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dispersed in the works of writers of different complexions and parties, that no dispassionate account has been given of it; nor has any been compressed into an uninterrupted narrative. In this attempt I foresee that I shall be obliged to combat some received opinions; but such must always be the case where historians have implicitly copied each other; for, when traditions have passed muster for three centuries, their verity is seldom afterwards brought to the test."

Having given a history of the life of the great duke of Somerset, who was beheaded January 22, 1552-3,

more than a doubtful act of felony, and which the king's ministers would not allow him to pardon," Mr. Pegge well observes

"After the interest you have taken in Old London, including Westminster, I hope I may be excused in addressing to you an account of a building now no more; but which embraces à larger portion of history than ever fell to the lot of" on a charge which amounted to no a private edifice, when taken with all its concomitant circumstances I mean Somerset-House; which, having been founded in the middle of the sixteenth century, and begun to be demolished at the latter end of the eighteenth, is now become within the pale of antiquity. That alone, however, is not what places it within my cognizance; for in a very few years after its foundation it became the property of the crown, and has ever since carried with it such royal appendages as may, with no impropriety, bring it under the general title of this work. All that has been hitherto said of it is so very much

"This fatal conclusion of the duke's life, immaterial as it may ap pear to us at this distance of time, had an excellent and invaluable effect on our criminal laws, from which every unfortunate culprit, at this day, receives a very essential benefit. The evidence against the duke consisted merely of written depositions, unsupported by oral testimony, and was withal so weak, that a law was made, in consequence of it, which enacted that witnesses, in all cases,


should hereafter be brought face to face with the prisoner, and examined in his presence."

An inquiry here follows, as to the buildings that were demolished, to make room for the intended edifice. "Those which occupied the space on which Somerset House originally stood, were, principally, 1. an inn of chancery, promiscuously called Strand Inn and Chester's Inn; 2. the episcopal house of the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, then also known by the name of the Bishop of Chester's inn; 3. the episcopal house of the bishop of Landafft; 4. the episcopal house of the bishop of Worcester; 5. the church of St. Mary-le-Strand, and its cemetry; 6. the Strand bridge."

Mr. Pegge gives a particular account of these places respectively; and then proceeds

"What is now a street, called The Strand, was at that time no more than a highway, leading from London westward to the village of Charing, where stood queen Eleanor's cross, and a few houses; from whence, in a right line, you was led on, through open fields, to St. James's house, lately an hospital, but then a royal house. This high-way, being the property of the crown, as such was easily modified to accommodate the king's uncle, and consequently there was little difficulty or hardship upon the subject in the change it underwent by levelling;

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and on the whole, perhaps, the road was rendered better by the change. By Stowe's account there was not any current of water under this bridge; "for," says he, in the autograph remaining in the British Museum, Then had ye, in the high street, a fair bridge, called Strandbridge, and under it a lane, which went down to the Strand, so called from being a basque of the river of Thames §." But here Stowe speaks of it as if it were in his own time, and not with reference to the reign of king Edward VI. or to any prior period. Mr. Maitland, on the other hand, tells us, that there was a rivulet under the bridge; "for," says he, "a little to the east of the present Catherine Street, and in the High Street, was a handsome bridge, denominated, from its situation, Strand Bridge, through which ran a small water-course from the fields, which, gliding along a lane below, had its influx to the Thames near SomersetStairs."-In this account I should incline to believe Mr. Maitland; because lanes do not often become rivers, though the beds of rivers, by a diversion of their courses, may become lanes."

Our author now enters upon the regular history of Somerset House, as follows:

"Very little can be said of this house in the reign of queen Mary; for, though it had become the property of the crown upon the duke of Somerset's

*“Maitland confounds Chester Inn and Strand Iun; "which, from its neighbourhood to the bishop of Chester's house and the Strand, was indifferently denominated Chester's, or Strand Inn," p. 739.

+"Almost contiguous to this inn, on the west, was the city mansion of the bishop of Landaff." Maitland, History of London, edit. 1759, p. 739.

