Eltham Palace, London

Eltham Palace in south east London has had a long history. It was given by the Bishop of Durham to Edward II in 1305 and used a royal residence from then until the 16th century. Out of favour as residence from then on it fell into disrepair until only the great hall and a few outbuildings remained. In the 1930s, the Courtauld family acquired the lease of the property and set about creating a mansion in the Art Deco style attached to the original great hall. Towards the end of World War II the palace was given to the Royal Army Educational Corps. They remained in residence until English Heritage took over in 1995.

The stonework of the great hall is where the accessible graffiti lies. The vast majority of the graffiti consists of names and initials but there are some other items of interest.

A crudely drawn figure is near one of the doorways. It appears to be wearing heeled boots and carrying either a whip or a flail.


There are a handful of compass circles and daisy wheels. In particular there is a large, multi-petalled daisy wheel high up beside a window above some 17th century graffiti. It’s not easy to see, but if you expand the picture the daisy wheel becomes clearer.

Daisy wheel and initials
Daisy wheel and initials

There are a scattering of other symbols. There is a six pointed star and a curious square symbol. It was difficult to identify any Marian marks among the initials, but there are a couple of candidates for the VV symbol.

The rest of the graffiti is made up of names and initials. The dates range from late 20th to 17th century. I would also like to record a note of appreciation to Patricia, who not only gave her age (13) but also the exact date of the inscription!

Report by Anthea Hawdon and Linda Wilson

Eltham Palace
Court Yard

See website for visiting times and ticket prices


TOMS, WLJ, 1887, D Milton, 1859, Owen and Bren has been up, WA, symbol, MW, 1794, Daisy wheel (compass drawn), John Lock, IE, 1676, Richard Ditchingeld, 1717, R Wintry, 1816, AHolt, Nov 1849, ER, 1945, H Tour, RS, 1873, WH, CF, BF, HS 78, WH H, W, Butler, BAR, William Bloomfield, 2/9/68, G Hall, EJ, A, AT, 1875, GH, Concentric Circles (compass drawn), Circle (compass drawn), Indecipherable name, IB, HS, 75, ES, 1772, WA, B, AS, RI, EL, 1856, EN, 1785, CB Say, 1866, E, 1857, CW, 1999, IH, FS, RB, WH, W, H, Marian mark, W, WcN, W,CA, AW, EB&MO, 99, A, DU, ML, IC, 1760, Figure, IP, 64, WS, EL, WA, LE, CJBH, 1949, AP, Millicent Tamar, Patricial, Age 13, Date 10.3.1966, JP 76, CW, 1999, OH, WHH, IL, RB, W, W, M, W, NI, BK, 1634, MS, JB, LC, CH, A, shield, DF, L, L, D, Y, 1947, SL, L CA, NL, RI, AP 1957, other marks, IH, 1794, HR, Mary, Six pointed star, 1750s, 1700s, 1780s, 1960s, 1800s, 1880s, 1790s, 1670s, 1600s, 1710s, 1810s, 1840s, 1940s, 1900s, 1870s, 1960s, 1850s, 1990s, 1630s