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Baynards Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bainard; Baignard; Bainardus; Baignardus; turris Bainardi; York House; York Place

In the civil parish of City Of London.
In the historic county of City of London.
Modern Authority of City and County of the City of London.
1974 county of Greater London.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ31978082
Latitude 51.51145° Longitude -0.10167°

Baynards Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Norman castle at west end of London's Walls, replaced by medieval palace, which was destroyed by Great Fire of 1666. It was first built, as a castle, by one Baynard, a follower of William the Conqueror. It was forfeited in A.D. 1111, and given to Robert FitzWalter, son of Richard, Earl of Clare, in whose family the office of Castellan and Standard-Bearer to the City of London became hereditary. His descendant, Robert, in revenge for private injuries, took part with the Barons against King John, for which the King ordered Baynard's Castle to be destroyed. FitzWalter, however, becoming reconciled to the King, was permitted to rebuild his house. In 1275, another Robert FitzWalter gave the site to the Archbishop of Canterbury for the foundation of the London House of Dominican or Black Friars. At the rebuilding of FitzWalter's 'castle' it was somewhat shifted in position and it was probably at this time that it lost its fortified appearance. It was again destroyed, this time by fire, in 1428. It was rebuilt by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, on whose attainder it reverted to the crown. Richard, Duke of York, had it next and lived here with his following of four hundred gentlemen and men-at-arms. It was in the hall of Baynard's Castle that Edward IV assumed the title of King, and summoned the bishops, peers and judges to meet him in council. (Britannia.com derived from Besant, 1892)

Despite later development, Baynard's Castle 78m south-west of St Benet Metropolitan Welsh Church survives comparatively well. Much of the original layout and foundations are preserved below modern buildings. The site is of major historic interest as a 16th century royal residence and the location of several important events in English history. Below-ground archaeological and environmental information will survive on the site relating to the history and use of the castle and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument includes a medieval enclosure castle surviving as buried archaeological remains below an area of modern development. It is situated on the north side of the River Thames, east of Blackfriars Station in the City of London. The enclosure castle dates from the 13th century but was altered, part-rebuilt and enlarged several times. It is orientated NNE to SSW and is trapezoidal in plan with a longer wall on its southern side and shorter wall to the north. It is about 65m long and varies between about 38m and 55m wide. The remains uncovered by excavation indicate that it was built with four wings around a central courtyard. The foundations of the north wing include the remains of the walls, gatehouse and gate tower. On its southernmost side, which originally fronted the river, is part of the 16th century foundations of a series of five small projecting towers between two large multi-angular end towers. There is a cobbled landward entrance in the north wall. A riverside entrance in one of the small south towers is attested in documentary sources. The surviving internal features identified during excavation include tiled flooring and the remains of a fireplace in the south wing. The castle was extended about 35m WNW in the 16th century with three additional wings of brick construction and stone facing. Baynards Castle was originally founded in the 11th century by William the Conquerer and given to Ralph Baignard. It was demolished in about 1213 and the site was acquired by the Dominicans in 1276. A new castle was built to the east of Blackfriars shortly afterwards. It was damaged by fire in 1428 and rebuilt on reclaimed land by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. It later passed into ownership of Henry VI who granted it to Richard Duke of York. In about 1500, Henry VII transformed it into a royal residence and stayed at the castle on several occasions. It was considerably extended in the 16th century and Henry VIII passed it to several of his wives. After Henry's death it was owned by the Earl of Pembroke and his family. In 1660, Charles II and the 1st Earl of Sandwich took supper at the castle just a few years before it burnt down in the Great Fire of London. The last remaining tower was demolished in 1720. The foundations of the castle were exposed during partial excavation in the early 1970s and 1980s and have been back-filled and preserved by packing below modern buildings including Baynard House, City of London School and its courtyard and playground. Archaeological watching briefs in 1984 and 1994, recorded the foundations and layout of the castle. (Scheduling Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
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This record last updated on Saturday, July 26, 2014

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