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Romsey King Johns House

In the civil parish of Romsey.
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: SU35222127
Latitude 50.98984° Longitude -1.49958°

Romsey King Johns House has been described as a probable Palace.

There are earthwork remains.

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


In circa 1206 King John, who was devoted to hunting in the New Forest, decided to build a house for himself in Romsey which could be used as a Hunting Lodge. The building comprised a first floor hall with the lower floor divided into two rooms by a wattle and daub partition. King John's son Henry III granted the house to the Abbess of Romsey for the purpose of being converted into her Infirmary Guest House for the Abbey. It is known that the building was occupied as a Guest House in the reign of Edward I. After the Dissolution the house was used as the residence of well-to-do tradesmen, and the Tudor cottage, which forms part of it, was added. Gradually the building deteriorated and was eventually converted into three poor class cottages. A block of two-storey cottages was added at the east end at the beginning of the 18th century and the whole block came to be occupied as the parish workhouse and so remained for nearly a century. Handlooms were installed whilst the building was in use as a workhouse. It then reverted to being three individual dwellings before being discovered by Mr WJ Andrew in 1927 as King John's House. Following this discovery the building was restored to a single unit dwelling and in 1939 the adjoining C18 cottages were demolished after being condemned. In 1946 the owner decided to hand over King John's house to the inhabitants of the town for use as a museum. (PastScape)

King John's Hunting Lodge was a palace for only a dozen years after its construction in c. 1210. It was outside the Abbey Walls, but was probably converted into a guest house or infirmary of the abbey, and St. Andrew's Chapel built, all about 1221. The building later became a private house. It is rectangular, and was always of two storeys and built of flint with stone dressings, with early doors and windows (Andrew; Luce).
It is highly unlikely that this building is that created by King John. When Henry III granted the site to the abbey in 1221, he gave the abbess permission 'to take it away to wherever she wishes', which suggests that it was a timber structure (HKW). (PastScape)

Circa 1230. Hall House. Part of the property within the mediaeval Abbey. Hall on 1st floor; room of similar size on ground floor and cellar. In west wall, early English window with fine moulding, hood-mould with dog-tooth. Traces of other early English windows with mouldings of similar style to house in 3 westernmost bays of nave added in 1210 to 1230. Outside staircase on west wall, to south of window, now masked by Tudor cottage. External walls of flint quoined with stone. In east wall a plain doorway leading perhaps to a former chapel. (Listed Building Report)

It is questionable that King John's House was the documented hunting lodge of King John, which was probably a timber building, although this was probably in this general area. The surviving building is an important medieval building.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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