These carvings are to be found in the porch, part of the ruined old Cowdray House, a magnificent Tudor mansion built in the early sixteenth century which was gutted in an accidental fire in 1793. They commemorate the appointment in 1536 of Sir William Fitzwilliam as Lord High Admiral. He was a close friend of Henry VIII, but also saw active service at sea in 1512 during a campaign against the French. Fitzwilliam served the navy well as the Vice Admiral supervising ship building, and was responsible for carefully noting the seaworthiness of new vessels. The decorations at Cowdray symbolise his pride in his appointment, and his attachment to the King.
To read the full article Become A Member