History of St James' Park

1665 Great Plague of London

1666 Four Days' Battle

St James' Park is in St James'.

Diary of Samuel Pepys 03 February 1660. 03 Feb 1660. Friday. Drank my morning draft at Harper's, and was told there that the soldiers were all quiet upon promise of pay. Thence to St James' Park, and walked there to my place for my flageolet and then played a little, it being a most pleasant morning and sunshine. Back to Whitehall, where in the guard-chamber I saw about thirty or forty 'prentices of the City, who were taken at twelve o'clock last night and brought prisoners hither. Thence to my office, where I paid a little more money to some of the soldiers under Lieut.-Col. Miller (who held out the Tower against the Parliament after it was taken away from Fitch by the Committee of Safety, and yet he continued in his office). About noon Mrs. Turner (37) came to speak with me, and Joyce, and I took them and shewed them the manner of the Houses sitting, the doorkeeper very civilly opening the door for us. Thence with my cozen Roger Pepys (42), it being term time, we took him out of the Hall to Priors, the Rhenish wine-house, and there had a pint or two of wine and a dish of anchovies, and bespoke three or four dozen bottles of wine for him against his wedding. After this done he went away, and left me order to call and pay for all that Mrs. Turner (37) would have. So we called for nothing more there, but went and bespoke a shoulder of mutton at Wilkinson's to be roasted as well as it could be done, and sent a bottle of wine home to my house. In the meantime she and I and Joyce went walking all over White Hall, whither General Monk (51) was newly come, and we saw all his forces march by in very good plight and stout officers. Thence to my house where we dined, but with a great deal of patience, for the Mutton came in raw, and so we were fain to stay the stewing of it. In the meantime we sat studying a Posy for a ring for her which she is to have at Roger Pepys's (42) his wedding. After dinner I left them and went to hear news, but only found that the Parliament House was most of them with Monk (51) at White Hall, and that in his passing through the town he had many calls to him for a free Parliament, but little other welcome. I saw in the Palace Yard how unwilling some of the old soldiers were yet to go out of town without their money, and swore if they had it not in three days, as they were promised, they would do them more mischief in the country than if they had staid here; and that is very likely, the country being all discontented. The town and guards are already full of Monk's (51) soldiers. I returned, and it growing dark I and they went to take a turn in the park, where Theoph (8) (who was sent for to us to dinner) outran my wife and another poor woman, that laid a pot of ale with me that she would outrun her. After that I set them as far as Charing Cross, and there left them and my wife, and I went to see Mrs. Ann, who began very high about a flock bed I sent her, but I took her down. Here I played at cards till 9 o'clock. So home and to bed.

Before 03 Jan 1670  Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of George Monck 1st Duke Albemarle 1608-1670. Before 03 Jan 1670 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of George Monck 1st Duke Albemarle 1608-1670 in his Garter Robes.

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John Evelyn's Diary 28 November 1661. 28 Nov 1661. I dined at Chiffinch's house-warming, in St James' Park; he was his Majesty's (31) closet-keeper, and had his new house full of good pictures, etc. There dined with us Russell, Popish Bishop of Cape Verd, who was sent out to negotiate his Majesty's (31) match with the Infanta of Portugal (23), after the Ambassador was returned.

Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646. Portrait of the future King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Before 1691. John Riley Painter 1646-1691. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Around 1665 John Greenhill Painter 1644-1676. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his Garter Robes. Around 1661 John Michael Wright 1617-1694. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his coronation robes. Before 11 Jul 1671 Adriaen Hanneman Painter 1603-1671. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. 1675. Hendrick Danckerts Painter 1625-1680. Portrait of Royal Gardener John Rose presenting a pineappel to King Charles II Before 1687 Pieter Borsseler Painter 1634-1687. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705. Around 1663 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Eleanor Needham Baroness Byron 1627-1664 depicted as Saint Catherine of Alexandria in a guise probably intended to flatter Charles II's Queen, Catherine of Braganza. Accordingly she carries the martyr's palm branch and leans upon a wheel. The sitter looks to two putti in the upper left, one of whom holds a wreath of bay leaves above her head. She is wearing a copper-red dress with a richly decorated blue mantle about her arms. Around 1665 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705. Around 1670 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705. Before 1696 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705. Before 1696 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705.

