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All round London, like beads upon a string, were dotted Royal Houses, Palaces, and Hunting Places. On the north side were Westminster, Whitehall, St. James's, Kensington, Shene, Theobald's, Hatfield, Cheshunt, King's Langley, Hunsdon, Havering-atte-Bower, Stepney, the Tower; on the south side were Kennington, Eltham, Greenwich, Kew, Hampton, Windsor, a tradition attaching to Streatham, and the House of Nonesuch, built by Henry VIII. at Cheam. Most of these royal houses are now clean forgotten. Eltham preserves some ruins left of Edward IV.'s buildings; it still shows the moat and the old bridge, and the line of its former wall; but tradition, which has quite forgotten its memories of the Edwards and the Tudors, describes it as the Palace of King John. The sailors—now, alas! also gone—have deprived Greenwich of Edward VI. and Elizabeth. Theobald's is gone altogether, Nonesuch is wholly cleared away. Of Kennington, of which I have to speak in this place, not one stone remains upon another; not a vestige is above ground; the people on the spot know of no remains underground; its very memory is gone and forgotten: there is not even a tradition left, although part of the ruins were still standing only a hundred years ago.

The reason for this oblivion is not far to seek. The palace was deserted; it was pulled down before 1607—Camden says that even then there was not a stone remaining—there was not a single house within half a mile in every direction. There was no one, when the last stones had been carted away, left{70} to remember or to remind his children that there had been a palace on this spot. Another house was built here, but no tradition attached to it. Two hundred years passed, and then came the destruction of the second house; in 1745 there was not even a cottage near the spot. This being so, it is not difficult to understand why the site was forgotten.

The moat remained, however, and apparently some of the substructures; a building of stone and thatch, part of the offices of the palace, also stood. They called it the 'Long Barn,' and when the distressed Protestants were brought over here in 1700 as many as the place would hold were crammed into the Long Barn. Market gardens lay all over the country between Kennington Road and Lambeth, and on the site of the palace there was not a single person left who could carry on the tradition of the king's house that once stood here. Roque, the map-maker of 1745, knew nothing about it. In 1795 the Long Barn was taken down. At the beginning of the century houses began to rise here and there; streets began to be formed: at least three streets cross the gardens and the site of the palace; but there is not one tradition of a place which, as we shall see, was full of history for six hundred years. 'Is this fame?' might ask the king who crowned himself here, the king who died here, the king who was brought{71} up here, the kings who kept their Christmas feast here, the kings who here received their brides, held Parliament, and went out a-hunting.

The king who crowned himself here was Harold Harefoot, son of Cnut—that is to say, it was at 'Lambeth,' and there was no other house at Lambeth.

The king who died in this house was that young Dane who appears to have been an incarnation of the ideal Danish brutality. He dragged his brother's body out of its grave and flung it into the Thames; he massacred the people of Worcester and ravaged the shire; and he did these brave deeds and many others all in two short years. Then he went to his own place. His departure was both fitting and dramatic. For one so young it showed with what a yearning and madness he had been drinking. He went across the river—there was, I repeat, no other house in Lambeth except this, so that it must have been here—to attend the wedding of his standard-bearer, Tostig the Proud, with Goda, daughter of the Thane Osgod Clapa, whose name survives in his former estate of Clapham. A Danish wedding was always an occasion for{72} hard drinking, while the minstrels played and sang and the mummers tumbled. When men were well drunken the pleasing sport of bone throwing began: they threw the beef bones at each other. The fun of the game consisted in the accident of a man not being able to dodge the bone which struck him, and probably killed him. Archbishop Alphege was thus killed. The soldiers had no special desire to kill the old man: why couldn't he enter into the spirit of the game and dodge the bones? As he did not, of course he was hit, and as the bone was a big and a heavy bone, hurled by a powerful hand, of course it split open his skull. One may be permitted to think that perhaps King Hardacnut, who is said to have fallen down suddenly when he 'stood up to drink,' did actually intercept a big beef bone which knocked him down; and as he remained comatose until he died, the proud Tostig, unwilling to have it said that even in sport his king had been killed at his wedding, gave out that the king fell down in a fit. This, however, is speculation.

Forty years after this event, when Domesday Book was compiled, the place was in the possession of a London citizen, Theodric by name and a goldsmith by trade. It was still a royal manor, because the goldsmith held it of Edward the Confessor. It was then valued at three pounds a year. It is impossible to arrive at the meaning of this valuation. We may compare it with that of other estates, with the rental and price of other lands, with the cost of provisions, and with the wages and pay of servants and officers; and when we have done all, we are still very far from understanding the value of money then or at any subsequent time. There are, you see, so many points which the writers on the value of money do not take into consideration. There is the price of bread; but then there were so many kinds of bread—wheaten bread, barley bread, oat bread, rye bread; and how much bread did a family of the working class consume? Flesh, fish, fowl, but how much of either did the working classes enjoy? Rent?{73} But on the farms the "villains" paid no rent. There is, in a word, not only the market prices that have to be considered, but the standard of comfort—always a little higher than the practice—and the daily relations of the demand to the supply. So that when we read that this manor of Kennington was worth three pounds a year we are not advanced in the least. As most of the land was still marshy and useless, we may understand that the value was low.

We next hear of Kennington in 1189, when King Richard granted it on lease, or for life, to Sir Robert Percy with the title of Lord of the Manor. Henry III. came here on several occasions; here he held his Lambeth Parliament. He kept his Christmas here in 1231. Great was the feasting and boundless the hospitality of this Christmas, at which this king lavished the treasures of the State.

The site of the palace is indicated in the accompanying map. If you walk along the Kennington Road from Bridge Street, Westminster, you presently come to a place where four roads meet, Upper Kennington Lane on the left, and Lower Kennington Lane on the right; the road goes on to the Horns Tavern and Kennington Park. On the right-hand side stood the palace. In the year 1636 a plan of the house and grounds was executed; but by that time the medi?val character of the place was quite forgotten. It was a square house, probably Elizabethan; the home of King Henry III. at some time or other had been completely taken away. The site of the moat, however, was left, and there was still standing the 'Long Barn.' The only way to find out what the palace really was in the thirteenth or fourteenth century is to compare it with another palace built under much the same conditions, and intended to serve the same purpose. Fortunately there still stand, some miles to the east of Kennington, at Eltham, important remains of such a contemporary palace, with a description of the place as it was before it was allowed to fall into ruins.{74}

We are not at this moment concerned with the history of Eltham. Sufficient to note that it was a great and stately place for five hundred years and more; that it passed through the hands of Bishop Odo; of the Mandevilles; of the De Vescis; of Bishop Anthony Bec; and of Geoffrey le Scrope of Masham. As a royal residence its history begins with Henry III., who kept his Christmas here in 1270, and ends with Elizabeth, who came over here occasionally from Greenwich. Here Isabella, wife of Edward II., gave birth to a son, John of Eltham. The greatest builder at Eltham was Edward IV.

The house in 1649, fifty years after Elizabeth had visited it, is said to have contained a chapel, a banqueting-hall, rooms on the ground floor and first floor called the King's side and the Queen's side. There were buildings and rooms of all kinds round the courtyard. The number of chambers in all was very great, and it is said, further, that the large courtyard covered a whole acre in extent. Such an area would give about two hundred and ten feet to each side of a square. This would be large for a college at Oxford or Cambridge. It would cover about the same area as that of New Palace Yard. There were, however, other courts; four courts in all are spoken of. The lesser courts were used for the 'service,' the kitchens, butteries, pantries, stables, rooms for the servants, the barracks for the men-at-arms who accompanied the king, the grooms, armourers, makers and menders, bakers and brewers, cooks and scullions, and the women servants, and the wives and the children. A strong stone wall, battlemented, with loopholed turrets, surrounded the palace; a broad and deep moat defended the wall; the bridge which crossed the moat had a drawbridge; the gate had its portcullis. The palace, in a word, was a fortress, for there was never a king in England who would have dared to keep his court, or to sleep, in an unfortified manor house, or outside a fortress—certainly not Henry III. or Edward IV.—unless,{75} of course, it was on the tented field in the midst of his army.

