The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
St. Botolph's Church without Bishopsgate.
On the west side of , beyond the place where the gate stood, is the parish church of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate. This church, which appears to be of very ancient foundation, received its name from being dedicated to St. Botolph, a Saxon saint, who died about . The authentic account of this church, is in ; when John de Northampton resigned the rectorship, which then was, and still is in the gift of the bishop of London. The old church, which Stow says was upon the very bank of the town-ditch, escaped the fire of London; but at length became so ruinous, that it was taken down in , and re-built, being finished in .
The east front of the present edifice, which abut on the street, is faced with Portland stone, and consists of divisions; the centre is flanked by coupled Doric pilasters sustaining an entablature and pediment, and contains a large arched window. Above the pediment the tower commences, and consists of a square rusticated basement, with a window in each face. The next story is of the same form, and has circular windows. The story is of greater height ; in each face are pair of Ionic pilasters, supporting their entablature, with an arched window between them. At the angles of this story are arms, and it is surmounted by a circular balustrade, surrounding an additional story of the same form, having Corinthian columns, in pairs, attached to it, with arched windows, between them, and urns upon the entablature. The whole ends in a bell-shaped roof, finished with an urn, and pierced with circular apertures. The other divisions have lintelled doorways, with windows above each; the lower being lintelled, the upper circular. The north and south fronts are built of red brick, with stone dressings, in a heavy tasteless style; they are made into stories by a fascia: the lower contains on each windows and entrances, and the upper . The former are nearly square with low arched heads, the others are high with semicircular heads: the whole bounded by architraves, the keystones carved into cherubim, The west front is similarly divided: it has windows in each story. The centre is a large Venetian, the others as before described.
The interior is made into a nave and aisles by composite columns, and quarter columns on each side, resting on plinths of equal height with the pewing; the columns sustain an architrave, which serves as an impost to the arched ceiling, which is of a waggon-headed form, and divided by ribs into numerous pannels, in each of which is a shield charged alternately with a bible, crown and mitre; the centre of the ceiling has recently been pierced to admit a circular lantern light, which rises above the roof, and is united to the ceiling by pendentives; the ceilings of the aisles are also arched; they rest in part on the mentioned architrave, and upon another attached to the side walls and broken by the windows, and the vault is also arched transversely above the heads of the windows. The altar occupies the basement story of the tower, and is situated in a deep recess, fronted by an arch resting on piers, the soffit pannelled, the ceiling is groined with a dove and glory in the centre, and the window is bounded by an architrave. On each side of the altar is a vestibule, which contains a staircase to the galleries.
On the wall of the stairs leading to the north gallery hangs a curious old picture of Charles I., emblematically describing his sufferings. Mr. Malcom says he could not find an account of this painting
|n any of the parish books I have seen. It is not therefore in my power to say whether it was a present or a purchase. The view of London, , mentions it as then in the church, and gives an imperfect description. It is a good picture, and the general effect is well managed. Though there are several strong lights, they are all less than that on the king. The colouring is warm, and time has given it a pleasing softness. The countenance of his majesty is composed, and like the portrait of him in the Middle Temple. He is kneeling before an altar, enriched with gilded scrolls, and covered with a crimson drapery. On it is an open book, inscribed, His mantle is of blue velvet, and the dress rich; in his shoes rosettes of diamonds. The right hand is spread on his breast, and in the left a crown of thorns. On a label entwined round it is written, Between the fingers, another with Below the cushion on which he kneels lays the crown of England, on its side, and a label from behind it has these woods, From his right foot proceeds another,|
The back ground of the picture, next the king, is the pedestals of large columns; a beam of light streams towards him from the space between them, and hovering in it is a celestial crown; on the rim is inscribed,
On a ray darting in the same direction is, On another,
There is a descent of steps at the back of the king to the sea, where weights hang suspended to reeds, labeled
The darkness of the painting and its situation prevent me from describing some indistinct figures on the sea; but I believe them to be dead bodies.
