Dowgate Ward

Pages 100-104

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, Volume 4, the City. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1929.

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In this section


Dowgate Ward consists of the parishes of All Hallows the Great and All Hallows the Less and parts of the parishes of St. Lawrence Pountney, St. Mary Bothaw and St. Michael Paternoster Royal. The principal monuments are the Skinners' Hall, the Tallow-Chandlers' Hall and the Innholders' Hall.


(1) Parish Church of All Hallows the Great, on the E. side of All Hallows Lane, was pulled down in 1894, but a modern tower, added on the S. side of the church in 1876, contains some re-used late 17th-century stonework from the old tower, etc., including three round-headed windows with moulded and eared architraves, two having cherub-head keystones and the other a plain key-block; below the window in the W. wall is a round-headed doorway with a cherub-head keystone.

Fittings—Bells: In upper part of vestry-hall —two, 2nd by John Hodson, 1670. Monuments: In churchyard—(1) to Thomas Bromley, 1681, Catherine, his wife, 1688–9, Thomas, 1668, and Hannah, 1661, his children, three infant children and an infant grandchild, headstone; (2) to . . . 167(3?) and 168(5?); (3) to Jacob Jacobsen, late 17th-century, floor-slab, formerly in the church, with shield-of-arms. Panelling: refixed in modern vestry-hall—with cupboard and two carved cartouches, late 17th-century. Other fittings from the church are now preserved in the churches of St. Michael Paternoster Royal, St. Margaret Lothbury, St. Paul Hammersmith, All Hallows Gospel Oak, and in the chapel of Adam's Brewery, Halstead, Essex.

(2) All Hallows the Less Churchyard, on the S. side of Upper Thames Street, contains the following—

Fittings—Monuments: (1) to Thomas Pratt, 1712, and Anne his wife, headstone with skull and cross-bones; (2) to . . . Mitford, late 17th or early 18th-century altar-tomb, with two shields-of-arms; also other tombs possibly of the same period but inscriptions defaced.


(3) Skinners' Hall, on the N. side of College Street, is entered by a corridor from Dowgate Hill. The hall is of one storey and the rest of the building of two with a basement; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. The building was erected about 1670 but has been subsequently much altered. The front to Dowgate Hill, formerly the Clerk's House, was re-built about 1778–9 and the hall was re-arranged internally in the 19th century. The hall stands N. and S. with a small courtyard on the E. and the Committee Room and staircase on the W., with the Court Room beyond the staircase. The E. elevation of the Hall (Plate 153) towards the Courtyard is faced with red and black bricks laid chequerwise; two large windows in this wall were blocked in 1848; two others have later frames; all have segmental arches of rubbed brick. At the N. end of the Hall, but in the centre of the W. side of the courtyard, is the principal doorway leading behind the former 'screens.' It has an arched head with carved spandrels and a projecting hood carried on carved brackets and surmounted by a curved pediment, the whole being enriched with carving. The Court Room and S. wing to the W. of the Hall are faced with reddish brick, but the walls have been finished with modern parapets. Two old rainwater-pipes and heads remain on the S. side of the Court Room.

The Hall (66½ ft. by 28¼ ft.) has been much altered and, indeed, almost re-built. It is seven bays long; the roof and panelling are all modern. The Court Room (38¾ ft. by 23¾ ft.) is to the W. of, and at right angles to, the Hall, from which it is separated by the main staircase. It is lighted by four square-headed windows in the S. wall. Records exist to show that the panelling and window-linings were ordered in 1737, and it is probable that the carved doorways, fireplace, overmantel and cornice are all of the same period. The ceiling is modern. The Main Staircase (Plate 154) stands between the Court Room and the Hall. The walls are covered with plaster-panelling of 1737 and finished with an enriched cornice, and the coved ceiling is of the same date. The doors leading off it have good pedimented over-doors and enriched architraves. The staircase has a broad well. The turned and carved balusters and the heavy rail are repeated against the wall to form a dado. The deep string is carved with acanthus-ornament and the large square newels have carved drops. The Committee Room has a late 17th-century fireplace with an overmantel carved with pendants of fruit and flowers. The walls are panelled to the ceiling. The Cedar Room is over the Court Room. It is much modernised, and the ceiling inserted in 1876 replaced one of 1772. The woodwork is executed in cedar and dates from 1670. The door from the staircase has a pedimented over-door carried on brackets, a feature repeated at the other end of the same wall and in the corresponding panels at the W. end of the room. The fireplace (Plate 155) has an entablature carved with foliage, scroll-work and an overmantel with a panel in a carved frame enclosing a modern achievement-of-arms all within a larger panel, the head of which is stepped up to meet the cornice. The walls are wainscoted and finished with an entablature, the cornice having carved modillions. The Oak Parlour was until 1889 cut up into rooms but has now been opened out. The flat plaster ceiling is modern. The fireplace has an overmantel with carved swags and festoons and a panel with a carved frame in the middle. The walls are wainscoted to the ceiling and capped with an entablature; some of the panelling is modern.


