Page images



Of the workmen employed on the royal works, it is worthy of remark that they were Englishmen, nearly without exception, and almost invariably the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns and villages—such as Kingston, Moulsey, Hampton, Epsom, Teddington, and Chertsey. Even the most delicate carvings and paintings of the roof, which are sometimes stated to have been the work of Italians and other foreigners, are proved to have been entirely executed by men so palpably Anglo-Saxon as Michael Joiner, Richard Ridge of London, John Wright of South Mimms, John White


OLD LATTICE WINDOW, WITH VENTILATORS OF PERFORATED LEAD. of Winchester, John Hobbs, Henry Blankston, John Hethe, Reginald Ward of Dudley, John Spencer of Hampton, John Reynolds of East Moulsey, etc. A remarkable fact, also, is that, in spite of the statute of Henry VI. against the Freemasons, the King openly retained the craft for the erection of his buildings at Hampton Court. Thus we find, in the old bills, that the master freemason, John Molton, received 12d. a day, the warden, William Reynold, 5s. the week, and setters and lodgemen, to the number of some ninety or a hundred altogether, 3s. 8d. and 35. 4d. the week respectively. The wages of the carpenters, bricklayers, joiners, painters, plasterers, plummers, sawyers, sarveters, scaffolders, paviors, gardeners, carters, and labourers, were of analogous amount, and varied from 12d. a day, in the case of the master workmen, to 4d. a day in that of the common labourers, of whom about two hundred were always employed on the works.

The materials used in the construction of the hall, and in the works and decorations of other portions of the fabric, were nearly all supplied from the environs of London. Thus the bricks, of which thousands upon thousands were brought into the palace every month, came from Bronxham, Taplow, and other neighbouring places, and there was also a brick-kiln in the park; while the stone, whether ready cut and carved or in the rough state, was chiefly hewn in the quarries of Reigate, Barrington, and similar places, though there are occasional entries of the purchase of Caen stone, with the cost of the freight from France to St. Katharine's wharf, and up the Thames in barges to the palace. The timber, which was chiefly oak, was brought in enormous quantities from Dorking, Holmwood, Leatherhead, Banstead, Berewood, and St. John's Wood; and of lead many hundred tons had to be provided for the roofs, water-tables, and pipes. Relating to the carriage of chalk, lime, and plaster, there are interminable entries ; and we find, among others, an item of £5 55. paid to “Richard Dyreck of Paris” for the delivery of plaster of Paris at the Tower Wharf. The ironworkespecially that for the standards, staybars, frames, and “lockats” of the windows—was supplied almost exclusively by John à Guylders, smith, and the glass by Galyon Hone, the King's glazier. As a specimen of the framing and glazing of the old windows, a sketch is given on the preceding page of a small one, in which the old latch is very artistic, and where the substitution, in two of the diamond lattices, of perforated lead instead of glass affords example of an effective, if primitive, mode of ventilation.

It is not surprising, considering the vast stores of material that were being bought, and the large number of men, amounting to several hundreds, of all trades, who were being employed, that the bills about this time were exceptionally heavy, amounting to as much as £400 a month, or about £50,000 a year in modern currency.





While the King's new Hall was building, Anne Boleyn, though as yet unmarried to Henry VIII., was ever advancing in greater favour with him, and frequently came with him to reside at Hampton Court.

And here, in 1533, after attaining the summit of her ambition by being crowned in Westminster Abbey on June ist, she came in July to spend her honeymoon, and presided as Queen at superb banquetings, masques, interludes, and sports. Sir Thomas More, who soon after heard, when a prisoner in the Tower, of her “dancing and sporting," prophetically exclaimed, “ Alas! it pitieth me to think into what misery, poor soul ! she will shortly come. These dances of hers will prove such dances, that she will spurn our heads off like footballs, but it will not be long ere her head will dance the like dance.”

For the present, however, Anne felt secure and happy enough, and had little to cause her any forebodings, except the awkward habit Henry was acquiring of flirting with the ladies of her Court. While here, she divided her time between hunting, playing bowls with Henry, gambling at cards, shovel-board and other games, and her needlework and music. Of her needlework there were specimens to be seen at Hampton Court for many years after her death.

In music she shared the taste of Henry, and we may suppose that she often accompanied his songs on the virginals, as among the Hampton Court accounts there is reference to this instrument, the prototype of the piano.

It must have been about the period of this visit of Anne Boleyn to the palace, that the beautiful groined ceiling of the gateway between the Base and the Clock Courts was erected. It is of the graceful fan-groin design; and in the quatrefoils of the central circular panel are found, besides the badg Henry VIII., Anne Boleyn's own badge—the falcon-and her initial, A, entwined with an H in a true-lover's knot.

The King and Queen were again at Hampton Court in the summer of 1534, when ambassadors from the free city of Lubeck, one of the Hanseatic towns, came over to England to court the alliance of Henry VIII. in a grand northern Protestant confederacy. They came up the river in rich barges, accompanied by their attendants gorgeously clad in scarlet, embroidered with the motto, “Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos ?” and were received in great state by Henry. A few days after, they came back on a second visit, when Dr. Otto Adam von Pack, the chief of the

[graphic][merged small]

embassy, a man famous for his intrigues in central Germany, made the King a long laudatory Latin oration, which lasted two hours. "Among other things, he reviled horribly the authority of the Pope, and praised inestimably the King for many things, especially for his great learning and enlightenment from God, by which he had come to a knowledge of the truth, both as to the authority of the Pope and about his marriage.”

The King was so pleased with this judicious flattery, that he gave

the doctor a handsome present.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »