The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1796.
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Quantity of land, and how occupied.
Grenewic, or Grenevic, as this place was called by the Saxons, is literally the green village; meaning, perhaps, the village on the green. It lies in the hundred of Blackheath, being situated on the banks of the Thames, at the distance of five miles from London. The parish is bounded by Deptford, St. Paul's; Lewisham; Charlton; and the extraparochial hamlet of Kidbrook. It contains about 1170 acres of cultivated land: of which about 140 are arable; about 160 occupied by market gardeners; about 550 marsh and lowland meadow; and about 320 upland meadow and pasture (including Greenwich-park). A small part of Blackheath, adjoining to Greenwich town and park, is in this parish. The soil, except in the marshes, is, for the most part, sand and gravel. This parish pays the sum of 1037l. 18s. 10d. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of 1s. 2d. in the pound.
Greenwich has a market twice a-week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The profits of this market being vested in Henry Earl of Romney, were given by him, in 1700, to the Royal Hospital (fn. 1).
Greenwich once a borough.
In the year 1557, this place sent two burgesses to Parliament (Thomas Farnham and John Sackville, Esqrs.). This is the only return it ever made (fn. 2).
Assizes held there.
The assizes for the county were held at Greenwich, in the first, fourth, and fifth years of Queen Elizabeth (fn. 3).
Greenwich gave the title of a duke of this kingdom to John Campbell, better known by his former title of Duke of Argyle, in Scotland. The Duke dying without male issue, his eldest daughter, Lady Caroline Campbell, was created Baroness of Greenwich in her own right, anno 1760; with remainder to her heirs male by the Hon. Charles Townshend her second husband. Lady Greenwich having survived her sons, who died without issue, the title became extinct at her death, in 1794.
Danish fleet and army at Greenwich.
Death of Archbishop Alphege.
In the reign of King Ethelred, the Danish fleet was several times stationed in the river Thames near Greenwich (fn. 4), their army being encamped on the hill above. Hence they made excursions into the interior part of the county, making dreadful ravages wherever they went. In the year 1012, they spoiled the city of Canterbury, carrying away with them Alphege the Archbishop, whom they kept prisoner for seven months in their camp at Greenwich; when, being enraged at his refusing to pay a large sum of money which they had demanded for his ransom, they slew him (fn. 5). The Archbishop was mrolled among the Romish saints; and the parish church at this place, in memory of its having been the scene of his suffering, was afterwards dedicated to him. Some vestiges of the Danish camps may be traced in the names of East Combe and West Combe, two estates in this parish, on the borders of Blackheath.
The manor of Greenwich (called in most records East Greenwich) was formerly an appendage to that of Lewisham, and was given with it, by Elthruda, niece of King Alfred, to the Abbey of St. Peter at Ghent (fn. 6). After the alien priories had been suppressed by Henry V. the manors of Lewisham and Greenwich were given to the Carthusian monastery at Shene (fn. 7). King Henry VIII. in the year 1530, obtained from the prior and convent of Shene a grant of these manors in exchange for the monastery of Bradwell (fn. 8) and other lands. In 1538, Sir Thomas Speke was made steward of the manor of East Greenwich for life (fn. 9). King Edward VI. granted that office to Sir Thomas Darcy, K. G. (fn. 10) When the Crown-lands were seized by Parliament, in 1649, and put up to sale, this manor was reserved for the use of the state. At the Restoration it reverted to the Crown. In 1685, it was made part of the jointure of Queen Mary, consort of James II. (fn. 11) It is now in the hands of the Crown.
Another manor mentioned in Doomsday, and called some centuries afterwards the manor of Pleasaunce.
Rebuilt by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester.
Residence of the Kings of England at Greenwich.
Birth of Henry VIII.
Great feasts held at Greenwich by that monarch.
First masquerade in England.
Birth of Queen Mary.
Birth and christening of Queen Elizabeth.
A muster of the citizens, and tilting, before the Queen in Greenwich-park.
There was also, besides this principal manor, another manor which came into the hands of the Crown at a much earlier period. This, it is probable, was the same which is described in the record of Doomsday, as having been formerly two manors held by Earl Harold and Brixi, but afterwards consolidated, and, at the taking of the survey, held of Odo Bishop of Baieux, by the Bishop of Lisieux (fn. 12). It seems not unlikely that this manor, which was seized by the King on the disgrace of the Bishop of Baieux, continued from that time to be vested in the Crown. We have traces of a Royal residence at this place as early as the year 1300, when Edward I. made an offering of 7s. at each of the holy crosses in the chapel of the Virgin Mary, at Greenwich, and the Prince made an offering of half that sum (fn. 13). Henry IV. dates his will in 1408, from his manor of Greenwich. Henry V. granted this manor for life, to Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who died at Greenwich in 1417 (fn. 14). It was granted soon afterwards to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the King's uncle, who in 1433, had the Royal licence to fortify and embattle his manor-house, and to make a park of 200 acres (fn. 15). Soon after this the Duke rebuilt the palace, calling it Placentia, or the Manor of Pleasaunce; he inclosed the park also, and erected within it a tower (fn. 16) on the spot where the observatory now stands. Upon the Duke of Gloucester's death, which happened in 1447, this manor reverted to the Crown. Edward IV. took great pleasure and bestowed much cost in finishing and enlarging the palace. In 1466, he granted the manor, with the palace and park, to his Queen, Elizabeth, for life (fn. 17). In this reign the marriage of Richard, Duke of York, with Anne Mowbray, was solemnized at Greenwich with great splendor (fn. 18). Henry VII. resided much at this place; where his second son (afterwards Henry VIII.), and his third son, Edmund Tudor (fn. 19), (created Duke of Somerset,) were born. Lambard says, that he beautified the palace by the addition of a brick front towards the water-side (fn. 20). Stow mentions his repairing the palace in 1501 (fn. 21). Henry VIII. was born at Greenwich June 28, 1491, and was baptized in the parish church by the Bishop of Exeter, Lord Privy Seal; the Earl of Oxford and the Bishop of Winchester (Courtney) being his godfathers (fn. 22). This monarch, from partiality perhaps to the place of his birth, neglected Eltham, which had been the favourite residence of his ancestors, and bestowed great cost upon Greenwich, till he had made it, as Lambard says, "a pleasant, per"fect, and princely palaice (fn. 23)." During his reign it became one of the principal scenes of that festivity for which his court was celebrated. King Henry's marriage with his first Queen, Katherine of Arragon, was solemnized at Greenwich, June 3, 1510 (fn. 24). On Mayday 1511, and the two following days, were held tournaments, in which the King, Sir Edward Howard, Charles Brandon, and Edward Neville challenged all comers (fn. 25). In 1512, the King kept his Christmas here "with great and plentiful cheer (fn. 26);" and again in 1513, "with great solemnity, dancing, disguisings, and mummers, in a most princely manner." At this celebrity was introduced the first masquerade ever seen in England (fn. 27). On the 13th of May 1515, the marriage of Mary, Queen Dowager of France, (Henry's sister,) with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, was publicly solemnized at Greenwich (fn. 28). Solemn tournaments were held there in 1517 (fn. 29), 1526, and 1536 (fn. 30). The King kept his Christmas at Greenwich in 1521, " with great nobleness and open court (fn. 31);" and again in 1525 (fn. 32). In 1527, he received the French embassy at this place (fn. 33). The same year he kept his Christmas here, "with revels, masks, disguisings, and banquets royal (fn. 34);" as he did again in 1533 (fn. 35), in 1537 (fn. 36), and in 1543: the last-mentioned year he entertained twenty-one of the Scottish nobility whom he had taken prisoners at Salom Moss, and gave them their liberty without ransom (fn. 37). Edward VI. kept his Christmas at Greenwich, in 1552–3; George Ferrers Esq. of Lincoln's Inn being "Lorde of the merrie disporte (fn. 38) :" This amiable young monarch closed his short reign at Greenwich palace on the 6th of July following (fn. 39). Queen Mary was born at Greenwich, Feb. 8, 1515, and was baptized the Wednesday following, Cardinal Wolsey being her godfather, the Lady Katherine, and the Duchess of Norfolk, her godmothers (fn. 40). Queen Elizabeth was born at this place, Sep. 7, 1533, "and christened with great state on the Wednesday following, in the Friars' church, the Duchess of Norfolk bearing her to the font. Her godfather was Archbishop Cranmer; her godmothers, the old Duchess of Norfolk, and the old Marchioness of Dorset: Garter King of Arms cried aloud, "God of his infinite goodness send prosperous life, and long, to the high and mighty Princess of England, Elizabeth." Over the font, which was of silver, (and stood in the midst of the church, three steps high,) hung a square canopy of crimson velvet fringed with gold, another being likewise borne over the child's head (fn. 41)." On the second of July 1559, Queen Elizabeth was entertained by the city of London with a muster of 1400 men in Greenwich-park, the gunners were dressed in shirts of mail, the others in coats of velvet, with chains of gold, being armed "with moris pikes, halberds," &c. At five o'clock in the afternoon a mock fight was exhibited in the park, the Queen viewing it from the gallery over the park gate: "three onsets were given in every battle, the guns discharged on one another, the moris pikes encountred together with great alarm; each ran to their weapons again, and then they fell together as fast as they could, in imitation of close fight; after which Mr. Chamberlain, and divers of the commons of the city, came before her Grace, who thanked them heartily, and all the city: whereupon immediately was given the greatest shout that ever was heard, with hurling up of caps (fn. 42). On the 10th of the same month there was tilting before the Queen, "a goodly banquetting house being set up in the park, made with firpoles, and decked with birch branches, and all manner of flowers both of the field and garden, as roses, julyflowers, marygolds, and all manner of strewing herbs and rushes (fn. 43)." The challengers were the Earl of Ormond, Sir John Perrot, and Mr. North. At five in the afternoon the Queen, with the ambassadors, &c. came and stood over the park gate to see the exercise; after this her Majesty took her horse and rode to the banqueting-house, and so to supper. The evening concluded with "a mask, a great banquet, great casting of fire, and shooting of guns, till 12 at night (fn. 44)." The same year a council sat at Greenwich, in which it was determined to be contrary to law for any Nuncio from the Pope to enter this realm (fn. 45).
Her residence there.
Her reception of Embassadors at Greenwich.
Hentzner's description of her court.
The House of Delight.
Greenwich became the Queen's favourite summer residence (fn. 46). She sometimes visited it at other seasons of the year. In Queen Elizabeth's Progresses, (published by Mr. Nichols,) there is a curious account of the order of the Maundy, as observed by her Majesty, at Greenwich (fn. 47), March 19, 1572–3, from a MS. of Lambard's. Here, on the 29th of June 1585, she received the Deputies from the United Provinces, who then presented to her Majesty the sovereignty of the Low Countries (fn. 48). In the month of May the year ensuing, she received the Danish Embassador at Greenwich (fn. 49); and on the 25th of July 1597, Paulus de Jaline, Embassador from the King of Poland (fn. 50). Hentzner, a German traveller, who visited England in 1598, gives so curious and interesting a description of Queen Elizabeth's court at Greenwich, that, although it has been more than once printed; yet, as it may be new to many of my readers, and is so immediately pertinent to a history of this parish, I shall not hesitate to print it at length in the notes (fn. 51). The latest mention that I have found of Queen Elizabeth's residence at Greenwich is in 1600; when Rowland White, writing to Sir Robert Sidney, June 11, says, "The Queen dined yesterday at my Lady Lumley's in Greenwich, and uses to walke muche in the parke and great walkes out of the parke, and about the parke (fn. 52). The Princess Mary, daughter of James I. was christened with great solemnity at Greenwich, in 1605 (fn. 53). In 1613, Greenwich-house was settled on the Queen (Anne of Denmark) for life (fn. 54). The brick-work, towards the garden, was built by her; and she laid the foundation of the "House of Delight (fn. 55)," in the park, now the Ranger's lodge. Charles the First resided occasionally at Greenwich, before the breaking out of the civil war. His Queen, Henrietta Maria, employed Inigo Jones (fn. 56) to finish the building, which Anne of Denmark had begun. It was completed in 1635, as appears by a date still to be seen on the front: the cielings were painted by Horatio Gentileschi (fn. 57), and the whole house was furnished so magnificently, that it surpassed, as Philipott says, all others of the kind in England (fn. 58).
