The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
On the site of part of this magnificent house, stood the hospital of St. Mary, a cell to the priory of Rounceval, in Navarre. This hospital was founded by William Marischal, earl of Pembroke, in the reign of Henry III. and confirmed by that monarch. According to Speed, it was suppressed by Henry V. as an alien priory but re-edified by Edward IV. After the general suppression, it was given by Edward VI. to sir Thomas Cawarden, to be held in free soccage of the honour of .
It then came to Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, out of the ruins of which he built a mansion, which he denominated Northampton-house, and died there in . He left it to his kinsman, the earl of Suffolk; and by marriage of Algernon Percy, earl of Northumberland, with Elizabeth, daughter of Theophilus, earl of Suffolk, it passed into her family about the year , and has ever since been distinguished by its present name.
Of this ancient house Bernard Jansen was the architect; the mansion originally consisted of sides of a quadrangle, and the principal apartments were in the upper story, next ; but the noise and hurry of so great a thoroughfare, being unpleasant to the last mentioned earl, he caused a side to be erected, under the direction of Inigo Jones; which, commanding a view over a spacious garden, and the river to the Surrey hills, unites the advantages of a palace, situated in the midst of a large and populous city, with the retirement of a country seat. The grandfather of the present duke made considerable additions and improvements. He built new wings to the garden front, above feet in length; faced the sides of the quadrangular court with stone, and nearly rebuilt the whole of the front next the street, about the year . The central part, which, in a tablet on the top, bears the date when these improvements were made, only received some trifling alteration, and may be considered as a valuable remnant of the original pile, and of the magnificence of our forefathers. On the top is a lion passant, the crest of the noble family of Percy, cast in lead.
The vestibule of the interior is feet long, and more than in breadth, ornamented with Doric columns. Each end communicates with a staircase, leading to the principal apartments facing the garden and the Thames. They consist of several spacious rooms, fitted up in the most elegant manner, embellished with paintings, by Titian, particularly the Cornaro family, as well as the works of other great masters. The state gallery, in the left wing, is feet long, most beautifully ornamented.
The light is admitted through windows in the side, above which is another row, which throws a proper quantity of light over the exquisitely worked cornice, so that the whole apartment receives an equal degree. This hall abounds with paintings, chiefly from the greatest masters.
Besides the apartments already mentioned, there are nearly rooms appropriated for the private uses of the family.
The south flank of this mansion being left, in some measure, in its pristine form, gives the style of the reign of Henry VIII. in brick walls, lofty windows, both pointed and flat-headed (now stopped up) with stone dressings. The north, or street front, was evidently constructed in the reign of Edward VI. in the new mode; yet, by the several repairs and alterations it has undergone at later periods, the whole line may appear to be some modern work of no very great distance of time from the present day.
About years back, a very general repair of the front took place, in new pointing and facing the brick-work, re-cutting the stone ornaments, &c. by the Adams's, (it is believed) architects; and the exterior and interior have very recently been repaired and beautified. Among the alterations of the interior may be noticed a
|magnificent staircase, the railing of highly wrought brass superbly gilt, and the formation of some new apartments, &c.|
Nearer to Charing-cross was an ancient hermitage, which, in , is said to have belonged to the see of Llandaff; for Willis, in his history of that see, informs us,
Though this should rather imply that the hermitage belonged to the king, and that the king granted the lodging as an indulgence.
Attached to it was a chapel dedicated to St. Catharine. A few surrounding houses constituted the hamlet of Charing, where Edward I. built a beautiful wooden cross, from respect to his beloved queen Eleanor; it was afterwards constructed of stone, and appears to have been of an octagonal form, and in an upper stage, ornamented with figures; a sketch appears of it in Agass's map. Dr. Combe, of , possessed a drawing of it; in which is shewn that the ornamental parts were very rich in their execution.
In , this cross was pulled down along with many other memorials of the art and taste of our ancestors, which were levelled by the intemperate fury of the bigotted puritans.
In the next century it was replaced by a most beautiful and animated equestrian statue, in brass, of Charles I. cast in , by Le Soeur, for the great earl of Arundel. It was not erected (in its present state) till the year , when it was placed on the pedestal, the work of Grinlin Gibbons. The parliament had ordered it to be sold, and broke to pieces: but John River, a brazier, who purchased it, having more taste or more loyalty than his masters, buried it unmutilated, and shewed to them some broken pieces of brass in token of his obedience. M. D'Archenoltz gives a diverting anecdote of this brazier: that he cast a vast number of handles of knives and forks in brass, which he sold as made of the broken statue. They were bought with great eagerness by the loyalists from affection to their monarch: by the rebels, as a mark of triumph over the murdered sovereign. Charles is most admirably represented in armour, with his own hair, uncovered, on horseback. The figures are brass, looking towards , and are as large as life. The pedestal is feet high, enriched with his majesty's arms, trophies, cupids, palm-branches, &c. and enclosed with a rail and banister of strong iron work. The pedestal is erected in the centre of a circle of stone, feet in diameter, the area whereof is step above that of the street, fenced with strong posts to keep off coaches, carts, &c.
Scotland-yard was anciently a palace for the kings of Scotland, given by king Edgar to Kenneth III. for the purpose of making an
|annual journey to this place to do homage for his kingdom; and in later times, when the northern monarch did homage for Cumberland, and other fiefs of the crown, it became the magnificent residence of Margaret, widow to James V. and sister to Henry VIII. of England resided here for a considerable time subsequent to the death of her consort: she was also entertained with great splendour by her brother, after he became reconciled to her marriage to the earl of Angus. When the crowns became united in the person of James I. of England, this palace was deserted for the more extensive residence of St. James's and , and having been demolished, no traces of it are left, except the name.|
Opposite Scotland-yard, is
 The house at the above period is engraved in the annexed plate, from a drawing by Hollar, in the Pepysian library, Cambridge.
 Engraved in the annexed plate from the original, now in the Print-room of the British Museum.Plan of the Village of Charing, By Ralph Aggas, 1560