Swainston Manor, Calbourne

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop/Other)

There are major building remains

NameSwainston Manor, Calbourne
Alternative NamesSwainstone
Historic CountryHampshire and the Isle of Wight
Modern AuthorityIsle of Wight
1974 AuthorityIsle of Wight
Civil ParishCalbourne

Residential manor of the bishop of Winchester listed by Payne. The listed building record reports "a manor house belonging to the bishops of Winchester as Abbots of the Monastery of St Swithin at Winchester" so technically an abbots palace.

The house at Swainstone, though mainly an 18th-century building, four-square and of little interest, taking the place of a 16th–17th-century structure, has in the offices at the back some interesting early work, consisting of a 13th-century hall with an annexe of the latter part of the 12th century. This latter was evidently part of the original hall, probably built by Richard of Ilchester, Bishop of Winchester (1174–88), and still retains a two-light, round-headed window in the end wall and remains of a blunt lancet in the south wall. The 13th-century hall, perhaps built by Nicholas of Ely, Bishop of Winchester (1268–80), is a long, narrow room 51 ft. long by 15 ft. wide, and may have had its eastern end partitioned off as a chapel or oratory. This eastern portion was lighted by two pairs of lancets, one on either side, and at the end by a plain traceried window of three pointed lights, with three circles in the head, a door in the north wall providing an external entrance. The openings in the western part of the hall are somewhat puzzling. The two windows in the south wall are but 12 in. from the floor. The two doors adjoining are but a foot apart, and the west wall is pierced by a curious square-headed window, rebated for shutters, 2 ft. wide and divided by a transom into two narrow lights above, the whole contained within a pointed rear arch. Two comparatively late openings (possibly of the 16th or 17th century) from the annexe are now blocked up, and access to the hall from the main house is by a modern door in the north-west angle

The undercroft was originally entered by a pointed door (now blocked up) in the north wall directly under the one above, and lighted by windows contained within a flat arch (now built in). Later door openings of the 15th and 16th–17th centuries have been made in the south wall, but are now formed into modern windows. The whole ground floor of the 16th–17th century house has been lowered 3 ft. to conform to the 18th century basement as is seen by the jambs of a doorway of that period still in situ. (VCH)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceSZ441878
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  • Winter, C.W.R, 1985, The Manor Houses of the Isle of Wight (Dovecote Press) p. 147-151
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and David Lloyd, 1967, Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Harmondsworth) p. 736
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1912, 'Parishes: Binstead' VCH Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Vol. 5 p. 217-9 online transcription


  • 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)