Circumstances relating to the palace during the civil war.
The old palace pulled down, and a new one begun by Charles II.
Charles II.'s unfinished palace converted into an hospital for seamen, founded by King William and QueenMary.
The King's donation.
A subscription opened for carrying on the work.
Sir Christopher Wren, the architect.
The new building begun.
On the third of November 1642, three companies of foot, and a troop of horse, were sent by the Parliament at night, to search the palace and town of Greenwich for concealed arms; they found only a few two-handed broad-swords without scabbards (fn. 59). When the ordinance for the sale of Crown-lands was passed, in 1649, Greenwich-house and park were reserved: Sir Bulstrode Whitlock being made keeper and steward of the manor (fn. 60). On the 21st of December 1651, it was resolved that Greenwich-house should be kept for the Lord Protector (fn. 61); the next year, the necessities of the state requiring money for defraying the expences of the Navy, the House of Commons resolved (Nov. 27,) that Greenwich-house, with the park and lands, should be sold for ready money (fn. 62). In pursuance of this resolution, an Act was passed, on the 31st of December, for the sale (fn. 63); a survey was taken, and an estimate made. Several of the offices and other premises adjoining to the palace were accordingly sold to various persons (fn. 64); but the house itself and the park remaining unsold in 1654, it was again declared to be a fit mansion for the accommodation of the Protector; and on the 20th of December that year, an ordinance passed, by which it was reserved for him and his successors (fn. 65). Notwithstanding this ordinance, after Cromwell's death, (June 18, 1659,) it was referred to a committee to treat with the city of London about the exchange of Greenwich for the new (Richmond) park (fn. 66); but it does not appear that the exchange ever took place. After the Restoration, Greenwich palace, park, and manor came again into the hands of the Crown, and Henry Earl of St. Alban's was made keeper and steward (fn. 67). It being found that the old building, which, since its first erection by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, had been from time to time enlarged and repaired, was become greatly decayed, the King ordered it to be pulled down; intending to build on its site a magnificent palace of freestone, one wing of which was completed, at the expence of 36,000l. (fn. 68) Here he occasionally resided; but no farther progress was made in the work, either by him or his successor James. In the early part of the following reign, a project was formed for providing an asylum for seamen, disabled by age, or maimed in the service of their country. The idea of this humane and politic institution is said to have originated with the Queen. After their Majesties had resolved to found an hospital (fn. 69) for this purpose, various places were recommended for its site. Sir Christopher Wren proposed that the unfinished palace at Greenwich should be converted to this use, and enlarged with new buildings. His advice was adopted; and in the year 1694, the King and Queen, by their letters patent, granted the said palace, with other buildings and certain parcels of ground adjoining, to the Lord Keeper Somers, the Duke of Leeds, and others, in trust, "to be converted and employed to and for the use and service of a hospital to be there founded, for the relief and support of seamen of the Royal Navy, who, by reason of wounds or other disabilities should be incapable of farther service at sea, and unable to maintain themselves; and for the sustentation of widows, and the education of children of such seamen as should be slain or disabled in the King's service." The following year, the King (Queen Mary being then dead) appointed commissioners (fn. 70) for the purpose of considering (with the assistance of the Surveyorgeneral and other artists) what part of King Charles's palace, and the other buildings granted for that purpose, would be fit for the intended hospital, and how they might be best prepared for that use; of procuring models for such new buildings as might be required; of preparing, (with the assistance of the Attorney and Solicitor General,) a charter of foundation, with statutes and orders for the management of the hospital; and for other purposes. The King, by the said patent, granted the sum of 2000l. yearly towards carrying this noble work into effect. The commissioners held their first meeting at Guildhall, on the 17th of May 1695; when a committee was appointed to view the premises granted for the use of the hospital, who reported that King Charles's unfinished palace might, by the addition of a building on the west side, be made capable of receiving, conveniently, between three and four hundred seamen. On the 31st of the same month, at a meeting of the committee in Guildhall, the preamble of a subscription-roll was drawn up, but the subscription fell very short of what might have been expected from the liberal example of the founder, and the magnitude, policy, and benevolence of the institution. Some individuals contributed generously (fn. 71), but the whole of the subscription did not amount to 8000l.; and it is remarkable, that the names of two persons only, (Isaac Loader, Esq. of Deptford, and Dr. Plume, vicar of Greenwich,) who were not among the commissioners, appear on the list. I believe it may be affirmed, without any undue compliment to the present age, that the event of such a subscription would now be very different. Sir Christopher Wren, who was appointed the architect, (to his honour be it spoken,) contributed his time, labour, and skill, and superintended the progress of the work for several years without any emolument or reward. The foundation of the first new building was laid on the 3d of June 1696, from which time the Hospital has been gradually enlarged and improved, till it has arrived at its present splendor and magnificence.
Description of Greenwich Hospital.
The great square.
Statue of George II.
Greenwich Hospital, in its present state, consists of four distinct piles of building, distinguished by the names of King Charles's; Queen Anne's; King William's, and Queen Mary's. King Charles's and Queen Anne's are those next the river: between them is the grand square 270 feet wide; and in front by the river-side a terrace 865 feet in length. The view, from the north gate, which opens to the terrace in the midway between the two buildings, presents an assemblage of objects uncommonly grand and striking. Beyond the square are seen the hall and chapel, with their beautiful domes, and the two colonnades, which form a kind of avenue, terminated by the Ranger's lodge in the park; on an eminence of which appears the Royal Observatory amidst a grove of trees. In the centre of the great square above mentioned is a statue of George the Second, by Rysbrach, carved out of a single block of white marble, which weighed eleven tons, taken from the French by Sir George Rooke. The statue was presented to the Hospital by Sir John Jennings, a former Governor. On the pedestal are some inscriptions (fn. 72), drawn up by Mr. Stanyan, author of the Grecian History.
King Charles's building.
Council-room and antichamber.
Queen Anne's building.
King Charles's building stands on the west side of the great square; the eastern part of it, which is of Portland stone, was erected in 1664, by Webb, after a design of his father-in-law Inigo Jones. The front towards the east has in the centre a portico, supported by four Corinthian columns; and at each end a pavilion formed by four columns of the same order. In this range of buildings is the council-room, with an antichamber. In the antichamber are some sea-pieces, given by Thomas Harman, Esq. representing the exploits of his ancestor Captain Thomas Harman, in the reign of Charles II.; and a series of small pictures, representing the loss of the Luxemburgh galley, (commanded by Captain William Kellaway,) which was burnt in her passage from Jamaica to London in 1727; and the subsequent distresses of part of her crew who escaped in the longboat, and were at sea from June 25 to July 7, without any victuals or a drop of liquor (fn. 73). In the council-room are portraits of King William and Queen Mary, by Kneller; King George II.; the first Earl of Sandwich, by Sir Peter Lely; Lord Torrington, by Davison; Sir John Jennings, by Richardson; Robert Osbaldeston, Esq. a liberal benefactor to the Hospital; Captain Clements, (a former Lieut. Governor,) by Greenhill; and the late Earl of Sandwich, by Gainsborough. In this room also are several of Sir James Thornhill's original sketches for the great hall. The north front of King Charles's building, which is towards the river, contains the apartments of the Governor and Lieut. Governor. This and the south front have each two pavilions similar to those in the east front. The west side of this building, comprehending the northwest and south-west pavilions, was originally all of brick (fn. 74). It was the first addition to King Charles's palace, being called the bass building. The foundation was laid in 1696, and it was nearly completed in 1698. The whole of what is now called King Charles's building, contains fourteen wards, in which are 301 beds. Queen Anne's building, on the east side of the great square, nearly corresponds with King Charles's on the opposite side. The foundation of this building was laid in 1698: the greater part of it was raised and covered in before 1728. In this building are several of the officers' apartments; and twenty-four wards, in which are 437 beds.
King William's building.
The vestibule and hall.
King William's building stands to the south-west of the great square. It contains the great hall, vestibule, and dome, designed and erected by Sir Christopher Wren, between 1698 and 1703: to the east of these adjoins a colonade, 347 feet in length, supported by columns and pilasters of the Doric order, 20 feet in height. In the vestibule of the hall is the model of an antique ship, found in the Villa Mattea (given by Lord Anson). The great hall is 106 feet in length, 56 in width, and 50 in height. In the frize is the following inscription: "Pietas augusta ut habitent securè et publicè alantur qui publiæ securitati invigilarunt regia Grenovici Mariæ auspiciis sublevandis nautis destinata regnantibus Gulielmo et Mariâ, 1694." The painting of this hall was undertaken by Sir James Thornhill in 1708, and finished in 1727. It cost 6685l. being after the rate of 3l. per yard for the cieling, and 1l. for the sides. This price the directors agreed to pay, after consulting some of the most eminent artists of that time; who declared the performance to be equal in merit to any thing of the kind in England, and superior in the number of figures and ornaments. On the cieling are portraits of the Royal founders William and Mary, surrounded by the cardinal virtues, the four seasons of the year, the English rivers, the four elements, the arts and sciences relating to navigation; and other emblematical figures, among which are introduced, portraits of Flamsteed, the Astronomer Royal, and his pupil Mr. Thomas Weston. The sides are adorned with fluted pilasters, trophies, &c. The cieling of the upper hall represents Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark, accompanied by various emblematical figures; the four quarters of the globe, &c. The subjects on the sides are, the landing of the Prince of Orange at Harwich; and of George I. at Greenwich. At the upper end of the hall are portraits of George I. and his family, with many emblematical figures; among which Sir James Thornhill has introduced his own portrait. The west front of King William's building, which is of brick, was finished by Sir John Vanburgh, about the year 1726. This building contains eleven wards, in which are 551 beds.
Queen Mary's building.
The foundation of the eastern colonade (which is similar to that on the west side) was laid in 1699; but the chapel, and other parts of Queen Mary's building which adjoin to it, were not finished till 1752. This building, which corresponds to that called King William's, contains thirteen wards, in which are 1092 beds.
Dreadful fire which consumed a great part of this building.
The new chapel.
On the 2d of January 1779, a dreadful fire happened in this building, which destroyed the chapel, with its dome, part of the colonade, and as many of the adjoining wards as contained 500 beds. The whole has been since rebuilt. The former chapel, which was destroyed, was designed by Ripley; the present chapel, by the late James Stuart, well known by his interesting publications on the antiquities of Athens. It is 111 feet in length, and 52 in width: the portal is extremely rich; and the interior part fitted up in the most elegant style of Grecian architecture. On the sides are galleries for the officers and their families, and beneath, seats for the pensioners, nurses, and boys. Over the altar is a large painting, (25 feet by 14,) representing the shipwreck of St. Paul, by West. Over the lower windows are paintings in chiaro obscuro, by Rebecca and other artists. The pulpit is very richly ornamented with carved work, representing scripture subjects. The organ, which is esteemed a very fine one, was made by Green.
The two pavilions at the extremities of the terrace were erected in 1778, and dedicated to their present Majesties.
The east and west entrances into the Hospital are formed by two piers of rustic work. On those at the west entrance are placed two large stone globes, each six feet diameter.
In 1763, it having been determined to erect an Infirmary without the walls of the Hospital for sick pensioners, Mr. Stuart gave a design for the building, which was immediately completed by Mr. Robinson, then clerk of the works. It is a quadrangular brick building, 198 feet in length, and 175 in breadth, containing 64 rooms, each formed so as to accommodate four patients; every room having a chimney-place and ventilator. This building contains also a chapel, hall, and kitchen; apartments for the physician, surgeon, apothecary, matron, &c. Within the walls are hot and cold baths.
