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Twickenham - Encyclopedia

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TWICKENHAM, an urban district in the Brentford parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, 12 m. W.S.W. of St Paul's Cathedral, London, on the river Thames. Pop. (1891), 16,027; (1901), 20,991. Its situation is pleasant, and it has grown into an extensive residential district. The body of the church of St Mary was rebuilt in brick after its collapse in 1713, but the Perpendicular tower remains. Among men of eminence buried here are Alexander Pope and Sir Godfrey Kneller. The Thames in this neighbourhood forms a long deep reach in favour with fishermen, and Eel Pie Island is a resort of boating parties. There are many fine houses in the vicinity, more than one possessing historical associations. Strawberry Hill, the residence of Horace Walpole, was built to his taste in a medley of Gothic styles. Marble Hill was erected by George II. for the countess of Suffolk, and Pope, Swift and Gay took part in its equipment. Orleans House was the residence in 1800 of Louis Philippe, then duke of Orleans, and this family again acquired it in 1852, when it was occupied by the duke of Aumale. Several eminent French refugees resided at this period in the neighbourhood. In 1700 the young duke of Gloucester, son of Queen Anne, died here. York House was given to Lord Clarendon by Charles II., was probably the occasional residence of James II. when duke of York, and in 1864 was occupied by the comte de Paris, nephew of the duke of Aumale. Twickenham House was the residence of Sir John Hawkins, author of the History of Music, and Twickenham Park House, no longer standing, that of Lord Chancellor Bacon. Pope's Villa was replaced by another building after his death, but the tunnel which connected his garden and house beneath a road, and was ornamented by him as a grotto, remains. Other eminent residents were Turner, who occupied Sandycombe Lodge, and painted many of his famous works here, Henry Fielding the novelist, and Tennyson. Kneller Hall, the house built by Kneller (1711), was converted into a training college for masters of workhouse schools in 1847, and in 1856 became the Royal Military School of Music.

Twickenham at the Domesday survey was included in Isleworth. Anciently it was called Twittenham or Twicanham, and the first form, or a variation of it, is used by both Pope and Walpole. The manor was given in 941 by King Edmund to the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury, from whom it had been previously taken, but it was again alienated, for it was restored to the same monks by Edred in 948. In the reign of Henry VIII. it came into the possession of the Crown, and by Charles I. was assigned to Henrietta Maria as part of her jointure. It was sold during the Protectorate, but after the Restoration the queen mother resumed possession of it. In 1670 it was settled for life on Catherine of Braganza, queen of Charles II. It remains in possession of the Crown, but since the death of Catherine has been let on leases. The old manor house, now demolished, was Catherine's residence; and had been, according to tradition, the place of the retirement of Catherine of Aragon after her divorce from Henry VIII.

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