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

Allen, Thomas


St. Stephen, Coleman-street.


On the west side of , and within feet of the south end, is the parochial church dedicated to St. Stephen, the proto-martyr. This is a church of a very early foundation; and its patronage was in the dean and chapter of between the years and : who granted this chapel, as then called, as an appendage to St. Olave Jewry, to the prior and convent of Butley; in whose gift it continued till the suppression of that convent, when it fell to the crown: and the rectory and parish church, and the advowson of the vicarage, were granted by queen Elizabeth to Thomas Paskins, and others; and again in , to William Daniel, serjeant at law, (afterwards sir William Daniel, of the justices of the Common Pleas), and other parishioners of parish, to hold this impropriate rectory in fee-farm of the crown: and the parishioners have continued patrons of this vicarage ever since.

Stow writes, but does not produce sufficient authority for the fact, that this church was some time a synagogue of the Jews; then a parish church; and afterwards a chapel to St. Olave in the Jewry: and was again made a parish church in the Edward IV. But in this Stow was mistaken, for it is certain, that this church, or chapel, was made parochial, and a vicarage ordained and endowed by Thomas Kemp, bishop of London, with per ann. in Hen. VI. which was years sooner.

This church sharing the common fate in the dreadful fire of London in , the present structure was erected in its stead about years after.

It is situated on the west side of ; the east end and the south side are open; the west and north fronts being partly concealed by the adjacent buildings. At the north-west angle of the church is a square tower, the upper story of which is seen above the church, and has an arched window in each face; the elevation is finished with a parapet, and the whole surmounted by a square turret leaded, and ending in a dwarf spire crowned with a vane; the south side of the church has lofty arched windows; the from the east walled up, and an arched entrance beneath the from the west; the elevation is finished with a cornice and parapet; the wall is brick composed with stone-dressings. The east front is faced with stone; it is made into a central and lateral divisions; the former had until the repair of , a large


arched window, which had been converted into a circle in the centre, and the elevation was finished with an elliptical pediment; the lateral divisions had also windows, long since walled up; the central window was, at the repair before-mentioned, replaced in its original form but contracted in size, and the old pediment gave way to an angular of mean proportions, topped by a pine-apple. A portion of the north side of the church abuts on a small secluded and melancholy burying-ground; in its general features it resembles the opposite side. The interior is very plain compared with the majority of the city churches. Galleries were erected in on the south, and in on the north side of the church, in addition to which originally only crossed the western end. The fronts are composed of oak, and pannelled, and are sustained on iron columns. In the western gallery is an organ erected in , at the sides of which are additional galleries erected in for the children of the ward schools. There are no pillars; the roof is horizontal in the centre and coved at the sides; the latter portion is pierced with arches above the windows, resting on corbels ornamented with the heads of cherubs, from which spring arched ribs uniting with the cornice, which bounds the centre. The altar screen is composed of carved oak, and ornamented with Corinthian pillars and pilasters; the decalogue, &c. being inscribed upon the intercolumniations. The eastern window is doubly glazed; it is divided internally by uprights sustaining a transom stone which crosses the window at the springing of the arch; above this is an irradiation. The pulpit is hexagonal, and with the reading and clerk's desks, is situated in the fronts of the altar rails in group. The font is now placed in a pew on the south side of the west end, and is a plain circular basin supported on a balluster of veined marble; it was formerly at the western extremity of the church, which having been severed from the body by a screen, the font has been placed as above stated, but the railing which formerly surrounded it, remains at foot of the gallery stairs. The church gate is composed of rusticated piers, between which is a pannel with elliptical cornice bearing an alto relievo of the general resurrection. It is a curious piece of sculpture. In the upper part, upon clouds, is our Saviour sitting in judgment, having a banner ensigned, with a cross in his right hand, and an orb in his left; at his feet is Satan falling headlong. The Supreme Judge is attended by a choir of seraphim, and numerous figures of all ages are seen below in the attitude of rising from their graves at the sound of the archangel's trumpet. The execution of this group of sculpture is scarcely inferior to the fine specimen which graces the church gate of St Giles.

The architect of this church was sir Christopher Wren; the expense of rebuilding, after the fire, amounted to and it was completed in .

In the burying-ground northward of the church, which is approached by a passage through the vicarage-house, may be seen


the south side of Masons'-hall; it is faced with stone, and has arched windows, in each of which is a coat of arms. The basement of the wall appears ancient. The brick-built dwelling-house is added above this portion.


[] Stowe's Survey, page 296.

[] Newc. Reper. page 537.

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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