Walbrook Ward

Pages 193-198

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


Walbrook Ward consists of the parish of St. Swithin London Stone and parts of the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. Lawrence Pountney, St. Mary Abchurch, St. Mary Bothaw, St. Mary Woolchurch, St. Mary Woolnoth and St. Stephen Walbrook. The principal monuments are the parish churches of St. Stephen Walbrook and St. Swithin London Stone.


(1) Parish Church of St. Stephen Walbrook stands on the E. side of Walbrook at the S. corner of Church Row. It is a Renaissance church with a domed roof and W. tower. The walls of the main building are rendered in cement, and those of the tower are of coursed ragstone; all the dressings are of Portland stone and the roofs and dome are covered with lead. The former church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, and the present church erected in 1672–87 from the design of Sir Christopher Wren at the cost of £7,652 13s. 8d. It has been restored in modern times.

Church of St Stephen Walbrook.

The church presents the finest of Wren's parishchurch interiors, and the dome is considered one of his best works.

Architectural Description—The church is rectangular (82½ ft. by 60 ft.) with a centre and crossaisle forming a Latin cross and having an open square at the intersection covered by a dome. The rest of the building forms an inner and outer side aisle on each side. At the W. end is a vestry with the tower beyond it and a long staircasevestibule in the centre of the W. front opening into a W. apse.

East Elevation. The middle bay rises above the sides and has a large round-headed E. window with eared architrave. It is cut up into three-lights with a transom at the spring of the arch and a round head to the centre light above it. The middle bay is finished with a cornice continued round the clearstorey and is supported on either side by carved scrolls standing on pedestals. The inner side bays have each a round-headed window in the E. wall with moulded architrave and cherub-head keystone; the outer side bays have each a plain round window, and below that on the N. is a square-headed doorway. The side bays are finished with a cornice resting on moulded blocks. The clearstorey follows the arms of the cross with a projecting bay forming the angles of the central square. Each bay except the sides of the transepts has a plain segmental-headed window.

North Elevation. The N. wall has six oval windows, one to each bay of the outer aisle and one in the transept-end, and the wall is finished like the sides of the E. end. The transept-end rises above the aisle-wall with a semi-circular window with a con-centric mullion of the same form. The end is finished like that of the E. arm of the cross. The vestry is a low single-storey building with a plain square window in the N. wall. The W. return-wall of the aisles has a round-headed window. The clearstorey is all as described in the E. elevation.

South Elevation. The lower part of the S. wall has been covered by modern buildings, but the upper part and clearstorey are uniform with the N. wall.

West Elevation. The tower (Plate 222) is four stages high divided by plain bands and surmounted by a stone lantern. The first stage has a square-headed W. window with architrave and cornice. The second stage has a similar window in the W. wall. The two lower stages on the N. and S. are covered by adjoining buildings. The third stage has a round window, with a plain architrave, in the E. and W. walls. The fourth stage or bell-chamber has a round-headed louvred opening in each face with eared architrave and plain keystone. The tower is finished with a moulded cornice surmounted by a balustraded parapet divided by piers into three bays on each face and having carved terminals at the angles. The lantern consists of three diminishing stages all square on plan. The first rests on a base with a square-headed opening in each face with eared architrave. The stage itself is open on each face, with Ionic pilasters at the sides supporting a continuous entablature. At the angles are groups of three Ionic columns (showing coupled on each face) and supporting square pedestals, above the entablature, carrying vases. Connecting these pedestals is a parapet with a pier in the centre of each side supporting small pineapple-ornaments. The second stage has a square-headed opening in each face with panelled projecting pilasters at the angles supporting a continuous cornice and finished with stone balls. The third stage is simply a panelled pedestal with a circular piercing in each face and finished with a cornice. It supports a moulded square terminal and ball. The Vestibule has a round-headed doorway in the W. wall with pilasters at the sides and a moulded architrave. Resting on the arch are carved foliagesprays curved upwards to support the architrave of an oval window above. This window is surmounted by carved festoons and has a carved cartouche-keystone. The wall is finished with a moulded cornice.

