Old and New London: Volume 2. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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FARRINGDON STREET, HOLBORN VIADUCT, AND ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH.
Farringdon Without—A Notorious Alderman—Farringdon Within—Farringdon Street—Fleet Market—Farringdon Market—Watercress Sellers— On a November Morning—The Congregational Memorial Hall—Holborn Viaduct described—The City Temple—Opening of the Viaduct by the Queen—St. Andrew's, Holborn—Its Interior—Its Exterior—Emery the Comedian—The Persecuting Lord Chancellor Wriothesley— Sacheverel: a Pugnacious Divine—The Registers of St. Andrew's—Marriages cried by the Bellman—Edward Coke's Marriage—Coke catches a Tartar—Colonel and Mrs. Hutchinson's Marriage—A Courtship worth reading—Christening of Richard Savage—The Unfortunate Chatterton—Henry Neele, the Poet—Webster, the Dramatist, and his White Devil—A Funeral Dirge—Tomkins, the Conspirator—Strutt, and "Sports and Pastimes"—"Wicked Will" Whiston—A Queen's Faults—Hacket, afterwards Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry—A Surprise for Dissenters—Stillingfleet: A Controversial Divine—Looking People in the Face—The Rev. Charles Barton—An Agreeable Surprise—St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, and St. Andrew's—St. Andrew's Grammar School.
It is convenient here to devote a paragraph to the general subject of the ward—that of Farringdon Without—in which we now find ourselves. "The whole great Ward of Farindon," says Stow, "both intra and extra (i.e., within and without the walls), took name of W. Farindon, goldsmith, alderman of that ward, and one of the sheriffs of London in the year 1281, the 9th of Edward I. He purchased the aldermanry of this ward." Farringdon Without is by far the largest of all the twenty-six wards of London. Its general boundaries are—on the north, Holborn and Smithfield; on the south, the Thames, between Blackfriars Bridge and the Temple Stairs; on the east, New Bridge Street and the Old Bailey; and on the west, Temple Bar and Chancery Lane. The notorious John Wilkes was chosen alderman of this ward on the 27th of January, 1769, "while yet," says Walpole, "a criminal of State and a prisoner." He was at this time immensely popular with a large party in the City of London, and the election established that connection with the metropolis which was afterwards so profitable to him. This violent politician seems to have exercised a powerful fascination over those he met, by his wit, happy temperament, and tact, and no doubt much of his success with the clear-headed mercantile community of London arose from this. Lord Mansfield, who had no reason to like him, was once heard to remark, "that he was the pleasantest companion, the politest gentleman, and the best scholar he ever knew." He excited great admiration by his fertility in expedients. "If," said one who knew him, "he were stripped and thrown over Westminster Bridge one day, you would meet him the next in Pall Mall, dressed in the height of fashion, and with money in his pocket."
Farringdon Without has been famous for its banking connections. The founders of the three rich banking-houses in Fleet Street—the Childs, the Hoares, and the Goslings—filled at various periods the office of alderman of this ward.
The companion ward of Farringdon Within, out of which we passed when we left speaking of Christ's Hospital, has for its general boundaries, on the north, Christ's Hospital (in the hall of which the wardmotes are held), and part of Cheapside; on the south, the Thames; on the east, Cheapside; and on the west, New Bridge Street.
Farringdon Street, which runs from Bridge Street northward to the line of Holborn, is constructed over the celebrated Fleet Ditch. In this street stood Fleet Market. To understand the history of this market the reader must recall what we said when speaking of the Mansion House, that it was erected on the site of the old Stocks Market (see Vol. I., p. 436). When that happened, about 1737, and Fleet Ditch was arched over, the business of the Stocks Market was transferred to the ground above the ditch, now called, as we have mentioned, Farringdon Street. Such was the origin of Fleet Market. It was opened for the sale of meat, fish, and vegetables on the 30th of September, 1737; but it did not complete a century of existence here.
In 1829 it was found necessary to widen the thoroughfare from Holborn to Blackfriars Bridge; so Fleet Market was removed from Farringdon Street, and Farringdon Market, in the immediate vicinity, but off the line of the street, was opened in its stead. The site of this comparatively neglected mart covers an acre and a half of ground, and was built by William Montague, the City architect. It has Stonecutter Street for its southern boundary. The cost of the site and buildings was about £250,000. The following description of the market is of the date of its being opened for business, on the 20th of November, 1829:—"It forms a handsome and elevated quadrangle, of 232 feet by 150 feet. The purchase of the ground, and the buildings which stood thereon, is estimated in round numbers at £200,000; the building of the market, including paviours' accounts, &c., is stated at £80,000. The avenue under which are the shops of the dealers, and which extends round three sides of the building, is 25 feet high, to what are technically termed the tie-beams, with ventilators ranged at equal distances. … In the centre of the roof of the principal avenue a turret and clock have been placed. … The chief entrance to the market is by two gates, for wagons, &c., in Stonecutter Street, which has been made double its former width, and two smaller ones for footpassengers; besides these, on each side of the quadrangle, massive oak doors are to be thrown open, from morning till the close of public business."
But careful building and liberal outlay seemed only thrown away. At a meeting of the Court of Common Council, held on the 29th of June, 1874, to consider the advisability of reconstructing the market, it was stated that the receipts during the last five years had only averaged £225. No wonder, then, that the court exhibited very little inclination to expend more money on a site which, exceedingly valuable as it would prove for other purposes, seems little suited for that of a market.
"Many persons," says a recent writer, "are of opinion that it is desirable to maintain the old Farringdon Market. In fact, the Corporation lately invited designs for its improvement, and have actually awarded prizes for the best. There can be no doubt that Farringdon Market, as it stands, is in a very bad position. It is quite behind the times in the matter of accommodation, and the gradients by which access to it is gained are so steep that accidents to carts and horses not unfrequently happen. It may be open to improvement by the alteration of the levels as proposed, but the latest disposition of the Corporation appears to be to leave the old market to its fate, and build a new one west of that now in process of construction at Smithfield, a course which certainly would have many advantages. As regards the existing market, it may be said to do a fairish middle-class trade. Its produce, however, is very humble, and rarely rises above the rank of the modest onion, the plebeian cabbage, the barely respectable cauliflower, the homely apple, and other unpretending fruits and vegetables. Pineapples and hot-house grapes are unknown to its dingy sheds, and, as a sorrowing tradesman remarked, 'We never see such things as pears at 5s. a dozen!' The market for vegetables, in fact, is supplied chiefly from the gardens in the immediate vicinity of London, say within a ten or twelve miles' radius, while the fruit comes almost exclusively from Kent. The more important supplies, from distant parts of the country, go to Covent Garden and the Borough. It is supposed that a better class trade would be done at Smithfield, but this is a disputed point.
