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Oatlands Palace

A Scheduled Monument in Weybridge Riverside, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.3754 / 51°22'31"N

Longitude: -0.4514 / 0°27'5"W

OS Eastings: 507879.550368

OS Northings: 165172.920083

OS Grid: TQ078651

Mapcode National: GBR 2B.4W1

Mapcode Global: VHFTY.4P6H

Entry Name: Oatlands Palace

Scheduled Date: 11 February 1981

Last Amended: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019192

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31394

County: Surrey

Electoral Ward/Division: Weybridge Riverside

Built-Up Area: Weybridge

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Weybridge

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument includes the main courtyards and associated buildings of Oatlands
Palace, situated on the southern bank of the River Thames at Weybridge, on the
south western outskirts of modern metropolitan London. The palace, which
survives in the form of below ground foundations, associated buried remains
and restored ruins, was constructed mainly between 1537-45 for Henry VIII.
Oatlands and its associated deer park lay within the newly-created royal
hunting forest known as the Honour of Hampton Court, also served by Nonsuch
Palace 13km to the east at Ewell, and centred on Hampton Court Palace less
than 1km to the north east. The new chase and royal residences were close to
the capital because the ageing King's deteriorating health prevented him from
travelling to his favourite hunting grounds in Oxfordshire.
Although essentially a private royal residence, Oatlands was built on a grand
scale around three main, adjoining quandrangular courtyards covering
approximately 14ha. The palace builders utilised an existing moated manor
house which occupied the north eastern end of the monument, purchased by the
King from the Reed family. The earlier house dated to the 15th century and
took the form of an irregular, north west-south east aligned island containing
substantial buildings, including a hall and chapel, surrounded by an up to 12m
wide, water-filled moat. Royal building accounts, supported and augmented by
investigations carried out in 1968-71 and 1983-84, suggest that the first
phase of palace building works involved the retention and repair of some
existing structures, including the great hall and moat. During 1538 the
surrounding ground was emparked, and work began on a new middle court to the
south west of the old manor house, which now formed the inner court of the
palace. The accommodation included separate lodgings for the visiting King and
Queen, constructed of newly-fired red brick, along with masonry reused from
the recently dissolved abbey at Chertsey. The original appearance of the
palace, most of which was demolished during parliamentary rule in the 1650s,
is recorded in contemporary illustrations, including views by Wyngaerde dating
to the 1550s, by a now lost Elizabethan drawing reproduced in Manning and
Bray's History of Surrey (1804-14), and in a descriptive survey of 1650.
Access to the middle court was by way of an embattled inner gatehouse. The
inner court was embellished with tall corner towers, an adjoining northern
court and a formal walled privy garden on its sheltered, south eastern side.
The medieval moat was infilled and the water diverted underground via a large
brick-vaulted conduit which survives along the course of the south western arm
of the moat. To the south west was the enclosed outer court, containing the
detached kitchen block and the kitchen garden. A restored, 16th century
brick-built carriage gateway with a tall, four-centred archway topped by a
stepped parapet survives on the north western side of the outer court, along
with some standing portions of the original enclosing wall. This incorporates
a further, now-blocked entrance. The course of the enclosing wall is elsewhere
represented by an up to 3m high brick wall which contains some reused Tudor
bricks, but which has been dated mainly to the later post-medieval period.
This later section of wall is excluded from the scheduling. All standing
portions of the wall and the gateways are Listed Grade II.
The foundations of a double stable block adjoin the outer court to the north
west, and the 1983-84 investigations revealed traces of a small detached
building, which has been interpreted as an associated banqueting house, close
to its north western side.
Elizabeth I often visited Oatlands, and building work carried out during
her reign included an improved kitchen range and other domestic offices
constructed along the south eastern wall of the outer court. James I also
maintained the palace, and in 1603 the nine year old Prince Henry was moved
here briefly from Windsor in order to avoid the plague. James I granted
Oatlands to Queen Anne in 1611, and improvements, some of which were designed
by the fashionable architect Inigo Jones, included the creation of a vineyard
beyond the monument to the south east of the privy garden, the erection of a
silkworm house and, in 1617, a new bakehouse. Charles I granted the palace to
Queen Henrietta Maria in 1627.
The palace remains have been partly disturbed by the construction of modern
housing estates between the 1930s-1980s.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are: all modern
residences, garages, outbuildings, garden features and structures, gates and
fences, the modern surfaces of all roads, paths, hardstanding and paving, the
electricity sub station and Girl Guide hall on Palace Drive, the later,
standing south eastern sections of the enclosing wall of the outer court,
which is Listed Grade II, and all modern street furniture and signs; the
ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Oatlands forms part of a group of broadly contemporary royal palaces,
including Hampton Court and Nonsuch, built around the south western periphery
of London by Henry VIII. Although modelled around an existing, earlier house,
the main planning of the palace displays a typically Tudor emphasis on
symmetry, balance and order, ornamented by more fanciful architectural
elements such as tall corner towers and lanterns. Oatlands was, however,
unusual in that, unlike the contemporary grand residences with which it is
associated, the majority of its buildings had gabled roofs without crenellated
parapets, a departure from the standard, mock-militaristic style of much Tudor
Although largely surviving in the form of below ground archaeological remains,
Oatlands Palace is comparatively well documented by detailed building
accounts, contemporary descriptions and illustrations. Archaeological
excavation has confirmed that the monument retains important evidence relating
to the original form, extent and occupation of the palace, and the medieval
moated house which preceded it.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colvin, H M, The History of the King's Works 1485-1660 , (1982)
Poulton, R, Oatlands Palace, (1984)
Cook, A, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in Oatlands Palace Excavations 1968 Interim Report, , Vol. 66, (1969), 1-9
Poulton, R, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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