Walks in London, vol. I

Hare, Augustus J. C.


Chapter VI: Cheapside.

Chapter VI: Cheapside.


Just outside on the north-east, we are in the sanctuary of , founded in the reign of Edward the Confessor by Ingelric, Earl of Essex, and his brother Girard. It had a collegiate church with a Dean and Chapter. When Henry VII. built his famous chapel, the estates of were conferred upon the Abbey of for its support, and the Abbots of became Deans of . Here the curfew tolled, at the sound of which the great gates of the city were shut and every wicket closed till sunrise.[n.222.1]  The rights of sanctuary filled this corner of London with bad characters, who for the most part employed themselves in the manufacture of false jewellery.

St. Martin's


was made of copper;[n.222.2] 

St. Martin's


became a popular expression, and they are alluded to in Hudibras. It is in the sanctuary of that Sir Thomas More describes Miles Forest, of the murderers of the princes in the Tower, as

rotting away piecemeal.

The privileges of the place


were abolished in the reign of James I., to the great advantage of the Londoners, for-

St. Martin's appears to have been a sanctuary for great disorders, and a shelter for the lowest sort of people, rogues and ruffians, thieves, felons, and murderers. From hence used to rush violent persons, committers of riots, robberies, and manslaughters; hither they brought in their preys and stolen goods, and concealed them here, or. shared and sold them to those that dwelt here. Here were also harboured picklocks, counterfeiters of keys and seals, forgers of false evidences, such as made counterfeit chains, beads, ouches, plates, copper gilt for gold, &c.Maitland.

At the crossways near the site of Paul's Cross now stands . From this there is of the most characteristic views in London, looking down the busy street of (or


from the Saxon word


a market). This is the best point from which to examine the beauties of the steeple of Bow Church, the finest of the towers which Wren built after the Fire, and in which, though he had more work than he could possibly attend to properly, he never failed to exhibit the extraordinary variety of his designs. It is a square tower ( ft. in. wide by ft. high) above which are stories averaging ft. each. The is a square belfry with Ionic pilasters, next is a circular peristyle of Corinthian columns, a lantern, a spire, the whole height being ft.

There is a play of light and shade, a variety of outline, and an elegance of detail, in this, which it would be very difficult to match in any other steeple. There is no greater proof of Wren's genius than to observe that, after he had set the example, not only has no architect since his day surpassed him, but no other modern steeple can compare with this, either for beauty of outline or the appropriateness with which classical details are applied to so novel a purpose.-Fergusson.

No will look upon for the time without recalling the famous tale of John Gilpin-

Smack went the whip, round went the wheel, Were never folk so glad; The stones did rattle underneath As if Cheapside were mad.

Before the time of the Commonwealth, , with its avenue of stately buildings, and its fountains and statues dispersed at intervals down the centre of the street, cannot have been unlike the beautiful Maximilian's Strasse of Augsburg. Opposite the entrance of stood

the Little Conduit.

Then, opposite the entrance of , rose the beautiful Cross, of the crosses erected by Edward I. to Queen Eleanor. It was gilt all over for the arrival of Charles V. in ; again for the coronation of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn; again for the coronation of Edward VI., and again for the arrival of the Spanish Philip. In it was

broken and defaced.

In and it was

fastened and repaired,

and it was finally destroyed in , when Evelyn went to London on and

saw the furious and zealous people demolish that stately cross in



[n.224.1]  Beyond the cross, at the entrance of Poultry, stood

the Great Conduit,

where Jack Cade beheaded Lord Saye and Sele. It was erected early in the century, and ever flowing with clear rushing waters, supplied from the reservoir where now stands, by a pipe feet in length, which crossed the fields between modern and Regent


Street to , and from thence found its way by Leicester Fields, , and ,

a remarkable work of engineering and the


of its kind in England of which we have any knowledge.

e The Conduit itself was a plain octagonal stone edifice, feet high, surmounted by a cupola with a statue of a man blowing a horn on the top. It was encircled by a balcony, beneath which were figures of those who had interested themselves in laying the pipe or erecting the building. Here, on the site of many executions, the most beautiful young girls in London, standing garland-crowned, prophetically welcomed Anne Boleyn. Here also Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen; and here stood the pillory in which Defoe was placed for his punishment, receiving all the time a triumphant ovation from the people. Lastly, at the entrance of Poultry, stood

the Standard in Chepe,

where Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, was beheaded in the time of Edward II.

During the reigns of the Henrys and Edwards, was frequently the scene of conflicts between the prentices of the different city guilds, in constant rivalry with another. They were always a turbulent set, and in the reign of Edward III. Thomas the Fishmonger and another were beheaded in Chepe for striking the august person of the Lord Mayor himself. The gay prentices of Chepe are commemorated by Chaucer in

The Coke's Tale


A prentis dwelled whilom in our citee- At every bridal would he sing and hoppe; He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe- For when ther eny riding was in Chepe Out of the shoppe thider wold he lepe,

The Builder, Sept. 18, 1875.


And til that he had all the sight ysein,

And danced wel, he wold not come agen.

On the left, divided by the great street of le Grand, are the buildings of the . Those on the west are from designs of . , ; those on the east, built -, from designs of --

who, if he never sunk below respectable mediocrity, has as little risen above it

[n.226.1] -occupy the site of the famous church and sanctuary of . Behind, in , is the , of Wren's rebuildings. The tower is peculiar and well-proportioned, and a marked feature in London views. Over the west door is a curious allegorical bas-relief, representing Religion and Charity.

Farther down (right) is the great pillared front of the , which was incorporated by Edward III. in , but had existed as a guild from much earlier times. The Hall, rebuilt by in , contains of the most magnificent marble staircases in London, leading to broad open galleries with pillars of coloured marbles. The ( ft. by and high) contains-

Northcote. George IV.

Hayter. William IV.

M. A. Shee. Queen Adelaide.

Hayter. Queen Victoria.

In the are-

Cornelius Jansen (one of the finest works of the master). A noble portrait of Sir Hugh Myddelton, 1644 (a goldsmith), who gave the New River to London. His hand is resting on a shell.

A poor portrait of Sir Martin Bowes (1566), the Lord Mayor who sold the tombs at Grey Friars, but interesting as having been presented to the Company by Faithorne the Engraver, as a proof of gratitude for having been excused the office of Warden, in consequence of the losses he had sustained in the defence of Basing House. It is evidently a bad copy by Faithorne from an original portrait.

In the are-

Allan Ramsay. George III. and Queen Charlotte.

The adjoining contains-

Hudson (master of Sir J. Reynolds). A very curious picture of Benn's Club-a jovial society of Members of the Company (Sir J. Rawlinson, Robert Allsop, Edward Ironside, Sir N. Marshall, W. Benn, T. Blackford) over whom Benn, a stanch old Jacobite, had sufficient influence to force them to go down to his house in the Isle of Wight and drink to the success of Prince Charlie. Given 1752.

The plate of the Goldsmiths' Company is naturally most magnificent. It includes the cup bequeathed by Sir Martin Bowes, out of which Queen Elizabeth drank at her coronation. In laying the foundation of this hall, in , a stone altar adorned with a figurs of Diana was found, confirming the tradition that the old was founded near the site of a pagan shrine.

The name of the next turn on the left, , is a corruption of

Guthurun's Lane,

from an early owner.

The inhabitants of this lane, of old time, were gold-beaters.


At the entrance of the large thoroughfare opening from on the left, is a beautiful Planetree, marking the churchyard of St. Peter in Chepe, a church destroyed in the Fire. The terms of the lease of the neighbouring houses forbid the destruction of the tree, or the building of an additional story which may injure it.


The sight of this tree, throwing a reminiscence of country loveliness into the crowded thoroughfare, may recall to us that Wordsworth has immortalised in his touching little ballad of

Poor Susan.

At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, Hangs a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years; Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard In the silence of morning the song of the bird.

»Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? she sees A mountain ascending, a vision of trees; Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale, Down which she so often has tripped with her pail; And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's, The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in heaven; but they fade, The mist and the river, the hill and the shade; The stream will not flow and the hill will not rise, And the colours have all passed away from her eyes.

It is said that in the , rebuilt by Wren after the Fire, and rather picturesque with its projecting clock, is buried the head of James IV. of Scotland, the king who fell at Flodden, and whose body was recognised by Lord Dacre and others amongst the slain on the field of battle. The account which Stow gives of the after-adventures of the head is too curious to omit.

After the Battle of Flodden, the body of King James being found, was enclosed in lead, and conveyed from thence to London, and so to the monastery of Shene in Surrey where it remained for a time, in what order I am not certain; but since the dissolution of that house in the reign of Edward IV., Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, being lodged and keeping house there, I have been shown the same body so lapped in lead, close to the head and body, thrown into a waste room amongst the old timber, lead, and other nibble. Since which time, workmen there,

for their foolish pleasure, hewed off his head; and Lancelot Young, master-glazier to her Majesty, feeling a sweet savour to come from thence, and seeing the same dried from all moisture, and yet the form remaining, with the hair of the head, and the beard red, brought it to London, to his house in

Wood Street

, where for a time he kept it for its sweetness, but in the end caused the sexton of that church to bury it amongst other bones taken out of their charnel,

--, p. .

Scotch writers maintain, however, that it was not the body of James IV. which was found at Flodden, but of another who fought in his dress to withdraw the attention of the English; and it is even asserted that the king escaped to Jerusalem, and died there.

The paltry semi-gothic , was built by , -, in the place of by Inigo Jones. The original church belonged to St. Alban's Abbey. Amongst the monuments lost with the old church is that inscribed-

Hic jacet Tom Short-hose

Sine tombe, sine sheets, sine riches;

Qui vixit sine gowne,

Sine cloake, sine shirt, sine breeches.

Attached to the pillar above the pulpit is an hourglass in a curious brass frame. These hourglasses, common enough in the and centuries to remind the preacher of the flight of time, are now very rare.

Matthew Paris says that St. Alban's, , was the chapel of King Offa.[n.229.1]  There is also a tradition that at the end of the street was the palace of the victorious Saxon king Athelstan, who slew the last king of Cumberland, buried on the pass between Keswick and Grassmere, under the great cairn which is still called from him

Dunmail Raise.

Thus the name of , which opens on


the right of , is said to be derived from Adelstan or Athelstan, indeed it is found as King Adel Street in early records, but the derivation comes more probably from the Saxon word adel----

the street of nobles.

In the street, near its junction with , is the (incorporated by Henry VI.), an admirable modern building of brick (), with terra-cotta ornaments, in which hops are much used in the decorations.

To the west of , in , is the , incorporated Henry VI.

On the south of , between and , stood the Mermaid Tavern, where a club, established by Ben Jonson in , numbered Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Donne, Selden, &c., amongst its members.

What things have seen Done at the Mermaid; heard words that have been So nimble, and so full of subtle flame, As if that every one from whom they came Had mean'd to put his whole wit in a jest, And had resolv'd to live a fool the rest Of his dull life. Beaumont to Jonson.

Stow says that derives its name

from Fishmongers dwelling there and serving Friday's market.

Sir Hugh Myddelton was buried in the churchyard of St. Matthew, , in .

At the north-east corner of this street was the celebrated Nag's Head Tavern, the fictitious scene of the consecration of Protestant bishops, on the accession of Elizabeth in .

