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Eltham Palace was originally an 11th century manor house and a bishop's palace. It passed to the Crown in 1311 and was used as a royal palace for the next 300 years. The most significant medieval survival is the Great Hall, built between 1475 and 1480, with an impressive hammerbeam-type roof. The palace fell into disrepair during the 17th century and was badly damaged during the Civil War. The palace site became a farm during the 18th century and the Great Hall was used as a barn. In 1859, farm buildings adjoining the Great Hall were converted into a gentleman's residence and the Great Hall itself became an indoor tennis court. The hall was repaired in 1894-5, 1903 and 1911-14, and in 1933 it was incorporated into Eltham Hall, a country house built for textile magnates Stephen and Virginia Courtauld. The house, built between 1933 and 1936 and designed by architects Seeley and Paget (with numerous interior designers), has been recognised as a 'masterpiece of 20th-century design'. The exterior was built in sympathy with the older building, using a red brick design inspired by Hampton Court Palace. However, the interior was (and remains) a showpiece of glamorous 1930s design. It combines an eclectic mix of French-influenced Art Deco, ultra-smart ocean-liner style and cutting-edge Swedish design. The house was taken over by the Army Education Corps in 1944 and renamed Eltham Court. The Corps remained until 1992. The property passed into the Guardianship of English Heritage in 1995. The site is moated and enclosed by a perimeter wall of stone and brick dating mainly to the late 15th or 16th century. Towers are present in the south east, north east, south west and north west angles. The foundations of a chapel built for Henry VIII lie within the walls. The moat is 20 metres wide, 3 metres deep and crossed by two bridges of late 15th-16th century date.

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