Banqueting House

Banqueting House

Charles I Execution

A building history

The Banqueting House is the only remaining complete building of Whitehall Palace, the sovereign's principal residence from 1530 until 1698 when it was destroyed by fire.

Designed by Inigo Jones for James I, it was originally built for occasions of state, plays and masques.


A history of the Banqueting House's development...

  1. The Tudors
    From archbishop's residence to the first banqueting houses in Whitehall.
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  2. Court entertainment
    The Banqueting House was built to provide a setting for an elaborate type of court entertainment - the masque.
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  3. Rubens
    The Rubens ceiling: the crowing glory of Inigo Jones’ building
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  4. The Stuarts
    After the installation of the painted ceiling in 1635, the Banqueting House ceased to be used for masques.
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  5. Execution of Charles I
    The Banqueting House is probably most famous for the execution of King Charles I.
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  6. The Commonwealth
    In 1654 Cromwell took over Whitehall Palace as his official residence and preserved much of the remaining furniture for his own use.
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  7. The Restoration
    A new life begins for Banqueting House as the monarchy is restored in 1660.
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  8. Last days - Whitehall Palace
    From a furniture store to a lying-in state, the final ceremonies of Banqueting House
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  9. The destruction
    In 1698, a major fire ends the ceremonial importance of Banqueting House
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  10. 1698 - Present
    In use as a chapel, the Banqueting House is extensively repaired and renovated, and becomes known as a concert hall in the 19th century before being given to the nation as a museum by Queen Victoria in 1893
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  11. Ceremonies
    In addition to grand receptions, the Banqueting House was used for other ceremonies involving ‘ordinary’ people: Touching for the King’s Evil and the distribution of Maundy money to the poor
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  12. Further reading
    Bibliography of Banqueting House
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