Teynham Archbishops Palace

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are no visible remains

NameTeynham Archbishops Palace
Alternative NamesTenham
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishTeynham

On the road from Barrow Green, past Bank's cottages and near Teynham, were seen the remains of a very thick, flint wall, probably part of the wall of an outbuilding connected with an ancient archiepiscopal palace which, it is supposed, stood on the present site of an orchard on the left hand side of the road at the corner where the road leads to Conyer Quay. On the mound grows a fruit tree. Up to 1847 portions of the ruins were used as farm buildings but in that year, we are told, "the remaining vestiges were destroyed". It is quite probable that this bit of the old wall, down in the marshes, although some distance away, was part of the palace, for such a fine piece of work would only be associated with a place of importance. A plot of ground near the spot where the palace once stood goes by the name of the "Bishop's Garden". Archbishop Walter resided at Teynham Palace and died there in 1205 (Igglesden). Archbishop Lanfranc in 1070 improved the building of the Manor House of Teynham to make it fit for his residence. The Manor House stood in the orchard bounded on the east by the road leading from Teynham Courtand on the north by the road to Conyer. The tithe map of 1832 shows the remains of one building near the corner - presumably the gatehouse - and more remains in the centre of the present orchard. The main building is said to have stood where the stump of the walnut tree can be seen in the photograph. At present there is nothing of the Manor House to be seen, except the irregularity of the turf in the orchard. In the Reeve's account for 1376, mention is made of repairs to the Cloisters and of tiling the hall and the Squires Chamber on the east side of the hall (Selby). Mr George Sattin of Banks Cottages, indicated, where stood until some years ago, a mound with a walnut tree upon it. He said that this was the site of the Bishop's Palace. This fact was confirmed by the Reverend Doe of Teynham Vicarage

The site is within a pasture field partly covered with fruit trees. The ground is very disturbed, and there are significant patches of nettles around the given siting, at TQ 9661 6396. Two pieces of building stone were seen, foreign to the district. The fragment of flint wall, described by Igglesden, could not be found, nor could the "Bishop's Garden" be located. The name does not appear to be known any more (F1 ASP 10-JUL-59).

The tithe map for Teynham, dated 1839 shows two buildings within this field. The entry in the schedule reads - "244. Oast Barn and Yard". It is not possible to tell whether these building represent in whole or part, some of the Palace remains or whether they are later (F2 ASP 11-DEC-59). Kenulf, king of Mercia (AD 794-819), is said to have granted Teynham to Christchurch, Canterbury, after which 'a palace was built in close proximity to the church. Archbishops Baldwin (1184-91), Hubert Walter, who died here (1193-1207), Langton (1207-29) and Raynold (1313-28) in turn lived here. The fact that Archbishop Kilwardby received his pallium from the Pope at Teynham is recorded on a tablet in Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral.' The traditional site of the palace is opposite Banks Farm, where substantial masonry was observed in the early 20th century. Substantial remains of 4 buildings of 12th-15th century date were excavated to the south of the church in 1983 and at the time thought to be the site of the palace, (TQ96SE51). However, fresh excavations and geophysical survey at the traditional site in 1999 and 2002 revealed a substantial stone structure with 13th century decorated tiles, plastered walls and stained glass. On this evidence, it is more likely that the main residential buildings of the palace complex are located here. Documetary evidence from 1376 indicates a substantial complx consisting of two grange barns, a Great Hall, cloister, vine tenderer's house, watermill, vineyard and saffron garden. (PastScape)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ966639
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 320-25
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 172
  • Selby, E., 1935, Teynham Manor and Hundred p. 4-5
  • Igglesden, C., 1928, A Saunter through Kent with Pen and Pencil Vol. 22
  • Hasted, Edward, 1801, The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 12 p. 524-5 online transcription
  • Hasted, Edward, 1798 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 6 p. 284- online transcription


  • Autumn 2002, Kent Archaeological Society Newsletter Vol. 54 p. 12
  • Philp, B., 1983 summer, 'The discovery of the archbishop's palace at Tenyham' Kent Archaeological review Vol. 72 p. 42-3

Guide Books

  • 1985, A short account of the Church of St Mary, Teynham (Teynham Parish Council)


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)