Survey of London: Volume 5, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1914.
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XXIII–XXIV.—Nos. 3 and 4, GATE STREET.
The ground landlord of No. 3 is the London County Council.
General description and date of structure.
The area lying between Great Queen Street, Little Queen Street and Gate Street (the east to west portion of which street was formerly known as Princes Street) was originally a portion of Purse Field, the early history of which has already been detailed. (fn. 1)
On 27the May, 1639, William Newton sold to John Fortescue (fn. 2) "all that peece or parcell of ground, being part of Pursefeild and the pightells, designed for two messuages to be built thereon by the said John Fortescue, the foundations whereof be now laid." The ground is described as measuring 50 feet 3 inches from north to south, and 127 feet from east to west. Between the ground and Princes Street ("a way leading upon a backgate of an Inn lately called The Falcon and Greyhound") lay the houses (or their sites) of Lewis Richard and John Giffard, and a slip of ground afterwards bought by Arthur Newman, having widths of 25 feet, 25 feet and 8½ feet respectively (fn. 3). From these measurements it can be shown that the ground sold to Fortescue was the site of what afterwards became Nos. 3 and 4, Gate Street. The indenture contained, in common with those relating to Richard's and Giffard's houses, a provision "that there doth and soe perpetually shall lye open from the front of the said messuage eastward, three score foote of assize, wherein there shall be noe building erected or builded by the said William Newton, his heirs … or any other person or persons whatsoever, it being the principall motive of the said John Fortescue to purchase the estate and interest aforesaid, to have the said 60 foote in front to lye open for an open place from the front of the building, except 11 foote to be inclosed in before the house, and that there shal be noe buildinges erected at the south east end of the said open place by the space of 30 foote, to take away the prospect of the greate fielde, otherwise than a fence wall, whether he, the said William Newton or his assignes, keepe the same in his or their owne hands, or doth or doe depart with it to any other." It was also agreed "that there shall not at any tyme or tymes hereafter be erected or built any manner of building whatsoever" in the gardens of any of the four messuages (fn. 4) in question. These conditions, as will be seen, have been more than observed.
From the above it is clear that the foundations of the two houses had already been laid by 27th May, 1639, and the premises were accordingly probably completed by the end of the year. No exact date can be assigned to the rebuilding of the houses, but it seems probable that this took place about the middle of the 18th century. The carved mouldings of the joinery on the first floor of No. 3 are interesting, and details are given in Plate 7.
Condition of repair.
No. 4 was demolished about 1905. No. 3 has been much cut about, and is now used as a workshop.
The occupants of these two houses (fn. 5), up to the year 1800, so far as it has been possible to ascertain them, were as follows:—No. 3. 1667. Richd. Sherbourne. 1675. Judge Twisden. 1683. Sir John Markham. Before 1708. Thomas Broomwhoerwood. 1708–1732. Phineas Cheek. 1732–1735. J. Winstanley. 1735–1753. Phineas Cheek. 1755–1763. Wm. Mackworth Praed. 1763–1767. Dr. Jas. Walker. 1768–1772. William Hamilton. 1773. Wm. Everard. 1774–1786. The Rev. Chas. Everard. 1786–1792. The Rev. Chas. Booth. 1794–1800. Robert Kekewitch. No. 4. 1659 until after 1675. Thomas Povey. 1683. "Jervas Perepont." 1708. John Partington. 1715. Mrs. Ann Partington. 1723. William Thomson. From before 1730 until 1732. Mrs. Anne Thomson. 1732–1736. Elizabeth Partington. 1736–1743. (fn. 6) Henry Perrin. 1744–1746. Thomas Smith. 1746–1748. R. Symonds. 1749–1753. Joseph Martin. 1753–1755. Thomas Western. 1760–1794. Charles Catton. 1795–1797. Messrs. Burton and Co. 1798– Thomas Burton.
Sir Thomas Twisden, second son of Sir William Twisden, was born at East Peckham in 1602. In 1617 he was admitted to the Inner Temple, and called to the Bar in 1626. Although a staunch royalist, he prospered during the Commonwealth, and in 1653 was made serjeant at law. At the Restoration he was confirmed in this dignity, advanced to a puisne judgeship in the King's Bench, and knighted. In 1664 he was created a baronet. He died in 1683.
Thomas Povey was the son of Justinian Povey, auditor of the exchequer and accountant general to Anne of Denmark. At the outbreak of the civil war he at first joined neither party, and published a treatise called The Moderator: expecting sudden Peace or certaine Ruine. In 1647, however, he entered the Long Parliament, and was subsequently appointed a member of the council for the colonies. At the Restoration he was taken into favour, and many lucrative appointments were bestowed on him. The dates of his birth and death are unknown. His residence in Gate Street, then known as Lincoln's Inn Fields, seems to date from the latter part of 1658 or the very commencement of 1659. A letter from him is extant written from Lincoln's Inn Fields, dated 9th February, 1658–9, while one dated 20th July, 1658 is written from "Graies Inn." (fn. 7) Apparently he took the house on the occasion of his marriage, as in an undated letter, after mentioning certain family bereavements, he proceeds: "I was [thus] driven to meditat on a settlement of myself; and did therefore accept of such an oportunitie, as it pleased God about that time to offer mee, of adventuringe upon marriage, wch I have donn upon such grounds as you have all waies heretofore proposed to myself, my wife being a widdowe, about my own yeares, never having had a child; of a fortune capable of giving a reasonable assistance to mine, and of a humour privat and retired. Soe that I am now become a settled person in a house of my own in Lincolnes Inn Fields." (fn. 8) His house was famous, and both Evelyn and Pepys have, in their diaries, left a description of it. The former thus records a visit paid by him on 1st July, 1664. "Went to see Mr. Povey's elegant house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, where the perspective in his court, painted by Streeter, is indeed excellent, with the vases in imitation of porphyry, and fountains; the inlaying of his colset; above all, his pretty cellar and ranging of his wine-bottles." Pepys had been there a few weeks before, and under date of 29–30 May, 1664, writes: "Thence with Mr. Povy home to dinner; where extraordinary cheer. And after dinner up and down to see his house. And in a word, methinks, for his perspective upon his wall in his garden, and the springs rising up with the perspective in the little closet; his room floored above with woods of several colours, like but above the best cabinetwork I ever saw; his grotto and vault, with his bottles of wine, and a well therein to keep them cool; his furniture of all sorts; his bath at the top of his house, good pictures, and his manner of eating and drinking; do surpass all that ever I did see of one man in all my life."
Charles Catton, the elder, was born in Norwich in 1728. He was apprenticed to a London coach painter, and attained eminence, not only in this branch of the profession, but as a painter of landscapes, cattle and subject pictures. He was appointed the king's coach painter, and was one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy. He died in Judd Place, in 1798.
For a number of years (1776–1781) his son, Charles Catton, the younger, is shown in the Royal Academy Catalogues as residing at his father's house in Gate Street. He was born in London in 1756, and acquired a certain reputation as a scene-painter and topographical draughtsman. He died in the United States in 1819.
In the Council's collection are:—
Exterior of No. 3 and cross to the memory of Mr. Booker, 1837 (photograph).
(fn. 9) Joinery details on first floor of No. 3 (measured drawing).
The Ship Tavern, Gate Street—exterior, showing Little Turnstile (photograph).
Twyford Buildings—View of court in 1906 (photograph).