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"Hampton Court" redirects here. For other uses, see.

Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the borough of, 11.7 miles (18.8 kilometres) south west and upstream of on the. Building of the palace began in 1515 for Cardinal, a of. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the cardinal gave the palace to the King to check his disgrace; Henry VIII later enlarged it. Along with, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by King Henry VIII.

In the following century, 's massive rebuilding and expansion work, which was intended to rival, destroyed much of the Tudor palace. Work ceased in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic and. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, if vague, balancing of successive low wings. was the last monarch to reside in the palace.

Today, the palace is open to the public and is a major tourist attraction, easily reached by train from in central London and served by in, in 's Zone 6. In addition, London Buses routes, 216, 411 and R68 stop outside the palace gates. The structure and grounds are cared for by an independent charity,, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown. In addition the palace continues to display a large number of works of art from the.

Apart from the Palace itself and its gardens, other points of interest for visitors include the, the historic court (see below), and the huge, the largest in the world as of 2005.

The is the site of the annual and.



Tudor times[]

Hampton hampton court house wedding photos Court Palace, with marked reference points referred to on this page. A: West Front & Main Entrance; B: Base Court; C: Clock Tower; D: Clock Court, E: Fountain Court; F: East Front; G: South Front; H: Banqueting House; J: Great Hall; K: River Thames; M: East Gardens; O: Cardinal Wolsey's Rooms; P: Chapel

,, chief minister to and favourite of Henry VIII, took over the site of Hampton Court Palace in 1514. It had previously been a property of the. Over the following seven years, Wolsey spent lavishly (200,000 ) to build the finest palace in England at Hampton Court. Today, little of Wolsey's building work remains unchanged. The first courtyard, the Base Court, (B on plan), was his creation, as was the second, inner gatehouse (C) which leads to the Clock Court (D) (Wolsey's seal remains visible over the entrance arch of the clock tower) which contained his private rooms (O on plan). The Base Court contained forty-four lodgings reserved for guests, while the second court (today, Clock Court) contained the very best rooms – the  – reserved for the King and his family. Henry VIII stayed in the state apartments as Wolsey's guest immediately after their completion in 1525.

Decorative Tudor brick chimneys at Hampton Court Palace

In building his palace, Wolsey was attempting to create a cardinal's palace of a rectilinear symmetrical plan with grand apartments on a raised, all rendered with classical detailing. The historian has suggested that it is likely that Wolsey had been inspired by Paolo Cortese's De Cardinalatu, a manual for cardinals that included advice on palatial architecture, published in 1510. The architectural historian Sir asserts that the palace shows "the essence of Wolsey—the plain English churchman who nevertheless made his sovereign the arbiter of Europe and who built and furnished Hampton Court to show foreign embassies that Henry VIII's chief minister knew how to live as graciously as any cardinal in Rome." Whatever the concepts were, the architecture is an excellent and rare example of a thirty-year era when English architecture was in a harmonious transition from domestic Tudor, strongly influenced by, to the Italian Renaissance classical style. Perpendicular Gothic owed nothing historically to the Renaissance style, yet harmonised well with it. This blending of styles was realised by a small group of Italian craftsmen working at the English court in the second and third decades of the sixteenth century. They specialised in the adding of Renaissance ornament to otherwise straightforward Tudor buildings. It was one of these, who was responsible for the set of eight busts of Roman emperors which were set in the Tudor brickwork.

's Gate. The Tudor gatehouse and astronomical clock, made for in 1540 (C on plan above) Two of the Renaissance by can be seen set into the brickwork.

Wolsey was only to enjoy his palace for a few years. In 1528, knowing that his enemies and the King were engineering his downfall, he passed the palace to the King as a gift. Wolsey died two years later in 1530.

Within six months of coming into ownership, the King began his own rebuilding and expansion. Henry VIII's court consisted of over one thousand people, while the King owned over sixty houses and palaces. Few of these were large enough to hold the assembled court, and thus one of the first of the King's building works (in order to transform Hampton Court to a principal residence) was to build the vast kitchens. These were quadrupled in size in 1529, enabling the King to provide for his entire court. The architecture of King Henry's new palace followed the design precedent set by Wolsey: perpendicular Gothic-inspired Tudor with restrained Renaissance ornament. This hybrid architecture was to remain almost unchanged for nearly a century, until introduced strong classical influences from Italy to the London palaces of the first Stuart kings.