The existing remains of the palace correspond to this description. There is the moat, deep and broad; there is the bridge, the drawbridge gone. Within, the most important ruin is that of Edward IV.'s banqueting hall. This is a most noble chamber, with a roof of oak as perfect as when it was built; the two magnificent bays remain, with the double row of windows. It would be difficult to find a finer banqueting hall in the whole country than that of Eltham. In the grounds, the traces of the wall and those of other buildings ought to make it possible, with a very little excavation, to trace a plan of the whole house.
Gateway in the Hall, Eltham Palace Gateway in the Hall, Eltham Palace

As was Eltham, so was Kennington. Both places were built for the same purpose about the same time. Both were castles erected on a plain without the aid of hillock, mound or running stream—unless the moat at Kennington was fed by one of the many streams of South London. The plan of 1636 shows approximately the line of the wall; the stream or the ditch marks the course of the moat; the 'Long Barn' on the east side of the palace belonged to the 'service'—it was kitchens, stables, armoury, brewery, or granary. The house itself had its principal entrance on the north. This is{76} certain, because all the supplies were brought by what is now Kennington Road either from Westminster Ferry or from Southwark. A gate on this side simplified the transference which took place when the court moved from one place to another; when everything—bedding, blankets, utensils of all kinds, plate, batterie de cuisine, the workmen with their tools, the wardrobe of king and queen—was packed up and carried from Westminster over the ferry to Kennington, or from Kennington to Woolwich. Provisions and goods sent up from the City were also landed at Stangate, Lambeth, so as to get as short a land journey as possible. For these reasons I place the principal gate at the north.

I have seen it stated—I know not with what truth—that the people of the streets now on the site have found substructures beneath their houses. If so, one would expect, what one cannot find, some tradition to account for the existence of these stone vaults.

Such was the vanished Palace of Kennington: a fortress of the Lambeth Marsh, a place for keeping Christmas, a royal residence; now completely vanished.

Two other royal houses there were in South London, neither of which can be compared with Kennington. Greenwich, for instance, which appears in history from the time of King Alfred. Edward I., Henry IV., Henry V., Edward IV., Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Elizabeth—all had more or less to do with Greenwich. When Henry VIII. completed his buildings here he deserted Eltham; he left, that is, the medi?val fortress for the modern house. His Greenwich was not fortified. The accompanying view of it shows that it possessed none of the characteristics of the ancient residence, half castle, half manor house. Greenwich, however, before Henry rebuilt it, was a fortified castle. Had we a plan of Greenwich of the fourteenth century it would most certainly resemble those of Eltham and of Kennington, with certain small differences, just as one Benedictine{77} monastery resembles in its general disposition another Benedictine monastery, and one Norman castle in general terms, and allowing for the site, resembles another.

The other house of which I have spoken is that of Nonesuch. This house was not a reconstruction and an adaptation with much of the ancient work: it was newly built and furnished entirely by Henry VIII. There was no suspicion of battlements, no pretence at a fortification; the house stood open and unprotected save by the order maintained by the strong king. It was not beautiful according to our ideas; nor was it what we now call a Tudor house; it bears upon it every mark of the builder's interference with the architect. The outside walls of Nonesuch were decorated by certain bas-reliefs representing subjects from the heathen mythology. The house was pulled down by the Duchess of Cleveland, to whom Charles II. gave it. Nonesuch, however, has nothing to do with Kennington, and must not detain us.
The Ancient Royal Palace at Greenwich The Ancient Royal Palace at Greenwich

Let us next consider what it means when the king is said to have kept his Christmas at a place.{78}

During the festival—for twenty days—he kept open house, nominally. That is to say, all comers received food and drink: his guests, one supposes, were bidden. Every day during the festival the king sat at the feast wearing his crown and his robes of royal state. Richard II., the most prodigal of all princes that ever lived, entertained every day no fewer than ten thousand persons at his palace. What the number was at Christmas no one knows. In addition to the ordinary following of the court—a huge army of chaplains, canons, scribes, secretaries, gentlemen archers, and servants—there were the bishops and abbots, the peers and barons, who came to the Christmas feast, each attended by his own following of knights and esquires and men in livery. For the entertainment of this enormous company what a huge establishment would be needed! The organisation was complete; everything was in departments, each under the yeomen: the chambers, the wardrobe, the kitchens, the stables, the cellars. Yet what an army in each department! Then, since at Christmas time we look for amusement, there was the Master of the Revels, and with him an extensive and variegated following; among them were all those who played on the different instruments of music, those who sang, the buffoons, tumblers, and mummers, the dancing girls. It was in the time of Henry III. that these performances were brought over for the delectation of the English court—perhaps with the pious intention of showing what joys and attractions awaited the Crusaders in the Holy Land itself.

Hall's account of the festivities of a Christmas a hundred and fifty years later than the time of Richard II. is as follows:—

'The Kyng this yere kept the feast of Christmas at Grenewiche, wher was suche abundance of viands served to all comers of any honest behaviour, as hath been few times seen; and against New Yeres night was made, in the Hall, a castle, gates, towers, and dungion, garnished with artilerie, and weapon after the most warlike fashion: and on the{79} frount of the castle was written, Le Fortresse Dangerus, and within the castle were six ladies clothed in russet satin laide all over with leves of golde, and every owde knit with laces of blewe silke and golde; on ther heddes, coyfes and cappes all of golde. After this castle had been carried about the hal, and the Quene had behelde it, in came the Kyng with five other appareled in coates, the one half of russet satyn, spangled with spangles of fine golde, the other halfe riche cloth of gold; on their heddes cappes of russet satin embroudered with workes of fine gold bullion. These six assaulted the castle: the ladies seyng them so lustie and coragious were content to solace with them, and upon farther communication to yeld the castle, and so thei came down and daunced a long space. And after the ladies led the knightes into the castle, and then the castle sodainly vanished out of their sight.

'On the daie of the Epiphanie at night, the Kyng with XI other were disguised after the manner of Italie, called a maske, a thing not seen afore in Englande; they were apparelled in garments long and brode, wrought all with gold, with visers and cappes of gold; and after the banket doen, these maskers came in with six gentlemen disguised in silke, bearing staffe torches, and desired the ladies to daunce; some were content, and some that knew the fashion of it refused, because it was not a thing commonly seen. And after they daunced and commoned together as the fashion of the maske is, thei tooke their leave and departed. And so did the Quene and all the ladies.'

When the Christmas festivities ceased, the servants packed up the gear: the napery, plate, gold and silver cups, dishes, pillows, curtains, tapestry and carpets. They were all laid upon waggons, the broad-wheeled creaking waggons which were dragged slowly over the uneven and heavy lanes by teams of horses or by bullocks. The queen and her ladies were carried in chairs or carriages, or went on horseback; the{80} king and his followers rode; and so they went back to Westminster. The ferry carried over the heavy goods and the horses: the royal barges received the court. After them marched the whole rout—the two thousand archers without whom Richard never moved; the armies of servants; lastly, when the last procurable cup had been drained, the musicians and the mummers and the singers marched off sadly. A whole twelvemonth before another Christmas! They marched in the direction of the City, and that night, as they report, there was strange revelry in the inns of Southwark. The house was left in charge of a warden, who had with him the principal officers of the palace, the yeomen of the wardrobe, of the cellars, of the kitchens, and so forth; the organisation being kept up in readiness, though the king might not come back for years. This fact was illustrated a short time ago, when I was interested in watching the progress of a certain genealogy. About the year 1540 a certain younger son left his house; it was necessary to connect him with his own descendants. The link was found in the fact that this younger son had been received by Carey, warden of Hunsdon House, who made him one of his yeomen; a cheerless appointment, like a college in perpetual vacation, the warden and yeomen, representing the Master and Fellows, dining every day in the dismantled hall, and wandering about the empty courts and silent gardens. Palaces, like theatres, have their times of emptiness, during which it is best to keep out of them. For my own part, I think the true way of enjoying a palace is to frequent it as Froissart did: to hear all that was said and to put down all that was done, but not to be an actor in a drama which reeks of blood; not even the splendid mounting can destroy that dreadful reek. How many people are murdered about the court of England from Richard II. to Henry VII.? Richard murders his uncle, Henry IV. murders his cousin, Henry V. murders his uncle; Henry VI., it is true, murders no one, but then he lives in a time when there is a perpetual{81} series of murders. What an awful time! Froissart, who looked on at part of the drama, achieved deathless renown for his history, while in the whole of that court there was no one whose head was safe on his shoulders except Froissart. Unfortunately, he says little about this palace which we are considering.

