The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
At the south-west corner of , on the north side, and near the east end of , stands the parish church of St. Anthony, commonly called St. Antholin, or St. Antlin.
This church is so called from its dedication to St. Anthony, an Egyptian hermit, and founder of the order of Eremites of St. Anthony. The time of its foundation is not certainly known; but that it is of great antiquity appears from its being in the gift of the canons of St. Paul, in the year . It was rebuilt by Thomas
Knolles, lord mayor of London, in the year : and again, in , by John Tate, mercer. In , it was repaired and beautified at the expense of , raised by the contribution of several munificent inhabitants; but being destroyed by the fire of London, it was rebuilt in the year , in the same manner it now appears.
The plan is an irregular hexagon, or rather a square, having of its angles cut off by right lines. To that portion which fronts the west, is attached a lofty tower and spire, bearing the closest resemblance to the pointed style. The tower is in stories, the lower ones are square; in the west front of the basement is a doorway, with a rusticated frontispiece, consisting of Doric pilasters, sustaining an elliptical pediment, over which is an oval window, which is also repeated on the north and south sides. The story has, in the west front only, well-proportioned window, with arched head, covered with a cornice resting on brackets, and the upright is finished with a block cornice. The story takes an octangular form; in of the faces are windows, with arched heads, alternating with semicircular bastion-like projections, formed over the angles of the square tower, and finished with plain half domes; this story finishes with a cornice, from which rises a lofty octangular spire, having a torus attached to each angle, and the whole is finished with a Corinthian capital, sustaining a vane, on which are the arms of the bishopric of London. The spire is perforated with series of openings in each face, the , which are formed immediately over the parapet, are parallellogrammatic, surmounted with pediments. The , which are in a higher part of the elevation, are oval, and surrounded with shields. The , which are near the close of the spire, are circular. The basement story of the tower is disfigured by a vestry room attached to side, and a watchhouse to the other. The north-west angle of the church has an arched window, and the corresponding angle on the other side has a doorway similar to that in the tower, and an oval window above, and the south side of the church has arched windows, and a doorway near the east end, having an elliptical arch, with a cherub on the key-stone; the east end has arched windows, and a doorway similar to that last described, beneath the northernmost window. The whole of the visible part of the church is faced with stone, and the elevation is finished with a cornice and parapet.
A porch, formed in the basement story of the tower, leads to the interior, which consists of a peristyle of columns, of the composite order, raised upon lofty octangular plinths, and disposed in an irregular octagon, sustaining an entablature, still pursuing the same form. The shafts of the columns are painted in imitation of yellow veined marble, and the cornice is curved and made to assume an oval form ; the projections above the angles of the octagon, occasioned by this transition, being relieved by groups of shields and
| foliage. The cornice serves as an impost to a dome of a similar form, which is pierced with porthole windows, at the cardinal points, surrounded with foliage in wreaths; on the vertex of this dome is an oval wreath, with an expanded flower in the centre. The roof of the aisle, or space between the peristyle and outer walls, is pannelled. A gallery is erected at the west end, and occupies of the intercolumniations; it contains an organ. The pulpit, of an octagon form, formerly affixed to a northern pillar, is now attached to the eastern on the south side, which alteration is by no means an improvement. The altar is constructed of oak, and consists of a centre between pair of Corinthian columns, sustaining elliptical pediments; the centre has arched tablets, in golden frames, containing the decalogue. The altar table is a slab of veined marble. The east window has been altered, and is internally circular, and contains in the centre a small dove, the remainder being occupied with fret work, all in stained glass, very poorly executed, besides the inscription, |
in Roman capitals, dispersed round the border.
This church was erected from the design of sir Christopher Wren, in the year , at the expense of ; the dimensions are as follows: length feet, breadth , height ; the height of the spire is feet.