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Hamstead Marshall Palace

In the civil parish of Hamstead Marshall.
In the historic county of Berkshire.
Modern Authority of West Berkshire.
1974 county of Berkshire.
Medieval County of Berkshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU41946665
Latitude 51.39734° Longitude -1.39853°

Hamstead Marshall Palace has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


The mansion in Hamstead Park was built in 1663 and destroyed by fire in 1718. It had replaced an earlier building, itself apparently a rebuilding, c.1590, of an existing house, and possibly reconstructed c.1620. Some of the cellars and part of the foundations of the later 17thC. house are said to remain below ground, the only remains above are a large walled garden with terraces, and eight pairs of entrance piers, some in the garden wall and some in the park. A ninth pair was removed to serve as an entrance to Benham Park (SU 44 67) (VCH).
The illustration in the V.C.H., on engraving by Kyp of c1700, shows plainly that the house was centred at SU 4194 6665. There are no remains of it, and the ground-plan cannot be traced (F1 GHP 09-OCT-63).
The site of the mansion and formal gardens was seen as cropmarks and earthworks and mapped from good quality air photographs. The garden layout is clearly visible on the photographs and it is possible to identify individual parterres, flower beds and paths. The precise position of the house was previously known from documentary sources, on the photographs however, all that was visible was a large area of contrasting dark and light soil, presumably formed from the spread of rubble associated with the collapsed building (Morph No. BE.19.19.1-6) (St Joseph Air Photographs CPS 10 & 11 (15/10/82)).
The earliest records of a manor house here date to 1345 when Edward III received it on the death of its former owner, William of Montacute. In 1361 it passed to Edward's daughter, Isabella as a dower house (HKW). (PastScape)

Royal manor from 1345 to 1361 and used as an occasional residence by Edward III, granted as a dower house to Isabella, daughter of Edward II, in 1361. The manor house had belonged to Earl Marshal and had been of some importance before the acquisition by the crown. A 'great gate' and a 'chamber within the gate' is mentioned in 1298-9, so possibly fortified with a gatehouse.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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