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By this act Lincoln's Inn Fields is to be considered as a distinct ward, exempt from the several parishes of St. Clement, St. Giles, and St. Andrew, with respect to scavengers, paving, &c. The whole being a trust, and the inhabitants liable to distress, and other forfeitures, for noncompliance with the tenor of the act. In consequence of which several improvements have been, and still continue to be made, so as to render it a very spacious and healthy spot. The great house at the corner of Great Queen Street, which has been also divided, was called Powis House, having been built for the marquis of Powis in 1686, by Capt. William Winde; it was the residence of Sir Nathan Wright, and that eminent statesman lord chancellor Somers. After his decease, it was inhabited by another statesman, Thomas Pelham Holles, duke of Newcastle, and is usually called NEWCASTLE House. On this side were also the town mansions of Sir Fletcher Norton, speaker of the House of Commons, afterwards lord Grantley; the Portuguese ambassador, at the back of which is a Romish Catholic chapel, with a fine painting, by West, of “ The Descent from the Cross.” Since the perturbed state of Europe bas caused the establishment of the embassy to be restricted, the English nobility and gentry have occupied the premises, and support the religious foundation by a fund and contributions. .
On the north side the houses of John Soane, Esq. the late Sir William Watson, Sir Frederick Eden, &c. form a grand row of buildings, in varied stiles of architecture,
The south side has been distinguished for the residence of eminent legal characters ; lord chancellors Camden, Loughborough, and Erskine ; lord chief justice Kenyon, Sir Henry Gould, serjeant Adair, &c.; and lately one of the centre houses has been purchased by the corporation of Surgeons, as their hall.
In our account of Barber-Surgeons Hall, we mentioned the separation of the two companies in 1745. The latter having applied to parliament, stated that their separation would greatly contribute to the improvement of Surgery;
upon which an act was passed, and the surgeons incor porated by the name of “ The Asaster, Governors, and Commonalty of the Art and Science of Surgery of London." Ther then built a very elegant hall and theatre, in the Old Bailey; but their connexions with the metropolis, rendering a centrical situation necessary, they purchased their present mansion, at the back of which they are about to construct a theatre and offices in Portugal Street.
Lincoln's Inn Fields was the last stage on which was closed the patriot lives of lord WILLIAM RUSSELL, and ALGERNON SIDNEY. The virtuous Russell lost his head in the middle of the square, on the 21st of July, 1683." “ Party writers,” says Pennant, " assert, that he was brought here in preference to any other spot, in order to mortify the citizens with the sight. In fact, it was the nearest, open space to Newgate, the place of his lordship's confinement: otherwise the dragging him to Tower Hill, the usual concluding scene on these dreadful occasions, would have given his enemies full opportunity of indulgiig the imputed malice.” Sidney was executed the latter end of the same year. The dispostions of these patriots were very different; one was mild and unassuming; the latter was high-spirited and rigid. They were both, however, universally lamented.
PORTUGAL STREET, is famous for having a Dramatic · Theatre, first built on the site of a tennis court, and opened by Sir William D'Avenant, who obtained a patent for it in 1662. Out of compliment to James, duke of York, it was called " the Duke's Theatre; and the performers, in contradistinction to his majesty's servants at Drury Lane, were called " the Duke's Company.” The building being found inadequate to its intended purpose, a new one was erected in Dorset Gardens, and this was deserted.
The present structure arose in consequence of some dis. putes between the managers and actors of Drury Lane and Dorset Gardens, and the latter formed themselves into an association, at the head of which was Mr. Betterton, the Roscius of the day. Their complaints having been laid before king William III. a licence was granted to act for themselves in a separate theatre; and a subscription was opened for that purpose, which the nobility very liberally supported. The new theatre was opened on the 30th of April, 1695; and continued to afford public entertainment till 170+, when complained of as a nuisance, Betterton assigned his patent to Sir John Vanburgh, who, finding these premises too small, erected one more spacious in the Haymarket, and this was abandoned. It was again opened in 1714, by Mr. Rich, whose father had been expelled for mismanagement at Drury Lane, and employed the remainder of his life in refitting it, for perforinances : the first play on this occasion was “ The Recruiting Officer." The performers, who were under the direction of Mr. Rich, were so much inferior to those at Drury Lane, that the latter carried away all the applause and favour of the town. In this distress, the genius of Rich suggested to him a species of entertainment, which, at the same time that it hath been deemed contemptible, has been ever followed and encouraged. Harlequin, Pantaloon, and all the host of pantominic pageantry, were now brought forward; and sound and shew obtained a victory over scuse and reason. The fertility of Mr. Rich's invention in these exotic entertainments, and the excellence of his own performance, must at the same time be acknowledged. By means of these only, he kept the managers of the other house at all times from relaxing their diligence; and, to the disgrace of pub. lic taste, frequently obtained more money by ridiculous and paltry performances, than all the sterling merit of the rival theatre was able to acquire*. In 1733, Portugal Street was shut up in consequence of Mr. Rich, and his company, removing to the new theatre at Covent Garden. In 1735, Mr. Giffard, wbo had opened a theatre in Goodman's Fields, was persuaded to take the vacant edifice, in which he and bis company acted for two years; when it entirely ceased
from being a theatre*; and having had various revolu. tions, is nosy occupied by Mr. SPODE, as a pottery and china warehouse. It was here that Macklin killed Mr. Han-' nam, in the year 1735.
