London, Volume 5
CXIII.-The Churches of London: No. III.-Modern Churches.
CXIII.-The Churches of London: No. III.-Modern Churches.
If it were Wren's ambition to found a school of ecclesiastical architecture in England, as well as to distinguish himself practically as an architect, he was not only successful, but lived long enough to enjoy that success personally in witnessing the most eminent of his successors follow in the path he had marked out. Despising the Gothic
as much as Wren himself, and having as little feeling for the simple elegance of the Greek, Gibbs and Hawksmoor (the latter Wren's pupil), went to the same sources of inspiration as the architect of , namely, the works of the Italian artists, who revived the Roman school of architecture; but who in so doing, whilst affecting the severest strictness in following its rules, sadly overlooked its spirit. The desire for the magnificent which formed an essential part of the character of the Roman people, and which had led them to alter, to adapt, and to extend the architectural principles they had derived from Greece, and, in many points at least, with the most signal success, became, too frequently, an almost insane passion with their Italian descendants, to which all higher qualities were sacrificed, through which all perception was dimmed of the elements that had combined to the construction of the great works of antiquity, making them, at once and for ever, consummately grand and beautiful. With what zeal were the ancient wyriters'studied whilst the
|buildings from which they had drawn their precepts were left to moulder in unregarded oblivion, or examined only to support pre-conceived theories! With what precision was every feature of every order systematized, whilst the uses of the orders were left to individual taste or caprice! With what eloquence was the purity of the Doric and Tuscan, and Ionic and Corinthian, expatiated upon, whilst building after building was being erected, apparently but to show how far and farther still corruption could be carried! Great differences prevailed, of course, between the architects of this class; some of them, whilst avoiding the worst features of debasement, were enabled through the originality of their minds to shed a glory over their productions, that made the eye at once less capable of, and less inclined to measure accurately the latent defects of the style: pre-eminent among these was Palladio in Italy; to their numbers also belong Inigo Jones and Wren in England, and perhaps, though in a much more limited degree, Wren's immediate successors, the architects before mentioned. The splendour of Palladio's reputation shows how popular the Italian-Roman style became among his countrymen, and its introduction into England by Jones, and more extensive diffusion as well as higher developement by Wren, was marked by an equally brilliant reception: as well it might be, when it gave us such works as the Banqueting House, , and , , the majestic grandeur of the , and the strikingly harmonious combinations of the last, enhanced by their being seen through the most delusive and enchanting of all atmospheres--that of novelty. Well, centuries have passed since the erection of the of these buildings, and--the style has passed too. Of all the churches (to refer only to such works) built in London, during its prevalence, how few are there that now possess any higher claims to notice than those derived from their pointing the moral and adorning the tale of this somewhat remarkable phase in the history of English architecture!|
Never was time more propitious for an artistical revolution than that which witnessed the growth of the style in question among us. With stroke, as it were, of the parliamentary pen, new churches were ordered to be built in consequence of the destruction caused by the fire; and when these were erected, and Wren had developed views, more were determined upon by the same authority, thereby presenting a similar opportunity for the development of the views of his successors. We refer to the Act passed in the year of the reign of Queen Anne, having for :of its objects, to remedy the insufficiency of accommodation afforded by the churches of London and the vicinity; and for another, as we learn from the commission subsequently issued to regulate the necessary proceedings, the
The expense was to be defrayed by a small duty on coals brought into the port of London, for a certain period. We may here observe in passing, that the intentions of this Act, as regards the number of structures to be built, were but very imperfectly carried out. And now, as to the men who were to avail themselves of the magnificent field opened to their exertions. James Gibbs was born about , and educated at Aberdeen, where he took the degree of Master of Arts. In his year he visited Holland, and entered into the Service of an architect. In , through the advice and
