Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4

Thornbury, Walter
1872-78

Westminster.-Tothill Fields and Neighbourhood.

Westminster.-Tothill Fields and Neighbourhood.

 

No mead so fit For courtly joust or tourney brave.--Cavalier Song.

 

The origin of the word

Tot-hill

is probably the

toot,

or beacon hill, from the Welch word

twt,

a spring or rising; and the name was probably given to this district from a beacon placed here, as the highest spot in and around the flat region of . The antiquary, Mr. Wykeham Archer, however, derives the name from Teut, the chief divinity of the Druids, and the equivalent of Thoth, the Egyptian Mercury, adding that the

Tot,

Teut,

Tut,

or

Thoth

Hill, often, by the way, styled

Tuttle

and

Tut-hill,

was the spot on which solemn proclamations were made to the people. Another derivation may also be suggested. The Normans, as we happen to know, often spoke of these parts as

Thorny Island,

et tout la champ

.

What more easy than the corruption of these words into

Tuttle?

It should, however, be stated that in Rocque's Map (),

Toote Hill

is marked at a bend in .

Toot,

also, in of its varied forms, is not an uncommon prefix to the names of other places in different parts of England, as, nes, ham, bury, ing, enham, &c.; and it may be added that all these are places of considerable elevation compared with the surrounding parts.

Tothill Fields

,

says Mr. Archer, in his

Vestiges of Old London,

were, within

three

centuries, part of a marshy tract of land lying between

Millbank

and

Westminster Abbey

, and on which stood a few scattered buildings, some of them the residences of noble personages.

They must have witnessed some extraordinary scenes in the Middle Ages. Here necromancers were punished by the destruction of their instruments; for we read that, in the reign of Edward III., a man was taken

practising with a dead man's head, and brought to the bar at the King's Bench, where, after abjuration of his art, his trinkets were taken from him, carried to Tothill, and burned before his face.

And, again, in the time of Richard I., Raulf Wigtoft, chaplain to Geoffrey, Archbishop of York,

had provided a girdle and ring, cunningly intoxicated, wherewith he meant to have destroyed Simon (the Dean of York) and others; but his messenger was intercepted, and his girdle and ring burned at this place before the people.

These fields, according to Stow, in the reign of Henry III., formed part of a manor in , belonging to

John Mansell, the King's counsellor and priest, who did invite to a stately dinner (at his house at Totehill) the kings and queens of England and Scotland, with divers courtiers and citizens, and whereof there was such a multitude that

seven hundred

messes of meat did not serve for the

first

dinner.

By an Act passed in the same reign, Henry III., the Abbot of obtained

leave to keepe a markett in the Tuthill every Munday, and a faire every yeare, for

three

days.

Here, in ,

royal solemnities and goodly jousts were held

after the coronation of Queen Eleanor, consort of Henry III. centuries afterwards, the fields in the neighbourhood were used for appeals by combat; and Stow describes

a combate that was appointed to have been fought

the ,

in Trinity Terme,

1571

,

for a

certain manour or demaine lands,

in the Isle of Harty,

adjoining to the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent,

and for which

it was thought good,

says the historian, that

the Court should sit in Tuthill Fields, where was prepared

one

plot of ground,

one

and

twenty

yardes square, double railed, for the combate, without the

West Square

.

In the time of Nicholas Culpepper, the author of the well-known

Herbal,

these fields were famous for their parsley. In ()

the trained bands of London,

Westminster

,

&c., to the number of , we are told,

drew out into Tuttle Fields.

Here, too, were built the

Five

Houses,

or

Seven

Chimneys,

as pest-houses for victims to the plague, and in many of those who had fallen victims to that direful scourge were buried here. Under date of , Samuel Pepys writes in his

Diary:

--

I was much troubled this day to hear at

Westminster

how the officers do bury the dead in the open Tuttle Fields,

pretending want of room elsewhere; whereas the New Chapel churchyard was walled in at the publick charge in the last plague-time, merely for want of room, and now none but such as are able to pay dear for it can be buried there.

Here, a short while previously, some

1,200

Scotch prisoners, taken at the battle of Worcester,

were interred; for in the accounts of the churchwardens of , , there is the payment of

thirty shillings

for

sixty-seven

loads of soil laid on the graves of

Tothill Fields

, wherein,

it is added,

the Scotch prisoners are buried.

Some of the Scotch were

driven like a herd of swine,

says Heath's

Chronicle,

through

Westminster

to Tuthill Fields,

and there sold to several merchants, and sent to the island of Barbadoes.

The

Five

Houses,

if we may trust the retained much of their primitive appearance in .

With the moss and lichens growing on the roofs and walls, and their generally old-fashioned quaintness, a very small stretch of the imagination removed the buildings which had surrounded them even then, and brought them once more into the open ground. They marked the site of a battery and breastwork when the fortifications around the cities of London and

Westminster

were hurriedly thrown up in

1642

, by an order of Parliament. This battery is marked as about midway between the

Chelsea Road

and the bank of the river opposite

Vauxhall

.

The Pest Houses were built by Lord Craven as a lazaretto for the reception of the victims of the Great Plague which preceded the Fire of London. We have already mentioned this nobleman in our account of Craven House, ; and it deserves to be recorded to his credit that at that awful season he was not satisfied with building this hospital, but that he sheltered many of the sufferers by that disease who had no residences except in the doomed city, remaining himself on the spot,

with the same coolness with which he had fought the battles of his mistress, the Queen of Bohemia,

in order to maintain order and to mitigate the horrors of the scene.

These

pest-houses

consisted of a row of redbrick buildings, and were erected at a cost of . At the beginning of the last century they were made into almshouses for aged married people. Some remains of them are-or were recently--to be seen near .

Many a torch or lanthorn-lighted group of mysterious-looking figures have borne the litter of the stricken to this then solitary spot, not so much with hope of recovery, as from fear of spreading the dire infection by retaining them within the frighted and unhealthy town.

In connection with the surrounding fields, there are several incidents recorded illustrative of the days of old. Prior to the Statutes of Restraint, they were considered to be within the limits of the sanctuary of the Abbey.

In the century the people used to resort to a

Maze

in these same , which, according to an old writer, was

much frequented in the summer-time, in fair afternoons,

the fields being described as

of great use, pleasure, and recreation,

to the King's Scholars and neighbours. And Sir Richard Steele, writing in

The Tatler,

in , says,

Here was a military garden, a bridewell, and, as I have heard tell, a racecourse.

A bear-garden, kept by William Wells, stood upon the site of the present during the reign of Queen Anne. Mr. Mackenzie Walcott says that, as lately as , there was a famous bear-garden in these fields; and near resided Haverfield, a noted highwayman, who kept bears in his rooms as myrmidons. Down to as recent a period as , that most barbarous sport of bull-baiting occasionally took place here; and the days' fair, held in honour of St. Edward, was not finally discontinued till some time afterwards.

Upon the spot now occupied by , the men of used to practise at the

butts,

which were provided by the parish in the year , in obedience to an ordinance of Queen Elizabeth. In the beginning of the last century it is described as a large inclosure,

made use of by those who delight in military exercises.

The butts were a large mound of turf, and at them the volunteers used to shoot. They were close to the

Five

Chimneys.

The ground was inclosed within a ditch, and a

shooting-house

was provided for shelter and retirement. The actual butts were removed before the battle of Waterloo, and the name of

The Butts

has almost perished from the memory of the present generation, here as elsewhere.

The open

Tothill Fields

, as they were called,

observes a writer in the ,

existed in this state till

1810

, with a group of lonely cottages standing in their midst, when the note of preparation for an altered site might have been heard in the construction of the iron bridge at

Vauxhall

. Dr. Vincent had already inclosed a portion of the fields for the square which bears his name, and the

Westminster

Gas and Coke Company removed their offices, and commenced their new buildings in

the Horseferry Road

, on the site of the beforementioned nursery. In

1830

, the

Vauxhall

Road was not entirely built upon, and bits of the hedge-row

were still to be seen. Patches of greensward might as yet be observed beneath the litter of old iron, which Andrew Mann so liberally spread over any plot of waste ground; and the site of the present South Belgravia remained open marketgarden ground, intersected by bridle-paths, for some

ten

years subsequently. The present

Warwick Street

, uniting

Westminster

with

Chelsea

, occupies the precise site of the

Willow Walk.

, in the days of trial by wager of battle, was the place where the judges sat in all the majesty of their official robes, wigs; and gold chains, as arbiters of these encounters- of the last remnants of the barbarous laws of another age. It is related that in such a occurred in a combat between

two

theves.

The

paelour

(appellant) is described to have

hadde the felde and victory within

three

strokes.

This absurdity was not formally set aside until , when an Act of Parliament was passed forbidding all such trials both in civil and criminal matters.

was also, in the century, a celebrated duelling-ground; the last

affair of honour

fought there, of which we have any account, took place, it is said, in , when a Kentish gentleman, Sir Cholmley Dering, was killed by a Mr. Richard Thornhill--the fools fighting with pistols so near that the muzzles touched each other.

There is extant a curious etching, by Hollar, of as they were in the time of Charles I. They appear to be a dead level, broken on by a clump of trees in the centre, forming a sort of maze. The foreground is broken by a row of slight terraces, not unlike the

butts;

and some ladies are promenading leisurely, dressed in the fashionable costume of the day.

