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Title: Hampton Court
Author: Jerrold, Walter, 1865-1929
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hampton Court" ***

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         HAMPTON COURT

  Described by Walter Jerrold
  Pictured by E. W. Haslehust


        [Illustration]


    BLACKIE AND SON LIMITED
   LONDON GLASGOW AND BOMBAY
             1912



  [Illustration: THE LION GATE]



  Beautiful England

  _Volumes Ready_

    OXFORD
    THE ENGLISH LAKES
    CANTERBURY
    SHAKESPEARE-LAND
    THE THAMES
    WINDSOR CASTLE
    CAMBRIDGE
    NORWICH AND THE BROADS
    THE HEART OF WESSEX
    THE PEAK DISTRICT
    THE CORNISH RIVIERA
    DICKENS-LAND
    WINCHESTER
    THE ISLE OF WIGHT
    CHESTER
    YORK
    THE NEW FOREST
    HAMPTON COURT
    EXETER


  _Uniform with this Series_

  Beautiful Ireland

    LEINSTER
    ULSTER
    MUNSTER
    CONNAUGHT



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                      Page
    The Lion Gate                           _Frontispiece_
    The Great Gatehouse, West Entrance                   8
    A Corner of Wolsey's Kitchen                        14
    Anne Boleyn's Gateway, Clock Court                  20
    Master Carpenter's Court                            26
    Fountain Court                                      32
    The Great Hall                                      38
    The Pond Garden                                     42
    East Front from the Long Water                      46
    The Wilderness in Spring                            50
    The Long Walk                                       54
    The Long Water in Winter                            58



  [Illustration: HAMPTON COURT]

    "Close by those meads for ever crown'd with flowers
    Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers
    There stands a structure of majestic frame,
    Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name."--_Pope._



I


For combined beauty and interest--varied beauty and historical
interest--there is no place "within easy reach of London", certainly
no place within the suburban radius, that can compare with the stately
Tudor palace which stands on the left bank of the Thames, little more
than a dozen miles from the metropolis and, though hidden in trees,
within eye-reach of Richmond. It is not only one of the "show places",
which every traveller from afar is supposed to visit as something of a
duty, but it is a place that conveys impressions of beauty and
restfulness in a way that few others can. It remains ancient without
having lapsed into a state of desuetude that leaves everything to the
imagination; it is a living whole far from any of the garishness that
belongs to contemporaneity. Whether seen from the outside on the west,
where the warm red brick, the varied roofs, the clustered decorative
chimneys suggestive of the Tudor time make a rich and harmonious
whole; or from the south east, where the many-windowed long straight
lines of the Orange additions show the red brick diversified with
white stone, it is a noble and impressive pile. Within, too, are
priceless treasures, themselves alone the objective of countless
pilgrimages. And recognizing the attractions of the buildings and
their contents is to take no account of the lovely grounds, and of the
crowding associations of a place that, since its establishment four
hundred years ago, has again and again been the centre at which
history was made.

Throughout our records for many centuries the valley of the Thames has
been favoured when our monarchs have sought to establish a new home.
Greenwich and London--the Tower, Whitehall, Buckingham Palace--Richmond
and Hampton Court, Windsor, Reading and Oxford, are some of the places
that have at one time or another been the chosen centre of royal life;
and Hampton Court Palace is the newest of those situated close on the
river's bank, though nearly two hundred years have elapsed since it was
a regular royal residence. It was, indeed, for something less than the
same length of time that it was in use as a home of the sovereign, but
within that period it saw two revolutions, and the change of national
conditions from the comparative mediævalism of the days of the eighth
Henry to the comparative modernity of the beginning of the Hanoverian
era. It is not, perhaps, overfanciful to see something of the lavish
richness, the opulent homeliness, of the earlier period typified in the
varied buildings, courts, and gateways of the Tudor portion of the
Palace, and the more formal grandeur of the later time in the
symmetrical stateliness of the later part.

Hampton Court Palace was the centre of many of the bluff King Henry's
hunting parties--and the scene of some of his marital excitements, and
here, too, his long-hoped-for son was born; it was the scene of
Elizabethan pageantry, and of the attempt on the part of the Virgin
Queen's successor to force other men's religion into his own
particular groove; at Hampton Court Charles the First was seen at his
best in the domestic circle and--after the interregnum--where his son
was seen at his worst in anti-domestic intrigues. Here Cromwell sought
rest from cares greater than those of a king, and here he was
stricken with mortal illness; here William and Mary dwelt, and here
the former met with the seemingly trivial accident which cost him his
life. That the "story" of Hampton Court is, indeed, a full, splendid,
and varied one is shown in the three fine volumes in which it is set
forth by Mr. Ernest Law, a work to which no writer on the history of
the Palace can help feeling indebted. Those who would learn the
intimacies and details of the history of the place have Mr. Law's
history, and those who seek a "guide" are well provided for in the
official publications. Here, I am concerned with the history of the
place only in its broader and more salient points, and with the minor
details necessary in a guidebook not at all; I seek rather to give
something of an impression of the past and present of the Palace,
something that shall at once indicate the associations of the place,
indicate its story, and hint at what there is to see, and that shall
serve as souvenir and remembrancer of that which has been seen.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT GATEHOUSE, WEST ENTRANCE]



II


It was just before he became a cardinal that Thomas Wolsey, on 11
January, 1515, took a ninety-nine years' lease of the manor of Hampton
Court from the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, and at
once set about building the magnificent pile which remains his most
enduring monument. There appears to have been here an earlier manor
house or mansion, for there is a record of Henry the Seventh visiting
it a few years before the lease was granted; but probably Wolsey did
away entirely with the older building and planned the whole place
anew. Rapidly rising in royal favour the Cardinal designed a lordly
pleasure house on the banks of the Thames, where he could worthily
entertain his pleasure-loving sovereign, and where he could hold state
in a manner that should prove impressive in the eyes of ambassadors
and other important visitors from foreign Courts.

It is said that Wolsey's health was such that it was necessary for him
to have a residence away from London, yet his position made it
essential that he should still be within easy reach of the capital;
therefore he "employed the most eminent physicians in England and even
called in the aid of doctors from Padua, to select the most healthy
spot within twenty miles of London", and the result was the selection
of Hampton and the erection of the princely Palace which has seen its
royal neighbours of Hanworth and Richmond pass from palaces to mere
fragments, and Nonsuch disappear entirely.

Having acquired his new manor Wolsey lost no time in getting his
designs carried into execution, and the magnificent edifice, built
about five courts or quadrangles, grew so rapidly that in 1516 he was
already able to entertain Henry the Eighth here. The whole Palace was
of red brick, and surmounted by many castellated turrets topped by
ornamental lead cupolas. The western portion of the buildings probably
gives us a very fair idea of the whole as it was planned, though all
the turrets from this aspect are wanting their cupolas, though the
gatehouse is less lofty than it was originally and though some more
westerly buildings have disappeared.

As the Cardinal waxed in importance his stately palace grew until its
magnificence set tongues wagging, and it was said that the Churchman's
residence outshone in splendour the castles of the King. John Skelton,
in his satire _Why come ye not to Court?_ probably only gave fuller
expression to things which many people were saying, when the powerful
favourite was approaching the period of his declination:

    "Why come ye not to court?
    To whyche Court?
    To Kynge's courte,
    Or to Hampton Court?--
    Nay, to the Kynge's court:
    The Kynge's Courte
    Shulde have the excellence;
    But Hampton Court
    Hath the preemynence.
    And Yorke's Place
    With my lord's grace,
    To whose magnifycence
    Is all the conflewence,
    Sutys and supplycacons
    Embassades of all nacyons."

York Place was Cardinal Wolsey's scarcely less magnificent residence
at Westminster.

Whether inspired by jealousy owing to the things said of the state
upheld by Wolsey, or whether his repeated visits simply inspired the
monarch with envy of his Chancellor's new palace cannot be said, but
when Hampton Court had been building for ten years King Henry, we are
told, asked the Chancellor why he had erected so magnificent a place.
"To show how noble a palace a subject may offer to his Sovereign," was
the reply of the Cardinal--a truly courtly and an unquestionably
costly compliment. The King accepted the noble gift, but Wolsey
continued from time to time to occupy his own whilom palace at Hampton
and was besides given permission to make use of the royal palace at
Richmond. This was in 1525, and already it may be the shadow of coming
events was over both the powerful Churchman and the fickle King,
though Wolsey was still three or four years from that final downfall
which was soon followed by his death.

Though the ownership of Hampton Court had passed from the subject to
the sovereign, the former continued on occasion to do the honours of
the place to distinguished visitors. In 1527, for example, there came
a noble "ambasset" from France, and arrangements were made for the due
entertainment here of the French nobles and their retinue. A full
account of it is given in George Cavendish's _Life and Death of Thomas
Wolsey_, the earliest of our biographies and assuredly one of the most
delightful. There is not space here to transcribe Cavendish's full
account of the splendid entertainment accorded to "this great ambasset
... who were in number above fourscore and the most noblest and
worthiest gentlemen in all the court of France"; but the biographer,
who was gentleman-usher to the Cardinal, and thus well situated for
giving an authoritative record of things, was also an admirable
narrator, and from his description we may get a good idea of Tudor
prodigality and splendour. Not only were there the fourscore French
nobles, but there were also their trains and the many home visitors
who must have been invited to accompany them; so that two hundred and
eighty beds had to be arranged. We are told how the best cooks were
brought together, and wrought day and night in the preparing of
"divers subtleties and many crafty devices", how the purveyors
"brought and sent in such plenty of costly provisions as ye would
wonder at the same", and further:

    "The yeomen and grooms of the wardrobes were busied in
    hanging of the chambers with costly hangings, and
    furnishing the same with beds of silk, and other
    furniture apt for the same in every degree. Then my Lord
    Cardinal sent me, being gentleman usher, with two other
    of my fellows, to Hampton Court to foresee all things
    touching our rooms, to be noblily garnished accordingly.
    Our pains were not small or light, but travailing daily
    from chamber to chamber. Then the carpenters, the
    joiners, the masons, the painters, and all other
    artificers necessary to glorify the house and feast were
    set to work. There was carriage and re-carriage of
    plate, stuff and other rich implements; so that there
    was nothing lacking or to be imagined or devised for the
    purpose. There were also fourteen score beds provided
    and furnished with all manner of furniture to them
    belonging, too long particularly here to rehearse. But
    to all wise men it sufficeth to imagine, that knoweth
    what belongeth to the furniture of such triumphant feast
    or banquet."

Cavendish goes on to tell of the sumptuousness and wonder of the
entertainment which the Cardinal gave to his guests before speeding
them on their way to Windsor on the following day. Of the furnishing
of the chambers for the "fourteen score beds" prepared for the guests,
he gives details which suggest an extraordinary display of gold and
silver; but the whole account should be read in the biography of
Wolsey, where it gives us a peculiarly full and detailed description
of the splendour of banqueting in Tudor days. And it must be added,
that though "the Frenchmen, as it seemed, were rapt into paradise",
yet this feast at Hampton Court was but as "silver is compared to
gold" when contrasted with that which the King gave at Greenwich a
little later to speed his parting guests on their homeward journey. In
the full account which Cavendish gives of the feasting at Hampton
Court and in his description of the furnishings of York House,
Westminster, when Wolsey left it on his last unhappy journey, we have
glimpses of the richness and magnificence to which the great men of
the sixteenth century had attained in the heyday of Henry the Eighth.
King Henry was at Hampton Court, engaged in practising archery in the
park when George Cavendish arrived with the news of Wolsey's death,
and the bluff King paid his old and too loyal servant the tribute of
saying that he would rather have given £20,000 than he had died. The
King did not, however, let any sentiment about the builder of Hampton
Court trouble him long or interfere with his plans.

  [Illustration: A CORNER OF WOLSEY'S KITCHEN]

When the monarch came into full possession of Hampton Court he soon
converted the lease into freehold by arrangements with the Knights
Hospitaller, and at once set about having it made yet more magnificent
than before. Among his improvements was the erection of the Great
Hall--one of the finest buildings of the kind belonging to the Tudor
period that remain to us; he rebuilt, or at any rate considerably
altered, the Chapel, and made many other changes in the Palace. His
additions and alterations may sometimes be recognized by the
working of his monogram and those of his wives into the decoration, as
in the roof of Anne Boleyn's Gateway, where that unhappy lady's
initial is to be seen. For though this roof is a modern restoration,
it is a restoration believed to be in accordance with the original
design. Such evidence is not therefore always conclusive, for
sometimes the monograms are not contemporary records--as in the
windows of the Great Hall where the stained glass, full of such
personal allusions, is all modern, having been put in between sixty
and seventy years ago. Those responsible for the replacing, after a
long interval, of the glass that had been destroyed when all
concerning royalty was out of favour, worked in monograms and devices
in a way that misleads many visitors, some of whom seeing "H" and "J"
in the glass, too rashly assume that it dates from the time when Jane
Seymour was the much married monarch's queen.

When Anne Boleyn's ambition was gratified and she was made Henry's
second queen--vice Katherine of Arragon, divorced--Hampton Court
became for a time a scene of royal revelling. It was not so for long,
however, for already the King's passion was cooling. It was at Hampton
Court that King Henry's hopes of a son and heir were disappointed for
the third time, when, early in 1536, Anne there gave birth to a
still-born child. In the following May the unhappy Queen's brief
triumph was brought to a tragic close by the sword of the executioner
on Tower Hill, and on the very next day King Henry was formally
betrothed to Jane Seymour. In October of the following year Queen Jane
gave birth in this Palace, presumably in that part of the buildings
demolished more than a century and a half later, to a son who
afterwards became King Edward the Sixth. The arrival of a male heir
was no doubt a matter of great gratification to King Henry, and served
to lessen any sorrow that his easily salved affections might otherwise
have felt from the fact that the Queen only survived the child's birth
but a brief while. When he was but three days old the infant prince
was christened here in great state. The Princess Mary held her tiny
brother, twenty years her junior, during the ceremony at the solid
silver font, while the child Princess Elizabeth, herself carried, bore
the chrysm. Nine days after the christening of her son Queen Jane
died.

The birth of Prince Edward in the Palace seems to have increased King
Henry's liking for his Thames-side pleasaunce, and in 1540 he caused
the Honour of Hampton Court to be created by Act of Parliament--the
Honour including a number of manors on both sides of the Thames. But
the King further showed his liking for the place--and his scant
regard for his subjects--by making it the centre of a Chase, having a
large extent of the land on either side of the river afforested and
enclosed with palings so that, though growing corpulent and unwieldy,
he might yet be able to indulge in his favourite pastime of hunting.

At the end of July, 1540, King Henry quietly married Katherine Howard,
and in August she was openly shown at Hampton Court as his fifth
queen. Little more than a year later and the Palace saw the beginning
of the slow drama which ended with her execution on Tower Hill in
February, 1543; for it was while Henry was at Mass in the chapel here
that Cranmer put into his hands the beginning of the evidence which
was to prove a fatal net for the entangling of Queen Katherine. The
story runs that the Queen sought to have a personal explanation with
King Henry, but he would not see her after once the charges were made,
and when she tried to get to him in the chapel she was borne shrieking
away by the attendants along what is now known as the Haunted Gallery.
There her wraith has since been seen and heard!

The bluff King seems to have been little troubled by his various
pasts, nor to have been worried at all by earlier associations, for in
the summer of 1543 he was married here at Hampton Court, to the last
of his queens, Katherine Parr, in the presence of the daughters of
Katherine of Arragon and Anne Boleyn, the Princesses Mary and
Elizabeth. Thus the Palace has associations with all of the six queens
of King Henry, the one of whom Hampton Court has least memory being
Anne of Cleves, the Queen who appears never to have had even the
briefest place in the roving affections of the King, and who enjoyed
little of the Court splendour beyond the magnificence of her reception
at Greenwich. Anne was at Hampton while awaiting the decree of divorce
which followed close upon the ceremony of her marriage; and it was the
neighbouring Palace of Richmond that became the home of this Queen,
who was promptly removed from the position of the King's wife to that
of his "sister".

Edward the Sixth during his short reign appears to have been but
little associated with the place of his birth, though he was here when
the Protector Somerset was nearing his fall, and hence were sent out
frantic appeals to the people to come armed to the defence of their
youthful sovereign. Here King Edward splendidly entertained Mary of
Guise, Queen-Dowager of Scotland, on her journey through England. The
most notable association of Hampton Court with the boy-king's reign
is, however, that it was then that the aggrieved people of the
surrounding afforested area dared to give voice to their feelings and
petition against that oppression before which they had had to bow
under Henry. The petition was successful, and the district was
dechased, the palings and deer being removed.

