Begun in 1538 for King Henry VIII, Nonsuch Palace was named by Henry as there was 'no such like it' in the whole of Europe. The first truly Renaissance Palace built in England, its main glory was the beautiful high relief stucco panels created by Italian craftsmen imported specially for this task.
The Palace was demolished in 1688 after being given by King Charles II to one of his mistresses, Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemain, who was created Baroness Nonsuch. An inveterate gambler, she lost her fortune at the card tables and when all other sources of money ran out, she sold the once fabulous building to merchants for the worth of the materials, and it was pulled apart brick by brick.
In Whitehall, which is under a mile away from the Palace site, there is a display about Nonsuch and its owners, featuring objects found in the archaeological excavation of 1959, which include jugs, balasters from the railing around Henry's bowling green, and tiles from the roof.
A further exhibition about Nonsuch can be found in the Tudor Gallery of Honeywood Heritage Centre, next to Carshalton Ponds, just over three miles away to the east.