Message from the Editor

Welcome to the Horsham District Heritage Forum Message Board.

This is an area where members can post notices and messages that they think will be of interest to other organisations in the Forum.

They can be notices of upcoming events, suggestions for forum-wide collaborative projects or requests for help on existing or planned projects within your own society/group.

All you need to do is to email Mike Burt at:

with the notice/message, together with any images, so that they can be uploaded to the site.


Recent Government advice about measures, including social distancing, to combat the spread of this virus, has already resulted in the cancellation or postponement of a number of members’ events planned for 2021, for example by Shipley History Society and Steyning History Society. It is very likely that other member organisations will want to do the same although at least two, Henfield, and Cowfold, have been and are holding virtual talks via Zoom or You Tube.  I would be grateful therefore if members would notify me of updates to their programmes for 2021 so that I can add these to the members’ meeting programmes and this message board.

Thank you and keep safe and as well as possible until, hopefully, restrictions are lifted in full.

Zoom talks during the coronavirus restrictions

Dr Janet Pennington has developed a number of zoom presentations and talks on a range of subjects that are available during 2020/21 to member organisations as follows:

Illustrated Talks Available for 2020-2021

  • Chanctonbury Ring: the story of a Sussex landmark
  • Sir Thomas Sherley [c.1542-1612] of Wiston House, Sussex
  • The Women of Wiston House
  • The Wiston Estate: a thousand years of history
  • Wiston House and the English Civil War, 1642-1649
  • An Illustrated Walk around old Steyning
  • Steyning Scandals: secrets of a Sussex town, 1547-1947
  • The Pubs and Breweries of Steyning
  • A History of the Adur Valley
  • Salt of the Earth: the salt industry of the Adur valley
  • Lancing College and its local history
  • Sussex Inn Signs and their History
  • English Inn Signs: their local and regional significance
  • Cakes & Ale: ‘A Full English’ in your 17thC local?
  • Travel in the Past: the problems & pleasures of the journey
  • Sidesaddle Travels in England with Celia Fiennes [1690s]
  • Shops and Shopping: the small shop through the ages
  • Witches, Warlocks & Wellingtons: the ritual protection of
    the home
  • On Your Feet: boots and shoes in history
  • An Archaeological Childhood in Sussex
  • Sussex Chairs: how East Sussex influenced William Morris
  • Walter Gibraltar: from Sussex to the Bishop’s Palace, Malta


Janet is happy to do talks at short notice. Please contact her on:

T: 01903 417848 or 07703 133952




The Secrets of a Sussex Market Town, 1547-1947

SUNDAY, 15 August 2021  10 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.

with Dr Janet Pennington

Meet at the Steyning Centre Car Park, (NOT the Library car park) – free on Sundays – opposite the church of St Andrew & St Cuthman, which is in Church Street, Steyning, BN44 3XZ

Discover who did what, where and with whom! Steyning’s attractive timber-framed buildings and flint cottages hide many secrets from the past – come and discover some of them if you dare. We will be exploring the streets and twittens of Steyning with many scandalous stories, all researched through local documentary sources. Dogs on leads welcome. Fee payable on the day – £5.00.

If you are easily shocked, this is not the talk for you

This walk is NOT suitable for children.


Parham House and Gardens

The House and Gardens are now open but pre-booking is essential. Please see the Parham House website.

Two exhibitions are currently running in the House. See the Forum Members Meetings page for details.


Forum Publications page

The Publications page enables Forum members to post details of books or other published material that have been produced, for the information and benefit of other members. Where appropriate details are provided of the cost of the book or other publication and from where this can be purchased. At the moment the page carries publications by  the Cowfold Village History Society,  the Rudgwick Preservation Society, the Rusper History Group, the Steyning History Society, the Southwater Local History Group, the Bramber and Beeding Local History Society, and Nuthurst Local History Society.

Please send me by e-mail at: any publications that you would like to advertise on the Publications page including a narrative about the subject of the publication, and where relevant, the cost  and from where the publication can be obtained.


Upcoming Talks and Events for 2021

All face to face events scheduled for 2021 have for the time being, been postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus situation, although some members are holding these via social media (Zoom or You Tube) and these are shown on the Members’ programmes page. 

Henfield Museum: new website

Henfield Museum has very recently launched a new website which can be accessed via this link:

The excellent website has a wealth of information about the history and heritage of the village including on notable past residents such as Henry Bishopp, a 17th Century Postmaster General and inventor of the postmark, William Borrer, one of the most noted botanists of the first half od the 19th Cebtury, and Elizabeth Robins, actress, writer, suffragist and feminist.

Collaborative Projects

Horsham Year of Culture 2019- “Horsham District Heritage in 100 objects” update

After 2 years of work from inception of the idea of a book celebrating the rich heritage of Horsham District, that book “The Heritage of Horsham in One Hundred objects” was launched at Parham House on 7 October 2019 by kind invitation of Lady Emma Barnard. The book, priced £19.99, has thirteen chapters covering themes such as the District’s ancient heritage, Warfare, local politics and government, retail trade, domestic life and transport, and has over 200 illustrations. It is available now from local bookshops and from Horsham Museum. Each member of the Forum is encouraged to purchase at least one copy and to consider how the book can be used locally to promote the understanding and appreciation of the heritage of each member’s locality.


Exhibitions and tours


Christ’s Hospital Verrio Tours

Christ’s Hospital Heritage events have been postponed until further notice

Tours of the school, known as Verrio Tours after the famous painting in Dining Hall by Antonio Verrio, are offered to visitors to the school by prior appointment. Tours are guided by pupils, and provide a chance to look at the wonderful paintings, buildings and grounds as well as visiting the museum for a talk and a look at the permanent exhibition. A full afternoon tea is provided in the magnificent Dining Hall.

How To Book:

All tours need to be pre-booked and we welcome groups of
up to 30. If you are a smaller group or individual we can
combine you with other groups.
* Please note that Band Parade and the pupils marching into
lunch does not occur if it is wet or icy and we apologise for
any disappointment this may cause.

Contact Us
For further information or to book a tour please contact our
Verrio Tour Team.
Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 0LJ
T: 01403 247407



Horsham Museum exhibitions                                                                        



Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Horsham Museum is closed to visitors until further notice.