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Title: The Memorials of the Hamlet of Knightsbridge

Author: Henry George Davis

Editor: Charles Davis

Release date: May 19, 2014 [eBook #45695]

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the 1856 J. Russell Smith edition by David Price. Many thanks to Royal Kensington Libraries for allowing their copy to be used for this transcription


Transcribed from the 1856 J. Russell Smith edition by David Price, email  Many thanks to Royal Kensington Libraries for allowing their copy to be used for this transcription.

Knightsbridge—The site of Albert Gate


With Notices of its Immediate Neighbourhood.













p. iiLONDON:

p. iiiPREFACE.

In presenting the Memorials of Knightsbridge to the public, apology must be made for the delay in its appearance since the announcement of its intended publication.  This was occasioned by the sudden and protracted illness of its Editor: since his restoration, he has prosecuted the work with all the diligence which his time permitted.

The book is published in the hope that its critics may treat its Author kindly, since the brain that indited it is, alas! no more.  It is the result of great assiduity and perseverance amidst peculiar difficulties, and was only completed just before the death of the compiler, who, towards its close, had laboured at it with greater energy than his weakened frame ought properly to have borne.

The immediate motive for publication was the Editor’s regard, it might almost be termed veneration, for its writer, seconded by favourable opinions expressed by several literary gentlemen who perused the manuscript, and knowledge that many notices by the same hand had already appeared in “Notes and Queries,” “The West Middlesex Advertiser,” and the various local papers that have occasionally been published in the neighbourhood.

The work was written from notes made at various times, some having been taken when its author was yet a boy.  It may therefore be described as the labour of his short and painful life; and it was felt that so long as the result p. ivof his application was laid aside, so long did the Editor’s duty to his brother remain unperformed.

As some little notice of our historian may be desirable, the following sketch is subjoined:—

Henry George Davis was born at 4, Mill’s Buildings, on August 14th, 1830.  While an infant he had severe inflammation of the lungs, which afterwards became confirmed pleurisy.  He was educated at the Philological School in the New Road.  Of this Institution he was to the last fond and proud.  Having carried off many of its prizes, he always felt an identity with it.  He was of a studious inclination—a disposition doubtless fostered by his infirmities; for he was never able to join in the sports of his fellows.  As he arrived at manhood, his disease (increased in 1850 by rheumatic fever) became much more severe, and finally released his soul “to its Almighty source” on the 30th of December, 1857.

The Editor has to acknowledge obligations to O. B. Cole, Esq.; to the author of “Paddington, Past and Present;” to the Rev. M. Walcot, of “The Memorials of Westminster;” Mr. Cunningham, of “The Handbook of London;” Mr. Faulkner’s works; and to those sundry publications the name of which is given with each quotation.  He hopes his readers may have that enjoyment in the perusal of the following History which was had in the providing of it for them.


St. Paul’s Schools, Knightsbridge, June, 1859.





Chap. I.



Chap. II.

Historical Associations


Chap. III.

Modern Parochial Divisions: The Streets, Public Buildings, &c.  Their Associations, Eminent Inhabitants, &c.


Chap. IV.



Chap. V.

The Sub-District of St. Barnabas


Chap. VI.

Social and Political Summary





Allen, John


Bennett, Rev. W. J. E.


Bensley, Richard


Birkhead Family


Blessington, Lady


Bellamy, G. A.


Bernal, Ralph


Bowles, Carrington


Broughton, Dr.


Buckingham, Anecdote of Duke of


Burton, Judge

115 & 185

Carlisle, Frederick Earl of


Caulfield, General


Chardin, Sir John


Cheselden, Mr.


Chudleigh, Miss


Clarendon, Hyde, Earl of


Clarke, Mrs.


Corbaux, Miss


Cornellys, Mrs.


Cromwell, Family of


p. viDanvers, Family of


Derwentwater, Countess of


De Dunstanville, Lord


D’Oliveyra, Francis Xavier


D’Orsay, Count


Duncan, Sir H.


Egremont, Lord


Every, John


Eyre, Major Robert


Foote, Anecdote of


Gamble, Rev. J.


Gardiner, Sir R.


Gascoigne, Mrs.


George IV., Anecdote of


Grant, General Sir W. K.


Guthrie, Mr.


Harness, Rev. W.


Harrison, Thomas


Hawke, Honourable Miss


Higgins, Mr. M. J.


Howard of Escrick, Lord


Howard, Major


Humphry, Ozias


Humphrey, Sir William


Hunter, John


Inchbald, Mrs., Anecdote of


Jones, Gentleman


Lanesborough, Lord


Laremar, William


Lenthall, Sir John


Lens, Bernard


Lewis, Sir G. C.


Lewis, Lady Theresa


Lewis, William Thomas


Liddell, Hon. and Rev. R.


Liston, John


Liston, Mrs.


Louis Napoleon


Madan, Rev. M.


Maitland, Sir P.


Marsh, Charles


Marshall, J.


Miller, Robert


Milner, Isaac


Molesworth, Sir W.


Morgan, Lady


Morgann, Maurice


Morland, Sir Samuel


Morison, Dr.


Munster, Earl of


Murphy, Arthur


Nell Gwynne


Orrery, Countess of


Ossory, Lady


Penn, William


Pennington, Rev. Thos.


Pettigrew, Dr. W. V.


Pickett, William


Read, John


Reynolds, Sir Joshua


Richmond, Rev. Legh

226 & 240

Rodwell, H.

191 & 264

Rutland, John, Duke of


Ryland, W. W.


Skelton, William


Soyer, Mons.


p. viiStirling, E.


Telfair, Cortez and James


Thornton, Henry


Thornton, James


Trevor, Sir John


Trotter, Thomas


Troubridge, Sir T.


Tytler, P. F.


Underwood, Dr. M.


Vandervelde, Cornelius


Villiers, Hon. George


Wakefield, Edward


Walcot, Rev. M.


Walpole, Robert


Ward, Seth


Warner, Captain


Wellesley, Marquis of


Wellington, Anecdote of Duke of


Wilberforce, William

137 & 241

Wilkes, John


Wilkie, Note on


Wright, Dr. Richard


Yarmouth, Countess of



Albert Gate


All Saints’ Church


Avery Farm Row


Baber’s Floor-cloth Factory




Belgrave Chapel


Belgrave Square


Belgrave Street, Upper


Blomfield Terrace


Bridge, The


Brompton Park Nursery


Brompton Road


Cake House, The


Cannon Brewhouse, The


Cavalry Barracks


Chapel Street


Chatham House


Chelsea Bun House


Chesham Place and Street


Chester Street


College of St. Barnabas


Commercial Road, The


Compasses, The


Downing’s Floor-cloth Factory


Dwarf, The


Eaton Place


Eaton Place West


Eaton Square


Eden Lodge


Ennismore Place and Terrace


Feathers, The


Five Fields, The


p. viiiFort at Hyde Park Corner


Fox and Bull, The


Gore House


Graham Street


Grosvenor Canal


Grosvenor Crescent


Grosvenor House


Grosvenor Place

218, 232

Grosvenor Row


Grove House


Half-Way House


Halkin Street


Halkin Street West


Hamilton Lodge


High Road


High Row


Hospital for Soldiers


Hospital, the Lock


Hyde Park


Hyde Park Corner


Infantry Barracks


Jenny’s Whim


Jenny’s Whim Bridge


Kensington Gore


Kent House


Kingston House


Kinnerton Street


Knightsbridge Green


Knightsbridge Grove


Knightsbridge Schools


Knightsbridge Terrace


Lanesborough House


Lazar House


Lock Chapel


Lock Hospital


Lowndes Square


Lowndes Street


Lowndes Terrace


Marble Arch, The


Mercer Lodge


Mills’ Buildings


Montpelier Square


New Street


Osnaburg Row


Park House


Park Side


Prince’s Gate


Queen’s Buildings


Queen’s Head, The


Queen’s Row


Ranelagh Grove


Ranelagh Terrace


Receiving House, Royal Humane Society


Ring in Hyde Park, The


Rising Sun, The


Rose and Crown, The


Rotten Row


Rutland Gate


Rutland House


St. Barnabas College


St. George’s Hospital


St. George’s Place


St. Paul’s Church


„ „ Appendix


St. Paul’s Schools, Append.


p. ixSt. Peter’s Church


Serpentine, The


South Place


Spring Gardens


Star and Garter, The


Statue of Achilles, The


Stratheden House


Stromboli House


Swan, The




Trevor Chapel


Trevor Square


Trevor Terrace


Trinity Chapel


Trinity Chapel (Appendix)


Upper Belgrave Street


Upper Ebury Street


Westbourne, The


Westbourne Place


Westbourne Street


White Hart, The


White House, The


William Street


Wilton Crescent


Wilton Place


Wilton Street


York Hospital, The





Act for Building Albert Gate (Appendix)


Address to Liston by Rodwell


Anecdote connected with the Duke of Wellington


Assassination, Intended, of William III.


Bad State of the Roads


Boscobel Oak, Trees from


Cattle ordered to be Slaughtered at Knightsbridge


Churchwardens of St. Paul’s


Club at the Fox and Bull


Cromwell Tradition, The (Appendix)


Cross-road Burial, The last


Dangers of the Five Fields


Derivation of Name


Description of Communion-plate at Chapel


p. xDiscovery of Curious Relics

34 and 153

Discovery of Human Remains at Fox and Bull


Duel between Hamilton and Mohun


Enlargement of the Chapel


Establishments similar to Lazar House


Extracts from the Chapel Accounts


Extracts, Curious, from Chapel Baptismal Registrars


Extracts, Curious, from Chapel Marriage Registrars

69 and 73

Geology of Knightsbridge


Government of Knightsbridge


Grant to Lazar House by James I.


Historical Anecdotes of Hyde Park Corner


Impromptu on Gore House


Innkeepers of Knightsbridge


Knightsbridge Volunteers


Knightsbridge a Family Name (Appendix)


Letter to Liston by Mathews, and reply

193 and 194

Letter to Earl Bathurst by Sheriff Waithman


Local Family Names


Manor and Parochial Divisions

4 and 48

Marriage Statistics of Knightsbridge Chapel


Ministers of Knightsbridge Chapel


Olden Time, The


Parochial Divisions


Patients discharged from Lazar House


Perambulation Festivities


Pimlico, Origin of Name of


Population of Knightsbridge


Reminiscence of the Compiler (Note)


Ditto of Shelley’s first Wife


Reputation of the Chapel for Suspicious Marriages


Restoration of Knightsbridge Chapel

58 and 61

Reviews in Hyde Park


p. xiRiots at Knightsbridge


Salubrity of Knightsbridge


State Visits to French Embassy


Tradition of Cæsar Crossing the Thames


Trees from the Boscobel Oak


Water Supply


Wyatt’s Insurrection Quelled


William III., Intended Assassination of





Knightsbridge, the Site of Albert Gate


The Westbourne, from the Park


Colours of the Knightsbridge Volunteers


Trinity Chapel


St. Paul’s Church


The Westbourne, looking north from Knightsbridge


The Cake House


Fort at Hyde Park Corner


Oak planted by Charles II.


Hyde Park Corner, 1824


Queen’s Buildings


Half-Way House


Lanesborough House


The Lock Hospital


Lock Chapel



Page 235, line 19, for “Grosvenor Row” read “Grosvenor Place.” [0]


“Instructed by the Antiquary Times,
We are, we must, we cannot but be wise.”


Knightsbridge and Pimlico form the only suburbs west of the metropolis, whose history remains unwritten.  This neglect, perhaps, is owing to the fact that neither place, till of late, assumed sufficient importance to attract the topographical writer; nevertheless, I trust the following pages will show that Knightsbridge is far from destitute of associations deserving to be recovered and saved from the ravages of time.

The derivation of its name is somewhat obscure: the earliest mention of the place I am acquainted with occurs in a charter of p. 2Edward the Confessor, in which it is called Kyngesbyrig; in one of Abbot Herbert of Westminster, nearly a century later, it is spelt Knyghtsbrigg.  It is similarly written in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Edward III.  The difficulty lies in the transposition from “Kyngesbyrig” to “Knyghtsbrigg.”  The former sufficiently indicates its origin; and to avoid perplexity tradition comes opportunely to our aid, to point out the latent allusion in the latter.

Knightsbridge, of course, must have its legend.  No place in the kingdom exists but must have some story to tell; and if it cannot show a castle built by Cæsar, and battered down by Cromwell, recourse must be had elsewhere for such.  Well, then, our legend tells, that in some ancient time certain knights had occasion to go from London to wage war for some holy purpose: light in heart, if heavy in arms, they passed through Knightsbridge on their way to receive the blessing awarded to the faithful by the Bishop at Fulham.  From some cause, however, a quarrel ensued between two of the band, and a combat was determined on to decide the dispute.  They fought on the p. 3bridge which spanned the stream, while from its banks the struggle was watched by their partisans.  Both, the legend tells, fell; and ever after the place was called Knightsbridge, in remembrance of their fatal feud.

If this old story, which I many times have heard related, has tempted us into the realms of fancy for awhile, another derivation of a totally opposite kind will speedily drive us therefrom; according to this, the name comes from the word “Neat,” signifying cattle, and refers to a time when beasts for the London citizens were ordered to be slain here.

And, again, a commentator of Norden, the topographer, gives the following anecdote, which it has been thought may account for the name:—“Kingesbridge, commonly called Stonebridge, near Hyde Park Corner, where I wish no true man to walk too late without good guard, as did Sir H. Knyvett, Knight, who valiantly defended himself, there being assaulted, and slew the master-thief with his own hands.” [3]

Against these two proposed derivations, however, it must be answered that the place was p. 4called “Knyghtsbrigg” in Herbert’s charter long before the time to which either of these circumstances apply.  Edward the Confessor owned lands here, and probably built a bridge for the convenience of those monks to whom he devised a part of them; hence the name Kingsbridge.  Having nothing recorded whereby we can account for the change to Knightsbridge, we can only surmise that it was caused by corruption of the name, or that there may be some foundation, other than the story of the brave Knyvett, for the legend I have related.


The land constituting this district appears to have belonged originally to King Edward the Confessor.  There is, in the British Museum, a charter still preserved, a translation of which was printed by Mr. Faulkner, in which, giving to the church at Westminster the manor of Cealchyth (Chelsea), with various emoluments and privileges, the charter proceeds—“Besides, together with this manor, every third tree, and every horse load of fruits, grown in the neighbouring p. 5wood at Kyngesbyrig, which, as in ancient times, was confirmed by law.”  This is the earliest mention of Knightsbridge recorded; the land referred to is now occupied by Lowndes-square and its neighbourhood.

Knightsbridge is not mentioned in Doomsday Book, neither is Westbourn, Hyde, nor Paddington; and it is most likely that the returns for these places are given with the surrounding manors of Eia, Chelchith, Lilestone, &c.  Eia was confirmed to the Abbey of Westminster by William the Conqueror, and included the land between the Tyburn on the east, the Westbourn on the west, the great military road (Oxford-street) on the north, and the Thames on the south.  Yet, although given thus early to the Abbey, it was not included in the franchise of the city of Westminster, notwithstanding Knightsbridge, which chiefly lay beyond it, was so included; for, in 1222, a dispute having arisen between the Bishop of London and the Abbot of Westminster, respecting their ecclesiastical jurisdiction, it was referred to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Winchester and Salisbury, and the Priors of Merton and Dunstable; and they p. 6decided that the Tyburn stream was the limit of St. Margaret’s parish westward; adding, however, that, “beyond these bounds the districts of Knightsbridge, Westbourn, Padyngton with its chapel, and their appurtenances, belong to the parish of St. Margaret aforesaid.”  Part of Knightsbridge still belongs to St. Margaret’s, and it is most probable that some great proprietor living in that parish owned lands here, and hence, in old assessments, such became to be reckoned component parts of the parish.

In the Confessor’s charter the mention of “the wood at Kyngesbyrig” gives, I consider, an index to what the state of the place was then.  It doubtless formed a portion of the great forest which Fitzstephen describes as belting the metropolis.  It owned no lord, and the few inhabitants enjoyed free chase and other rights in it.  In 1218 it was disafforested by order of Henry III., whom we afterwards find owned lands here; and in the reign of his son, Edward I., Knightsbridge, according to Lysons, is mentioned as a manor of the Abbey.

The monks of Westminster gradually acquired other lands here, additional to those granted by the Confessor.  At Westbourn also p. 7they had lands, as the decree of 1222 proves; how possession of them was gained is not, however, known.  These properties the monks erected into a manor, called “The Manor of Knightsbridge and Westbourn;” and by such name it is still known.  The whole of the isolated part of St. Margaret’s, including a part of Kensington, its palace and gardens, are included in the manor of Knightsbridge.

That there was a suspicion of the integrity of the monks’ proceedings, however, we have proof in the fact that, in the twenty-second year of the reign of Edward I. (1294–5), a writ of Quo Warranto was issued to Abbot Walter of Wenlock, to inquire “by what authority he claimed to hold the Pleas of the Crown, to have free warren, a market, a fair, toll, a gallows, the chattels of persons condemned, and of runaways, the right of imprisonment,” and various other similar privileges, as well as “the appointment of coroner in Eye, Knythbrigg, Chelcheheth, Braynford, Padyngton, Hamstede, and Westburn,” &c.; to which he answered, that these places were “members” of the town of Westminster, and that King Henry III. had granted to God and the church p. 8of St. Peter of Westminster, and the monks therein, all his tenements, and had commanded that they hold them with all their liberties and free customs, &c.; and he produced the charter proving the same.

Such was the reply of Abbot Walter of Wenlock, who appears, however, to have been by no means over chary of the ways by which he could bring wealth to his abbey; for we find that, in the twelfth year of Edward II., his successor, Richard de Kedyngton, was fined ten pounds because he (Abbot Walter) had appropriated lay fees in Knythbrigg, Padyngton, Eye, and Westbourne, without licence of the king.  We also find that in the same reign two inquisitions were held to ascertain what, if any, injury the king would sustain if certain properties were allowed the Abbey:—

Inquisitio ad quod damnum 9: Edw. II., No. 105.

“Inquisition made before the Escheator of the Lord the King at the church of St. Mary Atte Stronde, on Thursday next, after the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, in the ninth year of the reign of King Edward, by the Oath of Robert de Aldenham, Alexander p. 9de Rogate, Nicholas de Curtlyng, John de la Hyde, Walter Fraunceis, William de Padinton, Hugh le Arderne, William Est, Arnold le Frutier, Simon le Brewere, Roger de Malthous, and Roger le Marshall, junior—who say, upon their oath, that Walter de Wenlock, lately Abbot of Westminster, had acquired to himself and his House one messuage with appurtenances in Knygthebregge of William le Smyth of Knygthebregge, and four acres of land there of William Brisel and Asseline his wife, and nine acres of land there of William Hond, and twelve acres of land in Padinton of William de Padington, and three and a-half acres in Eye of Hugh le Bakere of Eye, and thirteen acres of land in Westbourn of John le Taillour, and eleven acres of land there of Matilda Arnold, and two acres of land there of Juliana Baysebolle, after the publication of the statute edited concerning the nonplacing of lands in Mortmain and not before.  And they say that it is not to the damage nor prejudice of the Lord the King, nor of others, if the King grant to the Prior and Convent of Westminster, that the Abbots of that place, for the time being, may recover and hold the aforesaid p. 10messuages and land to them and their successors for ever.  And they say that the aforesaid messuage is held of the said Abbot and Convent by service of a yearly rent of sixpence, and of performing suit at the Court of the said Abbot and Convent, and of finding one man for ten half-days to mow the Lord’s meadow, price fifteen-pence; and one man for ten half-days to hoe the Lord’s corn, price tenpence; and of doing seven ploughings, price three shillings and sixpence; and of finding one man for ten half-days to reap the Lord’s corn, price fifteen-pence; and of making seven carriages to carry the Lord’s hay, price three shillings and sixpence; and performing suit at the Court of the said Abbot from three weeks to three weeks.  And they say that the aforesaid fifty-four acres and a-half of land are worth by the year, in all issues over and above the aforesaid services, nineteen shillings and sixpence.  In witness of which thing the aforesaid jurors have set their seals to this inquisition.”

Endorsed twenty shillings and sixpence. [10]

This sum due to the king and paid to him, shows that he still retained some right or other p. 11over the lands mentioned.  But this inquest does not seem to have given satisfaction to all, for three years after, another was held before the king’s escheator and a jury, concerning the same lands; the return was, however, in the main similar to that of the first inquiry, a fine of ten pounds being thereupon paid to the king.

But as early as the reign of Henry I. some lands at Knightsbridge belonging to the Abbey had been aliened from it—one Godwin, a hermit at Kilburn, having given his hermitage there to three nuns; Abbot Herbert not only confirmed the grant, but augmented it with lands at Cnightebriga, [11] and a rent of thirty shillings.  The charter states the land to be granted with the consent of the whole “chapter and council,” to the holy virgins of St. John the Baptist, at Kilburn, for the repose of the soul of King Edward, founder of the Abbey, “and for the souls of all their brethren and benefactors.”

The next mention of this place occurs in a record dated 1270 (54 Henry III.), when an p. 12inquisition was held to ascertain whether two acres of land, &c., at “Kingesgor between Knytesbrigg and Kensington” were of the ancient demesne of the Crown or of escheat, its extent, value, &c.  The jury returned that the land was of the ancient demesne of the Crown, and not of escheat, that it contained three acres, of which the Sheriffs of Middlesex had received the issues, and was worth by the acre twelve-pence per annum, and that such land belonged to the farm of the city of London.

Part of the Hamlet of Knightsbridge was within the manor of Eia, the boundaries of which I have described.  It included, with others, all the lands now forming the parish of St. George, Hanover-square, and was given to the Abbey, in 1102, by Geoffry de Mandeville, in consideration of the privilege allowed him of the burial of his wife Athelais in the cloisters of the Abbey.  In Doomsday Book it answers for ten hides, but was afterwards divided into the three manors of Neyte, Eybury, and Hyde.  Neyte is mentioned as early as 1342 in a commission of sewers, and was near the Thames; Hyde, with lands taken from Knightsbridge, afterwards formed Hyde Park.  All these p. 13manors were enjoyed by the Abbey till the Reformation, and at that tremendous crisis they reverted to the king.

In the account rendered to the king by the ministers appointed to receive the revenues of the religious houses on their dissolution, the value of the manor of Knightsbridge and Westbourn is thus given:—






Knyghtsbrydge et Westborne

Firm’ Terr’




Knyghtebrydge, Kensyngton, et Westbourne






Pquis Cur



In the “Monasticon Anglicanum,” vol. i., p. 326, it is thus entered:—





Maniu de Knyghtebridge et Westbourne Firm’ Terr’




Westborne, Knightsbridge, et Kensington, Man Redd et Firm




Pquis Cur



Kilburn Priory was returned as of the value of seventy-four pounds, seven shillings, and eleven-pence; and by the provisions of 27 Henry VIII., chap. 28, all its possessions went to the king.  By an act passed in the next session (28 Henry VIII., c. 38) its lands were exchanged by the king with Sir William Weston, Prior of the Hospital of St. John of p. 14Jerusalem, for his manor of Paris Garden, Southwark.  This act recites the indenture relating to this exchange, describing the property very fully. [14]  After specifying the site of the priory, the Act proceeds—“and all other the demayne londes of the sayde late Pryory lyeing and beying in Kylborne aforesayde, Hamstede, Padyngton, and Westborn, in the sayde countie;” “the hedge rowes rounde aboute Gorefeld and Goremede” are stated as “conteyning, by estimacon, xj acres and a half acre, and xxti rodes,” &c.

The manors of Eybury, Neyte, and Hyde, were, with other Abbey lands, exchanged with the king for the dissolved Priory of Hurley, Berkshire, and the exchange was confirmed by Act of Parliament 28 Henry VIII., c. 49.

In the Valor Ecclesiasticus, taken by command of King Henry VIII. in 1535, the following entries relating to these manors also appear:—

“Repris ex offic Sacrist dei Monasterii
   Reddit’ resolut’ videlt
Manerio de Eybury p. iijlz acr’ terr in Eyfelde per
               annum iiij.”

p. 15“Repris’ ex offic Novi opis

Reddit’ resolut’ annuat’ de divs terr et tenements predict videlt.





Prioresse de Kilborne exeunt de




Manerio de Eybery exeunt de




Cust capelle b~te Marie monaster predict p divs terris apud Knightsbridge




Et manerio de Ebery pro manerio de Hide




“Repris ex offic sellarar

Reddit’ resolut’ annuat’ &c.

Dict manerij de Eybury pro terr voc Marketmede




Notwithstanding the Reformation, Knightsbridge was still reserved to the Abbey, and in the hands of its deans and chapters it has ever since remained, excepting during the alienation of church lands in the seventeenth century, when it became the property of Sir George Stonehouse.  The lands at the Gore, and near to it, passed into various lay hands, and will be hereafter more fully noticed.

The manor of Eybury also passed into lay hands.  In the Act 28, Henry VIII. c. 49, it is stated as lately in the occupation of Richard Whashe; and a person of that name rented the more considerable part of it known as Ebury p. 16Farm in 1592, direct from Queen Elizabeth.  Other portions of the manor were similarly rented by persons who underlet the land again, thereby occasioning great wrong to the inhabitants at large—for notwithstanding the great length of time these lands had been in priestly possession, the people, in some measure, appear to have maintained a claim over them, and considerable portions were always laid open for use in common at Lammas-tide (Aug. 1).  This ancient right these lessees under the Queen appear to have been determined to resist, and enclosed the fields with gates and hedges, on which the inhabitants appealed, in 1592, to Lord Burleigh, High Steward of Westminster, for his interference in their behalf.  He ordered Mr. Tenche, his under-steward, to empanel an inquest; and the decision of the jury being favourable to the petitioners, they, thinking they should have Lord Burleigh’s countenance, proceeded on Lammas-day to assert their rights.  The gates were pulled down, and the fences cut away, on which the tenants appealed on their part to Burleigh, who, again referring the matter to Mr. Tenche, that functionary, after inquiry, replied, that “certain of the parishioners of p. 17St. Martin’s and St. Margaret’s assembled together,” and made an entry into their “ancient commons” by making “a small breach in every enclosure;” that some of those assembled “were of the best and ancientest of the parishes; that they carried no weapon, and had only four or five shovels and pickaxes, and had divers constables with them to keep her Majesty’s peace;” and that “having thus laid open such grounds as they challenged to be their commons, they quietly retired to their houses, without any further hurt-doing.”  One Peter Dod, in his evidence before the inquest, said “they told him they would break open to Knight’s Bridge and Chelsey;” and R. Wood, a constable, testified to the breaking of the enclosure at “Aubery Farm towards Chelsey,” whence they crossed to “Crowfield,” at the upper end of Hyde-park.

Her Majesty’s “poor tenants and farmours” petitioned Lord Burleigh to commit some of the parishioners to the Star Chamber, and to stop further proceedings until the case could be heard in the Court of Exchequer.  The inhabitants rejoined, stating “that Ebury Farm, containing 430 acres, meadow and pasture, which was p. 18holden of her Majesty by lease, was granted to one Whashe, who paid £21 per annum.  And the same was let to divers persons, who for their private commodity did inclose the same, and had made pastures of arable land; thereby not only annoying her Majesty in her walks and passages, but to the hindrance of her game, and great injury to the common, which at Lammas was wont to be laid open, for the most part, as by ancient precedents thereof made, do more particularly appear.”  They then state this system of inclosure had prevailed for about twenty years; that in the Neate, there were 108 acres belonging to her Majesty similarly enclosed, although they should also be common at Lammas.  Strype, from whom this account is derived, does not state how the contest terminated; but certain it is that for very many years the owners of some of these lands paid money to the parish officers of St. Martin’s, in lieu of this claim; but I cannot find that this right of the poor has at all for many years been inquired into.  Parochial officers have, in many instances, sadly neglected their duty; and this is not one of the lightest accusations against them.

The manor of Ebury afterwards became the p. 19property of a family named Davis, who owned it for a lengthened period.  The last male of this family, Alexander Davis, died July 2nd, 1665; by his wife, Mary, daughter of Richard Dukeson, D.D., and who survived till July 11th, 1717, [19] he had one daughter, Mary, who was married at St. Clement’s Danes, October 10th, 1676, to Sir Thomas Grosvenor.  This manor devolved upon her; and on her death, January 12th, 1730, came to be the freehold property of her husband, whose descendant has been ennobled by the title of Marquis of Westminster, and is the present Lord of the Manor of Ebury.

We will now revert to Knightsbridge proper again.  It anciently occupied a great deal more land than its present appearance indicates.  In the reign of Elizabeth certain lands appertaining to the park were within it.  An indenture to that effect, dated July 6th, in the eleventh year of the Queen’s reign, between the Marquis of Winchester, Lord High Treasurer, and Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer, p. 20on behalf of the Queen, and Francis Nevyll, one of the keepers of Hyde-park, on his own behalf, was agreed to for the better preservation of the game; and it was ordered that “our” land, called Knightsbridge land, containing, by estimation, about forty acres, should, at the costs of her Majesty, be “rayled” in, to hinder all manner of horses and cattle (except her Majesty’s “dere”) entering the said enclosed land.  The said Francis Nevyll then covenants that while he is keeper he will keep the gates thereof locked, and will not suffer any horses or cattle to be put therein.  He also agrees to make and sell in stacks, or carry into her Majesty’s hay-barn, all the hay which may be made within the said “rayled” lands, and deliver the same to “her Grace’s dere” in winter, and shall not in the wintry half-year put to pasture within the said “rayled” land above the number of ten kine or bullocks, or in lieu of every two kine or bullocks, one horse or gelding.  Another plot of ground, belonging to the Lazar-house, was also enclosed within Hyde-park; but of its extent, or why the institution should have been deprived of it, I have not been able to ascertain.

The Bridge.—The bridge, whence the place p. 21derives its name, we are informed by Strype, was a stone bridge, and most probably the one he described was the same as remained to our own time.  When, or by whom, first erected, is not recorded; but it is not improbable that the saintly king who first gave the monks possessions here, to render such more available, would throw a bridge across the stream.  For by this road even then was the only way to the metropolis from the west, and the stream was both broad and rapid.  It was situated between the last house of Knightsbridge-terrace (Mr. Jeffrey’s), and the French Embassy, and a part of it yet exists under the road; a portion of it was removed for the Albert-gate improvements.  In the churchwardens’ accounts of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, are the following entries regarding it:—


Item, received of John Fennell and Ralph Atkinson, collectors of the escheat, for repair of Brentford Bridge and Knightsbridge





Item, paid towards the repaire of Brentford Bridge, and of Knights-bridge, and for charge of the sute to defend ourselves from the same, and other expences touching the same, as by the particulars appeareth




The Westbourn.—The Westbourn, for such was the ancient name of the rivulet which ran p. 22through Knightsbridge, was one of the numerous streams which flowed from the range of Hampstead and Highgate to the Thames.  Its name is derived from its being most westerly of those streams in or by the metropolis.  Rising at West End, Hampstead, and running towards Bayswater, it passed through it, behind St. James’s Church; here it crossed the Uxbridge-road, and entering Kensington-gardens, passed through them and Hyde-park, where its silver thread ran along the centre of the Serpentine, into which it entered, and by the addition of several ponds, it was widened in 1731.  Leaving the park, it crossed the Great Western-road at Albert-gate, thence it passed in an oblique line behind the east side of William-street and Lowndes-square, behind Lowndes-street and Chesham-street, and bending to the right, passed under Grosvenor-bridge, where it divided and emptied itself into old Father Thames by two mouths.  The eastern course was stopped up when the Grosvenor Canal was formed, but the mouth may still be distinctly traced at the back of Westmoreland-street.  The western mouth is the entrance to the Ranelagh sewer, to which the stream has p. 23for many years degenerated.  By an under current, formed in 1834, its course was diverted at Bayswater, to prevent drainage passing into the Serpentine; and when the Five Fields were intended to be built on, a new sewer, for which Smeaton had previously made surveys, was constructed.  The whole of its course is now covered in, although part of it was open so late as 1854.

The Westbourne from the park

The Westbourn was occasionally a source of annoyance to the inhabitants of Knightsbridge.  After heavy rains it overflowed; on September 1st, 1768, it did so, and caused great damage, almost undermining some of the neighbouring houses; and in January, 1809, it overflowed again, and covered the neighbouring fields so deeply, that they bore the appearance of a lake, and passengers were for several days rowed from Chelsea to Westminster by Thames boatmen.

The Olden Time.—It would appear from the warning of the chronicler, “not to walk too late without good guard,” that our locality bore formerly rather a bad name.  And I fear I must admit that it did so, though, perhaps, not more dangerous than any other of the chief p. 24highways to the metropolis.  The Great Western Road ran through the hamlet, which bore a good proportion of inns, the proprietors of which would appear to have rather connived at the iniquities practised, and thus rendered the action of the law more difficult.

In 1380, Richard II., by his letters patent, dated March 2nd, granted to John Croucher, of Knightsbridge, towards the repairing of the king’s highway from London to Brentford, customs of the several vendible commodities therein mentioned (those of ecclesiastical men, and their proper goods bought for their use, excepted), to be taken at Knightsbridge and elsewhere, as he shall think expedient, for three years next ensuing.  In 1382 this was renewed, and in 1386 was granted to John Croucher and Lawrence Newport. [24]  But, notwithstanding this early care of the road, it does not appear to have been always followed up, for Wyatt’s men entered London, in 1554, by this road; its state materially aided in their discomfiture, and so great was the delay occasioned that the Queen’s party were able to make every preparation; and when ultimately they reached London p. 25their jaded appearance gained them the name of “draggletails.”  It would appear from the extracts quoted from the St. Margaret’s accounts that the law was applied to the parish for its neglect in this respect, and in 1724 a petition was presented to the House of Commons, praying for an Act to remedy the evil.  Twelve years later, when the Court had resided at Kensington for nearly fifty years, we find Lord Hervey writing to his mother that, “the road between this place (Kensington) and London is grown so infamously bad, that we live here in the same solitude as we should do if cast on a rock in the middle of the ocean, and all the Londoners tell us there is between them and us a great impassable gulf of mud.  There are two roads through the park, but the new one is so convex, and the old one so concave, that by this extreme of faults they agree in the common one of being, like the high road, impassable.” [25]

Mud and dust did not, however, form the greatest unpleasantnesses of the road.  In p. 26the Kensington register of burials there is an entry telling of its terrible condition:—

25th November, 1687.  Thomas Ridge, of Portsmouth, who was killed by thieves, almost at Knightsbridge.

And Lady Cowper, in her diary quoted by Lord Campbell, [26] writes, in October, 1715, “I was at Kensington, where I intended to stay as long as the camp was in Hyde-park, the roads being so secure by it, that we might come from London at any time of the night without danger, which I did very often.”

It is difficult to understand the cool audacity of some of the attacks on this road.  The Gentleman’s Magazine, April, 1740, records that “the Bristol mail from London was robbed a little beyond Knightsbridge by a man on foot, who took the Bath and Bristol bags, and, mounting the post-boy’s horse, rode off toward London.”  On the 1st of July, 1774, William Hawke was executed for a highway robbery here, and two men were executed on the 30th of the ensuing November for a similar p. 27offence. [27a]  Even so late as 1799, it was necessary to order a party of light horse to patrol every night from Hyde Park Corner to Kensington; [27b] and it is within the memory of many when pedestrians walked to and from Kensington in bands sufficient to ensure mutual protection, starting at known intervals, of which a bell gave due warning.

