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Worcester House, Stepney Green

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
King John's Palace; King John's Tower

In the civil parish of Tower Hamlets.
In the historic county of London and Middlesex.
Modern Authority of London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
1974 county of Greater London.
Medieval County of Middlesex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ35808168
Latitude 51.51777° Longitude -0.04411°

Worcester House, Stepney Green has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a Palace although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


King John's Palace (Worcester House) had a imposing gateway of the early 16th century and this, or another house to the north-west, may have been Fenne's great place, let to Lord Darcy in the 1520s. (VCH)

Trial trenches were opened in a limited excavation of the former Worcester House (the London home of the Marquis of Worcester) which was built in the late 16th c. The distinctive semi-octagonal W tower of the gatehouse, depicted In an illustration of 1790, was uncovered, as well as a range of other buildings constructed from soft red bricks set in yellow mortar. The buildings appear to have remained unchanged, or slightly modified, between the late 16th c and 1858 when they were demolished to make way for housing. (Richardson 1985)

Nearly opposite the rectory was a large mansion belonging, to Henry, the first Marquis of Worcester, as appears from a deed, bearing date 1663. It was then divided into four messuages. The gateway, which is esteemed a very fine piece of brick-work, still remains. In 1663, it was in the tenure of the Rev. Matthew Mead, an eminent dissenting divine. Here his son Richard, the celebrated physician, was born; and here, as is recorded in his life, he first commenced the practice of his profession. (Lyson 1795)

Grand noble house built in a the fashionable style of the early C16 with some fortified features, such as a crenellated gatehouse. One of numerous such noble palatial houses giving access to the elite London markets and entertainments and to the Royal Court at Westminster.
Another 'King John's Palace' once stood at Oldford in Stratford-le-Bow (TQ371837) this was, it seems, a fairly modest building. Another 'King John's Palace' was a modest house in Hackney. It appears Cockneys were remarkably unimaginative when attributing builders to an old building.
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This record last updated 27/08/2017 07:00:35

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