An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, Volume 4, the City. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1929.
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LONDON, Vol. IV (City).
The only Earthwork included in the area of the present volume is the mediaeval City Ditch, which skirted the town wall and has been filled in throughout its entire length. For the remains found, from time to time, of the earlier Roman ditch see Vol. III, pp. 94–96.
London, before the Great Fire of 1666, was mainly a timber-built city; only the churches, the larger houses and some of the halls of the City Companies were built of more durable material. As the immediate neighbourhood of the city produces no building stone, this material, throughout the Middle Ages, had to be imported, the earlier builders using the excellent stone from the quarries of Normandy or Northamptonshire. From the end of the 12th Century onwards the favourite material was Reigate stone. After the Great Fire the city was largely re-built in brick, such stone as was employed being almost invariably from the Portland quarries. The surviving timber structures, very few in number, are confined to the areas which escaped the Great Fire.
The earliest surviving ecclesiastical structure in the City is the crypt of St. Mary le Bow, which dates from the latter part of the 11th century, and, though partly reconstructed, is still a building of unusual interest. The eastern parts of the Priory-Church of St. Bartholomew the Great date from the foundation of that house in 1123 and with the rather later western part of the presbytery and crossing form a handsome example of 12th-century work. The round nave of the Temple Church was built about 1185, and though largely re-built in the 19th century still retains its original West doorway and part of the porch.
Thirteenth-century building is represented by the fine quire of the Temple Church ; by the much-altered nave-arcades of All Hallows Barking; and by some remains at St. Helen's Bishopsgate. The churches of St. Ethelburga, St. Olave Hart Street, All Hallows Barking, St. Sepulchre, St. Helen's Bishopsgate, the Dutch Church Austin Friars, St. Alphege London Wall, and St. Bartholomew the Less contain work of the 14th and 15th centuries, but except for the 15th-century arcade of St. Helen's it is undistinguished. St. Andrew Undershaft which was re-built in 1532 and St. Giles Cripplegate in 1545 are typical town churches of their period. Mediaeval towers have also survived in whole or in part at All Hallows Staining, St. Alphege London Wall, St. Andrew Holborn, St. Anne and St. Agnes, St. Mary Aldermanbury, St. Katharine Cree, and perhaps at other places.
Judging from the surviving remains, the mediaeval London parish churches were in no wise remarkable architecturally ; the parishes were so small and the number of churches so large as to militate against any great elaboration in individual examples. It was otherwise with the Conventual buildings, and the surviving remains of St. Bartholomew Smithfield and the Temple Church show that these buildings were both in scale and decoration fully on a level with the highest standards of the age.
Four London churches, so far as is at present known, possess mediaeval crypts : the earliest of these, at St. Mary le Bow, has already been mentioned. The other three, at St. Olave Hart Street, St. Bartholomew the Great, and All Hallows Barking, date from the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries. There is a crypt of late 12th century date, reconstructed in the churchyard of All Hallows Staining.
Between the Reformation and the Great Fire a certain amount of churchbuilding was done in London, of which the best example is the Church of St. Katharine Cree, dating from 1628. Other work of the same age is to be seen in the South doorway at St. Helen's Bishopsgate (dated 1633) and perhaps at St. Alban's Wood Street. The plain brick tower at All Hallows Barking is remarkable as an ecclesiastical building erected under the Commonwealth (1659).
The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed or seriously damaged 86 parish churches out of the total of 107 then existing in the City. Of these destroyed churches, 51 were re-built or repaired under the superintendence of Sir Christopher Wren; St. Andrew Holborn, not destroyed by the Fire, was also re-built by him. One of Wren's churches, St. Mary Woolnoth, had, subsequently, to be re-built under Nicholas Hawksmoor. Of the remainder, 18 churches of Sir Christopher Wren have since been demolished, most of them in quite recent times, and one, St. Dunstan in the East, re-built. Of the 21 churches which escaped the Great Fire, twelve have been re-built, and six have since been demolished. There now remain then, in the City, 32 churches designed by Wren ; eight of earlier date; and eight afterwards re-built, making a total of 48. Of the destroyed churches, besides the mediaeval towers mentioned on the last page, the towers of St. Mary Somerset and St. Olave Old Jewry survive.
