Hampton Court Palace: Wolsey's Masterpiece

Chapter 2 : Hampton Court Before Wolsey

The first mention of Hampton Court can be found in the Domesday Book which records Walter de St Valery as the owner. The property was at the centre of a prosperous agricultural estate, initially under the management of the St Valery family before being leased to the Knights Hospitaller in the 1180s.

By 1338 the house stood within a rectangular moat and probably included a chamber block, great hall, chapel and pigeon house. In 1494 the property was leased to Giles Daubney, one of Henry VII's most loyal supporters and Lord Chamberlain from 1495. Daubney spent large sums of money transforming the house so that it was fit to host the Royal Family with both Henry VII and Elizabeth of York becoming regular visitors.

Though Hampton Court was already a fine house when Wolsey took over the lease, he had much grander plans. Over the next 10 years, Wolsey would oversee several vast construction projects which would transform Hampton Court into one of the most important buildings in England and put it at the heart of the Tudor Court.

Hampton Court Palace (1513) Drawn by Daphne Ford © Historic Royal Palaces