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Title: Peeps at Royal Palaces of Great Britain
Author: Home, Beatrice
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Peeps at Royal Palaces of Great Britain" ***

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[Illustration: _Frontispiece_


The Bloody Tower and the Wakefield Tower, in which the Crown Jewels
are kept.]










If a palace be a royal residence, as the dictionary defines it, then
nearly all the famous castles of England would come under that title,
for the Norman and Plantagenet Kings were constantly moving from one
stronghold to another during the unsettled period of the Middle Ages.
Until the fifteenth century, both the English and Scottish Kings
resided in impregnable castles or fortified houses, but their sojourn
was never long in one place. After the Wars of the Roses had crushed
the power of the great nobles, it was no longer necessary for the
monarch to dwell within a fortress, and it was then that the gracious
and commodious palaces of Whitehall, Hampton Court, and Greenwich,
arose in England. The Scottish Kings, having at the same time
reached a greater control over their headstrong nobles, also began
transforming their castles into palaces, and to erect Holyrood and
Falkland to gratify their desire for more luxurious residences.

Within the compass of this small book, it would have been impossible
to detail every castle in which a monarch ever resided, so that it has
been thought better to confine attention to those palaces which were
owned, and most constantly used by the Kings and Queens of England and


  CHAPTER                         PAGE

      I. WESTMINSTER PALACE          5

     II. WINDSOR CASTLE             11

    III. THE TOWER OF LONDON        19

     IV. KENNINGTON PALACE          22

      V. ELTHAM PALACE              24

     VI. GREENWICH PALACE           27

    VII. WHITEHALL PALACE           31


     IX. ST. JAMES'S PALACE         48

      X. KENSINGTON PALACE          53

     XI. KEW PALACE                 59

    XII. BUCKINGHAM PALACE          63

   XIII. VANISHED PALACES           67

    XIV. EDINBURGH CASTLE           72

     XV. DUNFERMLINE CASTLE         76

    XVI. STIRLING CASTLE            78

   XVII. HOLYROOD PALACE            82


    XIX. FALKLAND PALACE            91

     XX. BALMORAL CASTLE            94



  THE TOWER OF LONDON      _Frontispiece_

                           FACING PAGE

  WINDSOR CASTLE                  17

  HAMPTON COURT PALACE            24

  EDINBURGH CASTLE                73

  STIRLING CASTLE                 80

  LINLITHGOW PALACE               91

  BALMORAL CASTLE                 94

  ST. JAMES'S PALACE      _On the cover_




Scarcely anything remains to-day to remind us of the vast size and the
magnificence of the Palace of Westminster, the royal residence of the
English Kings from the time of Edward the Confessor until the reign
of Henry VIII. For five centuries the monarchs of England kept their
Court on the island of Thorney, within the sound of the bells of the
great minster raised by the piety of the saintly Edward. Though the
early Kings were seldom long in one place, they regarded Westminster
as their principal palace, and often kept their Christmas festivals
there, a time of general feasting at the royal expense.

Cnut is supposed to be the first King to settle at Westminster,
whither he had gone, after his conversion to Christianity, to be near
his friend Abbot Wolfstan, and we are told that the incident of his
rebuke to his courtiers concerning the tide occurred on the shores of
the River Thames. At that time Westminster was surrounded by water,
being built on the island of Thorney, an islet that rose out of the
low-lying marshy ground overspread by the wide and unembanked river.

It is customary to attribute the ruin of the many beautiful and
stately buildings of past ages, to the agency of civil wars, the
fanatical zeal of Protestant reformers, or the carelessness of the
Cromwellian soldiers; but far more deadly foes than the cannon-balls
of enemies or the mistaken energies of religious zealots, were
the destructive fires that time and again destroyed the splendid
structures that adorned the vanished centuries. Westminster, though
immune from other foes, suffered terribly from fires, which have
robbed us of the greatest part of one of the most picturesque of
palaces. Just after Edward I. had finished repairing his royal
dwelling a huge fire broke out, so tremendous that the palace was
rendered uninhabitable, obliging the King to accept the hospitality
of York Place, the London house of the Archbishops of York. Edward II.
rebuilt the palace, which remained the main royal residence until a
disastrous fire in 1512 drove the monarchs away for ever. Though
much was destroyed, a considerable part of the King's house remained,
together with the beautiful chapel of St. Stephen and the great hall
of the palace; but yet another fire attacked this remnant in 1834.
From this last conflagration only Westminster Hall, the crypt of the
chapel, and an old tower (now hidden away among the narrow byways of
the abbey precincts) survived.

The Palace of Westminster, described by Camden as "large and
magnificent, a building not to be equalled in that age," was of great
extent, stretching from the abbey to the river. It consisted of a mass
of rambling buildings erected with little regard to any fixed
plan, but resulting in a picturesque medley of gabled roofs, carved
stonework, delicate window tracery, noble halls, and exquisite
chapels. Medieval palaces required to be large, for all the King's
work was done upon his own premises. Bakers, brewers, chandlers,
armourers, blacksmiths, carpenters, furriers, masons, gardeners,
barbers, stablemen, embroiderers, weavers--all lived and worked within
the palace walls, and received wages and lodging. As Sir Walter Besant
tells us, in his fascinating history of Westminster, the palace was
"a crowded city, complete in itself, though it produced nothing
and carried on no trade; there were workshops and forges and the
hammerings of armourers and blacksmiths, but there were no stalls,
no chepe, no clamour of those who shouted their goods and invited the
passengers to 'Buy, buy, buy.'" Within this city, crowded within a
confined space, dwelt about fifteen thousand people all occupied
with the King's business, from the judges, bishops, and high State
officials, down to humble laundry-women.

A strongly-fortified wall ran all round the palace, for medieval Kings
needed their royal residences to be places of defence as well as of
regal splendour. There were gates leading to the Abbey, to Whitehall,
and to the river, where the King's barges lay to take him down to
the Tower of London in the city, or up the river towards Windsor.
Immediately beyond the busy throng of the palace and the monastic
buildings of the Abbey, lay green fields and pleasant rural scenes.
Between the palace and the noisy city, a mile away, stood palatial
houses of the great nobles and bishops, facing the broad and sparkling

Of all the beautiful buildings that once formed the extensive palace
only the great hall remains, now known as Westminster Hall. William
Rufus built it in 1097, declaring that, large though it might appear,
it was "but a bedchamber" in comparison to what he intended to make.
But practically nothing is left of the work of Rufus, for we learn
that three hundred years later, in 1397, Richard II. ordered the
"walls, windows, and roof to be taken down and new made." The
following year Richard, the most magnificent of the English Kings,
kept his royal Christmas in the newly finished hall. Dressed in cloth
of gold, adorned with pearls and precious stones, Richard entertained
ten thousand people, necessitating the purchase of twenty-eight oxen,
three hundred sheep, and numberless fowls every day for the feeding of
his guests. He little thought that a few months hence the Parliament
meeting in that very hall would depose him.

This famous hall has witnessed some of the most spectacular, splendid,
and tragic events in the history of the nation, from the Coronation
banquets held within its walls, a-glitter with gorgeous raiment
and all the pageantry of the past, to the sombre procedure of State
trials. Perhaps the best remembered scene is that of the trial of
Charles I., who had been brought hurriedly from Windsor, and was
lodged during his trial in part of the old palace, then used as
the residence of Sir Ralph Cotton. Standing, a monarch tried by his
subjects, Charles Stuart remains for all time a dignified figure, not
deigning to plead before such a self-constituted Court.

For many centuries justice was administered from the hall, judges
sitting in different parts determining Chancery cases or those of
Common Pleas.

The most-to-be-regretted loss caused by the fire of 1834 is that of
the chapel royal of the palace, the chapel of St. Stephen. From
an account of its architectural detail, which has fortunately been
preserved, one gathers that it was a most beautiful and exquisite
piece of work, as rich and stately as any in the country. King Stephen
is supposed to have founded it, but Edward I. rebuilt it, only to have
his building burnt down a few years later. His grandson, Edward III.,
restored it in such splendour that, as Camden says, "he seems rather
to have been the founder than only the repairer." He made it a
collegiate church, endowing it with so much wealth after his victories
in France that it almost rivalled its wealthy neighbour, the Abbey of
Westminster. Indeed, this royal munificence brought about considerable
quarrelling with the Abbey, whose inmates grudged the Masses being
said at St. Stephen's, when they might have been said in the Abbey and
so enriched their coffers. In this new chapel Richard II. married his
first wife, Anne of Bohemia.

[Illustration: Westminster Hall.

From an engraving by Hollar.]

At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the King granted to the Commons
of England, who had hitherto met in the Chapter House of Westminster
Abbey, the use of St. Stephen's Chapel, and there they have met ever
since, except once during the reign of Charles I. For the reception of
the members the beautiful chapel was ruthlessly altered, but enough of
the original work remained to make the fire of 1834 a disaster to all
lovers of graceful architecture. The present House of Commons is built
upon the site of the old collegiate buildings, and only the crypt of
the church remains to remind us of the royal chapel of our Plantagenet

All the other historic rooms have vanished. Nothing is left of the
Painted Chamber, where Edward the Confessor died, the long room whose
painted walls depicted the story of the Confessor's life upon one
side, while the other was devoted to the Wars of the Maccabees. These
paintings were unknown until 1800, when the tapestry that covered them
was removed, and thus revealed the meaning of the room's designation.
Gone, too, is the old House of Lords, used by the peers until the
Commonwealth, where the famous tapestry representing the defeat of
the Spanish Armada was hung. In the vaults underneath, originally the
Confessor's kitchen, Guy Fawkes and his fellow-conspirators stored the
barrels of gunpowder with which to blow up the Parliament. After the
Restoration the Lords removed to the White Hall of the palace,
taking the Armada tapestry with them, which, together with so much of
fascination and historic interest, perished in the all-embracing fire
of 1834.



Standing upon a steep chalk cliff that rises abruptly from the River
Thames, Windsor Castle towers above the low-lying river meadows, and,
looking beyond the town that clusters round it, gazes proudly over
twelve adjacent counties. For more than eight centuries a castle has
stood upon this cliff-top, the defensive qualities of such a perfect
natural stronghold having appealed to all the royal rulers of England.

In Saxon times the mound was defended by some kind of wooden palisade,
which William the Conqueror replaced with stone, nothing of which
now remains. Henry II., the first of the Plantagenet Kings, built his
palace there, erecting it upon what is known to-day as the Upper Ward,
the castle being divided into three distinct sections or tiers. The
Upper Ward, situated upon a higher level of the plateau, is separated
from the Lower Ward by the Round Tower, which stands upon a mound in
the centre.

Perhaps the most exciting times that the castle ever witnessed took
place in the reign of John; certainly one of the most important events
in the history of the English people is connected with its grey walls.
John had filled the castle with mercenary troops, with which to defend
himself against his insurgent barons. Protected by these foreigners,
who fought with extreme bravery, the castle sustained two sieges, the
only active warfare in which it took any serious part. Owing doubtless
to its almost impregnable situation before the days of artillery, it
remained calm and secure, however disturbed other parts of the kingdom
might be. One summer day in the year 1215 King John, overawed by the
great gathering of armed barons within sight of his castle, left his
stronghold on the hill, and full of rage rode down to the meadow of
Runnymede, near Staines. There he was forced to sign the Great Charter
of English Freedom, an action which reduced him to such a pitch of
impotent fury that when he reached the castle again, he rolled on the
ground, gnawing sticks and straws.

It is to John's son, Henry III., that the present aspect of the castle
is due, for though walls and towers have been rebuilt since his
time, the general appearance remains the same. He was the first great
builder, and beginning early with a reign of over fifty years
before him, he was able to carry out his extensive building schemes.
Deserting the Upper Ward, where all his predecessors had lived, he
built his palace on the Lower plateau, also erecting a chapel on the
site of St. George's. Less than a century after his death palace and
chapel had vanished, fallen into a rapid decay, so that almost the
only records of his work to-day are to be found in the Curfew Tower,
and the Cloisters.

The first King to be born at Windsor was Edward III., who spent great
sums upon his palace, practically rebuilding the whole castle. Being a
great warrior, loving war and glory, he became enamoured with the idea
of founding an Order of Knighthood that should become as illustrious
as that of King Arthur, who was believed to have some connection with
Windsor. A Round Tower was built upon the mound, to hold the Round
Table, and great festivities were held there in 1344, but this
Round Table idea forms no part of the great Order--the Order of the
Garter--instituted in 1348. It is thought that Froissart confused
these two celebrations.

[Illustration: Windsor Castle: Entrance to the Horseshoe Cloisters.]

Under the superintendence of William of Wykeham, afterwards the great
Bishop of Winchester, but employed by Edward III. as his surveyor
of works, the Lower Ward was entirely given up to the service of St.
George, the patron saint of the new Order. This involved the building
of a new palace, which was erected upon the Upper Ward, hitherto
merely walled and left vacant. At the time when these great building
schemes were in progress, there were two captive Kings within the
castle, for Edward did not entirely devote his energy to palace
building, which merely formed a pleasing interlude to the long and
ambitious wars which occupied his life. David II. of Scotland had been
captured at Neville's Cross in 1346, and ten years later John, the
King of France, joined him at Windsor, having fallen to the Black
Prince at Poitiers. It is said that Edward, while walking with his
prisoners, discussed with them the building of his new palace. They
suggested that it would look more regal if it stood upon the Upper
Ward, at which Edward cynically remarked that it should be erected at
the cost of their ransoms. But as King John's ransom was never paid,
and Scotland was too poor a country to provide much even to redeem
their King, Edward was obliged to do most of the paying of the bill

Good Queen Philippa, the sweet woman who had been the gentle
inspiration of Edward's life, fell ill at Windsor in August, 1369, an
illness of which there was "no remedy but death," says Froissart, who
writes very sympathetically of her last moments. Edward, the bravest
knight in Christendom, stood weeping at her bedside as she whispered
to him her last requests, that he should pay her debts, carry on her
charities, and be buried beside her. Froissart tells us that "in all
her life she did neither in thought, word, nor deed, things whereby
to lose her soul." So that he was confident that "the holy angels
received her with great joy up to heaven."

During the reign of Henry V., Windsor again became a royal
prison-house, Scotland's youthful King, James I., spending about ten
years of his life there. He had been captured when quite a lad on his
way to France to be educated, and had received a good education at
the hands of his captors, who had treated him kindly, allowing him
considerable liberty. While at Windsor he met his future queen, then
the Lady Joan Beaufort, the daughter of the Earl of Somerset, whom
he describes in his poem, "The King's Quair," as "the fairest and
freshest youthful flower" he had ever seen. After his release in 1424,
they were married in Southwark Cathedral, setting off immediately
afterwards for Scotland.

"The Royal Saint," as Henry VI. has been called, did not spend time
or money upon his palace at Windsor, but was enthusiastic over the
founding of Eton College, which he erected on the opposite bank of the
winding river, so that he could see it from his palace windows. In his
zealous activity to make this college worthy of the Virgin Mary, in
whose honour it had been founded, poor King Henry forgot his kingdom,
and found himself deposed long before his schemes were perfected. He
lies buried in St. George's Chapel, under a plain stone slab, having
been brought thither from Chertsey Abbey by Richard III., who did not
care for miracles to be performed at his victim's grave, and preferred
to have the body under his own observation.

