We drove south to Midhurst in Sussex today, walking around the town and stumbling on the ruins of Cowdray House. I had known of its role in history in Tudor times – but had no idea that this is where it was. A wonderfully kept site, but a pretty tragic history at times, what with the fire that reduced the great house to ruins in 1793, and the death by drowning of an heir around the same time. Not sure I believe the story of a curse laid upon the family during the dissolution of the monasteries, that they would be destroyed by fire and water, but it provides a neat hook on which to hang the tragedies.
Later in the afternoon, we arrived at the house where we were to stay, set in woodland, found with the good services of one of Alastair Sawday‘s invaluable guides, only to find the owners in turmoil, she having reacted badly to treatment with monoclonal antibodies. As they headed off to the hospital, we settled in. I had looked the place up on Google Earth and seen a huge quarry nearby, but there was no sense of it from the house itself – and the landscape around here is wonderful. Thank heavens they have declared it part of the country’s latest National Park, including, apparently, the sand ridge into which the quarry has been digging.