Mystery Solved: Winchester Palace

Archived from trip to London: April 2009

Winchester Palace Ruins

Winchester Palace Ruins

As my wife and I roamed the city of Southwark after crossing Tower Bridge on our way to the Globe Theatre, we came upon the ruin of what appeared to be a medieval rose window. We passed what remained of this wall very quickly as we tried our best to stay on schedule. Not knowing what we were looking at, I took a picture so that I could identify the structure when I got back home. Well, without having to work very hard, I solved the mystery. The ruin is of Winchester Palace, built in the 12th Century, and mostly destroyed by fire in 1814.

Rose Window, Winchester Palace

Rose Window, Winchester Palace

The palace remained in use until the 17th century, when it was divided into tenements and warehouses. Part of the great hall, and the west gable end with its rose window became more visible after a 19th century fire and 20th century redevelopment. It is believed that the great hall was built c.1136 and that the rose window was added 200 years later. The hall had a vaulted cellar below with direct access to the river wharf for bringing in wares, and was richly decorated. (Source)

Winchester Palace 1660

Winchester Palace 1660

The palace was located near medieval Southwark Cathedral which we passed as I hurriedly tried to find the George Inn and the site of the Tabard. We were very lucky in our choice of day to visit Southwark, one of my favorite destinations in London. It was sunny, slightly chilly, and clear. After passing the George Inn and snapping a few pictures, my wife and I had our breakfast in the form of Cornish pasties. We came upon the ruins of the palace as we made our way through the narrow streets just off the Thames river walk.

With so much of medieval London destroyed by fire, demolition, war, and redevelopment, I’m glad that we were able to get a glimpse of the old palace.


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