In an able article on this interesting locality, a writer in the , of , observes :--

The solitary character of this tract of land, spreading out to the

Chelsea Road

, beyond which lay the

Five Fields

extending to

Knightsbridge

, is illustrated by an incident not uncommon to the neighbourhood at a period when the highwayman would lie in ambush for the belated pedestrian, or for the chaise, which in this instance is conveying not the most loyal subjects of George II. from

one

of those political meetings when the

mug-house riots

were at their height. Such was the disturbed condition of society at this period, that

two

witnesses were sufficient for the immediate arrest of any party suspected of harbouring either Romish priest, or other of proven Jacobite politics, and great abuses were consequent upon this hasty legislation. The panic created by the rumoured march of the Highlanders, with the numerous party of the disaffected in London, kept the alarmed citizens wakeful in their beds; for the Highlanders were feared as a terrible race, and possibly no anticipated result had been surrounded with greater doubt and uncertainty, but that the energy of the King, backed as it was by the commercial interests of the Londoners, threw the balance in favour of the new dynasty. In the summer of

1745

,

two

adherents of the House of Stuart-

one

a young officer in the Pretender's army--had hired a chaise to convey them from

Westminster

to the then remote village of

Chelsea

. To avoid the rioting in the town, they had taken a route across the lessdisturbed fields. They had not proceeded very far, however, before

two

well-mounted men made their appearance, and so suddenly that had they risen out of the earth it could not have surprised them more. Both men wore masks; and whilst

one

of them stopped the postboy, the other rode up to the window of the chaise, and scrutinised the occupants within. The post-boy spoke in too low a tone to be heard by the travellers, but whatever might have been the nature of the conversation, it was sufficiently talismanic to relieve the party of their apprehensions. Making a sign to his companion, both men turned their horses' heads in the direction of the town, and the post-boy proceeded on his journey. Upon reaching their destination, they asked the

boy

who his rather suspiciouslooking friends were, to which he gave no answer, but upon being pressed again on the subject, said,

It's not much matter who they are, but they belong to those who don't care to meddle with Prince Charley's boys!

The mystery seemed now greater than before, and further inquiry might only have involved further difficulty. It was evident the post-boy knew too much, but in what manner he had become acquainted with their political bias it was impossible for them to conceive. Treating the matter, however, as a joke, and paying the boy handsomely, the matter ended, but their anxiety only terminated by their quitting London for the North. The widow of

one

of these gentlemen died in

1824

, at the advanced age of

ninety-five

years. After the amnesty, her husband, who fought at the battle of Culloden, had, in common with others, some curious restraints laid upon him,

one

of which was that he could not ride a horse of a higher value than

£ 10

without forfeiture of it to any

one

who chose to avail himself of the prohibition.

But this restraint was also imposed on all Roman Catholics in the and the early part of the eighteenth century.

On that part of which is now

p.17

covered by the and some neighbouring streets, was held, in ancient times, Fair, locally named

St. Magdalen's,

or

Magdalen's,

from the day on which it was celebrated. Mr. Frost, in his

Old Showmen of London,

tells us that it was established in , under a charter granted by Henry III. to the Abbot and Canons of . From the same authority we learn that the days to which it was originally limited were extended by favour of Edward III. to ; but the fair never proved a dangerous rival to that of St. Bartholomew's, in Smithfield, and gradually fell into discredit and disuse.

In the reign of Henry III., St. Edward's Fair, originally held in Churchyard, was removed hither, and in , the Abbot of was allowed to levy tolls upon all traders who sold their wares at the time, even within the precincts of the Palace. In was preserved in the muniment-room of , King Henry III.'s patent to the Abbot of , giving him leave to keep a market in Tothill every Monday, and a fair every year for days. The fair was held in , in the space between Emery Hill's Almshouses and the ground now occupied by the Church of St. Stephen the Martyr. The fair was in existence in , but died away gradually, previously to the general suppression of fairs in .

, which extends to the from the , near the west front of the Abbey, is the most ancient street in . It was at time inhabited by noblemen

and the flower of the gentry.

Here the Bishop of Chester was residing in , and in Lord Dudley rented a house here from the fraternity of St. Mary. Sir Andrew Dudley also lived and died here. At the north-west end of the street, in what is now called , were the residences of Lord Dacre of the South and Lord Grey de Wilton, as stated in the previous chapter. In Sir George Carew died at Carew House in this street; and in a house near the Gate House, at time towards the end of the last century, lived the famous Edmund Burke. Lincoln House was the office of the Revels, when Sir Henry Herbert was master in -. Southern, the dramatic poet, and author of

Oroonoko,

for the last years of his life, resided in , where he died in the year . The poet Gray, in a letter to Horace Walpole, dated Burnham, Bucks, , says,

We have old Mr. Southern at a gentleman's house a little way off, who often comes to see us. He is now

seventy

years old, and has almost wholly lost his memory; but is as agreeable an old man as can be-at least I persuade myself so, when I look at him, and think of

Isabella

and

Oroonoko.

He is said to have been wealthy, but very mean; he used to print tickets on his benefit nights, and press them for sale upon his aristocratic friends. Thomas Betterton, the actor, and friend of Pope, was born in this street.

In the reign of Elizabeth, there were houses on both sides of ; those on the north side had large gardens reaching to , and those upon the south had likewise extensive grounds, extending as far as . Very few houses were then built in (now ); a few detached residences appear on the south side only of ; and some villas in St. Anne's Lane, Pye Street, and , with gardens along a stream.

Most of the signs of the old inns of were either religious charges, or else the cognisances of sovereigns or of noblemen residing in the neighbourhood. Such were the

Salutation

(of the Blessed Virgin), in ; the

Maidenhead,

or, more properly, the

Maiden's Head

in other words, that of

Our Lady;

the

St. George and the Dragon,

the

Swan,

the

Antelope

(the badge of Henry V.), the

Sun

(that of Richard II.), and the

Blue Boar,

the cognisance of the Veres, Earls of Oxford. The

Chequers,

in , was the bearing of the Earls of Arundel, who at time were empowered by the king to grant licenses to public-houses. Hence the frequency of the

Chequers

as a sign, especially in , where it was constantly to be seen painted on the walls and door-posts of hostelries; and so the

needy knife-grinder

of Canning was neither the only nor the latest toper who has spent last night in this fair city

a drinking at the Chequers.

was so called after the old hostelry, noted as a resort for highwaymen,

The Swan with

Two

Necks.

The latter word is, as most persons know, a corruption from

nicks

the marks set upon the birds by the Lord Mayor, in his annual

swan-upping,

or, as it is called, vulgarly,

swan-hopping,

when he makes his yearly progress up the Thames to count the young cygnets and old swans within the civic jurisdiction.

of the oldest taverns in the metropolis, bearing the sign of [extra_illustrations.4.18.1]  surrounding a quaint old inn-yard, stood till , on the north side of . An ancient coat of arms, those of England and France carved in stone, discovered in this house, was walled up in the front of the building.

Tradition

writes Mr. Larwood in

p.18

his

History of Sign-boards,

says that the workmen employed at the building of the east end of

Westminster Abbey

, in the reign of Henry VII., used to receive their wages here.

Later, it enjoyed a reputation on quite another account, as having been the inn from which the stage-coach to Oxford started, some centuries ago. Those who knew the inn down to a very recent date say that in the back parlour there was a picture of a jolly and bluff-looking man in a red coat, who is said to have been its driver. The house was built so as to inclose a quaint and spacious inn-yard, much frequented by carriers, not unlike some of those still standing in and the Borough. The house in all probability was in former times
an inn of considerable importance, as its rafters and timbers were principally of cedar intermixed with oak. It was formerly entered by steps. The building exhibited traces of great antiquity, and appears at time to have been a house of some pretensions. There was a curious hidingplace on the staircase, which may have secreted either a

mass priest

or else a highwayman in the days when both were in open hostility to the law of the land. In the house was also formerly a massive carving of Abraham about to offer his son Isaac; and another, in wood, representing the adoration of the Magi, said to have been kept in pledge, at some remote period, for an unpaid score. The cock may have been adopted as a

p.19

p.20

sign here on account of the vicinity of the Abbey, of which St. Peter was the patron, for in the Middle Ages a cock crowing on the top of a pillar was often of the accessories in a picture of the Apostle. This certainly was a very unkind allusion for the saint, particularly when accompanied with such a sneering rhyme as that under the sign of the Red Cock in Amsterdam in . On the side was written :--

When the cock began to crow

St. Peter began to cry.

On the reverse:--

The cock does not crow for nothing;

Ask St. Peter, he can tell you!

The

Cock and Tabard

in is described by Stow as having existed as far back as the reign of Edward III. He also says that at this tavern the workmen were paid during the building of the Abbey, when the wages of most of the artificers did not exceed penny per day. On the demolition of the ancient inn, a new bearing the sign of the

Cock

was built on the opposite side of the street. Shortly after its erection, while some draymen were in the act of placing a supply of porter in the cellars, it was discovered that an additional wedge was required, and accordingly of the men looking round perceived a piece of oak, which had formed part of of the girders of the ancient building. This, it was conceived, would answer the purpose, if it could be riven asunder, and this process was accordingly pursued.

Much to the amazement, however, of all present,

we read in a newspaper account of the discovery,

in the course of the operation there suddenly emerged, from

one

of the mortise-holes or some other aperture, a considerable quantity of gold coins, consisting of fortyone rose nobles, and

thirteen marks

. The former coins were of the date of Edward III., the

first

reign in which gold coin was struck in this country. The marks were of the reign of Henry VII. and VIII.

The whole of the coin is stated to have been in an admirable state of preservation.

The north side of , at the present time (), is almost entirely taken up by a large building which is in course of erection, for the

Royal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Garden.

The ground occupies an irregular parallelogram of nearly acres, extending from to the corner of , and receding to the north nearly as far as the backs of the houses in . The edifice, which is being erected from the designs of Mr. Bedborough, is in the Classical style, constructed of red brick and Portland stone, with an arched roof of glass, similar in general plan to that of the Crystal Palace, though widely different in its details. It is storeys in height, and contains in the basement a great central tank of salt and fresh water, holding no less than gallons. On the ground floor, at the eastern end, is a large vestibule, or ante-chamber, leading to the central hall, or promenade, and containing a series of table-tanks for the reception of the smaller fish, the zoophytes, sea-anemones, and the like.

was in the last century called . In the New Way, not far from where the present Workhouse stands, resided the well-known Sir Robert Pye, from whom Old and New Pye Streets derive their names, and the husband of Anne Hampden, the

patriot's

daughter. The New Way Chapel stood, according to Hopwood's map of , at the west end of the , opposite the entrance to Jeffery's Buildings from : here the celebrated Calvinist, Romaine, used to preach, previous to his election as Lecturer of St. Dunstan's-in-the- West.