Interior (Plate 226). In the W. wall of the two outer aisles are doorways with moulded architraves. The square beneath the dome is the same width as the middle aisle or body and the inner side aisles, and from it the E., N. and S. arms of the cross project one bay and the W. arm two bays. Round the square and the arms of the cross runs an enriched entablature supported on Corinthian columns, standing on square re-faced pedestals, and similar pilasters against the E. and W. walls. Similar columns and pilasters divide the outer aisles of the W. arm. Above the central square a series of eight enriched arches with cherub-head keystones support the modillioned and enriched entablature from which springs the dome. Four of these arches open into the arms of the cross, and four are sprung from column to column across the angles of the square, to which they are groined back with plaster vaults. The spandrels of the arches are each enriched with a plaster cartouche, with palmfoliage. The dome is almost semi-circular in section and has, internally, four con-centric bands of coffered panels all moulded and enriched by egg and dart ornament. The outer and lower band contains sixteen panels each with a plaster rose in the centre. The second row has eight large panels each enriched with four palm-sprays and having also a central rose. The two inner bands of sixteen and eight panels respectively are similar to the outer ring. In the centre of the dome is a circular opening to a lantern above with moulded and enriched border. The lantern is octagonal and of timber, and has a square-headed window in each face divided internally and externally by pilasters. It has a plastered domed ceiling with a foliageenrichment in the centre, and is finished externally with a cornice and lead-covered roof of ogee form surmounted by a vane. The E. and W. arms of the cross have a groined vault of plaster over each bay with a plaster foliage-boss at the intersection. The bays of the W. arm are divided by a moulded band enriched with plaster foliage, and the western apse is covered by a semi-dome. The bays of the side-aisles are covered by flat panelled ceilings of plaster, divided by panelled and moulded trabeations with foliage-bosses. The Tower has a square-headed doorway in the E. wall of the ground-stage and recesses in the three other walls. The Bell-chamber is roofed with a flat stone vault with an opening in the centre to the lantern. The spiral staircase in the S.E. angle shows the tailing of older steps into the walls. The Vestibule has a square-headed doorway in the E. wall into the W. apse with eared architrave, carved head keystone and cornice resting on carved consoles on the W. side and having a moulded architrave and cornice on the E. side. The ceiling is flat with a moulded and coved cornice round the walls. There is an ascent of thirteen steps within the vestibule.

Fittings—The fittings are all of late 17th-century date unless otherwise described. Bells: two; 1st by Robert Mot, 1601. Chairs: In chancel—two, with carved and scrolled backs, twisted posts, turned legs and twisted stretchers. Chest: Under tower, plain oak, late 17th-century. Communion Table and Rails. Communion Table (Plate 43): low and semi-circular with carved rails and three legs formed of grouped scrolls. Rails: semi-elliptical on plan with twisted balusters and carved and moulded rail and base. Doors: In E. wall, N. side, two panelled doors, also panelled internal lobby and enriched segmental pediment, over, bearing carved cartouche-of-arms, a cheveron between three cinqfoils, carved architrave to inner door and panel over carved with palm and cartouche; in doorway to vestry, panelled; in vestibule, W. arch, six-panel gates in two folds, inverted curves at top; between vestry and tower, panelled. Font and Font-cover (Plate 11). Font: of baluster form, of marble, octagonal bowl gadrooned below and a cherub-head at alternate angles, draped festoons between stem with acanthus-ornament at base, made in 1679. Cover: of oak, octagonal with twisted Corinthian shafts at angles, each face with foliage and amorino, above cornice a band of cherub-heads and festoons and eight oak statuettes of saints at upper, and vases of flowers at lower, angles; top, ogee-shaped with crown-finial. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: against E. piers— on N. (1) to Rev. Robert Marriott, 1689, marble monument with twisted Corinthian columns at sides carried on curved brackets and supporting entablature and broken pediment with achievement-of-arms and cherub-head in middle and flaming vases at sides, plain panel between brackets with scroll-work beneath. On S. pier, (2) to John Lilburne, 1678, erected by his son George, marble monument with carved wreath encircling inscription, flanked by pair of shaped brackets surmounted by moulded frieze and cornice and broken segmental pediment enclosing plain segmental-headed tablet with pair of figures in high relief carved on face and surmounted by achievement-of-arms; above sides of pediment figures of seated cherubs with festoons, and below, inscription-tablet, shaped apron flanked by pair of cherub-head corbels supporting small full-length figures of man and wife. On N. wall, (3) to Percival Gilbourne, 1694, black and white marble tablet in two heights with bust resting on lower and semi-circular head to the upper, flanked by pair of lamps and surmounted by pair of urns; below, shaped apron carved with palm-foliage, acanthus and shield-of-arms; (4) to Dr. Nathanael Hodges, 1688, small marble tablet with moulded edge, surmounted by achievement-of-arms. On S. wall— (5) to Hannah, wife of Daniel Browne, 1695, Dixey Kent and Jane (Browne) his wife, both 1696; David Browne, 1698, and his son John, 1706, white marble tablet with moulded border, surmounted by achievement-of-arms. In churchyard—(6) to Abraham Bazin, 1693, his father Germain, 1636, and others, stone slab with shield-of-arms, from St. Benet's Sherehog; (7) to Jeremy Whichcote, 1710, stone slab with shield-of-arms. Organ-case: In W. apse, handsome carved wood, with carved and panelled base, with carved scrolls at the sides; case itself with three half-round towers of pipes on acanthus and cherub-head brackets, the upper part with pierced carving below enriched cornice, the side-ones supporting large carved angels blowing trumpets, the bays between with pierced carving and side pilasters and crowned with amorini bearing rich festoons. Organ, modern, replacing one of 1760, now in St. Bartholomew the Great; the case may also be of this date, but it is earlier in character. Panelling: The walls are wainscoted all round with raised panels finished with a moulded capping and having in each bay a cartouche of the arms of the Grocers' Company. Walls of vestry and ground-stage of tower panelled and painted. Plate: includes an inscribed cup of 1559 with cover-paten of 1562; two inscribed flagons of 1615, dated 1616, with letters S.S. linked, inlaid with blue enamel on boss of lids; a dish of 1619 similarly ornamented and an inscribed cup of 1633; a stand-paten of 1567 (?). Pulpit: hexagonal, of oak with ogee stem resting on hexagonal shaft; each face of pulpit with square enriched panel and carved and panelled pilasters at angles, below enriched rail-cornice inverted curved panels on each side with foliage-carving and an open book. Staircase with wrought-iron balusters. Sounding-board, of oak supported on square Ionic pier at back with festooned capital and carved and panelled sides, board with panelled and enriched soffit and inverted curve to each face enriched and carried over the cherub-heads at angles and having standing cherubs above the cornice at each corner holding large swags. Reredos (Plate 227): of oak, middle bay with coupled round-headed and enriched panels in centre, square-headed panels at sides all with carved festoons over, flanking these two fluted Corinthian columns supporting a continuous cornice; at sides two round-headed panels, dado below with carved panels, pediment modern. Royal Arms: Above W. screen, Stuart arms in carved wood. Screen: At entrance to W. apse—oak screen with round-headed central doorway with panelled doors partly glazed, flanked by fluted Corinthian columns supporting an enriched entablature and segmental pediment over central door, below pediment a cherub-head and carved festoons. Side bays have each a panelled door with glazed panel above, and carved panels level with the column-caps; above entablature is a panelled attic.


(2) Parish Church of St. Swithin London Stone stands on the N. side of Cannon Street at the W. corner of St. Swithin's Lane. It is a Renaissance building of the single-apartment type, covered with an internal dome and having a N.W. tower surmounted by a spire. The walls are of Portland stone and the roofs and spire are covered with lead. The old church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and re-built by Sir Christopher Wren, 1677–87, at the cost of £4,687 4s. 6d. It has been restored in modern times and the windows divided up by mullions and tracery.

Architectural Description—The church is almost a perfect square (45¼ ft. by 45½ ft.) with a Vestry and a North-West Tower adjoining on the N. side.

