An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, Volume 5, East London. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1930.
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The Borough of Poplar includes the parishes of All Saints, Poplar, St. Leonard, Bromley, and St. Mary Stratford, Bow. The principal monuments are the church of St. Mary Stratford, Bow, the Drapers' Almshouses, Bow Lane Almshouses, 215 and 217 Bow Road and Bromley Hall.
b(1) Parish Church of St. Matthias, Poplar, was built as a chapel of Stepney about 1650–54 on land given by the East India Company. In 1776 the chapel was largely re-built by the company. The chancel was built and the whole building much altered in 1875, when the body of the church was refaced with stone. There are now no ancient features visible except three posts of the N. arcade and four of the S. arcade, all of which are of timber, said to be teak and may be original.
Fittings—Brass Indent: In churchyard—S.W. of the church, of rectangular plate. Monument: In churchyard—W. of church, to Captain William Curtis, 1669, plain table-tomb, slab with gadrooned edges. Plate: includes flagon and paten of 1681 and a similar paten with defaced date-mark and the arms of the East India Company on the foot.
b(2) Parish Church of St. Mary, Bromley, was entirely re-built in 1842–3, except for small fragments said to have been incorporated in the eastern angles of the existing nave. The 'Norman' arch at the W. end is said to be on the site and to be a copy of a 12th-century arch found at the re-building. The old church was that attached to a priory of Benedictine Nuns, founded, according to Leland, by William, Bishop of London, temp. William I, and dedicated to St. Leonard.
Fittings—Brass and Indent. Brass: On chancel step—achievement of the arms of Topsfield, part of former brass to Henry Topsfield, 1557. Indent: In tower—of two figures, shields and marginal inscription. Chairs: In tower—two (Plate 47), with carved backs, turned posts, scrolled legs, carved arms and stretchers, possibly late 17th-century. Monuments: In nave—on S. wall, (1) of Sir John Jacob, 1629, marble wall-monument (Plate 102) with kneeling figures of man and wife at prayer-desk, divided and flanked by Corinthian columns supporting entablatures, and finished with a cornice, pediment, one achievement and two cartouches-of-arms; arched recesses at back of figures and, on base, five shields-of-arms. In N. aisle—on N. wall, (2) to Captain Sir Richard Munden, 1680, marble wall-monument flanked by enriched pilasters supporting a segmental pediment and achievement-of-arms; (3) of William Ferrers, 1625, and Jane (van Lore) his wife, alabaster and marble wall-monument (Plate 102) with painted half-length figures of man and wife under round enriched arches, flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature, broken pediment and centre-piece with achievement and cartouche-of-arms, below main figures, recumbent figure of child, and base with shield-of-arms; (4) to Sir John Roberts, Bart., 1692, and Margery (Amy) his wife, 1690, white and black marble wall-monument (Plate 93) consisting of niche enclosing urn flanked by two angels and surmounted by cartouche-of-arms, the whole flanked by Composite twisted columns, supporting a curved pediment, urn and drapery; on W. wall, (5) to Sir William Benson, 1712, and Martha Benson, 1722, white and black marble wall-monument, consisting of niche with urn and cherubs, flanked by pilasters supporting an ogee-shaped pediment, in front of urn a kneeling skeleton holding a cartouche-of-arms. In churchyard—N.W. of nave, (6) to Philip Starkey, 1677, table-tomb, with shaped and carved base and moulded slab. Plate: includes two flagons of 1708, given in 1709, late 16th-century cup of Nuremburg make, given 1617; paten dated the same year, stand-paten of 1635, dated the same year and alms-dish of 1701, given by Lady Benson. Reredos: now in St. Andrew's Mission-church, Gurley Street—moulded and enriched middle panel with the Decalogue, panels with carving below and carved capping above; side panels with Lord's Prayer and Creed and a bolection-moulded panel below each, late 17th-century.
