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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester

Tour the City of Winchester
by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Bishop's Palace

The present Wolvesey Palace, sometimes known as the 'Bishop's House,' is the west wing of a much larger and grander mansion, mostly erected in the 1680s, at the instigation of Bishop Morley. The medievalism of Old Wolvesey Castle had become far too inconvenient for the prelate and it was all but demolished to provide stone for 'the most perfect and elegant...building of the city'. Only the medieval chapel was left standing to be incorporated into the new palace by its architect, Thomas Fitch (not Sir Christopher Wren as popular rumour would have us believe).

Unfortunately, subsequent Bishops of Winchester only occupied Wolvesey sparodically. In the 18th century, the house was almost totally neglected and, in 1786, it was decided to demolish the eastern and main south wings. What was left of the palace was put to a variety of uses until Bishop Woods had the place restored in 1927 and took up residence once more. It is still the home of the present Bishop of Winchester and is not open to the public. One is, however, afforded fine views from the gate or the path to Old Wolvesey Castle.

Next Stop: Wolvesey Castle

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