School-house, and dormitory.
In 1783, a school-house, with a dormitory for the boys, was built without the walls of the hospital; the wards which the boys formerly occupied being appropriated to the reception of an additional number of pensioners. This building was designed by Mr. Stuart, and erected under the superintendence of Mr. Newton, clerk of the works. It is 146 feet in length, and 42 in breadth, exclusive of a Tuscan colonade in front, which is 180 feet long, and 20 broad. The school-room, 100 feet by 25, is capable of containing 200 boys. In the upper stories are two dormitories of the same length, furnished with hammocks. There are apartments also for the guardian, nurses, and other attendants; and, at a small distance, a house for the schoolmaster.
Other out-buildings belonging to the hospital are, a large brewery, the officers' stables, &c.
Qualifications of the pensioners.
The pensioners, who are the objects of this noble charity, must be seamen disabled by age or maimed (either in the King's service, or in the merchant service, if the wounds were received in defending or taking any ship, or in fight against a pirate (fn. 75) ). Foreigners, who have served two years in the British Navy, become entitled to receive the benefits of this charity in the same manner as natives. The widows of seamen, pursuant to the intention of the Royal founder, are provided for in this establishment, enjoying the exclusive privilege of being appointed nurses in the hospital.
In the month of January 1705, the Royal Hospital at Greenwich was first opened for the reception of pensioners, when forty-two seamen, qualified as above mentioned, were admitted. Their number has since been gradually increased to 2350, which is the present complement (fn. 76). The pensioners are provided with clothes, diet, and lodging; and have a small allowance for pocket-money (fn. 77). The number of nurses now employed in the hospital, including the boys' nurses, is 147; they must be widows of seamen, and under 45 years of age at the time of their admission. They are allowed 8l. per annum as wages, and are provided with clothing, diet, and lodging.
About 15,400 pensioners, and 640 nurses, have been admitted into the Hospital since its first establishment.
In 1763, in consequence of an application from the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital, assembled at a general court, an Act of Parliament passed, enabling them (after defraying the necessary expences of the Hospital) to grant pensions to such poor seamen (worn out and become decrepit in the King's service) as could not be received, for want of room, into the Hospital. In pursuance of this Act, 1400 out-pensioners were appointed to receive 7l. per annum: their numbers having gradually decreased, by death, or admission into the Hospital, 500 more were appointed in 1782. The present number of out-pensioners is about 1200.
Education of seamen's sons.
From the first beginning of the institution, in compliance with the Royal founder's intention, a certain number of seamen's sons have been educated in the Hospital; at first, ten only; in 1731, they were increased to 60; and at length, to 150; which is the present complement. The boys must be, at the time of their admission, between eleven and thirteen years of age; objects of charity; of sound body and mind, and able to read. They are lodged, clothed, and maintained three years; during which time they are instructed in the principles of religion by the chaplains; and in writing, arithmetic, navigation, (and drawing, if they shew any genius for it,) by the schoolmaster. Each boy has a Bible and Prayer-book given him on his entrance into the school, and is supplied, during his stay there, with all necessary books and instruments; which he is allowed to take with him when he leaves the school. He is then bound out for seven years to the sea-service. An excellent branch this of the charity, which answers the double purpose of providing for the sons of poor seamen, and of making them useful to their country. About 2700 boys have been educated from the first establishment of this charity to the present time. The master, who is appointed by the directors, has a salary of 150l. per annum, and a house. The present master is Mr. Peter Furbor.
Revenue of the Hospital.
The funds which have sufficed to raise the magnificent buildings of this Hospital, and to increase, from time to time, the establishment to its present extent, have been derived from the following sources:
The sum of 2000l. per annum, granted by the King, in 1695.
About 8000l. subscribed as before mentioned, in 1695.
A duty of 6d. per month, to be paid by every mariner, either in the King's or in the merchants' service; granted by Parliament in 1696, and in 1712 (fn. 78).
The sum of 19,500l. being fines paid by certain merchants for smuggling; given by the King, in 1699.
The sum of 600l. being the produce of a lottery, (anno 1699,) from which much greater gains were expected.
The profits of the market at Greenwich, given by Henry Earl of Romney, in 1700.
The sum of 6472l. 1s. being the effects of Kid, a pirate, given by Queen Anne, in 1705.
The moiety of a large estate bequeathed by Robert Osbaldeston, Esq. in 1707, (valued at 20,000l.) and the profits of his unexpired grant of the north and south foreland lighthouses (since renewed for 99 years to the Hospital).
Forfeited and unclaimed shares of prize-money, granted by Queen Anne, in 1708.
Six thousand pounds per annum, granted by Queen Anne, in 1710, out of the duty on coals, and continued for a longer term by George I.
The wages and allowance of the chaplains of the Hospital, as chaplains of Deptford and Woolwich Dock-yards, granted to the Hospital in 1714; an increase of salary having been given in lieu to the chaplains.
The half-pay of all the officers belonging to the Hospital from the year 1728, when salaries were assigned them in lieu.
Ten thousand pounds granted annually by Parliament in 1728, and for several years following.
An estate given by Mr. William Clapham of Eltham (1730), consisting of wharfs and warehouses near London-bridge (after the death of his sister without issue).
The estates forfeited by the Earl of Derwentwater (fn. 79), given by Act of Parliament in 1735, with certain monies received on account of the said estates, and then remaining in the Exchequer.
Benefactions of private persons at various times, (subsequent to the subscription already mentioned,) amounting in the whole to about 9400l. (fn. 80)
The present revenue of the Hospital arises from such of the grants and benefactions above mentioned as were of a permanent nature, and from fines for fishing with unlawful nets, and other offences committed on the river Thames.
Funds of the school.
The expences of the school are not paid out of this revenue, but it is supported solely by the following incidental funds: viz. money received for shewing the hall, chapel, and other parts of the building; mulcts, absences, cheques, &c. of the pensioners and the nurses; profits on provisions purchased of the pensioners; sale of old household stores; and unclaimed property of deceased pensioners and nurses. These funds have proved adequate to the expences of the establishment, and have produced a balance of savings invested in the stocks.
Constitution and government of the Hospital.
Commissioners incorporated by charter in 1775.
King William's first commission relating to Greenwich Hospital has been already mentioned, a second commission passed the Great Seal on the 25th of September 1695. In 1703, Queen Anne issued a commission (dated July 21) which directed that seven commissioners should form a general court, whereof the Lord High Admiral, the Lord Treasurer, or any two Privy Counsellors should be a quorum; general courts were to be held quarterly; the Governor and Treasurer of the Hospital to be appointed by the Crown, all the other officers by the Lord High Admiral, having been recommended to him by the general court: The same commission appoints twentyfive directors to be a standing committee, to meet every fortnight; it vests the internal regulation of the Hospital in the Governor, and such a council of the officers as the Lord High Admiral shall appoint. Such has been the constitution of the Hospital to the present day, warrants having been issued from time to time by the Admiralty forming new councils, as the increase of officers or other circumstances rendered it necessary. New commissions of the same nature as that of Queen Anne, were issued by George I. and George II. on their accession to the throne; but it was not till the year 1775, that the commissioners became a body corporate by a charter of his present Majesty. This charter grants powers to finish the building; to provide for seamen, either within or out of the Hospital; to make bye-laws, &c. &c. It is provided by the charter, that all the officers of the Hospital shall be seafaring men; the office of the directors is defined to be, to inspect the carrying on of the buildings; to state the accounts, and to make contracts; and to place the boys out as apprentices. The internal regulation of the Hospital to be in the Governor and Council, as before mentioned. This charter was followed by an Act of Parliament, which vested in the commissioners thus incorporated, all the estates held in trust for the benefit of the Hospital (fn. 81).
The principal officers of Greenwich Hospital are a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor; four Captains, eight Lieutenants, a Treasurer, Secretary, Auditor, two Chaplains; a Physician, Surgeon, Steward, Clerk of the Checque, Surveyor, Clerk of the Works, besides assistants, and a great number of inferior officers. The Governor and Treasurer are appointed by the King's patent; the other officers by the Admiralty, except the Surveyor and Clerk of the Works, who are nominated by the general court. The officers are allowed, in addition to their salaries, a certain quantity of coals and candles, and 14d. a day, in lieu of diet.
In 1707, a piece of ground, lying on the east side of Greenwichpark, 660 feet in length, and 132 in breadth, was given by Prince George of Denmark to the Hospital for a burial-ground. It has been long disused; another parcel of ground, containing about two acres and a half, having been appropriated for that purpose in 1749; when a mausoleum was built, in which are preserved the memorials of Mr. Pierce Welsh (fn. 82), the first Lieutenant of the Hospital; the Rev. Philip Stubbs, archdeacon of St. Alban's, chaplain of Greenwich Hospital, &c.; and other persons who were buried in the old ground. In the new cemetery is only one monument, in memory of Francis Dansays, Esq. Lieut. Governor of the Hospital, who died in 1754. In this cemetery was interred, June 26, 1774, Nicholas Tindal, the translator of Rapin's History of England. He published also a continuation of it to the end of George the First's reign, and was author of some other works. Mr. Tindal was appointed one of the chaplains of Greenwich Hospital in 1738.
Average number of pensioners buried.
The average number of pensioners buried yearly, during the last 20 years, is about 200. As the register of burials does not record their ages, I have had no other opportunity of ascertaining any instances of longevity which may have occurred in the Hospital, than from the obituaries in periodical publications, which mention the death of Mr. Baker of Greenwich Hospital, March 1736, aged 101 (fn. 83); and Thomas Bond, a pensioner, Dec. 8, 1739, aged 105 (fn. 84).
Greenwich palace having been converted into an hospital for seamen, as has been just related, the park remained, as it still does, in the Crown. It was walled round with brick by James the First (fn. 85), and laid out in Charles the Second's time, under the direction of Le Notre. This park contains 188 acres; it is planted chiefly with elms and Spanish chesnut-trees; of the latter there are a great number fit for timber; one in particular measures fourteen feet ten inches in girth at three feet from the ground.
The scenery of the park is very beautiful; and the views from it, particularly from One-tree-hill and the Observatory, uncommonly magnificent; affording one of the best prospects of the metropolis, its populous eastern suburbs; and the serpentine windings of the river, with its numerous shipping, for a great extent (fn. 86). The Ranger's lodge, commonly called the Queen's-house, is the same building which has been already spoken of as begun by Anne of Denmark, and finished by Queen Henrietta Maria. The name of the latter is on the front, with the date 1635. The great hall, which is about fifty-four feet square, is surrounded by a gallery. The cieling has been divested of its ornaments. One of Gentileschi's cielings remains in the saloon, but much damaged, the house having been for some time uninhabited. It was formerly the residence of those brave officers Matthew Lord Aylmer and Sir John Jennings, who held the double appointment of ranger of the park and governor of the hospital, and afterwards the occasional retirement of the Right Hon. Henry Pelham when Prime Minister; his wife Lady Catherine Pelham being the ranger. Since her death no person has been appointed to that office (fn. 87).
Ancient tower in the park, called Miresteur, or Greenwich- castle.
Foundation of the Royal Observatory.
Flamsteed the first Astronomer Royal.
Delay in publishing his observations.
