History of

Cowdray Heritage

Cowdray Heritage is one of England’s most important early Tudor houses and is known to have been visited by both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. In September 1793, whilst undergoing repairs and refurbishments for the impending marriage of the 8th Viscount Montague, a devastating fire took hold and most of the property was destroyed. The Kitchen Tower is the only part of the mansion to remain intact.

The magnificent ruins are set in the stunning landscape of Cowdray Park, in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Explore the Tudor Kitchen, Buck Hall, Chapel and Gatehouse.

Since 1793 it largely remained untouched however the 1st Viscount Cowdray commissioned a restoration project between 1909-1914 when St John Hope was asked to report on Cowdray, Easebourne Priory and St Anne’s Hill.

This work is generally credited with having saved the Cowdray ruins from total collapse. Nevertheless this period of desertion ensured that the features that remained of this important Tudor building were untouched and consequently give us today a unique glimpse of many important features of Tudor architecture which would otherwise have been lost.

Cowdray re-opened to the public in March 2007. The opening followed an intricate and detailed two-year ‘restoration, stabilisation, access and interpretation’ project which has been undertaken thanks to a major Heritage Lottery Fund grant and support from English Heritage, the Cowdray Estate, individuals and the local community.

Cowdray today is in the care of the Cowdray Heritage Trust, an independent charity now responsible for managing the site.

Charity Number 1071069

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