Queen Anne's Gate (west)

Pages 101-105

Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1926.

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The site of the western portion of Queen Anne's Gate was formerly occupied by the grounds belonging to an inn called the White Hart. There are indications that this inn at one time belonged to the College of St. Stephen, Westminster. A mutilated document belonging to the period 1515–30, (fn. n1) mentioning the "Whight Harte" and the "Sarsonyshedde," seems to imply that the former had since the time of Richard (? II.) belonged to the College, and that the latter had recently been purchased by the Fraternity of St. Mary. If the former ever did belong to St. Stephen's, however, it must have been alienated some time before the Dissolution of Colleges in 1547, for the site was in the possession of Sir Hugh Vaughan before 1538 (see p. 142). Later it is found in the hands of his widow (see p. 79). It is probably to be identified with the property in Tothill Street which in 1553 was sold (fn. n2) by Francis Vaughan, Sir Hugh's son, to William Jennings. At any rate, Jennings' will, dated 27th August, 1558, (fn. n3) shows that he was in possession. The reference is a purely casual one, consisting of a provision that of £40 lent to the Queen "upon a prevye seale" £8 was to be "imployed "towardes the making of a wall in Tuthill Streete betwixt my tenementis called the White harte and the tenement called the Sarsons hed to serve bothe my tenauntes and other of the poor people."

At Jennings' death it came into the hands of his son-in-law, George Kendall, whose son Henry on 10th April, 1581, sold (fn. n4) to Thomas Pearson all that messuage, tenemente or Inne … commonlye called … the Whyte Harte, nowe or late in the tenure … of John Worley … scytuate … in Tuthill streete," and another messuage or tenement commonlye called the Sarazins hedd, nowe or late in the tenure … of John Jennynges … scituate … in Tuthill streete aforesayd."

Pearson died in January, 1590, (fn. n5) leaving two daughters, Susan Maynard and Mary Bowyer. His will (fn. n6) does not give details of his property, but the two inns are found afterwards in the possession of Sir Henry Maynard, the husband of the elder daughter. In the inquisition taken on the death in 1610 (fn. n7) of Sir Henry he is said to have been seised, with Dame Susan, of and in "all that messuage, tenement or inn … called the White harte, "situate … in Tuthill streate … all that messuage or tenement … "called the Saracens Head in Tuthill streete … and of and in six other "small tenements or cottages situated near the said messuage." Sir Henry was succeeded by his eldest son, William, who was elevated to the peerage of England as Baron Maynard, of Estaines, Co. Essex, in 1628, and died in 1641. (fn. n8) His inquisition mentions the property in much the same terms. On 7th April, 1653, his son, William, who at his father's death had been under age, sold (fn. n9) to Gervase Andrews, citizen and goldsmith of London, inter alia,
"all that messuage called the White Hart sometyme Harts Horne … in Tuttill Streete,"
25 tenements lying "on ye east parte of the said messuage … in a place called The White Hart Yard,"
two tenements adjoining the White Hart "on ye east parte thereof on the streete side,"
a tenement "on ye streete side adjoyning to ye said two tenements towards ye east,
two tenements "on the west side of ye … White Hart in a lane there called Turne Againe Lane,"
two tenements adjoining the last two "with a stable over against them in the said lane,"
two tenements in the lane adjoining the last two with a barn, a stable with a barn adjoining,
all those five bricke houses now converted into four scituate near … the White Hart,"
and a brick house or tenement adjoining."

Baron Maynard of of Estaines.

There had evidently been a considerable amount of building during the preceding twelve years, and the disappearance of the Saracen's Head suggests that some, at least, of the additional tenements occupied its site. It is uncertain whether any of them went subsequently to form the western half of Queen Anne's Gate. Some quite certainly did not, and it seems probable that none did.

Andrews died in 1653–54 (fn. n10) and on 9th October, 1657, his son and heir, John, sold (fn. n11) to Vincent Izatt "the White Hart sometyme Hartshorne … and all that garden or back side of the said messuage now or late in the tenure … of the Erle of Lincolne." Izatt in turn disposed (fn. n12) of the premises on 27th July, 1663, to William Carr, in whose family they continued until 1695 when they were purchased by Charles Shales. (fn. n13)

A later deed (1716) (fn. n14) shows that at some time in the interval the inn, with the ground belonging to it, had been transformed into "the house or "houses and garden ground … of Sir John Cutler, deceased." (fn. n15) A greater change was now to come over the scene. The deed of 1716 just quoted goes on to mention that "since his [Cutler's] death" several houses had been erected, and that "the same hath of late years and now is called … Queen Square. "In the ratebook for 1704 between the entries for George and Plow Yard and White Hart Yard appears the one word "Queen's," while in that for 1705 "Queen's Square" is given with two names: Lord Dartmouth and Wm. Pattison. In the ratebook for the next year (1706) the list of inhabitants of the square is practically complete. The date of building the square was, therefore, about 1704. (fn. n16)


