Deepings Heritage – The Search for Collyweston Palace

This royal residence was at its grandest around 1500, when it was occupied by the mother of King Henry VII, Lady Margaret Beaufort. With a household of several hundred people, it was an administrative centre, as well as her home and a venue for royal family gatherings. One hundred years later the building was still being described as handsome and elegant, yet by 1650 it had been completely demolished. Its former site is marked on the 1901 Ordnance Survey map, to the west of the church.

At our meeting on Friday, 14th October, Chris Close of Collyweston Historical and Preservation Society will describe current archaeological research into the layout of this remarkable building. His talk starts at 7.30 pm in the main hall of the Community Centre, Market Deeping. Entrance £3 for non-members.

The palace had developed from an earlier Manor House owned by Ralph, Lord Cromwell who built Tattershall Castle. He died at Collyweston in 1455 and the next owner was the Earl of Warwick, known as “the King Maker”. The property then passed to his daughter who was married to the Duke of Clarence – its first royal owner. Henry VII gave it to his mother for her life time, and she enlarged the buildings which included a library, chapel, spicery and great tower.

Through Lady Margaret Beaufort, Collyweston Palace had links with Maxey Castle. She spent part of her childhood at Maxey, inheriting the castle from her mother in 1482, but five years later made Collyweston her principal residence. In 1503 there were two weeks of royal celebrations at the palace, for the impending marriage of the King’s daughter Margaret Tudor to King James IV of Scotland. Some of the distinguished guests were lodged at Maxey, with only close family allowed into the Great Hall at Collyweston to watch the thirteen year old bride leave for Holyrood Abbey.

After Lady Margaret died in 1509, the palace gradually fell out of royal use. Her grandson, King Henry VIII stayed there for a few days in 1541, but his daughter Elizabeth I never visited it during her reign. When the palace had been pulled down, it was replaced by a smaller Manor House, which in turn was demolished and some of the site became a farm stack yard. Now the only visual evidence that the palace existed is terracing from its former garden.

In the Deepings we have our own connection with Margaret Beaufort, who became Lady of the Manor. The portcullis symbol from her family crest is carved high on the tower of St Guthlac’s church, and Lady Margaret’s Avenue off Godsey Lane was named in her memory.

Friday, 14th October 2022 – “The Search for Collyweston Palace” by Christopher Close.

Meetings are held between September and May on the second Friday of the month. They commence at 7.30 pm in the main hall of the Community Centre in Douglas Road, Market Deeping, PE6 8PA (behind the Police Station).

Entrance is £1 for members and £3 for non-members.

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