A Reconstruction of Thomas Wolsey's Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace

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    A Reconstruction of Thomas Wolsey's Great Hall at Hampton Court PalaceAuthor(s): Jonathan FoyleSource: Architectural History, Vol. 45 (2002), pp. 128-158Published by: SAHGB Publications LimitedStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1568780 .Accessed: 12/06/2014 15:56

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  • A Reconstruction of Thomas

    Wolsey's Great Hall at

    Hampton Court Palace by JONATHAN FOYLE

    Buyldynge royally Theyr Mansions curiously With turrettes and with toures With halles and with boures Stretchynge to the sterres With glasse wyndowes and barres

    (John Skelton, Collyn Clout, c. 1522, lines 934-39)

    Of buildings large, I could rehearse a row That by mischance this day have lost my name Whereof I do deserve the only fame

    (Thomas Churchyard [born c. 1520], The Tragedy of Cardinal Wolsey, lines 215-17)1

    Hampton Court Palace was England's most significant great house of the early Tudor

    age. From 1515-c. 1521, Thomas Wolsey transformed a medieval manor, situated thirteen miles south-west of London on the north bank of the River Thames, into a

    palace deemed remarkable - even superlative - by contemporary observers, including those cited above. Despite its acknowledged importance, little has been concluded about the form, context, and usage of Wolsey's palace in recent studies. This is mainly due to its archaeological complexity, for, only seven years after its initial

    completion, Henry VIII assumed occupancy and began a process of extensive

    remodelling which lasted at least ten years. William and Mary managed to rebuild half of this palace from 1689-94. Consequently, throughout the almost five hundred years since Wolsey's occupation, it has enjoyed a long history of development which has obscured its original form.

    Unless Wolsey's Hampton Court can be reconstructed with accuracy, its true

    significance and influence cannot be properly gauged, nor can the long sequence of its Henrician developments be reliably charted. In 1997, the present author sought to redress this problem by initiating a broad range of archaeological and historical studies, the ultimate objective of which is to gather as much evidence as possible to recover the extent, arrangement, and usage of Wolsey's palace.2

    Toward this aim, the Great Hall is an obvious subject for attention, as it is the largest and most public room of the palace, and it presents the best preserved interior of the

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    palace's Tudor state apartments (Figs 1 and 2). The fact that it has not hitherto received a detailed archaeological analysis has resulted in an over-reliance on documentary evidence. The major resources are works accounts, but these are incomplete and biased; only 150 pages survive from the works of Thomas Wolsey during 1515, none of which

    explicitly refer to the Great Hall, whereas around 6,000 pages remain from the works of

    Henry VIII between 1529 and 1538, some of which specifically relate to construction work on the 'king's new hall'.3

    The unbalanced documentary evidence at first suggests a royal attribution for the

    present Great Hall, but the idea that at least some parts of it might instead be credited to Thomas Wolsey has been occasionally mooted over the last two hundred years.4 The most recent and perceptive example is Howard Colvin's History of the King's Works entry on Hampton Court, which appeared in 1983.5 Although the accompanying phased plan shows the hall as Henry VIII's own, in the text Colvin made an important addition to the comparative observations of some nineteenth-century scholars:

    One feature of Wolsey's hall may have been reused. This is the great oriel window, whose string-courses and other external features are ill-adjusted to those of the wall against which it abuts. Such discrepancies could easily have arisen if it had been taken down and re-erected as part of the new [Henrician] hall. The very close resemblance between the Hampton Court oriel and the one at Christ Church, Oxford, is also readily explained if they were the contemporary products of Wolsey's works rather than designed by different men at different dates.6

    Fig. i. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, exterior

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  • 130 ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    *.-. ,iC f" I8; I t . .

    .t I I

    i -a. I flS-_

    Fig. 2. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, interior (Crown copyright: Historic Royal Palaces).

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    This was supported by the following footnote: The only payment in the Hampton Court accounts that relates to the stonework of the oriel is for making two 'bullyons' or pendants 'standing in the vowghte of the gret baywyndow in the kyngs new hall'. This, at a date when the hall was structurally complete, may well represent the replacement of delicate features damaged in the reconstruction.7

    This paper will explore the suggestion that Wolsey may have built a hall at Hampton Court. It is arranged in three parts. The first part presents the historical and circumstantial background to Wolsey's adoption of the site in 1514-15, and outlines some of the main issues in interpreting his requirements and intentions at that time. The second offers detailed new evidence that Wolsey chose to construct a new Great Hall as the palace's focal ceremonial space, and presents a reconstruction of it as built by c. 1521 (Figs 3 and 4). The third part then briefly accounts for the dismantling of Wolsey's Great Hall, and the alterations and reconstruction for Henry VIII in 1530-34 which developed it to its present form.8

    1. THE COMMENCEMENT OF BUILDING IN 1515 AND THE PROBLEM OF 'HALL 1'

    Wolsey's capacity to afford to build Hampton Court was boosted by his prominence in the planning of the invasion of France in 1513 and his success in the subsequent peace negotiations. France had recently made incursions into Northern Italy, and so this operation benefitted England, the Italian states, and Papal Rome.9 Wolsey's achievements won him the extremely wealthy see of Tournai from Pope Leo X, which vastly increased his personal income and consequently his capacity for domestic

    building. By the time Wolsey was awarded Toumai in 1514 he was already Bishop of Lincoln; therefore Tournai was his in commendam. The holding of multiple Church offices was an opportunity to take revenue without needing to perform duties or even, in Wolsey's case, visit a see. This practice had no precedent in late medieval England, but the concept was embraced and developed by Wolsey, and this goes a long way towards accounting for his vast fortune. The Archbishopric of York was awarded to him

    by September 1514, accompanied by the Westminster seat of York Place and the manor of Brigge Court in Battersea. It is probable that Wolsey's accession to York was the moment when he decided to redevelop Hampton Court.10 This would have given him time to assemble the team of workmen who were on site by 20 January 1515, necessarily directed to a resolved design.1

    Choosing the position of a site on the relatively sunny north bank of the Thames must have been a prime consideration for Wolsey, because the river was the best means of transport linking the places important to him. Wolsey established a presence in London with his first house at Bridewell in 1510. Neil Samman has shown that Wolsey subsequently spent much of his time chasing an audience with Henry VIII between palaces, the principal ones being the royal and episcopal palaces of London and Westminster.12 Richmond Palace was five miles downriver; upriver lay Windsor and Oxford, where Wolsey had studied and retained links. Hampton Court was therefore centrally situated and, most importantly, it was to be not an urban palace but a palace for entertaining in the country at a leisurely remove from the metropolis.

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    Fig. 3. Hampton Court Palace: reconstruction of the Great Hall c. 1525, exteriorfrom the inner court (J. Foyle)

    Fig. 4. Hampton Court Palace: reconstruction of the Great Hall c. 1525, interior looking east (J. Foyle)

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    MOAT

    *a @ _ .. ...... ...:i

    n* *-LODGINGS I S v--'- -KITCH

    GATEHOUSE iHALL I

    ::::C- U~~~i * : * I i@ ..: CHAPEL?

    :::. . HAMPTON

    4* HAMPTON

    IENS

    MANOR OF COURT IN 1514

    Fig. 5. The manor of Hampton Court c. 1514 (J. Foyle)

    The Hampton Court which Wolsey leased was a manor of the Knights Hospitaller. It had been leased in 1505 to Giles Daubeny, Henry VII's Lord Chamberlain. By 1505 the manor had been developed as a moated courtyard with a lodgings range to the south, and a hall to the north. These features were uncovered in a series of excavations between 1967 and 1974 (Figs 5 and 6). In the winter of 1973-74, an investigation took

    place beneath the present hall, where the footings of a late fifteenth-century ground- floor hall with a west wing were found, the hall itself measuring c. 34 ft x 60 ft.13 This will henceforth be called HALL i. It was evident that the brick footings of the present north wall were set directly on top of the remains of the north wall of the west wing of HALL 1; as the first feature to replace HALL i, an accurate dating of the north wall's

    footings is essential. Because Henrician works accounts for 1530-32 relate to laying an

    unspecified quantity of foundations for a 'new hall', the north wall's footings were attributed to this period of Henry VIII's occupation. On this basis, the archaeologists proposed that Henry VIII built the present hall; if so, it follows that the mediocre HALL i was retained by Wolsey. Some recent studies have accepted these unpublished findings. Furthermore, Simon Thurley has argued that this scenario had important consequences:

    The hall which Henry inherited from Wolsey in 1529 was probably the work of Giles, the first Lord Daubeney, who had owned the house before Wolsey. This hall was a ground- floor structure of little pretension. Henry's new hall was not merely a replacement of the old one, but it was larger and more impressive, and - most importantly - it was on the first floor. By raising the great hall on a basement and making a new approach by a grand staircase, the King had transferred the impact made by the hall. No longer did one go up from the great hall to the king's lodgings; the great hall had become the first and most

