Some personal explanation of how it fell to my lot to
write this book seems necessary.
During the second half of the nineteenth century two
great efforts were made to restore this church to a more
worthy condition for Divine worship, and also to restore it
to its proper rank as one of the great churches of the land.
The first effort commenced in 1863, the second in 1884:
the latter is still not fully spent.
My family had been connected with the parish since
1828, when my grandfather, John Evans, came to reside in
Bartholomew Close, and from No. 60 my father and mother
were married in the parish church of St. Bartholomew the
Great in 1844.
In consequence, I suppose, of this long association with
the parish, I was, in 1884, appointed Honorary Secretary
to the Restoration Committee and Rector's Warden of the
In this dual capacity I have had occasion to search the
records of the place and the results I have year by year
made public by means of open lectures delivered in the
As I have often been asked to publish these lectures in
the form of a book I am now doing so, and in a fuller manner
than is possible in a lecture. It has been my endeavour
to trace the history of the monastery of St. Bartholomew
from the time of its foundation to the time of its suppression,
and to show the causes which led to the practical separation
of the hospital from the priory.
I have then endeavoured to trace the history of the
parish church and of the parish to the present time, and
to compare, from personal observations, the architectural
features of the church and the arrangement of its monastic
buildings with those of similar great monastic churches in
England. I have endeavoured to show the important place
this church holds among the great twelfth-century churches
in the history of the architecture of the country.
I have, together with the list of the authorities, given
a brief description of the various manuscripts from which
information has been obtained, and to the introductory
account of the monastery I have added a short description
of the Augustinian Order as illustrated by the records of
The Book of the Foundation has been translated from
the Latin for this book by Mr. William Barnard and Mr.
Humphrey H. King, and their translation I have used in the
text, but I have printed in Appendix I the Middle-English
translation, made towards the close of the fourteenth
century, because of its interest as an example of the English
of Chaucer's time.
I do not claim to be an historian, or to have any literary
skill, but I offer these volumes to all lovers of St. Bartholomew's (and they are many) as an honest endeavour to put
into one book all that is known about it. As the majority
of my readers will not be antiquaries, and may not have
more knowledge of such matters than I had when I commenced my researches, I have ventured to give such
explanations of antiquarian, historical, and legal matters as
I myself had to acquire before I could fully understand
the records before me.
I gratefully acknowledge the help received from others
in carrying out the work: from the custodians of the
Public Record Office and of the Guildhall Record Office
and Library; from the Librarian of St. Paul's; from the
Librarians at Lambeth Palace and at the Society of Antiquaries of London, and from the Governors of St. Bartholomew's Hospital for permission to make the transcripts
from their monastic cartulary; also from Sir Norman
Moore's published researches thereon, and from Mr. J. A.
Twemlow, when working on the Regesta at the Vatican;
from the Rev. H. F. Westlake for assistance in searching,
by permission of the Dean, the muniments of Westminster
Abbey. Great help was given by the late Mr. John Hope,
the parish clerk and verger of St. Bartholomew's, by the
accurate Latin transcripts made by him from the original
records, and by Mr. William Barnard and Mr. Humphrey H.
King for the translations and legal explanations of the same.
I acknowledge help from Miss Benham on the Episcopal
Registers at St. Paul's and from Mr. Leland L. Duncan on
the Wills and in other ways.
On the antiquarian side I have had valuable suggestions
from the late Sir William St. John Hope, Mr. C. R. Peers, and
Mr. John Bilson of Hull; and in many matters, antiquarian
and otherwise, from Mr. H. S. Kingsford, assistant-secretary
of the Society of Antiquaries, who has also read the proofsheets of the book.
On the architectural side I had the help of Sir Aston Webb,
P.R.A., and his two sons, Mr. Maurice E. Webb and the
late Mr. Philip E. Webb (killed in action, 1916); from the late
Mr. F. Renton Barry (also killed in action), who was a member
of Sir Aston's staff, and from Mr. F. H. Greenaway, a member of the same during the Restoration of 1885, both of
whom worked on the plans and threw light on the arrangement of the monastic buildings. I acknowledge assistance
from the late Mr. R. Phené Spiers and Mr. F. H. Reed
in securing for the church the plans of the Restoration
of 1664, and from the late Mr. Tavenor Perry, who was
engaged on the same plans. Also from the late Mr. F. J.
Withers, who kept a diary of the work whilst it was in
progress at that time. Help was also given by Mr. Bligh
Bond by suggestions as to the use of the small clerestory
window on the north side, and by the late Mr. J. D. Crace
concerning the original colour-scheme of the church.
On the monastic side help came from the late Dr. J. C. Cox,
both personally and by his writings, and information from
Cardinal Gasquet and the late Rev. H. N. Birt, O.S.B.;
on Rahere's effigy from Mr. E. S. Prior, and on the bells
from Mr. H. B. Walters, who has written a description of
the bells for the book, also from Mr. R. A. Daniell. I am
indebted to Mr. G. W. Miller, of Chislehurst, for the
descriptions of the heraldry on the monuments.
To the late Mr. J. Franklin Adams I am indebted for the
information concerning the orientation of the church.
The copying of the graveyard inscriptions was the work
of Mr. W. H. Irons, now my co-churchwarden.
For parochial affairs I had the fifty years' experience of
the late Mr. W. H. Jackson, the vestry clerk. For much
transcribing, copying of registers, verifying references, &c.,
I have to thank Miss C. G. Howes, Miss F. E. King,
Miss M. M. Elson, Miss M. W. Gadd, and my daughter,
Miss H. L. Webb. I am indebted to Mr. William Barnard
and Mr. Humphrey H. King for reading the typewritten
sheets, the work of Mrs. J. Jamieson. For many of the
views of the church I am indebted to the Rev. Charles F.
Fison, for all the views from the Gardner Collection to the
late Major Sir Edward F. Coates, Bart., and for permission
to use various plans and plates from my paper in
Archaeologia to the Society of Antiquaries of London. To
Sir Ernest George, R.A., for a water-colour drawing of the
Smithfield Gatehouse, here reproduced. To my son Christopher I owe the drawing of Rahere's effigy and the design
for the cover of this book. The plates are by Mr. Emery
Walker. I ask for pardon from those donors of photographs
many years ago whose names I may have failed to record.
And last but not least am I indebted to my children, who
have allowed me to devote to the book my short leisure
time which they might rightly have claimed as their own.
E. A. WEBB.
60 Bartholomew Close, E.C. 1.