Between 1532 and 1535 Henry added the Great Hall (the last medieval built for the English monarchy) and the. The Great Hall has a carved roof. During Tudor times, this was the most important room of the palace; here, the King would dine in state seated at a table upon a raised. The hall took five years to complete; so impatient was the King for completion that the masons were compelled to work throughout the night by candlelight.

The gatehouse to the second, inner court was adorned in 1540 with the, an early example of a pre-. Still functioning, the clock shows the time of day, the phases of the moon, the month, the quarter of the year, the date, the sun and star sign, and at. The latter information was of great importance to those visiting this Thames-side palace from London, as the preferred method of transport at the time was by barge, and at low water created dangerous rapids. This gatehouse is also known today as 's gate, after Henry's second wife. Work was still underway on Anne Boleyn's apartments above the gate when Boleyn was beheaded.

Henry VIII's first building project at Hampton Court created vast kitchens capable of feeding his court of 1,000 people.

During the Tudor period, the palace was the scene of many historic events. In 1537, the King's much desired male heir, the future, was born at the palace and the child's mother,, died there two weeks later. Four years afterwards, whilst attending in the palace's chapel, the King was informed of the adultery of his fifth wife,. She was then confined to her room for a few days before being sent to Syon House and then on to the Tower of London. Legend claims she briefly escaped her guards and ran through The Haunted Gallery to beg Henry for her life but she was recaptured.

King Henry died in January 1547 and was succeeded first by his son Edward VI, and then by both his daughters in turn. It was to Hampton Court that (Henry's elder daughter) retreated with to spend her honeymoon, after their wedding at. Mary chose Hampton Court as the place for the birth of her first child, which turned out to be the first of two. Mary had initially wanted to give birth at as it was a more secure location, and she was still fearful of rebellion. But Hampton Court was considerably larger, and could accommodate the entire court and more besides. Mary stayed at the Palace awaiting the birth of the "child" for over five months, and only left because of the inhabitable state of the court being kept in the one location for so long, after which her court departed for the much smaller palace of Oatlands. Mary was succeeded by her half-sister,, and it was Elizabeth who had the eastern kitchen built; today, this is the palace's public tea room.

Stuart times[]

On the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, the Tudor period came to an end. The Queen was succeeded by her first cousin-twice-removed, the Scottish King, James VI, who became known in England as of the.

In 1604, the palace was the site of King James' meeting with representatives of the English, known as the ; while agreement with the Puritans was not reached, the meeting led to James's commissioning of the of the.

King James was succeeded in 1625 by his son, the ill-fated. Hampton Court was to become both his palace and his prison. It was also the setting for his honeymoon with his fifteen-year-old bride, in 1625. Following King Charles' execution in 1649, the palace became the property of the Commonwealth presided over by. Unlike some other former royal properties, the palace escaped relatively unscathed. While the government auctioned much of the contents, the building was ignored.

After the, King and his successor visited Hampton Court but largely preferred to reside elsewhere. By current French court standards Hampton Court now appeared old-fashioned. It was in 1689, shortly after Louis XIV's court had moved permanently to, that the palace's antiquated state was addressed. England had joint monarchs, and his wife,. Within months of their accession they embarked on a massive rebuilding project at Hampton Court. The intention was to demolish the Tudor palace a section at a time, while replacing it with a huge modern palace in the Baroque style retaining only Henry VIII's Great Hall.

The ceiling of the Great Hall of Hampton Court Palace.

The country's most eminent architect,, was called upon to draw the plans, while the master of works was to be. The plan was for a vast palace constructed around two courtyards at right angles to each other. Wren's design for a domed palace bore resemblances to the work of and, both architects employed by Louis XIV at Versailles. It has been suggested, though, that the plans were abandoned because the resemblance to Versailles was too subtle and not strong enough; at this time, it was impossible for any sovereign to visualise a palace that did not emulate Versailles' repetitive Baroque form. However, the resemblances are there: while the façades are not so long as those of Versailles, they have similar, seemingly unstoppable repetitive rhythms beneath a long flat skyline. The monotony is even repeated as the façade turns the corner from the east to the south fronts. However, Hampton Court, unlike Versailles, is given an extra dimension by the contrast between the pink brick and the pale quoins, frames and banding. Further diversion is added by the circular and decorated windows of the second floor mezzanine. This theme is repeated in the inner Fountain Court, but the rhythm is faster and the windows, unpedimented on the outer façades, are given pointed pediments in the courtyard; this has led the courtyard to be described as "Startling, as of simultaneous exposure to a great many eyes with raised eyebrows."

