Old and New London: Volume 1. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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CANNON STREET TRIBUTARIES AND EAST CHEAP
Budge Row—Cordwainers' Hill—St. Swithin's Church—Founders' Hall—The Oldest Street in London—Tower Royal and the Wat Tyler Mob— The Queen's Wardrobe—St. Antholin's Church—"St. Antlin's Bell"—The London Fire Brigade—Captain Shaw's Statistics—St. Mary Aldermary—A Quaint Epitaph—Crooked Lane—An Early "Gun Accident"—St. Michael's and Sir William Walworth's Epitaph—Gerard's Hall and its History—The Early Closing Movement—St. Mary Woolchurch—Roman Remains in Nicholas Lane—St. Stephen's. Walbrook —Eastcheap and the Cooks' Shops—The "Boar's Head"—Prince Hal and his Companions—A Gaint Plum pudding—Goldsmith at the "Boar's Head"—The Weigh-house Chapel and its Famous Preachers— Reynolds, Clayton, Binney.
Cordwainers' Hall, No. 7, Cannon Street, is the third of the same Company's halls on this site, and was built in 1788 by Sylvanus Hall. The stone front, by Adam, has a sculptured medallion of a country girl spinning with a distaff, emblematic of the name of the lane, and of the thread used by cordwainers or shoemakers. In the pediment are their arms. In the hall are portraits of King William and Queen Mary; and here is a sepulchral urn and tablet, by Nollekens, to John Came, a munificent benefactor to the Company.
The Cordwainers were originally incorporated by Henry IV., in 1410, as the "Cordwainers and Cobblers," the latter term signifying dealers in shoes and shoemakers. In the reign of Richard II., "every cordwainer that shod any man or woman on Sunday was to pay thirty shillings." Among the Company's plate is a piece for which Camden, the antiquary, left £16. Their charities include Came's bequest for blind, deaf, and dumb persons, and clergymen's widows, £1,000 yearly; and in 1662 the "Bell Inn," at Edmonton, was bequeathed for poor freemen of the Company.
The church in Cannon Street dedicated to St.
Swithin, and in which London Stone is now encased, is of a very early date, as the name of the
rector in 1331 is still recorded. Sir John Hind,
Lord Mayor in 1391 and 1404, rebuilt both church
and steeple. After the Fire of London, the parish
of St. Mary Bothaw was united to that of St.
Swithin. St. Swithin's was rebuilt by Wren after
the Great Fire. The Salters' Company formerly
had the right of presentation to this church, but
sold it. The form of the interior is irregular and
awkward, in consequence of the tower intruding on
the north-west corner. The ceiling, an octagonal
cupola, is decorated with wreaths and ribbons. In
1839 Mr. Godwin describes an immense soundingboard over the pulpit, and an altar-piece of carved
oak, guarded by two wooden figures of Moses and
Aaron. There is a slab to Mr. Stephen Winmill,
twenty-four years parish clerk; and a tablet commemorative of Mr. Francis Kemble and his two
wives, with the following distich:—
"Life makes the soul dependent on the dust;
Death gives her wings to mount above the spheres."
The following epitaphs are quoted by Strype:—
John Rogers, Died 1576.
"Like thee I was sometime,
But now am turned to dust;
As thou at length, O earth and slime,
Returne to ashes must.
Of the Company of Clothworkers
A brother I became;
A long time in the Livery
I lived of the same.
Then Death that deadly stroke did give,
Which now my joys doth frame.
In Christ I dyed, by Christ to live;
John Rogers was my name.
My loving wife and children two
My place behind supply;
God grant them living so to doe,
That they in him may dye."
George Bolles, Lord Mayor Of London, Died 1632.
"He possessed Earth as he might Heaven possesse;
Wise to doe right, but never to oppresse.
His charity was better felt than knowne,
For when he gave there was no trumpet blowne.
What more can be comprized in one man's fame,
To crown a soule, and leave a living name?"
Founders' Hall, now in St. Swithin's Lane, was formerly at Founders' Court, Lothbury. The Founders' Company, incorporated in 1614, had the power of testing all brass weights and brass and copper wares within the City and three miles round. The old Founders' Hall was noted for its political meetings, and was in 1792 nicknamed "The Cauldron of Sedition." Here Waithman made his first political speech, and, with his felloworators, was put to flight by constables, sent by the Lord Mayor, Sir James Sanderson, to disperse the meeting.
Watling Street, now laid open by the new street leading to the Mansion House, is probably the oldest street in London. It is part of the old Roman military road that, following an old British forest-track, led from London to Dover, and from Dover to South Wales. The name, according to Leland, is from the Saxon atheling—a noble street. At the north-west end of it is the church of St. Augustine, anciently styled Ecclesia Sancti Angustini ad Portam, from its vicinity to the south-east gate of St. Paul's Cathedral. This church was described on page 349.
Tower Royal, Watling Street, preserves the memory of one of those strange old palatial forts that were not unfrequent in mediaeval London— half fortresses, half dwelling-houses; half courting, half distrusting the City. "It was of old time the king's house," says Stow, solemnly, "but was afterwards called the Queen's Wardrobe. By whom the same was first built, or of what antiquity continued, I have not read, more than that in the reign of Edward I. it was the tenement of Simon Beaumes." In the reign of Edward III. it was called "the Royal, in the parish of St. Michael Paternoster;" and in the 43rd year of his reign he gave the inn, in value £20 a year, to the college of St. Stephen, at Westminster.
"King Richard," says Stow, "having in Smithfield overcome and dispersed the rebels, he, his lords, and all his company entered the City of London with great joy, and went to the lady princess his mother, who was then lodged in the Tower Royal, called the Queen's Wardrobe, where she had remained three days and two nights, right sore abashed. But when she saw the king her son she was greatly rejoiced, and said, 'Ah! son, what great sorrow have I suffered for you this day!' The king answered and said, 'Certainly, madam, I know it well; but now rejoyce, and thank God, for I have this day recovered mine heritage, and the realm of England, which I had near-hand lost.'"
Richard II. was lodging at the Tower Royal at a later date, when the "King of Armony," as Stow quaintly calls the King of Armenia, had been driven out of his dominions by the "Tartarians;" and the lavish young king bestowed on him £1,000 a year, in pity for a banished monarch, little thinking how soon he, discrowned and dethroned, would be vainly looking round the prison walls for one look of sympathy.
