Peter II (1203 – May 15, 1268) was the Count of Savoy, an historic alpine state, sitting on the strategic south eastern boundary of France. More importantly, and a little closer to home, he was related to Henry III through his marriage to Eleanor of Provence, the French state neighbouring Savoy. Through this connection he quickly established himself in a position of power in his niece’s new country. In February 1246 he was granted a tract of land on the banks of the River Thames up to the Strand and by 1263 had built the Savoy Palace, which stood on the site of the road. By then however, Peter had left London. After his death the Queen bought the property and gave it to her son Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, who fortified the building. It was first mentioned as Le Sauveye in 1324 and the Manor of Savoie in 1348. By 1476 it took the modern spelling. For a while it was the property of John of Gaunt, the hated Duke of Lancaster, and when the people descended on the capital during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, they set it on fire. Although the house was eventually rebuilt, over the course of a century, it never regained its former splendour and was used for a time as a hospital, which in turn degenerated into a slum, before eventually being cleared away in the early 18thCentury, until finally becoming the site of the present day hotel. The court, in this case, is the small driveway to the hotel’s entrance.
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