Somerset House (labelled as
Somerſet Palaceon the Agas map) was a significant site for royalty in early modern London. Erected in 1550 on The Strand between Ivy Bridge Lane and Strand Lane, it was built for Lord Protector Somerset and was was England’s first Renaissance palace.
After the execution of Somerset in 1552, the house was given to Elizabeth I before her ascension, and was used by both herself and foreign ambassadors. In 1603 Somerset House belonged to Anne of Denmark and during this time the house served as the setting for courtly masques put on by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. Not only a place for celebration, Somerset House hosted the funeral for Oliver Cromwell in 1658 within its chapel. (Weinreb and Hibbert 849).
Two name changes have occured during the life of Somerset House. In 1606 the house was renamed to Denmark House in honour of Anne of Denmark’s brother, Christian IV of Denmark. After parliament claimed ownership of the house in 1645, the original name of the house was reinstated and has been maintained into present day (849). It is now a centre for arts and culture in London; for more information, see the Somerset House website.
Last modification: 2016-07-12 14:50:22 -0700 (Tue, 12 Jul 2016) (mholmes)