Tag Archives: Henry Yevele

The Palace of Westminster

Another in the  occasional series on “London Settings for Shakespeare’s Plays” …

The Palace of Westminster (Henry IV Part I; Henry IV Part II; Henry V; Henry VI Part I; Henry VI Part II; Henry VI Part III; King John; Richard II; Richard  III)

The old Palace of Westminster was purportedly originally built for Cnut in around 1016, and subsequently rebuilt by Edward “The Confessor”, in 1042-65, and extended by succeeding kings, with Parliament meeting in Westminster Hall from 1265, and then in the secularised Royal Chapel of St Stephen from 1547/8.

Westminster Hall - Copy.JPG

P1100533 - Copy.JPG

Thomas More - Copy.JPG

P1110439 - Copy.JPG

Some of the palace complex was destroyed in a fire in 1512; and most of what remained in another fire in 1834, with essentially only Westminster Hall and the Jewel Tower surviving, together with parts of the Royal Chapel of St Stephen, including the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft.

P1090276 - Copy.JPG

The new palace was built by Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin, in the Victorian Gothic style, between 1840-58.

Westminster Hall was originally built as a royal residence cum banqueting house by William II in 1097-99, and subsequently rebuilt,  with a spectacular hammerbeam roof by Hugh Herland and Henry Yevele, for Richard II, in 1394-1401.  It survived the fires of 1512 and 1834, but was damaged during the Blitz of the Second World War, and has since been  further damaged by Death Watch Beetle, the infestation thought to have taken hold in  timbers that had become soaked during the war-time fire-fighting (note also, though, that Westminster was historically particularly prone to floods, Matthew Paris describing one such in 1241, during which “people rode into the great hall on horseback”).  What is widely regarded as the first representative Parliament, convened by Simon de Montfort, was held here in 1265.

St Magnus the Martyr

download

On this day in either 1117 or 1118 (sources differ), Magnus Erlendssen, the piously Christian Earl of Orkney, was murdered on the island of Egilsay.

1 - General view of exterior of church.JPG

2 - General view of interior of church.JPG

The City of London church dedicated to him was probably originally built in the twelfth century, sometime after his sanctification in  1135.  It was subsequently rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1671-87, after having been burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and despite eighteenth- to twentieth- century modifications and restorations  retains much of the  “inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold” alluded to by T.S. Eliot in his 1922 poem “The Waste Land”.

Miles Coverdale (1487-1569), who, with William Tyndale, published the first authorised version of the Bible in English in 1539, and who was church rector here between 1564-66, is buried here.  Henry Yevele (c. 1320-1400), who was the master mason to three successive kings, Edward III, Richard II and Henry IV, between c. 1360-1400, during which time he either built or rebuilt much of Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster,  is also buried here.

3 - Statue depicting St Magnus.JPG

4 - Stained-glass window depicting St Magnus.JPG

Among the many treasures inside the church are: a modern statue and stained-glass window depicting St Magnus in a horned Viking helmet …

7 - St Thomas.JPG

… further modern stained-glass windows depicting the churches of St Margaret New Fish Street and St Michael Crooked Lane, burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and the chapel of St Thomas a Becket on Old London Bridge, demolished in 1831 …

8 - Scale-model of Old London Bridge.JPG

… and a modern scale-model of the bridge as it would have looked in its Medieval heyday.

9 - Approach to Old London Bridge.JPG

On the outside wall is a Corporation Blue Plaque marking the approach to the Old London Bridge, built between 1179-1206.

10 - Timber from Roman wharf.JPG

Nearby are some stones from the bridge, and a timber from the Roman wharf purporting to date to 78, but in fact recently shown on tree-ring evidence to date to 62, i.e., the year after the destruction of Roman Londinium during the Boudiccan Revolt.

 

Westminster Hall

1 - Exterior of Westminster Hall

2 - Interior of Westminster Hall.JPG

On this day in 1265, Simon de Montfort convened what is widely regarded as England’s first representative Parliament at Westminster Hall (before 1265, Parliament, or its precursor, had met in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, and after 1548, it met in the then-secularised Royal Chapel of St Stephen in the Palace of Westminster).

3 - Trial of Charles I in Westminster Hall (1649)

Also, on this day in 1649, the trial for treason of Charles I began here.

Westminster Hall was originally built as a royal residence cum banqueting house by William II, Rufus,  in 1097-99; and rebuilt, with a spectacular hammerbeam roof, by Hugh Herland and Henry Yevele, for Richard II, in 1394-1401.  It once formed part of the Old Palace of Westminster, work on which is believed to have begun, under Cnut, as long ago as 1016.  Together  with the adjacent Jewel Tower, it is essentially the only part of the old palace to have survived the terrible fires of 1512 and 1834 (the present, new palace was built, in the Victorian Gothic style, between 1837-70).  It was itself damaged by fire during the Blitz of the Second World War, and has since been further damaged by Death Watch Beetle, the infestation thought to have taken hold in  timbers that had become soaked during the war-time fire-fighting.