Baynard’s Castle

Ss068-22 (Scan)_800x500_Photoscape-Mac_(c)

Above: A rather fanciful colour depiction of Baynard’s Castle probably made in the late 1700s. It is attractive, which is why it is shown here. It is probably based on an earlier more accurate (but less visually interesting) drawing. The print should not be taken too seriously but it gives a good impression of how the Castle might have looked.

“Upper Thames Street – Part 2”

This was a large structure, built of stone about 1080 for William Baynard, a nobleman who had come to England with William the Conqueror. Its approximate size is shown on the map at the bottom of this article. It should be noted that in medieval times the riverfront was further north (further inland) than the riverfront shown on the map which dates from about 1900.

It was largely rebuilt 1487-1501 by Henry VII, without battlements, so that it looked less like a castle. It is known that he lived there during 1502. The building later became a Dower House for several queens until Somerset House was built in the 1540s.


Above: A model, that used to be exhibited in the Museum of London, showing how the Castle looked some time around 1550.

Baynard's Castle (Agas)_labelled_800x500_(c)

Above: Part of the Agas map of c1561, coloured by the author, showing the area around Baynard’s Castle.

During the Great Fire of London (1666) the building was destroyed. Fire reached it on Monday evening and, after burning all night, it was in ruins by Tuesday morning. Only one tower remained standing. The building was not repaired but the remaining tower was not demolished until 1720.

The land around was acquired by various owners and houses and store-houses were built on the site. By Victorian times most of the land beside the Thames contained large warehouses with goods being delivered by lighters and stored before later being moved by road in carts.

The story then jumps forward to 1973 when, during the summer months, the whole site was fully excavated and the foundations of Baynard’s Castle were exposed. The work was carried out ahead of the erection of modern buildings and a new road layout, linking with Queen Victoria Street with Blackfriars Underpass and the Victoria Embankment.

Burley House

This obviously grand house was formerly known as Fescamp Inn. It was granted to Simon Burley in 1379. As can be seen on the Agas map, it stood beside the Thames on the east side of Baynard’s Castle.

Paul’s Wharf

Named on the Agas map as ‘Poles Wharf’, this wharf was still the address of Victorian wharf until the 1960s.

Chertsey House

This house is shown on the Agas map further east of Paul’s Wharf. It has water-stairs descending from the house to the water’s edge. Using the private stairs the owner to board a wherry and be rowed to his desired destination up-river or down-river of his riverside residence. House shown, along with water stairs. The property was acquired in 1296-97 by the Abbots of Chertsey Abbey. A stone quay was built from 1307 onwards. Stow says it was called Sandie House in his time (1600).


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11 Responses to Baynard’s Castle

  1. clavdivs26 says:

    Have you seen this plaque, Adrian? The person who posted the image on Flickr when asked where it was located said: “As far as I can remember it is in the Puddle Dock area. The whole Blackfriars area is difficult at the moment so I am not sure if you will find it.” (


    • The plaque is the only reminder of the castle today. It is beside the Thames, about 100 yards east of Blackfriars Railway Bridge. Its not far from the site of Puddle Dock which was filled in some time in the 1970s.


  2. clavdivs26 says:

    You mention this castle was largely rebuilt by Henry VII between 1487-1501. Why does the plaque read 1428-1666? I’m guessing it burned down in the Great Fire, but its build date is 1428 on the plague.


  3. clavdivs26 says:

    Is Simon de Burley (1336-1388) ( in any relation to Elizabeth I’s, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (1520-1598)? Did Cecil use the Burley House while in town? I realize Simon was childless and got executed in the Merciless Parliament, so is there no connection?


  4. clavdivs26 says:

    LOVE your maps – colorization and identification of buildings. Like the model at the Museum of London. Why is it no longer there? Was it moved? Destroyed? Redone?


  5. clavdivs26 says:

    On an aside, although in the same general area (?) has the Blackfriars Bridge redevelopment been completed? The red pillars are impressive


  6. clavdivs26 says:

    Would you know the map maker of this? The detail shows Blackfriars and Baynard:


  7. clavdivs26 says:

    This drawing isn’t particulary accurate, is it? For instance, Burley House is missing..


    • I have no information about the colour image on my blog. I don’t know whether it is a complete picture or whether it is part of a larger picture. I have not been able to find a library in London that has an original (or even a copy).


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