Hampton Court

King Henry VIII - Hampton Court

Picture of King Henry VIII

 

Hampton Court

  • Interesting Facts and information about Hampton Court Palace
  • The Style of Hampton Court Palace
  • Hampton Court Palace Layout
  • The distinctive red bricks
  • The Chimneys and Gatehouses of Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Tudor Architecture - Hampton Court
Hampton Court Palace is built on the site of a medieval manor situated 13 miles southwest of London on the north bank of the River Thames. The first Renaissance style architecture in Tudor England was used in the design of Hampton Court. Hampton Court was built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey between 1514 and 1528 in the style of Italian architects such as il Filarete and Leonardo da Vinci. In 1529 King Henry VIII 'acquired' the palace from Wolsey and began a process of rebuilding and remodelling which lasted at least ten years. Henry added tennis courts and the last Medieval Great Hall to be included in an English palace. The initials of Henry and Anne Boleyn were carved into some of the stonework - the initials 'HA' were referred to as 'Ha Ha' by those who were happy to see the downfall of this tragic queen.

Tudor Architecture - The Style of Hampton Court
The style of Hampton Court had shifted from the pointed, ornate Gothic style to the plainer Renaissance style, which was symmetrical. The emphasis was placed on a horizontal rather than vertical line. The symmetrical lines was displayed in both the architecture of Hampton Court Palace and its gardens. The new interest in astrology displayed by many Tudors was also included with a huge clock which was an amazing feature of Hampton Court.

Tudor Architecture - Hampton Court Layout
Hampton Court is built with fine red-brick architecture of the period. It is designed with quaint gables, small mullioned windows and an array of twisted red-brick chimneys in various designs. The entrance  to Hampton Court Palace is through the gatehouse which is flanked by two towers. A massive Tudor gateway, leads into an inner quadrangle. The magnificent palace built by Thomas Wolsey housed a great banqueting-hall, sumptuous private chambers and three grand apartments for the  royal family of the time - King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon and their daughter Princess Mary. As befitting his role Hampton Court boasted an imposing double-height chapel.

Tudor Architecture - The distinctive red bricks used to build Hampton Court
During the Tudor period bricks were a new innovation and expensive and therefore only used for the mansions and palaces of the rich Tudors. The most distinctive feature of Hampton Court are the red bricks which were used to build the palace. Only the Tudors at the very top of the social scale could afford to build in brick which was seen as the new, fashionable, luxury material. Bricks were often laid in a herringbone pattern and served as a decorative infill without any structural function. Tudor bricks are therefore very thin. These thin bricks helped with the design of the chimneys.

Tudor Architecture - The Chimneys of Hampton Court
Chimneys and enclosed fireplaces were another striking feature of Hampton Court. The increased use of chimneys during the Tudor period due to the widespread adoption of coal as fuel as opposed to wood. Coal produced more smoke than wood. Wood smoke was just allowed to escape from the interior of houses through a simple hole in the roof. The increased amount of smoke from coal made necessitated new designs for fireplaces, chimneys and flues. Thick bricks were inclined to crack so the thin Tudor bricks were good for building the highly ornate Tudor chimneys of Hampton Court. The Hampton Court chimney stacks were often clustered in groups and designed in twists, flutes and spirals. The spiralled design was functional as the hot air moved  upwards with the flow of the wind and therefore cooled down chimneys faster than other designs. The number of chimneys in Hampton Court Palace was also another illustration of the wealth of Cardinal Wolsey.

Tudor Architecture - The Gatehouses of Hampton Court
The great houses of the Tudor period, such as Hampton Court, featured highly decorative and imposing gatehouses. The function of these gatehouses, unlike those in castles, were purely decorative and designed to create an impressive entrance. Entry to Hampton Court is gained through through entry gatehouses consisting of a broad, low arch with tall towers on either side. These towers are decorated with ornate false battlements and coat of arms. 

Tudor Architecture - Wolsey loses Hampton Court
Hampton Court was the pride and joy of Cardinal Wolsey. The palace was sumptuous and built with every luxury available in the early Tudor period. Wolsey fell from favour when he failed to gain a divorce for Henry VIII from his wife Katherine of Aragon. His greatest enemy was Anne Boleyn. John Skelton was a poet and a tutor to Henry VIII. He wrote the following poem which reflected the views of Tudor people and of Hampton Court Palace:

Why come you not to Court ?
To which court ?
To the king’s court ?
Or to Hampton Court ?

The king’s court
Should have the excellence
But Hampton Court
Hath the pre-eminence !

Hampton Court
Each section of this Tudors website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about Hampton Palace. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Tudors!

Hampton Court

  • Interesting Facts and information about Hampton Court Palace
  • The Style of Hampton Court Palace
  • Hampton Court Palace Layout
  • The distinctive red bricks
  • The Chimneys and Gatehouses of Hampton Court Palace
  • History, facts and interesting information about Tudor Architecture including Hampton Court

Hampton Court

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