The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas



It is certain that not long after the introduction of Christianity into Britain, London was erected into a bishop's see; but at what particular period, or by whom, is involved in obscurity.


In the list of ecclesiastics, who formed the general council held at Aries, in France, in , we have the presence of a bishop of London recorded in these terms:

Ex Provincia Britanniae Civitate Londinensi Restitutus Episcopus.

Joceline of Furnes, in his book of British bishops, says, that this Restitutus was the bishop of London; but no dependence can be placed on the accuracy of his list.

It was not till the time of Pope Gregory the Great, that Augustine, who had been called the apostle of the English, restored the light of the gospel. Among the converts was Ethelbert, king of Kent, who, about , erected London of new into a bishop's see, and founded .

This diocese, which has never experienced any alteration, being formed of the ancient kingdom of the East Saxons, is in the province of Canterbury, and is composed of the counties of Middlesex, Essex, and part of Hertfordshire, and latterly the British plantations in America. The following parishes in the city are, however, exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction, being peculiars, under the immediate government of the archbishop of Canterbury: viz. Allhallows, ; Allhallows, ; St. Dionis, Back-church; St. Dunstan in the East; St. John the Baptist; St. Leonard, ; St. Mary Aldermary; St. Mary Bothaw; ; St. Michael Royal; , Soper-lane; and St. Vedast, . It is governed by a bishop, who is assisted by a dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, archdeacons, canons or prebendaries, petty or minor canons, vicars choral, a sub-dean, and other inferior officers.

In common with all the bishops of the realm, the bishop of London has the power of holding a court in his own diocese, for the trial and punishment of spiritual offences, in which he may either sit as judge himself, or depute his power to a chancellor, suffragan, or other officer. The bishops' court, therefore, though held by the king's authority, are not properly to be accounted the king's courts, since none of the judges possess this privilege, neither are writs from them issued in the name of the king, but of the bishop.

In precedence, the bishop of London ranks next after the archbishops, and is stiled, in some of the old statutes, , the ecclesiastical barons taking precedence of all the temporal barons. It is also the privilege of this diocese, not to be subject to the visitation of the archbishop of Canterbury.

The dean is to assist the bishop in ordinations, deprivations, and other affairs of the church; and on the king's writ of , the dean and prebendaries elect the bishop; but this election is now a mere matter of form, since the person recommended by the king is always chosen. The dean is also elected by the chapter, on letters missive from the king, whose assent must be obtained before the bishop can confirm and give power to instal him.



The sum at which the see is entered in the king's books, is , but it is estimated to be worth at least per annum.

The precentor, or chanter, is to superintend the church music; under him is a sub-chanter, who officiates in his absence. The stall, on the north side of the choir, belongs to this officer, whose corps is in the church of Stortford, of which he is proprietor and perpetual rector, and patron of the vicarage.

The chancellor was anciently called , from having had the charge of literature within the city of London, whereby he was empowered to license all the schoolmasters in the city, except those of , and St. Martin-le-Grand; but at present, he is only secretary to the chapter. He has the stall on the north side of the choir, and his corps is in the church of Boreham and Yelling.

The treasurer has the custody of the valuables belonging to the cathedral church of St. Paul; for the faithful keeping of which he is sworn before the dean and chapter. He has the stall on the south side of the choir, and his corps is in the church of Pelham and Aldebri. Under him is the sacrist, who is also sworn to the faithful discharge of his office, vergers, and the inferior servants of the church.

The archdeaconries are those of London, Essex, Middlesex, Colchester, and St. Alban's. Their office is to visit the several cures within their respective archdeaconries, and to inquire into the reparations and moveables belonging to them; to reform slight abuses in ecclesiastical matters, and to bring affairs of moment before the bishop. It is also the office of the archdeacon to induct clerks into their benefices upon the bishop's mandate.

The canons, or prebendaries, with the bishop, compose the chapter, by which the affairs of the church are managed. All the prebends are in the collation of the bishop, and out of them there are residentiaries, besides the dean: so called from their continual residence in the church.

The prebends belonging to this cathedral are as follows; viz.

Bromesbury, or Brandesbury, whose corps lie in the parish of Willesdon, in Middlesex; whose stall is the on the left side of the choir,

Brownswood, or Brownsword, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex, has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Cadington major, in the manor of Cadington, in the county of Bedford, now called the manor of Aston-bury, with a further revenue from certain houses in ; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Cadington minor, in the parish of Cadington, Bedfordshire; has the stall on the left side of the choir. Chamberlain-wood, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex; has the stall on the right side of the choir.



Chiswick, in the parish of Chiswick, Middlesex; has the eighteenth stall on the left side of the choir.

Consumpt. per Mare (or in Woltone), in the parish of Walton in le Soker, Essex, about miles north of the Gunfleet upon the sea-coast. This corps is so called from having been swallowed up by the sea before the conquest. It holds the stall on the left side of the choir.

Ealand, or Eldelond, in Tillingham, near Dengy, in the deanery and of Dengy, and county of Essex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Ealdstreet, in the parish of St. Leonard, , Middlesex has the eighteenth stall on the right side of the choir.

Harleston, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex, has an additional revenue from some houses in , and the stall on the right side of the choir.

Holbourne, in the parish of St. Andrew, , in the suburbs of London; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Holywell, alias Finsbury, in the manor of Finsbury, situate in the several parishes of St. Giles, Cripplegate, and St. Leonard, ; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

In the year , , an agreement was entered into between Robert de Baldock, prebendary of Holywell and Finsbury, and John Gizors, the mayor, and commons of London; whereby the said Robert, for himself and successors (with the consent of the dean and chapter), did grant all his right and claim in Mora de Holywell and Finsbury, to the same mayor and commonalty; for which they were to pay him and his successors rent per annum.

, of old named , in the parish of St. Leonard, , or within the limits thereof; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Isledon, or , in the parish of , Middlesex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Kentish-town, in the parish of , Middlesex; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Mapesbury, or Maplebury, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Mora, or More extra London, in the parish of St. Giles, without Cripplegate; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Nelsdon, or Neasdon, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

, or Newton Canonicorum, in the parish of Stoke , Middlesex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Oxgate, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex; has the stall on the right side of the choir.



, in Middlesex, near London; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

N. B. The prebendary of Pancras was originally the bishop of London's confessor; and to this day, whoever is prebendary of , is admitted with the office of confessor and penitentiary thereunto annexed.

Portpoole, or Pourtepol, extra London, in and about and Gray's-inn-lane, in the parish of St. Andrew, ; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Reculverland, in the parish of Tillingham, in Essex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Rugmore, in the parish of , Middlesex, has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Sneating, in the parish of Kirkeby, in Essex; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Tottenhall, or Tottenham-court, in the parish of , Middlesex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Twyford, called East Twyford, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Wenlake's-barn, or Wellakesbury, in the parish of St. Giles; has the stall on the right side of the choir.

Wildland, in the parish of Tillingham, Essex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

Willesdon, or Willesdon-green, in the parish of Willesdon, Middlesex; has the stall on the left side of the choir.

The petty canons are usually chosen out of the ministers and officers belonging to the church. They were constituted a body politic and corporate, by letters patent of Richard II. dated in , under the denomination of

The college of the


petty canons of

St. Paul's


They are governed by a warden chosen from among themselves, and have the privilege of a common seal.

of the petty canons is appointed sub-dean, by the dean with the consent of the chapter and minor canons. His office is to supply the dean's place in the choir. others are denominated cardinals of the choir, to which office they are elected by the dean and chapter, and are to superintend the duty of the choir.

With respect to the ancient state of the parish priests of London, it is to be observed that their revenues did not arise from a glebe, or from tythe of lands, but from customary payments issuing out of the houses of their parishioners according to the value of the rents, which were called , because they were small pieces of money offered by each parishioner to God and the church, on certain holidays.

This custom had been used for many ages, but the earliest document on record for regulating the amount of the payments, is the constitution of Roger Niger, bishop of London, from to , whereby the citizens were enjoined to pay to their respective parish priests on all Sundays and: festivals, the vigils of which


were to be observed as feasts, farthing for every house at a year rent; a halfpenny for of , and for those of penny each: all which amounted to about and sixpence in the pound; for there were but apostle's days on which these payments were to be made, and if any of these chanced to fall on a Sunday, there was only payment made for that day.

This mode of payment continued, until the Richard II. when Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, published

An Explanation

of the constitution made by Niger, in which he added other saint's days, by which the payments were increased to in the pound; but this having occasioned contests between the inhabitants and their pastors, a bull of confirmation was issued by Pope Innocent, in the year of Henry IV. Still the citizens were dissatisfied, and notwithstanding a bull of confirmation by pope Nicholas, in the of Henry VI. they caused a record or protest to be made, in which they asserted, that the order of explanation by the archbishop of Canterbury, was surreptitiously obtained, without the knowledge and consent of the citizens of London, and was to be considered rather as a destructive, than a declaratory law.

