The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Sonning Bishops Palace

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sonnyng; Sunnyng

In the civil parish of Sonning.
In the historic county of Berkshire.
Modern Authority of Wokingham.
1974 county of Berkshire.
Medieval County of Berkshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU75467549
Latitude 51.47378° Longitude -0.91528°

Sonning Bishops Palace has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


Site of the palace of the Bishops of Salisbury, revealed by excavations in 1912-14. The earliest remains found dated to C13, with alterations in C14 and C15. The main building was moated on three sides and bounded to the north by the Thames. No surface remains are now visible. (PastScape)

A plan of the Bishops residence at Sonning was drawn up by Keyser and Brakespear following excavations at the site between 1912 and 1914. The earliest works found in-situ date from the 13th century, when the house would appear to have consisted of a range running parallel to and on the south bank of the Thames with a first floor hall, chapel and solar and kitchen and offices beneath. The building was enlarged in the 14th century, and in 1337 Bishop Robert Wyvill obtained a license to crenellate. The house was defended by a moat on three sides and by the river on the north. A new hall with porch and oriel was added to the thirteenth century block either in the 15th century or in the 14th century and remodelled in the 15th century. The great gatehouse was rebuilt in Henry VII's reign with the walls surrounding the forecourt, and possibly the water gate on the north. Little is known of the house following the manor of Sonning and Eye being given to the crown in 1574, but ultimately it seems to have been allowed to fall into decay and a new house built to the south-ward with the old materials. (Berkshire Archaeology HER)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1337 Aug 30 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1377 July 20.


Attached deer park from at least C12.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
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
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
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.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact