This is the remains of a Norman merchant's house and warehouse on the north side of Porters' Lane, and originally (before the south wall was built) standing on its own private quay. It was Henry Englefield in 1805 who first suggested that this building may have once been King Canute's palace. In fact, the house has no connection with Canute but the name seems to have stuck. It is of the Norman period built 1170-1200 and was originally a two-storey house with vaults. Traces of the original Norman windows and doors have survived. In the 15th century the building constituted the eastern part of the King's Customs House. Englefield’s drawings (image 3) show the remains to have been much more substantial in the early 19th century than they are now. He described it as having a frontage of 111 feet. By 1900 it was being used as a coal warehouse (image 2) by Beavis & Haddon coal merchants. It is Grade I listed.

1. Canute's Palace, Porters' Lane

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The ruins as they look today

Porters' Lane, 1900

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Canute's Palace is on the right.

Canute's Palace, Porters' Lane

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Henry Englefield’s drawing, c.1801, showing the ruins to be far more extensive than they are today.

Further reading:

Southampton Occasional Notes,, by ‘Townsman’, p11. (HS/h)
Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt, p42. (HS/h)
Historic Buildings of Southampton, by Philip Peberdy, p26. (HS/k)
Southampton Archaeological Society Bulletin, No. 12 & 13, p5-8. (HS/f)
Southampton Archaeological Society Bulletin, No. 14, p3-4, 11. (HS/f)
Building of England: Hampshire and the I.O.W., by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd, p550. (H/i)
A Walk Through Southampton, by Henry C. Englefield, p50-54, 84, 97-104. (HS/h)


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