Walks in London, vol. I
Hare, Augustus J. C.
Chapter V: Smithfield, Clerkenwell, and Canonbury.
Chapter V: Smithfield, Clerkenwell, and Canonbury.
By St. Sepulchre's Church is the entrance of , which was formerly a continuation of Knightrider Street, and is named from the gilded spurs of the knights who rode that way to the tournaments. Near the end of on the left is the entrance of , of which we shall hear more when we reach Canonbury, and hard by is , where the Great Fire ended, which began in . It is probably some association with these names which caused the inscription (now obliterated) beneath the commemorative figure of a very fat boy (once painted in colours), still existing against the wall of a public-house near the corner of :--
Pie Corner is frequently mentioned in the Plays of Ben Jonson, Massinger, and Shadwell. Hard by is , which was the especial centre for the hosiers in the century.
leads into or Smoothfield. around which many of London's most sacred memories are folded. But as its market is the object which strikes
| the eye, we are naturally drawn to notice its great cattle-fair, which is not without its reminiscences, for it is celebrated by Shakspeare. Falstaff asks-
and a page answers-
The et---was established hereby Rahere, king's jester to Henry l., by whom it was granted for the eve of St. Bartholomew, the day itself, and the day after. Ben Jonson's coarsest and wittiest comedy, , lets us into many of its attendant abuses and customs, especially that of having booths at which pigs were dressed and sold--the
of Shakspeare.[n.173.1] In the reign of Charles II. the duration of the Fair was extended from to days, and Pepys
Gradually Smithfield grew to be the great and only cattle-market of London. As many as cattle, and sheep, were sold here annually; but the market was always inconvenient, and was a great nuisance to its neighbourhood. Dickens describes its miseries in his picture of Smithfield in --
The market for living animals in Smithfield was abolished in , when the new Meat-Market was built. It is a perfect forest of slaughtered calves, pigs, and sheep, hanging from cast-iron balustrades-actually acres of meat.
In the open space now occupied by the market tournaments were formerly held. Edward III., forgetting his good queen Philippa, shocked London by parading her maid Alice Pierce as his mistress, as
at a public tournament in Smithfield in . Another famous tournament was held here by Richard II., to celebrate the arrival of his child-queen Isabel. It was here that Wat Tyler was killed on the . His partisans had been everywhere successful, had broken into the and beheaded the Archbishop of Canterbury, had broken into the and terrified the Fair Maid of Kent, had broken into and pillaged the palace of John of Gaunt at the Savoy. At length the young King Richard agreed to hear fully the demands of the Commons in Smithfield. They met, the King standing, says Stow,
The insolence of Wat Tyler's manner knew no bounds, he drew his dagger upon the knights whom the king sent to meet him; finally, he approached the king and seized the bridle of his horse. It was then that the Lord Mayor, , plunged a dagger into his throat. It was a terrible crisis, and a massacre was only evaded by the presence of mind of Richard II., then only in his year, who rode at once up to the rebels and said,
The insurgents, captivated by his courage, at once allowed themselves to be led into Fields, where they were quietly dispersed without difficulty, and Jack Straw, Wat Tyler's in command, was afterwards hanged in Smithfield.
[n.175.1] was the place for public executions before it was removed to Tyburn in- the reign of Henry IV. It was here that William Fitzosbert, surnamed the Longbeard, the popular reformer, was hanged and beheaded in () the reign of Richard I. Here Sir William Wallace was executed on St. Bartholomew's Eve, , being dragged by horses from the Tower, hung, and then quartered while he was still living. Here also Mortimer, the favourite of Queen Isabella the Fair, was hung by her eighteen-years-old son Edward III. Endless persons were burnt here for witchcraft; persons were
|alive here for poisoning;[n.176.1] but most of all is the name of Smithfield connected with religious persecutions and intolerance Catholics burning Protestants; then, Protestants Catholics; then, Catholics Protestants again; those who had cruelly caused the sufferings of others often in their turn having to endure the same. Kings and princes were themselves sometimes present, and took a part at these horrible scenes; thus in Sir. N. H. Nicholas' ( to ) we read of the Prince of Wales assisting at the death of John Badby, who was burnt in a tun filled with fire, a ceremony of cruelty which was peculiar to him alone.|
Passing rapidly on to the reign of Henry VIII., we find in , Forest, an Observant Friar, burnt for denying the King's supremacy, and Latimer, himself burnt in
| coolly preaching patience while the victim writhed and moaned in his death struggles. And soon afterwards we find Cranmer, also burnt himself in , adjuring Edward VI. to burn Joan Butcher, the Maid of Kent, who was troubled with some scruples as to the Incarnation, and the amiable King replying in horror- |
Of the long line of sufferers for the Protestant faith, generally on the question of transubstantiation, in the reign of Henry VIII., perhaps the most remarkable was Sir William Askew's beautiful daughter Anne, whom Wriothesley, the Lord Chancellor, tortured with his own hands, and who lost the use of her feet by her extreme sufferings upon the rack to make her disclose the name of those court ladies of Queen Katherine Parr who shared her opinions. The account in Foxe of her death is too pictorial to omit.
With the reign of Mary, who was educated in cruelty by her husband Philip, the executions for religion became times more frequent than before. The martyr-procession was heralded () by John Rogers, Vicar of St. Sepulchre's, who had been converted to the Protestant faith at Antwerp by conversations with William Tyndall and Miles Coverdale.
Rogers was offered a pardon if. he would revoke his expressions about transubstantiation, but he answered,
and, being bound to the stake, washed his hands in the flame, as feeling no hurt, and so died bravely in sight of his own church-tower.
To those who study the story of the executions in Smithfield it will be striking, how, in the midst of a Catholic population, the English feeling of injustice towards the victims, and indignation at the cruelty of their persecutors, especially against Bonner, Bishop of London, always made the spectators sympathize with the sufferers, and only fear lest they should be induced by terror to recant at the last. Thus, when John Cardmaker, Prebendary of Wells, was brought to Smithfield () with John Warne an upholsterer of -
Amongst the most remarkable of the after sufferers was John Bradford, who died embracing the stake and comforting his fellow sufferer; and John Philpot, Archdeacon of
|Winchester, who knelt, like St. Andrew, at sight of his stake.|
persons in all had been burnt here before, in the words of Fuller,
The only memorial now existing of the sufferings for truth's sake which Smithfield witnessed is to be found in an inscribed stone in the outer wall of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, saying-
The part of Smithfield which is on the right as we enter it is girdled by St. Bartholomew's Hospital and the remains of St. Bartholomew's Priory, alike founded in the early part of the century by Rahere or Rayer-
[n.180.1] On his way to Rome on a pilgrimage, he imagined, in a vision that he was carried by a great beast having feet and wings to a very lofty place, whence he saw the entrance and the horrors of the bottomless pit. From this he was rescued by a majestic personage, who revealed himself as St. Bartholomew, and commanded him to build a church in his honour on a site which he indicated, bidding him be under no apprehensions
|as to expense, for he would supply the funds. Rahere, returning, obtained the royal sanction for his work, which was speedily assisted by miraculous agency, for a marvellous light was believed to shine on the roof of the church as it arose, the blind who visited it received their sight, cripples went away with their limbs restored, and, the hiding-place of a choral book stolen by a Jew was marvellously revealed. Rahere died in leaving monks in his|
|foundation. The monastery was at time of the largest religious houses in London, its precincts extending as far as . But nothing is left now of the monastic buildings, though part of the cloisters existed within the memory of living persons. The Prior's house stood behind the church, between it and .|
Built up in the old houses facing the market-which look little altered since they were represented in the print in which the Lord Mayor and the old Dukes are sitting!
|beneath them in a kind of tent, watching the execution of Anne Askew--is an old Gothic gateway. It is an early English arch, with several rows of dogtooth ornament between its mouldings. Through its iron gate we look upon the blackened churchyard, with the ghastly tombs, of|
|, with a brick tower of . But to enter the church we have to seek the key in the neighbouring .[n.182.1]|
Grand as St. Bartholomew's still is, it is only the choir of
|the monastic church, with the bay of the nave and fragments of the transepts. The choir has atriforium and clerestory, and is entirely surrounded by an ambulatory. The narrow stilted horseshoe arches of the apse are very curious. Of the arches which supported the tower, are round, the others (towards the transepts) slightly pointed. The general effect of this interior is greatly enhanced by having its area kept open, with chairs in the place of pews, allowing the lines of the architecture and the bases of the pillars to be seen.|
It is this monastic choir, as we now see it, which witnessed a strange scene when () the Provençal Archbishop Boniface, uncle of Henry III.'s queen, Ellinor, irritated at a want of deference on the part of the sub-prior, rushed upon him, slapped him in the face, tore his cope to fragments, and trampled it under foot, and finally, being himself in full armour under his vestments, pressed him against a pillar so violently as almost to kill him. A general scrimmage ensued between the monks and the attendants of the archbishop, and as the inhabitants of Smithfield poured in to the assistance of the former, Boniface was forced to fly to , followed by shouts that he was a ruffian and cruel, unlearned and a stranger, and moreover that he had a wife! The last prior was Fuller, previously prior of Waltham.
