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Lambeth Palace

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Lollards Tower; Chicele's Tower; Water Tower; Lambehith

In the civil parish of Lambeth.
In the historic county of Surrey.
Modern Authority of London Borough of Lambeth.
1974 county of Greater London.
Medieval County of Surrey.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ30617909
Latitude 51.49533° Longitude -0.11980°

Lambeth Palace has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a certain Tower House.

There are major building remains.

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


Group of ecclesiastical, ceremonial, defensive and residential: buildings of varying periods. At north-west corner the Water or Lollards' Tower 1435, of Kentish Rag with ashlar quoins and a brick turret; the C17 Land's Tower added in similar material (but with some flint) to the south. East of this the C13 chapel, Reigate stone with Purbeck dressings, and its earlier C15 crypt with some original plaster. To the east, the residential apartments of circa 1835 in collegiate gothic style. South-west of these the guardroom, a circa 1835 rebuilding of a C14 building which retains much original woodwork in the roof. West of this the courtyard, and south of the courtyard the Great Hall (now library) 1660-63, a building of mixed styles whose baroque elevations of red brick and Portland stone frame late-gothic windows and whose hammer beam roof uses entirely classical decoration. To the south-west, Morton's Gatehouse and tower of circa 1490. Red brick with blue diapering and stone dressings. Good interior woodwork including a panelled room covered with C17 wall paintings. (Listed Building Report)

Chichele's or the Water or Lollards' Tower. In 1432 the tower, which had stood previously at the west end of the Chapel, was pulled down and a new tower five storeys high was erected there. The accounts record that 490 tons of ragstone, with lime, sand and other materials, were brought by boat from Maidstone for the building, while oak timber was brought from “le West wode” near Harrow. A mason worked 11 days on the tabernacle or niche on the west side of the tower, which still remains, through the image of St. Thomas the Martyr for which it was intended was removed at the Reformation. Chichele's tower was built nearer the Chapel than its predecessor and its erection involved the removal of a buttress and the blocking up of the lancet windows at the west end of the Chapel. The windows of the tower were glazed and the room at the entrance to the Chapel (now the Post Room) was ceiled with wood boarding. Payments for carving the angels' heads, etc., for the ceiling are included in the accounts. There has been some controversy as to the traditional connection of this tower with the Lollards. The ill-famed Lollards' Tower in which John Hunne met his death and where many heretics were incarcerated was the south-west tower of old St. Paul's which served as the Bishop of London's prison, but the name was in use for part of the tower at Lambeth at least as early as 1647 for the Survey of that date has the entry“At the Northend of the said Courte is a greate Bricke Buildinge with Windowes opening towards the Thames foure Storeys high covered with Lead Behind which Buildinge alonge by the West end of the Chappell is a paire of Staires Leadinge upp into chambers five Storeys high over which is the Lollards Tower all covered with lead.” It is possible that this turret was part of an older tower demolished in 1432, and that Chichele's predecessor, Archbishop Arundel, a fierce persecutor of Lollardry and advocate of the 1401 statute “De heretico comburendo,” may have employed it as a prison, though the usual prison of the palace was part of the entrance gate. The Post Room has been described as a pleasant solar and the upstairs rooms were intended as sleeping apartments. In 1646 the tower was turned into a prison for “the faithful, but unhappy Royalists,” and it is possible that it was at this time that the name Lollards' Tower became attached to the whole tower. The post and panelling in the Post Room were added in the 17th century. Blore described the tower as dilapidated and weatherworn but does not seem to have made any radical alterations there. The base of the tower has recently been turned into a boiler room to serve the whole of the palace buildings. (Roberts and Godfrey, 1951)

Lollard's Tower built 1434 as safe refuge within the complex of buildings that make up the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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