LONDON, Vol. IV (City).
(i) Earthworks, etc.
The only Earthwork included in the area of the present volume is the
mediaeval City Ditch, which skirted the town wall and has been filled in throughout its entire length. For the remains found, from time to time, of the earlier
Roman ditch see Vol. III, pp. 94–96.
(ii) Ecclesiastical and Secular Architecture.
Building Materials : Stone, Brick, etc.
London, before the Great Fire of 1666, was mainly a timber-built city; only
the churches, the larger houses and some of the halls of the City Companies were
built of more durable material. As the immediate neighbourhood of the city
produces no building stone, this material, throughout the Middle Ages, had to
be imported, the earlier builders using the excellent stone from the quarries of
Normandy or Northamptonshire. From the end of the 12th Century onwards
the favourite material was Reigate stone. After the Great Fire the city was largely
re-built in brick, such stone as was employed being almost invariably from the
Portland quarries. The surviving timber structures, very few in number, are
confined to the areas which escaped the Great Fire.
The earliest surviving ecclesiastical structure in the City is the crypt of St.
Mary le Bow, which dates from the latter part of the 11th century, and, though
partly reconstructed, is still a building of unusual interest. The eastern parts of
the Priory-Church of St. Bartholomew the Great date from the foundation of that
house in 1123 and with the rather later western part of the presbytery and crossing
form a handsome example of 12th-century work. The round nave of the Temple
Church was built about 1185, and though largely re-built in the 19th century still
retains its original West doorway and part of the porch.
Thirteenth-century building is represented by the fine quire of the Temple
Church ; by the much-altered nave-arcades of All Hallows Barking; and by
some remains at St. Helen's Bishopsgate. The churches of St. Ethelburga, St.
Olave Hart Street, All Hallows Barking, St. Sepulchre, St. Helen's Bishopsgate,
the Dutch Church Austin Friars, St. Alphege London Wall, and St. Bartholomew
the Less contain work of the 14th and 15th centuries, but except for the 15th-century arcade of St. Helen's it is undistinguished. St. Andrew Undershaft which
was re-built in 1532 and St. Giles Cripplegate in 1545 are typical town churches of
their period. Mediaeval towers have also survived in whole or in part at All Hallows
Staining, St. Alphege London Wall, St. Andrew Holborn, St. Anne and St. Agnes,
St. Mary Aldermanbury, St. Katharine Cree, and perhaps at other places.
Judging from the surviving remains, the mediaeval London parish churches were
in no wise remarkable architecturally ; the parishes were so small and the number
of churches so large as to militate against any great elaboration in individual
examples. It was otherwise with the Conventual buildings, and the surviving
remains of St. Bartholomew Smithfield and the Temple Church show that these
buildings were both in scale and decoration fully on a level with the highest
standards of the age.
Four London churches, so far as is at present known, possess mediaeval crypts :
the earliest of these, at St. Mary le Bow, has already been mentioned. The other
three, at St. Olave Hart Street, St. Bartholomew the Great, and All Hallows
Barking, date from the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries.
There is a crypt of late 12th century date, reconstructed in the churchyard of All
Between the Reformation and the Great Fire a certain amount of churchbuilding was done in London, of which the best example is the Church of St.
Katharine Cree, dating from 1628. Other work of the same age is to be seen in the
South doorway at St. Helen's Bishopsgate (dated 1633) and perhaps at St. Alban's
Wood Street. The plain brick tower at All Hallows Barking is remarkable as an
ecclesiastical building erected under the Commonwealth (1659).
The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed or seriously damaged 86 parish churches out
of the total of 107 then existing in the City. Of these destroyed churches, 51 were
re-built or repaired under the superintendence of Sir Christopher Wren; St. Andrew
Holborn, not destroyed by the Fire, was also re-built by him. One of Wren's
churches, St. Mary Woolnoth, had, subsequently, to be re-built under Nicholas
Hawksmoor. Of the remainder, 18 churches of Sir Christopher Wren have since
been demolished, most of them in quite recent times, and one, St. Dunstan in the
East, re-built. Of the 21 churches which escaped the Great Fire, twelve have been
re-built, and six have since been demolished. There now remain then, in the City,
32 churches designed by Wren ; eight of earlier date; and eight afterwards re-built,
making a total of 48. Of the destroyed churches, besides the mediaeval towers
mentioned on the last page, the towers of St. Mary Somerset and St. Olave Old
Wren's Renaissance Churches form a remarkable group, exemplifying alike
a mastery of construction and design and a felicity and fecundity of ideas which,
it may well be claimed, have never been equalled by any other architect. Amongst
his towers and spires, those of St. Mary le Bow, St. Bride, Christ Church Newgate
Street, and St. Michael Paternoster Royal may be cited as specially worthy of
attention, though a number more may claim the preference of individual taste. Of
his interiors, St. Stephen Walbrook is perhaps the most remarkable, though several
of the smaller churches are almost equally successful. In one point only he may
perhaps be held to have fallen short of complete success, and that is in the difficult
problem of combining a gallery front with a satisfactory internal design. Most of
Wren's churches are faced externally in stone, although a few are of brick with
stone dressings, and this combination is perhaps best exemplified in the very
charming design of St. Benet Paul's Wharf.
