Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Croydon Palace was the summer residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for over 500 years, located in Croydon. Regular visitors included Queen Elizabeth I and Henry III. Now known as 'Old Palace', the buildings are still in use as the Old Palace School , an independent girls school of the Whitgift Foundation .
The Manor of Croydon was connected with the Archbishop of Canterbury from at least the late-Saxon period and record of buildings date back to before 960. The Palace as it now exists is a group of largely 15th and 16th century buildings. The 15th century Great Hall is thought to have been installed by Archbishop Stafford (d. 1452), with a late 14th century two-storey porch and a vaulted ceiling to the lower chamber. The hall interior has a rich 16th century timber roof and windows with interesting features.
West of the Hall are the state appartments, which include the first-floor "Guard Room", now the school library. The room is ascribed to Archbishop Arundel (1353–1414) and has an arch-braced roof with late 14th century carved stone supports. Other rooms have later panelling and fireplaces. The chapel has fine 17th century stalls and an elaborate corner gallery. The fine altar rails are now in the Guard Room. The exterior of the whole palace is of stone or red brick, with early stone windows or Georgian sash windows.
The connection of the Archbishops with Croydon was of great importance, with several being important local benefactors. Six are buried in Croydon Parish Church neighbouring the Palace: John Whitgift, Edmund Grindal, Gilbert Sheldon, William Wake, John Potter and Thomas Herring .
By the late 18th century, the Palace had become delapidated and uncomfortable and the local area was squalid. An Act of Parliament enabled Croydon Palace to be sold and Addington Palace on the outskirts of Croydon to be bought in 1807. This became the new summer residence for much of the rest of the 19th century.
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