Biggleswade Bishops Manor

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are no visible remains

NameBiggleswade Bishops Manor
Alternative NamesNew Inn
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishBiggleswade

Henry I had granted the manor of Biggleswade to Bishop Alexander in 1132, and later in this century the Bishops of Lincoln acquired further property, a manse with buildings and land in about 1250 and a messuage with buildings and meadowland called 'Le parc' in 1262. King John had granted the bishops a market at Biggleswade. (A 'Lincolnshire Archivist' quoted in

It has been conjectured that the Bishops of Lincoln had a palace in the vicinity of the church. This is largely based on the existence of the fieldname “palace ground” on the 1838 Tithe Map (BLARS MAT 5/1). Although there are several references to the Bishops of Lincoln visiting Biggleswade there is no record of a palace. Hill suggests that Palace Street, located some distance to the south-east is a corruption of the Old English plaish, meaning marshy place (Hill 1992). This could also explain the palace ground field-name adjacent to the river. (Extensive Urban Survey)

Gatehouse Comments

A reputed site of the manor house was New Inn, Palace Street at TL191444 but the Bedfordshire HER records a site at TL187446 shown on the 1838 Tithe Map, which is closer to the church and perhaps more likely as the original site of the bishops residence, if one existed, although a move to the New Inn site in the mid C13 is not impossible.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL187446
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  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 178


  • Dawson, M., Robinson, M. and Coleman, S.,1994, 'Biggleswade West' Bedfordshire Archaeology Vol. 21 p. 119-36
  • Hill, D., 1992, 'Palace Street - Some Problems and Possibilities about its origin' Biggleswade History Society Newsletter 90
  • Page, K., 1992, 'The Bishop's Palace' Biggleswade History Society Newsletter 88


  • Albion Archaeology, 2003 (edited January 2005), Extensive Urban Survey - Bedfordshire and Luton (Bedfordshire County Council and English Heritage) 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)