Old Queen Street

Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1926.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Old Queen Street', in Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area, ([s.l.], 1926) pp. 61-66. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol10/pt1/pp61-66 [accessed 5 March 2024]


In the early part of the 16th century the site of Old Queen Street was occupied by an estate belonging to the Fraternity of St. Mary within the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster.

Among the possessions of the Fraternity transferred to the Crown in 1547 was a property described (fn. n1) as comprising a parcel of meadow, as well as "all that alley called the Lady Morleyes Alley …, all which "premises lie in Lang Dyche (fn. n2) … between the tenement in the tenure of John Penyngcote and the tenement in the tenure of John Bolton on the south, on the garden in the tenure of the Marquis of Dorset on the west, on the park of the King and the garden in the tenure of Robert Graunte on the north, and on the King's street of Langdyche on the east." The garden of the Marquis of Dorset was that attached to what was afterwards Carew House, (fn. n3) on the site of Dartmouth Street, and the western limit of the property is thus fixed. Part of the estate was bounded on the north by St. James's Park, and that the other part lay immediately south of Princes Court (fn. n4) is evident by the description given of the latter in a much later document (fn. n5) as abutting south "on the back part of the houses in Queen "Street, heretofore called Lady Worland's Alley." The southern boundary has not been identified, but the above description is sufficient to show that, speaking generally, Lady Morley's (more correctly "Morland's") Alley, together with the meadow, must have occupied the site of Old Queen Street. (fn. n6)

The property had apparently come into the hands of the Fraternity as the result of a bequest by Lady Morland's husband. (fn. n7)

The document from which the description of the premises has been taken contains particulars of a large number of properties which it was proposed to include in a sale to Sir Michael Stanhope. For some reason or other, however, Lady Morland's Alley was excluded from the sale, (fn. n8) and when next found it is in other hands.

In 1550 Sir Francis Englefield (fn. n9) purchased "one alley called the Lady Morles Alley, 16 messuages, 10 cottages, 4 barns, 6 tofts, 2 orchards, 4 gardens and 16 acres of meadow called the Long More and Long More Banke … in the parish of St. Margaret in Westminster." (fn. n10) The vendor appears to have been Henry Syllybarn, but no record of the transfer to him from the Crown has been found.

Englefield did not long retain the property. On 26th February, 1554–55, an exchange was effected (fn. n11) between him and the Crown, whereby he transferred to the latter "all those his capital mesuage and one other tenement to the same adjoyninge in the tenure … of John Vaughan; … and sevyn other his tenementes … and also those his fowre greate stables … in the severall tenures … of Dundego Spanyard, James Basset esquyer, the said Sir Frauncis Englefyld and John More"; as well as 11¾ acres of meadow lying "on the south-west syde of the fylde called Tootehyll fylde."

In view of the entirely different description, and the absence of any indication where the messuage, tenements, and stables were situated, the identity of this property with Lady Morland's Alley, etc., might seem open to question. As this account proceeds, however, it will be seen (i) that the property was in Longditch, (ii) that it was in Longditch and Maiden Lane, (iii) that Maiden Lane and the garden at its western end occupied (like Lady Morland's Alley and the meadow) the site of Old Queen Street. The identity of the two properties is thus removed from doubt. It may be observed that the meadows on the south-west side of Tothill Fields included in Englefield's exchange were certainly the same as those portions of Long More and Long More Bank which he had purchased with Lady Morland's Alley. (fn. n12)

The second period of Royal ownership lasted until the reign of James I.

(i) Three of the stables were leased to Leonard Pott on 5th July, 1585, for 50 years. (fn. n13) They were described as "in Longdiche … namely, "one stable there formerly in the tenure of Lord Dundess a Spaniard, and "lately in the tenure of Edward Lord Hastinges of Loughboroughe, … "one other stable there lately in the tenure of Sir Francis Inglefield, … "and one other stable there formerly in the tenure of James Bassett esquire "and afterwards … of the said Lord Hastinges." The fourth stable seems to have disappeared.

(ii) A lease for 21 years was on 20th July, 1576, granted (fn. n14) to John Vaughan of the messuage in his occupation "with garden and two stables "adjoining," and seven other tenements, on which occasion a note was made to the effect that "the said mesuage and tenementes are scituate in Long"ditch." The seven tenements were not quite the same as the seven transferred by Englefield. The names of the occupiers in the order as given in (a) the exchange by Englefield, and (b) the lease to Vaughan are as follows:—

(a) (b).
Thomasyne Hill, wydowe
George Hollande George Hollande.
Johanne Andrews, wydowe. John Andrews.
Margaret Johnson. Thomas Dognall.
John Berd.
John Evans. John Evans.
Henry Johnson. Henry Johnson.
Margaret Straforde. Margaret Trayford.

It will be noticed that the tenement of Thomasyne Hill was omitted from the lease, while that of Margaret Johnson had been divided into two.

(iii) Thomasyne Hill's tenement was leased separately under the description of a tenement, with garden adjoining, late in the tenure of Widow "Hillis" and since of John Fynes. (fn. n15) Further leases were successively granted to Christopher Bayly (1576), John Pinnock (fn. n16) (1590), and William Watkins, (fn. n17) and on 8th February, 1615–16, the tenement was included, with other property, in a sale by the Crown to Francis Morris and Edmund Sawyer. (fn. n18) From them it passed, on 12th July, 1617, to Alexander Stafford, (fn. n19) by whom it was sold (fn. n20) on 8th October, 1618, to Thomas Wale. Wale died in 1625. His will (fn. n21) contains the following clause: "And whereas "I am seized of diverse mesuages, tenements, houses, stables, gardens, lands, "and hereditaments scituate … in Longditch … whereof "and wherein my wife hath an estate for terme of her life, if shee survive "me, I give and bequeath all the said mesuages, etc., … unto my "nephew Thomas Holloway, sonne of my sister Alice Holloway."

On 17th February, 1645–46, Holloway mortgaged (fn. n22) to Hugh and John Kirke his estate "scituate … in a place commonly called … Longditch." It comprised: (i) "all that mesuage with a "great garden and two stables to the same now or lately adjoyning … "some time in the tenure of John Vaughan, which said great garden now "is or late was in the tenure of Lott Stallenge, gardener"; (ii) seven messuages sometimes in the tenure of George Holland, John Andrewes, John Dognall, John Bird, John Evans, Henry Johnson and Margaret Trafford; (iii) three great stables "lately converted into several mesuages "or tenements" in the tenure respectively of (a) Lord Don Diego, a Spaniard, and since of Edward Lord Hastings of Loughborough, (b) Sir Francis Englefield, and (c) James Bassett and afterwards Lord Hastings; (iv) twelve other messuages. It will thus be seen that the whole of the Englefield estate in Longditch had been acquired by Wale, though no record has been found of the transfer of items (i) to (iii). These correspond with the items comprised in the leases to Vaughan and Pott, and the twelve houses contained in item (iv) evidently occupied the site of Thomasyne Hill's tenement and garden which were sold to Morris and Sawyer, and have been definitely traced to Wale.

The mortgage was not redeemed, and John Kirke, the younger, in his turn mortgaged the premises to Edward Smith, of Lambeth. The latter died in October, 1679, and his interest came into the hands of his cousin, John Smith, a minor. By Chancery Decree of 7th March, 1681–82, (fn. n23) it was decided that on attaining his majority Smith should release the estate to Kirke, who meanwhile should enjoy the property. Smith died, however, before coming of age, and his cousin and heir, John Hallam, on 29th July, 1701, (fn. n24) surrendered the property to Thomas Sutton, who had at some date in the interval (certainly before July, 1698) acquired Kirke's interest.

The Englefield estate in Longditch thus came into the hands of Thomas Sutton. The indenture of 1701 described the property as "all "the messuages, etc. … lying … in or near Longditch and "Mayden Lane … which were heretofore the inheritance of the "said John Kirke deceased … and all those houses, etc., … "now erected upon the same premises." It seems pretty certain that extensive building operations had taken place during Kirke's ownership. The original mortgage (in 1646) was for £800, and a further £200 was expended in purchasing the equity of redemption. This included not only the premises in Longditch, but property in the neighbourhood of Woolwich. By 1682, however, the Longditch property alone is said (no doubt with some exaggeration) to have become worth £6000. (fn. n25) It is doubtful whether these building operations had included Park Prospect. Morden and Lea's Map of 1682 certainly seems to show Park Prospect (although not named) already existing at the western end of Maiden Lane. On the other hand, the houses in Park Prospect can be traced back in the ratebooks only to 1689, and the first book to include it by name is that for 1691.

Strictly speaking, the mention of Maiden Lane in the indenture of 1701 is an anachronism (see below), but the reference is probably taken from some older document. The lane is shown in Morden and Lea's Map occupying approximately the site of the eastern half of Old Queen Street, while the site of the western half is shown as a field or garden ground. The latter is presumably to be identified with the "great garden" which was attached to John Vaughan's house (see p. 64), and which seems to have been known as the Liquorish Garden. (fn. n26)

Maiden Lane was in 1697 superseded by Queen Street. (fn. n27) In 1708 the latter is described as: "Queen street, a considerable New str. betn. "Dartmouth str. near Tuthil str. Westminster Wly, and Long Ditch Ely." (fn. n28)

At about the middle of the 18th century the street was divided into Great Queen Street and Little Queen Street, being the wider and narrower portions respectively of the thoroughfare. The first ratebook showing the two divisions is that for 1750. In 1893 a further alteration was made, the whole thoroughfare was renamed Old Queen Street, and the houses were renumbered.

Figure 12:

Iron fanlight from entrance doorway. No. 39 Old Queen Street.


  • n1. Augmentation Office, Particulars for Grants, 1971.
  • n2. Longditch is now Princes Street.
  • n3. It is proposed to deal with the history of this house (which also had belonged to the Fraternity of St. Mary) in a subsequent volume of the Survey of London.
  • n4. The eastern portion of Old Queen Street was formerly separated from St. James's Park by Princes Court, the site of which is now occupied by the premises of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and adjoining buildings.
  • n5. Assignment dated 11th November, 1720, to Robert Wood of lease granted to William Genew. (Middx. Memorials, 1728, II., 262.)
  • n6. If confirmation be thought necessary, it will be found in the proof (see pp. 67 and 71) that the property of Thomas Sutton, who had come into possession of the estate of Sir Francis Englefield, the purchaser of Lady Morland's Alley, was situated in Old Queen Street (in both the eastern and western halves).
  • n7. Lady Joan Morland in her will dated 31st March, 1508 (Westminster Wills, Wyks, f. 70), states: "Item, where I and Thomas Bough stand and be feoffed of certeyn londis and tenementis in the Towne of Westminster, to myne use for terme of my lyve, and after to perform the last will of my late husbonde, I will that myne executours se that according to the lawe state be made of the same to thuse of the Fraternitie of our lady according to the said Will." In the absence of her husband's will it cannot be proved that the "londis and tenementis" were Lady Morland's Alley, but there can be little doubt about it. Lady Morland's husband was perhaps Sir James Morland (1501— "Item for the knell of Sir James Morland with the bell … vjd." Westminster Records, p. 43). There are two references to Lady Morland herself: 1500, "Item received of my Lady Morland for a stone to lay upon her husband xiijs ivd." (Ibid., p. 42); 1501–2, "Item, paide to crofere Smyth for xxij scodled barres for the seconde wyndowe that my lady Morland did make & for the west wyndowe in the north Ile." (Westlake's St. Margaret's, Westminster, p. 167.)
  • n8. The paragraphs relating to it are struck through.
  • n9. Sir Francis Englefield, a staunch Roman Catholic, was in high favour during Mary's reign. Soon after the accession of Elizabeth he fled from the country, and was subsequently attainted and convicted of high treason and his possessions were forfeited to the Crown.
  • n10. Recovery Roll, 4 Ed. VI., Mich., No. 1145, f. 355.
  • n11. Close Roll, 512.
  • n12. The plan of the Manor of Ebury, published by the London Topographical Society, shows that the south-western border of Tothill Fields consisted of Long More and the "Banke" between Long More and the Tyburn.
  • n13. Augmentation Office, Particulars for Leases, Eliz.—Jas., 96/20. The supervisor's report on the property is interesting. "I find," he says, "these same to be verrie olde and craked houses, and greatlie decaied by reason of a common sewer which comyth from the Thames by Kinges Strete, and from thence to and by St. James Parke wall, which sondrie covetous personnes having grounde of the same common sewer to enlarge themselves have so straightened and encroched the same common sewer as therebye moveth the water to swell so highe that all the said premisses be for the moste surrounded at many Springe Tydes, which hath decaied greatly verrie moche the grownde sylles of all the houses of the premisses."
  • n14. Ibid., 96/7.
  • n15. Ibid., 97/45 (46).
  • n16. Land Revenue Enrolments, Vol. 50, f. 273.
  • n17. Augmentation Office, Particulars for Leases, Eliz. & Jas., 92/25.
  • n18. Land Revenue Enrolments, Vol. 55, ff. 272–80.
  • n19. Close Roll, 2305.
  • n20. Ibid., 2382.
  • n21. P.C.C., 54, Clarke.
  • n22. Close Roll, 3778.
  • n23. Orders and Decrees, 33–4 Chas. II, Hilary, Vol. 257, p. 271.
  • n24. Close Roll, 4882.
  • n25. Suit of John Kirke, Chancery Suits, C.V., 512/3.
  • n26. The evidence is as follows: (i) In 1690 the inhabitants on the north side of Tothill Street petitioned the Westminster Commission of Sewers, setting forth: "that the waters of the said "street did, time out of mind, pass through a Ground called the Liquorish Garden, between the "Ground of Mr. John Kirke, and Mr. Tothill, in a Ditch 10 foot wide and above 300 foot long, "but in October, 1672, the said Kirke (that he might gain the length and breadth of the said "Ditch to himselfe) besought this Court for leave to fill it up, which was granted him upon Con"dicion that he should make a good Drain of two foot wide to carry the petrs water wth "a free passage to the Common Sewer at the East end of Maiden Lane, Westmr which "he undertooke, but made the same so slightly that it was quite choaked up and broken downe "in 6 yeares time; and that this Court did then (upon the petrs application) cause John Toms "a Butcher who held the said Ground by lease from the said Kirke to be Summoned, etc." (Westminster Sewers Commission, Orders of Court, VII., p. 108). Kirke's ground, we know, was the site of Old Queen Street, and we also know (see p. 75) that Toms had a lease of part of it, and Tothill's ground was the site of Lewisham Street, then called Garrison Alley. (It really belonged to Tothill's wife Amy, afterwards Amy Wilkes, who had inherited it from her father, Captain Henry Cooke, see Indenture of 24th November, 1690, between Amy Wilkes, Thomas Ashby and Nicholas Doning, Close Roll, 4714.) (ii) In 1691, the owners of houses in Dartmouth Street, which ex hypothesi bounded Liquorish Garden to the west, petitioned for a sewer to lead into the sewer "now in building … in the Liquorish Garden," (Westminster Sewers Commission, op. cit., p. 208) showing that the garden was close by. These facts almost certainly point to the identification of the Liquorish Garden with the garden which formed the site of the western end of Old Queen Street.
  • n27. A drawing of Princes Street by Capon in the Westminster Public Library shows an inscribed stone with the words: "Queen Street—1697" on the building at the corner of Little Queen Street.
  • n28. Hatton's New View of London, I., p. 67. Strype's description (1720) is interesting, but was evidently taken from some earlier authority: "Maiden-lane, somewhat large, but not well built; "at the upper End is a Passage up Freestone steps into a pretty handsome Place, with good Build"ings, called Park Prospect as having a Prospect on the Park, and hath its Passage into it out of "Dartmouth Street." (Stow's Survey of London, II., p. 9.) The combination of Maiden Lane and Park Prospect points to the period 1690–97. Walcott's statement that "in 1640 a flight of steps "led up from this street [Queen Street] into Maiden Lane, which opened into Park Prospect" (Westminster, p. 74), is quite inexplicable. It may be said here that Walcott's further statement that James Tyrrell was born in this street in May, 1642, is incorrect. Tyrrell was born in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. The sole remaining statement in Walcott's account of Queen Street is that "Lord Desart resided here in 1708." This (based on Hatton) is almost, but not quite, correct. The Earl of Dysart's residence at the house, the site of which is now occupied by No. 24 Old Queen Street, terminated, according to the ratebooks, in 1707.