On the eminence in Greenwich-park, where now stands the Observatory, was a tower, built by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, and repaired or rebuilt by Henry VIII. in 1526 (fn. 88). This tower was sometimes a habitation for the younger branches of the Royal family; sometimes the residence of a favourite mistress; sometimes a prison; and sometimes a place of defence. Mary of York, fifth daughter of Edward IV. (betrothed to the King of Denmark), died at the tower in Greenwich-park, anno 1482 (fn. 89). "The King," (Henry VIII.) says Puttenham, in his Art of English Poesy, "having "Flamock with him in his barge going from Westminster to Greenwich, to visit a fayre lady whom the King loved, who was lodged in the tower of the park; the King coming within sight of the tower, and being disposed to be merie, said, Flamock, let us run (fn. 90)." In Queen Elizabeth's time, this tower was called Miresleur; and is supposed, says Hentzner, to have been that mentioned in Amadis de Gaul (fn. 91). The Earl of Leicester was confined in this tower, when he had incurred the Queen's displeasure by marrying the Countess of Essex (fn. 92). Henry, the learned Earl of Northampton, had a grant from King James of the castle in Greenwich-park, which he enlarged and beautified; making it his chief residence (fn. 93). Elizabeth Countess of Suffolk died at the tower in Greenwich-park, in 1633 (fn. 94). In 1642, being then called Greenwichcastle, it was thought of so much consequence as a place of strength, that immediate steps were ordered to be taken for securing it (fn. 95). Some years after the Restoration, King Charles II. (anno 1675) pulled down the old tower, and founded on its site a Royal Observatory. The foundation owed its origin to the following circumstance: Monsieur de St. Pierre, a Frenchman, who came to London in 1675, having demanded a reward from King Charles II. for his discovery of a method of finding the longitude by the moon's distance from a star, a commission was appointed to examine into his pretensions. Mr. Flamsteed, who was appointed one of the commissioners, furnished St. Pierre with certain data of observation by which to calculate the longitude of a given place. This he was unable to do; but excused himself by asserting that the data were false; Mr. Flamsteed contended that they were true, but allowed that nothing certain could be deduced from them, for want of more exact tables of the moon, and more correct places of the fixed stars, than Tycho's observations, made with plain fight, afforded. This being made known to the King, he declared that his pilots and sailors should not want such an assistance. He resolved therefore to found an observatory, for the purpose of ascertaining the motions of the moon, and the places of the fixed stars, as a means of discovering that great desideratum, the longitude at sea; and Flamsteed, who was recommended to his Majesty by Sir Jonas Moor, was appointed Astronomer Royal (fn. 96). Several places were talked of for the site of the observatory, as Hyde-park, the Polemical College at Chelsea, (now the Hospital,) &c. Mr. Flamsteed went to see Chelsea College, and approved of it; but Sir Christopher Wren having recommended Greenwich-castle, that situation was preferred. The King allowed 500l. in money towards the building; bricks from Tilbury-fort, where there was a spare stock, and materials from the castle, which was pulled down; promising to grant any thing farther that should be necessary. The foundation was laid August 10, 1675; and in the month of August the next year, Flamsteed was put in possession of the Observatory, which, from him, has acquired the name of Flamsteed-house. In September, he began to make observations with a sextant of six feet radius, contrived by himself, and such other instruments as were then in use. He resided there many years, doing ample justice to the Royal choice; and shewing himself so eminently qualified for his office that, as has very justly been observed (fn. 97), he seemed born for it. Meanwhile he was walking in an almost untrodden path, being one of the first who made use of telescopic sight: and it was not till 1689, that he had the advantage of a mural quadrant; and even then, it was not such as is now in use, but one contrived and divided partly by himself, without any help but the strength of his own genius (fn. 98). Flamsteed died at Greenwich, Dec. 31, 1719; when he was succeeded by Dr. Halley, who was an astronomer also of great eminence. Finding, upon his appointment, the Observatory bare both of instruments and furniture (fn. 99), he began immediately to furnish it anew, and to fix a transit instrument. A mural quadrant of eight feet radius, constructed under the direction of Graham, was put up at the public expence, in 1725 (fn. 100). Dr. Halley's observations were principally directed to the motions of the moon: he died at the Observatory in 1742, aged 85, and was buried at Lee, near Greenwich, being succeeded as Astronomer Royal by Dr. Bradley; whose discoveries, already before the public, have justly ranked him among the first astronomers of the present age. His observations, as yet, to the great detriment of science, unpublished, will, whenever they shall be brought forward, afford farther proofs of his skill and accuracy. To enter into any detail of the circumstances by which the publication has been so long retarded would be foreign to the nature of this work; but my relation to Dr. Bradley will, perhaps, be regarded as an excuse (when treating of the Royal Observatory) for saying a few words in reply to a charge (made by a very ingenious gentleman (fn. 101), who, I doubt not, has been misinformed upon the subject) which censures the representatives of the late Astronomer Royal, as regardless of his fame, and as having done an injustice to the public by with holding his observations. After Dr. Bradley's decease, the guardians of his only daughter, then a minor, thinking that she had a right to any profits which might accrue from her father's labours, took possession of his MSS. A suit being instituted against them a few years afterwards in his Majesty's name, for the recovery of these papers as the property of the public, they were advised by eminent counsel not to abandon their claim; but in the year 1777, the Rev. Samuel Peach having married Dr. Bradley's daughter and sole heir, and being in consequence possessed of the right which she might have in her father's MS. observations, threw himself, the suit being then undetermined, upon the generosity of Government, and presented them to Lord North, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, being at that time Chancellor also of the University of Oxford, gave them to that learned body, with a view to their immediate publication. The circumstances which have since delayed their appearance, all who either wish well to the cause of science, or feel interested for Dr. Bradley's fame, must join in lamenting. In the year 1750, some very valuable additions were made to the instruments at the Observatory; a new mural brass quadrant of eight feet radius, a transit instrument of eight feet length; and a moveable quadrant of forty inches radius, by Bird; an astronomical clock, by Shelton; a Newtonian reflecting telescope of six feet, focal length, by Short, &c. (fn. 102) Dr. Bradley died on the 13th of July 1762, at the house of his wife's brother, Samuel Peach, Esq. at Chalford in Gloucestershire, and was buried in the churchyard of Minchinhampton in that county. His immediate successor at Greenwich was Nathaniel Bliss, M. A. who died in 1764; when he was succeeded by the present Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, D. D. who fills that situation with great ability. Since his appointment, the Observatory has been furnished with an excellent achromatic telescope of 46 inches focal length, with a treble object-glass, together with a divided achromatic object-glass micrometer, by Dollond; and the whole apparatus has been much improved by Dollond, Nairne, and Arnold (fn. 103). In 1767, his Majesty issued an order that the observations made by the Astronomer Royal at Greenwich should be published annually, under the inspection of the Royal Society (fn. 104). The Observatory undergoes a visitation also once a year from the Society.
The manor of Old-court.
The manor or manor-farm of Old-court, containing 237 acres, I suppose to be the site and demesne of the ancient manor of Greenwich, which, having belonged to the priory of St. Peter in Ghent, and afterwards to the convent of Shene, came into the hands of Henry VIII. by exchange (fn. 105). That monarch retained in his own hands the manor, altering its style, and creating it into an honor; his palace of Placentia he made the manerial residence, and granted Old-court and certain demesne lands (anno 1539) to Richard Long, Esq. for life (fn. 106). Edward VI. in 1547, granted the manor of Old-court for life to Sir Thomas Speke (fn. 107). In 1550, he gave it to John Earl of Warwick, who conveyed it to the King again the same year (fn. 108). In 1551, it was granted for life to Thomas Lord Darcy, of Chiche (fn. 109). It was leased, in 1554, to Sir Henry Jerningham; in 1572, to Sir George Howard; in 1580, to Sir Christopher Hatton; in 1594, to Thomas Lord Buckhurst (afterwards Earl of Dorset); in 1604, to Robert Lord Cranborne (afterwards Earl of Salisbury); and in 1611, to John Eldred and William Whitmore. In 1613, it was settled on Anne of Denmark for life. In 1619, it was granted to Sir John Waller, and others, in trust for Prince Charles; and in 1629, to the trustees of Queen Henrietta Maria (fn. 110). Being seized among the Crown-lands, it was sold, in 1650, to Robert Tichborne, Esq. (fn. 111) After the Restoration it reverted to the Queen-mother, and in 1672 was settled on Queen Catherine (fn. 112). In 1676, a lease of 99 years was granted to Sir William Boreman (fn. 113), of whose heirs Sir John Morden, Bart, purchased the unexpired term in 1699. The same year he obtained a grant of the perpetuity (fn. 114), and by his will, bearing date 1708, vested it in trustees for the use of his newly erected college on Blackheath.
Manor of East-Combe, or Nether-Combe.
The manor or manor-farm of East-Combe, alias Nether-Combe, (containing 272 acres,) passed for several centuries with the manor of Greenwich, and became at the same time a part of the Royal demesnes. In 1613, it was settled on Anne of Denmark for life (fn. 115). Charles I. in 1631, granted it for three lives to John Cooke, and Thomazine his wife (fn. 116). In 1636, the King, in consideration of the great damage which the said lessees had received by a breach of the Thames wall, granted them a farther lease of 31 years, after the decease of three nominees (fn. 117). The same year (1636), John Cooke assigned his interest in both these grants to Peter Fortree, Gent. (fn. 118) When the Crownlands were seized and surveyed in 1649, Leah, widow of Mr. Fortree, was in possession of the lease. In 1650, the estate was sold (subject to her interest therein) to Thomas French, Esq. (fn. 119) At the Restoration the see reverted to the Crown. James Fortree, son of Peter, had a new lease in 1663 (fn. 120); which, in 1665, he assigned to James Hayes, Esq. In 1691, Grezilla, widow of James Hayes, joined with John her son, and Elizabeth her daughter, in an assignment to Ralph Sanderson, Esq. to whose family the lease was several times renewed. Lady Sanderson (relict of Sir William Sanderson, Bart.), since deceased, had a renewal in 1772, for nine years, to commence in 1793. She left, by will, her interest in this lease to the Right Hon. Frederic Montagu, who assigned it to the late John Campbell, Esq. Lord Lyon King of Arms for Scotland, in whose representatives the lease is now vested.
East-Combe-house (situated at the extremity of the parish towards Charlton) was for several years the residence of the Sanderson family, and afterwards of Robert Campbell, Esq. the late General Fraser, and others. It is now in the occupation of Richard Edwards, Esq. who is tenant to Lord Lyon's representatives for the remainder of their lease.
Manors of West-Combe and Spittle-Combe.
The manors of West-Combe and Spittle-Combe (held of the manor of Dartford by a quit-rent of 9s. 2d.) belonged in the reign of Henry III. to the church of Westminster (fn. 121). It is probable that they came by exchange to the Crown. In the reign of Edward II. they were the property of Bartholomew Lord Baddlesmere, on whose attainder they became forfeited (fn. 122). King Richard II. granted them to Sir Robert Belknap (fn. 123), Chief Baron of the Exchequer, attainted in 1387. Soon afterwards they were granted to Robert Ballard (the King's grand butler), and his heirs in fee (fn. 124); they continued in his family till about the year 1553, when Nicholas Ballard aliened the manor of WestCombe (including, I suppose, Spittle-Combe) to John Lambard, Esq. Alderman of London (fn. 125), whose son, the learned William Lambard, inherited and resided at West-Combe. His descendant, Thomas Lambard, Esq. being a Royalist, was obliged to pay a very heavy composition for his estates in 1648; about which time he sold this manor to Hugh Forth, who soon afterwards conveyed it to Theophilus Biddulph, Esq. created a Baronet by King Charles in 1664 (fn. 126). Not long after the death of Sir Michael Biddulph in 1718, his heirs sold it to Sir Gregory Page, Bart. (fn. 127), whose nephew and devisee, Sir Gregory Page Turner, Bart. is the present proprietor.
West-Combe-park and house.
West-Combe-park, the site of this manor, was granted by Sir Gregory Page on a long lease to Captain Galfridus Walpole (fn. 128), (younger brother of Sir Robert, and uncle of the present Earl of Orford,) who built the present house (fn. 129). The lease of West-Combepark afterwards came into the possession of Charles, third Duke of Bolton, who resided there for several years with Lavinia Fenton, the celebrated Polly Peachem, whom he married on the decease of his Duchess. The Duke died in 1754; Lavinia Duchess of Bolton in 1760, when West-Combe-park became the property of her son, the Rev. Mr. Powlett, in whom the remainder of the lease (which expires in 1824) is now vested. Since the Duchess's death WestCombe has been in the successive occupation of Lord Clive, the Marquis of Lothian, his widow the Marchioness, the Duchess of Athol, Mr. Halliday the banker, and William Petrie, Esq. It is now the residence of William Holmes, Esq. who has the remainder of an under lease granted to Mr. Halliday.
West-Combe-house is situated on the verge of a steep hill, agreeably diversified with plantations, and commanding a fine view of the river.
Valuable pictures there..
Woodlands, the seat of John Julius Angerstein, Esq. (between East-Combe and West-Combe), occupies a situation uncommonly beautiful. The surrounding scenery is very picturesque; and the distant view of the river, and the Essex shore, is broken with good effect by the plantations near the house. The grounds were laid out, and the house built about the year 1772, by the present proprietor, who has a small but valuable collection of pictures; among which Sir Joshua Reynolds's celebrated portrait of Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy, the Venus, a well known picture, by the same artist; a fine portrait of Rubens, by Vandyke; and a very beautiful landscape, with cattle, by Cuyp (fn. 130), claim particular notice. The greenhouse is to be remarked for its collection of heaths.
Villas on Blackheath.
Mr. Hulse's collection of pictures.
Adjoining to Greenwich-park, on the west side, are the villas of the Duke of Buccleugh (late the Duke of Montagu's); the Hon. Mr. Lyttelton (formerly the residence of Maj. Gen. Edward Wolfe (fn. 131), and occasionally of his son, the conqueror of Quebec); and Chesterfield-house, the seat of Richard Hulse, Esq. The site of Chester field-house, which is held under the Crown, was leased, in 1694, to Nicholas Lock, merchant (fn. 132), being described as a piece of ground on which were three houses lately built by Andrew Snape. Philip, the late Earl of Chesterfield, in 1753, purchased the assignment of a part of this ground, on which was a house then lately belonging to Dr. Stephen Waller. Lord Chesterfield improved and enlarged it, making it, for several years, his occasional residence. The present Earl, in 1782, assigned it to Richard Hulse, Esq. (brother of Sir Edward Hulse, Bart.), who, in 1784, had a renewal of his lease from the Crown for seventeen years, to take place from 1816. Mr. Hulse has fitted up the gallery (fn. 133) which was built by Lord Chesterfield, and some other rooms, with a very valuable collection of pictures, by the old masters; and a few good portraits, among which are, Philip, seventh Earl of Pembroke, by Vandyke; and Sir John Coke, Secretary of State to Charles I. a very fine picture, by Cornelius Jansen.
Before Mr. Hulse's, and the adjoining houses, on the Heath, is a double row of trees, called Montagu-walk.
Bastile-house, and Minced-pie-house
On Maize, or Maze-hill, on the east side of the park, is a house called the Bastile-house, built by Sir John Vanburgh, as it is said, on the model of the Bastile. It was purchased of Lady Vanburgh, relict of Sir John, by Lord Tyrawley, who resided there several years; after which he sold it to Charles Brett, Esq., of whom it was purchased by the present proprietor Henry Goodwyn, Esq. In Vanburgh-fields is another house which exhibits the same style of architecture, called the Minced-pie-house, built also by Sir John Vanburgh. It is now the property of Edward Vanburgh, Esq. and in the occupation of William Webber, Esq. In one of these houses Sir John Vanburgh resided.
Dr. Johnson at Greenwich.
William Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, who, to his own misfortune, and to the ruin of his family, married a daughter of Edward IV., after he was released from prison by Hen. VIII., resided at Greenwich, and died there in 1512 (fn. 134). Bishop Gastrell resided in this parish before he was promoted to the see of Chester (fn. 135). Dr. Johnson had lodgings in Church-street in 1737; and composed a great part of his Irene as he walked in the park (fn. 136).
Monastery said to have been sounded by Edward III.
Foundation of a convent of observant friars by Henry VII.
The convent suppressed.
Restored, and again suppressed.
Site of the priory.
Edward the Third is said to have sounded a religious house at Greenwich in 1376, by the persuasion of his Treasurer Sir John Norbury; but I can find no record relating to such foundation; and there is great reason to believe that no such house existed, but that it has been confounded with the priory at Lewisham (fn. 137). Henry VII. by his charter, bearing date 1486, after reciting that Edward IV. had, by the Pope's licence, given to certain minorites or observant friars of the order of St. Francis, a piece of ground adjoining to his palace, on which were some ancient buildings; and that these friars having taken possession, and having laid the first stone with great solemnity, began to build several small mansions in honour of the Virgin Mary, St. Francis, and All Saints; granted and confirmed the said premises, and sounded a convent of friars of the order above described, to consist of a warden and twelve brethren at the least (fn. 138). It is said that he afterwards rebuilt their convent for them from the foundation (fn. 139). Katherine (Henry VIII.'s first Queen) was a great favourer of this convent, and their order: she appointed one of the monks of Greenwich, Father John Forrest, to be her confessor; and used, whilst resident at this place, to rise at midnight and join the monks in their devotions (fn. 140). They returned this friendship by openly espousing her cause when the business of her divorce was agitated; which so far enraged the King, that he suppressed the whole order throughout England. This convent was dissolved Aug. 11, 1534 (fn. 141). On the accession of Queen Mary to the throne, the observant friars appeared again in public, and returning to Greenwich, began to form themselves into a community. The Queen reinstated them in their possessions, new founded their monastery, and repaired it at her own cost; out of gratitude for their unshaken attachment to her mother (fn. 142). Queen Elizabeth expelled the friars, and suppressed their monastery again on the 12th of June 1559 (fn. 143). The priory-buildings were made use of after this as a part of the Royal palace. In 1652, they were sold, by the Parliamentary Commissioners, to Richard Babington (fn. 144). It is probable that they were pulled down when Charles II. began to rebuild Greenwich palace; a part of the Royal Hospital (King Charles's building,) now stands on the site.
The old church falls down and is rebuilt.
The old church of St. Alphege at Greenwich having become very
ruinous by length of time, the roof sell in on the 28th of November 1710, about midnight (fn. 145). The inhabitants petitioned the House
of Commons for relief towards rebuilding it; in consequence of
which petition, it was expressly provided, in the Act of the 9th of
Queen Anne, that one of the 50 new churches, then about to be
built in the city of London and its suburbs, should be in the parish
of Greenwich. John James was the architect of the new church,
which was consecrated the 18th of September 1718. It is a handsome stone structure: at the west end is a square tower, over which
is a cupola, supported by Corinthian pillars, and over that a small
spire. The inside is fitted up in the Grecian style, and pewed with
oak. On the north wall hangs a painting on board, representing a
monumental effigy of Queen Elizabeth, beneath a canopy supported
by Corinthian columns. Underneath is this distich,
Olim parva suit Grenovicum villa, sed crtu
Virginis Augustæ clarior urbe micat (fn. 146).
Monuments on the out-side of the church.
On the south wall is a picture of King Charles the First, at his devotions, given by Mrs. Mary Squibb; on the east wall are portraits of Queen Anne and George I. There are no monumental inscriptions within the church; on the outside, against the east wall, are monuments in memory of Sir Robert Robinson, Knt. (fn. 147), 1710; Susanna his wife, 1673; Robinson Art, their grandson, 1702; Margaret, wife of John, Robinson, Esq. (sole daughter of Joseph Hall), 1714; and Sir William Henry Sanderson, Bart. (fn. 148), (only son of Sir William Sanderson, Bart, of East-Combe, by Charlotte, daughter of Sir Richard Gough of Edgbaston, and the last heir male of the family,) who died in 1760, aged 15. On the north side is a marble monument in memory of Sir James Creed, Knt. (fn. 149) (of Greenwich), 1762; Mary, his wife, 1762; Mary, his daughter, wife of John Fisher, Esq. 1751; John Fisher, 1769; John Fisher, Esq. (their son), 1791; Charles Birch, Esq. (who married Sarah, daughter of Sir James Creed), 1780; Thomas Farr, Esq. (who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Creed), 1791; Sarah Anne, daughter of Robert Campbell, Esq. (by Anne, daughter of Sir James), 1792.
Tombs in the old church.
A widowhood of 72 years.
Thomas Tallys the musician.
William Lambard the topographer.
In the old church was a portrait of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, in stained glass, which has been engraved as a head-piece in the Catalogue of English MSS.; and there were memorials (fn. 150) of Clement Adams, master of the children of the chapel, 1516; his wife, who is said to have survived him 72 years, dying in 1588 (fn. 151); Richard Bower, Gentleman of the Chapel, and master of the children to Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, 1561; Anthony Lysle, Esq. Gentleman-usher, 1579; John Whytte, Gent. 1579; Henry Trafford, Esq. Clerk of the Green-cloth, 1585; Thomas Tallys (fn. 152), musician in the chapel in the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, (ob.1585); Edward Berti, son of Francis and Katherine, 1588; Robert Adams, a skilful architect, Surveyor of the Queen's Works, 1595; Dorothy, wife of Zachary Lok, (daughter of James Brampton, by Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Bolein and Anne (Tempest) his wife), 1596; Sarah (Blomer), wife of Francis Heiton, 1600; Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Newton and Dame Katherine his wife, 1600; William Lambard, Esq. of Lincoln's-Inn (fn. 153), 1601; Sir Multon Lambard, his son, 1634; William Hattecliffe, Esq. 1620; Mary, wife of Richard Ward, Esq. Serjeant at Arms to James I. and Charles I. 1627; (she survived her son Captain Cæsar Ward, who died in the service of his country, only three months;) a daughter of William Lord Sherrard, Baron of Leitrim, 1648; Anne, daughter of Cecil Cave, Esq. and wife of Sir William Tuston, Bart. 1649; Annabella, daughter of William Humble, Esq. 1652; Hester, daughter and heir of William Crayford, Esq. 1654; Richard, son of Benjamin Glanvill, merchant, 1656; John Wardal, merchant, 1658; John St. Amand, Esq. 1664; Anne Denew, 1665; Katherine, daughter of William Asfordby, Esq. of Lincolnshire, and relict of Marmaduke Moor, Esq. 1667; Ralph Dallans, organ-builder, who died whilst making the organ at Greenwich, 1672; Capt. Richard Stacy, 1674; Richard Davers, 1678; St. John Clark, Esq. 1680; Joseph, son of Nathaniel Hornsby, Esq. 1684; Nicholas Turner, 1686; Captain William Baxter, 1686; Dorothy (Boothby), wife of Edward Littleton, Esq. 1686; Major John Mawgridge, 1688; Mary, wife of Robert Smith, 1694; Colonel Richard Oxenden, 1697; and Sir William Hooker (fn. 154), who died the same year.
Tombs in the churchyard.
In the churchyard are the tombs of Sir John Lethieullier, Knt. (fn. 155), 1718; Anthony William Boehm, a refugee, 1722; Mary, wife of William Stevens, and daughter of Gilbert Kirk, 1729; Mr. Thomas Ereth, 1737; Captain Thomas Hill, 1746; Thomas Hill, Esq. 1781; Lieut. General William Skinner, twenty-one years chief engineer of Great Britain, 1780; and John Tawzia Savary, Esq. 1795.
Tombs formerly in the churchyard.
Strype mentions (fn. 156) tombs of the following persons, now either removed or become illegible; Thomas Nixon, Gentleman of the Bedchamber (fn. 157), and Keeper of the Standing Wardrobe to Queen Elizabeth; Richard Warner, Esq. some time Master of the Barges to Queen Elizabeth, 1612; Richard Warner, jun. Esq. Master of the Barges to King James, 1625; Richard Warner, merchant, 1653; Nowell Warner, Esq. (son of Richard Warner the younger), Master of the Barges to Charles I. and Charles II. 1662; John Warner, Esq. Master of the Barges to Charles II., James II., and King William, 1694; Thomas Sheffield, Esq. 1613; William Collet, 1618; William Boreman, Esq. 1646; Mary, wife of George Tuke, Esq. 1662; Francis Clark, 1664; and Captain William Higgin, 1698.
