A timeline of Hampton Court Palace's 500 year history



First mention of "Hamntone" in the Domesday Book in the county of Middlesex. In 1237 the manor is bought by the Knight’s Hospitallers - a religious military Order of monks.

Hampton Court Palace Hampton Court Palace (1872) by Henry W. TauntThe J. Paul Getty Museum


Sir Giles Daubeney, one of Henry VII's leading courtiers, leases Hampton Court. He transforms the site from a modest country manor to a major brick-built moated house.

Detail of a stained-glass window showing the figure of Cardinal Wolsey, (1845) by Thomas Willement and James BrittainHistoric Royal Palaces


Thomas Wolsey leases Hampton Court and begins a comprehensive rebuilding programme to convert the manor into a lavish palace for entertaining the king and foreign dignitaries.

Detail of the stained-glass showing a likeness of King Henry VIII (1845) by Thomas Willement and Robin ForsterHistoric Royal Palaces


Wolsey's last visit to Hampton Court. Wolsey had fallen from royal favour and the palace now belonged to Henry VIII.

View of the Great Gatehouse (2017) by James BrittainHistoric Royal Palaces


Henry VIII’s royal workmen take over building works at Hampton Court Palace. Extensive works will include transforming the kitchens, royal lodgings, Great Hall, chapel, and tennis courts.

Edward VI as a Child (probably 1538) by Hans Holbein the YoungerNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC


Queen Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, gives birth to Prince Edward. He is baptized in the Chapel Royal. Sadly, Jane dies soon after.

The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace (2016) by Peter DazeleyHistoric Royal Palaces


Henry VIII marries his sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr, in the Holy Day Closet, part of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. Katherine was the first English queen to write and publish her own books.

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) (16th century) by British SchoolHistoric Royal Palaces


Queen Elizabeth I is confined to her bed at Hampton Court after contracting smallpox. The Privy Council are concerned if this is to be her demise as there is no clear line of succession. 

The Great Hall, Hampton Court Palace (2022) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces


Shakespeare and his company the ‘King’s Men’ perform plays in the Great Hall for King James I. One the plays was likely A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

James VI and I (c.1606) by de Critz, John the elderDulwich Picture Gallery


James I calls the Hampton Court Conference which commissions the King James Bible - an authorised English translation of the bible. This was eventually published in 1611.

Clock Court Colonnade, Hampton Court Palace (2018) by Robin Forster PhotographyHistoric Royal Palaces


Sir Christopher Wren demolishes large parts of the Tudor palace and begins building a new palace for King William III and Queen Mary II.

View of maze and Wilderness (2015) by Aerial VueHistoric Royal Palaces


George III becomes king and abandons Hampton Court as a royal residence. Much of the palace is given over to Grace and Favour residents.  Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is later made Master Gardener and begins transforming the gardens.

Great Gatehouse and West Front, Hampton Court Palace (Pre-1909) by WS LincolnHistoric Royal Palaces


Queen Victoria opens the gardens and state apartments to the public free of charge.

Hampton Court Palace, Cartoon Gallery, following fire (1986)Historic Royal Palaces


A terrible fire breaks out at Hampton Court. Lady Gale, a Grace and Favour resident, is sadly killed and the King’s State Apartments suffer extensive damage. 

The King's Beasts, Chapel Court, Hampton Court Palace by James BrittainHistoric Royal Palaces


Historic Royal Palaces marks 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession to the throne with celebrations and new garden in the Chapel Court. It is inspired  the garden depicted in The Family of Henry VIII painting (c1545), which hangs in the Haunted Gallery.

Hampton Court Palace was an important backdrop to these moments in history and more. Find out about some of the people who lived and worked at the palace in Historic Figures of Hampton Court Palace.

Looking for more history and stories? Visit hrp.org.uk for more royal history.

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