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Anecdotes Of English Architecture

( Originally Published 1915 )



William of Wykeham (13241404) is noted as one of the earliest of British architects of whom we have a full history. He built many of the beautiful buildings of Windsor Castle, New College at Oxford, and worked on Winchester Cathedral and School.

The story is told of his work at Windsor, that, on one of the walls of the castle the king's attention was called to the words " Hoc fecit Wykeham." The king complained to the architect about this, to which Wykeham replied that the words were not intended to mean " Wykeham made this," but " This made Wykeham." His ready wit seems to have saved him from the displeasure of the king, who heaped many favors and preferments upon his head, and much affection.

Inigo Jones (15731652) was the son of a clothmaker, and there is no certain account of the way he was brought up. We hear of some financial troubles of his father and of Inigo's being sent abroad by certain noble-men. In his own words he tells us something of these travels. " Being naturally inclined in my younger years to study the arts of design," he says, " I passed into foreign parts to converse with the great masters in Italy, where I applied myself to search out the ruins of those ancient buildings that yet remain."

Returning to England he entered the service of the King, James I, as " Surveyor of the Works." The palace of Whitehall in London is the great monument of his genius.

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