A History of London, Vol. II
Loftie, W. J.
CHAPTER XXI:THE WESTERN SUBURBS.
CHAPTER XXI:THE WESTERN SUBURBS.
THE modern west end of may be said to commence with Rugmere: yet few, probably, of the sixty thousand inhabitants of that great prebendal manor have the slightest idea where it lies, or that they are in it. We have all sorts of pretty stories about the name of Bloomsbury. The wildest guesses are made as to its origin and meaning. Some say it was Lomesbury at first; others would connect it with some tradition of gardens and flowers. That St. Giles's belonged to it; that it was all comprised in an estate attached to a stall in the cathedral of St. Paul's; that its name of Rugmere probably referred to a pond, or pool, or marsh, on the summit of the hill[\i] or ridge which separated the valley of the Fleet from that of the Tyburn; that the name Bloomsbury is evidently of personal origin, and must refer to an owner or occupier-all these are facts, plain enough, indeed, but never referred to in the pleasant collections of anecdotes which sometimes do duty for histories of .
Rugmere, in Domesday, is described as a manor in Ossulston, belonging to Ralph, a canon of St. Paul's. It was assessed for two hides. It was worth thirty-five shillings (a year), and had been worth forty in the time of king Edward the Confessor. It was then, and had been, in the demesne of the canons of St. Paul's. There is
|not a word as to any sub-manor, nor mention of a division between Bloomsbury and St. Giles's. When, a few years ago, an eminent clergyman was appointed to the prebendal stall of Rugmere, a question as to where Rugmere might be went unanswered round the papers. There was a Ralph, called Fitz Algod, canon of Rugmere in , probably not the same as the Ralph of Domesday. Fitz Algod was succeeded by his son William,[\i] and he by another Ralph, of Chilton, archdeacon of Middlesex, who was alive in I 92. Another canon of Rugmere, John de Crachale, a chaplain to the good Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, was one of those privileged to hear the outburst of heavenly music, near Buckden, on the night of the bishop's death.[\i]|
If we look at any old map of -any map, that is, made before the beginning of the present century- we may observe that the old road, diverted, as I have elsewhere shown, from the line of the Watling Street at the Marble Arch, runs in an eastward direction towards Newgate. It was a Roman road, and was, as usual with the Romans, made as nearly straight as possible. That is, from the Marble Arch, whence, as I have endeavoured to show, it used to run straight to the Thames at , it now runs straight to the Thames at London Bridge. But on examining the course of the road with care, we see that at a certain point it made a slight circuit to the south. We have long been accustomed to the straight, or nearly straight line of Oxford Street, and forget that it was only in the present reign that " New Oxford Street"-the piece connecting the old street,
|which ran to the Tottenham Court Road, with Holborn- was made; and that, previously, on reaching a place where there was a pond and a pound, and at one time a gibbet, it would have turned a little to the right into High Street, St. Giles's; and at High Holborn, after describing a semicircle, have returned into the straight Roman line of road again.|
The reason for this deflection is not known; but it is not speculating too deeply to suggest that here, where St. Giles's Pond remained almost till our own day, was the Rugmere which gave its name to the prebendal manor, and that the road made a circuit to avoid it. We know for certain that there was a at this place, or very near it. We know that it was on the ridge, and we know that the ridge is highest just here. It is but reasonable to seek for some cause to account for the bend in the usually inflexible course of a Roman road; and no reason seems so good as this.
But we may go further, and ask, What has become of the mere? The first fact we have in the history of Bloomsbury answers the question. Bloom, whose Bury may be said still to exist, was one William Blemund, or de Bleomund, or Blemot-the name occurs in all these forms-who made a great fosse, called Blemund's Dyke, or ditch, which drained the mere. This long-forgotten worthy lived in the reign of king John, and his name occurs in the deeds and charters connected with the hospital of St. Giles, to which I shall have occasion to refer a little further on. Blemund's Dyke divided the northern half of Rugmere from the southern; but Bloomsbury and St. Giles's are both parts of the original manor of the prebendary of St. Paul's.
This great estate was bounded on the south by the manor of the Savoy, on the west by St. Marylebone, on
|the north by Tottenhall, on the east by Portpoole and St. Andrew's, Holborn. When the hospital at St. Giles's corner was founded in , a "Manor of St. Giles" was apparently separated for its benefit. Before the passing of the Act " Quia emptores " such a separation was easy. In a hundred years the rest of the original manor, that part namely, which lay to the north of the high road, now Oxford Street, was apparently alienated like the southern part. Blemund's ditch, referred to above, passed behind the northern row of houses in Holborn, but is now forgotten. The name survives in "Bloomsbury." The manor house of Rugmere was isolated in the parish of St. Pancras.[\i]|
The sub-manor of Bloomsbury passed through the hands of many owners before it came in to , earl of Southampton, for the price of 6oo£. In , the treasurer, Thomas, fourth earl, died, leaving Bloomsbury to his co-heiress, the justly famous lady Rachel, widow of lord Vaughan son of the earl of Carbery, who, by her marriage with William, lord Russell, conveyed to the Bedford family an estate of which the value at the present day can only be reckoned in millions.
The original church was apparently at the place occupied in the twelfth century by the hospital of St. Giles, the same site on which the modern church stands. It was rebuilt in . Other parochial institutions were to be found near the same place. At the corner of the Tyburn Road, now Oxford Street, was the pound. Near the pound was the [\i] apparently a lock-up
|for disorderly persons.[\i] In between the wall of the hospital and the pound, a gibbet was erected for the execution of criminals. It had previously stood in Smithfield, though a double execution took place far westward, at the afterwards famous Tyburn, more than five-and-twenty years earlier.[\i] The modern church was built in , but stands on the site of the hospital chapel, which probably included an aisle for parochial worshippers, as in other cases. It was succeeded by a second church built in : in fact there can have been but a scanty congregation at first, and the church had to be enlarged to suit the gradual growth of the population.|
The manor was granted, together with the buildings of the Hospital of St. Giles or Lazar House, by Henry VIII., in , to , who was then known as lord Lisle, and afterwards as duke of Northumberland, and Protector of the Realm in the minority of Edward VI. Dudley fitted up the old buildings for his own residence, but shortly after conveyed the whole of the premises to Sir Wymond Carew, who, however, seems to have been merely a trustee, and reconveyed or let it to the Dudley family. The duchess of Dudley, the widow of an illegitimate son of queen Elizabeth's earl of Leicester, resided in it till her death, at the age of ninety, in . She was a great benefactor to the parish, and her monument is still to be seen in the church. Meanwhile, the whole manor was divided amongst various owners. Drury Lane commemorates the Drury family, whose town house was at
|the Strand end of that thoroughfare. Great Wild Street bears a name corrupted from that of the family of Weld of Lulworth, who had long a residence here, in what was called the Aldwych, or Oldwick, an open space. Part of the name still survives in Wych Street. The south-eastern corner of the parish abutted on Temple Bar, and comprised what was known as Ficket's Field, the jousting ground of the Templars. It is now the so-called "Carey Street site " of the New Law Courts.|
Lincoln's Inn Fields were also in the manor, and chiefly claim notice here because the "square," though an oblong, is said to equal the area covered by the Great Pyramid of Geezeh. It was laid out, and one side, the western, built by Inigo Jones, parts of whose buildings still remain. The most beautiful of his houses which are now to be seen in St. Giles's form two shops on the southern side of Great Queen Street, near the Freemasons' Tavern-probably part of a residence he is known to have built here for lord Herbert of Cherbury, about the year 161O.[\i] The area of Lincoln's Inn Fields is always sacred to the memory of William, lord Russell, who was beheaded there in . Other executions of state criminals had taken place here, as that of Babington and his six companions, in the reign of queen Elizabeth; and, probably, lord Cobham, two hundred and fifty years before.
The parcelling out of a manor among a number of owners has always led to the same bad results. St. Giles's was long and is still, to some extent, another word for
|an assembly of miserable tenements and poverty-stricken tenants. Lisson Grove, which we shall shortly have occasion to notice more at length, though situated between four of the most wealthy and fashionable of our western suburbs, offers another example. It is interesting to contrast the history of St. George's, the northern half of the prebendal manor of Rugmere, with that of its less fortunate if more interesting neighbour. Much has been done of late years to purge St. Giles's, but only with the result of driving the lowest class into other and remoter dens. Changing the names of streets will not of itself improve their character, yet, until the Peabody Gift, little attention was paid by those in authority to the necessity of providing the poor with suitable houses. In St. Giles's, what with the continuation of "New" Oxford Street east from Tottenham Court Road to Holborn, the widening of Old Belton Street, and its change into Endell Street, connecting Broad Street and Long Acre; what with the change of Queen Street into Museum Street, and Dyott Street into George Street, and Brewer Street into Thorney Street, and many other alterations of the kind, it would puzzle any one who knew it at the beginning of the present reign to recognise it now. Its local associations are in many places obliterated; but Bowl Alley yet preserves the memory of the convict's last drink as he went up the long hill to Tyburn. The grave is still pointed out where Derwentwater's headless body reposed for a time before its removal to Dilston ;[\i] and the register reminds us that it was in the parish of St. Giles that the Great Plague of originated.|
The contrast between the fates of Bloomsbury and St. Giles is like that which Hood draws between Margaret
|and Peggy.[\i] At first, for a short time, Bloomsbury was a suburb, then it became and respectable it has remained. While it was a few great mansions with extensive pleasure grounds, connected by country lanes, and separated by dairy farms and tile-roofed cottages, existed, instead of the squalid lanes and courts with which already St. Giles's was filled. Nearest to the great western thoroughfare was Montagu House, erected by Hooke for the first Duke of Montagu, It was burnt down in , when, as lady Rachel Russell relates in one of her delightful letters, the westerly wind carried sparks and flames to the neighbouring Southampton House, and endangered its inmates, lady Rachel herself and her son, the second duke of Bedford, then a child. Montagu House was rebuilt, but only partially inhabited, and the duke's coheirs joined in selling it to the nation at the moderate price of 10,000£., for the reception of the Sloane collection. The last remains of the old house, with its pointed roofs, its deep cornices, its double lodges, and other quaint and picturesque appendages, were removed in . Two years later the portico of the new museum was finished.|
The growth of the collections in the British Museum has been very rapid. Montagu House was first employed in , when room had to be found for the library and curiosities of Sir , who directed his executors to ask the merely nominal price of 20,000£. for them. This sum was raised by a lottery, and a
|member of Sir 's family has ever since sat on the board of trustees. In fact the museum is, like most institutions of the kind in England, more or less a private enterprise: but a large number of public functionaries are trustees by virtue of their office. The purchase of the Harleian manuscripts, also for a nominal sum, and the gift by George II. of the library which successive kings of England had accumulated, to the number of about twenty-eight thousand printed or written volumes, raised the library to a position of great importance. The new buildings were commenced soon after the beginning of the present century, and the acquisition of the Elgin marbles for so small a sum as 35,000£. drew popular attention to the museum, which immediately became an object of pride to every Englishman. Yet with characteristic parsimony, the authorities have never seen fit to provide these matchless sculptures with any better pedestals than the wooden cases in which they came from Greece.|
The first great Egyptian acquisition consisted in the objects taken with the French army in 18O1. A grant was obtained from Parliament to provide accommodation for them, and in the Rosetta stone and several great sarcophagi were exhibited. Naturally, the French Egyptologists[\i] not only ignore the fact that the Rosetta stone is in the British Museum, but also forget that the earliest success in reading the hieroglyphic characters was obtained by a physician named Young, who made out some of the proper names on the stone, but owing to the pressure of professional duties, did not pursue his studies further. The researches of Sir Gardiner
|Wilkinson, a little later, if they did not add much to our knowledge, at least added largely to the number of Egyptian objects, many of them, no doubt, worthless, since we do not know whence they came, or, consequently, to what period they belong. But undoubtedly, except in monuments of the early or pyramid period, the British Museum ranks high as regards its Egyptian collections, and especially papyrus rolls. The Assyrian and Babylonian, and the coin and Greek vase collections are unquestionably the best in any contemporary museum, but owing to faults of system or of management, or of economy, there are several departments still sadly deficient. Among these must be mentioned that of ancient jewelry, and that of medieval and oriental armour.|
The zoological section has hitherto been most ridiculously mixed up with the various departments of antiquities. The stuffed beasts and birds and other objects of the kind are shortly to migrate to a building erected for them, unfortunately on a very remote and in many respects inconvenient site. Some of the most important parts of the collection will then for the first time become visible to such of the general public as have leisure to visit this distant suburb by daylight. An adequate print-room, and an exhibition of drawings by the great masters are still badly wanted. It is not generally known that the British nation is possessed of the finest collection in the world of these priceless works: and certainly, as a recent writer observes, no other nation would keep them concealed.
The present building is imposing in character: but where space was of such value, it was ridiculous both to set it so far back from the street front, and to spend space and money on a perfectly useless peristyle. The Ionic columns are so tall that they do not protect the
|passenger from the rain, nor are they ever wanted to shield him from the sunshine, but they were erected in the height of the Grecian fashion, and give the building a certain dignity wanting both to the National Gallery, the South Kensington Museum, and the New Museum of Natural History, with which they obviously compete. It is a pity that the offer at a moderate price said to have been made by the duke of Bedford of the day, of the houses between the Museum and Oxford Street, was not accepted. It would certainly be interesting, to say the least, to be able to get Hawksmoor's church and Smirke's portico into one view.|
Southampton House, with its great garden, stood where now the northern side of Bloomsbury Square gives entrance to Bedford Place. It was built when Bedford House in the Strand was removed, and stood not quite a hundred years, for in it was pulled down, dismantled, and the contents sold. Evelyn says it contained a pretty cedar chapel, but was too low, and the garden too bare. Between the northern end of the garden and the distant hills of Hampstead and Highgate there was, in those days, but little to catch the eye, and that little not of a very attractive kind. A few hundred yards off was a chimney-sweeper's cottage, and where is now Little Guildford Street, Baltimore House, the residence of a nobleman, whose character was such that when, in , he was tried for the forcible abduction and ill-treatment of an unfortunate young milliner named Woodcock, he only escaped owing to
The surroundings of this amiable earl's residence were not incongruous. The Long Fields, as they were called, which stretched away to the northward and westward, were famous as a meeting-place for duellists,
and a |
[\i] At the north-east end of what is now Upper Montagu Street was the celebrated by Miss Porter as the scene of a sanguinary encounter between two brothers in whose tracks no grass would grow. This superstition is frequently alluded to by writers of the end of the eighteenth century, and one of them records regretfully his last visit, in , before bricks and mortar finally covered the haunted site.
The tide of bricks and mortar overwhelmed with remarkable rapidity. Though the north side of Queen Square is said to have been left open, in order that the distant view of the hills might not be interrupted, the building speculators,[\i] who, about , commenced operations here, contrived within a period of eleven years to add no fewer than houses to the parish, for had now become a parish of itself, being furnished with one of the fifty new churches built under the Act of 171O. There was already a chapel in Queen Square-distinguished as St. George the Martyr; the greater part of the parish afterwards annexed to it being taken not out of St. Giles's, but St. Andrew's, Holborn.
The new church of St. George, , was built on
a site granted or sold by lady Rachel Russell, and known
as Plough Yard. Hawksmoor's design has been ridiculed
so long that even now, when the lions and unicorns have
descended from their giddy perch at the feet of King
George near the summit of the steeple, it requires some
hardihood to praise it. Yet, since some houses on' the
north and east sides have been pulled down, and a view
opened of the body of the church, I must confess that
to my eyes it is exceedingly picturesque; while the
magnificent portico, and the quaint spire, an avowed copy
from the classical descriptions of the Mausoleum, form a
group only rivalled by St. Martin's in the Fields. Had
St. Martin's a steeple at the side, instead of overthe portico,
it might compete more successfully with St. George's.
The statue of the king on the summit is undoubtedly an
absurdity, and gave rise to many an epigram and scornful jest. Walpole |
speaking of the now deposed supporters.
said another rhymer,
; and a variation, quoted by Cunningham, alludes to Henry VIII., who
Unlike St. Giles's, the parochial history of St. George's is of the most uneventful kind, but it would be easy to compile long lists of eminent inhabitants : literary, legal, and artistic people have crowded its precincts. Lord Mansfield lived in Southampton Square when his library was burnt by the Gordon rioters in . Charles Dickens had a house in Tavistock Square for many years. Sir Antonio Panizzi lived almost in sight of his beloved museum. Among the very earliest tenants of the district as it was seen by Evelyn, when he called it a noble piazza and a
little town, was Richard Baxter, whose wife |
here in . Dr. Dodd, celebrated for his sermons and his forgery, was an
as was the victim of his fraud, Lord Chesterfield. retains its respectability to the present day. Rugmere has vanished; St. Giles's has lost caste; but is prebendal still.
The fate of the other prebendal manors was very similar. In St. Pancras there was, at the time of the Domesday survey, a separate manor, held, like St. Pancras itself, by a canon of St. Paul's. This was, in all probability, the same which, passing into the hands of the Cantlo or Cantilupe family, acquired its name, and as Cantlers, with the further corruption of Kentish Town, subsists still. It is now subject, it is said, to a nominal rent to the prebendary, but is practically the property of the Pratt family, having come to Charles Pratt, earl Camden, by his marriage with the daughter and coheir of Nicholas Jeffreys, about the middle of the last century. Somers Town, another of St. Pancras, is, similarly, the property of the family of which earl Somers is the head.
The old church of St. Pancras was one of the most typical of Middlesex churches-small, low, mean, but ancient: built originally, no doubt, of wood, mended and patched with a little freestone begged from the builders of St. Paul's, added to when there came to be a few more parishioners, discarded for a mock Grecian temple in the City Road, and finally rebuilt in in an absurd Norman style under the name of restoration. It is now almost surrounded with a vast network of railways, and its churchyard and the adjoining cemetery belonging to St. Giles's are turned into an ornamental garden; yet a
visit to Old St. Pancras is not without interest. There is
a tradition which should not be passed by without notice,
that St. Pancras was the mother church of St. Paul's: a
reference probably to the old chapel of St. Pancras at
Canterbury, in which the first Christian mass in England
was celebrated by St. Austin.[\i] There is another tradition
to the effect that the mass was sung here later than in
any other church after its abolition by Henry VIII., and
the lonely situation of the church then and later favours
its truth. Writing soon after, Norden says, |
He adds that folks from Kennistonne (Kentish Town) now and then visit it, but not often, having a chapel of their own. Till very lately, service was only performed in the old church once a month, and on other days at the Kentish Town chapel.
The church contains few monuments of interest, but a broken canopy remains of the tombs of the Greys, lords of Portpoole, who are also commemorated in the name of Gray's Inn. The churchyard was long a favourite burial-place for Roman Catholics, for which several reasons were assigned, one being that at a church dedicated to the same saint in France, masses were celebrated for the repose of the dead buried here. Three of the monuments may be noticed. One marks the grave of Mary Woolstonecraft Godwin, who died in Somers Town in . Another, dated , is sacred to the memory of Walker, author of the 'Pronouncing Dictionary.' It has been at the expense of lady Burdett Coutts, and stands in a distant part of the ground, approached under a railway arch. In a
|prominent situation is the entrance to the vault of Sir , his wife and his son.[\i]|
The new parish church is in the Euston Road, and was extravagantly admired when it was built in . It was one of the first results of the acquisition of the Elgin Marbles in . The world of taste was absorbed in imitating Greek art. The publication of several books on the ruins of Athens, and especially the magnificent folios of Stuart and Revett, fired the ardour of architects. Wren was discarded as completely as gothic, and the new church of St. Pancras was designed as a gigantic imitation-with improvements-of a little building on the hill of the Acropolis. The improvements consisted in making the design uniform, in adding a tower, and in projecting a semicircular apse from the eastern end. The futility of attempting to use a Greek temple for modern religious purposes is perhaps better exemplified in this than in any other of the numerous designs of the kind which sprung up in all directions. The Inwoods, who furnished the design, made the tower to consist of a series of circular temples set one above the other, without meaning or purpose, except to attain an elevation of 200 feet. A caryatid portico exactly balanced by another, and neither having any use, complete a church as absurdly unsuitable as any in for the ordinary purposes of Protestant worship. No one thinks of using Greek temples as churches now, but we still try to build in the gothic of the thirteenth century. The new parish church at is another example of failure, and for the same reason as the new church of St. Pancras. Sooner or later reflecting and painstaking architects will have to fall back on the principles of Wren, if not upon the style he preferred: but so far they have
|found it easier to take some classical building for abject reproduction, or else to try, in the nineteenth century, and with all the conditions altered, to imitate the comparative irregularity of the middle ages. The new church of St. Pancras, in short, is only a degree more instructive than the still newer old church, because the gothic architect has put no mind into his work, while the imitators of the Erechtheum at least did what was thought the best at the time.|
Tottenhall, the manor house of which was at the head of Tottenham Court Road, where the entrance-gate posts are still visible, is mentioned as Totehele in Domesday; and has been leased and re-leased till the original owner is forgotten. The first lessee whose name I have met is John de Caleton, in . Charles II., to whom the lease had come, gave it, in satisfaction of a debt, to Sir Henry Wood, in . Soon after, it was the property of lady Arlington, whose daughter, the duchess of Grafton, next held it.[\i] Her descendant, lord Southampton, is the present owner; and his family and titles are commemorated by Fitzroy Square and other local names well known to artists.
Fitzroy Square seems to lie out of the usual thoroughfares, and is forgotten by the regular sightseer. It was begun in or about , and the two sides completed are a very happy example of the skill and taste of the Adam brothers. The north and west sides were not finished when the peace came, and with it a reaction in prices which put a stop to many schemes more ambitious than the building of Fitzroy Square; it retains a strangely
|double aspect of squalor and magnificence. Tottenhall, or Tottenham Court, long a noted tavern, with tea-gardens of doubtful repute adjoining, was, until the middle of the last century, quite as suburban as Fulham is now; and another public-house, at the next corner beyond the Tabernacle, was reputed even sixty or seventy years ago [\i] The neighbourhood has not profited so much as some others from being the property of a noble family, and cannot be said ever to have been in fashion, though Whitefield, the preacher, drew great people out of town to hear him, and Tottenham Court Chapel, which he built, remained for many years a very prominent memorial of the success of his ministry. In it were buried two men remarkable in their several ways, Toplady, the author of " Rock of Ages," and Bacon, the sculptor. But the restless vulgarity which has modernised, be-plastered and be-stuccoed Whitefield's simple and picturesque octagon is sad as well as disgusting.|
It would be easy to fill a volume with the history of the prebendal manors of St. Paul's; but we may pass on now to notice the next parish westward of Tottenhall. Here we have no longer the canons of St. Paul's, but do not find that other owners managed much better. There is probably no district of suburban which has undergone greater vicissitudes of condition, ownership, and even name, than Tyburn.