"In one commodity Farringdon does a great business. It is the market, par excellence, for watercresses. Of these there are about a score of vendors in the market, and sometimes as much as twenty tons a week are brought up for sale. The general market opens at four a.m., but the retailers of the watercress are allowed to enter an hour earlier, and they flock thither—men, women, boys, and girls—by hundreds at a time. The 'watercreases' are brought in hampers, and in smaller baskets, called pads and flats. The toll for a hamper is twopence, and for a pad or flat one penny. The pleasant vegetable is sold by the 'end,' the 'middle,' and the 'side' of the basket— those in the middle, as they are, of course, fresher than the rest, fetching the best price. The value of a hamper of watercresses is sometimes as high as twenty shillings, and as low as five, that of a pad or flat being half as much. But the most popular way of buying watercresses is 'by the hand;' that is, the salesman sells as many handfuls—of his own hand, of course—as may be equivalent to the market value of a shilling. The price ranges from twelve to eighteen hands; but the buyer is always careful to see that he or she gets proper measure, calculated in a rough-and-ready sort of fashion, and one often hears the admonition, 'Don't pinch your hand, governor.' "
A visit to Farringdon Market in early morning, Mr. Henry Mayhew holds, is the proper way to form an estimate of the fortitude, courage, and perseverance of the poor. These watercress sellers are members of a class so poverty-stricken that their extreme want alone would almost justify them in taking to thieving, yet they can be trusted to pay the few pence they owe, even though hunger should pinch them for it. As Douglas Jerrold has truly said, "there is goodness, like wild honey, hived in strange nooks and corners of the earth." It must require no little energy of conscience on the part of the lads to make them resist the temptations around them, and refuse the cunning advice of the young thieves they meet at their cheap lodging-houses. Yet they prefer the early rising, the walk to market with naked feet over the cold stones, and the chance of earning a few pence by a day of honest labour, to all the comparative case of a career of fraud. "The heroism of the unknown poor," adds Mr. Mayhew, "is a thing to set even the dullest marvelling, and in no place in all London is the virtue of the humblest—both young and old—so conspicuous as amongst the watercress buyers at Farringdon Market."
Mr. Mayhew visited it one November morning. The poor, he says, were there, in every style of rags, laying in the necessary stock for their trade. "As the morning twilight drew on, the paved court was crowded with customers. The sheds and shops at the end of the market grew every moment more distinct, and a railway van, laden with carrots, came rumbling into the yard. The pigeons, too, began to fly into the sheds, or walk about the paving-stones, and the gas-man came round with his ladder to turn out the lamps. Then every one was pushing about, the children crying as their naked feet were trodden upon, and the women hurrying off with their baskets or shawls filled with cresses, and the bunch of rushes in their hands. In one corner of the market, busily tying up their bunches, were three or four girls, seated on the stones, with their legs curled up under them, and the ground near them was green with the leaves they had thrown away. A saleswoman, seeing me looking at the group, said, 'Ah, you should come here of a summer's morning, and then you'd see 'em, sitting tying up, young and old, upwards of a hundred poor things, as thick as crows in a ploughed field.'"
On the east side of Farringdon Street, and on a part of the site of the old Fleet Prison, stands the Congregational Memorial Hall and Library, a handsome new building, the foundation-stone of which was laid on the 10th of May, 1872. This hall has been erected by the Congregationalists of England and Wales, in commemoration of the ejection from their charges, two hundred years ago—it was on the 24th of August, 1662—of more than two thousand ministers of the Church of England, because they could not conscientiously subscribe to the Act of Uniformity. The ground purchased in Farringdon Street consisted of 9,000 feet of freehold land, with 84 feet frontage to the main road, and 32 feet to old Fleet Lane, and having a depth of about 100 feet. It cost £28,000. The design for the memorial building, prepared by Mr. Tarring, comprised a hall capable of holding 1,200 to 1,500 people; a library, with accommodation for 300; a board-room, and twenty-five other offices, which it was calculated would be amply sufficient for all the societies connected with the denomination in London.
We come now to speak of one of the greatest and most successful works ever undertaken in the city of London — the Holborn Valley improvements, an undertaking which will ever be quoted as a notable example of the energy and public spirit of our time. We have already spoken of the inconvenience and disagreeableness of the approach to the City from the west by Holborn. To avoid the dangerous descent of Holborn Hill, it was at last resolved to construct a viaduct and high-level bridge over Farringdon Street, and so to supplant Skinner Street, and form a spacious and pleasant thoroughfare connecting the City with that great Mediterranean of western traffic, Holborn and Oxford Street. This was done after long consultation, the consideration of many different schemes, and many attempts, not always successful, to reconcile conflicting interests. The works were commenced in May, 1863, and if it was more than six years before the valley was bridged over, and the viaduct opened to the public, we must consider the gigantic nature of the undertaking, and the delays in effecting the demolition of the old structures and roadway, embarrassed, too, by much litigation. The cost of the improvements considerably exceeded two millions.
The scheme was originally calculated to cost about £1,500,000, the Corporation recouping themselves to the extent of from £600,000 or £700,000, by the sale of building land on the sides of the new viaduct. It was resolved to remove the whole of the houses and shops on the south side of Skinner Street, Snow Hill, from the Old Bailey to Farringdon Street, and thence to the summit of Holborn Hill, while all the houses on the northern side were to be removed, enormous sums being paid in compensation—in one case alone about £30,000 being awarded.
The central object of this scheme was a stately and substantial viaduct across the Holborn Valley, between Hatton Garden and the western end of Newgate Street. A new street was also to open from opposite Hatton Garden, and pass by the back of St. Andrew's Church, to Shoe Lane, which was to be widened as far as Stonecutter Street. Thence another new line of street, fifty feet wide, and with easy gradients, was to be formed at the east end of Fleet Street, near its junction with Farringdon Street. The viaduct across Holborn Hill was to be eighty feet wide, and was to commence at the west end of Newgate Street.
"The impression left upon the mind after a first walk from Holborn to Newgate Street, along the Viaduct, is," says a writer in the Builder, "that of a wide and level thoroughfare raised above the old pavement, and of a spacious bridge crossing the busy line of Farringdon Street below. The improvement is so grand and yet so simple, and the direction taken by the new road is so obviously the easiest and the best, that difficulties of construction and engineering details are in a manner lost sight of, and it is not until the work concealed from the eye is dived into, that the true nature of the undertaking is understood. To know what has been accomplished, and to appreciate it rightly, the observer must leave the upper level, and penetrate the interior; to comprehend his subject, he must do as all patient learners do—commence at the foundation.
"The problem that the engineer had to work out appears at first sight a simple one. The postulates were a bridge crossing the great artery of Farringdon Street, and a level causeway on either side from Holborn to Newgate Street. Then came considerations of detail that soon assumed a complex and difficult shape. Sewers, and gas, and water-pipes had to be carried, levels to be regarded, and connection with lateral thoroughfares had to be maintained. Then arose questions of modes of construction. Obviously, a solid embankment was not possible, and an open arcade would be a waste of valuable space. So the design gradually shaped itself into what may be briefly and accurately described as a plan consisting of two lateral passages, one on either side supporting the pavement, and cross arches, forming vaults between, and carrying the carriage roadway above.
"As the great depth of the Holborn Valley caused the viaduct to be of considerable height at its point of crossing Farringdon Street, the engineer took advantage of this to subdivide his vaulted passages into storeys, and these accordingly are one, two, or three, as the dip of the level permits. First is appropriated a space for areas and vaulted cellars of the houses, and then against these is at top a subway, in which are the gas, water, and telegraph pipes; then a passage, and below these a vaulted chamber constructed with damp-proof courses through its walls, and of considerable depth, at the bottom of which, resting on a concrete bed, is the sewer…
"The height of these subways is 11 feet 6 inches, and their width 7 feet. They are constructed of brickwork, excepting where carried over the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, at which point they are of tubular form, and are constructed of iron…
"The subways contain ventilating shafts, which are connected with trapped gullies in the roadway above; also with the pedestals of the lamp-posts, perforated for the purpose, and with flues expressly directed to be left in party-walls of buildings; all these contrivances being made for the carrying off gases that may escape, especially from leakage from the gas-mains. Provision is made for the easy ingress of workmen and materials, and the subways are lighted by means of gratings filled with globules of thick glass."
The great ornamental feature of the Viaduct is the bridge across Farringdon Street. Unfortunately for the effect, it is a skew-bridge—that is, it crosses the street obliquely—but the design is rich and striking. It is a cast-iron girder-bridge, in three spans, divided by the six granite piers which carry the girders. These piers are massive hexagonal shafts of polished red granite, resting on bases of black granite, and having capitals of grey granite with bronze leaves, the outer piers being, however, carried above the railing on the parapet of the bridge, and terminating in pedestals, on which are placed colossal bronze statues. These statues represent Commerce and Agriculture on the south, and Science and Fine Art on the north side. The iron palisading consists of circular panels united by scrolls, and bearing emblazonings of civic crests and devices, with the City arms on a larger scale. At the four corners of the bridge, and forming an intrinsic part of the design, are lofty houses, of ornate Renaissance character, within which are carried flights of steps, giving means of communication to pedestrians between the level of the Viaduct and that of Farringdon Street. The fronts of these houses are adorned with the statues of four civic worthies of the olden time. On the north are Sir Hugh Middleton (born 1555, died 1631) and Sir William Walworth (Mayor 1374 and 1380); and on the south are Henry Fitz-Eylwin (Mayor 1189 to 1212) and Sir Thomas Gresham (born 1519, died 1579).
On the south side of the Viaduct are the new station of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, and the new Congregational City Temple, erected by the congregation of Dr. Joseph Parker. The latter is in a light Italian style of architecture. The chapel has its floor on a level with the roadway of the Viaduct, and is seated for 2,500 persons. Underneath it are spacious school and class-rooms, entering from Shoe Lane. Dr. Parker's congregation used to meet in the old chapel in the Poultry, but that building was found too small; it was therefore sold, and the present one was erected, at a cost of £60,000, including the price (£25,000) paid for the site.
The length of the Viaduct from Newgate Street to Holborn is about 1,400 feet, and the width between the building-line 80 feet, affording space for a 50-feet carriage-way in the centre, and two pavements, each 15 feet wide, at either side. The surface of the carriage-way is paved with cubes of granite 9 inches by 3 inches, and the side pavements are laid with York flags, with perforated gratings to light the subways.
During the demolition of the old streets and houses, for the purpose of clearing the ground for the Viaduct, nothing of any special value or interest was brought to light. The most noteworthy incidents, says a writer in the Builder, of April 24th, 1869, were "the frequent discovery of all sorts of concealed passages for escape, and nooks for hiding plunder in the villainous old houses of Field Lane and its unsavoury neighbourhood, the removal of which alone should cause the Holborn Valley Improvement to be considered a blessing to this part of London. In carrying the new road through St. Andrew's Churchyard, a large slice of the ground was required, and this compelled the removal of a great number of human remains; between 11,000 and 12,000 were therefore decorously transferred to the City Cemetery at llford."
The opening of Holborn Viaduct by the Queen took place on the 6th of November, 1869, the same day as that on which Her Majesty opened the new bridge over the Thames at Blackfriars. The ceremony was an imposing one, and excited uncommon interest and enthusiasm amongst all classes in the metropolis. The day fortunately was bright and fair, and, leaving out of account a momentary interruption of its sunshine, was as good as could have been looked for in November. Blackfriars Bridge having been opened, and a loyal address from the Corporation of London having previously been presented, the combined royal and civic processions passed up Farringdon Street amidst an immense assemblage of people, the roadway in the middle being kept clear by soldiers and policemen. The Queen's carriage stopped for a moment before the Viaduct Bridge, that Her Majesty might observe the structure from below. She then passed under it, and turned up Charterhouse Street into Smithfield, which she traversed on the west side of the Meat Market. Her attention was particularly directed to the market-building, which was gorgeously decorated with flags and streamers. From West Smithfield the procession turned into Giltspur Street, and soon the neighbourhood re-echoed with the cheering of the Bluecoat boys, who, to the number of 750, were assembled in their playground, to give their sovereign a loyal welcome. Under St. Sepulchre's Church were ranged several hundreds of the boys and girls of the parish and charity schools; and what with their shrill acclamations, and those of the Bluecoat boys opposite, the effect is said to have been startling.
"Here was the east end of the Holborn Valley Viaduct, close to Newgate Prison and St. Sepulchre's Church. Two colossal plaster statues, one bearing the palm of Victory, the other the olive-branch of Peace, were set up at the entrance, and numerous banners helped the general effect. Along the level approach to the Viaduct, which was from end to end strewn with yellow sand, seats were placed under cover, and in well-arranged blocks, for the guests of the Corporation. Above these streamed in the fresh breeze bannerets of the dagger and St. George's Cross on a white ground, from days immemorial the arms of the City of London; and the masts to which they were attached were painted and gilt. The pavilion, which had seats for 600 spectators, was constructed of red and white striped canvas at the sides, but of goldcoloured hangings, with devices in colour at the end, and with curtains of maroon to keep out the draughts. The royal arms, in rich gilding, surmounted the main entrance, supported on each hand by the City arms above the side divisions. Four female figures, bearing golden baskets of fruit, were placed against the gilt divisions of the pavilion; and between each couple of fruit-bearers was a large statue, chosen from the best works in the possession of the Crystal Palace Company." In the centre of the pavilion the roadway was narrowed, so that the daïs might be carried close to the royal carriage, and at this point were assembled as a deputation to receive Her Majesty, Mr. Deputy Fry, the chairman of the Improvement Committee, Alderman Carter, Sir Benjamin Phillips, and several members of the Common Council.