|Under his predecessor, Prior Bolton ( to ), a great deal of restoration was done, marked by the perpendicular work inserted on the old Norman building. Especially noteworthy is the oriel called Prior Bolton's pew, projecting over the south side of the choir, where the prior|
|sate during service, or whence the sacristan watched the altar. It is adorned with the rebus of its builder--a bolt through a ton.[n.184.1] There are similar oriels at Malmesbury and in Exeter Cathedral.|
On the north of the choir is the tomb erected in the century to the founder, Rahere, with a beautifully groined canopy. At the foot of his sleeping figure stands a crowned angel, and on either side kneels a monk, with a Bible open at Isaiah li., and the words,
On the north wall also, is the monument of Robert
|Chamberlayne, ambassador, with grand angels drawing the curtains of a tent within which he is kneeling in armour. Behind, in the ambulatory, are recesses; that nearest the east end was part of the Walden Chapel, where Walden, Bishop of London, was buried. From a very humble sphere he rose to be Dean of York, Treasurer of Calais, Secretary to the King, and Treasurer of England. When Archbishop Arundel was banished by Richard II. Walden was made archbishop, but when Arundel returned with Henry IV., he was deposed, though he was generously made Bishop of London by his rival.|
Making the round of the ambulatory, behind the grand Norman pillars of the choir, we find a number of curious monuments. The is that of Dr. Francis Anthony (), who invented and believed in an extraordinary medicine which was to work universal cures--, being extract or honey of gold, capable of being dissolved in any liquid whatsoever. Dr. Anthony published a learned defence of his discovery, intended to show that
The medicine obtained great celebrity in the reign of James I., and Dr. Anthony lived in much honour in , and bequeathed the secret of to his son, who wrote on his monument, which bears pillars encircled by a wreath, the epitaph-
The next monument is that of Rycroft (), who translated the polyglot Bible. It rests upon the volumes of his work. Then comes a monument to John Whiting, with the pretty epitaph-
Passing the piers which formed the boundary of the Lady Chapel, we reach the fine bust of James Rivers (), which is probably the work of Hubert de Soeur, who lived close by in . Beneath, written. at the beginning of the Civil War, are the verses-
The next monument, of Edward Cooke,
is of a kind of marble which drips with water in damp weather, and has the appropriate epitaph-
The magnificent alabaster tomb beyond this is that of Sir Walter Mildmay (), who was Chancellor of to Queen Elizabeth, and founder of Emanuel College at Cambridge. Fuller records how, being supposed to have a leaning towards Puritanism, when he came to court after the foundation of his college, Elizabeth saluted him with
Sir Walter was of the commissioners to Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringay, and might have risen to the highest offices had he been more subservient to Elizabeth. Fuller tells how,
so that he lived afterwards
On the south wall of the choir, near this, is the monument of the Smallpage family ( ), with admirably powerful busts. The register of this church commemorates the baptism of Hogarth the painter, .
, founded by Rahere in , and refounded by Henry VIII. upon the dissolution of monasteries, is open to all sufferers by sickness or accident,
|and admits upwards of patients in- the course of the year. Its handsome buildings surround a large square with a fountain, and are approached from Smithfield by a gateway of , adorned with a statue of Henry VIII., and figures of Sickness and Lameness.|
Just within the gate is the . It was built by Rahere immediately after his return from his penance at Rome. The tower contains some Norman arches of the founder's time, but the church was modernised by Dance in , and rebuilt by Hardwick in the interior is octagonal. In the ante-chapel is an inscription to John Freke (), the surgeon represented by Hogarth as presiding over the dissecting table in his and on the floor the brasses of William and Alicia Markeby (). On the north wall, near the altar, is the monument of the wife of Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodeian Library at Oxford; and opposite it that of R. Balthorpe, serjeant-surgeon to Queen Elizabeth. James Heath, Carlyle's the slanderer of Cromwell, was buried in the church in ,
The parish register records the baptism of Inigo Jones, whose father was a clothworker residing in the neighbouring .
The (ring at the door on left in the courtyard) is approached by a wide oak staircase, the walls of which were gratuitously painted by in with immense pictures of
In his manuscript notes Hogarth says with regard to these pictures-
In the frieze below the large subjects are the Foundation of the Hospital by Rahere, and his Burial-probably by another hand.
The Great Hall or Court-room contains-
Just beyond St. Bartholomew's the Great is the entrance of (long the annual resort of drapers), whose name is now the only relic of Bartholomew Fair, the great London carnival, which, originally established for useful purposes of trade, declined during its existence of centuries and a half into regular saturnalia, but only perished by lingering death in . , which was once a great centre for the French and Flemish merchants in London, having escaped the Fire, is still full of old though
| squalid houses of Elizabethan or Jacobian date: some are older still, and were built by Lord Rich, of the worst of the favourites of Henry VIII., to whom the priory was granted, with many privileges, at the Dissolution. Here the Pie Powder-Pied-Poudre-Court was held annually at the public-house called the Hand and Shears during Bartholomew Fair, for the sorting and correction of the weights and measures used in the market, and for granting licences for the exhibition in the fair. Blackstone says, |
or, according to Sir Edward Coke,
, close by, is commemorated by Congreve, and by Swift. in Milton was secreted at the Restoration, till his pardon was signed.
of Turkish origin, a drink made by boiling the bulbs of and , was long the most popular midnight street refreshment in London, being considered a sovereign cure for the headaches arising from drunkenness.
