Cowdray House, Midhust, West Sussex title banner, a history of a magnificent 16th Cent house, destroyed by fire in the late 18th Cent
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East Range

A GUIDE TO COWDRAY.

North East Corner and Cellars
Beyond the Dining Parlour were two drawing rooms and two cellars. Very little remains of the drawing rooms, except for three of their walls, but the cellars are still intact. The first cellar is now only accessible by the doorway in the base of the large bay in the north-eastern corner of the court. Previously it could have been entered from the Dining Parlour, and one of the drawing rooms. The door is probably original and inside, the room is quite spacious, measuring 23 foot by 18 foot. It has a plain four-centred vault roof. To the north is a doorway that leads down three steps to the base of the hexagonal tower where there is a much larger cellar. It is paved with square stone slabs and the vaulted roof is supported by stone wall ribs forming a massive chamfered cross. A large iron ring hangs from the middle keystone. In the northwest side is doorway leading into a seventeenth century wine cellar. All the cellars are intact and used for storage.

First Floor
Returning to and ascending the great staircase would take you up to the first floor of the house. On the left at the head of the stair is a door leading to the chapel gallery and ahead would probably be a window or small balcony over looking the dais in the Buck Hall below. To the right a door would take you into the Great Chamber, later called the Grand Drawing room, the room above the Dining Parlour. The room was lighted from the west by the upper park of the dining room bay window and along the north wall was a Tudor fireplace that is still visible today. After the fire, the floor, south and east walls collapsed.

Above the two ground floor drawing rooms was the second Drawing Room and to the west, above the cellar, the dressing-room to the Velvet Bed Chamber, The Bed Chamber itself was above the vaulted cellar in the hexagonal tower and both it and its dressing-room still retain their floors, which are accessible by climbing a rough stairway up the remains of broken ground floor wall. There was an attic room above the Bed Chamber, of which a fireplace still remains.

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