Respecting the innkeepers, the well-known Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, in his Memoirs, tells the following curious story:—“I was informed that the Earl of Rochester, the wit, had said something of me which, according to his custom, was very malicious; I therefore sent Colonel Aston, a very mettled friend of mine, to call him to account for it.  He denied the words, and, indeed, I was soon convinced he had never said them; but the mere report, though I found it to be false, obliged me (as I then foolishly thought) to go on with the quarrel; and the next day was appointed for p. 28us to fight on horseback, a way in England a little unusual, but it was his part to choose.  Accordingly I and my second lay the night before at Knightsbridge privately, to avoid the being secured at London upon any suspicion; which yet we found ourselves more in danger of there, because we had all the appearance of highwaymen, that had a mind to be skulking in an old inn for one night; but this, I suppose, the people of the house were used to, and so took no notice of us, but liked us the better.”  And in the “Rehearsal,” written in ridicule of Dryden, we also have an allusion to the innkeepers’ habits and characters:—“Smith: But pray, Mr. Bayes, is not this a little difficult, that you were saying e’en now, to keep an army thus conceal’d in Knights-Bridge?—Bayes: In Knights-Bridge?  Stay.—Johnson: No, not if the inn-keepers be his friends.”

Until the age of railways set in, these inns did a brisk trade with the numerous travellers from the western parts.  One of the occurrences of the day was to watch the mails set off for their destinations; there were above twenty at one time, besides stage-coaches.  Now there is but one of the latter kind, which still, every p. 29other day, goes to Brighton.  Moore mentions in his Diary waiting at Knightsbridge for his Bessie, coming to town by the Bath coach.  All now is altered—highwaymen, patrols, and mails are all gone—and the road is the best entrance into the capital.  An Act, passed June 19th, 1829, placed the Great Western Road, from Knightsbridge to Brentford Bridge, under the charge of the Commissioners of Metropolitan Roads.

It was a long time before our hamlet became part and parcel of the metropolis.  A letter in my possession, written by an intelligent mechanic, fresh from Gloucester, and dated August, 1783, describes it as “quite out of London, for which,” says he, “I like it the better.”  And so it was; the stream then ran open, the streets were unpaved and unlighted, and a maypole was still on the village green.  It is not ten years since the hawthorn hedge has entirely disappeared at the Gore, and the blackbird and starling might still be heard.  We have seen the references to game in Elizabeth’s time, but few persons imagine, perhaps, that within the recollection of some who have not passed long from us, snipe and p. 30woodcocks might occasionally be lowered; now, however, we are limited to our saucy friend the sparrow, for even the very swallows have quitted us.

Forty years since, there was neither draper’s nor butcher’s shop between Hyde Park Corner and Sloane Street, and only one in the whole locality where a newspaper could be had, or writing paper purchased.  There was no conveyance to London but by a kind of stagecoach; the roads were dimly lighted by oil, [30] and the modern paving only to be seen along Knightsbridge Terrace.

Till about 1835, a watch-house and pound remained at the east end of Middle Row; and the stocks were to be seen at the end of Park-side, almost opposite the Conduit, as late as 1805.  A magistrate sat once a week at the Fox and Bull, and a market was held every Thursday.

The water supply was anciently by means of springs and wells, which were very pure, numerous, and valuable.  In the beginning of the eighteenth century, Park-side was leased from the Dean and Chapter of Westminster by p. 31the Birkheads, and the few houses then there were supplied by a conduit they were permitted by the Crown to use, within Hyde Park.  There was a row of conduits in the fields each side of Rotten Row, whose waters were received by the one at the end of Park-side, known as St. James’s, or the Receiving Conduit; and which supplied the royal residences and the Abbey with water. [31]  There were several excellent springs also in the hamlet, one of which appears to have been public property, from a story told by Malcolm, to the effect that in 1727, there being an excessive drought, the supply of water was rendered very precarious, and disputes arose between the inhabitants of Knightsbridge as to whom it belonged.  The women appear to have taken an unusual share in this quarrel, which was so fiercely carried on, that requisition was had to a magistrate to hinder the tongue giving way to the hands and nails.  The magistrate decided that the water belonged to the St. Margaret’s part of the hamlet.


—“Thus I entertain
The antiquarian humour, and am pleased
To skim along the surfaces of things,
Beguiling harmlessly the listless hours.”


So small a place as our hamlet formerly was, it could not have many historical associations of which to boast, and this chapter must, therefore, be brief.  Too small and unimportant to be the scene of great contests, or of political intrigues, few notices of it in connection with history occur, but those few are far from being uninteresting.

In the year 1361, a dreadful plague broke out in France, and fears were entertained that it might ravage London.  To prevent this, great precautions were taken, and the King promptly issued an order, in which, reciting the evils which were occasioned by the offal and refuse being thrown by the city butchers p. 33into the Thames, he ordered, on February 25, with the consent of Parliament then assembled, that to provide “for the honesty of the said city, and the safety of the people,” all “bulls, oxen, hogs, and other gross creatures,” to be slain for the citizens, should be led either to Stratford on the one side, or Knightsbridge on the other, and be there slain and dressed ready for sale.  And any butcher offending by killing within these places should be imprisoned one year: a piece of legislative wisdom our own times should imitate.

When the Kentish insurrection under Wyatt broke out against the marriage of Mary and Philip of Spain, Wyatt having vainly endeavoured to enter London by the bridge, was compelled to march to Kingston, in order to cross the Thames; arriving at Knightsbridge, he there rested his men “untyll daye,” they “being very weary with travel of that night and the daye before.”  In London, the quaint old chronicler tells us, “there was no small adowe,” and by nine o’clock on the morning of February 7, 1556, Wyatt set his men in motion, and “planting his ordenance upon the hill, almost over agaynst the park corner,” left it p. 34there under a guard, and marched towards Charing Cross.  The Earl of Pembroke, who commanded Mary’s troops, hovered about “untyll all was passed by, saving the tayle,” which he cut off from the main body.  This misfortune ruined Wyatt, who soon after was captured, and ultimately executed; his head being set up on Hay Hill, not far from the spot where he had left his cannon.

During the contest between Charles I. and his people, many skirmishes are traditionally said to have occurred here.  Although in the numerous works of all kinds I have referred to, no mention could be found of such; yet that they did take place, many remains of that period, since brought to light, testify.  Mr. Faulkner records the discovery of a helmet, breastplate, and some swords, on the site of Lowndes Square.  In 1840, many human remains, coins of Charles’ time, some curious horse-shoes, and trappings, were dug up when the Albert Gate improvements were made.  In Grosvenor Place, and various spots in the Five Fields, similar remains have also been discovered.

The infamous Lord Howard of Escrick, on p. 35whose perjured evidence Algernon Sidney was beheaded, had a house at Knightsbridge, and it was the resort of all the desperate and unprincipled adventurers [35] who are sure to be found attached to the ranks even of the noble and high-minded in such contests as were then going on between Charles II. and the Whigs.  He wrought himself into their consultations, and pretended entire devotion to their cause; but it was only to ruin their plans and consign the leaders to the scaffold.

Roger North, in his “Examen,” states that when the Rye House Plot became known, the King commanded Howard’s apprehension, and accordingly the Serjeant-at-Arms proceeded to Knightsbridge, beset his house, and going in to search for him, “though he found the bed warm where he lay,” yet could not find him, till at last they discovered him hidden behind a chimney, on which “he came out in his shirt and yielded himself.”  He saved himself, as is well known, by despicably witnessing against others: the ballads and satires of the day contain many allusions to him, and his promised p. 36deeds, of which the following may serve as a specimen:—

“Was it not a damn’d thing,
   That Russell and Hampden,
Should serve all the projects of hot-headed Tory?
   But much more untoward
   To appoint my Lord Howard
Of his own purse and credit, to raise men and money,
   Who at Knightsbridge did hide
   Those brisk boys unspy’d,
That at Shaftsbury’s whistle were ready to follow,
   But when aid he should bring,
   Like a true Brentford king,
He was here with a whoop, and there with a hollo.”

Lord Howard died in 1683, and was succeeded by his son Charles, at whose death, in 1715, the sullied title became extinct.

Our hamlet has one more association with Stuart plots; but this time the Stuarts’ partisans were the plotters.  In 1694 Sir William Barclay and Sir William Perkins, two staunch Jacobites, formed a plot for the assassination of William III.; the plan being to waylay the King on his return to Kensington from some hunting excursion, and shoot him.  The plan required a number of conspirators to render it successful, and herein lay the monarch’s safety.  Captain Porter, one of the first to join, gave notice to the ministers, and several engaged in the crime p. 37were apprehended.  Porter, on the trial, stated that he had been with two others to survey the ground, lying at the Swan at Knightsbridge one night, and there talking over their plans.  Finally, it was agreed to commit the foul deed in a lane near to Turnham Green.  Perkins and others were found guilty on most clear evidence, and suffered death at Tyburn accordingly.

The Knightsbridge Volunteers.—Notwithstanding the declaration of our brave tars on the threatened invasion of our shores, by Napoleon in 1803, that he should not come by water, great excitement prevailed, and volunteers were enrolled from one end of the country to the other, and a deadlier contest never cursed the earth than such would have been, had the Emperor dared to put his project into execution.  Among those earnest men who at this crisis rendered genuine service to the country by their energies in this particular, was Major Robert Eyre, an officer who had seen much and real service in the American War of Independence, and elsewhere, but who had now settled down at Knightsbridge, where for years he resided, one of the most respected of its p. 38inhabitants.  He offered to raise a corps in the hamlet, although it had already furnished a number of men to the regiments of the surrounding locality.  His offer was accepted in the following terms:—

London, August 14th, 1803.

Sir,—Lord Hobart has acquainted me, that the King has derived great satisfaction from the zeal and public spirit which have been manifested by the offer lately communicated to me by you, which his Majesty has most graciously been pleased to approve and accept.  You will be pleased to name your officers.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Scott Titchfield.

To Major Robert Eyre.

The regiment was raised at the Major’s expense, numbering 146 men, and he brought them to a high state of efficiency.  Major Eyre presented them with a pair of colours, one of which, a blue flag, has on it a painted rebus device, of a knight in armour riding over a p. 39bridge, emblematical of the name of the hamlet. [39]

The colours of the Knightsbridge volunteers

On the 26th and 28th October, 1803, King George III. in great state and formality reviewed the volunteers of the metropolis in Hyde Park.  The Knightsbridge regiment appeared on the latter day, and the vast body acquitted themselves with great satisfaction to the authorities.  In the United Service Institution Library is preserved a paper confidentially communicated to the commander of every regiment, describing the position each corps was to take up in case alarm should p. 40occur, and from it I find that the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s Royal Volunteer Infantry, Col. Hobart, were to patrol along Grosvenor Place and Pimlico, to the Palace, and along Piccadilly, to communicate with the 2nd Battalion of the same regiment, and the St. Margaret’s and St. George’s Regiments.  This 2nd Battalion were to patrol Sloane Street, leaving one company in Chelsea Waterworks, and to communicate with the Knightsbridge corps, who were to remain in reserve at the north end of Sloane Street.

Riots at Knightsbridge.—In those good old electioneering times, “the days when George III. was king,” our hamlet was many a time the scene of riot.  Such scenes, of course, will not be here detailed; but two of them were too serious to be passed over entirely, viz., on March 28th, 1768, and October 4th, 1803.  On the former occasion, Wilkes and Cooke were elected for Middlesex; it was customary for a London mob to meet the Brentford one in and about Knightsbridge; and as Wilkes’ opponent was riding through with a body of his supporters, one of them hoisted a flag, on which was inscribed, “No Blasphemer,” and p. 41terrible violence instantly ensued.  At the latter election, Burdett was the popular candidate, and the excitement, which had been very great throughout, culminated with the junction of the mobs at Knightsbridge, causing much confusion and damage.

The last riot in Knightsbridge was on the occasion of the funeral of Honey and Francis (who were shot in the rioting on the occasion of the funeral of Caroline of Brunswick) on August 26th, 1821.  It occasioned a correspondence between the Sheriff and the Government; and being fully described therein, I insert it here.

Mr. Sheriff Waithman to Earl Bathurst.

My Lord,—I consider it my duty to apprise his Majesty’s Government, through your Lordship, of a violent outrage on the public peace, committed by some individuals of the Life Guards, at Knightsbridge, yesterday, and of an attempt at assassination upon me personally, while in the execution of my duty as Sheriff of Middlesex, as the head of the civil power of the county.

Your Lordship thought proper to direct the p. 42Lord Mayor on Saturday to take the necessary measures to preserve the peace of the city, during the intended funeral of Honey and Francis; and, although no such caution was addressed to the Sheriff, as conservator of the public peace of the county, I felt it my duty to direct the deputy-sheriffs of the city and county to order out the constables of the divisions nearest to, and through which the funeral was expected to pass; and also to attend in person, with proper officers, to prevent or quell any tumult or disorder.

Conceiving that under the existing irritation of the people, and the circumstances for which they had assembled, some insult might be offered to the Life Guards in their barracks, I disposed of the constables chiefly in that vicinity, and actually ranged a body of them in front of the barracks, with instructions to apprehend every person who should attempt to commit any outrage or disorder.

The funeral, in consequence of these precautions, passed the barracks in an orderly and quiet manner, marked by no other peculiar circumstance than that of a brick being thrown from the barracks, which fell near my horse, p. 43and wounded, as I am informed, a young girl.  My admonitions, and the presence of the constables, succeeded, however, in repressing the irritation this wanton act was calculated to excite.

When the procession had passed, and while the road continued to be crowded with people, the gates of the barracks were thrown open, and the avenue filled with soldiers.  The people, as might have been foreseen, gathered round the spot, and expressed their displeasure.

A tumult seemed inevitable.  I requested to speak to the officer on duty, but without effect; and, at length, by repeated expostulations with the soldiers, I succeeded in prevailing on them to retire and close the gates.

Some time after, upon returning to the same spot, I saw a number of soldiers running from the wicker gate, and pursuing the people on the causeway.  Finding an affray actually commenced, I sprung my horse upon the causeway, interposed between the parties, and succeeded in separating them.  While thus engaged, a soldier, with whom I had before been expostulating, and who was, therefore, acquainted with p. 44my official situation, started forward at a man, and knocked him down.  At the same time, while using my utmost endeavours to prevail on the soldiers to retire into the barracks, and the people to desist and keep the peace, the bridle of my horse was violently seized, on the one side by a young officer in undress, and on the other by the soldier whose violence I had just noticed, and who, together, endeavoured to throw my horse over the causeway; and I only succeeded in extricating myself by striking the soldier with my stick, and making my horse plunge.  Immediately several of the soldiers rushed at me with their swords drawn, and one actually loaded his carbine, and directed it towards me, but was, I am informed, knocked down by one of the constables.  Further mischief was prevented by the interposition of some military officers of higher authority, and the soldiers at length retired into their barracks.

My Lord, these circumstances require no comment.  At a critical juncture the soldiers were left to their own exasperated feeling, and manifested a lawless spirit.  The civil power under my direction was fully adequate for the p. 45preservation of the peace among the people, but not to encounter an armed soldiery.  I had no communication from his Majesty’s Government, nor could I obtain an interview with any of the officers of the regiment. . . .  I feel assured that had I not interposed with the civil power and even risked my own life, a frightful slaughter must have ensued.  Of subordination to civil authority the soldiers appeared to be wholly unconscious, and that authority, in my person, was repeatedly insulted, and grossly outraged.

It would, my Lord, be as needless as presumptuous in me to attempt to instruct your Lordship and his Majesty’s Government in the nature of the constitutional authority under which I attended yesterday, or the right I possessed in my official character to have claimed the aid and assistance of these very military to suppress tumult, who have, upon this occasion, in open defiance of the civil authority, been the promoters of it; nor need I add one word in aggravation of the enormity of the offences committed: the offenders can some of them be identified, and I trust your Lordship will cause immediate and effectual means to be adopted p. 46to bring them to justice, as a salutary example to others.

I have the honour to be, my Lord, &c.,
R. Waithman.

Bridge Street, August, 27th, 1821.

To this letter Earl Bathurst replied as follows:—

Whitehall, August 28th, 1821.

Sir,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th inst., relative to a riot which took place at Knightsbridge on Sunday last.  I had, before the receipt of your letter, given directions for an inquiry to be made into the circumstances of this transaction, in consequence of representations made to me, which, I am bound to say, differ in many essential particulars from the statement I have received from you.

I cannot refrain from expressing my regret and surprise, that when the civil power under your direction was fully adequate (as you state) for the preservation of the peace among the people, a mob should have been permitted to remain in a continued state of riot, after the soldiers p. 47had been withdrawn within their barracks, until the Riot Act was read by Mr. Conant, and the rioters dispersed by the peace officers under his immediate orders; and I do not understand that in the execution of this duty he received any assistance from you.

I am, Sir, &c.

Mr. Sheriff Waithman.


“I pray you let us satisfy our eyes
With the memorials, and the things of fame
That do renown this city.”


The parish church of St. Margaret, Westminster, is the mother church of this locality.  Although the Decree of 1222, before referred to, limited the western boundary of that parish to the Tyburn stream, it declared that beyond that stream lay the town of Knightsbridge, which belonged to it.  In what parish the manor of Eia was situated is not stated, but it is most likely that the higher portion of it was a forest, and the lower, it is certain, was partly a marsh, and consequently altogether unnoticed by the assessors; for the growth of parishes was very gradual, and their proper boundaries for ages undefined.  p. 49St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields is mentioned as early as 1225, but did not become a regular parish till after 1337, and not independent of St. Margaret’s till 1535.  In St. Martin’s the whole of the manor of Eia was then included; it consequently reached as far as the Westbourne, and included a part of Knightsbridge; this arrangement continued till the parish of St. George, Hanover Square, in 1724, was formed out of St. Martin’s, and then this distant part was included, absurdly enough, within the new parish.

On the west of the rivulet, which here divides St. George’s parish from St. Margaret’s and Chelsea, the hamlet stands partly in those and partly in Kensington parish.  St. Margaret’s stretches from William Street, behind Lowndes Terrace, across the top of Sloane Street, behind Brompton Road, continuing the line behind Arthur Street to the bottom of Ennismore Mews, where, abutting on the north wall of Brompton Churchyard, it strikes off in a north-west direction and crosses the Kensington Road just below Hyde Park Terrace, whence it runs along the road into the town, and, including a few houses on p. 50the north side of High Street, it enters the Royal Gardens, including a considerable portion thereof, and the whole of the palace, within its boundary; it joins Paddington at a point on the Uxbridge Road, and thence returns through the Serpentine to Knightsbridge.

The parish officers of St. Margaret alone beat the bounds now, and they appear always to have been strict in this duty, which, from some entries in their books, one would consider to have been a little festive occasionally:—


Item, paid for bread, drink, cheese, fish, cream, and other victuals, when the worshipfull of the parish, and very many others of the poorer sort, went the perambulation to Kensington, in this hard and dere time of all things, as may appear by a bill of particulars





Item, for the charges of diet at Kensington for the perambulacion of the parish, being a yere of great scarcity and deerness





Item, spent at Knightsbridge, when divers of the burgesses and vestriemen of this parish went the perambulation





Item, expended at a perambulation this yeare at Knightsbridge




Henry VIII.’s corpse passed through Knightsbridge for interment at Windsor.  p. 51In the St. Margaret’s books is the following entry:—


Paid to the poor men that did bere the copis and other necessaries to Knightsbridge, when that King Henry the Eighth was brought to his burial to Wynsor, and to the man that did ring the bells




Chelsea parish includes Lowndes Square and the adjoining streets, while Kensington includes Queen’s Buildings, and a few houses in Sloane Street.  Thus is Knightsbridge absurdly divided, when for generations there has existed within it a place of worship which could have been easily rendered the focus of a new and independent parish, had its patrons been so minded.  The opportunity was lost when St. George’s was formed, and Trinity Chapel, from having been, as it were, the nursing-mother around which the village gathered, was permitted to dwindle, without a thought for it, into comparative insignificance.  This ancient religious edifice I will now give an account of.


Was anciently attached to a Lazar-house or Hospital, with the history of which it is most p. 52intimately connected.  When or by whom founded is not known—at least, if such is recorded, it is not mentioned by any writer on ecclesiastical affairs; but as it appears always to have been attached to the Abbey of Westminster, we may conclude its foundation was connected with that establishment.

The earliest mention I have met with of the Lazar-house is in a grant of James I., preserved in the British Museum, [52] as follows:—

1605, James R.  By ye king,

Trustie and welbeloued wee grete you well.  Whereas we are given to understand that the sick, lame, and impotent people in our hospitall of Knighte-bridge, in our county of Middlesex, are greatly distressed for want of wholesome water, both for the dressing of their meat, and for making condiment potions for their sores, and that in our park called Hyde Park, in our sayd county, adjoyning to the sayd hospitall, there is within of 140 paces of the sayd hospitall a meete spring of good water, wof by pipe of lead of the charge of five and thirty pounds, may safely p. 53be brought to serve the sayde house, for their relief in yt behalf, without any inconvenience growing thereby to our said parke; in consideration of ye poverty, and for the contynuall use and ease of ye sayd impotent and distressed people, wee are graciously pleased to bestow uppon them ye sayd sum of xxxvl., lawful money of England, for and towards the charge of bringinge the sayde springe water to the sayde house by pipe of lead.  Wherefore our pleasure is, that you, our warden of our Mint, shall appoint workmen, and give order for the doing thereof, and defray the charge, not exceeding the sayd sum of xxxvl.; ffor the which wee do hereby give you full allowance out of those our moneys as remayne in your hande, lately coyned in our Tower.  And this shall be our sufficient warrant unto you, and the duplicate of this published by you a sufficient warrant and discharge to ye keeper and keepers of ye sayde parke, and to all other persons that may consent for the doing hereof.  Given under our sign, &c., at or Castle of Windsor, the sixth day of September, in ye thyrd yere of our raigne of p. 54England, France, and Ireland, and of Scotland the thirty-eighth.

To our trusty and welbeloued servant Sr Thomas Knyvett, Knight, warden of our mynt.  C. C. Inwood.

But, although this is the earliest document concerning the Lazar-house I have seen, there exist earlier, to which the public have not access.  Lysons says there is, among the records of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, a statement of its condition in 1595, drawn up by John Glassington, Governor of the House, by profession a surgeon, and whose family rented the hospital, &c., from the Church of Westminster (at the rent of 4s. per annum) for many years.  In this document he states that there were no lands belonging to this hospital, nor a groat of endowment; that there had been a certain piece, which was then enclosed within Hyde Park, to the great detriment of the charity.  He also states that when he became governor, the building was ready to fall; that he had expended above £100 on it; that there were commonly thirty-six or thirty-seven p. 55persons in the house, who were supported by voluntary contributions; that the charge of the previous year, in provisions only, and exclusive of candles, linen, woollen, salves, medicines, burials, &c., had been £161 19s. 4d.  He adds a list of fifty-five persons whom he had cured, some of whom had been dismissed as incurable from other hospitals.  An account of the regulations of the house is subjoined by him, by which it appears that the patients attended prayers every morning and evening, and that on Sundays there was morning and evening service for the neighbours; that those who were able were obliged to work; that they dined every day on “warm meat and porrege,” and that every man had his own “dish, platter, and tankard, to kepe the broken from the whole.” [55]

In the parish accounts of St. Margaret’s are several entries relating to this hospital:


Item, for a pair of sheetes for Jane Clare, when wee sent her to the Spittle at Knightsbridge





Item, to Mr. Winter, keeper of the hospitall at Knightsbridge, for the keeping of the Three Innocents for one month





Item, to Mr. Thomas Neale, for three paire of shoes, p. 56two paire for the poore Innocents at the Spittle at Knightsbridge, &c.





Disbursements for the poore Innocents in the Spittle, or Lazar-house, at Knightsbridge; sum total,



11d. [56]

There are no books or accounts of the Lazar-house existing at the Chapel now, neither have I been able to ascertain whether they exist elsewhere, or even at all.  But in one of the register books still preserved is a list of persons discharged from it; the date of the year is not given, but I have reason to think it about 1676.  There are twenty-seven entries, of which the following may serve as samples:—

March 5—Priscilla Knight to London, criple.

,, 6—Mary ffranklin to Berkshire.

,, 9—John Wordner, his wife, to children, to Bristow, criple.

,, 10—Nicholas fflood, his wife, 4 children, to Wales, criple.

,, 18—Robert Dicerson, his wife, 2 children, to Gloster.

These unfortunate creatures most probably begged their way up from the country, and, while inmates here, owed their subsistence to charitable contributions, and, when cured, had to beg their way home again.  There was also p. 57the following entry in another book, date about 1695:—

“Thomas Pirkin, a soldier under Captain John Callipfield, in Brigadier Solwin’s regiment, died in Hospital in August last past.”

Like its origin, its end is obscure: I cannot trace when, or from what causes, its useful and Christian career was terminated.  It was certainly existing when Newcourt was collecting materials for his “Repertorium,” published in 1720, and that is the last allusion to it I can find.

It has always been traditionally related in Knightsbridge, that during the fatal year of the plague, 1666, the institution was for a while given up to those who had been attacked by that scourge; and it is also said that the enclosed plot on the Green was the spot where its victims, here and elsewhere in the locality, were buried.

In Butler’s “Hudibras” (III. c. ii. v. 1110), among other charges Cooper urges against the Presbyterians is, that they

“Fill’d Bedlam with predestination,
And Knightsbridge with illumination.”

And the last editor of Gray’s “Hudibras” p. 58supposes that by the Presbyterian Illuminati here, Butler alluded to the unfortunate inmates of this Lazar-house! [58a]

There were three other similar establishments in the suburbs of London—namely, at Southwark, Kingsland, and Mile-end.  Great care was taken that those afflicted with leprosy, or other such disorder, should be immediately conveyed to one of these places.  The law was strictly carried out, and where resistance was made, the sufferers were tied to horses, and dragged thither. [58b]

That the chapel attached to this hospital was of ancient foundation, we may justly infer from its being described as “very old and ruinous, and ready to fall,” as far back as 1629.  In that year, for that cause, the inhabitants petitioned Laud, who then filled the see of London, for leave to rebuild it at their own cost, it being the place to which they usually resorted “to perform their religious duties and devotions.”  The Bishop, by his licence, dated p. 59July 7th, 1629, gave them permission so to do (the consent of the vicar and churchwardens of St. Martin’s being first obtained), “therein to frequent Divine Service and sermons, which Divine offices were to be performed by a sufficient minister, lawfully licensed from time to time,” by the Bishops of London, or their Chancellors for the time being; “provided that the said inhabitants, or their families, did once every quarter of a year repair to their respective parish churches to perform their devotions, and every Easter receive the Holy Communion there, and pay all rights, duties, and profits to their respective ministers to which they did belong,” and this licence was to continue in force during the pleasure of the Bishops of London.

The Chapel was accordingly rebuilt, and “consecrated to the use of the poor of the Hospital,” who “having no maintenance but what they received of alms,” and not being “able to maintain a curate, repair the Chapel, or relieve themselves,” it was, on October 3rd, 1634, according to an arrangement made by the Master of the Hospital, the curate, and some of the principal inhabitants of Knightsbridge, p. 60ordered by Dr. Duck, then Chancellor of London, that they, or the major part of them, should let certain pews and seats in such manner as should best effect these objects; that they should keep a register of their accounts, which were to be adjusted every six months, reserving to the incumbents of St. Margaret’s and St. Martin’s their respective rights and emoluments.  Dr. Duck presented one piece of the plate used in the celebration of the Communion.

In 1650 the Parliamentary Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, reported that Knightsbridge Chapel, in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, belonged to a Lazar-house there; that twenty years before the date of inquiry it was re-edified and enlarged by public contributions; and that Henry Walker, the minister, placed there on probation by order of Parliament, received £10 per annum from the inhabitants.  The Commissioners afterwards allowed him £40 per annum. [60]

Among the records of the Dean and Chapter p. 61is a petition from John Glassington, surgeon, dated 1654, praying to be admitted Governor of the Hospital, which his ancestors had always rented of the church at Westminster; which petition is accompanied by a certificate of Sir John Thorowgood, one of the Commissioners for Middlesex, and an active public officer in this locality at the time of the Commonwealth; but I infer the application was unsuccessful for a time, for in the next year Henry Walker was presented to the curacy by Cornelius Holland and George Reeve, joint-governors of the Chapel.  John Glassington was, however, Governor in 1659.

In 1699, Nicholas Birkhead, who was then lessee of the Chapel, rebuilt it, and the present building is mainly his work.  In 1789, it was enlarged by its front being brought in a line with the adjoining houses, a grass-plot eight feet deep having previously occupied this space.  The present front, galleries, &c., were then erected.  At the end of the last century Dixon Gamble, Esq., became lessee, but now it is held direct from the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, who nominate the incumbent.  There is an endowment of £30 per annum payable by p. 62them, but the income is derived chiefly from the pew rents.

The Chapel is as plain an edifice as possibly can be; there is no ornament of any kind about it.  It is built of brick, and is 53 feet long, by 30 feet broad.  The gallery is round three sides of the building; the organ, built by Hancock, 1770, being on the south side.  The communion-table is at the north end.  The front terminates in a pediment, over which is a small cupola containing one bell, thus inscribed—

Mrs. Mary Birkhed gaue me, 1733.”

In the brickwork are let in three stone slabs, the centre of which is inscribed “Knightsbridge Chapel, 1789;” that on the right is inscribed, “Rebuilte by Nicho Birkhead, Gouldsmith of London, Anno Dom. 1699;” the left or western one has the following emphatic dedication cut in it, [62] “Capella sanctæ Indiuidux Trinitatis.”

The Communion Plate consists of five pieces, all of silver; they are inscribed as follows:—

The Large Chalice.—Sanctæ et Indiuidæ Trinitati—Rest to the Lord:—Mary Birkhead (about 1708.)

The Paten.—Sanctæ et Indiuidæ Trinitati.—p. 63The Guift of Arthure Duck, Docter of the Ciuell Lawe and Chancelor of London (1628 or 1629).

The Small Chalice.—Sanctæ et Indiuidæ Trinitati.—The Gift of the Right Honbl. and Right Reverent Willm. Lord Bishop of London. [63a]

The Plate.—The Gift of Elizebeth Knightly to Knights-Bridg Church, Oct. 18th, 1705. [63b]  There is a coat of arms engraved on the edge of this piece, doubtless that of the donor.

The Flagon is modern, being the gift of the Rev. J. Foyster (about 1825).

Old Chapel, Knightsbridge

The list of its ministers is, as far as I have been able to trace them, as follows:—

1630.  Nathaniel White, licensed May 24th.

1637.  William Pope—as curate.

1640.  Nehemia Dod—as curate.

p. 64— Henry Walker on probation till 1655, when he was nominated curate.

1658.  Christopher Lee appears to have been minister, but various other names also appear in the registers till May 23rd.

1660.  Thomas Wheatley then signs himself “Minister of Knightsbridge.”

1661 (Feb.).  Henry Tilley.

1662 (April).  Nathaniel Barker.

1663 (April).  — Herring (whose name occasionally appears between 1658–60.)

1666.  Robert Hodson, till October 20th.

1667.  Francis Hall, licensed October 25th.

1669.  Henry Herbert or Hubert, S.T.P., licensed April 26th.  His signature, however, occasionally appears before this date.

1671.  John Cull.

1683.  — Sanby, who was minister from January 1st, 1683, to December 31st, 1685.

1686.  Henry Watts, who quitted in May, 1695; strangers appear to have officiated till

1696.  Thomas Bobar entered on his duties December 4th.  He made way for in

1699.  Philip Horneck, who officiated from March 9th to October 16th.

1699.  Thomas Knaggs appointed curate p. 65October 16th; he stayed till January 10th, 1707, when Francis Jeffrey succeeded.  But in February, 1708, Mr. Knaggs returned, and was minister till May 17th, 1713.

1713.  Robert Hicks, to June 10th, 1719.

1719.  Humphry Persehouse, who was minister forty-one years.  He resigned in December, 1759, when

1760.  — Bailey, chaunter of Westminster Abbey, was appointed on January 1st by the Dean and Chapter.  I believe he was succeeded by the Rev. John Gamble, nominated by his father, as lessee.  He died in 1811.

1811.  — Harris. [65]

1822.  J. G. Foyster, M.A. of Queen’s College, Cambridge.  He published a volume of sermons preached here.  In 1832, Lord Brougham gave him the rectory of St. Clement’s, Hastings, on which he quitted Knightsbridge.  He died there May 17th, 1855.

p. 661832.  John Martin, who shortly resigned, and was succeeded by the Rev. Hibbert Binney, D.C.L., the late minister, who, since June, 1838 (when he was appointed rector of Newbury), left the chapel to the ministry of the Rev. John Wilson, now D.D., and the present incumbent.  Dr. Binney died June 6th, 1857.  Among assistant ministers here have been the Rev. Alexander Cleeve, author of several devotional works, who died September 23rd, 1805; the Rev. H. J. Symons, LL.D., who read the burial service over Sir John Moore at Corunna.  He gained the notice of the Duke of York in this pulpit, and quitted it for the Peninsula with a regiment, to which he was chaplain.

Baptisms and marriages were formerly solemnised here, and twenty register-books, some very small, and others quarto and folio size, are still preserved.  Many of them, however, are but duplicates of the others, and three are memorandum-books of the clerks, with registrations, expenses, notices, and other entries therein.  The regular register of baptisms has been missing a very long while, but duplicates of several years have been preserved; with the exception of a few leaves, all the books p. 67of expenses are lost also. [67]  I have stated before that the books of the Lazar-house are also missing, and so is the burial book, if such ever existed.  I shall be glad to quit this statement, so disgraceful to some of the former officials of the Chapel, and give a few extracts from those still fortunately preserved.

Previous to the passing of Lord Hardwick’s celebrated Marriage Act, in 1753, it was not necessary to the validity of a marriage that such should be performed in a church, or solemnised by any religious ceremony.  And although the law of the Church visited with censure those who neglected its canon in this respect, yet the Common Law recognised other and more private modes.  Consequently around and in London, at almost all the chapels, marriages were performed, and at some in a very discreditable manner.  Lord Hardwick’s bill made it necessary to the validity of a marriage that it should be solemnised in a parish church or p. 68public chapel where banns had been regularly published.  The result was, that as at these chapels banns were not published, marriages therein solemnised were no longer legal; and among others obliged to succumb to this law, Knightsbridge Chapel was one.

It would almost appear that our Chapel had some reputation for its irregularities in this solemnity, if we are to trust some of the pointed allusions in the literature of a bygone currency.  Shadwell, in his play of “The Sullen Lovers,” published in 1668, makes Lovell say:—

“Let’s rally no longer: there is a person at Knightsbridge, that yokes all stray people together; we’ll to him, he’ll despatch us presently, and send us away as lovingly as any two fools that ever yet were condemned to marriage.”

