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Kempsey Bishops Palace

In the civil parish of Kempsey.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO84784919
Latitude 52.14079° Longitude -2.22380°

Kempsey Bishops Palace has been described as a certain Palace.

There are no visible remains.


A monastery was in existence at Kempsey under Abbot Balthun before 779, when land was granted it by Kenwulf, King of Mercia who, in 814 regranted the monastery itself to Worcester Abbey. Before this the manor had been leased to Bishop Deneberht of Worcester and by similar leases the manor seems to have passed into the possession of the bishops of Worcester, who probably built the manor house where Bishop Leofric died in 1033. Both Henry II and Henry III were entertained here and royal grants between 1189 and 1295 enlarged the manor and gave it a mill and dovecote, a deer park and free warren. About 1300 the mansion was greatly enlarged by Bishop Giffard who twice entertained Edward I here but by 1473 the palace had fallen into disuse and Hopkins, in 1695, said that it had long been demolished and nothing could be seen of it. Purton states that its traditional site is between the church and the Severn, where the Courts Baron and Leet of the bishops had been held, but Mrs O'Neil says that the site marked on OS maps would be in danger of flooding and thinks that the palace stood on the site of the Court House (SO 84784919) and that the cemented stones found with the Roman inscribed stone (SO 84 NW7) were part of its foundations. The square platform seen here by Purton within the fort (SO 84 NW 3) may be similar to that on which the church stands - an artificial platform of rammed gravel on which the palace may have been built out of reach of floods. (PastScape)

The Bishops of Worcester had a park at their manor of Kempsey. A manor-house evidently existed here in early times, for Bishop Leofric died at Kempsey in September 1033. A house in the village still called the Palace probably marks its site. It seems to have been a favourite seat of the Bishops of Worcester, and it was here that Simon de Montfort, accompanied by Bishop Cantilupe, brought Henry III as a prisoner in 1265 before the battle of Evesham. Henry II issued from Kempsey a charter relating to Inkberrow, and Edward I appears to have been a frequent visitor here as the guest of Bishop Godfrey Giffard. (VCH)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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