Edward Jesse (1780-1868) was a writer and naturalist. He became clerk in a government office in 1798, and for a time was secretary to Lord Dartmouth, when president of the Board of Control. In 1812 he was appointed commissioner of hackney coaches, and later he became deputy surveyor-general of the royal parks and palaces.
He was also greatly involved with the restoration of Hampton Court Palace. As a Molesey resident he lived in the house that later became West Molesey Vicarage, where he formed a close friendship with man of letters, John Mitford, editor of the Gentleman’s Magazine. Mitford edited the magazine successfully until the end of 1850.Since the death of George II in 1760, no monarch has resided in Hampton Court Palace.
Following a series of renovations led by Edward Jesse, Deputy Surveyor of Royal Parks and Palaces, the Palace opened to the public for the first time in 1838. The following year Jesse authored this illustrated guide, the first such guide to the Palace. In it he describes the journey from London to Hampton, briefly covers the history of the Palace under Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII, Charles I and William & Mary, and describes the works of art to be found in the Palace, including the Raphael Cartoons, which are now on permanent loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum.
On the abolition of the post of surveyor-general of the royal parks and palaces he retired on a pension, and died in Brighton. His book is still available today.