The Environs of London: Volume 1, County of Surrey. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1792.
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In the most ancient record which I have seen relating to this parish, its name is spelt Chieham; it has since been varied to Ceiham, Chayham, and Cheyham, and has now, for about two centuries past, been uniformly written Cheam. As there is no word in the Saxon language nearly similar to the first syllable of the ancient appellation, I suppose it to have been a proper name; Ham is well known to mean a dwelling.
Extent and soil.
I should suspect that Aubrey never was at this village, for he describes it as "lying very low, in a bottom (fn. 1);" whereas it stands upon the highest ground in the neighbourhood, and commands an extensive prospect. The parish lies in the hundred of Wallington, and is bounded by Malden on the north; on the south, by Banstead; on the east, by Sutton; and on the west, by Cudington. It contains about 1400 acres of land, of which only 120 are pasture. In Doomsday it is said to contain fourteen plough-lands. The soil on the north side of the parish is a strong clay, and produces fine crops of wheat and beans; on the south side, towards Bansted Downs, it is chalky. This parish pays the sum of 190l. 16s. to the land-tax, which at present is at the rate of two shillings in the pound.
The manor was granted by King Athelstan in the year 1018, to the monks of Canterbury (fn. 2). He exempted it at the same time from the payment of all taxes, except for the repairing of bridges and fortresses, and defraying the expence of the king's expeditions. The grant concludes with the usual uncharitable anathema against any person who should presume to insringe it: "Excommunicatus cum diabolo socie"tur;" that is, in plain English, "May he go to the devil." In Doomsday, the manor of Ceiham is said to be held by Archbishop Lanfranc for the support of the monks. It afterwards appears to have been divided; one moiety being called West Cheyham, and held by the prior and convent of Canterbury; the other, East Cheyham, with the advowson of the church, being the property of the archbishop. The manor was valued in the Confessor's time at 8l.; at the time of the Survey, at 15l. In 1291 (fn. 3), the moiety belonging to the archbishop was taxed at 10l; that belonging to the convent, at 6l. 13 s. 4d.
Manor of East Cheam.
The manor of East Cheam continued in the possession of the see of Canterbury till the year 1540, when it was alienated by Archbishop Cranmer to King Henry VIII. in exchange for Chislet park in Kent (fn. 4). It remained in the crown till the reign of Queen Mary, who granted it to Anthony Lord Montague (fn. 5) : of him it was purchased about twenty years afterwards by Henry Earl of Arundel (fn. 6); from whom it passed to John Lord Lumley, who married his daughter and coheir. Lord Lumley dying without issue, this manor was inherited by the descendants of his sister Barbara, who married Humphrey Lloyd of the country of Denbigh; and being the property of the Rev. Robert Lumley Lloyd who died in 1729, he left it by will to the late Duke of Bedford: the duke sold it to Mr. Northey, father of William Northey, Esq. of Epsom, who is the present proprietor.
Manor of West-Cheam.
The manor of West Cheam continued in the hands of the crown some time after the suppression of monasteries. The reversion of the site thereof was granted by Queen Elizabeth to John Lord Lumley (fn. 7); and it appears, that he purchased the manor itself of Henry Beacher (fn. 8), 25 Eliz. It has since undergone the same alienations as that of East Cheam.
The manor-house at East Cheam, which is situated about half a mile from the village towards Sutton, is an ancient structure, built, as I imagine, by Thomas Fromound, who married the daughter and heir of John Yerde, lessee of the manor under Archbishop Cranmer. In the hall window are the arms of Yerde, impaled by Ellinbridge. Fromound, whose mother was an heiress of that family, bears on his tomb the arms of Ellinbridge quartered with his own. The hall remains in its original form, the upper part being surrounded by an open wooden gallery: adjoining the hall, are the buttery and cellar with ancient doors: in the parlour is some rich mantled carving. The chapel is converted into a billiard-room. This house and premises, called the Site of the Manor of East Cheam, were held under the crown by the Fromounds (fn. 9), after the manor itself was granted to Lord Montague. They continued in possession of it till the middle of the last century. Bartholomew Fromound, who was fined the sum of 240l. by James I. as a recusant, died in 1641, and was the last of that family settled at Cheam. The premises afterwards became the property of the Petres, and were sold a few years ago by Lord Petre to Philip Antrobus, Esq. the present proprietor.