b(3) Parish Church of St. Mary Stratford, Bow, stands on an 'island' in Bow Road. The walls are of ragstone rubble, partly squared, with limestone dressings, and the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The church was first built by licence of Bishop Baldock in 1311, as a chapel of ease to Stepney, but has been so extensively restored that its architectural history is largely obscured. The width of the aisles and the form of some of the arches would seem to indicate that the greater part of the existing building dates from early in the 14th century. The nave was perhaps extended westwards in the 15th century and the West Tower added at the same time. About 1700 a North Vestry was added and in 1794 the South Aisle was practically re-built. In 1829 the upper part of the tower fell and was re-built. The church was completely restored in 1899 and the outer N. Vestry, the Organ Chamber and the E. bay of the S. arcade are modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (25 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a modern window and further W. a doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs and flat four-centred head of doubtful antiquity. In the S. wall is a modern window with a two-centred rear-arch, perhaps of the 14th century, and further W. an early 16th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head; the arch to the organ-chamber, forming the E. bay of the S. arcade, is modern.
The Nave (75 ft. by 19½ ft.) is structurally undivided from the chancel and has N. and S. arcades both of six bays, increasing in width from E. to W.; the arches are of two chamfered orders, except the western arch on the S. which has hollow-chamfered orders; except for this arch and the four westernmost in the N. arcade all the arches have been completely restored and the two eastern arches on the N. have certainly been re-built; the form of the arches varies, the two westernmost on each side being four-centred and representing the later addition, and the others two-centred and representing the original work; all the octagonal piers and responds are modern or completely restored, except the W. respond of the N. arcade which has a 14th-century moulded capital, perhaps reset. The clearstorey has on each side three restored windows each of three cinquefoiled lights in a square head.
The West Tower (13 ft. by 12 ft.) is of three stages (Plate 41), the two lower of the 15th century and the top stage modern. The tower-arch is two-centred and of three moulded orders, the two outer continuous on the E. face and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window is of four cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a restored label; below it is the W. doorway with moulded and shafted jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with defaced spandrels and defaced label. The second stage has, in the N., S., and W. walls, a window, all restored except parts of the moulded reveals.
The Roof of the chancel is of two bays and incorporates a moulded tie-beam and moulded wall-plate on the N. side, both probably of the 15th century. The roof of the nave is of trussed rafter type and retains some old timbers; the wallplates are moulded and dentilled.
Fittings—Brass: See monument (6). Communion Tables: In S. aisle (Plate 101)—with deep cornice, supported on four Doric columns; between the end columns and under the middle of the table is a round-headed arcade resting on smaller columns, c. 1630. In vestry (Plate 101) —of oak with inlaid top, moulded edges and legs composed of grouped twisted balusters, standing on moulded sills with ball-feet, early 18th-century. Fonts: (1) octagonal bowl with moulded edges, sides with quatrefoiled panels, each enclosing a defaced rosette, stem with cusped panels, restored, 15th-century; (2) of marble with oval bowl with reeded ornament, baluster-shaped stem with leaf ornament, probably 18th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Thomas Jorden, , marble tablet flanked by Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature, broken pediment and achievement-of-arms. On S. wall, (2) to James Walker, 1712, and Dorothy his wife, 1706, elaborate marble wall-monument (Plate 103) with busts of man and wife, projecting segmental cornice, drapery curtains, two cherubs, etc. In Nave—on N. wall, (3) of Alice Coburne, 1689, large marble tablet with cornice, scrolled pediment and bust of lady, on apron three cherubheads and lozenge-of-arms; on S. wall, (4) to Mrs. Prisca Coburne, widow, 1701, large marble tablet, flanked by fluted Corinthian pilasters with separate entablatures and a pediment with lozenge-of-arms, etc. In N. aisle—on N. wall, (5) to Thomas, son of Edward Rust, 1704, Elizabeth wife of Edward Rust, 1706, Edward Rust, 1724, and Stephen Rust, 1739, plain marble tablet with capping, shelf and apron. In S. aisle—on S. wall, (6) to Grace (Wylford) wife of John Amcottes, 1551, also Hamond, their son, 1551, freestone tablet (Plate 103) in two bays with cinquefoiled crocketed and traceried heads, shafted outer jambs and enriched cornice, below heads two brass shields-of-arms and brass inscription-plate. In churchyard—N. of tower, (7) to Thomas Salwey, 1705, flat slab with achievement-of-arms; (8) to Thomas White, A.M., Prebendary of Lichfield and rector of Stepney, . flat slab. Panelling: In chancel—on side walls, moulded panelling with capping, rail and skirting, early 18th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1624, and a stand-paten given by Prisca Coburne in 1683 with a shield-of-arms.
