Walks in London, vol. 2
Hare, Augustus J. C.
Chapter X: Chelsea.
Chapter X: Chelsea.
Opposite , on the northern shore of the Thames, is , built , containing cells. Its low towers with French conical roofs have given it the name of the
The Earls of Peterborough lived at Milbank, in Peterborough House, which afterwards belonged to the Grosvenors: in , Richard, Earl Grosvenor, began to collect here the gallery of pictures which was moved to Grosvenor House in .
Between Milbank Penitentiary and , adjoining a space where it is intended that a Roman Catholic Cathedral should day arise , the residence of the venerable ecclesiastic who is styled
This is the centre of the great movement of the Diocesan Education Fund, by which poor Roman Catholic children in London are being educated. On the altar of the private chapel are the mitre and maniple of St. Thomas B Becket.
Ascending the we come to , which, in the last century, from a country village, has become almost a part of London. As regards the etymology of its name, formerly written Chelchyth, the opinion of Norden is generally followed, who says
We reach the grounds of , which was built on the site of
begun by Matthew Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter, in the time of James I.,
The Hospital for aged and disabled soldiers originated with Sir Stephen Fox, Paymaster of the Forces in the reign of Charles II., though the King laid the foundation stone, -. Sir Christopher Wren was the architect. The stateliest front is that towards the river, with long projecting wings ending on a terrace and enclosing a kind of court, in the centre of which is a bronze ., presented by Tobias Rustat, and sometimes attributed to , who executed the statue of James II. at for the same patron, mentioned by Evelyn as
He was enabled to erect statues by the wealth he accumulated through the patent places he received: the best statue given by him was that of Charles II. at Windsor, executed at Bremen. On the frieze of the cloistered wall which runs along the front of the Hospital is the history of the building:--
Within this cloister are monuments to Colonel Arthur Wellesley Torrens, mortally wounded at Inkerman, ; to Colonel Seton and his companions, lost in the wreck of the off the , ; and to Colonel Willoughby Moore and the men lost in the burning of the , .
In the of the Hospital each pensioner has his own little oak chamber (where he may have his own pictures, books, &c.), with a door and window opening upon the great common passage. There are nurses to every ward. The pensioners have their meals (breakfast, dinner, and tea) in their own little rooms. They are permitted to go where they like, and may be absent for months with leave, receiving an allowance of a day, if absent for more than days.
The (now used by the pensioners as a club-room, with tables for chess, cards, books, newspapers, &c.) is hung with tattered colours taken by the British army. On the end wall is a vast picture by and , given by the Earl of Ranelagh, with an equestrian figure of Charles II. in the centre. It was the figure of the orange-girl in the corner of this picture which gave rise to the now exploded tradition that the foundation of the Hospital was instigated by Nell Gwynne. On the panels round the room the victories of Great are recorded. It was in this hall that the great Duke of Wellington lay in state, -, . The French Eagle of
taken by Lord Gough, who screwed off the top and put it into his pocket for safety on the battle-field, was stolen when the Duke of Wellington lay in state, probably by a Frenchman, who had watched the opportunity.
The has a picturesqueness of its own, from the mass of banners in every stage of decay, often only a few threads remaining, which wave from the coved roof, and fill the space at once with gloom and colour. They are chiefly relics of Indian wars: those taken from Tippoo Saib by the battalion are on either side the altar. Many of the French banners have their eagles. The painting of the apse, representing the Resurrection, is by . In the chapel is the grave of William Cheselden, the famous surgeon and anatomist (), celebrated in the lines of Pope-
Here also is buried the Rev. William Young (), author of a Latin dictionary, but more interesting as the original of
in Fielding's [n.427.1]
Strangers are admitted to the Sunday services here at I and ., when the chapel, filled by the veteran soldiers (many of whom have a historic interest, faintly shown by the medals on their breasts), is an interesting and touching sight. There are about pensioners in the
|Hospital. They wear red coats in summer and blue coats in winter, and retain the cocked hats of the last century.|
The (open to the public from A.M. to sunset) somewhat resemble those of the old French palaces. A pleasant avenue leads to the wide open space towards the river, in the centre of which an obelisk was erected in in memory of the officers and privates who fell at Chilianwallah. Hence the great red front of the Hospital, black under its overhanging eaves and high slated roof, with a narrow dome-capped portico in the centre, rises, rich in colour, beyond the green slopes. The eastern side of the gardens was once the famous , which was opened, , as a rival to , and rose to great popularity under the patronage of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. , Walpole writes,
But, at the beginning of the present century, the fashion changed; Ranelagh, described in as
became quite deserted, and it has now altogether ceased to exist.
Another great resort near this was the
a queer picturesque old house in , which had a marvellous popularity at all times, but especially on Good Friday, when as many as persons came here to buy buns, and buns were sold. George II. and Caroline of Anspach were fond of driving down to fetch their own buns, and the practice was continued by George III. and Queen Charlotte, which set the fashion with every else. In the proprietors thought they would do a fine thing, and rebuilt the old house: they killed the hen that laid the golden eggs, no came any more.
The facing the river is the oldest garden of the kind in existence in England, Gerard's garden in and Tradescant's garden at having perished. It was leased to the Apothecaries' Company, who still possess it, by Lord Cheyne in , and was finally made over to them by Sir Hans Sloane in . Evelyn used to walk in
The was erected in . Near it is of the picturesque cedars planted in ; its companion was blown down in .
Fronting the river is the pretty water-side terrace called (from the Cheynes, once lords of the manor). Though much altered since the river has been thrust back by , this, more than any place outside , recalls, in the brick houses and rows of trees like those in the Dutch towns, the time of William and Mary. The lower part of the terrace has a row of somewhat stately houses, bow-windowed, balconied, and
| possessing old iron gates with pillars and pine-apples: in the upper part the line of ancient shops ends at the old church, while beyond the broad river are the yet open fields of Battersea. While the Thames was yet the aristocratic highway, was the most convenient of country residences, and many of the great nobles had houses here. Elizabeth annually celebrated the anniversary of her coronation by coming in her barge to dine here with the Earl of Effingham, Lord High Admiral, the only person who had sufficient influence with her to make her go to bed in her last illness. There was a quadrangular royal manor-house here enclosing a courtyard (near where the pier now stands) which was long inhabited by illustrious relations of the sovereign. It was settled upon Queen Catherine Parr by Henry VIII. at her marriage, and to it she retired at his death. Hither her husband, Sir Thomas Seymour, came secretly to woo her (being still only in her year) within months of the King's death, and she, fearing the displeasure of Edward VI., and still more that of the Protector Somerset and his proud wife, wrote hence to beg him to |
[n.430.1] At the time of the Queen's marriage, her stepdaughter, the Princess Elizabeth, then only , was residing with her at , and here occurred those probably innocent familiarities which were afterwards made of the articles in the impeachment of Seymour. After Catherine's death at Sudeley Castle in , the old royal manor of appears to have been given to the Duke
| of Northumberland, father-in-law of Lady Jane Grey (whence his widow's burial in the church), and then to another Queen, |
as she signed herself, who died at , , and was taken thence to be buried in with the splendour denied in her lifetime. Elizabeth afterwards granted the manor to the widowed Anne, Duchess of Somerset, aunt of Edward VI., who made it her residence. It subsequently passed through a number of illustrious hands, till it came to Charles, Viscount Cheyne (. ).[n.431.1] It was sold in to Sir Hans Sloane, from whom it passed to Lord Cadogan of Oakley. These later possessors are commemorated in , Hans and Cadogan Places, and and . gives a title to the eldest son of Earl Cadogan.
The Bishops of Winchester had a house in , after the ruin of their palace in , and they resided there from to . In also were the Coffee House and Museum of Salter who had been Sir Hans Sloane's valet-
described by Steele in the (No. ). Pennant records that when he was a boy at , his father used to take him to Don Saltero's, and there he used to see Richard Cromwell-
Beyond the church was an ancient manor-house with a gateway and large gardens to the river, known in its later existence as
In this rural retirement, from which he could easily reach London in his barge, Sir Thomas More lived after his resignation of the
| Chancellorship in . Erasmus, who frequently visited him, and who probably wrote here his of which the preface is dated |
describes More's family life:
Here Linacre and Colet were frequent guests. The of Ellis Heywood, dedicated to Cardinal Pole, , gives a dissertation, on the sources of happiness, supposed to have been held by learned men in the garden here.
It was here that, when a beggar-woman who had lost her little dog came to complain that it was in the keeping of
| Lady More--who had taken it in and refused to give it up --Sir Thomas sent for his lady with the little dog, and, |
and she, repining, agreed with the beggar for a piece of gold,
Here Holbein remained for years as More's guest, employed on the portraits of his family and friends, and on the numerous sketches which were discovered amongst the royal collections and arranged by Queen Caroline. Here he was introduced by Sir Thomas to the notice of Henry VIII.
The terrace of the garden towards the river was the scene of More's adventure with the madman.
