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 10: SITE OF STANHOPE HOUSE
Stanhope House occupied the site of two tenements leased by Henry VIII to Robert Hopkyn and Roger Weston. It will be convenient to deal first with the short history of the former.
In the Ministers' Accounts for 1534–5 (fn. n1) the item following the mention of "le Whytehorse" is: "Et de iiij li de Roberto Hopkyn pro redditu alterius tenementi ad xl s. per annum solvendos," and the position of Hopkyn's tenement as the next house to the north is confirmed by a note in a document of 1540–1 (fn. n2) mentioning the receipt of 40s. from the widow of Robert Hopkyn for the rent of a certain tenement situated between the tenement called "le Whyte horse" and the tenement of Roger Weston (see below). On 29th July, 1543, Henry VIII granted (fn. n3) to Robert Hayward alias Perry the tenement at "Charyng Crosse," on the west side of the cross, lately in the tenure of Robert Hopkyn and then in the tenure of Peter Shelter, for the duration of his life, free from rent. In 1552 Hayward surrendered his patent, and on 16th September of that year received a fresh grant for the lives of himself and his wife, Elizabeth. (fn. n4) On 12th April, 1560, the Queen sold (fn. n5) to Thomas Reve and George Evelyn a large amount of property, of the value of £3,877 4s. 0½d., including the house in question, said to be then in the tenure of Robert "Heyward alias Pery" and Elizabeth his wife. Hayward died at the end of that year, (fn. n6) and his widow married successively Richard Guye (13th April, 1561) and Thomas Sandyforde (11th August, 1571). (fn. n7) It is probable that Reve and Evelyn disposed of the premises at once to Hayward, though no trace of the transaction has been found, for in 1580 is a record (fn. n8) of a transfer by Thomas "Sandyforth" and Elizabeth his wife, and Thomas "Haywarde alias Perrye" to Humphrey Foster (Forster (fn. n9) ) of a messuage and garden in the parish of St. Martin-in-theFields. As the transfer is said to be "in perpetuum" it obviously cannot refer to the grant of 1560, but must relate to the freehold interest which had been acquired by Reve and Evelyn. This is the last record that can be definitely assigned to this property. It, however, certainly came into the possession of Stanhope, for at a later time Stanhope House abutted to the south on the Dysart property (the White Horse), as Hopkyn's tenement had done, and it seems probable that the transfer "in perpetuum" of a messuage and garden in St. Martin's from Barbara "Feilde," widow, to John Stanhope for £80 in 1586 (fn. n10) relates to the house in question. (fn. n11)
The other tenement on the site of Stanhope House was in 1534–5 in the tenure of Roger Weston, who paid a rent of 30s. (fn. n12) Roger died in March, 1547–8, (fn. n13) and on the 16th of that month Andrew Weston, (fn. n14) presumably his son, received a grant of the premises, then in his tenure, for 21 years. (fn. n15) In 1563 and again in 1574 Andrew surrendered the lease, and obtained fresh grants. (fn. n16) In 1577 the Churchwardens' Accounts contain an entry relating to the "buriall in the quire of Mr Roberte Wheathill Esquire from Mr Androwe Weston's howse." (fn. n17) Andrew Weston died in January, 1588–9. (fn. n18) Joan, his widow, and William, his son, conveyed their interest in the premises to Thomas Dabridgecourt, who at some time before 4th April, 1589, assigned his estate therein to John Stanhope. On 10th April William Necton, deputy surveyor, reported that he had viewed "the saied Mesuage and Tenemente, being buylded into the streate syde, onely wth Twoo storyes from the grounde. The Backesyde thereof, being somtyme a Gardeyn, ys converted into a yerde, wherein are buylded dyvers lowe buyldinges lieke unto Sheddes, All of which buyldinges are in great decaie, which premisses John Stanhop Esquyr, who nowe hathe the Interest of the same, wilbe contente to newe buylde the saied Mesuage and tenemente Yf he may have some convenient nombre of Yeres graunted unto hym more then he nowe hathe, which will coste him at the leaste Twoo hundrethe powndes." As a result of the report Stanhope received a lease for 50 years at the old rent, no fine being exacted by reason of the condition of the premises. (fn. n19) A year later (6th May, 1590) the Queen granted the reversion of the property, as well as the annual rent, in perpetuity to Sir Francis Knollys, (fn. n20) who on 24th May sold it to Stanhope (fn. n21) for £149 10s. Stanhope (fn. n22) thus came into