The ward of Farringdon-without.
This large ward forms the western extremity of the city of London; and
is bounded on the east by the ward of Farringdon-within, the precinct
of the late priory of St. Bartholomew near Smithfield, and the ward of Aldersgate; on the north, by the Charter-house, the parish of St. John's Clerkenwell, and part of St. Andrew's parish without the freedom; on the west by
High-Holborn, and St. Clement's parish in the Strand; and on the south by
the river Thames.
Plan of the ward of Farringdon without
The extent of this ward is to be computed from Newgate, and the spot
where Ludgate lately stood: on the east is the whole precinct of the late priory
of St. Bartholomew; a part of Long-lane, on the north, toward Aldersgatestreet; and all Smithfield, to the bars in St. John's-street. The north side of
Holborn up to the bars at the east end of Middle-row is included; from thence
the boundary line tends southward between Staples-inn and Castle-yard, and
in an irregular direction crossing Chancery-lane near the south end, points
to Temple-bar: from whence it runs down to the river, on the west side of
the Temple. From where Ludgate stood the line runs behind the houses on
the south side of the hill to Fleet-ditch now covered over; by which it is guided
down to the Thames.
Smithfield, as it is generally called, or West Smithfield as it is sometimes
termed, to distinguish it from East Smithfield, on Little Tower-hill; is the
greatest market for black cattle, sheep (fn. 1) , and horses in Europe; it was
celebrated as a horse market by Fitz Stephen, toward the close of the twelfth
century. It is also a market for hay and straw. The name is thought to be
derived from its being a smooth or level field; but this is meer conjecture,
Anciently it was much larger than it now appears; its area having been greatly
contracted by the surrounding buildings: the whole west side extended as far as
the sheep market does at present; and was called the Elms, from the number of
those trees that grew there. This appears to have been the place of execution
for offenders in the year 1219. Henry II. granted to the priory of St. Bartholomew the privilege of a fair to be kept annually at Bartholomew tide, on
the eve, the day, and the morrow; to which the clothiers of England, and the
drapers of London repaired, and had their booths and standings in the churchyard within the priory, which was separated from Smithfield only by walls
and gates. The gates were locked every night and watched, for the safety
of the goods deposited there; and the narrow street or lane afterward built
where the cloth was sold, still retains the name of Cloth-fair. This fair, which
was at first instituted for the conveniency of trade, was at length prolonged
to a fortnight, and became of little other use but for idle youth, and loose
people to resort to: upon which it was again reduced to the original term of
three days, and the booths, for drolls and plays in the middle of Smithfield,
by the falling of which many persons had lost their lives, were ordered to be
no longer erected.
In the days of chivalry, justs and tournaments used to be held in Smithfield,
before our kings and their courts; of which, several instances are upon record:
and during the memorable struggle between gloomy superstition and the common sense of mankind, numbers of sincerely pious christians were here consigned to the flames by the Romish clergy, for daring to dispute the dogmas
of the catholic church.
Spacious as Smithfield is, it is now so surrounded with streets, that the
keeping a beast market there is highly improper on account of the dangers
the neighbouring inhabitants, and indeed those in all parts of the town are
weekly in from the fury of exasperated oxen. The fellows employed to drive
these creatures from the market to the slaughter-houses are much more destitute of rational powers than the harmless animals they treat with a wanton
inhumanity that calls for a legal restraint: for however necessary such employments may be, it is far from being necessary that the animals by an unhappy
necessity devoted to death for our support, should be more injuriously treated
than the case requires. A consideration that, if we have not sympathy enough
to attend to on the real merits of the case, ought at least to be rectified for
our own safety.
When London had a regular wall and gates, this market was without the
wall, though near enough to render it convenient; as slaughter-houses were
situate in and about Butcherhall lane between Newgate and Aldersgate. It is
therefore much to be lamented that under the great alteration of circumstances,
this market is not removed to some convenient spot about Islington; where
it might be formed into a regular spacious square, surrounded by slaughterhouses and other convenient buildings, so contrived as not to be offensive even
in appearance. If any material objection occurred to this removal, it may be
worth considering whether it is not practicable to erect slaughter-houses in the
neighbourhood, somewhere about Chick-lane, or other ruinous parts: and to
stop all the avenues into Smithfield during the market hours, except such as
led to the slaughter-houses; or to places built for the reception of cattle, till it
was convenient to kill them.
Beside the market at Islington above hinted, another might be established
somewhere near the borough of Southwark, to prevent the driving cattle
through the metropolis: and if these could be carried into execution, Smithfield might be converted into a noble regular square, either for the purpose
of trade, or as private dwellings for merchants and opulent tradesmen. (fn. 2) It is
however much to be doubted after all, whether this market, if removed, could
be kept detached from other buildings; and that disagreeable as the neighbourhood to such a place is, let it be placed wherever it may, whether a town would
not quickly be collected round it.
At the bottom of the hill, which without Ludgate is called Ludgate-hill,
and without Newgate Snow-hill, formerly ran the rivulet Fleet, lately termed
Fleet-ditch. This ditch after the fire of London was made navigable for barges
to come up by the assistance of the tide, as far as Holborn-bridge, where Turnmill brook fell into this channel. The sides were built of stone and brick,
with warehouses on each side, which ran under the street, and were designed
to be used for the laying in of coals and other commodities. It had five feet
water at the lowest tide at Holborn-bridge: the wharfs on each side of the
channel were thirty feet broad; and were rendered secure from danger in the
night by rails of oak being placed along the sides of the ditch. Over this canal
were four bridges of Portland-stone, viz. at Bridewell, Fleet-street, Fleet-lane,
When the citizens proposed to erect a Mansion-house for their Lord-mayor,
and pitched on Stocks-market for the situation of it; Fleet-ditch was arched
over between Fleet-bridge and Holborn-bridge, and filled up to receive that
market. (fn. 3) When the building a new bridge at Blackfriars pointed out the
expediency of converting the remainder into an open street, the arch work was
continued from Fleet-bridge down toward the river, until the undertaking was
stopped, as hath been already related. (fn. 4) So that Fleet-ditch now exists only
as a common sewer like Wallbrook.
