Palaces of London

The Palaces of London

By the Rev. R. S. Mylne, B.C.L. (Oxon), F.S.A. F.R.S. (Scots.)

he housing of the Sovereign is always a matter of interest to the nation. It were natural to expect that some definite arrangement should be made for this purpose, planned and executed on a grand and appropriate scale. Yet as a matter of fact this is seldom the case amongst the western nations of Europe. Two different causes have operated in a contrary direction. One is the natural predilection of the ruler of the State for a commodious palace outside, but not far from, the capital. Thus the great Castle of Windsor has always been par excellence  the favourite residence of the King of England. The other is the growth of parliamentary institutions. Thus the entire space occupied by the original Royal Palace has become the official meeting-place of the Parliament; and the King himself has perforce been compelled to find accommodation elsewhere.

Look at the actual history of the Royal Palace of Westminster, where the High Court of Parliament now is accustomed to assemble. It was on this very spot that Edward the Confessor lived and died, glorying in the close proximity of the noble abbey that seemed to give sanctity to his own abode. Here the last Saxon King entertained Duke William of Normandy, destined to be his own successor on the throne. Here he gave the famous feast in which he foretold the failure of the crusades, as Baring Gould records in his delightful Myths of the Middle Ages. Here Edward I. was born, and Edward III. died. The great hall was erected by William Rufus, and the chapel by King Stephen. Henry VIII. added the star chamber. The painted chamber, decorated with frescoes by Henry III., was probably the oldest portion of the mediæval palace, and just beyond was the prince's chamber with walls seven feet thick. There was also the ancient Court of Requests, which served as the House of Lords down to 1834. The beautiful Gothic Chapel of St. Stephen was used as the House of Commons from 1547 to 1834. The walls were covered with frescoes representing scenes from the Old and New Testaments. In modern times they resounded to the eloquence of Pitt, Fox, Burke, and Canning.

The curious crypt beneath this chapel was carefully prepared by H.M. Office of Works for the celebration of the marriage of Lord Chancellor Loreburn last December, and a coffin was discovered while making certain reparations to the stonework, which is believed to contain the remains of the famous Dr. Lyndwode, Bishop of St. David's from 1442 to 1446.

In the terrible fire on the night of October 16, 1834, the entire palace was destroyed with the exception of the great hall, which, begun by William Rufus, received its present beautiful roof of chestnut wood from Henry Yeveley, architect or master mason to Richard II.

The present magnificent Palace of Westminster was erected by Sir Charles Barry between 1840 and 1859 in the Gothic style, and is certainly one of the finest modern buildings in the world. The river front is remarkably effective, and presents an appearance which at once arrests the attention of every visitor. It is quite twice the size of the old palace, formerly occupied by the King, and cost three millions sterling. It is certainly the finest modern building in London.

Some critics have objected to the minuteness of the decorative designs on the flat surfaces of the walls, but these are really quite in accord with the delicate genius of Gothic architecture, and fine examples of this kind of work are found in Belgium and other parts of the Continent.

Every one must admit the elegance of proportion manifested in the architect's design, and this it is which makes the towers stand out so well above the main building from every point of view; moreover, this is the special characteristic which is often so terribly lacking in modern architecture. One wonders whether Vitruvius and kindred works receive their due meed of attention in this twentieth century.

Within the palace the main staircase, with the lobby and corridors leading to either House of Parliament, are particularly fine, and form a worthy approach to the legislative chambers of the vast Empire of Great Britain.

The Palace of the Savoy  also needs some notice. The original house was built by Peter, brother of Boniface, for so many years Archbishop of Canterbury, and uncle of Eleanor of Provence, wife of King Henry III. By his will Peter bequeathed this estate to the monks of Montjoy at Havering-at-Bower, who sold it to Queen Eleanor, and it became the permanent residence of her second son Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, and his descendants. When King John of France was made a prisoner after the battle of Poitiers in 1356, he was assigned an apartment in the Savoy, and here he died on April 9, 1364. The sad event is thus mentioned in the famous chronicle of Froissart:—

"The King and Queen, and all the princes of the blood, and all the nobles of England were exceedingly concerned from the great love and affection King John had shewn them since the conclusion of peace."