| by the assistance of the Earl of Mar, his countryman and patron, he went to Italy, and studied for years. He then returned to England, to find the Earl of Mar in the ministry, at once able and willing to obtain employment for him from the Church Commissioners. The stone of in was laid in , the steeple finished in , and the whole consecrated in . As this--the of Gibbs's ecclesiastical structures, has already been noticed in our pages,[n.195.1] and as he greatly improved upon it in his , it will be sufficient here to describe the latter-St. Martin's in the Fields, the building on which Gibbs's fame chiefly rests--that fane, according to the poet Savage, who expressed only the general opinion of his time-
was finished in at an expense of The chief feature of the exterior, the portico, needs neither description nor eulogy, it is so universally known and admired. How much of that admiration has been owing to our want of familiarity with the Roman originals (the Corinthian order, the here used, we need hardly observe, was of the results of the adaptation by Rome
| of the architecture of Greece), and how much to its intrinsic merits, is not however now so easy a question to decide as it once seemed. We have already learnt to feel the entire unfitness of its arched windows and doors, for the position they occupy; and still more, the discordance between the portico and the building to which it is attached. Could it be possible to devise windows either less beautiful in themselves, or more preposterously unfit for the exquisitely elegant columns and pilasters, so lavishly bestowed over the whole edifice, than those we see here, stretching along each side their double lines of ugliness? The steeple again, though exceedingly stately and elegant in its form, harmonises little better with the classical portico; and in the opinion of architects has another serious fault-instead of rising directly from the ground, it appears elevated above the roof. The interior presents an arched roof, supported by Corinthian columns, and in its general effect may deserve the commendation bestowed upon it, as |
[n.196.1] but if you examine the details with a more critical eye, you are reminded in every direction of Walpole's severer judgment,
Columns are cut by galleries which appear to have helped the artist out of a difficulty by consenting to stand without support, the entablature is broken into bits, and the very profusion of decoration on the ceiling becomes an error, if you contrast it with the neighbouring parts that seem, in their comparative nakedness, to have been sacrificed in consequence. Although a very ancient foundation, and the parent of or others, has no particular features of interest in its earlier history; of the later, the most noticeable is the list of notorious or eminent persons buried within its precincts. The frail, but warmhearted Nell Gwynn, is among the number, who left the ringers a sum of money for their weekly entertainment. In the vaults under the church lies Mrs. Centlivre, the dramatic writer, and in the churchyard Roubiliac, the great sculptor, who died in , and whose funeral was attended by Hogarth and Reynolds. C. Dibdin was interred in the burial ground belonging to this church, at Camden Town; a man who, had he rendered a tithe of the services actually performed by him to the naval strength of his country, under the name of a captain instead of that of a writer, would have died a wealthy peer, but, as it was, drew his last breath in poverty.
Hawksmoor commenced operations about the same time as Gibbs, and with his best work, St. Mary Woolnoth, which was finished in . The exterior exhibits both his faults and excellences: it has something of the heaviness which characterised him and his great associate in various structures (Vanbrugh), but has also the air of magnificence that belongs to both, with something like harmonious simplicity of decoration. The interior is sumptuously beautiful, though injured, as may be seen in our view, by the pews; the galleries also interfere with the classical simplicity and harmony of the plan. If the Italian-Roman school in England had advanced from works like this, instead of steadily retreating as if alarmed at its own success, we should have had possibly a very different fate to record in connection with it in these pages. But when Hawksmoor himself set the example, what else was to be expected of the herd who were to follow?
