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


Library and School of St. Peter's upon Cornhill.


The authority of Joceline of Furness is cited by Stow for the very great antiquity of the Library formerly belonging to this Church, the establishment of which is attributed to Elvanus, Archbishop of London; who is also said to have converted to Christianity many Druids learned in the Pagan law. The apartment called the Library, was most probably situate at the western end of the building, about the story of the tower; or in an edifice adjoining to it, with a gable end, large arched windows, and an embattled wall and chimney, rising above the roof of the Church, shewn in the ancient view of , and the Survey of the Parish of St. Martin Outwich already referred to. It appears to have been certainly of the oldest parts of the structure, which Stow considered to be the steeple; and he adds that it was

of old time builded of stone,

—meaning probably about a century or more before his own period;—

and of late repaired with brick by the executors of Sir John Crosby, Alderman,

Sir John Crosby Alderman and Sheriff of London in 1470, the tenth of Edward IV., by whom he was knighted in the following year. He died in 1475 and was buried in the Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate, to which he was a great benefactor, and in which a fine altar-tomb was erected to his memory bearing his effigy with that of his lady. His arms were, Sa. a chevron Erm. between 3 rams passant Arg.

as his arms on the south end do witness. This Library,

he continues,

hath been of late time, to wit within these


years, well furnished of books, John Leland viewed and commended them;

It is probable that the following memorandum of books, contained in Leland's Collectanea, vol. iii. (part iv.) p. 48, relates to this Library.—In Bibliotheca Petrina Londini.—Divisiones Thematum, Fratris Nicolai Gorham: Cowton super Sententias: Summa Faventina super Decretas: Holcot super Duodecim Prophetas.

but now those books are gone, and the place is occupied by a schoolmaster and his usher, for a number of scholars learning their Grammar-rules, &c. Notwithstanding before that time, a Grammar-school had been kept in this Parish, as appeareth in the year


. I read that John Whitby was Rector, and John Steward, Schoolmaster there; and in the


of Henry VI. it was enacted by Parliament that


Grammar-schools in London should be maintained; namely, in the Parishes of Allhallows in


, St. Andrew in


, St. Peter in


, and St. Thomas of Acres.

[d] —Such is the account of Library and School given by Stow; the following additional particulars relating to them are now for the time printed from the Vestry-books of the Parish.



. . Endeavour to be made to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and the Bishop of London, to procure poor boys of Parish to be taught free in the Grammar-school called the Library; the Parson being willing.

. . Children agreed to by the Parson; Master Goffe, the Preacher's son to be :—only to be paid by them at their entrance; but to be examined by the Parson as to whether they be entered into their Accidence perfectly, and can read, and somewhat write.[a] 

— . Nothing yet concluded about the Library and School:—an enquiry as to whether the School belonged to the Parson or the Parish.

— . children proposed for admission; all rich scholars.

. . WILLIAM AVERELL, Schoolmaster, to be Parish Clerk whenever his kinsman shall resign, by the Parson's consent.

In the Burial-Register of this Church appears the following entry concerning the above person written by his kinsman, the Schoolmaster of .—



Sept. 23rd

. William Averell, Clarke of this Parish, dwellinge in Corbett's Courte, in Gratious Street.

The following curious notices and compositions of the former person, relating to himself and the Family of Averell, as connected with the history of , have been extracted from the Vestry-Books and Registers.


. , . Matthew Auerell, sonne of William Auerell, Merchant-Tailor and Clarke of this Church; his pit in the west-yard toward the Church-wall. Aged Yers . In the margin on this entry.

Hunc puerulum quem ego charissimum habui, olim in cœlesti gaudio me inuenturum esse confido: postquam ab antro sepulchri, rediuiua ejus caro tanquam nouus Phœnix, frumentiq; granum, reuiuiscens non, tam a facilitate quam fælicitate resurget. It reioices mee that I am well assured that this little you the whom I held soe deare, I shall hereafter finde againe in Heauen, when his flesh hathe beene renewed from the darke cauern of the sepulchre, like to some yonge Phœnix; or the wheat of the graine that is raised vp not less easily than happily. Inquit G. Auer: Pater. filosorgos.