It was pretended that a certain number of ecclesiastics, in hurry to take possession of the vacant sees, assembled here, where they were to undergo the ceremony from Anthony Kitchen, alias Dunstan, Bishop of Llandaff, a sort of occasional Nonconformist, who had taken the oaths of supremacy to Elizabeth. Bonner, Bishop of London (then confined in prison), hearing of it, sent his chaplain to Kitchen, threatening him with excommunication in case he proceeded. On this the prelate refused to perform the ceremony, on which, say the Catholics, Parker and the other candidates, rather than defer possession of their sees, determined to consecrate one another, which, says the story, they did without any sort of scruple, and Scorey began with Parker, who instantly rose Archbishop of Canterbury. The refutation of this tale may be read in Strype's Life of Archbishop Parker.-Pennant.

The next turn on the left is , once devoted to sellers of milk, where Sir Thomas More was born in ,

the brightest star,

says Fuller,

that ever shone in that Via Lactea.

On the right of the street is the , established , for the education of boys of the middle-classes recommended by a member of the Corporation of London.

[ leads into , so called from the ancient court or of the Aldermen,[n.231.1]  now held at the .[n.231.2]  Here (left) is Wren's Jacobian . In the old church on this site Dr. John Owen, the chaplain of Cromwell, listened to the sermon which was the cause of his strong religious impressions. Edmund Calamy was appointed rector here in , and was ejected by the Act of Uniformity in , after he had attracted great crowds to the church by his sermons. He died years after and is buried beneath the pulpit. George, Lord Jeffreys, the cruel judge of the Bloody Assizes, who died in the Tower in , was removed from the Tower Chapel, , and


is buried here on the north of the communion table. The register records the marriage () of Milton with his wife Catherine Woodcocke, a native of this parish, who died months after. Weever mentions () that in the cloister of this church hung

the shankbone of a man, wondrous great and large, measuring


inches and a half, with the portrait of a giantlike person and some metrical lines.

has swallowed up . At the corner of and ,

the Swan with



on the wall of a General Railway Office marks the site of the curious old balconied inn of that name, which was long celebrated as a starting-point for stage-coaches.] We have now arrived where, on the right of , rises . It was built by Wren on the site of a very ancient church described by Stow as having been the church in the city built on arches of stone, whence in the reign of William the Conqueror it was called

St. Marie de Arcubus or Le Bow in West Cheaping; as


Bridge, being the


built (by Matilde the queen, wife to Henry I.) with arches of stone, was called


le Bow; which names to the said church and bridge remain to this day.

A staircase in the porch leads to the Norman which was used by Wren as a support for his church. Some of the columns have been partially walled up to strengthen the upper building, but the crypt is of great extent, and in part the noble Norman pillars are seen in their full beauty, with the arches above, which have given the name of

Court of Arches

to the highest ecclesiastical court belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury,


which formerly met in the vestry of this church. It is the chief of a deanery of parishes, exempt from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London: hence the title of the Dean of Arches. The Bishops elect of the province of Canterbury take the oath of supremacy at this church before their consecration.

On the right of the altar is a monument to Thomas Newton, Dean of and Bishop of Bristol (), with the inscription-

Reader, if you would be further informed of his character, acquaint yourself with his writings.

The steeple of Bow Church, feet in height, is, as we have seen, of Wren's best and most original works. Bow bells have always been famous, and people born within sound of Bow bells are called Cockneys. Pope says-

Far as loud Bow's stupendous bells resound.

Stow tells how in it was ordained by a Common Council that the Bow Bell should be nightly rung at of the clock. This bell (which marked the time for closing the shops) being usually rung somewhat late, as seemed to the young men, prentices, and others in Cheap, they made and set up a rhyme against the clock as followeth:--

Clerke of the Bow Bell, with the yellow lockes,

For thy late ringing thy head shall have knockes.

Whereunto the Clerk replying wrote:

Children of Cheape, hold you all still,

For you shall have the Bow Bell rung at your will.

What child will not remember that it was the Bow Bells


which said to the poor runaway boy as he was resting on Highgate milestone-

Turn again, Whittington,

Lord Mayor of London,

and that he obeyed them, and became the most famous of Lord Mayors?

Many last century writers have celebrated the Dragon on Bow Steeple--a familiar landmark to Londoners.

Dean Swift said, more than one hundred years ago, that when the dragon on Bow Church kisses the cock behind the Exchange, great changes will take place in England. Just before the Reform Bill of 1832, the dragon and cock were both taken down at the same time to be cleaned and repaired by the same man, and were placed close to each other. In fact, the dragon kissed the cock, and the Reform Bill was passed. Who can say there is no virtue in predictions after this?--B.R. Raydon's Table Talk.

Stow says that this church,

for divers accidents happening there, hath been made more famous than any other parish church of the whole city or suburbs.

It was in the tower of the old church, built on the existing arches, that William Fitz-Osbert, surnamed Longbeard, the champion of the wrongs of the people in the time of Richard I., took refuge from his assassins; but, after defending it for days, was forced out by fire, when he was dragged at the tail of a horse to the Tower, and sentenced by the archbishop to be hung, which was done in Smithfield. In the same tower was slain, in , Laurence Ducket, who had taken sanctuary there after wounding Ralph Crepin, for which, says Stow, persons were hung, a woman named Alice burnt, many rich persons

hanged by the purse,

the church interdicted, and the doors and windows filled with thorns, till it was purified again.

The balcony in front of the tower is a memorial of the old , or stone shed, erected on the north side of this church, whither the Henrys and Edwards came to survey all the great city pageants. A plot was discovered with the design of murdering Charles II. and the Duke of York on this very balcony during a Lord Mayor's procession. It was from hence that Queen Anne, in , beheld the last Lord Mayor's pageant, devised by the last city poet Elkanah Settle.

(on the left) now leads to the . Before its principal front the city pigeons are fed every morning, as those of Venice are in the Piazza S. Marco, and the smoky buildings are enlivened by the perpetual flitting to and fro of their bright wings. The pretty modern Gothic here (), adorned with statues of St. Lawrence and the Magdalen, commemorates the benefactors of St. Lawrence Jewry, and , . The adjoining cost , being the most expensive of all the city churches rebuilt by Wren. It is richly decorated internally, but devoid of beauty. The gridiron which serves as a vane on the spire commemorates the death of St. Lawrence. There is a monument here to Archbishop Tillotson ().

He was buried in the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry. It was there that he had won his immense national reputation. He had preached there during the thirty years which preceded his elevation to the throne of Canterbury. ... His remains were carried through a mourning population. The hearse was followed by an endless train of splendid equipages from Lambeth through Southwark and over London bridge. Burnet preached the funeral sermon. His kind and honest heart was overcome by so many tender recollections that, in the midst of his discourse, he paused and burst into tears, while a loud moan of sorrow arose from the whole auditory. The Queen (Mary) could not speak of her favourite instructor without weeping. Even William was visibly moved. I have lost, he said, the best friend that I ever had, and the best man that I ever knew. -Macaulay. History of England.

Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, the mathematician, is also buried here, with Sir Geoffry Boleyne of Blickling, Lord

Mayor of London, . , great-great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth. The words , in brass, were dispersed times over his gravestone.[n.236.1] 

The was originally built in the time of Henry IV. (), but it has been so much altered that, though the walls were not much injured in the Fire


and only had to be reroofed, very little can be said to remain visible of that time except the crypt. The front, by , is a miserable work of .

Here it was that, after the death of Edward IV., while his sons were in the Tower, on , the Duke of Buckingham addressed the people, and after cunningly dwelling on the exactions of the late king's reign, denied his legitimacy, and, affirming that the Duke of Gloucester was the only true son of the Duke of York, demanded that he should be acknowledged as king.

In the was used for the trial of Anne, daughter of Sir William Askew of Kelsey in Lincolnshire, who had been turned out of doors by her husband ( Kyme) because she had become a Protestant. Coming to London, to sue for a separation, she had been kindly received by Queen Katherine Parr, and was found to have distributed Protestant tracts amongst the court ladies. In the she was tried for heresy, and on being asked by the Lord Mayor why she refused to believe that the priest could make the body of Christ, gave her famous answer-

I have heard that God made man, but that man can make God I have never heard.

She was afterwards cruelly tortured on the rack to extort evidence against the court ladies, and on , was burnt at Smithfield.

It was also in the that the Protestant Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, a personal friend of Edward VI., was tried, , for participation in the Wyatt rebellion against Mary, and was acquitted by his own wonderful acuteness and presence of mind.

Here, on the other side, in , took place the trial of Garnet, Superior of the Jesuits in England. He had been


arrested at Hendlip House near Worcester for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot. The rack having failed to extort a confession, he was induced to believe, whilst imprisoned in the Tower, that he might confer unheard with another Jesuit, Oldcorne, who occupied the next cell. listeners wrote down the whole conversation, which was produced as criminatory evidence at the , and he was condemned to death and executed in , after which he was honoured by Catholics as a martyr.

Among the other trials which have taken place here, have been that of the poet Surrey, in the time of Henry VIII., and of the poet Waller, during the Commonwealth.

( ft. long, ft. broad) has a glorious timber roof and vast stained windows of modern glass, through which streams of coloured light fall in prismatic rays upon the pavement. High aloft at the western extremity the giants Gog and Magog, which used to bear a conspicuous part in the pageant of Lord Mayor's Day, keep guard over the hall, and still look, as Hawthorne says,

like enormous playthings for the children of giants.

They were carved in fir-wood by Richard Saunders, and are hollow. Being presented to the Corporation by the Stationers' Company, they were set up in the Hall in , and typify the dignity of the City. There is an old prophecy of Mother Shipton which says that

when they fall, London will fall also.

In Richard Boreman, who lived

near the Giants in the



published their history, which tells how Corineus and Gogmagog fought with all the other giants in behalf of the liberties of the City, and how all the other giants perished, but these were reserved that they might make sport by wrestling like gladiators with


another-and how the victory seemed to incline to Gog-Magog, who pressed his companion so heavily that he broke of his ribs; but at last, in his desperation, Corineus threw Gogmagog over his shoulder and hurled him from the top of a cliff into the sea, which cliff is called Langoemagog, or

the Giant's Leap.

The huge and ugly monuments against the lower walls of the Hall are only interesting from their inscriptions. That of Lord Chatham is by Burke, that of Pitt by Canning, that of Nelson by Sheridan, while that of Beckford is engraved with the speech with which he is said to have abruptly astonished George III., and which, says Horace Walpole,

made the king uncertain whether to sit still and silent, or to pick up his robes and hurry into his private room.

The speech, however, was never really uttered, and was written by Horne Tooke.

Amongst the rooms adjoining the is the , a beautiful old chamber richly adorned with carving, and allegorical paintings by It is a room well deserving of preservation, having been rebuilt by Wren immediately after the Fire, and originally built in .

The contains a fine statue of George III. by . At the east end of the chamber is an enormous picture of the Siege of Gibraltar, , with Lord Heathfield on horseback in the foreground, by . Of the other pictures we may notice-

Alderman Boydell, a fine portrait, by Beechey.

Lord Nelson. Beechey.

The Murder of Rizzio. Opie.

The Death of Wat Tyler. Northcote.

Queen Caroline of Brunswick. Lonsdale.

Queen Victoria. Hayter.

Princess Charlotte. Lonsdale.

