King John’s Palace - History and Facts | History Hit

King John’s Palace

Southampton, England, United Kingdom

King Johns Palace is a ruined Norman townhouse built around 1180AD, the remains of which are now open to the public.

Lily Johnson

04 Jun 2021

About King John’s Palace

King John’s Palace is a ruined Norman townhouse in Southampton, the remains of which are now open to the public.

King John’s Palace history

First built around 1180 as a stone-built Norman merchant’s house, King John’s Palace was located directly on the quayside for easy access to the town’s West Quay. The house gained its unusual name from the belief that King John stayed here in the early 13th century, and though this is no longer believed to be accurate, the name persists.

In the early 14th century the house was incorporated into the town’s defensive walls and gun ports were built into the structure following a number of French raids on the country’s south coast. Despite this, the house continued to be occupied through the centuries, and was at different times used as a private residence, business premises, and even an 18th century coach house and stables.

King John’s Palace today

In the early 20th century King John’s Palace suffered the loss of its roof and soon was left in a semi-ruinous state. Despite this, the main stone structure survives, along with corridors, chambers, and the main walls, complete with what are considered to be Britain’s earliest gunports.

Due to its preservation, King John’s Palace remains a fine example of a Norman stone structure and has become a draw for tourists in the area. It now forms part of the Tudor House and Gardens which borders the property, and can be viewed in conjunction with this.

Getting to King John’s Palace

King John’s Palace is approximately 75 miles from London, following the M3, M27 and A34. If travelling from the West, Bristol or Wales, follow the A36. From the East, follow the A27/M27, exiting at Junction 8.

Southampton Central train station is approximately 1 mile away from the Tudor House & Garden, from which a £1 bus service runs to Town Quay, a short walk to the site. National Express and Greyhound coaches also run to and from the City centre to all major destinations