2. CHURCH FITTINGS
Almsboxes. See Church Plate (p. 52).
Altar-table and Rails. The painted and gilt altar-table, with eight
baluster legs and ball feet connected by a shaped stretcher below, was from the
design of Mr H. M. Fletcher. This and the altar rails dated from the restoration
of the interior of the Church in 1932–4. Before this the altar-pace was protected by an iron rail which extended the full width of the sanctuary.
Mr Fletcher restored the original arrangement as shown in Clayton's plan,
and in having the new rails made followed the detail of the balustrades of the
staircases at the west end of the Church.
The Bells. Reference has already been made to the fact that St Bride's
was one of the four City churches from which the curfew was rung in the
Middle Ages, and also to the rebuilding of the bell tower early in the fifteenth
century. The Great Fire of 1666 threw the bells down, and one of the first
works of salvage was the collection of the bell metal. In 1668 a new bell was
bought for £38. 10s. 0d. and hung in a 'bell-house' above the porch. In 1675,
when the new Church was opened, this bell was hung at the west end in the
middle aisle until the steeple was prepared.
In 1706 a subscription was started for a new peal of bells, but it was not
until 1710 that an agreement was made with Abraham Rudhall, bell-founder,
of Gloucester. The following year trial was made of the peal of ten bells, and
in 1713 Rudhall was asked to recast two of them. Instead of this two bells
were added, making a peal of twelve. Two of these, the 5th and 6th, were
recast in 1726 by Samuel Knight of Holborn. The bells were inscribed as
1. Treble. Prosperity to all our benefactors. A.R. 1719 (5.7 cwt.).
2. Prosperity to all our benefactors. A. R. 1719 (5.5 cwt.).
3. A. R. 1710 (weight not given).
4. A. R. 1710 (6.75 cwt.).
5. 1736 (7.75 cwt.).
6. Abraham Page and Philip Robinson, Common Councilmen. S. K. Fecit
1736 (9 cwt.).
7. Abra. Rudhall, bellfounder. 1710 (9 cwt.).
8. Peace and good neighbourhood. God save the Church and Queen (10.5 cwt.).
9. Prosperity to all our benefactors. A. R. 1710 (13 cwt.).
10. Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester (15 cwt.).
11. Mr John Grainger, Mr John Hathaway, Churchwardens, Mr Andrew Ragdale,
Mr John Jackson. Prosperity to England (20 cwt.).
12. Tenor. A. R. 1710 (26 cwt.).
Chest. An iron chest, with raised bands, stood in the vestry.
Font. The font was of white veined marble and consisted of a moulded
and enriched bowl supported by an enriched baluster stem. On the bowl was
an elaborately carved cartouche with inscription and coat of arms. The
DEO ET ECCLESIÆ
but there is little doubt that the date should have read 1675. The arms were
azure a leopard rampant or (Hothersall) impaling gules between three
buckles or a cheveron ermine (Dalby). The dexter coat, which had a crescent
cadency mark, was the same as that carved on Hothersall Hall, Lancashire, (fn. 1)
with the date 1695 and the initials t. h. for Thomas Hothersall. Thomas
returned a pedigree at Dugdale's visitation, 1664–5, but was unable to
establish his right to the arms. Henry Hothersall does not appear in the
pedigree, which represents the Roman Catholic family in Lancashire, but his
connection with the county is implied in the directions in his will (1685) (fn. 2) that
the legacies to his brothers John and Thomas should be paid to them by his
executors 'in the town of Preston or Blackburne, Co. Lancs as they shall
desire'. In this will he describes himself as citizen and vintner of London and
directs that he shall be buried in the chancel of St Bride's Church. Beside a
legacy of £100 to the two brothers just mentioned he leaves to his friends
Richard Alye of London, Esquire, and Francis Dade of London, merchant,
'my messuage or tavern called The Globe in parish of St Brides als. Bridgett. . .
now in possession of Ralph Parker and John Parker' on trust for his wife Ann
for her life and afterwards for his nephews Edward, John and Henry, sons of
his brother Thomas, subject to the payment of £20 each to his nieces,
daughters of another brother William. Among other relatives named in the
will is his brother-in-law George Dalby. Since the arms of Dalby (fn. 3) were
those impaled with Hothersall on the font, we may conclude that Henry's
wife Ann was of this family. Among other things he leaves a volume of
Dr Littleton's sermons to his friend Nicholas Hawkins and small legacies to
the vicar of St Bride's, Dr Henry Dove, and the poor of the parish.
