Survey of London: Volume 9, the Parish of St Helen, Bishopsgate, Part I. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1924.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
The first volume of the Parish of St. Helen is also the first volume of the Survey dealing with any portion of the City of London, although a monograph by the Survey Committee on Crosby Hall was published as far back as 1908. That the volume on St. Helen's Church should be placed in such a position in the series needs no excuse when it is recalled that St. Helen's, on account of its monuments if not from its architecture, is easily the first of the ancient Churches of the City, while to the interest of its being one of the oldest Parish Foundations of London it adds the history and part of the buildings of a rich Benedictine nunnery, where for three hundred years the daughters of the merchant princes took the veil. St. Helen's has so far been the subject of but one monograph, written by a late vicar, the Rev. J. E. Cox, and published in 1876. Since that time much additional information, both historical and architectural, has come to light; students of archæology have also learned to discard much that passed current in the 19th century, and being better equipped are able to acquire more from a closer critical study both of the building itself and of its records.
The historical portion, dealing with the pre-Reformation period, is entirely the work of Miss M. Reddan, who, as the author of the compressed account of the Priory in the Victoria History of London, most kindly consented to undertake this, the most onerous part of the literary work of the volume.
The thanks of the Committee are due to the Rev. S. T. H. Saunders, Rector of St. Helen's, for the kindness and help which he has ever extended to its members during their survey of the building. Acknowledgment should also be made to the Clerk of the Leathersellers' Company, Mr. G. F. Sutton, F.S.A., for giving access to the records and drawings in possession of the Company; to the Society of Antiquaries and the Merchant Taylors' Company for permission to reproduce certain engravings and drawings from their Libraries; to Major V. Farquharson, F.S.A., for his notes on the funeral helm in the Church; to Mr. F. S. Eden for his description of the ancient glass, and to Mr. G. Gordon Godfrey for his drawings of the heraldic shields. My own personal thanks are due to Mr. Challoner Smith, F.S.A., to Mr. Charles Lethbridge Kingsford, F.S.A., to Mr. H. L. Hopkinson, F.S.A., and to Mr. Philip M. Johnston, F.S.A., for freely placing at my disposal facts and information from unpublished documents with which I should otherwise have been unacquainted.
A. W. CLAPHAM.