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    I I

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    HAMPTON COURT PALACE GREAT HALL: ARCHAEOLOGY

    Metres 2 I 0 2 4 6 8 10

    'I * -^ ._ * .-_. I '

    Feet 6420 6 12 18 24 30

    BASE COURT

    1?[tn ^y t-SCREE

    CLOCK COURT:3I KEY .: :- West Wing

    POST- 1450 ' CELLAR

    (HALL 1) 1|

    I ATE /^1K/ Lj^E - _-'- '.-/'/////////

    LA TE C1 5/ i. :';:.- Screens Passa EARLY C16 HALL I

    WOLSEY 1515-21 * ? EXISTING

    F---- WOLSEY --l (CONJEC TURED)

    I- ] HENRY VIII I 1529-36

    j^^]1 POST- 1540 'CELARB l ill ^^^^^^^^l~~~~~~~~

    Fig. 6. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, archaeology

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    magnificent room within these lodgings ... By the end of the reign of Henry VIII, therefore, a major change had been wrought in the most fundamental part of the medieval domestic plan.14

    Thurley's astute observation distinguishes between a first-floor hall, of which there were

    many medieval precedents in England, and a hall as the head of a sequence of first-floor

    apartments, which meets with far fewer parallels.l5 The reason for the appearance of this innovation at Hampton Court is a central issue for the architecture of the period, as the most obvious and consistent European parallel is the tradition of the piano nobile in

    contemporary Italy. Wolsey's adoption of Italian ornamentation at Hampton Court

    might promote a broader discussion of whether this might be very early evidence for the awareness and adoption of Renaissance principles of planning in England as an

    expression of his clerical Romanitas. Thurley, however, avoids such comparisons and evokes an insular genesis for this motif in the personal taste of Henry VIII.

    This diagnosis seems unconvincing. If it were really the case that Wolsey retained a

    ground-floor hall of the dimensions of HALL i, a comparative study shows it would have been not only of little pretension but entirely at odds with a fashion for much

    larger halls in the period (Table 1). Although slightly larger than the hall of Crosby Place in the City of London, as built for the merchant John Crosby, it was certainly undersized for a major court reception of the 1520s.

    TABLE i. DIMENSIONS OF NOTABLE GREAT HALLS OF THE LONDON AREA BUILT c. 1450-1540

    Great Hall Patron Date Width Length Area (sq. ft)

    Hampton Court HALL i Knights Hospitaller? Post-1450 c. 34 ft c. 60 ft? c. 2,040? York Place'6 George Neville? c. 1465-76 c. 39 ft ? ?

    Crosby Place John Crosby c. 1466-75 27 ft 69 ft i,863 Eltham Edward IV 1479-83 36 ft 100 ft 3,600 Richmond Henry VII 1497-1501 40 ft 100 ft 4,000 Hampton Court Wolsey 1515-C. 21 39 ft 10 in. c. 119 ft 8 in. 4,568 Cardinal College, Oxford Wolsey 1525-29 39 ft 9 in. 114 ft 6 in. 4,551 York Place (remodelling) Wolsey 1528-29 c. 39 ft c. 87 ft 3,393 Hampton Court Henry VIII 1532-36 39 ft 10 in. 108 ft 6 in. 4,318

    In further assessing the likely suitability of HALL 1 for Wolsey's use, one should take account of documentary information on the room in the ninety-nine-year lease Wolsey took on the manor and buildings. A copy of this survives dated 11 January 1515, but it is legally backdated to 24 June 1514.17 Nevertheless, this copy of Wolsey's lease and

    inventory is identical to the existing copy of Sir Giles Daubeney's lease of 1505, which

    suggests that it was a standard document, and unlikely to accurately describe the condition and contents of the manor in 1514. HALL i is included in the appended inventory of buildings, fittings, and chattels. Despite the above limitations, it provides a sketch of HALL i at the turn of the sixteenth century. It reads: 'In the haule ii tables dormant and oon long table with ii tristells, a closse cupbourde, iiii fourmes, iiii barres of yron about the harthe'.18 This describes a hall furnished with two parallel tables, set

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    laterally with backless benches to either side, a transverse dais-end table and a

    cupboard, and a central fireplace surrounded by four bars of iron, which must have been served by a roof-mounted louvre. Such accommodation was standard for any substantial house in this period.

    There is as yet no evidence that Wolsey intended to keep HALL i. Instead, Hampton Court offered great scope for redevelopment; its site surrounded by parkland provided the perfect opportunity for a single, large design, where the most significant aspects of

    Wolsey's architectural experience and tastes could synthesize. The lease gave him

    liberty to 'take down, alter, transpose, chaunge, make, and new byeld any howses, walles, mootes, diches, warkis or other thing within or about the said manour'.19 With this carte blanche, he set about rebuilding immediately, residing at his patron Bishop Richard Fox's house at Esher Place, a local seat of the Bishops of Winchester.20

    In gauging the actual extent of Wolsey's redevelopment, the sole surviving account of his building operations at Hampton Court offers some help. It opens on 20 January 1515, just nine days after the date of the lease.21 Wolsey's paymaster was Laurence Stubbs, whose accounts mainly list payments to individual workmen. These are headed by the warden John Forman,22 the master mason John Lebons,23 and bricklayer Thomas Abraham.24 Henry Redman was a senior mason in Wolsey's works, and operated from York Place, from where were issued 'two waynscotts to make moolds of for masons ... whereof one remayneth here and the other is send to Hampton Courte'.25 There is no

    proof that either Henry Redman or John Lebons designed Hampton Court, yet it is certain that they were to work together on Wolsey's next great building enterprise, Cardinal College (now Christ Church), Oxford, from 1525.26 Amongst the 150 pages of Stubbs' accounts only a few references to specific features of the new building can be found. These include the 'new lodgyng with oute the gate',27 probably the outer or green court, which mainly comprised remote kitchen offices; 'new logyngs wout the court',28 referring to what became known as the Base Court; 'other logyngs' also by Thomas Abraham;29 'the new chamber',30 the 'kyngs dynyng chamb';31 and the 'gret chamb' with its window of 'sex lyghts', which still largely survives as the Great Watching Chamber at the east end of the hall (its 'uper story' featured 'iii wyndows').32 In July 1515 came an account for Gerett Heryson of Kingston, a smith who had provided 'stay barres for the

    Bay wyndow and for the next wyndow adjonyng unto it',33 probably identical to the

    'wyndow of iiii lyghtes next unto the Bay wyndow' in the account of 10 September following.34 Heryson also invoiced for ironwork for the 'chapell dore'35 and 'ii wyndows in the hall pase' by 22 October.36 To summarize, there are references to the outer court (Base Court); the 'new chamber' which may be consistent with the Great Chamber, the

    King's Dining Chamber, and the Chapel. Evidently, one room had a bay window which abutted another window of four lights. Yet there is no specific mention of the Great Hall, and this reveals one of the shortcomings of extant documentation which can be

    misleading. It would seem that a substantial hall must have been considered essential accommodation, both to receive visitors from the great courts of Europe with appropriate magnificence and to serve as a dining room for Wolsey's own household, which was estimated at around five hundred people.37

    This section has highlighted some issues for debate, and the main problems in

    interpreting Wolsey's adoption of the manor of Hampton Court which need to be

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    resolved. The key lies in the collection of mutually compatible evidence. Despite demolitions, rebuildings, and incomplete documentation, buildings and their remains are physical archives, and close 'archaeological' study of them must be an integral part of the collation of source material. In this vein, the following section offers a detailed

    analysis of the Great Hall which attributes the parts of the present hall, and builds a reliable reconstruction of the hall Wolsey knew between 1515 and 1529.

    2. ANALYSIS OF THE GREAT HALL

    THE ORIEL WINDOW

    This analysis of the Great Hall will begin where Howard Colvin left off: at the oriel window (Figs i and 6).38 It stands at the south-east corner of the hall, the parapet atop its 48 lights reaching 58 ft in height. Its external string-courses do not align with those of the abutting south wall of the hall. Its upper, parapet string-course is over 1.5 ft below that of the hall's south wall, whilst the south wall's lower example is completely unarticulated from the oriel, stopping short of a glazed light on the oriel's west return. This inconsistency of design suggests either a change of plan, a mistake during construction, or the retention of an earlier feature into a new design. The oriel window has another string-course that has escaped notice, which confirms that it in fact survives from a pre-Henrician building. This feature comprises the base section of the oriel's set- off, just below the main windows. It does not relate to any element of the adjacent south

    ilg. 7. Antonls van aen wyngaerae, sKetcn of tne east szae of tle inner court, nampton CLourt F-aiace, c. 1558 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    Fig. 8. Christ Church College, Oxford: Hall, orie window vault;.

    Fig. 8. Christ Church College, Oxford: Hall, oriel window vault

    _ .... ..a :'.