At this time,

says Mr. Mackenzie Walcott,

Dr. Wilson, then Rector of

St. Margaret's

, was a suitor at Court for a bishopric; and being asked by King George III.,

What news from his parish?

he replied that there was

that fellow Romaine, who had got a chapel in the New Way, and drew all his parishioners from the church.

The king quickly replied,

Well, we will make a bishop of him; that will silence him

During the last century, the Government rented the New Way Chapel from the Dean and Chapter, and the Guards attended divine service there for many years.

side of the is now nearly occupied by the station on the Metropolitan District Railway. Here James I. granted a hay-market to be held for a certain number of years; a further term was obtained by licence of Charles II., but it had expired long before . In a survey made in mention is made of

the White Horse and Black Horse Inns, for the entertainment of man and horse; there being none in the parish of St. Margaret, at

Westminster

, for stage-coaches, wagons, or carriers.

Dick Turpin, the notorious highwayman, it is said, lodged in an obscure court hard by, and used to set out from this place on his marauding expeditions, upon his famous mare, Black Bess, from which of these taverns took its name.

, in the , rebuilt in the Early Pointed style, and dedicated to our Lord, in , stands upon the site of a former edifice which was known as the New Chapel. It consists

p.21

of a chancel, with pentagonal apse, approached by a lofty flight of steps; a nave, with a lofty open timber roof, separated from the north and south aisles by cast-iron columns; and a tower (intended to receive a spire, to be feet high) attached to the north-west angle of the nave. The architect was Mr. A. Poynter. Several of the windows are filled with stained glass, the subjects being illustrative of the life of our Saviour. This New Chapel was erected upon a piece of waste ground belonging to the Dean and Chapter; its founder being Mr. George Darrell, Prebendary of , who, in the year , bequeathed to build it, provided it was used for

publick prayers on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and for prayers and plain catechisings on Sunday afternoons.

The bequest was insufficient to complete the building, and was therefore increased by voluntary subscriptions.[extra_illustrations.4.21.1] 

Archbishop Laud was a liberal contributor to this chapel, and in its churchyard was interred Sir William Waller, of the heroes of the Parliamentary army, who died in . In this burialground was a memorial of a parishioner, Margaret Batten, who was buried here in . Her portrait is preserved in Workhouse, in which she died (as asserted) at the advanced age of years.

, the thoroughfare running westward in continuation of the , was formerly known by the name of

Petty France

.

There were districts in this locality with foreign names, says Widmore-

Petty Calais,

where the woolstaplers principally resided; and

Petty France

,

where lived the French merchants, who came over to trade at the Staple. An Act of an interchange between the King and the Abbot of , in the reign of Henry VIII., mentions

a certain great message or tenement commonly called

Pety Caleys,

and all messuages, houses, barns, stables, dove-houses, orchards, gardens, pools, fisheries, waters, ditches, lands, meadows, and pastures.

The street received its present name, by a vote of the inhabitants, from Frederick, Duke of York, son of George II., who for some time had a residence among them.

Between and the narrow turning known as Ermin's or Hermit's Hill, stood until very recently a charitable institution- of a similar character to many others in this neighbourhood-known as the Almshouses, but more commonly as [extra_illustrations.4.21.2] . These houses contained, originally, rooms, to be inhabited rent free by as many poor women. They were founded in the reign of Elizabeth, under whom and whose predecessors Van Dun officiated as Yeoman of the Guard. His monument in , , has a good bust and the following inscription :--

Cornelius Van Dun lieth here, borne at Breda, in Brabant; soldier with King Henry at Turney, Yeoman of the Guard, and Vsher to King Henry, King Edward, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth: of honest and vertuous life, a careful man for poore folke, who in the end of this towne did build for poore widowes

twenty

houses at his own cost.

Round the figure is inscribed:--

Obijt anno Dom.

1577

, buried the

4 of September

,

aetatis suae

94

.

The tenements founded by Van Dun were of the smallest and plainest description. Not being endowed, they were appropriated to the parish pensioners of , . The site of these humble edifices was formerly called St. Hermit's Hill, probably from a cell or hermitage there situate. A chapel dedicated to is mentioned by Stow as standing near this spot,

wholly ruinated.

These almshouses retained much of their primitive character down to the year ; but the alterations in the neighbourhood since the building of the Station of the Metropolitan District Railway have at length swept them away. Stow, in his survey of London and , mentions them as standing upon

St. Hermit's

Hill; and in Rocque's map this hill is clearly marked as bordering on the fields. Even at the beginning of the last century this neighbourhood retained enough of its rural or suburban character for the churchyard of the New Chapel (now. ) to be considered the

pleasantest about London and

Westminster

.

The author of the article in the to which we have referred in the commencement of this chapter, observes that-

Some interest is awakened by the circumstance that the site on which these almshouses once stood was a spot sacred alike to the Briton, the Roman, and the Saxon. The

Thoth

of the Egyptian,

he argues,

is identical with the Hermes or Mercury of the Greek and Roman, as also with the Tuisco or Teut of the Saxon.