Tombs in the burial ground.
In a larger cemetery nearly adjoining to the churchyard, are the tombs of Frederic Slare, M. D. Fellow of the College of Physicians, and F. R. S. 1727; George Johnstone, Esq. 1730; Elizabeth, wife of Charles Hardy, (daughter of Josiah Burchett, Esq. Secretary of the Admiralty,) 1735; John Pym, Esq. 1739; his sister Elizabeth, wife of Captain John Rogers, 1744; Lucy, wife of Thomas Phillipps, Esq. daughter of Edward Strong, Esq. 1740; Edward Strong, Esq. 1741; Martha, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Hicks, wife of Mr. William Mercer, 1741; Thomas Kent, Gent. 1742; the Rev. Henry Washington, M. A. of Queen's College, Oxford, 1743; Captain Richard Ashby, 1744; William Breadie, Esq. 1745; Captain Smith Nayler, 1750; George Tobias Guiguer, Esq. 1752; Anne, his first wife, 1727; Elizabeth, his second wife, 1742; Lewis Guiguer, Esq. 1773; Captain Peter Watton, 1752; Richard Akerman, keeper of Newgate (fn. 158), 1754; Captain James Stratton, above sixty years in the King's service, æt. 84, 1756; Major James Stratton his son, 1766; Frances, wife of Lieutenant Colonel Stratton, 1777; Thomas Furnis, Esq. 1768; P. Buffar, Esq. 1769; Mrs. Anne Pyke, his grandmother (the date worn) (fn. 159); Reynold Thomas, surgeon, 1772; Sarah, daughter of Thomas Williams, Esq. of Nevis, wife of John Williams (son of Colonel Williams of St. Kitt's), 1774; Andrew Hatt, surgeon, 1774; Josiah Jeffryes, Captain of the Artillery, 1777; John King, Esq. 1777; Colonel Thomas James, 1782; Hugh Henry, son of Colonel H. Robert Alcock of Ireland, 1789; Mrs. Anne Sophia Bomeester, 1790; Richard Graham, surgeon, 1794; and Jane, relict of George Logie, Esq. (who died at Stockholm in 1775), 1794.
The church of Greenwich is in the diocese of Rochester, and in the deanery of Dartford.
Rectory and advowson.
The rectory, the advowson of which had always been annexed to the manor, was appropriated to the abbot and convent of Ghent by Benedict bishop of Rochester, and confirmed by Richard de Wendover, in 1239: It was included in the grant to the monastery of Sheen, and in the conveyance from that convent to Henry VIII. (fn. 160) since which time it has passed through the same hands as the manor of Old-court (fn. 161), being now vested in the trustees of Morden College. In 1345, this rectory was taxed at twenty marks (fn. 162).
Advowson of the vicarage.
The vicarage is rated in the King's books at 21l. The advowson has been in the Crown ever since it was granted to Henry VIII. by the prior and convent of Sheen.
Chantry of the Holy Cross.
There was a chantry in the old church of St. Alphege dedicated to the Holy Cross, and a guild or fraternity of that name, to which belonged a messuage and four acres of land (fn. 163).
Thomas Plume, who was presented to this vicarage by Richard Cromwell (fn. 164), subscribed to the Act of Consormity, and died vicar of Greenwich in 1704. His successor, John Turner, was master of the school on Blackheath, and afterwards prebendary of Canterbury, and of Lincoln. He published a set of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures, and several single discourses. Mr. Turner was succeeded, in 1720, by Ralph Skerret, D.D. who published several single sermons, most of which were preached upon public occasions.
Samuel Squire, instituted to the vicarage of Greenwich in 1751 (on the death of Dr. Skerret), was a native of Warminster in Wiltshire. He received his education at St. John's College in Cambridge; at which university, in 1749, he took the degree of D.D. On the establishment of his present Majesty's household, as Prince of Wales, Dr. Squire was made Clerk of the Closet. In 1760, he was appointed to the deanery of Bristol, and in 1761 promoted to the see of St. David's. He held this vicarage in commendam till his death, which happened in 1766. Besides several single sermons preached on public occasions, Bishop Squire published an edition (with an English translation) of Plutarch de Isi et Osiride; an essay on the Anglo-Saxon government in England and Germany; a vindication of the history of the ancient Hebrews; essays on the Greek chronology, and the origin of the Greek language; a treatise on the importance and harmony of natural and revealed religion; and an explanation of the church catechism (fn. 165).
The present vicar is Andrew Burnaby, D.D. instituted in 1769, on the promotion of Dr. John Hinchlisse, the late vicar, to the see of Peterborough.
The earliest date of any register of baptisms, burials, and marriages, now extant, is 1616.
Comparative state of population.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
The present number of houses is about 1850.
Burials in the plague years.
In 1625, there were 274 burials; 154 persons are recorded to have died of the plague that year; 74 persons died of the plague in 1630. In 1665, there were 416 burials; in 1666, 423. It appears that the plague was more fatal in the latter year both at this place and at Deptford.
Extracts from the Register
"Sr James Sandalen, buried June 7, 1618."
Child born without arms.
"Francis North, son of Samuel North, (being born without arms, his hands growing out of his shoulders (fn. 166),) baptized July 4, 1619." Robert, son of Sr Robert Varne, Knt. baptized Aug. 17, 1622."
"Sr Henry Harley (fn. 167) and Brilliana Conway (fn. 168), married July 16, 1623."
"Humphrey, son of Sr Humphrey Paiton, baptized Mar. 25, 1624."
"Elizabeth, daughter of Sr Leonard Boswell, baptized Sep. 14, 1624."
"Lady Barbara Ruthven, buried Dec. 29, 1625."
"George, son of Sr William Sherwood (fn. 169), baptized May 27, 1626."
Family of Myntts.
"Elizabeth, daughter of Sr Matthew Myntts, baptized Dec. 23, 1631; another Elizabeth, Feb. 18, 1632–3; John, July 16, 1634; (buried Septr 5;) Margaret, bap. Jan. 12, 1635–6."
"The Countess of Carrick (fn. 170), (Elizabeth Stewart,) buried Jan. 31, 1645–6."
"The Lady Anne Bunkley, buried Oct. 17, 1649."
"Sr Peter Richards, buried March 1, 1653–4."
"Sr Patrick Abercromby, buried in the chancel, Mar. 15, 1655–6."
"The Lady Alice Thornhill, buried Aug. 14, 1658."
"The Lady Elizabeth Mansell, buried Nov. 19, 1658."
Sir Richard Stainer.
"The Lady Stainer, buried Mar. 21, 1660–1; Sr Richard Stainer, Nov. 28, 1662." This brave officer was commander of a ship of war during the protectorate of Cromwell, and distinguished himself by some actions of singular gallantry. In 1656, having three frigates under his command, he fell in with the Spanish flota, consisting of eight sail: notwithstanding the disproportion of numbers, he attacked them, and with such success, that in the space of a few hours he burnt one, sunk a second, captured two, and drove two others on shore. The treasure on board his prizes amounted to 600,000l. sterling. The next year, in company with Admiral Blake, who had the chief command, he attacked and destroyed the Spanish flota in the bay of Santa Cruz; "an act so miraculous," says Clarendon, "that all who knew the place wondered how any "men, with what courage soever endowed, could have undertaken it: indeed, they could hardly persuade themselves to believe what they had done; whilst the Spaniards comforted themselves with the belief that they were devils, and not men, who had destroyed their ships." For his share in this gallant exploit, Captain Stainer was knighted by Cromwell at Whitehall, June 11, 1657; and soon afterwards made a Vice-Admiral. Sir Richard Stainer was one of the commanders who went with Admiral Montague to bring over Charles the Second. He was knighted by the King, and made Rear-Admiral of the fleet; but did not long enjoy his honours. Leaving no issue, he bequeathed his large property to his brother; who, by involving himself in a law-suit with the Salt Company at Droitwich, lost the greater part of his fortune, and grew distressed: his son, the nephew and representative of the gallant Sir Richard Stainer, was, a few years ago, in the workhouse at Birmingham (fn. 171).
Family of Biddulph.
"Rachel (fn. 172), daughter of Sr Theophilus Biddulph, Bart, baptized May 19,1663; Edward Littleton (fn. 173), Esq. and Susan Biddulph, (daughter of Sr Theophilus,) married Jan. 24, 1670–1; Sr Theophilus Biddulph, buried Apl 11, 1683; Lady Susan Biddulph, carried to Elmore in Staffordshire, Nov. 17, 1702; Mary, daughter of Sr Michael Biddulph, buried May 17,1713; Sarah, Feb. 4, 1717–8."
Sir John Lawson.
"Sr John Lawson, carried away June 27, 1665."—This brave officer, who, during his splendid naval career, had been frequently the scourge of the Dutch, died at Greenwich of the wounds which he received in the great sea-fight with that nation in the month of May 1665. The event was a complete victory on the side of the English, which scarcely compensated for the loss of Sir John Lawson, and other gallant officers who fell in that engagement. Sir John Lawson was in sentiment a republican, and his first services were performed under that form of government; but it was a maxim which he ever maintained, and by which he constantly guided his conduct, that an officer had nothing to do with political discussions or speculative opinions concerning government; but that his sole object should be to serve his country (fn. 174).
"The Lady Forster, buried Nov. 9, 1665;" (wife of Sr Reginald Forster, and daughter of Mr Nash of Greenwich;) "Sr Reginald Forster, Bart, carried away Aug. 11, 1705."
Sir William Jennings.
"Sr William Jennings's child, buried Feb. 23, 1665–6; Lady Jennings, Nov. 17, 1673."—Sir William Jennings distinguished himself during the reign of Charles II. as a naval officer of great merit and gallantry. Being devoted to the interests of King James, he accompanied that Monarch to France, and afterwards served as a Captain on board the French Navy (fn. 175).
"John, son of Sr John Napier of Lutonhoo, Bart, baptized Sep. 15,1669. Susanna, his daughter, Nov. 30, 1675."
"Frances, daughter of Sr Francis Chaplin, baptized May 7, 1672."
"Dr. Robert Boreman, buried Nov. 18, 1675." Author of a life of Alice Duchess of Dudley; a life of Freeman Sondes, Esq.; Sir George Sondes's narrative of the death of his two sons (one of whom was hanged for the murder of his brother); some sermons, and religious tracts (fn. 176). He was rector of St. Giles's in the Fields, and, it is probable, brother of Sir William Boreman, who was buried at Greenwich in 1697.
"Dr. Wells, buried Apl 13,1678." Author of a treatise on the gout, see p. 376.
"Mr. Thomas Phillpott, buried Sep. 30, 1682." I suppose this to have been Thomas Philipott who, in 1659, published the Survey of Kent, from the papers of his father John Philipott, Somerset Herald, and assumed the merit of that work to himself. Anthony Wood says he died about 1684. Thomas Philipott was author also of a volume of Poems and Elegies; treatises on the origin and growth of Heraldry; on the origin and growth of the Spanish monarchy; and a life of Æsop. Anthony Wood attributes to him some theological works; but it is more probable that they were the production of his contemporary Thomas Philpott, D. D. rector of Turveston and Akeley, Bucks.
Singular marriage, and instance of longevity.
"Nov. 18, 1685—John Cooper of this parish, alms-man in Queen Elizabeth's college, aged 108 years, and Margaret Thomas of Charlton in Kent, aged 80 years, married by licence of the Lord Bishop of Rochester, and leave of the Governors of the Drapers.—Ould Cooper, buried Oct. 31, 1686."
"Lady Stroude, buried Oct. 15, 1686."
Family of Coryton.
Susanna, daughter of Mr William Coryton and Susanna, baptized Jan. 14, 1689–90 (Dame Susanna Biddulph, the greatgrandmother, being one of the sponsors); John, son of Sr William Coryton, Bart, and Susanna, baptized Feb. 3, 1690–1; Susanna, their daughter, Feb. 12, 1692–3; Elizabeth, baptized Oct. 11, buried Oct. 29, 1694; Lady Coryton, carried to Cornwall, Aug. 19, 1695."
Family of Lumley.
"James, son of Martin Lumley, Esq. and Elizabeth, baptized Nov. 18, 1696; Elizabeth, Sr Martin Lumley's lady, carried away and buried at Bardfield in Essex, Apl 16, 1704; Sr James Lumley, (Bart,) buried Dec. 20, 1771." This is the same James who was baptized in 1696. He died unmarried, and the title became extinct.
Family of Corbet.
"John, son of Sr Roger Corbet, Bart, buried Nov. 4, 1697; Theophila, daughter of Sr Roger and Jane, born Aug. 19, 1700 (at Squire Hooker's, Croom's Hill); buried March 3, 1716–7; Jane, their daughter, buried Sep. 16, 1700; Charles Corbet, Esq. their son, Mar. 22, 1716–7."
Dame Theophila Harris, died at Croom's Hill, carried from Greenwich (to be buried at Lifton in Devonshire) July 20, 1702."
"Sir William Booth, Knt and Bart, from Westminster, buried Feb. 18, 1702–3."
Hon. John Lee, Esq. son to the Rt Hon. the Earl and Countess of Litchfield, buried Aug. 1, 1710."
Three children at a birth.
"Edward, Henry, and Randall, the three sons at one birth of Mr. Edward Humberston, purser, and Mary his wife, baptized Aug. 11, 1710."
Sir Richard Raines.
"Sr Richard Raines, Knt, and Doctor of Laws, buried Jan. 3, 1710–1." He was Judge of the Prerogative Court.
Philadelphia, relict of Sr James Smith, buried Mar. 15, 1710–1."
"Dame Mary, relict of Sr Thomas Vernon, carried away Aug. 17, 1711."
"Sarah, daughter of Sr John Tyrwhit, buried Nov. 17, 1711."
Instances of longevity.
"Mrs Elizabeth Smith, widow, aged 93, buried Apl 25, 1712; Mrs Thomasine Adams, widow, aged 102, May 7, 1712."
"Dame Ursula Creemer, buried Nov. 22, 1713."
"Mr Richard Newcourt, Gent. buried Feb. 26, 1715–6." Author of the "Repertorium Londinense, or the Ecclesiastical History of the Diocese of London (fn. 177)." His wife was buried at Greenwich on the fifth of the preceding month.
"The Lady Jane Wymondesold, buried at Putney, July 30, "1718."
"Sr William Prettyman, Bart, buried Nov. 8, 1719."
"The Revd Mr. John Flamsteed, buried at Burstow, Jan. 12, 1719–20 (fn. 178)."
"Sr Gregory Page, Bart (fn. 179), buried June 2, 1720; Dame Martha Page (fn. 180), Oct. 7, 1767; Sr Gregory Page, Bart, August 14, 1775."
Matthew Lord Aylmer.
Family of Aylmer.
"The Rt Hon. the Lord Aylmer, buried Aug. 23, 1720." Matthew, second son of Sir Christopher Aylmer of the kingdom of Ireland, was at first in the army, and afterwards page to George Villiers, the second Duke of Buckingham of that name, who encouraging him to enter into the sea-service, he was, in 1672, appointed Lieutenant of the Charles Galley, and gradually rose to the highest honours of his profession. He was one of Admiral Russell's seconds in the celebrated battle of La Hogue. In 1709, he was made Admiral, and Commander in Chief of the fleet; to which situation he was a second time appointed, on the accession of George the First (fn. 181). In 1714, he was made Governor of Greenwich Hospital, and about the same time Ranger of the Park, and keeper of the palace at Greenwich called the Queen's House; where, from that time, he resided. In 1718, he was created an Irish baron, by the title of Lord Aylmer.— "Philip, son of Ld Aylmer, "buried Sep. 6, 1728; Lady Elizabeth Aylmer (fn. 182), Jan. 20, 1749–50; Rt Hon. Ld Aylmer (fn. 183), July 4, 1754; Rt Hon. Harry Ld Aylmer (fn. 184), Oct. 16, 1766."
Sir John Leake.
"Sr John Leake, buried at Stepney, Aug. 30, 1720." This brave officer, whose naval career had been marked by the most signal successes, being deprived of all his appointments on the accession of George the First, retired to a villa which he had built for his own residence at Greenwich; there he passed most of the latter days of his life, and died on the 21st of August 1720 (fn. 185).
"The Rt Hon. the Ld Lisburne (fn. 186), buried Apl 5, 1721."
"Lady Jenings, carried out Oct. 10, 1723."
"Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon. Baptist Earl of Gainsborough, baptized Oct. 10, 1731; Baptist Ld Campden (fn. 187), baptized July 12, 1740."
"Dame Elizabeth Hardy, buried July 3, 1735; Sr Charles Hardy, Knt, Dec. 6, 1744." Sir Charles Hardy was knighted in 1742, made a flag-officer in 1743, and was one of the Lords of the Admiralty.
"Dame Elizabeth Brown, buried Sep. 18, 1735."
"Sr Philip Honeywood (fn. 188), carried to Portsmouth, June 25, 1752."
"The Hon. Miss Grace Pelham, spinster, third daughter of the Rt Hon. Henry Pelham, Esq. of Arlington-street in the city of Westminster, and the Hon. Lewis Watson, Esq. of the parish of St. George, Hanover-square, were married at Mr Pelham's house in Arlington-street, by Dr Squire, Oct. 12, 1752."
"Sr Wm Sanderson, Bart, buried Jan. 24, 1754."
"Major Genl James Wolfe, buried Nov. 20th, 1759." This celebrated officer was born at Westerham in this county in 1727. He fell, in the moment of victory, at the capture of Quebec, Sept. 13, 1759. His body being brought to England, was interred at Greenwich, with that of his father Lieut. Gen. Edward Wolfe, who was buried on the second of April preceding. There is no memorial for him at Greenwich; but a cenotaph has been put up to his memory in Westminster Abbey at the public expence, and there is another at Westerham, the place of his nativity (fn. 189). Lieut. Gen. Wolfe resided in Montague-walk, Blackheath, at the house which is now in the occupation of Mr. Lyttelton.
Lavinia (Fenton) Duchess of Bolton. Remarkable success of the Beggars' Opera, and popularity of Miss Fenton.
"Lavinia Duchess of Bolton, buried Feb. 3, 1760." The year 1728 is famous in theatrical annals, for having produced the favourite burletta of the Beggars' Opera. Its success surpassed all precedent: it was acted more than sixty nights the first season. The part of Polly was performed by Lavinia Fenton, a young actress, whose real name, in some of the publications of that day, is said to have been Beswick. Her performance of this character raised her very high in the opinion of the public; and it is uncertain whether the opera itself or Polly Peachem had the greater share of popularity (fn. 190). Her lovers, of course, were very numerous: she decided in favour of the Duke of Bolton, who, to the great loss of the public, took her from the stage, to which she never returned; and on the sixtysecond night of the performance, a new Polly was, to the great surprise of the audience, who expected to see their old favourite, introduced on the boards. After the death of his first wife, from whom he had been long separated, the Duke (in 1751) married Miss Fenton; who, surviving him a few years, resided at West-Combe-park in this parish, and died Duchess-dowager of Bolton, in the month of January 1760.
"The Hon. Henry Finch (fn. 191), carried out June 5, 1761."
"Admiral Isaac Townshend, carried out Nov. 29, 1765."—Made an Admiral in 1744. In 1746, he had the command at the Leeward Islands, and drove a French fleet ashore at Martinico. In 1754, he was appointed Governor of Greenwich Hospital.
"Dame Mary Allen, buried July 4, 1758."
"The Hon. John Howard (fn. 192), buried Mar. 12, 1791."
Brian Duppa, Bishop of Salisbury, is erroneously supposed to have been a native of this place (fn. 193), and it is said in his epitaph that he was so; but he himself mentions in his will that he was born in the parish of Lewisham, where the entry of his baptism occurs in the register. It is probable that his father lived on Blackheath, where there are houses belonging to both parishes, which might occasion the mistake.
Jonathan Goddard, Oliver Cromwell's physician, is said to have been born at Greenwich (fn. 194). Some of his family appear to have been baptized there; but his name does not occur in the register. Dr. Goddard represented the University of Oxford in the Parliament of 1653, and was made, by Cromwell, Warden of Merton College, from which situation he was ejected in 1660: he afterwards resided chiefly at Gresham College, where he was Professor of Physic. He was an active member of the Royal Society, and author of some medical tracts, and several papers on natural history in the Philosophical Transactions. It is said (fn. 195), but scarcely credible, that Dr. Goddard sold his secret for making a medicine called the Guttæ Anglicanæ (fn. 196), to Charles II. for 5000l.
Queen Elizabeth's College founded by William Lambard, Esq.
Qualifications of the pensioners.
In the year 1576, William Lambard, Esq. (author of the Perambulation of Kent) founded and endowed an hospital at this place for twenty poor persons, calling it the College of Queen Elizabeth; and committing it to the care of the Master of the Rolls and the Drapers' Company. This hospital is said to have been the first founded by a Protestant. The pensioners are to be thus appointed: one by the Master of the Rolls; one by the two elder wardens of the Drapers' Company; one by the steward of the manor of Greenwich, out of the poor of that parish; one by the Drapers, from Greenwich; six from Greenwich, by the vicar and parish-officers; one from Deptford; three from Lewisham; one from Lee; three from Eltham; one from Charlton and Kidbrook; and one from Woolwich. They must be poor, honest, godly persons, who have been three years resident in the parish whence they are chosen; they may be either men or women; married or unmarried: the preference to be given in the first place to the aged, who are past their work; secondly, to those who have been maimed, either in the service of their country or by other misfortune; thirdly, to the blind; fourthly, to such as have been impoverished by casualty; fifthly, to those afflicted by any continual sickness not contagious; and lastly, to such as are burdened with a numerous family. Other secondary preferences are laid down also, to be observed among those in other respects of equal pretensions, such as a man to be preferred before a woman; the married before the unmarried; the person who has been longer of the household of faith, before him who has continued later in popish idolatry, &c. All the pensioners to be examined at their admission, whether they can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. The founder composed a form of Morning and Evening Prayer, (with consent of the Bishop of Rochester,) which he ordains always to be used; and makes his endowment void, if it should become unlawful, by the statutes of the realm, to use it. The original allowance to the pensioners was six shillings per month. Since the foundation, the following benefactions have been left to this hospital:
Benefactions to the College since its foundation.
In 1744, the whole income of this charity was 203l. 16s. 8d.; the pensioners were then allowed 9s. per month, and half a chaldron of coals yearly. In 1776, their pensions had been increased to 13s. 4d. per month, with the same allowance of coals. The pensioners now are allowed 15s. per month, and a chaldron and a half of coals yearly. This hospital is situated to the southwest of the town, where the roads branch off to London and Lewisham.
Trinity Hospital, or Norfolk College founded by Henry Earl of Northampton.
There is another hospital, commonly called Norfolk College, founded in 1613, by Henry Earl of Northampton, and by him dedicated to the Holy Trinity. He endowed it with lands and revenues for the support of a warden and twenty pensioners; twelve of whom are to be of this parish, and eight of the parish of Shotisham in Norfolk. They must have been inhabitants four years of the parish whence they are chosen, unmarried, 56 years of age at the least; able to repeat the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments; neither common beggars, drunkards, or otherwise of immoral behaviour; neither ideots, blind, or in any way so impotent as to be unable to attend divine service in the chapel daily; and not possessing property to the amount of 20s. per annum. The management of this College was entrusted by the founder to the Mercers' Company. The pensioners have 8s. a week for commons, the warden 16s.; besides clothes, lodging, and salaries variable at the discretion of the Company. The present annual revenue of the College, which is in a very flourishing condition, is about 1100l.
