Holy wells and healing springs go back into history, and are still with us now. Maybe our belief in them has been tempered by the cynicism of the modern age, but many people still believe in them—and still resort to them.
Holy wells and healing springs go back into history, and are still with us now. Maybe our belief in them has been tempered by the cynicism of the modern age, but many people still believe in them—and still resort to them.
The above is the only illustration I can find that might be part of the original palace at Sheen. Or, it could be part of Richmond Palace.
Tracing details of the original royal palace at Sheen, on the banks of the Thames, is not an easy task, because its Tudor replacement, Richmond Palace, rather steals the limelight. Henry VII decided to rebuild and rename Sheen after his father’s title, Richmond. So illustrations of Sheen almost always turn out to be this replacement building, which was built upon the remains of Sheen. On 9th April, 1395, the first palace was ordered to be razed to the ground by a grief-stricken Richard II, because his adored wife, Queen Anne, had died there suddenly the previous summer, of the plague it is thought .
The erstwhile Time Team went to the site to successfully seek remains of Richmond Palace in the grounds of the Trumpeter’s House. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtCy_P5uM7I
This original royal palace is described in The Court of Richard II by Gervase Mathew:-
“Sheen (with its annexe of royal lodgings called La Neyt) was larger than Eltham and perhaps, in the 1390s, more important. It had been part of the royal manor of Kingston in Surrey. Edward III had spent £2,000 on converting it into a palace, and had died there on 21st June, 1377. Free-standing, timber-framed buildings were arranged around two large courts; the postern of the Down Court opened on to the Thames and the royal barges moored there. Close to it there was an island called La Neyt, where Richard had a Royal Lodging built between 1384 and 1388; he thus secured a privacy that had been unknown to any previous king. The Lodging was fragile and luxurious: 2,000 painted tiles were commissioned for ‘the chamber assigned to the King’s bath’. This suggests that the walls as well as the floors of the room were tiled; it probably centred in the ‘cuva ad Balneam’, a bath with large bronze taps for hot and cold water.
“Across the river the palace continued to grow and all Richard’s additions to it were marked by two novelties: personal latrines, which were most probably conceived as a part of elegance; and fireplaces in small rooms, which perhaps like hot baths had become an essential part of comfort.
“He built three more Great Houses for his courtiers: the first consisted of nine chambers, each with its latrine; the other two were of four chambers with four latrines and four fireplaces. Later he added a set of chambers with eight fireplaces.”
So, until Anne’s death, Sheen was clearly very important indeed to Richard. So much so that he had a very private house/pavilion built on a close-by island in the Thames. Was the island itself called La Neyt? Which island was it? How close by? Those of us who know anything about Richard II, will know about La Neyt. It was where Richard and Anne could be alone together, very privately, and so must have been a very treasured royal bolthole.
There are three islands in the Thames at Richmond. Well, an island and two islets. The latter are known as the Flowerpots, and are far too small to have supported a royal pavilion, even a modest one. The island is now called Corporation Island. Not a very romantic name, but it is big enough to have housed a royal lodging. Was it the site of Richard’s La Neyt?
I have not been able to find out anything more definite, or indeed if there have ever been excavations on this island. Surely archaeologists would discover remains—foundations at least—if there had been a 14th-century building there?
If anyone knows more, I would love to know.
According to Alison Weir, Henry VII was a little twitchy about his descent from John of Gaunt’s notorious mistress (and eventual wife) Katherine de Roët/Swynford. Between them, Gaunt and Katherine produced an illegitimate line of children, the Beauforts, which wasn’t/was/wasn’t legitimate/in line of succession, according to different monarchs. Henry VII was a Beaufort, so you can imagine which side of the argument he was on! Katherine might also have still been married to her first husband, Sir Hugh Swynford, when she conceived the first Beaufort, which was something else to make Henry VII shift uncomfortably. I am only surprised that Henry did not attempt to claim Katherine was descended from King Arthur. Henry was very keen indeed to prove that he and his line were rightful Kings of England because they had Arthur’s blood in their veins.