The manor-house of West-Cheam, situated near the church, is a large brick edifice, which contains nothing particularly deserving of description: it appears to be in a neglected state, and has not for some years been the residence of its owners.
The church is dedicated to St. Dunstan. It appears by a note on a pane of glass taken out of the old palace at Croydon, that "the "church of Cheme was burnt by lightning in the year 1639." The injury it received must have been only partial, as the tower and some parts of the church, which are of a prior date, still remain; the form of the building, however, in consequence of this accident, and some subsequent alterations, has been so changed, that no conjecture can be formed of the date of its structure. The tower, which is built of slint and stone, is low, square, and embattled.
St. Mary's chapel.
At the south-east corner of the church, is a small chapel dedicated to St. Mary, which was built before the year 1449, as is evident from the will of John Yerde, who directs his body to be buried therein. He bequeaths his estates in Surrey, after the death of his wife, to his second son John, to whom also he leaves 400 muttons; 20s. to the repair of the church, and 20s. to the high altar (fn. 10). His tomb is still to be seen, with an inscription on a brass plate much worn. There are small figures of himself and his wife Anne. Her head-dress resembles that of Margaret Gaynesford at Carshalton. Anne Yerde died in 1453.
In this chapel also are the tombs of Thomas Fromound, who married the daughter and heir of John Yerde the younger, and died in 1542; of another of the same family much obliterated; and of Bartholomew Fromound, who died in 1579. Jane, one of the daughters of the latter, married the celebrated Dr. Dee.
Against the west wall of the same chapel, is a monument to the memory of Lord Stourton, a Roman catholic peer, who died in 1753.
At the east end of the chancel, from which it is separated by a skreen of wood, is an aisle built by John Lord Lumley, in 1592, as a burial place for his family. The roof is enriched with pendant ornaments.
Tomb of John Lord Lumley.
Against the north wall is the monument of Lord Lumley. On a large tablet supported by Corinthian columns, and surrounded with coats of arms of the Lumleys, and families allied to them by marriage (fn. 11), is the following inscription:
"Deo Opt. Max. et Posteritati Sacrum Johanni Dom. et Baroni de Lumley, viro nobiliffimo, innocentiâ, integritate, constantiâ, side, pietate, religione, comitate, rerum difficilium diuturnâ perpeffione, et patientiâ ornatiffimo, feliciter et sancte in terris mortuo decimo die Aprilis anno Christi Servatoris, millesimo sexcentesimo nono, ætatis suæ LXXVI. uxor amantissima et amici acerbo in officio diligentes hoc ei monumentum, non honoris erga quo abundavit vivus et florescet mortuus, sed amoris causa quem memoriâ colent, ut debeat, fempiternâ, devotiffime consecrarunt.
"Pio quoque erga nobilissimam Lumleyorum gentem affectu ducti in honorem ac memoriam ejusdem, primogenitorum illius "familiæ successiones seriatim hâc in tabulâ sculpi atque describi curârunt:—quorum primus Liulphus nomine nobilis generosusque minister, ex Anglosaxonum genere vir clarissimus qui latè per Angliam possessiones multas hæreditario jure possidebat cum tempore Regis Gulielmi Primi Conquisitoris Angliæ, Normanni ubique sævirent, et quia Cuthbertum Dunelmensem antistitem inter Divos relatum, multum dilexerat, cum suis ad Dunelmum se contulit, et ibidem Walchero Episcopo adeo devenit charus et acceptabilis, ut absque illius consilio nihil consulte sieri videbatur: multorum dehinc odium sibi conflavit, donec a Gilberto quodam aliisque sceleratis dicti Episcopi ministris crudeliter tandem occideretur: in cujus necis vindictam Northumbri Walcherum Præsuleminnocentem apud Gateshed trucidarunt. Anno 1080, Ex Aldgitha conjuge Northumbrorum comitis Aldredi silia Liulphus silium suscepit Uctredum Patrem de Gulielmi de Lumley ejus nominis primi, a cujus loci dominio sui posteri cognomina sunt sortiti: Gulielmum, istum Uctredi silium Dunelmensis Episcopus Hugo eisdem frui immunitatibus voluit, quibus cæteri sui Barones in episcopatu gaudebant et Secundi Henrici Regis cartam inde obtinuit. Tanti Beneficii non immemor Gulielmus villam suam de Dicton in Alverton-scira eidem episcopo et successoribus suis liberaliter contulit; a primo Gulielmo oritur secundus, a secundo tertius, qui ex filiâ Gualteri Daudre equitis Rogerum filium procreavit, maritum Sybellæ cohæredis inclyti Baronis Hugonis de Morwyco; inde natus Robertus, qui ex Luciâ forore et hærede Thomæ Baronis de Thwenge Marmaducum filium genuit, paternorum armorum desertorem primum sibi suisque retentis maternæ stemmatis insignibus.—Procreat is, ex Margarettâ Holland conjuge fuâ, Radulphum equitem strenuum quem Rex Ricardus Secundus anno Regiminis octavo ad Baronis Regni dignitatem evexerat; ductâque Aleanorâ primi comitis Westmariæ sorore, Johannem tulit, "qui ex Feliciâ Uxore Thomam suscepit cui Margaretta conjux filia Jacobi Harrington equitis, Georgium enixa est maritum Elizabethæ hæredis Rogeri Thornton armigeri, inde pater efficitur illius Thomæ qui ex magni Regis Edwardi Quarti filiâ naturali Ricardum susceperat: is Annam ducens sororem Gulielmi Baronis Coigners, Johannem reliquit hæredem sponsum Johannæ filiæ Henrici Le Scrope de Bolton, Baronis eximii, avum Johannis ultimi Baronis de Lumley, hoc conditorio in certam spem futuræ refurrectionis repositi: quem illi Georgius filius, ex Jana cohæredi Ricardi Knightley equitis, unicum reliquerit nepotem ac hæredem; bino conjugio felix ultimus hic Johannes suit, Janæ scilicet Arundeliæ comitis Henrici filiæ ætate maximæ et cohæredi necnon et Elizabethæ filiæ Johannis Baronis D'Arcy, fæminæ non solum prosapia et antiquo stemmate nobili, sed quod magis laudandum virtutibus, pudicitiâ, verecundiæ, et amore conjugali nobilissimæ—Ex illarum prima nati filii duo Carolus et Thomas, filiaque unica Maria haud diu superstites adeo ipsa infantiâ mæstissimis fatis sublati."
There is an engraving of this monument in Sandford's Genealogical History of the Kings of England.
Lord Lumley was engaged by his father-in-law, the Earl of Arundel, in the design of promoting a marriage between Mary Queen of Scots and the Duke of Norfolk, for which he was imprisoned (fn. 12); but escaping without farther punishment, sat afterwards upon the trial of that Queen (fn. 13). Camden speaks of him as a man of the strictest virtue and integrity; and says, that he was, in his old age, a most complete pattern of true nobility. He was high steward of the University of Oxford; and having a taste for literature, collected a fine library of books, in which he was assisted by his brother-in-law, Humfrey Lloyd (fn. 14), a celebrated antiquary. After his lordship's death, which happened in 1609, they were purchased by King James, and became the foundation of the Royal Library, which now forms a part of the collection in the British Museum.
A portrait of Lord Lumley, inclosed in a wooden case, still remains in his chancel at Cheam; he is represented in a high-crowned hat, a ruff, and a long beard; the picture is almost decayed; but an engraving of it is preserved in the last edition of Sandford (fn. 15).
Tomb of Jane Lady Lumley.
On the south side of Lumley's chancel, is a stately monument of marble, to the memory of Jane Lady Lumley: the upper part of it, which exhibits her own effigies in basso-relievo, is represented in the annexed plate: beneath, is an altar tomb of very large dimensions: on the front, which is divided into two compartments, are the figures of her daughter and two sons, kneeling; and at each end are the arms and quarterings of Fitz-alan (fn. 16) and Lumley. The tomb is covered with a slab of black marble, eight feet five inches in length, and four feet two inches and half in breadth; round the edge is the following inscription:
"Vixi dum volui, volui dum Christe volebas, Christe mihi spes est, vita, corona, salus.
