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Buckden Towers

Hob Uid: 363084
Location :
Cambridgeshire
Huntingdonshire
Buckden
Grid Ref : TL1925267713
Summary : Buckden Towers, now a Christian retreat and conference centre, was originally built as the residence of the Bishop of Lincoln and was listed as such in the Domesday Book in 1086. It is uncertain when it was first built, however most of the surviving buildings are 15th century but also include a Victorian house. The original Bishop's residence was rebuilt circa 1225 by Bishop Hugh de Wells while the great hall was built by Bishop Robert Grosseteste in 1235-54. In 1291 a fire destroyed most of these buildings of which stone foundations remain. The Great Tower was constructed by Bishop Rotherham in 1472-80 however Bishop John Russell (1480-94) was responsible for the majority of the rebuilding on the site including the inner and outer gatehouses and the enclosure walls. A new chapel was built under Bishop William Smith in 1495-1514. In the mid 17th century, a large part of the house was demolished under the Commonwealth. The house was restored on a smaller scale by Bishop Robert Sanderson (1660-63), however the great hall wasn't rebuilt. In 1838 half of the main buildings and part of the gatehouse were demolished and in 1842 the Palace was conveyed to the Vicar of Buckden and partly converted for use as a school. The Victorian house was built on the north side of the inner courtyard in 1872 by Arthur Wellington Marshall to the designs of Robert Edis. In World War I the house was used as a convalescent hospital and in 1919, it was sold to the historian, Dr Robert Holmes Edleston, who spent much time reconstructing parts of the old Bishop's Palace. He also planned to rebuild the old chapel, but only the crypt was built and this survives as the Lady Chapel. During World War II evacuees from the London Blitz were housed at Buckden Towers which was subsequently converted for use as a hostel for agricultural workers. In 1956, it passed into the hands of the Claretian Missionaries for use as a seminary and in 1974 the St Claret Centre was opened for conferences and retreats.
More information : (TL 19246772) Buckden Palace (NR)
(TL 19296769) Chapel (NR) (Site of) (TI)
(TL 19396771) Fishpond (NR) (1)

Buckden Palace, formerly the seat of the Bishops of Lincoln. 13th c building, considerably rebuilt in 1472-94, a large part demolished during 1653-9; all that remains is the C15th. Great Tower, Curtain Wall and Inner Gate House. To the E of the main enclosure was a series of fishponds; these have been converted into one large pond. Grade I. 9/2.(2-3)

Buckden Palace is now a RC hospice (1971); there are many Victorian and later additions to the fabric but, where extant, the early work is in good condition. The published waterfilled "fishpond" is in its present form ornamental and probably Victorian. A modern chapel occupies the site of the md chapel. See annotated 25" and photographs. (4-5)

Site is scheduled Cambs 112. (5)

The Great Tower c15 listed Grade I
The Inner Gatehouse. Late c15. Listed Grade I
Curtain Wall to Buckden Palace. Late c15. Listed Grade I
Outer Gateway and Boundary Wall Listed Grade II* (6) [See below for online access to informatio nrelating to these designations]

The Buckden Palace complex includes the Great Tower, gatehouses, foundations, and a Victorian house. The manor belonged to the Bishops of Lincoln at the time of the Domesday Survey but it is uncertain when the first house was built. Bishop Hugh de Wells is said to have rebuilt a manor house circa 1225 and Bishop Robert Grosseteste (1235-54) is credited with building the great hall. In 1291 a fire destroyed most of the buildings of which stone foundations remain. The Great Tower was constructed by Bishop Rotherham (1472-80) but Bishop John Russell (1480-94) was responsible for the majority of the rebuilding on the site including the inner and outer gatehouses and the enclosure walls. A new chapel was built under Bishop William Smith (1495-1514). Under the Commonwealth a large part of the house including the great hall was demolished, but the house was restored on a smaller scale by Bishop Robert Sanderson (1660-63), the great hall, not being rebuilt. In 1838, with the importance of the Palace diminished, half of the main buildings and part of the gatehouse were to be demolished. In 1842 the Palace was conveyed to the vicar of Buckden and part of the main building was subsequently used as an elementary school. A Victorian house, now known as Buckden Towers, was built on the north side of the inner courtyard in 1872 by Arthur Wellington Marshall to a design by Robert Edis. At the same time the moat was completely filled in. During World War I the house was used as a convalescent hospital. In 1919, it was sold to the Durham historian, Dr Robert Holmes Edleston who spent much time reconstructing parts of the old Bishop's Palace including a plan to rebuild the old chapel but only the crypt was built and this survives as the Lady Chapel between the current Church of St Hugh of Lincoln and the Claret Chapel. During World War II the Towers was home to evacuees from the London Blitz and was subsequently used a hostel for agricultural workers. In 1956, it passed into the hands of the Claretian Missionaries for use as a seminary. The Claretians took possession in 1957 and embarked on restoration work including the building of a new chapel. In 1974 the St Claret Centre was opened for conferences and spiritual retreats and in 1988 an appeal was launched to restore and develop the whole complex. The Inner Gatehouse has been converted into six fully furnished self-catering apartments and a teashop. The Tower has been converted into dormitories, a dining room and a meeting room. The Outer Gatehouse now houses a book and souvenir shop.

Noted as a strong house by Cathcart King. (7)

The Great tower contains a single gunport. (8)

The Claret Centre is located at Buckden Towers. The website contains detailed historic information. (9)

Wikipedia describes the Claret Centre as a Christian retreat and conference centre. (10)

At time of recording in 2011, there is online access to information about the scheduling for Buckden Palace indicated in source 5 via the National Heritage List for England, including a map of the scheduled area. (11).

At time of recording in 2011, online access for the Listings for the following elements of Buckden Palace is avaialable via the National Heritage List for England: The Inner Gatehouse (source 12); The Great Tower (source 13); The Outer Gateway and Boundary Wall (source 14), the Curtain Wall (source 15).


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1958
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Huntingdonshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 34-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage 2011 'English Heritage: The National Heritage List for England' <> [Accessed 29-JUL-2011]
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage 2011 'English Heritage: The National Heritage List for England' <> [Accessed 29-JUL-2011]
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Source Number : 13
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage 2011 'English Heritage: The National Heritage List for England' <> [Accessed 29-JUL-2011]
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 14
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage 2011 'English Heritage: The National Heritage List for England' <> [Accessed 29-JUL-2011]
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 16
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : Article by MW Thompson: 'Buckden Palace'
Page(s) : 214-58
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 124, 1967
Source Number : 3
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : St Neots, AUG-1946
Page(s) : 1
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FDC 06-MAY-71
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) Record Form, 1976
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Huntingdonshire, 03-JUN-1983
Page(s) : 09-Nov
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1119
Source Number : 7
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 225
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Fort : the international journal of fortification and military architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 76
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 4, 1977
Source Number : 9
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Claret Centre, , [accessed 16-JUL-2009]
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Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Buckden Towers - Wikipedia, , [accessed 16-JUL-2009]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Recorded 1086
Monument End Date : 1086
Monument Start Date : 1086
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt c1225
Monument End Date : 1235
Monument Start Date : 1215
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : From 1842
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1842
Monument Type : Elementary School
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Built 1872
Monument End Date : 1872
Monument Start Date : 1872
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : From 1919
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1919
Monument Type : Chapel
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : World War I
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Convalescent Hospital
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : After WWII
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1945
Monument Type : Farm Labourers Cottage
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : 1956
Monument End Date : 1956
Monument Start Date : 1956
Monument Type : Theological College
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Built 1957
Monument End Date : 1957
Monument Start Date : 1957
Monument Type : Chapel
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : During WWII
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Evacuee Centre
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Opened 1974
Monument End Date : 1974
Monument Start Date : 1974
Monument Type : Retreat, Conference Centre
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : From 1988
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1988
Monument Type : Apartment, Tea House, Meeting Hall, Dormitory, Refectory, Shop, Retreat
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1235-54
Monument End Date : 1254
Monument Start Date : 1235
Monument Type : Great Hall
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Destroyed by fire 1291
Monument End Date : 1291
Monument Start Date : 1291
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1472-80
Monument End Date : 1480
Monument Start Date : 1472
Monument Type : Tower
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt 1480-84
Monument End Date : 1494
Monument Start Date : 1480
Monument Type : Gatehouse, Wall
Evidence : Extant Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Stuart
Display Date : Partially demolished 1649-1653
Monument End Date : 1653
Monument Start Date : 1649
Monument Type : Bishops Palace, Great Hall
Evidence : Extant Building, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Stuart
Display Date : Partially restored 1660-63
Monument End Date : 1663
Monument Start Date : 1660
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Possibly Victorian
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1837
Monument Type : Fishpond
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Partly demolished 1838
Monument End Date : 1838
Monument Start Date : 1838
Monument Type : Bishops Palace, Gatehouse
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 54296
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CB 112
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 87871
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 54294
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 54295
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 54297
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 54298
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1006855
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1130290
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1130324
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1161771
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1330444
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 16 NE 9
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 16 NE 9
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1971-05-06
End Date : 1971-05-06
Associated Activities : Primary, BUCKDEN TOWER
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31