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his determination of defending himself to the last. Essex House was to a certain degree fortified; but having been speedily surrounded on all sides by a large force of armed men; and, moreover, artillery having been placed on the tower of St. Clement's Church, by which Essex House was completely commanded, he had no choice but to surrender. He was carried to the Tower by water; and ten days afterwards (on the 19th of February 1601) was conducted to his trial in Westminster Hall. On the 25th, he was executed on a scaffold erected in the open space in front of the Tower Chapel.
In Essex House was born the Parliamentary general, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, the only son of his ill-fated father, at the time of whose untimely end he was a schoolboy at Eton. Here, on the 5th of January 1606, when only in his fifteenth year, he was married to the abandoned Frances Howard, daughter of Thomas Earl of Suffolk, a bride of thirteen. After the ceremony, it was thought expedient to separate the youthful pair till they should arrive at riper years. Accordingly, the young Earl was sent on his travels, while the bride remained at court with her mother, a lady whose indifferent morals rendered her a most improper person for such a charge. After an absence of nearly four years, Essex returned to England, full of natural eagerness to claim his young and lovely bride. Lovely, indeed, she was, but so far was she from sharing his impatience,
that she anticipated his return with dread, having in the meantime fixed her affections on the young Earl of Somerset, the unworthy favourite of James the First. Essex, moreover,―rough in his manners and inelegant in his person,-was little adapted to soften the heart of a self-willed and high-spirited girl; and though she consented, when he claimed her as his bride, to accompany him to Essex House, he soon found himself treated with such evident dislike and disdain, that he was induced to appeal to her father. The consequence was, that she was compelled to quit Essex House for the retirement of the country, where, however, her antipathy and contempt were no less openly displayed than they had been in London. At length, completely wearied out, the Earl fell in with the views of his abandoned wife, and consented to offer no obstacle to her procuring a divorce. The sequel of this dark tale of infamy, the extraordinary circumstances under which the divorce was obtained,the marriage of Lady Essex with her lover,-their share in the fearful murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, - their trial and condemnation, and their subsequent estrangement and the detestation with which they grew mutually to regard each other, — are matters but too well known to require repetition.
In Essex House,-the scene alike of his birth and of his ill-assorted nuptials, the last Earl of Essex breathed his last, on the 14th of September 1646. The celebrated courtier and statesman, Sir
Nicholas Throgmorton, is said to have died in this mansion, not without strong suspicions of having been poisoned ;* and here also Frederick, Count Palatine of the Rhine, was lodged during his visit to England, previous to his marriage with Elizabeth, the charming daughter of James the First. The greater portion of Essex House was pulled down at the close of the seventeenth century, shortly after which the present Essex Street and Devereux Court were erected on its site. The steps leading to the Thames, which the great favourite of Elizabeth descended, when on his way to the dungeon and the block, still retain their original name of Essex Stairs.
*See, however, Camden's "Annals of the Reign of Elizabeth," where it is affirmed that he died, "while feeding heartily at supper upon a salad," at the table of Sir William Cecil.-Kennet's Complete History," vol. ii. p. 430.
LORD PROTECTOR SOMERSET.-MATERIALS USED BY HIM TO BUILD THE HOUSE.-HENRY LORD HUNSDON AND QUEEN ELIZABETH.— SOMERSET HOUSE SET APART FOR THE QUEENS OF CHARLES THE FIRST AND SECOND, AND OF JAMES THE SECOND.THEIR MODE OF LIFE THERE.-SOMERSET STAIRS.-CAUSES OF THE DEMOLITION OF THE OLD BUILDING.-CURIOSITIES DISCOVERED AT ITS DEMOLITION.-BUILDER OF THE PRESENT SOMERSET HOUSE.-EXPENSE OF BUILDING.
ON the site of the present Somerset House, in the Strand, stood Somerset Place and its princely gardens, the residence of the great Protector, Duke of Somerset. To the marriage of his sister with Henry the Eighth, this celebrated man was indebted for his magnificent fortunes. Within little more than ten years, he rose from being plain Edward Seymour to be Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of England,—to be the brother-in-law of one monarch, and the uncle of another. In 1536, on the occasion of his sister's marriage, he was created Viscount Beauchamp, and the following year, Earl of Hertford. Four years afterwards he received the Order of the Garter, and was appointed Lord Chamberlain for life; and shortly after the accession of his nephew, Edward the Sixth, was advanced to the Dukedom of Somerset, and appointed
Governor of the young King, Lord Treasurer, Earl Marshal, and Protector of the realm. These latter honours and appointments were conferred upon him between the 1st and 17th of February 1547.
It was natural that a man, whose taste for show and magnificence was at least equal to his splendid fortunes, should be desirous of acquiring a residence suitable to his exalted station. It has been supposed that he was already in possession of some land on the site of his projected palace. In addition thereto, the recent dissolution of the great ecclesiastical establishments, and his own powerful influence in the state, enabled him, by unscrupulously plundering the fallen church, to secure for himself not only large grants of land, but also the necessary materials for erecting and beautifying his projected palace. In order to save the vast expense of hewing quarries, and conveying stone from a long distance, the tower and part of the church of St. John of Jerusalem were blown up, as were also the charnelhouse, and the north cloister of St. Paul's Cathedral, -the remains of the dead, which were by this means sacrilegiously disturbed, being removed to Finsbury Fields. The church and churchyard also of St. Mary-le-Strand,-the episcopal residences of the Bishops of Worcester, Llandaff, and Chester in the Strand, were also razed to the ground, in order to enable the Protector to carry his designs into effect.
The architecture of the Protector's palace was a mixed Gothic and Grecian, a style which had been introduced into England in the reign of Henry