    11i~13 *?9rd ,.;. ; ':.." ..o ; Fig t. H ampton Court Palace: Great Hall, orie window vault Fig. 9. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, oriel window vault

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    wall of the hall, but is exactly aligned with the string-course on the west side of Clock Court, of exactly the same moulding and integral to a Wolsey period build of c. 1515. Furthermore, an illustration by Antonis van den Wyngaerde of c. 1558 (Fig. 7) shows that Wolsey's east range of Clock Court, which was also replaced in 1732, featured a

    string-course continuing from the base of the oriel's set-off.39 This, then, was intended to be a consistent horizontal feature, uniting the ranges of the inner court. The present south wall of the hall, however, breaks the string-course, and is clear evidence that the main body of the hall and oriel are not of one phase (Figs. 1, 10).

    As Law and Colvin have noted, Hampton Court's oriel window is similar in character to that in the hall of Cardinal College, Oxford (1525-29). Cardinal College was built for Wolsey by Henry Redman and John Lebons with master carpenter Humphrey Coke. There they built a first-floor hall of impressive scale: 114 ft 6 in. x 39 ft 9 in., with a 10 ft wide south facing bay window of fine quality Burford stonemasonry,40 finished with the double-square fan vault which writers have directly compared with that at

    Hampton Court (Figs. 8, 9, 1).41 The buttress details and arrangement of lights of the two oriels are comparable and

    their plan dimensions are within inches of each other (Figs 8 and 9). Cardinal College's mouldings are slightly more elaborate, and the lights have cusping in the tradition of medieval Oxford, but their dimensions are essentially the same (Fig. 12). The fan vaults in both examples are nearly identical, except for the collision of the Oxford fans as a result of not planning the vault as a perfect double-square.42 There is, however, an

    important difference in the fact that the string-courses of Cardinal College's oriel are

    integrated with the hoodmoulds over the windows of the adjacent south wall of its hall. The Cardinal College oriel presents us with an attributable Wolsey building, upon

    which to base comparative evidence. The senior masons responsible for Hampton Court and Cardinal College, John Lebons and Henry Redman, were both dead before

    Wolsey surrendered Hampton Court in 1529.43 From 1519, Redman had become joint king's master mason with William Vertue, whom he had known since at least 1509. William Vertue died in 1527.44 Therefore none of these three men could have been

    responsible for the design of Henry VIII's hall at Hampton Court of 1532-34, but they may have built a hall there for Wolsey which included the present oriel window, and

    possibly other elements of reused masonry. There is a compelling case for the authorship of William Vertue for the oriel at

    Hampton Court, in the specific derivation of the oriel window's double-square fan vault from Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, built 1503-c. 1512.45 Henry VII's

    chapel has been variously attributed, but names include William Vertue, the king's master mason from 1510. Vertue was awarded this office as it aproached completion, which might suggest a reward for his authorship or responsibility.

    The vault of Hampton Court's oriel replicated that over the entrance to the side aisles of Henry VII's Chapel (Fig. 13). Here are all the features seen in the vault cones of Hampton Court and Cardinal College. They are already organized to exactly the same configuration and dimensions as the Hampton Court oriel and with identical mouldings. This vault at Henry VII's Chapel does not feature Hampton Court's pendants; instead, they were copied from examples in the high vaults of the chapel's adjacent main vessel (Fig. 14). Hampton Court's pendants are slightly shorter in

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    REMAINS OF

    THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    UPON DEMOLITION c. 1530

    KEY

    CIRCULATION: CERTAJN- -....-. CONJECTURED- 1

    Window lenthened c. 534

    CONJECTURED LINE OF PARTITIONS*: *. * * .. *. * *4

    Remains of buttress excavated October 200

    chalk-block footings remaining in-situ

    1515 chalk-block footings replaced by bick

    INNER (CLOCK) COURT

    2light window blocked in 1534

    Feet 0 5 0 50 i i _

    ? Jonathan Foyle 2002

    Fig. o1. Hampton Court Palace: remains of Thomas Wolsey's Great Hall upon demolition c. 1530 (J. Foyle)

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY S GREAT HALL

    PLANS OF HALLS

    N

    I 14' 6" average

    Cardinal College

    r i

    Fig. 11. Hampton Court Palace

    HamptonCurt and Christ Church College, Hampton Court Jonathan Foyle 1999 Oxford: plans of halls (J. Foyle)

    proportion, no doubt adjusted to suit the small o1 ft x 5 ft vault and to avoid obscuring the windows (Fig. 15). There is no known earlier example of fan vaulting applied to the oriel window of a hall, and the effect at Hampton Court is distinctly ecclesiastical.

    In order to check the attribution of William Vertue as the author it is worth examining a documented contemporary example by him, and his brother Robert (d. 1506).46 They designed Bath Abbey's chancel vaults around 1503 (Fig. i6).47 The main vessel features three-tier fans with shor sides, the circumferences of which meet at the vault's longitudinal ridge. Around the perimeter of the fans, a tier of quatrefoil cusped circles defines the junction between the fans and the residual concave diamond-shaped spandrel panels. This technique is rare in fan vaulting, but it finds direct comparison with the vault at Westminster.48

    The design of Hampton Court's oriel is therefore attributable to Wolsey's circle of masons, and was not a one-off; its mouldings find comparisons in other areas of Wolsey's palace. It also seems that William Vertue had a role in designing the oriel at Hampton Court. Moreover, this must have happened at the outset, for the perfect geometry of the fans relies on the double-square dimensions of its footings at ground level. Henry VIII's hall took five years to demolish and reconstruct, even whilst retaining the oriel. Cardinal College's hall also took around five years to build. Wolsey's hall at Hampton Court may have taken a similar time to complete, which fits perfectly well with a commencement date of January 1515.

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    PLANS OF ORIEL WINDOWS (not to scale)

    VERTICAL SECTIONS OF RESPONDS

    10'0"

    Court

    Cardinal College

    10'3"

    Hampton Court

    2" >

    HORIZONTAL SECTIONS OF RESPONDS

    Cardinal College

    4"

    HORIZONTAL SECTIONS OF MINOR MULLIONS

    Jonathan Foyle January 1999

    6" < 6" M,

    Fig. 12. Hampton Court Palace and Christ Church College, Oxford: Halls, comparisons of oriel window plans and moulding profiles (J. Foyle)

    142

    r-

    < 2" -

    Al

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY S GREAT HALL 143

    It was earlier related that Wolsey's accounts of August to October 1515 record work on 'stay barres for the Bay Wyndow and for the next wyndow (adjoining) unto it', and a 'wyndow of iiii lyghtes next unto the Bay wyndow'.49 Now that archaeology and

    comparative evidence have established that the oriel belonged to first-floor Wolseyan building, the mention of a bay window in his works becomes highly pertinent. There are various other rooms which may have featured a bay window, or even a series of them. What makes this account likely to refer to the remaining oriel is that the building of an adjacent window was seen to be integral to its construction. A bay window is

    likely to abut another window at the junction of a separate elevation. Only a hall or

    great chamber are likely to have featured an oriel window at such a corner, and

    especially a hall, which must feature a dais at an extreme end. Wyngaerde's view of Clock Court in c. 1558 (Fig. 7), confirmed by a drawing of the late 1720S,50 show that this was precisely the case at Hampton Court's hall, where the oriel window abutted two of the mullioned windows of the adjoining east range. Their jamb blocks were

    immediately returned into the south-east corner of the oriel. The lower mullioned window consisted of four lights, and is surely that referred to in Stubbs' account.

    In summary, all the strands of evidence agree that the oriel was built by Wolsey. It remains in situ, and was designed to accompany a first-floor hall. Further examination

    brings to light far more of Wolsey's original hall than has been previously suspected.

    THE MAIN STAIRS

    There were evidently two stairs ascending to Wolsey's hall, at opposite corners (Figs 6 and 10). The main entry stairs were, and remain, at the south-west of the hall, rising from beneath the Wolseyan gatehouse (Anne Boleyn's Gate) between the outer (Base) court and inner (Clock) court, whereupon we still enter the screens passage of the

    present hall. This range features a consistent use of brick as part of the documented outer court of 1515. The brickwork surrounding the stairs' upper windows has not been interfered with, which demonstrates that the windows are not later insertions, but are attributable to Wolsey's initial building. The unusually long fenestration pattern is

    typical of a clerestorey. This pattern of hall entry was established for the first-floor hall at Richmond Palace.

    There, the stair passage outside the hall door was the same width as the screens passage within; the stairs logically related to the end bay of the hall. At Hampton Court, this

    simplicity does not apply in the present hall. At the top of the stairs, one is met by two doors: the smaller door on the left opens into the south-western corner-turret, leading to the minstrels' gallery and on to the parapet; the larger door on the right offers entry to the screens passage. This division of routes at the top of a broad flight of stairs is awkward, and will be seen to be symptomatic of an Henrician rebuilding of the gable end of Wolsey's hall.

