The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
The priory of Elsing-spital consisted of a college for a warden, priests, and clerks; and an hospital for old, blind, and poor persons of both sexes: blind, paralytic and disabled priests to be preferred. This foundation was erected on the site of several tenements of William Elsing, citizen and mercer of London, the founder, A.D. , Edw. III. who dedicated the same to the Virgin Mary. But in the year he changed the college of seculars into a priory for a prior and regular canons of the order of St. Augustin; which at the dissolution were increased to in number, endowed with per ann. according to Dugdale, or according to Speed.
The following is an account of their temporal possessions:--
In Hen. VIII. this religious house, situate part in the parish of , and part in the parish of St. Alphage, was granted to sir John Williams, knt. master of the king's jewels, afterwards lord Tbame: and the next year, on Christmas eve, it was burnt down, he then living in it; having made a garden of the church-yard, and stables of the lodgings for the poor. In this grant was reserved a quit-rent of . per ann. to the crown.
The seal of the hospital represented the crucifixion, with the legend .
This estate devolved to Henry Norris, esq. who married sir William's only daughter Margery, and conveyed it to sir Rowland Hayward, alderman of London, for whose son sir John Hayward sold it (with an incumbrance of the said quit-rent, and per ann. for ever, left by his father sir Rowland to the poor of St. Alphage, to be distributed in bread) to Robert Parkhurst, who, in Charles I. conveyed it to the rev. John Simpson, rector of , , and John Keeling of the Inner Temple, esq. for the uses of the will of the rev. Dr. Thomas White, vicar of St. Dunstan's in the west; who, amongst other charities, &c. had intrusted them to lay out in the purchase and building of a cottage for the use of the London clergy, and alms-houses for -poor people, men and women. In prosecution of the said Dr. White's will, a charter was procured the , Charles I. under the great seal of England, for incorporating the clergy of London: by which all the rectors, vicars, lecturers, and curates, are constituted fellows of the college. And, out of the incumbents, are annually to be elected, on Tuesday weeks after Easter, as governors, a president, deans, and assistants, who are to meet quarterly to hear a sermon ; and afterwards to be entertained with a dinner in the college hall, at the charge of the foundation.
The bishop of London is visitor. But no bishop of London ever visited till , when Dr. Henry Compton, then lord bishop of London, visited.
In , the governors and clergy, being summoned, agreed upon a common seal, which had round it ; and upon it the good Samaritan, with this inscription,
The alms-house consists of distinct rooms, for men within the college, and men without it. They are to be nominated; by the city of Bristol, where Dr. White was born; by the merchant-taylor's company; by the parish of St. Dunstan, where he was minister years; and by St. Gregory's parish, where he had lived about years; except any of the kindred of either of his wives appeared, who were to be considered, not exceeding at a time. All which are to give security, at their admission, that they be no charge to the college nor parish of St. Alphage.
Besides the benevolence of the founder, Mr. Brewer, by his last will, made in the year , gave them a farm in Hertfordshire. They are paid quarterly by the college. Formerly it amounted to per annum each; but now, by reason of the falling of the rents considerably, as manor in the hundreds of Essex from . per annum is fallen to per annum, their allowances are somewhat abated.
To this college belongs a very spacious library, ( feet in length and feet broad), which was added to it after its institution at the sole expense of the rev. John Simpson, rector of St. Olave, , and of the executors of Dr. White's will. A great number of books were brought to this library from the old cathedral of St. Paul, in the year , and many others were given by private benefactors. But in , part of the books, the alms-houses, several chambers for students, and the apartments reserved for the governors and fellows to meet in, and for the residence of the librarian and clerk, were destroyed by the great fire. However, the whole edifice was afterwards rebuilt in the plain manner it now appears. The new library has, at different times, been greatly enlarged; particularly by a part of the Jesuits' books seized in the year ; by the donation of lord Berkley, who gave half of his uncle Cook's hooks to it, by several legacies, to be laid out annually in books; by a great number of private benefactors; by the books that it has been some time a custom for every incumbent within the city and suburbs of London, to give, on his taking possession of his living; and lastly, by authority of an act of parliament, copy of every book or work entered at Stationers' hall is deposited there. For the preservation and care of this library, there is a librarian, who has a genteel apartment on the south side of the college.
The library is in excellent order, and contains about volumes. A catalogue of its contents was printed in .