As a form of penitence for having waded "through slaughter to a
throne," Edward IV. is said to have erected the beautiful chapel
dedicated to St. George, which replaced the one built by Edward III.
One of the finest specimens of pure Perpendicular architecture in
England, it is the most impressive and stately building enclosed
within the walls of Windsor Castle. Its glorious fan tracery is only
rivalled by Henry VIII.'s Chapel at Westminster and King's College
Chapel, Cambridge--all three being built during the latter half of
the fifteenth century. But the choir, perhaps, attracts more attention
than any other part of the chapel, for there are to be found the
richly-carved stalls allotted to the use of the Knights of the Order
of the Garter. Above each stall is placed the helmet of the Knight,
while his splendidly emblazoned banner hangs over it. At his death
the helmet and banner are removed, but his gilded brass plate upon the
back of the stall remains, so that upon these stalls can be seen the
gilded plates of some of the most illustrious names in history.

The succeeding monarchs from Edward IV. to the time of Elizabeth did
little either to alter or adorn their palace by the shining Thames.
Henry VIII., who was very fond of Windsor and often resided there till
he obtained Hampton Court Palace from his great Minister, Cardinal
Wolsey, rebuilt the main entrance to the Lower Ward which is known by
his name. In the vault beneath the choir of St. George's bluff King
Hal found a resting-place beside Jane Seymour, his third wife, but no
monument has been raised to his memory.

Almost the only part of the palace which has remained unaltered since
its erection is the Royal Library, part of the building facing the
North Terrace. Built by Queen Elizabeth as a picture gallery, it is a
fine specimen of a Tudor room, with a beautiful ceiling and a handsome
stone chimney-piece. It is said that the "Merry Wives of Windsor" was
first performed in this gallery, the play having been written in a
fortnight at the Queen's command that Shakespeare should write a play
about Sir John Falstaff in love. The Virgin Queen is also responsible
for the North Terrace, on to which the gallery opened.

[Illustration: WINDSOR CASTLE

Has been a stronghold of importance since Saxon times. St. George's
Chapel, whose long roof-line can be seen in the picture, was built by
Edward IV.]

During the Civil War the castle was held by the Parliamentary forces,
whose mere presence behind the strong walls was sufficient to repel
Prince Rupert, Charles I.'s headstrong nephew, who had hoped with a
small body of horse to surprise the castle. No further attempt was
made by the Royalists to capture the royal fortress, to which King
Charles was brought as a prisoner in December, 1648. For three years
the unhappy King had been a captive, driven from prison to prison,
Windsor being his last resting-place before his trial and death in
London. Charles must have become aware that dangers were thickening
round him, when, having refused to admit Denbigh bearing the last
overtures of the Army, all ceremonies of State were omitted, his meals
no longer being served to him on bended knee. After the tragedy at
Whitehall, the body of the King was brought to Windsor and buried
hurriedly one snowy February morning, in the vault below the choir,
by the side of Henry VIII. At the Restoration £70,000 was voted by
the Parliament to erect a fitting memorial, but for some unexplained
reason his coffin could not be found, though two of the Lords who had
carried his body to the grave were still living. Though the leaden
coffin was identified in 1813, no monument has yet been raised to the
most unfortunate if also the most unwise of British sovereigns.

His son, Charles II., employed Sir Christopher Wren to make additions
to the palace. Much of this work still remains practically as it was
in the days of the Merry Monarch, for whose dining-room (now called
the State Ante-room) Verrio painted the ceiling and Grinling Gibbons
carved the walls.

No monarch is more intimately associated with Windsor than George
III., who loved the place which had been cordially disliked and
neglected by his two predecessors. So complete had been the neglect,
that the castle was quite unfit for habitation, obliging the Royal
Family, during the process of repairs, to live in an ugly stuccoed
building known as the Queen's Lodge, built on the site of the present
royal stables. Owing to the minute chronicle of their daily events in
the diary of Fanny Burney, we know exactly what the good commonplace
King and Queen did and said during their residence at Windsor. So much
had Queen Charlotte admired "Evelina," that she thought no greater
honour could be done to the gifted authoress than to make her a
dresser to her royal self, a condescension which almost overwhelmed
shy Fanny Burney, who accepted the post, little dreaming of the
drudgery it entailed. Everything went by routine in the Court life:
the same things were done every day at precisely the same time they
were done the day before, with a monotony which Thackeray declares
must have rendered the life, frugal and virtuous as it was, stupid to
a degree which he shuddered to contemplate. Poor King George spent
the last ten years of his life, hopelessly insane and quite blind,
confined in rooms overlooking the North Terrace, and was buried in the
new tomb-house which he had cut in the solid chalk, under what is now
known as the Albert Memorial Chapel.

George IV. carried on the repairs commenced by his father, living
meanwhile in a lodge in the park. Over a million pounds was spent
upon the alterations and furnishing of the royal apartments. When Sir
Jeffry Wyattville, the architect to whom the work had been entrusted,
had completed his task, Windsor Castle appeared exactly as it does
to-day. The walls and towers had been repaired and refaced, the brick
buildings within the walls had been cleared away, the Round Tower
raised by forty feet so that it dominated the whole pile, and the
present State apartments built on the south and eastern sides of the
Upper Ward.

Though Windsor Castle cannot claim so fascinating or romantic a
history as that of other royal palaces, yet it can boast that while
its more picturesque rivals have either vanished or ceased their
careers as palaces, it alone remains a royal residence with a story
stretching back to the Normans. Majestic in its calm serenity, it
remains, as Leigh Hunt used to say, "a place to receive monarchs in."



There are no myths or legends connected with the building of London's
great fortress, the clear light of history beats upon the erection of
its walls. It was built by William the Conquerer, not as a protection
for the city, but as a proof of his dominating power over the subdued
but possibly troublesome citizens. Part of the Roman wall which
encircled the city was removed, and the tower rose into being upon the
easternmost corner of Saxon London, right on the shore of the River
Thames, the great highway from the sea. Various additions were made by
succeeding monarchs down to Edward III., until it assumed the shape
we now see it, with the solid Norman keep in the centre, an inner wall
with twelve towers, protected by a strong outer wall surrounded by a
deep moat. Only four gateways gave entrance to the fortress, and those
were strongly guarded by towers. Any enemy attempting to enter from
Tower Hill had to force his way across three branches of the moat,
with three successive towers before he could reach the inner wall of
the citadel. There were three gateways from the river, a small postern
gate for the use of State visitors, the main water gate, which earned
the ominous title of Traitor's Gate, due to the frequent arrival of
State prisoners, and another entrance east of the Traitor's Gate.

Owing to its immense strength it was more commonly used by the Kings
during times of civil war, when from behind its bastioned walls they
could bid defiance to the surging mobs outside. John, Edward II.,
Henry VI., and Edward IV. all retreated there for safety during their
troublous reigns, but it is with Richard II., the boy-King, that we
associate one of the most dangerous episodes in the eventful life
of the city. One midsummer day in 1381 a frenzied mob of countrymen
swarmed on Tower Hill, demanding, with no uncertain voice, a redress
of grievances. Within the Tower there was great hesitation, the
councillors of fifteen-year-old Richard vacillating between a sally
with force upon the ill-armed peasants and a granting of their just
demands. With something of the insistence of the market-women of Paris
when they swarmed up to the gates of Versailles, the savage crowd
gained admittance into the Tower, searching for their supposed enemy,
the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, as the chief lawyer in England,
represented the men who enslaved and starved them. Seizing the poor
old man, they dragged him out to Tower Hill, and, with their summary
judgment, cut off his head then and there. The story of how Richard
saved the situation at Smithfield after the death of Wat Tyler is well

Nothing now remains of the palace where the Plantagenet Kings held
their Court. It was situated between the White Tower and the Wakefield
and Lanthorn Towers. Scarcely used after the reign of Henry VII., save
for three days previous to the Coronation procession through the city,
it was completely demolished in the reign of William and Mary, every
fragment being removed.

[Illustration: The Keep, or White Tower.]

The most romantic as well as the most pathetic incidents in the
history of the Tower are connected with its forlorn prisoners,
doomed to long incarceration or speedy death at the will of despotic
monarchs. Even the sovereigns themselves were often captives within
its walls. The two young Princes, Edward V. and his brother Richard,
entered the Tower under the nominal protection of their uncle Richard
III., never to appear again. Anne Boleyn returned as a prisoner to
the place which she had formerly entered in triumph just before her
Coronation. Retaining her gay spirit to the end, Anne laughingly
remarked that she had a little neck, when told that death by execution
was quite painless. During the reign of her sister Mary, Queen
Elizabeth was brought through the Traitor's Gate to the Tower, where
she was confined for some time under suspicion of being implicated in
Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion.

Though ceasing to be a royal palace, and of little use as a fortress,
the Tower retained its position as a State prison until 1820, becoming
since then merely a barracks and a guard-house for the Crown jewels.



No royal house has more completely vanished from sight, and even from
memory, than the royal palace of Kennington. Few know that such a
palace ever existed, and certainly those who dwell upon its site would
require to be possessed of keen imaginations, to realize that once all
the pageantry of a medieval Court took place, where to-day monotonous
streets crowd upon one another. Yet Parliaments assembled and all
the ceremonies of State were performed on a spot not far from where
Kennington Park now stands. The whim of royal fancy was the cause of
the complete obliteration of the palace, other royal houses pleasing
the later Kings more than the one upon Lambeth Marsh. Low-lying
ground, only redeemed from complete marshland by the embankment of the
river, lay between it and the City of London on the north. As it was
not until quite the end of the eighteenth century that houses began
to be built upon this district, the land being up till then used
as market-gardens, it is not surprising that when the palace was
destroyed it soon passed from men's minds, no one living in the
neighbourhood. The exact date of the destruction of the palace is not
known, but its oblivion was almost complete when Camden, the great
antiquarian, wrote in 1607, for he says: "The Royal seat call'd
Kennington, whither the Kings of England us'd to retire, the discovery
whereof 'tis vain to endeavour after, there appearing neither name nor
rubbish to direct us."

Though no vestige of the palace now remains, it is reasonable to
conjecture, from the analogy of contemporary palaces which still
exist, that Kennington Palace was a fortified building, with a
strongly embattled wall and deep moat. Deserted by Henry VIII., who
found Eltham and Greenwich more to his taste, the building materials
were all sold and the palace razed to the ground. Some kind of Tudor
manor-house was built upon the site, for a survey taken about the
middle of the seventeenth century describes a building of some fair
size. Close to it stood a low stone structure with a thatched roof,
known as the "Long Barn," which was thought to be part of the old
palace. It stood until 1795, when it was pulled down, removing the
last trace of historic interest.

As one loses oneself among the maze of houses and streets of
Kennington, it is difficult to believe that in the lost palace which
rose above the marsh of long ago Harold Harefoot, the son of Cnut,
was crowned, Harthacnut, his brother, died either by treachery or
accident, and Henry III. held two Parliaments. But of all the Kings
whose memory should haunt the spot, the most to be remembered is
Richard II., the handsome, popular, pleasure-loving and magnificent
Prince. After the early death of his father, the Black Prince, young
Richard had been brought up in the palace by his widowed mother.

In later years Richard brought his child-wife, the fair Isabella of
France, to Kennington Palace, to rest there for the night before she
entered London in state. She was then only eight years old, and was
never anything more than Queen in name, for long before she was
old enough to be a wife her attractive but unwise husband had been
murdered by his enemies.



To realize that Eltham was one of the most stately of royal residences
one has only to stand within the magnificent hall erected by Edward
IV. Though neglected for many years and allowed to fall into decay,
it is still a marvellous relic of medieval splendour, at the time
when Perpendicular architecture was beautifying the land. The fine oak
roof, with its hammer beams and carved pendants, is almost as perfect
as when it was first put up, but unfortunately the beautiful tracery
of the windows has suffered from being bricked up during the period
of neglect. The whole hall, however, has lately undergone a thorough
restoration, and the windows have been glazed, so that it is likely
to remain for many centuries to come a noble witness of the dignified
surroundings of the Plantagenet Kings.


Erected by Cardinal Wolsey and afterwards presented by him to Henry
VIII. Sir Christopher Wren reconstructed a part of the palace for
William III. and Queen Mary.]

The old stone bridge, with its buttressed arches, built at the same
time as the hall, still stands over the moat, which at one time ran
all round the palace. Standing on the bridge, across which must
have trod Edward IV., its builder, Henry VIII. in his buoyant youth,
Cardinal Wolsey in the early days of his greatness, and Queen
Elizabeth when visiting the palace to meet her Scottish suitor the
Earl of Arran, one looks down to-day upon smooth green water,
overshadowed by willows and sycamores, and edged with smooth-shaven
grass borders, with a glimpse of a rose-filled garden.

[Illustration: The Banqueting Hall, Eltham Palace.]

For Eltham, though only eight miles from London on the Maidstone road,
retains much of its rural charm. As one approaches the palace along
a tree-shaded avenue between old red-brick walls, one forgets the
nearness to the great city and the fact that tram-lines now run up to
the quiet little High Street. There is an old-world dignity about
the neighbourhood of the palace, locally known as King John's Palace,
through some confusion with John of Eltham, the second son of Edward
II., who was born there. King John himself never resided in the
palace, for it was not a royal house until the reign of his son. Some
charming old houses, with red-tiled roofs and overhung upper stories,
standing among gardens gay with flowers, border the avenue. It is
probable that Wolsey and other Lord Chancellors stayed in these houses
when in attendance upon the monarch.

Eltham has never been anything but a small village amid fertile
country, so that the problem of feeding the Court when resident in
the palace must have been a serious one. Two thousand people to be fed
daily must have absorbed the energies of all the farmers round.

In plan the palace was a quadrangular castle protected by a strong
battlemented wall, surrounded by a deep moat, with a drawbridge
and portcullis. Camden claims that the original palace was built
by Anthony Bec, Bishop of Durham, who presented it to Eleanor, the
beloved wife of Edward I.

Of its subsequent history one learns that many Kings held their
Christmas festivals there, that Richard II. was extremely fond of it,
spending much of his time there, that Edward IV. built the hall and
bridge, and that Henry VII. also did a good deal of building, and
brought up his children within its walls. Henry VIII. spent his early
childhood in the palace, being visited by the learned Erasmus and Sir
Thomas More. During the first years of his reign he also resided there
frequently, until Greenwich rose in his royal favour. It was at Eltham
that Wolsey received the office of Lord Chancellor, and also where he
drew up, in 1526, the famous Eltham Ordinances for the regulation of
the royal household. One finds from these ordinances that the
King's guests were in the habit of stealing locks, tables, and other
household articles, for strict rules were made concerning these
fixtures, and also against the keeping of any dogs, except ladies'
spaniels, within the precincts of the Court.

James I. was the last monarch to reside within the palace, his son,
Charles I., bestowing it upon Sir John Shaw, who pulled down all the
buildings, with the exception of the great hall. When John Evelyn
visited it in 1656, he found the whole place in ruins, but in 1828
the Government was persuaded to undertake repairs in order to preserve
this beautiful remnant of fifteenth-century architecture.



[Illustration: Greenwich Palace.]