The best-known member of the Lancastrian family who resided in this palace is the famous John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. During his time, so tradition has it, the well-known poet Chaucer was here married to Philippa, daughter of Sir Paon de Roet, one of the young ladies attached to the household of Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster, and the sister of Catherine Swynford, who at a later period became the Duke's third wife. However this may be, the Savoy was at that time the favourite resort of the nobility of England, and John of Gaunt's hospitality was unbounded. Stow, in his Chronicle, declares "there was none other house in the realm to be compared for beauty and stateliness." Yet how very transitory is earthly glory, all the pride of place and power!

In the terrible rebellion of Wat Tyler, in the year 1381, the Savoy was pillaged and burnt, and the Duke was compelled to flee for his life to the northern parts of Great Britain. His Grace had become very unpopular on account of the constant protection he had extended to the simple followers of Wickcliffe.

After this dire destruction the Savoy was never restored to its former palatial proportions. The whole property passed to the Crown, and King Henry VII. rebuilt it, and by his will endowed it in a liberal manner as a hospital in honour of St. John the Baptist. This hospital was suppressed at the Reformation under Edward VI., most of the estates with which it was endowed passing to the great City Hospital of St. Thomas. But Queen Mary refounded the hospital as an almshouse with a master and other officers, and this latter foundation was finally dissolved in 1762.

Over the gate, now long destroyed, of King Henry VII.'s foundation were these words:—

"Hospitium hoc inopi turbe Savoia vocatum Septimus Henricus solo fundavit ab imo."

The Houses of Parliament.

The church, which is the only existing remnant of former splendour, was built as the chapel of Henry VII.'s Hospital, and is an interesting example of Perpendicular architecture, with a curious and picturesque belfry. In general design it resembles a college chapel, and the religious services held therein are well maintained. Her late Majesty Queen Victoria behaved with great generosity to the church of the Savoy. In her capacity of Duchess of Lancaster she restored the interior woodwork and fittings, and after a destructive fire in 1864 effected a second restoration of the entire interior of this sacred edifice. There is now a rich coloured roof, and appropriate seats for clergy and people. There is also preserved a brass belonging to the year 1522 from the grave of Thomas Halsey, Bishop of Leighlin, and Gavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, famous in Scottish history for his piety and learning. There is also a small figure from Lady Dalhousie's monument, but all the other tombs perished in the flames in 1864. The history of the central compartment of the triptych over the font is curious. It was painted for the Savoy Palace in the fourteenth century, afterwards lost, and then recovered in 1876.

Amongst the famous ministers of the Savoy were Thomas Fuller, author of the Worthies, and Anthony Horneck. In the Savoy was held the famous conference between twelve bishops and twelve Nonconformists for the revision of the Liturgy soon after the accession of King Charles II. In this conference Richard Baxter took a prominent part.

In this brief sketch nothing is more remarkable than the great variety of uses to which the palace of the Savoy has been put, as well as the gradual decay of mediæval splendour. Still, however, the name is very familiar to the multitudes of people who are continually passing up and down the Strand. Yet it is a far cry to the days of Archbishop Boniface of Savoy, and Edmund Earl of Lancaster.

Bridewell  is situated on a low-lying strip of land between the Thames and the Fleet, just westwards of the south-western end of the Roman wall of London. In early days this open space only possessed a tower for defensive purposes, just as the famous Tower of London guarded the eastern end of the city. Hard by was the church of St. Bride, founded in the days of the Danes, most likely in the reign of King Canute, and here there was a holy well or spring. Hence arose the name of Bridewell.

In 1087, ancient records relate, King William gave choice stones from his tower or castle, standing at the west end of the city, to Maurice, Bishop of London, for the repair of his cathedral church.

From time to time various rooms were added to the original structure, which seem chiefly to have been used for some state ceremonial or judicial purpose. Thus in the seventh year of King John, Walter de Crisping, the Justiciar, gave judgment here in an important lawsuit.

In 1522 the whole building was repaired for the reception of the famous Emperor Charles V., but that distinguished Sovereign actually stayed in the Black Friars, on the other side of the Fleet.

King Henry VIII. made use of Bridewell for the trial of his famous divorce case. Cardinal Campeggio was President of the Court, and in the end gave judgment in favour of Queen Catharine of Aragon. Yet, despite the Cardinal, Henry would have nothing more to do with Catharine, and at the same time took a dislike to Bridewell, which was allowed to fall into decay—in fact, nothing of the older building now remains. King Edward VI., just before his own death in 1553, granted the charter which converted Bridewell into a charitable institution, and after many vicissitudes a great work is still carried on at this establishment for the benefit of the poor of London. In May, 1552, Dr. Ridley, Bishop of London, wrote this striking letter to Sir William Cecil, Knight, and Secretary to the King:—

"Good Master Cecyl,—I must be suitor with you in our Master Christ's cause. I beseech you be good unto him. The matter is, Sir, that he hath been too, too long abroad, without lodging, in the streets of London, both hungry, naked and cold. There is a large wide empty house of the King's Majesty called Bridewell, which would wonderfully serve to lodge Christ in, if he might find friends at Court to procure in his cause."

Thus the philanthropic scheme was started, and brought to completion under the mayoralty of Alderman Sir George Barnes.

A View of the Savoy Palace from the River Thames.

Published by the Society of Antiquaries in 1750, from a plan by G. Virtue.

AAA The great building, now a barracks.
BB Prison for the Savoy, and guards.
CCC Church of St. Mary le Savoy.
D Stairs to the waterside.
EFG Churches of German Lutherans, French and German Calvinists.

St. James's  is the most important royal palace of London. For many a long year it has been most closely associated with our royal family, and the quaint towers and gateway looking up St. James's Street possess an antiquarian interest of quite an unique character. This palace, moreover, enshrines the memory of a greater number of famous events in the history of our land than any other domestic building situated in London, and for this reason is worthy of special attention.

Its history is as follows:—Before the Norman Conquest there was a hospital here dedicated to St. James, for fourteen maiden lepers. A hospital continued to exist throughout the middle ages, but when Henry VIII. became King he obtained this property by an exchange, and converted it, as Holinshed bears witness, into "a fair mansion and park" when he was married to Anne Boleyn. The letters "H. A." can still be traced on the chimney-piece of the presence chamber or tapestry room, as well as a few other memorials of those distant days. And what days they were! Queen Anne Boleyn going to St. James's in all the joyous splendour of a royal bride, and how soon afterwards meeting her cruel fate at the hands of the executioner! Henry VIII. seldom lived at St. James's Palace, perhaps on account of the weird reminiscences of Anne Boleyn, but it became the favourite residence of Queen Mary after her husband Philip II. returned to Spain, and here she died in utter isolation during the dull November days of the autumn of 1558. Thus the old palace is first associated with the sad story of two unhappy queens!

But brighter days were coming. Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I., settled here in 1610, and kept a brilliant and magnificent court, attached to which were nearly 300 salaried officials. Then in two short years he died, November 6, 1612. Then the palace was given to Charles, who afterwards ascended the throne in 1625, and much liked the place as a residence. It is closely associated with the stirring events of this romantic monarch's career. Here Charles II., James II., and the Princess Elizabeth were born, and here Marie de Medici, the mother of Queen Henrietta Maria, took refuge in 1638, and maintained a magnificent household for three years. It is said her pension amounted to £3,000 a month! Her residence within the royal palace increased the unpopularity of the King, whose arbitrary treatment of Parliament led to the ruinous Civil War. The noble House of Stuart is ever unfortunate all down the long page of history, and the doleful prognostications of the Sortes Vergilianæ, sought for by the King, proved but too true in the event.

