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WHITEHALL ; ANCIENTLY YORK HOUSE.
The site of WHITEHALL was originally occupied by a noble mansion, erected by Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, and Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry the Third. Dugdale states, that the Monks of Westminster, in consideration of 140 marks of silver, and the yearly tribute of a wax taper, of three pounds weight, on the feast of St. Edward, granted to Hubert de Burgh, the inheritance of certain houses, with a court and a free chapel, within the liberties of Westminster;* and among the Tower records are several grants to the same nobleman, of houses, a court, chapel, &c. in the town of Westminster, and also of land called More, lying between the Hospital of St. James and the moor, or marsh, of John Chancellor. On the decease of Earl Hubert, in 1242, he left this estate to the Church of the Black Friars, near “ Oldborne,” in which he was buried. Soon afterwards, that Brotherhood sold it to Walter Gray, Archbishop of York, who made it his town residence, and dying in 1255, bequeathed it, as an archiepiscopal Palace to his See, for the use of his successors: from that appropriation, it acquired the name of York Place.
On the promotion, in 1514, of the regal-minded Wolsey to the See of York, which was quickly followed by his elevation to the rank of Priest-Cardinal, and Legate de latere, York Place became the scene of the most gorgeous hospitality and courtly pomp, which it
was possible for ecclesiastical ostentation to display. It was at York Place that, ranking himself with Princes,” Wolsey, to all “that sought him," was “sweet as summer,” and, shining in “ the full meridian of his glory,” attained “ the highest point of all his greatness."
His household, according to his checker roll, amounted to “ about the sum of five hun. dred persons ;-besides his retainers, and others, being suitors, that most commonly were fed in his hall.”+ His establishment, or family, as it was called, included nine or ten young Lords, (each of whom had servants,) sixteen chaplains, four counsellors, “ learned in the laws,” and
persons. “ He had also,” says Cavendish, who was one of his gentlemen ushers, and from whose curious narrative of the Cardinal's Life these particulars are derived, a great number daily attending on him, both of noblemen and worthy gentlemen, of great estimation and possessions, with no small number of the tallest yeomen that he could get in all this realm. In his Hall he had, daily, three especial tables, furnished with three principal officers; that is to say, a Steward, which was always a dean or a priest ; a Treasurer, a knight; and a Comptroller, an esquire; which bore always, within his house, their white staves. In his privy Kitchen he had a Master Cook, who went daily in damask satin, or velvet, with a chain of gold about his neck. In his Chapel, he had a Dean, who was always a great clerk and a divine; a Sub-dean; a Repeater of the quire; a Gospeller, a ’Pisteller, and twelve singing Priests :
* Vide Singer's edition of Cavendish's “ Lise of Cardinal Wolsey," vol. i. p. 39.
† Shakspeare's “ Henry the Eighth," Acts 3 and 4.
of Scholars, he had first, a Master of the children; twelve singing children; and sixteen singing men. But to speak of the furniture of his Chapel passeth my capacity to declare the number of the costly ornaments and rich jewels that were occupied in the same continually; for I have seen there, in a procession, worn forty-four copes of one suit, very rich, besides the sumptuous crosses, candlesticks, and other necessary ornaments to the comely furniture of the same. He had two cross bearers, and two pillar bearers ;* and in his chamber, his High-Chamberlain, his
The high degree of pomp in which Wolsey (who to his other dignities added the office of the Chancellorship) was accustomed to proceed from York Place to Westminster Hall, has been described in another article: vide vol. iii. p. 52. Like all other Cardinals, Wolsey, in accordance with the very early practice of the Romish Church, rode upon a mule, and his crosses and pillars, which were of silver, were borne before him, the former by priests, the latter by laymen; and he is thus represented in his Majesty's fine painting of Le Champ de Drap d'Or, which has been lately removed from the apartments of the Society of Antiquaries, to Windsor Castle. Cavendish says, had two great Crosses of silver, whereof one of them was for his Archbishoprick, and the other for his Legatcy, borne always before him whither soever he went or rode, by two of the most tallest and comeliest priests that he could get within all this realm; and the satirist Roy, in his tract intituled Treatous,' thus notices the fact: