Monday, May 04, 2009

Question from Jacquie - List of Henry VIII's palaces

Does anyone have a list or know where I can see a list of all of Henry VIII's palaces?


DeclareJeNos said...

I cannot find one in any of my books (and I presume you have looked online). However, for a bit of fun, I challenged myself to try and remember (no google allowed!) as many castles/palaces/houses as I could (and depressingly, the list is incredibly short -it's a good job I write down all my research notes in full if this is where memory gets me!):

Windsor Castle
Tower of London
Dover Castle
Nonsuch Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Baynard Castle
St James Palace
Westminster Palace
Whitehall Palace
Pendennis Castle
Leeds Castle
Raglan Castle
Hever Castle
Chester Castle
Ludlow Castle
Pembroke Castle
Romeland (nr Waltham Abbey)

There are many more that I have missed!

Anyone care to play and add to the list?

Marilyn R said...

I can't think offhand where you would find a full list, but on the recent Time Team programme on Henry's palaces they said he owned 55 properties, some of which would have been just manor houses and hunting lodges, I would think.

Architectural historian Dr Jonathan Foyle of Time Team gave a follow-up lecture to the programme last week at Gainsborough Old Hall focussing on what influenced Henry’s tastes in architecture and on the New Hall Palace near Chelmsford, Essex (sometimes called Beaulieu Palace - not to be confused with Beaulieu Palace in Hampshire) which he began the same year Princess Mary was born. A surviving carving of a pomegranate, one of Katherine of Aragon’s heraldic symbols, has a little Tudor rose bursting from its side symbolising the birth of a child.

New Hall School now occupying the site is largely of later construction, although part of the king’s surviving private suite is now used as a dormitory.

According to the programme and lecture there was also a palace in Rome, complete with rose carving, used as the residence of the English Ambassador, and given in gratitude to Henry for his father having appointed Italians to English bishoprics (Bath-and-Wells, Worcester, Salisbury). It looked very much like the Palazzo Spada, but I don’t think that was built until after the split with Rome. Does anyone have any further information?

(DR Foyle will be presenting two programmes on Henry VIII and Art later in the year for BBC4.)

Marilyn R said...

Would you include the strategic ancient castles such as former Yorkist stronghold Fotheringay Castle (execution of Mary Queen of Scots) and former Lancastrian stronghold Pontefract Castle (murder of Richard II) on a list of palaces?

Henry stayed at Pontefract on the Northern Progress of 1541 and also at the royal manor of Hatfield (Yorkshire) which had a deer park, or chace, of over 70,000 acres – the village pub is still called The Hatfield Chace.

Apparently Kathryn Howard did not behave as sensibly as she ought at either Pontefract or Hatfield...

Stephanie said...

What castle was his home base though? I can never seem to find that.

Tudorrose said...

Hampton court Palace was his homeplace.I was from the start of his reign till the end of his reign.

DeclareJeNos said...

Apologies Tudorrose, but didn't Henry (who reigned from 1509-47) receive Hampton Court Palace when Cardinal Wolsey, who had built the Palace for himself, fell from favour in 1529?

Also, I was under the impression that there was no "home base", just prefered castles and palaces (such as the favoured Hampton Court) in the endless cycle of "hot-palacing"*? Alison Weir describes the Court as a "nomadic institution".

When one palace became dirty/at risk from disease/was tired of/there was reason to go to another part of the country etc, the court would move. Hence the need for the King's Wardrobe.

* Like hot-desking but on a much grander scale!

Tudorrose said...

True.Yes cardinal wolsey did have Hampton court palace built for Henry VIII.Yes cardinal wolsey did originally have Hampton court built for himself.But Hampton court is where he spent most of his reign and time residing at.Before Hampton court was built Henry would have been residing at Greenwhich palace where he was born and brought up until his mothers death in 1503.Then Henry and his sisters would have joined their father Henry VII at Richmond palace.Also their would have been time spent at westminster palace too.But would have spent time going between palaces and castles.Especially when the sweating sickness was about.Henry and his court would allways pack their bags and travel to somewhere where the air was fresher.Westminster was the most favourite palace to go to during the reign of Henry VII then Richmond second then thirdly Greenwhich.During Henry VIII's reign I would say the most favourite palace to go to had to have been Hampton court palace.

