Full Report for Listed Buildings
Summary Description of a Listed Buildings
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Lamphey Bishop's Palace
Reached by minor road at N of Lamphey village.
Religious, Ritual and Funerary
The palace of the Bishops of St David's from the C13 and probably much earlier and until the mid C16. It has important surviving works which have been associated with Bishops Richard Carew, Henry de Gower and Edward VAUGHAN. The palace was surrendered to the Crown by Bishop William Barlow in 1546, whence it was granted to Richard Devereux (and the line of the Earls of Essex). In 1683, probably after damage in the Civil War, the palace was sold to the Owens of Orielton, and in 1821 to Charles Mathias. In the time of Owen tenure the buildings were neglected or converted to farm use, but preservation commenced under the Mathias family followed by H. M. Office of Works and Cadw.
Early C13: Fragments remain of the Old Hall and its undercroft. It is not clear with which bishop this first surviving work is associated. In the hall, two lancets at N, one blocked. Hearth at S with a round chimney above. In the undercroft: slit windows with wide embrasures. Local limestone rubble. Alterations in C16.
Late C13 (associated with Bishop Carew): the Western Hall (replacing the old hall which became a kitchen) and its undercroft. The hall has a fireplace at the centre of the N wall with the stub of a round chimney. The external corbels of this fireplace are carved as little pendants. Windows with Early English stiff-leaf caps to scoinson colonettes. Painted plaster in imitation of stone courses, with a flower motif stencilled onto some of the 'stones'. Parapet with crenellations and loopholes. An attached latrine block at the SE corner. Undercroft: windows with stepped high sills above what appear to be seats. In the walls are the sockets of the floor joists carrying the original timber floor laid above a longitudinal bridging joist. Local limestone with dressings in a coarse freestone.
In later centuries the Western Hall continued as the main hall of the Palace. The undercroft was vaulted over. Windows converted to Tudor form. An attic storey and a new latrine block at S were added.
Early C14 (associated with Bishop Gower): A long narrow hall (or suite of rooms?) and undercroft added at the E of the Palace. The main stairs are against the N wall, above the undercroft porch. There are corbels for a pentice roof sheltering the stairs. The hall was roofed with six trusses, for the wall-posts of which there are corbels about 1.5 m above floor level. Pairs of trefoil-headed lancet windows with window seats. The E end of the hall is served by a fireplace with a conical chimney. A latrine wing is attached at SW. At the top of the walls is an arcaded parapet, of less developed type than that of Bishop Gower at St David's. Local limestone rubble with sandstone dressings.
This building has a fine undercroft which now appears as a single vault, slightly pointed at the apex. The springings of several of the eleven cross-ribs survive, but the ribs have almost completely disappeared and the straight construction-joints in the stonework above rib positions are visible.
A building at the E of the inner ward containing additional accommodation (the 'red chamber') may be contemporary.
Early C16 (associated with Bishop Vaughan): Fragments of a chapel, with a modern gateway at the E. Sacristy at N. Fragments of Tudor windows. A fine Perpendicular E window survives.
Wards: The inner ward gatehouse, now standing in isolation: two storeys, with gatekeeper's room above. Altered stairs at N, incorporating a mounting block. Pitched floor in the gateway. Shallow vaulted floor above. In the NE corner of the upper room there is a fireplace. Parapet arcading after the Gower style.
There remain fragments of an extensive outer ward, to the N and W of the main buildings. Here the most important structure was Bishop Vaughan's great corn barn, the lower part of the N wall of which survives. Also fragments of the outer gatehouse. A later outer precinct wall to the S facing the stream and fishponds.
Scheduled Ancient Monument Pe3.
The buildings, including walls to the extent of the Ancient Monument, listed Grade I as a pre-Reformation monument of national importance.
References: C A Raleigh Radford in Arch. Cambr. XCIII (1938)
Site Guide Lamphey Bishop's Palace (Cadw, 1991)
Dyfed Arch. Trust S&M PRN 3507
Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]