Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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XLVII.–L.—ARCH HOUSE AND LOMBARD TERRACE, Nos. 64 to 67, CHEYNE WALK.
Ground landlord, leaseholders, etc.
General description and date of structure
These four houses, built upon the site of the northern part of Arch House, appear to date from early in the 19th century. There is a stone tablet on No. 64 with the inscription:—LOMBARD TERRACE, the name derived from Lombard Street, which was formerly that part of Cheyne Walk lying between No. 67 and the entrance to Danvers Street. No. 67 projects southwards beyond the front of Nos. 64–66, being part of the wing which used to extend as far as the old bank of the river. Its south wall, which is plastered, marks the division, and also the northern side of the old archway leading into Lombard Street. The buildings are of stock brick with sash windows, and finish above with a plain parapet. The angle of No. 64 at the corner of Church Street is rounded, the curved portion being recessed slightly at each side to give it definition. The contemporary curved shop front is an excellent example of the date; the sash windows in this house are flanked by narrow lights, divided from the central sash by mullions. A continuous balcony of ironwork, of quite interesting cobweb design, surrounds the building above the shop-fronts, and in the doorways to Nos. 64 and 67 are fanlights of tasteful pattern.
The interior of No. 64 retains the old fittings, benches, etc., of the shop. There is, in the shop, an early chimney-piece with carved architrave, which antedates the house. The rooms on the upper floors also preserve some of their original chimney-pieces, doors, etc.
In 1733 the successors of Sir William Powell, alias Hinson, Bt., sold to Richard Coope inter alia, "all those four messuages or tenements (formerly one messuage) with the four stables and three gardens thereunto belonging situate in Chelsea, one of which said messuages was then or lately an Inn commonly called or known by the name of the White Horse Inn, and the same messuages do adjoin together and abut on the River Thames on the south, on a messuage in the tenure of Bryan Wade, gent., on the north, on a lane or street called Church Lane on the east, and on a messuage and garden ground in the tenure of John Ruberry, victualler, and — Humphrey gent., on the west, which premises were formerly purchased of the Lady Baker and Thomas Fisher." (fn. 1) So far as the property acquired from Lady Baker is concerned, this is almost certainly identical with that purchased on 27th June, 1625, by Sir Edward Powell (uncle of Sir William Powell above referred to) and Lady Mary Powell, of " Dame Constance Baker late wife and sole executrix of Sir Thomas Baker, late of Lowe Leighton, Essex, Knt." (fn. 2) The premises are described in the indenture of that date as "all that capitall messuage or house in Chelsey, wherein the late Rev. father in God Richard, late Lord Bishop of London, deceased, in his life tyme dwelled, and … other houses and edifices, which the said late Bishop purchased of Thomas Hungerford, (fn. 3) of Chelsey, and others, lately converted into one dwellinge howse, with all outhouses, edifices, buildings, etc., thereunto belonging … all of which premisses were heretofore the inheritance of the said late Bishop of London, and afterwards of Robert, late Earle of Salisburie, late Lord High Treasurer of England deceased."
Assuming, therefore, the accuracy of the identification of the property, it will be seen that Mr. Randall Davies' supposition (fn. 4) that Arch House was the house in Chelsea occupied by Bishop Fletcher is strikingly confirmed, though the suggested identification of Lady Baker with Fletcher's widow is, in any case, shown to be unfounded.
