London: volume 2
Few words spoken among men have, or have ever had, so much significancy for the imagination as the word LONDON. Rarely has a single name been so full of meaning to so many minds, or been gifted with the power of awakening so many various trains of reflection. Perhaps the thought that is apt to be called up by the name is of the height of modern civilization and splendour-the newest of all that is new on earth, the busiest, hottest activity of the social elements now in action among living human beings; but the next direction in which it sets the meditative faculty a-spinning is the opposite of all this-away back to the old buried world--to the social life that was, and is no longer---to the dream and the mystery of the far past, which seems to every of us like the previous part of a journey we have ourselves travelled--a scene we have known in some former state of existence, and yet so wholly different from the reality around us that we can with difficulty conceive the strange drama to have been played on
|this same globe, or by beings having like passions with ourselves. The dead who have been dust for it may be centuries were then what we are now, the animating soul of the scene, the diversified crowd filling it with life and motion and all the struggle and turmoil of humanity. The imagination has scarcely a more affecting or arresting picture than this, in which life and death, the present and the past, the evanescent and the enduring, meet together, as it were, in a war embrace. Or if the former era to which we turn be comparatively recent, it is still the same; still the scene in which the men of that other time moved about remains, at the least the sure and firm-set earth on which they trode, and the everlasting heaven over it, but the men themselves are passed away for ever. Probably in this case even the works of their hands, for the most part, are yet all around us--the monuments which they reared, the streets which they paved and walked upon, the houses which they built and dwelt in, while they who once possessed them are all vanished. If any of us were to come upon a great city, like that in the Arabian tale, not in ruins or decay, but presenting all the appearances of recent occupancy, yet with its streets silent and every house untenanted, how should we be excited and thrilled by so touching a sight! Yet is not every old town even such a spectacle? Full as it may be of inhabitants, its streets and dwellings are as completely deserted by those who once filled them as those of the absolutely depopulated city in the tale. We have but to forget the new generation that has taken their place, and the impressive picture is before us of a solitude amid standing temples and towers, and furnished tenements, as perfect as that of Pompeii itself.|
London is probably the oldest great city now existing on this side the Alps. Its existence, as a capital, reaches back, even like that of Rome itself, to the days of what we call the ancient world, as if it were literally another world divided by some mighty gulf from ours, or as if the beings that then inhabited the earth were of another species; and over the whole of this extended space its history carries back the eye of contemplation in continuous line of view, dimmer indeed in some plices than in others, but nowhere absolutely broken, so that we behold as it were following each other in long procession, and combined into many-coloured multitude, all the successive races and generations that have kept up the ferment of social existence on this spot of earth, from the half-wild Britons and the Roman colonists, passing away in the extreme distance, to the Popes and the Swifts, the Addisons and the Steeles, who are still individually and distinctly visible, and the Burkes and the Johnsons, whose very voices we seem to hear as they move about almost under our eyes.
has said who was himself both an antiquary and a poet; and doubtless there is at least in some departments of antiquarianism no want of excitement and gratification for the poetical temperament. No mere history or description revives the past, and makes it again present to us, so vividly as the sight of the actual spot to which the history relates; however this is to be explained, all have felt it who have ever looked upon a celebrated old building or ruin, or even found themselves on ground that has been illustrated by any great event, though nothing but the name remains to recall what once was. The very air seems to preserve something
| of the life of those who once breathed it, even if nothing of their handiwork be there; every natural sight and sound has to our fancies caught a portion of their spirit; or, what is equally good and more strictly true, these natural features and elemental influences, surviving the flight of hundreds or, it may be, thousands of years, were actually part of the being of the men of that by-gone time, had contributed to make them what they were, had nourished and formed their moral and intellectual nature, were among the things that supplied ideas and pictures to their imaginations, passions and affections to their hearts. Even thus, as still the blue Aegean tumbles among its sunny isles, did the Ocean, from childhood to blind old age, paint itself to the mind of Homer; even as at this day |
did that scenery send down its melancholy grandeur into the eyes and the souls of Miltiades and his little host encamped there -and- centuries ago. The works of men's hands, again, that have long outlasted their authors and the generations once familiar with them, are almost equally interesting whether they remain uninjured or have fallen into decay and ruin,--whether they surprise us by bringing the past back in all its entireness, or perplex us with the strange changes that the lapse of time has wrought. A great city, in particular, if it be of ancient foundation, will always furnish matter of this latter kind in abundance; and perhaps there is no richer storehouse of such metamorphoses than our own London, which, as the capital of the kingdom since the foundation of the monarchy, has been illustrated by so many famous events and has served as the head-quarters of most of the remarkable of the national history, while it has also, from the pre-eminent opulence and commercial activity of which it has long been the centre, been subjected to perhaps as frequent and extensive renovation of all kinds as any other town, at least in modern Europe, that has any pretensions to be compared with it in point of extent. Forests as ancient as the creation rooted out-lakes and marshes drained-streams that originally diffused their water in permanent inundations bridled and taught to flow within artificial embankments-natural heights levelled and hollows filled up--here a passage partially excavated through the soil, there a channel covered over and concealed-fields and farms, where once was to be seen only the corn growing or the cattle browzing, converted into streets and squares, and resounding with the swarm of men;--and then, again, among the streets and buildings themselves, the sites of old renown obliterated and almost passed away from remembrance, the public monuments of other times to be found by the curious searcher only in their foundations under the earth, the palaces of kings and nobles become the workshops of mechanical industry or the warehouses of trade, the former high places of business or recreation abandoned to neglect and silence;--these mementos and visions of mutability, and such as these, disclose themselves in London to the inquiring and contemplative spirit at every turn. It is all over an exhibition of what Spenser has called
Among the earliest investigators of the antiquities of London, or of the class of inquirers and writers properly entitled to be called London Antiquaries, to some notices of the most remarkable of whom the present paper will be devoted,
| are the chroniclers Fabian and Arnold. They afford an illustration of what has been said as to the natural alliance of antiquarianism and poetry; for both were poets as well as antiquaries and chroniclers. Both figure in the pages of the great-historian of our English poetry, Warton, who introduces his account of Fabian by anticipating the surprise of his readers at finding |
Fabian was certainly rather an uncommon sort of alderman.
Warton goes on to tell us,
Undoubtedly, however high we might be disposed to rate the qualifications of their worships for the discharge of their more appropriate functions, such as presiding on criminal trials at the , or witching the world with noble horsemanship in a great civic procession, would hardly think now-a-days of looking among their number for the greatest classical scholar of the time. Fabian's
comes down, in the edition, to the year ; and it is in this work that his verses are found, narratives, soliloquies, and other pieces, introduced usually at the divisions between the Books. Warton is not laudatory in his account of the worthy alderman's metre :--
Nor is he less severe upon poor Fabian's historical merits.
But the truth is, these notices of little matters generally considered beneath the dignity of history, though more illustrative of the manners and spirit of the past than the greater part of what is found in ordinary histories, give its chief value and interest to Fabian's work. In descanting on the dinners at and the pageantries of the City companies he talks to us at any rate of things that he really knew and understood and had a genuine feeling for, which is in all cases the best course that any writer can take: in tracing the course of the national
he would not, we take it, have been quite so completely at home, and we are just as well pleased therefore that he has let that subject very much alone-even treating it and all its grandeur as subordinate in importance to the history of the weathercocks on . Warton, with all his love of old literature, had little of the London antiquary, or perhaps of the topographical antiquary at all, in him, else he would not have made such contemptuous mention of the information Fabian has preserved as to matters of this kind. Why should the chronology of the successive weathercocks on not be as faithfully recorded as that of many other things about which history is wont to busy itself? the succession, for instance, of prime ministers and cabinets, which, after all, are but the
|weathercocks that show how the winds of party blow?-nay, are hardly entitled to be classed so high among the indicators of the state of the times as weathercocks, for they are apt to be not only turned but sometimes turned out by the changes of weather to which they are obedient ;--they are in fact made and unmade, as well as moved, by the currents and commotions of the political atmosphere, and may be better likened to straws and feathers caught up by the air than to weathercocks.|
Fabian is supposed to have died in . Arnold's
appeared in . To Arnold we owe, if not the authorship, at least the preservation of the beautiful old ballad of the
His curious volume
But this omne-gatherum turn is of the characteristics of your true antiquary-nor, were it but for the sake of the
alone, ought either historian or lover of our early poetry to be scandalized at the compass and varied voracity of Arnold's literary appetite, though it does range from poetry to pickling, from sturgeons to Lord Mayors.