The distance on the left side represents a -rate man of war, with the king seated on the quarter deck, destitute of mariners, and at the mercy of the winds, which blow on him from the quarters of the compass. A rough sea, dark stormy clouds, and rocks before him, point out his late. The ship, though inferior in symmetry and grace to our modern vessels, sits easy on the waves. She is in perfect condition. The fore-sail and fore-top-sail are full; her main-sail furled, and main-top-sail backed. The mizen-topsail full, and her sprit-sail. The king's arms are displayed on the ensign, over his head. On the main-top-gallant-mast is the royal standard, and under it a broad red pendant. A white flag on the mizen-mast, and a jack on the bowsprit. On the clouds are labels, , and At the bottom on the left is, Carolus I. , Heb. xi. . On the right, , Sen. de Provid. c. .
There are glaring absurdities in the design; the
|represeting the same person twice on the same canvas, and the ship sailing so steadily in such a situation.|
There are galleries erected in the north and south aisles, and at the west end the latter rests on Ionic columns and contains the organ. The pulpit and desks are in the centre aisle; the whole of the wood work is dark, which, joined to the defective light, gives the building a gloomy and sombre appearance; the font is a circular basin of veined marble on a pedestal of the same form, and is situated beneath the northern gallery. The present church gives but a mean idea of the architecture of the period at which it was erected.
The only monuments worthy notice are the following:--
Near the communion table is a tablet, with a pediment and urn, and the following inscription:--
Near this is a mural tablet to the memory of the Rev. W. , D. D. years rector of this parish, died , aged .
Near , in Bishopgate-street Within, is this
|church, so called from its dedication to the Christian princess of the Saxon race, the daughter of Ethelbert, king of Kent, who embraced the Christian religion and became the patron of Augustine, the English apostle.|
The advowson of this church, which is a rectory, was in the prioress and nuns of St. Helen, till the suppresion of their convent, in the year , when coming to the crown it was sometime after granted by queen Elizabeth to the bishop of London and his successors, who have ever since collated and inducted to the same; and in ecclesiastical matters it is subject to the archdeacon. The earliest account of this church, on record, is in , when Robert Kilwardeby was rector.
This church is ancient, having escaped the fire of London in .
The principal front of this unassuming building ranges with the houses on the east side of within. The principal entrance was formerly fronted by a wooden porch, a remnant of the carving of which, shewing the workmanship of the century, still remains: partly concealed by the shops which are built against this wall of the church; the arch of the doorway is pointed: in the wall above it is a window having an obtusely pointed arch made into lights by mullions, with cinquefoil heads, partially concealed by a room built against the wall, and overhanging the doorway. The general style of the building indicates the workmanship of the century; a square tower rises above this front, sustaining a mean built turret, which finishes with a vane, on which is the date , the turret itself is more modern, the vane having been removed for the spires, which more appropriately finished the elevation before the present unsightly erection was substituted for it. The south and north sides of the church are ancient, the east end has been rebuilt with brick, semicircular headed windows; being inserted in lieu of the original pointed ones.
The interior is very neat, possessing more the character of a country church, than that of a parish in the heart of the metropolis. It consists of a nave and south aisle, separated by pointed arches, resting on clustered columns; the roofs of both are sustained by large beams, the timber work above being concealed by plaster. Several dormer windows are constructed in thereof; the north and south sides of the church had each painted windows of lofty proportions, the majority are now walled up and the tracery of all is destroyed.
The eastern window in the nave is modern and arched; as before observed, it contains coats of arms on stained glass, viz. those of the city, and the Mercers, Sadlers d Vintners companies. Between the tower and the church is a pointed arch, at present filled up with a partition, against which is placed the organ.-The maids gallery, in the south aisle of the church, erected i , is
|ornamented with perpendicular mouldings and cherubim, in the style of that period. There is another gallery of more modern workmanship across the west end, and a considerable portion of the pewing is old; in the churchwardens' pew is the following inscription, which records the general repair at the date given, and fixes the age of the wood work-M. OS. CHVRCH WARDEN, ANO. . The font, which stands in a pew in the middle aisle, consists of a circular basin, sustained upon a terminal column, ornamented with the peculiar pannelling, characteristic of the works of the early part of the century. The tower contains a single bell, and the clock; the latter strikes upon another bell in the turret. In the lower story of the tower is a mutilated statue of St. Michael; at his feet the enemy of mankind, and at his left side is a well-known device of the Trinity; what remains of this ancient sculpture, which is broken into pieces, is here represented.|
|The dimensions of the building are as follows: length feet, breadth feet, St Michael height feet.|
There are no monuments worthy of notice in this church.