King Edward's dour sister-successor Queen Mary and her sombre spouse
Philip of Spain were scarcely the people to make the place bright on
their occasional visits, and when they were here shortly after their
marriage it was said "the hall door within the Court was continually
shut, so that no man might enter unless his errand were first known:
which seemed strange to Englishmen, that had not been used thereto".
The most gorgeous association of the depressing couple with Hampton
Court was the Christmas feast of 1554, when the Great Hall was
illuminated "with a thousand lamps curiously disposed".

When Elizabeth came to the throne the Palace became again the centre
of much Court splendour. It is a curious fact that although
magnificence and pomp are generally more associated with Roman
Catholic than with Protestant Courts, the Tudors were exceptions to
the rule. Under Queen Elizabeth, Hampton Court saw again something of
the brilliancy and pageantry in which her father had delighted. Here
Her Majesty held high revel at Christmas on more than one
occasion--"if ye would know what we do here," wrote one in attendance
to a friend, in 1592, "we play at tables, dance--and keep Christmas".
Elizabeth had been brought to Hampton Court shortly after the marriage
of her sister with Philip, in the hope that she might be turned to
their way of religion, but though she was for a time a sort of
semi-prisoner in the Palace it became one of her favoured places of
residence after her accession. Here she toyed with the idea of
matrimony and entertained wooers or their ambassadors, and here she
held high state and gorgeous pageantry of which many records have been
kept. Elizabeth appears, indeed, to have had something of her father's
love for the place and to have added to it or embellished it from time
to time. On the south side of the Palace, Wren's reconstruction stops
short at beautiful bayed windows doubly decorated with the monogram
E. R. and the date 1568.

A foreign Duke visiting Hampton Court during Elizabeth's reign
described it as the most splendid, most magnificent royal palace of
any to be found in England or any other kingdom, and the details which
he gives seems to bear this out. More especially was he struck by what
a later verse writer described as "that most pompous room called
Paradise", a room which, according to the ducal description,
"captivates the eyes of all who enter by the dazzling of pearls of all
kinds", and "in particular there is one apartment belonging to the
Queen, in which she is accustomed to sit in state, costly beyond
everything; the tapestries are garnished with gold, pearls, and
precious stones--one table-cover alone is valued at above fifty
thousand crowns--not to mention the royal throne, which is studded
with very large diamonds, rubies, sapphires and the like that glitter
among other precious stones and pearls as the sun among the stars".

  [Illustration: ANNE BOLEYN'S GATEWAY, CLOCK COURT]



III


If under the Tudors--more especially the pleasure-loving Henry and the
display-loving Elizabeth--Hampton Court was the scene of much splendid
pageantry, under the Stuart monarchs it was the scene of more varied
happenings, even as it was the home of yet more varied rulers. The
Stuart regime began, however, quite in the spirit of the Palace
traditions, for here, during the first Christmas after James had
ascended the English throne, there were grand festivities including
the presentation of some of those masques then coming into vogue.
Indeed, Daniel's _Vision of the Twelve Goddesses_, presented in the
Great Hall here by the Queen and her Ladies of Honour on 8 January,
1604, has been described as the first true masque in the literary
sense. Many contemporary letters throw light on this Christmas
celebration, when, if one letter writer is to be believed, as many as
thirty masques and interludes were presented, when all the Court, the
foreign ambassadors and their attendants thronged to Hampton Court.
The twelve hundred rooms of the Palace did not suffice, many people
had to put up in the outbuildings, while tents were erected in the
park for a number of the servants--the fact that three or four people
died daily in these tents from the plague (then ravaging London) does
not appear to have been allowed to interfere with the festivities.
There was tilting and running at the ring in the park and other
diversions, but the masquings seem to have formed the most important
part of the celebration, and of these, of course, the chief was that
"Vision" in which the Queen took part in the Great Hall. King James
sat in state on the dais by the great oriel window, spectators were
presumably ranged in tiers along either side of the hall, and from a
"heaven" above the Minstrels' Gallery the goddesses descended to their
dancing on the floor of the hall. The "scenes" at either end of the
hall were designed by no less notable a craftsman than Inigo Jones.[1]

That same month of January, 1604, which saw here such magnificent
masquings saw also in Hampton Court a gathering of a very different
kind--a gathering which, although it proved abortive so far as its
particular purpose was concerned, yet had one remarkable consequence.
Says Carlyle in his survey of the beginnings of the seventeenth-century
prefatory to the Cromwell letters:

    "In January, 1603-4, was held at Hampton Court a kind of
    Theological Convention of intense interest all over
    England ... now very dimly known, if at all known, as
    the 'Hampton Court Conference'. It was a meeting for the
    settlement of some dissentient humours in religion....
    Four world-famous Doctors from Oxford and Cambridge
    represented the pious straitened class, now beginning to
    be generally conspicuous under the nickname _Puritans_.
    The Archbishop, the Bishop of London, also world-famous
    men, with a considerable reserve of other bishops,
    deans, and dignitaries, appeared for the Church by
    itself Church."

The one great consequence of the Conference was the undertaking of the
Authorized Translation of the Bible; for the rest, the King eloquently
"scouted to the wind" the Puritans, and threatened that if they did
not conform he would hurry them out of the country. Thus early in the
years of the Stuart rule may be said to have begun at Hampton Court
that struggle between conformity and nonconformity which was to have
momentous results later on in the same century.

When Charles the First succeeded his father as King, Hampton Court
continued a favourite royal residence. This monarch appears to have
had something of the same dread of the plague as inspired Henry the
Eighth and Elizabeth, and when it broke out in London he hurriedly
removed the Court to this Palace and issued a proclamation prohibiting
all communication with the capital during the continuance of the
visitation. He and his queen seem to have particularly favoured this
one of their palaces, and not only made frequent stays here but
continually added to the works of art and furnishings of the rooms.

Hampton Court was also to have its part in those later chapters of the
life of the vacillating king which led up to the tragic finish at
Whitehall. On 10 January, 1642, King Charles journeyed from London to
Hampton and arrived here for the last time as a free king. The
inevitable breaking-point had come, and hence he set forth to the
early scenes of civil war. He was not at Hampton Court again until the
August of 1647, and then it was virtually as a prisoner "in the power
of those execrable villains", who had the courage to regard the
welfare of the people before that of their titular ruler. Leaving his
cloak in the gallery by way of diverting suspicion, on 11 November,
1647, the King "passed by the backstairs and vault to the waterside"
and so made good his escape, and fled in a fashion that made any
reconciliation of the opposing parties impossible.

In the beginning of 1649 came the culminating tragedy and two years
later the manor of Hampton Court was sold to one John Phelps. The
Palace itself was presumably not included in the transaction, for
shortly afterwards it was occupied by Oliver Cromwell.

During the troubles between King and Parliament some damage was done
at Hampton Court--damage which may well be deplored, but which will
always be done by the least thoughtful in any such conflict. We may,
to-day particularly, regret the destruction of the stained glass in
the windows of the Great Hall, but in defence of the iconoclasts it
must be remembered that stained glass was associated by them with
those aspects of religion which they were banded together to
overthrow. Destruction is one of the most persistent of primitive
instincts, and should such an outbreak as that of the sixteenth
century occur again--there would again be wanton destruction.

Under the Commonwealth Hampton Court of course saw none of the
pageantry to which kings and queens had accustomed it, but on 18
November, 1657, it was here that Oliver Cromwell's daughter, Mary, was
married to Lord Falconbridge, and the nuptials were honoured with "Two
Songs" from the pen of Andrew Marvell, in one of which the poet used
the courtly conceit applicable to a November marriage of:

    "They have chosen such an hour
    When she is the only flower."

In August of the following year the Protector's other daughter, his
favourite one, it is said, Mrs. Elizabeth Claypole, died at Hampton
Court, and the grieved father was taken ill of the malady of which
less than a month later he died at Whitehall. In the _Journal_ of Fox
the Quaker occurs the following striking passage about a meeting with
Cromwell. "I met him riding into Hampton Court Park, and before I came
to him, as he rode at the head of his life guard, I saw and felt a
waft of death go forth against him, and when I came to him he looked
like a dead man."

