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Midhurst

MIDHURST, a market town in the north-western parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 1 2 m. N. by E. of Chichester by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway; served also by the London & South Western railway. Pop. (1901), 1674. It is pleasantly situated on slightly rising ground near the river Rother. The church of St Mary Magdalen and St Denis is a large Perpendicular building. The town retains several picturesque old houses, and in the vicinity, by the river, are the ruins of the 16th century mansion of Cowdray, burnt down in 1793. A grammar-school was founded at Midhurst in 1672 and attained some eminence. After being closed for many years it was reopened in 1880. In 1906 a magnificent sanatorium for consumptives was opened about 4 m. from Midhurst; it bears the name of King Edward VII., who laid its foundation stone and opened it.

The name of Midhurst (Middeherst, Mudhurst) first occurs in the reign of Henry I. when Savaric Fitz-Cana held it of the honour of Arundel, then presumably in the king's hands. The charter of Henry I., although no longer extant, is quoted in later confirmation charters of Richard I., Henry III., Edward III. and Richard II. . Franco de Bohun inherited Midhurst from his uncle Savaric Fitz-Savaric, and the De Bohuns held the lordship until 1499 when Sir David Owen obtained it through his marriage with the daughter of the last male heir. He sold it to Sir William Fitz- William, from whom it passed to Sir Anthony Browne and descended to the viscounts Montague. Midhurst is definitely called a borough in the reign of Edward I., but the borough-court and market were probably in existence much earlier. It was governed by a bailiff, elected annually, until the office lapsed, probably early in the 19th century. In an act of 1883 it is mentioned as one of the towns which had long ceased to be municipal. No charter of incorporation is known. Midhurst returned two members to parliament from 1300-1301 till 1832, and from that date one member until 1885 when it was disfranchised. In the reign of Henry VI. a market was held by the burgesses every Thursday, and a fair on Whit-Tuesday, by grant from Sir John Bohun. In 1888 the fair-days were the 6thof April, thegthof May andthe 29th of October. The marketday was Thursday. Pleasure-fairs are still held on the 6th of April and the 2gth of October, but there is no market.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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