A Complete Guide on the Palace in Richmond

Located on the banks of the Thames River in England, the palace in Richmond served as the official seat of the British monarchy throughout the 16 and seventeenth centuries.

It was located in rural Surrey, about nine miles (14 kilometres) from the northeastern The Palace of Westminster, which was on the other side of the Thames. In honour of Henry VII, previously known as the Earl of Richmond, the manor of Sheen has lately been renamed “Richmond,” and construction on this structure began in 1501.

Therefore, the palace in Richmond took the place of Shene Palace, which had been constructed on the site of a manor house that had been taken by Edward I in 1299 and utilized by his next three direct successors before falling into ruin and eventually being demolished.

The town of Sheen, which had been built around the royal house, was renamed “Richmond” in 1500, a year before the new Richmond Palace started. Sheen and Richmond are both still in use. However, they may be easily mixed up with one another.

East Sheen and North Sheen, both contemporary neighborhoods in the Borough Council of Richmond upon Thames, were not historically a part of the manor of Sheen but rather sprang up in the 19th and 20th centuries in what was once the neighbouring manor and parish of Mortlake.

However, as Greater London grew, it eventually annexed Richmond. In 1603, Queen Elizabeth passed away at her beloved Richmond Palace. Until Charles I’s death in 1649, it served as a palace for English monarchs.

Over the next decade, much of it was torn down, and the stones and timbers were reused in new construction. The Gate House is one of the few remaining relics from the city’s former glory. Old Palace Lane and Old Palace Yard are only two of the local street names that hint at the presence of the previous Palace, which was located in the region between Richmond Green and the River Thames.

1. Palace in Richmond: 12 Facts

1.1. Architecture and Internal Decoration

The furniture and furnishings of Richmond Palace are described as being of the greatest quality in all of the accounts brought down to us. The narratives tell how the tapestries in the Palace represent the exploits of past monarchs and heroes.

palace in richmond
Image by kordula vahle from Pixabay/ Copyright 2019

1.2. A Survey Conducted in 1649

A detailed account of the Palace is provided by the survey that was carried out in 1649. It was described as having foot space at the upper part thereof, the pavement of square tile, well-lit and seated; at the north end having a tower, or clock-case, covered with lead, which is a peculiar adornment to this edifice. The screen was located at the lower end of the structure.

The prince’s living quarters are said to be a freestone edifice, three storeys high, with fourteen turrets coated with lead, and they are said to be “a beautiful decoration to the entire house, and perceptible to the country roundabout.” There is a reference to a circular tower known as the “Canted Tower,” which has 124 steps on its stairway.

The chapel was 96 feet (29 meters) in length and 40 feet (12 meters) in width, and it had cathedral seating and pews. An open gallery of around 61 meters (200 feet) in length was located next to the prince’s garden. Above this open gallery was a covered gallery measuring approximately the same distance.

Additionally, a royal library may be found here. The water for the Palace came from three separate conduits: one of them was the white conduit in the new park, another was the line in the town fields, and the third was a line adjacent to the almshouses in Richmond. All of these lines were connected to the town of Richmond. Three separate pipes connected these three conduits.

1.3. Archaeology

Archaeology from the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) through the early modern era makes up a major portion of the collection, which is available for online exploration. The Edwards Collection from Ham Fields, which is particularly strong in prehistory, shows continuous settlement from the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) to the Iron Age.

The furniture and furnishings of Richmond Palace are described as being of the greatest quality in all of the accounts brought down to us. The local community places a great deal of importance on the archaeology of Richmond Palace, and the museum showcases several items discovered during Time Team’s 1997 excavation of the Palace site.


1.4. Lavatory Invention

palace in richmond
Image by alexey.fedoren@gmail.com/ Depositphotos/ Copyright

The flushing toilet, created by Elizabeth I’s godson Sir John Harington, was installed in this Palace, making it one of the first structures in history to include such a convenience. The Hampton Court Palace had already featured flushing latrines when Henry VIII assumed the throne.

1.5. Richmond Palace Today

The Wardrobe, the Trumpeters’ House, and the Gate House are all structures from the old Palace that have been preserved, and all three of these buildings are designated as Grade I structures.

