Eltham Palace is a former royal palace in south-east England.
Eltham, once rural, is now surrounded by the south-east London suburbs.
Eltham Palace History
The old de Vesci manor was rebuilt between 1295 and 1311 by Bishop Bek of
Durham, who bequeathed it to Prince Edward, later Edward II, from whom it passed to Queen
She made additions to it under the supervision of Michael of Canterbury. Before
1360 Edward III spent over £2500 on new buildings; by this time Eltham had a great hall, chambers
and chapels for the king and queen, a court and a ‘long chamber’, all moated and walled.
Eltham remained popular with Richard II, who added a ‘dancing chamber’, an outer
court and further accommodation.
Henry IV added new royal chambers fitted with stained glass and elaborate wooden
ceilings, stretched over a cloister leading to his chapel, and in 1445Henry VI built an additional
great hall and chambers for Queen Margaret. Edward IV, however, demolished and rebuilt much of the
palace, and the principal remnant of royal building at Eltham is the Great Hall erected by him
between 1475 and his death in 1483.
No evidence survives concerning its designers, although Thomas Jordan and Edmund
Graveley were respectively the King’s chief mason and carpenter at the time. Henry VIII rebuilt the
main chapel, added a ‘clerestoryed’ and embattled gallery and an embattled timber cloister.
Two 16th-century plans of the Tudor palace survive, which compensate somewhat
for the ruinous and fragmentary state of the remains and enable the Tudor layout to be established.
One plan (London, PRO) is signed by John Thorpe and dated 1590, the other (Hatfield House, Herts)
is to the same scale but unsigned.
There were two irregular courts on different axes, c. 300×140 m, with an inner
moated enclosure of c. 110×95 m, making Tudor Eltham about the same size as Hampton Court. The
probably 15th-century stone bridge to the inner Great Court survives, with three angular,
The walled court was aligned north–south and had brick angle towers. A large
six-bay chapel measuring 36×13 m with flanking western stair-turrets projected into the court. A
pentise and cloister connected the west end of the chapel to the royal apartments.
On the south side of the court stood the Great Hall of Edward IV and other
chambers. South of this range were five irregular courts, the Great Kitchen and many other
The outer Green Court skewed east of the main axis and contained numerous
apartments, including the Lord Chancellor’s, which may survive in part within an existing
structure. A Parliamentary Survey of 1649 lists a ‘fair chapel’, hall and nearly 100 chambers in
the inner court alone. Eltham was allowed to decay from this time.
The restored Great Hall measures 31×11 m, with a screens passage to the east and
flanking square oriels to the west. The structure is brick with stone facing. Stepped buttresses
divide the side walls into five bays, each with twin four-centred clerestory windows with Y
The oriel windows are similar but full height with embattled transoms;
internally, they have blind panelling and stone vaults. The magnificent timber roof stands on
embattled stone corbels. It follows the hammerbeam form, though unconventionally.
Moulded principals with hammerbeams, hammerposts, double butt-purlins and upward
and downward wind braces create a rich effect with a minimum of applied decoration. The hammerposts
have simple, embattled pendants. Thehall is a perfect example of late medieval English domestic
architecture and has parallels in many Oxford and Cambridge colleges and in contemporary structures
such as Crosby Hall, London.
Eltham Palace Visitor Information
Eltham Palace is a beautiful castle to explore both for its interior
as for its exterior. It is the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in England.
Its elegant room decorations, beautiful gardens and magnificent architecture makes Eltham
Palace one of the most pleasant places to spend one day outside.
Visit the official website to find out more informatin about ticket prices and
Eltham Palace Map&Location
Eltham Palace is located in southern London, at the following address: Court
Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London - SE9 5QE
Get help with directions using the map provided bellow:
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