Diary of Samuel Pepys 06 April 1662. 06 Apr 1662. Thence to walk in the Park, where the King (31) and Duke (28) did walk round the Park.

Before 1694 John Michael Wright 1617-1694. Portrait of King James II when Duke of York. Around 1666 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of King James II and Anne Hyde Queen Consort England 1637-1671. See Diary of Samuel Pepys 24 March 1666. Before 04 Jan 1674 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of King James II wearing his Garter Robes. Around 1672 Henri Gascar Painter 1635-1701. Portrait of King James II.

John Evelyn's Diary 01 December 1662. 01 Dec 1662. Having seen the strange and wonderful dexterity of the sliders on the new canal in St James' Park, performed before their Majesties [Note. King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (32) and Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705 (24)] by divers gentlemen and others with skates, after the manner of the Hollanders, with what swiftness they pass, how suddenly they stop in full career upon the ice; I went home by water, but not without exceeding difficulty, the Thames being frozen, great flakes of ice encompassing our boat.

John Evelyn's Diary 09 February 1665. 09 Feb 1665. Dined at my Lord Treasurer's, the Earl of Southampton (57), in Bloomsbury, where he was building a noble square or piazza, a little town; his own house stands too low, some noble rooms, a pretty cedar chapel, a naked garden to the north, but good air. I had much discourse with his Lordship (57), whom I found to be a person of extraordinary parts, but a valetudinarian.—I went to St James' Park, where I saw various animals, and examined the throat of the Onocrotylus, or pelican, a fowl between a stork and a swan; a melancholy water-fowl, brought from Astrakhan by the Russian Ambassador; it was diverting to see how he would toss up and turn a flat fish, plaice, or flounder, to get it right into his gullet at its lower beak, which, being filmy, stretches to a prodigious wideness when it devours a great fish. Here was also a small water-fowl, not bigger than a moorhen, that went almost quite erect, like the penguin of America; it would eat as much fish as its whole body weighed; I never saw so unsatiable a devourer, yet the body did not appear to swell the bigger. The solan geese here are also great devourers, and are said soon to exhaust all the fish in a pond. Here was a curious sort of poultry not much exceeding the size of a tame pigeon, with legs so short as their crops seemed to touch the earth; a milk-white raven; a stork, which was a rarity at this season, seeing he was loose, and could fly loftily; two Balearian cranes, one of which having had one of his legs broken and cut off above the knee, had a wooden or boxen leg and thigh, with a joint so accurately made that the creature could walk and use it as well as if it had been natural; it was made by a soldier. The park was at this time stored with numerous flocks of several sorts of ordinary and extraordinary wild fowl, breeding about the Decoy, which for being near so great a city, and among such a concourse of soldiers and people, is a singular and diverting thing. There were also deer of several countries, white; spotted like leopards; antelopes, an elk, red deer, roebucks, stags, Guinea goats, Arabian sheep, etc. There were withy-pots, or nests, for the wild fowl to lay their eggs in, a little above the surface of the water.

Around 1660 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Thomas Wriothesley 4th Earl of Southampton 1607-1667 holding his Lord Treasurer Staff of Office.

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Four Days' Battle

John Evelyn's Diary 01 June 1666. 01 Jun 1666. Being in my garden at 6 o'clock in the evening, and hearing the great guns go thick off, I took horse and rode that night to Rochester; thence next day toward the Downs and seacoast, but meeting the Lieutenant of the Hampshire frigate, who told me what passed, or rather what had not passed, I returned to London, there being no noise, or appearance at Deal, or on that coast of any engagement. Recounting this to his Majesty (36), whom I found at St James' Park, impatiently expecting, and knowing that Prince Rupert (46) was loose about three at St. Helen's Point at N. of the Isle of Wight, it greatly rejoiced him; but he was astonished when I assured him they heard nothing of the guns in the Downs, nor did the Lieutenant who landed there by five that morning.

Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646. Portrait of the Prince Rupert, Colonel John Russell 1620-1687 and Colonel William Murray. Before 1656 Gerrit van Honthorst Painter 1592-1656. Portrait of Prince Rupert. Around 1672 John Michael Wright 1617-1694. Portrait of Prince Rupert. Around 1680 Simon Pietersz Verelst 1644-1710. Portrait of Prince Rupert.

John Evelyn's Diary 01 March 1671. 01 Mar 1671. I caused Mr. Gibbon (22) to bring to Whitehall his excellent piece of carving, where being come, I advertised his Majesty (40), who asked me where it was; I told him in Sir Richard Browne's (66) (my father-in-law) chamber, and that if it pleased his Majesty (40) to appoint whither it should be brought, being large and though of wood, heavy, I would take care for it. "No", says the King (40), "show me the way, I'll go to Sir Richard's (66) chamber", which he immediately did, walking along the entries after me; as far as the ewry, till he came up into the room, where I also lay. No sooner was he entered and cast his eyes on the work, but he was astonished at the curiosity of it; and having considered it a long time, and discoursed with Mr. Gibbon (22), whom I brought to kiss his hand, he commanded it should be immediately carried to the Queen's (32) side to show her. It was carried up into her bedchamber, where she and the King (40) looked on and admired it again; the King (40), being called away, left us with the Queen (32), believing she would have bought it, it being a crucifix; but, when his Majesty (40) was gone, a French peddling woman, one Madame de Boord, who used to bring petticoats and fans, and baubles, out of France to the ladies, began to find fault with several things in the work, which she understood no more than an ass, or a monkey, so as in a kind of indignation, I caused the person who brought it to carry it back to the chamber, finding the Queen (32) so much governed by an ignorant Frenchwoman, and this incomparable artist had his labor only for his pains, which not a little displeased me; and he was fain to send it down to his cottage again; he not long after sold it for £80, though well worth £100, without the frame, to Sir George Viner (32).

His Majesty's (40) Surveyor, Mr. Wren (47), faithfully promised me to employ him (22). I having also bespoke his Majesty (40) for his work at Windsor Castle, which my friend, Mr. May (49), the architect there, was going to alter, and repair universally; for, on the next day, I had a fair opportunity of talking to his Majesty (40) about it, in the lobby next the Queen's (32) side, where I presented him with some sheets of my history. I thence walked with him through St James' Park to the garden, where I both saw and heard a very familiar discourse between ... and Mrs. Nelly (21), as they called an impudent comedian, she looking out of her garden on a terrace at the top of the wall, and ... [Note. the elipsis here is John Evelyn being coy about the King's (40) conversation with Nell Gwyn.] standing on the green walk under it. I was heartily sorry at this scene. Thence the King (40) walked to the Duchess of Cleveland (30), another lady of pleasure, and curse of our nation.

In 1711 Godfrey Kneller 1646-1723. Portrait of Christopher Wren 1632-1723. Before 08 Oct 1699 Mary Beale aka Cradock Painter 1633-1699 (attributed). Portrait of Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687. Around1680 Simon Pietersz Verelst 1644-1710. Portrait of Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687. Before 14 Nov 1687 Simon Pietersz Verelst 1644-1710. Portrait of Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687. Before 07 Nov 1666. William Faithorne Before 1694 John Michael Wright 1617-1694. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709. Around 1664 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709 and her son Charles Fitzroy 1st Duke Southampton as Madonna and Child. Around 1666 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709. One of the Windsor Beauties. Before 07 Dec 1680 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709. Before 07 Dec 1680 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709. Around 1690 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709. Before 01 Jan 1701 Henri Gascar Painter 1635-1701. Portrait of Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709.

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On 13 Mar 1679 Charlotte Lee Baroness Baltimore 1679-1721 was born to Edward Lee 1st Earl Lichfield 1663-1716 (16) and Charlotte Fitzroy Countess Lichfield 1664-1718 (14) at St James' Park. She a granddaughter of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685.

