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15th - 19th centuries


Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, was tried in St Stephen's Chapel for ‘treasonable necromancy.'


A new fountain, or great conduit, was built in New Palace Yard


A fire in the private part of the palace meant that Henry VIII stopped using the palace as a residence.


c. 1514-27

The current St Stephen's cloisters were built to replace the Richard II cloister.



Henry VIII acquired Whitehall Palace from Cardinal Wolsey and built his own new Westminster lodgings there. Westminster Palace remains in use by the law courts and for ceremonies such as the acclamation of new monarchs, coronations and banquets until the 1800s.



St Stephen's College was dissolved and its buildings stood empty.


By 1550
Edward VI handed over St Stephen's Chapel to the Commons for their use.


Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the old House of Lords. He was subsequently executed in Old Palace Yard


Charles I was condemned to death in Westminster Hall following his defeat by Oliver Cromwell in the Civil War.



Christopher Wren installed paneling and new seats to make St Stephen's into a classical debating chamber.


1707 Wren made alterations to the Commons' Chamber to accommodate the new Scottish MPs.


James Wyatt ripped out more medieval fittings and destroyed ancient wall paintings in the Commons' Chamber to accommodate the new Irish Members.


Most of the medieval Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire on the night of 16 October. Only Westminster Hall, the Undercroft Chapel, the Cloisters and Chapter House of St Stephen's and the Jewel Tower survived



Last updated April 2017


You can access biographies of

Richard II

Henry VIII

Edward VI

Guy Fawkes

James Wright

Sir Christopher Wren

from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for free, online, using your local library card number (includes nine out of ten public libraries in the UK) or from within academic library and other subscribing networks.