As we drive along the crowded and busy Oxford Street, leaving on our left the end of Bond Street, we descend a slight slope before we pass Stratford Place on our right. The slope, it is easy to see, was not always so slight, and the lanes on either hand lead down at a steep incline. At two corners, on the north side, we perceive the
|same name, Marylebone Lane. It seems to be divided into two branches, embracing a triangular piece of ground. It is not easy at the present day to realise that once a lonely road between grass meadows here dipped into a hollow, and crossed a brawling brook by a bridge under the shadow of a little country church. Whether or no the division of the double lane betokens a similar division of the brook, along whose banks it ran, and so gives us a clue to the name, it is at least certain that at the end of the fourteenth century Tyburn already bore an evil reputation, a reputation not, we may be sure, improved when and his companion were brought for execution to the bleak heath on the hill beyond in . The little church was St. John's, Tyburn. Twice over it was robbed by marauders, who escaped in security owing to the remoteness of the situation: and, in , Robert Braybrook, bishop of , gave leave to have it removed and a new church, nearer the village, and half-a-mile higher up the bourne, built and consecrated as St. Mary's, so-called, of course, from the abbey of St. Mary of Barking, by which the manor was owned. There were already close by the churches of St. Mary Abbots, St. Mary, Islington, and others; so this was distinguished as St. Mary The vestry-room still remains near the site of St. John's. When the present parochial offices were erected in , on a spot which had formerly been the parish pound, bones and other signs of interment were erroneously attributed, not to the former existence of the graveyard, but to that of the gibbet.|
The name Tyburn has not been explained. I have hazarded a guess above as to its possible origin, but am far from thinking it more than a possibility. In an ancient charter at we find the earliest form
of the word. This is a deed of gift or confirmation
to the Abbey, and though not contemporary, may contain a correct copy of the boundaries of St. Margaret's.
It purports to be dated in 951, and to confirm a grant
made by Offa. Tyburn is called in it "Teoburne."
Mr. Waller derives the name from the division of its
later course into two streams.[\i] In Domesday it is
Tiburne, and |
; that is, it belonged from time immemorial to the abbey at that place. It was then, and long after, wholly agricultural. There was pasture for cattle, and woods of beech or oak for the feeding of pigs. In the time of the Confessor it had been worth a hundred shillings, but was now valued at fifty.
Such was Tyburn at the Norman Conquest. The brook from which the name was derived divided it from the manor of Lylleston, or Lisson, the second portion of the same parish. Its course may easily be traced still in the windings of Marylebone Lane, which probably marks the site of an ancient village on the left, or eastern bank. I have already endeavoured, with the help of Mr. Waller's map and description, to show what that course was with respect to the modern conditions.[\i]
When St. John's church was removed and St. Mary's built, the village, so to speak, turned its back on the Via Dolorosa of the gallows, and dropping the old name became known by that of the new church, a name it has borne ever since. Henceforth Tyburn was identified with the gallows, and moved with them further and further west, until at length they rested finally near the modern site of the Marble Arch, while the thoroughfare
|we call Oxford Street was the Tyburn Road, and Park Lane, which led up from , was Tyburn Lane.|
The corporation of acquired, by lease or otherwise, some fields on either side of the brook, near the spot at which Oxford Street is crossed. As early as leave was obtained by Gilbert Sandford to convey water to the city from Tyburn in leaden pipes.[\i] Here, in , water-pipes were laid down, and as many as nine "conduits " or reservoirs[\i] were dotted about on the neighbouring slopes. At an annual visit the mayor and aldermen inspected their springs, and a dinner, without which no civic occasion would have been complete, was eaten in a banqueting-house erected on the site of Stratford Place. On the 18th September, , for example, we read in Strype that the lord mayor, aldermen, and many worshipful persons attended to see the conduit heads; then, turning aside into the wild woodland of Marylebone, they hunted a hare; next they dined, and after dinner hunted a fox, when
The introduction of the New River in rendered Tyburn water unnecessary to the city, and before the middle of the century the conduits were leased away. The suburbs north of the Strand had by this time grown large enough to require a regular supply, and a comparatively large reservoir for the districts about Covent
Garden was established on the site afterwards covered
by Portland Chapel.[\i] The old cisterns, in , were
no longer wanted, and were arched over. The banqueting-house was pulled down, and its site let on lease.
Edward Stratford, afterwards earl of Aldborough, took
the ground and projected a magnificent architectural
scheme: but only Stratford Place itself was built, and
even that was not completed for many years. The
banqueting-house stood near the highway in Mill Hill
Field,[\i] and we hear of a lonely tavern, where now
Welbeck Street joins Wigmore Street, at which pedestrians stopped to look to their pistols before crossing the
fields to the village of "Lisson Green." Stratford Place,
commenced in , was not finished for about half a
century. General Strode, an eccentric soldier who set a
statue of the duke of Cumberland in Cavendish Square,
placed a column opposite Aldborough House to |
with a magniloquent inscription, in which a hope is expressed that the column may stand for ever, " ," and the glory of Britain increase. In the foundations gave way and the perennial monument was removed, having stood just six years.
The building of Stratford Place, which stands partly across the brook, caused various complications: and to this day Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square, runs up to the back of the houses on the east side, and begins again to the west.
When Pennant[\i] speaks of a certain Mr. St. John
|Mildmay, who remembered having shot a woodcock on the site of Conduit Street, he is probably mistaken in referring to the neighbourhood of Bond Street, but there is little now to remind us of green fields or running water in either place. Every few years one of the walled-up cisterns is discovered under the foundations of old houses. A stone used to mark the site of one near the point at which Marylebone Lane crosses Wigmore Street; another was found as far off as the top of North Audley Street in , and was pronounced Roman by the wiseacres of the A third was found in Davies Street not long ago, and two are said to exist still in the cellars of Aldborough House.|
The abbess of Barking emulated the prebendaries of St. Paul's in her care to lease away her estate. Early in the thirteenth century we find Robert de Vere in possession of Tyburn. His daughter carried it to the earls of Warren and Surrey, from whom it passed to their heirs, the earls of Arundel. On the death of Richard Fitzalan, fourth earl, in , it was partitioned among his coheirs. Some of the best families in England seem to have had a share in the newly-named St. Marylebone. Berkeleys, Neviles, and Howards divided three-quarters of it, and one quarter seems to have gone to Henry V., as heir of the earls of Derby. About the end of the fifteenth century, however, three of the four were united by Thomas Hobson, who bought them up one by one.
I should like to know something more about Thomas Hobson. When I come to speak of the adjoining manor of Lylleston I shall have occasion to mention him or his son and namesake again. At one time he seems to have owned an estate which stretched from the Edgware Road to Rathbone Place, an estate which, at the present day, would have made him one of the richest subjects in
|Europe. He might have founded a great ducal family. I dare say his descendants are still extant. Perhaps one of them was the Cambridge carrier whose dog is celebrated for his pride. Perhaps another, or the same, offered undergraduates Hobson's choice of horses. The name is not more ignoble than that of Smithson, and might have been improved. It is nearly as good as Ogle, or Holles. It is full as old as Cavendish. We shall meet with several of these names among the ducal owners of Tyburn: but not with that of Hobson, for his son, in , exchanged the manor with Henry VIII. for lands elsewhere, and the Hobson family sank once more into its pristine obscurity.|
Queen Elizabeth let the lands of Tyburn, first to one lessee then to another, at a rental of 161. 11s. 8d., and in , James I. sold them to Edward Forset, one of queen Elizabeth's tenants, for 829£. 3s. 4d. Forset's daughter and coheiress was Arabella, wife of Thomas Austen, and in Sir John Austen, her son, sold Tyburn, or Marylebone, to John Holles, duke of Newcastle, for 17,500£. The rental had by this time increased to 900£. a year: being about the rental of a single house in Cavendish Square at the present day. In all these transactions Marylebone Park was specially reserved by the crown. A number of sub-leases fell in about the end of the last century, and the suggestion of John White, the architect of the Portland estate, that the park, which was then half farm, half village-common, subject to encroachments and all the usual forms of ill-usage, should be taken up and properly laid out, was acted upon, with the fine expanse of the Regent's Park as a result. Some of the minor leaseholders are commemorated by street names, as Peter Hinde, who farmed the park in . There were three separate farms,
|and the last of the leases, which had been purchased by the duke of Portland, did not fall in till . Foley House, the residence of lord Foley, who projected a mansion on such a scale that the two stone houses on the north side of Cavendish Square are said to have been intended for lodges, stopped the way from Regent Street to the new park, and caused the laying out of Portland Place at its present extravagant width of 120 feet in order not to interrupt the view. The Langham Hotel, built on the site of Foley House, has fallen heir to this advantageous situation. Foley Street, originally Ogle Street, having fallen into disrepute, has become Langham Street.|
But by far the largest part of the old manor is that which Sir John Austen sold to the duke of Newcastle. Here and there the duke's successors made additional purchases, and at the beginning of the present century the estate extended from Primrose Hill to Oxford Street; and from the brook, at Marylebone Lane, with the short interruption of the city conduit estate, eastward to Hanway Court. In shape, therefore, it is something like a T reversed, and comprises almost every possible variety of town residence, from palaces to tenements.
The duke of Newcastle was illustrious chiefly for his wealth in days when wealth meant political power and social advancement. He is buried in the statesmen's transept in Westminster Abbey, under a cenotaph by Gibbs which is well worthy of his architectural fame. Gibbs himself, who better deserved Westminster Abbey, is buried in the little church which was then deemed sufficient for the inhabitants of the duke's great manor. The duke's titles and offices are set forth at considerable length on his monument, but the cause of them all is
only alluded to-- |
Burnet calls him
and it must be allowed that his daughter,
as she describes herself, spared no expense on the sculpture.
Lady Henrietta was his only child, and on his death, in , inherited Tyburn. The same year her husband, by the elevation of his father, Robert Harley, to the earldoms of Oxford and Mortimer, became lord Harley, and in succeeded him in the higher titles.
Within the last few years a quaint if not very beautiful memorial of this second earl, Edward, and his rich wife, has been removed. The vane of the central building of Oxford Market bore their initials, and the date . Oxford Mansion, a series of flats, occupies the site now. The northern row of houses in the Tyburn Road was completed the year after lord Oxford succeeded to his father's title, and the new thoroughfare was named in his honour, Oxford Street. It then extended from Marylebone Lane to Tottenham Court Road, or exactly from one end to the other of the manor of Tyburn. Oxford Street was made through the thirty years ago, but in Bloomsbury, and serves to connect the older part of the road with Holborn by a more direct course than that through High Street, St. Giles's. Finally, the western part of the street -from Marylebone Lane to the foot of Edgware Road- leading through the manor of Lylleston, was completed, and after having long been Oxford Road, became a street also.[\i]
Like his father, earl Edward was a great collector of old books. The Harleian MSS. seem never to have been kept in the manor-house of St. Marylebone, as some have asserted. In fact, I do not think the Holles or Harley family ever lived in the manorhouse. It stood near the top of High Street, and was occupied by the lessee for the time being of the park farms. The gardens were celebrated for their beauty, and formed a public resort as early as the time of Pepys, who praises them; but in the time of Gay they had already acquired a doubtful reputation. Yet here some of Handel's music was performed for the first time. A letter, quoted by Thomas Smith,[\i] contains an amusing anecdote, in which the great composer appears in a more amiable light than usual. He was walking in the gardens with an old clergyman named Fountayne, who lived at that time in the manor-house, when the band struck up a new piece.
