What is the main residence of Henry viii?

King Henry VIII had lots of palaces. I'm going to discuss his London palaces.

By the end of his reign there were palaces every few miles across what is now Greater London. Three he inherited, two he acquired and adapted, one he lost and four he built with the money he inherited £1250000 (375 million today) from his frugal father Henry VII and gained from the dissolution of the monastery's and the stripping of Cardinal Wolsey's estate. He spent different parts of his life and different seasons in different palaces so it is difficult to pick out one.

Eltham palace

Eltham palace is a little east of London in the old parish of Kent. The old de Vesci manor was rebuilt between 1295 and 1311 by Bishop Bek of Durham, who bequeathed it to Prince Edward, later Edward II,in 1305. Additions and alterations where made by successive royal owners. There is still a jousting tilt yard. Edward IV built the Great Hall in the 1470s, Henry VIII rebuilt the main chapel, added a 'cloistered' and embattled gallery and an embattled timber cloister. It has the distinction of being the palace where the young Prince Henry grew up. It was here that he met and impressed the scholar Erasmus in 1499 introduced by Thomas More. It was used as a royal residence from the 14th to the 16th. Tudor courts often used the palace for their Christmas celebration. Its modern incarnation is open to the public.


Palace of Plaicentia

Palace of Plaicentia, was built by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, in 1447. He was the fourth and youngest son of King Henry IV of England in Greenwich, on the banks of the River Thames, downstream from London sometimes written as the Palace of Pleasaunce was in Greenwich. It was the birthplace of King Henry VIII in 1491, and his two daughters. Apart from Queens House built in Stuart times , the palace was mostly demolished and Greenwich Hospital for navy pensioners was built in its place. This is now Greenwich University and Trinity College of music but much of this is open to the public, along with Queens house, and has been used in many films.


Bridewell Palace

Bridewell Palace is on the edge of the City of London was built as a residence of King Henry VIII and was one of his homes early in his reign for eight years.

The palace was built on the site of the medieval St Bride's Inn directly south of the Roman-origins (currently Christopher Wren rebuild) of St Bride's Church at a cost of £39,000 for Henry VIII who treated it as a main London residence 1515-1523. The palace stood on the banks of the River Fleet and extended down to the Thames. The papal delegation had preliminary meetings here in 1528 before advising the pope on whether the King could divorce Catherine of Aragon.

Bridewell Palace consisted of two brick-built courtyards, with the royal lodgings in three storeys around the inner courtyard. A grand processional staircase led to them from the outer courtyard. Bridewell was the first royal palace not to have a great hall and its staircase was a feature that recurs in Henry VIII's later residences. On the north side of the outer courtyard stood the kitchens and gatehouse. There was a long gallery (240 feet (73 m)) which connected the inner court with Blackfriars issuing out at Apothecaries Hall on Blackfriars Lane which formerly ran beyond its western façade.

The building was a project of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. After Wolsey's fall in 1530, the palace was leased to the French ambassador 1531-1539, and was the setting for Holbein's celebrated painting, The Ambassadors (1533).

In 1553, Edward VI, who succeeded HenryVIII, gave the palace over to the City of London for the housing of homeless children and for the punishment of "disorderly women". The City took full possession in 1556 and turned the site into a prison, hospital and workrooms. Most of the palace/prison was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and rebuilt in 1666-1667. In 1700 it became the first prison to appoint medical staff (a doctor).

There is a plaque on New Bridge Street, commemorating the site of the prison. The name "Bridewell" became synonymous with large prisons


Richmond Palace

Richmond Palace was a royal residence in the southwest (then Surrey). It was located on the bank of the River Thames, upstream of the Palace of Westminster, to which it lay 9 miles (14 km) southwest. It was erected 1501 with in the royal manor of Sheen, by Henry VIII father, Henry VII. Unfortunately only the gate house remains. It was passed around and demolished for the wealth of its parts during Olivier Cromwell's commonwealth.


St. James's Palace

Nearby was another of Henry palaces St. James's Palace, which is still a working palace and contains within its environs the official London residences of The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry. Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, stayed there the night after her coronation. Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, whom he contemplated recognising as his heir, was living in the Palace when he died at the age of seventeen in 1536.

Henry VIII built the palace, mostly between 1531 and 1536, on the site of the Hospital of St. James, Westminster. Much survives of the red-brick building erected by Henry VIII, including the spectacular Chapel Royal, the gatehouse, some turrets and two surviving Tudor rooms in the State apartments. . The great Tudor Gatehouse at the southern end of St. James's Street still bears Henry VIII's royal cypher HR, surmounted by his crown, above the original foot passages leading through to Colour Court. The initials HA (Henry and Anne) entwined in a lovers' knot appeared on a couple of Tudor fireplaces in the State apartments before Anne Boleyn was discarded following the birth of Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth in1933.

