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

Allen, Thomas


Crist's Hospital.


The site of the Greyfriars monastery was granted, as before-mentioned, by Henry VIII. in , to the city of London for charitable purposes; but was neglected till the year , when the pious young king (Edward VI.) at the suggestion of bishop Ridley, who had worked upon the feelings of the youthful monarch in a sermon delivered in his presence, sent an invitation to the lord mayor of London, sir Richard Dobbs, to join in the foundation of , for the maintenance and education of poor orphans. He then confirmed the grant of his father: and further endowed the hospital with lands and tenements belonging to the Savoy, to the amount of per annum, and other benefactions, of which was a licence to take lands in mortmain, to the amount of yearly.

As the royal founder was, at the same time, engaged in other charitable establishments, viz. St. Bartholomew's, St. Thomas's, and hospitals, he granted a charter of incorporation to the city of London, under the title of

The mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London, governors of the possessions, revenues, and goods of the hospitals of Edward the


, king of England.

These charters and endowments so animated the citizens of London, that they set about fitting up the Grey Friars monastery with the greatest alacrity, and in less than months boys were admitted, which number was increased by the end


of the year to : and from this time the hospital continued increasing in size and importance, principally through the benefactions of private individuals; among the earliest of whom appear sir William Chester, knt. and alderman, who built the walls adjoining St. Bartholomew's hospital; and John Calthrop, esq. citizen and draper, who arched over the town-ditch, from to Newgate, as being offensive to the hospital.

The dreadful conflagration of , which laid waste so great a portion of the city, did considerable damage to the hospital; but the liberality and activity of the corporation, aided and assisted by their fellow-citizens and others, with loans and donations, soon repaired the injury. It was at this time that sir John Frederick, knt. and alderman, rebuilt the late hall at an expense of

In the year , after the hospital had withstood the political storms and tempests of years, during which time the violent convulsions of the state had threatened destruction to every national establishment, and when it had contended against plague, pestilence, and famine, king Charles the made a most important addition to it, by the foundation of a mathematical school for the instruction of boys in navigation, and endowed it for years with and an annuity of payable out of the exchequer, for the special purpose of educating and placing out yearly boys in the sea service. In addition to the hospital costume, the boys on this foundation wear a badge upon the left shoulder, the figures upon which represent arithmetic, with a scroll in hand, and the other placed upon a boy's head; Geometry with a triangle in her hand; and Astronomy with a quadrant in -hand and a sphere in the other. Round the plate is inscribed,




The dye is kept in the Tower.

of these boys pass an examination before the elder brethren of the Trinity house every months, previous to their entering the profession; and in case king Charles's foundation should fail, Mr. Stone, a governor, left a legacy for the maintenance of boys, as a subordinate mathematical school, which, according to subsequent regulations, ismade an introductory step to king Charles's foundation.

The boys are distinguished from those upon king Charles's by wearing the badge upon the right shoulder, instead of the left, as worn by the others.

After the above munificent donation of king Charles, the revenues of the hospital increased to such an extent, that in the governors were enabled to erect a handsome building in the town of Hertford for both boys and girls. At this seminary, which is intended for the younger children, the system of education invented by Dr. Bell has been introduced.

, sir John Moore, knt. and alderman, founded a writing-school, which will accommodate about boys, and is said to have cost upwards of



, Samuel Travers, esq. gave the residue of his estate by will to the hospital, for the maintenance of as many sons of lieutenants in the navy as the income would support, which is generally between and .

, John Stock, esq. by will bequeathed to the hospital, for the support and maintenance of boys, of whom are to be taught navigation, and the other are to be brought up to trades. The right of presentation is vested in the comptroller of the navy for the boys who are to learn navigation, the parish of , and the draper's company. If of the name of Stock, to be preferred,

The buildings are very extensive, and formerly consisted of courts or quadrangles, of which now remain; the , with the buildings attached to it, has been pulled down for the erection of the new hall.

Over the western cloister was the great hall, which, having been nearly destroyed by the fire in , was, as has been already mentioned, rebuilt at the sole expense of sir John Frederick, then president. It was a noble building, feet in length, feet wide, and feet high. On the western side of the hall were large paintings: in the at the upper, or south end, was a full length portrait of king Charles the . The king is in the act of descending from his throne, and pointing to a globe and some mathematical instruments. This painting is by Lely, and is considered a very handsome picture. The immensely large picture in the middle is by Verrio, and represents king James the , surrounded by his nobles, receiving the president, governors, and several of the children. In this painting are half-length portraits of king Edward and king Charles the , hanging as pictures. The painting at the lower end represented king Edward delivering the charter to the lord mayor and aldermen, who are in their robes, and kneeling; the king is surrounded by the nobility, among whom stands Dr. Ridley, at whose suggestion the hospital was founded. On the opposite side, between the windows, were full lengths of William Garway, esq. ; Josiah Bacon, ; sir F. Child, president, ; sir F. Child, president, ; all benefactors to the institution.