We quote six lines of Dryden's translation from the sixth book of the Æneid, at the page at which the King by chance opened the book—

"Seek not to know, the ghost replied with tears,The sorrows of thy sons in future years.This youth, the blissful vision of a day,Shall just be shewn on earth, and snatched away..       .       .       .       ."Ah! couldst thou break through Fate's severe decree,A new Marcellus shall arise in thee."

Dr. Wellwood says Lord Falkland tried to laugh the matter off, but the King was pensive.

Portion of an exact Survey of the Streets, Lanes, and Churches.

Comprehended by the order and directions of the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor 10th December, 1666.

The fortunes of war were against this very attractive but weak monarch, who was actually brought as a prisoner of the Parliament from Windsor Castle to his own Palace of St. James, there to await his trial on a charge of high treason in Westminster Hall!

Certain of his own subjects presumed to pass sentence of death upon their own Sovereign, and have become known to history as the regicides. Very pathetic is the story of the scenes which took place at St. James's on Sunday, January 28, 1649. A strong guard of parliamentary troops escorted King Charles from Whitehall to St. James's, and Juxon, the faithful Bishop of London, preached his last sermon to his beloved Sovereign from the words, "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel." His Majesty then received the Sacrament, and spent much time in private devotion. On the morrow he bade farewell to his dear children the Duke of Gloucester and the Princess Elizabeth, praying them to forgive his enemies, and not to grieve, for he was about to die a glorious death for the maintenance of the laws and liberties of the land and the true Protestant religion. Then he took the little Duke of Gloucester on his knees, saying, "Sweetheart, now they will cut off thy father's head," and the young prince looked very earnestly and steadfastly at the King, who bade him be loyal to his brothers Charles and James, and all the ancient family of Stuart. And thus they parted.

Afterwards His Majesty was taken from St. James's to the scaffold at Whitehall. There was enacted the most tragic scene connected with the entire history of the Royal Family of England. At the hands of Jacobite writers the highly-coloured narrative is like to induce tears of grief, but the Puritans love to dwell on the King's weaknesses and faults. Yet everyone must needs acknowledge the calm nobility and unwavering courage of the King's bearing and conduct.

"He nothing common did or mean Upon that memorable scene,But with his keener eye The axe's edge did try;Nor called the gods with vulgar spite To vindicate his helpless right,But bowed his comely head Down, as upon a bed."

The great German historian Leopold von Ranke is rightly regarded as the best and most impartial authority on the history of Europe in the seventeenth century. This is what he says on the martyrdom of Charles I.:—

"The scaffold was erected on the spot where the kings were wont to show themselves to the people after their coronation. Standing beside the block at which he was to die, he was allowed once more to speak in public. He said that the war and its horrors were unjustly laid to his charge.... If at last he had been willing to give way to arbitrary power, and the change of the laws by the sword, he would not have been in this position: he was dying as the martyr of the people, passing from a perishable kingdom to an imperishable. He died in the faith of the Church of England, as he had received it from his father. Then bending to the block, he himself gave the sign for the axe to fall upon his neck. A moment, and the severed head was shown to the people, with the words: 'This is the head of a traitor.' All public places, the crossings of the streets, especially the entrances of the city, were occupied by soldiery on foot and on horseback. An incalculable multitude had, however, streamed to the spot. Of the King's words they heard nothing, but they were aware of their purport through the cautious and guarded yet positive language of their preachers. When they saw the severed head, they broke into a cry, universal and involuntary, in which the feelings of guilt and weakness were blended with terror—a sort of voice of nature, whose terrible impression those who heard it were never able to shake off."

These weighty words of Ranke are well worth quoting, as well as the conclusion of the section of his great book in which he sums up his estimate of Charles's claim to the title of martyr:

"There was certainly something of a martyr in him, if the man can be so called who values his own life less than the cause for which he is fighting, and in perishing himself saves it for the future."