Notwithstanding this opposition of the citizens, they were constrained to pay on the additional saint's days, until the of Henry VIII. when the matter in dispute being referred to the lord chancellor and privy council, an act of parliament, founded upon their report, was passed, by which the rate was reduced to in the pound.

But although the citizens obtained this diminution of the rate, they remained equally unwilling to pay it, and sought to reduce it by various stratagems, particularly by taking their houses at low nominal rents, and making up the difference to the landlord by yearly or quarterly fines, annuities, new year's gifts, &c. whereby the clergy were defrauded of their just demands, which occasioned repeated applications to parliament, and to the king and council, but no effectual redress was obtained, until after the fire of London.

By this event, of the parish churches within the walls were destroyed, and their number being greatly reduced by the uniting of several parishes into , in pursuance of the act for rebuilding the city, it was found necessary to make a more certain provision for the incumbents of the several livings; in consequence of which an act was passed in , for providing a fixed annual revenue for the maintenance of the parsons, vicars, and curates, of the respective single or united parishes, to be raised by an equal assessment. This act remained in force until the year , when in consequence of a petition of the London clergy, for an increase of their annual stipends, a new act was passed by which they were settled as follows:


Allhallows, Lombard-street20000
St. Bartholomew, Exchange20000
St. Bridget, or St. Bride's20000
St. Bennet Finck20000
St. Michael's, Crooked-lane20000
St. Dionis, Back-church20000
St. Dunstan in the East33368
St. James, Garlick-hithe20000
St. Michael, Cornhill23368
St. Margaret, Lothbury, and St. Christopher366134
St. Michael, Bassishaw220184
St. Mary, Aldermanbury25000
St. Martin, Ludgate266134
St. Peter's, Cornhill20000
St, Stephen, Coleman-street20000
St. Sepulchre's33368
Allhallows, Bread-street, and St. John Evangelist23368
Allhallows the Great, and Allhallows the Less33368
St. Alban's, Wood-st. and St. Olave's, Silver-st.28368
St. Anne, St. Agnes, and St. John Zachary's23368
St. Augustine and St. Faith286134
St. Andrew, Wardrobe, and St. Anne, Blackfriars23368
St. Antholine, and St. John Baptist20000
St. Benet's, Grace-church, and St. Leonard, Eastcheap23368
St. Benet, Paul's-wharf, and St. Peter, Paul's wharf20000
Christ's church, and St. Leonard, Foster-lane23368
St. Edmund the King, and St. Nicholas Acons30000
St. George, Botolph-lane, and St. Botolph, Billingsgate30000
St. Lawrence, Jewry, and St. Mary Magdalen, Milk-street20000
St. Magnus, and St. Margaret, New Fish-street28368
St. Michael Royal, and St. Martin Vintry23368
St. Matthew, Friday-street, and St. Peter, Cheap25000
St. Margaret Pattens, and St. Gabriel, Fenchurch20000
St. Mary at Hill, and St. Andrew Hubbard33368
St. Mary Woolnorth, and St. Mary, Woolchurch266134
St. Clement, Eastcheap, and St. Martin's, Ogars23368
St. Mary Abchurch, and St. Lawrence Poulteney20000
St. Mary Aldermary, and St. Thomas Apostle's25000
St. Mary-le-Bow, St. Pancras, Soper-lane, and Allhallows, Honey-lane33368
St. Mildred, Poultry, and St. Mary, Colechurch28368
St. Michael, Wood-street, and St. Mary, Staining20000
St. Mildred, Bread-street, and St. Margaret Moses216134
St. Michael, Queenhithe and Trinity266134
St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish-street, and St. Gregory20000
St. Mary Somerset, and St. Mary Mounthaw20000
St. Nicholas Cole-abbey, and St. Nicholas Olave's216134
St. Olave Jewry, and St. Martin, Ironmonger-lane20000
St. Stephen, Walbrook, and St. Bennet, Sherehog20000
St. Swithin, and St. Mary Bothaw23368
St. Vedast, alias Foster's, and St. Michael-le-Quern266134

The annual stipends are over and above glebes, gifts, bequests, and surplice fees; and the vicar of St. Sepulchre's is entitled to - part of the impropriate tythes, in respect of that part of the parish which is within the county of Middlesex.

We learn from Fabian's Chronicle, that in his time, the number of parish churches in London, amounted to , and that there were also houses of religion, monasteries, colleges, and chapels, which were not parochial.

Of the bishops, who filled this see till the arrival of the Normans, little is known. The following list has been compiled from the most authentic sources.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
CHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
CHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
CHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
CHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
CHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
CHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
CHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London