The Old Bishop’s Palace – Abandoned Castle Of England

Wolvesey Castle, also known as the Old Bishop’s Palace, is a charming little island located in the River Itchen. It was established around 970 as the official residence of the Bishop of Winchester, Æthelwold of Winchester. Over the years, the palace endured numerous conflicts and wars, including a siege by Empress Matilda during The Anarchy War. In response to the siege, Henry, the brother of the King of England, ordered the construction of a protective curtain wall to give the palace a more castle-like appearance. Sadly, this wall was later demolished after Henry’s passing.

Initially, the island consisted of the palace itself, which was later expanded with the addition of two halls by Norman bishop William Giffard and Henry of Blois, respectively. In 1684, Thomas Finch constructed another palace on the island for George Morley, but today only the west wing remains as the rest of the palace was demolished upon the order of Brownlow North.

When you observe the palace, you can witness the extent of the damage it suffered throughout its history. However, you’ll also notice that the residential halls were restored and remained in use until the 20th century. The only fully intact structure from the abandoned palace is the chapel, which continues to be used to this day. Additionally, you can spot the remnants of Winchester city walls in close proximity to the palace.

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