Lamphey Bishop's Palace

Chapter 1: Visiting

Lamphey Llandyfai Bishops’ Palace – Chapel To Left Western Hall To Right © Tudor Times Ltd 2019
Lamphey/Llandyfai Bishop's Palace with chapel to the left and Western Hall to the right © Tudor Times Ltd 2019

The palace is very similar in style and construction to that at St David’s, although here, the inner gatehouse to the central courtyard survives. There is a long range of living quarters on the south side, at first floor, with two Great Halls – one known as the Gower Hall (an impresseve 82 feet in length), and the other as the Western Hall, both of double height. The range is topped with an impressive arcaded parapet above, built of the contrasting local limestone and purple stone from Caerbwdi, which gives a pleasing chequer-board impression.  In the Western Hall, there remain faint traces of the cream interior plaster, decorated with red flowers that would once have covered the whole space. These two halls were built at either side of the original Great Hall, adjacent to the chapel, whose superb east window tracery remains.  

Exterior Of Bishop Gower’S Hall Lamphey Llandyfai Bishops’ Palace © Tudor Times Ltd 2019
Exterior of Bishop Gower's Hall © Tudor Times Ltd 2019

Running the full length of the range, is the undercroft, with the floor slightly below ground level. This would have contained the storage areas, and the servants’ sleeping quarters. 

The whole of the north side of the enclosure was the corn barn, a massive structure for collecting the produce of the diocese, and the tithes paid in kind to the bishops. There was also a dovecote – doves were much prized for late winter meat - a deer-park for venison, and four fish-ponds. 

Lamphey Llandyfai Palace Layout 4
Layout of the palace