Survey of London Monograph 5, Brooke House, Hackney. Originally published by Guild & School of Handicraft, London, 1904.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER II. BIOGRAPHICAL.
There are in the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum, particulars of the possessions of the Templars in "Hakeney," dated 5 Edward III., 1332. (fn. 1) When the order was abolished, all their possessions in England near the Metropolis were granted to the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem at Clerkenwell; the whole brotherhood of which, though they disclaimed the military and political pursuits of their predecessors, continued their Ecclesiastical establishments, and even improved upon their system. (fn. 2)There is, as before stated, extant, the record of the grant of the manor of Hackneis (with other lands) to Elizabeth, Queen of Edward IV. This grant is dated July 7th "In the seventh year of our reign." .
Henry Algernon Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, to whom, Henry VIII. presented the manor, was eldest son of Henry Algernon the 5th Earl. He was born about 1502, and was sent when quite young to be a page in Wolsey's household. He was knighted in 1519, and, in spite of the fact that his father had destined him as early as 1516 for Mary Talbot, the daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, he fell in love with Anne Boleyne, then aged about 20, one of the maids of honour to Queen Catherine. The intrigue was soon discovered, & Wolsey, who knew by this time the King's inclinations, scolded the young man. Lord Percy gave way, but there is little doubt that the attachment lasted through his life. On the 19th May, 1527, he succeeded his father as 6th Earl of Northumberland, and in 1530 was employed in the arrest for high treason of his old employer Cardinal Wolsey. He had many misfortunes. He was constantly ill from a kind of ague, burdened with debt, and yet had to keep up a vast establishment, and engage in fighting on his own account. To add to his other distresses, he disagreed with his wife, who soon returned to her father, and hated her husband heartily for the rest of his short life. In 1532 Northumberland stood in great peril. His wife, drawing doubtless upon her recollection of matrimonial squabbles, accused him of a pre-contract with Anne Boleyne, confiding her alleged grievance to her father, who cautiously mentioned the matter to the Duke of Norfolk. Anne Boleyne herself ordered a public enquiry, Northumberland denied the accusation, and his accusers were routed. (fn. 3)
When the jealous and inconstant Monarch's affection for Anne Boleyne (then his Queen) began to decline, this pre-contract was made the pretence for a divorce, and the King having procured the condemnation of the amiable but unfortunate Anne by adding insult to cruelty, he determined to give her fresh cause of mortification before she died. To this end a confession was extorted from her that the pre-contract before referred to existed between Lord Percy's father and herself on behalf of Lord Percy; but this was strongly denied by the Earl in a memorial, dated Newington Green, May 13, 1537, and written to Cromwell, Earl of Essex. In this letter he denied that he had been pre-contracted to her. There is little doubt of the Earl's veracity, for we are informed that the avowal was drawn from the Queen "by an intimation that the King would upon no other condition mitigate her cruel sentence of burning into the milder one of being beheaded." (fn. 4)
"Mr. Secretary, This shall be to signify unto you that I perceive by Sir Reynold Carnaby that there is supposed a precontract between the Queen and me: whereupon I was not only heretofore examined upon mine oath before the Archbishops of Canterbury & York, but also received the Blessed Sacrament upon the same before the Duke of Norfolk and others the Kings Highness Council learned in the Spiritual law assuring you, Mr. Secretary, by the said oath and Blessed Body which afore I received, and hereafter intend to receive that the same may be my damnation if ever there was any contract or promise of marriage between me and her. At Newington Green the 13th day of May in the 28th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King Henry 8th.
Having no children, in 1535 he began to arrange his affairs. He wrote to Cromwell, Earl of Essex, that the king had given him leave to name any of his blood his heir, but on account of their "debylytery and unnaturalness" he had determined to make the king his heir; and this decision he confirmed later. In May 1536 he formed one of the Court for the trial of Anne Boleyne, but when he saw her, was overcome and retired.
