London Parks & Gardens Trust

A Cycle Ride around Sutton

The Site of Nonsuch Palace

The Site of Nonsuch Palace

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Directions

Facing the front door of the Mansion, take the path to the right, marked by a cycle route sign. The path curves left, back towards the main drive through the park. At the junction with the main drive, ignore the cycle route sign pointing left and turn right along the drive. About 900 metres further on, the drive turns right. The site of Nonsuch Palace is marked here by three concrete obelisks.

Description

Henry VIII began work on Nonsuch Palace in 1538, re-using material from the dissolved Merton Abbey. The Palace was adorned with panels of moulded stucco by Nicholas Bellin of Modena (who also worked for François I at Fontainebleau) and with gilded carved slate. Completed after Henry's death by the Earl of Arundel who purchased the estate in 1547, it reverted to royal ownership in 1592, remaining so until Charles II gave it to his mistress Barbara Villiers in 1670, created Baroness Nonsuch, Duchess of Cleveland. By this time, the palace was becoming dilapidated and she eventually sold off the land to pay her gambling debts, and demolition of the palace began in 1682. In 1959 the site was excavated by the Museum of London.