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

Allen, Thomas


St. Olave, Hart-street.


This church is situated on the south side of the street from which its name is derived; the east end abutting on ; it is of the few ancient churches which escaped the great fire; the original foundation was prior to the century, as Newcourt in his Repertorium records William de Samford to have been rector of it in . The present building, however, shews no visible remains of that period, the style of architecture marking the period of its erection at an aera at least a century later. The patronage of this rectory appears to have been anciently in the family of the Nevils, and is at present in the hands of trustees for the parish. The plan shews a nave and side aisles, a vestry being attached to the eastern extremity of the south aisle, and a tower to the west end of the same aisle; the nave extends westward to a greater length than its aisles, a portion of the north aisle being occupied by the rectorial house, and in this respect the plan strikingly resembles that of St. Alban's, . The walls are substantially built with stone covered with compo. The west end of the church is concealed from observation by the adjacent buildings. The north aisle has, near the west end, a pointed doorway,


surmounted with a square-headed architrave, the mouldings resting on columns attached to the jambs; the spandrils are enriched with quaterfoils enclosing shields; the bearings defaced; the columns and some other decayed portions were restored in , at which time a Doric frontispiece affixed to this doorway was removed, and a modern window, above it, was walled up; in this aisle are windows with low pointed arches, bounded by sweeping cornices, and divided into lights by perpendicular mullions with arched heads enclosing sweeps; the upright is finished with a plain parapet substituted for the battlements which existed in , when Toms's print of the church was published; above the aisles rises a clerestory, the windows of which correspond with those of the aisle, and the wall is also finished with a parapet. The east front shews some remains of an earlier style of architecture than the parts already described; in the north aisle and chancel are windows whose arches are more acutely pointed than the others in the church, whilst that in the south aisle exactly resembles those which are previously described; the former windows have been despoiled of their tracery, the perpendicular mullions only remaining; the great east window was, in the last repair, A. D. , cleared of the unsightly stone work which remained, and a new design of Bath stone substituted in the style of the century, consisting of perpendicular mullions surmounted by ornamental quatrefoils occupying the head of the arch; the architect allowed himself to be misled by the form of the arch, which might at view be taken for a work of the above date; but the least research would have discovered that it belonged to a period at least a century later than the ornaments which have been added; the tracery introduced should have consisted of perpendicular mullions, the smaller ones in the head of the main arch being made to intersect; the west window of the tower, still existing in its original state, would have furnished a correct design. The south side assimilates in its general features with the northern already described; a doorway corresponds with that on the other side, and is shielded with a porch. The vestry is built of brick in the domestic style of the century with a gable roof tiled, and dripping eaves. The tower is in stories, a stone staircase being formed at the south-west angle on an octagon turret; the exterior of the tower has been modernized, and all the windows, except the western, altered to circular headed ones; the west window has an arch of the same form as the north-east window of the church; but the mullions and tracery are perfect; it is divided by mullions into lights, having arched heads enclosing sweeps; the head of the arch occupied with smaller perpendicular mullions to correspond; the elevation of the tower is finished with a cornice and parapet, and above the platform rises a wooden polygonal turret ending in a cupola and vane. The entrance to the church is by the doorways in the north and south aisles, and the floor of the church is


considerably below the level of the street, being approached by several steps descending from these doorways. The nave and aisles are divided by pointed arches on each side, which are not remarkable for beauty; the archivolts are moulded and rest on pillars composed of the usual clusters; the pillars are low, and want lightness; the intercolumniations are unusually wide, the style of architecture agrees with the eastern windows, but is older than the windows in the side walls. The original oak ceiling remains in a perfect state, but

most gracefully whitewashed

instead of the fine old brown tint set off with gilding, which it formerly possessed. The beams which sustain the ceiling of the nave, are alternately arched and horizontal; the latter are situated above the points of the windows of the clerestory, and the former correspond with the piers between such windows; the arched beams spring from corbels, the northern ones being sculptured with angels holding shields, ensigned with merchants marks and heraldic bearings, but nearly obliterated by the economical though coarse materials which the eminently tasteful parochial authorities of though fit to use in

beautifying the church.

The corresponding corbels on the south side, have merely shields affixed to brackets; some of them are charged with lions passant gardant in pale; the north side of the clerestory is evidently older than the last described. The intervals between the main beams are pannelled into square compartments, with flowers and shields at the angles; the design being at once simple and tasteful. The aisles have a plainer ceiling, corresponding with the centre in its design and decorations; the corbels are plain, except on the south aisle, which is sculptured with a male figure, habited in a loose garment. At the west end of the nave is a gallery containing an organ, which occupies a recess between the tower and rectory house, which, as before observed, protrude into the church. Other galleries are constructed in the aisles, which greatly injure the effect of the interior; the fronts shew a heavy attic in oak; by the supports of a portion of the south gallery, it appears that an older existed there before the present, with which it has been incorporated. The altar screen is of oak, in a different style of architecture to the church; it is ornamented with Corinthian pilasters, sustaining an architrave cornice, with an arch above the centre, surmounted by a pediment; in the spandrils are cherubs in relief, and the arch is filled with a painting of a choir of cherubs, which supply the place of

the figure of an old man between



mentioned in Seymour's

Survey of London.

The screen is surmounted by the royal arms, altered at the last repair to those of the reigning sovereign. The


pulpit and desks are grouped in the front of the altar rails they are not remarkable for ornament. The font is a plain marble basin of an octagon form; it now occupies a pew near the east end of the north aisle. The entrance to the vestry is by an elegant pointed doorway, in the north wall of the church, with enriched spandrils. The ceiling of the room is finished with pannels and ornaments in plaister work, the principal subject being an angel of nearly full size, in relief, but of inferior execution. Over the chimney-piece the Christian virtues are painted in chiaroscuro. The east window of the church, on its restoration, was ornamented with some stained glass, in the tracery of the arched head, executed by Mr. James of ; the lower quaterfoils contain the evangelists, the succeeding , saints Peter and Paul, and the others are occupied by a choir of cherubs, and the descending dove.

The monuments are very numerous and interesting; the following particulars of them are principally gleaned from a very accurate description of the church which appeared in the Gentleman's Mag. in .

The in point of estimation, is the statue of sir Andrew Riccard, erected by the Turkey company, which now occupies a splendid niche below the western gallery; this niche has a handsome hexagonal canopy, with quaterfoils, arches, and a wreath of foliage all delicately carved in the best style of the century; it was originally the receptacle of a font or holy water basin.

Sir Andrew Riccard, who died in , was a considerable benefactor to the parish, and he vested the advowson of the living in trustees, to be elected, from time to time, from among the parishioners. Sir Andrew's grave-stone is near the altar; and for further panegyric, the plate thereon refers the reader to the inscriptions which accompanied his statue, erected on the north side of the church. In this locality the said statue was, until the construction, some years ago, of the north gallery interfered with it; it was then, although a very respectable piece of sculpture, allowed to remain for many years enclosed in the gallery, the legs being below, and the head above the floor; it was afterwards placed, and now remains in the situation under the west gallery, central it is true, but from its obscurity, badly calculated to display the merits of the artist. The present pedestal is very low, and bears a modern inscription. The tablets with Latin inscriptions, quoted by Newcourt, having, however, lately been discovered, are attached to the wall immediately behind the statue. Sir Andrew has in his right hand a scroll expressed as rolled up, and not, as stated by Strype,

a hammer or mallet, as president of the Turkey company.

of the monuments have been lamentably interfered with, also, and partially obscured by the erection of the south gallery;


namely, a very fine old monument on the south wall belonging to the Deane family; a respectable to the memory of Peter Turner; also the tablet inscribed to his father Dr. Turner; and the monument of sir John Mennes, knt. In the north aisle, the artificers were more sparing, by not continuing the gallery quite so far as the eastern wall; but even here, a portion of the handsome monument to the Bayning family has not escaped injury from these spoliators.

In respect to the fair marble tomb mentioned by Stow to have been constructed to the memory of sir John Radcliffe (son of Robert earl of Sussex), and Anne his wife, no part of it is remaining; and if the aforementioned monument of Peter Turner, which is stated in the aforesaid edition to be behind this tomb, be a just criterion as to its locality, it was situated at the east end of the south aisle; but the inscription relative to sir John (who died in ), and the sculpture of his armorial bearings, appear now in the east wall of the north aisle; also near to them, and within a rudely excavated niche, is an erect figure in armour, of full size (and from the position of the helmet behind the neck it has evidently once been recumbent), well carved in marble, or alabaster, but now truncated at the knees. This is probably the representation of the said knight, which, it seems, was once lying along the tomb; but of the figure of his wife, who is described to have been represented in a kneeling posture beside him, and of the inscription to her memory, no remnant can be traced.

At the east end of the south aisle is still remaining the brass tablet with engraved effigies of John Orgone and Ellene his wife, and beneath the following inscription and merchant's mark,

In God is my

whole trust,



Ioh Orgone & Ellene his wife.

As I was, so be ye, As I am, you shall be; That I gave, that I have; That I spent, that I had, Thus I ende all my coste, That I lefte, that I loste.-1584.

In the edition of , the date is put down ; and the


inscription itself is copied incorrectly. These errors have also been continued in subsequent editions.

Near to the supposed figure of sir John Radcliffe is the handsome monument of Peter Cappone, a Florentine gentleman, who died ; the principal object is an alabaster figure, the size of life, beautifully sculptured. Partly on the adjoining column, and in other parts on the north wall of the nave, near the altar, is the aforesaid monument erected to the Bayning family, of whom, lord Sudbury, was a benefactor to this parish. It consists of kneeling figures, exceedingly well sculptured, and is inscribed to the memory of Andrew Bayning, some time alderman of London, who died the , aged , and Paul Bayning, esq. some time sheriff and alderman of London, who died , aged .

In a niche on the south side of the nave, and also near the altar, is a kneeling female figure, but without inscription. The arms accompanying it are .... between roundles . . . a chevron engrailed . . . . on a chief .... between croslets fitchy . .. a lion passant.

Of the monuments or inscriptions recorded in Stow's London, of , of them have been already alluded to; and at the east end of the north aisle, the text hand inscription to Thomas Morley, gent. is preserved. There are which have not been before mentioned, namely, those of Schrader, Ludolph de Werder, and Elssenhaimer; but of the others, there are not any remaining at the present day, unless hidden by portions of the galleries.

At the west end of the south aisle, is, however, a fractured black marble slab, which may have constituted of them; there is also a slab in the north aisle; and another within a short space northward of the door of the vestry; of both of which the inscriptions or inlayings are at this time obliterated or removed. The mentioned of these slabs has had a large plate inserted towards the middle; above are inlaid shields of white marble, but no vestige of any bearings now appears upon either of them, and round this slab is an inlaid border also of white marble.

Several monuments recording persons who died after the middle of the century, appear in various parts of this fabric.

At the east end of the south gallery is a very handsome monument consisting of columns of the Corinthian order supporting a pediment and continued entablature, in the centre of which is a shield of arms, a lion couchant or. on a chief ar. crescents gu. Crest. A demi lion or. holding in his dexter paw a crescent gu. and at each end well carved death's heads. Between the middle columns is an arched niche within which is a male in half armour, and female figure kneeling at a small altar. The costume is of the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth; at the foot of the altar are children in swaddling cloths. Between the


other column are female kneeling figures, with skulls in their hands. The whole is painted in natural colours.

On the south wall of the nave, and immediately over the niche which contains the kneeling female figure above mentioned, is a monument to the memory of Jeffrey Kirby, esq. and of his daughters; he was alderman of London, and died in , and his daughter in .

There are mural monuments, ornamented with well sculptured female busts, on the north wall of the chancel inscribed to the memory of Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Pepys, esq. who died , aged , and another on the south side of the nave to the memory of Elizabeth, daughter of sir William Gore, who died , aged .

A stone tablet at the west end of the south aisle records a donation of John Highlord, sen. per annum to buy Newcastle coal for the poor of the parish.

The church is feet long, broad, and high, and the height of the steeple is feet,

A good print of this church from the north east was published in by R. West, and W. H. Toms. Since that period (but many years ago) plain parapets have been introduced instead of the battlements; also the porch to the north entrance, built in , likewise the clock faces with projecting beams, and other matters belonging thereto have been removed.

An arched gateway or portal at the south east part of the churchyard, is a good specimen of the style which prevailed about a century and a half ago, and the entrance to the smaller burial ground, which is opposite to the east end of the church, is of those examples, which, although not very rare, yet, possessing a superfluity of carving, in which death's heads, crossed bones, and other such emblems of frail mortality, are bountifully introduced, are nevertheless objects of curiosity.


[] Described at p. 467.

[] The church was gradually rebuilt during the fifteenth and succeeding centuries. Stow records Richard and Robert Ceely as builders in part of this church, but gives no date to their works.

[] It is not improbable that this painting of the Almighty formed a portion of the ancient altar piece.

[] Vol. xciii. part i. pp. 207, 315, under the signature of I.B.G.

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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