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

Allen, Thomas


St. Andrew Undershaft Church.


This church is situated on the eastern side of , and the building occupies a piece of ground at the back of the houses on the north of , in consequence of which the west end and north side of the church, with the tower, are the only parts visible. The earliest account of this church is in , when William de Chichester was rector. In ancient records it is denominated , from the street wherein it stands; which, before the erection of Leadenhall, went by that name as far as this place.

It obtained the additional appellation of , from a high Maypole or shaft, which was set up annually on Monday, in the middle of the highway, opposite the south door of the church, and was higher than the church steeple. After the riot, in , the shaft was hung upon a range of hooks under the pent houses of along row of neighbouring buildings, where it remained until the of Edward VI. when a fanatic preacher, called sir Stephen, curate of St. Catherine Cree church, preaching at cross, declaimed against it, as being made an idol, by naming the church

under that shaft;

which so inflamed his equally fanatic auditory, that, in the afternoon of the same day, it was, with great labour, lowered from the hooks, and sawed in pieces; each man taking for his share, the portion which had lain over his door. Stow, who was present at the sermon, and saw the effect that followed, says

he oftentimes saw this man forsake the pulpit of his said parish church, and preach out of an high elm tree in the midst of the church-yard, and then he would sing high mass in English, upon a tomb of the dead towards the north.

The church was originally founded in ; but it had become so ruinous, that the present was begun to be built about the year , and, for the most part, finished, at the charge of William Fitz-Williams, who was sheriff in ; the north side, however, was erected by Stephen Jenyns, lord mayor, in ; whose arms are carved above all the pillars on that side. It was not completed until . This church escaped the flames, in .

It is interesting as being of the few remaining ancient churches, which once decorated the metropolis. It is a late, but at the same time, an elegant specimen of the pointed style. The plan consists of a nave and aisles, with a tower at the west end of the south aisle. The elevation of the latter is in stories: in the southern front is a door-way formed by a low pointed arch, enriched with mouldings and enclosed in a square architrave bounded by a weather cornice; the spandrils contain quarterfoils, the mouldings of the arch rest upon small columns attached to each jamb, the bases of which were destroyed a few years ago by some plasterers, who had been employed to repair the doorway. The remaining stories have square mullioned windows of lights of modern construction; the upper story, with the embattled parapet and pinnacles, are also modern, and in a style known by the appellation of

Modern Gothic.

On the platform of the tower is a bell turret. The remainder of the south side is totally concealed from observation. The west front is in divisions; the southern occupied by the tower, and an attached staircase lighted by loopholes; the central division has a spacious window divided by mullions into principal lights in stories. The headway is a low pointed arch, which is filled with smaller mullions and subarches. In the remaining division, which is the end of the north aisle, is a window, the head of which is a low pointed arch; it is made into lights by mullions, with arched heads inclosing sweeps. The north side of the church has windows of the same design in the aisle, and also an attached staircase turret, which occupies the place of another window. Beneath the window, from the west, is an entrance with a low pointed arch, bounded by a square architrave, the spandrils enriched with foliage; the clerestory may be seen on this side of the church; it contains windows, having low pointed arches, all of which have been deprived of their mullions.

The interior is made into a nave and aisles by clustered columns, similar to those described under the head of St. Botolph, Aldersgate, and semi-clusters attached to the extreme walls on each side, and which support low pointed arches, enriched with numerous mouldings. The roofs of the nave and aisles are sustained on beams, resting upon corbels attached to the walls; the beams are formed into a low arch almost horizontal, the spaces between are made into numerous square pannels by ribs crossing each other with bosses at the intersections. On of the corbels


is the date . The east window is similar to the western , a small alteration of the tracery in modern times excepted: the lower series of mullions were, until a recent repair, concealed by the upper part of an incongruous altar screen; this having been removed, the whole of the fine window is visible; the lights thus exposed have been filled with ornamental stained glass. The upper series of lights contain whole lengths of the following sovereigns, viz. Edward VI., Elizabeth, James I. and Charles II. in stained glass in very good preservation, the gift of sir Christopher Clitherow. The tracery in the head of the arch, which had formerly been removed to let in a modern painting on glass of St. Andrew, has been restored and filled with ornamental stained glass. It is to be regretted that when the work of restoration was going on, the clerestory windows were forgotten. In the east end of the aisles are windows similar to those which have been before described; all the windows that are not walled up, have coats of arms on stained glass, which occupy the arched heads of the mullions: a situation, in which such subjects were usually placed, as may be seen in some other churches described in the course of this work. This church is richly decorated with paintings upon the walls in a style which it has in general been most absurdly, and in violation of every principle of good taste, proscribed from churches as not being consistent with the fastidious views of overzealous Protestants. The spandrils of the great arches have a series of subjects from the New Testament history, in imitation of relief. The piers, between the windows of the clerestory, have whole lengths of the apostles; these subjects are not executed in colours, but are painted in imitation of sculpture. The portion of the church at the altar, contains cherubs and other enrichments in colours. For the whole of these splendid decorations the parish is indebted to a parishioner of the name of Tombes. The only thing to be regretted is, that the paintings are not in the style of the building. In addition to these subjects, the window, from the west, in the south aisle is very well painted, with a country view with trees and shrubs in natural colours. There is but gallery, which is situated at the western end of the church, containing a fine organ by Harris, and seats for the charity children of the ward schools. The pulpit, and other wood work, are executed in carved oak, and the altar-screen is enriched with Corinthian columns, sustaining an entablature in a rich but incongruous style. The font, which is situated beneath the gallery, is a