Anyway, I quote (from Weir’s biography of Katherine):-
“. . .The epitaph on John of Gaunt’s tomb in Old St Paul’s Cathedral, which was lost in the Great Fire of 1666, described Katherine as eximia pulchritudine feminam – ‘extraordinarily beautiful and feminine’. This epitaph was not contemporary but was placed on the restored sepulchre in the reign of Henry VII, who was desirous of restoring the good reputation of this rather dubious ancestress. It is unusual to find words of this kind in an epitaph – the emphasis is usually on virtue and good works – but since Henry VII could hardly laud Katherine’s virtue, it is possible that he ordered reference to be made to her beauty because it was one of the things people did remember her for, and it may even have been referred to in the original tomb inscription, which had been destroyed in living memory. . .”
So, Henry Tudor was up to more of his usual meddling tricks? Making sure posterity was recorded as he wanted it recorded? What a surprise. BUT, in one thing Katherine herself signally failed. Her extraordinary beauty did not descend to Henry or his Beaufort mother!
Sources for the above illustration: The lost tomb of John of Gaunt and his wife Blanche, old St.Paul’s Cathedral, London. From The History of St Paul’s Cathedral in London by William Dugdale, 1658. Originally from Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection at University of Toronto. Likeness of Henry VII from civ6customization.gamepedia.com
Richard, Duke of York and his second son Edmund were killed at the battle of Wakefield at the bitter end of 1460. Within weeks, the Duke’s eldest son Edward was on the road with a mighty army, seeking revenge–and a crown.
The novella BLOOD OF ROSES by J.P. Reedman covers the period from the Duke’s death to Edward’s Coronation on June 28 1461. Edward’s early battles are curiously sidelined in most fiction, despite their importance, while his amorous pursuits often seem to take the fore! This ‘slice of life’ fiction book tries to redress that balance slightly.
In February 1461 Edward fought the first of his battles for the throne at Mortimer’s Cross, where the parhelion, the Three Suns, appeared in the sky. Edward sensed the fear and doubt growing in his men at the sight of this phenomena, and, aged only 18, showed great cleverness in convincing them it was a GOOD omen–the sign of the Holy Trinity. The battle went decively for the Yorkists, with Jasper Tudor’s father Owen being executed in Hereford’s town square. Legend says a deranged lady took his head and sat on the market cross crooning to it as she brushed its hair…
With Edward were the Croft family of Croft Castle, which is on the Welsh borders. This is the family made famous by the letter sent from Ludlow to the Duke of York by his young sons, Edward and Edmund, asking for bonnets and other items. At first reading, one section of the letter seems to be against bullying behaviour by the Croft sons, who were also at Ludlow, but is in fact, on second reading, against the ‘odious and demeaning’ treatment of them, a fact recently noted by Dr John Ashdown-Hill. Richard Croft went on to serve Edward IV (so clearly no friction there!), then Richard III and Henry Tudor.
Mortimer’s Cross was a great victory but there was then a distinct setback when the Earl of Warwick was defeated by the Lancastrians at St Albans, and King Henry, until then a Yorkist prisoner, taken to rejoin his wife, Margaret of Anjou. Nonetheless, Edward entered London and was proclaimed king, although he sworehe would not wear the crown until he had defeated his enemies utterly. Gathering his army, he began a hard march north.
At Ferrybridge, the Lancastrians attacked the Yorkists over the damaged bridge crossing the Aire, in a night-raid led by Lord Clifford, the presumed murderer of Edmund of Rutland, who had appeared suddenly with his ‘chosen’ men, the Flower of Craven. At first the Yorkists were thrown into disarray, with Lord Fitzwalter being hewn down the moment he stepped from his tent to see what the commotion outside was about. Luckily, William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, the most experienced commander of the Yorkist host, took the lead and crossed near Castleford to attack the Lancastrian flank. Fauconberg was a small-framed man, often described as ‘little Fauconberg’ who had a long military career, having served in France, including at the famous Siege of Orleans. He was an uncle of Edward, being the third son of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland and his wife Joan Beaufort (Edward’s maternal grandparents.) Fauconberg made short work of Clifford’s Flower of Craven, and Clifford himself was killed, mostly like by an arrow when removing his gorget.
Then the Yorkist army pushed on to Towton, fought on Palm Sunday and in a fierce snowstorm. Some have questioned the possibility of a snowstorm that late in the year, but looking at our recent March weather, it is not impossible at all that there was indeed heavy snow! The bad weather was advantageous to the Yorkists, with the worst of the weather being at their backs and driving into the faces of their enemies. The Lancastrian archers were at a distinct disadvantage with the strong wind blowing their arrows astray.
