Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields

Sponsor

English Heritage

Publication

Author

W. Edward Riley and Sir Laurence Gomme (editors)

Year published

1914

Pages

127-140

Citation Show another format:

'Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields', Survey of London: volume 5: St Giles-in-the-Fields, pt II (1914), pp. 127-140. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74293 Date accessed: 22 November 2014.


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LIV.—THE CHURCH OF ST. GILES-IN-THE-FIELDS.

First Church.

In a book, (fn. 1) now in the possession of the Holborn Metropolitan Borough Council, containing a number of extracts apparently copied from an earlier volume, is the copy of a document dated 26th January, 1630–31, in which it is stated that Queen Maud, about the year 1110, here built a church "pulchram satis et magnificam," and called it by the name of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. It is possible that the statement is merely based on the fact of the foundation of the hospital, including the church, at about that date.

Although there is no record of any presentation to the living before the Hospital was suppressed in 1539, the fact that the parish of St. Giles was in existence at least as early as 1222 (fn. 2) necessitates the assumption that the church was partially used for parochial purposes. After the suppression of the Hospital the whole fabric became parochial.

The earliest institution that has been found to (fn. 3) this church is dated 20th April, 1547, and was at the presentation of Sir Wymond Carew. On the next occasion (1571) the privilege was exercised by Queen Elizabeth, and since that time the patronage has always been in the hands of the Crown.

Very little information remains as to the architectural character of the church (whether the original structure or not) at the time of the dissolution. (fn. 4)

Besides the high altar there must have been an altar to the patron saint, St. Giles. There is also evidence of the existence of a chapel of St. Michael, for in the 46th year of Henry III. Robert of Portpool bequeathed certain rents to provide for the maintenance of a chaplain "to celebrate perpetually divine service in the chapel of St. Michael, within the hospital church of S. Giles." (fn. 5)

According to an order of the Vestry of 8th August, 1623, there then existed a nave and a chancel, both with pillars, clerestory walls over, and aisles on either side.

The Vestry minutes of 21st April, 1617, record the erection of a steeple with a peal of bells, but from the fact that "casting the bells" is mentioned as well as the buying of new bells, and from the reference to it in the following year (9th September, 1618) as "the new steeple," it seems probable that something of the kind had existed before. Parton (fn. 6) says that there was in early times a small round bell tower, with a conical top, at the western end of the church, but his authority for the statement is very doubtful.

The size of the church, measured within the walls, was 153 feet by 65 feet. (fn. 7)

Second Church.

The church was, in the early years of the 17th century, in danger of falling, as indeed some of it did, causing a void at the upper end of the chancel "which was stored with Lumber, as the Boards of Coffins and Deadmen's Bones." A screen was erected at the expense of Lady Dudley "to hide it from the beholders' eyes, which could not but be troubled at it." (fn. 8) A further collapse caused the parishioners to decide to erect a new church. This was begun in 1623 and finished in 1631. The cost of building amounted to £2,068, all of which, with the exception of £252 borrowed, was obtained from voluntary offerings. The largest contributor was Lady Dudley, who gave £250, and, in addition, paid for the paving of the church and chancel. A small sketch of the church is given by Hollar in his plan of 1658 (Plate 3), and a lithograph (here reproduced) by G. Scharf is in Parton's Hospital and Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields.


The Old Church of St Giles in the Fields
as it Appeared in the year 1718.

Figure 14: The Old Church of St Giles in the Fields as it Appeared in the year 1718.
From a lithograph of G. Scharf after John Hall

Hatton (fn. 9) gives the length as 123 feet and the breadth 57 feet. The church and steeple appear to have been built of rubbed brick (fn. 10) , surmounted with battlements, and coped with stone. (fn. 10) A western gallery was erected in 1671, and others to the north and south in 1676–7.

The chancel had a large east window, and one on either side. The nave had a window over the chancel arch, and a large one at the west end.

There were north and south aisles, which must have been of considerable height to admit of the galleries which were subsequently added. They appear to have been of three bays, (fn. 11) with two windows in each. All the windows, except the westernmost one in the north aisle, were glazed with coloured and painted glass. There were three doors to the church, one beneath the west window and others under the third window from the east of the north aisle and the westernmost window of the south aisle.

