Collyweston: Northamptonshire's 'lost' royal palace hunted by archaeologists

Image caption Geophysical surveys allow archaeologists to develop an understanding of what is underground before they start digging

History enthusiasts hope to unearth the exact location of a "lost" royal palace later this year.

Geophysical surveys are taking place in the Northamptonshire village of Collyweston, once home to Henry VII's mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, who died in 1509.

The site was vacated and later cleared before being built over.

Researchers say at its peak the Collyweston Palace could have been as large as Hampton Court Palace.

As well as being mother to Henry VII, who defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth - ushering in the Tudor dynasty - Lady Beaufort was grandmother to Henry VIII and one of the most influential women of the time.

Although the palace is recorded by Historic England, the only signs of it today are fish ponds, terraces and a tithe barn that has been turned into a house.

Paul Johnson, from Collyweston Historical and Preservation Society, said: "It has been a mystery for a number of years so we want to investigate further actually on the round to see if we can find our lost palace.

"We don't know where it stood and we don't know how big it was.

"There are various theories, including one that at its height of importance it could have been as big as Hampton Court Palace."

Image caption Ken Wallis said that geophysical surveys would take place in village gardens over the coming weeks

Historian Mike Ingram said: "At one time she [Lady Beaufort] was the second most powerful person in England, which was unusual for a woman in that period."

Ken Wallis, from the Hallaton Field Work Group which is helping with the survey, said a number of private gardens in the village of Collyweston were being searched - including one known locally as Palace Garden.

Following the completion of geophysical surveys, an archaeological dig is planned to take place by the summer.

The findings of the project will be presented to the public at an open weekend in September.

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