Hard by, in , Sir Thomas hired a house for many aged people, whom he daily relieved, and it was his daughter Margaret Roper's charge to see that they wanted for nothing.[n.434.1]
After the attainder of Sir Thomas More, his house at was granted by Henry VIII. to Sir William Paulet, afterwards Marquis of Winchester. On the death of his widow in it passed to her daughter by Sir R. Sackville, Anne, Lady Dacre. She bequeathed it to the great Lord Burleigh, whose son Robert rebuilt or altered it and eventually sold it to the Earl of Lincoln, whose daughter married Sir Arthur Gorges. He conveyed the house to Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, who sold it in to Charles I. This king granted it to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. During the Commonwealth it was inhabited by John Lisle, the regicide, and Sir Bulstrode Whitelock, the historian. It was sold to pay the debts of the Duke of Buckingham, and passed into the hands of Digby, Earl of Bristol. His widow sold it to Henry, Duke of Beaufort, who came to inhabit it in , when he left in the Strand, and died in , and from his descendants it was purchased by Sir Hans Sloane, who pulled it down in .
(St. Luke) bears evidence of the various dates at which it has been built and altered from the to the centuries. The brick tower is of -. At the south-east angle of the churchyard is the quaint tomb of Sir Hans Sloane (), the great physician, who attended Queen Anne upon her deathbed, and was created a baronet by George I., being the
| physician who attained that honour. He collected in the neighbouring manor-house the books, medals, and objects of Natural History which, purchased after his death, became the foundation of the . The monument erected by his daughters, |
is an urn entwined with serpents, under a canopy. The charity with which Sir Hans Sloane made himself
caused his funeral here to be attended by vast multitudes of his grateful patients: the funeral sermon was preached by Zachary Pearce.
The interior of Church retains more of an old-world look than any other in London. It has never been
and the monuments with which it is covered give it a wonderful amount of human interest. It is peopled with associations. The aisles are the same round which Sir Thomas More used to carry the cross at the head of the church processions, and the choir is that in which he chanted every Sunday in a surplice, and having provoked the Duke of Norfolk's remonstrance,
We may see here the ex-Chancellor on the day after he had resigned the great seal of England, who
[n.435.1] breaking the news to his wife, to whose pew of his gentlemen had been in the habit of going after mass and saying
by going up to her pew door himself and saying,
which she at imagined to be of his jests, but when he sadly affirmed it to be true, broke out with,
It was here also that, on the morning of his trial at , Sir Thomas More was confessed and received the sacrament, and
At the west end of the church hang the tattered remains of the banners given by Queen Charlotte to her own regiment of volunteers, ,
and which were
In the clock-room is a bell given by the Hon. William Ashburnham, who, in , lost his way at night and fell into the river in the dark. Not knowing where he was, he gave himself up as lost, but just then Church clock struck close by. In gratitude he presented this bell to the church, inscribed,
and he left a sum of money for ringing it every evening at o'clock from Michaelmas to Lady Day, a custom which was observed till .
At the entrance of the south aisle are a curious lectern and bookcase, containing the Bible, the Homilies, and Foxe's Book of Martyrs, huge volumes heavily bound in leather with massive clasps, chained to the desk, where they may be read.
| Beyond, against the south wall, resplendent in coloured marbles, stands the gorgeous Corinthian monument of Gregory, Lord Dacre, , and Anne, Lady Dacre, . The tomb bears his effigy in armour and hers in a long cloak; a baby has its own tiny tomb at the side. This Lady Dacre was the foundress of |
-- Lady Dacre's Almshouses-at . Opposite is
| the tomb of |
, with the epitaph-
The east end of the south aisle is the chapel built by Sir Thomas More in .[n.438.1] It contains the monument (florid but excellent the period) of , , son of William, Earl of Derby. In front is his characteristic bust, and at the sides are busts of his children Ferdinando and Henrietta Maria; the little girl wears a necklace with the Eagle and Child, the badge of the Stanleys.
Close by, battered and worn, and robbed of half its decorations, is the deeply interesting tomb of the unhappy Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland (), mother-in-law of Lady Jane Grey. After the brief reign of Lady Jane was over, the Duchess saw her husband and her son Lord Guildford Dudley beheaded on , her son John die in the Tower, and the confiscation of all her property: but she survived these calamities, and, having borne all her trials quietly with great wisdom and prudence, she lived to see the restoration of her house. Her son Ambrose was reinstated in the Earldom of Warwick, and her son Robert, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth, was created Earl of Leicester. Her will is extant and curious.
