In Petworth it is worth stopping to look at the medieval Market Place and the maze of narrow streets that open off it. Several of the houses that line the streets are of medieval date, others being of Tudor or 17th century construction. The parish church was rebuilt in 1827, but many of the older tombs and monuments were preserved, which is just as well as some of them are truly spectacular. The tombs are mostly of owners of the nearby Petworth House which has been in the same family since the 1090s.
Petworth House is open for the summer season and stands in an estate of around 2,000 acres that is surrounded by a great wall about 13 miles long, one of the largest estate walls in the country. The West Front is 320 feet long and dates to the rebuilding carried out by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, in 1688 after he acquired the Petworth estates by marriage. Only the chapel remains of the older medieval mansion. The house is famous for its interiors which include a Carved Room by the master wood carver Grinling Gibbons and a Grand Staircase with frescoed walls. James Turner, the landscape artist, stayed here and left a few works behind as did Joshua Reynolds. There are also works by Holbein, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough. Petworth House makes for a lengthy visit, so if you intend to have a look round it might be best to allow a whole day for this drive.
from TEASHOP AND PUB DRIVES IN SUSSEX by Rupert Matthews