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 exterior and interior appearance of the lights of this bay was the same as that of the windows immediately adjoining; but whether it had a flat arch internally, and a groined roof, like that of the upper room, is not to be determined. It is possible that a continuation of the. ribs and panels of the room ceiling may have extended into, as they do in the Withdrawing room at Hampton Court, and have formed the roof of it. The groined ceiling for the oriel, however, was the prevailing fashion of the time, and the supposition of its adoption here obtains from the existence of the old stone-work in the lower part of the upper one.
Nearly opposite the bay, in the north wall, is a similar fire-place to that in the Hall, the mouldings of which are slightly varied from those of the doorway leading into the room. They consist of clus-tered inner and outer angle-shafts, with two ogees between them; a single bold ogee forming the outer moulding, and being continued, as it is in most of the doors and windows throughout this part, in a square over the arch of the opening, which is remarkably flat. The angle-shafts form the principal arch moulding, and descend upon bases resting on octangular plinths, the spandrils being enriched with a sculptured leaf.
* This has been since removed.
The construction and situation of this fire-place; the recess of which, like that of the Hall, considerably exceeds the thickness of the wall in which it is placed, causing a large projection on the exterior, brings to mind a feature peculiar to the early English residences; in very many of which the chimnies were projected from the external walls, forming a break for the play of light and shade on an otherwise unbroken line of elevation ; and often giving character and effect to parts in which the introduction of other than the useful, combined with the ornamental, would have been inappropriate. At Cheynes Hall the walls, in parts, are almost encumbered with these projections; and in many other instances they form a distinguishing mark, whether as rising in one continued vertical line from the ground, or breaking out upon corbelled mouldings, at different heights. Indeed, the practice does not seem to have been departed from until a very late date. Something like the peculiarity, exampled as being near at hand, is still observable in the older portions of Lincoln's Inn.
The projection of the chimney here stands out from the wall 3 feet 1 inch, and appears to have extended from the ground to the top of the building, receiving the flue of a fire-place in the upper room, and finishing, most probably, after the usual manner, in a stack of ornamental chimnies. The portion, however, now left, does not exceed 14 feet in height, barely reaching to where the floor of the upper room must have stood.
On the left of the lire-place was a window, lighting the room from the north, in which an exception to the more general forms observed elsewhere in the building is apparent. It appears to have been arched, but the arch-line is the segment of a circle. Most, if not all the other arches are what is called four-centred. The soffit and jaumbs have sunk panels, alternately square and parellogrammatic, ornamented with quatrefoils. The arch of the opening must have reached nearly to the ceiling, but appears to have been unenclosed by the square head of the others. I should almost imagine this window to be of a later date than those on the opposite side, and that it may have been introduced during the reparations by Alderman Bond.
Of the interior appearance, further of the great Dining-paflour in its ancient state, but little evidence remains. The principal rooms of houses of corresponding character, in the same periods, were hung with arras, strewed with rushes,* and furnished with rude benches and tables. In some, stools or fixed seats round the walls were the substitutes for chairs. Arras, however, does not appear to hare been used in this room at Crosby Place, as the walls, where any of the original stone-work is left, are worked to a fair and smooth surface, and square-jointed, as if intended to be uncovered. In the Hall the walls below the windows are of rubble, plastered over. This is likewise the case in the Throne-room, in both of which tapestry was undoubtedly hung. The cornice from which it was suspended is still apparent in the latter, and the quoin-stones of the windows are evidently lessened from their usual return, to accord with some decoration of the kind. In some edifices wainscot was made use of to line the walls; but this, according to Aubrey, was not in common use earlier than the reign of Henry VII. or VIII. The Hall still shows traces of wainscotting, but of very modern character. Mr. Carlos thinks it was fitted at the time the Hall was used as a chapel.
* The use of this, in his time, was considered as one among the many instances of the luxurious habits of Thomas a Becket. Fitz-Stephen, his secretary end historian, speaks largely of the pomp and sumptuousness of his master; and, as an Instance of it, by no means then common, mentions, " that his apartments were every day in winter covered with clean straw or hay, and in summer with green rashes or boughs; lest the gentlemeo who paid court to him, and who could not, by reason of their great number, find a place at table, should soil their fine clothes by sitting on a dirty floor".