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I would like to thank the following people for their help in compiling this thesis:

The late Ken Batchelor, for introducing me to Cowdray; Pat Vincent, thesis tutor, for encouraging me to write about Cowdray and driving me over to Midhurst on one occasion; Mr and Mrs Brounger, Custodians of Cowdray Ruins, for their help and co-operation and for letting me have the freedom of the ruins during my research; Robert Elleray, Local Studies Librarian, Worthing Library, for his help and co-operation; John Stanley-Clamp, tutor; Ted Southcott; Peter Hay; Eric Cleavely; Pat Croucher and other West Sussex College of Design staff; Avner Gavrieli; West Sussex County Council; Loaders Photographic Ltd.; Cowdray Estate Office; plus anyone else I may have forgotten.


There have been many accounts written on the history of Cowdray House in the last two hundred years. I have not been able to trace many of the earlier works as they are so rare and in any case, such complex and very expensive research was not warranted for the purpose of this thesis. The earliest account I have consulted it that of Mrs. Charles Roundell, Cowdray: The History of a Great English House, published in 1884. This is very thorough, though as it turned out, not a highly accurately account. Apart from her own research and accounts, she uses a great many references from the Gentleman’s Magazine of the period, among many others. She uses very few hard facts coming from the ruins themselves, owing to a lack of proper investigation. Even the dimensions she gives are not accurate. Other accounts appear in guidebooks to Midhurst dating from the 1880's. Although the main historical facts are right, they all tend to romanticise the story.

It is not until 1919 that a truly authoritative account was written by Sir William John Hope, called Cowdray and Easebourne Priory. His work is based on an in-depth survey of the ruins. Until then most of the ruins had been covered by ivy and the brickwork could hardly by seen. This further suggests that many of the previous accounts must have been conjectural studies based on earlier accounts and recollections of the descendants of the people at the time. It is for this reason that I am using Hope’s work as a basis for my research and only refer to other sources where it will clarify or give additional information.

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