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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APPENDIX II, SECTION 2
THE RESTORATION COMMITTEE, 1863
(Those marked with an * formed the Executive Committee.)
William Cubitt, M.P., Chairman.
*William Foster White, Treasurer of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Vice-Chairman.
*William Salt, Treasurer.
*Rev. John Abbiss, Rector.
*Joseph Boord, Churchwarden.
E. L. Beckwith.
A. J. B. Beresford Hope, M.A.,D.C.L.,F.S.A.
Rev. T. H. Bullock, M.A.
James Butcher, C.C.
F. W. Blackett.
J. W. Butterworth, F.S.A.
Benjamin Bond Cabbell, F.R.S., F.S.A.
W. H. Collingridge.
Robert Chambers, LL.D.
Sir James Duke, Bart., M.P., Alderman.
*John Hilditch Evans, Overseer.
Hon. Dudley F. Fortescue, M.P.
John F. France, F.R.C.S.
William Gilpin, Treasurer of Christ's Hospital.
W. G. Habershon.
*Rev. Thomas Hugo, M.A., F.S.A.
C. F. Hayward.
Philip Hardwick, R.A.
Philip C. Hardwick, F.R.S.L.
Edward I' Anson, F.G.S.
*W. H. Jackson, Churchwarden.
Thomas Lott, F.S.A. (Deputy).
*George Ostell, Leicester.
Joseph R. Masters.
Rev. Walter Mitchell, M.A.
J. H. Parker, F.S.A.
Sir Roundell Palmer, Knt., M.P.
*Richard Palmer, jun.
*R. N. Philipps, C.C., F.S.A.
Rev. F. P. Phillips, M.A.
Rev. John Louis Petit, M.A., F.S.A.
*A. C. Rippon.
A. R. Roche.
W. Tite, M.P., F.R.S., F.S.A.
Hon. Sec.: Thomas Kitt, Vestry Clerk.
ARCHITECTS' REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE CHURCH (fn. 1)
By J. Hayter Lewis and William Slater.
To the Rev. J. Abbiss, Rector, and Messrs. Joseph Boord and William Henry
Jackson, Churchwardens, of the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great,
We have made a careful survey of your very interesting church, and beg to submit to you the following Report, and the drawing connected with it.
The history of the church is briefly this. It seems to have been built for the Black Canons regular of St. Augustin, by Prior Rahere, during the reign of Henry I, in the beginning of the 12th century, no building having existed there before his time. A Saxon church is, indeed, hinted at as having once occupied the same site, but there seems to be no great authority for the statement. The exact date is variously given; but there can be no doubt that the greater part of the existing remains are of Rahere's time, and finished c. 1123, being about coeval with the naves of Durham, Peterborough, and Norwich Cathedrals. The present church was the choir, only, of Rahere's, the nave having been built at the beginning of the 13th century, in a later style of architecture. This was pulled down, unhappily, in Henry VIII's time, and few remains of it exist; there is, however, the present very beautiful entrance from Smithfield, which (we believe) once formed the end to the south aisle of the nave. Large repairs seem to have been done by Prior Bolton, 1506–1532. It is stated that Queen Mary gave the building to a convent of Black Friars, who began to rebuild the nave, but were dispossessed by Queen Elizabeth—no trace of their work is, however, apparent. Great alterations and repairs seem to have been effected from 1622 to 1628, at which last date the 'steeple', part of stone and part of timber, 'was pulled down to foundation, and rebuilt of brick.' (fn. 2) The original church seems to have been about 280 ft. long and 60 wide, with apse, transepts, choir, and nave, and having, also, cloisters, prior's house, refectory, chapter house, and other usual adjuncts to a conventual church—forming, when complete, a very splendid monument of the piety and architectural skill of our forefathers.
To compare it with existing buildings, the church must have been nearly the length of Rochester Cathedral (313 ft. 6); and about three-fourths the length of Exeter (370 ft. 8), Norwich (382 ft. 8), and Wells (380 ft.). In 1544 (the religious houses being broken up, and the nave, &c., pulled down) King Henry VIII granted what remained to be a parish church for ever. The Mansion House and parish chapel (fn. 3) (now destroyed) were granted to Sir R. Rich, the Lord Chancellor.
We now proceed to give a detailed description of the several portions requiring attention, and shall conclude by offering our suggestions as to the proper steps to be taken for their repair and restoration.
The point of greatest importance is, of course, the general stability of the fabric, and we are happy to be able to say, after a very careful examination, that the greater part of it is in a very good and substantial state of repair. There are, no doubt, several settlements apparent in the stonework, more particularly near the main piers of the transepts, and to the arches and wall of north aisle, which will require careful attention, and, probably, some works to the foundations there may be necessary; but we do not apprehend that much will be required, as the defects are, evidently, of old date, and do not seem to have increased much of late years. Here and there, also, a column, a portion of a pier, or a few mouldings will have to be supplied; but, generally speaking, the state of the stonework is very satisfactory; scarcely any of the carving has been injured, and the masonry will require merely to have the thick coats of whitewash cleaned (not tooled) off, great care being taken to preserve any traces of painting that may be found.
