To what extent are the functions and/or distinctive features of the site explained by the evidence you have studied? Essay

Fulham Palace may seem as just a typical house for the very wealthy family due to its size. An ordinary visitor may view Fulham Palace as a country house within a renovated park; this may be suggested as the interpretation quotes “botanical garden of Bishop Compton and especially his plant collection”. Due to the fact that Fulham Palace is in the city this implies that there was many significant purposes, such as Fulham Palace being a work palace for 78 Bishops; as one of the features of the site was the size the palace could also be used as a ‘summer residence’ for the Bishops, his family and servants.

Since the 7th centaury Fulham Palace has been an accommodation to 78 Bishops until 1973 where Bishop Stopford was the last Bishop that lived there; after 1973 the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham took possession Fulham Palace. Fulham Palace holds such a historical background through many features such as the Great Hall which was built in 1495 and the Chapel built in 1860. From my visit of the site I learned the Great Hall was used for purposes such as banqueting, drawing room, chapel and dinning room.

Bishop Winnington-Ingram held Christmas parties in the Great Hall and invite orphans, the children of clergy, as well as the Great Hall being used for entertainment purposes, during the medieval period servants that worked within Fulham Palace used to sleep in the Great Hall. As Fulham Palace is now within the possession of the local council the Great Hall is hired out for many different purposes, Source B is a picture of a wedding party celebration in the Great Hall in 2009, illustrating the changing of purposes and its availability change to the public.

The current chapel is the fourth chapel at Fulham Palace built in 1860, the chapel was built personally for Bishop Tate after the loss of his children who died of small pox, it was a private chapel. The chapel remains a private for the Bishop of London but it is possible to hold a service of blessing and prayer in the chapel following a civil marriage at Fulham Palace. Source E is a plan of Fulham palace from 1764 which displays where the Medieval

Chapel was located this suggest that over the years many different people have come into the palace and changed the positions of things to suit their own taste and that circumstances have affected the palace therefore changes had to be made. Such as when the palace flooded the chapel was relocated to the right hand side of the courtyard above the brewery but because the bishop of the time did not like the smell of the beer the chapel was then relocated to the Great Hall. Fulham Palace lies on a site that is self-sufficient, the land was able to grow its own food and feed the residents and staff at the palace.

Source D illustrates a picture of allotments, its shows that that the land did not only grow food for the residents of the site but it also provided for the public during the war times. The first initial function of the gardens was to provide for the residents of the palace but there have been a few changing functions of the garden, such as purpose of war and entertainment. From my visit of the site I was able gain knowledge of the works Bishop Henry Compton on the garden, Bishop Compton brought many unique and rare plants from across the world such as America, he planted the first coffee tree in England.

The botanical gardens were an example of the gardens being used for entertainment purposes, to view its beauty; to please and amuse important visitors that the palace usually had. Source C an extract from the 1647 tells us ‘three closes of pasture with several walks in’ this shows that the garden was used to gaze at its beauty for pleasure and entertainment purposes. Some of the features of the palace have still remained the same as its function is significant, for example the small gates built within the large gates.

From my tour of the palace I learnt that the large gates where only used when a great number for people where coming in and that they would usually come in a horse and carriage therefore. The main function of the multiple doors was not only for entrance but for security; the guard who would be at the gate would initially check through the smaller door to see who was seeking the entrance and after approving would decide on whether to open the large gate or smaller gate.

Elizabeth I would enter the palace from the other side as she would usually arrive by boat. Although some features have remained the same in function, many have changed such have the fountain in the court yard which was primarily created for drinking purposes and an direct source to fetch water for the palace, in now just a mere pleasant beautification and wish well for the court yard.

Also the moat at the entrance of the palace is part of the original iron-age ditch, like most moats the function of it would be for security, but the moat at Fulham Palace was largely for the purpose for of access to water, nevertheless as times have moved on the moat has been cleared and will remain dry as it as the current shape of the moat has been accepted as a medieval historical attribute.