Survey of London: Volume 6, Hammersmith. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1915.
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XXXV.—LINDEN HOUSE, GRAFTON HOUSE, AND THE SITE OF SEAGREENS
Ground landlord, leaseholders, etc.
General description and date of structure.
No documentary evidence has come to light regarding the precise date (fn. 1) of either of these 18thcentury houses, nor have we the assistance of the rate-books before the year 1795. In this year, however, we find next to Seagreens (the house belonging to Mr. Lewis Weltje, which is rated at £90) two houses in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Winter and Mr. Barford, with rateable values of £75 and £30 respectively. The former of these is evidently Linden House and the latter Grafton House, and the existence of the two houses as far back as 1733 is affirmed by a deed quoted below. Whatever their history, they must have been quite delightful residences before the indifference of modern commercialism permitted the erection of a margarine factory in close proximity and the intervention of a motor-boat works between them and the river. While Grafton House has been considerably altered by modern additions, Linden House still presents a pleasing front, spacious and low in its proportions, towards the south. The building is of two storeys, treated quite simply in stock brick, the central portion projecting slightly beyond the face of the main wall and surmounted by a plain brick-filled pediment. A further slight projection in the centre marks the entrance with its flanking windows and carries the lines vertically through the first floor. The horizontal cornice of the pediment is taken round the rest of the house above the heads of the first-floor windows, while above this the brickwork is carried up to half the height of the pediment itself. The entrance is a charming piece of design. The door and the semicircular-headed windows on each side are separated by Ionic columns, and flanked by pilasters which carry a frieze and dentil cornice without any architrave, while the central portion has a pediment. The whole design is in wood. The grouping of the windows and door on the ground floor is repeated in the arrangement of the first-floor windows, and the whole front, though unostentatious, is an excellent example of the style of the middle part of the 18th century, worthy of better neighbours than the present oil mills, which disfigure the river-side and which Hammersmith could well afford to lose.
The two houses are now used as one residence, and in all probability they were originally designed as such. In the garden is a wrought-iron gateway of early 18th-century date and of excellent design. Whether it originally belonged to the property or was brought from elsewhere is not known, but it is not improbable that it has come from one of the early houses on the Mall. The gardens have some old walls, and are of good size.
Historical and biographical notes.
Seagreens, the house which lay west of Upper Mall House, owed its name to a building or estate which had a respectable antiquity. Now that it has disappeared and Weltje Road occupies the site of the gardens, its memory is almost lost to Hammersmith. Sufficient information has not yet been obtained to enable us to give the full history or extent of the property, but since it must hold an important place in any account of the Mall, it may be worth while to give such data as are at present available, which will at least form some foundation for future research.
Two early references to Seagreens in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Fulham must be given to indicate the antiquity of the name, although we have no precise evidence of its position. In 8 Richard II. (1384–85) Richard, son and heir of John Stiler, is admitted to a messuage and "10 akeware terre" in Fulham called "Segrnns"; and in 33 Henry VI. (1454–55) John Burton surrendered to Robert Burton (son of William Burton) and Isabella his wife a garden of wood called "Segrymeshaugh in Palengswyk," (fn. 2) where was formerly the tenement called "Segrymmes."
We have already referred to the gift of Edward Trussell to the poor when he closed the old right of way across the Seagreens' property in the middle of the 17th century. (fn. 3) This footpath is apparently referred to in an entry in the Fulham Court Rolls on 27th September, 1651, from which we learn that Edward Trussell and Susan his wife surrendered, inter alia, to the purposes of the former's will, a messuage or tenement in Hammersmith, with gardens, orchards, curtilages and backsides, and 2½ acres of land near adjoining to the messuage, as well as a piece of waste, lately enclosed, formerly a common footway, lying within the garden wall of the said messuage. A tablet formerly in the church commemorated the death in 1657 of Mary Green, a married daughter of Edward Trussell. The next reference to be found in the Fulham Court Rolls is in 1681, after the death of George Trussell (who came into the property during his father, Edward's lifetime (fn. 4)), when Alderman Breedon (fn. 5) is given as tenant. This is confirmed by the Hearth Tax Rolls, which give the name of Alderman Trussell at a house, assessed at sixteen hearths, in 1666, and Alderman Breedon at the same house in 1674.
At the Court of the Manor held in 1681 George Trussell's death was recorded, and it was stated that, his son Edward Trussell being also dead, his daughter Elizabeth became heir to his estate, and she was admitted accordingly. Elizabeth Trussell subsequently married Francis Merrick, (fn. 6) and in 1707 their son, John Merrick of Southall, succeeded at his father's death. He left the property by will to his sister Isabella, whose married name was Nelson, and Isabella Nelson, widow, was admitted in 1749. At her decease in 1770 her nephew, Francis Ascough, "of Southall," inherited the property under her will, and in 1786 he surrendered it to George Merrick Ascough, his son. The latter sold the premises in 1790 to Louis Weltje. In all these entries in the Court Rolls the description varies little from the last, which runs: "all that customary messuage or Tenement situate on the Mall in Hammersmith called Seagreens with the appurtenances and two orchards, curtilages and courtyards to the said messuage belonging or appertaining."
Faulkner, (fn. 7) after referring to Edward Trussell, says that Seagreens "was subsequently occupied by William, Lord Allington, his son-in-law, Sir George Warburton, Sir Thomas Beavor and a Duke of Norfolk." The house was divided into two parts at a later date, and in a document quoted below (1751) the tenants are given as Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Alexander. Faulkner also mentions that the house was "divided into two separate dwellings" when in the occupation of Christopher, brother of Louis Weltje.
The actual date of the erection of Linden House and Grafton House has yet to be ascertained, but the following notes relate to the property. In the sale of the Manor of Palingswick by John, Eleanor and William Payne to Richard Gurney in 1631 (fn. 8) were included one messuage with appurtenances and 3 acres and 2 roods of land in possession of Richard London. Dame Elizabeth Gurney disposed of the property in question to Maximilian Bard in 1651, on which occasion it is described in detail. The messuage and I acre have already been dealt with under the head of Upper Mall House. (fn. 9) The description of the remainder is as follows: "Also all that close of land in Hamersmyth, now or late in occupation of Richard London . . . containing 2½ acres, being now planted with fruites and herbs and made and converted into an orchard and garden, abutting east on the land now or late of the said Richard London, west and north upon the land of John Lasleyes, and south on the river of Thames." The property is mentioned in precisely the same terms (save that the occupiers are said to be Richard London, then Mrs. Winter, since Richard Rawlins) in a mortgage (afterwards redeemed) dated 24th November, 1716. (fn. 10) On 25th October, 1733, Dame Persiana Bard sold it (fn. 11) to Samuel "Bever" of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, woollen draper. In addition to the names of the three former occupants, as above, being mentioned, it is stated to be in the occupation "now of the said Samuel Bever," and to comprise, in addition to the orchard, etc., "all that messuage or tenement and dwelling house (heretofore divided into two tenements) thereupon erected."
There can be little doubt that the 2½ acres comprised the land on the east of Beavor Lane containing the sites of Linden House and Grafton House on the south and of Beavor Lodge on the north, all three of which are known to have been in Bever's possession, though it must be admitted that the description of the eastern boundary in 1651 as land of Richard London is a difficulty.
On 8th February, 1750–51, Samuel "Beaver" sold (fn. 12) to Isabella Nelson, executrix of her brother, John Merrick, "all that parcell of land commonly called the Green Walk or Green Lane (fn. 13) in Hammersmith lying between the land of the said Isabel on the west and the land of the said Samuel Beaver all along on the east side, and abutting chiefly on a certain messuage or house standing at the lower end of the said Walk or Lane and near to the River Thames, but some part thereof on the said River Thames on the south, and on the London to Brentford Road on the north." In the release the grantor is said to assign a way or passage into, through and over a piece of ground called the Wharfe or Mall at Hammersmith, lying between the River Thames and the said Samuel Beaver's brick wall before his two houses in the occupation of Mr. Clarke and Mr. Winter, "with full and free liberty and licence for the said Isabella Nelson . . . and tenants for the time being of her two messuages or tenements and premises at Hammersmith . . . called Seagreen in the occupation of Mrs. Russell, widow, and Mrs. Alexander, widow . . . to use and enjoy the said way or passage by passing and repassing through and over the said piece of ground . . . from the lower end of . . . the Green Walk . . . to the said messuages . . . called Seagreen." The two houses belonging to Bever are evidently Linden House and Grafton House, and are met with eight years later when Bever mortgaged (fn. 14) "those two messuages or tenements, adjoining to each other, with the gardens, yards, stables and coachhouses thereto belonging, and also all, that piece or parcell of Land laying [sic] contiguous thereto containing about half an acre used for the drying of Linnen . . . abutting to the south on the River of Thames, west on a lane commonly called the Washway, (fn. 13) north on lands of Samuel Bever in the occupation of William Bedcut, (fn. 15) east on lands of Isabella Nelson in the occupation of Stephen Ranwall." The two houses were at that time in the tenure of John Winter and Thomas Walter Young, and thirty-seven years later they were, as we have seen from the rate-books, occupied by Thomas Winter and a Mr. Barford.
Old prints, drawings, etc.
(fn. 16)View of Seagreens in the "View of Hammersmith" by J. Boydell, 1752.
(fn. 16)Internal door with date and initials (drawing by A. O. Collard).
In the Council's ms. collection are:
(fn. 16)Plans of Linden and Grafton House (measured drawings)
(fn. 16)South front (photograph).
(fn. 16)Detail of the same (photograph).
(fn. 16)Detail of the same (photograph).
(fn. 16)Wrought-iron gate (measured drawing).