elcome to the Archbishop's Palace at Southwell Minster. You’ll find something for everyone here, from riveting tales about key moments in history to hidden spots for solitude and reflection. A place alive with heritage, our site reflects history in a dynamic way. From the new, multisensory gardens and grounds to the Palace itself, to a stimulating programme of special events and workshops -- you’ll find a place steeped in history and new ways to engage with our shared heritage as never before.
The story of the Archbishop's Palace is a richly diverse and complex one. Over Centuries this seemingly tranquil spot has seen change and turmoil.
Once the site of a Roman villa, an Anglo Saxon church was built from the Roman ruins. In the 10th Century it is believed archbishops built the first residence, which evolved and changed over time. The Palace that exists today was created atop medieval ruins of an earlier Palace of the Archbishops of York.
As it belonged to one of the most important men in the kingdom, the Palace was suitably grand, hosting many as they journeyed across the land, including priests, archbishops, kings and a cardinal. The Palace sheltered two pivotal men whose actions shaped the nation: Cardinal Wolsey (c 1473-1530) stayed here after failing to get Henry VIII’s first marriage annulled by the Pope. So too did King Charles I (1600-1649), whose struggles with Parliament led to Civil War. During the Civil War the Palace was partially dismantled and left in ruin for more than 150 years.
In Georgian times the Palace was home to a “respectable seminary for young ladies” as well as used for the "Soke of Southwell", the magistrate’s court. In 1884 the Palace was first restored as a residency under Bishop Trollope, when the Minster obtained cathedral status. Today the building is filled with the vitality of youthful singing from the Song School, an integral part of the Minster since 1234.
For a timeline
of the Palace, click here