Buckden Palace

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

There are major building remains

NameBuckden Palace
Alternative NamesBuckden Towers; Bugden; Bikden
Historic CountryHuntingdonshire
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishBuckden

Buckden Palace, tower, gatehouses, foundations and moat, N of the church. The manor belonged to the Bishops of Lincoln at the time of the Domesday Survey but it is uncertain when first a house was built on the site. Bishop Hugh de Wells (1209 - 1235) is said to have built or rebuilt a manor house at Buckden and Bishop Robert Grosseteste (1235 - 1254) is credited with building the great hall. The buildings were burnt in 1291 but the extent of the damage does not appear. To C13 would appear to belong the foundations of the great chamber, the chapel, and parts of the great hall. An extensive rebuilding of the palace took place under Bishops Thomas Rotherham (1472 -1480) and John Russell (1480 - 1494); the former according to Leland built the great tower and restored the great hall; the great tower was probably finished by Bishop Russell, whose arms formerly appeared on the woodwork, and the same Bishops built the inner and outer gatehouses and the enclosure walls. Considerable repairs were made to the buildings by Bishop John Williams (1621 -1642) who appears to have rebuilt and shortened the chapel and repaired the cloister. Under the Commonwealth a large part of the house including the great hall was demolished, but the house was restored on a smaller scale by Bishop Robert Sanderson (1660 -1663), the great hall not being rebuilt. In 1839 about half the main building and part of the gatehouse range were demolished and the great tower dismantled. The great chamber, chapel and adjoining buildings were pulled down in 1871, when the modern house was erected and the moat was filled in at the same time. The existing remains are handsome examples of late C15 brickwork. The palace, when complete, consisted of an inner walled and moated enclosure, containing the main buildings of the house and entered by the inner gatehouse on the W side, and an outer walled enclosure on the W entered by the outer gatehouse and containing various outbuildings

Of the main structure of the house only the great tower now survives. (Camb. SMR record)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceTL192677
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Copyright Peter Ashton All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Peter Ashton All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 390-1, 393
  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 73-4
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 229, 270
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 65
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 10, 112-4, 118, 162, 179
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 10-11 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 225
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 196
  • Pevsner, N., 1968, Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough p. 232
  • Peach, Maurice, 1957, The palace of Buckden : a concise survey (Buckden)
  • RCHME, 1926, An inventory of the historical monuments in Huntingdonshire p. 34-38 no. 4 (plan) online transcription
  • Inskip Ladds, S., 1926, in Page, Wm and Proby, Granville (eds), VCH Huntingdonshire Vol. 1 p. 268
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 314 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 251 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 118


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 241
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 29 online copy


  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 228
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1977, 'Early Gunports' Vol. 4 p. 76
  • Thompson, M.W., 1968, 'Buckden Palace' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 124 p. 250
  • Simpson, W.D., 1937, 'Buckden Palace' Journal of the British Archaeological Association ser3 Vol. 2
  • Edleston, 1922, Peterborough N.H., etc., Socy. p. 40-7 and plates
  • Tipping, 1909, Country Life Vol. 26 p. 162-6

Guide Books

  • Sweeny, M., 1981, A History of Buckden Palace (Buckden)


  • 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)
  • Cambridgeshire Extensive Urban Survey: Buckden. Draft Report 07/03/2003 online copy