Swakeleys: Architectural description

Pages 22-35

Survey of London Monograph 13, Swakeleys, Ickenham. Originally published by Guild & School of Handicraft, London, 1933.

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THE Renaissance went through many phases in England before it was guided by the masterly hand of Sir Christopher Wren into the satisfying and consistent style of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In domestic architecture the English builders did indeed at an early stage evolve a national manner of unmistakable quality—the mingling of the old and the new, which we call Tudor, and its successor, the Elizabethan house, is not likely to forfeit its claim to be considered a perfect achievement in its own way. But the revival of classical design could not stop at this compromise, charming as it was, and the architects and builders began to draw more copiously from foreign sources, for the most part using German and Flemish models, and occasionally, like Inigo Jones, importing pure Italianate design. The first half of the 17th century was a period of transition and of some uncertainty, and the change in the house-plan from the careless medieval assemblage of units to the closely knit compact classical building, compelled a new treatment by altering the conditions of the architect's problem.

This indecision, from which a new style was to be born, invests the architecture of the period with great interest for the student. While Inigo Jones was building palaces of strict Palladian form, there were others who still toyed with the notion of a revived Gothicism which could only be a bizarre clothing for modern requirements. Such a house as Brambletye, which Sir Henry Compton built in Sussex in 1631, did indeed win a certain incongruous beauty by the artlessness with which the attractive local stone was built into its walls, but its inherent inconsistency made the wider adoption of its methods impossible. The taste of the day was setting persistently towards the use of classical forms, and henceforth pediments, columns or pilasters, quoins, balustrades and strongly marked cornices were to be the rule, however little the builder was equipped to use them aright. Thus we find that the work which can be dated to the Civil War and the Commonwealth—always excepting that of Inigo Jones, Sir Roger Pratt and the few who could reach their level—shows an amusing and at times attractive confusion of ideas from which there is much to learn. It has often been remarked that when the builder's zeal outruns his technical knowledge he gives us something far more piquant than is at times attained by the accomplished but sometimes uninspired expert. Swakeleys, the subject of this monograph, and its sister house Broome Park in East Kent, both completed in 1638, are remarkable cases in point. Their attractiveness is undeniable, and yet they are to a certain extent uninstructed essays in architecture, and could hardly be put forward as models for design. Their charm consists in the naïveté with which their builders pressed forward to an only partially understood goal, and since there are things revealed to babes that are hidden from wise men, they discovered qualities in their work which please and intrigue us in spite of (or perhaps by reason of) their unorthodox mannerism.

The plan.

The plan used in this house was not at the time a new one, for the modified "H," the symbol for a central block and two balancing wings, had been in use during the Elizabethan period. Here, indeed, the plan was in one particular at least conservative in that the hall was entered at the lower end, and was provided with a screen—both essential features of the ancient medieval arrangement. But this conservatism was neutralised by a more important innovation. In medieval and Elizabethan houses both the central block containing the hall, and the wings on each side, were almost invariably occupied in their full width by one room, so that if need be they could have windows on both sides. At Swakeleys the central block is of double width and has rooms parallel to the hall and its range, which is an important step towards that later planning adopted by Wren (and used, before him, by Inigo Jones) where the projections of the wings disappear and the whole building becomes a parallelogram, with, in many cases, a slight centre projection to emphasize the "frontispiece."

At Swakeleys the wings still project boldly to the east and to the west, but the double centre block dwarfs their significance on the plan, although they perform an important function on the elevations, lengthening the northern and southern faces, while breaking up the east and west in a picturesque group. Without its four wing-buildings the plan is a severe rectangle divided into four parts by a thick wall a little out of centre from north to south, and the screens passage from east to west. The hall occupies the south-west section, and in the north-west are the pantry, buttery, service stair and a passage leading to the stable court. On the east side the screens passage seems to have been widened to accommodate the main staircase (the original of which has disappeared), and south and north of this respectively are the dining-room and the kitchen. The four wing-rooms have a bay window each on their east and west elevations, and in the centre of the west front is a two-storied porch.

The first-floor plan does not correspond with that below. The great chamber, which in the 17th century had become the state room (thus superseding the hall), occupies the western half of the main block, including the space over the porch, but its length does not exceed the width between the wings. These latter form on this floor two continuous ranges of apartments lit from the north and south. The service stair alone goes to the second floor, which now contains sixteen rooms within the roofs, with windows in the brick gables. Since the central block has twin roofs, closed at each end by the long roofs connecting the wings, there is no natural outlet for the rainwater from the inner slopes, and it has to be conducted by internal gutters, through the chimney stacks and the rooms, to the external walls. Expedients of this type are characteristic of the work of this period.

The elevations.

The external elevations are all arranged with a strict regard for symmetry. The material of the facings is a red brick laid English bond, with a free use of plaster in place of stone for dressings. The windows themselves are of stone.

A regular series of quoins, stone below and plaster above, is applied to all salient angles; there is a moulded plinth course at ground floor level, and continuous entablatures in plaster surround the building, including the bay windows, at the levels of the first and second floors. Pediments surmount the entablatures over the windows (except the bays), having straight sides in the lower series, and to those in the wings in the upper series, the remainder being curved in outline. Many of them have strap-work ornament in their tympana. (fn. 1) Above the parapet is a succession of brick gables, with plaster scrolls terminating their hollow-shaped sides, which carry entablatures with small pediments in the centre. The windows within the gables have plaster frames, cornice and pedimental heads. The projecting mouldings appear all to be of moulded brick covered with a thin coating of fine plaster, which has been renewed with cement in many places.

The windows, including the faces of the bay windows, are mostly four lights in width, and are divided by a transome, making eight lights of equal size. There is one light on each cant of the bays, and one on the return which is in most cases bricked up and plastered. Some of the centre mullions have been removed to widen the openings, and the lights have been fitted with wooden frames in modern times. The stone-work is set as an additional recessed frame within the plaster work of the outer frame, and in some cases the jambs and mullions are of marble, these being no doubt the ones referred to by Pepys (see p. 14).

The porch on the entrance (west) front has an architectural plastered frame, enclosing a doorway of grey marble, formed of banded pilasters which carry a part of the entablature surrounding the house. This is brought to a lower level over the door, by a segmental ramp on each side of the porch. The frieze has a central panel directly beneath a pedestal carrying an enriched cartouche with helm and mantling that stands within a cleft pediment. The upper storey of the porch is now finished with a wooden modillion cornice of apparently 18th-century date. In the centre of the parapet behind the porch the brickwork is taken up to provide a door on to the roof of the porch, flanked by plaster panels, over which is a niche with shell head and scroll sides, containing a stone bust of unknown origin. The central portion of this elevation has been drawn on plate 8 with its original windows and glazing restored. The pair of doors dates from the late 18th century. The sides of the porch have two-light windows with semi-elliptical heads in a square frame, beneath a moulded cornice.

[Lead rainwater heads]

The south elevation shows two large gables (fn. 2) over the double central section of the house, and smaller ones over the wings. The four windows in the centre are each of six lights in width. The ground-floor windows in the wings have been replaced by tall 18th-century sashes that reach to the ground, within a frame composed of fluted pilasters and enriched entablature all in stucco. The chimney stacks on this front are of the same date. In the centre is one of a number of finely cast lead rainwater heads which bear Sir Edmund Wright's initials and the date 1638.

[Lead rainwater heads]

The east elevation is similar to the west, with the following variations. There is no porch on this front, but both the upper and lower entablatures stop abruptly on each side of the central portion, the windows of which seem to be arranged to suit the original staircase. In the upper part of the wall are two two-light transomed windows, with an elliptical one between them, and below a similar pair, with a third raised to a higher level over the garden door. It is possible the stair was designed with two lower flights leading to a landing over the door, from which one middle flight would lead to the first floor. The two upper windows have aprons of ornamental strap-work in plaster beneath their cills, and the three lower are furnished with cleft pediments enclosing, in the case of the side ones, a design in fleurs-de-lis. This survival of Jacobean enrichment is similar to that in the tympana of the larger pediments but is more evident. The garden doorway is of grey marble, set within an 18th-century frame of painted brick with Corinthian pilasters and entablature.

The north front has later outbuildings erected against it, and the windows in the wings are blocked. The central door with frame is original and has a two-light window in its upper part to light the passage. On each side is a pair of two-light windows, the one on the right giving light to the service stair. It is not clear how the central feature on the first floor was first designed; there is now an 18thcentury window with a wrought-iron balcony, and above it an old two-light window, with a pair of small elliptical lights, one on either side. The chimneys on this front have their flues set diagonally on lofty square bases. The large central stack (towards the south) has eight square flues set in two rows of four, with each shaft separated by a space, but united at the head.


The entrance porch has a vaulted plaster ceiling springing from a moulded cornice. Against the side walls are seats with panelled fronts and, above them, a panelled dado. The screen which cuts off the entrance passage from the hall is an interesting feature which on the authority of Pepys we can ascribe to Sir James Harrington (see p. 10) and therefore to a date between 1643 and 1660. The subject of its authorship and that of the busts which adorned it (two of which remain) is treated by Mrs. Esdaile in a contribution printed in Appendix C. The screen is of wood with plaster enrichments, the whole painted to simulate stone and marble. An arcade of three arches, the centre of greater span than those at the side, is framed by pilasters and entablature. Towards the hall a pair of free columns flanking the middle arch supports projections in the entablature and a cleft segmental pediment. On the passage side the columns are omitted and the treatment above is slightly varied. On the slope of the pediment there crouch two lions, and over each of the side arches, on both sides of the screen, are pairs of amorini supporting shields of arms. (fn. 3) The central arch has winged cherubs' heads in the spandrels and a key-block carved with foliage.

The hall is paved with stone flags, and small black marble lozenges at the intersection of the joints. A square in the centre is set diagonally (see plan, plate 4). The walls are panelled with moulded and fielded panels of 18th-century character, with a heavy dentilled cornice at ceiling level and panelled dado below. The cornice breaks round two pilasters flanking a central panel over the fireplace, and each window has a pair of fluted pilasters with well carved Corinthian capitals. The door architraves, the panels over the doors themselves and the fireplace have bolection mouldings, and the doors, which are of oak and of six panels, retain their old brass hinges and rim-locks. The large marble chimney-piece, with its cornice supported on twin console brackets over panelled pilasters, is probably part of the Georgian reconstruction of the room, although it is possible that it dates from the 17th century. It has three marble busts on the mantel shelf, the centre one being a portrait of Ben Jonson. There are also two marble terminal figures in the room. In the fireplace is an iron fire-back with the initials N.L. and date anno 1695. Two cherubs with palms hold up a crown over a battle scene, with a town in flames in the background. On a label is the motto non auro sed armis. The fire-back may commemorate the fall of Namur. The lead glazing has recently been restored to the windows of the hall, and in the south window are two roundels executed by Miss Jessie M. Jacob, one having the Herbert arms and the other an inscription commemorating the Hon. Mervyn Herbert to whom the connection between the Foreign Office Sports Association and Swakeleys is due.

The walls of the dining-room are lined with oak panelling of earlier date than the house, which appears to be largely a restoration of recent years. This panelling probably came from the earlier manor house of Swakeleys. The black marble fireplace, with pulvinated frieze and eared architrave, is of the time of Sir Edmund Wright. The panelling is seven panels high, mason-jointed with un-mitred mouldings, the stiles and rails being channelled. The wooden cornice is of 18thcentury character. The bolection moulded architraves to the doors and windows are also of later date and the breasts and jambs of the latter have moulded and fielded linings which, in the case of the jambs, are hinged for use as shutters.

