Places to See: Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge
I went to Epping Forest in October shortly after I arrived in London with two friends to hike around the forest for a few hours. What I didn’t know was that there was something historical to visit along the way: Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. Epping lies on the border of East London and Essex and has a long and interesting history.
Prior to the seventeenth century, it was known as Waltham Forest. It became a Royal Forest in the twelfth century under the rule of Henry III. Although locals were permitted to gather food in the forest, only the king was permitted to hunt there. It is believed that during the Tudor period, Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I hunted there. Henry VIII commissioned the present day lodge to be built in Epping Forest in 1543 and it is now known as Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Queen Elizabeth visited her father’s hunting lodge although she was known to frequent other areas nearby. The lodge is surrounded by forest that can be dated back to the sixteenth century however fallow deer were kept and hunted there since the Middle Ages.
The lodge has many features: an Elizabethan fireplace in the kitchen built in 1589, evidence of a servants entrance, and bread oven, a Tudor staircase copied from the Globe Theatre, and a carved marking to ward off evil near the fireplace. In 1589, Queen Elizabeth I commissioned a survey to look into the condition of the hunting lodge and made some alterations to the appearance and structure of the lodge. The document she issued gives an idea of what the lodge may have looked like prior to her renovations.
The lodge isn’t very large and touring it doesn’t take much time but it is definitely worth it if you are in the area and planning on visiting Epping Forest.
Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00 (including bank holidays)
CLOSED: Christmas Day
For more information on the lodge and Epping Forest, please visit: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/epping-forest/visitor-information/Pages/queen-elizabeths-hunting-lodge.aspx