Survey of London: Volume 11, Chelsea, Part IV: the Royal Hospital. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1927.
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No. 6 UPPER CHEYNE ROW (NOW No. 18) - correction
Since the publication of the Survey of London, Vol. IV (Parish of Chelsea, Part II), our attention has been called to an inaccuracy in the reference on page 73 to No. 18 Upper Cheyne Row. (fn. 1)
It seems clear from the deeds in the possession of Mr. Cooper that the building (formerly No. 6) was erected soon after the purchase by one William Holloway in 1714 of two plots of land, side by side, each measuring 40 feet in length and 14 feet in width, and the details of the internal fittings correspond with this date. The staircase, too, is similar to the one in No. 12 Upper Cheyne Row, and the present owner having removed the wall paper in two of the rooms has revealed the original panelling, and has also opened out some of the old fire-places which had been filled in. Through the courtesy of Mr. Cooper we are able to make the following extracts from his deeds which relate to the house and a garden further north, part of which is now covered by houses and studios on the south side of Glebe Place. The earliest deeds are dated April, 1709, and are leases or releases from William Lord Cheyne to Elborow Glentworth and Thomas Hill of land in Cheyne Row, Chelsea, once part of the bowling-green, and we have already referred to the next deed dated 5th June, 1714, when these two original plots of land were purchased by Holloway from Thomas Hill and Elborow Glentworth. Later, in 1725, William Holloway's executor, Robert Gale, leases a further piece of land measuring 80X75 feet, described as lying "behind the gardens of Mr. Price, Mr. Nicholson, and Mrs.—." In another deed, dated 1735, there is a definite reference to the house erected on the piece of land purchased by William Holloway, and it is further stated that it was formerly occupied by Mr. Nicholson.
At this date (1735) the house and the garden (80X75 feet) are purchased from Holloway's executors by Capt. Alexander Descluseaux, in whose family they remained till 1757, when they were purchased by John Sheldon. Sheldon sold the house only (40x28 feet) in 1795 to John Hamilton who, in the year 1800, purchased also another piece of land measuring 66 feet north to south and 27 feet 6 inches east to west. This is the present garden of No. 18, and it does not appear in the earlier deeds we have quoted because it was Glebe land.
If the reader will now refer to the list of owners or occupiers of Cheyne House published on page 72 of Part II of the Survey of Chelsea he will see that, in the absence of the evidence now before us, we had placed De Clouseaux at Cheyne House from 1736–1757 with one break of four years. This, it will be noted, is the exact period of his possession of No. 18, and no doubt it is here that he should be correctly located. John Sheldon, the owner from 1757 to 1795, apparently resided in No. 18 from 1762– 1763 only.
We shall probably not be very far wrong if we attribute the building of Cheyne House to the period of John Hamilton, who purchased No. 18 in 1795. If this surmise be correct the "original house" stated on page 71 of the Survey of Chelsea, Part II, as having been built for the Duchess of Hamilton would really be No. 18 and Cheyne House itself must then be relegated to the end of the 18th century.
No lease to the Duchess, presumably only a tenant, is included in Mr. Cooper's deeds, but two of them dated 1709 and 1714 respectively have notes added in handwriting differing from that of the documents themselves "Ds. Hamilton late Nicholson." The latter we have seen is definitely alluded to on several occasions, while the rate-books give Mr. James Nicholson as residing in Upper Cheyne Road from 1726–1735, when he is superseded by de Clouseaux.