On the east side of the Fleet-market between Ludgate-hill and Fleet-lane,
is situated the Fleet prison; a very antient place of confinement, having been
a prison in the reign of Richard I. It is very large, and was reckoned the best
prison in the city for accommodations; but the buildings within being old,
part of them lately fell down. The body of this prison is a lofty brick building, of considerable length, with galleries in every story, which reach from
one end of the house to the other: on the sides of which galleries are rooms for
the prisoners. All sorts of provisions are brought into this prison every day, and
cried as in the public streets. A public coffee-house, with an eating-house, are kept
in it; and all sorts of games and diversions are carried on in a large open area, enclosed
with a high wall. This is properly the prison belonging to the court of Common
pleas; the keeper is called warden of the Fleet, which is a place of very great
benefit as well as trust. Prisoners for debt in any part of England may be
removed by Habeas corpus to the Fleet; and enjoy the rules, or liberty to walk
abroad, and to keep a house within the liberties of this prison, provided he can
give security to the warden for his forth-coming. The rules comprehend all
Ludgate-hill, from the Ditch to the Old Bailey on the north side of the hill, and
to Cock-alley on the south side of the hill: both sides of the Old Bailey, from
Ludgate-hill eastward to Fleet-lane, all Fleet-lane, and the east side of the
ditch or market, from Fleet-lane to Ludgate-hill.
Near the top of Holborn-hill on the north side, stands Ely-house, the antient
town residence of the bishops of Ely. It occupies a great extent of ground;
before it is a spacious court, and behind it a garden; the buildings are very old,
and consist of a large lofty hall, several old-fashioned apartments, and a good
chapel. But the expensive state which these large old town mansions required
the owners to maintain, have occasioned them in general to be deserted, for
more private houses; and Ely house is neglected among others. When a more
convenient Excise office was lately wanted, the ground on which Ely-house
stood was thought of for it; but its situation was objected to: when an intention was formed of removing the Fleet-prison, Ely-house was judged proper on
account of the quantity of ground about it; but the neighbouring inhabitants
in Hatton Garden petitioned against the prison being built there: a scheme is
now said to be in agitation for converting it into a stamp office, that business at
present being conducted in chambers in Lincoln's-inn.
Formerly there were about 40 acres of orchard and pasture belonging to Elyhouse; which falling to the crown at the death of bishop Cox, queen Elizabeth
gave that inclosed land to lord chancellor Hatton and his heirs for ever. The
chancellor built a large house upon the premises; which being removed, the
ground was afterward laid out into streets, and covered with very good and
genteel buildings; among which that called Hatton Garden is reputed one of the
handsomest in or about London.
Between Water-lane and the Temple, on the south side of Fleet-street, is a
district known by the name of White-friars; which took its name from the
White-friars, or Carmelites, who had their house in this place, and their garden
probably extended to the water side. They were cloathed in white, and having made a vow of poverty lived by begging. Their convent was founded by Sir
Richard Gray, Knt. ancestor to the Lord Gray of Codnor in Derbyshire in the
year 1241, and was afterward rebuilt by Hugh Courtney, earl of Devonshire,
about the year 1350. In the conventual church were interred many persons of
distinction. Upon the dissolution of the priory of White-friars, the church and
buildings, in process of time, became ruinous, and were pulled down;
they were afterward converted into private buildings, and now contain several
courts, lanes, and alleys.
In the year 1608, the inhabitants of White-friars obtained several liberties,
privileges and exemptions by a charter granted them by king James I. which
rendered the place an asylum for insolvent debtors, cheats and gamesters, who
gave to this district the name of Alsatia (fn. 5) : but the inconveniences the city
suffered from this place of refuge, and the riotous proceedings carried on there
at length induced the legislature to interpose, and to deprive them of privileges so
pernicious to the community (fn. 6) . From the present very ruinous state of the houses
here, and from its neighbourhood to Black-friars bridge, White-friars will probably in a few years, from one of the worst, become one of the most elegant parts
of the town.
The precinct of White-friars is extra-parochial; the inhabitants maintain
their own poor, collect their taxes, have no church-wardens, but two collectors, and chuse their own officers.
Salisbury court; New River office.
Between White-friars and Fleet-ditch is Dorset-court, or Salisbury-court,
where formerly stood the town house of the bishop of Salisbury, afterward
inhabited by the earls of Dorset: which house was many years ago taken down
and converted into private buildings. Between this court and the Thames
stood the playhouse where Shakespeare used to act; since occupied by the office
belonging to the New River company, which having been lately burned down
is now rebuilt in a very uniform neat stile.
The west end of Fleet-street is parted from the Strand by Temple-bar, a very
handsome gate, where anciently were posts, rails, and a chain, as in other places
where the city liberties terminated. Afterward a house of timber was erected
across the street, with a narrow gateway, and an entry through the south side
of it; but since the fire of London the present structure was erected, and is the
only gate at the extremity of the city liberties. This gate has an elegant appearance; the great arch is elliptical, and very flat; and there is a postern on each
side for foot passengers. It is built entirely of Portland stone, of rustic work
below, and of the Corinthian order. Over the gateway, on the east side, in
two niches, are stone statues of queen Elizabeth and king James I. with the
king's arms over the key-stone, and on the west side are the statues of king
Charles I. and king Charles II. in Roman habits.
This is the gate on which of late years the heads of such as have been executed for high treason have been fixed.
Of the several inns of court for students of law in this ward, the most considerable are the two societies of the Middle and Inner Temple; which occupy all that
space of ground formerly belonging to the Knights Templars, on the south side
of Fleet-street, between White-friars and Essex-house. These knights, who
were truly members of the church militant, by uniting devotion and heroism
in their profession, were instituted on the following occasion. Several of the
crusaders settled at Jerusalem, about the year 1118, formed themselves into an
uniform militia, under the name of Templars, or knights of the Temple; from
their being quartered near a church built on the spot where Solomon's temple
had stood. They undertook to guard the roads, for the security of the pilgrims
who came to visit the Holy Sepulchre; and some time after they had a rule
appointed them by Pope Honorius II. who ordered them to wear a white habit;
to which in the time of Pope Eugenius they added a cross of red cloth. Men
of birth in all parts of Europe soon adopted the profession of Templars and
became brethren of the order: they built themselves temples in principal cities
after the form of the Holy Sepulchre, particularly in England, where this in
Fleet-street was their chief house, and was often used as a sanctuary for the preservation of treasure and valuable effects in turbulent times. The order in England was in so flourishing a condition in the 13th century that they frequently
entertained the nobility, foreign ambassadors, and even the king himself; and many
great councils and parliaments were held in their house. At length however
their riches occasioned a relaxation from the rigid obligations of a monastic life;
and the rival order of the knights hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, whose
poverty as yet preserved them from the like corruptions, succeeded to the popularity the Templars lost by their indolence and luxury. Philip the Fair of
France, who thought the hive was full of honey, determined to burn the bees;
which he literally performed on many of the order, after contriving to brand
them with crimes sufficiently odious to justify the suppression of the order.
After the order had been abolished by Pope Clement V. at the instigation of
Philip, the knights in England were distributed in other convents; and by the
pope's order their possessions were transferred to the order of St. John (fn. 7) .
These knights, whose chief house in England was where St. John's square in
Clerkenwell now stands, lett this Temple out to students of the commonlaw; and in their possession it has ever since remained.
The Temple, which contains all that space of ground from the White-friars
westward to Essex-house, is divided into two inns of court, the Inner Temple,
and the Middle Temple (fn. 8) . These inns have separate halls, but both houses
resort to the Temple church: yet the buildings which have been erected at very
different times, with very little order or regularity, are perfectly united, and it is
impossible for a stranger to know where the Inner Temple ends and the Middle
Temple begins, except at the entrances, which are the only visible fronts to the
street. Backward there are many courts of handsome new built houses, and
behind them, gardens and walks fronting the Thames, which have lately been
much enlarged, by a new embankment already mentioned; the wall of which
may be conceived as the string of the bow formed by the old bank. These gardens are extreamly pleasant from their situation close to the river; they enjoy a
fine view of Black-friars bridge; between the large arches of which on a clear
day, London bridge forms an agreeable distant perspective appearance.
The Middle Temple-gate into Fleet-street was built in the stile of Inigo
Jones, in 1684. The front is graceful though narrow; and is of brick with
four large stone pilasters of the Ionic order, and a handsome pediment: between
the first and second story the following inscription is cut in a course of stone.
SURREXIT IMPENSIS SOCIETAT. MED. TEMPLI, MDCLXXXIV.
and beneath, just over the gate, is the figure of a Holy Lamb.
The great hall of the Middle Temple was originally built in king Edward III's
reign; but was rebuilt in the year 1572, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and is
esteemed one of the finest halls in the kingdom. In the treasury chamber is
preserved a great quantity of armour, which belonged to the Knights Templars,
consisting of helmets, breast and back pieces, pikes, a halbard, and two very
beautiful shields, with iron spikes in their centers, of the length of six inches,
and each about twenty pounds weight. They are curiously engraved, and one
of them richly inlaid with gold: the insides are lined with leather stuffed,
the edges adorned with silk fringe; and broad leathern belts are fixed to them,
for the bearers to sling them upon their shoulders.
In Garden court in the Middle Temple is a library founded by the will of
Robert Ashley, Esq; in the year 1641, who bequeathed his own library for
that purpose, and 300l. to be laid out in a purchase, for the maintenance of a librarian, who must be a student of the society, and be elected into that office by the
The chief officer of each of the Temples separately, is a treasurer, who is
annually elected from among the benchers or senior members; and whose office
is to admit students, and to receive and pay all cash belonging to the society.
Both the Temples are however under one master, who since the dissolution of
the Hospitallers in the time of king Henry VIII. has been a divine, constituted
by letters patent from the crown without any other induction.
The church, which is common to both societies, was the old church of the
Knights Templars. The entrance at the west is through a circular tower of
Saxon architecture in which are buried some Knights Templars, whose figureslying on the ground are preserved by iron rails. The church is purely gothic,
and it is great pity that the altar, pulpit, organ, gallery, &c. had not been kept
in the same stile of architecture; which would have made it as regular, if not
so rich, as the chapel of Henry VII. The first church here was founded in
1185, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary; though it was more generally known
by the name of the founders than by that of the protectress. The old church
was taken down in 1240, and another erected after the same model. The present
edifice was one of those that escaped the fire of London in 1666; but in
1695 the south west part was new built, and in 1706 the whole was thoroughly
This beautiful gothic structure is built of stone, firmly put together, and
enriched with ornaments. It consists of a long body with a turret, and a round
tower at the west end, that has much the air of a piece of fortification. The
diameter of this tower at the floor is 51 feet, and its height 48 feet; the length
of the church, exclusive of the tower, is 83 feet; its breadth 60 feet; and its
height is 34 feet. The body of the church is enlightened with large well proportioned windows, composed of three gothic arches, a principal in the center,
and a lower on each side. These windows stand so close that there are but very
slender piers left between them to support a heavy roof; they are therefore
strengthened with buttresses: but these buttresses, as in most other gothic
structures, exclude more light than the piers would have done, had they been
larger, and the windows smaller. The tower, though very massy, with few
windows, and those small; yet there are buttresses carried up between them;
the top is crowned with plain square battlements, and from the center rises a
fane. The turret upon the body of the church is small and plain, and serves
to receive a bell (fn. 9) . In brief, the outside has a venerable aspect, but nothing
either grand or elegant; the principal beauties are within.
