Winchester Bishops Palace, Southwark

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWinchester Bishops Palace, Southwark
Alternative NamesWinchester House
Historic CountrySurrey
Modern AuthorityLondon Borough of Southwark
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishBermondsey Rotherhithe And Southwark

Winchester Palace was known as 'Winchester House' before the 19th century. There was a substantial timber and stone building circa 20 metres from the river, probably owned by the merchant Ogar. This was bought by the bishops of Winchester in 1144-1149 to add to the property built for Bishop William Giffard in 1109. This was his London residence for carrying out royal or administrative state business. Major construction work occurred in the 13th century, and a long two storey range was built with a new wharf, north of the original buildings. A hall connected to a chapel, and a large drain that emptied into the dock. Two further ranges created a courtyard open on the south side and fed into the palace's outer courtyard. The outer buildings included stables, stone gateway, kitchen garden, and pleasure gardens. The north range was remodelled in the later 13th and early 14th centuries. The hall's west gable wall was reconstructed in the early 14th century with a rose window above three doorways. A south range enclosed the inner courtyard in 1319-20. New bishops' apartments were built in 1356-7, and later in the 14th century a large kitchen block was built to provide one north range. In 1424, James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort held their wedding reception here, and in 1540, Henry VIII probably met Catherine Howard at the house. The last bishop to live there was Lancelot Andrewes who died in 1626. In 1642 it was converted to a prison for royalists, and after five years was then sold to Thomas Walker of Camberwell. At the Restoration it was returned to the See of Winchester but was in such a bad state that the Bishop let it out as tenements and it deteriorated even further. In 1814, a fire destroyed most of the building. The surviving remains are mainly early 14th century in date, standing on the foundations of the earlier palace. (PastScape)

Great hall of Bishop of Winchester's palace (remains), now incorporated in warehouses. Early C14

Walls of mainly original early C14 stonework (on earlier foundations) consist of high west wall with part of return wall south, with excavations on a rectangular plan exposed to east. Between 3rd- and 4th-floor levels of west wall, remains of C14 rose window (restored 1972) with inserted hexagon of 18 cusped triangles. Beneath, on 1st floor, 3 arched openings with traces of jambs. At basement level on east side of west wall are stone vault springers. On south wall, between ground and 1st floor, a C14 pointed-arched doorway with moulded arch and jambs, attached shafts and caps, with remains of arched opening below. INTERIOR: not inspected. HISTORICAL NOTE: this was the town residence of the Bishops of Winchester from the C12 to the Civil War, when it was used as a civil prison. By the C18 warehouses had been established over most of the site, forming the main character of the Clink area. (Listed Building Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceTQ325803
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  • 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)
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