A fine painting, representing a shark in close pursuit of sir Brook Watson, was bequeathed by him to the hospital, and was placed at the upper end of the hall. The seamen appear in the act of rescuing him from the bite of the voracious monster, by which he unfortunately lost his leg.

At the bottom, or northern end, was a fine-toned organ, which was only used when an anthem was sung, or during the public suppers. On the western side was also a pulpit, in which of the scholars who were intended for the university stood to read the prayers; and on each side of the hall, a small choir, in which the


boys who were under the tuition of the music-master sate during that time; of whom, after the prayers, and before the grace, set the psalm by singing the line himself, after which the rest of the boys joined in, unaccompanied by the organ, except upon the occasions before mentioned.


The new hall is built on a site westward of the old , and it partly covers the refectory of the friary; the foundations are partially upon the city wall. The principal facade shewn in the accompanying engraving, which will be seen from , is a handsome elevation faced with Portland stone in the style of architecture prevalent at the period of the foundation of the charity. At the angles are octangular turret staircases which rise feet above the rest of the building, and are finished with battlements; the light is admitted to the interior by openings in the domestic style of the century accommodated to the spiral disposition of the stairs, and a small division attached to the inner face of each tower in stories, has windows in the same style; the remainder of this story is made by buttresses into divisions containing lofty windows ( feet high by feet wide) with low pointed arches bounded by sweeping cornices, and made by mullions into compartments in breadth, and subdivided by transoms into heights; the several compartments have arched heads, and the upper ones diverge into small arches within the head of the principal ; a cornice runs along the entire elevation just above the points of these windows, below which the buttresses terminate; and from this cornice rises a series of pinnacles alternately of different sizes and heights, and situated above the buttresses and the points of the windows; the former are octangular and end in dome-shaped canopies, the latter in angular pinnacles; the main walls are finished with battlements. The extent of this front is feet; the height feet. The ends of the hall and the northern side are plain brick walls. On the ground floor is a cloister or covered walk feet by feet, for the boys of the establishment to exercise in, which extends the length of the front; the remainder of the plan is occupied by a kitchen by feet, and by other apartments for business and utility. The hall occupies the entire floor over this story, and is not yet finished. The interior will display a spacious apartment fitted up in the taste of the century. At the east end is the principal entrance to the hall by a noble staircase; a music gallery, with a handsome carved screen, will cover the main entrance, and contain a large organ ornamented in the same taste as the building, behind which will be a narrow gallery; and in the wall at the back windows filled with painted glass. The side walls will be wainscotted to the height of the cills of the windows; the wainscot will be neatly pannelled and finished, enriched with effigies in relief of the founder Edward VI. and shields of arms emblazoned in colours; the roof in imitation of oak will spring from stone corbels attached to the piers


between the windows on the side, and others corresponding with them on the opposite side; it will be divided by beams forming low pointed arches into principal divisions corresponding in extent wit the windows: pendants will be applied to the beams and the spandrils enriched alternately with the Tudor rose, and the arms of the hospital in colours. The blank wall will be relieved by the large paintings which hung in the old hall. This structure will probably be finished in the course of the ensuing year. The architect is John Shaw, esq.

In digging the foundation of this hall, various curiosities were discovered, consisting of monk's sandals, domestic utensils, and a stone coffin without a lid, or any inscription, similar to the discovered in .

The mathematical school is over what used to be the western entrance, but which gate the governors have closed up. It was built by sir Christopher Wren, and is a handsome edifice; between the windows on the floor is an arched recess covered with a circular pediment supported by consoles, and enriched with garlands of flowers. Within the niche is a full length statue of Charles II. in his royal robes, with this inscription:--





This entrance formerly led to the cloisters, hut the passage is now closed through a great portion of the south side, and the whole of the west side of the eastern cloister being pulled down, The cloisters have porticos with pointed arches continued round them; the walls are massy, and supported by abutments, being the only remains of this magnificent monastery. Of the western cloister nothing remains; the annexed vignette is from a drawing by J. P. Malcolm.


[] The boys first admitted were clothed in russet, which was soon afterwards changed for the dress they now wear viz. a blue coat or tunic reaching to the feet, with yellow stockings, a red girdle round the waist, and a small round cap. The boys now wear a kind of yellow petticoat in the winter only, but in former times, previous to their having breeches, they must have worn it throughout the year.

[] Vide, ante, p. 529.

[] Vide ante. p. 53.

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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