The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas


Ancient Crypt, Tooley-street.



This ancient specimen of ecclesiastical architecture is situate opposite to , , close adjoining Churchyard-alley, leading to queen Elizabeth's free grammar school; on which site formerly stood a spacious stone building, the city residence of the priors of Lewes, in Sussex, whenever occasion led them to visit London or its vicinity on parliamentary or ecclesiastical duty. Strype, noticing , says,

On the south side the street was sometime


great house, builded of stone, with arched gates, which pertained to the prior of Lewes, in Sussex, and was his residence when he came to London; it is now a common hostery for travellers, and bath as sign the Walnut-tree.

In Maitland's time it became converted into a cider-cellar, and is described as follows:--


St. Olave's church

anciently stood a spacious tone building, the city mansion of the prior of Lewes, in Sussex; the chapel of which, consisting of


aisles, being still remaining at the upper end of Walnut-tree-alley, it is converted into a cider-cellar, or warehouse, and by the earth's being greatly raised in this neighbourhood, it is at present under ground; and the Gothic building, a little westward of the same (at present a wine vault belonging to the King's Head tavern), under the school-house, a small chapel, I take to have been part of the said mansion-house.

There are entrances to this crypt in White-horse-court, leading from to Southwark-house, formerly the King's Head tavern, and prior to that the sign of the Walnut-tree. Entering by the north entrance, it is feet inches long, by feet wide, which leads to a large semicircular arched vault, feet


inches long, by feet wide; on side is a well, feet inches, by foot, from which water is at present conveyed to the houses above. Towards the further end is a doorway, feet inches by feet inches, leading to another semicircular vaulted arch, feet long by feet inches wide; from this is a passage feet by feet, which leads to the principal apartment of this ancient building, the whole length of which is feet inches by feet inches in width. At the further end are windows, feet inches wide each; and on side there are likewise more of the same dimensions, and a passage feet wide, which leads to another apartment, but which is blocked up with stone and bricks. This ancient apartment (represented above) consists of groined arches, supported on dwarf columns feet inches in diameter. From this is an entrance to another vault of various dimensions, but the length is feet inches. Part of this vault is arched as the former, and part groined, over which the stairs leading to the grammar-school are erected. On entering the southern entrance we descend by a gradual slope into the semicircular apartment already described. The present flooring is of brick, rubbish, and earth, which have accumulated from time to time, so as to bury the pillars to within a short space of the surface, which was latterly proved by digging, on a prospect of converting the crypt into a cemetery for the use of the parish. The height of the roof is unequal from the partial rising of the ground, but is in general from to feet. The principal apartment terminates at the windows, now completely blocked up with brick-work towards the church-yard. The junction of the aisles is shown in the view, which has been taken in a way to exhibit the appearance it formerly made, although the raising of the ground has brought it to within feet of the framework of the windows.'

Below the bridge, on the banks of the Thames, formerly stood the abbot of Battle's house. Nearly adjoining was , so called because it was situated on the ground, and over a watercourse, flowing out of the Thames, pertaining to Battle abbey.

The walks and gardens on the other side of the way, before the gate of the house, was called the Maze.

There was also an inn called the Fleur-de-lis, on the site of which were built several small tenements, for the accommodation of strangers and poor people.

In the reign of queen Anne this parish was much burthened by the resort of great numbers of the inhabitants of the palatinate in Germany, who fled to this country for protection from the tyranny of their rulers. Great numbers of these unfortunate people came over to England in expectation of being sent to people Carolina. In , of them were brought into this parish, where they were quartered in place, but so crowded together, that a malignant fever ensued. In September and


, there were near of them who were lodged in the warehouses of sir Charles Cox, contrary to the express desire of the inhabitants, who in petitioned parliament to have them removed. Sir Charles Cox gave them the shelter for months, but on the , he received guineas for rent, by a warrant on the chamber of London, drawn by the commissioners for distributing her majesty's bounty, on condition of having the use of these warehouses till the emigrants could be sent to Ireland. In October it was computed that no less than persons were collected in these warehouses.

had been sent in August, at the request of the lord lieutenant, and in February following, more were sent; but not meeting with a pleasant reception, in families, averaged at to each (, ) returned, and were crowded into the bridge house in this parish. Infectious disorders soon broke out, and Dr. Mead, and Mr. Ames, an apothecary, were called in to their assistance. Besides the danger arising from thence, the poor rate was increased by , from expences incurred by relief administered to them.

In the reigns of king James I. and Charles I. and II. a great number of the inhabitants were felt-makers and hatters.


[] Maitland's London, p. 1389.

[] Wilkinson's Londinia Illustrata.

[] From the parish books

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 Title Page
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda