IV. and V.—Nos. 33 and 34 LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
The Commissioners of His Majesty's Works and Public Buildings.
General description and date of structure.
The original houses on the site of Nos. 33 and 34 were built in
accordance with the agreement entered into in 1657 between the Society
of Lincoln's Inn and Sir William Cowper, Robert Henley and James
Cowper (see pp. 11–12). The houses are shown as occupied in the ratebook
for 1660. We may, therefore, with reasonable probability, assign their
erection to the year 1659. While the recent demolition was in progress
inspections were made in order to ascertain how much 17th-century
work was then in existence. From the construction of the party-wall
on the east side of No. 33 it would appear that this and also a small piece
of the cross wall were the only remaining portions of the original buildings.
Extensive alterations were apparently made to No. 33 in the first
half of the 18th century, (fn. 1) when the panelling to the various rooms was
completed and the later staircases were constructed.
About 1824–5 Sir John Soane was engaged in modernising the front
rooms and constructing an additional storey. He also connected the
building with the Insolvent Debtors' Court at the rear, which was in course
of erection at that date. (fn. 2) One peculiar feature of the additional storey
was that the Queen-post roof trusses were left in position, the tie beams
showing above the floor level.
The plans of the ground and first floors are shown on Plates 19
Plate 21 shows the deal staircase and panelling at the first floor
level, and Plate 22 gives the balustrade at the second floor. The staircase
had Corinthian pillars as newels, twisted balusters and carved brackets. The
handrail was ramped to the newels and formed a feature of the staircase.
Plate 23 shows the small back room on the first floor. The walls were deal
panelled with "bolection" or projecting mouldings, and the stepping
back of the angle chimney breast for china shelves was interesting. The
design of this small chimneypiece (excepting the shelf, which is modern)
may have been based on one of Daniel Marot's designs. (fn. 3)
No. 34 may be ascribed chiefly to the first years of the 19th century,
although some portions, such as the two Ionic columns in the front room
on the ground floor, were perhaps 50 years earlier.
Both houses were demolished in 1911.
A sample length of the staircase and a chimneypiece from the
second floor front room of No. 33 have been preserved by H.M. Office of
Works for inclusion in the London Museum.
From the ratebooks it would appear that the occupants of Nos. 33 and 34 up to
the year 1810 were as follows:—
|1660–87.||The Lords Coventry.|
|1694.||Countess of Northumberland.|
|1695–1703.||Sir Humphrey Winch.|
|1704–8. (fn. 5) ||Mr. Butler.|
|1749–55.||Sir Robert Henley (afterwards Earl of Northington).|
|1800–||Sir James Alan Park.|
|1665–1706.||Sir William Montagu. (fn. 4) |
|1750–55.||Alexander Hume Cambell.|
|1756–57.||Sir Robert Henley (afterwards
Earl of Northington).|
|1779–98.||Sir Francis Buller.|
The title "Lord Coventry" given in the ratebooks in respect of No. 33 from
1660 to 1687 must refer to three individuals:—Thomas, 2nd Baron Coventry, who
died in 1661; his son George, the 3rd Baron, who died in 1680; and his grandson
John, the 4th Baron, whose death occurred in 1687. The deaths of the 2nd and 3rd
barons are recorded as having taken place in Lincoln's Inn Fields, (fn. 6) but no information
is available as to the place of death of the 4th.
For particulars concerning Robert Henley, Earl of Northington, see under No.
41, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
William de Grey, 1st Baron Walsingham, born in 1719, was called to the Bar
in 1742. He entered Parliament in 1761 as member for Newport, Cornwall, and
proved himself a powerful supporter of Lord North's party. In 1763 he was
appointed solicitor-general, and attorney-general in 1766 (when he was knighted).
In the latter capacity he conducted the proceedings against Wilkes in 1768. In
1771 he was made lord chief justice of the common pleas. In that year Brass
Crosby, Lord Mayor of London, had been imprisoned in the Tower by order of the
House of Commons for his action in releasing a printer who had been arrested on
charge of printing the Parliamentary debates. On Crosby being brought before him
to his house in Lincoln's Inn Fields (fn. 7) on a writ of habeas corpus, de Grey refused to
interfere with the privileges of Parliament. He resigned his position in 1780 owing
to infirm health, and was shortly after raised to the peerage as Baron Walsingham
He died in the following year.
