XXV.—HIGH HOLBORN, BETWEEN LITTLE
TURNSTILE AND KINGSWAY.
In 1592 a Commission on Incroached Lands reported (fn. 1) the existence
of certain property in St. Giles, held without any grant, state, or demise from
the sovereign. On 29th August, 1609, James I. granted the whole of
this to Robert Angell and John Walker. As the point is of importance, the description of the premises included in the grant is here given in
some detail. (fn. 2)
"All that one messuage of ours with appurtenances in the tenure
of Thomas Greene, and one cottage with appurtenances, with garden, in
the tenure of Thomas Roberts, situated in the parish of St. Giles in-theFields … and all those four cottages with appurtenances lying and
being on the south side of the public way leading from the said town
called St. Giles-in-the-Fields towards Holborne … and all those small
cottages built within the small pightell called Pale Pingle, lying and being
within the parish of St. Giles opposite the aforesaid cottages, namely, on
the north side of the royal way between the town of St. Giles aforesaid
… and Holborne."
In 1650 a survey (fn. 3) was made of certain property "late belonginge
to Charles Stuart, late king of England," and included therein were a
number of premises, which extended along the south side of High Holborn
for a distance of 234½ feet eastwards from Little Queen Street, and the
easternmost house of which was The Falcon.
To the reversion in fee farm of this property a Mr. Gibbert laid
claim, basing his pretensions on the identification of the property with
certain of that included in the grant of James I. above referred to, and the
surveyors reviewed at length his title, annexing a "plott of ye ground"
(Plate 2). The conclusion to which they came was, that it was "clere
and aparent" that Green's messuage and Roberts' cottage and garden,
together with the four cottages opposite the Pale Pingle, were the tenements
granted to Gibbert, and that these were "at the least 40tie pole" distant
from the houses which he claimed. "Soe yt his clayme in those aforesaid
houses is very unreasonable, false, imperfect and untrue. And wee, whose
names are heerunto subscribed, shall (if Gibbert should bee so uncivell or
shameles heereafter to lay clayme to them before yor honors) make it clerely
appeare to the contrary if at any tyme required."
In spite of this emphatic condemnation of the unfortunate Mr.
Gibbert, there can be no doubt that the surveyors were wrong. They
seem entirely to have overlooked the possibility that the houses of Green
and Roberts were not adjacent to the four cottages opposite the Pale Pingle;
in fact, a perusal of the royal grant is sufficient to make it reasonably
certain that they were quite distinct. The matter is, however, capable of
A fortnight after the grant by James I., Angell and Walker conveyed
the whole of the property to Richard Reade and Henry Huddleston, (fn. 4) and
they in turn, on 23rd November, 1610, sold it to John Lee. (fn. 5) In the
indenture accompanying this sale the two first mentioned houses are described as "all that messuage or tenement with appurtenances, late in the
tenure of one Thomas Greene … now called the signe of The Falcon, also
one messuage or tenement or cottage there late in the tenure of one Thomas
It is quite clear therefore that Gibbert was right in his
contention, and that the premises extending from Little Queen Street
up to and including The Falcon had had their origin in the house of
Green and the cottage of Roberts, which had first been officially noticed
in 1592. There is also evidence (see below) that the land included in the
grant reached as far east as Little Turnstile.
With the above information it is possible to date the interesting
plan (Plate 2) appended by the surveyors to their report. It will be
apparent that this has almost exclusive reference to the property granted to
Angell and Walker in 1609. Thus, there are shown the four cottages by
the White Hart, opposite the Pale Pingle, the Pale Pingle itself, and the
land extending from Little Turnstile to Little Queen Street, including
Green's premises, the only building which in the royal grant is dignified
with the name of "house." It is therefore suggested with confidence that
the plan in question is a copy of the one appended to the grant of 1609.
With this assumption the title "Queene streete," given to the still unformed thoroughfare entering Purse Field is in entire accord. (fn. 6)
Immediately after or shortly before Lee's purchase, additional
buildings were erected, for on 11th December, 1610, he and Nicholas
Hawley sold The Falcon to William Woodward, (fn. 7) "with all yards, wayes,
waste groundes, stables and appurtenances," excepting, however, from
the sale "four little houses, cottages or tenements latelie builded on the
west side of the Falcon yarde." Moreover, in 1612–13, the same vendors
sold to William Lane, junior, one messuage, two cottages, two gardens,
and a rood of land with appurtenances in the parish of St. Giles. (fn. 8) As in
1661 the property immediately to the west of Little Turnstile is described
as "now or late" in the possession of Mistress Lane, (fn. 9) it is practically
certain that the land sold in 1612 was identical therewith, and Hollar's
plan of 1658 (Plate 3), which shows the area fully built on, indicates the
development which had taken place in the course of the half century.
Building on the remaining portion of the land had also greatly increased. (fn. 10) The survey of 1650 contains a detailed description of the
property, giving much interesting information as to the building materials,
arrangement of the rooms, outhouses, etc. The following is a list of the
premises. In most cases there were garrets in addition to the storeys
The Falcon (2 storeys), and a house (3 storeys) in the rear. Frontage
15 feet. (Present No. 233.)
A house of three storeys. Frontage 33 feet. (Present No. 232
and site of New Turnstile.)
The King's Head Inn (3 storeys), with an addition (2 storeys), a gateway, a smith's shop with room, stables, sadler's house, tenement of 2 storeys,
shed and coach-houses, houses of office. Frontage 54 feet. (Present
Two small tenements lying in front of The King's Head (3 storeys), a
house (3 storeys), with small back addition. Frontage 19 feet.
A house (3 storeys), a garden with coach-house and stable. Frontage
26 feet. (The site of these last two houses is now occupied by the Holborn
Station of the Piccadilly tube railway.)
The Gate Tavern (3 storeys.) Special mention is made of the
"very faire and spacious dyneinge room, 38 feet in length," on the first
floor. A bowling alley and gardens were in the rear. Frontage 38 feet.
The site is occupied partly by the Holborn station and partly by Kingsway.
A house of 3 storeys, with a garden containing a small tenement of
2 storeys. Frontage 16 feet.
A similar house, with a garden containing a "small decayed
tenement." Frontage 16 feet.
A tenement of 2 storeys, with a shop on the ground floor, a back
addition of 2 storeys. In the garden behind were two small tenements of
2 storeys. Frontage 17½ feet. The site of the three last mentioned houses
is now covered by Kingsway.
It will be seen from the above that New Turnstile was not included
in the original scheme for building. It is not shown in Morden and Lea's
Map of 1682, nor in the map accompanying Hatton's New Guide to London
of 1708, but appears in the sewer rate book for 1723.