The battle was hard fought, nevertheless, as the Lancastrian forces far outnumbered those of the Yorkists. However, when the Duke of Norfolk’s contingent arrived, led by John Howard, the battle finally turned in Edward’s favour. A rout ensued and the battlefield became a killing field. The waters of nearby Cock Beck ran red with blood and filled with bodies. The area was afterwards called Bloody Meadow.
It was the bloodiest battle ever fought on English’s soil, with figures as high as 28,000 stated for the casualties. Even given the exaggeration of the chroniclers of the day, it was undoubtedly a huge amount of slain. In recent years some of the remains of the fallen have been recovered, mostly around Towton Hall, where archaeologists recently found the remains of Richard III’s chapel to the fallen soldiers subsumed into the inner fabric of the hall. The skeletons recovered showed the terrifying brutality of medieval warfare–shattered skulls, slashing injuries, facial mutilation, slicing marks that may have been the removal of ears…
Chivalry died a death upon this field of blood. But England had a new king–Edward of York, the Sunne in Splendour.
BLOOD OF ROSES IS AVAILABLE IN KINDLE AND PRINT FROM AMAZON
Even the New York Times gets it wrong! Apparently an earlier version of a book review had Richard being found in London, not Leicester. Someone advised them, and the error was corrected.
Anyway, to read the whole review of A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYONE WHO EVER LIVED: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford, go here.
Certain ‘books’ (ahem) often go on about Richard III’s supposed unpopularity and describe his brother Edward IV in glowing terms, putting him forth as a universally loved and admired monarch. (Even worse are those writers who make the brave, ruthless, warrior-King Edward into some kind of hapless old duffer, totally cowed and pushed about by his little brother, and seemingly hardly aware of his supposedly ‘evil machinations.’)
However, I came across this reference to someone from 1461 who was DEFINITELY not best pleased at the crowning of the handsome young Edward. A certain London notary got in hot water with the authorities for saying in public, ‘twutte and tourde for hym! I [would rather see] the hunting of a duck as him’ [KB 145/7/1]’
It is an extraodinary statement, not only because he was insulting a new King who had just won a very bloody battle indeed, but for his liberal usage of the profanities ‘twutte’ and ‘tourde’. Other than the spellings, how very modern his outrage (and bad language) seems!
Anne Montgomery nee Darcy. One of the much respected Ladies of the Minories from the window of Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk.
Shakespeare said ‘all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players’. Following on from that if we may be allowed to say that the Wars of the Roses were a stage then surely some of the saddest players on it were the ladies of the Minories – the widows, mothers, sisters and daughters of some of the main players of that tragic and violent period who survived their menfolk but in what must have been difficult and sometimes straightened circumstances. I have here leaned heavily on W E Hampton’s excellent article, the Ladies of the Minories (1)
The Abbey of the Minoresses of St Clare without Aldgate was founded by Edmund Crouchback Duke of Lancaster and his wife, Blanche of Navarre, in 1293 for the nuns that Blanche had brought to England with her. Surviving until 1539 the abbey, which was very large, was surrendered by the last abbess, Dame Elizabeth Savage, to Henry Vlll. The abbey had already suffered what must have been a catastrophic loss in 1515 when 27 nuns and other lay people i.e. servants died of the plague (2)
Edmund Crouchback, illustrations of his tomb in Westminster Abbey by Stothard from Monumental Effigies of Great Britain 1832
According to Edward Tomlinson who wrote A History of the Minories there is an old manuscript in British Museum ‘which appers to have escaped the notice of any historian’ which states that Edmund’s ‘hart ys buryed at the North end of the high Awter in the mynorysse And his body ys buryed at Westminster in the Abbey’. This manuscript which is probably a transcript from a register kept in the Abbey contains ‘the names of all p sones beyng of Nobull Blode whiche be buryed wthin the Monastorye of the mynnorysse’. The names of these illustrious burials are too numerous to name here but a few..
Dame Elizabeth Countess of Clare
Dame Isabel daughter of Tomas of Woodstock Duke of Gloucester
Margaret Countess of Shrewsbury daughter of Humphgrey Duke of Buckingham
Agnes Countess of Pembroke
Eleanor Scrope wife to Lord Scrope and Daughter of Raufe/Ralph Neville
Edmunde De La Pole and Margaret his wife
Elizabeth de la Pole, Edmund’s daughter (3).
