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Biggin Abbey Bishops Palace

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Ditton; The Biggin

In the civil parish of Fen Ditton.
In the historic county of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely.
Modern Authority of Cambridgeshire.
1974 county of Cambridgeshire.
Medieval County of Cambridgeshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL48736171
Latitude 52.23392° Longitude 0.17661°

Biggin Abbey Bishops Palace has been described as a certain Palace.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.

Description

The summer residence of the bishops of Ely, later known as Biggin Abbey though never occupied by monks, stood on a formerly moated site in the north-west extension of the parish, opposite Bait's lock on the river Cam. During C13 and early C14 it provided successive bishops of Ely with a residence close to Cambridge. In 1276 Bishop Balsham was granted permission to enclose and crenellate the residence. Between the 1220s and 1320s kings passing through Fen Ditton on their way to Ely and East Anglia may sometimes have stayed at the bishop's mansion, as Henry III probably did in 1238, when he spent three days at Fen Ditton. Edward II was there for three weeks late in 1315. Bishops of Ely continued to visit Fen Ditton at times in the mid and late C14. The house, which was rebuilt in the late C14, consisted of a residential range of two storeys, and an additional building on the south side, possibly containing butteries. In 1478 Biggin was occupied by the bishop of Ely's physician. The Abbey was remodelled in C17 to include an internal chimney stack and a winding stone staircase. In 1768 the stonework was 'much going to decay'. In the late C20 clunch and freestone walls were rendered with cement. An adjacent C17 house of one storey with an attic had red brick walls and a gabled roof. (VCH, 2002)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1276 May 8 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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