St Mary's House and Gardens

A historic building in Bramber is St Mary's House, a late 15th century timber-framed house on a site associated with the Knights Templar. The present building was constructed in about 1470 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester and founder of Magdalen College, Oxford. The house has beautiful gardens with topiary figures, and a quite large secret garden at the back. The house is open to the public in season, and there is a tearoom in the grounds. The house has a music room which has two 14th century ornately-carved stone chantry tombs serve as fireplaces, and is regularly used for concerts and recitals. Originally it was a monastic hostel for pilgrims and monks who collected the tolls at Bramber bridge, a 170-foot (52 m) long bridge over the River Adur, incorporating a Chapel dedicated to St Mary the Virgin on its central span, though now reduced to a flat bridge of just a few feet over a tributary of the river, following silting, and a change of course. This should not be confused with the nearby Beeding Bridge, a hump-back bridge which now spans the main course of the river. King Charles II is claimed to have stayed at St Mary's House during his escape to France after defeat at the Battle of Worcester. The Monarch's Way long-distance footpath, following Charles's supposed route to Shoreham-by-Sea, crosses the Adur at Bramber. The house has been used in a number of television productions including an episode of Dr Who where the tardis landed inside. Its owners since 1984 are Peter Thorogood and Roger Linton. The house features in Simon Jenkins book 'England's Thousand Best Houses'.