Hampton Court Palace moat fills once more

Rare: But the moat has filled twice in the past year

Rare: But the moat has filled twice in the past year

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A dry moat surrounding Hampton Court Palace has filled with water for the second time in a decade.

The clay-lined moat at Henry VIII’s red brick Tudor palace flooded in January last year, after one of the wettest years on record, and severe storms filled it again this week.

Last year the moat drained naturally as rain eased, and before that the last time the moat flooded was in 2003, making it a rare occurrence.

The moat has been there since Cardinal Thomas Wolsey made improvements to the palace after taking it over in 1514 and its main purpose was ornamental rather than as a defence system.

The moat was originally much larger and over time it has been filled in and dug-out.

It is believed to have become a dry moat at the beginning of the 20th century when the moat and drawbridge were reinstated.

During Henry the VIII’s day the moat served as a tidal sluice to clean away human waste from the palace’s former public toilets, which were located to the right of the main entrance over the moat and could house up to 28 people at a time.

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