The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
On the bite of Exeter-house, now Exeter-change, was formerly
| the parsonage for the parish of St. Clement Danes, with a garden and close for the parson's horse, till sir Thomas Palmer, knt. in the reign of Edward VI. came into the possession of the living, when, as robbing the church, as Mr. Nightingale observes, was considered no crime, he appears to have seized upon the land, and began to build a house of brick and timber, very large and spacious; but upon his attainder for high treason, in the year of queen Mary I. it reverted to the crown, and the next year it was leased by Job Rixman, then rector, to James Basset, esq. for the term of years, at per annum, in the following manner ; |
This house remained in the crown, till queen Elizabeth granted it to sir William Cecil, lord treasurer, who augmented and rebuilt it, when it was called Cecil-house, and Burleigh-house.
Burleigh, or Cecil-house, as it appears by the ancient plan, fronted : its gardens extended from the west side of the garden wall of Wimbledon-house, to the green lane, which is now . Lord Burleigh was in this house honoured by a visit from queen Elizabeth, who, knowing him to be subject to the gout, would always make him to sit in her presence; which it is probable the lord-treasurer considered a great indulgence from so haughty a lady, inasmuch as he day apologized for the badness of his legs. To which the queen replied,
When she came to Burleigh-house, it is probable she had that kind of pyramidal
| head-dress then in fashion, built of wire, lace, ribbands, and jewels, which shot up to a great height; for when the principal domestic ushered her in, as she passed the threshold he desired her majesty to stoop. To which she replied. |
Lord Burleigh died here in . Being afterwards possessed by his son, Thomas, earl of Exeter, it assumed that title, which it has retained till the present period. After the fire of London, it was occupied by the doctors of civil law, &c. till ; and here the various courts of arches, admiralty, &c. were kept. Being deserted by the family, the lower part was converted into shops of various descriptions; the upper contains a collection of wild beasts, birds, and reptiles, the celebrated menagerie and museum of Polito, (late Pidcock's) and now in the occupation of Mr. Cross. The shop below is a public thoroughfare, belonging to Mr. Clark, toyman, &c.
Nearly on the site of the church of was a large May-pole, often noticed in the periodical publications of the century; it was removed in , and a new , feet high, was erected , opposite , which had gilt balls and a vane on the summit, decorated on rejoicing days with flags and garlands. When the -pole was taken down in , sir Isaac Newton procured it from the inhabitants, and afterwards sent it to the rev. Mr. Pound, rector of Wanstead, Essex, who obtained permission from lord Castlemain, to erect it in Wanstead park, for the support of the largest telescope in Europe, made by Monsieur Hugon, and presented by him to the Royal Society, of which he was a member.
 Desiderata Curiosa, vol. i. book i. p. 29.