Against the press, on entering the room, is a curious painting of a head of the Almighty on pannel; and as the inscription is in Saxon characters, done in paint over in golden letters, worn nearly away, it may be presumed to be very old. A worm-eaten black frame incloses it. The countenance bears a placid and very good expression, with a small mouth and forked beard. The hair red; and behind the head a slender triangle, finished with scrolls at the ends. The garment is brown.
says Mr. Malcolm,
A head of Charles I. An expression of grief and anxiety is pourtrayed in his features. The figure is nearly lost in the back ground. He wears the blue riband, and has dark brown hair. No name is attached to it, but it is supposed to be by Van Bleek, after Vandyke.
Opposite is a full length of Charles II. in his robes of the order of the garter. This painting was given by Mrs. Eleanor James, .
On the eastern side of the court is the hall. The door is in the middle, and approached by several steps; a large circular pediment projects over it; on each side is a window. In the story are . The corners ornamented with rustic stone quoins. The walls brick. The front gateway within the court is guarded by small octagon brick towers, between which are as many windows over each other. The towers give the gate an antique air.
The interior of the hall is plain, with a flat ceiling: the sides wainscotted with oak, about feet high. Against the walls are the following portraits:--
This portrait obtained its place in consequence of the request made by the president and deans, , for his lordship's and sir Robert Cooke's pictures, as a testimony of gratitude for the donations of books they had received from them. Berkeley's face is large, unmeaning, and very florid, with a profusion of hair nearly white. He is represented in his robes, and the coronet lies on a table near him; an old fashioned chair and an embroidered curtain.
seated on a crimson chair; black hair, whiskers, and pointed beard, a dark robe, and large band; supposed to be by Vandyke.
It was this gentleman's intention that Sion college should have had his books, but they never received them; and it was after a suit in Chancery that they obtained an estate called Tyler's Causeway, bequeathed by will .
He left his books for the use of the public; and his wife selected Sion college as a depository for them.
a very good picture, whose features and eyes have a disordered and singular expression. Her hairis dark, and fancifully adorned with rich lace, which hangs over the shoulder in tasteful folds. Her gown is of red silk, and her bands are crossed on a book, the binding of which is most minutely finished, and very splendid. On a table open before her is a pamphlet, inscribed,
in an answer to a pamphlet, intituled,
a quarters length in robes.
seated on a black velvet armed chair; by Vanderbank.
seated on a purple chair, fringed with gold. The face is extremely well painted.
He sits on a superb chair of purple and gold; his right hand on a table of the same materials. The face, hair, and hands, are excellent.
A whole length of Charles II. a wretched performance.
A most admirable picture; his right hand on a table; his left holding a book. This portrait cannot be praised too much.
A good painting by Borgnis.
In the court room, which is a small apartment adjoining the hall, is a portrait of
keeper of the Bodleian library, Oxford.
Nearly opposite to Sion college is a small piece of ground, a portion of the agger or terrace of earth raised against the city wall, internally, as a rampart to place the defenders on a level with the battlements. It is the burying-ground belonging to St. Alphage's parish, and is approached from the street by a flight of steps through a modern doorway; this piece of ground is bounded on the north by the actual wall, a portion of which is ancient and built with rag stone; the residue and greater part has been repaired about the commencement of the century with brick. The bricks are of a dark red colour, and are ornamented with fret work in white bricks in the style of the above period the finish of the wall, in which are embrasures, is still perfect. The doorway which preceded the present, had a semicircular arch rusticated; above the head was the following inscription on a stone still existing on the inside of the present wall, surmounted by a death's head, and bones in
The gateway as erected at the proper cost and charge of Ralph Holbrook, husband of Elizabeth Holbrook, niece to Laur Coppey, gent. who lyeth interr'd within. Anno dom. .
Near the west end of is Curriers'-hall, a plain erection of brick, built in . The hall which is on the ground floor is a small mean apartment. In the clerk's office, is a portrait of
|no great merit, intended for James the , who incorporated the company , in the year of his reign. His majesty has the globe in his left hand, and in his right the folds of his robes.|
In a closet adjoining the hall is a picture of Mr. William Dawes, who presented an estate to the company. He is represented in a full-bottomed wig, and with enormous flaps to his coat-sleeves and waistcoat.
crosses the north end of , running due east and west from Cripplegate to the north west angle of London-wall: in which is a charitable foundation by Mr. Robert Rogers, leatherseller and merchant-adventurer, for ancient couple, who have a room below and another above, and per annum each, paid by the city of London. They who are eligible for admittance into this house must be free, and have no charge of children. This charity is in the gift of the city.
 Abstract of roll, 28 Hen. VIII. in the Augmentation Office.
 Mr. Malcolm notices a portrait of Edvardus Herbert, baron de Cherbury, obitt 1678, grandson of Edward first lord Herbert; this painting is not now in the collection.
 This word is defaced.