Between Naunton House and the passage to Spring Gardens


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G. H. Gater and E. P. Wheeler (editors)

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'Between Naunton House and the passage to Spring Gardens', Survey of London: volume 16: St Martin-in-the-Fields I: Charing Cross (1935), pp. 104-110. URL: Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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Next to the tenement of Edward Myllet in the Ministers' Accounts for 1534–5 (fn. 1) come two tenements leased to John Hill and David "Abenyon" (fn. 2) for 40s. and 30s. a year respectively. A grant was made of both tenements to John Burnell on 10th May, 1540, and the transactions concerning this property during the remainder of the sixteenth century were numerous and rather involved. They may be summarised as follows:

28th July, 1557. Lease by the Crown to William Dowley (who had obtained and surrendered Burnell's grant) for 30 years. Thomas Jernegan marries Dowley's widow and so acquires the lease.

17th June, 1573. Reversionary lease by the Crown to Katherine Hampton for 21 years.

2nd July, 1573. Katherine Hampton assigns her interest to Jernegan.

10th July, 1573. Jernegan sub-leases one of the tenements, then in occupation of John Slater, to Slater for 11 years after the expiry of Dowley's lease.

5th February, 1579–80. Jernegan sub-leases the other tenement, then in occupation of Richard Browne, to Browne for 21 years.

24th November, 1581. Jernegan disposes of his interest in both tenements to Richard Franke.

16th February, 1582–3. Richard Franke sells to Richard Browne.

11th September, 1590. Reversionary lease by the Crown to Henry Collier for 40 years after expiry of the Hampton lease.

7th November, 1590. Henry Collier sells the reversionary lease to Richard Browne.

Browne was thus in possession of both the Hampton and the Collier leases expiring in 1608 and 1648 respectively, as well as the sublease of his own house expiring in 1601. He is shown in occupation of the house in the earliest ratebook extant (that for 1574), and his name continues until 1591. In 1593 (the ratebook for 1592 is missing) his place is taken by his widow. (fn. 3) In the following year "Jeames Huckle" succeeds.

On 28th February, 1611–2, a grant was made (fn. 4) to John Eldred and William Whitmore for a term of 60 years from that date of the two tenements of Hill and "Avenon." The only previous lease referred to is that to Burnell, and the existence of the Collier lease, which Browne had acquired, is ignored. Eldred and Whitmore immediately (5th March, 1611–2) sold their interest to James Huckle, who, as was seen above, was in occupation of Browne's house. (fn. 5)

On 27th December, 1632, the King granted (fn. 6) to William Collins and Edward Fenn the two tenements in perpetual fee farm at the old rent of 70s. for the use of Sir William Russell, treasurer of the Navy, but as this grant is never afterwards referred to in the history of the succession of the property, it was probably revoked.

The last ratebook giving the name of James Huckle is that for 1640, (fn. 7) after which his widow's name appears at intervals until 1647, when a note "gon" is added.

It is evident from the ratebooks that the property had for some time comprised more than two houses, and a parliamentary survey made in 1650 (fn. 8) shows that there were then four, which are described as follows:

"All that Tenemt scituate … on the West side of Charinge crosse … built wth Tymber and Flemish Walle and Covered wth Tyle, and well in repaire, consistinge of one Small Parlor and a Celler underneath the same next to the streete, and Backwards one Kitchen, And above staires in the first story next to the streete one faire Dyneinge Roome well Wainscoted, and behinde the same one Chamber and a Closett and a Lobby Roome there, and in the second story over the same two Chambers and a Closett, and over the same one Garrett devided into two Roomes, As alsoe one Court yard, one Entry and a shedd there, alsoe standinge backwards adioyninge to the said house, one Tenemt consistinge of a Coalehouse and a stoole house belowe stayres, and above stayres in the first story one Roome and a Garret over the same, in the occupacion of the Widdowe Kinge (fn. 9) and Mr. John Coggan, and is worth per ann xlii"

"All that Tenemt lyeinge … betweene th'aforesaid Tenemt and the springe garden walle, built as aforesaid, consistinge of one Parlor and a Seller under the same, and one Parlor and a small Roome theire, and over the same 2 Chambers and a Closett, and over the same in the garret 2 more Roomes and a Closett there, And further backwards adioyninge to Springe Garden in annother Rainge of buildinge one faire kitchen, 2 Larders, one Wash house and a stoole house and a Coale house, and over the same in the first stroy 3 Chambers and a Dyneing Roome, and in the second story 3 faire Chambers, and over the same one garret devided into three Roomes, alsoe 2 Court yardes, adioyninge to the Lady Nutton's [Naunton's] on the south, now in the occupacion of the Widdow Rowden, and is worth per ann. xxxli."

