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 2Wilkinson, Robert
Holland's Leaguer, Bankside.
The House of which the accompanying print is a rude delineation, was originally the Manor-house belonging to the manor of , which adjoins westward that of , or the Clink Liberty; and contains the present parish of , Surry. It was, together with the estate of itself, anciently part of the possessions of Abbey, and was for some time, "with a [*] and other appurtenances," held of that Monastery by the Knight Templars. It came to the Crown on the Dissolution, and remained part of the royal domains until nearly the middle of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was exchanged away by that princess to her cousin, Lord Hunsdon; and was afterward granted, at his request, to Robert Newdigate, and Arthur Fountague. The Manor-house is described in the grant then made, as " the gate-house; pastures, of which is called Chapel-hall; pastures ditched about," &c. Thomas Cure, Esq. (buried in , and the founder of certain alms-houses in that parish) afterwards became possessed of this property, and retained it some years. It subsequently was owned by other persons, needless here to mention, until, in the year , it came into the hands of Richard Taverner and William Angell, who in the following year made a partition, in which Taverner was to have part of the land, and Angell the Manor-house, then called "HOLLAND'S LEAGUER," with such of the land as remained. In , Angell conveyed the Manor-house and the ground, "," containing acre, to Hugh Jermyn, of , woollen-draper; and in , the same William Angell conveyed other part of the demesne land to trustees, for the erecting of the Church and parish of .
The origin of the name of this place (Holland's Leaguer) seems involved in some obscurity. It does not appear to have been so called in the grant to Newdigate ( Eliz.) just noticed, being there simply designated as the Mansion-house, &c. In the partition of the estate between Taverner and Angell () however, it is named Holland's Leaguer. Mr. Bray (Hist. of Surry) has in part explained the meaning of this appellation, and only in part, by saying, that in a play of Shakerley Marmyon, called Holland's Leaguer (among Garrick's collection of old plays in the ) the plot, if it deserves that name, turns on of the dramatis personæ observing, that Holland was besieged and , and laying a plan for its defence; and a gallant promising to go to the wars to please a lady; but, instead of that, going to a house where some frail fair ones had lodgings; and which was so well guarded by gates and portcullisses, that it was with some difficulty access was gained. He adds, that allusion is there made to the possible necessity of swimming across the moat, and some other things which agree with the description of the Manor-house. This accounts for half, but no more, of the name. In another work of the same writer, however, called also Holland's Leaguer, and published in , the whole name is fully explained, as well as the Manor-house itself described.[*]
This scarce tract, which has for a frontispiece a view of the House (and of which our Plate is an exact fac-simile copy) though written in a most quaint and rambling style, contains some information as to the then state of the mansion and its neighbourhood, which it is worth while to notice.
After describing the procuress, Donna Hollandia (see the note below) as having been routed from a former residence, and just escaped from Newgate, he makes her seek for a more convenient place, where she might carry on her profession, which she ultimately finds in the then untenanted and deserted Manor-house of .
"At length she is informed of a place fit for her purpose, beeing wonderous commodiously planted for all accommodations:—It was out of the citie, only divided by a delicate river. There was many handsome buildings, and many hearty neighbours; yet, at the foundation, it was renowned for nothing so much as for the memory of that famous Amazon, Longa Margarita[*] , who had there for many yeeres kept a famous house of open hospitality.
"Shee no sooner heard this report, but presently turning her sailes, shee made for that coast, where shee found such abundance of naturall and artificiall entrenchments, that even the House seemed to be in itselfe a little city.
"Here shee inquires what strong hold or forte was to be let for yeerly reuenue, and presently shee was brought to a fort, citadell, or , so fortified and envyroned with all manner of fortifications, that ere any foe could approach it, hee must march, more than a musketshot, on a narrow (where could not go on breast) betwixt then enter a port, bulwarked on every side, and crosse immured both before and behind with deepe ditches, a drawbridge and sundry pallysadoes: then another passage in all poynts like the former, sluced with ditches, and baracadoed with strong rampiers; then another ditch of much larger continent than any before spoke of, with same like a circumference, and girded in its armes all the whole mansion.[*] Then a world of other bulwarks, rivers, ditches, trenches, and outworkes, which hem'd in the orchards, gardens, base-courts, and inferior offices, making every capable of a severall fight, and every fight able for many houres to play with an army."
This description of the Manor-house, abating its figurative and hyperbolical style, agrees tolerably well with the mention of it in the grant to Newdigate, viz. "The Mansion-house within the mote, the gate-house, pastures about," &c. The writer proceeds to notice the neighbourhood, and further identifies the spot by an allusion to the adjoining
"When she had taken a full survey of this forcelet, and seen how commodious and fit it was for her purpose, shee then inquires what other benefits were appertaining vnto it, as neighbourhood, pleasant walks, concourse of strangers, and things of like nature; in all which shee received full satisfaction: especially, and above all the rest, she was most taken with the report of famous , which stood so neere scituated, that her eye might take a view of them from her lowest turret:— was the , [*] because half the yeere a world of beauties and brave spirits resorted vnto it; the other was a building of excellent [*] ; and though wild beasts and gladiators did most possesse it, yet the gallants that came to behold those combats, though they were of a mixt society, yet were many noble worthies among them. The last which stood, and as it were
|, becing in times past as famous as any of the others, was now fallen to decay, and like a dying , hanging down her head, seemed to sing her own dierge[*] ."|
The rest of this tract is taken up with a list of the ladies, collected at the Mansion for the entertainment of company; a description of the domestics, including the bully or ruffian, named , and an account, finally, of its being besieged or by the police, as before noticed; and which, conveying no useful information, it is needless to repeat.
The situation of Holland's Leaguer was on part of the present , , leading to , which street formed part of the site, and is in Roque's Plan of London, , called "Holland Leger. Some remains of the Mansion itself existed within memory, but the moat had been long filled up.[*] Its general form is shown in the print, which also contains some explanatory lines illustrative of the place and its inhabitants.
From the information of several very old inhabitants of the parish of , it appears that the spot of ground called Holland's Leaguer (the site of which is now occupied by and its neighbourhood) was an artificial and elevated place, in form an oblong square, surrounded by the tide, which ebbed and flowed from a sluice about feet from the ferry called Cat's Dock, now filled up. The ascent to the place on the west was by a number of mutilated ancient stone steps. Within the space stood a house occupied by Gascoigne, a hatter, and subsequently by Philips. Part of the ground was a deposit for rubbish, and from the remains of trees and bushes, appeared to have been a garden.
Its elevated situation gave it a commanding view of the river Thames, having the Falcon Tavern on the east, and overlooking the houses that stood between it and the waterside. The house was taken down about the time of forming the road to .
Adjoining Holland's Leaguer were several public houses of note; viz. and Orange Tree, in Lane; the Falcon Tavern [*] before mentioned; and the Castle still remaining at the bottom of . Opposite the Castle were other houses; called the Next Boat, the other the Beggar's Bush; the latter being memorable for giving title to the play of that name; and the resort of all the beggars of the time in that neighbourhood. Also a house called the Blue Pump, now standing in , and having formerly the sign of a Man (probably a sailor) pumping with all his might, and underneath, the following inscription: "Poor Tom's last refuge."
In a tract called "the Medley [*] , or a choice collection of all the songs that were sung at the houses of resort on the ," the chief designation of Holland's Leaguer in the songs and in conversation was that of Nob's Island.
Opposite the house that stands at the corner of (formerly called Lady Clark's Yard) was a mill-pond, on the site of which stands the glasshouse belonging to Messrs. Pellat and Green.
John Marshall, Gent. of the Borough of , by his will dated , bequeathed the sum of for the building of a church in the manor of , in such place as the trustees named in his will (of whom Sir Samuel Brown, late of the Justices of Common Pleas, was ) should think fit. And William Angel, lord of the manor, by indenture dated , for a consideration therein mentioned, assigned a convenient piece of land within the manor for building the said church with a churchyard.
The founder endowed his church with per annum for the minister, also power to advance it to The presentation to be in the trustees and their successors for ever. They were also directed by the founder to pay the rents of a certain messuage in Ax Yard, , of the annual value of , to the said minister and his successors.