"Jana Henrico Comiti Arundeliæ filia et cohæres, Johannis Baronis Lumley charissima conjux, præstans pietatis studio, virtutum officiis, et veræ nobilitatis gloria, corpore, sub hoc tumulo in adventum Domini requiescit."
Jane Lady Lumley, daughter of Henry Earl of Arundel, was a very learned woman. She translated the Iphigenia of Euripides, and some of the orations of Isocrates into English; and one of the latter into Latin (fn. 17). The MSS. are in the British Museum (fn. 18). Lady Lumley died in 1577, as appears by the parish register.
"Johanne Lumley, sepult. 9 Mar. 1576–7."
Tomb of Elizabeth Lady Lumley.
On the north side of the same chancel is the monument of Lord Lumley's second wife, daughter of John Lord Darcy of Chiche; her effigy lies at full length under an arch, the cieling of which is chequered with cinquesoils and popinjays. There is a Latin inscription without dates. Over the tomb are the arms of Lumley, impaling Darcy.
Monument of Sir Joseph Yates.
A neat marble tablet, with the following inscription, is affixed to
one of the pillars of the nave:
"Sacred to the Memory
of the Honorable
Sir Joseph Yates, Knight,
of Peel Hall in Lancashire,
successively a Judge of the Courts
of King's Bench and Common Pleas;
whose merit advanced him to the
feat of Justice, which he filled with the most
distinguished abilities and invincible integrity.
He died the 7th day of June 1770,
in the 48th year of his age,
leaving the world to lament the loss
of an honest Man and able Judge,
firm to assert
and strenuous to support
the laws and constitution
of his Country."
Over the inscription are the arms of Yates, Arg. three Gates Sable.
Sir Joseph Yates was admitted of the Inner Temple in the year 1738; he practised special pleading for some time below the bar, to which he was called in 1753. In 1764, he was appointed one of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, from whence he removed to the Common Pleas in 1770, the year in which he died. His contemporaries agree in giving full testimony to the truth of the encomiums bestowed on him in his epitaph. Sir Joseph Yates made Cheam his occasional residence for a few years preceding his death.
Besides the tombs already mentioned, Aubrey describes those of the following persons: Michael Denys, who died in 1418; John Compton, who died in 1450; William Woodward, who died in 1459; Sir John Virley, parson of Cheam, who died in 1557; Thomas Usborn, rector, who died in 1686; George Aldrich, who kept a private school at Cheam during the rebellion, and died in 1685; James Bovey Esquire, who died in 1695; Edmund Barret, serjeant of the wine-cellar to King Charles, who died in 1631; and his son Thomas, clerk of the wardrobe, who died in 1652: of these, the tombs of Mr. Bovey and the Barrets only now remain.
On a tomb of black marble in the church-yard, near the south door, is an inscription to the memory of Henry Neale, and his wife, who died 1664; and their daughter Eliza Dutton "who was murthured the 13th of July 1687, by her neighbour, endeavouring to make peace between him and his wife."
The benesice of Cheam, is a rectory in the peculiar jurisdiction of the archbishop of Canterbury. The patronage was annexed to the manor of East Cheam, till it was alienated to St. John's college in Oxford, towards the latter end of the last century.
It is somewhat singular, that of six successive rectors of Cheam, five should become bishops, as will appear by the following list:
Anthony Watson, bishop of Chichester.
Anthony Watson, instituted to this rectory in 1581 (fn. 19), was promoted to the see of Chichester in 1596, and held Cheam in commendam (fn. 20) till his death, which happened in 1605; at which time he was almoner to King James. He was buried at Cheam September 19 (fn. 21), and his funeral was honorably solemnized there on the third of October following (fn. 22).
Lancelot Andrews, bishop of Winchester.
Lancelot Andrews, then bishop of Chichester, was instituted in 1609 to the rectory of Cheam (fn. 23), which he resigned within a few months upon his promotion to the fee of Ely: he was afterwards translated to Winchester. Bishop Andrews was a very celebrated preacher, to which circumstance, and his eminent abilities as a writer, he principally owed his preserment. It was said of him by Fuller (fn. 24), that they who stole his sermons could not steal his manner; which was inimitable. Queen Elizabeth admired him (fn. 25), and by giving him the deanery of Westminster, laid the foundation of the promotion to which he arrived, under the patronage of her successor James. The bishop had a considerable share in the translation of the Bible (fn. 26), and left behind him, in print, a very large collection of sermons, and some lectures on the Old Testament. He died in 1626, and lies buried in St. Saviour's church, in Southwark.
George Mountain, archbishop of York.
George Mountain, instituted to this rectory on bishop Andrews's translation to Ely in 1609 (fn. 27), was promoted to the see of Lichfield and Coventry, in 1611. He resigned Cheam, upon his translation to Lincoln, in 1617. He afterwards became successively bishop of London and Durham, and archbishop of York; and dying in 1628, at the age of fifty-nine, was buried in the church of Cawood, where there is an inscription to his memory, written by Hugh Holland (fn. 28).
Richard Senhouse, bishop of Carlisle.
Richard Senhouse was instituted to the rectory in 1617 (fn. 29), on the promotion of bishop Mountain. He resigned it on being made bishop of Carlisle in 1624. Senhouse preached at the coronation of King Charles (fn. 30); and died in 1628. He left behind him a few sermons in print, and lectures on some of the Psalms in MS. (fn. 31).
John Hacket, bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.
Upon bishop Senhouse's promotion, John Hacket obtained the living of Cheam (fn. 32) through the interest of the Lord Keeper Williams (fn. 33). One of Hacket's earliest patrons was his predecessor at Cheam, Bishop Andrews, then dean of Westminster, who noticed him when at school as a promising lad, and gave him money to buy books (fn. 34). Whilst he was at the University, he wrote a Latin comedy called Loiola, acted before King James in 1616 (fn. 35); it was afterwards published. At the breaking out of the civil wars, Hacket was chosen by the clergy to be their advocate against the bill for taking away the church government, upon which occasion he pleaded so well, that it was then thrown out by a considerable majority (fn. 36). Being afterwards accused before the committee for plundered ministers, he made no defence, but retired to Cheam, by the advice of his friend Seldon, who promised to use his endeavours to prevent his being molested (fn. 37). He remained there unnoticed, till the Earl of Effex with his army passed that way, when he was taken prisoner (fn. 38). Great offers were made him at this time, if he would change his principles, but without success. Being dismissed from his consinement, he hastened again to his retirement at Cheam, where he continued to read the common prayer, until he was enjoined to forbear by the Surrey Committee, when he found himself under the necessity of omitting such parts as were most offensive to the government (fn. 39). In 1661, he was promoted to the See of Litchfield and Coventry; and in the following year he resigned the living of Cheam, after having held it near forty years. He died in 1670, aged 78 (fn. 40). There is a print of him by Faithorne.
Thomas Playfere, Margaret prosessor of divinity at Cambridge, was the intermediate rector between the above-mentioned bishops, being instituted after the death of Watson in 1605 (fn. 41). Fuller says, his fluency in the Latin tongue seemed a wonder, till Collins so far exceeded him (fn. 42). Playfere died in 1609, and lies buried in St. Botolph's church, Cambridge; where there is an inscription to his memory, full of the most extravagant praises (fn. 43). He published a few religious tracts.
John Doughty, instituted to this rectory in 1662 (fn. 44), published some sermons and political tracts (fn. 45) : he died Dec. 25th, 1672.
Edward Bernard, the first rector presented by St. John's college, succeeded Doughty (fn. 46), and was a most learned aftronomer, linguist, critic, and chronologist. He resigned his living of Cheam in 1673; and was the same year appointed Savilian prosessor of astronomy at Oxford. He died in 1697, and lies buried in the chapel of St. John's college. Many of his works in various departments of literature are in print, and he left behind him several MSS. which were purchased of his widow for the sum of 200l. by the curators of the Bodleian Library (fn. 47).
The present rector of Cheam is the Rev. Henry Peach, who was instituted in 1780.
The parish register commences in 1538.
Comparative state of population.
The register of burials being defective towards the latter end of the sixteenth century, no average could be taken. The increase of population appears to have been less during the last hundred years, than in the same period preceding. The number of houses is now sixtyone.
In the year 1603, nine persons died of the plague; the whole number of burials in that year was thirteen. Four persons died of the same distemper in 1645, among whom were the curate and his wife. In 1665, there are entries of nine burials only; a number not exceeding the average of that period.
The following instance of longevity occurs in the register:
"Johannes Lystney, senex, (viz. 100,) sepult. Jan. 18, 1713–4."
Henry Smith Esquire, bequeathed 4l. per annum to this parish; and Anne, relict of Samuel Pierson Esquire, left a messuage, barn, and 4½ acres of land for the benefit of such poor persons as shall frequent the church, and receive no alms.
Adjoining the parish of Cheam, is the site of the village of Codinton, or Cudington, which now no longer exists. Of the church, which formerly belonged to Merton Abbey (fn. 48), no vestiges remain. In an old survey (fn. 49) of the manor it is said, that "the scyte standeth "at the west part of the said manor, nygh and adjoining to the churche-yard." The old mansion-house and the church were probably pulled down, to make way for Henry VIII.'s new building. No vicars appear to have been instituted after that time. The tithes are impropriated to the lord of the manor.
The manor belonged in the time of the Confessor, to Earl Lewen, and was held by the bishop of Baieux, after the Conquest. In the last year of the reign of Edward III. it was granted by John Kynwardesle and John Lependen to Ralph de Codinton (fn. 50). It continued in that family till 18 Hen. VIII., when it came into the possession of that monarch, by an exchange with Richard Codinton (fn. 51). Queen Mary granted it to Henry Earl of Arundel (fn. 52); since which time it has undergone the same alienations as the manors of Cheam, and is now the property of William Northey Esquire. This manor was united by Henry VIII. to the honor of HamptonCourt.
Henry VIII. admiring the situation of Cudington, rebuilt the manor-house, and converted it into a palace; called afterwards, from its splendor and magnificence, Nonsuch.
The palace has been much celebrated both by English and foreign writers.
Camden says, "it is built with so much splendour and elegance, that
it stands a monument of art, and you would think the whole
science of architecture exhausted on this building. It has such a
profusion of animated statues and finished pieces of art, rivalling
the monuments of antient Rome itself, that it justly has and maintains its name from thence, as Leland sings:
"Hanc quia non habent similem laudare Britanni
Sæpe solent nullique parem cognomine dicunt.
Unrivalled in design, the Britons tell
The wondrous praises of this nonpareil."
But perhaps no description of this palace is to be more relied on than that given by Hentzner, a German, who visited England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and at his return into his own country, published an account of his travels in Latin, which seems to be written with great accuracy. What relates to this country, was printed by the earl of Orford, at Strawberry Hill, in 1757, with a translation. His account of Nonsuch-palace is as follows:
"Nonesuch, a royal retreat built by Henry VIII., with an excess of magnificence and elegance even to ostentation; one would imagine every thing that architecture can perform to have been employed in this one work: there are every where so many statues that seem to breath, so many miracles of consummate art, so many casts, that rival even the perfection of Roman antiquity, that it may well claim, and justify its name of Nonesuch, being without an equal: or as the poet sung:
"This which no equal has in art or fame, Britons deservedly do Nonesuch name."
"The palace itself is so encompassed with parks full of deer, delicious gardens, groves ornamented with trellis work, cabinets of verdure, and walks so embrowned by trees, that it seems to be a place pitched upon by pleasure herself to dwell in along with health.
"In the pleasure and artificial gardens (fn. 53), are many columns and pyramids of marble; two fountains, that spout water one round the other like a pyramid, upon which are perched small birds, that stream water out of their bills: in the grove of Diana, is a very agreeable fountain, with Actæon turned into a stag, as he was sprinkled by the goddess and her nymphs, with inscriptions.
"There is besides another pyramid of marble full of concealed pipes, which spirt upon all who come within their reach."
In Sebastian Braun's Work, entitled "Civitates Orbis Terrarum," there is an engraving of Nonsuch palace by Hoefnagle (fn. 54), from which the annexed print was copied. There is also a small engraving of it in the corner of Speed's Map of Surrey.
Braun, speaking of Nonsuch, says, that by the contrivance of the architect, an echo was made at the entrance of the palace, which repeated the sound distinctly five or six times.
Survey of Nonsuch in 1650.
In the Survey taken by order of the parliament in 1650, the house at Nonsuch is described, as consisting of "a fayer, stronge, and large structure, or building of free-stone, of two large stories high; well wrought and battled with stone, and covered with blue slate, standing round a court of 150 foote long, and 132 foote broad, paved with stone, commonly called the outward courte: a gate-house leading into the outward court aforesaid, being a building very stronge and gracefull, being three stories high, leaded over head, battled, and turretted in every of the foure corners thereof; consisting also of another very faire and curious structure or building of two stories high, the lower story whereof, is of very good and well wrought freestone; and the higher of wood; richly adorned and set forth and garnished with variety of statues (fn. 55), pictures, and other antick formes, of excellent art and workmanship, and of no small cost; all which building lying almost upon a square is covered with blue slate, and incloseth one faire and large court of 137 foot broad, and 116 foot long, all paved with free-stone, commonly called the inner court. Memorandum, That the inner court stands higher than the outward court by an assent of eight steps, leading therefrom through a gate-house of free-stone, three stories high, leaded and turreted in the four corners. This last mentioned gate-house, standing between the inward and the outward court, is of most excellent workmanship, and a very special ornament to Nonsuch house. On the east and west corners of the inner court building, are placed two large and well built turrets of five stories, each of them containing five rooms, the highest of which roomes, together with the lanthorns of the same, are covered with lead, and battled round with frames of wood covered with lead; these turrets command the prospect and view of both the parks of Nonsuch, and most of the country round about, and are the chief ornaments of Nonsuch house." Of the inside there is very little description; it is only said in general, that the rooms are fair and large, and some of them wainscotted and matted. The gardens and orchards are said to contain 212 fruit-trees, "six lelacks, one juniper-tree, two ewe-trees, and a time-tree." The materials of the house are valued at 7020 l. This Survey, the original of which is deposited in the Augmentation Office, is printed in the fifth volume of the Archæologia (fn. 56).
Proprietors of Nonsuch.
Nonsuch palace was not less remarkable for its situation and magnificence, than it has been for its local history, and illustrious proprietors.
Henry VIII. as before mentioned, purchased its site and began the building.
Henry Earl of Arundel.
Henry Earl of Arundel, as we are informed in a MS. life of him in the British Museum (fn. 57), "perceivinge a sumptous house, called Nonesuche, to have bene begon, but not finished by his first maister King Henry the Eighte, and thearfore in Quene Maryes tyme, thoughte mete rather to have bene pulled downe, and solde by peacemeale, then to be perfited at her charges; he for the love and honour he bare to his olde maister, desired to buye the same house by greate of the Quene, for which he gave faire lands unto her highnes; and having the same, did not leave till he had fullye finished it in building, reperations, paviments, and gardens, in as ample and perfit sorte, as by the first intente and meaninge of the said king his old maister the same should have been performed; and so it is now evident to be beholden of all strangers and others for the honour of this realme, as a pearle thereof. The same he hath left to his posterity, garnished and replenished with rich furnitures, among the which his lybrarye is righte worthye of remembrance."
In a copy of the first edition of archbishop Parker's Church History, interleaved with MSS (fn. 58). is the following curious warrant, in the Earl of Arundel's own hand-writing, addressed to his gamekeeper:
"To Robert Gavell, keper of the grete park.
"Delyver unto the most reverent father in God, my very good lord the archebishop of Canterbery, upon his grace's letter, syche and so many deere of seson, in wynter and somer yerely, as his grace shall wryght for, and this shall be your sofficyent warrant therefor; and if hyt shall plese him to hunt at any tyme, I will ye make him syche game as ye woll doe unto me. Fayl not hereof, as you tender my plesure,—at Nonsuch the 22 of Aug. 1571.
"Yr Mr Arundell."
In the life of Lord Arundel above quoted, it is said that he left Nonsuch to his posterity; in confirmation of which it appears that Lord Lumley conveyed it to the crown in the year 1591, and received in lieu thereof, lands to the value of 534 l. (fn. 59).
Queen Elizabeth was frequently at Nonsuch, during the life of the Earl of Arundel; whether as a guest, or tenant, does not appear. The earl himself was resident there in 1571, and he furnished the entertainment for her majesty in 1559; though Strype, in the following account of her visit to Nonsuch, calls it one of her houses:
"Aug. 5. The Queen removed from Eltham to Nonsuch, another of her houses, of which the noble Earl of Arundel seems to have been house-keeper; there the queen had great entertainment with banquets, especially on Sunday night, made by the said earl, together with a mask, and the warlike sound of drums and flutes, and all kinds of musick, till midnight. On Monday was a great supper made for her; but before night, she stood at her standing on the farther park, and saw a course; at night was a play of the children of Paul's and their master Sebastian: after that, a costly banquet, accompanied with drums and flutes; the dishes were extraordinary rich gilt. This entertainment lasted till three in the morning, and the earl presented her majesty with a cupboard of plate (fn. 60)." She left Nonsuch on the 10th. I find she visited it again in 1567, 1579 (fn. 61), and 1580 (fn. 62).
Nonsuch became afterwards the favourite residence (fn. 63) of the queen, who spent a considerable part of each summer at this palace towards the latter end of her reign. Here the Earl of Essex first experienced the frowns of her displeasure. On his return out of Ireland, he rode post to the court then at Nonsuch; and as Rowland White tells the story, in a letter to Sir Robert Sydney (fn. 64), "made all hast up to the presence, and soe to the privy chamber, and staied not till he came to the queen's bed-chamber, where he found the queen newly up, the hare about her face; he kneeled unto her, kissed her hands, and had some privat speach with her, which seemed to give him great contentment; for coming from her majestie to goe shifte hymself in his chamber, he was pleasant, and thanked God, though he had suffered much trouble and storms abroad, he found a sweet calm at home. Tis much wonderd at here," says White, "that he went so boldly to her majesties presence, she not being ready, and he soe full of dirt and mire, that his very face was full of yt." On a second visit to the queen after dinner, "he found her much changed in that small tyme, for she began to call hym to question for his return, and was not satisfied in the manner of his coming away, and leaving all things at soe great hazard. She apointed the lords to heare hym, and soe they went to cownsell in the afternoone."
Anne of Denmark.
Queen Henrietta Maria.
Duchess of Cleveland.
Nonsuch was afterwards settled upon Anne, Queen of James I. Sir Thomas Chaloner, in a letter to Lord Sydney (fn. 65), says, "that the queen cannot conveniently keep house at Nonsuch, without she could procure the great park, of which Lord Lumley had a lease, and some of his lordship's adjoining lands; without thees parcells, the fayr house at Nonsuch will be nothing pleasing to the queene, if shee ly here at her own charge, for shee hath nothinge here but the bare park." This purchase was afterwards arranged. In the next reign all the premises at Nonsuch, which had been the late queen's, were settled on Henrietta Maria. They were seized as part of her property, after the execution of Charles I. The house was leased by the trustees for the disposal of crown lands to Algernon Sydney, at the rent of 150 l. per annum; and afterwards sold by them in April 1650, to George Smythson, of the county of York, and others at sixteen years purchase (fn. 66). The house alone was then valued at 7020 l. for the materials. After the restoration, it came again into the hands of the crown. Charles II. granted all the premises which had belonged to Queen Henrietta Maria, to the Duchess of Cleveland (fn. 67), who pulled down the old house, and disparked the land. Her grandson, the late Duke of Grafton, alienated the estate in 1730, to Joseph Thompson Esquire, uncle to the present proprietor, the Rev. Joseph Whately; who under the grant of Charles II. has a royal franchise of free warren in Nonsuch park. The mansion which he now occupies, is at some distance from the site of the old palace.
The park adjoining the palace contained 671 acres; it was disparked, as mentioned before, by the Duchess of Cleveland.
Leland, speaking of Cudington, says, "Crompton of London, hath a close by Codington in Southerey, wher the king buildith. In this close is a vaine of fine yerth, to make moldes for goldesmithes and casters of metale, that a loade of it is sold for a croune of golde. Like yerth to this is not found in all Englande."