A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Lambeth is a metropolitan borough situated upon the Surrey bank of the Thames, and is divided into nine wards: the Bishop's, Brixton, Herne Hill, the Marsh, Norwood, the Prince's, Stockwell, Tulse Hill and Vauxhall. (fn. 1) These may be compared with earlier divisions of the parish. In 1331 there were the townships of Lambeth, Kennington, Stockwell and South Lambeth, and Lambeth Deane, the last of which covered the districts of Brixton, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill and Norwood. (fn. 2) The districts of Lambeth Town, Water Lambeth, the Marsh and Wall, and Lambeth Deane were tithings of the manor of Lambeth, (fn. 3) and are often called liberties, (fn. 4) and the same term was applied to the Prince of Wales' lands. Under Elizabeth the divisions of Lambeth appear as the Prince's Liberty, Kennington, South Lambeth, Stockwell, the Archbishop's Liberty, Lambeth Marsh and Lambeth Deane, (fn. 5) and under Charles I there were South Lambeth, Stockwell (both tithings of Vauxhall), Kennington and Lambeth Deane, which, as divisions for fiscal purposes, are all termed liberties. (fn. 6) In 1719 the parish was said to be divided into four liberties, and these into eight precincts, which exactly correspond to the earlier divisions. (fn. 7) These liberties each appointed four overseers; in 1810 the number was increased to eight. (fn. 8)
Lambeth was one of the settlements which lay with church and manor-house close to the river bank. Stangate is supposed to mark the end of the Roman road leading to the ford by which the river was crossed to Westminster before London Bridge existed. It was its situation by the ford and opposite Westminster which probably first made Lambeth important. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was at Lambeth that in 1041–2 Harthacnut died at the wedding feast of Gyva daughter of Osgood Clappa, 'as he stood at his drink,' falling to the earth 'with a terrible struggle.' (fn. 9)
In 1189–90 Archbishop Baldwin first acquired lands in Lambeth, which were given to him in exchange for the Isle of Grain by Gilbert de Glanville, Bishop of Rochester, and the Prior of St. Andrew's, Rochester. (fn. 10) This exchange was the result of the famous quarrel between the archbishop and the monastery of Christchurch, Canterbury, concerning the college of secular canons founded by Baldwin at Hackington in Kent. (fn. 11) The monks protested that their rights and privileges were being impaired, and Baldwin so far yielded that he agreed to transfer the college to Lambeth. (fn. 12) The monks were not satisfied by the compromise and appealed to the pope, who ordered the archbishop to give in. (fn. 13) Baldwin died shortly after, and Archbishop Hubert Walter revived the scheme, which was again condemned by Innocent III; the clerks at Lambeth were absolved from their oath to the archbishop, (fn. 14) and in the end the new chapel there was demolished in 1199, (fn. 15) but the house for clerks was left standing. The objection of the monks was partly to secular canons, partly to the obvious intention of the archbishop to transfer his court from Canterbury to Lambeth. It was not till 1227, however, that the full authority of the archdeacon of Canterbury, which 'had suffered diminution of dignity' through the foundations at Hackington and Lambeth, was restored by Stephen Langton. (fn. 16) It was in 1197, when the quarrel with Christchurch was at its height, that Archbishop Hubert acquired the manor and probably began to use the old manorhouse or the house built for the secular clerks as a dwelling-place. (fn. 17) It was obviously convenient that the archbishop should have a house close to Westminster, which had become the centre of the government of which he was chief minister. The present palace was begun by Archbishop Boniface, who in 1262 obtained a bull from Pope Urban IV permitting him to devote the fourth part of the offerings made at Thomas Becket's tomb to pious uses, and at the same time giving him leave to rebuild his 'old houses in a fit place at Lambeth or to build new ones.' (fn. 18) In 1280 John Peckham, who had been made archbishop in the previous year, repaired the chapel at Lambeth, and appointed Henry le Waleys, mayor in 1272, or his son, mayor in 1297–8, to the custody of his houses there while the work was going on. (fn. 19) In 1321 the palace was entered by a great gateway, and the buildings included the great chapel and a garderobe by the chapel, my lord's chamber and the chancellor's chamber, rooms for the household, besides another garderobe, a room called the storehouse, the bakehouse and the poultry-room. (fn. 20) In the following century mention is also made of a cloister, of a laundry (domus lavendra) and a seneschal's room. (fn. 21) Henry Chicheley, who became archbishop in 1414, built the Lollards' or Water Tower in 1434–5. (fn. 22) At this date the river washed against its walls, and from the room on the ground floor the archbishops are said to have embarked, though this is open to doubt. The barges were, no doubt, very splendid, and an idea of one used by Archbishop Laud is given in a bill dated 1635, where £3 was charged for painting 'the barge with the six oars with the state room laid twice a fair green in oil.' (fn. 23) Under Laud new glass was put into the east window of the palace, and the royal arms and those of the archbishop were painted 'in the great window at the upper end of the Hall'; the glass of the chapel was also extensively renewed. (fn. 24) According to another bill in 1635 'his grace's arms with the see, richly gilded,' were painted over the chapel door, while the pipes of the organ were gilded and the case painted wainscot colour for £12 10s. (fn. 25) From another account it appears that the organ had been put in order some months previously, being furnished with three new bellows, a wind-trunk and a new set of keys. (fn. 26) A short description of Lambeth in 1723 is given by the Earl of Oxford's chaplain Thomas, who in that year accompanied his patron in his journeys through England. (fn. 27) Whilst their servants and horses were crossing the ferry they themselves 'got over in a pair of oars,' and passed the time by seeing the palace. The Great Hall is described as 'a very handsome and capacious room.' Upstairs they were shown into the gallery, then used as the archbishop's private library, where the pictures roused the wrath of Chaplain Thomas by their lack of merit. He mentions with due admiration, however, a portrait of Warham by Holbein, which was hung in another room. The palace garden is referred to in some of the early reeves' accounts. A list of the seeds bought for the garden is given in 1321, and amongst these are cabbage, cucumber, hyssop, spinach, councresses (?) and entcurage (?). (fn. 28) A fruit garden is also spoken of at the same date. (fn. 29) Both garden and park are described in detail in the survey taken by the Parliament in 1647. The garden was then 'foursquare, and walled about on the west and north sides with brick walls.' The gardener's house, 'a little house with three rooms one over another,' then stood in the north-west corner, while on the west side was 'a long Tarras walk paved with square tyles, opening with arches.' Leading to the garden and over this was 'a faire leaden walke with a banquetting house at the north-east corner.' (fn. 30) To the east of the garden was an orchard 'sett with apple-trees, paire trees, plum trees, and moated round.' Two fig-trees planted in the palace garden were still standing in 1806, (fn. 31) and some cuttings from these have been struck and are flourishing. The park or close, only about 5 acres in extent, lies to the east of the palace, and in the 16th century was also moated, except on the southern side, where a brick wall divided it from the street. There were two fish-ponds in this close, which was planted with elms, walnuts and a few chestnuts. (fn. 32) It is now, as Archbishop's Park, open to the public as recreation grounds.
The Great Seal was frequently in the archbishop's charge at Lambeth, (fn. 33) and many royal grants and proclamations were issued from the archiepiscopal palace. In 1217 the treaty between France and England, resulting from Hubert de Burgh's victory over the French fleet under Eustace the monk, and by virtue of which the French evacuated England, was concluded at Lambeth. (fn. 34) It was also at the archbishop's palace that John de Montfort, Duke of Brittany, did homage to his protector Edward III, (fn. 35) and in 1404 Beatrice the illegitimate daughter of the King of Portugal was married in the chapel there to Thomas Earl of Arundel, Henry IV acting as her father. (fn. 36) More than two centuries later another marriage of interest took place at Lambeth between the Duke of Lennox and Lady Mary Herbert (née Villiers), and on this occasion also the king gave the bride away. (fn. 37) The hospitality of the archbishops was not only called upon in the event of such ceremonies as these, but also to serve sundry political purposes, as in 1541, when the Flemish detained in their ports 200,000 lb. of copper which had been procured for the English king. The emperor's ambassadors were thereupon invited to dine at Lambeth, and after dinner 'the archbishop declared how ungently the King was handled in Flanders.' (fn. 38)
In ecclesiastical history Lambeth Palace has of course played an important part. Convocations of the province of Canterbury were frequently held there. In September 1281 Edward I sent word to the archbishop, John Peckham, and the clergy who were about to assemble at Lambeth forbidding them to attempt anything against the king's rights, and he deputed certain laymen to be present in order to appeal against any infringement of his prerogative. (fn. 39) His son took a different tone on the occasion of another assembly at Lambeth in 1316, and sent to request a subsidy from the clergy in aid of the Scottish war. (fn. 40) In 1378 Wycliffe was summoned to Lambeth to defend his opinions. Joan of Kent, widow of the Black Prince and mother of the young king, wrote to the archbishop on hearing this and desired him not to interfere with the preacher. Nevertheless, the trial was held, and Wycliffe spoke before the assembled prelates in the chapel, but the proceedings were interrupted by the London citizens, who forced an entrance and demanded Wycliffe's release. (fn. 41) Four years later the chancellor, Robert Rygge, was also summoned to Lambeth, on the accusation that he had not only disregarded the archbishop's order and allowed Wycliffe to preach, but had himself been present at the sermon and undisguisedly friendly to the preacher. The chancellor begged pardon on his knees, and was forgiven through the intercession of William of Wykeham. (fn. 42) In March 1532 Hugh Latimer was committed to prison at Lambeth for refusing to sign certain articles touching Henry's claim to be supreme head of the Church of England, but on 10 April he gave in and was released. (fn. 43) Two years later Sir Thomas More was brought before the commissioners at Lambeth, and there refused to take the oath required of him. Because of his refusal he was bidden go down to the garden to think it over, but because of the heat 'he tarried in the old burnt chamber that looks into the garden.' While he was there 'Dr. Latimer and other doctors and chaplains of the archbishop' walked in the garden, where More could watch them. After this More was recalled and told how many had gladly sworn. (fn. 44) It was in the gallery of Lambeth Palace that sentence was given in 1533 stating the validity of the marriage between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, (fn. 45) and it was also from Lambeth Palace that the licence was dated for his marriage with Katherine Parr. (fn. 46) In the reign of Henry VIII the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Durham used to proceed by barge to Lambeth Palace to discuss the religious questions of the day, and 'often in the gallery when they departed from my lord of Canterbury,' together with the Bishop of London, the old usages were discussed and upheld. (fn. 47) In 1547 Peter Martyr and other continental reformers were invited to Lambeth by Cranmer. (fn. 48) The archbishops, however, found the constant demands on their hospitality troublesome, and in June 1538 Cranmer protested to Cromwell that he had 'no manner of stuff nor provision at Lambeth' (fn. 49) to entertain the foreign ambassadors, and begged him to appoint some other place, and in 1616 John Chamberlain, writing to Dudley Carleton, remarked that 'the Archbishop of Spalato is lodged at Lambeth, but the Archbishop of Canterbury desires to remove him to the Dean of Westminster.' (fn. 50) Again, in 1614–15, the young Irish Romanist Lord Power had 'his diet and lodging in his Grace's house at Lambeth' with a view to his conversion by the archbishop. (fn. 51)
Queen Elizabeth was constantly at Lambeth. (fn. 52) In 1593 she stayed there in the course of a royal progress. (fn. 53) In 1602 she went again to visit the archbishop, one of whose courtiers, Boughton, had been stabbed and killed at bowls by a page. The page escaped, but the archbishop was 'so grieved that the queen came to comfort him at Lambeth.' (fn. 54) In 1613 the cause of the divorce of the Earl of Essex was heard there. (fn. 55)
In April 1640, when the revolutionary feeling was increasing in the country, Samuel Plumley, servant to one of the clerks of the office of the Six Clerks, is reported to have said, 'that if Parliament should be dissolved, he heard that his Grace's house of Canterbury at Lambeth should be fired and that they would keep his Grace in until he should be burnt, and that thousands would say as much.' (fn. 56) A tumult at Lambeth took place the following month, (fn. 57) and in the December of that year Laud was arrested and impeached of treason. (fn. 58) Another affray took place in 1642–3, which originated in the insolence of some soldiers under Captain Andrew, who came into the Lambeth church with their hats on, smoking and mocking the service. (fn. 59) In 1648 the Parliament placed a garrison in Lambeth House, (fn. 60) which they also used as a prison.
The documentary history is well borne out by the buildings which survived Archbishop Howley's extensive transformation begun in 1829 and completed in 1833 under Edward Blore, architect, and costing £53,153 1s. 7¾d. of a total sum of £95,038 8s. 7¾d. spent at Lambeth and Addington. Of this last sum £27,868 15s. 11¾d. was advanced by Archbishop Howley himself. (fn. 61) A comparison of the plans before and after this work best explains these changes. The Palace formerly consisted of Chicheley's Water Tower (with Laud's annexe), chapel, cloister court (including library), great hall, guard-room, the dining-room wing projecting eastward from the chapel and the drawing-room wing projecting eastward from the guard-room. These two eastward wings formed, with the guard-room, a three-sided court open to the east and containing part of the kitchen garden. Access to the Palace was through Morton's gateway and thence to a doorway in the south-west bay of Juxon's Hall, across the hall, probably subdivided by a buttery screen after the usual mediaeval manner, and so into the court to a principal entrance by the north-east angle (fn. 62) of the hall, whence direct access was obtained by a staircase to the guard-room. This entrance had been marked by a square tower (fn. 63) before the destructions of the time of the Commonwealth. A building of uncertain date, but probably by Juxon, used as butteries and family quarters, (fn. 64) occupied the space to the south between the great hall and the adjoining churchyard. A narrow building of three stories, probably by Archbishop Sheldon, erected over the west walk of the cloister, connected the north end of the great hall with Laud's Tower and afforded direct access to the latter. This building was marked by a bold coat of arms facing the river. Morton's great gateway completed the group. Howley demolished the dining-room and drawingroom wings, the butteries, the cloister and library gallery, and fitted up Juxon's Hall as a library (fn. 65) in place of the gallery. He rebuilt the guard-room, retaining only its foundational form, but re-using some portions of the roof timbers. He erected the extensive range of buildings now forming the chief domestic apartments, the archway and adjoining cottage at the south end of Juxon's Hall, together with the stables and various outbuildings lying to the south-east. The transformation of the whole plan was complete.
The ascription of the undercroft of the chapel to Boniface, with 1262 as the earliest possible date, is reasonably questioned by some authorities. The detail of the undercroft differs materially from that of the chapel over, and contains no features incompatible with works of Walter's time (1193–1204). The windows are of an early type, rather French than English in character. If by Boniface, old material from the previous uncompleted buildings was evidently used. In this connexion the bases of the three columns should be examined. The undercroft consists of four bays with quadripartite groining, the ribs of simple chamfered section, three slender shafts of Purbeck stone with caps and bases of the same giving central support with lateral corbels on the walls. Single-light windows occurred in each bay on the north side, one of two lights in each bay of the east wall, one only of two lights in the west wall. The east and west windows were fitted with stone seats. The south wall was blank excepting the west bay, where there was a door, the original character of which has been destroyed save for some remnants sufficient to mark its date. The ruins of a stone lamp-case occur on the external wall by the door. It is clear that there was originally a flight of steps from the threshold to the floor within the room. A second door was formed in the adjoining bay westward in the 14th century. Between the doors two transverse walls had been erected. The easternmost of these, 1 ft. 8 in. thick, was at the junction of two bays with its foundations upon the original floor level (now recovered). It was carried up to the groining and inclosed the westernmost pillar. The second wall, 1 ft. 4 in. thick, was 4 ft. 6 in. west of the former with its foundation upon a raised floor of mortar, 8 in. above the original floor. The upper part of this wall had been removed, but as it contained some fragments of 15th-century masonry it must have been erected in or after that period. In the recent excavations five floors, including the uppermost (comparatively modern) and the original, were found. The dividing walls referred to and the raising of the floors were doubtless due to successive attempts to keep out the river. Remains of a simple form of wall decoration exist, consisting of masonry lines in black and red on a white background. The cells of the vaulting, although of neatly dressed ashlar, were similarly treated. In the blank bay at the west end are the lower inner jamb stones in situ of an early doorway, filled up with walling of the same date and character as the rest of the crypt. This door is doubtless a remnant of an earlier building, and its existence tallies with the documentary history, and suggests that the chapel site persisted despite papal decrees.
The chapel over the undercroft bears all the evidences of work of Boniface's time (1245–70), excepting the west door, which has an early aspect. There is no evidence that the chapel was ever groined, (fn. 66) although probably intended to be. It consists of four bays each lighted with triple lancets. There are five lancets at the east end and the same number at the west, but the latter are now blocked by the Water Tower. The chapel was refitted by Laud with a western gallery, a handsome screen where a pre-Reformation one had stood, (fn. 67) characteristic stalls, altar, and costly altar rails. (fn. 68) The altar rails were for a time at Addington, but have lately been reinstated together with the gates, which appear to have formed part of Juxon's work of repair. The present wood and plaster groining was erected by Blore in 1846, and took the place of a flat ceiling which bore Laud's arms. This ceiling had been restored or renewed by Juxon, who also inserted the small bay window marked by his arms over the gallery at the west end. The windows were filled with glass by Cardinal Morton, (fn. 69) which was repaired or renewed by Laud, (fn. 70) who retained the former subjects. They were destroyed by the Puritans and again renewed. Of the present windows two, with the wall and ceiling decorations, were executed for Archbishop Tait by Messrs. Clayton & Bell in 1877–81; the rest were put in after 1882 in memory of him.
The recovered remnant of Archbishop Parker's cenotaph with Archbishop Sancroft's inscription describing the sacrilege his body underwent in 1644 lies in the ante-chapel. It originally occupied the south side of the altar. Parker's recovered remains were finally buried before the altar rails, the spot being marked by the inscription. 'Corpus Matthæi Archiepiscopi tandem hic quiescit.' The pavement in black slate and marble was laid down by Archbishop Tait, excepting that in the sanctuary, which was a silver wedding gift to the present archbishop.
The communion plate belonging to the chapel consists of ten pieces: silver-gilt cup, cover paten and flagon of c. 1634–6 and alms-basin of 1635, all believed to be the gift of Archbishop Laud; silver-gilt paten of 1677 and modern imitation of the same; silver-gilt flagon of 1660; a pair of silver-gilt pricket candlesticks of c. 1660–70, and a silver-gilt cup of Portuguese manufacture, presented to the monastery of St. Maria of Alcobaça in 1690. It is not known when this was presented; it is not mentioned by Ducarel in 1785, and was probably brought to this country about the time of the Peninsular War.
On the north side of the chapel was a cloister known as 'the little cloister,' the date of which is unknown, but a little cloister existed in 1224 before Boniface's building. There is also a reference to the mending of the little cloister in the steward's accounts of 1392 and 1443, (fn. 71) and we find that a little cloister was removed by Archbishop Herring (1747–57). (fn. 72) According to Ducarel (fn. 73) it had twelve pillars east to west and was floored with tiles, fragments of the tile pavement being found when the crypt was excavated in 1907. A door was cut through from the crypt in the western bay at an early date.
The Water or Lollards' Tower was erected by Archbishop Chicheley on the site of an older building and was completed in 1435. (fn. 74) Before Laud's time it included only the building immediately west of the chapel and the staircase and garderobe tower to the north of it. The building which it displaced contained the lord's chamber from which there was a view of the chapel by means of a squint window; also an oriel probably overlooking the river. (fn. 75) It has been usual for historians of the palace to assign to the staircase tower a much earlier date than to the rest. The building accounts, however, point to the whole being of one period. It is quite clear that the vice, the battlements and the roof were Chicheley's work. An additional door was introduced by the builder of Cranmer's Tower on the second floor. The bell-cote coeval with the structure is worthy of note.
The primitive garderobes were in use as such down to 1896. Some oak windows were introduced in the vice tower in the 16th or 17th century, probably by Laud. There is a considerable amount of ancient wood and iron work worthy of attention still existing in the upper part of the building. The niche on the west wall which contained the figure of Thomas Becket still bears on the supporting corbel the arms of Chicheley. It was the work of four freemasons, the combined labour representing eightyeight days at 6d. a day with half food, or 8½d. a day without food, the total cost being £2 19s. 7½d. The image was the work of John Driske, master of the freemasons, and cost £1 13s. 4d. (fn. 76)
A water-gate with its door is said to have existed in the north wall until the restoration of 1875, but there are no actual or documentary evidences of it. The door then built up led to a chamber, probably a garderobe attached to the water tower, and was not earlier than Juxon's time. (fn. 77) Laud added the lower tower on the south side, which will be considered in its order.
The only remnants of the ancient guard-room are portions of the roof timbers, from which it appears to have been a work of mid-14th century. A camera armigerorum is mentioned in 1434–5. The plan of the original room with its deep eastern bay is given on the plan of 1830. The roof was of the same form as at present but without the flat ceiling. The small windows in the gable points were above the roof collars. (fn. 78) There was a deep bay on the east side with panelled stone jambs. The walls were panelled to the springing of the principals in the classical manner. Blore states that the windows were comparatively modern. Prints of the interior from drawings by Nash, Pugin and others exist, also views of the exterior.
In its general form the brick entrance tower or Morton's Tower (fn. 79) retains more than any other part of the Palace its original character both inside and out, though it suffered in detail and aspect in the restoration of 1875. At that time the old chimneys were rebuilt and several new ones added, large bricks instead of small being used. The bonding of the stone window jambs was also falsified, and the brick patterns on the walls to a large extent interfered with. In the 18th century some of the rooms were sheeted with wood and mock panelling and sculpture were painted upon it. The closely approximate date of this tower is determined by particulars in Morton's Register (fn. 80) of a suit between the cardinal archbishop and the Dean and chapter of Winchester wherein evidence is given relating to documents referred to as being kept in the new tower quae jam construitur. The date is 1495, and it appears evident that although not completed the roof must have been on at this date.
Tradition only ascribes the tower at the north-east of the chapel to Cranmer. It contains four stories of rooms, with a staircase turret attached, the steps in this being worked without winders round a large square newel. The range of buildings immediately east of the chapel as they existed before 1828 were erected by Cardinal Pole. (fn. 81) The wing was apparently of uniform date, though the roofs were not continuous. To Pole also is attributed the rebuilding of the foursquare cloister to the south of the chapel, but no part of the work attributed to Pole now remains. The gallery over the cloister, used as a library before the conversion of Juxon's Hall to that purpose in 1829, was erected as a study (fn. 82) by Archbishop Sancroft (1604–10) and was subsequently restored by Sheldon (1633–78) as a library. (fn. 83) The materials used were wood and plaster. (fn. 84)
Laud added the smaller tower attached to the Water Tower, thereby providing a new entrance to the Palace from the outer or green court. The doorway from this to the post room appears to belong to some earlier addition of the late 15th or early 16th century, demolished by Laud, as also the now disused vice to the south of the chapel entrance. The present main staircase in Laud's Tower is probably part of Juxon's work of repair.
The drawing-room wing projecting eastward from the guard-room appears in Hollar's print of 1647, and existed in Laud's time. It probably suffered at the Commonwealth, and was largely modified in character by Juxon or his immediate successors. It formed a pleasing group at the time of its demolition in 1829. Here was fitted up 'le velvet room' (fn. 85) used as the state drawing-room.
Juxon rebuilt the Great Hall, which had been demolished during the Commonwealth, at a cost of £10,500, with the express intention of reinstating its ancient character. He also restored the chapel and added the small bay over the gallery which bears his arms. The gates of the altar rails have been noted as probably part of his work.
To Archbishop Sheldon was probably due a short range of buildings of very pleasing character joining up Laud's Tower to the Great Hall. This range and the additions to and alterations of the buildings in the 18th century, incidentally referred to above, were swept away in 1829, since which date the Palace has retained in the main the form then given to it.
There are some valuable historical portraits in the Palace which merit attention, notably a Holbein, a Vandyck, a Jansen, a Hogarth, a Gainsborough, a Reynolds, and a reputed Lawrence; also a fine portrait of Prince Henry, son of James I. The portraits of the archbishops are complete from Warham's time, and there are also some interesting pictures representing worthies of the Church and persons connected with the archbishops' families.