Among those burials I am focusing here on those from the turbulent period of the Wars of Roses and the fall of the House of York..
I shall start with one of the leading ladies of this little band, Elizabeth Mowbray nee Talbot, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Talbot lst Earl of Shrewsbury and sister to another lady of great importance from the period, Eleanor Butler. Mother to the tragic Anne Mowbray child bride to Richard of Shrewsbury, Edward IV’s youngest son. Elizabeth lived in the Great House within the Close for which she paid a rent of 10 pounds. Elizabeth it will be remembered, on the sudden unexpected death of her husband was forced soon after to take a diminished dower in order to augment the revenue of her young son-in-law. Frustratingly Elizabeth’s thoughts on this were, as far as is known, never recorded. The marriage of her daughter Anne to the youngest son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville, whose own marriage had ruined her sister, Eleanor, ensured that the vast Mowbray estates would pass to Richard if it should come to pass that her daughter died, which as it transpired is exactly what happened. Anne died shortly before her 9th birthday at Greenwich one of her mother-in-law’s favorite homes. Anne was buried in Westminster Abbey but her body was removed from there in 1502 when the chapel she was buried in was demolished to make way for Henry Tudor’s grandiose new chapel. Anne was returned to her mother at the Minories and buried there – ‘Dame Anne Duches of yorke doughter to lord moumbray Duke of Norfolke ys buried yn the sayed Quere’ (4)
Elizabeth Mowbray, nee Talbot, Duchess of Norfolk as depicted in the window of Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk.
Although the glory days must have been over for Elizabeth with the demise of her husband – her retirement to the Minories would have been a serious case of downsizing – a look at her will tells us that she had not lost absolutely everything as did her daughter’s mother in law, Elizabeth Wydville, whose pitiful will tells us that she was left more or less destitute. Ah well Karma is a bitch as they say.
Jane Talbot, sister-in-law to the above, having married Sir Humphrey Talbot. Humphrey was the son of John Talbot by his second wife Margaret who was a daughter of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Jane’s interesting will which left numerous bequests especially to her servants also requested that ‘I Dame Jane Talbott, wedowe late the Wif of sir Humfrey Talbott knyght… my body to be buried within the inner choer of the churche of the Mynores withoute Algate of London nygh the place and sepulture where the body of Maistres Anne Mongomery late the wif of John Mongomery Squyer restity and ys buried within the same quere’.
Anne Montgomery widow of John Montgomery who was executed in 1462, brother of Sir Thomas Montgomery, Sir James Tyrell was her nephew. Anne was clearly a person much revered. As well as Jane Talbot, Elizabeth Mowbray also requested to be buried close to her in her will made 6 November 1506 – ‘And my body to be buried in the Nonnes qwere of the Minorsesses without Alegate of London nyghe vnto the place Wher Anne Montgomery lyeth buried’.
Mary Tyrell. According to Hampton ‘Almost certainly one of the sisters of Sir James Tyrell – probably the youngest – and therefore a niece of Anne Montgomery (5 )
Elizabeth Brackenbury. Daughter to the loyal Sir Robert Brackenbury, Richard III’s Constable of the Tower, who died with his king at Bosworth. Hampton mentions that Elizabeth”s poverty was clear in her will of 1504 and that she found shelter under the wings of the Talbots and requested in her will that her debts to Elizabeth were to be paid – ‘I Elizabeth Brakkynbury..beyng of goode and hole mind’ – all such money ‘as my lady’s grace of Norff’ to whom I am most specially bounde’ had paid, or was charged with, for Elizabeth ‘of her charitie’ was to be repaid (6). Hampton also adds that there was some connection between Sir Robert and Sir Thomas Montgomery which could partly explain his daugher’s connection to these ladies, although it is not certainl if Brackenbury’s daughter was an inmate at the time of Anne Montgomery’s tenancy at the Minories.
Hampton wrote ‘All of these ladies, with the possible exception of Jane Talbot had suffered great loss, but it would perhaps be unwise to to think too much of them as sheltering in the Minories, where life may not have been too severe. They may as Dr Tudor-Craig suggests have gathered around the Duchess yet Anne Montgomery’s influence may have been greater spiritually’.
While some ladies had been most grieviously injured by Edward IV and his Wydeville wife – i.e. the shabby way Elizabeth Mowbray was forced to augment the revenue of her small son-in-law, the betrayal of her sister, Eleanor, the executions of William Tyrell and John Montgomery, further injury was inflicted by Henry Vll with the unjust attainder of Sir Robert Brackenbury and the execution and attainder of Sir James Tyrell.
