The Bishops Palace, Somersham 6179

Somersham, England, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire

Brief Description

Features of The Bishops Palace included lakes, enclosed gardens, a deer park and an orchard.

History

The Bishops Palace was created in the early-12th century as an episcopal residence.

Detailed Description

In the early-12th century, the Bishop created elaborate gardens around his palace. Two large lakes supporting duck, swan and heron, one either side of the approach to the building, created an impressive first view. To the side small enclosed gardens were surrounded by a moat.

Behind the palace further gardens lay either side of a raised causeway, known as Lady's Walk, with views across various parts of the garden. Ornamental fishponds, a terraced walk with gardens, below, further raised walks, a small water garden and an orchard completed the layout which was surrounded by a large deer park.

The site is now farmed and apart from remains of brick walled gardens, there is little evidence of the former glory. However, aerial photographs show the outlines of the ponds, terraces and water gardens as cropmarks, and evidence of the spacious layout can be realised from the existing field boundaries.

Features
  • Orchard
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  • Garden Wall
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  • Garden Terrace
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  • Walk
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  • Lake
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  • Fishpond
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  • Palace (featured building)
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Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Somersham
History

Detailed History

The site of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Ely lies to the south of the village of Somersham. From the early-12th century, it became an episcopal residence of some importance, being relatively close to Ely and at the end of the first stage of most journeys made by the Bishops of Ely on their way to London.

Period

  • 12th Century
References

Contributors

  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust