An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, Volume 5, East London. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1930.
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(O.S. 6in. London, Sheets (a)G, (b)K.)
The Borough of Hackney is coterminous with the civil parish of St. John, Hackney. The principal monuments are St. John's Institute and Brooke House.
b(1) Parish Church of St. John the Baptist stands to the E. of Mare Street. It was re-built to the N.E. of the former site in 1797, but the tower of the old church, said to have been dedicated to St. Augustine, was left standing. The old church (about 87½ ft. long by 57½ ft. wide) consisted of nave and chancel with coterminous side aisles, a west annexe and a West Tower at the end of the S. aisle. The West Tower and the remaining fragments of the church walls are of rag-stone rubble with limestone dressings. It was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century.
Architectural Description—The West Tower (14½ ft. by 15 ft.) is of four stages (Plate 92) with a restored embattled parapet, diagonal buttresses and a S.E. stair-turret. The four-centred tower-arch is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on round attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the arch has a modern filling; the doorway to the stair-turret has hollow-chamfered jambs and four-centred arch; a modern doorway to the stair-turret has been cut through the S. wall; the W. window is of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the ground stage of the tower has an inserted floor, partly of old timbers and dividing it into two storeys. The second stage has a much weathered window with a square external head in the N., S. and W. walls. The third stage has a similar window in the N. and S. walls; in the W. wall is a clock-face set in a much weathered diagonal panel. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of three trefoiled lights in a four-centred head and all restored externally. The N.E. and N.W. angles of the former church are marked by fragments of rubble walling with modern inscriptions.
Fittings (in modern church, unless otherwise noted)—Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In N.E. vestibule—against S. wall, of John Lymsey, 1545 (Plate 94), figure of man in armour, of c. 1510, fragment of marginal inscription, one roundel with symbol of St. John and two shields-of-arms— (a) an eagle within a border charged with eight cinq foils a molet for difference for Lymsey, quartering two bars gemelles between three rings for Rickhill, and a cheveron between three columbines for Coventry, the whole impaling a lion holding a battle-axe for Pickenham; (b) the quartered coat of Lymsey as in (a); palimpsest on two shields, parts of early 16th-century Flemish brass—part of figure of St. John the Baptist with diapered background, canopy work, etc.; indents of figure of woman, inscription-plate and two shields. See also monuments (1, 3 and 4). Indents: In old churchyard—E. of tower, (1) of two rectangular plates; (2) of figures of man in armour and wife in pedimental head-dress, two groups of children, four shields, marginal inscription with roundels at angles, c. 1530; (3) of large figure, much worn. Door: In doorway of turret-staircase of old tower —of nail-studded battens with strap hinges, probably early 16th century. Monuments and Floor-slabs—Monuments: In N.E. vestibule— against S. wall, (1) of Christopher Urswyk, 1521–2, Dean of Windsor and Rector of Hackney, combined altar-tomb and easter-sepulchre (Plate 94) with recessed canopy of freestone; altar-tomb with moulded slab, front divided into three square cusped panels enclosing shields, two with the word MIA (Misericordia) and one with the arms of Urswyk—on a bend three lozenges each charged with a saltire; on altar-tomb brass of priest in quire vestments with doctor's cap, above, label with the word Misericordia and defaced shield-of-arms; recessed four-centred canopy with panelled reveals, horizontal cornices, cresting of Tudor flowers and octagonal attached shafts on jambs, on cornice three shields as on altar-tomb below; at back of recess, brass plate with inscription and date 1521 and incised inscription with date 1519; on wall above, (2) of David Doulven, 1633, Bishop of Bangor, alabaster and white marble wall-monument (Plate 94) with bust of bishop in skull-cap, lawn sleeves, etc., in arched recess, flanked by pilasters supporting cornice and broken