Wynegaerde’s Panorama of London (1543) in which the Minories can be seen just above and to the left of the White Tower/Tower of London. . Note the close proximity of the scaffold on Tower Hill, shown to to the left of the Minories.
Doubtless they were great comforters of each other and it is very easy to imagine them being of a great solace to Elizabeth Mowbray when her daughter’s remains were returned to her.
The beginning of the end for the once grand Minories came when the last abbess, Dame Elizabeth Salvage surrendered the abbey to Henry Tudor Jnr in 1539. Stowe describes how in place of ‘this house of nuns is now built divers fair and large storehouses for armour and habiliments of war, with divers workhouses serving to the same purpose’ although there is ‘a small parish church for inhabitants of the close, called St Trinities’ (7) Some of the abbey walls survived until a fire in 1797. Around 1566 the parishioners came into possession of what had once been the Minories church but was now the parish church and set about ‘renovating’ it. This involved the removal and destruction of ancient monuments and the adding of a steeple. Finally around 1705 , having surived the Great Fire of 1666, begun the final destruction of the fabric of the ancient church and the rebuilding of a new one although the medieval northern wall was retained.
Diagram of the 18th century Holy Trinity church showing the north 13th Century retained. This wall managed to survive the fire and bombs until clearance of the site in 1956-58.
The remains of the abbey after the fire in 1796
Another print showing the abbey remains after the 1796 fire.
It would have been about this time that the building of new burial vaults was begun and in the process of which, the ‘greater part of the ground beneath the parish church must have been evacuated which would have not been achieved without the unfortunate removal of the remains of those, who in the past centuries, would have been buried there’ (8). Alas!
The 18th century church was finally destroyed after being bombed during the war. But that is not the end of the story of our intrepid band of Minory ladies or indeed the Minories itself, for in 1964 the remains of Elizabeth’s daughter, Anne Mowbray were discovered by an excavator driver in a vaulted burial chamber of the Minories which had somehow been, fortunately, overlooked. Anne was once again reinterred in Westminster Abbey as close to her original burial place as possible…but, that dear reader is another story.
18th century Holy Trinity Church prior to its destruction by a bomb. It was in the excavation of this area after the war that Anne Mowbray’s remains were discovered in a vault.
Holy Trinity Church looking slightly less stark in this painting,1881, artist unknown.
The area now covering where once stood the Abbey of St Clare (The Minories). Such is progress.
1. The Ladies of the Minories, W E Hampton, Richard lll Crown and People p195-201
2. A Survey of London Written in the year 1599. John Stowe pp 122.1233.
3. A History of the Minories pp68.69 Edward Murrey Tomlinson M.A
4. Ibid p 69.
5. The Ladies of the Minories W E Hampton, Richard lll Crown and People p.19
6. Ibid p.198
7. A Survey of London Written in the year 1599. John Stowe p.128.
8. A History of the Minories p 299 Edward Murrey Tomlinson
These days, the London Stone (also called the Brutus Stone) is set into the wall of the Bank of China on the south side of Cannon Street, EC4. Well, part of it is. Just the tip. The entire Stone stood originally in Candlewick Street (Cannon Street) on the south side near the gutter, facing the door of St Swithin’s church on the north side of the street.*
Made from Clipsham limestone, the displayed portion is roughly shaped and round-topped, with two grooves worn in the top. Its origin and purpose are no longer known, but it was always of some importance to Londoners, who, as far back as 1198, referred to it as the Lonenstane. What we see today is only a fraction of the original Stone, the rest of which still lies beneath Cannon Street. There must surely be something of great interest awaiting discovery. Starting with how tall the Stone was in the beginning.
One suggestion put forward is that the Stone was of Druidic origin. The most popular theory is that it is Roman. Oh, dear, isn’t everything linked to the Romans these days? It’s as if no one in Britain had a clue about anything before they were invaded and taught how to breathe and set aside the woad. A present-day rising against those pesky Romans might not go amiss! Where is Boudicca/Boadicea when we need her?
However, I digress. One of the Roman theories is that perhaps it was a central milestone, one from which all mileage measurements in the province of Britannia were taken. A sort of Greenwich Meridian for the length of journeys. Maybe it was, we may never know. Unless they dig up the rest of it, which is still deep underground.
