Survey of London: Volume 16, St Martin-in-The-Fields I: Charing Cross. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1935.
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CHAPTER 13: SITE OF THE ORIGINAL PASSAGE FROM CHARING CROSS TO SPRING GARDENS
In the Ministers' Accounts for 1534–5 the tenement next to those of Hill and Abevion is shown to be in lease to Henry Child. A comparison of later accounts indicates that it was the same as that leased on 20th March, 1547–8, to Richard Mounten (fn. n1) for 21 years. On 30th November, 1562, William Muschampe obtained a new lease for a similar term, and on 16th July, 1547, a reversionary lease for 31 years from Michaelmas 1583 was granted to William Herle. (fn. n2) John Wells, on 8th May, 1591, obtained a further reversionary lease for 60 years from 1614, and on 9th April, 1593, sold his interest to John Colbrand, who on his death in 1595 left the property to John Mathewe. (fn. n3) On 23rd January, 1601–2, Mathewe sold his interest to Henry Green, (fn. n4) who on 16th March, 1626–7, obtained (fn. n5) a further reversionary lease for 42 years from Michaelmas, 1674. The property was included in the sale of a number of manors and lands made by the Crown to William Collins and Edward Fenn on 8th December, 1631, in perpetual fee farm, (fn. n6) and on 13th January following Sir William Russell, Collins and Fenn sold (fn. n7) their interest to Matthew Waver, who also obtained the residue of Green's estate (including the lease due to expire in 1716) on the latter's death in 1635. (fn. n8) Waver left (fn. n9) the property to Joachim Mathewes of Collier Row, Essex, who on 15th March, 1650–1, purchased (fn. n10) the fee farm rent, and was thus in possession of all the interests.
As regards the residents at these premises during the above period it is probable, but not certain, that "Mr. Hearne" (Thomas Heron) shown in the earliest ratebook (1574) and continuing, with intervals, until 1594, occupied the house. There is no doubt, however, concerning the next person to be mentioned. This was Sir Jerome Bowes, (fn. n11) who first appears in the ratebook for 1599. In 1607 the house was the scene of an incident which occasioned a great stir at the time. At noon on 20th February, 1606–7, two men, one of whom had previously been employed in the house, gained admittance, murdered one of the women servants and robbed Sir Jerome of jewels and money to a value of over £110. (fn. n12) The miscreants were caught at Chester, and were executed at Charing Cross, "over against the house wherein they had given the cause of their punishment."
On Sir Jerome's death the house was taken by Sir David Murray, (fn. n13) who is shown in occupation by the ratebooks for 1616–27. His immediate successors at the house were John Gibbons (1630–34), William Hodges (1636–39) and Dr. Adrian Medcalfe (fn. n14) (1640–50). From 1651 to 1658 Sir George Wentworth (fn. n15), and from 1659 to 1663 Lady Margaret Fleming were in occupation. The latter was succeeded by Dr. Hoare, who is shown there for 1664 to 1672, and his widow in 1673–4. (fn. n16) The latter on 31st August, 1673, received permission to rebuild her house and extend it on a piece of ground belonging to Whitehall Palace, where part of the wall stood which enclosed Spring Garden. (fn. n17)
To resume the history of the freehold. Joachim Mathewes died in 1659, (fn. n18) and his son Sir Philip in 1681. On 6th February, 1728–9, Sir Philip's widow, Anne, sold (fn. n19) to William Abdy "all those two Messuages … (heretofore one) … Scituate … near the place where the late Crosse called Chareing Crosse Heretofore Stood, and formerly in the Occupation of Sir George Wentworth, Knight, afterwds of Dame Margaret Fleming, Widow, since that of the Lord Poore (fn. n20) and George Searle … and now or late of Anne, Widow of Thomas Wright, Cook, Deceased and Elizabeth Kellite, Widow." This is the last record of these premises. At this time Edward Southwell was developing his portion of Spring Gardens, and it is probable that Abdy's purchase was made on his behalf for the purpose of forming an entrance to his property from Charing Cross. (fn. n21) The entrance was therefore probably made in 1729 or 1730, a date which is consistent with the reference to it as "a new passage leading from Charing Cross into Spring Gardens" in a deed of 1739 (fn. n22) In the view of Charing Cross reproduced in Plate 85, and made before the formation of the passage, the house is shown on the extreme left. The site is now covered by the Mall Approach.