  [Illustration: MASTER CARPENTER'S COURT]

After Oliver Cromwell's death it was proposed that Hampton Court
Palace should be sold, but the supporters of the Commonwealth under
Richard Cromwell were at loggerheads on the subject, one party
thinking that the place should be reserved "for the retirement of
those that were engaged in Public affairs, when they should be
indisposed in the summer season", the other, "that such places might
justly be accounted amongst those things that prove temptations to
ambitious men, and exceedingly tend to sharpen their appetite to
ascend the Throne". To-day we may say that it is fortunate that the
first party won the day, and the Parliament duly ordered "that the
House called Hampton Court, with the outhouses and gardens thereunto
belonging, and the little park where it stands, be stayed from
sale, until the Parliament takes further order". Still the Parliament
men were evidently determined that the view taken by those who
regarded such places as temptations to power should not be forgotten,
for Richard Cromwell was formally taken to task for having the
temerity to go to Hampton to hunt the deer! Then, despite the
temptation it might prove, the Long Parliament offered Hampton Court
to General Monck, but that astute man, thinking it a dangerous gift,
would accept no more than the custody and stewardship of it for
life--and was thus able to hand it over to Charles the Second on the
accomplishment of that Restoration, in which he probably already
regarded himself as an important factor.

Under the restored Stuarts the Palace became once more the scene of
brilliant Court doings. Here King Charles brought his bride, Catherine
of Braganza, and here took place the contest which preceded that
Queen's acceptance of Charles's mistress, Lady Castlemaine, as one of
her attendant ladies. An important development of the surroundings of
the Palace was made by Charles the Second in slightly shortening the
Long Canal and bordering it with avenues of limes, thus providing for
later generations a lovely vista from the east front of the buildings.

Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, the diverse diarists to whom we owe so
much of our intimate knowledge of their time, were both frequently
here, and both have left us characteristic passages about it; Evelyn
enlarging upon the art treasures and the gardens, Pepys noting that
"it was pretty to see the young, pretty ladies".


FOOTNOTE:

[1] In the preface to his reprint of Daniel's Masque, Mr. Ernest Law
has pieced together, from contemporary letters and other documents, a
very full account of a scene the splendour of which can be but hinted
at here.



IV


It is with the coming of William the Third and Mary to rule the
kingdom, a work for which James the Second had proved himself unfit,
that Hampton Court came to be formed as we know it now. King James
seems never to have stayed in the Palace after his accession, but his
daughter and her husband soon made of it a favourite and favoured
residence. It is to William and Mary that the Palace owes its
beautiful galleries and many of the art treasures in them. Calling to
his aid Sir Christopher Wren, King William resolved to rebuild a large
part of the great Tudor palace, and mould it nearer to his heart's
desire. A considerable part of the place was entirely demolished,
comprising the whole series of buildings around the Cloister Green
Court, and forming the south-eastern portion in which were the royal
rooms that formed the residential centre of the extensive palace.
Where this large part of the old edifice had been razed Wren erected,
in striking contrast to the Tudor portions left standing north and
west of it, the Renaissance building, which is probably remembered by
many visitors as the chief feature of Hampton Court. Contrasting
strongly with the earlier portions of the Palace the new fronts and
the beautiful Fountain Court yet do not clash with them, thanks to the
way in which the architect carried out his work.

While the new additions were being made to the Palace King William and
Queen Mary frequently stayed at Hampton Court, the Water Gallery--a
detached portion of the Tudor buildings standing on the riverside at
the end of what is now the Broad Walk--being furnished and decorated
to afford a temporary residence. Not only were the State Chambers
rebuilt in this reign, but the gardens were newly laid out and
planted--a work in which the Queen greatly interested herself. Despite
these vast changes yet more were contemplated, for Sir Christopher
Wren had planned a new approach and entrance on the north side. Her
Majesty did not live to occupy the State Apartments, and her death in
1694 delayed for several years the completion of the work. As for King
William, he, too, did not live long to enjoy his new palace, for
having come hither on 21 February, 1702, from Kensington Palace for a
day's hunting, his horse stumbled--presumably in Hampton Court
Park--throwing the King so that he broke his collar bone. William had
for some time been suffering in health, but when the broken bone was
set he insisted on returning to Kensington, and there he died on 8
March, just over a fortnight later.

Queen Anne was at Hampton Court many times during her reign of a dozen
years, but the story of that reign is not much associated with the
Palace, though that association is immortalized in a couplet of Pope's
_Rape of the Lock_, the scene of which comedy-narrative is set here.
Here the bold baron of the poem cut one of the tempting locks from the
fair Belinda's head, and a family feud followed which was only stopped
by Pope's delightful poem.

With the coming of the Hanoverians the importance of the Palace as a
Court centre dwindled. It is true that George the First and his son,
while Prince of Wales, were often at Hampton Court, and that the
latter when he became George the Second carried out a number of minor
alterations; but the place became less regularly and less notably a
centre of royal pageantry, though it was more than once made the
centre of state theatrical performances. King George the Third never
took up his residence here at all, owing, it is said, to the fact that
it was here that his grandfather had boxed his ears! It was, indeed,
during his long reign that the removal of many furnishings of the
Palace, and the systematic allotting of suites of rooms to people who
had some claim on royal gratitude took place. After the death of
George the Second Hampton Court ceased to be used as a royal
residence, and shortly after the accession of Queen Victoria the State
Apartments were thrown open to the public, and the Palace gradually
came to be recognized as one of the most delightful and interesting
centres of historical association within easy reach of the metropolis.



V


It has been seen that Hampton Court Palace has associations--often
peculiar and intimate associations--with our monarchs for close upon
three hundred years. In the first two chief courts, in the Great Hall,
the kitchens, the old cloisters, and the courts along the north side
of the building, it is not a difficult effort of the imagination that
is required to make us see it as it was in the brightly-attired days
of Tudor splendour and lavishness; to make us realize the arrival in
one of the courts of some noble company, when the great Cardinal was
entertaining and when King Henry was setting forth hunting; to make us
realize the hurrying of the cooks and their minions in the corridors
and cloisters about the great kitchens, the knots of idlers and
retainers in the lesser courts. In the later portions of the Palace,
the Fountain Court and the State Chambers, we may, "with the mind's
eye", see something of the more formal brightness of a later day, may
see the beaux and beauties of the early eighteenth century promenading
or "taking tea" with "proud Anna whom three realms obey".

The casual visitor to Hampton Court probably carries away two or three
definite impressions of the place, of a medley of decorated
chimneystacks, of warm red brick, of cool quadrangles, of broad lawns
and blazing flower beds, of an outlook over a boat-dotted river, of
galleries filled with a bewildering succession of old paintings, of
tapestried walls--and of the whole set amid stretching tree-grown
levels. It is, however, necessary to know the place closely to
appreciate it fully--it grows upon one, as the saying is; we should
have seen the homely court of the Master Carpenter as well as the
stately Fountain Court, the sculptures in the gardens as well as the
encyclopædic clock, the kitchens as well as the picture galleries, to
have lingered about the Wilderness in the spring as well as to have
seen the Broad Walk in the blaze of summer, to have visited in some of
the residences as well as to have passed through the public galleries,
to have been about it at all seasons and not merely to have
scampered through it as the central incident in a half-day's
excursion. It is, indeed, properly a place for restful enjoyment
rather than for hurried sightseeing; though a hurried glimpse may well
prove a provocation to further visits and more leisurely inspection.

  [Illustration: FOUNTAIN COURT]

Perhaps in beginning a ramble about the Palace and its grounds it may
be assumed that most people arrive by railway at the station which,
though it is in East Molesey at the Surrey end of the bridge, takes
its name from the palace on the Middlesex bank. This means that they
enter it--as also do those who journey from London by tramcar--at the
Trophy Gate, and have before them at once, at the end of a broad
gravel walk, the Outer Court and the rich red-brick medley of the
Tudor buildings, to which the eye is led by the severely plain row of
low barracks on the left, and a row of fine elms along the towing path
on the right. Here, at the west front, the recently-cleared moat at
once attracts attention. Until within the past year or two the gravel
forecourt extended right up to the palace walls, but excavation
revealed that the course of the moat, and the very walls of the moat,
and the old bridge approach to the Gatehouse were still plainly
traceable. The rubbish with which long since the moat had been
filled--possibly when William the Third made his alterations to the
Palace, or perhaps even earlier--was cleared away, the brick sides
revealed, the bottom of the moat neatly turfed over, and a parapet
with shield-bearing heraldical beasts erected on either side. These
heraldical beasts, it must be admitted--whether a restoration in
accordance with an old design or not--tend to spoil the approach to
the Great Gatehouse, for the whole would have gained in dignity had
they been omitted and the plain low castellated wall remained
unadorned. The similar banner-bearing heraldical beasts along the roof
of the Great Hall look far better on the skyline--but their fellows on
the eyeline below mar the dignity of the approach considerably.

