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HAM HOUSE, the seat of the earl of Dysart, situated on the Thames, near Richmond, is in the parish of Kingston, and was built in the year 1610, and it is said, for the reşidence of Henry prince of Wales. Charles II. granted it to the duke and duchess of Lauderdale, and to the heirs of the latter by her first husband, Sir Lionel Tollemache, bart. It then underwent considerable alterations, and now remains a very curious specimen of a mansion of that age. The ceilings are painted by Verrio, and the rooms are ornamented with that massy magnificence of decoration then in fashion. The furniture is very rich; and even the bellows and brushes, in some of the apartments, are of solid silver or of fillagree. In the centre of the house is a large ball, surrounded by an open gallery. The ballustrades of the grand staircase, which is remarkably spacious and substantial, are of walnut-tree, and ornamented with military trophies. On the west side of the house is a gallery, ninety-two feet in length, hung with portraits. Ham House contains some fine pictures by the old masters, among which the works of Vandervelde and Wouvermans are most conspicuous. Among the portraits, the principal are, the duke of Lauderdale and the earl of Hamilton, C. JANSSEN; the duke and duchess of Lauderdale, LELY; the duke, in his robes of the order of the Garter, ditto; Charles II. who sat for this picture for the duke; Sir John Maitland, chancellor of Scotland; Sir Henry Vane; William Murray, first earl of Dysart; Catharine, bis wife, a beautiful picture, in water-colours, Hoskins; Sir Lionel Tollemache, first husband to the duchess of Lauderdale; general Tollemache, who was killed in the expedition against Brest; James Stuart, duke of Richmond, a very fine picture, VANDYCK; and the late countess of Dysart, ReynoLDS.
The avenues of this fine house, to the land side, lead to the end of the village of PETERSHAM, where the wall of New Park comes also close to the town, on the other side; in an angle of which stood a fine house, built by Laurence
Hyde, earl of Rochester, lord high-treasurer to James II. and queen Anne. This house was burnt in, 1720, by an accidental fire; the rich furniture, the curious collection of paintings, and the inestimable library of the first earl of Clarendon, lord high chancellor of England, were wholly consumed; a loss irreparable, as the latter contained, among other valuable things, several manuscripts relating to those times, and to things transacted by himself, and by the king his master, both at home and abroad, besides other rare and curious collections made by that noble and learned author in foreign countries. The offices escaped the fate of the house: and on the site, the late earl of Harrington erected another mansion, after a design of the earl of Burlington. The front next the court has not a very striking appear ance, being very plain, and the entrance into the house not greatly to be praised; but the south front next the garden, though very plain, is bold and regular. The apartments next the garden, which are chiefly designed for state, are also elegant, and beautifully finished. An open slope of grass, which lead's up to a terrace of great length, displays a prospect of the river Thames, the town of Twickenham, and all the beautiful seats round about that part of the country, almost to Kingston Bridge. On the other side of the terrace, on a rising ground, is a large plantation of wood; and on the summit of the hill is erected a pleasure house, commanding a prospect of the country, for many miles: this view is esteemed one of the most beautiful near London. On the death of the late earl of Harrington, it was sold to lord Camelford, who, in 1784, purchased the fee-simple of the crown, an act of parliament having been obtained for that purpose. The duke of Clarence bought it of lord Camelford in 1790. The pleasure grounds extend to Richmond Park, a small part of which has been added to them by a grant from his majesty, including the mount; where, according to tradition, Henry VIII. stood to see the signal for Anne Boleyn's execution. Vol. V. No. 117.
The house was sold in 1794, to colonel Cameron, after: wards it became the residence of Sir William Manners.
Ham Common, a village between Petersham and Kingston, is a hamlet to the latter; the house formerly the residence of the duchess of Queensbury, the celebrated patroness of Gay.
RICHMOND, eight miles and a half from London, is perhaps the finest village in the British dominions. It was antiently called Sheen, which, in the Saxon tongue, signifies shining. From the singular beauty of its situation, it has been termed the Frescati of England. Here stood a royal palace, in which Edward I. and II. resided, and in which Edward III. died. Here also died Anne, queen of Richard II. who first taught the English ladies the use of the side-saddle. Richard was so afflicted at her death, that he deserted and defaced the palace; it was repaired by Henry V. who founded three religious houses near it. 1497, it was destroyed by fire; but Henry VII. rebuilt it, and commanded that the village should be called Richmond; from the title of his earldom before he obtained the crown; here he also died. In this palace queen Elizabeth was a prisoner for a short time during the reign of her sister
When she was queen, it was one of her favourite places of residence. It was afterward the residence of Henry prince of Wales; and bishop Duppa is said to have educated king Charles II. here. It is not now easy to ascertain when this royal palace absolutely ceased to be such. Some parts of it appear to have been repaired by king James II. whose son, the Pretender, it is said, was nursed here. It is now totally demolished. The houses adjoining the gateway, &c. are a part of the old palace, and are described in the survey taken by the order of parliament in 1649; in Mr. Skinner's garden, still exists the old yew tree, mentioned in that survey. On the site of this palace is also CHOLMONDELEY House, built by George, third earl of Cholmondeley, who adorned the noble gallery with his fine collection of pictures. It is now the pro