The visitors accommodated in the reserved places all rose as they heard the welcome of the boys and children at Christ's Hospital and St. Sepulchre's, and then took up the cheering. The procession slowly passed along the viaduct. More than once it came to a stop as the carriage of the Lord Mayor or an alderman halted at the platform in the pavilion, and its occupants alighted. When Her Majesty reached the platform and the carriage halted, the Lord Mayor presented Mr. Deputy Fry and Mr. Haywood, the engineer of the viaduct. Mr. Fry then handed to the Queen a volume elaborately bound in cream-coloured morocco, relieved with gold, and ornamented with the Royal arms of England, in mosaic of leather and gold; and Her Majesty declared the viaduct open for public traffic. The Lord Mayor and the other civic dignitaries then took leave of Her Majesty and returned to their carriages, and the procession again got under weigh. But it broke up immediately on passing through the gates of the temporary barrier, and the Lord Mayor and his company turned towards the City, whilst Her Majesty drove quickly up Holborn, and so by Oxford Street to Paddington Station, from whence she returned by special train to Windsor.
No sooner was this gigantic undertaking completed, and the viaduct open for traffic, than an alarm was raised—cracks had appeared in some of the great polished granite pillars which supported the bridge over Farringdon Street. A lively newspaper correspondence was the result, and many wise things were said on both sides; but the pillars have borne heavy traffic and all the changes of temperature since then without any perceptible extension of the flaw, and the safety of the work is no longer, if it ever was seriously, in doubt.
The present church of St. Andrew's, Holborn, was erected by Wren, in 1686, on the site of the old church, in the Ward of Farringdon Without. Let us begin by speaking of the history of the old building. The exact date of its foundation is uncertain, but in 1297 we find it given by one Gladerinus to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's; it being stipulated at the same time that the church should be held of them by the Abbot and Convent of Bermondsey. The monasteries being dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII., the right of presentation devolved to the Crown, and the king made it over to Thomas Lord Wriothesley, afterwards Lord Chancellor and Earl of Southampton, who died July 30th, 1550, and was buried in St. Andrew's. At a later date the right of presentation became vested in the Duke of Buccleugh. The first vicar mentioned by Newcourt goes under the name of Richard de Tadeclowe; he was appointed before the year 1322, and among those who succeeded him in the old church were Thomas de Cottingham, in 1343, keeper of the Great Seal, and Gilbert Worthington, in 1443.
As to the appearance of the original building, we learn from the will of Gilbert Worthington, printed by Strype, that there were four altars in it, if not more. The steeple was commenced in 1446, but from some cause or other it was not finished till 1468. During the interval the north and south aisles were rebuilt. At the general clearance of the Reformation St. Andrew's fared no better than its neighbours: in the first year of Edward VI. many of the altars and statues were removed, and in that year and in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth the numerous monumental brasses of this church were converted into current coin of the realm.
When the Great Fire ravaged the City, the church escaped; but being in a hopelessly ruinous condition it was taken down, with the exception of the tower, about ten years after that event, and a new building was in course of time erected in accordance with designs furnished by the great architect, Sir Christopher Wren.
The interior of this new church consisted of a nave, two aisles, and chancel; and has been praised by many writers for its magnificence and beauty. Mr. Godwin, however, remarks that "an alteration in taste, as regards architectural productions, has been produced. The value of simplicity and breadth of parts, in opposition to minute divisions and elaborate ornament, has been admitted; and therefore, although it may be regarded as a large and commodious church—a good specimen of the style in which it is built, and as a construction well executed—it will not again obtain the unconditional praise which was formerly bestowed upon it.
"Pillars," adds Mr. Godwin, describing the church interior as it appeared when he wrote, in 1839, "cased with wainscot, support a gallery on either side; and at the west end, and from the top of the gallery-front, rise diminutive Corinthian columns bearing small blocks intended to represent an entablature, reminding one of the columns with the two chapiters or capitals, called Jachin and Boaz, mentioned in the description of Solomon's Temple. A wagon-headed ceiling of large span, in panels, supported on these blocks, and adorned with festoons of flowers and fruit, covers the body of the church. The ceiling of the aisles is groined, and opens into the wagon-headed ceiling, forming an arch between each of the columns. At the west end of the church there is a second gallery, at a great height from the ground, which is appropriated to the children of the Sunday schools. On the wall behind it were formerly some large paintings, but these have been obliterated.
"The chancel is somewhat richly adorned with paintings, gilding, and stained glass; and the walls are covered with wainscot, which is veined to imitate Sienna marble, as high as the ceiling. Above the carved altar-piece is a large Palladian window in two storeys, containing in stained glass a representation of the Last Supper, and of the Ascension, executed by Price of York, in 1718. The colours are for the most part brilliant; but as a work of art, the window is not deserving of commendation. On either side of it are two large paintings (apparently in fresco) of St. Andrew and St. Peter, and two smaller panels representing the Holy Family and the infant St. John. In the ceiling of the chancel is introduced a glazed light, whereon is painted the dove. There are two other windows at the east end of the church which are filled with stained glass, namely, one in the north aisle containing the royal arms, and those of the donor, inscribed: '1687. Ex dono Thomæ Hodgson de Bramwill in Agro Eboracen. Militis;' and another, at the end of the south aisle, representing the arms of John Thavie, Esq., who, in the year 1348, 'left a considerable estate towards the support of this fabric for ever.'"
Towards the close of 1872, St. Andrew's underwent a most thorough overhauling, and was reopened for public worship on Sunday, the 13th of October of that year. The ancient tower, which used to be separated from the nave of the church by a screen-wall, with a gallery in front, was thrown open to the nave by the removal of the wall and gallery.
A ritual chancel was formed at the east end, the floor-level of which was raised two feet above the floor-line of the nave, and choir-stalis were arranged north and south of the same. The old high-backed square pewing was removed, and in its place new low oak seating was substituted. The old windows were done away with, and new iron ones took their place, glazed with tinted cathedral glass.
In addition to these alterations, the church was re-decorated. The nave ceiling and groined ceilings of the galleries were painted in panels of a tempered turquoise blue as a ground-colour, with margins in stone and vellum, the enrichments being in white. The blue grounds were filled with a classic diaper, in self-colouring and white, the walls being a neutral of silver grey. The shafts of columns were finished in Indian red. The chancel ceiling was treated in the same manner as that of the nave, with this exception, that the enrichments to the panels were gilded.
A new organ was also constructed. It spans over the Gothic arch, and rests upon the galleries on either side.
The church contains a carved oak pulpit, and a sculptured marble font, displaying four cherubim. The whole length of the building is stated as 105 feet, the breadth 63 feet, and the height 43 feet.
The old organ of St. Andrew's, made by Harris, was celebrated as being part of the discarded instrument in the contest for superiority between Father Schmydt and Harris, at the Temple Church. This contest has been described by us at page 145 Vol. I. When Dr. Sacheverell entered upon the living of St. Andrew's, he found that the organ, not having been paid for, had, from its erection in 1699, been shut up; he therefore had a collection made among his parishioners, raised the amount, and paid for the instrument.
