The Middle Ages
- Pre 1066 – Midhurst develops as Saxon Village.
- 1103 – Henry I leases estates near Arundel to Savoric fitz Cana from Normandy. He makes his home at Ford.
- 1106 – Savaric also receives Midhurst and Easebourne.
- 1158 – After his death the estates are split between his sons. Savaric II keeps Ford: Geldwin gets Midhurst and builds fortified manor house on St Ann’s Hill.
- 1187 – Estates reunited under Geldwin’s son Frank, who returns to Ford. This is the family home until 1284. The Hill only occupied occasionally. They call themselves de Bohun and later, Bohun.
- c.1140 – Savaric III founds Easebourne Priory
- 1284 – Sir John Bohun moves from Ford to new home, Coudreye, on site of Cowdray ruins.
- 1305 – King Edward I and his son, the future Edward II, visit Coudreye
A Tudor and Stuart Palace
- c.1488 – Sir David Owen (great-uncle of Henry VIII) marries the de Bohun heiress and after her death (c.1496) acquires Coudreye.
- c.1520-29 – Owen gradually demolishes Coudreye and begins building Cowdray.
- 1529 – Owen’s son Henry illegally sells Cowdray to Sir William Fitzwilliam for £2000. Sir David Owen continues living there until his death in 1535.
- 1533 – Sir William licensed by Henry VIII to empark and crenelate Cowdray.
- 1536 – After the dissolution he is given Easebourne priory and other monastic properties.
- 1537 – Sir William is ennobled as Earl of Southampton on the birth of Edward VI.
- 1538 – Henry VIII visits Cowdray (3-7 August). Sir William’s half-brother and heir, Anthony Browne, receives Battle Abbey. A dispossessed monk curses his family ‘by fire and by water’.
Lady Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury, imprisoned at Cowdray (November 1538 – September 1539)
- 1539 – Henry VIII visits Cowdray (30-31 July).
- 1540 – Sir William created Lord Privy Seal (he was Lord High Admiral 1536-40)
- 1542 – Sir Anthony Browne inherits Cowdray.
Sinking of the Mary Rose (July)
- 1545 – Henry VIII visits Cowdray (early August).
- 1548 – Browne’s son (also Sir Anthony) inherits.
- 1552 – Edward VI visits Cowdray (July 27-28) and complains that food was too rich.
- 1554 – Sir Anthony Browne is ennobled as 1st Viscount Montague on marriage of Queen Mary to King Phillip of Spain.
- 1588 – Defeat of the Spanish Armada. 1st Viscount is under house arrest at Cowdray because of his Catholicism.
- 1591 – Queen Elizabeth I visits Cowdray (August 15-21).
- 1592 – 2nd Viscount inherits
- 1595 – Montague issues his Book of Orders and Rules for the direction of his household.
- 1605 – Gunpowder plot. 2nd Viscount briefly imprisoned for complicity.
- 1611 – 2nd Viscount imprisoned for a year because he refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to King James I. Fined £6000.
- 1629 – 3rd Viscount inherits.
- 1630s – Robert May employed as chef at Cowdray.
- 1643-60 – During and after the Civil War, two thirds of Cowdray estates sequestered and all plate, etc. seized. House garrisoned by Parliamentary forces but escapes demolition.
- 1682 – 4th Viscount inherits. He orders the compiling of an inventory of furniture at Cowdray.
- 1705 – 5th Viscount inherits.
The Georgian Period
- 1747 – 6th Viscount inherits
- 1767 – 7th Viscount inherits
- 1770 – ‘Capability’ Brown employed to modernise gardens
- 1787 – 8th Viscount inherits.
- 1793 – Cowdray semi-destroyed by fire (September 24). 8th Viscount drowned on the Rhine in Switzerland (early October). Title passes to descendant of 2nd Viscount who dies childless. Viscountancy becomes extinct.
- 1794-1840 – Estates inherited by 8th Viscount’s sister. She marries Colonel Poyntz who outlives her and dies in 1840. Family live in former keeper’s lodge in Cowdray grounds. The two sons are drowned off Bognor in 1815. Estates pass to three daughters who cannot agree the division.
Victorian and 20th Century
- 1843 – Estates sold to 6th Earl of Egmont for £300,000.
- 1874 – 7th Earl of Egmont inherits. Keeper’s lodge is rebuilt to become present Cowdray Park (1878).
- 1897 – 8th Earl of Egmont inherits.
- 1908 – Estates sold to Sir Weetman Dickinson Pearson who in 1917 becomes Viscount Cowdray.
- 1913-19 – Sir William St John Hope asked to report on the ruins of Cowdray, Easebourne Priory and St Ann’s Hill. Some restoration work done.
- 1927 – 2nd Viscount Cowdray inherits.
- 1933 – 3rd Viscount Cowdray inherits.
- 1995 – 4th Viscount Cowdray inherits
- 1996 – Cowdray Heritage Trust created
- 2006/7 – Major conservation project.
- 2007 – From 31st March 2007 – Cowdray now open to visitors.