There are many names of kings and princes connected with this house of Kennington. Edward I. was here occasionally. During his reign it was the residence of John Earl of Surrey, and of his son, John Plantagenet Earl of Warren and Surrey. Plenty of histories could be made out of these and other names, had the writer time or the reader patience. In truth, the reader's patience is more to be considered than the writer's time, for the writer, at least, has the joy of hunting up names and notes and allusions, and of piecing together what, after all, his reader may not find of interest enough to carry him through. Edward III. made the manor part of the Duchy of Cornwall. After the death of the Black Prince the princess lived here with the young Prince Richard. I do not find that Henry IV. was fond of a house which would certainly be haunted—especially the room in which he was to sleep—by the sorrowful shade of his murdered cousin. Nor did Henry V. come here during his short reign. Henry VI., however, made use of Kennington Palace; so did Henry VII.; and the last of the queens whose name can be connected with the palace was Catherine of Arragon.

I do not know when the palace was destroyed. You have seen the place as it was figured in 1636, when it was only an ordinary square house. The plan was drawn when Charles I. leased it to Sir Francis Cottington. The destruction of the old house and the building of the new must have taken place during the hundred years between 1530 and 1630. When the new house was taken down I do not know.

The name that we especially associate with Kennington Palace is that of Richard II. When the Black Prince died,{82} in 1376, Richard remained at Kennington under the care of his mother and the tutorship of Sir Guiscard d'Angle, 'that accomplished knight.' The young prince started with the finest possible chances of popularity. His father was not only the greatest captain of his age, but he was also, in the latter years of his life, on the popular side against the old King and his supporters; the boy was endowed with a singular beauty of person, and, when he pleased, with a sweetness of manner most unusual even among princes, with whom affability is the first essential in princely manners. In addition to this he was destined to show on two occasions courage which almost amounted to insensibility—first, when he dispersed Wat Tyler's mob, and next, when he seized the reins of government. History shows how he threw away all his chances in reckless extravagance.
(From Allen's History of Lambeth)

After the death of the Black Prince it was resolved by the Lord Mayor to pay a visit to Prince Richard at Kennington, with a riding worthy of the City. The day chosen was the Sunday before Candlemas (February 2). One has frequent occasion to remark generally upon City pageants, that the people in these processions and their pageants were entirely regardless of winter cold or summer heat; they rode forth upon a pageant as cheerfully in the cold of February as in the sunshine of August. On this occasion, one hundred and thirty-two citizens on horseback, with trumpets and other musical instruments, and a vast number of flambeaux, assembled at Newgate in the afternoon, and marched through the City and over the bridge to Kennington Palace beyond the Borough. First rode eight-and-forty men in the habits of esquires—with red coats, say gowns, and vizards. Then followed the same number apparelled as knights in the same livery. Then rode one singly, a very majestic figure, who represented the Pope, followed by his four-and-twenty cardinals. They were followed by ten men dressed in black, with black vizards, representing legates from the Pope of Hell.{83} This accounts for one hundred and thirty-two out of the whole number. The last man is not described. To them must be added pages and henchmen and whifflers, with men carrying the presents. This cavalcade, which gave the greatest joy to the citizens, all the way was followed by an enormous company of 'prentices and craftsmen and children, crowding after it and shouting. When it arrived at Kennington Palace they all dismounted and entered the hall, where they found the Princess of Wales, the young Prince, and their attendants, together with the Duke of Lancaster and other great lords. The court was first solemnly saluted by the masquers, who then produced dice and invited the Prince to play with them. Would you believe it?—every time the Prince threw, he won, which was in itself a remarkable circumstance. He carried off his winnings: a bowl of pure gold, chased and decorated; a drinking cup also of gold, and a gold ring. They then invited the Princess and the Duke of Lancaster and other{84} nobles present, each of whom also won and carried off a gold ring. This done, the music played, and they were all invited to supper in the hall with the Prince and the Princess his mother. After supper, the tables were taken away—they were only planks laid on trestles and covered with white cloths—and the floor being cleared, the masquers had the honour of dancing with the royal party. Finally, at a late hour, the flambeaux were lighted, and the masquers rode home, well pleased with the reception they had met and the courtesy of the best behaved boy in the world.

In the same year occurred the great riot of London, which arose out of Wyclyf's trial in St. Paul's and the quarrel between the Bishop of London and John of Gaunt. The latter, after the dismissal of Wyclyf, repaired to the house of John de Ypres, close beside the river, where he was sitting at dinner when one of his following ran hastily to warn him that the people were flocking together with intent to murder him if they could. The Duke therefore hastily ran down to the nearest stairs, took a boat across the river, and fled as quickly as possible to Kennington Palace, where he took shelter with the young Prince Richard and his guardians. The mob, finding that the Duke was gone, made their way to the Savoy, his palace, threatening to burn and destroy all: they did actually murder one poor priest because he resembled the Duke in countenance; they were then persuaded by the Bishop of London to go home without doing any more mischief. What would have happened one knows not, but the death of the old King gave an opportunity of patching up the peace between the Duke of Lancaster and the citizens. Hearing that Edward was in extremis, the Mayor and Aldermen waited on the Princess of Wales and Prince Richard informing them of the King's critical situation, and beseeching the Prince's favour to the City; they also begged him to interfere for the better accommodation of the Duke's differences with them. It is pleasing to find that John of Gaunt freely{86} forgave the City and became reconciled to the citizens; a reconciliation which paved the way to the subsequent popularity of his son Henry.
The High Street Southwark as it appeared MDXLIII The High Street Southwark
as it appeared MDXLIII

It might be argued that the various impressions as regards London produced on the mind of this prince explain his conduct towards the citizens when he grew older. The first experiment he had of the citizens was when they rode over in a goodly company clad in red cloaks with gold chains and finely appointed horses to visit him at Kennington: he remembered that their appearance betokened great wealth; that they tossed about gold cups as if they were of wood. This is a kind of impression which does not easily die away.

His second impression of the City was when his uncle, John of Gaunt, came flying from the City, having barely escaped with his life, the people having gone on to wreck, if they could, his palace of the Savoy. A turbulent and dangerous people, then, as well as rich; a people to be kept down.

He next saw the City when he rode through it on his way to be crowned at Westminster. All the way there was nothing but rich tapestry, carpets, scarlet, cloth, masquers clad in velvet, pageants with cloth of gold, and the streets filled with men and women dressed in rich furs and silks, such as only great barons could afford. This third impression confirmed the first.

His next impression was that of the City lying prostrate at the mercy of a large mob, unable to move or to help itself. He went into the City almost alone; he, by one single act of splendid courage, put an end to the insurrection. A City cowardly, therefore, and unable to act together. It was his City, moreover—the Camera Regis. Should not a prince do what he pleases with his own?

When we read of his subsequent treatment of the City: how he believed its treasures to be inexhaustible; how he believed that it had no power to resist; how he made the way easy for his cousin to supplant him, let us bear in mind the{87} lessons which the Londoners themselves provided for him in his youth.

This King seizes on the imagination of all who think about him. His is one of the strangest of all the strange figures which crowd the National Portrait Gallery. Richly endowed with artistic instincts; a lover of music and all the fine arts; of singularly winning manners; the comeliest man in his whole kingdom; splendid in raiment, magnificent in his court, colossal in his personal pride, prodigal and extravagant beyond compare; the King whom those who knew him in his youth never ceased to love; for whose soul—not for the soul of Henry IV.—Whittington, for instance, left money for masses—this is a figure among our English kings which has no parallel.

