Posts Tagged ‘Hampton Court’

Hampton Court (6): Georgian Palace

Posted: December 9, 2016 in History, London, UK
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After William’s death, the British crown passed to the Hanoverians. The advent of this new royal family saw a decline in the use of Hampton Court. In 1718 George I held court at Hampton, but this was one of only a few rare visits. 1727 to 1732 saw a brief revival under George II, who completed a range of building works to extend the palace culminating with the addition of the Cumberland suite.

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However, after the death of his queen, Caroline of Ansbach he appears to have lost interest in Hampton and for the remaining years of his reign he never again visited it. His son, George III finally decided to remove Hampton from the list of royal palaces and arranged for the royal suites to be broken up into apartments which were then given on a ‘grace and favour basis’ to members of the court and other officials. They averaged 12-14 rooms each although some could be as large as 40 rooms!

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Hampton Court (5): Astronomical Clock

Posted: December 2, 2016 in London, UK
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The clock, designed by Nicholas Cratzer and built by Nicholas Oursain, was originally installed on the gatehouse to the inner court in 1540. It is 15 foot in diameter and has 3 separate dials all rotating at different speeds. It was restored in 1711 and again in 2007 and is still in working order.

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King William's staircase

King William’s staircase

The accession to the throne of William III saw a programme of new royal building works including the building of Kensington Palace.

In 1689 William III commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build a new palace wing at Hampton Court, although Wren was eventually replaced by one of his assistants as the King deemed Wren’s plans too expensive. These additions included a completely new set of Royal apartments and audience chambers.

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At the top of the staircase is the door to the waiting room. Here people would gather hoping to be able to see the King.

The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

 

How it might have been in the reign of William III

How it might have looked in the reign of William III

 

From this chamber a corridor leads past each of the rooms of the wing. It is interesting that they are arranged in order of privacy and the further along the corridor one met the King was a sign of your position in the court or country.

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The first of these chambers was the Presence Chamber, where the King heard most petitions.

The Presence Chamber

The Presence Chamber

Nest to this was the King’s Eating Room where he could dine with important guests.

King's Eating Room

King’s Eating Room

The next room was the Privy Chamber, where the King would receive ambassadors and where formal ceremonies would be held.

Privy Chamber

Privy Chamber

Beyond this were the Withdrawing Room, a place where the King met with his ministers and the King’s two bedrooms. The Great Bedchamber, a large formal room and the smaller and more intimate Little Bedchamber.

The Great Bedroom

The Great Bedroom

Beyond these lay the closet and the back stairs which enabled the King to leave the apartments without having to cross the Waiting Room

The highlight of the remaining Tudor State apartments is undoubtedly the Great Hall.

Tudor Great Hall

Tudor Great Hall

Tapestries like this would have covered the walls as decoration

Tapestries like this would have covered the walls as decoration

Wooden beam roof - Tudor Great hall

Wooden beam roof – Tudor Great hall

Musicians gallery

Musicians gallery

Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Window

Next to the Great Hall is the waiting chamber , where people waited for the chance to be able to talk with the King.

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Ceiling of the waiting chamber

Ceiling of the waiting chamber

 

One of the famous tales of Hampton Court is of the Haunted Corridor. The Ghost is reputed to be that of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, who had been tried and found guilty of commiting adultry. As she was taken from the palace she broke free and ran down the corridor trying to reach the King’s appartments to plea for his mercy. Unfortunately, she was caught before she reached him and was taken away and executed.

Haunted Corridor

Haunted Corridor

 

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Connected to the main courtyard by a short passage is a smaller courtyard around which are situated the Kitchens of the Tudor palace.

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There are a number of preparation and storage rooms. One thing I was interested to find was that Tudors didn’t eat pies despite them appearing in many pictures. The pastry case was merely for the cooking and was not eaten. Instead, it was used like a bowl after the top had been sliced off and the contents spooned out.

Meat preparation room

Meat preparation room

 

Tudor pies - pastry cooking vessels

Tudor pies – pastry cooking vessels

At the centre are 2 large kitchens, each with its own roasting fire. In one there was a demonstration of roasting.