Greenwich was the sea palace of the English monarchs. It stood upon
the edge of the broad and tidal River Thames, which was salt to the
taste at the time when the Tudor monarchs gazed over its sparkling
waters. From their palace windows Henry VIII. and his illustrious
daughter Elizabeth watched the busy vessels passing down to the sea,
laden with wool and other merchandise, to return filled with silks,
and spices, and precious metals; and looked with proud satisfaction at
their ships of war lying anchored close at hand at Deptford. Warships
had appeared at Greenwich very early in its history, when it was a
mere fishing village sheltered beneath the green slope of Blackheath.
The Danes had arrived in 1009, flying their raven flag, seeking
tribute money from Ethelred the ill-advised. During one of their
visits, these ruthless Norsemen murdered Alphege, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, by aiming beef bones, so it is said, at the good man's

It was from their sea palace, too, that the royal rulers watched the
departure and return of two famous explorers. On a certain day in
May, 1553, Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from Deptford with his small
expedition to search for a North-East passage to China. Young King
Edward, already in the last stages of his wasting illness, was brought
to the window to see the ships depart with their brave commander on
board, who was destined never to return, being found frozen to death
in his cabin in the Arctic ice. Crowds gathered along the shore, the
nobles and courtiers thronged the palace windows as the ships sailed
by, discharging their guns in a final salute, so that the surrounding
hills echoed. Twenty-seven years later, a small weather-beaten vessel,
_The Golden Hind_, came to anchor at Deptford after a momentous voyage
round the world, in which battle and tempest had been braved, and
little known lands visited. Its dauntless commander shortly after was
honoured by a visit from his sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth, who,
forgiving his irregular deeds because of their success, knighted him
upon his own deck, causing him to arise as Sir Francis Drake.

Though pre-eminently associated with the Tudor monarchs who loved
their healthy royal home, which felt the sea breezes coming up the
river, Greenwich had been a royal possession for many years. Henry IV.
dated his will from his manor of Greenwich, while his son, Humphrey,
Duke of Gloucester, was the real founder of the palace. Gaining
permission from his nephew, Henry VI., for whom he had acted as
regent during his minority, he erected a stone manor-house, calling it
Placentia. Disasters fell thick upon "good Duke Humphrey," as he has
been called. His wife Eleanor was accused of witchcraft, and after
penance in the streets of London, was imprisoned for the remainder
of her life, while he himself, falling under the displeasure of
the haughty Margaret of Anjou, was arrested for high treason, dying
suddenly a few days later under suspicion of poison. When it reverted
to the crown, both Henry VI. and Edward IV. lived at Placentia, and
Henry VII. wooed and won his Yorkist bride there, but it is to Henry
VIII. that Greenwich owes its fame.

Born at Greenwich in 1491, baptized in the former parish church in a
silver font "well padded with soft linen," Henry VIII. spent much
of his time at his birthplace. He rebuilt the palace, erecting an
unfortified dwelling, the sovereigns no longer requiring to dwell
within a castle. His two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were born in
the palace, their royal father, though disappointed at the non-arrival
of a Prince, ordering all reverence to be paid to the infant
Princesses. Queen Katharine of Aragon spent some happy years at
Greenwich before Henry was led away by the charms of Anne Boleyn.
Henry at that time seems to have been full of buoyant life and
good-humour, enjoying the rough and tumble of tournaments in the park,
riding out in the early morning of the First of May to bring in the
blossom, and rollicking in the dances and pageants of the time. It
was at one of the tournaments that Henry last saw Anne Boleyn, who
was acting the part of the Queen of Beauty. Taking offence at her
behaviour, the headstrong King got up suddenly and set off for
London, never again seeing his unfortunate wife, who was arrested the
following day and carried to the Tower.

After the time of James I., who, with his Queen, much delighted in its
situation, the palace fell gradually into decay, so that Charles II.
pulled it all down and started to rebuild a new one. He never lived
in it, for only one wing--that which now faces the building devoted to
the Museum--was ever erected, the scheme of the palace being rejected
for quite another purpose. The gentle, kindly heart of Queen Mary,
the beloved wife of William III., was so moved by the suffering of the
wounded sailors after the Battle of La Hogue, that she determined
that the neglected palace should be furnished as a hospital for those
seamen "who had protected the public safety." Sir Christopher
Wren furnished the design, and King William, private donors, and
Parliamentary grants supplied the endowment of the hospital, whose
first stone was laid on June 30, 1696. For over a century and a half
invalided sailors were sheltered within the hospital, which was
closed in 1869, pensions being then bestowed instead of residence. The
buildings are now used as a college for naval officers.

Greenwich still retains a sea-faring aspect; on a bright day the
river, full of laden barges and busy little tugs, still sparkles,
while "the noblest of European hospitals" remains as "a memorial of
the virtues of the good Queen Mary, of the love and sorrow of William,
and of the great victory of La Hogue."



Of all the many palaces of the English monarchs, none is more
associated in men's minds with the splendour and pageantry of Court
life than the palace of Whitehall. In comparison with other palaces,
such as Windsor, its life-story was very brief, just over a century
and a half, but it was spent in the hey-day of royalty, when the
Kings were freed from the power of the great barons, and were not
yet controlled by the constitution. It is full of memories of the
masterful Tudors, and the pleasure-loving Stuarts, a period stored
with great and stirring happenings, just when the New World was being
discovered, the New Learning flooding over Europe, and the Reformation
stirring the hearts of men. Yet of all its vast size, only a tiny
fragment is left--the banqueting hall of the magnificent palace
designed by Inigo Jones--and not a brick or stone remains of the
palace where Wolsey reigned in his episcopal glory, and Henry VIII.
held his gorgeous Court.

The first house on the site of the palace belonged to Hubert de Burgh,
the patriotic ruler of England during the minority of Henry III.,
but remembered most generally as the unwilling gaoler of young Prince
Arthur. He bequeathed his property to the Black Friars, in whose
church in Holborn he was buried. Not long afterwards the Dominicans
sold the house to Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, who left it as
a London residence to his successors in the see of York. It will
be remembered that after one of the serious fires that attacked the
palace of Westminster, Edward I. took shelter in the Archbishop's
palace at York Place, as it was then known, and continued to occupy it
during the remainder of his reign.

In his capacity as Archbishop of York, Cardinal Wolsey came into
possession of York Place, which he almost entirely rebuilt. During
his days of greatness Wolsey lived in the utmost magnificence in his
palace, rivalling the King's Court at Westminster. Surrounded by many
hundreds of courtiers, among whom were some of the noblest in the
land, who did not disdain to serve "the butcher's son," Wolsey kept
high state, feasting off gold and silver plate, to the accompaniment
of singing and music, wearing scarlet and gold, and riding on a
crimson velvet saddle, with his feet in stirrups of silver gilt. As an
excuse for the undoubted ostentation of the great cardinal, Sir Walter
Besant maintains that in his time "it was the right and proper use
of wealth to entertain royally; it was part of a rich man to dress
splendidly, to have a troop of gentlemen and valets in his service, to
exhibit tables covered with gold and silver plate, to hang the walls
with beautiful and costly arras. All this was right and proper." But
Wolsey experienced, as so many great men have done, that

  "They that stand high have many blasts to shake them,
  And when they fall, they dash themselves to pieces."

After the disgrace of his great chancellor, Henry VIII. seized York
Place, quite regardless of the fact that, as it was not the private
possession of the cardinal, he had no right to do so. But it was
just what the King wanted, his own palace at Westminster having been
destroyed by fire a few years before. It was then that the name of
Whitehall came into use, as Shakespeare reminds us in the play of
Henry VIII.:

  "You must no more call it York Place; that's past:
  For since the Cardinal fell, that title's lost;
  'Tis now the King's, and called Whitehall."

Though Whitehall for us to-day signifies but one palace, in the days
of the Tudors nearly every palace had its "white hall," usually the
great banqueting hall, so that the new name bestowed by Henry was not
peculiarly distinctive. Henry was delighted with his new residence,
and proceeded to add new buildings, and to enclose nearly all St.
James's Park up to the site of Buckingham Palace. Covering a vast
extent of ground, the palace rambled from Scotland Yard along the
riverside, to where Downing Street now stands, and spread across the
roadway by means of a long gallery. Never so beautiful as Westminster,
the Whitehall of the Tudors was a mass of brick buildings, erected
without any particular scheme just as occasion required, resulting, as
Besant declares, in a building "without dignity and without nobility."
A roadway had always existed from Charing Cross to Westminster, and
not even the autocratic Henry dared divert it for the sake of his
palace, so that he caused two gateways to be erected to mark the
precincts of the royal domain. Both were put up about the same time,
the one nearer Westminster being called the King's Gate, and the other
the Holbein Gate, being designed by the famous artist, Hans Holbein.
Across this latter gateway ran the gallery connecting the main part
of the palace with the Tiltyard (now the Horse Guards Parade) and the
Cockpit (where the Admiralty now stands), the tennis court, and the
bowling alley, where Henry VIII. indulged his love of games; for, as
Leigh Hunt cynically tells us, "though he put women to death, he was
fond of manly sports." Both gateways were removed during the first
half of the eighteenth century, when the road was widened.

Henry VIII. died in the palace where he had secretly married Anne
Boleyn, and where he had enjoyed so many of the good things of life.
It is said that he had grown so unwieldy that he had to be lifted by
means of machinery. Cranmer came to see him on his deathbed, but when
he arrived the King was already speechless, though still conscious.
The Archbishop, after "speaking comfortably to him, desired him to
give some token that he put his trust in God through Jesus Christ,
therewith the King wrung hard the Archbishop's hand," and so left
the earthly scene of his cruelties, his amusements, and his worldly

[Illustration: Whitehall Palace at the End of the Seventeenth

When James I. succeeded to the throne of the Tudors, he found the
palace of Whitehall needing a considerable amount of repairs. The
old banqueting hall that had sufficed for the needs of Elizabeth
was despised by the new monarch, who regarded it as an "old rotten
slight-builded Banqueting House." Inigo Jones, the great architect,
was called upon to supply plans for an entirely new palace. His plans,
the originals of which still exist, were extremely ambitious, for
if they had been carried out, London would have possessed a palace
rivalling Versailles, and covering an area of twenty four acres.
According to his scheme, the palace was to present four imposing
frontages, having square towers at the corners, and was to contain one
vast central court, as well as six smaller courts. Only the stately
banqueting hall of this colossal scheme was ever erected, that which
remains to-day, the solitary fragment of the once extensive palace.
The hall was finished in 1622, and when, three years later, Charles I.
came to the throne, he was too much overwhelmed with the difficulty of
obtaining sufficient money to supply his immediate needs, to entertain
any ideas of carrying out the proposed palace. He contented himself
with adorning the existing banqueting hall, commissioning the artist
Rubens, who was in London in the capacity of Ambassador from Flanders,
to paint the ceiling. For the magnificent work which we see to-day,
covering the entire ceiling, representing the apotheosis of James I.
the artist received £3,000 and a knighthood from King Charles.

It was outside the banqueting hall which he had so enriched, that King
Charles was beheaded on January 30, 1649. Early on the cold wintry
morning, escorted by a body of soldiers, Charles walked from St.
James's Palace, where he had spent his last night, across the park
to Whitehall. Owing to the cold he had put on two shirts, in order to
prevent any shivering, which might, the King thought, have been put
down to fear. Wearing a black cloak, and a striped red silk waistcoat,
he walked rapidly, telling Bishop Juxon, who accompanied him, that he
was soon going to obtain a heavenly crown. On the way he pointed out
a tree in Spring Gardens, planted by his elder brother, Henry. Arrived
at Whitehall, he crossed over the gallery above the Holbein Gate,
and went to his own room in the palace, awaiting the order for his
appearance on the scaffold, spending the time in prayer.

In spite of the great controversy on the subject of the position of
the scaffold, and the manner of the King's approach to it, there seems
to be every probability that the scaffold, which was erected in the
open street, stood in front of the large windows of the banqueting
hall. It is thought that King Charles, after walking through the hall,
crowded for him with memories of his father and of his own stately and
decorous court, entered into a small adjoining room, the wall having
been cut through for the purpose. And it was from the window of this
small room that Charles stepped upon the scaffold. At that time the
windows of the banqueting hall, facing Whitehall, were not glazed.

A great crowd had assembled to witness, as Sir Thomas Herbert, the
King's devoted friend, records, "the saddest sight that England ever
saw." With calm dignity Charles performed the last actions of his
life, asking his executioners whether his hair would hinder them,
taking off his cloak, handing the "George" worn by the Knights of the
Garter to Bishop Juxon, who remained by the side of his fallen monarch
to the end, and then, after making a short speech declaring his
innocence, kneeling down and laying his head upon the block. When
Bishop Juxon reminded him that he had but one stage more, which
would carry him from earth to heaven, the King replied: "I go from a
corruptible to an incorruptible crown."

Directly the painful scene was over every sign of it was removed at
once; soldiers dispersed the crowd, and the scaffold was immediately
taken down. The King's body was embalmed, after which it was shown to
the public, that there should be no doubt of his death. A week later
his faithful friends carried him to his last resting-place in St.
George's Chapel, Windsor. And so was cut short the life of Charles
Stuart, who, had his youth been spent under wiser guidance than that
of his father, might have been one of England's noblest rulers.

[Illustration: The Execution of Charles I., outside Whitehall Palace.

_From the painting by Ernest Crofts, R.A._]

Cromwell, conscious of his own integrity and free from superstitious
fears, did not hesitate to occupy the palace outside which his late
monarch had been executed. Though he refused the crown offered to him
in 1657, his residence in Whitehall began to assume more and more
the aspect of a court, he himself gradually acquiring a dignified and
stately manner, as we are assured by the contemporary royalist writer,
Sir Philip Warwick. "And yet I lived to see this very gentleman,"
he writes, "when for six weeks together I was a prisoner in his
sergeant's hands, and daily waited at Whitehall, appear of a great and
majestic deportment and comely presence." After six years of almost
autocratic power as Protector of England, during which period he had
shown his capacity as a statesman, Cromwell breathed his last in the
palace of his royal predecessors, relinquishing his hold upon life, in
spite of his strong religious faith, with obvious reluctance. Worn out
with anxieties and domestic grief, especially over the death of his
much-beloved daughter, Elizabeth Claypole, the great Protector died at
the age of fifty-nine, on September 3, 1658, a day which he had always
accounted as peculiarly fortunate, having been the occasion of his
victories at Dunbar and Worcester. A tremendous storm, one of the most
violent ever known, was raging over England when Oliver Cromwell's
spirit passed into the great Unknown.

On his arrival in London after his restoration, Charles II. proceeded
to Whitehall, where he confirmed all the great charters of English
liberty, such as Magna Carta, and the Petition of Right. Two years
later, Charles brought his unhappy young bride by river in state
to Whitehall, after their honeymoon at Hampton Court. Samuel Pepys
watched the pageant from the top of the banqueting hall, which he
describes as "a most pleasant place as any I could have got." The
whole river was covered with boats and barges, "so that we could see
no water for them," some boats representing the mimic court of a King
and Queen, until the actual royal pair appeared, who were greeted with
guns on their arrival at Whitehall Bridge.

Whitehall, so intimately connected with the Tudors, fell with the
Stuarts. A fire, which raged furiously all one night, destroyed for
ever, in 1698, the old rambling palace known to Wolsey and his royal
master, leaving no fragment to remind us of its existence. Only the
graceful banqueting hall escaped the general conflagration. Plans were
drawn up by Sir Christopher Wren for a new palace, but William III.,
who, suffering from habitual asthma, found the smoke of Whitehall
almost intolerable, was not likely to be anxious to restore a palace
in which he could not live. As he wrote to one of his friends, "the
loss is less to me than it would be to another person, for I cannot
live there." But though he made little effort to rebuild the palace,
being already busy at altering Hampton Court, there is no truth in the
statement of his enemies, that William had partly inspired the fire.

George I. altered the banqueting-hall into a Chapel Royal, for which
purpose it continued to be used until 1890, when Queen Victoria gave
permission for the building to be used for the United Service Museum.



In the high tide of its popularity, Hampton Court Palace was
considered the finest and most commodious palace in England, an
opinion which was corroborated by the foreign ambassadors of the time,
who spoke of it in terms of the highest praise. One distinguished
foreign visitor, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, recorded in his
diary: "This is the most splendid and most magnificent royal palace of
any that may be found in England, or, indeed, in any other kingdom."
And though to-day the tide of royal favour has receded for ever from
the shores of Hampton Court, the palace remains as stately and as
dignified as when the proud Wolsey paced its galleries.

[Illustration: Hampton Court: The First Court.]

Its situation has always been a happy one, for though built on the
banks of the River Thames, it has avoided all the disadvantages
of damp, owing to the gravelly nature of its soil. The nearness to
London, only thirteen miles away, with easy access along the broad
river, made it a delightful residence for the monarchs who were able
to get to and fro from London, however bad the roads might be. When
wearied with the smoke and bustle that surrounded Whitehall, the
royal owners rejoiced in escaping to their beautiful palace at Hampton
Court, from whose windows they looked over the clean river, across
fresh green meadows to the horizon of the blue Surrey hills.

Cardinal Wolsey was largely influenced by the healthy position of
Hampton Court, when he bought the place from the Knights Hospitallers
of St. John, who had owned it since the early part of the thirteenth
century. The Cardinal, like so many other great men, had never been
strong, and had taxed his strength to the uttermost by the enormous
quantity of work which he undertook. Not only was he Archbishop of
York, holding various other bishoprics, but he was Lord Chancellor of
England, an office which carried with it vast legal duties, and also
that of chief adviser to the King, through whom all the business of
the State was carried out. No wonder he needed a quiet spot far from
the busy throng, but he would have been wiser had he built a modest
country house, which would not have aroused the envy of the King.

But Wolsey had a passion for building, as his work at Whitehall, his
college of Christchurch, Oxford, and the school at Ipswich, witness,
and he apparently could not refrain from erecting a palace, which was
to excite universal admiration, and ultimately to assist in his fall
from power. Though suffering from a variety of ailments, among which
were ague and dropsy, Wolsey never rested, but, having bought Hampton
Court in 1514, pushed on the building, so that it was finished and
ready for occupation two years afterwards. No word concerning any
architect has come down to us, so that we may presume that the palace
was erected according to the Cardinal's own plans, and that he
is responsible for the romantic charm of the Tudor work, with its
clustered chimneys, gabled roofs, mullioned windows, and all the
picturesque dignity of the red-brick courtyards.

No sooner had the builders evacuated, than Wolsey filled the palace
with the most rich and costly furniture, magnificent tapestries, and
beds upholstered in gorgeous velvet and silk, everything being adorned
with the Cardinal's arms, until it quite outshone anything that the
King possessed.

King Henry often honoured his "good Cardinal" with a visit, sometimes
coming unexpectedly to surprise his Chancellor. The greatest banquet
Wolsey ever gave was to the French Ambassador in 1527, when 280 beds
were prepared, each room being lighted with blazing fires and candles
in silver candlesticks. Music was performed all through the banquet,
at which marvellous dishes appeared representing St. Paul's Church and
various birds and beasts.

Though Wolsey had handed over the lease of Hampton Court to the King
in 1525, when the first small cloud of royal displeasure had appeared,
he continued to occupy his beautiful palace for four more years, until
his final disgrace over the question of the divorce with Katharine of
Aragon. King Henry took possession in 1529, and at once began building
apartments for the Lady Anne Boleyn, though Queen Katharine was still
with him. Four years later, after Cranmer had pronounced a divorce,
the Pope still remaining obdurate, Anne Boleyn spent a gay and
brilliant honeymoon within the Cardinal's palace, recking little that
the fickle King who had thrown off a faithful servant and a devoted
wife for her sake, was to condemn her within a few years to a cruel

Hampton Court remained Henry's favourite palace, for he was proof
against any sad memories of past wives, while he was enjoying the
company of another. Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife, whom he married
the day after Anne Boleyn was executed, gave birth to Henry's only
son, Edward, within the palace, the young Prince being received with
great rejoicings, which were cut short by the death of his mother a
few days afterwards. Catharine Howard and Catharine Parr were both
married at Hampton Court, and Anne of Cleves also spent a short time
there, so that the palace is associated with all the wives of Henry

As a builder, King Henry is responsible for the Great Hall, on the
north side of the Clock Court, a fine Perpendicular building, with a
rich ceiling and large bay window.

Even when, in his later years, he could no longer enjoy his favourite
sports of hunting, archery, tennis, and fishing, owing to his
increasing corpulence, Henry retained his love for the Cardinal's
palace, and was often there amusing himself with games of backgammon
and dice, and playing on the lute, having been always fond of music.

Queen Mary, Henry's eldest daughter, spent her gloomy honeymoon at
the palace, none of her English subjects welcoming her marriage with
Philip II. of Spain. Philip, though outwardly devoted, was not much in
love with his plain and unattractive wife, who seems to have lost all
joyousness during the years of her retirement following the divorce
of her mother. Deep melancholy and despair settled down upon the
unfortunate Queen, when her hopes of an heir to carry on her work of
restoring the Roman Catholic religion in England were denied, and she
knew that her Protestant sister must succeed.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth no very important events occurred,
for though the Queen constantly visited the palace, she came for
periods of rest and amusement, away from all political cares. When her
successor came to Hampton Court, he was delighted with it, as he was
with most of the English royal palaces, which were so much more rich
and luxurious than those of Holyrood or Falkland. The park allowed
him opportunity for his much-loved occupation of hunting, when, his
ungainly figure clad in a vivid green hunting suit, he would follow
the stag with great keenness. But, enthusiastic as he was, he much
disliked any crowds assembling at the royal meets, thinking that
they worried the hounds and spoilt the game, and so he issued peevish
proclamations against "the bold and barbarous insolency of multitudes
of vulgar people," who, if they followed the hunt at all were to be
conveyed to the nearest gaol.

The favourite indoor entertainment at this time was the masque, which
reached the height of its popularity and glory during James's reign.
Ben Jonson, the greatest poet, and Inigo Jones, the greatest architect
of the day, were employed as author and designer of these stately
dramatic performances, in which the nobles and ladies of the Court
took part, before an audience representing the highest in the land.

But King James could not spend all his time watching gods and
goddesses upon the stage, or hunting the deer in his park, for the
question of religious toleration had to be decided. A conference was
held in January, 1604, at the palace, between the Puritan clergy and
the bishops, on the question of some lesser ecclesiastical reforms
involving no change in the organization of the Church. James delighted
in presiding at the conference, as it gave him an opportunity of
showing forth his scholastic accomplishments, which were real, though
extremely pedantic. No settlement was arrived at, for James, after
his experience under the Presbyterians in Scotland, delighted in the
Church of England with its subservience to royal authority. King James
thought he had crushed the Puritans with his arguments, but he had
only left them certain that all concessions would have to be wrested
from the King by force, resulting in the deadly struggle of his son's

Though Charles I. grew to be devotedly attached to his French bride,
Henrietta Maria, he had some unfortunate disagreements with her during
the early months of his married life, which he spent at Hampton Court.
Owing partly to the interference of the Duke of Buckingham, Charles's
unwise favourite, and to the young bride's extreme youth and lack of
tact, there were constant quarrels between the royal pair. Henrietta
Maria's large train of French followers were extremely unpopular among
the English, owing to their religious beliefs, and the Queen herself
was ill-advised enough to refuse to take part in the coronation
ceremonies, as they were performed by Protestant clergy. At last
Charles grew so annoyed that he dismissed all the French suite in a
high-handed manner, and sent them back to France. Though the Queen
never became popular among the Puritans, who attributed much of the
King's stubbornness to her suggestion, yet she and her royal husband
learned to live together in great domestic bliss.

The first hint of the gathering storm was made evident to the King
when the Commons brought down to the palace their Grand Remonstrance,
a document in which they had recorded, in unqualified language,
all the King's misdeeds. Charles retaliated by the fatal error of
attempting to arrest five members of the Commons; after the failure of
which he retired from London to Hampton Court--the last time (except
for one night) that he visited it as a free man. In the summer of
1647, when his armies had all been crushed and dispersed, he came
to the palace once more, but this time as a prisoner. He was still
treated with great respect and allowed considerable liberty, visiting
his children at Sion House, and having them visit him. Unhappily
Charles determined to escape, and was so far successful that he
succeeded in slipping from the palace, crossing the river, and
reaching the Isle of Wight. But there his success ended, for he
was obliged to give himself up as a prisoner to the governor of the
island, to be treated afterwards with increasing severity.

Cromwell's soldiers are credited with effecting considerable damage
to historic buildings, but we are indebted to the Protector for the
saving of Hampton Court Palace. It had already been sold to various
purchasers, when Cromwell became Lord Protector and the Parliament,
knowing his liking for the palace, at once set to work to repurchase
it. The Protector and his family soon after took up their residence
there, provoking the mocking laughter of royalists, either for the
regal state which Cromwell maintained, or the homeliness of his
wife. It is strange to remember, that along with all his austerity of
character Cromwell used to indulge, in his lighter moments, in great
buffoonery, putting sticky sweetmeats on to the chairs on which
the ladies were to sit, slipping live coals into his officers' coat
pockets, or throwing wine about.

Hampton Court had often served as a honeymoon palace, but the young
brides had seldom been very happy, unless, perhaps, Anne Boleyn had
managed to be care-free during her short reign. Certainly Queen Mary
and Henrietta Maria had been far from happy, but the insignificant
little Portuguese wife of Charles II. was the unhappiest of all.
Her husband did not love her, and she succeeded in annoying him by
persisting in wearing her Portuguese style of dress, which seemed
grotesque to English eyes. When she gave in on this point, she was
ordered to receive Lady Castlemaine, one of the King's favourites,
as a lady of her bedchamber, an indignity which she was justified in
refusing. But Charles's open rudeness, and studied indifference to
his wife, at last forced poor Catharine of Braganza to accept the
notorious lady, after which the King treated her with respect, though
never with love.

When William III. first saw Hampton Court, he was enchanted with it,
it reminded him of his beloved Holland, and besides, the air was free
from smoke, so that his asthmatical frame could breathe easily. He at
once began to set about rebuilding and altering the palace, and laying
out the gardens in the formal Dutch fashion. Sir Christopher Wren
was entrusted with the new work, creating the stately east and south
fronts, and the Fountain Court that we see to-day. The architect had
to join on the Renaissance style of architecture in vogue at that
time, to the late Perpendicular of the original builders, and by
adhering to red-brick with stone facings and copings, he made a
combination which is both restful and dignified. Queen Mary took an
intense interest in the new building which she was never destined
to see finished, her early death causing King William to lose all
pleasure in the palace, which they had both loved. For some years
work almost ceased on the new building, until the disastrous fire at
Whitehall rendered it necessary for the King to have another palace.
Work was then hurried on, Grinling Gibbons working at the interior
carving, Verrio painting the ceilings and staircases, gardeners laying
out the avenues and maze, till all was ready for the King in the
winter of 1699. Little more than two years later, William, who had
been very ill for some time, was riding in the park, when his horse
stumbled on a mole-hill, throwing his royal master on to the ground.
When the doctor examined him, King William was found to have
broken his collar-bone, which was immediately set. In spite of the
remonstrances of the doctor, the King insisted upon returning to
Kensington, where he rapidly became worse, the jolting of the roads
having shifted the bone, which had to be reset. A fortnight later he

The succeeding monarchs did little to the palace, though the first
two Hanoverian Kings occasionally resided there. George III., whose
partiality for Windsor and Kew caused him to neglect all the other
palaces, never visited Hampton Court after he became King, so that
it was gradually left to various private families, who were granted
apartments by the royal bounty. When Queen Victoria came to the throne
the palace was made open to the public, who have much appreciated the
privilege of seeing one of the most beautiful royal residences ever
erected in England.



The old red-brick palace which stands at the foot of St. James's
Street, looking up towards the busy throng of Piccadilly, still gives
the diplomatic title to the Court of Great Britain, though it has long
been neglected by royalty. It stands serene amid the traffic of Pall
Mall, having gained with the passing of ages some of that dignity with
which it was said to be lacking in the eighteenth century, when Sir
John Fielding wrote "it reflects no honour on the kingdom, and is
the jest of foreigners." Certainly less romantic in its history than
Westminster or Whitehall, it yet remains to-day a Tudor palace, while
its more picturesque rivals have crumbled away.

Long before the palace was erected, a small hospital stood upon its
site, its inmates being fourteen chaste maidens, victims of the deadly
malady of leprosy. The position had been chosen carefully, owing to
its extreme loneliness, it being then completely surrounded by fields.
In course of time eight brothers had been added to the hospital,
which was known as St. James the Less, and the whole property had been
granted by Henry VI. to his new foundation, Eton College. When Henry
VIII. took possession of Wolsey's palace in Whitehall, he purchased
the hospital and all the green fields round it, in order to obtain a
park for his new residence. One is glad to learn that the unfortunate
leprous maidens were pensioned off for the rest of their lives.

King Henry immediately set to work to build a sort of country
manor-house for himself, surrounding the park with a brick wall, and
at the same time draining it, for originally it was a somewhat dreary
marsh. It is said that Holbein, the artist, drew up the plans for the
palace, which were carried out by Thomas Cromwell, Wolsey's secretary,
who rose in Henry's favour upon his master's fall. But whoever was the
architect, the palace is essentially Tudor, and remains so in spite of
the various additions made by the later monarchs. The gatehouse, with
its four octagon towers and its clock, is the most familiar feature of
the palace. Unfortunately, from a sentimental point of view, the clock
is a new one; an older one, bearing the date 1731, was removed in
1831, and is now at Hampton Court Palace. Perhaps the most interesting
part of the interior is the Old Presence Chamber, now known as the
Tapestry Room, from the fine tapestry representing Venus and Mars,
which had been made for Charles I., but had been put away in a chest
and apparently forgotten, till it was discovered and hung up for the
wedding of George IV. The stone Tudor fireplace in this room bears
the initials H. and A. for Henry and Anne Boleyn, united most
inappropriately, considering their later history, by a true lover's

[Illustration: The Gate Tower of St. James's Palace.]

In spite of Henry's early enthusiasm, he was not often at the palace,
which, indeed, was seldom used for any length of time, till after the
fire at Whitehall, and even then Kensington Palace was preferred. It
was more usually occupied by the heir to the throne, or some of the
younger members of the royal family. Unhappy Queen Mary, soured by
her early misfortunes, neglected by her husband, and despairing of the
restoration of her Church, died after a weary illness on November 17,
1558, in the palace which she had always loved. Her successors did not
reside there, Queen Elizabeth only coming for brief periods, and James
I. giving it to his son, Prince Henry, who died there of a malignant
fever, imputed, as was customary at that time, to poison.

On the death of his brother, Charles I., as Prince of Wales, took up
his residence in St. James's Palace, spending the early years of his
married life there, most of his children being born within its walls.
Associated with the hopeful time of his young manhood, the palace also
recalls his last days upon earth, before the final scene at Whitehall.
Arriving on January 19, 1649, Charles spent the remainder of his life
there, with the exception of the few days of his trial when he was
lodged in the precincts of the old palace of Westminster. However much
we may denounce the method by which Charles attempted to govern his
kingdom, we can accord him nothing but a respectful and sympathetic
admiration for the manner in which he passed to his death. He was
still a young and vigorous man, to whom life must have held much that
was good, and yet he left it with no whinings at fate, but with a calm
dignity and full of trust in God. The day before his execution his two
young children, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Gloucester, came to
say farewell. Holding the little Princess in his arms, he told her
she must not grieve for him, for he was going to die a glorious death,
"for the laws and religion of the land." With the Duke of Gloucester
on his knee, the father told the children to love and obey their
mother, and then looking sadly at his little daughter he said, "But,
sweetheart, thou wilt forget what I tell thee." The child promised
to write down what he had told her, and then, after they had received
some jewels and a last kiss from their royal father, they were led
away by Bishop Juxon.

Waking early on the fateful morning, the King roused his faithful
attendant, Sir Thomas Herbert, saying that he would get up, "having
a great work to do this day." Bishop Juxon came and administered the
Sacrament, after which Charles was persuaded to take a little food, as
the day was so bitterly cold. A few hours later the dread sentence had
been fulfilled; but St. James's Palace was to witness one more scene,
for the body was brought back on February 1, remaining there for many
people to see it. A story, unsupported by evidence, though we would
gladly give it credence, runs that a man, hidden in a cloak, visited
the coffin, and as he walked round it was heard to mutter, "Dreadful
necessity"--the man being said to be Oliver Cromwell.

After the Restoration, Charles II. did not reside in the palace, but
lent it to his brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James II., who
maintained a lesser Court there, while remaining in perfect amity
with his royal brother. King Charles took a tremendous interest in
the park, which he altered under the superintendance of Le Nôtre, the
famous French gardener, changing it from mere rural simplicity into
long straight avenues, and confining the water of various ponds into
one formal canal. Bird-cage Walk owes its name to the aviary which was
created at this time in part of the park. Much of the popularity which
the Merry Monarch enjoyed was the way in which he wandered about
among the public, unattended by the courtiers. He was often to be seen
walking about with his dogs in the park, which had been made public
eight years after he had come to the throne. James, Duke of York, once
ventured to suggest greater caution, but Charles, with sly humour,
replied: "Brother James, take care of yourself, for no one would kill
me to make _you_ King!"

On his accession, James II. left St. James's for Whitehall, though his
Queen much preferred the palace in which she had lived as the Duchess
of York. His only son, the unfortunate Old Pretender, was born in St.
James's in a room whose proximity to some back stairs allowed ground
for the absurd belief that the child was smuggled into the palace in a
warming pan. Bitter disappointment at the prospect of the continuance
of the Roman Catholic dynasty was responsible for the story.

From this time St. James's was never very popular. When William of
Orange had driven away his father-in-law, he allowed the Princess Anne
to reside in the palace, he himself retiring to Kensington, which he
built for his own use. The succeeding monarchs all delighted in the
rural charms of Kensington, and only came to St. James's when State
ceremonies rendered their presence absolutely necessary.

Since the fire in 1809, which destroyed a very picturesque part of the
palace, no monarch has resided there, though the proclamation of the
succession to the throne is still announced from the balcony leading
from the Tapestry Room.



When William III., "a great man in a little crazy body" as Leigh
Hunt calls him, found that he could not stand the smoky atmosphere of
Whitehall, he looked about for a place sufficiently near London for
him to be near his Ministers, and yet should be rural enough to have
clear fresh air. He found this spot in the village of Kensington,
where he bought a suburban mansion, formerly the residence of the
Earls of Nottingham. Here he at once began building, and laying out
gardens in the formal Dutch fashion, employing Sir Christopher Wren
to make the alterations to the house. While the King was in
Ireland fighting against his father-in-law, James II., Queen Mary
superintended the work, writing to her absent husband of the slow
progress the builders were making, and how "the place made me think
how happy I was there when I had your dear company." A road was
specially constructed through Hyde Park, gravelled and lighted with
lamps, for the convenience of the officers of State, who were obliged
to visit the monarch in his country retreat.

Queen Mary did not long enjoy the pleasures of Kensington Palace, for
in the winter of 1694, an epidemic of smallpox, which was raging in
the neighbourhood, crept through the palace gates, and attacked the
young Queen. Immediately she knew the terrible nature of her fate, the
Queen, with her usual kind consideration, directed that all her ladies
and servants who had not had smallpox should hurry from the palace,
while she herself, having put everything in order, calmly prepared for
death. King William could scarcely be persuaded to leave his beloved
wife, even to lie down at night upon the camp bed arranged for him
in the ante-chamber. Tears ran down the stern face which was seldom
allowed to betray any emotion, and in the end, just before Queen Mary
died, he was carried away from her bedside fainting. As he said to
Bishop Burnet, "I was the happiest man on earth; and I am the most
miserable. She had no fault; none: you knew her well: but you could
not know, nobody but myself could know her goodness."

Eight years later, King William himself expired in the same palace,
a man still in the prime of life, but worn out with illness and hard
work to which his vigorous intellect had driven him. He was already
far from well when he was thrown from his horse while riding in
Hampton Court Park, and broke his collar bone. The bone was set at
once, after which the King insisted upon returning to Kensington,
against the advice of his doctors. Upon arriving at the palace it was
found that the bone required resetting owing to the jolting caused by
the bad roads. The King lingered for a fortnight, busy all the time
arranging a coalition to curb the power of France, but on March 8 it
was seen that he was sinking. Macaulay tells us that "when his remains
were laid out it was found that he wore next to his skin a small piece
of black silk riband. The lords-in-waiting ordered it to be taken off.
It contained a gold ring and a lock of the hair of Mary."

Finding herself saddled with a debt of £4,000 still unpaid for the
building alterations of her predecessor, Queen Anne contented herself
with improving the gardens, leaving the palace untouched. But she
added one architectural feature, the beautiful orangery designed by
Sir Christopher Wren, standing near the north-east of the palace, a
building famous for the beauty of its proportions and the delicacy of
its detail. At one time it was much neglected and even ran the danger
of being pulled down, but was happily preserved and carefully restored
in 1898. The "dull woman with a dull husband," as Leigh Hunt bluntly
summarizes Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark, both died in the
palace to which they were much attached, Prince George dying in 1708,
six years before his wife.

Always a lethargic and weak-minded woman, Queen Anne's pleasures lay
in eating and drinking, for she cared nothing for music or books, and
would sit in silence for a long time among her friends. It was natural
that such a woman should be ruled by the strong, imperious will
of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who for many years completely
influenced the Queen. She, however, presumed too much upon this
influence till a breach was effected, never to be healed. The last
famous interview between the one-time friends took place in Kensington
Palace. The Duchess had written asking for an interview at which she
should merely state her case, the Queen not requiring to answer at
all. This the stolid Queen obeyed to the letter, for not a word could
the furious Duchess extract beyond "You desired no answer and you
shall have none."

[Illustration: A Courtyard of Kensington Palace.]

Under the first Hanoverian King, who never was able to speak the
language of his new subjects, the Court at Kensington was extremely
dull. But as George I. liked the quietness of the palace, he erected
a new suite of rooms, and employed William Kent as the architect. To
Kent we are indebted for the monotonous drab frontage which faces the
Round Pond.

The last monarch to reside and to die in the palace was George II.,
the "petty German autocrat" who scorned England and delighted in
snubbing his English courtiers, declaring, according to Lord Hervey,
that no Englishman knew how to enter a room, nor any Englishwoman
how to dress, nor English cooks how to prepare a dinner, nor English
coachman how to drive, nor, indeed, were there any English horses
fit to ride or drive. Queen Caroline, his much-enduring wife, devoted
herself to the planning out of the gardens, which she laid out
practically as we now see them. Uniting a collection of ponds she
created the Serpentine, and was also responsible for the Round Pond
and the Broad Walk.

George III. did not care for Kensington, much preferring his beloved
Windsor, so that the palace became somewhat neglected, being only used
by various members of the Royal Family. The Duke of Kent, the fourth
son of George III., came to live there shortly after his marriage, the
Princess Victoria being born on May 24, 1819, in the room which now
bears a brass plate commemorating the fact. At the time of her birth
there seemed small likelihood of the little Princess ever reaching
the Throne, but her royal uncles having no children, it soon became
obvious that she was the heir to the Throne of England. She herself,
being brought up with scrupulous care by her widowed mother, did not
know of her great future till the death of George III. The residents
of Kensington soon became familiar with the sight of little Princess
Victoria driving about in a donkey carriage or in a tiny chaise drawn
by small ponies.

A few weeks after her eighteenth birthday, the Princess was awakened
out of her sleep very early on a bright June morning. The Archbishop
of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain had arrived at the palace, and
their business could not wait. "We have come to see the _Queen_ on
business of state, and even the Queen's sleep must give way to that."
Hastily putting on a dressing gown and slippers, the young girl went
down, to be told by the Archbishop that her uncle and King was dead,
and that she was now the Queen of a vast inheritance. Later on that
same morning her first council was held in the palace, the scene
depicted by Wilkie in his well-known picture. The young Queen was very
dignified and self-possessed, turning to Lord Melbourne, the Prime
Minister, when doubtful as to what she should do, but showing all
through the trying ordeal a gentle sweetness that won upon all the
lords present. She read her speech "in a clear, distinct, and audible
voice, and without any appearance of fear or embarrassment," after
which all the privy councillors came to kiss her hand and swear
allegiance. When her uncle, the old Duke of Sussex, who was very
infirm, came forward to kneel before her, she left her chair and came
towards him, kissing him on the forehead. On July 13, the girl-Queen
left the home of her childhood for Buckingham Palace.

Members of the Royal Family continued to occupy various apartments in
the palace, the Duchess of Kent residing there till her death in 1861.
Queen Mary was born there, her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Teck,
living there for a short time.

After some years it was found that the palace was in a very bad state
of repair, every part of the building wanting attention. So extensive
was the dilapidation, that the question of pulling down the palace
was seriously considered. Fortunately, however, the historic place was
saved by Queen Victoria, who was anxious to preserve her old home. It
was finally decided as a memorial of the Diamond Jubilee, to repair
the building thoroughly, and to throw open the State Rooms to the
public. The restoration was carried out most carefully, everything
being saved that was possible; pictures were brought from Hampton
Court, and the whole palace rendered much as it was in the days of its
glory. At the present time it is serving as the temporary home of the
London Museum.



Kew first became a royal residence in the reign of George II., when
it was leased from its private owners and used as a country seat by
Frederick, Prince of Wales. Owing to his undutiful behaviour to his
father, the Prince was banished from Court, when he retired to Kew,
forming a sort of opposition Court there. But the actual red-brick
Jacobean house, now known as Kew Palace, was then only called the
Dutch House, after its original founder, Sir Hugh Portman, who was
a Dutch merchant in the time of James I. It stood quite close to the
more important building of Kew House, and was as constantly occupied
by members of the Royal Family as the larger adjacent palace.

The Dutch House, or Kew Palace as it is now designated, is thoroughly
typical of its period--a simple, three gabled, and dignified looking
building, unpalatial indeed, but quite befitting the position of the
wealthy knight who built it. The interior has been altered to suit the
tastes of the royal inmates, who inserted marble fireplaces, and put
in new doors, but a good deal of the original Jacobean panelling still
remains. On the brass locks of the doors are to be seen the Prince of
Wales's feathers, and the cypher of Frederick, Prince of Wales.

[Illustration: Kew Palace (the Dutch House) and George III.'s
Castellated Palace, pulled down by George IV.]

George III. spent a great part of his youth at Kew, living there with
his mother, the widowed Princess of Wales. He was brought up in
strict retirement, his mother regulating his life and restricting his
intercourse with the outer world. Strangely enough, when he succeeded
to the throne of his grandfather, George III. did not revolt from
the ordered régime of the early days, but maintained the same careful
regularity all his life. He continued to love Kew, where he and his
devoted but prosaic Queen spent several months of every year. Buying
the two houses from the lease-holders, Queen Charlotte turned the
Dutch House into a royal nursery, where her large family was brought
up. Both she and the King delighted in getting away to Kew, where
no kind of royal state was kept up, and where they could live the
ordinary life of quiet country gentlefolk, the only life for which
they were really suited. Once a week the public were admitted into the
gardens, and allowed the privilege of seeing the King and Queen and
the royal children _en famille_, talking to their friends, and walking
about in their private gardens. The little riverside village of
Kew became quite gay, and its inhabitants were much loved by Queen
Charlotte for the spontaneous enthusiasm with which they welcomed King
George, after his attempted assassination by the mad woman, Margaret

In order to erect a flamboyant palace, Kew House was pulled down by
royal command in 1802, and a new "castellated structure of carpenters'
Gothic" put up under the direction of Wyatt, the architect who
was responsible for the alterations and repairs of Windsor Castle.
Fortunately it was never finished, owing to the poor King's illness,
and it has been said that George IV. never did a better deed in his
life than when he demolished the ridiculous palace perpetrated by his
father. While the building was in progress the Royal Family moved into
the Dutch House.

During one of the King's periodic attacks of madness in 1789, he was
confined to the Dutch House, under the charge of two doctors, and when
he walked in the gardens everyone was supposed to keep out of his way.
But one day, Miss Fanny Burney, then in attendance on Queen Charlotte,
was walking in the gardens, having learnt that the King was to go to
Richmond. To her utter dismay she came quite suddenly upon the King,
who called out to her, "Miss Burney!" She instantly ran off, not
knowing the state in which he might be, and was horrified to find
herself pursued by the poor King, who chased her hotly while she in
vain sought to elude him. At last, hearing from the shouts of the
doctors that she must stop as it was bad for the King to run, she
waited till the King came up, who accosted her with, "Why did you run
away from me?" With a great effort the shy little authoress controlled
herself, and, finding that the King was quite peaceful, she had a long
conversation with him, during which her royal master confided in her
some of his troubles.

After the King's madness had become permanent he spent the last years
of his unhappy life at Windsor, but Queen Charlotte still resided for
long periods at Kew, where she died in November, 1818, at the age of
seventy-five. Earlier in the same year, three royal weddings had taken
place within the old house, for the question of the succession had
become pressing. Though Queen Charlotte had had fifteen children,
she had no living grandchildren, for the Princess Charlotte, the only
child of George IV. had just died. The drawing-room was fitted up
with a temporary altar, and on the same day the Duke of Clarence
(afterwards William IV.) was married to Adelaide, daughter of the
Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, and the Duke of Kent to Princess Victoria of
Saxe-Coburg. A few weeks before, the Duke of Cambridge had also been
married in the palace.