Sir James Alan Park was the son of an Edinburgh surgeon. He was called to the
Bar in 1784, and obtained a very extensive practice, to which his Treatise on the Law
of Marine Insurance, published in 1787, under the encouragement of his friend, Lord
Mansfield, at first largely contributed. (fn. 8) He was made king's counsel in 1799, and
in 1816 was promoted to the bench of the common pleas and knighted. He died
at his house in Bedford Row, Bloomsbury, in December, 1838, aged 75 years. His
residence at No. 33 had lasted from 1800 to 1820 or 1821.
Sir William Montagu was a son of Edward, 1st Baron Montagu of Boughton.
He was called to the Bar in 1641. In 1640 he represented Huntingdon in the Short
Parliament, and was subsequently a member of the Parliaments of 1660 and 1661.
In the ratebook for 1665 "Mr. Attorney Montagu" is shown as the occupier of
No. 34, (fn. 9) and the entries for the whole, or at least all but one, of the next 41 years
seem to relate to the same individual. In 1676 the name changes to "Lord Chief
Baron Montagu," in accordance with the fact that in that year he was created
lord chief baron of the exchequer. In April, 1686, he declined to give an unqualified
opinion in favour of the dispensing power, and was removed from office. Accordingly
in the 1687 ratebook he is entered as "Late Lord Chief Justice Baron Montagu."
He retired to the Bar, where he practised as sergeant, and died in 1706. There can,
therefore, be little doubt that the "Mr. Montagu" or "Hon. Mr. Montagu" who
is shown as occupying the house from 1688 to 1706 (with the exception of the year
1699, when "Lord Montagu" (fn. 10) is given) is identical with Sir William.
Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, was third son of Sir John Pratt, chief justice
of the king's bench, and was born at Kensington in 1714. He took up the legal
profession, but "not inviting attorneys to dine with him, and never dancing with
their daughters," his practice remained for several years so limited that he seriously
contemplated abandoning the law. His opportunity, when it came, he owed to his
friend Robert Henley, who fell, or feigned to fall, ill and left him as the junior the
entire conduct of the case, in which he showed such conspicuous ability as to
establish his reputation. (fn. 11) In 1755 he was made king's counsel, and in 1757 followed
Henley as attorney general. He was already resident in Lincoln's Inn Fields, for
the ratebooks for 1756 and 1757 show him as occupying No. 56. In the latter year
or in 1758 he succeeded his friend Henley in the occupation of No. 34, which house
formed his residence for the next 18 years. In 1761 he was appointed chief justice
of the court of common pleas and was knighted. Soon after he was called upon to
decide, in the Wilkes controversy, the great question of the legality of general
warrants, and his opinion that such were contrary to the fundamental principles of
the constitution earned him immense popularity. In 1765 he was elevated to the
peerage by the title of Lord Camden, Baron of Camden (fn. 12) , and in the following year
was made lord chancellor. This position he held until the beginning of 1770, in
spite of the fact that he was in disagreement with his colleagues both in regard to
America and the case of Wilkes. He did not again take office until 1782, when he
became president of the council in the second Rockingham administration, an office
which, with one short interval, he retained until his death, in 1794, at his house in
Hill Street. (fn. 13) In 1786 he was raised to the dignity of an earl. He had removed from
Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1775.
EARL OF CAMDEN
Sir Francis Buller, third son of James Buller, of Morval, Cornwall, was called to
the Bar in 1772, and in the same year published the first English edition of his Introduction to the Law relative to Trials at Nisi Prius. His rise was rapid. In 1777 he
was created a king's counsel, and in the following year a puisne judge of the king's
bench. He was only 32 years old, and is said to have been the youngest man ever
created an English judge. In this or the next year he took up his residence at No.
34, Lincoln's Inn Fields, his name appearing in the ratebook for 1779. His conduct
on the bench frequently provoked criticism. The story that he had asserted the right
of a husband to beat his wife, provided that the stick was no bigger than his thumb,
was commonly believed, and suggested to Gillray his caricature of Buller as Judge
Thumb published in November, 1782. There does not, however, appear to be any
evidence that he ever expressed such an opinion. (fn. 14) During the last two years of
Lord Mansfield's life he was really the chief justice. His claims to the position,
however, did not receive recognition, and Kenyon was selected, Buller being consoled
in 1790 with a baronetcy. He died in June, 1800, at his house in Bedford Square. (fn. 15)
He had removed from Lincoln's Inn Fields apparently in 1798.
In the Council's collection are:—
* Nos. 33, 34.—Plan of ground floor (measured drawing).
* Nos. 33, 34.—Plan of first floor (measured drawing).
Nos. 33, 34.—Exterior (photograph).
* No. 33.—Staircase and panelling at first floor level (photograph).
* No. 33.—Balustrading at second floor (photograph).
* No. 33.—Small back room on first floor (photograph).