. , . At this vestry Mr. Thomas Pigot and Mr. Mark Fryar were chosen to be Surveyors for the Plague, and to continue for days following.


-. March.

do/ca/ soi *ku/rie do/ca/ soi posh=s *filanqrwpi/as a)/bassos para/ soi. posh=s a)necikaki/as plou=tos. In numeros quamuis consumpsit morbida Pestis Seruauit Dominus meq; domumq; meam.
In a thousand, fiue hundred, ninety, and three, The Lord preserued my house and mee; When of the Pestilence theare died Full manie a thousand els beside.

Summe of this yeare (in Parish) is . Theare dyed in London in all, . Of them of the Plague in all, .

. , . William Ashboold, sonne of Mr. William Ashboold, Parson of this Church, a toward yong child and my scholler; he lieth buried in the Chauncell, vnder a small blewish stone, hard by the south dore: whose death wroong from mee these suddain verses. viz.

Dulce caput mi parue Puer, mea lux, mea vita, Patris deliciæ, tum Genetricis amor. Etsi te subito iam tristia fata tulerunt Inuida nunc tibi Mors gaudia multa dabit. Tu mihi discipulus charus fueras, tamen at nunc Christi Discipulus postea semper eris. My sweet and little Boy, my life, my ioyfull sight, Thou wast thy Father's earthly ioy, and Mother's cheef delight. Though heany destinyes haue tane thee soone away, Yet enuious Death shall giue thee ioyes that neuer shall decay. Thou wast my scholler deare, but henceforth thou shalt bee A scholler of thy Maister CHRIST through all Eternitie.

fol. a.

. , . Gillian Averell, wife of William Averell, Merchant-Tailor and Clarke of this Church.

Hujus mulieris virtutem, fidem, pudicitiam, castitatem, probitatem, cæterosq; animi dotes quibus perpulchrè erat ornata, mihi si centum essent ora, totidemq; lingue, exprimere nullo modo possem: Domi frequens erat, non multiuaga: vicinis amabilis non morosa: viro obsequens atq; fida: Deo obediens et religiosa: bene vixit et bene mortua est; iamq; omnibus malis liberata, ac leuata, eam vitam assecuta est qua nihil est beatius. This woman possessed virtue, faith, modesty, chastity, honesty, and other endowments of the soul, with which she was very richly adorned: so that if I had an hundred mouths their tongues would be incapable of expressing them all. She lived much at home, not often going abroad. She was kind and not wayward to her neighbours: dutiful and constant to her hus- band: and devout and obedient to God. She lived well and died happily; and henceforth she is relieved and delivered from all the evils of her life, and nothing remains to her but that which is blessed.

Shee died of her child; her pit in y west-yard by her children, at the right hand towards the church wall wheare y bay tree stood.

Vxor casta, pudica, viro subjecta, fidelis, Præmia virtutis iam tibi larga manent: Mens tua stelliferum retinet castissima cœlum Heu mihi quod tecum, non licet ire viam. A faithful, chaste, and duteous, wife thou euer wert to mee, And virtue's bounteous recompense remaineth vnto thee; Thy soul most pure the starry heauens now keepe from earthly woe, Alas for mee that I with thee was not allowed to goe!


. .

Agreed that William Averell, Clarke of this Church, so soon as the Churchwardens have bought a Book of Parchment, shall engross and fair write into the same all Christnings, Burials, and Weddings; and he to have for so doing iiij


paid him by the Churchwardens, and after for the continuation of the same yearly iij




The extent and accuracy, the beauty and ingenuity, of this record having been already fully described, it will be seen that the recompense paid to the writer was extremely moderate, even for the century. It appears, however, to have amply satisfied William Averell the Schoolmaster, by whom the manuscript was written for his kinsman the Parish Clerk of the same name, since he left in part of it a memorial of his thankful and simple-hearted content; beside the many verses written in various parts of it, which evidently shew the work to have been a labour of Love. In the large initial letter of the title to the Burial-Register, the writer has introduced a device entitled by him

Emblema Auereli;

consisting of a ton, the ordinary mark for , in which is planted a tall stem ending in an heraldic rose; referring perhaps both to the prosperous condition in which Providence had placed him in that spot, and the connection of the flower with the name of Averell, or April. About the centre of the stalk is a square tablet bearing the letters W. A., and in a border enclosing them the inscription ZZZ. Beneath the letter is written in vermillion,

The Lord hath giuen mee wine to comfort my hart, and made mee to flourish like the rose;

with references to Psal. civ. . Esai. iv. Ecclesiasticus xxiv. . xxxix. , and on the other side is written i. Corinth. ii. . The labours of Averell in the Parish-Register appear to have ceased about .

. . The Cloysters under the School or Library to be new paved with paving tyle.

. .—WESTBY mentioned as Schoolmaster.

. . The Parish-Clerk allowed to teach school in the cloisters: to quit at a quarter's notice if dislike should be taken at him by the parishioners: to stand to the repairing of what his scholars break or spoil in the cloisters.

. , . The controversy between Edward Pensax, Schoolmaster, and William Fruak, Schoolmaster, to be decided by the Vestry on Wednesday, .



. , . The parishioners voluntarily give the disposal of the Library to Mr. William Fairfax, Parson, though in their own free disposal, for the placing of a schoolmaster; on condition that children of the Parish be taught gratis, paying only at entrance.

— . Repair of the Library proposed to the Vestry. The Rector proposes to give towards repairing the School-house.

. . Notice to be given to the Schoolmaster to quit at Midsummer.

-. . Election of a Schoolmaster, the candidates being GRAY, Erbery, and Winnington: the of whom was elected.

. . The Library over the cloister used as a School-house to be let; the candidates being ALEXANDER SMITH, Edmund Cooper, and William Taylor; the elected to occupy the premises at a rent of per annum, he repairing the same and teaching children of the Parish gratis.

. . The Schoolmaster resigns; ordered to repair the school-house where required, and pay arrears of rent. Succeeded by EDWARD THURMAN.

. . A chimney permitted to be erected in the School-room.

-. . The rent of the School made —the scholars ordered to be brought to the Thursday Lecture at o'clock;—the Widow Thurman to have all the profits of the present quarter, and per annum allowed her for years.—HENRY GLOVER made Schoolmaster.

. . Glover removed, being called to another employment:—JOHN PHILLIPS made Schoolmaster.

. . The School-house out of repair.

— . Phillips having left the School, HUMPHREY RAMSDEN is elected Master: John Cadon in nomination.

. . Agreed that Mr. Ramsden the Schoolmaster do the singing-psalms in the Church in future; Mr. Bacon, the Clerk only to name and tune the same.—. Agreed that upon Mr. Ramsden's good behaviour he shall remain in the office of Reader, and that he shall continue in the same until Midsummer next.

. . Agreed that Humphrey Ramsden, the Schoolmaster, his school having been shut up by order from the Lord Mayor during the time of the Great Visitation, shall have allowed him in consideration thereof.

-. . Mr. ROYAL BATEMAN, Reader, allowed to teach school in the Tabernacle, during the pleasure of the Vestry.

. . Mr. WHITE to have the use of the Vestry to teach school in according to his petition.


[d] These Schools were established upon a petition presented to the House of Commons by Maistre William Lvchefield, Parson of the Parish Churche of All Hallowen the More, in London; Maister Gilbert, Person of Seynt Andrewe in Holborn subarbs of the said Citie; Maister John Cote, (Cove) Person of Seint Petre in Cornhill of London: and John Neel, Maister of the House or Hospitall of Seint Thomas of Acres, and Person of Colchirche in London. Their memorial stated that on account of the great decay of Schools and Learning in London, and the great number of learners unprovided for, the petitioners were moven and stirren of grete devocion and pitee, to complain to the Parliament that it should procure the King's ordinance, that in each of the four parishes they might ordeyne, create, establish, and sett, a person sufficientlie lerned in Gramer to hold and exercise a Schole in the same science of Gramer, and there it to teche to all that will learne. The King consented, so that it were done by the advice of the Ordinary or the Archbishop of Canterbury.—Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book i. chap. xxv. p. 162.—Stow's information concerning Whitby the Schoolmaster of St. Peter's given in the extract above, was derived from the MS. of St. Peter's Guild, belonging to the Parochial Records already sited on page 7.

[a] These were also the ancient conditions upon which children were to be received into Dean Colet's School at St. Paul's.

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