This is the last daily post in the NaBloPoMo Challenge (what a name!) and I thought I would cheer myself up by remembering a beautiful Sunday, just a month ago.
Eltham Palace was a manor at the time of the Domesday Book, 1086, owned by the Bishop of Bayeux. By 1295 the owner was the Bishop of Durham who presented the manor house and the manor to the Prince of Wales, later Edward II. It remained a royal residence until the mid-1600s by which time it was in disrepair and the new owner, Colonel Nathaniel Rich, began to demolish the building. The palace was eventually in ruins, with the Great Hall used as a barn. After the Restoration the buildings reverted to the Crown. The Hall, moat and bridge still conjure up ancient times. (The roof of the Great Hall is, I believe, a false hammerbeam roof; details here; plan here.)
Just over the bridge, in Court Yard, the Lord Chancellor’s house, now divided into three.
The renaissance of Eltham Palace came when Stephen and Virginia Courtauld took over the lease in 1931, restoring the Hall, building a new house, and redesigning the garden.
The War Department and the army used the buildings between 1945 and 1995, when English Heritage took full responsibility for the maintenance of the Hall and the house which remain Crown property. It is hard to believe that this Palace is only 10.6 miles from St James’s Palace in the centre of London.
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