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

Allen, Thomas


Christ Church.


This church, dedicated to the name and in honour of our Saviour, is situated behind the houses on the north side of , and is only a vicarage. This was the church belonging to the convent of Grey-friars, or Franciscans, which falling to the crown at the dissolution of that religions house, king Henry VIII. gave it to the mayor, commonalty and citizens, of London, to make a parish church thereof, in lieu of the churches of St. Ewen, in Newgate-market, near the north corner of Eldeness, now Warwicklane, and of St. Nicholas in the Shambles, on the north side of , where now there is a court. Both which churches and their parishes were thereupon demolished; and as much of St. Sepulchre's parish as laid within Newgate, was added to this new erected parish church, which was then ordered to be called by the name of , founded by king Henry VIII. though before it was dedicated to the honour of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

From this time this church was made a vicarage and parish church, in the patronage of the mayor, commonalty, and the citizens of the city of London, governors of the poor, called the Hospital of Little St. Bartholomew's, also of the foundation of Henry VIII.

Henry VIII. gave per ann. in land, for ever, for the maintenance of the said church, with divine service, repairs, &c. in consideration whereof, the mayor, commonalty, and citizens, did covenant and grant () to find and sustain preacher at this church, who was to be from time to time vicar thereof: giving unto him yearly for his stipend to the visitor (now called the ordinary of Newgate) and to the other priests in Christ-church, all to be helping in divine service, ministering the sacraments and sacramentals, a piece; to clerks each; and to a sexton . a sear.

This was a magnificent church, feet long, broad, and feet inches high, from the ground to the roof and was consecrated in the year . It was burnt down in , by the great fire of London. Since which only the choir, or east end thereof has been rebuilt, with a tower added to it, having none before.



This spacious and handsome building is situated on a plot of ground in the rear of the north side of , between Butcherhall-lane and the principal avenue to . The plan gives a body and side aisles with a tower attached to the centre of the western end. The tower is square in plan, with massive piers at the angles; of its sides are clear of the main building. The elevation shews a design perfectly original, somewhat between a tower and spire, and differing not only in the design, but in ornament, from every other steeple built by sir Christopher Wren. The story is pierced with semicircular arches, in float and in flank, forming an open porch, before the principal door of the church, like the steeple of St. Magnus, with this difference, that in the present case it is part of the original design; the uniformity is broken by an unsightly brick vestry-house erected in , which closes of the arches, the story is bounded by a cornice; the story has a segment arched window, surmounted by an elliptical pediment, with another above it, being an entire circle covered with an angular pediment, in each of the faces, which are clear of the church; the story has all its aspects uniform, each is made by antae into division, the central ones being pierced and filled with weather boarding; this story is covered with an entablature, cornice and elliptical pediment, surmounted by an acroterium between trusses; on the centre of the pediment a flaming urn, and a ballustrade retiring rather behind the line of the elevation finishes this story of the tower; the next story is considerably smaller, it represents a small square temple of the Ionic order, and composed of a stylobate sustaining columns and antae, which being disposed in a square plan, form tetrastyle porticoes, the antae situated at the angles; the columns are crowned with their entablature; the cella of this story is continued in height above the cornice, and forms another story which commences with a pedestal sustaining round-headed niches, disposed on a square a column of the Corinthian order being attached to every angle; this story is crowded with its entablature, and an acroterium, accompanied by trusses, and surmounted by a vase, finished with a vane. The tower does not occupy the whole of the central division of the front of the church; the unengaged portion is separated by buttresses from the aisles, and finished with a half pediment broken by the tower. The aisles have arched windows, with small doorways beneath them; the southern is concealed by the vestry: the walls are finished with a cornice and parapet, the coping rising to the centre and ending in a scroll; at the angles are vases on pedestals.

The south side of the church has spacious round-headed windows, the elevation being finished with a cornice, surmounted by a parapet. The east front is in principal divisions, made by buttresses, assimilating with the western elevation, except in regard to the tower; the central contains a lofty round window, between


others of smaller proportions; the elevation is finished with a pediment, having a circular window in the tympanum. The collateral divisions have each a round headed window; the elevations are finished with parapets and coping, rising as in the west front, with vases as before; the north side is concealed from observation it is similar to the southern already described. The body of the church rises higher than the side aisles, and forms a clerestory, containing segment arched windows on each side. The walls are substantially built of brick, with an ashlaring of Portland stone. The interior is spacious, but is less grand than many of the designs of the architect. The division between the nave and aisles is made by columns of the composite order, on each side the former, sustaining an architrave, breaking over the capitals; the order is continued round the entire walls in pilaster. All the columns and pilasters are raised on square plinths, the great and undue size of which gives an air of insignificance to the columns. At the east end, the principal order is surmounted by an attic, into which the head of the central window breaks. The clerestory is carried up from the architrave above the columns, the windows are ornamented with profiles of trusses in relief, giving a pyramidal disposition to the ornaments which surround the opening; the value of this form was properly appreciated by sir Christopher Wren, almost every composition of his shewing it in a greater or less degree. The dados of the windows are pannelled. The ceiling of the clerestory is semi-elliptical, and is made by arched bands, whose impost is the architrave above the columns into arches, corresponding in number and width with the intercolumniations; the intervals are groined with arcs doubleaux, the groins are drawn to an edge, and the only ornament is a flower on the points of intersection. The collateral aisles have horizontal ceilings pannelled by architraves, connecting the columns with the pilasters. The altar has a screen of oak, consisting of a centre and lateral divisions; the latter has pair of fluted Corinthian columns, sustaining their entablature, surmounted by elliptical pediments; the intervals have the customary inscriptions. On some of the pannels of the screen are a few specimens of carving in fruit. The screen is injudiciously situated; it breaks into the windows in the wall, and, consequently, has an unsightly appearance. The wall above is enriched with a profusion of painting, and the arms of king James II. The pilasters are painted to imitate verd antique; the soffits of the arches shew coffers and roses in chiaroscuro; the pilasters of the attic are enriched with carving; the capitals, mouldings, and other ornamental portions are gilt, but the whole composition is less rich than the large dimensions of the church seem to require. The area is only pewed to the extent of the division from the west, leaving a broad and spacious chancel; a gallery is erected at the west end, and others in the side aisles; the fronts are sustained upon the plinths under the columns, and their backs on square pillars, resting on the


floor of the aisles; the galleries, as originally constructed, were not of equal breadth with the aisles, but have been increased to that size by subsequent additions: the fronts are oak, pannelled; all the plinths are rendered the more unsightly by being wainscotted. In the western gallery is an organ; the case decorated with canopies, borrowed from the pointed style, and seated angels: the greater portion of the gallery is appropriated to the use of the boys belonging to .

The pulpit of oak is hexagonal in its form, each of the sides being enriched with carving in alto relievo: in the front is the Lord's supper, to which succeed the Evangelists, on each side, and at the back is the cross in an irradiation; it stands on a slender pillar, and has been recently removed from the south side to the middle of the centre aisle, at the commencement of the chancel steps; in that indecorous and unusual situation, which sir Henry Englefield justly compares to the establishment of an auctioneer; the sounding board was taken away, and it now stands against the wall of the north aisle of the chancel. The reading and clerk's desks are modern, and contrast in their light hue with the dark brown oak of the pulpit.

The font is situated in a pew near the south west angle of the church, it is a handsome composition of statuary marble, richly carved with cherubic heads, foliage, and fruit, in alto relievo, the pedestal is a vase of the same material, the cover of oak has a small gilt statue of an angel with a palm branch.

The pavement is a solitary relic of the old church, it consists of squares of lozenges of red and grey marble, which have almost given way to modern gravestones.

The monuments are in general not remarkable for decoration; at the north east angle is a tablet which deserves to be noticed for the acts of charity which it records:--

It is to the memory of Mr. John Stock, who having acquired a splendid fortune by the strictest integrity, died at Hampstead, , aged . Among his numerous bequests for charitable purposes, were the following, to the company of painters stainers, to Corpus Christi college, Cambridge, and to .

Against the south wall is a neat marble monument, ornamented with the aims and regalia of a king of arms, to the memory of P. Dore, esq., Norroy king at arms, born , died .

And near this a plain monument to the memory of sir John Bosworth, knt. chamberlain of London, and receiver-general of the land tax, to London, , and Middlesex. He died , aged .

On the opposite side of the chancel is a neat marble monument,


surmounted by a bust of the deceased, to the memory of Mrs. J. Grew, who died .

In a vault was discovered under the old vestry door, in which was a human body in a high state of preservation, similar to those in the vaults of Bow church.

In the vestry, which is a small apartment attached to the west end of the church, is a half length portrait of N. Sandiford, rector of this church, who died , aged . Over the mantel-piece is a half length portrait of the rev. S. Crowther, the present rector, by Reinagle, painted by order of the vestry.


[] Walks through Southampton, p. 32

[] Vide. ante, p. 439.

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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