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Kings Cliffe Kings House

In the civil parish of Kings Cliffe.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL00709705
Latitude 52.56200° Longitude -0.51528°

Kings Cliffe Kings House has been described as a probable Palace.

There are earthwork remains.


The site was in Hall Yard, E of the church (Area TL 0085 9703); the dam of the fishpond is still visible in an adjoining field.
The King's House at King's Cliffe was almost certainly in existence in Norman times, and certainly so in Henry II's reign. It was much enlarged by Henry III, the additions including a chapel (1239) and a park (later disparked by Lord Burghley). The site was waste about 1450; ashes found in the foundations suggest a fire, possibly the great fire of 1462. Much used as a royal hunting-lodge in the 13th c. (HKW; VCH).
The Rev PJM Bryan has in his possession a Ms History of King's Cliffe and area compiled by Archdeacon Bonney in which there is evidence of building foundations, probably the remains of the hunting lodge, being uncovered during the digging of graves and other excavations at c. TL 0070 9705.
There are no surface indications of foundations now and no further evidence for the site could be obtained. The dam and the fishpond appear to be late Md. (F1 JB 04-JUN-70).
No change from report of 4.6.70 correct except that the dam and fishpond can no longer be traced (F2 FDC 21-JUN-76).
The dam and fishpond have been located by the RCHM and are recorded under TL 09 NW 24. (PastScape)

KING'S CLIFFE was a royal manor, part of the ancient demesne of the crown. It is only within the last century that it has come permanently into private hands. In 1086 King's Cliffe was rated at one hide and two and a half virgates, with a mill. Among the tenants was a priest. Earl Alfgar had held the manor in King Edward's time; it probably came to the crown through the forfeiture of Morcar, son of that earl. Through-out the reigns of the Norman and Angevin kings the manor remained in the hands of the crown, and after 1154. appears frequently in the Pipe Rolls. From the reign of Edward I until the 18th century King's Cliffe was frequently granted to the queen of England as dower. Edward I on his accession granted it to his mother. Queen Eleanor, and after her death to his second wife, Margaret of France. In 1327 it formed part of the augmentation of dower of Queen Isabella for her services in the treaty with France in suppressing the rebellion of the Despensers. The manor was surrendered by her in 1331, and re-granted at first during pleasure and afterwards for life.' The manor later formed part of the dower of Queens Philippa of Hainault, Anne of Bohemia, and Joan of Navarre. During the reign of Henry VI it was kept in the king's hands, but was again granted as dower by Edward IV to his consort, Elizabeth Woodville. Its proceeds were appropriated by Henry VII to the expenses of the king's household, and seems to have been kept for this purpose throughout the Tudor period.
A 'house of the king' at King's Cliffe is referred to as early as the reign of Henry II, and frequently later until the 15th century. There were appurtenant to it fishpools, which were kept in repair by the men of the manor, assisted sometimes by the neighbourhood, and traces of them can still be seen in the Willow brook. This house was probably of the nature of a hunting-lodge, and seems from the number of times wine is ordered to be carried there to have been frequently visited by John and Henry III, and on one occasion the pasture of the park at Clive is ordered to be kept for the food of the animals to be driven there against winter for the larder of the king.
The expenses of celebrating divine service in the chapel of King's Cliffe are accounted for in the reign of Henry III. A survey of the manor was taken for the king in 1272, when the buildings were in good condition, only a few windows and doors needing repair, and there was plenty of fish in the fish-pools. Queen Margaret was granted in 1305 timber for repair of her manor at King's Cliffe, and firewood for the use of her household there, and game as much and as often as she liked. Edward I and III both made occasional visits to the house. In the 15th century it ceased to be used as a royal residence, and is described as a waste site about 1450, and as ashes have been found in the foundations on the site to the east of the church its remains were probably burnt down in the great fire of 1462. (VCH)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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