Fabian and Arnold, and after them Leland, Norden, Camden, and others, all broke ground in different parts of the great field of the antiquities of London: but the trudger and trencher of the field in its whole extent was the excellent John Stow. His venerable tome lies as the foundation of all that has yet been written on the subject; indeed it has supplied the most valuable part of every work that has since appeared calling itself a history or survey of London. He and it therefore claim our particular notice here; and there is much curious matter both in Stow's biography and in his books. He was born in the year , in the reign of Henry VIII., and died in , a few years after the accession of James I., having thus in the beginning of his earthly pilgrimage of summers and winters witnessed the substitution of a new religion in the Church, and at its close the establishment of a new family on the throne. Stow's antiquarian taste possibly did not greatly relish either of these changes, the more especially; but his love of the past also drew him away from what was going on around him, and that and his moderate temper and good sense together got him out of any trouble into which his known or suspected opinions brought him. In the year his collection of manuscripts and other old volumes exposed him to some danger:
we are told by his biographer Strype,
The Council thereupon sent to Grindall, the Bishop of London, to cause the poor antiquary's
| study to be searched; and the bishop's chaplain and other divines were accordingly despatched to his house, and overhauled all his literary treasures. To this curious proceeding, so expressive of the state and spirit of the time, we are indebted for an account of the contents of Stow's library, which is interesting. The divines reported to the bishop that in the place he had great collections of his own for the English chronicles; upon which, as the chaplain particularly remarked, he seemed to have bestowed much labour. They, found also many printed old books, among which were some fabulous, such as |
And then the report went on to state
it is added,
A list of some of these papistical books is appended; among them are treatises by Bonner, Edgeworth, Pollard, and other Romish divines; but it is probable, after all, that our antiquary had been led to collect them and store them up rather as curiosities, as the relics of an order of things passed or fast passing away, than from any strong affection he felt for the doctrinal theology expounded in them. We believe he would not have been the man to disturb the fabric of the old religion, any more than he would have been inclined to pull down any other fabric venerable for its antiquity, however much it might stand in the way of modern notions of propriety or convenience; at any rate it was his business to preserve the memory of whatever was in danger of being forgotten and doomed to oblivion by the rest of the world. Like Spenser's Eumnestes,
Strype is inclined to think that he came at length
adds that grave narrator, whose dulness, however, is more amusing than the liveliness of most other writers,
What or whether anything befell Stow in consequence of the chaplain's report is not recorded; and it may be hoped that he got out of the scrape without any more serious annoyance; at least we trust they did not plunder him of any of his beloved books, either printed or manuscript, on parchment or on common paper.
Stow, it seems, is an ancient London name; and our antiquary, who was born in the city whose history he has done so much to illustrate, although but of humble parentage, was not altogether a .
writes the solemn Strype,
In this same church, by the by, was buried Stow's predecessor in his favourite pursuit, Robert Fabian, alderman, also under a monument, which however was gone when Stow wrote his Survey, although he has preserved some moral verses, not unlikely to have been of the alderman's own composition, which were inscribed on it. And here, it appears, in the same family burying-place, Stow's great-grandfather also lay; so that the family had been established in this parish for a long while. Strype, in his edition of the
has furnished, from the Register, the will of the Thomas Stow, the chronicler's grandfather, which helps to show the condition of the family, and is also curious as a specimen of the time--the last hours of popery in England. The testator designates himself Citizen and Tallow-chandler; and, after bequeathing his soul to
and his body to be buried
by his father and mother, sisters and brothers, and also his own children, he proceeds:--
The notion that the old tallow-chandler had of the light of the Gospel seems to have been somewhat professional. Having thus settled the important matter of the watching-candles and the torches, he has little more to say; but in a few words he bequeaths to his son Thomas (probably the only of his children that survived),
that is to say, as he goes on to explain, his great melting-pan, with all the instruments thereto belonging; and also in plate; namely,
of silver gilt, of the value of ;
weighing above ounces, of the value of ;
valued at ; and a
of the value of (making in all, by the by, if the figures be rightly given by Strype, more than the sum mentioned). And he concludes by naming his wife Elizabeth as his executrix.
Strype also gives us an abstract of the will of Stow's mother, Margaret Stow, made in , shortly before her death. In this there is no popery: she merely bequeaths to bury her decently; to her children and friends,
to the poor in bread; to the Company of Tallow-chandlers, to follow her corpse to the church; and legacies to her sons and daughters, but, of them all, to John, the eldest, the least, that is to say, only We should infer from all this that the antiquary's father was, like his grandfather, a tallow-chandler; but Strype chooses to conceive, though he gives neither authority nor reasons for his notion, that Stow followed
and then he proceeds to show that he was a tailor. He is called expressly
in Grindall's report to the Privy Council of the search made among his books by the divines,
observes his biographer,
However, it is pretty clear that Stow's trade was really that of a tailor. Strype assumes that he lived and carried on business originally in ; but of this we find no evidence. In , it appears, he dwelt near the Pump in . This we learn from a remarkable incident which he relates in his account of ward in his
During the great insurrection of the commons in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and other shires, which broke out in the above-mentioned year, the of Edward VI.,
This was the same Sir Stephen, the fanatic curate of St. Catherine Cree, whose sermon preached a short time before this at Paul's Cross occasioned the destruction of the ancient Maypole from which
| the church of St. Andrew derived its name, as also related by Stow in a passage quoted in a preceding paper.[n.189.1]
We may here give another story which Stow tells, and which also has some bearing upon his family history. Where is now the hall of the Company of Drapers, on the north side of , stood formerly a sumptuous palace erected in the place of a number of old and small tenements by Sir Thomas Cromwell, afterwards Lord Cromwell and Earl of Essex, the famous minion of Henry VIII. |
writes Stow, in his description of ward,
adds our antiquary, in the quiet, yet pungent, way in which he sometimes permits himself to give expression to a strong feeling,
The house which was so summarily disposed of was no doubt of wood, like almost all the houses of moderate dimensions of that age. The cool impudence of the proceeding, affecting, as it were, to make the poor plundered citizens believe that their gardens remained as large as ever, and that the apparent curtailment was a mere fancy of their bewildered optics or dreaming imaginations, gives a touch of humour to a picture of flagrant insolence and oppression.
Stow had probably often played in this garden when a boy. Another spot with which he was familiar in his. early years is commemorated in his account of the former condition of the district lying to the north-west of , now called , and of the origin of that name. Near adjoining to the nunnery of the ,
Our antiquary probably intended this anecdote to be received as a proof of the greater plenty of former days; but it is in truth rather an illustration of the scarcity of halfpence than of the abundance of milk.
Afterwards, according to Strype, Stow removed to the parish of St. Andrew's in ward, and there continued to live till his death,
His biographer determines that it was about the year that
in its form of an abridgment, or, as he entitled it, a
was published in , and was often reprinted during his life, and also several times after his death. The early editions are very minute volumes, manuals or vade-mecums, apparently intended for being carried in the pocket. It was not till some years later that he published his larger
of which there were also several reprints during his life and afterwards. The various prefaces and dedications to these works contain a good deal of matter which throws light upon the history and circumstances, and also upon the character, of the author. The earlier editions of the
are dedicated to the Lord Mayor of London for the time,
but in the edition of the inscription includes
of which Company, as we have seen, Stow was a member. On this occasion he says,
This would give as the date at which he commenced his labours, or at least at which he began to make the study of English antiquities his sole or principal business. He would be then . In the edition of he speaks of years as the time during which he had dedicated himself to that study-counting, apparently, from the publication of his book. But no doubt such inquiries had occupied many of his hours from a much earlier date. The
had been originally drawn up at the request of the Lord Robert Dudley, who became before it was published Earl of Leicester, and the edition was dedicated to that nobleman--in reward whereof, Stow states in his
he had always received his Lordship's hearty thanks, with commendations, but nothing more. In the Dedication of the edition, which appeared in , to the then Lord Mayor and Aldermen, the author says,
The rival, or adversary, to whom Stow here alludes is Richard Grafton, whose smaller
appeared in . Both it and his larger work on the same subject, printed in , are poor performances; and Stow has many indignant complaints, scattered up and down in his various publications, both of the way in which his painful labours had been appropriated without acknowledgment by Grafton, and of the inaccurate and wretched work that compiler palmed upon the world even with the advantage of such assistance. Thus, in the Dedication to the edition of his
which appeared in , after noticing and accounting for some alleged mistakes in preceding editions, which, it appears, Grafton had animadverted upon, he adds,
And the Preface, or Address to the Reader, which follows, is chiefly devoted to a vindication of himself from Grafton's charges. The conduct of this plagiarist and plunderer, he intimates, had well nigh driven him in disgust from the further prosecution of his favourite study, or at least from giving the public any more of the benefit of his inquiries.
&c. And he recurs to the subject in his farewell to the reader at the end of the volume, when his sense of injury actually bursts out into song-- :--
These little outbreaks, as we have said, display the character and temper of our good antiquary, who was evidently himself the soul of truth and honesty, but was also, as such natures are apt to be, somewhat tender-skinned to any apparent breach of these virtues in the treatment he received from others, and, having a proper sense of his own merits, was not disposed to compliment away the credit to which he felt himself to be entitled by any weak deference either to the pretension and impudence of inferior men, or even to their unfounded claims, however inoffensively urged. He knew the difference between real labour and ability,
| and mere quackery and assumption, and he had no notion of allowing the things to be confounded or mistaken the for the other. This humour, however, was likely to expose him to some rubs in his passage through life; besides that such a temperament is more easily fretted than of less delicacy, the world does not like so jealous and unbending an honesty, which it considers a satire upon itself and nicknames narrow and pedantic, in revenge for the alarm it gives it. Stow, accordingly, we find, had other enemies and assailants, by whom he was sorely vexed, besides his rival chronicler, Grafton. We have mentioned the trouble in which he was involved in , when he was subjected to the domiciliary visit of the officers of the newly established system of church and state, in consequence of being suspected of being, as Strype expresses it, |
years after he was again brought before the ecclesiastical commissioners,
So extended an indictment, would think, must have comprehended nearly every material passage of the unfortunate antiquary's life; but it turned out not only that all the witnesses against him were deemed unworthy of credit, some of them having been previously convicted of perjury, others burned in the hand for felony, but that besides, if we rightly understand Strype's account, they could not or would not swear up to the mark. Stow, we are told, would have prosecuted some of his false accusers on this occasion,
says his reverend biographer,
The worst feature of this affair is, that the dishonest and ungrateful servant with whom the accusation originated appears to have been Stow's own brother. He was indeed throughout his life exposed to this kind of danger and annoyance to a degree that would seem to betoken something very peculiar either in himself or the times. So early as the year we read of a false accusation made against him by a priest;
But the attempt made to destroy him in this way by his own brother was what he naturally could least forget; and he often alludes to it in his various books. In his
under the year , we find the following paragraph:--
&c. And in a marginal note he thus directs attention to the incident, and makes the application of it:--
Again, in relating the death in of Anne Averies, widow, who,
and died in circumstances of great horror, he cannot refrain from adding,
--though the only fraternal relationship between the parties in the case recorded appears to have been of the vaguest nature. So, in his
in his notice of the sedition of William Fitzosbert in , he finishes the account of his being dragged by the heels to in Smithfield and there hanged, and the enumeration of his misdeeds, with the crowning charge that he was,
and he adds on the margin,
This is going pretty far, it must be admitted; but at any rate it is plain speaking; there is no hypocrisy here; if our exasperated antiquary was quite indifferent whether his brother should reform or go to the gallows, he does not affect any higher degree of fraternal regard than he actually entertained. The truth is, this sense of the baseness of his brother's behaviour had become a fixed idea, that is, a sort of disease, or madness, in his mind, and he is hardly accountable for what expressions he gives way to when that string is touched. But he seems to have been eminently unlucky in the number of thankless people he encountered. A complaint which he makes in the Dedication to his
for can hardly apply either to his brother or his rival Grafton: after expatiating on the deserts of the writers of chronicles, who, he says,
&c.;--and then, the bitterness of his recollections overflowing on the margin, we have this emphatic admonition appended:
Poor Stow in truth could not but feel keenly that he had toiled long and hard, and done his work both conscientiously and ably in that antiquarian field of his, and that he had been after all but scurvily requited, in so far at least as either world's goods or world's honours were to be his reward. This high thing at least is to be said of him, that literature never had a more single-hearted devotee, that
| no writer ever plied his task more out of pure love of his subject, or neglected and disregarded all other considerations more heroically. There is something touching enough in the brief allusions he makes on or occasions to the labours and hardships through which he has had to make his way. |
he says at the end of his
in the edition of ,
All he asks is, that the means may be granted him of laying his works before his countrymen, for whose sake he has composed them.
he concludes his valedictory address to the reader at the end of his
This larger history however was never printed, nor is it known what is become of it. Stow's lot in his old age was the extremity of poverty, and that aggravated by sickness and bodily infirmity.
