The name of this ward is derived from Dowgate, one of the four original
gates of London (fn. 1) . It is bounded on the south by the river Thames; on
the east by Bridge and Candlewick-wards; on the north by Wallbrook-ward;
and on the west by Vintry-ward.
Plan of Dowgate and Walbrook wards
The extent of this ward is from St. Martin's-lane in the east, to Cloak-lane in
the west; and from thence both east and west to the river Thames, almost in
direct lines; within which track are contained, on the south side of Thamesstreet, Old Swan-lane, Cold-harbour, Allhallows-lane, Campion-lane, Friarslane, Cosins-lane, Dowgate-dock, and the Still-yard; St. Laurence Pountneyhill, almost as far as St. Laurence's church-yard; Suffolk-lane, as far as the
passage into Bush-lane; Bush-lane, almost the whole; Dowgate-hill, as far as
Tallowchandlers-hall northward; Chequer-yard; Elbow-lane as far as the
church-yard, only the south east side of the way; and Cloak-lane, the south side,
to 160 feet west of Dowgate-hill. The whole is divided into eight precincts.
Thames street, which crosses this ward from east to west, is the general passage
to the several lanes and alleys leading down to the wharfs; and is therefore continually crouded with carriages loaded with goods.
The most noted of these wharfs is the Stillyard or Steelyard, so often mentioned in the preceding history as being the place originally allotted to the Hanseatic merchants for storing up their wares; and where they had their hall,
Guilda Aula Teutonicorum, for the transacting their affairs. It is now chiefly
occupied by merchants who trade in iron; of which there are always large
quantities in bars to be seen there.
Merchant Taylors school.
On the east side of Suffolk-lane stands a celebrated school, founded by the
company of Merchant Taylors in 1561, during the mastership of Emanuel
Lucar; Richard Hills, a former master of the company, having before given
500l. toward the purchase of an house, called the Manor of the Rose, belonging to the duke of Buckingham, for that purpose. But that house being destroyed by the great fire in 1666, the present buildings were erected upon the
same spot at the charge of the company. This school is a spacious building,
supported on the east by many stone pillars, which form an handsome cloister,
within which are apartments for the three ushers. Adjoining to the school is a
library, supported in like manner, by pillars of stone, and well furnished with
books. South of the library is the chapel; and contiguous to these is a large
house appropriated to the head master.
In this school about 300 boys are educated; of which number by the statutes
of the foundation 100 are taught gratis; 50 at 2s. 6d. a quarter; and 100 at 5s.
There are certain annual examinations or probations appointed, at which public
exercises are performed by the scholars; of whom several are sent every year to
St. John's college Oxford, which appears to have been founded principally for
their use, they having no less than 46 fellowships there.
Tallow chandlers hall.
On the north west side of Dowgate hill stands the hall of the company of Tallow chandlers, which is a large handsome building with piazzas, adorned with
columns and arches of the Tuscan order.
Below this hall on the same side is Skinners hall, a fine brick edifice compleatly finished; the hall is elegantly wainscotted with oak, and the parlour with
Innholders, Dyers, Joyners, Plumbers and Watermans halls.
In Great Elbow lane near the church stands the hall of the Innholders company, which is a neat convenient building; and in Little Elbow-lane, is Dyers
hall. In Friars-lane is situated the hall of the company of Joyners; remarkable
for a magnificent screen at the entering into the hall-room, having demi-savages,
and a variety of other enrichments, carved in wainscot. The great parlour is
wainscotted with cedar. In a dirty place called Chequer yard, is Plumbers
hall, a small neat building, which is lett out for a dancing school. At the south
west corner of Cold Harbour-lane is Watermans hall which fronts the Thames.
This Cold Harbour, or as it is now corruptly called Coal Harbour, was formerly
a magnificent building named Cold Herbergh or Cold Inn, probably so termed
from its cold situation near the Thames; and which was given by king Henry
IV. to his son the prince of Wales.
Allhallows the Great.
The only parish church in this ward is that of Allhallows the Great, situated
on the south side of Thames-street, between Allhallows-lane, and Hay wharf
lane. It was antiently called Allhallows the More, and Allhallows ad Fœnum,
in the Ropery, from its vicinity to a hay wharf, and situation among Rope-makers; and was founded by the noble family of the Despencers, who presented
thereunto in the year 1361: from whom it passed with the heiress to the earl of
Warwick and Salisbury; and at last to the crown. Henry VIII. exchanged this
church with Thomas archbishop of Canterbury, in the year 1546; in whose
successors it still continues, and is one of the thirteen peculiars in London
belonging to the archbishop of Canterbury. It was termed Allhallows the
Great, to distinguish it from Allhallows the Less, a church near adjoining to it
on the east; which not being rebuilt after the great fire, the parishes were
united. This latter church was originally a rectory in the gift of the bishop of
Winchester; and rebuilt by Sir John Poultney, who purchased the advowson,
and appropriated it to his college of St. Laurence Poultney. The steeple and
choir of this church stood on an arched gate, being the entry to the great house,
called Cold Herbergh, above mentioned. From that time the church became
a donative or curacy, which falling to the crown at the dissolution of religious
houses, queen Elizabeth first granted it for 21 years to William Verle; and
king James I. sold it to Richard Blake, &c. and their heirs for ever, in free
soccage. By which means the impropriation is now in the heirs or assigns of
Dr. Edward Waddington, late bishop of Chichester (fn. 2) .
The present church of Allhallows the Great was designed by Sir Christopher
Wren; and was finished in 1683, but was not executed with the same accuracy
with which it was planned. It is 87 feet long, 60 feet broad, and 33 feet high
to the roof: built of stone, strong and solid. The walls are plain and massy;
the ornaments few and simple; and the windows though large, in order to enlighten such a considerable breadth, are not numerous. The tower is 86 feet
high, plain, square, and divided into five stages, but terminates absolutely plain
without spire, turret or pinnacles. The cornice is supported by scrolls, and
over these rises a balustrade of solid construction, suitable to the rest of the building (fn. 3) .