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 

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Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;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*.


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.).

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       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
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.
*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 09:19:31

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