Woking Palace

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Royal)

There are major building remains

NameWoking Palace
Alternative NamesOld Hall; Okyng
Historic CountrySurrey
Modern AuthoritySurrey
1974 AuthoritySurrey
Civil ParishWoking

Woking Palace is of particular importance because of its excellent survival, high diversity, enormous archaeological potential both on the island itself and in the waterlogged moats and particularly because of its historical association with royalty and the amenity value which it is afforded by this association. The moated site at Woking Palace includes the earthworks of the moat and its surviving inner bank, the area within the moat which contains ruined and standing buildings and, within the copse on the north west side, a group of fishponds. This unusually large moated site was a royal residence dating from at least 1272 which was used by Edward IV and Henry VIII and which was the birthplace of Mary Tudor in 1514. The monument features at its centre a stone building with a 14th century doorway and a brick barrel vault with some original stone ribs. The ruins of a brick-built barn of 16th century date adjoin this stone building, while to the east are the brick and stone foundations of further buildings, some or all of which belong to the medieval or early post-medieval manor. Around the perimeter, except to the south, is a moat which is seasonally water-filled. The southern limit itself is formed by the River Wey, an area of which contains a submerged timber structure believed to be a contemporary wharf. This was discovered and recorded in the northern half of the river at the east end of the monument in 1996. On the western side of the monument the moat is bounded by a slight outer bank and a substantial inner bank which in turn has an inner narrower moat. It was from this inner moat that water was directed into the two parallel rectangular fishponds, thence to a third and now partly infilled pond and finally into an internal projection of the moat which led northwards from the centre of the monument to the main moat circuit. The causeway entrance at the mid-point of the eastern moat arm is likely to have been the original access point

(Scheduling Report)

Woking Palace was not only a palace but also in effect the manor house of the old Royal Manor of Woking which had more or less similar boundaries to the ancient parish of St Peter's, Woking. The Palace stood in a park the boundaries of which were roughly the present day Old Woking Road, Pyrford Common Road, Church Hill and Newark Lane with the River Wey as its southern boundary. Under the ownership of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, various building works turned the Manor into a Palace. The Palace was frequently visited by Henry VII on his accession to the throne and by his son Henry VIII who extended and enlarged the Palace between 1515 and 1543. Further work was carried out between 1565 and 1594 during Elizabeth I's reign. In 1620 the Palace was granted by James I to Sir Edward Zouch who abandoned it and built himself a new manor house at Hoe Place. There is some evidence that materials from the Palace were reused in the construction of the new house. It is possible too, that some of the fine glass at Sutton Place was taken from the Palace and the Jacobean style staircase at Fishers Farm may well have originated from the same source. When the Palace was abandoned in the 1620s, the Park was turned over to farming. This new phase probably gave rise to the building of farmhouses in the Park or the conversion of existing buildings to such use. The Old House and Woking Park Farm both shown in the margin were probably two of those farmhouses. Archaeologically, little trace remains of this history. A small building measuring 30ft by 18ft with one window and two doors has been recorded, as has a run down barn. A shallow depression is all that remains of what was referred to by the Victoria County History as a double moat. It is suggested that two "stagnant ponds" in Oldhall Copse, at the north-west of the moated enclosure may be the fishponds of the palace. (Surrey HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ029570
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  • Poulton, Rob and Pattison, Giles, 2010, Woking Palace – excavating the moated manor (Spoilheap Publications)
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 383-4
  • Crosby, Alan, 2003, A History of Woking_
  • Arnold, Phillip and Dyer, Steve, 2001, Woking Palace: Henry VIII's Royal Palace
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Surrey (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 24
  • Wakeford, Iain, 2000, Woking Palace in Tudor Times
  • Thurley, Simon, 1993, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale University Press) p. 76, 79, 83, 161, 189, 193
  • Jones, Michael K. and Underwood, Malcolm, 1992, The King's Mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby (Cambridge University Press) p. 47, 52, 54, 66, 82, 94, 96, 138-42, 146, 264
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London) p. 344-8
  • Locke, Arthur, 1980, Woking Past
  • Pevsner, N., 1962, Buildings of England: Surrey (London, Penguin) p. 336
  • Clinch and Montgomerie, 1911, Malden, H.E. (ed), VCH Surrey Vol. 3 p. 382-3 online transcription


  • Poulton, R., 2010 Dec, 'Woking Palace: Excavations' Bulletin of the Surrey Archaeological Society No. 424 p. 2-5 online copy
  • Poulton, R., 2009 Oct, 'Woking Palace: Excavations in 2009' Bulletin of the Surrey Archaeological Society No. 417 p. 7-9 online copy
  • Hawkins, Nancy, 1986, 'Woking Palace or Old Hall, Old Woking, Scheduled Ancient Monument No 125' Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 77 p. 240
  • Haggard, D.J., 1958, 'The Ruins of Old Woking Palace' Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 55 p. 124-6 online copy
  • Godwin-Austen, R.A.C., 1880, 'Woking Manor' Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 7 p. 44-9 (plan) online copy

Guide Books

  • 2006, Woking Palace: The History (Friends of Woking Palace) (CD)

Primary Sources

  • < >Philip Arnold, 2010, Building Works at Woking Palace during the Tudor period (Extensive transcription of Tudor building accounts) < > online copy
  • SC12/6/65 (Survey of temp. Henry VIII) The National Archives reference


  • Surrey County Council, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Surrey (English Heritage) Download copy
  • Anon, n.d., Woking Palace, Henry VIII's Royal Palace (Friends of Woking Palace) (educational visit pack) online copy
  • 1982, Medieval Moated Sites and Settlement in Western and Central Surrey (Unpublished BA Dissertation from Queens University Belfast)