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Essex House was a house in Londonmarker, built around 1575 for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and originally called Leicester House.

The property occupied the site where the Outer Temple, part of the London headquarters of the Knights Templar, had previously stood , and was immediately adjacent to the Middle Temple, then one of the four principal Inns of Court.

The house fronted The Strandmarker and was adjacent to the Middle Templemarker of the London headquarters of the Knights Templar. It was re-named Essex House after being inherited by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex in 1588. The house was substantial. In 1590, it was recorded as having 42 bedrooms, plus a picture gallery, kitchens, outhouses, a banqueting suite and a chapel.

Essex’s mother, Lettice Knollys, leased out the house for a while, but she moved in later with her new husband, Sir Christopher Blount, as well as her son and his family. After the executions of Blount and Essex, she continued to live there until her death, leasing part of the house to James Hay, the first Earl of Carlisle. The house then became the property of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, who leased part of it to his brother-in-law, William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford. After the English Civil War, the family lost ownership as a result of their debts. Following the Restoration and the death of William Seymour, Sir Orlando Bridgeman lived in the house for a time. When the Duchess of Somerset died in 1674, she left the house to her granddaughter, whose husband, Sir Thomas Thynne, sold it, along with the adjoining lands and properties.

The main part of the house was demolished some time between 1674 and 1679. Essex Street was built on part of the site.


  • Borer, Mary Cathcart. The City of London: A History. (NY McKay, 1977) (pp 156)
  • Holmes, Martin. Elizabethan London. (London: Cassell, 1969) (pp 90-91)
  • Stow, John. A Survey of London. Reprinted from the Text of 1603. Ed. Charles Lethbridge Kingsford. 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1908) pp 2:393-4

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