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What happened to Coldharbour on Richard III’s death. . . .?


Yes, another post about Coldharbour (above) which stood  in Upper Thames Street, London. But this time it concerns an apparent omission in ownership. It is a known fact that after Bosworth, Henry VII turfed the College of Heralds out of Coldharbour and handed the property over to his mother, Margaret Beaufort. Isn’t it? I mean, there’s no doubt about this?


Heralds in procession to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle for the annual service of the Order of the Garter

Well, while following up another trail, I found myself in British History Online, specifically Old and New London: Volume 2. Pages 17-28, published originally by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878. Even more specifically, the section deals with Upper Thames Street, and thus the mansion known as Coldharbour, which has strong connections with Richard III.

The name of the house changed and was given different spellings over the years, but the house itself remained there at least from the time of Edward II until it was pulled down by the Earl of Shrewsbury who was guardian of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Here is the relevant extract:

“Among the great mansions and noblemen’s palaces that once abounded in this narrow river-side street, we must first of all touch at Cold Harbour, the residence of many great merchants and princes of old time. It is first mentioned, as Stow tells us, in the 13th of Edward II., when Sir John Abel, Knight, let it to Henry Stow, a draper. It was then called Cold Harbrough, in the parish of All Saints ad Fœnum (All Hallows in the Hay), so named from an adjoining hay-wharf. Bequeathed to the Bigots, it was sold by them, in the reign of Edward III., to the well-known London merchant, Sir John Poultney, Draper, four times Mayor of London, and was then called Poultney’s Inn. Sir John gave or let it to Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, for one rose at Midsummer, to be given to him and his heirs for all services. In 1397 Richard II. dined there, with his halfbrother John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, who then lodged in Poultney’s Inn, still accounted, as Stow says, “a right fair and stately house.” The next year, Edmund, Earl of Cambridge, lodged in it. It still retained its old name in 1410, when Henry IV. granted the house to Prince Hal for the term of his life, starting the young reveller fairly by giving him a generous order on the collector of the customs for twenty casks and one pipe of red Gascony wine, free of duty. In 1472 the river-side mansion belonged to Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter. This duke was the unfortunate Lancastrian (great-grandson of John of Ghent) who, being severely wounded in the battle of Barnet, was conveyed by one of his faithful servants to the Sanctuary at Westminster. He remained in the custody of Edward IV., with the weekly dole of half a mark. The duke hoped to have obtained a pardon from the York party through the influence of his wife, Ann, who was the king’s eldest sister. But flight and suffering had made both factions remorseless. This faithless wife obtaining a divorce, married Sir Thomas St. Leger; and not long after, the duke’s dead body was found floating in the sea between Dover and Calais. He had either been murdered or drowned in trying to escape from England. Thus the Duke of Exeter’s Inn suffered from the victory of Edward, as his neighbour’s, the great Earl of Worcester, had paid the penalties of Henry’s temporary restoration in 1470. Richard III., grateful to the Heralds for standing up for his strong-handed usurpation, gave Cold Harbour to the Heralds, who, however, were afterwards turned out by Cuthbert Tunstal, Bishop of Durham, whom Henry VIII. had forced out of Durham House in the Strand. In the reign of Edward VI., just before the death of that boy of promise, the ambitious Earl of Northumberland, wishing to win the chief nobles to his side, gave Cold Harbour to Francis, the fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, and its name was then changed to Shrewsbury House (1553), six days before the young king’s death. The next earl (guardian for fifteen years of Mary Queen of Scots) took the house down, and built in its place a number of small tenements, and it then became the haunt of poverty. . .”

Cuthbert Tunstall 1474–1559, Bishop of Durham, 1530–1559

Cuthbert Tunstall (1474–1559), Bishop of Durham (1530–1559)

Poor Cuthbert, he doesn’t look a happy man! But I digress. Ignoring the unworthy comment about Richard’s so-called ‘strong-handed usurpation’, there is, for Ricardians, a glaring omission in all this. What happened to Henry VII and Margaret Beaufort? The College of Heralds were turned out of Coldharbour before the Bishop of Durham ‘done the deed’ in the reign of Henry VIII. Yes?

Any comments, ladies and gentlemen? Is it just an error by the author of Old and New London?



An early vindication of Richard….


The following article by Annette Carson is an important and interesting read, proving that when the Tudors had gone, Richard was once again spoken of with honesty. Thank you Annette.

Coldharbour, La Tour, Pulteney’s Inn, the Manor of the Rose….


Every Ricardian knows of Coldharbour, the great riverside mansion in the city of London that Richard III turned over to the College of Heralds in 1483, which was then kicked out again by Henry VII and given to his formidable mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort (I know she wasn’t known as that by then, but it’s easier to stick to her most famous name).

Coldharbour (various spellings, too many to dwell on here) had been built by 1317, when it is recorded as being leased. Then it was purchased in the reign of Edward III by Sir John de Pulteney. The property was in the parishes of All Hallows the Great and All Hallows the Less in Dowgate Ward, with an impressive river frontage. Very desirable. Its entrance from Thames Street was through an archway beneath All Hallows the Less. This access gave rise to another name for the mansion, “La Tour”.

Pulteney’s Inn was another great London mansion. I have used this spelling of Sir John’s name, which can also be found as Poultney and a few other variants. This second property was in the parish of St. Laurence de Candelwykstrete (the name of which was changed to be named after him, St Laurence Poultney – corrupted to Pountney. This mansion also had a second name, “The Manor of the Rose”. Clearly they are separate properties in separate parishes, the only connection appearing to be good Sir John de Pulteney.

But somehow a lot of confusion has arisen, with Coldharbour being referred to as Pulteney’s Inn. Yet he lived in the real Pulteney’s Inn in the other nearby parish.  All four names appeared to have become confused, often as if they belonged to one mansion, known separately as Coldharbour, La Tour, Pulteney’s Inn and the Manor of the Rose. How has this come about? Surely not because of good Sir John? No, there is another reason for all this, and to find it we have to go back to the reign of Richard II.

In 1397 the house was the inn of John Holland I, Duke of Exeter. It was here he famously entertained his half-brother the king to a lavish dinner, prior to Richard and his powerful friends setting off to Pleshey to deal with the then Duke of Gloucester, with whom Richard was greatly displeased. Well, that is putting it mildly. I have found a specific reference (since lost) to Coldharbour being known as La Tour during Holland’s tenure.

What has this to do with Pulteney’s Inn, do I hear you ask? Well, simply that John Holland’s son, John Holland II, also Duke of Exeter, occupied Pulteney’s Inn. So, two John Hollands, both Dukes of Exeter, both in houses connected to Sir John de Pulteney. Over the years the amalgamation began, until by the time I came to check which house was which, and which one really was John Holland I’s inn, I had to wade through all four names before eventually get to the bottom of it, two houses, each with two names.

At least, I hope I have. Unless anyone knows better, it is my opinion that Coldharbour/La Tour were one house, occupied by John Holland I, and eventually given to the College of Heralds by Richard III. Pulteney’s Inn/the Manor of the Rose were also one mansion with two names, occupied at one time by John Holland II. Both mansions appeared to have been the property of Sir John de Pulteney, four times Mayor of London.

And may I add that in delving for the identification of these houses, I was helped by my good friend Eileen Bates, who knows London so very well and can find sites that would pass me by. Thank you, Eileen.

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