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

Allen, Thomas


St. Paul's Church.


The parochial church of St. Paul, Covent-garden, was erected early in the century as a chapel of ease to in the fields. In a lease, dated the , grated by Francis, earl of Bedford, mention is made of a parcel of ground then laid forth for a new church-yard, which shows that the erection of a church was at least in contemplation at that period.

It was designed and built by Inigo Jones at the charge of the above-named earl, the expense being It was intended for the accommodation of the inhabitants of the new buildings in the vicinity. Through a squabble about the future patronage between the parochial vicar (a Mr. Bray) and the generous founder of the chapel, it remained for

some years unconsecrated,

as stated by the inhabitants in a petition to king Charles I. on the . The result was that the chapel was to be created by parliament a parochial church; but in the mean time it was to remain as a chapel of ease, subordinate to the vicar, who was to nominate a curate with an annual salary of ; but in consideration of the earl having built the church, and a residence for the minister, to whom he designed to allow the liberal salary (for the period) of the king appointed that the earl and his heirs should have power to nominate a preacher. Articles of agreement were subsequently entered into between the earl, the litigious vicar, and others, and on the in the above year, the earl signed his act of donation of the church, the plot of ground connected with it


being described as feet in length from east to west, and feet inches from north to south. On the following day the church was consecrated and dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle. Thus were the pious and liberal intentions of the

good earl,

as the founder was emphatically styled, impeded by that bane of the church of England, clerical patronage.

The ensuing troubles probably hindered the obtaining of the purposed act of parliament, as it was not till that the district attached to the chapel was created a parish by an ordinance of the parliament. On the restoration of king Charles II. the ordinance was rescinded as illegal; and an act of parliament was passed which separated the church and parish from in the fields, and vested the patronage in William, earl of Bedford, and his heirs and assigns. By this act the rector was to have a year, and the curate The church was repaired about the year , by that tasteful nobleman, the earl of Burlington, out of respect to the building as a work of Inigo Jones.

An absurd story is told by Walpole about the earl having directed Jones to build a barn, to which the architect replied he would build the handsomest barn in England. This story is too ridiculous to merit confutation. The whole proceedings of the founder were marked by an air of liberality superior to the meanness which the order would impute to him.

In the year the entire building was repaired by the parish, and an ashlaring of Portland stone was then added to the walls in lieu of the plaster which had previously covered them; and at the same time the rustic gateways imitated by Jones from Palladio, which, like the church, were brick and plaster, were rebuilt in stone. The expence of this repair was

On Thursday, , a fire broke out in the west end of this church, said to have been occasioned by the neglect of the plumbers engaged in the repairs of the building. The whole interior, organ, clock, vestry room, &c. were destroyed, and several adjoining houses damaged. The roof was entirely of wood, and considered an inimitable piece of architecture. The whole was formerly insured at the fire-office for but the insurance had expired months, and not being renewed, the loss fell entirely upon the parish. Notwithstanding this unfortunate circumstance, the parishioners determined on restoring the church, and Mr. Hardwick, the ingenious architect, who directed


the previous repairs, was again employed to effect the restoration. The church, before its partial destruction, contained several monuments, among which were those of sir Peter Lely, ; William Stokeham, M. D. ; sir John Baber, &c.

To the credit of Mr. Hardwick the present structure maybe taken as an excellent copy of the ancient edifice. The plan is a parallelogram with a portico at the east end, and wings attached to the western. The eastern is the principal front; it is occupied by a deeply recessed portico composed of Tuscan columns, bold massive and severe in their character, and by the pilasters of the flank walls of the church, which are continued to the front of the portico and finished in antis; the whole is surmounted by an architrave and cantilever cornice of immense projection, and crowned by a pediment, which in the pure style of the ancient temples, really finishes the roof; the raking cornice is also marked by the same boldness of projection which characterizes the horizontal ; in the tympanum is a clock dial; the flanking walls are pierced with arches, and at the back of the portico is a large false doorway lintelled and covered with a cornice resting on consoles; the slab which fills in the vacancy is thus inscribed:--

The church of this parish having been destroyed by fire on the xviith day of September A.D. M.DCCXCV, was rebuilt and opened for divine service on the

