ABSTRACT

The Rows Roll gives Edward IV the credit of being “a great builder,” and although the description is one which the compiler of the roll is inclined to apply rather freely, in Edward’s case at least it seems to be fully deserved. For disturbed as was the condition of England for some years after he took possession of the throne, and greatly as he needed all the money he could scrape together for much more essential purposes, Edward began almost immediately after his accession to indulge his taste for building, and this he continued to do until the end of his life. In the improvement and beautification of Westminster Palace he seems to have taken a special interest. He had been king little more than a year when he wrote to the treasurer and chamberlains of the Exchequer that “for as much as our new work within our privy palace of Westminster late by us is begun,” two hundred pounds were to be delivered at once to Thomas Stratton, clerk of the works, “to the intent to be employed upon our said new work.” 1 And when his reign was drawing to a close, not only was Simon Dowsynge, gardener, paid 53s. 4d. for laying out a new garden within Westminster Palace “to the king’s great pleasure”—and also, apparently, to the pleasure of the Duke of Gloucester, as Dowsynge was afterwards appointed by Richard III to be keeper of the king’s garden in the Tower—but orders were given for the repair of “certain ruinous houses” within the palace, for “the making of a great chamber unto our dearest wife the queen in her lodging, and for a privy kitchen of new to be made within the said palace.” 2