The next point to be noticed is that the general level of the floor has been raised 2 ft. 6 since the building of Rahere's church.
This is quite plain from the level of the base of the apse column, which you had excavated at our request, and from the level of the bases of some of the other columns which can be seen at various parts. This raising of the floor level (which has quite spoilt the original proportions of the church) must have taken place before or at the time of the alterations made c. 1500 by Prior Bolton, (fn. 4) as seems to be proved by the height of the principal doorway, near Rahere's tomb, and the base of the tomb itself, which is said to have been repaired and beautified by Bolton. Probably the old floor was found to have been below the level of drainage then practicable.
The next important part is the apse, which formed part of the original church, as is very clearly shown by the two Norman columns and arches now seen behind the eastern wall; and it is further indicated by the beginning of the curve, which shows itself in the old work up to and including the Norman string over the aisle arches at the western side of the end wall, and also (in rather an unusual manner) in the curve of the base of the apse column before referred to.
This apse is said by some writers to have been pentagonal on plain [sic]; but it is clear that it was circular, and had, no doubt, an aisle continued round it at the back, and the triforium completed round it above.
The apse was cut off, and a wall built where the present east wall now is, apparently in the 15th century; it seems to have been intended to form a fine eastern end by the insertion of a reredos and windows of a Perpendicular or third Pointed character; part of the joints and arch mouldings of the windows still remain on the north and south sides of the wall, westward; whether this was carried out or not, and when this Perpendicular work was destroyed, if ever completed, does not very clearly appear.
It most probably was carried out, as work of the same date may be traced in almost every part of the church, showing that it had then sustained great alteration. We may instance the doorway near Rahere's tomb and the tomb canopy, which seem of about the same date as the beautiful oriel put up by Bolton in the south triforium (fn. 5) —the straight piece of wall over the curved Norman string of aisle arches at the east end of the external openings in the north aisle—the change from Norman to Perpendicular of the corbels under the arch mouldings of the great western round arch of the crux; of a similar change in the capitals to the columns of the great arch of north transept, and of the rebuilding of the whole clerestory east of the crux.
Whatever, however, was done at the east end, it is quite clear that neither the present straight wall or any work on its site formed a part of the original church, and that no part remains of the Perpendicular work of such importance as that of the Norman church; and as, moreover, the present wall, which seems to have been built in the 17th century (probably 1622–33, when 'more money' is described to have been spent), is in a very defective condition (part of one of the arches having recently fallen), there can be no archaeological objection in the way of rebuilding the apse as originally formed. It unfortunately happens, however, that a room has been built close up to the present east wall and over the site of the apse, this room being, also, connected with other property which extends the whole length of the ancient prior's house, (fn. 6) &c. These buildings extended up to the end of the church, and as considerable remains of the old work still exist, it seems very desirable that the whole of these premises should, if possible, be reacquired by the parish. They are occupied by Messrs. Stanborough & Graves, as a fringe factory, the freehold, we understand, belonging to Mr. Winston of Shoe Lane; and as the lease, we are told, has expired, and the room is of little use, we trust that Messrs. Stanborough & Graves will come forward, as parishioners, and meet the difficulty in the friendly way which we should expect. We regret to say that the complete restoration of the apse cannot be effected until you obtain possession of the room referred to.
We trust, however, that the whole premises may, ultimately, be acquired by the parish, and used for purposes connected with the church and schools; and we are led to trust the more that this may be done, as we have found, very generally, that owners and occupiers of property are ready to meet the case, in a very praiseworthy and liberal manner, when such property is required for the public good.
The triforium openings towards the choir are of very good character, and more elaborate than is often found, each opening having three detached columns and four small arches under an enriched round arch. These openings are in very good general condition, but we regret to say that the triforia themselves are by no means so. The northern is, indeed, complete in its outline, but the original outer wall seems to have been destroyed, and rebuilt in quite modern times—probably the 17th century; and it is used as a schoolroom, having a master's house attached at the east end. The southern triforium is altogether destroyed, and if this be not rebuilt within three or four years it may be very difficult to do so afterwards, as the houses (Pope's Cottages), close adjoining to it, have been built, as we are informed, about fifteen years, and will soon acquire a prescriptive right of light and air.
The clerestory windows west of transepts are of an earlier date, apparently, than those in the east of them, which were added or rebuilt in the Perpendicular style, though the existing remains are scarcely sufficient to show their precise date.
