Charles II accepted an invitation to visit
Winchester in August 1682. This visit was so enjoyable that the king decided to construct a palace there as a country seat. The following year the court returned and construction began, assisted by the city who gave him the Great Hall and considerable ground around the old castle site for the building work. In 1684, the king returned to the city twice to oversee construction on the palace under the design of Sir Christopher Wren. Charles II’s untimely death on 6 February 1685 brought an end to the construction.
James II did not share his brother’s desire for a country seat at Winchester and the works stopped during his brief reign. James’ daughter Queen Anne visited the city with her consort Prince George of Denmark in August 1705. Anne intended to complete the work of her uncle Charles II on his palace but did not finish the project during her reign. A fire in 1894 destroyed what became known as the ‘King’s House’ and Peninsula Barracks (left) was constructed on the site using some of the materials which survived – today you see a mix of private housing and Winchester Military
Quarter – well worth a visit.