Endsleigh Place, WC1H

PLACE NAME

Endsleigh was a property in Tavistock, Devon acquired by the dukes of Bedford during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. The dukes already owned Covent Garden by the time they added Bloomsbury to their extensive holdings through marriage in 1669. Today the Devonshire property is a hotel. Its website says: “In the medieval period Endsleigh formed part of the estate of the abbots of Tavistock, and had been given to the Church by the Edgcumbe family of Cotehele, Cornwall. In 1540, the abbot’s 15,000 acre estate was granted to John Russell, first Earl of Bedford. The abbots of Tavistock had a hunting lodge at Leigh Barton, south-east of Endsleigh, but after the Reformation it fell into disuse, and no permanent residence was established on the estate until the early C19, when John, sixth Duke of Bedford decided to replace ‘an irregular farmhouse little better than a cottage’ which existed near the site of the present house.” The street was built in the early 19thCentury by Thomas Cubitt, and houses followed as part of a speculative development by architect Lewis Vulliamy in 1827. It appears laid out on the 1819 revised edition of Horwood’s plan. It was originally called Gordon Place, after Lady Georgiana Gordon, the 2nd wife of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford. But in 1937 the London County Council began a review of street names across the city to reduce duplication. The initial proposal was to call it Gordon Way, but this aroused the ire of the director of the Survey of English Place Names who argued a “way” was an ancient term meaning it was a route leading somewhere, so an alternative was found. Prior to its development the area had been fields.

 

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