Walks in London, vol. 2
Hare, Augustus J. C.
Chapter V: Whitehall.
Chapter V: Whitehall.
Almost the whole of the space between and on side, and between and the Thames on the other, was once occupied by the great royal palace of .
The palace on this site was built by Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, the minister of Henry III., who bought the land from the monks of for of silver and the annual tribute of a wax taper. He bequeathed his property here to the Convent of the Black Friars in , where he was buried, and they, in , sold it to Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, after which it continued, as , to be the town-house of the Archbishops of York till the time of Wolsey.
By Wolsey, was almost entirely rebuilt. Storer, in his says-
Here the cardinal lived in more than regal magnificence,
and with a household of persons.
Hither Henry VIII. came masked to a banquet,[n.203.1] where, after the king had intrigued, danced, and accompanied the ladies at mumchance, he took off his disguise, and they
It is at this banquet that Shakspeare portrays the meeting of the king with Anne Boleyn.[n.203.2]
It was hither that, when his disgrace befell, the Duke of Suffolk came to bid Wolsey resign the Great Seal, and hence, having delivered an inventory of all his treasures to the king, the Cardinal
on his way to Esher, leaving his palace to his master, who almost immediately occupied it.
Henry VIII. changed the name of to
more generally known as , and greatly enlarged it.. He also obtained an Act of Parliament enacting that
He erected buildings--a tennis-court, cockpit, &c.-along the whole southern side of the Park, end formed a vast courtyard by the erection of gates, the Gate and the Gate, over the highway leading to . The of these gates, which stood on the side of the present Banqueting House, was a noble work of Holbein,
[n.204.1] It was embattled at the top, and adorned with terra-cotta medallions of noble Italian workmanship.[n.204.2] This gate was pulled down in : the Duke of Cumberland intended to have rebuilt it at the end of the Long Avenue at Windsor, but never carried out his idea. The Gate, which had dome-capped turrets at the sides, was pulled down in .
Henry VIII. began at the Royal Gallery of pictures which was continued by Charles I. Holbein had rooms in the palace and a pension of florins. It was
(), that Henry was married by Dr. Rowland Lee, afterwards Bishop of Chester, to Anne Boleyn (for whom he had previously obtained Suffolk House as a near residence) in the presence of only witnesses, of whom was Henry Norris, Groom of the Chamber, afterwards a fellow-victim with her upon the scaffold. From the windows of the great gallery which Henry VIII. built on the site of the present , overlooking the Tilt-Yard, he reviewed armed citizens in , when an
|invasion of England was threatened by the Catholic sovereigns. And at he died, .|
In the next reigns was the scene of few especial events, though it was from hence that Mary I. set forth to her coronation by water, with her sister Elizabeth bearing the ,crown before her. Hence also on Palm Sunday, , Elizabeth was sent to the Tower, for an imaginary share in Sir Thomas Wyatt's conspiracy. Here, on , died Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, his last words being,
With Elizabeth, again became the scene of festivities. Hence she rode in her robes to open her Parliament. In the Great Gallery, built by her father, she
| received the Speaker and the , who came |
The Queen's passion for tournaments was indulged with great magnificence in , before the commissioners who came to urge her to a marr iage with the Duc d'Anjou. She seated herself with her ladies in a gallery overhanging the Tilt-Yard, to which was given the name of This was stormed by a number of knights singing the Challenge of Desire-
--and by a cannonade of sweet powders and waters. The assailants eventually were attacked by the with whom they held a regular tournament, and overwhelmed by whom they confessed their
Elizabeth continued to be devoted to masques to her last years, and at , when Hentzner describes her as having a wrinkled face, little eyes, a hooked nose, and black teeth, would still
[n.206.1] Hither, , the great Queen's corpse was brought,
from her favourite palace of Richmond, where she died.
Here it lay in state till its interment; and here, while ladies were watching round her coffin through the night,
It was from
at that the Lords
| of the Council sent a messenger to James I. to acquaint him with the Queen's death and his own accession, and on , he arrived to take possession of the palace; and in the garden, a few days afterwards, he knighted gentlemen. It was in this garden, also, that Lord Mounteagle told the Earl of Salisbury of the Gunpowder Plot. From the cellar of the Guy Fawkes was dragged for examination to the bedchamber of James I. at , and there being asked by of the King's Scottish favourites what he had intended to do with so many barrels of gunpowder, replied, |
Ben Jonson became known as a poet in the reign of James I., and, to celebrate Prince Charles being made Duke of York and a Knight Of the Bath at years old, his was acted by the Court in , Queen Anne of Denmark and her ladies being painted black, as the daughters of Niger.
and many other pageants celebrated the creation of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales in . At , also, while still wearing deep mourning for this her eldest brother, the Princess Elizabeth was married () to the Elector Palatine, commonly known as the Another marriage which was celebrated here with great magnificence () was that of the king's favourite, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, with the notorious Frances Howard, Countess of Essex.