The beautiful red brickwork, the various castellated turrets, and the
clusters of decorated chimneys, with the quaintly carven beasts
seemingly toboganning down the gables of the wings, together form a
fine example of Tudor architecture, though the appearance would have
been still better had the Gatehouse when restored in the eighteenth
century been kept to its original proportions, and had the leaden
cupolas not been removed from the many turrets. Two or three of those
turrets that remain in other parts of the buildings retain their
cupolas, to indicate how fine must have been the whole effect before
any had been removed. In the wall of either tower of the gateway is to
be seen a terra-cotta medallion portrait of one of the Cæsars, others
of which will be noticed in the succeeding courts.

The wing to the right as we front the Gatehouse is the south-west wing
and is worthy of special mention before entering the buildings, for
there one of Hampton Court's ghosts has been given to manifesting
itself. This is the ghost of Mistress Penn who was nurse to Edward the
Sixth. An elaborate and circumstantial story tells of the sound being
heard of a ghostly spinning-wheel, and when search was made by the
officials a small sealed-up chamber was revealed, containing nothing
but a spinning-wheel and a chair!

Entering through the Great Gatehouse--where, though the Palace is no
longer used as a residence by the royal family, a sentry is always on
guard--we reach the First Green Court or Base Court--a peaceful
quadrangle surrounded by low red buildings with the western end of the
Great Hall fronting us to the left. This, the only turfed "quad", is
the largest of them all. In the surrounding rooms are supposed to have
been many of the chambers which Wolsey allotted to his guests when
they came in such numbers as are indicated in the passage already
quoted from Master George Cavendish. Opposite us is the end of the
Great Hall to the left, and directly in front is the clock gatehouse
on either turret of which is to be observed one of those terra-cotta
plaques of the Roman Emperors which were at one time thought to have
been the work of Della Robbia, and to have been presented to Wolsey
when he was building, but which Mr. Law has shown to be the work of
Joannes Maiano and to have been ordered by the Cardinal. This gate is
known as Anne Boleyn's Gateway, in the groined ceiling (restored) of
which as we pass beneath are to be noticed around a central Tudor rose
the monograms of that unhappy Queen, Henry the Eighth, and "T. C."
repeated alternately with them--the last-mentioned initials may well
puzzle the visitor who does not know that they stand for Thomas
Cardinal, a designation which Wolsey was fond of employing.

A broad flight of steps to the left leads upwards from Anne Boleyn's
Gateway to the Great Hall, but before proceeding thither most visitors
will wish to look into the Clock Court beyond. In this Court we get
the greatest clashing of the two periods to which the Palace as we
know it to-day belongs. On the left, or north side, is the buttressed
wall of the Great Hall with above the pinnacles surmounted by the
heraldical beasts already referred to; while on the right is a
colonnade masking the Tudor buildings on that side--Wolsey's own
apartments--in most incongruous fashion. Beneath that colonnade is the
entrance to the King's Grand Staircase and so to the State Rooms now
known as the Picture Galleries.

Looking back at the gateway through which we have come we see the
wonderful clock--a veritable horological encyclopædia--which, after
lying long neglected, was in the latter part of last century restored
to its original position and set going. It was first put up in 1540
and is a remarkable survival from that time--though everything but the
dial has been renewed--seeing that we can now ascertain from it,
according to Mr. Ernest Law--though but few visitors are likely to
seek to obtain all this information from it--"the hour, the month, the
day of the month, the position of the sun in the ecliptic, the number
of days since the beginning of the year, the phase of the moon, its
age in days, the hour of the day at which it souths (that is crosses
the meridian), and thence the time of highwater at London Bridge". It
may be said that the clock needs a deal of learning, and those who
merely wish to know the time of day can find it more expeditiously by
consulting the conventional dial that fronts on the Base Court.

Two interesting matters connected with the astronomical clock are
worthy of passing mention--one is that its bell which strikes the
hours is probably the oldest thing about the Palace, for it goes back
to some years before Wolsey acquired the manor, and is mentioned among
the properties at the place where he purchased it; and the other is
that ever since the clock struck the hour at which Anne of Denmark,
the Queen of James the First, passed away in 1619 it is said to have
stopped whenever an old resident of the Palace has died. Those curious
in such matters declare, according to the historian of the Palace,
that there have been many coincidences in support of this
superstition. Perhaps the custom grew up of stopping the clock on the
occasion of a death. Beneath the dial is to be seen an elaborate piece
of relief sculpture in terra-cotta representing the coat of arms of
Wolsey supported by plump cherubs and surmounted by the Cardinal's
hat, the monogram "T. W.", and the date 1525--presumably the date of
the completion of this gateway.

On the farther side of the Clock Court is the entrance to the Queen's
Staircase, on passing through the hall at the foot of which we come to
the Chapel and the Fountain Court. At the entrance are two more of the
terra-cotta plaques to which reference has already been made.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT HALL]

Turning back for a time to Anne Boleyn's Gateway we may follow the
steps up to the Great Hall, and entering from beneath the Minstrels'
Gallery at a doorway through an elaborately carven screen, we see at
once before us one of the finest and most impressive of Tudor
halls--very similar to but not quite so large as that of Christ Church
at Oxford. Whether we look up towards the dais as we enter from
under the Minstrels' Gallery, or whether standing on the dais--raised
but a few inches from the general level of the hall--we look back
towards the Minstrels' Gallery and the blue west window above it--it
is a grand and pleasing view that we get. The tapestried walls, the
high windows, and the fine Perpendicular hammer-beam roof together
form a magnificent and pleasing whole, one of the noblest halls of its
period that the country has to show. The tapestries, in which are
depicted incidents in the life of Abraham--though time has dimmed
somewhat the splendour of their colouring--are yet remarkable links
with Tudor times, for they were purchased by Henry the Eighth and have
remained at Hampton Court ever since the period of their acquisition.
Though much restoration was done in the middle of last century the
general character of the whole was not interfered with. Then it was
that the stained glass was put in--to replace that which had
presumably been destroyed during the times "when civil dudgeon first
grew high and men fell out they knew not why"--and we may well be
grateful that the taste displayed in doing so was on the whole so well
displayed, though the garish blue of the western window above the
Minstrels' Gallery is perhaps an exception to that taste. The great
oriel window at the southern end of the dais, with the beautiful
groining above cannot fail to attract attention, and looking back from
the dais down the Hall we may notice the elaboration and richness of
the magnificent roof, which is acknowledged to be probably the most
splendid roof of the kind ever erected in England.

Though we see the Hall to-day with but a few sightseers in it, it
needs no great effort of imagination to repeople it with figures of
the past; to recall the time when it was a centre of Tudor revellings,
or when King James sat in his chair by the great oriel or Bay Window
and saw the "goddesses" descend from the "heaven" above the Minstrels'
Gallery to carry on their masquings below. At the farther end of the
dais is a door, now covered over, leading to the antechamber known as
the Horn Room.

A doorway in the eastern end of the Hall from the centre of the dais
gives into the Great Watching Chamber which runs at right angles to
it. This also is one of Henry the Eighth's contributions to the
Palace, and with its richly ornamented roof, its wonderfully elaborate
old tapestries may be regarded as one of the most fascinating and
interesting parts of it. Indeed, if we except the Great Hall itself,
this is the most remarkable part of the Tudor edifice that remains.
According to an old engraving it was in this chamber that Cardinal
Wolsey entertained the French ambassadors at the sumptuous banquet
referred to earlier.

The tapestries here, representing the Triumphs of Renown, Time, and
Fate, are particularly interesting as they form part of a series
bought by Cardinal Wolsey in 1523 and have been hanging at Hampton
Court for close upon four hundred years. They are old Flemish work,
and should be supplemented by three others if the set were complete.
These wonderful examples of ancient "art needlework" are the more
interesting from the fact of their being links with the original
Palace. It should be remembered to Cromwell's credit that, though they
were duly valued as among the available Crown assets, he refused to
permit of their removal, and thus we have in them one of the most
notable links with the gorgeous past of Hampton Court. At the farther
end of the Great Watching Chamber is a small room--the Horn Room--with
stairs leading down to the cloisters and kitchens, and with the closed
doorway giving on to the northern end of the dais in the Great Hall.

Before passing on into the Orange part of the buildings, the State
Rooms and Picture Galleries, we may retrace our steps to the outer
court, at the north side of which, passing under an archway, we go
through the delightful series of courts along the north side of the
Palace--the Lord Chamberlain's Court, the Master Carpenter's Court,
and others. Here are to be seen the narrow, irregular side courts of
the old Tudor buildings, and remnants of the past in old lead water
pipes, and in the heraldical beasts along the roof of the Great Hall
which are most effectively seen from the Master Carpenter's Court,
through which we gain access to the cloisters and the ancient
kitchens. The kitchens, which unfortunately are not thrown open to the
public, are much as they were in olden days, and afford a curious and
interesting glimpse of old-time domestic conditions, with their great
fireplaces and their "hatches", through which the dishes were passed
to the servers whose duty it was to take them to the dining-hall.

Continuing past the kitchens the passage turns to the right and comes
out at the north-west angle of the Fountain Court, before reaching
which point, however, the entrance to the Chapel is passed on the
left. On either side of the Chapel door are to be seen, carved,
coloured, and gilt, the arms of Henry the Eighth and Seymour with the
initials of the King and the Queen (of the moment) united by a true
lover's knot. The true lover's knot was but a slip knot to the fickle
king, the Queen Jane's arms and cipher but replaced the earlier ones
of Anne's.

  [Illustration: THE POND GARDEN]

The present chapel was one of King Henry's additions--Wolsey's
original chapel being either entirely demolished or so altered as
to be made anew. It has been surmised that had the great Churchman's
edifice remained it would have been something externally beautiful and
notable, whereas the present building is so much hidden that I have
more than once known visitors to point out the Great Hall as being the
Chapel. If the King did not make much of the Chapel externally, he
lavished attention on it internally, so that a German visitor toward
the close of the sixteenth century was able to wax enthusiastic as to
its splendour. Above the public entrance near the Fountain Court is
the great Royal Pew--entered from the Haunted Gallery--with a painted
ceiling.

Though the Chapel dates from Tudor times, it must be remembered that
its interior was rearranged and redecorated in the reign of Queen
Anne, and that those responsible for the work were by no means
hampered by any pedantic ideas of congruity. A matter of grievance to
many visitors is that the Chapel is not thrown open to the public. It
can only be seen at service time.



VI


Entirely different is the impression which we take away with us of the
Orange portion of Hampton Court Palace from that which remains in
memory of the Tudor parts. From the west and north we see nothing but
the medley of red brickwork, gables, turrets, and irregular
chimneystacks. From the east and south sides we get views that
contrast greatly with those of the older portions. Here we have long
straight fronts broken with many stone-framed windows, and surmounted
by a regular stone parapet that quite inadequately masks the more
modern chimneystacks. These south and west fronts are sometimes
criticized by those who regret the parts of the Tudor palace
demolished to make room for them, but they are by no means wanting in
either dignity or beauty. Their red brick--less rich in tone than that
of the Tudor buildings--is much broken with white stone ornamentation,
and the southern side as seen from the gardens through massed shrubs
is particularly fine. This part of the palace probably remains in the
memory of most visitors as being Hampton Court, and it is only natural
that it should be so, for it is the portion mainly seen from the
grounds, and it is the portion with which visitors make the most
intimate acquaintance--for within it, on the first floor, are the many
State Rooms in which are hung the magnificent collection of pictures.

To reach the State Rooms, as has been said, we enter the Clock Court
and catering across it to the right pass under the colonnade which
uglifies the front of Wolsey's rooms, and so come to the King's Great
Staircase by which the public reaches the galleries. This staircase,
its walls and ceiling painted by Verrio, has on the whole a somewhat
sombre and certainly unpleasing effect. It is true that we have in it
one of the most notable examples of Verrio's decorative achievements,
but it is an example which I frankly find unattractive. It is sombrely
gorgeous but in an unrestful fashion, with its sprawling gods,
goddesses, and heroes in all manner of impossible positions, its
pillars overhung with clouds or clouds swooping down, as though
weighted with the figures, about the pillars. Beneath in a brownish
tone are painted various "trophies". The art of decoration, one cannot
help feeling, was at the time that William the Third had this
staircase painted, at a very low ebb indeed.

Curiosity may make some visitors pause to single out from the medley
the figures of the Fates, the Cæsars, or particular gods and
goddesses, but most will pass on into the noble King's Guard Room with
its wonderful mural decoration of muskets, pikes, and pistols. Though
there are some pictures here--notably, opposite the fireplace, a large
portrait by Zucchero of Queen Elizabeth's porter--it is chiefly the
old arms marvellously arrayed in diverse patterns that take the eye.
Upwards of a thousand pieces are said to have been utilized in
decorating this room--their arrangement being made by a gunsmith who
had earlier done similar work at Windsor Castle and the Tower of
London. It may be added that he utilized his materials more
successfully than did Verrio in painting the staircase, and it is
pleasant to learn that Gunsmith Harris's work was so well appreciated
that he was granted a pension by way of reward. From the tall windows
at the farther end of the Guard Room we look out over the Privy Garden
to the river, with the terraced Queen Mary's Bower on the right.

It is not necessary to describe in detail the things to be seen in the
long succession of State Rooms, from the entrance to them by the
King's Great Staircase to the exit by the Queen's Great Staircase.
Varying in size in accordance to the purpose for which they were
designed, audience rooms, bedrooms, writing closets, or galleries, all
are lofty rooms, and some of the smallest are the most crowded with
pictures--as, for example, the Queen Mary's closet--leaving which we
pass from the rooms that occupy the first floor of the south front to
those of the rather longer east front. Details as to the paintings,
tapestries, or furnishings would alone occupy more than the space of
this little book, and the visitor in search of such details will find
them in the official handbooks. The tall windows, rising from the
window seat level, and affording beautiful views of the grounds,
form a feature of the Orange portion of the buildings, which shows a
distinct advance upon the earlier style of fenestration--picturesque
as are the smaller type of windows of the Tudor period.

  [Illustration: EAST FRONT FROM THE LONG WATER]

The southern range of rooms formed the King's suite, and passing from
the Guard Room, we go successively through: the First Presence
Chamber, in which are to be seen Sir Godfrey Kneller's "Beauties" of
the Orange Court; the Second Presence Chamber, the most memorable
thing in which is Van Dyck's fine equestrian portrait of Charles the
First; the Audience Chamber with a portrait of Elizabeth, Queen of
Bohemia, over the fireplace; the King's Drawing Room; King William's
Bedroom, with an ornate ceiling painted by Sir William Thornhill, and
the great canopied bed with time-worn crimson silk hangings; the
King's Dressing Room, in which are several Holbeins including two
portraits of Henry the Eighth; and the last of King William's rooms,
the Writing Closet, in which are to be seen Zucchero's portrait of
Queen Elizabeth in fancy dress, also a smaller one of her, and a
remarkable full length of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, in scarlet
costume.

Turning at an angle through Queen Mary's closet we pass on to inspect
the series of rooms which Her Majesty did not live to occupy, and from
the generous windows we get beautiful views of the yew-grown lawns
and the park beyond--the view straight up the Long Canal from the
Queen's Drawing Room is particularly fine, especially when the broad
gravel walks between the avenued yews are dotted with summer visitors,
and the beds are gorgeous with many flowers set in the wide greenery
of the lawn. Before reaching the Drawing Room we come to the Queen's
Gallery, hung with rich tapestry and ornamented with splendid china
vases, and the Queen's Bed Room, the bed hung with remarkably
fresh-looking ornate hangings in red and gold. Beyond the Drawing Room
are the Queen's Audience Chamber, the Public Drawing Room, and at the
end of the eastern front the Prince of Wales' suite.

