The Bowling Green and "Hances House"

Survey of London: Volume 13, St Margaret, Westminster, Part II: Whitehall I. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1930.

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'The Bowling Green and "Hances House"', in Survey of London: Volume 13, St Margaret, Westminster, Part II: Whitehall I, ed. Montagu H Cox, Philip Norman( London, 1930), British History Online [accessed 25 July 2024].

'The Bowling Green and "Hances House"', in Survey of London: Volume 13, St Margaret, Westminster, Part II: Whitehall I. Edited by Montagu H Cox, Philip Norman( London, 1930), British History Online, accessed July 25, 2024,

"The Bowling Green and "Hances House"". Survey of London: Volume 13, St Margaret, Westminster, Part II: Whitehall I. Ed. Montagu H Cox, Philip Norman(London, 1930), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024.


The ground now occupied by Richmond Terrace and its forecourt was before the Restoration the orchard of Whitehall Palace.

It will be shown below that the orchard occupied the site of a garden and orchard attached to The Lamb in King Street, and that the latter lay south of Lamb Alley. On the other hand, the property on the east side of King Street acquired for Whitehall Palace and grounds in 1531 is described as "extending from a certain alley or lane there called Lamb Alley … unto the bars situate in the aforesaid King Street, near the manor of the Lord the King there called York Place" (see Appendix A), and was thus situated entirely to the north of Lamb Alley (see p. 17). The acquisition of The Lamb, with its orchard and garden, was therefore not included in the original scheme for the construction of the Palace, (fn. n1) and seems to have been an afterthought on the part of Henry VIII. The property was, however, purchased by the King some time before 1538, for in that year he granted (fn. n2) it to John Stephens for a term of 40 years at a rent of £13 6s. 8d. Evidently, no decision had so far been come to as to using it for the purpose of enlarging the grounds of the Palace.

This step seems to have been taken about 1545. The assize rents for 1547 mention the receipt (which must have been purely theoretical) of £13 6s. 8d. from John Stephens for the ferm of a messuage called The Lamb, with a garden and an orchard adjoining, in King Street, next to the new Palace of the King, and of 40s. from Stephens' widow for the rent of two gardens adjoining The Lamb. Later on in the roll, however, occurs an entry allowing the whole amount of £15 6s. 8d., on the ground that "the said messuage, lands and other premises, with appurtenances, are included within the new orchard and garden of the King's palace," and the authority of the Privy Council of 37 Henry VIII (1545–6) is quoted for the allowance in question.

The full description of The Lamb property, as given in the grant of 1538, is as follows: "All that our brewhouse (tenementum nostrum bracineum) called Le Lambe with garden and orchard adjoining … between the tenements belonging to the Abbot and Convent of the Monastery of St. Peter Westminster, in the tenure of Philip Lentall, William Forde, John Banks and John Barley on the west and south, and the lane opposite Our garden called le Lambe Aley on the north, and so descending beyond le Clowson to the garden of Robert Smallwood on the south, and a parcel of land next the Thames on the south, and our royal way [King Street] there on the west, and the water of Thames on the east … which garden and orchard extend in length on the south side from the water of Thames to the common sewer called le Clowson towards the west, and contain in length 282 feet of assise, and in width on the west from south to north 201½ feet of assise, and in width on the east abut on the Thames and contain from north to south 227 feet, and contain in width on the north side from the water of Thames to the street there containing [sic] towards the east and west 341 feet of assise; also … all the lane [Lamb Alley] leading from our Royal street there to the said Thames between our garden on the north and the said tenement called le Lambe on the south."

Here is reproduced a portion of the plan of 1670 showing the Bowling Green, and on it is marked (by chain lines) the property of The Lamb as given in the above description. It will be observed that the dimensions of the garden and orchard fit the Bowling Green almost exactly, and there can be no doubt that the sites are identical. Lamb Alley is thus shown to have run along the south side of the Privy Garden. The length of 341 feet given for the distance from the Thames to the street falls short by about 20 feet, but this is in accord with other evidence which shows that the street was wider then than was afterwards the case (see p. 16).

Figure 47:

Site of The Lamb, with garden and orchard

From other documents it appears that there were several small houses in Lamb Alley, (fn. n3) and that at the end of the lane was a wharf, which was found very useful when the Palace was being built. (fn. n4)

Allusions in the records to the orchard of Whitehall are scanty. We learn, however, that it contained a fountain which was in need of repair in 1621–2. (fn. n5) Mention is also made of the river wall, (fn. n6) and of the various gates (the watergate, that leading to King Street and the one to Cannon Row.)

