Monument record NKT 035 - Trainer's House, The Palace House Stables

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Racehorse training stables and trainer's house including remains of a wall of the original stable of Charles II.


Grid reference Centred TL 6449 6332 (114m by 79m)
Map sheet TL66SW


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Following the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II returned to Newmarket mainly for the horse racing and in 1670 he bought the house of the Earl of Thomond and enlarged it; including the building of a large stable block to the rear. This is thought to be the earliest horse racing stable in the world. These stables are illustrated on a map dating to 1719-1745 and are described as 'a large free standing block' (1994) Baggs, and this building is also shown on a later map of 1787 by Chapman (Fig. 6). The latest map that shows this stable block is the 1850 Public Health map (Fig. 7). The present trainer's house, the western stables and yard were built between 1857-1860, for Baron Mayer de Rothschild and are shown on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1885 and 1902 (Figs. 8 & 9). The trainer's house and stables were altered and extended with an eastern stable yard and stables between 1896-1903 and are shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1926. For details and references see (S1).
For other reports and work on the site see NKT 032, 036 & 041.

The grade II-listed Trainer’s House at Palace House Stables consists chiefly of gault brick, but is divided into two parallel series of rooms by an approximately central ‘spine’ wall of clunch. This wall is all that survives of a large 17th century stable that formerly occupied the site, and was retained in order to support a lean-to piggery that was built against its back wall in the 18th or early-19th century. The present northern rooms of the Trainer’s House were added when the piggery was demolished in the late-19th century. The clunch wall preserves evidence of five original ground floor windows with dropped keystones and brick segmental arches that correspond with a detailed plan of the stable by Thomas Fort in the early-18th century, the accuracy of which has been confirmed by recent archaeological excavation in the yard to the south. The 17th century building contained a total of 25 stalls in four separate stable units with lofts above. An image of 1681 in the background of a painting by Jan Siberechts suggests it was a ‘double pile’ structure with two parallel ranges, at least one large dormer window to the south and circular windows lighting its roof gables. The southern facade and gables were probably faced in red brick from the outset, with exposed clunch confined to the rear. As the only remaining fragment of Charles II’s principal stable, and an impressive structure in its own right, the spine wall is of national importance (S2).

2013: A survey was carried out on the nine separate buildings constructed around the two stable yards; King’s Yard constructed between 1857 and 1860 and Rothschild’s Yard constructed in 1903. In addition, there are another three buildings within a paddock on the eastern side of Rothschild Yard dated between 1908 and 1912. The survey revealed that the layout of both yards has changed very little since their original construction. Almost all of the stable boxes contained original 19th or early 20th interior fixtures and fittings including troughs, wall coverings and tiles, windows and concrete floors. A number of doors, ceiling cornices, fireplaces, skirting boards and chair rails were stored for future reinstatement (S3).

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Rolfe, J.. 2010. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment, Palace House Stables, Newmarket.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2012. Heritage Asset Assessment: The 'Spine Wall' in the Trainer's House, Palace House Stables, Palace Street, Newmarket, Suffolk.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Fletcher, T.. 2014. Palace House Stables, Newmarket, Suffolk: Historic Building Recording.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Aug 12 2022 10:29AM

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