This "great house," belonging anciently to the kings of England, was afterwards inhabited by the first Duke of Norfolk, to whom it had been granted by Richard III., the master he served at Bosworth. Strype finds an entry of the gift in an old ledger-book of King Richard's, wherein the Tower Royal is described as "Le Tower," in the parish of St. Thomas Apostle, not of St. Michael, as Stow has it. The house afterwards sank into poverty, became a stable for "all the king's horses," and in Stow's time was divided into poor tenements. Sic transit gloria mundi.
The church of St. Antholin, in Watling Street,
is the only old church in London dedicated to that
monkish saint. The date of its foundation is unknown, but it must be of great antiquity, as it is
mentioned by Ralph de Diceto, Dean of St. Paul's
at the end of the twelfth century. The church
was rebuilt, about the year 1399, by Sir Thomas
Knowles, Mayor of London, who was buried here,
and whose odd epitaph Stow notes down:—
"Here lyeth graven under this stone
Thomas Knowles, both flesh and bone,
Grocer and alderman, years forty,
Sheriff and twice maior, truly;
And for he should not lye alone,
Here lyeth with him his good wife Joan.
They were together sixty year,
And nineteen children they had in feere," &c.
The epitaph of Simon Street, grocer, is also
badly written enough to be amusing:—
"Such as I am, such shall you be;
Grocer of London, sometime was I,
The king's weigher, more than years twenty
Simon Street called, in my place,
And good fellowship fain would trace;
Therefore in heaven everlasting life,
Jesu send me, and Agnes my wife," &c.
St. Antholin's perished in the Great Fire, and the present church was completed by Wren, in the year 1682, at the expense of about £5,700. After the fire the parish of St. John Baptist, Watling Street, was annexed to that of St. Antholin, the latter paying five-eighths towards the repairs of the church, the former the remaining three-eighths. The interior of the church is peculiar, being covered with an oval-shaped dome, which is supported on eight columns, which stand on high plinths. The carpentry of the roof, says Mr. Godwin, displays constructive knowledge. The exterior of the building, says the same authority, is of pleasing proportions, and shows great powers of invention. As an apology for adding a Gothic spire to a quasi-Grecian church, Wren has, oddly enough, crowned the spire with a small Composite capital, which looks like the top of a pencil-case. Above this is the vane. The steeple rises to the height of 154 feet.
The church was rebuilt by John Tate, a mercer, in 1513; and Strype mentions the erection in 1623 of a rich and beautiful gallery with fifty-two compartments, filled with the coats-of-arms of kings and nobles, ending with the blazon of the Elector Palatine. A new morning prayer and lecture was established here by clergymen inclined to Puritanical principles in 1599. The bells began to ring at five in the morning, and were considered Pharisaical and intolerable by all High Churchmen in the neighbourhood. The extreme Geneva party made a point of attending these early prayers. Lilly, the astrologer, went to these lectures when a young man; and Scott makes Mike Lambourne, in "Kenilworth," refer to them. Nor have they been overlooked by our early dramatists. Randolph, Davenant, and others make frequent allusions in their plays to the Puritanical fervour of this parish. The tongue of Middleton's "roaring girl" was "heard further in a still morning than St. Antlin's bell."
In the heart of the City, and not far from London Stone, was a house which used to be inhabited by the Lord Mayor or one of the sheriffs, situated so near to the Church of St. Antholin that there was a way out of it into a gallery of the church. The commissioners from the Church of Scotland to King Charles were lodged here in 1640. At St. Antholin's preached the chaplains of the commission, with Alexander Henderson at their head; "and curiosity, faction, and humour brought so great a conflux and resort, that from the first appearance of day in the morning, on every Sunday, to the shutting in of the light, the church was never empty."
Dugdale also mentions the church. "Now for an essay," he says, "of those whom, under colour of preaching the Gospel, in sundry parts of the realm, they set up a morning lecture at St. Antholine's Church in London; where (as probationers for that purpose) they first made tryal of their abilities, which place was the grand nursery whence most of the seditious preachers were after sent abroad throughout all England to poyson the people with their anti-monarchical principles."
In Watling Street is the chief station of the London Fire Brigade. The Metropolitan Board of Works has consolidated and reorganised, under Captain Shaw, the whole system of the Fire Brigade into one homogeneous municipal institution. The insurance companies contribute about £10,000 per annum towards its maintenance, the Treasury £10,000, and a Metropolitan rate of one halfpenny in the pound raises an additional sum of £30,000, making about £50,000 in all. Under the old system there were seventeen fire-stations, guarding an area of about ten square miles, out of 110 which comprise the Metropolitan district. At the commencement of 1868 there were forty-three stations in an area of about 110 square miles. From Captain Shaw's report, presented January 1, 1873, it appears that during the year 1872 there had been three deaths in the brigade, 236 cases of ordinary illness, and 100 injuries, making a total of 336 cases. The strength of the brigade was as follows:—50 fire-engine stations, 106 fire-escape stations, 4 floating stations, 52 telegraph lines, 84 miles of telegraph lines, 3 floating steam fireengines, 8 large land steam fire-engines, 17 small ditto, 72 other fire-engines, 125 fire-escapes, 396 firemen. The number of watches kept up throughout the metropolis is 98 by day, and 175 by night, making a total of 273 in every twenty-four hours. The remaining men, except those sick, injured, or on leave, are available for general work at fires.
If Stow is correct, St. Mary's Aldermary, Watling Street, was originally called Aldermary because it was older than St. Mary's Bow, and, indeed, any other church in London dedicated to the Virgin; but this is improbable. The first known rector of Aldermary was presented before the year 1288. In 1703 two of the turrets were blown down. In 1855 a building, supposed to be the crypt of the old church, fifty feet long and ten feet wide, and with five arches, was discovered under some houses in Watling Street. In the chancel is a beautifully sculptured tablet by Bacon, with this peculiarity, that it bears no inscription. Surely the celebrated "Miserrimus" itself could hardly speak so strongly of humility or despair. Or can it have been, says a cynic, a monument ordered by a widow, who married again before she had time to write the epitaph to the "dear departed?" On one of the walls is a tablet to the memory of that celebrated surgeon of St. Bartholomew's for forty-two years, Percival Pott, Esq., F.R.S., who died in 1788. Pott, according to a memoir written by Sir James Cask, succeeded to a good deal of the business of Sir Cæsar Hawkins. Pott seems to have entertained a righteous horror of amputations.
The following curious epitaph is worth preserving:—
"Heere is fixt the epitaph of Sir Henry Kebyll, Knight,
Who was sometime of London Maior, a famous worthy wight,
Which did this Aldermarie Church erect and set upright.
Thogh death preuaile with mortal wights, and hasten every day.
Yet vertue ouerlies the grave, her fame doth not decay;
As memories doe shew reuiu'd of one that was aliue,
Who, being dead, of vertuous fame none should seek to depriue;
Which so in liue deseru'd renowne, for facts of his to see,
That may encourage other now of like good minde to be.
Sir Henry Keeble, Knight, Lord Maior of London, here he sate,
Of Grocers' worthy Companie the chiefest in his state,
Which in this city grew to wealth, and unto worship came,
When Henry raign'd who was the seventh of that redoubted name.
But he to honor did atchieu the second golden yeere
Of Henry's raigne, so called the 8, and made his fact appeere
When he this Aldermary Church gan build with great expence,
Twice 30 yeeres agon no doubt, counting the time from hence.
Which work begun the yere of Christ, well known of Christian men,
One thousand and fiue hundred, just, if you will add but ten.
But, lo! when man purposeth most, God doth dispose the best;
And so, before this work was done, God cald this knight to rest.
This church, then, not yet fully built, he died about the yeere,
When Ill May day first took his name, which is down fixed here,
Whose works became a sepulchre to shroud him in that case,
God took his soule, but corps of his was laid about this place;
Who, when he dyed, of this his work so mindful still he was,
That he bequeath'd one thousand pounds to haue it brought to passe,
The execution of whose gift, or where the fault should be,
The work, as yet unfinished, shall shew you all for me;
Which church stands there, if any please to finish up the same,
As he hath well begun, no doubt, and to his endless fame,
They shall not onley well bestow their talent in this life,
But after death, when bones be rot, their fame shall be most rife,
With thankful praise and good report of our parochians here,
Which have of right Sir Henries fame afresh renewed this yeere.
God move the minds of wealthy men their works so to bestow
As he hath done, that, though they dye, their vertuous fame may flow."
This quaint appeal seems to have had its effect, for in 1626 a Mr. William Rodoway left £200 for the rebuilding the steeple; and the same year Mr. Richard Pierson bequeathed 200 marks on the express condition that the new spire should resemble the old one of Keeble's. The old benefactor of St. Mary's was not very well treated, for no monument was erected to him till 1534, when his son-in-law, William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, laid a stone reverently over him. But in the troubles following the Reformation the monument was cast down, and Sir William Laxton (Lord Mayor in 1534) buried in place of Keeble. The church was destroyed in the Great Fire, but soon rebuilt by Henry Rogers, Esq., who gave £5,000 for the purpose. An able paper in the records of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society states that "the tower is evidently of the date of Kebyll's work, as shown by the old four-centre-headed door leading from the tower into the staircase turret, and also by the Caen stone of which this part of the turret is built, which has indications of fire upon its surface. The upper portion of the tower was rebuilt in 1711; the intermediate portion is, I think, the work of 1632; and if that is admitted, it is curious as an example of construction at that period in an older style than that prevalent and in fashion at the time. The semi-Elizabethan character of the detail of the strings and ornamentation seems to confirm this conclusion, as they are just such as might be looked for in a Gothic work in the time of Charles I. In dealing with the restoration of the church, Wren must have not only followed the style of the burned edifice, but in part employed the old material. The church is of ample dimensions, being a hundred feet long and sixty-three feet broad, and consists of a nave and side aisles. The ceiling is very singular, being an imitation of fan tracery executed in plaster. The detail of this is most elaborate, but the design is odd, and, being an imitation of stone construction, the effect is very unsatisfactory. It is probable that the old roof was of wood, and entirely destroyed in the Fire; consequently no record of it remained as a guide in the rebuilding, as was the case with the clustered pillars, which are good and correct in form, and only mongrel in their details. In some of the furniture of the church, such as the pulpit and the carving of the pews, the Gothic style is not followed; and in these, as in the other parts where the great master's genius is left unshackled, we perceive the exquisite taste that guided him, even to the minutest details, in his own peculiar style. The sword-holder in this church is a favourable example of the careful thought which he bestowed upon his decoration. . . . The sword-holder is almost universally found in the City churches. . . . Amongst the gifts to this church is one by Richard Chawcer (supposed by Stowe to be father of the great Geoffrey), who gave his tenement and tavern in the highway, at the corner of Keirion Lane. Richard Chawcer was buried here in 1348. After the Fire, the parishes of St. Mary Aldermary and St. Thomas the Apostle were united; and as the advowson of the latter belonged to the cathedral church of St. Paul's, the presentation is now made alternately by the Archbishop of Canterbury and by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's."
"Crooked Lane," says Cunningham, "was so called of the crooked windings thereof." Part of the lane was taken down to make the approach to new London Bridge. It was long famous for its bird-cages and fishing-tackle shops. We find in an old Elizabethan letter—
"At my last attendance on your lordship at Hansworth, I was so bold to promise your lordship to send you a much more convenient house for your lordship's fine bird to live in than that she was in when I was there, which by this bearer I trust I have performed. It is of the best sort of building in Crooked Lane, strong and well-proportioned, wholesomely provided for her seat and diet, and with good provision, by the wires below, to keep her feet cleanly." (Thomas Markham to Thomas, Earl of Shrewsbury, Feb. 17th, 1589.)
"The most ancient house in this lane," says Stow, "is called the Leaden Porch, and belonged some time to Sir John Merston, Knight, the 1st Edward IV. It is now called the Swan in Crooked Lane, possessed of strangers, and selling of Rhenish wine."
"In the year 1560, July 5th," says Stow, "there came certain men into Crooked Lane to buy a gun or two, and shooting off a piece it burst in pieces, went through the house, and spoiled about five houses more; and of that goodly church adjoining, it threw down a great part on one side, and left never a glass window whole. And by it eight men and one maid were slain, and divers hurt."
