Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
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St. James's Church, Piccadilly
St. James's, Piccadilly (Plates 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23), is in many ways the finest of the group of four closely similar churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren for building on large open sites, the others being St. Anne's, Soho, St. Andrew's by the Wardrobe, and St. Andrew's, Holborn. Wren's own regard was such that he singled out St. James's for description and commendation in his letter 'Upon the Building of National Churches'. (fn. 20) There he wrote: 'The Churches therefore must be large; but still, in our reformed Religion, it should seem vain to make a Parish-church larger, than that all who are present can both hear and see. The Romanists, indeed, may build larger Churches, it is enough if they hear the Murmer of the Mass, and see the Elevation of the Host, but ours are to be fitted for Auditories. I can hardly think it practicable to make a single Room so capacious, with Pews and Galleries, as to hold above 2,000 Persons, and all to hear the Service, and both to hear distinctly, and see the Preacher. I endeavoured to effect this, in building the Parish Church of St. James's, Westminster, which, I presume, is the most capacious, with these Qualifications, that hath yet been built; and yet at a solemn Time, when the Church was much crowded, I could not discern from a Gallery that 2,000 were present. In this Church I mention, though very broad, and the middle Nave arched up, yet there are no Walls of a second Order, nor Lanterns, nor Buttresses, but the whole Roof rests upon the Pillars, as do also the Galleries; I think it may be found beautiful and convenient, and as such, the cheapest of any Form I could invent.'
The development of St. James's Square and its environs after the Restoration, together with the increase of building in other parts of the Bailiwick of St. James, created a need for extra church accommodation within the parish of St. Martin in the Fields. Earlier in the seventeenth century a similar expansion had taken place in the east region of the parish, on the Bedford estate, and the church of St. Paul, Covent Garden, had been erected to meet the needs of the new suburb. The scheme for erecting new churches in the bailiwick was slow in coming to fruition, but eventually two were erected, St. James's, Piccadilly, consecrated in 1684, and St. Anne's, Soho, consecrated in 1686.
The impetus for building a new church and making a separate parish out of that of St. Martin in the Fields to serve the suburb of St. James's seems to have come initially from the inhabitants of the bailiwick. The first petition which they submitted to the House of Commons for a Bill for this purpose was in 1664 (see page 29), but it was rejected, and the Earl of St. Albans ultimately met the larger part of the cost of the church.
Some time before 1674, a site for the church, together with a churchyard and minister's house, between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, was offered by the Earl of St. Albans, on leasehold land held by him as part of the Bailiwick of St. James, but until the freehold interest was obtained the church could not be consecrated. In 1674, ten years after the inhabitants first petitioned for a new church, the Earl applied to the Crown for a grant of the freehold of the site, (fn. 21) (fn. 1) but the grant was not made until ten years later, shortly before the church was consecrated in 1684. (fn. 22)
The Building of the Church
The foundation stone was laid on 3 April 1676 (fn. 23) by the Earl of St. Albans and the Bishop of London (fn. 2) and in Robert Hooke's Diary for this date is an entry—'St. Albans Cornerstone layd'—which presumably refers to the event. This evidence about the date at which the church was begun is supported by the fact that in 1677 John Cock, plumber, was asked to perform the lead work for the church, rectory and steeple, and claimed later that he had done work to the value of about £900 in 1677, 1682, 1686 and 1687. (fn. 24) His work in 1677 may have been concerned with the City water pipes which ran through the churchyard; it certainly could not have been concerned with the roof.
The lack of information about the building of St. James's Church in the vestry minutes of St. Martin's suggests that the Earl of St. Albans, as the principal subscriber to the cost of its erection, handled the business privately. The choice of architect was presumably his, although Sir Christopher Wren was known to the vestrymen of St. Martin's, who had consulted him in 1672. (fn. 25) Wren had already met the Earl, to whom he had been given a letter of introduction when he visited France in 1665, and St. Albans 'had us'd him with all Kindness and Indulgence imaginable'. (fn. 26) Wren had more scope on this site between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street than he had on the more circumscribed sites in the City, and it is clear from the passage quoted above that he considered that in St. James's he had found the ideal solution to the problem of erecting a church accommodating the largest number of persons, and yet enabling them all to hear the service and see the preacher.
The architect's drawings which survive consist of a site plan, a ground plan of the church, with a tower at the west end and a principal entrance on the south side, a drawing of the east elevation, and a design for a tower with a dome (see pages 33,40,42 and Plates 8, 9). The first three are by various unknown hands but the fourth is most probably by Robert Hooke. (fn. 3) Accounts for the building have not survived, and of the workmen employed the names of only four are certain: Hobson, bricklayer, (fn. 27) Stor(e)y (presumably Abraham) and John Barratt, partners, masons, (fn. 28) and John Cock, plumber. (fn. 29) Others of whose employment there is no proof, but strong circumstantial evidence, include: Cleare, joiner, (fn. 30) Anthony Hart, senior, bricklayer, (fn. 31) Richard Hayburne, carpenter, (fn. 32) and Jonathan Wil(l)cox, (fn. 4) carpenter (see page 33). Story and Wilcox both worked under Wren in the City and so did Cleare, if he may be identified with William Cleer, joiner. (fn. 33)
The cost of the body of the church was about £7000, a sum provided by the Earl of St. Albans and the inhabitants of the future parish. (fn. 34) The Earl, whose beneficence was recorded by the carving of his arms on the keystone block over the west door (Plate 19b, fig. 1), over the then north and south doors and on the plaster enrichments of the ceiling, died at the beginning of 1684, before the church was consecrated. Shortly before his death he had again petitioned the Crown for the freehold of the church site (fn. 35) and on 31 May 1684 the grant was made to his nephew, Thomas, Lord Jermyn. (fn. 36) It included the site of the church, land for a churchyard to the north and west, the house and site where the rectory was later built, and houses and land in Piccadilly and Jermyn Street for the endowment of the living (fig. 2). (fn. 5) On 13 July 1684 the Bishop of London went to Henry Jermyn's house in St. James's Square where he received the title-deeds of the site from 'Master Fowke' (Martin Folkes), acting on behalf of Thomas, Lord Jermyn; he then went in solemn procession to the church for the consecration service. (fn. 22)
For a year after its consecration the church was used as a chapel of ease to St. Martin's. Commissioners were appointed by Thomas, Lord Jermyn, and approved by the Bishop of London, to administer the church's affairs during this period, (fn. 37) but certain necessities, such as communion wine, ale and 'greens' (fn. 6) for the vestry room and a tin pot for watering the church, were provided by the churchwardens of St. Martin's. (fn. 38) The vicar of St. Martin's, Thomas Tenison, became the first rector of St. James's in 1685. (fn. 39)
The events which led to the creation of the parish of St. James are described in Chapter II. The Act of 1685 established a select vestry and gave the parish powers to levy a rate over a period of four years in order to meet its obligations; these included the payment of part of the cost of building the church, the finishing of the steeple and the provision of a house for the rector. (fn. 34) The period of four years was, however, to prove too short for the raising of the money, originally estimated at £2000, required to complete the building, (fn. 40) and the parish was soon in debt.
Sir Robert Gayre had been a generous benefactor (fn. 41) and in 1683 Henry Murrell of Duke Street, gentleman, had bequeathed £1000 towards finishing the building. (fn. 42) Only £300 of this sum had been paid by Murrell's executors by December 1685, and the churchwardens filed a petition in the Court of Chancery to try to obtain the rest. Murrell's executors pleaded that the assets of the estate were not enough to meet its liabilities. (fn. 43) The order of the Court has not survived, but two further sums of £200 and £194 were paid by the executors in 1686 and 1687 respectively. (fn. 44)
The immediate task facing the newly constituted vestry in 1685 was the building of the steeple, i.e., the tower and spire. Wren's plan for the church (Plate 8b) made provision for a tower at the west end and this had been started, (fn. 43) but a considerable amount of work remained to be done before the spire could be erected. It was apparently intended to copy the design of the steeple at Halstead church in Essex, (fn. 7) for one of the churchwardens, accompanied by Mr. Wilcox, was sent there in August 1685 to report on 'the fittness and charge of it, to doe ye like here'. (fn. 45) A model of a steeple, probably designed by Wilcox, was approved in September (fn. 46) and work on carrying up the tower began shortly afterwards. (fn. 47) In December, Sir Christopher Wren was approached for his directions 'in the goeing on with and finishing the steeple' and the workmen were ordered to carry out his instructions. (fn. 48) It seems odd that Wren should be consulted at this late date, when the model probably designed by Wilcox had already been approved, and the vestry must have been justly discomfited when in January 1686 Wren attended a vestry meeting with his own 'draft of a Spire', (fn. 49) for which his draughtsman received £2. (fn. 50) As the elevations for the church and steeple have not survived it is not known whether this was Wren's first or second design for a spire or what form it took; the drawing of a steeple in the Wren Society's volume (fn. 51) (Plate 9b) is not dated and is probably by Robert Hooke. (fn. 52)
In the event Wren's design, estimated to cost £800, (fn. 49) was rejected in February 1686, and 'the new Draft by Mr. Willcox' approved. (fn. 53) No drawing has survived, but contemporary references in the church records show that Wilcox's design was for a tower with a stone cornice and battlement surmounted by a simple wooden, leadcovered spire, with a weathercock or vane on top of a copper ball.
'Mr. Willcox' was almost certainly Jonathan Wilcox, the carpenter employed at St. Vedast's, Foster Lane. (fn. 54) In 1674 he worked at St. Martin in the Fields (fn. 55) and was employed by the vestry of St. James in 1685 to build the rectory and to make a map of the parish. (fn. 56) Between these two dates he was probably employed on some of the carpenter's work in the body of the church. He would have been a far more likely choice as the designer of the spire than his son Edward, but his claim has been obscured by the fact that the latter was employed in erecting the first spire and was asked to design the second spire which was put up in 1700 (see below). Jonathan Wilcox died in April 1687 and left all his instruments for drawing and his drawing books to his son Edward. (fn. 57)
After the approval of the design, estimates for the carpenter's, smith's and plumber's work on the spire, amounting to £703 12s. 1d., were agreed in the same month, February 1686. (fn. 58) The brick and stone work of the tower, i.e., up to cornice level, was completed in April (fn. 59) and in May the workmen employed in this last phase of building (Edward Wilcox, carpenter, John Barratt, mason, Anthony Hart, bricklayer, and Paul Winckles, smith) received £200 in part payment of their bills. (fn. 60) In August Edward Wilcox secured the contract for erecting the spire on the tower, (fn. 61) having agreed to abide by the award of Sir Christopher Wren for the value and worth of his work. (fn. 62)
The last work remaining to be done on the tower before the spire could be built was the erection of the stone cornice. (fn. 63) John Barratt, who had contracted for the mason's work, had recently died, and his place was taken by Robert Smith who had bought the stock and trade of Barratt and his partner, Abraham Story. (fn. 64) Work on the cornice began on 3 November 1686, when Smith's workmen received 2s. 6d. for 'drink' at 'the first drawing up of the Stones'. (fn. 63)
Work on the spire proceeded throughout the winter. It was ready for the plumber's and mason's work (i.e., the lead covering and stone battlements) by February 1687, and before the copper ball was placed on top, Sir Christopher Wren was asked for his opinion 'about the Wether Cock of what forme it shall be'. (fn. 65) A few days later the vestry's attention to these trivia was diverted by the ominous report of a committee appointed to survey the steeple. (fn. 66) The committee found that 'the insufficiency of the Foundation (the workeing men who first wrought in it not following those directions which were given them as we are credibly inform'd)' had caused the steeple 'to leane to the West very much and has taken the west end of the Church along with it, tareing of it off at the two westerne Windowes'. The mortar used was also found to be 'very bad' and the work 'very ill performed'. (fn. 67) (Hobson, who was one of the bricklayers who laid the foundations, said they were laid on 'wett Clay'. (fn. 68) (fn. 8)) The committee concluded that 'when the waite of the Lead shall be laid on the spire and the waite of the Bells together with the rocking which will be occasioned by strong winds and the Ringing the Bells which may happen together that this steeple with soe bad a bottome and ill workmanshipp cannot be able long to resist those violent motions but that there must be a continuall fear and consternation of some great misfortune to befall'.
