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SUFFOLK PLACE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BRANDON PLACE, SUFFOLK HOUSE
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The site of Suffolk Place, a royal residence acquired by Henry VIII in 1536. It had previously been known as Brandon Place, a 15th century aristocratic townhouse, belonging to the Brandon family. Sir Thomas Brandon inherited Brandon Place in 1497 and created a private park adjoining it from some 48 acres of meadows and pastures belonging to the Bishop of Winchester. After his death in 1510 the property passed to his nephew Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, who married Henry VIII's sister Mary in 1515. In 1516 Suffolk purchased 11 messuages and eight gardens in Southwark to enlarge the site of the house and by 1518 he was commissioning extensive building work there. In 1521 he renewed the lease of the park for a further 99 years.

Henry VIII acquired Suffolk Place, by exchanging it with Brandon for Norwich Place on the Strand, in February 1536. He granted it to Jane Seymour in June 1537, but when she died the following October it reverted back to the King. Henry had minor repairs and improvements made to the house and gardens, but seems to have visited it seldom, if at all. In 1545 the house was converted into a mint, and until August 1551 it produced silver and gold coin. Thereafter, the house reverted to its former status as a royal mansion. In 1556 Queen Mary granted it to the Archbishop of York, whose Westminster townhouse, York Place, had been seized by Henry VIII in 1529 and converted into the Royal Palace of Whitehall. The archbishop soon purchased Norwich Place to use instead and sold Suffolk Place in 1557, after which the house was demolished and smaller houses built on the site.

Antonis van den Wyngaerde's panorama of London, drawn circa 1544-8, shows Suffolk Place as a large mansion or palatial building with polygonal towers and cupolas set back from the High Street behind a gatehouse and wall or fence. The main house contained a central block of three storeys with wings extending to the north and west.

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