X.—No. 46 LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
The Rev. G. E. Frewer, Mrs. A. F. Williams and Mr. E. P.
General description and date of structure.
The original house on the site of No. 46 was probably erected at
the same time as its neighbour No. 45. On 17th August, 1638, William
Newton sold to George Plukenett and others (fn. 1) a parcel of ground designed
as the site for a "capitall messuage" shortly to be erected, the plot being
33 feet wide, and situated between a plot let to Richard Banckes on the
east and another let to Daniel Charlwood on the west.
The exterior (Plate 49) of the present house by its similarity of
design seems to indicate that it was built at about the same date as No.
44, that is, the very beginning of the 18th century. In 1698 Lady
Pierrepont was apparently still in residence, no entry with respect to
the house is made in the ratebook for 1699, and although Sir Joseph
Jekyll's name appears for the year 1700, he was not rated for that year.
Although by no means conclusive, these facts certainly favour the view that
the house was rebuilt in 1699 or 1700. The architectural arrangement
and decorative details of the interior, point, however, to a partial
reconstruction about the middle of the 18th century.
Sir John Soane made a survey of this house in 1806, from which
the plans on Plate 56 have been prepared.
The oak staircase and first floor landing are shown on Plates 57
and 58. The stairs have carved brackets and twisted balusters. It will
be noticed that newels have been omitted and the balusters clustered.
This gives rather a weak termination to an otherwise very good staircase.
The back stairs leading to the basement have turned balusters of good
The walls above the level of the first floor and the ceiling are enriched
with moulded panels and surface decorations.
The first floor front room (Plate 59) has a large recessed doorway,
flanked by Ionic columns, but no entablature is used, other than a plain
architrave and the cornice round the room. The columns are 19th
century additions, and partially take the place of cupboards shown on
Sir John Soane's plan.
Moulded ribs divide the ceiling into panels, and several of the latter
are enriched with moulded ornament.
Condition of repair.
The premises are in good repair.
According to the ratebooks the occupants of No. 46 were as follows:—
|1700–18.||Sir Joseph Jekyll.|
|1782–98.||"Mr. Serjt. Adair."|
William Pierrepont, 'Wise William', the celebrated politician of the Commonwealth period, was the second son of Robert, 1st Earl of Kingston, and was born about 1607. He represented
Great Wenlock in the Long Parliament, and exercised considerable influence in the
House. During the early part of the Civil War he was one of the heads of the peace
party, but after the breakdown of negotiations in the summer of 1643, and his
appointment in February, 1644, as a member of the Committee of Both Kingdoms,
he became a vigorous supporter of the war. For some time he was looked upon as
one of the leaders of the independent party, but Pride's Purge and the trial of the
king disgusted him, and for several years he kept aloof from politics. With Oliver
Cromwell he was on very good terms, and to his son Henry he was much attached.
On the death of the former he supported the Government of his son Richard, and
he has been identified with the mysterious friend "as considerable and as wise a
person as any was in England, who did not openly appear among Richard's adherents
or counsellors; but privately advised him, and had a very honourable design of
bringing the nation into freedom under this young man, who was so flexible
to good counsels." (fn. 2)
In the Convention Parliament of 1660 he was returned as member for Nottinghamshire, but the next year, being defeated, he never again sat in Parliament. In
1667 he was appointed one of the commissioners for the inspection of accounts. <He died in 1678. His residence at No. 46, Lincoln's Inn Fields had commenced some time before 1653, but he did not purchase the house until 1658.>
Sir Joseph Jekyll, son of John Jekyll, of London, was born in 1663. He was
called to the Bar in 1687, became chief justice of Chester in 1697, and in 1700
obtained the degree of serjeant-at-law, was appointed king's serjeant, and knighted.
He had entered Parliament in 1697 as member for Eye, Suffolk, and subsequently
sat for Lymington and Reigate. Throughout his career he consistently acted with
"Jekyll, or some odd old whig,
Who never chang'd his principle; or wig." (fn. 3)
He took an active part in the impeachment of Sacheverell in 1710, of the Earl of
Wintoun in 1716, and of the Earl of Oxford in 1717. In July of the last-mentioned
year he was appointed master of the Rolls, and sworn of the Privy Council. In
1725 he was chief commissioner of the Great Seal for a few months following the
resignation of Lord Macclesfield. (fn. 4) In 1734 he was seriously injured in Lincoln's
Inn Fields. (fn. 5) He incurred much odium by his introduction, in 1736, of the "Gin
Act," which provided for the laying of a tax of 20s. a gallon on the retailing of spirituous
liquors, and a guard of soldiers had to be posted at the Rolls Office in order to protect
him from the violence of the mob. (fn. 6) He died in 1738 at his country seat in Hertfordshire. His residence at No. 46, Lincoln's Inn Fields apparently lasted from about
1700 to his appointment to the mastership of the Rolls in 1717.
Particulars as to Nicholas Fazakerley are given under No. 35, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Alexander Wedderburn, Baron Loughborough and Earl of Rosslyn, was born
at Edinburgh in 1733. He was trained for the legal profession, and was enrolled as
advocate in 1754. In the same year he became a member of the general assembly
of the kirk of Scotland, where he greatly distinguished himself by his debating powers.
In August, 1757, he left the Scottish Bar under somewhat dramatic circumstances,
made his way to London, and in the following November was called to the English
Bar. He entered Parliament in 1761 as member for the Ayr Burghs. He was
professedly a Tory, but in 1768 he made so violent an attack on the government on
the subject of Wilkes, that he felt himself bound to accept the Chiltern Hundreds.
He returned almost immediately as member for Bishop's Castle, and a supporter of
the popular party. In the case of Wedderburn, however, personal interest rather
than any consistent political principle was the chief consideration, and in less than
three years he had completely broken with his new party, and accepted the position of
solicitor-general in Lord North's government. In 1778 he became attorneygeneral, and in 1780 was appointed chief justice of the common pleas and raised
to the peerage as Baron Loughborough of Loughborough, Leicestershire. In 1793
he was made lord chancellor, and retained the Great Seal until 1801. On his
retirement he was created Earl of Rosslyn. He died in 1805. From 1768 to 1772
he was resident at No. 64, Lincoln's Inn Fields. He then moved to No. 46, where
he continued to live until 1781. (fn. 7) During the Gordon riots in 1780 he is said to have
"fortified his private house in Lincoln's Inn Fields." (fn. 8)
ALEXANDER WEDDERBURN BARON LOUGHBOROUGH
James Adair first came into prominence in 1770, when he took part in the quarrel
between Wilkes and Horne Tooke, and in the following year he was one of the counsel
for the defence in certain prosecutions following the trial of the printers and publishers of the Junius letters. In 1775 he entered Parliament as member for Cockermouth, which borough he also represented in 1780, but from 1793 onwards he sat
for Higham Ferrers. In 1779 he was appointed recorder of the City of London,
a position which he held for ten years. He was made king's serjeant in 1782, and in
that year he seems to have entered on his occupation of No. 46, Lincoln's Inn Fields,
which was to be his residence for the remainder of his life. He died at the house (fn. 9)
in July, 1798.
In the Council's collection are:—
* Staircase (photograph).
* Balustrading and ornamental plasterwork, first floor level (photograph).
* Front room, first floor (photograph).