No window is mentioned by Strype at the west end of the north aisle, so that it is probable that the tower was attached to the church in this situation. This had battlements and was provided with a vane.

The interior was well furnished and provided with numerous ornaments, many of which were the gift of Lady Dudley. (fn. 12) Chief among the latter must be mentioned an elaborate screen of carved oak placed where one had formerly stood in the old church. This, as stated in a petition to Parliament in 1640, (fn. 13) was "in the figure of a beautifull gate, in which is carved two large pillars, and three large statues: on the one side is Paul, with his sword; on the other Barnabas, with his book; and over them Peter with his keyes. They are all set above with winged cherubims, and beneath supported by lions."

The church had a pair of organs with case richly gilded, and the organ loft was painted with a representation of the Twelve Apostles.

Very costly and handsome rails were provided to guard the altar. This balustrade extended the full width of the chancel, and stood 7 or 8 feet east of the screen at the top of three steps.

The altar stood close up to the east wall, with a desk raised upon it in various degrees of advancement.

The upper end of the church was paved with marble, and six bells were provided in the steeple.

In 1640 the reformers were very bitterly incensed against the rector with regard to the fittings in the church, and a petition was presented to Parliament enumerating the various articles which were considered superstitious and idolatrous. The result of this action was that most of the ornaments were sold in 1643, while Lady Dudley was still alive.

After the Restoration the church was repaired and decorated, and a striking clock and dials added to the tower.

In 1716 the church had a very valuable addition made to its plate in the form of an engraved gold communion cup, weighing 45 ozs., which had been purchased pursuant to the will of Thomas Woodville, a parishioner who died at sea. This valuable chalice, together with the rest of the sacramental and other plate, was stolen from the vestry room in 1804.

The church was obviously not well constructed, for by 1715 it was reported to be in a ruinous condition. Under a moderate computation it appeared that it would cost £3,000 to put it in order. The ground outside being above the floor of the church, caused the air to be damp and unwholesome, and proved inconvenient in other ways. In these circumstances it was thought better to recommend a complete reconstruction of the church.

The parishioners accordingly petitioned that the church should be included in the 50 new churches to be built in the cities of London and Westminster and the suburbs, and the necessary authority for this was eventually obtained in 1718. (fn. 14) Nothing, however, was done until 1729, when an arrangement was come to whereby the Parish of St. Giles agreed to make provision for the stipend of the rector of the new parish of St. George, Bloomsbury, on condition that the Commissioners acting under the Act of Queen Anne should pay a sum not exceeding £8,000 for the rebuilding of St. Giles Church. The arrangement was sanctioned by an Act of Parliament of the same year. (fn. 15) By 1731, Henry Flitcroft had prepared plans and entered into an agreement to begin pulling down by 31st August of that year, and to have the new church completely finished on or before 25th December, 1733. For this work the architect was to receive £7,030, but in fact the contract was exceeded by over £1,000, Flitcroft's receipt being for £8,436 19s. 6d. (fn. 16)

Third Church.

The interior dimensions of the church are as follows: length from the west wall to the east wall of the chancel, 102 feet; length from the west wall of the nave to the east wall of the nave, 74 feet; depth of the chancel, 8 feet; width of the nave and aisles, 57 feet 6 inches.

The plan is a nave of five bays with side aisles (Plate 43), over which are galleries, these being connected by a western one in the last bay of the nave. A shallow sanctuary is placed at the eastern end, and at the west is the steeple and a vestibule containing the entrances and the staircases to the galleries and tower.

The general treatment of the exterior of the church (Plates 45 and 47) is plain in character, but of pleasing effect. The walling is faced with Portland stone rusticated (chamfered at the joints) to a projecting band marking the gallery level. Above, the walling is of plain ashlaring with rusticated quoins. The gallery windows have semi-circular heads with keystones, moulded architraves and plain impost blocks. The whole is surmounted by a bold modillion cornice, with blocking course above.

Emphasis is given to the sanctuary by a pediment and by a large semi-circular-headed window with panels on either side forming a decorative composition.