    THE SERVERY STAIRS

    The screens passage of a first-floor Great Hall required access from a servery (Figs 6 and to). As the kitchens were set to the north of the hall at Hampton Court, the servery stairs

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    Fig. 13. Westminster Abbey, Henry VII's Chapel: entrance to the north aisle, vault

    Fig. 14. Westminster Abbey, Henry VII's Chapel: main vessel, vault pendants

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    Fig. 15. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, oriel window vault, pendant

    Fig. 6. Bath Abbey: quire vault Fig. 16. Bath Abbey: quire vault

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    were located in a passage opposite, and very much like, the main entry stairs to the south.51 The northern half (kitchen end) of this passage remains. Once leading directly from the kitchen to the screens passage of Wolsey's hall, it has since been smashed

    through and blocked to make way for a corridor of post-1534, from which a shorter

    servery stairs now leads.52 The southern half of the servery stairs was rebuilt 2 ft to the east so that its east wall

    could align with and incorporate a buttress of the 1532-34 hall rebuilding. This shift also enabled the building of a scullery to the west of the stairs. The bottom oak step of the new stairs covers the remains of a tiled floor, once those of a room underneath the

    longer landing of Wolsey's servery stairs.53 Underneath the landing of the new servery stairs, there is a chopped-back stub of wall bonded with, and projecting from, the north wall of the hall, aligned exactly with the east wall of the surviving kitchen end of

    Wolsey's servery passage. It is the footings of this area of the north wall which were examined in 1973 and identified as Henry VIII's; this can now be seen to have been mistaken. This return of the east wall of Wolsey's servery stairs is also aligned with the 'bar' of the unexplained 'T' shaped footings found within the hall in 1973. These must now be seen as the supporting wall for a screen at first floor of Wolsey's hall.54 It will be

    explained below that the stem of the 'T' was a wall dividing two lodging rooms. The identification of the servery stairs already establishes something of the western

    extent of Wolsey's Great Hall; it was substantially longer than HALL i, and formed the whole of the northern side of the inner court. This arrangement mirrors the double

    courtyard, gatehouse-stairs and hall planning at Richmond Palace. Nevertheless, the

    buttery office, part of the Henrician alterations to the hall in 1532-34, presently straddles the west wall of Wolsey's stairs entry, and projects into Base Court as its only major irregularity (Fig. 2f). This caused the shift of the rebuilt west gable wall and thus the awkward presentation of two doorways at the top of the main stair entry which flank it. If the buttery is imagined away, whilst the western gable of Wolsey's hall is restored as a continuation of the west wall of the stair entry in the Richmond manner (the only real contender for its position if the stairs are to be unencumbered), then we are presented with a hall approaching 120 ft in length.

    In order to calculate the length of the hall more precisely, it is essential to ascertain the thickness of the west gable wall. The best reference would, of course, be from a surviving wall from Wolsey's hall. In fact, a Wolseyan door still remains within the present north wall, which has previously been identified as ex situ (Figs 6 and 17). This door, leading into the cellar from the kitchens, features a Reigate stone arch bearing Wolsey's family badge of three Cornish choughs, and the device of the Archbishop of York. It is exactly aligned with the surviving section of Wolsey's north wall which bears the stub of his

    servery stairs. This relationship argues against an assumption that the door was re-set by Henry's masons. Furthermore, it is opposite Wolsey's oriel window, and precisely equidistant from a Tudor fireplace with similar mouldings, set in the centre of the east wall of the hall's eastern undercroft. This suggests that the door led down to the fenestrated undercroft of the first-floor oriel window, which was habitable; there was no benefit in heating stored provisions (Figs 6 and o1). This room was presumably a cellarer's office, for Cavendish tells us: 'in the sellar (were) iij yomen ij gromes & ij pages'.55 The room is bounded to the west by a wall which carries the hall's hearth slab

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    Fig. 17. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, north wall, door to Cellarers' Office

    Fig. 18. Hampton Court Palace: Great Hall, cellar, 'Palm vault' supporting the hearth

    on what might be described as a 'palm vault' (Figs 6, o1, and 18). This hearth wall is

    misaligned from Henry's flanking buttresses: neither the wall nor its vault are mentioned in the accounts for Henry's works to the hall. Therefore, the position of the hearth and its supporting wall are not related to the metrology of the Henrician hall and are unaccounted for. Instead, they will be shown below to have conformed to the bay lengths of Wolsey's hall, a hall with an internal width we now know to be the same as the Henrician hall, at 39 ft 10 in., and if the wall depth at the surviving Wolseyan north door is applied to the west gable end, the internal length of the hall is calculable at about 119 ft 8 in. At an estimated four inches short of 120 ft, it is quite clear that the length of Wolsey's hall related to its width by the simple proportion of 3:1, that is, 120 ft x 40 ft.

    Now that the hall's original area is established, it remains to determine the bay divisions (Figs 6 and o1). It can be seen that at first floor, Wolsey's hall had two peculiar dimensions for its end bays. The easternmost bay was dictated by the width of the oriel window: 18 ft 2 in. between the east wall and a mark symmetrical about the centre of the oriel to its west. The westernmost bay width was dictated by the width of the main stair entry, the walls of which automatically served as buttresses; this bay was 19 ft 4 in. wide. The remaining length is 82 ft., implying five equal bays of roughly 16 ft 5 in. This is corroborated by the fact that the first of these bays running westward from the oriel window would land at practically the centre of the hearth, whereas the Henrician

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    buttresses now flanking the hearth wall are almost a foot off-centre. In October 2001, archaeological excavation within Clock Court sought, and

    uncovered, the substantial remains of the buttress which formerly braced the south end of Wolsey's hearth wall (Figs 6 and 1o). It was found to be in exact alignment with the hearth, and was partly overlain by the Henrician buttress of the present hall. Its brick courses lay on chalk block footings. A post-hole, presumably to seat one of the Henrician hall's scaffolding posts of alder, was chopped out of the stump of the demolished buttress. In a concurrent excavation on the north side of the hall, the wall of a kitchen office was found in alignment with another of Wolsey's buttresses. These discoveries demonstrated the proportional system of Wolsey's hall on both sides of the building.

    THE ROOF

    It is clear that the roof structure of Wolsey's Great Hall must have spanned an internal area close to 120 ft x 40 ft, and that the trusses must have been unevenly displaced to meet the identified buttresses, resulting in an odd internal effect. There was certainly a roof-mounted louvre to accompany the central hearth.56 The height of the roof

    springing can be roughly associated with the parapet of the oriel window. Beyond these factors we run into speculation, for each of the comparable halls has, or had, a different

    type of truss design: Richmond featured a battened ceiling; at Hampton Court, a flat

    ceiling is impossible, since its line would have cut across the east window which, as will be shown, belonged to Wolsey's hall. Cardinal College retains a pendant hammerbeam

    design by Humphrey Coke dated 1529, whilst the 1528 hall at York Place also had a hammerbeam roof. There is no evidence that Coke worked at Hampton Court, but the extreme similarity of dimensions and details suggest that the palace was the prototype of Cardinal College's hall; Coke worked with Hampton Court's masons on the Oxford

    example. The interior of Cardinal College's hall provides us with the best guess for the internal appearance of Wolsey's hall at Hampton Court, yet there is a qualification for this. Accounts tell us that Henry's labourers dismantled a tiled roof, consistent with a more steeply pitched roof than that of lead at Oxford.57 The use of tiles tends to

    accompany single roof pitches of over 40 degrees. It is with this in mind that the reconstruction drawing offers a tiled roof, single pitched, with a louvre.

    These combined observations have shown that Wolsey, not Henry VIII, established the first floor Great Hall at Hampton Court as the first and principal room in a series of state apartments, which pushes back the date of this innovation in England by twenty years. This paves the way for a future discussion of the role of a sequence of elevated halls for a cardinal of the High Renaissance period. As a basis for such comparison, archaeological analysis in tandem with a study of the measurements of the hall has enabled a reconstruction of Hampton Court's hall (Figs 3 and 4). In order to fully examine its place in a first-floor sequence of spaces, it is necessary to also account for the Great Chamber beyond.

    THE GREAT CHAMBER

    In Wolsey's time, the room which followed the hall was the documented Great Chamber (Fig. 19), remodelled in 1535 as Henry VIII's Watching Chamber (Fig. 20). The

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY S GREAT HALL

    east wall of the hall forms a party wall between them. At the north-east corner of the hall is the shell of Wolsey's 'Horn Room Steps', his dais-end stairs (Figs 6 and lo). Henry VIII had Wolsey's anti-clockwise, stone steps replaced by the present, clockwise, timber stairs, and extended the first-floor landing northwards with a new door into the Great Watching Chamber.

    Above the Horn Room Steps is the north-east stair-vice of the hall (Figs 10 and 19). It has been dismantled below second floor and is now blocked and supported by a brick arch over its south-east corner. Entry to it can still be gained from the parapet of the hall. Its oak spiral stair leads down to a blocked stone door arch, facing into the upper level of the Great Watching Chamber. The present level of the Watching Chamber ceiling, which was installed in 1535, is lower than the head of this door, which renders it useless; the ceiling is therefore later than the door. The door must once have led to either the roof of a lower Great Chamber, or an upper floor within a taller Great Chamber.

