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King John's Palace, Benfleet

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Thurdersley Park; King's Mead

In the civil parish of Castle Point District.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ785885
Latitude 51.56737° Longitude 0.57538°

King John's Palace, Benfleet has been described as a Palace although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


In 1068 the ‘Suen’ (Sweyne) family, who were wealthy landowners in the Rayleigh area, were granted the Manor of Thundersley by William I, ‘until the disgrace of Suen’s grandson, Henry of Essex, who forfeited the Manor due to cowardice in battle’(Priestley, H. E. & Phillips, W. T. A History of Benfleet, Book Two, Modern Times, pub. Castle Point District Council, 1984, p.98). It then reverted to the Crown, as royal parkland (hunting grounds). These lands had long been popular for hunting as wildlife proliferated on the wooded plains and ridges, and King John (reigned 1199 – 1216) in particular used to hunt in Thundersley. The hunting lodges were Jarvis Hall (probably what is now the old barn), and King John’s palace, the site of which is thought to be down Kingston Way (Hallmann, R. Thundersley and Dawes Heath, a History, pub. The Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive, 2015, p.14). (The History of Thundersley Hall By Pamela-Jeanetta Bird Gaines on Benfleet Community Archive)

Gatehouse has been unable to identify the primary sources for the Benfleet hunting lodges or the evidence for suggesting these were at the given locations. Not mentioned at all in the authoritative History of the King's Works. Not recorded in archaeological databases.
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This record last updated 27/08/2017 07:08:22

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