Work set to begin at Archbishops' Palace
2:38pm Mon Sep 02, 2013
Work on a £1.3m project to restore the ruined Archbishops' Palace in the grounds of Southwell Minster is set to begin this month.
The plans aim to open up the palace to more people, to provide opportunities for learning groups and to stimulate tourism, benefitting the area economy.

They include restoring and updating the Great Hall building, stabilising the walls of the palace ruins and creating a new education garden to the east.

The project also sees the installation of a lift, fully accessing the first floor state chamber, a kitchen, music library and studio flat for the resident organ scholar.

On the ground floor, a new rehearsal room will be created for the Girls’ Choir and the Minster Chorale, with private toilets for the choristers and young visitors, new public toilets with disabled facility and, outside, a lowered entrance path for wheelchair access.

Work on the ruins will also provide training opportunities on the conservation of historic fabric of ancient buildings.

Lay Canon Liz Rose and project architect Mr Mark Goodwill-Hodgson have organised professional training courses for members of the Royal Institute of British Architects and English Heritage and A-Level students from The Minster School will also be spending time learning about the history of the ruins and conservation.

Liz Rose said: "We have also had interest from the Southwell Community Archaeology Group and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings have also asked if we might have an event here for them.

"Younger history students may also make visits in the autumn term."

Mr Charles Leggatt of Southwell Minster, who is co-ordinating the project, said the Great Hall and the ruins of the palace were important buildings within the national heritage

He said: "The palace is first mentioned in Domesday Book and sits on part of the footprint of a large Roman Villa.

"Most of the medieval kings stayed here – the surviving state chamber was their bedroom - and Cardinal Wolsey spent the last summer of his life in the palace, trying in vain to appease the wrath of Henry VIII.

"King Richard the Lionheart was an earlier visitor in 1194. Charles 1 used the palace several times during the Civil War and there is a tale of him returning to the palace dejected, when a Southwell tradesman refused to sell him a pair of shoes, sensing that the king's time was nearly over."

Mr Leggatt will be joined for the public consultation and debriefing in the Great Hall on Saturday, September 21, by Mr Goodwill-Hodgson and the project’s activity co-ordinator, Dr Alix Slater.

Discussion groups will be held at 11am in the morning and 3pm in afternoon.

For more information about the project contact Mr Leggatt on 01636 817283 or by email at

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