York House

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York House is commemorated by York Buildings. The beautiful watergate at the end of Buckingham Street, now half buried in the Embankment Gardens, is the sole relic left of this mansion.

It was designed by Inigo Jones, and built and carved by Nicholas Stone, master mason to the Kings James the First and Charles the First.

Hungerford House came next to this, but was built at a later date. Charing Cross covers the site, and the singularly ugly railway bridge which replaced the graceful suspension bridge, now re-erected over the Avon near Clifton, retains the old name.

Northumberland House stands next. Originally there was a hospital called St. Mary Rouncival near to or on this site, but it had been long suppressed. The estate came into the possession of Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, and the house which he erected was first known by that name.

It passed at his death to Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk. The daughter of the second Earl married Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland.

During the occupancy of the Earls of Suffolk the house was called after their name, but it changed its nomenclature on the marriage of Elizabeth Howard to the Earl of Northumberland, and was always known by that last name until it was pulled down. Northumberland Avenue now passes over the site of the house and gardens.

The plan had originally been a hollow square, with the open side towards the gardens, and each corner had a tower like those on the Strand front.

Earl Algernon enclosed this square on the garden side by a new range of state rooms added by Inigo Jones, who, according to Evelyn, built a clumsy pair of stairs of stone without any invention from the higher level of the south front down to the gardens.

When the house was later destroyed it was apparent that it had lost much of its antiquity from modern alterations.

Next page: The old Palace at Westminster