As regards that part of the property which was bought by the Powells from Thos. Fisher, I am inclined to identify it with that which formed the subject of an indenture (fn. 5) of 23rd April, 1646, between Thos. Fisher "of St. Martin's in the Feildes, gent., one of the yeomen ushers in ordinary of his Magties greate chamber," and the same Sir Edward Powell. This is described as "all that mesuage or tenemente sett lying and being in the parishe of Chelcheheth als Chelsey, in a streete called the north streete there together with all barnes, stables, houses, buildings, orchardes, gardens and backsides to the said mesuage belonging, and one little cottage with th' appurtenances in Chelchehith als Chelsey aforesaid next adjoining to the said mesuage … All which said premisses now are in the tenure of the said Sir Edw. Powell or his assigns and laid out and used to and with his capitall mesuage or mansion house in Chelsey aforesaid, and were formerly in the tenure of one Richard Middleton, clarke …" These premises had been twenty years previously purchased (fn. 6) by Fisher (then described as "citizen and merchant taylor of London") of his father "Thos. Fisher the Elder, of East Greenwich, warffenger." They are described in very similar terms, and practically the only additional information to be gleaned from the indenture of that date is that Sir Edward Powell's lease had been granted on 1st June, 1625.
No other transaction between Fisher and Powell can be found. Moreover, the fact that the property was at the date of purchase already "laid and used to and with [Powell's] capital messuage or mansion house," i.e., the house purchased from Lady Baker, strengthens the probability that this formed the remaining part of the premises afterwards known as Arch House and Lombard Terrace. I know of no other instance of the occurrence of the name, " the north streete," and in the absence of more definite information which would enable us to identify the street with certainty, I see no improbability in the supposition that it was what was afterwards known as Church Lane, now Church Street. Indeed, it is somewhat difficult to imagine which other street in Chelsea at the beginning of the 17th century could appropriately have been termed the "north" street.
The identification of Bishop Fletcher's residence is interesting on more than one account. In the first place it seems quite likely that Queen Elizabeth visited the house during the Bishop's occupancy, for Sir John Harrington, (fn. 7) after mentioning how by his second marriage Fletcher had incurred the Queen's displeasure, says: "Yet in a while he found means to please her so well, as she promised to come, and I think she did come to a house he had at Chelsey. For there was a stayre and dore made of purpose for her in a bay window," which suggests a special landing stage from the river. Mr. Davies quotes references to Fletcher, his first wife and children in the Parish Registers and also a paper amongst the add. MSS. of the B.M. (4133, fol. 266), which after reciting his debts and assets concludes " except the house at Chelsey which because it cannot be sold but with great disadvantage because of the thirds claimed by the widow, our humble suit is that it may be stalled for the Queen's debt."
Fletcher's death occurred in 1596, and as Thomas Hungerford, from whom he had purchased the property, had died in 1581 (fn. 8) the Bishop's occupation of the house must have lasted at least 15 years. This therefore brings us to the second point of interest connected with the identification of the house, for it would seem that John Fletcher, one of the Bishop's younger sons, who was 17 years old when his father died, must have spent the greater portion of his early life here. Though not, perhaps, a man of such genius as his collaborator, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher nevertheless holds a very high place among Elizabethan dramatists, particularly in respect of his comedies. "Few poets have been endowed with a larger share of wit and fancy, freshness and variety … The Faithful Shepherdess is (not excepting Ben Jonson's Sad Shepherd) the sweetest of English pastoral plays; and some of the songs scattered in profusion through Fletcher's works are hardly surpassed by Shakespeare." (fn. 9) It is interesting to note that he is generally considered to have been largely concerned in the authorship of Henry VIII. He died in 1625.
As has been seen, the house, after the Bishop's death, passed successively into the hands of the Earl of Salisbury, Sir Thomas Baker, and Sir Edward Powell. There is a reference to the vault beneath the house of Sir Edward Powell "which now passeth under ye Church Wharfe," in the "Articles and Considerations" for repairing the Church in 1631, where are several suggestions for the improvement of the river wall. Lady Mary Powell (Sir Edward's wife) lived at Chelsea while separated from her husband, and if, as seems fairly certain, her residence was Arch House, it was here that in September, 1651, occurred the extraordinary siege and capture of the house by an armed band of relatives, who held strict guard during her illness and until her death in the following month. Mr. Beaver (fn. 10) gives the circumstances which were published in proceedings before Parliament in 1657. On the death of Sir Edward, the house passed to his nephew William (afterwards Sir William) Powell alias Hinson. His occupation is marked by the verdict of the Court Leet in 1679. (fn. 11) "We present Sir William Powell of Fulham, Knt., for an encroachment in Church Lane, over against the Church, for erecting three stacks of chimnies, each stack jetting about 10 inches." Mr. Beaver conjectures that this may have been the occasion of the division of the house referred to in a letter by Dr. King, Chelsea's antiquarian rector, concerning the various houses that claimed to have been Sir Thos. More's and dated 1717, among them:—"that which was once Sir Reginald Bray's, at the Arch, which is now built into several tenements."