The Prospect of Bridewell.

Published according to Act of Parliament, 1755, for Stow's Survey.

King Charles I., then, is fairly entitled to be called a martyr in the calm and unimpassioned judgment of the greatest historian of modern times in the learned Empire of Germany, who tests the royal claim by a clear and concise definition, framed without any regard to the passionate political feeling which distracted England in the days of the Stuarts.

And it was in the Palace of St. James that Charles I. passed the last terrible days of his earthly life.

On the Restoration, King Charles II. resided at Whitehall, and gave St. James's to his brother James, Duke of York. Here Queen Mary II. was born, and here she was married to William of Orange late in the evening on November 4, 1677. Here also Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, died in 1671, having lived many years more or less in seclusion in the old palace.

James afterwards married Mary of Modena as his second wife, and here was born, on June 10, 1688, Prince James Edward, better known as the Old Pretender, whose long life was spent in wandering and exile, in futile attempts to gain the Crown, in unsuccessful schemes and ruinous plots, until he and his children found rest within the peaceful walls of Rome.

Directly after he landed in England, King William III. came to St. James's, and resided here from time to time during his possession of the Crown, only towards the end of his reign allowing the Princess Anne to reside in this palace, where she first heard of King William's death. The bearer of the sad news was Dr. Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury.

Immediately on his arrival in England, George I., Elector of Hanover, came straight to St. James's just as King William III. had done. In his Reminiscences, Walpole gives this quaint anecdote:—

"This is a strange country," remarked the King. "The first morning after my arrival at St. James's, I looked out of the window, and saw a park with walks and a canal, which they told me were mine. The next day Lord Chetwynd, the ranger of my park, sent me a fine brace of carp out of my canal: and I was told I must give five guineas to Lord Chetwynd's servant for bringing me my own carp, out of my own canal, in my own park."

Many things seem to have surprised King George I. in his English dominions, and he really preferred Hanover, where he died in 1725.

George II. resided at St. James's when Prince of Wales, and here his beloved wife, Queen Caroline of Anspach, died on November 20, 1737. Four years previously her daughter Anne had here been married to the Prince of Orange. It now became customary to assign apartments to younger children of the Sovereign in various parts of the palace, which thus practically ceased to be in the King's own occupation. The state apartments are handsome, and contain many good portraits of royal personages. The Chapel Royal has a fine ceiling, carved and painted, erected in 1540, and is constantly used by royalty. George III. hardly ever missed the Sunday services when in London.

Of course the original palace covered more ground than is now the case, and included the site of Marlborough House and some adjacent gardens, now in private ownership. The German Chapel Royal, which now projects into the grounds of Marlborough House, was originally erected by Charles I. for the celebration of Roman Catholic worship for Queen Henrietta Maria, and at the time gave great offence to all the nobility and people of the land.

"Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis." Marlborough House was originally built by Sir Christopher Wren for the great Duke of Marlborough, on a portion of St. James's Park given by Queen Anne for that purpose. Here died the Duke, and his famous Duchess Sarah. The house was bought by the Crown for the Princess Charlotte in 1817, and was settled on the Prince of Wales in 1850. There are still a number of interesting pictures in the grand salon of the victories of the Duke of Marlboroughby Laguerre. The garden covers the space formerly occupied by the Great Yard of old St. James's Palace.

Altogether, it is quite clear from the above brief account that St. James's is the most important of the royal palaces of London, and more closely connected than any other with the long history of English Royalty. From the days of Henry VIII. to the present time there has always been a close personal connection with the reigning Sovereign of the British Empire.

The Palace of Whitehall  presents a long and strange history. Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, Chief Minister of King Henry III., became possessed of the land by purchase from the monks of Westminster for 140 marks of silver and the annual tribute of a wax taper. Hubert bequeathed the property by his will to the Black Friars of Holborn, who sold it in 1248 to Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, for his Grace's town residence.

When Cardinal Wolsey became possessed of the northern archiepiscopal See, he found York House too small for his taste, and he set to work to rebuild the greater part of this palace on a larger and more magnificent scale. On the completion of the works he took up his abode here with a household of 800 persons, and lived with more than regal splendour, from time to time entertaining the King himself to gorgeous banquets, followed by masked balls. At one of these grand entertainments they say King Henry first met Anne Boleyn. A chronicler says the Cardinal was "sweet as summer to all that sought him."

When the great Cardinal fell into disgrace, and the Duke of Suffolk came to Whitehall to bid him resign the Great Seal of England, his Eminence left his palace by the privy stair and "took barge" to Putney, and thence to Esher; and Henry VIII. at once took possession of the vacant property, and began to erect new buildings, a vast courtyard, tennis court, and picture gallery, and two great gateways, all of which are now totally destroyed. It was in this palace that he died, January 28, 1547.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Whitehall was famous for its magnificent festivities, tournaments, and receptions of distinguished foreign princes. Especially was this the case in 1581, when the French commissioners came to urge the Queen's marriage with the Duke of Anjou. Here the Queen's corpse lay in state before the interment in March, 1603. James I. likewise entertained right royally at Whitehall, and here the Princess Elizabeth was married to the Elector Palatine on February 14, 1613. King James also employed that distinguished architect Inigo Jones to build the beautiful Banqueting House, which is all that now remains of Whitehall Palace, and is one of the finest architectural fragments in London. The proportions are most elegant, and the style perfect. Used as a chapel till 1890, it is now the United Service Museum, while the great painter Rubens decorated the ceiling for Charles I. in 1635.

The whole plan of Inigo Jones remained unfinished, but Charles I. lived in regal splendour in the palace, entertaining on the most liberal scale, and forming the famous collection of pictures dispersed by the Parliament. Here it was that the masque of Comus was acted before the King, and other masques from time to time. After Charles's martyrdom, Oliver Cromwell came to live at Whitehall, and died there September 3, 1658. On his restoration, in May, 1660, King Charles II. returned to Whitehall, and kept his court there in great splendour. Balls rather than masques were now the fashion, and Pepys and Evelyn have preserved full descriptions of these elegant and luxurious festivities, and all the gaiety, frivolity, and dissoluteness connected with them, and the manner of life at Charles's court. The King died in the palace on February 6, 1685, and was succeeded by his austere brother James, who, during his brief reign, set up a Roman Catholic chapel within the precincts of the royal habitation, from which he fled to France in 1688.

The Palace of Whitehall.

King William III. preferred other places of residence, and two fires—one in 1691, the other in 1698—destroyed the greater part of Whitehall, which was never rebuilt.

Buckingham  Palace is now the principal residence in London of His Majesty King Edward VII. Though a fine pile of building it is hardly worthy of its position as the town residence of the mighty Sovereign of the greatest Empire of the world, situated in the largest city on the face of the globe.

King George III. purchased Buckingham Palace in 1761 from Sir Charles Sheffield for £21,000, and in 1775 it was settled upon Queen Charlotte. In the reign of George IV. it was rebuilt from designs by Nash; and in 1846, during the reign of Queen Victoria, the imposing eastern façade was erected from designs by Blore. The length is 360 feet, and the general effect is striking, though the architectural details are of little merit. In fact, it is a discredit to the nation that there is no London palace for the Sovereign which is worthy of comparison with the Royal Palace at Madrid, or the Papal Palace in Rome, though the reason for this peculiar fact is fully set forth in the historical sketch of the royal palaces already given. King Edward VII. was born here in 1841, and here drawing-rooms and levées are usually held. The white marble staircase is fine, and there are glorious portraits of Charles I. and Queen Henrietta Maria by Van Dyck, as well as Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort by Winterhalter. There is also a full-length portrait of George IV. by Lawrence in the State dining-room.