The Court of the has remains of a Gothic chamber of . It contains a noble picture of Charles Pratt, Lord Chancellor Camden, painted for the City in honour of his speech on the discharge of Wilkes from the Tower, by . The beautiful chapel of , adjoining the , built c. and rebuilt , was pulled down in , up to which time,

to deprecate indigestion and all plethoric evils,

says Pennant, a service was held in it before the Lord Mayor's feast. Its site is now occupied by the ugly courtrooms on the east of the Yard, which are decorated with portraits by of all the judges who sate at to arrange the differences between landlord and tenant during the process of rebuilding after the great Fire.[n.240.1] 

No should omit to visit, by a staircase at the back of the Hall, the beautiful of , which survived the Fire. It is divided into aisles by clusters of circular columns of Purbeck marble, and is feet in length and in breadth. Maitland () mentions it as

the Welsh Hall,

because the Welsh were at that time allowed to use it as a market for their native manufactures.

From the east end of the a staircase leads to the Library, On the landing at the top are statues of Charles II. and Sir John Cutler, brought from the demolished in . The


society had thought themselves obliged to Sir John for the money to raise their college, when that in was burnt in , but after the statue was erected in gratitude,

the old curmudgeon made a demand of the pelf,

which the society was obliged to refund to his heirs.[n.241.1] 

The handsome modern Gothic contains a very valuable collection of books-old plays, ballads, and pamphlets,

relating to the history of London. The full-length portraits of William III. and Mary II. are by . In a room on the right of the side entrance is a valuable collection of drawings of Old London and of .

The , in a vaulted chamber, is open from


to in winter, and from to in summer. It contains a collection of interesting relics of Old London, including-

The Inscription about the Fire, from Pudding Lane.

The painted Statue of Gerard the Giant, from Gerard's Hall in Basing Lane, destroyed in 1852.

Roman pavement found at Bucklersbury, 1869.

The Foundation Stones of Old London Bridge and Old Blackfriars Bridge.

A number of curious old London Signs-St. George and the Dragon from Snow Hill; the Three Crowns from Lambeth Hill; and the Three Kings (Magi) from Bucklersbury. Here also is the famous Sign of the Boar's Head, erected in 1668, when the house was rebuilt after the Fire, to mark the tavern in East Cheap, the abode of Dame Quickly, the old place in Eastcheap, Henry IV., Act ii. sc. . beloved by Falstaff. Washington Irving describes how, having hunted in vain for the tavern, he found the sign built into the parting line of two houses which stood on its site.

An old Chimney-Piece from Lime Street, from the house of Sir J. Scrope (ob. 1493), rebuilt in the 17th century, where Sir J. Abney kept his mayoralty, 1700, 1701.

Returning to , , on the right, was formerly Soper Lane, from the makers of soap who inhabited it. After the Fire it became the resort of the


. wholesale dealers in drugs and spices. On the right of opens , containing a precious little oasis which was the burial-ground of that old church of which William Sautre, the proto-martyr of the English Reformation, burnt , was priest.

The in contains a full-length portrait of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was a saddler, by

At the corner of , No. go , was the engraver's shop of Alderman Boydell, celebrated


for his Pictorial Shakspeare. The part of between and was called

the Mercery

from the , entered from . The quaint pillared court, which recalls those of Genoa, was used as a burial-place as late as . It contains the effigy, recumbent in a niche, of

Richard Fishborne, mercer, a worthy benefactor,



and other monuments. Here,

in the porch of the Mercers' Chapel,

Thomas Guy, founder of , was bound apprentice to a bookseller, . The and its portico occupy the site of the house of Gilbert à Becket, in which his son Thomas, the murdered archbishop, was born in . years after his murder, Agnes his sister, who was married to Thomas Fitz Theobald de Helles, built a chapel and hospital

in the rule of Saynt Austyn

on the spot where her brother was born; and such was the respect for his sanctity that, without waiting for his canonisation, the foundation was dedicated to the worship of God Almighty, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the said glorious Martyr.

Alle the lande that sometime was Gilbert Becket's, father of Thomas the Martyr,

was granted to this hospital.[n.243.1]  James Butler, Earl of Ormond (), and Dame Joane his wife (), who claimed near alliance to St. Thomas, were buried here : [n.243.2]  their daughter Margaret married Sir William Boleyne, and was grandmother of Queen Anne Boleyn. A beautiful side chapel was added to this church by John Alien, Lord Mayor, who died in . There is a well-known legend that Gilbert Becket was


taken prisoner during the Crusades, and was liberated by a Saracen princess who had fallen in love with him. The power of her love induced her to follow him to England, though she only knew words of the language-London and Gilbert. By the help of the she reached his native town, and she plaintively called the other through the streets till she was reunited to him. Unfortunately this story is unknown to the earlier biographers of Thomas d Becket, but the name Acon, or Acre, recalls the memory of William, an Englishman, chaplain to Dean Ralph le Diceto, who made a vow that if he could enter Acre, then under siege, he would found a chapel to the martyred archbishop, who was already reverenced, though not formally recognised, as a saint. He entered Acre and founded a chapel and a cemetery there, where he devoted himself to the burial of Christian pilgrims, who died in the Holy Land. A military order was also founded by Richard I., in commemoration of the capture of Acre, and dedicated to St. Thomas.[n.244.1] 

Latimer mentions the woman

who, being asked by an acquaintance in the street where she was going, answered

To St. Thomas of Acres, to hear the sermon; for as she had not slept well the night before, she should be certain of a nap there.


At the Dissolution, Henry VIII. granted the Hospital, for a payment, to the Mercers' Company, incorporated in . The , rebuilt after the Great Fire , has good oak carving of that period: the helmet and sword of Lord Hill, a member of the Company, are


preserved there. In the adjoining are some good portraits, including that of Sir R. Whittington and his , inscribed

A story similar to that of Whittington and his Cat has existed in South America, Persia, Denmark, Tuscany, and Venice, and in several of these instances may be traced before and at the date of Whittington.[n.245.1]  Up to the time of Whittington the burning of coal in London was considered such a nuisance that it was punished by death. A dispensation to burn coal was made in favour of the times Lord Mayor, and it is believed that the fact that his coal was imported in the collier (catta) still called a cat, gave rise to the story in his case. Here also are-

Sir Thomas Gresham, said to be an original portrait.

Dean Colet (whose father was a mercer), the founder of St. Paul's School, the management of which he bequeathed to the Mercers.

A fine portrait of Thomas Papillon, 1666, who represented Dover in several parliaments. He was chosen sheriff for London by an immense majority of the citizens, but the Lord Mayor would not swear him in, Charles II.'s government having chosen their own sheriffs. Papillon issued his warrant to compel Sir W. Pritchard, the Mayor, to do his duty. For this he was brought to a state trial, condemned by Judge Jeffreys, and sentenced to pay a fine of £ 10,000. To avoid this he went into voluntary banishment at Utrecht, but returning with William III., was elected member for London, and bought the estate of Acrise in Kent.

Dick Whittington,

times Lord Mayor of London, was a Mercer,

Flos Mercatorum,

and is commemorated by the Whittington Almshouses, which belong to the Company, and by a silver Tun on wheels which he presented for their banquets. At least of the Mercers have filled the office of Lord Mayor.

The last street on the left of is ,


once inhabited wholly by Jews brought over from Rouen by William I. It contains , of the many churches dedicated to the royal Danish saint, and recalling the Danish occupation. Alderman John Boydell, the engraver (), is buried here. Dr. James Foster became celebrated in as a preacher in the last century, having become known from Lord Chancellor Hardwicke taking refuge from a storm in his church, and being so delighted that he afterwards sent all his great acquaintance to hear him. He is celebrated by Pope-

Let modest Foster, if he will, excel

Ten Metropolitans in preaching well.

The house of Sir Robert Clayton (

the fanatick Lord Mayor

of Dryden's ) on the east side of Old Jewry--a grand specimen of a merchant's residence, with

a banqueting room wainscoted with cedar and adorned with battles of gods and giants in fresco,

[n.246.1]  in which Charles II. supped with the great city magnate-was only destroyed in . Here Professor Porson died in . was the place where the original synagogue of the Jews was erected, and was their head-quarters till their expulsion in .

[The street called leads into , which contains the , and where the ghastly gate of , adorned with skulls, commemorates its having been of the principal places of burial for the victims of the Great Plague. Over the gate is a curious carving in oak, representing the Last Judgment, much like that over the gate of St. Giles in the Fields, but


superior in workmanship. This and the gate of are now the only memorials which recall to us the terrible year of the Plague (), in which persons perished; when these old City-streets resounded perpetually with the cry

Bring out your dead!

from the carriers in the gloomy gowns which were their appointed costume; and when even the terrors of infection did not save the unfortunate bodies from the

corpse robbers,

as many as i, winding-sheets being afterwards found in the possession of night thief alone. De Foe describes how John Hayward the sexton of this church used to go round with his dead-cart and bell to fetch the bodies from the houses where they lay, and how often he had to carry them for a great distance to the cart in a hand-barrow, as the lanes of the parish, White's Alley, Cross Key Court, , and others were so narrow that the cart could not enter them,--yet

never had the distemper at all, but lived about


years after it.

In , rebuilt by Wren after the Fire,[n.247.1]  is the monument of Anthony Monday, dramatist and architect of civic pageants.

In , on the right of , Robert Bloomfield, the especial poet of the country, son of a tailor at Honington, in Suffolk, composed mentally his poem of the

Farmer's Boy,

while working in a garret as a shoemaker. When able to procure paper, he had, as he says,

nothing to do but to write it down.

copies were sold in years.

Far down , on the right, is the founded by Henry VI. as the

Brothers and Sisters of the Gild of St. George,



effigy, slaving the dragon. appeared upon their seal before . The Hall has been rebuilt, but has occupied the same site for years, and, as it escaped the Fire, it possesses of the most glorious collections of old plate in England. Especially noteworthy are the beautiful

Richmond Cup,

given by John and Isabel Richmond in ; the curious

Owl Pot,

given by Julian Seger in ; the tankard of Thomas Tyndale, ; the cup and cover of J. Forester, ; the cup and cover of Samson Lycroft, ; and the Maeser (maple wood) bowl of .

At the foot of the staircase are suits of armour of an officer and pikeman of the time of Charles I. Armour was. then going out of use, and, by the time of William III., the Company had fallen into utter decadence, but entirely revived after its union under Anne with the Company of Braziers, since which

We are


has been the motto of the united companies;

Make all sure,

the earlier motto of the Armourers, having had reference to the proving of their back and breast pieces.

In the are a beautiful steel tilting suit of the time of Edward VI.; some German swords with waved edges of the and centuries; some Flemish pictures representing the meat and vegetables of the Seasons from the old Treaty House at Uxbridge; and well-known picture of the entry of Bolingbroke into London with Richard II., engraved in Boydell's Shakspeare.

The contains-

A curious portrait of Roger Tindall, Master of the Company, , being his


especially bequeathed by his will, inscribed-


Tyme glides away.

One God obey,

Let Trvth bear sway,

So Tindal still did say.

Whatsoever thou dost, mark thy end.

Miller. Romeo's first meeting with Juliet, as a pilgrim in the hall of the Capulets.

A grant to the Company by Mary I., in which the then Clarencieux King-at-Arms appears in an illumination.

In the are-

Hamilton. Olivia as a page (in Twelfth Night) meeting Sebastian. Engraved in Boydell's Shakspeare.

Shackleton. George II. and Caroline of Anspach.

The forbidden Tilting Gauntlet (a great curiosity), suppressed as unfair, because it locked down, and the tilting spear could not be wrested from a hand thus protected.]

now melts into ,[n.249.1]  once entirely inhabited by Poulterers. In the old church of , dedicated to the daughter of the Saxon prince Merowald, destroyed in the Fire, was the tomb of Thomas Tusser (), author of described by Fuller as

successively a musician, schoolmaster, servingman, husbandman, grazier, poet, more skilful in all, than thriving in any vocation.

His epitaph ran-

Here Thomas Tusser, clad in earth, doth lie,

That sometime made the points of husbandrie.

By him then learn thou maist; here learn we must,

When all is done we sleep and turn to dust.

And yet through Christ to heaven we hope to goe,

Who reads his books shall find his faith was so.

The church was rebuilt by Wren, but has been recently pulled down and its monuments removed to ,


. Its site is now occupied by the offices of the Gresham Life Insurance Company.

Several good modern buildings adorn Poultry. No. ,

Queen Anne Chambers,

is a good specimen of the architecture of that time by . A little farther (right) the rich front of a house (No. ), built by in , has terra-cotta panels by , appropriately representing the state-processions of Edward VI., Elizabeth, and Victoria, which have passed through the street below in , , and , with an incident which occurred upon the site of this very house on , when Charles II., making his public entry into London, stopped to salute the landlady of what was then an inn, who insisted upon displaying her loyalty by rising to give him a welcome, though she was then in a most critical situation!

, the last street on the right, derives its name from the Bukerels, a great City family of the century.[n.250.1]  Andrew Bukerel, Pepperer, was Lord Mayor from to , and held the office of farmer of the King's Exchange: he headed the equestrian procession of the citizens of London at the coronation of Eleanor of Provence. This was the great street of grocers and druggists; Shakspeare speaks of those who

smell like


in simple time,

in the

The end of Poultry faces the , with Chantrey's fine equestrian in front of it. On the right is the , on the left the .



The was built by Sir Thomas Gresham, the great merchant-prince of the century. Under Edward VI. and Mary he had been employed as a confidential agent in obtaining subsidies from great foreign merchants, and under Elizabeth took advantage of his increasing favour to enforce the benefit of obtaining loans from wealthy Englishmen rather than foreigners. Treated with the utmost confidence by Elizabeth, he was made

Sir Thomas

when employed as ambassador to the Duchess of Parma. He continued to keep his shop in , distinguished by the sign of the grasshopper, the Gresham crest, but in the country lived with great magnificence at Mayfield in Sussex (previously a palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury), and at Osterley in Middlesex. He died of an apoplectic fit as he was walking from his house in to the Exchange,

The idea of the Exchange originated with Sir Richard Gresham, father of Sir Thomas, who wished to see English merchants as well lodged as those whom he had been accustomed to see in the magnificent Bourse at Antwerp. And how much something of the kind was needed in London we learn from Stow, who says,

The merchants and tradesmen, as well English as strangers, did for their general making of bargains, contracts and commerce, usually meet twice a day. But these meetings were unpleasant and troublesome, by reason of walking and talking in an open narrow street . . . being there constrained either to endure all extremes of weather, viz. heat or cold, snow or rain; or else to shelter themselves in shops.

The Exchange, therefore, was built as much as


possible on the plan of that at Antwerp. A Flemish architect, Henryke, was appointed, and all the materials were brought from Flanders, much to the disgust of English masons and bricklayers. The result was that the Exchange, which was opened by Elizabeth in , was foreign-looking to the last degree. It was an immense cloistered court, with a corridor filled with shops running above its arcades, called a


from the German word


--a way. In front rose an immense column surmounted by the grasshopper of the Greshams. Over the pillars round the quadrangle, which were all of marble, were statues of the sovereigns from the Confessor to Elizabeth. Immediately on the execution of Charles I. his statue was thrown down, and in its plate was inscribed,

Exit tyrannus, regum ultimus, anno libertatis Anglia restitutae primo.

The Exchange of Gresham was totally destroyed in the Great Fire of . Wren then wished in restoring it to make the Exchange the centre of the new London, from which all the principal streets should diverge. His wish was opposed, and the new building was built much in the same style as the old, but with greater magnificence, by Edward Jarman, and was adorned with statues by Cibber.

The Exchange was burnt in , and the statues which survived the fire were for the most part sold as lumber! The present building by , stately, though inferior to its predecessor, was opened in . It encloses a large cloistered court, with a statue of Queen Victoria in the centre. The statue of Charles II. by , which formerly occupied that position, is preserved at the southeast angle. The inscription on the pedestal of the figure of Commerce on the front of the building--

The Earth is the

Lord's, and the fulness thereof,

was selected by Dean Milman on hearing the suggestion of the Prince Consort to Mr. Westmacott that the space should be used for some inscription recognising a Superior Power.

The busiest time at the Exchange, when it is most worth seeing, is from to P.M. on Tuesdays and Fridays. The eastern part of the building is occupied by , the great rendezvous of ship-owners, and all who seek shipping intelligence. The name originated in the early transaction of the business at Lloyd's Coffee House, at the corner of .

If you would wish the world to know, And learn the state of man; How some are high and some are low And human actions scan; If justly things you would arrange, And study human heart; Observe the humours of th« Exchange, That universal mart.

--Tom Brown. New London Spy.

Opposite the Exchange, on the right, we should notice an old (No. ZZZ, ), carved, painted green, and with unusually small panes of glass--as being the oldest shop of its class in the metropolis. It was established as a confectioner's in the time of George I. by a Mr. Horton, succeeded by Lucas Birch, whose son and successor, Samuel, became Lord Mayor (. ). His followers are of a different family, but wisely retain the old name of

Birch and Birch

over the window, as well as the antique character of the shop, which they have wisely discovered to be the hen which lays their golden eggs. The commissariat of the is sometimes entirely entrusted


to this shop by the Lords Mayor during the year of their mayoralty.