There are no remarkable features to be pointed out in connection with the exterior of the church. It is divided into two storeys, and terminates with a cornice and balustrade. "The old Gothic tower," says Mr. Godwin, "notwithstanding it was re-cased and adorned with vanes and pine-apples at the four corners, is still to be detected by the large buttresses left standing at the angles, and the small pointed windows remaining in the lower storey. The windows in the belfrey are singularly confused and ugly." The height of the tower is reported to be 110 feet; there are 188 steps from the bottom of it to the top.
St. Andrews, says Mr. Godwin, is one of the best-placed churches in London, "for as the west end is nearly at the summit of Holborn Hill, the foundation was necessarily continued throughout on this level, to the east end in Shoe Lane; so that the basement is there considerably elevated above the houses."
Among the tablets in the church is one mentioned by Godwin as affixed to the north wall, and
inscribed to Mr. John Emery, the famous comedian,
who died on the 25th of July, 1822. It bears the
"Each part he shone in, but excelled in none
So well as husband, father, friend, and son."
Emery was born at Sunderland, on the 22nd of December, 1777, and was educated at Ecclesfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire; and it was there doubtless that he acquired that knowledge of the Yorkshire dialect which obtained for him so much celebrity. His first appearance on the stage was at Brighton, in "Crazy" ("Peeping Tom"). He was excellent in his representation of the stupid dolt, and the arch, unsophisticated child of nature. "His forte," says Talfourd, "lay in showing the might of human passion and affection, not only unaided by circumstance, but attended by everything which could tend to associate them with the ludicrous or the vulgar. The parts in which he displayed this prodigious power were as far as possible removed from the elegant and romantic, and his own stout frame and broad iron countenance did not give him any extrinsic aid to refine or exalt them. But in spite of all these obstacles, the energy of passion or the strength of agony was triumphant. Every muscle was strained to bursting, and every fibre informed with sense and feeling; every quiver of the lip, and involuntary action of the hands, spoke the might of that emotion which he was more than counterfeiting; and all little provincialisms, all traits of vulgarity, were forgotten in wonder and sympathy. … His 'Tyke' was the grandest specimen of the rude sublime; his 'Giles,' in the Miller's Man, was almost as intense, and the whole conception of a loftier cast."
A fiery zealot of the days of English history lies buried here—Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Chancellor in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII. This influential statesman was no wiser than his generation in respect to persecution. "Not content with seeing the amiable Anne Askew put to the torture," says Pennant, "for no other crime than difference in faith, he flung off his gown, degraded the Chancellor into the Bourreau, and with his own hands gave force to the rack. He was created Earl of Southampton just before the coronation of Edward VI., but obstinately adhering to the old religion, he was dismissed from his post, and confined to Southampton House, where he died in 1550."
One of the congenial tasks Wriothesley had to perform during the reign of Henry VIII., was to impeach and arrest the queen, Catherine Parr, for her supposed heterodoxy. When he arrived, however, to take her into custody, the king had made friends again with his sixth and last wife, and the chancellor was dismissed, his Majesty calling him knave, an arrant knave, a fool, a beast, and suchlike complimentary names. It was the influence of Wriothesley which chiefly led to the execution of the Earl of Surrey, and the attainder of the Duke of Norfolk, in 1547. He was one of the executors of Henry VIII., and an opponent of the Protector Somerset.
Another of those buried in this church was Henry Sacheverell, who died in 1724. He was laid in the chancel, where there is an inscription on the pavement to his memory. It may well be left to another occasion to tell the story of this divine, and of the two famous sermons which he preached at Derby and at St. Paul's, with the object of exciting alarm for the safety of the Church, and creating hostility against the Dissenters. Being impeached in the House of Commons, in the year 1710, he was sentenced to be suspended from preaching for three years. But this prosecution established the popularity of the preacher; and the very month that his suspension terminated, he was appointed to the valuable rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn. Like many who owe their popularity to circumstances, rather than to any merit of their own, Sacheverell dropped, in Holborn, into comparative obscurity, and nothing worthy of note is told of him, but that his quarrels with his parishioners were by no means unfrequent—just as one might have expected from so pugnacious a character. He had the good luck, during his latter days, to inherit a considerable fortune.
There is much of interest connected with the registers of St. Andrew's. Some of the books are dated as far back as 1558, the first year of Queen Elizabeth's reign. One of the volumes, containing entries from 1653 to 1658, is wholly occupied with proclamations of marriage during the interregnum, when they were published in the market-place. For example: "An agreement and intent of marriage between John Law and Ffrances Riley, both servants to the Lady Brooke, of this parish, was published three several markett-days in Newgate Markett; and in three several weeks, that is to say, &c." In various parts of this book the church is spoken of as the "Public Meeting-place, commonly called St. Andrew's, Holborn."
The extract quoted above from the register is an illustration of a curious chapter in the history of marriage customs and laws in England. By a statute of August, 1653, the betrothed couple were allowed to choose whether they would be "asked" in church or chapel on three several Sundays, or cried in the open market on three consecutive market-days, at the town nearest their ordinary place of worship. This was the assertion with a vengeance of the civil nature of the marriage contract. If the lovers chose the latter method, their proposed union was in most cases proclaimed by the bellman, though the kind offices of that official were not legally required for making the announcement. "In the absence of conclusive evidence on the matter," says Mr. J. C. Jeaffreson, the historian of "Brides and Bridals," "I have no doubt that the street banns of our forefathers, in Cromwell's England, were rarely proclaimed by clergymen. On the other hand it is certain that the bellman was, in many places, regularly employed to cry aloud for impediments to the wedding of precise lovers."
The parish register contains two interesting entries of marriage, the first of which is that of Edward Coke, "the Queen's Attorney-General," and "my Lady Elizabeth Hatton," in 1598. This lady was the relict of Sir William Hatton, and the daughter of the celebrated Thomas Lord Burleigh, afterwards Earl of Exeter. She became Coke's second wife, his first having been a lady of the ancient and highly-connected family of the Pastons, by whom he had the large sum for those days of £30,000. By the widow of Sir William he also obtained a considerable addition to his property; but his marriage with her is but another example to be added to the list of the unfortunate matrimonial alliances of distinguished men. The celebration of the ceremony involved both parties in some difficulty. There had been, the same year, a great deal of notice taken of irregular marriages, and Archbishop Whitgift had intimated to the bishops of his province that all who offended in point of time, place, or form were to be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. Coke, however, seems to have presumed on his own and the lady's position, or on his acquaintance, if not friendship, with the prelate, and he disregarded the statute, and was married in a private house, without even having had the banns published or a licence obtained. But this act of contumacy was not passed over. Coke, the newly-married lady, the minister who officiated, Lord Burleigh, and several other persons, were prosecuted in the ecclesiastical court; but upon their submission by their proxies, the whole affair ended in smoke; they were absolved from excommunication, and the penalties consequent upon it, because, says the record, they had offended not out of contumacy, but through ignorance of the law in that point. It strikes one, at this distance of time, that the suit may have been commenced merely for the sake of public example.