Wren's Renaissance Churches form a remarkable group, exemplifying alike a mastery of construction and design and a felicity and fecundity of ideas which, it may well be claimed, have never been equalled by any other architect. Amongst his towers and spires, those of St. Mary le Bow, St. Bride, Christ Church Newgate Street, and St. Michael Paternoster Royal may be cited as specially worthy of attention, though a number more may claim the preference of individual taste. Of his interiors, St. Stephen Walbrook is perhaps the most remarkable, though several of the smaller churches are almost equally successful. In one point only he may perhaps be held to have fallen short of complete success, and that is in the difficult problem of combining a gallery front with a satisfactory internal design. Most of Wren's churches are faced externally in stone, although a few are of brick with stone dressings, and this combination is perhaps best exemplified in the very charming design of St. Benet Paul's Wharf.
This is hardly the place to enter on a discussion of the merits of the Cathedral of St. Paul's. The existing building is the result of a succession of schemes and compromises and it is perhaps a matter for congratulation that such was the case. It is in fact a "civic" Cathedral and worthy of its position. As it stands it is undoubtedly one of the most successful essays in Renaissance design on a large scale in the world, and presents a succession of excellences in proportion, outline and detail which place it well above almost all its competitors.
Wren also experimented in Gothic architecture, as it was understood in his time. In general these attempts are more curious than attractive, though the tower of St. Michael Cornhill, one of his latest works, is bold in design and not lacking in dignity and effect. The other examples of his work in this field are the churches of St. Mary Aldermary and St. Alban Wood Street, and the tower of St. Dunstan in the East; the last named is modelled on the 15th-century tower of St. Nicholas Newcastle or the mediaeval tower of St. Mary-le-Bow.
Working with Wren was a group of remarkably competent carvers in stone and wood ; among them Grinling Gibbons was, of course, an artist of outstanding merit, whose work survives at St. Paul's Cathedral and possibly in a few City churches and Companies' Halls.
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul has always been served by a College of secular canons ; some remains of the mediaeval chapter-house and the cloister which surrounded it are still to be seen on the South side of the Cathedral. St. Martin le Grand, also a secular college, has no surviving remains. There were three houses of Austin Canons in the City, two within and one without the walls; of these, the Priory of Holy Trinity Aldgate has entirely disappeared, but the Priory of St. Bartholomew Smithfield still retains substantial portions of its great church and some remains of the cloister and chapter-house; the church of the third house— St. Mary Cripplegate or Elsing Spital—became parochial in the 16th-century, taking the name of a destroyed church of St. Alphege, and the 14th-century tower and adjoining walls still, in part, survive. Each of the chief Orders of Friars had an important establishment in the City, but all have been pulled down except the great preaching nave of the Austin Friars, which has belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church since the 16th century. The church of the Greyfriars became the parish church of Christ Church Newgate Street at the Dissolution, and was re-built on a smaller scale after the Great Fire. The existing church with the adjacent graveyard represents the exact outlines of the mediaeval building of which some paving and a tomb-slab can still be seen. The Blackfriars by Ludgate is represented only by a few fragmentary walls ; and the Whitefriars, south of Fleet Street, by a small vaulted chamber under part of the domestic buildings. Of the Crutched Friars' house there are no remains. The Benedictine Nunnery of St. Helen Bishopsgate has retained the monastic church which now forms the northern half of the parish church, and preserves some interesting features appertaining to its former use. The headquarters of the Knights of the Temple, an Order dissolved early in the 14th century, passed eventually to the legal Societies of the Inner and Middle Temple, and the church with its typical round nave became and remains their private chapel. Of the minor mediaeval foundations, colleges, hospitals, etc., no structural remains survive, though the plan of the Hospital-Church of St. Thomas Acon in Cheapside is perhaps preserved in the buildings of the Mercers' Company.
Of later Collegiate buildings, mention must be made of the Chapter House of St. Paul's designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the buildings of two Inns of Court the Inner and Middle Temple—and of two Inns of Chancery, Clifford's Inn and Barnard's Inn; the latter has a late 14th-century Hall, originally domestic, and there is a doorway of equally early date at Clifford's Inn.
The mediaeval town-wall of London, was substantially the Roman wall of the city, repaired at various times. The main, and indeed the only, deviation from the Roman line, was the extension built late in the 13th century to enclose the new convent of the Blackfriars, to the S. of Ludgate. The structural remains of the Roman wall have been fully dealt with in Vol. III, pp. 69–106, but a short reference is made in the present volume to any still visible fragments of Roman or mediaeval work, in the covering paragraph of each Ward, in which such fragment survives. Of the town-gates no fragment is now visible, save the 16th-century figures from Ludgate, now removed to St. Dunstan's in the West (p. 134) and St. Dunstan's Regent's Park (Vol. ii, p. 87). The age of each individual gate has been considered in Vol. iii, pp. 97–99, and an account given of any structural remains which have come to light from time to time.
