From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

King Johns Palace

Ruined Palace
53° 10' 34.03" N 1° 5' 38.28" W

  • History
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King Johns Palace is located in Kings Clipstone near Mansfield. It is also known as the King's Houses and was an important royal residence for the Plantagenet kings.

Royal records show that this was the favoured residence for the Plantagenet Kings when in the area. It was only during the 20th century that the ruins became known as a hunting lodge. In an age when the court had to travel to spread the burden on local food and forage supplies, Henry II, Richard I, John, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, and Richard II all stayed for weeks or even months at a time.

The place is situated at the heart of ancient Sherwood and only a day’s ride from Nottingham. The kings could enjoy the pleasures of the beautiful countryside and rich hunting away from the main palaces. Situated on the high ground above the River Maun with the Great Pond of Clipstone to the east, the site would have been fairly secure and very pleasant.  The deer park, over seven miles in circumference was enclosed in 1178/79 with a wooden pale of sharpened wooden stakes. The Great Pond provided water to power the mill and the fish it contained were an essential source of protein, especially as only fish could be eaten on a Friday.

A variety of materials were used to construct the building including local sandstone and magnesium limestone, probably from Mansfield Woodhouse. Records show that other buildings were constructed of timber, some on stone foundations. The later buildings were tiled using sandstone slates from Mansfield. A layer of dressed stone blocks (ashlar blocks) would have been laid in an inner and outer course using a lime mortar. Stone rubble held together by mortar would then have been packed between the inner and outer face blocks and the wall left for some time whilst the mortar set (unlike modern cement, lime mortar sets very slowly). During the hardening period more ashlar blocks would have been dressed on site to have a smooth face ready for the next course.