This is hardly the place to enter on a discussion of the merits of the Cathedral
of St. Paul's. The existing building is the result of a succession of schemes and
compromises and it is perhaps a matter for congratulation that such was the case.
It is in fact a "civic" Cathedral and worthy of its position. As it stands it is
undoubtedly one of the most successful essays in Renaissance design on a large scale
in the world, and presents a succession of excellences in proportion, outline and
detail which place it well above almost all its competitors.
Wren also experimented in Gothic architecture, as it was understood in his
time. In general these attempts are more curious than attractive, though the
tower of St. Michael Cornhill, one of his latest works, is bold in design and not lacking
in dignity and effect. The other examples of his work in this field are the churches
of St. Mary Aldermary and St. Alban Wood Street, and the tower of St. Dunstan
in the East; the last named is modelled on the 15th-century tower of St. Nicholas
Newcastle or the mediaeval tower of St. Mary-le-Bow.
Working with Wren was a group of remarkably competent carvers in stone
and wood ; among them Grinling Gibbons was, of course, an artist of outstanding
merit, whose work survives at St. Paul's Cathedral and possibly in a few City churches
and Companies' Halls.
One other building of this age must be mentioned—the Spanish and Portuguese
Synagogue in Bevis Marks—as perhaps the only example of a Synagogue on which
the Commission will be called upon to report.
Monastic and Collegiate Buildings.
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul has always been served by a College of
secular canons ; some remains of the mediaeval chapter-house and the cloister which
surrounded it are still to be seen on the South side of the Cathedral. St. Martin
le Grand, also a secular college, has no surviving remains. There were three houses
of Austin Canons in the City, two within and one without the walls; of these, the
Priory of Holy Trinity Aldgate has entirely disappeared, but the Priory of St.
Bartholomew Smithfield still retains substantial portions of its great church and
some remains of the cloister and chapter-house; the church of the third house—
St. Mary Cripplegate or Elsing Spital—became parochial in the 16th-century, taking
the name of a destroyed church of St. Alphege, and the 14th-century tower and
adjoining walls still, in part, survive. Each of the chief Orders of Friars had an
important establishment in the City, but all have been pulled down except the
great preaching nave of the Austin Friars, which has belonged to the Dutch Reformed
Church since the 16th century. The church of the Greyfriars became the parish
church of Christ Church Newgate Street at the Dissolution, and was re-built on a
smaller scale after the Great Fire. The existing church with the adjacent graveyard represents the exact outlines of the mediaeval building of which some paving
and a tomb-slab can still be seen. The Blackfriars by Ludgate is represented only
by a few fragmentary walls ; and the Whitefriars, south of Fleet Street, by a small
vaulted chamber under part of the domestic buildings. Of the Crutched Friars'
house there are no remains. The Benedictine Nunnery of St. Helen Bishopsgate
has retained the monastic church which now forms the northern half of the parish
church, and preserves some interesting features appertaining to its former use.
The headquarters of the Knights of the Temple, an Order dissolved early in the
14th century, passed eventually to the legal Societies of the Inner and Middle
Temple, and the church with its typical round nave became and remains
their private chapel. Of the minor mediaeval foundations, colleges, hospitals,
etc., no structural remains survive, though the plan of the Hospital-Church of
St. Thomas Acon in Cheapside is perhaps preserved in the buildings of the Mercers'
Of later Collegiate buildings, mention must be made of the Chapter House of
St. Paul's designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the buildings of two Inns of Court
the Inner and Middle Temple—and of two Inns of Chancery, Clifford's Inn and
Barnard's Inn; the latter has a late 14th-century Hall, originally domestic, and
there is a doorway of equally early date at Clifford's Inn.
The mediaeval town-wall of London, was substantially the Roman wall of the
city, repaired at various times. The main, and indeed the only, deviation from the
Roman line, was the extension built late in the 13th century to enclose the new
convent of the Blackfriars, to the S. of Ludgate. The structural remains of the
Roman wall have been fully dealt with in Vol. III, pp. 69–106, but a short reference
is made in the present volume to any still visible fragments of Roman or mediaeval
work, in the covering paragraph of each Ward, in which such fragment survives.
