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THE STORY OF THE TWO CASTLES. Many people don’t appreciate Midhurst has two castles. The earlier one on St Ann’s Hill, the high point in Midhurst, founded by Roger of Montgomery shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066; and the later one, Cowdray Castle, founded in the 1520’s, destroyed in a terrible fire in 1793, the Ruins of which now constitute a major ‘visitor attraction’ with its forminable kitchen tower still intact along with a wine cellar and muniment room.
The Norman Castle on St Ann ’s Hill – there are very few remains – is today just called Midhurst Castle . It’s a site of outstanding beauty and tranquillity, approached from the Town by a small meadow with several paths and a solitary bench, popular with picknickers. The castle site is under the canopy of several majestic, huge, old chestnut trees and the only sound is the caw-cawing of the resident jackdaws; and sometimes joyful dogs as they chase around the meadow. When the sun is setting in the west and sinking below the roof tops of the Town the light is amazing, and photographers get totally carried away.
The paths all drop down to the River Rother; and you can walk along the river bank to the environs of Cowdray Castle . For more on La Coudreye, the early Cowdray House, and The Norman Castle of Midhurst read these accounts on Midhurst Pages and Chichester District Council website.