Nonsuch Rotary is named after Nonsuch Park, an area of parkland in the southwest corner of the London Borough of Sutton. Originally a park of almost 2,000 acres that now encompasses Stoneleigh and Worcester Park, 671 acres remains as an open space much valued by local residents.
Nonsuch Park was a Royal Park and the site of Nonsuch Palace built by Henry VIII. Work on Nonsuch Palace commenced in 1538 and it was built on a scale far greater than nearby Hampton Court on the Thames. Henry wanted a building far grander than Chambord, recently built by King Francis I of France in the Loire Valley. By 1545 records show that building work had cost £24,536, substantially more than Hampton Court. When Henry died in 1547 the building was still not complete. It was finally finished by Henry Fitzalan, the twelfth earl of Arundel who purchased Nonsuch from the Crown in 1556.
Queen Elizabeth I regained ownership in 1592 and Nonsuch remained in Royal hands until 1670 when Charles II gave the estate to his mistress, Barbara Villiers whom he created Baroness Nonsuch, Duchess of Cleveland. She demolished the palace in 1682 and broke up the park to cover her gambling debts. Sadly little remains of Nonsuch Palace apart from very few paintings and woodcuts. The site was excavated in 1959 by local archaeologist Martin Biddle and more recently Atkins Global, the Epsom based engineering consultancy, developed a virtual reality computer simulation of the palace.
Whilst the palace is long gone, Nonsuch Mansion remains the centrepiece of the park. Thought to be the site of Keepers Lodge to the original palace the present building dates from the 18th century. The Friends of Nonsuch Mansion open the Service Wing of the Mansion to the public, including the kitchen, larders, sculleries and laundries. The building is also used for wedding receptions and functions and as a café for visitors to the park.
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It all started with Henry VIII when he decided to build a palace in Nonsuch Park. And what a spectacular palace it was. It cost even more that Hampton Court to build. The shame is that there is hardly a sign of it left in .....more