(A singular attempt at precise definition.) It was in these circumstances that a measure of a very extraordinary character was resorted to for the poor old antiquary's relief. He received from the Crown what may be termed a patent of beggary, a royal letter authorising him to collect alms in certain districts of the kingdom, and recommending his case to the compassion of the charitable. The brief to this effect, it appears, was granted to him in the year of James I., for the term of months, after the expiration of which it was renewed for another year. The paper was probably dispersed over the country, and of the printed copies of the that was issued still remains in the Harleian collection in the . It is addressed in his Majesty's name to
and the preamble recites that Stow, who is designated a citizen of London,
had made humble suit to his Majesty for a licence under the great seal to gather the benevolence of well-disposed people throughout England,
Power, licence, and authority are then granted to Stow or his deputy
of all his Majesty's loving subjects in several counties, comprehending the whole of England, except Cornwall and the northern counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Northumberland, parts of the kingdom which were probably thought too poor to bear the burthen of such an impost, or to yield anything worth collecting.
concludes the paper,
On the back of a copy of the King's letter accompanying the brief, Strype found set down the amount, subscribed by the churchwardens, of what was collected from the parishioners of St. Mary Woolnoth, in the city of London, which was but and sixpence. Thus they made a sort of King's bedesman of our great London antiquary. It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction-and this is as if the novelist had somehow or other contrived to mix up into individuality the worthy Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck and his humble friend Edie Ochiltree. But Stow, who had long shown how secondary outward circumstances were in his regard, and who felt that his poverty did him no dishonour, probably kept up his heart, under the state of mendicancy to which he was reduced, as gallantly as did the shrewd, merry Scottish gaberlunzie man. Once, long before this, Ben Jonson told his friend, Drummond of Hawthornden, that he and Stow, walking together, met lame beggars, when Stow, as if with some half-presentiment of how he was to end his days, gaily asked them
But we must leave those of our readers who would pursue more into its details the history of the good old man to gather from the ample pages of Strype all the particulars of how he vindicated the bounds of his ward of when it had been encroached upon by that of Bishopsgate,--and how he was chosen of the ward collectors for the great muster in ,--and how he was patronised and encouraged in his antiquarian investigations by Archbishop Parker and his successor, Whitgift,--and how Camden himself has quoted and commended him,and how he studied the antiquities of London in the archives of the City chamber, --and how years after he left his trade,
--and how, besides divers other literary labours which it has not fallen within our purpose to notice, he, as he has himself told us,
(inserted in Speght's edition of ), and how he transcribed with his own hand, among other manuscripts, the whole of Leland's Books of
which he sold to Camden for an annuity of a year,--and how it is clearly proved that he understood Latin (as indeed all decently educated people of that age did),--and how he was slandered and abused by William Ditcher, alias Tetford, and his wife, who not only
and defamed the virtue of his wife, but asserted his
to be a parcel of lies,--and how he
especially that touching the shankbone of a giant, inches long, which used to be suspended in the church of St. Lawrence Jewry, which he proved to have belonged to an elephant, and that other of the supposed human tooth, weighing ounces troy, which turned out on examination to be nothing else but a stone, and that, the most famous of all, about the giant Gerard, who was said to have anciently inhabited Gerard's Hall in , whose supposed staff Stow showed to be merely an ancient fir Maypole, while, that the Hall could never have been the habitation of a giant,
In lieu of all this, and of much more, including a prolix column which the biographer expends upon Stow's singular aversion to
which, he acknowledges,
we will add only the short description of his person and character given by Edmund Howes in the augmented edition of his which was published by that compiler after Stow's death :--
Stow's monument still exists, and bears an effigy of himself, sitting in a chair, with a book before him, reading, and books in shelves about him, together with a short Latin inscription. Strype says he had been informed by a person skilled in antiquities that the figure of Stow, which seems to be of stone, is only clay, burnt and painted over, such as were several others that existed in the London churches before the great fire. Of any family that Stow
| had nothing is known except that at the time of his quarrel with Ditcher he had |
whose success in life it was pleaded the attack of that calumniator upon their mother's reputation tended to hinder. But this was in the earlier part of his life, while he was still exercising his trade; for the story, which really gives us a curious picture of ancient manners, affirms
&c. &c. All this exhibits our antiquary in a new part, or at least in circumstances different from any in which we have yet seen him ; but still bearing himself with his characteristic mildness and aversion to violence, and carrying with him also, as we might expect he would do, the sympathy of the generality of those among whom he lived-at least in so far as we may trust to his own representation of the matter, and it has all the simple and straightforward manner of a true statement.