The secular buildings of the City are chiefly remarkable for the series of Halls represented by those of the Inns of Court and Chancery, the Guildhall and the Halls of the City Companies. The remains of purely domestic architecture are largely confined to the period succeeding the Great Fire, and examples, even of this age, are becoming yearly more scarce.
The earliest secular building included in the volume is the late 14th-century Hall of Barnard's Inn already referred to, which is a timber-framed structure surviving largely intact. To the same period belongs the Hall of the Merchant Taylors' Company with a vaulted crypt to the east, formerly supporting the chapel. Only a little later in date is the Guildhall of the City Corporation, begun early in the 15th century. This building also, in spite of numerous subsequent alterations, is structurally still largely intact; it possesses a remarkable vaulted undercroft, a vaulted porch, and some remains of the subsidiary buildings to the North. Other mediaeval fragments survive at the Inner Temple Hall and at a building S. of Watling Street. Elizabethan building is almost confined to the handsome Hall of the Middle Temple, which possesses a highly enriched hammer-beam roof and screen. Jacobean building is equally scarce, the only important example being No. 17 Fleet Street, built partly over the Inner Temple Gatehouse, and possessing an enriched plaster ceiling. The surviving parts of Barbers' Hall were mainly built in 1636 from the designs of Inigo Jones ; the court Room and Staircase are both remarkable.
The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the majority of the Halls of the City Companies, and of these many were re-built in the years immediately succeeding that event. It has in the past been customary to assign certain of these buildings to Sir Christopher Wren, but in no instance can this be substantiated, the Companies employing in every known instance their own surveyors. Many of these post-Fire Halls have been subsequently re-built so that the number of survivors is now reduced to fourteen, including one, the Bakers', erected too late for inclusion in this Inventory. On plan they consist essentially of a large Livery Hall, a Court Room and a Kitchen, and there can be little doubt that they reproduce the main features of the large mediaeval town-house. As a rule they are not remarkable architecturally, but contain a wealth of furniture and fittings of unusual excellence. Apart from those already noticed in the preceding paragraphs, the most remarkable are the Halls of the Mercers', Brewers', Vintners', Girdlers', Tallow Chandlers', Skinners', and Stationers' Companies.
Comparatively few of the larger houses erected after the Great Fire have survived, but amongst these must be mentioned St. Paul's Deanery, designed by Sir Christopher Wren ; the College of Arms ; No. 33 Mark Lane ; No. 5 Crane Court; No. 34 Great Tower Street, a large merchant's house ; and a part, including the staircase, of No. 73 Cheapside, sometimes known as the Old Mansion House, where Sir William Turner is reputed to have kept his Mayoralty. Smaller houses of distinction include Nos. 1 and 2 Lawrence Pountney Hill, with elaborate hoods to the doorways ; No. 70 Aldermanbury, with a sculptured sign recalling the builder—either Richard or John Chandler ; the Canons' house in Amen Court, etc.
Bells: The most remarkable bell in the City is that dated 1458, formerly in All Hallows Staining and now preserved at Grocers' Hall; it bears a Flemish inscription. There are two mediaeval bells at St. Bartholomew the Less and five at St. Bartholomew the Great; those at the first church are assigned to John Langhorne and Robert Crouch and those at St. Bartholomew the Great to Thomas Bullisdon.
Brasses: The earliest surviving brass in the City is the shield and inscription to William Tonge, 1389, at All Hallows Barking. Of the 15th and 16th centuries there is a good figure of 1437 in the same church, and another of c. 1535 of a lady in a heraldic mantle in St. Helen's church. There are two brasses of priests in academic costume also in St. Helen's church, but the only brass of outstanding interest in the district is the Flemish plate to Andrew Evyngar, salter, 1533, and Ellyn his wife in All Hallows Barking.
Bread Shelves: The bread-shelves provided in many of the city churches, for keeping the loaves to be distributed to the poor of the parish, form an interesting class of fitting which is rarely found save in town-churches. The best examples are at All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Michael Paternoster Royal and St. Martin Ludgate.
Communion Tables and Rails: There is an early 17th-century communion-table at St. Bartholomew the Great, but all the other notable examples are of late 17th-century date. They include handsome carved tables at St. Benet Paul's Wharf, St. Clement Eastcheap, St. Stephen Coleman Street, All Hallows Barking, St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Mary Abchurch, and St. Stephen Walbrook; several of these have carved figures as supports, and the last-named is of an unusual semielliptical form.