In the private apartments there are many interesting royal portraits, as well as a collection of presents from foreign princes. There is a lake of five acres in the gardens, and the whole estate comprises about fifty acres. There is a curious pavilion adorned with cleverly-painted scenes from Comus by famous English artists. The view from the east over St. James's Park towards the India Office is picturesque, and remarkably countrified for the heart of a great city. The lake in this park is certainly very pretty, and well stocked with various water-fowl. The Horse Guards, Admiralty, and other public offices at the eastern extremity of this park occupy the old site of the western side of the Palace of Whitehall.

Kensington  Palace was the favourite abode of King William III. He purchased the property from the Earl of Nottingham, whose father had been Lord Chancellor, and employed Sir Christopher Wren to add a storey to the old house, and built anew the present south façade. Throughout his reign he spent much money in improving the place, and here his wife, Queen Mary II., died on December 28, 1694. In the same palace King William himself breathed his last breath on March 8, 1702.

Queen Anne lived principally at St. James's, the natural residence for the Sovereigns of Great Britain; but she took much interest in the proper upkeep of Kensington, and it was here that her husband died on October 20, 1708, and herself on August 1, 1714. Shortly before, she had placed the treasurer's wand in the hands of the Duke of Shrewsbury, saying, "For God's sake use it for the good of my people," and all the acts of her prosperous reign point to the real validity of the popular title given by common consent—the good Queen Anne.

She planted the trees on "Queen Anne's Mount," and gave gorgeous fêtes in the Royal Gardens, whose woodland scenery possesses a peculiar charm all its own. The noble groves and avenues of elm trees recall St. Cloud and St. Germain in the neighbourhood of Paris, and are quite exceptionally fine. Thus Matthew Arnold wrote:—

"In this lone open glade I lie,Screened by deep boughs on either hand;And at its end, to stay the eye,Those black crowned, red-boled pine trees stand."

St. James's Palace.

And Chateaubriand declares:—

"C'est dans ce parc de Kensington que j'ai médité l'Essai historique: que, relisant le journal de mes courses d'outre mer, j'en ai tiré les amours d'Atala."

And Haydon says:—

"Here are some of the most poetical bits of tree and stump, and sunny brown and green glens and tawny earth."

George II. died here very suddenly on October 25, 1760, but the Sovereigns of the House of Hanover chiefly made use of the place by assigning apartments therein to their younger children and near relatives. Here it was that Edward Duke of Kent lived with his wife Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, and here their only daughter, the renowned Queen Victoria, was born, May 24, 1819, and here she resided till her accession to the throne in 1837.

Kensington Palace, then, is chiefly celebrated for its associations with William III. and Queen Victoria. In the brief account of the royal palaces here given, it will be seen that none of the sites, with the exception of St. James's, remained for any long period of time the actual residence of the Sovereign, while three—Westminster, Bridewell, and the Savoy—had passed out of royal hands for residential purposes before the Reformation of religion was completed. Another curious fact relates to the origin of the title to these sites, inasmuch as three of these estates were obtained from some ecclesiastical corporation, as the Archbishop of York, or the Hospital of St. James, though Buckingham Palace was bought from Sir Charles Sheffield, and Kensington from the Earl of Nottingham.