And in the Guardian (No. 14, March 27, 1713), a run-away marriage is spoken of as being celebrated “last night at Knightsbridge.”  Although such references seem to illustrate what could be only known as a fact, I yet think they were but a jocular remark as regards Knightsbridge, and not indications of a reality.  It is scarcely possible to think such would have been allowed in a place of worship, so much under the control of the Dean and p. 69Chapter as this was; and many memoranda in the books vindicate its ministers from the charge of winking at wrong, as these allusions insinuate.  Of these curious entries I give the following as specimens:—

Mem.—Thomas Palmer and Ann Clarke: if they come to be maryed, stop them, and send for Mr. Clarke, next doore to the Mitre Tavern in Duppin’s Ally, King Street, Westminster.”

“William Squire, silver-smith, living in Long Acre, who stood father to Elizabeth Goldingham, who was married to Edward Keyn ye 20th of ffebruary, 1690/1, does give this account of the said Elizabeth Goldingham, that she has lodged at his house for 2 years, that she is no heyress, but ffollows the trade of a manta-maker for her living, and further he adds that she has neither ffather or mother liveing, nor no relation who does any way look affter her, but that she is really at her own disposal.”

But although such entries show the rule, I must admit that at a certain period before the time to which the foregoing entries refer, are others which appear suspicious; and if any p. 70irregularities occurred I should place them between the two extreme dates, shown in the following extracts:—

1678, April 28.  Jacob Stent and Mary Crouch, secrecy for life.

1678, April 28.  James Gibson and Anne Tarrant, secrecy.

1678/9, April 28.  William Taylor and Elizabeth Steward, great secrecy.

1680, April 25.  Edward Charlton and Alice Robinson, secret for 14 years.

1682, May 7.  Andrew Barry and Mary Elton, secrecy.

With these curious notices of old systems, habits, and ideas, I proceed to give some extracts from the registers, selecting those referring to eminent persons, and which contain allusions of interest and peculiarity.  The earliest entry of baptisms is the following.

1663, Aug. 28.  Will, ye sone of will birke of this hamlett, by Mr. Herring.

1667, Jan. 23.  Sofiah London, the daughter of Richard London and Mary his wife.

A family named London lived in this locality many years, and there are several entries of the name.  Probably the celebrated gardener so p. 71named, who will be afterwards noticed, belonged to it.

1668.  Nathaniel, son of William Ipsley, baptised, September 8th.

Most probably this name should be Hipsley.  Persons of this name were clerks here many years.

1670, Nov. 3.  James, son of James and Mary Rouse.

1675, Feb. 19.  Dorothy, daughter of James Took, Esq., and Magdalen his wife.  Westminster parish.

1675, April 11.  William Lord, son of Robert and Anne Thurlow.

A family of this name lived in the St. Margaret’s part of the hamlet in the 17th century.

1675, Nov. 5.  Joan, daughter of Robert and Hester Gunter, baptised.

Persons of this name may be traced from this period to the present time in our locality.  It is the earliest entry of the name I have found.

1676, Jan. 8.  Margerite, the daughter of Elizabeth Bedford by Mr. Philip Thomas.

1677, June 17.  Tristram, the son of Tristram and Anne Huddlestone.

1677, July 20.  George, son of Berkley Trye, p. 72Esq., by Mary his wife, baptised by Jo. Andrews, entered at St. Martin’s.

The Tryes are a very ancient Gloucestershire family.

1678, Jan. 3.  Robert, son of Robert and Hester Gunter.

1681, April 11.  Anne, the daughter of George Sams by Martha Wheatley, his servant, as ’tis told me.

1682, May 27.  Thomas Dennis, 30 years of age, was baptised.

1683, March 4.  Jane Rutter was baptised.  A black woman.

1689, June 27.  ffrances Wharton, the daughter of Jane Wharton, a child of base (birth).

1691, Dec. 21.  Hannah Hipsley, daughter of Thomas and Mary Hipsley, by Mr. Watts.  Born Dec. 6th.

1692, Feb. 14.  Margaret Tarbet, the daughter of Margaret Perryvil; being a woman-child that fell in travail in ye street.

1702.  Mary, daughter of Thomas Werd by Mary his wife, was baptised the 3rd of May by Mr. Killberk.

This is the last baptism recorded, and only p. 73one is entered between October 16th, 1694, and this date: the others are missing; and though I know baptisms were occasionally solemnised here even to the end of the last century, no later record has been preserved.


There are no registers of marriages here now, anterior to April 1st, 1658, but in the Bishop’s register are some earlier ones, the first of which is the following:—

16th April, 1632.  Thomas Herbert, of Hammond Head, com. York, Esq., bachelor, 24; and Lucy Alexander, spinster, 20, daughter of Sir William Alexander.

The earliest in the Chapel register book is as follows:—

1658, April 1.  William Eaton and Jane Hurley were married.

1661, ffeb. 10.  Richard Steele and Eliza Cotterill per me Ant. Dode.

1666, July 17.  William Adkins and Katherine Edwards at ye Bowling Green.

The Bowling Green was perhaps at the Spring Garden, afterwards to be noticed.

p. 741666, Oct. 14.  Thomas Clark and Elizabeth Milton.

1667, April 16.  Philip Wharton and Hester Bewley.

1672, June 11.  Sir Philip Harcourte and Eliz Lee married by Mr. Cull.

1672, July 13.  Robert Chaloner, esq., and Dorothy Britten.

The Chaloners were one of the few old Middlesex families.  They were seated at Chiswick.

1675, Feb. 16.  Christopher Benson and Eliz. Hilliard, belonging to ye vice chancellor.

1675, Nov. 24.  Gabriel Hipsley and Penelope ffry.

1676, May 7.  Nicholas Brady and Bethia Chapman.

1676, Oct. 27.  Arthur Deavereux and Anne Ireland in pompe Courte in ye midle temple, 3 payre of stayres.

1677, July 17.  Hugh Middleton, esq., and Mrs. Dorothy Oglander, married by Mr. Nath. Cole, dd, his majesty’s Chaplain in ordinary.

1678, Feb. 21.  William Harbord, esq., and Mrs. Katherine Russell by Mr. James Symonds.

1678, July 23.  Sir James Hayes and Grace Clavering.

p. 751678, August 3.  Sir John Lenthall and ye Lady Catherine Lant, secrecy, by Mr. Joseph Stretch, minister.

Sir John Lenthall, only son of the Speaker, was Governor of Windsor, under Cromwell, and knighted by him in 1657.  On May 21, 1660, he moved in the House of Commons that all who had borne arms against the king should be exempted from pardon; and for such was called to the bar, reprimanded, and degraded his knighthood.  He afterwards lost his seat upon petition against his return.  He died in 1681.

1678, August 15.  Robert Grime and Barbara January, the king’s taylor, nexte doore to 3 tuns taverne lane.

1679, April 10.  Thomas Lant, esq., and Mrs. Jane Bromfield.

1681, Feb. 20.  John Stibbs and Sarah Cromwell.

For the last 250 years a family named Cromwell—and which, in the last century, branched out considerably—has been resident in this part of Middlesex.  Cromwell, the minister of Henry VIII., was born at Putney, not far out of the county; and Sir Richard Cromwell p. 76(grandfather to Oliver the Protector), signed himself in letters to the “Mauler of Monasteries” his most bounden nephew.  In 1691 a Robert Cromwell lived at Kensal Green, and is probably the person of the same name who sat on the jury at the trial of Daniel Axtell.  For many years a brewery at Hammersmith has been conducted by persons of this name, not improbably descendants from the Putney blacksmith.

1682, January 31st.  John Cull, curate of Knightsbridge, and Martha Turner, by Mr. Yearwood.

Mr. Cull was minister here twelve years.  He died in 1683, and was buried at Kensington on the 21st September.

1682, Dec. 24.  Sir John Hatton and Mary Hinton.

1683, July 3rd.  Heale Hooke, Baronet, and Hester Underhill by Seyward of Kensington.

Sir Hele Hooke, for many years a resident in Kensington Square, died there in July, 1712, by which the title became extinct.  Mr. Seward was curate there.  (See Faulkner’s “History of Kensington.”)

1685, Sept. 12.  David Gunter and Eliz. West.

p. 771686, Sept. 4.  Sir Francis de Geilhausen and Flora Bishop for Feb. 6, 1685.

1687, Feb. 1.  Sir Samuel Morland, Knight, and Mrs. Mary Aylif, secrecy.

This entry records the unfortunate marriage of the celebrated inventor, described by himself in such terms of misery, to the diarist Pepys.  In all the biographies of Morland I have referred to, and even in Burke, his wife’s name is not given, and therefore I presume it has hitherto been unknown.  The wedding was, as the register tells, private; and eighteen days after it took place, he wrote to Pepys, that, “being in very great perplexities, and almost distracted for want of moneys,” a person whom he had befriended in time of need proposed to recommend him an heiress, “who had 500l. per ann. in land, and 4,000l. in ready money,” and property of other kinds.  “Believing it,” he writes, “utterly impossible,” that one whom he had assisted, “should ever be guilty of so black a deed” as to betray him in his distress, “I was, about a fortnight since, led as a fool to the stocks, and married a coachman’s daughter, not worth a shilling,” and whose moral character p. 78proved to be none of the purest.  He, procuring evidence (shortly after) of adultery, took the case into the Ecclesiastical Court, which granted a divorce on that ground on May 17. [78]  It was the fourth time Sir Samuel tied the matrimonial knot, and the last.

1687, May 3.  Sir William Moet, and Antonetta Willobe.

1687, Sept. 1.  John Atley and Mary Crumwell.

1689, Jan. 7.  Richard Bailey and Eliz. Shakespeare.

1690, July 20.  Sir Thomas Fautherly and Mrs. Frances Brown.

1690, July 31.  John Lenthall and Eliz. Wildman.

1693, Jan. 8.  Thomas Cromwel and Ann Smith.

1694, Aug. 12.  Edward Shaxspear and Eliz. Ward.

1695, May 26.  Tristram Huddleston, Gentleman of St. James’, Wmr., and Mrs. Mary Darker of the same.

p. 791695, Nov. 16.  John Baptist Renoult, Minister of the parish of St. Ann’s, Westminster, and Amery Henri, Widd.

1696, July 23.  John Line of St. Martin’s Neat Houses, and Dorothy ffall, spinster of St. Margaret’s, Westminster.

1697, Jan. 30.  Jasper Arnold, Gent., of St. James, Westminster, and Antonett Culmer of Kensington, spinster.

The Arnolds were a numerous and opulent family long resident in Westminster.  Families of the same name, and probably connected, also resided in Knightsbridge and Kensington for above a century.  One of the Westminster Arnolds was a brewer, and a juryman on the trial of the Seven Bishops.  (See “Macaulay’s History.”)

1698, August 21.  George Cumming, Taylor, at ye Woolstaple, near great Tom, St. Margaret’s, Westminster, and Mary Watson of the same place.

1698, Dec. 18.  William ffinton, Life Guardsman in college-street, near ye Black dog: Catherine Llewyllen in Dean’s Yard, Westmr.

(Black Dog Alley still exists in College Street.)

p. 801699, Jan. 1.  Thomas Lewsie, peruke maker in ye pel-mel at ye sign of ye two pidgeons, in St. James’ Westmr, and Mary pigot, of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, in maiden lane.

1699, Jan. 23.  Richard Green, Barber, in St. Brides, at ye Barber’s pole near ffleet-bridge, ye corner house but one, and Mary Truby of ye same place.

1699, May 23.  Thomas Fenwick of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, servt to Storey at ye Park Gate, and Mary Gregory of ye same.

This notice is curious: Story’s Gate, named from the person here noticed, is the entrance into St. James’s Park from Bridge Street.  Story was keeper of the Aviary to Charles II., hence Birdcage Walk.

1699, August 18.  Cornelius Vander Velde, Limner, of St. Giles’, living in Dyot street, over agt ye Sparrow’s Nest, and Bernada Vander Hagen, of ye same.

Cornelius Vander Velde was brother to William Vander Velde the elder, the great painter of sea pieces.  He was himself a painter of nautical subjects, and in the employ of Charles II.  This is an addition to Walpole’s notices.

p. 811699, Nov. 16.  Charles Goring, Gentleman of Heysdown, in the parish of Washington, and Frances Bridger of Hams in ye same county.  (Sussex) by Mr. Knaggs.

Mr. Goring afterwards succeeded to the baronetcy.

1700, July 30.  Robt Walpole, Esquire, of Houghton in ye County of Norfolk, and Katharine Shorter, of ye Parish of St. James, Westm. by Mr. Prevoste.

This record is that of the celebrated minister of the first two Georges.  His wife was daughter of a Lord Mayor of London, and mother of the celebrated Horace.

1700, Nov. 22.  Miles Pennington, Gent., living in Tuttle Street, at ye sign of ye Green Dragon, and Eliz. D’oyley of the same.

1703, March 4.  John Oldmixon and Elizabeth Parrey.

1703, Dec. 25.  Benjamin Houghton and Eliz. Mandeville.

1704, April 28.  John Every, Esq., and ye Honble Martha Thompson.

Mr. Every afterwards succeeded his brother in the baronetcy; his wife was daughter of John, Lord Haversham.

p. 821705, Jan. 6.  Sir William Humphrey and Eleanor Lancashire.

Sir William was Lord Mayor in the first year of George I., and entertaining the new king at Guildhall, was made a baronet.  His wife was widow of a London merchant.

1705, Jan. 8.  Charles Danvers and Margaret Evans.

Danvers has been a name in Chelsea these 250 years past, and is still to be found there.  Sir John Danvers, of Chelsea, was one who signed the death-warrant of Charles I.

1705, May 23.  Henry Graham, Esq., and Mary, Countess of Darentwater.

This lady was the youngest natural daughter of Charles II., by Mrs. Davis the actress, and known before marriage as Lady Mary Tudor.  On August 18, 1687, being then only in her fourteenth year, she was married to Edward Radcliffe, afterwards second earl of Derwentwater, by whom she became mother of that ill-fated earl executed on Tower Hill for his share in the Rebellion of 1715; of Charles Radcliffe, who also perished on the scaffold thirty years after, and of two other children.  Her husband, from whom she separated in 1700, died April 29, p. 831705; and within a month, as this record shows, she married Henry Graham of Levens, Esq., who died the following year.  She married thirdly James Rooke, whom she likewise survived.  She died at Paris, November 5, 1726, in her fifty-fourth year.

1710, May 30.  Sir Tho. Robinson, Baronet, and Mrs. Elizabeth Hare by license.  Tho. Yalden, S.T.P.

Sir Thomas Robinson, grandson of Sir Thomas Robinson, killed in jumping from a window to escape from a fire in his chambers in the Temple.  His wife was daughter of Sir Thomas Hare of Stow Bardolph.  The officiating clergyman was doubtless the poet of that name.

1710, Dec. 13.  Charles May, esq., and Mrs. Jane Middleton.

1712, Jan. 19.  Mr. Martin Purcell and Mrs. Mary Glagg.

1721, June 19.  Charles Vanbrugh, esq., of the parish of St. Martin in the Fields, and Anne Burt of ye same, married by Dr. Hough, rector of St. George’s.

Most probably this gentleman was brother of the celebrated architect and dramatist, Sir John p. 84Vanbrugh.  His brother Charles was baptised Feb. 27, 1680.

1721, July 22.  The Hon. Josias Burchett of St. Martin in ye Feilds, esq., widower, and Margaret Aris, of St. Anne’s, Westminster, widow.

1726, June 8.  Francis Bytheway of St. Clement’s Danes, Batchelor, and Ann Persehouse of St. Martin’s in ye feilds, spinster.

1730, May 7.  Noel Broxholme, M.D., St. James, Bachelor, 40, and Mrs. Amy Dowdeswell, St. Ann’s Westminster, widow.

1741, May 26.  The Rev. Mr. John Pettingall of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, Batch: and Susanna Long of ye same, spinster.

Mr. Pettingall was minister of Duke Street Chapel, Westminster.

1752, Dec. 2.  John Fry ye younger, of Bromley in ye County of Middx, and Elizabeth Eveleigh, of ye same, spins.

This is the last entry; and the blank pages after show it to have been the last marriage solemnised here.

In Wilkinson’s “Londina” the following curious extracts from the Accounts are given:—

p. 85Monye laid out for and toward ye reparation of the said Chappell as followeth:

* October 17, 1655.

To the plumer for a gutter of lead 18 of April, 1656 (Qy. 1655)




To Edward Rowles




To Robert Darwinn, for mendinge the great window nexte the pulpit




* 1656.

To John Fitzwalter and his labourers




ffor lathes, nails, and lime, and sand




ffor three hundred of tiles




To Rowles his man for mendinge the Chappell doore, and bell




* 24th October, 1657.

To Thomas Austin and his labourers




To Darwinne for mendinge the north windows




Memorandum undated, but I think 1658 is the year:—

Monnies gathered by the inhabitants of Knightsbridge for & towards the Reparations of the Chappell called Trinitie Chappell, belonginge to the Hospitale, Spittle, or Lazar House of Knightsbridge:





The Lady Stonehouse




Mr. Hall




Mr. Pate




Mr. Callaway




Mr. White




Mr. Harris




Mr. Boll




Mr. Lewis




Goodman Paldin




Mr. Hickman




Som toto




p. 86More Collected the 29th day of June at the Chappell doore at the Requeste of Mr. Anthony dod, minister of Paddington:













More Collected the 01th day of April att Chappell doore att the Request of Mr. Lee, Minister now present of Trinitie Chappell of Knightsbrige the some of fiftye eight shillings two-pence, by us 58s. 2d.





Christopher Lee
Tho. Turner
Richard Halloway.

July, 1659.

Received of the Lady Langton (for her entrance into her yere) towards the repayringe of the Chappell, the some of 2




Received of Mr. Hall the same month




* The 9th of June, 1659. [86]

Received of John Glassington, Governour of the Hospital of Knightsbridge the some of 10s.—which was collected for a breefe for and towards the losses by fire in the parish of Brides’, London, I say received by me,

Witness, Anthony Dod.

John Gray.

* The 27th Day of ffebr, 1658.

Then received of Mr. Glassington of the Hospitall of Knightsbridge, for the use of the Bayliffe and Burgesses of East Thetford (Retford), in the County of Nottingham, the some of ten shillings, which was gathered for the rebuilding of the church of East Thetford aforesaid.

Tho. Mason.

p. 87The following entry refers, perhaps, to the law which made conformity to the Church of England a necessary qualification for official employment:—

Mr. Gamaleon Capell and Mr. John Adams received the Communion in Trinitie Chappell at Knightsbridge the 14th day of July, 1680.

And the next is an instance of the operation of a very absurd and immoral law:—

August ye 6, 1695.  Recd of Mr. Tho. Hipsley [87] ten pounds and seven shillings and six pence by order of ye Comishenors for Marridges in Knightsbridge Chappell, at to shillings and six pence per Marridg:

By us

Jos. Radliff
Laine Mease.

The next extract informs us the rental received by the Birkheads as lessees; for I presume it to be a receipt for the whole year:—

Recd the third day of Jany, 1701, of Mr. Thomas Hipsley the sum of fforty nine pounds for Rent, allowing all the King’s Taxes to Christmas day last past, it being in full for Rent to the said Christmas day.  p. me,

Mary Birkhead.

p. 88In Chelsea Register (1699) is the following entry—“Gave to the Beadle of Knightsbridge, [88] yt brought Sir Thomas Ogle’s childrens clothes, at their first coming to the parish 0 . 0 . 6.”

Regarding burials, the only entry in the books recording such is the following:—“Mrs. Smith the wife of Edward Smith of Bromtone deced the 5th day of March, and was bereed the 6th day of ye same month 1667.”  If persons were interred here in any number, the interments ceased most probably before 1683, when Mr. Cull was buried at Kensington.  No register of such is to be found now, although the tradition was very strong that the enclosure on the Green was consecrated for the resting place of the dead.

Before concluding this account of the Chapel I must notice the Birkhead family, with whom it was so many years connected.  They appear to have held considerable property in the hamlet, but I have not been able to trace their history, other than what the following extracts from the registers inform us:—

p. 891672 May 28th.  “Nicholas Birkhead and Susan Robinson, married by Dr. Littleton.”

This, doubtless, was the “gouldsmith” who “rebuilte” the chapel: Dr. Littleton was rector of Chelsea, and celebrated for his Dictionary and other literary productions.

1678.  Nicholas ye son of Nicholas Birkhead, junior, by Susanna his wife, bapt. Aprill 30th 1678: in the parish of Buttolphe’s, Aldersgate, London.

This relates evidently to the same person: the other notices are as follow:—

1688 July 1.  John Clements and Eliz. Birkhead.

1689 Aug 20.  Edward Nowell and Eliz. Birkhead.

1693 April 27.  Thomas Rouse and Hester Birkhead.

1694 July 15.  Richard Wright and Eliz. Birkhead.

1694 Aug 27.  James Birkhead, Joyner, of St. Andrews, Holborn; and Anne Jinks, spinster of St. Giles’ in ye fields.

1705 Feb 10.  John Birkhead and Ann Gurney.

1723 June 18.  Edward Brind of Buckingham, p. 90Batch, and Elizabeth Birkhead, of St. Martin’s in ye fields, spinster. [90]

Here my account of this ancient foundation, which has afforded, bodily and spiritually, aid to thousands, before the more splendid structures which now eclipse it were erected, must close.  I own I feel a deep interest in the old place, shorn as it is of its usefulness in great measure; and it is with regret I am compelled to bear witness against those superiors of the venerable Abbey, to which it was attached, for permitting its decay to go on, without one single attempt to renovate it with fresh life and vigour.  I cannot find that they have for the p. 91last 150 years aided it, or held out the parental hand in any way.  They have appointed its ministers, have allowed them a miserable endowment, and this is the sum of their support.  With the rentals they have drawn from Knightsbridge for so lengthened a period, Church and Hospital ought now to stand, both flourishing in useful prosperity, monuments alike to the piety of our ancestors, and to the conservative care of their descendants, who had striven to emulate their goodness by the extension of the blessings their bounty bestowed.  Is it so, that in this district nothing can be done in the nineteenth to remedy the faults of the eighteenth century?

In connection with Trinity Chapel was a school, founded in 1783, chiefly by the exertions of John Read, who will be hereafter further noticed.  The education afforded was substantially good, better than most schools of the same kind generally afforded, and was entirely free.  Its support was derived from the contributions of the public, and collections at the Chapel.  For many years the number was limited to 34 boys and 18 girls, but in 1832 it was increased to 45 boys and 25 girls, beyond which number the income of the Committee p. 92would not allow them to extend.  To Mr. Kember, its Treasurer, for many years the institution mainly owed its existence; but at length, in 1844, the subscribers at a general meeting transferred the institution, and attached it to the new church of St. Paul.

Before this school was founded it would seem one of a similar kind had previously existed, for Northvouck mentions one here, but with 6 boys and 6 girls only.


St. Paul’s Church.—In this section the two churches to which the Hamlet of Knightsbridge mainly pertains will be described.  St. Paul’s claims priority.

The first stone of St. Paul’s was laid November 6th, 1840, in presence of nearly 500 persons, by George Drummond, Esq., of Wilton Crescent.  The want of Church accommodation had been greatly felt, and in this year measures were taken to realise that want.  Public subscriptions were commenced, and a large sum subscribed; [92] but after the work had for some p. 93time been progressed with, it was stopped from lack of resources; this difficulty was, however, surmounted, and on June 30th, 1843, the edifice was consecrated by Dr. Blomfield, Bishop of London, who preached on the occasion from the 4th chapter of St. John’s Gospel, verse 14.

The site on which it stands was formerly an exercising ground belonging to the foot-barrack, and was given by the Marquis of Westminster (who likewise contributed £500 towards the organ), the lease being purchased of the late Mr. Phillips.

The Church is one of the most handsome of modern architecture in London, and a great credit to its designer Mr. T. Cundy.  Its style is that known as Early Perpendicular; it is 106 feet in length, by 59 feet 6 inches in breadth; the height is nearly 50 feet.  It consists of a nave and two aisles, with a chancel at the east end on an ascent of four steps; around the Church, along three of its sides, p. 94galleries are placed; in the west gallery is the organ, and on this side are also galleries above for the school children.  At the west end is a lofty and very handsome tower, having an arch open on three sides at its base to form the porch, above which it is carried to the height of 121 feet, in two storeys, each containing a large and beautiful window, sides and front.  It terminates with an embattled parapet of open-work, and eight crocketted pinnacles, four of which rise from the angles.  The tower contains a clock by Dent, and three bells by Meares; the tenor weighs 22 cwt. 11 lbs., second 8 cwt, the small one 6 cwt. 4 lbs.

St. Paul’s Church

p. 95The chancel forms a very handsome termination to the interior; the reading-desk and pulpit respectively occupy places at the north and south corners of its entrance, while in advance, occupying a central position, is the lectern, presented by the Rev. W. Bennett.  In the south side of the chancel are three sedillæ; over the Communion table are three compartments of stonework, on which are inscribed the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Creed; above the stonework it terminates in a rere-dos, over which is the great window of stained glass by Wailes, pourtraying the Prophets and the Twelve Apostles.  This window and ornamental stonework cost about £1,000.

The font is of Caen stone, of beautiful design, and five feet eight inches in height; it is of octagonal form, the panels being divided by buttresses, the projecting portion of each resting on an angel, each angel either clasping its hands, or holding a shield or book bearing some symbol corresponding with the subject of the panel immediately preceding.  Under each panel is a boss, representing some plant answering to the subject on the panel.  The shaft, supporting the whole, is placed on two steps; it consists p. 96of eight mullioned arches, and as many buttresses decorated.  It is the work of Mr. Charles Physick, of Gower Street, and was presented by the Rev. D. A. Beaufort, Mr. Bennett’s successor at Portman Chapel.  Its cost was £100.

The organ is a very powerful one; its case was designed by Mr. Cundy, and harmonises with the general character of the Church.  It covers 14 feet square, and is 30 feet high.

The roof is open, and is said to be the largest unsupported by pillars of any ecclesiastical edifice in the metropolis.  It is of timber, and the tie beams are filled with tracery.

Of the eight handsome windows of each side of the church, two in the north and six in the south are filled with stained glass, all by Wailes, of Newcastle, representing the most remarkable scenes and actions of St. Paul, and of those Apostles whose names are to be read on each window.  Four of these windows were erected to the memory of various members of his family by J. T. Horne, Esq.; one to John Backhouse, Esq., of the Foreign Office, born October 14th, 1784, died November 13th, 1845; one to the late Viscount Newry, to the Misses p. 97Alice and Caroline Colvile, and one to Miss Caroline Carr.  There is one also to Patrick Fraser Tytler, born August 30th, 1791, died December 24th, 1849: he was author of “A History of Scotland,” “Lives of Sir Walter Raleigh,” “Henry VIII.,” and other works that have assumed a standard position in our literature.

The church will hold nearly 1,600 persons; 600 of the sittings are free.

The Rev. W. J. E. Bennett was nominated to the incumbency by the Bishop of London; but certain differences having arisen between him and the Bishop, he resigned in March, 1850, when the Hon. and Rev. Robert Liddell was appointed in his stead.

The following is a list of the Churchwardens:—September 30, 1845, Hon. Eliot Yorke, M.P.; Charles Briscoe.  (These gentlemen were re-elected also for the three following years.)  1849, April 10, Sir John E. Harington, Bart.; Charles Briscoe.  1850, Sir J. E. Harington; Charles Briscoe.  1851, April 21, T. H. Sotheron, Esq., M.P.; J. H. Tuck.  1852, April 13, Viscount Castlereagh; J. H. Tuck.  1853, March 29, T. H. Horne, Esq.; Charles p. 98Westerton.  1854, April 18.  This was a contested election: opposition having been made by Mr. Westerton to the mode of conducting Divine Service, and other matters connected with the Church, he was opposed by Thos. Davidson, Esq.; but after a poll, the numbers were declared to be—for Mr. Westerton, 203; Mr. Davidson, 200.  Mr. Horne was renominated; but a caveat being entered against this election, the case came on for adjudication before Dr. Phillimore, in the Archdeacon’s Court, on May 30th, 1854, who declared the election null, in consequence of the rejection of the votes of certain parishioners; and a new election taking place on June 15th, the same gentlemen were again nominated, and, after a poll of two days’ duration, the result was declared to be—for Mr. Westerton, 651; Mr. Davidson, 323.  1855, April 10, W. H. Jackson, Esq.; Charles Westerton: and the same gentlemen still fill the office.

All Saints’ Church.—This handsome edifice was consecrated by the late Bishop Blomfield on Saturday, July 21st, 1849.  It was erected to supply a very great want, for previously p. 99this isolated portion of St. Margaret’s parish was destitute of a place of worship for the members of the Church of England.  Within the last twenty years the population has vastly increased; and houses of first-class character have covered the nursery-grounds and fields formerly abounding.

All Saints’ Church was erected from the designs of Mr. Vulliamy, in the Lombardic or Byzantine style of architecture, and when completed will be one of the most original and striking edifices in London.  It consists of a nave, and side aisles, divided by pillars polished to imitate marble, terminating in an apse, forming the chancel, and the roof of which is a blue ground spangled with gold.  Galleries are erected round three sides; in the western one is a very fine organ.  The roof is open, of woodwork, and harmonises pleasingly with the other parts of the building, although comparatively plain.

A tower at the west end, and a suitable enclosure before the entrance, yet remain to be accomplished, ere the work of completion is done.  The estimated cost of these works amounts to £2,100; and it is to be hoped that p. 100the necessary funds may not be long forthcoming, to hinder their commencement.

The minister is the Rev. William Harness, known for his edition of Shakspeare and other contributions to current literature; and the senior curate is the Rev. Mackenzie Walcot, whose “Memorials of Westminster,” and other works on the ancient city, have rendered him its most popular and pleasing historian.

Charles R. Harford and James Baber, Esqs., were the first chosen churchwardens, and filled the office continuously till the present year, when W. Aldridge, Esq., was instituted in room of Mr. Harford.

Albert Gate occupies an arched surface over the bed of the Westbourne, which was here open and crossed by two bridges, one just within the Park, and erected about 1734; the other, the old bridge from which our Hamlet is named.  On its west side was the “Fox and Bull;” on its east a low court of very old houses, named after the “White Hart,” which, with these other buildings and the Cannon Brewhouse, were entirely removed by authority of an Act of Parliament (4 Vict., c. 12) passed March 10th, 1841, which empowered the Commissioners p. 101of Works to purchase the land on which these tenements stood and the buildings thereon, for the purpose of forming a new entrance to Hyde Park.  Accordingly, these improvements were carried out, and the iron p. 102gates, which are of a very chaste design, were fixed August 9th, 1845.  The two stags on the side pedestals formerly performed the same watch and ward at the Ranger’s Lodge in the Green Park.  They were modelled from a pair of prints by Bartolozzi.

“The Westbourne”—Looking North from Knightsbridge

Part of the ground bought by the commissioners they leased for ninety-nine years to Mr. Thomas Cubitt, who immediately built on the eastern side a large mansion, for which it is said Mr. Hudson, M.P., paid him £15,000.  It is now the residence of the French Ambassador: here our Queen paid a visit in state on May 12, 1854; and the Emperor Napoleon held a Levee on his visit to her in May, 1855.

This house was at first the butt of the London wits, who named it Gibraltar House, affirming it would never be taken.  This opinion did not deter Mr. Cubitt from erecting another, now the London and County Bank Branch; and a third is now nearly finished for Captain Layland.  Architecturally, there is nothing in these mansions to admire, notwithstanding the arrogance with which they force attention.  Though so gigantic, they are not imposing; of an unusual altitude, they are destitute of p. 103ornament, and can only be likened to some “tall bullies,” determined even in vulgarity to lord over their fellows.

Brompton Road: a row of houses built about twenty years since on the garden of Grosvenor House.  The National School House attached to Brompton Church was built in 1841, in the Tudor style, from designs by Mr. George Godwin.

Ennismore Place and Terrace, built by Elger on land belonging to the Earl of Listowel, from whose second title the name is derived; commenced in 1848, and finished in 1855.  Along the curve at the bottom of the Terrace (now called Princes Terrace) the boundary of St. Margaret’s parish abuts on that of Kensington.  No. 11, Princes Terrace, is the residence of Mr. Bonamy Price.

High Road: a heterogeneous row of houses between the Green and Rutland Gate is so called.  They are built without any attempt at uniformity, and are generally of a mean description.  Parts of the western end are now called Trevor Terrace, and South Place.  The oldest houses in the Hamlet are in High Road: Chatham House (why so called I know p. 104not), built in 1688, now a broker’s, was for many years a boarding-school, and originally surrounded by a garden.  Three doors beyond is an ancient inn, now known as the “Rose and Crown,” but formerly the “Oliver Cromwell,” and which has been licensed above three hundred years.  It is the oldest house in Knightsbridge, was formerly its largest inn, and not improbably the house which sheltered Wyatt, while his unfortunate Kentish followers rested on the adjacent green.  A tradition told by all old inhabitants of the locality that Cromwell’s body-guard was once quartered here, is still very prevalent, and an inscription to that effect was till lately painted in front of the house; [104] and on an ornamental piece of plaster-work was formerly emblazoned the great Protector’s coat-of-arms.  Although I have not been able to find any mention of this place in connection with the Civil War, or with Cromwell, yet nothing is more certain p. 105than that (as I have before noticed) our neighbourhood was frequently the scene of skirmishes during that contest, or more probable than that it should be so, considering it was the main road from the west to the capital.  In 1647 the Parliament Army was encamped about here, and Fairfax’s head-quarters were for awhile at Holland House; so also immediately before and after the fight at Brentford.  At all events, Mr. Corbould, the distinguished painter, took this old inn as a subject; and “The Old Hostelrie at Knightsbridge,” exhibited in 1849 at St. George’s Gallery, formed a pleasing and animating picture.  He laid the scene as early as 1497; and opposite the inn stands a well, surmounted by a figure of St. George, while beyond is the spacious green, the meandering stream, the bridge over it, surmounted by an embattled tower; while still further appears the old hospital and chapel.  All this is likely to be summarily condemned as the painter’s fancy, but it nevertheless proves that an interest in the place was not confined to the lower orders alone.  The house has of late been much modernised, and in 1853 had a narrow escape from destruction by fire; p. 106but enough still remains in its peculiar chimneys, oval-shaped windows, the low rooms, large yard and extensive stabling, with the galleries above and office-like places beneath, to testify to its antiquity and former importance. [106]

The “Rising Sun” was for many years the residence of Major Eyre of the Volunteers.  It is built of red brick, and on the coping is the date 16—.  There was formerly much carved work about the rooms, but all has disappeared: a plain, old-fashioned staircase still exists.  It has not been licensed above thirty years.

Trevor Terrace consists of but ten houses.  At the last, Mr. Pocock, the architect, resides.

At the corner of South Place, which contains only three houses, is the celebrated floor-cloth manufactory belonging to Mr. Baber.  It was the earliest one ever established, and first erected, in 1754, by Nathan Smith.  The first block used for patterns was cut by him, and is still preserved in the factory.  A woodcut of it is given in “Dodd’s British Manufactures,” where full particulars of the process of this manufacture are given.  In 1794 the building was entirely destroyed by fire, but restored the p. 107ensuing year; the whole was rebuilt in 1824, and presents a remarkable appearance from its great height.  At the north end is a clock, over which is placed a figure of Time cut in stone.