In St. Michael's Church, Crooked Lane, now
pulled down, Sir William Walworth was buried. In
the year in which he killed Wat Tyler (says Stow),
"the said Sir William Walworth founded in the said
parish church of St. Michael, a college, for a master
and nine priests or chaplains, and deceasing 1385,
was there buried in the north chapel, by the quire;
but this monument being amongst others (by bad
people) defaced in the reign of Edward VI., was
again since renewed by the Fishmongers. This
second monument, after the profane demolishing
of the first, was set up in June, 1562, with his
effigies in alabaster, in armour richly gilt, by the
Fishmongers, at the cost of William Parvis, fishmonger, who dwelt at the 'Castle,' in New Fish
Street." The epitaph ran thus:—
"Here under lyth a man of fame,
William Walworth callyd by name.
Fishmonger he was in lyfftime here,
And twise Lord Maior, as in bookes appere;
Who with courage stout and manly myght
Slew Jack Straw in King Richard's syght.
For which act done and trew content,
The kyng made hym knight incontinent.
And gave hym armes, as here you see,
To declare his fact and chivalrie.
He left this lyff the yere of our God,
Thirteen hondred fourscore and three odd."
Gerard's Hall, Basing Lane, Bread Street (removed for improvements in 1852), and latterly an hotel, was rebuilt, after the Great Fire, on the site of the house of Sir John Gisors (Pepperer), Mayor in 1245 (Henry III.). The son of the Mayor was Mayor and Constable of the Tower in 1311 (Edward II.). This second Gisors seems to have got into trouble from boldly and honestly standing up for the liberties of the citizens, and his troubles began after this manner.
In the troublesome reign of Edward II. it was ordained by Parliament that every city and town in England, according to its ability, should raise and maintain a certain number of soldiers against the Scots, who at that time, by their great depredations, had laid waste all the north of England as far as York and Lancaster. The quota of London to that expedition being 200 men, it was five times the number that was sent by any other city or town in the kingdom. To meet this requisition the Mayor in council levied a rate on the city, the raising of which was the occasion of continual broils between the magistrates and freemen, which ended in the Jury of Aldermanbury making a presentation before the Justices Itinerant and the Lord Treasurer sitting in the Tower of London, to this effect:—"That the commonalty of London is, and ought to be, common, and that the citizens are not bound to be taxed without the special command of the king, or without their common consent; that the Mayor of the City, and the custodes in their time, after the common redemption made and paid for the City of London, have come, and by their own authority, without the King's command and Commons' consent, did tax the said City according to their own wills, once and more, and distrained for those taxes, sparing the rich, and oppressing the poor middle sort; not permitting that the arrearages due from the rich be levied, to the disinheriting of the King and the destruction of the City, nor can the Commons know what becomes of the monies levied of such taxes."
They also complained that the said Mayor and aldermen had taken upon them to turn out of the Common Council men at their pleasure; and that the Mayor and superiors of the City had deposed Walter Henry from acting in the Common Council, because he would not permit the rich to levy tollages upon the poor, till they themselves had paid their arrears of former tollages; upon which Sir John Gisors, some time Lord Mayor, and divers of the principal citizens, were summoned to attend the said justices, and personally to answer to the accusations laid against them; but, being conscious of guilt, they fled from justice, screening themselves under the difficulty of the time.
How long Sir John Gisors remained absent from London does not appear; but probably on the dethronement of Edward II. and accession of Edward III., he might join the prevailing party and return to his mansion, without any dread of molestation from the power of ministers and favourites of the late reign, who were at this period held in universal detestation. Sir John Gisors died, and was buried in Our Lady's Chapel, Christ Church, Faringdon Within (Christ's Hospital).
Later in that century the house became the residence of Sir Henry Picard, Vintner and Lord Mayor, who entertained here, with great splendour, no less distinguished personages than his sovereign, Edward III., John King of France, the King of Cyprus, David King of Scotland, Edward the Black Prince, and a large assemblage of the nobility. "And after," says Stow, "the said Henry Picard kept his hall against all comers whosoever that were willing to play at dice and hazard. In like manner, the Lady Margaret his wife did also keep her chamber to the same effect." We are told that on this occasion "the King of Cyprus, playing with Sir Henry Picard in his hall, did win of him fifty marks; but Picard, being very skilled in that art, altering his hand, did after win of the same king the same fifty marks, and fifty marks more; which when the same king began to take in ill part, although he dissembled the same, Sir Henry said unto him, 'My lord and king, be not aggrieved; I court not your gold, but your play; for I have not bid you hither that you might grieve;' and giving him his money again, plentifully bestowed of his own amongst the retinue. Besides, he gave many rich gifts to the king, and other nobles and knights which dined with him, to the great glory of the citizens of London in those days."
Gerard Hall contained one of the finest Norman crypts to be found in all London. It was not an ecclesiastical crypt, but the great vaulted warehouse of a Norman merchant's house, and it is especially mentioned by Stow.
"On the south side of Basing Lane," says Stow, "is one great house of old time, built upon arched vaults, and with arched gates of stone, brought from Caen, in Normandy. The same is now a common hostrey for receipt of travellers, commonly and corruptly called Gerrarde's Hall, of a giant said to have dwelt there. In the high-roofed hall of this house some time stood a large fir-pole, which reached to the roof thereof, and was said to be one of the staves that Gerrarde the giant used in the wars to run withal. There stood also a ladder of the same length, which (as they say) served to ascend to the top of the staff. Of later years this hall is altered in building, and divers rooms are made in it; notwithstanding the pole is removed to one corner of the room, and the ladder hangs broken upon a wall in the yard. The hostelar of that house said to me, 'the pole lacketh half a foot of forty in length.' I measured the compass thereof, and found it fifteen inches. Reasons of the pole could the master of the hostrey give none; but bade me read the great chronicles, for there he had heard of it. I will now note what myself hath observed concerning that house. I read that John Gisors, Mayor of London in 1245, was owner thereof, and that Sir John Gisors, Constable of the Tower 1311, and divers others of that name and family, since that time owned it. So it appeareth that this Gisors Hall of late time, by corruption, hath been called Gerrarde's Hall for Gisors' Hall. The pole in the hall might be used of old times (as then the custom was in every parish) to be set up in the summer as a maypole. The ladder served for the decking of the maypole and roof of the hall." The works of Wilkinson and J. T. Smith contain a careful view of the interior of this crypt. There used to be outside the hotel a quaint gigantic figure of seventeenth century workmanship.
