Walks in London, vol. I
Hare, Augustus J. C.
Chapter XI: Thames Street.
Chapter XI: Thames Street.
We may return from the Tower by the long thoroughfare of Upper and , which follows the line of the river, with a history as old as that of the City itself. Narrow and dark, Industry has made it of the most important streets of London. Here-
is the very centre of turmoil. From the huge warehouses along the sides, with their chasm-like windows and the enormous cranes which are so great a feature of this part of the City, the rattling of the chains and the creaking of the cords, by which enormous packages are constantly ascending and descending, mingles with uproar from the roadway beneath. Here the hugest waggons, drawn by Titanic dray-horses, and attended by waggoners in smockfrocks, are always lading or discharging their enormous burthens of boxes, barrels, crates, timber,
| iron, or cork. Wine, fish, and cheese are the chief articles of street traffic-
There are no buildings which recall the days of Chaucer, who, the son of a vintner, certainly lived here from to , but now and then an old brick church breaks the line of warehouses, with the round-headed windows of Charles the 's time and the stiff garlands of Gibbons, and ever and anon, through a narrow slit in the houses, we have a glimpse of the glistening river and its shipping. But cannot linger in Thames Street-every is in a hurry.
On the left is , built from designs of , -, but altered by Sir Robert Smirke. The most productive duties are those on tea, tobacco, wine, and brandy.
There is a delightful walk on the quay in front of the , with a beautiful view up the river to . From hence the peculiarly picturesque boats called Dutch Crawls may be seen to the greatest advantage: they do not go higher than . Hither, in of his fits of despondency, came Cowper the poet, intending to drown himself.
Close to the is the famous fish-market of , rebuilt , but picturesque and worth seeing,
| though ladies will not wish to linger there, the language of having long been notorious.
Geoffry of Monmouth says that the name was derived from Belin, king of the Britons, A.C. , having
|built a water-gate here, and that when he was dead his ashes were placed in a vessel of brass upon a high pinnacle of stone over the said gate. The place has been a market for fish ever since ; all fish is sold by the tale, except salmon, which is sold by weight, and oysters and shell-fish, which are sold by measure. A fish dinner (price ) may be obtained at the at .|
Opposite is , by J. B. Bunning, opened . and commemorate the Church of St. Botolph, , not rebuilt after the Fire.
On , between and Little , is the , of Wren's restorations. The spire rests on flying buttresses, in feeble caricature of the grand steeple of St. Nicholas at Newcastle. It was Wren's attempt at placing a steeple upon quadrangular columns, and was at regarded by him with great anxiety. Afterwards he was very proud of this miserable work, and when told that a dreadful hurricane had ruined all the steeples in the City, said,
On the south of the church is a large tomb, with an effigy of Sir William Russell, , a benefactor to the parish. On the north wall of the chancel is a monument to Sir John Moore (), whose loyalty as Lord Mayor (-) is commemorated in the
Archbishop Morton, the tutor of Sir Thomas More, was rector of St. Dunstan-in-the-East. Rooks, till recently, built their nests in the trees in the churchyard.[n.423.1]
, which leads northwards from hence, was
so called from tenements in it which belonged to the Mincheons, or nuns of St. Helen's.
The was partially rebuilt by after the Great Fire, but only the east end remains from his work. John Brand, author of was rector, and was buried in the church, . Dr. Young, author of
was married here, .
On the Black Prince had a palace. Here, and as we emerge into , the great feature on the right is the , finished , by desire of Charles II., from designs of Wren, to commemorate the Great Fire of . It is a fluted Doric column feet in height, this being the exact number of feet by which it is distant from the site of the house in , where the Fire began. The dragons on the pedestal are by Edward Pierce. The large and comical relief by Caius Gabriel Cibber commemorates the destruction and restoration of the City.
The pillar is surmounted by a metal vase of flames. The original design was to have a plain column, with flames bursting from holes all the way up, and a phoenix at the top.
The Fire began early in the morning of Sunday the , in the house of Farryner, the King's Baker, in . This man, when cross-examined before the Committee of the , proved that he had left his house perfectly safe at o'clock on Saturday night, and was convinced that it had been purposely fired. The rapidity with which the flames spread, chiefly owing to the number of houses built of timber, defied all measures for arresting them, though on the afternoon of the day the King sent Pepys from to the Lord Mayor, commanding him to
By the night Pepys could
Evelyn describes the dreadful scene of the same night-
At noon on Tuesday the the Fire began to be checked, at the Temple Church in , and Pie Corner in Smithfield, gunpowder being then used in destroying the houses, and producing gaps too wide to be overleaped by the flames, but by that time the destruction had included churches, the City gates, , many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, dwelling-houses, streets; out of wards it had utterly destroyed , and left others shattered and half burnt. The ruins of the City covered acres, the part left standing occupied acres: the loss was
|millions, but-London has never since suffered from the Plague.|
A committee was immediately formed to inquire into the causes of the Fire, before which Robert Hubeft, a French priest of Rouen, years of age, declared that he had set fire intentionally to the house of Farryner, the baker in , by putting a lighted fire-ball in at a window at the end of a long pole. He pointed out the exact spot where this occurred, and stated that he had been suborned at Paris for this deed, and that he had accomplices. No believed his story, yet the jury who tried him found him guilty, and he was hung. it was shown that he was insane, and the master of the ship which brought him over from France proved that he did not land till days after the Fire. Still the confession of Hubert, in those times of bitter religious animosity, when Titus Oates and his plot had excited additional horror of Papists, was considered sufficient to authorise the inscription on the pedestal of the Monument.
This inscription was obliterated in the time of James II., recut deeper than before under William III., and finally effaced . It is this inscription which makes Pope say-
The house on the site in where the Fire began (No. ) bore, till the middle of the last century, when it was removed because the crowds who stopped to read it intercepted the traffic, the inscription-
The Monument, which may be wearily ascended for the sake of the view, which is very fine, when visible, is caged at the top in consequence of the mania for committing suicide from it.
Close by is the , a Norwegian jarl, killed in the century in Orkney, where the Cathedral of Kirkwall is dedicated to him. It was rebuilt by after the Fire, in , and is of his best churches. The tower has an octagonal lantern, crowned by a cupola and short spire, picturesque and effective. The roadway beneath it was made in , when it was found necessary to widen the approach to Old . This possibility had been foreseen by Wren, so that it was effected without difficulty, but has injured the solid effect of an otherwise beautiful building. The carved and gilt dial on the tower, erected in
, at a cost of , was given in fulfilment of a vow by Sir Charles Duncomb, who when a poor boy, waiting for his master on , lost him from not knowing the hour, and promised he would give a clock to St. Magnus, if he ever became rich.
On the destruction of the Church of St. Bartholomew by the Exchange, the remains of Miles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter, were removed to this church, of which he once was rector. A monument has been raised to his memory, and records how
Passing under the approach to and the Fishmongers' Hall, we enter . On the right is , so called from Sir John Poultney, Lord Mayor in and , who founded a chapel there to St. Laurence: it was destroyed in the Fire; but its burial-ground remains. Poultney's Inn, the
of Sir John Poultney in Cold-Harbour (Cole-Harbour) on the other side of , was given by Henry VIII. to Tunstal, Bishop of Durham, in exchange for , but, on his deprivation, was bestowed by Edward VI. on the Earl of Shrewsbury. It was afterwards let out in poor tenements, inhabited by beggars, and as such is mentioned by Ben Jonson, and by Heywood and Rowley.
On the right is , commemorating the house of the De la Poles, Dukes of Suffolk, and afterwards of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (brother-in-law of Henry VIII.), as is Duke's foot-lane--the private road from his garden to the river. Suffolk House was built on part of the Manor of the Rose, originally called Poultney's Inn. In it was the scene of the alleged treason of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. Being afterwards in the hands of the Dukes of Buckingham, Charles Knevet, a surveyor who had been dismissed by Edward Stafford,
| Duke of Buckingham, in consequence of his tenants' complaints, was moved by revenge and the hope of reward to accuse his late master of treason. The answer of the surveyor when questioned by the King as to the Duke's design upon the succession is given by Shakspeare almost in the words of Holinshed-
After the attainder of Buckingham, the Manor of the Rose, being forfeited, was granted to Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter. He was beheaded in , and the manor, being again forfeited to the crown, was granted to Robert Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, in whose family it continued till it was sold in to Richard Hill, Master of the Merchant Tailors' Company, who founded the Merchant Tailors' School, which stood in from the reign of Elizabeth till it was removed to the Charterhouse in . The school buildings, of , were pulled down when the school departed.