(4) Tallow-Chandlers' Hall (parish of St. John the Baptist on Walbrook), No. 4 Dowgate Hill, stands on the W. side of that thoroughfare, and is of three storeys with attics. The walls are of brick with stone dressings and the roofs are covered with tiles (over the Hall) and slates. The building was erected in 1671–72 on the site of the earlier hall destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. It was extensively altered in 1881, when the building between the courtyard and Dowgate Hill was re-built and the N. wall of the premises reconstructed; other modern alterations include the addition of a small wing on the N.W. and the renewal of the great staircase.

The building is of interest as retaining the original arrangements of the Court-room; the ceiling and fittings of the Reception Room are also noteworthy.

The building forms four sides of a small courtyard and is approached by a short modern corridor on the E. from Dowgate Hill. The main structure on the W. side of the courtyard contains the kitchens on the ground-floor with the Livery Hall over them. On the N. side of the courtyard is a block containing the Beadle's House on the ground-floor and the Reception and Court Rooms on the two floors above it. The Great Staircase is at the N. end of the Hall. The small corresponding wing on the S. of the Courtyard has been reduced by one bay in modern times.

The original walls round the three original sides of the courtyard are of red brick finished with a deep wooden eaves-cornice, with carved modillions. An open loggia formerly ran round at the ground-floor level, but the arches at the N. and S. ends have now been filled in.

Courtyard Elevations. The W. Elevation of the block containing the Hall retains the open loggia of five bays; the piers are rectangular and rusticated with an engaged Doric column on the outer face; the elliptical arches are moulded, and beneath them are square-headed, rusticated sub-arches, the tympana being filled with carved foliage and two shields of the City arms and one shield of the arms of the Company, alternating with large shells; over the arches runs a moulded cornice and above it are two ranges of windows lighting the hall, the lower windows are square-headed with eared architraves; the middle window has also a cornice and a broken pediment resting on consoles and a female bust probably of early 18th-century date. The upper windows are round with moulded architraves. The N. elevation of the Courtyard is that of the Court Room block. The arches of the loggia have been filled in; the tympana bear the date 1672 and two shells, all apparently modern. The windows lighting the Reception Room on the first floor are square-headed, the middle window of three lights has a broken pediment. The windows of the Court Room on the second floor are also square-headed. The S. Elevation of the courtyard is uniform with the N. Elevation except that the easternmost bay has been removed.

The W. Elevation of the Hall-block is rendered in cement except for a portion of the ground-floor. Projecting, near the S. end, at the Hall-level, is a semi-octagonal oriel window, finished with a coved cornice. The frames are modern and the projection is not carried down to the ground. A late 17th-century lead rainwater-head remains near the N. end.

The remaining sides of the building are built against, except the N. Elevation of the modern N.W. wing. Above the doorway is refixed a large late 17th-century oak hood. It is of semi-circular form, with enriched mouldings and an elaborately carved cartouche of the arms of the Company under it, and rests on carved trusses.