"All yt Tenemt built as aforesaid adioyninge on the north side of tha' foresaid Tenemt, consistinge of two Large Sellers, and over them two halles on the front, and behind them 2 faire Kitchens and a Pantry, and above staires in the first story 4 Chambers on the front and two Chambers Backwards, and two Closetts there, And in the second story three Chambers and one Closett, And in the third story two Garretts, And further backwards adioyninge to the Springe garden one small Kitchen and a stoole house, and over the same in the first story one Chamber and a garret over the same, Alsoe 4 Court yardes all paved wth Purbeck stone, well fitted and Joynted, now in the occupacion of the Lady Dorleton, (fn. 10) and is worth per ann. 1li."

"All that Tenemt built as aforesaid adioyninge to the north side of tha' foresaid Tenemt consistinge of one Hall and one Kitchen, and under the same two Sellers, and backwards one Wash house and a Larder, and in the first story one faire Large Dyneinge Roome and three other Chambers, And in the second story 4 Chambers like the other, and over the same in the third story 4 such Chambers as aforesaid, Alsoe one Courtyard, one stoole house, bounded wth the house of Doctr Medcroft (fn. 11) on the north, now in the occupacion of one Mr Hatcliff, (fn. 12) and is worth per ann. xlli."

Meanwhile the King had on 15th July, 1639, granted a reversionary lease of the premises to Thomas Turner for a term of 31 years following the Eldred and Whitmore lease then in possession of James Huckle or his widow, (fn. 13) and on 23rd February, 1640–1, Turner had conveyed his interest to Sir David Cunningham. In ignorance of this fact the Parliamentary Commissioners had sold the property to Captain John Nelthorpe, but on Cunningham protesting his claim was admitted and the sale revoked. (fn. 14)

The property was included in the Manor of Westminster, and in the two leases of that manor granted in 1678 (fn. 15) to Joseph Sheldon and Nicholas Charlton on behalf of John Hall. On 24th December, 1678, the manor was mortgaged to Matthew Johnson and Richard Grayham, who had already (27th December, 1677) acquired from Sir James Cunningham (administrator of the goods of Sir David) the residue of the 31 years' lease, and on 10th April, 1680, John Dixon purchased from Hall, Johnson and Grayham the residue of the 31 years' lease and of the two leases of the manor (so far as this particular property was concerned), subject to the payment of £6 a year to the holders of the manor. (fn. 16)

The houses, which had been four in number (though in five occupations) in 1650, are shown by the Hearth Tax Roll for 1666 as five, assessed at 8, 11, 7, 11 and 12 hearths respectively, the last-mentioned (the northernmost, i.e. Hartlib's house) being in the occupation of Lady Diana "Curson." (fn. 17) In 1695 the number of houses had risen to six, (fn. 18) and in 1729 to eight. (fn. 19) A deed of 2nd May, 1739, shows that four were on the Charing Cross front, while the remaining four faced Spring Gardens. (fn. 20) The southernmost house but one on the Charing Cross front was in 1742 known as The White Swan. (fn. 21) On the south side of this house was the entrance to Pump Court, (fn. 22) which had been formed in the interior of the property and is first mentioned in the ratebook for 1705. At about 1729 (see p. 113) a passage (now merged in the Mall Approach) had been formed leading from Charing Cross into Spring Gardens on the north side of the estate, thus providing an additional frontage.

Dixon's lease was due to expire in 1756, but on 17th November, 1739, he obtained a reversionary lease of 32 years. (fn. 23)

On the widening of the street in 1758 the Westminster Bridge Commissioners at first proposed to purchase only the southernmost house on the Charing Cross front, but it was subsequently found necessary to acquire the next two houses also. (fn. 24) In connection with the widening of the passage on the north of the property (see p. 116) the commissioners decided to purchase also the northernmost house (fn. 25) as well as the four houses in Spring Gardens, and thus became possessed of the whole of the Dixon estate at a cost of £2,603. (fn. 26) The description of the property given in the transfer is borrowed from that contained in the grant of 1739, and gives the dimensions as 61 feet on the Charing Cross front, and 65 feet towards Spring Gardens, but the latter is more correctly stated as 62 feet 2 inches in the minutes of the commissioners. (fn. 27) The Crown's interest in the premises was acquired on 25th September, 1765. (fn. 28)

Four houses were erected on the Charing Cross frontage, and the northernmost of these (afterwards No. 52) together with the whole of the Spring Gardens frontage, was sold to Andrew Drummond. (fn. 29) The ratebooks show that No. 52 was not for many years used as part of Messrs. Drummond's bank premises, which were, so far as the Charing Cross frontage is concerned, at first confined to the site of Naunton House (see p. 103). It would appear that about 1777 the southernmost of the four houses on the Charing Cross frontage was added. (fn. 30) Capon's view (Plate 87) shows that Nos. 50–52 were still standing in 1810, but in that year Messrs. Drummond occupied No. 52, and took No. 50 which was rebuilt and added to their premises. (fn. 31) No. 51 was taken about 1825 (fn. 32) and Nos. 50–52 appear then to have been rebuilt as shown in the view reproduced on p. 109. (fn. 33) The present building, covering the whole site as well as that of Nos. 47–48, Charing Cross, was erected about 1879.

Drummond's Bank (1877) before rebuilding

Figure 24: Drummond's Bank (1877) before rebuilding


1 P.R.O., S.C. 6, Henry VIII, 2101.
2 The name is generally given as "Abevion."
3 Richard Browne, yeoman of the Queen's larder, died before 30th June, 1592, when administration was granted to his widow Katherine. (Westminster Admon. Act Book, 1592, fo. 13.)
4 P.R.O., C. 66/1920, No. 17.
5 James Huckle was in the same office as Browne, being, when he died, sergeant of the King's larder. The facts (i) that his wife was named Katherine, and (ii) that he is shown as immediately succeeding "Widdowe Browne" in the occupation of the house, suggest that he married Browne's widow. This would obviate the difficulty about Collier's lease, that being already in his possession, and the curious wording in his will: "I doe hereby give … unto my said lovinge wife Katherine Huckle, the Lease which I hold from the Kings Matie of the Howse wherein I dwell neere Charing Crosse, and of all my other howses there which shee brought with her as parte of her marriage porcion" (P.C.C., 151 Evelyn) rather strengthens the presumption. If this was so, however, Katherine must have lived to a great age, for she did not die until 1650–1.
6 P.R.O., L.R. 1/330, fo. 144-153.
7 His will, dated 16th March, 1635–6, was proved on 11th December, 1641.
8 P.R.O., E. 317, Parliamentary Survey, Middx., 6.
9 Katherine Huckle left to her "loveinge neighbour Mrs King twentie shillings to buy her a Ring."
10 Countess of Dirletoun. James Maxwell, created Earl of Dirletoun in 1646, is shown by the ratebooks as in occupation of the house from 1620 to 1649. In the latter year his name is changed from "James Maxwell Esq" to "Ea. Darlestone." It is therefore practically certain that he is to be identified with "James Maxwell Esquire, Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod," who had a "House near Charing Crosse" in 1644 (Journals of the House of Lords, VI, p. 575a), though the Dict. Nat. Biog., not having the information given by the ratebooks, doubts the identification. It was accordingly at this house that Archbishop Laud was confined in Maxwell's custody for ten weeks before being sent to the Tower in 1640, in the course of which time the fees payable by him for his "Dyet and Custody" amounted to £466 13s. 4d., "and Mr. Maxwell had it all, without any Abatement" (The History of the Troubles and Trials of William Laud, pp. 144–5). The countess (née Elizabeth de Boussoyne) is shown by the ratebooks (Countess of "Darlaston") at this house from 1650 to 1659.
11 "Doctor Medcalfe" is shown in the ratebook for 1650 as the predecessor of Sir George Wentworth in the house on the site of the passage from Charing Cross to Spring Gardens.
12 Given in the ratebook for 1650 (his first appearance) as "Mr. Hartwicke," and thenceforward until 1657 as "Mr. Hartlib." This was Samuel Hartlib, author and friend of Milton. At the end of A Discours of Husbandrie used in Brabant and Flanders (2nd edn.) is a letter from him to R. Weston, dated "From my House at Charing-Cross, over against Angel-Court, the 2d of Maie, 1651." In a letter dated "Charing Cross, Dec. 12,' 55," Hartlib says: "There is at this time at my house Mons. John Frederick Schlezer, who came lately from Hamburg. He is an excellent scholar, and intimately acquainted wth Dr. Jungius" (Diary and Correspondence of Dr. John Worthington, Chetham Socy., I, p. 66). On 27th November, 1655, Evelyn, after viewing York House in the Strand, went "to visit honest and learned Mr. Hartlib, a public spirited and ingenious person, who had propagated many useful things and arts." In 1657 Hartlib moved to Axe Yard (see ratebook for St. Margaret's for that year) where Pepys made his acquaintance, a fact which induced the diarist in later years to "bless God to find the difference that is now between our condition and that heretofore, when we were … below Hartlibb in all respects … but it is God's goodness only, for which let him be praised" (Diary, 29th January, 1663–4). In 1633–4, George Kirke, whose own house was in course of being rebuilt (see p. 83), is shown by the ratebooks as resident in a house which is most probably to be identified with that afterwards occupied by Hartlib.
13 Katherine Huckle by her will (P.C.C., 24 Grey) dated 17th May, 1643, and proved 12th February, 1650–1, left to her kinsman, Thomas Hudson, "one Lease held of his Matie that now is of all my tenements scituate … att or neere Charing Crosse" for the remainder of the term, and also all the "chattells, goods, plate, Jewells, readie moneys, househould stuffe and whatsoever elce shalbe in my now dwellinge house at Charing Crosse." Hudson in turn left (will dated 16th July, 1655, proved 26th June, 1667—Archdy. of Middx. Wills, I, 178) the whole to Anne Roydon, obviously the Widow Rowden who in 1650 (see above) was living in a house which the evidence of the ratebooks suggests was that in which Mrs. Huckle had resided.
14 Parliamentary Survey as above.
15 See p. 77.
16 Indenture, dated 10th April, 1680, between John Hall and others and Matthew Johnson and Richard Grayham and George Dixon, of Hayes End, Middlesex. (P.R.O., L.R. 1/63.)
17 Diana, daughter of Nicholas Tufton, 1st Earl of Thanet, and wife of Sir Robert Curzon, of Water Pery, co. Oxon. The ratebooks show her in occupation from 1663 to 1665. In 1666 her place is taken by "the Lady Tufton," who continues until 1669.
18 Indenture, dated 30th August, 1695, between (1) George Dixon and George his son and heir, (2) Rose Knight, (3) Thos. Faldoe and Benjamin Green. (P.R.O., L.R. 1/63.)
19 Indenture, dated 22nd January, 1729, between George Dixon (son of the younger George) and Henry Dixon and Ann Kingsman. (Middx. Register, 1729, II, 345.)
20 Indenture, dated 2nd May, 1739, between (1) George Dixon, (2) Mary Mordaunt, (3) Francis Jessop and Charles Higgs, and (4) Nicholas Harris and Thomas Barker (Middx. Register, 1739, III, 173). An additional house is given in Pump Court, and nine house are regularly specified in later deeds. The ninth, however, is not mentioned in the list drawn up by the Westminster Bridge Commissioners' surveyor, and it was perhaps only an appendage to one of the front houses.
21 Indenture, dated 20th December, 1742, between George Dixon and John Lambert. (Middx. Register, 1753, I, 258.)
22 "Pump Court, but small, and ordinary built and inhabited, with a narrow Passage, up Steps, into Spring Garden." (Strype's edition (1720) of Stow's Survey, of Book VI, p. 77.)
23 P.R.O., L.R. 1/68, fo. 27–8.
24 On 16th August, 1758, the commissioners' surveyor informed the Board that not only was the adjacent house "so rotten that it will not stand, and is now very much out of an Upright, and parted from the other House six Inches at the Top," but also "another House next Adjoining thereto … is in so weak a Condition that it will be difficult to prevent its falling when the said House … shall be pulled down" (P.R.O., Works, 6/35, pp. 124–5). In 1756 the surveyor had described the two southernmost houses as "old timber and plaister" houses, and the third as an "old timber house." The four on the Spring Gardens front were "old brick" houses, and only the northernmost house on the Charing Cross front was a "new built brick house."
25 This house was apparently not demolished, but a pent house fixed on the north side was removed and a block cornice put up in its place, "which Block-Cornice … shall not Project more than … twelve Inches from the North Side of the said Messuage" (Articles of agreement made between the Commissioners and Thomas Patterson, the lessee—P.R.O., Works, 6/35, pp. 308 ff.). The widening of the passage on the south side was evidently confined chiefly to the western portion.
26 Indenture, dated 13th March, 1760, between (1) Henry Trant, (2) George Dixon and Mary his wife, (3) Nicholas Harris, (4) Francis Jessup, (5) Taylor White, and (6) Samuel Seddon and John Simpson. (P.R.O., L.R. 1/306, fo. 47.)
27 P.R.O., Works, 6/35, p. 193.
28 P.R.O., L.R. 1/306, fo. 53.
29 Indenture, dated 5th March, 1766, between (1) Samuel Seddon and John Simpson, (2) five of the Westminster Bridge Commissioners, and (3) Andrew Drummond, of Charing Cross, Esquire (P.R.O., C. 54/6189, No. 29). Drummond had "at his own Costs … caused to be erected … on the said … Ground … certain Brick Buildings used as Coachhouses, Stables and other Conveniences."
30 The ratebooks show the change of occupation in 1777, but John Drummond had purchased the lease in 1772. (Indenture dated 25th March, 1772, between John Simpson and John Drummond, Middx. Register, 1772, II, 461.)
31 The ratebook for 1810 shows Taylor and Bowley at No. 52 giving way to Messrs. Drummond, and Edward Dickinson at No. 50 replaced by Messrs. Drummond, with a note: "This house has been taken down & rebuilt."
32 According to the ratebook for 1824 Edward Mogg is still at No. 51, but in the following year he is replaced by Messrs. Drummond.
33 The new buildings are shown in Tallis's Street View of Charing Cross, circa 1840.