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

Wilkinson, Robert


Peterborough House, afterward Grosvenor House, Millbank, Westminster.

Peterborough House, afterward Grosvenor House, Millbank, Westminster.



This mansion, considered for nearly centuries as the last habitable house in , was erected by John Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, who was advanced to that dignity by Letters Patent, , Cha. I. He was brought up (as were most of his family) in the Romish religion, but was converted by a disputation at his house between the learned Bishop Usher and a papist; the latter confessing himself silenced by the just hand of God on him, for presuming, without leave of his superiors, to dispute with the Bishop, who was then only Dr. Usher.

The Mordaunt family were previous to this time bigoted Catholics, and Henry, Lord Mordaunt, in the of King James the , being suspected to have knowledge of the gunpowder treason plot, was, with Edward, Lord Stourton, and the Earl of Northumberland, committed to the Tower, where, after some imprisonment, he and Lord Stourton being fined in the Star Chamber, , were released; but the Earl of Northumberland continued a prisoner for years after. This Lord Mordaunt had to wife Margaret, daughter of Henry, Lord Compton, by whom he had issue John, who succeeded him; and became the founder of this house.

Peterborough House was situate on , which took its name from a windmill, on the site of which this house was built. was a very long place; it began by Lindsey House, or rather by the , and ran up to Peterborough House, which was the furthest house on the bank. The part from against unto the Horse Ferry, had a good row of buildings on the East side next the Thames, which was mostly taken up with woodmongers' yards and brewhouses; and here was a water-house, which served this end of the town. The north side was but ordinary, except or houses by the end of ; and that part beyond the Horse Ferry had a very good row of houses, much inhabited by gentry, on account of the pleasant situation and prospect of the Thames. Peterborough House had a court yard before it, fronting the river, and a fine garden behind it; but its situation was extremely bleak and exposed in the winter, and not over healthful, being so near the low meadows on the south and west parts.

This house continued the property of the Peterborough family, until the demise of Charles Mordaunt, the Earl, which took place at Lisbon, . It then passed by purchase to Alexander Davis of Ebury, in the county of Middlesex, esquire, whose sole daughter and heiress, Mary, marrying Sir Thomas Grosvenor, bart., in , became mother of the late Sir Robert Grosvenor, who inherited this house, and all the rest of his vast property about London, in right of his said mother. It has been erroneously stated, that this house was erected by Alexander Davis, in ; but Mr. Pennant informs us, that here, in his boyish days, he had often experienced the hospitality of Sir Robert Grosvenor, and that this house came by purchase of of his family (doubtless his maternal grandfather) from the Mordaunts, Earls of Peterborough. And in Hollar's -sheet view of London and , published in , this edifice is clearly made out, with the name of Peterborough House under it; a distinction not very likely to be given, had the Earl of Peterborough only been tenant to the Davis family, and not the ostensible proprietor himself.

The last Earl of Peterborough that resided here, was a strange compound of courage, gallantry, and stratagem. On leaving the naval service, he charmed a listening senate with his oratory. Disgusted with James the 's government, he went to command part of the Dutch fleet, and came back, with William III., to his native land; became a military officer, and greatly distinguished himself under Queen Anne, for whom he fought and conquered. This quarter of the globe seemed to him too confined for his pastimes. He asked a commission, as captain-general of our forces in North America; but his enemy and rival Marlborough prevented his gaining it. Under George I and II, he became a conspicuous Whig; and was continued by those monarchs Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, and made general of the marine forces of Great Britain; but in these reigns he employed his time more as a wit than a politician. He was the correspondent of Pope and Swift, and gifted in all that learning and genius could bestow; yet he delighted to hear himself declaim in a coffee-house, where the stupid stare of astonishment was all his reward; but they who blamed could not help admiring him: even the cynic Swift remarks, that,

though his Lordship was at least


, he had more spirits than any young fellow he knew in England;

and adds,

I love the hang-dog dearly.

The Earls of Peterborough had another house, noticed by Maitland, as situate in , anciently called Britain Street, from the city mansion of the Duke of Bretagne, near to the church of St. Botolph, Aldersgate. This Peterborough house is styled by the above writer, a palace, and stated to have graced the south-west corner of , on the spot where the south part of St. Bartholomew Hospital now stands.

