Зображення сторінки

used, and which must at that time have been a great stretch of improvement. Still, however, they had not attained to such a degree of perfection, as to make the site of their apartments either level, or upright; and this defect was en. deavoured to be obviated by a post, suspended from the roof of the apartment, which falling perpendicularly, left a considerable space between it and the bottom of the wall : this is evident, from several passages in Shakspeare, particularly in his making Hamlet kill Polonius behind the arras, where he had hid himself; and as that author abounds in local and temporal allusions, we may suppose it was the practice at that time, even in the houses of the nobility. Se. veral houses, erected about the time of Edward IV. and Henry VII. have remained till within a few years; and, among them, one at the north end of the Lower Street, Islington, formerly belonging to Sir Thomas Lovell; afterwards, as supposed, to one of the sons of Dudley, duke of Northumberland; and, lastly, used for the parish work. house. Another stood at the north east corner of New. ington Green, and has been lately pulled down : they usually consisted of three sides, sometimes of four, with an entrance by a square aperture in the front, into the quadrangle. The Four Swans, at Waltham Cross, is a good specimen of this style; it is the manor house of the manor of Theobalds, and was formerly the residence of a na, tural son of Henry VIII, whom he created Earl of Richmond; and to which earldom that manor had been an appendage from the time of the Conqueror *. The White Hart tavern, in Bishopsgate Street, although much moderdized, is another house of this description; indeed they are only to be met with at the east or north end of the

Cheshunt manor and house were also in the possession of John de Drux, Earl of Richmond, a distant relation of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I. This may account for the hearse stopping there; and as it was no doubt attended by the abbot and monks of Waltham, this, together with its vicinity to the town of Waltham, may account for its taking that name, though in a different parish and county. See Hume.


town, and were probably the residence of the principal courtiers about the time of Richard III. and Henry VII. The last mentioned house bears the date of 1480. About this period, however, or a little earlier, domestic architecture appears to have made great and rapid improvement by the restoration of the art of making bricks; wbich there is reason to suppose had been neglected from the time the Romans quitted this country: some few brick, or brick and stone buildings, indeed might have arisen after that period, but they appear to have been constructed out of the ruins of others; as the abbey of St. Alban, for instance, out of the ruins of Verulam.

These bricks are distinguishable from modern ones, by being of larger dimensions, as may be seen in London Wall; perhaps now the only Roman vestige in the metropolis. Henry the Seventh built the palace of Sheene, of brick ; and we know that Wolsey built his house at Esher, and the palace of Hampton Court, of the same materials; and the latter remains a magnificent monument of the perfection to which the art of disposing and using bricks had at that time arrived *. Canonbury House, and the walls belonging to it, are undoubtedly of the same period. Still, however, building with brick seems to have been confined to houses of the first magnitude only : the protector, Somerset, is known to have demolished churches for his house in the Strand ; perhaps for want of other materials. Queen Elizabeth' inhabited a house composed of lath and plaster,in Cross Street, Islington ; whilst her lord treasurer is said to have occupied the house now known by the sign of the Queen's Head, in the Lower Street, of the same village : the last mentioned house affords a just specimen of the prevailing mode of building towards the close of the sixteenth century. Stories projecting over each other, as they ascended, and win. dows advancing still further, and occupying almost the whole front of the house * The fronts likewise became highly ornamental about this period, being frequently decorated with medallions, or subjects from history, in bas relief, as might have been seen some few years since against a public house at the end of St. John's Lanet; and another house the corner of Duck Lane, West Smithfield : on the latter was the story of Wat Tyler. Some houses, now remaining in Leadenhall Street, are likewise of this description and period; and this we suppose to have been the prevailing mode, for the most substantial and opulent citizens, as well as for many of the nobility and courtiers : persons of an inferior description lived in houses composed of wood, built after the same fashion with projecting stories; these, so far as relates to the City, were almost wholly consumed in the great fire, but many still remain in the courts and alleys about Bishopsgate Street, Norton Fallgate, and Shoreditch : the more secluded parts in particular of the Borough of Southwark, and even in the High Street; as well as in the more antient part of the city of Westminster, in the neighbourhood of the Abbey and Tothill Street.