By June 1537 his mind was fast failing. He removed to Newington Green, where, according to the Dictionary of National Biography, Richard Leighton visited him on June 29th 1537. He says that he found him "languens in extremis, sight and speech failed, his stomach swollen so great as I never see none, and his whole body as yellow as saffron." (fn. 5) The account of his funeral in the Herald's College says:—"Henry Earl of Northumberland died at his manor of Hackney, in the King's House, between 2 and 3 in the morning, on the 29th of June 1537, 29 Hen. 8." From this record it would certainly appear that the Earl breathed his last at Brooke House, and not at Newington Green. He was buried in Hackney Church (then known as St. Augustine's), and his funeral was attended by the four orders of friers, clerks, and "priests a great number." Divine service was performed by the Bishop of St. Asaph and the Abbot of Stratford. (fn. 6) Weever (fn. 7)quotes the following inscription from his tomb:—
The Earl of Northumberland having in 1535 conveyed the manor to Sir Thomas Audley for the king's use, though he retained and resided in the manor house until his death, the manor seems to have remained vested in the Crown, being then known as Kingshold, until the first year of the reign of Edward VI., when the young king, following out the intention of his father, granted the manor to Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. This grant is dated July 10th 1547 [1 Edw. VI.] and records the "grant of the Manor of Brook or King's Place to Sir William Herbert, Knt., gent. of the Privy Chamber to K. Hen. VIII."
|for the moyetie of the keepere of the Manore and Bailifes fee||li||s||d|
|there by the yeare. cleere||19||2||5|
Sir William, born 1501, was the first Earl of Pembroke of the second creation, and as a youth seems to have entered the service of his kinsman the Earl of Worcester, and soon attracted notice at Court. He became in 1526 a gentleman pensioner and esquire of the body of the king. He has been styled a "mad young fighting fellow," and it is related of him that on Midsummer day 1527 he took part in an affray at Bristol between some Welshmen and the watchman, and a few days later killed a mercer named Vaughan on account of a "want of some respect in compliment." Thereupon he is said to have fled to France, to have joined the French army, and to have distinguished himself so conspicuously by his courage and wit, that the French king wrote in his favour to Henry VIII. He returned home and married Ann, younger daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, and sister of Catherine Parr who became, on July 12th 1543, Henry VIII.'s sixth queen. Thenceforth Herbert's place in the royal favour was assured, and royal grants soon made him a man of fortune. He was knighted in 1543, was an executor of Henry VIII.'s will, and was nominated by the king as one of Edward VI.'s new Privy Council. (fn. 8)
His London residence was probably Baynard's Castle, which came to him through Henry VIII., with the Manor of Hendon, Midd. He died at Hampton Court on the 17th March 1569–70, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, on the north side of the choir.
In an account rendered by the King's Bailiffs "of all the lordships, manors, lands, & possessions, as well temporal as spiritual, whatsoever being in the hands of our Lord the King, as well by reason of the suppression and surrender of divers late monasteries, priories, and other religious houses, as by reason of exchange, purchase, and attainder," it is stated that this account is rendered because the said manor (of Hackney) with the appurtenances, is granted (among other things) to "the Most Noble Wm. Earl of Pembroke by the name of Sir William Herbert, Kt., and to his heirs for ever by the letters patent of our Lord King Edward VI. dated the 10th day of July in the 1st year of his reign . . . To hold the same of our said Lord the King his heirs and successors in capite by the service of the twentieth part of a knight's ffee and at the yearly rent of 38s. 3d. to be paid yearly."
Sir Ralph Sadler, [Sadleyer or Sadleir] who purchased the manor from the Earl of Pembroke, was born in Hackney in 1507, and was descended from an ancient family seated at Hackney. He was the eldest son of Henry Sadleir, received a good education, and entered at an early age the family of Thomas Cromwell, afterwards Earl of Essex, whose increasing favour with King Henry VIII. proved highly beneficial to his ward's fortunes. (fn. 9)
He married Margaret Mitchell, a laundress to the Earl's family, in the lifetime, though absence, of her husband—Matthew Barr, a tradesman, presumed to be dead at that time—and he procured an Act of Parliament (37 Hen. 8) for the legitimation of the children by her.
