Survey of London: Volume 3, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt I: Lincoln's Inn Fields. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1912.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
XIX.—Nos. 61 and 62 LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
General description and date of structure.
The original house on the site of Nos. 61 and 62 was, for the most part, erected in 1639 or 1640, for it is referred to in a deed of 16th March, 1639, as a messuage "intended shortly to be erected and is nowe erecting," (fn. 1) and again in a deed of 9th March, 1641, as "lately … erected and built." (fn. 2)
The owner was Raphael Tartarean, carver to Queen Henrietta, he having apparently obtained a 45 years' lease of the ground. On the outbreak of the Civil War Tartarean accompanied the queen to Holland, leaving the house "not fully finished." He therefore entrusted it for completion to William Dodson ("being then a bricklayer and before chiefly employed in erecting the said building and management thereof"). The last instalment of Dodson's account was paid in September, 1643, (fn. 3) but the house seems to have been occupied as early as February of that year. (fn. 4)
The house lasted a little longer than a century, being demolished probably between 1746 and 1749, at which latter date it appears in the ratebook as two houses. This date is, moreover, in complete accord with the characteristics of the two buildings which were pulled down in 1910.
The front of No. 62 (shown on Plate 78) was of plain brick and stucco. The interior contained certain 18th-century work of merit, including an ornamental cast lead cistern, with devices somewhat similar to those on the cistern at No. 55.
As soon as the house was finished in 1643, Dodson leased it to Sir Peter Temple. At this time Sir Peter was acting with the parliamentarians, and held the commission of colonel in their army. On the execution of Charles I., however, he resigned in disgust. He died in 1653. He had left Lincoln's Inn Fields some time before 1650, (fn. 5) but it would seem that he was still in residence in 1648. (fn. 6)
In 1650 the house was leased, for 14 years to "Henry, Earle of Mountmouth, and Mary his Countess," subject to a fine of £300, at a rent of £100. (fn. 7) Henry Carey, the 2nd Earl of Monmouth, who succeeded to the title in 1639, owes his reputation entirely to his translations from the Italian and French. He died in 1661, but his countess is shown as still resident at the house in Lincoln's Inn Fields in July, 1663, (fn. 8) and in 1667. (fn. 9) (fn. c1)
In 1675, "The Earle of Scarsdale," (fn. 10) was in occupation.
In 1683 the Jury Presentment List shows Sir Robert Sawyer at the house. Sir Robert was a younger son of Sir Edmund Sawyer, auditor of the City of London. He acquired a good practice at the Bar, was returned to Parliament as member for Chipping Wycombe in 1673, was knighted in 1677, and in 1678 was elected speaker, though he held the office for barely a month. In 1681 he was made attorney-general, and as such conducted, inter alia, the case against the City of London charter in 1682, and the prosecutions arising out of the Rye House Plot in 1683–4. As the policy of James II. developed, Sawyer found himself less and less able to defend it, and, on receiving instructions to draw warrants authorising Roman Catholics to hold offices from which they were excluded by law, he declined to obey. Owing to the lack of men who combined the possession of the necessary experience and knowledge with the willingness to support his pretensions to the dispensing power, the king was compelled to retain Sawyer in office for some months, employing him when the law was to be enforced, and having recourse to Sir Thomas Powys, the solicitorgeneral, when the law was to be broken. This arrangement lasted until December, 1687, when "the king was able to obtain the services of an advocate at once baser than Powis and abler than Sawyer." (fn. 11) In the following year Sawyer acted as leading counsel for the seven bishops. After the Revolution, he was attacked for his conduct when obtaining the conviction, in 1684, of Sir Thomas Armstrong, and after an animated debate he was expelled from the House of Commons. In July, 1692, he died in his house at Highclere, Hampshire. His wife was still residing in the house in Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1695. (fn. 12)
In 1696 a private Act of Parliament was passed to enable the trustees of the Sawyer Estate to sell, with the consent of the Countess of Pembroke (fn. 13) and Lady Sawyer, "a messuage, garden and out-house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, late of Sir Robert Sawyer, Knt., deceased." (fn. 14) The purchaser was apparently Sir Thomas Powys, Sawyer's successor in the attorney-generalship, for he was certainly in occupation of the house in 1700, (fn. 15) having moved from No. 16, Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he is shown in 1695.
Sir Thomas Powys, second son of Thomas Powys, of Henley, Shropshire, was called to the Bar in 1673, (fn. 16) was made solicitor-general in 1686, and attorney-general in 1687. He conducted the prosecution of the seven bishops in 1688, and after the Revolution was one of the barristers usually employed in the defence of State prisoners. In this capacity he defended Fenwick in the proceedings against him by bill of attainder in 1696. Queen Anne made him successively serjeant and queen's serjeant, and in 1713 he was promoted to a seat on the queen's bench. According to Macaulay, he was "an obscure barrister, who had no qualification for high employment except servility." (fn. 17) His epitaph by Prior is to a very different effect: "As to his profession, in accusing cautious, in defending vehement, in his pleadings sedate, clear, strong; in all his decisions unprejudiced and equitable; he studied, practised and governed the law in such a manner, that nothing equalled his knowledge except his eloquence; nothing excelled both except his justice; and whether he was greater as an advocate or a judge is the only cause he left undecided." (fn. 18) He died on 4th April, 1719. Lady Powys continued to live at the house until 1723.
Sir Samuel Shepherd, who lived in No. 62 from 1805 to 1809, was the son of a London jeweller. Taking up the practice of the law, he was created serjeant-at-law in 1796, becoming in the same year king's serjeant, and subsequently king's ancient serjeant. In 1813 he was made solicitor general, and in 1817 attorney-general. He was knighted in 1814. From 1813 to 1819 he represented Dorchester in Parliament. In 1818 Lord Ellenborough resigned, and there can be no doubt that, in ordinary circumstances, Shepherd would have been chosen to succeed him as lord chief justice. From 1790, however, he had been troubled with deafness, which had gradually grown worse and worse. On this account he refused all offers of judicial positions "involving the trial of prisoners" (fn. 19) but accepted the post of lord chief baron of the court of exchequer in Scotland, which he held from 1819 to 1830. In the last few years of his life he was also blind. (fn. 20) He died in 1840.
It may be mentioned that towards the end of 1837 Thomas Campbell, the poet, recently become a widower, moved into "spacious chambers" in Lincoln's Inn Fields. (fn. 21) Redding states that the rooms were at No. 61, (fn. 22) and this is confirmed by the issues of Boyle's Court Guide for the years 1838 to 1841. These rooms, Hadden says, were furnished so expensively that Campbell had to undertake a new piece of hack work to cover the cost, and Redding has left an amusing description of the incredible confusion which prevailed in Campbell's quarters. (fn. 23) In the spring of 1841 he removed to No. 8, Victoria Square, Pimlico.
The Council's collection contains:—
* No. 61. Details of carved woodwork (measured drawing).
No. 61. Ornamental plaster ceiling, front room on first floor (photograph).
No. 62. Exterior (photograph).
No. 62. Entrance vestibule and staircase (photograph).
No. 62. Staircase, first floor level (photograph).
No. 62. First floor landing (photograph).
No. 62. Carved wood chimney-piece, middle room on ground floor (photograph).
No. 62. Front room on first floor (photograph).
No. 62. Cast lead cistern (measured drawing).
No. 62. Cast lead cistern (photograph).