On the right is the , also called Allhallows , from its position in the rope-making district, an ugly work of Wren, finished , with a very handsome chancel screen, probably by Gibbons. The altar screen was presented by the Hanse merchants in the last century, and all the carving in the church executed at their expense, as a recognition of the connection of
| their ancestors, merchants of the neighbouring Steel Yard, with this church: the eagle of the Hanse merchants surmounts the pulpit. This, according to Pepys, was of the churches which set up the royal arms before the Restoration. It contains of the curious metrical monuments to Elizabeth-
Passing under the Railway Terminus, occupying the site of the Stilliard, where the Hanse merchants settled in and remained till they were expelled in the reign of Elizabeth, -, we find an ancient water-gate-sometimes believed to have been the western as the eastern gate of Roman London-commemorated in or , where, says Strype,
Ben Jonson says-
On the west side of is the , and, adjoining it, the , incorporated in . The front towards the street was rebuilt in , but that facing , of red and black bricks alternately with a characteristic wooden porch, was built immediately after the Fire. In the Court Room is an admirable portrait of Sir Andrew
|Judde (a skinner), the founder of Tunbridge School, whose tomb is in Great St. Helen's. A fine old staircase, adorned with a portrait of Sir T. Pilkington, Lord Mayor , , and (satirised in ), leads to the , of the noblest old rooms|
|in London, entirely panelled with cedar, relieved by gilding, with a far-projecting fireplace.|
In , , is the , rebuilt . An old house near it bears the arms of the Company, an elephant with a castle on its back.
On (right) was the College of St. Spirit and
|St. Mary, founded by Dick Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London. Here now is the , founded for children by the Mercers' Company. The Collegiate Church of , also built from funds left by Whittington. Stow says-|
He did not, however, even
for his monument was destroyed in the Great Fire, and the present church is of Wren's rebuildings. The altar-piece is picture of the Magdalen anointing the feet of Christ. John Cleveland, the poetical champion of Charles I., whose works had such an enormous sale at the time, was buried in this church in .
, on the left, is so called from the machines so common here, used by the merchants of Bordeaux in landing their wines. It was in a warehouse near
that the Protectress, Oliver Cromwell's widow, secreted
which she had taken away from .
leads to , of cast-iron on stone piers, built by John Rennie, -. Just beyond, on the left, is the open court-yard of the , incorporated, under the name of
in the reign of Edward III. The flat-roofed hall is surrounded by good oak panelling, and has modern stained windows. The life-size swans at the end commemorate the right which this Company, with the Queen, and the Dyers' Company, alone hold to all the swans on the Thames. The Company annually go
[n.435.1] to Henley-on-Thames, and mark their cygnets with nicks, whence the popular sign of
The patron saint of the Company is St. Martin,[n.435.2] who is commemorated here by some very curious old tapestry, and in a picture by . The Court-Room has the usual royal portraits. The old staircase, with garlands on the bannisters, is admirable in design.
Behind the houses on the right of is another wretched work of Wren, , so called because
It was in this church that Steele
In (right) is the rebuilt after the Great Fire on the site of the Hall where the Relief Commission met during the Great Plague of . The Hall contains a number of good royal portraits from Charles I. downwards.
We now reach , a name derived from the
or mill for the corn landed there: in some documents of the century it is spelt Corn-hithe. The place, however, was early known as
being given by John to his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. Tolls of this port, paid according to the value of the lading of vessels, were afterwards part of the revenue of the Queen's Consort. It was the attempt of Eleanor of Provence to force every vessel laden with corn, wool, or other cargo of value to land here which was a leading cause of her unpopularity. In Peele's () Eleanor, being accused of her crimes, replies-
The , lately destroyed, of Wren's rebuildings, had a vane with a ship made to contain a bushel of grain, the great article of traffic.
