Lambeth Palace Facts

Here are some facts about Lambeth Palace.

  • The palace is the official home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England. The line of Archbishops of Canterbury goes back more than 1,400 years.
  • The oldest part of Lambeth Palace dates from the 13th century, and over the centuries the building has been added to and altered. Much of the palace’s Gothic look was added in the 19th century.

Lambeth Palace

  • Scorch marks from a bomb that hit the palace during The Blitz of World War 2 can still be seen in the chapel.
  • The only person ever buried in the palace, Archbishop Parker, is buried under the chapel floor.
  • Morton’s Tower, a red brick gatehouse, is the entrance to the palace. For several centuries, archbishops would hand out bread and soup to the poor, from the tower.
  • One of the most unusual items displayed at Lambeth Palace is the shell of a tortoise, bought by Archbishop Laud in 1633. The tortoise lived to be 120.
  • The crypt is the oldest part of the palace, and its floor level was raised to avoid flooding. It has been used to store beer and wine, and as an air raid shelter during World War 2.
  • The library at Lambeth Palace was founded in 1610 and contains over 200,000 books. There are about 600 Medieval manuscripts in the library.
  • The garden at the palace is the oldest continually cultivated garden in London. It covers 10 acres and the public can work there as volunteers.
  • Next to Lambeth Palace is the parish church of St. Mary, dating from 1850. Buried in the churchyard is Admiral William Bligh, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame.

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