roseAgas Map
Whitehall Palace, the Palace of Whitehall or simply Whitehall, was one of the most complex and sizeable locations in the entirety of early modern Europe. As the primary place of residence for monarchs from 1529 to 1698, Whitehall was an architectural testament to the shifting sociopolitical, religious, and aesthetic currents of Renaissance England. Sugden describes the geospatial location of Whitehall, noting that [i]t lay on the left bank of the Thames, and extended from nearly the point where Westminster Bdge. now crosses the river to Scotland Yard, and from the river back to St. James’s Park (Sugden 564-565).
The first recorded reference to what is now known as Whitehall notes the property’s sale to Gerin, an administrator under Henry II (Thurley 1). Ownership of the property shifted a number of times in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries before coming into the possession of Walter de Gray, Archbishop of York, in 1240 (Thurley 4). The property became known for centuries as York Place because of Walter de Gray’s ownership. Around 1303, Edward I expanded upon York Place so that he and his family could temporarily reside there during his time spent at Westminster. Following Edward I’s expansions, George Neville likely rebuilt and expanded upon York Place in the fifteenth century. By 1515, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey began drastic, costly renovations to York Place, but upon Woolsey’s removal in 1529, Henry VIII began to use the house as his primary London residence, during which time it began to be known as Whitehall (Cannon and Crowcroft).
Whitehall consisted of many galleries, a cock pit, a tennis court, a chapel and a Banqueting House. An account given by a German traveller in 1598 described Whitehall as a truly royal structure Gap in transcription. Reason: (DN)[…] Near the palace are seen an immense number of swans who wander up and down the river for miles (Sheppard 17). Its relationship with the river is significant not only for its ease of access in transporting important visitors, but also in terms of the comings and goings of the monarch. For Queen Elizabeth, her bedrooms overlooked the river and gave her unlimited access. She often spent cool evenings on her barge (Dunlop 66). Whitehall also had its own outdoor pulpit, which served as the site where the Protestant martyr Hugh Latimer preached to Edward VI. The outdoor pulpit was constructed to hold four times so many, as could have stood in the King’s chapel (Dunlop 65).
The Banqueting House was added to Whitehall during Elizabeth I’s reign, in time for the 1581 marriage negotiations between Elizabeth and Francis, Duke of Anjou (Charlton 11; Sheppard 36). In 1601, Whitehall and its Banqueting House served as a major royal palace for the visits of two important political dignitaries: the Virginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, and the ambassador from the Tsar, Boris Godunov. It was described as a long square 332 foot in measure about; 30 principals made of great masts, being XI feet in length speece, standing upright Gap in transcription. Reason: (DN)[…] the walls Gap in transcription. Reason: (DN)[…] closed with canvas, and painted all the out sides Gap in transcription. Reason: (DN)[…] most artificially with a work called rustic, much like unto stone (Charlton 11).
King James I built a new Banqueting House designed by Inigo Jones in 1634 (Blatherwick). Whitehall remained the primary residence for each of the Stuart monarchs throughout the seventeenth century until Mary II and William III left Whitehall in favour of their own palace. The vast majority of the palace was destroyed by a fire in 1698, though Inigo Jones’ Banqueting House still remains (Cannon and Crowcroft).
View of Whitehall from St. James Park. Image courtesy of the Folger Digital Image Collection.
View of Whitehall from St. James Park. Image courtesy of the Folger Digital Image Collection.


Cite this page

MLA citation

Templet, Chase, and Dustin Neighbors. Whitehall. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022, mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/WHIT5.htm.

Chicago citation

Templet, Chase, and Dustin Neighbors. Whitehall. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022. mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/WHIT5.htm.

APA citation

Templet, C., & Neighbors, D. 2022. Whitehall. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/editions/7.0/WHIT5.htm.

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

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A1  - Neighbors, Dustin
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Whitehall
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
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PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/WHIT5.htm
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/xml/standalone/WHIT5.xml
ER  - 

TEI citation

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Disambiguation for York Place and York House

York Place was the residence of Cardinal Wolsey before it was seized by Henry VIII and renamed Whitehall. York House was the residence of the Archbishops of York, starting with Nicholas Heath during the reign of Mary I.



Variant spellings