Hampton Court Palace’s history uncovered
The recorded history of Hampton Court Palace could be about to change after archaeologists uncovered what they believe is the earliest surviving building on the site.
Teams working at the riverside palace found highly significant 13th and 14th century remains – including the largest medieval building, other than the Great Hall, constructed at the site earlier this month.
The discovery was made during the biggest excavation project ever undertaken at Hampton Court Palace by conservation and heritage charity Historic Royal Palaces, as part of a project to represent one of Henry VIII’s Tudor courtyards for the 500th anniversary of his accession to the throne in 2009.
The ruins, stone foundations and walls of a substantial medieval structure, were uncovered at Base Court, the primary and largest interior courtyard of the Tudor palace and are believed to date from around the mid 14th Century, making it the earliest building ever identified at Hampton Court.
Archaeologists are currently speculating as to what the buildings were and how they were used with suggestions they may have been a simple barn or possibly a hall or residential building that was part of the large manor of Hampton Court when the site was in the hands of Knights Hospitallers, a revered order of military monks.
And as well as the ruins a medieval water feature complete with 500 year old lead plumbing still in place has also been discovered by a team from Oxford Archaeology – who will continue to analyse and study the results with curators from Historic Royal Palaces after the excavations have finished.
And just for Halloween: Does anyone remember the Hampton Court Ghost?