The adjoining house (No. 2) was formerly called the “Parsonage,” because inhabited by the Rev. J. Gamble, of Trinity Chapel.  This gentleman was in 1796 appointed Chaplain of the Forces, and in 1799 Rector of Alphamstone and Bradwell-juxta-Mare, Essex.  For many years also he was private chaplain to the Duke of York, who generally attended his ministry at the Chapel.  Mr. Gamble was a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, a very able preacher, and a highly popular man.  He died in this house July 27, 1811.

Of late years this unpretending house has gained a world-wide celebrity, having been the residence of Edward Sterling, the “Thunderer of the Times.”

Edward Sterling was born at Waterford on the 27th February, 1773.  He entered Trinity College, Dublin, and qualifying himself for the bar, was duly called thereto; when the Irish Rebellion breaking out, in his twenty-fifth year, the barristers resolved to raise a corps of volunteers; p. 108and thus a complete change in Sterling’s career was commenced.  He fought at Vinegar Hill, and doubtless fought well.  He quitted the bar, joined the Cheshire Militia, whence he and his company afterwards volunteered into the line.  In 1805 the regiment was disbanded, and he removed to Kaimes Castle, Bute, where he cultivated a farm.  Afterwards he went into Wales, and was appointed Adjutant of the Glamorgan Militia; and in 1810 published a pamphlet on Military Reform.  It was dedicated to the Duke of Kent, and went through a second edition the following year.

In 1812 he wrote a series of letters to the Times, under the signature of “Vetus,” which were afterwards collected and reprinted.  In 1814 he was at Paris, and witnessed the entry of Napoleon after his return from Elba.  He made the best of his way to London, which he never quitted as a residence again.  He resided at various places in the suburbs, but ultimately settled at Knightsbridge, a more congenial home with its military air; and from this modest nook poured forth the able, torrent-like articles, which gained their unknown author the title of the “Thunderer.”

p. 109He died here in the year 1847; his wife, the excellent mother of John Sterling, died here also, on April 16th, 1843. [109]

This house was also a home to John Sterling when in London; and here Carlyle, Maurice, Mill, and other gifted men, visited him.  It is now the residence of his brother, Colonel Sterling; and here also came, after his honourable campaign in the Crimea, the brave Sir Colin Campbell, who for his services in India was created Lord Clyde.

Kent House.—H.R.H. the Duke of Kent, about fifty years ago, rented a small house, to which he added till it attained its present size, and was named after him, Kent House.  He resided here but a few years.  After him, Lord George Seymour inhabited it; and in 1817 the Hon. George Villiers resided here.  He was next brother and heir-presumptive to the second Earl of Clarendon, and held several official employments.  He married the Hon. Theresa Parker, only daughter of John, first Lord Boringdon, and brother of the Earl of Morley, and died at Kent House, March 21st, p. 1101827, leaving a numerous family, three of whom at least have attained a high reputation, viz., the present Earl of Clarendon, the Hon. C. P. Villiers, M.P. for Wolverhampton, and Lady Theresa Lewis, author of “The Friends and Contemporaries of Lord Chancellor Clarendon.”

At Kent House (divided now) reside Earl Morley, and Sir G. C. Lewis, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer.  He married Lady Theresa (noticed above), relict of P. H. Lister, Esq., and is author of many important historical and political works, some of which were written in this house.

Stratheden House.—This was many years the residence of a highly respected family named Marsh.  Charles Marsh, Esq., was a magistrate of the county, and William Marsh was senior partner in the house of Marsh, Graham, and Co., with which the forgeries of Fauntleroy were so interwoven.  In the misfortunes occasioned by this man Mr. Marsh was innocently, but bitterly, involved.  He was a very public spirited man, and greatly respected in the locality.

Stratheden House was afterwards the residence of Francis Bassett, Lord de Dunstanville.  p. 111He was created baronet for his prompt heading of the Cornish miners, and bringing them to the relief of Plymouth, when the combined fleets of France and Spain cast anchor in the Sound in 1779.  He sat in the House of Commons many years, supporting Lord North, and afterwards Pitt, by whom, in 1799, he was raised to the peerage.  He supported the Tory interest in the Upper House, and, though not a prominent member, drew down on him the ire of the veteran reformer, Cartwright.  He died in 1835.

This mansion is now the town residence of Lord Campbell and Lady Stratheden, after whom it is named.  The first volume of the “Lives of the Chancellors” is dated from this house.

High Row extends from Albert Gate Houses to the Barracks; part of it, in an absurd spirit of sycophancy, is now called Albert Terrace.  At the west side of the stream, till the improvements were effected, stood a celebrated inn, known as the “Fox and Bull,” traditionally said to have been founded in the time of Elizabeth, and used by her on her visits to Lord Burleigh at Brompton.  Its curious sign is said to be the only one of the p. 112kind existing.  At the “Fox and Bull” for a long while was maintained that Queen Anne style of society, where persons of “parts” and reputation were to be met with in rooms open to all.  A Captain Corbet was for a long while its head; a Mr. Shaw, of the War Office, supplied the London Gazette; and W. Harris, of Covent Garden Theatre, his play-bills. [112a]  Sir Joshua Reynolds is said to have occasionally been a visitor, as also Sir W. Wynn, the patron of Ryland; and George Morland frequently so.  The sign was once painted by Sir Joshua, and hung till 1807, when it was blown down and destroyed in a storm.  The house is referred to in the “Tatler,” No. 259.

The “Fox and Bull” was for many years the receiving house of the Royal Humane Society; [112b] and here was brought the poor frame of the first wife of the poet Shelley, who had drowned herself in the Serpentine.  She had lodged in Hans Place, a short time before, and was known to the landlord’s daughter, Miss Mary Ann Phillips; hence, her remains were treated p. 113“tenderly,” and laid out “with care.”  An inquest was held, and a verdict returned, which saved her the revolting burial then awarded to the suicide.

A magistrate used to sit here once a-week: the last was Mr. Bond, of Sloane Street.  The present is the third house that has existed under the same sign.  The first was undoubtedly of Elizabethan build; most of its rooms were panelled and carved, with ornamented ceilings, &c.; and it was not till 1799 that the immense fire-places and dog-irons were removed for stoves.  This house was pulled down about 1836, and the second immediately built on its site; this stood till the alterations at Albert Gate made necessary the removal of the business to its present situation.

In 1809 the landlord, digging to form a grain pit for his cows, discovered six entire male skeletons, supposed to be remains of some who had been slain (perhaps attempting to cross the bridge) in the Civil War.

The Cannon Brewhouse, a large unsightly brick building, occupied the remainder of the site of the Albert Gate houses.  Formerly here stood a row of mean dwellings, with open cellars p. 114in front, and at the west end a filthy court.  They were all removed for the brewhouse, the first stone of which was laid by the late Mr. James Goding, on April 10th, 1804; at the top was a huge wooden cannon. [114]  In 1841 the whole was pulled down, and for ten years the ground was unoccupied; in 1851 a temporary building for the Chinese Collection of Mr. Dunn was erected, which in 1852 made way for the large mansion not yet entirely finished.

The house now inhabited by Mr. Murray was, rather more than thirty years since, the residence of Lady Ann Hamilton—the faithful attendant of Caroline of Brunswick.  Afterwards Mr. Chalon, and then Mr. Davis, both artists of repute, inhabited it.  To Mr. Davis succeeded Mr. White, a naturalist, who had here a large collection of wild beasts and birds.  I have heard he was tutor to Van Amburgh.

Mr. Woodburn, when living supposed to be the first judge in matters relating to ancient art, once lived in this house.  He died in 1854.  p. 115The staircases still bear proof of the residence of these artists here.

Captain Corbet, a comrade of St. Vincent, lived at No. 19; Ozias Humphry at 13; Maurice Morgann, opposite Sloane Street, John Taylor, the singer, Paul Bedford (for several years at 18), Mr. Justice Burton, and Mr. McCarthy, the sculptor, at 17—were all residents of High Row.  Of these, Humphry will be noticed here.  He was born at Honiton in 1742; and early evincing a taste for drawing, was taken from the Grammar School of his native town and sent to London, where he prosecuted his studies most assiduously.  Having, after two years’ stay, been compelled to return through the death of his father, he engaged himself to Mr. Collins, a miniature painter at Bath.  But in 1763, by the advice of Reynolds, he returned to London, and was brought under public notice through his auspices.  For some years he practised with increasing success, and in 1773 set out for Italy with Romney; he returned in September, 1777, and his fame rapidly increased.  Miniatures he had chiefly devoted himself to, but now he turned to full-portrait painting, to p. 116which Hayley in his poem addressed to Romney refers:—

“Thy graces, Humphry, and thy colours clear,
From miniatures’ small circle disappear:
May their distinguished merit still prevail,
And shine with lustre on the larger scale.”

In 1785 he sailed for India; but the climate compelling him to return before he had attained his object, he, in 1789, again exhibited in London, confirming his former reputation, and next year he was elected R.A.  He was employed to paint a series of original portraits of the Sackvilles by the Duke of Dorset; but ere he had completed them his sight failed him, and though various attempts were made to pursue his art, they were unsuccessful, and he was compelled to terminate his professional career.

Humphry was held in high estimation by some of the greatest men of his time; by Reynolds, Hastings, and Sir W. Jones.  He is one of the heroes, too, of Boswell’s inimitable biography: Johnson placed under his care his godson, “a son of Mr. Paterson, eminent for his knowledge of books.”  As an artist, though he suffered many disadvantages, he ranked high; as a man of moral worth, and kind affections, he was “zealous in good offices, p. 117and strenuous in his efforts for rising genius;” and it was to him Dr. Walcot first introduced Opie.

Besides the poetic niche of Hayley, Owen Cambridge mentions him—

“But, Humphry, by whom shall your labours be told,
How your colours enliven the young and the old?”

And Cumberland likewise—

“Crown’d with fresh roses, grateful Humphry stands,
While beauty grows immortal from his hands.”

Humphry resided several years in Knightsbridge; he died at 13, High Row, March 9th, 1810, and was buried in St. James’ Chapel ground, Hampstead Road. [117]

Out of the High Row runs Mills’ Buildings, so called from a builder of that name who erected them in 1777.  At the top, abutting on the Park, is Park Row: at No. 5, Mr. Thomas Cooper for several years resided; and Mr. F. Matthews once lived in this row.

The spot of ground now occupied by the Duke of Wellington’s stables, just erected from designs by Hardwick, was purchased by the p. 118Duke from a Mr. Williams, whose freehold property it was.  Several houses in Park Place, the “Nag’s Head,” [118] and five other houses, were removed for these stables.  Two of them touched on the Park, and were called Williams’ Cottages.

At the west end of High Row is the barrack for the Horse-Guards, an extensive range of brick buildings, built in 1795, and capable of accommodating 600 men and 500 horses.  In the centre of the chief building is an oblong parade, around which are the apartments for the men, and the chief stabling for the horses.  A mansion for the officers, riding school, &c., stand at the western end.

Hyde Park.—Of the glories of Hyde Park it is almost superfluous to speak; it has been a place of great popular resort since the days of Charles II.  It was then visited, not as now, for air and exercise only, but was much used by the citizens for their sports.  May 1st, 1654, a great hurling match was played before the Lord Protector.  We read that on that day also “great resort came to Hyde Park, many hundreds of rich coaches, and gallants in attire; p. 119but most shameful powdered-hair men and painted and spotted women.”  Horse and footraces were also held here.  “Shall we make a fling to London, and see how the spring appears there in Spring Garden, and in Hyde Park to see the races, horse and foot?”—(“Merry Beggars, or Jovial Crew,” 1641.)

Many and famous have been the reviews here, some of them of deep historical interest.  In October, 1803, as before-mentioned, George III. reviewed the different Volunteer Corps raised by the metropolis, when the total number inspected amounted to 27,077 men, of whom our local contingent mustered in force of 124.  The enthusiasm created by the appearance of the Guards on their return from the Crimea, and the first distribution of the Victoria Cross by her Majesty in person, are fresh in the public memory.

It is well diversified with wood and water; the Serpentine in its space amply supplying the latter.

“Well may the coyest of the Nine
Be proud to sing the Serpentine;
For never breeze has swept, nor beam
Shed light upon a luckier stream.
’Tis but a brook, whose scanty source,
Hard by, just struggles in its course,
p. 120But scarce has reached, slow trickling thence,
The bounds of royal influence,
When, such the favour and protection
That flows from interest and connection,
’Tis bidden a nobler form to take,
And spreads and widens to a lake.” [120a]

Would that its waters were kept sweet and pure; how much more enjoyable would its ride and walks be.  Life at the Serpentine in the height of the London season, and after a few days’ sharp frost, presents characteristics that can be seen in the metropolis only.

   The Hyde Park river, which no river is,
      The Serpentine—which is not serpentine,
   When frozen, every skater claims as his,
      In right of common, there to entertwine
   With countless crowds, and glide upon the ice.
      Lining the banks, the timid and unwilling
   Stand and look on, while some the fair entice
      By telling, yonder skaters are quadrilling;
And here the skateless hire the “best skates” for a shilling. [120b]

As the Serpentine is at these two seasons productive of so much enjoyment, so it is also at the same time the source of much danger.  The skater, the bather, and he who is sick of life’s miseries, too often afford employment for the staff at the Receiving House of the Royal Humane Society.

p. 121This edifice was erected on its north bank in 1834.  One devoted to the same purpose had previously occupied the same spot.  In it are beds, warm baths, tables, and apparatus of all kinds for the restoration of those apparently drowned, in the hope that “perchance a spark may be concealed.”  Every effort of science is here exercised on the cases requiring such attentions; the inspection of the public is invited by a notice to that effect affixed outside.

Some little distance north and west of the Receiving House, formerly stood a very ancient edifice, known by the name of “The Cake House;” it was built with timber and plaster, and roofed with flat tiles.  It was a place for the sale of refreshments to those who visited the park—hence its name.  Pepys says, April 25th, 1669:—“Abroad with my wife in the afternoon to the Park, where very much company, and the weather very pleasant.  I carried my wife to the Lodge the first time this year; and there in our coach eat a cheesecake, and drank a tankard of milk.”  We may imagine by the following that it was the best known and more visited than any other spot in the Park:—“Comely! nay, ’tis no London female; p. 122she’s a thing that never saw cheesecake, tart, or syllabub, at the Lodge in Hyde Park.”—(“The English Monsieur,” by the Hon. James Howard.  4to. 1674.)

The Cake House

Adjacent to this old Lodge was the famous Ring, where the racing and other amusements were carried on; and where the ground was often dyed with the blood of the duellist.

The Ring, or parts of it, can still be distinctly traced on the east of the Ranger’s Grounds.  Here fell the Duke of Hamilton, after his duel with the Lord Mohun.  Swift, in his journal to Stella, Nov. 15th, 1712, says, “The p. 123Duke was helped towards the Cake House, by the Ring, in Hyde Park (where the duel was fought), and died on the grass, before he could reach the house:” a graphic picture, and a sad one, of that fashionable and cruel custom now happily abolished in this country.  The journals a century ago were replete with notices of duels fought in the Ring in Hyde Park.

Turn we now from these painful reminiscences.  From the Ring, we have in view the costly toy of George IV., the Marble Arch, which, for want of a better destination, was removed to Cumberland Gate from Buckingham Palace; it was designed by Nash, after the arch of Constantine at Rome, and originally was intended to have been surmounted with a chariot and horses, and afterwards with a classic equestrian statue of his Majesty; this was actually executed by Chantry at a cost of 9,000 guineas, but it never reached its intended elevation, and now occupies the pedestal at the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square.  Perhaps the most satisfactory work of art in connection with the structure is the very beautiful pair of gates.  They are said to be the p. 124largest in Europe; are designed in scroll, having six openings, two filled with St. George and the Dragon, two with the royal cypher G.R., and two with lions passant gardant; they cost 3,000 guineas, and are cast in an alloy composed largely of copper.

At present the erection produces a somewhat poor effect, but it is not fair to criticise it, seeing that its original design has not been carried out; were it surmounted with a well-harmonised group, as at first intended, no doubt its appearance would have been much more imposing.

We have in the Park, just within the entrance at the “Corner,” the statue of Achilles, cast from cannon taken from the French, erected in honour of the late Duke of Wellington, by a subscription of his “Countrywomen,” as told by the inscription thus:—

To Arthur, Duke of Wellington,
And His Brave Companions in Arms,
This Statue of Achilles,
Cast from Cannon taken in the Victories of Salamanca,
Vittoria, Toulouse and Waterloo,
is inscribed
By their Countrywomen.
Placed on this Spot
on the XVIII. day of June, MDCCCXXII.
By command of
His Majesty George IIII.

p. 125We give a passing reference to Rotten Row, where, every evening during the season, may be seen one of the most animating and national spectacles of the metropolis; the fine gravelly road is then filled with equestrians of both sexes mounted on the most beautiful horses, and parading up and down to the admiration of the lounging spectators, whiling away their evening hour on the seats or rails skirting the road.  This road has lately been injudiciously widened, being unused some eight months in the year, and the crossing thereby rendered the more dangerous the remaining four.

It is needless to speak here of the Great Exhibition of 1851: these pages are not to tell of its beauties, its results, or the enthusiasm it called into play; suffice it to say that our dear old Park was the scene of its glories.  We will hope that its peaceful memories may never be effaced from among the nations.

Hyde Park Corner.—The earliest mention of this name I have met with is in the “Chronicle of Queen Mary,” &c., published by the Camden Society, where Wyatt is described planting his “ordenance over agaynst p. 126the parke corner.”  The name properly applies to that triangularly-shaped portion of the Park formed by the line from Stanhope Gate to Apsley House.  Several interesting incidents have occurred at this spot deserving notice.  Here James I., in March, 1606, was met by his whole court and the House of Commons, with the Speaker at their head, to welcome him on his safe return from a hunting excursion near Woking, where it was stated he had been murdered.  Here, in 1625, Judge Whitelock sat on the grass which grew in the road, and with his retinue ate the dinner brought with them from the country, afraid to stay longer in London than absolutely necessary, the plague having just carried off thousands of people.  After his meal, he galloped to Westminster Hall, adjourned the courts, and quickly retired.

By this road, on August 6th, 1647, Fairfax and his army, all with a laurel branch in their hats, entered from Kensington, accompanied by the House of Commons, to go to Westminster, the matter of the Declaration having been agreed to.  From Kensington to the fort here, a guard stood three feet deep; and at Hyde Park Corner they were met by the Lord Mayor and p. 127Corporation, come to congratulate them on their arrival.  “Lieut. General Cromwell’s regiment of horse” was among them, we are told: this was not his last appearance here.  When he returned from his Irish campaign, Fairfax and others met him at Hounslow; and as he approached, Colonel Barkstead’s regiment, drawn up in the highway at the Park Corner, saluted him.  In the journal of George Fox, the Quaker, too, is an anecdote of his meeting the Protector here.

After the fight at Brentford, consternation being felt by the Londoners at the near approach of the Royal Army, a chain of forts was thrown up by the citizens, connected with each other by means of earth works and ramparts.  Whitelock says it was wonderful to see how the women and children, and vast numbers of people, would come and work at digging and carrying earth to the fortifications.  The newspapers of the day teem with curious particulars of the prevailing excitement; one day we read of five thousand felt-makers, another of four thousand porters, then of five thousand shoemakers, and six thousand tailors, all to assist in the pressing work.  Nor were the fair p. 128sex behindhand; Butler, in his “Hudibras,” alluding to this, says they

“March’d rank and file, with drum and ensign
T’ intrench the city for defence in,
Raised rampiers with their own soft hands
To put the enemy to stands;
From ladies down to oyster-wenches,
Labour’d like pioneers in trenches;
Fall’n to their pickaxes and tools,
And helped the men to dig like moles.”

Fort—formerly at Hyde Park Corner

And Nash, in a note on this passage, says:—

“Ladies Middlesex, Foster, Anne Waller, and Mrs. Dunch, were particularly remarkable for their activity.”

One of these forts stood on the brow of the p. 129hill at Hyde Park Corner; it was a large one, consisting of four bastions, commanding the ascent and the adjoining fields.  Four years afterwards—no further use remaining for them—the House of Commons ordered their removal.

Dr. King relates an interesting anecdote of Charles II. meeting his brother James at this spot, on his return from a hunting excursion, and escorted by a party of the Guards.  Charles, who was out for a stroll in the Park, of which he was very fond, was attended by but two of his Court.  The Guards recognising the King, halted; and James being acquainted with the cause thereof, stepped from his coach, and saluted his brother, but expressed his surprise to meet him there almost unattended, and thought he exposed himself to some danger.  “No kind of danger, James,” replied Charles, “for I am sure no man in England will take away my life to make you king.” [129]

Respecting this interesting anecdote, a tradition tells us that Charles II. was very partial to a walk in Hyde Park, and that at the spot to which he limited himself generally he p. 130planted two acorns from the Boscobel Tree.  The trees from them grew at the north side of the Serpentine, just where the road turns off by the magazine towards Bayswater.  For many years they were fenced in, but one only now remains; the other, much decayed, was removed in 1854.

Oak, planted by Charles the Second

Hyde Park Corner is now the most magnificent entrance to the metropolis; the entrances to the Parks, Apsley House, and, in the background, the glorious towers of Westminster, p. 131form a scene at once imposing and national.  Formerly the entrance was very mean; a turnpike blocked the way, and instead of the classic archways, paltry lodges and iron gates led to the parks.  Between the lodge and park side was a dead wall, eight feet high, built in the reign of Charles II., but removed in 1828.  The toll-house was sold by auction, October 4th, 1825, and cleared away immediately.

Hyde Park Corner—1824

The existing entrance to Hyde Park was completed in 1828, from designs of Mr. Decimus Burton; the frieze was designed by Archibald Henning; the ironwork by Bramah.  The Triumphal Arch leading to Constitution Hill was built about the same time; its beautiful gates were likewise the work of Bramah.

From Hyde Park Corner the distances to the west are measured; a standard stood near to Apsley House till about 1827.

Kensington Gore was, as before shown, originally called Kyngsgore—firstly, because it belonged to the king; and secondly, from its peculiar shape; gore, an old English word, meaning “a narrow slip of land,” according to p. 132the old glossaries.  In Kent, the peasantry call a triangularly-shaped piece of ground a gore; and seamstresses use the word in a similar manner to the present day, to express a gusset or piece of stuff let into their work.  The early history of the Gore in connection with Kilburn Priory has been noticed; and here its modern story must be told.  From Prince Albert’s Road to Noel House is generally now considered as the Gore.

Brompton Park Nursery was established during the reign of Charles II.  During the greater part of the seventeenth century the land appears to have belonged to the Percivals, ancestors of the Earl of Egmont.  Philip Percival, the friend of Pym and Hollis, was born here in 1603.  Brompton Park appears to have extended from what is now called Cromwell Road to the road from Knightsbridge to Kensington.  Various properties were cut out of it; but the Percivals were here at least till 1675.  Soon after this date about sixty acres appear to have been formed into a nursery garden, the first ever established in this country.  It early excited great attention, more particularly about 1690–1700, when it belonged p. 133to George London and Henry Wise, the most celebrated gardeners of the time.  Evelyn, in his “Diary,” records, on April 24th, 1694, taking “Mr. Waller to see Brompton Park, where he was in admiration at the store of rare plants, and the method he found in that noble nursery, and how well it was cultivated.”  Evelyn again alludes to the nursery in his “Sylva,” declaring that the “sight” of it “gave an idea of something greater” than he could express.  He speaks highly of the skill and industry here shown, and says the like is not to be met with in this or any other country.  Bowack, writing in 1705, affirms that if the plants were valued but at one penny each, they would be worth above £40,000.

Messrs. London and Wise translated from the French “The Complete Gardener,” published in 1701.  They were gardeners to William III.; and Kensington Gardens were laid out by them.  Wise also superintended the laying-out of Hampton Court; and Evelyn mentions visiting him there.  After them, the establishment went through various hands; but when the surrounding fields were built on, the smoke injured the plants; and the railways p. 134bringing up fruit and vegetables cheaper than they could be brought to perfection at here, the business gradually diminished, and in 1853 entirely ceased.

Along an ancient wall separating the grounds from those of Cromwell House, a valuable collection of vines was planted, which were cultivated with great success.  This wall, the contents of the gardens, and the dwellings therein, were cleared away in 1855.  The following list of owners is chiefly taken from Faulkner:—


Lukar and Co.


Smith and Co.


Cooke and Co.


Jefferies and Co.




Gray and Co.


London and Wise.

Gray, Adams, and Hogg.




Adams and Hogg.

Mr. James Gray, who was chief partner in this concern so long, died at Brompton in 1849.  He is mentioned with respect in Faulkner’s “History of Kensington.”

Park House, a plain but spacious mansion, pulled down in 1856, adjoined Princes Gate.  It was divided from the road by a brick wall, part of that ancient one just mentioned, for this house stood within Brompton Park: hence its name.  Probably a more ancient mansion stood p. 135here; but the late one was for many years the seat of the Veres, bankers of the city of London.  Afterwards it became the residence of William Evans, Esq., M.P., soon after whose death it was sold.

Eden Lodge was the residence of Lord Auckland, Governor-General of India.  Here he retired after his return, and died in 1849.

Mercer Lodge, a small brick residence, was inhabited by Frank Marryat, son of the novelist, and himself an author of one or two books of travel.  Mr. Henry Mayhew now resides here.

Immediately adjoining is a row of five houses, called emphatically Kensington Gore.  All are faced with white stucco, are very small, and appear as if intended for the lodge of some great mansion never erected.  Two of them, which seem to contain but one room, have, however, second storeys at the back, and good gardens, which, with the Park in front, render them very pleasant residences.  At one of these houses, in 1816, Mrs. Inchbald inquired after some lodgings which were to let.  The landlady was too fine a personage for the writer of “The Simple Story,” and so exacting in her demands that her applicant indignantly p. 136wended her way elsewhere.  No. 2, now called Hamilton Lodge, was once the occasional residence of John Wilkes.  The house was kept by Mrs. Arnold, mother of his second daughter Harriett, who married Mr. Serjeant Rough, afterwards an Indian judge.  Wilkes sometimes had high visitors here: Mr. Leigh Hunt quotes a memorandum of his, regarding a dinner here to Counts Woronzow and Nesselrode; and if we are to set down Sir Philip Francis as Junius, here Junius visited, as Mrs. Rough said, frequently; and when a child he once cut off a lock of her hair.  Wilkes to the last walked hence to the city, attired in his scarlet and buff suit, with a cocked hat and rosette, and military boots, a dress authorised by his position as colonel of militia.  The urn over the doorway Mr. Leigh Hunt imagines to have been placed there by him as an indication of his classic taste, and the supposition is most probably correct.  No. 5 was the residence for awhile of Count D’Orsay.

Gore House.—In 1808, Mr. Wilberforce took this mansion (which had previously been the residence of a Government contractor) for his home.  He found it, he says, more salubrious p. 137than his house at Clapham; and writes further, “We are just one mile from the turnpike at Hyde Park Corner, having about three acres of pleasure-ground around our house, or rather behind it, and several old trees, walnut and mulberry, of thick foliage.  I can sit and read under their shade, with as much admiration of the beauties of nature as if I were two hundred miles from the great city.”  Here he passed many years of his happy and useful life, his house the resort of those men who awoke our land from the deadly torpor into which years of fearful warfare had plunged it.  Here came Clarkson, Zachary Macaulay, Romilly, and others, to commune together on those measures which, to quote Channing, brought about “the most signal expression afforded by our times of the progress of civilisation and a purer Christianity.”

Wilberforce was exceedingly partial to Gore House, and his friends appear to have always found a ready home within it.  In 1814, Mr. Henry Thornton, for many years M.P. for Southwark, and one of his most earnest supporters, came here for the benefit of the air and medical aid.  He lingered a few weeks, p. 138and died here January 17th, 1815, aged fifty-three.  Isaac Milner, too, an early friend, who came to London to attend the Board of Longitude, died here after five weeks’ illness, on April 1st, 1820.

The following year Wilberforce quitted Gore House.  He retired to Marden, in Surrey, a lovely spot and an interesting locality; but he regretted leaving

“The still retreats that soothed his tranquil breast,”

and often in after years alludes to his old home, its associations, and his “Kensington Gore breakfasts.”

Great is the contrast Gore House next presents: strange are the mutabilities of a metropolitan mansion.  After the philanthropist, a few unknown persons held the place ere the next celebrity, one of a totally opposite character, reigned.  Lady Blessington—for to her allusion is made—came here in 1836; and the opposition of ideas called forth by such persons seems to have suggested to James Smith his


Mild Wilberforce, by all beloved,
   Once own’d this hallow’d spot,
Whose zealous eloquence improved
   The fetter’d Negro’s lot;
p. 139Yet here still slavery attacks
   When Blessington invites:
The chains from which he freed the Blacks,
   She rivets on the Whites.

Lady Blessington came to Gore House in 1836; and the brilliant circle which thronged around her in Seamore Place was increased with the greater capabilities of the new residence.  Haydon, writing February 27th, 1835, says, “Everybody goes to Lady Blessington’s.  She has the first news of everything, and everybody seems delighted to tell her.  She is the centre of more talent and gaiety than any woman of fashion in London.”  To Gore House came novelists and dramatists, artists and actors, statesmen and refugees.  Here Louis Napoleon, just escaped from captivity at Ham, first came for the shelter of an English roof; and afterwards—deep lesson too—a few years later she went forth as privately perhaps as her guest had entered, from the palace of which she had been Queen, to seek in the capital of him whom she had harboured, that support she had so freely bestowed on him; the late refugee then having an empire rapidly falling into his hands; her object was not gained, and on this occasion “hope left a wretched one that sought p. 140her.”  Lady Blessington finally quitted Gore House April 14th, 1849.

Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, was daughter of Edmund Power, a coarse, unfeeling squire of Tipperary.  She was born September 1st, 1790, and at fifteen married to a Captain Farmer, as brutal a character as her father.  They separated in 1807, and he, compelled to go to India, died there.

Being denied a home under her father’s roof, she for some years lived in seclusion and study, but becoming acquainted with the Earl of Blessington, married him in February, 1818.  Then another phase of her life commenced, and their mansion in St. James’s Square was the resort of the most fashionable of the day.  Her beauty at this time was very great, and afforded a theme for the pen of Byron, and the pencil of Sir Thomas Lawrence.  With the poet she became acquainted during her well-known continental tour, during which the introduction to D’Orsay also took place.  Lord Blessington dying at Paris in 1825, his widow remained there till after the Revolution of 1830, when she returned to London.

Connected with the story of Lady Blessington, p. 141that of Count D’Orsay is intimately woven.  He was a great favourite of Lord Blessington, whose daughter by his first wife was, when quite a young girl, fetched from school to marry him; and a promise also is said to have been given from the Count to his Lordship, and from the Count’s mother to Lady Blessington, that they (the Count and her Ladyship) would never leave each other.  Be that as it may, they lived together for above a quarter of a century, and increase of years seemed still stronger to consolidate the engagement.  D’Orsay led a gay and extravagant life in London, considerably beyond his means, in great measure appearing to consider his patronage sufficient payment.  He undoubtedly possessed great abilities, was an excellent artist, and a humourist of the first water.  But his conduct to his wife was cruel in the extreme; she was spurned by him entirely; he still pocketing an income from her father’s estates!  For a long time he could only make his exit from Gore House on Sundays, for fear of arrest, and his extravagancies vastly accelerated the day of retribution.  He and Lady Blessington retired to Paris, and Gore House was stripped of its contents by p. 142public sale.  There, whatever was the cause, they met not with the reception anticipated.  Lady Blessington died soon after, on June 4th, 1849.  D’Orsay designed her monument, and in little more than three years after his career was ended.  He died July 1st, 1852.

Gore House became, in 1851, Monsieur Soyer’s “Symposium for all Nations.”  Here that celebrated minister of the interior provided international feasts, farewell banquets, &c.; and various amusements in the highly-decorated rooms conduced to the public pleasure.  The gardens were beautifully laid out and ornamented with sculpture, while the interior testified to the industry and taste of Madame Soyer in the art of painting.  In February, 1852, all was again dismantled, its Baronial Hall and Encampment of all Nations being sold by auction.

Gore House was shortly afterwards purchased by the Royal Commissioners of the Great Exhibition of 1851.  The whole estate comprised about twenty-one acres, added to which were Gray’s Nursery Grounds, Park House, and Grove House, and various market-gardens, the grounds of Cromwell House, and p. 143other lands belonging to the Earl of Harrington and the Baron de Villars.  Acts of Parliament were passed legalising the plans of the Commissioners, and in accordance various old footpaths, &c., were stopped, and houses removed.  A complete revolution has been effected, two magnificent roads leading from the Gore to Cromwell Road at Brompton have been formed, and at length Gore House itself was doomed.  Its materials were sold by lots on July 17th, 1857, and soon after the building was removed.

Grove House, adjoining Gore House, was for many years the residence of Lady Elizabeth Whitbread, widow of the celebrated statesman.  With Gore House it has, since 1852, been used for schools and offices of the department of Science and Art.

Beyond this spot our description does not extend: the district of All Saints and manor of Knightsbridge stretch much further, but such parts have been already described by Mr. Faulkner.  Ere, however, I quite leave the Gore, it must be mentioned that, among others, Carrington Bowles, the celebrated printseller, had a house, and died here June 20th, 1793.  p. 144The Rev. Thomas Clare, vicar of St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, and an author of some repute, also at one time resided here.

Kinnerton Street is so called from an estate belonging to the Grosvenor family.  Here is a dissecting school and anatomical museum attached to St. George’s Hospital.

Knightsbridge Green, formed by the junction of the Kensington and Fulham Roads, was formerly of greater extent than at the present time.  It was formerly the village green in reality, and its last Maypole was preserved as lately as 1800.  At its east end was, till about 1835, a watch-house and pound, and Addison, in a humorous paper in the “Spectator,” alludes to it.  Proposing to satisfy by home news the craving for intelligence occasioned by the just concluded war, he writes,—“By my last advices from Knightsbridge, I hear that a horse was clapped into the pound on the third instant, and that he was not released when the letters came away.”—(Spectator, No. 142.)

The greater part of the Green is now covered by Middle Row, a medley of very inferior houses.  On the north side is an old inn (rebuilt in 1851) called after the bluff Marquis of p. 145Granby.  The soldier has been dethroned, and Sir Joseph Paxton promoted in his stead.

Vernon, the Butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke,
   Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppell, Howe,
Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk,
      And fill’d the sign-posts then as Wellesley now.

William Moffatt, who in conjunction with Frederick Wood, surveyed London and published a valuable and clever map of the levels thereof, lived at this time in Middle Row.  His coadjutor still lives (in indigent circumstances) in the locality.

The small plot of ground railed in, is said, by a very general tradition, to have been the spot where the victims of the plague from the Lazar House and elsewhere in the hamlet were buried.  I have strong reasons for placing faith in this tradition; and in 1808, some human remains found where now stands William Street were buried here, it being considered the proper spot for such.  King’s Row, built in 1785, has not a cellar to a single house for this reason.  At its end is a detached brick building, the school-house of All Saints district.

A market was held here till the beginning of the present century for cattle every Thursday; p. 146the last pen-posts were not removed till 1850.  A fair was also held here annually on July 31st.

Grosvenor House, which formed with Mr. Rogers’ premises one tenement, was for many years the residence of the Gosling family, who were for a long while connected with the hamlet.  Francis Gosling, Esq., an eminent banker, lived here; he died February 25th, 1817.  Bennett Gosling, Esq., his nephew, resided in Lowndes Square, where he died, May 12th, 1855.

