The site of Archbishop’s Palace in Otford, Kent, dates back to 821 AD but it was in 1515 AD that Archbishop Warham built one of the largest palaces in England, comparable in size to Hampton Court. In the 17th Century, the buildings fell into disrepair and now all that remains is part of the North Range – the North West corner tower, part of the Northern Gatehouse and connecting wall which has been turned into a row of three small cottages. A short video produced by Barbara Darby and narrated by Rod Shelton shows the Palace was it was in Tudor times. You can watch it here.
The remain that you see today were built on top of a succession of medieval manor houses and a Roman Villa. A set of drone images taken in August 2018 show the buildings of the North Range as they are today. There is also a short video sequence of the Palace from the air.
The Otford and District Historical Society takes a keen interest in the site and the Otford Heritage Centre (in the High Street) houses a model of the Palace as envisaged in Tudor times, together with numerous artefacts.
The site, the Tower and the gatehouse are currently owned by Sevenoaks District Council and are the subject of an options appraisal to make recommendations as to their future.
The local community would like to see this significant historical building conserved and developed as a focal point for the Darent Valley community. To that end, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – The Otford Palace Conservation Trust (OPCT) – is being established, initially to enter into discussions with the Council and the consultants carrying out the Options Appraisal, to persuade the Council to transfer or lease the property to the Trust and then to operate it as a self-sustaining community resource.
A concise history of the Palace can be found in: Ward, C. 92017) A guided walk around Otford Palace. Otford and District Historical Society. Otford. ISBN 978-0-9956479-2-3. You can buy the book from the Otford Heritage Centre, 29 High Street, Otford.
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