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Arundel House

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Critical Essay


Arundel House (c. 1221-1682) was located on the Thames between Milford Lane and Strand Lane. It was to the east of Somerset House, to the south of St. Clement Danes, and adjacent to the Roman Baths at Strand Lane. Walter Thornbury locates it Between Milford Lane and Strand Lane—a narrow and rather winding thoroughfare leading to the Embankment a few yards to the east of Somerset House—the entire space, about three hundred yards in length and the same in breadth (Thornbury 63-84). The plot of land was 40 ½ ells in width,1 21 ¾ ells at one end, and at the other, sloping towards the Thames, 25 ¼ ells (A Descriptive Catalogue 194, A. 1665), making the property footprint approximately 13,000 square feet. James Howell describes its location thus in 1657:
Then was the Bishop of Baths Inne, or City-House, builded by the Lord Thomas Seamer, Admiral of England: which House, came afterwards to be possessed by the Earl of Arundel, & so it beares the name of Arundel-house: neer there adjoyning, there was once a Parish-Church, called the Nativity of our Lady, or the Innocents of the Strand, with a fair Cœmitery, or Church-yard, wherein there was a Brother-hood kept, called Saint Vrsula of the Strand.2
(Howell 349)
Plan of Arundel and Essex Houses (From an original Etching by Hollar, published in Ogilby and Morgan’s Twenty-Sheet Plan of London). Courtesy of BHO.
Plan of Arundel and Essex Houses (From an original Etching by Hollar, published in Ogilby and Morgan’s Twenty-Sheet Plan of London). Courtesy of BHO.
A number of early modern maps depict the location of Arundel House. These maps show the physical changes made to the house over the years and offer insight into its cultural significance, as it becomes more prominently featured over time. The Wyngaerde map (Part 1 and Part 2), surveyed between 1543 and 1550, features the architecture of the Strand. G.E. Mitton identifies Durham House, Savoy Palace, and Somerset House (Mitton 6) on this map, but Arundel House is not specifically locatable. During the time the Wyngaerade map was made, Thomas Seymour was just beginning to remodel the structures. Arundel House is not labeled in this image because it had not yet become a London landmark.
As the house gained notoriety, cartographers began representing it more carefully. Braun, Hogenberg, and Hoefnagel’s map Londinium Feracissimi Angliae Regni Metropolis, begun in 1560 and completed in the 1570s, depicts Arundel House, labeling it Arundell P. This map outlines the sections of the gardens.
The Civitas Londinum or Agas map, featured here on MoEML, shows the additional wings of Arundel House very rudely (Kingsford 249n2).
The 1616 Visscher Panorama of London depicts Arundel House, though the gallery wing is a bit truncated.
Hollar’s c. 1660 Birds-Eye Plan of the West Central District of London labels the house and highlights its well-structured gardens.
Ogilby and Morgan’s 1677 map shows Arundel House in great detail. The house is carefully labeled. Mitton writes, to the south are the great houses of Essex and Arundel, with their gardens; their names are preserved in the streets that flow over their sites (Mitton 19). The accuracy with which cartographers represented Arundel House improves in proportion to its notoriety in London.
Morgan’s 1682/3 Plan of the District map reveals the demolition of Arundel House, citing the location as ground for Arundel house. Morden and Lea’s 1690 Survey of London cites only the Arundell Stairs.

Name and Etymology

Arundel House (1549-c. 1680-1682), spelled variously as Arundel, Arundell, Arondel, and Arondell, was previously known as Bath Place or Bath Inn (1232-1539), Hampton Place (1539-1545), and Seymour Place (1545-1549).3 John Stow retells this etymological history in his Survey of London: Then was the Bishop of Bathes Inne, lately new builded, for a great parte thereof by the Lorde Thomas Seamer Admirall, which came sithence to be possessed by the Earle of Arondell, and thereof called Arundell house (Stow 365). Philemon Holland’s 1610 English translation and emendation of William Camden’s 1607 Latin Britannia notes its tenure as Hampton Place: Arondel house before called Hampton place (Camden 428). A 1545 Grant shows its etymological change from Bath Place to Hampton Place to Seymour Place: Sir Thomas Seymour, the Kings servant. Grant, in fee, for 700l., of the chief mansion and chief messuage called Hampton Place alias Bathe Place in the parish of St. Clement without the bars of the New Temple, London (Grants in November, 1545 910.77). After 1549, it kept the name Arundel House until it was demolished between 1680 and 1682.
Today, Arundel Street remains in London as a reminder of the house’s former location. A new Arundel House, constructed in the Tudor Revival style in the nineteenth century, currently stands on the corner of Arundel Street and has housed the International Institute for Strategic Studies since 1997. This building is unrelated to the original medieval and early modern estate.


In the Medieval period, Bath Inn (later Arundel House) was the largest of the episcopal properties on the Strand, first granted to Eustace de Fauconberg who became bishop of London in 1221. The bishops of Bath and Wells subsequently inherited the property on 23 September 1232, Giving to the churches of Wells and Bath, and succeeding bishops, a place formerly belonging to Eustace, bishop of London, in the suburbs of London in the street of St. Clement without the Bar, with all the houses and buildings there (Calendar of the Charter Rolls 168-169). It remained an episcopal property for over three hundred years.
Henry VIII rescinded Bath Inn’s episcopal succession after his divorce trial prompted the split with Rome. In 1539, the crown gave Bath Inn to William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton (Parliament 868.13). At this point, it took on the name Hampton Place.
Thomas Seymour inherited the property in 1545 and significantly remodeled the house. Historian Charles Lethbridge Kingsford summarizes the alterations, which blended old and new: what he did was probably to erect the extensive blocks stretching from the southwest corner of the old house and down to the river, whilst preserving the ancient courtyard and hall (Kingsford 249).
When Thomas Seymour was executed for treason, Henry Fitzalan, 12th/19th Earl of Arundel, purchased the newly remodeled house and named it Arundel House. John Strype relates this change: Then was the Bishop of Baths Inn, (called also Hampton Place) lately new builded (for a great Part thereof) by the Lord Thomas Seimour, Admiral, being parcel of his Possessions. This House of the Bishop of Bath and Wells was assured to the said Admiral Seimour in King Edward the Sixth’s Reign; and is now quite severed from that Bishoprick without Recompence. Which House came sithence to be possessed by the Earl of Arundel, and thereof called Arundel House (Strype 4.7.105).
Philip Howard, 13th/20th Earl of Arundel, was convicted of treason in 1585. His wife, Anne, was relegated to tenancy with limited movement throughout the estate.4 In 1589, an extensive survey was performed, revealing a property footprint of over 150,000 square feet. The survey highlighted the structures in need of repair, including a storehouse, lodging, barn and stables, bakehouse and coalhouse, bowling alley, kitchen court, and vaulted cellar (Hammerson 212).5 These structures were likely part of the older Bath Inn. The 1589 survey mentions only briefly the newer sections of the house added by Seymour.
When Philip Howard died in the Tower of London in 1595, the Crown took possession of the house. Philip’s son, Thomas Howard, 14th/21st Earl of Arundel, used his wife, Lady Alethea Talbot’s, money to purchase the house in 1607 (Calendar of State Papers, James I 390). By buying back the house, Thomas Howard hoped to recoup his family’s damaged reputation. During Thomas Howard’s ownership, the house achieved notoriety in respect to design and decoration, welcoming artists such as Wenceslas Hollar and Inigo Jones. Thomas Howard died in 1646 while in Italy and the house passed to the care of Parliament. During the English Civil War, Arundel House was used as a garrison and consequently fell into disrepair.
After the Restoration, the house was restored to Thomas Howard’s grandson, Henry Howard 6th Duke of Norfolk. Henry Howard hosted The Royal Society at Arundel House following the loss of their building in the great fire of 1666.
Henry Howard gained approval for extensive construction on site, as well for the more beautifying the said buildings by bringing them to a more just symmetry and proportion all along the river, as for enlarging the gardens of the House (Calendar of State Papers, Charles II 226). None of these construction projects materialized, despite completed plans from Christopher Wren. The house was subsequently demolished between 1680 and 1682 and no new structure was erected in its place.
The site was excavated in 1972 by a team of archaeologists.


Political Significance

A number of significant political events are directly connected to Arundel House, including Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon; Princess Elizabeth’s upbringing; and Catholic plots against the monarchy.
Cardinal Wolsey served as bishop of Bath and Wells and resided at Arundel House, then known as Bath Inn. He hosted the King and Queen of Denmark in 1523: The King and Queen of Denmark have arrived in England; they have been lodged and feasted at Greenwich, and are now at Bath Place at the King’s costs (Wolsey to Sampson and Jerningham 3153). Cardinal Campeggio also stayed here throughout Katherine of Aragon’s divorce trial, writing letters from Bath House (Campeggio 5820).
In the 1540s, Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth stayed at Arundel House, then known as Seymour Place. Seymour Place provided the site of her alleged affair with Thomas Seymour. Elizabeth’s governess, Mrs. Ashley, reported these interactions at Seymour Place: At Seymour Place, when the queen slept there, he did use awhile to come up every morning in his nightgown and slippers; when he found my lady Elizabeth up, and at her book, then he would look in at the gallery-door, and bid her good morrow, and so go on his way (Memoirs of the Queens 400). Seymour’s flirtations with Princess Elizabeth, whether or not there was ever an actual affair, created suspicions that he was plotting to marry her — suspicions that contributed to his downfall; Seymour was eventually executed for treason (Bernard).
Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London.
Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London.
In the 1570s, while under the ownership of Henry Fitzalan, Arundel House was implicated in the Ridolfi plot, in which Catholic nobles conspired to take the Tower of London, securing its treasure and replacing Queen Elizabeth with Mary, Queen of Scots.6 Henry Fitzalan’s son-in-law, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, was executed for hosting this conspiracy in the low Galery at Arondell-Howse (Cecil 23).
The House’s association with secret Catholic affairs continued while it was under the ownership of Philip Howard, who inherited the property from his grandfather Henry Fitzalan. Although Philip was sent to the Tower in 1585, a secret Jesuit press very likely operated out of Arundel House throughout the 1580s. While Philip was imprisoned, his wife, Anne, Countess of Arundel harbored the Jesuit Robert Southwell (later made a Catholic Saint) at her properties. Historian Anne Sweeney offers a concise overview of this secret press:
It was in part under Philip’s aegis that Southwell’s works were at first printed, under the noses of the State authorities, any emergent notion of ideological censorship seemingly giving way to feudal precedence even in the 1580s. Whatever the reason for its continued existence, some sort of printing facility certainly existed, and Weston, Southwell, and the other Jesuits had access to it. There is a mention of a secret press operating from one of the Arundel houses in the 1588Marprelate’ pamphlet.
(Sweeney 113)
John Charlewood, a well-known publisher enjoying the monopoly of printing play-bills, who styled himself, at least until 1585: Printer to the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Arundel (Devlin 143), was the publisher responsible for this secret press. Southwell’s An Epistle of Comfort, a series of letters originally written to offer religious encouragement to Philip in the Tower of London, was printed on this secret press, despite the fact that the text claims to have been printed in Paris (Devlin 143).
Though the Earl and Countess of Arundel’s association with this press is certain, scholars do not agree where the press was located. Most contend that the press was actually in Arundel House. This is supported by an informant who claimed, I do now remember myself of another printer that had press and letter in a place called the Charterhouse in London (in Anno 1587, near about the time of the Scottish Queenes death) intelligence was given unto your good grace of the same by some of the Stationers in London (qtd. in Ames 1466). Devlin establishes that the Charterhouse referenced here is Howard House, also known as Arundel House (Devlin 143). However, Nancy Pollard Brown argues that the press was located at the family’s other property in the Spitalfields (Brown 123). In 1588, John Gerard made reference to this secret press, but placed it at Anne’s property at Acton, not Arundel House itself: there too that Father Southwell had his printing press, where his own admirable books were produced (qtd. in Devlin 144). Devlin argues that the press must have been moved from one property to another in order to escape censorship. Regardless of its exact location, this secret press was part of a larger movement of clandestine Catholic printing in England (Miola 412).
The site again became embroiled in a conspiracy during the Popish Plot in 1678 when witnesses swore that Titus Oates had been living in one corner of Old Arundel House (A Complete Collection of State Trials 402).7

Artistic Significance

In the seventeenth century, Arundel House became a significant artistic centre in London. According to Haynes, at its greatest extent the sculpture collection is said to have comprised no less than thirty-seven statues, one hundred and twenty-eight busts and two hundred and fifty inscriptions, as well as a large number of sarcophagi, altars and fragments (Haynes 10). The inscriptions were ancient Greek and Latin texts carved into pieces of stone and marble. In a portrait of Thomas Howard by Mytens, one can see the Arundel Eros and the Arundel Homerus now at the Ashmolean.8 Howard’s marbles are depicted in another portrait by an anonymous painter, dated to approximately 1627.9 In this portrait, two rows of life-sized marbles can be seen through the window over Howard’s shoulder, lining the neatly landscaped gardens and showing how the collection had spilled out of doors.
Inigo Jones designed a number of updates for Arundel House.10 Jones’s design for an Italian style gate, later copied at Arundel House by John Smythson, was featured in the garden. Jones also traveled to Europe with Howard to help build the burgeoning art collection, even acting as his art broker (Peacock). These trips influenced seventeenth-century London architecture, like Jones’ Banqueting House at Whitehall, the portico at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Covent Garden Square.
Arundel House inspired many of Jones’s masque designs. A design for Albion’s Triumph (1631) features a colonnade of marble statues inspired by the collection at Arundel House. Some of Howard’s specific statues are even reproduced in Jones’s designs, including his Marius or Cicero acquired with Jones in 1613 (Howarth 108-109), featured in Jones’s design, A Roman Atrium.
Arundel House, from the North by Wenceslas Hollar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Arundel House, from the North by Wenceslas Hollar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Arundel House, from the South by Wenceslas Hollar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Arundel House, from the South by Wenceslas Hollar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Howard brought Bohemian artist Wenceslaus Hollar into his service in 1636.11 Hollar’s pair of 1646 images Courtyard of Arundel House Facing North and Courtyard of Arundel House Facing South show an older Tudor timber structure. This is not what we would expect from portraits of Thomas and Alethea Howard by Daniel Mytens, which depict the house in Palladian style. Haynes claims that by the early 1620s, Arundel House was rapidly assuming the appearance of an Italian palace (Haynes 4). However, Howarth sees Mytens’s artistic representations as entirely fictitious imaginary views (Howarth and Dethloff). Alice Friedman calls this disconnect between Hollar’s depictions and the impression we get from paintings and visitors’ records startling, noting, we expect arches and pediments and columns, not rambling half-timber structures (Friedman 158). These contradictory reports reveal the way material realities and conceptual impressions (the Italian ideal vs. the pastoral ideal) did not always align.

Significant Visitors

Arundel House was a cultural centre for elite guests, including British royalty and foreign ambassadors. King Charles I visited the art collections in December of 1628 and again in 1634 (Hervey 264, 399). Sir Francis Bacon visited in 1626 and expressed shock at the nude statues (Haynes 7). In 1629, the Dutch delegate Abram Booth visited a number of homes in London, keeping a diary with his travels and impressions, and was especially enamored with the gardens and marbles at Arundel House (Louw 507).
Tours of Arundel House began during Thomas Howard’s residency and remained popular after he died. For instance, Samuel Pepys visited Arundel House on 30 May 1661, touring the gardens, gallery, and wine cellar:
Back to the Wardrobe with my Lord, and then with Mr. Moore to the Temple, and thence to Greatorex, who took me to Arundell-House, and there showed me some fine flowers in his garden, and all the fine statues in the gallery, which I formerly had seen, and is a brave sight, and thence to a blind dark cellar, where we had two bottles of good ale, and so after giving him direction for my silver side-table, I took boat at Arundell stairs, and put in at Milford.
(Pepys 30 May 1661)
Pepys also mentions the Arundel Stairs that led directly to the Thames, making the house easily accessible from the main waterway.
Though undeniably an elite estate, so much of the statuary was placed outside on the bank of the Thames that the general public knew the collection. The bankside display may seem to violate the division between public and private spaces, but was not unusual for the period. Other elite private residences, like Whitehall Palace, also served as cultural centres for the public. In 1651, author Christopher Arnold commented on the way Arundel House blurred these boundaries when he wrote of certain gardens on the Thames, where there are rare Greek and Roman inscriptions, stones, marbles; the reading of which is actually like viewing Greece and Italy at once within the bounds of Great Britain (qtd. in Chambers 138n.16).12 Though many of the marbles featured carved Latin and Greek inscriptions that could be literally read, the concept of literacy can be applied more broadly to the way Arundel House became a living text for the city of London, connecting London to classical and continental history and culture.

Intellectual Significance

After the Restoration, Henry Howard helped Arundel House become a centre for intellectual life in London. After the Great Fire of 1666, the Royal Society met at Arundel House:
Since by the firing of London, the first place of their meeting has been restor’d to its original use, and made an Exchange, he has afforded them a retreat in his own house, where they assemble at this present: By which favour he has added a new honour to the antient Nobility of his Race: one of his Ancestors had before adorn’d that place with many of the best Monuments of Antiquity: And now by entertaining these new discoveries under his Roof, his Family deserves the double praise of having cherish’d both the old, and new Learning; so that now methinks in Arundel house, there is a perfect representation, what the Real Philosophy ought to be: As there we behold new Inventions to flourish amongst the Marbles, and Images of the Dead: so the present Arts, that are now rising, should not aim at the destruction of those that are past, but be content to thrive in their company.
(Sprat 253)
Samuel Pepys also mentions the Royal Society’s new home: Mr. Henry Howard, of Norfolke, hath given our Royal Society all his grandfather’s library: which noble gift they value at 1000l.; and gives them accommodation to meet in at his house, Arundell House, they being now disturbed at Gresham College (Pepys 7 January 1666/7). Pepys attended a number of Royal Society experiments at Arundel House. He saw an experiment with gunpowder, microscopes, and an ear trumpet that allowed him to plainly hear the dashing of the oares of the boats in the Thames to Arundell gallery window, and an experiment on a dog’s spine (Pepys 9 January 1666/7, 30 May 1667, 2 April 1668, 16 July 1668).
Enduring significance
Even after Arundel House was demolished in 1680 to 1682, it was remembered in descriptions of London. John Strype recorded a brief history of Arundel House in his 1720 update to Stow’s A Survey of London, terminating in the house’s demolition:
Formerly the Bishop of Bath’s Inn: Which in Process of Time came to the Family of the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, the late Duke dwelling there. It then was a very large and old built House; with a spacious Yard for Stablings, towards the Strand, and with a Gate to enclose it, where there was the Porters Lodge; and as large a Garden towards the Thames. This said House and Grounds was some Years since converted into Streets and Buildings.
(Strype 4.7.117)
In his 1716 poem Trivia, or, The Art of Walking the Streets of London, John Gay remembers the legacy of Arundel House as he walks through London:
Behold that narrow street which steep descends,
Whose building to the slimy shore extends,
Here Arundel’s fam’d structure rear’d its frame,
The street alone retains an empty name.
(Gay 482-485)
Even though the house had been demolished, it was still able to influence London culture and the experience of moving through and remembering the city.
A 1972 archaeological excavation of the site found very extensive destruction (Hammerson 214) where Arundel House once stood. The majority of remains discovered in the 1970s dated from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The team found no remains from the medieval Bath Inn house (Hammerson 214). The team was able to map the foundations of the early modern house and excavated the original cellar in which Pepys drank ale in 1661 (Hammerson 218). They discovered a collection of stoneware, pottery, dishes, tinware, cooking vessels, and tiles dating from the early modern period. The team also discovered seven classical marbles from Thomas Howard’s collection that had been lost (Hammerson 247). The architectural skeleton of early modern London continues to be valuable to archaeologists and historians today.


