The passage from Charing Cross to Spring Gardens

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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, 'The passage from Charing Cross to Spring Gardens', in Survey of London: Volume 16, St Martin-in-The-Fields I: Charing Cross, (London, 1935) pp. 111-113. British History Online [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "The passage from Charing Cross to Spring Gardens", in Survey of London: Volume 16, St Martin-in-The-Fields I: Charing Cross, (London, 1935) 111-113. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024,

. "The passage from Charing Cross to Spring Gardens", Survey of London: Volume 16, St Martin-in-The-Fields I: Charing Cross, (London, 1935). 111-113. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024,


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.


  • n1. P.R.O., E. 315/219, fo. 30.
  • n2. P.R.O., C. 66/1115, m. 28.
  • n3. The above statements are taken from the sale by Mathewe to Greene. The will of Colbrand, "carpenter to our … soverainge lady" (Westminster Wills, 347, Elsam, dated 27th July, 1593, proved 11th October, 1595), mentions several properties in St. Martin's, but none can be identified with that in question.
  • n4. P.R.O., L.R. 1/57, ff. 274–5.
  • n5. P.R.O., L.R. 1/58, fo. 41.
  • n6. P.R.O., C. 66/2574, No. 2.
  • n7. P.R.O., L.R. 1/58, fo. 202.
  • n8. Green's will is dated 31st December, 1634, and was proved on 2nd November, 1635. (P.C.C., 112 Sadler.)
  • n9. P.R.O., C. 66/2882, No. 47 (licence for alienation).
  • n10. P.R.O., L.R. 1/60, fo. 373.
  • n11. Little is known of Sir Jerome Bowes' early life. In 1577 he was banished from court for slander against the Earl of Leicester, and in the course of his retirement translated from the French an Apology for the Christians of France … of the Reformed Religion. In 1583 he was appointed ambassador to Russia, and many stories were afterwards current as to the dignity with which he upheld the honour of the Queen at the Muscovite Court (see, e.g., Pepys' Diary, 5th September, 1662). In 1592 he obtained a special licence to make drinking glasses in England and Ireland for 12 years, and from the fact that in his will (P.C.C., 38, Cope), dated 25th March, 1609, and proved 3rd April, 1616, he left to his nephew, John Bowes, "the moietie … of the proffitt of my licence … for the makinge and transportinge of Vennis Glasses," it appears to have been extended. He died in 1616.
  • n12. See A true report of the horrible Murther which was committed in the house of Sir Ierome Bowes, Knight (1607). The spoil is detailed in the Middx. Sessions Records, II, pp. 26–7, as "four golde buttons of the fashion of acorns worth six pounds, three golde buttons of a flutt rownde fashion worth four pounds and ten shillings, a canvas bag worth two-pence and twenty pounds of numbered money being therein, another canvas bag worth twopence and twenty pounds in numbered moneys being in the same bag, another canvas bag with ten pounds in numbered moneys being in the same bag, and a leather satchell worth twopence and fifty pounds in numbered moneys being in the same satchell." A sum of about £42, found on the criminals, some of which was derived from the sale of the buttons, was directed by the Privy Council to be given up to Sir Jerome (Hist. MSS. Commission, App. to 8th Report, 381a). The buttons were probably similar to the 40 "golde buttons which I usually weare uppon a velvett jerkine," and which Bowes left to his two nephews, Sir Percival Hart and Sir Peter Manwood.
  • n13. Probably the poet of that name, who became gentleman of the bedchamber to Prince Henry and was afterwards his groom of the stole and gentleman of the robes. He died in 1629.
  • n14. "A native of Lincolnshire, and a doctor of medicine of Oxford of 6th May, 1645, was admitted an Extra-Licentiate of the College, 3rd December, 1650." (Munk's Roll of the Royal College of Physicians, I, p. 255.)
  • n15. Son of Sir William Wentworth, Bt., and younger brother of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford.
  • n16. "Thence [from Hyde Park] back, putting in at Dr. Whore's, where I saw his lady, a very fine woman" (Pepys' Diary, 19th March, 1664–5). The Hearth Tax Rolls for 1666 and 1674 show "Mr. Hower" and "Hores" respectively assessed at 11 hearths.
  • n17. Cal. of S. P. Dom., 1673, p. 519. "Certificate of Dr. Christopher Wren concerning widow Hoare's building adjoining the old Spring Garden, which he conceives is of no prejudice to his Majesty, though on the foundation of his boundary wall." (Ibid., p. 515–27th August, 1673.)
  • n18. Lysons' Environs of London, IV, p. 189 (1796 edn.).
  • n19. Middx. Register, 1728, V, 364.
  • n20. Lord Power is shown in the ratebooks as occupying the house on the Spring Garden side, and in the book for 1714 is marked "gon." This was John, 9th Lord Power and Curraghmore, attainted as a Jacobite, who died in Paris in 1725.
  • n21. Southwell's will (Middx. Register, 1731, V, 474) mentions his share of the soil whereon stood the houses purchased in the name of William Abdy.
  • n22. Indenture dated 2nd May, 1739, between George Dixon and others concerning the property on the site of the tenements of Hill and Abevion. (Ibid., 1739, III, 173.)