Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 1
King John's Palace.
King John's Palace.
King John and Oliver Cromwell, if tradition tell true, had more houses and palaces between them, than the whole race of English Monarchs beside; scarce a village within miles of London, but hath a traditionary legend of King John's residence amongst them; and scarcely a neighbourhood from to Whitechapel, but claims the like connection with Oliver Cromwell. The troublesome life John led with his turbulent Barons, made him frequently change his habitations; but it is by no means likely he would condescend to make a palace of some hovels that have been attributed to his name. Oliver Cromwell had many places of residence; and it is a fact well established, it was never known among his most confidential friends where he intended to sleep, nor did his attendants and servants know, hour before another, his mind on that head: the frequent attempts on his life, rendered caution highly necessary; and no man knew better that essential requisite than himself: though not of a timid disposition, he had a prudent fear, and guarded against every probable danger. The house in , denominated , was certainly of great antiquity, and had undergone many repairs and patchings up, previous to its demolition in . The portion, of which the view is taken, made but a small part of the building, there being in front, at about yards' distance, a house of thrice its dimensions, and of as ancient a foundation, evidently connected with this, and making part thereof: from the circumstance of a wall of great antiquity completely joining both, the communication from the road-side dwelling was through a side passage, under an arch similar to that in the print, and resembled in the connection, the quadrangles of some of the colleges in our Universities. The interior appeared to have undergone no alteration subsequent to the reign of Elizabeth or James I.; and the oaken panels were neatly executed, and not more than inches by in size: there was a very curiously carved mantelpiece of oak, much resembling that at the Pyed Bull Inn, at , formerly the residence of the illustrious Sir Walter Raleigh; and several fragments of antique ornaments indicated it to have been formerly a place of some consequence; the apartments were more spacious than the appearance in the view would lead a spectator to imagine; particularly in the back part, where the rooms nearly doubled the front ones in dimensions. At the extremity of the building, through the Gothic arch (see the view), was a door, very rarely opened, that led by a gradual descent to a subterraneous passage, traditionally said to lead to the church of , with which, in former times, this building had a communication, though nearly at the distance of mile apart. This subterraneous passage was the theme and conversation of the neighbours for years prior to the demolition of the premises; and several persons were led by curiosity to explore the passage, but few had courage to venture a distance of more than yards, before they returned back, resigning the task to others, who might possess more temerity. A man named Price, a smith, now living in the neighbourhood, was at length resolved to discover the termination of the passage, if possible, and provided himself with a quantity of blazing links to subdue the damps of the earth, as well as guide him in his way; he returned, however, unsuccessful; but with the best account that had hitherto been given of the obstructions that lay in the way; viz., that, as far as he was able to judge, he might proceed to the extent of from to yards, with some difficulty, from the falling in of the earth in various places; but what entirely stopped his further pursuit, was a pool of water he arrived at, which he did not think it prudent to pass, as he found the damp of the earth had a visible effect on his flaming conductors, and he returned back to daylight without achieving the wished--for discovery.
The vignette (in the view of ) represents the appearance of the small houses and shops that enclose the present grounds of the Adam and Eve, the proprietors of which must be greatly benefited from the produce of rent, arising from the small shops, made out of the boxes in the old Tea Gardens, each of which generally let for, from to per annum. The occupants, however, from the crowded and improving state of the neighbourhood, are enabled to carry on a very prosperous trade.