The two courses open to the vestry were, firstly, to remove the spire (though no fault was found in the carpenter's work), and secondly, to take down the steeple, rebuild it, and replace the spire on top. Mr. Thompson, mason, was asked to examine the steeple regularly for new cracks (fn. 67) and Mr. Tal(l)man, Mr. Banks and Mr. Oliver were called in for their opinions. (fn. 69) (fn. 9)
As a result of these consultations the vestry instructed Edward Wilcox to take the spire down, to carry it home to his own yard, and make a shed over it. (fn. 67) But Wilcox was already owed a considerable sum of money by the parish and he refused to take the spire down unless part of his bill was paid and the rest secured. The vestry immediately ordered one of the churchwardens to employ some other workman to take it down, but before this could be done, Wilcox, who had no doubt been warned, began to take it down himself. (fn. 68)
On 22 March 1687 Thompson, the mason, caused a vestry meeting to be 'call'd suddainly', 'many new Cracks and Crashes' having occurred. The note of emergency at this meeting is vividly conveyed in the minutes, which are interrupted to record the names of the vestrymen as they hurried in, one by one. The vestry ordered that the steeple should be brought down to a height of thirty feet by anyone who could do the work, if Wilcox refused, and that the advice of Sir Christopher Wren should be sought. (fn. 70)
A reassuring interim report was presented a few days later by (Richard) Hayburne, who informed the vestry that the roof over the body of the church, which he had plumbed, had not spread. (fn. 71) By April Sir Christopher Wren had also made a survey and he reported that the walls of the church were still upright and safe. He also considered that the steeple might be left as it then stood (it had apparently not been taken down to thirty feet), but that it would be convenient to have it covered with deal boards and no more bells put in than the one already hung. (fn. 72) Although the investigating committee had attributed the cause of the trouble to bad workmanship, in 1690 the vestry asked the Westminster Commissioners of Sewers to alter the course of the sewer running through the churchyard because it had 'dampnified the foundation of the steeple . . . and caused such a settlement that the steeple must be taken quite down and rebuilt'. (fn. 73)
In 1691, when an application to Parliament for powers to raise £3000 was being considered, £800 was allocated out of this sum for the demolition and re-erection of the steeple. (fn. 74) Even allowing for the use of old materials this seems an inadequate amount and the idea of rebuilding the tower was eventually dropped. The old scaffolding had been left standing about the steeple until 1691, when John James (fn. 10) purchased it for £8. He complained when he got it down that it was rotten. (fn. 75) The spire too, though covered by a shed, (fn. 76) was left lying in the churchyard, but in 1696 the rector mentioned that the parish of St. Anne, Soho, had once thought of purchasing it and the vestry considered spending the money, if it could be sold, on a handsome 'Cupuleo' and weathercock. (fn. 77) There is, however, no reference to the purchase of the old spire among the records of St. Anne's Church, where a steeple was erected in 1718, probably to the design of William Talman. (fn. 78)
Probably because no more leaning or cracking had occurred, the vestry of St. James apparently decided that it would not be necessary to rebuild the tower, and determined to finish the steeple using a new spire in place of the old one. In April 1699 Edward Wilcox was asked to 'Prepare some pretty design' for a new spire (fn. 79) and a voluntary subscription was started to pay for it. (fn. 80) There is no other evidence that Wilcox did in fact design the spire that was put up. An entry in the churchwardens' accounts in March 1700 could be taken to imply that the design came from Wren's office, for it records the payment of six shillings and sixpence 'With Sr. Chris Wren's man about the draught of the Steeple'. (fn. 81)
In the following October workmen took down 'the Battlements at the steeple end' (fn. 82) and the spire was probably erected by the end of the year, for in December 1700 the turner received three shillings and ninepence 'for the Balls underneath the Piramids upon the steeple'. (fn. 83) These pyramids or obelisks are shown at the angles of the balustrade on Plate 10a, which reproduces a measured drawing made within thirty years of the erection of the spire. The cost of the new spire was £397 12s. 2½d., of which £331 5s. 0d. was collected by subscriptions. (fn. 84)
The difficulties encountered in finishing the steeple, and the inadequacy of the £2000 raised by rates forced the vestry to offer soft words and fair promises to its creditors, who were dunning for the payment of their bills. Edward Wilcox, the son of Jonathan, acting on his own behalf and as his father's executor, required permission to assign his debt amounting to £348 2s. 5d., but the vestry offered him 'moderate Interest for Forbearance'. By 1689 it was clear that a new Act of Parliament would be necessary to raise more funds, (fn. 85) the debt for work on the rectory and steeple being £2120; nevertheless, the vestry went ahead with the enlargement of the vestry room (see page 53) and thus increased the parish's liabilities.
In 1691 the vestry decided to seek parliamentary authority to raise £3000, out of which £800 was to be assigned for the demolition and rebuilding of the steeple. (fn. 74) Three years after this decision was taken the workmen again petitioned the vestry to promote a parliamentary Bill, but they were told that the sister parish of St. Anne, Soho, had recently had a similar Bill rejected because of 'the Warr'. (fn. 86) Waitman or Wightman, one of the bellfounders, had in the meantime started a suit in the Exchequer Court for £50 owing to him but he had been dissuaded from prosecuting the suit by a promise of payment of interest. (fn. 87)
John Cock, the plumber, also went to law. A disagreement between him and the vestry arose in 1693 when he insisted that he should be paid interest on the debt of the 'Lord of St. Albans' (i.e., for work done before the parish was formed), but the vestry would not recognize this claim. (fn. 88) In 1695 Cock therefore prosecuted for non-payment of debt. (fn. 89) The vestry then revised its intention to ask for powers to raise £3000 and prepared a draft Bill to raise £4000. (fn. 90) Further delay was caused because the inhabitants were not advised of the proposed Bill, (fn. 91) but the omission was repaired, and fortified by the presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the vestry met to discuss the Bill with the complaining inhabitants. When the latter came ('none of the complainants appeared until sent for') they objected to the payment of any debts incurred before the formation of the parish, and insisted that the Earl of St. Albans had settled them. (fn. 92) A committee which was appointed to examine the unpaid bills for work done since the parish was formed found that they amounted to £1723 5s. 9d. ; the sum of £586 0s. 10d. was also owing to persons who had lent money. (fn. 93) The vestry therefore agreed to obtain an Act to raise £3000 only. (fn. 94) The workmen agreed that after their principal sums were paid, plus 3 per cent interest, they would accept what was left in lieu of the higher rate of interest for which they had asked. They also agreed to pay the vestry clerk for his extra trouble and if the sum shared out was considerable 'they would not Grudge amongst them to Contribute and give the Parish a good Clock'. (fn. 95)
The Act was passed in 1696. (fn. 96) A list of the surnames of the workmen whose bills were still outstanding appears in the vestry minutes in December 1696. They were: Story and Barratt, masons; Wilcox, carpenter; Win(c)kles, smith; Lobb, joiner; Alien, paviour; Highmore, painter; Cock, plumber; Smith, mason; Hart, bricklayer; Hayburne, carpenter; and Waitman, bellfounder. (fn. 97) The last outstanding debt appears to have been paid in 1710, to Anthony Hart, junior, as his father's executor. (fn. 98) How tired the vestry was of its financial troubles can be gauged from the desire expressed in their minutes in 1702 'that an End be put to all that Affair'. (fn. 99)
The predominantly wealthy and influential congregation of the church was not a docile one, and frequently made unreasonable demands on the vestry. One such demand came from the Earl of Clarendon who wanted to make a door in the churchyard wall 'for the Convenience of his Lordpps. Beere, Wine and Coles to be brought that way into his house.' (fn. 100) Tactfully, the vestry refused the request on the grounds that it would bring down 'Ecclesiasticall Censure'. (fn. 101) Members of the congregation also altered the pews to suit their convenience and sent carpenters to put up benches, and rails on the seats. (fn. 102)
Accounts by visitors to St. James's during the eighteenth century stress the fashionable element in the congregation. John Evelyn remarked that a sermon which he had heard elsewhere on the subject of costly apparel would have been more appropriately delivered at 'St. James's or some other of the Theatrical Churches in Lond, where the Ladys and Women were so richly and wantonly dressed and full of Jewells'. (fn. 103) James Macky complained that a stranger had to pay for a convenient seat so that 'it costs one almost as dear to see a Play', but he still thought the church worth a visit 'on a Holiday or Sunday, when the fine Assembly of Beauties and Quality come there'. (fn. 104) The display of wealth tempted undesirable characters to attend services and the payment of ten shillings is recorded in 1693 to 'Simmonds . . . for his care in lookeing after and taking pickpocketts in the Church'. (fn. 105) In later years James Boswell confessed that his mind was distracted when he attended a service at the church, but excused himself because his 'warm heart and a vivacious fancy' made him 'given to love . . . and to the most brilliant and showy method of public worship'. (fn. 106)
The interior of the church, which had been admired for its beauty by contemporary writers, (fn. 107) owed its brilliancy not only to the richness of the congregation's dress but also to the whiteness of the walls, (fn. 108) the gilded fittings, (fn. 109) and the handsome furniture, all illuminated in winter by scores of candles. (fn. 110)
In contrast the exterior of the church was thought to be too plain. In 1688 John Comb(e)s, a churchwarden and plasterer, who may have worked on the church, offered to plaster the outside walls 'with lime and sand and other materialls like Stone work call'd finishing'. The vestry gave the matter 'serious Consideracon and debate' but decided that the sum of £160 and interest could not be afforded. (fn. 111) Combs was warned not to do anything to the church without consulting the vestry, a necessary precaution since he had already had the lime and sand brought into the churchyard. (fn. 112) The question of 'Stucoeing the Church' was again considered in 1764, but the surveyor who was then superintending repairs 'thought that would not Answer'. (fn. 113)
Repairs and Alterations
During the eighteenth century the church remained substantially unaltered. Repairs were carried out in 1751 when 'Mr. Timbrell or any other prominent surveyor' was ordered to be consulted, (fn. 114) and the workmen employed included Williams Ludbey, mason, John Ludbey, carpenter, Samuel Ludbey, bricklayer, and William Pickering, painter. (fn. 115) John Ludbey lent £400 to the vestry towards the cost of the repairs. (fn. 116)
In 1756 James Horn, the parish surveyor, reported that although the timbers of the spire braces appeared very sound, the boarding under the dial and torus, the balustrade, pyramids and balls, and the boardings and bearers forming the plinth under the balustrade all required renewal. With sundry other repairs and repainting and gilding, Horn estimated the cost would be in the region of £352 (fn. 117) but in fact it came to over £500. The workmen employed were Charles Ross, carpenter, Richard Norris, brazier, Richard Troubridge, plumber, William Pickering, painter, and Charles and/or Francis Sheffield, smith(s). (fn. 118) The obelisks or pyramids on the balustrade were presumably taken down during these repairs and not put back; they do not appear in any illustration of the church after this date. (fn. 119)
In 1764 Mr. Goreham was chosen as surveyor to superintend further repairs. He found the church a 'sound and Substantial Building', although there was a bulge in the fascia, and some bad bricks in the fabric. Samuel Ludbey, bricklayer, (fn. 120) William Pickering, painter, Matthew Fairless, carpenter, Edward Prestidge, mason, and Thomas Heafford, plasterer, were the principal workmen engaged; (fn. 121) the cost amounted to over £1000. (fn. 122)
A year later the rector was asked to procure an 'Electrical Wire' to protect the spire from damage by lightning; (fn. 123) Benjamin Franklin's lightning conductors were first introduced in 1752.
In 1788 Thomas Hardwick, Mr. Soham and Mr. Gowan were invited to submit estimates chiefly for repairs to the fittings, steeple and vestry room. (fn. 124) 'Mr. Soham' was (Sir) John Soane, who had recently begun practice on his own. His designs for 'alterations and Improvements' were submitted in November 1788, but Hardwick's plans, submitted later, in January 1789, were preferred. (fn. 125) Their execution cost over £1000. (fn. 126)
The first major alteration of the fabric was made at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A faculty was obtained in 1803 (fn. 127) and in 1803–4 alterations were carried out under Thomas Hardwick's supervision. The north doorway was replaced by a window; a robing room was built on to the east end of the church; the rector's pews in the chancel were taken down to make room for a new pulpit and reading desks; seats for the poor were put in the middle aisle (Plate 17a), and new staircases built to the galleries. (fn. 128) The north and south arches in the first stage of the tower—shown open in the engraving by Hulsbergh (Plate 10a)— were bricked up and the west and east arches fitted with folding doors. (fn. 129) The lobby thus formed was ordered by the vestry to be fitted up with three or four pews, and forms for the Offertory School boys, to be used at early and late prayers on weekdays. (fn. 130) The ceiling was also extensively restored at the same time (see page 39).