Being Secretary to the Earl of Essex he wrote many things treating of State affairs, & by that means became known to the "Bluff Harry," who took him from his master in the 26th year of his reign, and appointed him Master of the Great Wardrobe. This was a happy circumstance for him, as it relieved him from the danger of falling with his noble patron. In the 30th year of his reign Mr. Ralph Sadleir was sworn of His Majesty's Privy Council, and appointed one of the principal Secretaries of State. The King appointed him by his will as one of the Vice-Regents of the kingdom during the minority of his son Edward VI., and he bequeathed to him £200 as a legacy. He acquired also (32nd Henry VIII.) by grant from the King, the Manor of Bromley, together with the church and the suppressed monastery. (fn. 10) In the first year of Edward VI. Sir Ralph was appointed Treasurer for the Army. He was present at the battle of Musselburgh in Scotland—10th September 1547—and when the English were almost routed, rallied our scattered troops, and invited them to fight by his example. For this his General created him a KnightBanneret, and the King of Scots' standard which he took in that battle, stood afterwards by his monument in the Church of Standon, Herts. The pole only is said to be now left, about 20 feet high, of fir, encircled with a thin plate of iron from the bottom above the reach of a horseman's sword.
In the time of Queen Mary he resigned and lived privately at Standon. He was a Privy Counsellor to Queen Elizabeth in the first year of her reign, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the tenth, which he held till his death on 30th March, 1587, in the 80th year of his age.
Sadleir is described as a most exquisite writer and a most valiant and experienced soldier—qualifications that seldom meet. "He was small in stature, but tall in performances ; little was his body, but great his soul." He was accounted at one time the richest commoner of England, & the great estate which he got honestly, he spent nobly. (fn. 11)
He was a great promoter of the glorious Reformation ; and he left—be— sides a good estate to his family—a pardon gained of the Pope by his servant, when he was at Rome with his master Cromwell, for his own and successors' sins for three generations; but he was too wise to make any other use of it than to be merry. (fn. 12)
From these records it is evident that Sir Wymond Carewe died seized of the manor, anno 1549, leaving Thomas his son and heir æt. 22. Thomas Carew died anno 1564, leaving Richard his son and heir æt. 17. (fn. 13)
Sir Henry Carey is perhaps the most interesting character of all those who claimed at one time or another the proprietorship of the manor & its manor house. Born about 1524, he was the only son of William Carey, "penniless but nobly born," esquire of the body of Henry VIII., by his wife Mary, sister of Anne Boleyn. Through his mother he was first cousin to Queen Elizabeth, by whom he was knighted soon after her accession, and was created Baron Hunsdon on January 13, 1558-9.
He has been described as "very choleric but not malicious," and it was merrily said by Sir Robert Naunton in his "Fragmenta Regalia" that his "Latine and his dissimulation were both alike, and that his custom in swearing and obscenity in speech made him seem a worse Christian than he was, and a better knight of the carpet than he could be." "He might have been with the Queen whatsoever he would himself; but would be no more than what he was, preferring enough above a feast in that interest." "He hung at Court on no man's sleve but stood on his own botome till the time of his death, having a competent estate of his own, given him by the Queen."
Three times he was in election to be Earl of Wiltshire, but some intervening accident retarded it. When he lay on his death-bed the queen gave him a gracious visit. Causing his patent for the said earldom to be drawn, his robes to be made, & both to be laid down upon his bed, "this lord" (who could dissemble neither well nor sick), "Madam," said he, "seeing you counted me not worthy of this honour whilst I was living, I count myself unworthy of it now I am dying."
He was buried at Westminster Abbey, on the site of the altar in the chapel of St. John the Baptist, on 12th August, at the queen's expense ; and a magnificent and stately monument of alabaster and marble was erected to his memory by his son, Sir George Carey, who succeeded to the title.
Hunsdon was Lord of the Manor from 1578 to 1583, and it was during his tenure that the manor house was so considerably altered, his work surviving to the present day; though, unfortunately, the exigencies of modern occupancy have destroyed at least the character of the old gallery.
