Heddon Street Area

Survey of London: Volumes 31 and 32, St James Westminster, Part 2. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1963.

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'Heddon Street Area', in Survey of London: Volumes 31 and 32, St James Westminster, Part 2, (London, 1963) pp. 339-341. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols31-2/pt2/pp339-341 [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


Heddon Street Area: Mulghay Close

On the plan of 1585 (Plate 1) this area is shown as divided into two parts. That on the west belonged to the Abbot and Convent of Abingdon until its surrender to the Crown in 1536 and measured 1 acre 2 roods 36 perches; that on the east is shown on the plan as the Queen's land and in the tenure of one Cockshott, presumably Richard Cockshott. (fn. 2) Across both parts is written 'At the Gravell pitts'. In 1590 Thomas Poultney acquired the lease of all the former Abingdon lands, and he or his descendants presumably also acquired the lease of the eastern part, for by 1651 they were both enclosed as one field within the Pulteney lands, and were described as a piece of pasture land containing 5 acres, commonly called Mulguly Close. (fn. 3) The origin of this name is not known and in later documents it is given as Mulghay. An alternative name which first appears about the 1660's was Dog Field and on at least two occasions Mulghay Close and the fields to the north were collectively referred to as Dog Fields (fn. 4) —hence, perhaps, the attribution of the name Dog Lane to the way leading from Piccadilly to Tyburn Road on the line of the present Warwick Street and the northern part of the former Swallow Street. (fn. 3)

As part of the Pulteney estate Mulghay Close was included in the reversionary lease granted to Sir William Pulteney in 1661 by Queen Henrietta Maria, and in the Crown lease of 1668; the effect of these grants was to extend his interest to 1722/3. (fn. 5)

After the lease of 1668 Mulghay Close was laid out for building and the existing roads on the north, east and south sides (Beak, Warwick and Glasshouse Streets) were linked by two cross streets intended to be 26 feet wide and at right angles to each other, Leicester Street from east to west and Swallow Street from north to south (fig. 58). This layout divided the close into four rectangles. In 1668 Sir William Pulteney granted fifty-year leases of the two northern blocks to Ralph Wayne and of the two southern to John Harrison, both described as of St. Martin's in the Fields, gentlemen. (fn. 6)

Not much is known about this initial development of Mulghay Close but the ground was, apparently, let out in plots by Wayne and Harrison to building tradesmen, one of whom was Henry Wells, plasterer. (fn. 7) The mean character of the houses and the quality of the workmanship was no doubt a contributory factor in provoking Sir Christopher Wren's petition to the King which resulted in the proclamation against new buildings in April 1671 (see page 7).

Figure 58:

Mulghay Close, layout plan. Based on Horwood's map of 1792, with Regent Street superimposed

In December 1672 Harrison obtained a retrospective licence from the King permitting him to continue building in Dog Field and in the adjoining field westward (Crabtree Field). The reason given for the granting of the licence was that the foundations of the buildings had been laid by Harrison before the date of the King's proclamation and that he had satisfied both Wren and Lord Burlington, whose mansion was newly built nearby, that the buildings would not 'be of annoyance to us or others'. He covenanted not to erect any more buildings and to finish those already begun in brick and stone, with party walls, and sufficient scantlings, etc.; noisome trades were forbidden. (fn. 8)

Harrison and his son William mortgaged their interest in their half of Mulghay Close in 1673 and by 1680 the cost of redemption was estimated at £2000. (fn. 9) In contrast, the total rent payable to the Pulteney estate for the whole field during the terms of Harrison's and Wayne's leases was only £15 10s. (fn. 10) The buildings erected during Harrison's and Wayne's tenancies stood for about fifty years, after which they were swept away by the general redevelopment which affected the whole of the Pulteney estate.

Sir William Pulteney died in 1691, and in March 1692/3 his trustees sold their leasehold interest in the south-west quarter of Mulghay Close to Nicholas Baxter of St. James's, gentleman. (fn. 11) After the passing of the Act of 1721 which enabled the Crown to grant the freehold of part of the estate to Sir William's grandson, William Pulteney, the remaining three quarters of the close were granted to the latter in fee on 16 February 1721/2. (fn. 12) The freehold of the southwest quarter still belongs to the Crown, and its eastern frontage to Swallow Street is now marked by the fronts of the buildings on the west side of Regent Street between Vigo and Heddon Streets.

Rebuilding quickly followed the grant in fee. Beginning in February 1721/2 Pulteney entered into contracts to grant building leases, most of which were for sixty-one years. These agreements were substantially the same as those for other parts of the estate which were being redeveloped about this time (see page 9), and stipulated that the houses to be built should be of the second rate as described in the Act of 1667 for the rebuilding of the City of London. The agreements for Mulghay Close differed from those for other parts of the estate, however, in requiring the houses to be built 'in an uniforme manner as shall be directed by the Surveyor of the said William Pulteney … to answer a Pattern for uniformity of the houses intended to be built on the ground of the said William Pulteney in the said Streets [Beak, Warwick, Glasshouse, Leicester, Swallow and Heddon Streets] and with Square roofs or Cielings in the Garrets or uppermost Stories in the Front Houses agreed to be built in Warwick Street'. Another clause only found in building agreements for Mulghay Close provided for rubbish to be cleared away from the streets during building, within six days of notification by Pulteney's surveyor, on pain of a fine of 10s. a load. (fn. 13)

Builders who entered into agreements with Pulteney, and the number of leases eventually granted to them, were: William Arnott, carpenter (3), William Carpenter, bricklayer (1), Richard Cobbett, glazier (6), and Edward Collens, carpenter (3), all of St. James's; Morris Hoff of St. Anne's, carpenter (4); William Horton of St. James's, joiner (2); Joell Johnson of St. Marylebone, bricklayer (25); Francis Martin, coachpainter (6), Richard Nicholson, carpenter (11), Samuel Phillips, carpenter (3), Henry Ryly, carpenter (2), and Henry Stenton, bricklayer (5), all of St. James's; Richard Thornton of St. Marylebone, bricklayer (2); Elizabeth Wallrond, widow, and Frederick Wallrond, timber merchant, both of St. James's (3). Thornton and Ryly were also granted one lease jointly.

Other lessees were: John Bates (4); Ann Carpenter (1); Mary Carpenter (1); Thomas Chapman (3); John Falkner (2); William Forest (1); Thomas Gamon (1); Thomas and Eleanor Goosetree (1); Martha Griggson (1); Henry Harrison (1); Benjamin Hilliard (Hillyard) (3); Richard Hudson (1); William Insley (1); William Jackling (2); Charles Kilminster (5); Thomas Knight (2); Robert Loving (1); William Ludby (2); Martha Mawle (2); Thomas Miller (1); Thomas Rich (2); Henry Roger (1); Samuel Skelton (2); Robert Smith (1); John Till (1); Arthur Ward (1); Benjamin Whetton (4); George Whetton (2); and Francis Whitmarsh (2). (fn. 14)

The south-eastern quarter was the first to be rebuilt, all the leases being granted between April 1722 and March 1723. The house plots were not large and much of the back land in the centre of the rectangle was given over to four yards opening out of four passages—one in each street. (fn. 15) In the north-east quarter, where there was a mixture of small and medium sized houses, all the leases were granted between May 1723 and December 1724 (except one to Henry Roger in 1728). Only two yards were laid out in this rectangle, one approached by a passage in Swallow Street, the other by a passage in Leicester Street. (fn. 16) The building agreements for the Warwick Street front specifically prohibited the making of any gateway or passage for carts, possibly because of the heavy through traffic there. (fn. 13)

The north-west quarter of Mulghay Close, which was leased in 1725–6, was laid out in a T-shape, with Heddon Court crossing the north end of Heddon Street (fn. 1) and a row of houses on the west side of Swallow Street which backed on to the houses on the east side of Heddon Street. (fn. 17) The latter are the only houses of which a representation survives (Plate 127a), but they were, presumably, typical of the rest.