John Smith, carpenter and joiner, John Burt, bricklayer, Hugh Hunter, mason, Henry Pride, plasterer, and Thomas Nash, painter and glazier, were some of the workmen employed. (fn. 129) Hardwick's account came to £427 1s. (fn. 131) and the original estimate for the work was £5700. (fn. 129) Hardwick was given £100 on account in November 1804 and the workmen whose bills amounted to less than £100 each were also paid; the others were to be paid 10 per cent interest on their unpaid bills. (fn. 131) Once again the parish was heavily in debt—this time for upwards of £5000—and in 1805 Messrs. Devaynes and Company, bankers, were asked for a loan of £2000. (fn. 132) Some of this debt remained unsettled when Devaynes failed in 1811. (fn. 133)
In 1820 Hardwick (fn. 11) proposed to the vestry that the balustrade on top of the tower, which being wooden often needed repair, should be replaced by one in Bath or Portland stone. (fn. 134) Consideration of Hardwick's suggestion was deferred but perhaps as a result of it he was asked a year later to call in two eminent surveyors to inspect the tower and steeple. (fn. 135)
The joint report of Hardwick, John Shaw, senior, (fn. 12) surveyor to Christ's Hospital, and Jeffry Wyatt of Lower Brook Street, was submitted in December 1821. They found that the tower had been built with inferior materials and workmanship, and that it overhung towards the west by about seventeen inches. There was also a bulge between the pavement level and the first string course which had caused a fracture at the northwest angle. (fn. 136) The surveyors decided, however, that the tower was not in immediate danger, and repairs made shortly afterwards temporarily prevented any increase in the overhang. John Shaw also surveyed the tower in 1827, with John White, (fn. 137) and again in 1830. (fn. 138)
In 1856 the south doorway was removed and two vestibules were erected in the angles between the tower and west face of the church. These were linked by a continuous ambulatory formed by the reopening of the north and south arches of the tower, thus providing access from the north and south into the body of the church at the west end. The interior staircases to the galleries were removed, new stone stairs being built within the vestibules, and the extra room thus provided was used to increase the number of free pews. The architect for these alterations was Charles Lee, and Messrs. Patrick and Son were the contractors; the cost came to approximately £3000 of which £500 was obtained from a subscription fund collected to augment free church accommodation in the parish. (fn. 139)
In 1878 the rector, J. E. Kempe, made further alterations to the church to commemorate his tenure of the living for a quarter of a century. (fn. 140) The pews at the east end were cut down and converted into open seats and the east end fitted up 'to give it more the aspect of a chancel'. The vestibule under the tower was made into a baptistery; the door in the west wall of the tower was shut up and a window inserted above it. (fn. 141)
Extensive repairs were carried out in 1884, both internally and externally, under the supervision of J. T. Wimperis. (fn. 142) The roof was largely renewed and reslated and the block-modillioned cornice and blocking-course of stone which survive on the south side of the church were probably executed at this time. Thereafter the church remained substantially unaltered until the war of 1939–45.
In 1940 a bomb, which destroyed the rectory and vestry, fell in the churchyard, and incendiary bombs destroyed the spire and most of the roof. The building was restored in 1947–54 by Messrs. Richardson and E. A. S. Houfe, architects, under the personal direction of Sir Albert E. Richardson; the work was carried out by a Cambridge firm, Messrs. Rattee and Kett. (fn. 143) The north wall was found to be unsafe, but after consultation with the Ministry of Works, it was found possible to preserve it by tying it to the east wall and strengthening it with concrete bands. Later it was discovered that the wall had diagonal fractures, but buttresses were built below ground level to support it. The block cornice on the north side was removed and replaced by a stone-dressed parapet of bricks specially made to match the rest of the fabric, and a new door was made for the north vestibule entrance. This vestibule was lowered to allow a better view of the tower and the plaster over the tower base inside the vestibules was stripped off. The old stone stairs leading up to the gallery were removed and new staircases of timber were built, following the design of some of Wren's stairs in King's Bench Walk. The floor of the church had caved in, vaults having been excavated below it since the church was built, and a concrete raft had to be made to support the new floor. The church was rededicated by the Bishop of London (fn. 144) on 19 June 1954.
The Roof and Ceiling
The leaning of the steeple in 1687 caused alarm for the safety of the roof over the body of the church, which was perhaps more endangered by neglect. In 1693 Sir Christopher Wren sent a message to the churchwardens, desiring them to take care of the roof 'to preserve it from wet'. (fn. 145) He was much concerned about the preservation of church roofs, for which he thought 'good Oak is certainly the best; because it will bear some Negligence: The Church-wardens Care may be defective in speedy mending Drips; they usually white-wash the Church, and set up their Names, but neglect to preserve the Roof over their Heads: It must be allowed that the Roof being more out of Sight is still more unminded'. (fn. 146) Oak had not been used for St. James's roof— it 'being all of Furr' (i.e., deal, which was Wren's second choice)—and the wardens obviously did not pay enough attention to the slating, which was so broken in 1714 that the rain came through. (fn. 145)
Minor repairs were occasionally necessary during the eighteenth century but in 1803 Henry Pride, plasterer, had to cut down parts of the cornices, frames and mouldings of the ceiling and make them good. (fn. 129) Some apprehension about the safety of the ceiling was expressed in 1830 (fn. 147) and John Shaw was called in to examine it twice in that year. He declared that the roof was quite safe, (fn. 138) but in 1836 Charles Mayhew, the parish surveyor, decided that the ceiling was so loose as to be a danger to the congregation, and called in Sir Robert Smirke for his advice. (fn. 148) Smirke reported that the joists to which the plastering was attached over the middle aisle had sunk, and in some cases their ends had been drawn out of the beams and were resting on the laths and plaster. As the plasterwork itself was also defective Smirke advised taking down the centre part of the ceiling to enable the joists to be strengthened and fixed from below. Mr. Tombleson did the carpenter's and joiner's work for £1025 3s. 1¾d. and Mr. Fitch the plasterer's and bricklayer's work for £1796 1s. 3d., excluding the cost of scaffolding. The painting and gilding, which cost £512 5s. 10½d., was done by Mr. Herman. (fn. 148) Mayhew had tried to restore the ceiling as it was formerly; one band he had bound with iron but he found it impossible to retain the others. 'Some of the flowers over the organloft were the original ones, and the design of the enrichments were followed as closely as possible.' (fn. 149)
The central part of the roof was destroyed in 1940 by incendiary bombs, but it was found possible to save the fir timbers of the roof over the aisles. The present ceiling was reproduced by Messrs. Eaton Contractors Ltd., by using existing measured drawings and pieces salvaged after the fire. It is constructed of fibrous plaster and the ornaments were cast in the church itself; four thousand books of gold leaf were used to gild the plasterwork. (fn. 143)
In July 1685 the vestry ordered curtains to be provided for the windows (fn. 150) and green curtains continued in use in part of the galleries at least until 1822. (fn. 151) In 1821 the windows in the south gallery were ordered to be glazed with ground glass to keep out as much sun and light as possible, so that curtains might be dispensed with on that side of the church. (fn. 152) Ground glass was also inserted in the lower windows on the north side later in the same year. (fn. 153)
Wren evidently preferred an uncurtained light, at least at the east end. In 1693 the removal of the curtain over the east window occasioned some disagreement amongst the vestrymen; 'Some were for putting it up [again] others for bricking up the Window halfe way and some for letting the Window be as it is.' (fn. 154) Wren, whose advice was sought, considered that 'it was best to let the Window be without any Curtaine'. (fn. 155)
In 1743 the oval windows at the east and west ends were stopped up (Plate 17a), (fn. 156) and at the time of the repairs to the church in 1764 Goreham prepared designs for ornamental mouldings to go over them. The vestry approved these and ordered that they should be executed 'as near similer to the other windows as possible'. (fn. 157) A new window was substituted for the north doorway in 1803 (fn. 129) and in 1856 a similar window was inserted in place of the south doorway. (fn. 158)
In 1810 several 'respectable' inhabitants suggested that the east window should be filled with painted or stained glass. The vestry did not object, provided it was paid for by voluntary subscription, (fn. 159) but only sufficient funds to pay for the upper part of the window were promised. (fn. 160) The subject chosen was the 'whole History of the Transfiguration', and in 1813 Joseph Backler agreed to execute the work and fix ground glass in the lower part of the window for a sum of not more than £1250, or to complete the whole window for £2000, subject to the satisfaction of Benjamin West and Thomas Hardwick. (fn. 135)
Backler was given permission to solicit for subscriptions in 1819, (fn. 161) and in 1821 the vestry also instructed one of the rate collectors to ask for subscriptions and issued a printed appeal. (fn. 162) Promises of funds were so slow in coming, however, that it was not until 1845 that The Builder reported, accurately, a rumour that a Gothic stained-glass window was to be put up. The hope that the information was 'in error' was not realized, (fn. 163) for Wailes of Newcastle had been asked, among others, to submit a design. (fn. 164) The storm of protest aroused by the new window reverberated through the pages of The Builder for years afterwards. (fn. 165) Wailes himself had been reluctant to design the window for a church 'in the modern style . . . having devoted himself and his workmen exclusively to the production of glass adopted to Gothic structures'. (fn. 164) The committee appointed to carry out the scheme, with Charles Mayhew as secretary, gave way before public pressure and asked Wailes to take out of his design 'everything Gothic'. (fn. 166) The window was eventually given 'a more Byzantine character' and was installed in 1846. (fn. 167)
By 1857 two more windows by Wailes had been put up, furthering the intention to fill in all the gallery windows with stained glass. (fn. 168) Another two were put in by Messrs. Ward and Hughes by 1888, one commemorating the church's bicentenary. Both are illustrated in The Builder. (fn. 169) On the restoration of the church Crown glass was put in all the windows except the east, where stained glass, designed by Christopher Webb, and depicting scenes from the life of Christ, was inserted in 1954. (fn. 170)
The body of the church, contained by a brick wall some three feet thick, consists of a five-bay nave about 37 feet wide, flanked by galleried aisles, making the total internal width some 67 feet. The east and west walls are broken by shallow projecting bays, of about the wall's thickness, giving the nave a total inside length of 87 feet 6 inches. Incorporated with the west wall is the brick tower shaft, externally square and internally octagonal in plan, its first stage originally formed as an open porch (Plates 8b, 10a).
The Hulsbergh engraving, published between 1709 and 1729, shows an early arrangement of the interior (Plate 10a). The floor was fitted with four blocks of pews and a single row of pews lined the walls, broken by the lobbies of the doorways centred in the west, north and south fronts; by the gallery-staircase enclosures in the northwest and south-west angles; and by the small railed sanctuary before which rose the three-decker pulpit. The north and south galleries contained two stepped rows of pews, and a single narrow row between the gangway and the wall, whereas three rows were crowded into the shallow west gallery. These arrangements were completely changed by Thomas Hardwick, shortly after 1803 (see page 37), when two blocks of pews were formed in the nave, separated by a wide central gangway in which the free benches were placed as occasion demanded. The pulpit was erected in front of the south block and the reader's desk in front of the north. In each aisle was a shallow block of pews, facing east, extending to the wall or into the recesses formed by the removal of the window aprons on the inside. In each side gallery were three stepped pews in front of the gangway and one behind, with a second in each window recess. Hardwick also constructed new staircases to the gallery, inside the building but eliminating the original outside steps. The open porch under the tower was converted into a vestibule, and a window was substituted for the central doorway in the north aisle. All of these changes are shown on the plans by the elder Pugin (Plate 10b) and by Clayton (Plate 12), and the general appearance of the interior at this time is recorded by Frederick Nash's perspective view (Plate 17a).
In 1856 the lobbies and staircase enclosures within the body of the church were removed under Charles Lee's directions, the space gained being given over to the provision of free sittings, augmented by increasing the second gallery to the full width of the church. The engraving from The Builder of 14 February 1857 (Plate 17b) shows the interior arrangements at this time.
The present arrangement of the church floor follows, in general, that in use after 1878 (Plate 13a). The easternmost bay of the nave serves as a chancel, raised one step above the general floor level and flanked by stalls. A wide cross-gangway separates this chancel space from the handsome new oak benches, all facing the altar and spaciously set out to form two blocks in the nave, with a wide central gangway, and one block in each aisle. The west bay of the north aisle now serves as the baptistery, and the east end of the south aisle is arranged as a chapel (the panelling and altar form a memorial to Francis Ernest Jackson, A.R.A., given by his pupils and friends, and the 'Pieta' painting is his work).
