Hampton, since 1965 part of the Greater London outer borough of Richmond upon Thames, SE England, on the Thames River. It is the site of Hampton Court Palace, which occupies about eight acres (3.25 hectares) and contains approximately 1,000 rooms. The palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514 as his private residence. After his downfall it was taken (1530) by Henry VIII and remained a royal residence until the time of George II. William III had part of it torn down and enlarged and redesigned by Christopher Wren. Although much of the palace has been open to the public since 1838, many of its rooms are occupied by royal pensioners. A portion of the Wren building was gutted by fire in 1986, restored, and reopened to the public in 1993. On the palace grounds is a sumptuous garden, the site of a celebrated maze. The Hampton Court Conference (1604) was held early in the reign of James I; its purpose was to consider reforms of the Established Church for which its Puritan clergy had petitioned. Few concessions were made to the Puritans. The conference authorized a new version of the Bible (the King James Version).
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography