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Historical Tour of Old Palace

Croydon's oldest building is opening its doors to the public again later this month to give people a rare glimpse into its fascinating heritage.

The historical Old Palace School tours will be back by popular demand on October 24th and 25th 2001, offering visitors a chance to see the 1,000 year old site with their own eyes.

Now a school for girls, the Old Plalace of john Whitgift, in Croydon Old Town, is steeped in history and was once the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Records show that there was a house on the site in Saxon times and the Archbishops' connections with Croydon go back to at least 809AD.

Although nothing now remains of the Saxon building, part of the Norman house which replaced it can be seen on next week's tour.

The Domesday Book records show that in the 1080's the house and manor which it served belonged to Archbishop Lanfranc, an estate of nearly two thousand acres which was then valued at 27.

The rest of the house dates mostly from the 15th century. The Great Hall, built about 1450, has been described as one of the finest medieval halls in southern England. It remarkably survived the Civic War intact, the only one of its kind to do so.

The nearby Great Chamber, now called the Guard Room, is even older and dates back to around 1400.

Both the Chamber and the Hall can be seen on the tours next week, as well as the mid 15th century domestic Chapel.

Royalty have also been frequent visitors to Croydon Palace.

Our own Queen visited on two occasions with Prince Phillip - most recently for the Whitgift Foundation's 400th anniversary in 1996 - though the tradition is said to have started back in 1229 when Henry III made the first of his several recorded stays.

On one occasion he ordered three tonnes (756 gallons) of wine to be delivered to Croydon to coincide with his arrival for his three-day stay.

Other visiting monarchs include Henry VIII, who came to see Catherine of Aragon shortly before their marriage in 1509, and his daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

The room where Elizabeth used to sleep at the Palace can be seen on the tours.

For further information you can contact the Friends of Old Palace, on 0208-680-0467.

See also other articles about the palace on 23/08/2001 and 05/06/2002.

Last modified: 14th January 2013 - Copyright Canning and Clyde Residents Association
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