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

Allen, Thomas


St. Botolph without Aldgate.


This church is situated in a spacious burying ground, occupying the angle formed by the junction of with .

It is an ancient foundation, anterior to the year , when the rectory of this parish was appropriated to the prior and convent of Holy Trinity; and at the dissolution of that priory, it was seized by the crown, and given by queen Elizabeth, for a term of years, to Robert Holliwell, and at the expiration of that term, king James I. granted the said impropriation to Francis Morrice, from whom it has passed to the family of Kynaston. The old church was taken down in , and the present edifice was finished in .

The plan is a square, having piers set in the same form in the centre of the area, and a square tower flanked by vestibules attached to the principal front. The situation of the church differs from the usual arrangement, the altar being at the north side of the building, and the entrance at the southern. It is a spacious structure of brick, with stone dressings, the angles being rusticated. The tower occupies the centre of the principal front, it rises from the ground in stories, square in plan, the has an arched door on the ground floor, with a circular window above it, over which is a pediment; the succeeding stories are low, and have merely apertures for admitting light to the interior; the story, which is clear of the church, has an arched window in each face; the angles coined with stone; the succeeding portion is entirely built of stone, it consists of an octangular basement, having dials in the faces, which correspond with the sides of the tower, the whole being surmounted by a spire of the same form, ending in a vane; each alternate face is pierced with circular apertures. The vestibules attached to the sides of the tower have doorways with pediments, surmounted by circular windows in the principal fronts, and low arched windows, also surmounted by circles in the flanks; the roof of each is in the form of a small dome, covered with lead, and above the whole the wall of the church rises pedimentally. The west front is in stories; in the lower is a triple arched window in the centre, which appear to have been intended in part for a doorway, between low arched windows; the upper story has a large Venetian in the centre,


between arched windows enclosed in rusticated frontispieces; the elevation finishes with a cornice and parapet. The northern front is similar; the stone frontispieces to the side windows, and the central in the lower story being omitted; the elevation finishes with a pediment, of which the horizontal cornice is omitted; a circular opening is formed in the tympanum. The east front is uniform with the western already described. The interior is approached by a vestibule in the basement of the tower, and by the others at the sides of it, which latter also contain staircases to the galleries. The arrangement of nave and aisles is kept up by rectangular piers of large dimensions, forming a square in the centre of the design; the angles are canted off, and they are crowned with an architrave and dentilated cornice, from which rise Tuscan pillars to another architrave, which divides the ceiling in breadth into portions, and which is received upon pilasters where it enters the walls of the edifice. The ceiling is horizontal and pannelled; the centre has a circular pannel inscribed in Hebrew, with the name of the Deity in an irradiation; the architrave and cornice of the piers are continued the length of the church, and support galleries, having ballustrades in the centre of the fronts, and the rest being pannelled; a continuation of these galleries crosses the west end, in which is an organ, the case being enriched with carvings in lime tree. At each side of the instrument are additional galleries for the children of sir John Cass's school, inscribed on the fronts,

St. Botolph




Protestant school. Sir John Cass, knt. and aid. founded and endowed this school,



The altar screen is a handsome composition, painted in imitation of marbles, it is made into divisions by Corinthian columns and pilasters, sustaining an entablature and elliptical pediment over the centre. The altar table is of marble, inscribed




The centre of the Venetian window over the altar is occupied by the royal arms, and the wall of the spandril is painted in fresco with

the Holy Family,


the Annunciation of our Lady.

The pulpit is placed on the east side of the central aisle, it is hexagonal, and sustained on a pillar of the same form. The sounding board is supported on a Corinthian pillar at the back of the pulpit; the desks are placed on the opposite side of the same aisle. The font is situated in a pew in the eastern aisle; it is a handsome circular basin of white marble on a column of the same, and surmounted by an oak canopy. The church, upon the whole, is a good specimen of modern architecture, and creditable to the period when it was rebuilt. The spire was lowered in , which is recorded in an inscription in the vestibule within the tower.

The monuments in the old church were judiciously preserved and set up in the present, as well as an old shield of arms above


the gallery for sir John Cass's children. The arms are party per saltire, and , a lion's head in the fesse point , and bezants in chief. Under it is the following inscription:

This organ is ye gift of Mr. Thomas Whiting, to the hole parish,



Against the east wall of the church below the gallery, is a bust in an arched niche, in the costume of the time, to the memory of Robt. Dow, esq. citizen and merchant taylor, who died ; the hands rest upon a skull, and the colours of the dress are preserved. In the eastern vestibule is a fine old monument, consisting of a niche composed of Corinthian columns, sustaining an entablature; beneath, on a sarcophagus, is an emaciated figure in a shroud, the whole being less than feet in length, and in tolerable preservation; small statues of this description are very uncommon. The inscription is as follows:






The monument is enriched with several coats of arms. There are other old monuments in different parts of the church, but have nothing particular to recommend them to notice.

