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Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Way, Surrey

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Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz.

Location

Complex

Hampton Court Palace

Address

Hampton Court Way, Surrey, England, United Kingdom KT8 9AU

Bordering Streets

Hampton Court Way
A308
A309
Hampton Court Road
Barge Walk

Neighborhood

East Molesey

Fast Facts

Built

1882

Considered one of the most magnificent palaces in Europe, Hampton Court Palace's long history and breathtaking architecture have earned the respect of generations of royals. The palace traces its history back to 1236 when the area was owned by the Knights Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem. This order erected buildings on the land and used them as agricultural warehouses. Eventually it evolved into a retreat used by the abbots of Saint John.

The estate is closely linked to King Henry VIII, who first visited it in 1503. A short time later it was leased by Sir Giles Daubeney, and a few years later the lease was picked up by Thomas Wolsey. It was he who started the process of making the palace what it is today. Woley had a vision of a regal getaway. A place where he could be proud to have the King and Queen stay. He constructed elegant accommodations for his guests, banquet halls, formal courts, and suites. Henry liked the palace, but eventually learned not to like Wolsey.

Wolsey eventually lost his palace to the King, who continued its expansion and embellishment. That may be something of an understatement. The King spent ten years adding to the buildings, and beautifying the grounds. With each new marriage, the palace would grow more opulent. Gourmet kitchens, an immense dining hall, indoor plumbing, and more than a thousand acres of hunting grounds. The King was responsible for making this one of the most splendid palaces in all of Europe. So splendid that many future monarchs saw little need for alteration.

King Charles I, however, was not happy with the palace. Not because it wasn't lavish enough, but because for him it was a very ornate prison. He was banished here in 1647 after the English Civil War, and executed two years later.

The public started looking at the palace the way they looked at the monarchy, and it wasn't good. Soldiers stormed the building in 1645, and sold its Contents. A few years later, it was back in private hands, as the personal home of Edmund Blackwall, but not for long. He sold it back to the government in 1654.

Once everything settled down and the monarchy was restored, the palace was once again the domain of the king. This time it was Charles II. He made the first significant change to the palace since Henry VIII. He had quarters built for his mistress in the 1660's. While they were nice, they certainly weren't up to Henry's standards, and clash with the rest of the building. That would be a minor insult compared to what Sir Christopher Wren had in mind.

While England fawns over his many architectural accomplishments, when he was working for William III he was shortsighted enough to suggest that the entire palace be razed and replaced. Fortunately, the economics worked against him and this historic structure was saved. But he did redo the King and Queen's apartments. Perhaps it should have been a warning to him not to mess with the building when part of his work collapsed in mid-construction, killing two people. George II had better luck. He had new apartments built for his son. This was the last major project at the palace.

Over time the royals lost interest in the palace. Family squabbles and bickering led to bad feelings about the place. It was eventually divided into apartments which were granted to certain people held in high esteem by the monarch. It was Queen Victoria who gave the property back to the people by opening it to the public in 1838. Today, the palace remains the greatest Tudor palace in England. It is open to the public, and is frequently used for flower shows, and other sophisticated public gatherings.

Raw Data

Construction Start

1514

Construction End

1882

Noteworthy Facts

• King Henry VIII's son, Edward, was born here.

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Attributes

• palace - See more: (local) (region) (global)
• castle - See more: (local) (region) (global)
• fortress - See more: (local) (region) (global)
• government - See more: (local) (region) (global)

People and Companies

Architect

Sir Christopher Wren
William Kent

Timeline

• 1236: The Knights Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem erected the first buildings on this site.
• 1505: Sir Giles Daubeney leased the property.
• 1514: Thomas Wolsey leased the property.
• 1528: Henry VIII took the palace from Wolsey.
• 1540: Henry VIII finished the palace.
• 1647: Charles II was exiled to the palace, which served as a high-class prison.
• 1652: Hampton Court Palace was sold to Edmond Blackwall.
• 1654: Edmond Blackwall sold the palace back to the government.
• 1660's: Charles II ordered apartments built for his mistress.
• 1689-1694: Sir Christopher Wren rebuildt the King and Queen's quarters.
• 1770: A minor portion of the palace burned.
• 1838: Queen Victoria opened the palace to the public.
• March 31, 1986: Fire burned through the palace, causing extensive damage.
• 1995: Reapirs from the 1986 fire were completed.

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