With its colossal stone hearth blackened by countless fires over the centuries, the Great Hall is where the Palmers have always entertained their guests with banquets, dances and parties.
The Great Hall is a towering example of Tudor skill and craftsmanship. Two imposing paintings by Lely of the Earl and Countess of Castlemaine preside over the fireplace flanked by a range of other family portraits.
The beautiful linenfold panelling was once in Faversham Abbey, re-homed at Dorney Court following the Dissolution. The full height expanse of glass on the south wall represents a staggering architectural achievement twined with the barrel vaulted ceiling which is formed from a basic mixture containing horsehair and twigs.
In Tudor times, The Lord of the Manor – a title still proudly held by the Palmer Family, would eat at the table on the dais with his family and honoured guests while, in the hall below, others would be feasted on a bare earthen floor.
The room has also been the historic site of the Manor Court which, legally, can still gather today although the most recent case followed the last War and dealt with matters relating to Dorney Common.
At the west end of the Great Hall stands a screen above which is a Minstrel’s Gallery from where musicians would have serenaded those below. Beyond the screen are: the servants’ quarters, where the Family now live, kitchens, cellar and pantry as well as a small courtyard and a passage leading to the church.