James I. rebuilt the
of Elizabeth in , but this building was destroyed by fire in . The present Banqueting
| House was then begun by Inigo Jones, and completed in , forming only the central portion of wing in his immense design for a new palace, which, if completed, would have been the finest in the world. The masonry is by a master-mason, Nicholas Stone, several of whose works we have seen in other parts of London.[n.208.1] |
[n.208.2] The plan of Inigo Jones would have covered acres, and may best judge of its intended size by comparison with other buildings. covers acres, acres, Buckingham Palace acres.[n.208.3] It would have been as large as Versailles, and larger than the Louvre. Inigo Jones received only a day while he was employed at , and per annum for house-rent. The huge palace always remained unfinished.
attained its greatest splendour in the reign of Charles I.
The masque of was of those acted here before the king; but Charles was so afraid of the pictures in the Banqueting House being injured by the number of wax lights which were used, that he built for the purpose a boarded room called the
afterwards destroyed by the Parliament. The gallery towards Privy Garden was used for the king's collection of pictures, afterwards either sold or burnt. The Banqueting House was the scene of hospitalities almost boundless.
The different accounts of Charles I.'s execution introduce us to several names of the rooms in the old palace. We are able to follow him through the whole of the last scenes of the . When he arrived, having walked from St. James's,
of Henry VIII., and so to the west side of the palace. In the
he was given up to the officers who held the warrant for his execution. Then he passed on to the
looking upon Privy Garden. Here, the scaffold not being ready, he prayed and conversed with Bishop Juxon, ate some bread, and drank some claret. Several of the Puritan clergy knocked at the door and offered to pray with him, but he said that they had prayed him too often for him to wish to pray with them in his last moments. Meanwhile, in a small distant room, Cromwell was signing the order to the executioner, and workmen were employed in breaking a passage through the west wall of the Banqueting House, that the warrant for the execution might be carried out which ordained it to be held
When Colonel Hacker knocked at the door of the
the king stretched out his hands to Bishop Juxon and his faithful attendant Herbert, which they kissed, falling upon their knees and weeping. The king himself assisted the old bishop to rise. Then, says Herbert,
| in the court between the gates, through which passed the highway to , were vast crowds of spectators, while others stood upon the opposite roofs; amongst whom the aged Archbishop Usher was led up to have a last sight of his royal master, but fainted when he beheld him. The regiments of foot and horse drawn up around the scaffold prevented the people from hearing the final words of the king, which were consequently addressed to those immediately around him. He declared his innocence of the crimes laid to his charge, and prayed to God with St. Stephen for forgiveness to his murderers. He said to the Bishop; |
and gave.him his George, with the single word
Then, after praying awhile, he laid his neck upon the block, and when he made the sign which was agreed upon, by stretching out his hands, the executioner at blow severed his head from his body, and held it up, saying,
Almost from the time of Charles's execution Cromwell occupied rooms in the Cockpit, where the Treasury is now, but soon after he was installed
(), he took up his abode in the royal apartments, with his
and his family. Cromwell's puritanical tastes did not make him averse to the luxury he found there, and, when Evelyn visited after a long interval in , he found it
But the Protectress
| could not give up her habits of nimble housewifery, and |
[n.212.1] With Cromwell in lived Milton, as his Latin Secretary. Here the Protector's daughters, Mrs. Rich and Mrs. Claypole, were married, and here Oliver Cromwell died () while a great storm was raging which tore up the finest elms in the Park, and hurled them to the ground, beneath the northern windows of the palace.
In the words of Hume, Cromwell upon his death-bed
Having inquired of Godwin, the divine who attended him, whether a person who had once been in a state of grace could afterwards be damned, and being assured it was impossible, he said,
Richard Cromwell continued to reside in till his resignation of the Protectorate.