In 1844 Mr. James Smith, the originator of early closing (then living at W. Y. Ball and Co.'s, Wood Street), learning that the warehouses in Manchester were closed at one p.m. on Saturday, determined to ascertain if a similar system could not be introduced into the metropolis. He invited a few friends to meet him at the Gerard's Hall. Mr. F. Bennock, of Wood Street, was appointed chairman, and a canvass was commenced, but it was feared that, as certain steam-packets left London on Saturday afternoon, the proposed arrangement might prevent the proper dispatch of merchandise, so it was suggested that the warehouses should be closed "all the year round" eight months at six o'clock, and four months at eight o'clock. This arrangement was acceded to.
St. Mary Woolchurch was an old parish church
in Walbrook Ward, destroyed in the Great Fire,
and not rebuilt. It occupied part of the site
of the Mansion House, and derived its name
from a beam for weighing wool that was kept there
till the reign of Richard II., when customs began
to be taken at the Wool Key, in Lower Thames
Street. Some of the bequests to this church, as
mentioned by Stow, are very characteristic. Elyu
Fuller: "Farthermore, I will that myn executor
shal kepe yerely, during the said yeres, about the
tyme of my departure, an Obit—that is to say,
Dirige over even, and masse on the morrow, for
my sowl, Mr. Kneysworth's sowl, my lady sowl,
and al Christen sowls." One George Wyngar, by
his will, dated September 13, 1521, ordered to
be buried in the church of Woolchurch, "besyde
the Stocks, in London, under a stone lying at my
Lady Wyngar's pew dore, at the steppe comyng up
to the chappel. Item. I bequeath to pore maids'
mariages £13 6s. 8d; to every pore householder
of this my parish, 4d. a pece to the sum of 40s.
Item. I bequeath to the high altar of S. Nicolas
Chapel £10 for an altar-cloth of velvet, with my
name brotheryd thereupon, with a Wyng, and G
and A and R closyd in a knot. Also, I wold
that a subdeacon of whyte damask be made to the
hyghe altar, with my name brotheryd, to syng in,
on our Lady daies, in the honour of God and our
Lady, to the value of seven marks." The following
epitaph is also worth preserving:—
"In Sevenoke, into the world my mother brought me;
Hawlden House, in Kent, with armes ever honour'd me;
Westminster Hall (thirty-six yeers after) knew me.
Then seeking Heaven, Heaven from the world tooke me;
Whilome alive, Thomas Scot men called me;
Now laid in grave oblivion covereth me."
In 1850, among the ruins of a Roman edifice, at eleven feet depth, was found in Nicholas Lane, near Cannon Street, a large slab, inscribed "Num. CÆs. Prov. Brita." (Numini Cœsaris Provincia Britannia). In 1852 tesselated pavement, Samian ware, earthen urns and lamp, and other Roman vessels were found from twelve to twenty feet deep near Basing Lane, New Cannon Street.
According to Dugdale, Eudo, Steward of the
Household to King Henry I. (1100–1135), gave
the Church of St. Stephen, which stood on the
west side of Walbrook, to the Monastery of St.
John at Colchester. In the reign of Henry VI.
Robert Chicheley, Mayor of London, gave a piece
of ground on the east side of Walbrook, for a new
church, 125 feet long and 67 feet broad. It was
in this church, in Queen Mary's time, that Dr.
Feckenham, her confessor and the fanatical Deau
of St. Paul's, used to preach the doctrines of the
old faith. The church was destroyed in the Great
Fire, and rebuilt by Wren in 1672–9. The following is one of the old epitaphs here:—
"This life hath on earth no certain while,
Example by John, Mary, and Oliver Stile,
Who under this stone lye buried in the dust,
And putteth you in memory that dye all must."
The parish of St. Stephen is now united to that of St. Bennet Sherehog (Pancras Lane), the church of which was destroyed in the Fire. The cupola of St. Stephen's is supposed by some writers to have been a rehearsal for the dome of St. Paul's. "The interior," says Mr. Godwin, "is certainly more worthy of admiration in respect of its general arrangement, which displays great skill, than of the details, which are in many respects faulty. The body of the church, which is nearly a parallelogram, is divided into five unequal aisles (the centre being the largest) by four rows of Corinthian columns, within one intercolumniation from the east end. Two columns from each of the two centre rows are omitted, and the area thus formed is covered by an enriched cupola, supported on light arches, which rise from the entablature of the columns. By the distribution of the columns and their entablature, an elegant cruciform arrangement is given to this part of the church. But this is marred in some degree," says the writer, "by the want of connection which exists between the square area formed by the columns and their entablature and the cupola which covers it. The columns are raised on plinths. The spandrels of the arches bearing the cupola present panels containing shields and foliage of unmeaning form. The pilasters at the chancel end and the brackets on the side wall are also condemned. The windows in the clerestory are mean; the enrichments of the meagre entablature clumsy. The fine cupola is divided into panels ornamented with palm-branches and roses, and is terminated at the apex by a circular lantern-light. The walls of the church are plain, and disfigured," says Mr. Godwin, "by the introduction of those disagreeable oval openings for light so often used by Wren."
The picture, by West, of the death of St. Stephen is considered by some persons a work of high character, though to us West seems always the tamest and most insipid of painters. The exterior of the building is dowdily plain, except the upper part of the steeple, which slightly, says Mr. Godwin, "resembles that of St. James's, Garlick Hythe. The approach to the body of the church is by a flight of sixteen steps, in an enclosed porch in Walbrook quite distinct from the tower and main building." Mr. Gwilt seems to have considered this church a chef-d'œuvre of Wren's, and says: "Had its materials and volume been as durable and extensive as those of St. Paul's Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren had consummated a much more efficient monument to his well-earned fame than that fabric affords." Compared with any other church of nearly the same magnitude, Italy cannot exhibit its equal; elsewhere its rival is not to be found. Of those worthy of notice, the Zitelle, at Venice (by Palladio), is the nearest approximation in regard to size; but it ranks far below our church in point of composition, and still lower in point of effect.
"The interior of St. Stephen's," says Mr. Timbs, "is one of Wren's finest works, with its exquisitely proportioned Corinthian columns, and great central dome of timber and lead, resting upon a circle of light arches springing from column to column. Its enriched Composite cornice, the shields of the spandrels, and the palm-branches and rosettes of the dome-coffers are very beautiful; and as you enter from the dark vestibule, a halo of dazzling light flashes upon the eye through the central aperture of the cupola. The elliptical openings for light in the side walls are, however, very objectionable. The fittings are of oak; and the altarscreen, organ-case, and gallery have some good carvings, among which are prominent the arms of the Grocers' Company, the patrons of the living, and who gave the handsome wainscoting. The enriched pulpit, its festoons of fruit and flowers, and canopied sounding-board, with angels bearing wreaths, are much admired. The church was cleaned and repaired in 1850, when West's splendid painting of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, presented in 1779 by the then rector, Dr. Wilson, was removed from over the altar and placed on the north wall of the church; and the window which the picture had blocked up was then reopened." The oldest monument in the church is that of John Lilburne (died 1678). Sir John Vanbrugh, the wit and architect, is buried here in the family vault. During the repairs, in 1850, it is stated that 4,000 coffins were found beneath the church, and were covered with brickwork and concrete to prevent the escape of noxious effluvia. The exterior of the church is plain; the tower and spire, 128 feet high, is at the termination of Charlotte Row. Dr. Croly, the poet, was for many years rector of St. Stephen's.
Eastcheap is mentioned as a street of cooks'
shops by Lydgate, a monk, who flourished in the
reigns of Henry V. and VI., in his "London
"Then I hyed me into Estchepe,
One cryes rybbs of befe, and many a pye;
Pewter pots they clattered on a heape,
There was harpe, pype, and mynstrelsye."
Stow especially says that in Henry IV.'s time there were no taverns in Eastcheap. He tells the following story of how Prince Hal's two roystering brothers were here beaten by the watch. This slight hint perhaps led Shakespeare to select this street for the scene of the prince's revels.
"This Eastcheap," says Stow, "is now a fleshmarket of butchers, there dwelling on both sides of the street; it had some time also cooks mixed among the butchers, and such other as sold victuals ready dressed of all sorts. For of old time, such as were disposed to be merry, met not to dine and sup in taverns (for they dressed not meats to be sold), but to the cooks, where they called for meat what them liked.
"In the year 1410, the 11th of Henry IV., upon the even of St. John Baptist, the king's sons, Thomas and John, being in Eastcheap at supper (or rather at breakfast, for it was after the watch was broken up, betwixt two and three of the clock after midnight), a great debate happened between their men and other of the court, which lasted one hour, even till the maior and sheriffs, with other citizens, appeased the same; for the which afterwards the said maior, aldermen, and sheriffs were sent for to answer before the king, his sons and divers lords being highly moved against the City. At which time William Gascoigne, chief justice, required the maior and aldermen, for the citizens, to put them in the king's grace. Whereunto they answered they had not offended, but (according to the law) had done their best in stinting debate and maintaining of the peace; upon which answer the king remitted all his ire and dismissed them."
The "Boar's Head," Eastcheap, stood on the north side of Eastcheap, between Small Alley and St. Michael's Lane, the back windows looking out on the churchyard of St. Michael, Crooked Lane, which was removed with the inn, rebuilt after the Great Fire, in 1831, for the improvement of new London Bridge.
In the reign of Richard II. William Warder gave the tenement called the "Boar's Head," in Eastcheap, to a college of priests, founded by Sir William Walworth, for the adjoining church of St. Michael, Crooked Lane. In Maitland's time the inn was labelled, "This is the chief tavern in London."
Upon a house (says Mr. Godwin) on the south side of Eastcheap, previous to recent alterations, there was a representation of a boar's head, to indicate the site of the tavern; but there is reason to believe that this was incorrectly placed, insomuch as by the books of St. Clement's parish it appears to have been situated on the north side. It seems by a deed of trust which still remains, that the tavern belonged to this parish, and in the books about the year 1710 appears this entry: "Ordered that the churchwardens doe pay to the Rev. Mr. Pulleyn £20 for four years, due to him at Lady Day next, for one moyetee of the groundrent of a house formerly called the 'Boar's Head,' Eastcheap, near the 'George' alehouse." Again, too, we find: "August 13, 1714. An agreement was entered into with William Usborne, to grant him a lease for forty-six years, from the expiration of the then lease, of a brick messuage or tenement on the north side of Great Eastcheap, commonly known by the name of 'the Lamb and Perriwig,' in the occupation of Joseph Lock, barber, and which was formerly known as the sign of the 'Boar's Head.'"
On the removal of a mound of rubbish at Whitechapel, brought there after a great fire, a carved boxwood bas-relief boar's head was found, set in a circular frame formed by two boars' tusks, mounted and united with silver. An inscription to the following effect was pricked at the back:— "William Brooke, Landlord of the Bore's Hedde, Estchepe, 1566." This object, formerly in the possession of Mr. Stamford, the celebrated publisher, was sold at Christie and Manson's, on January 27, 1855, and was bought by Mr. Halliwell. The ancient sign, carved in stone, with the initials I. T., and the date 1668, is now preserved in the City of London Library, Guildhall.
In 1834 Mr. Kempe exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries a carved oak figure of Sir John Falstaff, in the costume of the sixteenth century. This figure had supported an ornamental bracket over one side of the door of the last "Boar's Head," a figure of Prince Henry sustaining the other. This figure of Falstaff was the property of a brazer whose ancestors had lived in the same shop in Great Eastcheap ever since the Fire. He remembered the last great Shakesperian dinner at the "Boar's Head," about 1784, when Wilberforce and Pitt were both present; and though there were many wits at table, Pitt, he said, was pronounced the most pleasant and amusing of the guests. There is another "Boar's Head" in Southwark, and one in Old Fish Street.
