“HAMPTON, a parish in the hundred of Spelthorne, county Middlesex, 2 miles W. of Kingston, and 13 from London. Hampton Court is the station on the South-Western railway. The Thames Valley railway, in course of construction, runs through New Hampton and Hampton. The parish, which comprises 3,190 acres, with a population in 1861 of 5,399, is situated on the river Thames. It contains Hampton, New Hampton, and Hampton Court.
The village of Hampton is situated about a mile from the palace, higher up the river, which is here crossed by a dilapidated wooden bridge, a new one being in construction, connecting the parish of Moulsey, on the Surrey side. Bushy and Hampton Court parks were given by the Conqueror to Walter de St. Valery, and afterwards by Joan Grey to the Knights Hospitallers, who had a preceptory here in 1180, on the site of which Cardinal Wolsey founded the palace in 1515, which he afterwards gave up to Henry VIII. Hampton Court Palace, as designed by Wolsey, who had an establishment here of a thousand lords, knights, and squires, consists of two courts, with a chapel built of brick faced with stone, in the Tudor style of architecture. It covers an area of 8 acres, and was greatly enlarged by William III. The grand E. front extends 330 feet, and the grand S. front 328 feet. In the' ancient part of the palace is Cardinal Wolsey's Hall, where he feasted the French ambassadors in 1527. This hall is 106 feet by 40, and 60 feet high, with splendid carved roof and fine tapestry hangings. Adjoining the hall is the withdrawing-room, or Board of Green Cloth. The old chapel contains the arms of Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour, with some very handsome carvings. The modern part of the palace was chiefly built by Sir Christopher Wren, and comprises the Fountain Court, 117 feet by 110, with a magnificent grand front. Part of the palace has been recently restored by her present Majesty to its ancient splendour. Edward VI. was born here, and Queen Jane Seymour died in this palace. The celebrated conference between the Church and the Presbyterians was held here in 1604. Charles I. was kept in custody here for some time during the Civil War. It has been the residence of Charles II., James II., and William IIL The palace is now partly occupied by gentlewomen and gentlemen who are recommended by the lord chancellor for admission. There are upwards of 1,000 pictures in the gallery, including some of the finest productions of the ancient masters. This gallery is resorted to by artists from all parts of Europe, and together with the grounds, is open free to the public every day except Friday. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of London, value £356, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a brick structure, erected on the site of the old one, with square tower containing a clock and eight bells. It has some handsome monuments and ancient tablets, some of them of the time of Henry VIII.
from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868