Elizabeth 1 and Nonsuch Palace – Part 1

Elizabeth 1 and Nonsuch Palace – Part 1

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This presentation started out as a short talk on the connection between Elizabeth 1 and a Royal Palace which I believe has relevance to a painting which hangs in Hampton Court Palace. This painting which I called the Pregnancy Portrait was the subject of my previous presentation. If you haven’t seen it do take a look. It is a beautiful and mysterious work and there is much still to be discovered about it.

As I researched it I became fascinated by the Palace itself and its history so I have divided the presentation into two. Part 1 is about the Palace and those who built and used it including Elizabeth. Part 2 is about some very special features of the garden.

Sadly the building no longer exists and details were known to only a few, by way of a couple of paintings and some written descriptions of those who had visited it.

Let me take you on a journey

In the late 1530’s Henry VIII planned a great hunting estate containing a palace which linked with Hampton Court, so that as he grew older and more infirm he wouldn’t have to undergo the discomfort of long journeys on horseback to indulge his favourite sport. It was also built to celebrate the birth of his longed for son Edward on 21 December 1537.

Henry VIII and son Edward

Above all else it was a vanity project. The aim being to produce a palace to rival anything in Europe in particular the Palace of Versailles which was being built at the same time. It was to become an emblem for the Tudor dynasty. An earthly link between Henry the man and Henry close to deity in his role as head of the church.

Below is a map of Surrey from that period. The city of London is top right and Hampton Court can be seen at the bend of the river. To the south east can be seen the village of Ewell.


Henry chose the manor of Cuddington at the foot of the North Downs. Both the clean air from the Downs and the abundant water nearby made the site attractive. The owners of the local manor house were evicted and the village including the church was razed to the ground. The nearby Merton Priory was suppressed a week before building began, dismantled and the stones used to build the foundations of the new building.

In all Henry had gained 2000 acres of land. On the site of Cuddington was built a Royal Palace so splendid that no other place could match it. It was called Nonsuch. Work started on the Palace on 22 April 1538, when an army of workmen started totally clearing the site.

The building work took about 9 years, employed an estimated 500 workmen and after just 7 years had cost £24,536 (about £10.3m at today’s prices). This was much more than Hampton Court Palace which cost approx £16,000 and was about 3 times the size of Nonsuch.

Our knowledge of the palace comes from a number of sources.

  1. The written accounts of several visitors during the 16th and 17th centuries, among them

Anthony Watson rector of Cheam 1580’s.
William Campden 1586.
Paul Hentzer 1598
Thomas Platter 1599

  1. Paintings and engravings of the building.

This is an engraving by Joris Hoefnagel made of an earlier painting. Looking north.

This is part of a map of Surrey drawn by John Speed in 1627. In the top right hand corner is a drawing of Nonsuch. Which is more of a cartographer’s impression than an artistic one.

This is a view from the North of the palace by an unknown Flemish artist from the early 17th century.

  1. Surviving documents, such as an inventory of the building and the gardens in the 16th century.

Below are artists impressions derived from sketches of some of the garden

ornaments within the palace gardens. These were made during an inventory of the palace in 1590.

  1. The results of a large scale excavation in 1959 by John Dent a local librarian which established the plan and exact dimensions of the site.

This was a huge undertaking. This aerial view is looking West across the excavation.This represents one half of the palace the other half being under the trees and the farm shown in the distance.

  1. Comparison of the decorative work with other Renaissance buildings in Europe worked on by the same craftsmen who worked on Nonsuch.

This exquisite plasterwork in the Chateau of Fontainebleau is the work of Francesco Primaticcio. His fellow artist Nicholas Bellin played a significant role in designing the ornamentation at Nonsuch.

The main staircase at Fontainebleau

5. The fifth source of information about the building came from the construction of the magnificent model of the building by professor Martin Biddle and his team.

Professor Biddle dedicated 50 years of his life to unravelling the mysteries of the palace.

The Completed Palace and Privy Garden.

The most likely candidate for the design of the palace is the king himself, aided by those who proposed solutions to the themes he wished to see expressed, or who refined and added to the proposals he had made.

Unfortunately he died before it was completed so the project was completed over many years by the Earl of Arundel. He in turn died in 1580, and his son in law Sir John Lumley who were custodians before it returned to the Crown in 1592.

The palace was approached by a long avenue alternating elm and walnut trees. The building was relatively small (only 330ft x 165ft. Less than a football pitch) and consisted of two rectangles joined together with an opening at one end and in the middle.