Of the town-gates no fragment is now visible, save the 16th-century figures from
Ludgate, now removed to St. Dunstan's in the West (p. 134) and St. Dunstan's
Regent's Park (Vol. ii, p. 87). The age of each individual gate has been considered
in Vol. iii, pp. 97–99, and an account given of any structural remains which have
come to light from time to time.
The secular buildings of the City are chiefly remarkable for the series of Halls
represented by those of the Inns of Court and Chancery, the Guildhall and the Halls
of the City Companies. The remains of purely domestic architecture are largely
confined to the period succeeding the Great Fire, and examples, even of this age,
are becoming yearly more scarce.
The earliest secular building included in the volume is the late 14th-century
Hall of Barnard's Inn already referred to, which is a timber-framed structure surviving largely intact. To the same period belongs the Hall of the Merchant Taylors'
Company with a vaulted crypt to the east, formerly supporting the chapel. Only
a little later in date is the Guildhall of the City Corporation, begun early in the
15th century. This building also, in spite of numerous subsequent alterations,
is structurally still largely intact; it possesses a remarkable vaulted undercroft,
a vaulted porch, and some remains of the subsidiary buildings to the North. Other
mediaeval fragments survive at the Inner Temple Hall and at a building S. of Watling
Street. Elizabethan building is almost confined to the handsome Hall of the Middle
Temple, which possesses a highly enriched hammer-beam roof and screen. Jacobean
building is equally scarce, the only important example being No. 17 Fleet Street,
built partly over the Inner Temple Gatehouse, and possessing an enriched plaster
ceiling. The surviving parts of Barbers' Hall were mainly built in 1636 from the
designs of Inigo Jones ; the court Room and Staircase are both remarkable.
The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the majority of the Halls of the City
Companies, and of these many were re-built in the years immediately succeeding
that event. It has in the past been customary to assign certain of these buildings
to Sir Christopher Wren, but in no instance can this be substantiated, the Companies
employing in every known instance their own surveyors. Many of these post-Fire Halls have been subsequently re-built so that the number of survivors is now
reduced to fourteen, including one, the Bakers', erected too late for inclusion in
this Inventory. On plan they consist essentially of a large Livery Hall, a Court
Room and a Kitchen, and there can be little doubt that they reproduce the main
features of the large mediaeval town-house. As a rule they are not remarkable
architecturally, but contain a wealth of furniture and fittings of unusual excellence.
Apart from those already noticed in the preceding paragraphs, the most remarkable
are the Halls of the Mercers', Brewers', Vintners', Girdlers', Tallow Chandlers',
Skinners', and Stationers' Companies.
Comparatively few of the larger houses erected after the Great Fire have
survived, but amongst these must be mentioned St. Paul's Deanery, designed by
Sir Christopher Wren ; the College of Arms ; No. 33 Mark Lane ; No. 5 Crane
Court; No. 34 Great Tower Street, a large merchant's house ; and a part, including
the staircase, of No. 73 Cheapside, sometimes known as the Old Mansion House,
where Sir William Turner is reputed to have kept his Mayoralty. Smaller houses
of distinction include Nos. 1 and 2 Lawrence Pountney Hill, with elaborate hoods
to the doorways ; No. 70 Aldermanbury, with a sculptured sign recalling the
builder—either Richard or John Chandler ; the Canons' house in Amen Court, etc.
Altars: There is an altar-stone with modern consecration crosses at St. Helen's
Bishopsgate, and part of a second in the Dutch Church Austin Friars.
Bells: The most remarkable bell in the City is that dated 1458, formerly in
All Hallows Staining and now preserved at Grocers' Hall; it bears a Flemish
inscription. There are two mediaeval bells at St. Bartholomew the Less and five
at St. Bartholomew the Great; those at the first church are assigned to John
Langhorne and Robert Crouch and those at St. Bartholomew the Great to Thomas
Brasses: The earliest surviving brass in the City is the shield and inscription
to William Tonge, 1389, at All Hallows Barking. Of the 15th and 16th centuries
there is a good figure of 1437 in the same church, and another of c. 1535 of a lady
in a heraldic mantle in St. Helen's church. There are two brasses of priests in
academic costume also in St. Helen's church, but the only brass of outstanding
interest in the district is the Flemish plate to Andrew Evyngar, salter, 1533, and
Ellyn his wife in All Hallows Barking.
Bread Shelves: The bread-shelves provided in many of the city churches, for
keeping the loaves to be distributed to the poor of the parish, form an interesting
class of fitting which is rarely found save in town-churches. The best examples
are at All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Michael Paternoster Royal and St. Martin
Communion Tables and Rails: There is an early 17th-century communion-table at St. Bartholomew the Great, but all the other notable examples are of late
17th-century date. They include handsome carved tables at St. Benet Paul's
Wharf, St. Clement Eastcheap, St. Stephen Coleman Street, All Hallows Barking,
St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Mary Abchurch, and St. Stephen Walbrook; several
of these have carved figures as supports, and the last-named is of an unusual semielliptical form.
