At one time, my fifth great grandfather, Philip Champion de Crespigny (1738 – 1803), lived at 4 Old Palace Yard, beside the Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament). Philip Crespigny was a lawyer: an advocate at Doctors’ Commons from 1756 and a King’s Proctor from 1768 – 1784. He also served as a member of Parliament.
Old Palace Yard was opposite the King’s Entrance to the House of Lords near the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. It was one of a block of old houses re-fronted in the Georgian style. The residence leased by Philip de Crespigny was the property of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey.
Old and New Palace Yards were two main courtyards of the medieval Palace of Westminster.
Philip de Crespigny’s maternal uncle, Thomas Fonnereau (1699 – 1779) lived at 4 Old Palace Yard and died there 20 March 1779. Thomas was a member of Parliament; his residence was conveniently close to the Houses of Parliament. (I wrote about Thomas Fonnereau earlier in this series of posts. He commissioned the building of the lighthouse on Lizard point, Cornwall.)
In 1780 Philip re-entered Parliament. In 1774 he had been returned to Parliament on the Fonnereau interest at Sudbury after a contest, but lost his seat on petition. In 1780 he was returned unopposed at Aldeburgh on the Fonnereau interest, and at Sudbury after a contest. He held both seats until 1781 when he lost Sudbury on petition, and continued to sit for Aldeburgh. Philip de Crespigny supported the administration of Lord North, a Tory, or conservative, administration.
On 16 October 1834 the Houses of Parliament caught fire. Among the buildings burned was 4 Old Palace Yard. Number 6 and 7 Old Palace Yard survived.
In the 1890s and early 1900s the Office of Works acquired the leaseholds to 1-4 Old Palace Yard and 1 – 3A Poet’s Corner. The site was redeveloped as a memorial to King George V.
- De Crespigny, Rafe Champions from Normandy : an essay on the early history of the Champion de Crespigny family 1350-1800 AD. Lilli Pilli, New South Wales Richard Rafe Champion de Crespigny, 2017. Can be viewed at Champions from Normandy
- Drummond, Mary M. “CRESPIGNY, Philip Champion (d.1803), of Burwood, nr. Cobham, Surr.” History of Parliament Online, The History of Parliament Trust ,https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/crespigny-philip-champion-1803.
- Library and Museum of Freemasonry; London, England; Freemasonry Membership Registers; Description: Register of Members, London, vol I, Folios 46, 85 viewed through ancestry.com
- “Old Palace Yard Watercolour.” Art in Parliament, UK Parliament, 10 Jan. 2009, www.parliament.uk/about/art-in-parliament/news/2009/malton/.
- Cundall, H. M. (Herbert Minton), 1848-1940, (author.) and Project Gutenberg Masters of Water-Colour Painting. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, Salt Lake City, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22379/22379-h/22379-h.htm
- The National Archives (UK): Office of Works and successors WORK 20/18, Acquisition of leaseholds of 1-4 Old Palace Yard and 1-3A Poets’ Corner (afterwards King George V Memorial Site) 1894 – 1902
- Google books:
- Pollock, John (20 December 2013). Wilberforce. David C. Cook. p. 54.
- Metropolitan Improvements; Or London in the Nineteenth Century: Displayed in a Series of Engravings… Jones and Company. 1828. p. 153