|His next church, St. Anne's, , finished in , presents all his worst qualities with scarcely any of his best; take away the indescribable circular porch, and the massive tower, with the equally indescribable collection of small obelisks placed by him upon the top, and the whole might be aptly designated by the word prison. The interior, on the contrary, is very splendid as regards the amount of decoration, but still worse in style from the confusion of the orders there used. If the architect had intended the minister occasionally to give his congregation a lesson on architecture, we could understand the propriety of the examples of composite columns, Ionic and Corinthian pillars, and Tuscan arches scattered about; as it is, we can but wonder that St. Anne's, , and St. Mary Woolnoth, are by the same man. His next work, , was in the same neighbourhood, and, we suppose, suffered from the same influences, whether of locality or otherwise; of this we can only say that the most effective idea about it is the octagonal lantern on the top of the tower, which is surrounded by a series of square pillars, with round tops, presenting the exact appearance of so many cannons levelled against the sky. We must not forget to add or of the richest points about the erection of these buildings; so far from treating the commissions with neglect, as might be supposed from the unsatisfactory result, it appears that Hawksmoor was studiously imitating Vanbrugh in his designs for them; and better still, that according to Malcolm, is the product of the united genius of the great men, Gibbs and Hawksmoor: the estimate, he says, was given in their names to the Commissioners. And what may it be|
|supposed was the amount actually expended (which considerably exceeded the estimate)? Why, , or in rough terms, more than the most expensive of Wren's churches. In , Bloomsbury, Hawksmoor made a material addition to his plans. Influenced probably by the admiration excited by Gibbs' portico to , he determined to have for , and, as might have reasonably been expected, improved upon it in some points; it displays itself, for instance, better, from the height to which it is raised above the level of the street; though it is considered inferior in point of execution. But what shall be said of the heavy-looking body behind, or of the steeple, which writer (Walpole) calls a masterpiece of absurdity, whilst others prefer it to any other in the metropolis, on the ground of its originality, picturesque form, and expressiveness? Neither the quality nor the can be denied; but if by expression is meant the expression of something finely appropriate, a brief uncoloured description seems to us the best answer to the assertion. Upon the tower, which an expression of majestic simplicity, rises a range of unattached Corinthian pillars and pediments, extending round the sides of the steeple, with a kind of double base, ornamented in the lower division with a round hole on each side, and a curious little projecting arch at each angle: above this stage commences a series of steps, gradually narrowing, so as to assume a pyramidal appearance, the lowest of which are ornamented at the corners by lions and unicorns guarding the royal arms (the former with his tail and heels frisking in the air), and which support at the apex, on a short column, a statue, in Roman costume, of George I. Now the only expression apparent here to our eye, is, that the steps do certainly answer in way the not unnatural query of how the King got to so uncommon and unaccountable a position.|
The other architects of the period in question, who rose into reputation or notice by their churches, are James, Archer, and Flitcroft. To the we owe the aristocratic church of the most aristocratical of parishes, , , completed in , or years ; a circumstance of some importance, when we consider that its portico is considered to be only surpassed by that of the church referred to. As to the interior, not only are all the orders there, but more we fear than either an antique Roman or Greek would be willing to recognise. It is, indeed, but too evident, that, with all the architects we have mentioned, in all their works, St. Mary Woolnoth alone excepted, they have been excellent in the exact proportion in which they have been least original: their porticoes have chiefly made the fame of Gibbs, Hawksmoor, and James, which, at the best, we now learn from the highest authorities, are, in all their beauty, but imperfect imitations of their respective originals.[n.198.1] , , with its fluted obelisk for a spire, is another of James' works, erected in . Archer's well-known production is , , finished in ; and which, if it were possible to designate by any single phrase, it must be some such as-Architecture run mad. If could imagine a collection of all the ordinary materials of a church in the last century, with an extraordinary profusion of decoration, of porticoes, and of towers, to have suddenly dropt down
| from the skies, and, by some freak of Nature, to have fallen into a kind of order and harmony and fantastic grandeur,--the towers at the angles, the porticoes at the ends and in the front,--it would give no very exaggerated idea of . Vanbrugh, says Pennant, had the discredit of the pile. There is something refreshing in turning from such a specimen of originality to the soberer form and unpretending style of St. Giles in the Fields, with its tall and graceful spire. It is curious that this edifice, which has given to Flitcroft his reputation, should be attributed, in the Report of the Church Commissioners to the , to Hawksmoor, who, they say, expended upon it; but there is no doubt but Walpole, and the View, published in , are correct in ascribing lit to Flitcroft, who was probably employed by Gibbs, and not by the Commissioners. The interior has an arched ceiling, supported by Ionic pillars, and is more than usually chaste and beautiful. The |
