Dean Street, W1D

Place Name

Probably, by connection with Old Compton Street, named after Henry Compton (1632 – July 7, 1713), Bishop of London in the 1670s, who was also Dean of the Chapel Royal and entrusted with the education of the two princesses, Mary and Anne. Compton was born the sixth and youngest son of the 2nd Earl of Northampton and educated at The Queen’s College, Oxford, before travelling in Europe. After the restoration of Charles II, he became a low-ranking officer in his brother Charles’s troop of the Royal Regiment of Horse, but soon quit the army for the church. He returned to study at Oxford and Cambridge, and after graduating as a Doctor of Divinity in 1669, went on to become Bishop of Oxford in 1674. The following year he was transferred to the see of London, and also appointed Dean of the Chapel Royal, charged with oversight of the ecclesiastical establishment within the royal household. About the time the street was built, in about 1678, by wealthy builder Richard Frith (hence Frith Street), Compton was actively involved in the building of the local church of St Anne, which is dedicated in compliment to his pupil, the Princess Anne. Before that, the area had been fields, part of Cooke’s Croft and Billson’s Close or Croft. Frith continued its development in the 1680s.

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