Somerset House

Strand (WC2) According to Stow, the Bishops of Worcester had their town house here in the thirteenth century, and the Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry theirs. The Bishops of Landaff had also their inn within the same precincts; and close by stood the Strand Inn, an Inn of Chancery belonging to the Temple, in which Occleve, the poet, and contemporary of Gower and Chaucer, is said to have studied the law. All these houses were pulled down by the Protector Somerset to make room for his palace, which he intended should be more magnificent than any that had ever before been seen in England. . With this end the steeple and most of the Church of St. John of Jerusalem, near Smithfield, were mined and overthrown with powder and the stones carried thereto. So likewise the cloister on the north side of St. Paul's Cathedral, and the charnel-house, with the chapel, on the south side. It was his intention to have pulled down St. Margaret's Church at Westminster, but that was preserved by his fall. After his execution the palace became the property of the Crown, .and from the time of James I .appears to have been considered the appanage of the Queen Consort of England. In 1775 the building was demolished, and the present building commenced soon afterwards to be used for public offices. (Reference: Smith's Streets of London, pp. 201-2)