The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
Salisbury House, built by Sir Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, and lord treasurer to James I., who, to make it commodious for passengers, caused the high street of to be paved and levelled before the premises. This house was afterwards divided, and went by names; that called Great Salisbury House, was the particular residence of the earl and his family; the other, called Little Salisbury House, though large in itself, was let out to persons of quality; but a part of the latter being afterwards contracted for, of the then earl of Salisbury, was converted into , which being too narrow, and the descent to the Thames being dangerous, it was very indifferently inhabited. Another part, next Great Salisbury House, and over the long gallery, was converted into an exchange, and called the Middle Exchange, consisting of a very large and long room, with shops on each side, which, from , extended as far as the river, where was a handsome flight of stairs for the purpose of hiring boats. By some unlucky chance, however, the exchange obtained the name of
consequently the shops were deserted, and the whole went to decay. The estate reverting to to the late earl, he took the whole down, and on the site formed .
Mr. Moser, in his
thinks that Salisbury House had been of very ancient origin, from the following circumstances: among the large possessions granted to Walter d'Evereux, earl of Rosmar, in Normandy, the estates belonging to the family in Wiltshire, were, perhaps, the principal; but this favourite had grants in other places, which descended to his son, Edward, surnamed of Salisbury, and probably became attached to the title, of which this mansion, long distinguished by the epithet of Salisbury House, might form a part. It is here unnecessary to trace this unfortunate and royal line. Margaret, the last of this dynasty, was most barbarously massacred on the scaffold, . The title then lay dormant until , when James dignified with it Robert Cecil, son of that great
|statesman, sir William Cecil, lord Burleigh, who, for his prudence and sagacity, bad obtained equally honourable, being called the English Nestor. The ancient mansion was very extensive and apparently consisted of a quadrangle with octagonal turrets at the corners. A view of it from a drawing by Hollar in the Pepysian library, Cambridge, is engraved in this work.
The liberty of the duchy of Lancaster ends at the east side of this street. has been rebuilt from an elegant plan of Mr. Paine; and is at present a convenient and well-inhabited place, terminated by a circular railing to the Thames.
 Vide ante, page 246.