Before 1718 Godfrey Kneller 1646-1723. Portrait of Charlotte Fitzroy Countess Lichfield 1664-1718.

John Evelyn's Diary 17 December 1684. 17 Dec 1684. Early in the morning I went into St James' Park to see three Turkish or Asian horses, newly brought over, and now first shewed to his Ma* (54). There were foure, but one of them died at sea, being three weekes coming from Hamborow. They were taken from a Bashaw at the siege of Vienna, at the late famous raising that leaguer. I never beheld so delicate a creature as one of them was, of somewhat a bright bay, two white feet, a blaze; such a head, eyes, cares, neck, breast, belly, haunches, legs, pasterns, and feete, in all reguards beautifull and proportion'd to admiration; spirited, proud, nimble, making halt, turning with that swiftnesse, and in so small a compasse, as was admirable. With all this so gentle and tractable as call'd to mind what I remember Busbequius speakes of them, to the reproch of our groomes in Europe, who bring up their horses so churlishly as makes most of them retain their 111 habits. They trotted like does, as if they did not feele the ground. 500 guinnies was demanded for the first; 300 for the second; and 200 for the third, wch was browne. All of them were choicely shap'd, but the two last not altogether so perfect as the first. It was judg'd by the spectators, among whom was the King (54), Prince of Denmark (31), Duke of Yorke (51), and several of the Court, noble persons, skill'd In horses, especialy Mons. Faubert and his sonn, (provost masters of yc Academie, and esteem'd of the best in Europe,) that there were never seene any horses in these parts to be compar'd with them. Add to all this, the furniture, consisting of embroidery on the saddle, houseings, quiver, bow, arrows, scymeter, sword, mace, or battle-axe a la Turcisq; the Bashaw's velvet mantle furr'd with the most perfect Ermine I ever beheld; all which, yron-worke in common furniture, being here of silver, curiously wrought and double gilt, to an incredible value. Such and so extraordinary was the embrodery, that I never saw any thing approching it. The reins and headstall were of crimson silk, cover'd with chaines of silver gilt. There was also a Turkish royal standard of an horse's taile, together with all sorts of other caparisons belonging to a general's horse, by which one may estimate how gallantly and magnificently those infidels appeare in the field, for nothing could be seene more glorious. The gentleman (a German) who rid the horse was in all this garb. They were shod with yron made round and closed at the heele, with a hole in the middle about as wide as a shilling. The hoofes most intire.

Before 28 Oct 1708 John Closterman Painter 1660-1711. Portrait of Prince George of Denmark 1st Duke Cumberland 1653-1708. Around 1705. Michael Dahl Painter 1659-1743. Portrait of Prince George of Denmark 1st Duke Cumberland 1653-1708. Walmer Castle.

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John Evelyn's Diary 15 June 1699. 15 Jun 1699. This week died Conyers Seymour (24), son of Sir Edward Seymour (66), killed in a duel caused by a slight affront in St James' Park, given him by one who was envious of his gallantries; for he was a vain, foppish young man, who made a great éclât about town by his splendid equipage and boundless expense. He was about twenty-three years old; his brother (20), now at Oxford, inherited an estate of £7,000 a year, which had fallen to him not two years before.

Around 1749. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768 (51). View of St James' Park.

Around 1801. Benjamin West 1738-1820 (62). Milkmaids in St James' Park with Westminster Abbey Beyond.

Cock Pit St James' Park, Westminster

John Evelyn's Diary 08 August 1665. 08 Aug 1665. I waited on the Duke of Albemarle (56), who was resolved to stay at the Cock-pit, in St. James's Park. Died this week in London, 4,000. See Great Plague of London.

Before 03 Jan 1670  Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of George Monck 1st Duke Albemarle 1608-1670. Before 03 Jan 1670 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of George Monck 1st Duke Albemarle 1608-1670 in his Garter Robes.

John Evelyn's Diary 25 September 1665. 25 Sep 1665. My Lord Admiral (40) being come from the fleet to Greenwich, I went thence with him to the Cock-pit, to consult with the Duke of Albemarle (56). I was peremptory that, unless we had £10,000 immediately, the prisoners would starve, and it was proposed it should be raised out of the East India prizes now taken by Lord Sandwich (40). They being but two of the commission, and so not empowered to determine, sent an express to his Majesty (35) and Council, to know what they should do. In the meantime, I had five vessels, with competent guards, to keep the prisoners in for the present, to be placed as I should think best. After dinner (which was at the General's) I went over to visit his Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury (67), at Lambeth.

Around 1650 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Edward Montagu 1st Earl Sandwich 1625-1672. Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646. Portrait of the future King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Before 1691. John Riley Painter 1646-1691. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Around 1665 John Greenhill Painter 1644-1676. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his Garter Robes. Around 1661 John Michael Wright 1617-1694. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his coronation robes. Before 11 Jul 1671 Adriaen Hanneman Painter 1603-1671. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. 1675. Hendrick Danckerts Painter 1625-1680. Portrait of Royal Gardener John Rose presenting a pineappel to King Charles II

Decoy in the Park, St James' Park, Westminster

John Evelyn's Diary 09 February 1665. 09 Feb 1665. Dined at my Lord Treasurer's, the Earl of Southampton (57), in Bloomsbury, where he was building a noble square or piazza, a little town; his own house stands too low, some noble rooms, a pretty cedar chapel, a naked garden to the north, but good air. I had much discourse with his Lordship (57), whom I found to be a person of extraordinary parts, but a valetudinarian.—I went to St James' Park, where I saw various animals, and examined the throat of the Onocrotylus, or pelican, a fowl between a stork and a swan; a melancholy water-fowl, brought from Astrakhan by the Russian Ambassador; it was diverting to see how he would toss up and turn a flat fish, plaice, or flounder, to get it right into his gullet at its lower beak, which, being filmy, stretches to a prodigious wideness when it devours a great fish. Here was also a small water-fowl, not bigger than a moorhen, that went almost quite erect, like the penguin of America; it would eat as much fish as its whole body weighed; I never saw so unsatiable a devourer, yet the body did not appear to swell the bigger. The solan geese here are also great devourers, and are said soon to exhaust all the fish in a pond. Here was a curious sort of poultry not much exceeding the size of a tame pigeon, with legs so short as their crops seemed to touch the earth; a milk-white raven; a stork, which was a rarity at this season, seeing he was loose, and could fly loftily; two Balearian cranes, one of which having had one of his legs broken and cut off above the knee, had a wooden or boxen leg and thigh, with a joint so accurately made that the creature could walk and use it as well as if it had been natural; it was made by a soldier. The park was at this time stored with numerous flocks of several sorts of ordinary and extraordinary wild fowl, breeding about the Decoy, which for being near so great a city, and among such a concourse of soldiers and people, is a singular and diverting thing. There were also deer of several countries, white; spotted like leopards; antelopes, an elk, red deer, roebucks, stags, Guinea goats, Arabian sheep, etc. There were withy-pots, or nests, for the wild fowl to lay their eggs in, a little above the surface of the water.

Around 1660 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Thomas Wriothesley 4th Earl of Southampton 1607-1667 holding his Lord Treasurer Staff of Office.

John Evelyn's Diary 29 March 1665. 29 Mar 1665. Went to Goring House, now Mr. Secretary Bennet's (47), ill-built, but the place capable of being made a pretty villa. His Majesty (34) was now finishing the Decoy in the Park.

Around 1676 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Henry Bennet 1st Earl Arlington 1618-1685 wearing his Garter Robes. Before 07 Dec 1680 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Henry Bennet 1st Earl Arlington 1618-1685. Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646. Portrait of the future King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Before 1691. John Riley Painter 1646-1691. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Around 1665 John Greenhill Painter 1644-1676. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his Garter Robes. Around 1661 John Michael Wright 1617-1694. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his coronation robes. Before 11 Jul 1671 Adriaen Hanneman Painter 1603-1671. Portrait of King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. 1675. Hendrick Danckerts Painter 1625-1680. Portrait of Royal Gardener John Rose presenting a pineappel to King Charles II