Newport Place, WC2H

PLACE NAME

This well-established street was renamed in the mid-20thCentury after the English courtier and politician Mountjoy Blount (about 1597 – February 12, 1666), 1st Earl of Newport, who, from 1633, lived in a house which extended along the north side of Little Newport Street. Blount became a member of James I’s court, where he was something of a royal favourite. He was part of the entourage which accompanied the young Prince Charles (later Charles I) through Paris incognito on his way to Spain to negotiate his ill-starred union with Princess Maria Anna, daughter of Philip III of Spain. In 1627 he was created Earl of Newport, and in 1634, secured the position of Master of Ordnance for his lifetime, from the latter deriving a tidy fortune. That same year he extended his estate north to the present West Street and Cambridge Circus. About 20 years after his death, the land was sold and carved up for building by the unscrupulous 17thCentury builder Nicholas Barbon who also created Newport Market which survived up until the construction of Charing Cross Road in the 1880s. On John Rocque’s map of London published in 1746 the street is called Bearbone Square. By the time Richard Horwood published his plan in 1792 it appears to have been integrated into Little Newport Street, and after that appears variously on maps of the 19th and early 20th centuries as Newport Street and Little Newport Street.

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