A regular contributor, Alan Crooks, has sent us this:
“This is a fascinating piece by Alex (see ‘Clarendon’ from last week). Perhaps this is a good point to post this photograph of a model of the palace made for Mary (one of the ‘friends of Clarendon’) by her son for a Mother’s Day. This has been displayed at the Museum in the past. “
Alex first wrote in our blog in September. Here is what he learned about Clarendon Palace…
this week of work experience, I have been to the library a couple of times to
do my research work. The artefact / theme I have chosen to do my research on is
Clarendon Palace because it interested me with its history and what it once
Palace is located 3 ½ miles east of Salisbury and 4 miles south-east of Old
Sarum. It is shown that William the conqueror visited the site around 1072 AD,
the year when he toured his Norman possessions and marched to Scotland. At this
time, Clarendon was a hunting lodge, which was enlarged to become a palace.
The site was chosen due to its elevated height of 350 feet above sea level, so it could overlook the Clarendon forest. This appealed to the Normans as a place to hunt and Clarendon was established as a royal residence in the early 12th century. Henry I granted charters from Clarendon palace. However, under Henry II’s rule, accounts are shown to be of repairs for ‘the King’s houses of Clarendon’ occur in 1163, and at the beginning of 1164, Clarendon hosted the historic council, of which Herbert of Bosham and his master Thomas Beckett attended.
1166, another great assembly was hosted at Clarendon Palace – called the assize
of Clarendon. This assembly made laws for far-reaching importance regarding
Richard the Lion Heart did also visit Clarendon, but there is no evidence of work undertaken there by him. There are, however, references to repairs at Clarendon Palace carried out under King John, who stayed there a few times.
1273, the first year of Edward I’s reign there is a survey done on Clarendon
and of the forest of Clarendon due to the activity there by Henry III (Edward’s
Predecessor). The survey is made by the Sherriff of Wiltshire and four knights.
It describes the Palace in detail but uses plain language with the ruinous
condition of large parts of the palace.
Both Edward I and Edward II often stayed at Clarendon palace, where in 1317 Edward II summoned a parliament to assemble, the summons meeting with only a very limited response. It was in Edward III’s reign which the most effective revival of Clarendon took place. A good deal of repair and reconstruction was carried out then – the most important work done being the rebuilding of the great hall in 1358-1359.
VI also visited Clarendon Palace repeatedly. In 1454 he stayed there for a
number of weeks after being attacked in Clarendon in 1453 and being unfit to
govern for over a year.
Edward IV’s reign, he appointed wardens of Clarendon, with Edward Gower first
in 1461 and then Thomas Troys, 1472, who held his office in the first year of
Henry VII’s reign , 1485.
By Elizabeth I’s reign, Clarendon had been known to have many royal visitors staying in the palace for weeks on end. However due to the numbers of Elizabeth’s servants and gentry she took with her, the keepers of Clarendon didn’t want to house nearly 2000 people. So, like many similar palaces at the time, they brought down parts of the palace to discourage a visit from the Queen. In the end, Elizabeth stayed at Clarendon Palace once, with many of her servants having to sleep outside in tents. Due to this, Elizabeth never stayed there again. This lead to Clarendon Palace falling out of interest of the royals so it wasn’t being revived or maintained anymore.
In Shakespeare’s ‘Henry VI’, there is no hint to the existence of Clarendon Palace at all, despite Henry having visited it on many occasions. Also, in 1570, the second edition of John Foxe’s ‘Acts and monuments’ makes the mistake of placing Clarendon in Normandy.
this time, Clarendon Palace was probably being used as a stone quarry due to
being in a district poor in stone – much like Stonehenge and Avebury around the
1650, a survey of Clarendon Park was made, which contains a reference to ‘the
old gate house, called the King’s manor’.
1723, William Stukely visited the site of Clarendon palace in which he mentions
“John built him a palace, where several parliaments have been held. Part of the
building is still left, tho’ they have been pulling it down many years”. He
also drew a picture of the site which shows the ruins of the site with some low
walls above ground and a larger wall as well. It shows little woodland near the
In 1805, J Buckler did a watercolour painting of the site. It covered a smaller area of the palace remains than William Stukely, but there is a considerable increase in the trees and woodlands around the site, which shows that it had just been left there and no one had been maintaining it, even before 1723.
photograph of the same site in April 1933 from the ground facing where the
remains were, show no evidence of a palace being there. Woodlands cover the
whole outside of the palace so no one could see from outside the woods that a
palace was there. An air photograph of Clarendon Palace remains in September
the same year show the palace being covered by the trees. The remains are
surrounded by woodlands on all sides with most of the aerial view of the palace
also being blocked by treetops.
air photograph of the Clarendon palace taken in February 1935 shows how trees
on the site had been cut down but the trees surrounding it still remained. This
meant that the aerial photograph shows the full remains of the Clarendon Palace
and how big the palace was.