Cisterns, Lead: The earliest surviving example of this class of fitting in the city is at the Middle Temple Hall: it is dated 1612 and plainly panelled. There are elaborately decorated cisterns at Girdlers' Hall and Brewers' Hall dated respectively 1695 and 1671. Other examples are to be found at Leathersellers' Hall, 1671 ; St. Paul's Cathedral, 1682 ; Innholders' Hall, 1685 ; Vintners' Hall, 1704, and All Hallows Barking, 1705.
Doors: There are elaborately enriched doors of late 16th-century date at the Halls of both the Inner and Middle Temple. The door, dated 1633, at St. Helen's Bishopsgate is also worthy of notice, and within the same church are two handsome door-cases of the same period. Of late 17th-century doors and door-cases there is a fine series of examples in the post-Fire churches and Companies' Halls ; the finest of these are to be found at St. Lawrence Jewry, St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, St. Benet Paul's Wharf, St. Mary Abchurch, and St. Martin Ludgate, and at the Halls of the Brewers', Vintners', Innholders' and Barbers' Companies. The portcullis at the Mercers' Hall is a remarkable feature. A special class of doorway may here be mentioned, which formed the entrances into parish churchyards. They are generally decorated either with emblems of mortality, as in the richly carved example in oak at All Hallows Lombard Street, and the plain stone gateways at St. Olave Hart Street and St. Katharine Cree (1631), or bore above the head a sculpture or carving of the Doom, as at St. Stephen Coleman Street, St. Andrew Holborn and St. Mary at Hill. The stone gateway at St. Giles Cripplegate, dated 1660, is now lying in the churchyard.
Fireplaces and Overmantels: There is a stone fireplace of early type at Barnard's Inn and another of early 16th-century date at Inner Temple Hall. An early 17th-century stone fireplace and oak overmantel is preserved in the Cock Tavern, Fleet Street, and there are fine oak overmantels of the same period preserved at St. Andrew's Court-house Holborn and at No. 30 Bishopsgate Street Within, the latter is dated 1633 and retains also the stone fireplace. Late 17th- and early 18th-century fireplaces and overmantels are represented in great variety in almost all the ancient Halls of the City Companies; in a few private houses, such as No. 34 Great Tower Street; and in the Benchers' Reading Room at the Inner Temple.
Fonts and Covers: The only mediaeval font included in the inventory is the plain 15th-century example at St. Bartholomew the Great. Early 17th-century fonts of Renaissance design survive at St. Bride Fleet Street, dated 1615 ; at St. Helen's Bishopsgate of c. 1632; at St. Andrew Undershaft, of c. 1634 by Nicholas Stone ; and at St. Katharine Cree of c. 1646. Late 17th-century fonts are well represented, the finest being those at St. Margaret Lothbury with scriptural scenes; St. Margaret Pattens; and Christ Church Newgate Street. Of covers, the most remarkable is that at All Hallows Barking with carved cherubs, fruit and flowers of unusual delicacy. Covers of more ordinary type may be noted at St. Sepulchre, Christ Church Newgate Street, All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Stephen Walbrook and St. Mildred Bread Street.
Funeral Palls: London is perhaps the only place which possesses more than a single example of this unusual type of funeral furniture. There can be no doubt that in the Middle Ages all the Companies, Fraternities and other corporate bodies had each their pall which covered the coffins at their members' funerals. There survive in London eight of these palls, of which the simplest but not the earliest is that belonging to the Parish Clerks' Company, which was repaired in 1686. The other examples are more elaborate; they include two palls belonging to the Merchant Taylors' Company, one each to the Ironmongers', Saddlers', Fishmongers', Brewers', and Vintners' Companies; these, generally, have brocaded centres and embroidered flaps with shields-of-arms, figures of the patron saints, etc. All are of early 16th-century date and the Ironmongers' pall is known to have been given in 1515. Outside London, palls are of very infrequent occurrence, though one belonging to the Cappers' Company of Coventry is preserved in St. Michael's Church in that city, there is a second at Dunstable Priory, and a pall of the Lucas family is preserved in St. Giles' Church, Colchester.
Galleries: The majority of the city churches were provided with galleries late in the 17th or during the 18th century. In the larger churches, such as St. Andrew Holborn, St. Bride Fleet Street, or Christ Church Newgate Street, these were of considerable size and extended through the side aisle of the building and sometimes across the west end also. In the smaller churches they were of more restricted dimensions and some of them have now been removed. They are, generally, provided with panelled fronts of more or less ornate design and are approached by one or more staircases of the same type as the domestic staircases of the same period.
