KEW HOUSE, OTHERWISE KEW PALACE: LEASE
The following describes the contents of this collection in the Surrey History Centre archives. Find out more about how to see the original documents.
- Ref No: 553
- Repository: Surrey History Centre, Woking
- Date: 1759
- Format: Archives
- Admin History: Kew House, sometimes known as the White House or Kew Palace, passed into the Essex family late in the 17th century with the marriage of Dorothy, daughter and heir of Richard Bennet, esq, to Sir Henry Capel, younger brother of Arthur, 1st Earl of Essex. John Evelyn (1620-1706) was a guest of Sir Henry on several occasions, and praised the gardens and fruit trees in his Diary.
The house was later the residence of Samuel Molyneux, husband of Lady Elizabeth Capel. Molyneux was secretary to George II when Prince of Wales, and an astronomer of note.
After the death of Elizabeth Molyneux the house was leased in September 1731 to the hon James Pelham, esq, secretary to HRH Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales. Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta took up residence there and together began the famous gardens. It seems that the Palace was rebuilt or restyled for Frederick, Prince of Wales, sometime soon after 1731. William Kent was employed as architect, and although Fanny Burney, on a visit in 1786, described the house as having been repaired rather than rebuilt, contemporary prints suggests that significant alterations were made. Princess Augusta and her son continued to use the palace after Prince Frederick's death, and on 16 August 1759 renewed their lease. The princess dowager moved to the Dairy House, opposite, c.1770, leaving Kew House to George III who sometime after 1772 bought the freehold of the property. The house was pulled down in 1802 when the new palace in Richmond Gardens was built. At the same time Kew Lane or Love Lane, which ran along the west side of the house, and divided Kew Gardens from Richmond Gardens, was closed and the gardens united. Parts of Kew Green, it seems, were taken into the gardens at about the same time.
- Level: Collection
- Access Status: Open. There are no access restrictions.
- Provenance: Presented by Mr R P Williams of Newark, New York State, USA, in August 1971. It is not known how the lease came into the possession of the donor's family.
- For more information contact: Surrey History Centre Collections Catalogue
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