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

Allen, Thomas

1827

St. Giles, Without Cripplegate.

At the south west corner of , and facing Redcross-street, stands the parochial church of St. Giles, Cripplegate.

This church is so called from being dedicated to a saint of that name, born at Athens, who was abbot of Nismes, in France. It was founded about the year , by Alfune, the master of St. Bartholomew's hospital.

The old church was destroyed by fire, in the year ; after which the present structure was erected, and is of the few that fortunately escaped the dreadful conflagration in .

The patronage of this church was originally in private hands, till it descended to Alemund, a priest, who granted the same (after his death, and that of Hugh, his own son) to the dean and chapter of , whereby they became not only ordinaries of the parish, but likewise patrons of the vicarage, from that time to the present. This church, as already mentioned, was not burnt in the great

496

fire, and is interesting, as of the remaining specimens of pointed architecture in London.

It is a spacious and substantial building, and though much defaced by modern alterations and attached buildings, still shews considerable portions of the ancient edifice. The plan gives a nave, side aisles, and chancel, with a large and massy square tower at the west end of the nave, and a north porch. The west end of the building abuts on the church-yard; the nave is entirely occupied with the large square tower; this is in stories; it has no entrance, and the story shews the arch of a spacious window, now walled up in the west front; the succeeding stories have each small pointed windows, which have been contracted and modernized; the upper story is built with red brick, and is of course an addition to the substructure; it has low pointed arch windows, with sweeping cornices, filled in with weather boarding; the south flank of the lower story has the arch of a window now walled up, and the northern flank apparently has been destitute of a window; the upper stories correspond with the western front already described in the other aspects. The clock dial is situated on the east and north faces; in the east front of the original windows still remains; it is a low pointed arch, bounded by a weather cornice, and is divided by mullions into heights, subdivided by a transom stone; the head of the arch occupied by upright divisions to correspond; the elevation is finished with a parapet and coping; at the north-west angle is a staircase turret extending the whole height of the tower; it is capped with a low cupola ending in a mean pinnacle; at the other angles of the design are corresponding cupolas of a smaller size; upon the platform is raised a circular arcade of wood, crowned with a low pyramidal roof forming an open turret; this appendage constitutes an addition

of

fifteen

feet made to the steeple in

1682

.

The end of the north aisle has a window, the tracery destroyed; the south aisle has a modern doorway, over which is a window with a low pointed arch, made by mullions into lights with cinque foil heads, evidently of the period assigned to the rebuilding of the church; the arch in which it is contained is of an earlier period. The south side of the church contains a range of windows; the arches are more acutely pointed than the works of the century; the tracery of all has been destroyed, and modern imitations in wood introduced in lieu; of these windows, the from the west, differed from the rest in having a low pointed arch, which has been altered externally to correspond with the remainder by an addition of brickwork; to the piers between the windows are attached buttresses; and to the pier is attached an octagon staircase turret, rebuilt in part with brick, and below the window is a modern doorway; the walls shew the traces of alterations; several modern windows appear to have been walled up, probably when the clerestory was rebuilt. In the east end of the aisle was a window, now walled up,

497

and the south side of the chancel contains a pointed window, the mullions destroyed. The east window has suffered in the same way, an oval of modern workmanship having been constructed within its head.

The clerestory, rebuilt with brick in , contains modern windows with pointed arches. The ancient parts of the tower, and the south side of the church, are built of stone in rude irregular masses interspersed with tile and brick; from the nature of the materials, as well as the form of the arches, it is evident that these portions of the church were not destroyed by the fire in , but are the works of a period anterior to that date. The upper story of the tower, which is an addition of brick work, was made subsequently to the above date; at the same period the pointed arches, before noticed in the aisle, were rebuilt; the supposition that the lower stories of the tower and the south wall, are older than the above period, will alone account for the antique character of the walls, as well as the decay of the ornamental stone work of the windows, when undoubtedly of the century still exists in a perfect state in the west end of the south aisle.

The north side is nearly concealed by the Quest-house; a large modern Gothic building covered with compo, which covers the porch. The remainder of the aisle is also compoed, and has large pointed windows despoiled of their tracery, and a doorway of the same form beneath, and breaking into the window nearest the east. All these particulars are modern, at least in their principal lines, which have been worked in cement. The clerestory is not to be seen from the street; it resembles the southern side already described. The chancel is built against, and consequently concealed from observation. The interior retains many of the original features. The division between the nave and aisles is made by pointed arches on each side the former. They are elegantly formed and enriched with mouldings, and are evidently the workmanship of a period at least a century earlier than the fire in the century; the pillars are composed of the usual clusters, and from the smallness of their dimensions, do not obtrude unnecessarily on the design; the sweeping cornices of the arches probably ended in bustos, which have been

tastefully

altered to corbels of the modern Grecian school. The chancel is separated from the church, and covered by a semicircular modern arch, on which is the royal arms. The original roof of the aisles remains; it was constructed of timber formed by beams into square pannels; the soffits have been plastered, and in some instances cut away to let in lantern lights. The clerestory has a modern plaster ceiling horizontal, except a slight coving at the sides springing from the impost cornice, and pierced with arches over the windows; the horizontal portion has large circular flowers; the original corbels carved with angels sustaining shields, which sustained the timbers of the original roof still exist, but the architect of the new ceiling had not taste enough to assimilate his

498

design to the main building, consequently the corbels are only retained as ornaments; on the shields are painted the arms of the city, and those of the companies of Fishmongers, Skinners, Haberdashers, Grocers, Apothecaries, Goldsmiths, Drapers, Merchant-taylors, and Salters.

The soffit of the chancel ceiling is painted with a choir of angels. A spacious gallery occupies the whole of the aisles, except the division nearest the east; the part which sweeps across the western end conceals the gallery erected in , the supports of which remain. In this portion is a large organ by Harris; the pulpit is situated on the south side of the church; it is hexagonal, and has a large ogee canopy of the same form; it is enriched with flower pots and cherubic heads, and ends in a crown, surmounted with a dove; below the pulpit are the desks. The altar screen is entirely modern; it is decorated with Corinthian pilasters, sustaining an entablature and elliptical pediments, and surmounted by ill painted figures of Moses and Aaron, which are cut out to the shape of the figure. The font, situated in a pew below the western portion of the gallery, is a circular basin of white marble on a balluster; the oak cover is a neat model of a circular Corinthian temple, surrounded by columns, with niches in the interlocumniations. The east window contained what Mr. Malcolm characterized as a

mass of painted glass without a particle of taste;

it is now removed and undergoing a repair, and it is to be hoped that the parish will set up something better. In the window nearest the east in the south aisle, are coats of arms; is the royal arms of the Tudors, the others are alike; the blazon is obscured by age and repair, but it appears to have been on a chevron between pine apples, or as many roses seeded of the , of the shields has been reversed for the sake of variety. These arms were in all probability set up after the repair, in . In the west window of the same aisle is a more modern coat of arms, which commemorates some benefactor to the repairs ; the blazon is on a fesse between lions rampant, or a rose between martlets The doorway beneath this window is internally fronted by a porch surmounted by an uncouth statue of Time between hour glasses.

The monuments, both ancient and modern, are very numerous; the most striking among the former class are the following; against the south wall of the chancel in an arched niche is a half length statue in the costume of the reign of Elizabeth. The left hand rests on a scull, and the right on a book. On each side are doors, on which are the following inscriptions:--