Whitechapel is for its dimensions to be numbered among the best streets in London, On the south side there is a good market for carcasses of beef, mutton, veal, and lamb. And, in the part beyond the bars is a great market for hay and straw times a week; the rest of this capacious street is principally taken up with large inns, for the entertainment of travellers, and the reception of coaches, waggons, &c. this being the principal eastern outlet from London.



, north west to Bishopsgate,

says Stow,

lyeth the ditch of the city, in that part called


, because that in old time, when the same lay open, much filth (conveyed forth of the city, especially dead dogs) was there laid or cast.

Into this filthy ditch, king Canute commanded Edrick, a noble Saxon, who had basely slain Edmund Ironside, to be drawn by the heels from Baynard's-castle, through the city, and cast in there, after he had been tormented to death by lighted torches.

Of later time a mud wall was made, enclosing the ditch, to keep out the laying of such filth as had been accustomed.

Against this mud wall, on the other side of the street, was a fair field, sometime belonging to the priory of the Trinity, and since by sir Tho. Audley given to Magdalen college in Cambridge.

This field (as all other about the city) was enclosed, reserving open passage thereinto for such as were disposed. Towards the street were some small cottages, of stories high, and little


garden plate backward, for poor bedrid people, (for in that street dwelt none other) built by some prior of the Holy Trinity, to whom that ground belonged.

In my youth,

says Stow,

I remember, devout people, as well men as women of this city, were accustomed oftentimes (especially on Fridays, weekly) to walk that way purposely, and there to bestow their charitable alms, every poor man or woman lying in their bed within their window, which was towards the street open so low, that every man might see them, a clean linen cloth lying in their window, and a pair of beads, to shew that there lay a bedrid body, unable but to pray only ;

this street was paved in the year .

About the latter end of the reign of king Henry VIII. brethren that were gun-founders, sirnamed Owens, got ground there to build upon, and to enclose for casting of brass ordnance. These occupied a good part of the street on the field side, and in short time divers others also builded there; so that the poor bedrid people were worn out, and in place of their homely cottages, such houses built as do rather want room than rent; which houses be for the most part possessed by brokers, sellers of old apparel, and such like. The residue of the field was for the most part made into a garden, by a gardener named Cawsway, that served the markets with herbs and roots. And in the last year of king Edward VI. the same was parcelled into gardens.

, formerly called Hog-lane, is near Whitechapel-bars, and runs northward towards St. Mary Spital. On both sides of this lane, in ancient times, were hedge rows and elm trees, with pleasant fields to walk in; insomuch that gentlemen used to have houses there for the air; and Mr. Strype saith, when he was a boy, there was commonly called the Spanish ambassador's house, who, in king James's .«s reign, dwelt there, and whom he takes to be the famous count Gondomar: and a little way off this, on the east side of the way, down a paved alley, now called Strype's court, from his father's inhabiting there, was a large house with a good garden before it, built and inhabited by Hans Jacobson, the said king James's jeweller, wherein Mr. Strype was born.

But after, many French protestants, who in the said king's reign, and before, fled their country for their religion, and planted themselves here, viz. in that part of the lane near Spitalfields, to follow their trade, being generally broad weavers of silk, it soon became a contiguous row of buildings on both sides of the way.

Opposite to St. Botolph's church is an old house, at present occupied by a wholesale butcher. On the front, carved in wood, are the feathers of the prince of Wales, fleur de lis, thistle, and a portcullis. In another part is a shield of arms almost obliterated, the remains displaying a chevron, and the crest a dove volant; on part of the house is I. S.



Nearly opposite are the ward schools, in the front of which is a fine full length effigy of sir John Cass, . He is represented in an alderman's robes.

In the , until the commencement of the present century, were many antique buildings; known as the Fountain tavern, had the date of on it. This curious building was pulled down in .

On the north side of , , are extensive remains of


The wall is of considerable height, and some portions still retain the ancient battlements and embrasures; it is principally built of rubble, chalk, and brick, and is the most extensive ruin of the ancient wall existing.


[] Maitland, vol. ii p. 1008.

[] Engraved in Smith's Antiquities of London.

[] For further particulars respecting the old wall, vide ante, vol. i. p. 18-19.

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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