Lady Elizabeth Hatton proved a Tartar. When, many years afterwards, Sir Edward Coke proposed a marriage between his younger daughter by Lady Hatton and Sir John Villiers, she raised a tempest, and resenting her husband's attempt to dispose of the daughter without asking her consent, carried the young lady off, and lodged her at Sir Edmund Withipole's, near Oatlands. Sir Edward complained to the Privy Council, and then went with his sons to Oatlands and captured his daughter, a proceeding which induced Lady Hatton to complain to the Privy Council in her turn. Much confusion followed, but at last the marriage of the young couple actually did take place. Then the ill-will between the old people broke out again, and many letters are still in existence, showing a great deal of heat and resentment in both parties. At one time Sir Edward publicly accused his wife of having purloined his plate, and substituted counterfeited alkumy in its place, with intent to defraud him; but she had quite as good to say about him. In about four years their reconciliation seems to have been effected, and that by no less a mediator than James I., but they never enjoyed anything like domestic happiness.
The other entry of marriage is that of Colonel Hutchinson and Lucy Apsley, in 1638. And here, by way of contrast to the last, we have one of the most touching instances of womanly affection that ever was set down in writing. Mrs. Hutchinson is best known by her "Memoirs" of the life of her husband, a charming volume of biography. The account given by her of the courtship which led up to the ceremony before the altar of St. Andrew's is a narrative which all should read, and which all will enjoy.
Mr. Hutchinson fell in love with the lady before seeing her. He had been invited to go to Richmond by his music-master, a man who stood high in his profession, and had been warned by a friend to take heed of the place, for it was so fatal to love, that never any young disengaged person went thither who returned again free. He determined, however, to run the risk, and went. The musician's house was a lively one, frequented by much good company, including gentlemen and ladies connected with the court, and many of the king's musicians.
There happened to be boarded there, for the practice of the lute, and till the return of her mother, a younger daughter of Sir Allen Apsley, late Lieutenant of the Tower. The mother had gone into Wiltshire to complete a treaty, in which some progress had been made, about the marriage of her elder daughter. "This young girl," says Mrs. Hutchinson, "that was left in the house with Mr. Hutchinson, was a very child, her elder sister being at that time scarcely past it, but a child of such pleasantness and vivacity of spirit, and ingenuity in the quality she practised, that Mr. Hutchinson took pleasure in hearing her practise, and would fall in a discourse with her. She having the keys of her mother's house, some half a mile distant, would sometimes ask Mr. Hutchinson, when she went over, to walk along with her.
"One day, when he was there, looking upon an odd by-shelf in her sister's closet, he found a few Latin books. Asking whose they were, he was told they were her elder sister's, whereupon, inquiring more after her, he began first to be sorry she was gone before he had seen her, and gone upon such an account that he was not likely to see her. Then he grew to love to hear mention of her, and the other gentlewomen who had been her companions used to talk much to him of her, telling him how reserved and studious she was, and other things which they esteemed no advantage; but it so much inflamed Mr. Hutchinson's desire of seeing her, that he began to wonder at himself that his heart, which had ever had such an indifferency for the most excellent of womenkind, should have so strong impulses towards a stranger he never saw; and certainly it was of the Lord (though he perceived it not), who had ordained him, through so many providences, to be yoked with her in whom he found so much satisfaction." Her praises continued to be daily sounded in his ears; but at last news arrived which led all the company present one day at table to conclude that Miss Lucy—or "Mrs." Lucy, as young ladies used to be called then—was really married. Mr. Hutchinson immediately turned pale as ashes, and had to retire from table to conceal his agitation.
But it proved a false alarm, and some little time after she made her appearance, and the lover, who had fallen in love with a shadow, met the reality. "His heart, being prepossessed with his own fancy, was not free to discern how little there was in her to answer so great an expectation. She was not ugly, in a careless riding habit; she had a melancholy negligence both of herself and others, as if she neither affected to please others, nor took notice of anything before her; yet in spite of all her indifferency, she was surprised with some unusual liking in her soul when she saw this gentleman, who had hair, eyes, shape, and countenance enough to beget love in any one at the first, and these set off with a graceful and generous mien, which promised an extraordinary person; he was at that time, and indeed always, very neatly habited, for he wore good and rich clothes, and had variety of them, and had them well suited, and every way answerable; in that little thing showing both good judgment and great generosity, he equally becoming them and they him, which he wore with such unaffectedness and such neatness, as do not often meet in one. Although he had but an evening sight of her he had so long desired, and that at disadvantage enough for her, yet the prevailing sympathy of his soul made him think all his pains well paid; and this first did whet his desire to a second sight, which he had by accident the next day, and, to his joy, found she was wholly disengaged from that treaty which he so much feared had been accomplished; he found withal, that though she was modest, she was accostable, and willing to entertain his acquaintance. This soon passed into a mutual friendship between them, and though she innocently thought nothing of love, yet was she glad to have acquired such a friend, who had wisdom and virtue enough to be trusted with her councils, for she was then much perplexed in mind. Her mother and friends had a great desire she should marry, and were displeased that she refused many offers which they thought advantageous enough; she was obedient, loath to displease them, but more herself, in marrying such as she could find no inclination to."
It was not long before friendship on her part passed into love; but of their mutual affection in its full height Mrs. Hutchinson limits herself to saying this, "There never was a passion more ardent and less idolatrous; he loved her better than his life, with inexpressible tenderness and kindness; had a most high obliging esteem of her, yet still considered honour, religion, and duty above her, nor ever suffered the intrusion of such a dotage as should blind him from marking her imperfections; these he looked upon with such an indulgent eye as did not abate his love and esteem of her, while it augmented his care to blot out all those spots which might make her appear less worthy of that respect he paid her; and thus, indeed, he soon made her more equal to him than he found her; for she was a very faithful mirror, reflecting truly, though but dimly, his own glories upon him, so long as he was present. But she, that was nothing before his inspection gave her a fair figure, when he was removed, was only filled with a dark mist, and never could again take in any delightful object, nor return any shining representation. The greatest excellency she had was the power of apprehending, and the virtue of loving his; so, as his shadow, she waited on him everywhere, till he was taken into that region of light that admits of none, and then she vanished into nothing."
Unfortunately, the very day the friends on both sides met to conclude the marriage, she fell ill of the small-pox. "First her life was almost in desperate hazard, and then the disease, for the present, made her the most deformed person that could be seen for a great while after she recovered. Yet Mr. Hutchinson was nothing troubled at it, but married her as soon as she was able to quit the chamber, when the priest and all that saw her were affrighted to look on her; but God recompensed his justice and constancy by restoring her, though she was longer than ordinary before she recovered, as well as before. … On the third day of July, 1638, he was married to Mrs. Lucy Apsley, the second daughter of Sir Allan Apsley, late lieutenant of the Tower of London, at St. Andrew's Church, in Holborn." The newlymarried couple lived for some time afterwards in this neighbourhood.