IOHANNIS SPEED CIVIS LONDINEN-

SIS MERCATORVM SCISSORVM FRA-

TRIS SERVI FIDELISSIMI REGIARVM

MAJESTATVM ELIZA. IACOBI ET

CAROLI NVNC SVPERSTITIS

TERRARVM NOSTRARVM GEOGRA-

PHI ACCURATI ET FIDE ANTIQVITA-

TIS BRITTANNICAE HISTRIOGRAPHI

GENEOLOGIAE SACRAE ELEGANTIS-

SIMI DELINEATORIS QVI POSTQVAM

ANNOS

77

SVPERAVERAT NON TAM

MORBO CONFECTIS QVAM MORTA-

LITATIS TAEDIO LASSATVS CORPORE

SE LEVAVIT IVLII

28

,

1629

, ET

IUCVNDDISSIMO REDEMPTORIS SVII

DESIDERIO SVRSVM ELATOS

CARNEM HIC IN CVSTODIAM

POSUIT, DENUO, CUM CHRISTVS.

VENERIT, RECEPTURVS

ET

On the other pannel-

SUSANNAE SUAE SUAVISSIMIAE.

QUAE POST QUAM DUODECIM

ILLI FILIOS ET SESE FILIOS PEPE-

VERAT, QUINQUAGINTA

SEPTEM JUNCTIS UTRIUSQVE,

SOLATIIS. CUM ILLO VIXERAT

LIBEROS GRAVI ET FREQUENTI

HARTAMINE AD DEI CULTUM

SOLICITAVERAT PIETATIS ET

CHARITATIS APERE QUOTIDIANO

PRAELUXERAT EMORI DEMUM

ERUDIIT SUO EXEMPLO. QUAE

SEPTUA GENARIX PLACIDE IN

CHRISTO OBDORMIVIT ET FIDEI

SUAE MERCEDEM HABUIT MARTII

VICESSIMO OCTAVO ANNO D«ONI

MILLESSIMO SEXCENTESSIMO

VICESSIMO OCTAVO.

On the opposite side of the chancel is a neat monument to the memory of Margaret, daughter of sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecott, Warwickshire.

Adjoining Speed's monument is a plain slab with the following inscription:--

CHRISTO S.S.

JOHANNI FOXO ECCLESIAE ANGLICANAE

MARTYROLOGI FIDELLISSMO ANTIQVI-

TATIS HISTORICAE INDAGATORI SAGACIS-

SIMO EVANGELICAE VERITATIS PROPIGNA-

TORI ACERRIMO. THAVMATVRGO ADMIRABILI

QVI MARTYRES MARIANOS TANQVAM

PHOENICES EX CINERIBUS REDIVIVOS

PROESTITIT PATRI SVO OMNI PIETATIS

OFFICIO IMPRIMIS COLENDO SAMVEL

FOXVS ILLIVS PRIMOGENITVS HOC

The remainder of the inscription is hid by the wainscotting of the chancel. The parish authorities ought to cut it away, and expose the whole of the inscription.

MONVMENTVM POSVIT NON SINE LACHRYMI.

OBIT DIE

18

MEVS APR. A. D.

1587

.

JAM SEPTVAGENARIVS VITA VITAE

MORTATIS EST SPES VITAE IMMORTALIS

500

 

Above this monument is another of the same age, in which a conceit of the sculptor in representing the deceased (a lady) in a shroud, in the act of rising from her coffin, has given rise to a well known idle tale, too puerile and absurd to render an insertion here necessary. The inscription to the memory of Constance Whitney, daughter of sir Robert Whitney, of Whitney, Herefordshire, aged .

Against the north-east pier of the chancel is another monument of the same period, ornamented with a small recumbent statue of the deceased. It commemorates M. Palmer, esq. who died , and Anne, his wife, who died .

Another, representing the deceased and his wife, kneeling at an altar, attached to the pillar upon the east, on the south side, is to the memory of Mr. Smith, who died on .

In the north aisle is a niche containing a half-length statue, very much resembling that of Speed; the inscription records Thomas Busbie, citizen and cooper, who died in ; and near it, in a niche of the Corinthian order, is a neat and well executed monument to the memory of Edward Harvist, citizen and brewer, and Ann his wife, A.D. ; whose effigies, in the dress of the time, are represented kneeling at an altar.

Several of the modern monuments are worthy of notice. That which records the name of

Milton,

and was executed by Bacon, at the expense of Samuel Whithread, esq. M. P. claims priority of attention; it is attached to the pillar from the west, on the north side; it consists of a well-executed bust of the poet, under which is a tablet bearing the following inscription:

John Milton, Author of Paradise Lost, Born Dec. 1608, Died Nov. 1674, His Father, JOHN MILTON, Died March, 1646. They were both interred in this church.

Samuel Whitbread posuit 1793.

The monument of alderman sir William Staines, knight, occupies the place of the east window in the north aisle; the chief ornament is a bust of the alderman in his civic paraphernalia, which is said to be a striking likeness. He died . The sculptor was Mr. C. Manning. Near it is a neat tablet, with sculptures in relief, to the memory of the alderman's brother. At the east end of the south aisle is a handsome marble monument to the memory of Mrs. A. M. Hand, wife of G. W. Hand, M. A. vicar of this parish, who died , aged . It consists of a large sarcophagus of statuary marble, on which is seated a female figure, supporting the body of the deceased. The whole possesses great merit. The sculptor was Banks.

The dimensions of the church are as follows: length, feet; breadth, ; height, ; height of tower, feet.

501

 

Among the registers of marriages appears the following:

1620

,

Aug. 22

, Oliver Cromwell and Elizabeth Boucher.

This was the celebrated Protector, and his lady was daughter of sir James Boucher.

Among the interments occurs the following:

* *** *Lordship; John Milton, gentleman, buried Nov. 12th, 1674; consumption; chancel.

This eminent man was born in , and resided in , , and afterwards in Artillery-walk, where he died.

In this parish also lived and died, , Daniel Defoe, celebrated as the author of Robinson Crusoe, &c.

The cemetery gate is a heavy round-headed arch rusticated; the spandrils occupied by reliefs of skulls, hour-glasses, a pick-axe, and other emblems of mortality: it is surmounted by an elliptical pediment; in the tympanum the date . It is now built over by modern buildings. It forms the entrance to the ancient and spacious church-yard, the appearance of which carries the spectator back to past times. The form is irregular, owing to its being accommodated to the direction of the city wall, which serves as its boundary. of the most perfect remains of the ancient wall is to be seen here; it forms the southern boundary to a portion of the churchyard; and then making a right angle, it extends along a narrow slip of ground, as far as barber-surgeons' hall, a portion of which protrudes into the church-yard. Commencing with the southeastern portion of the ground, a fine fragment of the old wall, composed of rude stones firmly set in cement, exists for a considerable length. A wide breach has been then made, and filled up with brick-work. Over this portion, the antique bell-turret and the obelisks of the modern Lamb's chapel show themselves; and at the angle is a fine circular watch-tower in a perfect state of preservation. The materials are rude stones and tiles; about feet from its base, the elevation is splayed, and this portion is succeeded by several courses of flint laid in cement. The whole is about feet in height. The original finish is lost, but the portion still existing is in fine preservation. The remains are continued for a considerable distance from this tower in a southwardly direction, and only interrupted by repairs in brickwork; and here is another tower of the same form, but less of the circular plan is made out. This tower forms the basement to a recess at the west end of barber-surgeons' hall. The superstructure is in a ruinous condition. How much of the upright of the tower was preserved by Inigo Jones, in his new erection, cannot now be ascertained, in consequence of the covering of modern plaster which

502

has been added. The further continuation of the wall southward is broken or concealed by modern houses. The remains are kept in good repair; in the angular tower a gravestone has been used for that purpose: it bears the remains of a date ..., and may at some future time be mistaken for a memorial of some reparation.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Lond Red. vol ii p 231

[] Mr. Kempe, the author of Historical Notices of the church of St. Martin le-Grand, conjectures that this is the spot mentioned in the charter of William the Conqueror, to the canons of St. Martin's-le-Grand, as the Aquilonare cornu mure civitatis.--Vide Gent.«s. Mag. vol. xcv. pt. i. p. 401.

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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