On entering the round tower, you find it supported by six pillars, wainscotted with oak six feet high; and adorned all round, except the east part, which
opens into the church, with an upper and lower range of small arches, and black
apertures: but the most remarkable objects in this part, are the tombs of
eleven of the Knights Templars who lie interred here; eight of which are
covered with the figures of armed knights: of these, five lie cross legged; to
indicate that they had made a vow, to go to the Holy Land, to make war on
the infidels. Three of these are the tombs of Earls of Pembroke, William
Marshal, the elder, who died in 1219; his son, who died in 1231, and Gilbert Marshal, his brother, who was slain in a tournament at Hertford in 1241.
The other effigies lie strait legged; and the rest of the tombs are only coped
stone; but they are all of gray marble.
This tower is divided from the body of the church by a very handsome
screen in the modern taste; which will be described hereafter. On passing this
screen we find the church has three roofs supported by tall and slender pillars of
Sussex marble. The windows are adorned with small neat pillars of the same
stone, and the floor paved with black and white marble. The isles are five in
number; three as usual, running east and west, and two cross isles. The walls
are neatly wainscotted with oak above eight feet high, and the altar-piece, which
is of the same wood, is much higher, finely carved, and adorned with four
pilasters and two columns of the Corinthian order. The pulpit, which is placed
near the east end of the middle isle, is finely carved and veneered; the sounding
board is pendant from the roof, and enriched with several carved arches, a crown,
festoons, cherubims and vases.
The screen at the west end of the isles is like the altar-piece, of wainscot, and
is adorned with ten pilasters of the Corinthian order, with three portals and pediments. The organ gallery is supported by two fluted Corinthian columns, and
ornamented with an entablature and a compass pediment, with the king's arms
well carved. This is said to be the finest toned organ in all London. Near the
pediment, on the south side, is an enrichment of cherubims and a carved figure of
a Pegasus, the badge of the society of the Inner Temple; and in the pediment
on the north side is an enrichment of cherubims, and the figure of a Holy
Lamb, the badge of the society of the Middle Temple: for the gentlemen of
the Inner Temple sit on the south, and those of the Middle Temple on the
north side of the middle isle. In the church are the tombs of many judges, masters in chancery and eminent lawyers.
Serjeants inn Chancery lane.; Serjeants inn Fleet-street.; Amicable Assurance office.
In Chancery-lane are several inns of court with public offices belonging to
the law: on the east side are Serjeant's-inn, Symond's-inn, the Rolls chapel,
where the rolls of the court of chancery are kept; and the Cursitors-office:
on the west side, are, Lincolns-inn, the Six Clerks office, the Examiner'soffice, the Masters in Chancery's-office, &c. But these are all out of the city
liberty, except Serjeants-inn, at the south east end of the lane; where the several judges and serjeants have their chambers. This inn consists of two courts of
low mean buildings; in one of which is a small neat hall. There is a court of
the same name on the south side of Fleet-street adjoining to White-friars, which
consists of handsome new houses; and was formerly an inn of court for serjeants,
but is now private property. The hall is converted into an office for the Amicable Society for a Perpetual Assurance, incorporated in the year 1706. The
plan of this society is to make a provision for the wives, children, or other
relations of the members, after an easy, certain, and advantageous manner.
The number of persons incorporated was not to exceed 2000, but might be less:
each person receives a policy, under the seal of the corporation, intitling his
nominee or assigns to a dividend, on his or her decease, in the manner mentioned in the Charter. After paying the charges of the policy, and 10s.
entrance-money, each person was originally to pay 61. 4s. per annum, but
the annual payments have since, by the increase of the society's stock, been
reduced to 5l. a year, payable quarterly. From these payments the dividends to
claimants arise; and so considerable has been the increase for these eighteen
years last past, that each claim during that period has amounted upon an average
to upward of 155l. Thus by means of this society, persons enjoying places or
employment for life, whose income is subject to be determined or diminished at
their respective deaths, may leave to their families a claim, or right to receive
150l. at least for every five pounds annually paid in (fn. 10) .
On the north of St. Dunstan's church stands Clifford's-inn, one of the inns of
chancery, and a member of the Inner Temple. It was formerly lord Clifford's
mansion: but now the habitation of gentlemen in the law, chiesly attornies and
officers belonging to the Marshal's-court.
In Holborn we find several inns within the limits of this ward; and beginning at the east end, fronting Hatton Garden is Thavie's-inn, formerly an inn
of Chancery founded by John Thavie, Esq; in the reign of Edward III. It was
a member of Lincoln's-inn, and was chiefly occupied by Welch attorneys, but
is now wholly deserted and lies in ruins. A scheme is said to be in agitation for
converting the ground into a street or square for private houses; which may be
done to good advantage, as it is a large spot and well situated.