The simple utilitarian exterior of the church, as contrasted with the richness and elegance within, has always been adversely criticized (see page 36), though seldom so forcibly as when Joseph Gwilt called it a 'barbarous brick-cased and ill-shaped pile' and likened it to the toad which is 'ugly and venomous, yet wears a precious jewel in its head', (fn. 171) the jewel, of course, being the universally admired interior. Yet, looking at the Hulsbergh engraving of the north elevation as originally designed, the design is pleasant enough in its modest way.
The walls throughout were faced with red brick, generally laid in Flemish bond, and Portland stone was used for the window architraves, the doorcases, the plain underlying plinth, the bandcourse immediately below the upper tier of windows, and for the long-and-short chamfered quoins at each angle of the church and tower. The north and south elevations are similar in composition, but differ slightly in treatment since the north side was at first partly concealed from Piccadilly by houses. There are two tiers of five evenly spaced windows, that in the middle of the lower tier replacing an original doorway, dressed with a stone frontispiece described below. A vestry, linking church and rectory, has always taken the place of the easternmost window of the north elevation. The lower windows are of squat proportion and have segmental-arched heads; the upper windows are relatively tall and have round-arched heads. All are dressed with wide moulded architraves, eared at the heads and broken by keystones, those of the lower tier being plain, and those above having a form of moulded scroll-console except the middle one which is carved with a cherub's head on folded wings. The Hulsbergh engraving of the north front, and Sutton Nicholls's north prospect of St. James's Square (Plates 128, 129), show that the north and south elevations, and the return fronts of the aisles, were originally finished with a modillioned eaves-cornice of wood, with gutter ornaments of lion heads at centres between the windows.
This wooden eaves-cornice lasted, with repairs, until 1803 when Thomas Hardwick repaired and altered the church. The walls then received the finish shown on the engraved elevations and sections by Clayton and Pugin (Plates 10b, 12, 14)— a plain brick parapet rising about three feet above a plain bandcourse (at the level of the old eavescornice) and finishing with a plain coping, both of Portland stone. This parapet was removed, probably by Wimperis in 1884, in favour of a more appropriate block-modillioned cornice and a blocking-course of stone. Wimperis's cornice remains on the south aisle walls, but has been replaced on the north by a replica of Hardwick's plain parapet—perhaps for structural reasons.
The simply drawn plan from Wren's office (Plate 8b) shows an entrance at the west end of the nave, through a porch or lobby in the base of the tower, and an entrance in the middle of the south side, dressed with a frontispiece sufficiently important to be seen from St. James's Square. No north doorway is shown or suggested, and it must appear that the decision to provide an entrance from Piccadilly into the north aisle was made at a late stage, (fn. 13) perhaps after the body of the church had been erected, thus accounting for the difference in the design of the two frontispieces. That of the north doorway, removed in 1803, was an arch set in a rusticated surround, with a moulded surbase, a moulded impost, and a keystone carved with a cartouche bearing the arms of Jermyn, the whole being finished with a moulded cornice. The south doorway, removed in 1856, had a more elaborate frontispiece (Plates 11a, b, 14). The door, which was surmounted by a panel resting on cherub-head corbels, was framed by a straight-headed moulded architrave, flanked by panelled pilaster-strips with scrolled consoles bearing the cornice-hood. On each side was an engaged half-pilaster and a pilaster of an Ionic order, plain-shafted, carrying an extension of the entablature, its frieze carved with festoons and the Jermyn mullets and crescents. Profile scroll-consoles flank the architrave of the window above. When the door was closed up, and the frontispiece removed, the wall face was patched with yellow stock bricks.
The east elevation is divided into three bays, the wide middle one being the projecting east end of the nave (Plate 12). The stone quoins, plinth, and bandcourse of the side elevations are repeated, the last stopping against the great east window. This is of two stages, each divided into three lights, the lower by plain-shafted half-columns and square columns of a Corinthian order carrying an unbroken entablature. The upper order is composite, and the entablature is stopped and returned in the middle light, which is arched with an unbroken moulded archivolt. The wall face beneath the east window is treated as a high pedestal, originally with a moulded base, a panelled die now plastered, and a cornice which continued in a simplified profile across the flanking faces of the projecting bay. Each narrow flanking bay, ending an aisle, contains a tall oval window (now blocked) framed in a moulded architrave and placed just above the bandcourse. This front was originally finished with a wooden eaves-cornice, raking up to form a steep pediment over the projecting bay (Plate 19a). It seems probable, however, that Wren envisaged finishing the walls with a cornice, presumably of stone, surmounted by a pedestal parapet, and a great open segmental pediment over the projecting bay, which would have made it necessary to hip the east end of the roof (Plate 9a). The present steep gable is far less happy in effect.
The west end of the church exterior has been so much altered and overlaid since 1856 that it is necessary to turn to drawings and engravings for a clear idea of its original appearance. The elevational drawing reproduced on Plate 9b, except for the top stage of the tower, the dome and the spirelet, is probably a fair representation of the west front as originally finished, but awaiting completion of the steeple. Kip's panorama shows scrolled consoles abutting the tower shaft, finishing the narrow exterior faces of the nave's west wall. The aisle fronts were similar to those at the east end, except that doors serving the gallery staircases were introduced on the inside of the lower stage. These small doors were approached by lateral steps, and were dressed with enriched moulded architraves and cornices. Reset, they now give entrance to the aisles from the staircase lobbies flanking the tower.
The tower, projecting squarely from the west wall of the nave and interrupting its crowning triangular pediment, was built of red brick although much of the lower part has been refaced with yellow stocks (probably in 1788). Portland stone was used for the quoins and the three bandcourses (the first plain and the others moulded) defining the four stages. The first two stages correspond with the two storeys of the church, the lower having a round-arched opening (now furnished with doors) in each face, dressed with a plain stone architrave, moulded imposts, and a keystone, that of the west front being extended and carved with a Baroque cartouche bearing the arms of Jermyn. In each face of the second stage was a round-arched window with an eared architrave, similar to those in the second tier of the church but furnished with a plain keystone. The squat third stage has a circular opening, probably intended for a clock-dial, set in each exposed face, and the top stage (now demolished) contained in each face a round-arched opening, fitted with louvres and framed by a plain brick architrave, with stone imposts and keyblock. This stage, finished with a moulded cornice of stone, was much plainer than that shown on the drawing reproduced on Plate 9b, which proposed to repeat the window of the second stage, finish the tower with a block-modillioned cornice and, on an octagonal blocking-course plinth, raise a scalecovered dome of circular plan surmounted by an octagonal lantern and a concave-sided spirelet. The design of this terminal feature closely resembles that of St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf (1685).
The actual spire erected by Edward Wilcox (but by no means certainly designed by him) had some affinity with that of St. Lawrence, Jewry (1677), and even more with the lower part of a spire designed for St. Michael's, Crooked Lane, (fn. 172) to which has been added an octagonal obelisk spirelet of the St. Martin's, Ludgate Hill, type. At St. James's, the tower was finished with an open balustrade of wood, each side being divided into two lengths by solid dies, with an obelisk on balls, at each angle. The spire had a low concave base, then a square stage with a clock-dial in each face. The upper angles of this stage were splayed, transforming the square to an octagon, and above a shallow concave plinth rose the arcaded octagonal drum of the obelisk spirelet, with consoles decorating its foot and a ball terminal surmounted by a vane (Plate 10a).
The staircase lobbies, added on each side of the tower in 1856, were designed by Charles Lee in complete harmony with Wren's work as altered by Thomas Hardwick. The side wall of each lobby contained a reproduction of the round-arched window in the second stage of the tower, and below was a Doric doorcase with an arched opening. The west wall repeated the design of the aisle end wall, with its tall oval blocked window. The north lobby has now been reduced in height and furnished with a new segmental-arched doorway. In the west wall a large lunette window has been introduced above the bandcourse (Plate 19b).
The original form of construction used for the roof was always admired, and justly so. James Elmes, in his life of Wren, (fn. 173) gave an excellent account of it, based on C. R. CockerelPs examination. (fn. 173) Joseph Gwilt's description is quoted here, since the plans and section reproduced on Plate 10b are taken from the same source.
'The roof, which is admirably contrived . . . is a model for economical, not less than for safe construction, and that without tye-beams. The principal rafters, which rise from the walls at a height level with the tops of the columns, are prevented from spreading, partly by collars above the plastered cradling of the great vaulting, and partly by hammer-pieces, (on to which they tail towards the wall), which lie from the walls to the tops of the columns, whence the semi-cylindrical ceiling springs. On the hammer-pieces there are posts which rise vertically and catch the principals, thus causing the superior parts of those principals to be poised and steadied on the right-angled triangular bases formed over the galleries. The lead-flats above the galleries also create a reaction of the thrust primarily generated: the principals, of course, only occur over the columns. There is nothing remarkable in the framing which forms the cradle of the plastered vaulting.' (fn. 174)
There is a conflict of evidence concerning the roof covering. Sutton Nicholls's north prospect of St. James's Square, an engraving of c. 1722, shows the church roof wholly covered with lead, but the reference in 1714 to broken slating (see page 39) suggests that the engraving misleads on this point, and that whereas the flats over the aisles were leaded, the more steeply pitched nave roof was slated. In 1756 it was to be re-covered with Westmorland slates, but in 1825 Gwilt states that 'the roof . . . is covered with lead'. (fn. 174) However, in his estimate of 1821 for repairs, Thomas Hardwick allowed £50 for the slater, and in the later nineteenth century and down to 1940 there is no doubt that the nave roof was slated. The whole roof is now covered with copper, to lighten the load on the fabric.
In St. James's Wren created one of his most elegant church interiors (Plates 20, 21), with slender plain-shafted Corinthian columns raised on square piers, forming the lightest of arcades between the nave and the galleried aisles and helping to support the ingeniously designed roof trusses already described (Plates 10b, 16). On each side five almost equal bays are formed by six piers and columns, the first and the last standing free but in close proximity to the breaks in the east and west walls. The square piers have an overall height of 7 feet 9 inches and, the memorials which covered them having been removed, the stone cores are now faced with oak wainscot, with a panel-shafted pilaster planted on each face. The caps are Doric and the mouldings are enriched with carving. These piers support the gallery, the front of which forms an entablature, with a plain frieze and enriched mouldings to the architrave and cornice, surmounted by a moulded pedestalcourse. Entablature and pedestal break slightly forward above each pilaster-face, and over the two Doric columns which stand in the nave to support the concave-ended front of the west gallery (Plates 13b, 21). The breaks in the side gallery fronts form pedestals for the Corinthian columns of the upper order, which have an overall height of 14 feet 4 inches and are of pine. Each column carries an entablature of plaster, with enriched mouldings, plain fascias and frieze, and a panelled soffit. These entablatures case the hammer-pieces of the roof trusses and are returned laterally above the gallery to rest on respond-corbels. The corbels are formed of Corinthian capitals overlaid by St. James's scallop-shells, and they provide the only architectural adornment of the aisle walls, their plain plastered surfaces intended to serve as a ground for memorials.
Each bay of the galleried aisles has a barrelvaulted ceiling of plaster, springing from the transverse entablatures and rising between the trusses. The surface of each vault is decorated with a double-guilloche rib, linking the columns, and an enriched foliage moulding enclosing a large rectangular panel in the centre of which is an acanthus-boss. These transverse vaults intersect with the great barrel-vault of plaster over the nave, the surface of which is divided into five bays by double-guilloche ribs, linking the columns of the two arcades. These ribs, and those of the transverse vaults, are bordered with chains of acanthusbuds. In each bay enriched foliage mouldings are used to frame the three large square panels between the linked spandrel panels which are modelled in high relief with a winged cherub's head flanked by foliage-and-ribbon festoons and pendants. In the first, third and fifth bays, the middle panel contains a large boss of curling acanthus. Similar bosses in the second and fourth bays, which had been replaced in 1866 by sun-burners, were omitted when the ceiling was last restored. It is almost certain, however, that the five bosses were added in 1837 when gas-lighting was first installed, to provide a decorative finish to the roof ventilators (cf. Plates 17a, 17b).
The shallow easternmost bay of the nave vault is richly decorated with modelled plasterwork, arranged in panels to correspond with those in the wide bays. Above the springing are Baroque cartouches bearing the arms of Jermyn, next come oval wreaths, then elaborate compositions introducing Baroque scrolls, cornucopiae, foliage and vases, and in the middle panel is a Vitruvian scroll of foliage with a central cartouche (Plate 22a). The corresponding bay at the west end is simply treated, with square coffers each containing a flower.