The “Pakenham” was built as the hotel for an intended railway terminus.  On its site was an old house, many years the residence of Mr. Egg, the founder of the well-known firm of gunsmiths in Piccadilly.

Knightsbridge Terrace till within the last five-and-twenty years had not a shop in it.  Every house was private, and had a deep basement area in front.  The corner house, now divided, was for many years Mr. Telfair’s “College for the Deaf and Dumb.”  James Telfair died in 1796, aged 84; his son, Cortez Telfair, died April 23rd, 1816, aged 65.  Both were buried at Kensington, and in the church p. 147is a tablet to their memory.  It states Cortez Telfair to have been celebrated for his literary attainments; but what these were I have not been able to learn, other than that, in 1775, he edited “The Town and Country Spelling Book.” [147]

In one of the houses immediately facing the Chapel resided for many years Maurice Morgann, Esq., author of an “Essay on the Character of Falstaff,” and Under-Secretary of State to the first administration of Lord Shelburne.  He was also Secretary to the Embassy for ratifying the Peace with the United States in 1783.

Besides his remarkable “Essay on Falstaff,” he published “Remarks on the Slave Trade,” a useful and earnest pamphlet.  In the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” December, 1815, a writer endeavoured to fix on him the authorship of the “Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers,” now known to have been concocted by Mason and Walpole, but published under the pseudonyme of “Malcolm M‘Gregor, of Knightsbridge, Esq.”  But Dr. Symmons, Morgann’s p. 148friend and executor, denied the ownership, and declared his repeated injunctions were, that all his papers should be destroyed, and that he never published any but those with his name.  Symmons had previously said, “Some of those writings destroyed, in the walks of politics, metaphysics, and criticism, would have planted a permanent laurel on his grave.” [148]  Mr. Morgann is one who has an honourable niche in Boswell’s inimitable “Life of Johnson.”

Morgann afterwards removed to High Row, where he died March 28th, 1802, in his seventy-seventh year.  “As a man, he stood detached from the general contagion of the age he lived in; neither complying with the vices of the great, however familiar or seductive, nor with their frivolities, however general or imposing.  His mind was compounded of pure and simple elements, which inseparably mixed in his business, his friendships, and intercourse with all mankind; and it was often no less pleasing to his friends, than to the lovers of virtue in general, to see with what lustre those plain but prepossessing colours outshone the glare of p. 149fashion, and the accommodating varnish of modern morals.” [149a]

Lowndes Square, so named from William Lowndes, Esq., of Chesham, to whom the land belongs.  According to Dr. King, rector of Chelsea (1694 to 1732), in his MS. account of that parish, [149b] this site at one time belonged to a Benedictine convent.  It certainly formed part of the gift of Edward the Confessor to the Abbey, but has been in lay hands ever since the Reformation.  At about where William Street joins the Square stood a large detached house, formerly a place of amusement, and known as Spring Garden.  Dr. King mentions it as “an excellent Spring Garden.” [149c]  And among the entries of “The Virtuosi, or St. Luke’s Club,” Established by Vandyke, is the following allusion:—

“Paid and spent at Spring Gardens, by Knightsbridge, forfeiture £3 15 shgs.” [149d]

That enjoyable chronicler, Pepys, too, I fancy alludes to Spring Gardens in the following p. 150entry in his “Diary.”  It must be premised that the hearty clerk of the Admiralty had been to Kensington, and there, as was frequently his wont, had had what he innocently and amusingly terms a “frolic”:—

“June 16, 1664.  I lay in my drawers, and stockings, and waistcoat till five of the clock, and so up, and being well pleased with our frolic, walked to Knightsbridge, and there ate a mess of cream, and so to St. James’,” &c.

And again he chronicles (April 24th, 1665) a visit to the Park.  “But the King being there, and I now-a-days being doubtful of being seen in any pleasure, did part from the town, and away out of the Park to Knightsbridge, and there ate and drank in the coach and so home.”

Spring Gardens was at this time a name applied to almost all places of outdoor recreation, the appellation being borrowed from the celebrated garden near Charing Cross.  But Pepys speaks also of a place of entertainment called “The World’s End,” at Knightsbridge, which I believe could have been only the sign adopted by the owner of this garden for his house.  Pepys, on another occasion relating that he went forth to Hyde Park, was “too p. 151soon to go in, so went on to Knightsbridge, and there ate and drank at the World’s End, where we had good things, and then back to the Park, and there till night, being fine weather, and much company.”  (“Diary,” May 9th, 1669.)  Again, on May 31st in the same year, he records going “to the World’s End, a drinking-house by the Park, and there merry, and so home late.”

Congreve, in his “Love for Love,” alludes, in a regular woman’s quarrel, to the place:—

Mrs. Frail.—Pooh, here’s a clutter!—Why should it reflect upon you?—I don’t doubt but you have thought yourself happy in a hackney coach before now.  If I had gone to Knightsbridge, or to Chelsea, or to Spring Garden, or Barn Elms, with a man alone—something might have been said.

Mrs. Foresight.—Why, was I ever in any of those places!  What do you mean, sister?

Mrs. Frail.—Was I? what do you mean?

Mrs. Foresight.—You have been at a worse place.

Mrs. Frail.—I at a worse place, and with a man!

Mrs. Foresight.—I suppose you would not go alone to the World’s End?

Mrs. Frail.—The World’s End!  What do you mean to banter me?

Mrs. Foresight.—Poor innocent; you don’t know that there is a place called the World’s End.  I’ll swear you can keep your countenance—surely you’ll make an admirable player.

Mrs. Frail.—I’ll swear you have a great deal of impudence, and, in my mind, too much for the stage.

p. 152Mrs. Foresight.—Very well, that will appear who has most.  You never were at the World’s End?

Mrs. Frail.—No.

Mrs. Foresight.—You deny it positively to my face?

Mrs. Frail.—Your face! what’s your face?

Mrs. Foresight.—No matter for that, it is as good a face as yours.

Mrs. Frail.—Not by a dozen years’ wearing.  But I do deny it, positively, to your face, then.

Mrs. Foresight.—I’ll allow you now to find fault with my face; for I’ll swear your impudence has put me out of countenance.  But look you here now; where did you lose this gold bodkin?—Oh, sister!—oh, sister!

Mrs. Frail.—My bodkin!

Mrs. Foresight.—Nay, it is yours—look at it.

Mrs. Frail.—Well, if you go to that, where did you find this bodkin?  Oh sister! sister! sister every way!

Mrs. Foresight.—Oh! devil on’t that I could not discover her without betraying myself.  (Aside.)

The house belonging to this garden stood till about 1826.  For many years it was the residence of a Dr. C. Kelly, who here had an anatomical museum.  He resided here in 1773, and quitted it about 1805.  The house was afterwards tenanted by a gentleman named Bowes; and the museum became the auction-room of Mr. Herring.  About 1818, Warren, builder to George III., took the premises; he turned the whole into workshops.  After him p. 153came Mr. Cubitt, who, about 1828, procuring a lease from Mr. Lowndes, pulled the whole down, and laid out the ground for buildings.  The first houses were erected about 1836–7, but it was not till 1849 that the square was wholly completed.

Various relics of the Civil War have been found on this site: arms, spurs, bits, cockades, &c.; and relics telling of a different kind of struggle—staves and handcuffs, evidences of successful rencontres between the footpad and the constable.  A path by the stream’s side ran along to Bloody Bridge, proceeding thence to Ranelagh.  On grand gala nights such paths were protected by patrols and the more able of the Chelsea Pensioners.

Among the eminent inhabitants of Lowndes Square may be enumerated the late Sir William Molesworth and Mr. Leader, M.P. for Westminster, at No. 1; Mr. M. J. Higgins, celebrated for his contributions on military matters to the Times, also lived at No. 1.  He is thus delineated by Mrs. Gascoigne in her poem, “Belgravia:”—

“Nor whilst my muse still haunts these favourite bounds,
Shall she forget to sing thy Square, O Lowndes!
p. 154Harbour of peace, near which the troubled sea
Of human traffic roars unceasingly,
Yet enters not—though day by day it swells
Fiercer and fiercer; at the opening dwells
A man whom rage and clamour ne’er withstood,
The well-known champion of the neighbourhood!
Him all who seek oppression view with fear,
For sharp his wit, his mind acute and clear!
With subtlest force, he wields the powerful pen.
But aims it at abuses, not at men!
Him Vestries know, and Rate Collectors dread,
For cool his spirit—hard his reasoning head;
And though a giant in his strength he be,
Yet free from Tyrant’s love of rule is he;
And whilst men seek, and to his judgment bend,
They find in him a leader and a friend.” [154]

Mrs. Gascoigne, author of “Belgravia,” “Spencer’s Cross Manor House,” “The Next Door Neighbours,” and other works, resides at No. 14.  Admiral Sotheby, one who fought at the Nile, lived at No. 38, and died January, 20th, 1854.  Sir Henry Campbell, who died in 1856, Sir Willoughby Cotton, Mr. Tite, M.P., Mr. Brassey, the extensive contractor, Mr. Whiteside, M.P., Mr. R. B. Wingfield, and Mr. Malins, M.P., number also among the inhabitants of Lowndes Square.

The row of houses on the south side was designed by Mr. Lewis Cubitt, and with greater p. 155regard to architectural effect than anything of its kind then in the metropolis.  It was built in 1843.

Lowndes Terrace—A row of shops between William Street and Sloane Street, occupying the site of a row of old-fashioned houses, of two storeys high, with pleasant gardens in front and rear, giving the roadway quite a rural appearance.  The house at the eastern end belonged to one Banting, who built some projecting shops over the front gardens in 1815, and named the row Waterloo Market.  His expectations were not realised; and in 1823 these old premises were removed, and the present houses erected.  There were but six houses.  At No. 5 resided, fifty years ago, Andrews, an artist of some repute in his day; and at No. 6 for some years lived the mother of Rodwell, the author and composer; and her son’s early years were partly passed at this pleasant spot.

At the west end of this row a narrow lane, called Porter’s Lane, led to the fields.  On its right-hand side, and divided from it by a hedge, stood a large detached mansion, known as p. 156Knightsbridge Grove, approached through a fine avenue of stately trees from the highway.  For many years a man named Hicks, a “sporting character,” kept the place, and George IV., when Prince of Wales, and others of similar tastes, were led hither.  Mr. Egg, the gunmaker, once erected a large wooden building for some balloon experiments in the grounds.  And this was, I believe, the house where the notorious Teresa Cornellys attempted to recover her bygone reputation.

Teresa Cornellys was a native of Germany; and early showing an inclination to music, was brought up to it as a profession, and soon became celebrated on the Continent as a public singer.  Having accumulated a considerable sum of money, she came to England, about 1757; and her fame gradually becoming known, she was induced, in 1763, to open Carlisle House, Soho Square, as a place of public entertainment.  None but the upper classes were admitted, and the rooms were decorated in the most costly manner.  Her balls, concerts, and masquerades soon gained great celebrity, being carried on in a most glaring and extravagant p. 157style.  And this was not all: her masquerades were characterised, not only by indecency, but also by mockery of the most solemn feelings and principles. [157a]  The lessees of the theatres were injured by her popularity, and stimulated the outcry which began to arise; and at length she was convicted before Sir John Fielding for performing dramatic entertainments without a licence.  The opposition of the managers, and the Pantheon opening with a class of amusements somewhat similar in 1772, with the restraint imposed by the magistrate’s decision, combined to ruin her; and in August, 1772, her effects were sold by auction, and she became a bankrupt. [157b]

The allusions to Mrs. Cornellys in contemporary literature are innumerable; Murphy, in his Epilogue to Zobeide, 1771, refers to her popularity:—

                  “Oh, farewell!
For her each haunt that charms a modern belle!
Adieu, Almack’s!  Cornellys’! masquerade!
Sweet Ranelagh!  Vauxhall’s enchanting shade!” &c.

p. 158This allusion will suffice for one view of her career.  The opposite is severely described by Combe, in his satire “The Diabolady,” published in 1777:—

“The ready ministers of hell’s commands,
Obedient fly, and take their several stands
At Court, Cornellys’, and the Coterie;
Where vice, more vicious by effrontery,
Fearless, unblushing, braves the eternal laws
Of God and man to aid the devil’s cause.”

After her bankruptcy she followed her profession for several years at various places in London, but in 1785 was obliged to retire from the importunities of her creditors.  Ten years after, to the great surprise of the public, she reappeared at Knightsbridge as Mrs. Smith, a retailer of asses’ milk.  A suite of breakfast-rooms was opened; but her former influence could not be recovered.  The speculation utterly failed; and at length she was consigned to the Fleet Prison.  There she ended her shallow career, dying August 19, 1797.

Immediately beyond the entrance to the Grove stood Messrs. Downing’s floor-cloth manufactory, formerly Morley and Downing’s.  It was a pleasant detached house, with a clean p. 159white front, and conspicuous green verandahs.  It was pulled down in 1823, and the manufacturing department removed to the King’s Road.

Montpelier Square, so called from the salubrity of its air, [159] was built about 1837.  Mr. Fairholt, the distinguished artist and antiquary (at No. 10), Mr. Walter Lacy (38), Dr. Morison (27), and the Rev. Mackenzie Walcot, to whose writings on the city of Westminster I owe several obligations, are among its residents.

New Street, built, I believe, about 1773, was a new street across the fields to Sloane Street, and is the point dividing Knightsbridge and Brompton—formerly, according to the landladies, a very “respectable” street; it has in our day sadly changed.  At No. 7, Chalon, the animal painter, resided; and at No. 6, the Right Hon. David Pigott in 1824 and ’25, while studying under Mr., afterwards Chief Justice, Tindal.  Mr. Godwin, the editor of the Builder, also in his boyhood.  In Exeter Street resided a family named Perrin, one of whom it has been said was employed by the Duchess of p. 160Kingston to furnish a place of meeting between Prince George, afterwards George III., and his fair inamorata, Hannah Lightfoot. [160]  The Perrins appear to have long resided in Knightsbridge; entries of the name occur in the registers of Trinity Chapel as far back as 1680.

Park Side, abutting on the south side of Hyde Park, is a part of the manor of Knightsbridge, although eastward of the stream, and is the freehold of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.  The Birkheads were once the lessees; at present it is rented by the descendants of Mr. Gamble, of Trinity Chapel.  The row of petty shops at its east end were erected about fifty years since, the houses formerly extending no further than the one now occupied by Miss Marshall.  The Knightsbridge Bank, a private concern, was carried on in Mr. W. Stocken’s house, and these shops were offices belonging thereto.

Just within the park is a conduit, which supplies the palace with spring water; a descent of three steps in the main road led to a receptacle for its supply to the inhabitants of Knightsbridge, p. 161which still exists in another form.  Close to this “spring,” as it is termed, the stocks were placed for the punishment of village sots and rogues.  No hamlet around the “great wen,” as Cobbett called the metropolis, was without one.  Taylor, the water-poet, says—

“In London, and within a mile, I ween,
There are of jails or prisons full eighteen,
And sixty whipping-posts, and stocks, and cages!” [161a]

At No. 10 resided for many years John Read, a man of great benevolence of character, of scientific celebrity, and of high repute in the locality.  He was born in 1726, and being brought up as a mathematical instrument-maker, settled in Knightsbridge about 1754.  He became known for his researches into electricity, [161b] and published, in 1793, an octavo volume, entitled “A Summary View of the Spontaneous Electricity of the Earth and Atmosphere,” an accurate and judicious work; but it led him into a controversy with Dr. Peart, a writer on the same subject.  He also studied meteorology, p. 162and a journal on that subject he contributed to the “Philosophical Transactions.”

Other points of his history are told on the stone to his memory in St. George’s Ground, Bayswater, where he was buried.  The inscription I subjoin:—

Sacrum Memoriæ
Mr. John Read,
Mathematical Instrument Maker,
a Native of
Whalley in Lancashire,
who died at
(where he had resided nearly sixty years)
on the 22nd day of September, 1814,
in the 88th year of his Age.

Without Patron, or Patrimony, by the honest fruits of Industry, he laid the foundation of an easy competence.  More indebted to Prudence than Fortune for his acquisitions; but to Temperance alone for his length of days.  A deep Researcher of the latent causes of Nature’s Phenomena; her vital Principle, he held in obedience, while he enriched the science of Electricity with his experiments.  Pleased in the pursuit of Knowledge, and happy in the practice of Virtue; He was a Philosopher with a benevolent heart, the Father of the Knightsbridge Charity School; of the Free School of his native place the Revivor.  He lived an Example worthy of imitation, and died without a groan.

Thus lived John Read, and so his spirit fled
And here his ashes mingle with the Dead.

Mr. Thomas Goding, founder of the well-known brewing firm, lived at No. 12.

p. 163The Queen’s Head, an old inn next the Chapel, was pulled down in 1843.  The house was once very curious inside, but had been considerably altered.  On its removal the date 1576 was found inscribed in the brickwork.

The White Hart was more curious than the Queen’s Head, and retained its characteristics to the last, when it was removed for the Albert Gate improvements.  Human remains, various ancient implements, and coins were turned up below its foundation.  A filthy court ran from it along the bank of the stream.  I have seen a memorandum of agreement by which a house next door to the White Hart was let in 1694 for five pounds per annum.

Princes Gate.—Two terraces are so called, very absurdly. [163]  The real gate is an entrance to the Park opposite, named after the Prince of Wales, and opened in October, 1848.  It stands on the highest plot of ground between Hyde Park Corner and Windsor Castle.

Of the western terrace Mr. Leigh Hunt complains that “each house is too high for its width,” and says “they resemble a set of tall p. 164thin gentlemen squeezing together to look at something over the way.”  I cannot agree with Mr. Hunt’s humour, and consider them a very handsome and pleasing row.  Mr. Elmes, architect of St. George’s Hall, was designer, I believe, and Mr. Elger the builder; the eastern row was finished in 1851, the western in 1855.  At No. 23, Vice-Chancellor Parker resided for a short while before his death.  Between the two terraces stands

Kingston House, built about 1770, a large and pleasant mansion, and when first erected attracting notice by the conservatory attached to it.  In this conservatory is a large window, representing a garden scene, painted by John Martin when a pupil of Charles Muss, the enamel painter.

Elizabeth Chudleigh was daughter of a Devonshire gentleman, who died when she was very young; but her mother having interest with Mr. Pulteney, she was appointed, at the age of eighteen, maid of honour to the Princess of Wales, mother to George III.  In the aristocratic circle into which she was now introduced, she soon became a great favourite, and more than one young scion of nobility cast p. 165a lover’s eye towards her.  The young Duke of Hamilton was, however, the successful one; and the pledge of affiance passed mutually.  He set forth on his travels, and she retired to the residence of an aunt, Mrs. Hanmer, where she found one of the most frequent visitors was the Hon. Mr. Hervey.  He seems to have made up his mind instantly; but aware of her pledge to the duke, he induced Mrs. Hanmer to intercept their letters.  The result of the scheme was as Hervey expected: no letters arriving, Miss Chudleigh believed herself slighted; and wrought on by the persuasions of Mrs. Hanmer, agreed to accept Captain Hervey.  They were married privately, August 4th, 1744, but separated the day after, she continuing to fill her office as maid of honour.  The dissimulation this compelled her to practise was probably the main cause of her after misfortunes; it was only by the knowledge that he would be compelled to maintain her, that Captain Hervey could be induced not to assert his claim; and her union being unknown at Court, she was still as much courted as ever.  Home came Hamilton—he had been faithful to her—and demanded that explanation she was not able p. 166(unaccountably to him) to give, offered his hand again, which, of course, she was compelled to refuse.  His despair was excessive; inquiries were made, and the duplicity of Mrs. Hanmer unveiled.

Unfortunately, instead of allowing time to soothe her sorrows, she began to drown them in a manner which showed a disregard of her sex and position.  To escape the torrent of torment, she resolved to travel; but unwilling to go alone, was indiscreet enough to advertise in the newspapers for a companion.  She succeeded, and off they started; but, as might have been expected, were soon tired of each other, and separated at Berlin.  Here she was introduced to the great Frederick, who treated her with great distinction.

Returning home, she plunged into all the dissipation which then characterised society in the metropolis; but again her husband crossed her path and seemed determined to claim her, and finding remonstrance useless, she resorted to the dishonest stratagem of tearing out the leaf bearing the register of her marriage.  Her husband had now no power to prove their union, as the clergyman who performed the p. 167ceremony was dead.  This step she soon regretted; for Captain Hervey, succeeding to the Earldom of Bristol, by his father’s death, her vanity made the rank of Countess very acceptable, and through the clerk she succeeded in replacing in the register-book the leaf she had abstracted.

Such was her position when the Duke of Kingston offered her his hand.  Of course such was impossible; and accordingly they lived together for several years, but with such observance of external decorum, that though a moral, it was not an evidenced certainty.  Her husband, on negotiations being opened, refused to gratify her with the title of Duchess; but a separation afterwards suiting his own wishes, he agreed not to oppose her application for a divorce, and the necessary proofs being withheld, it was granted.  She now attained her wishes, and was married to the Duke March 8th, 1769.

While the Duke lived, the legality of the marriage was not questioned; but he died September 24th, 1773, and left her his whole fortune, on condition she did not marry again—a restraint she was by no means inclined to abide by.  She, however, set out for Rome, where p. 168Ganganelli gave her apartments in the palace of one of his cardinals, and otherwise showed her distinction.  Here, however, her gaiety was soon stopped by news of a disagreeable nature from home.

A Mrs. Cradock had been present as a domestic at her marriage with Lord Bristol, and, being in reduced circumstances, applied to the Duchess’s solicitor for relief; he, discrediting her tale, refused any, on which she went to Mr. Evelyn Pierrepoint, nephew of the Duke, and informed him of every particular.  He thereupon preferred an indictment for bigamy against the Duchess, of which being informed, she, after surmounting various obstacles, landed at Dover, and was immediately bailed before Lord Mansfield, preparatory to taking her trial.

Before, however, that came on, an unexpected enemy appeared.  Foote, imagining the case to afford capital material for his wit, wrote a piece, called “The Trip to Calais,” in which the Duchess was cleverly satirised as Lady Kitty Crocodile.  Foote, whose real object was to obtain a sum of money to suppress the piece, contrived to let her know what was astir; and p. 169the Duchess, alarmed for once most terribly, sent for him.  He waited on, and read her a part of his play.  She felt the sting, and rose in great passion, declaring his delineation scandalous.  He denied that the character was intended for her ladyship, and the play was left for her perusal.  An intimation was made as Foote expected; but he refusing the offer of £1,600, and declaring he would not abate one shilling from the £2,000 demanded, he lost all; for her friends interceding with the Lord Chamberlain, he sent for, and censured the play.  Foote published a letter of remonstrance, but the Duchess making every preparation for an action at law, he was completely defeated.  A paper-war ensued, in which Foote had the advantage, greatly to the amusement, if not edification, of the public.

On April 15th, 1776, her trial commenced in Westminster Hall, Lord Bathurst sitting as Lord Steward.  She was convicted; but pleading the privilege of the peerage, was discharged with a caution.

She left England immediately, and passed the rest of her life abroad.  She purchased a p. 170magnificent estate near Fontainebleau, where she died, August 20th, 1788. [170a]

After the death of the Duchess of Kingston, her mansion at Knightsbridge became the residence, successively, of Sir George Warren, Lord Stair, Lord Listowel, and the Marquis of Wellesley, brother of the great Duke of Wellington, and himself one of the foremost statesmen of the time.  He resided at Kingston House some years, living in great retirement, and died in it September 26th, 1842, in his 83rd year. [170b]

Kingston House was, after Lord Wellesley’s death, again the residence of the Earl of Listowel, to whom the freehold belonged; and it is at present inhabited by his son, the present earl. [170c]

Queen’s Buildings, commenced about 1770, p. 171and was named after Queen Charlotte.  That part of it between Sloane Street and Hooper’s Court was originally called Queen’s Row, the remainder Queen’s Buildings, Knightsbridge, and at one time Gloucester Buildings.

First, I will notice Queen’s Row.  Here, in 1772, the celebrated engraver, William Wynne Ryland, resided.  Ryland was born in 1732, and, inclining towards the profession of an engraver, became a pupil of Simon Revenet, then established in this country.  On quitting him, his godfather, Sir Watkin Williams Wynne, sent him to Paris, where he studied under Francis Boucher, and J. P. Le Bas.  After four years sojourn he returned to England, and was appointed engraver to the King.  He was the first person who introduced into this country the style of engraving in the chalk manner, applying himself chiefly to the pictures of Angelica Kauffman.  This system he greatly improved, and in it had no equal.

Strutt laments that his “mercantile engagements should have occupied so valuable a part of his precious time, and prevented his pursuing the art with that alacrity his genius required, which seemed formed for great and extensive p. 172exertions.”  He commenced business originally in Cornhill, but here became bankrupt.  He afterwards came to Knightsbridge, where he resided till the dreadful act was discovered which consigned him to the gallows.

On July 26th, 1783, he was tried before Judge Buller, for forging a bill of exchange for £200.  He well-nigh escaped; the forgery being so beautifully executed that it was only the evidence of the paper-maker which convicted him.  Great exertions were made to save him, but fruitlessly; and he was executed at Tyburn, August 29th, 1783.  A few months after, the stream being cleared of some of its mud, in order to widen the roadway within the Park, a tin box containing some of the unfortunate man’s plates for counterfeiting banknotes, was discovered. [172]

No. 14 (corner of Hooper’s Court) was from 1792 to 1797 the residence of Mr. J. C. Nattes, an artist of celebrity in his time.  About the year 1800 this house became the residence of the celebrated Arthur Murphy.

Arthur Murphy was born at Cork in 1727.  Early in life he was sent to St. Omer’s, where p. 173he studied till his eighteenth year, when he returned to Cork, and passed two years as clerk in a merchant’s counting-house.  At the end of this time he came to London, and entered a banking-house in a similar capacity.  But literature captivated him, the drama especially, and it soon absorbed his mind.

The House in which Murphy lived, 14, Queen’s Buildings

His first publication, the “Gray’s Inn Journal,” commenced October 21st, 1752, and continued for nearly two years.  But his prospects changing by an uncle’s death, he, in October, 1754, betook himself to the stage, appearing at Covent Garden, and performing Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, &c.  But it was apparent an actor’s life he could not follow; Churchill severely lashed him in the “Rosciad,” and Murphy retaliated in an ode, an effusion as coarse as his opponent’s attack.

To literature he now mainly turned his attention.  In 1756 he produced “The Apprentice,” a farce, for Garrick; in 1758 “The Upholsterer,” and in the ensuing two years “The Orphan of China,” “The Desert Island,” and “The Way to Keep Him;” and in 1761 he published “All in the Wrong,” “The Citizen,” and “The Old Maid.”

p. 174In the year 1757 he applied for admission to the Middle Temple, but, on the ground of being an actor, was refused; he, however, induced Lord Mansfield to interfere on his behalf, and through this influence he entered Lincoln’s Inn.  He was called to the Bar in 1762, and eventually became leader of the Norfolk Circuit.  Lord Loughborough also gave him a Commissionership of Bankrupts—an office he held till his death.

The study of “Coke upon Littleton” was not, however, sufficiently attractive to wean him from his literary pursuits, and several plays, all of which were highly popular, appeared in rapid succession.  Among these were his celebrated “Grecian Daughter” and “Know your own Mind.”  This latter piece, published in 1777, was written for Mr. Harris, and was the last he brought on the stage.

Besides these he also published an edition of Fielding’s works, with a preliminary essay on his life and writings, an “Essay on the Life and Genius of Dr. Johnson,” a translation of Tacitus, and various others.

In 1788 he retired to Hammersmith, where he resided till 1800; he then came to Knightsbridge, and here, with the exception of a short p. 175time in Brompton Row, he resided till his death.  In this house his “Life of Garrick” was written; he appears to have been happy and comfortable in it, occupying the first and second floors, and having a neat and intelligent landlady, whose interest he secured by procuring her son a presentation to Christ’s Hospital.  He died June 18th, 1805, frequently repeating during the day the couplet of Pope—

“Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome Death, and calmly pass away.”

It was to Murphy, Johnson owed his introduction to Mr. Thrale.  “I question,” says Madame D’Arblay, “if Mr. Thrale loved any man so well.”  With Reynolds and Burke, too, he was intimate, and reviewed the latter’s “Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful.”  At Knightsbridge he became intimate with Maurice Morgann; but from the singular construction put by the latter on the characters of Shakespeare’s plays, silence on these points was bespoke in their interviews.  Morgann died before Murphy, who deeply regretted, Mr. Foote tells us, his friend’s death. [175]

p. 176At the corner of Sloane Street, and occupying the site of the first four houses in it, was the Swan, an ancient and well-known hostelrie—a place of great trade in former times.  The sign still exists at No. 5, Sloane Street; and that of the “Clock House” is also the same.  Indeed the latter was only the “tap” to the former, and the separation of interests has not occurred above forty years.  The old house was pulled down about 1777 or 1778.  Otway, in “The Soldier’s Fortune,” alludes to it:—

Sir Davy Dunce.—“I have surely lost, and ne’er shall find her more.  She promised me strictly to stay at home till I came back again; for aught I know, she may be up three pair of stairs in the Temple now; or it may be, taking the air, as far as Knightsbridge, with some smooth-faced rogue or another; ’tis a damned house that Swan,—that Swan at Knightsbridge is a confounded house.”

Tom Brown also celebrates the Swan; and Dr. Wolcot (Peter Pindar) lays the scene of one of his coarse effusions there:—

“At Knightsbridge, at a tavern called the Swan,
Churchwardens, overseers, a jolly clan,
Ordered a dinner for themselves—
A very handsome dinner of the best, &c.”

Beyond Hooper’s Court (so called from its owner) Mr. J. G. Huck, an artist, lived at No. 11; Ozias Humphry in 1792 and 1793 at p. 177No. 19 (Mitchell’s).  At 21, Thomas Trotter, an ingenious engraver and draughtsman, especially in portraits.  He died February 14th, 1803, and was buried in the Broadway ground, Westminster.

At No. 7 resided Michael Underwood, M.D., one of the most distinguished members of the medical profession then living.  He wrote several professional works, which, notwithstanding the advance of the science, yet maintain their reputation.  He attended Caroline of Brunswick at the birth of the Princess Charlotte.  Was a very benevolent man and the gratuitous adviser to the poor of the whole neighbourhood.  He died here March 14th, 1820.

Rutland House, a large red-brick mansion, occupied the site of the present Rutland Gate.  John, Duke of Rutland, who bore the sceptre at the coronation of George III., and once filled the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, died here May 29th, 1779, aged 88.  The celebrated Marquis of Granby, his son, also resided here. [177]  p. 178The whole estate, consisting of above six acres, was offered for sale by Mr. Robins in 1833, but was bought in, and in a year or two after the house was pulled down, and the land let for building.  It belongs to Furzon Manners, Esq., now, a descendant of the Viceroy.

Rutland Gate was commenced in 1838, and completed as far as Clytha House in 1840.  The remainder has been built since, the whole being completed in 1856.

The large detached house on the western side (24) was built by John Sheepshanks, Esq., the distinguished patron of British Art, who here gathered together that choice and valuable collection which he has so nobly presented to the nation.  The collection was removed early in 1857.

Clytha House, the residence of Lord Edward Howard, was built for Mr. Jones, of Clytha, who here gathered a collection, chiefly of the early Italian schools, which was sold May 8th, 1852.

The Half-way House

p. 179Poor Eliot Warburton dated the second edition of his “Crescent and the Cross” from Rutland Gate; at 21 resides Mr. Edward Corbould, one of our finest delineators of female beauty; No. 22 was the residence of the Marchioness Wellesley, widow of the eminent statesman; Mr. Albert Way, the antiquary, Mr. Cotton and Mr. Prescott, both governors of the Bank of England, also number among the residents of Rutland Gate.  Nearly opposite the western end of Rutland Gate, built in the roadway, stood an old inn, of very bad character at one time, called the “Halfway House.”  An unusual array of stabling, troughs, pig-styes, &c., in a very unsightly manner, were built along the causeway; and over the door were several proofs of the faith in the old superstition that horse-shoes were a preventive to the visits of evil spirits.  In one sense the charm was not efficacious, the house, from its lonely situation, being a resort for the highwayman and footpad.  A curious notice of a trial is given in “Knight’s London,” where the thief-taker stated that if not met about this spot, they should not have caught the robber at all: a proof of their frequency, indeed!  Jerry Abershaw p. 180is said to have been a visitor here, and when the house was pulled down a secret staircase from a small chamber in the western part of the house was found built in the wall, to lead gradually down into the stables.  Many a villain, doubtless, thus escaped when the officers of justice were close upon him.

The “Halfway House” was pulled down in 1846 at an expense of £3,050, in addition to the purchase of the fee. [180]

St. George’s Hospital.—A number of gentlemen of the medical profession, dissenting from the system of management carried on at Westminster Hospital, broke off their connection with it, and engaged Lanesborough House for a new institution, conducted under their own auspices.

Lanesborough House, afterwards St. George’s Hospital

Lanesborough House is described by Pennant as the country house of the eccentric nobleman immortalised by Pope:—

“Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in business to the last,
As weak, as earnest, and as gravely out,
As sober Lanesbro’ dancing with the gout.”

He caused the following quaint distich to be p. 181inscribed on the house front in reference to its situation:—

“It is my delight to be
Both in town and country.”

The allusion of Pope to the dancing propensities of this nobleman is curiously borne out by the fact, that when Prince George of Denmark died he sought an interview with the widowed Queen, and advised her to dispel her grief by following his favourite amusement.  Not till disabled entirely by the gout did he give up this relaxation.  The “Golden Gallery” around the dome of St. Paul’s was gilded at his expense.

Lanesborough House was of red brick, three storeys high, with one small doorway, approached by three or four steps to the centre; the new authorities added two wings, also of red brick, and on January 1st, 1734, the institution was opened, having been established on October 19th, 1733.

One of those who took a leading part in this foundation was John Allen, apothecary to the household of George I., George II., and George III. successively.  He remained a governor till his death, on March 17th, 1774.  p. 182Another staunch supporter was the celebrated anatomist, Cheselden, the friend of Pope and other literary men.  Some of his greatest operations were performed here.  He was also surgeon to Chelsea Hospital, and in its graveyard lies buried.

The hospital gradually increased in wealth and usefulness, till in 1784 the governors issued advertisements asking for increased aid to prevent its decay.  This arose from the fact that a large legacy left by a Mrs. Crayle caused an idea to be spread abroad that further aid of this kind was hardly wanted.  Its legacies had been a main source of income; they now fell off, and the Crayle bequest being reversionary, the income rapidly fell, and at Christmas, 1783, the institution was above £1,900 in debt; but a third of the profits of the Handel Festival held in Westminster Abbey in 1784 enabled the governors to overcome their difficulties.

The celebrated John Hunter was one of the eminent men who have been connected with St. George’s Hospital.  He was appointed surgeon in 1768, and always took an active part in its management.  Here on October 16th, p. 1831793, his life was suddenly terminated.  He had long disputed a matter of right with his colleagues, and in an altercation he was flatly contradicted, when a trifling address might have turned aside the quarrel.  He rushed into an adjoining room and there fell into the arms of Dr. Robertson, one of the physicians, and his life was gone in an instant.

The increasing prosperity and demand on the Hospital proved at last that the old building did not afford the necessary accommodation, and accordingly its destruction was resolved on.  This was effected in 1827, and the present building erected from designs by Wilkins.  The old front was towards Hyde Park; the new one faces the Green Park, and is rendered imposing by its bold and massive tetrastyle portico, supported by square columns.  Besides its numerous wards, here are a chapel, museum, lecture-room, and private apartments.  The museum, so valuable to the surgeon, is not adapted for the public, unless to point a moral to the vicious and unwary.  The mere curiosities are interesting; among them is the half-sovereign taken from Mr. Brunel’s windpipe, by Sir Benjamin Brodie, presented by its proprietor; p. 184the hide of the cow from which Jenner took the first vaccine matter; a packet of needles, which came simultaneously from the frame of a young lady, money and knives from patients’ stomachs, and other similar relics.

One regular fund is yet wanting to render the institution complete.  Many a fellow-creature, who is entirely destitute, enters here, and, when recovered, re-enters the world, without a roof to shelter his weakened frame, or the wherewithal to obtain the common necessaries of life.  Of late this has been to a certain extent remedied.  A porcelain slab has been let into the wall (a corner-stone of faith it has been called) bearing the simple inscription—“In aid of those patients who leave this Hospital homeless and in need.”  Ought such an appeal to rest solely on the charity of the busy multitudes passing by?  To announce such a fund would, I believe, ensure its success.

In the burial-ground of St. George’s parish at Bayswater, is a headstone inscribed—

“Sacred to the Memory of the Rev. James Clarke,
who died June 9th, 1811, aged 85 years.
During fifty-one of which he discharged the duties of Chaplain
to St. George’s Hospital, with credit to himself, and benefit to
the Institution.”

p. 185St. George’s Hospital formed a theme for one of Miss Landon’s poems.

St. George’s Place, till of late years, consisted of old-fashioned houses, about two storeys high.  About 1827 the first improvement was made by the opening of Wilton Place, and gradually these old houses have been pulled down to make room for superior ones.  Towards the upper end, these houses were detached.  In one of them lived a Captain Warner, one of the heroes of Quebec.  About 1829, Liston lived at No. 7, and at No. 12 for many years resided Mr. Richards, a well-known London auctioneer, who died here in 1810.

At No. 14 resided for many years the mother of Mr. Justice Burton, to whom belonged the freehold of this strip of land.  She died here in 1799.  Her son, Mr. Justice Burton, resided for many years in the house at the west corner of the entrance to the Barrack.  Bred to the law, he became Recorder of Oxford and a King’s Counsel, and in July, 1778, was appointed one of the judges of Wales and Chester.  He represented Woodstock and Oxford in several Parliaments, supporting the ministry of William Pitt, and at last became p. 186Father of the Benchers of Lincoln’s Inn.  He died in Brook Street, December, 1832, aged 89.  The freehold mentioned was originally vested in the Laremar family.  The first one of whom anything is known, was one William Laremar, captain of the Loyal Rebecca, a ship trading to Virginia in 1676, a time when the colony was disturbed by the rebellion of Nathaniel Bacon; the use of the vessel was given to the governor, Sir William Berkeley, by whom Laremar was appointed Commodore in St. James River, and was “maynly instrumental in the suppression of that rebellion and mutiny,” for which good service he received compensation from the Admiralty, the secretary of which was then Samuel Pepys.  From the Laremars the property passed to the Burtons, from them to the Coles, and it is now enjoyed by Owen Blayney Cole, Esq.  Liston also resided at 14 many years; and the next house was once tenanted by the Tathams, one of whom married Adam Adolphus, brother of the celebrated counsellor.

In No. 3 of the present houses lived General Campbell, an old Peninsular veteran.  He died in June, 1852.  No. 10 is the residence of Mr. p. 187Coningham, M.P. for Brighton, and 11, of James Goding, Esq.

The “White Horse Inn” was formerly established on the site of No. 11.; afterwards it was removed to the corner of the entrance of the Foot Barracks, but was pulled down in September, 1856, with three houses, one of which was Liston’s.  Nos. 15 to 20 were built in 1849–50.

From the corner of Wilton Place the row extends ten houses further.  No. 28 was Mr. Blore’s, the statuary’s.  A house which stood at the corner, and narrowed the entrance to Wilton Place very considerably, was removed about 1841.  For many years a Mrs. Dowell carried on the business of tobacconist here.  She was an eccentric old damsel, and so exceedingly partial to the late Duke of Wellington, that she was continually inventing some new plan whereby to express her regard.  She sent him occasionally patties, cakes, and other similar delicacies, and as it was useless to attempt to defeat the old woman’s pertinacity, everything was taken in.  To such a pitch did she carry this mania, that I have heard she regularly laid for him at her table, constantly expecting p. 188he would call in.  With her lodged William Pickett, who lived in Knightsbridge the greater part of his life.  A gravestone in St. George’s ground tells his short history:—

“Sacred to the memory of Mr. William Pickett, artist,
who died at Knightsbridge, on the 23rd day of May, 1821,
aged 45 years.”

I must not leave St. George’s Place without a notice of John Liston.  He was born in 1776; and his father, who lived in Norris Street, giving him a superior education, he, in 1795, became second master at Archbishop Tennison’s school near Leicester Square; but thus early the stage appears to have fascinated him, for he quitted his situation for acting plays with the elder boys.  He then went into a mercantile house in the City.

When Liston first appeared on the stage is not accurately known; but the following note from a celebrated manager of the time appears to prove that to him, at least, he was well known.  It is as follows,—verbatim:—


“Your not favoring Me with an answr Relative to the I-dea of the Cast, I at Random (tho’ very ill) Scratch’t Out, p. 189Makes it Necessary for Me to have Your Opinion, in Order to Prevent Aney Mistake.  I am,

“With every Good Wish,
“Yours, &c.,
Tate Wilkinson.”

He now followed the stage as a profession, and obtained engagements at various provincial establishments; among others, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, under Stephen Kemble.  The first comic part he performed was the very subordinate one of Diggory, and even in this little part contrived to throw that irresistible originality of humour for which he afterwards became so celebrated.  I have seen the copy the actor learnt from, with his erasures, interlineations, &c.

His first acknowledged appearance on a London stage was at the Haymarket, on June 10th, 1805, as Sheepface, in “The Village Lawyer.”  On the same evening Miss Tyrer made her re-appearance after a lapse of three years.  She was soon after to become his wife, and they were married on Sunday, March 22nd, 1807, at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields.  Their mutual friend, Charles Taylor, the celebrated Noodle, in “Tom Thumb,” gave the wedding p. 190breakfast.  The union proved a happy one; one son and daughter were its issue.  The former entered the army; the latter married Rodwell, the composer.

It is impossible, in this sketch of Liston’s life, to notice all his various performances and successes.  His leading triumphs can alone be glanced at.  In January, 1823, he commenced a £50 per week engagement at Drury Lane, as Tony Lumpkin; and in May, 1824, George IV. commanded the “Hypocrite,” and heartily encored Mawworm’s mock sermon.  It was a favourite part of Liston’s, and his performance of it inimitable.  I have seen a letter from a distinguished living actor, who had played the part, he says, “greatly against the grain, well recollecting Mr. Liston’s unapproachable excellence in it.”

In the ensuing year he reached the pinnacle of his fame by his impersonation of Paul Pry.  The popularity of the piece was immense, and chiefly through the unequalled ease and skill with which he acted his part.  His well-known countenance was to be met with in every conceivable form, in plaster and clay, in china and butter, in the centre of pocket handkerchiefs, p. 191tobacconists’ “screw” papers, and in a variety of other ways, his unbounded success with the public was attested.

In 1831 he joined Madame Vestris, and performed with increasing popularity until the end of the season 1837.  He never took a farewell formally of the stage; and the last time he ever performed was for the benefit of James Vining, in Planché’s “Peculiar Position;” and as Monsieur Champignon he ended his professional career.  It was, I believe, known to his friends that this would be his last appearance, and the following address was written by Rodwell on this occasion.  It has never, I believe, been published:—

“Liston, farewell! for once the Comic Muse
Looks vex’d and dismal, griev’d with thee to part;
And heaves true sighs from her reluctant heart,
While virgin tears her clouded eyes suffuse,
By sorrows forc’d, despite of struggling art.
Her mask avails not now.  Her faltering voice
Betrays the o’er-mastering passion in her soul;
For she must lose the servant of her choice,
Who made her chariot merrily to roll,
When he the Coachman played; and not less great
As the mock Marquis help’d her mimic state
Absurdly grave; or at his tricks again
As gay-hair’d Figaro swell’d her menial train,
Pompous and plausible, serene and sly,
With witty impudence, and humour dry.
p. 192Expert at all trades, too, with last or block
Alike to comb or cobble wig or sock;
This he exactly fitted to her toe,
In walk, or jig, or gallopade to go;
And that so quaintly, whimsically curl’d,
It grew the merry wonder of the world.
Ney, just to keep the top or sole together,
He’d patch the Sock ev’n with the Buskin’s leather,
That she might follow in her sister’s path
With pewter poison-pot, and dirk of lath;
While he stalk’d on in Dollabella’s train,
A lord, of whom the Court might well be vain.
   Our tears, O Liston! must with hers be blended
To see, too soon, thy comic labours ended.
And haply, oft when other servants bear
Some mawkish viand of our bill of fare,
Oft shall we turn dissatisfied, and wish
For Liston’s sauce, to help th’ insipid dish;
Whose very look and air were quite enough
To win our favour for the cook’s worst stuff.
Or, if the dish be good, provoked to see
Some clumsy serving-man instead of thee.
How shall we think, regretful of thy merit,
Who served up all with such bewitching spirit,
As made the best seem better, and the cook
To thee beholden, more than to his book,
However puff’d by papers, or by rumour:—
Thou great Original in comic humour!”

31st May, 1837.

Nor was this the only tribute Liston received; numerous were the attempts made to induce him to alter his decision, but he was inflexible, and it remained irrevocable.  One of several letters I have seen I include here, notwithstanding p. 193its writer is living; but he cannot regret to see a letter given to the world showing such ability and excellent feeling.  It is as follows:—

T. R. C. G., Dec. 18, 1839.

My Dear Mr. Liston,—My mother has told me of one or two half-laughing conversations she has had with you, on the subject of your delighting the public with a few performances.  Jest sometimes leads to earnest, and, on the principle of never throwing away a good chance, I venture to send you this to say, that should such a joyful occurrence be within the verge of possibility at any time, you may consider yourself King of Covent Garden; act when you please, what you please, and as long as you please; stop when you please, take what money you please, and be sure that, do whatever you please, you cannot fail to please.  More than this I cannot say, except that you shall be allowed to sweeten your own tea, and, when you are too late for rehearsal, beat the prompter.  In plain English, and in sober earnest, if you will make up your mind to gratify us by playing a few of your old parts, everything that mortals can do to make you comfortable p. 194and happy shall be done, and we shall be most proud in being the caterers of a national treat.

I will not bore you more—only say the word, and we are “at your feet.”

Ever yours, with kind regards to Mrs. Liston, very truly and very faithfully,

C. J. Mathews.

Liston wrote a copy of his answer on the fly-leaf of this letter as follows:—

My Dear Mr. Mathews,—Notwithstanding the skill you exhibit in endeavouring to arouse my dormant vanity, be assured, once for all, it cannot prevail to overcome the unalterable determination I came to when I quitted the stage, never to reappear professionally before the public.  Not only should I consider my reassuming the cap and bells, at my advanced age, a moral indecorum; my decaying strength also would render the experiment too hazardous, and I have no doubt were Mr. Wakley the coroner to have to preside at an inquest on my remains, he would—as he did the other day, in the case of a poor old woman who drank herself to death—suggest to the jury the propriety of returning a verdict of Felo-de-se.

p. 195Accept, however, my very grateful thanks for your liberal proposal, as well as for the terms in which the offer has been conveyed; they bring back a pleasing remembrance of the position we stood in to each other a few years back, to which, though for a time interrupted, I trust we are once again happily restored.

Mrs. Liston joins me in sincere hopes for the continual prosperity of you and yours, and believe me (once again my dear Charles),

Your friend and well wisher,
J. Liston.

This correspondence, so interesting and so creditable to both parties, shows Liston to have had a kind heart and joyous disposition, and that such can exist with the highest notions of moral responsibility.  Liston’s private life was retired and becoming, the love of literature, acquired early, never left him; few persons were greater students than he, and his knowledge of the Scriptures is said to have been very extensive.

The illness which terminated his life first attacked him four years previously, in the form of apoplexy.  The last attack came on suddenly, on March 16th, 1846, and he never p. 196spoke again.  He lingered till the ensuing Sunday, when he died in the arms of his wife.  That same day, and almost that same hour (half-past ten), thirty-nine years previously, and on a Sunday too, she had sworn “to love and to cherish till death should them part,” and thus literally she fulfilled her vow.

He lies at Kensal Green; over his grave rises a column, bearing the following inscription:—

“Sacred to the Memory of John Liston, who died March 22nd, 1846, aged 73.  He lived many years an ornament to his profession, and died much respected and regretted.”

Mrs. Liston survived her husband eight years.  Born about 1780, she became a pupil of Kelly, and made her first London appearance in 1800.  She was always a favourite with the public, the very appropriate part of Queen Dolabella, in “Tom Thumb,” being generally considered her best.  She died at No. 28, Brompton Square, whither she removed from Knightsbridge, September 19th, 1854.

Behind St. George’s Place was formerly a foot-barrack, established about 1758.  It continued to be used as a depot until 1835 or 1836, when Government sold the remainder of their p. 197lease.  On part of the drill ground St. Paul’s Church is built, and the barracks are let out as tenements.  Over a portion of its parade-ground Mr. Dunn built the St. George’s Gallery, for his “Chinese Collection;” the “Exhibition of Modern Art” was also, with other attractions, located here; among them Mr. Gordon Cumming, with the relics of his African exploits.  The lease of this property is just expiring, and various improvements are contemplated.

Tattersall’s.—Richard Tattersall, founder of this well-known establishment, was born in 1723.  He became training-groom to the last Duke of Kingston, after whose death, I presume, he started on his own account at Hyde Park Corner, as I find he sold off the Duke’s stud, and an injunction was applied for, December 14th, 1774, to prevent payment of the money to the Duchess, then under indictment.  In 1775 frequent advertisements of Tattersall’s show that his business rapidly progressed, and his establishment soon became the head-quarters of the sporting world.  That it early gained an aristocratic fame is proved by p. 198the allusion in “The Belle’s Stratagem,” first performed in 1782:—

Flutter: Oh, yes! I stopped at Tattersall’s as I came by, and there I found Lord James Jessamy, Sir William Wilding, and Mr. —.  But, now I think of it, you sha’nt know a syllable of the matter; for I have been informed you never believe above one-half of what I say.”

Richard Tattersall died February 20th, 1795, aged 72.  Two portraits of him are still in his descendants’ possession; from one of them a portrait in “Knight’s London” is engraved. [198]  He was succeeded in his business by his only son, Edmund, who carried it on until his death, January 23rd, 1810.  His son, Edmund, who founded the foreign trade, then succeeded; who dying December 11th, 1851, the business came to its present proprietors.

The entrance to Tattersall’s is from Grosvenor Place, down a deep descent under an unpretending archway.  At the bottom is a tavern, bearing the appropriate sign of “The Turf,” opposite to which is a gateway, leading into a circular-shaped inclosure, on the skirt of which p. 199is a gravel path encircling a grass-plot, from the centre of which rises a solitary tree; here the horses are tried and examined.  The subscription room—a well proportioned one—was designed by Mr. George Tattersall, author of “Sporting Architecture.”  Over the mantelpiece of the counting-house hang the regulations, dated 1780.  In the courtyard is a domed structure surmounted by a bust of George IV. in his eighteenth year, at which period of life he was a frequent visitor.  Beneath this dome is a pump, surmounted by the figure of a fox.  A writer in the “Sporting Magazine” (June, 1852) stated that “Tattersall’s annual average of horses brought to the hammer, is estimated at £45,000,” and that he believed “there were 97 stalls, and 13 loose boxes, or standing for 110.”  The chief business days are Mondays and Thursdays.

Trevor Square, so named from Sir John Trevor, who had a house on its site, was built about 1818.  The freehold is still that of his descendant, Lord Duncannon; hence the names to be met with here are derived, such as Hill Street, Arthur Street, Duncannon Cottage, &c.

At No. 1 in the square lived the notorious p. 200Harriette Wilson; and Mrs. Andrée, a descendant of the Umfreville, whom William the Conqueror styled his kinsman, died here in 1836.

Trevor Chapel, one of the largest places of worship in the metropolis, belonging to the Independents, was built about 1817, under the ministry of the Rev. John Morrison, D.D.  He is still its nominal minister, but his great age and infirmities preclude any active duty.  The officiating pastor is the Rev. John Statham.  Dr. Morrison is beloved not only by his congregation, but by the whole community of London Dissenters.  He is known also as the author of several theological works, the best of which is a “Commentary on the Psalms.”

In the last century a portion of the land about this part was rented by a French Protestant refugee family, named Moreau, of which General Moreau was a member.  They returned to France about eighty years since. [200]

All this land one hundred and fifty years ago was the property of Sir John Trevor, many years Master of the Rolls.  He was second son p. 201of John Trevor, of Bynkinsalt, Denbighshire, Esq., by an aunt of the infamous Chancellor Jeffreys, and was born about 1638.  After a very lowly education, he was taken by a relative, Arthur Trevor, a barrister, as his clerk.  Here he assiduously applied himself to the study of the law, and afterwards entered the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar.  His advancement was very rapid, for, entering the House of Commons, he upheld the Royal Prerogative to an extreme, denying the right of Parliament to inquire into its exercise.  He took a prominent part in the unjust prosecution of the unfortunate Lord Strafford, and strenuously defended Jeffreys when he obstructed the right of petitioning in the great controversy between the Petitioners and Abhorrers.

When James II. called his only Parliament in May, 1685, Trevor, who sat for Denbigh, was, through the Government influence, elected Speaker. [201]  The new Parliament, however, did not suit James, and at the commencement of a second session was dissolved.  Trevor’s obsequiousness was rewarded with the Mastership of the Rolls, an office to which he was appointed p. 202October 20th, 1685.  It is said he aimed now at the Chancellorship, and, with that object, endeavoured to injure Jeffreys by aiding the outcry against him on the occasion of the shameless case of Alderman Cornish.

In July, 1688, Trevor was sworn of the Privy Council; but William of Orange soon after landing, with characteristic meanness he held aloof, but when James returned after his first flight, imagining a reaction was come, declared in his favour; his hopes proved transitory, and he therefore joined the High Tories, who wished to make William Regent only.  He, however, was declared King, and Trevor was removed from the Rolls.

In 1690 a new Parliament was called, and Trevor joined the more moderate of the two sections into which his party was divided; and having offered to support the new King, and also bring over partisans from the opposite camp, if restored to the Speaker’s chair, his proposal was agreed to; and so well did he perform his part, that William in a few weeks appointed him First Commissioner of the Great Seal, he still retaining the Speakership, and in less than two years, his successor at the Rolls p. 203dying, he was restored to that position also.  But great inconvenience resulted, and on May 2nd, 1693, the Great Seal was given to Somers.

In 1694 a great agitation was manifested in the House of Commons, in the belief that the Court, and even the House itself, was tainted with bribery.  A committee was appointed, and on the 12th March, 1695, Mr. Foley, the chairman, read its report, which implicated Trevor; and a debate arising, a resolution was proposed “That Sir John Trevor, Speaker of this House, receiving a gratuity of 1,000 guineas from the City of London, after passing of the Orphans’ Bill, is guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour.”  This motion Trevor had the mortification to put from the chair, and the unparalleled humiliation of declaring it unanimously carried.  The House immediately adjourned, and two days after he resigned the chair, and on the 16th a motion for his expulsion from the House was carried, and a new writ issued for the borough he represented. [203]  He was, strangely enough, permitted to retain p. 204his Mastership of the Rolls, and no further proceedings were taken against him.  The rest of his life he wisely spent in his judicial office, never again withdrawing from it for politics.  He died at his house in Chancery Lane, May 20th, 1717, and was buried in the Rolls Chapel.

Trevor’s character, on the whole, is but a poor one; a selfish ambition appears to have made him consider the end, and not the means, the chief object of his care.

His circumstances, doubtless, compelled him to practise a rigid economy, which, as he advanced in years and position, grew into meanness.  But it would be unjust not to mention the redeeming points in his career.  Lord Campbell states that “he was not only an upright but an enlightened judge, and he pronounced many decrees which to this day are considered of high authority.”  No charge of bribery or favouritism was ever brought against him in the fulfilment of his judicial duties.  “He had a villa at Knightsbridge,” says Lord Campbell, “then almost a day’s journey from London, and he has been absurdly censured for occasionally hearing cases at his private p. 205residence, a practice all equity judges sometimes must necessarily follow.”  And notwithstanding his niggardly disposition he founded six almshouses in St. Martin’s parish, Shropshire, and provided also several other charities.  He left issue an only daughter, Anne, who married Michael Hill, of Hillsborough, Esquire, who had two sons—Trevor, who became heir to the Hills, and was ancestor of the Marquis of Downshire, and Arthur, who inherited this property, assumed the name of Trevor, and was, April 27th, 1765, raised to the peerage as Viscount Duncannon; and from him the present freeholder is descended.

William Street was built about 1830.  At No. 11 resided for many years Lady Morgan, whose works occupy too distinguished a place in our literature to need mention here.  Mrs. Gascoigne, in her poem, “Belgravia,” after sketching the portrait of Mr. Higgins, as before given, describes Lady Morgan as follows:

“Nor his the only pen Belgravia’s bounds
Can boast, whose glory far and wide resounds!
Endowed with manly powers, a woman’s quill
Can treat and master every theme at will;
And in her wisdom’s energetic scope,
Put down a Wiseman, and unchair a Pope.”

p. 206The last line alludes to the controversy so cleverly sustained by her ladyship, as to the genuineness of St. Peter’s Chair—a paper war, forming a capital chapter for a future Disraeli, and the only amusing episode connected with the Papal Aggression of 1851.

Wilton Crescent was commenced in 1826 by Mr. Seth Smith.  At No. 24 for many years lived Mr. Hallam, the celebrated historian.  Here the great literati of our times were wont to meet, for Mr. Hallam’s assemblies were of the most celebrated and intellectual.  At No. 16 the late Lord Dudley Stuart once resided; it is now the residence of Mr. Richardson.  No. 20 is the town-house of the Earl of Winchelsea, the “Protestant Earl;” 39 was the residence of the Rev. W. Bennett; and 30 of Lord John Russell, before his removal to Chesham Place.  Mr. Baron Watson resides at 38; and Mr. Milner Gibson at No. 50.  Lord Chewton, who so gallantly fell in leading his men at the Battle of Alma, lived at 37.

Wilton Place, occupying the site of a cow-yard, into which there was a narrow entrance from the main road, was built in 1827.  At No. 15 Sir James Macdonald, the gallant defender p. 207of Hougoumont, lived, and died there in May, 1857; also the Hon. Thomas Stapleton, an antiquary, at 13; Mr. Westmacott at 21.  The Chisholm used to occupy 35; and Miss Reynolds, the actress, still resides at No. 4.

With Wilton Place these notices of Knightsbridge (proper) close; mention of those eminent persons whose locale cannot be traced will, I think, appropriately finish this chapter.

Richard Bensley, the celebrated actor of the last century, resided the latter part of his life at Knightsbridge.  Appearing for the first time, in 1765, as Pierre in “Venice Preserved,” he maintained a good reputation as an actor for a lengthened period, not quitting the stage till May 6th, 1796.  He had the honour to deliver Johnson’s prologue to Goldsmith’s “Good-Natured Man;” and as Pierre, Iago, and Hotspur, his fame stood high among his contemporaries.  He was appointed barrack-master at Knightsbridge (he had in early life been in the army), which appointment he held till his death in 1817.

Thomas Harrison, a poet, a friend of Addison and Swift—“my own creature,” the latter calls him—who brought over the celebrated p. 208Treaty of Utrecht, died at Knightsbridge, on February 14th, 1713.  He was a protégé of Swift, who describes him, in 1710, as “a young fellow we are all fond of; a little pretty fellow, with a great deal of wit, good sense, and good nature.”  He was then tutor to a son of the Duke of Queensbury on forty pounds a year; Swift introduced him to the Ministry, and he was sent out as Secretary to the Embassy to arrange the Peace of Utrecht, St. John presenting him with fifty guineas to bear his expenses.  Less than two years had elapsed on February 11th, 1713, when Swift, returning from a dinner, found a letter on his table from Harrison, telling him he was ill, and desired to see him.  He went in the morning, found him suffering from fever and inflammation, harassed and penniless; got thirty guineas for him from Bolingbroke, and a Treasury order for £100 of his arrears of salary.  He then removed him to Knightsbridge for change of air.  On February 14th, Swift writes,—“I took Parnell (the poet) this morning, and we walked to see poor Harrison.  I had the £100 in my pocket.  I told Parnell I was afraid to knock at the door.  My mind misgave me.  I knocked, p. 209and his man, in tears, told me his master was dead an hour before.”  Swift seems to have loved Harrison, and felt his loss acutely.  “Think,” he says, “what grief this is to me!  I went to his mother, and have been ordering things for his funeral with as little cost as possible, to-morrow at ten at night.  Lord Treasurer was much concerned when I told him; I would not dine with Lord Treasurer, or any one else.  No loss ever grieved me so much.”  And the next day he records, “At ten at night I was at his funeral, which I ordered to be as private as possible.  We had but one coach with four of us; and when it was carrying us home, after the funeral, the braces broke, and we were forced to sit in it, and have it held up, till my man went for chairs, at eleven at night, in terrible rain.” [209]

Tickell, in one of his poems, mentions Harrison as—

“That much loved youth, whom Utrecht’s walls confine;”

and indeed, though little is known of him, he seems to have been a favourite with his contemporaries.

p. 210Bernard Lens, miniature painter to George II., retiring from his profession, settled at Knightsbridge, where he died, December 30th, 1740.  According to Vertue, he was buried at Kensington, but his name does not appear on the register.  He was tutor to the celebrated Duke of Cumberland, and excelled as a copyist of Rubens and Vandyke, whose colouring he imitated admirably.

Robert Miller, a loyalist in the American War of Independence.  He held two official situations in Virginia, which he lost in the revolution.  He died at Knightsbridge, February, 17th, 1792.

Francis Xavier D’Oliveyra, a Portuguese chevalier, born in 1702, and filled the office of Secretary to the Embassy at Vienna.  He was persecuted by the Inquisition on account of the publication of his travels, and accordingly came to England, where he abjured the Romish creed.  Thus sacrificing fortune to the dictates of conscience, he first encountered great difficulties, but found friends, especially Archbishops Potter and Herring.  Frederick, Prince of Wales, also assigned him a pension.  He resided some years at Knightsbridge, which p. 211he quitted in 1775.  He died October 11th, 1783. [211]

The Countess of Orrery, friend of Swift, died at Knightsbridge, October 27th, 1758.  He esteemed her highly “as a person of very good understanding, as any he knew of the sex.”  In his will, Swift bequeathed to Lord Orrery “the enamelled silver plates to distinguish bottles of wine by,” given him by his “excellent lady.”

Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, had his town residence at Knightsbridge.  He was born April 15th, 1617, at Aspedon, near Buntingford.  Brought up at the Free School of his native place, he was removed to Sydney Sussex College; but refusing to subscribe the covenant, lost his fellowship, and in 1643 removed to the neighbourhood of London.  Part of his time he spent at Albury, in company with Oughte, and there the two prosecuted their mathematical studies together.

In 1649, the Savilian Professors of Astronomy and Geometry being removed from their offices by the Parliamentary Commissioners, Ward was chosen to fill the former chair.  On this he took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth, p. 212and exerted himself to restore the lectures, which had been greatly neglected, and under him they speedily revived.

In 1652, he took his Doctor’s Degree, and in 1659 was made Principal of Jesus College, and afterwards Master of Trinity College; but at the Restoration he was compelled to resign these appointments.  While at Oxford he gained the acquaintance of some of the most eminent men of the time, especially of Wilkins, afterwards Bishop of Chester.  Their meetings led to the formation of the Royal Society, which Ward strongly supported, and of which he was one of the most efficient members.

Although he had taken office under the Commonwealth, he had friends under the Monarchy, who were able to forward his interests.  Among them were Monk and Clarendon; and through their intercessions he was presented to St. Lawrence Jewry, and afterwards to the Precentorship of Exeter.  His rise was now rapid, for in 1661 he was appointed Dean, and in the ensuing year Bishop of that Diocese.

In 1667 he was translated to the Bishopric of Salisbury, and in the House of Lords, being an able speaker, took a prominent part in the p. 213debates.  He has been accused of lending rather too complying an ear to the Court, both in Parliament and the rule of his diocese; probably these charges arose from his supporting the ill-advised and tyrannical Conventicle Act, which his predecessor, Bishop Earl, a man beloved by all parties, had opposed.  On the other hand, it must be borne in mind he approved of the opposition to James II., and to two copies of the petition his signature was affixed.

His residence, when his duties called him to the metropolis, was at Knightsbridge, and here he was visited by all the leading literary and scientific men of the day.  Evelyn, in his “Diary,” March 25th, 1674, writes, “I dined at Knightsbridge, with the Bishops of Salisbury, Chester, and Lincoln, my old friends.”  The celebrated Isaac Barrow was also a frequent guest; and it was at the Bishop’s table he was seized with the illness which in a short time ended his days.  The celebrated Sir Charles Scarborough was another friend—he also was Ward’s medical adviser; and Burnet states he was at Knightsbridge with him when the Queen’s coach came for him to attend her at the birth of the future Pretender.

p. 214The Bishop’s health towards the close of his life was very indifferent, and at length he was deprived of his faculties altogether, and died at Knightsbridge, January 6, 1689, in his seventy-second year.  He was a very learned man, as his writings abundantly show, and a very charitable one.  At his native place he founded almshouses, and also left a sum for apprenticing its poor boys.  I know nothing more beautiful or pure in a great man’s character than to see him remembering in his old age those villagers among whom, in a comparatively humble sphere, he first drew breath.  Such conduct indicates a benevolent mind and a good heart; and such public acts which seem to show a different spirit, I would rather attribute to a temporary fear or extraneous motive, other than the genuine constitution of the mind.  A life of Ward was published by Dr. Pope, author of the celebrated ballad, “The Old Man’s Wish.” [214]

William Penn resided at Knightsbridge, at p. 215No. 8, St. George’s Place, it is said; in order to be nearer the Court, where he was a great favourite with the Queen; he left it in 1706.  Sir John Chardin, the famous Persian Ambassador of the time of Charles II., lived once in this same house.  So imbued was he by his travels with Eastern ideas, that on Persian festivals he used to illuminate his windows with candles.  He was buried at Chiswick, 29th December, 1713.  The clever but unfortunate George Anne Bellamy also lived here in 1747.  Dr. Richard Wright, F.R.S., and physician to St. George’s Hospital, died here, October 14th, 1786.  J. Marshall, a botanist and gardener, and well known as a writer on such subjects, lived at Knightsbridge many years; and Edward Wakefield, author of “Ireland, Political and Statistical,” died here, May 18th, 1854, aged eighty-six.  John Allen, of Knightsbridge, in 1685, left to the parish of Hammersmith 10s. annually to twenty poor people.  The Countess of Yarmouth, mistress of George II., also numbered among its inhabitants.


      “Belgravia! that fair spot of ground
Where all that worldlings covet most is found!
Of this stupendous town—this mighty heart!
Of England’s frame—the fashionable part!”

Belgravia: a Poem.

Between the Hamlet of Knightsbridge and the district of Pimlico are a number of streets and squares to which the fashionable term of Belgravia has been given, and which is now the recognised name of the locality.  Southward of the old King’s Road has for 200 years been known as Pimlico.  To this boundary, sanctioned by usage, I shall adhere; considering only those places as in Belgravia between this line, and one formed from St. George’s Hospital, by Grosvenor Crescent and Motcomb Street; while the east boundary is Grosvenor Place; and the west, the sewer.  The name is derived from a title of the Marquis of Westminster, p. 217taken from a village in Leicestershire, where he has great property.  Halkin, Motcomb, and Kinnerton Streets, also derive their names from properties of the Marquis; Eaton Square from his seat, and Wilton Place, &c., from the title of his brother.

I need hardly say Belgravia is yet in its youth; of history, strictly speaking, it really has none.  Where now stands this

“Oasis of the fashionable west,”

was, thirty years ago, nought but marshy fields—fields in a very forlorn condition, covered with rank grass and weeds in full luxuriance; bounded by mud-banks, and almost wholly given up to sheep and asses.  I cannot do better than let the lady, who has chosen Belgravia for her theme, describe its former aspect.

Time was, when here, where palaces now stand,
Where dwell at ease the magnates of the land,
A barren waste existed, fetid, damp,
Cheered by the ray of no enlivening lamp!
A marshy spot, where not one patch of green,
No stunted shrub, nor sickly flower was seen;
But all things base, the refuse of the town,
Loathsome and rank, in one foul mass were thrown;
Breeding the vapours that in fever’s hour
Lend to Disease its desolating power,
p. 218And quench the life of thousands, like the blight,
Noiseless, but sure, that in a single night
Upon the blossoms’ opening bloom descends,
And brooding rests, till all their promise ends.

Belgravia was and still is within the manor of Ebury, and in ancient times within the parish of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields.  It now belongs to St. George’s, Hanover Square, but subdivided; about half pertaining each to St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge, and St. Peter’s, Pimlico.  The early history of this manor has been already noticed; now for its modern.

King George III., on taking up his residence at Buckingham House, wished to purchase the fields lying immediately contiguous, in order to prevent buildings being erected so as to overlook his garden.  The Lock Hospital stood then alone, but it was apparent that the ground would soon be occupied, if the King should fix his abode so near.  He therefore entered into a negotiation for its purchase, but George Grenville, then Minister, refused to sanction the expenditure of the sum demanded, viz., £20,000, and Grosvenor Place was accordingly commenced building in 1767.  The streets running from this line were terminated by p. 219high mud banks, which formed a boundary no traveller ventured over.  The other side formed a part of the Five Fields, and it was not till 1825 that the determination was come to to cover it with houses.  Mr. Thomas Cubitt and Mr. Seth Smith then took leases from the Marquis of Westminster, and Belgravia speedily arose.