After some time Mr. Fountayne observed,
On the site of the gardens stands Beaumont Street, and near it, in High Street, is a large furniture repository. This was the library of the Harley family.
This celebrated collection was the result of perseverance and liberality exerted by the two first earls during a long series of years. The second earl, in particular, spared neither pains nor expense in its formation, and that he was no mere collector of the kind fashionable a century later may be judged from his letters to the agents adroad and at home who found him treasures, as
|well as from the notes which still remain in so many of the books. Great as the collection was, and priceless as it would be now, the trustees of the British Museum acquired it for 10,000£., and the arms of the Harleys, with their angelic supporters, are familiar to thousands who have cause to remember gratefully the husband of the heiress of St. Marylebone.|
Her only daughter, Margaret, married William Bentinck, second duke of Portland, and the present duke is the owner of the estate.
The wife of John Holles, duke of Newcastle, was an heiress of the Cavendishes of Welbeck. The Harleys were originally of Wigmore Castle. We are thus furnished with a clue to the names of the streets in the eastern part of the parish. Henrietta and Margaret Streets are called after the successive heiresses ; Welbeck and Wigmore Streets after their country seats; Harley and Holles Streets after their fortunate husbands. Oxford Square has become Cavendish Square.
One street, the least and latest named of all, deserves a separate notice. 's house, in , was in Bentinck Street: he dates the preface to the 'Decline and Fall' June 1st, in that year, from No. 7, which, in a letter to his friend, lord Sheffield, he calls
His library was at the back, as we gather from an expression in another letter. Writing from Lausanne, he says his books have been arranged in a room
The western manor of this great parish, like the eastern, was, at the time of the Domesday Survey, in religious hands. It is enumerated among lands given in
|alms, "," when it was held by a lady named Eideva. It had belonged T.R.E. to Edward, the son of Suain, a vassal of the king. As early as it was in the possession of the Knights of St. John at , and contained, as we are told,[\i] twenty acres of meadow and a hundred acres of wood, the rest, we may infer, being barren heath or furze. Even so late as two centuries ago it was almost bare of houses, except near the middle, where Lisson- properly Lylleston-Green closely adjoined Paddington, and both formed a kind of village on the Edgware Road. Sir William of Clyf held it from the Hospitallers, and paid 10£. a year rent. He had a villa on it, and probably hawked and hunted, and drew the long bow in the forest, as freely as if St. John's Wood was a hundred miles from . His house was probably on the spot centuries later covered by the manor-house, now converted into Queen Charlotte's Hospital. We hear no more of Lylleston for a century and a half; but in the meantime the gallows had travelled out from Tyburn and were probably well established at the south-western corner of the estate, or opposite the modern site of the Marble Arch; for in , when the lord prior , granted a lease for fifty years to John and Johan Blennerhasset, at least two gibbets are mentioned. The farm thus granted for fifty years was exactly conterminous with the present Portman estate. Lisson Green, Lisson Grove, and St. John's Wood were not included in it : but we have a list of the fields which is|
|very interesting to the modern topographer.[\i] These lands had been in the occupation of Thomas Hobson, and were let for 8£. a year. The names of the fields are most valuable. From them we learn not only that people were hanged here, but that they were hanged in chains: that the district was used for field sports: that much of it was under wood, and some of it bushy. Such was the corner farm on which many of the best streets in now stand. It comprised in all about 270 acres, and may be reckoned one of the wealthiest estates in England. The exact situation of the six fields can no longer be ascertained, but we cannot be far wrong in supposing that the gibbets stood near the highway, perhaps between Quebec Street and Orchard Street, and the and Haws, near a depression, formerly, perhaps, almost a ravine, which crosses behind Montagu House, and runs parallel to Upper Berkeley Street, a little to the northward.|
As we have seen already Thomas Hobson missed his chances of founding a great family but they were eagerly seized on by chief justice Portman, who, in , bought from the executors of the Blennerhassets the reversion of their house, and afterwards, in the reign of queen Mary, obtained the land in fee simple.
To trace the further descent to the present owners would be but tedious, except in so far as it explains the street nomenclature of the district. The male line terminated with a grandson of Sir William Portman, and the estate went to one of the Seymours, a descendant of the
|great Protector. It reverted, however, eventually, to , whose mother, a Speke, had been a niece of the last Portman. Thus we have Berkeley Street, Seymour Street, and Portman Square. From Orchard Portman, in Somerset, and Bryanstone, in Dorset, we get another batch of names, while two Quebec Streets and two Adam Streets[\i] furnish us with the general date of the buildings (), and the name of the architects.|
The farm in the occupation of Sir William of Clyf was at least double the size of that which was rented by Thomas Hobson, who, in fact, had only the southwestern corner, which was all he transmitted to his successors the Portmans. The rest of Clyfs leasehold comprised at least four later holdings, all of which must be mentioned. The Eyre estate, partly on the slope of Hampstead Hill, but chiefly within the manor of Lylleston, consisting of 340 acres, was granted by Charles II. in satisfaction of a debt to lord Wotton. Another estate, lying along the Edgware Road, was bequeathed by John Lyon to Harrow School. A third was that portion of the City Conduit estate, which lay on the western side of the brook. This was the real to which I referred above. It was long the property of a family named Edwardes, and from its interrupting the communication east and west between the Cavendish Square and Portman Square districts is frequently mentioned in the parish annals. By the threat of an Act of Parliament, the tenant was eventually brought to reason, and Wigmore Street was continued as Edwardes Street,[\i] Lower Seymour Street, the south side of Portman Square, and Upper Seymour Street to
|Edgware Road. This was about , and the neighbouring Manchester Square was completed about the same time. The Spanish chapel close by was built for the accommodation of the Spanish ambassador, who rented Manchester House;[\i] and the spiritual wants of the parishioners of all denominations are well supplied, so far as church room is concerned.|
The church of the whole parish of St. Marylebone, removed from the lonely corner at Tyburn, was planted in High Street, and still, substantially, stands, though more or less completely rebuilt at different times, as " the parish chapel." There is not much of the picturesque left in it, but the interior has been immortalised by Hogarth as the scene of the Rake's Marriage. The living went through all the usual vicissitudes, but the abbey of Barking does not seem ever to have held the advowson. At one time it belonged to cardinal Wolsey, at another to Thomas Hobson-who, by the way, paid the clergyman 13 shillings a year-and having eventually come to the Forsets, went at last to the dukes of Portland, and was bought, under an Act of Parliament, by the government in . In the minister had 15£. a year; but as the population increased it is to be hoped the emoluments were higher. A manuscript diary, which occurs appropriately enough among the Harleian Collection, contains a notice of Mr. Randolph Ford, who served the parish between and , from which it appears that on a single day his duties were as follows:-He began the day by marrying six couples-perhaps Hogarth's Rake among them-then he read service and preached, churching six women afterwards. In the afternoon he read and preached again, but it was not till then that the real work of the day can be said to have
commenced, for we are told that he christened thirty-
two children, six of them at home, and proceeded to
bury thirteen corpses, reading the whole service over
each of them separately. From his address in the register
book it appears that this indefatigable clergyman lived
and had probably, therefore, a long walk before and after his day's labours.
In Hogarth's print a spider has spun a web over the poor-box, and that his view is probably accurate may be judged from his reproduction of the lines by which Edward Forset, whom I have mentioned already more than once, pointed out his burial-place :
The new church was built in , after many delays, and though one contemporary writer calls it " one of the handsomest structures of the kind in the metropolis," it is eminently commonplace, and not worthy to compare for a moment with Hawksmoor's long-despised St. George's. In a century architectural taste had not greatly improved; but the chapels of ease of this parish, which are older, are not more beautiful. St. Peter's, Vere Street, formerly Oxford Chapel, had the advantage of Gibbs for its architect, but is a very poor specimen of the style; and is chiefly remarkable now as the scene, for many years, of the labours of Frederick Denison Maurice. The interior has recently been in the so-called queen Anne style.[\i] The
|other chapels in the eastern part of the parish are St. James's, in Westmorland Street, formerly Welbeck Chapel; and St. Paul's, of which I have spoken above. There are modern district churches also, built about the same time as the new St. Marylebone; and a small chapel situated in Margaret Street, first used in , was on the site of a church now celebrated as one of the most magnificent buildings of its kind in .|
The church of All Souls, Langham Place, has been alternately admired and criticised, till all that can now be said about it is that the design suits the situation admirably, and that if it is absolutely necessary to fit a gothic spire to a heathen temple in order to make a Christian church of it, Nash's very original device will do as well as another. The church was consecrated in .
In the western half of the parish is also a large number of new churches, of which very few require notice. The old chapels, in Baker Street (Portman Chapel), Upper Berkeley Street (Brunswick Chapel), and Quebec Street (Quebec Chapel), are chiefly remarkable for the way in which the interiors have been modernised without undue interference with the original fabric. At Quebec Chapel the overflowing congregations brought together by the late dean Alford and the present bishop (Magee) of Peterborough, are still remembered. St. Thomas's, Orchard Street, is a new and handsome gothic structure, and so is the church in Nutford Place, erected on the site of a cholera hospital, which during the great epidemic of was never required for the parish, there not having been a single case in St. Marylebone. It is appropriately dedicated to
|St. Mary's, Bryanston Square, which is now the mother church of this division of the parish, was built by Smirke in , and shows how, with Nash's round temple for a portico, a handsome tower or spire of suitable style may be erected. the bibliographer, was the first incumbent.|
It would be impossible to make anything like a complete list of the eminent inhabitants of the parish of St. Marylebone. I have already spoken of Gibbon, but he is only one of a large number of literary men who have lived in it at one time or another. Sir Arthur Helps died in Lower Berkeley Street, where he was on a visit, in . Talleyrand once lived in Manchester Square. Mrs. Siddons died in Upper Baker Street, in the last house on the east side, almost facing into Regent's Park. lived for many years at South Bank. Landseer died at his house in St. John's Wood Road, in . Sir Thomas Picton, who fell at Waterloo, had a house in Edwardes Street.
Of the illustrious dead buried in the old church, I may mention besides James Gibbs, the architect, who died in , Humphrey Wanley, the Harley librarian (d. ). Dr. Johnson's friend Baretti (d. ), and , the hymn-writer (d. ). In the parish cemetery, Paddington Street, a large number of remarkable people were buried before its final closure: from Canning's father; Hoyle, who wrote on games; and
one of Nelson's captains, killed at Copenhagen; down to Mr. Rawlinson,
and Mr. John Castles,
If the name of Tyburn can be said to survive at all, it
is in a district far west of the original manor, as I have
endeavoured to show. Tyburnia at the present day is
the city of palaces north of the park, along the Bayswater Road, and is all within the parish of Paddington.
An iron tablet in the park railing facing Edgware Road
marks the site of a turnpike, and dates its removal:-
It is difficult, even with the help of the prints, maps, and drawings of the Crace and other collections to form an idea of the aspect of this corner a hundred years ago, or to recall the scenes of horror which took place at executions on the bare hill to the westward. But, instead of the great street of Edgware Road, with its double row of large shops, instead of the tall houses of Connaught Place, instead of the seemingly endless vista of terraces and gardens facing the park there were no houses on the left hand, looking along Edgware Road, and none on the right, looking along the Uxbridge Road. There was a wall, by no means uniform or regular, dividing the park from the road; and about half-way to Kensington Gardens was the ranger's lodge, opening with a pair of gates nearly opposite the modern Albion Street. The inclosure for the burial-ground of St. George's stood out as a prominent feature in the landscape-a landscape which showed, here and there a farmhouse or a strawyard; here and there a lonely tavern with a swinging sign and a water-trough; and for the rest was made up of a long slope down to the Bayswater, or Westbourne, with, in the foreground, crossed by footpaths, a bare triangular space decorated only by the awful presence of the gallows.