The walls of the north-west room are panelled in two heights with late 17th or 18th-century painted panelling. The whitewashed cornice appears to be modern but the architraves to doors and windows are similar to those in the dining-room. The fireplace has a coloured marble surround and is flanked by panelled wooden pilasters with scroll brackets supporting a moulded and dentilled shelf which apparently originally returned round the chimney breast but is now cut off flush at the sides. Above the fireplace is an oil painting on canvas of an 18th-century divine.

The corresponding room in the westernmost projecting wing is generally similar but has later architraves to the doors and windows, and the mullions and transomes of the latter are cased with reeded plaster work. A bolection moulded surround of white grey-veined marble to the fireplace is of late 17th-century date and was removed to its present position recently from the room on the first floor, now used as a bathroom.

Returning to the main entrance, we can describe the remainder of the ground floor. On the northern side of the screens passage the lower half of the wall is lined with Jacobean panelling in two heights with a dentilled cornice above; the upper half has the plaster painted to imitate green rusticated masonry. In the wall are two sets of 18th-century panelled doors, each leaf being of six panels; one has old brass rim-locks and finely pierced ornamental fingerplates. They have moulded architraves and over-doors with pulvinated friezes and cornices.

The room entered from the screens passage, which was probably the original buttery, has been entirely modernized. But the service passage leading to the kitchen courtyard retains some original panelling, the whole of the west wall and part of the east wall being lined for about half the height with wainscotting two panels high and finished with a small moulded cornice. There is an old plank door at the top of the stairs to the cellars and an original six-panelled door at the foot of the service staircase. In the opposite wall the sixpanelled 18th-century door to the kitchen is blocked up, the kitchen now being entered through a door in the east wall and the previous doorway being hidden on the inside by a later cupboard. The kitchen was altered in the 18th century, to which date belongs the fireplace and a large wooden cupboard. The stone flagged paving is original. The fireplace is now partly blocked and partly occupied by a modern range. It has a flat surround with moulded margin and is of painted stone with a segmental head with three projecting keystones. The old cupboard has a moulded base and cornice and double doors each of three moulded and fielded panels, hung on L-shaped hinges, and similarly panelled ends.

The most interesting room on this side of the screens is the north-west projecting wing, which is now used as a butler's pantry. It seems originally to have been intended as a parlour, for there are considerable remains of early panelling and a charming overmantel of Jacobean design. Portions of the panelling are now missing and parts are hidden behind later cupboards, but it is tolerably complete and is in eight tiers of panels from the floor to the small moulded cornice below the ceiling. It is of an early form and mason-jointed, the stiles having moulded edges, while the rails are chamfered, with a continuous moulding sunk along the middle. The top row of long narrow panels forms a frieze, and it would seem to have been adapted from the old house to the new one of 1638. Occupying the whole of the upper part of the easternmost angle of the room is the beautiful overmantel. It is divided into two bays by small Doric columns standing on enriched bases and supporting an entablature which carries the line of the top row of panels on the adjoining walls. Below the architrave is a row of dentilled brackets and there is a small dentilled bed-mould to the cornice. Both architrave and frieze break forward above the columns, the latter being enriched with jewel ornament and supporting pairs of shaped brackets which carry the soffit of the cornice. In each section of the frieze is a raised panel enriched with scroll ornament and between the columns are central rectangular panels surrounded by four L-shaped panels, all with projecting mouldings. Nothing can be seen of the original fireplace, which has been blocked. The blocking is brought forward some way in front of the overmantel and takes the flue of a small kitchen range which in recent years has been placed in front of it. Round the brickwork to the lower part is a moulded wooden architrave, supporting a small shelf, above which is some re-used 17thcentury panelling and two brackets for a gun rack. The centre panel is surrounded by a broad, slightly enriched architrave, and in its recessed angles are two scroll brackets which support a small cornice. This re-arrangement with old material appears to be of the 18th century, the whole projection being surmounted by a moulded capping which continues above the 18th-century cupboards that stand against the north-west wall.

The present staircase hall is entered from the screens passage through a round-headed archway with projecting imposts and key-blocks. The floor is paved with black and white squared paving set diagonally, continuous with the paving in the entrance. The north and east walls up to the level of the springing of the entrance arch are lined with panelling of Sir Edmund Wright's time, now painted and grained. The doorway in the north wall is similar to those in the north wall of the screens, but that to the dining-room is earlier and belongs to the period of the building (1638). It is an interesting example and has a bold bolection moulded architrave over which is a broken segmental pediment, the two sections of which stand on triglyph blocks, while a third small block supports a central urn, carved with swags, which fills the space of the tympanum.

The present staircase appears to be the third one to occupy this position, although there is no definite indication, beyond the fenestration of the east wall, to show the arrangement of the original stair. Two interesting newels carved with strap-work and having square turned finials and pendants have been preserved in the house (see plates 43–44). It is possible that these may have belonged to an earlier house, but they probably formed part of the stair designed in 1638. As already suggested, this may have occupied a larger space than the present one, from which a compartment has been cut off adjoining the kitchen, and may have consisted of two lower flights leading to a central half landing, with a middle flight completing the ascent to the next floor. The whole existing arrangement is of one design, the stair being subordinate to the fine painted walls. The actual workmanship of the stair appears, however, to differ somewhat from the bolection moulded dado on the walls, and from the similarly moulded panelling on which it rests. Its fluted balusters, cut string, with carved brackets beneath the treads, and its handrail belong in character to the 18th century, whereas it seems probable that the painted walls are the work of Robert Streater, who was sergeant-painter to Charles II. Streater painted the walls of Thomas Povey's house in Lincoln's Inn and he decorated the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford. Povey was well known to Sir Robert Viner, and Streater was admired by both Evelyn and Pepys. Sir Robert bought Swakeleys in 1665 and was ruined in 1672, so that if we place the paintings within this date we must regard the existing stair as a very much later successor to that designed for the painted hall, which itself succeeded that of Sir Edmund Wright.

Above the panelled dado the walls are painted in imitation of green rusticated masonry, shown in perspective, and made to appear coved in the angles. On the south wall a series of long panels intervenes between the masonry and the main scenes which extend from the first floor to the ceiling. These are represented in an architectural setting with flanking Corinthian columns. On the north wall is the founding of the city of Lavinium by Æneas who appears helmeted and in Roman costume. Behind him is a turbaned figure standing in trepidation before a group of four men, one of whom holds in his hand the plans of the city, which is shown as a pentagon with circular bastions at the angles. Above is the figure of Mercury and in the background are buildings. Over the adjoining doorway is painted a large urn on a pedestal with pyramids in the distance.

The west wall is occupied by a landscape with bridge, and over the adjoining doorway is a small boy with a bow, seated on a pedestal.

On the south wall the subject is the death of Dido. The queen with a wound in her left side is shown supported on a pyre by another woman and in the foreground are two amorini with a lighted torch, and four subordinate figures. A curtain is draped above the scene (plate 40) and over the doorway in this wall is an urn backed by drapery. The ceiling is painted to represent the sky with a winged female figure, probably Juno, seated on a rainbow, on which lean three winged amorini, one of whom holds a peacock. Another female figure is shown seated on the clouds.

The service stair is contemporary with the house and reaches from the ground floor to the rooms in the roof. It is characteristic of its period, and has large turned balusters, four inches in diameter, and square newels with acorn finials.

The great chamber or salon is 42 ft. by 23 ft. and is 16 ft. high. Its area includes the space over the porch which forms a recess two steps above the floor. The walls are now lined with late 17th or early 18th-century panelling similar to that in the hall. The two fireplaces have moulded surrounds of dark grey marble with an outer moulding of painted wood.

The most striking feature of this room is its magnificent plaster ceiling. It is divided into fifteen compartments (with an additional panel over the porch recess), by heavily moulded plastered beams. The mouldings are enriched with classic ornament and the soffits with a double band of guilloche pattern with large rosettes at the intersections of the beams. Except those following the chimney projections, the compartments are rectangular, while to the central compartment the beams are carried round to form an inner circular panel. Sunk elliptical panels are formed in the soffits of the alternate compartments bordering the side walls; the two middle compartments against the end walls have sunk octagonal soffits with a cherub's head in each spandrel, and the two compartments flanking the middle panel are enriched with laurel wreaths of bold projection. The ceiling over the projecting bay also has a central wreath and in each corner is the head of a cherub blowing. The whole ceiling is surrounded by a heavily moulded cornice with the mouldings enriched similarly to the beams. It has been suggested that the purely classical treatment of this ceiling indicates a later date than that of the building of Swakeleys, but it is curious that at Cromwell House, Highgate, which was building in the same year, the ceiling of the chief room has an unmistakable resemblance to the one here. (fn. 4) The double guilloche ornament of the main ribs is identical, and in both ceilings the circular band of ornament cuts into the square in the same way. Unless, therefore, some documentary evidence is discovered to the contrary, we should be able confidently to ascribe this ceiling to Sir Edmund Wright.

The south room (see plan, plate 5) has a dado of early 17th-century oak panelling which has been painted. The fireplace has recently been altered and has a black marble surround, but on the sides of the chimney breasts is some original panelling and there are indications of a former Jacobean overmantel. All the work in the south-east bedroom is of early Georgian character, and the walls have a panelled dado and moulded wooden cornice. There are panelled outer shutters to the windows and the six-panelled oak door retains its old brass rim-lock and catch. The fireplace has a flat surround of black marble with moulded edges. The south-west bedroom has an 18th-century panelled dado and six-panelled oak doors with old brass rim-lock and catch. The Queen Anne fireplace has a bolection moulded surround of white grey-veined marble with a black marble keystone and a moulded shelf.

The room on the south side of the main staircase still retains some of Sir Edmund's work in the typically Jacobean entablature which surmounts the walls. At intervals along the frieze are pairs of ornamental triglyphs from which rise shaped brackets to the soffit of a dentilled cornice. The black marble surround to the fireplace is of the early 18th century and the oak doors and their architraves are as in the rooms just described.

Least altered of all the bedrooms apparently is that on the north side of the main staircase, although it seems to cut into part of the space originally intended for the stair. The walls are lined with oak wainscotting similar to that in the butler's pantry, and eight panels high, surmounted by a Jacobean entablature. This has a narrow architrave with small bracket dentils below it, a deep pulvinated frieze enriched with arabesque work and triglyphs, and a dentilled cornice. The panelling appears to have at one time been painted, but this has been pickled off, while portions of the north wall have been patched and altered. The fireplace has a black marble surround and is flanked by portions of fluted pilasters, which are contemporary with the wainscotting. Over the fireplace is some modern panelling imitating the 17th-century work, and incorporating two lozengeshaped panels with foliated ends which may be original. The two doors with their architraves and locks are similar to those in the other rooms, and between the chimney and the doorway in the south wall is an 18th-century cupboard.

In the north wing, the north-east bedroom has a Jacobean wooden entablature with a dentilled cornice and a frieze with pierced triglyph brackets and strap-work ornaments on the metopes. The marble surround to the fireplace and the six-panelled door which is similar to those already described are of the early 18th century.

The room adjoining is now divided up into a passage and three compartments by some inserted partitions. On the east wall are portions of original panelling and most of the Jacobean entablature of the walls remains at ceiling level. This has a dentilled cornice and fluted triglyphs with lozenges on the metopes of the frieze. The passage adjoining is lined in two heights with Georgian panelling and at either end is a six-panelled door of the same period. There are similar doors in both the bedrooms in the north-west end of this wing and both have flat black marble surrounds to the fireplaces.

In the attics on the second floor can be seen the heavy oak timbers of the roof; two of the rooms have old fireplaces with panelled stone surrounds with segmental arched heads and plain key-blocks and imposts. There are a few old plank doors; one 18th-century oak door, as in the bedrooms on the floor below, and in the passage at the head of the back staircase is a twelve-panel oak door of the same date as the house.

The most interesting feature on this floor is a considerable quantity of panelling, now arranged as a dado to several of the rooms, which shows 17th-century graining. The paint, which is of a walnut colour, has been combed, and the representation of a central boss to each panel has been contrived by skilful shading. It is probable that this panelling came from one of the principal rooms and it is valuable evidence of one of the modes of decoration in use in Charles I's reign.

The stables, which form a delightful court to the north of the house, are later than the building and date from the late 17th or early 18th century. Beyond these are the walled gardens, with much of the old brickwork preserved.

The most interesting garden building that has remained is the dovecote which stands to the north-west of the house and dates from a period little later, if at all, than Sir Edmund Wright's time. It measures about 25 feet square, is 24 feet high to the eaves, and 38 feet to the top of the little louvered lantern. It is built of brick like the house, with plaster quoins, and is of two storeys. The ground floor is occupied by an ice-house, a circular domed chamber 9 feet in diameter, which is approached by a semi-circular headed doorway in its east wall, the cill of which is some 5 feet above ground. The ice chamber diminishes in diameter towards its floor which is 3 feet below ground. The total height of the chamber is 15 feet. The dovecote occupies the upper floor, which has a similar door to the one below in the east wall, approachable by a ladder. It has a cambered brick floor, and the nests are in rows in the north, south and west walls. In each of the four faces is a small elliptical light, square-framed inside. The eaves are marked by a simple plastered band which forms a frieze over a moulded course, and the hipped roof is tiled. There is a false doorway recess in the south wall. The whole building is a very perfect and instructive example of this necessary appendage to a manor house.

Some mention should also be made of the mortuary chapel, already referred to in the Historical Notes, which Sir Edmund Wright built at Ickenham Church. The peculiar feature of this building is the series of upright niches arranged for the disposal of the coffins. Their character is sufficiently shown in the views on plates 64–66. The chapel has now been converted into a vestry, and views are shown of it in its original state. Here is preserved the bust of the Earl of Essex, originally placed on the screen in the hall at Swakeleys, which is more fully described by Mrs. Esdaile in Appendix C.


  • 1. This strap-work ornament has been omitted for the sake of clearness in the elevations (plates to 11).
  • 2. These two gables though apparently a pair are not actually of equal size but vary with the span of the two roofs. The discrepancy is even more noticeable on the north elevation.
  • 3. The arms which are now painted on these shields are those of the family of Clarke-Thornhill. They are as follows:—
    Hall side (east) Quarterly first and fourth gules two gimel bars and chief argent with a quarter gules—Thornhill; second and third Clarke with a crescent or for difference. Over all an inescutcheon of Thornhill.
    (west) Clarke impaling gules a lion between three crosscrosslets fitchy or—Capel.
    Passage side (east) Or a ragged cross between four trefoils' slipped vert—Clarke; impaling argent three piles sable over all a fess gules a quarter ermine— Truesdale.
    (west) Clarke impaling argent a saltire sable with five fleurs-de-lis or thereon—Hawkins.
  • 4. See Cromwell House, Highgate (1926): 12th monograph of the London Survey Committee, plates , and . The ceiling had an achievement of Sir Richard Sprignell's arms, granted in 1639, and in that year the house was described as " lately built." Ibid. pp. 25 and36.