In the Parliamentary Survey made in 1650 (fn. n7) the orchard is described at length as "all that Orchard or parcell of ground lyeinge on the south (fn. n8) side of tha'foresaid house ["Hances House," see below], and East on Whitehall garden, contayninge … two acres and two Roods and 7 poole, planted wth sevall sorts of fruit Trees of divers and various sorts and kindes. Alsoe the said Orchard is well accomodated and fitted wth Pleasant and delightfull Gravelly Walkes, And in the Center or Middle of the Orchard there is standinge, 3 stepps in Ascent, one Marble fountayne fitted wth two Brasse Collumes and two faire Bolles of White Marble. And one small Garden house much Decayed and out of repaire, formerly used to keepe fruite in, now in the occupacōn of tha'foresaid Collonell Whalley, and is worth per annum xlli. Memd one John Henry [see p. 237] Claymeth to hold th'abovesaid Orchard dureinge his Life by promise from the Earle of Pembrooke, But hath nothinge to shew for the same, soe wee conceive it in Possession."

On the Restoration the orchard was converted into a bowling green, (fn. n9) and surrounded by a fence. (fn. n10) The fountain was apparently removed, for no sign of it appears on the plan of 1670, but in 1673 a new fountain was placed there and supplied with water from the New River. (fn. n11) This was in connection with other alterations which marked the end of the bowling green's existence. Most of it was thrown into the Privy Garden, and in 1679 it is referred to (fn. n12) as "that place that was lately the Bowleing Greene, and formerly the Orchard in Whitehall." The portion including the fountain is alluded to in 1683 as "the fountain garden." (fn. n13) In 1714 the fountain was filled up in connection with the improvement of the approaches to Richmond House. (fn. n14)

The plan on p. 229 shows that the site of the "mansion place" and brewhouse belonging to The Lamb was in due course occupied by the house marked on the plan of 1670 as in the occupation of Lady Villiers, and it is possible to trace the early history of that house.

Among the perquisites attached to the office of Keeper of the Palace at the time of the appointment of George Bredyman in 1558 (fn. n15) was "one messuage … lying near the said great garden [Privy Garden] in which John Hunter alias Hans Hunter … now lives." In the Ministers' Accounts for a series of years this house figures as a "tenement … adjoining the great orchard and garden of the Palace," late in the tenure of Hunter. Hunter was the King's armourer, and the tenement had been granted to him for life, rent-free," to work in and to use the same for le storehouse." In the next grant of office of keeper which has been found (that to Viscount Rochester in 1611) the corresponding entry refers to "all that messuage … situate … near … the new orchard … now or late in the possession of John, Lord Stewart, Baron of Kenclevin, and formerly in the occupation of Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham," and a similar entry occurs in the grant of the office to the Earl of Montgomery (afterwards Earl of Pembroke) in 1616.

The identity of Hunter's house with that of Howard and Kinclaven is capable of confirmation. An item in the accounts of the Paymaster of Works for 1600–1 (fn. n16) runs: "The Ladie Southwell, for money by her La. layde out for the repayringe of the house called Hances (fn. n17) house, sometymes appointed for an Armorie, adioyninge to her Mats Orcharde at Whitehall." Lady Southwell was Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Howard of Effingham. In 1604 she married, as her second husband, John Stewart, afterwards Lord Kinclaven. (fn. n18) This entry therefore equates the house of her husband, Lord Kinclaven, with Hances House, and shows that he obtained it through her from her father, Lord Howard.

Hunter's name ("Mr. Hans") appears in the earliest book of overseers' accounts extant (for 1561–2), and continues until 1572 ("Hance Hunter"). His place is taken in the books for 1575 and 1579 by "widow Hunter." Kinclaven appears first in 1606 (as "Mr. of Orkney"), and afterwards at intervals until 1619, and his wife in 1625 and 1626. Lord Howard's name is not given. (fn. n19)

An entry in the ratebooks for 1645 makes it probable that the Earl of Holland was then residing at the house. (fn. n20)

In 1650 a survey (fn. n21) was made "of a Certaine Tenemt … in King Streete adjoyninge to Whitehall garden." The house is described as: "All that Messuage or Tenemt built wth brick and Covered wth Tyle, scituate … in King streete, adjoyninge to Whitehall garden on the East, consistinge of two Halles, 4 small Roomes or Butteryes one Large Entry or Passage paved wth brick Tyle made like a Cloyster, and a Court Paved wth Purbeck stone. And at the south end of the Passage one Kitchen, one Pastery, one Larder, one scullery and one small Parlor Wainscoted, one washhouse and a small yard. And above stayres in the first story one Large and Comely Roome called the Dyneinge Roome, very well accomodated and fitted wth a Handsome Belcony, and one wth drawinge Roome next adjoyninge to the same next the streete. Alsoe one Large and spacious Gallery, contayninge 55 feete in Length and 11 feete and ½ in breadth, very well Wainscoted from the seelinge to the Gallery floore, well Lighted, seeled and floored. And three lodginge Chambers and one Closett. And in the second story 3 Chambers next the streete, and one Garrett devided into three Roomes. And above the same one garett devided into 5 little Roomes. The said house contayninge by admeasuremt from King streete west to Whitehall orchard east 82 feete of assize, and from Sr William Armyns house north to Mr. Harpers south 40tie feete. Now in the occupacion of Collonell Whalley, (fn. n22) and is worth per ann lxxli … Mdd one Sr Roger Palmer claymeth to hold the aforesaid Tenemt, and as wee are informed hath many yeares yet to Come, but his tytle hee hath not made out to us."

In 1657 Sir Roger Palmer (fn. n23) died, leaving (fn. n24) to his brother, Sir James Palmer, (fn. n25) all his property "in the Cittie of London, Westminster, or the Suburbs of either of them." Shortly afterwards Sir James himself died. By his will, (fn. n26) dated 3rd December, 1657, he bequeathed to his younger son, Roger, "one mesuage or Tenement scituate in King-street, now in the Tenure of Colonell Whaley, which I hold by Lease."

On 14th April, 1659, Roger Palmer married Barbara Villiers, daughter of William Villiers, second Viscount Grandison. In the following year came the Restoration, and on 13th July, 1660, Pepys records that he stayed late at Lord Sandwich's lodgings, (fn. n27) "and great doings of music at the next house, which was Whally's; the King and Dukes there with Madame Palmer, a pretty woman that they have a fancy to."

In December, 1661, Palmer, for no merits of his own, and indeed quite against his wishes, was made an Irish peer with the title of Earl of Castlemaine. In June, 1662, the countess's eldest son, Charles, afterwards Duke of Cleveland, was born "at her house in King Street, Westminster," (fn. n28) and a violent quarrel, occasioned by the earl having the child baptised as a Roman Catholic, led to the separation of husband and wife. The countess remained at the King Street house, and on 6th October, 1662, Pepys, on visiting Sandwich's lodgings, found "my Lord was not within, being at a ball this night with the King at my Lady Castlemaine's at next door." Other references to Lady Castlemaine's residence here occur in the Diary under dates of (i) 1st January, 1662–3, when Pepys tells us, on the authority of Lord Sandwich's housekeeper, "how the King sups at least four or five times every week with my Lady Castlemaine; and most often stays till the morning with her, and goes home through the garden [i.e. the Privy Garden] (fn. n29) all alone privately, and that so as the very centrys take notice of it and speak of it," and (ii) 1st February, 1662–3, when, "walking in White Hall garden," Pepys saw "the King coming privately from my Lady Castlemaine's; which is a poor thing for a prince to do." On 11th May, 1663, he states, on the authority of Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, that "my Lady Castlemaine hath now got lodgings near the King's chamber at Court," but an entry in the records (fn. n30) dated November, 1663, relating to "workeing up a stack of Chimnys from the leads at the Countess of Castlemains lodgings by the bouling greene," suggests that she was still at the house. By the beginning of 1664 she had moved to rooms over the Holbein Gate.

The first entry in the ratebooks after the Restoration that is recognisable as referring to the house occurs in 1669, when "the lady Villiers" (fn. n31) is shown there, and her name continues until 1671. In 1672 the premises were in the occupation of the Board of Trade and Plantations. (fn. n32) On 29th August, 1674, the King granted (fn. n33) to George, 4th Viscount Grandison, and Edward Villiers, Esq., (fn. n34) "all that Messuage … scituate … next or neare our Garden … lately in the Occupation of Dame Barbara Villiers, deceased, and now in the possession of Henry Brouncker Esquire (fn. n35) … notwithstanding the illreciteing … of any Demise or Graunt made of the premisses … to Phillip, late Earl of Mountgomery, Elizabeth Stewart and Margarett Stewart." The two latter were respectively the wife and the daughter of Lord Kinclaven, and the reference confirms the identification of the house with that occupied by him.

The house seems to have lasted about 16 years longer. On 5th April, 1704, an indenture (fn. n36) between Thomas and Abraham Blackmore witnessed that the former was seised of an inheritance in fee simple of a piece of ground "betweene her Majtie's Privye Garden & a street commonly called Kings-street," on which six tenements had been built. Leases of it had been granted on 11th and 12th February, 1690–1. On 20th February, 1745–6, John Bridges sold (fn. n37) the premises to the Westminster Bridge Commissioners, and the description of them as abutting north "on a Messuage … made use of for a publick office by his Majestys Commissioners of Trade and Plantations," who had by that time removed to the old residence of the Earl of Sandwich (see p. 233), makes the identification of the property with the site of Lady Villiers' house certain. (fn. n38) It thus appears that the latter had been pulled down in 1690–1 and the site occupied by six houses, and that these in turn were purchased in 1746 and demolished in connection with the formation of Parliament Street.


  • n1. This is also evident from the fact that the Abbot of Westminster on 9th June, 1531, actually granted a new lease of the property to John Benet for a term of 40 years. (P.R.O., Exch. T.R., Ancient Deeds, A. 1551.)
  • n2. P.R.O., C. 66/679, m. 8.
  • n3. John Benet, the abbot's lessee, describes the property as "the mancion place wt Solarse, chambers, etc., a brewhowse wt the howses thereto belongyng, a barne, stabulls, a grete yarde abuttyng agaynste the Temys … wiche all the premissis onne Alyn Restall holdythe of me ye sayd John Benet … Item I have more in the lane nexte unto ye sayd Lamme ix Small tenements." (P.R.O., Rentals and Surveys, Portf. 21/21.)
  • n4. "To Aleyn Rastarde … as welle in recompence for his wharf occupied to the Kinges use as in leying of stone, chaulke … as also for hurtes doon upon the said wharf and certeyne his houses nygh adioyning to the same"; "two boultis with two forelockis provided for the polye of a gynne standing upon lambe wharfe for the receipte of stuffe there." (P.R.O., E. 36/251, pp. 590, 169.)
  • n5. "Braswoorke vizt for a brasse foote for the fountayne in the orchard … a libard of bras for the same … twoe new quills for his head … mending twos olde feete and the Lyon and the washer in the bowle of the same fountayne." (P.R.O., E. 351/3255.) This fountain is apparently the one which was provided in 1570: "for making of a fountayne in the Orchard at Westm' … by a privay Seale dated the fifte of August, 1570." (B.M. Egerton MS. 2723, fo. 5.)
  • n6. "Takeing downe as much of the old wall of the orchard as was loose towards the Thames, newe Joynting and setting the same" (1629–30). (P.R.O., E. 351/3263.)
  • n7. P.R.O., E. 317, Midd., No. 48.
  • n8. "South" and "east" should be "east" and "north."
  • n9. "Whereas George Glasbrooke is sworne & admitted Dorekeeper in his Mats Bowleing Greene formerly ye Orchard at Whitehall," etc. (P.R.O., L.C. 5/140, p. 20.) It is possible that a reference to the alteration is contained in the following enigmatical item, dated October, 1660—"A bowlinge beare [?] was made att the lower end of the longe Stone Gallery in Whitehall." (B.M. Add. MS. 10116.)
  • n10. "For makeing … a Pallizado Pall round about the Bowling greene." (P.R.O., A.O. 1/2434/87–1662–3.)
  • n11. "Charges in takeing Downe the tarras Walke betwixt the Privie garden and the bowling greene at Whitehall, and Encloseing part of ye said bowleing greene with a brickewall for ye makeing of a fountaine there, begunn in August 1673 … digging a trench in ye ground for ye makeing of a bricke shore from ye thames to the fountayne" (P.R.O., Works, 5/24); "laying of Pipes from Chareing cross to the Fountaine in the Bowling Greene at Whitehall to bring the new river water thither." (Ibid., 5/25.)
  • n12. P.R.O., L.C. 5/143, p. 397. See also a reference in the same year to "putting in a Cant stepp at ye staires goeing from that wch was ye Bouleing greene by the Duches of Richmonds Lodg' next ye Thames." (P.R.O., Works, 5/32.)
  • n13. "Mending the plate lock of the gate going out of the privy garden into the fountain garden." (Ibid., 5/35, March, 1682–3.) The extension of the Privy Garden is shown in Morden and Lea's Map of 1682 and is alluded to by Delaune (Angliae Metropolis, pubd. in 1690): "… the Delicate Privy Garden was lately enlarged towards the south, with a Pond of an Oval form, supplied with Water from Hide Park, where you may see the water shot, or forced up to a great height from the surface of the pond, and by its winding fall delights the Eye, and the Ear, with its pretty murmur." As pointed out above, the water was supplied from the New River, not from Hyde Park.
  • n14. "These are to signify His Majesty's pleasure that his Grace the Duke of Richmond, the Earls of Marr and Lowdon have leave to pave one of the Gravell Walks in the Privy Garden at Whitehall for a Coachway to their Houses, and fill up the Fountain with the Rubbish of the Old Buildings, likewise to pave that part of ye Ground about the Fountain which is enclosed with a Raile, and to build a Lodge for a Porter at the Corner of the Railes." 30th October, 1714. (P.R.O., Works, 6/6, p. 27.)
  • n15. P.R.O., C. 66/925.
  • n16. P.R.O., E. 351/3236.
  • n17. There are one or two other references to "Hances House." See e.g. "To Roberte Cotton, yeoman of her Mats Warderobe of Beddes for thallowaunce of ij° officers of the Warderobe and two yeomen of the Chamber for making readie Haunces house at Westm for her Matle … mense Decembr', 1585." (Accounts of Treasurer of the Chamber. P.R.O., E. 351/542.) That Hunter used Hans as a surname is apparent from the will of his widow, who described herself as Joan Hunter "alias Hans" and refers to her husband as John Hunter "alias Hans." (Westminster Wills, Elsam, 211.)
  • n18. John Stewart, son of the Earl of Orkney, was created Lord Kinclaven in 1607, and Earl of Carrick in 1628.
  • n19. His occupation of the house presumably dates from before 1596, for in that year he was created Earl of Nottingham.
  • n20. Henry Rich, created Earl of Holland in 1624, had apartments at Whitehall as early as 1627 ("new matting of 4 roomes in the E. of Holland his Lodgeinge in Whitehall"— P.R.O., L.C. 5/132, p. 2, March, 1627–8), but they were in the main portion of the Palace ("the dore in my lord of Hollands lodgeings that leads into the Privy Galleryes")—Ibid., p. 221. The house by the orchard had evidently been assigned to him by the Parliament, whose side he was, for the time, adopting.
  • n21. P.R.O., E. 317, Midd., 48.
  • n22. Edward Whalley, regicide, grandson of Sir Henry Cromwell, and therefore first cousin to both Oliver Cromwell and John Hampden. He served with distinction in the Civil War. On the Restoration he escaped to the American Colonies, and died in concealment about 1675.
  • n23. Second son of Sir Thomas Palmer "the Travailer." He was Master of the Household to Charles I.
  • n24. P.C.C., 453, Ruthen.
  • n25. Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. A personal friend of Charles I. He was an amateur artist of some merit, and assisted the King in the formation of his picture collection.
  • n26. P.C.C., 129, Wotton.
  • n27. Sandwich's lodgings, which included the King Street Gate and premises on both sides of the road, will be dealt with in the next volume.
  • n28. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • n29. The Privy Garden was very convenient for Lady Castlemaine's domestic purposes. Pepys records under date of 21st May, 1662: "In the Privy Garden saw the finest smocks and linnen petticoats of my Lady Castlemaine's, laced with rich lace at the bottom, that ever I saw; and did me good to look upon them."
  • n30. P.R.O., Works, 5/4.
  • n31. Barbara, widow of Sir Edward Villiers, who died in 1626, and grandmother of the Countess of Castlemaine. She is shown in occupation of the house in the plan of 1670.
  • n32. "Dr. B. Worsley, secretary to the new Council for Trade and Plantations [informs]… the secretary of the late Council… that their Lordships meet at ten every Wednesday and Friday morning at Lady Villiers' House, King Street, near Whitehall." (Cal. of S.P., Dom., 1672–3, pp. 213–14.)
  • n33. P.R.O., L.R. 1/62, f. 53.
  • n34. Two of Lady Castlemaine's uncles. Edward (afterwards Sir Edward) Villiers was ancestor of the Earls of Jersey.
  • n35. Presumably the brother of William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker, the friend of Pepys. Henry, who had a particularly unsavoury reputation, succeeded to the title in 1684 and died in 1688.
  • n36. P.R.O., C. 54/4929.
  • n37. Ibid., 5740.
  • n38. The dimensions are not quite the same—86 and 45 feet against 82 and 40 feet—but a striking confirmation occurs in the fact that Bridges was charged with a fee farm rent of 10s. in respect of the property, which is the amount reserved in the grant to Grandison and Villiers.