The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 52 Hampton Court

Hampton Court Palace

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Hampton Court. HOTELS. Mitre, by the bridge, L. 5/, opposite the entrance to the palace; Thames (Tagg's), near the station, with boats for hire; Castle, opposite the Thames Hotel; Greyhound, L. 3/6; King's Arms, outside the Lion Gate, at the entrance to Bushy Park. Numerous RESTAURANTS and TEA ROOMS near the bridge and the entrance to Bushy Park; Palm Beach, on Tagg's Island. The Thames is very pretty both above and below the lock and is thronged with merry boating parties during the summer week-ends. On the right or Surrey bank lies the pleasant village of Molesey, with the railway station. On the left bank, a little upstream, is the village of Hampton Court, with remains of the Old Court House, given by William III. to Wren in part-payment of services renderedied Here the great architect died (1723). The entrance to the palace is near the Middlesex end of the iron bridge over the Thames, opposite the tramway terminus. Hampton Court Palace, with its stately buildings and famous picture-gallery, its charming gardens and parks, and its delightful river-scenery, is one of the most attractive points in the neighbourhood of London. ADMISSION. The courtyards and gardens are open free daily from 10 a.m. until sunset. The state apartments and picture-gallery are open daily, except Friday, from 10 to 4 (November-February), 5 (March-October), or 6 (May-August), on Sunday from 2 p.m.; admission free on Sunday, 6d. on Saturday, 1/on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday. Admission to the kitchen (3d.), Orangery (2d.), or Vinehouse (1d.) is extra. 'Historical Catalogue of the Pictures at Hampton Court' (1/), 'A Popular Guide to the Palace and Gardens' (1/), and 'The Haunted Gallery' (1/), by Ernest Law, on sale at the entrance to the state apartments. HISTORY. Hamutone a Saxon manor, afterwards a priory of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, was leased in 1514 by Cardinal Wolsey, who enclosed the park, pulled down the old manor-house, and began a building intended to surpass in splendour every other private residence. In 1525 the Cardinal was obliged to surrender his palace to Henry VIII., who partly rebuilt it and added the great hall and the chapel. From that time for over two centuries Hampton Court was a favourite residence of most of the sovereigns of England-Tudors, Stuarts, and Hanoverians. Edward VI. was born there in 1537. In 1604, at the Hampton Court Conference between the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians under the presidency of James I., the Authorized Version of the Bible was planned. Charles I. was imprisoned here by the Parliamentarians, but escaped in 1647. Charles II. built the stables (now used by a tank corps), constructed the canal, and improved the gardens. Sir Christopher Wren was employed by William III. to substitute the present east and south wings for three of Wolsey's courtyards, and at the same time the gardens were laid out in their present form. William III. died in 1702 in consequence of a fall from his horse in the Home Park. Since the death of George II. Hampton Court has ceased to be the abode of royalty. At the present time the greater part of the palace, which comprises over 1000 rooms and covers an area of 8 acres, is occupied by royal pensioners. The literary associations of Hampton Court are numerous. Under Elizabeth and James I. masques and plays were often performed in the great hall, and Shakespeare himself may have played in some of these. Under Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, Milton and Andrew Marvell, as government officials, were often in residence here. In the reigns of Queen Anne and the early Georges the dull court was enlivened by a literary coterie which included Pope, Swift, and the poet Lord Hervey; the scene of Pope's 'Rape of the Look' is laid here. Among the numerous ghosts that are said to haunt the palace are those of Queen Jane Seymour, Queen Catherine Howard, and Mrs. Penn.