Nowadays, the site of the remains of Clarendon Palace is open to the public and woodland no longer covers the site. People are encouraged to visit it.
Thank you Alex – a reminder of the gem we have ‘on our doorstep’.
I am Alex from one of our local schools and I chose to come to The Salisbury Museum for work experience because of my interest in history. I thought it would be a good opportunity to be behind the scenes in a museum and be able to see the objects not on display. Being at the museum for the week has educated me greatly in new topics as well as ones I have studied. In the week that I have been here, I have participated in lots of different activities, from cataloguing artefacts to shadowing a school trip. These are the things I got up to this week:
I arrived at the museum for 10am and was met at reception by Valerie. She showed me around the museum for the induction and orientation session. I was informed of the pins for the doors and the fire exits and what to do when I hear an alarm. Then, from 10:30 until 1pm I assisted Roy in cataloguing ceramics in the display rooms. This was interesting because I was able to handle the old ceramics and was able to describe them and give measurements. Once we had written down the descriptions and measurements, we entered them onto a file on the computer programme called Modes so they are saved there. Once I got back from lunch at 2pm, I met Valerie at reception again, to go to the library to do some research work on something of my choice. I chose to do Clarendon palace. This is because I was intrigued about the history of Clarendon palace and wanted to research this further. I did this task until the end of the day.
On Tuesday I met Owain at reception at 9:30 to shadow a school trip visit from one of the local primary schools. Owain gave a presentation on Old Sarum for the primary school which was interesting to watch. We then went over to the Wessex Gallery where the children were shown round and they were fascinated by what they saw there. They also had a task to draw Old Sarum from the model in the gallery, and to also draw a gargoyle. After lunch, they were shown round the Salisbury gallery – the giant, the drainage collection and different artefacts on display. We then went back to the lecture hall where we made our own Gargoyles.
Once the school trip had finished, I helped catalogue social history material from 2pm to the end of the day. This involved taking donated items out of their boxes and wrapping them up carefully in non-acidic paper. This was to preserve the items for years to come.
I arrived at the museum for 10am where I was met at reception by Pat and Tessa to help catalogue archaeological archives. This involved taking the artefacts out of the boxes and wrapping them up better in the non-acidic paper. The first item that we catalogued that morning was 5000 year old antlers that were found at Stonehenge, near the inner circle. These were used by the Stonehenge people to dig the hole for the stones to sit in as the antlers were used as picks or rakes. The next thing that we catalogued was loads of small boxes of animal bones and ceramics found at Stonehenge by Gowland in the early 20th century. These were contained in any boxes it seemed that Gowland could get his hands on. They were in old soap boxes, cardboard containers and metal containers. There was also one in a matchbox. We had to put the bones in a transparent plastic bag, the original label in another bag and put that back in the box which also goes in a bag with a new label added. At the end of this session, I was shown a Bronze Age sword from the archives which was great.
the afternoon, from 1pm onwards, I was in the library finishing my research of
Clarendon Palace. For this task I used the books in the library and also
knowledge of the palace that I had picked up through my week at the museum.
This is the basis of my other blog.
I arrived at the museum for 10am once again, and was met at reception by Sue, Joan and Muriel. I helped them in cataloguing the costumes/ pieces of clothing donated by people to the museum. These items included a man’s jacket worn at his wedding in the 1920s, and a girl’s clothes from late Victorian times to early Edwardian. This was interesting because it gave an idea of how people used to dress in the early 20th century / late 19th century.
In the afternoon, I did admin support work. This was to correct booklets that were being given to volunteers. I did this by sticking labels over lines that had to be taken out, or by writing the correct information over the labels.
Overall, this week has been a great week. It was an amazing opportunity working in the museum and seeing how it is all run and how much work has to be done. The staff here are very friendly and I have had great experiences being part of the Salisbury Museum – even just for a week.