The beautiful Market Town of Petworth is set in the heart of the South Downs National Park and is rich with a history that goes back for centuries
Petworth House – this is the exact place that Turner painted many of his famous landscapes, some of which remain on display here to this day
WEST SUSSEX – where the landscape is timelessly lovely, from the tranquil beauty of the Weald, stretched out between the chalk escarpments ofthe Downs, to the splendid sweep of the coast. Inland are ancient castles and romantic gardens, unspoilt villages and cosy country pubs, along with Cathedral cities, and a vibrant cultural and sporting scene, taking in opera and music festivals, architectural gems, art galleries, world class polo, horse and motorcar racing. And sitting magically in the midst of all this is Petworth. A quaint old market town, hidden among the lush folds of the South Downs.
PETWORTH is a delightful, picturesque market town, nestling in the South Downs just one hours drive from the south coast. Petworth has an international reputation as a leading antiques centre with over 30 antique shops dotted around the town. These aren’t curio style shops, for example there is one that specialises in 16th - 18th century oak furniture. There’s also a great selection of independent retailers. But it’s the majesty and confidence of the town’s architecture that is its principal attraction
HISTORY A sense of grandeur is imposed by Petworth House– a palatial 17th century mansion on the edge of town. The high walls surrounding the house and Capability Brown-designed gardens also seem to enclose Petworth itself, almost making the town seem part of the same complex, and giving it a magical, fairy-tale feel.
The centrepoint of the town has been the Market Square since at least 1541; today, it’s a busy intersection and the centre for town events. The most eye-catching building being the Leconfield Hall, built in 1794, the former courthouse is now used for markets, books sales and even the odd film screening.
To get a sense of what life in Petworth was like 100 years ago , visit Petworth Cottage Museum at 346 High Street. This small cottage has been refurbished to look just as it did in 1910 where Mrs Cummings lived when she worked as a seamstress at Petworth House.