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
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
—meaning probably about a century or more before his own period;—
[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 .—
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.
BURIAL REGISTER, fol. a.
. , . 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.
. , . At this vestry Mr. Thomas Pigot and Mr. Mark Fryar were chosen to be Surveyors for the Plague, and to continue for days following.
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.
. , . Gillian Averell, wife of William Averell, Merchant-Tailor and Clarke of this Church.
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.
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
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,
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.