"The new church is in the patronage of the bishop of Worcester, the west end being opposite to the place where the old church stood.

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Somerset's attainder, yet had king Edward given it to his sister the princess Elizabeth; and it was during this reign her independent residence when she came to visit the court. Thus, on the queen's accession, Strype says, that "the lady Elizabeth came out of the country to be ready to congratulate her sister, and now her sovereign; riding through London, along Fleet-street, and so to the duke of Somerset's Place,which now belonged to her t." In the progresses made by Elizabeth while princess, I find it styled "Her Place called Somerset Place, beyond Strand Bridge 1."

Queen Elizabeth, on her way to Westminster, at her accession to the crown, resided nearly three weeks at Somerset House.

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'Queen Elizabeth having two palaces more commodious for her establishment as a sovereign (Whitehall and St. James's), Somerset House still remained a secondary mansion for occasional purposes, and a momentary residence for the queen herself. It operated very well for the reception of the great personages of a certain rank and description; and the queen was not wanting in accommodating some of her own subjects, who were nearly allied to the royal family, with the use of it."

"In the second year of this reign we find, that when the duke of Holstein, nephew to Frederick II. king of Denmark, came hither to treat of a marriage between the queen and

"See the Progresses." "Memorials III. p. 14."

his uncle, he was lodged in Somerva Places. Again, in the year 157 Francis duke of Montmorency, mashal of France, visited England with the similar purpose of negociating a marriage between the queen and the duke of Alençon, the youngest brother of Charles the IXth, king of France. The marshal continued here nearly a month, where he was entertained at the queen's expence, had an escort of thirty of the queen's yeomen of the guard to attend him, and was lodged in Somerset Place¶. The count palatine of the Rhine, an ally of the queen, came over hither upon political business, and was ho nourably received. His stay was from the 22d of January to the 14th of February; when, excepting a few days on his arrival, in which he was entertained by Sir Thomas Gresham, in Bishopsgate-street, he was lodged in Somerset House**. Again: the queen herself is found here for a moment in person, in the year 1585, when she went in state to St. Paul's church, to return thanks for the defeat of the Spanish Armada. If the procession did not begin from hence, it at least terminated here; for my authority says, that the queen "returned in the same order by torchlight to Somerset House††.”

In Norden's MS. copy of hs "Speculum Britanniæ," is the following passage, omitted in the copy of that valuable work printed e 1593:

"Somerset Howse, scytuate in the


"The term beyond has reference to Hatfield; for the house was a little westward of the bridge, as appears by a Plan of London, about 1558, in the Progresses."

"Strype's Annals, vol. I. p. 195."

"Sully's Memoirs."

"Progresses, from the Lambeth MSS."

**"Ibid. from Stowe's Chronicle."

"Ibid. in the Preface, p. xxi.”

rond, nere the Thamise, buylded y the late duke of Somerset, not lly finished, yet a most stately Duse, and of great receyte; havinge iefe prospecte towardes the sowthe, nd the sweete river of the Thamise, Hereth manie pleasinge delightes. The right honorable lord Huusedon, ord chamberlayne to her majestie, ath, under her majestie, the use ereof."

Lord Hunsdon died here, in 1596. "In the reign of King James I. he house before us became, ipso faco, a royal residence on the part of he queen, and even changed its ame; and it appears that her maesty repaired it, at her own charge, or the reception of her brother, Christian IV. king of Denmark, who visited England A. D. 1606; from which time, it is said, that the queen affected to call it Denmark House. Here at least her majesty kept her court, which, was celebrated for its gaiety, whereof the king occasionally partook. Her courtiers often appeared in masquerade, not a little favourable to the intriguing spirit of the time; and the queen herself does not seem to have escaped all censure†. The visit of the king of Denmark was very flattering to king James, who was glad of the company of a stranger, to whom he might display his wit and magnificence; which last was carried to so great an excess, that, on this occasion, added to another visit, which immediately followed from the prince de Vaudemont, son of the duke of Lorrain, his majesty consumed nearly the whole of a subsidy of four hundred fifty-three thou