b(4) Bow Lane Almshouses (Plate 5) stand on the W. side of Bow Lane, 150 yards S. of All Saints' Church; they are of one storey only; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. The almshouses were built by Mrs. Esther Hawes in 1686 and consist of six tenements flanking a rectangular courtyard closed in by a wall at the W. end and a wall and gateway at the E. end. Each wing, consisting of three tenements, has a hipped roof with a wooden eaves-cornice. Each tenement has an original window with solid frame of three lights, and the doors of four tenements are original; they are of two moulded panels, hung on beaded frames. The gateway at the E. end of the courtyard has a square head set in a recess, which also encloses a stone tablet inscribed "These houses were built by Mrs. Esther Hawes in the Year of our Lord 1686."
b(5) Drapers' Almshouses stand at the S. end of Priscilla Road, 120 yards S. of Bow Road, they are of two storeys, except the chapel; the walls are of brick with some stone dressings and the roofs are tiled. They were built in 1706 and consist of a range of four tenements with a chapel in the middle, forming a cross-wing. The N.W. front has, in the middle, the projecting front of the chapel; this has rusticated angles, a modillioned cornice, which is also carried up over a high pediment; the central doorway is flanked by panelled pilasters from which spring scrolled brackets, carved with cherub-heads and supporting a modern hood; flanking the doorway are round-headed windows with rubbed-brick heads, stone key-blocks and springers. On this front there was formerly a cartouche, with an inscription recording that Mr. John Edmunson, saylemaker, left an estate to the Drapers' Company for the relief of twelve poor people and that they built this Chapel and Almshouses A.D. 1706. The four tenements, flanking the chapel, have rubbed-brick dressings, a stone plinth and a brick band between the storeys; the eaves-cornice has been cased in or removed. The doorways have flat hoods resting on scrolled brackets and the doors themselves are panelled; the windows have flush frames. The back elevation has a band between the storeys but no eaves-cornice; the back doors have each two moulded panels. Inside the building, the chapel has an original cornice and a projecting bay at the end opposite the entrance. The tenements have some plain panelling and battened doors.
b(6) Bromley Hall, on the E. side of Brunswick Road, opposite the end of Venue Street, is of two storeys with attics and cellar; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 16th century, but was largely remodelled c. 1700, when a single-storeyed wing was added on the E. side. There are later additions on the S. side. The W. front has original octagonal buttresses of brick at the angles and an original moulded string-course between the storeys; the other features, including the window-openings, with eared architraves of rubbed brick, and the coved plaster eaves-cornice, are of c. 1700; the doorway is of late 18th-century date. On the N. front, the original string-course has been replaced by a flat band and the whole front plastered; the octagonal buttress remains at the N.E. angle and the coved cornice is continued under the eaves. In the middle of the front is a projection with canted sides. Interior—On the ground floor, the dining-room has original moulded ceiling-beams and wall-plates and hollow-chamfered joists; the walls are lined with 18th-century panelling, including a half-domed recess with a round head and shelves; over the fireplace is a bolection-moulded panel. On the first floor, there is some plain 18th-century panelling and one fireplace has some Dutch tiles; in the bath-room a portion of an original moulded door-frame is exposed. The staircase to the attics has moulded string and handrail, square newel and three twisted balusters, all of c. 1700. In the attics is an old battened door with strap-hinges.
b(7) House, Nos. 215 and 217, on the N. side of Bow Road, 40 yards N.N.E. of St. Mary's Church, is of three storeys with attics; the walls are partly of brick and partly timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600, but the N. side was re-modelled c. 1700 and the S. front is entirely modern; this front replaced an original front with two gables, and two projecting bay-windows with mullions and transoms.
