Halling Bishops Palace

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameHalling Bishops Palace
Alternative Names
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishHalling

Although part of the site of the bishop's palace at Halling has been destroyed, the monument contains undisturbed below-ground remains, particularly of the great hall, and the surviving wall retains architectural features which illustrate gothic building techniques. The monument includes the remains of the bishop's palace at Halling, situated on the western bank of the River Medway, immediately to the east of the parish Church of St John the Baptist. The monument includes the site of the great hall, but further remains of the palace to the east of the monument, and an associated chapel to the south east, have now been destroyed. The ruined western wall of the great hall, which is Listed at Grade II, remains upstanding to a height of around 6m. It was 0.6m thick and built with a rubble and flint core faced with ragstone blocks interspersed with occasional knapped flints. The wall is pierced by three, single-light windows, the northernmost two of which have trefoil cusps, whilst the southernmost is a simple lancet. The windows are dressed in red ironstone. A further length of medieval walling continues from the northern end of the standing hall wall towards the north for 13m, and survives to a height of c.1m. The remainder of the hall survives to the east in buried form. The palace was built in 1077, and was rebuilt or substantially altered in 1184, and again between 1320 and 1330 by Bishop Hamo de Hythe. During the 18th century, much of the palace superstructure was removed, and the hall was converted into a dwelling house. Further destruction of the ruins took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. The surviving, upstanding remains were restored in 1983. Running towards the east from the northern end of the western hall wall is a short length of stone walling which formed part of a modern pigsty. (Scheduling Report)

Walls, formerly part of the palace of the Bishops of Rochester

Probably C13, but Bishop Hamo de Hethe repaired and enlarged the palace between 1322 and 1337. Flint and ragstone with some sand- stone dressings. 50 feet along east side of churchyard with return wall at north end. Three lancets with cusped heads to east with segmental rere-arches. (Listed Building Report)

The Archbishop's Palace at Halling a short distance from the church and contiguous to the river bank, built in 1077 and rebuilt in 1184. In 1715 the remains of the palace comprised the chapel, hall and gateway. In 1720 the figure of Hamo de Hethe, Bishop of Rochester, was to be "seen in a niche over the exterior of the principal portal". In making the cement works behind the present church nearly every remnant of the palace was removed (Brayley; Finch). Some years ago before 1780-90 the roof of the chapel of the Bishop's Palace was destroyed, but the walls with windows and doorway were entire. Part of the hall was converted into a dwelling house. There were also some remains of the kitchen and out-offices. These have since been destroyed (Bibliography of the Topography of Britain vol 1 (1780-90) No VI pt 1 pp 27-8). Halling. The Bishops of Rochester had a palace here, of which there remains a gatehouse and some walls of the hall and chapel; these are said to be part of the work of Bishop Hamo de Hythe, between 1320 and 1330 (Turner and Parker). Bishop's Palace, situated near northeast corner of Halling churchyard. The ruins were mostly destroyed about 1760. The only remains of the Bishop's Palace (excluding the Chapel) is the W. wall of the hall, situated at TQ.70536391, comprising a piece of walling 11.9m. in length, 0.6m. in width and approx. 5.5m. in height, constructed of flint and rubble faced with Kentish Rag. In it are three blocked lancet windows of 13th c. date with ironstone dressings and trefoil cusps internally. The churchyard wall N. to the N.E. corner of the churchyard is of similar thickness and construction and may also be early work. The remains of the chapel are not so easy to establish but by local tradition the building situated at TQ.70576387 is regarded as such. This building is, now in a very derelict condition, falls within a disused cement works and was evidently used as a paint shop, etc. It is clearly far older than the surrounding buildings, constructed of similar material to the Bishop's Palace and orientated nearly E-W (practically identical to the adjacent church). With the exception of a quoin, much mutilated but probably Early English, all identifiable architectural features have been destroyed: the local incumbent, however, stated that at one time a piscina is reputed to have existed in the S. Wall (First OS Archaeology Field Investigator 07/11/1951). The chapel has been destroyed (the whole of that particular area having been demolished for ballast). The walling at TQ 70536391, incorporated into the east wall of Halling churchyard remains in good condition. Attached to and extending E. of the wall is a short length of walling of somewhat similar though thinner construction which forms part of some disused piggeries. It does not appear to be bonded to the main wall and it is therefore unlikely to be contemporary (Second OS Archaeology Field Investigator 19/06/1959). (PastScape)

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 ReferenceTQ705639
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 321 (mention)
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 182
  • Flight, C., 1997, The Bishops and Monks of Rochester 1076-1214 (Maidstone: Kent Archaeological Society) p. 185
  • Newman, John, 1980, Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald p. 314
  • Finch, W.C., 1925, Kentish Pilgrim Lane p. 140-2
  • Morewood, Caroline C., 1910, 'Introductory Chapter' in Rait, R.S. (ed), English Episcopal Palaces (Province of Canterbury) (London; Constable & Co) p. 8 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 304 online copy
  • Brayley, E.W., 1827, Beauties of Kent p. 140
  • Hasted, Edward, 1797 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 3 p. 376- online transcription


  • Pearman, A.I., Tait, G.H. and Thompson, H.P., 1918, 'Residences of the bishops of Rochester' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 33 p. 131-54 online copy


  • Wessex Archaeology, nd (2010), The Bishop's Palace The Hidden History (notice of archaeological investigation) 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)