Glass: Comparatively little glass survives in the city churches, and both here and in the secular buildings it is nearly all heraldic. There is some 15th-century heraldic glass appertaining to Sir John Crosby in St. Helen's Bishopsgate, and a series of shields of benefactors of the church, in 1532, at St. Andrew Undershaft. In the same church is a large window with figures of five sovereigns dating from the end of the 17th century. Much of the glass in the East window of St. Katharine Cree is original and of c. 1628 ; other glass in the same church came from St. James' Duke's Place, now demolished. There are large early 18th-century heraldic windows at St. Andrew Holborn and St. Edmund Lombard Street, the latter erected to commemorate the Union of England and Scotland in 1707.
Secular glass includes a panel with a figure-subject in St. Bartholomew's Hospital, but is otherwise almost entirely heraldic. Of this, the finest collection is at the Middle Temple Hall, but there are smaller collections at Barnard's Inn; Brewers', Clothworkers', Innholders', Carpenters', Barbers', Cutlers', Apothecaries', Parish Clerks' Halls and elsewhere.
Monuments: There are fifteen mediaeval effigies in the district under review, and of these the series of ten in the Temple Church includes the most remarkable, though they have suffered much from restoration and recutting; they cover the whole period of the 13th century, the latest being the effigy of a Roos. The effigies in other churches include those of a 14th-century civilian and his wife in St. Helen's Bishopsgate, but formerly in St. Martin Outwich; the 15th-century figures of Sir John Crosby and his wife in the same church; and the painted effigy, made probably early in the 16th century, to commemorate the founder of St. Bartholomew's Smithfield. There are late Gothic tombs, without effigies, at All Hallows Barking, St. Bartholomew the Less, St. Olave Hart Street, St. Botolph Aldersgate and St. Helen's Bishopsgate. At the last-named church there is also a panelled Easter Sepulchre erected as a monument to Joan Alfrey in 1525.
Elizabethan and Jacobean memorials are best represented by the Pickering, Spencer and Bond monuments in St. Helen's, the Throkmorton monument at St. Katharine Cree, the Hayward monument at St. Alphege London Wall, the Ofley and Stow monuments at St. Andrew Undershaft and the Plowden monument in the Temple Church; all the above have effigies. The splendid series of mediaeval and later memorials, formerly existing in Old St. Paul's Cathedral, is now reduced to the monument of Dean Donne, the Baskervile tablet and the few shattered effigies preserved in the crypt.
To the period succeeding the Great Fire belong an extensive series of wall-monuments and tablets of varying degrees of excellence. The most elaborate examples are in St. Dunstan in the East, St. Michael Cornhill and the Temple Church.
The names of a few of the sculptors of these memorials are ascertainable. Thus the city possesses examples of the work of Nicholas Stone at St. Paul's Cathedral and St. Dunstan in the West, of John Stone at the Temple Church, of Gerard and Nicholas Johnson at St. Andrew Undershaft and St. Helen's Bishopsgate, of John Bushnell at St. Olave Hart Street, of Caius Cibber at St. Lawrence Jewry and St. Dunstan in the East and of Francis Bird at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Organs and Organ-cases: The majority of the organs erected in the re-built city churches after the Great Fire were the work either of Father Bernard Schmidt or of Renatus Harris. Between the years 1681 and 1708 the former supplied organs to the churches of St. Peter Cornhill, St. Mary Woolnoth, the Temple Church, St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Mary at Hill, St. James Garlickhithe, St. Dunstan in the East, St. Katharine Cree and St. Martin Ludgate ; of these the organ at St. Dunstan's had been removed to St. Alban's Abbey and the others have been either altered or re-built. His rival, Renatus Harris, between 1670 and about 1711 supplied organs to the churches of St. Sepulchre, St. Botolph Aldgate, All Hallows Barking, St. Michael Cornhill, St. Lawrence Jewry, Christ Church Newgate Street, All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Andrew Undershaft, St. Andrew Holborn, St. Giles Cripplegate, St. Clement Eastcheap and St. Bride Fleet Street; many of these have been enlarged and re-built. The organ built by Abraham Jordan at St. Magnus the Martyr in 1712 includes the earliest example of a "swell-organ."
The organ-cases containing these instruments are often elaborately decorated. The organ and case at St. Paul's Cathedral formerly stood over the quire-screen but have been removed and re-erected against the side walls ; the case includes some finely carved detail. Other noteworthy organ-cases are to be seen at St. Magnus the Martyr, All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Lawrence Jewry and St. Stephen Walbrook.