The tracery in the two windows westward remains, though blocked up, and all that the other windows require is the insertion of their tracery, as the jambs, labels, &c., are almost perfect.
We may remark that, as might have been expected, the masonry of the clerestory and other portions of later work is very different from that of the Norman work adjacent.
Both of the transepts are destroyed—the south beyond the line of the aisle outer walls, and the north beyond the line of the aisle arches. The mouldings to the great arch of the southern one are perfect, and so is the triforium arch over the choir aisle; and a good drawing of the transept itself, almost perfect except the roof, is given in Wilkinson, (fn. 7) under date 1819. The ground on which the transept stood is unoccupied (except as a graveyard), but the transept could not now be rebuilt without interfering with the light and air of the houses erected some thirty years since on the site of the ancient chapel of St. Bartholomew.
This was, we believe, destroyed by fire in 1830, and the present houses built in its place. The lower part of the enclosing walls remained up to the time of the fire, when they were injured and pulled down level with the ground. Portions may, however, yet remain under that level. Over the remaining portion of this transept, even with the triforium, is the present vestry.
Of the north transept there are a few only of the mouldings of the great arch in sight, but the remainder may, probably, be concealed and preserved by the wall which now closes the arch. The capitals of the columns under these mouldings (Norman) have been replaced by Perpendicular ones, and so have the Norman corbels under the great western arch spanning the nave.
The reason of this alteration is not at all apparent at present, but may become so as the modern obstructions are removed.
The great arches spanning the choir between the transepts are round, whilst the transept arches are pointed. The reason popularly given for this difference is, the wish to get the top of all the arches to range in height, which they would not have done with the round arches, as the choir arches are much larger in span than those of the transepts. It is, however, remarkable that the pointed arches are much stilted (as the round ones might have been, and as they actually are in the apse), and that the tops of the arches do not range. There is nothing in the present building to show for certain that there ever was a tower over the crux, though mention is made of it in some writings.
The part of the former church west of the north transept is now occupied by houses built, apparently, some 200 years since, being Nos. 8 and 9 in Cloth Fair, They are let, we understand, to Mr. Worfell, a carpenter, on lease for eleven years unexpired by the owner, Mr. Mitchel.
The site of the transept itself is occupied by a smith's shop, belonging, we are informed, to Mr. Horley, a baker in the parish. The lease to him will terminate in about two years. The other house in the same passage is a parish house, left by Lady Saye and Sele for the support of the alms people. It is let on lease (shortly to expire) to Messrs. Palmer, at £14 per annum. The Charities Commissioners would probably arrange for this house to be given up.
We need scarcely point out to you how great is the danger of the church being destroyed in case of a fire breaking out in either of the houses which now cut into the church, at this part and at the east end, or in the schoolrooms and master's house which have been formed out of the north triforium, &c.
Of the roofs, no indications seem to exist of the ancient structure. There are no remains apparent of vaulting shafts or of roof corbels, but it is possible that some of the latter may be concealed under the present large wooden corbels which have been added (probably 1628). We trust that you will be able to have the whole of the roofs thoroughly restored.
The west walls and the tower are modern erections of the 17th century. Of the nave very little remains; but judging from the beautiful doorway, still existing, of the south aisle, it must have been a very splendid erection. It was joined on to the Norman work in a very singular manner, as is shown in the present south aisle, west of the transept.
The south wall existed for nearly its whole length up to A. D. 1856, and must have shown, no doubt, clear traces of the general arrangements of the piers, &c. The wall was, however, then pulled down, and no remains appear above the ground-level; but as that is 6 ft. above the ancient level of the church paving, it is very probable that the bases of the several walls and piers may still remain in situ, and that many fragments of ornaments and mouldings may be buried amongst the raised ground.
The site of the Chapter-house is now built over by Pope's Cottages, (fn. 8) but of the other attached buildings there exist more remains than might be supposed by a casual observer.
The site of the east cloister is now occupied by various buildings, a long lease whereof is held by Mr. Walpole of Finchley, the owners being two ladies (Mades. Atkinson and Fitzgerald) in trust for a minor. Very fine remains of it existed up to 1833, when they were allowed to fall, owing to neglect and decay.
Of the refectory and crypt, (fn. 9) portions show very clearly in passing through Middlesex Passage, and the crypt exists in a tolerably perfect state throughout the whole extent, or nearly so, of the refectory. Of the prior's house there are still very considerable remains. (fn. 10)
We subjoin a plan, showing the general position of the church and conventual buildings; and we must mention, as rather a singular fact, that the plans most generally known, viz. those which accompany the very carefully written accounts in Wilkinson and in Knight's London represent the north aisle as being much wider than the south, whereas the latter is the wider by some inches.
We now proceed to describe the various steps which we beg to recommend should be taken towards the restoration of the church.