The Gate House was constructed in 1501, and in 1986, the Crown Estate Commissioners leased it out for sixty-five years. It has five separate bedrooms.

1.6. What Parts of Richmond Palace Have Been Preserved?


Only one wall of the Palace has survived to this day, but the Tudor brickwork used to construct the Gate House ensures that its history will never be forgotten.

Following the assassination of Charles, I in 1649, Oliver Cromwell gutted the Palace in Richmond and auctioned off its resources to maximize his wealth.

It was eventually handed back to the crown, but no one was willing to invest the money to repair the Palace. As a result, the grounds were rented out to the public and converted into a source of income.

1.7. The Establishment of Richmond Palace


The Domesday Book contains the first record of the land that would later become the palace’s location in Richmond. This entry was made in 1086. The site was previously occupied by the Palace in Richmond and Shene, which was located on the banks of the Thames in the general vicinity of today’s Old Palace Lane.

However, the palace in Richmond and Richard was never the same once Anne died due to the plague in 1394. He was in such a condition of sadness and despair that he ordered to the demolition of Shene Palace. Henry V was the one who came up with the idea to reconstruct Shene Palace in the style of a castle.

According to documentation found at the National Archives, he intended to construct a sizable tower out of stone. Still, funds intended for the Palace were moved elsewhere because of the ongoing hostilities with France. During the remaining years of Henry V’s reign, it was mostly ignored, and virtually little work was accomplished. The majority of the Palace’s construction consisted of wooden elements.

Henry V passed away in 1422, but the council of the subsequent King, Henry VI, began the works while he was only eight years old. Henry V was the monarch at the time. The Palace in Richmond had been given to King Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville, by 1466. Elizabeth Woodville made the Palace her primary home up to the time when Henry VII took it back from her.

1.8. Richmond Palace Garden

palace in richmond
Image by alexey.fedoren@gmail.com/ Depositphotos/ Copyright

After 1497, Henry VIII had Richmond Palace rebuilt, and he called it after the nearby Richmond Castle in Yorkshire.

He died away in the Palace in Richmond in 1509, the same year Queen Elizabeth I, who had spent a considerable part of her life there, did so in the year 1603. She went on a sporting excursion to what is now recognized as Richmond Park in the region of Virginia.

The only remaining structure is the Palace’s gatehouse. Wyngaard’s picture does not depict this area since it was located on the other side of the Palace. A description of the garden at the palace in Richmond was the first place in England where the phrase “knot deer park and garden” was recorded; the garden at the palace in Richmond was the first garden in England to be inspired by the Renaissance.

The area on which the Palace in Richmond formerly stood is currently occupied by a collection of private residences of an impressively high standard. Between the location of the old Palace and the River Thames, there is presently a riverfront walkway that has been created due to the river’s narrowing.

1.9. Fire Ruins Palace

Henry VII, during his reign Henry made considerable efforts to construct a palace that could compete with any other in Europe. But on Christmas Day in the year 1497, there was a catastrophic fire that destroyed everything.

There was a fire in the private apartments, and it is believed that it went out of control. However, the King was adamant about restoring his Palace in Richmond and recruited skilled artisans to do the necessary work. It was finally finished in 1501, four years after construction began.

According to documents retrieved from the Richmond Libraries, after having been “rebuilt up again sumptuously and expensive,” the Palace served as the showplace for the whole Kingdom.

However, this was just a temporary solution since, in 1506, a second fire, although not as terrible as the first, broke out in the King’s chamber. This fire destroyed the room, but fortunately, it did not do any damage to the construction of the castle itself.

1.10. Henry VIII’s Brush with Death

It was during this time that a young Henry VIII had been going along the gallery of the Palace when suddenly the walls fell, nearly taking the life of the future King.

The shoddy artistry might be traced back to Thomas Banks (or Bynks), whatever you like to call him. Sean Cunningham, the head of medieval records at the National Archives, explained the following: “He served as Henry VII’s royal residence director of works throughout his reign. It meant he was in charge of the construction projects at Richmond and Greenwich and the Tower of London.”

At Richmond Palace, it was his responsibility as a carpenter to install the panelling and the gallery. It was reported that the gallery collapsed shortly after Henry VIII and the King went over it.

“Thomas Banks took the whole responsibility for the collapse of the venture. The King was meant to be the most qualified person for the task, but he ended up being inept, so he was the one who ended up having to perform the repairs at royal palaces. This caused him to complain constantly about having to do them. He was fired and most likely given a fine, “Sean stated”. The incident mentioned in the Great Chronicle of London was necessary when it occurred.

Sean, who works at the National Archives, was quoted as saying: “At this point, Henry had only started considering the possibility of taking on a new function in the future.” Because the fire and the collapse brought to mind the inherent risks in life, it is reasonable to assume that it left an imprint on him and caused him some anxiety. Concerns were expressed after the occurrence concerning what may have occurred if the prince had been slain.

Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon spent Christmas at the palace in Richmond, a royal residence, in 1509 when the Tudor King succeeded to the throne. The queen gave birth to a son in the Palace on New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, the boy did not survive through the 22nd of February.

By f11photo/ Depositphotos Copyright

1.11. The Relocation of Henry VIII to Hampton Court Palace

Henry died suddenly at the royal palace. Richmond Palace had been a spectacle for the Henry Tudor to wear to show off their might to the Spanish. However, when King Henry VIII’s relationship with Catherine of Aragon deteriorated, the structure became a painful memory for Henry since he linked it with Catherine.

This was one of the primary motivations for his purchase of Hampton Court Palace, which was first commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey and began construction in the early 16th century.

The palace in Richmond was presented to Henry VIII’s fourth and divorced queen, Anne of Cleves, in 1540. Anne hosted various celebrations the King and his daughters attended during her reign. Around this time, the Palace henry vii ceased to serve any purpose other than to provide a home for the King’s royal offspring and the women who had been forgotten.

In 1125, a magnificent manor house was constructed on this site; in 1327, it was elevated to the status of a royal manor house. The gatehouse that you see today was built in 1501 by Henry VII. The palace in Richmond was the site of several significant events that involved important Tudor figures.

Henry VII and his granddaughter Elizabeth I passed away at this location in 1603. Prince Henry, who would eventually become Henry VIII, came dangerously close to losing his life inside its walls, and his oldest daughter, Mary, spent her honeymoon there.

The legends of King Arthur and his knights often include love Richmond palace or Castle as one of the locations they visited. The castle is said to have been erected on top of a cave where King Arthur and his knights are resting in their graves, awaiting the time when they would be awakened to protect England when the country is in danger.

It is reported that a local potter by the name of Peter Thompson accidentally discovered his way inside this cave while out on a stroll in the area. There, he found the horn of King Arthur’s sheen palace and his sword, Excalibur, resting on top of one of the elaborately carved graves. Peter, intrigued, took the blade into his hands.

Instantaneously, he was assaulted by a loud clatter of armor that came from all directions, and gradually, the tombs started to open up. He swiftly replaced the blade after becoming terrified royal children; instantaneously, the noise ceased, and there was complete silence.

1.12. The First World War in Connection with Richmond

The Northern Non-Combatant Corps lived at the palace in Richmond castle when they held it during the First World War. Men who had previously submitted a request to be excluded from military duty were allowed to serve in jobs that did not involve direct combat as part of this military organization.

However, some individuals had been compelled to join the Corps and refused to participate in any task related to the war effort since it directly opposed their core values. A number of them were detained at the palace in Richmond Castle in 1916.

The cells were located in a structure that was constructed in the 19th century and was once used as the reserve armoury for the castle. The graffiti that the protesters drew on the walls of these cramped quarters is one of a kind and has survived to this day.

Suggested Reading- Best Places To Eat In Richmond: 20 Best Places You Must Try

3. Conclusion

Some of these conscientious objectors, who came to be known as the palace in Richmond Sixteen, were sent off to France in May 1916 and placed on trial for refusing to follow instructions there.

They faced the possibility of being sentenced to death for their actions. Their deportation to France, test and subsequent punishment has all attained an infamous status in the annals of the history of conscientious objection.

There is entertainment for all types of travellers. A few of Richmond’s numerous diverse points of interest must be on every traveller’s list. Tudors cherished Richmond Mansion, which used to be a magnificent large palace but now only has a gatehouse.

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