as the entrance at corner of the churchyard is called, from the representation of that event seen on its upper portion, is of older date than the church, having been executed about . The old church, to which it was then an adjunct, had in former times many rich monuments; , to Sir Roger L'Estrange, the well-known loyalist and writer, still remains. During the civil war Sir Roger had some narrow escapes: once he was condemned to be shot as a spy, but managed to get away from his place of confinement. Inconsistency in political writers is a spectacle we are not altogether unfamiliar with in our own times, but this worthy Knight has given us of the oddest instances of the kind perhaps on record. After the Restoration he published a newspaper, called the
in the very number of which he thus explains his views of the nature of the agency he was setting on foot:--
our acute logician hastens to give the multitude a fresh opportunity. A more distinguished sharer in the turbulent but sublime war of principles that has made the century for ever memorable, Andrew Marvel, was also interred here--a man, in whose reputation the glory of the patriot has eclipsed the fine powers of the poet. St. Giles also preserves the ashes of a truly great poet, Chapman, the translator of Homer, as well as the author of an immense amount of original writings. of the most curious things, perhaps, in the unwritten history of poets' opinions of each other, is Cowper's of Chapman. He had never seen the older poet's version till his own was far advanced, and, when he did see it, spoke of it with supreme contempt! This is entertaining enough now, when Chapman's version has become almost universally recognised as that which alone gives us the true spirit and flavour of the blind old bard. But what a world of masterly epithets (Pope took care to borrow or imitate some of the best), of exquisite lines and passages, are there in Chapman in addition! In that point, as well as in the other, Cowper's translation will not bear the comparison. Here is line of the numberless lines that, once heard, there is no forgetting afterwards-
| in which poetry and music are truly and indissolubly |
Another of the illustrious has yet to be mentioned in connection with St. Giles, an artist whose works have raised him to the very highest pinnacle of European fame as a sculptor--a man whose life was but a counterpart of his works: each illustrating each. Flaxman was buried here on the , his body accompanied to the grave by the President and Council of the Royal Academy. For once, an inscription speaks simple truth: we read here,
There is a peculiarly interesting circumstance connected with his death, told by Allan Cunningham, in his
[n.200.1] which we cannot resist the temptation of transcribing. He says,
This occurred on Saturday, the , when he was well and cheerful; the next day he was taken suddenly ill with cold, and on the was dead. The ground on which stands was formerly occupied by a hospital, founded by Matilda, wife of Henry I., for lepers; and it was in front of this hospital that Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, was so savagely burnt, during the reign of Henry V., his early friend. The phrase
will remind many of the custom that formerly prevailed here of giving every malefactor on his way to Tyburn a bowl of ale, as his last worldly draught.
As to the host of other churches that arose during the same or a little later period, it were useless to enter into any architectural details. Eternal imitations apparent through eternal attempts at originality are their chief characteristics where the architects had any ambition; where they had not, their churches sank even below contempt, built as they mostly were in a style requiring splendour of decoration and harmonious combinations of form as its essentially redeeming features: qualities that the masters in the school alone could give. So we shall merely notice such of them as present any other features of moment. In St. Botolph's, , the architecture of which, and of an extensive similar class, seems to us best described as of the puffy cherubim with wings order (so favourite a species of decoration is that feature, and so completely does it harmonise, in its way, with all around), lies buried, with a monument preserved from the old church, Sir Peter Paul Pindar, the inhabitant of the neighbouring
| house in , where we have still preserved a most rich and unique specimen of the ancient domestic architecture of the metropolis. Sir Peter was of the wealthiest, and, it is pleasant to add, of the most munificent-minded men of his time: his splendid benefactions to Old will, no doubt, be recollected by our readers. Many instances of the same spirit in lesser matters may be found in the books of the parish. of the most amusing is the pasty (a yearly gift apparently) which he gave to the parishioners--in ; we may judge of its size when we find that was paid for the mere |
We may add, from the same books, another notice to those already given in our preceding articles, of the pleasant way in which parish affairs were formerly managed. In , we find,
In the churchyard there is a tomb inscribed with Persian characters, of which Stow gives the following account:
[n.201.1] There is something affecting in the allusion to a chance visitor from the far-distant country;-- of those touches of nature that make the wide world kin,--a desire on the part of the bereaved son to find some chance-even the remotest--that his father's ashes should be hallowed by human sympathy. In the churchyard of St. George, in the Borough, rebuilt , lies Bishop Bonner, who died in the neighbouring prison of the Marshalsea in , whither he was committed by Elizabeth for his refusal to take the oath of supremacy. An anecdote is told of him, at the period of his committal, which shows his temper in a more favourable light than his public conduct would lead us to anticipate. On his way to the prison, called out
Bonner coolly replied,
To another, who insulted him on his deprivation from the episcopal rank, he could even be witty.