The western end has a similar pediment with the tower rising above. The central entrance doorway lacks emphasis and the importance which its position seems to require, and is almost the same in design as those to the vestibules facing north and south, which are relatively unimportant. On the main frieze below the cornice is the inscription—H. Flitcroft, Architectus.

Rising immediately behind the western pediment is the steeple of about 150 feet in height.

Flitcroft's able design was evidently influenced by that of Gibbs for the neighbouring church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, but it lacks the vigorous character of that noble structure. The banding to the obelisk above the belfry tends to make this feature appear somewhat overheavy in comparison with the graceful lantern beneath. The change from square to octagon at the clock face level is cleverly managed, and will bear comparison with the same feature at St. Martin's Church.

The following extract from A Critical Review of the Public Buildings, Statues and Ornaments in and About London and Westminster made by Ralph in 1734, is of interest, as it gives an opinion upon the architecture of this church shortly after its erection:—

"The new church of St. Giles's is one of the most simple and elegant of the modern structures: it is rais'd at very little expence, has very few ornaments, and little beside the propriety of its parts, and the harmony of the whole, to excite attention, and challenge applause: yet still it pleases, and justly too; the east end is both plain and majestick, and there is nothing in the west to object to but the smallness of the doors, and the poverty of appearance that must necessarily follow. The steeple is light, airy and genteel, argues a good deal of genius in the architect, and looks very well both in comparison with the body of the church, and when 'tis consider'd as a building by itself, in a distant prospect."

Ralph disliked the position of the church, and would have altered its direction, making what is the east end the main front, and placing it in such a manner as to have ended the vista of Broad Street.

The interior (Plate 49) is much finer than the exterior would suggest, and is an excellent example of a well thought-out design. Square panelled piers rising to the underside of the galleries support Ionic columns with block entablatures, all of Portland stone (Plate 46). These carry the roof and ceiling. The ceiling of the nave is barrel-vaulted in form, panelled and divided into bays by mouldings. The ceilings of, the aisle-galleries (Plates 44 and 51) take the form of a species of groined vaults intersecting the barrel ceiling of the nave. The whole is covered by a roof of one span.

The treatment of the galleries is more than usually satisfactory, for the fronts, instead of being housed into the columns—giving the suggestion of a necessary after addition—rest comfortably upon the piers supporting the columns, and, if taken away, would mar the proportion of the columns to their pedestals.

The shallow sanctuary is almost the full width of the nave. It is ceiled with an ornamental panelled barrel vault following that of the nave, and the eastern wall is filled by an architectural composition harmonising with the general treatment of the nave.

On the frieze of the altar piece (Plate 51) is carved a cherub's head, and above is a scrolled pediment having in the centre a pelican feeding her young in the nest.

The lower panels on either side of the altar and of the sanctuary, are four in number, and enclosed in carved wood frames. Two contain pictures; that of Moses to the left (Plate 52) and of Aaron to the right of the altar.

The pulpit is of carved oak with inlay panels. The ironwork to the choir balustrade is of wrought work, and the old iron-bound chest in the north-west vestibule is of interest.

The organ (Plate 50) is of considerable interest, and Mr. George E. Dunn, the organist, has been good enough to supply the following information. The instrument was built by the celebrated Bernard Schmidt (known as Father Smith) for the second church in 1671, when he was 41 years old. He was known chiefly for the perfection of his dispason stops—the true organ tone—and those in this organ are among his best specimens. When the church was rebuilt by Flitcroft he evidently did not desire to interfere with the organ, and adopted the unusual expedient of erecting the tower of the new church partially round the organ; consequently the back and part of two sides are covered by the walling of the tower. Father Smith's original specification remained until 1856, when many of the stops had become decayed after 180 years' use. Dr. G. C. Verrinder, the organist at that time, had it restored and enlarged by Messrs. Gray and Davidson, and further repairs and alterations were made in 1884 by the same firm, under the instructions of the late Dr. W. Little, the organist at that date. In 1889–1900 further alterations were made by Messrs. Henry Jones and Sons, in collaboration with the present organist. But through all the decay and changes the organ has undergone Father Smith's original diapasons in the front organ remain and are still perfect. The blowing is done by hand, but the well-balanced lever renders this comparatively easy, while, despite the retention of the old tracker action, the instrument is quite free from the "rattling" so often found in these old actions. In front are carved the royal arms of George I.