segmental pediment and cartouche-of-arms, at sides reclining figures of angels; further E., (3) of Arthur Dericote, 1562, with Marie, Eme, Margaret and Jone, his four wives, small tablet (Plate 94) with brass of man in armour and four wives in pedimental head-dresses, two sons and rhyming inscription; (4) of Hugh Johnson, 1618–19, vicar of Hackney, small stone tablet with round head and brass of man in pulpit and two inscription-plates. Under staircase—(5) of Henry Banister, 1628, and Anne, his wife, 1632–3, upper part of wall-monument (Plate 93), of alabaster and black marble, with shallow recess and kneeling figures of man and wife at prayer-desk, side-brackets supporting skulls, cornice with tablet and shield-of-arms. In N.W. vestibule, (6) of Lucye, daughter of Henrye Earl of Worcester and wife of John Nevill, Lord Latimer, 1582–3, modern reconstructed altar-tomb (Plate 95) incorporating effigy, heraldry, inscriptions, kneeling figure and fragments of original monument; alabaster effigy (Plate 123) in French cap, fur-lined gown with deep collar and jewelled clasp, feet on lion; on S. side, headless kneeling figure of daughter; two achievements and four shields-of-arms showing the marriages of the four daughters; on E. wall, (7) to Richard Hallily, 1605–6, and Margarett (Leatham) his wife, alabaster and black marble tablet, with round-headed panel, festoons of fruit at sides and cornice; on S. wall, (8) of Thomas Wood, 1649, and Susann his wife, 1650, white marble tablet (Plate 95) with relief of man and woman standing at prayer-desk, children kneeling behind, including Thomas Wood, Bishop of Lichfield, drapery, side-pilasters, scrolls, broken pediment and blank cartouche. In S.W. vestibule —on E. wall, (9) to Richard de Beauvoir, 1708, and Mary his wife, 1722, and Richard their son, 1722, white marble tablet with scrolls, foliage, cherubheads and shield-of-arms; on N. wall, (10) to Benjamin Dod, 1706, and Mary Craddock his sister, white marble tablet with drapery, cherub-heads and cartouche-of-arms. In N.E. and S.E. vestibules —(11) various fragments, cherub-heads, achievements and shields-of-arms from various monuments, late 17th and early 18th-century, also mutilated kneeling figures of man and woman, early 17th-century. In old tower—(12) to Captain Robert Deane, 1699–1700, Mary, 1696–7, and Katherine, 1698, his daughters, large table-tomb, with black marble slab, moulded angles, panels at sides and achievement-of-arms on slab. In old churchyard —on site of church, (13) to Henry Rowe, 1670, who married Warwicke (Staverton), table-tomb with moulded slab and panelled base, achievement-of-arms at S. end. Against E. wall of tower, (14) to Thomas Trench, 1699, and Rebekah, Elizabeth wife of John Farrington, 1725, and Thomas his children with achievement-of-arms, moulded slab to table-tomb. Against N. wall of churchyard, (15) to Edward Holt, 1705, headstone with skull. Floor-slabs: In churchyard—on site of old church, (1) to . . . Johnston (?), with defaced achievement-of-arms, early 18th-century; (2) to Thomas Blackall and others, with defaced achievement-of-arms, early 18th-century; (3) to Sir Thomas Playre, Jun., 1685—6, and Joyce his wife, 1686, with achievement-of-arms; (4) to John Stocke, early 18th-century; (5) to George . . ., 166–, and another, 169–. Plate: includes two large mid 17th-century flagons given by Sir George Vyner, Bart., bearing his shield-of-arms; two cups and cover-patens of 1637 inscribed on base "Hackney"; stand-paten of 1663 with inscription and date 1664; dish of 1671, given in that year by Mrs. Katherine Cheney and a seal-topped spoon of 1641 (?) inscribed "St. John Hackney." Miscellanea: In modern church—in N.E. vestibule, fragments from the Rowe chapel in the old church, now stored in crates.
Condition—Of old tower—stonework, much decayed.
b(2) St. John's Institute, house, at the W. end of High Street, Homerton, on the S. side of the road, is of two storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built in the first half of the 16th century on an H-shaped plan with the Hall in the main block and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The courtyard on the S. of the main block has now been closed in by a modern building, and there are other modern additions at the S.E. angle of the E. wing and the S.W. end of the W. wing.
The house is interesting as a fairly complete example of its period, containing a considerable amount of original panelling and other fittings.
The Elevations are of red brick, partly rendered in cement. The N. wall of the Hall-block has been re-built or re-faced from just above the ground-level; at the N. end of the W. wing is some black brick diapering. Late 17th-century windows have been inserted and the openings dressed with rubbed brick. The S. side of the Hall-block has an original chimney-stack. In the E. wall of the W. wing is a large original window of six transomed lights in a square head with a moulded oak frame. The S. end of the same wing has a doorway and windows of c. 1700. The E. side of the E. wing has a large chimney-stack now rendered in cement.
Interior—The Hall is now divided by modern partitions; the middle division is lined with 18th-century panelling. The 'screens' were probably at the W. end and the N. doorway leading to them has an original door; the doorway in the W. wall is original and has moulded jambs and four-centred head. The fireplace in the S. wall has some late 17th-century Dutch tiles. The staircase, in the E. wing, is of c. 1700 and has moulded rails and turned balusters; the remainder of the wing has been modernised, but in the basement are two original brick recesses with four-centred heads, one partly cut away. The N. room in the W. wing (Plate 96) is lined with two types of original 'linen-fold' panelling, re-arranged with the addition of fluted pilasters late in the 16th century; the original fireplace is of stone with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head, with shields in the spandrels and traceried panels as stops on the jambs. Further S. is a 17th-century staircase to the basement and adjoining it the modern main staircase incorporating mid 17th-century turned balusters; the staircase-lobby has exposed ceiling-beams and joists; in the basement are four original recesses with four-centred heads. On the first floor, the room above the Hall (Plate 97) is lined with 16th-century panelling, and above the modern fireplace are ten panels carved with fleurs-de-lis radiating from a central rose; in the E. wall is a blocked doorway. The N. room in the W. wing is lined with late 16th or early 17th-century panelling, with fluted pilasters above and beside the fireplace; the stone fireplace itself is original and has stop-moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head, with foliage and shields painted with modern arms in the spandrels; the doorway is original and has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. The walls of the adjoining landing have remains of early 17th-century painted strapwork gryphons flanking the doors. The S. room (Plate 97), in this wing, is lined with early 17th-century panelling; leading up from the N.W. corner is a small mid 17th-century staircase with turned balusters. The roofs have tie-beams with diagonal struts to the collars and wind-braces; the gables have been hipped back, probably early in the 18th century.
The garden-wall, running N. from the N.W. angle of the house, is of 16th-century date and of red brick with some diapering in black brick.
a(3) Brooke House, on the E. side of Upper Clapton Road, is of two storeys, partly with attics and basement; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. The house was built, on a double-courtyard plan, late in the 16th century. A small wing formerly projecting from the S.E. angle has been pulled down in recent years. Towards the end of the 18th century the E. range, with the exception of the base of the walls, was re-built and an additional floor inserted. The building has various modern additions and has been extensively altered internally.
The house is mainly interesting from its plan; it retains an enriched plaster ceiling, but the original panelling has been removed.
The E. front has no ancient features. The N. side has an original chimney-stack, but otherwise has been re-faced or covered by modern work. The S. front has modern facing, but retains a lead rain-water head with the arms and crest of Greville Lord Brooke and the date 1650. The W. front (Plate 4) has modern openings and the chimneystacks, except the two northernmost, have been re-built; there is a moulded string-course between the storeys. The northern or entrance-courtyard (Plate 98) has, in the N. angles, two original semi-octagonal turrets, one containing a staircase; on the N. side, at the first-floor level, are two square bay-windows of the 17th century, one with eight and the other with three transomed lights; they are carried on carved brackets and have moulded wooden frames and mullions. The W. side of the same courtyard has two similar windows, each of eight lights. The S. side is partly hidden by modern additions, but has two original chimney-stacks and a blocked doorway to the E. of them. The N. side of the southern courtyard has an original doorway with a four-centred head and moulded label; further E. are two 17th-century windows, of four and three transomed lights respectively, with chamfered mullions and moulded labels. The lower part of the E. side is original and has a chamfered plinth, now within the modern corridor. In the S.E. angle of the courtyard is a rectangular staircase-wing, formerly projecting but now partly hidden by a modern addition on the W. side.
Interior—The range between the two courtyards, now the kitchen-wing, has on the first floor an original fireplace, with moulded jambs and four-centred arch of stone. The staircase, at the E. end of the S. range, is a late 17th-century insertion and has moulded strings and turned balusters; leading from the staircase are two original doorways with moulded frames and shaped stops. The upper floor of the W. range of the southern courtyard was formerly the Long Gallery, but has now been cut up into rooms; the greater part of the original plaster ceiling (Plate 23) remains; it is divided by moulded ribs into square, round and shaped panels, the main panels enclosing achievements-of-arms alternating with crests; the crests, a swan, eagle, stag and gryphon, are probably of Henry Carey, 1st Lord Hunsdon, and Anne (Morgan) his wife; the arms have been obliterated by whitewash, but are encircled by the garter and have ram and gryphon supporters and a swan as crest. The roofs are of the queen-post and collar-beam type with wind-braced purlins.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of late 17th or early 18th-century date, and of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
b(4) House, No. 1a Hackney Churchyard, 20 yards S. of the tower of the old church, is of three storeys. The N. front has brick bands between the storeys and a modillioned eaves-cornice of wood.
b(5) Eagle House, at the angle of Homerton Row and High Street, 50 yards E. of (2), is of two storeys with attics and cellars. The W. front is symmetrically designed and has square-headed windows, a brick band between the storeys and a modillioned eaves-cornice of wood; the doorway is flanked by Doric pilasters, supporting an entablature with a modern cornice. Inside the building, several rooms have original panelling and cornices. Across the entrance-hall is a keyed archway, springing from panelled pilasters.
b(6) Spurstowe Almshouses, on the W. side of the Grove, 430 yards S.S.W. of St. John's Church, were re-built in 1819, but re-set on the front is a stone tablet recording the foundation by William Spurstowe, D.D., vicar of Hackney, who built the six almshouses in 1666; they were "established" by Henry Spurstowe in 1667 and the tablet put up by his son Henry in 1689; above is a cartouche-of-arms and crest.
b(7) New Lansdowne Club, house, No. 195, on the W. side of Mare Street, 1000 yards S. of St. John's Church, is of three storeys with cellars; the roofs are covered with slates. The W. front has a brick band between the lower storeys and a modern parapet. Inside the building, the ground-floor rooms have original bolection-moulded panelling. The staircase has original moulded strings, but the rails and balusters are modern except those of the top flight; the staircase to the basement is original and has moulded string and rail and turned balusters. The basement is barrel-vaulted in brick.
b(8) House, two tenements, on the W. side of Miller's Yard, Tudor Road, has roofs covered with slates. The E. front has a brick band between the storeys and retains some of the original windowframes; the doorway has a cornice and small pediment carried on carved brackets and the jambs have panelled pilasters.
b(9) House, No. 149 Mare Street, but on the N. side of Exmouth Place, is partly of plastered timber-framing.
a(10) Houses, Nos. 183–185, on the W. side of Lower Clapton Road, 50 yards S. of Clapton Pond, are of three storeys. The building dates from the 17th century, but was re-fronted early in the 18th century. The E. front has brick bands between the storeys and a modern parapet; the windows have rubbed-brick dressings.
a(11) Bishop Wood's Almshouses, N.E. of Clapton Pond, were founded by Thomas Wood, Bishop of Lichfield (1671–1692), for ten old women. They form a range of six one-storeyed tenements with projecting wings at each end, each containing two tenements. The doors have flush frames and the windows solid frames and mullions forming three lights, with lead glazing. In the angle between the main range and the N. wing is a modern chapel.
a(12) House, No. 30, on the E. side of Upper Clapton Road, opposite the N. end of (3), is of L-shaped plan and of three storeys. The W. front has windows with rubbed-brick dressings and a central doorway with moulded architrave and a flat hood carried on carved brackets.
a(13) Houses, Nos. 13 to 21, on the W. side of Upper Clapton Road, immediately N. of (3), are partly of plastered timber-framing and date from the 17th century. The E. side of the southernmost house was re-fronted in brick c. 1700. There are two original plastered gables at the back.