London, Volume 1

Knight, Charles


St. Mary Overies.

St. Mary Overies.




Romance has of late years borrowed much from the stores which our antiquaries and topographers have been so long and so industriously heaping up, and with its


touch has re-animated the dry bones and crumbling particles, till the past has again become the present, and the shapes around which hang so many of our dearest recollections have once more lived and moved before our eyes,their entire being, physical, moral, and mental, revealed to our earnest curiosity. It is pity that the antiquaries and the topographers, on their part, do not reciprocate such friendly advances. Romance would do much for them. So far, however, are they from thinking so, that, even when anything of the kind comes in their way--is so forced upon their attention that they notice it-nothing can be more characteristic than their treatment of the impertinence. How suspiciously they peer into its genealogy; how curtly they dismiss it if no flaw be there discoverable; how triumphantly if there be! They want no Rosamond's Bower to bloom for them. The Lion Heart may remain in captivity for ever, rather than Blondel, under such touching and beautiful circumstances, shall discover his abode, and be the means of his relief. So, in the history of the noble church we are about to describe, Mary Overy, plying to and fro between the opposite shores of the great river, before a single metropolitan bridge existed, and devoting her earnings, as well as the earnings of her parents before her, to the erection of a religious house on its banks,--even she, poor maiden, hardly escapes their hands: they would


deprive her of all honours, based though they be upon or centuries of grateful recollection. And why would they do this? Why, whilst few traditions are better authenticated than this of the ferryman's daughter, should few or none of the local historians give it frank and hearty credence? Why should most of them make a point of questioning its truth? Let us see what the evidence is. And we shall call of their own body (honest John Stow, the prince of topographers, because he has some of the spirit of poetry about him) into court. He favours us with separate depositions. The , where he states his authority to be

Linsted, last prior of St. Mary Overies,

we have already transcribed in our account of ;[n.114.1]  the other, in which we find some important additions made, runs as follows:

This church, or some other in place thereof, was of

old time, long before the Conquest

, an house of sisters, founded by a maiden named Mary. Unto the which house and sisters she left (as was left her by her parents) the oversight and profits of a cross ferry over the Thames there kept before that any bridge was builded. This House of Sisters was afterwards by $within, a noble lady, converted into a college of priests, who, in place of the ferry, builded a bridge of timber, &c.

In the year


was this church again founded for canons regular, by William Pont de l'Arche and William Dauncy, Kts., Normans.

[n.114.2]  It will be observed that the statement here put upon record is direct and unqualified; indeed it is highly probable that Linsted spoke not only from the traditional, but also from the written, records of the house, which, being in Latin, were all destroyed a few years after the dissolution of the house at the Reformation, as


remains of the Catholic church. At all events, whatever Linsted's story may be worth as regards the bridge, it is, as regards St. Mary Overies, deserving of every credit, because supported by other and most satisfactory proofs. Thus we learn from him, and in express words , that the foundation of St. Mary Overies dated from a period

long before the Conquest.

Now, , it is certain that there a religious house in at the early period referred to :--

The Bishop [of Bayeux] has in


one monastery



harbour. King Edward [the Confessor] held it on the day he died. Whoever held the church held it of the King.

And, secondly, it is almost equally certain that St. Mary Overies was that religious house,

there being no pretence,

says Bishop Tanner (a high authority),

for any other to claim to be as old as the Confessor's time.

Surely this is good evidence; but it is not all. There is much reason to believe that a portion of that very early building still remains.

Recently, when digging for a family vault in the centre of the choir of the church, near the altar, it was found necessary to cut through a very ancient foundation wall, which

never could have formed any part of the present edifice

; the situation exactly corresponds with that of the House of Sisters,

[n.114.3]  described by Stow as near the east part of the present St. Mary Overies,

above the choir,

and where he says was buried. Lastly, there is the name itself. Who is meant by St. Mary? Not certainly the mother of Jesus, for a of the edifice (the well-known Lady


Chapel) is expressly dedicated to her; on the other hand, it was a matter of common occurrence in the early ages of the Christian church to enter the names of the benefactors of religious communities in their


books, which names were recited from time to time with honour, and the persons thenceforward held as , or saints; and hence the word



Such, doubtless, was the process that transformed the ferryman's daughter into St. Mary Overy: the latter word meaning either the (the Saxon word for river), or, corrupted into Overy, when the bridge had put aside the more primitive method of transport, and the original meaning of the phrase was forgotten. The last is, in all probability, the true derivation;

for in some very ancient records the church is called St. Mary

at the Ferry


[n.115.1]  So that, on the whole, we think we are fully justified in once more declaring our faith in the history of the ferryman's daughter, and in stating our firm belief that tradition, Linsted, and Stow, are right in this their account of the foundation of of the most interesting, beautiful, and least known of London edifices.

The foundation of St. Mary Overies was, as we have seen, for canons regular;[n.115.2]  and the founders were

William Pont de l'Arche, and William

Norman Arch.

Dauncy, Knights, Normans.

Ailgod was the prior. Gifford, the then bishop of Winchester, who about the same period built the splendid palace adjoining, was also a great benefactor: indeed the erection of the entire nave is attributed to him. Others rendered assistance of a different but no less


useful kind. Alexander Fitzgerald gave weys of cheese, and his grandson Henry a field of wheat. The ceremonies attending the presentation of important gifts are strikingly illustrated in the instance of the Earl of Warren, who, in presenting his church of Kircesfield to the new priory, placed a knife upon the altar, in confirmation of the grant. Of the building erected at this period, there remained in the nave, till the late alterations, massy round pillars (differing from all the others, of a later date, which supported the roof), and the very ancient Norman arch which was discovered a few years since buried in the thickness of the wall of the north aisle, and which led, it is supposed, into the cloisters that extended along the northern side of St. Mary Overies.

In the great fire of in [n.116.1]  the Priory received so much damage, that the canons founded an hospital in the neighbourhood, where they performed all the services of their church until St. Mary Overies was repaired. From this hospital arose the well-known St. Thomas's. About -and- years after this sad calamity the chapel of was founded by Peter de Rupibus [Peter des Roches], who was consecrated Bishop of Winchester, at Rome, by the Pope, having previously distinguished himself as a follower of Richard I., and received the honour of knighthood at his hands. On the death of the Earl of Pembroke he was appointed guardian of the young king, Henry III., but was soon supplanted by his great rival, Hubert de Burgh. Of the state of the Priory in the beginning of the century there is an interesting record; it is an answer to the application of the king, Edward I., to admit of his aged servants into their body. They state that they are so poor that the whole of their goods, rents, and possessions cannot afford sufficient for their own maintenance without the

pious bounty of the faithful;

and then continue:--

our church, too, which now for


years last past (oh shame!) has been in ruin, we have laboured our utmost about the repairs of, since the beginning of that time, yet we have only been able to proceed so far in its restoration (hindered by vexatious and burdensome exactions, as well in spiritual as in temporal) as to build our campanile. Moreover, through that continued resistance which without ceasing we attempt against the violence of the River Thames (on whose banks our little house is situated), and for the safety of our church, our strength would not suffice for our own security, were the danger not lessened happily on the


hand by a subsidy, on the other by our being immediately furnished by ourselves,

&c. [n.116.2]  During the period that the monks had been so piously struggling to repair their church, Walter Archbishop of York (in ) promulgated days' indulgence to all who should assist them; with what success does not appear. Another ancient record recalls a custom of the Catholic church in the olden times, which must have presented many pleasing and picturesque features. The Priory passed a statute in , restricting the to the limits of his own parish. The personage thus referred to was a child commonly chosen from among the choristers by them on St. Nicholas' Day (),. to assume the dignity and perform some of the offices of a bishop, until the following Innocents' Day, wearing all the while the mitre, and bearing the pastoral staff. On the eve


of that day, the chorister as bishop, and his companions as prebends, walked in procession to the church, preceded by the dean and canons. As he went he was feasted by the people, and bestowed in return his blessing, which was highly coveted.

We arrive now at of the most interesting events in the history of St. Mary Overies-its restoration about the close of the century, when the poet contributed the principal funds. This church was doubtless endeared to him by a peculiar tie: he was married here, in , to Alice Groundolf, by the celebrated William of Wickham, who then held the see of Winchester; and here their ashes repose. A small monument marked the site of her resting-place, according to Leland, which has long disappeared; his is doubtless destined to last as long as the beautiful edifice which enshrines it.


This monument, now in the south transept, was originally in a part of the north aisle of the nave, called Chapel, where it was placed in accordance with the poet's directions as expressed in his will. He writes,

I leave my soul to God my Creator; and my body to be buried in the church of the Canons of the blessed Mary de Overes,

in a place expressly provided for it.

The gratitude of the canons to their generous benefactor was marked by their long continuing to perform a yearly obiit to his memory, and by hanging up a tablet beside the monument with the inscription

that whosoever prayeth for the soul of John Gower, he shall, so oft as he so doth, have a M and a D days of pardon.

Of the sumptuous beauty of this monument our engraving furnishes the best description; we confine ourselves, therefore, to a notice of the inscriptions, and of such other portions as are not there distinguishable. Each of the


inscriptions seen at the back was originally supported by a Virgin crowned; the named


with the lines,[n.118.1] 

In thee who art the Son of God the Father, Be he saved that lies under this stone!

the named


with the lines,

O good Jesu, show thy mercy To the soul whose body lies here,

and the named


with the lines,

For thy pity, Jesu, have regard

And put this soul in safe keeping.

The words





are painted in red above their respective couplets, which are in black, with the exception of the initial letters, also in red. Running across beneath these inscriptions is another, to the following effect, similarly painted, which has been thus rendered :--

His shield henceforth is useless grown;

To pay Death's tribute slain:

His soul's with pious freedom flown

Where spotless spirits reign.

In the front we read,

Here lies John Gower, Esquire, a celebrated English poet, also a benefactor to the sacred edifice in the time of Edward III. and Richard II.

On the purple and gold band, with fillets of roses, which encircles his head, are the words

Merci Jhû.

The gilded volumes which support the latter bear the names of Gower's principal works,--the

Speculum Meditantis,

written in French, a work of precepts and examples, recommending the chastity of the marriage-bed; the

Vox Clamantis,

in Latin, having the insurrection of Wat Tyler for its subject; and the

Confessio Amantis,

in English, where an unhappy lover is solaced by his priest's pouring out a profusion of stories and disquisitions. The last alone has been printed, and it is upon that his fame as a poet deservedly rests. The very interesting circumstance attending its production, when Richard II. asked him

to book some new thing,

has been already described in the

Silent Highway.

On the wall at his feet are his arms, and a hat or helmet, with a red hood bordered with ermine, and surmounted by his crest, a dog. In the last or years of Gower's life he became blind, and was, he pathetically complains,

Condemn'd to suffer life, devoid of light.

would like to know whether he had previously seen the beautiful edifice he had expended his treasure to rear, or whether he knew that beauty only by listening to its praises from other and much less deeply interested admirers.

years after Gower's death, and the magnificent funeral obsequies which doubtless ushered the mortal remains to their last earthly home, a very different but still more magnificent spectacle graced St. Mary Overies. This was the marriage of Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent, in , with Lucia, eldest daughter of Barnaby, Lord of Milan. The bridegroom received ducats as a


portion. Henry IV. himself gave away the bride at the church-door, and afterwards led her to the banquet prepared at Winchester Palace. The princess did not, we may presume, find her recollections of the church or of the act there solemnized unpleasing, for at her death she left the canons crowns for masses for the souls of her husband and self.

Will our readers look once more upon the engraving of Gower's monument? They will there see on the pillar at the side a cardinal's hat, with certain arms beneath. To that slight memorial is attached a long train of recollections, many of them of the highest interest. The arms are of the Beaufort family; the hat is Cardinal Beaufort's--that wealthy and ambitious prelate, whose deathbed has been painted by Shakspere in such awful colours :--

Lord cardinal, if thou think'st on heaven's bliss,

Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope.--

He dies, and makes no sign.

There is reason, however, to hope that Beaufort's deathbed was not of so fearful a character as the poet intimates. The memorials of him placed here are supposed to commemorate his assistance to the rebuilding of the church, which Gower, perhaps, had but partially completed. Beaufort was consecrated Bishop of Winchester in , the very year in which Gower died. But the principal associations suggested by those memorials are of a much more absorbing nature than any we have yet intimated; to us they speak of an event in which the wily Cardinal had, it is said, the principal share,--the marriage of the royal poet of Scotland, James I., to Jane, a young lady of great personal and mental accomplishments, daughter of the Cardinal's deceased brother, the Earl of Somerset, and a near relation of the King. If were to seek no further than the pages of many of the old chroniclers, we should say that the whole end and aim of the match was to allay whatever angry feelings might have been produced by James's long captivity in England, and connect the crowns of England and Scotland by a powerful tie; but we know, from the exquisite poem which records James's feelings and sentiments whilst in captivity,[n.119.1]  that a deeper emotion than statesmen take account of thrilled through his heart when that marriage was made. Windsor Castle had ceased to be a prison long before its gates were flung wide open for his departure. Looking out upon the garden which lay before his window,

I saw,

he says,


fresh May morrow,


walking under the tower

Full secretly new coming her to plain,

The fairest and the freshest younge flower

That ever I saw, methought, before that hour.

Lost in wonder he doubted whether it was

a worldly creature,

Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature,

that he saw before him, with that

golden hair


chaplet fresh of hue,


Beauty enough to make a world to dote.

Was he prisoner after this? Yes, but it was Jane Beaufort who held the keys.


This is not the place to enter into the transactions of the time concerning his release; suffice it to say he was released, and a considerable portion of the sum charged for his eighteen years' maintenance [n.120.1]  was resigned by way of dowry. The marriage feast was of course held at the Cardinal's palace adjoining, and in a style befitting the rank of the guests, the importance of the occasion, and the station and opulence of the entertainer, who was then the richest man in England. The mother of Jane (now Queen of Scotland), her uncles, and other kindred, literally showered presents upon her of s

plate, jewels, gold, and silver, rich furniture, cloths of arras, such as at that time had not been seen in Scotland; and, amongst other gorgeous ornaments, a suit of hangings in which the labours of Hercules were most curiously wrought. And being thus furnished of all things fit for her estate, her


uncles (the Cardinal and the Duke of Exeter), and divers other noble men and ladies, accompanied her and King James her husband into his own kingdom of Scotland, where they were received of his subjects with all joy and gladness.

[n.120.2]  The connection so romantically begun was blessed with more than ordinary happiness: the hearts of the Scottish writers seem to warm as they speak of the Queen's beauty, virtue, and conjugal affection. And as to him, the accomplished student-musician-poet, did the title enhance or diminish his claims to love and admiration? Drummond of Hawthornden answers for us:--

Of the former kings (of Scotland) it might be said, the nation made the kings, but

this king made that people a nation.

[n.120.3]  A terrible death, however, awaited him. The turbulent nobles, whom his vigour kept in awe, conspired against James. On the , whilst he was conversing with the Queen and her attendant ladies just before retiring to rest, the murderers were heard at the door. James, knowing their aim, instantly tore up of the planks of the flooring and descended into the vaults beneath; but he could not escape his remorseless pursuers. In vain did the Queen throw herself between him and the assailants: she was twice wounded, and at length torn forcibly away, and the murder accomplished. Yet in the history of the poet-king even this atrocious deed stands not without its own peculiar relief. A sublime spirit of self-devotion characterized that dreadful hour, and exhibited itself, as the purest and highest self-devotion generally does, in a woman's gentle form.

In the Lansdowne MS.§ there is a curious record concerning a charge of heresy, brought against Joane Baker in , for having said that

she was sorry she had gone in so many pilgrimages,

as to St. Saviour's

, and divers other pilgrimages.

St. Mary Overies is supposed to have received its modern name of after its dissolution, in , at the general breaking up of the religious houses, when the parishes of and St. Margaret were consolidated, and the Priory church purchased from the King for divine worship. The passage just quoted, however, shows that the latter was known as St.


Saviour's nearly years before. In a dole was given here at the door, which attracted such multitudes of people that several persons were smothered in the crowd. or years later the King, Henry VIII., ordered a public procession to take place in the church, with what object does not appear; but it was performed with great ceremony and splendour. The canons, perhaps, had a foreboding that it would be the last opportunity of the kind afforded them. Fosbroke[n.121.1]  has minutely described a scene of this nature:--

Then two and two they march'd, and loud bells toll'd;

One from a sprinkle holy water flung;

This bore the relics in a chest of gold,

On arm of that the swinging censer hung:

Another loud a tinkling hand-bell rung;

Four fathers went that ringing monk behind,

Who suited psalms of holy David sung;

Then o'er the cross a stalking sire inclin'd,

And banners of the church went waving in the wind.

In the Priory was dissolved, and its prior, Linsted, pensioned off with a year. The annual revenue at this period was During Wyatt's insurrection, in , St. Mary Overies had a narrow escape from destruction; he and his soldiers having posted themselves in , the lieutenant of the Tower



great pieces of ordnance, culverins, and demi-cannons, full against the foot of the bridge, and against


, and the


steeples of

St. Olave's

and St. Mary Overies, beside all the pieces on the White Tower, and


fauconets over the Water-gate.

[n.121.2]  The inhabitants of were greatly alarmed, and begged Wyatt to depart, which he did. His soldiers, however, sacked the palace, and destroyed its extensive library. The next year showed but too clearly that Wyatt had not struggled against any imaginary evils. Persecution in its worst shape-religious persecution-and carried to an extreme which England has never known before or since--was then begun, by the appointment of a commission to sit in St. Mary Overies for the trial of heretics. On the Bishop Hooper and John Rogers were called before this council, excommunicated, and sent to prison till the following day, when they were again brought up with John Bradford, and sentence passed. Drs. Croome and Ferrars, and Mr. Saunders, appeared the next day before this dread tribunal of bigots. On the of victim, John Rogers, went, with indomitable courage, to the stake at Smithfield. Others rapidly followed, and within the years next ensuing between and persons thus perished. Of the spirit that actuated these martyrs, plain John Bradford's letter to Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, written about this period, affords as good an example as some of the more brilliant passages which have been preserved in connexion with this subject.

This day, I think, or tomorrow at the uttermost, hearty Hooper, sincere Saunders, and trusty Taylor end their course and receive their crown. The next am I, which hourly look for the porter to open me the gates after them, to enter into the desired rest.

What could persecution do with men like these? Not years after the commission


had sat, and sent its Protestant victims by wholesale to the stake, we find an order to dispose of the

Popish vestments,

for the purpose of repairing the church; consisting of robes of black velvet and crimson satin, with


of silver, and knobs of gold, a deacon's cope of green velvet and crimson, with flowers of gold, &c.; and years later all the valuable Latin records of the Priory were burnt, as we have before intimated, as


remains of Popery. About the church was repaired in many parts,

and within throughout richly and very worthily beautified.

Under the year we find in the Register of Burials of St. Mary Overies a few words that serve rather to stimulate than to satisfy the imagination:--

Edmond Shakspere, player, in the church.

This was the great dramatist's brother; and who, doubtless, was followed to the grave by as chief mourner. A somewhat similar recollection belongs to the year , when the same register records the death and burial of

Mr. John Fletcher, a man, in the church.

[n.122.1]  It is curious that . should be prefixed to the name of this great poet; a feature which distinguishes it from hundreds of others. Aubrey thus describes the circumstances attending his death:--_

In the great plague of


a knight of Norfolk or Suffolk invited him into the country: he stayed but to make himself a suit of clothes, and, while it was making, fell sick and died; this I heard from the tailor, who is now a very old man and clerk of St. Mary Overy.

We conclude this (the historical) portion of our notice with a passage from Strype's Stow, written about , and describing its state, &c., at that time:--

This is now a very magnificent church, since the late reparation. It hath an huge organ, which was procured by voluntary subscription. The repair (it is said) cost the parish


, and that well laid out. The old monuments are all refreshed and new painted.

A still more important reparation has taken place within the last few years, both of the building and its exceedingly interesting monuments. In all, we believe, above have been expended on this structure in the present century.

No who has passed over the present can be at a loss to know the site of St. Mary Overies; and there can be but few who have not in so passing stopped some time or other at its foot to gaze upon that noble cathedral-looking edifice, partly buried in the hollow on the western side of the . Whatever advantages belong to a commanding position are absent here; yet St. Mary Overies advantages even of position which belong peculiarly to itself. Its very lowness enables you, as it were, to look over it, and take in at a glance the great size and noble proportions. Its plan is very simple, being that of a cross, formed by the Lady Chapel, choir, and nave, extending in a straight line nearly feet eastward from where we stand, and by the transepts extending from the main body about feet north and south. Where the nave, choir, and transepts join, about the centre of the pile, rises the tower, some feet square, and high, yet light-looking and handsome from the numerous windows with which it is pierced and the elegant pinnacles that surmount it. In the last repair of the tower, in , it was found necessary to circle its entire breadth with stages of iron bars or ties; they


are, however, quite undistinguishable from the masonry. Along the north or river side of St. Mary Overies extends a vast pile of warehouses, which shut off all access in that direction; but on the south is a large open space, from whence may be obtained an excellent lateral view. From the farther corner of this spot might have been seen, till recently, the view shown in the engraving at the head of this paper; that is, before the nave was swept away, and a modern-looking church, whose lancet windows make but a sorry substitute for the picturesque outlines of the old building, erected in its place.

Of this new church we need not say much. Its front, which forms the western extremity of St. Mary Overies, is chiefly conspicuous for its bold buttresses, its great window and pyramidal top. Within there is a light, airy, and somewhat elegant appearance produced by the tall, slender columns (with round richly-carved capitals) which support the vaulted roof. The organ, a magnificent instrument, is a genuine part of the old pile, although recently enlarged. r Leaving the new church, we pass round through the churchyard to the entrance of the old. Here Massinger lies. This is a dreary place for a poet's remains to rest in. There is scarcely a patch of green to be found, much less a flower. A few miserable trees there are to be sure, but even they have all shrunk together into a corner against the wall, where, as they can get no farther, they remain, and patiently dwindle away. Scattered about are a few half-formed graves, looking like so many heaps of rubbish; and we cannot move without striking before us some crumbling remains of humanity.

We must not omit to notice, in passing, the projecting transept with its beautiful window, which is a restoration of the exquisite work discovered a few years ago among the remains of Winchester Palace: it doubtless lighted the noble hall of the latter, the very scene of the banquet before referred to, on that happiest of the days of the far from unhappy life (notwithstanding his captivity and awful death) of the royal poet of Scotland. Having passed the transept, we find ourselves opposite the choir with its pinnacled buttresses, sending off, like so many protecting arms, its flying arches to the lower-roofed aisle by its side. From the aisle formerly projected the chapel founded by Bishop Rupibus, which was large enough to be used as the parish church of before the consolidation of the latter into . It injured the simplicity of the edifice, however, and was very properly removed when it became necessary to rebuild the greater portion of the choir in -. Through a small pointed arched doorway we obtain admittance to the interior: and a more beautiful and accurate specimen of the architecture of the century, restored though it be, it would perhaps be impossible to find, than that which here meets the eye. Yet if the be thus beautiful, what must have been the effect of the , when the entire length of the church from the altar-screen-including the choir, the intersection of the transepts (with the light from the windows of the tower streaming down), and the nave--was all open, and the eye passed along a magnificent perspective of pillars below, and story upon story of arches above, till it rested on the fine old western window at the extremity, nearly feet distant? The nave is now gone, and a screen reaching to the roof shuts off all view beyond the transepts. We must, however, make the most of what


remains to us; and so let us stand for a moment with our back to this screen, and enjoy the beautiful scene here pictured.


The pews and other paraphernalia have been recently removed; and the beautiful but dilapidated altar-screen, supposed to have been erected by Bishop Fox (from the pelican, his favourite device, being in the cornice), most exquisitely restored. There remains but to sweep away a most unsightly mass of stair-casing between the transepts, which at present forms the only entrance to the galleries of the new church, to make St. Mary Overies all that the most enthusiastic antiquary could desire. We must pause a moment longer before the screen. It consists essentially of stories of niches for statues, divided by half-length projecting figures of angels. The centre forms larger niches, above the other, which give an air of grandeur to the whole. At the bottom are the Commandments inscribed in an antique-looking letter, with all the adornments of gay colours and bright gilding. The whole work is most exquisitely sculptured and most profusely ornamented. Here men are chasing animals, there supporting the slender angular-shaped shafts or buttresses which divide the niches from each other. Grotesque heads peep out from this part, fair flowers and foliage attract the eye to that; yet these details are all-subordinate to the general effect: it is not the less a chaste because a most richly elaborate work of art.

of the most interesting sepulchral remains of St. Mary Overies is the effigy of the Knight Templar, who lies in a wooden frame or box in the choir, though we have taken the liberty of removing him to a place to which we think he more properly belongs, namely, of the arches in the north aisle; which, placed side by side, and exactly alike each other, have evidently had common origin--have been devoted to some similar and connected purpose.


That connexion we venture to think is, their being the original burial-places of the founders of the church of ,

William Pont de l'Arche and William Dauncy, Knights, Normans;

and we further venture to say, it is
highly probable that the effigy represented above shows us of those personages. It is hollow and of wood, a circumstance that points to the cause of the loss of its fellow--the fires which at different times have injured the eastern end of St. Mary Overies. Within the box, and below the Templar, lies the stone effigy of an emaciated man, wrapped in a shroud, which is drawn up in a very curious manner, at the back of the head, into a long projecting knot. Stepping into the space between the transepts, we perceive above us the tower, with a flat painted roof, which is supported on magnificent arches formed by the junction of as many piers; showing, in their size and strength and elastic beauty, how lightly they bear their gigantic burdens, and how many an age must yet pass away before they will grow weary of, or stoop under it. We must ascend the tower if it be only to gaze at the prospect from its summit. Aye, there lies outspread before us, , with all its indistinguishable masses of human dwellings; its crowding spires and turrets; its stately dome towering above all, the central object of the mighty picture, which gives unity, harmony, proportion to the whole; and lastly, there is the great river, which has borne bravely hither upon its capacious bosom the argosies of a ports. The tower is graced by a fine peal of bells, and sundry tablets in the belfry record the exploits performed upon them by the



and other such ambitious


An old church is always a solemn place. The silence,--the repose almost unearthly which hangs about it,--dispose the mind to serious meditation; and in the presence of the many dead lying there, who can forget he is himself mortal? Yet walk round, and examine the memorials which affection, or friendship, or vanity, or ostentatious professing gratitude have reared along its walls, and what a strange medley of associations do we find! The grave brings stranger bed-fellows together than poverty--more startling contrasts than the world. Death is everywhere the burden, yet how varied the song! In St. Mary Overies it is as in most other of such edifices; the ludicrous, or merely fanciful, sadly outnumber the pathetic or beautiful epitaphs. That to a lady who is styled

a maid of honour

in celestial


dignity is amusing; but it is not equal to which formerly stood in the Lady Chapel:--

Weep not for him, since he is gone before

To heaven, where grocers there are many more.

The principal monuments of St. Mary Overies extend round the walls of each of the transepts, and along the north aisle, and are placed generally within lofty pointed arches, corresponding with those shown in our engraving of the choir; and of which, indeed, they make the transepts appear to be but continuations of the choir, running off at right angles. A large monument to the memory of the Rev. T. Jones was erected by of his parishioners as a memorial of

the edification they received from his faithful labours in the ministry.

The monument to William Emerson exhibits a very diminutive emaciated figure in a shroud drawn up behind the head, like that before mentioned. He is lying on a mat, rolled partly up under his head. The whole is most delicately and beautifully sculptured. Gower's monument adjoins this. Immediately opposite, our attention is drawn to of those specimens of painted sculpture which form so distinguishing a feature of St. Mary Overies. It represents a life-like bust of John Bingham, Esq., saddler to Queen Elizabeth and King James. The complexion and features, the white ruff and black moustachios, the dark jerkin and red waistcoat, of the saddler to royalty, are all here preserved in their natural colours and aspect. Crossing to the north transept, our attention is attracted by a curious emblematical monument, of most imposing appearance, to the memory of William Austin, Esq., , richly painted, carved, and gilded. This is a most remarkable specimen of sculptured allegory-puzzling us with angels, rocks, suns, and serpents. We are doubtless indebted for the invention of the whole to Mr. William Austin himself, whose poem entitled

Certain Devout, Learned, and Godly Meditations,

is a fit accompaniment to the of the sculpture.

Next to this poet of the sepulchre lies who doubtless in his day contributed somewhat more than his share to the making that sepulchre populous, Dr. Lockyer, the famous empiric of the time of Charles II. His effigy represents a respectable-looking personage, attired in a thick curled wig and furred gown, pensively reclining upon some pillows, as though he half doubted the truth of the friendly prophecy in his epitaph:--

His virtues and his pills are so well known, That envy can't confine them under stone.

Leaving the transept for the north aisle, we arrive at the monument of John Trehearne, gentleman porter to James I., with the busts of himself and wife, both having the ruff round their necks, gilt buttons down their breasts, and gilt bands round their waists. They hold a tablet between them bearing a quaint inscription.

The space opposite, between of the pillars of the choir, is occupied by the monument of Richard Humble, alderman of London. Upon the top of the tomb, under a large painted and gilded arch, are kneeling figures of the alderman and his wives. On the front and back of the tomb are representations of


their children; that on the north has the following beautiful inscription, which is a slightly varied extract from a poem attributed to Francis Quarles:--

Like to the damask rose you see,

Or like the blossom on the tree,

Or like the dainty flower of May,

Or like the morning of the day,

Or like the sun, or like the shade,

Or like the gourd which Jonas had,

Even so is Man, whose thread is spun,

Drawn out, and cut, and so is done.

The rose withers, the blossom blasteth,

The flower fades, the morning hasteth;

The sun sets, the shadow flies,

The gourd consumes, and Man he dies.

A few steps farther we find a door at the extremity of this, the north aisle; we pass through, and find ourselves in the far-famed Lady Chapel; the beautiful building which occupies the eastern extremity of the church, and the very site pointed out :by Stow as that of the ancient House of Sisters

beyond the choir,

where Mary Overy herself was buried. No monument records her memory, nor is any needed. St. Mary Overies itself is most magnificent mausoleum. Stow speaks of this building as the

Neu, Chapel

, in former times called Our Lady's Chapel; and indeed, though very old, it now may be called a new


, because newly redeemed from such use and employment as, in respect of that it was built to-divine and religious duties--may very well be branded with the title of wretched, base, and unworthy. For that which before this abuse was, and is now, a fair and beautiful chapel, by those that were then the corporation was leased and let out, and their house of God made a bakehouse.