All the glass to the windows, except a small panel (Plate 52) in the west window of the south vestibule, is modern. This fragment, which is probably from the earlier church, represents St. Giles's tame hind struck by the arrow.

The majority of the monuments in the church belong to the 19th century. Those of earlier date are as follows:—

On the north-east wall of the nave is a tablet of white marble, on a black marble slab, with the following inscription:

H. S. E.
GULIELMUS WATSON EQUES
SOCIETATIS REGALIS APUD LONDINUM,
ET COLLEGII REGALIS MEDICORUM SOCIUS,
REGALI ETIAM ACADEMIÆ MADRITENSI ADSCRIPTUS,
IN UNIVERSITATIBUS HALÆ ET VIRTEMBERGIÆ
MEDICINÆ DOCTOR
HONORIS ERGO ELECTUS
VIR SUI TEMPORIS
SCIENTIÆ INDAGATOR STUDIOSSISIMUS:
ARTIS MEDICÆ ET BOTANICÆ, NECNON PHILOSOPHIÆ NATURALIS,
PRÆCIPUE QUOD AD VIM ELECTRICAM ATTINET
INTER PRIMOS PERITUS.
OBIIT DIE MAII 10. A.D. 1787. ÆTAT SUÆ 72.
HOC MARMOR NEC SUPERBUM,
NEC QUIDQUAM HABENS ORNATUS:
PRAETER IPSUM EJUS NOMEN,
FILIO PIENTISSIMO LEGANTE,
TESTAMENTI CURATORES
PONI JUSSERUNT.

Above, surmounted by a crest, is placed a coat of arms: (Argent) on a chevron engrailed (Azure) between three martlets (Sable) as many crescents (of the first).

On the wall of the north aisle is a white marble tablet to the memory of John Barnfather, who died on 17th September, 1793, in the 75th year of his age. A tribute is paid to his strictness and impartiality in the execution of his duties as a justice of the peace, and to his "mildness of Temper and benignity of mind" in private life. The tablet is surmounted by a mourning female figure, and fixed on an oval slab of black marble.

A little to the west along the aisle is a tablet of black marble, with white marble cornice and base, bearing an inscription to the memory of other members of the same family, viz., Robert Barnfather, who died on 23rd October, 1741, aged 54, and his wife Mary, who died on 6th December, 1754, aged 67. A long account of the latter's many good qualities is contributed by "their most Affectionate Son."

Still further westward is a tablet with the following inscription:—

NEAR UNTO THIS PLACE LYETH THE BODY OF
ANDREW MARVELL ESQUIRE, A MAN SO ENDOWED BY NATURE
SO IMPROVED BY EDUCATION, STUDY & TRAVELL, SO CONSUMMATED
BY PRACTICE & EXPERIENCE: THAT JOINING THE MOST PECULIAR GRACES
OF WIT & LEARNING WITH A SINGULAR PENETRATION & STRENGTH OF
JUDGMENT, & EXERCISING ALL THESE IN THE WHOLE COURSE OF HIS LIFE
WITH AN UNALTERABLE STEADINESS IN THE WAYS OF VIRTUE, HE BECAME
THE ORNAMENT & EXAMPLE OF HIS AGE; BELOVED BY GOOD MEN, FEAR'D
BY BAD, ADMIR'D BY ALL, THO IMITATED ALASS! BY FEW, & SCARCE FULLY
PARALLELLED BY ANY. BUT A TOMB STONE CAN NEITHER CONTAIN HIS CHARACTER,
NOR IS MARBLE NECESSARY TO TRANSMIT IT TO POSTERITY, IT WILL BE ALWAYS
LEGIBLE IN HIS INIMITABLE WRITINGS. HE SERVED THE TOWN OF KINGSTON
UPON HULL, ABOVE 20 YEARS SUCCESSIVELY IN PARLIAMENT, & THAT WITH SUCH
WISDOM, DEXTERITY, INTEGRITY & COURAGE AS BECOMES A TRUE PATRIOT
HE DYED THE 16. AUGUST 1678 IN THE 58TH YEAR OF HIS AGE.
SACRED
TO THE MEMORY OF ANDREW MARVELL ESQR. AS A STRENUOUS ASSERTER OF
THE CONSTITUTIONS, LAWS & LIBERTIES OF ENGLAND,
AND OUT OF FAMILY AFFECTION & ADMIRATION OF
THE UNCORRUPT PROBITY OF HIS LIFE & MANNERS
ROBERT NETTLETON OF LONDON MERCHANT HIS GRAND NEPHEW
HATH CAUSED THIS SMALL MEMORIAL OF HIM
TO BE ERECTED IN THE YEAR 1764.

Further is a tablet of white marble, in the form of an ornamental cartouche, recording the death of John Hawford and Elizabeth his wife, and their two sons John and William. All four deaths occurred between December, 1712, and July, 1715.

Next is a tablet to the memory of Thomas Edwards, who died on 9th July, 1781, in the 71st year of his age. The tablet is of white marble, surmounted by a black cinerary urn, on an oval slab of painted marble. The inscription records his various bequests for the use of the poor of the parish, and explains that the monument was erected by his widow not only as a tribute of gratitude and affection, but with a view to inciting others "whom God has blessed with Abilities and Success" to follow his example. Her own death, on 23rd November, 1818, is also mentioned.

Still in the north aisle, but near the entrance, is a tomb bearing a white marble recumbent effigy of Lady Frances Kniveton, resting on a black marble slab above a stone base. This is one of the two memorials preserved from the second church. The inscription, contained on a white marble tablet, reads as follows:—

In Memory of the Right Honble. Lady Frances Kniveton, (Wife of SR Gilbert Kniveton,/ of Bradley, in the County of Derby Bart.) lyeth buried in the Chancel of this Church./She was one of the 5 Daughters & Co-heirs of the Rt. Honble. Sr. Robert Dudley Kt. Duke of the/ Empire; by the Lady Alice his Wife & Dutchess. which Robert. was Son of the Rt. Honble./Robert Dudley, late Earle of Leicester. & his Dutchess was Daughter of Sr. Tho: Leigh,/ and Aunt to the Rt. Honble. Thos. late Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh, in the County of Warwick./And the said Honour & Title of Dutchess Dudley, was by Letters Patents of his late Majesty,/of glorious Memory, King Charles ye 1st allowed; & since graciously confirmed to her, by his/now Majesty King Charles ye 2d and She lived & died worthy of that Honour.

Since the rebuilding of this Church this Monument was resett up by the/Honble. Charles Leigh of Leighton, in Bedfordshire: 1738.


Recumbent Effigy of Lady Frances Kniveton

Figure 15: Recumbent Effigy of Lady Frances Kniveton

At the west end of the north aisle is the stone monument, originally in the churchyard, of George Chapman, the poet, said to have been designed and given by Inigo Jones. The stone on which the inscription is cut was inserted in 1827.

On the west wall of the nave is an oval tablet of white marble, recording the gift by the Hon. Robert Bertie, son of the 1st Earl of Lindsey, of fifty pounds, the interest of which was to be utilised in the distribution of bread and money to the poor of the parish.


Tombstone of George Chapman

Figure 16: Tombstone of George Chapman
From a watercolour drawing by J. W. Archer (1844), preserved in the British Museum

On a pillar on the north side of the nave is the other memorial which was originally in the second church. This is to the memory of Sir Roger L'Estrange.

In the centre of a cartouche under a coat of arms: (Gules) two lioncels passant guardant (Argent), is the inscription:

In the Middle Isle near this Place lyeth the Body of sr Roger L'estrange Knt.
Born ye 17th of Decr. 1616
Dyed ye 11th of Decr. 1704

On a pillar on the south side of the nave is an oval tablet of white marble, mounted on a black marble slab, and bearing an inscription to the memory of the Rev. Richard Southgate, rector of Warsop, sub-librarian of the British Museum, and Curate of St. Giles-inthe-Fields, who died on 21st January, 1795.

Reader
If thou canst=excell him:
It will be well,
If thou canst equal him.