Description of the College.
Monument of the founder.
Norfolk College stands by the river-side, at the east end of the town. It is a brick structure, forming a small quadrangle. The chapel, which is 56 feet by 26, was consecrated Feb. 4, 1616–7, by the Bishop of Rochester, and by him dedicated to the Holy Trinity, in the presence of Thomas Earl of Arundel, Richard Earl of Dorset, the Bishops of London, Ely, and Lincoln, &c. (fn. 197) In the east window is a representation of the Crucifixion, in stained glass; and some coats of arms exhibiting the alliances of the Howard family (fn. 198). At the south-east end of the chapel is a handsome monument of the founder, which was removed (with his body) from the chapel at Dover-castle, where he had been buried. On a table tomb, under a canopy supported by eight square pillars, stands a black sarcophagus, on which are inscriptions enumerating the titles and charities of the deceased (fn. 199). At the four corners of the monument are the cardinal virtues; and over the canopy are effigies of the Earl, in armour, with the robes of the Garter, in a kneeling posture. At the west end are the arms of Howard quartering Brotherton, Warren, and Mowbray (fn. 200). On the south wall of the chapel is a tablet commemorating the foundation of the College (fn. 201); and, on the north wall, one relating the circumstance of removing the founder's body and monument hither. On the floor are the tombs of Robert Gilbert, Warden of the College, (son of Thomas Gilbert of West-Beere in Kent, Gent. by Anne, sister of George Earl of Kildare,) ob. 1689; and Mr. James Leslie, warden, 1765. The cieling is ornamented with the arms and quarterings of Howard, as on the monument.
Roan's, or the Greycoat School.
In the year 1643, Mr. John Roan gave the reversion of all his lands and houses in Greenwich (now let at 293l. 16s. per annum (fn. 202) ) to trustees, for the purpose of educating poor children of this parish, and clothing them, till fifteen years of age; allowing for the clothing of each, 40s. per annum. Sir William Hooker, in 1691, gave 6l. per annum to this school. Dr. Thomas Plume, vicar of Greenwich, who died in 1704, gave to the parish some tenements at Deptford (now producing only 2l. per annum), applied in aid of Roan's charity. Sir Peter Dennis gave bank-stock producing 8l. 11s. per annum to Roan's school; and Mr. Swete the interest of 123l. 5s. 2d. India annuities. In this, which is called the Grey-coat School, 60 boys are now clothed and educated.
Sir William Boreman's, or the Green-coat School.
Sir William Boreman, in the year 1672, founded another school at Greenwich (called the Green-coat School), for the education, maintenance, and clothing of twenty poor boys of this parish; who are to be instructed in writing, accounts, and navigation. He endowed it with certain lands, tenements, and see-farm rents, committing the management of it to the Drapers' Company. The sum of 300l. given by Sir William Langhorne, Bart. in 1715, to that Company for charitable uses, was, by them, applied in aid of this charity. In 1709, its revenue was 297l.; the master's salary was 20l. the matron's 16l. In 1774, the revenue was only 280l. 18s. 11d. A new school-house was built for this charity about the year 1788.
A charity-school for girls was instituted in this parish, about the year 1700: it is still continued, being supported by the ladies with an annual subscription, aided by the collection at a charity-sermon. The children are clothed and educated; their number is continually varying.
Extracts from the Register.
|Date.||Donors Names.||Nature and present Value.||Use.|
|1577.||William Rippier,||A messuage, now 16l. per ann.||Poor (fn. 203).|
|1605.||Joyce Whitehead,||5s. per ann.||Repairs of the church.|
|1610.||William Stanton,||Three messuages, now 16l. per ann.||Repairs of the church 2l.; repairs of the messuages 15s.; for the trustees 5s.; poor of Queen Elizabeth's College 2l.; remainder to the poor of Greenwich.|
|1612.||Thomas Ware,||Moiety of a tenement in Lewisham, 10s. per annum,||Poor (fn. 203).|
|1620.||William Hatteclisse, Esq.||A moiety of certain houses and lands in Greenwich, and a fourth part of certain other houses in Eastlane, now 48l. 17s. 6d. per ann.||Poor (fn. 203).|
|1625.||William Corey, vicar of Charlton,||A third part of the rent of a messuage, now 1l. 16s. 8d.||Poor.|
|1656.||Abraham Colfe, vicar of Lewisham,||8s. 8d. per ann.||A sweet penny loaf each to two of the poorest and godliest inhabitants, weekly.|
|1656.||John Wardell||A rent-charge of 6l. per ann.||Bread for six poor widows.|
|1670 & 1674.||George Baker, and Elizabeth, his daughter,||50l. each, employed in building the Greycoat School, now charged with 4l. per annum, to the||Poor.|
|1692.||Nicholas Smithes,||1l. per annum,||Poor.|
|1710.||Alice Clements,||100l., now 200l. South Sea Annuities,||Clothing for six poor widows.|
|1715.||John Massinger,||A residuary bequest, subject to certain payments which have long since ceased, now 1533l. 12s. Old South-Sea Annuities,||Decayed housekeepers.|
|1720.||Nicholas Wigzell,||4l. per annum,||Bread.|
|1752.||Captain Peter Watton,||5l. 10s. per ann. being the remainder of the interest of 250l. 3 per cents, after deducting 2l. per ann. bequeathed to the pensioners in Queen Elizabeth's College,||Poor.|
|1766.||William Raine,||Certain messuages to be sold after the death of his wife, and the interest of the money (425l. 4 per cents), to be distributed in sums of 20s. to||Poor men and women.|
|1775.||Sir Gregory Page, Bart.||400l.||Poor.|
Adjoining to Greenwich (fn. 204) is a heath, partly in this parish Blackand partly in those of Lewisham (fn. 205) and Charlton, called, as some think, from the appearance of the soil, or, as others suppose, from its bleak situation (fn. 206), Blackheath. On this heath is dug a kind of gravel in great request for making garden walks. The principal villas on the heath, which are in this parish, have been already mentioned (fn. 207).
The Roman road from London to Dover is supposed to have crossed Blackheath nearly in the same direction that the present road does. Dr. Plot says, that in his time its course appeared pretty plain (fn. 208). Many Roman antiquities have been found on the edge of the heath, particularly in that part nearest to Greenwich (fn. 209); and several tumuli or barrows, but none of very large dimensions, are still to be seen.
Encampments on Blackheath.
Battle of Blackheath.
In the early part of the eleventh century, the Danes are said to have been encamped on Blackheath. Their fleet lay at Greenwich in 1012, 1013, and 1014; their army being stationed on the hills above, most probably about East-Combe and West-Combe (fn. 210). In West-Combe-park the traces of entrenchments are still visible. In 1381, Wat Tyler, Jack Straw, and their associates, were encamped upon Blackheath (fn. 211). Jack Cade, the counterfeit Mortimer, twice occupied the same station in 1450 (fn. 212). On the 23d of February 1451, the King was met on Blackheath by a great number of Cade's deluded followers in their shirts, who humbly, on their knees, craved for pardon (fn. 213). In 1452, Henry VI. pitched his tent upon Blackheath, when he was preparing to withstand the forces of the Duke of York (afterwards Edward IV (fn. 214) ). In 1471, the bastard Falconbridge encamped there with his army (fn. 215). In the year 1497, Lord Audley and the Cornish rebels pitched their tents upon Blackheath, where they waited the arrival of Henry VII. and his army. A battle ensued on the 22d of July. The rebels were overthrown, and their chiefs taken and executed (fn. 216). The site of Michael Joseph's tent (one of the ringleaders) was shown when Lambard wrote his Perambulation. It was commonly called the smith's forge, Joseph having been by trade a blacksmith (fn. 217).
Triumphal processions and ceremonial meetings on Black-heath.
Blackheath has been the scene also of triumphal processions and ceremonial meetings, attended with much splendid pageantry. Here, in 1400, Henry IV. with great parade and magnificence, met the Emperor of Constantinople, when he arrived in England to solicit assistance against Bajazet Emperor of the Turks (fn. 218) —Here, on the 23d of November 1415, the Mayor and Aldermen of London, with 400 citizens, clothed in scarlet, with red and white hoods, met their victorious Monarch returning from the field of Agincourt (fn. 219). Here, in 1416, the citizens met the Emperor Sigismund, who came to mediate a peace between France and England; conducting him hence to Lambeth, where he was met by the King (fn. 220). In 1474, the citizens met Edward IV. on Blackheath, as he returned from France (fn. 221). In 1519, a solemn embassy, consisting of the Admiral of France, the Bishop of Paris, and others, with 1200 persons in their train, was met by the Lord Admiral of England, attended by a numerous retinue (fn. 222). The same year Cardinal Campeius, being sent by the Pope into England, as his Legate, was received upon this heath by the Duke of Norfolk, and a great number of prelates, knights, and gentlemen, who conducted him to a rich tent of cloth of gold: there he arrayed himself in his Cardinal's robes, and rode thence, in much state, to London (fn. 223). A still more magnificent procession was that which appeared upon Blackheath at the meeting between Henry VIII. and the Lady Anne of Cleve, on the 3d of January 1540–1.
The Chronicles tells us that she came down Shooter's-hill at twelve o'clock, and alighted at a tent of cloth of gold prepared on the heath for her reception. The King having notice of her arrival, went through the park to meet her, attended by most of the nobility, the bishops, the heralds, foreign ambassadors, &c. The procession from the heath to Greenwich palace was attended by those in the King's and the Princess's train, being in number 600, by 1200 citizens and others, clad in velvet with chains of gold, by most of the female nobility, and a great number of ladies. All the city barges were on the water near the palace, and the procession was saluted with peals of artillery from the tower in the park. The marriage ceremony was performed in the chapel at Greenwich (fn. 224).
Mock fight between the Cavaliers and Round heads in 1645.
On the 1st of May 1645, "Col. Blunt, to please the Kentish people, who were fond of old customs, particularly May-games, drew out two regiments of foot, and exercised them on Blackheath, representing a mock-fight between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. The people (says the writer of the Diurnal whence this extract is taken) were as much pleased as if they had gone a maying (fn. 225)."
Mount for trying mortars.
On Blackheath, between the south-west corner of Greenwich-park and the windmill, is a mount raised on a square platform, formerly used for trying mortars (fn. 226).
The cross on Blackheath is mentioned in Holinshed's account of the interview between Henry VIII. and Anne of Cleve.
Magazine for gunpowder.
The magazine for gunpowder (fn. 227), belonging to Government, which was built in Greenwich levels about the latter end of the last century, was removed to Purfleet, (in consequence of a petition from the inhabitants of Greenwich,) and the site, with some adjoining lands, leased, in 1770, to Henry Vansittart, Esq. (fn. 228).
Soldiers' matches. Armoury-mills.
The matches used by the soldiers for their muskets, before the invention of firelocks, were fabricated at Greenwich (fn. 229). In a survery of Greenwich, bearing date 1697, mention is made of the Armoury-mills, "heretofore used by potters for grinding their "colours." One of these is now a flour-mill, the other is used for the manufacture of halberds.
Millington's iron wharf.
Near the water-side, adjoining to Norfolk College, is the spacious iron wharf of Millington and Co., formerly belonging to the Crowleys. About twenty smiths are generally employed here to supply such goods as are wanted in greater haste than they could be forwarded from their great manufactory in the north (fn. 230). The ancient mansion, now belonging to the Earl of Ashburnham, and in the occupation of Mr. Millington, was purchased in 1704, of Nicholas Cooke by Sir Ambrose Crowley, Alderman of London, and was for some time the residence of that family.