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. Open to the public throughout the year it’s one of my favourite places to visit for a stroll when I’m down by the river.
There is much to date the land to the Roman occupation of London and even earlier. Fulham Palace itself has 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 pin arrival at the Tudor courtyard dating from 1495. Incidentally, 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 adjoining chapel, whilst remnants of the medieval period can be found with traces of a moat surrounding the property. Mostly filed in, it was once the longest domestic moat in London…
Once 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 neighbourhood do choose a bright day to see Fulham Palace at its very best. It’s well worth a look.
I recommend taking a picnic to the gardens and losing yourself in the pages of a book afterward…You’ll forget you are even in a city…
Discover more here.