On the same side of Holborn, between Fetter-lane and Castle-yard, is Bernard's-inn, an inn of Chancery, belonging to the dean and chapter of Lincoln,
as says the record of Henry VI. the twenty-third of his reign; and was founded
by inquisition in the Guildhall of London, before J. Norman, mayor, the
king's escheator. The jury said, that it was not hurtful for the king to license
Thomas Atkins, citizen of London, and one of the executors of John Mackworth,
dean of Lincoln, to give one messuage in Holborn, in London, with the appurtenances, called Mackworth's-inn, but commonly known by the name of Bernard's-inn, to the dean and chapter of Lincoln, to find one sufficient chaplain,
to celebrate divine service in the chapel of St. George, in the cathedral church
of Lincoln, where the body of the said John is buried. This inn is subordinate to
Gray's-inn, and consists of three small courts, the largest of which has a passage
Opposite Bernard's-inn, on the north side of Holborn, is Furnivals-inn, an
inn of chancery, so called according to Stow from Sir William Furnival, to
whom it belonged in the reign of Richard II. This inn has an extensive uniform front in Holborn with two courts behind; the second of which includes
a small garden. The buildings are old, but the apartments are pleasant, and
are very retired, the inn having no passage through it.
Close to Holborn bars within on the south side, is Staple's-inn, an inn of
chancery, containing two large courts surrounded with good buildings, and
parted by a neat hall.
On the west side of where Fleetditch lately was, before it was arched over,
about the midway between the end of Fleet-street and Black-friars bridge, stands
Bridewell hospital; on the spot where once stood a royal palace, even before
the conquest: and which continued, with some little intermission, in that state
till the reign of king Edward VI. It was rebuilt by king Henry VIII. in the
year 1522, for the reception of the emperor Charles V. and obtained the name
of Bridewell, on account of a remarkable well adjoining, and its neighbourhood
to St. Bride's church.
At the solicitation of bishop Ridley, king Edward VI. gave the old palace of
Bridewell to the city, for the lodging of poor wayfaring people, the correction of
vagabonds, strumpets, and idle persons: and as the city had appointed the Greyfriars, now called Christ's Hospital, for the education of poor children; St. Bartholomew's and St. Thomas's in Southwark, for the maimed and diseased; Edward
formed the governors of these charitable foundations into a corporation; allowed
them a proper authority for the exercise of their offices, and constituted himself the
founder and patron. For this purpose he gave to the lord mayor, commonalty
and citizens, land to the yearly value of 450l. and suppressing the hospital
of the Savoy, gave for the above charitable uses great part of the revenue, together with the bedding and furniture. In the following reigns granaries and
storehouses for coals were erected at the expence of the city within this hospital,
and the poor were employed in grinding corn with hand-mills; which were
greatly improved in the reign of queen Elizabeth.
Bridewell was entirely consumed in 1666, with all the dwelling houses in the
precinct belonging to it, from whence had arisen two thirds of its revenue: the
hospital however was rebuilt in 1668, and consists of two courts, in which the
buildings are convenient, and not very irregular, The chapel has galleries on
the north and west side, supported by columns of the Tuscan order, and at the
west end are places for the hospital boys, and others for the prisoners. The
wainscotting and finishing are very neat. The court room is adorned with
columns of the composite order, a gallery, and the names of all the benefactors
to the hospital wrote in gold. There is here a chair for the president, and convenient seats for the governors.
For the encouragement of manufactures, a number of handicraft tradesmen of
several professions are allowed habitations in this hospital, for the purpose of
taking apprentices at the appointment of the governors to train up to their
respective occupations. These tradesmen are termed Arts Masters of Bridewell,
and their apprentices are well known by the name of Bridewell boys. They
wear a very aukward dress consisting of close blue cloth jackets without any
skirts; clumsy trousers of the same thick stuff; with white hats: and having
faithfully served their apprenticeship, are not only made free of the city, but
have 10l. toward beginning business for themselves.
To this hospital strumpets, pickpockets, vagrants, and disobedient and incorrigible servants, are committed by the lord-mayor, and aldermen; as are also
apprentices by the chamberlain of the city, who are obliged to beat hemp, and,
if the nature of their offences require it, to undergo the correction of whipping.
The affairs of the hospital are managed by the governors, who are above three
hundred, beside the lord-mayor and court of Aldermen; all of whom are likewife governors of Bethlehem hospital.
On the compleating of Blackfriars bridge, the front of Bridewell hospital,
then greatly decayed, was taken down and handsomely rebuilt several feet backwarder; to give the street a strait direction from Fleet-street to the bridge: by
which means the front court is much contracted from its former size.
Between the north side of Christ's hospital, and the houses that form the
south east side of Smithfield, is the hospital of St. Bartholomew; which
belonged formerly to the priory of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield founded
in the reign of Henry I. about the year 1102, by one Rahere the king's
minstrel, who was himself the first prior. This priory and hospital being
dissolved by Henry VIII. he in the last year of his reign restored the hospital
with an endowment of 500 marks annually, for the relief of 100 poor and sick
of the city of London; on condition that the citizens should add 500 marks
yearly on their parts. The managers of this foundation were incorporated by
the name of the hospital of the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London,
governors for the poor, called Little St. Bartholomew's, near West Smithfield.
Since that time the hospital has received prodigious benefactions from charitable
persons, by which means not only the poor of London and Southwark, but the
distressed of any other parts of the king's dominions, and from foreign countries,
are taken in, whether sick or maimed, and have lodging, food, attendance, and
medicines, with the advice and assistance of some of the best physicians and surgeons in the kingdom.
Though the old building escaped the dreadful fire in 1666, yet the chief part
of its revenues being in houses, the hospital was greatly injured by that calamity.
In the year 1729, the hospital became so ruinous that there appeared an absolute necessity of rebuilding it: and a subscription was entered into by many of
the governors, and other charitable persons, amongst whom was Dr. Ratcliff,
for defraying the expence, upon a plan then prepared, containing four detached
piles of stone building, to be connected by gateways, and to form a quadrangle. The east side of this square which compleated the whole, was but lately
finished; and it is now altogether one of the most pleasing structures in London,
when viewed from the area within, which it surrounds, and where only it can
be seen to advantage: its situation, considering the magnificence of the plan, is
indeed very whimsical; all the four sides being so compleatly surrounded with
houses, that a conclusion might be drawn that it was studiously concealed from
That part of the building which opens to Smithfield and which may be
esteemed the principal front, is allotted for the public business of the hospital:
it contains a large hall for the general courts of the governors; a compting house
for the meetings of committees; rooms for examining, admitting, and discharging of patients; with other necessary offices. Here is a stair-case painted and
given by the late Mr. Hogarth, containing two pictures, representing the good
Samaritan and the pool of Bethesda; which, for truth of colouring and expression,
are thought to equal any thing of the kind in Europe. The front of the hospital,
toward Smithfield, is adorned with pilasters, entablature, and pediments, of the
Ionic order, with the figure of king Henry VIII. standing in full proportion in
a niche; and the figures of two cripples on the pediment.
The other three sides of the quadrangle contain the wards for the reception
of patients; and being all of them two stories high, with four wards on a floor,
each side consists of twelve lofty spacious wards, of between twenty and thirty
Royal Society's hall.
At the bottom of Crane court in Fleet-street is the building used for the meetings
of the Royal Society, the institution of which learned body has already been related
in the order of time (fn. 11) . By the charter of Charles II. they were incorporated by
the name of the Royal Society, to consist of a president, council, and fellows,
for promoting natural knowledge and useful arts, by experiments: in this charter his majesty declared himself their founder and patron, giving them power to
make laws for the government of themselves; to purchase lands and houses; to
have a common seal, and a coat of arms. He also made them a present of a
silver mace gilt, to be carried before the president; and as a farther mark of fa
vour, he, by letters patent of the 8th of April 1667, gave them Chelsea college
with its appurtenances, and twenty-six or twenty-seven acres of land surrounding it. But the society neglecting to convert a part of it into a physic garden,
as was intended, and the king being resolved to erect an hospital for old and
maimed soldiers, thought no place more proper for such a design than this college;
he therefore purchased it again of them for 1300l.
When Gresham college, where the society first held their meetings, was converted into a temporary Exchange on the Royal Exchange being consumed by
the great fire, and the apartments were filled with public offices; the society
were accommodated in Arundel house, by the honourable Henry Howard afterward duke of Norfolk (fn. 12) . He also presented them with that fine collection of
books, part of the library of the kings of Hungary, purchased by the earl of
Arundel on his return from his embassy at Vienna. This generous donation
consisted of 3287 printed books in most languages and faculties; chiefly the first
editions soon after the invention of printing; and a valuable collection of manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Turkish, amounting to 554 volumes,
which, together with the former, are thought to be of such value, as not to be
paralleled. In 1715, this library was augmented with another valuable collection
bequeathed to the society by their secretary Francis Aston, Esq; which, together
with the numerous benefactions of the works of the learned members, in all
faculties, but more especially in natural and experimental philosophy, amount to
above 3600. Daniel Colwall, esq; in the year 1677, gave his great and curious
collection of natural and artificial rarities, which compose the greatest part of the
catalogue, published anno, 1681, by doctor Grew, under the title of Museum
Regalis Societatis. But these curiosities, by the generosity of other curious persons, are now increased to above six times the number of those enumerated in
This learned body is governed by a president and council, consisting of twentyone fellows, distinguished by their rank and learning. A treasurer, who receives
and disburses all the money. Two secretaries, who read all letters and informations; reply to all addresses or letters from foreign parts, or at home; register all
experiments and conclusions, and publish what is ordered by the society. The
curators, who have the charge of making experiments, receive the directions of
the society, and at another meeting bring all to the test.
Every person to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society, must be proposed
and recommended at a meeting of the society, by three or more members: and
when any one is admitted, he pays a fee of five guineas, and afterward 13s. a
quarter, as long as he continues a member, toward the expences of the society;
for the payment whereof he gives a bond. But most of the members on their
first admittance chuse to pay down twenty guineas, which discharges them from
any future payments.
Their memoirs, under the title of Philosophical Transactions, are now published annually in a 4 to volume; (that for the year 1770, being volume LX.)
which are presented gratis to the fellows. Their meetings are held on Thursdays in the afternoon, and their annual election of officers is on St. Andrew's
King's new printing house.
For above a century past the king's printing house was situated in Black-friars.
But Mr. Basket's patent expiring in January 1770, and the new one coming into
the hands of Charles Eyre, Esq; of Clapham, and Mr. William Strahan an eminent printer in New-street Shoe-lane; they removed the business to a large convenient building they had erected for that purpose near the house of the latter,
in Goldsmiths-row behind Gough-square Fleet-street, now called the king's new
printing house. Here bibles, common-prayers, acts of parliament, king's
speeches, proclamations, &c. are printed by authority.
On the east side of the street denominated the Old Bailey, which is supposed
to have been originally called Bail-hill, from the sessions-house, for the trial of
malefactors, which stands there at the end of Newgate-prison; is situated the
hall of the company of Surgeons, built by them after their separation from the
Barbers (fn. 13) . This hall with the theatre belonging to it are in an elegant taste:
the front of the hall has a basement story with square windows; and there is
an ascent to the principal floor by a double flight of steps, between which
below is a door level with the ground, for the conveniency of bringing in dead
bodies after execution at Tyburn, for dissection. At the height of the steps is a
range of Ionic pilasters, between the windows, of which there are two series,
a story of large ones with square ones over them. The entablature of the
pilasters supports a plain attic course, crowned with vases. The theatre for
dissections and anatomical lectures is an octagon, in each side of which is a
niche intended to receive skeletons of the most notorious criminals that come
under the surgeons hands as part of their sentence: several of which are already
Hand in Hand fire office.
At the top of Snow-hill opposite to St. Sepulchre's church, in Angel-court, is
the Hand in Hand Fire-office. This office was erected in the year 1666 for
insuring houses only. Every insurer signs a deed of settlement, by which he is
not only insured, but insures all that have signed that deed, from losses in their
houses by fire: so that every person, thus insured, is admitted into joint partnership, and becomes an equal sharer in the profit and loss, in proportion to
their respective insurances.
The conditions of insurance are 2s. per cent. premium, and 10s. deposit on
brick houses, and double those sums on timber houses. No more than 2000l.
is to be insured in one policy. The affairs of this office are managed by 24 directors, who are chosen by the persons insured, in rotation, and serve the office
three years without any reward: this office keeps in its service 30 fire-men,
who are protected from a press, are annually cloathed, and wear a silver badge,
with two hands joined, and a crown over them.
There are six parish churches in this ward, which beginning in the east present themselves in the following order.
St. Bartholomew the Great.
At the south-east corner of Smithfield, at the end of Duck-lane, stands the
parish church of St. Bartholomew the Great; antiently an appendage to the
monastery of St. Bartholomew lately mentioned, for the conveniency of their
tenants in the fair. When the priory church was taken down at the dissolution
of the house, the choir was spared by the king's order for the enlargement of
the adjoining church. Queen Mary however gave the church to the Friars
preachers or Black-friars, who held it till Elizabeth turned them out; when the
parliament restored the church to the parish. This church which escaped the
great fire is a spacious edifice of the Gothic and Tuscan orders; 132 feet long,
57 broad, 47 high: the tower is 75 feet in altitude. The patronage, which in
all probability was antiently in the prior and canons of the monastery, is now in
private hands (fn. 14) .
That large open spot of ground lying to the south of this church, called Bartholomew Close, was a court yard belonging to the old priory of St. Bartholomew; in which the fair was antiently held, until it was removed into
This parish still claims an exemption from the jurisdiction of the city, so far
as to protect non-freemen in carrying on their trades within it.
St. Bartholomew the Less.
Just without the north front of St. Bartholomew hospital, stands what is now
the parish church of St. Bartholomew's the Less, so distinguished from the other;
but which was originally no more than a chapel to the hospital. On the dissolution of the priory it became the parish church to the district where it stood;
and the patronage has been in the mayor and commonalty of London, since the
gift of the hospital to the city.
As the building was not destroyed in 1666, it is a very old fabric; it is 99
feet long, 42 feet broad, 34 feet high, and the height of the tower is 74 feet.
A little without Newgate on the north side of the street at the top of Snowhill, stands the parochial church dedicated in commemoration of our Saviour's
sepulchre or grave, at Jerusalem, Sanctum Sepulchrum, vulgarly called St.
Sepulchre's. It is now a spacious building, but not so large as of old time, part
of the scite of it being let out upon a building lease, and for a garden-plat. It is
generally believed to be founded about the year 1100, at which time a particular
devotion was paid to the Holy Sepulchre: and it was so decayed in the reign of
Edward IV. as to require to be rebuilt. Roger bishop of Salisbury, in the
reign of Henry I. gave the patronage of this church to the prior and convent of
St. Bartholomew in West Smithfield, who established a perpetual vicarage in this
church, and held it till their dissolution, when it fell to the crown. King James I
granted the rectory with its appurtenances, and the advowson of this vicarage
to Francis Philips, and others; after which the parishioners purchased the rectory
with its appurtenances, and held them in fee-farm of the crown. The
advowson of the vicarage was purchased by the president and fellows of St. John
Baptist college, Oxon, who continue patrons of it.
The present structure was much damaged by the fire of London in 1666.
The outward walls and the tower were capable of reparation; and the middle
isle of the church was at the same time made with an arched roof, which was
not so originally. The church measures 126 feet in length, exclusive of the
broad passage across the west end; the breadth, exclusive of the north chapel,
is 58 feet. The height of the roof in the middle isle is 35 feet; and the height
of the steeple, to the top of the pinnacles, is 146 feet. The body of the church
is enlightened with a row of very large gothic windows, with buttresses between,
over which runs a slight cornice; and the top is finished with a plain and substantial battlement work, in the style of the public buildings in the reign of Edward
IV. The steeple is a plain square tower, crowned with four pinnacles. The
church-yard, which is on the south side of the building, was formerly inclosed
with a high brick wall, without allowing any footway for passengers on the outside, to the great terror and danger of all who passed it. But among the other
improvements in this city, the church-yard of St. Sepulchre's was one of the
first; for in 1760 this front wall was removed, and the church-yard thrown intirely open.
It is the sexton of this parish who, as has already been mentioned (fn. 15) , admonishes the condemned criminals in Newgate the night before their execution;
and again as they are carried by the church on their way to Tyburn: the great
bell of the church tolls on such occasions from six in the morning until ten as
the passing bell.
St. Andrew Holborn.
At the north west angle of Shoe-lane on the descent of Holborn-hill, stands
the parish church of St. Andrew Holborn. This living is a rectory that was
originally in the gift of the dean and canons of St. Paul's, London, who transferred it to the abbot and convent of Bermondsey; and they continued patrons
thereof till their convent was dissolved by Henry VIII. Henry granted this
church to Thomas lord Wriothesley, afterward earl of Southampton, from
whom it descended by marriage to the late duke of Montague.