Through the farther end of the Drawing Room is the Queen's Presence
Chamber, with another magnificent canopied bed, and beyond it, the
Queen's Guard Room, giving on to the stairs. These last two rooms look
out on to the Fountain Court, of which they form the northern side,
but they do not exhaust the rooms open to public inspection; for along
the eastern side of the Court is a series of smaller rooms, containing
further pictures and furnishings. Owing to the smallness of these
rooms, their darkness, and the fact that visitors can only pass
straight through them from door to door, close inspection of the
pictures is not easy. Along the whole length of the southern side of
the Fountain Court is the King's Gallery or Great Council Chamber--a
magnificent room in which used to hang the Raphael Cartoons now at
South Kensington. The room was, indeed, designed by Sir Christopher
Wren as a setting for those famous pictures; and the walls are now
covered by reproductions of them in tapestry. On the west side of the
Court is the Communication Gallery leading to the Queen's Great
Staircase, and it is worthy of note that from the last of the State
Rooms the visitor should carry away impressions of one of the most
splendid of Hampton Court's many splendid art treasures. Along the
wall here are the nine large tempera pictures by Mantegna--"one of the
chief heroes in the advance of painting in Italy"--in which are
represented "The Triumph of Cæsar". Says Mr. William Michael Rossetti,
"these superbly invented and designed compositions, gorgeous with all
splendour of subject-matter and accessory, and with the classical
learning and enthusiasm of one of the master spirits of the age, have
always been accounted of the first rank among Mantegna's works".
Though in part restored, these paintings, by an artist who died more
than four hundred years ago, are full of interest for their vivid
presentation of a rich imagination of a great historical event. In
front of the victor--in the last of this series of paintings--is borne
a device bearing his famous words "Veni, Vidi, Vici"--and it is
worthy of recollection that one tradition places the scene of Julius
Cæsar's final victory over the Britons at Kingston, not far from where
this splendid delineation of his triumphal pageant on his return to
Rome has hung for close upon three centuries. Though it is a fine
final memory to bring away from the rooms, it is perhaps to be
regretted that this series of paintings is in the last of the
galleries through which we pass; for, as I have learned from various
visitors--after going through more than a couple of dozen rooms and
galleries, housing about a thousand pictures, and tapestries besides
other articles of interest--the eye has become wearied and the mind
overcharged with an embarrassment of riches. Several people have told
me that they have come through these last galleries scarce noticing
what was on the walls at all. It is a pity that the rule of having to
pass through the rooms always in one order cannot be maintained only
on Sundays, holidays, and such days as there are crowds, when such
order is necessary for the comfort of all; at other times, when there
are but few people about, it might surely be permissible to enter or
leave the State Rooms by either of the great staircases.

  [Illustration: THE WILDERNESS IN SPRING]

Of the riches of art in the Palace this is not the place to speak in
detail, it is only possible to hint at them. Before leaving the
Communication Gallery for the exit staircase there are small rooms to
the left which call for inspection--rooms which not only mark
internally the linking of the original Tudor Palace with the Orange
additions, but which also are traditionally associated with the
builder of the Palace himself, for here is Wolsey's Closet. In the
outer lobby the most interesting object is the drawing (after
Wynegaarde) of Hampton Court Palace as seen from the Thames in 1558.
From this may be noted the extent of building demolished, or masked,
when Wren carried out his work of rebuilding for William the Third.
The Closet is chiefly notable for its beautiful ceiling, its mullioned
window, and its fine linen-fold panelling which, however, though of
old workmanship, has been brought together here from various parts of
the Palace. The room is supposed, from the frieze, to have been at one
time much larger than it now is. In the corner, between fireplace and
window, is a small room, sometimes described as an oratory. Though
other of Wolsey's rooms remain, they are part of the private
apartments of the Palace, and not, of course, accessible to visitors,
and this small Closet and its lobbies is, therefore, worth lingering
over.

During the latter part of a promenade through the State Rooms, as has
been pointed out, we go practically round the four sides of the
Fountain Court, and when descending the stairs and leaving the hall
below them, we find ourselves in the north-western corner of the
Cloisters that surround the Court. Entirely differing from the Tudor
ones, this is the most impressive of all the courts here, with its
cloisters surrounding a quadrangle of greenery in the midst of which a
fountain plays. Whether looked at from the gallery windows, where the
plashing of the water may be heard on a summer day, or examined in our
walk round the Cloisters, the Fountain Court is a beautiful and
restful place, which, with its surrounding of untrodden grass--starred
in spring with myriad daisies--forms a delightful contrast to the
white cloister pillars and the red brick walls above. Over the windows
of the King's Gallery on the south side are a dozen round, false
windows, filled with time and atmosphere darkened paintings. These
paintings, now but dimly discernible as such, were the work of Louis
Laguerre, who had been employed in "restoring" the Mantegna "Triumph"
in the Communication Gallery, who was very highly esteemed as an
artist by William the Third, and who was granted by that monarch
apartments in Hampton Court. Probably these pictures, representing the
Twelve Labours of Hercules, are beyond fresh restoration, otherwise
they might presumably be cleaned and glazed to save them from
disappearing completely. Laguerre is said also to be responsible for
the painting of imitation windows in similar circular spaces on the
south front of the Palace--imitations which are frankly hideous. The
spaces would look far better if filled with plain brick or stone.
Perhaps some of these spaces being occupied with practical windows, it
was thought necessary for the sake of symmetry to make the rest appear
such to the casual glance. Around the Fountain Court--along the north
cloister of which the public way passes to the gardens--are entrances
to various apartments allotted to private residents. On the east side
flights of steps go up to the two private suites, known as the Gold
Staff Gallery, at the south-eastern corner of the Palace above the
State Rooms. One of these suites--at the south-east angle--is
interesting as being the one in which, according to tradition, took
place that "Rape of the Lock", which Pope was to celebrate in the most
remarkable poem of its kind in the language. Hither came the fair
Belinda--Arabella Fermor--to play that game of ombre which the poet
was to make famous; and here, her triumph at cards achieved, she was
taking coffee--

    "For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crowned
    The berries crackle and the mill turns round"--

when "the Peer", Lord Petre, "spreads the glittering forfex wide" and
snips off the lock of hair!

    "Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
    And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
    Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast,
    When husbands or when lapdogs breathe their last,
    Or when rich china vessels fall'n from high
    In glitt'ring dust and painted fragments lie!"

The Gold Staff Gallery has tragedy as well as comedy in its history,
for at one time the other suite formed out of it--that facing
south--was occupied by Richard Tickell, grandson of that Thomas
Tickell, who, though a poet of some note in his day, is chiefly
remembered from his association with Addison. Richard Tickell, who was
also a poet and political writer, married as his first wife the
beautiful Mary Linley, sister-in-law of Sheridan. On 4 November, 1793,
Tickell--who appears to have been financially embarrassed--threw
himself from the window of one of his rooms here, and was killed
instantly on the gravel path below. Though it was officially decided
at the time--thanks, it is believed, to the influence of
Sheridan--that it was an accidental death, the historians have no
hesitation in describing the tragedy as suicide.

  [Illustration: THE LONG WALK]



VII


Fascinating as are the old courts and the galleries with their
magnificent art collections, the grounds which surround the Palace
are, in their way, no less enticing. Indeed, if we might judge by
the thronging crowds in flower time, the gardens form for the majority
of visitors the most attractive part of the place. These gardens,
wonderfully varied and beautifully kept, are not by any means
extensive for so noble a Palace, but they prove an unfailing delight.
They are markedly divisible in character into three portions--the
north where is the Wilderness and Maze; the south where are the Privy
and Pond Gardens, the Great Vine House and Queen Mary's Bower; and the
east--or Great Fountain Garden--with its rich herbaceous border along
the Broad Walk, its level lawns set with great jewels of floral
colour, its compact yews, its radiating walks, its water-lily pond,
and beyond the gleaming stretch of the Long Canal and the tall trees
that border the Park. In all parts of these gardens are to be seen
beauties that delight the eye and linger in the memory, and each of
them successively draws the sightseers.

These gardens have seen many changes during the centuries of the
Palace's history, changes largely from one kind of formality to
another, judging from the plans of them at various times. As I have
said that the majority of visitors enter the Palace precincts by way
of the Western Trophy Gate, and as such visitors would naturally reach
the grounds by the eastern entrance beyond the cloistered Fountain
Court, it may be well to say something first of the eastern
gardens--which certainly, in summer, form the most florally gorgeous
part of the whole. We come out here in the middle of the Broad Walk,
which stretches from near the Kingston Road to the Thames' side. In
front of us, bordered by old yew trees, are gravel walks radiating to
the House or Home Park, the centre one leading, round a fountain pond
starred in summer with lovely water lilies of various colours, to the
head of the Long Canal, where are many water fowl--swans, geese, and
ducks of different species--expectant of the visitors' contributions
of bread or biscuit.

Right and left as we emerge from the Palace the Broad Walk stretches,
inviting us in each direction with a brilliant display of many
coloured flowers--more especially in spring and early summer, when the
gardens, attractive at all times, are perhaps at their very best. Old
plans of the grounds of Hampton Court show that these eastern gardens
have seen the greatest changes during successive centuries. At one
time the Long Canal stretched much closer to the Palace, and after it
was shortened the intervening gardens were for a period a veritable
maze of intricate ornamental beds with small fountains dotted about
them; at another time they showed an array of formally cut pyramidal
evergreens disposed along the sides of the walks.

