London in the Time of the Stuarts

By Walter Besant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
PLACES OF RESORT

THE places of resort in this century, and especially in the reign of Charles the Second, reveal the existence of a new class: that of the fashionable class, the people who live for amusement. They have grown up by degrees; they inhabit a new town lying between the Inns of Court and Hyde Park, which they have built for themselves; they have made a society composed entirely of themselves, frequenting the same coffee-houses and taverns, belonging to the same sets, and following the same kind of life. They have invented the fashionable saunter; they have made the theatre their own; they have introduced the salon and the reception. They gamble a great deal; they lounge a great deal; they make love a great deal; they drink; they dress extravagantly; they practise affectations; they lay bets; they run races; they live, in a word, exactly the same careless, useless, mischievous life which their successors have continued ever since.

Among the other things which we owe to them is the Park.

The old maps of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries represent the area which is now the Green Park and Hyde Park as green fields; these fields formed part of the manors known as Neyte and Hyde, which belonged to the Abbey of Westminster until the reign of Henry the Eighth, when they fell to the Crown, being exchanged for the Priory of Hurley in Berkshire. Henry the Eighth either stocked the fields with deer, or found deer there and ran a fence round the fields so as to enclose them. During the sixteenth and part of the seventeenth centuries Hyde Park was a Royal hunting-ground. In the reign of Charles the First it was also a racecourse. In Cromwell's time it was a place for driving and for carriage races; under Charles the Second it became a promenade and a drive, just as it is at the present day.

St. James's Park came into existence later than Hyde Park.

It began with Spring Gardens, named after a spring which here issued from the ground, but was not enough to feed the fountain which ornamented the gardens. They were not public gardens, though many people were admitted; they contained

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London in the Time of the Stuarts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • 49079- Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Sovereigns 1
  • Chapter I- James I 3
  • Chapter II- Charles I 22
  • Chapter III- The City and the Civil War 53
  • Chapter IV- The Commonwealth 64
  • Chapter V- The Restoration 74
  • Chapter VI 82
  • Chapter VII- James II 103
  • Chapter VIII- William the Third 117
  • Chapter IX- queen Anne 127
  • Religion, Government, and Trade 135
  • Chapter I- Religion 137
  • Chapter II- Tiie Church and Dissent 154
  • Chapter III- Superstitions 159
  • Chapter IV- Sanctuary 168
  • Chapter V- City Government and Usages 172
  • Chapter VI- Trade 190
  • Chapter VII- The Irish Estates 206
  • The Great Plague and Fire 213
  • Chapter I- Plague 215
  • Chapter II- Plague and Medicine 233
  • Chapter III- The Fire 240
  • Chapter IV- Ii. the Fire of London 244
  • Chapter V- Contemporary Evidence 258
  • Chapter VI- London after the Fire 269
  • Manners and Customs 285
  • Chapter I- Food and Drink 287
  • Chapter II- Dress and Manners 298
  • Chapter III- Weddings and Funerals 308
  • Chapter IV- Places of Resort 311
  • Chapter V- Theatre and Art 318
  • Chapter VI- Sports and Amusements 328
  • Chapter VII- Coaches 338
  • Chapter VIII- Punishment and Crime 345
  • Chapter IX- Public Morality 355
  • Chapter X- General Notes 359
  • Appendices 363
  • Index 385
  • Ogilby and Morgan''s Map of London, 1677 397
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