The east wall is dominated by the great Venetian window of two stages, set in a wide recess with slightly splayed reveals. These and the flanking wall faces were originally left quite plain (Plate 17), but a cornice has been added to link the entablature of the arcades with that of the lower stage of the window, where the same Corinthian order is used (Plate 20). The architectural treatment of the window is the same inside as out, and the soffit of the recess is enriched with coffers (Plate 22a).
Altar, Altarpiece and Communion Rail
In 1684 Sir Robert Gayre, who lived in a house in Jermyn Street, gave to the church 'the Altar, and all the Furnitur; and Plate'. (fn. 175) To commemorate his gift his arms were ordered to be put up in the church; (fn. 88) these have disappeared but in 1954 a descendant gave the painting on the wooden lunette above the vestry door which records his arms and his death in 1702.
The altarpiece consisted of 'fine Bolection, Pannels, (fn. 14) with Architrave, Friese, and Cornish, of Cedar; and . . . a large compass Pediment'. (fn. 176) Below the pediment, carved in limewood, were 'flowres and Garlands about the Walls by Mr. Gibbons . . . [and] a Pelican with her young at her breast'. (fn. 177) The altar was enclosed by a 'strong and graceful Rail and Banister of white Marble, artfully carved' (Plate 17a). (fn. 176) The four marble panels set in the railing were taken away in 1821 because of their decayed state. An estimate for their repair, together with the railing, was produced in 1820 by Mr. Hardwick but it being thought too costly he was asked to provide estimates for a similar railing in brass or wood. (fn. 178) In 1821 he submitted three estimates; one for repairing the railing and panels for £720, a second, for bronze panels only, for £210, and a third, for ironbronze panels, for £126. The first estimate was from Mr. Westmacott, and the other two from Mr. (probably Samuel) Parker of Argyle Street. At first it was decided to accept the cheapest tender (fn. 179) but on Hardwick's advice 'best bronze' was eventually chosen, (fn. 180) and Parker made the panels for £220 10s. The repairs to the railing itself were made by Mr. Mather, mason. (fn. 181)
In 1846 the limewood carvings had also become very dilapidated and they were restored by George Lock and G. Kent of Leamington, using 850 new pieces. (fn. 182) The altarpiece was painted and grained in imitation of walnut and varnished during alterations made to the church in 1866. (fn. 183) In 1878 the marble enclosure was raised and enlarged. (fn. 184)
Towards the end of the nineteenth century painted panels were inserted in the altarpiece under the pediment, one depicting the Last Supper, and others, in the flanking faces, portraying the Apostles; (fn. 183) they survived the war, but were not reinstated.
The whole width of the wall face beneath the east window is lined with cedar and oak, the design continuing the treatment of the Doric lower order of the aisles, forming an altarpiece with wings. This altarpiece is a modern replacement of the original, in which each wing presented a face with two raised-and-fielded panels framed in bolection mouldings. Now there are three panels, one narrow between two wide. The full entablature is omitted from the altarpiece proper, where the cornice curves to form a great segmental open pediment, its tympanum filled with the splendid carvings in limewood by Grinling Gibbons. These carvings are dominated by the Pelican in its Piety, placed above the middle loop of a festooned garland, elaborately composed of fruits, flowers, shells and wheat-ears, arranged to fall in three wide and two narrow loops, and ending in two great knotted pendants. Following the curve of the pediment cornice is an intricate composition of interlacing scrollwork, in which rest two doves.
The twin round-headed panels (inscribed with the Decalogue) originally placed on this altarpiece were probably those for many years fixed on the east wall of the gallery; they are now in the south porch. The original wainscot panels flanking the altarpiece were also lettered.
The Pulpits and Reading Desks
At the time of the first major alterations to the interior of the church in 1803 a new pulpit and new reading desks were ordered to be made of 'right wainscot'. The type was to be made of the same material, the soffit inlaid 'with a glory of mahogany and sattin wood', and the supporting iron pillars were to have shafts representing palm trees, the tops 'richly covered with leaves and dates'. (fn. 129) Hardwick produced drawings for the new sounding board in July 1803 and one of these was approved. (fn. 187) The carpenter and joiner engaged by the vestry was John Smith, and the smith and brazier, Henry Dawes. (fn. 129)
The old pulpit and reading desks were perhaps among the 'old Fittings' ordered to be given to Berwick Street Chapel or sold in January 1822. (fn. 188) In Sir John Soane's Museum there are drawings for a pulpit and prayer desk at St. James's Church, dated 1824; (fn. 189) they do not appear to have been executed. Hardwick's pulpit (fn. 15) can be seen in the water-colour reproduced on Plate 17a and in an undated view by F. Mackenzie. (fn. 190) It was presumably superseded by the present pulpit which was installed about 1862. This is constructed in oak, and octagonal in plan. Each face has a moulded panel containing a figure carved in high relief, and at each angle is a twisted column supporting the entablature-rail. Originally raised on a cluster of columns (Plate 16), it now stands on a simply panelled and moulded pedestal of octagonal plan, in oak (Plate 20).
In 1902 an outside pulpit was erected on the north wall of the church as an offering by W. D. and E. J. Nichols. (fn. 191) It was designed by Temple Moore and carved by L. A. Turner. (fn. 192) It was damaged in 1940 but restored at the same time as the rest of the fabric (Plate 19b). (fn. 193)
The font now in use replaced the original one shortly after the church was built. In January 1686 the vestry was informed that an anonymous donor was 'piously inclined to give another font' if a more convenient place could be found. (fn. 49) Room was made for the new font, which was installed some time in 1686; (fn. 30) it was decided to offer the old one to the church of St. Anne, Soho. (fn. 49) (fn. 16)
The new font and its cover are attributed to Grinling Gibbons (see the caption of Vertue's engraving of Woodfield's drawing, Plate 23a). The white marble font consists of an ovoid bowl raised on a stem realistically carved to represent the Tree of Knowledge, with the serpent entwined about it, Adam standing on one side and Eve on the other. The bowl is decorated with three kidney-shaped panels carved in low relief to represent (a) the Baptism of Christ, (b) St. Philip baptizing the Eunuch of Candace, (c) Noah's Ark afloat (Plate 23b). The cover was described by Hatton as being 'finely carved . . . with a spacious Angel descending from a Celestial Choir of Cherubims, all gilt with Gold'. (fn. 176) In 1687 the vestry ordered that the position of the cover should be altered for the benefit of Sir Thomas Clarges, who 'thought himselfe much injur'd . . . it being to high and hindred his sight'. (fn. 194) According to Brayley (fn. 195) the cover was stolen about the end of the eighteenth century and hung up at a spirit shop near the church, but the vestry minutes make no mention of this. It was probably sold with the other old fittings in 1822 (see this page) after the removal of the font to a position behind the seats in the central aisle, where the cover could not be hung. The font is shown in this position in contemporary illustrations (Plate 17b), (fn. 196) but in 1878 it was moved into the lobby under the tower, which was made into a baptistery, and enclosed with a railing. (fn. 197) During the restoration of the church the font was moved to its present position in the northwest corner.
Some of the church plate is illustrated in the current guide to the church. The set given by Sir Robert Gayre is dated 1683, and was made by Ralph Leeke. (fn. 23) Its weight when repaired and regilded in 1750 by John Montgomery, silversmith and senior churchwarden, was 556 oz. (fn. 198) There are also six beadles' staves, with silver orbs surmounted by the figure of St. James, made in 1757. (fn. 199)
The Royal Coat of Arms
It is not possible to ascribe an exact date for the royal coat of arms which has been placed on the north face of the tower inside the north vestibule (Plate 23c). Without the inescutcheon, which could have been added later (perhaps around 1694), it represents the arms borne by the Stuart kings, and could therefore be the work for which a churchwarden charged £23 2s. in 1688 'for Timber and carveing of the Kings Armes'. (fn. 200) The carving may have been hung originally in the vestry room. Repairs carried out in 1789 included the painting and gilding of the arms in the vestry room, (fn. 201) and in a photograph reproduced in The Architectural Review for 1913, (fn. 202) they are shown hanging over the mirror and chimneypiece in the vestry.
In 1690 the vestry petitioned the Queen to give the organ from the Roman Catholic chapel in Whitehall Palace to St. James's Church. (fn. 203) The organ had been built by Renatus Harris for the chapel, which was opened in 1686; the front had been carved by Grinling Gibbons for £40 and it had been gilded by Giles Campion for £100. The chapel was gradually dismantled after the accession of William and Mary (fn. 204) and in answer to the vestry's petition the Queen gave 'the Great Organ' to St. James's in 1691. The vestry returned Her Majesty 'humble and hearty thankes' and raised a voluntary subscription for the organ's removal and installation. (fn. 205) Proposals for this were received from (Bernard) Smith, who satisfied the vestry with his 'Assurance to performe the worke well artificially' and promised to have the instrument ready for playing by Christmas 1691. He was paid £150. (fn. 206)
In March 1692 a record of the Queen's gift was ordered to be inscribed on the middle panel of the organ loft (fn. 207) and in July 'Dr. Blow and Mr. Purcell' (fn. 17) were invited to judge if Smith had performed his work well. (fn. 208) In 1695 Smith was appointed to keep the organ clean and in tune, at a salary of £10 a year (£10 less than he received at the Temple). (fn. 209) On Smith's death in 1708 £10 owing to him was withheld from his widow in compensation for several pipes and stops which he had omitted during the reconstruction. (fn. 210)
The organ had become greatly dilapidated by 1852 when, under the superintendence of Charles Lee, the parish surveyor, it was entirely rebuilt by J. C. Bishop. This was his 'last work and avowed masterpiece'. (fn. 211) Bishop re-used the old pipes which 'the mellowing hand of time had rendered of more than ordinary value', and added a detached choir organ in front of the gallery. (fn. 212) Messrs. G. and C. Bishop, herald painters to the Queen, decorated the organ, (fn. 213) and the cost of the rebuilding and restoration was £1000. (fn. 212)
The organ was damaged when the church was bombed, and had to be rebuilt. Messrs. Rothwell repaired it and in 1954 it was re-erected with a new console. The organ case was preserved, having been saved from damage by storage at Hardwick Hall during the war. (fn. 214)
The first organist of the church was Ralph Courteville, recommended by the Earl of Burlington and appointed in September 1691 at a salary of £20 per annum. (fn. 205) The Dictionary of National Biography assumes that he continued in office until 1772, but he resigned in favour of his 'kinsman', Ralph Courteville, junior, in 1729, being 'Infirm and unable to do his Duty'. (fn. 215) Ralph Courteville, senior, was presumably the composer of the sonatas and songs and part of the music for Thomas D'Urfey's Don Quixote. (fn. 216) His 'kinsman' Ralph or Raphael Courteville, junior, was organist from 1729 to 1772; (fn. 217) he was very neglectful of his duties (fn. 218) and it was presumably he who, according to the Dictionary of National Biography, took an active part in politics. There is a memorial to his (? first) (fn. 216) wife on the south side of the gallery.
Gibbons's sumptuous organ case of carved and gilded oak dominates the west end of the nave and towers high above the choristers' gallery. This last is raised above the western gallery by four equally spaced Tuscan columns. The gallery front of oak is formed as an entablature surmounted by a high panelled pedestal, and it consists of three parts, each side curving with a concave sweep to meet the projecting centre, now fronted with the case of the choir organ added by Bishop in 1852. The pipes of the great organ are raised on a panelled chest, and the segmentalheaded front is flanked by pipe-towers and broken centrally by a taller tower. These three towers rest on corbels carved with cherub-heads, projecting from an enriched entablature with a fretted frieze. They finish with rich entablatures, having acanthus friezes, and the pipes are partly overhung with carved valances. Above each side tower stands a trumpeting cherub, and above the central tower kneel two cherubs holding a crown, while on the curving cornices between the towers are reclining angels, St. Cecilia's musicians, holding trumpets. The choir organ case, designed to accord with the great organ, also has three towers but the middle one is shorter than the others (Plates 13b, 21).