Below is the ground plan based on the 1959 excavations. The site of the pre-existing church at Cuddington can be seen and the kitchen block adjoining the palace on the eastern side.

The main gatehouse on the North Front gave the appearance of a fortified castle. There were four octagonal turrets one at each corner rising high above the battlemented walls. The lower walls were windowless The power and magnificence of the king set in stone. Directly in front of this there was a bowling green as you can see from the paining.

An archway opened onto the outer courtyard. The roof of the archway was shaped in such a way to greatly amplify the sound of those approaching. The aim being to create a dramatic musical entrance as the king arrived. Above the entrance on the inside was a huge sundial with the signs of the Zodiac and the figure of Father time. The rooms around this courtyard were for the palace staff,

but such was the monarch’s retinue that when the Court arrived many were housed in tents pitched by the entrance avenue, close to the bowling green in front of the palace.

Crossing the courtyard the visitor mounted eight steps perhaps signifying the rise of the monarchy to eight Henries. Passing through the opposite wing under the gatehouse gave entry to the inner courtyard.The sight which greeted the visitor was magnificent, unlike anything in the world.

Above the lower stone walls all four sides were covered with near life sized stucco reliefs in gleaming white, each surrounded by a carved slate frame covered in gold leaf. There was a King’s side on the right (west) and a Queens side on the left (east). The courtyard was adorned with fountains, statuary and carvings.

The reliefs were in three tiers. Around the top of the courtyard were 30 three-quarter life-size stucco sculptures of Roman rulers from Julius Caesar to Aemilianus. On the middle tier the King’s side had 16 Gods and the Queen’s side 16 Goddesses. Below these on the Kings side was the life of Hercules from the cradle to his death on Mount Oeta, and on the Queen’s the personification of the liberal arts and virtues. The figures were identified with mottoes, written in letters of gilded lead.

This is the centre of the south wall of the inner court as represented in the Nonsuch model. At the top is the row of Roman rulers.

Below this are the gods.

At the bottom are the labours of Hercules

Right in the middle of the south wall were vast figures of Henry VIII and his son Edward. Henry was setting himself up amongst the Gods, an apotheosis, by being head of the church he had been elevated to divine status.

The figures of the inner court were also there to instruct Edward in the qualities required of a Renaissance prince. At intervals along the walls were mottoes including “know thyself”.

The effect of the combination of the blinding white of the stuccoes and the gold of the frames was as though the courtyard was ablaze.

The gatehouse into the rear courtyard was far more elaborate than the one at the northern end of the building. It was the centre of the palace and its highest point. It had crenellated octagonal towers and three slender oriel windows on curved corbels. (Like a bay window which does not reach the ground). Above this was a magnificent sundial facing due south

On top of the tower was a clock and weather vanes. This in turn was surmounted by a belfry supported by pillars and a delicate cupola. At the corners of the ledges above and below the clock

were statues of the King’s Beasts. These were the mythical creatures which supported his coat of arms of which the King had at least 9.

The crowning glory of the whole building was the south face. There were two vast octagonal towers rising to 5 stories high and getting wider as they went up, both being surmounted by a cupola. The entire south face including the towers was covered in relief statues.

This watercolour was painted by Hoefnagel in 1582 to celebrate the arrival of the Queen

The decorative scheme was thus some 900 feet in length, with a minimum average height of 24 feet. It therefore covered a surface of some 21,600 square feet ( just under a third of a football pitch).

The number of panels has been estimated as around 700.

This watercolour by the same artist is dated 1562. The figures can clearly be seen on some of the panels.

Both the inner Court was a wooden framed building as were the huge towers. The trees used to construct them were so large that they proved extremely hard to transport them. The court was roofed in slate. In addition to the King and Queen’s apartments, there was a dining hall, a chapel and a long gallery between the two towers.

The building accounts for the early part of work still exist and reveal that German water engineers, French clockmakers and a Dutch carver were employed.

Stucco duro -the Whiteworks

Illustrated below are some fragments of the stucco unearthed in the 1959 excavations.

The technique for making the stucco figures involved adding water to a mixture of pulverised burnt chalk and burnt flint. It set as hard as stone, hence the term Stucco duro. They were constructed in high relief Alto Relievo

There neither is or has been any other building in the world which had adornment of this type or magnitude.

A wooden backing was added to the spaces in between the timbers of the walls and the relief built up using the wet plaster, which was worked by hand or tools. This had to done at speed before it set as it could not be easily altered afterwards. Wooden pegs were used to support the thickest sections. Carving the slate frames was extremely skilled because of the tendency for it to split. The designs on both the stucco and slate included flowers, and fruit, Tudor roses, flaming torches and crowns. The detailing is extraordinary.

Twenty four men under the guidance of William Kendall were responsible for the stucco work. The overall designer of the stuccos was Nicholas Bellin of Modena. He had been working on Fontainebleau for Francis I of France with the master craftsman Francesco Primaticcio.

Bellin had left France to work for Henry V111 causing considerable friction between the two kings. It is thought that he drew sketches of the panels which were copied by the workman. During the work he kept in touch with those still working at Fontainebleau to keep abreast with new techniques

The subjects of the panels on the south wall and its towers are not entirely clear, but among them seem to have been scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Roman poet recorded his vision of the history of the world from Adam to Roman times, poetically in a series of 15 books made up of 250 scenes drawn from mythology, and each demonstrated some sort of physical change in the characters. I will come back to this in some more detail later.

What we can see from Hoefnagal’s painting is as a series of figures, apparently fighting, on horseback, o reclining. Being mostly unclothed it is reasonable to infer that they illustrate a story of ancient times.

There is one rather shadowy figure that appears to be seated. Below the site of this the western tower fragments of a panel were unearthed in 1959.

These fragments clearly show parts of a soldier and have been reconstructed to illustrate what the original panel may have looked like.

Part of the western tower showing a seated figure


Fragments found under the tower

Artist’s impression of the original


The Privy garden

On the eastern side of the building were the kitchens, built alongside the main structure. The palace was set in the Privy garden which wrapped around it on three sides. This in turn had a 14ft brick wall, enclosing the space.

The gardens were set out in an Italianate manner probably after 1580. The emphasis was on symmetry.

Fruit trees including apricot were grown along the walls. They were specially imported from France. Similarly pippins, never previously grown in England. There were galleries of trees with seating and in the open spaces beds made of intricate patterns or knots edged with thorn, and gravel. Stone statues of small animals were scattered amongst them.

Aromatic plants were used frequently particularly in the designs in front of the south face of the palace. The queen looking down from her windows would have been met not only by the sight but also the aroma of the garden.

Records of the flowers sent to Nonsuch reveal that hyacinths, daffodils, and lilacs, roses and primroses were used, together with herbs.

The drama of the Privy garden was produced by a series of fountains. In the centre stood a statue of Diana with water spouting from her breasts.

This is the Diana fountain. Note that there appears to be a bench within the fountain, suggesting that guests would sit with their feet in the water which had cascaded down from above.

This was flanked by two statues on tall columns. They were known as the Fawlcon perches but as we shall see the birds were not falcons

Here is the view of the palace from the south west. The feature on the left was called the great pinnacle. The feature in front of the western tower was a table fountain.

Here are close ups of the three features, engravings of which were found in the 1590 inventory. The obelisk, one of the fawlcon perches and the Table fountain.

The Pelican fountain also stood by the South West tower. The Pelican in her piety was also on the Lumley crest. The fountain appears to have stood on a marble table.

In fact the bird at the top of the falcon perch and the three on the table fountain were all parrots, as featured on the coat of arms of John Lumley.

The birds can also be seen at the base of the obelisk, and around the rim of the table fountain.

This is the coat of arms of the Earls of Scarborough the descendants of the Lumleys. Above is the pelican and below three parrots or popinjays supported by two more.

This remarkable engraving was done by HW Brewer in 1894. He describes the clock tower, the yew trees, the great pinnacle, the water tower which is the western tower, the wash boule, the falcon perches and the marble fountain.

The level of detail is extraordinary and suggests that it may have been drawn from a now lost painting or engraving. After all the building had not existed for 200 years.

Although it may not be entirely accurate I think it can serve to give an impression of what it must have been like standing in the Privy Garden looking up at the building.

This a view of the western side of the palace where there was an orchard and a maze.

This concept too had been introduced from Renaissance Europe, and was an extension of the knot garden. The hedges were often planted with aromatic plants to enhance the pleasure.

Anthony Watson said of Nonsuch maze “If you veer to the right you will fall into the hazardous wiles of the labyrinth, whence even with the aid of Theseus’ thread you will be scarce able to extricate yourself.” This is a reference to the Greek myth of Theseus using a thread to find his way out of a maze after killing the Minotaur.

By 1599 Thomas Platter wrote that the hedges at Nonsuch were so high and thick that you could neither see over or through them.

An Outline of the history of Nonsuch

So now we have a good idea how the palace looked in all its splendour. Let’s move on to its history.

Nonsuch was sold to Henry Fitzalan Lord Arundel (and Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII) in 1555 by Queen Mary I in exchange for some cash and some estates in Suffolk and in thanks for his help in her gaining the throne from Lady Jane Grey in 1553.

 In 1559 Queen Elizabeth attended the house warming party following intense activity of completion and embellishment. The visit was one of the most colourful events in the history of the palace.

Arundel was twice widowed and 48, the queen was 26. His entertainment of her was the talk of the town as it was quite obvious what he was up to.

She remained from the 5th August until 10th August. There was great feasting and banquets every night. There was a masque and drums, flutes and all music that could be. The final banquet ended at

3.30 in the morning. If Arundel was hoping for the queen’s romantic attention he was sorely disappointed and wasted a huge amount of money in the process, topped by a cupboard full of gold and plate gifted on her departure.

During the ensuing years Arundel completed much of the work left unfinished by King Henry. He added cupolas to the tops of the towers and installed a tripled columned fountain in the inner court. The Fitzalan white horse was mounted on the top. Below which were three dancing graces supported at the bottom by two griffins.

He added cupolas to the tops of the towers. He also completed the central gatehouse by adding a clock tower and a large onion dome resting on columns, in between which was suspended a concord of bells. The mechanism of which was powered by water.

The ability to power the multiple fountains and other features on the site without the use of pumps and recycled water proved a great challenge.ow they did it we need to look first at the geology of the area.

The only technology available to Tudor builders was borrowed from the Romans in other words pipes and gravity. Here is a north south geological cross section through Kent.

The rock strata have been pushed up and then eroded over time. The key feature for our purposes are two rows of hills, the North Downs and the South Downs made of chalk, which is of course very porous. This in turn stood on impermeable clay.

Nonsuch stood close to the North Downs which provided a ready and plentiful supply of water, which ran down inside the hills to emerge as springs.

Water was collected from the hills higher than the palace and then moved by pipework to a lead reservoir in the top of one of the south towers. Gravity then did the rest. Considering that the tower was made of wood, this appears to have been quite a bold concept, particularly in terms of how to cope when the tank was full to overflowing.

The calculations on the diameter of the pipes to serve all of the features must have been difficult, particularly as the flow of water would not have been constant during the seasons. It may well have been that the fountains were active only on special occasions and for a limited time. There was no water recycling of course so it all had to be ducted away.

Arundel owned at least one copy of the complete works of Ovid, the three-volume Venice edition of 1515-16 in latin, and the interior of Nonsuch was decorated with ‘a collection of sculptures representing stories from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, as well as those on the outer walls.

Over the years Arundel’s relationship with Elizabeth proved difficult as she began to increase the time she spent there. Perhaps because of her rejection Arundel began plotting with Catholics at home and abroad to oust her from the throne and replace her with Catherine Grey, the sister of Jane. He was punished by confinement at the palace.

In 1571 he was at it again, this time with an Italian Ridolfi , the plan was to put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. Once more he was put under house arrest. Oddly he kept his head. Perhaps he was more useful continuing to invest in the palace. Elizabeth had a history of getting people to fritter away their fortunes in the hope of favour.

Then there was the debt. He had unwisely taken on a debt owed by the city of Florence to the Queen. This together with his extravagance left him more than £1 million adrift, in today’s money when he died in 1580.

Lord Lumley his son in law took on responsibility for the palace. Faced with an unpayable debt, he built up a splendid library and created the first Italianate garden in England. Indeed it was he who commissioned the fountains, obelisk and falcon statues. In fact his impresa of three parrots appears at the foot of these structures.

He also was responsible for some other fascinating developments which I will come to later.

By 1590 Sir John was getting desperate to raise money and so he drew up a huge inventory of his belongings to see what he could sell. This has been preserved and is referred to as the “Red Velvet Book”.It has revealed a treasure trove of Old Masters and drawings of all of the fountains and statues. The library which later became part of the British Library, was the second largest in private hands.

His solution was to let the Queen have Nonsuch and the expense of keeping it up and he would stay on as keeper. If he was planning a quiet life he was in for a shock.

In 1592 ownership of the palace and estates were duly made over to the Queen. There is no doubt that Elizabeth loved Nonsuch and she spent a considerable sum on refurbishment.

During the ensuing years she spent much time there, holding Privy Council meetings as well as holding court. She attended with 300 carts of baggage. Including tapestries from Hampton Court which were used to cover the plain walls. It is important to remember that the Royal Palaces spent most of their time in hibernation, with only a skeleton staff. The monarch and Court brought their luxury with them wherever they went.

By 1599 a letter from Roland White to Sir Robert Sidney stated about Nonsuch.

“which of all other places she likes the best.”

Here are a couple of examples of what life was like at Nonsuch with Elizabeth in residence.

23 September 1599

Matins and Sunday lunch with the Queen

On 23 September 1599 Thomas Platter from Switzerland was privileged to be in the presence chamber at Nonsuch to observe the ceremonies of Matins and Sunday lunch for the queen.

Between 12 and 1 o’clock, men with white staffs came in, followed by ‘lords of high standing’, and then the queen. Although, Platter says, she was 74 (actually, she was only 66, so she wouldn’t have been pleased) – she looked no more than 20, standing erect and regal in a white satin dress embroidered with gold (white for virginity). Her head-dress was a whole bird of paradise, her red hair was studded with jewels. She wore a long necklace of large pearls, and rings on her long gloves.

Elizabeth sat on cushions, flanked on her left by her gentlemen and on her right by her secretary and a ‘splendidly arrayed’ lady- in-waiting. Then a knight on bended knee offered her books from which she read; after which, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wearing a white surplice, turned to face her and preached his sermon, with responses at the beginning and the end ‘just as in the Roman church’. When she’d had enough of the heat and the crowd, Elizabeth signed for the sermon to end, and withdrew to her private room.

 And then what to our eyes would be an extraordinary charade took place — the serving of luncheon in the presence chamber to an absent Majesty. But it was as much for security as for ceremony, and each detail was strictly, or fairly strictly, adhered to.

First, guards in red tabards embroidered in gold with the royal arms carried in two trestle tables and put them near where the queen had been sitting. Two more guards, carrying maces, next entered and bowed, advanced and bowed, reached the table and bowed. They laid the table and withdrew. Then another two guards, also bowing, put plates on the table and withdrew. A third couple entered in the same way and put carving-knives, bread and salt on the table, which was now considered ready. At last, three gentlemen, two of them carrying maces, and a ‘charming’ lady-in- waiting, all bowing, came and stood in front of the table to wait for the food.

There then ensued a procession of about 40 guardsmen, each carrying a dish of food which he presented to the lady-in-waiting. She cut off a piece of food for each guardsmen to taste in case it was poisoned – but here, Platter noticed, security was slipping, because several of the men didn’t bother to eat their morsel. When the carving was finished, wine and beer were brought in and tasted. The dishes of food were offered to the queen in her private apartment: for this very hot day the ‘light lunch’ included ‘some very large joints of beef, and all kinds of game, pasties and tarts’.

Dessert followed, accompanied by music from trumpets and shawms. Then the whole ceremony was reversed, and poor old Platter and his friends ‘went to a tent before the Palace, and took our luncheon there’.

28 September 1599

A visit from Robert Devereux

 On 28th September 1599, occurred the event which has kept alive the name of Nonsuch through the long years of neglect, for on this day the palace was the setting for one of the dramas of national history. A visit from Robert Devereux.

This is Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Lieutenant and Governor

General of Ireland, and favourite of Elizabeth. He was ambitious, temperamental and unpredictable. Elizabeth’s reign was coming to an end and Devereux was in open conflict with the Queen’s first minister Robert Cecil.

Both Robert and his father William, Lord Burleigh had ruthlessly impoverished the gentry, and he wished to continue under the next monarch whosoever that might be.

Essex had a further reason to be resentful of the Queen as his father had both his wealth and his health having to self fund attempts to suppress the Irish.

So much for the background.

Essex, like his father was sent to Ireland, partly to get him out of the way while Robert Cecil manoeuvred for power.

Hugh O’Neill Earl of Tyrone

Essex had been ordered to stay in Ireland and proceed against the rebel, Hugh O’Neill Earl of Tyrone. They met on 7th September and instead of carrying on as instructed he arranged a truce.

The Queen wrote rejecting the action and Essex set off for London with a large company. He had half formed ideas of a coup d’etat, which dwindled as he neared London. Most of the party dispersed and Essex proceeded to Nonsuch with six colleagues.

On arrival he burst into the privy chamber and muddy and unkempt, into the queen’s bedroom at 10am. Initially she appeared to take the intrusion in good part, although the incident further reduced the reputation of her erstwhile favourite.

She had been dressing with her face unpainted and without her wig. As she was used to being seen with her personal charms greatly enhanced she must have been very angry indeed.

After a short talk she sent him away to change. A further meeting took place at 12 noon which appeared to have gone well.

Within an hour Robert Cecil explained his version of the treasonous plans with which Essex had left Ireland. It has to be said that this was part of a long standing struggle for Cecil to retain power after Elizabeth died by supporting James VI of Scotland.

robert cecil

Later in the evening the Queen met once more with Essex, being dissatisfied by his explanations she referred him to the full Council which met next day and as a result Essex was imprisoned for a year in his own house. After release he continued to plot leading to his trial and execution in 1601.

The heavy use of Nonsuch resulted in much reparative work and during the last 3 years of her reign the Queen spent a great deal of time there. She was out riding and hunting every day.

If some important matter arose she rode to the nearest house for a Council meeting. One of the local houses acquired the name of The Council House and later Whitehall.The house in Cheam still exists today.

There is a story that as the Queen was returning from hunting she saw the reflection of the sun in the windows of Nonsuch and she thought the building was on fire. She was so put out by the mistake that she moved to Richmond and that is where she died on 24 March 1603.

The palace was used regularly by James 1 and Charles 1. It gradually decayed but managed to survive the Civil War and the ensuing Republic. It was not so lucky when Barbara Villiers entered the story.

Queen Henrietta Maria the wife of Charles 1st died in 1669, and her son Charles II decided to pay off one of his former mistresses, Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, by making Nonsuch over to her. Late one July night in Paris nine years later, Barbara Villiers – now Baroness Nonsuch – gambled away £20,000 (present value £1,062,400) and most of her jewellery in one fell swoop.

The king refused to reimburse her so her thoughts turned to Nonsuch, which she regarded as an expensive white elephant. Its only value to her lay in the building materials, so she set to work to destroy it. She made £1,800 on the deal – worth around £100,000 today.

When Nonsuch was demolished the stucco panels were broken up. Most of the fragments were taken away, but the excavations in 1958 unearthed 1500 from which it was possible to reconstruct a single panel we saw earlier.

The fragments of this panel were found together at the foot of the south face of the south-west tower. A figure seated on a shield is visible on Hoefnagel’s watercolour precisely above the spot where these fragments lay.

Today virtually nothing remains except parkland. If it were not for the splendid work of many people that is how it would have remained. The splendid archaeological work recorded by John Dent in his 1970 book The Quest for Nonsuch uncovered many treasures and confirmed the dimensions of the building. His daughter Lalage Lister, published a book Nonsuch:Pearl of the Realm in 1992, which has brought the story to a wider public.

Professor Martin Biddle devoted 50 years of his life unravelling the mysteries of the the palace leading to the stunning model of the building which can be viewed at Nonsuch Park Mansion.

This is the approach to the Nonsuch site today, looking due South.

Here is one of the few walnut trees which line the route.

This stone pillar marks the site of the outer gatepost. The mown area on the left marks out the Eastern side of the palace. The western side on the right was under Cherry Orchard farm and was never excavated.

This second stone marks the inner gatehouse. There is a slight rise in the land where the 8 steps into the inner court were located. In the distance the third marker indicates the site of the south wall of the palace.

This the view due North from the third marker along the entire length of the palace site

Looking south across the what was the privy garden the land rises to the site of the palace wall.

This a view across Nonsuch park, the royal hunting ground. It gives the impression that nothing has changed in 400 years.

So that is the end of the first part of Elizabeth 1 and Nonsuch.

As I said at the beginning it was not part of my plan to present a section on the palace itself, but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

I do hope by this stage you can appreciate the building itself and the attachment which Elizabeth 1 had to it.

This however is not the whole story. There is another fascinating aspect to Nonsuch and Elizabeth, and this concerns another part of the garden which I believe may have relevance to the Hampton Court palace portrait of Elizabeth.

I would like to thank the Friends of Nonsuch for permission to use images of their wonderful model of the palace. It is housed in Nonsuch Mansion house and is usually open on Sunday afternoons. Do go and see it if you can when it reopens after Covid restrictions are lifted


I would also like to thanks to Stephen Conlin from Pictu Limited for permission to use his lovely illustration of the palace.

I hope you agree that both of these items greatly enhanced the presentation.

To read part 2 click here

To view or download this article as a PDF click here.

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