Marilyn R said...

Wasn't Henry brought up with his sisters at Eltham Palace, north of Greenwich?

Getting back to Jacquie's original question - any more palaces for the list?

Marilyn R said...

I meant south of Greenwich! SE9

Anonymous said...

Hello. The tally of Henry's palaces varies according to which authors are prepared to include (it depends what you call a palace, a hunting lodge, whether you include confiscated but unused houses like Thornbury, and residential or defensive castles, etc). About 55 is right. You're correct that Henry was schooled at Eltham, but he was born at Greenwich, which was the most frequently used palace until c. 1530 and habitually chosen for weddings, births etc. Westminster, the most important Medieval palace, lasted for the first three years of his reign then burned in 1512, so much of the early part of his reign was bereft of his inherited major apartments close to Henry VII's Chapel, the family mausoleum at Westminster Abbey. Its completion, with Torrigiano's tomb of Henry VII and the palace fire, were all dreadfully coincidental and may partly explain why Henry himself isn't buried there (beyond antipathy to his father). In 1530 York Place, itself near Westminster Abbey, was taken from Wolsey and became Whitehall which was the most used residence from 1530-47. Hampton Court was built for Wolsey from c. 1515-28, whereupon Henry took it over, but it was never the king's primary residence. Historic Royal Palaces trade on his name before Wolsey's greater claim on its genesis and character, and the accident of survival as Henry's major existing residence, but there's not a single bedchamber or private room left. Henry remained peripatetic, as supplies and hygiene of a court demanded. Simon Thurley has written much on Henry's palaces. The contribution made by Wolsey- far superior, especially in tandem with the surveyor William Bolton- has yet to be accurately published, but I'm working on it. Please see 'Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer?' BBC 4, 17 and 24 June for an outline. Best wishes, Jonathan Foyle

Anonymous said...


I live in America and I've been watching the 'Tudors' and love it. I have booked a trip to the UK for June 2010 and I want to visit Henry VIII's castles. I'm only in the UK for two weeks and wondered which Castles or houses you would recommend I visit. Thank you in advance!! Fiona

Marilyn R said...

Hi Fiona

As you can see from Dr.Jonathan Foyle's remarks, the major residence of Whitehall is no more, neither is Greenwich Palace. Hampton Court still exists but was less important to Henry than we today are led to believe and has been considerably extended since, which will have changed its overall appearance and character from what it was in Tudor times.

Nevertheless, if you have only two weeks here (I assume you are to be based in the London area)I would go for Windsor Castle and Hampton Court. If you can find the time you can also take an organised day trip to Anne Boleyn's home at Hever Castle in Kent. Whatever you choose, I cannot emphasise enough that you go to the OFFICIAL WEBSITES to check opening times; some of the opening information on general touristy sites is just misleading rubbish.

Hope you have a wonderful time - I was in London a couple of weeks ago & it was absolutely buzzing with activity!

Marilyn Rob

Patrick said...

A full list of all the royal residences and properties of the Tudor and (other monarchs since the Conquest) can be found in the massive A HISTORY OF THE KING'S WORKS, published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office between the 1960's and the 1980's. There are several volumes covering the building history of the mediaeval kings to the residences in the nineteenth century. These books are very expensive, but most good university libraries hold copies. As for a good study of Tudor palaces, consult Simon Thurley's 1994 TUDOR ROYAL PALACES 1485-1603. Scottish palaces are covered in SCOTTISH ROYAL PALACES by John Dunbar 1999. However, these are scholarly works based on primary source evidence and are heavy with architectural jargon and detail.