Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal is one of the glories of Hampton Court Palace: Now a richly decorated Baroque interior used by Henry VIII but originally designed for Cardinal Wolsey.

When structural problems concerning Wolsey’s Royal Pew became evident, Martin Ashley Architects were appointed – alongside a team of engineers, surveyors, conservators, curators and other specialists – to investigate their cause and recommend remedial action. Our work revealed extensive decay to critical load paths, and we pieced together a chronology of adaptation, failure and repairs that had taken place over the years – including previously unknown alterations by Inigo Jones, overlaid by interventions by Sir Christopher Wren.

Historic Royal Palaces initiated a repair programme following our advice. This successfully addressed the Royal Pew’s structural problems, to budget and timescale, without invasive impact upon the outstandingly important archaeology. Nor was there any visible effect upon the Chapel Royal, which remained open for visitors and services throughout.