The Fountain Court designed by Sir Christopher Wren (E on plan): "Startling, as of simultaneous exposure to a great many eyes with raised eyebrows."

During this work, half the Tudor palace was replaced and Henry VIII's state rooms and private apartments were both lost; the new wings around the Fountain Court contained new state apartments and private rooms, one set for the King and one for the Queen. Each suite of state rooms was accessed by a state staircase. The royal suites were of completely equal value in order to reflect William and Mary's unique status as joint sovereigns. The King's Apartments face south over the Privy Garden, the Queen's east over the Fountain Garden. The suites are linked by a gallery running the length of the east façade, another reference to Versailles, where the King and Queen's apartments are linked by the. However, at Hampton Court the linking gallery is of more modest proportions and decoration. The King's staircase was decorated with by and delicate ironwork by. Other artists commissioned to decorate the rooms included, Sir and ; furnishings were designed by.

William III's toilet. Hampton Court

After the death of Queen Mary, King William lost interest in the renovations, and work ceased. However, it was in in 1702 that he fell from his horse, later dying from his injuries at. He was succeeded by his sister-in-law who continued the decoration and completion of the state apartments. On Queen Anne's death in 1714 the Stuart dynasty came to an end.

Queen Anne's successor was ; he and his son were the last monarchs to reside at Hampton Court. Under George I six rooms were completed in 1717 to the design of. Under and his wife,, further refurbishment took place, with the architect employed to design new furnishings and decor including the Queen's Staircase, (1733) and the Cumberland Suite (1737) for the. Today, the Queen's Private Apartments are open to the public and include her bathroom and bedroom.[]


The Cartoon Gallery at Hampton Court

The palace houses many works of art and furnishings from the, mainly dating from the two principal periods of the palace's construction, the early Tudor (Renaissance) and late Stuart to early Georgian period. In September 2015, the Royal Collection recorded 542 works (only those with images) as being located at Hampton Court, mostly paintings and furniture, but also ceramics and sculpture. The full current list can be obtained from their website. The single most important work is 's housed in the Lower Orangery. The palace once housed the now kept at the. Their former home, the Cartoon Gallery on the south side of the Fountain Court, was designed by Christopher Wren; copies painted in the 1690s by a minor artist,, are now displayed in their place. Also on display are important collections of ceramics, including numerous pieces of blue and white porcelain collected by Queen Mary II, both Chinese imports and.

Much of the original furniture dates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries, including tables by, "India back" walnut chairs by Thomas Roberts and clocks and a barometer by. Several are still in their original positions, as is the Throne Canopy in the King's Privy Chamber. This room contains a crystal chandelier of circa 1700, possibly the first such in the country.

The King's Guard Chamber contains a large quantity of arms: muskets, pistols, swords, daggers, and pieces of armour arranged on the walls in decorative patterns. Bills exist for payment to a John Harris dated 1699 for an arrangement believed to be that still seen today.

The Chapel[]

windows in the Great Watching Chamber.

The timber and plaster ceiling of the Chapel is considered the "most important and magnificent in Britain", but is all that remains of the Tudor decoration, after redecoration supervised by Sir Christopher Wren. The altar is framed by a massive but plain oak with garlands carved by during the reign of. Opposite the altar, at first-floor level, is the royal pew where the royal family would attend services apart from the general congregation seated below.

The clergy, musicians and other ecclesiastical officers employed by the monarch at Hampton Court, as in other English royal premises, are known collectively as the ; properly used the term does not refer to a building.


The grounds as they appear today were laid out in grand style in the late 17th century. There are no authentic remains of Henry VIII's gardens, merely a small, planted in 1924, which hints at the gardens' 16th-century appearance. Today, the dominating feature of the grounds is the great landscaping scheme constructed for Sir Christopher Wren's intended new palace. From a water-bounded semicircular, the length of the east front, three radiate in a pattern. The central avenue, containing not a walk or a drive, but the great canal known as the Long Water, was excavated during the reign of Charles II, in 1662. The design, radical at the time, is another immediately recognizable influence from Versailles, and was indeed laid out by pupils of, Louis XIV's landscape gardener.

On the south side of the palace is the Privy Garden bounded by semi-circular wrought iron gates by. This garden, originally William III's private garden, was replanted in 1992 in period style with manicured and along a geometric system of paths.

The garden recreated in the style of Henry VIII's gardens of 1536.

