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
Part of the Strand: St. Clement's Danes.
Part of the Strand: St. Clement's Danes.
No part of London required improvement more than this of , prior to the time of taking down the old houses, to widen and enlarge the street, in the year . The foot-path in many places being scarcely feet in width, passengers were frequently driven into the street, at the imminent hazard of being run-over by the great number of coaches and carts that were continually passing and repassing; the distance of the churchyard railing from the houses was so inconsiderable, that the carriages could scarcely clear themselves in passing each other; and if a waggon or cart of more than ordinary dimension, came in contact with almost any other vehicle, it rarely failed occasioning a stoppage for a considerable length of time, to the great danger and annoyance of all persons who might happen to be on the spot. being the principal and leading line thoroughfare to the city, made it a scene of continued resort and bustle throughout the day; and during months in the year there was scarcely any difference in cleanliness or safety between the flag-stone pavement and the highway road. The line of houses charactered in the view, was erected on the site of the house and grounds of the celebrated Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, the unfortunate favourite of Queen Elizabeth; who, in , sallied from Essex House, at the head of a few desperate and mad adherents (among whom was the Earl of Southampton), endeavouring to excite the city to arm in his behalf against its Sovereign the Queen; but finding little or no encouragement in his rebellion, forced his way back, barricaded the house, and stood upon his defence; but a piece of artillery being placed on the tower of , which commanded , the Earl, after a short siege, submitted, and was shortly after beheaded. Essex House was originally founded by Walter Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, and afterwards continued to be the habitation of the Bishops of that see, until the dissolution of the religious houses, when it was granted to the Lord Paget; it afterwards came into the possession of the great Duke of Somerset, and in the reign of Queen Elizabeth passed into the hands of Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who changed its name to Leicester House. The Earl left it by will to his son-in-law, the Earl of Essex, and it was afterwards called by his name; the memory of which is still retained in the name of and in the last, on the outside of the Grecian Coffeehouse, is placed a bust of the Parliament General, son of the favourite.
is seen in the distance, founded on the site of the spacious house and extensive gardens belonging to the celebrated Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, famed for the magnificent collection of antique statues, vases, &c. he formed when abroad, many of which are still preserved in the Arundelian Collection at Oxford. The Earl was employed in several embassies in the reigns of James I. and his successor; and acquired in Italy an elegant taste for painting and architecture; and, above all, for ancient statues, of which he was passionately fond. He employed collectors in most parts of Europe, and sent even into Greece, from whence he received several curious fragments of antiquity. He loved the company of antiquaries and virtuosi, and was the distinguished patron of the celebrated engraver Hollar, who drew and engraved many fine subjects from the Arundel Collection. Arundel House was pulled down in the century, but the family name and titles are retained in the streets which rose on its site, viz. that of Howard, Norfolk, Arundel, and Surry. This part of , in the early time of Elizabeth's reign, was the scene of frequent disturbances, occasioned by the young students belonging to the Inns of Chancery, who were so riotous and unruly at night, parading the streets to the danger of peaceable passengers and annoyance of the neighbourhood, that the inhabitants were fain to keep watches.
In the year , the Recorder himself, with more of the honest inhabitants, stood by Church, to see the lantern hanged out, and to observe if he could meet with any of these outrageous dealers. About at night they saw young Mr. , the Lord Treasurer's son (who was after Secretary of State to the Queen) pass by the church, and as he passed, gave them a civil salute; at which they said, This passage the Recorder wrote in a letter to his father, adding,
Adjoining , in the upper churchyard, were charity-schools, for boys, who have clothes, learning, and each to put them out apprentice, by subscription. The school was for girls, who had learning and clothes by subscription. Many years prior to the improvements suggested by Alderman Pickett, the old school-houses were taken down, and the schools held in St. , at the back of .
In Churchyard were also almshouses for poor women; and more, nearer the church, for poor women; but these latter, the churchwarden informed the Editor of the New View of London (Anno ), were given to the poor of their parish in general, and that the inhabitants were only parish pensioners, though the people who resided there told the same person they were maintained and paid out of the rents of some houses in , appropriated for that purpose. At the demolition of these almshouses, to widen the street, new ones, consisting of rooms, were substituted in their stead, which are situated in a private court adjoining St. gateway, St. ; where poor widows, parishioners, receive each weekly, and chaldron of coals annually to each house.
Within a few doors from , in , stands the chapel of the Unitarian Society, which is in general numerously attended.