The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2. Originally published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1921.
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CHAPTER XIX - THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
John Pountney, M.A., Rector 1709–1717.
John Pountney, M.A., was inducted on the 9th September 1709, by Henry Compton, Bishop of London, at Fulham, to the rectory vacant by the death of Anthony Burgess, the last incumbent, on the presentation of Edward Henry Rich the seventh Earl of Warwick and fourth Earl of Holland, the patron. (fn. 1) He was rector here for only eight years.
We have no records of his work before he came to this parish, not whilst he was rector of the church; excepting that in February 1712 the vestry ordered the churchwarden to buy a new font for the church, on which occasion John Pountney signed the vestry minute book. Fortunately, as already stated, (fn. 2) in the following April the vestry ordered the churchwarden to set the old font up again and there it still remains.
We are also told (fn. 3) that morning prayers were held every day at 11 o'clock, and evening prayer (in the last week of the month only at 5 o'clock for 'preparation for the Holy Sacrament approaching' which therefore was, presumably, celebrated once a month only 'A sermon extraordinary' was delivered on Good Friday, on the 5th November, and on some other public occasions at 11 o'clock In 1714, in consequence of the indisposition of the rector, Mr. Charles Smith was curate for the time, and Mr. Charles Johnson lecturer.
There are various acts of the vestry during this period which are of some interest, thus: in the year 1713 it was ordered that the churchwarden should 'take down ye porch on ye north side of ye west end of ye church and erect another in its room', (fn. 4) which would have been at the south-west corner of the present north transept And in 1715 they directed that he should 'pull down the church porch in the great churchyard and rebuild the same and repair the east church door and make a shell over the same'. (fn. 5) This is the only reference we have to an earlier west porch than that depicted in the Hans Sloane engraving of 1737 (pl. XXI a, p. 14). (fn. 6)
As regards the interior of the church, the vestry, in the year 1716, ordered that the walls behind the pulpit should be lined with wainscot, (fn. 7) which was the class of work being done at that time.
In 1562 Bishop Grindal and Bishop Horne both disapproved of organs, and in 1644 it was ordered by the Lords and Commons 'that organs and their cases should be taken away and utterly defaced and none other hereafter set up in their places', (fn. 8) so it is not surprising that, as Hatton said in 1708, there was no organ in the church here at that time; but in 1715 steps were taken by the vestry, whether on their own initiative or on that of the rector is not stated, to buy an organ; for on the 9th March they ordered that the two churchwardens, with some others of the vestry, should 'go about to take subscriptions towards the organ for the church' (fn. 9) and they were apparently successful, for on the 5th April it was 'ordered that a Conoble's organ (as already mentioned) (fn. 10) be brought into the church provided it be approved on by a master of music whom the churchwardens shall appoint'. (fn. 11) They also stipulated that if, when set up, it was not approved by the vestry, they should be at liberty to return it. Apparently it was approved, for on the 29th June the churchwardens were again empowered to go to the inhabitants and elsewhere to receive subscriptions. (fn. 12) And on the 7th December a Mr. Vannallson agreed to be the orgainst at a salary of £18 a year. (fn. 13) Apparently the school children had seats in the organ gallery, as in 1777 the vestry ordered (fn. 14) 'that the north side of the gallery be granted for the use of the charity school of the parish' (pl. XLIII, p. 52).
The vestry at this time was supreme, even in the smallest matters, for on the 5th December 1711, we read: 'ordered the churchwarden doo buy a surplus': (fn. 15) which was apparently the only business before the meeting. This was the period when the vestry commenced the practice of writing the name of any one making a substantial donation to the church or schools in letters of gold on a large benefactions board to be displayed in the church. In 1711 the name of the Rev. Anthony Burgess, the previous rector, was ordered to be so displayed as the donor of £50 for the use of the poor; (fn. 16) and that of Capt. Samuel Roycroft in 1717 in a similar manner. (fn. 17)
The Rev. John Pountney died in this latter year (1717) and was buried, according to the parish register, on the 16th September, (fn. 18) presumably at St. Bartholomew's, but whether within the church or in one of the graveyards the register is silent. It states, however, that he was buried 'from Hatton Garden', so we assume that his residence was there and not in the rectory house of which we heard so much in David Dee's time. We cannot find that he left a will.
Thomas Spateman, M.A., Rector 1719–1738.
The Rev. Thomas Spateman, M.A., was instituted to the rectory, vacant by the death of John Pountney, the last rector, on the 14th February 1718/9, by John Robinson, Bishop of London, on the presentation of Edward eighth Earl of Warwick and fifth Earl of Holland (fn. 19) (or more probably of Edward Henry, seventh Earl of Warwick, as explained in the history of the advowson). (fn. 20)
He graduated B.A. from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in the year 1717, and M.A. in 1721: (fn. 21) he was therefore probably about twenty-four years of age when presented. After his induction to St. Bartholomew's he was appointed to three separate prebends, viz. in December 1728 to that of Reculverland, St. Paul's; (fn. 22) in March 1730/1 to that of Weeford, Lichfield; (fn. 23) and in August 1734 to that of Ferring, Chichester; (fn. 24) all of which he held until his death in January 1760/1.
In 1732 he was appointed by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's to the vicarage of Chiswick, (fn. 25) which he also held till his death. He was at one time chaplain to the Bishop of Chichester, and reader in divinity at St. Paul's. (fn. 26)
With twelve others we find him in the year 1720 signing the vestry minutes; (fn. 27) and after 1721, when the practice of all those present signing was relinquished, he signed alone, no doubt as chairman; and in 1720 he also signed the rate collector's book. In 1721, on St. Thomas's Day, the vestry ordered that £3 be expended for 'treating the minister' and several parish officers; all of which shows that at any rate he entered into the civil as well as the religious life of the parish.
When Mr. Spateman was appointed rector, the reader was the Rev. Charles Smith, who was also curate to the previous rector. He lived in the boys' school-house (as already stated), (fn. 28) of which he had in the year 1705 been granted a lease at £14 a year, (fn. 29) which in 1717 was renewed for a further seven years. (fn. 30) The assistance of another priest must have been necessary at this time because, as a prebendary of St. Paul's, Spateman had other duties to perform, and also because he revived daily services in the church.
In December 1727 the vestry 'ordered that weekly prayer be continued', and in 1730 they voted the parish clerk £3, and the sexton 30s. additional 'for extra attendance at daily prayers'. (fn. 31) In December 1736, however, the vestry gave twelve months' notice that the daily service would be discontinued. (fn. 32) An indication that this rector was a zealous worker may be found in the fact that in the year 1728 he instituted special Lent sermons, the collections at which the vestry ordered should be given to the poor. (fn. 33) Mr. Charles Smith apparently died in Lent of this year, as on the 3rd April 1728 the vestry ordered 'that the Rev. William Piddington do read weekly prayers' in his place; (fn. 34) but the appointment was not in the hands of the select vestry, for on the 28th October 1730 there is a memorandum that 'at a general meeting of the parishioners held in the body of the church the Rev. William Piddington was unanimously elected lecturer'. (fn. 35) In 1665 the Reader was paid £10 'by order of the parish meeting'. In January 1698/9 an item appears in the churchwardens' accounts 'expended at the Crowne Tavern on most of the gentlemen of the vestry, when a scrutiny was made in the choice of a lecturer, 01. 00. 00.' The position was made quite clear in 1734, when it was 'ordered that all the parishioners that shall stand charged to the poor in the book at the day of election shall have a vote for the lecturer. That the lecturer be chosen according to the ancient custom of polling, and that the election begin at ten o'clock in the forenoon'. (fn. 36) The candidates for the post had to read prayers and preach once each for the post.
The question of appointing an organist again arose at this time, and the vestry, being of a frugal mind, 'ordered', on the 6th December 1721, 'that nothing be paid for playing the organ from midsummer to Michaelmas last, that quarter being supplied by candidates playing for the place'. (fn. 37) In 1730 it was ordered that the organ be enlarged and some other stops added to it, 'or that the whole organ be exchanged for one more large and compleat'. (fn. 38) The latter course was chosen (as already stated), (fn. 39) and a new organ was erected by Richard Bridge, of Clerkenwell; the opening of which was advertised in the Daily Journal of October 30th, 1731, (fn. 40) as follows:
'On Sunday next (i. e. Oct. 31), the curious New Organ, made by Mr. Richard Bridge, Organ Maker, in St. John's Clerkenwell, and lately erected in the parish church of St. Bartholomew the Great, near Smithfield, will be opened with an anthem in the morning. The said organ has been play'd on by several of the greatest Masters in Town, and by them allowed to be a very fine Instrument. And Mr. Bridge likewise invites all other gentlemen and Masters of Music to hear or touch the same and he will give his attendance in the said church, from Two o'clock in the afternoon till Five.
'N.B. The said Richard Bridge makes Harpsicords and Spinets.'
On the 6th October (1731) it was ordered that the front pew in the gallery below the organ be presented to Mr. Richard Hyett (the churchwarden) in consideration of his good service done in procuring the new organ. (fn. 41)
The pews were strictly allotted by vote of the vestry as is shown by the following from the vestry book (fn. 42) of 1827, which explains exactly what the custom had been:
'Your committee is of opinion that according to the ancient and immemorial custom of this parish, the said pews Nos. 25, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36 are now vacant and at the disposal of the vestry. That we recommend to the vestry not to encourage any of those innovations which have of late years been made in the disposal of pews. But according to the ancient custom to appropriate such pews as have always been reserved for the most respectable inhabitants to the use of the head of the family during his or her residence in this parish on such person making such an offering for the use of the poor as shall be satisfactory to the vestry and such pews always to be declared vacant on the death or removal of such individual. We also recommend that in the disposal of such pews as may now be declared vacant the families of those persons to whom pews have heretofore been appropriated shall have the preference.'
When a pew was allotted it was put under lock and key just as was the parish 'cage' or lock-up; for in the churchwardens' accounts for 1697 we read:
|Oct. 25, paid for a lock to the cage||00||1||6|
|Oct. 28, paid for a lock and 2 keys for Mr Rankin's pew||00||2||6|
The allotment was made for a fixed sum which went to pay for the cost of the poor of the parish. In the year 1631 Sir Thomas and Lady Walsingham paid 26s. 8d. for a pew. (fn. 43) In 1731 J. Weldale paid £3 4s. 6d. for a pew. (fn. 44) In 1719 Capt. Roycroft's pew was divided, one half being allotted for £7 7s. and the other half for £5 5s. (fn. 45) Sometimes a pew would be sold to the highest bidder, as in 1743, when Mr. Owen's pew was sold for £5 5s. (fn. 46) In 1795 as much as £14 was paid for a pew. (fn. 47) Sometimes a pew would be allotted for a service performed, as in the case of the churchwarden above referred to. In the same way, in the year 1755, it was ordered 'that the churchwardens' pew be reserved for those who have served the office of churchwarden or have 'fined'. (fn. 48) An order was also given respecting the pews on 'the other side of the isle amongst the women who are to be seated according to their seniority and degree', (fn. 48) a difficult task even for an eighteenth-century churchwarden!
The high pews were introduced in conformity with the custom instituted by Bishop Burnet at the end of the seventeenth century, whilst he was preacher at St. James's Chapel. It was done to prevent the ladies looking at other persons than himself during his 'thundering long sermons' as Queen Mary called them.
'And then Britain's nymphs in a protestant reign
Were lock'd up at prayers like the virgins in Spain.' (fn. 49)
There were six pews claimed by the rectors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, apparently as faculty pews. On the north side there was one small pew next to Rahere's tomb, and two others adjoining to and opening into the chancel, and on the south side there were three corresponding pews. (fn. 50) In the year 1815 the vestry, being under the impression that the four pews which merely opened into, but were not actually in the chancel, had been in the possession of the rector only since the year 1791 (when considerable alterations were made), ventured to resolve 'that the pews which had been in the possession of the late rector (Mr. Edwardes) during his life (should) remain in the possession of the new rector', (fn. 51) Mr. Roberts. But when in 1820 Mr. Abbiss, who would brook no encroachments by the vestry on the rights of the rector, succeeded to the benefice, he at once protested strongly against this assumption of power to grant a life-interest in his property, with the result that, in October 1820, (fn. 52) Mr. Illidge (fn. 53) told the vestry that he had seen a book containing an account of the glebe houses and other property of the rectors written by Mr. Edwardes in the year 1768, (fn. 54) where the pews and their occupants were mentioned, and he had no doubt therefrom that the pews were the undisputed property of the rectors in 1768, whereat the vestry 'deemed it an act of justice to say that, had they known that at the time, no such resolution would have been passed'.
Considerable attention was paid to the fabric of the church in Spateman's time, thus: on the 2nd March 1719/20 it was 'ordered that the church and steeple be beautified and repaired' at a cost of £60, (fn. 55) and on the 13th July 'that a rate be made for defraying the cost'. (fn. 56) Objection was made to the rate by some of the parishioners, so on the 20th November the vestry 'ordered that the churchwardens do proceed against all such parishioners according to law that refuse to pay the church rate for repairing and beautifying the church' (fn. 57) (a minute which the rector did not sign). An action followed in the Court of Common Pleas, and an attempt was made to supplant the select vestry by one consisting of all the parishioners; but this failed. (fn. 58) On the 4th July 1737 there was trouble with the roof, and it was minuted that 'the parish church roof having been surveyed appears to be very much decayed and out of repair, the expense of which will amount to a very considerable sum'. (fn. 59) On the 15th July it was 'ordered that one year's rate of the Poors Book amounting to the sum of £370 15s. be made towards discharging the expense'. (fn. 60) The rate actually yielded £325 and the rector made a donation of £20, (fn. 61) probably as his share for work done to the chancel. The repairs actually cost £365, (fn. 62) and it was evidently very dry work, since in the churchwardens' accounts for the year 1737 the item occurs: 'spent at the Half Moon Tavern and The Flying Horse concerning these repairs £9 10s. 6d.'! One of the items of this 'beautifying' of the church was 'To black shadow round all the monuments'. (fn. 63)
In May 1720 (fn. 64) a Mr. Henry Woolmer presented the parish with a pair of iron gates to the great churchyard leading to Smithfield, and the vestry in August ordered the walls of the gate to be repaired. (fn. 65) In July 1722 they further ordered that 'the wall 54 ft. in length of the little churchyard, adjoining to the Rev. Mr. Charles Smith's house (i. e. the old boys' school house) be (also) repaired'. (fn. 66)
But whilst this activity was commendable it is to be regretted that in October 1726 they 'ordered that Mr. Thos. Hunt have leave to break a window or two out of his vault into the Green Church yard' (fn. 67) (i. e. from the cloister into the site of the south transept); for when the transept was restored one of these windows had to be respected, which involved a considerable expenditure of money. This mention of the cloister as a vault suggests that at that time the vaulting of the cloister had not been destroyed. In August 1731 the vestry ordered that the same man 'have leave to make two or three lights out of the Flying Horse Inn into the Great Church Yard'; (fn. 68) and therefrom the great church yard still suffers.
The window tax at this time was the law of the land. it was first imposed in the year 1695, and was not repealed until 1851, and then only after a long agitation. In 1825 the vestry resolved that it was the most obnoxious and oppressive of all taxes and ought to be repealed. (fn. 69) (It is to be hoped, however, that Mr Thos. Hunt had to pay the tax on his new windows!) Before this, in 1722, the churchwardens were ordered by the vestry to prosecute the two collectors of this tax, who had apparently made off with the books and money. (fn. 70) The amount which the parish had to pay in 1724 by order of the sheriff for the window tax was £39. (fn. 71)
In January 1719/20, probably with the view of preventing draught; it was 'ordered that two doors be made for the end of each isle' (fn. 72) of the church. These were not external but internal doors: one was fixed across the south aisle in line with the east wall behind the altar, and the other at the west end of the same aisle between the Early English shafts by the door of the cloister (pl. XXXII, p. 26).
It was in Mr. Spateman's time, on the 22nd April 1731, that the verge still used in the church was presented. It is thus recorded by the vestry: 'Mr. Samuel Atkins, churchwarden, made a present of a staff with a silver head and with an effigy of silver of St. Bartholomew upon it for the use of the parish for ever'. (fn. 73)
In 1719 the vestry admitted one Purbeck Savage to be a vestry man on his paying ten pounds for the use of the poor, and on his cancelling and delivering up his certificate to the vestry. (fn. 74) This was done and the certificate is still in the parish safe. (fn. 75) The certificate is what was known as a Tyburn ticket. It was granted to a prosecutor on the capital conviction of a criminal under an Act of Parliament (10/11 William III, 1698/9) and exempted the prosecutor from all manner of parish and ward offices within the parish wherein such felony was committed. It was allowed to be once assigned. In this particular case the certificate had been granted to one Peter Phillepott, a parishioner, for apprehending Francis Collins and prosecuting him until convicted, for stealing a brown gelding of William Jarvis. On the dorse of the certificate is an assignment dated the 18th December 1714, to the above Purbeck Savage, a parishioner; for which he had paid Peter Phillepott £11. But, although he was thus free from all parochial service, the vestry required a £20 fine for such voidance and admission to the vestry, and thus he had to pay the additional £10 mentioned above. The Act was repealed in 1818.
The Bishop of London's house in Aldersgate Street had a chapel attached which was in St. Bartholomew's parish. Baptisms occasionally took place there at this time. They were entered in the parish register with the word 'chapel' in the margin. The following entry occurs on 7th August 1720: 'Maray d. of John and Mary Gifert baptised at the bishopes of London chapel belonging to this parish of St. Bartholomew the Grete London'. There are three other entries worded in the same way (see map, p. 174).
The King's Letter money, which was distributed annually among the poor, is first referred to on the 5th February 1723. (fn. 76) It was distributed by vote of the vestry to about 30 poor housekeepers in sums of from 10s. to 2s. 6d. each. In the year 1723 it amounted to £11 10s.; in 1750 it amounted to £7 only. The earliest record of the origin of this benefaction which we have been able to find is in the King's Warrant Book, (fn. 77) among the Treasury Books and papers of the year 1729/30, where there is a sign manual dated the 4th April 1729, addressed to the Lords of the Treasury, for the issue of £1,000 to the Chamberlain of the City of London, to be distributed by him to the parishes within the city in such proportion as the Bishop of London and the Lord Mayor shall direct, the same to be known as 'the King's Charity and Benevolence to the poor'. It was discontinued in 1825. (fn. 78)
The important bequest made by John Whiting (the younger) in the year 1704 (fn. 79) of a farm in Navestock and South Weald in Essex, for the education of twenty poor children of the parish of St. Bartholomew, after the death of his wife, came into the possession of the trustees (fn. 80) on the death of the latter in October 1727. (fn. 81) The rector and churchwardens were appointed a committee to go and take possession of the estate.
It was during Mr. Spateman's rectorship, in the year 1725, that Benjamin Franklin, the American statesman, worked at his trade of a printer with Samuel Palmer in the upper floor of the workshop which then occupied the Lady Chapel, as already described. (fn. 82)
Thomas Spateman resigned the living, probably at the end of the year 1737 (or it may not have been until early in 1738). He was present at the meeting of the vestry for the last time on the 4th July 1737, but no mention was then made of his retirement. His successor, Mr. Bateman, was present for the first time at the vestry meeting on the first of the following March; and on the 23rd of the same month a list of deeds and leases concerning the glebe houses was made out and handed to Mr. Bateman by a Mr. Michael Spateman, which the former duly signed. On the 28th October 1737 the churchwarden charged an item of coach hire for Mr. Hunt and Mr. Hyett going to speak with Mr. Spateman. This may mean that he was by that date already in residence at Chiswick, to which he had been appointed five years before, (fn. 83) or that when rector of St. Bartholomew's he lived some distance away from the church and was ill. For what cause he resigned we do not know: he was probably only about forty-four years of age at the time. We may assume, however, that the vicarage of Chiswick, held with three prebends, as we have seen, had greater attractions for him than St. Bartholomew's, which had no rectory house at all. He died in January 1760/1.
Richard Thomas Bateman, Rector 1738–1760.
Richard Thomas Bateman, clerk, was, according to the episcopal register, admitted and instituted to the rectory, void by the resignation of Thomas Spateman, on the 8th March 1737/8, by Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, 'belonging to the presentation of Edward Henry Edwardes, Esq.', (fn. 84) the eldest son of Elizabeth Edwardes who inherited the advowson on the death of Edward Henry Rich the fourth Earl of Holland in 1721. (fn. 85)
R. T. Bateman was of St. Martin's, one of the three parishes in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, which was the native county of the patron; to which fact Bateman probably owed his appointment.
Foster in his Alumni styles him 'gentleman'. He entered Jesus College, Oxford, at the age of twenty-three, (fn. 86) on the 16th April 1736, the day before he matriculated in the University. He seems to have resided as a commoner until February 1738/9, when he took his B.A. degree, and apparently at once took his name off the books. (fn. 87) He had been admitted deacon by the Bishop of Llandaff on the 13th August 1737. (fn. 88) 'The Rev. Richard Thomas Bateman', says Tyerman, (fn. 89) 'was a man of high birth and great natural endowments; he was not only rector of St. Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield, but also held a living in Wales, where he had been converted under the powerful ministry of the Rev. Howel Davies. Being converted himself, he at once with great fervour began to pray and preach for the conversion of others. As soon as Wesley got back to London' (he had been shut out of the London churches for eight years) 'Mr. Bateman (an old friend) (fn. 90) offered him his pulpit, and the offer was accepted'. Wesley first preached here, according to his journal, on Sunday morning the 24th December 1738. (fn. 91) The churchwardens, however, became timorous and thought it necessary to exercise their right of consulting the bishop in regard to admitting to the pulpit an unbeneficed and unlicensed clergyman; (fn. 92) they said, 'Mr. Bateman, our rector, invites Mr. Wesley very frequently to preach in his church'. The bishop replied, 'What would you have me do? I have no right to hinder him. Mr. Wesley is a clergyman, regularly ordained, and under no ecclesiastical censure'. (fn. 93)
The journal does not record a further preaching here until Sunday, 31st May 1747, (fn. 94) when Wesley wrote: 'Mr. Bateman desired me to preach a charity sermon at his church, St. Bartholomew the Great, in the afternoon, but it was with much difficulty I got in; not only the church itself, but all the entrance to it, being so thronged with people ready to tread upon one another. The great noise made me afraid at first that my labour would be in vain; but that fear was soon over, for all was still as soon as the service began. I hope God gave us this day a token for good. If He will work, who shall stay His hand?' On Sunday, 14th June following, he wrote: (fn. 95) 'I preached at St. Bartholomew's again. I admire the behaviour of this people; none betrays either lightness or inattention. Surely all the seed sown here will not be lost!' And on the following Sunday, 21st June, he wrote: (fn. 96) 'I preached once more at St. Bartholomew's on the Gospel for the day—the story of Dives and Lazarus. I was constrained to speak very plain and strong words. But God gave the audience ears to hear, so that they appeared as far from anger on the one hand as from sleepiness on the other.' A year later, on Sunday, 12th June 1748, (fn. 97) he wrote: 'I preached in St. Bartholomew's church. Deep attention sat on every face, while I explained and by the Grace of God pressed home those words, "Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God"'. And lastly on the Wednesday following (15th June) he wrote: (fn. 98) 'I preached once more at St. Bartholomew's. How strangely is the scene changed! What laughter and tumult was there among the best of the parish, when we preached in a London church ten years ago! and now all are calm and quietly attentive from the least even to the greatest.'
In the year 1751 the Parish Register (No. 7) records that John Wesley conducted weddings in the church: one on the 27th January; two on the 29th May, and one on the 4th June of that year.
Rector Bateman died, as stated below, probably at the close of the year 1760: three years later John Wesley again came to St. Bartholomew's, but no longer to the church that had so freely opened her doors to him. On the 21st December 1763 he wrote in his journal: 'I took my leave of the "Bull and Mouth", a barren uncomfortable place, where much pains had been taken for several years, I fear to little purpose'. (fn. 99) The 'Bull and Mouth' stood to the west of St. Martin's le Grand; it was originally a quakers' meeting-house, but at this time it was occupied by the Sandemanian Society; (fn. 100) and five days later he wrote, 'I began preaching in a large commodious place in Bartholomew Close. I preached there again on Wednesday and at both times with peculiar liberty of spirit': (fn. 101) which commodious place we have shown (fn. 102) was probably the old Chapter-house, as figured in Wilkinson's Londina Illustrata in the year 1822 (pl. LXXVI b, p. 147).
Beyond the above records as to Mr. Bateman's relations with John Wesley, and the record in the vestry books that in 1747 he was requested, together with the churchwardens, to interview the Bishop of London concerning the parish bounds, we hear nothing of the doings of this rector during his twenty-three years of office. Within that period we can only trace that he attended the Easter vestry meeting five times, viz. in 1738, 1747, 1748, 1758, and in the year of his death 1760. He was also present on the 1st March 1737/8. During the greater part of that time his curate, Mr. Robert Lloyd, filled his place. It may be that he devoted his time to his living in Wales; at any rate he did not continue the daily services of his predecessor at St. Bartholomew's. (fn. 103) Up to the year 1745, both upper and under wardens had been chosen by the vestry; but then began the practice of one warden being nominated by the rector and only one chosen by the vestry. In 1747 and 1748 it is shown, by the Vestry Minute Book, that the nomination of a warden was made by Mr. Bateman, (fn. 104) but in 1749 the curate made the nomination on his behalf. (fn. 105) At this time the vestry minutes were always signed by the two churchwardens and not by the rector even if present, so the only signature of this rector we possess is the one on the list of deeds of the glebe houses.
Mr. Robert Lloyd is shown by the registers to have taken all the weddings from 1740 to 1759, when Mr. Bateman took them for the last year of his life. After that Mr. Lloyd only officiated on two occasions, once in May 1761 and once in April 1771. (fn. 106)
Mr. Lloyd seems to have been very exacting in the matter of fees because, in 1741, he refused to bury the body of a pensioner unless the churchwarden paid him 3s. 6d. for doing so. A legal opinion was taken which the vestry approved by resolution and desired that the curate be proceeded against, should he refuse to perform his duty: (fn. 107) (the outcome does not appear).
Again, on the 14th August 1757, there is an entry in the marriage register, duly filled in ready for signature, but then ruled through with a foot-note 'not married, would not pay the fees'. (fn. 108) The couple remained unmarried for two and a half years until the 18th January 1760; (fn. 109) but whether the delay was entirely due to the inability to pay the fees is not stated.
