Archbishop Warham’s palace at Otford

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Archbishop Warham’s palace at Otford

February 11 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Registration for this event is now closed but you can join us on YouTube live here.

Invironed aboute with Galeries and Towers’: Archbishop Warham’s palace at Otford

by Paul Drury FSA (President of the Society of Antiquaries of London)

William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury 1503-32, transformed his manor at Otford into a palatial residence of European standing. The physical evidence for his rebuilding of the medieval moated core by c1520 is archaeological, but around 1520-25 he added a huge outer court which partly survives to provide the architectural dimension. Recent studies have clarified the plan and form of Warham’s building, which arguably was intended to rival Hampton Court, but the two were very different in character. At Otford the core was very densely built on an expanded moat island, while the outer court was defined by double-storied galleries on an unprecedented scale, built in brick and timber-frame between brick towers, entirely late gothic in character.

Forcibly acquired by Henry VIII from Archbishop Cranmer, in 1601 Elizabeth I eventually sold Otford to the Sidney family, its hereditary keepers. It was demolished for its materials later in the 17th century, save for the north-west part of the outer court. It will be argued that its survival was due to it being the lodging assigned to the hereditary keepers, whose successive domestic adaptations before and after their purchase can be traced in the surviving fabric. This provides the context for John Thorpe’s sketch plan for (executed) alterations to the gatehouse, probably for Sir Robert Sidney c1606-18.

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February 11
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Society of Antiquaries of London
020 7479 7080
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