This section is from the "An Architectural And Historical Account Of Crosby Place, London" book, by Edward L. Blackburn. Also see Amazon: An Architectural And Historical Account Of Crosby Place, London.
Dispensing with this qnestion, it may be sufficient to say, that so late as 1756 a stair-case existed somewhere in this situation, for in that year Sam-brooke Freeman, Esq. let to Joseph South and others, for 17 years, the "Hall, Throne-room," and "free egress up and down the back stairs," leading out of St. Helen's into the "said Hall, Throne-room, and Galleries thereto belonging." Whether this was the original, or only a more modern staircase, does not appear.
The interior of the Throne-room was, with a few exceptions, the same as that below. An oriel or bay, and a fire-place, stood immediately over those mentioned as existing in the room beneath. The old fire-place has been removed, but its situation is indicated by a modern one of extended dimensions. Of the bay-window, the exterior arch and angle-shafts remain, though the opening is filled up with brick-work. The arch mouldings conjoin with those of a square head, similar to that of the Hall, enclosing spandrils, ornamented with an enriched trefoil. On the east of the oriel were three windows (in the lower room there were but two), and on the west, as below, one. They are of the same character, but of less elevation. Indeed the room itself might be thought to want height at the point from which the roof rises. Immediately over the windows a moulded cornice ran, apparently, round the room, mitring with which, at certain distances, were corbels, from which the main ribs of the ceiling sprang. There are seven of these corbels in the present length of the room, the ceiling being separated into six bays, the whole of them again sub-divided by horizontal ribs intersecting the principal ones into sixteen panels, formerly enriched with trefoiled tracery.
In the construction of this roof, as well as that of the Hall before noticed, we perceive a complete departure from the usual methods and practice of the time. In most buildings, or rooms of any size, where stone was rejected as a covering, we find the timber roof relieved only by the introduction of arches and tracery, and left open to the rafters. This kind of roof obtained, until a very late period, in the halls and banqtletting-rooms of the nobility and gentry of England. The halls of Dartington, Haddon, Eltham, Beddington, and Croydon, are all specimens of its adoption. In most apartments of moderate size, or those in more general use, we find the horizontal panelled ceiling. This was particularly the case in the later periods, although instances of the occurrence of a flat ceiling are to be met with very early. The old Manor House of Winwal, in Norfolk, has a room with a flat ceiling and a cornice of zigzag moulding round it, bearing every mark of originality. The Painted Chamber in the Palace of Henry III., at Westminster, had a flat ceiling, divided by ribs into panels, and ornamented with painting and gilding. Returning to more cotemporary periods, it may be observed, that at the Parsonage House of Congresbury, Somersetshire, and in the Withdrawing-room of Hampton Court this feature is to be met with. The Withdrawing-room of Crosby Place had also a flat panelled ceiling; and the departure from this form, in the upper room, may owe its origin to the necessity for giving height to it internally, the exterior elevation ranging with that of the hall which it adjoined.
The arch of the ceiling is inclined to an ellipse, the rite being about 6 feet 4 inches, and the height, from the original floor of the room to the top of the cornice from which the curve commenced, about 12 feet.. The timber couples of the roof correspond in number to the main springers; and the method adopted in the framing of them is curious. In viewing the present state of this once superb room, we cannot help deprecating the feeling, or rather the want of it, that has sanctioned the almost unnecessary destruction of so many valuable portions of it In the wall which separates it from the hall, a large opening has been made, and two corresponding windows to those on the east side of the latter destroyed, with all trace of the former finish of the room in that direction. By the way, there does not seem to have ever been any access to the space behind the high table of the Hall from this room, though it is likely that the upper part of it was appropriated to some use connected with it. The whole of the ancient character is obliterated, in the interior, here; in fact, as previously observed, all extending from the north-east to the south-west of the edifice is, at least above the ground, entirely modern. The back gate of the mansion was the last portion in this situation that remained. When Wilkinson published his book it would appear to have been standing. He notices it as an elliptical brick arch, occupying the position of the present opening, and says that it "had stone piers more ancient attached".
This part of the building seems to have been subjected to vicissitudes which the other portions escaped. The first encroachment upon its early disposition bears date about the time of Sir John Spenser, and much of it in this direction was destroyed by fire during the residence of Sir John Langham, or his son, Sir Stephen. Previous, however, to more particularly noticing this, it may not be uninteresting, haying endeavoured, as far as practicable, to establish its ancient character and arrangement, to trace the building through the intervening periods, from the time of Sir John Crosby to when the first alteration, as above, is stated to have taken place.
From the completion of Crosby Place, in 1472, until the death of Sir John, which happened in 1475, it may be reasonably inferred it was occupied by him and his family, and for some short time after his decease, by his widow, Ann, to whom it was bequeathed in his will. Subsequently, viz. about 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, after-wards Richard III., is noticed in possession, probably as a tenant under Crosby's Executors, who (gee Memoir in Appendix) retained interest in it until A.D. 1501. On the 4th of May, 1483, Richard is described as arriving in London, from York,* with a great retinue., soon after which, Fabian * says, the "sayd Duke caused the Kynge to be removed into the Tower, and hys brother with hym; but the Quene,*¡ for all fayre promyses to her mayde, kept her and her doughters wythin the foreaayd Seyntuary" (the sanctuary at Westminster), and the Duke lodged hymself in Crosbye's Place, in Bishoppesgate Street" where it is recorded the Mayor § and citizens waited upon him with an offer of the Crown. Holinshed also, referring to the result of Richard's schemes and affectation of popularity, states, that "by little and little all folke withdrew from the Tower, and drew unto Crosbie's, in Bishoppesgate Street, where the Protector kept his household; so that the Protector had the Court, and the King was, in a manner, left desolate." How long Richard retained possession is not to be exactly defined. Harrison says, that the Crown was offered to him on the 25th of June, 1483-that on the 27th he was proclaimed, and the next day removed to Westminster.
* Hume's History of England.
* Fabian's Chronicle.
*¡ Elizabeth, Widow of Edward IV., his Mother.