Their subsequent career need only be glanced at. In 1642 Mr. Hutchinson became a lieutenantcolonel in the parliamentary army, and in 1643 was appointed governor of Nottingham Castle. He took an active part in the struggles of the civil war, and in the government of the days of the Commonwealth, and proved himself a true patriot, honest and earnest in his endeavours to serve the best interests of his country. He was an uncompromising republican, brave, high-minded, and unaffectedly pious. At the Restoration he was discharged from Parliament, and from all offices of state for ever. In October, 1663, he was arrested, imprisoned at Newark, thence carried to the Tower, and in the next year removed to Sandown Castle, where he fell ill and died on the 11th of September, 1664. His noble wife was refused permission to share his confinement.
Richard Savage, the poet, son of the unnatural Countess of Macclesfield, was, according to Dr. Johnson, christened in this church by the direction of Lord Rivers, his reputed father, in 1697–8.
In the register of burials of St. Andrew's parish, under the date August 28, 1770, appears the following entry:—"William Chatterton, Brooks Street;" to which has been added, probably by an after incumbent, "the poet," signed "J. Mill." The addition is perfectly correct, although the poet's Christian name was Thomas, not William, and this slight memorial is the only record in the church of the end of a short chapter in the annals of genius. We shall have more to say on the subject of this unfortunate bard, as well as on the equally melancholy career of Richard Savage, when we come shortly to speak of Brooke Street, Holborn, and its neighbourhood.
In the churchyard of St. Andrew's, Holborn, lie
the remains of another poet, Henry Neele, author,
among other works, of the "Romance of English
History." He was born in the Strand, on the 29th
of January, 1798, and early in life was apprenticed
to a solicitor. During his clerkship—namely, in
1817—he made his first appearance as an author
before the public, and from that time continued
to publish occasionally, until 1828, on the 8th of
February of which year, in a fit of insanity, incipient, it is true, but encouraged by excessive
reading, he unhappily destroyed himself. Against
the west wall of the churchyard is a gravestone
commemorative of his father, and bearing an
epitaph written by Henry Neele. On the same
stone, together with the names of several others of
the family, is the record of the poet's own premature death. The epitaph written by him is as
"Good night, good night, sweet spirit! Thou hast cast
Thy bonds of clay away from thee at last;
Broke the vile earthly fetters, which alone
Held thoe at distance from thy Maker's throne.
But, oh! those fetters to th' immortal mind
Were links of love to those thou'st left behind.
For thee we mourn not; as the apostle prest
His dungeon pillow, till the angel guest
Drew nigh; and when the light that round him shone
Beamed on the pris'ner, his bands were gone:
So wert thou captive to disease and pain,
Till death, the brightest of th' angelic train,
Poured heaven's own radiance, by divine decree,
Around thy suffering soul, and it was free."
St. Andrew's has been called "the poet's church,"
from the sons of song who have in some way or
other been connected with it. We have named
three already, and have here to speak of a fourth.
John Webster, the dramatist, is said to have been
parish clerk in St. Andrew's, but there is, unfortunately, no confirmation of this in the register. The
clerkship, however, being in the gift of the rector,
the vestry register could afford no direct evidence
on the subject. Webster has, to us, an obscure
personal history, but by those who love an old play
he will ever be remembered as the author of the
White Devil and the Duchess of Malfy—two performances, says Hazlitt, which upon the whole, perhaps, come the nearest to Shakespeare of anything
we have on record. Charles Lamb had a great
admiration of our parish clerk's White Devil. "I
never saw anything," he writes, "like the funeral
dirge in this play for the death of Marcello, except
the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his drowned
father in the Tempest. As that is of the water,
watery, so this is of the earth, earthy. Both have
that intensity of feeling which seems to resolve
itself into the element which it contemplates." Let
us, while we have the chance, repeat, in honour to
the memory of Webster, the exquisite lines alluded
to by Lamb:—
"Call for the robin redbreast, and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole
The ant, the fieldmouse, and the mole,
To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
And (when gay tombs are robbed) sustain no harm;
But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men,
For with his nails he'll dig them up again."
The Duchess of Malfy, Webster's second great play, "is not," remarks the critical Hazlitt, "in my judgment, quite so spirited or effectual a performance as the White Devil. But it is distinguished by the same kind of beauties, clad in the same terrors. I do not know but the occasional gleams of passion are even profounder and more Shakesperian; but the story is more laboured, and the horror is accumulated to an overwhelming and insupportable height."
In the church register there is also entered the burial of Nathaniel Tomkins, executed for his share in Waller's plot. Tomkins was Waller's brother-in-law. The plot for which he suffered is one of the noted conspiracies of history. Waller, the poet, in conjunction with Tomkins, Challoner, Blinkhorne, and a few others, had undertaken to seize the persons of the leading members of the House of Commons, and to deliver up the City of London to Charles, who had sent in a commission of array very secretly, by means of the Lady Aubigny, whose husband had fallen at Edgehill. "A servant of Tomkins overheard the conversation of the conspirators, and revealed what he knew to Pym, who presently seized their chief and brought him to trial, where he confessed everything with amazing alacrity, and crawled in the dust, in the hope of saving his life. The jury of Guildhall found a verdict of guilty against all the prisoners. Tomkins and Challoner were hanged, the one in Holborn, and the other in Cornhill, both within sight of their own dwelling-houses; Blinkhorn, Hassell, White, and Waller were, by the mercy of Parliament and the Lord-General Essex, reprieved, and eventually saved. Waller, the chief of them, was detained in the Tower, but, about a year after, upon payment of £10,000, was pardoned 'and released to go travel abroad.'"
Another burial we must notice is that, in 1802, of Joseph Strutt, the author of "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England," and several other works of an antiquarian character. Strutt was born at Springfield, in Essex, on the 27th of October, 1749, and was educated as an artist. In 1770 he became a student at the Royal Academy, and was successful in winning both the gold and silver medals there. He served an apprenticeship to the unfortunate Ryland, and when his term expired, began to unite literary labours of an antiquarian character with those of his artistic profession. In 1773 he published his first book, "The Regal and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of England," and subsequently a "Complete View of the Manners and Customs, Arms, Habits, &c., of the Inhabitants of England;" a "Chronicle of England" (a "heavy book," Chalmers says); a "Dictionary of Engravers;" "The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England;" "Queen Hoo Hall, a Romance," and several other works. He died on the 16th of October, 1802, in Charles Street, Hatton Garden. His biographer sums up his character in these words:—" The calamities incident to man were indeed his portion on this earth, and these greatly augmented by unkindnesses where he least deserved to have met with them. He was charitable without ostentation; a sincere friend, without intentional guile; a dutiful son; a faithful and affectionate husband; a good father; a worthy man; and, above all, it is humbly hoped, a sincere Christian. His natural talents were great, but little cultivated by early education. The numerous works which he gave to the world as an author and as an artist, prove that he employed his time to the best advantage."
