Exeter House

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There are many more buildings now in the Temple, although the shady walks and verdant lawns still give a rural character to the river's bank; beyond this are the inns or town houses of several of the nobility and the bishops.

There is Exeter House, where the bishops of that see reside when attending Parliament. This had been two centuries before the scene of a violent riot, for the citizens, after they had beheaded Bishop Walter Stapylton, brought the body here and placed it under a heap of sand among the unfinished buildings which the Bishop was erecting.

Stapylton, who was a strong partisan of Edward the Second, more than shared that monarch's unpopularity. It was he who founded Exeter College, Oxford, and erected the enormous Episcopal throne in Exeter Cathedral.

This house or inn, which was the usual term for the town house of a nobleman, passed through the hands of several successive owners, being called at one time Paget House, and finally Essex House. It had a fine garden, and a watergate and stairs.

Essex Street passes over the site of the house and garden, and Devereux Court over the stables and yard. Beyond is a narrow lane called Milford, with a steep descent down to the river.

It is an old lane, and has a curious history, for it was in this lane that the forge stood for which the city authorities as owners have to count out so many horseshoes, &c., annually as a quitrent, although the property can no longer be identified.

The Bishop of Bath's inn stood next, but this had been purchased or otherwise acquired by Lord Thomas Seymour, Admiral, and almost entirely rebuilt, and then passed from him into the possession of the Earl of Arundel, and is now called Arundel House.

It is a very fine mansion, with a towered gateway and a large hail, and with a garden on the riverside. A view of it has been preserved by Hollar.

Following in succession along the brow of the hill are the inns of the Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry, Worcester and Llandaff, and another inn called Chester's or Strand Inn, but this is one of the Inns of Court.

There is also a graveyard and small parish church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and also to the Holy Innocents. But this church and all these inns, including Chester's Inn, have been acquired by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, and he is about to build a magnificent house on all these sites, to be called after him, Somerset House, with fair and large gardens on the riverside.

It is thought that to obtain material to do this he has destroyed the large cloister at St. Paul's and Pardon Church Haugh, and most of the church and buildings of St. John's Priory, Clerkenwell, and that several other ecclesiastical buildings are marked out for destruction.

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