Summary

Home of Richard Evelyn, brother of John Evelyn.

Banyards: view from the Rose Garden by James S. Ogilvy. 1914.

From Brayley and Walford’s History of Surrey :

“The Mansion, situated on a healthy knoll, commands a beautiful view over the Hog’s Back Hills, and is a fine specimen of Tudor architecture. It was carefully restored by the late owner. The northern front is of irregular design, but very characteristic of the period of its erection, the arrangement and older parts of the mansion being apparently much anterior to the date specified by Evelyn. On the basement floor is a spacious hall, which communicates with the library, dining-room, music-room, drawing-room, and great staircase, all of which are appropriately fitted up, and furnished with taste and elegance. The collection of paintings (mostly portraits) at Baynards is very fine and comprises works by Raffaelle, Holbein, Zucchero, Mytens, Vandyke, Rembrandt, and other masters. Here likewise, together with some fine old armour, carvings, and tapestry, several objects of great curiosity are preserved, among them a large and very strong charter chest, formerly the property of Sir Thomas More, which is beautifully painted, cased with iron, and secured by four locks and secret keyhole, and a pair of steelyards, presented by the City of London to Sir Thomas Gresham : they are finely wrought, inlaid with gold, and ornamented with figures of Gog and Magog, Romulus and Remus, and other curious devices.

Baynards is said to be haunted, and many years ago no neighbour would approach it after nightfall. The impression of ghosts having been seen fluttering about, had its origin in the decapitated head of Sir Thomas More having been long kept in this house by his favourite daughter, Margaret Roper. Her residence here was doubtless in consequence of her daughter Elizabeth (by William Roper, Esq.) having become the wife of Sir Edward Bray, the younger. The skull of Sir Thomas was finally deposited in the vault of the Ropers, in St. Dunstan’s Church, Canterbury. Margaret Roper was herself buried there, and near her coffin is a niche in the wall, secured by an iron grating, within which the skull is placed.”

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