    Documents and archaeology confirm that Wolsey's Great Chamber was once taller. Laurence Stubbs' reference to the 'uper story' of the 'gret chamb' is borne out by the fact that its north window survives, of 'sex lyghts' as described, its mouldings similar to the Great Hall's oriel. Beneath it is the scar of a gallery (Fig. 19). The jambs of this window were sliced through by the cornice of the present ceiling (Fig. 20), which demonstrates that the window once accompanied a ceiling set at a higher level.

    The east wall of the hall forms the west wall of the Great Chamber, and the change in height of the Great Chamber can be observed here too. From within the hall, it can be seen that the transom of the hall's east window is uniquely uncrenellated amongst the room's main windows, and the squat lights beneath it seem to be an afterthought (Fig. 2). The present arrangement, however, existed by 1534, for in that year Galyon Hone reglazed the window and accounted for fourteen lights, the number in two tiers.58 All the evidence shows that Henry VIII commissioned the extension of the existing east window of the hall downwards upon lowering the Great Chamber. It can therefore be seen that, besides the whole of the cellar office of Wolsey's hall, the gable end and window remain in situ (Fig. 10).

    The interior of the Great Chamber can be reconstructed, although there appears to be no evidence to adumbrate the design of its original ceiling. It certainly featured a

    gallery at the north end, and a bay window to the south. It was the northernmost room of the west range of the inner court, and led south into what was probably the 'King's Dining Chamber' with another bay window in its south-west corner. The route continued south through a sequence of increasingly private state apartments.

    3. THE REMODELLING OF WOLSEY'S HALL

    In the course of building Hampton Court, Wolsey had intermittently occupied Esher Place as a guest of Bishop Fox until at least 1519. It took at least another year to

    complete, for on 18 October 1520, the Venetian Ambassador related that 'Mons. De

    Montmorency was gone to Hampton Court, where Cardinal Wolsey is building a

    palace'.59 By 1520 it was five years into construction, and it was soon to be furnished; in 1521, tapestries were being supplied.60 This year is also the date of invoice for the terracotta roundels of Roman emporers, commissioned from Giovanni da Maiano.61 In

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    ashI r

    .._D............... I f

    Fig. 19. Hampton Court Palace: Great Chamber, cutaway illustration c. 1521-35 (J. Foyle)

    00 3 - ? ~:~".' .~..'.:'~ :,.

    ':@X , , . 'X;

    Fig. 20. Hampton Court Palace: Great Watching Chamber

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL 151

    March 1522, Wolsey was making 'magnificent preparations at Hampton Court' for the

    reception of Charles V.62 On this evidence, it is reasonable to propose that the palace was

    initially completed in about 1521. By 1525, Henry VIII had assumed a right to occupy Hampton Court.63 Wolsey's hall

    was deemed worthy of inclusion amongst the seven royal properties in the Eltham Ordinances of 1526, where the court could suitably 'keep hall'.64 In 1529 Henry assumed

    responsibility for the payment of works. Wolsey's hall would last only one year longer until mattocks were purchased to take it down. It was to be remodelled to suit the established regime of the royal household officers, and thus Wolsey's palace began the

    long process of change which has obscured its form. The question remains as to why to rebuild a hall barely ten years old. There are two

    contributory answers. The first of these is structural faulting, which was suggested by research excavations in October 2001. At the angle of Wolsey's oriel window and the south wall of the hall, it was seen that the footings for south wall had been augmented by a strip of trench-filled concretion extending as far as the hearth wall. To the west of this line, Henry VIII's masons had replaced all of Wolsey's chalk block footings with brick. The oriel vault has a 2 in. bilateral shear in the west side of the eastern fans, which

    conceivably resulted from its settlement (Fig. 15). The second reason is that the hall as it existed in 1529 did not suit the established functions of the household and officers of

    Henry's court, and this accounts for the urgency of establishing a buttery office at the west end.

    The Henrician works accounts for the Great Hall describe the process of its

    remodelling. The surviving parts of Wolsey's hall which have been so far elucidated are

    notably absent from them. Henry's new buttery at the west end is not mentioned in the

    surviving accounts until 1534, but as it determined the position of the west gable wall of the present hall, it must have been integrally designed with it. The only accounts for work on the 'boterye' in April 1529 relate to the refurbishment of rooms beneath

    Wolsey's screens passage. Carpenters were

    taking down dyvers whalls and perticions in lodgings within the Baze court where the new Boterye shalbe made and new Joysting the same office whereuppon all the beers and ale shall rest. A Plasterer repayring the Rouff where tholder pticons stood in dyvers lodgings within the baze (outer) Court where the new boterye shall be made and also forcing up with lyme and herr dyvers pticons in the said boterye and repayring the Rouff wiche was broke wythin the office afsd.65

    The only masonry work, two weeks later, was clearly a final job and accompanied a bolt for a door. Nothing else of the present structure's many tons of masonry were accounted for. This is valuable information that the space beneath Wolsey's screens was

    originally used for lodgings, which, in 1529, Henry evidently had turned into a

    temporary stud-partitioned buttery in anticipation of the existing brick-built office. This

    provision was important for maintaining the good order of the double sittings at hall for the large numbers of the king's retinue, as the kitchen offices were at that time in the

    process of being completely redeveloped. Henry VIII only had to await the remodelling of the Great Hall to accommodate this important royal office more permanently in a

    masonry block with first floor rooms at its west end, linking more practically into the screens passage, and so offering access from the buttery to the hall during dining times.

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    Wolsey's hall was being dismantled as early as 1530, although many of these records are duplicated under 1532, which makes an accurate chronology problematic. The first record is presented as November-December 1530, when Carpenters were ordered to 'take downe the Rouff of the olde Hall',66 tilers were 'takyng down tyles of the olde hall',67 presumably for salvage, and scaffolds were made to take down the walls.68 The freestone of the old hall was salvaged by specialist hands, namely 'Freemasons takyng downe of the frestone'69 and by a 'Warden and setters takyng down of the freston of the olde hall'.70 The reason for the close similarity of the present freestone windows with those at Cardinal College's hall becomes clear; they were dismantled, not demolished, in order to be reset within Henry's new hall. Indeed, an examination of the internal sills reveals that in the eastern half of the hall, the blocks remain at the bases of the mullions and jambs that Henry VIII's masons provided to receive the re-used windows upon new

    raking sills, which were all intended to be dressed back. Only the western half were

    completed. A similar phenomenon of mismatched mullions and ledges can be observed in the cellar windows, the moulding profiles of which are otherwise found only in areas of the palace built before 1530, such as Base Court and Wolsey's servery passage.

    In preparation for rebuilding, mattocks were provided to dig the foundations of

    Henry's hall, although their extent is not specified.71 As we have seen, the sections of the north wall examined in 1973 retained their Wolseyan footings (Fig. 10), whereas

    Henry had the south wall to the west of the hearth wall refounded with brick, and the western gable wall was completely re-situated. The new footings were therefore laid

    selectively. In March 1532, the freemasons were working upon an unspecified amount of 'dores, wyndows coynes for buttes and grese tables'; largely in Caen stone, the material of Wolsey's oriel.72 These may allude to adjustments and recutting of Wolseyan masonry, for the doors from the hall to the dais-end stairs and buttery have jambs and arches of mismatched Caen and Reigate stones; the arches bear Henrician devices in the

    spandrels. In this busy year the foundations were worked on in chalk and brick; the floor tiles were delivered and by spring 1533 a great wheel was in place which hoisted the timbers for the new hammerbeam roof.73

    In November-December 1533, Henry's masons had to stabilize the oriel and protect it with 'ii pecys of sowltwyche [canvas] ... to make a tylte over the Vowght of the gret baywyndow in the Kyngs new haull', which was evidently already complete.74 This canvas pitch sheltered the vault from the weather whilst 'vi sodletts for the harnessyng of the great bay window' secured the structure.75 Meanwhile, 'John Ellys of Westminster' was paid 'for makyng and Intayling of ii bullyns in frestone standyng in the Vowght of the great bay window in the Kyngs new haull'.76 These bosses are identical to those on the pendants of Henry VII's Chapel which had provided the model for the oriel (Figs 14 and 15). His full title suggests that Ellis worked at Westminster

    Abbey and may possibly have even carved the original pendants around twenty years earlier, the experience qualifying him for this particular task. With the aid of binoculars, the iron cramps he used to secure the new bosses to Wolsey's pendants are still visible. The only reason for replacing such features must have been to remove the signs of

    Wolsey's personal insignia and substitute them with Henry's own in order to proclaim the king's new ownership. On the Cardinal College vault, Wolsey's masons had

    sculpted his insignia of a Cardinal's hat to mask the conjunction of the fans (Fig. 8),

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    whereas Hampton Court's oriel vault is precisely double-square (Fig. 9), so the problem had not arisen as the fans meet at their edges. Here it is probable that the Cardinal's

    insignia had featured not in the vault itself but on the underside of the pendant bosses, more so as the prototype pendants in Henry VII's Chapel feature Tudor roses on the underside of their bosses.

