Lamphey Bishop's Palace

Lamphey Bishop's Palace

Just outside the town of Lamphey in Pembrokeshire is a heavenly retreat - or, rather, the ruins of one.

Many centuries ago, Lamphey Bishop’s Palace (also known as Lamphey Court) was built under the watchful eye of Henry de Gower, bishop of St David’s from 1328 to 1347.

Used to strict, religious lifestyles, the high-ranking clergymen who stayed here found this place positively luxurious - coming here was like a medieval spa holiday.

A perfect palace with grand grounds

With a great hall for feasting and private rooms, the interior of the palace would have been impressive and lavish.

Those with keen eyes may spot remnants of the original hall from the 13th century - now dubbed the old hall. However, when Henry de Gower got his hands on this palace, it was renovated significantly.

Over 20 rooms were built, and the old hall became the great hall. Of course, little remains of these buildings now, but as you explore the ruins of this place, you might be able to imagine how luxurious it would have once looked.

On the grounds, there were many other marvellous things for the bishops to enjoy, such as orchards where they could pick fruit and gardens where they could grow their own food.

This idyllic palace is also home to a park that covers almost 150 acres, where deer were said to graze.

It’s easy to imagine why the clergy would have loved coming to this place, and these grounds are still as peaceful and lovely today as they were then.

A break for bishops

In the Middle Ages, the bishops of St David’s would come to Lamphey Bishop's Palace to temporarily escape the strict and simple lives they were expected to lead, and at this country retreat, they could experience what life was like for privileged aristocrats and nobles.

Yet the life of luxury the clergy enjoyed here did not last forever, and during the reign of Henry VIII, ownership of the palace was given to Richard Devereux.

Just over a century later, this place was sold to the Owens of Orielton who are thought to have mainly used it as a farm, a far cry from its original purpose.

Lamphey Bishop’s Palace is an interesting look into history that teaches us a lot about the lives of the clergy in the days of knights and tonsure haircuts.

The remains of this palace really are lovely, and with the pleasant town of Lamphey nearby that is home to the renowned Lamphey Court Hotel, this area is a great place to stay and visit.

Lamphey Palace,
Pembrokeshire,
GB SA71 5NT
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Free parking