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London Published Nov 1820 by Varner, Hood & Sharpe Poultry & W. Cook 12 York Place Pentonville..
Engraved by W.Cooke.
THIS magnificent palace is situated on the north bank of the river Thames, in the county of Middlesex, about two miles from the town of Kingston, in the county of Surry, and near the village of Hampton, from which place it derives its name. This superb structure was erected by Cardinal Wolsey, a man, who, though the son of a butcher at Ipswich, attained, by an extraordinary concatenation of prosperous circumstances, the highest dignities ecclesiastical and civil; and became at length, the minister of Henry the Eighth, and the arbiter of Europe. The love of exterior splendor was a predominant feature in his character. To supply his ostentatious vanity a vast revenue was indispensable, and he contrived to acquire it. He was Prime Minister, Lord High Chancellor, Administrator of the bishoprick of Bath and Wells, Archbishop of York, and sole Legate a latere of the Pope. He also received pensions from the Emperor of Germany and King of France, and the haughty Republic of Venice submitted to his controul: at the same time his royal master, the King of England, poured the royal treasures into his coffers; and his canonical courts employed every species of rapine and extortion.
Among other examples of his splendor he built two palaces, the one at York Place, Westminster, and the other at Hampton, which is the subject of these pages. The merciless system of monastic plunder which this voracious churchman had adopted, having been reported to the King, caused an impression in the royal breast, unfavourable to the views of the minister; but the Cardinal had accurately discerned the character of Henry, and knew how to appease his indignation; he therefore complimented him with the gift of Hampton Court Palace, assuring his royal master
that he had built it expressly for his pleasure and accommodation. It was a present fit to be offered to a sovereign, and which he, who sat on the brightest throne in Europe, might receive without degrading his high character. It was a brick building, but erected upon a plan of superior magnificence, and furnished with a splendour which was not to be seen on this side of the Alps. To give a general idea of the lavish expence with which it was fitted up, it will be sufficient to observe, that it contained two hundred and eighty beds, which were adorned with silk and gold hangings-Henry, however, greatly enlarged it.
Of the original splendor of this edifice there are few remains. The principal of them is the spacious hall, formerly used as a banqueting room; its roof is in the best taste of Gothic design. Some of our antiquarians have represented this hall to have been the scene of a grand banquet, which was given by Cardinal Wolsey to his sovereign, for the purpose of introducing Ann Boleyn to his notice; but it is more probable, we think, that this entertainment was given by the minister at his residence in York Place, now Whitehall. Cavendish, who wrote the life of the Cardinal in the time of Queen Mary, gives the following description of it. "Before the King and his noble company began to dance, they requested leave to accompany the ladies at Mumchance leave being granted, then went the maskers and first saluted all the dames, and then returned to the most worthiest; and then opened the great cup of golde, filled with crownes and other pieces to cast at. Thus perusing all the gentlewomen, of some they wonne, and to some they lost; and having viewed all the ladies, they returned to the Cardinal, with great reverence, pouring down all their gold, which was above two hundred crowns. At all, quoth the Cardinal, and casting the die, he wonne it, whereat was great joy."
Cavendish also gives the following account of an entertainment given, by the King's command, at Hampton Court,