Mayfield; The Old Palace

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameMayfield; The Old Palace
Alternative NamesThe Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, St Leonard's Mayfield School
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityEast Sussex
1974 AuthorityEast Sussex
Civil ParishMayfield

Remains of a medieval palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury converted into a school by E W Pugin in 1863-6. Some C13 work. But the main portion is the C14 hall, now the school chapel. Stone. Tiled roof. Three tall pointed windows of 2 tiers of trefoil-headed lights with triangles above, each trefoil-shaped. Buttresses flanking the windows. Vaulted entrance to south-west. Adjoining this is a C14 tower and C15 well-house. Additions of 1863-6 by E W Pugin to north-east. (Listing report)

Mayfield Palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury was one of the many manor houses of the south that helped to support the dignity and feed the retinue of the mediaeval archbishops; it may be compared with the similar palace at Croydon. It was in the hands of the Anglican church from the time of Dunstan to that of Cranmer and has seen its share of historical events. An important council was held here in 1332 under Archbishop Meopham, who died in Mayfield as did both Stratford and Islip, Cranmer treated with the king for the exchange of Mayfield for other lands and it passed through the hands of many owners. Sir Thomas Gresham held it for a time and here entertained Queen Elizabeth,

In 1740 it was dismantled and left to go to ruin. Its preservation is due to the Dowager Duchess of Leeds, who purchased it and connected it with a convent of the Roman Church. (Jackson 1927)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceTQ587271
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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, 373-6
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 171
  • James, T.B., 1990, The Palaces of Medieval England (London; Seaby) p. 22
  • Jackson, G.G., 1927, The Sussex Highlands (London: The Homeland Association 96) p. 46 online copy
  • Morewood, Caroline C., 1910, 'Introductory Chapter' in Rait, R.S. (ed), English Episcopal Palaces (Province of Canterbury) (London; Constable & Co) p. 4 online copy
  • Bell-Irving, E.M., 1903, Mayfield: The Story of an Old Wealden Village
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1853, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 2 p. 290-3 online copy
  • Hasted, Edward, 1801, The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 12 p. 524-5 online transcription
  • Grose, Francis, 1787, Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 (supplement) p. 178-81 online copy


  • Roberts, E., 1867, 'On Mayfield in Sussex' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 23 p. 333-59 online copy
  • Hoare, H.R., 1849, 'Historical and Architectural Notices of Mayfield Palace' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 2 p. 221-46 online copy


  • Harris, R.B., April 2008, Mayfield Historic Character Assessment Report: Sussex Extensive Urban Survey 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)