This space can hardly be defined now, the local landmarks having been carefully erased in the laying out of the streets and roads. A house at the corner of Connaught
|Square and Stanhope Place is often asserted to be actually on the site occupied by the gallows-an idle tradition, as the gallows were not always on the same spot, and were certainly, during the last few years, only erected for each execution, and then on the roadway itself. Another idle story is, that remains indicating the burial of bodies under the gallows were found at the corner of Connaught Place. In one publication it was asserted that a cartload of bones was removed and buried in a pit dug in the mews; and that this cartload "doubtless" contained the bones of Cromwell.[\i] As a matter of fact no such discovery was ever made. When the houses in Connaught Place were built, a careful search was instituted lest any such fragments should exist. A single bone, which may be a portion of the lower jaw of a human being, was found, and is carefully preserved. But that was all. There are few parts of , especially along the course of an ancient Roman road, where remains of some kind, and generally sepulchral, may not be found.|
This corner, and the inclosing sides, north-west by Edgware Road to Kensal Green, and west by the Uxbridge or Bayswater Road to the boundaries of , near what used to be the Gravel Pits, but has now become Notting Hill Gate, is the parish of Paddington, and includes the two manors of Paddington and Westbourne. They were divided by the little stream which was the original source of the Serpentine, but is now lost to sight in an underground sewer. Brook Mews marks the spot where it was last seen. In tracing
the history of , we have had occasion to
show how Westbourne was probably at a very early
period separated from the original |
and that it may be identified with the holding of Bainiard. Of we only know that if it was separated from the manor of at some time between the Domesday survey and the middle of the twelfth century, it was restored to its original owners through the care of abbot Walter, who in , bought it from Richard and William de Padinton, and left it to the abbey for the good of his soul, and to provide
with a gallon of wine for each monk, and other indulgences, on the anniversary of his death.[\i]
By what means the manor of Westbourne came to belong to the abbey of Westminster I have not been able to ascertain. In , a decree was made in order to terminate a dispute between the abbey and the see of . In this decree Westburne and Padyngtoun are named together among the possessions of the abbey, or to speak more exactly, are said to
When the religious houses were suppressed Henry VIII. made part of the endowment of the new see of .[\i] This was in , and the manors, though now both in ecclesiastical hands, were never united again, as, when the new bishopric was abolished, went towards the endowment of the see of , while Westbourne remained to the dean and
|chapter of , who had received it from Henry VIII. and have retained it ever since.|
The bishops now exercise their rights through the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; but a very determined attempt was made by a dignitary, no less respectable than archbishop Sheldon, to alienate , as the canons of St. Paul's had alienated their estates. At the time of the Commonwealth, , like other church estates, was sold; but at the Restoration, Sheldon, then bishop of , claimed it for his use, and obtaining it, gave it on a long lease to his sons, Joseph and Daniel. His family are said to have enjoyed the revenues of the manor for above eighty years. Although holding under so unjust an arrangement, the Sheldons deserved well of the place, and when the old church, a kind of chapel, originally, to St. Margaret's, became ruinous, they built a new one. This new church, which was consecrated in , was dedicated to St. James. The older one is sometimes supposed to have been dedicated to St. Katherine, but on insufficient evidence.[\i] The existing church of St. Mary, Paddington Green, was built by local subscription in , and is described shortly afterwards as
After some years, even this new church became too small for the rapidly growing parish; and there are now not only some half- dozen district churches, but the church at Paddington
|Green has been deposed from its ascendancy. The parish for the fourth time changed its patron and reverted to its former saint, when the new and handsome but terribly stiff perpendicular church of St. James was erected in , and made parochial. This revival or awakening of religious enthusiasm in Paddington took place at an unfortunate moment in the history of architecture. The least objectionable of the new churches is that in the square known as Lancaster Gate. It is absurdly and incongruously placed among stucco palaces of an Italian style, but from the Serpentine bridge, where the spire alone can be seen reflected in the water, through a vista of trees, it forms a pleasing feature of one of the few of landscape in . On the whole, I am inclined to prefer the quaint classicality of old St. Mary's to the mock gothic of any of its successors.|
Until lately Paddington has had few eminent inhabitants-nay, few inhabitants of any kind. The bishops, after whom so many of the streets and roads are called, never lived in their manor-house on the east side of the green; and a few years ago the house itself was pulled down. By a curious chance, however, though many of the great folk of the world did not affect Paddington in their lives, it has been the burial-place of more remarkable people than even Westminster Abbey itself. In , the churchwardens of St. George's, Hanover Square, lord Boston and Mr. Long of Rood Ashton, in Wiltshire, bought for their newly-established parish a plot of land for a burial-ground. It was situated a long way out of town on the bare hillside, westward of the place of execution, at the corner of Edgware Road. It must have presented a sufficiently forbidding aspect when first inclosed. Now it looks rather pleasant, and green
with trees and flower-beds, when viewed from the
backs of the houses on the west side of Connaught
Square, or the south side of Connaught Street.[\i] Here
were buried some whom the world will not easily forget,
though they may never even have seen their last resting-
place in the time of their mortal lives. In , 's body was brought to it from the lodging-house[\i]
in Bond Street, where he died; and was buried without
so much as a gravestone. Some years later two Freemasons, out of admiration for his genius, set up a stone
against the western wall with a long inscription; but it
would be rash to say it stands at the actual place of his
interment. In the of the ground,
where rich people were able to protect their bodies from
contamination with meaner mould, are some interesting
monuments; and among them the urn of a lady who
was cremated in accordance with the provisions of her
will in . The cemetery is entered under an archway which passes between a chapel and the house of
the keeper. In the chapel are some curious tablets,
including that of the famous Mrs. Molony (d. ), who
and of whom Mr. Edward Molony, of Castle Molony, her husband, asserts that
[\i] Here is also a tablet to the memory of Sir Thomas Picton, whose body, having lain in state at his house in Edwardes
|Street, was buried in the little vault under this chapel. After the death and funeral of the duke of Wellington, it was removed to St. Paul's Cathedral.|
At the most distant spot that can possibly be found within the limits of the parish is the great cemetery of Kensal Green, the bleakest, dampest, most melancholy of all the burial-grounds of . Many a body brought here to the grave has been the cause of other deaths. The mourners at one funeral have been the mourned at another. It would be impossible to enumerate the names of all the memorable dead who sleep in this heavy clay; but here are Sydney Smith and Thackeray, Mulready and John Leech, cardinal Wiseman and the duke of Sussex. Two other names only will I mention. Who that has read the 'Tales of a Grandfather' can forget
to whom they are dedicated ? Who that has felt himself no nearer to heaven
can fail to look with interest on the grave of Thomas Hood ? The line on his monument was suggested by Mark Lemon-
The West Bourne, or as we sometimes find it written Wesborn, divided the manor from that of , both lying originally, as we have seen, in the same parish. The extension of building over the western manor has only taken place within living memory, although an old village or two stood on the slope between the brook and the boundary of parish, near the top of the hill. Westbourne Green is now wholly obliterated by railways, the great Paddington station, properly in Westbourne, and the numberless lines running into it or from it, to the city and to
Addison Road, meeting on the very spot which was so
long the village common. At the beginning of the
present century, and long after, it was remarkable for its
rural appearance. Westbourne Farm was the country
residence of Mrs. Siddons, and Westbourne Place was a
villa built for a city merchant by Isaac Ware, of whom
a contemporary declares that though originally only a
sweep, he was a born architect. Be this as it may, both
villa and farm have long been destroyed, and Westbourne Green is consumpta per ferro, razed literally with
the level ground, and covered with hundreds of lines of
iron railway. Westbourne Green Lane survives, but is
now known as Queen's Road, Bayswater. A few trees
and a nursery garden or two remain, but all the rest is
railway station, shops, and taverns. To judge from
the changes the lane has undergone in a few years, it
will soon form a line of street as continuous and unbroken as Edgware Road, or Westbourne Grove itself.
The whole district has grown up in a short time round
one or two older centres, such as Orme Square, built in
, or the original Bayswater, a hamlet near what is
now Gloucester Terrace. The site of St. Stephen's
church was, till , a racing ground, known as the
Hippodrome; and Christ Church, Lancaster Gate,
stands as nearly as possible where the old ponds of
Baynard's Watering became successively Bear's Watering, Bayswater, and Hopwood's nursery. A little further
west was the villa of lord Craven, inaccurately described
which has given its name to a round dozen of modern streets, squares, gardens, places, and terraces. The ground is marked in old maps as the The good earl of Craven, in the time of the Great Plague, had given a site in Soho both for a burial ground and for a kind of cottage hospital, as we
should call it, for the use of the suburbs. The pest field
was situated between Golden Square and the now Oxford Street; but some time about the
beginning of the last century it was decided to close the
burial ground and build over the whole area. The then
remote and desolate Upton Farm, |
was accordingly purchased for the representative of lord Craven, in lieu of any rights or contingent rights he might have over the Pest Field; but according to the terms of the exchange, the new Pest Field, previously Upton Farm, was, in case of plague, to be given up for the burial of victims from the parish of St. Anne. In some old maps Pest Field stands on the Bayswater Road, a little to the west of the old Bayswater Conduit.
When the princess Anne gave birth to the little son whose story has been so quaintly told by Jenkin Lewis, his servant,[\i]
Lord Craven's house proving too small for the prince and princess with their attendants, after a year's residence they removed to Campden Hill.
There is something touching in the glimpse here given
|us of the stout old earl. He had fought for the daughter of James; he had seen one king beheaded and another exiled; he had lost an estate under the commonwealth, and gained an earldom at the Restoration; he was universally believed to have married the widowed queen of Bohemia, and to have comforted her declining years in a princely retirement at Hampton in Berkshire, while the mention of the Pest Field reminds us that he, with the duke of Albemarle, remained in town during the Great Plague of , succouring and directing when every one else had fled or become crazy with fear. And now in his old age we see him stooping over the cradle of the poor decrepit child in whom the hopes of the nation and the dynasty were so fallaciously centered. When the little prince died, in , the good earl had already gone to his well-earned repose; but if he had lived three years longer he would have seen the succession to the English throne settled on the daughter of the beloved queen, whose widower he remained for six and thirty years.|
The name of the prince's coachman, may point to the earl's connection with Drury Lane, or may be accidental; but his liberality in offering his house rent free to the princess, whom, in truth, he may have looked on as a niece, was not imitated by the owner of Campden House, to which the child was removed in .
From Craven Hill and its gardens to Orme Square the ground rises gradually, so that when the border of the parish of is reached, we are ninety-five feet above the mean sea level. Naturally, this slope facing Kensington Gardens is looked upon as one of the best situations for fine houses, and is accordingly by degrees assuming an appearance to be compared only
|with that of Park Lane. But many small houses, shops two storey villas, and taverns still remain; and it is a question how far really substantial buildings can be erected unless upon longer leases than are at present granted by the dean and chapter.|
Bark Place, like Orme Square, takes its name from an old lessee, while Petersburgh Place and Moscow Road are said to commemorate the visit of the czar after the conclusion of peace in , when this district was first covered with houses.