On 4–5th November, 1713, Shales sold (fn. n17) the property, described as "a peice or parcell of ground with the erections and buildings thereupon now erected and built called Queens Square," to the Hon. James Brydges, who was the eldest son of James, eighth Lord Chandos, and afterwards became successively Earl of Carnarvon and Duke of Chandos. He retained the property for a few years only, selling it (fn. n18) on 5th June, 1720, to Sir Theodore Janssen, (fn. n19) a director of the South Sea Company. On the collapse of the "Bubble" towards the end of the same year Janssen lost heavily, and in the following year his estates, as well as those of the other directors, had (fn. n20) to be disclosed. As a result, nearly £200,000 of his estate was compulsorily disposed of for the benefit of the company's subscribers, (fn. n21) and amongst other property Queen Square was submitted to public auction on 27th March, 1723, at the South Sea House. (fn. n22) In addition to the houses and ground of the square, the property was stated to include "a Chappell in the said Square used for Divine Worship according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England, and … a Room adjoining to the said Chappell, a Gateway into St. James Park, the Gateway into the Stableyard there and the Pump there, a Visto at the end of the said Square, with a statue of her late Majesty Queen Anne erected at one end of the said Square." (fn. n23) In the event the 24 houses were divided among 13 purchasers, the total purchase price amounting to £23,087. (fn. n24)

Brydges, Duke of Chandos.

The description of Queen Square in 1708 as "a beautiful Square, of very fine Buildings" has already been referred to. It was an important residential position, and doubtless the designer of the square (fn. n25) had this in mind. The exteriors (Plates102) and 103) are representative of the period, and according to a sketch made in 1851 (Plate 101), the houses originally comprised three storeys above a basement and an attic storey with dormer windows in a tiled roof, a treatment which is still retained in the case of Nos. 15, 17, 19 and 40–46. All have a dark-brick front, with red-brick quoins, and gauged arches to the window openings, with the wood frames slightly recessed from the outer face of the wall, and some of the windows are divided into small squares. The two principal floors have the windowheads decorated with carved keystones (Plate 104). Flat stone bands across the front indicate the first and second-floor levels, while some of the houses retain their original modillion cornice to the eaves. Those entrance doorways which have kept their original features are flanked by pilasters with pierced carving, and are furnished with hoods, the frieze of which is similarly carved. A peculiar feature of these hoods is the arrangement of terminal pendants and shallow arches between. As far as is known, the design is not repeated elsewhere in London. The front areas, which afford light and access to the basements, have wrought-iron railings with ornamental castiron standards and vase terminals.

In the Council's Collection are:—

(fn. n26)General view of Queen Anne's Gate looking east (photograph).
(fn. n26)South side of Queen Square, 1851. (From a water-colour, by T. H. Shepherd, in the Crace Collection in the British Museum) (photograph).
Queen Square, Westminster, 1851, May 2 (pencil drawing, preliminary to above, by T. H. Shepherd).
(fn. n26)Details of some of the carved keystones (photograph).
The backs of the houses in Queen Anne's Gate (north side), overlooking St. James's Park, May, 1895 (water-colour, by J. P. Emslie).
(fn. n26)Entrance to Queen Square from St. James's Park (from a water-colour, by T. H. Shepherd, in the Crace Collection in the British Museum) (photograph).
Ancient mansion in St. James's Park, corner of Queen Square, October, 1851 (pencil drawing, preliminary to above, by T. H. Shepherd).
Original sketches of details in Park Street and Queen Square (pencil drawings, by John Carter).


  • n1. Chancery Proceedings, C.I., 235/87.
  • n2. Final concord between William Jennyns gentleman, qu: and Francis Vaughan esquire and Anthony Vaughan gentleman, def: concerning a messuage, two cottages, three gardens and a barn with appurtenances in "Totehyll Strete." (Feet of Fines, Midd., 7 Edw. VI., Easter.)
  • n3. P.C.C., 11, Welles. The will is a long one and of great interest. Among other items may be mentioned, (i) the provision that a sum of "six score poundes" owed to him by King Edward and Queen Mary is to be distributed among his kinsfolk and in works of charity, "if it be gotten," and the complaint that he is "yet unrecompensed for a cloase of xls. by yere whiche the Kinges majestie her father toke from me and putt it into the parke at Saint James," and (ii) the bequest of "a payer of Currall beades double gawded." This reminds us of Chaucer's Prioress who had such a "pair": "Of smal coral aboute hir arm she bar A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene."
  • n4. Close Roll, 1108.
  • n5. He was buried at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on 29th January, 1589–90. (Memorials of St. Margaret's, Westminster, p. 454.)
  • n6. P.C.C., 11, Drury.
  • n7. Burke's Extinct Peerage gives the date as 1616, but it is quite clear from the inquisition that he died on 11th May, 1610. (Inqq. P.M. 2nd series, Chancery, 319/195.)
  • n8. Burke's Extinct Peerage gives the date as 18th December, 1639, but the inquisition states that it was on 19th December, 1641. (Ibid., 615/129.)
  • n9. Close Roll, 3708.
  • n10. His will (P.C.C., 186, Aylett) was dated 25th September, 1653, and proved by his widow, Winifred, on 27th September, 1654.
  • n11. Close Roll, 3948.
  • n12. Ibid., 4140.
  • n13. Final concord between Chas. Shales, qu: Roger Rant and Grace his wife, Mary Carr and Elizabeth Carr, def: concerning one messuage, two cottages, one barn, two stables, two gardens and four acres in St. Margaret's, Westminster, and Chelsea. The four acres include a meadow of 3 ½ acres in Chelsea Mead which had formed part of all the previous transactions. Grace Rant was apparently Carr's widow, who had married again.
  • n14. Indenture, dated 12th September, 1716, between James, Earl of Carnarvon, and Nicholas Philpott and William Dobyns. (Middlesex Memorials, 1717, VI., 56–7.)
  • n15. Cutler was a wealthy London merchant, notorious for his avarice. Wycherley addressed to him certain verses entitled The Praise of Avarice, and Arbuthnot's story of his black worsted stockings which his maid had so often darned with silk that they became at last a pair of silk stockings, is well known. Though personally parsimonious, he made many large benefactions. He founded a lectureship on mechanics at Gresham College, built an anatomical theatre in the College of Physicians, and rebuilt the north gallery in the church of St. Margaret's, Westminster, for the benefit of the poor of the parish. He also gave £500 to be laid out in the purchase of property, the rent of which was to be applied to apprenticing poor boys likely to become chargeable to the parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster, such boys to be selected, if possible, from the Green Coat School. For many years he was an influential member of the Grocers' Company, and was four times master warden. In recognition of his efforts in promoting the subscription raised by the City for Charles II. at the Restoration, he received successively a knighthood and a baronetcy. He died in 1693.
  • n16. This is confirmed by the fact that a rain-water head at No. 28 Queen Anne's Gate bears the date 1704. In Hatton's New View of London (1708), the square is referred to as "Queen Square, a beautiful New (tho' small) Square, of very fine Buildings. On the N. side of the Broad Way, near Tuthil str. Westminster." Another early reference is the following: "A square called Queen's-square, well built, with noble hostells, and Her present Majesty's Statue at the End of it, which also opens into the Park by a curious Iron-gate. This Square hath a Chappel for the Conveniency of its Inhabitants."(A Journey through England in Familiar Letters from a Gentleman to his Friend Abroad (1714), p. 140.)
  • n17. Middlesex Memorials, 1714, II., 56–7. Shales is described as "of London, goldsmith."
  • n18. Close Roll, 5158.
  • n19. Janssen was born in France about 1658, and came to England in 1680. He amassed a large fortune by trade, was knighted by William III., and made a baronet by Anne. He died in 1748.
  • n20. Act of Parliament 7 Geo. I., c. 1. "An Act for restraining the … directors "… of the South Sea Company from going out of this kingdom … and for discovering their estates and effects."
  • n21. See his petition, dated 20th May, 1728, (House of Commons Journals, XXI., p. 170.)
  • n22. The conveyances were not completed until 1726, or (in some cases) later.
  • n23. Suit of Geo. and Saml. Rush, 1726. (Chancery Proceedings, C. XI., 1460/39.)
  • n24. The figures are taken from the several indentures, not from those given in Rush's suit (see above), some of which are clearly wrong.
  • n25. His name is unknown, but the person to whom the formation of the square is due was, of course, Charles Shales. The suggestion (S. Bannister, William Paterson, p. 396) that Paterson took an active part with Sir Theodore Janssen in building the square is out of the question, as the latter did not purchase the property until some years after the houses had been built. It is possible that Paterson assisted Shales, but there is no evidence to that effect.
  • n26. Reproduced here.