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

Allen, Thomas


St. Benet Fink.


This church is situated on the south side of , nearly opposite the entrance to . It is so called from its dedication to St. Benedict, an Italian saint, and founder of the order of Benedictine monks; and it received the additional name of Fink, from Robert Fink the elder who rebuilt it, but at what period is not known. It is of ancient foundation, and, though at present only a curacy, yet was originally a rectory; John de Branketre being rector thereof, before the year . The patronage of this church, which was formerly in the family of the Nevils, and was probably given by some member of that noble family to the adjacent hospital of St. Anthony, fell at the suppression of it to the crown. King Edward IV. subsequently gave it to the dean and chapter of Windsor, in whom it still remains; it is supplied by of the canons, who is licensed by the bishop of London.

The old church being destroyed by fire, in , the present building was erected in . The plan is singular, the outer walls forming a decagon: a great part of the building is concealed by adjacent houses, and even that portion which is visible,


is defaced by the watch-house belonging to the ward being attached to it. The elevations of the structure, which are to be seen from the street, till within the last years contained windows of large dimensions with arched heads, divided by stone uprights, into parts, and crossed by a transom stone at the springing of the arch, to which point they are now closed with masonry. The key-stones of the arches are carved with consoles, sustaining a cornice, which is continued round the whole building, and is surmounted by an attic, above which is seen a leaden roof, arising in the form of a spherical dome.

other sides of the poligon abut on the burying ground of the church, in these divisions the windows remain in their original state. The tower attached to the western portion is square and massive, the northern front, which is the only visible part, is in stories, the contains a lintelled entrance covered with a pediment, the whole enclosed within an arch-formed concavity, above this is an oblong square window; to this succeeds a square enriched tablet, intended for a dial; the upper story has an upright oval window in each face and the elevation is finished with a cornice, which sweeps over the crown of the windows; the whole of the part already described is faced with stone, the tower is heightened by a leaded dome, square in plan, and pierced with port-hole apertures; this is surmounted by a square lantern, with scrolls at the angles and oval windows in the sides, finished with a dwarf spire sustaining a gilt ball and cross; a vestibule is formed in the basement of the tower, from which the body of the church is approached, and on the south side is a door leading to the adjoining church-yard. Although much contracted in dimensions, the interior as it came out of the hands of the architect, shewed a tasteful and to a certain degree elegant design; a peristyle of composite columns, supported on plinths the height of the pewing, are disposed in an oval, they sustain on their capitals architrave cornices, which enter the walls of the church opposite to the pillars, and become impost to semicircular arches, the spandrils of which are formed into pendentives, and support with the intervention of a modillion cornice a dome, elliptical in its plan but semicircular in its vertical section; on the centre was once a lantern, which not only diffused light into the structure, but gave a cheerful appearance to it, the removal of this and closing up the northern windows has rendered the church rather gloomy, though the latter was necessary, to exclude the noise of carriages in such a public situation. The soffits of the lateral arches and the dome are plain. The western portion of the building is occupied by a gallery accommodating itself to the plan of the church, the front is pannelled and it contains a large organ, and seats for the children of the ward school. The window in the eastern division of the poligon is of the design already described, it has the coat of arms of the enllghtened benefactor Holman in the central division,


viz. , a chevron between pheons, or; beneath it the date MDCXCV; below the window is the altar screen handsomely painted and gilt. in the centre are pannels bearing the decalogue, on each side of which is a pair of composite columns painted in imitation of marble, with gilt capitals supporting an elliptical pediment; between the columns are paintings of Moses and Aaron. The pulpit, which is hexagonal, is with the desks attached to the pillar nearest the altar; on the south side of the church in of the windows is a sun-dial in stained glass, with the motto The font is a circular basin of white marble, on a column of the same form, it is more modern than the church; on the poor box is the date . The church was rebuilt in , from the designs of sir Christopher Wren, at the expence of The superiority of its ornaments was occasioned by Mr. Holman's donation. The greatest diameter of the church is feet, the lesser , and the height of the tower feet.

There are no monuments in this church worthy of notice. In the vestry is a plan of the parish made in .


[] The superiority of the ornaments in this church is to be attributed to the liberal donation of 1,000l., by George Holman, esq. whose generosity is the more remarkable, as he was a member of the Roman Catholic communion; he seems, however, to have been entirely divested of the bigotry usually ascribed to persons of that persuasion, and to have possessed a truly Catholic spirit. The coat of arms and sun dial before described, were also provided at his expense; he likewise offered an organ, which the parish declined to accept; but subsequently (1714) received one as the gift of Mrs. Sarah Gregory, (a native of the parish), who also left a freehold house, to provide a salary for the organist, as appears by an inscription attached to the front of the organ gallery,

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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