In the south porch are three tablets. The first, which is of marble, and was formerly affixed to a monument which stood on the north side of the chancel in the second church (fn. 17) , reads as follows:—

This Monument was Erected in the Year of Our Lord 1736. by the Pious Direction of the Honourable/Dame barbara webb wife of Sr. John Webb of Canford Magna in the County of Dorset Bart. and the Honourable/catherine talbot wife of the Honourable john talbot of Longford in the County of Salop Esq. Surviveing/Daughters and Coheirs of the Right Honourable john Lord belasyse Second Son of thomas Lord Viscount/fauconberg, in memory of their most dear Father his wives and Children./

Who for his Loyalty Prudence and Courage was promoted to Several Commands of great Trust by their/Majesty's King Charles the First and Second (Viz.) Having raised Six Regiments of Horse and Foot in the late Civil Wars/He commanded a Tertia in his Majesty's Armies att the Battles of Edge Hill, Newbury, and Knaseby, ye Seiges of Reading/and Bristol. Afterwards being made Governour of York and Commander in Chief of all his Majesty's Forces in/Yorkshire, He fought the Battle of Selby with the Lord Fairfax, then being Lieutenant General of ye Countys of Lincoln,/Nottingham, Darby, and Rutland, and Governour of Newark. He Valiantly defended that Garrison against the English/ and Scotch Armies, till his Majesty Came in Person to the Scotch Quarters and Commanded the surrender of it./At which time he also had the honour of being General of the Kings Horse Guards. in all which Services dureing/ the Wars and other Atchievements, he deported himself with eminent Courage & Conduct & received many wounds/Sustained Three Imprisonments in the Tower of London, and after the Happy Restauration of King charles the second/He was made Lord Lieutenant of the East Rideing of the County of York, Governour of Hull, General of His Majesty's/ Forces in Africa, Governour of Tangier, Captain of his Majesty's Guards of Gentlemen Pensioners, & First Lord/Commissioner of the Treasury to King james the Second. He dyed the 10th day of September 1689. whose remaines/are deposited in this Vault./

He married to his first wife jane daughter and Sole Heiress of Sr. robert boteler of woodhall in the/County of Hertford, Knt. by whom he had Sr. henry belasyse Knt. of the most Honourable Order of the Bath/interr'd in this Vault, mary Viscountess dunbar, and frances both Deceased/

He married to his second Wife ann Daughter and Coheir to Sr. robert crane of Chilton in ye County/of Suffolk Bart. who also lyes interr'd here.

He married to his third Wife the Right Honourable the Lady ann powlet Second Daughter of the/Right Noble john Marquiss of Winchester, sister to charles late Duke of Bolton, and is here interr'd, the/Issue by that Marriage as above.

The two remaining memorials in the south porch consist of inscribed marble tablets containing a record (1) of the gift of Richard Holford, who left the sum of £29 a year, issuing out of three houses in the parish, to be distributed quarterly amongst the "most aged & necessitated poore people of the said parish"; and (2) of the gift of John Pearson (died 1707), who bequeathed the sum of £50 a year for 99 years, one half to be utilised for the apprenticeship of boys "Sons of poor decay'd Houskeepers," and the other half to go to "the 20 Women in the Almeshouses at ye end of Monmouth Street."

In the north porch is an inscribed marble tablet recording the provision made by Sir William Cony for the interest on £50 to be utilised in the distribution of bread to the poor, "that is to say twelve penyworth every Sunday in every yeare and eight holy dayes in the same yeare."

Of the tombs in the churchyard only a few bear inscriptions which can be dated before 1800.

A stone, now placed against the east wall of the churchyard, records the birth and death of several persons named Hammond, including George Hammond, died 13th September, 1789; George Aust. Hammond, born 6th May, 1761, died 8th November, 179..; Mrs. P. Hammond, died 11th June, 1798; and John Hammond (inscription mutilated).

A stone, now placed against the west wall of the churchyard, records the death of William Harding on 23rd January, 1749, aged 76; and of his wife, Margaret, on 29th October, 1754, aged 82. On the same stone have been cut the later names (19th century) of persons named Orme.

By the side of the path running past the east end of the church is the tomb of Richard Pendrell "Preserver and Conductor to his sacred Majesty King Charles the Second … after his escape from Worcester Fight." The visible tomb is not the original one, the raising of the churchyard in the early part of the 19th century (fn. 18) having made it necessary for a new monument to be erected. This stands upon the black marble top of the older one.