Interior:—The Great Staircase is modern but retains some late 17th-century twisted balusters at the top. It is approached by a doorway in the loggia with an oak frame, mostly original, with an eared and enriched architrave and enriched cornice; it is flanked by carved scrolls and swags. The Livery Hall (54½ ft. by 26½ ft. average) has a flat plaster ceiling, somewhat restored, and having a small cove at the sides; it is cut up into numerous panels, including three large oval panels in the centre, with modelled foliage-borders and twelve smaller panels with conventional foliage and the arms of the City and Company. The walls are panelled to two-thirds of the height and finished with a carved frieze and moulded cornice. In the middle of the S. end is a round-headed panel, behind the Master's chair, flanked by attached half-pilasters terminating in scrolls at the foot and with Ionic caps supporting scrollbrackets with a cornice and segmental pediment above, surmounted by a carved achievement of the royal (Stuart) arms. The screen at the N. end is in fact a facing to a solid cross-wall, shutting off the staircase. It is of three bays, with a large round-headed archway in the centre with moulded imposts, key and carved spandrels, flanked by engaged and fluted Corinthian columns supporting a continuous entablature and a broken segmental pediment containing a modern achievement of the arms of the Company; the side bays have carved swags at the heads and are flanked by Corinthian pilasters; above the entablature is a panelled attic. Refixed above the doorway on the side towards the staircase is a carved and painted cartouche of the arms of the Company; it was probably originally within the broken pediment on the Hall side of the screen now occupied by the modern achievement. The Reception Room (Plate 156) has a rich plaster ceiling with a large oval panel in the centre having a border of flowers and foliage and ten smaller panels round it, all enriched. The doorway from the staircase on the outside has a moulded and eared architrave terminating at the base in carved scrolls and surmounted by a pulvinated frieze, moulded cornice and broken pediment containing a cartouche of the arms of the Company with carved festoons at the sides; on the inside it has moulded architraves flanked by attached half-pilasters with Ionic caps and scroll-terminations at the base and supporting scroll-brackets with a moulded cornice and broken pediment, with a carved cartouche of the Sheldon arms, with festoons of fruit and flowers at the sides; the same features are repeated on a sham doorway at the E. end of the room. The doors are of two folds and six bolection-moulded panels. The fireplace in the N. wall has a carved bay-leaf architrave round the opening, an acanthusfrieze and moulded cornice; the panelled overmantel has attached a large carved cartouche of the royal (Stuart) arms, with festoons of foliage. The walls are panelled to the ceiling (the gift of Sir Joseph Sheldon, 1675) in two heights with moulded skirting, dado-rail and entablature with a carved frieze of bay-leaves.

Tallow Chandlers Hall

The Court Room (Plate 157) has a modern ceiling and a doorway at the W. end with a moulded architrave, frieze and cornice surmounted by a festooned cartouche of the City arms; the doors are of eight bolection-moulded panels and in two folds and on the staircase-side have moulded architraves, pulvinated frieze and moulded cornice. The fireplace on the N. has a moulded architrave and a cornice and a bolection-moulded panel over surmounted by a cartouche of the royal (Stuart) arms with floral festoons at the sides. The walls are panelled to the ceiling in two heights with bolection-moulded panelling with moulded skirting, dado-rail and entablature. The master's seat at the E. end is flanked by small panelled pilasters supporting carved console-brackets and a moulded cornice surmounted by a carved cartouche of the arms of the Company with floral festoons at the sides. Running across the room W. of the fireplace is a panelled bar or barrier, breast high, and against it, and round the side walls E. of it, are benches raised in stages to form three chairs in the middle of the E. end with moulded and scrolled arms, which are repeated on the bench to the S. of the raised chairs, at the W. ends of the six benches and on each side of the entrance through the barrier. At the W. end of the Court Room is an Elizabethan table with four carved bulbous legs, plain bottom rail, carved top rail and later top with large marble slab in the middle.


(5) Dyers' Hall (Parish of St. John the Baptist) stands on the W. side of Dowgate Hill and is a modern building. It contains, in the hall, an achievement-of-arms of the Company in stained glass, the arms themselves modern, the rest late 17th-century.

(6) Innholders' Hall (Parish of St. Michael Paternoster Royal) stands on the S. side of College Street at the E. corner of Little College Street and is of three storeys with a basement. The walls are of brick. The hall was re-built after the Great Fire and finished in 1670. That portion of the building fronting on to College Street has been re-built in modern times, the Hall and Old Court Room being now the only original portion.

The buildings form an irregular rectangle on plan with the hall on the S. side. To the N. of it, the staircase, vestibule and old Court Room occupy the ground-floor of the modern building.

The N. Elevation to College Street contains the entrance (Plate 158) which is partly original work refixed; the modern brick archway enclosed a square-headed doorway with a carved and eared architrave surmounted by a broken scrolled pediment; above the archway is a carved achievement-of-arms of the Company with a moulded wooden head; the wicket is modern. On this front is a lead rainwater-head dated 1684. The W. Elevation of the Hall fronting on to Little College Street is in red brick and is finished with a low segmental pediment, surmounted by an attic with a square window. Below the pediment is a square-headed window of three round-headed lights divided by Doric pilasters carrying a frieze; at the N. end is a lead rainwater-head dated 1684. The E. Elevation of the Hall contains a large three-light window, the centre light having an arched head. On the N. wall of the hall are two original rain-water heads of lead bearing the arms of the Company.

Interior:—The Hall (49 ft. by 23½ ft. average) has a modern ceiling cut up into bays by moulded trabeations. The fireplace has a moulded marble architrave with a deal entablature, having a pulvinated frieze and dentilled cornice, above it, resting on carved consoles; above the cornice is a concave-moulded shelf and in the centre is a carved cartouche of the Company's arms. The walls are panelled to the ceiling, there being three panels in the height; some of the panels are modern. At the W. end of the Hall is a carved figure of St. Julian, the patron of the Company. Across the N.E. corner is a partition with a refixed gallery over it, having a moulded rail, turned balusters, and a rounded projection in the middle. The Old Court Room (Plate 160) has an original ceiling refixed with an oval panel in the middle, in a frame of fruit and flowers in high relief; in the spandrels are scrolled shields with the arms of the City, the Company, the royal Stuart arms and the date 1670. The fireplace, also original, has a moulded and enriched architrave with a rectangular panel flanked by scrolls and festoons in the frieze and above it a cornice resting on carved consoles. The walls are panelled to the ceiling. In a window of the modern staircase are glass shields with the arms of John Knott, 1670, and Richard Pennar, 1678. In the modern Lavatory is a panelled lead cistern bearing the arms of the Company and the date 1685. The Kitchen, under the Hall, retains some original oak ceiling-beams.


(7) Houses, Nos. 1 and 2 on the W. side of Lawrence Pountney Hill, 35 yards S. of Cannon Street, are of four storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of brick. They were built in 1703, but both, particularly No. 2, have been much altered internally. The E. front has moulded brick bands between the storeys and a projecting wing at the N. end. The front is finished with an enriched wood cornice with scrolled brackets and recessed above the window-openings. The windows, where original, have flush frames and square heads of rubbed brick; there are two dormer-windows with cornices and pediments. The twin doorways (Plate 159) of the two houses have enriched architraves, carved cornices and "shell"-hoods supported on carved and scrolled brackets; the hoods have carved cartouches, one with the date 1703. a cherub-head and swags and the other with amorini. The back elevation is generally similar to the front but with plain bands between the storeys. Inside No. 1 is an original staircase (Plate 40) with twisted balusters and newels, cut strings with shaped brackets and moulded handrails. On the ground and first floors are archways into the wing, with panelled pilasters and an elliptical arch with a carved key-block. The staircase-walls are panelled and some of the rooms have original bolection-moulded panelling and fireplace-surrounds. A fireplace on the second floor has an overmantel with a large panel flanked by panelled pilasters supporting an enriched cornice. In the attic is a fireplace with panelled surround and overmantel finished with a cornice. The staircase above the second floor has turned balusters and straight moulded strings.


(8) House, No. 7a Lawrence Pountney Hill, 50 yards S.E. of (7), is of three storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are covered with slates. It was built probably late in the 17th century, but has been much altered in 18th-century and modern times. The N. front has brick bands between the storeys, and the windows, where original, have square heads of rubbed brick.