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Hampton Court Kitchens

The Tudor Kitchens at Hampton Court were begun by Cardinal Wolsey in about 1515, and were extended by Henry VIII to cater for the 600 lesser members of his court who ate in the Great Hall. The King and more important courtiers ate elsewhere. About 200 people worked in the kitchens. Alterations were made in the 17th and 18th Centuries, but much of the huge suite remains as it was in the 16th Century.

kitchen plan

Fish Court gives access to offices and larders connected to the kitchen. Serving areas by the Great Kitchen give access to the Great Hall.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Fish Court

The Butchery.
Meat was killed fresh on site

Larder for hanging game

larder shelves.
Kitchen fittings are in the form of simple shelves and work benches

Rooms were set aside for the final dressing of dishes for presentation at table

Elaborate 'subtleties' to decorate the table were usually constructed out of sugar and marzipan

The cellars
Henry VIII's court consumed 300 barrels of wine in a year. Ale was also drunk in huge quantities. Water was not a safe alternative.



side table
A worktop laid out with some of the utensils commonly in use

Serving area
Food was laid out, ready to be delivered, through the serving hatches at the end, to the Great Hall.

Serving hatches


The kitchens are high. Platforms for storage were added in the 17th Century.

Wolsey's Fireplace
The great roasting fireplace is the oldest, still with its original spit supports

Next to the roasting hearth is a smaller fireplace for making sauces.

This one was altered in the 17th century
to accomodate a new hearth and clockwork spit.

Jacobean spit

This was built into an earlier fireplace in the 17th century. The original ovens of the pastry office were 12 feet in diameter, but have not survived. Huge pies were cooked in the pastry office. Bread was made in a seperate bakery outside the palace because of the risk of fire.


Charcoal stove

This one is 17th century but earlier ones would have been similar.


cooking platform

A roasting fireplace was converted to a charcoal stove in the 18th Century



The copper boiler, raised on a stone hearth in the boiling house, held 76 gallons and was used as a stockpot for boiling meat.


A mortor and pestle was the food processor of Tudor kitchens. Spices, nuts and meat could be pulverised in them.


Kitchen ware

Iron cooking pots, earthenware storage jugs, baskets, pestle and mortor, grater. There is a range in the background, added in the 19th century.


Earthenware Jugs

Grateful thanks to Carolyn Cassady for the photographs
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