Paintings: The most extensive piece of painted decoration within the limits of the Commission's present inquiries is the dome of St. Mary Abchurch, probably executed in 1707–8 ; it is, however, somewhat faded and not easily studied. There is a late 17th-century painted ceiling in the vestry of St. Lawrence Jewry by Fuller the younger, and over the mantelpiece in the same room a painting attributed to Ribera. At the Carpenters' Hall are preserved three tempera-paintings on plaster of mid-16th-century date from the old Hall which represent biblical scenes. The Painter-Stainers' Hall contains some interesting painted decoration and landscapes on panelling. The work of Thornhill is represented by a panel at Inner Temple Hall, a ceiling in the Aldermen's Court Room at the Guildhall, and the paintings in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral; the last two examples, however, are beyond the terminal date of the Commission's reference.
Panelling: The earliest example of this type of fitting is the linen-fold panelling at Barnard's Inn. The Middle Temple Hall has some Elizabethan panelling, and there are three carved panels of 1579 preserved at the Carpenters' Hall. The first-floor room of No. 17 Fleet Street is lined with Jacobean panelling. Of late 17th- and early 18th-century work there are handsome panelled rooms at the Inner Temple (Benchers' Reading Room), Brewers', Girdlers', Merchant Taylors', Mercers', Skinners', Tallow Chandlers', Apothecaries', Stationers', and Painter-Stainers' Halls. A few of the chambers in the Temple have enriched panelling, and mention may also be made of that in No. 34 Great Tower Street.
Plaster-Work: The vaulted ceilings of St. Katharine Cree (c. 1628) are remarkable examples of plaster-work in the quasi-Gothic manner, and the tradition is carried on in the elaborate plaster fan-vaulting of St. Mary Aldermary and the simpler vaulting of St. Alban Wood Street. Other post-Fire churches have enriched plaster ceilings and vaults of Renaissance design ; the examples at St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Swithin London Stone, St. Andrew by the Wardrobe and St. Andrew Holborn may be specially noted.
In secular work the Jacobean ceiling in No. 17 Fleet Street and the rather later ceiling at Barbers' Hall have already been mentioned, and there are handsome plaster ceilings of late 17th-century date at the Tallow Chandlers', Haberdashers', Pewterers', and Innholders' Halls and in the Aldermen's Court Room at the Guildhall. To these may be added the ceiling of the vestry at St. Lawrence Jewry and the ceiling with curiously clumsy figures in the vestry of St. Olave Hart Street.
Plate: The church-plate of the city of London includes, as might be expected, an unusual number of interesting pieces. It is unfortunate that a certain amount of it has been dispersed by the destruction of the churches to which it belonged, while, on the other hand, a certain number of churches, owing to the union of benefices, have acquired an amount of plate out of all proportion to any possible use of it. Most of this superfluous plate is stored at various banks, but a number of churches have adopted the admirable practice of depositing it on permanent loan at one or other of the Metropolitan Museums.
There are five examples of mediaeval plate surviving in the city, in whole or in part. Of these the paten of St. Michael Crooked Lane (now at St. Magnus) has six-lobed spandrels engraved with leaves and a figure of God the Father in the central depression ; it dates from c. 1500. An alms-dish of 1524 from the same church (now at St. Magnus) has four engraved heads in medallions. At St. Mary Woolnoth is a dish of 1518 with a central heraldic boss. The other two pieces are the stem, of 1507, of a cup at St. Martin Ludgate with an inscription connecting it with a monstrance left to the church in 1535 by Stephen Pekoc ; and, probably, the stem of a cup of 1559 at St. Botolph Aldgate.
London possesses an unusual number of cups of the early Reformation period, including one of 1545 at St. Margaret Patens; one of 1548 at St. Lawrence Jewry; three of 1549 at St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Peter Cornhill and St. James Garlickhithe ; two of 1550 at St. Michael Cornhill and St. Martin Ludgate ; and one of 1552 at St. James Garlickhithe. There are thirty-four Elizabethan cups, including one with a handle and three of beaker-form. Of these cups, five date from 1559, three from 1560, one from 1561 and two from 1562. In addition to these there are two handsome secular cups, one, called the Falstaff cup, of 1590, at St. Magnus; and the second from St. Michael Bassishaw (now at St. Lawrence Jewry) of Augsburg make and of c. 1600.
