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Buckden Palace

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Buckden Towers; Bugden; Bikden

In the civil parish of Buckden.
In the historic county of Huntingdonshire.
Modern Authority of Cambridgeshire.
1974 county of Cambridgeshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL19246772
Latitude 52.29429° Longitude -0.25298°

Buckden Palace has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Buckden Palace, tower, gatehouses, foundations and moat, N of the church. The manor belonged to the Bishops of Lincoln at the time of the Domesday Survey but it is uncertain when first a house was built on the site. Bishop Hugh de Wells (1209 - 1235) is said to have built or rebuilt a manor house at Buckden and Bishop Robert Grosseteste (1235 - 1254) is credited with building the great hall. The buildings were burnt in 1291 but the extent of the damage does not appear. To C13 would appear to belong the foundations of the great chamber, the chapel, and parts of the great hall. An extensive rebuilding of the palace took place under Bishops Thomas Rotherham (1472 -1480) and John Russell (1480 - 1494); the former according to Leland built the great tower and restored the great hall; the great tower was probably finished by Bishop Russell, whose arms formerly appeared on the woodwork, and the same Bishops built the inner and outer gatehouses and the enclosure walls. Considerable repairs were made to the buildings by Bishop John Williams (1621 -1642) who appears to have rebuilt and shortened the chapel and repaired the cloister. Under the Commonwealth a large part of the house including the great hall was demolished, but the house was restored on a smaller scale by Bishop Robert Sanderson (1660 -1663), the great hall not being rebuilt. In 1839 about half the main building and part of the gatehouse range were demolished and the great tower dismantled. The great chamber, chapel and adjoining buildings were pulled down in 1871, when the modern house was erected and the moat was filled in at the same time. The existing remains are handsome examples of late C15 brickwork. The palace, when complete, consisted of an inner walled and moated enclosure, containing the main buildings of the house and entered by the inner gatehouse on the W side, and an outer walled enclosure on the W entered by the outer gatehouse and containing various outbuildings. Of the main structure of the house only the great tower now survives. (Camb. SMR record)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 390-1, 393
      Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 73-4
      Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15
      Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 229, 270
      Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 65
      Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 10, 112-4, 118, 162, 179
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 10-11 (plan)
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 225
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 196
      Pevsner, N., 1968, Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough p. 232
      Peach, Maurice, 1957, The palace of Buckden : a concise survey (Buckden)
      RCHME, 1926, An inventory of the historical monuments in Huntingdonshire p. 34-38
      Inskip Ladds, S., 1926, in Page, Wm and Proby, Granville (eds), VCH Huntingdonshire Vol. 1 p. 268
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 314 online copy
      Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 251 online copy
      Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 118
  • Periodical Articles
    • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 228
      Kenyon, J.R., 1977, 'Early Gunports' Vol. 4 p. 76
      Thompson, M.W., 1968, 'Buckden Palace' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 124 p. 250
      Simpson, W.D., 1937, 'Buckden Palace' Journal of the British Archaeological Association ser3 Vol. 2
      Edleston, 1922, Peterborough N.H., etc., Socy. p. 40-7 and plates
      Tipping, 1909, Country Life Vol. 26 p. 162-6
  • Guidebooks
    • Sweeny, M., 1981, A History of Buckden Palace (Buckden)
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
    • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
      Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 241
      Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 29 online copy
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • 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)
      Cambridgeshire Extensive Urban Survey: Buckden. Draft Report 07/03/2003 online copy
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The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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