The directions of the Duchess as to the simplicity of her funeral were utterly disregarded by her family, for with heralds and torches she was borne with the utmost magnificence through , her waxen effigy being exposed upon her coffin, as at the royal funerals at . In the recess of the tomb are the arms of the Duchess encircled by
|the Garter. The brass representing the Duke and his sons--including the husbands of Jane Grey and Amy Robsart--is torn away, but that of the Duchess and her daughters remains.[n.440.1] She wears a robe, once enamelled, now painted, with shield of arms. Of the daughters, the eldest, Mary, was mother of Sir Philip Sidney; the , Catherine, married the Earl of Huntingdon, grandson of Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury.|
The altar-tomb which stood beneath the canopy is destroyed, and a little tablet which was affixed to it is let into the wall above; it commemorates a time , wife of the Earl of Huntingdon, and daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, .
Entering the chancel we come to the tomb which Sir Thomas More erected in his lifetime () to his own memory and that of his wives. Hither he removed the remains of his wife, Joan, the mother of his children, the wife whom he married,
because he thought
[n.441.1] Here his wife--a widow, Mrs. Alice Middleton, of whom he was wont to say that she was
|Hither also, according to Aubrey, Weaver, and Anthony à Wood, More's own headless body was removed from Chapel in the Tower,, where it was interred; but neither his son-in-law Roper, nor his great grandson C. More, who wrote his life, mentions the fact, which is rendered improbable by Margaret Roper having previously moved Bishop Fisher's body from Allhallows,|
|Barking, that it might rest with his friend in the Tower Chapel.[n.442.1] The head of Sir Thomas More is preserved in St. Dunstan's Church at Canterbury by the tomb of his best-beloved daughter Margaret Roper.|
The monument was restored in the reign of Charles I. (by Sir Thomas Lawrence of ), and again in . On both occasions the words
were intentionally omitted: there is a blank space where they should have appeared. Above is the crest of Sir T. More--a moor's head-and his own arms with those of his wives. The Latin epitaph is Sir Thomas's biography of himself-
Beneath are the lines-
A tablet on the wall above commemorates , , daughter of Sir Theodore Mayerne, the famous physician, and wife of Peter de Caumont, Marquis
|de Montpelier, a French Protestant who fled to England from the Huguenot persecutions.|
Opposite the More monument is an altar-tomb of the family, who held the manor in the reign of Henry VII., which formerly bore the inscription-
[n.444.1] His brother Reginald Bray lies with him. On the same wall is the well-executed little monument of (), distinguished at Musselburgh Field, so often alluded to in the charming descriptions of this old church in the
by Henry Kingsley, whose father became Rector of in , and who vividly portrays in his book the reminiscences of his own childhood.
A sort of triumphal arch, forming the entrance to the north aisle, is the tomb of , Sheriff of London, , of an ancient family who resided in the precincts of Palace.
The east end of the north aisle is the chapel of the Lawrence family, from whom , , takes its name. The most conspicuous monument is that of , , with her half figure rising from the tomb in her winding-sheet; but far more worth notice is the small tomb of her father, , , with a beautifully finished little family group kneeling on cushions, the dead babies lying beside them.
Against the north wall, in a kind of marble cave, on a black sarcophagus, reclines the figure of , , eldest daughter of William Cavendish, Duke of
| Newcastle, and his comical Duchess.[n.445.1] Beneath is an inscription to her husband Charles Cheyne, |
The statue of Lady Jane is attributed to , and the drapery is characteristic of his style, though the impossible proves an inferior master.
Amongst those who are buried here without monuments are , widow of the Bishop of London, and mother of the dramatic poet; , mother of Lord Herbert of Cherbury and George Herbert the poet,
[n.445.2] whose funeral sermon was preached here by Dr. Donne in the presence of Izaak Walton; , the poet, the MacFlecknoe of Dryden; , , a popular religious writer of her time; and , author of the well-known French Dictionary and a History of Queen Anne. In the Cemetery, which was given to the parish by Sir Hans Sloane, is the tomb of , the artist ().
Against the south wall of the church on the exterior is the monument of (), author of the
His strange epitaph records that
More extraordinary is the adjoining epitaph of his daughter Anne Spragg (), which narrates how,
(facing the river) was built by Sir Christopher Wren in for Robert, Earl of Lindsey, Lord Great Chamberlain, on the site of the house of Sir Theodore Mayerne (. ), who was physician to Henri IV. and Louis XIII. of France, and afterwards to James I. and Charles I. of England. Lord Lindsey had previously inhabited Lindsey House in . His descendant, the Duke of Ancaster, sold the house in to Count Zinzendorf, who lived there, while presiding over the Moravian community which he had established in . The next house was at time inhabited by John Martin, by whom there are remains of a fresco on the garden wall.
