The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 52.244619, 0.403748

3 Annotations

in aqua  •  Link

Rowley track be just SW of the town at the junction A'1304 A1303 [the old A11] at Cambs/Suffolk border, the Track be 12mile east of Cambridge with Bury St Edmunds to SE at 15 miles. The old A11 be the chariot route [old roman road] from Foul Mere to Norwich [noorth salt]. To the north west be Fen country.
Horses have been making bets since 1174, they Say, to whom be the best rider.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Hinchingbrooke is about 34 miles from Newmarket by road today ... who knows what route they would have to take back then. Quite a round trip to see some horse racing. King James' and King Charles' palaces had been wrecked after the Civil War, so Charles II would have needed to stay off site for a year or two during reconstruction.

For more information see

A perpetual round of gaiety continued during the reign of King Charles, who spent as much time as he could in Newmarket. The king would ride around the countryside boasting he never enjoyed such good health as he did in Newmarket. But this was interrupted by the civil war, and with the downfall of the monarchy, Newmarket underwent a serious decline.

The conflict which engulfed England in 1642 began in Newmarket, in the palace in early March when King Charles had a confrontation with a parliamentary deputation demanding he surrender control of the army. ‘By God not for an hour’, he angrily retorted. ‘You have asked such of me that was never asked of a King!’

During the ensuing confrontation Newmarket took the royal side. In 1642 some townspeople tried to raise troops for the king, and six years later, at the height of the second civil war, there was an abortive rising which led to serious fighting in the market place.

Then in June 1647 King Charles was seized at Holdenby House and brought as a prisoner to Newmarket. Here the entire New Model Army massed, and surrounded by this ring of steel, he was kept under house arrest in his palace for nearly two weeks. But his stay was not totally unpleasant, for he was allowed to ride in his coach on Newmarket Heath. And many people, including the local gentry, flocked to see him, especially when he ‘was at Dinner or Supper’ in the Presence Chamber which echoed with prayers for his safety.

King Charles' execution spelled the doom of the royal palace in Newmarket. As is evident from a 1649 survey, it fell into disrepair and was sold off in 1650 to a consortium of 7 men including the regicide Col. John Okey, who pulled down most of the buildings with relish.

By the end of the Interregnum the Jacobean palace was a shadow of its former self: the Prince’s Lodgings had been razed. Parts of the palace still standing (the brew house and stables) were dilapidated. Only the garden ‘was not much altered’. Newmarket’s link with the monarchy seemed broken forever.

Newmarket must have thrilled to hear of the Restoration ...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, visited Newmarket with the Stuart Brothers and many members of the Court in April/May, 1669. His scribe wasn't impressed by the village.
I've standardized names, scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs:

His highness, before evening, reached Newmarket (where, at the inn of the Maidens, almost opposite to the king's house, quarters had been prepared by his highness's courier) at the precise time that his majesty, with the duke and Prince Robert [RUPERT], had arrived the preceding day.

As soon as his highness alighted from his carriage, he went to the king's house, which compared with the other seats of the English nobility, does not deserve the name of a royal residence; and, on this account, his majesty has taken measures to enlarge it with several new apartments, and to improve the prospect from it.

Newmarket, an open town of about 200 houses, in the county of Cambridge (although some believe it to be in that of Suffolk) is situated on the declivity of some gently rising hills, which inclose a small valley, and constitute a distinguishing feature in the almost level territory which lies in every direction around it.

It has, in the present day, been brought into repute by the king, who frequents it on account of the horseraces, having been before celebrated only for the market for victuals, which was held there, and was a very abundant one.

In consequence of the example set by the king, the buildings are beginning to improve in appearance, and to increase in numbers, to render it more commodious for the purposes of the court, and more capable of containing the persons who resort thither at the time the king is there.

The territory belongs to my Lord Henry Bennet, Baron Arlington, who lets it on a 21 years' lease, at 6 shillings an acre, the rent to be paid half-yearly, and the tenant being left at full liberty, either to employ the land for pasture, or to plough it up, or to sub-let it.



His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


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