For over nine hundred years the Archbishop of Canterbury has used Lambeth Palace as his residence. In the late 1090's St Anselm became the first archbishop to make Lambeth, then a manor belonging to the monks of Rochester Cathedral priory, his London home. Since becoming the property of the archbishop in 1197, and apart from during the Commonwealth period in the mid-17th century, Lambeth has been used by him ever since. Indeed, probably nowhere else in England is there such a long continuity of use.
Over the centuries, various archbishops carried out much demolition and construction to Lambeth Palace. In 1490, under the supervision of Archbishop John Morton, large-scale building work to the archbishop's residences reached a peak. Probably the most famous tower at Lambeth, the great gatehouse, was built by Morton. A fine red-brick structure, it was used as a porter's lodging and prison, lodging chambers for the archbishops' staff and as the registry and 'evidence chamber' for the archbishops' prerogative court.
Remarkably, the porters' lodge is still in use as the porters'
lodge after more than five hundred years.
Serious damage was sufferred by the Palace during the Second World War. This was during the Blitz in 1940-01. Three
years later in July 1944, further damage was inflicted by the 'flying bombs' resulting in the chapel doors being blown
off their hinges. These 13th-century doors had already been hit and their final loss was a tragedy. By the end of the war much of
the Palace was in ruins but luckily the important manuscripts survived, though many books in Juxon's great hall were
|Back to Archbishop's Trail||Back to Homepage||Getting to Lambeth|