Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare (April 24, 1633 – January 16, 1689) was a Whig statesman who sat in the House of Commons in 1660. He was the son of John Holles and Elizabeth Vere, daughter of Horace Vere, 1st Baron Vere of Tilbury. In 1665 he married Grace Pierrepont, daughter of Honourable William Pierrepont and Elizabeth Harris, at St Giles in the Fields Church. The couple went on to have seven children. While Holles married and lived locally, he does have another connection to this street which was situated on the edges of the Bedford Estate. Holles was a close friend and colleague of landowner William Lord Russell, the Duke of Bedford who had acquired the land in 1669 through his marriage to Rachel Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, whose family had owned Bloomsbury since 1545. Unlike the Earl, who was a staunch supporter of Charles II, Holles and Russell both disliked the favour the monarch had shown towards Roman Catholics. Russell was later implicated and, in 1683, executed for his part in a plot to kill the king. Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names recounts a touching sentiment about their friendship: “On his way to execution he was taken past Gilbert’s house, Warwick House on the site of Warwick Court, High Holborn. Seeing that the house looked shut up and deserted, Russell devoted some of his last moments to enquiring after his friend, according to Bishop Burnet: ‘He asked if my Lord Clare was out of town. I told him he could not think any windows would be open there on this occasion.’ Gilbert survived to die peacefully at Warwick House a few years later.” The street was built around 1670, and appears on Rocque’s 1746 map as Gilbert Street. The UCL Bloomsbury Project says: “Its name appears to have been changed in the twentieth century to avoid confusion with the Gilbert Street further west.” Despite its grand beginnings, in the early 19thCentury, this was very close to the slums of St Giles’s.
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