Fulham Palace

With quite a delay, finally, I found time to tell all about the sites I saw in London during my three months there. Besides the world famous ones, I will tell you about many other, not so popular but truly worth your time.

Fulham Palace was owned by the Bishops of London for over 1,300 years and was their country home from the 11th century.  As bishops were called ‘Princes of the Church’ the estate became known as Fulham Palace.

During the mid-13th century the original manor house was abandoned. The foundations of the current house start at this time. Over the past 750 years the house has evolved as different Bishops carried out building works, from remodelling the great hall to demolishing the Tudor state wing.  This has created an interesting mixture of architectural styles which reflect changing fashions and the differing needs of the Bishops and their families.

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Fulham Palace has always been a place of refuge. The Bishops of London used the Palace primarily as a summer retreat away from the crowded and dirty city. It was also a place to entertain important visitors, including royalty. Queen Elizabeth I was guest of honour at a lavish banquet in 1601. Over 150 years later King George III was treated to a simpler affair — breakfast.

After the English Reformation in the 16th century clergy were allowed to marry and Fulham Palace became a family home. In the 19th century the Bishops and their wives began to share the house and garden more with the community, hosting large parties and church pageants.

During the World Wars, Fulham Palace was a refuge for more than the Bishops and their families. In 1918 a hospital for wounded soldiers occupied much of the house. During the Blitz in 1940 two hundred people stayed for several nights after their homes were destroyed by bombs.

Bishop Stopford was the final Bishop of London to live here, leaving in 1973. The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham ran the site until April 2011, when the independent charity Fulham Palace Trust was formed and took over the management of the estate.  Now Fulham Palace is being restored to its former glory.

The house is a mixture of different architectural styles. Each reveals the changing tastes and needs of the Bishops and their families.

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The botanic garden at Fulham Palace is 13 acres of stunning plantings, rare trees and a beautiful walled garden.

The garden at Fulham Palace has changed dramatically over the centuries. Its history reflects the wealth, power and interests of the Bishops who lived here.

Always an important part of the estate, the garden was a source of food, a place for leisure and a haven from the wider world. Some Bishops were passionate about the garden, spending a great deal of time and money on its development. Others had very little interest.Today’s garden layout is greatly influenced by the changes Bishop Terrick made in the late 18th century. He relandscaped the garden to take advantage of the river views and created the current walled garden, incorporating an earlier Tudor wall.

The visit is free but you can leave 5 pounds donation.

Over the centuries parts of the estate were sold or donated for public use, including the land for Bishop’s Park and the neighbouring allotments.

The way to the palace goes by the Thames and the Putney Bridge. You can admire gorgeous views and the river and a beautiful old church near the bridge.

Stay tuned and don’t stop travelling!

Author: marinelapetrunova

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