On the plinth at the west end of the church is a stone recording the death of William Collins on 14th April, 1785, at the age of 27 years.

A lich gate (Plate 53) is placed at the western side of the churchyard, opposite the entrance to the church. It is of stone, in the Roman Doric order, and bears the following inscription on the east side of the tympanum: "This gate formerly stood in High Street, A.D. 1800–John, Lord Bishop of Chichester, D.D., Rector—W. L. Davies, William Leverton—Church-wardens—was built in this place a.d. 1865. Anthony W. Thorold, M.A., Rector. J.F. Corben, Thomas Willson—Churchwardens."

The west side of the tympanum contains a carved oak lunette representing the Resurrection (Plate 54). Other representations of the same subject are to be seen at St. Mary-at-Hill, in the north-west vestibule (stone); St. Stephen, Coleman Street, in the vestry (wood), a replica of which is over the doorway to the churchyard from the street; St. Andrew, Holborn, in the north wall facing Holborn (stone); and St. Nicholas, Deptford, on the east wall of the south aisle (oak, now in a glass case).

The carving is probably the work of a wood-carver, named Love. In 1686, directions were given by the vestry to erect "a substantial gate out of the wall of the churchyard near the round house." The gateway, which was of brick, was completed in 1687. It cost, with the necessary alterations to the churchyard, £185 14s. 6d., Love's bill being £27. (fn. 19) In 1800, according to the inscription, it was rebuilt, this time in stone, and remained on the north side of the churchyard until 1865. The main entrance to the church is still from a gate in the iron railings, at about the same spot.


Cast-iron Enlargement of Seal of the Hospital of St. Giles

Figure 17: Cast-iron Enlargement of Seal of the Hospital of St. Giles

To the south-west of the church, and now connected by a corridor, are the church rooms which form the vestry. The larger room (Plate 55) is panelled in deal with a wood cornice. Over the chimneypiece is a list of rectors of the parish from 1547, and portraits of rectors hang on the walls. There is a fine large oak table, dating from 1701, and on the walls is a cast iron enlargement facsimile of the old seal of St. Giles' Hospital.

The Rectors of the Parish up to the year 1800, according to Hennessy, (fn. 20) were as follows:—

Date of Appointment.
William Rowlandson, pr.1547, April 20.
Galfridus Evans, cl.1571, Nov. 8.
William Steward, cl.1579, Aug. 3.
Nathaniel Baxter, A.M.1590, Aug. 15.
Thomas Salisbury, A.B.1591, Dec. 24.
John Clarke, A.M.1592, Sept. 16.
Roger Maynwaring, A.M.1616, June 3.
Wm. Heywood, S.T.B.1635–6 Jan. 8 (ejected 1636).
Gilbert Dillingham(died Dec., 1635).
Brian Walton, A.M.1635–6, Jan. 15.
Wm. Heywood, S.T.B.1660 restored.
Robert Boreman, S.T.P.1663, Nov. 18.
John Sharp, A.M.1675–6, Jan. 3.
John Scott, S.T.B.1691, Aug. 7.
William Haley, cl.1695, April 4.
William Baker, S.T.B.1715, Nov. 10.
Henry Gally, D.D.1732, Dec. 9.
John Smyth, A.M.1769, Sept. 21.
John Buckner, LL.B.1788, May 22.
John Buckner, LL.D.1798, Sept. 17.

In the Council's collection are:—

(fn. 21) Old Church of St. Giles in 1718 (print).
(fn. 21) Plan of Church at ground level (measured drawing).
(fn. 21) Plan of Church at gallery level, looking up (measured drawing).
(fn. 21) West front (measured drawing).
(fn. 21) West front, cross-section (measured drawing).
(fn. 21) The exterior from the north-west (photograph).
(fn. 21) The exterior from the north-east (photograph).
The exterior from the south-east (photograph).
(fn. 21) Sectional view of the interior looking east (photograph).
General view looking west (photograph).
(fn. 21) General view looking west (photograph).
(fn. 21) The columns and ceiling from the gallery (photograph).
The upper part of the chancel from the gallery (photograph).
(fn. 21) The altar and altar piece (photograph).
(fn. 21) Picture of Moses and carved frame, left-hand side of altar (photograph).
Wrought iron chancel railing (photograph).
(fn. 21) Recumbent effigy of Lady Frances Kniveton (photograph).
(fn. 21) Painted glass panel in window over south-west staircase (photograph).
Iron bound chest in north porch (photograph).
Plan of Vestry (measured drawing).
(fn. 21) General view of Vestry (photograph).
(fn. 21) Cast iron enlargement of Seal (photograph).
(fn. 21) Monument to Chapman drawn by J.W. Archer, 1844 (preserved in the British Museum) (photograph).
(fn. 21) The Lich Gate (measured drawing).
The Lich Gate (photograph).
(fn. 21) Oak panel in the tympanum of the Lich Gate (photograph).

Old Prints, etc.

The christening of Joey. View of old Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. Heal Collection, Holborn Public Library, No. 320 (engraving).

The outside north-west view of St. Giles' Church in the Fields, built 1733. H. Flitcroft, Architect. D.F. Donnowell, Del. A. Walker, Sculp. 16 × 12½, 1753. (British Museum Crace Collection, Port. 28, No. 118) (engraving).

North-west view of St. Giles's Church, in the style of T. H. Shepherd, ink and watercolour, 25½ × 21½. Preserved in the Church Vestry.

"The old entrance gateway to St. Giles's Church Yard with the bas-relief of the Resurrection, 1687." (A water colour drawing by T. H. Shepherd, 1851. 7 × 10. British Museum Crace Collection. Portfolio 28, No. 122.)

"The new entrance gateway to St. Giles's Church Yard, introducing the old basrelief. W. Leverton, Architect." (A water-colour drawing by T.H. Shephered, 1851. 7 in. × 6½ in. British Museum Crace Collection. Portfolio 28, No. 123.)

Footnotes

1 Vestry Minutes, 1624–1719.
2 See p. 1.
3 Newcourt, op. cit., p. 612.
4 The sketch given by Parton, Hospital and Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, p. 54, is quite untrustworthy, and is in conflict with the little that is known of the church. He gives no authority for the sketch save that it was as "preserved in rude delineations of it, made near the time."
5 Parton's Hospital and Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, p. 56.
6 Ibid., pp. 191–2.
7 Vestry Minutes, 1624–1719, f. 4.
8 A Mirrour of Christianity and a Miracle of Charity, etc., by R. B. [i.e., Robert Boreman], p. 121.
9 A New View of London (1708), I., p. 259.
10 Strype's edition of Stow, 1720, II., pp. 77ff. The greater portion of what follows is taken from Strype's description.
11 See illustrations on map in Strype's edition of Stow (Plate 5).
12 A list of Lady Dudley's benefactions comprises the following: "She gave to the Church of St. Giles, the greatest bell in the steeple; and divers great pieces of massive plate; paved the chancel with marble, built the fair blue gate at the entrance to the churchyard, and purchased a fair house of £30 a year value for the perpetual incumbent. She also gave the hangings for the choir, which cost £80 10s., 2 service books, embroidered in gold, £5; a velvet altar cloth with gold fringe £60; a cambric cloth to lay over it with a deep bone lace £4 10s.; another fine damask cloth £3; 2 cushions for the altar, richly embroidered with gold, £10; a Turkey carpet to lay before the alter £6; a long screen to sever the chancel from the church, richly carved and gilt, £200; a fair organ £100; the organ loft richly wrought and gilt, and a tablet of the Ten Commandments, the Creed and Lord's Prayer, richly adorned, £80; the rails before the altar curiously carved and gilt, £40." (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1668–9, p. 176).
13 Parton's Hospital and Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, pp. 200–1.
14 4 Geo. I., cap. 14.
15 3 Geo. II., cap. 19.
16 Parton's Hospital and Parish of St. Giles, p. 213.
17 Hatton's New View of London (1708), p. 262.
18 Parton's Hospital and Parish of St. Giles, p. 224
19 Parton's Hospital and Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, pp. 216–7.
20 Novum Repertorium Ecclesiasticum Parochiale Londinense, p. 173
21 Reproduced here.