The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas


Allhallows Church, London Wall. 1760.


This church is situated on the north side of the street, taking its name from the city wall in the interval between and New , the north wall abutting on the actual wall of the city. The patronage of this church, which is a rectory, was anciently in the prior and convent of the Holy Trinity, near , who presented Thomas Richer de Sanston to it in .

At the dissolution of religious houses, in the time of Henry VIII. this church, with the priory to which it belonged, was surrendered to the crown, in whom the advowson still remains. The old church escaped the fire of London, but became so ruinous that, in , the parishioners obtained an act of parliament to empower them to pull it down, together with the parsonage house, and to enable them to raise money by annuities to rebuild it. The stone of the present edifice was laid , and it was consecrated . It was built from the designs of Mr. Dance, the builder of the Mansion-house, and was the edifice built from his designs The old church appears from the above engraving, which is copied from by Toms, in , to have been a building of the century; it was equally humble with its successor, but possessed none of a church-like appearance. The present edifice affords a striking contrast to the works of Wren, and it would almost appear that the architect had studiously avoided giving to his building any indication of what it was designed for. The exterior, with the exception of the tower, is built with brick, and if it were large


enough, it might be taken for a riding-school. The tower is attached to the west end of the building, of its sides being clear of the main structure, all of which are uniform, except the western, which is distinguished by the entrance. It is square in plan, and in elevation is made into principal stories. The contains the doorway flanked by Doric columns sustaining their entablature and a pediment ; above this is a circular aperture for a dial. The story has an arched window filled in with weather boarding, and the elevation is furnished with a cornice and parapet having vases at the angles: within the parapet is a circular stylobate sustaining a small temple of the same form, to which is attached Corinthian columns sustaining their entablatures. The intercolumniations are pierced with arched openings, and the entablature above is broken and recessed; the whole is crowned with an hemispherical cupola, the surface being ribbed and finished with a vane. The residue of the western front is mere dead wall. The south side is relieved by arches formed in the brick work, the heads being pierced for windows, and is finished by the cornice continued from the tower. In the basement are windows lighting the catacombs. The east end is occupied with a semicircular bow, the brick wall of which is without relief; the elevation finishes as before. The north side is concealed from observation, but is similar to the south, with the exception of an abutment forming the vestry-room, which extends northward beyond the bounds of , and is in the adjoining parish of St. Stephen, . The basement story of the tower forms a porch to a vestibule, in which on the south is a flight of stairs descending to the catacombs, and ascending to the gallery, and an entrance to the body of the church. The interior is in divisions, the contains a gallery, the next are appropriated to the auditory, and are marked by engaged Ionic columns, with fluted shafts attached to each of the side walls; these sustain a fascia ornamented with leaves and honey-suckles in an incorrect taste, upon which rests a waggon-head ceiling pierced laterally with arches above the intercolumniations; the whole surface of the ceiling is frittered into numerous pannels filled with plasterer's imitations of the flowers of the honeysuckle, the whole composition being only remarkable as of the worst specimens of modern Grecian architecture; the division to the west, is ceiled in a plainer style, the ceiling resting on a fascia continued from that before described. The chancel, which occupies the bow noticed on the outside, is abruptly divided from the nave, by a small portion of wall, which is attempted to be relieved by a painted curtain. The surface of the concavity is made into various pannels, and the upright is finished by the continued fascia; the ceiling is in form of a half dome, the soffit of which is entirely occupied by lozenge shaped pannels with small flowers in the centre, the whole design so different from the rest of the church, that it might be taken for the work of another hand. The western gallery is sustained upon Doric


columns, and the front is composed of an entablature and attic, painted to imitate mahogany; on the frieze is an inscription, stating when the church was rebuilt. In the gallery is a small organ. The pulpit and desks are affixed to the north wall;they are without ornament; the former is approached from the vestry-room by a flight of stairs outside the church, the entrance is covered by a mean frontispiece, finished with a pediment. On the same side of the church is a doorway to the vestry, and so fond of uniformity was the architect, that he has constructed on the opposite wall a false doorway, part of which shews itself above the pews; beneath the western gallery is a small font of white marble, consisting of a circular basin on a pillar of the same form. Above die communion table is a copy of Cortona's painting of

Ananias restoring St. Paul to sight,

made by Nathaniel Dance, (afterwards sir N.Holland, bart.) the brother of the architect, and by him presented to the church. On the upper part of the frame is the verse (Acts ix. ver. .) recording the event. Setting aside the bad taste in which the building is decorated, the want of ornaments appropriate to the destination of the structure is most strikingly apparent: notwithstanding the exuberance of decoration, there is not sacred emblem to denote the purposes for which the building was erected, and which has much more the appearance of an assembly-room, than a church. The works of Mr. Dance are scarcely legitimate subjects for criticism; it is only necessary to add, that the present specimen is not behind the other deformities which that gentleman has added to the city. The expense of the building was .

There are several mural tablets, of no general interest, in the present church, besides a marble monument to the memory of Joseph Patience, esq. architect: it is surmounted with a bust, distinguished by a marked expression of astonishment, as if the sculptor had intended to represent the surprise of the deceased, at witnessing the faulty architecture about him.

Attached to the western wall of the church is a small portion of London-wall, in a good state of preservation.

The monuments in the old church were destroyed with the structure which contained them, with the exception of , of which is affixed to the western wall of the vestibule, and the other, a handsome and spacious mural monument, mentioned in Strype's Stow, (edit. .) as then occupying a place on the western side of the pulpit in the old church, to the memory of Dominici de Heila, of an ancient family in Flanders, who died , CICICCVIII, aged , and Gulielmae de Heila his wife, who died , CICICCV aged , may be seen on the north wall of the church of Castle Hedingham, Essex; and a small marble tablet attached thereto, bearing an inscription importing that it was removed by a descendant of the family resident in that parish, from the church of Allhallows, London-wall, on the demolition of the latter edifice in .



The earliest churchwarden's account is for , but there is nothing mentioned that should lead us to suppose the church was then an ancient building.

This church contained a rood loft, and a representation of Judas in it, which was painted for in . In this loft was rebuilt for ., and the gilding on the cross cost

In addition to the high altar, were others dedicated to our Lady and St. Lawrence. This church was particularly rich in the ornaments belonging to the Roman Catholic church; among other items is the following :--

A cross of silver parcel gilt, weighing oz.

A pontyfycall of Saynt Thomas of Canterberry, crossed in sylver.

A bone of Saynt Davy, clossed in sylver.

A cross weighing oz. to bear at sacrament.


[] Malcolm, ii. p. 66.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward