No. 2, Great Queen Street

Survey of London: Volume 5, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1914.

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'No. 2, Great Queen Street', in Survey of London: Volume 5, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt II, (London, 1914) pp. 38-39. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section


General description and date of structure.

The eastern portion of Great Queen Street, comprising the sites of Nos. 1 to 6 on the north side, and of all the houses above No. 69 on the south side, was formed on Purse Field.

On 30th July, 1638, Newton leased to William Sandfield a portion of the ground, on which at some time subsequently, but before January, 1640, a house was built. On 29th March, 1642, the property is described (fn. 1) as a plot of ground having a breadth of 26 feet at the north end, and 25 feet at the south, and a length of 76 feet on the east side, and 81 feet on the west; "scituate at the east end of Queene Street, on the north side of it, between the highway there leading to the Kinges Gate on the east, a certen lane called Parker's Lane on the north, and the King's highway leading into Queene Street on the south." This is easily identifiable with the site of No. 1, Great Queen Street, and other property in the rear.

On 14th January, 1639–40, Newton sold to Francis Thriscrosse (fn. 2) a plot of ground having a breadth of 23 feet 4 inches at the north end, and 22½ feet at the south, and a length of 81 feet on the east side and 86 feet on the west, "and abutteth east upon a peece of ground and the house thereon built let to William Sandfeild," Parker's Lane on the north, and the King's highway on the south. On this plot a house had been erected, representing No. 2, Great Queen Street. Similiarly it may be proved that the site of No. 3 had been built on by Richard Webb by August, 1639. (fn. 3) As regards Nos. 4 to 6, no sufficiently early deeds have come to light to enable the date of building to be ascertained, but it is probable that all were built about the same time.

It would seem that these six houses were superior to most of the others erected on the north side of the street. Such is certainly the impression derived from Hollar's Plan of 1658 (Plate 3). Moreover, Bagford, after alluding to the stateliness and magnificence of the houses on the south side, goes on to say: "At ye other side of ye way, near Little Queen Street, they began after ye same manner with flower de lices on ye wall, but went no further." (fn. 4)

The original buildings on the site of Nos. 1 and 2 were pulled down about 1735, for a deed dated 7th February in that year, referring to the site, describes it as "all that toft, peice or parcell of ground, scituate in Great Queen Street on the north side of the same street, and extending itself from Queen Street to Parker's Lane, together with the old ruinous messuage or tenement and the coach house, stable, and other erections and buildings thereupon standing. (fn. 5) Moreover in the sewer ratebook for 1734, there is a note against the house: "Pulled down and rebuilt."

The second building on the site of No. 2 was demolished in connection with the formation of Kingsway. The front had little architectural merit, judging from a water colour drawing by T. H. Shepherd, dated 1851, now in the Crace Collection. (fn. 6)

The interior had a notable mahogany staircase (Plates 12 and 13) of six flights, the four lower ones having carved brackets, while the upper part had straight strings more simply treated.

The beautiful balustrade and decorative details were preserved by the London County Council when the house was pulled down, and have been lent to and exhibited at the London Museum.

Biographical notes.

The indications as to who exactly were the occupants of particular houses on the north side of Great Queen Street during the 17th century are not always very clear, and the following list of persons occupying No. 2 is perhaps occasionally during the period named open to suspicion:—

1646. Sir M. Lumley (fn. 7) (?)
Before 1664 to after 1675. Matthew Hewitt.
Before 1683 to 1700. Henry Moreland.
1700 to after 1720. Samuel Knapton.
1727. Susan Knapton
1734–75. John Crofts.
1784– Poyser Roper.

Sir Martin Lumley, of Bardfield Magna, Essex, son of Sir Martin Lumley or Lomley, Lord Mayor of London (1623–4), was born about 1596. He was sheriff of Essex, 1639–40; and was M.P. for that county in the Long Parliament, from February 1641, until secluded in December, 1648. He was created a Baronet on 8th January, 1641, being knighted at Whitehall on the day following. He died about 1651. (fn. 8)

In the Council's collection are:—

(fn. 9) Mahogany staircase, ground to second floor, and second to third floor (measured drawing).
(fn. 9) Mahogany staircase, do., do., details (measured drawing).


  • 1. Close Roll,. 18 Chas. I. (3295).—Indenture between W. Newton and Francis Thriscrosse.
  • 2. Close Roll, 15 Chas. I. (3192).
  • 3. Close Roll, 15 Chas I. (3190)—Indenture between W. Newton and Ric. Webb, Nicholas Redditt and Jeremy Deane.
  • 4. Harl. MS., 5,900, fol. 57b.
  • 5. Indenture, dated 7th February, 1734–5, between John Bigg and Peter Guerin. (Middlesex Registry Memorials, 1734, V., 85.)
  • 6. British Museum, Crace Colln., Portfolio 28, No. 53.
  • 7. It is possible that in 1646 Sir Martin Lumley was resident at this house, but not certain. In the Subsidy Roll for that year his name is the first on the north side of the street, and precedes Sir Thos. Barrington's, who, it may be proved, lived at No. 3. It may be, therefore, that Lumley was the occupant of No. I.
  • 8. G. E. C[ockayne's] Baronetage, II., p. 80.
  • 9. Reproduced here.