Monday, April 08, 2013

Question from GregP - Greenwich Palace waterfront

I am a lover of late medieval and Tudor architecture, though by no means any kind of expert.

For years I had thought that the odd appendage jutting out from the Thameside facade of Greenwich, was some sort of watergate, as was used at Westminster, Whitehall, Hampton Court, and others.

Now as I have been looking closer at numerous prints, it definitely seems to have been more of a porte-cochère.

From what I have been able to determine, it sat right in front of the Sovereign's bedchamber and privy chamber on the second floor. On the ground floor there seems to have been a small doorway into a wardrobe (guardroom?) Then adjacent to that on the NW tower of the Donjon was spiral to second floor privy chambers.

Then supposedly on the second floor above the porte-cochere, was our royale privye closet. Apparently Henry wanted his best view of the Thames to be the view from the "throne"

Interesting thing is that the porte-cochere is offset from the Donjon. It half overlaps the privy chamber and half the privy bedroom.

Does anyone know if there is history of the Donjon predating the rest of the architecture?

Thurley says that H7 left nothing of Gloucester's Bella Courte when he rebuilt Greenwich in 1501. But the central Donjon seems to be significantly medieval, with towers, turrets and crenelation. The "towers" of the rest of the facade are faux fascia, bay windows on the interior, as had been becoming common. The York's had done the same at Nottingham lower ward.

Also, if everything was rebuilt in 1501, the odd angularity of the different ranges seems odd to me. Richmond was extremely rectilinear. With the Burgundian sensibilities taking such currency, it seems odd for 1501 to have such angularity, if it was built from ground up.

Rambling.... babbling...... Comment as you will.


GregP said...

Interesting factoid, but no one is reading this.

At that very point where Henry's watergate/porte-cochere was built, you have a point of view of Kent (under your feet), Surrey (to the left @ O2), Middlesex (across @ Isle of Dogs), and Essex (downriver @ Leamouth).

I think this speaks more to the location of the palace in general,

kb said...

I'm reading it. I just don't know anything about architecture. Sorry.

Patrick said...

The Greenwich riverfront extension from the donjon was built 1515-1519 and contained (above the arch over the riverfront walk on the ground floor) St. john'sChamber on the first floor (just off the Privy Chamber) and on the second floor a library, which contained 329 books in 1547. As has already been mentioned,there was a vise or stair in the northwest tower of the original donjon. This sort of extension was perhaps mirrored by the one at Richmond, which was built out over the moat at the southeast corner of the principal privy block. It too contained a study, library and other secret rooms. See also "Henry VIII; A European Court in England," 1991.