On his birthday, the , Charles II.
| returned to . The vast labyrinthine chambers of the palace were soon filled to overflowing by his crowded court. The queen's rooms were facing the river to the east of the Water Gate. Prince Rupert had rooms in the Stone Gallery, which ran along the south side of , beyond the main buildings of the palace, and beneath him were the apartments of the king's mistresses, Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess .of Cleveland, and Louise de Querouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth. The rooms of the latter, who came to England with Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, to entice Charles .II. into an alliance with Louis XIV., and whose |
is described by Evelyn, were times rebuilt to please her, having
of the queen's.[n.213.1] Nell Gwynne did not live in the palace, though she was of Queen Catherine's Maids of Honour! At times, when the river was at high tide, the water would flood the apartments of these ladies. Thus it happened in the kitchen of Lady Castlemaine when the king was coming to sup with her. The cook came to tell her that the chine of beef could not be roasted, for the water had put the fire out.
replied the lady,
[n.213.2] Just before Queen Catherine of Braganza's arrival the king requested the Lords and Commons
The taste for gardening which Charles brought back from Holland was exemplified in the decorations of the
| Garden. It contained the famous dial, made for him when Prince of Wales by Professor Gunter, and the defacement of which by a drunken nobleman led to the lines of Andrew Marvel-
It was from that of the king's mistresses,
eloped () with the Duke of Richmond. Pepys has left us descriptions of the balls at at this time, how the room was crammed with fine ladies,
The last scenes of this reign of pleasure at are described by Evelyn-
Charles died in on . With his successor the character of the palace changed. James II.,
|who continued to make it his principal residence, established a Roman there.|
It was from that Queen Mary Beatrice made her escape on the night of . The adventure was confided to the Count de Lauzun and his friend M. de St. Victor: gentleman of Avignon. The queen on that terrible evening vainly entreated to be allowed to remain and share the perils of her husband; he assured her that it was absolutely necessary that she should precede him, and that he would follow her in hours. The king and queen went to bed as usual to avoid suspicion, but rose soon after, when the queen put on a disguise provided by St. Victor. The royal pair then descended to the rooms of Madame de Labadie, where they found Lauzun, with the infant Prince James and his nurses. The king, turning to Lauzun, said,
Lauzun then gave his hand to the queen to lead her away, and, followed by the nurses with the child, they crossed the Great Gallery, and descended by a back staircase and a postern gate to . At the garden gate a coach was waiting, the queen entered with Lauzun, the nurses, and her child, who slept the whole time, St. Victor mounted by the coachman, and they drove to the
at. , where. a boat was waiting in which they crossed to .
On the the Dutch troops had entered London, and James, having commanded the gallant Lord Craven, who was prepared to defend the palace to the utmost, to draw off the guard which he commanded, escaped himself in a boat from the water-entrance of the palace at o'clock in the morning. At Feversham his flight was arrested, and he returned amid bonfires, bell-ringing, and every symptom of joy from the fickle populace. Once more he slept in , but in the middle of the night was aroused by order of his son-in-law, and hurried forcibly down the river to Rochester, whence, on , he escaped to France. On the the Princess Anne had declared against her unfortunate father, by absconding at night by a back staircase from her lodgings in the Cockpit, as the north-western angle of the palace was called, which looked on . Compton, Bishop of London, was waiting for her with a hackney coach, and she fled to his house in . Mary II. arrived in the middle of February, and
But the glories of were now over; William III., occupied with his buildings at and Kensington, never cared to live there, and Mary doubtless stayed
|there as little as possible, feeling oppressed by the recollections of her youth spent there with an indulgent father whom she had cruelly wronged, and a stepmother whom she had once loved with sisterly as well as filial affection, and from whom she had parted with passionate grief on her marriage, only years before. The Stone Gallery and the late apartments of the royal mistresses in were burnt down in , and the whole edifice was almost totally destroyed by fire through the negligence of a Dutch maidservant in .|
The principal remaining fragment of the palace is the of Inigo Jones, from which Charles I. passed to execution. Built in the dawn of the style of Wren, it is of the most grandiose examples of that style, and is perfect alike in symmetry and proportion. That it has no entrance apparent at sight is due to the fact that it was only intended as a portion of a larger building. In the same way we must remember that the appearance of stories externally, while the whole is room, is due to the Banqueting House being only of intended blocks, of which was to be a chapel surrounded by galleries, and the other divided into tiers of apartments. The Banqueting House was turned into a chapel by George I., but has never been consecrated, and the aspect of a hall is retained by the ugly false red curtains which surround the interior of the building. It is called the , is served by the chaplains of the sovereign, and is of the dreariest places of worship in London. The ceiling is still decorated with canvas pictures by Rubens () representing the apotheosis of James I. The painter received for
| these works. The walls were to have been painted by Vandyke with the History of the Order of the Garter. |
[n.218.1] Over the entrance is a bronze bust of James I. attributed to Le Soeur.
To this chapel the Bishops came to return thanks immediately after their acquittal. It was Day, and it was remarked that the Epistle was singularly appropriate, being part of the chapter of the Acts, recording Peter's miraculous deliverance from prison.[n.218.2] Archbishop Tillotson () was seized with paralysis here during Divine service on Sunday.[n.218.3]
His death immediately preceded that of Queen Mary, who was greatly attached to him.
The on the north end of the Banqueting House is of historic interest, as having been placed there by James II., that he might watch from his chamber whether it was a wind which would bring the Dutch fleet to England. According as the wind blew from east or west, it was called a Popish or a Protestant wind. Hence the lines in the ballad of Lilibulero-
The exterior of the Banqueting House has always been much studied by architects. A dirty little ragged chimneys-weeper was once found drawing its front in chalk upon the basement stones of the building itself, and begged with tears
|not to be exposed to his master. The gentleman who found him purchased his indentures and sent him to Rome to study, and he lived to make a large fortune as Isaac Ware the architect.[n.219.1]|
In a courtyard behind the Banqueting House is of our best London statues, that of James II. by Grinling Gibbons. It was erected , at the expense of Tobias Rustat, a faithful page of the chamber to Charles II. and James II., who thus expended in their honour the money earned in their service. This statue was neither removed in the revolution of , nor injured by the fire which destroyed the palace.
In the wall adjoining Fife House in Yard may still, or might lately, be seen the arch of the Gate which led to the Royal Stairs upon the river. On the left of the court is the , with a small , containing examples of naval, military, and militia uniforms, models of ships, and weapons of all kinds. Amongst historic objects preserved here we may notice-
To the east of the Banqueting House is , chiefly known now from its Police Office and Lost Property Office. It derives its name from having been a London residence for the Scottish kings. It was given to them in by King Edgar, when Kenneth III., coming to do homage for his kingdom, was enjoined to return, every year
It remained in the hands of the Kings of Scotland till the rebellion of William of Scotland in the reign of Henry II. Afterwards it continued to bear their name, and when Margaret, widow of James IV., slain at Flodden, was reconciled to her brother Henry VIII., after her marriage with the Earl of Angus, she went to reside there.. had. the immunities of a royal palace, and no . could be arrested for debt within its precincts. Milton, when he was Cromwell's Latin Secretary, resided in . Other famous residents were Inigo Jones (who, with Nicholas Stone the sculptor, buried his money here during the Commonwealth); Sir John Denham the poet; and Sir Christopher Wren. Sir John Vanbrugh the architect built here, from. the ruins of the palace, the semi-Grecian semi- Gothic house satirized by Swift in the lines-
It was in that (in the time of James I.
|Lord Herbert of Cherbury was attacked by Sir John Ayres. and ruffians, who tried to assassinate him, on a. groundless suspicion of his. being the favoured lover of Lady Ayres. He, so gallantly defended himself that, though wounded, he put all his assailants to flight.|
Beyond the Banqueting House, a row of houses facing the river still commemorates, in its name, the where Latimer preached in a pulpit to Edward VI., who: listened to him from a window of the palace, and where Pepys, in a different age, said that.
to look at. Lady Castlemaine's
In the last days of , an anxious crowd were gathered before the gates. of No.. , to read the bulletins which announced the fluctuations in the health of Sir Robert Peel, who was carried home after his fatal accident on , and expired in the dining-room of this house.
Opposite is, , the , built by T. Ripley, , on the site of Wallingford House, on the roof of which Archbishop Usher fainted on seeing Charles I. led forth to the scaffold. It has a screen by Adam, with ornaments supposed to be typical .of the duties of the place. There is a fine portrait of Nelson here, which was painted at Naples by for Sir William Hamilton in .
The next building is the , so--called from the troop constantly on guard here, and established here in an edifice overlooking the Tilt-Yard,.
|building was erected by Vardy in . splendid cuirassed and helmeted figures sit like statues on their horses under the little stone pavilions on either side the gate, and are relieved every hours, while others on foot,|
|as Taine describes, |
[n.222.1] The archway in the centre is the royal entrance to , by the ancient Tilt-Yard, now the parade-ground.. It was from the
|that the funeral procession of the Duke of Wellington set forth.|
The next line of buildings, surmounted by a row of the meaningless tea-urns beloved by unimaginative architects, is the , which was established in the Cockpit of by Charles II., and has remained there ever since. It occupies the site of the apartment in the palace where General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, died, , and his low-born duchess, Nan Clarges, in the same month. It was from hence also that Anne escaped, and here Guiscard tried to stab Harley, Earl of Oxford, , but fell under the wounds of Lord Paulet and Mr. St. John. The present buildings, erected by Sir C. Barry, -, include the Board of Trade, the Home Office, and the Privy Council Office.
In (named from Sir G. Downing, Secretary of State in ) the public offices have now swallowed up all the private residences.
The south side of is formed by the magnificent pile of modern Italian buildings by Sir Gilbert Scott, erected -, to include the , , , and The , presided over by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is at the north-west corner of the building, with a grand staircase: cabinet councils are frequently held here. The Colonial Office, facing , is presided over by the Secretary of State for the
|Colonies. Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington had their only meeting in a waiting-room of the old building. The affairs of the India Office were formerly transacted in the in , but were transferred to the Crown when the East India Company came to an end by Act of Parliament, , and are now managed by a council of members under a Secretary of State. Facing is the , so called from a -cornered table covered with parti-coloured cloth, which heralds call , round which the old court was held.|
The stately modern house with high roofs, on the left of , is ,[n.224.1] built in by the Duke of Buccleuch, upon the site of an old family mansion erected immediately after the Court had abandoned . The house contains some magnificent Vandykes and of the noblest collections of in England, beautifully arranged in large frames on the walls of the principal rooms. The important English miniatures begin with Henry VIII., Catherine of Arragon, Catherine Howard, and those who surrounded them. Elizabeth is represented over and over again, with almost all the leading characters of her age. The Stuart Kings follow, with their wives, mistresses, courtiers, and the chief literary men of their time; and the reigns of the Georges are represented with equal completeness. Many cases are devoted to the Foreign miniatures, of which most are French, and belong to the reigns of Louis XIV., XV., and XVI. Amongst the pictures especially deserving notice are-
In the -
occupies the site of Richmond House (burnt ), built by the Earl of Burlington for Charles, Duke of Richmond.
On the right is the turn into , now a by-way, but long the principal approach to , in which divers people were smothered when pressing to see Queen Elizabeth and her nobles ride to open Parliament. Here it was that Edmund Spenser the poet
having refused pieces of silver sent him by Lord Essex when it was too late, saying he was
Here lived Thomas Carew, who wrote-
Here also, in a house now destroyed, near Blue Boar's Head Yard, resided Mrs. Cromwell, the anxious mother of the Protector, never happy unless she saw her son twice a
| day, and calling out, whenever she heard the report of a gun, |
Oliver Cromwell was living here himself when Charles I. was carried in a sedan chair through the street to his trial in Hall, and hence, months after the king's execution, he set off in his coach drawn by
to his campaign in Ireland. It was down that the
|Protector's funeral passed from to the Abbey, with his waxen effigy lying upon the coffin.|
Behind is , where Judge Jeffreys lived in a house marked by its picturesque porch. It was the only house which was allowed to have a private entrance to the Park on the other side. To the left of is (originally Channel Row, from a branch of the Thames which once helped to make Thorney Island), where the widow of the Protector Somerset lived. Here is the Office of the Civil Service Commission. , opening from hence, formerly commemorated the birthplace of Anne Clifford,
But we must hasten on, for down we look into a sunlit square, and beyond it rise, in a grim greyness which is scarcely enlivened by their lace-like fret. work, the wondrous buttresses of the most beautiful chapel in the world--that of Henry VII. in .
[n.203.1] Cavendish's Life of Wolsey.
[n.203.2] Henry VIII., act i. sc. 4.
[n.204.1] Pennant's Hist. of London, p. 93.
[n.204.2] Three of these--Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Bishop Fisher--are at Hatfield Priory, near Witham, in Essex. Two are at Hampton Court.
[n.206.1] Sidney Papers.
[n.206.3] Lady Southwell's MS.
[n.208.1] He was payed four shillings and tenpence the day. See his own notes, published by Walpole.
[n.208.3] Timbs, Curiosities of London.
[n.211.1] Ellis's Letters, vol. iii. 333.
[n.212.1] The Court and Kitchen of Elizabeth Cromwell, 1664.
[n.218.1] Anecdotes of Painting.
[n.218.2] D'Oyley's Life of Archbishop Sancroft.
[n.218.3] Archbishop Whitgift had been similarly attacked with a fatal paralytic seizure at Whitehall.
[n.219.1] Builder, Feb. 5, 1876.
[n.221.1] Diary, 21st May, 1662.
[n.222.1] Notes sur l'Angleterre.
[n.224.1] Montagu House is not shown to the public.