The hill

of

Hermes' and the

teuthill

of the Saxon are the same; and the name which Stow gives it, and by which it seems to have been known, is a curious coincidence, since the transition from

Hermes' to St. Hermit is not very difficult of solution. The mound once sacred to this tutelary divinity of merchants and wayfarers is now a heap of rubbish; the caduceus and petasus have taken refuge in the locomotive and telegraph hard by; but through the long vista of time perhaps

this transition is not greater than the annual setting up of the May-pole on the neighbouring village green, or the wayside inn and cottages with their gardens yet in the remembrance of the octogenarian.

[extra_illustrations.4.22.1] 

The house No. in occupies the site of the residence of John Milton, which was of the garden-houses for which the author of

Paradise Lost

appears to have had a preference. Part of the grounds have been walled up, and appropriated to the house formerly inhabited by Jeremy Bentham. The cotton willow-tree planted by the great poet was in a flourishing condition a few years back, although the trunk showed great signs of decay; it has now entirely disappeared, and in the place of the garden workshops and other buildings have sprung up. The present frontage of the house answers to No. in this street, but it is evident that the original front was that facing the Park. On this side Jeremy Bentham placed a small tablet, with the following inscription:--

Sacred to Milton, Prince of Poets.

In the old wall which bounded the garden on the Park side, opposite the house, were the indications of a door, long built up, which was probably used by Milton in passing between his house and during his intercourse with Cromwell in the capacity of Latin secretary. In the house itself the arrangement of the windows has been entirely changed. It is probable that they formerly extended along the whole front, with sliding frames or lattices, divided by panelled spaces. The original panelling remains in the large room on the floor. The upper rooms are small, and the staircase, which has not been altered, is steep and narrow. The ground-floor seems to have been comprised in large room, as the original fireplace was evidently situated about the centre of the wall on the west side. This was probably the family room, or compromise between kitchen and parlour, so common to the economy of houses of respectable pretensions in the olden time. This distinguished house was, in later years, the residence of William Hazlitt, the critic and essayist.

An American paper of stated that the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has recently received from the Hon. Benjamin Rush an original baluster or newel-post from the stairway of the house formerly inhabited by John Milton, the poet, accompanied by a water-colour sketch of the building, with the following certificate from the hand of the celebrated English jurist, Jeremy Bentham :--

A.D.

1821

,

August 15

. Sketch of a house for some time inhabited by John Milton. It is situated in

Westminster

, in the street then called

Petty France

, but on the occasion of the French Revolutionary War, newly named

York Street

, in horror of France and honour of the Duke of York. This sketch was this day taken from the garden attached to the residence of Jeremy Bentham, into which garden the house has a door, being, under the Dean and Chapter of

Westminster

, his property. From this house,

August 14th, 1821

, under the direction of the said Jeremy Bentham, was cut the balustrade pillar, composed of

four

twisted columns, presented by him, in company with this sketch, to his truly dear and highly-respected friend Richard Rush, Envoy Extraordinary to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Witness my hand,

Jeremy Bentham

.

In is [extra_illustrations.4.22.3] , known also by the name of [extra_illustrations.4.22.4] . It was founded and built in the year , under the will of Ann, widow of Gregory Fiennes, Lord Dacre, for the support of men and women, as pensioners; and also for boys and girls, with a master for the former and a mistress for the latter. The children, when educated and grown up, were formerly apprenticed to different trades. The buildings and gardens of the hospital occupy about and a half acres. The original buildings becoming decayed, the present almshouses were erected in the reign of Queen Anne, the chapel in that of George II., and the schoolrooms in the present century. In the Endowed Schools Commission successfully carried a

scheme

for the

reform

of the schools attached to the hospital. This institution, therefore, was the of the kind which the

reforming

tendencies of the age may be said to have touched. These schools afford a good middleclass education to children, selected from , , and the village of Hayes, near Uxbridge, and also from the City of London and Brandesburton, near Beverley, Yorkshire. All the children are fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated, free of all expense to their relatives. In the education of the girls domestic work has always occupied a prominent position.

The will of Lady Dacre, under which this hospital was established, has often been printed. The testatrix provides, after declaring that her husband in his lifetime, and herself, designed to erect a hospital for the poor in or its neighbourhood, that her executors, if she should not perform it before her decease, should cause to be erected

a neat and convenient house, with room of habitation for

twenty

poor folk and

twenty

poor children,

and that it should be entitled

Emmanuel Hospital.

She expresses her design

p.23

to be

the relief of aged people, and the bringing up of children in virtue and good and laudable arts, whereby they may the better live in time to come by their own honest labour,

and enjoins her executors to be humble suitors to the Queen for a charter of incorporation. Accordingly a charter was obtained in , ordaining

the house in Tuttle Fields an hospital for the poor, under the name of Emmanuel Hospital,

and appointing, after the decease of the last-surviving executor, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London governors in perpetuity. The terms of this charter, however, are somewhat peculiar and contradictory; whilst allowing the governors very direct authority in the management of the charity, it nevertheless entrusts the alms-people themselves with very considerable powers of self-government, and incorporates them as

a body corporate of themselves for ever.

