Penshurst Place

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Royal), and also as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NamePenshurst Place
Alternative NamesPenhurst Palace
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishPenshurst

Country house originally constructed as a manor house during the early 14th century. A licence to crenellate was granted in 1341. A second licence to crenellate, granted in 1392, produced an enclosing outer wall with side and angle towers. The house was extended and altered in the late 14th century, in the 1430s, 1552, and during 17th to 18th century. Restorations were carried out circa 1818 and 1850s. The large, rambling house is built largely of sandstone, with tiled roofs. (PastScape)

Large, rambling building of various periods built largely of sandstone in differing colours but with some brickwork and a little Kentish ragstone. Elevations mostly battlemented, but some steeply-pitched tiled roofs visible. The oldest part is hall house built by John de Pulteney, license to crenellate 1341. Very large hall with fine timber roof resting on figure corbels. Carved screen of late C16. Solar end much altered with stone external curved stair of mid C15. Undercroft below has piers running into arches without capitals. Further license to crenellate of 1392 produced enclosing outer wall with square side and angle towers. Only south central gate tower (qv) survives complete and western stretch of wall. Mid C15 the Buckingham building, to west of old house, much altered in 1850's. To south of this the Elizabethan wing with long gallery on 1st floor. Rich plaster ceiling and Jacobean woodwork articulated by fluted pilasters. Sensitively restored. This links with altered south-west tower. Other Elizabethan ranges link altered north-west tower with north central tower and the latter to the original house. Central tower (King's tower) remodelled at this time. Considerable renewal of these parts aid building of long north-east section in 1818 by J B Rebecca in Tudor-Gothic style. (Listed Building Report)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ527439
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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 318-9, 413, 453
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 386-94 (plans and reconstructions)
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Kent (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 57
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 270
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 123-4
  • Thurley, Simon, 1993, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale University Press) p. 49, 68
  • James, T.B., 1990, The Palaces of Medieval England (London; Seaby) p. 111, 131
  • Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
  • Girouard, Mark, 1979, Historic Houses of Britain (Artus) (1984edn by Perage Books) p. 40-44
  • Newman, John, 1976, Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (Harmondsworth) p. 454-59
  • Binney, M. and Emery, A., 1973, The Architectural Development of Penshurst Place
  • Tipping, H.A., 1921, English Homes, period 1 Vol. 1 (London) p. 166-88
  • Sidney, Philip, 1907, 'Penshurst Place' in Ditchfield and Clinch, Memorials of Old Kent (London) p. 215-27 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 303-8 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 413, 420 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1853, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 2 p. 277-81 online copy
  • Hasted, Edward, 1797 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 3 p. 227-257 (manorial history) online transcription



  • West, Susie, 2011 Feb 9, 'Ancestral Renown' Country Life Vol. 205 No. 6 p. 52-59
  • Goodall, John, 2011 Feb 2, 'A Merchant's Palace' Country Life Vol. 205 No. 5 p. 38-45 online copy
  • Coulson, Charles, 2007-8, 'On Crenellating, in Kent and Beyond - A Retrospection' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 21 p. 189-201 esp p. 195, 197
  • Binney, M., 1972 March/May, Country Life
  • Parker, J.H., 1863 July, The Gentleman's Magazine Vol. 25 Part 2 p. 178-88 online copy

Guide Books

  • anon, n.d., Penshurst Place, Tonbridge, Kent (Curwen Press)

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1900, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1340-43) Vol. 5 p. 331 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Richard II (1392-96) Vol. 5 p. 164 online copy
  • The National Archives E36/150 Survey of the lands late of Edward, duke of Buckingham, attainted online details