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Langley Hunting Lodge

In the civil parish of Leafield.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP295155
Latitude 51.83742° Longitude -1.57282°

Langley Hunting Lodge has been described as a probable Palace.

There are no visible remains.

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


The royal hunting lodge at Langley forms a central component in the deer park of the ancient Wychwood Forest. It occupies the site of an earlier manor and well documented medieval village, the remains of which survive buried beneath later earthworks and structures. The hunting lodge has a documented connection with Henry VII and the activities of the English court over a period of nearly 200 years. Its location here directly affected the siting nearby of several manors, occupied by members of the court who wanted to live close-by when the king was in residence. The motte castle at Leafield is probably related to the defence of the royal court and its estate. Together, the hunting lodge, the motte at Leafield Barrow and associated manorial settlements, constitute an unusual group of related monuments representing social and political aspects of a medieval royal court.
The monument at Langley Farm includes the site of Langley Palace royal hunting lodge, partly enclosed by a bank to the west and north and, originally, to the east, a surrounding and probably earlier oval enclosure defined by a bank and ditch, part of an associated avenue and the earthwork remains of formal gardens. It also includes the buried remains of a manor and part of a medieval settlement which were recorded at the site but which were deserted and built over when the hunting lodge was constructed. The site lies south west of Leafield Barrow motte and immediately south of the Marconi signal station. The royal hunting lodge survives in part as a building incorporated into the fabric of the present Grade II-star Listed farmhouse; the two-storey bay window of the original hall, for instance, is still visible. The site of the lodge is further defined by a bank to the west and north, and originally to the east, delimiting an area some 35m wide and 75m long. This earthwork is thought to date to a major phase of rebuilding. It provided a raised walkway, up to 12m across and possibly accessible via a bridge from the first floor of the lodge, from which the surrounding formal gardens could have been viewed. Outside the bank to the north and west are the earthwork remains of formal gardens, surviving as a series of low banks and depressions up to 5m wide and 0.5m high. Those to the west are arranged along an avenue which is shown as the main access to the site on a map of 1855. This avenue continues as a slight earthwork for c.90m beyond the gardens remains. The core of the site is included within an oval enclosure originally defined by a bank and ditch. To the south, the line of the earthworks is buried beneath the modern road line. Elsewhere the bank can be traced in places up to 1m high and 3m wide and the ditch, largely infilled but surviving as a buried feature, as shallow depressions up to a 0.2m deep and 3m wide. This oval enclosure, measuring c.200m east-west by c.140m north-south, may have originally defended the lodge but could also date back to the earlier manor which existed on the site. From documentary records it is known that the early manor and associated village were deserted some time after 1450. In 1478 the manor passed into crown ownership and Henry VII had a royal hunting lodge built on the site. His initials can be seen carved on the soffit of the bay window in the present farmhouse, along with a Tudor rose. Further sculptured masonry from the site can be seen incorporated in the later cottages c.500m to the south east. The site continued to be used by the court until 1614 and remains in crown ownership. The present farmhouse was rebuilt in 1858, incorporating many elements of the earlier structures which it replaced. (Scheduling Report)
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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 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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