The Elevations have no ancient features of interest, except three original chimney-stacks with moulded cappings below the shafts. Interior— On the ground floor, the S. rooms have original moulded ceiling-beams and the S.W. room has a cornice of c. 1700 in addition; the N. rooms have stop-chamfered ceiling-beams. The staircase, of c. 1700, has moulded and panelled strings, twisted balusters and square newels; the top flight has some later inserted balusters. On the first floor, the S.E. room has an elaborate modelled plaster ceiling (Plate 104) of c. 1600; it is divided into geometrical figures by moulded bands enriched with floral ornament; the main panels contain wreaths with conventional flowers, etc., or strapwork designs; the minor panels have sprays of conventional foliage and cherub-heads. In the S.W. room are two original moulded ceilingbeams and some original panelling; the fireplace has a moulded surround of c. 1700. In the N.E. room is a similar fireplace, with a moulded shelf. On the second floor are two battened doors of c. 1700.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys, with or without attics, the walls are timber-framed, but often re-faced in part with brick; the roofs are tiled; the houses were built late in the 17th century.
b(8) House, Nos. 219 to 221, on the N. side of Bow Road, immediately E. of (7), was built early in the 17th century, but has been re-fronted in brick, early in the 18th century. The front has a band between the storeys and the windows have flat rubbed-brick heads. Inside the building, one room, on the ground floor, has some original moulded panelling; there is also an original moulded ceiling-beam.
b(11) House and shop, No. 199 Bow Road, 20 yards W.S.W. of (10), is of three storeys with attics. The front is of brick and has a moulded band between the two upper storeys and windows with square heads and flush frames. Inside the building, the front room on the first floor has moulded panelling, cornice and ceiling-beam; over the fireplace is a bolection-moulded panel. On the second floor one room has a moulded surround to the fireplace and a door with bolection-moulded panels. The upper part of the staircase is original and has straight moulded strings and twisted balusters. In the attics are some original doors.
b(13) Houses and shops, Nos. 130, 132 and 134 on the S. side of Bow Road, 50 yards S.W. of (12). Inside the building are some exposed ceilingbeams and an oak column, with a moulded cap, supporting one of the beams.
b(17) House and shops, Nos. 174 and 176 Bow Road, 10 yards E.N.E. of (16), are of three storeys; the walls are of brick. The houses were built c. 1700 and have some exposed ceiling-beams, battened doors and fireplaces with moulded surrounds and shelves.
b(18) House and shop, No. 186 Bow Road, 20 yards E.N.E. of (17), is of three storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of brick. It was built, probably, early in the 18th century but has been re-fronted.
High Street, Bromley.
b(21) The Vicarage, on the N. side of the street, opposite St. Leonard's Street, is of three storeys with cellars; the walls are of brick. It was built early in the 18th century and altered later in the same century. The S. front has a late 18th-century doorway and porch; the windows are original and have square heads and flush frames; those above the porch are set in a slight projection with eared heads and cornices at the floor-levels; the windowheads in this bay have shaped cutting on the face, as have two windows flanking it on the second floor. Inside the building, the hall is paved with black and white marble squares, set diagonally; the fireplace has an original moulded surround of black marble; the walls have moulded panelling, with an arched opening to the staircase. On the first floor, two rooms have moulded panelling and there is some similar panelling on the landing. On the second floor are some original panelled doors, and in the basement is some plain panelling and two battened doors.
High Street Poplar.
b(22) House, No. 151, on N. side of street, 110 yards E. of Woodstock Road, was built early in the 17th century, but has been much altered. Inside the building, several of the ground-floor rooms have flat bands of modelled plaster round the ceilings; in two cases these consist of moulded bands with conventional flowers at intervals; one border has a running ornament of conventional flowers; one room has a plain cornice. There is a small amount of original panelling.
a(24) House, No. 41, on the N. side of Pennyfields, 60 yards E. of W. India Dock Road, was built early in the 18th century; the walls are of brick. Inside the building is some moulded panelling with bolection-moulded panels over the fireplaces.