On the right as we face the rises the , the palace of the King of the City, built from designs of in -. When erected, it was a very fine building, but it has been ruined by the removal of the noble flight of steps by which it was

approached, and to which it owed all its beauty of proportion. Its principal apartment, known as the , has nothing Egyptian in it, but was so called because constructed to correspond with the Egyptian Hall described by Vitruvius. On the site occupied by the stood formerly a statue altered to represent Charles II., from an old statue of John Sobieski, King of Poland, brought from Leghorn by Robert Viner, the Lord Mayor,[n.254.1]  who tried so hard to make his Majesty drunk [n.254.2]  when


taken down it was given to the representatives of the Viner family. The Lord Mayors coach, built , is painted with allegorical subjects, probably by Cipriani.

Immediately behind the is Wren's masterpiece--the , commemorating in its name of the rivulets of old London,

the brook by the wall,

which has long disappeared. It would seem as if Wren had scarcely condescended to notice its exterior, so hideous is it, while the interior is perfect in beauty and proportion.

If the material had been as lasting and the size as great as

St. Paul's

, this church would have been a greater monument to Wren than the cathedral.

[n.255.1]  .When built it was so far appreciated by the Corporation, that they presented Lady Wren with a purse of guineas in recognition of

the great skill and care

displayed in its erection by her husband. It is strange that though no church has ever been more admired, no architect should have ever copied its arrangement. A large picture, the Burial of St. Stephen, by , hangs in this church. Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect, is buried here in a family vault. There is a medallion to Mrs. Catherine Macaulay, -, who wrote the History of England from the accession of James II. to that of the House of Brunswick: Pennant speaks of

the statue erected to Diva Mac-Aulae by her doating admirer, a former rector, which a successor of his most profanely pulled down.

, , commemorates the old townhouse of the Earls of Oxford.

We must cross the space in front of the Exchange to


visit the . The conception of the Bank originated with Paterson, a Scotchman, in . Its small business was transacted in. the Mercers' Hall, then in the Grocers' Hall, and in was moved to the buildings which form the back of the present court towards . The modern buildings, covering nearly acres, were designed in by Sir John Soane; they are feeble in design and lose in effect from not being raised on a terrace.


Garden Court


which has a fountain, encloses the churchyard of St. Christopher le Stocks, pulled down when the Bank was built. The taxes are received, the interest of the national debt paid, and the business of transacted at the Bank. The

Old Lady in

Threadneedle Street

was long its popular name, but is now almost forgotten.

The warlike power of every country depends on their Three pew Cents. If Caesar were to reappear on earth, Wettenhall's List would be more important than his Commentaries; Rothschild would open and shut the Temple of Janus; Thomas Baring, or Bates, would probably command the Tenth Legion; and the soldiers would march to battle with loud cries of Scrip and Omnium reduced Consols and Caesar. -Sydney Smith.

To the east of the Bank (entered from , ) is the , the

ready-money market of the world.

Behind the Bank is , the district of pewterers and candlestick-makers, said by Stow to derive its name from the loathsome noise made by these workers in metal. Here takes its name from the brassfounders, and from the manufacture of


the copper coinage of England from to . The space between these is occupied by the ,


which has a font adorned with sculptures attributed to Grinling Gibbons. Here also, removed from the destroyed Church of St. Christopher le Stocks, is a fine bronze monumental bust of a knight, inscribed

Petrus le Maire Aeques Auratus. AE. suae





(named after Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, said to have been poisoned by Elizabeth's Earl of Leicester) is filled every afternoon with a busy crowd discussing the affairs of the Stock Exchange.

The , on the left, was built by in around a large quiet court, which is adorned with laurel-trees in tubs. A handsome winding staircase of coloured marbles, decorated with statues of Edward III. and Philippa, leads to the Banqueting Hall, which is adorned with the utmost magnificence that can co-exist with absence of taste. In this and the neighbouring rooms are many good portraits, but we should especially notice, in the Court Room,--

Zucchero. Mary, Queen of Scots, a full-length portrait. Her little son James VI, is painted with her, though she never saw him after he was a year old. The picture is said to have been thrown over the wall into the Drapers' Gardens for security during the Great Fire, and to have been found there afterwards amid the ruins, and never claimed.

Sir W. Beechey. Lord Nelson.

At the back of the Hall is a remnant of the Drapers' Garden and of its famous mulberry-trees, but the beauty of this charming old garden was sacrificed for money-making a few years ago.


[n.222.1] Riley, p. 92.

[n.222.2] Strype.

[n.224.1] See the curious pamphlets entitled The Downefall of Dagon, or the taking downe of Cheapside Crosse, and The Pope's Proclamation, or Six Articles exhibited against Cheapside Crosse, whereby it pleads guilty of high-treason, and ought to be beheaded.

[n.226.1] Quarterly Review, cxc.

[n.227.1] Stow.

[n.229.1] In Vitis Abb. S. Albani, p, 50.

[n.231.1] Stow.

[n.231.2] Stow.

[n.236.1] See Stow, and Gough's Sepulchral Monuments.

[n.240.1] The Alderman's Court and the interesting pictures in the chambers adjoining the Guildhall may be seen upon application, when the rooms are not in use.

[n.241.1] Tom Brown, The New London Spy, 1777.

[n.243.1] See Herberts History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies.

[n.243.2] Weever's Funeral Monuments.

[n.244.1] See Milman's Annals of St. Paul's.

[n.244.2] Malcolm's Manners of London.

[n.245.1] See J. Timbs' Romance of London.

[n.246.1] Macaulay.

[n.247.1] St. Stephen's only cost £ 7,652 13s., while Bow Church cost £ 15,400.

[n.249.1] The name existed in 1317.

[n.250.1] It is sometimes derived from one Buckles; who was crushed to death hero while pulling down the Cornet Tower, an old building of Edward I.'s time, to enlarge his house.

[n.254.1] Pennant.

[n.254.2] See Spectator, No. 462.

[n.255.1] Fergusson.