Skip to Content

Wolvesey Castle

The bishop's palace was developed in Winchester in the 10th century. Before this the bishops had lived as part of the Winchester community of monks who ran the Winchester Cathedral Church. However, the increasingly public role of the bishop made it necessary for him to have his apartments outside the monastery.

Very little is known about the earliest Wolvesey Palace buildings in Winchester. It is thought to have consisted of a timber hall and chamber and perhaps a prison and chapel. Most of the remains were destroyed when the later buildings were constructed.

The West Hall is the earliest part of Wolvesey Palace which is visible today and was built by Bishop William Giffard in about 1110. Wolvesey Palace was greatly extended by the next bishop, Henry de Blois. Most of what you see here today was built initially by him between 1135 and 1171. The ground floor remained almost the same for the next 500 years, although there were minor repairs and alterations. The upper floors probably saw rather more changes with evidence in the design of the windows and alterations to some of the roofs. The last great event to be held at Wolvesey Palace was its hosting of Queen Mary I and Philip of Spain before their marriage in Winchester Cathedral in 1554.

By the mid 17th century, Wolvesey Palace had been virtually abandoned. The remains of the medieval buildings were used as a source of building stone throughout Winchester and by the end of the 18th century Wolvesey Palace had reached the state in which it appears today. An information board in Wolvesey Palace shows what it would have looked like after its extension by Henry de Blois.

Address: College Street
Town/city or near: Winchester
County: Hampshire
Free Entry
Opening Times
Open daily from April to September from 10am to 5pm.
English Heritage

7 out of 10 stars (3 votes)

Been here before? Is it worth a visit? Rate it below.
Rate it

Wolvesey Castle

Wolvesey Castle Photos (5)

email this page   printer friendly page - Contact