The stipend of a curate was even more inadequate then than now, and no doubt Mr. Lloyd was compelled to enforce his rights, especially if he had a wife and children to support. He availed himself of an opportunity of increasing his income in May 1756, when the then lecturer, Mr. Tipping Silvester, resigned. (fn. 110) Mr. Lloyd offered himself for the post, agreeing to pay an assistant lecturer, whom the parishioners should choose, £27 6s. yearly out of the collections made for the lecturer, the assistant doing the whole duty of the church either at the morning or evening service as long as Mr. Lloyd remained curate and lecturer. (fn. 111) The vestry consented to this and appointed Mr. William Sellon assistant lecturer; but they wanted Mr. Lloyd to sign an agreement embodying the terms, which Mr. Lloyd refused to do. (fn. 112) The matter was referred to the bishop (fn. 113) and it ended in the vestry accepting Mr. Lloyd's open declaration in vestry of his intention to conform to the agreement. (fn. 114) But in the November following the matter came up again, (fn. 115) when a proposal was submitted from the Rev. Dr. Nicholas that the assistant lecturer should officiate on Sunday afternoons and receive half the collections, Mr. Lloyd receiving the other half. Nothing came of it and Mr. Lloyd remained lecturer until his death in 1778. (fn. 116)
In 1749 the steeple was again out of repair and £157 was estimated as the cost of the work; in addition it was ordered that the church should be whitewashed, and 'two branches' hung in the body of the church. (fn. 117) The money was raised by an annuity: a late parishioner advanced £200 in consideration of £4 being paid him every quarter-day during his life. (fn. 118) In the following March a widow gave a further £200 in exchange for an annuity of £7 a year for the same object; which enabled a church rate of 1s. in the £, which had been made a week before for the same purpose, to be repealed. (fn. 119) In 1752 the vestry borrowed £150, at 4 per cent. interest, for repairs to the school-house. (fn. 120)
The vestry at this time were more alive to the danger of encroachments on the church property than had always been the case. In 1752 they 'ordered that all who had back doors into the churchyard should pay 2s. a year according to ancient custom (fn. 121) with all arrears, and in default the doors to be immediately stopped up'. (fn. 122)
Before this, in the year 1741, the vestry had done an equally good service to the parish by preserving the passage through the Smithfield gate as a footway; for 'the question was put whether a convenient coachway be made at the church gate leading from Smithfield into the Close and passed in the negative Nemine contradicente'. (fn. 123)
At this period both the boys and the girls from the schools were seated in the gallery; for it is recorded that, in 1753, liberty was granted to transfer the right in a pew 'under the charity girls in the gallery', (fn. 124) and that in 1755 'the pew in the gallery next under the charity boys' was sold. (fn. 125)
Turning to the civil side of the parish at this time: in April 1741 it was still the duty of the churchwardens to see that house-keepers did not take in lodgers without the knowledge of the churchwardens, and it was found necessary to take counsel's opinion as to how to act. (fn. 126) And in 1756 the vestry 'ordered that the skittle grounds in the parish be suppressed as nuisances'. (fn. 127)
But the most important parochial event was the application to Parliament in January 1755 for powers to watch, cleanse, and light the parish more effectively, (fn. 128) which resulted in the passing in the same year of a private Act of Parliament (fn. 129) by which such powers were granted. As the Act did not provide for paving and for removing various annoyances, an amending Act was obtained in 1768. (fn. 130) These Acts were repealed in 1851, (fn. 131) as all the duties they imposed had been taken over by the Commissioners of Sewers under the City of London Sewers Act of 1848. (fn. 132)
It was in Rector Bateman's time, in 1751, that the Gregorian Calendar was adopted by Act of Parliament, pursuant to which the day following the 2nd September 1752 was called the 14th September, omitting the eleven intermediate nominal days of the common calendar. The adoption of the new style caused the date of Easter to be calculated according to the new style in 1753, the year beginning on 1st January instead of on 25th March, and St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24, was called September 4.
We have no record of the place where Rector Bateman lived, nor when or where he died, nor yet where he was buried. By the vestry minutes we know he was present at the Easter vestry on the 10th April 1760 (fn. 133) (as already stated), and that his successor was present as rector on the 1st July 1761; (fn. 134) but between those dates there are no vestry records as regards the rector. And although on the 3rd November 1760 it was 'ordered that the pulpit and desk . . . be hung properly in mourning on account of the death of his late Majesty King George the second', no reference is made to the rector's death; but that the benefice became vacant by death and not by resignation we know by the entry in the Episcopal Register on the induction of his successor. Inasmuch, however, as his successor, the Rev. John Moore, was presented by the Bishop of London 'by lapse', we may assume that the bishop allowed about six months or more to pass before he took over the presentation from the real patron William Edwardes, of Johnson, Pembrokeshire, and that R. T. Bateman's death took place towards the end of the year 1760. Moreover, his will (fn. 135) was proved the 20th February 1761. It had been made in 1756 in Monmouth, on board a man-of-war where he was chaplain. By it we learn that he came in for a share of prize-money during the seven years' war with France: that his wife Sarah survived him, and that he had a son Thomas and also a daughter, who was married to Robert Prust.
John Moore, M.A., Rector 1761–1768.
The Episcopal Register states that 'on the 15th June John Moore, clerk, M.A., was admitted and collated by Thomas Sherlock, Bishop of London, at Fulham Palace to the rectory void by the death of Richard Thomas Bateman, the last incumbent, and belonging to the donation and collation of the Bishop of London by reason of lapse'. (fn. 136) The reason why William Edwardes, who inherited the advowson in the year 1752, (fn. 137) failed to present on this occasion does not appear.
John Moore graduated from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and took his M.A. degree in 1756; (fn. 138) but beyond this we have no records concerning him. He generally attended the vestry meetings, and he took practically all the weddings during the seven years that he was rector: (fn. 139) as Robert Lloyd continued his post of lecturer we may assume that he had no curate.
The events recorded during Moore's rectorate are of only minor importance.
At his first vestry meeting, (fn. 140) on the 1st July 1761, a new departure was taken by electing a woman, one Mary Andrewes a widow, as sexton of the parish.
In the same year, 1761, the poet Gray paid a visit to the church, and made the following note in his copy of Strype's Stow: (fn. 141)
'This quire is still standing and serves for the parish church: it is the most ancient building, except perhaps the White Tower, now to be seen in or near London: the two lower orders, the sideiles with their vaulting, and a great part of the Rood-Tower are of this antiquity; but the windows that open into the quire on the south side and the founder's monument are the work of Prior Bolton in Henry the 8th's reign.'
The Rood, as stated elsewhere, was probably lower down in the nave than the tower, and the founder's tomb is some 100 years earlier than the time when Henry VIII came to the throne, but otherwise this is an accurate description of the church as far as it goes.
In 1764 the vestry 'ordered that the churchwarden provide a shelter for the minister to perform service occasionally in the church-yard of the parish'. (fn. 142) This probably indicates a shelter whilst conducting funerals, rather than an outside pulpit such as is to be seen to-day at Holy Trinity, Marylebone, and St. James', Piccadilly.
In 1762 an engine-house was erected in the churchyard 'on the north side of the great door of the church', (fn. 143) as already stated, (fn. 144) apparently to replace the one erected there in the year 1686. (fn. 145) There the engine remained until 1862, when it was removed as a nuisance and useless, owing to the excellent arrangements of the fire brigade, and was housed in the north aisle of the church: (fn. 146) the position still (or until recently) occupied by the old-fashioned hand engine at Malmesbury Abbey. A new engine was purchased by the St. Bartholomew vestry in 1708; (fn. 147) and another in 1730 (at a cost of £32 7s.). (fn. 148) The latter would have been the one used at the fire which occurred at the back of London House in the morning of 14th July 1768. (fn. 149) In 1866, owing to the passing of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act in 1865, the engine was sold.
Another record of 1762 is that of a burial 'by Purgatory door in church', (fn. 150) which is the first instance of the enclosure, behind the high altar, being called purgatory; a name which it retained until it was taken down in 1864.
In 1768 the vestry again 'ordered that two screens be erected in the church', (fn. 151) one in the north aisle from the pier west of Rahere's tomb (pl. XXXII b, p. 26, and pl. XXXIII, p. 27); the other immediately to the east of the south chapel door, with the object of making the church warmer. (fn. 152)
In 1766 the nonconformists, whose meeting-house still occupied the sacristy of the monastic church and part of the triforium, refused to pay the parochial rates, claiming exemption under the Act of Toleration; but counsel's opinion being that they were liable to such taxation, (fn. 153) they continued to be assessed and to pay.
In 1767 the vestry 'ordered that an accurate plan of the parish should be taken with the view of adjusting amicably the boundaries between the parish and that of St. Botolph's'; (fn. 154) but we have no record that that plan was ever made.
The civil burdens thrown upon the churchwardens by the Government had now increased to such an extent that in 1767 the fine for exemption from serving all parochial offices, as those of churchwarden, sidesman, constable, and overseer, was fixed at £30; (fn. 155) the amount of the fine imposed being entirely at the discretion of the vestry. In 1663 the fine for exemption from being churchwarden was £5; from being collector of the poor rate £2; from being constable about £5; and from being scavenger £2. In 1674 the fine for all offices was £16; in 1691 it was £20. In 1678 Francis Martin, a Quaker, actually paid £20 for being exempt from the office of sidesman alone, although he had served all the other parochial offices. On the other hand, when, in 1768, another Quaker, John Eliot, refused either to fine or serve the office of sidesman, it was agreed not to press him. It was in 1750 that the fine for all offices was raised to £30; and for the offices separately the fines were for that of churchwarden £20; of constable and overseer £10; of collector £8. In 1806 the fine for all offices was raised to £40, (fn. 156) in 1824 to £50, (fn. 157) and in 1828 to £60. (fn. 158) In 1821 £230 was received from fifteen persons for fines. (fn. 159) Thus men who served their parish by compulsion, instead of being paid by their fellow-parishioners for their services, had to pay these exorbitant sums if their business or religious convictions would not allow them to take office. On the other hand, when, in 1774 and 1775, instead of nominating the junior warden for the office of senior warden—according to custom—the rector nominated, at the request of the vestry, a man who had already served all offices, he was paid £10 in consequence for serving the office a further period.
After this time some of the duties of the parish constable were removed, and the fines became less. In 1839 the fine for the office of churchwarden alone was reduced from £50 to £40. (fn. 160) In 1862 Mr. John Evans, of 60 Bartholomew Close, though seventy-five years of age, had to pay £20. (fn. 161) In 1871 Mr. W. J. Lacy paid £20 for exemption from all offices, (fn. 162) to which amount the fine had been reduced from £40 in 1859. Since 1884, when a new era dawned in the parish and compulsion was no longer enforced, no one has ever declined to take office as churchwarden or sidesman: the late Sir William Boord, who had paid £20 not to serve in 1874, made a donation of £500 to the restoration fund in 1885, and served the office of churchwarden from 1887 to 1896.
In 1817 a Mr. Divett and a Mr. John Whitaker refused either to serve or to fine. (fn. 163) The latter alleged that it was not his turn, as others before him had not served but only fined; he denied that a man who had fined and a man who had served were in the same position. He denied the right of the vestry to take a fine at all, as thereby his turn came sooner than it would otherwise have done; and he further objected that the fines had been misapplied, as £50 a year therefrom was given to an afternoon lecturer at the parish church. An indictment was issued, and the case was tried in the Court of King's Bench the following year. The brief for the parish set out all the privileges of the parish, and the history of them from the date of the first charter of the monastery in 1133 and onwards, which are fully described farther on. (fn. 164)
Whitaker was charged with refusing to take the office of constable, though duly elected and an inhabitant of the parish. He had been at one time organist to the church. His defence was that, having a successful music shop in St. Paul's Churchyard, he had been elected constable merely to extract from him a £10 fine; further, that he was not a fit person for the office, having lost an eye and being subject to spitting of blood. Gurney, who was counsel for the plaintiffs (the Common Serjeant being for the defendant), in the course of the case showed that the custom of the parish as to the manner of choosing their constables differed from that of every other parish in the city of London. The jury's verdict was in favour of the parish; but in December 1820, the resolution of the vestry of February 1814 (fn. 165) appropriating the fines for parish offices to paying the salary of the lecturer, was formally rescinded. (fn. 166)
It is no wonder that in the earlier days, as a consequence of these onerous unpaid duties, there was a certain amount of feasting at the parish expense. It was, however, confined to Easter Thursday, when the Easter vestry was held; to Ascension Day, when the beating of the bounds took place; and to St. Thomas's Day, when the ward elections were taken. At Easter the outgoing churchwarden provided the dinner, and the new upper warden paid for it. At the close of the Easter vestry meeting the two churchwardens, attended by the beadle, with his staff and cloak and laced hat, waited on the newly elected churchwarden to invite him to the dinner. Any one who had fined for the office instead of serving was invited by the beadle alone, Dinner was at three o'clock; the rector, if present, being in the chair, and the churchwardens, treasurer, and vestrymen all having their allotted places. (fn. 167) The bill of fare was of a modest character (fn. 168) and the amount for the three feasts in 1630 was only £10; in 1700, £15; and in 1792, £17. In 1696 it was resolved that there should be no more feasting on the parish account, but two years later the vestry returned to the three feasts a year, which were held at the Half Moon Tavern. In 1736 the number was reduced to one a year; and in 1799, in consequence of the dearness of provisions, all the feasts were discontinued, and in their place for three years £5 was given to the poor instead. In 1801 those attending the small feasts defrayed their own expenses.
No exception can be taken to this modest way of encouraging social intercourse in the parish, though there may be to the habit of charging drinks on special occasions, a few instances of which are found in the churchwardens' accounts.
As in the case of Rector Bateman we have no record as to where this rector died or was buried. The last vestry he attended was on the 29th June 1768, after which we assume he died rather suddenly, because his will breaks off in the middle of a sentence and is unsigned and undated; but by July 21st the attestation of two of his friends that the handwriting was that of the Rev. John Moore was taken, and administration granted to his widow. The marriage register continued to be signed 'John Moore' in a very similar handwriting until the 8th November following, but with the description 'Minister' instead of 'Rector'. This was probably his son John Moore to whom he bequeathed his books and MSS. He refers in his will (fn. 169) to two other children, Nathaniel and Susanna, and to his wife Sarah. We assume that he lived in Charterhouse Square, because he left the lease of his house there to his son John, who was described in the attestation as 'of the parish of St. Sepulchre' in which the greater part of Charterhouse Square is situated.
Owen Perrot Edwardes, M.A., Rector 1768–1814.
'On the 24th November 1768, Owen Perrot Edwardes, (fn. 170) clerk, M.A., was admitted and instituted' by Richard Terrick, 'Bishop of London, to the rectory, void by the death of John Moore'; . . . 'belonging to the presentation of William Edwardes of Johnson in the county of Pembroke Esquire'. (fn. 171)
The new rector was entered at Trinity College, Dublin, on the 14th March 1748, at the age of 17. We learn from the Matriculation Book of the University, (fn. 172) that he was born in Pembrokeshire, and was the son of John Edwardes, also a clericus, who was the elder brother of Francis Edwardes, who, by his marriage with Lady Elizabeth Rich, succeeded to the St. Bartholomew property. He derived his Christian names from his grandfather Owen Edwardes and his grandmother née Damaris Perrot. He was first cousin to William Edwardes, the patron, who was created Baron Kensington in the peerage of Ireland in 1776. (fn. 173)
He graduated B.A. at Dublin in 1752, and M.A. in 1755. He signed the register of the University of Cambridge on the 28th June 1777. This was a degree of incorporation, but he does not appear to have joined any college there. (fn. 174)
Rector Edwardes did not take up his duties at St. Bartholomew's until two and a half years after his institution, whether from ill health or not is unknown. At Easter, 1769, the curate, Mr. Samuel Ward, nominated the churchwarden in the rector's absence; (fn. 175) and Mr. W. Hayes, the curate, did the same in 1770. (fn. 176)
The rector was present at the Easter vestry in 1771, but did not commence taking the weddings until the 2nd December that year. After that time he took the weddings regularly, and generally attended the vestry meetings. He adopted the practice of signing the registers at the end of each year, and from 1800 to 1811 the baptismal registers are in his own handwriting. (fn. 177) In 1773 he commenced a book of surplice fees for christenings, weddings, churchings, and burials, and this was continued for two years after his death. The scale of fees was settled by the vestry. (fn. 178) In the year 1774 they resolved that in cases of burial of any casual poor person the minister should be paid the lowest rate in the table of fees; but in the case of a settled or pensioned poor person, no money or allowance was to be paid or made: thus was decided the question raised by Mr. Robert Lloyd in 1741. (fn. 179)
Mr. Edwardes was 38 years of age when he was instituted to St. Bartholomew's. Whether he held another cure before he came we do not know, but in 1787 he was presented to the prebend of Trefloyden, St. Davids. (fn. 180)
We learn from Malcolm (fn. 181) that he lived at No. 61 Bartholomew Close, for he says, in describing the dorter (which he wrongly calls the refectory) then standing: 'in the south part is a suite of very good apartments inhabited by the rector, Mr. Edwardes, to whom I beg leave to return my thanks for his obliging assistance.'
On the arrival of Mr. Edwardes in the parish, in 1771, some activity appears in church affairs; for in September of that year 'a sum of 40s. was added (by the vestry) to the parish clerk's salary in lieu of all claim of right to the alms given at the sacraments', (fn. 182) which was probably done at the rector's suggestion.
In the same year a committee was appointed, (fn. 183) which included the rector and churchwardens, to ascertain what repairs to the church were necessary. They reported that repairs were needed to the steeple and that gates were required for the churchyard; but there must have been other matters as well, because the bill amounted to £566, (fn. 184) to pay which they had to borrow £300 at 5 per cent. interest. (fn. 185)
At the same time the committee were empowered to treat with Mr. William Edwardes for a lease of the building over the south aisle (then occupied by the Nonconformists for their meetings and their schools) for a rent which was not to exceed £3 a year. The rector broached the matter to his relative, apparently without success; but in April 1772 he was able to report that he had obtained the leave of the patron to block up the windows looking into the church belonging to the trustees of the school, and they were allowed to break out skylights in their place. The trustees were given the sum of twelve pounds for the cost of doing this, together with a new lease of the premises. (fn. 186)
There was also another window looking into the church, belonging to a Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, but its situation is not known. Mrs. Smith agreed to this window being blocked up in the year 1773 in consideration of a certain pew in the church being granted to her.
