Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace from the River

Lambeth Palace .—This curious and interesting building, situated in a part of the metropolis seldom visited by strangers, is the official residence of the archbishops of Canterbury.  It is on the south bank of the Thames, between Westminster and Vauxhall Bridges.  The structure has grown up by degrees during the six centuries that Lambeth has been the archiepiscopal residence; and on that account exhibits great diversities of style.  Leaving unnoticed the private and domestic apartments, the following are the portions of the irregular cluster possessing most interest.  The Chapel, some say, was erected in the year 1196; it is in early English, with lancet windows and a crypt; but the roof, stained windows, and carved screens, are much more recent.  The archbishops are always consecrated in this chapel.  The Lollard's Tower, at the western end of the chapel, was named from some Lollards or Wickliffites supposed to have been imprisoned there.  It is about 400 years old.  The uppermost room, with strong iron rings in the walls, appears to have been the actual place of confinement; there are many names and inscriptions cut in the thick oak wainscoting.  The Hall, about 200 years old, is 93 feet long by 78 feet wide; it is noticeable for the oak roof, the bay windows, and the arms of several of the archbishops.  The Library, 250 years old, contains about 15,000 volumes and numerous manuscripts, many of them rare and curious.  The Gatehouse is a red brick structure, with stone dressings.  The Church, near it, is one of the most ancient in the neighbourhood of London; it has been recently restored in good taste.  Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered here, in 1381, by Wat Tyler's mob, who stormed the palace, burned its contents, and destroyed all the registers and public papers.  Lambeth Palace is not, as a rule, shewn to strangers.

Lambeth Palace—Lollard's Tower