On a raised site overlooking the Thames, is a small pavilion, the Banqueting House. This was built circa 1700, for informal meals and entertainments in the gardens rather than for the larger state dinners which would have taken place inside the palace itself. A nearby conservatory houses the "Great Vine", planted in 1769; by 1968 it had a trunk 81 inches thick and has a length of 100 feet. It still produces an annual crop of grapes.

The palace included apartments for the use of favoured royal friends. One such apartment is described as being in "The Pavilion and situated on the Home Park" of Hampton Court Palace. This privilege was first extended about 1817 by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, to his friend, Lieut General James Moore, K.C., and his new bride, Miss Cecilia Watson. continued this arrangement following the death of Prince Edward on 23 January 1820. The Queen continued the arrangement for the widow of General Moore, following his death on 24 April 1838. This particular apartment was used for 21 years or more and spanned three different sponsors.

One of the Palace's sunken gardens. In the background is William III's Banqueting House (H on plan) of 1700.

A well-known curiosity of the palace's grounds is ; planted in the 1690s by and for William III. It was originally planted with ; it has been repaired latterly using many different types of hedge. there is a 3D online browser simulation of the —see the external links section

Inspired by narrow views of a Tudor garden that can be seen through doorways in a painting, The Family of Henry VIII, hanging in the palace's Haunted Gallery, a new garden in the style of Henry VIII's 16th-century Privy Gardens, has been designed to celebrate the anniversary of that King's accession to the throne. Sited on the former Chapel Court Garden, it has been planted with flowers and herbs from the 16th century, and is completed by gilded heraldic beasts and bold green and white painted fences. The heraldic beasts carved by and Ray Gonzalez of G&H Studios include the golden lion of England, The white greyhound of Richmond, the red dragon of Wales and the white hart of Richard II, all carved from English oak. The garden's architect was Todd Langstaffe-Gowan, who collaborated with James Fox and the Gardens Team at Historic Royal Palaces.[]

The formal gardens and park are Grade I listed on the.

King's Beasts[]

The King's Beasts

There are also ten statues of heraldic animals, called the King's Beasts, that stand on the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse. Unlike the in, these statues represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. The animals are: the of, the Seymour lion, the Royal, the black bull of, the of, the white lion of, the, the dragon, the Seymour and the Seymour. The set of Queens Beasts at the replaced the three Seymour items and one of the dragons by the griffin of, the horse of, the falcon of the and the unicorn of Scotland.

Recent history[]

Since the reign of, no monarch has resided at Hampton Court. In fact, George III, from the moment of his accession, never set foot in the palace: he associated the state apartments with a humiliating scene when his grandfather had once struck him following an innocent remark. He did however have the Great Vine planted here in 1763 and had the top two storeys of the Great Gatehouse removed in 1773.

In 1796, the Great Hall was restored and in 1838, during the reign of, the restoration was completed and the palace opened to the public. The heavy-handed restoration plan at this time reduced the Great Gatehouse (A), the palace's principal entrance, by two stories and removed the lead adorning its four towers. Once opened, the palace soon became a major tourist attraction and, by 1881, over ten million visits had been recorded. Visitors arrived both by boat from London and via, opened in February 1849.

On 2 September 1952, the palace was given statutory protection by being. Other buildings and structures within the grounds are separately grade I listed, including the early 16th-century tilt yard tower (the only surviving example of the five original towers);'s Lion gate built for Anne and George I; and the Tudor and 17th-century perimeter walls.

The moved to premises within the Palace from Princes Gate in 1987, and the Palace also houses the headquarters of, a.

Grace and favour residencies[]

From the 1760s, the palace was used to house residents. Many of the palace rooms were adapted to be rent free apartments, with vacant ones allocated by the to applicants to reward past services rendered to the Crown. From 1862 to his death in 1867, lived there. From the 1960s the number of new residents declined, with the last admitted in the 1980s. However existing residents could continue to live there. In 2005 three remained, with none by 2017.

It was the elderly recipient of one such grace and favour apartment, Lady Daphne Gale, widow of, who caused a major fire that claimed her life and spread to the King's Apartments in 1986. This led to a new programme of restoration work which was completed in 1990.

Vanderbilt influence[]

Inspired by Wren's work at Hampton Court, the American modeled their estate known as, in, after Hampton Court's English-baroque style. Florham was commissioned by and from the firm, which also built the and the among many other monuments, in 1893.Hampton Court can be seen very clearly in Florham's classical columns, and mix of stone and red brick. Now home to, Florham, at 110 rooms, remains the in the United States.

