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.
During Sir John Langham's tenancy, it has been stated, that Crosby Place was used as a prison for the Royalists, This included a period of 34 years, at the end of which time his son, Sir Stephen Langham, appears as residing in it. In 1674, he let to Edward Felling, Clerk, for one year, the tythes of the Rectory of St. Helen's,.at 20 shillings, reserving to himself, his children, or family, etc. free burial-place in any part of the Chancel of St. Helen's Church, and several pews in the Chancel for the use of those who might, during the time of his lease, occupy Crosby House. Edward Pelling was to officiate as Cure, and perform the ministerial offices, and repair the Chancel of the Church.
It is probable that the fire, which is represented to have destroyed so much of Crosby Place, occurred during the time of Sir Stephen's tenancy, between 1674 and 1678. The Fire of London, in 1666, may possibly have reached and injured it, but Sir Stephen evidently occupied it after that period, probably until shortly previous to March, 1676; as at that time, and just before the fee simple passed from the Earl of Northampton, one William Freeman, who had become entitled, by virtue of an under lease from Sir Stephen, let "Crosbye's Place," described as then in the occupation of Granado Chester, grocer, to Thomas Goodfnge, Esq. Sir Stephen's leasehold interest was retained by him so late as 1692, when he sold his remaining term to the above-named William Freeman, who at the same time purchased the fee simple of Crosby Place, eight messuages and the Rectory, from the Cranfields.
The lease to Goodinge gives the date of the encroachments upon the Hall and other parts of the Edifice, as well as that of, or nearly, the first forma-tion of Crosby Square. The parcels are thus described, - "All that great Warehouse, then in the occupation of Granado Chester, grocer, being part of and then lately divided from the Great Hall, belonging to and parcel of the great Mansion House or tenement, then, or late, called or known by the name of Croshye's Place, theretofore in the tenure of Sir John Langham; which said warehouse extended from the passage, leading out of Bishopsgate Street unto the new square of buildings there, called Crosby's Square, backwards as far as great St Helen's." The warehouse referred to must have been the lower part of the Hall, between a floor placed at the level of the original Minstrel's Gallery, which, as before noticed, possibly yet exists over the passages to Crosby Square, and the original level of the Hall, the upper part of which was at this time used as a Meeting-house, unencumbered with the second floor, which was afterwards inserted. The Hall is included in the grant to Goodinge, as well as the other present portions; and is described as "all that great Hall and little Room at the north end." The: other parcels of the grant were the rooms, formerly, the Withdrawing-room and Throne-room of the Mansion; the former of which was then used as a warehouse, and in the occupation of the "Company of Merchants of London, trading to the East Indies;" the latter being described as "the Great Room or Chamber, lying over the said great warehouse, in occupation of the said Companye." A room at the south end of the Hall, over the passage leading to the square, is also mentioned, probably used at a Vestry, and the little room at the north-east corner of the Dining-room, is said to have been "then newly enclosed with brick-work," and also in the occupation of the East India Company.
The house, now occupied by Mr. Capper, was built about this time by one Edward Martin, plasterer, as well as one, on part of the yard, by John Rossington, and one, on the site of that now rented by Mr. Colley, by Clement Kettle, box-maker. In 1683, the house beyond the Hall, on the north, was erected on part of the "void piece of land;" and in 1722, we find part of Crosby Square occupied by Stabling and Hay-lofts, while a privilege was held by the tenants of such houses as were there already built, to lay dang in such parts of the Square as was assigned for that purpose.*
From this period Crosby Place has progressively assumed its present appearance, and the site its modern disposition; and it only remains to remark, that having passed through one or two intermediate tenancies, the proprietorship still remaining in the Freeman, the last possessors of that portion of the edifice which has romained to the present time, were Messrs. Holmes and Hall, packers; during whose use of the Hall, for the purposes of their business, much of the interior ornament and arrangement, which until that period had existed, was unfortunately, necessarily to their convenience, destroyed. It is to be hoped, however, that the efforts of the Committee for the restoration, which has lately been formed, may meet with that success which the nature of their object deserves; and that Crosby Hall, one of the last remaining relics of the Ancient Domestic Architecture of London, may long remain a feature of the Metropolis, and not be numbered, like many others, victims to the march of innovation, among "the things that were".
* So late as 1752, a cistern is mentioned as standing, for watering horses, which would almost fix a later date to the completion of the square, than that assigned by Strype, viz. 1720.