The eighteenth-century redevelopment was swept away in its turn by the making of Regent Street. S. P. Cockerell, the then surveyor of the Pulteney estate (which had by this time devolved upon the Sutton family), contracted in 1819 with the Commissioners for the new street for the sale of many of the houses owned by the estate in this neighbourhood. The sale was made in 1823 for over £58,000. (fn. 18) None of the eighteenth-century houses survive, but the line of Leicester Street, renamed Heddon Street and Regent Place, is still discernible. Heddon Court has been renamed as part of Heddon Street.

Angel and Crown Public House, Warwick Street

There has been a public house on this site since at least 1722/3, when Richard Nicholson of St. James's, joiner, granted to William Broadmead of the same, victualler, a lease of a newly erected messuage here, which was to be known as the Harp and Crown. (fn. 19) It was described for many years as the Angel, but by c. 1800 it had become known as the Angel and Crown. (fn. 20) The present building was erected in 1877 to the design of Henry R. Cotton. (fn. 21)

Glasshouse Street Chapel


In 1687–8 a French protestant church was established in Glasshouse Street; it is said to have been on the north side near the corner with Savile Row. It was known both as L'Eglise de Glasshouse Street and L'Eglise de Piccadilly but in 1693 moved to Orange Street and there became known as L'Eglise de Leicester Fields.

The building in Glasshouse Street remained empty until about 1696, when it was again used as a 'meeting house', probably by a congregation of Scottish Presbyterians. In 1710 the latter moved to a building formerly occupied by the French congregation in Swallow Street. The Glasshouse Street building was then taken by a group of Baptists who remained there until about c.1743. There is no further evidence as to its use as a place of worship and some fifty years later it was described as having long since ceased to exist. (fn. 22)


  • 1. The name Heddon is derived from the town in Yorkshire (Hedon) where William Pulteney inherited property from Henry Guy.
  • 2. Kingsford, p. 148.
  • 3. P.R.O., LR1/60, ff. 117–24.
  • 4. Ibid., C10/290/26; MPA 69.
  • 5. Ibid., C66/3099, no. 8.
  • 6. Ibid., C5/610/200; Clarke, Square & Co., abstract of the leases of the estate of Sir William Pulteney.
  • 7. P.R.O., C8/544/14.
  • 8. Ibid., C66/3140, no. 23.
  • 9. Ibid., C5/610/200.
  • 10. Ibid., CREST 6/18, pp. 199–201.
  • 11. Sutton deeds, box 1, bundle 1, 18 March 1692.
  • 12. P.R.O., LR1/283, ff. 1–8.
  • 13. Sutton deeds, box 1, bundle 3.
  • 14. Ibid., loc. cit.; Sutton deeds, 1742 Survey, ff. XXXIII, XXXV, XXXVII, XXXIX.
  • 15. Sutton deeds, 1742 Survey, ff. XXXII-XXXIII.
  • 16. Ibid., ff. XXXIV–XXXV.
  • 17. Ibid., 1742 Survey, ff. XXXVI–XXXIX.
  • 18. C.E.O., London and Middlesex deeds, 743.
  • 19. M.L.R. 1733/4/228.
  • 20. M.C.R.O., LV(W) passim.
  • 21. The Builder, 21 July 1877, p. 747.
  • 22. Procs. Hug. Soc., vol. VIII, 1905–8, George B. Beeman, Notes on the Sites and History of the French Churches in London, pp. 25–7; Pubs. Hug. Soc., vol. XXIX, 1926, Registers of the Churches of the Tabernacle, Glasshouse Street, and Leicester Fields, 1688–1783, p. IX; Walter Wilson, The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses in London, etc., 1814, vol. IV, pp. 39– 42; R.B.
  • 23. Ibid., box 3, bundle labelled 'Middlesex Freehold Title', Henry Guy's will.