The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas


Exeter House.


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 ;

that the messuage, cartilage, and garden, situate over against the hospital of the Savoy, excepted and foreprized,


house called the parsonage-house, wherein


Francis Nicholas then dwelt.

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.

It is to be noted that lord Burleigh kept principally


houses or families,


at London, the other at Theobald's, though he was also at charge both at Burleigh and at court, which made his houses in a manner


. At his house, in London, he kept ordinarily in household fourscore persons; besides his lordship and such as attended him at court. The charge of his housekeeping at London amounted to

thirty pounds

a week. And the whole sum yearly to


and this in his absence. And in term time, or when his lordship lay at London, his charge increased



twelve pounds

more. Besides keeping these


houses, he bought great quantities of corn in times of dearth, to furnish markets about his house at under prices, to pull down the price to relieve the poor. He also gave, for releasing of prisoners, in many of his latter years,



fifty pounds

in a term. And, for


years together, he gave yearly, in beef, bread, and money, at Christmas, to the poor of



St. Martin's


St. Clement's

, and Theobald's,


, and sometimes

forty pounds

per annum. He also gave yearly to


poor men lodging at the Savoy,


suit of apparel. So as his certain alms, besides extraordinaries, was cast up to be




year with another.

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,

My lord, we make use of you not for the badness of your legs, but for the goodness of your head.

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.

For your master's sake I will stoop, but not for the king of Spain.

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.

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 Title Page
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda