Bishop's PalaceWitney Category Outdoor Activities, Historic Sites
The remains of the ‘Bishop’s Palace’ are situated in the grounds of Mount House, just east of St Mary’s Church in Witney. In reality the ‘palace’ was a manor house, one of the earliest and largest of its type, the working centre of the estates owned by the Bishops of Winchester. Archaeological excavations have revealed a series of stone buildings arranged around a courtyard and surrounded by a wall and moat. Part of the original building has been unearthed and is on display under a permanent awning with some interpretation boards to help give an understanding of the original buildings size and scope.
Bishops and royalty frequently visited the manor house in the early 13th century, with King John’s visit in 1208-9 even prompting the building of new garderobes (medieval toilets), but these visits gradually petered out.
The surviving medieval buildings of the Bishop’s Palace were demolished and replaced by a new house, probably just after 1757. This in turn was replaced by the existing Mount House, in about 1905, probably for J.F. Marriott, owner of the Mount Mills blanket factory which once stood behind the house.
There is a small interpretation centre, which is open by appointment only.