St. James's Palace and the Chapel Royal inside the palace is not accessible to the public. However some of the royal houses it holds are open in the summer for a limited period (when the royals mover to palaces in the countryside).


Hampton Court Palace

Henry VIII was as covetous as most Kings. It was both an honour and a gamble to invite a monarch to your estate. A large number of the Kings entourage and court accompanied them who you would somehow have to house and feed but the host gained the monarchs ear. A monarch could be suspicious if you looked too poor (were you hiding your wealth) or too rich (were you not paying enough taxes or were you withholding your duties to the crown). Worst of all the monarch might wonder why your castle was better than his. This was the case with Hampton Court to the West.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, bought the site in 1514 and finished the palace in 1525. Henry VIII stayed in the state apartments as Wolsey's guest immediately after their completion and often stayed at the palace which he coveted for its convenient location on the Thames not too far from the London and its wonderful hunting grounds. Eventually the King managed to grab it when he blaimed Wolsey for not being able to manage his divorce to his first Queen Catherine of Aragon to enable him to marry Anne Bolyen. Wolsey was forced to relinquish it to the King as a gift during the debacle when he lost the Kings favour and his enemies accused him of embezzlement of state funds and delaying the royal divorce. Wolsey died two years later in 1530. The king Hampton Court, York Place and most of Wolsey's possessions being passed to the bishopric of York or Wolsey's family ( he had secret wife as the clergy where supposed to be celibate),


NonSuch Palace

An even more magnificent palace was NonSuch Palace that Henry built in Cheam in the old parish of Surrey, a little south of London in the middle of another great hunting ground. It was built in Surrey after Henry destroyed the church and village of Cuddington, near Epsom. The greatest of Henry VIII's building enterprises. it stunning, there was supposed to be no such palace elsewhere that could equal to it in magnificence. The building was so grand that it inspired a foreign visitor to comment: 'This which no equal has in art or fame, Britons deservedly do Nonsuch name.

Begun in 1538 it took nine years to build a phenomenal amount for that time. The basic plan was inner and outer courtyards, each with a fortified gatehouse. Nonsuch was richly decorated and ornate to compete with his French rival Francis I's Chambord . The northern side was a more medieval-style fortification, while the southern face had the Renaissance decoration intended only for display. The south side had tall eight-sided towers at each end. It was completed at a cost of at least £24,000, (£104 million in 2009) because of its rich ornamentation.

Unfortunately it wasn't finished before Henry died. It was passed around and eventually was pulled down. Ruins of some of the walls remain in Cheam's Nonsuch Park and some of the palaces archeology was saved in the British museum.


The Palace of Westminster and The Palace of Whitehall

There is some confusion about the Palace of Westminster and Palace of Whitehall. Sometimes the usage is interchangeable but hey are really not the same. It is best to think of them begin located on either side of the current of the north side of Westminster bridge road, with the Palace of Westminster being located on the west side and Palace of Whitehall on the east side. The Palace of Westminster was the original royal palace in the area the Palace of Whitehall came later. The Palace of Westminster had been the main London residence of the king since 1049, by the 13th century, the Palace of Westminster had become the centre of government by the monarch in England. The surrounding area became a very popular, and expensive, location. Which lead to the area on the east side of the Westminster Bridge Road becoming populated.

The Palace of Westminster.

The Palace of Westminster was located on Thorney Island in the area of and eyot (or small island)was formed by rivulets of the River Tyburn, on the Thames, upstream of mediaeval London, where Westminster Abbey and today's Palace of Westminster (commonly known as the Houses of Parliament) were built. The first royal palace was built on the site in the eleventh century, and Westminster was the primary London residence of the Kings of England until a fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512. After that, it served as the home of Parliament, which had been meeting there since the thirteenth century, and the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. Charles I was tried in Westminster Hall. In 1834, an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt Houses of Parliament, and the only structures of significance to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the House of Parliament and the Jewel Tower opposite. Westminster Hall and the Jewel Tower are open to the public and the Cloisters of St Stephen's , the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft maybe open to specialist groups on application to the Houses of Parliament.

