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CLERKENWELL CLOSE. CROMWELL PLACE.
On the west side of Clerkenwell Close, about thirty years ago, stood the old brick Buildings, represented in the annexed print, in the middlemost of which, the Protector, Oliver Cromwell, is traditionally said to have been once a resident; but there does not appear to be any valid ground for that report.* It is probable that, originally, the three houses formed only one mansion, consisting of a recessed centre with wings; yet the former, with its twin stacks of large chimneys in front, and plain parapet, had an air of greater age than the other parts. One of the most notorious occupants of this division, was the well-known trading justice, Mr. William Blackborough, who died there, at an advanced age, on the 16th of September, 1794. Both himself, and Mr. Justice Girdler, who lived on the south side of Clerkenwell Green, had hired barkers, (like the secondhand-clothes dealers of Monmouth Street,) patrolling near their doors in quest of customers; and they would both occasionally give credit for warrants, to encourage litigation, and promote the obtaining of fees. This house was nearly destroyed a few years ago, by an accidental fire, when inhabited by a stove-grate maker; and has been since repaired in a different style. Cromwell Place, a small contiguous court, has its name from the tradition noticed above.
* “ There is scarcely a village near London,” says Lysons, “ in which there is not one house, at least, appropriated by tradition to Cromwell, though there is no person to whom they might be appropriated with less probability. During the whole of the Civil Wars, Cromwell was with the army ; when he was Protector, he divided his time between Whitehall and Hampton Court.”—Lysons's “ Environs of London," vol. i. p. 376.
SALTERS' COMPANY, AND HALL.
THE Salters' Company, although of considerable antiquity, as appears from a grant of a Livery made by Richard the Second, in 1394, was not regularly incorporated till the reign of Queen Elizabeth; but that Princess, in the year 1558, granted them a Charter, under the appellation of “ The Master, Wardens, and Commonalty of the Art or Mystery of Salters, of London." The Members are “ usually termed DrySalters, and deal in logwood, cochineal, potashes, and, in short, in almost every chemical preparation."* They are governed by a Master, two Wardens, and a Court of Assistants.
SALTERS' Hall, which stands on the west side of Oxford Court, St. Swithin's Lane, and has been very recently rebuilt, is the fourth that has belonged to this Company. The original Hall stood in Bread Street, and was destroyed by fire, in 1539; as was, also, the “ re-edified" building, in the conflagration of 1666. The site of the present edifice was formerly occupied by the mansion and gardens of the Prior of Tortington, which, after the Dissolution, was granted to John de Yere, Earl of Oxford, and thence obtained the appellation of Oxford Place. Edward, his grandson, dis
* Vide Malcolm's " Lond. Redivivum," vol iv. p. 623.
sipated his great inheritance, from motives of pique and indignant feeling against Lord Burghley, whose daughter he had married ; and this estate was purchased by Sir John Hart, who kept his Mayoralty here in 1589. His eldest daughter married Sir George Bolles, Lord Mayor in 1617, and their descendants alienated the premises to the Salters' Company, by whom the late Hall, or that represented in the annexed engraving, was erected, after the destruction of the ancient buildings in the Great Fire. It was a small edifice of brick, the entrance opening under an arcade of three arches, springing from square pillars, fluted.
The new Hall, which is of stone, was built by Henry Carr, Esq., architect, between the years 1823 and 1827; and it was opened on the 23d of May, in the latter year. The portico, which consists of four columns of the lonic order, supporting an entabla. ture, &c., is surmounted by the Company's arms and supporters.* From the entrance hall, which is very spacious, a handsome flight of stairs ascends to the Great Hall, which is a lofty and elegant apartment, partly coved, and having a magnificent chandelier, twenty-two feet in height, suspended from a small lantern-light, in the centre. At the east end are carved
* The Salter's arms are, per chevron, azure and gules, three covered salts, or, sprinkling argent : supporters, leopards, each gorged with a crown, chained; crest, a man's band, holding a salt, as the former : motto, Sal sapit Omnia. The arms were granted in the 20th year of Henry VIII, by Thomas Benoilt, Clarencieux ; tbe crest and supporters, by Robert Cooke, Cla. rencieux, in 1587,