What Exactly is Fulham Palace?

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A closer look at some of London’s most iconic landmarks and their origins…

A short walk from Putney Bridge station lies a majestic Grade I listed property that to some, still remains largely unknown. Especially strange given it lives on the doorstep of many Londoners.

Fulham Palace has roots dating back to 704 AD when the Bishops of London would use it as their country residence. It is so-known because bishops were considered ‘princes of the church’. The last bishop (Stopford) retired in the 1970’s, and the building is now in the hands of the Fulham Palace Trust, though it is still owned by the Church of England.

There is much to date the land the palace sits on to the Roman occupation of London. Fulham Palace itself has several historical influences from many periods of London’s history, which are fascinating to discover when visiting.

Firstly, there is a wonderful oak gate which greats you upon arrival before you enter into the Tudor courtyard, dating from 1495. Queen Elizabeth I dined in the Great Hall here in 1600 and 1602. She also received grapes from the garden’s Palace by Bishop Grindal (1559-1570).

Apart from the Tudor period, the Palace boasts examples of Georgian decor within its drawing rooms. Victorian architecture with the palaces’s adjoining chapel. Remnants of the medieval period can be found with surviving traces of a moat surrounding the property. Mostly filled in it was once the longest domestic moat in London.

One of the highlights of this wonderfully historic Palace are the 13 acre botanical gardens, once deemed one of the most important in Europe due to specimens brought from the colonies of Africa, India and North-America. The magnolia tree in the grounds (Magnolia virginiana) being one of the very first to be cultivated in Europe.

If you are in the neighborhood do choose a bright day to see Fulham Palace at its very best. It’s well worth a look. Afterward, I recommend taking a picnic to the gardens and losing yourself in the pages of a book. You’ll forget you are even in a city…

Discover more here.

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The Tudor West Courtyard – the earliest part of the surviving building. The fountain was installed much later (1885) by William Butterfield.

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When Bishop Porteus passed away in 1809 he left his book collection and paintings to the Palace to help fund a library.7E8A1AEE-3599-4EB6-B7A4-A45BCF084BBE

Bishop Blomfield’s invitation to the 1831 opening of London Bridge

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Coat of Arms of Bishop Juxon. The stone dates from 1636. It was found in the grounds of the Palace during the nineteenth century.
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The Tudor Gate, entrance to the knot garden. Note the Coat of Arms  belonging to Bishop Fitzjames (1506-22)

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The 13 acre botanical gardens at Fulham Palace

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All Saints Church Fulham viewed from within the restored Walled Garden

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