Suffering, like Kensington Palace, from lack of royal favour and
general neglect during the latter part of the nineteenth century, it
was restored in 1898 and opened to the public by the wish of Queen
Victoria, as a commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee.



Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the monarch, is the most
familiar of all the royal palaces to the general British public, in
so far as everyone, sooner or later, migrates to London. Unfortunately
the spectator sees only a somewhat depressing and stereotyped
building, lacking the majestic proportions of Windsor and the stately
beauty of Hampton Court, representing, indeed, the very lowest ebb of
English architecture. Yet, in spite of its uninspiring exterior, it
is full of interest, for present-day life throbs within its walls, the
nation's history is bound up with it, and it pulsates with memories
of the Queen who won the hearts of her people as a young girl and
kept them all through her long and honoured life. As a palace, its
life-story is just beginning; three sovereigns only, excluding our
present King, have lived within it.

[Illustration: Buckingham Palace, from the Lake in St. James's Park.]

In the days of James I. the site of the palace was occupied by a
plantation of mulberry-trees, a royal investment, the King believing
that the cultivation of silkworms would be lucrative both for himself
and the nation. In this he was disappointed, but the Mulberry Gardens
remained as a place of amusement for the public until 1675. Both
Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn mention visiting the gardens, to which
the fashion of the Restoration resorted to eat mulberry tarts.

When the Mulberry Gardens were first instituted, a keeper had been
appointed by the King, and the office continued long after the work
had become a sinecure. The keeper's official residence became known as
Goring House, when Lord Goring purchased it in 1632. On the death of
Lord Goring, Henry Bennet, Lord Arlington, bought the mansion, and
later on succeeded in adding to his property the famous gardens,
when they were closed to the public. According to John Evelyn, Lord
Arlington filled his house with the most rich and handsome furniture,
all of which perished in a disastrous fire which broke out in 1674.
The house was rebuilt, receiving the new name of Arlington House, and
was afterwards sold to John Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire.

Not content with the building of the former owner, the Duke pulled
down Arlington House and erected the immediate predecessor of the
present palace, calling it after himself--Buckingham House. It was
apparently a dignified-looking mansion, much admired in its time,
having a flat roof adorned with statues, and large gilded letters
making _Rus in Urbe_.

Soon after he came to the Throne, George III. bought Buckingham House
from the Duke of Buckinghamshire's successor, and some years later
altered it to suit his convenience, at the same time spoiling the
general outline of the building. But King George and Queen Charlotte
liked the house where most of their children were born, and carried
on there the same placid domestic life that they led at Windsor and
at Kew. The children were brought up most severely, the Queen even
carrying out the whipping herself, but the success of the system was
not obvious, considering the later life of the young Princes. Though
King George's simplicity is much laughed at, the nation owes something
to his foresight and intelligence, in collecting a large library in
his London house. For many years he spent £2,000 a year upon books,
until he amassed the splendid collection now known as the King's
library in the British Museum, George IV. having presented it to
the nation. It was in this library that Dr. Johnson had his famous
interview with the King, whom he described as the finest gentleman
he had ever seen. Dr. Johnson was a friend of the royal librarian who
informed the King of the presence of the great lexicographer, whom
King George wished to see. The conversation, as related by Boswell,
seems to have been about books and libraries, and Johnson's own
literary work, upon which the King complimented him.

George IV. never lived in the palace, for on his accession he ordered
the old house to be razed and a new palace built. But as he was at
the same time rebuilding Windsor Castle, he did not venture to ask
Parliament for more money than necessary repairs, and told Nash, his
architect, to build upon the old lines. This Nash proceeded to do
without any models or drawings, with the result that he himself was
surprised with the effect when the building was finished. So great
was the universal scorn for the outspreading wings of the palace, that
they were taken down at once. A cynical verse expressed the public's
opinion of the architect:

  "Augustus at Rome was for building renown'd,
  For of marble he left what of brick he had found;
  But is not our Nash, too, a very great master?
  He finds us all brick and he leaves us all plaster."

The gateway to the palace was designed from Constantine's Arch in
Rome, and was intended to carry an equestrian statue of George IV.
upon the top. This gateway, the Marble Arch, now stands at the Oxford
Street entrance to Hyde Park, having been moved there in 1851.

After the builders had left the much-criticized palace, it was left
empty and bare, until Queen Victoria came to the Throne, when the
girl-Queen soon made the lifeless palace full of animation and
happiness. All through her long reign Buckingham Palace is intimately
associated with her, from her Coronation Day, that June morning when
all London welcomed her with enthusiasm, down to the Diamond Jubilee,
when the aged Queen could say, "From my heart I thank my beloved
people." It was from the palace that she set out on a cheerless
February morning to her wedding in Westminster Abbey, and a great part
of her happy married life was spent there, when in company with her
beloved husband she held a brilliant Court. Two fancy dress balls were
held, one where all the noblest and most distinguished in England
came arrayed in the dress of the Plantagenets, and the other where all
appeared in Georgian costumes.

The marriage of the Princess Royal to the Crown Prince of Germany took
place from Buckingham Palace. Though a highly approved love-match, it
caused considerable grief to the royal household, the Queen finding it
extremely difficult to part with her eldest daughter. The Queen wrote
of it as "the second most eventful day" in her life, and after the
young pair had set off for their new home in Germany, she said, "My
tears began to flow afresh frequently, and I could not go near Vicky's

The public will not soon forget the momentous events associated with
the palace during the last reign; the serious illness of King Edward,
on the eve of his Coronation, postponing the great ceremony for which
many distinguished visitors had already arrived, and then after a
short but brilliant reign, the sudden death of the popular monarch,
throwing all the country into mourning. Almost before anyone knew
that the King was seriously ill, for he had only just come back from
Biarritz, the bulletin, announcing that "His Majesty breathed his
last" within the palace, was read by the sorrowing crowds.



Besides the palaces whose stories have been related, there were at one
time many other royal residences scattered over England. These have
either entirely vanished, even their sites being problematical, or
mere fragments of them alone remain. While England remained in an
unsettled condition, with constant internal wars, the Kings were
always moving about taking their Court with them, staying in their
various castles or fortified houses. We find that Henry II., the first
of the Plantagenet Kings, never stayed long in any place, generally
moving on after a few days' visit. But when more settled times came,
and the Parliament remained at Westminster, the King came to live
longer in London or at one of his royal houses in the neighbourhood.
Some of the country palaces were maintained on account of the hunting
they afforded.

A few brief notes must suffice for these vanished palaces.

=Baynards Castle= was situated on the River Thames not far from
St. Paul's. In 1461 the City of London tendered their allegiance to
Edward, Duke of York (Edward IV.) at Baynards Castle, and by doing
so secured his triumph. It became a royal house on the attainder of
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and was rebuilt by Henry VIII., but was
seldom occupied by the sovereign. Queen Mary gave it to the Earl of

[Illustration: Baynards Castle in 1790.]

=Dartford Priory= was turned into a house for the King after the
dissolution of the monasteries. It is chiefly associated with King
Henry VIII.'s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, who lived there during
the reign of Edward VI. and until her death in 1556. Queen Elizabeth
occasionally visited it, but when it was found to need costly repairs
James I. granted it to Robert, Earl of Salisbury.

=Enfield Palace=, though a Crown property from the time of Henry IV.,
was not used as a royal residence until the time of Henry VIII. Queen
Elizabeth was at Enfield when Henry VIII. died, and she often visited
it after she came to the Throne. It was sold to the Earl of Pembroke
in 1641.

=Hatfield House= was acquired by Henry VIII., whose daughter, Queen
Elizabeth, lived there during her sister's reign. James I. persuaded
Sir Robert Cecil to accept it in exchange for his house at Theobalds.

=Havering-atte-Bower= Palace stood near Romford, in Essex. It was the
country palace of Edward the Confessor, and was afterwards occupied by
various Queens, some of whom died there. James I. let it to the Earl
of Oxford.

=Kempton Park= was often used by the Plantagenet Kings up till the
time of Richard II. Henry VIII. ordered it to be taken down, using the
building materials for his new palace of Whitehall.

=King's Langley=, in Hertfordshire, was Crown land from the fourteenth
century, the manor being last held by Charles I., who presented it to
Sir Charles Morrison.

[Illustration: Nonsuch Palace.

_From an engraving by Houfnagle._]

=Nonsuch Palace= at Cheam, in Surrey, was built by Henry VIII., who
had obtained the land in 1538. The Earl of Arundel, to whom Queen Mary
gave the palace, completed the building, which was still unfinished.
It was a most unusual structure, almost fantastic with its bas-reliefs
and gilded cupolas, and quite unlike the Tudor mansion of the period.
Queen Elizabeth often visited Arundel, who entertained his royal
mistress in lavish manner. She afterwards bought the estate, which
James I. settled upon his wife. Charles II. gave it as a present to
Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland, who pulled it down.

=Oatlands=, near Weybridge, in Surrey, was the site of a palace
erected by Henry VIII., who also enclosed a park. It was occasionally
visited by Henry VIII.'s successors, down to the time of the Civil
War, when it was destroyed.

[Illustration: Savoy Palace, about 1650.

_From an etching by Hollare._]

=Richmond Palace=, the much-loved residence of the Tudors, received
its name from Henry VII., who had been known as Henry of Richmond
after the town in Yorkshire, before he came to the Throne. The first
house was destroyed by Richard II. when his wife died there in 1394,
but Henry VII. rebuilt it, dying there in 1509. Queen Elizabeth was
often at the palace, where she died in 1603.

=Savoy Palace= obtained its name from Peter of Savoy, the uncle of
Queen Eleanor, the wife of Henry III., who resided there. It was
bought back again by Queen Eleanor, who handed it on to Edmund, Earl
of Lancaster, from whose family it returned again to the Crown, by the
marriage of John of Gaunt to Blanche of Lancaster. The captive King
John of France spent some years of his life there.

=Somerset House= was built by the Protector Somerset, who ruthlessly
destroyed churches and houses to obtain a site on the river. After his
execution, it came to the Crown, and was afterwards used as part of
the Queen's dowry, Catharine of Braganza being the last Queen to
live in the palace. In 1775 it was converted into a Public Office;
Buckingham Palace, just acquired by George III., being settled upon
the Queen.

=Theobalds=, on the borders of Hertfordshire, was built by Robert
Cecil, Lord Burleigh, who often entertained Queen Elizabeth, an honour
which cost him £2,000 a visit. James I. was so delighted with it when
he came there on his royal progress from Scotland, that he induced his
host to let him have it in exchange for Hatfield. He was frequently
there, enjoying the hunting in the neighbourhood, and died there in
1625, his son Charles being proclaimed at the gate. At the Civil
War it was much damaged, afterwards being parcelled out among some
Parliamentarian officers. The last remains disappeared in 1766.

=Winchester Castle= was built, according to tradition, by Arthur, and
was constantly used by the early English Kings. It was the birthplace
of Henry III., and Parliament assembled there occasionally until the
fifteenth century. Henry V. was the last King to reside there. In the
time of the Commonwealth it came into the possession of Sir William
Waller, from whom the Corporation bought it.

=Woodstock=, in Oxfordshire, was a royal manor when the Domesday
survey was made. It was at Woodstock that Queen Eleanor, the wife of
Henry II., discovered the Fair Rosamond, daughter of Lord Clifford,
who was so much loved by her royal master. Much of the story is
probably legend; she was certainly not murdered by the jealous Queen,
but died in Godstow nunnery. Edward III. and Queen Philippa were much
attached to the palace, where their eldest son, the Black Prince, was
born. After Wyatt's rebellion, Queen Elizabeth was guarded there as a
prisoner. James I. liked it for the hunting it afforded, and Charles
I. was often there during his reign, especially when his army was at
Oxford during the Civil War. It fell into ruin after the war, and the
estate was given to the Duke of Marlborough after his famous victory
at Blenheim. The architect of Blenheim Palace wished to save the ruins
which still remained, but the Duchess of Marlborough declared that
they spoilt the view, and so swept them away completely in 1723.


Stands upon a great rock rising abruptly from low-lying ground. Its
history stretches back to the dim time of legends.]



Edinburgh Castle has a history that stretches far back till it is lost
in the misty realm of legend. The great rock upon which it is built
could not fail to have appealed to all the successive rulers of the
land as of great strategic importance. It rises abruptly from the
low-lying land, and dominates the country for many miles around, from
the Forth on the north to the Pentland Hills on the south. Its Celtic
name of _Maidun_, meaning the fort of the plain, became corrupted in
later times to Maiden's Castle, the name being responsible for the
tradition that the castle was used by the royal Princesses, during
times of great danger.

[Illustration: Edinburgh Castle, from the North.]

Though Edwin, the King of Northumbria, is the reputed founder of
the town whose name is commonly derived from him, the clear light of
history only begins to shine upon it in the days of Malcolm Canmore
and his sainted Queen. At that time a Celtic Castle stood upon the
rock, of which there are no remains except St. Margaret's Chapel, a
little Norman building, named after Malcolm Canmore's English wife.
Malcolm, the Big Head, a brave but illiterate Prince, was so devoted
to his beautiful wife, that through her teaching he learned religion,
and used to take part with her in the religious services of which she
was so fond. Unable to read himself, he caused her prayer-books and
missals to be splendidly bound, and would listen to her while she read
to him, submitting at the same time to refinements in dress and table
customs which were quite innovations in the rude northern Court. Queen
Margaret was in the castle in 1093, when her warlike husband and her
eldest son went off with a large army to fight the English. She was
lying very ill when the news came to her that both husband and son
had been slain, the shock causing her death. As there was considerable
disaffection in the country, her body was carried with great secrecy
across the Forth to Dunfermline, a miraculous mist kindly enveloping
the party, so that no one saw them escape.

Another Queen Margaret, also an English Princess, a century and a half
later, came as a girl-wife to the grim castle on the rock. She was the
daughter of Henry III. of England, and had been married to Alexander
III., a mere boy, with great splendour at York, her father hoping by
the marriage to gain more influence over Scotland.

All the troubles of the War of Independence during the fourteenth
century arose from King Alexander III. leaving no male heir. His two
sons had died before him, and his grand-daughter, the Maid of Norway,
was his only heir. Disasters came thick upon Scotland soon after the
death of Alexander III., who had fallen over a cliff on the coast of
Fife when riding too near the edge on a very dark and stormy night.
For the next fifty years Edinburgh Castle was constantly being taken
by the English and recaptured by the Scottish people. Everyone knows
the story of how Sir Thomas Randolph surprised the English garrison
in the castle, by climbing up the precipitous side of the rock with a
party of thirty bold men. After this capture, Robert Bruce, according
to his usual policy, destroyed the castle, so that it should no longer
serve as a stronghold for the English. But when Edward III. obtained
it again in 1334 he rebuilt it.

