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Snippets from the Archives - House Names

Our archivist, Mrs Hirst, has recently made a display for students on the origins of the House names. For more such 'Snippets from the Archives' visit her page on the website here.

CLARE (1908):

Clare House derives its name from the Clare family who came to England with William the Conqueror.  William rewarded the family with estates and manors, particularly the village of Clare in Suffolk which became the seat of the Earls of Clare.  The family were very prominent in the 14th century and founded Clare College in Cambridge in 1326.  The school’s closest association was with John Holles, the second earl, who established the Clare market for “fish and flesh” in St Clements Inn Fields in 1656.  The market disappeared under the Aldwych -Kingsway clearance scheme of 1899-1905.

The shield is that of the Clare family and is also seen in the arms of Clare College.

BURLEIGH (1938):

Burleigh House is named for Lord Burleigh who was one of England’s greatest Statesman.  He first entered the service of King Henry VIII as a minor official and rose to become Secretary of State under Edward VII and Elizabeth I.  In this post he devoted himself to building the nation’s wealth and power and it was largely due to his influence that the country was strong enough to defeat the Spanish Armada.  As a reward for his services, Elizabeth created him Baron Burleigh and Lord Treasurer and granted him land in the Strand.  Of particular interest to the school is Burleigh House which he had built on land where the rectory of St Clement Danes church formerly stood.

The shield is based on the arms of Lord Burleigh.  The light blue scallop shells are associated with the Borough of Holborn.

CLEMENT (1908):

The name of Clement House commemorates the first century Christian martyr.  Clement served as Bishop of Rome in AD 91 but was banished to work in the Crimean quarries by the Emperor Trajan along with many others who refused to worship heathen Gods.  The prisoners suffered particularly from thirst but in answer to Clement’s prayers a fountain of water appeared. Trajan was so angered by this miracle that he ordered Clement to be thrown into the sea with an anchor around his neck.  Clement was drowned but the sea withdrew for 3 miles leaving a ruined temple in which was found his body, still with the anchor around his neck.  It is said that on the anniversary of his death every year the sea receded again leaving a dry path for pilgrims to visit the temple. St Clement became the patron saint of mariners.

The house shield portrays the anchor, red being the church’s colour for martyrdom and the blue on silver representing the sea.

DANE (1908):

The name and shield of Dane House are associated with invasions of this country by the Danes beginning in the 9th century.  Late in that century, Alfred the Great granted the Danes a settlement between London and Westminster where they built a church. As they were great seafarers they named their church after St Clement , the patron saint of mariners. The church became the  burial place in 1040 of Harold Harefoot.

The shield specifically relates to invasions of Kent.  The leader of the Danish raids on the Kent coast was called “the Lord of the White Horse”, the sails of his ships were red and the blue border represents the sea.

EXETER (1952):

During the Middle Ages, the Bishop of Exeter’s palace was in the Strand.  In 1326, the bishop Walter de Stapledon, Lord High Treasurer to Edward II was murdered there by a mob.  After the Reformation, the church of St Clement Danes and land around it was granted by Elizabeth I to Lord Burleigh whose son held the title Marquis of Exeter.

The shield is based on the arms of the Exeter family and of Exeter College, Oxford.

LINCOLN (1938):

Lincoln House is derived from Lincoln’s Inn. During the reign of Edward I,  Henry Lacey, Earl of Lincoln, established a group of lawyers in the Holborn district.  This body later became one of the great Inns of Court along with Temple and Grays Inns.  The notable Statesmen Sir Thomas More, Walpole, Pitt and Disraeli all studied law here. 

The House shield bears the arms of Lincoln’s Inn with the Lion Rampant of Sir Henry Lacey.

ESSEX (1952):

Essex House is named for the Earls of Essex. Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and favourite of Elizabeth I was executed for treason in 1601.  His London home, Essex House, formerly the town house of the Bishop of Exeter and bequeathed to him by his step-father, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was near St Clement Danes church.  A cannon placed in the tower of the church was fired into Essex House to crush the attempted revolt for which he was executed.

Essex House shield is based on the arms of the Earls of Essex.

TEMPLE  (1908):

Temple House was named for the Knights Templar, a body of knights formed  in the 12th century to provide protection for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem after the First Crusade.  King Henry II gave St Clement Danes church to the Knights and they moved their headquarters from Holborn to the present Temple site on the embankment in London. 

Temple was the first house to receive its own shield which reflects the Templar uniform of white cloaks with a red cross on the front.