That celebrated preacher, William Whiston, once made himself rather troublesome in connection with this church. He constantly attended and partook of the communion. On his principles becoming known he was warned by Sacheverell to forbear partaking of the sacrament. "Wicked Will" Whiston, however, persisted, and at last the rector fairly turned him out. Whiston aired his grievances in print, and then shifted his camp into another parish. Pennant says that on the occasion of his ejection from the church, he had taken it into his head to disturb Dr. Sacheverell while he was in the pulpit, giving utterance to some doctrine contrary to the opinion of that heterodox divine. His lawyer, who had no liking for Dr. Sacheverell, tried to induce Whiston to prosecute the doctor for the insult, and offered to take the business in hand without fees; but this Whiston refused, replying, "If I should give my consent, I should show myself to be as foolish and passionate as Sacheverell himself."
Whiston was born in 1667, and died in 1752. During his life he had many ups and downs, and seems to have been long tossed to and fro on a sea of religious doubt and metaphysical uncertainty. Towards the close of his career he distinguished himself by an abortive attempt to discover the longitude, and by his opinions on the Millennium and the restoration of the Jews. He was a favourite with Queen Caroline, who presented him with £50 every year from the time she became queen, which pension was continued for some time after her death. We get a glimpse of the queen and the eccentric divine in the following anecdote told by Whiston's son. The queen, who liked Whiston's free conversation, once asked him what people in general said of her. He replied that they justly esteemed her as a lady of great abilities, a patron of learned men, and a kind friend to the poor. "But," says she, "no one is without faults, pray what are mine?" Mr. Whiston begged to be excused speaking on that subject, but she insisting, he said her majesty did not behave with proper reverence at church. She replied, the king would persist in talking with her. He said, a greater than kings was there only to be regarded. She acknowledged the truth of this, and confessed her fault. "Pray," said she, "tell me what is my next?" He answered, "When your majesty has amended of that fault I will tell you of your next;" and so it ended.
But we must not be carried away, by recollection of such tales, to forget St. Andrew's. Hacket, who afterwards became a bishop, was rector here for several years. This divine was born near Exeter House in the Strand, on the 1st of September, 1592, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He took orders in the year 1618, and we find him passing through various stages of advancement till in 1623 he landed in the post of chaplain to James I., with whom he became a favourite preacher. In 1624, upon the recommendation of the Lord Keeper, Dr. Williams, he was made rector of St. Andrew's, Holborn. His patron also procured him, in the course of the same year, the rectory of Cheam, in Surrey, telling him that he intended Holborn for wealth and Cheam for health.
During the time of the Civil War he was in danger, through his allegiance to the unpopular party, of getting into trouble. "One Sunday," says Cunningham, "whilst he was reading the Common Prayer in St. Andrew's, a soldier of the Earl of Essex came, clapped a pistol to his breast, and commanded him to read no farther. Not at all terrified, Hacket said he would do what became a divine, and he might do what became a soldier. He was permitted to proceed."
At the Restoration he was made Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and set a noble example by exhibiting a degree of munificence worthy of his station. He expended £20,000 in repairing his cathedral, and was, besides, a liberal benefactor to the college of which he had been a member. He was the author of the Life of Archbishop Williams, a quaint and learned work, half made up of quotations, like Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy."
As for his character, he is described as having been exemplary in behaviour, cheerful in conversation, hospitable, humble and affable, though subject to great eruptions of anger, but at the same time very placable and ready to be appeased, and altogether of too generous a nature to be really vindictive.
The Dissenters once got an agreeable surprise whilst Hacket was rector of St. Andrew's. Soon after the Restoration, having received notice of the interment of a Dissenter belonging to his parish, he got the burial service by heart. He was a fine elocutionist, and besides felt deeply the propriety and excellence of what he had to deliver; so he went through the service with such emphasis and grace as touched the hearts of all who were present, and particularly of the friends of the deceased, who unanimously gave it as their opinion that they had never heard a finer discourse. Their astonishment may be conceived when they learned that it was taken word for word from the Liturgy, a book which, though they had never read it, they affected to hold in contempt and detestation. Other clergymen, it is said, have been known to practise the same pious fraud as Mr. Hacket, and with a like success.
During Mr. Hacket's time St. Andrew's was old and decayed. He took in hand to rebuild it, and for that purpose got together a great sum of money, but on the breaking out of the Civil War the funds were seized by Parliament, as well as those which had been gathered for the repair of St. Paul's Cathedral, so that he was unable to carry out his praiseworthy intentions.
Another eminent rector of St. Andrew's was Stillingfleet, who was afterwards raised to the see of Worcester. Stillingfleet was truly a controversial divine, his life being one long warfare with Romanists, Nonconformists, Socinians, and the philosopher, John Locke. Among his Nonconformist opponents were Owen, Baxter, and Howe. He was born in 1635, and died in 1699. He was presented to the living of St. Andrew's, Holborn, in 1665, by Thomas, Earl of Southampton. His biographer describes his person as tall, graceful, and well-proportioned; his countenance as comely, fresh, and awful. "His apprehension was quick and sagacious; his judgment exact and profound; and his memory very tenacious; so that considering how intensely he studied, and how he read everything, it is easy to imagine him what he really was, one of the most universal scholars that ever lived."
Stillingfleet was at one time chaplain to King Charles II., and in that capacity exhibited considerable ability as a courtier. On one occasion it is told that his majesty asked him "how it came about that he always read his sermons before him, when he was informed he invariably preached without book elsewhere?" He told the king that "the awe of so noble an audience, where he saw nothing that was not greatly superior to him, but chiefly the seeing before him so great and wise a prince, made him afraid to trust himself." With this answer, which was not very becoming in a divine, the king was well content. "But pray," said Stillingfleet, "will your majesty give me leave to ask you a question, too? Why do you read your speeches, when you have none of the same reasons?" "Why, truly, doctor," said the king, "your question is a very pertinent one, and so will be my answer. I have asked them so often, and for so much money, that I am ashamed to look them in the face."
Amongst the rectors of St. Andrew's was the Rev. Charles Barton, who died in 1805, and of whom an anecdote worth repeating is given by the historian of the churches of London. He had acted diligently as curate of the church for several years, when the previous rector died, and presuming on length of service, he waited on the Duchess-Dowager of Buccleugh to ask for the living. "You have come soon, and yet too late," said her Grace; "for having made up my mind a dozen years ago as to whom I would give St. Andrew's, I have sent my servant with the presentation." Mr. Barton bowed in silence, and returned home, where he found his wife and family rejoicing over the duchess's letter. "Ah," said he, "her Grace loves a joke," and of course went back immediately to thank her. When he died the duchess continued her kindness to the family, and presented a living to his eldest son, who was also in the Church. Mr. Charles Barton was buried in St. Andrew's, and was commemorated by a tablet in the north gallery.
Under an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of Queen Anne, and in consequence of the proceedings that took place in connection with it, the parish of St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, which before had formed part of St. Andrew's, Holborn, was erected into a distinct parish for spiritual purposes, although still united with St. Andrew's as regards the poor, and other secular matters.
Newcourt informs us that a public grammar-school was among the adjuncts of the church. It was one of those erected by Act of Parliament in the reign of Henry VI., and, according to Maitland, stood on the right side of the church, and was taken down in 1737.