Gallows Tamkin House, 242m south-west of Cardinal House.
Reasons for Designation
The provision of clean water has been seen as a public responsibility since early times. The earliest water-supply systems in Britain were built during the Roman period. Aqueducts supplied civil and military centres from wells, springs and impounded sources. Medieval water systems were constructed for monasteries as early as the twelfth century, and similar conduit systems were built for some medieval towns. Early supplies depended on gravitational flow from a spring to a conduit head. Conduits were pipes or channels used to convey and transport the water. Some conduits, such as that at Exeter in the 14th and 15th centuries, were laid underground, whilst others, such as Wells, ran in the street. The spring was sometimes covered by a conduit house; a small building used to help safeguard and regulate the supply. Tamkin houses could also be placed along the route of the conduit in order to provide access points, where sections of the water supply could be plugged off and isolated, to carry out repairs.
Despite some later repair work and restoration, Gallows Tamkin House survives well. It is of historic interest as part of the water supply system to a Tudor royal palace, which was technically sophisticated for its time. In comparison to an earlier conduit for Henry VII at Eltham, it provided water at a much higher pressure, allowing the provision of running water in Hampton Court at second floor level. The monument will contain archaeological information relating to the mid 16th century construction and engineering of the conduit as well as its subsequent use. It has group value with Coombe Conduit House, Gallows Conduit House and Ivy Conduit House, buildings that formed part of the same supply system, and Hampton Court, the royal palace which the conduit supplied.
This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 March 2015.
The monument includes a mid 16th century tamkin house and conduit, traditionally known as Gallows Tamkin, surviving as upstanding remains and below-ground remains. It is situated on a gentle south-west facing slope at Coombe Wood Golf Course, near Kingston Upon Thames.
The tamkin house was part of the water supply system for Hampton Court Palace, providing an access point for isolating part of the conduit during repair work. It is a single-storey red brick building with a gabled roof which is steeply pitched and tiled. The building is rectangular in plan and is about 2.7m long by 1.9m wide internally. The front (south) elevation has a restored four-centred stone archway and stone block jambs with a slit window above. Five steps lead into the interior, which has a floor constructed of roof tiles laid on edge. None of the original fixtures are visible. The brick walls have been partially restored.
Gallows Tamkin House was constructed in 1538-40 as part of a new conduit to provide Hampton Court Palace with water from springs at Coombe about 5km to the north-east. An existing conduit had been established at Hampton village by one of the previous owners, Sir Giles Daubeney or Thomas Wolsey. However following the acquisition of Hampton Court by King Henry VIII, there was need for a greater supply of water, maintained at a higher pressure. After the suppression of Merton Priory in 1538, land was set aside in upper Kingston for a new water supply system. A summary account covering the period 1538-45, mentions ‘charges of the condyte from Combhill’ and also a sum of £100 spent on the construction. The water was collected at the head of the springs in Coombe, in water tanks covered by secure brick buildings known as conduit houses. There were three conduit houses known as Coombe Conduit House, Gallows Conduit House, and Ivy Conduit House, all of which survive and form separate Scheduled Monuments. The water flowed under gravity in underground lead pipes to the Palace. The route of the pipes passed under the rivers Hogsmill and Thames via several tamkin houses. These were small brick buildings with stopcocks and expansion tanks that allowed part of the pipe to be isolated so leaks could be identified and repaired. Gallows Tamkin House is the only tamkin house still standing. There are records of repair work to the conduit in the early 17th century and early 18th century. In 1742 the Office of Works ordered a survey of the conduit and undertook a major overhaul to increase its efficiency. It continued to supply Hampton Court until 1876. Gallows Tamkin House was incorporated into the grounds of Coombe Wood Golf Course in 1904.
The upstanding remains are Grade II listed.