People and places of historical interest in Thurrock

Orsett - the Bishop of London's palace

Bishop Bonner's palace at Orsett

Edmund Bonner was Bishop of London from 1539 to 1549 and again from 1553 to 1559. The earthworks at Orsett show a ring and bailey which is said to be the remains of Bishop Bonner's palace. The earthworks consist of a circular enclosure (with an internal diameter of 200 feet ), surrounded by ditch approximately 50 feet wide. To the north is an oblong bailey enclosed by a well-defined ditch. On the north side defences are strengthened by a second ditch. The only building remains consist of a fragment of rubble foundation on the north-west side of the ringwork. In a wood, 200 yards to the west, is a large oblong fish pond.

In Domesday (1086) it says that 13 hides were held in Orsett by the Bishop of London. Some of the material from the palace was re-used to repair nearby Orsett church. The earthworks are scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act. They are on private land, with no public access.