    Just as Wolsey replaced the glass of the oriel window at York Place with his own, so

    Henry paid Galyon Hone for 'Glasyng in the Haull ... the great bay window in the said Haull ys xlviii lyghts Every lyght conteynyng vi foots iii ynches'.77 It had been provided with new 'irne work' including four casements, which have been perpetuated. Perhaps Wolsey's oriel did not feature opening windows. In any case, the accounts detail

    precisely the extent of work the king needed to have done to reattribute the oriel window to himself. The lowest stage of the oriel was given an external brick facing, uniform with the adjacent south wall, no doubt to attempt a consistency in material, if not quite in design.

    In 1534, William King and Symond Spye were paid for 'takyng down of a window with ii lyghts standyng at the haull pace stayers'.78 Their blocking, with incongruous, silvery bricks, is still visible at the foot of Wolsey's stairs within Clock Court (Fig. 10). It was not until February-March 1536 that the 'Vought of the Hall Pase' beneath the main stairs was inserted, which at this late stage can only mean a reinforcement of the

    existing broad stairway upon completion of the new hall, possibly because of sudden

    heavy use.79 None of the steps were accounted for. Similarly, William Kyng's and John Hobbs' 'hewing and setting the pavyng of the Herthe in the Kyngs new Haull in Rygate stone conteynyng xxxvi fote by convencyon' was the only record of any works

    necessary to the fabric of the retained cellarer's office walls, its 6 ft square neatly replacing a previous hearth slab supported upon Wolsey's existing 'palm vault'.80

    The hall was glazed with the arms of the king and Anne Boleyn, and its walls were finished with both internal and external paintwork.81 The external treatment of

    'pencilling' or brush-applied faux diaper work in red, black, and white limewash, must have presented a brilliantly coloured surface which further obscured the fact that this

    magnificent hall was, except for its roof, a diminished reassembly of the remains of

    Wolsey's Great Hall.

    CONCLUSION

    This study demonstrates the value of a catholic approach to historical evidence in the

    study of heavily altered buildings. Through close inspection, it is now clear that Thomas Wolsey built a Great Hall at Hampton Court from 1515-c. 1521. Through a

    metrological analysis, the form of this building is re-established, and its relationship with the masonry of attributed buildings suggests William Vertue as its designer. Wolsey can now be credited for redefining the Great Hall as the first room in a sequence of elevated state apartments. A new understanding of the Great Hall's formal relationship with the Great Chamber has introduced a possible early example of the piano nobile in England as a context for Wolsey's Italianate decoration.82

    An important conclusion is that both of the palace's major assembly rooms, the Great Hall and Great Chamber, were diminished under the ownership of Henry VIII. This

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    refutes the notion that royal status inevitably required superior architecture or even a desire for larger spaces in the early Tudor period; although the king's remodelling of Wolsey's hall featured a magnificent new roof, the king's craftsmen were otherwise adept at salvaging and re-using building materials.

    It is now apparent that these elements of Wolsey's architecture can be discerned from Tudor additions by characteristics of measurement and detail. As interdisciplinary techniques are applied across the palace, a much closer understanding is now emerging of the Hampton Court lauded by Wolsey's contemporaries, and of its seminal importance to the history of Tudor architecture.

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    I am very grateful for the opportunity, help, and enthusiasm offered by my colleagues at the Historic Royal Palaces Trust, for the advice and corrections of Sir Howard Colvin, the patience of Professor Andor Gomme, and for the individual contributions made by Rupert Goulding, Elma Brenner, and Susannah Wilson. Daphne Ford's record drawings are an invaluable bank of reference for any study of the palace, as is the late Mr Gerald Heath's large archive of transcribed documents. Both these resources are kept in Apartment 25, Hampton Court Palace. I am also grateful for Toby Cosgrove's skill and industry in the CAD rendering of Figure 6. Any mistakes in this paper are my responsibility.

    NOTES

    1 These two excerpts are from John Skelton: The Complete English Poems, ed. John Scattergood (Penguin, 1983), pp. 246-78; and The Life of Cardinal Wolsey by George Cavendish, to which is added Thomas Churchyard's Tragedy of Wolsey (London, 1885), pp. 267-84. 2 For a comprehensive discussion of the palace's early history, see my forthcoming doctoral thesis, 'An Archaeological Reconstruction of Thomas Wolsey's Hampton Court Palace' (University of Reading). 3 Wolsey's works accounts are in the Public Record Office, E 36/235, pp. 687-834; Henry VIII's are throughout PRO, E 36/235-45. 4 The first curator of the palace, Edward Jesse, wrote a guide book on Hampton Court published in 1839 to complement the opening of the state apartments to the public. A Summer's Day at Hampton Court, 2nd edn (London, 1840), told the visitor that 'in the middle court is Wolsey's hall ...' (p. 40). The attribution was

    probably habitual, as indeed some eighteenth-century accounts refer to it as such. But Jesse offered a notable point of comparison: 'The hall of Christ Church, Oxford, built also by Wolsey, is said to be more chaste and impressive, although many persons give the preference to that of Hampton Court' (p. 42). In 1885, the first volume of Ernest Law's The History of Hampton Court Palace (London) tackled the Tudor period. Based on original sources and with a barrister's eye for detail, Law furthered Jesse's observations, noting that the hall at Hampton Court and Wolsey's hall of 1525-29 at Oxford are 'almost exact counterparts and palpably by the same architect ... their roofs and windows are almost exactly alike' (p. 155, n. 3). Law's notion of a consistent designer for both buildings was not developed, perhaps because of the array of the royal badges of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on Hampton Court's hammerbeam roof structure, which are firm evidence of royal patronage at least three years after Wolsey's death, and consistent with Henry's works accounts for the hall from 1533-34 which Law transcribed. Ultimately, Law's book was not a detailed archaeological examination of the building. Instead, he reasoned that 'Wolsey's hall, which, though doubtless a fine and spacious room enough, yet did not satisfy Henry's regal requirements and more gorgeous taste. The whole size and proportions of the new hall were to be on a scale of grandeur and magnificence suitable to a place which had now become one of the king's residences' (p. 153). Simon Thurley has recently done a great deal to bring the architecture of Tudor palaces into focused debate. In his account of the Henrician development of the palace in this journal, he 'tentatively concluded' that HALL 1 was not rebuilt by Wolsey. 'Henry VIII and the Building of Hampton Court: a Reconstruction of the Tudor Palace', Architectural History, 31 (1988), pp. 1-51,

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY'S GREAT HALL

    Plans A-F (pp. i, to). Thurley's book The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (London, 1993) also approached Hampton Court as a royal, rather than an episcopal, palace. Here, he stressed the importance of the Henrician hall more forcefully, following Law's rationale that monarchy were inevitably the ultimate arbiters of magnificence. This idea gained momentum from the conclusions of the 1973-74 archaeological excavation of the late fifteenth-century HALL i, which suggested Wolsey had retained and inhabited this structure; see below for further discussion. 5 The axonometric line drawing of Hampton Court as at c. 1600 by Daphne Hart for The History of the Kings Works (cited hereafter as HKW), Iv: 1485-1660, pt II, ed. Howard Colvin (London, 1982), remains the most reliable visual reconstruction of the Tudor palace in its fully developed state. 6 Colvin, HKW, iv, pt II, p. 134. 7 Ibid., p. 134, n. 5. 8 For a full account of the significance of this reconstruction of Wolsey's hall, see Jonathan Foyle, 'Thomas Wolsey's Hampton Court as a Roman Cardinal's Palace' (forthcoming). 9 Wolsey already had experience of Northern France as chaplain to Sir Richard Nanfan, and of the Low Countries in ambassadorial duties. An indication of his burgeoning status is the fact that he provided himself with tents of luxurious size for the campaign of 1513. See C. G. Cruickshank, Army Royal: Henry VIII's Invasion of France 1513 (London, 1969), p. 45. o1 See discussion in n. 17, below. 11 The title page of the accounts kept by Laurence Stubbs, Wolsey's paymaster, is dated 20 January 1514 (PRO, E 36/235, p. 687), and the first page of the accounts proper is identically dated (PRO, E 36/235, p. 689). The dating is adjusted to the Gregorian calendar throughout the main text. 12 Neil Samman, 'The Henrician Court during Cardinal Wolsey's Ascendancy c. 1514-1529' (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Wales, 1988), p. 202, Table A. 13 The dig was led by John Dent. It remains unpublished, but site cards, notes, and some photographs are stored in Apartment 25, Hampton Court Palace. Daphne Ford made a series of plan drawings from these sources in 1997. Work commenced on 12 November 1973, and what became identified as the post-145o hall was discovered on Day 1. Even at this stage, its chalk footings were considered to have been Wolsey's. By 3 January 1974, there were further discussions on the junction of the supposedly Henrician north and south walls with the chalk footings. Brian Doughty and Allan Clark agreed 'that massive chalk foundations are earliest but not that they were superseded by a flimsy building before Wolsey built (?) a hall. Brick foundations were agreed as Henry VIII'. A sketch of 12 December 1973 shows that what were accepted as Henry's brick foundations were built immediately atop the chalk footings for the north wall of the west wing, on a levelling course of tile. Any discussion that Wolsey might have built these brick foundations over the chalk footings was not recorded. It was seen that a lowering of the internal floor by several inches involved chopping the top off the chalk blocks within the area of the present beer cellar: it was not firmly identified when this happened, whether as an initial part of a post-HALL I rebuilding or as a subsequent change of level. 14 Thurley, Royal Palaces, p. 120.

