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 state apartments at Crosby Place surrounded the first or outer court; this, I believe, was not a common practice, although Mayfield Manor-house has the same peculiarity. In most examples, the outer court was appropriated to the domestic offices.
Immediately in front of the entrance gateway, as was most commonly the case, appeared the great hall, and on the right and left ranges of building, before referred to, as forming the south and north boundaries of the court. The uses to which that on the right was appropriated cannot now be with certainty ascertained, but it will be noticed hereafter as being likely to have resembled generally that on the left, which contained what was formerly called the Great Dining-Parlour or Withdrawing-room, and a room over it, anciently designated the Throne-room.* The western boundary of this court was formed by a wall,* still running up at the back of the houses in the street, abutting on the gatehouse or foregate, situated in the south-west angle. It is worthy of remark, that the fashion of placing the gateway in the angle of the court was a prevailing one; it is found in this situation at Eltham, Haddon-Hall, etc.: the former not only agrees with Crosby Place in this particular, but in that of having its gateway immediately opposite or in front of the principal entrance to the hall.
* Kingston Seymour, Rushton and Tickenham, are examples of this plan.
* These are the names given to these rooms in the old descriptions of the premises ; and it may be stated, in reference, that the withdrawing-room usually attached to halls, was often, in the latter periods, made the common dining-room of the family, as the hall was of the rest of the household. This may have occasioned the application of the two former terms to the lower room; but what can have given rise to that applied to the upper, I am at a loss to determine, or why it should in more modern times have been called the Council-room; unless, indeed, as regards the former, it may be, the probability of its having been the room in which the Crown was offered to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, then (1483) residing in Crosby Place.
* This wall runs in a parallel direction to the hall, at about 39 feet from it, and would appear also to have bounded the north and south ranges: it still goes up as high as the parapet of the hall, and is faced with squared stone, of the same description as that used in other external portions of the building, but shows no openings towards the court.
There are now no remains to show the probable character of the foregate, or any data to prove that it did or did not vary from the usual gatehouses of the time: yet it appears likely, from its connexion with the houses on its north, and the buildings of the south range, on its opposite side, that it was not exactly the sort of erection to which the term Gatehouse could with strict attention to correctness be applied. The peculiar expression "Foregate," also, may be thought to affix something like a distinction.*
At Wingfield Manor-house, Derbyshire, nearly a similarity of situation, as regards the Gateway, occurs: both here and at Crosby Place it is placed in the boundary-wall of a court, and not in a range of building, as appears to have been most common; and nearly the only difference between the two is, that at Wingfield it stands free and unconnected with any edifice, but the Gatekeeper's Lodge to which it is attached; while in the latter, the houses in the line of the "Kinge's Strete" would have abutted against it. It is probable the Foregate of Crosby Place resembled that of Wingfield, and was merely an arched Gateway, with, perhaps; a smaller postern attached. I do not imagine there were any apartments over it: any elevation at this point, which was the only one from which, during the existence of the houses before it, any view of the hall could have been obtained, would have completely shut out the edifice from the street. Whether any Gatekeeper's Lodge, as at Wingfield was attached, or whether rooms in the south range answered this purpose, does not appear; though the existence of such a feature is not improbable.
* Buildings, to which the term Gatehouse would with greater propriety apply, exist as entrances to Nether Hall, Essex, Lambeth Palace, Hampton Court, etc.
For the appearance, above ground, of the buildings on the south of the outer court we have no authority. The vaults which formed the foundation of them are still perfect, but of a very different character from any of those in other parts of the edifice; even those under the great hall and withdrawing-room are of a much plainer description, having only elliptical brick arches, while the former are groined in chalk with stone ribs. It has been suggested that this vault formed the substructure or crypt of a chapel, from the superior finish of its architecture, and the fact of the discovery of several painted tiles of a description similar to those found in ecclesiastical buildings. The correctness of this opinion may, however, be questioned; for, in a room now used by Mr. Colley as a parlour, the south wall of which is a portion of the original building, from the foundation to nearly its whole present height, is a singular double window, of a character, when perfect, very unlikely to have been adopted in a building used for religious purposes.* This window is now much modernized, by the introduction of sashes and shutters, etc.; and it would seem to have been subjected to alteration at some no very distant period. It measures, as it now appears, 11 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 6 inches, the former being the height from the floor to the apex of the arch. Its present arrangement shows two flat arches, in square head-mouldings, dropping in the centre upon a corbel figure of an angel, holding a plain shield, from the lower part of which a circular shaft, about 4 inches in diameter, descends, until it is stopped by a modern window-board. The shaft appears to have once gone down to the base of the window, which commenced at about three feet from the original floor. The jaumbs show the singular feature of a casing of more modern work, over the original mouldings. The latter seem to have been a cluster of angle shafts or beads, upon which the arch mouldings rested, with a large flat hollow.* The after addition consists of a semicircular shaft, of a corresponding character to that described as supporting the centre corbel, placed in the middle of each hollow, which has been filled up to a plain splay. These shafts have plain rude caps, similar to those visible in Anglo-Norman erections, and are evidently materials re-applied - no bases are visible. In its pristine state, this window evidently exhibited the same arrangement as those in the lower story of the north range. They are at about the same level; and, with the former, assimilate to the square-headed window and doors, etc. still visible in the more strictly domestic portions of the building.
* It has been asserted that it was not usual to make a difference in the Architecture of the Chapel and other parts of a domestic building ; but many exceptions to this might be adduced.