Kings Langley Palace

Kings Langley Palace

Site of the Kings Langley Palace

Kings Langley Palace was a 13th-century Royal Palace located at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. The site is a scheduled ancient monument.[1]


In 1299 King Edward I summoned the Bishop of Norwich to Kings Langley Palace so providing the first evidence of its existence.[2] Edward of Carnarvon, later Edward II, when Prince of Wales, spent considerable stretches of time at his manor of Langley.[3] In the former Dominican priory established in 1308 as King's Langley Priory and built by Edward II in the park of his manor at "King's Langley" adjacent to the palace, the king reburied his beloved Piers Gaveston in January 1315; no traces of the monastery church or Gaveston's tomb remain.[4]

In 1349 when the Black Death was rife in London, Edward III moved his Court there,[2] where his younger son Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York had been born in 1341 and drew his name from the manor; later King Richard II celebrated Christmas there.[2] The Palace was damaged by a serious fire in 1431[5] and the last evidence of its use for official occasions was in 1476 when William Wallingford, Abbot of St. Albans, held a banquet there for the Bishop of Llandaff.[2]

The manor was transferred to Eton College but reverted to the Crown, for Henry VIII conveyed it upon Catherine of Aragon, whom he was about to marry. John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford. was given custody of the royal park at Kings Langley, one of many perquisites he accumulated at the court of Henry VIII.[6]

The gatehouse and parts of the main building were still standing in 1591,[2] though it was reported in 1895 "at Kings Langley some outer walls only exist of the once royal palace, erected by Henry III."[7] The site is now occupied by the Rudolf Steiner School.[5] A small display case of items from the Palace era recovered during excavation can be seen in the school entrance hall.

Buildings from King's Langley Priory remain in use today by the Steiner School.[8]


The Palace had a triple courtyard layout.[9] It appears from excavations that the Palace also had a huge underground wine cellar.[5][10]


  1. ^ "1005252 - The National Hertitage List for England". 
  2. ^ a b c d e British History on line
  3. ^ May McKusack, The Fourteenth Century (Oxford History of England) 1959.2.
  4. ^ Walter Phelps Dodge, Piers Gaveston: a chapter of early constitutional history, 1899:179; May Kusack, The Fourteenth Century (Oxford History of England) 1959:47; D.S. Neal, "Excavations at the palace and priory of King's Langley", Hertfordshire Archaeology, 1971.
  5. ^ a b c "Kings Langley Palace". The Dacorum Heritage Trust. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ Hugh Prince, Parks in Hertfordshire Since 1500, 2008:16.
  7. ^ Murray's Handbook for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Huntingdonshire, 1895.
  8. ^ Lionel M, Munby, The History of Kings Langley
  9. ^ Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300-1500: East Anglia By Anthony Emery Page 186 Published by Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-521-58132-5
  10. ^ The archaeology of the medieval English monarchy By John Steane Page 86 Published by Routledge, 1998, ISBN 978-0-415-19788-5