It appears by no means a modern practice for our nobility and gentry occasionally to let out their town as well as country-houses. In Hatton's New View of I ondon, printed in the year , Peterborough House, , is noticed then as in the possession of Mr Bull, a merchant: at this period the Earl of Peterborough was serving his country in Spain, and in the year and was employed on an embassy to Turin, and other Italian courts; these engagements rendered an expensive establishment at home to him quite unnecessary.

The present Earl Grosvenor's grandfather resided in this house till ; and it was afterwards inhabited by Lord Delaval and Mr. Symmons. His Lordship then had it in his own occupation, and occasionally lived in it for nearly years, until , when it was taken down, to facilitate the great improvements that have since been made in this neighbourhood.

This part of the estate of Earl Grosvenor, containing about acres, is bounded on the east by the river Thames, south by the estate, late the Marquis of Salisbury's, now in the hands of government; west by the estate of the Dean and Chapter of , called Tothil Fields, now let on building leases; and north by , leading from the fields to the ferry to . It is now () leased to Mr. John Johnson, who is considerably improving this quarter of the metropolis, by forming new streets, &c.

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 Title Page
 Howell's View of London
 View of the Fire of London
 City Wall
 The Conduits of Cheapside and Cornhill
 Plan of the Fire in Bishopsgate Street, Cornhill, and Leadenhall Street: November 7th, 1765
Frost Fair on the River Thames
 Part of the Strand: St. Clement's Danes
 Ancient Structure in Ship Yard: Temple Bar
 St. Paul's Cross and Cathedral: With King James I and his Court at a Sermon
 Ancient Cathedral Church of St. Paul, London
 Paul's Cross (and Preaching There)
Elsinge Spital, Sion College, and the Church of St. Alphage, London Wall
 Elsinge's Hospital; or, as it is otherwise denominated, Elsynge Spittle
 Sion College
 The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield
 The Church of St. Bartholomew the Less: Giltspure Street, West Smithfield, in the Ward of Farringdon Without
Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate Street
The Priory and Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate Street
 Monument of Sir Andrew Judde, Knight: In the Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate Within
St. Michael's Church: Cornhill
The Parish Church of St. Paul, Shadwell: In the County of Middlesex
 The Parish Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill: In Cornhill Ward
Extracts from the Vestry Books of the Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill
 St. Saviour's Church
 St. Saviour's Church, Southwark
 Winchester Palace, Southwark
 Chapels at the Eastern End of the Church of St. Saviour, Southwark
 Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem
 An Account of Bermondsey, its Manor, Priory, and Abbey
 Priory of the Holy Trinity: In the Ward of Aldgate
 St. Martin-le-Grand College, and St. Vedast, Foster Lane
 Guildhall Chapel
 A short Account of Lazar Houses in and near London
 Knightsbridge Chapel
 Lambe's Chapel and Alms-Houses: Monkwell Street, Cripplegate
 The late Mr. Skelton's Meeting House, Erected Near the Site of the Globe Theatre, Maid Lane, Southwark
 Zoar Street, Gravel Lane, Meeting House and School
 Oratory, Under the Antient Mansion, or Inn, of the Priors of Lewes in Sussex
 Whitehall: Plate I
 Whitehall: Plate II
 Whitehall: Plate III
 St. James's Palace
 Fawkeshall, or Copped Hall, Surrey
 Toten-Hall, Tottenham Court Road
 King John's Palace
 Clarendon House, called also Albemarle House
 Somerset House
 Suffolk House
 York House
 Durham, Salisbury, and Worcester Houses
 Sir Paul Pindar's House
 Montagu House: Great Russel Street, Bloomsbury
 The British Museum
 Bedford House, Bloomsbury Square
 Peterborough House, afterward Grosvenor House, Millbank, Westminster
 Craven House, Drury Lane
 Ancient Mansion called Monteagle House: Montague Close, Southwark
 Oldbourne Hall, Shoe Lane: In the Parish of St. Andrew, Holborn