High as is the ground of Orme Square, it is over- topped by the neighbouring hill on whose north side is Notting Hill Gate, and at whose southern foot is the ancient village of .[\i]
It is customary to speak of as and if the name is correctly derived from the Anglo-Saxon Conning, or Cyning, there may be good ground for connecting it with royalty. But so far back as direct history goes, has had nothing to do with kings and queens. Swift talks of
; and other writers innumerable have followed him. In the Domesday Book, however, we find no mention of kings among the owners, except when we are told that Edwin, a vassal of king Edward the Confessor, owned the manor and could sell it, showing that it was his absolute freehold. At the time of the survey it was held by Aubrey de Ver, not of the king, but of the bishop of Coutances. It would thus appear that this
|manor was singularly independent of royalty at the earliest[1*] period at which we have any mention of it; and it may be added that has maintained to the present day its ancient condition in this respect.|
Aubrey "de Ver," as he is called in the Domesday Book, became the ancestor of the Veres, earls of Oxford, and the manor of remained theirs for many generations, although Edward IV. gave it to his brother Richard, and it was held for a time by Sir Reginald Bray. But a very large slice of the manor was granted about to the abbot of Abingdon, near Oxford, by the first Aubrey,
of his eldest son, and as the church was included in the gift, and actually stands on this part of the land, the parish obtained the name it has ever since borne of St. Mary Abbot's.[\i] The Abingdon estate became itself a submanor, and perhaps the manor house, now known as Holland House, is the most celebrated building in Kensington. The earl's manor house was, as the name imports, in Earl's Court Road, and we shall probably not go far wrong if we identify it with the house long occupied by the great John Hunter, and lately standing near Earl's Court Station.
Of the other, or Holland House, we have heard almost too much of late years. To believe Macaulay no house ever contained within its walls so many eminent men at the same time. Certainly, one of the most influential of the many mutual-admiration societies, which are to be found mentioned in English history, occasionally met in
its dining-room. But though Wilkie may here have gazed
at a picture by Reynolds, and Mackintosh have |
and Talleyrand have related an adventure with Lannes,[\i] there have been greater men assembled together under one roof than Wilkie, Mackintosh, and Talleyrand, even if we throw in Macaulay, with Marshall Lannes, Reynolds, and the saint. Many of us, looking back through a longer perspective, may think some of the club meetings in Soho, such as that lashed by Goldsmith in his " Retaliation," would bear comparison with the best party ever assembled at Holland House, though among them were several eminent Whigs, together with Sydney Smith, Byron, , and Thomas Campbell. Lady Holland appears to have been a very disagreeable person, of character so questionable that ladies could not appear at her table; and though she was the great and typical of her day-hospitable, clever, and managing-it is impossible to admire her.
There are fortunately older and better memories about Holland House. The third lord Holland, Macaulay's contemporary, was the son of Stephen, second lord, who died early, and nephew of Charles James Fox. When Fox was young, his lovely aunt, lady Sarah Lennox, here received her many admirers, made hay upon the lawn, petted her squirrel, grieved over the birds her nephew killed,[\i] nearly broke a king's heart, and cried for the loss of a crown as if it had been a plaything. It would be easy to linger over this charming figure.[\i]
Casting our eyes a little further back still we come to another remarkable name. Before the time of Henry
|Fox, the first baron, who having bought the house took his title from it, the family of Rich, earls of Warwick and Holland, had owned it. The last earl but two left a widow, Charlotte, the daughter of a Welsh baronet. In she married Joseph Addison, and in Holland House, three years later, the Spectator looked his last on the world. Here he is said to have shown his stepson how a Christian can die, and we may hope the young earl took advantage of the example, for he only outlived Addison a couple of years.|
The Rich family boasted of a martyr in the royal cause. The earl of Holland obtained the house by a fortunate marriage and had been concerned with "Steenie" in the Spanish project. He had first defied Charles, who imprisoned him, and afterwards Cromwell by whose orders he was beheaded. He took his minor title from Kensington, and his earldom from the
in Lincolnshire. He died before Westminster Hall in a satin doublet and silver lace, at the very place where thirty years before Raleigh had met the same fate. He enjoyed good company to the last, for the duke of Hamilton preceded him to the block, and lord Capel followed him. He was the least worthy of the three, and his family do not seem to have mourned for him long, for we find Holland House mentioned soon after as one of the places in which private theatricals were performed during the mirthless days of the protectorate.
Sir Walter Cope had obtained from James I. all the abbot's manor, and there is every reason to suppose that he built his new house on the old site. On the other hand, while manorial customs prevailed, it was to a house near the present vicarage that the inhabitants of St. Mary Abbot's resorted to do suit and service; and it is not impossible that the abbot of Abingdon did not
|live very far from the church. Be this as it may, Sir Walter spared neither money nor good taste, and the result is a house of which it can only be said that it is among the most picturesque of suburban dwellings. It is said that Thorpe was the architect, but Inigo Jones and Nicholas Stone also left their mark on it, and though there have been modern alterations, even to the extent of changing the face of the house, it remains substantially as it was in the reign of the first Stuart.|
Among Sir Walter Cope's associates was a rich city merchant, of obscure birth, named Hicks. To this worthy, so runs the tale, Sir Walter lost at the gaming table a few acres of the hill which rose between his own house and the church. Sir took advantage of the site to erect a villa by no means unworthy of its great neighbour, and planting an avenue of elms from his hall-door to the village High Street, finished it with a pair of brick gate-posts, surmounted by the hounds which on his elevation to a peerage formed his supporters. Like Sir Walter Sir Baptist had no son, and Campden House, as he named it, went to his elder daughter, on whose husband, Edward Noel, the title was entailed, together with the manor of Chipping Campden, in Gloucestershire, from which it was derived.
The Noels lived at Campden House after the death of Sir Baptist in . His will contains so many charitable bequests that Stow's continuator devotes a whole chapter to it, and to
which commences with
five lines from which the tenor of the rest may be easily
inferred. His bequest to Kensington consisted of a sum
of 200£. |
This legacy was invested in the purchase of
Chare Crofts bring in now 480£. a year, and the trustees have some 10,000£. in consols. Lady Campden, the widow of the second viscount, also left a legacy to the parish, with which the authorities bought, in ,
[\i] These lands adjoined Hogmore, or Hogmire Lane, now Gloucester Road and Palace Gate, and bring in some 360£., while about 40,000£. have accumulated.
The Noels became extinct, in the male line, early in the eighteenth century, but the trustee of the last of them, a Mr. Bertie, is said to have asked the princess Anne such a rent for Campden House
[\i] Yet the house was too small for the princess and her son, and a building now known as Little Campden House was added on the western side.
The poor little prince is carefully described by his faithful servant; even his height and weight and the size of his head are recorded. We read of his medicines, his blisters, his very mild birchings, his new clothes and stiff waistcoat, his tumbles, and his refusal to say his prayers. William III. appears in a new and amiable light, caressing his little nephew. He named him duke of Gloucester, a title never formally used, and when he was six years of age,
The child was devoted to military pursuits. Every one has heard of his boy regiment. His attendants made him fortifications in the grounds of Campden House, and when the king visited him he fired a salute from real guns with real powder. His boy regiment was partly recruited from . was not yet perhaps sufficiently populous to furnish more than a couple of score or so. They assembled on holidays and were put through their exercises by the little duke, who enforced strict discipline and administered the military punishments in vogue at that date. Yet we hear of complaints of their insolence when dismissed from parade. When they were coming from , or going home, they were often very rude and would
It was a proud day for the little duke when William came to review them.
The duke died in at Windsor, and Campden House was next occupied by the dowager countess of Burlington[\i] and her clever son, afterwards known as the "Architect Earl." He may have imbibed some of his
|architectural taste from contemplating the beauties of the old house, with its mullioned windows richly dight in stained glass, and its magnificent oak carvings.|
In it was sold to Nicholas Lechmere, who became a peer in , and died childless in , being now chiefly remembered for a lampoon of Swift's[\i] which he provoked. The house went into Chancery and appears to have been unoccupied till , when it was decreed by the Court to Edmund Lechmere, M.P. for Worcestershire. He did not keep it long; and the next owner, Stephen Pitt, a relation in all probability of the Chatham family,[\i] lived in Little Campden House, and let the older building to some ladies who kept an
Pitt married the daughter and heiress of a man named Orbell who would probably be forgotten by posterity but for the fact that the great Sir Isaac Newton used to come to for change of air, and died at last in Orbell's Buildings in . Orbell's Buildings are now called Bullingham House, and a tablet let into the wall records Newton's name.[\i] The Bullinghams were an old family, one of whom was bishop of Gloucester in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and was buried in the old church. When Orbell died in , Pitt inherited or already possessed a considerable estate on the hill, and to him we may attribute many alterations, such as the shortening of the old avenue, the removal of "The Dogs," and perhaps the building of a mock ruin at the corner of the wall next Sheffield Terrace. When the underground railway
|was made, a tunnel ran through the garden, which is not however, apparently much injured by it. In , being at the time in the occupation of a Mr. Woolley, the house was completely gutted by fire,[\i] but rebuilt immediately. It now belongs to Mr. Elder, by whom the grounds are well kept up, and materially help Campden Hill to retain its ancient look of umbrageous verdure. In the east wall is the old gateway, now built up, which opened towards Kensington Palace, when William III. lived there, and when there was nothing but a gardener's cottage between the two houses. The wall now faces Sheffield Gardens, which with other local names reminds us of the existence of a villa on this hill belonging to lord Sheffield, the friend of Gibbon.|
The Pratts, from whom the marquis Camden is descended, were an old family. The great Chancellor may have had Campden Hill, or as it was then usually spelled Camden Hill, in his mind, when he chose that name for his peerage, though it is always attributed to his veneration for Camden, the antiquary, whose house at Chislehurst he had bought.[\i]
The north-western and south-eastern extremities of have so little to do with the central village that it is sometimes difficult to remember that Notting Hill and Brompton are equally within the old parochial boundary; though the palace is within that of St. Margaret, . The Notting Hill extremity presents few features of interest. It is for the most part cut up into small holdings, some free, some leased. Ladbroke Grove commemorates its builder, and Ladbroke Square has somewhat absurdly been renamed Kensington Park. St. John's Church stands on the site of the Notting Hill farmhouse, described by Faulkner in as an ancient brick building, surrounded by spacious barns. This church, which is in a poor style of gothic, was for a brief period the incumbency of the lamented Craufurd Tait, only son of the late archbishop of Canterbury.
The summit of Campden Hill is very conspicuous from St. John's Church, as it rises 120 feet above the sea-level and is crowned with a chimney 200 feet high, belonging to the Grand Junction Water Works. Close to the chimney is a cluster of villas, including a ridiculous plastered tower in and some plain old-fashioned houses locally known as the Dukeries. In one of them, Holly Lodge, lord Macaulay died in .
In Church Street, and also in Lower Phillimore Place (called after its builder, who died in ), Sir David Wilkie long resided. John Leech died in a house on what is called The Terrace. In fact, to attempt any enumeration of the eminent inhabitants would be absurd. As we pass towards Brompton, however, two at least should be noticed. If we turn out of High Street by Young Street (called also after one Young, who built it), we reach Kensington Square. The last house but one in the street, now unfortunately and purposelessly renumbered,
|on the right hand, was long the residence of Thackeray, whose later years were passed in a new house within the avenue of Palace Gardens. The square was built as a speculation when king William first came to reside at the palace, and contains still some charming little of the Wren period, one of the best being a now divided tenement at the south-eastern corner. Through a narrow lane leading from this corner we reach a labyrinth of small streets, some of them old, some new, and crossing it as best we can emerge in Cornwall Gardens. Here, covering the ground now occupied by the gardens, and by Gloucester Road Station, was Glo'ster or Onslow Villa, in which lived George Canning, and here his son, the future governor- general, was born, and another son, who lies buried in Kensington Churchyard with a touching epitaph by the great statesman.|
We thus reach Brompton, famous once upon a time for its gardens, but now covered with a new quarter of fashionable houses, even its own name being suppressed as vulgar and substituted. It is not necessary here to describe the ever-changing glories of the famous local institutions, the three museums, the portrait gallery, and the Hall of Science and Art, all of which, as some believe, might better have been placed where they would be accessible to the general public.
It will be sufficient to say that the science and art museum is under the control of the Education Department, and, since its establishment, in , has proved a serious rival to both the British Museum and the National Gallery. It is understood that the unseemly spectacle of rival public galleries bidding each other up in an art sale is not to be witnessed again, but it is unquestionable that the early managers of the institution did much not only to bring it into disfavour with many people, but, by
|the way in which they sheltered themselves behind the lamented Prince Consort, added greatly to the unpopularity of his efforts to further culture in this country. Meanwhile a new town has grown up round the Albert Hall and the South Kensington Museum. They are still inaccessible to a large number of the class for whose benefit they were opened, but on the whole it must be conceded that, in general arrangements, in careful cataloguing, in the provision of comfortable reading and refreshment rooms, and many other particulars, they set a good example to older museums.|
Two houses designed by Mr. Norman Shaw, and so contrived, unfortunately, that like two negatives they destroy one another, are at the corner of Exhibition Road, facing the park. In old times this corner was Kensington Gore, and very lately the remains of lady Blessington's house were still to be seen. Here Wilberforce resided for many years, and here, if I mistake not, his son the bishop of Oxford was born. There is something more than tradition to connect the name of Cromwell with , but only tradition to connect it with Brompton. It is true was much affected by Cromwell's friends. General Lambert is mentioned in the parish register as lord Lambert, and there is also the name of Sir William Strickland, another of Oliver's peers, and of Sir Thomas Foot, a third, as well as of Sir Edward Dering, the eccentric Kentish baronet, whose precise political position at any particular time it would be difficult to assign. The register contains one entry which refers directly to the family of the protector. In "
was married to Elizabeth Russell. The entry proves nothing. It points to the probability that the family of Elizabeth Russell lived in the parish. But
tradition will have it that he, and also that his father,
the great Oliver, lived in a house near what is now the
South Kensington Museum, and accordingly a street,
one of the longest and widest in , Cromwell
Road, is called after them. In an enumeration of the
parochial charities[\i] is an account of a dated June 18th, , by which in consideration of 45£. conveyed to Sir John
Thorowgood, and eleven others, and their heirs, |
No trust was declared in the deed, nor was it said how the 45£. was obtained, nor for what purpose, but the land, on which are now some houses in High Street, Notting Hill Gate, has long been called Cromwell's Gift.
This is not very clear or satisfactory evidence; nor have we much more respecting another Lord Burleigh is sometimes reckoned among worthies. The fourth earl of Exeter, of John, lord Burleigh, was born at Mr. Sheffield's, and baptised in the parish church in . But the great lord Burleigh is known to have lived at Brompton Hall, and his house was still pointed out, but doubtfully, fifty years ago. The Brompton part of the parish has, in fact, been so long broken up into small holdings that a mere enumeration of the successive owners of estates would include some very remarkable names.[\i]
Kensington Church, as I remember it in my boyhood, was one of the few really picturesque buildings of the kind near . It was, of course, by no means worthy of a parish which can boast of such aristocratic residents and neighbours as the of to-day, but it harmonised well with what is left of old Kensington Square; and the cupola on the palace, and the old vestry-hall and its blue-coat children, now sent in disgrace to the back entrance; and with Colby House, and Kensington House, formerly known as Little Bedlam. Almost all these relics have disappeared. One of the most hideous buildings in Europe occupies the site of Colby House. No lunatic in the old house could have imagined, in his wildest dreams, the pretentious ugliness of the mansion fitly called [\i] It is now being pulled down, but that will not replace Colby House and its companion. The town hall is new and commonplace, the officials having unfortunately refused a design for it. The old church, with its quaint curved gable to the street corner, and its well weathered red brick, has also disappeared. Why the parish authorities did not follow the good example of St. Marylebone, and build their new church on a new site, say at the top of the hill, the finest situation in the world for such a building, and now occupied by the little tower and spire of St. George's, I cannot but wonder. However, all is gone, the reading desk and pulpit, with the initials of William and Mary, and the royal pew with its curtain, and the seat occupied by Macaulay, and the rails where the duchess of Kent was churched after the birth of queen Victoria.
The new church is very handsome, and boasts of the highest spire in ; indeed, it is said, the highest pointed spire on any parish church in England. Including the metal cross on the top it is within an inch or two of measuring 300 feet, and is not only a very conspicuous but a very pleasing object when seen from Kensington Gardens, reflected, perhaps, in the Round Pond, and with the glow of a sunset behind it. Sir Gilbert Scott who designed the church did not live to see the spire completed.
There are many churches in different parts of the parish. Holy Trinity, Brompton, has long been reckoned a parish church. It was designed
and built in . Close to it, overshadowing it, in fact, is the rising dome of a new church for the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri, of which the Oratory at Birmingham, over which cardinal Newman has so long presided, is the head. Faber, the hymn writer, was before his death the superior of the Brompton establishment. The new church will be a very prominent example of the Italian style when it is completed. The Roman Catholics have many other churches in , the largest being the so-called Pro-Cathedral in a court off High Street. It is too short for its great height, owing to its lofty clerestory, and is very conspicuous from the exterior; but the interior is unsatisfactory. The late Dr. Rock was priest of this church, and is remembered with regret by all who knew him, and especially by those who had occasion to test his unrivalled knowledge of some of the more obscure departments of medieval art.
Divided from southern , or Brompton, only by the width of the Fulham Road, and bounded on the other side by the course of the Thames, has
long been a very urban suburb. The manor is called
Chelched in "Domesday," with an alternative reading,
Cercehede. It belonged to Edward de Sarisberie, and
before the Conquest to Wlwene, |
The further descent of the manor is involved in obscurity for some centuries, but, in , Robert de Heyle leased it to the abbey of Westminster for his own life. In the reign of Henry VII. it belonged to the great Sir Reginald Bray, the architect of St. George's Chapel at Windsor. His niece, lady Sandys, inherited it; but had to exchange it for other lands with Henry VIII. The king settled it on Katherine Parr, his sixth wife. She was succeeded by her sister-in-law, the widow of the protector Somerset, who was a Stanhope; and through her mother, a Bourchier, descended from Thomas of Woodstock, one of the sons of Edward III. On her children, to the prejudice of her stepson, Sir , the dukedom of Somerset was settled when the protector conferred that honour upon himself in . It thus came to pass that a later Sir could tell William of Orange that the duke of Somerset belonged to his family, when the prince, at his landing, had asked him if he belonged to the duke's family.
The manor was also held by a relative of the duchess, the first lord Stanhope of Harrington, and by Katharine, lady Howard; but in the time of Charles I. it had reverted to the Crown, and was granted to that duke of Hamilton, or Duke Hamilton, as his contemporaries called him, whom we have already seen accompanying the lord of the adjoining manor of to the scaffold at . In the Hamilton family the manor remained for a time, till it was bought by lord Newhaven, whose surname survives in Cheyne Walk and
|Cheyne Row, lately so celebrated as the residence of .[\i]|
In Sir Hans Sloane bought the manor of from the Cheyne family; and his daughter and coheiress, Elizabeth, married the famous general Cadogan, a colonel of horse guards in Marlborough's wars, whose descendant, earl Cadogan, is now lord of the manor and viscount "Chelsey." Sir Hans is commemorated in Hans Place and Sloane Square; the Cadogans in Cadogan Place and Cadogan Square; and the Lawrences, who lived in the old manor house, by grant from Henry VIII., in Lawrence Street, near the old church.
Such is the written history of the manor. It would be interesting if we might identify it with Chalk-hythe, or Cealchythe, a place of which the Saxon Chronicle makes mention under or -the exact date is variously given-
A similar name occurs in several early charters,[\i] but the judicious Kemble has failed, or refused, to identify them, and there are many reasons to the contrary.
The situation of on the river's bank, and its proximity to , made it early a suitable site for suburban villas. When the chancellorship left Lambeth, and a layman instead of an archbishop became keeper of the king's conscience, no more convenient
|place could have been found for Sir 's residence. It was, no doubt, when visiting More at that Henry VIII. cast his covetous eyes on the manor. He gave the old manor house to the Lawrences, as I have said, and built another close to the water's edge.[\i] Adjoining it was long a residence of the bishop of Winchester. Both have now disappeared. Cheyne Walk is on their site. More's house was partially rebuilt by Sir John Danvers in the reign of Charles I., and was wholly removed in , when Danvers Street was built on the site. Beaufort Street commemorates Beaufort House, once a residence of the dukes of Beaufort; the Cremorne Gardens, so long a nuisance to the neighbours, occupied the grounds of farm, the residence of an old viscountess Cremorne for many years; Lindsey House was the villa of the Berties, earls of Lindsey, and has given place to streets called after them; and, in short, it may be said of in the seventeenth century, that it was to the of that day what the Strand had been in the reign of Richard II.|
All the figures which pass and repass along the bank of the river at are less distinct and less interesting than that of Sir . Had his jealous master but allowed him, he might here have ended his days in peace. We see him one day walking in his garden with Erasmus, or sitting to Holbein, another bearing the heavy honour of Henry's arm about his neck. On Sunday he goes into the choir and sings in a surplice,
as the duke of Norfolk observed contemptuously. When he has resigned his
office, it is his wife that suffers, as so often in such
cases,[\i] and the attendant no longer goes to her pew to
announce the departure of " My Lord." In everything he
is simple and unaffected to the verge of affectation, but
when we come to read an anecdote of More, which we
do not chance to know already, we somehow always feel
sure, however he may approach that boundary, he will
never pass it. His charities are described as being cut
after the plainest gospel pattern. He seldom feasted the
rich, but his poor neighbours often; and when he was a
practising lawyer, |
In the old parish church, near the river, More's monument still stands. The church is an interesting building of the most mixed character; so far, happily, not very much hurt by restorers. More made a chapel for his family tomb at the east end of the south aisle, and put up a black slab to record the fact. It has been twice , and is said to have originally contained a reference to his persecution of heresy, for which a blank is now left in the renewed inscription, just the kind of evasion one can imagine the straightforward chancellor would himself have particularly disliked.[\i] The architectural ornaments of the monument are in what was then the new Italian style. It is uncertain where More is buried; some say here; some say in the Tower chapel. His head is certainly in the church of
|St. Dunstan, at Canterbury,[\i] having been rescued by Margaret Roper, his daughter, from London Bridge. There are several members of his family buried at , including both his wives. Some of the other monuments are curious. One of them commemorates Jane, duchess of Northumberland, widow of the protector, mother of queen Elizabeth's favourite, Leicester, and grandmother of Sir Philip Sydney. Another is that of her daughter, lady Huntingdon, and there are many tablets to the Lawrences, Cheynes, and other residents in the parish, including one to Mrs. Anne Spragge, who having fought the Dutch in boy's clothes on board the ship of her brother, Captain Chamberlayne, died in child-bed, in . The epitaph laments that she should have failed to become the mother of a line of heroes. Sir and Magdalen Herbert, mother of George Herbert, the poet, are buried in the churchyard.|
The newer church of St. Luke stands much further inland, and is in the style of gothic that might be expected from its date. It was consecrated in .