It was probably the coming of William and Mary to Hampton Court that
caused special attention to be paid to the grounds, for Queen Mary
appears to have been greatly interested in the matter. Many and
various as have been the re-plannings it may be believed that never
have the gardens looked better than at present, when taste in things
floricultural has broken away from the formalism of scroll-pattern
borders and indulgence in the eccentricities of topiarian art--is
even, it is to be hoped, on the way to free itself finally from the
ugliness of "carpet bedding"--when plants are largely grouped and
massed instead of being placed in alternate kinds at regular intervals
in geometrical patterns. Present day taste with its appreciation of
garden colour, of masses and groups of particular kinds, instead of
isolated plants dotted about with irritating regularity, is found
beautifully exemplified in the numerous beds cut in the lawns of the
eastern gardens, and in the long borders which run north and south of
the palace along one side of the Broad Walk. Here, from the beginning
of the year, when the patches of cerulean, "glory of the snow", and of
low-growing irises of a deeper blue, begin that procession which is
soon to develop into a very pageantry of colour--from when myriad
yellow crocuses first star the lawns with gold in February--is given a
succession of changes that may well tempt the lover of gardens to
Hampton Court again and again. These beds and borders with their
succession of spring bulbs and summer flowers, their brilliant annuals
and massed perennials are not only a delight to the eyes of all, but
that they afford endless hints, are as it were horticulturally
educational to garden-loving visitors, may be gathered from the
frequency with which such visitors are seen to consult the name-labels
of the various plants.

The southern end of the Broad Walk is semi-circular with an outlook
over the river, upwards, to where Molesey Lock and Weir are cut from
view by the hideous Hampton Court Bridge, and downwards, towards
Thames Ditton and Kingston. It is one of the most charming views on
the river near London, the many trees on islands and banks shutting
off the neighbouring town. On a hot summer day, the decorated
houseboats moored to the Surrey bank and the innumerable small craft
passing up and down help to form a delightful and characteristic bit
of the Stream of Pleasure. That the view is one that is well
appreciated is shown by the fact that on such an afternoon the Water
Gallery, as this view point is named, generally attracts and holds
many of the visitors to the Palace.

  [Illustration: THE LONG WATER IN WINTER]

The name of the Water Gallery survives from that of the building which
at one time stood here, the "dépendance" which Queen Mary occupied
while the Palace was being rebuilt, and which was demolished when the
alterations were completed. East from this point runs the Long Walk,
parallel with, but well above, the towing path, and affording a good
view along the river on one hand and glimpses of the park on the
other. This walk led to the old Bowling Green and Pavilions. Some
distance along it a gate gives on to the towing path leading to
Kingston Bridge.

South of the Palace--shut off from the eastern gardens by a
climber-covered wall--is the smaller but very beautiful Privy Garden,
with its turf-banked terraces on either side, its sunken centre filled
with a wonderful variety of shrubs and trees. From the terrace walk on
the left we may look over the wall to the eastern gardens and park;
along the right-hand terrace is formed Queen Mary's Bower, an
intertwisted avenue of trimmed and cut wych-elms, some of the
distorted trunks of which might have inspired more than one of Doré's
Dante illustrations. This shady bower is in summer particularly
delightful, and from the farther end of it is to be had, through and
above the evergreens of this Privy Garden, a beautiful view of the
south front of the Palace. At the farther end of the Privy Garden,
fencing it from the towing path, are some magnificent iron gates and
screens.

Along the gravel walk, immediately against the south front of the
Palace, are ranged in summer great tubs with orange trees, believed to
be those originally planted here by Queen Mary--though it is not easy
to realize that they are over three hundred years old! And close to
this wall of the Palace stand two heroic Statues, Hercules with his
club, and another; it might be thought, half of the quartette of
figures that, as old views of the Palace show, at one time stood on
the low columns which rise above the balustrading of the roof, only
that quartette is said to have consisted of goddesses, since removed
to Windsor. In an old engraving, dated 1815, two figures are still to
be seen on the skyline.

Beyond the steps up to Queen Mary's Bower, a gateway leads us to the
farther Privy Gardens. On the right may be observed where Wren's
additions end abruptly against the windows of Queen Elizabeth's
Chambers, and her monogram is to be seen carved boldly above the
first-floor window in a decorative ribbon pattern, while above the
second-floor window are her initials beside a crowned Tudor rose, each
carving having the date 1568.

Here we are in the Pond Garden--or series of gardens--on the right,
over a low old wall, is a small turfed and flower grown enclosure with
the long Orangery at the farther side. On the left is a close grown
hedge, beyond which are a succession of small garden enclosures, only
the centre one of which is kept up as a show place, and this is the
delightful quadrangular enclosed space sometimes spoken of as the
Dutch Garden. This sunk garden, with its turf, its stone walks, that
are not walked upon, its small evergreens, cut by topiarian art into
the semblance of birds, its low-growing plants rich in varicoloured
flowers, its evergreen arbour at the farther end as a background to a
statue of Venus, its little fountain in the centre, is a spot that
always attracts visitors--attracts and holds them by its spell of
quiet beauty.

At the farther end of the gravel walk is the glasshouse in which for
close upon a hundred and fifty years has flourished the great grape
vine, which always proves an enormous attraction to those who come to
see the Palace. The vine--a Black Hamburg--was planted in 1768, and it
annually bears about twelve hundred bunches of grapes, many incipient
bunches being removed in accordance with the custom of viticulture to
allow the rest to mature the better. The vine has been known to bear
well over two thousand pounds weight--or about a ton--of grapes in a
single season. It is not, however, though sometimes so described, the
largest grape vine in England.

To the north of the Palace--reached by a gate in the wall of the Long
Walk, or first seen by those who come to Hampton Court Palace through
the Lion Gate--is the Wilderness, a half-cultivated place contrasting
greatly with the parts of the grounds that we have already been
visiting. Here are tall trees of various kinds, massed shrubs, and
broad stretches of turf spangled with daffodils and other bulbs in the
spring; within it is a smaller wilderness overlooked by many visitors
forming a kind of wild garden, its many flowers growing upon the rocky
banked sides of the tortuous paths, with groups of slender bamboo,
flowering shrubs and brambles,--a place which is particularly
fascinating in the late springtime.

Here, too, close to the Lion Gate, is that Maze which is always a
popular feature with holiday-makers old and young. Between the
Wilderness and the Palace lies the Old Melon Ground, now apparently
utilized by the gardeners whose incessant work maintains the grounds
of Hampton Court in so beautiful a state. West of the Wilderness is
the Old Tilt Yard, long since given over from joustings and tiltings
to the cultivation of plants, and not open to the public.

To go back to the eastern garden, we see at its farther edge the lime
avenue, with beyond it the Home Park, the two separated by shady
canals well grown with gorgeous water lilies and bordered by clumps of
fine foliage plants. It was presumably in the Park near here that
George Cavendish found Henry the Eighth engaged at archery practice
when he came to tell him of the death of Wolsey. It was in this Park,
at the farther end near Kingston Bridge, that Fox saw Oliver Cromwell
just before his fatal seizure, and it was in this Park, it is
believed, that the tripping of his horse over a molehill caused
William the Third's fatal fall. Just across the road bordering the
northern boundary of the Palace grounds lies the great extent of Bushy
Park, with its magnificent chestnut avenue; and mention may be made of
the fact that had King William lived, and Wren's plans been fully
carried out, that avenue would have been the approach to the grand new
Palace front which it was designed to make. As it is we have but such
part of the Tudor palace as the rebuilders allowed to remain, and we
have but such part of the Orange palace as destiny allowed William to
complete.

What we have, however, is a splendid whole, consisting, it may be, of
incongruous parts, yet one that for charm, for beauty generally and in
detail, and for fullness of interest, has but few rivals. Whether we
visit it on some quiet day in winter, or in the time when the grounds
are at their floral best, and when there are many hundreds of people
thronging the galleries and gardens on Sunday afternoons or on popular
holidays, it always gives us the same feeling of satisfaction that
comes of beautiful surroundings. In the smaller courts and in the
shady cloisters may be found in the heat of summer the soothing sense
that is one of the secret charms of haunts of ancient peace.

Cardinal Wolsey built himself a lordly pleasure house, unthinking of
the fickleness of a monarch's favour; Dutch William sought to make of
it a rival to Versailles; and each, though he did not completely
realize his design, may be said to have builded better than he
knew--in providing for succeeding ages a place of beauty "in which the
millions rejoice".


PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

_At the Villafield Press, Glasgow, Scotland_



Transcriber's Note

Archaic and variable spelling and quoted material is preserved as
printed, as is the author's punctuation style.

Illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are not in
the middle of a paragraph.





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