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

Allen, Thomas

1827

St. Margaret, Lothbury.

On the north side of is the parochial church of St. Margaret.

This church is so called from being dedicated to St. Margaret, a virgin saint of Antioch, who suffered martyrdom in the reign of the emperor Decius; and it received the additional epithet of , from its situation, and to distinguish it from other churches dedicated to the same saint.

This church is a rectory, the foundation of which is of great antiquity, as appears from John de Haslingfield, who was presented to it, by the abbess and convent of Barking, in Essex, on the kal. of . The patronage continued in that convent till the general suppression of religious houses, when it fell to the crown, in whom it has continued to the present time.

The original church being greatly decayed by time, a new

403

was built in the year , at which time Robert Lange, lord mayor, contributed handsomely to the vaulting over the watercourse of Wallbrook, running close to the church. This edifice was destroyed by the general conflagration, and the present edifice erected in its stead, and completely finished in the year .

It is situated on the north side of . The plan shews an oblong square body, with a south aisle, having a tower at the west end of it. In the south front of the aisle are large windows, with semicircular arched heads, bounded by architraves and square window, with a circular above it towards the east end. The elevation finishes with an attic and ballustrade; above is a clerestory lighted by circular windows; the entrance is in the basement story of the tower; it is lintelled, and has a handsome frontispiece, consisting of Corinthian columns sustaining an entablature and pediment; the tower has stories above the church. The and last contain windows with arched heads. The spire, which is leaded, rises on a square basement, having a concavity surrounding it, from which rises a small dome, on the vertex of which is a square obelisk, set on gilt balls, and finished with a ball and vane; it has much the appearance of the spire of St. Benet, Gracechurch.

The west front of the church has a large semicircular headed window, now closed up, between smaller ones of the same form, with circular windows above the latter . In this front of the tower is a lintelled entrance, with a circular window above it. The north side has arched windows, similar to those on the opposite side, with the same number of round windows above; beneath the window from the west end is a lintelled doorway; a portion of this side is concealed and window closed, by a house which is built against it. The east front is similar to the western , but the side windows are walled up. The walls of the church are built of brick. The tower is stone, and the east and south fronts have an ashlaring of Portland stone. The north and west fronts are composed. The interior is approached through a vestibule formed in the ground floor of the tower. The body is separated from the aisle at the south side, by columns of the Corinthian order, raised on plinths equal in height with the pewing; the columns sustain an architrave, and the order is continued in pilaster, with the architrave, round the whole building. The ceiling of the aisle is horizontal; that of the body is partly horizontal, forming a large pannel in form of a parallelogram in the centre, and coved at the sides, the latter portion is pierced with arches above the circular windows, which are all situated in an attic over the architrave, which serves as an impost to the arched portion of the ceiling. The altar screen is constructed in oak, in divisions; the central is plain and surmounted by the arms of king William III.; the side divisions are each ornamented with Corinthian pillars, sustaining an entablature and elliptical pediment. A gallery,

404

probably coeval with the church, is erected in the south aisle. A is situated at the western end of the church, sustained on Ionic pillars, and containing an organ, which, with the gallery, were set up in ; the organ being opened on Easter day in that year. The pulpit and desks are situated near the eastern end of the north side. The former is hexagonal, and is surmounted by a sounding-board, crowned with a ponderous canopy, formed of an union of several ogee shaped ribs. The lateral windows at the east end, are made to appear as niches to contain the paintings of Moses and Aaron, removed to this church after the sacrilegious demolition of that of St. Christopher-le-stocks; beneath the paintings are the following inscriptions:--

North.

The parish of St. Christopher-le-stocks was, by act of parliament, united to the parish of Margaret, Lothbury, in the 21st year of king George III., and in the year of our Lord 1781. The reverend Sherlock Willis, rector of St. Christopher. The reverend Henry Whitfield. D.D. rector of St. Margaret.

South.

These two paintings of Moses and Aaron, which formerly belonged to the church of St. Christopher-le-stocks, were removed hither on the parishes being united.

In the east window is a small oval medallion of queen Anne, in stained glass. The font, situated beneath the western gallery, is, perhaps, of the finest specimens of carving in basso relievo, in this country. It is a spherical basin, ornamented with cherub's heads, and the following subjects in compartments, viz. Adam and Eve in the act of taking the forbidden fruit, and thus constituting the fall of man. The salvation of Noah and his family in the ark. The baptism of our Saviour. And St. Philip baptizing the eunuch.

The compartments have been chosen with great knowledge and taste, every

one

of the subjects alluding to the sacred mystery connected with it.

The sculptures occupy the whole of the surface; the general form is that of an antique urn, which is made to revolve on a pivot; the gracefulness of its proportions and delicacy of the sculptures are not excelled by any work of antiquity. The sculptor was the celebrated Grinlin Gibbons, to whom the churches of this metropolis are indebted for such a profusion of ornamental sculpture; the balluster on which it stands is unworthy to be the supporter of so beautiful a piece of workmanship.

The monuments are not numerous, of which, occupying a blank window, north of the altar, consists of a Doric column on a pedestal, sustaining an urn. On the pedestal stand small statues of Faith and Hope, and it is inscribed to the memory of Thomas Adrian, esq. died . This monument occupied originally a similar situation in the church of St. Christopher-le-stocks.

At the north-west angle of the church, is a fine brass bust of

405

a knight in armour; it was preserved from the destroyed church of St. Christopher-le-stocks. The inscription is on the base.

PETRVS LE MAIRE AEQUES AURATUS. AE SUAE

88

,

1631

.

It is a fine piece of sculpture, and deserves a more conspicuous situation in the church, than the obscure corner where it is now placed, on a shelf, as if it was unworthy of preservation.

The church was erected in , at the expence of Sir Christopher Wren being the architect. Its dimensions are, length , breadth , height , and of steeple, feet.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Gent. Mag. vol. 91. pt. 1, page 21.

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 Title Page
 Dedication
 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