This corporation is authorised

to purchase land, to grant leases, to have a common seal, to sue and be sued,

&c., to choose its own warden, and

to have the custody of all deeds, writings, and surplus moneys in the common chest provided in the chapel.

Practically, by custom, long disuse, and by an Act of Parliament passed in , this corporation is defunct, and the jurisdiction entirely in the hands of the aldermen as the governing body. The statutes of are interesting, as showing the kind of persons which, in the opinion of Lady Dacre's executors, ought to have preference as pensioners :--

1

. Decayed and distressed servants of Lady Dacre.

2

. Former servants of this family who have grown poor, lame, or diseased

in the service of their prince,

or

without their own fault.

3

. Any poor, honest, godly people past labour.

4

. Those born blind, or lamed, or disabled in the service of their prince.

5

. Those brought down from riches to poverty without their own fault.

The present inmates are entirely of the class. It would appear from the founder's will that she did not contemplate a school, but rather a cluster of industrial houses, in which each of the aged pensioners, in return for shelter and support, should

bring up and instruct in virtue, and good and laudable acts,

child. But,

as the present poor people are not capable of instructing children, the governors were of opinion that some honest and industrious clergyman who has a wife should be nominated and appointed to read prayers twice a day in the chapel, and instruct the children.

Accordingly the school was founded, and the clerical master appointed in . In the pensioners' allowance (originally only, and subsequently ) was increased to , and is now fixed at per annum.

In , the lease of the Brandesburton estate having fallen in, the. governors obtained an Act of Parliament to

increase and extend the objects of the charity.

out-pensioners were added to the almshouse branch, and the benefits of the inpensioners were increased by the addition of chaldrons of coals to their annual pension. In I the number of children was increased from to , which number was finally raised to , in , when the new schools were erected. In the chapel was enlarged, by the addition of an apex on the west side, to serve the purpose of a chancel. Before this time there had been no means of celebrating the holy communion. The altar-piece was purchased at the taking down of the church of St. Benet Fink, near the . The pulpit is of elaborately-carved oak, and apparently of the time of James I. Under an arch at the north end of the chapel is a small model of the tomb of the founder, Lady Dacre, in Church.

Of the masters of the hospital the only man of eminence was the Rev. William Beloe, the translator of Herodotus, who retained the office from to , when he was appointed Rector of Allhallows, , and Assistant Librarian in the .

The most valuable endowments of this ancient charity consist of the manorial estate of Brandesburton, the greater part of which parish belongs to the

poor of Emmanuel Hospital.

The aldermen of London, as

trustees of the poor of Emmanuel Hospital,

have been liberal and popular landlords. In they rebuilt the Brandesburton Schools, which had already been founded and endowed by a Yorkshire lady in the reign of George I.

In was passed the

Endowed Schools' Act,

bringing this and other hospital schools under the stern and reforming hands of the

Endowed Schools' Commission.

In this commission carried in Parliament a

scheme

for the reconstruction of this hospital, and the separation of the schools from the almshouse branch of the charity. Under the provisions of this scheme the endowments of hospital schools in were to be united under the management of body of governors, viz., Emmanuel, , Palmer's, and Emery Hill's hospitals. Out of these endowments it was proposed to establish large middle-class schools, namely, a boarding-school, to be erected within miles of London, and day-schools in , each providing accommodation for boys, of whom in each should pay a small sum for their education, whilst the other free places were to be reserved as

p.24

scholarships and exhibitions for deserving candidates, principally for those belonging to the public elementary day-schools of and . The governing body, or trustees, as at present constituted, consist of the Lord Mayor of London, the Aldermen, the Recorder, and elected inhabitants of . It may be added that the school will be as soon as possible removed into the country. The almshouse branch of the hospital is not touched by the above scheme, and - of the revenues of the charity is henceforth set aside for its support.

The hospital forms sides of a quadrangle, the side, opening to the street, being enclosed with iron railings and gates. The chapel has an enriched pediment, and is in the centre of the west side of the building.

On the north side of Emmanuel Hospital, and at the corner of and , is a Nonconformist edifice called Chapel, which was rebuilt in , from the designs of Mr. W. F. Poulton. In an architectural sense it is an adaptation of the Lombardic style to the requirements of a building in which convenient accommodation for a large number of persons, and the

best acoustical arrangements, were the main considerations. The chapel is constructed of brick, and, with its semicircular-headed windows and doorways, has an elegant appearance. The campanile, at the north-east corner, rises to a height of about feet. The interior is commodious and admirably adapted for the purpose for which it was built. There are galleries, the fronts of which are of open iron-work, supported on a wooden basement of such a height as to secure the advantages of an enclosed gallery front; the ends of the chapel are semi-circular. The ceiling is flat in the centre and coved at the sides; the whole being divided into panels by moulded ribs, springing at the base of the cove from semi-detached stone columns, which divide the wall in bays of equal width round the whole chapel. The coved part of the ceiling is groined between each bay in order to admit of the windows being continued above the caps of the columns.