was the attack:
was the reply. was rebuilt about by the elder Dance; St. Botolph's, , originally given by the descendants of the knights forming the Knighten Guild to the Priory of Trinity, in ; St. Mary, Whitechapel, in ; and St. Alphage or Elphege, of the churches that escaped the fire, in . The porch of St. Alphage, with its sculptured heads and pointed arches, is, however, no production of the eighteenth century, but a remnant of the old Elsing Priory. Among the registers of this church we find a
| record of those that have certified they have been touched by his Majesty for the evil, an occupation that must have accorded but ill with the other modes adopted for the disposal of time by Charles II. But the number of persons thus operated upon is not the least extraordinary part of the affair; about in this parish in the course of a few years: multiply this by any reasonable number that shall be thought sufficient to include all the other parishes of England in proportion to their size and distance, and the product is startling. No wonder that it became necessary to regulate such proceedings by public proclamation, or Charles would have found that, in his willingness to affect the saint, he would be leaving himself no time to practise the sinner. The following bears date : |
The foundation of this church, like that of the old church at Greenwich, was probably intended to mark the public feeling as to the memorable event that closed the personal history of St. Elphege. At the time Canterbury was besieged by the Danes under Thurkill, in , he was archbishop, and distinguished himself by the courage with which he defended that city for days against their assaults. Treachery, however, then opened the gates, and Elphege having been made prisoner was loaded with chains, and treated with the greatest severity in order to make him follow the example of his worthless sovereign Ethelred, and purchase an ignominious liberty by gold. Greenwich at that time formed the Danish head-quarters, whither the archbishop was conveyed. Here he was tempted by the offer of a lower rate of ransom; again and again was he urged to yield by every kind of threat and solicitation:
was the noble Saxon's reply;
At last, the patience of the Danes was worn out: so day (the ) they sent for him to a banquet, when their blood was inflamed by wine, and on his appearance saluted him with tumultuous cries of
Calm and unmoved, Elphege gazed on the circle of infuriate men, who hemmed him in, and who presently began to strike him with the flat sides of their battle-axes, and to fling at him the bones and horns of the oxen, that had been slain for the feast. And thus he would have been slowly murdered, but for Thrum, a Danish soldier, who had been converted by Elphege, and who now in mercy smote him with the edge of his weapon, when he fell dead. A church was subsequently erected to his memory over the fatal spot, and another in London-probably at the same period--the church which led to this brief account of a very interesting historical passage.
After the erection of such of the churches as were erected, and the rebuilding, as we have just seen, of some of the older ones, there was a remarkable pause: during the long period extending from the commencement of the reign of George III. down almost to its close there were not (including St. Alphage and St. Mary, Whitechapel) churches erected in the metropolis. In an architectural point of view this was fortunate. The Italian-Roman school had
|been fairly put before the public, and there required time to come to a right understanding of its comparative merits with the Gothic, which it superseded here, and the purer Grecian and Roman schools, on which it had raised itself at home. The general character of the numerous new churches that now meet us on every side in the metropolis, the growth of the last years, speaks emphatically that the decision has been unfavourable. It was again fortunate that after such a period the more eminent architects who assumed the responsible position of erecting buildings that, from their very character as well as from their metropolitan position, should always be the best the state of the art can furnish, did not attempt originality, till they had purified their own and the public tastes, by familiarity with the long misunderstood and misused works of antiquity. There can be nothing more certain in art of any kind, than that every permanent advance must be based on a thorough appreciation of the--excellence that has gone before. Invaluable, therefore, were the variety of buildings erected in the early part of the present century, in which the Grecian orders, the Doric and Ionic, were introduced; though no doubt there was plenty of room for improvement in the mode of the introduction. It is in this light that the beautiful church of Road, appears with even greater interest than its exquisite columns and doors alone could give it. This was finished in ; the architects were Messrs. W. and H. Inwood, men who had evidently drunk deep at the undefiled well of Athenian architecture. Their building is an avowed imitation of the famous temple of Erechtheion at Athens, of the most florid existing specimens of the Ionic order. Here we began to learn, for the time, what absurdities had