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XXIX. DURHAM-HOUSE AND YORK-HOUSE.
ON the south side of the Strand, a short distance to the west of Waterloo Bridge, are a terrace and several streets called Adam-street, James-street, Robert-street, and the Adelphi-terrace. They are named after Robert and James Adam, two brothers, architects in London, who rose to considerable employment and respectability towards the end of the last century. This site was formerly occupied by two old buildings of some note and interest,-Durham-house and York-house. The contrast between the present buildings and those which stood in former times on the same spot, in the derivation of their names, the purposes to which they are applied, and the scenes and associations to which they give rise, will be pleasingly interesting to the reader who wishes to have his daily walks in the streets of London as full of charming recollections as wealth and genius have made them of agreeable sights. When Durham-house was first erected by one of the bishops of Durham, for the accommodation of himself and his successors, is not known. The house, of which the following facts are narrated by Stowe, in his Survey of London, was built early in the sixteenth century. “Among other things memorable concerning this house, is this one:—In the year of Christ 1540, the 32 of Henry the 8, on May-day, a great and triumphant jousting was holden at Westmenster, which had been formerly proclaimed in France, Flanders, Scotland, and Spain, for all comers that would undertake the challengers of EngWOL. II. G
land, which were Sir John Dudley, Sir Thomas Seymer, Sir Thomas Poynings, and Sir George Carew, knights; and Anthony Kingston and Richard Cromwell, esquires: all which came into the lists that day richly apparelled, and their horses trapped all in white velvet. There came against them the said day 46 defendents or undertakers; viz. the Earl of Surrey foremost, Lord William Howard, Lord Clinton, and Lord Cromwell, son and heir to Thomas Cromwell Earl of Essex, and Chamberlain of England, with others: and that day, after the jousts were performed, the challengers rode into this Durham-house, where they kept open household, and feasted the King and Queen, with her ladies and all the court. The second day, An-thony Kingston and Richard Cromwell were made knights there. “The third day of May, the said challengers did tourney on horseback with swords, and against them 49 defendants; Sir John Dudley and the Earl of Surrey running first, which at the first course lost their gauntlets: and that day Sir Richard Cromwell overthrew Master Palmer and his horse in the field, to the great honour of the challengers. “The fifth of May, the challengers fought on foot at the barriers, and against them came 50 defendants which fought valiently; but Sir Richard Cromwell overthrew that day, at the barriers, Master Culpepper in the field: and on the 6th day the challengers broke up their household. In this time of their housekeeping, they had not only feasted the King, Queen, ladies, and all the court, as is afore showed; but also they cheered all the knights and burgesses of Commons House in the parliament, and entertained the mayor of London, with the aldermen and their wives, at a dinner, &c. The King gave to every one of the said challengers and their heirs for ever, in reward of their valient activity, 100 marks, and a house to dwell in, of yearly revenue out of the land pertaining to the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.”—Stowe, 1633, p. 494. York-house was the next to the west of Durham-house. In the words of Stowe: “Next beyond this Durham. house is one other great house, sometime belonging to the Bishop of Norwich, and was his London lodging, which now pertaineth to the Archbishop of Yorke by this occasion:—In the year 1529, when Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York, was indicted in the premunire, whereby King Henry the VIII. was entitled to his goods and possessions, he also seized into his hands the said archbishop's house, commonly called York-place, and changed the name thereof into Whitehall: whereby the archbishops of Yorke being dispossessed, and having no house of repair about London, Queen Mary gave unto Nicholas Heth, then Archbishop of Yorke, and to his successors, Suffolk-house in Southwark, lately built by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, as I have shewed. “This house the said archbishop sold, and bought the aforesaid house, of old time belonging to the bishops of Norwich, which of this last purchase is now called Yorkhouse: the lord chancellors or lord keepers of the great seal of England have been lately there lodged.”* In Queen Elizabeth's time some attempts were made to induce Sandys, Archbishop of York, to part with Yorkhouse; which he resisted. It was however occupied by Sir Nicholas Bacon, the lord keeper, in 1560; and in it his youngest son, Lord Bacon, by the learned and pious Lady Anne Cooke, his second wife, was born. In James the First's time it was occupied successively by Thomas Wiscount Brackly, the lord chancellor, and by Francis Wiscount of St. Albans. In the second year of this reign, an exchange was made of it by Archbishop Toby Mathew, of York, for some lands and tenements in the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields. “When Lord Bacon was high chancellor of England,
he procured from the King, York-house, for the place of his residence, for which he seems to have had an affection, as being the place of his birth, and where his father had lived all the time he possessed the high office of lord keeper of the great seal. Here, in the beginning of the year 1620, he kept his birthday with great splendor and magnificence, which gave occasion to the compliment expressed in the short poem below. The verse indeed, like most of Jonson's, is somewhat harsh ; but there is much good sense and a vein of poetry to recommend it to our notice. The reader will observe, the poem implies a very beautiful fiction; the poet starting as it were, on his entering York-house, at the sight of the Genius of the place performing some mystery, which he discovers from the gaiety of his look, and takes occasion from thence to form the congratulatory compliment.”—Gifford's Jonson, vol. viii. p. 440.
LORD BACON's BIRTHDAY.
“HAIL, happy Genius of this ancient pile !