Henry Hothersall, vintner, is found as a party to deeds (1653–60) connected
with property at Cottesmore, Co. Rutland, and his name occurs also in deeds
(1664–79) concerning property at Brasted, Kent. (fn. 4) As mentioned in his will
he was proprietor of the Globe Tavern, Fleet Street, and was evidently a
prominent parishioner of St Bride's. A receipt for his pew rent for 1675 is
among the Church papers. The following extracts from the Churchwardens'
Accounts are of interest:
1662, Nov. 7. 'Spent at Mr Hothersall's on those that were ordered to goe to
the Warden of the Fleete and to give direction concerninge repaireing of the Cage
and Parish Ingine, 4s. 6d.'
1671. 'Spent in an entertainment dinner of Doctor Wren, Mr Hook and others
. . . at the Globe Tavern, £2. 17s. 0d.'
1671–2, Jan. 22. 'Spent at Mr Hodersall's giveing the Doctr [i.e. Sir C. Wren]
a treate, 6s. 6d.'
1675, Dec. 7. 'The Churchwardens [William Frost and Philip Bromfield],
Mr Hothersall and Capt. Baggs desired to go to Sir Thomas Player and return
thanks to him for his kindness to the Parish in remitting his interest on the 260li
advanced by him.'
From this it will be seen that Henry Hothersall took an active interest in the
Church, and it would have been natural for him to have responded to the
appeal of Dr Dove, the vicar, who in September 1675 pointed out to the
Church Committee that he was still without a font (vide supra, p. 31).
It seems certain that in any case the Church could not have possessed a font
dated 1615, since, twenty years before the Fire, a new font had been provided,
as can be seen from these extracts from the Churchwardens' Books:
1646, May 15. 'Paid for the Font and the Cover and the Collumbe [pedestal]
to sett it upon, £2. 19s. 10d.'
1646–7, Feb. 3. 'Paid Mr Taylor for guilding the Font and the pillar, 15s. 0d.'
If the font were an old one, it could not therefore have been one rescued
from St Bride's when the Church was destroyed. But the design of the bowl
is definitely against any ascription to a date so early as 1615. Its mouldings
and their enrichment and especially the freedom of modelling in the cartouche
are of the time of Charles II and not of James I. There is less certainty about
the baluster stem. The carving on this is low in relief and undeveloped in
design. It might well be the 'column' or 'pillar' of the 1646 font, reworked
perhaps to remove traces of fire damage. But the bowl can be ascribed with
little doubt to the Henry Hothersall of the post-Fire period, and we can only
conclude that the original '7' of 1675 has in some way lost its upper horizontal stroke.
Galleries. The galleries are included in the architectural description of
the Church. On 18 January 1675 the Committee viewed the galleries at
Covent Garden, St Dunstan's, etc., and after further discussion visited Sir
Christopher Wren on 15 July 'to desire his advice concerning the modell of
the galleryes'. On 28 September it was agreed to proceed with the north
gallery first and on 11 November John Longland was commissioned to do
the work. On 18 January 1682 Mr William Rounthwaite was ordered to do
all the inside work within the south gallery. In this year £430. 17s. 8d. were
paid for work to the gallery (and the churchyard) wall.
The construction of the west gallery may have been postponed until the
project for an organ had been approved, for it was not ordered until 21
October 1691. On 19 November following we read that 'the crosse gallery
should first be built according to the Draught & the other galleryes to be
lowered afterwards according to the modell of the said Crosse Gallery'. On
the following 14 January payment was made for the two iron pillars that
support the west gallery, the charge being £5. 3s. 9d. The order for lowering
the side galleries was authorised on 30 January 1693.
Organ. During the Middle Ages a pair of organs stood on the rood loft
and a legacy for a new pair has already been mentioned (p. 10) in the will of
John Talbott in 1524. In the inventory of Church goods of 1553 mention is
made of an old pair of organs.
The new Church was not immediately provided with an organ but the
need must have been recognised and the annual festival of the musical Society
of St Cecilia which was apparently first observed in St Bride's in November
1683 may have hastened a decision. An offer of an organ by Sir Fairmead
Penistone was politely declined because of the onerous conditions attached
to it, and subscriptions were invited for a new organ. Renatus Harris, the
famous organ-builder who was a parishioner of St Bride's, with his workshop
in Wine Office Court, Fleet Street, had helped the Church with his advice
concerning the Penistone offer, and he was now commissioned to build the
organ. He completed his task early in 1695, and the specification of the organ
is preserved among the Church papers. There were 1485 pipes, all of metal
with the exception of 24 or 26 wooden ones. The care of the organ remained
in the hands of Renatus and his son John, who in 1728 gilded the pipes. On
the latter's death his partner John Byfield took charge and also his son John
whose name appears last in 1783. The next year William Gray and Company
carried out repairs, and in 1871 Messrs J. W. Walker made certain alterations.
In 1886 Messrs Gray and Davison rebuilt it under the direction of Dr E. H.
Turpin, and in 1920 it was again rebuilt by the same firm.
The organ case which rose from the west gallery was well designed and of fine
workmanship. The lower part below the pipes was panelled and surmounted
by an entablature, enriched and furnished with an elaborately carved and
pierced frieze. At the ends of the frieze were cherub corbels and in the centre
one of acanthus leaves, over which the cornice projected to form circular
bases for the central and side 'towers' of pipes. The 'towers' had rich canopied
finials rising high above the body of pipes. The upper part of the pipes within
each tower was enclosed in a deep case of pierced carving, shaped below,
surmounted by a bold circular entablature, the cornice enriched with egg and
tongue carving. Above the entablature each tower had an octagonal cupola
with ogee roofs, carved ribs and finials, a crown in the centre and mitres at
the sides. The central section was shaped above in the form of a segmental
pediment, broken by the middle tower, the curved cornice resting on a pierced
carved band masking the pipes. The pediment was supported by side consoles and the intermediate pipes were in two stages, the lower framed in two
elliptical panels formed by pierced and carved spandrels. Over each section of
the pediment was seated an angel holding a trumpet.
The entablatures of the towers were returned to the west wall and the organ
was flanked by modern pipes, and panelled casing below.
Panelling and Door Cases. The walls of the aisles were panelled,
three panels high with cornice, and there was some panelling round the
gallery walls and on the west wall of the vestibule. The detail was the usual
plain fielded panel in varying heights. The north and south entrances to the
vestibule were furnished with lobbies, the internal doorcases being formed
with entablature and elliptical pediment, with modillion cornice, supported
by columns of the composite order. The architrave broke forward over the
columns and over the doorway, the upper member being mitred round a
central panel with side scrolls. Pedestals over the columns rose above the
pediment and carried pineapple fruits. The tower communicated with the
vestibule by glazed doors, similar to the screen, hung to a frame with a broad
moulded architrave. The joiner employed on these works was a Mr Gray.
Church Plate, etc. The medieval Church of St Bride was richly
provided with vestments, plate and ornaments, the gifts of incumbents and
prosperous citizens, many of whom are known to us by their wills or entries
in the Church records. The details of the Church treasury at the time of
Edward VI are known by the inventory (fn. 5) prepared for the king's commissioners, and this has been printed in full by Mr H. B. Walter in London
Churches at the Reformation (pp. 223–6). The plate was all sold, and as has
already been noticed 'a faire comunyon cuppe for the mynystracon of the
[Communion] in the seid churche' was bought with part of the proceeds.
This cup has not survived. The present plate (fn. a) consists of:
Silver-gilt cup and cover, inscribed 'The guift of Roger Pindar, 1590'. They
seem to have been remade since their date mark is 1682. The cup is 97/8 in. high with
the bowl 45/8 in. wide. The cover has a diameter of 63/16 in. Weight 31 oz. 11 dwt.