We consider that the principal works required to be done are, its restoration to its ancient fine proportions by the lowering of the paving to the proper level—the repairing the stone work generally where injured—the completion of the apse and the clerestory windows to their original state, and the draining, warming and reseating of the church in a proper manner—by which reseating not only the convenience and comfort of the parishioners will be promoted, but many extra sittings obtained. It may be objected to the lowering that the church would appear by it still more buried than it is, owing to the extra number of steps that would be required.
This objection, however, is at once met by the very simple plan of putting all the steps outside of the church instead of inside it as at present, forming, of course, a sunken area outside as an entrance. This will not only remove the present awkward and unpleasant effect of the steps now inside the church, but enable you thoroughly to drain and ventilate the floor, and thus remove, to a very great extent, the present cold and dampness. We propose, at the same time, to remove the earth now filled in against the wall of the north aisle (and which is now rotting the wall), and to make good any defects which may be found existing in the said wall and in the foundations of the great piers of the crux.
Probably, during the excavations, portions of the old tile or other paving may be found, which may serve as a guide for the new, and, if possible, form part of it; and we beg to suggest that every portion of ornamental work found should be carefully preserved (if not capable of being re-used) in the triforium or other convenient place.
With respect to the sepulchral monuments now fixed against the walls of the church, the principal of them (Rahere's) would not, of course, be touched beyond a careful repair; and as to this you may, no doubt, safely trust to the liberality and care of the Treasurer and Committee of St. Bartholomew's Hospital—founded like your church, by Rahere. The next tomb of importance is that of Sir Walter and Lady Mildmay, A.D. 1576 and 1589. This cuts very awkwardly into one of the main piers and arches on the south side of the old church; but if it were slightly moved westward and lowered (as it naturally would be when the floor is lowered), it would fill up the archway and interfere very slightly with the piers or mouldings. Sir Walter was Chancellor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth, and founder of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and doubtless, that Society and Sir Henry Mildmay, the representative of that respectable and ancient family, of Dogmersfield, would heartily respond to your appeal for the comparatively small funds necessary for the above alterations.
The remaining monuments are the following, viz.—on the North Side,
beginning from the east—
No. 1. T. Roycroft (the printer of the Polyglot Bible, 1677), cut into Rahere's canopy.
2. Francis Anthony, 1623, cut into arch mouldings
4. J. Whiting, 1704, of white marble.
5. Sir R. Chamberlaine, 1615.
On the South Side, beginning from the east—
No. 1. Ald. Smalpage, 1558, in arch.
2. W. P. Taylor, 1820.
3. Ellis Joringe, 1659, in arch. (fn. 11)
4. Scudamore, cut into mouldings.
5. J. Rivers, 1641, cut into mouldings.
6. Whitley, 1685.
7. Rev. O. P. Edwardes (white marble).
The greater portion of these are, we believe, of alabaster; but they have, at some time or other, been painted black, and we propose that they should all be carefully cleaned. Those of them (as shown above) whose insertions have injured the old work, we propose to have removed very carefully to the walls of the aisles: the others to remain in situ.
The clerestory windows should have their tracery at once inserted, as the expense of this would not be great, whilst the insertion would be very effective.
The main difficulty is the western end of the church. The wall here has no pretensions either to beauty or antiquity; for it cannot be supposed that any separation to such an extent, at least, could have been put up before the destruction of the nave. It is certain that the brick tower was not built until 1628, but the whole western wall seems of about the same date. We recommend, however, that these walls be left, for the present at least, in their original state; but as they are objects by no means pleasing, we beg to suggest that the western gallery be remodelled, and, with the organ, retained in somewhat of its present position, so as to screen the west wall as it does now.
The vestry might be removed to the north aisle, a much more convenient position than the present one; and when the earth is removed from against the aisle wall, the windows restored, the room warmed, and the floor properly drained and ventilated, this vestry would be a very commodious and comfortable one.
The removal would afford a very easy means of opening out the fine mouldings of the south transept arch and of showing the ends of the south triforia. The next thing, probably, to the above would be, in importance, the removal of the whole of the earth now filled in to the two churchyards, so as to lay bare the ground to the original level of the church. If, as we think very probable, the excavations should reveal the existence of much of the lower part of the otherwise destroyed nave, they would give the same interesting results lately obtained by similar means at Fountains Abbey, and the interest attaching to the discovery would give, no doubt, a great stimulus on behalf of the public to the efforts for restoring the church.
It may be found that the destruction has been complete, even to the foundations, but we apprehend not; and, in any case, a few trials would soon establish the fact, one way or the other. The work would be done gradually, so that the remains of coffins, &c., could be most carefully re-interred at the lower level.
Next to this work would come the re-roofing of the present church, to be followed, as funds may allow, by the restoration of the triforia, the opening out of north transept, &c., remains of the old work whereof may very probably be discovered amongst the old buildings near, more especially as their present level is so much higher than that of the old church.