The Palace of Whitehall

The surrounding area of the Palace of Westminster became a very popular, and expensive, location. The nucleus of Whitehall Palace was York Place, which for three centuries had been the London residence of the archbishops of York. The archbishop of York Walter de Grey bought a property in the area near the Palace of Westminster as his London residence soon after 1240, calling it York Place. Edward I of England stayed at the property on several occasions while work was carried out at Westminster Palace nearby, and enlarged the building to accommodate his entourage. York Place was eventually obtained by Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York. He rebuilt and expanded it on a magnificent scale so much in the 15th century that it was rivaled by only Lambeth Palace (on the other south side of the river) as the greatest house in London, the king's London palaces included

In 1529 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey fell from favour. The king's stripped him of all his assets in the south of England, including the Archbishop's town house, York Place London palaces included. York Place was the most important, because the old royal palace at Westminster had been destroyed by fire in 1512 and Henry had been staying at Lambeth Palace as a substitute. Henry took over York Place, and finally had a kingly residence in Westminster. He inspected its treasures in the company of Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII married two of his wives at the palace-Anne Boleyn in 1533 and Jane Seymour in 1536. It was also at the palace that the King died in January 1547.

Henry VIII bought neighboring property and embarked on an ambitious building program redesigning York Place, and further extended and rebuilt the palace during his lifetime. Henry London's new palace acquired the name Whitehall. The phrase Whitehall or White Hall is first recorded in 1532; it had its origins in the white stone used for the buildings. The core of Wolsey's mansion, the Great Hall (1528), was retained and became the principal setting for banquets and plays during the Tudor period. Henry VIII also inherited the Chapel Royal, which adjoined the Great Hall on the river side, and the vaulted wine cellars, which are the oldest surviving remains.

The Whitehall Palace was divided, physically and functionally, into two distinct sections: on the east or river side lay the main buildings, while on the west or park side were the entertainment or pleasure buildings. This occured because Henry VIII acquired a large plot of land opposite his new palace (the old York Place). Through the centre of the palace ran a public road called the Street, later known simply as Whitehall. At either end Henry ordered the construction of two monumental gatehouses. The street was spanned by two splendid gateways, the King Street Gate and Holbein Gate, which enabled members of the court to pass from St James's Park to the palace without crossing the public road. The Holbein Gate to the north was a three-storey structure in a chequered pattern of stone and flint, adorned with portrait medallions probably by Giovanni da Maiano. On the east side of the street where the main buildings of the palace, including the great hall, chapel and royal apartments, stretched from the site of the present Banqueting House down to the river. Inspired by Richmond Palace the new west side also included a recreation centre with a bowling green, indoor tennis court, a pit for cock fighting (now the site of the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall) and a tiltyard for jousting tournaments (now the site of Horse Guards Parade) and a bear pit. Some great maps exist of the Palace of Whitehall.

It is estimated that over £30,000 (approaching £11m in 2007)were spent during the 1540s, 50% more than the construction of the entire Bridewell Palace.

At its most expansive, the palace extended over much of the area currently bordered by Northumberland Avenue in the north; to Downing Street and nearly to Derby Gate in the south; and from roughly the elevations of the current buildings facing Horse Guards Road in the west, to the then banks of the river Thames in the east (the construction of Victoria Embankment has since reclaimed more land from the Thames). On Henry VIII's death the palace covered 23 acres and was the largest royal palace in Europe. It was for much of its existence the largest of the English sovereign's residences. The Whitehall Palace covered a greater area than the Palace of Versailles, but unlike its rationally planned French counterpart, the sequential manner of building over the decades without a master-plan gave Whitehall Palace a random appearance. Although externally the palace might have lacked grandeur, its interior was considered sumptuous.

By the late 1600s the palace had become the largest and most complex in Europe. On 10 April 1691 a fire broke out in the much-renovated apartment of the Duchess of Portsmouth that damaged the older palace structures. There is a record of another fire on January 2nd, 1698. The banqueting house (originally built in Elizabeth the first reign in 1581 and rebuilt after a fire in 1619) is the only part of the Palace of Whitehall that still remains (and is open to the public) but that was built by James 1st.

Beginning in 1938, the east side of the site was redeveloped with the building now housing the Ministry of Defence. An undercroft from Wolsey's Great Chamber, now known as Henry VIII's Wine Cellar, a fine example of a Tudor brick-vaulted roof some 70 feet (21.3 m) long and 30 feet (9.1 m) wide, was found to interfere not just with the plan for the new building but also with the proposed route for Horse Guards Avenue. Following a request from Queen Mary in 1938 and a promise in Parliament, provision was made for the preservation of the cellar. It was encased in steel and concrete and relocated nine feet to the west and nearly 19 feet (5.8 m) deeper in 1949, when building was resumed at the site after World War II and it now rests within the basement of the building. (wikipedia) It was open to the vetted public on rare occasions such as Open house in September but after September the 11th and the London bombings of July 7th this practice was sadly stopped.

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