Though the church escaped the fire of London, it was some few years after
found too ruinous for repair. It was therefore rebuilt in 1687, excepting the
tower, the under part of which in 1704, being found sufficiently strong to be
preserved, was finished above in the same stile with the rest of the edifice. This
is one of the largest and best illuminated churches in London; and is 105 feet in
length, 63 feet in breadth, 43 feet in height, and the altitude of the tower is
110 feet. The body is well built, and decently ornamented. It has two series
of windows, which have all their ornaments; and along the top runs a neat
balustrade. The doors correspond with one another, and there reigns throughout the whole an elegant uniformity. Over the communion table is a large
painted window, exhibiting in the lower part the Messiah and his disciples at the
last supper; and in a compartment above, his resurrection from the grave.
This window though modern, as the name and date in one corner, Price 1722,
indicates, is not inferior to any other of the kind in the glowing richness of the
tints. The tower rises square, and consists only of two stages, crowned with
battlements and pinnacles at the corners. The first stage which is plain has the
dial; in the upper stage, there is to each front a very handsome window; tall,
arched, and decorated with Doric pilasters, which support a lofty arched pediment, decorated with a shield within.
The cornice which crowns the tower is supported by scrolls; and the balustrade which rises above this has a very firm base. The work of the balusters
is well contrived for the height; proportion of parts is more observed than little
finishings, and they have consequently a very good effect. Each corner of the
tower has an ornamental pinnacle, consisting of four large scrolls, which meeting in a body support a pine apple: from the crown of the fruit rises a well constructed fane. The church stands at an advantageous distance from the street,
in a large church-yard, which by the steep descent of the hill is considerably
higher than the street on the east end: it is parted from the street by neat iron
rails, and is entered by a large pair of elegant gates.
St. Bride's church.
Nearly about the same distance westward from what was once Fleet-ditch, is
the church dedicated to a saint of whom we know no more than that her name was
Bridget. This elegant church stands obscurely behind the houses on the south
side of Fleet-street, a little to the eastward of Salisbury court. Though the
origin of this church is unknown, it appears not to be of a late date, by its
having had three rectors before the year 1362. It was originally a very small
church, till about the year 1480, when it was greatly enlarged by William
Venor, warden of the Fleet-prison, who caused a spacious fabric to be erected at
the west end thereof consisting of a middle and two side isles; to which the old
church served as a choir. It was originally a rectory, and the abbot and convent
of Westminster were the patrons until their dissolution. It is supposed to have
been converted to a vicarage about the year 1529; and king Henry VIII. after
the dissolution of the convent, having given this church of St. Bride to the collegiate church of Westminster, it has continued a vicarage ever since. In 1610 the earl
of Dorset gave a parcel of ground, on the west side of Fleet-ditch, for a new
church-yard; which was consecrated on the 2d of August that same year, by
Dr. George Abbot, bishop of London.
The old church being destroyed by the fire of London in 1666, the present
edifice was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and by him compleated within 14
years, in such an elegant manner, as to exceed most of our parish churches in
delicacy and beauty. It is 111 feet long, 87 broad, and the steeple 234 feet
high; by which it appears to be 32 feet higher than the monument. It has a
plain and regular body, the openings all answering one another: the roof is
raised on pillars; and the altar-piece, like the outside of the church, is very
magnificent. The circular pediment over the lower part is supported by six
Corinthian columns. The steeple is a spire of extremely delicate workmanship,
railed upon a solid yet light tower: and the several stages by which the spire
gradually decreases are well designed, and executed with all the advantage
of the orders. This steeple contains one of the most melodious peals of bells in
St. Dunstan's in the west.
The church of St. Dunstan, commonly called St. Dunstan in the west, to
distinguish it from the other church dedicated to the same saint in Tower ward,
called in like manner St. Dunstan in the east; is situated between the ends of Fetterlane and Chancery-lane, in Fleet-street: where it projects out into the street,
and contracts the passage in a most aukward inconvenient manner. It appears to
have been built four or five hundred years, since there are accounts of funerals
and donations to it from the year 1421, with earlier anecdotes of little consequence: and it is easy to see that it has been repaired and altered at different
periods, till the original style, whatever it was, is lost. It narrowly escaped the
fire in 1666, the flames stopping within three houses of it. This edifice is but
an incumbrance to the way, and without having any thing but deformity itself,
spoils the beauty of the whole street; hiding the prospect of Temple bar, which
would otherwise terminate the view very advantageously, and be seen almost as
far again as it is at present. But as if the church did not sufficiently spoil the
street, a range of paltry sheds are suffered to remain round it, though a parliamentary authority was obtained for removing them (fn. 16) . The dial of the clock
projects over the street at the west end with a double face, at the extremity
of a beam; and over it by a kind of whimsical conceit, calculated only for the
amusement of countrymen and children, is an Ionic porch containing the figures
of two savages, carved and painted, as big as life, which with knotted clubs
alternately strike the hours and quarters on two bells hung between them. In a
niche at the east end of the church looking down the street, was lately placed
the statue of queen Elizabeth which formerly stood over Ludgate (fn. 17) .
It is a very ancient foundation, in the gift of the abbot and convent of Westminster: who, in 1237, gave it to king Henry III. toward the maintenance of
the house called the Rolls, for the reception of converted Jews. It was
afterward transferred to the abbot and convent of Alnwick, in Northumberland,
in which patronage it continued till that religious house was suppressed by king
Henry VIII. Edward VI. granted the advowson of this church, under the
name of a vicarage, to lord Dudley, with whom it did not long continue, but
after successive changes still continues in private hands.