1st of August


Above this doorway is a circle in blank, and on each side is a circular headed window with a doorway beneath, the latter most probably an addition at the last repair. The flanks have each lofty arched windows, the elevations being finished with the cantilever cornice continued from the front, and the eaves of the roof; the wings are more for convenience than ornament; they have doorways in the eastern front, and windows in their side walls; the southern is a porch, and contains a staircase; the northern is a vestry; the west front of the church has no portico; in other respects it is a copy of the eastern ; the great door is still in use, and in consequence the smaller doorways beneath the windows are omitted; the turret which is raised upon the roof, is scarcely better than may be found in almost every mews; it is square and crowned by a cupola; its meanness is derogatory to the building. The interior is very plain and has a quaker-like appearance; it produces therefore disappointment when contrasted with the simple grandeur of the outside; the ceiling is horizontal, and rests on a block cornice which forms the finish to the side walls; it is pannelled by mouldings of no very great projection, into circles and other figures; in a large circle which forms the centre is the Hebrew name of the Deity in a glory and clouds. A gallery of oak, sustained on fluted Doric columns of the same, occupies the east, west and north walls; in the western portion is the organ, which is more properly ornamented than any other part of the church. The altar screen placed against the centre of the eastern wall consist of a stylobate


sustaining pilasters of the Corinthian order surmounted by an entablature and pediment; in the intervals the usual inscriptions, with the sacramental cup, and other subjects in relief. On the raking cornice of the pediment, an urn and pedestal, with an angel reclining on each side; the sculptor was the late Thomas Banks, R. A.

The pulpit and desks are placed in group in front of the altar rails. The font is situated in a pew on the south side of the church; it is a small basin of white marble on a shaft of red.

There are several monuments in this church. In the south aisle is a neat marble tablet, with masks of tragedy and comedy, &c. inscribed as follows:--

Sacred to the memory of Charles Macklin, comedian. This tablet is erected (with the aid of public patronage) by his affectionate widow, Elizabeth Macklin. Obiit

11th July, 1797

, aetatis



Macklin! the father of the modern stage, Renown'd alike for talent and for age. Whose years a century and longer ran, Who liv'd and dy'd as become a man; This lasting tribute to thy worth receive, 'Tis all a grateful public now can give, Their loudest plaudits now no more can move, Yet hear! thy widow's still small voice of love.

In the same aisle are plain tablets to the Rev. E. Embry, years curate, died , aged ; and R. Bullock, D. D. years rector of this parish, and of Streatham in Surrey, who died , aged .

In the south gallery is a basso-relievo of Britannia, with a couching lion pointing to an inscription-

The British Constitution, founded by wisdom, is supported by concord.

It is to the memory of John Bellamy, esq. the founder of the Whig club; he died , aged . On the opposite side of the church is a similar monument representing a female writing; this is to the memory of Edward Hall, M.D. secretary to the above club; he died , aged . This monument is by Flaxman; both were erected by and at the expence of the Whig club of England.

To have witnessed this church in its former state, with the hand of the original architect visible in its interior as well as exterior features, would have been indeed a treat; the exterior is nearly the same as originally designed, and was but the interior distinguished by an equal degree of bold simplicity, plain and unornamented, but in no instance descending to meanness, the architectural connoisseur might place this building by the side of St. Stephen, , and challenge the world to produce a superior design to either.

The palladian gateways to the cemetery are equally beautiful with the church, and admirably harmonize with the main structure; they are exceedingly simple, consisting of an arched entrance between pilasters crowned with an entablature and pediment; although the design is Palladio's, the church is sufficient to shew that Jones did not borrow it from a defect of invention. In the northern


church-yard is buried a number of actors, formerly belonging to the different metropolitan theatres in the neighbourhood.

The dimensions are as follow:--

 Ditto in the clear, church102
Breadthportico from ante to antae60
 of church in the clear60
Heightto apex of pediment66
 to cornice35
 of cemetery gates10

The ground on which this parish is built was formerly fields, thatched houses, and stables. The garden belonged to the abbot and monks of , whence it was called Convent Garden, a name since corrupted into Covent, and sometimes Common Garden. At the dissolution of religious houses it fell to the crown, and was given to Edward duke of Somerset; but soon after, upon his attainder, reverted to the crown; and Edward VI. granted it in to John earl of Bedford, together with a field, named the Acres, which being afterwards built into a street, is, from its length, called .

Here is a large square, called


[] William, fifth earl of Bedford, and his brothers, John and Edward Russell, esqrs. were abated £ 7,000 from the fines they had incurred by violating the act to prevent the increase of buildings, in consideration of the parties having built the church.

[] The original cost of the building was 6,500l. Its repairs, about six years previously to the fire, were charged at 11,000l. The parishioners paid seven and a half per cent. for those repairs; and through this accident, occasioned by neglect, there arose an accumulation of at least twenty-five per cent. upon the rents.

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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