The Five Fields was an ominous name to our forefathers.  Addison, in the “Tatler” (No. 34), refers to them as the place “where the robbers lie in wait;” and pages might easily be covered with the records of the frightful crimes here committed.  The King’s Road, anciently only a trackway for the use of the farmers and gardeners, was the only road across.  A lane led to it from Hyde Park Corner, and other paths intersected the fields into five large parts—hence the name; but it was not till Charles II. found the road a near way from Whitehall to Hampton Court that any public way was formed, and not then till after some discussion between the Government and the parishioners of Chelsea.  In the reign of George I. disputes arose as to the right of way; but, after inquiry, the Government acknowledged p. 220the claims of the inhabitants to be just. [220]  In the documents relating to this dispute the fields are said to be open, and the bridge, then called “Bloody Bridge,” now known as Grosvenor Bridge, only “a footbridge, with a plank or board,” till built in a regular manner in the time of Charles II.  The road across the fields was very insecure; and for many years, under a royal order, fifty-two privates, and six non-commissioned officers, half every alternate night, patrolled the ground.  On grand gala nights at Ranelagh the number was greater; but on all occasions it was customary for persons wishing to cross to wait for a sufficient number to meet together to ensure mutual protection, and then, with two men carrying lanterns on long poles, and who obtained their living by such service, sallying across under their guidance.  Such a relation almost forces a smile now; but it must be borne in mind that no houses were situated along the King’s Road a hundred years since.  It was also then very circuitous, running from the Palace garden wall along the present north garden of Eaton Square to Sloane Square.  Its p. 221dangers were very great, as the newspapers of the last century afford melancholy proof.  I give one specimen:—

“On Saturday evening last, February 24th, a servant belonging to Mrs. Temple was robbed and barbarously wounded near Bloody Bridge in the King’s Road, leading from Chelsea.  Her Royal Highness the Princess Amelia coming from Hampton Court, hearing a man groaning, ordered her servant to stop; and it proving to be the man above-mentioned, he was taken behind the coach and brought to town; and her Highness ordered all possible care to be taken of him.” [221]

Bloody Bridge seems to have gained its fearful character early; in Chelsea register is the following notice of the name:—“1590.  John Dukes was this year enjoyned to make a Causie at bloody Gate.”

Charles Dartquineuve, the friend of Pope, and to whom Dodsley was once footman, was appointed surveyor of the King’s Private Roads, in 1731, in room of General Watkins.  Pass-tickets of copper were issued in that p. 222year, and are prized by the curious in such matters.

Duellists also sought the Fire Fields, and Aubrey tells of one meeting near to Ebury farm, in the time of Charles I., between Lord Mohun and a foreign nobleman.  The former was killed, not without suspicion of foul play; and the credulous antiquary relates that at the time of the duel, his mistress saw him approach her bed, draw the curtains, and go away without speaking!

Great numbers of the lower orders used to frequent the Five Fields, to indulge themselves with the brutal sports so prevalent formerly among them.  Near where Coleshill Street now stands was a famous resort for cock-fighting, and every Good Friday numbers came to witness the barbarity.  Duck-hunting in the ponds and bull and bear-baiting were also largely carried on; the head-quarters of the latter being at a house by the Willow Walk, once the habitation of the notorious Jerry Abershaw.

It is pleasant to quit such recollections for those of a purer kind.  The old herbalists frequented these fields, where, they tell, the p. 223“wild clary” grew plentifully; and along the river’s bank the “bitter cresses” in great perfection.  And Swift, walking to London from his Chelsea residence in 1711, mentions the hay-making in the fields; “it smells so sweet,” he says, “as we walk through the flowery meads;” but he spoils the idea by telling us that “the hay-making nymphs are perfect drabs.”  The market gardens in the Five Fields, though not very numerous, were very valuable, being devoted chiefly to the culture of the asparagus and the rarer vegetables.  Norden, in 1593, tells us,

“The deepe, and dirtie, loathsome soyle,
Yields golden gaine to painefull toyle;”

and that the labourer “will refuse a pallace to droyle in these golden puddles.”  The nursery ground of Messrs. Allen and Rogers was in being so late as 1832, adjoining to the King’s Road.  The father of Mr. Redgrave, the distinguished artist, resided in a house on the King’s Road, and here his eminent son was born.

One historical reminiscence will conclude the notices of the fields.  Clarendon tells us that he, Hampden, Pym, Marten, and Fiennes p. 224had dined together at Pym’s lodgings, when Fiennes proposed a ride into these fields.  Accordingly they set off; and the conversation turning on the Episcopacy Bill, Fiennes asked Hyde why he so passionately adhered to the Church, Hyde’s reply was an expression of doubt as to the stability of the State, or of religion itself, if the government of the Church was altered; and Fiennes rejoining that much blood would be shed ere that would be submitted to, Hyde (Clarendon) remarks it was the first positive declaration he had heard from any particular man of the party.  Hampden, Pym, and other leaders of those eventful times, are said to have sought the air and private intercommunication in the Five Fields.  This anecdote concludes this early portion of Belgravia’s history; the reader’s attention will now be drawn to its streets and squares.

Belgrave Square was commenced in 1825, and designed by Basevi.  It is 684 ft. in length, by 637 ft. in breadth.  The two detached mansions on the western side were designed by H. E. Kendall.  The one in the south-west was originally built for Mr. Kemp, of Kemp Town; afterwards it was occupied by p. 225Lady Harriett Drummond, the Marquis of Tweeddale, and in 1837 became the residence of Lord Hill, for many years Commander-in Chief.  After his death the late Earl Ducie lived here, and on his decease, in 1853, the house was sold, and enlarged to its present size.  The mansion in the north-west was the residence of the late Earl Brownlow.

General Sir George Murray, the friend of Wellington and Peel, lived at No. 5, and died there in 1846, respected and regretted.  No. 2 was the residence of the late James Goding, Esq., who formed a fine collection of paintings, and other works of art.  No. 6 is the Duke of Bedford’s, and at No. 9 resides the celebrated Countess Dowager of Essex.  At No. 10 lived M. Drouyn de l’Huys, while Ambassador at St. James’ from France.  At 16 resides Sir Roderick Murchison, and at 18 lived the late Earl of Ellesmere.  No. 36, sometimes called Ingestrie House, was in 1840 the residence of H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent, and at present of Colonel Douglas Pennant.  Mr. Labouchere at 27, the Archbishop of York 41, Sir M. S. Stewart at 42, the Duke of Montrose, Mr. Abel Smith, and Field-Marshal Lord p. 226Combermere, are also residents of Belgrave Square.

The last of the Dukes of Gordon died at his residence here, May 28th, 1836, aged 66; and Mr. Scrope, last male of a family illustrious in our historic annals, lived at No. 13.  He was author of “Days of Deer Stalking,” published in 1839; and “Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing,” published in 1843.  Mr. Scrope died in Belgrave Square, July 20th, 1852, in the 81st year of his age.  His son-in-law, Mr. Poulett Scrope, M.P., and author of the “History of Castle Combe,” soon after quitted this mansion for one at Prince’s Gate.

Chapel Street, so named from the Chapel attached to the Lock Hospital, which abutted on it, was completed about 1811.  Legh Richmond, while Chaplain of the Lock, resided in this street.  Writing to his wife, he says, “It is surrounded by fields, has a very pleasing prospect, charming air, great retirement and quietness, with a little garden, a remarkably neat exterior, and as neat and comfortable an interior.”  Nor was he the only one who found in Chapel Street a comfortable and happy home: the celebrated comedian, Gentleman p. 227Jones as he is called generally, for many years lived at No. 14.  “The very aspect of their rooms is exhilarating,” writes Lady Chatterton, “though small, and furnished without any show or expense.  A vine which grows at the back of the house, half conceals the windows with its luxuriant branches; and some fresh flowers in the rooms are fit emblems of those who reared them.” [227]

Mr. Jones acquired fame both as an actor and author, but in his later years employed himself as a teacher of elocution.  He died in Chapel Street, and lies buried in St. Peter’s vaults.  A marble tablet to his memory, at the entrance to the Church, bears the following inscription:—

“Beneath rest the mortal remains of Richard Jones, for more than forty years in public life, a dramatic performer, he was admired; as in private life respected as a teacher of elocution, he was a public Benefactor.  As a Christian and a Man his conduct was exemplary.  He died 20th of August, 1851, aged 72.  Here also repose the remains of Sarah, his wife.  She died 18th of June, 1850, aged 71.  And Eliza Jane his sister, who died 29th November, 1828, aged 40.”

General Sir W. K. Grant, one of the eight British officers who saved the Emperor of Germany p. 228from capture, on the plains of Cambresis, in 1794, and who otherwise saw severe service in the last great war, died in 1852, at his residence, No, 24, Chapel Street.  At her residence, in this street, also died, in March, 1818, the Hon. Miss Hawke, author of a poem on the “Fall of Babylon.”

Chesham Place, the freehold of which belongs to the Lowndes family, is so named from their seat in Buckinghamshire.  No. 37 is the well known residence of Lord John Russell, and No. 35 was Sir Charles Wood’s.  To Chesham Place the Russian Embassy was removed in 1852.

Chesham Street.—Henry Parish, Esq., of diplomatic celebrity, resided at No. 7.

Chester Street.—At No. 13, the residence of Lady Gipps, died Dr. Broughton, the first Bishop of Sydney.  The Right Hon. Frederick Shaw lived at No. 5, and Colonel Sibthorpe at 27; at No. 7 resides Dr. W. V. Pettigrew,

            “Whose sympathetic mind
Delights in all the good of all mankind.”

Mr. Hurlstone and Miss Shirreff are also residents in Chester Street.

Eaton Place.—Among former residents may p. 229be enumerated General Caulfield, author of several works on the Government of India; Sir Robert Gardiner, one of the bravest of the old Peninsulas; Sir H. Duncan, son of the victor of Camperdown, and himself a tar of true British stamp, died here in 1836.  Sir Thomas Troubridge was another of that mighty school; he fought with Nelson at Copenhagen, and elsewhere, and died here in 1852.  Sir William Molesworth, one of our ablest and most advanced statesmen of modern times, and who has secured to himself a permanent position in our literature, died at his residence (No. 87) in 1855.

Among present residents are Dr. Lushington (18), Sir Erskine Perry (36), Sir George Grey (14), Mr. Justice Wightman (38), Mr. Heywood (5), Sir Arthur Elton, M.P., and the Bishop of Hereford.

At No. 80, the residence of Captain Massingberd, the Hungarian statesman, Kossuth, stayed on his first arrival in this country, in the autumn of 1851.

Eaton Place West.—General Sir Peregrine Maitland, who fought at Corunna, and commanded a brigade at Waterloo, died at his p. 230residence in this street, May 30th, 1852.  Mr. Collier, M.P. (2), and Mr. H. F. Chorley (13), live in this street.

Eaton Square was commenced in 1827, but not wholly completed till 1853.  It is 1,637 ft. long by a breadth of 371 ft.  Among its distinguished residents may be noticed the late Lord Chancellor Truro, who died at his residence (No. 83) in 1853.  Mr. Henry Redhead Yorke, at 81; Lord Alvanley, of celebrity in the days of the fourth George, at 62; General Sir Thomas Bradford, and Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, the victor of Navarino.

The late Ralph Bernal, Esq., resided at 75, and here formed one of the most splendid collections of ancient art ever brought together.  He died here in 1853.  No. 71 is the residence (official) of the Speaker of the House of Commons; in one year, says Mr. Cunningham, the rent, rates, and taxes of this house amounted to £964.

Among present residents in Eaton Square are the Earl of Ellenborough at No. 115, Sir Frederick Thesiger, now Lord Chelmsford (7), Mr. Justice Willes (16), Sir John Pakington (41), Sir Francis Baring (4), Mr. Fielder, Commissary-General p. 231in the Crimea (57), Colonel Tulloch (63), Mr. M. J. Higgins (71), Mr. Cardwell (74), Baron Martin (75), Sir Augustus Clifford (92), Sir W. Clay (93), and General Codrington, our Commander-in-Chief at the capture of Sebastopol, at 110.

At the east end stands St. Peter’s Church, built in 1826, and denounced by Mr. Cunningham as one of the “ugliest in all London.”  The site is an excellent one, few superior in the metropolis; it is a just source of regret, therefore, that a more creditable design was not chosen.  It was designed by Henry Hakewill, in the Ionic Order, and consecrated by Dr. Howley, then Bishop of London, July 27th, 1827.  It was burnt down in 1835, when the altar-piece, “Christ crowned with Thorns,” a good specimen of Hilton, R.A., was with difficulty saved.  It was presented to the Church by the British Institution.

Grosvenor Crescent is still unfinished.  Here reside the Rev. A. P. Stanley, Sir Charles Trevelyan, and at No. 1 the Earl of Clarendon, late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.  The Crescent is ultimately to be continued to open into Grosvenor Place, and thus it will p. 232form the main entrance to Belgravia; an improvement very greatly needed.

Grosvenor Place.—The story pertaining to the foundation of this street has been told already.  Originally the houses were built no further than the Lock Hospital, which occupied the site of the Grosvenor Place Houses.  At the bottom, where the junction with the King’s Road was formed, was a cluster of mean dwellings, and one inn, known as “The Feathers.”

At No. 1, Dr. Lane’s celebrated School of Anatomy and Medicine has for many years been established.  No. 4 originally formed two houses, which were thrown together by the late Earl of Egremont, who here first formed the splendid collection of pictures now at Petworth.  He was a great patron of English artists, and an excellent judge of their productions.  Haydon, one of those he had befriended, declares he “never saw such a character, or such a man, nor were there ever many.  ‘Live and let live’ seems to be the Earl’s motto.”  Lord Egremont died in November, 1837. [232]

p. 233The mansion at the north corner of Halkin Street is that—

            “Where the Howards’ noble race
For many a year have made their resting place.”

The first nobleman of this title who resided here was Frederick, the fifth earl.  He was born in 1748, and died in 1825, and is the nobleman often mentioned by Boswell as gaining Johnson’s praise for his literary performances.  But however valuable these may be considered, he owes his literary immortality to the attacks made on him by Byron.  He was guardian to the poet, who dedicated to him his “Hours of Idleness,” which the Earl is said to have coolly received, an affront which deeply rankled in Byron’s breast—causing a wound his mother did her best to widen.  Byron, however, seems to have forgotten his animosity, for in his “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” as originally intended for the press, he compliments Carlisle:—

“On one alone Apollo deigns to smile,
And crowns a new Roscommon in Carlisle.”

But the intended honour was not permitted to remain.  Receiving, as he considered, a fresh p. 234slight, Byron erased the praise, for the vituperative sarcasm still to be read:—

“Let Stott, Matilda, and the rest
Of Grub-street and of Grosvenor-place the best,
Scrawl on, till death release us from the strain,
Or common sense asserts her rights again.”

But the poet regretted the severity, and afterwards, in his noble tribute to Major Howard, gave utterance to his repentance;—

“Their praise is hymned by loftier harps than mine;
Yet one I would select from that proud throng,
Partly because they blend me with his line,
And partly that I did his sire some wrong.”

And of the Major he writes with rapturous eloquence:—

            “When shower’d
   The death-bolts deadliest the thinn’d files along,
   Even where the thickest of war’s tempest lour’d,
They reach’d no nobler breast than thine, young gallant Howard.”

Byron’s staunchest friend, Hobhouse—now Lord Broughton—lived about No. 7, when colleague with Burdett in the representation of Westminster; so also did Lady Ossory, the correspondent of Horace Walpole.  Writing to her, on February 1st, 1775, he says:—“I hope this is the last letter I shall send you before you land at p. 235Hyde Park Corner turnpike.  You will have a very good neighbourhood there; Lord and Lady Apsley are mighty agreeable people.”

No. 15 in 1773 was the Duke of Athol’s; the Marquis of Titchfield, Lord-Lieutenant of the County fifty years ago, also resided in Grosvenor Place, as did Mr. Orby Hunter, a leading man in the ton in the days of George IV.

No. 44 is the residence of the Hanoverian Minister, and here his Sovereign stayed during his visit to London in 1853.  No. 24 is the Bishop of Worcester’s, and No. 46 Sir James Graham’s.  Earl Stanhope, the historian, resided some years at No. 41, but now at No. 3, Grosvenor Place Houses.  The centre of these three is Sir Anthony Rothschild’s, the other Lord Harry Vane’s.

Near to the south end of Grosvenor Place stood, for above a century, a small hospital for invalided soldiers.  The poet Armstrong, friend of Thomson, was in 1746 appointed physician to it.  The establishment was closed when the improvements here were contemplated about 1846.  Adjoining to it was “The Feathers,” to which a curious anecdote is attached.  A Lodge p. 236of Odd Fellows, or some similar society, was in the habit of holding its meetings in a room at “The Feathers,” and on one occasion when a new member was being initiated in the mysteries thereof, in rushed two persons, whose abrupt and unauthorised entrance threw the whole assemblage into an uproar.  Summary punishment was proposed by an expeditious kick into the street; but, just as it was about to be bestowed, the secretary recognised one of the intruders as George, Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV.  Circumstances instantly changed: it indeed was he, out on a nocturnal excursion; and accordingly it was proposed and carried that the Prince and his companion should be admitted members.  The Prince was chairman the remainder of the evening; and the chair in which he sat, ornamented, in consequence, with the plume, is still preserved in the parlour of the modern inn in Grosvenor Street West, and over it hangs a coarsely executed portrait of the Prince in the robes of the order.  The inn, the hospital, and various small tenements were removed in 1851, when the present stately erections were immediately commenced.  On the ground being cleared away, various coins, p. 237old horse-shoes, a few implements of warfare, and some human remains were discovered.

At the intersection of the cross-roads at the end of Grosvenor Place, suicides were subjected to the revolting burial then awarded by the law.  The last person on whom the law was carried out here was named Griffiths, the son of a colonel in the army, who had first murdered his father, and then destroyed himself.  This took place on June 27th, 1823.

Halkin Street.—The north side is chiefly occupied by Mortimer House, the residence of the late Earl Fitzwilliam, and by Belgrave Chapel, built in 1812.  Its ministers have been the Rev. John Pitman, author of “Practical Lectures on the Gospel of St. John,” the Revs. J. Thackeray, J. Jennings, and the present minister, the Rev. W. Thorpe, D.D.

The detached mansion at the corner, numbered as 49, Belgrave Square, finished in 1850, is the residence of Mr. Sidney Herbert.  The premises now occupied by Messrs. Wimbush were those in which the same business was conducted by Mr. Vernon, the munificent patron of modern British art.

Halkin Street West contains a small chapel, p. 238now belonging to the National Scottish Church, and in which Dr. Cumming occasionally preaches.  Its present minister is the Rev. L. Macbeth.  Built by Mr. Seth Smith, it was originally attached to the Church of England, under the ministry of the Rev. J. Gibson.

Lock Hospital (The), which formerly stood on the site of Grosvenor Place Houses, was built in 1746, and patients admitted on January 31st, 1747, for the first time.  The Institution included an asylum for the reception of penitent females, founded in 1787, and a chapel, built in 1764, with the primary view of aiding the income by its pew rents.  The chapel was always celebrated for the powerful and popular preachers who occupied its pulpit, among whom may be mentioned Martin Madan, Thomas Scott, editor and commentator of the Scriptures, and C. E. De Coetlogon; while Legh Richmond, Romaine, Rowland Hill, and the celebrated Dr. Dodd, have often preached here.  Of these, the one most connected with this locality was the Rev. Martin Madan.

Old Lock Hospital

His father was M.P. for Wootton Basset, and Groom of the Bedchamber to Frederick, Prince of Wales; his mother, a daughter of p. 239Spence Cowper, and niece of the celebrated Chancellor; an accomplished woman, and authoress of several poems of considerable merit.  Martin was originally brought up to the bar, which he forsook for the Church; was ordained, became Chaplain to the Lock, and one of the most popular ministers of the day.  He was a distant relation of the poet Cowper, who first imbibed from him those religious principles which afterwards formed so predominant a feature of his mind.

In 1780 his popularity received a severe blow from the publication of his “Thelyphthora,” a singular work in defence of polygamy.  There can be no doubt that the work was issued with good intentions, but the manner of treating the subject was at least novel, and especially so in a clergyman.

Madan was the author of various other works, and likewise of some repute as a musical composer.  Many of the tunes and chants in the “Lock Hymn Book” have his initials attached.  The “Song of Miriam” is, perhaps, his most popular piece.  At the same time, mention must be made of his composition to Pope’s Ode, known as “Vital Spark,” also of the piece p. 240“Before Jehovah’s awful Throne.”  I have heard him spoken of by elderly folks with deep respect; and whatever his shortcomings may have been, a want of charity was not among them.  That he was equally respected in high society may be inferred from his friendship with Lord Chancellor Bathurst, who gave him a chaplaincy.

He died at Epsom in the 64th year of his age, and was buried at Kensington, May 8th, 1791.

The connection of Legh Richmond with the Lock was of very short duration.  He was induced to accept the minor office of assistant to the Rev. Thomas Fry, then chaplain, and while here attracted the notice of Ambrose Serle, author of “Horæ Solitariæ,” a constant attendant of the chapel.  Serle was applied to by Mrs. Fuller to recommend her a pious and practical clergyman to fill her living of Turvey; he immediately recommended Richmond, and thus it was that estimable man obtained the position he filled with such great credit to himself and the Church, and benefit to his people.  His ministrations here extended only from February to October 1805.

p. 241Wilberforce strongly supported this Institution, and frequently attended the Chapel.  He occasionally alludes to it in his “Diary;” and Legh Richmond mentions observing him at the communion-table on one occasion, with a negro at his side, a coincidence which he afterwards found was quite accidental.  The incident was not without a lesson!

Lock Chapel

The buildings were of brick, and as plain as they possibly could be.  They were pulled down in 1846, and the Institution removed to the Harrow Road.

p. 242Lowndes Street.—Colonel Gurwood, the editor of “Wellington’s Dispatches,” resided at 33, and Mrs. Gore, the novelist, once at 42.

Osnaburg Row, a court nearly at the lower end of Grosvenor Place, named after the Duke of York, who also was Bishop of Osnaburg.  The Guards’ Hospital, before noticed, adjoined it, and the court was removed at the same time that building was cleared away.

Upper Belgrave Street.—Numbers 1 and 2 were the first houses finished by Mr. Cubitt.  No. 3 is Lord Charles Wellesley’s, and previously the present Duke of Wellington’s; hither the great Duke might frequently be seen escorting the present Duchess home.  Mrs. Gore lived at No. 2, and at 13 the late Earl of Munster.  Several sketches of Lord Minister’s life are given in Mr. Jerdan’s “Autobiography,” in which it is inferred the fatal aberration of intellect which led to his self-destruction arose from the discordant feelings arising from the anomalous position he held, and which he was unable to brook.  He was author of several works on the p. 243history of our eastern empire, and was a patron of literature and learning. [243]

Wilton Street.—Here Mr. Spencer Percival, eldest son of the minister killed by Bellingham in 1812, resided.

p. 244CHAPTER V.

“Nor rough nor barren are the winding ways
Of hoar antiquity, but strown with flowers.”


The district parish of St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge, stretching southward to the Thames, embraces in its bounds a considerable part of Pimlico.  When St. Barnabas’ Church was built, for the local management of the parish, this southern portion was allotted to its minister’s care, and therefore I follow a division most suitable for my plan, and give a brief outline of the history of this part of the parish, in order that my notice may not be incomplete.

Of course, I do not intend to describe the suburb now called Pimlico as a whole, but only that portion of it within the district of St. Paul’s; yet I cannot even do so without p. 245touching on one or two items of general history: and first, then, for the name.

The first mention of the name Pimlico appears in the parish books of St. Martin in the year 1626. [245a]  The ancient name of the place was Eybury, from the manor of Eia or Eye, signifying water; a most appropriate name for a spot bounded on three sides by running streams.  There was a Manor House once existing, which we may infer was of some importance, from its being one of those houses for which a licence to crenellate or fortify was granted.  This privilege was granted in 1307 to John de Benstede, by Edward I. [245b]  Hence the addition of bury to the original name of Eye or Eia, such addition meaning fortifications.

But to the name.  The true explanation of its origin is to be found in a rare, if not unique tract, entitled, “News from Hogsdon,” 1598:—“Have at thee then, my merrie boys, and hie for old Ben Pimlicoe’s nut brown.” [245c]  This “old Ben Pimlico,” of Hoxton, kept, in p. 246the days of Queen Bess, a right famous hostelrie, a popular place of resort, as numerous allusions in the dramatists [246] of the period testify.  Pimlico Walk still exists at Hoxton, and doubtless indicates the pathway along which the pleasure-seekers wended their way to Old Ben’s.

It is evident in the above quotation that a person is alluded to; but the word frequently expresses a drink, most probably derived from this worthy.  This is evident from the following verses:—

“Let Hogsdon’s scrapers on their base,
Sound fum—fum—fum—from tattered case,
Nor Mean nor Treble now take place,
            But Tenor.

A Counter-Tenor is that note.
Tho’ easy—’tis ne’er sung by rote,
But got with wetting well your throat
            With claret.

Or stout March beer, or Windsor ale,
Or Labour-in-Vain (so seldom stale),
Or Pimlico, whose too great sale
            Did mar it.”

The Counter Rat, 1670.

p. 247This Ben Pimlico, and the ale named after him, are both spoken of with equal laudation by the dramatists—by Ben Jonson more especially, who lived in the neighbourhood, and doubtless was familiar with both.  But in his play of “The Alchemist,” the allusion, I think, points to a bygone place:—

Lovewit: The neighbours tell me all here that the doors
Have still been open—

Face: How, sir!

Lovewit: Gallants, men and women,
And of all sorts, tag-rag, been seen to flock here
In threwes, these ten weeks, as to a second Hogsdon
In days of Pimlico and Eyebright.”

This evidence of Jonson I think conclusive that the original Ben Pimlico’s had gone.  The question is where; and my reply is, to Ebury.  The reasons are—

1st.  We had in this locality a pathway known as the Willow Walk, and there is such yet remaining at Hoxton.

2nd.  The movement of places of amusement to the western suburbs commenced in the time of James I.  At this time the Exchange, Islington, and Hoxton began to lose their charms, and pleasure-folk went to Spring Garden, the Mulberry Garden, &c.

p. 248Though this argument, if such it can be called, is wholly inferential, I do not think there is anything to oppose to it, unless the number of places called Pimlico [248] tells against the view taken.  But here, again, the probability is that they borrowed their names from the one at Hoxton, because of its popularity; and the coincidence of the Willow Walk is moreover wanting: what I argue for is, that on the decay, for some reason or other, of Ben Pimlico’s establishment at Hoxton, he, or some one belonging to it, came to Ebury, formed his Willow Walk leading to the house, and his popularity being so great, the village became gradually to be called after him, and its ancient appellation imperceptibly lost.

That part of Pimlico now in St. Paul’s district was, in the last century, a complete moral wilderness.  As is apparent to the present day, the dwellings were of the meanest character; and it was only the infamous who long lived here.  Jerry Abershaw lived in a house along the Willow Walk; and Maclean the highwayman, whom the ladies went to see (according p. 249to Horace Walpole), also lived on this spot.  Its secure condition for persons of this description may be imagined, when it is recollected that there was, previous to 1768, no direct road to this part.  The only way was from Chelsea; the road through Belgrave Place was not fit for carriages till this time.  It was then completed and carried on to the Stonebridge, a bridge over the Westbourne, by the end of Wilderness Row.  Parties going to Ranelagh by coach went along the King’s Road, a roadway to the left leading to the Grove; but in that day the silent highway of the Thames was much used, and as the ballad tells, the “fine city ladies” delighted in a voyage to Ranelagh or Vauxhall.

The Grosvenor Canal, which forms the boundary of our district on one side, was formed in 1823; its head had been the property of the Chelsea Waterworks Company, who in that year removed their works to their late position at Ranelagh.  The canal enters the Thames a few yards eastward of the new Pimlico Bridge, the story of which is too recent, and too much one of “discord dire” to obtain further notice in these pages.

p. 250At the foot, where the Pimlico Bridge now stands, was the “White House,” a lonely habitation by the river side, used once by anglers; opposite to which, on the Surrey side, stood the “Red House,” a still more noted place of resort.  Fifty yards westward of this spot, according to Maitland, Cæsar crossed the Thames, on his second expedition into Britain; but the opinion of Maitland is not generally shared in by antiquaries, who, notwithstanding the arguments advanced by different writers, in favour of spots they themselves have fixed on, yet in general adhere to the opinion of the father of English antiquaries, and agree with Camden, that this passage of the Thames was at Coway Stakes.  Nevertheless it must be borne in mind, that many relics of this period have been found in the bed of the Thames at and about this spot; and during the progress of the bridge, coins and relics of a later time, many of which were Roman, were also discovered.

St. Barnabas’ College consists of a Church, a Residentiary-house for the Clergy attached thereto, and a School-house, with residence for the teachers.  The design originated with the p. 251Rev. W. J. E. Bennett, and the ground was the gift of the Marquis of Westminster.  The commencement of the work was with the School-house, the foundation-stone of which was laid June 11th, 1846 (St. Barnabas’ Day); the foundation-stone of the Church was laid twelve months later, on which occasion the new School-house was formally opened; and on St. Barnabas’ Day, 1850, the Church was consecrated by the late Bishop of London.

The architecture, chosen by Mr. Cundy, under whose superintendence the College was erected, is the Early Pointed.  The Church has a tower and spire of Caen stone, containing ten bells, the gift of as many parishioners; it is 170 ft. high.  The interior is of great splendour, the open roof being finely painted, and the windows throughout of stained glass, by Wailes, of Newcastle, and representing incidents of the life of St. Barnabas.  The chancel is separated from the body of the Church by a carved oak screen; the other wood fittings are also of oak.  The lectern (a brass eagle), the communion-plate, font, and other costly ornaments, were the gifts of private individuals.

The Church has sittings for about 1,000 persons, p. 252all of which are free.  It was erected entirely by voluntary contributions, and under the energetic incumbency of Mr. Bennett.  Its cost has been about £15,000, of which the expense of the carcase of the Church, vestries, and buildings attached, amounted to £10,232.

St. Barnabas is but a Chapel-of-Ease to St. Paul’s, and is under the same legal government.  Churchwardens are, however, appointed by the Incumbent of St. Paul’s for the maintenance of order and other similar offices; but, in other respects, the usual legal duties devolve on the wardens of St. Paul’s.  The Schools are designed for 600 children—200 each of boys, girls, and infants.

During the Anti-Papal agitation of 1850, this Church was more than once the scene of unseemly disturbances on the part of the mob, and, to suppress which, it was necessary to call in the aid of the police.

Avery Farm Row doubtless is a remnant in name of some rural time.  A family named Avery frequently appear in the registers of Knightsbridge Chapel, from 1663 to 1691; the probability is they were farmers here.  Another Avery Row runs parallel to Bond Street.

p. 253Blomfield Terrace was so named after the late Bishop of London.  At No. 1, the late Captain Warner, so well known for his invention of the “long range,” died in December 5th, 1853.  He had long resided in the locality, and was well known in it.  He left seven children with their mother, in great distress, for whom the Hon. and Rev. Robert Liddell made a public appeal; but it afterwards transpired his wife was living in receipt of parochial relief at Ashford.  Warner was buried in the West Brompton Cemetery.

Commercial Road (The), on the right-hand side of the canal, is occupied almost entirely by factories, workshops, and the dwellings of those employed therein.  A “House of Refuge,” under the management of the clergy of the parish, is situated here; and also a Ragged School, both supported by public contributions.

Jenny’s Whim Bridge, sometime called the Wooden, and now Ebury Bridge, crosses the canal at the north end of the Commercial Road.  Here was a turnpike, similarly named, till 1825.  Jenny’s Whim was a very celebrated place of amusement, on the site of St. p. 254George’s Row.  It was equally the resort of high and low, and with all classes was for a lengthened period a favourite place of recreation.  I never could unearth the origin of the name, but presume the tradition told me by an old inhabitant was the correct account, viz., that it was so called from its first landlady, who caused the gardens to be laid out in so fantastic a manner, as to cause the expressive little noun to be affixed to the pretty and familiar christian name she bore.  Angelo says it was established by a celebrated pyrotechnist in the reign of George I.  The house had a large breakfast room, and the grounds, though not large, contained a bowling green, alcoves, arbours, and flower beds, with a fish pond in the centre.  There was also a cock-pit; and in a pond adjacent the brutal sport of duck-hunting was carried on.  This is alluded to in the following sketch, quoted from the Connoisseur, May 15, 1775:—“The lower sort of people have their Ranelaghs and their Vauxhalls as well as the quality.  Perrot’s inimitable grotto may be seen, for only calling for a pint of beer; and the royal diversion of duck-hunting may be had into the bargain, together with a decanter p. 255of Dorchester, for your sixpence, at Jenny’s Whim.”

Angelo says:—“It was much frequented, from its novelty being an inducement to allure the curious, by its amusing deceptions.  Here was a large garden; in different parts were recesses, and by treading on a spring—taking you by surprise—up started different figures, some ugly enough to frighten you—a harlequin, a Mother Shipton, or some terrific animal.  In a large piece of water facing the tea alcoves, large fish or mermaids were showing themselves above the surface.”  Horace Walpole, in his Letters, occasionally alludes to Jenny’s Whim; in one to Montagu he spitefully says—“Here (at Vauxhall) we picked up Lord Granby, arrived very drunk from Jenny’s Whim.”

Towards the close of the last century, Jenny’s Whim began to decline; its morning visitors were not so numerous, and opposition was also powerful.  It gradually became forgotten, and at last sunk to the condition of a beer-house, and about 1804 the business altogether ceased.

Jenny’s Whim has more than once served the novelist for an illustration; see “Maids of p. 256Honour; a Tale of the Times of George the First:”—“There were gardens,” says the writer, mentioning the place, “attached to it, and a bowling green; and parties were frequently made, composed of ladies and gentlemen, to enjoy a day’s amusement there in eating strawberries and cream, syllabubs, cake, and taking other refreshments, of which a great variety could be procured, with cider, perry, ale, wine, and other liquors in abundance.  The gentlemen played at bowls—some employed themselves at skittles; whilst the ladies amused themselves at a swing, or walked about the garden, admiring the sunflowers, hollyhocks, the Duke of Malborough cut out of a filbert tree, and the roses and daisies, currants and gooseberries, that spread their alluring charms in every path.

“This was a favourite rendezvous for lovers in courting time—a day’s pleasure at Jenny’s Whim being considered by the fair one the most enticing enjoyment that could be offered her; and often the hearts of the most obdurate have given way beneath the influence of its attractions.  Jenny’s Whim, therefore, had always, during the season, plenty of pleasant p. 257parties of young people of both sexes.  Sometimes all its chambers were filled, and its gardens thronged by gay and sentimental visitors.” [257]

The house is still partly standing, and by its red brick and lattice-work may be easily identified.

Graham Street.—In this street lived and died a man for many years well known in London, James Thornton.  He was cook to the Duke of Wellington throughout the Peninsular and Waterloo campaigns.  When, on the death of his great master, it was stated in the papers that the Duke’s dinner on the eventful 18th of June was dressed by a Frenchman, he indignantly wrote to the Times, claiming his honour.  He possessed an unlimited fund of anecdote, and used to boast he buried Lord Anglesea’s leg, and helped to support Raglan at the amputation of his arm.  Thornton died in 1853.

Grosvenor Row, together with Queen Street and Jews’ Row, form one thoroughfare.  It p. 258formerly was one of the most remarkable streets in or around the metropolis, and, to a great extent, is so now.  To Jews Row came Wilkie to sketch his “Chelsea Pensioner reading the Account of the Battle of Waterloo,” painted for the Duke of Wellington.  The iron gate shown in the picture is still to be seen.  The numerous signs bear witness to the military air of the neighbourhood, such as “The Snow Shoes,” a recollection of Wolfe’s glorious campaign, the “General Elliott,” and the “Duke of York.”

