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

Allen, Thomas


The Church of St. Peter ad Vincula.


Within the Tower is a small church which was erected by king Edward I. and dedicated in the name of St. Peter in chains, commonly called St. Peter within the Tower; who, as appears by the Tower records, in the year of his reign, granted certain rents, at a certain custom of stabotes or


stalbotes, a kind of fisher-boats, for the maintenance of a rector and chaplains, settled here by his royal appointment. To these he added more chaplains in his thirtieth year; and, for the maintenance of these chaplains and a rector, he granted also certain allowances, to be paid for some tenements in London, and at , and Petty-Wales; and ordained certain fees to be paid by the constable, officers, and moneyers, for the same purpose,, which is further explained by an old record of Henry V. of a grant to John Salmonby, rector of the chapel in the Tower; whereby is granted to him rent, and the appurtenances in Candlewick-street, London, for and towards his subsistence; and eightpence for a tenement on , and Little-Wales; per annum from the hospital of St. Catherine; per annum to be paid by the constable of the Tower, per annum of his good-will; per annum from the master of the Mint; and of every artificer and stipendiary a certain tithe out of their wages and stipends.

From which and other records it has been collected, that the bounds of this rectory are all the compass of the Tower; and it hath some territories without, as , which was therefore called the king's soil of , adjoining unto which was a. place called the king's waste of , or Hog Lane. But these boundaries, as well as the precinct of the Tower, which contains all the soil or liberty between Barking church and , St. Mary Grace's, and , have been an old controversy between the magistrates of the city, and the officers of the Tower.

This church was formerly a large and spacious building, frequented by the kings themselves for their devotion, and adorned with chancels, shrines, and images; as more particularly appears. from a letter mandatory of the king to the keeper of the Tower works, in the of Henry III. A. D. , for the repairing and adorning of this church, in this form,

The king to the keepers of the Tower works sendeth, greeting. We command you to brush or plaister with lime, well and decently, the chancel of St. Mary, in the church of St. Peter, within the Bailiffwick of our

Tower of London

, and the chancel of St. Peter in the same church, and from the entrance of the chancel of St. Peter to the space of


feet beyond the stalls made for our own and our queen's use in the said church; and the said stalls to be painted; and the little Mary, with her shrine, and the images of St. Peter, St. Nicholas, and St. Catherine, and the beam beyond the altar of St. Peter, and the Little Cross, with its images,

[i. e.

of Christ, John, and Mary] to be coloured anew, and to be refreshed with good colours: and that ye cause to be made a certain image of St. Christopher holding and carrying Jesus, where it may best and

most conveniently be done and painted in the foresaid church: and that ye cause


fair tables to be made, and to be painted of the best colours, concerning the stories of the blessed Nicholas and Catherine, before the altars of the said saints in the same church: and that ye cause to be made


fair cherubims, with a cheerful and joyful countenance, standing on the right and left of the great cross in the said church; and moreover


marble font, with marble pillars, well and handsomely wrought. And the cost that for this you shall be at, by the view and witness of liege men, shall be reckoned to you at

the Exchequer

. Witness the king at Windsor, the

tenth day of December


This church is not remarkable as a fine specimen of the pointed style, and no part of it is apparently older than the century. It appears to have undergone considerable alteration since the period of its foundation. It was much injured by fire in the reign of Henry the , and it is probable, from the style of architecture at present displayed, that the alterations were made at that period. It consists of a nave and north aisle of equal breadth, with a small tower at the west end of the latter, and a chancel at the east end of the nave. The exterior has been covered by some tasteful improver, with rough cast and oyster shells. In the walls of the tower are many flints, but the angles have been coped with stone, and the oyster shells not forgotten in modern times. The south front has windows with low pointed arches, each made by mullions into lights; the stone work, together with of the windows which had been walled up, were restored a few years since; the mullions have arched heads enclosing sweeps; under of the windows is an entrance which internally has a pointed arch, but the exterior has been altered to a lintel; this doorway is now fronted by a small porch. The east end of the chancel and aisle have each a window of lights, made by mullions and circumscribed by a low pointed arch. On the north side of the chancel was formerly a window, which has been walled up; the south side is entirely hid by buildings, and has no windows; and the west front is also partially concealed. The interior is divided longitudinally by arches resting upon clusters, consisting of columns surrounding an octangular pier, and half clusters attached to the extreme walls; the arches are obtusely pointed; the ceiling rests on beams which divide it into compartments, the spaces being plastered. The aisle and the west end of the nave are occupied by galleries, supported on Tuscan columns, for the accommodation of the military


attached to the garrison. The pulpit is situated against a pier on the south side of the church, between of the windows. The altar is plain, there is no organ or font.

The fittings up of the church are of the meanest order; it appears to have received but little favour from the hands of government, in occasional white-washing, which is executed in a manner which shews that churchwardens are not the only persons who

daub and smear

ecclesiastical buildings. The north and east walls have suffered greatly from damp occasioned by the accumulation of earth against them, and the congregation cannot be much benefitted by this circumstance. The church is in length feet, breadth feet, and feet high. There is not a vestige of painted glass remaining in any of the windows. Several ancient monuments in the church are deserving of attention. The handsomest is an altar tomb with recumbent alabaster figures to the memory of sir Richard Cholmondeley, knt. lieutenant of the Tower, in the reign of Henry VIII. and his lady; it is now placed in the north nich under the gallery, having been removed from its original station: the sides of the tomb are enriched with lozenges, enclosing shields and foil and other tracery; the angles, adorned with twisted columns. Round the verge of the slab is the following inscription :

Jacent corpora Ricardi Cholmondeley, militis et

dn~e Elizabethe consortis sue, qui

quorum animabus Deus propitietur. Amen.

The knight is attired in a suit of plate armour, with sword and dagger; his head and hands bare; the former rests on a helmet, his hands are clasped in prayer, his gauntlets lying by his side near his feet, which rest on a lion; his lady lays at his left side, her head reclining on a cushion. Much it is to be regretted that this fine monument should be neglected and exposed as it is to every wilful and accidental injury. On the north side of the chancel are monuments affixed to the wall, shewing kneeling figures within Corinthian niches, richly adorned with coats of arms. is to the memory of sir Richard Blount, knight, who died , and has statues of sir Richard, and sons, and his lady, and daughters; the other commemorates sir Richard Blount, son of the above, and has statues of the knight and sons, and his lady, and a daughter. Both these gentlemen were successively lieutenants of the Tower. Near the pulpit is a singular monument, consisting of circles disposed on a cross, containing the bust of the parents, in , and the effigies of children, reclining in the circles. A plain stone on the floor records the name of the courageous Talbot Edwards, who resisted the infamous col. Blood,


in his daring attempt to steal the crown. There are numerous other monuments, ancient and modern, which our limits will not permit us to particularize.

Several mural tablets on the north side of the church have been most shamefully built against, and partly concealed by the gallery.

The living is a rectory in the gift of the king, valued at about per annum. The present incumbent is the Rev. William Coxe, archdeacon of Wilts, paid by the king as minister of the Tower garrison, rated in the king's books eighteen pounds . There is no lecturer, nor organ; prayers are on Wednesdays, Fridays, and holidays, about . The rector has no institution and induction, and the living is exempt from archiepiscopal jurisdiction,

This church is remarkable for being the burial place of numerous royal and noble personages, who were either executed in the Tower, or on the hill adjoining, and deposited here as a place of obscurity. Within the chapel in was buried the ill-fated Gerald Fitz- Gerald, earl of Kildare, and lord deputy of Ireland.

On the d of June in the succeeding year, the conscientious prelate, John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, and on the of the next month, the great sir Thomas More, were buried here. In front of the altar repose the remains of the lovely Anne Boleyn, the victim of the tyrant Henry, and her brother George, lord Rochford, who were executed in .

In the same place also are the remains of the guilty Catherine Howard, who fell in .

Here likewise rests the mangled corse of the venerable Margaret, countess of Salisbury, the last of the royal line of Plantagenet.

Within this church also lies the remains of Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex, the cherished favourite of the royal vampire Henry the . Baron Sudley, lord high admiral of England, beheaded , under a warrant from his own brother, Edward, duke of Somerset, who followed him to the scaffold and the grave within years. This nobleman is interred between the queens in front of the altar, where also was interred about eighteen months after, the headless corse of his rival, John Dudley, duke of Northumberland.

Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk, beheaded for aspiring to the hand of Mary, queen of Scots; his son Philip, earl of Arundell, who died within the walls of the Beauchamp Tower in this fortress; and Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, the favourite of Elizabeth, are likewise buried here.

Under the communion table was interred James, duke of Monmouth, the natural son of Charles II.; and under the gallery, at the western end of the chapel, were deposited the headless bodies of the


earls of Kilmarnock and Balmerino, and Simon, lord Lovat, leaders in the rebellion of .

The principal and most ancient part of the present fortress is the citadel or keep known by the name of the


[] Liberat. 25 Hen. III. m. 20.

[] For the ensuing particulars, as well as for other valuable information, I am indented to a friend, whose long acquaintance with the metropolis, joined to great accuracy of observation and correct taste, enables me to give any observation he may make with perfect confidence in its correctness. T.A.

[] The writer of this not long since saw the rite of baptism administered in this church from a slop basin!

[] Subsequently removed and re-interred in Chelsea church.

This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
DCA Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 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