Encroachments outside the church were also vigorously dealt with; for in September 1778 it was ordered that a doorway, opening into the green churchyard from Mr. Hitchcock's workshop, be blocked up at the expense of the parish; (fn. 187) and in December 1781 all other passages which opened into the same churchyard were ordered to be properly secured. (fn. 188)
In 1799 notice was given to several persons who had made encroachments on the great churchyard, by enclosing part of the ground behind their houses, to throw down their enclosures and to restore the ground within fourteen days. (fn. 189) In the July following it was resolved that Samuel Mitchell, who had encroached 9 ft., John Duck, who had encroached 7½ ft., and T. Fenton, 18 ft., should do the same, or in default pay 1s. a foot in length for the ground encroached upon every year, and give up the ground whenever called upon to do so. (fn. 190)
In 1862 there was a similar case where an encroachment was made into the churchyard during the rebuilding of No. 5 Cloth Fair, after the fire of 1855, which nearly destroyed the Smithfield gate. The archdeacon on that occasion directed that an acknowledgement of 3d. a year be required of the proprietor (Rice). (fn. 191)
In February 1775 two houses next to the north door of the church, belonging to the parish, being in a very ruinous condition, were pulled down and the débris carted away. (fn. 192) In April 1776 the overseers granted a sixty-one years' building lease of the ground thus cleared, (fn. 193) and the house built thereon was known as 9½ Cloth Fair, and formed the endowment of the almshouses to which reference has already been made. (fn. 194)
In September 1777 the church roof was newly leaded; no estimate was obtained for the work, but it was simply ordered to be done (fn. 195) 'upon the usual terms charged by plumbers for such work'; it is not therefore surprising that the bills for repairs were heavy at this time.
About the year 1791 Thomas Illidge (fn. 196) joined the vestry, and he served the best interests of the parish for forty years. One of the first things he was instrumental in accomplishing was the appointment of a duly qualified man as architect and surveyor both for the church and parish; and from this time, with various lapses, the building has been in safe and professional hands.
It was in August 1789 that a committee was again appointed to report what repairs to the church were necessary. (fn. 197) There was evidently some difference of opinion as to what should be done, because the committee did not report until seventeen months later. John Carter, (fn. 198) writing in 1809, in the Gentleman's Magazine, concerning the first visit he made to the church in 1791, says: 'at that time a very powerful junto in the parish had concerted a sort of scheme to sweep the whole remains away, church and all, under the pretence that a certain part of the quire was then in imminent danger of falling'. (fn. 199) But better counsels prevailed, and in January 1791 the committee gave in their report, (fn. 200) when the vestry resolved that it was 'necessary that a surveyor should be appointed to overlook and inspect the repairs . . . and that Mr. Hardwick' should be so appointed. (fn. 201)
Thomas Hardwick was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and an architect of some eminence. He designed Marylebone New Church opposite York Gate, Galway Gaol, and various London buildings. He was a pupil and biographer of Sir William Chambers, the architect and designer of Somerset House. Hardwick exhibited in the Royal Academy from 1772 to 1805, and it was he who advised J. M. W. Turner to abandon architecture. (fn. 202)
The danger that threatened the church was probably on the north side of the quire, because Hardwick recommended 'that no graves should be sunk within five feet from the pier in the north aisle between the pulpit and Rahere's tomb, or near the opposite pier in the south aisle, as they were in a very decayed state', (fn. 203) and stated past excavations were the cause of the settlement in that part of the church. (fn. 204)
Carter, in his paper referred to above, wrote concerning Hardwick, 'We have much to thank an able architect for his professional exertions on the occasion, that in a few judicious repairs we have the very great satisfaction to behold so much of the priory', (fn. 205) and later, 'let me again laud that very excellent artist and true lover of our antiquities for his spirited exertions in the preservation of this church'. (fn. 206)
Extensive repairs were now put in hand, which included repairs to the organ and altar-piece. (fn. 207) It was the 'junto' probably that 'ordered that the pillar in the south cross aisle of the church be lined' (fn. 208) like the rest; and who, when the new pews were ordered to be painted and not lined, reversed the instruction and ordered them to be lined with green cloth, and the several cushions to be green. The vestry, however, approved Hardwick's plan to take away the pew adjoining the clerk's desk, and to take down and alter the pulpit, the reading desk, and the clerk's desk. (fn. 209) All this work necessitated a church rate of 1s. in the £ (fn. 210) It was also considered necessary to close the church from the 28th March until the 1st of January following for the work to proceed. Hardwick's fee, as arranged with the vestry, was £45, (fn. 211) but 'having completed the business to universal satisfaction' it was resolved to give him an additional £5. (fn. 212)
Sixteen years later, in 1808, the vestry had again to face the question of repairs, when Hardwick's estimate was accepted, and he was again appointed surveyor. (fn. 213) In 1812 he was called in to inspect the church tower (fn. 214) and the north wall. He ordered, as regards the latter, that a buttress be built against it, and that the spouts be removed or repaired, and that the bells be put into a proper state for use. This again necessitated the closing of the church for a time. (fn. 215) In fact, the closing of the church, even for cleaning only, was at this period rather frequent, for it was so ordered again in May 1794, in March 1797, and in June 1801. (fn. 216)
In 1778 the first recorded attempt was made to warm the church, when three braziers were ordered, payment being made from the church rate. (fn. 217)
Considerable activity was also evident at this time in other directions than that of the fabric of the church.
In 1676 the first record occurs of the vestry granting permission to ale houses, to take out their licences, (fn. 218) and in a hundred years only two houses, the 'Bell' and the 'Race Horses' were struck off the list for presentation to the alderman for licence, (fn. 219) which was in 1742.
But now there was greater strictness, for in 1772 and in 1778 (fn. 220) the 'Black Horse' was struck off the list. Several houses in 1781, including the 'Half Moon' tavern, were similarly treated. The latter house was again omitted from the list in 1792. (fn. 221) In 1783 two licensed victuallers were severely reprimanded at the vestry meeting for suffering card-playing and other irregularities in the 'Baker and Basket' in Middle Street, and the 'Red Lion' in King Street. (fn. 222) This action seems to have had some effect, for no other case is recorded until 1803, when the 'Red Lion' was again an offender by allowing tippling during divine service and other irregularities. (fn. 223) The next case was not until 1813, when the 'Sun and Punch Bowl' (fn. 224) was omitted from the list for a similar offence, having been duly cautioned the year before. (fn. 225)
In 1764 an attempt had been made to prevent the increase of public houses in the parish. (fn. 226) And in 1814 Illidge and three others waited on the alderman 'to advise with him on the best way of reducing the number' of them, and 'particularly to endeavour to prevent a transfer of the licence of the "Blue Posts" then shut up'. (fn. 227) This was followed the next year (1815) by no less than five houses being struck off the list at the February sitting, viz. the 'Barley Mow', the 'Admiral Carter', the 'Baker and Basket', the 'Hand and Shears', and the 'Sun and Punch Bowl'. (fn. 228) The next week the five publicans attended the vestry, and on their undertaking to prevent playing at bagatelle, dominoes, or other games of chance, their houses were reinstated on the list.
After Rector Edwardes' time, viz. in 1834, complaint was made against the 'George the Fourth' (fn. 229) in New Street for being open for dancing and cards until 3 o'clock in the morning. In 1837 the 'Baker and Basket' had apparently acquired such a bad name that it was changed to the 'Queen Victoria', (fn. 230) but even that fair name did not change its character, and now it no longer exists.
In 1838 there were fifteen licensed houses in the parish: the 'White Hart', the 'Red Cow', the 'Barley Mow', and the 'Sun and Punch Bowl', in Long Lane; the 'Queen's Head and French Horn', and the 'Half Moon', (fn. 231) in Duke Street, now Little Britain; the 'Admiral Carter', the 'Goldsmiths' Arms', the 'Blackey's Head', the 'Rose and Crown', and the 'Coach and Horses', in Bartholomew Close; the 'Hand and Shears', and the 'Queen Victoria', in Middle Street; the 'Rising Sun' in Cloth Fair; and the 'King George the Fourth' in New Street. (fn. 232) Of these fifteen houses, in the year 1914 the 'Sun and Punch Bowl', the 'Half Moon', the 'Blackey's Head', the 'Queen Victoria', and the 'George IV' have gone, whilst the other ten remain. In addition there is the 'Lock and Key', 62 West Smithfield, which, though practically in this parish, is actually in that of St. Sepulchre.
In 1848 the vestry protested against a licence for another publichouse being transferred to the parish, (fn. 233) probably the 'Dick Whittington', (fn. 234) which is not otherwise referred to in the parish records. In that year the Corporation itself took over the licensing.
Rector Edwardes' times were those of war abroad: the American
War of Independence, 1775–1781; the French Revolution, 1789; and
the war with France. The battle of the Nile took place in 1798;
that of Trafalgar in 1805; and of Waterloo in 1815. The unrest at
home is reflected in various ways in the parish records. In May 1770
the number of watchmen was increased to nine, and they were ordered
to beat the stations every half-hour on account of the losses occasioned
by house-breaking. (fn. 235) In the January previous the parish constable
had let a prisoner escape, whereby a charge was brought on the
parish, and the vestry allowed the constable a fortnight to produce
him. (fn. 236) In 1777 the watchmen were provided with rattles. (fn. 237) In January
1771 was the case already referred to, where a parishioner, having
brought a man to Tyburn for felony, his assignee produced a Tyburn
ticket whereby he was excused from serving the office of constable. (fn. 238)
This was an office the serving of which, especially at this time, was
naturally avoided, where there was any pretext for doing so, as it
was very onerous. In 1777 one Thomas Corbyn claimed exemption
from serving in consequence of being free of the Apothecaries Company. (fn. 239) In 1773 doors were ordered to be placed in Middlesex Court
passage, where they are still, and to be shut every night. (fn. 240) On the
2nd June 1780 the Gordon 'No Popery' riots took place, when
Lord George Gordon headed a mob of 4,000 persons, which pillaged
and burnt as it went, to carry the petition of the Protestant Association
to Parliament. It was quelled on the 8th, when 210 rioters were killed
and 248 wounded, of whom 75 died in the hospitals, and many were
tried and executed. (fn. 241) On that day John Eliot, the Quaker, wrote to
his wife from his house, No. 60 in the Close, as follows: (fn. 242)
8th 6 mo. 1780.
10th hr. evening.
I have the comfort to inform thee that through Divine Mercy we have been hitherto very still this evening, altho' from reports circulated abroad it was expected to be one of the most dreadful that had yet happened, several houses and places being marked out for destruction and messages sent to that Effect.
'The quiet we enjoy is not to be attributed to any change in the minds of the populace, but under providence to the Great Number of Soldiers Horse and Foot that have come into the City and patrole about the streets.
'But the scenes have been very distressing, deep sorrow covering many countenances. Our neighbour Townsend has been concerned for their Daughters who were dismayed with Fear and requested they might be at our House. The young women, on the other hand, loth to leave their Parents, caused a struggle of Nature and tender parting. I got them at length to Barthw. Close where they lodge. James Townsend & wife have also sent some of their effects to our house as did Couse. Tibey and came herself, the House she lives in being threatened to be burnt this evening. I hope the Lord is now putting a stop to this monstrous wickedness, for, indeed, who could have borne it much longer? I think it could hardly have been borne.
6th Day morng. (fn. 243) 'We have passd a quiet night in which I do not hear of any disturbance being caused by the Rioters. If this repose continues I probably may come down to thee this evening: I believe there would be no danger in thy coming to town, but as I have some thoughts of our being at Peel on First day thou mayest consider whether to defer it till then.
I remain Thy affectionate Husband
On the 14th June the vestry minutes record that 'the inhabitants in general having formed themselves into an association to secure themselves and others from the attacks and outrages of a tumultuous rabble, and their property from being destroyed by their means: this vestry, after mature deliberation, approve of their plan'; (fn. 244) and they directed the churchwardens to defray the expense of their meetings at not exceeding 10s. a night. In October 1782 a riot tax was assessed upon the parish amounting to £40 2s. 0d. (fn. 245)
On the 21st December 1792 a general meeting of the proprietors of lands and tenements, housekeepers, and inhabitants was held in the church. Lord Kensington, the patron and principal landlord, was nominated to the chair, but owing to indisposition he was represented by his cousin the rector. The following resolution was proposed and carried:
'Impressed as we are with a deep and sure sense of the many great and invaluable blessings which we enjoy under the present mild and happy form of government, and holding as we do with the utmost indignation and abhorrence the many daring attempts which have lately been made in several wicked and seditious publications to convert the fair scene of plenty liberty and order into tumult anarchy and confusion' . . . We avow 'that we bear true allegiance to his Majesty King George III and will with the becoming spirit of Englishmen support the constitution of King, Lords & Commons as by Law established . . .'
The meeting then appointed a committee to preserve order within the gates of the parish. (fn. 246)
In 1799, owing to the disturbed state of affairs, and want of command of the seas, there was great dearth in the land; and in December the vestry ordered that in consequence of the present high price of provisions the contractor for the poor children of the parish, then at Enfield, be advanced to 3s. 6d. a week. And for the same reason it was resolved that the festivals usually held on St. Thomas' Day and Ascension Day, and churchwardens' feasts be discontinued during pleasure. (fn. 247) Twelve months later, in December 1800, it was resolved that the expense of the vestry suppers in future be defrayed by those who attend them, except the 15s. allowed by the vestry. (fn. 248)
There was an Act of Parliament passed at this time diminishing the consumption of bread by the poor, and, in consequence, the daily allowance was reduced from 15 oz. to 12 oz., but 1 lb. of rice a week was allowed instead. (fn. 249)
Owing to the naval war with France, in April 1795 a 'vestry was held in pursuance of an Act of Parliament entitled an Act for raising a certain number of men in the several counties of England for the service of the Navy'. (fn. 250) This parish, with that of St. Martin, Ludgate, had to find five men between them. The matter was left in the hands of the churchwardens and overseers to carry out.
In January 1797, in pursuance of a precept by the Lord Mayor, a meeting of the churchwardens, overseers, and other inhabitants of St. Bartholomew the Less, St. Sepulchre, and St. Bartholomew the Great, was held in the vestry room of this parish, to ascertain the proportion that each parish should contribute towards thirteen men for the army. The Rev. O. P. Edwardes was in the chair. It was agreed that the proportion should be three men by St. Bartholomew the Great, one by St. Bartholomew the Less, and eight by St. Sepulchre's, this parish to raise the thirteenth man. (fn. 251) And at a vestry meeting of the parish the same day the churchwardens and overseers were authorized to raise the men the best way they could. (fn. 252)
In 1797 the Spanish fleet was destroyed off Cape St. Vincent, and the victory was obtained at Camperdown over the Dutch fleet; and so 19th December, we learn from the Preachers' Book, was a 'day of general thanksgiving for the naval victories obtained in the present war', when the rector preached, and the king went in procession to St. Paul's. The 29th November 1798 was also kept as a 'day of general thanksgiving for signal victory obtained by Admiral Nelson off the Nile'; (fn. 253) and 5th December 1805 was kept as a day of thanksgiving for the victory obtained under the command of the late Lord Nelson 'after the battle of Trafalgar', when the collection in all amounted to over £35. 7th July 1814 was a 'Thanksgiving day for Peace' (fn. 254) between England and the United States; this took place after Rector Edwardes' death, but before his successor was instituted.
The vestry during Rector Edwardes' time still remained all-powerful in church affairs, as well as in parochial government; for in October 1782 it is recorded that they 'consented to allow the use of the church to the gentlemen appointed to preach the Thursday sermons'. (fn. 255)
In the early morning of the 14th July 1768, four months before the institution of Rector Edwardes, a destructive fire broke out at Seddon's, the great cabinet-makers, in what is now Manchester Avenue, formerly London House, the residence of the Bishop of London. The damage was computed at £20,000, (fn. 256) and Seddon had by accident allowed his insurance policy to lapse. (fn. 257)
The fire is thus referred to by John Eliot, the Quaker, (fn. 258) then living
at 60 Bartholomew Close:
'B. Close 14, 7 mo. 1768.
After a day spent with much Fatigue and Anxiety of mind I am set down to write to thee . . . For this morning very early we were alarmed with the cry of Fire, so near as London House and it burned with great rapidity in a very dreadful manner till Day Break, and I think, a while after, before it was at all got under. During which time there seemed but little probability but that we should be burnt down, . . . but ever be remembered with Gratitude the Gracious Interposition of the Divine Hand which prevented the fury of the flames reaching to us although they had communicated themselves to (late) neighbour Locke's back warehouse and as there is a great deal of slight Timber building, had it not then providentially been stopt, we must have been in the greatest danger imaginable, indeed I think we were very much so as it was. The manner of which Deliverance was thus. There came an engine before our door, the Leather Pipe of which they laid along through the great warehouse on the ground floor and came in with it behind, by which means they got at the Fire and happily extinguished it, preventing its spreading further our way.'
He then goes on to explain how he and his wife moved all their furniture and household goods into a neighbour's, and brought them back when the danger was gone. It must have been a large fire to have spread from London House to that of Crisp Locke, who, according to the rate collector's books, had been living next door to John Eliot at 59 Bartholomew's Close.
On the 5th November 1783, at a quarter past one at night, a still worse fire broke out in the same part of the parish, in the workshops behind Seddon's dwelling-house in Aldersgate Street, and the shops, being full of cabinet work and rough mahogany, burnt furiously. More than 50 houses adjoining were either burnt or rendered uninhabitable. 'At daybreak several families were sitting round what few effects they had saved in Smithfield, some half dressed, and others without clothes, wrapped in carpets and blankets.' (fn. 259) The damage was estimated at over £100,000. So great was the exodus of the inhabitants caused by the fire that there was difficulty in obtaining a sufficient number of vestry men, and it was found necessary to reduce for the time the amount of the fines for not serving the parochial offices. By this means more men were induced to fine, and as a man who had fined became a member of the vestry, so the number of the vestry men was increased.
In 1830, in addition to the fire which broke out by the church in May (referred to elsewhere), (fn. 260) another devastating fire broke out on the night of the 11th August in the adjoining premises of Houghton & Messenger, wholesale oil merchants (late Houghton & Sons). (fn. 261) It was half an hour before a supply of water could be obtained, so the fire rapidly spread to Adlard's the printers, and to Seddon's the upholsterers, the scene of the previous fires. The immense quantity of oil from Houghton's made its way to the plug holes and interfered with the engines: about 10 barrels of oil were secured by watermen at Blackfriars Bridge, who scooped it whilst floating on the water. From Seddon's the flames extended to some wooden stables at the back of Queen's Square, from which 80 coach horses were saved. Three other houses were destroyed, and over 20 damaged, but the Queen's Square houses and the Albion Tavern were saved by the falling walls of the burning houses which smothered the flames. The exertions of the firemen were greatly facilitated by the parish gates being kept closed.
