Liberties of the Dutchy. The Government of it.120

Liberties of the Dutchy. The Government of it.

Concerning building the old House, there goes this Story; That there being a very large Walnut Tree, growing in the Garden, which much obstructed the Eastern Prospect of Salisbury House near adjoining, it was proposed to the Earl of Worcester's Gardiner, by the Earl of Salisbury, or his Agent, that if he could prevail with his Lord to cut down the said Tree, he should have 100l. which offer was told the Earl of Worcester, who ordered him to do it, and take the 100l. both which was performed to the great Satisfaction of the Earl of Salisbury, as he thought: But there no great Kindness betwixt the two Earls; The Earl of Worcester soon caused to be built in the Place of the Walnut Tree, a large Brick House, which then took away the whole East Prospect.

The Occasion of building the Earl of Worcesters

Near unto this House, was Salisbury House, already spoken of; built by Sir Robert Cecil, Kt. (principal Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, made Lord Treasurer and Earl of Salisbury by King James the First,) being both large and stately, and called Salisbury House; and to make it commodious for Passengers he caused the High Street of the Strand, near adjoining to be levelled and paved.

Salisbury House.

This House afterwards became two, the one being called, Great Salisbury House, as being the Residence of the Earl, and the other Little Salisbury Houe; which was used to be let out to Persons of Quality; being also a large House; and this was above 28 Years ago contracted for, of the then Earl of Salisbury for a certain Term of Years to build on, and accordingly it was pulled down and made into a Street, called Salisbury Street, which being too narrow, and withal the Descent to the Thames too uneasy; it was not so well inhabited as was expcted. Another Part, viz. that next to great Salisbury House and over the long Gallery, was converted into an Exchange, and called the Middle Exchange, which consisted of a very long and large Room, (with Shops on both sides,) which from the Strand run as far as the Water side, where was a handsome Pair of Stairs to go down to the Water side to take Boat at, but it had the Ill Luck, to have the nick Name given it of the Whores-nest: Whereby, with the ill Fate that attended it, few or no People took Shops there, and those that did, were soon weary and left them. Insomuch that it lay useless, except three or four Shops towards the Strand; and coming into the Earl's Hands, this Exchange, with great Salisbury House, and the Houses fronting the Street are pulled down, and now converted into a fair Street called Cecil Street, running down to the Thames, having very good Houses fit for Persons of Repute; and will be better ordered than Salisbury Street was. And the Houses next the Strand, which are lofty and good, will no doubt be taken up by good Tradesmen. The East side of this Street is only in this Parish, the West side being in that of St. Martins in the Fields.]

Salisbury Street.

Middle Exchange.

Cecil Street.

J. S.

Thus much for the Bounds and Antiquities of this Liberty. Wherein I have noted Parish Churches twain, sometime three: Houses of Name, six; to wit, the Savoy, or Lancaster House, now an Hospital, Somerset House, Essex House, Arundel House, [which two last are now built into fair Streets down to the Water side,] Bedford or Russel House, and Sir Robert Cecil's House, [afterwards called Salisbury House, now built into Streets also, as the other Houses,] besides Chesters Inn, or Strand Inn sometime and Inn of Chancery, &c.

Churches and great Houses in this Liberty.

This Liberty is governed by the Chancellor of that Dutchy at this present, * Sir Robert Cecil, Kt. Principal Secretary to her Majesty, and one of her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Counsellors. [And after him it was governed by Sir John Deckham, Kt. Chancellor of the said Dutchy, and one of his Majesty King James the First, his Privy Counsellors.] There is under him a Steward that keepeth Court and Leet for the King, he giveth the Charge, and taketh the Oaths of every under Officer.

Governed by the Chancellor of the Dutchy.

*Viz. Ann. 1598. When Stow first set forth his Survey.

A. M.

Steward of the Dutchy.

Then are there four Burgesses, and four Assistants, to take up Controversies; a Bailiff, who hath two or three under Bailiffs, that make Arrests within that Liberty; four Constables, four Wardens, that keep the Lands and Stock for the Poor: four Wardens for High Ways: a Jury or Inquest of fourteen or sixteen, to present Defaults; four Alecunners, which look to the Assize of Weights and Measures, &c. Four Scavingers, and a Beadle. And their common Prison is Newgate.

Officers of the Dutchy.

There is in this Liberty fifty Men, who are always to be at an Hours Warning, with all necessary Furniture, to serve the King as Occasion shall require. Their Charge at a fifteen is 13s. 4d. Thus much for the Suburb in the Liberty of the Dutchy of Lancaster.

Fifty Men here always ready to serve the King.

Among these Suburbian Territories on this side, in the Way towards Tyburn, there are certain new and splendid Buildings, called, in Honour of his present Majesty, HANOVER-SQUARE: Some finished, and some erecting; consisting of many compleat, noble Houses. One whereof is taking by my Lord Cowper, late Lord High Chancellor of England. And it is reported, that the common Place of Execution of Malefactors at Tyburn, shall be appointed elsewhere, as somewhere near Kingsland; for the removing any Inconveniences or Annoyances, that might thereby be occasioned to that Square, or the Houses thereabouts.


J. S.