HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Waynefletes Tower, Waynfletes Tower

Hob Uid: 397606
Location :
Surrey
Elmbridge
Esher
Grid Ref : TQ1307965104
Summary : Wayneflete's Tower is the only surviving remains of the late 15th century Bishops palace and later Royal Palace of Esher. The site has been occupied since the 11th century and Bishop Wayneflete's palace was built on the site of an earlier medieval manor house. The palace was built around 1465-80, and was taken over by Cardinal Wolsey in 1529, who carried out various alterations. After his downfall, Henry VIII took possession of the palace in 1530 and it became one of his royal residences. The palace was used by Henry VIII and by Edward VI but during the reign of Queen Mary it was returned to the see of Winchester. Various alterations were subsequently made to the building, however in 1678, the whole building, apart from the tower, was demolished. The tower was the palace's gatehouse and is the only early structure that has survived. In 1729 William Kent built, for the statesman Henry Pelham, a new mansion on the site which incorporated the tower. Today (2009) the tower is a privately owned house.Wayneflete's Tower or gatehouse is three stories high with four-storeyed turrets. It is built of brick with stone dressings to the battlements and window surrounds. The tower contained a central vaulted hall with a heated room on the south side and a stair turret and a possible porter's lodge on the north. The central hall probably rose up through the first and second floors of the central and south bays of the building. Recent excavations by The Time Team have identified the layout of Wayneflete's original palace which included a curtain wall, a great hall, associated buildings such as kitchens and a large castle-like keep with octagonal corner turrets. The 1730s alterations to the surviving gatehouse by William Kent included the addition of three-storey wings either side of the gatehouse, however these were demolished in the early 19th century. His internal alterations in the gatehouse are early examples of the Rococo-Gothic style.
More information : TQ 13086510 Wayneflete's or Wolsey's Tower G.T.
TQ 13136541 Fish Pond T.I.
TQ 13026500 Bridge (remains of) T.I (1-2)

Wayneflete's Tower: originally the gatehouse and now the sole remains of Esher Palace, was erected 1470/80 by W.Wayneflete for the Bishop's of Winchester, and the rest of the complex was demolished c.1729. Alternatively known as Wolsey's Tower.

Excavation in 1912 revealed part of the buildings, see AO/LP/63/55 and an early stone wall which may be part of the Bishop's House, built at Esher c.1245.

A moat was not found, but a linear depression (7) TQ 13206530 to 13206516 was noted as a moat by the V.C.H. The Fish Pond was noted as 'The Olde Ponde' on the plan of 1606. See AO/LP/63/54 and the 'Bridge', (remains of) published on the 6" c.1870 may be connected with this site.
Scheduled. (3-7)

Wayneflete's or Wolsey's Tower, as described and in good condition. Now a private residence.(GPs AO/66/111/1 & 2). Fieldwork and the examination of old plans and illustrations, held by Winard, produced no evidence for a moat around the site. The site of the 1912 excavations has been built over; but recent development to the S. of the Tower revealed the foundations of the South wing or Chapel and adjoining walls. The remains of the wooden bridge, shown on an old illustration, can still be seen at low water at TQ 13026500.

'The Olde Pond' remains waterfilled. A leat which is still extant, was evidently used to supply the 'Pond Garden', shown on the 1606 plan as a moat-like feature containing further ponds, at TQ 13236567, but which has now been filled. The linear depression, noted by the V.C.H. as a moat, is clearly another leat or drain.

At TQ 13126548 are the remains of a brick and stone building 7.0m. x 5.0 m., which is most certainly the remains of the 'Fishing Temple' built by Kent c.1730(b). (8 - 9)

TQ 132652. Turner suggests fragmentary moat remains. (10)

Descheduled. (11)

The house, although called Esher Palace, was a manor house. Between 1538-1554 it was a royal possession. (12)

Until 1538 Esher was owned by the bishopric of Winchester. Wolsey became bishop of Winchester in 1529 and Esher became one of his residences and further embellished the palace built by Bishop Waynflete with a new gallery. Henry VIII took over the palace in 1530 and moved this new gallery to his residence at Whitehall Palace. He officially owned it from 1538 taking it over from Bishop Gardner. Esher became an appendage of Hampton Court and repairs were carried out between 1538 and 1545. After Queen Mary's accession to the throne she returned Esher to the see of Winchester. (13)

Wayneflete's Tower was formally the former gatehouse to Esher Place. It was built in 1475-80, probably by John Cowper for Bishop Waynefleet of Winchester and altered by William Kent for Henry Pelham 1729. It is made of red and blue brick in a diaper pattern. The tower is three storeys with four storied polygonal angle turrets. It has stone dressings to the battlements, string courses and window surrounds. The top part of the angle turrets was designed by Kent who also remodelled the ogee arched windows on the lower floors. Parts of the interior were remodelled with some of the earliest examples of Rococo-Gothic styles.
For a full description please refer to the source. (14)