The Act of 1685 allowed for part of the rate collected in the parish to be used to provide the church with one or more bells. The bell which now (1960) stands in the churchyard is inscribed 'William and Philip Wightman made me 1686', and is presumably the bell which was named on St. David's Day, 1687. (fn. 219) Probably as a result of the cracking of the tower the bell was taken down temporarily but it was rehung in October 1688, with a little bell which had been borrowed. (fn. 220) The Act of 1696 which empowered the parish to raise rates for payment of the debts for building the steeple, prohibited the hanging of more than two bells. (fn. 96)
Shortly after its erection the steeple was embellished with a clock given by Henry Massy (Plate 10a). (fn. 221) This was replaced in 1764 by a clock made by Aynsworth Thwaites who received £100 and the old clock in exchange. (fn. 222)
The church was originally lit by two brass and iron candle branches hung from the ceiling, which were made by Mr. White, founder; (fn. 223) supplementary lighting was provided by brass sconces and by iron candlesticks fixed to the pews. (fn. 224) At an enquiry held in 1740 it was shown that over a hundred candles were used on winter Sundays. (fn. 225)
There are several references in the vestry minute books to the gilding and lacquering of the light fittings, (fn. 226) and in 1764 the iron candlesticks on the pews were replaced by six dozen brass ones. (fn. 227) New three-light branches were fixed to the fronts of the galleries in 1803. (fn. 228)
In 1835 the vestry considered lighting the church with oil (fn. 229) but this proposal was apparently abandoned in favour of gas-lighting by the Equitable Gas Company in 1837 (Plate 17b). (fn. 230) The heat from the bronzed gas brackets and standards made the atmosphere of the church too oppressive, however, and most of them were removed in 1866 when two sun-burners were installed in the ceiling by Messrs. Strode. (fn. 231) Vertical pew lights were installed when the church was restored (Plate 21).
Most of the memorial tablets in the church were saved and some have been replaced. (fn. 18) A few new ones have been put up. All are listed below with the date of death only in most cases; some biographical material from the Dictionary of National Biography and from the tablets themselves has been included.
East wall, north end. 1. Tablet commemorating damage to church, 14 Oct. 1940, rededication by William, Bishop of London, 19 June 1954, A. E. Richardson, architect for reconstruction, Charles E. Lambert, rector, Nov. 1922– April 1954, Geoffrey Bostock, Janet Scrutton, churchwardens.
North aisle, east to west. 1. Rev. Joseph McCormick, D.D., rector 1900–14, 9 April 1914. 2. Harriet, wife of Rev. John Edward Kempe, rector, 13 Dec. 1872. 3. Peter William Gilkes, freemason, Past Master, 11 Dec. 1833. 4. Sir Francis Lumm, bart., Governor of Ross Castle, 1 March 1797. 5. Sir Richard Croft, bart., M.D., 13 Feb. 1818; his wife Margaret (daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Denman), 24 Sept. 1847. Sir Richard Croft, accoucheur, was accused of negligence at the accouchement of George IV's daughter, Princess Charlotte, which caused her death in 1817; he shot himself. (fn. 216) 6. General John Studholme Hodgson, Colonel of the King's Own Regiment, 10 Jan. 1846. He served in North America and Holland and as Governor of Bermuda and Curaçao. (fn. 216) 7. John Waite, 23 Oct. 1820; his wife Anna Lloyd Waite, 14 Oct. 1850; their son, James Bembow Waite, 8 June 1831. 8. Edward Hewitt, merchant, 20 Oct. 1794. 9. Mary Delany (daughter of Bernard Granville, wife to (1) Alexander Pendarves of Cornwall, (2) Patrick Delany, D.D., Dean of Down), 15 April 1788. 10. John Hewitt, private secretary to James, Viscount Lifford, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1 March 1783. 11. John Willock of Golden Square, magistrate of the City of Westminster and County of Middlesex, 12 Nov. 1825. 12. Sir George Baker, bart., M.D., F.C.P., F.R.S., 15 June 1809. He was appointed physician to George III in 1776. He published several medical works. (fn. 216) 13. Hugh Beavan, 23 Feb. 1837. 14. Lieutenant-General Sir Colin Campbell, Colonel of the 72nd Highlanders, K.C.B., etc., 13 June 1847; his second son Arthur Wellington Campbell, Captain in the 14th Regiment, 21 Jan. 1846. Sir Colin Campbell served in the West Indies, India, Denmark, Portugal, the Peninsula and at Waterloo. He became Governor of Nova Scotia in 1833 and of Ceylon in 1839. (fn. 216) 15. Jane, Lady Baker, 30 July 1813. 16. General Archibald Campbell, 1 Dec. 1825. 17. William Yarrell, zoologist and bookseller, 1 Sept. 1856. He was an original member of the Zoological Society and treasurer and vice-president of the Linnean Society. (fn. 216) 18. Guy Johns(t)on of Guy Park, New York, American loyalist, superintendent of Indian affairs in North America, 1788. (fn. 216) 19. Charles Todd, late of the East India Company, 18 Dec. 1813. 20. Edward Gaunt of Staple Inn, 21 Nov. 1716; his wife Lucy (daughter of Edward Fuller), 27 Nov. 1710. 21. Major-General Colebrooke Nesbitt, 21 July 1798; his youngest daughter, Caroline, 18 May 1814. 22. Mary, widow of C. Todd, 23 Jan. 1823. 23. Frederick William De La Rochefoucauld, soldier, a French Protestant who came to England with his father, Comte de Roye et De Roucy, in 1687, and served both James II and William III, who created him Earl of Lifford in Ireland, 24 Feb. 1749. 24. Arthur Johnson, 18 Aug. 1703; his wife Martha, 2 May 1721. 25. Mary Beatrice Johnson, Sunday-school worker, 23 April 1929. (Carved by Eric Gill. (fn. 23)) 26. Richard Bright, M.D., D.C.L., F.R.S., physician extraordinary to the Queen, 16 Dec. 1858. He gave his name to the disease which he discovered. (fn. 216)
West end, north to south, 1. World War I, 1914–18, parishioners. 2. World War II, 1939– 1945, Robert Bennett, Thomas Middlemiss, former choristers; Charles Murray, verger, and his wife Edith. 3. John Malin, churchwarden for twenty-three years, 1913. 4. John Thomas Wimperis, F.R.I.B.A., churchwarden 1880–1, 22 Dec. 1904. 5. Frederick Orlando Puleston Crane, churchwarden, 20 May 1891. 6. John Mayhew, churchwarden, 11 May 1811; his wife Bridget, 11 March 1805. 7. John Haines, citizen and carpenter of London, Governor of Bridewell and Bethlem, High Constable of Westminster, first churchwarden of the parish, 10 Jan. 1690/1; his wife Mary, 17 Dec. 1719. He designed the second vestry room. 8. Mary, Lady Marow (daughter of Sir Arthur Caley, wife to (1) Sir Samuel Marow, (2) Francis Fisher), 19 Oct. 1714. 9. Major-General Digby Hamilton, Colonel of the Royal Waggon Train, 18 March 1820. 10. Sarah Marsh, 6 Aug. 1860.
South aisle, west to east. 1. Amand Vilmet, servant to George IV, 24 April 1848; his wife Mayrose, March 1832, and their son Henry. 2. Thomas Rose, 21 Jan. 1829, and five of his children. 3. Two sons of Augustus Eliott Fuller and his wife Clara, William Lowndes Fuller, 10 Feb. 1825, Richard Garth Fuller, 6 Sept. 1812. 4. William Caddick, metal merchant, 1 Oct. 1796. 5. Richard A'Hmuty, 6 April 1816; Ursula A'Hmuty, 10 April 1823; Richard A'Hmuty, 18 Sept. 1823. 6. Charles Noble of Old Burlington Street, 4 April 1827; his wife Jane, 29 Sept. 1827. 7. Jean Hendrie, widow of Lewis Hendrie, 31 Jan. 1822; their son Patrick, 25 Dec. 1822. 8. The Hon. Baptist Leveson Gower, 4 Aug. 1782. 9. The Rt. Hon. Lady Susanna Lort (daughter of the Earl of Clare and widow of Sir John Lort), 18 May 1710, and her grandson Gilbert Campbell (son of Sir Alexander Campbell and his wife Elizabeth), 4 March 1710. 10. Henry Potts, late Secretary of the General Post Office, 1 Jan. 1768. 11. Burnet Abercromby, 24 Mar. 1792. 12. Edward Trotter, Prebendary of Downe, Ireland, 8 July 1777. 13. Anne Boscawen (daughter of General George Boscawen, and niece of Admiral Boscawen), fifty-four years in the service of Queen Charlotte, 14 Feb. 1831. 14. Margaret, wife of Michael Yates, 17 Aug. 1816; their son Robert Burton, 19 Feb. 1817. 15. John Grundy, 8 Aug. 1699; his wife Martha, 3 Jan. 1716. 16. William Jones, scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, 16 March 1812. 17. William Hunter, M.D., F.R.S., F.S.A., physician, physiologist and anatomist, who lived in Jermyn Street, 30 March 1783. He was appointed physician extraordinary to Queen Charlotte in 1764 and president of the Medical Society in 1781. His museum was acquired by Glasgow University. (fn. 216) 18. Samuel Turner, LL.D. and R.S.S., of the East India service, 2 Jan. 1802. He led an expedition into Tibet, 1783–4, and published an account of his travels. (fn. 216) 19. Henry Nesbitt Brooke (son of Thomas Henry and Ann Brooke), 20 May 1823. 20. Francis Ernest Jackson, A.R.A., 1945. 21. Bartholomew Frere, 29 May 1851. He was the son of John Frere, antiquary, and served in the diplomatic service in Spain and at Constantinople. (fn. 216) 22. Alexander Foxcroft of Nottingham, merchant, 17 Dec. 1774. 23. William Steer of Pall Mall, 3 Dec. 1833. 24. John Jackson, D.D., 1885 (memorial window destroyed in the war of 1939–45, tablet underneath). He was rector of St. James's 1846– 1853, Bishop of Lincoln, 1853–69 and Bishop of London, 1869–85.
North vestibule, floor. 1. George Spencer Watson, R.A., painter, 1869–1934. 2. Robert Anning Bell, R.A., 27 Nov. 1933. 3. Sir Herbert E. P. Hughes-Stanton, R.A., President of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours 1920– 1936, 2 Aug. 1937. 4. Sir James Jebusa Shannon, K.B., R.A., born in New York State, (fn. 216) President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Member of the French Academy, 6 March 1923. 5. Frederick William Pomeroy, R.A., sculptor, 26 May 1924.
North vestibule, walls. 1. Lieutenant-General Hugh Mackay Gordon, Colonel of 16th Foot, Lt.-Governor of Jersey, 12 March 1823. 2. Stephen Peter Rigaud, author, mathematical historian and astronomer. (fn. 216) Professor of Astronomy, University of Oxford, and Radcliffe Observer, 16 March 1839 (erected 1874). 3. John Basil Oldham, M. A., curate of St. James's, 12 April 1871. 4. Matthias Arntz of Düsseldorf, Sept. 1830; his wife Martha (daughter of Joseph Cantwell), 1 Dec. 1838. 5. William Blake, poet and painter, 1757–1827 (modern tablet commemorating baptism). 6. The Hon. Henry Ramsay, July 1808. 7. Colonel Courtenay Chambers, LieutenantColonel of 25th Regiment, The King's Own Borderers, 18 June 1848. 8. Dr. Thomas Sydenham, 1624–89, who lived in Pall Mall and was buried in the south aisle. (fn. 232) He entered Magdalen Hall in 1642 but on the outbreak of the Civil War joined the Parliamentary forces; he returned to Oxford in 1646 and studied medicine. He wrote several medical works and his method of studying diseases, particularly epidemic, 'made an epoch in medical science'. (fn. 216) The inscription on his memorial tablet, which was erected by the Royal College of Physicians in 1810, is flanked on either side by a coloured poppy in relief. 9. Richard Johnson, 1 Jan. 1841. 10. Lady Elizabeth Jane Brickenden (daughter of Richard, sixth Earl of Cavan), 17 Jan. 1830; her husband, the Rev. Richard Brickenden, 22 July 1846. 11. James Whitshed of New Burlington Street, Feb. 1789. 12. Maria, wife of R. L. Townsend, 29 May 1841. 13. Thomas Denman, M.D., 26 Nov. 1815; his wife Elizabeth, 19 Jan. 1833. Thomas Denman, the elder, was surgeon to the Navy 1757–63, and physician-accoucheur to the Middlesex Hospital 1769–83. He published several works on obstetrics. (fn. 216) 14. James Leech Ridgway, 20 Nov. 1862; his wife Martha, 1 Jan. 1849. 15. Alexander Adair of Pall Mall, 17 March 1834; his wife Lydia (daughter of Sir William Thomas, bart.), 8 Oct. 1814. 16. John Swindell, 13 April 1831. 17. Captain Robert Sime, late of 78th Regiment of Foot, 12 Jan. 1840. 18. Robert Brookes, Lieutenant-Colonel of 24th Foot, served in Peninsula, N. America, France and India; killed at Battle of Chillian Wallah, 13 Jan. 1849. 19. Joseph Gawen of Waterloo Place, 1 Oct. 1833; his wife Jane, 14 Jan. 1861. 20. Sophia, wife of Thomas Mason, 10 Dec. 1826; Christiana Margaret, wife of Thomas Mason, 8 Oct. 1846; Samuel Prior Mason, 20 June 1833; Margaret Elizabeth Mason, 4 March 1836; Gilchrist Mason, 1 Sept. 1843; Margaret Mason, 4 March 1846. 21. James Dodsley, bookseller, of Pall Mall, 19 Feb. 1797. (Carved by John Flaxman, junior.) He and his brother Robert edited and published several works from their shop in Pall Mall. (fn. 216) 22. George Buchanan, Captain in Scots Greys, 9 Nov. 1863.