In the British Museum is a copy of "Froissart's Chronicles" at one time in the possession of Lord Hunsdon, and upon the flyleaves is a record, in his own handwriting, of the births of his children. "It is characteristic of Lord Hunsdon," says Sir Robert Naunton, "to have entered these family notes—which are usually made in a Bible—in such a book as "Froissart," a work that doubtless he had read through a hundred times. He was one who "lived in a ruffling time, and loved sword-andbuckler men." Possibly Froissart was his text book.
It would appear from contemporary records that shortly before Lord Hunsdon's occupation of Brooke House, the queen had permitted the tenancy of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, daughter of Queen Margaret Tudor, a god-child of Cardinal Wolsey and grandmother of King James I.; and it is said that she removed here from Barber's Barn, an ancient house in another part of Hackney. This was a small favour, considering the near connection between these two ladies—and one that was soon to be cancelled by death, for on March 7, 1577-8 the questionable Earl of Leicester called upon, and, after long private conversation dined with her. On his departure the Countess was seized with sudden illness, and expired shortly after, popular report judging the earl as guilty of her death. (fn. 14) She was at first interred in Hackney Church, but James I. on his accession removed her body, and his mother's, to Westminster— where both lie under marble altar tombs in Henry VII.'s chapel.
Queen Elizabeth held her Court at Hackney about 1587, and stayed in Sir Rowland Hayward's House— i.e., Brooke House (King's Hold). (fn. 15)
We find by the Churchwarden's Accompts of St. Margaret, Westminster, that their bells were rung on the 28th May, 1590, "when her Majesty removed from Hackney, to my Chancellor Sir Chris: Hatton at his then newly-erected mansion."
The Lady Vaux was a pronounced adherent of the Roman Catholic party, and gave much of her time & wealth to the fostering of the tenets of that faith. She was a devoted friend to the priesthood and provided shelter for many a hunted "father" in one or other of her houses. Of the "priest's hole" at Brooke House we have already written.
The Rt. Hon. the Countess Elizabeth of Oxford was the daughter of James Trentham, of Rowcester, Staffs., and at one time was maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth. She was second wife to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxenford, who was buried at Hackney the 6th of July 1604.
In a table of those living at Clapton in 1605, this lady is noted as residing at Brooke House. She was buried in Hackney Church Dec. 3, 1612. (fn. 16)
It was during the occupancy of the Countess of Oxford, or shortly after when it again became vested in the Crown (temp. James I.) (fn. 17) that an inventory of the goods in the house was prepared. (fn. 18) It is now in the British Museum, and is a curious document, worthy of reproduction as indicating very precisely the apartments then existing and their contents :—
In the great Parlor. Item.—Hanginge of blewe and yellow seige, a side cubberd, a picture hanging over the same wth an iron rodde for a curtayne, a story of Mounte Syon in a byble, one other table wth a story of Moyses and Aaron.
In the Hall. Item.—Slayne clothes, a picture of Adam and Eve, a picture of Fame and Tyme, a waynscott cubberd, with inner cubberds, twoe lockes and one key, and a table uppon a frame, with one forme, and twoe benches.
In the Presse Chamber. Item.—A clere story glased with two casements and iron barres, a newe presse with three romes, and a little presse, with four bolts to them, and a locke, a presse of waynscot ij romes, and ij coberdes, ij lockes, j key.
In the Study in the great Chamber. Item.—A dore with lock and key, a bench and a shelfe, the study cealed with deale, two . . . . windows of . . . . lights, and two casements, newe glazed, and iron barres.
In the Chamber over it Item.—A bedstede, the windowes unglased, two wodden windowes to shutt, two dores, to the great dore a lock and a key, and two great bolts and a chayne, a bolte to the other dore, a dore to the chamber with lock and key, a window glazed, and a great casement.
In the Wash-yarde. Item.—One great cesterne of leade, and a cock to serve them. Item.—In the ffield, a cesterne of leade sette in stone, to water horse att, with cock and pipe thereto. It'm.—In the gardeyn, a cesterne of leade with pipe and cock thereto. Item.—A cesterne of leade in the orchard, with pipe and cock thereto.
In my Ladies Chamber. Item.—A transomed window of twelve lights, with two casements newe glased, and with iron barres, a dore with locke and key, and two boltes and a latch, a dore with a bolte to the Mayd' Chamber.
In Rowland Beresfourd Chamber. Item.—Two faire wyndowes of viij lights, a peece besides thereto newlie glased with two casements and barres of iron with curtayn rodds, a portall of waynscott and three cubberd dores without locks and keyes, to the portall a latche, one dore of deal borde with the flower of the same, one bolte to the dore, no locke but a ring, a dore to the Study in that chamber with a very good lock and key, in that Study a clere story of two lights, with one casement & iron barres and two shelves.
In Mrs. Norris, her Chamber. Item.—Two transomed wyndowes of viij lights a peece to each of them, two great casements all barred with iron . . . lights, the wyndowe peeces of newe waynscot, and the portall with a peece of waynscot betwene the portall and wyndowe, to the portall there is two dores, and to them two latches a story of the vj maide.
In the entry to the Great Chamber. Item.—A fayre transomed wyndowe of ffourtene lights, one casement and iron barres, two clere stories both of twelve lights, two dores with two locks, and one key to open both.
In the Great Chamber. Item.—The same chamber waynscotted, a portall with two waynscot dores and fyve other waynscot dores to it, to those dores foure latches, no locks nor keyes, a . . . coberte and one bolte, a dore with lock and key, to the staireshed, two transomed wyndowes of tenn lights a-piece, three casements and twoe ende lights in the study, within it a dore, locke, and key, the study waynscotted with deal, & two wyndowes glased, with xij lights, ij casements, iron bars, a tabell with frame, and iij . . .
In the foure upper Lofts of the newe frame. Item.—One dore for the one, of thick elme, nayled, with a locke and key and a bolte, a dore to the next lofte, of deale, a bolte without a locke ; an old dore to the inner lofte, with a lock & bolte; to these four lofts there are seaven transomed wyndowes of eight lights a-peece, to every wyndowe a casement, and all wodden barres. It'm.—In the study loft two shelves, and in the . . . lofte a tabell and two tresseles.
Three years before the Countess of Oxford's death she alienated the Manor House to Fulke Greville, 1st Lord Brooke. It has been stated that it was this nobleman who first gave the title of Brooke House to the mansion, but from the Hackney records previously referred to, this would appear to be incorrect. It is a fact also that he was not the first Brooke to occupy the mansion, and it is quite likely to have received its designation from Sir William Brooke, Lord Cobham, as during the tenure of the Carews it is probable that Sir William was in occupation, the Hackney registers recording the birth of a daughter, June 2, 1563. Sir Fulke was the only son of Sir Fulke Greville, of Beauchamp Court, Warwickshire. (fn. 19)
"In conformitie to the Instrumt. of the ninth day of Decembr. 1613, from the Bishp. of this dyosses aforesaid, have made choyce accordyngly of the Most Emynent, ablest, Antiant of the said parish, for the supply of Vestry Men whose Names are heare Under written.
On the death of this Lord Brooke the house came into the possession of his son the Rt. Hon. Robert; and the local Church-records show that —with his wife Dame Anne—he was residing in the mansion in the years 1664-5.
Lord Brooke left no male issue at his death, which happened in 1676. (fn. 20)
Of William Hobson, who next held the proprietorship, we have no knowledge beyond the fact that the mansion was, by his sons-in-law as trustees, alienated to the Rt. Hon. Sir George Vyner, Kt. and Bart.
The Communion plate of St. John's Church dates from 1662 to 1689, and amongst this were two silver flagons "ex dono Sir G. Vyner" without date, but probably about 1672. (fn. 21)
The Tyssens—subsequent owners—were formerly merchants at Flushing, and settled in London about the time of James II. Francis Tyssen lived at Shacklewell and purchased the manor in 1698. He died in 1717 and was buried at Hackney.
At the beginning of the last century the property passed—through failure of male heirs and by marriage of an heiress—to Mr. William George Daniel of Foley House, Kent, who thereupon assumed, by royal assent, the surname and arms of Tyssen. His eldest son, who inherited the manor, took the additional name of Amhurst.