Of unusual pieces, mention may be made of the mazer-bowl, of 1568, at St. Giles Cripplegate ; the horn beaker of 1573 at the same church ; a wooden cup of 1670 at St. James Garlickhithe ; the pair of flagons, of 1635, with handles and spouts at the Dutch Church Austin Friars ; and the elaborately pierced and enriched Indian dish presented to Christ Church Newgate Street in 1675.
Plate of 17th- and early 18th-century date is numerous, the most noteworthy pieces being the cups of 1609 and 1617 at St. Botolph Aldgate and St. Giles Cripplegate respectively, the bread-dish of 1672 at St. Bride Fleet Street, the handsome mace at the same church, and the embossed dishes of 1712 at St. Benet Paul's Wharf.
Pulpits: There are two fine early 17th-century pulpits, each with a sounding board, at St. Helen's Bishopsgate and at All Hallows Barking, the latter made in 1613. Most of the post-Fire churches have late 17th-century pulpits, forming a series of great variety and interest. The pulpit formerly at All Hallows the Great is now at Hammersmith, while its beautiful sounding-board is at St. Margaret Lothbury. Another pulpit, in Christ Church Newgate Street, has been broken up and the finely carved panels incorporated in the quire-stalls. Many of the other pulpits have lost their sounding-boards. The finest pulpits of this period are those at St. Mary Abchurch, St. Mildred Bread Street and St. Clement Eastcheap, with their sounding-boards; and those at St. Stephen Coleman Street, St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, St. Augustine Old Change and St. Andrew Holborn, which have lost this feature.
Reredoses: These all belong to the post-Fire period and many display considerable elaboration. They are based on one or other of the Classic Orders and are primarily arranged to display panels with the Decalogue, Creed and Lord's Prayer, and sometimes painted figures of Moses and Aaron. The finest examples are those at St. Mary Abchurch, St. Vedast Foster Lane and St. Magnus the Martyr, though the last named has modern additions. Smaller reredoses, of good design or detail, exist at All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Augustine Old Change, St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, St. Stephen Coleman Street. St. Benet Paul's Wharf, St. Martin Ludgate, St. Anne and St. Agnes, and elsewhere.
Royal Arms: The practice of setting up the Royal Arms in churches, to symbolise the royal supremacy, dates at any rate from the time of Edward VI. All the post-Fire churches at one time possessed this feature, sometimes rendered in woodcarving and sometimes in plaster. There are good examples in plaster at Christ Church Newgate Street and St. Mildred Bread Street; and in wood at St. Benet Paul's Wharf, St. Mary at Hill, St. Margaret Pattens and All Hallows Lombard Street.
In addition to the full Achievement some churches have also carved figures of the lion and unicorn supporters set up on pew-ends and thought by some to indicate the traditional position of the division between the nave and quire. There are examples at St. Mildred Bread Street, St. James Garlickhithe, St. Peter Cornhill, the Schoolhouse Foster Lane, St. Margaret Pattens, etc. The first three examples retain their original position, but most of the others have been moved.
Screens: There are now no remains of mediaeval chancel-screens in the city churches. After the Great Fire only two churches, St. Peter Cornhill and All Hallows the Great, were provided with this feature and both screens survive, though the second one has been set up in St. Margaret Lothbury since the destruction of All Hallows church. This screen is the finer of the two and was given by Theodore Jacobson, a Merchant of the Steelyard; it bears a large carving of the eagle of the Hanseatic League, but the Royal Arms which formerly surmounted it have been removed elsewhere. The screen at St. Peter Cornhill is of simpler design but retains both its royal arms and lion and unicorn.
Many of the city churches retain late 17th-century partition-screens masking vestibules and doors, which it is unnecessary to particularise. The screens at St. Paul's Cathedral are, however, worthy of particular attention; those in the Quire and its aisles are mainly of wrought-iron work and include the magnificent productions of Jean Tijou. The screens enclosing the two chapels flanking the west end of the nave date from the reign of Queen Anne and are equally handsome examples of woodwork.
In secular buildings screens are confined to the Halls of the various Corporations. The Elizabethan example at the Middle Temple Hall is perhaps the richest and most elaborate screen, of its age, that survives in the country. Many of the Halls of the City Companies possess handsome late 17th-century oak screens, that at the Girdlers' Hall, with an arcaded gallery, being perhaps the most notable. Mention may also be made of those at the Vintners', Mercers', Merchant Taylors', Brewers' and Stationers' Halls. A screen from one of the re-built halls of the major companies has travelled as far as Lockinge House in Berkshire.