The East Elevation of the main building is divided, above the plinth, into three bays, of which the central bay projects slightly and contains a large round-headed window with moulded architrave, cartouche-keystone and side-pilasters with moulded bases, standing on a panelled stylobate and having separate entablatures resting on consoles and a segmental pediment over the window. The entablature is continued over the side-bays, which have each a round-headed window with eared architrave. The lead roof is hipped back over the dome in an octagonal form and finished on the top with a very flat octagonal and pyramidal roof. Towards the angles of the church are oval lucarne-lights with wooden architraves. The Vestry or Vestibule has a plain segmental-headed window, and to the S. of it a segmental-headed doorway with cherub-head keystone. This is now partly filled in and used as a window. Above is a large window like the side windows of the church. The North Elevation is concealed by buildings except the tower which is of three stages, with a moulded plinth and finished with a spire. The ground-stage has a segmental-headed doorway in the N. wall with eared architrave and cherub-head keystone. Above it is a round-headed window with eared architrave; a similar window pierces the W. wall at the same level. Between the first and second stages is a frieze and moulded cornice. The second stage has a circular window in the N. and S. walls with moulded architrave. Between this stage and the bell-chamber is a band-course. The bell-chamber or third stage has a round-headed louvred opening in each face, the lower half blocked on the N. and W., with eared architrave, cartouche-keystone and a wooden mullion carried up to the centre. At the top of this stage the wall is cut back at the angles to form an octagonal finish; the cuttings are of concave form and the stage is finished with a cornice having ogee blocks and a balustraded parapet, octagonal on plan. The spire rises from within the parapet and is of timber, octagonal and lead-covered and finished with a ball and vane. In the cardinal faces are three ranges of lucarne-lights, three in each face, the two lower oval and the upper round. The South Elevation (Plate 62) is similar to the East Elevation, but below the side windows are segmental-headed doorways with eared architraves and cherub-head keystones; the eastern of these is blocked. The tympanum of the pediment is enriched with a foliage-wreath and swags, and above the side-windows are draped festoons. The West Elevation is similarly treated to the East, but all the windows are blocked. The windows in the E., N. and S. elevations, except the tower, are filled with modern mullions and tracery.

Church of St Swithin, Cannon Street.

Interior: The E., S. and W. walls are each divided into three bays by Composite half-columns, standing on high rectangular bases and having quarter-pilasters in the angles. The same arrangement is continued on the N. side by a half-column on the S. face of the tower and by a free column between the church and vestry. These support an enriched and continuous entablature, with a rich oak and bay-leaf frieze, carried across the angles of the square to form a regular octagon from which springs the dome; the soffits of the entablature form trabeations, panelled and enriched with foliage. The low segmental dome is octagonal with bands of foliage masking the groins. Each side has at the base a circular panel or window with moulded architraves and elaborate cartouches at the head, from which depend rich ribboned festoons of fruit and foliage. Above these are moulded panels, and in the middle of the dome an octagonal panel with a plaster rose in the centre. The Gallery over the Vestry has a flat plaster ceiling, as have the triangular bays at the angles of the main church, but each of these bays is enriched with a floral wreath and scroll-work. The tower has a large round-headed arch in the E. and S. walls divided horizontally by the gallery-floor and closed below by wainscot. The upper part of the S. arch is blocked on the N. side.

