Horsham History

A visit to the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery today was a delightful step back in time as dad and I uncovered the history of the town my brother and I grew up in, which has been my parents hometown for almost 40 years.

Originally a Saxon town in 947AD where coastal farmers brought horses to trade, it later became a Norman settlement gifted to a landowner by William the Conqueror. In Medieval times two markets were established. One in an area named The Bishopric as the market was created by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Museum housed various objects from shops and local trades over the years including mock shop fronts such as a blacksmith, a wheelwright and this pharmaceutical store Williams & Co from West Street. Williams is our family name and whilst there is no relation to the family that owned the shop I had to photograph it.

We discovered a collection of long case clocks from a 19th century family of clockmakers, which my grandad would've loved. Dad said you could just imagine him saying: "He's a goodun'!"

Upstairs the museum displayed a collection of antique toys and a dolls house as well as the history of the town gaol first established in 1640 and memorabilia from the Great War.

There was a beautiful portrait at the top of the stairs of wealthy local land owner Lord Eversfield and his wife of Denne House from the early 1700s. Lady Eversfield had a striking resemblance to Lady Catherine Fairfax neé Culpeper (wife of Lord Fairfax Leeds Castle owner in 1685).

We also discovered the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Warnham village just two miles from Horsham. I never knew!

In the Museum Shop Dad treated me to a book on the history of Horsham so I may continue my discovery into my hometown's past. Such a delight to take a step back in time...

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