Seating: Late in the 17th century practically all the city churches were fitted with "box-pews" with high wainscoted partitions. In almost every case (except St. Mildred Bread Street) these pews have now been either removed or cut down and the materials applied to the erection of quire-stalls, etc., not contemplated in the original arrangement. A number of churches have, however, retained their original church-wardens' pews, set at the west end of the church and treated with greater elaboration than the rest. Examples may be seen at St. Margaret Pattens (with canopies), St. Clement Eastcheap, St. Mildred Bread Street, St. Lawrence Jewry, All Hallows Barking, etc.
Signs: The practice of setting a sculptured sign, of heraldic or other significance, on the front of a building was common in the latter part of the 17th century, and the large collection of these memorials in the Guildhall Museum represents a mere tithe of those formerly existing. Some few still remain at or near their original sites, but since the recent destruction of the house with a swan-badge in Cheapside, the carving at No. 70 Aldermanbury is now the only example in the City still in its original setting. Where these signs still remain in an existing building on the old site they have been included in the Inventory.
Staircases: Very few staircases in the city of London date from before the Great Fire. The main staircase at the Barbers' Hall may perhaps be part of Inigo Jones' work there, and the staircase at No. 17 Fleet Street is, even more doubtfully, of the same period. Fine staircases of late 17th-century date are, on the other hand, fairly numerous, and include those at the Vintners', Merchant Taylors', Skinners', and Apothecaries' Halls and at No. 73 Cheapside. The early 18th-century staircase at St. Paul's Chapter House has a wrought-iron hand-rail and balusters. Mention must also be made of the so-called "geometrical staircase" in the S.W. Tower of St. Paul's Cathedral; it, also, has a wrought-iron hand-rail and balusters.
Stalls: The 15th-century stalls formerly in the Nuns' quire at St. Helen's Bishopsgate, have now been re-arranged in the parish chancel of the same church; they have carved arm-rests, but the superstructure, if any existed, has disappeared. The only other stalls worthy of mention are amongst the handsome quire-fittings of St. Paul's Cathedral; there is a long canopied range on each side, with the stall for the Lord Mayor at the east end of one side and the Bishop's throne in the corresponding position of the other.
Sun-dials: There are late 17th or early 18th-century vertical stone sun-dials, with inscriptions, on the churches of St. Sepulchre and St. Katharine Cree (1706), on the Dutch Church Austin Friars, and on the buildings of Pump Court (1686) and Essex Court (1685) in the Middle Temple. A more unusual type of sun-dial, painted on glass, is exemplified in the buildings of the Pewterers', Girdlers' and Weavers' Companies.
Sword-rests: The custom, in the 17th and 18th centuries, of providing a rack or rest for the civic sword in the parish churches of successive Lord Mayors has provided London with a type of church-fitting which is only represented in a very minor degree in other cities and towns of the country. These sword-rests are of two types, the earlier of wood generally richly carved and painted, and the later type of wrought iron, of which there are numerous examples, most of which are outside the terminal limit of the Commission's enquiries. Of the first group, the earliest is at St. Helen's Bishopsgate, dated 1665, followed by one at St. Mary Aldermary dated 1682; a third, dated 1674, formerly at St. Olave Southwark and now in Southwark Cathedral will be dealt with in the succeeding volume. There are, in addition, two wooden sword-rests of the same type in Companies' Halls, that in the Clothworkers', dated 1677, and that in the Vintners' bearing the arms of Sir Thomas Rawlinson, who was Lord Mayor in 1687 and 1696. Of the later wrought-iron sword-rests, there is a fine example behind the Lord Mayor's seat in the Corporation church of St. Lawrence Jewry. The earliest dated examples of this type appear to be those at St. Magnus the Martyr (1708) and St. Swithin London Stone (1710). The handsome series at St. Mary-at-Hill, six in number, All Hallows Barking, St. Olave Hart Street, All Hallows Lombard Street, St. Michael Paternoster Royal and various other churches, are judged too late in date for inclusion in the Inventory.
For the convenience of the reader a number of the small groups of buildings and fittings in illustration of the foregoing paragraphs have been collected, and follow immediately on this Preface (Plates 1–48), though in some cases where the fittings belong more particularly to an individual monument, such as effigies and funeral monuments at St. Paul's Cathedral, the Temple Church, etc., they have been placed with the other illustrations of the monument concerned. A comparative group of six pulpits will be found on Plates 78 and 79, and other fittings of similar character appear among the whole-page or half-page illustrations throughout the Inventory.