Another disastrous fire occurred at Houghton's oil warehouse on the 7th July 1917, when two bombs were dropped from enemy aeroplanes, whereby the senior partner, Mr. B. S. Browning, and two of the oldest members of the staff, were killed whilst, with great courage, seeing the rest of the staff into a place of safety. The premises at once burst into flames, the walls fell, and Evans Sons, Lescher & Webb's warehouse on the other side of the narrow street was set on fire by the flames and the intense heat; it was, however, saved by the company's own fire brigade and by the drenchers fixed to the outside of the building. Five in all lost their lives at Houghton's, and the bodies, being covered by the fallen walls, were not recovered until ten days later, though a company of Royal Engineers was employed to remove the débris.
During the whole of Rector Edwardes' time the vestry had disagreements with St. Botolph's parish concerning the parish bounds, which are fully described elsewhere. (fn. 262) In 1747 a committee was appointed to wait on the Bishop of London in the matter. (fn. 263) In 1768 encroaching boundary marks of St. Botolph's were ordered by the vestry to be taken down. (fn. 264) In 1771 the Corporation were petitioned to appoint surveyors to settle the matter, but with no result. (fn. 265) In 1783 a surveyor was appointed to assist the churchwardens in settling the bounds where the fire above described had occurred. (fn. 266) In 1792, George Seddon, whose premises were destroyed by the fire, had removed certain boundary marks, which he was ordered to reinstate; and in 1801, John Yeates, who occupied the premises formerly those of the Half Moon Tavern, and who had always paid rates to St. Bartholomew's parish, was distrained for the church rate by St. Botolph's parish. (fn. 267) The vestry defended their rights before the Recorder, who decided in favour of St. Bartholomew's, but as this did not settle the matter the parishes agreed to petition the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, as had been done in Seddon's case. Hardwick was appointed to act as surveyor in drawing up the petition; but as he was not allowed access to Yeates' cellar, for this and other reasons it was decided to stop further steps in the matter, (fn. 268) and so the quarrel went on. In 1805 St. Botolph's again affixed their marks on Yeates' premises, which were straightway removed; and the same thing occurred again in 1807 and in 1813. (fn. 269) In 1814, Illidge having reported that the plan of 1767 was considered by his committee to be very inaccurate, Hardwick was instructed to take an actual survey of the ancient boundaries and to make a correct plan of the parish. Illidge was requested, for the assistance of Hardwick, to collect all the documents in the vestry relating to the boundaries, and to examine all the vestry books, churchwardens' accounts, and rate books and other books, plans, &c., not in the possession of the vestry. (fn. 270) This was duly done, and Illidge's notes (as stated elsewhere) are still in the belfry cupboard. (fn. 271) The dispute then lay more or less dormant until 1825, when Illidge had to report another encroachment by St. Botolph's on Seddon's premises, and also in Cox's Court; but the churchwarden and vestry clerk of St. Botolph's having expressed a wish to settle the differences by a friendly conference, the matter was ended by this means, through Illidge and two others (as already stated). (fn. 272)
In 1772 the vestry had to deal with the obstruction of Cox's passage, on the south side of the present Manchester Hotel, but this is also referred to elsewhere. (fn. 273)
As regards the parish map: in the year 1707 (fn. 274) it was ordered that John Olley be paid £6 for surveying and making a map of the parish, and in 1767 the further plan mentioned above was ordered to be made. This plan of 1767 is in the parish safe. (fn. 275) Hardwick's plan, though nearly finished in 1822, (fn. 276) was apparently never completed by him; for in September 1825 the vestry requested a Mr. Bedford to finish the plan (though Hardwick did not die until 1829), and to present it to a vestry to be held on the first Wednesday in November following for the special purpose of receiving it. (fn. 277) What then happened does not appear, for the map, which now hangs in the vestry over the west porch, is inscribed with the names, among others, of the churchwardens Richard Bell and John Dawkins, the former of whom was appointed senior warden at the Easter vestry of 1828; but it is also stated thereon that it was 'surveyed by the order of the vestry by Mr. Thos. Bedford, surveyor and builder of Goswell Road St. Luke's in the year . . .', but the letters and figures of the year have perished. The whole map is much discoloured and injured and parts of the lettering are illegible, but still it remains a valuable local record. It measures without the frame 4 ft. 3½ in. by 3 ft. Hardwick wrote (fn. 278) to Illidge on the 20th July 1814, quoting £40 for making an outline plan only of the parish, and £20 more if the lines of the streets were filled in. In 1822 the vestry sold to Sir William Rawlins a shed in the passage leading through the Smithfield gate for £50, which sum it was decided that the churchwarden should retain 'to defray the expense of the plan then nearly completed'. (fn. 279) This £50, however, was instead carried to the credit of the consolidated rate; but in October 1829 it was ordered to be withdrawn and to remain in the hands of the treasurer, for the purpose originally intended. (fn. 280) £30 of this was paid to Thomas Bedford, and Hardwick apparently received nothing.
The vestry were still not satisfied with this plan, for in February 1832 they took steps to appoint a surveyor to make a ground plan of the parish, (fn. 281) but it would seem that no appointment was made, since in September 1836 it was resolved that the balance of £20 from the £50 set apart in 1829 'for making a plan of the parish which was not completed' should be applied to the erection of a new vestry. (fn. 282)
Thomas Illidge was so much respected for his work in the parish that it must have been a shock to his fellow parishioners when the incident occurred which is related in the following vestry minute of the 30th April 1813: (fn. 283)
'A letter read from John Jarvis now under sentence of two years' imprisonment in Newgate, for presenting a loaded pistol at the churchwarden, Mr. Illidge, with intent to kill him, humbly acknowledging his great offence and begging Mr. Illidge and the vestry pardon, at the same time supplicating some relief from the parish, as without it he was in danger of perishing from want, he being also 74 years of age. On the motion of Mr. Illidge it was ordered that he be allowed 2/- a week during the pleasure of the overseers and vestry.'
There are several instances at this time of careful management of parochial affairs, thus:
In 1774 the beadle's duties were exactly defined and entered on the minutes, and the same was done as regards the vestry clerk's duties in 1778. (fn. 284) In the year 1786 the vestry had to make a return of charitable donations given by deed or will for the benefit of the poor, a copy of which the vestry ordered to be deposited in the chest in the vestry. (fn. 285) In 1805 a box was ordered in which to keep maps and other documents relating to the boundaries, which was produced to the vestry in June 1807. (fn. 286) (It is now drawer No. 18 in the belfry cupboard.) In 1809 the parish registers were kept at the rector's house; a resolution by the churchwarden was about to be moved when they were deposited in the vestry, agreeably with the 70th canon. (fn. 287) In 1813 an inventory of the parish registers had, by Act of Parliament, to be deposited in an iron chest, provided by the parish; and this was ordered to be done, (fn. 288) but there is no such chest now in the church. In 1811 it was ordered that an extract from the will of Lady Saye and Sele concerning the almshouses be entered in the vestry book; (fn. 289) and in 1812 it was ordered that it should be the business of the vestry clerk to read over the minutes of the preceding vestry and submit the same to be confirmed. (fn. 290)
In October 1809 the vestry, on the invitation of the alderman of the ward, met to consider the way in which they should celebrate the Jubilee of the accession of King George III. It was decided that the poor at each of the workhouses, at Islington and Bear Lane, should be provided with a dinner, not to exceed 3 guineas, like that of the Charity children, and that a dinner, not to exceed £3, should be given to the watchmen. (fn. 291)
The services in the church during Rector Edwardes' time were on Sunday: morning prayer 10.30 a.m., evening prayer at 3 p.m. (by the lecturer). On Saints' days morning prayer was at 11.30. On Good Friday the services were at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 'a gift sermon paid by the churchwarden 10s. 6d.' There were sermons in Lent on Wednesdays and Fridays. In some years three months and more elapsed during which the rector did not preach at all. (fn. 292) He always had, it would seem, a curate as well as a lecturer.
By 1812 Owen Perrot Edwardes was in his 83rd year. He was still signing the registers, but his signature was made with a trembling hand. He had preached his last sermon on the 9th October 1808.
There is no reference to his death in the vestry books, but we learn from his memorial tablet in the church that he died on the 20th April 1814, (fn. 293) and from the register (fn. 294) that he was buried in the church on the 28th April, aged 84, and that his abode was still in the Close. This tablet was the only memorial to any rector in the church at that time. During the sequestration of the living the churchwarden ('by inadvertence' the vestry said) permitted this small marble tablet to be erected 'immediately over the Communion Table'; they therefore resolved, 'by general consent of all parties,' that it should be removed to some part of the body of the church. The tablet was at first inscribed:
Beneath the Altar
Are deposited the remains of
The Rev. Owen Perrot Edwardes, M.A.,
Forty-five years Rector of this parish,
Who died April the xx, mdcccxiv
Aged lxxxiv years.
The words 'Beneath the Altar' were later clumsily altered to 'Beneath this tablet', but for what reason is not clear, because if he were buried beneath the altar the inscription remained accurate, though the tablet was moved; and if he were not there buried, the alteration in the inscription would have necessitated the tablet being removed to the exact position of his entombment and not merely to 'some part of the body of the church'. In 1865 the tablet was placed on the brick filling in of the arched entrance to the south chapel, whence it was removed in the year 1914 to the easternmost recessed bay in the north aisle, when the arch of the south chapel was opened out.