It was not until the early Stuart Kings, that Edinburgh Castle really
became a palace, in the more peaceful sense of the word. When James I.
returned to Scotland after his long captivity in England, he spent a
considerable amount of money on building the Parliament House, (now
used as the armoury), and many of the private apartments. He had
doubtless, during his residence at Windsor and Westminster, learnt to
enjoy the greater beauty and dignity of the English palaces. His son,
James II., continued his work of rebuilding.

During the minority of James II., a time when several parties in the
State were endeavouring to capture their young monarch and to rule in
his name, a great tragedy took place within the castle. William, Earl
of Douglas, a lad of about eighteen, was then the head of the most
wealthy and powerful family in Scotland, and being of royal descent,
might even make a claim to the throne.

As he did not join himself to either the party of Sir William Crichton
or that of Sir Alexander Livingstone, these two leaders, usually at
deadly enmity with one another, united to destroy the young Earl.
In the year 1440, the Earl and his brother David were invited to the
castle, on the pretext that the young King wanted their congenial
company. Accompanied by their aged tutor, Sir Malcolm Fleming, the two
boys came to Edinburgh, where they were received with real pleasure by
James II., and with false hospitality by Crichton and Livingstone. But
the real purpose of the visit was evident when a black bull's head was
placed upon the dinner-table, in Scotland as much a symbol of death
as the Judge's black cap in a modern trial. Taken unawares, the
unfortunate boys were hurried to the castle walls, where, after a mock
trial, they were beheaded, Fleming also suffering a similar fate.

After the time of Flodden Field, the monarchs very seldom used the
castle for anything but a stronghold against their enemies, Holyrood
Palace becoming their favourite residence. The last Prince to be born
in the castle was James VI., his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, having
chosen to be within the protection of its strong walls. The small
room in which he was born can still be seen, a memorable room, for the
infant Prince was to bring peace to his realm, putting an end at last
to centuries of conflict, not indeed by any wisdom or foresight of his
own, but by succeeding to the throne of England.



For peaceful beauty of situation the royal palace of Dunfermline
in Fife excelled all others in Scotland, for though the castles of
Edinburgh and Stirling were majestic, they were too associated with
the troubles of turbulent nobles to have been pleasant residences for
the monarchs. The palace was built high above a wooded glen, its walls
apparently rising out of the cliff-like sides of the winding stream.
Only a fragment now remains, but it is sufficient, with its mullioned
windows and massive buttresses, to show how picturesque and stately
must have been the Stuart palace.

The first monarch to reside at Dunfermline was Malcolm Canmore, who
built a castle on Tower Hill, a little distance away from the later
palace. Its site is still to be seen, though the slight remains of the
walls are probably those of its Norman successor. Queen Margaret
lived the greater part of her reign there, spending her days in pious
devotion, giving food and garments to the poor, or sitting with her
maidens working at rich embroideries to adorn the abbey which she
had founded. No frivolous conversation was allowed among the maidens,
their royal mistress being very severe, yet the Queen was much
beloved, for she combined sweetness with her gravity.

It was the presence of the abbey adjoining the palace which made
Dunfermline so dear to Queen Margaret. She was never tired of
enriching her foundation with every gift that saintly enthusiasm
could suggest, and when she died she was naturally buried in the Lady
Chapel. The abbey buildings were destroyed by Edward I., but were
restored by Bruce, who erected the palace near by, deserting the
castle on the hilltop. The reforming energy of the Protestants, in
1560, led them to pull down most of the beautiful church of the abbey,
fortunately leaving the nave, a fine example of Norman work, to be
used for Presbyterian services. So many royal Princes had been buried
in the abbey, from Malcolm Canmore and his Queen, that it has been
sometimes called the "Scottish Westminster," yet the Reformers did
not spare it, though it contained the grave of Robert Bruce. Bruce's
monument being broken, became indistinguishable among the general
ruin, till at the beginning of the nineteenth century the church was
repaired. Some fragments of the tomb were discovered, and on the grave
being opened, the body of Bruce was found wrapped in some remnants
of cloth of gold, which had served as a winding sheet. A new tomb
was made, and after a solemn service the body was reinstalled. Queen
Margaret's tomb is still to be seen among the ruins of the Lady

Many royal Princes were born within the palace, from the Bruce's
son and heir, David, to Charles I., the last Prince to be born in
Scotland. When James VI. brought his newly-wedded wife to Dunfermline,
a new house was erected, called Queen Anne's house, to serve for
the Queen's use. Three of their children were born there, Princess
Elizabeth, who married the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, Prince
Charles, and a son who died in infancy. Prince Charles was described
as "a very weak child," irritating his nurses with his peevishness.

After James VI. acceded to the Throne of England, he never revisited
Dunfermline, nor did Charles I. see again the place of his birth.
Charles II. came there in 1650, when the Scots were supporting him
against the Commonwealth, and while there, was forced to sign the
Covenant, much against his will.

During the eighteenth century, the palace was absolutely neglected,
and fell into hopeless ruin, Defoe, when he made his tour round Great
Britain in 1724, finding it "the full perfection of decay." In the
following century a private gentleman repaired the ruins, and
claimed possession on account of the expenditure which the repair
had entailed. However, the Crown disputed his claim, and resumed
possession in 1871.



Through the whole period of Scottish history, Stirling Castle held a
position of vast importance. In early days it stood as a stronghold
against the barbarous Highlanders of the North, acting as the frontier
post of civilization. For fifty years during the War of Independence,
the castle was alternately held by the English or the Scotch,
whichever party was at the time dominant in the country. Crowning
the summit of a sudden outburst of volcanic rock, the castle was
practically impregnable to all save treachery, and was therefore
constantly used as the residence for the Stuart Kings during their

[Illustration: Stirling Castle.]

But being one of the Three Keys of the kingdom, its possession was
eagerly sought during any foreign or civil war, great efforts being
made both to attain and retain it. In 1296, Edward I. took Stirling
for the second time, and held it for three years. Wallace had won a
great victory within sight of the walls, a victory which had dispersed
the English army, but had not been sufficient to take the castle. When
the Scots obtained possession in the winter of 1299 after starving the
garrison into surrendering, Sir William Oliphant became governor of
the castle, to himself sustain a siege of many months in 1304. Edward
I. was so angry at being hindered from his purpose for so long,
that when he at last gained the castle he broke faith with Oliphant,
sending him to the Tower of London. Ten years later, when Robert
Bruce was winning back Scotland from the feeble grasp of Edward II.,
Stirling still held out. With superlative chivalry, Edward Bruce, who
was conducting the siege, promised a year's respite, after which the
castle must surrender unless relieved. Urged by dire necessity,
Edward II. was persuaded to leave his frivolous Court, and gathering
a magnificent army to march to Scotland. But all their splendid
equipment did not avail against the courage and ingenuity of the
Bruce, who, on the field of Bannockburn won for Scotland her greatest
victory. Thousands of the English lay dead upon the field, while
Edward fled for his life. Stirling Castle surrendered, and its
fortifications were levelled.

Once again Stirling was to be held by the English, when Bruce's son
was on the throne; but in 1342 it was regained, never to fall again
into the hands of a foreign foe.

In a room in the castle, still pointed out by the guide, William, Earl
of Douglas, was murdered by his royal master, James II. By special
invitation, backed by a safe-conduct signed by the King, Douglas had
come to Stirling in 1452. When supper was over, the King took Douglas
into an inner room, where he accused him of being in league with Ross
and Crawford against his monarch, and ordered him to break his bond.
The haughty Douglas refused to do so, whereat James, forgetful of
his safe-conduct, struck at him with his dagger, and the courtiers
in attendance, dashing to the assistance of their King, Douglas fell
covered with wounds, as the Duc de Guise was to do over a century
later in the cabinet of Henri III.

Douglas was undoubtedly a danger to his country, at the head of so
powerful and unruly a house, but James should have taken more legal
measures to subdue him. However, the Parliament of his day acquitted
him of all blame.

[Illustration: STIRLING CASTLE.

One of the three Keys of Scotland, acting as a stronghold against the
Highlanders of the North.]

His son, James III., lived constantly at Stirling, which was his
favourite residence, building the Parliament House which still
remains. His interest in the Chapel Royal, to whose endowments he
wished to add the rich priory of Coldingham, aroused the enmity of
the Homes and Hepburns, who regarding Coldingham as a family property,
rose against the King. To his lasting remorse the King's son, James
IV., fought against his father, who was killed after the battle of
Sauchieburn. The young King really grieved, and in order that he
should never forget, it is said he wore a belt of iron round his
waist, adding an extra link every year.

From all the records of legal expenditure, it is evident that James
IV. was a great palace builder. He is responsible for much building at
Holyrood, Linlithgow, and Falkland, and at Stirling too he did most of
the building of the palace, which was carried on by his son.

Both Mary Queen of Scots and James VI. were crowned at Stirling as
mere infants, the ceremony taking place in the parish church, just
below the castle. Queen Mary revisited the scene of her coronation
when she returned to Scotland, after her long sojourn in France. She
came there with young Lord Darnley as her husband in 1565, and in
December, the following year, her infant son, James, was baptized with
great ceremony at Stirling. Many lords and nobles assembled, wearing
only their swords in order that there might be less danger of
disturbance, while the royal child was carried to the chapel by Lady
Argyll, acting for Queen Elizabeth, between an avenue of gentlemen
bearing wax torches. The only ominous sign amidst the festivities was
the absence of the father, Lord Darnley, who remained sulking in the

Fourteen months later the poor infant was crowned, his mother being
forced to abdicate. Another hurried ceremony took place, the crown
being held over the King's head, and the baby hand guided to the sword
and sceptre. The Earl of Morton took the oath as substitute, and
then the infant was carried back to the castle in the arms of the
hereditary governor of the castle, the Earl of Mar. For many years
James VI. remained carefully guarded within the castle walls, never
allowed to roam without first getting permission, until he had grown
to man's estate. Yet he bore no ill-will to Stirling, to which he
brought his wife, Anne of Denmark, and where his eldest son, Prince
Henry, was born. After the desire of his life had been achieved, and
he had become King of Great Britain, he paid one visit to Stirling in
1617, after which the castle was only used on one other occasion as a
palace, when Charles I. came there in 1633.

The castle remained in the charge of the Earls of Mar until the
Rebellion of 1715, when their connection with the rising caused the
attainder of the Earl, and the loss of all his offices.



To those who see it for the first time, Holyrood Palace is distinctly
disappointing. All the glamour of its romantic history seems out of
place in connection with the somewhat prosaic looking mansion, which
bears little outward sign of its eventful life. Nothing is left of the
medieval abbey which once stood upon the site, save a ruined portion
of the abbey church. And of the Stuart palace, so associated with the
fascinations of Scotland's most famous Queen, only a small part is
left, though luckily the fire which attacked the palace at the end of
the Civil War spared the apartments used by Mary Queen of Scots. Yet,
disappointing as a first impression may be, Holyrood Palace, to
those who know anything of Scotland's story, can never fail to be

The palace was never a fortified building, for it was not used as
a regular royal residence until the more fierce days of warfare had
vanished. Originally an abbey stood at the foot of Arthur's Seat,
being founded by David I., in gratitude for his miraculous escape when
out hunting. According to monkish tradition, the King was saved by the
providential appearance of a cross which interposed between him and
the infuriated stag. Therefore the name of the abbey was called the

[Illustration: The Bedchamber of Mary Queen of Scots, in Holyrood

Though not a palace until the time of the Stuarts, the early Kings
often held councils there, and continued to show royal favour to the
monks, who had given the name of Canongate to the burgh which arose
outside the city walls. James II., who lies buried in the royal vault
in the chapel, was the first to erect any kind of royal apartments in
the abbey. His successor, James III., lived there, but it was James
IV. who really was the builder of the palace, to which he brought his
wife, Margaret Tudor, the English bride who was eventually to bring
about the union of the crowns. James V. carried on the brilliance of
his father's Court, his two French wives bringing many of the fashions
of their own country to grace their new home. His first wife died soon
after her arrival, but his second wife, Mary of Guise, lived to rule
Scotland through many anxious years of regency, while her infant
daughter was being brought up away from her in distant France.

But it was under Mary Queen of Scots that Holyrood became really
famous. She made it her constant and favourite residence. After her
many years of education in France, and her brief career as the wife of
the sickly Francis II., she returned to her native country in August,
1561. John Knox, with the superstition of the age, comments upon the
peculiar fogginess and darkness of the weather which marked the young
Queen's arrival, saying, "that forewarning gave God unto us, but alas!
the most were blind." Bonfires were lit, and great demonstrations of
joy were manifested when Mary took up her abode at Holyrood. A band of
musicians with much zeal but little skill played outside her bedroom
window, being courteously thanked by the Queen; but Brantôme, the
French courtier, who had accompanied Queen Mary from France, complains
in his memoirs of the terrible noise of these musicians who sang
psalms all out of tune; "Quelle musique! et quel repos pour sa nuit"
he writes. The very first Sunday after her arrival was marred by a
tumult outside the Chapel Royal, where Mass was being performed, a
disturbance which was only checked by Lord James Stuart, the Queen's
natural brother, who stood in front of the chapel door, and being a
zealous Protestant himself, managed to check the Reformers.

The palace witnessed three interviews between the great reformer,
John Knox, and his young and beautiful Queen. Using his pulpit as the
opportunity for declaiming against the doings of the Queen and that of
idolators generally, John Knox was called to task by Mary, who ordered
him to appear before her at Holyrood. The first interview took place
in the audience-chamber, leading into the Queen's bedchamber. Only
Lord James Stuart, afterwards the Regent Moray, was present at
the interview, in which Knox answered the Queen's accusations very
cleverly. The second interview was held in the Queen's bedroom, the
room which remains much as she left it, with the actual bed in which
she slept. Off this room were two small rooms, in one of which she
was supping with her Italian secretary, David Riccio, when the band of
armed men, headed by her husband Darnley, burst into the room. Riccio
clung to the Queen's dress, but was torn apart, stabbed, and dragged
out to be despatched with many wounds at the top of the staircase.

Queen Mary's son, James VI., spent some time of every year in the
palace, and restored it when he was expecting his Danish bride.

Charles I., who had been crowned King of Scotland in the chapel at
Holyrood, restored the building, which was wrecked by a mob in 1688,
after James VII. (James II. of England) had endeavoured to set up the
Roman Catholic worship there. The chapel suffered another disaster
about the middle of the eighteenth century, when the architect who
had been entrusted with the work of restoring the building put on too
heavy a roof, which fell in, destroying all but the bare walls.
The royal vault at the east end of the south aisle still remains,
containing the bodies of David II., James II., James V., and his
Queen, Magdalen of France, and Henry Lord Darnley.

From the time of Charles II., who rebuilt the palace much as we see
it now, and James VII., who stayed in the palace when Duke of York,
Holyrood became deserted, the later Stuarts and the Georges not
visiting their northern capital. But in September, 1745, the palace
once more broke into gaiety and splendour, when Prince Charles Edward
entered Edinburgh and held high court in the home of his ancestors.
His father was proclaimed as King James VIII., ladies flocked to
the balls to win a gracious smile from the handsome Prince, and
the kingdom seemed almost won. But in the midst of all the apparent
brightness, the Prince realized that his cause was not so successful
as he had at first hoped; the Highlanders, indeed, were flocking
in, but the Lowlanders held aloof. After a few weeks Prince Charlie
determined to risk all on the desperate march into England, leaving
Edinburgh never to return again.

Since then Holyrood has only once rejoiced in the presence of the
monarch, when in 1822 George IV. visited Edinburgh and received an
enthusiastic welcome, chiefly through the fervid loyalty of Sir Walter
Scott, who devoted all his energies to the success of the first royal
visit since the time of Charles I.

For nearly a century the palace has not been used as a royal
residence, but is merely occupied once a year when the Lord High
Commissioner to the Assembly comes in state to the capital.



  "Of all the palaces so fair
  Built for the royal dwelling,
  In Scotland, far beyond compare,
  Linlithgow is excelling."

[Illustration: The Fountain in the Quadrangle of Linlithgow Palace.]

So wrote Sir Walter Scott, an opinion which can be endorsed to-day,
enough of the palace remaining, ruined though it is, to show what a
stately and dignified structure it was in its days of greatness. The
palace, standing on some rising ground jutting into a beautiful lake,
is square in construction, having towers at the corners. The original
entrance was on the eastern side, through a gateway which was
protected by a drawbridge. Inside this gateway is a mutilated statue,
thought to represent Pope Julius II., who gave James IV. his sword,
still to be seen among the regalia in Edinburgh Castle. A ruined
fountain stands in the centre of the courtyard, which once resounded
with all the gaiety of the Stuart Court. The western side, containing
the room where Queen Mary was born, is the oldest, while the northern
side is the most recent, being rebuilt by James VI.

Apparently there was a castle or royal manor-house at Linlithgow from
the time of David I., who granted the skins of the rams, sheep, and
lambs, who died there, to his foundation abbey of Holyrood.

When Edward I. was holding sway over Scotland, he spent a considerable
time at Linlithgow, turning it into a real fortress. Builders, masons,
and carpenters were ordered from England, who threw up stockades,
enclosing the parish church within the walls. It remained in English
hands until 1314, when it was taken by a familiar strategy. A farmer,
named Binnock, who was in the custom of bringing hay to the garrison,
determined to capture the castle, one of the last to submit to the
conquering Scots. One morning he drove up as usual to the castle gate,
stopping his cart immediately under the portcullis, which was raised
to admit him. Cutting the yoke which fastened his horses, so that the
cart could not be shifted nor the portcullis lowered, Binnock sprang
upon the unsuspecting porter and killed him. The hay in the cart
covered some armed men who leapt out, being joined by others concealed
near the gateway. The garrison was completely surprised, and were
all put to the sword. Binnock was rewarded by a grant of land. Bruce
destroyed the castle, following his usual policy, but it must have
been rebuilt some time during the reign of his son.

The palace which now remains is entirely a Stuart building, the older
castle and part of the church having been burnt down the year that
James I. returned to his native country after his long captivity.
Great rebuilding took place in his reign, and, indeed, he is
considered the main builder, the later monarchs only adding to and
adorning portions of his scheme. It was in this new palace that Henry
VI. of England, with Margaret of Anjou, and Edward Prince of Wales,
stayed when the triumph of the Yorkists had driven them from England.

James IV., under whom Scotland enjoyed a rare interval of prosperity,
delighted in his beautiful palace of Linlithgow, where he indulged in
all the manly sports of the time. Like his contemporary, Henry VIII.,
he revelled in tournaments, to which he invited all the lords to come
and tilt with him, making of Linlithgow another Hampton Court, where
great merry-making took place. Under his wise rule, Scotland was
at peace and prosperous, the Court maintained a higher level
of refinement and luxury, and science and art were encouraged.
Unfortunately, James's chivalrous and rash temperament led him into
war with England and the disaster at Flodden Field. Before starting on
the expedition, a council was held at Linlithgow, after which the King
attended evensong in the church. According to the story described by
eye-witnesses, a strange man, dressed in a blue robe belted with a
linen strap, with reddish hair hanging to his shoulders, pushed his
way up to where the King was kneeling. Addressing him with slight
reverence, the man warned the King against proceeding to battle,
saying, "Sir King, my mother has sent me to you desiring you not to
pass at this time where thou art purposed," saying it would bring
disaster and shame, also warning him against visiting any woman on his
journey. While the lords and everyone round were astonished and amazed
at this apparition, the man suddenly disappeared "like a blink of the
sun." In spite of the fact that the superstition of the time credited
the man with being St. John appearing upon earth, the King persisted
in his undertaking to meet his death upon the battlefield, and to
plunge Scotland into mourning for the flower of the land. Doubtless
the man was an imposter, got up for the part, by those who wanted to
dissuade the King.

A little room in the south-west corner of the palace is pointed out
as Queen Margaret's Bower, being said to be the room from which the
King's English bride watched for the messengers bringing her news of
her husband's fate.

When James V. became of age he also loved the palace, building the
stately hall known as the Parliament Hall. He brought his French wife,
Mary of Guise, there, who said she had never seen a more princely
residence. His only child, Mary Queen of Scots, was born in the
palace, but he never saw her, for he was at Falkland Palace when
the news of her birth was brought to him, dying of grief after the
shameful defeat at Solway Moss.

The infant Queen was declared by some to be extremely delicate, but
Sir Ralph Sadler, the English Ambassador in Scotland, gave quite a
different account. The Queen-Dowager took him into the room where her
baby was lying, and showed him how healthy she was. He writes to Queen
Elizabeth: "I assure Your Majesty it is as goodly a child as I have
seen of her age, and as like to live, with the grace of God."



Though from very early times a royal manor-house, the existing
building is purely the work of the Stuart Kings.]

After the thrones were united, the palace, like so many others in
Scotland, became neglected, but it received its final ruin in 1746,
when General Hawley's soldiers quartered in the palace. They had
been defeated at Falkirk by the Jacobites, and were retreating. In
spite of remonstrances to the General, the soldiers were allowed to
make great fires in the palace, which were so carelessly watched
that the building caught fire, leaving it the ruin which it is



Unless equipped with a good knowledge of Scottish history, the average
tourist wandering through Fife will come upon Falkland Palace with
surprise. Its situation is so remote from any centre of importance, it
stands upon no great river affording an outlet to the sea, and never
being a stronghold of any sort it remains at the base instead of the
top of the hills among which it is built. Though elevated to the proud
position of a royal burgh in 1458, Falkland can to-day be scarcely
designated by any other title than that of a fair-sized village, so
that the presence of the stately palace, ruined though it is, partakes
of the nature of the unexpected.

[Illustration: The Gateway of Falkland Palace.]

Being built purely for pleasure and convenience, and with no thought
of safety, the builders of the palace indulged in greater beauty of
decoration than is to be seen in almost any other palace in Scotland.
It suggests the dignity of a graceful French château, with its
pilasters, bas-reliefs, statues, and canopied niches. Of the three
sides of which the palace once consisted, only two remain, one of
these being much ruined. But the south wing which has always remained
more or less intact, is sufficient to prove how far from barbarous was
the taste of the later Stuart monarchs.

Before the palace was erected a castle stood close to the site of the
present building. It had long been a possession of the Earls of Fife,
till in the fourteenth century it descended to an heiress who had
no children. She bestowed the castle upon Robert Duke of Albany, the
brother of the inefficient King Robert III. Upon Albany rests the
dreadful charge of murdering his young nephew, the Duke of Rothesay,
by starving him to death in the castle at Falkland. Rothesay was young
and wild, and had annoyed his uncle by getting himself made Guardian
of the Realm, a post desired by Albany. After involving Scotland in
war with England, due to his imprudence in jilting the daughter of
the Earl of March, who succeeded in obtaining an English army in his
support, Rothesay was captured on his way to St. Andrews by his
uncle, who, it is said, had his father's authority to do so. Taken
to Falkland Castle the Prince never came out alive, dying of slow
starvation according to one account, and of dysentery by another.
It is evident that Albany was suspected of murder, for he took the
trouble to be officially acquitted of any part in his death. Only
grassy mounds now indicate the position of this castle, which
must have been, according to the investigations of Lord Bute, of
considerable extent.

The execution of Albany's son as a traitor made Falkland Crown
property. The palace began to be erected by James II., but its chief
builder was James IV., who spent large sums of money on the work, and
much enjoyed the sport to be obtained in the neighbourhood. His son,
James V., was often there, though apparently not for long periods at a
time. He was the only monarch to die there, a sad event which occurred
at the early age of thirty. In despair at the rout of his army at
Solway Moss, the young monarch refused all consolation, and just
seemed to wait for death, though there were no apparent signs of it
upon him. Not even the news brought to him from Linlithgow of the
birth of a daughter could cheer him. Merely saying the often quoted
words, "It came wi' a lass and will pass wi' a lass," he turned his
head to the wall and died a few days later.

No events of importance took place at Falkland during Mary Queen of
Scots' brief reign, though she visited it occasionally. Her son,
James VI., was much attached to it, on account of the good hunting it
afforded. On one occasion he was nearly captured there by the reckless
Francis Earl of Bothwell, who made one of his many attempts to seize
the King. But on this midnight attack he was unsuccessful, for he and
his party were forced to flee when the artillery of the palace was
turned against them. They were not pursued, as they had taken the
precaution to take possession of all the horses.

After James went to England he could seldom be lured from the luxury
of his English palaces to visit his northern residences, but he did
visit Falkland once again in the year 1617. Tremendous preparations
were made for the royal visit, eighty carts lumbered up from Kirkcaldy
with the luggage, and a large gathering of nobles and gentlemen made
Falkland once more a gay and busy place.

Charles I. came to Falkland once in the summer of 1633, after which
the palace was never again to rejoice in great regal splendour. When
Charles II. was being supported by the Presbyterians of Scotland,
he spent a little time there, much worried by the persistency of
his friends, who insisted upon his signing the Covenant. After he
departed, no monarch ever resided in the palace, which was given to
a Cromwellian officer during the Commonwealth, but which, at the
Restoration, again became the property of the Crown.

Lying deserted and neglected all through the eighteenth century, the
palace became a quarry for those who needed building materials, till
in 1820 it was bought by Mr. John Bruce of Grangehill, who, with the
assistance of Sir Walter Scott, arrested the ruin and restored the
remaining structure.



Sir James Clark's suggestion that the valley of the Dee was a
neighbourhood possessing all the qualifications of a health resort,
induced the Prince Consort to purchase Balmoral Castle in 1852. Both
he and the Queen found the lonely situation of the castle among the
rugged hills, quite delightful, and though Prince Albert had at first
only taken a lease, he soon bought the entire property, handing it
over to the Queen as a possession for the reigning monarchs.

Though belonging to the Farquharsons for about 150 years, the last
tenant of Balmoral had been Sir Robert Gordon, who, having been high
in the diplomatic world, filled his house with many distinguished
guests. Sir Robert had considerably enlarged the castle, but it was
not sufficient for the needs of a Court, quiet and homelike as it
might be. A new castle was commenced in 1853, largely from the plans
and ideas of the Prince Consort, whose devoted wife called it "his own
creation, own work, own building." To-day, the castle, built of native
granite in the Scottish baronial style, stands out strikingly white
among the dark wooded hills.

[Illustration: BALMORAL CASTLE.

Erected in 1853, following the plans of the Prince Consort. Built
of native granite in the Scottish baronial style, it stands out
strikingly white among the dark wooded hills.]

By August, 1856, the new castle was quite ready, and Queen Victoria
found everything delightful--"the house is charming; the rooms
delightful; the furniture, papers, everything perfection"--and from
that moment Balmoral remained her favourite residence, where she was
happy in the company of her beloved husband, and free from much of
the conventionality of State ceremonial. No one reading the Queen's
letters or her diary, can fail to see how blissful was the simple
domestic life, the gay picnic expeditions among the mountains, the
informal dances where the Queen joined in Scotch reels and country

It was among the heather of the Scottish hills that Prince Frederick
of Prussia proposed to the little Princess Royal, then only fifteen
years old. Prince Frederick (afterwards the Emperor Frederick III.)
was so much in love that he could not refrain from speaking of it,
though the Queen, owing to her daughter's youth, had wanted him to
wait a little longer. Picking up a piece of white heather, Prince
Frederick gave it to the Princess as they rode down Glen Girnoch,
telling her at the same time how _allerliebst_ she was.

In the midst of all this happiness came the sudden blow of the early
death of Prince Albert, a grief from which the Queen never recovered.
She wrote to her uncle, "my life as a _happy_ one is _ended_! the
world is gone for _me_!" Amidst all her desolation, it was a relief to
her to get away to Balmoral, where everything reminded her of him,
and where the beauty and calm of the mountains and glens were restful.
Though there were no longer any large shooting parties, Queen Victoria
did not shut herself up, but took a great interest in the tenantry,
whom she visited constantly.

Under the fostering care of Queen Victoria, the village of Balmoral,
once poor and barren, with mud cottages roofed with heather, became
prosperous. Constant employment has brought wealth to the village,
where schools and a library had been erected.

Whatever its subsequent history may be, Balmoral Castle will ever
remain enshrined as the dearly-loved home of Victoria the Good, among
the Highland folk she knew and loved so well. All her letters from the
castle breathe the same feeling as the one written on October 6, 1851:
"I love my peaceful wild Highlands, the glorious scenery, the dear
good people who are much attached to us ... my heart is _bien gros_ at
going from here."


  Transcriber's Note:

  _ _ represents italic text

  = = represents bold text

  Sundry missing or damaged punctuation has been repaired.

  Both hyphenated and non-hyphenated variants of many words
  occur in this book. All have been retained.

  Any illustration which interrupted a paragraph has been moved
  to a more convenient location, between paragraphs.

  Page 7: 'chepe' is an old word, meaning 'market'.
  (Doctrine Publishing Corporation e-book 27995)

    (p. 47) Most fortunately, there exists a document priceless
    and unique, short as it is and meagre in many of its details,
    which describes London as it was in the reign of Henry II. It
    is written by one FitzStephen, Chaplain to Thomas (à) Becket.
    He was present at the murder of the Archbishop and wrote his
    life, to which this account is an introduction.

    (translation from Latin) (p. 49)

    "... Cheapside preserves the name of the Chepe, the most
    important of all the old streets. Here, every day, all the
    year round, was a market held at which everything conceivable
    was sold, not in shops, but in selds, that is, covered wooden
    sheds, which could be taken down on occasion. Do not think
    that 'Chepe' was a narrow street: it was a great open space
    lying between St. Paul's and what is now the Royal Exchange,
    with streets north and south formed by rows of these selds or
    sheds. Presently the sheds became houses with shops in front
    and gardens behind. The roadway on the south side of this open
    space was called the Side of Chepe...."

  Page 38: 'Samual' corrected to 'Samuel'.

    "Samuel Pepys watched the pageant...."

  Page 57: "... that no Englishman knew how to enter a room,
  nor any Englishwoman how to dress, nor English cooks how to
  prepare a dinner, nor English coachman how to drive,..."

    ... is as printed, and 'coachman' is probably correct, in the
    context, though 'cooks' may be questionable....

  Page 76: 'castle' corrected to 'castles'.

     "... though the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling were majestic,
    they were...."

  Page 79: 'seige' corrected to 'siege'.

     "... sustain a siege of many months in 1304."

     "... Edward Bruce, who was conducting the siege,..."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Peeps at Royal Palaces of Great Britain" ***

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