Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 1

Wilkinson, Robert


Sion College.

Sion College.



AFTER the dissolution of Elsinge Spital, the whole, as before related, was granted to Sir John Williams, Lord Thame, from whom it was inherited by his daughter, Margery, the wife of Lord Norrys, of whom it was purchased by Sir Rowland Hayward, and by his son Sir John sold to Alderman Parkhurst: it remained with the later purchaser till he disposed of it from the following circumstances.

Dr. Thomas White, son of John White, of Temple parish, in the city of Bristol, having received his university education in Magdalen Hall, in or about took the degrees in arts, and became a frequent and popular preacher. Upon his settling in London, he became Rector of St. Gregory's by , and afterwards Vicar of St. Dunstan's, , where he was much esteemed for his piety and practical doctrine. In the year he was licensed to proceed in divinity, and commenced doctor in that faculty. In the prebend of Mora, in , was conferred on him. In he was appointed Treasurer of the cathedral church of Salisbury. In he was Canon of Christ-church, Oxon: and in he was Canon of Windsor. Having honoured these preferments by a pious, liberal, and strict attention to their several duties, and having spent years of his valuable life in exertions of utility towards his fellow-creatures, his soul departed, -, to receive those ineffable rewards promised by his Maker to all such as so well performed the duties he had ordained. His mortal remains were deposited in his own parish-church of St. Dunstan in the West, in which, from some neglect or other, no memorial has been erected to commemorate the virtues of so virtuous, so benevolent a man!

To evince his regard to learning, and bounty to the poor, in he founded a moral philosophy lecture in the University of Oxford, with a stipend of to the reader. He also gave per annum, each, to poor scholars of Magdalen Hall, as exhibitions; besides to the Principal of that Hall. The whole to be paid out of his manor of Laingdon Hills, in Essex.

In he built an hospital in Temple parish, Bristol, the place of his nativity, and endowed it with the annual sum of

But his great work was SION COLLEGE, for the foundation of which he directed by his will, dated , that should be applied in building a college for the use of the London clergy; and for alms-houses for persons, men and women. For the endowment of this benefaction, Dr. White left ; of which the sum of was appropriated to the alms-houses, and the remaining to the support of the common expenditure of the college; out of which, it was ordered, that the clergy should have quarterly dinners every year, and on those days to have Latin sermons.

The other memoranda of Dr. White's will breathe the same benevolence as excited him to the foundation of Sion College. Some of the principal of these were: yearly for ever for a reader, to be appointed by the Lord Mayor and of the antient Aldermen, to give an afternoon lecture to the poor prisoners at their own church; also to bury executed felons; for lectures during term weekly, in ; towards repairing highways; the rent of his house in , for a lecture on Sunday and Thursday afternoons at St. Dunstan's in the West; as well as various benefactions both in London and Bristol.—He also ordered a gravestone, with a short inscription,





to be made for him in the chancel of St. Dunstan's church, where he and his and wives were buried.

Dr. White, unwilling that any duty should be neglected, or any irregularity suffered throughout his several foundations, among other things in his will, directed that the poor in his alms-houses at Sion College should conform to the following regulations:

1. That the alms-folks shall say private prayers every morning and evening, and before and after meals; and that they shall diligently frequent the parish-church all Fridays and Sundays in the year; and if any of them are found to absent themselves from the church for two days together, not being hindered by sickness or other reasonable cause, he or she so offending shall lose twopence out of the quarter's pension, and so toties quoties, to be equally divided amongst those their fellows who are constant in these duties.

2. That none be chose in these places but single persons, either that were never married, or lawfully became single afterwards, and so to continue during their dwelling there. And that none be chose under the age of fifty; nor any that is known to be, or that hath been, within one quarter of a year before, either a blasphemer of God, or fornicator, or drunkard; whereof if any question shall arise, the certificate of the minister and one of the churchwardens of the parish where the party is an inhabitant, shall suffice to condemn or clear him or her of any such crime.

3. That upon the removal of any of the alms-folks by death or otherwise, none shall be put into the vacant place till one full quarter be expired, always accounting it from one of the four usual quarter-days. And so much of the pension as becomes due in that void quarter, shall presently be laid out in repairing the vacant room, if need so require; or upon any of the other rooms that may have more occasion for it: or be kept in stock for reparation from time to time. [But he leaves a power to the governors (if in conscience they shall see cause) to grant such money away to other uses.]

4. That the common gate be locked every evening, from Lady-day until Michaelmas, at nine of the clock at night, or within a quarter of an hour after; and from Michaelmas to Lady-day, at eight of the clock at night, or within a quarter of an hour after. And that if any of the poor shall be forth of their rooms above two nights in one year, without leave of the President, or shall suffer any stranger to lodge with them above three nights in any one year, without like leave, that the party so offending shall receive an admonition, to be entered in the register; and after three admonitions for the same, or other fault deserving it, he or she shall, for the fourth offence, be removed and expelled from the house.



But the Doctor left it to the London clergy to devise any other necessary laws, as occasions should move them, being not contrary to any of his own constitutions.

Not having survived, personally to carry his benevolent intentions into effect, Dr. White left the execution of his liberal and charitable purposes to the Rev. Mr. John Simpson, Rector of , , who not only undertook and completed the important trust reposed in him, but at his own cost added a spacious library, feet long by feet broad; and erected a convenient building at the south side of the garden for the residence of the governors, the expense altogether amounting to the sum of

Mr. Simpson and Mr. Keelynge, Dr. White's executors, purchased the site of Elsinge Spital of Mr. Alderman Parkhurst for and on it erected SION COLLEGE. The collegians were incorporated by King Charles I. by the name of THE PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF THE COLLEGE OF SION, WITHIN THE citY OF LONDON. The various charters of incorportion are dated , the of Charles I. and , the of Charles II. By the charter the Bishop of London was appointed visitor; and the corporation to consist of a president, deans, and assistants (to be chosen on Tuesday weeks after Easter, yearly), and all the rectors, vicars, licensed lecturers, and curates, within the city of London, and the suburbs thereof; and the president, deans, and assistants, were appointed governors and rectors of the alms-houses and alms-people, and to elect proper objects. A common seal was fixed on by the corporation in , on which was insculped the Good Samaritan, with this inscription: ; and round it,

The Library, of the exterior of which a view (comprehending the principal entrance into the College, and the Almshouses) is given, contains a most valuable collection of books in all sciences and languages, the gifts of various benefactors. In this collection were comprehended many of the books brought from the old cathedral of St. Paul, in . In the year the College shared in the common distress occasioned by the fire of London, which destroyed a part of the books, the alms-houses, many of the chambers for the use of students, the several rooms appropriated for the meetings of the governors and fellows, and the apartments appointed for the residence of the librarian.

The whole edifice was afterwards rebuilt in a plain manner, with brick-work: and, from several repairs and improvements, has arrived at the state in which it is represented in this work.

The library has been considerably improved since the rebuilding of the fabric. In part of the Jesuits' books, seized in that year, was deposited here. The Earl of Berkeley gave half of the books which had belonged to his Lordship's uncle, Sir Robert Cooke. And the Act of Parliament passed in the reign of Queen Anne, by which booksellers are obliged to give to this library, as well as to the universities, &c. a copy of every work, to secure their own copy-right and property, has been of great advantage to this valuable collection; and by a late Act for security of copy-right, it is entitled to a copy of every new publication; added to which, it has been for some time a custom for every incumbent, on taking possession of his living in the city and suburbs, to present a book, or books to this library, of at least the value of guinea, or so much in money.

The care and preservation of this treasure of literature are committed to librarian. The present gentleman who holds this office, as well as that of Secretary of the College, is the Rev. Robert Watts, M.A. Rector of St. Alphage's, who has a commodious residence on the east side of the College.

The College is in possession of the following pictures:

A curious piece of antiquity, bearing on side the image of the Deity, with the following Saxon inscription:

. On the other side, the decollation of John the Baptist:


says Mr. Malcolm,

the painting of an altar belonging to the old priory.

Charles I.; a very melancholy countenance. By Van Bleek, after Van Dyck.[*] 

Charles II.

George, Earl of Berkeley, seated in an old-fashioned chair.

Edward Herbert, Baron of Cherbury, died , seated at a table, many books before him, inscribed

Corpus Juris Civilis.

Sir Robert Cooke, Knight.

Samuel Brewer, Esq.

Thomas James, S. T. P. , AEt. .

Thomas James, Printer.

Eleanor, his wife.

Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Henry Compton, Bishop of London.

Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London.

Thomas Sherlock, Bishop of London, by Borgnis.

Richard Terrick, Bishop of London, by Dance.


[*] The copy was made for Mr. Henry Clements, a bookseller in St. Paul's Churchyard, an intimate acquaintance of Van Bleek's; and the picture was bequeathed to the Library by the Rev. Wm. Clements, the Library-Keeper, son of Mr. Henry Clements.

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Howell's View of London
 View of the Fire of London
 City Wall
 The Conduits of Cheapside and Cornhill
 Plan of the Fire in Bishopsgate Street, Cornhill, and Leadenhall Street: November 7th, 1765
Frost Fair on the River Thames
 Part of the Strand: St. Clement's Danes
 Ancient Structure in Ship Yard: Temple Bar
 St. Paul's Cross and Cathedral: With King James I and his Court at a Sermon
 Ancient Cathedral Church of St. Paul, London
 Paul's Cross (and Preaching There)
Elsinge Spital, Sion College, and the Church of St. Alphage, London Wall
 Elsinge's Hospital; or, as it is otherwise denominated, Elsynge Spittle
 Sion College
 The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield
 The Church of St. Bartholomew the Less: Giltspure Street, West Smithfield, in the Ward of Farringdon Without
Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate Street
The Priory and Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate Street
 Monument of Sir Andrew Judde, Knight: In the Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate Within
St. Michael's Church: Cornhill
The Parish Church of St. Paul, Shadwell: In the County of Middlesex
 The Parish Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill: In Cornhill Ward
Extracts from the Vestry Books of the Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill
 St. Saviour's Church
 St. Saviour's Church, Southwark
 Winchester Palace, Southwark
 Chapels at the Eastern End of the Church of St. Saviour, Southwark
 Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem
 An Account of Bermondsey, its Manor, Priory, and Abbey
 Priory of the Holy Trinity: In the Ward of Aldgate
 St. Martin-le-Grand College, and St. Vedast, Foster Lane
 Guildhall Chapel
 A short Account of Lazar Houses in and near London
 Knightsbridge Chapel
 Lambe's Chapel and Alms-Houses: Monkwell Street, Cripplegate
 The late Mr. Skelton's Meeting House, Erected Near the Site of the Globe Theatre, Maid Lane, Southwark
 Zoar Street, Gravel Lane, Meeting House and School
 Oratory, Under the Antient Mansion, or Inn, of the Priors of Lewes in Sussex
 Whitehall: Plate I
 Whitehall: Plate II
 Whitehall: Plate III
 St. James's Palace
 Fawkeshall, or Copped Hall, Surrey
 Toten-Hall, Tottenham Court Road
 King John's Palace
 Clarendon House, called also Albemarle House
 Somerset House
 Suffolk House
 York House
 Durham, Salisbury, and Worcester Houses
 Sir Paul Pindar's House
 Montagu House: Great Russel Street, Bloomsbury
 The British Museum
 Bedford House, Bloomsbury Square
 Peterborough House, afterward Grosvenor House, Millbank, Westminster
 Craven House, Drury Lane
 Ancient Mansion called Monteagle House: Montague Close, Southwark
 Oldbourne Hall, Shoe Lane: In the Parish of St. Andrew, Holborn