Continuing, along the east side of the Metropolitan Meat Market, we reach , where in the century were many handsome palaces, such as Rutland House (still commemorated in ) and where the Venetian ambassadors used to lodge.[n.191.1] It is now a quiet green amid the houses. Here, before the reign o; Edward III., was a desolate common called
between the lands of the Abbey of and the gardens of the Knights of St. John in Clerkenwell. In the terrible plague of , when thousands of bodies were flung loosely into pits without any religious service whatever, Ralph , who was then Bishop of London, purchased these desolate acres, and, building a chapel there, where masses should be perpetually said for the repose of the dead, called it
persons were buried in this cemetery and in the adjoining Spital Croft, which was purchased by Sir Walter Manny, the hero of Edward III.'s French wars, who, in , founded a Carthusian convent here, and called it
The story of the dissolution of the convent is of the most touching of the time. Prior Houghton, who was then superior, spoke too openly against the spoliation of church lands by the king, and so () drew down the wrath of the royal commissioners. When he knew that they were suspected of treason, he gathered his community around him, and exhorted them to faith and patience. Maurice Chauncy describes the affecting scene which followed :
The prior and several of the monks were sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. Sir Thomas More (who had himself lived for years in the Charterhouse--religiously, without vow, giving himself up to meditation and prayer) saw them led to execution from his prison window, and said to his daughter, Mrs. Roper, who was with him,
Several others of the monks were afterwards executed, and were starved to death in Newgate; the remainder fled to Bruges.
The buildings of the Charterhouse were presented to several of the king's favourites in turn, and in were sold by the Norths to the Duke of Norfolk, who pulled down many of the monastic buildings, and added rooms more fitted to a palatial residence. Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, son of the Duke of Norfolk, beheaded for- Mary Queen of Scots, sold the Charterhouse for to Thomas Sutton, of Camps Castle, in Cambridgeshire, who had made an enormous fortune in Northumbrian coal-mines. He used it to found () a hospital for aged men and a school for children of poor
| parentsthe |
of Bacon, the
of Fuller. In the school was removed to Godalming, supposed to be a more healthy situation, and the land which was occupied by its buildings and playground was sold to the Merchant Tailors for their school. But the rest of the foundation of Sutton still exists where he left it.
The (shown by the Porter) is entered from by a perpendicular arch, with a projecting shell above it, supported by lions. Immediately opposite is a brick gateway belonging to the monastic buildings, which is that where the
[n.194.1] when his head was exposed on . The court contains the Master's house, and is faced by the great hall of the Dukes of Norfolk. By a door in the right wall we pass to a , containing monuments to Thackeray, John Leech, Sir Henry Havelock, old Carthusians, and Archdeacon Hale, long a master of the Charterhouse. Hence we enter , to which Brook, a master of the Charterhouse, whose picture hangs here, was confined by Cromwell: another door leads to the , of which the groined entrance dates from monastic times, but the rest is Jacobian. On the left of the altar is the magnificent alabaster tomb of Sutton, who died , , a few months after his foundation of the Charterhouse. The upper part of the tomb represents his funeral sermon, with the poor Brethren seated round. On the cornice are figures of Faith and Hope, Labour and Rest, Plenty and Want. The whole is the work
|of and . Opposite, is an interesting tomb of Francis Beaumont, an early master. The monument of Edward Law, Lord Ellenborough, is by . There are tablets to Dr. Raine and other eminent masters.|
The old of the monastic Charterhouse extends along side of the playground, on side of which are the modern buildings of the Merchant
|Tailors' School. All the movable relics of Charterhouse School were taken away when the school was removed and nothing remains of its buildings, but the place is still dear to many Charterhouse boys. Richard Lovelace, Isaac Barrow, Addison, Steele, John Wesley, Sir William Blackstone, Grote, Thirlwall, Julius Hare, Sir Henry Havelock, Sir Charles Eastlake, Thackeray, and John Leech were Carthusians. A grand of Queen Elizabeth's time, with the greyhound of Sutton on the|
|banisters, leads to the , with a portrait of Daniel Ray, who gave its books; and to the of old Norfolk house, with a beautiful ceiling, and a noble fire-place painted in Flanders, with figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Apostles, and, in the centre, the Royal Arms, with C. R. on the tails of the Lion and Unicorn. There are some fine old tapestries in this room|
|-- of them representing the Siege of Calais. It was these rooms which (then belonging to Lord North) were used by Elizabeth on her arrival in London from Bishops Hatfield, before her coronation.|
The , where the Poor Brethren dine, was the hall of Norfolk House. It has a noble roof, semicircular in the middle flat at the sides, supported by large
|oaken brackets. The chimney-piece is adorned with the arms of Sutton, and the cannon at the sides were added by him to commemorate his having commanded artillery against the Scots, and having fitted up a vessel against the Spanish Armada.|
On the left of the northern quadrangle is the venerable , or , the outer wall of which,
|being part of the monastic buildings, is adorned with a cross, I.H.S., &c., in the brickwork. It is in of the little houses of this court that Thackeray paints the beautiful close of Thomas Newcome's life. Elkanah Settle, the rival of Dryden, died here in -. The and are miserable works of|
We cannot leave the Charterhouse without quoting Thackeray's touching reminiscence of his founder's day :--
Returning to Smithfield, on the right, where falls into Street, Sir Baptist Hicks, a city mercer, [n.199.1] built, in , the , where the regicides and the conspirators in the Popish plot were tried, where William, Lord Russell, was condemned to death, and Count Konigs-marck, the notorious assassin of Mr. Thynne, was acquitted. The distances on the great north road were marked from Hicks' Hall. The Court House was removed to in . Opposite the site of the old building is the , a favourite resort of Richard Savage. Turning into , we see the way closed by the old Gateway of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, of which Dr. Johnson said to Boswell that, when he saw it, he
The old public-house of (from Sir Baptist Hicks), on the right of the lane, was the house of Sir Thomas Forster, a judge, who died in . His arms appear over a fire-place in the tap-room.
The , the chief English seat of the
|Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem[n.200.1] was founded in the reign of Henry I. () by a baron named Jordan Briset and Muriel his wife, and was consecrated in by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (buried in the Temple Church), who here urged Henry to undertake a crusade, and fell into a great rage on his refusal. John knighted Alexander of Scotland here, and Edward I. came hither to spend his honeymoon with Eleanor. This early Priory was so large that, when it was burnt by the rebels under Wat Tyler, the conflagration lasted days. All the other houses of the knights in London were destroyed by the insurgents at the same time, and the prior, Sir Robert Hales, was beheaded, in revenge for his having advised the king (Richard II.) to make no terms with the commons. The Priory, however, was soon rebuilt, and Henry IV. and V. frequently stayed there, and it was there that-finding how ill it would be received by the people of England-Richard III. gave a public denial to the rumours of his intended marriage with his niece Elizabeth of York. The Order of St. John was suppressed by Henry VIII. on pretext that the knights denied his supremacy, of those who opposed him being beheaded, and a hung and quartered. But the Priory still continued to be the resort of royalty, and Mary resided here frequently during the reign of Edward VI., and rode hence to pay state visits to her brother, attended by a great troop of Catholic ladies and gentlemen. The buildings of the Priory perished for the most part when they were blown up by the Protector Somerset, who intended to use them in building his palace in .|
The south , lately repurchased by
|the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, was built as we now see it by Sir Thomas Docwra, Prior, in . It is a fine specimen of perpendicular architecture. On the outside are shields adorned with the arms of the Order and of Docwra. In the centre of the groined roof is the Lamb|
|bearing a flag, kneeling on the clasped gospels. The old rooms above the gate are highly picturesque, and have been filled with an interesting series of memorials relating to its history. This collection is rather literary than military or monastic, for here Cave the printer started, in ,|
|, which has always borne a picture of the gate on its cover, so that its appearance is familiar to thousands who have never beheld it. Dr. Johnson, previously unknown, used to work for Cave at so much|
|per sheet, and for some time was almost wholly dependent upon his magazine articles. The accounts which he gave of the marvellous powers of his friend Garrick inspired Cave with a desire to see him act, and in the old room, which is now the dining-hall of the tavern, Garrick is said|
| to have made his debut before a select audience in Fielding's
. An old chair, placed beneath his bust in this room, is still shown as |
After he had anonymously published his Walter Harte, author of the dined with Cave at and greatly commended the book. Soon afterwards Cave told him that he had unconsciously given great pleasure to some when he was dining with him, and on the inquiry,
reminded him of the plate of food which had been sent behind the screen at dinner, and told him that Johnson, the author of the book he commended, considered himself too shabbily dressed to appear, but had devoured the praises with his dinner.
marks the courtyard of the Priory. The nave and aisles and the stately tower of the church were destroyed by Somerset. A remnant of the choir, mauled and defaced, long used as a Presbyterian meetinghouse and gutted in Sacheverell's riots, is now . Langhorne the poet was its curate in . The bases of some of the old pillars may be traced in the upper church, but it has nothing really noticeable except its picturesque and beautiful , consisting of bays, of them semi-Norman and early English. The voussoirs of the arch-ribs, instead of being cut to a curve-i.e. following the line struck from a centre--are each of them straight, the necessary curvature being obtained by making these voussoirs so small that their want of curvature is scarcely perceptible.[n.203.1] Here the light streams in among the well-preserved arches from a little graveyard, which
|contains the tomb of the father and mother and other relations of Wilkes Booth, the murderer of President Lincoln.|
Till a few years ago people frequently came to this crypt to visit the coffin (now buried) of
which had excited the utmost attention in , being, as Walpole said, not an , but an . It was supposed that the spirit of a young lady poisoned by a lover to whom she had bequeathed her
|property, came to visit, invisibly, but with very mysterious noises, a girl named Parsons who lived in (between Smithfield and ) and was daughter to the clerk of St. Sepulchre's Church. Horace Walpole went to see the victim, with the Duke of York, Lady Northumberland, Lady Mary Coke, and Lord Hertford, but after waiting till half-past in the morning in a suffocating room with people crowded into it, he was told that|
| the ghost would not come that night till in the morning, |
At length, the ghost having promised, by an affirmative knock, that she would attend any of her visitors in the vaults of , and there knock upon her coffin, an investigation was made, of which Dr. Johnson, who was present, has left a description:--
The failure of the investigation led to the discovery that the father of the girl who was the supposed object of spiritual visitation had arranged the plot in order to frighten the man accused of murder into remitting a loan which he
| had received from him whilst he was lodging in his house. Parsons was imprisoned for a year, and placed times in the pillory, where, however, instead of maltreating him, the London mob raised a subscription in his favour. The account of the nocturnal expedition of Dr. Johnson and his friends to the crypt caused great amusement; which was enhanced by the appearance of Churchill's poem of |
A house on the west side of , destroyed in erecting a new street in , was , the residence of the famous Whig Bishop of Salisbury (- ) who was author of the and of his and who courageously attended Lord Russell to the scaffold. Ledbury Place occupies the site of the Bishop's garden.
Clerkenwell is now the especial abode of London clockmakers and working-jewellers and makers of meteorological
| and mathematical instruments. Jewellers'-work which is intrusted to West-end jewellers is generally sent here to be executed. But in the latter part of the century, when, as we may see by Ralph Aggas's map, it was still almost in the country, a great number of the nobility resided there. commemorates the house of the Earls of Aylesbury, that of the Earls of Berkeley. Various streets and squares are, Compton, Northampton, Perceval, Spencer, Wynyate, and Ashby, from the different names and titles of the Northampton family. occupies the site of the great house of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, who was fined -quarters of a million by Cromwell; and of his wife Margaret Lucas,[n.207.1] the would-be learned lady, who published folio volumes which nobody ever read, and who, when an old woman, always had a footman to sleep in her dressing-room, and called out |
whenever a fugitive thought struck her in the night, and bade him get up, light a candle, and commit it to paper at once. This is the lady of whom Pepys wrote-
Newcastle House was afterwards inhabited by Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, Duke of Newcastle, whose
|husband was Christopher Monk, Duke of Albemarle. As his widow her immense riches turned her brain, and she declared she would marry none except a sovereign prince. The Duke of Montague, however, gained her hand by making her believe he was the Emperor of China He treated her very ill, but she survived him for years, and died at , in , in Newcastle House, served to the last, as a sovereign, on bended knee.|
If we go from through Jerusalem Passage, the house at the corner was that of Thomas Britton, the
well known from his concerts in the last century.
The on (now a paved square on the hill-side) is worth visiting, for it was built when Hicks's Hall was pulled down, and contains, on the lower floor, its fine old chimney-piece of James the 's time, which saw the condemnation of William, Lord Russell, and the services of his devoted wife as amanuensis,
In an upper room, besides the portrait of Sir Baptist Hicks, are-
The ugly was built - on the site of a church which formed the choir of a Benedictine nunnery founded by Jordan Briset in . There is a perfect list of the succession of the prioresses of Clerkenwell, ending with Isabella Sackville, who was buried near the high altar of the old church, which contained many other curious monuments, including the tomb of the founder and his wife Muriel (), who were buried in the chapter-house, and the brass of John Bell, Bishop of Worcester in the time of Henry VIII. The most remarkable monument, a lofty canopied altar tomb, was that of Sir William Weston, last Prior of , who retired with a pension of a year, which was never paid, as he died of a broken heart on the day when the final dissolution of the Priory was announced. His tomb was broken up and sold on the destruction of the old church, but his effigy, which Weever calls
still exists amongst the coals and rubbish in the vaults of the present building. Here also, standing erect against the wall by the side of a prominent sufferer for the Roman Catholic faith, is the interesting though mutilated effigy of Elizabeth Sondes, an early sufferer for Protestantism, who was in waiting on the Princess Elizabeth in the Tower, and who, refusing to go to mass, was forced to fly to Geneva. After Elizabeth came to the throne she was made Woman of the Bed Chamber, and marrying Sir Maurice Berkeley (who gave a name to , Clerkenwell), Standard-bearer to Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Elizabeth, died in . There is a handsome tomb in the vaults to Elizabett, Countess of
| Exeter, . A tablet marks the place where Burnet, the famous Bishop of Salisbury, is buried, who died in , -. He was borne to the grave with a stately funeral, attended by many of the bishops, but the rabble threw dirt upon his coffin. There is a memorial to Bishop Burnet in the porch of the modern church, on which his mitre is represented surmounting the many volumes of his works. A good monument of the period, with howling cupids, is that of Elizabeth Partridge, . In a passage to the right of the altar is a curious monument to of the Marshals of the Company of |
in honour of Katherine of Braganza, inscribed-
It is grievous that the monument of John Weever (), author of that treasure-store of antiquity the (who died hard by at his house in ), should have been lost. It stood against the pillar to the right of the altar, and was inscribed-
[In the hollow north of the church is the , where a mark in the outer wall, showing where it has been rebuilt, is a memorial of the Fenian explosion of , which had as its object the rescue of the prisoners Burke and Casey.] From the church, the ground slopes rapidly to the valley of the Fleet, which was here called the River of Wells, from the number of springs which fell into it. of these was, till lately, marked by an inscription on a pump at the corner of , and was interesting as the Clerks' Well--
--which gave Clerkenwell its name, and which, says Stow,
This district bore a very evil reputation in the last century.
which has disappeared in recent improvements, was a nest of thieves, and the site of a famous rendezvous for the baiting of bears and wolves. Fielding makes Jonathan Wild the son of a woman at Hockley in the Hole, and the place is commemorated in Gay's
Beyond , takes its name from an ancient
which still supplies a bathing establishment. The has been much altered since Southey and Coleridge wrote in
, only covered with houses in the present century, contain the Spa Fields Pantheon, long turned into a dissenting chapel. It was Shrubsole, the organist of this chapel, who composed the well-known hymn-
Lady Huntingdon, who bought the chapel, lived close by in an old house on the east side of it. She was born
|in ?, was converted to Methodism by her sister-in-law Lady Margaret Hastings, married the Earl of Huntingdon in , and died in .|
At lived Emanuel Swedenborg, author of and here he died in .
If we return up the hill to Street, and turn to the north, we pass, at the corner of (on the site of the old house which was the principal residence of the Comptons till the end of the century), the (, Clerkenwell), built by E. L. Blackburne. It is appropriately decorated outside with statues of those who suffered in Smithfield for the Protestant cause-Philpot, Frith, Rogers, Tomkins, Bradford, Anne Askew, and others.
, opening from Street, marks the site of the Red Bull Playhouse, built c. , where Heywood's Plays were acted. It was of the Theatres allowed in London in the reign of Charles I. and is mentioned abusively in Prynne's Satire. During the Commonwealth it seems to have been the only licensed Theatre, and was used for performances of
On the left, on some of the highest ground in London, , , and Myddelton Place commemorate Sir Hugh Myddelton the inventor of the artificial which brings water from the Chadswell Springs between Hertford and Ware for the supply of the City of London: it was opened in .
Encircled by these memorials of a man who was of the greatest benefactors of London, but who was never appreciated in his lifetime, and close to the offices of the , is , where was a holy well, which was pretended by the monks of Clerkenwell to owe its healing powers to their prayers. This mineral spring was rediscovered by a man named Sadler in , it was long popular, and, possessing the same chalybeate qualities, was called the New Tunbridge Wells. The Princesses Amelia and Caroline, daughters of George II., made it the fashion by coming daily to visit it in the summer of . Sadler's Wells is now better known by its Theatre (rebuilt --), to which the , which flows past the house, has often been diverted, and used for aquatic performances. Here Grimaldi, the famous clown, became known to the public, and here Giovanni Battista Belzoni (son of a barber at Padua), afterwards famous as an African traveller, used to perform athletic feats in , as
(rebuilt), on the south of the Theatre, has always been the resort of its actors and actresses. It is commemorated in Hogarth's published .
, another mineral spring, where Nell
| Gwyime had a country house, and whither people in the last century used to
has. disappeared in the site of the Phoenix Brewery.
Street leads to , with its corner public-house of , well known as an omnibus-terminus. The wide , with its occasional trees and low houses, reminds pleasantly of many country villages in Hertfordshire and Essex. On the left is the great (measuring feet by ), opened in . Besides the usual Cattle Shows, it is used for Horse Shows and Dog Shows. The great takes place in the summer, in the week between Epsom and Ascot races.
The name of is said to be derived from Isheldun, the Lower Fortress. Its pleasant open fields were the great resort for archery, which was almost universally --practised till the reign of James I. Edward III. desired that every able-bodied citizen should employ his leisure in th:use of bows and arrows, and in the reign of Richard II. an act was passed compelling all men-servants to practise archery in their leisure hours, and especially on Sundays and holidays. In the time of Henry VIII. was covered with shooting butts, and the titles of Duke of Snoreditch, Marquis of , and Earl of Pancras were popularly given to the king's favourite archers. At this time every father was enjoined to present his son with a bow and arrows as soon as he should be years old, and all men except clergy and judges were compelled occasionally to shoot at the butts. By a statute of
|Henry VIII. men above were not allowed to shoot at anything under yards, and the most distant mark was yards.[n.216.1]|
Few districts in or near London have had such a rapid increase of population in late years as this.
would no longer find her way about her pleasant pastures. In the time of Charles I., says Macaulay,
Yet some amongst them had a presentiment of the time we have reached when London has spread over the whole, and the web of streets is woven far beyond .
