In 1691 a fire began when, so it was said, a careless maid allowed some candles to remain lighted. After several hours it had "consumed the greatest part of the Stone Gallery on both sides, that towards the privy garden and that towards the Thames". New buildings were designed by Sir Chritopher Wren, which included a garden and lodgings for Queen Mary. Simon Thurley writes that "the fire had in fact removed the largest residential parts of the surviving Tudor Palace and brought a greater sense of order to the remaining buildings."
Another "careless maid" was blamed for the much greater fire of 2nd January 1698. Her mistake was to leave linen drying, unattended, by an open fire. "Such was the fury and violence of this dreadful and dismal conflagration, that its flames reduced to ashes all that stood in its way from the Privy Stairs to the Banqueting House and from the Privy Gardens to Scotland Yard."