Savoy Palace

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Coordinates: 51°30′38″N 0°7′13″W / 51.51056°N 0.12028°W / 51.51056; -0.12028

The Savoy Palace was considered the grandest nobleman's residence of medieval London, until it was destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. It fronted Strand, on the site of the present Savoy Theatre and the Savoy Hotel that memorialise its name. In its area the rule of law was different from the rest of London.


Savoy Palace

In the Middle Ages, though there were many other noble palaces within the city walls, the most desirable location for housing the nobility was Strand, which emerged between the City and the village of Charing, the site of Charing Cross, (then in the county of Middlesex) as early as the 12th century. There a nobleman could also have water frontage on the Thames, the great ancient water highway, and be free of the stink and social tumult of the City of London to the east, and its constant threat of fires.

Henry III had granted the land to the queen's uncle, Peter, Count of Savoy, in 1246. The mansion built there later became the home of Prince Edmund, the Earl of Lancaster; his descendants, the Dukes of Lancaster, lived there throughout the next century. In the 14th century, when Strand was paved as far as the Savoy, it was the vast riverside London residence of John of Gaunt, Richard II's uncle and the nation's power broker. The Savoy was the most magnificent nobleman's mansion in England. It was famous for its owner's magnificent collection of tapestries, jewels and ornaments. Geoffrey Chaucer began writing The Canterbury Tales while working at the Savoy Palace as a clerk.[1]

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