"In the month of May, 1718," says Mr. Hotten, in his "History of Sign-boards," "one James Austin, 'inventor of the Persian ink-powder,' desiring to give his customers a substantial proof of his gratitude, invited them to the 'Boar's Head' to partake of an immense plum pudding—this pudding weighed 1,000 pounds—a baked pudding of one foot square, and the best piece of an ox roasted. The principal dish was put in the copper on Monday, May 12, at the 'Red Lion Inn,' by the Mint, in Southwark, and had to boil fourteen days. From there it was to be brought to the 'Swan Tavern,' in Fish Street Hill, accompanied by a band of music, playing 'What lumps of pudding my mother gave me!' One of the instruments was a drum in proportion to the pudding, being 18 feet 2 inches in length, and 4 feet in diameter, which was drawn by 'a device fixed on six asses.' Finally, the monstrous pudding was to be divided in St. George's Fields; but apparently its smell was too much for the gluttony of the Londoners. The escort was routed, the pudding taken and devoured, and the whole ceremony brought to an end before Mr. Austin had a chance to regale his customers." Puddings seem to have been the forte of this Austin. Twelve or thirteen years before this last pudding he had baked one, for a wager, ten feet deep in the Thames, near Rotherhithe, by enclosing it in a great tin pan, and that in a sack of lime. It was taken up after about two hours and a half, and eaten with great relish, its only fault being that it was somewhat overdone. The bet was for more than £100.
In the burial-ground of St. Michael's Church,
hard by, rested all that was mortal of one of the
waiters of this tavern. His tomb, in Purbeck
stone, had the following epitaph:—
"Here lieth the bodye of Robert Preston, late drawer at the
'Boar's Head Tavern,' Great Eastcheap, who departed this
life March 16, Anno Domini 1730, aged twenty-seven years.
"Bacchus, to give the toping world surprise,
Produc'd one sober son, and here he lies.
Tho' nurs'd among full hogsheads, he defy'd
The charm of wine, and every vice beside.
O reader, if to justice thou'rt inclined,
Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind.
He drew good wine, took care to fill his pots,
Had sundry virtues that outweighed his fauts (sic).
You that on Bacchus have the like dependence,
Pray copy Bob in measure and attendance."
Goldsmith visited the "Boar's Head," and has left a delightful essay upon his day-dreams there, totally forgetting that the original inn had perished in the Great Fire. "The character of Falstaff," says the poet, "even with all his faults, gives me more consolation than the most studied efforts of wisdom. I here behold an agreeable old fellow forgetting age, and showing me the way to be young at sixty-five. Surely I am well able to be as merry, though not so comical as he. Is it not in my power to have, though not so much wit, at least as much vivacity? Age, care, wisdom, reflection, be gone! I give you to the winds. Let's have t'other bottle. Here's to the memory of Shakespeare, Falstaff, and all the merry men of Eastcheap!
"Such were the reflections which naturally arose while I sat at the 'Boar's Head Tavern,' still kept at Eastcheap. Here, by a pleasant fire, in the very room where old Sir John Falstaff cracked his jokes, in the very chair which was sometimes honoured by Prince Henry, and sometimes polluted by his immortal merry companions, I sat and ruminated on the follies of youth, wished to be young again, but was resolved to make the best of life whilst it lasted, and now and then compared past and present times together. I considered myself as the only living representative of the old knight, and transported my imagination back to the times when the Prince and he gave life to the revel. The room also conspired to throw my reflections back into antiquity. The oak floor, the Gothic windows, and the ponderous chimney-piece had long withstood the tooth of time. The watchman had gone twelve. My companions had all stolen off, and none now remained with me but the landlord. From him I could have wished to know the history of a tavern that had such a long succession of customers. I could not help thinking that an account of this kind would be a pleasing contrast of the manners of different ages. But my landlord could give me no information. He continued to doze and sot, and tell a tedious story, as most other landlords usually do, and, though he said nothing, yet was never silent. One good joke followed another good joke; and the best joke of all was generally begun towards the end of a bottle. I found at last, however, his wine and his conversation operate by degrees. He insensibly began to alter his appearance. His cravat seemed quilted into a ruff, and his breeches swelled out into a farthingale. I now fancied him changing sexes; and as my eyes began to close in slumber, I imagined my fat landlord actually converted into as fat a landlady. However, sleep made but few changes in my situation. The tavern, the apartment, and the table continued as before. Nothing suffered mutation but my host, who was fairly altered into a gentlewoman, whom I knew to be Dame Quickly, mistress of this tavern in the days of Sir John; and the liquor we were drinking seemed converted into sack and sugar.
"'My dear Mrs. Quickly,' cried I (for I knew her perfectly well at first sight), 'I am heartily glad to see you. How have you left Falstaff, Pistol, and the rest of our friends below stairs? —brave and hearty, I hope?'"
Years after that amiable American writer, Washington Irving, followed in Goldsmith's steps, and came to Eastcheap, in 1818, to search for Falstaff relics; and at the "Masons'Arms," 12, Miles Lane, he was shown a tobacco-box and a sacramental cup from St. Michael's Church, which the poetical enthusiast mistook for a tavern goblet.
"I was presented," he says, "with a japanned iron tobacco-box, of gigantic size, out of which, I was told, the vestry smoked at their stated meetings from time immemorial, and which was never suffered to be profaned by vulgar hands, or used on common occasions. I received it with becoming reverence; but what was my delight on beholding on its cover the identical painting of which I was in quest! There was displayed the outside of the 'Boar's Head Tavern;' and before the door was to be seen the whole convivial group at table, in full revel, pictured with that wonderful fidelity and force with which the portraits of renowned generals and commodores are illustrated on tobacco-boxes, for the benefit of posterity. Lest, however, there should be any mistake, the cunning limner had warily inscribed the names of Prince Hal and Falstaff on the bottom of their chairs.
"On the inside of the cover was an inscription, nearly obliterated, recording that the box was the gift of Sir Richard Gore, for the use of the vestry meetings at the Boar's Head Tavern, and that it was 'repaired and beautified by his successor, Mr. John Packard, 1767.' Such is a faithful description of this august and venerable relic; and I question whether the learned Scriblerius contemplated his Roman shield, or the Knights of the Round Table the long-sought Saint-greal, with more exultation.
"The great importance attached to this memento of ancient revelry (the cup) by modern churchwardens at first puzzled me; but there is nothing sharpens the apprehension so much as antiquarian research; for I immediately perceived that this could be no other than the identical 'parcel-gilt goblet' on which Falstaff made his loving but faithless vow to Dame Quickly; and which would, of course, be treasured up with care among the regalia of her domains, as a testimony of that solemn contract.
"'Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in Whitsun-week, when the prince broke thy head for likening his father to a singing-man of Windsor; thou didst swear to me then, as I was washing thy wound, to marry me, and make me my lady, thy wife. Canst thou deny it?' (Henry IV., Part ii.)
