16 27 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:16 27 June 2013

Midhurst

Midhurst

Archant

St Ann’s Hill was Midhurst’s original core – it was once an Iron Age fort

Losing the plot

Anthony-Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montagu, one-time owner of Cowdray House, was arrested in 1605 in connection with the Gunpowder Plot. He briefly employed Guy Fawkes as a footman, which raised suspicion, and then didn’t attend Parliament on 5 November, following a warning from Robert Catesby. He was later cleared of all charges, and is now buried at Midhurst Church.

Horsing around

Cowdray Polo Club is world-renowned as the home of British polo, hosting the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup and The British Open Championship. Polo has been played at Cowdray for more than 100 years, with matches recorded on the ground as early as 1910. Today, around 450 matches are played there each season.

Hard Fort

St Ann’s Hill was Midhurst’s original core – it was once an Iron Age fort, then a centre of pagan worship, a Norman castle and finally a 12th century fortified house. Around 1300 the empty castle was dismantled by the Bishop of Durham, except for the chapel which was recorded as still standing in 1367.

Taking stock

The Old Market House lies in the town square, opposite the church. It was built in 1551, and was once a grammar school, before becoming the town hall in 1760. Outside, beneath the steps, the original town stocks can still be seen, which were last used in 1859.

Go

Cowdray Ruins

Opening Saturday 1 June, opens every Saturday and Sunday, 12pm – 4pm. A Midhurst icon

01730 812423; www.cowdray.co.uk)

Eat

The Halfway Bridge

Exceptional food and excellent service await you at this 17th century coaching inn

01798 861281; www.halfwaybridge.co.uk)

Drink

The Duke of Cumberland Arms

A 15th century pub with the most breathtaking of views. Local ales served straight from the barrel

01428 652280; www.dukeofcumberland.com)

Sleep

The Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa

A quintessentially English hotel – leather chairs, ancient oak beams and roaring fires. One of the oldest coaching inns in Britain, built in 1430

01730 816911; www.hshotels.co.uk/spread-eagle-hotel-and-spa

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Notable neighbours: H.G. Wells lived here in the 1800s, and Hilaire Belloc was said to have taken inspiration from Midhurst

Getting there: The nearest station is 7 miles away, in Haslemere. ThereA272 and A286 run through the town

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