  1. An ell is a unit of measurement, originally a cubit (although later it referred to longer units), that is, the approximate length of a man’s forearm from his elbow, about 18 inches. (SM)
  2. This church was torn down in 1549 in order to build Somerset House. (SM)
  3. This Bath Place or Bath Inn is different from another location called Bath Inn, also known as Brooke House, Holborn, which was named for William Bourchier, Earl of Bath. (SM)
  4. MS Lansdowne 45. f. 197. No. 82. After her husband’s death, Countess Anne Howard was contractually relegated to a set of prescribed rooms, including specific passages and stairways leading to those rooms. Many of these allowable rooms were part of the old house, referred to as the great old decayed house called the storehouse. She was given a key in her own custody in order to use the gardens. (EKA)
  5. The survey is reprinted in its entirety in Kingsford. The original survey can be found in manuscripts, Lansdowne MS 45 nos 82, 83 and 85. (EKA)
  6. For more on the way various private spaces and homes were used in the Ridolfi plot, see Orlin 247-61. (EKA)
  7. The Popish Plot conspiracy was a completely fabricated plot alledging that the Jesuits were planning to assassinate Charles II. The conspiracy was invented by Titus Oates, but was widely believed and created widespread anti-Catholic mania, leading tot he executions of thirty-five people. Oates was eventually discredited and convicted of perjury (BAE). (SM)
  8. Before Howard acquired the Homerus piece, Rubens used it as a study for Le Gouvernement de la Reine (1622-1625). For more on this piece, see Vickers 66-67. (EKA)
  9. Anonymous. Portrait of the Earl of Arundel. c. 1627. Private Collection, Welbeck Estate. (EKA)
  10. Kingsford argues that renovations must have accompanied the growing collection: one may suppose that some changes were necessary to provide an adequate setting for these splendid collections, and Arundel’s letters in 1618-1619 contain some mention of works in progress (Kingsford 254). (EKA)
  11. For more on Hollar’s work in England, see Howarth. (EKA)
  12. Arnold is further discussed in Hunt. Hunt calls these gardens a kind of memory theatre (120). (EKA)


Last modification: 2017-03-15 17:14:07 -0400 (Wed, 15 Mar 2017) (mholmes)
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MLA citation:

Atwood, Emma. “Arundel House.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 16 January 2018. <>.

Chicago citation:

Atwood, Emma. n.d. “Arundel House.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed January 16, 2018.

APA citation:

Atwood E. (n.d.). Arundel House. In J. Jenstad (Ed.), The Map of Early Modern London. Retrieved January 16, 2018, from

TEI citation:

<bibl> <author><persName><surname>Atwood</surname>, <forename>Emma</forename></persName></author> (<date>n.d.</date>). <title level="a">Arundel House</title>. In <editor><persName><forename>J.</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></persName></editor> (Ed.), <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>. Retrieved <date when="2018-01-16">January 16, 2018</date>, from <ref target=""></ref> </bibl>