In the reign of King Charles II, on the petition of the inhabitants of , an Act of Parliament was passed for making the manor parochial, by the name of the Parish of , agreeably to the will of the founder of the church. An act also vests the ground whereon the church stands, with the churchyard, in the trustees and their heirs for ever. The profits of burials in the church and churchyard (except the vaults made by William Angel) to be applied to the repairs of the church, &c. The rector to receive all tithes, oblations and dues, payable by the inhabitants of . The trustees were also empowered to raise an additional sum of out of the estate of Marshall the founder, for completing the new church, and paying to the churchwardens or impropriators of in lieu of tithes or other contributions payable by the inhabitants of the manor. The Act also provides, that no part of the manor of , or Clink liberty, belonging to the see of Winchester, should be considered within the parish of .
The plan engraved under the view of Holland's Leaguer, exhibits the state of the northern part of the parish of , as it appeared between the years and ; the site of the Leaguer and mote, with the several streams and watercourses intersecting the grounds in its vicinity, forming a striking contrast to the accompanying modern plan, which shows the alteration in the value of property, and the great increase of population in this parish, within the last years.
It may be worthy of remark, that the celebrated architect Sir Christopher Wren had a house next door to the Falcon Inn, from which he could view at a distance the progress made in building .
In the next new plan of the Parish of , , and Lane, shown in the ancient plan, are occupied by the premises of Mr. Devey, coal-merchant, who has built upon, and closed this avenue, and the whole parish is now covered by Great Surry Street, , and a number of modern streets, consisting of well-built houses, erected within the last years. The avenues leading to the church (see the plate) have been altered and improved. A considerable addition to the burial-ground has recently been made by Act of Parliament, and a very general improvement has taken place in the appearance of this parish.
[*] Called elsewhere "Widflete mill." It was a drain windmill, like those in the fens of Cambridgeshire, for draining off the water.
[*] This professes, according to its title, to be "An historical Discourse of the Life and Actions of Donna Britannica Hollandia, the Arch-mistress of the wicked Women of Eutopia." Madam Hollandia, or Holland, it seems by this, was the name of a noted procuress of the day, who rented the Manorhouse of Paris Garden, and had converted it into a brothel. The tract is principally occupied with an account of the exploits of this lady, whose licentious conduct having at length attracted the notice of the police, a party of peace officers was sent to dispossess her of her strong hold, and bring her before the magistrates. These, on account of the resistance she made, and is described as still making at the publication of the pamphlet, are said to be then besieging or be-leaguering the place; and hence the name the author has given to it here, and in his play above quoted. It is probable it was afterward (i. e. after 1632) called "HOLLAND'S LEAGUER," only from this circumstance.
 Like the Banck Side.
[*] Or Long Meg—this was probably one of the old stew-holders on this spot, and a name for its notoriety then still remembered. The whole passage evidently alludes to the ancient brothels on the Bankside.
 The site of her House.
[*] The moat is here meant.
[*] The GLOBE.
[*] The HOPE, or BEAR GARDEN situate at a small distance from the Globe.
[*] This was the SWAN THEATRE, which from the above account seems to have been then on the decline as a place of amusement. Its nearness to Holland's Leaguer is significantly described by the phrase of their seeming "to shake hands with each other." This was the fact, the Swan standing on the site of the present Falcon Foundery, and Holland's Leaguer being immediately opposite.
[*] It is shown with the site of the House in Morgan's Plan of London, of a prior date to Roque's Plan just named.
[*] See a print of this subject in the former volume of this work.
[*] This tract was, about 40 years since, in the possession of Mr. Stocks, who has kept the Castle public house 38 years. To Mr. Stocks, and to Mr. Stanton, who has lived upward of 70 years in the parish, the publisher is indebted for much information respecting Holland's Leaguer inserted in this account.
Title page of Vol. 2 reads: Theatrum illustrata. Graphic and historic memorials of ancient playhouses, modern theatres and other places of public amusement in the cities and suburbs of London & Westminster with scenic and incidental illustrations from the time of Shakspear to the present period.