polygonal basin of marble, not remarkable for ornament; it has an arched cover.

The monuments are very numerous and handsome, but none very ancient. We cannot particularise the whole of them; but it would be unjust to pass over that which commemorates our honest and ill-treated historian, John Stow: it is situated on the north side of the church, near the vestry-door: it consists of an ornamented niche, adorned with masks and cross-bones, in which is the statue of the antiquary, seated at his studies, having a desk before him, with an open book upon it, in which he appears to be writing: the pen in his hand is annually renewed. He is attired in his livery gown, and has a ruff round his neck: the whole is coloured, and in excellent preservation.

On the monument is the following inscription:


Near the above monument is a brass plate, to the memory of Nicholas Leveson, representing a man, his wife, and eighteen children, kneeling. There has been on the top of this tomb a figure, engraved on brass, of the Almighty, seated. The following has been added:

This monument was repaired at the cost of the parish,



In the same aisle is a large and handsome monument to the memory of sir Hugh Hammersley, knt. lord mayor, , died , aged ; and another small , to the memory of Alyce Bynge, who died ; both contain effigies in fine preservation.

In the north-west corner of the church by the stairs leading to


the gallery is a monument to the memory of Mr. Mathias Datchelor, merchant, and Mary his wife, who had daughters, Mary, Beatrix, and Sarah. On itare the following particulars: Thomas Cook, husband of Beatrix, . Mary Datchelor, . Sarah Cook, . And lastly, Mrs. Beatrix, . Mrs. Datchelor gave the premises, called the Antigallican coffee-house (in trust) to the rector of St. Andrew, and other persons of credit, for the ground on which their vault is built, to keep it and the monument in repair. She has also founded a sermon on every new-year's day, when the purposes of the gift are mentioned. The trustees then deliver the following sums: to the rector ; to the clerk ; to the sexton ; to apprentice children ; for expences ; and the remainder to poor inhabitants, not exceeding .

The clerk and sexton are compelled, under pain of forfeiture, to make oath, that, to their knowledge, the vault has not been disturbed the preceding year.

In the old church was buried Philip Malpas, of the sheriffs in , and Sir Robert Dennie, knt.

The dimensions of this church are as follow :--length feet; breadth ; height ; the tower feet in height, and including the turret, .


[] Extract from the list of benefactions: Mr. Henry Tombes, 1725, a worthy inhabitant, did, at his sole cost and charge, guild the organ, 1725; gave the ceiling piece of painting over the altar, 1726; painted the pillars and arches in oyle, with the figures of the apostles, and Scripture pieces under them; besides having given formerly the Book of Martyrs, and been a liberal subscriber to the building the organ and the altar-piece.

[] This valuable historian and antiquary, was born in 1525, in the parish of St. Michael, Cornhill; was brought up to his father's business, who was a tailor; but disliking it, he bent his mind towards antiquarian pursuits, and was patronized by archbishop Parker, the earl of Leicester, and many other eminent characters. His principal works are, The Summarie of the Englyshe Chronicles, The Survaie of London, and Flore's Historiarum. This excellent man, in his latter years, was in such distress, as to be obliged to get a brief to repair to the churches and collect alms. He died in 1605, at the age of eighty.

[] This independent citizen, gave by his will to poor prisoners, 125l., to other poor every year, for five years, 400 shirts and shifts, 150l. gowns, and 40 pairs of sheets. To poor maid's marriages, 100 marks. To the repair of the highways 100 marks, to 500 poor people in London, every one 6s. 8d., besides 20s. the year, for twenty years, to the preachers of the spital the three Easter holidays; besides 20 marks a year to a graduate, to preach abroad, in the countries.

This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 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