In this place they had their ovens, in that s bolting place, in that their kneading trough, and in another, I have heard, a hog's trough.

If the old topographer's generous indignation was so great at the mere temporary desecration of the

fair and beautiful chapel,

what would he have said had he lived years later, and witnessed the strenuous efforts then made for its entire destruction? Never, perhaps, had so fine a work of art so narrow an escape. In preparing the approaches to , the Committee agreed to grant a space of feet for the better display of St. Mary Overies, on the condition that the Lady Chapel was swept away. The matter appeared in a fair way for being thus settled, when Mr. Taylor sounded the alarm in of the daily papers. Thomas Saunders, Esq., and Messts. Cottingham and Savage, the architects, actively interfered. A large majority of the parishioners, however, decided to accept the proposals of the Committee. In the mean time the gentlemen we have named were indefatigable in their exertions; and they were effectively seconded by the press. At a subsequent meeting there was a majority of only for pulling down the chapel; and on a poll being demanded and obtained, there ultimately appeared the large majority of for its preservation. The excitement of the hour was prudently used to obtain funds to restore it, which has been most successfully accomplished. Honour to the individuals who so boldly pioneered the way! Having gazed awhile upon those slender, tree-like pillars, sending off their countless branches till they appear to form


of shade,

stretching over all, rather than a mere mason's groined roof--having also admired the effect of the elegantly painted shields of arms which here and there enrich the windows, we now turn an inquiring gaze around to see what else of interest may belong to the Lady Chapel, until the tomb of Bishop Andrews is perceived, which at once arrests and fixes the attention. Seldom has the world seen a man more worthy of its united love and veneration than he whose remains lie here interred; and seldom has the world been so willing as in his case to acknowledge such claims upon it. He was successively Dean of , Bishop of Chichester, Bishop of Ely, and lastly, in , Bishop of Winchester. His great learning made him a favourite with the King; his piety and virtues with the people; his fascinating eloquence with both. He was of the authors of our common translation of the Bible. It is recorded that towards the close of his life the manuscript of his

Manual for Private Devotions,

&c., was scarcely ever out of his hands, and after his death it was found worn in pieces and wet with his tears. That death made a great sensation. Milton, then only about or , wrote, in Latin, an impassioned elegy to his memory, which Cowper has translated. The good bishop's tomb was formerly in the Bishop's Chapel, a small edifice projecting eastward beyond the Lady Chapel. It had originally a fair canopy upon black marble pillars, with a long inscription, commencing,

Reader, if thou art a Christian, stay; it will be worth thy tarrying to know how great a man lies here.

This canopy was destroyed by the falling in of the roof of the chapel in the fire of . During the late alterations this chapel was pulled down, and the tomb removed to its present site. The latter was then opened, and his coffin seen within, in an excellent state of preservation, closely bricked up. It rested on a cross of brickwork. The leaden coffin bore simply his initials, L. A., Lancelot Andrews.


[n.114.1] Pages 77, 78.

[n.114.2] Strype's Stow, vol. ii. p. 773.

[n.114.3] Taylor's Annals of St. Mary Overy; a work to which we are bound to express our obligations for much interesting matter overlooked by preceding historians.

[n.115.1] Moss and Nightingale's St Saviours.

[n.115.2] Canons of the order of St. Augustine, who were less strict in their discipline than the monks generally Their costume was a white tunic, with a black cloak, and a hood covering the head, neck, and shoulders.

[n.116.1] See London Bridge, p. 82.

[n.116.2] Bundela Brevium et Literam in Turro, London. Ann. 32 Edw. I. Translated in Taylor's Annals.

[n.118.1] These inscriptions are here translated literally and prosaically from the original couplets; of which we here transcribe the first :-- En toy qui es Filz de Dieu le Pere, Sauve soit qui gist sous cest pierre.

[n.119.1] The King's Quair.

[n.120.1] Though the detention of James was a most unjustifiable proceeding, never was captive more honourably used. The very best possible education that the age could furnish was given to him. Bishop Leighton said only the truth when, addressing Henry VI. for his release, he observed, His abode with you seemeth rather to have been a remaining in an academy than in any captivity.

[n.120.2] Drake's Historia Anglo-Scotica.

[n.120.3] History of the Lives and Reigns of the Five Jameses, Kings of Scotland. § 978, v. 44, p. 129.

[n.121.1] Economy of Monastic Life.

[n.121.2] Chron. of London Bridge,

[n.122.1] In the Tabard, page 58, it is stated that Fletcher and Massinger lie in one grave in the churchyard. The above record proves this to have been a mistake.