Key: 1=Archbishop’s Apartments; 2=Great Hall; 3=Western Lodgings; 4= Eastern Court; 5=Paddock
The farmhouse, barn, western range and the buildings in the south range of the complex are separately listed Grade 1:
- NHLE 1070756 – Palace Farmhouse (Former Archbishop’s Apartments)
- NHLE 1185861 – Barn (Former Great Hall)
- NHLE 1186008 – Outhouse to west of Palace Farmhouse (Western Range)
- NHLE 1070757 – Palace Cottages and remains of gatehouse adjoining
Grade 1 buildings are regarded as being of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important; nationally only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade 1 – so to have four located within its complex underscores the Palace’s extraordinary significance to England’s cultural heritage.
The ground beneath the listed buildings is scheduled and a Grade 2 listed wall surrounds the whole site.
The Palace is included on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register. The former Great Hall and Western Range are designated Priority A (at immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric with no solution agreed) while the listed farmhouse is at Priority C (subject to slow decay with no solution agreed).
Another building preservation charity, the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, has already acquired and developed a cottage and ruinous Gatehouse in the former Southern Lodging Range and has an option in place with the current owner to purchase the remainder of the Palace complex.
Spitalfields’ business model is one of restoring endangered historic buildings and once complete to sell them on into private ownership, using the return on any sale to fund future projects.
Our vision of giving the Palace’s restored former Great Hall a sustainable future by making it a self-sustaining centre for education, culture, leisure and recreation differs from theirs in that we believe such an important complex of buildings should offer at least some open access to the public.
We have been in discussion with Spitalfields Trust and other key stakeholders, Historic England and Ashford Borough Council, since October 2016.
To date Spitalfields have declined to work with us, preferring the flexibility offered by working independently, and have never before undertaken a restoration project in partnership with another organisation. They have, however, from the outset of our discussions expressed openness to reconsider their position should we be able to make a convincing case that our vision is financially and technically achievable.
With this as our aim, we have now undertaken two studies, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Architectural Heritage Fund, to assess the financial viability of our vision and provide us with a clear route map for how it might best be achieved. With both of these now completed, and the viability and feasibility of our vision confirmed, we remain optimistic that we can yet convince Spitalfields to reconsider their position.
Copies of these two studies will shortly be available to view and download from ‘Key Documents’ in the Our Trust section of this website.
For further information concerning how our two approaches differ and the nature of our relationship with Spitalfields Trust please see Q&A in this section of the website.