Round our way: Take a look around historic Horsham
- Credit: Andrew Hasson
This Mid Sussex town is more than a thousand years old and history is everywhere, from the picture-perfect houses of the Causeway to the College of Richard Collyer
The name of Horsham is thought to have been derived either from the Anglo-Saxon of “horse village” or “Horsa’s village” after a Saxon warrior who was given land in the area. This links with evidence that the area was known for horse trading in the medieval period. The first historical record of the area comes from AD 947 but most information stems from its reputation during the medieval period when it was most known for its agricultural produce and many of its residents made their livelihood through farming. It was also well-known around Sussex for its annual Horsham fair.
This broadened in the 16th century when the area became known for its industries of tanning leather and brewing, which continued into the late 19th century. It was also recognised for its local iron industry, which continued into the 17th century.
The area became an important one in the late 18th century with the building of barracks in the 1790s, moving 1,500 men into the town but this later declined in the early 19th century when the barracks were closed.
In the early 20th century, thanks to increasing rail links and road transport, it also became an important district for local shopping and grew more popular with tourists. It was then in 1939 that it first became a popular place to live for those commuting into London.
There are a number of buildings of historical significance in the area, such as the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is the oldest building in the town and has been in continuous use for almost eight centuries. Horsham Museum is housed in a medieval house on The Causeway.
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