Henry’s palace of delights
Uncovers the rich 500 year history of Hampton Court Palace
WHEN our family moved to Feltham in 1936 our new next door neighbour went to great pains to tell us about the local area. Where to shop and what to visit and so on.
One place she told us to visit was Hampton Court Palace and suggested we went on a Sunday when if I remember correctly the admission was free. The Palace celebrated its 500th year in 2015 and nowadays receives many many visitors to view the state rooms and other attractions.
It’s position on the River Thames is a favourable one with Kingston upon Thames where medieval kings were crowned close by.
In the Domesday Book we find that the manor of Hamntone was in the Hounslow Hundred and was held by Walter of St Valery with a total value of £39.
The manor passed to the Knights Hospitalers of St John of Jerusalem who farmed the land for the next 250 years.
They had a chapel built alongside the manor house which was often visited by King Henry VII from nearby Sheene Palace at Richmond.
Sir Charles Daubeney who was chamberlain to the King leased the manor and made improvements to the house when in 1514 the lease was taken over by Cardinal Wolsey who set about extending the house and turning it into a palace befitting his status with an imposing entrance from the river.
Wolsey was a man with many ailments and the Hampton was to his favour.
He held several posts as Bishop and was appointed Archbishop of York, chancellor and Cardinal.
In 1517 he received a visit from King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine who took a liking to the palace said to contain 1,000 rooms and often visited to hunt in the 2,000 acre park which Wolsey had enclosed.
When Wolsey failed to obtain the divorce that Henry wanted in order to marry Anne Boleyn a rift appeared between the King and Wolsey and in spite of Wolsey offering Hampton Court to Henry, he was stripped of all offices and banished to York.
Henry rebuilt the Great Hall which we see today with its fine hammer beam roof.
When William and Mary came to the throne it was decided that the palace should be rebuilt and Christopher Wren was contracted for the work. He wanted to demolish all the Tudor buildings and start afresh but as money was limited new Royal apartments and the northern aspects were created.
So today we have a mixture of Tudor and William and Mary architecture to view and a visit is aways a good experience.