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

Allen, Thomas


St. Olave Jewry.


On the west side of the is the parish church of St Olave. This is a very ancient foundation, and was originally called Upwell, taking that addition from a well, which is now converted into a pump, at the east end of the church: and it was in old time a rectory, in the gift of the canons of , and by them transferred, with the chapel of St. Stephen, , to the prior and convent of Butley, in Suffolk; and became a vicarage. At the suppression of that convent the impropriation was forfeited to the crown, in which it still remains. The ancient church was burnt down in .

This church, with a small burying-ground at the west end, the site of the destroyed church of St. Martin Pomery, occupies a space between the and . The plan is a parallelogram, having a tower attached to the west end, which in the style of the ancient churches is situated without the wall of the main building. The tower rises from the ground in stories. The basement story of the west front has a lintelled doorway inclosed in a handsome frontispiece of the Doric order, consisting of pillars, sustaining an entablature and elliptical pediment; the next story has an arched window in the west front, and niches to correspond in the flanks; the upper story has a dial and an arched window shove in each face; the elevation is finished with a block cornice and parapet: at each angle was until lately a square obelisk, of the many instances of the adoption by sir C. Wren, of the pinnacled tower in a style to which it was foreign. The obefisks have recently been taken down in part, and the residue left in a broken and unsightly state. The west front of the church has an arched window at each side of the tower. All the portion already described is faced with Portland stone. The angles of the front are canted off, giving to this part of the budding a poligonal form. The south side is built of brick with stone dressings, and has an entrance consisting of a lintelled doorway, covered with an elliptical pediment at the western extremity and above it, an arched window. other windows in series are formed on this part of the building; the lower ones are walled up. The eastern front, which abuts in the , is the


handsomest portion of the structure; it is faced with Portland stone rusticated at the angles, and is principally occupied by a large Venetian window, the antae of a composed order; the spandrils are pierced with circular windows; the elevation finished with a cornice and pediment, in the tympanum of the latter is a circular window. A projecting clock dial has been recently erected against this front. The northern side, concealed from public observation, abuts on a narrow passage, only used during divine service. It resembles the south side before described. The interior is exceedingly plain; it is roofed in span without pillars or arches; the walls are finished with an architrave and modillion cornice, the former broken above the windows, or corresponding spaces where they are filled up, to Jet in a cherub's head between festoons of foliage and consoles in the side elevations. The ceiling is horizontal and plastered, without the smallest degree of ornament. A vestibule is formed at the west end separated from the church by an oak screen, and covered with a gallery which is continued along a small portion of the side walls; the front is oak sustained on Tuscan pillars; the architect evidently contemplated the continuation of the gallery along the whole of the north and south sides, by his constructing series of windows in the lateral walls. In this gallery is a small organ. The altar screen is also formed of oak in a plain style; it is bounded by Corinthian pilasters and made into a wide centre and smaller side divisions; over the former is an elliptical pediment broken, to let in the arms of king Charles The embellishments are cherubs' heads in a bad taste, gilt, palm branches and fruit, and a pannel over the decalogue, inscribed with the name of the Deity in Hebrew. The altar is enclosed in a balustrade, with spiral ballusters. The pulpit is hexagonal, and has an ugly modern sounding board; it was originally affixed to the northern wall; it is now, with the desks, placed in the centre of the building before the rails of the altar. The font is a neat marble basin, carved with the heads of cherubs, and is situated in a pew on the north side of the church. Attached to the walls above the western gallery, are large pictures; that on the south side is a commemorative portrait of king Charles I. in the style of the already described at St. Botolph, Bishopsgate.

The northern is the monument of queen Elizabeth, so often mentioned in the old accounts of the city churches. It is a copy or imitation of the tomb at .

The western is an allegorical painting of Time and Death, and it is to be regretted that the parochial authorities do not possess sufficient taste to see that these paintings, which in their present situation look like black pieces of canvas, would ornament the whitewashed walls of the church near the altar, which owing to the absence of windows, require some relief.

There are several monuments attached to the side walls, the only


which possesses any interest, records the names of the family of Frederick, whose mansion has given name to the adjacent .

The church was built in by sir C. Wren, at an expense of The dimensions are, length feet, breadth , height of church , and of tower and pinnacles feet.


[] Vide ante page 125.

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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