the entrance to the porch is the royal coat of arms
of King Henry VIII, put there by the Earl of Southampton to commemorate
the King's visits
in 1538 and 1539. Inside, the porch is nearly square and the floor
is paved with marble slabs. Above is a beautifully carved fan vault
ceiling of stone. In the centre is the Tudor rose with a crown and
arounding this are carved eight cusped quatrefoils. In the corners
the fans are each divided into four sections, in which alternate a
large anchor and a trefoil bearing the letters, W.S., referring to
the builder, William, Earl of Southampton. Also, among the spandrels
of the south-wet corner fan, there are four heads; two are obviously
cherubim, while the others are that of a mature man and woman. Possibly,
it had been suggested, that of the Earl and his Countess.
the ruins today, the porch is one of the best-preserved portions of
the house. The marble floor has gone, as has the plaster on the walls,
but the carved ceiling is nearly fully intact and the carving still
very crisp. The exterior of the porch also remains well preserved except
for the royal coat of arms, which have been badly mutilated.
passing through the porch, you would have entered a passage that ran
through the house to another porch that gave access to the east, or
garden front. To the right are three doors leading to the pantry, kitchen
entry and the buttery. To the left would have been a wooden screen
with gates across each of two doorways. Pass through one of these doorways
and you enter the magnificent Buck Hall.