Oatlands Palace


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Oatlands Palace
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Elmbridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 07888 65169

Reasons for Designation

Oatlands forms part of a group of broadly contemporary royal palaces, including Hampton Court and Nonsuch, built around the south western periphery of London by Henry VIII. Although modelled around an existing, earlier house, the main planning of the palace displays a typically Tudor emphasis on symmetry, balance and order, ornamented by more fanciful architectural elements such as tall corner towers and lanterns. Oatlands was, however, unusual in that, unlike the contemporary grand residences with which it is associated, the majority of its buildings had gabled roofs without crenellated parapets, a departure from the standard, mock-militaristic style of much Tudor architecture. Although largely surviving in the form of below ground archaeological remains, Oatlands Palace is comparatively well documented by detailed building accounts, contemporary descriptions and illustrations. Archaeological excavation has confirmed that the monument retains important evidence relating to the original form, extent and occupation of the palace, and the medieval moated house which preceded it.


The monument includes the main courtyards and associated buildings of Oatlands Palace, situated on the southern bank of the River Thames at Weybridge, on the south western outskirts of modern metropolitan London. The palace, which survives in the form of below ground foundations, associated buried remains and restored ruins, was constructed mainly between 1537-45 for Henry VIII. Oatlands and its associated deer park lay within the newly-created royal hunting forest known as the Honour of Hampton Court, also served by Nonsuch Palace 13km to the east at Ewell, and centred on Hampton Court Palace less than 1km to the north east. The new chase and royal residences were close to the capital because the ageing King's deteriorating health prevented him from travelling to his favourite hunting grounds in Oxfordshire. Although essentially a private royal residence, Oatlands was built on a grand scale around three main, adjoining quandrangular courtyards covering approximately 14ha. The palace builders utilised an existing moated manor house which occupied the north eastern end of the monument, purchased by the King from the Reed family. The earlier house dated to the 15th century and took the form of an irregular, north west-south east aligned island containing substantial buildings, including a hall and chapel, surrounded by an up to 12m wide, water-filled moat. Royal building accounts, supported and augmented by investigations carried out in 1968-71 and 1983-84, suggest that the first phase of palace building works involved the retention and repair of some existing structures, including the great hall and moat. During 1538 the surrounding ground was emparked, and work began on a new middle court to the south west of the old manor house, which now formed the inner court of the palace. The accommodation included separate lodgings for the visiting King and Queen, constructed of newly-fired red brick, along with masonry reused from the recently dissolved abbey at Chertsey. The original appearance of the palace, most of which was demolished during parliamentary rule in the 1650s, is recorded in contemporary illustrations, including views by Wyngaerde dating to the 1550s, by a now lost Elizabethan drawing reproduced in Manning and Bray's History of Surrey (1804-14), and in a descriptive survey of 1650. Access to the middle court was by way of an embattled inner gatehouse. The inner court was embellished with tall corner towers, an adjoining northern court and a formal walled privy garden on its sheltered, south eastern side. The medieval moat was infilled and the water diverted underground via a large brick-vaulted conduit which survives along the course of the south western arm of the moat. To the south west was the enclosed outer court, containing the detached kitchen block and the kitchen garden. A restored, 16th century brick-built carriage gateway with a tall, four-centred archway topped by a stepped parapet survives on the north western side of the outer court, along with some standing portions of the original enclosing wall. This incorporates a further, now-blocked entrance. The course of the enclosing wall is elsewhere represented by an up to 3m high brick wall which contains some reused Tudor bricks, but which has been dated mainly to the later post-medieval period. This later section of wall is excluded from the scheduling. All standing portions of the wall and the gateways are Listed Grade II. The foundations of a double stable block adjoin the outer court to the north west, and the 1983-84 investigations revealed traces of a small detached building, which has been interpreted as an associated banqueting house, close to its north western side. Elizabeth I often visited Oatlands, and building work carried out during her reign included an improved kitchen range and other domestic offices constructed along the south eastern wall of the outer court. James I also maintained the palace, and in 1603 the nine year old Prince Henry was moved here briefly from Windsor in order to avoid the plague. James I granted Oatlands to Queen Anne in 1611, and improvements, some of which were designed by the fashionable architect Inigo Jones, included the creation of a vineyard beyond the monument to the south east of the privy garden, the erection of a silkworm house and, in 1617, a new bakehouse. Charles I granted the palace to Queen Henrietta Maria in 1627. The palace remains have been partly disturbed by the construction of modern housing estates between the 1930s-1980s. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are: all modern residences, garages, outbuildings, garden features and structures, gates and fences, the modern surfaces of all roads, paths, hardstanding and paving, the electricity sub station and Girl Guide hall on Palace Drive, the later, standing south eastern sections of the enclosing wall of the outer court, which is Listed Grade II, and all modern street furniture and signs; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Colvin, H M, The History of the King's Works 1485-1660 , (1982)
Poulton, R, Oatlands Palace, (1984)
Cook, A, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in Oatlands Palace Excavations 1968 Interim Report, , Vol. 66, (1969), 1-9
Poulton, R, (1997)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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