No account of the palaces of London can be regarded as complete which omits to mention Lambeth. For more than 700 years the Archbishops of Canterbury have resided at this beautiful abode, intensely interesting from its close association with all the most stirring events in the long history of England. The estate was obtained by Archbishop Baldwin in the year 1197 by exchange for some lands in Kent with Glanville, Bishop of Rochester. In Saxon times Goda, the sister of King Edward the Confessor, had bestowed this property upon the Bishopric of Rochester; so that it has been continuously in the hands of the Church for near 900 years. The fine red-brick gateway with white stone dressings, standing close to the tower of Lambeth Church, is very imposing as seen from the road, and was built by Archbishop Cardinal Moreton in 1490. In the Middle Ages it was the custom to give a farthing loaf twice a week to the poor of London at this gateway, and as many as 4,000 were accustomed to partake of the archiepiscopal gift. Within the gateway is the outer courtyard of the palace, and at the further end, towards the river Thames, rises the picturesque Lollard's tower, built between 1434 and 1445 by that famous ecclesiastical statesman Archbishop Chicheley, founder of All Souls' College, Oxford. The quaint winding staircase, made of rough slabs of unplaned oak, is exactly as it was in Chicheley's time. In this tower is the famous chamber, entirely of oaken boards, called the Lollards' prison. It is 13 feet long, 12 feet broad, and 8 feet high, and eight iron rings remain to which prisoners were fastened. The door has a lock of wood, fastened with pegs of wood, and may be a relic of the older palace of Archbishop Sudbury. On the south side of the outer court stands the hall built by Archbishop Juxon during the opening years of Charles II.'s reign, with a fine timber roof, and Juxon's arms over the door leading into the palace. This Jacobean hall is now used as the library, and contains many precious manuscripts of priceless value, including the Dictyes and Sayings of the Philosophers, translated by Lord Rivers, in which is found a miniature illumination of the Earl presenting Caxton on his knees to Edward IV., who is supported by Elizabeth Woodville and her son Edward V. This manuscript contains the only known portrait of the latter monarch.

St. James's Palace, from Pall Mall and from the Park.

An earlier hall had been built on the same site by Archbishop Boniface in 1244.

From the library we pass by a flight of stairs to the guard room, now used as the dining hall. The chief feature is the excellent series of oil portraits of the occupants of the primatial See of Canterbury, beginning in the year 1504. The mere mention of the principal names recalls prominent events in our national history.

There is Warham painted by Holbein. He was also Lord Chancellor, and the last of the mediæval episcopate. There is Cranmer, burnt at Oxford, March 21, 1555. There is Cardinal Pole, the cousin and favourite of Queen Mary. There is Matthew Parker, the friend of Queen Elizabeth, well skilled in learning and a great collector of manuscripts, now for the most part in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. There is William Laud, painted by Van Dyck, the favourite Counsellor and Adviser of Charles I. At the age of 71 he was beheaded by order of the House of Commons—an act of vengeance, not of justice. There is William Juxon, who stood by Charles I. on the scaffold, and heard the ill-fated King utter his last word on earth, "Remember." But we cannot even briefly recount all the famous portraits to be found at Lambeth. The above selection must suffice.

The chapel, also, is a building of singular interest. Beneath is an ancient crypt said to have been erected by Archbishop Herbert Fitzwalter, while the chapel itself was built by Archbishop Boniface of Savoy between 1249 and 1270. The lancet windows are elegant, and were filled with stained glass by Archbishop Laud, all of which was duly broken to pieces during the Commonwealth. The supposed Popish character of this glass was made an article of impeachment against Laud at the trial at which he was sentenced to death. Here the majority of the archbishops have been consecrated since the reign of King Henry III. Archbishop Parker was both consecrated and also buried in the chapel, but his tomb was desecrated and his bones scattered by Scot and Hardyng, who possessed the palace under Oliver Cromwell. On the restoration they were re-interred by Sir William Dugdale. At the west end is a beautiful Gothic confessional, high up on the wall, erected by Archbishop Chicheley. Archbishop Laud presented the screen, and Archbishop Tait restored the whole of this sacred edifice, which measures 12 feet by 25 feet. Formerly the archbishops lived in great state. Thus, Cranmer's household comprised a treasurer, comptroller, steward, garnator, clerk of the kitchen, caterer, clerk of the spicery, yeoman of the ewery, bakers, pantlers, yeoman of the horse, yeoman ushers, besides numerous other less important officials.

Cardinal Pole possessed a patent from Queen Mary, authorising a household of 100 servants. The modern part of the palace was built by Archbishop Howley in the Tudor style. He held the See from 1828 to 1848, and was the last prelate to maintain the archiepiscopal state of the olden time.