Bramber: The tiny Sussex village with links to the Knight’s Templar

Bramber: The tiny Sussex village with links to the Knight’s Templar

If you visited the small West Sussex village of Bramber, the Knights Templar would probably be one of the last things that came to mind.

Bramber is a tiny, sleepy village in the Horsham countryside, home to little more than 700 people.

However, it's a place that is absolutely steeped in history.

Tucked away on the banks of River Adur, a few miles north of Shoreham, Bramber is everything you'd expect from a Sussex village.

For all its quiet rural charm now, Bramber used to be one of the most important places in Sussex.

It's one of the few villages in England that can say it has a castle, and Bramber can also boast ties with an ancient organisation shrouded in myth - the Knight's Templar.

So how did such an organisation end up in a tiny village in West Sussex?

Back in the 12th century, Bramber was a much more prominent place than it is today. While it is now a few miles inland, Bramber used to be a seaside village before the coastline gradually moved further south.

Bramber was in a prime strategic position on the south coast, and many people used it as a crossing point to sail to and from Europe. The village also fell right on a very popular pilgrimage route from Winchester to Canterbury, the holiest site in England.

The Knights Templar decided to step in and build accommodation for the pilgrims travelling through Bramber, taking advantage of the natural spring nearby.

After the Knights Templar dissolved, the building fell into disrepair until it was replaced by a stunning manor house that stands on the very site where the Templars housed the pilgrims: St Mary's House.

St Mary's House, built in around 1470, is a stunning Grade I listed medieval house. It was built by the Bishop of Winchester and founder of the famous Magdalen College in Oxford, William of Waynflete.

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.