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HHER Number:2771
Type of record:Building


Manorial house built by the Bishops of London, the present house being 16th century and later

Grid Reference:TL 430 197
Map Sheet:TL41NW
Parish:Much Hadham, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Types

  • BISHOPS PALACE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Events

  • Watching brief at Bishops Folly, Much Hadham, 1995 (Ref: 148)

Protected Status

  • Area of Archaeological Significance

Full description

The site of one of the Bishops of London's residences from the 10th-18th centuries. The present house dates from the 16th century, and traces of a large 16th century hall have survived both 17th century alterations (when the timber-framed building was encased in brick) and a fire in the 18th century, when part of it was rebuilt, and the remainder greatly altered. The building has since suffered further alterations and additions, notably its division into several properties in the 1950s <1, 5>.
<2> records that foundations of an earlier building are visible in dry weather as parchmarks on the front lawn; but no trace was found by <1>, noting that a resident believed the marks to be the outline of a former tennis court.
The Palace (adjacent to the parish church) was the manor house of Much Hadham, and the property of the Bishops of London until 1647, when it was sequestrated. It reverted to the Bishopric at the Restoration in 1660, and the Bishops, while reserving the right of residence, then leased the property to tenants. By 1817 and until 1863 the building was in use as a private lunatic asylum; in 1868 it passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who in 1888 sold it as a private house <3>. The 1879 OS map <7> shows the house and grounds in detail not long before this took place.
<5> provides a detailed inspection. Monitoring of works at the NE corner in 1995 found that the house footings stand on a bedding of possibly puddled clay on the surface of the brickearth subsoil <6>.

RCHM (England), 1911, Inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire, - p154 (Bibliographic reference). SHT9222.

<1> OS Records (Index). SHT8223.

<2> Wetherall, Mrs, 1903, The Palace, Much Hadham; Trans East Herts Archaeol Soc 2/2, 140-2, - p142 (Article in serial). SHT5805.

<3> Smith, J T, 1993, Hertfordshire houses: selective inventory, - p130 (Bibliographic reference). SHT16660.

<4> Listed Buildings description (Digital archive). SHT6690.

<5> Boniface, Stephen L, 2007, Palace House, Much Hadham, Herts: report in support of planning application (Unpublished document). SHT5378.

<6> Zeepvat, Bob, 1995, Bishops Folly, Much Hadham: a watching brief, RNO 331 (Report). SHT1460.

<7> OS 25 inch map, 1st edition, 1879 (Cartographic material). SHT8116.

Sources and further reading

---Bibliographic reference: RCHM (England). 1911. Inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire. - p154.
<1>Index: OS Records.
<2>Article in serial: Wetherall, Mrs. 1903. The Palace, Much Hadham; Trans East Herts Archaeol Soc 2/2, 140-2. - p142.
<3>Bibliographic reference: Smith, J T. 1993. Hertfordshire houses: selective inventory. - p130.
<4>Digital archive: Listed Buildings description.
<5>Unpublished document: Boniface, Stephen L. 2007. Palace House, Much Hadham, Herts: report in support of planning application.
<6>Report: Zeepvat, Bob. 1995. Bishops Folly, Much Hadham: a watching brief. watching brief. RNO 331.
<7>Cartographic material: OS 25 inch map, 1st edition. 1879.

Related records

31578Related to: The Palace Bothy, Much Hadham (Building)