* The Rye House, near Hoddesdon, in Hertfordshire, seems to have been built soon after this period ; and the twisted chimney is an instance of ingenuity which would puzzle a inodern bricklayer.


Great indeed was the next improvement which the me. tropolis experienced in the construction of its domestic edi. fices, and from the mind and hand of no less a master than Inigo Jones; who designed the new buildings at Covent Garden, in a style of simple grandeur hitherto unknown in this country: he likewise disposed the area of Lincoln's Inn Fields; and if we may judge from similitude, the buildings which form the west side of that square, and the south side of Great Qucen Street, are by the hand of the same artist ; or of some one who studied under him: it is much to be regretted that more was not done on the same plan.

After the Fire of London, brick buildings only were alJowed to be erected, and those were formed in the bigh streets, on a very handsome plan; the elevations having a sufficiency of ornament to give them variety, and even a due proportion of grandeur, without heaviness or incumbrance. Various instances of this may still be seen in the * Grey's Long Story,

† Pennane. VOL. II. No, 42.



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

City, particularly in Gracechurch Street, Cornhill, Cheapside, &c.; the design was probably from the hand of Sir Christopher Wren. This mode of building continued with little variation for nearly a century; that is, till within the last forty or fifty years; since which time it has been al. most an invariable rule to exclude all ornament whatever from the fronts of our houses. This practice may hare its advantages, by affording no projections to collect the dust and dirt, which necessarily arise in a great city ; but in point of elegance, it is certainly inferior to the former mode. If any one doubt this, let him compare a few of the houses on the west side of Hatton Street, near to Holborn, which have lately been repaired and stuccoed, and by which means the general form and style have become eonspicuous, with Gower Street, or almost any other of our new buildings; and the superiority of the former, as to de sign, will be immediately conspicuous, by its relieving the

eye from that monotonous and never varying line now so * much in vogue. The new street, which leads from Bloomsbury Square to Russell Square, is an instance of this; the roofs, and even the chimnies, are concealed, and the psrapet forms a line on each side, as disgusting to the eye, and as devoid of true taste, as the shorn box hedge on the sides of a gravel walk in a Dutch garden. The adoption of the parapet must however be allowed to be a most valuable improvement, not only as it affords a convenient mode of conveying the rain water from the roofs, but as it has been the means of rendering useless, and of course of expunging the large wooden cornice running under the roof; the fatal effects of which were frequently experienced in the communication of fire from one edifive to another.

Having thus, in a succinct manner, afforded to our rel. ders a clue by which, in a great degree, may be ascer. tained the various dates of antient architecture; we to state why the house in Hart Street, could not have been any residence of Sir Richard Whittington; and this wa prove from the following undoubted authority:

In a curious document possessed by the worshipful Com pany of Mercers, called ORDINANCES OP SIR WHITTING



TON'S CHARITIES, made by his executors Job Coventre, John Carpenter, and William Grove, is this passage relating to the foundation of his college, in the parish of St. Michael Royal, now called College Hill. .“ We have founded also, after the wille abovesaid, a house of almes for xiji pouere folk successively for evermore, to dwell in and to be sustained in the same house: which house is situated and edified upon a certain soyl, that we bought therfore, late in the parish of Seinte Mighel abovesaid ; that is to say, bytweene the foresaid church and the wall, that closeth in the voyd place, behind the heigh auter of the same church, in the south side, and one great tenement, that was late the house of the aforesaid Richard Wyhttington, in the north side. And it stretcheth fro the dwelling-place of the master and prestis of the college aboveseid.”

The exact dwelling of Sir Richard Whittington having been thus ascertained, we desist from giving any further description of the house in Hart Street; which having been despoiled of all its antique ornaments, is now converted to a warehouse for goods.

Again crossing Mark Lane, we arrive at the parish eburch of

[merged small][graphic][subsumed]

THIS church had the additional appellative of Staining, or Stane Church (or Stone Church) to distinguish it from other churches that were of old built of timber *.

* Vol. I. p. 47. note.
X x 2


« НазадПродовжити »