The house (or rather houses) continued in the possession of the Powell family, passing successively into the hands of Sir William Powell's daughter, Lady Mary Williams; her son, William Williams; and his four daughters Penelope (wife of Thomas Symonds), Elizabeth, Ann and Mary; until 1733, when the property was sold to Richard Coope. The four messuages into which the orginal house had been divided are described (fn. 12) in the deed of sale as being "then or late in the severa tenures or occupations of Doctor Tristram, Sir Yelverton Peyton, Bart., Thomas Ansell, John Tully and Clifford Liveland." The rate-books of 1733 give all these names in Lombard Terrace, with the exception of Dr. Tristram, the last two being spelt John Tuley and Clifford Leverland. In one of these houses, according to Faulkner, (fn. 13) Henry Sampson Woodfall lived from the time of his retirement from the editorship of the Public Advertiser in 1793 to his death in 1805, and this statement is confirmed by an entry in Holden's Triennial Directory for 1802–4:—"Mr. H. S. Woodfall, Lombard Street, Chelsea," and also by the rate-books of 1794 to 1800. He was buried in the churchyard of the old church, but his tombstone was removed to make room for the monument to Phillip Miller. A modern stone to his memory is affixed outside the east wall of the church.
The drawing by T. Malton (see Plate 4) in the Chelsea Public Library, shows the buildings as they were in 1788, and from this it seems that their date would very well coincide with the appearance of Sir William Powell's new chimneys in 1679. They form an L shape, the long arm extending by an arch over Lombard Street and reaching to the river, while the other lay at right angles along the north side of Cheyne Walk, between Arch House and Church Street, the site of the present Lombard Terrace.
Lombard Terrace seems from its style to have been rebuilt in the first quarter of the 19th century. At the same time Arch House must have been somewhat altered if we compare Malton's drawing with some photographs which were taken before 1871—the date of the commencement of the embankment. The eaves were replaced by a parapet, the whole front was covered with plaster which had imitation joints and quoins, and the windows of the ground floor were altered. The curved archway was replaced by a square opening, but the early doorway with Doric columns, entablature and pediment seems to have been preserved. The making of the embankment carried away Arch House and the southern side of Lombard Street, which merged thenceforward into the extended line of Cheyne Walk.
Lombard Terrace has been for some time in the occupation of small shopkeepers, but some few years ago the corner house, No. 64, was opened as a restaurant under the name of "The Good Intent." A haunt of Chelsea artists, the little restaurant deserves a passing mention. If it had remained, it might have inherited some of the fame of the 18th-century coffee-house of "Don Saltero" which was started close by in Lombard Street. Like its prototype, it had its show of antiquities (if not of curiosities), it provided good fare, and attracted to its benches the celebrities of the neighbourhood.
Old prints, views, etc.
(fn. 14) T. Malton. Water colour drawing of Chelsea Old Church, showing Arch
House (1788). Chelsea Public Library.
(fn. 14) Photograph of Arch House from the east in possession of Mr. Philip Norman.
(fn. 14) Photograph of Arch House from the west in possession of Mr. Phillip Norman.
In the Council's m.s. collection are:—
(fn. 14) Lombard Terrace and the Old Church (photograph).
Lombard Terrace, from the east (photograph).
Lombard Terrace, from the west (photograph).