At (left) on the river was the stone palace of the Bigods and Mowbrays, Earls and Dukes of Norfolk, after their removal from the site of in .
Passing the , which belonged to of Wren's churches, and which groups so well with. later buildings--the only tower of a destroyed Wren church which the City has respected, and, what an
| ornament it is! and glancing into the , destroyed in the Great Fire, and never rebuilt, we reach (on the right), another of Wren's feeble churches. It is strange that he should not have had the grace to restore the tomb of Inigo Jones, who was buried in the old church, , aged , having been much persecuted for his Roman Catholic opinions. Sir William Le Neve, John Philpott, and William Oldys, also buried here, were all heralds from the college close by. In St. Benet's churchyard was the punning epitaph-
commemorates the feudal house called Baynard's Castle, destroyed in the Great Fire, and
[n.437.1] It was to Maud Fitzwalter, daughter of
that King John paid his unwelcome addresses. The palace built on this site by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, was the place where the crown was offered to Richard III. Those who have seen Shakspeare's play acted will remember Richard's appearance in the upper gallery here, between bishops, and Catesby and Buckingham, in the hall beneath, with the mayor and aldermen, endeavouring to overcome his hypocritical reluctance to accept the kingdom. Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed here in . Anne,
afterwards lived here while
|her husband was residing at the Cockpit in . Baynard's Castle had narrow gloomy towers towards the river, and, in the centre, an arched water-gate and broad staircase.|
ends at , an ugly erection of Joseph Cubitt () supplanting the fine work of Robert Mylne, executed in -. The older bridge was at called Pitt Bridge, in honour of the great minister, who is still commemorated in , , and . Mylne's work was so appreciated at the time that he was buried in state near Sir Christopher Wren in , but his bridge was demolished within a years of its erection, and even his house has been swept away by the erection of the Station of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway.
Near this, but invisible, is the point-
takes its name from the Dominican monks who came to England in , and settled in on land now occupied by . In they moved to the banks of the Thames, where their monastery and church rose to great splendour through the constant favour of Edward I., who deposited the heart of his beloved Eleanor at Blackfriars, when her body was taken to . The belief that
afterwards led to the interment of many great and wealthy personages in the monastic church,
| including Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, and his wife Margaret of Scotland; Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, beheaded in the Wars of the Roses; and Sir Thomas and Dame Maude Parr, father and mother of Queen Katherine Parr. Several Parliaments met in the monastery. The |
which took its name from hence, with Sir Thomas More as its Speaker, here received the exorbitant demands of Henry VIII. for a subsidy for his French wars, insolently conveyed through Wolsey, Charles V. insisted upon lodging at the Prior's house when he came to London in , though Palace was proposed for him. But Blackfriars Monastery will always be best remembered as the place, made familiar by Shakspeare (who knew it well), where () the Cardinals, Wolsey and Campeggio, sate in judgment upon the divorce of Catherine of Arragon, and where the queen, as
flinging herself at her husband's feet, made that touching speech, which has been scarcely altered by Shakspeare. On the same spot, only a few months later, Parliament pronounced its sentence of against Wolsey himself.
Blackfriars was granted by Edward VI. to Sir Thomas Cawarden,
who pulled down its church of many associations and that of St. Anne, which adjoined it. Both, however, would have perished in the Fire. Sir William More, who was Cawarden's executor, granted part of the monastic buildings to James Burbage, who, in , converted them into the regular Theatre erected in Blackfriars, though plays had already been acted within the precincts. In this theatre Shakspeare, who
|bought a house in Blackfriars, was himself an actor in in Ben Jonson's . The theatre was pulled down in .|
Blackfriars has many other associations. Ben Jonson dates the dedication of his from
Nat Field the player and dramatist; Dick Robinson the player; Vandyke (whom Charles I. came by water to visit here), Cornelius Jansen, and Isaac Oliver the painters; and Faithorne the engraver, resided here. The wicked Earl and Countess of Somerset were also inhabitants of Blackfriars, and were here at the time of Sir Thomas Overbury's murder.[n.440.1]
In order to visit in a group the interesting points in Blackfriars, we may turn up , the last side street on the right before reaching . Here (right) is the , belonging to of the busiest and most useful of the City Companies, which was founded in the reign of James I. Except the Stationers' it is the only Company whose members are strictly what its name implies, and it has members. The laboratories connected with this Hall result from the association of the Apothecaries and Druggists. For till apothecaries were only what druggists are now, and it was their presuming to prescribe which gave such offence to the in the century and led to the verses of Garth-
| But in a decision of the permitted apothecaries to advise as well as to dispense medicines, and no less than examinations are now held annually at the Hall for students seeking a licence. The long black oak facing the court is called by the students the |
because there they are kept waiting before being ushered into the presence of their examiners. It is lined with immensely deep cupboards (many of them concealed) used as bookcases. Its curiosities include a Catalogue of Plants of , with the Latin MS. notes of John Ray (-), the eminent botanist and
[n.441.1] written during his travels. The stained windows bear the mottoes--
The , lined with black oak, was built just after the Fire. A contemporary bust of Gideon de Laune here commemorates the physician of Anne of Denmark, who obtained their charter for the Apothecaries. Beneath it is a magnificent old iron-bound chest, with a lock guarded by apes. In the is a picture of De Laune with many other portraits, including that of the famous Dr. Richard Mead, , and a sketch by for his portrait of Dr. Hunter (-) now in the . A slight canopy on the left of the Court Room marks the spot where the Master formerly sate upon a dais, and formally admitted the student candidates, who bowed before him on the step.
At the back of the Hall are the , established , from which the Army is still supplied with
| medicines, and which formerly supplied the Navy also. We may visit the |
Jalap, Seidlitz Powders, Lozenges, and many other medicines are here in a constant state of preparation by machinery; and there are vaults for the formation and conserving of tinctures, with warehouses and dispensaries. The preparation of some of the drugs, especially those containing mercury, is so deleterious to the workmen that, though they work in helmets with glass eyes, they are constantly obliged to be allowed a few days' leave of absence.
Turning left we reach . The names of the side arteries of this Lane-Friar Street, , Holiday Yard, and Pilgrim Street-bear record of the great religious house in their neighbourhood, and of the ancient pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Erkenwald. On the right is the entrance of , a quiet court, with dark-red brick houses and young trees, which marks the site of the building known as
erected by Sir J. Beauchamp (whose tomb, in the centre of the nave of , was mistaken for that of Duke Humphrey), and sold to Edward III. It was a sort of Museum of the robes worn by the kings on different state occasions, and became, as Fuller describes,
Retracing our steps a little, (on the left of as we return) contains, against the wall of Blackfriars School, a monument to Dr. William Gouge, who was minister of the old Church of St. Anne when Shakspeare was residing here, and who, being of like
|principles, was probably of his personal acquaintance. Church Entry leads into , which takes its name from the William Ireland whose name appears in a deed of conveyance to Shakspeare of a house on that site. Hence, turning to the right, through (of which the name is the memorial of an attempt by a Venetian in Elizabeth's reign, to introduce of his native glass manufactories, to the great disgust of London glass-workers) we come to , commemorating the old Theatre where Shakspeare acted. The yard now resounds with the roar of machinery in the , which has a great new front towards . The principal entrance, however, is in the retired court called , so called from the office of the King's Printer which existed here , in the old building marked by the royal arms over its entrance. In the square are rare old trees of much interest to botanists.|
The Newspaper, the leading journal of Europe, was commenced by John Walter, its number, of January I, , being a continuation of the . The of , was the newspaper printed by steam.
A charming drive along the new leads from to . Its great feature is , the noble work of George Rennie, built - and opened on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. It is built of granite, and has arches, inches span and high. Canova considered it
and Dupin describes it as
[n.423.1] See Chronicles of St. Dunstan-in-the-East, by the Rev. T. Boyles Murray.
[n.435.1] On what is called the Swan-voyage.
[n.435.2] The Church of St. Martin in the Vintry, where Sir John Gisors of Gisor Hall was buried with his brother and son, was burnt in the Fire and never rebuilt.
[n.435.3] Spectator, No. 147.
[n.437.1] Stow, p. 36.
[n.440.1] See The Builder, Aug. 12, 1870.
[n.441.1] Cuvier. Biog. Univ.