"Harleian MS. No. 570.'

sand pounds, lately granted by the parliament for the necessary and urgent demands of his household. At this time the king maintained three distinct courts, at an incredible expence: his own, at Whitehall; the queen's, at Somerset House; and prince Henry's, at St. James's; all upon large establishments §. His Danish majesty liked his reception so well, in the year 1606, that, unsolicited and unexpectedly, he repeated his visit A. D. 1614, when king James lavished away about fifty thousand pounds in excessive feasting, &c. which he had obtained from his subjects under the specious title of a benevolence. On both these occasions the two monarchs were guilty of great intemperance; the Dane being much addicted to drunkenness, to which James had not the least objection. To this, Christian added several indelicate traits of manners to the ladies about the court, and particularly in his indecent behaviour to the wife of the high admiral, the countess of Nottingham, who resented it in a very spirited manner to the Danish ambassador, in a letter which is preserved in Dr. Harris's Life of King James, p. 67. Such of these scenes as are on record, lay, for the most part at Theobald's, though the same writers who mention then leave sufficient insinuations to suspect that some of them were repeated at Somerset House. Dr. Fuller tells us, that, on the first visit of the king of Denmark, A. D. 1606, it was ordered, by king James himself, that Somerset House should be thenceforth called Denmark Honse, in honour of

"Whitelock's Memorials. Arthur Wilson, page 33." "Rapin."

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$" Acta Regia, p. 511, folio.

"Rapin, who says the money granted was 52,9001."


his brother-in-law; and goes so far as to add, that the name was confirmed by the king's proclamation. On the other hand, Arthur Wilson, though he seldom, if ever, gives this house any other title than The Queen's Palace in the Strand, says, under the year 1610, that her majesty affected to call her palace Denmark House, in compliment to her brother; but that this appellation obtained chiefly by courtesy among the queen's domestics and dependents +. As to the point of time, however, when this house changed its name, I rather chuse to rely on the continuators of Stowe's Survey of London, as historians professedly topographical; who, having told us that the queen of king James made this house her usual residence, add, that, "On Shrove Tuesday, 1616, she feasted the king here, at which time the king changed the name of this house, appointing it to be thenceforth called Denmark House." This, then, seems to carry with it the most exact date of the confirmation of the new title given to Somerset House. It was a moment for the queen to second her wishes; and her majesty was sufficiently acquainted with the king's uxorious disposition to distinguish and improve the mollia tempora fandi. If this privilege was any great indulgence to the queen, she did not live long to enjoy it; for, on the next mention of it, we find that her majesty expired at Hampton Court, 1618, when her remains were conveyed to Denmark House, previously to their interment in Westminster Abbey."

"This house was much repaired,

beautified, and improved, by Dew buildings and enlargements, by this queen, who also brought hither water from Hyde Park in pipes §. To the same period we may therefore refer the erection of those apartments towards the river, which were bet over a colonnade, and those to the west of them, which are allowed to have been planned and executed from the designs, and under the eve of Inigo Jones. As to the chapel, which I conceive to have been the work of the same master, I take it to have been posterior to the former additions. On the accession of king James, it may well be supposed, from what we have said, that this house was to be considered (if not ipso facto settled) as a dotarial palace in case Anne of Denmark had survived the king; a circumstance which might induce the queen thus to enlarge and embellish it. Although her design was not seemingly completed, yet it is probable, had she outlived the king, she might have been induced to have made the east end of the front to the river to correspond with the west end, leaving the principal state apartments in the centre between them. From the end of this reign, however, it has always been reputed as peculiarly appropri ated even to queens consort, and, as soon as occasion rendered it neces sary, became a jointure-house, either by marriage treaties or by act of parliament; and such it was intended contingently to have been when its fate was changed early in the present reign. King James died at Theobald's, 1625; whence the royal

"Church History, book VII. p. 410." +"History of King James, fol. p. 53." * "Stowe's Survey, Mr. Strype's edition, 1720." "Ibid. book IV. p. 105."

"Walpole's Anecdotes, II. 170. 4to."


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