Fittings—All the fittings are of late 17th-century date unless otherwise described. Bells: two, 2nd by James Bartlett, 1680. Chest: In vestry, of iron, said to have belonged to St. Mary Bothaw. Clock: with circular case, projecting from cornice at W. end of S. front, on moulded wooden beam supported on carved scroll-bracket. Communion Table: of oak with panelled standards at the sides, flanked by carved trusses on moulded rails with ball-feet and moulded top. Communion Rails: of oak, with moulded rail and base, panelled standards carved with floral swags and carved and twisted balusters. Doors: to S. entrance and to N. doorway to tower, segmental-headed and each in two leaves with bolection-moulded panels. Between tower and body of church, in two leaves each of four bolection-moulded panels, with one panel in each filled with modern glazing. Font (Plate 12): of veined white marble with circular bowl enriched with cherub-heads, drapery and acanthus-leaves and baluster-shaped stem with acanthus-leaf enrichment and moulded base. Font-cover: of oak, circular with enriched mouldings and band of floral scroll-work to base, surmounted by ogee-shaped and fluted top with a crown-finial. Gallery: over vestry, with front of bolection-moulded panels divided by panelled standards carved with foliage, all supported on fluted Corinthian pilasters, filled in between with modern panelling and doors and surmounted by entablature with enriched architrave and cornice; gallery-front continued across S. arch of tower with modern panelling and doors below. Monuments: on column between church and vestry, (1) to Michael Godfrey, 1695, "first Deputy-Governour of the Banck of England," large marble tablet, draped, with shield-of-arms, flanked by weeping amorini, with urn above surmounted by carved foliage and cherub-heads carried up face of column; on W. wall, (2) to Rev. George Bull, 1707, Rector of Tavistock, marble wall-monument with long rectangular panel projecting in middle with moulded cornice surmounted by cartouche flanked by weeping amorini. In gallery—on N. wall, (3) to Michael Godfrey, 1689, Elizabeth his daughter, 1691, and Hester, his daughter, and wife of Hugh Smithson, 1698, marble wall-monument with central projecting inscription-panel with moulded cornice surmounted by a vase and wide projecting gadrooned shelf with shield-of-arms and palm-leaves on panel below. Panelling: of oak, lining lower parts of walls of church in four heights with moulded capping. Pews: modern, but incorporating bolection-moulded panelled backs of former pews cut down. Plate: includes two inscribed and dated flagons of 1623; a dish of 1627 inscribed "S. Mary Bothaw"; two spoons, one of 1631, the other of 1660, inscribed and dated 1685; two dated cups and cover-patens of 1711, each inscribed "St. Swithins 1711," and a stand-paten of 1711 inscribed "S. Mary Bothaw." All the above pieces of plate with the exception of the spoons are in old stamped leather cases. Pulpit (Plate 35): of oak, octagonal with raised rectangular panel on each face with enriched mouldings flanked by carved swags surmounted by scrollbrackets supporting moulded cornice carried over each panel in segmental pediment with cherub-head and foliage in tympanum; top of pulpit finished with moulded capping; angles panelled with carved swags in panels and moulded and enriched base carried down in ogee form to later post; stair up to pulpit, 18th-century. Reredos: of oak, flanked by coupled and fluted Corinthian pilasters supporting entablature with enriched frieze; in middle, two round-headed panels with enriched mouldings inscribed with the Commandments, on frieze above, central panel carved with two cherub-heads and, below, long panel carved with foliage and scroll-work; flanking reredos proper, two pedimental bays with panels inscribed respectively with the Lord's Prayer and Creed, with enriched frames and richly carved surrounds with carved cherub-heads above; main segmental pediment of reredos and carved figures from above three bays now removed. Royal Arms: now on W. wall, of oak, carved arms with supporters, etc., and shield painted with royal (Hanoverian) arms, probably late 17th-century and formerly on reredos. Sword-rest (Plate 44): refixed on panelling below easternmost column on S. wall, of ornamental ironwork, with two shields painted respectively with royal (Hanoverian) arms and arms of the city, and surmounted by crown with oval panel below with monogram of Queen Anne and date 1710. Miscellanea: Frame, in vestry, of oak with enriched mouldings, carved scrolls at sides, carved scrolls and skull below and moulded cornice and pediment above. "London Stone"—rough stone with top deeply scored, now set in a Portland-stone case in the middle of the external S. wall; case, semi-octagonal with moulded cornice and battered plinth with oval aperture in front face giving view of stone itself; stone said to be Roman milestone. See Vol. III, p. 111. On S. wall, carved achievement of the arms of the Salters' Company, of oak.



(3) Salters' Hall stands on the W. of St. Swithin's Lane and is a modern building. In the Hall is a carving in wood of the arms of William III.