One more reminiscence of Kennington Palace. The last occasion on which Richard lodged there was when he brought home his little bride Isabel, the queen of eight years. They brought her from Dover, resting on the way at Canterbury and Rochester. At Blackheath they were met by the Mayor and Aldermen, attired with great magnificence of costume to do honour to the bride. After reverences due, they fell into their place and rode on with the procession. When they arrived at Newington, the King thanked the Mayor and permitted him to leave the procession and return home. He himself, with his company, rode by the cross-country lane from Newington to Kennington Palace. I observe that this proves the existence of a path or lane where is now Upper Kennington Lane. At this palace the little queen rested a night, and next day was carried in another procession to the Tower. The knights rode before, and the French ladies came after. It is pretty to read how Isabel, with her long fair hair falling over her shoulders, and her sweet childish face, sat up and smiled upon the people, playing and pretending to be queen, which she had been practising ever since her betrothal. Needless to say that all hearts were ravished. The good{88} people of London were ever ready to welcome one princess after another, and to lose their hearts to them, whether it was Isabel of France, or Katharine her sister, or Anne Boleyn, or Queen Charlotte, or the fair Princess of Denmark. So great a press was there that many were actually squeezed to death on London Bridge, where the houses only left twelve feet in breadth. Isabel's queenship proved a pretence: before she was old enough to be queen, indeed, her husband was in confinement; before she understood that he was a captive, he was murdered, and the splendid extravagant reign was over. The son of the usurper, young Harry of Monmouth himself, desired to take the place of Richard; his father also desired the match, for the sake of the dowry. Isabel, child as she was still, had the heart of a woman; she had learned to love her handsome, courteous, accomplished lord, who died before he could claim her; she refused absolutely to marry the son of his murderer. They tried to move her resolution by persuasion; they did not dare to force her: let us believe that Harry of Monmouth would not stoop to force the girl to marry him. There was nothing therefore left to do, but to send her home to what was certainly the most miserable court or palace in the world—that of her mad father. In the end, she married her cousin, the poet Charles of Orleans. You may read the verses which he made upon her death. Isabel died in childbirth in her twenty-second year. As for Harry of Monmouth, as all the world knows, he was obliged to content himself with Isabel's younger sister, Katharine; we have just read about that queen, and how she stooped to a suitor below her own degree. I think she was made of clay not so fine as that of Isabel, her sister.{89}

The second in our chain of suburban Palaces was the Royal House of Eltham, already mentioned in connection with Kennington. The place itself seems to have been a settlement of some kind, a town or village, in very ancient times. In the thirteenth century it was considered of importance enough to receive the grant of a market day every Tuesday, and a Fair for three days every year, namely, the day before the Feast of the Trinity, the Feast itself, and the day after. In the fourteenth century the market day was altered to Monday, but the Fair remained; in the fifteenth century the market day returned to Tuesday and the Fair was changed to three days on the Eve of St. Peter and St. Paul, on the Feast itself, and on the day after. The market and the Fair have long since been discontinued. The importance of both depended on the occasional presence of the Court, and when that was removed altogether from the place there was no longer any necessity for either market or Fair Day. Eltham then became a small agricultural village lying in the midst of woods, with nothing but scattered villages for many miles round. So long as it contained one of the recognised Palaces, even though years might pass by without a visit from the sovereign, there was, attached to the house, the permanent staff to a Governor or warder, with chiefs of the various departments and the men or assistants under them. The occupation of the Palace by such a staff gave the place a kind of garrison, and created a demand for provisions and for all sorts of things. On those rare occasions when the Court was actually in Residence at Eltham, the market had to furnish supplies, to which all the country round had to contribute; nothing short of provisions for the maintenance of thousands of people daily. At Eltham the difficulty may have been very great; no doubt word would be sent long{90} beforehand if the King proposed to keep Christmas there. The yeomen of the kitchen had the beef put in the pickling tubs in November—vast quantities of beef, for, Christmas or not, the staple food of everybody in the winter was salt beef. At the Palace of Kennington things were easier. It lay within easy reach of the London market; so was Westminster. Greenwich was accessible by ships from the lower reaches of the Thames as well as from London. Eltham, no doubt, depended upon the rich and fruitful country in which it stood. At eight miles from London, the markets there were of very little use. The annals of the Palace are simple, rather than scanty; in fact, there is plenty of mention made of the Palace, yet very little of importance is recorded concerning it. All that is recorded of it belongs to peace and festivity and the season of Christmas. Eltham was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent. After the disgrace of Odo, and the confiscation of his estates, the manor belonged partly to the Queen and partly to the Mandevilles. Thence it passed into the hands of the De Vesci family. From them it went to the Scropes, and from them to various holders in succession.

There was a Palace, or House, here of some kind in very ancient times. The historian says that he cannot ascertain when the Palace was built (see p. 74). Since the origin of the House is unknown, he argues that it must have been ancient. Now, concerning its connections with our Kings and Queens, there is quite a long list. All these lists would have to be catalogued, and even then be forgotten. For instance, the following list of visits I borrow from Lysons. But I cannot pretend that it is of much interest.

In the year 1270 Henry III. kept Christmas at his Palace of Eltham with the Queen and his nobles. After this the name of Anthony Bec, Bishop of Durham and Patriarch of Jerusalem, is connected with the place. He built a great{91} deal, but I know not if any ruins of his yet remain. He died at Eltham in 1311, presumably in the Palace, for there seem to have been no other buildings. Now we come back to the kings, and we find historical associations in plenty, though not of a kind which is moving or interesting. It does not excite our curiosity much to learn that this king or that{92} king kept Christmas here, and yet that is the kind of association which I have to offer. Edward the Second was often here: perhaps the seclusion of the place enabled him to play his favourite games with his followers without being overseen. One of his sons, John of Eltham, was born here. Edward III., when still under age, had a Parliament at Eltham in 1329. In 1347 his son Lionel kept Christmas for him at Eltham. In 1364 he entertained here the French king John, his prisoner. In 1375 he held another Parliament here, when the Commons petitioned him to make Richard, his grandson, Prince of Wales. Richard the Second, as we should expect, regarded Eltham with a peculiar affection; it was beautiful; the buildings were splendid. It was a long way from the City which took upon itself to remonstrate with his extravagance. Three times at least he kept Christmas here: on the last he entertained Leo, King of Armenia, with great splendour and profusion. Henry the Fourth kept Christmas four times in the Palace. On the first, the Aldermen of London and their children went down from the City to perform a masque before the King, who received it well. At that moment he was certain to receive everything well that came from the City. On his last visit the disease broke out which killed him. Henry the Fifth was here once, in 1414: Henry the Sixth once, in 1429. Edward the Fourth was a second Founder, so much did he add to the buildings. Among other things, he built a new front to the Palace and is said to have built the Banqueting Hall itself. His festivities rivalled those of Richard the Second. Here his daughter Bridget, afterwards a nun of Dartford, was born. Henry the Seventh was another builder: he stayed at Eltham often. Henry the Eighth came here once at least, but he preferred Greenwich as a residence as soon as that house was built. Elizabeth also came here only once or twice, preferring Greenwich, and James the First is only recorded to have visited Eltham once. After this time Eltham ceased{93} to be a Palace. In 1646 Robert Earl of Essex died here[1]; the Manor was sold after Charles's death. After the Restoration it reverted to the Crown; the rest of the history concerns its occupancy by private families. On the death of Charles the Palace was surveyed; it is described as being built of brick, stone, and timber; it contained (see p. 74) one chapel, a hall, 36 rooms and offices below stairs, with two large cellars; and above stairs 17 lodging houses on the King's side, 12 on the Queen's side, and 9 on the Prince's side; and 78 rooms in the offices round the courtyard, which contained one acre of ground: the house was out of repair and uninhabitable. There were gardens attached to the house. A moat surrounded the house, of width 60 feet, except in the forest, where it was 115 feet. The moat still exists on the north side, and can be traced all round. Of the buildings little remains except the old Banqueting Hall, a truly beautiful ruin; the roof, with its fine woodwork, is happily still standing, but shored up and supported. The windows are mostly blocked up; fragments only remain of the other buildings; but it is said to be possible, in the gardens at the back, to trace out the courts and the foundations of the chapel and offices. The Palace is approached by a bridge of about the same date as the Palace, viz. the fourteenth century. It crosses the moat, and with its picturesque ivy-clad arches and the Banqueting Hall on one side, and the Court House on the other, it is as lovely an approach to the ruin as could well be imagined or created.
(From a Drawing by J. Hassell, 1804)

One of the last visits of the King to Eltham was in the year 1575, when Henry held one of the tournaments in which in his early manhood he so much delighted. This is Holinshed's account of it:—

'After the parlement was ended, the king kept a solemne Christmasse at his manor of Eltham; and on the Twelfe night in the hall was made a goodlie castell, woonderouslie set out, and in it certeine ladies and knights; and when the king and queene were set, in came other knights and assailed{95} the castell, where manie a good stripe was giuen; and at the last the assailants were beaten awaie. And then issued out knights and ladies out of the castell, which ladies were rich and strangelie disguised; for all their apparell was in braids of gold, fret with moouing spangls of siluer and gilt, set on crimson sattin, loose and not fastned: the mens apparell of{96} the same sute made like Iulis of Hungarie; and the ladies heads and bodies were after the fashion of Amsterdam. And when the dansing was doone, the banket was serued in of two hundred dishes, with great plentie to euerie bodie.'
Remains of Eltham Palace Remains of Eltham Palace

There is little more to be said about Eltham, which is a place so beautiful that it ought to have a more interesting history. Kings and Courts delight me not, nor do I take pleasure in reading about tournaments and masques.