An archaeological evaluation was undertaken by Channel 4's Time Team at Wayneflete Tower to investigate the site of the Esher Episcopi and the 15th century palace of the Bishops of Winchester. The evaluation aimed to locate the palace complex and to identify individual buildings within the palace grounds, and attempted to locate earlier 13th and 14th century structures built upon in the 15th century and any evidence of the later 18th century alterations to the site. The evaluation was unable to locate the extent of the complex of buildings associated with the palace of Esher or identify the Episcopal boundary of the estate, due to the size of the estate. A number of buildings of the palace complex were successfully identified. Evidence was revealed of the Keep, a covered walkway and domestic buildings relating to Wayneflete as well as a potentially 14th century Great Hall. Tree ring dating provided a potential construction date for the Tower of the mid 1460s.
Please see the source for full details. (15)

Wayneflete Tower takes its name from its 15th century builder, William Wayneflete, Provost of Eton, founder of Magdalen College, Oxford, Bishop of Winchester and Lord High Chancellor of England. The Tower was the former gatehouse to his large palace which was located on the banks of the River Mole in Surrey. The tower/gatehouse has been the central part of two later houses in the 17th and 18th centuries. There have been various subsequent owners of the building including: The Duke of Northumberland, Richard Drake (an Equerry to Queen Elizabeth I), a Governor of Jamaica (Sir Thomas Lynch) and a Prime Minister (Henry Pelham).
For more information on the gatehouse please visit the source's website. (16)

The tower that was originally built in the latter half of the 15th century as a massive gatehouse for William Wayneflete's Esher Palace. The site had been occupied since at least the 11th century, and the palace was built on the site of an existing medieval manor. The palace was demolished, with the exception of the tower, in 1678 and Henry Pelham built a new mansion on the site, incorporating the tower, in 1729.

Dating of the tower's construction was difficult to achieve however a date of 1462-1472 was arrived at from dendrochronological analysis. Esher Palace was therefore not really a Tudor palace at all, as it was built before the Tudor period but it was without a doubt the forerunner of the great Tudor palaces.
The Time Team's excavators were also able to identify the layout of Wayneflete's palace including a curtain wall, great hall and associated buildings such as kitchens. A large castle-like keep was also found with foundations of octagonal corner turrets. (17)




Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1869-71.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage Record Form Plan 17-JAN-1989
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Bulletin of the Surrey Archaeological Society
Source details : DJ Turner
Page(s) : 2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 120, SEP 1975
Source Number : 13
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 89-90
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Elmbridge, 14-AUG-1953
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Exploring Surreys Past. 2009. Waynefletes Tower, [Accessed 13-MAY-2009]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Wayneflete Tower. 2009. The Book, [Accessed 13-MAY-2009]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Channel 4. 2006. Time Team, The First Tudor Palace, [Accessed 13-MAY-2009]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details : Rev.J.K.Floyer
Page(s) : 69-79
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 32, 1919
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hawley CD. 1939. Waynflete's Tower
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Surrey: volume four
Source details :
Page(s) : 399
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Ancient monuments in England and Wales : list prepared by the Ministry of Works, corrected to 31st December 1960
Source details :
Page(s) : 87
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1896.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Oral inf.: Mr.F.A.Winard.(owner). and copy of 1606 plan held by him.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Country Life
Source details : May-59
Page(s) : 1077
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FGA 28-JAN-66
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built pre 1465
Monument End Date : 1465
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Manor House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Occupied 11thC
Monument End Date : 1100
Monument Start Date : 1001
Monument Type : Building
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1465-80
Monument End Date : 1480
Monument Start Date : 1465
Monument Type : Gatehouse, Bishops Palace, Great Hall, Curtain Wall, Keep, Kitchen
Evidence : Extant Building, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Altered 1529
Monument End Date : 1529
Monument Start Date : 1529
Monument Type : Bishops Palace, Gatehouse
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Change in function 1530
Monument End Date : 1530
Monument Start Date : 1530
Monument Type : Royal Palace
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Change in function 1553
Monument End Date : 1553
Monument Start Date : 1553
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Stuart
Display Date : Demolished 1678
Monument End Date : 1678
Monument Start Date : 1678
Monument Type : Bishops Palace
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Hanoverian
Display Date : Gatehouse rebuilt
Monument End Date : 1729
Monument Start Date : 1729
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 36698
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 286914
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SU 10
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Surrey)
External Cross Reference Number : 7371
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 16 NW 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 16 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-01-28
End Date : 1966-01-28
Associated Activities : INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : WAYNEFLETE TOWER, ESHER (TIME TEAM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31