There are good wrought-iron communion-rails at St. Magnus the Martyr,
and elaborate examples in oak at St. Margaret Lothbury, St. Stephen Coleman
Street, St. Andrew Holborn and St. Olave Hart Street.
Cisterns, Lead: The earliest surviving example of this class of fitting in the city
is at the Middle Temple Hall: it is dated 1612 and plainly panelled. There are
elaborately decorated cisterns at Girdlers' Hall and Brewers' Hall dated respectively
1695 and 1671. Other examples are to be found at Leathersellers' Hall, 1671 ;
St. Paul's Cathedral, 1682 ; Innholders' Hall, 1685 ; Vintners' Hall, 1704, and
All Hallows Barking, 1705.
Doors: There are elaborately enriched doors of late 16th-century date at the
Halls of both the Inner and Middle Temple. The door, dated 1633, at St. Helen's
Bishopsgate is also worthy of notice, and within the same church are two handsome
door-cases of the same period. Of late 17th-century doors and door-cases there is
a fine series of examples in the post-Fire churches and Companies' Halls ; the
finest of these are to be found at St. Lawrence Jewry, St. Nicholas Cole Abbey,
St. Benet Paul's Wharf, St. Mary Abchurch, and St. Martin Ludgate, and at the
Halls of the Brewers', Vintners', Innholders' and Barbers' Companies. The portcullis at the Mercers' Hall is a remarkable feature. A special class of doorway may
here be mentioned, which formed the entrances into parish churchyards. They are
generally decorated either with emblems of mortality, as in the richly carved example
in oak at All Hallows Lombard Street, and the plain stone gateways at St. Olave Hart
Street and St. Katharine Cree (1631), or bore above the head a sculpture or carving
of the Doom, as at St. Stephen Coleman Street, St. Andrew Holborn and St. Mary
at Hill. The stone gateway at St. Giles Cripplegate, dated 1660, is now lying in
Fireplaces and Overmantels: There is a stone fireplace of early type at Barnard's
Inn and another of early 16th-century date at Inner Temple Hall. An early
17th-century stone fireplace and oak overmantel is preserved in the Cock Tavern,
Fleet Street, and there are fine oak overmantels of the same period preserved at
St. Andrew's Court-house Holborn and at No. 30 Bishopsgate Street Within, the
latter is dated 1633 and retains also the stone fireplace. Late 17th- and early
18th-century fireplaces and overmantels are represented in great variety in almost
all the ancient Halls of the City Companies; in a few private houses, such as
No. 34 Great Tower Street; and in the Benchers' Reading Room at the Inner
Fonts and Covers: The only mediaeval font included in the inventory is the
plain 15th-century example at St. Bartholomew the Great. Early 17th-century
fonts of Renaissance design survive at St. Bride Fleet Street, dated 1615 ; at
St. Helen's Bishopsgate of c. 1632; at St. Andrew Undershaft, of c. 1634
by Nicholas Stone ; and at St. Katharine Cree of c. 1646. Late 17th-century
fonts are well represented, the finest being those at St. Margaret Lothbury with
scriptural scenes; St. Margaret Pattens; and Christ Church Newgate Street.
Of covers, the most remarkable is that at All Hallows Barking with carved cherubs,
fruit and flowers of unusual delicacy. Covers of more ordinary type may be noted
at St. Sepulchre, Christ Church Newgate Street, All Hallows Lombard Street,
St. Stephen Walbrook and St. Mildred Bread Street.
Funeral Palls: London is perhaps the only place which possesses more than
a single example of this unusual type of funeral furniture. There can be no doubt
that in the Middle Ages all the Companies, Fraternities and other corporate bodies
had each their pall which covered the coffins at their members' funerals. There
survive in London eight of these palls, of which the simplest but not the earliest
is that belonging to the Parish Clerks' Company, which was repaired in 1686. The
other examples are more elaborate; they include two palls belonging to the
Merchant Taylors' Company, one each to the Ironmongers', Saddlers', Fishmongers',
Brewers', and Vintners' Companies; these, generally, have brocaded centres and
embroidered flaps with shields-of-arms, figures of the patron saints, etc. All are
of early 16th-century date and the Ironmongers' pall is known to have been given
in 1515. Outside London, palls are of very infrequent occurrence, though one
belonging to the Cappers' Company of Coventry is preserved in St. Michael's Church
in that city, there is a second at Dunstable Priory, and a pall of the Lucas family
is preserved in St. Giles' Church, Colchester.
Galleries: The majority of the city churches were provided with galleries late
in the 17th or during the 18th century. In the larger churches, such as St. Andrew
Holborn, St. Bride Fleet Street, or Christ Church Newgate Street, these were of
considerable size and extended through the side aisle of the building and sometimes across the west end also. In the smaller churches they were of more restricted
dimensions and some of them have now been removed. They are, generally, provided with panelled fronts of more or less ornate design and are approached by one
or more staircases of the same type as the domestic staircases of the same period.
Glass: Comparatively little glass survives in the city churches, and both here
and in the secular buildings it is nearly all heraldic. There is some 15th-century
heraldic glass appertaining to Sir John Crosby in St. Helen's Bishopsgate, and a
series of shields of benefactors of the church, in 1532, at St. Andrew Undershaft.
In the same church is a large window with figures of five sovereigns dating from the
end of the 17th century. Much of the glass in the East window of St. Katharine
Cree is original and of c. 1628 ; other glass in the same church came from St. James'
Duke's Place, now demolished. There are large early 18th-century heraldic windows
at St. Andrew Holborn and St. Edmund Lombard Street, the latter erected to
commemorate the Union of England and Scotland in 1707.
Secular glass includes a panel with a figure-subject in St. Bartholomew's
Hospital, but is otherwise almost entirely heraldic. Of this, the finest collection
is at the Middle Temple Hall, but there are smaller collections at Barnard's Inn;
Brewers', Clothworkers', Innholders', Carpenters', Barbers', Cutlers', Apothecaries',
Parish Clerks' Halls and elsewhere.
Monuments: There are fifteen mediaeval effigies in the district under review,
and of these the series of ten in the Temple Church includes the most remarkable,
though they have suffered much from restoration and recutting; they cover the
whole period of the 13th century, the latest being the effigy of a Roos. The effigies
in other churches include those of a 14th-century civilian and his wife in St. Helen's
Bishopsgate, but formerly in St. Martin Outwich; the 15th-century figures of Sir
John Crosby and his wife in the same church; and the painted effigy, made probably early in the 16th century, to commemorate the founder of St. Bartholomew's
Smithfield. There are late Gothic tombs, without effigies, at All Hallows Barking,
St. Bartholomew the Less, St. Olave Hart Street, St. Botolph Aldersgate and St.
Helen's Bishopsgate. At the last-named church there is also a panelled Easter
Sepulchre erected as a monument to Joan Alfrey in 1525.
Elizabethan and Jacobean memorials are best represented by the Pickering,
Spencer and Bond monuments in St. Helen's, the Throkmorton monument at
St. Katharine Cree, the Hayward monument at St. Alphege London Wall, the
Ofley and Stow monuments at St. Andrew Undershaft and the Plowden monument in the Temple Church; all the above have effigies. The splendid series of
mediaeval and later memorials, formerly existing in Old St. Paul's Cathedral, is
now reduced to the monument of Dean Donne, the Baskervile tablet and the
few shattered effigies preserved in the crypt.
To the period succeeding the Great Fire belong an extensive series of wall-monuments and tablets of varying degrees of excellence. The most elaborate
examples are in St. Dunstan in the East, St. Michael Cornhill and the Temple
The names of a few of the sculptors of these memorials are ascertainable. Thus
the city possesses examples of the work of Nicholas Stone at St. Paul's Cathedral
and St. Dunstan in the West, of John Stone at the Temple Church, of Gerard and
Nicholas Johnson at St. Andrew Undershaft and St. Helen's Bishopsgate, of John
Bushnell at St. Olave Hart Street, of Caius Cibber at St. Lawrence Jewry and St.
Dunstan in the East and of Francis Bird at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Organs and Organ-cases: The majority of the organs erected in the re-built
city churches after the Great Fire were the work either of Father Bernard Schmidt
or of Renatus Harris. Between the years 1681 and 1708 the former supplied organs
to the churches of St. Peter Cornhill, St. Mary Woolnoth, the Temple Church,
St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Mary at Hill, St. James Garlickhithe, St. Dunstan in the
East, St. Katharine Cree and St. Martin Ludgate ; of these the organ at St.
Dunstan's had been removed to St. Alban's Abbey and the others have been either
altered or re-built. His rival, Renatus Harris, between 1670 and about 1711 supplied
organs to the churches of St. Sepulchre, St. Botolph Aldgate, All Hallows Barking,
St. Michael Cornhill, St. Lawrence Jewry, Christ Church Newgate Street, All
Hallows Lombard Street, St. Andrew Undershaft, St. Andrew Holborn, St. Giles
Cripplegate, St. Clement Eastcheap and St. Bride Fleet Street; many of these have
been enlarged and re-built. The organ built by Abraham Jordan at St. Magnus
the Martyr in 1712 includes the earliest example of a "swell-organ."
The organ-cases containing these instruments are often elaborately decorated.
The organ and case at St. Paul's Cathedral formerly stood over the quire-screen
but have been removed and re-erected against the side walls ; the case includes
some finely carved detail. Other noteworthy organ-cases are to be seen at St. Magnus
the Martyr, All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Lawrence Jewry and St. Stephen
Paintings: The most extensive piece of painted decoration within the limits
of the Commission's present inquiries is the dome of St. Mary Abchurch, probably
executed in 1707–8 ; it is, however, somewhat faded and not easily studied. There
is a late 17th-century painted ceiling in the vestry of St. Lawrence Jewry by Fuller
the younger, and over the mantelpiece in the same room a painting attributed
to Ribera. At the Carpenters' Hall are preserved three tempera-paintings on
plaster of mid-16th-century date from the old Hall which represent biblical scenes.
The Painter-Stainers' Hall contains some interesting painted decoration and
landscapes on panelling. The work of Thornhill is represented by a panel at Inner
Temple Hall, a ceiling in the Aldermen's Court Room at the Guildhall, and the
paintings in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral; the last two examples, however,
are beyond the terminal date of the Commission's reference.
Panelling: The earliest example of this type of fitting is the linen-fold panelling at Barnard's Inn. The Middle Temple Hall has some Elizabethan panelling,
and there are three carved panels of 1579 preserved at the Carpenters' Hall. The
first-floor room of No. 17 Fleet Street is lined with Jacobean panelling. Of late
17th- and early 18th-century work there are handsome panelled rooms at the
Inner Temple (Benchers' Reading Room), Brewers', Girdlers', Merchant Taylors',
Mercers', Skinners', Tallow Chandlers', Apothecaries', Stationers', and Painter-Stainers' Halls. A few of the chambers in the Temple have enriched panelling, and
mention may also be made of that in No. 34 Great Tower Street.
The panelling in the post-Fire churches is of more uniform type, enrichment
being generally confined to doors, door-cases and other features.
Plaster-Work: The vaulted ceilings of St. Katharine Cree (c. 1628) are
remarkable examples of plaster-work in the quasi-Gothic manner, and the tradition
is carried on in the elaborate plaster fan-vaulting of St. Mary Aldermary and the
simpler vaulting of St. Alban Wood Street. Other post-Fire churches have enriched
plaster ceilings and vaults of Renaissance design ; the examples at St. Mildred
Bread Street, St. Swithin London Stone, St. Andrew by the Wardrobe and St.
Andrew Holborn may be specially noted.
In secular work the Jacobean ceiling in No. 17 Fleet Street and the rather
later ceiling at Barbers' Hall have already been mentioned, and there are handsome
plaster ceilings of late 17th-century date at the Tallow Chandlers', Haberdashers',
Pewterers', and Innholders' Halls and in the Aldermen's Court Room at the Guildhall. To these may be added the ceiling of the vestry at St. Lawrence Jewry and the
ceiling with curiously clumsy figures in the vestry of St. Olave Hart Street.
Plate: The church-plate of the city of London includes, as might be expected,
an unusual number of interesting pieces. It is unfortunate that a certain amount
of it has been dispersed by the destruction of the churches to which it belonged,
while, on the other hand, a certain number of churches, owing to the union of
benefices, have acquired an amount of plate out of all proportion to any possible
use of it. Most of this superfluous plate is stored at various banks, but a number
of churches have adopted the admirable practice of depositing it on permanent
loan at one or other of the Metropolitan Museums.
There are five examples of mediaeval plate surviving in the city, in whole or in
part. Of these the paten of St. Michael Crooked Lane (now at St. Magnus) has
six-lobed spandrels engraved with leaves and a figure of God the Father in the
central depression ; it dates from c. 1500. An alms-dish of 1524 from the same
church (now at St. Magnus) has four engraved heads in medallions. At St. Mary
Woolnoth is a dish of 1518 with a central heraldic boss. The other two pieces are
the stem, of 1507, of a cup at St. Martin Ludgate with an inscription connecting
it with a monstrance left to the church in 1535 by Stephen Pekoc ; and, probably,
the stem of a cup of 1559 at St. Botolph Aldgate.
London possesses an unusual number of cups of the early Reformation period,
including one of 1545 at St. Margaret Patens; one of 1548 at St. Lawrence Jewry;
three of 1549 at St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Peter Cornhill and St. James Garlickhithe ; two of 1550 at St. Michael Cornhill and St. Martin Ludgate ; and one of
1552 at St. James Garlickhithe. There are thirty-four Elizabethan cups, including
one with a handle and three of beaker-form. Of these cups, five date from 1559,
three from 1560, one from 1561 and two from 1562. In addition to these there are
two handsome secular cups, one, called the Falstaff cup, of 1590, at St. Magnus;
and the second from St. Michael Bassishaw (now at St. Lawrence Jewry) of Augsburg
make and of c. 1600.
