Clarendon House, PICCADILLY, the town house of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, "the great Lord Chancellor of Human Nature." It stood on the north side of Piccadilly, exactly fronting St. James's Palace. Charles II. granted the ground, and Pratt, we are told by Evelyn, was the name of the architect . The date of the grant is June 13, 1664. The populace called it Dunkirk House, Holland House, and Tangier Hall.
Clarendon, in his autobiography, admits the "weakness and vanity" he had exhibited in the erection of this house, and "the gust of envy" which it drew upon him; while he attributes his fall more to the fact that he had built such a house than to any misdemeanour he was thought to have been guilty of. Lord Rochester (Clarendon's second son) told Lord Dartmouth that when his father left England he ordered him to tell all his friends "that if they could excuse the vanity and folly of the great house, he would undertake to answer for all the rest of his actions himself." There was much in the house to call up popular clamour against him. Part of it was built with stones designed, before the Civil War, for the repair of old St. Paul's. He was said to have turned to a profane use what he had bought with a bribe. Old St. Paul's supplied stones for the palace of another great minister of State; but Somerset stole, Clarendon bought. The popular feeling is embodied in the following lines :—
Lo ! his whole ambition already divides
The sceptre between the Stuarts and Hydes.
Behold, in the depth of our Plague and Wars,
He built him a Palace outbraves the stars;
Which house (we Dunkirk he Clarendon names)
Looks down with shame upon St. James;
But 'tis not his golden globe will save him,
Being less than the Custom-house farmers gave him;
His chapel for consecration calls,
Whose sacrilege plundered the stones from Paul's.
--Clarendon's House-warming, by Andrew Marvell.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.