Worcester House, Stepney Green

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House, and also as a Possible Palace (Other)

There are no visible remains

NameWorcester House, Stepney Green
Alternative NamesKing John's Palace; King John's Tower
Historic CountryLondon and Middlesex
Modern AuthorityLondon Borough of Tower Hamlets
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishTower Hamlets

King John's Palace (Worcester House) had a imposing gateway of the early 16th century and this, or another house to the north-west, may have been Fenne's great place, let to Lord Darcy in the 1520s. (VCH)

Trial trenches were opened in a limited excavation of the former Worcester House (the London home of the Marquis of Worcester) which was built in the late 16th c. The distinctive semi-octagonal W tower of the gatehouse, depicted In an illustration of 1790, was uncovered, as well as a range of other buildings constructed from soft red bricks set in yellow mortar. The buildings appear to have remained unchanged, or slightly modified, between the late 16th c and 1858 when they were demolished to make way for housing. (Richardson 1985)


Nearly opposite the rectory was a large mansion belonging, to Henry, the first Marquis of Worcester, as appears from a deed, bearing date 1663. It was then divided into four messuages. The gateway, which is esteemed a very fine piece of brick-work, still remains. In 1663, it was in the tenure of the Rev. Matthew Mead, an eminent dissenting divine. Here his son Richard, the celebrated physician, was born; and here, as is recorded in his life, he first commenced the practice of his profession. (Lyson 1795)

Gatehouse Comments

Grand noble house built in a the fashionable style of the early C16 with some fortified features, such as a crenellated gatehouse. One of numerous such noble palatial houses giving access to the elite London markets and entertainments and to the Royal Court at Westminster. Another 'King John's Palace' once stood at Oldford in Stratford-le-Bow (TQ371837) this was, it seems, a fairly modest building. Another 'King John's Palace' was a modest house in Hackney. It appears Cockneys were remarkably unimaginative when attributing builders to an old building.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ358816
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Sankey, David, 2016, Stepney Green: moated manor house to City Farm (Museum of London: Crossrail Archaeology Series 1)
  • Baker, T.F.T. (ed), 1998, VCH Middlesex Vol. 11 p. 11-19 online transcription
  • Walter Thornbury, 1878, 'Stepney' in Old and New London Vol. 2 (London), pp. 137-142 online transcription
  • Lyson, Daniel, 1795, 'Stepney' The Environs of London: Volume 3, County of Middlesex p. 427 online transcription


  • Richardson, B (ed), 1985, 'Excavation Round-up' London Archaeologist Vol. 5.6 p. 164 online copy
  • 1858 Dec 11, 'King John's Palace at Stepney' The Illustrated London News p. 550

Primary Sources

  • B.L. Add. MS. 36070, f. 170