    15 The closest English comparisons for first-floor apartments are much earlier than 1515. They are found in military architecture, self-evidently elevated for defence (e.g. after Colchester Castle; White Tower, Tower of London c. 1070s-9os). Otherwise, linked first-floor 'apartments' in a palatial context consist of just a hall and solar and chapel/oratory (e.g. Bishop's Palace, St David's, late thirteenth century). Acton Burnell (c. 1284-93) represents a combination of these types. See also Kenilworth and Windsor in the late fourteenth century. 16 The attribution and dimensions of this hall have been taken from Simon Thurley, Whitehall Palace (London, 1999), Pp. 4-5, 8-10. 17 British Library, Cotton MS, Claudius E VI, fols 137/139r-v and fols 138/140r-v (this manuscript has

    recently been repaginated, all references are here given as 'old/new' pagination). The date of this lease is problematic: Colvin, HKW, iv, pt II, p. 127, stated that Wolsey obtained his lease in June 1514. Thurley gave a date for the lease and commencement of building operations as both 1515 ('Henry VIII and Hampton Court', p. i) and 1514 (Royal Palaces, p. 87). These differing dates need to be resolved, as they infer two scenarios: either Wolsey took the lease as Bishop of Lincoln and Toumai, or as Archbishop of York. A reading of the Knights Hospitallers' leases in BL, Cotton MS, Claudius E VI, shows that they customarily chose three dates for the terminus post quem of leases: 11 January (St Salvius' Day), 24 April (St Mellitus' Day), and 24 June (Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist). The earlier lease of Hampton Court to Sir Giles Daubeney in

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    1505, upon whose terminology Wolsey's lease is based, is dated 28 July of that year (BL Cotton MS, Claudius E VI, fols 6/7r-v, 7/9r). It too is backdated to 24 June: 'fro the fest of the Nativite of Saint John Baptist last past before the date herof ...' (ibid., fol. 6/8r). Wolsey's decision to take the lease may have been made at any time

    prior to its signing. The Hospitallers' use of conventionalized dates means we cannot hope to ascertain the moment of Wolsey's decision to remodel Hampton Court from the dates given on the lease. However, it should be borne in mind that between June and January 1514/5, a median of autumn 1514 coincides with his

    appointment as Archbishop of York in that September, which may have prompted his decision to take the lease on the manor. It is fair to assume that the lead in to signing a prepared lease would have taken perhaps a month or two. Wolsey would have needed to organize his finance, agree development plans, and assemble a corps of workmen, who began on 20 January 1514/5 (PRO, E 36/235, p. 687). 18 BL, Cotton MS, Claudius E VI, fols 138/140r. 19 Ibid., fols 137/139r. 20 Fox insisted to Wolsey on 24 August 1519 that whilst Hampton Court was under construction, 'the more and the longar ye doo use it, the mor comfort shall it be to me'. Cited in P. S. and H. M. Allen (eds), Letters of Richard Fox 1486-1527 (Oxford, 1929), pp. 121-22. 21 PRO, E 36/235, pp. 687-834. 22 Ibid., pp. 699ff. 23 Ibid., p. 834. 24 Ibid., pp. 693ff. 25 PRO, E 101/474, p. 7. 26 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, The City of Oxford (London, 1939), p. xxiv, lists

    'John Lubbins and Thomas Redmayne' as master masons of Christ Church. This seems to be in error, mistaking Henry for Thomas. John Harvey, A Biographical Dictionary of English Medieval Architects, rev. edn

    (Gloucester, 1984), pp. 246-49, proposes that Thomas Redmayne (II) was related to Henry Redman, but shows it is Henry who appears at Cardinal College. In Wolsey's Hampton Court accounts for 1515, masons William Badman and John Gibson were paid a mileage allowance for travelling from Oxford to Hampton Court (PRO, E 36/235, p. 772). It is possible that such journeys were made to negotiate supplies of stone, to impress masons, or conceivably to take references from other buildings. 27 PRO, E 36/235, p. 777. 28 Ibid., p. 738. 29 Ibid.

    30 Ibid., p. 767. 31 Ibid., p. 788. 32 Ibid., p. 789. These windows were reassembled and trimmed of their internal mullion mouldings to conform to the cornice of the battened ceiling installed in 1535. 33 Ibid., p. 769. 34 Ibid., p. 789. 35 Ibid., p. 817. 36 Ibid.

    37 George Cavendish estimated the members of Wolsey's household at 'abought the Somme of fyve hundred

    parsons accordyng to his chekker rolle'. George Cavendish, The Life of Cardinal Wolsey, ed. Richard Sylvester, Early English Text Society 243 (Oxford, 1959), p. 21, lines 16-18.

    38 The most recent published attribution of Hampton Court's oriel window was by Thurley, Whitehall Palace, p. 30, who stated that it was 'Henry VIII's bay window'.

    39 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, cat. no. LIV. II.bv.

    40 Report by Robin Sanderson submitted to Historic Royal Palaces Agency. 41 Wolsey seems to have built an oriel in 1528 for his new hall at York Place, if the term 'in building' allied to 'repair[ing] and furnish[ing]' indeed equates with 'new' (see Thurley, Whitehall Palace, pp. 27-29). The

    surviving documents for the hall and the record of its partial footings discovered in the 1930S may not be

    enough to provide confirmation for this, though, and Wolsey's work may merely have involved alterations to George Neville's late fifteenth-century hall on precisely the same site, which is shown to have been the same width as Wolsey's hall (ibid., figs 21, 27, 38). Also, Neville's earlier building apparently featured an oriel of '8 by 13 ft' (ibid, p. 8). The great size of this window registers 'the obvious defect' of his hall's inadequate scale a less convincing motive for Wolsey to have rebuilt it (ibid., p. 27). Indeed, Thurley provides the internal

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  • THOMAS WOLSEY S GREAT HALL 157

    dimensions of Wolsey's 1528 York Place oriel as a smaller 6 ft 6 in. width against a length of 10 ft (ibid., p. 30). Thurley then compares this new oriel with that at Hampton Court (however, attributed to Henry VIII [ibid., p. 29]) and the one at Cardinal College. No masonry fragments from the 1528 York Place oriel vault have been recovered. If, however, Thurley's diagnosis of phasing is correct, the 1528 York Place oriel must have projected rather deeper than a double-square plan, whilst Hampton Court is a double-square, whereas the Cardinal College vault is slightly shallower than a double-square. It therefore stands to reason that these oriel vaults, whilst possibly similar, and possibly all Wolseyan, must all have been differently configured. 42 This phenomenon of straight-edged fans, which would seem to compromise the geometric purity of the form, is not symptomatic of a mistake in setting out but a frequent aspect of the design which serves to accommodate bay units narrower than the broad semicircular spread of a fan would inherently dictate. These structural practicalities make it more usual to find this narrowing device in large high vaults rather than small vaults and those beneath towers which tend to conform to a square plan. 43 There is no known will nor other detail on the death of Lebons, but he was paid at Cardinal College until 24 October 1529 and no documents relating to him are known after this date. Harvey, Biographical Dictionary, p. 173. Redman's monumental brass in Brentford Church records that he was 'deceased July 10 1528'. Ibid., p. 248. 44 William Vertue lived at Kingston upon Thames, across the river from Hampton Court's Home Park. He was buried in Kingston Church, though any monument he may have had is no longer evident. His will is transcribed in John Harvey, Gothic England (London, 1947), Appendix V (iv), pp. 185-86. 45 There has been a considerable history of debate on the attribution of the vaults of Henry VII's chapel. Robert Vertue, Robert Janyns, and John Lebons were listed in a 1506 document in connection with the design of a monument to Henry VII within the chapel, an important commission as it was the focus of the entire building. In the absence of original works accounts for the construction of the chapel itself, Francis Bond, Westminster Abbey (London, 1909), and W. R. Lethaby, Westminster Abbey Re-examined (London, 1925), both attributed it to Robert Vertue. Debate has since centred on these names, with the more recent attribution of the vaults to William Vertue at c. 1510. See Geoffrey Webb, Architecture in Britain: The Middle Ages, 2nd edn (Harmondsworth, 1965), p. 200; and John Harvey, The Medieval Architect (London, 1972), p. 164. Harvey went on to propose that William Vertue 'must have had charge (of the chapel) since his brother Robert's death in 1506' (Biographical Dictionary, p. 307). See Colvin, HKW, iii (1975), p. 214; Walter Leedy, 'The Design of the

    Vaulting of Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster: A Reappraisal', Architectural History, 18 (1975), pp. 5-11; and Christopher Wilson, 'The Designer of Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey', in The Reign of Henry VII, Transactions of the Harlaxton Symposium 1993, ed. Benjamin Thompson (Woodbridge, 1996), pp. 133-56. 46 Cardinal College's gatehouse (now the base of Tom Tower) has long been acknowledged as derivative of the side chapels from Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster. The link between Redman and Vertue is again directly applicable here, this time involving Lebons. 47 Walter C. Leedy, Fan Vaulting: a Study of Form, Technology, and Meaning (London, 1980), p. 133, provides the most reliable dating for the vaulting of Bath Abbey, based on the commencement date of an injunction of 9 October 1500, providing for rebuilding funds, and on letters between Bishop King and Sir Reginald Bray in January 1503, which relate that the Vertues had recently visited the Abbey and devised the 'chancelles' vaulting. 48 The motif of a tier of cusped circles probably derives from smaller examples in the vaulted canopies of some notable fifteenth-century chantry chapels, such as that of Cardinal Beaufort at Winchester Cathedral. 49 PRO, E 36/235, p. 789. 50 While the Wyngaerde drawing does not show the first-floor window, this is shown as a convincing Tudor design in the early eighteenth-century drawing (Oxford, All Souls, I, fol. 57). For a reproduction, see Juliet Allan, 'New Light on William Kent at Hampton Court', Architectural History, 27 (1984), pp. 50-55, P1. ib. 51 The main entry stairs are 17 ft 2 in. wide, but have been completely refaced internally so a precise original width cannot be ascertained. 52 This was part of comprehensive Henrician revision of planning in 1534-35. This included building the 'Haunted Gallery' and its stairs which served the private closets within the redeveloped west end of the chapel, as well as the wine cellar and the new Watching Chamber above the wine cellar (Fig. 6). A west-east passage was required to the wine cellar from the western 'Seymour Gate', where the Board of Greencloth accounted for deliveries of kitchen supplies. This could only be enabled by smashing through Wolsey's north- south kitchen offices. By shortening the servery stairs, the unimpeded corridor could double as a route from a serving place central to both ends of the hall and the new Great Watching Chamber.

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  • ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY 45: 2002

    53 Undated (c. 1981), Department of the Environment, Ancient Monuments Branch record. Monument no. 125A, drawing AS2/6o, recorded by D. Ford, drawn by M. Stoll. 54 Three phases of masonry are visible at the junction of the Wolseyan servery stairs with the north wall of the hall. Phase 1: Stub of Wolsey's servery stairs east wall / north wall of hall beneath present landing; Phase 2: Henrician buttress built against the east face of the east wall of Wolsey's servery stairs in conformity with the new internal dimensions of the 1532-34 hall; Phase 3: Southern half of Wolsey's servery stairs demolished; the east wall of the new stair passage aligned with Henry's buttress and built up to it, evident at this point by change in order of English bond pattern to either side of a straight junction. 55 Cavendish, Life of Cardinal Wolsey, p. 19, lines 11-12.

    56 Before any demolition work on Wolsey's hall began, there came an account for 'new glass in the louffa upon the Hall'. PRO, E 36/239, p. 108.

    57 PRO, E 36/241, pp. 465, 476. This date is unreliable, as the roof timbers were apparently already dismantled by autumn 1530 (PRO, E 36/241, pp. 107, 109). 58 'The great Wyndow at the Upper Ende of the said Haull ys xiiii lyghts'. PRO, E 36/242, p. 309. 59 Calendar of State Papers (Venetian), ed. Rawdon Brown (London, 1869), II, p. 130. 60 BL, Harleian MS 599, fols 9r ff. 61 See A. Higgins, 'On the Work of Florentine Sculptors in England in the Early Part of the Sixteenth Century; with Special Reference to the Tombs of Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry VIII', Archaeological Journal, 51 (1894), pp. 129-220. 62 Calendar of State Papers (Spanish), further supplement, ed. G. Mattingly (London, 1947), p. 107. 63 Calendar of State Papers (Spanish), ed. Rawdon Brown (London, 1873), III, pt i, p. 209; see Samman, 'The Henrician Court', p. 214, for a discussion. 64 BL, Harleian MS 642, Cap. 77. 65 PRO, E 36/236, p. 41. 66 PRO, E 36/241, p. 107; E 36/241, p. 109; E 36/241, p. 477. 67 PRO, E 36/241, p. 465. 68 The construction of scaffolding is a duplicated account: PRO, E 36/241, p. 107; and E 36/241, p. 463. 69 PRO, E 36/241, p. 485. 70 Law, History of Hampton Court, Appendix C, p. 344. 71 Mattocks were provided to dig the trenches by October-November 1530. PRO, E 36/241, p. 119; bricklayers were laying in March 1532. PRO, E 36/241, p. 486. 72 PRO, E 36/241, p. 473. 73 'Storopys for the great whele that conveyth the tymber up in the Haull'. PRO, E 36/237, p. 544. 74 PRO, E 36/237, p. 30. 75 PRO, E 36/238, p. 51. 76 PRO, E 36/242, p. 49. 77 PRO, E 36/242, p. 309. The Society of Antiquaries holds a drawing of the oriel, possibly showing a few medallions that remained of its glazing for Henry VIII before being taken down for the hall's total re-glazing in 1846; there is no known record of Wolsey's glazing scheme. 78 PRO, E 36/238, p. 384. 79 PRO, E 36/240, p. 565. 80 PRO, E 36/238, p. 202. 81 Glazing with the king's and queen's heraldic motifs was in place by November-December 1534 (PRO, E 36/242, p. 309); the gable walls were pencilled by Christopher Deconson in the same December (PRO, E 36/242, p. 330), but hay had already been burned to produce black pigment for such work a year previously (PRO, E 36/237, p. 296), suggesting the pencilling was done in stages. 82 The present author gave a paper to the Society of Antiquaries on 15 November 2001 explaining the geometric design of Wolsey's palace, and the role of the Great Hall within it as an exercise in Renaissance palatial planning.

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    Article Contentsp.[128]p.129p.130p.131p.132p.133p.134p.135p.136p.137p.138p.139p.140p.141p.142p.143p.144p.145p.146p.147p.148p.149p.150p.151p.152p.153p.154p.155p.156p.157p.158

    Issue Table of ContentsArchitectural History, Vol. 45 (2002), pp. I-VIII+1-496Front Matter [pp.I-VIII]The Principal Design Methods for Greek Doric Temples and Their Modification for the Parthenon [pp.1-31]The Chinese Domestic Architectural Heating System [Kang]: Origins, Applications and Techniques [pp.32-48]Grund to Hrof: Aspects of the Old English Semantics of Building and Architecture [pp.49-65]Spatial Aspects of the Almonry Site and the Changing Priorities of Poor Relief at Westminster Abbey c. 1290-1540 [pp.66-91]The Church and the Piazza: Reflections on the South Side of the Church of S. Domenico Maggiore in Naples [pp.92-112]Palladio's Canonical Corinthian Entablature and the Archaeological Surveys in the Fourth Book of I quattro libri dell'architettura [pp.113-127]A Reconstruction of Thomas Wolsey's Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace [pp.128-158]Location, Location, Location! Cecil House in the Strand [pp.159-193]Riding Houses and Horses: William Cavendish's Architecture for the Art of Horsemanship [pp.194-229]Inigo Jones and the Hatfield Riding House [pp.230-237]The Stuart Kings, Oliver Cromwell and the Chapel Royal 1618-1685 [pp.238-274]Wren's Preliminary Design for the Sheldonian Theatre [pp.275-288]The Library of Franois Blondel 1618-1686 [pp.289-324]The Englishness of Gothic: Theories and Interpretations from William Gilpin to J. H. Parker [pp.325-346]Unbuilt Hertford: T. G. Jackson's Contextual Dilemmas [pp.347-362]Seeking a 'Symbolism Comprehensible' to 'the Great Majority of Spectators': William Lethaby's Architecture, Mysticism and Myth and Its Debt to Victorian Mythography [pp.363-385]Constructing Identity: Anglo-Jewry and Synagogue Architecture [pp.386-408]Perret and His Artist-Clients: Architecture in the Age of Gold [pp.409-440]An Artistic European Utopia at the Abyss of Time: The Mediterranean Academy Project, 1931-34 [pp.441-482]James Wild, Egypt, and St John's Church, Hampstead: A Postscript to Christ Church, Streatham [pp.483-484]A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840: Corrections and Additions to the Third Edition (Yale University Press 1995) [pp.485-492]Back Matter [pp.493-496]