There is no figure in the history of Eltham so pleasant to think upon as that of little Prince Richard, the lovely boy who was going to become such an extravagant King. One would like to have seen Edward entertaining his prisoner, King John of France; and one wonders what sort of figure was played by the Armenian Leo in the presence of Richard's splendour: but perhaps he knew the Court of Constantinople, and smiled at the splendour of the barbaric north.

Once more, how did they provide for the maintenance of so many guests? To feed two thousand every day is a great undertaking. We are accustomed to believe that the roads in winter were so bad as to be impassable. Now, everything had to be brought there, whatever the condition of the roads. And they were bye-roads, not high roads. The guests, too, and the nobles and their retainers, had to arrive by those roads. As was stated above, due notice was certainly given: a vast quantity of salt provisions was laid down in readiness: for the rest, the country was fertile and well cultivated. The Park contained deer—but they could not kill all; the Thames, only three miles away—but then, the roads!—was full of salmon and every kind of fish: the banks of the lower reaches and those of the Ravensbourne—again, those roads!—were the homes of myriads of wild birds. Still, one feels that the inland communications of the fourteenth century must have been a great deal better than those of the seventeenth century in order to allow of Christmas being kept in magnificence and profusion by two thousand people in a country village.{97}
The Moat Bridge Eltham Palace The Moat Bridge
Eltham Palace

The views which accompany this account are taken from Lysons: they were engraved in the year 1796. There is not much difference in the present aspect: the moat has been opened again: the buildings represented on the south side of the Hall have vanished: and the place itself which had been used as a barn is now empty, and is only thrown open for visitors or the drilling of Volunteers.

[1] At Eltham House, the lodge in the Great Park.

The Green Village lying on the slope of a gentle hill, with marshes on either side of it—the marsh of the Ravensbourne on one side, and the Woolwich or the Greenwich marsh on the other side of it—is as old as history itself. Its position as the landing-place, or point of approach, to the lands of Kent, a{98} place where ships might lie, pirates and invaders might seize and hold as a base of operations, very early called attention to its natural advantages. Here the Danes encamped in 1011; here they brought the venerable Alphege and murdered him, throwing beef bones at his head. As the throwing of bones was a favourite evening pastime with the Danes, they probably meant little at first beyond a friendly reminder or an invitation to take part in the game: as the Archbishop made no response they threw the bones in earnest (see p. 72). The people of Greenwich have long since forgotten that the place was once a Royal Residence, and that there are historical memories connected with Greenwich of interest almost equal to those of Westminster, and far more important and interesting than those of Eltham.

Let us perform the perfunctory task of cataloguing some of these memories.

In the year 1408, Henry IV. dates his will from Greenwich.

In 1417 Henry V. granted the manor for life to Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who afterwards died here.

In 1443 it was granted to Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, with permission to fortify and embattle the manor house, and to enclose a park of 200 acres. This was the true beginning of Greenwich Palace. Humphrey rebuilt the house, which he called Placentia, the House of Pleasance: he enclosed the Park and he built a Tower on the spot where the Royal Observatory now stands. On his death, in 1447, the place reverted to the Crown. Edward the Fourth took great pleasure in the place and beautified it at much cost. In 1466 he granted the Manor, Palace, and Park, to the Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, for life. The marriage of Richard Duke of York and Anne Mowbray was here solemnised with the usual rejoicings.
(From a Drawing by Jonas Moore)

With Henry VII. also Greenwich was a favourite place of residence. He added a brick front on the riverside (see p. 77). Here Henry the Eighth was born on June 28, 1491. He was{99} baptised in the Parish Church, the predecessor of the present church. He, too, loved Greenwich above all other Palaces, and made it during the early years of his reign the scene of the festivities and entertainments which he loved so much. Here he married Katharine of Arragon on June 3, 1510. Here he held the great tournament in which he himself, Sir Edward Howard, Charles Brandon, and Edward Neville challenged all comers. In 1512 and in 1513 he kept Christmas here 'with great solemnity, dancing, disguisings, and mummers in a most princely manner.' Holinshed gives an account of two entertainments held by the King at Greenwich—one a tournament in June, the other at Christmas:—

'This yeare also in Iune, the king kept a solemne iustes at Greenewich, the king & sir Charles Brandon taking vpon them to abide all commers. First came the ladies all in white and red silke, set vpon coursers trapped in the same sute, freated ouer with gold; after whom followed a founteine curiouslie made of russet sattin, with eight gargils spowting water: within the founteine sat a knight armed at all peeces.{100} After this founteine followed a ladie all in blacke silke dropped with fine siluer, on a courser trapped in the same. Then followed a knight in a horsselitter, the coursers & litter apparelled in blacke with siluer drops. When the fountein came to the tilt, the ladies rode round about, and so did the founteine, and the knight within the litter. And after them were brought twi goodlie coursers apparelled for the iusts: and when they came to the tilts end, the two knights mounted on the two courses abiding all commers. The king was in the founteine, and sir Charles Brandon was in the litter. Then suddenlie with great noise of trumpets entred sir Thomas Kneuet in a castell of cole blacke, and ouer the castell was written "The Dolorous Castell," and so he and the earle of Essex, the lord Howard, and other ran their courses with the king and sir Charles Brandon, and euer the king brake most speares, and likelie was so to doo yer he began, as in former time; the prise fell to his lot; so luckie was he and fortunat in the proofe of his prowes in martiall actiuitie, whereto from his yong yeers he was giuen....

'After this parlement was ended, the king kept a solemne Christmasse at Greenwich, with danses and mummeries in most princelie maner. And on the Twelfe daie at night came into the hall a mount, called the rich mount. The mount was set full of rich flowers of silke, and especiallie full of broome slips full of cods, and branches were greene sattin, and the flowers flat gold of damaske, which signified Plantagenet. On the top stood a goodlie beacon giuing light, round about the beacon sat the king and fiue other, all in cotes and caps of right crimson veluet, embrodered with flat gold of damaske, their cotes set full of spangles of gold. And foure woodhouses drew the mount till it came before the queene, and then the king and his companie descended and dansed. Then suddenlie the mount opened, and out came six ladies all in crimsin sattin and plunket, embrodered with gold and pearle, with French hoods on their heads, and{102} they dansed alone. Then the lords of the mount tooke the ladies and dansed togither: and the ladies reentered, and the mount closed, and so was conueied out of the hall. Then the king shifted him, and came to the queene, and sat at the banket, which was verie sumptuous.'
(From a Drawing by Schnebbelie)

Other tournaments were held here in 1517, 1526, and 1536.

Here Charles Brandon married Mary, Dowager Queen of France. Six or seven times more Henry kept Christmas at Greenwich. In 1543, the last occasion, he entertained twenty-one Scottish gentlemen, taken prisoners, and released them without a ransom, being to the end, whatever else he was, a Prince of most Princely gifts and graces.

Queen Mary was born at Greenwich in 1515. Cardinal Wolsey was her godfather.

King Edward the Sixth died here.

Queen Elizabeth was born here on September 7, 1533. She, too, spent much of her time at Greenwich.

King James also much delighted in this place: he added to the brickwork by the riverside: he also walled the park and laid the foundations of the house afterwards called the House of Delight. The Queen, who received the Palace in jointure, carried on this House, which was afterwards completed by Inigo Jones for Henrietta Maria. It was called the King's House, the Queen's House, or the Ranger's Lodge. It was not until 1807 that the house was granted to the Commissioners of the Royal Naval Asylum.

Separated from town by five miles of road, and four of river, it was thus easily accessible in all weathers and independent of the condition of the roads. In other respects the position of the place was unrivalled: it was on a slope rising from the river in front, and from lowlands on either side; it was swept night and day by the sharp fresh breeze that came up with the tide from the sea; behind it, on a high level, lay an expanse of heath, dry and wholesome; there{103} was no better air to be got than the air of Greenwich; that of Eltham, with its stagnant marsh and thick woods, was close and aguish in comparison: for view, the broad river rolled along the Palace front and bent round to east and west, so that one could see all the shipping in front; all in Limehouse Reach; and all in Blackwall Reach. As the tide ebbed and flowed, the navies and the trade of London passed up and down, outward bound or homeward bound. Sitting at her window, or walking on her terrace, Queen Elizabeth could for herself learn what was meant by the foreign trade of London: what was meant by the exports and imports: she could see every kind of ship that floats come sailing up the river, streamers flying, dipping the peak in salute: she could understand the coasting trade and the Flemish trade: she could ask what the hoys and ketches, the lighters, and the barges carried up to the Port of London in such numbers: she could herself, and often did, embark upon the stream in summer, when the sun was sinking in the west, to see the ships more closely and to enjoy the fresh, cool air of the river. Witness the sad history of Thomas Appletree.

