The archbishops: Palaces and castles

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1801.

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Edward Hasted, 'The archbishops: Palaces and castles', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12, (Canterbury, 1801) pp. 524-525. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

Edward Hasted. "The archbishops: Palaces and castles", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12, (Canterbury, 1801) 524-525. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "The archbishops: Palaces and castles", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12, (Canterbury, 1801). 524-525. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,


BESIDES the most antient palace of the archbishopric at Canterbury, given to it at the first erection of it by Ethelbert, king of Kent, of which a full account has already been given before, there were many other stately mansions and castles belonging to the see, situated on the principal manors and estates of it; these were, those of Wrotham, Maidstone, Otford, Knoll in Sevenoke, Charing, Aldington, Saltwood, Tenham, Gillingham, Wingham, Ford, and Beaksborne, all in this county; Lambeth and Croydon, in Surry; and Mayfield and Slindon, in Suffex; most of which were large and stately palaces, fit for the reception of so eminent a personage and his numerous establishment; and though the several archbishops made choice of some one of these houses as a favourite place, in which they resided as their homestall, for a longer time than they did at the others, and consequently they laid out much cost in the improving and adorning the buildings of it more than of the others, yet they generally visited and sojourned for some time at most or all of them in their progress, indiscriminately, and this they were induced to do from the greatest part of the rents of these manors being paid in kind, such as corn, straw, poultry, eggs and other provisions, and which from the former scarcity of money, could not easily be turned into specie, so that the whole was consumed by the archbishops with their suite, which at times consisted of knights, esquires and other attendants, to the number of two or three hundred on horseback, whilst they remained there, and by their families resident in them during the rest of the year. Of these palaces, with their adjoining royalties and manors, the archbishops continued possessed till the reign of king Henry VIII. who, looking with a jealous eye on these stately possessions, at different times stripped this see of many of them, as did king Edward VI. and queen Elizabeth of all of the rest, excepting the antient palace at Canterbury, those of Ford and Bekesborne, which were not so well worth their attention, and Croydon and Lambeth, of which only the last remains standing at this time, and is now the only archiepiscopal palace belonging to this see. Here the archbishop resides in general, keeping a stately household of officers and domestics attendant on him, suitable to his high rank and dignity; here his constant housekeeping, as well as his hospitality, is great and noble; as a part of which, during the time of the sitting of parliament, he keeps weekly a public day, on which he entertains at dinner such of the nobility, bishops, clergy and gentry, as come to pay their respects to him, who are in general very numerous, and are entertained by him with a costly plenty, and with a welcome decorum and courtesy, which so universally characterize his grace's behaviour.