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Tidgrove Kings House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Titegrove; Titegraua

In the civil parish of Hannington.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Hampshire.
1974 county of Hampshire.
Medieval County of Hampshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU52695458
Latitude 51.28793° Longitude -1.24581°

Tidgrove Kings House has been described as a certain Palace.

There are no visible remains.


In the 12th century there was a royal residence in Tidgrove, as appears from the Pipe Rolls. In 1176 wine was sent to Tidgrove by the king's orders. In 1177 £7 16s. was spent on repairing the king's chapel at Tidgrove, and in 1178 the king's houses at Tidgrove were repaired at a cost of £24 18s. 7d., probably in preparation for the royal visit of the following year. (VCH)

Bank and outer ditch of a roughly rectangular enclosure measuring 80m x 50m overall was revealed as crop - marks on AP in 1947. The enclosure is sited on the bottom of an eastern slope. Only the remains of part of the ditch c. 8m wide and 0. 3m deep on the south side can be seen (1956). No trace of this enclosure could be seen under young crop, (1967). Finds recovered range from the Roman to post-Medieval periods. Examination of this enclosure suggested strongly that this was the location of the King's Houses (domus regis) which Henry II caused to be built at Tidgrove, the discovery of an oyster shell suggests that the site was indeed high status. (Hampshire AHBR)

Possibly the location of a residence built for King Henry II for use on journeys between Windsor and either Winchester or Hamwych (Southampton) which was the customary port for travel to and from his French possessions. The Medieval site is a large enclosure probably the site of the King's Houses built for Henry II at Tidgrove. Evidence comes from the Pipe Rolls where the sheriff accounts for the building of the houses and a chapel, their repair, and supplies sent to Tidgrove for the king's use. The enclosure is close to a road identified as the King's Highway in medieval deeds. Evidence from the itinerary of King John suggests that this was a route much favoured by the Angevin kings, particularly when travelling from Normandy to London. An interesting medieval brooch, an iron arrowhead, and other metal artefacts have been found, also medieval pottery sherds, numerous brick and tile fragments, and some dressed stone. (? - original online source now lost)

It appears that the rectangular enclosure that showed up on the 1947 aerial photography was originally interpreted as a Roman site back in 1926 (due to finds of Roman pottery in the vicinity). This interpretation stuck until 2000, when some metal detecting, field walking and small-scale excavation resulted in a re-interpretation of the site, namely that it was not Romano-British but actually the site of a Medieval hunting lodge. Subsequently, a geophysical survey was undertaken of the area in 2002 by Southampton University, and the medieval hunting lodge interpretation is sticking. There were some excavations carried out at the site in summer 2005 by Southampton Uni, but these haven't been written up yet. Apparently, there is no evidence of any Roman structures at the site. There is, however, a Romano-British settlement to the west of Tidgrove Warren Farm identified by finds of pottery and the 2002 geophysical survey. (Alex Godden 2006))

The 2007 dig by Southampton University ended in September and found a large wine cellar and an aisled hall. Apparently building of at least two phases and the archaeologist believe the site was used much longer than the 10 years recorded in the King's Works. David Hinton tentatively suggests that this is the recorded Freemantle (the site changing name) rather than the site at SU526567. Gatehouse suspects both site may have coexisted for a while, under the same budget, with some parts of the court being housed in different buildings. In effect the two sites formed a palace complex, as at Woodstock, and that the complex changed name. Gatehouse would still favour the Freemantle site as being the centre for this complex, at least after 1251, although this building could have been an earlier centre, or a Queen's house.
See also Freemantle
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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