Chelsea Hospital for old and disabled soldiers has always been a very popular institution, especially with artists. Wilkie painted the pensioners exulting over the news of Waterloo, for the duke of Wellington, and in our own day a picture of the veterans in chapel engaged the attention of the crowd at Burlington House. It owes its foundation to Charles II., who, at the instigation, it was supposed, of Eleanor Gwynn, authorised for the purpose the purchase, from the Royal Society, of the site of a theological college, founded under the half-hearted
|patronage of James I., by dean Sutcliffe, of Exeter. Laud's influence was all against the college, as stirring up controversy with the Roman Catholics. The story of the college buildings, their presentation to the Royal Society, their resumption, after payment, by the crown, and, finally, the slow progress of the hospital are detailed by Evelyn. Sir was the architect, but, though the cost is believed to have amounted to 150,000£., and though the buildings were not finished till , there are none of the magnificent features of the same architect's sister hospital at Greenwich. Yet Chelsea Hospital is, like all Sir Christopher's work, full of the beauty which proportion and fitness can give a plain design.|
[\i] Already described in chap. i.
[\i] Newcourt, i. 206.
[\i] ' Roberti Grossteste Epistolse,' edited by Mr. Luard for the Rolls Series, p. lxxxiii.
[\i] It is probably on this account that most writers make Rugmere a manor in St. Pancras, like Tottenhall.
[\i] At this corner a tavern bore the sign of the " Hog in Pound," till 1881. A bank has been built upon the site.
[\i] 1641. Paid to a poor woman that was brought to bed in the Cage 2s. For a shroud for a poor woman that died in the Cage 2s. 6d. Dobie, p. 126.
[\i] See vol. i., chap. vii.
[\i] There are views of these houses and others in Parton's ' St. Giles,' as well as some highly fanciful bird's-eye views and maps of the parish. See curious notice of Parton in Smith's 'Book for a Rainy Day,' p. 180.
[\i] It has lately been removed to Thorndon in Essex.
[\i] While Margaret charmed by the bulbul rare in a garden of Gul reposes- Poor Peggy hawks nosegays from street to street Till-think of it ye who find life so sweet!- She hates the smell of roses ! " (' Miss Kilmansegg and her Golden Leg,' p. 6.)
[\i] M. Pierret, in his 'Dictionnaire Archaeologique,' for example, and later, M. Fontane, in 'Les Egyptes,' are prominent examples of this silly jealousy, so unworthy of a great nation.
[\i] Dobie, p. 176. He adds some interesting particulars of The former residence of the illustrious martyr of liberty, Lord William Russell (sic). His account is quoted without acknowledgment by almost every writer on Bloomsbury and its associations.
[\i] The greatest of these speculators was James Burton, whose villa in the Regent's Park is figured in Britton and Pugin (p. 88, vol. i.), and who from small beginnings acquired an immense fortune while still comparatively young. He devoted the remainder of his life to getting rid of it, his prudence not having been nourished by success, and in various schemes more or less hazardous he contrived to reduce himself to a competence. He is commemorated in Burton Crescent; but to his son, Decimus, who survived till 1881, modern London is indebted for some of its best, as well as some of its worst, architectural effects.
[\i] See Britton and Pugin, 'Edifices of London,' i. 146. The chapel of St. Pancras at Canterbury was a pig-stye when I last visited its venerable and sacred ruins.
[\i] 'Epitaphs of Middlesex,' by F. T. Cansick.
[\i] Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington, one of the Cabal ministry, had an only daughter, lady Isabella, who married the first duke of Grafton, the son of Barbara, duchess of Cleveland, by, as was reputed, king Charles II.
[\i] Hone, ' Year Book;' Thackeray's 'Virginians,' ii. 228.
[\i] J. G. Waller, 'The Tybourne and the Westbourne,' read before the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society.
[\i] See vol. i. chap. i.
[\i] Waller, ut supra.
[\i] It is often stated that Conduit Street takes its name from one of these reservoirs. This must be an error. Water does not usually run up hill. If there was a conduit and a conduit mead here they must have belonged to a different system-perhaps for the supply of St. James's or Westminster.
[\i] Built in 1766, but not consecrated until 1831.
[\i] There is still a Mill Hill Place, a lane off Wimpole Street; the real conduit mead was on the other side of the brook in Lylleston, and will be noticed further on.
[\i] Pennant's 'Account,' p. 126.
[\i] Rathbone Place was built by Captain Rathbone, a lessee, in 1718: and is so dated on a stone at the south-eastern corner.
[\i] Smith's 'Parish of St. Marylebone,' p. 33.
[\i] Hospitallers, Camden Soc., 1857, by Lambert B. Larking. So completely had the name of Lylleston fallen into oblivion, that Mr. Larking, in his index, adds "query Littleton ? " and makes no attempt to identify it with Tyburn.
[\i] Among them were Great Gibbet Field, Little Gibbet Field, Hawkfield, Brockstand, Tassal Croft, Boys Croft, Furze Croft, and Shepcott Haws. Each of these names has its meaning. Hawkfield and Tassel Croft refer to falconry. Boys is, of course, the French bois, a wood. Shepcott is a fold. Brockstand is the badger's stane or stone. The rest are obvious,
[\i] One now re-named Seymour Place.
[\i] Now merged in Lower Seymour Street.
[\i] Now Hertford House, the residence of Sir Richard Wallace.
[\i] This is, I believe, the first application of this style to a purpose for which gothic has so long been used. Quebec Chapel and Brunswick Chapel have been gothicised.
[\i] I followed this tradition implicitly in my' In and Out of London'; and was kindly set right by the best authority, the owner and occupier of Arklow House itself. The words numerous bones were used by a writer in ' Notes and Queries,' 9th May, 1860, p. 400.
[\i] There is a doubtful charter in Kemble's 'Codex Diplomaticus, (mccxxiii.), in which St. Dunstan has the credit of adding Paddington to the possessions of the Abbey. The two statements are not inconsistent, as Richard and William may have been leaseholders, but it is improbable.
[\i] See chap. xvi.
[\i] The history of Paddington, little as there is to tell, is unusually involved, owing to the carelessness of the historians. Timbs says the Sheldons built their church in the reign of Charles I.; but this statement is capped by another writer, who, after assigning the right date to St. James's, goes on to say it was decorated in accordance with the wishes of queen Elizabeth, and confounds the burial-ground with that in Paddington Street, St. Marylebone, and Paddington Green with Westbourne Green.
[\i] Formerly Upper Berkeley Street West. The churchwardens took it from Sir Thomas Frederick, who had a lease for three lives from the bishop. It is described as "five acres in Tyburn field." 'Malcolm,' iv. 236.
[\i] No. 41, a silk bag shop, now Agnew & Co.'s, the picture dealers.
[\i] The whole inscription may be found in Mr. Ravenshaw's ' Antiente Epitaphes,' p. 184.
[\i] Reprint, 1881 (Stanford), p. 36.
[\i] The meaning and derivation of "Kensington" are not easily discovered. It is usual to speak as if Kensing was a corruption of Cyning, and as if Kensington means King's Town. But the Chenesit of Domesday is against this interpretation; and there is no parallel, so far as I know, for turning Cyning into Kensing. On the whole I am inclined to see in Kensington the name of a mark, and there are Kemsings in other places, which afford a better derivation than can be made from Cyning.
[1*] There is a Chenestun in a charter (Kemble, 992) of the reign of Caedwalla of Wessex, but it has not been identified.
[\i] Oddly enough, one of the most voluminous and ambitious of modern London historians devotes three long chapters to Kensington without a mention of the abbot of Abingdon.
[\i] 'Macaulay's Essays,' ii. 180.
[\i] According to the picture by Reynolds.
[\i] There is a chapter on lady Sarah in my 'In and Out of London.'
[\i] Report of the Vestry, 181O, p. 41.
[\i] Lewis, p. 36 (reprint).
[\i] Lewis, p. 97.
[\i] She was the daughter of Henry Noel, second son of the third Viscount Campden, and widow of Charles Boyle, Earl of Burlington, who died in 1704.
[\i] "Duke upon Duke."
[\i] Anne Pitt died at her house in Pitt Place, Kensington Gravel Pits, in 1780. (' Old and New London,' v. 139.)
[\i] Some confusion as to the exact place of Newton's death was resolved by a letter from Mr. Jopling in ' Notes and Queries,' 3rd Series, i. 29.
[\i] There is some account of this fire in the amusing memoirs of Serjeant Ballantine, i. 270.
[\i] In my edition of Jenkyn Lewis there is mention of a Mr. Prat, who was tutor to the duke of Gloucester (p. 9), and I have endeavoured to connect him with the Pratts of Kensington. I have since discovered, through the kindness of Mrs. Wilkinson, a descendant of his, that I was mistaken. Samuel Prat, in whom I have another cause for interest because he was chaplain of the Savoy, always spelled the name with one T, as did his descendants to the present day. He is buried in St. George's Chapel at Windsor. He was created D.D. at Cambridge, by the king's desire, in 1697. He wrote a Latin Grammar and published some sermons. He was born at Stratford in Essex, and died in 1723, having been vicar of Kensington (resigned 1693), Goudhurst (resigned 1713), Tottenham and Twickenham, chaplain of the Savoy, canon of Windsor, and in 1697, dean of Rochester. A memorial ring for the little duke and a prayer book which belonged to queen Anne are still in possession of the Prat family.
[\i] 'Vestry Report,' 1810, p. 92.
[\i] For such an enumeration see Croker's 'Walk from London to Fulham.' Curran died at Amelia Place, in 1817; Mme. Guizot at Pelham Crescent, in 1848; Shaftesbury, the author of the 'Characteristics,' lived in Little Chelsea, 1710; and so on. VO
[\i] Kensington House is said, truly or falsely, to have been erected for a Mr. Grant, a London merchant, who, however, has not that I am aware ever resided in it.
[\i] He died at 5 Great Cheyne Row in 1881.
[\i] See Kemble, passim. Mr. Rupert Jones, F.R.S.,who has made a special study of the subject, is strongly of opinion that Chels-ey has the same origin as Chels-field and other names which refer to flints, the best known example being that of Chesil Beach, and seems to signify the gravelly island or eyot. Cealchytte, or Chalkhythe, is high up the Thames on the Oxfordshire side, and derives its name from the chalk. I have to thank Mr. Jones for leave to use his note on the subject.
[\i] Anne of Cleves died in 1557, at the King and Queen's majesty's palace of Chelsey beside London. Some have absurdly supposed this was More's house.
[\i] One is tempted to refer to Sir Cloudesly Shovel's proposal that the king should knight his wife.
[\i] Was it in anticipation of his own fate that More concluded his wife's epitaph with these lines ? 0 simul, 0 juncti poteramus vivere nostros Quam bene, si fatum religioque sinant. At societ tumulus, societ nos, obsecro, caelum ! Sic mors, non potuit quod dare vita, dabit.
[\i] It was found many years ago in the vaults, and is preserved behind an iron grill. My late friend, Thomas Godfrey Faussett, told me of having seen it, and of having no doubt of its authenticity.