Film location[]

The palace served as the location for the film (1966), directed by. It also appeared in the HBO miniseries (2008) where Adams was received by as the first. The palace was used in the film (2003), (2011) and in (2011). The palace also served as a location for the live action film of 's Cinderella (2015), directed by and starring and.

The location was used for a performance of by rock keyboardist in 2009. The concert was videotaped.

2012 Olympic Games[]

The palace was the venue for the of the and temporary structures for the event, including a set of thrones for time trialists in the medal positions, were installed in the grounds.

500th anniversary[]

In 2015 Hampton Court celebrated its 500th anniversary. The celebrations included daily dramatised historical scenes. Building at the palace began on 12 February 1515.

Roman Catholic service[]

On 9 February 2016, the Catholic, celebrated in the Chapel Royal, the first Catholic service held at the palace for 450 years.

Transport links[]

The Palace is served by which is immediately to the south of in, and by London bus routes.

See also[]

  1. . Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  2. ^ Dynes, p. 90.
  3. ^ Dynes, p. 86.
  4. . Historic Royal Palaces. Archived from on 1 September 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  5. ^ Summerson, p. 12.
  6. ^ Williams, p. 52.
  7. "Base" in this instance simply means "lower" in the hierarchy of courtyards; it is not topographically lower.
  8. : General; Ashford, East Bedfont with Hatton, Feltham, Hampton with Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton (1911), pp. 371–379. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  9. ^ Thurley, p. 6.
  10. (29 March 2011).. BBC. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  11. ^ Summerson, p. 14.
  12. ^ Copplestone, p. 254.
  13. Copplestone, p. 257.
  14. Thurley, p. 8.
  15. Law, Ernest Philip Alphonse (1890-01-01).. George Bell and Sons.
  16. This court is still in use for the game of, an older version different from the present game. It is now the oldest extant real tennis court.
  17. Summerson, p. 21.
  18. Thurley, p. 18.
  19. Williams, p. 53.
  20. ^ Thurley, p. 9.
  21. ^ Thurley, p. 23.
  22. . www.encyclopediavirginia.org. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  23. ^ Thurley, p. 10.
  24. Thurley, p. 11.
  25. ^ Summerson, p. 16.
  26. This is the stated opinion of Sir John Summerson. Summerson, p. 19.
  27. ^ Dynes, p. 95.
  28. ^ Summerson, p. 19.
  29. ^ Williams, p. 54.
  30. Dynes, p. 94.
  31. The furnishing was discussed by Tessa Murdoch, "The furniture for the King's Apartments: 'Walnuttree' gilding, and marble", Apollo 140 (August 1994) pp. 55–60.
  32. Thurley, Simon (2003). Hampton Court: A Social and Architectural History. p. 255.
  33. ^ Thurley, Simon (2003). Hampton Court: A Social and Architectural History. p. 279.
  34. – choose Hampton Court from the drop-down menu for "Where?"
  35. Mortimer, Martin (2000). The English Glass Chandelier. p. 41.
  36. ^ Thurley, p. 44.
  37. Dynes. p. 95.
  38. ^ Thurley, p. 46.
  39. From, Obituary for Lieut-General James Moore.
  40. ,,, retrieved 24 April 2017
  41. . Beautiful England. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  42. Dynes, p. 91.
  43. . Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  44. (PDF). Molesey History Society. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  45. ... Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  46. ... Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  47. ... Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  48. ... Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  49. Sarah Parker. Grace & Favour: The Hampton Court Palace Community 1750–1950. p. 126. Published by Historic Royal Palaces. 2005.  .
  50. . The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  51. . Los Angeles Times. 31 March 1986. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  52. Carol Bere, Samuel Convissor, and Walter Cummins (2011). Florham: The Lives of an American Estate. Madison, New Jersey: The Friends of Florham.  .CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list ()
  53. Carol Bere, Samuel Convissor, Walter Cummins, Mark Hillringhouse, and Arthur T. Vanderbilt II (2016). Florham: an American Treasure. Madison, New Jersey: The Friends of Florham.  .CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list ()
  54. 30 May 2012 at the..
  55. Historic Royal Palaces.. hrp.org.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  56. Historic Royal Palaces.. hrp.org.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  57. "Hampton Court Palace – Henry Claims the Palace". pastpleasures.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  58. . thisisourtownrichmond.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  59. Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent (9 February 2016)... Retrieved 10 February 2016.


External links[]


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