Opposite is a very convenient and handsome house for the poor of St. Clement's parish; and adjoining is the burial ground, which was purchased by the inhabitants in the year 1638, as appears by a commission for a rate to wall it in, granted to them by Dr. Juxon, bishop of London. lo 1674, bishop Henchman gave them licence to build houses and shops on the north side.
CLARE MARKET is erected on what was originally called Clement's Inn Fields. In the year 1657, a bill was passed for preventing the increase of buildings, in which was a clause, permitting the earl of Clare to erect the market, which bore his title, in these fields, to be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The earl, it seems, also erected a chapel of ease to St Clement's, which is said to have been converted to dwelling houses.
That these lands were before in the possession of Holles, we have already shewn under Clement's Inn; Charles I. in 1640, granted his licence to Thomas York, his executors, &c. to erect as many buildings as they thought proper upon St. Clement's Inu Field, the inheritance of the earl of Clare, “ to be built on each side of the causeway, leading from Gibbon's bowling alley, at the coming out of Lincoln's Inn Fields, to the Rein Decr Yard, that leadeth unto Drury Lane, not to exceed on either side the number
• The shutting up this structure has been whimsically accounted for by vulgar tradition ; upon a representation of the pantomime of Hare lequin Dr. Faustus, when a tribe of demons necessary for the piece, was assembled, a supernumerary devil was observed, who not approving of going out in a complaisant manner at the door, to shew 1 devil's trick, flew up to the cieling, made his way through the tiling, and tore away one-fourth of the house; which circumstance so al. frighted the manager, that the proprietor had not courage to open the house ever afterwards.
of one hundred and twenty feet in length, or front, and sixty feet in breadth, to be of stone or brick.” *
Rein Deer Yard, was probably what is now called Bear Fard; and Gibbons's Bowling Alley was covered by the first theatre erected by Sir William D'Avenant, whence he afterwards removed to Portugal Street. Its remains are now a carpenter's shop, slaughter houses, &c. Here, during the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, in the reign of George II JOHN Henly, a disappointed demagogue, vented his factious ebullitions in this place, which he distinguished by the name of the Oratory. Possessing some abilities, he was also obnoxious to government by the publication of the “ Hyp-Doctor”, and other papers on the politics of the times.
Charles I. issued another licence in 1642, permitting Gervase Hollis, Esq. to erect fifteen houses, a chapel, and to make several streets of the width of thirty, thirty-four, and forty feet. These streets still retain the names and titles of their founders in Clare Street, Denzil Street, Holles Street, &c.
CLEMENT'S LANE, a filthy, inconvenient avenue, is noticeable for the residence of Sir JOHN TREVOR, cousin to lord chancellor Jeffries; he was bred to the law, and knighted in 1670-1. He rose to be solicitor general, twice master of the rolls, a commissioner of the great seal, and twice speaker of the House of Commons; and had the honcst courage to caution James II. against bis arbitrary conduct, and his first cousin Jeffries against his violence. Trevor was as able as he was corrupt, and had the great mortification to put the question to the house, “ whether himself ought to be expelled for bribery.” The answer was, “ Yes.” Sir John died in Clement's Lane, May 20, 1717, and was buried in the Rolls chapelt.
Returning to Picket Street, the first object of attention is the vestry rooin of St. Clement's parish, in which is * Malcolm's London, Vol. III. p. 2927*
† Noble's Continuation of Granger. See Vol. I. of the present sork, p. 309.