Ross Bishops Manor House

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

There are no visible remains

NameRoss Bishops Manor House
Alternative NamesRoyal Hotel
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishRoss on Wye

The medieval bishop's palace lay to the west of the church within the large Anglo-Saxon or early post-conquest precinct defined by the present Wye Street, High Street and Copse Cross Street (HWCM 19931). The date of construction is not known but a building was in existence by 1166-7 when it is mentioned in the Pipe Rolls. At this time it was classed as a defended house (Tonkin 1976, 55). The palace was mostly of timber and had a large gateway and a porters lodge (Morris 1980). It does not seem to have been used after 1334 but was finally abandoned in 1356 when the diocese of Hereford reorganised its property (Tonkin 1976). In the mid-16th century Leland noted that the palace at Ross was "completely ruined" (Chandler 1993, 228). During the construction of the Royal Hotel in 1837 a vaulted underground chamber was discovered on the site. This was interpreted as the bishop's dungeon as it is reported to have contained a stone bench on each side and six massive iron rings for prisoner's chains. The chamber was built into the rock at a depth of c 2m with an entrance in the roof. The walls were c 1.75m thick and the interior of the chamber measured c 4.8m by 3.6m (Morris 1980, 16). (Victoria Buteux in Dalwood and Bryant, 2005)

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 ReferenceSO597241
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 513-4
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 59
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 178
  • Morris, M.H., 1980, The book of Ross-on-Wye (Buckingham)
  • Pevsner, N., 1963, Buildings of England: Herefordshire (Harmondsworth)


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 226, 228
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 184 online copy


  • Tonkin, J.W., 1976, 'The palaces of the bishop of Hereford' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club Vol. 42.1 p. 53-64

Primary Sources

  • 1889, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirteenth year of the reign of King Henry II A.D. 1166-1167 (Pipe Roll Society 11) p. 71 online copy


  • Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download copy
  • 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)