woking palace

We all know Buckingham Palace. Hampton Court Place and Kensington Palace – of course! But how about Woking Palace?

It was once a large and important palace, used by Tudor royalty from King Henry VII through to Queen Elizabeth I. The first house on the site, beside the River Wey, was probably erected in 1217. Successive building on the site over the centuries resulted in a substantial complex of buildings.

A once opulent Tudor house, Woking Palace is now considered a Scheduled Ancient Monument and site of archaeological importance

Today Woking Palace is a collection of ruins on a peaceful site hidden away in the countryside near Old Woking village. But this weekend (Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July) the Friends of Woking Palace – a local voluntary preservation group – will show it is much more than mere left-overs.

They are holding a Festival of Archaeology on this site of Woking’s palatial link with Tudor royalty, which is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

From 11am to 5pm both days, volunteers from the Friends of Woking Palace will provide information and lead tours around the eight acre moated site. There will be displays about its fascinating history, including the discoveries made during archaeological excavations over the years from 2009 to 2015, which revealed even more about the Palace’s illustrious past.

The studies were mainly the result of a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded project “Woking Palace and its Park”, which included major archaeological excavations by many volunteers and schoolchildren.

Other attractions this weekend will include children’s activities, the history of bee keeping, Tudor juggling by Hattie Hyder, and demonstrations of traditional woodworking crafts by John Waller (underwoodsman).

For the first time at a Woking Palace open day, Tudor re-enactor Catherine Guilder – recently on TV as an expert in “The Repair Shop” on BBC One – will provide demonstrations of Tudor Life, including medicine and folklore.

There will also be displays about Surrey Archaeological Society’s ongoing Test Pitting Project in Old Woking. Guidebooks, CDs and postcards of Woking Palace as well as other publications will be on sale in an on-site pavilion.

Site access is only by foot or cycle; there is no on-site parking or along the narrow private road (Carters Lane) leading to it. Cars can be parked free of charge in Old Woking, in the large car park behind the short stay car park at the mini roundabout.

Disabled visitors should contact the Friends of Woking Palace on 07722 299026 to arrange access.

For lots of information about Woking Palace and the Open Day this weekend, visit the Friends of Woking Palace’s excellent web site: www.woking-palace.org.

The Friends are always looking for volunteers to help with preservation, site maintenance, preparations for Open Days and to act as guides on those days. Membership of the Friends is just £5 per annum (£7.50 for family membership). Members receive regular newsletters full of articles and news, and can participate in meetings and influence the work of the Friends.

WOKING Palace opens for the first time this year on Saturday and Sunday. From 11am-5pm, visitors to the eight-acre moated site can learn about its fascinating history from the 12th century through to the Tudors and beyond.

Faded Glory: The site of Woking Palace has been of great interest to archaeologists

There will also be displays about the history of beekeeping, archaeological excavations at Woking Palace from 2009 to 2015, and the Old Woking Test Pitting Project.  During both days, volunteers from the Friends of Woking Palace will provide guided tours round the site with the last tours starting at about 4.00pm. There will also be a variety of children’s activities.  Set beside the River Wey the ruins of Woking Palace are surrounded by a rural landscape that was once the 590-acre deer park belonging to Woking Manor.

Please note there is no parking at Woking Palace or in Carters Lane. Disabled visitors should contact Friends of Woking Palace by e-mail to info@woking-palace.org or phone to 07722 299026 to arrange special parking.  Entry is free but donations are always welcome.

For further information visit the Friends’ website

TARGETED - damage was caused to Woking Palace

TARGETED - damage was caused to Woking Palace

ARSONISTS have targeted a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Old Woking for the second time in as many months.

Offenders caused more than £1,000 worth of smoke damage to Woking Palace after setting fire to litter outside the metal door of the monument sometime between April 6 and June 1.

The attack follows a similar incident first reported to police at the beginning of April when £200 of damage was caused to the historic ruin in Carters Lane.

Investigating Detective Constable Kerry Whindle said: “This is the second time Woking Palace has been damaged as a result of mindless acts of vandalism and I appeal to anyone who may have any information which might help Surrey Police locate those responsible and deal with them accordingly, to call me as a matter of urgency.

“This site is of enormous historical and cultural interest and Surrey Police will not tolerate this wanton damage against such a specialist site in the borough.

“The Safer Neighbourhood Team is aware and will be monitoring the location providing a visible presence and reassurance to those members of the public accessing the monument.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference WK/12/3287.  Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.