Charing Palace

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop/Royal)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCharing Palace
Alternative Names
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishCharing

Charing Palace, as an archiepiscopal manor house, is one of a small number of high status residences built in England during the medieval period. The history of the palace and the manor of Charing can be traced back to the eighth century AD, when the land was presented to Christchurch priory at Canterbury, and the records of the convent and cathedral then document the series of building works carried out by subsequent archbishops. The palace is known to have been the favourite residence of several of these archbishops. The buildings which survive are mostly well preserved, and many are still private dwellings or in use by members of the public. They give a good indication of the layout of the original complex, and historic records provide further details of the original function of each structure. The precinct boundary wall survives, indicating the full extent of the palace precinct, while the lack of disturbance to the interior has meant the survival of upstanding and buried archaeological remains relating to the occupation and use of the site. The monument, which is set back from Charing High Street to the north of the parish church, includes the remains of the archiepiscopal manor house, associated buildings and precinct where this has been unaffected by recent development. The buildings, which date principally from the 14th century, include the Great Hall, part of the chapel, the gatehouse and the precinct boundary wall, part of the west range and the present farmhouse. Land on which to build a house or palace in Charing was given to Christchurch priory at Canterbury in AD 788 by Kenulph. This land remained under the control of the priory until 1545. The buildings forming the palace complex surround a quadrangle which is entered from the south through the original gateway. The barn to the east of the courtyard dates from the 14th century, and was originally the Great Hall, thought to have been built by John Stratford (1333-1348)

The farmhouse was begun in the 13th century, but underwent alterations in the 16th and 18th centuries. It was originally part of the north range of the quadrangle, and includes part of the chapel in its north west corner. All that remains of the western side of the courtyard is an outhouse dating from the 14th century. Numbers 1 and 2, Palace Cottages form the south side of the quadrangle, along with the gatehouse. They all date from the 14th century and comprise the gatehouse and porter's lodge, also thought to have been built by John Stratford. Much of the precinct boundary wall is also still standing around the palace enclosure on the north, east and south sides, while on the west the original wall has been rebuilt more recently. The medieval wall stands to a height of between 1.5m and 2m in some places, and was built in flint and mortar. Within the paddocks inside the precinct boundary wall are a number of low earthworks which are associated with the palace buildings. Henry VIII acquired the palace through exchange with Cranmer in 1545. There is no evidence that he made any alterations to the buildings, and no subsequent monarch made any use of the manor house, but let it out to farm. In 1559 Archbishop Parker made an attempt to become the tenant and farmer of the estate, but he was outbid by Sir Richard Sackville, and the estate passed into private ownership. Palace Farmhouse, the barn, Palace Cottages and the outhouse to the west are all Listed Grade I, while the boundary wall to the complex is Listed Grade II. (Scheduling Report)

Palace Cottages (Nos 1 and 2) and the remains of the gatehouse adjoining (formerly listed as Palace Farm Cottages and remains of Gatehouse adjoining) TQ 9549 22/6 14.2.67 I 2. C14. This was the south side of the courtyard of the former manor house of the Archbishops of Canterbury and comprised the gatehouse and the porter's lodge. Probably built by John Stratford, who was Archbishop from 1333-1348 and whose favourite residence is said to have been Charing. Faced with flints. The south-east portion consists of the roofless remains of the gatehouse, comprising stone carriage and pedestrian archways with obtusely pointed heads. Gable end facing east with flint and brick buttresses at its angles. To the north-east of the gatehouse is a cottage of 2 storeys and 3 windows with a half-hipped tiled roof. The ground floor windows of the cottage are set in the stone surrounds to mediaeval windows. Then comes another ruined portion with a pointed stone archway flanked by buttresses and then another inhabited cottage of 2 storeys and attic, steeply-pitched tiled roof with one modern hipped dormer and 2 casement windows. (Listed Building Report)

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 ReferenceTQ954494
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 393
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 320-26
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 171
  • Thurley, Simon, 1993, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale University Press) p. 50, 267n89
  • Newman, John, 1983, Buildings of England: North east and east Kent p. 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. 63-4
  • 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. 7 p. 429 online transcription


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 225
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 62 online copy


  • Pearson, S., 2001, 'The Archbishop's Palace at Charing in the Middle Ages' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 121 p. 315-49 online copy
  • Rigold, S.E., 1969, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 126 p. 267
  • Kipps, P.K., 1934, 'The palace of the archbishops of Canterbury at Charing, Kent' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 90 p. 78-97 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Drury McPherson Partnership, 2016, Charing, Archbishop's Palace, Options Appraisal online copy
  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 35, 36 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 36, 37 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 39, 40 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 37 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 50 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 46 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 43 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 48 online copy
  • Kent County Council, December 2004, Kent Historic Towns Survey (Kent County Council and English Heritage) view online 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)