Of subsequent works, we think it unnecessary now to speak further than to say that it would be very desirable to obtain, if possible, from the owners and occupiers of the prior's old house the houses which now occupy the site of the northern transept, the east cloister, &c., undertakings to make over the property to you at certain fixed terms, if required by you within a certain date (say four years); and we apprehend, from the spirit in which other cases of a similar kind to this have been met, that the difficulty of such an arrangement will not be so great as might be imagined.
With respect to the expenses, it will be necessary at present to allude merely
to those attendant on the works proposed to be executed first, viz.—
The lowering of the floor and repaving it complete;
The reconstruction of the present entrances, so as to put the steps outside the church;
The draining, warming and reseating the whole;
The removal of the vestry and opening out of the south transept;
The reconstruction of the west gallery;
The removal of the earth against the north aisle, and the paving of the area thus made;
The repairs to the foundations of the four great piers and the north wall of aisle;
The repairs to the stonework generally;
The repairs and refixing of the monuments;
The filling in of the clerestory windows with tracery;
And the complete restoration of the apse, with triforium, clerestory and roofs thereto.
We believe that the whole of these works could be done for a sum under
We are, Gentlemen,
Your obedient Servants,
T. HAYTER LEWIS,
9 John Street, Adelphi.
4 Carlton Chambers, 4 Regent Street.
THE RESTORATION COMMITTEE, 1885 (fn. 12)
(The names marked with an * form the Executive Committee.)
Under the immediate sanction of
The Most Rev. The Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Right Rev. the Bishop of London.
The Right Rev. the Bishop of Bedford.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Devon.
The Very Rev. the Dean of St. Paul's.
The Very Rev. the Dean of Exeter.
The Very Rev. the Dean of Windsor.
The Very Rev. the Dean of Manchester.
The Rev. Canon Gregory.
The Rev. Canon Liddon.
*The Rev. W. Panckridge, Rector.
*The Rev. F. P. Phillips, Patron.
The Rev. Arundell St. John Mildmay (Hazel Grove).
*The Rev. W. Benham.
The Rev. Precentor Venables.
*The Rev. F. W. J. Daniels.
*The Rev. N. C. S. Poyntz.
*The Right Hon. the Lord Charles Bruce.
The Right Hon. the Earl Waldegrave.
The Hon. Dudley F. Fortescue.
The Right Hon. Geo. Cubitt, M.P.
The Right Hon. Viscount Halifax.
Sir John Lubbock, Bart., M.P.
Sir E. A. H. Lechmere, Bart., M.P.
Sir J. Whittaker Ellis, Bart., M.P.
Sir Reginald Hanson, Lord Mayor.
Sir Sydney H. Waterlow, Bart.
*The Right Hon. A. J. B. Beresford Hope, M.P., D.C.L.
*Dr. Norman Moore.
John Bertram, Esq., C.C.
*W. de Gray Birch, Esq., F.S.A.
*William Brew, Esq.
*T. W. Boord, Esq., M.P.
W. H. Collingridge, Esq.
*L. Collingridge, Esq.
*W. H. Cross, Esq., M.A.
Oliver H. Davis, Esq.
A. E. Edmin, Esq.
Worthington Evans, Esq.
*John F. France, Esq., F.S.A.
*James Hilton, Esq., F.S.A.
J. Hollinghurst, Esq.
George Kenning, Esq.
E. Knight, Esq.
*T. Hayter Lewis, Esq., F.S.A.
William Lincoln, Esq.
Colonel Makins, M.P.
Richard B. Martin, Esq.
*H. Bingham Mildmay, Esq.
*R. C. Nichols, Esq.
*J. W. Overbury, Esq.
*W. R. Palmer, Esq.
*R. H. Peck, Esq., Churchwarden.
T. Sangster, Esq., C.C.
John Scott, Esq.
George Shorey, Esq.
J. G. Talbot, Esq., M.P.
W. P. Treloar, Esq., C.C.
*Stephen Tucker, Esq., Somerset Herald.
*B. Turner, Esq.
Thos. Wildash, Esq., C.C.
T. Wilkinson, Esq.
J. Willmott, Esq.
*W. T. Wingrove, Esq.
*J. Young, Esq.
*F. D. Dixon-Hartland, Esq., M.P., Hon. Treasurer.
*E. A. Webb, Esq., Churchwarden. Hon. Secs.
*W. H. Jackson, Esq., Vestry Clerk. Hon. Secs.
Architect: Aston Webb, Esq., F.R.I.B.A., 19 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W.
Hon. Solicitors: Messrs. Hedges & Brandreth, Red Lion Square, W.C.
Bankers: Messrs. Lacy, Hartland, Woodbridge & Co., West Smithfield, E.C.
ARCHITECT'S REPORTS, 1885–6, 1891.
Report No. 1.
Prior to the commencement of the Work of Restoration. (fn. 13)
19 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W.
December 15, 1885.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT, WEST SMITHFIELD
In accordance with your instructions of June 4th, I have made a careful survey of your Church, and herewith submit to you the following report and plans showing my proposals.
It will be unnecessary for me to go in detail into the history of the Church, as this is already well known, and was fully published at the time of the partial restoration carried out in 1863–65, and may be found in Messrs. T. Hayter Lewis and W. Slater's report of 1863, and in Mr. J. H. Parker's Lecture, delivered in the Church in July of the same year, and printed by the Restoration Committee.
Since that time the most important event in the history of the Church has been the acquisition of the property known as the 'Fringe Factory' at the East end, and (by a few of the Parishioners in trust for the Parish) of the Blacksmith's Forge, on the site of the North Transept, both acquisitions of the greatest importance to the Church.
The acquisition of these properties enables the various works required for the safety of the Church to be proceeded with, as funds will allow, and it will be convenient if I here state them.
1st. The completion of the Apse.
2nd. The re-roofing of the Church.
3rd. The removal of Boys' School from North Triforium, and the re-erection of Schools on a portion of the Fringe Factory site.
4th. The removal of the Forge and the present Vestry, and the building of North and South Transepts.
5th. Repairs to the West End, and the uncovering of the remains of the Nave.
6th. Seating and necessary Furniture.
7th. The Restoration of the Lady Chapel.
The completion of the East End.
1st. The acquisition of the Fringe Factory—including the portions projecting into the Church—enables the building to be freed from encumbrances which have burdened it for over 250 years.
The termination of the East End of the Church has been subject to several important structural changes since its commencement in 1123, and are briefly these: The building, as originally designed, was to be terminated by a semicircular Apse, and all but the two easternmost columns of the original ground arcade still remain, the other two having been rebuilt in 1864. The commencement of the curve of the triforium gallery is also visible, as are also the radiating arches of the groining to the Ambulatory at the East End. These, however, show a change of purpose during the progress of the work, caused apparently by the addition of a Lady Chapel. What the change was, it is not possible to say with certainty, though the removal of the wall built across the opening, which has only now become possible, may be expected to throw light on this, by disclosing the bases of the arched entrance into the Chapel.
A further alteration took place towards the end of the 15th century, when, as in most Norman churches in this country, the apse was converted into a square East End; the jambs of what was probably a large East window still remain, though there is no evidence beyond them, and the portions of string below, to indicate the design of the work.
The last change took place probably about the middle of the 17th century, when the East end appears to have fallen into a ruinous condition, the East window was taken out, and the present straight wall with its two large round-headed windows was built (principally of old materials, faced externally with brick).
My object in the plans I have submitted for the removal of the present factory at the East end, and of which an interior view is appended, (fn. 14) has been to preserve every trace now existing of these changes. The jambs, therefore, of the late East end referred to I preserve, taking out only the modern wall between and turning an arch over from these jambs, thus preserving all the indications of the square end, and forming a sanctuary arch with a straight wall over. Eastwards of this arch the apse will be completed, as it already is on the ground arcade, and in accordance with the drawing referred to. By this means the work can be carried out without interference in any way, not only with the original Norman work, but also with the later 15th and 16th century additions, thus preserving all the present traces of the architectural history of the building; in fact, west of the present East end, the building will be untouched by this work.
The Reroofing of the Church.
2nd. Re-roofing is a very urgent matter, and it is much to be hoped that your Committee may be able to carry it out simultaneously with the alteration to the East end. Indeed, it will soon become absolutely necessary if the Church is to be preserved. The lead on the roof has long been in a very bad condition, letting in the water and decaying the timbers: it is now past even temporary repair. The present roof is without architectural character, and was probably put on in the middle of the 17th century.
My proposal is to replace the present roof with one of oak of a similar pitch, and of the design shown on the drawings, and to recover with the existing lead.
The Schools and Triforia.
3rd. The removal of the Boys' School from the North Triforium is as urgently required for the carrying on of Divine worship in the Church, as it is for the proper conduct of the School. A portion of the Fringe Factory site is available for the erection of Schools to accommodate about 300 children, with a Teacher's residence attached; and the erection of these Schools would not only restore the triforium to the Church, but would also liberate the site of the present Girls' and Infants' Schools, and enable amongst other things an entrance to be made to the Church from this end, a want which is much felt.
The building over the North Ambulatory, now forming the Boys' School, I propose to leave unaltered, merely putting it into repair, it being desirable to alter the appearance of the Church externally as little as possible, as this building has much that is picturesque and interesting about it.
The Blacksmith's Forge and the Transepts.
4th. It is most desirable that the Forge should be silenced, being a constant source of danger from fire, and the building itself is in so bad a condition, that only a few weeks ago part of the Church was flooded with the drainage from these premises, and this not for the first time; the Vestry too is a very great disfigurement to the Church; both of these should be removed and the transepts rebuilt, though rights of light, and the value of the properties practically prevent the possibility of their reconstruction of the original dimensions, viz.: 36' 0" × 28' 0".
The continuation of the Ambulatory on the north side, and the opening out of this fine North transept arch would be a great improvement to the Church, and my proposal is the erection of shallow transepts of a late character, as shown on the plans, which would leave a very valuable site for disposal in Cloth Fair, and the green Churchyard on the south would be available for the erection of Vestries and Parish Room, or other purposes as may hereafter be found necessary. (I may here mention that all the portions coloured pink on the ground plan, amounting in all to some 2,500 feet sup. show land which will be available for disposal or for purposes in connection with the Church.)
The West end and site of Nave.
5th. Repairs to the West End are required, including a new West window and entrance porch as shown on the drawings, and the laying bare of the remains of the Nave would add very greatly to the historical and architectural interest of the Church, and in addition it might be so laid out as to form a pleasanter approach to the Church, and become a quiet resting-place in the midst of this crowded neighbourhood.
The seating of the Church.
6th. The seating and furniture (the details of which may be settled hereafter) are much wanted, and mention of them cannot be omitted in any report on the present condition of the Church.
The restoration of the Lady Chapel.
7th. The acquisition of the Fringe Factory, and the examination it has enabled us to make, have brought to light for the first time very considerable and most interesting remains of this building, drawings of which I submit to-day. The present factory is in fact contained within the walls of the Lady Chapel, the internal dimensions of which are 60' 0" × 22' 0", and show that the Chapel was reconstructed if not rebuilt about Prior Bolton's time, (fn. 15) the details of the window jambs agreeing with those of the remaining jambs of the East window, the walls and buttresses which still remain, though now cemented over, are faced with flint, with a three-light window in each bay; traces apparently of the sedilia in the easternmost bay also remain. The original roof has entirely gone, and the building has had a storey added to it for looms, probably in the last century, and the walls have been much cut about by floors and the insertion of modern windows, but enough remains to show the original design. Below the Chapel is a crypt, lighted with single light windows, and vaulted in a single span twenty-two feet wide: this crypt has been almost entirely filled with earth and fragments of the original building, but a portion has been excavated for your inspection to-day, and I earnestly hope you will empower us to proceed further with it. Many interesting remains have already been found, and there is little doubt that still more interesting results will be obtained as the East end of the Church is approached, including indications of the arrangement of the entrance to the Church already referred to.
Should the opportunity arise of restoring this building to its former condition, sufficient remains to enable this to be done to a great extent with certainty; but the acquisition of the almshouses on the north side would be very desirable in order to light the building from both sides, as was originally the case, and these probably could be acquired at a moderate cost.
In conclusion, Gentlemen, I can assure you I am fully sensible of the responsibility of advising on this most interesting Church; but by the carrying out of these works, subject to such alterations in detail as may from time to time become necessary as the old work is brought to light, I believe that the Church would lose absolutely nothing of its present historical and architectural interest, while it would become more fitting for the purposes for which it was built, and present, at any rate, a less striking contrast than it now does to its original magnificence.
The work proposed can without difficulty be carried out in sections, and I
append below my approximate estimate of each section.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your obedient Servant,
19 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W.
December 15, 1885.
To the Executive Committee for the Restoration of the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, E.C.
December 15, 1885.
Report No. 2.
Made on the completion of the first section of the Work of Restoration. (fn. 16)
19 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W.
November 19th, 1886.
SAINT BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT
I have to report that in accordance with the instructions received from your Executive Committee, the work approved by you at the East End has been completed by Messrs. Dove Brothers within the contract time and to my entire satisfaction.
During the progress of the work much of interest has been brought to light.
On taking down the square wall carried by the girder and columns at the East End, the upper portion was found to be built of the tracery of what was no doubt the Great Window of the Fourteenth Century Square East End, and enough of this has been found to show its design, (fn. 17) previously entirely unknown, and it is now laid out in a temporary museum formed in the Fringe Factory.
The lower portion of the wall already referred to was found to be built of the remains of the original Norman Apsidal termination of the East End, thus permanently setting at rest the question of the original completion of the Norman Apse. Many of these stones are in perfect condition and retain a great deal of their Norman colour decoration, and have also been arranged in the museum.
The wall dividing the Church from the Fringe Factory was built of Transitional and Early English fragments, probably from the Nave, which have also been preserved.
The opening out of the Entrance to the Lady Chapel is of considerable interest, and displays features hitherto entirely concealed.
The late jambs of the great East Window have been retained, as originally intended, and an Arch turned from them.
The work has been carried out without the removal of a single worked stone from its original position, and it is certainly to the credit of the Contractors, the Clerk of Works and the Workmen, that in spite of the erection of very heavy scaffolding throughout the Church for the re-roofing, the whole has been set up and removed without any injury to the fabric, so that it is now handed back to the authorities with the ancient work in every way in as good a condition as it was received by us.
The dropping of the Great Arches of the Crossing from want of proper abutment will require careful watching, and it is much to be hoped that support for these, by the addition of shallow transepts, will not be long delayed.
The erection of a substantial brick wall between the Church and the Fringe Factory at the East End, has, as far as possible protected this end of the Church from fire, but the Forge in the North Transept is still a source of danger, as is likewise the School in the North Triforium.
The works therefore that are still urgently required, are:
The removal of the Forge and Parish House on the North Transept;
The removal of the present Canvas-covered Vestry in the South Transept;
The removal of the Boys' School from the Triforium;
The building of Two Shallow Transepts to support the Arches of the Crossing;
The Uncovering of the Nave, and
The Restoration of the Lady Chapel.
The probable cost of these works is fully set forth in my previous Report.
I am, Gentlemen,
To the Restoration Committee, St. Bartholomew the Great, E.C.
ARCHITECT'S REPORT, 1891 (fn. 18)
19 Queen Anne's Gate,
9 February 1891.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT, SMITHFIELD, E.C.
Herewith in accordance with your instructions I submit Drawings, Specifications, and Estimates of the further work proposed to this Church.
These include the works contemplated in the Commissioners' grant; viz.—the repairs to the Tower and West Front, and the Vaulting to the North and South Aisles, Re-roofing the South Triforium and repairing the old Boys' School and House over the North Triforium, building a shallow North Transept and a Vestry over the West Porch. It will be seen that I estimate the cost of these, including the South Transept already built, at £5,900 as against £5,406 allowed in the Commissioner's grant; if, however, the West window is given up, and I think there is much to be said for this course, a saving will be effected of £300—bringing the amount to be expended to £5,600 or only £194 more than the Commissioners' grant.
In addition to the work contemplated in the Commissioners' grant I have ventured to make some further suggestions which appear to me very desirable.
The principal of these is the utilization of the remainder of the land of the Forge site for a Porch extending to the footway in Cloth Fair, and covering steps leading down to the Church. This would make a striking architectural feature in Cloth Fair, display the Church to that thoroughfare, and enable people to enter the church under cover, which is at present not possible.
It is also proposed to put a room over the Porch which it is thought would be very useful for the Verger. This Transept being more in evidence than the South Transept, it is proposed to treat it a little more ornately and introduce a little ornamental flint and stonework.
An important porch at the West End is also proposed with a small Vestry over. A niche is shown over this door in which it is thought a statue of Rahere the Founder of the church might be appropriately placed.
Both of these Porches, besides adding to the appearance of the exterior, are very essential for containing the two sets of double doors which are the only means of preventing the draughts in the Church.
With regard to the erection of the North Transept, and the surrounding dominating lights, though some difficulties may arise, I do not think they will be insuperable.
Another work proposed is the ceiling of the South bay of the Nave by the present entrance. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that a stone vault is inadvisable and that a flat oak ceiling would be better.
It is also proposed to improve the approach to the South Transept by the removal of the wall at present round the green churchyard, and to substitute a dwarf wall and railing.
The bells in the Tower should also be overhauled and I have an estimate from Messrs. Warner for these amounting, with clockmaker's work, to £65.
The total cost of these additional works I put at £1,465, and this, with Architect's Commission, &c., and the £494 excess of the Estimate over the grant,
brings the total beyond the Commissioners' grant and exclusive of the Lady
Chapel to £2,359 0s. 0d., or say in round figures £2,500 0s. 0d.
I remain, Gentlemen, Yours faithfully,
Messrs. the Hon. Secretaries of the Restoration Committee,
St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, E.C.
PS.—With regard to the Lady Chapel, which I have not touched upon in this report, I think the Committee's attention should be seriously drawn to it. The present building is in a most wretched and pitiable condition and it would be money thrown away to attempt to repair it. Sooner or later, however, it will become dangerous, and if not removed would fall down, when the very interesting remains of the old building would be lost.
The cost of restoring this in a substantial but simple manner I estimate at about £2,800, and, although the building would no longer be required for its former use, it would be a very valuable adjunct for the work carried on in the church such as quire room and practice, morning services and other purposes, to say nothing of the great architectural improvement it would be to the whole building and as a safeguard from fire.
The following report on the estimate of the probable cost of the works proposed was also submitted by the architect; copies of which had also been circulated amongst the members.
Statement showing the amount of the Commissioners' grant of £8,000 to be expended in building and other ways:
Architect's estimate of the Building work proposed February 1891.