Central vestibule under tower. 1. Willem Van De Velde, the elder, 1610/11–93, and his son Willem Van De Velde, the younger, 1633–1707; after 1673 (sic, D.N.B. gives 1675) they worked in England as painters of sea fights to Charles II and James II. (Erected 1929 by Society for Nautical Research.) 2. Air Vice-Marshal Sir Vyell Vyvyan, K.C.B., D.S.O., 30 Sept. 1935. 3. Sir George Johnson, knight, M.D., F.R.C.P., emeritus professor of clinical medicine and consulting physician to King's College Hospital, physician extraordinary to the Queen, (fn. 216) 3 June 1896. 4. Sir William Bowman, bart., F.R.S., LL.D., physiologist and ophthalmic surgeon, first president of Ophthalmological Society, (fn. 216) 1892. Behind a temporary partition are two tablets not now visible which, according to Mr. J. Lambert, are memorials to Charles Cotton and the Leuchars family, respectively.
South vestibule. 1. Red Cross Motor Ambulance Service, 1914–18 (erected 1919). 2. Hugh Seymour Blane, Captain in 19th Lancers, 1 Nov. 1914. 3. Lieutenant James Virtue McEntire, London Scottish Regiment, 3 Aug. 1915. 4. Arthur's Club, 1914–19. 5. Charles Taverner Miller, 1 Sept. 1830; his son Charles George Miller, 6 June 1824. 6. Charles Jones of Jermyn Street, 4 Jan. 1827; his wife Albertina, 4 June 1830. 7. Thomas Alcock, M.R.C.S.L., surgeon to St. James's Workhouse, 1813–28, (fn. 216) 21 Aug. 1833. 8. Benjamin Stillingfleet, 15 Dec. 1771. He was a botanist and author, grandson of Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester. He introduced the Linnean principle of classification into England and published a book on grasses. (fn. 216) 9. James Baillie (son of Matthew Baillie, M.D., F.R.S., and his wife Sophia), 11 Jan. 1793. 10. John William Hunt, 3 May 1852; his wife Sarah, 9 Sept. 1832. 11. Major William Collins, 20 Jan. 1826. 12. Sir John Macnamara Hayes, bart., M.D., physician extraordinary to the Prince of Wales, (fn. 216) Inspector-General of the Medical Dept. of the Ordnance, 1809; his wife Anne, Jan. 1848. 13. William Warre of Bradford, Somerset, 13 Sept. 1823. 14. Mary Elizabeth, wife of John Brydges of Bath, 27 Nov. 1847. 15. James Abbott, 8 Nov. 1873; his wife Ann, 6 Nov. 1858; their children Thomas William, 24 Dec. 1859, and Anne, 25 Aug. 1860. 16. James Redman, for twenty-six years clerk of the church, 19 Nov. 1899. 17. Edmund Chambers, for thirty years cashier to Messrs. Broadwood and Sons, 23 Sept. 1847; his wife Frances Eleanor, 1 Nov. 1832. 18. John Strongitharm, 7 March 1835; his wife Elizabeth, 7 Dec. 1847. 19. Ann, wife of John Watier, 13 Jan. 1835. 20. John Greenup of Halifax, Yorkshire, 24 Aug. 1818. 21. John Watier of Sloane Street, 21 Sept. 1828. 22. Henry Charles Ramus in the H.E.I.C. service in Bengal, 3 March 1822. 23. Alexander Tulloch, 23 May 1832; his wife Margaret, 5 Oct. 1834. 24. Mrs. Sarah Harrow, 3 Feb. 1819. 25. William Middleton, 29 April 1817. 26. Henry Knyvett, 15 Oct. 1843; his wife Sophia Elizabeth, 10 Oct. 1840. 27. Elizabeth Harriet Macvicar, 1818. 28. Henry E. A. Caulfeild, late Lieutenant and Captain in the 1st Regiment of Guards, 8 Sept. 1808. 29. Margaret Bruce (widow of James Hamilton), 19 Nov. 1818. 30. James Hamilton, 18 Oct. 1814. 31. John Tulloch, 22 May 1839; his wife Jane Ann (formerly Lushington), 22 May 1884; his sister Margaret Tulloch, 28 April 1855; his brother James Tulloch, F.R.S., 22 March 1863. 32. John Bennington, 9 Jan. 1841; his wife Ann, 13 Jan. 1828; their children, Blakey Spencer, 18 Sept. 1807, and Ann, 5 July 1846. 33. Martha, wife of John Harrison, F.R.C.S., 1861. 34. Lewis Waller, actor-manager, 1860–1915. Waller's real name was William Waller Lewis, and he was born in Spain. He was at various times manager of the Haymarket, Lyceum, Imperial and Lyric Theatres. (fn. 216)
South vestibule, outer wall. On the south wall of the southern vestibule, concealed now by a closet which leads off the church room, is a tablet to 'Tom Durfey', 26 Feb. 1723, the poet and dramatist. He wrote comedies, satires, poems and songs, and the music for his Don Quixote was in part composed by the organist of St. James's Church, Ralph Courteville, senior. D'Urfey was very popular with Charles II and James II and published an elegy on the first and a panegyric on the second. He was buried at St. James's at the expense of the Earl of Dorset. (fn. 216)
Gallery, east end, north side. 1. Henry Sidney, Earl of Romney, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, 8 April 1704. He was envoy to The Hague in 1679–81, and took the invitation to ascend the throne to William of Orange, whom he accompanied to England and Ireland. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1689, Secretary of State, 1690–1, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1692, Master-General of the Ordnance, 1693, Lord Justice, 1697, and Groom of the Stole, 1700–2. (fn. 216)
Gallery, north side, east to west. 1. Richard King, 4 Oct. 1693. 2. William Shaw, one of the chief clerks of the Treasury, 20 Jan. 1696/7 ; his wife Grace (daughter of John Masson), 30 Dec. 1726; their children, William, 5 Aug. 1739; Henrietta, 25 Feb. 1746/7; Mary, 6 Aug. 1748; and six other children who died in infancy. 3. Alice Young, 16 July 1765. 4. Maria (daughter of Theophilus Smith, citizen of London), wife of Archibald Hutcheson of the Middle Temple, 5 Jan. 1698.
Gallery, west end, south side. 1. Ludovic Oglethorpe, 1704. 2. Theophilus Oglethorpe, 1701 (sic, D.N.B. gives 1702). He served in Charles II's lifeguards and rose to the rank of brigadier-general and principal equerry to James II; he became M.P. for Haslemere, 1698. (fn. 216)
Gallery, west end, north side. Miles Peter Andrews, M.P. for Bewdley, 18 July 1814. He wrote several plays which were produced at Drury Lane, Haymarket and Covent Garden. (fn. 216)
Gallery, south side, west to east. 1. Elizabeth Courteville (daughter of Major Gilbert Abbot and wife of Raphael Courteville, junior, see page 46), 27 May 1735. 2. Lady Anne de Bey of Batilly (daughter of Rt. Hon. Anthony de Bey, Lord Baron of Batilly, Major-General to Louis XIII and Louis XIV, and of Lady Susanne de Pas), wife of Major-General Sir William Douglas, 20 March 1709. 3. John Combes, citizen and plasterer of London, 17 Sept. 1711; his wife Damaris, 6 April 1707. 4. Elizabeth (wife of Colonel Benjamin Fletcher, Captain-General and Governor of New York, and daughter of Dr. John Hodson, Bishop of Elphin, Ireland), 5 Nov. 1698.
In the tower. 1. Sir John William Lubbock, bart., 22 Oct. 1840. 2. James Macqueen of Duke Street, 1 June 1830. 3. Sarah, widow of James Macqueen, 17 Oct. 1837. 4. Mary, wife of Rev. Francis Pigou, 6 Aug. 1867, and their infant son Francis William Henry. 5. The Very Rev. Gerrard Andrewes, Dean of Canterbury, rector of St. James's 1802–25, 2 June 1825; his wife Elizabeth Maria, 30 Dec. 1816; Miss Frances Andrewes, 19 Jan. 1823. 6. John Orton Harrison (a portrait bust, W. Behnes, sculptor), 16 June 1833. 7. Charles Samuel Miller, 22 June 1888. 8. Peter Frederick, 24 June 1858; Charlotte, 5 Jan. 1845; and Sally Maria, 22 June 1852, children of George and Charlotte (née Gibson) Robinson. 9. Newton Chambers, 'Ct.-Lt.', 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton with whom he fell at Waterloo, 18 June 1815.
Exterior, east face of church room. 1. Anne Twamley, 28 May 1832; her daughter Eliza Townley Twamley, 28 May 1832; her grandson Charles Richard Napoleon (son of Nicola and Mary Fienco), 28 May 1832; and her daughter Catherine Twamley, 17 Nov. 1861.
The grant from the Crown to Thomas, Lord Jermyn, in 1684 included the freehold of two pieces of land adjoining the church site. (fn. 36) One piece, roughly equal in extent to the site of the church, lay to the west, fronting Jermyn Street. It became known as the 'green' churchyard (fn. 233) and originally gave access to the west door and outside gallery stairs by means of gates in its east and south walls. (fn. 234)
The other piece of land lay on the north side of the church, but was separated from Piccadilly for many years by a row of buildings. These included the rectory, two houses on property not belonging to the parish, the watch house and houses and stables belonging to the rector as part of his endowment. Between the watch house and the rector's property stood the gates which gave access to the north entrance of the church (fig. 2).
The churchyard was first lit by patent lights in the winter of 1688–9. In November 1688 the churchwardens were asked to install 'such a Light or Lights as are used in Jermine Streete' on the south side of the church 'to light along the Church yard Wall there and front of the Church'. (fn. 235) The wardens entered into an agreement with Edmund Heming and John Bulteel, representatives of 'the Copartnership of the New Invention of Lights' for two 'great lamps' to be put up on the north and south side of the church. (fn. 236) The initial fine was £9 for installation and the rent for a five-year period was fixed at £4 per annum, the wardens being responsible for the provision of oil and for lighting the lamps. (fn. 237)
Other improvements were considered in 1704. A Dr. Wrathbone offered to plant three rows of lime trees in the 'outer' churchyard and this was considered along with a proposal to remove the partition wall between the two yards. (fn. 238) Neither of these suggestions appears to have been carried out but later in the year the vestry ordered that, 'for the Gentrys greater conveniency in taking Coach', the great gates leading into the churchyard from Jermyn Street should be removed and a larger pair placed in the middle of the wall. (fn. 239)
In 1747 an Act of Parliament was passed permitting a piece of land which was part of the rector's endowment to be taken into the northern churchyard (D on fig. 2); compensation to the rectors was fixed at £27 per annum. (fn. 240) The site was cleared in 1748 and consecrated in 1749. (fn. 241) On this part of the churchyard the first vestry hall was built in 1814, to be succeeded by the second hall and the Midland Bank (No. 196 Piccadilly). In 1762 another Act was passed to enlarge the churchyard. (fn. 242) The land on which the two houses between the rectory and the watch house stood was let to the parish by the Crown in 1738 to provide for the parish poor. (fn. 243) The Act of 1762 empowered the parish to incorporate this site into the churchyard (F on fig. 2). The two houses were pulled down in the following year and the ground was consecrated in 1764. (fn. 244)
References in the vestry minutes suggest that from the middle of the eighteenth century, at least, the northern churchyard had been paved, burials being made in vaults underneath the paving. (fn. 245)
After the war of 1939–45 Viscount Southwood provided money for the 'green' churchyard to be made into a garden of remembrance 'to commemorate the courage and fortitude of the people of London'. (fn. 246) The garden was opened in 1946 by Queen Mary, and contains a memorial, designed by Alfred F. Hardiman, to Viscount Southwood (1873–1946) and his wife (1865– 1951) (Plate 19b); there is a statue of 'Peace', also designed by Hardiman, standing in the garden.