Excavations at Cannon Street Station have revealed the remains of the governor’s palace, which may have some bearing on the Stone. Or not. The same goes for it being the top of a Roman wayside funerary monument. Without examining the rest of the Stone, we aren’t going to know.
Stones have always been of importance in our history. For instance, there is the Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny, which many believe to be the stone that Jacob raised to bear witness to his covenant with God. Whatever that particular stone’s original history, it was for centuries fixed into the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. Our kings were crowned upon it. As had been Scottish kings before them. It has, of course, now been returned north of the border.
Another stone, less factual perhaps, is the one from which Arthur drew Excalibur, but this story is best approached with caution. Why? Because we have no idea if it is fact or fiction. As is the case with so much where Arthur is concerned. But swords and stones have an ancient connection. In his 1450 rebellion against the corrupt government of Henry VI, Jack Cade struck the London Stone with his sword, and declared that he was now the Lord of the City.
London was not founded by the Romans, they merely expanded on what was there already. A favourite myth these days is that London was actually commenced by Brutus and the Trojans, who left their own land to find somewhere to found a New Troy. They did, the name was confused into Trinovantum, and then the Romans happened along. It is wondered if the London Stone was the foundation stone of New Troy.
An exciting fact is that excavations at St Swithin’s Church revealed Roman levels some 4’-6’ below the surface. But also revealed massive stone walls some 15’ below the surface, therefore considerably predating the Romans. So, who is to say that the London Stone wasn’t from this earlier period? Just how far back might it go? Just how sacred might it have been? And to whom? Whatever, it should not be left, forgotten, in its underground tomb. Liberate it, and it may have important things to tell us.
To learn more on the London Stone, I recommend reading Appendix I of The Holy Kingdom by Adrian Gilbert, Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett. It is from this that I have taken much of the above article.
*This is how I understood its perambulations, but there are slightly differing accounts and new developments. All I can say is that as far as I now know, the top of it was in the wall of the Bank of China, but is now temporarily in the Museum of London. I think. It is a very mobile object!
I could not find an illustration of the actual original royal barge house (except that drawn in the map below) but above is an illustration of a grand barge house used by the City of London in Lambeth. The King’s Barge House may have been very similar.
The King’s Barge House was halfway between the Tower and Westminster, where the barges were moored. It was on Upper Ground, alongside Barge House Stairs, on the site of the present jetty near the OXO Tower. Here the Royal Barge Master saw to maintenance and preparation for state occasions. The barge house may have been there in the time of Henry VI and earlier, until the middle of the 17th century, when it fell into disuse and eventually crumbled away. A survey in June 1652 described it as ‘a building of timber, covered with tile, 65 feet in length, and 26 feet in breadth; but much out of repair, and valued at £8 per annum’. It was situated at the western edge of Paris Garden, near the remains of Old Barge House Stairs.
It appears that Paris Garden was almost entirely encircled by the Pudding Mill Stream, but by the start of the 17th century there was confusion about the exact boundary between it and Prince’s Meadows near the river. The problem might have arisen because the Barge House was near or over the sluice from Pudding Mill Stream into the river.
A post medieval copper alloy trade token or halfpenny from the Upper Ground near the King’s Old Barge House, Southwark dating AD1656-1674.
Nonsuch House was a “wildly eccentric, gaudily painted, meticulously carved Renaissance palace…the jewel in the crown of London Bridge. Made entirely from wood it was prefabricated in Holland and erected in 1577-79, replacing the medieval drawbridge gate. At four storeys it was the biggest building on the bridge, straddling the whole street and lurching over the Thames, affording its illustrious occupants spectacular views of the metropolis. Its tulip-bulb cupolas were admired from miles around and there was truly nonsuch like this architectural mongrel anywhere else in London.
“The fire only consumed a modern block of houses at the northern end of London Bridge, separated from the rest by a gap, and so Nonsuch House, built on the 7th and 8th arches from the Southwark end, happily survived – only to be dismantled with the rest of the houses a hundred years later.”
Thus the article below describes the amazing confection that was Nonsuch House. It did well not to be destroyed between 2-5 September 1666, when the Great Fire of London robbed posterity of some four hundred wonderful buildings. It lasted another century, but many fine, historic buildings came to grief, and the article describes and illustrates a number of them.
This is also well worth a read!