It was on the 17th day of July in the year 1579, about nine o'clock of the evening, that an accident happened which might have had fatal consequences. The Queen was taking the air in her private barge, between Greenwich and Deptford. With her were the French Ambassador, the Earl of Lincoln, and other great persons, discoursing affairs of state. Unfortunately for themselves, four young fellows were out in a small boat at the same time, and on the same part of the river. They were Thomas Appletree, a young servant of Francis Carey, two singing boys of the Queen's choir, and another. Thomas Appletree had possessed himself of a 'caliver' or arquebus, which he was so ill advised as to load with ball and then fire it at random up and down the river. One of these haphazard discharges carried the bullet straight to the Queen's barge, where it passed through both arms of{104} the oarsman nearest Her Majesty. The man thus unexpectedly wounded, finding himself bleeding like a pig—for it was a flesh wound—threw himself down, bawling and roaring out that he was murdered. The Queen comforted him with the assurance that he should be properly cared for, and ordered the barge to be taken back to the shore at once. The man, being treated, speedily recovered. Meantime, who had dared to fire a gun at the Queen's barge? The question was very quickly answered, and the Lords in Council had the four lads brought up before them. It appearing that the only guilty person was Thomas Appletree, the other three were suffered to depart, and Thomas was tried. It was ascertained that there could be no question as to the loyalty of Thomas's master, Francis Carey, therefore the whole guilt rested on the shoulders of the unlucky serving man, whose only fault had been foolhardiness in firing his gun at random. He was therefore sentenced to be hanged, with the usual accompaniments, for treason. Accordingly, on the 20th day of July he was taken from Newgate and conducted on a hurdle with great ceremony to Tower Hill, and so through the postern to Ratcliff, where, opposite the place where the offence was committed, they had put up a gibbet on which the unhappy Thomas Appletree was to be hanged. He had made a dolorous journey on his hurdle, weeping copiously all the way, and many of the people weeping with him. Arrived at the gallows, he mounted the ladder, and, if the chronicler repeats faithfully, he made a most admirable use of the last moments which remained to him. It is, indeed, truly remarkable to observe how admirably all those who were taken out to die acquitted themselves, whether it was a peer to be beheaded for treason, or a Catholic priest to be hanged, drawn, and quartered for being a priest. Appletree, for his part, spoke so movingly that the people all wept with him. Then the hangman put the rope round the condemned man's neck, and the bitterness of death entered into his soul. But the people{105} cried, 'Stay! Stay!' and at that moment there came riding up the Queen's Vice-Chamberlain, Sir Christopher Hatton. But think not that the Vice-Chamberlain hastily proclaimed the royal pardon. Not at all. He left Thomas on the ladder for a while; he made an oration on the heinousness of the offence: he made everybody kneel while he prayed for the safety of the Queen: and then, when all hearts were softened and all eyes bedewed, he pronounced the Queen's pardon, which the prisoner acknowledged in suitable language. Thomas Appletree was then taken back to the Marshalsea, where he remained, one hopes, a very short time after this. We may be quite sure that whatever destiny was in store for this young man, shooting at random with a caliver or arquebus would have nothing to do with it.

Another association of Greenwich is that of Sir John Willoughby's departure for the Arctic seas. He was going to endeavour to open a new way for trade round the N.E. Arctic sea along the north coast of Asia. He embarked at Ratcliff Stairs: you may take boat there to this day. As he passed down the river, with flags and streamers flying, they brought out the little King Edward, who was dying, to see the sailing of the stout old sailor. So with firing of guns the ships passed on their way, and they carried the dying King back to his bed. In a day or two Edward was dead. In six months, or it might be less, Willoughby was dead too, frozen to death in his cabin, where the Russians found him, his dead hand on his papers.

If you wish to know what state was kept by Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich, you will find an account of it in Hentzner, that excellent traveller who remarked so much, and put all down on paper.

'We arrived at the Royal Palace of Greenwich, reported to have been originally built by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and to have received very magnificent additions from Henry VII. It was here Elizabeth, the present Queen,{106} was born, and here she generally resides; particularly in Summer, for the Delightfulness of its Situation. We were admitted by an Order Mr. Rogers had procured from the Lord Chamberlain, into the Presence-Chamber, hung with rich Tapestry, and the Floor, after the English fashion, strewed with Hay,[1] through which the Queen commonly passes in her way to chapel: At the Door stood a Gentleman dressed in Velvet, with a Gold Chain, whose Office was to introduce to the Queen any Person of Distinction, that came to wait on her: It was Sunday, when there is usually the greatest Attendance of Nobility. In the same Hall were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, a great Number of Counsellors of State, Officers of the Crown, and Gentlemen, who waited the Queen's coming out; which she did from her own Apartment, when it was Time to go to Prayers, attended in the following Manner:

'First went Gentlemen, Barons, Earls, Knights of the Garter, all richly dressed and bare-headed; next came the Chancellor, bearing the Seals in a red-silk Purse, between Two: One of which carried the Royal Scepter, the other the Sword of State, in a red Scabbard, studded with golden Fleurs de Lis, the Point upwards: Next came the Queen, in the Sixty-fifth Year of her Age, as we were told, very majestic; her Face oblong, fair, but wrinkled; her Eyes small, yet black and pleasant; her Nose a little hooked; her Lips narrow, and her Teeth black (a Defect the English seem subject to, from their too great Use of Sugar): she had in her Ears two Pearls, with very rich Drops; she wore false Hair, and that red; upon her Head she had a small Crown, reported to be made of some of the Gold of the celebrated Lunebourg Table:[2] Her Bosom was uncovered, as all the English Ladies have it, till they marry; and she had on a Necklace of exceeding fine Jewels; her Hands were small,{107} her Fingers long, and her Stature neither tall nor low; her Air was stately, her Manner of Speaking mild and obliging. That Day she was dressed in white Silk, bordered with Pearls of the Size of Beans, and over it a Mantle of black Silk, shot with Silver Threads; her Train was very long, the End of it borne by a Marchioness; instead of a Chain, she had an oblong Collar of Gold and Jewels. As she went along in all this State and Magnificence, she spoke very graciously, first to one, then to another, whether foreign Ministers, or those who attended for different Reasons, in English, French and Italian; for, besides being well skilled in Greek, Latin, and the Languages I have mentioned, she is mistress of Spanish, Scotch, and Dutch: Whoever speaks to her, it is kneeling; now and then she raises some with her Hand. While we were there, W. Slawata, a Bohemian Baron, had Letters to present to her; and she, after pulling off her Glove, gave him her right Hand to kiss, sparkling with Rings and Jewels, a Mark of particular Favour: Where-ever she turned her Face, as she was going along, everybody fell down on their Knees.[3] The Ladies of the Court followed next to her, very handsome and well-shaped, and for the most Part dressed in white; she was guarded on each Side by the Gentlemen Pensioners, fifty in Number, with gilt Battleaxes. In the Antichapel next the Hall where we were, Petitions were presented to her, and she received them most graciously, which occasioned the Acclamation of, Long live Queen ELIZABETH! She answered with, I thank you, my good PEOPLE. In the Chapel was excellent Music; as soon as it and the Service was over, which scarce exceeded half an hour, the Queen returned in the same State and Order, and prepared to go to Dinner. But while she was still at Prayers, we saw her Table set out with the following Solemnity.{108}

'A Gentleman entered the Room bearing a Rod, and along with him another who had a Table-cloth, which, after they had both kneeled three Times with the utmost Veneration, he spread upon the Table, and after kneeling again they both retired. Then came two others, one with the Rod again, the other with a Salt-seller, a Plate and Bread; when they had kneeled, as the others had done, and placed what was brought upon the Table, they too retired with the same Ceremonies performed by the first. At last came an unmarried Lady (we were told she was a Countess), and along with her a married one, bearing a Tasting-knife; the former was dressed in white Silk, who, when she had prostrated herself three Times, in the most graceful Manner, approached the Table, and rubbed the Plates with Bread and Salt with as much Awe as if the Queen had been present: When they had waited there a little while, the Yeomen of the Guard entered, bare-headed, cloathed in Scarlet, with a golden Rose upon their Backs, bringing in at each Turn a Course of twenty-four Dishes, served in plate, most of it Gilt; these Dishes were received by a Gentleman in the same Order they were brought, and placed upon the Table, while the Lady-taster gave to each of the Guards a mouthful to eat, of the particular dish he had brought, for Fear of any Poison. During the Time that this Guard, which consists of the tallest and stoutest Men that can be found in all England, being carefully selected for this Service, were bringing Dinner, twelve Trumpets and two Kettle-drums made the Hall ring for Half an Hour together. At the end of this Ceremonial a Number of unmarried Ladies appeared, who, with particular solemnity, lifted the Meat off the Table, and conveyed it into the Queen's inner and more private Chamber, where, after she had chosen for herself, the rest goes to the Ladies of the Court.

'The Queen dines and sups alone, with very few Attendants; and it is very seldom that any Body, Foreigner or{109} Native, is admitted at that Time, and then only at the Intercession of somebody in Power.'

On the Restoration, Charles at first resolved to pull down the Palace and build it anew. For this purpose he consulted various persons, and after many delays began the building. He only succeeded, however, in erecting what is now the west wing of the Hospital. But it never again became a Royal Residence. In 1694, the Palace was converted into a Hospital for the Royal Navy. This splendid institution, one of the glories of Great Britain, and a standing monument of the nation's gratitude to her sailors, and an ever present invitation to enter the navy, was closed, with that stupid indifference to sentiment which so often distinguishes the acts of our Government, in the year 1870.

[1] He probably means rushes.

[2] At this distance of time, it is difficult to say what this was.

[3] Her Father had been treated with the same Deference. It is mentioned by Fox in his 'Acts and Monuments,' that when the Lord Chancellor went to apprehend Queen Catherine Parr, he spoke to the King on his Knees. King James I. suffered his Courtiers to omit it.
Lambeth Palace Lambeth Palace

The now huge town of Lambeth presents few points of interest either to the visitor or to the historian. There are no buildings of any antiquity except the Palace and the Church. There are no modern buildings at all worth notice. There have been two or three memorable houses{110} which we shall do well to touch upon: but they are not so memorable as to deserve long description. The Bishops of Rochester had a house in the Marsh—the site is in Carlisle Place, Westminster Road, at the back of St. Thomas's Hospital, close to Lambeth Palace. It was in this house that, in 1531, a wretched man named Robert Roose, in the Bishop's service as cook, wilfully, as was alleged, poisoned a large number of people, and was boiled to death in oil—the only instance, I believe, of this dreadful punishment. The wretched man was tied naked to a post and slowly lowered into the boiling fluid. Fisher was the last Bishop of Rochester who lived in this house. The buildings, with losses and additions, existed in some form or other till 1827. The house, indeed, had a strangely chequered history. The Bishop of Rochester exchanged it with the Crown for a house thought more convenient in Southwark, close to Winchester House. The Crown gave it to the Bishop of Carlisle, who seems to have let it on lease: thus it lost its ecclesiastical character altogether and became given over to entirely secular uses. It was at one time a pottery: then a tavern, and even a notorious and disorderly house: then a dancing master taught his accomplishments in the house: then it became a school. Finally, the gardens were built over, the operations disclosing many interesting gates and 'bits.'

Another house was that belonging to the Duke of Norfolk: it was called Norfolk House, and it stood on the other side of the Palace, on the site now marked by Paradise Street. Here lived the old Duke whose life was saved by the death of Henry the Eighth; here was brought up the accomplished Earl of Surrey whose life would have been saved had Henry died a few days earlier. Leland, the antiquary and scholar, was the Earl's tutor. The widow of Dr. Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, obtained the house. Her heirs ceased to live in it; the house was neglected, probably because no tenant could be found for it. Finally, it was pulled down. It is{111} interesting to note the town houses which stood upon the Bank from Rotherhithe to Battersea: that of the Prior of Lewes; of Sir John Fastolfe; of the Augustines; the House of St. Mary Overies; Winchester House; Rochester House; Norfolk House; and later, the house of the St. Johns at Battersea. There are none between Bankside and Lambeth; that part of the Embankment which lies between Blackfriars and Westminster Bridge has no history and no associations.

Another noteworthy Lambeth house was that called Copt Hall, afterwards Vauxhall, situated opposite to the gardens afterwards called Vauxhall. In this house the unfortunate Arabella Stuart lived for a time. A good deal might be written about Copt Hall, but not in this place.

The houses of the Archbishop, the Bishop of Rochester, and the Duke of Norfolk stood close together and clustered round the church. The reason was the necessity of building on or near to the Embankment. Exactly opposite the south{112} porch of the church may be observed a small and somewhat decayed street grandly called the High. The name and the situation close to the church indicate an individual and separate existence of the town or village of Lambeth, of which this was the principal street and the centre. The village, in fact, did exist from very early times; its population for the most part earned their livelihood as Thames fishermen. They were the lineal successors of that fortunate Edric to whom St. Peter appeared when he consecrated the Abbey. There was another colony of Thames fishermen lower down the river on Bermondsey Wall. When William the Conqueror is said to have burned Southwark it was the fishermen's cottages which he destroyed. None of these lived between Bankside and Westminster, which is proved by the fact that there is no church near the river wall at that place. The Thames fishermen lingered on, though the fishery grew poorer, until about 1820, when they were reduced to a single court in Lambeth. The place is described as mean and rickety, with neither paving nor lamps; the woodwork of the cottages broken; the roofs burst and tottering; the windows stuffed with rags or mended with paper; the children in rags; the court a receptacle for everything.

Lambeth as it is has mostly sprung into existence in the nineteenth century, during which its population has been actually multiplied by ten, and more than ten, rising from 27,000 in 1801 to 295,000 in 1891, an enormous increase. The principal reason of this development is the introduction of a great many industries—potteries, vinegar factories, distilleries, salt warehouses, bottle factories, and so forth.

Lambeth certainly cannot be called a beautiful town nor a desirable place of residence. The perambulator looks about in vain for streets noble, striking or picturesque; he looks in vain for houses beautiful or ancient; there is nothing to reward him. Old houses there were before the great increase began, but they exist no more; the place is dull; in parts it{113} is dirty; everywhere it is without character or distinction. It has, however, a pretty park called after the famous Vauxhall Gardens, on whose site it stands. The park is new, but it is well laid out and planted; already it is a pretty piece of greenery, and, with Kennington and Battersea Parks, offers a much wanted breathing place for the multitudes of that quarter. It is adorned, or enriched, or ennobled, by a statue of Henry Fawcett, who died in a house on this spot. The statesman, attired in a costume strictly of the period, is sitting in a chair, pretending not to be aware that behind him stands an angel with outstretched wings, crowning him with laurel. He is obviously embarrassed by the situation. He feels that he ought to be dressed in some kind of Court costume—if he knew what—in order to receive the angel; or the angel might have assumed a frock coat in compliment to the statesman. The wings were probably in the way.
(From 'La Belle Assemblée,' Nov. 1822)

Lambeth Palace, whose history I am not going to narrate, plays a very considerable part in the History of England. In 1232 and in 1234, Parliament was held here. In 1261{114} and 1280 Councils were held here. In 1412 Archbishop Arundell, the kindly Christian who was so anxious to burn heretics, issued from this Palace a condemnation as heretical of a great many opinions, insomuch that it became obviously dangerous to have any opinions at all. This, however, was the condition of mind most desired by the Church of Arundell's time and of his views. It is needless to recount the many occasions when Kings and Queens were entertained at Lambeth Palace. Cardinal Pole died here. It was sometimes a prison. Queen Elizabeth entrusted to the care of the Archbishop at Lambeth, Bishops Tonstal and Thirlby, the Earl of Essex, the Earl of Southampton, Lord Stourton, and many others, who were kept in honourable confinement, not in dungeons or cells, but each in his own chamber.
(From an Engraving dated 1804)

That there were prisons in every Episcopal Palace was{115} necessary at a time when the clergy could only be tried in Ecclesiastical Courts, so that the Bishops could not send their criminous clerks to an ordinary prison. Hence it is that we{116} frequently read of a priest brought before an Ecclesiastical Court, but we do not learn what became of him. He was consigned to the prison of the House. When the Lollards inveighed against the corruption of ecclesiastics they accused the Bishops of too great leniency towards their delinquents and prisoners. In some cases, no doubt, the ecclesiastical prison was used to save a prisoner from the worst consequences of his offence. For instance, a heretic handed over to the secular arm had by law to be burned. Let us endeavour to believe that in the Archbishop's prison cells of Lambeth there were many who might have been burned but for the humanity which sometimes overrode even Ecclesiastical ruthlessness.

It is recorded in Archbishop Arundell's Register (Cave-Browne, 'Lambeth Palace,' p. 710) that he sent for a Chaplain out of his prisons below his manor house at Lambeth. The Chaplain was a preacher licensed by the Archbishop who yet carried about with him a concubine. No doubt the poor man regarded her as his wife, and so called her, as thousands of the clergy did, and were held blameless by the people for so doing.

The Palace either contains, or has at some time contained, the work of nearly every Archbishop in succession. For a full and complete history of the buildings, which would be outside the limits of the present chapter, the reader is referred{117} to the pleasant pages of the Rev. J. Cave-Browne, called 'Lambeth and its Associations.'

It is impossible to determine when the building of Lambeth Palace began. One thing is certain, that it has always been an Ecclesiastical Palace. The manor of Lambeth belonged to the Lady Guda, sister of Edward the Confessor. In Domesday Book the manor contained thirty-nine men,{118} who with their families probably represented a population of about 200. They had a church, which stood on the site of the present church. Observe how all the old churches belonging to the Marsh stand on the Embankment—Rotherhithe; St. Olave's; Lambeth; Battersea. Guda, wife of Eustace, Count of Boulogne, gave the manor to the Bishop and convent of Rochester, reserving the church. Harold, it is said, took it from the Bishop; it was seized by William the Conqueror. William Rufus restored it to Rochester and added the patronage of the Church. In 1197 Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, gave the manor of Dartford to the Bishop and convent of Rochester, in exchange for Lambeth. Having got possession of the place, Hubert set to work to improve it. He obtained a weekly market and an annual fair; the latter continued till the year 1757.

What Hubert built here is uncertain, but it is certain that he did build some kind of residence. Stephen Langton added other buildings; Boniface, A.D. 1260, found the buildings in great need of repair or insufficient. He was the first considerable builder of Lambeth. One may make a fair guess at the work of Boniface. We may consider it by the light afforded by the monastic Houses—this was not a monastery, but there was certainly something of the monastic spirit about the House. We may also take it for granted that certain essential parts of the building, though they might be rebuilt with greater splendour, would not change their position. For instance, when in after years we find a chapel, a cloister, a water-tower, or entrance from the river, and a gate-tower, or entrance from the land—then these things existed from the first. Boniface, therefore, found a chapel in the north-west corner of the Palace, where it still stands; on the west side of the chapel he found a water-tower with a gate opening upon a creek of the river by which everything was received into the House, the door of communication with the outer world, while the Archbishop's barges and boats lay moored up the{119} creek. South of the chapel Boniface either built or rebuilt the cloisters; south of the cloisters he built or rebuilt his Hall. A Hall was absolutely necessary for a great house, and for an Archbishop's Palace it must be a splendid Hall. What is now called the Guard Room was probably at first part of the Archbishop's private apartments.
Doorway in the Lollard's Tower Doorway in the Lollard's Tower


A list of the rooms then in the Palace was made in 1321. At that time there was the Archbishop's private Chapel, his Chamber, his Hall, the Chancellor's Chambers, the Great Chapel, the Great Gate, and certain minor apartments—a modest list, but the dormitories and principal bedchambers are not enumerated, nor is any mention made of the Library, the offices, the cells, or the Main Gate, all of which must have been there.

Then we come to the later works, of which there are more than we need set down—are they not written in Ducarel the Laborious and in Cave-Browne the Life-giver to the dust and ashes of ancient facts? The principal gateway as we now see it is the fifteenth century work of Cardinal Morton; it is built in the same style as the gateway of St. John's College, Cambridge, but is much larger and finer; with the Church, it forms a most effective group of buildings. The present Water Tower was built by Archbishop Chicheley, but on the site of an older tower; it contained, as I have said, the water gate—that is to say, the real gate of communication with the world. To this gate came all the visitors—Kings and Cardinals, Legates, Bishops and Ambassadors; and to this gate came the barges with supplies for my Lord's table. Cranmer is said to have built the small tower at the north-east of the Chapel. Cardinal Pole, who died here, built the Long Gallery, and probably the piazza that supported it. Laud built the smaller tower on the south face of the Chicheley Tower. Let us remark here that the Tower never had any connection with Lollards, and that all the talk about the unhappy Lollard prisoners is without foundation.

Juxon, who found the Palace a 'heap of ruins,' spent his three years of occupancy and 15,000l. of his own money in restoring the place for the honour and splendour of the Church. As for what has been done since that time, especially by Archbishop Howley, it all belongs to the detailed history of the Palace. It is sufficient here to note that the Palace is a{121} worthy House to-day, as it was five hundred years ago, for the residence of the Primate. He belongs still, as his Roman Catholic predecessors, to a Church whose members love some splendour in their ecclesiastical Princes, just as they love splendour in their churches and stateliness in their ritual. They do not desire to make a Bishop rich: they do desire that a Bishop should not be hampered by narrow circumstances: they desire that he should be able to take the lead in all good works. In ancient times, the Bishop rode or sat in splendid state: he sat every day at a table loaded with costly and luxurious food: outwardly he was clothed with silken robes. But he touched nothing that was set before him: he lived hardly and abstemiously: and he wore next his skin a hair shirt: and for greater self-denial he suffered{122} his hair shirt to be full of vermin. That was the ideal Bishop of medi?val times. Our own is much the same: a simple life: a splendid house: modest wants: a large income: for himself no luxuries: and an open hand. Such a house: such an income: we have always given to an Archbishop, whether of the old or of the Reformed Faith.

The Chapel has at least one memory which will always cling to it. Within its dark and gloomy crypt Anne Boleyn, brought from the Tower, stood to hear her sentence. She was to be burned to death as an adulteress. I am not qualified by study of the case or by education in the weighing of evidence to pronounce an opinion as to her innocence. I believe that those who have examined into the case are of opinion that Anne Boleyn fell a victim to the King's jealousy: to his change of mind towards her: and to her own foolish frivolity. However, in the crypt she was persuaded into making some sort of avowal of a previous betrothal, in return for which she was spared the agonies of the stake. I have sometimes thought that the King must have thought her guilty, otherwise he would have divorced her on a charge of adultery, and suffered her to live. If he did not believe her guilty, how could he, being, above all things, a man of human passions, have sentenced the woman whom he had once loved to so horrible a death?

Let us note, however, that our ancestors did not regard death by burning with quite the same horror as is now common. There is a story of Rogers—or Bradford—the martyr. Some one once begged his intercession to save a woman from burning. 'It is a gentle mode of death,' he replied. 'Then,' said the other, 'I hope that you yourself will some day have your hands full of this gentle death.' Punishment was meant to be painful: the least painful form of death was that accorded to the noble—to be beheaded. If a man died by the executioner, it was expected that he should suffer. Death, in all forms, meant suffering. In disease and{123} in old age men suffered torture as bad as any inflicted by the executioner.

I am not excusing Henry. I am only pleading that he must have believed in Anne's guilt or he could not possibly have allowed such a sentence; and that cruel as it seems to us, it did not seem so cruel at that time. There is, however, no more sorrowful story in the whole long History of England, which is, alas! so full of sorrow and of tragedy, than that of Anne Boleyn.

Lambeth Palace, the only palace in the whole of South London, is a monument of English History from the twelfth century downwards. Kennington appears at intervals; Eltham is a holiday house; Greenwich practically begins with the Tudors. Lambeth, like Westminster or St. Paul's, belongs to the long history of the English people. It is a place little known: of the millions now, in the circle of the Greater London, how many, I should like to ask, have ever seen the interior? Of the vast population of Lambeth, Battersea, and Kennington, of which it is the centre, how many, I wonder, know anything at all about its history or its buildings?

Of those who daily go up and down the river, who come and go across the Bridge, and suffer their careless and unobservant eyes to rest for a moment on the grey walls and Tower of the Palace, how many are there who know, or inquire, or care for the wealth of history that clings to every stone?


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