The north side of the churchyard was originally bounded by a brick wall, broken by a gateway immediately opposite the tower, presumably with wooden gates hung on the impressive nichefronted and urn-crowned piers shown in the Hulsbergh engraving. Later representations show plain piers and a wall topped with an iron chevaux-defrise. It was, presumably, about 1862 that the wall was rebuilt in a style matching that of the vestry hall, with a panelled and pilastered face and an elaborate archway of brick and stone, framing the entrance gates (Plate 11c). In 1937, to commemorate the coronation of George VI, this archway was demolished and replaced by a pair of crested gates of wrought iron, hung on urncrowned piers of brick, flanked by small gates set in brick surrounds, the whole designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield. (fn. 247) These gates, the work of Bainbridge Reynolds, were taken down and stored before the wall was wrecked in 1940, and they have now been incorporated, with the cresting altered to form an overthrow, in the new iron railing which extends between the rectory and the remaining part of the old brick wall (Plate 18b).
The gates and railings on the south side of the church appear to date from about 1800. They are of good design, though simple, with vase-headed standards and trellised panels that originally terminated in lamp-holders (Plates 11a, 19a).
The present rectory is the third to stand on the site in the north-east corner of the churchyard (G on fig. 2). The first was begun in 1685 and finished in 1686. (fn. 248) The workmen known to have been employed on its construction were Anthony Hart, bricklayer, Jonathan Wilcox, carpenter, Henry Lobb, joiner, and John Cock, plumber. (fn. 249)
In 1739 a passage and doorway were made on the ground floor to enable the rector to pass into the vestry which adjoined it. (fn. 250) The house survived until 1846 when it was demolished (fn. 251) and a new rectory was built on its site in 1846–7 from the designs of John Henry Hakewill. (fn. 252) Hakewill's building was destroyed in the war of 1939– 1945 and the new rectory, designed by Austin Blomfield, was built in 1955–7. (fn. 253) The building has a church hall at basement level and incorporates a vestry room.
The original rectory is shown by Tallis (Plate 18a), and a part of it appears in a view of the church published in 1837. (fn. 254) Both sources combine to suggest that it was a fairly typical late seventeenthcentury house of three storeys, built of brick with long-and-short quoins and bandcourses of stone, and a tiled roof sloping down to a wooden eavescornice. The Piccadilly front had four straightheaded windows in each upper storey and the pedimented doorway was placed on the left. J. H. Hakewill's building of 1846 preserved the general lines of the former house, but the windows had segmental arches, the quoins were all of equal length, and the crowning cornice was of stone. At some time, perhaps around 1900, Hakewill's three-storeyed building was heightened by an additional storey, designed with a scrupulous regard for the original work.
The new rectory, also a three-storeyed building, is built of red and fawn-coloured bricks with stone dressings. The elevations, neo-Georgian in style and somewhat eclectic in detail, are more elaborate than those of the former buildings. The entrance front faces west to overlook the paved churchyard, and is a composition of three bays. The doorway, in the middle bay, has a handsome doorcase of stone with a broken segmental pediment, and is reached by a double flight of curved steps (Plate 18b).
The Vestry Room
The first vestry room stood on the north side of the church, at the east end, and was erected at the same time as the body of the church (H on fig. 2). When the churchyard was consecrated in July 1684 a narrow strip of land on the west side of the room was left unconsecrated for its enlargement. (fn. 22) The vestry found the room inconvenient because its only access was through the church, so to prevent the 'indecency of Passing through the Church to the Vestry . . . in time of Prayers' a new doorway was opened into the churchyard in 1687. (fn. 255) A year later the vestry considered plans to enlarge the room prepared by Mr. Clisbee and Mr. Haines, (fn. 256) but these were thought 'yett too little' and in 1690 it was decided to pull down the watch houses which then stood on the east side of the vestry, to enlarge the site. (fn. 257)
John Haines (Heynes), carpenter and former churchwarden, (fn. 29) designed the new vestry room (fn. 257) and the workmen employed to build it were Newington, bricklayer, Larham, carpenter, Winc(k)les, smith, Allen, paviour, Price and Davis, painters, Combs, plasterer, Franclin, glazier, Rudsby, plumber, Ryley, ironmonger, and Lobb, joiner; (fn. 258) their Christian names are not given. The workmen's bills amounted to £324 3s. 3¼d., (fn. 258) which was thought excessive, and they were referred to Sir Christopher Wren. (fn. 259) Robert Newington, the bricklayer, died in 1693 with £7 still owing to him so his burial expenses were set against his bill. (fn. 87)
Lord Ossulston gave £60 towards the cost of the new building (fn. 258) and his coat of arms was erected in the vestry to commemorate his gift. (fn. 87) The new vestry room had a plain plastered ceiling and cornice, with a two-light window in the east wall, and was wainscoted. (fn. 260) It became the custom for departing rectors, or for their relatives, to present the vestry with their portraits and these were hung on the vestry walls. (fn. 19) The cellar beneath the room, through which the City water pipes ran, (fn. 260) was let to a Mr. Smith. The vestry admitted, on his appeal in 1697, that it was 'not fitt to lay his Wine in'. (fn. 261) The vestry room survived until 1940 when it was destroyed by the bomb which fell in the churchyard. A new vestry room is incorporated in the rectory building designed by Austin Blomfield (fn. 253) and erected in 1955–7.
The Watch House
Shortly after the constitution of the parish in 1685, a room was hired in the house of John Dissell in Portugal Street (now Piccadilly) for the use of the watch. (fn. 262) Better provision was made at the end of 1687 when carpenters and smiths were employed to erect round-houses (for the detention of prisoners) and at the beginning of 1688 when (Edward) Wilcox, the carpenter, and Hobson, the bricklayer (see page 32), were employed to put up watch houses. (fn. 263) These stood in the churchyard and were demolished in 1690 to make room for the new vestry. (fn. 257)
In May 1692 the vestrymen considered a 'draft' of a watch house and (Edward) Wilcox was asked to prepare estimates. (fn. 264) Some vestrymen wanted it to be in St. James's Square but it was eventually built on the east side of the churchyard gates fronting Piccadilly (E on fig. 2). (fn. 265) It was finished by August, when the vestry agreed to a churchwarden's suggestion that 'at the Delivery of the Watchouse to the Constables on Saturday night next he might give them a peece or two of Beefe and some drinke for the said Constables and Common Watch'. (fn. 266)
By the 1760's the building was found 'too scanty of room' and its situation 'very improper and inconvenient'. (fn. 267) Matthew Fairless, carpenter, prepared a plan to enlarge the watch house in 1763, (fn. 268) but this was apparently laid aside. A few years later, however, he purchased and sold to the parish a house in Little Vine Street for use as a new watch house. (fn. 269) The history of this building will be described in a later volume.
The old watch house was pulled down by Samuel Ludbey, bricklayer, in 1768 and vaults were built on its site. (fn. 270)
Boys' Charity or Offertory School
In 1704 a school-room was built over the watch house for the education of poor boys, and a pew in the north gallery of the church was allocated to their use. (fn. 271) This is the earliest known reference to a place for teaching the boys, but the charity may have begun earlier, for the churchwardens' accounts record a payment in 1686 to a Mr. Many 'for Schooling 14 Boys and washing the Surplesses . . . and . . . for looking to the Vestry'. (fn. 272)
The school was maintained out of the offertory money, hence its usual appellation of the 'Offertory' school in the vestry minutes. According to Hatton (1708) there were then 50 boys at the school 'who have Cloaths and Learning at the Charge of well-disposed Subscribers'. (fn. 273) Another source (1732) adds that the boys were 'put Apprentices when capable, and 40s. given with each of them; sometimes more, according to the Genius of the Boys, and the Interest that can be made for them'. (fn. 274)
The plan to alter the watch house in 1763 included the pulling down of the school-room (fn. 268) but as this plan was not carried out the boys presumably remained there until 1767 or 1768, when room was made for them in the new watch house in Little Vine Street. (fn. 275) The school never returned to the southern part of the parish and its subsequent history will be described in a later volume.
The Engine House
In 1690 the parish was provided with two fire engines by Sir Joseph Williamson (fn. 258) but the first mention of the building of an engine house occurs in 1698. (fn. 276) In 1743 the vestry ordered that the engine house in the 'green' churchyard should be pulled down and a new one erected against the east wall of the church. (fn. 277) It was rebuilt on the same site in 1789. (fn. 278)
The Vestry Hall
In 1812 the vestry decided to erect a new building to accommodate the numerous parochial boards dealing with secular business. The site chosen fronted Piccadilly and had been part of the churchyard since 1749. Thomas Hardwick, the parish surveyor, designed the new building with burial vaults underneath. The hall was finished by 1814, and John Smith, carpenter, J. W. Burt, bricklayer, Henry Ashton, mason, and Henry Watkins, plasterer, were the principal contractors. The workmen's and surveyor's bills amounted to £2434 13s. 7d. (fn. 279) The building was described later as 'a squat, dingy, brick building—in appearance that of a stable or a coach-house'. (fn. 280)
Tallis (Plate 18a) shows Thomas Hardwick's vestry hall as a building of one lofty storey, the Piccadilly front having five evenly spaced roundarched windows, a plain parapet above a simple cornice, and a pitched roof of slates.
The Acts of Parliament which gave rise to an enormous increase in parish business during the nineteenth century resulted here, as elsewhere in the metropolis, in a need for larger office accommodation. The old vestry hall was, therefore, demolished in 1861 to make way for an 'extensive and handsome' new hall (fn. 280) which was completed in 1862. The general plans were by A. Howell, the parish surveyor, but the principal elevation was based on a design by E. Pearce, selected by competition from thirty-nine entries. Care was taken 'to set up an edifice that shall be worthy the important site it will occupy, and creditable to the high standing of the parish'. The building cost about £6000 and the builders were Messrs. George Mansfield and Son. (fn. 281)
Pearce's vestry hall (Plate 11c) appears to have been a spirited, slightly pompous Victorian Renaissance building. Three storeys high and built of red brick elaborately dressed with stone, the Piccadilly front was five bays wide and the east side three. The ground storey was quite simply treated, except for the triangular-pedimented doorcase and the rustic quoins. The principal storey was dressed with two orders, the main order being Doric with pilasters at the angles and columns flanking the middle bay, which was surmounted by a segmental pediment. The secondary order was Ionic and its columns flanked the five windows, the entablature serving as an impost for the arched lunette-heads. The attic storey was plain but for the segmentalheaded middle bay, flanked by ball terminals and surmounted by a chimney-stack. In the east elevation the bays were divided by pilasters in each storey.
After the constitution of the Metropolitan Borough Councils in 1899, the Westminster City Council took over the hall for departmental offices. (fn. 282) Part of the premises were let to Messrs. Goddard and Smith, auctioneers, in 1907, (fn. 283) but in 1922 an agreement was entered into with the London Joint City and Midland Bank Company for a lease of the site (fn. 284) and Messrs. Goddard and Smith and the City Council left the premises. (fn. 282) The parish's user rights were extinguished by a compensatory payment of £5000 and the hall was demolished in 1922–3. (fn. 285) The human remains in the vaults underneath the vestry hall were removed by the London Necropolis Company and a record made of the legible inscriptions on the coffins. (fn. 286) The present building on the site is No. 196 Piccadilly (see page 259).
The Church Room
The church room was erected in 1899. It faces Jermyn Street and stands between the 'green' churchyard and the south vestibule of the church (I on fig. 2). The architects were Messrs. J. T. Wimperis and Arber, and the contractors Messrs. H. and E. Lea. (fn. 287) During the restoration of the church a new flat was erected over the room by Messrs. A. E. Richardson and E. A. S. Houfe. (fn. 288)
As originally designed, the church room was a single-storeyed building of oblong plan, having a narrow front to Jermyn Street. The walls were faced with yellow stocks, fine red bricks being used for the quoins and window dressings. The Jermyn Street front contains a group of three flat-arched windows, originally furnished with small-paned sashes, and the eaves-cornice was returned to form an open pediment ending the roof. The added storey is low and entirely faced with yellow stocks. The pediment finish has been repeated, but with the bed-mouldings and corona of the wooden cornice carried across the brickwork, framing the tympanum which contains a small circular louvred opening.