Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/437

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


POLITICAL HISTORY his accession. Henry VIII. resided there less constantly. Elizabeth was there continually and died there. Henry VIII. had begun to build another Surrey palace Nonsuch, in the land which he acquired in 1539. It stood as a flagrant instance of the high-handed selfishness of the king. In 1525 he had acquired Hampton Court by gift from Wolsey, and by degrees in later years he added large estates to it, by purchase, exchange or confiscation, the two former being generally more decent forms of the latter process. He got into his hands the Surrey manors of Cuddington, Esher, Maiden, Weybridge, Byfleet, Imber Court, Weston, Moulsey Prior, West Moulsey, Walton Leigh and Oatlands. Cuddington, where Nonsuch stood, was taken in exchange for the rectory with tithes and glebe of Little Melton in Norfolk, granted to a layman. He erected them all with some Middlesex manors into the Honour of Hampton Court by Act of Parliament, 3 1 Hen. VIII. 7, constituting it as a royal forest. At Cuddington he pulled down the manor house, all other houses and the church, and enclosed two parks of 1,600 acres. His government several times by Act of Parliament had expressed itself in vigorous terms of rebuke against the misdeeds of the makers of enclosures, who evicted husbandmen and poor persons and caused the decay of towns, that is of farmsteads. The palace at Nonsuch was unfinished at the death of Henry. The Earl of Arundel bought it from Queen Mary and his son-in-law Lord Lumley sold it to Elizabeth in 1 591. Oatlands was also a royal residence at this time. Henry had acquired that too by not very reputable means. The owner was John Rede, a minor. The king's minister, Cromwell, was appointed his guardian, and as such, with the formal consent of his ward, conveyed Oatlands to the king in exchange for the suppressed priory of Tandridge. The Redes were only newcomers themselves at Oatlands ; the de Codingtons, who had to exchange the site of Nonsuch, were a family established there for some 300 years. Esher, surrendered by Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, had belonged to his see since the days of Peter des Roches. The presence and the removals of the court between these various palaces pressed grievously upon Surrey. When the court left Richmond the county had to provide 80 carriages, when it left Nonsuch 1 1 o, when it left Oatlands i oo. The counties across the Thames supplied the rest. Mr. Bray, quoting from a manuscript belonging to the cathedral of Canterbury, gives a remonstrance from the county against the strict enforcement in its case of the ' Act for the increase of Horses,' l because being one of the least and most barren of English counties ' it is most charged of anie by reason that her Majesty (Elizabeth) lieth in or about the shire continuallie, and thereby (it) is chardged with contynualle removes and caridge of coles, wood and other provision to the Court ; and likewis with contynuall caridge for the Admiraltie and the Master of the Ordynance ; also by my Lord Treasurer for the reparacions of her Majesty's houss.' It was also heavily assessed in subsidies, for it lay so near the court ' that both 1 27 Hen. VII. 6. 367