been committed under the shelter of great names. The doors in the portico were now found to be an essential beauty of the latter, instead of standing out in barbarous discrepancy with it: but then they were very different doors from those of in the Fields, and , Bloomsbury, being, at the time of their introduction, perfectly unique in England for beauty. We now found, too, that the Greeks had been able to erect a body to their fronts, not simply harmonising with, but so essentially forming a part of it, that it is only wonderful they should ever have been divided. And how perfectly beautiful that body is, with its windows, and sculptured band, and cornice, and rich antefixae studding as with fret-work the line of roof, and so finely relieved against the sky! Other interesting features of the exterior are the projecting porches at the eastern extremity of the north and south sides, also imitated from a building attached to side only of the Athenian temple, and called the Pandrosium. This is supported by caryatidal female figures, an exceedingly striking and expressive architectural feature. The origin of the use of such figures is attributed, with great probability of correctness, to the custom that prevailed among the Athenian virgins of carrying anythingon their heads the sacred vessels used in their religious ceremonies. In the Pandrosium there were figures, at there are but on each range, and they form the chief exception to the general excellence of execution visible through all the details of the church. Here is a drawing of of the original figures now forming a part of the invaluable treasures of the . Within each porch a large sarcophagus expresses its purpose --it is the entrance to the catacombs, which are very spacious. The steeple is imitated from another Grecian work, the Temple of Winds, at Athens, but|
|combines happily with the other parts of the exterior. Judging by analogy from the buildings of the last century, where it is really surprising to observe how seldom it was attempted to have the Within and the Without in harmony of richness and decoration, we should be little prepared for the interior of ; but the all-pervading of the truest artists (with noticeable exception in later times, the Gothic) that the world ever saw, is so powerfully impressed on their buildings, that beauty prepares you for beauty, and you are never disappointed. The galleries of are, of course, the same as usual-however skilfully adapted to the building,--excrescences; but the exquisite form of those columns that support them, give the eye pleasanter occupation than to dwell on defects, and when we learn their history we are not surprised: they are taken from casts of the Elgin marbles. On the remaining features of interest in , the range of verd-antique columns with bases and capitals of white marble (from the temple of Minerva) over the communion-table, the ground-glass windows with their|
|richly-stained borders, the pulpit and reading-desk, constructed, as we are told, out of the celebrated Fairlop Oak, our space will not permit us to dwell. From the foregoing description our readers will be prepared to hear that the cost was considerable, namely, Of the later works in the same style of architecture, the little chapel of St. Mark, , finished in , deserves especial commendation for its departure from the frigid commonplace imitations which most of these buildings exhibit. The chaste elegance of the still more recently erected building here shown, needs no eulogy. It is by Professor Hosking, of .|
|There is point of view in which these revolutions of taste that mark the present and last centuries, appear peculiarly striking. A nation, among its other priceless bequests to posterity, leaves a perfect system of architecture; that system is taken up by another great nation, men of the highest intellectual power adapt it to their national views and habits, and add a system scarcely less essentially original in any practical meaning of the word, to the world's artistical wealth. Now, is it not strange that after all the skill, learning, enthusiasm and treasure expended in altering, adapting, or improving these|
|systems, since the revival of arts and learning, that now, in the century, we are fain to go back (in that direction of the architectural compass) to those systems; nay, we seem not content to stop short with the Roman school, but, as if the very suspicion of adulteration was enough to repel us, go on to the ultimate point from which we started. And what but the same kind of movement is taking place still more energetically with the Gothic, which lay for the same period, under an infinitely deeper cloud? It was not simply misunderstood by professing admirers; on the contrary, there were scarcely any who thought it worthy of admiration. The re-action of this sentiment must be remembered, when we look at the many, and ambitious works that have been erected in this style of late years. But after all allowance on this score, some of these buildings present satisfactory evidences of an approach towards a right appreciation on the parts of their architects, of the principles of the wonderful buildings they have taken for their model. There has been but truly dark age in England for architecture, and that is the period we have just emerged from :--emerged at least, if the experience of that period with regard to the improvements upon the Roman and Grecian styles, be not thrown away upon the improvers or adapters of this with regard to the pointed. The best security against this danger will be the general diffusion among the people as well as among architects, of that appreciation we have referred to. We have reason, therefore, to congratulate ourselves upon the circumstance that so many new churches in the Gothic style have been recently built, as offering increased facilities for the study of the latter, and still more, that in the principal of these, purity rather than originality has been the architect's grand aim. Let us but thoroughly understand and enjoy that or any other style, and we may then safely attempt to advance whenever the right men are prepared to lead the way. Foremost among the structures calculated to forward these views, stands that which was also earliest in point of time in the present revival of pointed architecture in the metropolis-we allude to the New Church at Stepney, erected about by Mr. Walters, in an exceedingly chaste and beautiful style. This was followed by the still more magnificent structure at , , by Mr. Savage, with a tower at the west end feet in height: this building was finished in , or in the same year as that just object of universal ridicule, the church of All Souls, with its circular advanced tower, and cone spire, in : a noticeable contrast. St. Katherine's, , consists of portions, the buildings for residence, which are in the old English domestic style, and the chapel, which is pointed; the whole however harmonise, and at the same time express very happily the character of the pile as the home of a once religious community. St. Katherine's forms a remarkable exception to the rule for the dissolution of religious houses; a good fortune which it seems to have derived from its having been founded by a Queen, Matilda, wife of Stephen, and then refounded by Elinor, widow of Henry III., who made it an especial appanage to the Queens of England. Philippa, wife of Edward, was also a great benefactress, as we are reminded by the excellent carvings of her head and the King's, still preserved with the ancient stalls they decorate, and the very curious old pulpit, in the chapel. There was formerly a Guild attached to St. Katherine's, dedicated to St. Barbara, of which great numbers of eminent persons were members; from Henry VIII. and his wife downwards. In the Hospital itself,|
| Verstegan, the author of the |
was born, and Raymond Lully wrote his . Many distinguished persons were also buried in the old church or precincts. The only monument that remains is the Duke of Exeter's, , with the effigies of that nobleman and his wives; an interesting specimen of ancient monumental sculpture. In connexion with this memorial Mr. Brayley mentions a very disgraceful circumstance that occurred in the pulling down of the old church of St. Katherine (for the erection of the docks to which it has given name); the tomb was opened and the remains dispersed; the head, it appears, passed into the possession of the docksurveyor. The establishment now consists, we believe, of a master, brothers, sisters, bedeswomen, a registrar, high bailiff, &c. Several other modern Gothic buildings deserve especial mention, which our space compels us to pass by; of of these we give engravings, namely, , , , here shown, and , , , placed at the beginning of our number.
| St. Dunstan's in the West demands a few additional words, if it be only for its past fame. Who does not remember its clock, and the clubmen who struck the hours and quarters on the bell suspended between them, and the eternal crowd of gazers on the opposite side of the street, waiting for the moment of action? Yet not all their popularity saved them from being turned off with contumely at last; fortunately there was man of taste to appreciate them, though that man were the late Marquis of Hertford, to whose villa in , we believe, they were removed. Old St. Dunstan's had a kind of literary reputation also; Mr. Brayley in his |
gives us the title-pages of certain books, published about the beginning of the century, as
| which show that at least different booksellers had shops in the churchyard, of them |
The church was rebuilt about , from the designs of Mr. Shaw, the architect of , who died, as we learn from a tablet over the entrance, on the day after its completion. It must have been a satisfaction, even in the dying hour, to feel that such a work completed. The tower, feet high, is an exceedingly picturesque composition, and the interior is no less distinguished for its general elegance of style and richness of decoration. That the latest in point of time of the modern Gothic structures of London, which is in fact unfinished-we allude to , Westminster--should also promise to be the most beautiful, may be received, we hope, as a sign of the progress we are making in the grandest of the arts in its grandest form.
[n.195.1] The Strand, No. XXXV. p. 156.
[n.196.1] Allan Cunningham.
[n.198.1] Mr. Gwilt, for instance, expressly says thus of St. Martin's, whilst acknowledging it to be the best we have.
[n.200.1] Page 359.
[n.201.1] Stow, Survey, ed. 1633, p. 173.