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Clipstone, King John's Palace

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Clipeston; Clypston; Clippestone; Clippeston

In the civil parish of Clipstone.
In the historic county of Nottinghamshire.
Modern Authority of Nottinghamshire.
1974 county of Nottinghamshire.
Medieval County of Nottinghamshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK60346477
Latitude 53.17653° Longitude -1.09875°

Clipstone, King John's Palace has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


A Royal residence before 1164. Rebuilt in stone c 1180, when it became the principal hunting lodge in Sherwood Forest. Documentary evidence of successive building phases, including royal chambers and chapels, a great hall, stables and gateway, and ruinous by 1525. Excavations in 1956 revealed the outline of a probably late 13th century building contemporary with the present standing remains, surrounded by a ditch and palisade, with a probably associated fish pond. The site has been very much disturbed by ploughing and stone robbing. Traces of earlier building, form no coherent plan, and there are only faint traces of rebuilding known to have taken place in the 14th/15th Century. Pottery finds range from 12th/13th to 15th/16th Century. A scatter of Roman pottery was also found on the site. (PastScape ref. Rahtz, 1960 and HKW)
The ruins stand in land atop a SE facing slope, and comprise in the main only the stone rubble core. No traces of the ditch are to be seen on the surface, and the fish pond to the E has now been filled in, apparently by the county council. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments–F1 BHS 25-MAR-74)

A large, important and significant palace of the Plantagenet kings. Unfortunately described as a 'hunting lodge' by Colvin in the History of the King's Works and by Rahtz which may have lead to its importance as a royal palace being overlooked.
Excavation by Time Team in 2011 found probable chapel foundations. Pottery expert Paul Blinkhorn pointed out the C15/C16 pottery finds were of drinking vessels only, with no cooking or eating vessels of this date. He associated these with the demolition of the buildings circa 1470-1530.
Outside of the scheduled area it is likely that standing medieval walls, incorporated into more modern houses in the village, represent the recorded gatehouse.
The Wikipedia entry as of 14 July 2012 (mainly authored by archaeologist James Wright) is an outstanding online resource and should be consulted. It is likely (if not maliciously interfered with) to remain the easiest to access quality resource until James Wright and Andy Gaunt can publish a monograph.
The promised monograph was be published June 2016 at A Palace For Our Kings
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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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 15/08/2017 15:56:51

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