Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Otford Palace (As Was)

For nearly a thousand years the Archbishops of Canterbury maintained a house at Otford on the Pilgrim's Way. As time went by the house became a manor house became a palace. In 1515 Archbishop Warham demolished most of the existing building and rebuilt in the renaissance style- spurring his protégé and rival, Cardinal Wolsey, to splash out on his similar (but smaller) establishment at Hampton Court. Henry VIII coveted Otford (because you really couldn't have too many palaces) and, after Warham's death, persuaded the more pliable Archbishop Cranmer to hand it over. When Henry died it fell into neglect. What survives today is half of the north range- which has been rather charmingly repurposed as a terrace of cottages- along with the north west tower and a little bit of the main gate.

I took these pictures from what is now a rather boggy meadow (it was always a disadvantage of the site that it was damp and liable to flood). In Warham's time I would have been standing in the Palace's enormous courtyard.
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