« PreviousContinue »
nally frequented by the Nobility.-Cause of its Downfall.
AND ITS CELEBRITIES.
A SECOND SERIES OF
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL
MEMORIALS OF LONDON.
ELY HOUSE, GRAY'S INN, THAVIE'S INN, STAPLE INN, BARNARD'S INN.
ELY HOUSE IN ITS SPLENDOUR. -ITS INHABITANTS. PROTECTOR GLOUCESTER.-BISHOPS OF ELY.-FEASTINGS IN ELY HOUSE.-SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON AND THE BISHOPS OF ELY.-GRAY'S INN AND GARDENS. MASQUES PERFORMED AT GRAY'S INN.-FAMOUS MASQUE. —CELEBRATED MEN WHO STUDIED AT GRAY'S INN-THAVIE'S INNFURNIVAL'S INN-STAPLE INN-BARNARD'S INN.- GORDON RIOTS.
On the north side of Holborn Hill are Ely Place and Hatton Garden; the former deriving its name from the episcopal palace of the Bishops of Ely, which stood here for nearly four centuries; -the latter from the adjoining residence of Sir Christopher Hatton, the graceful courtier and eminent statesman, of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Ely House, in the days of its splendour, for at one period its palace and gardens covered an area of nearly twenty acres,-consisted of a spacious
paved court, the approach to which was through a stately gateway. On the left side of the court was a small garden; on the right were the offices, supported by a colonnade; and, at the extremity, the noble old hall, associated in our minds with many past scenes of revelry and splendour. To the north-west of the hall was a quadrangular cloister; and, adjoining it, a small meadow, in which stood the chapel, dedicated to St. Etheldreda, the patron saint of the Cathedral Church of Ely. The gardens of Ely House, long famous for their strawberries and roses, corresponded in size and beauty with the adjoining palace.
Ely House was originally founded by John de Kirkeby, who died Bishop of Ely in 1290, and who bequeathed some landed property of considerable value, for the purpose of erecting a suitable residence for his successors in the See. Considerable additions and improvements were made by successive prelates, and more especially by John de Hotham, Bishop of Ely in the reign of Edward the Third, till at length Ely House became one of the most magnificent mansions in the metropolis. Of the ancient building, all that now remains is the interesting chapel of St. Etheldreda, which, though it has suffered much from the lapse of ages, and has been sadly disfigured by modern improvements, still retains many traces of its pristine beauty. The east window, which looks into Ely Place, has been deservedly admired, and beneath it is a crypt, of the same length as the chapel. In Evelyn's
"Diary" there is more than one notice of Ely Chapel. On the 14th of November 1668, he writes: — "I was invited to the consecration of that excellent person the Dean of Ripon, Dr. Wilkins, now made Bishop of Chester. It was at Ely House: the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosin, Bishop of Durham, the Bishops of Ely, Salisbury, Rochester, and others officiating. Dr. Tillotson preached. Then we went to a sumptuous dinner in the hall, where were the Duke of Buckingham, Judges, Secretaries of State, Lord Keeper, Council, noblemen, and innumerable other company, who were honourers of this incomparable man, universally beloved by all who know him." Again, Evelyn inserts in his "Diary," 27th of April 1673 :-" My daughter Susanna was married to William Draper, Esq., in the chapel of Ely House, by Dr. Tenison, Bishop of Lincoln, since Archbishop. I gave her in portion 4000l. Her jointure is 500l. per annum. I pray Almighty God to give His blessing to this marriage."
In Ely House resided, at the close of his eventful life, John Duke of Lancaster,
Old John o' Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster.— Here he breathed his last in 1399; and here Shakespeare represents him admonishing with his dying breath his dissipated nephew, Richard the Second:
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,