Stanley Palace in Watergate Street is Chester's finest Elizabethan house.
It was built in 1591 for Sir Peter Warburton of Grafton, Vice Chancellor of the Cheshire Exchequer and the city's MP.
When Warburton died in 1621, the property was inherited by his daughter, who was married to Sir Thomas Stanley, a kinsman of the earls of Derby.
The Stanley's were one of Chester's most influential families. Through their connection with the earls of Derby,
they held custody of the nearby Watergate.
Stanley Palace dates from the 'great rebuilding' of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when Chester like the rest of the country enjoyed a period of increased prosperity. For the first time in centuries, wealthy city families were able to build new town houses, some set in spacious grounds. Stanley Palace, with its original three gables and highly decorated timber facade, was built on an open space which had formerly been occupied by the medieval friary of the Dominicans or Black Friars.
By the early 19th century Stanley Palace was no longer a mansion house, but had been sub-divided into tenements.
It was shut off from Watergate Street by other buildings, and could only be reached through a narrow entry.
Threatened with demolition, there was a proposal in 1866 to dismantle the structure and transport it to the United States.
It was saved by the newly formed Chester Archaeological Society and in 1899, sold back to the Derby family on the condition that it should be preserved.
Chester Corporation bought Stanley Palace in 1928 and carried out a major restoration in 1935.
The buildings around it were demolished, and the Palace was extended to the north. This later wing, adjacent to Watergate Street,
is clearly different to the rest of the Tudor building. The building is still owned by Chester City Council and managed by Friends of Stanley Palace
William Stanley 6th Earl of Derby
William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
On the 26th January 1595 William Stanley married Elizabeth de Vere, the daughter of Edward de Vere.
It has been suggested that the occasion of their wedding was the inspiration for the William Shakespeare play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.
and that the play was first performed at the couple's wedding festivities.
He purchased Stanley Palace located near the banks of the River Dee inside the city walls of Chester, he lived there during his retirement until he died on the 29th September 1642.
Stanley Palace, Chester, is known to be the most haunted building in this historic city. Built in the 16th century on the foundations dating back hundreds of years, Stanley Palace generates immense levels of paranormal activity during each and every visit. This Grade II listed half timbered building is most famous for its involvement in the civil war, used to hide King Charles supporters, and later became a prison for those waiting to be executed for treason.
The hauntings of Stanley Palace are as renowned as the history of the structure, with many locals and volunteers witnessing paranormal activity for themselves. Children are frequently heard running from room to room, laughing and singing along the way. The ghost of James Stanley who was executed in the 17th century has been seen wandering the halls, often showing himself as a photographic negative. The figure of a woman has been seen playing to piano to her lover, and a dark and dangerous shadow, known to be one of the “Black Friars” shows himself to those who dare to visit in the dead of the night. With table tipping, equipment evidence, ouiji board activity and spirit sightings, this is one of the most haunted locations that Moonlight Paranormal investigates.
Join us and our team of experienced mediums on the 29th September 2012 for an unforgettable experience at the infamous Stanley Palace. The ghost hunt begins at 9:30pm and ends at 4:00am. Tickets are £49 per person, with discounts available for large group bookings, please enquire for more details.