Of unusual pieces, mention may be made of the mazer-bowl, of 1568, at St.
Giles Cripplegate ; the horn beaker of 1573 at the same church ; a wooden cup of
1670 at St. James Garlickhithe ; the pair of flagons, of 1635, with handles and
spouts at the Dutch Church Austin Friars ; and the elaborately pierced and enriched
Indian dish presented to Christ Church Newgate Street in 1675.
Plate of 17th- and early 18th-century date is numerous, the most noteworthy
pieces being the cups of 1609 and 1617 at St. Botolph Aldgate and St. Giles Cripplegate respectively, the bread-dish of 1672 at St. Bride Fleet Street, the handsome
mace at the same church, and the embossed dishes of 1712 at St. Benet Paul's
Pulpits: There are two fine early 17th-century pulpits, each with a sounding
board, at St. Helen's Bishopsgate and at All Hallows Barking, the latter made in
1613. Most of the post-Fire churches have late 17th-century pulpits, forming a
series of great variety and interest. The pulpit formerly at All Hallows the Great
is now at Hammersmith, while its beautiful sounding-board is at St. Margaret
Lothbury. Another pulpit, in Christ Church Newgate Street, has been broken
up and the finely carved panels incorporated in the quire-stalls. Many of the other
pulpits have lost their sounding-boards. The finest pulpits of this period are those
at St. Mary Abchurch, St. Mildred Bread Street and St. Clement Eastcheap, with
their sounding-boards; and those at St. Stephen Coleman Street, St. Nicholas
Cole Abbey, St. Augustine Old Change and St. Andrew Holborn, which have lost
Reredoses: These all belong to the post-Fire period and many display considerable elaboration. They are based on one or other of the Classic Orders and
are primarily arranged to display panels with the Decalogue, Creed and Lord's
Prayer, and sometimes painted figures of Moses and Aaron. The finest examples
are those at St. Mary Abchurch, St. Vedast Foster Lane and St. Magnus the Martyr,
though the last named has modern additions. Smaller reredoses, of good design
or detail, exist at All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Augustine Old Change, St.
Mildred Bread Street, St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, St. Stephen Coleman Street. St.
Benet Paul's Wharf, St. Martin Ludgate, St. Anne and St. Agnes, and elsewhere.
Royal Arms: The practice of setting up the Royal Arms in churches, to
symbolise the royal supremacy, dates at any rate from the time of Edward VI. All the
post-Fire churches at one time possessed this feature, sometimes rendered in woodcarving and sometimes in plaster. There are good examples in plaster at Christ
Church Newgate Street and St. Mildred Bread Street; and in wood at St. Benet
Paul's Wharf, St. Mary at Hill, St. Margaret Pattens and All Hallows Lombard
In addition to the full Achievement some churches have also carved figures
of the lion and unicorn supporters set up on pew-ends and thought by some to
indicate the traditional position of the division between the nave and quire. There
are examples at St. Mildred Bread Street, St. James Garlickhithe, St. Peter Cornhill, the Schoolhouse Foster Lane, St. Margaret Pattens, etc. The first three
examples retain their original position, but most of the others have been moved.
Screens: There are now no remains of mediaeval chancel-screens in the city
churches. After the Great Fire only two churches, St. Peter Cornhill and All
Hallows the Great, were provided with this feature and both screens survive, though
the second one has been set up in St. Margaret Lothbury since the destruction of
All Hallows church. This screen is the finer of the two and was given by Theodore
Jacobson, a Merchant of the Steelyard; it bears a large carving of the eagle of
the Hanseatic League, but the Royal Arms which formerly surmounted it have
been removed elsewhere. The screen at St. Peter Cornhill is of simpler design but
retains both its royal arms and lion and unicorn.
Many of the city churches retain late 17th-century partition-screens masking
vestibules and doors, which it is unnecessary to particularise. The screens at St.
Paul's Cathedral are, however, worthy of particular attention; those in the Quire
and its aisles are mainly of wrought-iron work and include the magnificent productions of Jean Tijou. The screens enclosing the two chapels flanking the west
end of the nave date from the reign of Queen Anne and are equally handsome
examples of woodwork.
In secular buildings screens are confined to the Halls of the various Corporations. The Elizabethan example at the Middle Temple Hall is perhaps the richest
and most elaborate screen, of its age, that survives in the country. Many
of the Halls of the City Companies possess handsome late 17th-century oak screens,
that at the Girdlers' Hall, with an arcaded gallery, being perhaps the most notable.