Silver-gilt cup and cover, inscribed 'The gift of Raphe Raysinge, Goldsmith, to
ye Church of St Bridgetts, London. 25° dic Decem: 1629'. The cup is without date
mark, but that of the paten is 1696, evidence of its having been remade and given
the original inscription. Size of cup, 9¼ in. high, 413/16 in. diameter of bowl; weight
23 oz. 4 dwt.
Silver-gilt cup and cover, inscribed 'The gift of Arthur Knight, Sanctie et
Individuae Trinitati', with the date mark 1630. Height of cup 9½ in. high and
4¾ in. diameter of bowl; weight 30 oz. 5 dwt.
A set of silver-gilt flagon, cup and cover, two patens and bread-dish, inscribed
'Ex dono Pauli Boston nuper hujus Par: Stae Brigittae Vicarii, Anno Domini.
1671'. The date is that of Paul Boston's will, in which he left the sum of £50 to
purchase the plate.
The flagon is 117/8 in. high, maximum diameter of 81/8 in. and weighs 73 oz. It
bears the date mark for 1672.
The cup and cover is 97/8 in. high with diameter of 49/16 in. and weighs 32 oz.
The two patens arc 93/8 in. high by 73/8 in. diameter above and 63/8 in. at the foot.
The bread-dish is on a stem, and with deep cover has the date mark for 1675 and
is 13¾ in. diameter. It weighs 36 oz. 10 dwt.
A silver-gilt flagon inscribed 'Deo et suo et ecclesiae S. Brigide Casparus
Needham. M. D. Coll: Lond: Socius humillime D. D., C. Q. A. D. 1676'. The date
mark is 1675 and the height is similar to that presented by Paul Boston. Its weight
is 74 oz.
A silver-gilt alms dish, inscribed 'The gift of John Turner, 1678'. Its diameter
is 21¾ in. and its weight 100 oz. 10 dwt.
Three silver-gilt spoons (a) 75/8 in. long and weighing 2 oz. with the date mark
for 1683; (b) 101/8 in. long, inscribed M. C. P. St B., with the date mark for 1701;
(c) with a long handle and perforated bowl, II in. long and weighing 3 oz. 8 dwt.,
with the date mark for 1796.
Silver-gilt mace, 42½ in. long and measuring 6½ in. across the head, dated 1703.
Under this date an entry in the Churchwardens' Accounts reads: 'Paid Mr John
Jackson for a large mace, 50li. 01s. 06d.' The head is an elaborate crown with four
arched bands with bead ornament carrying an orb and cross. The crown has a
jewelled band between two gadroon mouldings and cresting of alternate crosses
and fleurs-de-lis. The bowl below is adorned with four winged figures, nude from
the waist up and foliage below, alternating with the badges of fleur-de-lis, harp,
rose and thistle. It is supported by four scrolls that meet the stem above an enriched
band. Within the crown is a cover embossed with the royal arms and supporters.
The stem has two bosses, one at the base and the other midway, each enriched with
foliage and divided centrally by a raised band of bay leaves. The shaft is inscribed:
For the use of the Parish of
St. Bridgett in the ward
of Faringdon without
Sr Francis Child Alderman
Mr Tho: Welson Common Counselmen
Capt Jere: Peirce
Mr Beñ. Tisdale Church Wardens
Mr Sam. Turner
Richard Beckford Esqr Alderman
Mr Chas Gardner Common Council
Mr Wm Cogan
Mr John Burnell
Mr Fras Lawe Church Wardens 1755
Mr Thos Williamson
John Wilkes Esqr Alderman
Mr John Nichols Depy
Mr Wm Wright Common Council
Mr Robt Herring
Mr Robt Herring Church Wardens 1796
Mr John Plaw
Churchwardens' Staff. A cane staff with long ferrule bearing a
copper head with a ribbed support to a small royal crown richly embossed.
On the copper band is inscribed:
The Wardens Staff of the Parish of
St Bride in Flet St, London
in the Ward of Farringdon
Without, in the Time of Mr Willm
Anno Domini 1691.
Its length is 5 ft. 1½ in. and the head 10¼ in. There are three similar staves of
polished wood, without inscription, but dating from the end of the seventeenth century. They have ferrules of brass and elaborate headpieces composed
of a fluted capital beneath a domed cover over which is open metal work of
16 loops supporting a royal crown. They measure respectively 5 ft. 5½ in.,
5 ft. 2 in. and 5 ft. 2¾ in., the heads being 13½ in., and were for the use of the
staffmen on special occasions.
Almsboxes. Two brass almsboxes, with ornamental hinges and three
keyholes, supported on wall brackets and inscribed:
The Gift of Mr Serjeant Turner.
Their date is about 1678. Hatton (New View of London, 1708) gives his name
Candlesticks. A pair of circular-footed candlesticks of massive make,
91/8 in. high, uninscribed.
Two inscribed 'This Bason For The Vse of the Parish of St Brides alias Bridget,
Three inscribed 'This Bason For The Vse of The parish of St Bridgett alyes
One inscribed 'This Bason is for the Vse of the Parish of St Brides alis Bridget,
Five inscribed 'St Brides, 1831. Joseph Allen D. D. Vicar. Richd Sharpe, Sam1
Sangster, Churchwardens. Sam1 Sabine Edkins, Sidesman. Edward Tickner,
Robert Obbard, James Charles Farr, Overseers'.
One inscribed 'St Brides, 1851. Revd Charles Marshall M.A. Vicar. John
Jewell, John Simms, Churchwardens. Benj. Smith, Sidesman. Francis Hutchinson,
Thomas Whitehead, John Berry Bates, Overseers'.
Pulpit. On 3 June 1675 a resolution was entered in the Vestry Minutes
to submit the prices for the joiner's work to Sir Christopher Wren's judgement, including those for the pulpit, portals and wainscot. On 29 June
following, Mr Gray, the joiner, was authorised to put the work in hand.
It is doubtful whether this pulpit was completed with all its carving for the
opening of the Church in December, but the structural part must have been
in position, since Sir Jeremiah Whichcote (fn. b) was presenting the pulpit cushion
and cloth in November and was discussing with the Churchwardens the
colour of the velvet, whether it should be crimson or purple. (fn. 6)
Among the St Bride's Papers (vol. III, fo. 233) is an 'account of the measure
of the Carveing Worke done by Mr Deputy Phillips'. For the pulpit itself
there were: '14 foot 10 inches of the Vawze with oak leaves & acorns,
skirting boards; 27 foot ½ of the moldings about the middle pannells; 10 of
small Cherubims heads; 12 Trusses and 13 Foot of leaves in the Cornice;
1 large Capital for the piller.
'For the Type (sounding board) 16 Foot of Leaves & Acorns within;
6 large Cherubims Heads; 6 pendent flowers; 6 small Piramides; 1 great Pine
Apple; 32 Foot of folding leaves in the Cornice; 30 feet of Ovals and Scrolls;
46 feet of Arcuts.'
The pulpit is of oak, hexagonal in plan, with curved soffit richly carved
with festoons of oak leaves and supported by hexagonal stem with moulded
capital. The skirting rests on a boldly carved lower member, and both above
the skirting and below the enriched cornice are carved console trusses at the
angles with narrow sunk panels between, in place of the usual projections.
Each face has a rectangular fielded panel surrounded by a carved frame
in high relief, having cherub's heads in the centre of the top and bottom
members. The stair to the pulpit is of Georgian character with carved console
ends to each tread and a wrought iron balustrade of a type used by Robert
Reredos. The original reredos was removed in 1822–3, but its character
has been preserved for us by various authors. E. Hatton in his New View of
London (1708) describes it thus: 'The Altar-piece beautiful and magnificent.
The lower part consists of 6 carved columns (painted Flake-stone colour)
with Entablature and circular Pediments of the Corinthian Order, embellis'd
with Lamps, Cherubims, etc. all gilt with gold. Above a circular Pediment
are the queen's arms, finely carved, gilt and painted with the supporters.
Under the Pediment a Text, I Cor. c. 10, v. 16. Inter-columns, the Decalogue, Paternoster and Creed. The upper Part is painted, and consists of
6 Columns (3 on each side of a handsome arched 5 Light Windows, adorned
with a neat Scarlet-silk Curtain, edged with Gold Fringe) with their Enta
blature finely done (white and veined) in strong Perspective. In front of
which are the Pourtraictures of Moses, with the Two Tables in his Hands, and
Aaron in his Priest's Habit; over the window 'tis painted Nebulous, and above
the Clouds appears (from within a large Crimson Velvet Festoon painted
Curtain) a Celestial Choir, or a Representation of the Church Triumphant,
in the Vision and Presence of a Glory in the shape of a Dove, all finely painted,
the Enrichments are gilt with Gold.'
This description gives an impression of magnificence but is not precise
enough to enable us to reconstruct the old design, although it seems that the
lower part was structural and the upper part surrounding the window wholly
painted. In Britton and Pugin's Public Buildings of London (fn. c) (1825) it is stated
that 'during the late alterations [the restoration of 1822–3] the old altar piece
... was taken down and an entirely new arrangement made from the judicious
designs of Mr Deykes, the architect. The new altar-piece...occupies the
whole of the recess of the east end and consists principally of two stories of
the Ionic order, crowned by an entablature and a circular pediment.' John
Deykes has been described as 'the improver of Great Malvern', and this
account of his work at St Bride's appears to refer to the whole architectural
treatment of the east wall of the sanctuary though the mention of the Ionic
order is mystifying. The curved pediment that crowned the composition just
below the vault can be seen in the earlier views (see Plate 29), but was
removed, as already stated, in 1932 and three urns substituted.
This was part of the work done by Mr H. M. Fletcher who also lowered the
reredos to free the east window. The reredos as altered filled the recess behind
the altar and consisted of three large panels between two half columns and
two quarter columns, one at each side, of the Corinthian Order, carrying a
richly carved entablature, which broke forward over the columns. The latter
may have belonged to Wren's reredos if, as is probable, Deykes utilised them
in his design. The whole stood on a panelled plinth the height of the altar
table. The side panels were lettered with the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, the
work of Laurence Turner, the centre one having been painted by Eric
Newton with a globe surmounted by a cross towards which descended the
Holy Dove against a background of clouds. This was a revival of the subject
of the central painting by Willement, for the 1822–3 restoration. (fn. 7)
Screen. An entry in the Churchwardens' Accounts under date 28
December 1675 reads: 'A skreene is ordered to be made before the Steeple
and North doors to the Church passages and pinns for hats placed in the men's
pews.' The whole of the vestibule thus screened from the Church was below
the western gallery and was paved with black and white marble squares laid
diagonally within a white border. It did not occupy the whole depth of the
western bay, but was set back to allow of a line of back pews between the
screen and the first pair of piers with which the gallery above aligned.
Towards the vestibule the screen was furnished with six panelled pilasters
with moulded caps and bases. Between the central pair were double entrance
doors, glazed in the upper part, shown in earlier views with square-headed
lights but replaced later by arched glazing. On each side were two glazed
rectangular panels, with sash-bars, filling (with the central doors) the whole
width between the arcades, each panel flanked by pilasters. The screen was
continued across the aisles, with a door to each.
Seating. There are a number of references in the Vestry Minutes to the
seating both in the body of the Church and the galleries. In Clayton's drawings the old box pews are shown, three panels high; but they had since been
reduced to two panels, while preserving their bolection mouldings. Mr
Fletcher brought the choir stalls, which had been altered by Champneys, into
unison with the old work. The churchwardens' pew at the west end of the
nave, against the screen, had been left at its old height, with its strip of pierced
carving along the front and sides.
In the Vestry Minutes of 15 July 1675, the ironwork for the pews submitted
by Mr Wilson was best liked. It was agreed to provide that 'a key [for] every
lock to bee made goe different, that ye Keyes of one lock may not unlock
another, as neare as can be contrived, and to make soe many keys to every
pewe as the pewe will hould people'.
Sword-rest. The sword-rest is a tall metal-turned shaft of elongated
baluster form. Attached to the centre of the shaft are the dragon supporters
of the City arms in sheet metal. A large open-work crown, with orb and
cross, surmounts the staff, and below it is attached a double oval escutcheon
with the arms of the City and a cherub's head, cut out of two sheets of metal.