Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet and well known political radical, was born at Field Place, Warnham, in 1792. During his short life he wrote some of the most powerful poetry in the English language and promoted radical causes, such as political and religious reform, equality between the sexes and vegetarianism. Today he is admired throughout the world for his works. He drowned in 1822 off the Italian coast in his own sailing boat, the 'Don Juan,' while returning from a sailing trip during a violent summer storm, a month short of his 30th birthday. There are very few surviving Shelley relics and what there is has been donated to major national collections.
Shelley's wife Mary Shelley, is well known in her own right for Frankenstein.
Horsham Museum has built up a solid collection of first and early editions of Shelley's works and those of his circle. On display is a very rare bronze bust of Shelley, as well as a model of the 'Ajax,' which saw action in the Battle of Trafalgar captained by Shelley's uncle, Captain John Pilfold. A number of books on Shelley are available to purchase from the Museum Shop.