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

Allen, Thomas


St. Erasmus' Chapel.


To the east of the screen of Islip's chantry is a door, under the mouldings of which are angels holding the arms of Edward the Confessor, and Edward III.; over it is Sanctus Erasmus; which would seem sufficient authority for asserting that the chapel was dedicated to him. Dart will have it that Islip borrowed a piece of the chapel of St, John the Baptist. That, however, is disputable; and, indeed, should imagine the passage older than that time; however, it may probably have been made when the tombs filling the south side were erected.

On the right side of the door is a circular piece of iron, which held the vessel for holy water. The roof of the entrance is divided by numerous ribs, and of the key-stones represents the assumption of the Virgin Mary. Through it is an aperture, for what purpose it is difficult to decide.

Directly facing the door, on ascending step, is a bracket, over


which are the remains of the fastening to the statue it supported. The rays emanating from its head are very perfect, painted on the wall; and traces of rude flowers, not unlike those of the coarsest paper hangings, may be perceived on every side of it, and a few fleurs de lis. The mouldings have been a fierce scarlet, and gilt. On the left hand is a piscina, and facing it another. Several staples in the wall lead us to suppose that many lamps were suspended before this statue, which probably was St. Erasmus. Dart is certainly wrong in saying that an altar stood beneath it, as, though statues were not placed against an eastern wall, altars were. This would have been to the north.

The place of the altar on the east side of the chapel, which is said to have been dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is covered by the vast and splendid monument of Henry Carey, baron of Hunsdon, who died , aged . A scrap of beautiful foliage which was over it, and an elevation in the pavement, are the only mementos of this altar.

On the north-east side of the chapel there is a deep square recess divided by a pillar. The hinges of a door to this locker, for the altar utensils, are still visible. The arches, and the ornaments of a seated figure, with foliage, are perfect over it. On the door is an old altar tomb, and in the arch directly over it books for lamps.

The north side is filled by the miserable tomb of colonel Popham and his lady, with their figures resting their elbows on a pedestal. It is without an inscription, which was removed at the Restoration on account of his rebellious conduct.

The adjoining side contains an ancient arch. On the north end of it is the altar tomb of Thomas Vaughan, who lived in the time of Edward IV.

On the south side of the door is the tomb of Mrs. Mary Kendal, an indifferent kneeling figure, , aged about . She was remarkable for her friendship with lady Catharine Jones; and was interred here, in hopes her dust might mix with that lady's, who intended to be buried near her mother in this chapel.

In the midst of the pavement, almost covering it, is the tomb of Thomas Cecil, earl of Exeter; and, at his right hand, Dorothy, his wife, with a blank space for his wife, Frances, who (we are told by the ciceroni of the abbey,) refused so ignoble a situation as his left side. Their bodies, however, all rest together under the monument, in hopes of joyful resurrection, according to the inscription.

Of the tombs which separate the aisle from the chapel, that of George Fascet, abbot, is the western. It is an altar-tomb, with quatrefoils on the sides, and a flat arched canopy much decayed. At the head a shield, mitre and helmet. He died about . On it is a stone coffin, which has been broken through and greatly injured. Within it are the oaken boards of the inner coffin; and on the top a large cross, shewing it to have belonged to an


ecclesiastic. This coffin is attributed by Mr. Gough to abbot Crockesley, who died .

At the feet is another tomb, with quatrefoils on the sides, and on it the decayed figure of a bishop. This had a canopy, but it is now entirely destroyed, except part of the west end, which has a shield, helmet, mitre, and this inscription: This is said to have been for the body of Thomas Ruthell, bishop of Durham.

The last is a tomb without a canopy, very like the preceding in every respect. The cushion under the head of the effigies is embroidered with W. C. W. It is conjectured to be abbot William of Colchester. The chapel has sides, besides that to the south, which is the form of all round the church.

In this chapel is a modern but neat tablet to the memory of Elizabeth countess of Mexborough, who died , aged .

A door, now closed, led from Islip's chantry to a passage over the entrance of this, through the piers between the windows, to the place where lord Hunsdona's tomb stands. A pillar over it terminates in a curious bracket of a man, who rests his elbows on his knees, and his head on his hand. An achievement, with a banner of lady Hughes, hangs to the west wall.

In the aisle between the chapel just described and the next, are tablets to Jane Crew, , aged ; and Juliana Crew, .


[] Sepul. Mon. vol. i. page 52.

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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