Book 2, Ch. 28: Vintry Ward

Pages 672-673

A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by R Baldwin, London, 1773.

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Vintry ward.


This ward is denominated from the Vintry, situated where Vintners hall now stands, and where the antient Vintners or wine merchants, who lived on the banks of the Thames, landed their wines. It is bounded on the east by Wallbrook and Dowgate wards; on the north by Cordwainers ward; on the west by Queenhithe ward; and on the south by the Thames. The principal streets are, part of Thames street, from Little Elbow-lane in the east, to Towns end lane in the west; a part of Queen-street, Great St. Thomas Apostles, Garlick-hill, Great and Little Elbow-lane, &c. which compose nine precincts.

Three Cranes.

At the bottom of New Queen-street, the lower part of which only is in this ward, is the flight of steps or common landing place called the Three Cranes; not, as Stow observes, from a tavern sign, but from three strong cranes of timber on the Vintry wharf, used to crane up the wine casks out of the vessels in the river. At these stairs the lord-mayor goes on board the city barge on the day when he is sworn into his office before the barons of the Exchequer.

Vintners hall.

On the south side of Thames-street, between New Queen-street and Anchorlane, is Vintners-hall, which stands on the ground once occupied by the house of Sir John Stodie mayor of London in 1357, and called the place of Stodie, or, the manor of the Vintry. The present building encloses a square court, with a large handsome pair of iron gates in the front next the street, hung upon columns wreathed with grapes and leaves, and having a Bacchus upon three tuns on each pillar. Behind the hall is a garden, with a passage to the Thames.

Cutlers hall.

In Cloak-lane, Dowgate-hill, stands Cutlers-hall, a convenient neat building for the purposes of the company to which it belongs.

St. Michael's Royal.

On the east side of College-hill stands the parish church of St. Michael's Royal, so called from its neighbourhood to the Tower Royal, a large fortified castle or tower belonging to the kings of England, formerly at the upper end of the street which still bears the name. This was a parish church before the year 1285, when it was under the patronage of the prior and canons of Canterbury, in whom it continued till it was converted into a college by Sir Richard Whittington, mercer, four times lord-mayor, who rebuilt the church: but even then the monks of Canterbury so far continued its patrons, as to present a person nominated by the master and wardens of the Mercers company. It is now one of the peculiars of the see of Canterbury, and the church having been consumed in the great fire of London, the parish of St. Martin Vintry was united to it when it was rebuilt; the patronage of which is in the gift of the bishop of Worcester.

This structure is a plain, decent, and substantial stone building, enlightened by a single series of large arched windows, placed so high that the doors open under them. The tower consists of three stages, and at the top is surrounded with carved open work instead of a balustrade: from hence rises a light and elegant turret adorned with Ionic columns, which, ending in a fine diminution, supports the vane.

James Garlik hill

On the east side of Garlick-hill stands the parish church of St. James Garlickhill or hithe; so called from its dedication to St. James one of the apostles, and its vicinity to a garlic market anciently held in the neighbourhood. The patronage of this rectory appears to have been in the abbot and convent of Westminster, till the suppression of their monastery; when coming to the crown, queen Mary, in the year 1553, granted it to the bishop of London and his successors, in whom it still continues.

The old church being destroyed by the fire of London, the present edifice was finished in 1682. It is built of stone, 75 feet long, 45 feet broad, 40 feet high to the roof, and the steeple 98 feet. The tower is divided into three stages, in the lowest is a very elegant door, with coupled columns of the Corinthian order. In the second is a large window, with the form of a circular one not opened over it. In the third story is a window larger than the former; and the cornice above this supports a range of open work in the place of battlements, or balustrade. From hence rises the turret, which is composed of four stages, and decorated with columns, scrolls, and other ornaments.