Greenwich, London - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Greenwich is an area of south east London.
Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. The town became the site of a royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many Tudors, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation.
The place-name 'Greenwich' is first attested in a Saxon charter of 918, where it appears as Gronewic. It is recorded as Grenewic in 964, and as Grenawic in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 1013. It is Grenviz in the Domesday Book of 1086, and Grenewych in the Taxatio Ecclesiastica of 1291. The name means 'green wic or settlement'.
Royal charters granted to English colonists in North America, often used the name of the manor of East Greenwich for describing the tenure as that of free socage. New England charters provided that the grantees should hold their lands "as of his Majesty's manor of East Greenwich." This was in relation to the principle of land tenure under English law, that the ruling monarch (king or queen) was paramount lord of all the soil in the terra regis, while all others held their lands, directly or indirectly, under the monarch. Land outside the physical boundaries of England, as in America, was treated as belonging constructively to one of the existing royal manors, and from Tudor times grants frequently used the name of the manor of East Greenwich, but some 17c. grants named the castle of Windsor. Places in North America that have taken the name "East Greenwich" include a township in Gloucester County, New Jersey, a hamlet in Washington County, New York, and a town in Kent County, Rhode Island.
During the reign of Ethelred the Unready, the Danish fleet anchored in the River Thames off Greenwich for over three years, with the army being encamped on the hill above. From here they attacked Kent and, in the year 1012, took the city of Canterbury, making Archbishop Alphege their prisoner for seven months in their camp at Greenwich, at that time within the county of Kent.
The Domesday Book records the manor of Grenviz in the hundred of Grenviz as held by Bishop Odo of Bayeux; his lands were seized by the crown in 1082. The name of the hundred was changed to Blackheath when the site of the hundred court was moved there in the 12th century. A royal palace, or hunting lodge, has existed here since before 1300, when Edward I is known to have made offerings at the chapel of the Virgin Mary.
Subsequent monarchs were regular visitors, with Henry IV making his will here, and Henry V granting the manor to Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who died at Greenwich in 1426. The palace was created by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Henry V's half-brother and the regent to Henry VI in 1447. It was renamed the Palace of Placentia or Pleasaunce by Henry VI's consort Margaret of Anjou after Humphrey's death. The palace was completed and further enlarged by Edward IV, and in 1466 it was granted to his queen, Elizabeth.
Ultimately it was because the palace and its grounds were a royal possession that it was chosen as the site for Charles II's Royal Observatory, from which stemmed Greenwich's subsequent global role as originator of the modern Prime Meridian.
The palace of Placentia, in turn, became Elizabeth's favourite summer residence. Both she and her sister Mary I used the palace extensively, and Elizabeth's Council planned the Spanish Armada campaign there in 1588.
James I, granted the manor to his wife Queen Anne of Denmark. In 1616 Anne commissioned Inigo Jones to design and build the surviving Queen's House as the final addition to the palace.
Charles I granted the manor to his wife Queen Henrietta Maria, for whom Inigo Jones completed the Queen's House. During the English Civil War, the palace was used as a biscuit factory and prisoner-of-war camp. Then, in the Interregnum, the palace and park were seized to become a 'mansion' for the Lord Protector.
By the time of the Restoration, the Palace of Placentia had fallen into disuse and was pulled down. New buildings began to be established as a grand palace for Charles II, but only the King Charles block was completed. Charles II also redesigned and replanted Greenwich Park and founded and built the Royal Observatory.
Prince James (later King James II & VII), as Duke of York and Lord Admiral until 1673, was often at Greenwich with his brother Charles and, according to Samuel Pepys, he proposed the idea of creating a Royal Naval Hospital. This was eventually established at Greenwich by his daughter Mary II, who in 1692–1693 commissioned Christopher Wren to design the Royal Hospital for Seamen.
George I landed at Greenwich from Hanover on his accession in 1714. His successor George II granted the Royal Hospital for Seamen the forfeited estates of the Jacobite Earl of Derwentwater, which allowed the building to be completed by 1751.