Mention may also be made of those at the Vintners', Mercers', Merchant Taylors',
Brewers' and Stationers' Halls. A screen from one of the re-built halls of the
major companies has travelled as far as Lockinge House in Berkshire.
Seating: Late in the 17th century practically all the city churches were fitted
with "box-pews" with high wainscoted partitions. In almost every case (except
St. Mildred Bread Street) these pews have now been either removed or cut down
and the materials applied to the erection of quire-stalls, etc., not contemplated in
the original arrangement. A number of churches have, however, retained their
original church-wardens' pews, set at the west end of the church and treated with
greater elaboration than the rest. Examples may be seen at St. Margaret Pattens
(with canopies), St. Clement Eastcheap, St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Lawrence
Jewry, All Hallows Barking, etc.
Signs: The practice of setting a sculptured sign, of heraldic or other significance,
on the front of a building was common in the latter part of the 17th century, and
the large collection of these memorials in the Guildhall Museum represents a mere
tithe of those formerly existing. Some few still remain at or near their original
sites, but since the recent destruction of the house with a swan-badge in Cheapside,
the carving at No. 70 Aldermanbury is now the only example in the City still in its
original setting. Where these signs still remain in an existing building on the old
site they have been included in the Inventory.
Staircases: Very few staircases in the city of London date from before the
Great Fire. The main staircase at the Barbers' Hall may perhaps be part of Inigo
Jones' work there, and the staircase at No. 17 Fleet Street is, even more doubtfully,
of the same period. Fine staircases of late 17th-century date are, on the other hand,
fairly numerous, and include those at the Vintners', Merchant Taylors', Skinners',
and Apothecaries' Halls and at No. 73 Cheapside. The early 18th-century staircase at St. Paul's Chapter House has a wrought-iron hand-rail and balusters.
Mention must also be made of the so-called "geometrical staircase" in the S.W.
Tower of St. Paul's Cathedral; it, also, has a wrought-iron hand-rail and balusters.
Stalls: The 15th-century stalls formerly in the Nuns' quire at St. Helen's
Bishopsgate, have now been re-arranged in the parish chancel of the same church;
they have carved arm-rests, but the superstructure, if any existed, has disappeared.
The only other stalls worthy of mention are amongst the handsome quire-fittings
of St. Paul's Cathedral; there is a long canopied range on each side, with the stall
for the Lord Mayor at the east end of one side and the Bishop's throne in the
corresponding position of the other.
Sun-dials: There are late 17th or early 18th-century vertical stone sun-dials,
with inscriptions, on the churches of St. Sepulchre and St. Katharine Cree (1706),
on the Dutch Church Austin Friars, and on the buildings of Pump Court (1686)
and Essex Court (1685) in the Middle Temple. A more unusual type of sun-dial,
painted on glass, is exemplified in the buildings of the Pewterers', Girdlers' and
Sword-rests: The custom, in the 17th and 18th centuries, of providing a rack
or rest for the civic sword in the parish churches of successive Lord Mayors has
provided London with a type of church-fitting which is only represented in a very
minor degree in other cities and towns of the country. These sword-rests are of
two types, the earlier of wood generally richly carved and painted, and the later
type of wrought iron, of which there are numerous examples, most of which are
outside the terminal limit of the Commission's enquiries. Of the first group, the
earliest is at St. Helen's Bishopsgate, dated 1665, followed by one at St. Mary
Aldermary dated 1682; a third, dated 1674, formerly at St. Olave Southwark and
now in Southwark Cathedral will be dealt with in the succeeding volume. There
are, in addition, two wooden sword-rests of the same type in Companies' Halls,
that in the Clothworkers', dated 1677, and that in the Vintners' bearing the arms of
Sir Thomas Rawlinson, who was Lord Mayor in 1687 and 1696. Of the later
wrought-iron sword-rests, there is a fine example behind the Lord Mayor's
seat in the Corporation church of St. Lawrence Jewry. The earliest dated examples
of this type appear to be those at St. Magnus the Martyr (1708) and St. Swithin
London Stone (1710). The handsome series at St. Mary-at-Hill, six in number,
All Hallows Barking, St. Olave Hart Street, All Hallows Lombard Street, St.
Michael Paternoster Royal and various other churches, are judged too late in date
for inclusion in the Inventory.
For the convenience of the reader a number of the small groups of buildings
and fittings in illustration of the foregoing paragraphs have been collected, and
follow immediately on this Preface (Plates 1–48), though in some cases where the
fittings belong more particularly to an individual monument, such as effigies and
funeral monuments at St. Paul's Cathedral, the Temple Church, etc., they have
been placed with the other illustrations of the monument concerned. A comparative group of six pulpits will be found on Plates 78 and 79, and other fittings
of similar character appear among the whole-page or half-page illustrations
throughout the Inventory.