PETWORTH, a market town in the Horsham parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 55 m. S.S.W. from London by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. (1901), 2503. The church of St Mary is Perpendicular, and contains numerous memorials of members of the Percy family and others. Petworth House, situated in a beautiful park, dates from the 18th century, and contains a magnificent collection of pictures. At Bignor in the neighbourhood are remains of an important and splendidly adorned Roman villa.
The first mention of Petworth (Peartingawyrth, Peteorde, Puetewird, Pedewurde, Putteworth, Pytteworth, Petteworth) occurs in a grant by Eardwulf, king of Northumbria, to St Peter's Church, about 791. In the time of Edward the Confessor Petworth was an allodial manor held by his queen Edith, and in 1086 Robert Fitz-Tetbald held it of Roger Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury. It then included a church and a mill, and was rated at nine hides. Through Queen Adelisa, Petworth came first into the hands of her steward, Reginald de Wyndsor, and was afterwards given to her brother Josceline, who held it of the honour of Arundel. Josceline married Agnes de Percy and assumed the surname of Percy. The honour and manor of Petworth followed the descent of this family until 1708. In 1377 Henry Percy was created earl of Northumberland. The only daughter of the last earl married Charles, duke of Somerset, in 1682, and Petworth descended through their daughter Catherine to the earls of Egremont. The adopted son of the third earl was created Baron Leconfield in 1859.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)