Zinzendorf bought some of the land belonging to Beaufort House for a burial-ground. In (No. ) is the entrance of a green enclosure, containing his Chapel, a brick building with broad overhanging eaves, occupying the site of Sir Thomas More's stables: it is still the property of the Moravians. Against the outer wall is a monument to
the only son of the founder of the Moravians, who died suddenly in . Close by is the monument of Henry LV. of Reuss (), his wife Maria Justina, and Henry LXXIII. of Reuss. Some brick walls which belonged to Sir Thomas More's house may still be seen to the south of the burial-ground.
In No. , a humble -storied brick house facing the river and boats, the great painter J. M. W. Turner spent his latter days, shutting up his house in , that he might give himself up to the enjoyment of the soft effects upon the still reaches of the Thames. He lived here as Mr. Booth, but the boys gave him the name of
When he knocked at the door of this house and wished to engage the lodgings, the landlady asked him for references-
stormed the irascible old man;
and he thrust a bundle of bank-notes in her face.
The still-existing balcony of the house was erected by Turner: he died here, .
The old-fashioned terrace of will always be interesting as having been the abode of the venerable historian, essayist, and philosopher, Thomas Carlyle. His house and its pictures have been well described in , with his library,
Near the end of , , was the famous
|porcelain manufactory, which existed as early as , but was at its zenith .. In it was removed to Derby, and the ware was then called Derby-Chelsea. Mr. De Morgan has lately established a manufactory in , in imitation of the old Spanish lustre-ware.|
Half a mile beyond were Cremorne Gardens, long a place of public amusement, formerly belonging to Cremorne House.
The name of Peter's Eye or Island still lingers in that of on the opposite side of the river, which was part of the ancient patrimony of Abbey at . It was formerly famous for its asparagus beds.
Crossing .) and turning to the right, we reach the ), rebuilt at the end of the last century and very ugly. It is, however, worth while to enter it and ascend to the northern gallery, to visit a monument by to Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, adored by Pope-whom he attended on his deathbed, and who considered him the writer, as well as the greatest man, of his age; hated by Walpole as a political rival; lauded by Swift and Smollett; despised as
by Dr. Johnson. His youth had been so wild that his father's congratulation when he was created a Viscount was,
In he was impeached for high treason by the Whigs, and fled to the Court of Prince Charles Stuart, where he accepted the post of Secretary, which led in England to his attainder. His estates were restored in , but his political career was closed, and the last years of his
|life were spent in retirement at Battersea manor-house. His epitaph tells his story.|
Mary Clara des Champs de Maurily, Viscountess Bolingbroke, is commemorated on the same monument, and there are many other St. John tombs in the church. In the south gallery is the monument of , -, with a relief portraying the principal feats of this hero, which are thus recorded in his long epitaph-
The repaired east window is especially interesting as having been given by Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of Queen Anne.[n.449.1] It contains the portraits of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Elizabeth. In the crypt beneath the church the coffin of Bolingbroke and others of its illustrious dead were shown till lately. They are now () put under ground. From the churchyard, girt on sides by the lapping river, we may admire the picturesque , sometimes called
|of a smaller class than the ordinary square barges of the Thames, and provided with a foresail only.|
A mill and miller's house near the river (reached by the gateway from the church in the direction of the bridge) contain all that remains of the old manor-house where Bolingbroke died.
, formed in -, faces . It is pretty in summer, and its sub-tropical garden, of acres, is beautiful. bridges, and , connect it with the opposite shore. It was in Battersea Fields that the Duke of Wellington fought a duel with the Earl of Winchilsea in .
Maitland [n.450.1] considers that this is the place where the Britons, after being defeated by Claudius, were compelled to ford the river, and were followed by the Emperor, who completely routed them. He also thinks that Julius Caesar effected the passage of the Thames at this spot.
[n.427.1] See the Life of Edward Young, included in Johnson's Lives of the Poets.
[n.430.1] Letters of Kateryn the Quene.
[n.431.1] The beautiful Duchess of Mazarin died 1699 in a house which belonged to Lord Cheyne in Cheyne Walk.
[n.434.1] Cresacre's Life of More.
[n.438.1] It continued to belong to Beaufort House.
[n.440.1] This precious relic is disgracefully ill-cared for.
[n.441.1] Cresacre More's Life of Sir T. More.
[n.442.1] See Doyne C. Bell's Notices of Historic Persons buried in St. Peter ad Vincula.
[n.444.1] Weaver's Funeral Monuments.
[n.445.1] See the account of her in the chapter on Westminster Abbey.
[n.445.2] See Walton's Lives.
[n.449.1] His great-granddaughter Anne Leighton married Sir John St. John of Battersea.
[n.450.1] History of London.