possession of the unencumbered freehold of the premises. The earliest mention of his name in the ratebooks in respect of this house is in 1589, a date which agrees with that of the purchase from the Westons, and is confirmed by the passage in Stanhope's will (5th October, 1620) which mentions that he had lived in the parish of St. Martin's "the space of thirty yeares." There is a record of his house being broken into in 1602. (fn. n23) He died in 1621, (fn. n24) and his will (fn. n25) contains several references to his house (fn. n26) "in the parrishe of St. Martin's," which he left to his wife. Lady Stanhope died at "Stanhope House, Charing Cross" on 7th April, 1640, (fn. n27) but it is doubtful if she had continued to live there, as her name does not occur in the ratebooks. These contain no entry in respect of the house until 1626, when the name of "Lord Stanhope" is given, and continues for many years. Charles, Lord Stanhope, (fn. n28) was, however, certainly in residence before that date, (fn. n29) and probably succeeded his father at once as occupier. The name of Lady Stanhope (fn. n30) appears in place of her husband's in the ratebooks for 1639, 1648, 1653, 1661 to 1663, and from 1665 to 1668. In the years 1669 and 1670 the Duke of Ormonde (fn. n31) is shown at the house, and from 1671 to 1675 the Duke of Albemarle. (fn. n32) The Hearth Tax Rolls for 1666 and 1674 confirm these entries, giving respectively Lady Stanhope for 22 hearths and the Duke of Albemarle for 25 hearths. Lord Stanhope died in 1675–6. (fn. n33) From 1676 to 1679 Sir Joseph Williamson was living at the house. (fn. n34) In the latter year he left, having purchased Winchester House in St. James's Square, (fn. n35) and on 27th January, 1679–80, Lady Stanhope sold to Joseph "Cragg" for £2,650 "all that Capitall messuage or mansion house commonly called Stanhope house Scituate … neere Charing Crosse." (fn. n36) "Cragg," whose name is more commonly spelt Craig, (fn. n37) pulled down the house (fn. n38) and built seven houses forming Stanhope Court. (fn. n39) Of these, four apparently were within the Court, three bordering on Spring Gardens, (fn. n40) while the remaining three had frontages to the main street. (fn. n41) The southernmost of the latter is shown by the ratebooks to have been occupied from 1682 to 1694 by James Partridge, a noted bookseller and publisher, (fn. n42) sometimes described as "stationer to Prince George of Denmark," while the northernmost seems to have been, from 1698 to 1703, in the occupation of Joseph Wild, another well-known publisher. (fn. n43) Wild's successor from 1715 to 1726 was Theophilus Thomas. The house adjoined Young Man's Coffee House (see p. 102) and it therefore seems probable that this was Tom's Coffee House, which was on one side or the other of the former. (fn. n44) On the widening of the street in the middle of the eighteenth century (see appendix) the commissioners purchased (fn. n45) from Philip Craig (son and heir of Joseph) for the sum of £2,450 four of the houses "late in the Several Occupations of Abraham Hussey, Richard Sangwine, Jane Bateman and John Brown, And also All That Way or Passage … which is between the said Four." The houses are said to abut eastwards on the street, northwards on "Ground and a House belonging to Mrs. Elizabeth Bearcroft" and southwards on "Ground and a House belonging to the … Earl of Dysart." In the list of properties recommended by the commissioners' surveyor for acquisition the house of John Brown, which, like the other three, is described as an "old brick house," is said to be "next Spring Garden." This is certainly wrong, for the plan of the property acquired (see p. 103) shows that its depth did not at any point exceed 58 feet, but Brown's house probably stood away from the street, in Stanhope Court. The land which was not utilised was sold back (fn. n46) to Craig for £1,465 5s., on condition that he should erect on the ground two or more good and substantial brick houses, the fronts of which next the street should be built in conformity with an elevation signed by the commissioners' surveyor. According to one statement, Craig built four new houses facing the street (fn. n47), but the ratebooks, supported by a deed (fn. n48) of 1770, mention only three, which afterwards became Nos.46 to 48, Charing Cross. The site of No. 46 is now occupied by the office of the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company, and that of Nos. 47–8 by the southern portion of the premises of Drummond's Bank.