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THE PALACE OF COLLYWESTON–NEW EXCAVATIONS

Collyweston is a small village in Northamptonshire, approximately three miles from the town of Stamford. It was not always so unassuming, however. In the 15th century there was a large fortified manor house that dominated Collyweston, of which today no trace remains above ground. The manor, sometimes known as ‘The Palace’ was first purchased by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, who fought with Henry V in France and later became a Yorkist supporter (he was probably at the first Battle of St Alban’s); his will was proved at Collyweston  after his death at South Wingfield, Derbyshire in 1456.

Later, in 1486, the property went to the Crown and was given to Margaret Beaufort for life. She enlarged it further and added to the park and gardens. It was leased off later on, and dismantling of the house began in the 1630’s. She also added to the church in the late 15th century, and ‘My Lady’s Chapel’ might have been named after her. There are also a pair of ‘mutilated beast gargoyles’ from Lady Margaret’s time–I dare say they are NOT meant to be her and Henry, unlike the pair of heads on the church in Langport.

New excavations hope to find the ground plan of the house, and the area it covered is  apparently so large it stretches into the back gardens of various properties throughout the village.

 

COLLYWESTON EXCAVATIONS

Below: Collyweston Church. The Palace gardens were just behind it.

colly

The History of Eltham Palace….

copyright Historic England - illustration by Peter Urmston - Eltham Palace

Copyright Historic England, illustration by Peter Urmston.

While browsing around, looking for a particular illustration of a medieval great hall, I happened upon the above picture, which is an imagining of the hall at Eltham Palace toward the end of the 15th century. I think, but can’t be sure, that the king seated splendidly at the far end is Edward IV. But it could be Richard III, or even (heaven forfend) Henry VII. The likelihood seems to be Edward.

This link will take you to an English Heritage site all about Eltham. It contains some wonderful illustrations, showing Eltham from the outside, and this view of the great hall. The whole site is well worth saving somewhere in your myriad files.

Richard at Eltham Palace - reduced

Of course, being a Ricardian, I am certain there is something essential missing from the gathering. So here it is again (mirrored for artistic reasons) with Richard himself to make it complete!

 

 

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