Begun in 1538, the greatest of Henry VIII's building enterprises took nine years to build and was completed at a cost of at least £24,000, a phenomenal amount for that time. It was built in Surrey after Henry destroyed the church and village of Cuddington, near Epsom.

The basic plan was inner and outer courtyards, each with a fortified gatehouse. Nonsuch was richly decorated and ornate to compete with rival Francis I's Chambord.

The northern side was a more medieval-style fortification, while the southern face had the Renaissance decoration intended only for display. The south side had tall eight-sided towers at each end.

The palace passed to Edward VI upon the death of Henry, and then to Mary, who sold Nonsuch to the Earl of Arundel. Later, the palace returned to the Crown under Elizabeth with the Earl's son-in-law sold the palace to her.

Nonsuch passed in and out of royal hands through the 17th century and was eventually broken up to be incorporated into new buildings. No trace of the palace remains on its site now, but remnants have been excavated and recovered and are on display in various locations, including the British Museum.