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.
The north wall of the parlour is much mutilated; indeed the greater part of it is of brick, the conse-quence, perhaps, of successive repairs, although much of that material has evidently been used in many of the more ancient parts of the building.* I think it likely that the communication with the upper room was through this wall. Indications of a door still exist on the right of the fire-place, immediately under which, in the vaults below, is an original opening, forming the means of access to a small oblong enclosed space, the walls of which were probably the foundations of a corresponding enclosure above-ground, containing a stair-case leading to the upper rooms. Many of the staircases of old houses were placed in turrets attached to the external walls, similar to those of many old pulpits still to be seen annexed to churches,* These.
It is only by some contrivance of this sort that the peculiar situation of a door in the north-east angle of the upper room can be accounted for. This door is at the line of the original floor and was no doubt the entrance to the Throne-room. It is, however, singular that the mouldings of the arch are on the inside, and only, plain splays on the outside ; the door is also hung to open outward. It at present gives admission to the middle floor of a small erection built in this situation, but which is evidently altogether of modern origin.* Nothing of this nature could apparently have stood here formerly. The angle at the north termination of the Hall is a perfectly quoined angle, and certainly extended no further than 7 feet 9 inches from the north wall of the Throne-room. It is still perfect as high as any of the old work can be traced, which is almost 32 feet; and openings appear near it, looking westward, one of which seems to have been a window,* and the other a door. Here again is matter for speculation - the latter door, and that of the Throne-room, although within 3 feet of each other, are at different levels, the springing of the arch of the last being about even with the sill of the first, on the outside of which are attached two stone steps, apparently part of a stair-case descending from it. The mouldings of this door are also on the inside, plain splays being outside; and the door is hung as in the other. Immediately contiguous to these doors the stone-work is evidently as old, and of the same description as that in other parts; and the doors themselves have every appearance of standing in their original situations. I must own I cannot satisfactorily account for these incongruities. Even the idea of an external com-municating gallery like those of our old Inns, which was the most probable arrangement, receives something like a check from the difference in the levels, and the unexampled appearance of the outside of the doors, which would have opened upon it. We often see, in the works of ancient Architects, the same labour bestowed upon portions less as well as more generally coming under observation; and it appears singular to find, that at Crosby Place this was not, in the particular instance under consideration, attended to. It may be added, that some stair-cases had moveable blocks at the foot of them. At Wenlock Priory, a chamber, in the upper part of the building, was ascended to from an external gallery, at. the end of which was a flight of stairs,, the first step of which was 2 feet from the floor. Perhaps the same method was adopted in regard to the upper floor here, the steps from which descended on a gallery before the door of the Throne-room.
* A considerable portion of the walls of the Hall, both above and below the windows, are of brick. About the middle of the 15th century this material began to be extensively used. Much of Eltham Palace and the gateway of Nether Hall is entirely of it turret stair-cases very often communicated with external galleries, though in many instances the turret was omitted, or thought unnecessary, and an unenclosed stair-case alone was attached to the exterior. A small building at Fisherton-le-Mere, Somersetshire, has a flight of stone steps ascending externally to the upper story; and some few other examples might be named.
* Westwell Church, Kent, has one, though not now used.
* The first notice of this room occurs in 1678, at which time, it is described among the parcels of a lease granted by William Freeman to Thomas Goodinge, as being then "newly enclosed with brick-work".
* This window is only 8 inches from the exlerior angle, at about 9 feet 6 inches from the original floor of the Throne-room. The opening; is 3 feet 9 inches wide, and 4 feet 5 inches high to the under side of the arch, which is very flat. The stone work has no moulding, externally, but is rebated out about 3/4 of an inch, and the opening is filled in with modern brick-work. Above this window the old stone-work is discontinued.