London: volume 2

Knight, Charles.


XXIX.-The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew. (Concluded from No. XXVIII.)

XXIX.-The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew. (Concluded from No. XXVIII.)



Although the present church, which was the choir of the more ancient structure belonging to the Priory, stands some distance backwards from Smithfield, there is little doubt that its front was originally on a line with the small gateway yet remaining, and that the latter indeed was the entrance from Smithfield into the southern aisle of the nave, the part of the church now entirely lost. It is useless to inquire what kind of front was here presented to the open area before it; but if we may judge of it by this gateway, and by the general style of the interior


parts of the choir, it must have been a grand work. The gateway is of a very beautiful character, with a finely pointed arch, consisting of ribs, each with numerous mouldings, receding within the other, and decorated with roses and zigzag ornaments. Straight before us as we pass through this gateway are the churchyard and church, the former having around it a range of large and very dingy-looking lath-and-plaster houses, which however derive somewhat of a picturesque appearance from their gable ends, and their windows scattered about in

most admired disorder.

The exterior of the church, as it here appears to us, consists of a brick tower, erected in , and by its side the end of the church, from which the nave has been cut away, and the wall and large window erected to terminate the structure at this point. The foundations of the nave still lie below the soil of the churchyard some or feet. The wall of the latter, on the right or southern side, now faced with brick, is very ancient and of immense thickness, and formed most probably the original wall of the south aisle. On stepping into the apartments of the adjoining public-house, to which the wall now belongs, we find traces of a past very different from what we see at present. Rooms with arched ceilings, a cornice with a shield extending through or of them, and thus showing that they have formed but room, and a chalk cellar below the house-all betoken that we are wandering among the ruins of the old Priory. By the side of this house is a yard, filled with costermongers and their donkeys, and surrounded by black and decayed sheds and habitations, with balconied galleries. Referring to the multitude of miserable-looking and comparatively worthless habitations that have sprung up during the decay of the Priory, Malcolm calls them so many

exhalations of lath and plaster;

the mushrooms of its night


we should say rather the - thing can be more unwholesome than some of these places are. Here the cheery ringing sound of the hammer on the anvil guides us to ground more intelligible. The passage leads into a smith's workshop, where some of the arches of the eastern cloister (the only of which there are any remains) appear in the opposite wall. Violence and decay have deprived these arches of all their original beauty, though not of their bold expressive character--that still remains stamped upon them. The soil here, as in almost every other part surrounding the church, has been raised several feet: thus, for instance, the spring of these arches is nearly level with the ground. Leaving this to enter another yard, of an equally unpromising appearance, we find ourselves within the east cloister. Much of this beautiful part has been lost of late years by the fall of the roof and part of the wall on side. Climbing, however, as well as we can, over the double or treble row of great barrels which fill the entire space, we find that on the opposite or eastern wall are arches, more or less entire, yet remaining, and on the west. The noble character of the architecture is here still visible in the fine deep receding mouldings and the graceful span. Farther north the space is walled up with an arch, which, if original, as it appears, must have crossed the cloister. The space within, extending to the church, which was entered by a fine Norman arch still existing, includes the remainder of the cloister; and can only lament that, as it not only possesses the arches on both sides, but the groined roof, it should be completely walled up. We had ourselves


to break a hole in another part of the wall to obtain admittance, and then to re-close it. Here the delicacy and proportion of the style, the fine finish of the groins and key-stones, and the elaborate workmanship of the many curious devices and historical subjects carved in different parts, are alone visible in their natural combination. Over this part is now built a house in a line with and joining to the tower of the church. Malcolm supposes that it was to this part of the Priory the author of the manuscript before mentioned refers when he speaks of the

more ample buildings

by which

the skins of our tabernacle were dilated.

As looks around on the still evident beauty of the architecture, and measures with the eye its dimensions (the cloisters must have been nearly feet broad, and have extended round the sides of a square of nearly a feet), we begin for the time to have a just impression of the original magnificence of the establishment; when the Prior, the Sub-Prior, and the other Canons, in all the imposing splendour of the Roman Catholic church, came occasionally sweeping along on days of high ceremony; and when, of an afternoon, in calm and sunny weather, the inmates of the Priory might have been seen sitting each in his little pew against the windows, meditating, or conversing with his neighbour, or reading some book from the Priory library, which at least amused him with its brilliant illuminated paintings, if it possessed no better attractions. For those who desired exercise there was the pleasant green in the centre, signifying, says Wickliff,

the greenness of their virtue above others,

with its single tree, which had also its symbolical explanation, for it implied to the monks

the ladder by which, in gradations of virtue, they aspired to celestial things.

The public-house and courts we have mentioned are in a lane (along which on the eastern side ran the western cloister), at the back of , and communicating with the great Close. As we turn the corner into the latter, the immense Refectory, or Hall of the Priory, stands before us (marked J in the plan), though so modernised in its outward appearance that the most eager antiquarian would assuredly pass it unnoticed if the latter were his only guide. From the scanty notices of this building, and of the crypt that extends beneath, in such of the local historians as notice them at all, we had not anticipated finding any interesting remains. Agreeably were we disappointed. In spite of the many alterations and divisions that have been made in it at different times, it is not difficult to trace its original character, as well as its vast extent. It is now occupied as a tobacco-manufactory, and a large portion of it still forms but apartment, roofed over with oak of the finest kind and condition. There are now or stories, but, after a careful examination of the general arrangement of the multitudinous timbers of the roof of the highest story, we cannot but express our opinion that the whole has been open from the floor to the roof, and that the latter has formed of those oaken coverings of which Hall is so magnificent an example, though most probably of a ruder character. The complicated and yet harmonious arrangement of the timbers springing from the side on the upper story, where alone the roof is unaltered-their finely arched form rising airily upward towards the centre of the building-and the vertical supports which they appear to have sent down to the floor of the hall below (the posts which characterised the halls of a very early period),--all appear to show that


there was but story, room; and a glorious room it must have been; measuring some feet high, broad, and a long!
Explanation of the References.
A.The East Cloister, the only one of which there are any remains.
B.The North Cloister, parallel with the Nave.
C.The South Cloister.
D.The West Cloister. The Square thus enclosed by the Cloisters measures about a hundred feet each way.
E.The North Aisle of the Nave.
F.The South Aisle, to which the existing Gateway in front of Smithfield was the original entrance.
G.The Nave, no part of which or of the Aisles now remains.
H.St. Bartholomew's Chapel, destroyed by Fire about 1830.
I.Middlesex Passage, leading from Great to Little Bartholomew Close.
J.The Dining Hall or Refectory of the Priory, with the Crypt beneath.
K.Situation of the Great Tower, which was supported on four arches that still remain.
L.The Northern Aisle of the Choir.
M.The Southern Aisle of the Choir.
N.The Eastern Aisle of the Choir.
O.The present Parish Church, forming the Choir of the old Priory Church.
P.The Prior's House, with the Dormitory and Infirmary above.
Q.Site of the Prior's Offices, Stables, Wood Yard, &c.
R.The Old Vestry.
S.The Chapter House, with an entrance gateway from
T.The South Transept.
U.The North Transept.
V.The present entrance into the Church.

On the top of the plan is Little , on the left , at the bottom Smithfield, and on the right Great .


A striking proof that the present intermediate ceilings and floors are not original is afforded by the immense beams or trees that cross from wall to wall, and which project a considerable height above the floor. These intermediate roofs are also so irregular, and so meanly put together, that it is tolerably evident their timbers are merely the ruins of the magnificent cope that bent over all. No wonder the owners of such splendid apartments must have their raised dais to keep them above the throng of their humbler brethren, must dine and be waited upon by kneeling monks, who in return have to console themselves with the reflection that the novices must in a like manner attend them. Many a scene of splendour this Hall has no doubt witnessed; many an exhibition of ecclesiastical state and profusion, such as that which Giraldus Cambrensis somewhat satirically describes in connexion with his visit to the Prior of Canterbury; where he noted at dinner dishes, a superfluous use of signs, much sending of dishes from the Prior to the attending monks, and from them to the lower tables, much gesticulation in returning thanks, much whispering, much loose, idle, and licentious discourse, and where, whilst herbs were brought to the table but not tasted, the fish of numerous kinds, roasted, broiled, fried, and stuffed, the eggs, the dishes exquisitely cooked with spices, the salt meat to provoke appetite, and the wines of almost every known kind, were all done full justice to.

Descending now to the commencement of the low winding passage marked in the plan

Middlesex Passage,

but which was known in our boyish days by a more awful appellation, and more in accordance with its then strangely wild character, we find, extending right and left under the Refectory, the Crypt, of which the passage cutting right through it forms a part. There is something about a crypt which makes it always an interesting place; the situation,--generally buried in the earth,--the solemn gloom, the frequent nobleness of the architecture, above all their mysterious history--no knowing for what purpose they were built-all combine to stimulate curiosity, however little they may satisfy it. Without desiring to express any peculiarly favourable opinion of the habits of the monks, we confess there seems something too revolting in the idea that they were erected

for clandestine drinking, feasting, and things of that kind,

as stated in an author quoted by Fosbroke in his

British Monachism.

Interesting as these places generally are, we doubt whether a more favourable specimen could be found than this of the once famous Priory of St. Bartholomew. Its immense length, its double row of beautiful aisles, extending throughout, and its admirable state of preservation, render this Crypt worthy of peculiar attention. Of the fine character of the architecture, as we see it when standing against the wall on the side, and looking across the aisles, the engraving here shown will convey the best idea. There is, it will be seen, a door at the extremity of our view; with which we have been told the tradition that generally haunts these old monastic ruins, of a subterranean way, connects itself. It has been supposed that through this door there was a communination with Canonbury at . Perhaps the tradition arose, from what we have no doubt is a fact, that the door had been used by the Noncomformist ministers, who occupied the adjoining chapel during parts of the and centuries, as a mode of escape in cases of danger. The door, at all events, opened until lately into a cellar that extended beneath the chapel,


and where the fire broke out, in , that destroyed the latter, and some other parts of the old Priory. There seems to be no doubt that the chapel formed
some portion of the monastic buildings, though what is unknown. It had an ancient timber roof, and a beam projecting across near the centre; and in a corner there is said to have been a very antique piece of sculpture representing the figure of a priest with a child in his arms. In several parts of the building it appears there were, prior to its destruction, marks of private doors in the wall. From the time of the Nonconformists, the chapel was occupied by Presbyterian ministers till , when Wesley obtained possession, and, we believe, opened it himself, for the service of his disciples, with a sermon. The spot marked in the plan Q, or the Prior's offices, is that towards which we next direct our steps. The stables, wood-yard, and other domestic buildings, are thus referred to. In a large and ancient house we here find, on the ground-floor, a very thick wall and a pointed arch-evidence of its connexion with the Priory. The same house has some other noticeable features; namely, beautifully wainscoted large rooms, the upper of which has a vaulted ceiling and a fine carved mantel-piece. Lord Rich, to whom the buildings and site of the Priory were granted, resided in some part of the latter:--was it here? The mansion has evidently been occupied by some resident of importance at a distant period. The family of the present occupier has lived in it for a century, during which the features we have referred to have existed as at present. The Mulberry Gardens were here also; and but a month ago was cut down the last and finest of the descendants of the old Priory trees, which stood behind the house. Returning to the eastern extremity of Middlesex Passage, the Prior's House is on our right, standing almost in a line with the church; and by the side of the latter are the remains of the south transept.


This house also bears plenty of internal evidence as to its antiquity. The walls, for instance, would shame those of many fortifications; there are just within the modern gable roof arches, with square flat pillars and fluted capitals, corresponding with those of the choir; on the broad staircase is a kind of alcove in the wall, and beside it a slightly pointed arch set in a square frame; there are latticed windows in different parts; and above all, at the top, is the dormitory (le Dorter), where the canons were locked up at night, like so many unruly children. Here each inmate had, we presume, in accordance with the general custom, a little place wainscoted off, with a shelf in the window to support books. The middle part of the dormitory, where now the gimp-spinners [n.55.1]  are pursuing their ceaseless walk, was, no doubt (also as usual), paved with fine tiles. If we may trust the author of the

Ship of Fools,

the monks might well be treated as children, for they were as full of fun and frolic; and on reaching the dormitory, considering, we suppose, that they had been sufficiently grave for day, began to play all sorts of wild pranks. For, says Barclay,

The frere or monk in his frock and cowl

Must dance in his dorter, leaping to play the fool.

Unpleasant must have been the change when, in the midst of their mirth, they were called at midnight on the calends of November, and other holy periods, to descend from the warm and comfortable dorter to hurry shivering into the choir, and engage in the devotions proper to the occasion, whilst the Prior, with a dark lantern, went all round to see that each was awake and properly performing his duty. Part of this large, characteristic-looking room was no doubt used as the infirmary, or fermery, where the sick monks were so well treated, that it is no wonder those in health felt a little envy, and occasionally fell very suddenly ill, to the perplexity of the worthy Prior.

The transept we have mentioned is on the south side of the church, and the pile of ruins that fill up almost all the area of this part speak not only of the destruction that has seized it, but of the Chapter-house also, which stood between the old vestry and the transept. Faint traces of the once beautiful arch that led from the latter into the Chapter-house are to be seen in that rugged mass of wall which stretches across in a right angle from the church in our south view. Of the Chapter-house itself, where the monks used to sit in some establishments daily, in others weekly, to transact business in connexion with its discipline, and more particularly to hear charges that any monk had to make against or other of his fellows, and when necessary to inflict the not very honourable punishments of flagellation, &c.,--of this building, which in some of our cathedrals is so conspicuously beautiful a feature, and perhaps was scarcely less so here, not a vestige remains. Of the transept also, the piece of wall we have mentioned is all that exists. Opposite the picturesque-looking low porch, with its deep penthouse, now the entrance into the church from the transept, was formerly an entrance into St. Bartholomew's Chapel. Of the original mode of communication between the church and transept we shall speak in our description of the former. The space included originally within the transept is now a small churchyard. The exact


part of the Priory devoted to the purposes of the ancient cemetery we are unable to point out, but it was most probably in this immediate vicinity. We should like to have looked upon the green sward that has grown over the graves of generation after generation of these peaceful men; we should like to have set our fancy at work to trace, from any little circumstance that attracted its attention,a spot a little more elevated, or somewhat more green,--the grave of the good old monk who has preserved for us all the interesting particulars of Rahere's foundation: above all, we should like to have given a

local habitation

to a picture that has often absorbed our attention; the solemn and imposing ceremonies attending the burial of a deceased canon; the body in its boots and cowl, the lights at its head and feet, the constant watchings and psalmodies, the sermon in the Chapter-house, and the act of absolution; then the procession to the grave, with tapers, and the sprinkling of holy water, the deacon and his censor, the tolling of the bell, and the ceaseless chant; followed by the lowering of the body with the paper of absolution on its breast, the bearers descending with it into the grave, and, lastly, the extinguishing of the lights, and the cessation of the bell, signifying at the same time to the senses and to the mind that all is over --the earthly history of the buried man is completed!


We are now on the threshold of the centre from which all these buildings sprang, the choir of the Priory Church. Before we enter it, however, let us notice or points that yet remain to be mentioned in connexion with its exterior. In a narrow passage, with a door at the extremity, points out the position of the north transept. Extending from the sides of the choir, both north and south, and partly over its aisles, were buildings used as schools:


that on the south was burnt in the fire before referred to; the other still exists.

Entering the church by the gateway below the tower, we get the glimpse of the new world as it were that opens upon us, or rather we should say the old world of years ago that has passed away. Everything is solemn, grand, and apparently eternal. Those immense pillars that we look upon have lost nothing as yet of their original strength; there is no token that they will ever lose it. Within the porch are the remains of a very elegant pointed

arch in the right wall, leading we presume into the cloisters, but of an older date than those glorious Norman pillars to which some, of as peculiarly slender make, belonging to another and opposite arch, appear to have been attached, somewhat we think to the injury of their simple character. of the most interesting features of the choir is the long-continued aisle, or series of aisles, which entirely encircle it, opening into the former by the spaces between the flat and circular arch-piers of the body of the structure. It is about feet wide, with a pure arched and vaulted ceiling in the simplest and truest Norman style, and with windows of different sizes slightly pointed. The pillars against the wall opposite the entrance into the choir are flat. of the most beautiful little architectural effects of a simple kind that we can conceive is to be found at the north-eastern corner of the aisle. Between of the grand Norman pillars projecting from the wall is a low postern doorway, and above, rising on each side from the capitals, a peculiarly elegant arch, something like an elongated horse-shoe. The connexion between styles so strikingly different in


most respects as the Moorish, with its fantastic delicacy and variety and richness, and the Norman with its simple (occasionally uncouth) grandeur, was never more apparent. That little picture is alone worth a visit to St. Bartholomew's. The postern leads into a curious place enclosed by the end of the choir (or altar end) on side, and the circular wall of the eastern aisle on the other. It is supposed by Mr. Godwin [n.58.1]  to have been the chancel of the original building, and no doubt it was, if we are to suppose that the altar wall has undergone great changes. At present the space is so narrow and so dark, that it need not surprise us to hear that it is called the Purgatory. We have no doubt that this part has been visible in some way from the choir, and not, as it is now, entirely excluded from it; for a pair of exactly similar pillars with the beautiful arch above, standing at the south-east corner of the aisle, are in a great measure shut in here. On opening the little door, indeed, into the place, we can with difficulty refrain from an exclamation of surprise at the sight of the stately pillars rising up so grandly in that unworthy spot; and to make it evident that their arch has been intended to be seen from the choir, we find that, unlike the other, of which we see only the exterior, this is beautifully ornamented. We must add that these aisles are a fine study for the architect; thus, for instance, from the very exquisite horse-shoe arch we have mentioned, there is a regular gradation through the next windows to the perfect semicircle. Near the junction of the south and east aisles is the old vestry-room, which Malcolm supposes, and we think justly, to be the oratory mentioned in the manuscript in the following extract:--

In the east part of the same church is an oratory, and in that an altar in the honour of the most blessed and perpetual Virgin Mary consecrate.

It was in this place, it appears, that the blessed Mary once deigned to show herself to a monk of peculiar piety, named Hubert, in order to complain that her


the canons did not pray and watch sufficiently. It is a solemn antique-looking place, in fine harmony with the legend and its supposed antiquity. The present vestry is built over the southern aisle, and occupies a part of the space of the southern transept. Here is a beautiful Norman semicircular arch, forming originally, no doubt, of the range of arches by which the story of the choir was continued at a right angle along the sides of the transept. Among the monuments of the aisles is in the form of a rose, with an inscription to Abigail Coult, , who died

in the


year of her virginity.

Her father, Maximilian Coulte, or Colte, was a famous sculptor of the time, and was employed by James I. in various public buildings. In the office-book of the Board of Works appears the line-

Max. Colte, Master Sculptor, at





Filling up the beautiful horse-shoe arch, which it thus conceals, at the south-eastern corner, is the monument of Edward Cooke, with an appeal to the spectator which the latter must be indeed hard-hearted to resist:

Unsluice your briny flood; what, can you keep

Your eyes from tears, and see the marble weep?

Burst out, for shame; or, if you find no vent

For tears, yet stay, and see the stones relent.

Observing no symptoms however of the kind here indicated on the part of the


stones, we trust to be excused for passing on with dry eyes. There appears to have been attached to the northern aisle-probably corresponding in position with the old vestry-another chapel. In the Archiepiscopal Registry of is the will of Walter Shiryngton, who directs his

wretched body to be buried in

Waldone Chapel

, within the Priory of St. Bartholomew, on the north side of the altar, in a tomb of marble there to be made, adjoining to the wall on the north side aforesaid:

dated at Barnes, . In a prior notice of this place, in the will of John , , it is styled the

New Chapel.

These records there is no doubt are connected with of the interesting recollections of St. Bartholomew, the burial of Roger Walden, Bishop of London, in the church here instead of in , as was usual. We may say with Fuller, why he was so buried is too hard for us to resolve; but we have no doubt the chapel above referred to was built by or for him.

Never had any man,

says Weaver,

better experience of the variable uncertainty of worldly felicity.

Raised from the condition of a poor man by his industry and ability, he became successively Dean of York, Treasurer of Calais, Secretary to the King, and Treasurer of England. When Archbishop Arundel fell under the displeasure of Richard II., and was banished, Walden was made Primate of England. On the return of Arundel in company with Bolingbroke, and the ascent of the latter to the throne, Arundel of course resumed his archiepiscopal rank and functions, and Roger Walden became again a private individual. Arundel, however, behaved very nobly to the man whom he must have looked on as an usurper of his place, for he conferred on him the bishopric of London. Walden did not live long to be grateful for this very honourable and kindly act, for he died within the ensuing year.

He may be compared to


so jaw-fallen,

says Fuller, in his usual quaint homely style,

with over long fasting, that he cannot eat meat when brought unto him; and his spirits were so depressed with his former ill fortunes, that he could not enjoy himself in his new unexpected happiness.

A monument to the memory of Captain John Millet, mariner, , begets reflections of a more amusing nature. He it appears was

Desirous hither to resort,

Because this parish was his port.

In our account of the it will be remembered that of the persons against whom proceedings were taken for practising without its licence was Francis Anthony. The history of this individual, whom the author of the article in the

Biographia Britannia


a very learned physician and chemist,

possesses, we think, sufficient interest to make it worth while to extract a few particulars from the work we have mentioned. The account, we must premise, is evidently written by a warm admirer. Francis Anthony took the degree of M.A. at Cambridge in , and there, according to his own account, studied chemistry most sedulously. Soon after his arrival in London, about , he published a treatise concerning the excellency of a medicine drawn from gold; but, not having received the licence of the , he was summoned before it in , when he confessed that he had practised physic in London for more than months, and had cured persons or more of several diseases, to whom he had given purging and vomiting physic, and to others a diaphoretic medicine


prepared from gold and mercury, as the case required. He was then examined, and, being found inexpert, interdicted from practice. About a month after he was committed to the Compter prison, and fined , but, upon his application to- the Lord Chief Justice, was set at liberty. The College immediately sent the President and of the Censors to wait on that dignitary, to request him to preserve and defend the College privileges. Mr. Anthony now submitted, promised to pay his fine, and practise no more. Not long after he was again accused of practising, and on his own confession fined , which he refused to pay; it was then raised to , and he was committed to prison till it was paid. The College also commenced a lawsuit against him, and obtained a judgment in its favour; but, on the entreaties of Mr. Anthony's wife, remitted their share of the penalty. These proceedings, however, appear to have benefited rather than injured him in the eye of the public; among other evidences of his popularity is that of his obtaining the degree of doctor of physic in of the universities. New complaints were now made of his giving a certain nostrum, which he called , or potable gold, and which he was said to represent as an universal medicine. Dr. Anthony published

a very learned and modest defence of himself and his aurum potabile, in Latin, written with great decency, much skill in chemistry, and with an apparent knowledge in the theory and practice of physic.

In the preface he says

that, after inexpressible labour, watching, and expense, he had, through the blessing of God, attained all he had sought for in his inquiries.

In the chapter of the work he affirms that his medicine is a kind of extract or honey of gold, capable of being dissolved in any liquor whatsoever; and, referring to the common objection of the affinity between the aurum potabile and the philosopher's stone, does not deny the transmutation of metals, but still shows that there is a great difference between the ; and that the finding or not finding of the does not at all render it inevitable that the other shall also be discovered or remain hidden. The price of the medicine was an ounce. Wonderful cures of course are displayed in the doctor's pages. His publication produced quite a controversy on the merits of the aurum potabile. We need not wonder to find that Dr. Anthony had implicit believers in the value of his nostrum when we see the great chemist and philosopher Boyle thus commenting on such preparations:--

Though I have long been prejudiced against the pretended aurum potabile, and other boasted preparations of gold, for most of which I have still no great esteem, yet I saw such extraordinary and surprising effects from the tincture of gold I spake of (prepared by


foreign physicians) upon persons of great note, with whom I was particularly acquainted, both before they fell desperately sick and after their strange recovery, that I could not but change my opinion for a very favourable


as to some preparations of gold.

Boyle's Abridgment of Shaw, v. 3, p. 586, quoted in Biog. Brit.

Dr. Anthony enjoyed a very extensive and lucrative practice, and lived in great hospitality at his house in

Bartholomew Close

. He is said to have been very liberal, very pious, very modest, and of untainted probity. He died in


, and was buried in the church here, where we now read the following inscription set up by his son, who inherited from Dr. Anthony the reputation and profits of the aurum potabile :

There needs no verse to beautify thy praise, Or keep in memory thy spotless name. Religion, virtue, and thy skill did raise A three-fold pillar to thy lasting fame. Though poisonous Envy ever sought to blame Or hide the fruits of thy intention, Yet shall all they commend that high design Of purest gold to make a medicine, That feel thy help by that thy rare invention.

Let us now enter the Choir, and, ascending the gallery to the side of the organ, from whence the view at the head of this paper is taken, gaze on the impressive and characteristic work before us, which seems scarcely less fresh and solid than when Rahere beheld in its vast piers and beautiful arches the realization of the vision for which he had so long yearned. We are standing in the centre of arches of the most magnificent span, fit bearers of the great tower that they lifted so airily, as it were a thing of nought, into the air. of these are round, and slightly pointed. The last (which were originally open and formed the commencement of the transepts) have been referred to as among the various instances of the occasional use of pointed arches by the Normans before their systematic introduction as a style.

The cause,

says Mr. Britton,

is evident; for those sides of the tower being much narrower than the east and west divisions, which are formed of semicircular arches, it became necessary to carry the arches of the former to a point, in order to suit the oblong plan of the intersection, and at the same time make the upper mouldings and lines range with the corresponding members of the circular arches.

[n.61.1]  In each of the spandrels formed by these arches is a small lozenge-shaped panel containing ornaments which bear a striking resemblance to the Grecian honeysuckle, and deserve notice from their singularity. Behind us are arches showing the original continuation of the church into the nave. The roof is very ancient, and not particularly handsome looking. It consists of massy timbers, some of them braced up in the middle, apparently to prevent their falling. Prior Bolton's elegant oriel window in the story appears to have been built as a kind of pew or seat, from which the Prior could overlook the canons when he pleased, without their being aware of his presence, as it communicated with his house at the eastern extremity of the church. The piers which support the range of pointed arches forming the uppermost story are, it will be perceived on referring to the engraving, pierced longitudinally, so as to leave open a passage all round the upper part of the building. The dimensions of the church are stated somewhat differently by different writers, and we have no means of reconciling the discrepancy. According to Malcolm, the height is about feet, the breadth feet, and the length feet; to which if we add feet for the length of the nave, we have feet as the entire length of the Priory church within the walls. Osborne, in his

English Architecture,

gives the height as feet, the breadth feet, and the length of the present church feet. We may here observe that when the fire broke out in the interior of the church was much injured, and the


entire pile had a narrow escape from destruction. A portion of the roof of the south aisle fell on that occasion, and showed it to be composed of rubble-work. The church has undergone numerous reparations and alterations-we wish we could add improvements. But, on the contrary, many parts appear to have been injured, if not wantonly, certainly from unworthy or insufficient reasons. Thus, in Henry VIII.'s time, as we have seen in our previous number, the sacred edifice had well nigh been entirely pulled down for the value of the materials. The erection of the brick tower in was little better than an architectural insult to the pride of the fine old Norman choir. And, as if the very sight of its magnificent arch-piers had become irksome, they have been cased round with wood, for no better reason, we presume, than that they were apt to leave undesirable marks on the coats of the congregation. But is that their fault? are not plaster; nor, if they could speak, do we believe we should find them at all ambitious of whitewash.

There are some interesting monuments in the Choir; among which we may mention the following:--A beautiful marble monument of a rich dark-brown or almost black colour contains a figure of a man in complete armour, kneeling under an alcove,-- angels as supporters are drawing aside the curtains. This is Robert Chamberlain's. Nearly opposite is the monument of James Rivers, Esq., with this inscription:--

Within this hollow vault there rests the frame

Of the high soul which once inform'd the same;

Torn from the service of the state in »s prime

By a disease malignant as the time:

Whose life and death design'd no other end

Than to serve God, his country, and his friend;

Who, when ambition, tyranny, and pride

Conquer'd the age, conquer'd himself and died.

This was written in , or just when the civil war was about to break out and deluge the country with the blood of its bravest and best children. Beyond is a sumptuously executed marble monument of great size, in memory of Sir Walter Mildmay, ,


says Mr. Godwin,

a mixture of the classic forms then becoming known, with the style which had been in general use.

This gentleman, the founder of Emanuel College, Cambridge, held several offices under Henry VIII. and Edward VI., and was by Elizabeth made Chancellor of ; who would, perhaps, have still further advanced him if he had been more obsequious to her wishes. Fuller says of him,

Being employed, by virtue of his place, to advance the Queen's treasure, he did it industriously, faithfully, and conscionably, without wronging the subject, being very tender of their privileges, insomuch that he once complained in Parliament that many subsidies were granted and no grievances redressed; which words being represented with disadvantage to the Queen made her to disaffect him;

and so he was left

in a court cloud, but in the sunshine of his country and a clear conscience.

In he was employed with Sir W. Cecil in a treaty with the unfortunate Queen of. Scots, and a few years later in the melancholy affair of her trial and conviction. He was appointed by Elizabeth a fellow-commissioner with Burghley, and many other eminent and titled personages, to proceed to Fotheringhay Castle, whither


Mary had been lately conveyed. The commissioners arrived there on the , and on the following day Sir Walter and others were deputed by the rest to deliver to the captive Queen a letter from Elizabeth, charging her with being accessory to the conspiracy set on foot just before by Babington, a young English Catholic of enthusiastic temper, to assassinate the Queen of England and deliver Mary from her captivity, and for which conspiracy Babington and several others had been executed. Mary's reply to them was full of dignity, and at the same time of a pathos that must have moved the heart of Sir Walter, who seems to have been a very estimable man. She told him that it grieved her to find her dear sister misinformed; that she had been kept in prison until she was deprived of the use of her limbs, notwithstanding her having repeatedly offered reasonable and safe conditions for her liberty; that she had given her Majesty full and faithful notice of several dangers which threatened her, and yet had found no credit, but had been always slighted and despised, though so nearly allied to her Majesty in blood, &c. She told him further that it seemed most strange that the Queen should command her, her equal, to submit to a trial as a subject; that she was an independent Queen, and that would do nothing that might be prejudicial to her own majesty or to other princes of her rank and quality, or to her son's right; that her mind was not yet so far dejected, nor would she sink under the present calamity. In conclusion she thus addressed Sir Walter:--

The laws and statutes of England are unknown to me; I am void of counsellers, and cannot tell who shall be my peers. My notes and papers are taken from me, and no


dares to appear to be my advocate.

The trial followed, and the execution. Fuller records an interesting story of Sir Walter and the foundation of Emanuel College. Mildmay, it must be observed, had, unlike the great men of the day generally, exhibited a tolerant spirit toward the Puritans. Coming to court after the foundation of the College, Elizabeth said to him,

Sir Walter, I hear you have erected a Puritan foundation.

No, Madam,

was the answer,

far be it from me to countenance anything contrary to your established laws; but I have set an acorn which, when it becomes an oak, God knows what will be the fruit thereof.

In the corner next to this monument is that to the memory of the Smallpage family, , which is admirably executed in very dark marble. It contains heads or half-busts, the of a male, the other of a female--the former having a fine face and a double-peaked beard; the latter, if we may judge from the expression of her countenance, in its full ruff, seems made of

sterner stuff.

Lastly (and as we began, so should we end, with Rahere, who is the presiding spirit of the place), we find the monument of the founder in the north-eastern corner, almost immediately opposite the beautiful oriel window which Prior Bolton there erected, in order, perhaps, that when he sat in it the home of the ashes of his illustrious predecessor might be for ever before him. This is a work in every way worthy of the man whom it enshrines. It is of the most elegant specimens of the pointed style of architecture, consisting mainly of a very highly wrought stone-work screen, enclosing a tomb on which Rahere's effigy extends at full length. The roof of the little chamber, as we may call it, is most exquisitely groined. At what period the monument was erected is uncertain; but the style marks it as of a later date than that


of the founder's decease. But it was most carefully restored by Bolton; and the fact is significant of its antiquity. As the latter found, no doubt, a labour of love in making these reparations, so Time itself seems to have seconded his efforts, and to have shared in the hopes of its builders that a long period of prosperity should be granted to it, by touching it very gently. Here and there the pinnacles have been somewhat diminished of their fair proportions, and that is pretty well the entire extent of the injury the work has experienced. The monument, it must be added, is richly painted as well as sculptured, and shows us the black robes of Rahere and of the monks who are kneeling at his side--the ruddy features of the former, and the splendid coats of arms on the front of the tomb below. Each of the monks has a Bible before him, open at the chapter of Isaiah. And often and often, no doubt, has Rahere, as he read such verses as that (the ) we are about to transcribe, received fresh accession of strength to complete his arduous task, until what he had looked upon as holy words of encouragement only became to his rapt fancy a prophecy which he was chosen to fulfil. When others spake of the all but impossible task (for such it was generally esteemed) he had undertaken, of cleaning and building upon the extensive marsh allotted, he smiled in his heart to think what had said greater than they:--

The Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.


[n.55.1] The building is occupied by a fringe-manufacturer.

[n.58.1] Churches of London.

[n.61.1] Chronological History of Christian Architecture in England.