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Preparing the Tudor feast in the Kitchens

Preparing the Tudor feast in the Kitchens

In one was a range of stoves and a bread oven.

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There was also a dining area for kitchen staff and in another small courtyard offices for kitchen overseers.

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Close by was the wine store

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Hampton Court (1): The History

Posted: November 4, 2016 in History, London, UK
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Earliest records show that in 1236 The Knights Hospitalier of St John Jerusalem (one of the monastic armed orders charged with the defence of pilgrim access to sites in the Holy Land) bought the manor of Hampton on the River Thames to the west of London, which it used as an agricultural estate. In the 14th century, they built a guest house for high-ranking travellers on the site. In 1494 Giles Daubney leased the land. Daubney was a fast rising court official who would eventually become Lord Chamberlain and he set about modernising the existing manor house. He died in 1508 and nothing now remains of this building.

The entrance to Hampton Court

The entrance to Hampton Court

In 1515 Thomas Wolsey took up residence and began a major rebuilding of the palace such that it would be a fit house for a cardinal and the King’s premier advisor.

The first Courtyard

The first Courtyard

 

In 1530 when Wolsey was executed the palace passed into the hands of Henry VIII, who decided to keep it as a royal residence and he continued the building plans that Wolsey had begun. It was to be the location of a number of significant moments in the history of Henry VIII. In 1537 Prince Edward (later Edward VI) was born at Hampton and it was here that a few days later Queen Jane Seymour died following complications of the birth. 3 years later it was here that the divorce of Anne of Cleves was pronounced and where a few months later Henry would marry Catherine Howard.

Preparing the Tudor feast in the Kitchens

Preparing the Tudor feast in the Kitchens

It was at Hampton too, where only a year later Queen Catherine was held pending judgement following her alleged adultery.  It is said that in one corridor her ghost can be seen desperately trying to reach the Kings chamber to plead for her life. Hampton also saw Henry’s 6th marriage ceremony when he married Katherine Parr.

Tudor Hall

Tudor Hall

Hampton was the venue for Queen Mary’s honeymoon and Queen Elizabeth visited regularly.

The Middle Courtyard

The Middle Courtyard

 

The Astronomical clock

The Astronomical clock

In 1603 William Shakespeare’s theatre company performed at Hampton for King James I. The following year it was the scene of the Hampton Court Conference which was responsible for the commissioning of the King James Bible. In 1647 King Charles I was held at Hampton under house arrest by the Parliamentarian forces until he escaped and following his capture and execution 2 years later, Oliver Cromwell. Lord Protector of England, used Hampton as his weekend retreat.

In 1689 William III commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build a new palace wing, although Wren was eventually replaced by one of his assistants as the King deemed Wren’s plans too expensive. These additions included a completely new set of Royal apartments and audience chambers.

King William's staircase

King William’s staircase

However, after William’s death, the advent of the Hanoverian kings saw a decline in the royal use of Hampton Court. In 1718 George I held court at Hampton, but this was one of only a few rare visits. 1727 to 1732 saw a brief revival under George II, who completed a range of building works to extend the palace culminating with the addition of the Cumberland suite. However, after the death of his queen, Caroline of Ansbach he appears to have lost interest in Hampton and for the remaining 23 years of his reign he never again visited it. His son, George III finally decided to remove Hampton from the list of royal palaces and arranged for the royal suites to be broken up into apartments which were then given on a ‘grace and favour basis’ to members of the court and other officials. They averaged 12-14 rooms each although some could be as large as 40 rooms!

The Georgian Courtyard

The Georgian Courtyard

Queen Victoria reclaimed the use of the royal apartments and together with the grounds and gardens made them accessible to the public in 1838. Major renovation works were carried out during Victoria’s reign and over time more of the palace has become open to the public.

In 1986 a major fire destroyed much of the William III King’s apartments and a major restoration project followed which lasted 10 years to return it to it’s former glory.