History of The Owl

The area immediately surrounding Kingsfold can lay claim to at least two famous people from English history. Admiral Sir James Hawkins Whitshed (1762 - 1849) was born nearby at Holbrook Park. At one time he served under Admiral Nelson and was eventually promoted to the highest rank in the Royal Navy - Commander in chief of the Fleet. Thirty years later in Field Place near Warnham, Shelley (Percy Bysshe Shelley) was born. Although largely unappreciated in his time except by other poets and writers including Lord Byron and John Keats, he is now regarded as one of the finest lyric poets England has produced.

Brasses in Rusper church dated 1380 of 'John and Agnes of Kingsfold' show there must have been some kind of settlement or village at Kingsfold by the 14th century.

Old photos of the village of Kingsfold shows our pub in its early days was called The Wheatsheaf. It was here in 1904 that the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was also a collector of folk songs, took down a melody to the broadside murder ballard 'Maria Martin' performed by Mr Booker. A hymn to this tune 'Come all ye Worthy Christian Men' (there are several different titles) became known as 'The Kingsfold Hymn'.

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