Inventory Site Record

Fulham Palace House and Garden * (Hammersmith & Fulham)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Fulham Palace was a moated site and an important botanic garden from the C16th. From 701 AD - 1973 the land was owned by the Bishops of London, the Palace, built in the C16th, becoming their official residence in the mid C18th. Now a museum, the Palace has elements of the Tudor, Georgian and Victorian eras. The gardens reflect the C18th landscape design and the walled garden contains remains of an early C19th vinery. Over the centuries parts of the estate were sold or donated for public use, including the land for Bishop’s Park and the Fulham Palace Meadows Allotments, and was eventually reduced to the 13 acre garden surrounding the Palace today. Following WWII the garden fell into decline. After it ceased to be the Bishop's residence Fulham Palace was taken over by LB Hammersmith & Fulham and the garden opened to the public in 1974/6. It was maintained by the Council until 2011, when Fulham Palace Trust was created and restoration of this important garden began.

Practical Information
Site location:
Bishop's Avenue, Fulham
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Hammersmith & Fulham
Open to public?
Opening times:
Gardens: dawn - dusk; walled garden 10.15am-4.15pm (summer), -3.45pm (winter). Fulham Palace: Wed-Sun 10.30am-5pm.
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 10 times, most recently in 2018.
Special conditions:
Admission free, but booking of entry ticket required (Covid-19 regulations, June 2021)
Café, Museum of Fulham Palace; audiotour; educational facilities
guided tours run by Trust (weekends and occasional weekdays)
Public transport:
Tube: Putney Bridge (District). Rail: Putney. Bus: 14, 74, 220, 414, 430
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.fulhampalace.org

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

There is evidence of human settlement in this area for some 2,000 years, with Roman presence followed by Saxon farming. The name Fulanharn or Fulanham is first recorded in the C7th and in 701 AD, when the Manor of Fulham was granted to the fifth Bishop of London, Bishop Waldhere, there was a church on the site of the current parish church of All Saints (q.v.). In the winter of 879 AD Viking raiders camped on the Meadow following their defeat in battle by King Alfred. They had demolished London Bridge, the only bridge over the Thames at that time, before rowing up the Thames to Fulham. While here they may have dug the moat, although archaeological excavations indicate it may date back to pre-Roman times. After the Norman Conquest, the bishops played an important role in governing the country. The earliest record of a bishop residing at Fulham is in 1141, and Richard de Gravesend (Bishop of London 1280-1303) was known to have spent time here.

Fulham Palace, which is reputed to be the largest moated site in Europe, was built between 1506-20 by Richard Fitzjames (Bishop of London 1506-22), and was one of the earliest brick buildings in England. Henry Compton who was Bishop from 1675-1713 was a keen gardener and arranged for rare plants to be shipped back from the colonies by the Anglican settlers in North America for whom he was responsible. As a result the plant lists for Fulham Palace garden included Lebanon and Virginian Red Cedars; black walnut, honey locust, Judas and tulip trees; Indian bean trees, a cork tree and clustered pine. Compton's gardener at Fulham was George London (1653-1714), who founded his famous nursery in Brompton. Bishops before and since Compton are known for their interest in horticulture, particularly Edmund Grindal (Bishop from 1559-70), who is credited with establishing the botanic garden and introducing the tamarisk tree to England. Elizabeth I was annually sent grapes from the Bishop's garden at Fulham Palace. However the gardens created by Grindal and Compton were later replaced in the 1760s by Bishop Richard Jarvis. In the C19th Bishop Howley (1813-28) improved the grounds, and was succeeded by another keen botanist, Bishop Blomfield (1828-56). By then only part of the formal garden was retained and this has since gone. Bishop John Jackson (Bishop from 1869-85), who engaged Sir Richard Owen to identify the trees of Compton's introduction, was responsible for the creation of Bishop's Park (q.v.), which was formed from riverside land that was formerly on the flood plain of the Palace. It was sold to the local vestry for the public park, retaining the gardens in the ownership of the church. The Warren to the north and north-east of the Palace was converted for allotments in 1917, now Fulham Palace Meadow Allotments (q.v.) and in c.1960 St Mark's Secondary School was built in the north-west corner of the Warren. The 2km long moat that enclosed the palace was drained in 1921-24. After it ceased to be the Bishop's residence, Hammersmith & Fulham Council took a 100-year lease of Fulham Palace and its grounds from the Church Commissioners and the garden was opened to the public in 1974/76. Fulham Palace is now a museum with displays of the history of the site including the gardens. The Walled Garden has an arched entrance with the now eroded coat of arms of Bishop Richard Fitzjames; following extensive restoration works a knot garden has been created, along with a productive kitchen garden, a vinery and apple orchard.

Since 2011 the Fulham Palace estate has been managed by the Fulham Palace Trust, under a lease from LB Hammersmith & Fulham, although the latter remains the head lessor continuing to lease the estate from the Church Commission.  However, restoration projects had already commenced, taking place in a series of phases, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Phase 1, completed in 2006, focused on areas of the Palace around the east courtyard. In 2012 Phase 2 was completed, with the Walled Garden and bothies restored, and the stable block converted as the Jessie Mylne education centre. Phase 3 was completed in 2019, with the Tudor courtyard restored, new exhibition spaces created and improvements to the historic rooms of the Palace. Further restoration of the botanic garden also took place, including replanting of historic varieties and improved access. Future plans include the restoration of the chapel as well as continued work to restore both the Palace and its grounds.

Sources consulted:

https://www.fulhampalace.org/house-garden/the-garden/. Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p 237-8; John Archer, Daniel Keech 'Nature Conservation in Hammersmith & Fulham', Ecology Handbook 25, London Ecology Unit, 1993. See Hammersmith Council website Historical Sculptures Search.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ240761 (524040,176210)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Church Commission, leased to LB Hammersmith & Fulham, sub-let to Fulham Palace Trust
Site management:
Fulham Palace Trust
C16th; C19th; C20th
Listed structures:
LBI: Fulham Palace West Court (Coachman’s Lodge incl. within curtilage); East Court. SAM GL 134. LBII: Moat Bridge & Gate Piers at entrance; Chapel; Gothick Lodge at entrance; garages (former Stable Building); Walls of Old Garden (Vinery and bothies included within curtilage)
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade II*
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Bishop's Park
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I (with B's Park/All StsC
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes - Warren allotments
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:
District Park with Bishop's Park; Open Space of Borough-wide Importance

Fulham Palace House and Garden *

Fulham Palace: Walled Garden, June 2016. Photograph Sally Williams

Fulham Palace: entrance to Walled Garden, June 2010. Photograph Sally Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

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