Grosvenor Row, which terminates at the Stone Bridge (as the place is marked in old plans), was built in 1768.  At the end is the “Nell Gwynn,” a tavern named after the mistress of Charles II.  Its sign-board was originally decorated with her likeness; and the legend, firmly believed by old Chelsea folk, that to her the noble institution adjacent owes its foundation, was painted underneath.  Nell’s residence at Sandy End has been doubted by Mr. Cunningham.  It is certain that her mother resided near the Neate Houses in Pimlico; and, in the records of Knightsbridge Chapel, there are occasionally entries of the p. 259name—connections not improbably of the royal mistress.  One of the entries, Jan. 13, 1667, records the marriage of Robert Hands and Mary Gwin, the former being the name of a family long resident freeholders in Pimlico, and to whom Chelsea Bun House, which I am now about to notice, belonged.

Chelsea Bun House was established early in the eighteenth century, but the exact time is unknown.  It had obtained a reputation for its buns as early as 1712; for in that year, Swift, who then resided at Chelsea, mentions buying one of them in his walks.  It soon became quite a fashionable resort of a morning: even the Royal Family used familiarly to visit Mrs. Hands, who was a complete living history of all the affairs of the district, and of those who came thither.  To her customers her garrulous anecdote was a fund of amusement, and her house and colonnade were continually crowded with loungers.  George II., his Queen, and their family, patronised the place, and were frequently to be seen laying siege to its delicacies.  George III., too, after he had ascended the throne, did not forget the spot where, in his childhood, he had paid many a pleasant p. 260visit; and in his turn, when his family was young, he and Queen Charlotte frequently accompanied it thither.  The latter presented Mrs. Hands with a silver half-gallon mug, highly ornamented, and five guineas at its bottom, as a testimony of her appreciation of the attentions bestowed on the royal children.

On Good Fridays the concourse of people drawn hither was immense.  Business on this day was always commenced at four o’clock in the morning, by which time numbers of customers were waiting; and on some occasions it has been estimated that fifty thousand persons have assembled here for hours before eight o’clock.  Occasionally the crowd became unruly, and disturbances ensued, and it was found necessary to close the establishment partially.  Handbills of a warning character were issued, and constables stationed to preserve order.

When Ranelagh declined from its zenith, the Bun House experienced the reverse of fortune.  Parties visiting the former generally called to patronise the latter before they entered; and the success of the one depended more perhaps than would have been easily p. 261credited on that of the other, and it gradually dwindled away to complete insignificance.

The Bun House consisted of but one storey, was about 50 ft. in length by 14 ft. in breadth, with a colonnade in front projecting over the pavement, and affording a convenient shelter in wet weather.  The interior was fitted up in a perfectly unique manner; the array of curiosities of every kind, and various countries, forming a collection amusing and grotesque.  There were artificial and natural curiosities, the former including models of St. Mary Redcliffe, and of a ship; clocks of curious devices, and a model on horseback of the Duke of Cumberland, in the costume worn at Culloden; two grenadiers in the costume of the same period, four feet in height, in lead, and weighing each nearly two hundredweight.  There were also some paintings, the most famous of which was the portrait of Aurungzebe, Emperor of Hindostan.  The natural curiosities consisted of stuffed birds and animals, minerals, ores, and similar rarities, arranged in cases; while the furniture, antique in manufacture, multifarious in design, strong in make, and comfortable in use, added to the peculiarity of p. 262the place, and its attractions.  In the King’s collection in the British Museum is an engraving of “A Perspective View of Richard Hands’ Bun House, at Chelsea, who has the Honour to serve the Royal Family.”

Various improvements being carried out in this part of Pimlico, in accordance with an Act of Parliament (introduced by Sir Matthew Wood), passed in 1839, the Bun House was condemned and pulled down in that year; preserving its ancient appearance, though not its ancient reputation, to the last.

After Mrs. Hands died, her son carried on the business.  He was a most eccentric character, and dealt also largely in butter, which in all weathers he carried about the streets in a basket.  He, like his mother, was thoroughly versed in the lore of the district, and like the old Bluegown in Scott’s “Antiquary,” was the bearer of its news as well as butter.  He was much respected in the neighbourhood; and on his death, an elder brother, who had entered the army, and was then a poor knight of Windsor, became proprietor.  He also was eccentric in manner, and peculiar in costume; and on his death, leaving no friends or p. 263relatives, the property was claimed by the Crown.

Chelsea Bun, House has given name to one of Miss Manning’s novels, published in 1854.

Opposite to the Bun House stood Stromboli House and gardens, a minor place of recreation, at its height about 1788; on the site of St. Barnabas’ College stood the Orange tavern and tea-gardens.  Here was a private theatre, at which the local genii of the sock and buskin performed to their admiring neighbours; and at the junction of Grosvenor Row and Ebury Street stood an old inn, a relic of the Republicans in the neighbourhood, and which bore one of the peculiar and enthusiastic appellations of that period—God encompasseth us.  This was corrupted into “The Goat and Compasses,” an absurd and unmeaning sign, but the modern inn is now called simply “The Compasses.”

Ranelagh Grove and Terrace is so named from the celebrated place of amusement of our ancestors; but is in the parish of Chelsea, and therefore not within our design.  At No. 2, Ranelagh Terrace, died the Rev. Thomas Pennington, nephew of the celebrated Elizabeth p. 264Carter.  He was author of two works of foreign travel, and also of “Memoirs of the Grand Dukes of the House of Medici.”  He died December 21st, 1852, in his 92nd year.

Upper Ebury Street.—Part only of this street is within the district of St. Paul’s; in it died Rodwell, the composer, and William Skelton, a celebrated engraver.  Skelton’s productions are numerous, and extend over a lengthened period, among them a series of portraits of the reigning family from George III. to our present Queen.  He died here, August 13th, 1848, in his 86th year, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Several places of public entertainment were in the neighbourhood of Ebury Street, the chief of which were “The Star and Garter” and “The Dwarf;” both were in their heyday about 1760; and notices of them were frequent in the papers of the time.  “The Cherokee Chiefs,” objects of wonder in 1760, and alluded to in Goldsmith’s “Citizen of the World,” were frequently to be seen here.  “The Star and Garter” stood near to the end of Burton Street, “The Dwarf” on the site of the factory in Elizabeth Street.  There were besides p. 265these, places of minor resort, mere tea-gardens.  “To drink tea at Pimlico” became proverbial in the last century.  Here came from the close streets, to inhale the purer air of the fields, hundreds of the working-classes; more especially on the Sunday they poured forth, old and young, married and single.  Gay says of the spring-time—

“Then Chelsea’s meads o’erhear perfidious vows,
And the press’d grass defrauds the grazing cows.”

One of these places was attached to the house now numbered 75.

Westbourne Place is a neat double row of houses (deriving its name from the stream) joining Eaton and Sloane Squares.  No. 2 was the house taken in 1808 by Colonel Wardle for the notorious Mary Ann Clarke, as part recompense for the services she was to render in the prosecution of the inquiry into the conduct of the Duke of York.  Into the history of this disgraceful connection I do not intend to enter, any more than to say, that afterwards an action was brought against Colonel Wardle for the value of the furniture supplied to this house, as was alleged, on the faith of his personal promise.  William Thomas Lewis, for many p. 266years a popular comedian, and acting manager of Covent Garden Theatre, died at his residence in Westbourne Place on January 13th, 1811.  No. 23 was once the residence of Miss Corbaux, celebrated as a painter, and for her knowledge in those most recondite of studies, the histories and languages of the ancient nations of the East.

Westbourne Street branches off Westbourne Place.  Mr. Smith, author of “A History of Marylebone,” once lived here.  In this street is a Baptist Chapel.  Formerly, on a part of this ground, was York Hospital, a depôt for invalid soldiers, and named after the Duke of York.  Here for two years, without pay, Mr. Guthrie, the eminent surgeon, attended on the poor fellows maimed at Waterloo.  The establishment, in 1819, was removed to Chatham.


“The more carefully we examine the history of the past, the more reason shall we find to dissent from those who imagine that our age has been fruitful of new social evils.  The truth is that the evils are, with scarcely an exception, old.  That which is new is the intelligence which discerns, and the humanity which remedies them.”—Macaulay.

Having with the previous chapter brought my account of Knightsbridge to a close, I cannot more appropriately conclude than by a few remarks on subjects coming within the scope of the heading of this chapter.  But here again my notes must necessarily be meagre and brief, for Knightsbridge never having been of itself parochial, books, such as generally form the staple of such chapters as this, have never been kept to show, with the accuracy parish books do, the rise and progress of the place.

The population of the parish of St. George, p. 268Hanover Square, was, according to the census of 1851, 73,230 persons, of whom 40,034 were within the two wards of Knightsbridge and Pimlico; and of this number, about 14,000 are resident in the district of St. Paul’s.  The population of All Saints’ district cannot with accuracy be tested, a large part of it lying beyond our bounds; and building having made very extensive progress even since 1851, its population has increased in proportion.

In 1578, Mr. Walcot states only six persons were rated by the St. Margaret’s overseers in Knightsbridge and Kensington; and in 1687 only five people are rated in St. Martin’s books for the whole of Pimlico.

The progress of building appears to have taken place not so much progressively as in two distinct movements.  The first was from 1770 to 1780, and the other from 1825 to our own time; on examination, it will be found that few of our streets were built at other periods.  A letter before me of a skilled carpenter, written in 1783, tells his friends in the country he gets 2s. 8d. per day for his labour, and that he is allowed to make seven days per week, “and if the peace continueth” he shall be able to p. 269realise 20s. or a guinea per week; for his lodging he paid 2s. per week.  If this was a fair sample of the rate of wages then, the mechanic’s financial condition must have improved to an extent little credited perhaps by themselves.

The air of Knightsbridge has always been considered pure and salubrious.  Swift brought Harrison to the place for the benefit of pure air; and fifty years since it still maintained the character, for Lady Hester Stanhope sent a faithful footman here for the same relief.  Constitution Hill and Montpelier Square derived their names from this fact.  The main street of Knightsbridge, from Hyde Park Corner to Kensington, stands on a peculiar but well-defined terrace of the London clay, which separates the gravels of Hyde Park from those more southward, [269] and is rather more than thirty feet deep.  The yellow gravel of Hyde Park, says Sir Charles Lyell, is, comparatively speaking, of modern date, consisting of slightly rolled angular fragments, in which portions of the white opaque coating of the original chalk-flint remain uncovered.  Southward of the clayey line p. 270just mentioned the surface soil is a “made” one.  Underneath the native earth are thick layers of sand, beneath which is a blue clayey earth, and then a sediment, consisting chiefly of cockle and oyster shells, which beautifully retain their appearance.  Thus the soil of our locality is a porous one, and rapidly absorbs the surface water; an advantage greatly tending to the health of the inhabitants, for parts of Pimlico are but slightly above high-water mark, and the air would consequently be very moist and relaxing.

In a sanitary point of view all is not fair, even in Belgravia; behind its imposing mansions many a foul spot is hypocritically hidden; and although much has been done by the medical officer, there yet remains plenty of work on hand for him: too many spots yet requiring thorough transformation, and a vigilant watch to be kept, that selfishness be not permitted to triumph over public good. [270]

The local government of part of Knightsbridge and Belgravia was formerly undertaken by a Board of Trustees chosen by authority of p. 271an Act of Parliament passed in 1829.  This was one of the local measures swept away by the general Act of Sir B. Hall; and now the Knightsbridge ward (extending to Ebury Street) returns twenty-seven members to the vestry of St. George, as constituted by his bill.  The other parts of the hamlet were under control from various bodies deriving authority under several Acts of Parliament, but now belong to wards of the parishes in which they are situated.  The bill passed by Sir B. Hall, though perhaps not all that could be desired, is yet calculated to effect an immense improvement over the old system, which in this locality, conflicting with other interests and regulations, worked but poorly.  Many of the improvements and alterations, appearing in themselves to be but trifling, yet, when looked at in the aggregate, are of great benefit and importance, were effected by the energy of individuals instead of the action of the local board.  One instance will suffice.  The footway between the Spring Gate and Hyde Park Corner remained a gravel walk, which in winter time became mere slush, until some of the inhabitants at length caused the Government to pave it in 1854; and even p. 272the “crossing” from the Spring Gate to St. George’s Place was paid for by Mr. Westerton and one or two other inhabitants.

In politics, in the days of Burdett, the Knightsbridgites were generally Radicals of the first water.  Burdett was in every respect their man.  He and Hobhouse once started on their “chairing” from the house at the corner of Sloane Street.

The right of voting for representatives is not the only privilege the inhabitants of the hamlet enjoy.  Those who are in the All Saints District are qualified for all the numerous hospitals and charities in the parish of St. Margaret’s, which are among the best and most liberal in the metropolis.

The Government having decided on erecting at the “Gore” museums and galleries for our National Collections, it is only reasonable to believe that such will result in a thorough revolution in the locality.  Such has already taken place at the Gore and Brompton, and it behoves those who have the local management in their hands to render the neighbourhood a fit one for such establishments.  The improvement of its approaches should, above all things, p. 273be considered; and in the main street of our hamlet there is yet, unluckily, too much room for improvement.  It would be a worthy entrance to the capital of the kingdom, if the many abominations now offending the eye could be removed; and it is doubtful if there is any valid reason for not setting to at the work right earnestly.  If the Park could be thrown open all the way from Apsley House to the Chapel (for it is hopeless to expect the removal of the vulgar monsters at Albert Gate), and again continued to include the Barracks, such would render the roadway the most beautiful and fine in every way; would add to its healthiness by allowing the free air to circulate, and ultimately prove to be of the most lasting benefit to the community.  But if in course of time the present buildings are but to make way for others, it will not only perpetuate a nuisance, but a disgrace. [273]

I believe I have now noticed all that (in accordance with my plan) requires illustration from me.  I therefore close the subject, and trust the reader will say “Farewell” to it with p. 274a spirit of satisfaction; that at least in some respect amusement has been afforded and instruction gained; and that the time spent in perusing these pages will not, in the end, have been considered unprofitably employed.  Good reader, farewell!



In the Issue Roll of the Exchequer, edited by Frederick Devon, are several payments in the 43rd Henry III. to Henry de Knythebrig, Nicholas de Eye, and others, carpenters employed at the King’s Palace.  A Richard Knightsbridge was rector of Sheatham in 1640; and the name, though rarely, may still occasionally be met with.


Until the year 1853 there stood a curious and lonely mansion in the Brompton Lanes known as Cromwell House.  The original name was Hale House, but it was never called by it within the memory of any now living.  There are one or two versions of the story attached to this old house printed; but they do not entirely agree with that which I have always heard—to the effect, that on some occasion Cromwell’s troop was quartered at Knightsbridge; and he one day venturing to stray among the lanes of Brompton, was met by some cavaliers who knew him, and pursued him to this house, where he was sheltered till assistance arrived from Knightsbridge and liberated him.  And a confirmation was presumed to exist in the inscription on the inn’s front at Knightsbridge that Oliver’s bodyguard p. 276was once quartered there, and that it was once his “posting-house.”

I am perfectly aware that almost every village has its Cromwellian legend, and also that every endeavour to connect the Protector and this mansion has hitherto failed.  But I own I am by no means inclined to throw over the pleasing belief entirely.  There is a charity at Kensington still, called Cromwell’s Gift, which always has been ascribed by parish officers and inhabitants to the generosity of the great ruler; and although this is unaccountably not entered in the parish books, I do not consider such an omission a reason for disbelieving the history handed down by successive generations of parish officers, and still to be read in the church porch.  In true earnest, I think the omission favourable to my view.  No other origin has ever been assigned to the charity; and the church authorities at the Restoration would scarcely have permitted a laudatory inscription to the Protector to remain.  There are no other claimants, and never were: the tradition is, and always has been, that to Oliver Cromwell Kensington is indebted for this charity, and to him alone.

What reason, then, for this remembrance?  The old legend of Cromwell House, is the answer.  We know the Parliament forces were frequently quartered here.  Through Knightsbridge ran the high-road from Oxford; and Cavaliers proceeding thence would most probably take the bye-road as they neared the metropolis.  And the idea is surely not an improbable one that Cromwell may have been met with in the manner related.

So far for the legend; but apart from this is another consideration.  In 1668, the Lawrences of Shurdington, in Gloucestershire, rented Cromwell House of the Methwolds.  p. 277Henry Lawrence was President of Cromwell’s Privy Council, and in other ways a staunch adherent of his policy.  If it could be proved he resided here at any time during his official career, a new light would be thrown on the subject, and probably clear it up.  On the whole, therefore, I consider there are grounds, though they may be but slight, for not entirely discarding the tradition, which may yet be some day entirely unravelled.


As the Act of Parliament which authorised the improvement at Albert Gate may prove hereafter to be one greatly affecting the inhabitants of the hamlet and the frequenters of the Park, the clause relating to Knightsbridge is here appended.

The Bill passed May 10th, 1841, and received the Royal Assent a short time following:—

“Anno Quarto Victoriæ Reginæ, Chapter XII.  An Act to enable Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Woods to make a new Street from Coventry Street, Piccadilly, to Long Acre, and for other Improvements in the Metropolis.”

Clause LXXVII.—And whereas it is in contemplation by the Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works, and Buildings, to recommend to Her Majesty, with a view to public Improvement and the Accommodation of the Inhabitants of the new Squares, Streets, and Places, that have lately been erected and formed in the neighbourhood of Knightsbridge, in the County of Middlesex, to make a new Thoroughfare and Opening into Hyde Park, subject to such Regulations as Her Majesty may approve of: And whereas the Dean and Chapter of the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter Westminster p. 278are the Owners of certain Ground and Houses on the North Side of the Knightsbridge Road, and immediately adjoining that part of Hyde Park where the intended Opening is proposed to be made, and it is essential to the Accomplishment of the projected Improvements that the said Dean and Chapter should have Power to sell, or to lease for any Term not exceeding ninety-nine Years, to the said Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works, and Buildings, certain small Portions of such Ground and Houses, for the Purpose of enabling the said Commissioners to make the said intended Opening, and to erect Houses of a suitable Class and Elevation on each Side thereof, be it enacted, That it shall be lawful for the said Dean and Chapter of the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter Westminster, and they are hereby authorised and empowered to contract for, Sell, and convey to Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, at such Price or Prices as shall be agreed upon, or ascertained in manner prescribed by the Act hereinafter referred to, to be the fair value thereof, all or any Part of the Ground and Hereditaments hereinafter described, that is to say, all that Piece or Parcel of Ground, with the Cannon Brewery, the Fox and Bull Public House, and other Buildings, thereon erected and built, situate on the North Side of the Knightsbridge Road aforesaid, bounded on the East by the Watercourse leading from and out of the Serpentine River to the River Thames, and extending Westward from such Watercourse Two hundred and thirty Feet or thereabouts on the North and South Sides thereof, and containing in Breadth one hundred and thirty Feet or thereabouts on the West Side thereof, and One hundred Feet or thereabouts on the East Side thereof; and also all that other Piece or Parcel of Ground, with the several Messuages p. 279and Buildings thereon erected and built, known and distinguished by the Nos. 23, 24, and 25, Knightsbridge, bounded on the West by the said Watercourse, and extending Eastwards therefrom Seventy-four Feet or thereabouts on the North and South Sides thereof, and containing in Breadth Eighty-four Feet or thereabouts on the West Side thereof, and Seventy Feet or thereabouts on the East Side thereof, with the Appurtenances; and that it shall be lawful for the said Dean and Chapter, and they are hereby authorised and empowered, by Indenture under their Common Seal, on the Surrender of any existing Lease or Leases of the same Premises, or any Part or Parts thereof, to the said Commissioners, or to such Person or Persons as the said Commissioners shall appoint on behalf of Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, for any Term or Number of Years not exceeding Ninety-nine Years, at such Rent, and subject to such Covenants, Conditions, and Provisoes, and on such Terms as shall be agreed upon between the said Dean and Chapter and the said Commissioners, and to enter into such Contracts and Agreements for the Purposes aforesaid as to them shall seem proper; and all Contracts, Agreements, Sales, Leases, Conveyances, and Assurances, shall be valid and effectual in the Law to all Intents and Purposes whatsover.


The following brief notices are considered worthy of addition to the work.  In the first place, the days of the Old Chapel, with its present undignified appearance and circumscribed circle of usefulness, are numbered.  It is p. 280purposed, so soon as Dr. Wilson can procure the necessary funds, some £3,000, to pull down the present ruinous edifice, and erect a structure in its stead more worthy of the present position of Knightsbridge.  Seventy years ago it was a poor rural hamlet: it is now a wealthy populous district.  Shall its oldest institution not keep pace with the locality?  May it not yet remain “the Nursing Mother” of its natural and legitimate district?  It is trusted that the authorities in such matters may apportion it an ecclesiastical district, and thus at last repair the blunder perpetrated at the various parochial divisions to which our neighbourhood has been subjected.  It may be argued that this new arrangement is unnecessary; but to an observer it will have appeared that when in our metropolitan districts new churches have been built, they have been filled, and work has been found for their clergy without at all lessening the congregation or otherwise disturbing to injury the constitution of the parent parish.  We anticipate a similar result: the present chapel is not nearly large enough for its congregation; and one has only to visit St. Paul’s to see that more space is wanted there.  “Division of work makes light labour;” with what greater force will that apply in spiritual matters.  We hope that the history of this old and useful foundation recorded in this work may so interest the public that they will at once so add to the £2,000 collected by Dr. Wilson as to enable him to carry his praiseworthy design into effect immediately.

The next point is, to the memorial windows of the Church, mentioned at page 96, have been added the following, in memory of the persons here named, one to each:—George Canning Backhouse, Esq.; Sir Joseph Bailey, Bart.; Arthur Stert, Esq.; Major-General J. Bucknall Estcourt, Adjutant-General to the Crimean Army; Captain the Hon. Robert p. 281Hay Drummond, Coldstream Guards, wounded in the trenches before Sebastopol; Lieutenant Hubert Greville, Coldstream Guards, killed 5th November, 1854; Brigadier-General Arthur Wellesley Torrens, K.C.B.; and Captain Viscount Chewton, Scots Fusiliers.  On the whole, the list of those for whom these are memorials is one of which those connected with the Church may well be proud—monuments alike to the illustrious dead and the pious regard of their survivors.

The third and last addition is relating to the Schools.  They will now, in the course of this year (1859), be at length housed in buildings fit and proper for the purpose.  Since the original foundation in 1783, this has never been the case.  The new buildings are of a very tasteful design, in the Early English style.  They are built of white Suffolk bricks, in the form of a cross, with ornamental red brickwork and Bath-stone windows and dressings.  They will have accommodation for 400 children, although the average attendance does not exceed, of boys 120, girls 70, infants 90; but occasionally the numbers are many more, as from their position (that part of town being half empty greater part of the year) the attendance is necessarily fluctuating: they are entirely supported by voluntary contributions and the school-pence.  The education given is on the national system; and if we may judge from the number of young persons who, having risen to respectable positions in life, come occasionally to visit their late instructors, it is not unfruitful of good results.  The estimated cost of the present edifice is £3,000.  The requisite residences of the teachers will be attached thereto so soon as the subscriptions will allow.  The remainder of their history is told on the parchment enclosed in the foundation-stone, thus:—“To the glory of God and the welfare of Christ’s poor in p. 282the communion of his Church in England, these parochial Schools of St. Paul’s, Wilton-place, Knightsbridge, are devoted.  The first stone was laid on St. Matthias’ day, in the year of our Lord 1859, by Henry Barnett, Esq., Treasurer of the Schools; Robert Liddell, Parish Priest; Thomas Cundy, Architect; George Trollope, Builder.”


London: Taylor and Greening, Printers, Graystoke-place, Fetter-lane.


[0]  In this Project Gutenberg eText the erratum has been applied.—DP.

[3]  “Memorials of Westminster,” by Rev. Mackenzie Walcott.

[10]  See “Paddington: Past and Present,” p. 22.

[11]  So the name is written in the body of the charter still preserved in the British Museum in the title the name is spelt “Knyghtsbrigg.”

[14]  See “Statutes of the Realm,” published by the Record Commissioners.

[19]  After the death of her first husband she married John Tregonwell, Esq., but lies in the same grave with the former, in St. Margaret’s Churchyard, where a tomb may be still seen to their memory.

[24]  Faulkner’s Brentford.

[25]  Dated November 27, 1736.  See Lord Hervey’s Memoirs, edited by Mr. Croker.

[26]  “Lives of the Chancellors,” vol. iv., p. 420.  See also Evelyn’s Diary, November 15, 1699, where he complains of robberies here, even while coaches and travellers are passing.

[27a]  This year seems to have been prolific in such cases; the following is taken from the London Chronicle, December 27, 1774:—Mr. Jackson, of the Court of Requests, Westminster, was attacked at Kensington Gore, by four footpads: he shot one dead, and the others decamped.

[27b]  See Morning Chronicle, May 23, 1799.

[30]  The last oil-lamp was removed from Park-side about 1850.

[31]  See analysis, &c., of these waters in Dr. Aldis’ Report on Sanitary Condition of this district, and Builder, October 10, 1856.

[35]  See “Notes of the Evidence given against Lord Howard of Escrick, at the Grand Inquest,” &c., a single sheet, 1681.

[39]  The flags are preserved in the United Service Museum, to which institution they were, with various papers, given by the Major’s son, S. A. Eyre, Esq.  There was a song written in honour of the corps by one Bradshaw, of which I have only been able to recover the chorus:—

“Then with Major Eyre we’ll go, my boys,
Then with Major Eyre we’ll go.”

[52]  Additional MSS., No. 5,755, British Museum.

[55]  Lysons’ “Environs of London.”

[56]  Nichols’ “Illustrations of the Manners and Expenses of Ancient Times,” 4to, 1797; in which these accounts are published.

[58a]  See Bell’s edition of Butler.  Mr. Bell’s doubt as to the existence of the Lazar-house in the time of the Civil War is, as our extracts show, unfounded.

[58b]  “Notes and Queries,” vol. i., p. 260.

[60]  “Parliamentary Surveys and Minutes of the Committees,” quoted by Lysons.

[62]  Emphatic, notwithstanding its bad Latin.

[63a]  There having been but two Bishops of London with the Christian name of William, about the time of any eminence that the Chapel enjoyed, this must have been one of those two, William Laud or William Juxon; seeing that Laud licensed its rebuilding, and that his chancellor was so far interested in it as to give the Paten, I think it may be safely assumed that the small chalice was presented by the former.  Laud was bishop from 1628 to 1633, when he was translated to Canterbury, and afterwards beheaded.  Juxon succeeded him in the See of London, 1633 until 1660; he was the prelate present with Charles I. in his last moments.

[63b]  It was frequently dignified with the title of church.  I have papers by me of 1837, so describing it.

[65]  “To forward Mr. Hervé’s plan for the support of such of the middle classes of society who have fallen upon evil days, the Rev. Mr. Harris has lent his chapel at Knightsbridge, where Mr. Hervé will deliver a lecture on Tuesday morning. . . .  Mr. Harris, perhaps, thinks with us, that the most acceptable part of religion is that practice which comforts the afflicted, and benefits the unfortunate; and, if report be true, Mr. Harris does not confine himself merely to the recommendation of benevolent actions.”—Examiner, August 30, 1812.

[67]  Doubtless, when they were in private hands, they were kept by the clerk’s daughter, in 1819 (see Wilkinson’s Londina Illustrata); the account of the chapel in this work is very erroneous, but most of the papers therein published are missing.  Dr. Wilson has the remainder in his custody, and they having lately been repaired by the author of this work, are likely to last many years.

[78]  See Correspondence at the end of Pepys’ “Diary,” vol. iv., pp. 235, 241, and 242.

[86]  The entries to which is affixed an asterisk are not at the Chapel Books now; they have been made away with since 1819, when they were copied for Wilkinson’s “Londina.”

[87]  Thomas Halley was clerk from 1664 to 1669, when William Hipsley was appointed: in Kensington register his burial is entered December 2nd, 1689, when Thomas Hipsley succeeded him.  He appears to have been the builder and carpenter of the place, took great interest in the Revolution, and in the Wars against Louis XIV., as appears by some of his memoranda.  He was clerk for many years.

[88]  The last beadle died in 1835, since when the office has been vacant.

[90]  Many names still in the locality, or that have died out within the last half century, are to be found in these Registers; it may be serviceable to note a few:—Aley, Arnold, Baber, Beadle, Briscoe, Britten, Burton, Coppin, Cowell, Cromwell, Danvers, Dexter, Faulkner, Gunter, Gwin, Hipsley, Lilly, London, Merriman, Morland, Perrin, Pope, Rouse, Thorowgood, Timberlake, Whitehead, Wise, Woolley.  From their imperfect condition it is useless to attempt a statistical analysis of the baptisms, but of the marriages I have made a few notes, as follow:—In 1659 there were 36 marriages; in 1661, 81; in the half-year ending December 31st, 1665, they had increased to the large number of 335.  For about twelve years they continue very numerous, but in 1696 there were 394 marriages, two years after the number fell to 155; in 1704 they decreased to 45, and such decrease continued till, in 1747, only five entries are made, in 1751 only one, and in 1752 but two.

[92]  When the foundation stone was laid they amounted to about £12,000; among the contributors were Earl Fitzwilliam, £500; the Earls of Bradford, Brownlow, Burlington and Winchelsea, Geo. A. Haldimand, J. A. Smith, and E. J. Shirley, Esqs., each £200; Duke of Montrose, Marquis Camden, Earl Sefton, Earl Carlisle, Sir J. Mordaunt, Sir J. Heathcote, T. Cubitt, T. Cundy, Esqs., each £100; and Geo. Drummond, Esq., £200.

[104]  This inscription, through various means, I have traced back nearly a century: another century makes us contemporary.  Would all recollection of such momentous times die away in that time?  The writer of this spoke to an old man in 1845, who remembered the bells ringing for the capture of Quebec by Wolfe in 1759.

[106]  See the Appendix.

[109]  See for further notices of Sterling, Carlyle’s “Life of John Sterling;” and “The Fourth Estate,” by F. K. Hunt.

[112a]  A number of these are in my possession.

[112b]  There was a very old wooden gate, opening from the yard at the back into the park; the bodies of those drowned in the Serpentine were brought in through it.

[114]  Afterwards bought by the well-known Andrew Mann, and placed by him on the top of a public house at the corner of Warwick Street, Pimlico.

[117]  See “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 1810; “Life of Romney,” by his brother; “Johnsoniana,” &c.  Of Part XIV. of this work Humphry was author.

[118]  Afterwards called the “Life Guardsman.”

[120a]  “Letters to Julia,” by Henry Luttrell.

[120b]  “Year Book,” 1826.

[129]  “King’s Anecdotes of His Own Times.”

[147]  See “Faulkner’s Kensington,” and “Notes and Queries,” vol. xii., p. 186.

[148]  See “Symmons’ Life of Milton,” 2d edit., 1810, pp. 122–124.

[149a]  Cooke’s Preface to “Conversation: a Didactic Poem.”  1807.

[149b]  Quoted by Faulkner, “Hist. Chelsea.”

[149c]  “Journey to London,” quoted by Mr. Peter Cunningham.

[149d]  “Notes and Queries,” v. 487.

[154] “Belgravia: a Poem.”

[157a]  See “Oxford Magazine,” for 1770; London and Country magazines, between 1770 and 1774.

[157b]  In the Bankrupt List, London Gazette, November, 1772, appears the following:—“Teresa Cornellys, Carlisle House, St. Ann, Soho, dealer.”

[159]  I need hardly point out the allusion.  Montpelier is said to be the Cheltenham of France.

[160]  See “Monthly Magazine,” April, 1821; and “Notes and Queries,” vol. x., p. 228.

[161a]  See “The Virtues of a Jail.”

[161b]  His experiments were made by an electrometer of his own construction, which extended several yards above his house.  See Examiner, October 2nd, 1814.

[163]  “Gate” is a modern stupidity for a square or terrace.  What can be more unmeaning?

[170a]  For report of her trial, &c., see “Gentleman’s Magazine,” and “London Chronicle,” 1776; Ditto, ditto, 1788.  “Walpole’s Letters to Mason” (“Bentley’s Miscellany,” vol. 33).

[170b]  See Creasy’s “Eminent Etonians.”

[170c]  Kingston House is now sometimes called Ennismore House, from the second title of Lord Listowel.  It is generally considered the termination of Knightsbridge in this direction.  In old directories it is described as No. 3, Knightsbridge.

[172]  See “London Chronicle,” June 22nd, 1784.

[175]  Life of Arthur Murphy, by Jesse Foote; Madame D’Arblay’s Diary, &c.

[177]  The following are from newspapers:—“Births, Sep. 28.  The lady of the Marquis of Granby, of a daughter, at Rutland House, Knightsbridge.”  1772.

“On Friday night the Marquis of Granby arrived at the seat of his grandfather, the Duke of Rutland, at Knightsbridge, from making the tour of France and Holland.”—London Chronicle, July 5, 1774.

“Died yesterday at Rutland House, Knightsbridge, Lord William Robert Manners, youngest brother of the Duke of Rutland.”  1793.

[180]  Timbs’ “Curiosities of London.”

[198]  The writer in “Knight’s London” fixes the opening of Tattersall’s about 1779, but it was earlier.—See Morning Post, August 23rd, 1775.

[200]  Walcott’s “Memorials of Westminster,” Appendix.  2nd edition.

[201]  See “Macaulay’s History of England,” i., 512.

[203]  See “Macaulay’s History;” “A Collection of the Debates Concerning the late Briberies and Corrupt Practices,” 1695; “Manning’s Lives of the Speakers,” &c.

[209]  See “Journal to Stella,” Jan. 2nd and Feb. 4th, 1711; also Feb. 12th and 15th, 1713.

[211]  Lyson’s “Environs of London.”

[214]  In Kensington register are the following entries:—

1665.  “Robert Southwell, of Whitehall, Esq., and Mrs. Elizabeth Dering, daughter of Sir Edward Dering, of Surrenden, Kent, married by Seth Ward, Lord Bishop of Exeter, 26th January.”

1686.  (Buried.) “John Humfreys, servant to the Right Rev. Seth, Bishop of Salisbury, at Knightsbridge, 2nd December.”

[220]  See “Faulkner’s Chelsea,” vol. i., p. 44.

[221] “Read’s Journal,” May 24, 1753; see also “Faulkner’s Chelsea.”

[227]  Lady Chatterton, “Home Sketches,” vol. ii. p. 280.

[232]  See “Haydon’s Diary,” November 14, 1837.  Also vol. iii, p. 77.

[243]  See “Autobiography of William Jerdan,” vol. ii., pp. 282–284.

[245a]  “Cunningham’s Handbook of London.”

[245b]  “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 1856.

[245c]  See “Notes and Queries,” vol. i., p. 474.

[246]  See Ben Jonson’s “Bartholomew Fair;” Greene’s “Tu Quoque;” “The City Madam;” “The Devil is an Ass;” “The City Match,” &c. &c.

[248]  There was one at Bankside; also places so named are to be found in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cudham in Kent.

[257]  In 1755, a 4to satirical tract was published, entitled “Jenny’s Whim; or, a Sure Guide to the Nobility, Gentry, and other Eminent Persons in this Metropolis.”

[269]  Letter of Mr. R. W. Mylne in the Times, June 7, 1857.

[270]  See Dr. Aldis’s “Report on Sanitary Works in Belgravia;” “Letter to the Vestry of St. George,” &c.

[273]  See the Appendix.