The Infirmary, out of which originated, stood formerly on the east side of .

, which extends from to , is so called from its vicinity

p.25

to the Park. On the west side of this street was formerly Tart Hall, built in , by Nicholas Stone, for Alethea, Countess of Arundel, and belonging to the family of the Howards. It was the residence of William, Viscount Stafford, who was beheaded, on the evidence of Titus Oates, in the reign of Charles II. Having been used for some time as a place of entertainment, it was demolished early in the last century. The old gateway of Tart Hall, which stood till , was not opened after the condemned nobleman passed under it for the last time. According to Strype, the old hall was partly in the parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and partly in that of St. James's: we shall have more to say of it in a subsequent chapter. At the garden wall, on the site of which now stands , a boy was whipped annually, in order to keep the parish bounds in remembrance.

 

At No. in this street lived the poet, Richard Glover, whose song of

Hosier's Ghost

roused the nation to a war with Spain. Another distinguished writer who resided in was William Gifford, editor of the for the years of its existence: he died here in . His early history is prefixed to his translation of

Juvenal.

A native of Devonshire, and eminently a selfmade man, Gifford was a political writer and critic of no small influence in his lifetime. His early life was spent as a cabin-boy on board a little coastingvessel; but at the age of he was apprenticed to a shoemaker at Ashburton. In spite of a neglected education, his talents showed themselves in a strong thirst for knowledge. Mathematics at were his favourite study; and he relates that, in want of paper, he used to hammer scraps of

p.26

leather smooth, and work his problems on them with a blunt awl. Through the kindness of Mr. Cookesley and the Earl of Grosvenor, the poor friendless orphan was enabled ultimately to manifest his talents, and to gain admission into the most brilliant literary and political circles, members of which were Pitt, Canning, Lord Liverpool, and the Marquis of Wellesley.

In , at the house of Thomas Harley, occurred the secret interview between Harley and [extra_illustrations.4.26.1] -who, we are informed, entered by the garden door at the back of the house looking into the Park-when Harley discovered the existence of the secret negotiations between the French King and the General, a discovery which placed Marlborough's life in the Minister's hands.

 
 
Footnotes:

[extra_illustrations.4.18.1] The Cock

[extra_illustrations.4.21.1] St. James, Westminster

[extra_illustrations.4.21.2] Van Dun's Almshouses

[extra_illustrations.4.22.1] Carving from Doorway of Emmanuel Hospital

[extra_illustrations.4.22.3] Emmanuel Hospital

[extra_illustrations.4.22.4] Lady Dacre's Almshouses

[extra_illustrations.4.26.1] the Duke of Marlborough

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Chapter I: Westminster: A Survey of the City: Millbank, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter II: Westminster.-Tothill Fields and Neighbourhood
 Chapter III: Westminster.-King Street, Great George Street, and the Broad Sanctuary
 Chapter IV: Modern Westminster
 Chapter V: St. James's Park
 Chapter VI: Buckingham Palace
 Chapter VII: The Mall and Spring Gardens
 Chapter VIII: Carlton House
 Chapter IX: St. James's Palace
 Chapter X: St. James's Palace (continued)
 Chapter XI: Pall Mall
 Chapter XII: Pall-Mall.-Club-Land
 Chapter XIII: St. James's Street.-Club-Land (continued)
 Chapter XIV: St. James's Street and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XV: St. James's Square and its Distinguished Residents
 Chapter XVI: The Neighbourhood of St. James's Square
 Chapter XVII: Waterloo Place and Her Majesty's Theatre
 Chapter XVIII: The Haymarket
 Chapter XIX: Pall Mall East, Suffolk Street, &c.
 Chapter XX: Golden Square and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXI: Regent Street and Piccadilly
 Chapter XXII: Piccadilly.-Burlington House
 Chapter XXIII: Noble Mansions in Piccadilly
 Chapter XXIV: Piccadilly: Northern Tributaries
 Chapter XXV: Hanover Square and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXVI: Berkeley Square, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXVII: Grosvenor Square, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXVIII: May Fair
 Chapter XXIX: Apsley House and Park Lane
 Chapter XXX: Hyde Park
 Chapter XXXI: Hyde Park (continued)
 Chapter XXXII: Oxford Street, and its Northern Tributaries
 Chapter XXXIII: Oxford Street.-Northern Tributaries (continued)
 Chapter XXXIV: Oxford Street, and its Northern Tributaries (continued)
 Chapter XXXV: Oxford Street East.-Northern Tributaries
 Chapter XXXVI: Oxford Street: Northern Tributaries.-Tottenham Court Road
 Chapter XXXVII: Bloomsbury.-General Remarks
 Chapter XXXVIII: The British Museum
 Chapter XXXIX: The British Museum (continued)
 Chapter XL: The British Museum (continued)
 Chapter XLI: Bloomsbury Square and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XLII: Red Lion Square, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XLIII: Queen Square, Great Ormond Street, &c.
 Chapter XLIV: Russell and Bedford Squares, &c.
 Chapter XLV: Gordon and Tavistock Squares, &c.
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--Description and Travel
London --England
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/14824
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00063
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights