It was in 2003 that a reigning monarch last set foot in Horsham (of which more below) but the visit by Queen Elizabeth II is only the most recent of many. Visits by members of the royal family have been taking place for more than seven hundred years. This feature concentrates on visits made by a reigning monarch and spouse, not other members of the family.

The blog is in chronological order and so begins with the visits of Edward I on the 29th of June, 1299. He was travelling from Canterbury to Winchester prior to his second marriage. Edward I also visited on the 2nd and 3rd of September, possibly en route to Canterbury for the wedding to Marguerite of France which took place on the 10th of September, 1299. In common with Edward II, see below, Edward probably stayed at Chesworth House.

Edward I

Edward II was recorded as visiting Horsham on the 4th of September, 1324. He is said to have been signing deeds at Chesworth House. It was about this time that Edward II was in conflict with his wife Isabella of France, over the relationship with his supporters. Less than three years later, in January 1327, Edward II was deposed. On the 24th he abdicated and the following day Edward III was proclaimed king.

Edward II

In 1488, three years after being crowned king, Henry VII visited Horsham and Henry VIII visited in 1519, at least a year before the indeterminate birth date of Catherine Howard (b1521-25?).

Although never crowned Catherine (Katheryn) Howard was queen consort to Henry VIII from the 28th of July, 1540 until she was stripped of the title on the 22nd of November 1541. She was beheaded at 07:00 am on the 13th of February 1542. Her last words were “I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpepper”. There are no recorded visits during her short time as queen but around the year 1536 Catherine stayed at Chesworth House where she had an ill-fated liaison with her Horsham based music tutor Henry Mannox.

There is no record of Queen Victoria visiting Horsham in her lifetime but her funeral train stopped at Horsham Station en route to Victoria Station in London. Queen Victoria died the 22nd of January 1901 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Just over a week later a train brought her body from Portsmouth to London Victoria via Horsham. It reached Horsham around 09:20 on the morning of Saturday the 2nd of February.

Queen Mary, the wife of George V visited Horsham in late April, 1927. On Thursday 28th April at 18:10 her Daimler arrived outside the Old Town Hall, then still in use by the council. The queen was there to pay a short visit to the antique shop at 6 Market Square, now the River Kwai Restuarant. It was known as Armada Antique Galleries and was run by Captain George Henry Anthony. The unofficial visit lasted about 20 minutes and there is no record of a purchase. This paragraph is based on a article in the June 2007 edition of the Horsham Society newsletter.

Queen Elizabeth II has come to Horsham on two occasions. On Friday, the 10th of March, 1978 the queen opened the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee School and visited the nearby Forest Boys School. The second visit was on the 24th October, 2003, to visits Christ’s Hospital school, open the Forum, unveiling the Sun Dial sculpture then on to open the renovated Capitol theatre.

Horsham Forum Sundial