In old days, as still, the of had a renown. of these, the Queen's Head, pulled down in , was a fine old house, said to have been once occupied by the Lord Treasurer Burleigh:--
at , which already existed in the last century as a popular music-hall, commemorates the
|great barn of the Priory of St. John of Clerkenwell. The Prior had a country-house here from to , when it was destroyed by Jack Straw.|
If we turn to the left by Sir Hugh Myddelton's statue, down , on the right is the , rebuilt in . In its churchyard George Wharton, son of Lord Wharton, and James Stewart, son of Lord Blantyre, were buried in grave by desire of James I. They fought over a gambling quarrel in their shirts only (to prevent suspicion of concealed armour), and both fell mortally wounded.
In Prebend Square, to the east, are the Countess of Kent's Almshouses, where , pulled down in Cripplegate by the Clothworkers' Company, was re-erected in -. It contains the monument, with a curious terra-cotta half figure, of William Lambe, the founder, --. He was buried in the crypt church of St. Faith, under old , with the epitaph-
After following for a long distance, leads (right) to and its surroundings.
The manor of was given to the Priory of St. Bartholomew by Ralph de Berners before the time of Henry III., and probably obtained its name when the
| residence of a canon or prior was built or
Having been rebuilt by Prior Bolton, the last Prior but , it was granted, after the dissolution, to Cromwell, Earl of Essex. On his attainder, it reverted to the crown, and again on the attainder of the Duke of Northumberland, to whom it afterwards fell. It was then given by Mary to Thomas, Lord Wentworth, who sold it, in
|, to the Sir John Spencer whose daughter and heiress eloped with the Earl of Northampton and brought her vast property into the Compton family.|
Canonbury is a wonderfully still, quiet, picturesque spot. Beyond the modern squares, rises, unaltered, the rugged brick tower, called , feet high, which was probably built by Prior Bolton, though,it was restored by Sir John Spencer. At the end of the last
| century it was let in lodgings to various literary men who resorted thither for economy and the purity of the air. The most remarkable of these was Oliver Goldsmith, who stayed here with Mr. John Newbury, the publisher of many popular children's books, Washington Irving says-
Ephraim Chambers, the author of the Cyclopaedia, was of those who took lodgings here, and here he died in the autumn of , and was buried in the cloister of . The Tower is now let to the
Several of its old rooms are panelled, and are glorious both in colour and in the delicacy of their carving.
Behind the Tower is , where Nos. , , were once united as In No.
| (now called |
), over a doorway, is a curious carved and painted coat of arms of
A passage at the back of the house is of Prior Bolton's time, and his famous
forms of the ornaments of a low arched doorway. Ben Jonson alludes to
In the neighbouring houses are most magnificent stucco ceilings of Sir John Spencer's time, very richly ornamented. Some of them belonged to a great banqueting hall, feet long, now divided between the houses. The initials E. R. for Queen Elizabeth, who is said to have stayed here between her accession and her coronation, appear amongst the ornaments. splendid chimney-pieces were removed by the late Lord Northampton to Castle Ashby and Compton Winyates.
We may, if we like, return to the west end of London through the miserable modern streets of , a district of Clerkenwell which takes its name from Henry Penton, member for Winchester, who died in . The , with cells for solitary imprisonment, was built -, and is managed on the most extravagant footing, with a cost to the country for each prisoner of annually.
, so called from a miserable statue of George IV. which is now removed, was called , from a small bridge over the Fleet, before the statue was erected. Some say that a battle was fought here between Alfred and the Danes; others consider this to have been the scene of the great battle in A.D. , in
|which the Romans under Paulinus Suetonius gained their great victory over the unfortunate Boadicea, and in which Britons were put to the sword.|
North-west of extends the modern , so called from John, Earl Somers, Lord Chancellor in the reign of Queen Anne, to whom the estate belonged. Farther north is , which takes its name from the Earl Camden, who acquired large property here by his marriage with Miss Jeffreys. Farther north still is , a corruption of
a name which records its possession by Walter de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, -, and St. Thomas de Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford, -.
[n.173.1] Henry II., act ii. sc. iv.
[n.175.1] Stow, p. 142.
[n.176.1] The last was a woman; the first, in 1531, was the cook of Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, whom he was accused of trying to poison in his soup.
[n.180.1] Stow, p. 140.
[n.182.1] The keys are kept at No. z, Church Passage, Cloth Fair.
[n.184.1] The well-known Inn in Fleet Street the Bolt in Tun took its name from the rebus of Prior Bolton.
[n.191.1] Howell's Londinopolis, fol. 1657, p. 343.
[n.194.1] Froude, vi. 359.
[n.199.1] He was afterwards created Viscount Campden, his eldest daughter married Lord Noel, and the well-known preacher, Baptist Noel, derived his odd name from this ancestor.
[n.200.1] Afterwards called Knights of Rhodes, and lastly Knights of Malta.
[n.203.1] See a paper by Pettit Griffith, F.S.A., quoted in the Builder of July 1, 1816.
[n.207.1] Their tomb is in the North Transept of Westminster Abbey.
[n.216.1] Among curious books on archery are the Ayme for Finsburie Archers, 1628; and the Ayme for the Archers of St. George's Fields, 1664.