The person who made any additions to Stow's was Anthony Munday, by whom the edition of the work was published in ; --
according to Strype's account of him;
Munday himself-who, by the bye, latterly renounced Popery-tells us in his Dedication that it was Stow's intention to bring out a greatly enlarged edition of his book, when he
The supplementary matter contributed by Munday, however, is of very little value, and what he intended for corrections are often ignorant depravations of Stow's text; so that this writer has very little claim to a place in the list of London Antiquaries. Nor is more to be said for Humfrey Dyson and the other unnamed associates who are stated on the title-page to have assisted Munday in bringing out the folio edition of the work (the preceding were all in quarto), which appeared in . At last,
exclaims Strype, speaking of his own performance,
Strype was an extraordinary phenomenon; but we must rest
| satisfied with the samples that have already been incidentally presented of his odd manner of thinking and expressing himself. He must have been the most curious antiquity of his day; for that strange style of his, which reads like an exaggeration and caricature of the quaintest theological prose of the times of Elizabeth and James, is that of a writer who has been dead little more than a century, who lived till the year , whose pen was in the height of its activity, and was of the most productive then astir, in the bright Augustan age of the Steeles and the Addisons, the Popes and the Swifts, the Bolingbrokes and the Hoadleys, and the other great writers of the time of Anne and George I., the composition of nearly all of whom has still so perfectly familiar and modern an air. Strype indeed lived to a great age; although he did not die till towards the middle of the eighteenth century, he was born some years before the middle of the (in ); he was an older man than most of those who were contemporary with him as writers; and this accidental circumstance of course helped to heighten the peculiarity of style by which he is distinguished from them. He was past middle life too before he began to write for the press at all, and he was an old man when the busiest part of his career of authorship commenced; he had published a sermon or , and or of his shorter lives, from to --between his and his years; but his principal works, his |
in volume's folio, his
in folios, his of Archbishops Grindall, Parker, and Whitgift, each making a large volume of the same size, and the ponderous folios of his edition of Stow's
in which probably threefourths of the matter is new, all appeared between and , or after he had got or years beyond his grand climacteric. A dozen great folios in little more than years may seem pretty well; but antiquarianism would appear to be rather a medicinal study for old age. It certainly did not, as Strype managed the matter, exact much waste of brain. Yet even such faculty as he found it necessary to exert was at last worn out; in the Preface to the volume of his
published in , he expresses his apprehensions that his great age and frequent infirmities would probably prevent him from continuing the work; and the concluding volume, which was published years later, is merely a collection of papers, which by that time he was unable to digest even into such a drowsy form of narrative as he had given in the preceding volumes.
James Howel, the author of the well-known collection of
published in a thin folio volume entitled
but it is for the most part a mere compilation from Stow, and hardly entitles its author to be enumerated as of the London Antiquaries. The next distinguished original investigator in this field after Strype was Dr. William Stukely. We have already had occasion to notice his curious speculation about the camp of Julius Caesar which he imagined he discovered in the neighbourhood of old Church.[n.198.1] He has also in the same work, his
a disquisition on the general topography of Roman London, illustrated by a plan of the streets and the great roads. It was principally
| indeed our Roman and British antiquities about which he busied himself; the more distinct vestiges of more recent periods did not suit his turn for ingenious conjecture and fanciful speculation; he did not relish being controlled and checked in his inferences and elucidations by too many or too obdurate facts. The dimmer the traces of the perished past, the more Stukely could always make of them. Yet the learning of the modern Arch-Druid, as he used to be called in his own day, was very considerable, though it hardly sufficed for ballast to his imagination when in full sail, and there is curious and valuable matter in all his works. As a man too he appears to have had all the quiet virtues and gentle dispositions becoming an antiquarian- living in the half-visionary world of the past, and withdrawn by his favourite studies from much of the irritation and turmoil of present interests in which most other men spend their days. His death was very characteristic and very beautiful, as it is told in a short sketch of his history by his friend Mr. Collinson. His usual residence in the last years of his life was in , London, beside the church of St. George the Martyr, of which he was rector; and he had also a country house at Kentish Town to which he frequently retired-traversing on the way part of the ground which Caesar and his Roman legions, as he imagined, had trodden eighteen years before, and on which the encampments they had raised were still to his |
as visible almost as if the supposed mounds and circumvallations had been thrown up only the preceding summer. l
says his biographer,
[n.189.1] See vol. i. p. 174, The Old Spring Time in London.
[n.198.1] See No. XVI., The Roman Remains.