". . . For my part, I love to give myself up to the illusions of poetry. A hero of fiction, that never existed, is just as valuable to me as a hero of history that existed a thousand years since; and, if I may be excused such an insensibility to the common ties of human nature, I would not give up fat Jack for half the great men of ancient chronicles. What have the heroes of yore done for me or men like me? They have conquered countries of which I do not enjoy an acre; or they have gained laurels of which I do not inherit a leaf; or they have furnished examples of hare-brained prowess, which I have neither the opportunity nor the inclination to follow. But old Jack Falstaff!—kind Jack Falstaff!—sweet Jack Falstaff!—has enlarged the boundaries of human enjoyment; he has added vast regions of wit and good humour, in which the poorest man may revel; and has bequeathed a never-failing inheritance of jolly laughter, to make mankind merrier and better to the latest posterity."
The very name of the "Boar's Head," Eastcheap, recalls a thousand Shakespearian recollections; for here Falstaff came panting from Gadshill; here he snored behind the arras while Prince Harry laughed over his unconscionable tavern bill; and here, too, took place that wonderful scene where Falstaff and the prince alternately passed judgment on each other's follies, Falstaff acting the prince's father, and Prince Henry retorts by taking up the same part. As this is one of the finest efforts of Shakespeare's comic genius, a short quotation from it, on the spot where the same was supposed to take place, will not be out of place.
"Fal. Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied; for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the more it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion; but chiefly a villainous trick of thine eye, and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If then thou be son to me, here lies the point;—why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher, and eat blackberries? a question not to be asked. Shall a son of England prove a thief, and take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch. This pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile: so doth the company thou keepest; for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in tears; not in pleasure, but in passion; not in words only, but in woes also;—and yet there is a virtuous man, whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
"Fal. A good portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by 'r Lady, inclining to three score. And, now I remember me, his name is Falstaff. If that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Henry, I see virtue in his looks. If, then, the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff. Him keep with; the rest banish.
"P. Hen. Swearest thou, ungracious boy? Henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace. There is a devil haunts thee, in the likeness of a fat old man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and drink it? Wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and eat it? Wherein cunning, but in his craft? Wherein crafty, but in villany? Wherein villanous, but in all things? Wherein worthy, but in nothing?
"Fal. But to say I know more harm in him than in myself were to say more than I know. That he is old (the more the pity!), his white hairs do witness it; but that he is (saving your reverence) a whore-master, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damned. If to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord! Banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff—banish not him thy Harry's company; banish not him thy Harry's company! Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world!"
"In Love Lane," says worthy Strype, "on the north-west corner, entering into Little Eastcheap, is the Weigh-house, built on the ground where the church of St. Andrew Hubbard stood before the fire of 1666. Which said Weigh-house was before in Cornhill. In this house are weighed merchandizes brought from beyond seas to the king's beam, to which doth belong a master, and under him four master porters, with labouring porters under them. They have carts and horses to fetch the goods from the merchants' warehouses to the beam, and to carry them back. The house belongeth to the Company of Grocers, in whose gift the several porters', &c., places are. But of late years little is done in this office, as wanting a compulsive power to constrain the merchants to have their goods weighed, they alleging it to be an unnecessary trouble and charge."
In former times it was the usual practice for merchandise brought to London by foreign merchants to be weighed at the king's beam in the presence of sworn officials. The fees varied from 2d. to 3s. a draught; while for a bag of hops the uniform charge was 6d.
The Presbyterian Chapel in the Weigh-house was founded by Samuel Slater and Thomas Kentish, two divines driven by the Act of Uniformity from St. Katherine's in the Tower. The first-named minister, Slater, has distinguished himself by his devotion during the dreadful plague which visited London in 1625 (Charles I.). Kentish, of whom Calamy entertained a high opinion, had been persecuted by the Government. Knowle, another minister of this chapel, had fled to New England to escape Laud's cat-like gripe. In Cromwell's time he had been lecturer at Bristol Cathedral, and had there greatly exasperated the Quakers. Knowles and Kentish are said to have been so zealous as sometimes to preach till they fainted. In Thomas Reynolds's time a new chapel was built at the King's Weigh-house. Reynolds, a friend of the celebrated Howe, had studied at Geneva and at Utrecht. He died in 1727, declaring that, though he had hitherto dreaded death, he was rising to heaven on a bed of roses. After the celebrated quarrel between the subscribers and non-subscribers, a controversy took place about psalmody, which the Weigh-house ministers stoutly defended. Samuel Wilton, another minister of Weigh-house Chapel, was a pupil of Dr. Kippis, and an apologist for the War of Independence. John Clayton, chosen for this chapel in 1779, was the son of a Lancashire cotton-bleacher, and was converted by Romaine, and patronised by the excellent Countess of Huntingdon; he used to relate how he had been pelted with rotten eggs when preaching in the open air near Christchurch. While itinerating for Lady Huntingdon, Clayton became acquainted with Sir H. Trelawney, a young Cornish haronet, who became a Dissenting minister, and eventually joined the "Rational party." An interesting anecdote is told of Trelawney's marriage in 1778. For his bride he took a beautiful girl, who, apparently without her lover's knowledge, annulled a prior engagement, in order to please her parents by securing for herself a more splendid station. The spectacle was a gay one when, after their honeymoon, Sir Harry and his wife returned to his seat at Looe, to be welcomed home by his friend Clayton and the servants of the establishment. The young baronet proceeded to open a number of letters, and during the perusal of one in particular his countenance changed, betokening some shock sustained by his nervous system. Evening wore into night, but he would neither eat nor converse. At length he confessed to Clayton that he had received an affecting expostulation from his wife's former lover, who had written, while ignorant of the marriage, calling on Trelawney as a gentleman to withdraw his claims on the lady's affections. This affair is supposed to have influenced Sir Harry more or less till the end of his days, although his married life continued to flow on happily.
Clayton was ordained at the Weigh House Chapel in 1778; the church, with one exception, unanimously voted for him—the one exception, a lady, afterwards became the new minister's wife. Of Clayton Robert Hall said,"He was the most favoured man I ever saw or ever heard of." He died in 1843. Clayton's successor, the eloquent Thomas Binney, was pastor of Weigh House Chapel for more than forty years. So ends the chronicle of the Weigh House worthies.