Rectors and their times: Seventeenth century

The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2. Originally published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1921.

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E A Webb, 'Rectors and their times: Seventeenth century', in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921) pp. 313-331. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

E A Webb. "Rectors and their times: Seventeenth century", in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921) 313-331. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

Webb, E A. "Rectors and their times: Seventeenth century", The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921). 313-331. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section


Thomas Westfield, D.D., Rector 1605–1644.

Thomas Westfield was instituted to the rectory on the 18th December 1605. He was presented by Robert Lord Rich, Baron of Leez, the patron, on the deprivation, as we have just seen, of David Dee the last rector. (fn. 1)

He was a man of learning and distinction, and was Bishop of Bristol at the time of his death. He was born in the parish of St. Mary, Ely, in the year 1573. He was a scholar of St. Mary's Grammar School there, and a scholar and fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, where he matriculated in 1589. (fn. 2) He graduated B.A. in 1592/3, M.A. in 1596, and B.D. in 1604, in which degree he was incorporated at Oxford in 1611. (fn. 3) He was at first preacher (praelector) in the Cathedral Church of Ely, then curate to Dr. Nicholas Fenton at St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside; he was appointed rector of South Somercoates, Lincoln, in the year 1600, and there remained until 1605, when he was presented to St. Bartholomew's by Robert Lord Rich, to whom and his son Henry Earl of Holland he was chaplain.

In 1614 he was nominated to the prebend of Ealdstreet, St. Paul's, (fn. 4) but this he resigned in 1615, and in 1616 he was nominated to the stall of Caddington Major, which he held till his death. (fn. 5)

In 1615 he took the degree of Doctor of Divinity (S.T.D.), (fn. 6) in which he was incorporated at Oxford 26th March 1644. (fn. 7) He was presented to the rectory of Hornsey (in what year is uncertain) by the Bishop of London, whose chaplain he was. This benefice he continued to hold, with that of St. Bartholomew's and other preferments, until 1637, (fn. 8) when he resigned. In 1619 he was elected, nominated, and appointed by the Bishop of London a governor of Sir Roger Cholmley's School at Highgate. (fn. 9) In 1631 he was collated Archdeacon of St. Albans, (fn. 10) which he held until his death, even when Bishop of Bristol. In 1633 he was appointed on a Royal Commission to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction in England and Wales. In 1642 he was created Bishop of Bristol, (fn. 11) a see which had been offered to him as early as 1617, (fn. 12) and this he held until his death in 1644.

It will be seen therefore that Dr. Westfield was a pluralist, but in those days that was often a necessity. His biographer, David Lloyd, who obtained his information from Dr. Westfield's daughter Elizabeth, says of him in his Memoirs, (fn. 13) that he was 'a good man without noise, a provident man without perplexity, merry without lightness, grave without morosity, and bountiful without waste. These and many others virtues recommended him first to Hornsey; (fn. 14) and his faithfulness and success there opened his way to St. Bartholomew the Great, as his providence and gravity did to the archdeaconry of St. Alban's, and his worthy management of these offices purchased to him the good degree of the bishopric of Bristol, which was offered him anno 1616 to maintain him, and which was then refused by him because he said he wanted not subsistence; and again in 1641 that he might maintain it, and then accepted (fn. 15) because episcopacy wanted such a devout and well-reputed a man to support it'.

In 1631 he was president of Sion College, (fn. 16) and at the close of his second year of office, in 1633, he preached the first Latin sermon in accordance with the founder's will of 1624; the text was Benedict Sion Domine. (fn. 17) The Bishop of London, John King, called him a born orator, and David Lloyd wrote that his natural persuasive faculty and heart-searching preaching, and his power to move to tears, gained him the name of 'Mournful Jeremy'. 'He made not', says his biographer, 'that which should be welcome wearisome by the tediousness of his sermons, never standing above his glass, nor keeping a glass upon an extraordinary occasion above a quarter of an hour.' 'Let your prayers', he would say, 'be as frequent as your wants; and your thanksgiving as your blessings: miss not the confession and absolution in public, unless you have no sins to repent of or no care to be forgiven them.' 'He kept up all ordinances, prayers, sermons and sacraments in equal esteem, especially taking care of catechising.'

As regards parochial affairs he made the following entry in the parish register (fn. 18) granting dispensation from fasting to the daughter-in-law of Francis Anthony, the quack doctor who lived in the parish. (fn. 19)

'Whereas Mrs. Mary Anthony the wife of John Anthony of my parrish, Dr. of phisick, hath bine a long time sick, and is now in great weakness of body whereby it is very prejudiciall to her health and recovery if shee should altogether abstayne from flesh meates and brothes made thereof, this time of lent, I doe therefore by that power I have by an Act of Parliament in this case provided, grant her by lycence to eat some flesh meats or brooths made thereof for eight dayes. In witnes whearof I have hereunto sett my hand the 24th of Februarie 1639.

Tho. Westfield, S.T.D.,
Rector Ecclesiae St. Barth. Ma.'

He was held in esteem by his parishioners; for William Chapman in his will, (fn. 20) after bequeathing twenty pounds to be put into the church chest for the increase of the stock for the poor of the parish, desired Thomas Westfield should preach at his burial, for which he bequeathed to him 20s. for his pains, and in 1614 Mathew Dale gave him 40s. for the same purpose. John Rivers, a coachman, bequeathed to him 40s. to give to the poor at his discretion. (fn. 21)

From various records it is also evident that Dr. Westfield gave his attention to parochial matters in spite of his many engagements elsewhere. Thus in 1625 and in 1629 his signature is appended to the churchwardens' accounts. He granted leases of the glebe houses in the years 1622, 1638, and on two occasions in 1641. In 1628 the present tower of the church was erected by subscriptions; (fn. 22) and, in 1633, £698 was expended in repairs to the church. (fn. 23) In 1628 he commenced a preacher's book, (fn. 24) and from this we learn the large number of preachers he had to help him from 1628 to 1641. In an account of money collected for poor ministers of the Palatinate in connexion with Elizabeth of Bohemia (the sister of Charles I), made in the latter year, we find that out of a total collection of £1,753 in London parishes, St. Bartholomew's the Great headed the list with £28 (fn. 25) During Westfield's rectorship the collection book (fn. 26) shows that there was great activity in good works. The almshouses were built in 1632 by Lady Saye and Sele, who bequeathed them in her will to the parish; and at the same time she bequeathed to the rector £5, to the reader £2, and to both of them mourning gowns. (fn. 27)

David Lloyd tells us that Dr. Westfield

'never, though almost fifty years a preacher, went up a pulpit but, as Luther said, he trembled; such an awe and reverence of God was upon his heart. He preached but once before the King at Oxford and then he fainted . . . that gracious prince, speaking to the people to pray for him and wishing him to retire, said he was a good man and he would with patience wait for him; as he did until the good bishop, being a little refreshed, came up again and preached the best sermon and the last that ever he made.'

At the outbreak of the Civil War Westfield's character was shown to advantage. He at first continued to reside in London, but, falling under suspicion of Royalist sympathies, he was, in 1640, abused in the streets. (fn. 28) Lloyd says 'nothing was thought too much for him by the Earl of Holland (the patron who was eventually executed by the Parliamentarians) before the troubles and nothing too little since. To disturb his devotion they removed and burnt the rails he had set about the Lord's Table; to interrupt his quiet they made him sue for his right who for many years had not known what it was to ask it; those who were glad formerly to converse with him in their houses would not have communion with him in church'.

In the face of this, on the 14th November 1641, he preached at St. Paul's (fn. 29) from the text 'By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true' (2 Cor. vi. 8); towards the end of his sermon he said:
'This vicissitude of honour and dishonour, evil report and good report, is from the Lord, who must be allowed to do what seemeth good in His eyes. The time was, we do confess with thankfulness, that the people did esteem us as the Ministers of Jesus Christ, that they knew and did acknowledge us worthy, and accordingly had us in exceeding great love, for our work's sake, that they made show that they could have pulled their eyes out of their head, to have done us good, that they honoured us with much honour, and laded us with necessaries and plentiful provisions for our encouragement, to the work of the Ministry. Have we received so much good at the hand of God, and may we not now with patience receive some evil? "There is no evil done in the citie in this kinde, but the Lord hath done it." (Amos iii. 6.) God had bidden them to curse us and revile us and traduce us, and load us with all these contumelies and reproaches. Consider again, that there is nothing can come from the hand of this God to His servants, but it cometh in the nature of a mercy: while we were in honour it was no mercy to encourage us, and now we are dishonoured and our souls filled with contempt, it is done in mercy to admonish to walk both more humbly with God, and more warily with men.'
We may fairly assume that the following lines entered on the last page of the Register No. 1, were written by Dr. Westfield and at his time:
Tempore felici multi numerantur amici.
Cum fortuna perit, quis tibi amicus erit. (fn. 30)

which may be thus rendered in English:
In prosperous times friends number without end.
When fortune wanes who then will be your friend? (fn. 30)

Walker says his benefice at St. Bartholomew's was sequestered, and hough such a record has not been met with, it has been shown that he property of several parishioners was so sequestered. (fn. 31) The temoralities of the see of Bristol were at first withheld from him, but on he 13th May 1643, 'the Committee of Lords and Commons for equestration of estates' wrote: (fn. 32)

'Upon information in behalf of the Bishop of Bristol, that his tenants refuse to pay him his rents, it is ordered by the Committee that all profits of the bishopric be restored to him and a safe conduct be granted him to pass with his family to Bristol, being himself of great age (fn. 33) and a person of great learning and merit. Signed Jno. Wylde.'

Lloyd further says:

'He was glad to go from London to Bristol to avoid the tumults, but he was gladder to be translated from Bristol to Heaven, quite heartbroken with the rebellion.'

After he was promoted to Bristol Westfield continued to hold the ectory of St. Bartholomew's, but those he appointed to do his work ore the same title as he himself, i. e. 'Minister of the parish': thus Mr. Edward Pealle, who was buried the 16th November 1643, is escribed in the register as 'Minister of this parish'; (fn. 34) and on the th July 1644, Mr. Henry Scudder is described as 'Minister of this parish'. (fn. 35)

In the inventory of church goods made 16th March 1668/9 is an item 'Dr. Westfield's picture', which may refer to a portrait of im, but it has now disappeared.

Among matters of interest that occurred in Dr. Westfield's time, two may be mentioned in connexion with the ecclesiastical Court of High Commission erected by Queen Elizabeth in 1559, which assumed such power under Charles I and Laud as to be called the English Inquisition.

In 1634/5 two parishioners from St. Bartholomew's were summoned to appear: (fn. 36) one Francis Hill, a bookseller, was required to bring a catalogue of the books taken at his house; the other, Mary White, a spinster, was summoned, but on what charge is not shown. (fn. 37)

The other case occurred in 1639. The churchwardens of the parish seem to have refused to pay the wage of Keble, the parish clerk. Dr. Duck, the chancellor of the Bishop of London, was thereupon instructed to draw up a report touching the rate of wage. (fn. 38) This being found to be four pence a quarter, (fn. 39) it was decreed that the churchwardens should be compelled to pay the wage, with arrears from May 1638, when a previous inhabition had been granted by the Court. (fn. 40) Payment was again refused, so attachment was decreed against three parishioners to detain them in custody until the wage was paid. (fn. 41) This having no effect the Court decreed that Henry Garrett and four other parishioners of the parish named should be excommunicated. (fn. 42) This sentence was executed on the 15th October 1640, (fn. 43) but the churchwardens were absolved on the 13th of the month following, and there the record ends: (fn. 44) it was in that year that Laud was impeached by the Long Parliament, and the Court of Star Chamber abolished.

Among the papers relating to the trial of Laud in 1644 is a breviate of the articles against him by the churchwardens of St. Bartholomew's. They were proved by Henry Garrett, who complained of the detention of his suit for four years, that he was committed to prison six times, and afterwards excommunicated by the archbishop.

Another important event that occurred in Westfield's rectorate was the conversion, by the Archdeacon of London, of the open vestry of the parish into a select vestry, which occurred in the year 1607: this was done on the complaint of the parishioners that 'the parish being increased by many buildings many inconveniences arose from a disagreeing multitude', as is fully explained farther on. (fn. 45)

The duties of the churchwardens in connexion with the management of the affairs of the parish were constantly increasing, and as they acted under the direction of the vestry it is not surprising that a limited number of vestrymen was desirable for the transaction of business. (fn. 46) It was at this time, in 1614, that we find bonds of £20 and £40 being obtained by the churchwardens to secure the maintenance of a child which for some cause had become chargeable to the parish. (fn. 47) When a boy was old enough to learn a trade it was the churchwardens, by direction of the vestry, who had to apprentice him; the earliest indenture of apprenticeship in the parish safe is dated 1616. (fn. 48)

In 1612, as already seen, (fn. 49) the advowson of the rectory changed hands when it was conveyed by Robert, the 3rd Baron Rich, with the rest of his property in the parish, to his youngest son Henry on his marriage with Isabel Cope. Previous to that, in 1606, it would appear that Robert Lord Rich had had an intention of selling the property, for on the 15th July of that year the Court of Aldermen appointed a Committee to confer with Lord Rich 'touching the purchasing of the late dissolved priorye of greate St. Bartholomewes nere West Smithfield, lately offered to be sold; and to make report of their proceedings therein'. (fn. 50)

In 1634 there was a claim made by or on behalf of the king (fn. 51) for payment of the endowment of a chantry in York Minster, which payment or rent was, up to the suppression of the monastery, paid out of the possessions of the priory (apparently in Bartholomew Close). As the revenues of the chantries were confiscated by Henry VIII in 1545, from that time they became the property of the king. This particular endowment had been given to keep the obit of Walter Sherlowe (or Skirlaw), bishop successively of Lichfield, Bath, and Durham, who died in the year 1406. It amounted to 26s. 8d. a year, and, as it was found at the audit of the accounts of the county of York that it had not been paid for 86 years, the total amount unpaid was £114 13s. 4d. As Henry Rich Earl of Holland had received from his father the property from which this 26s. 8d. came, the writ for its payment was issued against him. But he was able to show that when Sir Richard, then Lord Rich, his great-grandfather, re-purchased the dissolved monastery from Queen Elizabeth (19th February 1559/60), she granted him that she would yearly release, acquit, and keep him and his heirs indemnified against her heirs and successors from all corodies, rents, fees, and annuities whatsoever payable from the premises; and that therefore he held it discharged of the yearly rent for the obit of Walter Sherlowe; whereupon Sir John Banks, the Attorney-General, 'did not refuse to confess that the pleas of the Earl of Holland were true'.

Dr. Westfield was present at the first meeting of the Westminster assembly for reorganizing the church in 1643. He died on the 25th June following (1644) and was buried, as he desired in his will, (fn. 52) 'in the north east isle of the (Bristol) cathedral church next to the tomb of Paul Bushe the first bishop of that see'; that is in the north quire aisle known as the Elder Lady Chapel. His tomb is on the south side at the east end covered with a ledger stone. The inscription, recently restored, was composed by himself and runs:
Hic jacet Thomas Westfield, S.T.D.
Episcoporum infimus, peccatorum primus.
Obiit 25 Junii, Anno MDCXLIV.
Senio et maerore confectus.
Tu Lector (Quisquis es) vale & Resipisce.
Epitaphium ipse sibi dictavit vivus.
Monumentum uxor Mestissima Elizabeth Westfield.
Marito Desideratissimo posuit superstes.
Westfield [..] Meetkerke. (fn. 53)

which may be thus translated:
Here lies Thomas Westfield, D.D.
least of Bishops, chief of sinners.
He died the 25th June in the year 1644
worn out with age and sorrow.

Thou reader (whoever thou art) farewell and repent. His epitaph was dictated by himself in his life-time. His monument was erected to her much lamented husband by Elizabeth Westfield his very sorrowing wife, who survived him.

In his will (fn. 51) he wrote:

'As for my worldly goods (wherewith God hath endowed and blessed me) which (as the times now are) I know not well where they be, nor what they are, I give and bequeath them all to my dear wife Elizabeth Westfield.'

His wife bore him three children whilst he was rector of St. Bartholomew's: James and Mary, twins, baptized in the church on the 20th February 1621/2; (fn. 54) and Edward, baptized the 26th September 1629. (fn. 55) Mary was married to a Rev. Thomas Balguy, B.D., and their son Thomas was baptized in the church on the 23rd November 1642. (fn. 56)

Two collections of his sermons were published after his death:

1° 'England's Face in Isrel's Glasse, or the sinnes, mercies and judgments of both nations' (8 sermons, London, 1646, 4°. Reprinted 1655 and with 3 other sermons 1656).

2° 'The white Robe or the surplice vindicated' (4 sermons 1660, 12°. New edition 1669, 8°).

Dr. Westfield held the benefice during troublous times, commencing in the month after the Gunpowder Plot, and ending in the year of the battle of Marston Moor; but he died before the tragedies of the execution of Laud and of the king took place.

John Garrett, M.A., Rector 1644 to about 1655.

John Garrett, M.A., was 'admitted and instituted to the rectory on the 13th December 1644, in the presence of the bishop's surrogate, on the presentation of the Rt. Hon. Henry Earl of Holland, the patron'. (fn. 57) There is no mention in the register of the name of his predecessor nor why he vacated, but we know it was on the death of Bishop Westfield.

But little is known of John Garrett other than that, according to Foster, (fn. 58) he graduated B.A. from New Inn Hall, Oxford, 7th July 1628, and perhaps was admitted by incorporation at Cambridge 1631; and that a man having the same name was vicar of Totnes, Devon, at that time. We have no record to tell us for how long he held the rectory; which is no wonder as episcopacy had been abolished and the Church of England temporarily suppressed; neither have we any record as to whether he vacated the living by death, by resignation, or by deprivation. But the next rector of whom we have a record, Ralph Harrison, was here as rector in 1655 (or earlier), as we shall see directly; but there being no bishop in London his institution was not registered until 1660, and by that time the name of Harrison's predecessor had been forgotten: for the entry reads that the living was 'vacant by the natureal death of . . . the last incumbent'. As the name of the last incumbent was not known, neither may have been the cause of the vacancy. It is a fair assumption, however, that Garrett was rector when he died, and that it was his name which should have been written into the blank space. All that we know for certain is that Garrett was still rector here on the 3rd August 1645, as on that day he is described in the parish register as 'minister of this parish' on the occasion of the baptism at the church of his child Samuel. (fn. 59)

The parochial events recorded between the years 1644 and 1655 are few, as unfortunately the vestry minute book of that period is missing; but they must have been trying times, for troops were stationed in Bartholomew Close, as we know by the petition of the Earl of Westmorland in 1651, addressed to the Council of State, praying that the soldiers then quartered in his house in Bartholomew Close might be removed. (fn. 60) Moreover, the goods of such of the parishioners as were 'malignants' (fn. 61) were sequestered at this period; all the goods of the patron, Sir Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, and all his rents here and at Kensington were, in August 1648 (the year before his execution), ordered to be seized and sequestered, (fn. 62) and the property of many other parishioners was treated in the same way.

The Church of England being overturned, there were only civil marriages at this time. The parish registers give several instances of these, which are known as 'Long Parliament marriages'. The banns were published in Smithfield, Newgate, or some other market, and the marriage ceremony, such as it was, was performed by the alderman who usually (though not always) signed the register. (fn. 63)

Randolph Harrison, D.D., Rector (here) 1655–1663.

Ralph or Randolph (Radulphus) Harrison, D.D., was admitted and instituted by William Juxon, Bishop of London, (fn. 64) on the 25th August 1660. The entry states that the rectory was vacant by the natural death of the late incumbent, whose name (as we have seen above) was left blank, and that the presentation was made by Isabella, (fn. 65) Dowager Countess of Holland. (fn. 66) Her husband having been executed, the Countess presented in his place by right of her patrimony.

Although Rector Harrison was not instituted until the Restoration (29th May 1660), he must have been appointed rector in or before August 1655, for the Dowager patroness, it is recorded, was 'buried from Kensington House 1st September 1655'; (fn. 67) and Ralph Harrison as 'parson of the parish' granted a lease of one of the glebe houses on the 19th September of the same year. (fn. 68) He was either a Presbyterian or an Independent who conformed on the arrival of Charles II; or he was a royalist who took office under the terms imposed during the Commonwealth. These included the ordinances made and enforced against the observation of Easter, Christmas, and other Holy Days; and against the use of the Book of Common Prayer, either in public or in private; the penalty for offending against which a third time was a year's imprisonment.

Ralph Harrison appears very seldom either in the public or parochial records of his time. On the 29th April 1650 he (or another of the same name) occurs as a chosen delegate of the Provincial Assembly of London. This assembly was apparently Presbyterian. The minute book is preserved among the MSS. in Sion College Library, and is entitled 'The records of the provinciall assembly of London Begunne by ordinance of Parliament May 3 in the Convocation in Paules London, 1647'. A 'Mr. Harrison Minister' occurs in the same minutes three times in the year 1648, (fn. 69) which may refer to Ralph Harrison or to a William Harrison who is mentioned in the same book in October 1648. The name Harrison does not occur again in the volume, the last entry in which was the 15th August 1660. But a Ralph Harrison's name occurs in 1660 with those of three others certifying that a certain Robert Taylor of 'Little' St. Bartholomew's was a man of 'sober and godly conversation, orthodox in doctrine and ordained according to the church of England'. It is fair to assume that this Ralph Harrison was the rector of this parish. The certificate was given to accompany a petition by Robert Taylor to the king, praying for the rectory of Gydney in Lincolnshire, for the reason that, owing to his loyalty, he had been unable to obtain admission to any benefice until he was invited to assist at 'Little' St. Bartholomew's on a stipend of £20 a year. He had a wife and six children in great indigence. (fn. 70)

Harrison's signature occurs in the vestry minute books twice in the year 1662 (the earlier books are unfortunately missing): first, on the 6th May, when the vestry agreed that £400 should be levied by way of tax on the inhabitants towards the repair of the parish church; and, secondly, on the 16th October, when the beadle was instructed to 'go round the parish, house by house, to take the names of all inhabitants who had inmates in their houses, and the names of them'. This was probably in connexion with the nonconformists; something of the same sort had apparently been done by the Lord Mayor's order the year before, for the latter wrote to Secretary Nicholas on the 24th August 1661, that he had obeyed the Secretary's orders in searching at St. Bartholomew's for Major John Cobbet (or Corbet). That there had been a meeting of 300, but all were gone except 10 men and 30 women whom he had apprehended and sent to Newgate. He had given the names and addresses of the 10 men and what they will confess of their callings. They said they had met to serve God, and being told they best served God who obeyed the king, replied that they were not bound to obey him whom the spirit commanded the contrary. (fn. 71)

St. Bartholomew's, owing to its intricate streets, seems to have been a favourite resort at that time for those suffering disabilities on account of their religion. Thus when, at the restoration, the independents had to leave Westminster Abbey they came to St. Bartholomew's and found refuge in the rear portion of Middlesex House, as shown when describing the meeting-house. (fn. 72)

After the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662, a William Williamson wrote to Sir William Compton, the master of ordnance, that he had 'been busy all the week conversing with the leading men. They say that they must go to their closets and bewail their apostacy in this day of visitation. The independents and presbyterians, who could scarely give each other a good word, on the publishing of the Act of Uniformity, held a great meeting at Great St. Bartholomew's, Thames Street, (fn. 73) received the sacrament together, and have appointed a fast'. (fn. 74)

Ralph Harrison did not retain the rectory for long after the restoration, for in 1663 he ceded the living to be appointed to the rectory of St. Christopher le Stock in Threadneedle Street, where he died and where he was buried in the year 1665.

Anthony Burgess, M.A., Rector 1663–1709.

Anthony Burgess, M.A., was instituted to the rectory on the 26th August 1663, by Gilbert Sheldon, Bishop of London, in his rooms at Whitehall. The living was vacant by the cession of Randolph Harrison, D.D. He was presented by Robert, the 2nd Earl of Holland, Baron Kensington, the then patron. (fn. 75)

We know that this Anthony Burgess graduated from St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1662, and therefore he was probably very young when appointed; otherwise we have practically no records concerning him.

During the 46 years he was rector it was only occasionally that he was present even at the Easter vestry. He signed the vestry minutes in 1663, but not again until the 6th April 1666; (fn. 76) and after that not until the Easter vestry of 1679; (fn. 77) then at Easter, 1682, (fn. 78) and not again until October 1703. (fn. 79) Unfortunately 'all acts and orders of the vestry after January 1669/70' (fn. 80) and of certain meetings in the years 1674–1677 (fn. 81) 'were entered by mistake into the vellum covered book which began in the year 1619'; (fn. 82) and that book is lost, so that the following are all the records we have. In the year 1670 a velvet pall had been bought for £31, for the use of which the parishioners were charged 10s.; but in the year 1689 the church was robbed; (fn. 83) the vestry door was broken, and the plate, one of the palls, and other things were taken away. The next year the loss was made good by individuals, one of the donors being 'Mr. Anthony Burgess', 'Rector of the parish,' who 'gave a larg cupp and cover guilt with gold, his name and coat of arms being engraved thereon' (a strange device it seems to us for a chalice!) (fn. 84). The vestry minutes say that 'Mr. John Whiting, borne in the parish, gave the fellow to the above said cupp, his name and coate of armes being engraved thereon also'. (fn. 85) These cups are still in the church. The pall was replaced out of a legacy of £20 left by Madame Doncaster for the poor. (fn. 86)

The vestry looked after both church and parochial affairs during this time with much diligence. In the years 1668 (fn. 87) and 1690 (fn. 88) the churchwardens, by direction of the vestry, made inventories of church goods, and these are entered among the minutes. (fn. 89)

Also in 1686 they ordered that the churchyard 'be railed with pallisades, palles and gates on both sides and next the Ingieon house' (fn. 90) (provided for the first fire-engine); and that 'all those that had back doors into the churchyard should pay as an acknowledgment for the same £6 a year'. (fn. 91) In 1687 they made provision to maintain 'all the bells in the stepell and the Saints Bell' (the ancient Sanctus Bell).

In 1695 there is an example of one of the civil duties to which the vestry had to attend: it was 'ordered that a new payr of stocks with a wiping post be fixt in the same place where the stocks lately stood'; in 1746 the stocks again required renewal and it was ordered 'that a pair be erected with all speed', (fn. 92) but either this order was not complied with or the position of them had to be altered, because in 1754 it was ordered that 'the stocks belonging to this parish be fixed in the most convenient place in the parish without delay', (fn. 93) and in 1755 they were ordered to be fixed in the churchyard by the wall of the Coach and Horses alehouse. (fn. 94) One of the crimes for which the punishment of the stocks could be enforced is shown in two warrants, preserved in the belfry cupboard, addressed to the constable and the churchwardens of the parish in 1697. By these warrants a demand was made of 2s. each from 'Mr. Pindar keeping ye sweating house in Westmoreland Court, Bartholomew Close', and one 'James Hatten, alehouse keeper at the Cock the corner of Duck Lane, Smithfield', for profane swearing; if they did not pay their goods were to be distrained or in default they were 'to be set (publickly) in the stocks for the space of one whole hour'.

At this period the parish also had its cage, a kind of small lock-up, such as that mentioned by Bunyan as being in Vanity Fair, in which Faithful was confined. In the churchwardens' accounts for the year 1660 occurs 'given to the woman which lay in the cage 1s.', and in the same year 'pd. for mending the cage and stocks £1 15s.' A new cage was provided for the parish in 1694. We first hear of these cages in 1507, when the mayor caused one to be set up in every ward of the city for the punishment of vagabonds and rogues; but St. Bartholomew's being a 'liberty' had its own cage, which stood in the rear of the Smithfield Gate, evidently in the same position as ordered in 1755.

In 1704 it was ordered that the churchwardens should repair the east window in the church and 'treat with the workmen to do it with stone', (fn. 95) from which we gather, as already said, that the original tracery was at this time still in the windows. (fn. 96)

It was during Anthony Burgess's rectorate, in the year 1665, that this parish—in common with the rest of London—suffered grievously from the plague. The deaths registered in the parish in that year totalled 244, of which 139 were in August, 86 in September, and 11 in October, 7 in November, and 1 in December; or about 25 per cent of the whole population of the parish, (fn. 97) and an average of more than one in each family. In the following year there were, from January to September, eleven deaths registered from the same cause. All the entries are marked 'plague' in the registers, and are as carefully written as in ordinary times. (fn. 98)

The Great Fire of London which followed the plague in 1666 fortunately stopped at Pie Corner in Giltspur Street, opposite to which, at the corner of Cock Lane, has recently been re-erected the gilt figure of the fat boy, emblematical of gluttony; as a warning against which the great fire was said to have commenced in Pudding Lane and ended at Pie Corner. The fire lasted from the 2nd to the 6th September. It extended as far as the Temple in the west, but fortunately it did not destroy St. Bartholomew's Hospital, nor, so far as we know, did it touch the parish of St. Bartholomew the Great. (fn. 99) A contemporary letter addressed to Lord Conway, on the 8th September 1666, gives the following account of the fire: 'from the Tower to the Temple there remains only Smithfield, St. Bartholomew's, Aldersgate, and part of Broad Street; the fire being stopped before it came to Sir Eliab Harvey's, whose house is preserved with Sir John Shaw's and Gresham College, and all Bishopsgate Street, Leadenhall Street, Duke's Place, and so to Aldgate'. Newcourt gives the names of 85 churches that were burnt and the following list of 22 that were not burnt: (fn. 100)

Allhallows, Barking. Churches without the walls but within the liberties.
Allhallows, Staining.
Allhallows the Wall.
St. Alphage. St. Andrew, Holborn.
" Andrew Undershaft. " Bartholomew the Great.
" Ethelburgh. " Bartholomew the Less.
" Helen. " Botolph, Aldersgate.
" James, Duke's Place. " Botolph, Aldgate.
" Katherine Colman. " Botolph, Bishopsgate.
" Katherine Creechurch. " Dunstan West.
" Martin Outwich. " Giles, Cripplesgate.
" Olave Hartstreet. Trinity Minories.
" Peter Poor.

Christ Church, Newgate Street, was destroyed, and the Blue Coat boys were provided for at St. Bartholomew's. They continued to attend here until the year 1672, when they returned to a temporary wooden 'tabernacle' erected within the quire of Christ Church; it being found very inconvenient for the boys to attend at St. Bartholomew's. But they were attending here again in 1680, when it was agreed 'that the lecturer of St. Bartholomew the Great should have xs per qr. paid to him as the gift of the house, for soe long time as the children go to that church and no longer; the parish having been very kind in the entertainment of the children at their church, since the late fire hath burnt down Christ Church'; (fn. 101) but by the year 1683 they had once more returned to the wooden tabernacle.

The first record of the custom of giving 10s. to the rector for his sermon on Good Friday and 10s. to the poor widows on the same day, occurs in the churchwardens' accounts for the year 1686; unfortunately the accounts are missing from that time back to the year 1666, and the vestry minutes throw no light on the origin of the custom. In 1686 the entry reads 'pd. Mr. Burgess for his sermon and the poor widows £1 0s. 0d.'; in 1690 'pd. doctor's sermon 10s., given at the grave stone 10s.'; in 1693 it reads 'pd. Mr. Burgess for sermon on Good Friday 10s.'; and in 1699 'given to the poor widows at the stone 10s.; given to the minister 10s.' The distribution of sixpenny pieces to poor widows on a stone in the graveyard on Good Friday morning still continues. In the year 1888, as it was unknown how the custom originated, and as there was no endowment for its support, there was some probability of its being relinquished, but a Mr. G. W. Butterworth then came forward and gave £22 10s. to be invested, to provide the 20 sixpences and buns for the children. (fn. 102) Of this the Charity Commission took charge, although the Government of that time had recently swept away, by their City of London Parochial Charities Act, all such doles for the poor (pl. XCII b, p. 243).

We also learn from the churchwardens' accounts the occasions on which the ancient bells of the parish were rung. On the 2nd February 1625/6 they were rung for the coronation of Charles I, and in 1632 on the anniversary of his coronation. In 1629 they were rung for the Earl of Westmorland, when he succeeded to his father's house in the parish. In 1631 and many years following they were rung to celebrate the discovery of the plot of Guy Fawkes in 1605. The principal records in Rector Burgess's time regarding the ringing are: on June 1st 1685, after the accession of James II, 'given the ringers that day the Parliament sat 2s. 6d.' On July 7th, the same year, 'the ringers the day Monmouth was routed 2s. 6d.' The Duke of Monmouth, the natural son of Charles II by Lucy Walters, claimed the crown as head of the protestants. On October 13th the bells were rung 'by precept, to welcome the king on the 8th of this month'; and also 'by precept' 'for ye king's coming to ye crown'; and 'on St. Thomas' Day 1s. 6d.' for the ward elections. On the 13th January 1685/6 the churchwardens paid for a drink for the ringers on Christmas Day. In 1694 the bells were rung for the birthday of William III, and on the 5th November for 'gun powder treason', when there was also a bonfire; and five days later there was 'paid the ringers for ringing day and night at the king's coming home' (from Holland) 6s. And then on the death of Queen Mary, which took place on the 28th December following, there was paid 'for tolling the bell for the Queen 5s.' On the conclusion of the Peace of Ryswick there was, on September 14th, 'given the ringers about a peace concluded, a precept from my Lord Mayor, 7s. 6d.', and on the 15th November 'at the King's landing 3s. 6d.', and on the next day at his 'entrance' 3s. 6d. The following day, November 17th, there was 'paid the ringers on Queen Elizabeth's birthday 2s. 6d.' It is noteworthy that the regular ringing of Queen Elizabeth's birthday went on until 1708, a hundred years after her death and six years after the accession of Queen Anne.

The Table of Fees to be paid the rector and churchwardens, the clerk, sexton, searchers and bearers of the parish were set out at length in 1635, and is preserved among the Miscellaneous Charters in Lambeth Palace Library, and is here printed in the Appendix. (fn. 103) The sexton's fee 'for knowling the great bell by the houre' was 6d., 'for any of the other bells' 4d. 'To the churchwardens for the knell with the great bell 3s. 4d.', and 'for peales with all the bells 5s.' For a stranger the fees were double. The fees for burial without coffins were less than for those with coffins. Graves were to be seven feet deep and viewed by the churchwardens. The fee to either of the searchers for searching a parishioner who had died was 4d., a stranger 8d. The fee to the rector for opening the ground in the quire was 36s. 8d., and nothing to the churchwardens; but in the body of the church the fee was 20s. for the churchwardens and 2s. 6d. for the rector.

In 1720 the vestry agreed that the price of burials in the chancel should be raised, (fn. 104) and in 1762 the advanced prices were agreed by the VicarGeneral, and were then entered in the Episcopal Registers at St. Paul's. (fn. 105)

In 1800 the churchwardens found the black cloaks for the bearers, but in 1811 the parish bearers were abolished for negligence, and undertakers had to find their own bearers, as is now the general custom.

At this time everything possible was done in favour of the protestants and against the papists; thus there is preserved in the belfry cupboard an announcement by the Bishop of London, printed by Samuel Roycroft, that the king had commanded him to direct contributions to be made for the relief of necessitous protestants; collections to be made on the following Sunday in church, and on the Monday the rector and churchwardens, assisted by one or more common councilmen of the ward, were to make a house-to-house collection for the same object. And in the churchwardens' accounts for the year 1699/1700 occurs, 'March 1st, expended on going about the parish ffive or six times in taking ye names of papists and reputed papists with the constables, my partner present, 10s.', and on the 6th February 1701/2, 'spent in search after papists by my Lord Mayor's precept 3s.' This precept, a copy of which is in the parish safe, (fn. 106) was issued in consequence of a plot having been discovered in 1696 to assassinate the king on his return from hunting in Richmond Park, and information had now been received that great numbers of popish priests, Jesuits and papists had publicly assembled together to hear and say mass. The alderman was instructed to cause a houseto-house visitation, and an account to be rendered of all who were papists, reputed papists, or other persons disaffected to His Majesty's Government. They were also to inquire if there were any mass housespopish schools, seminaries or popish books printed or vended within the precinct, and by whom, in order that they might be proceeded against according to law. The House of Lords, on the 30th October 1680, had ordered a similar house-to-house search as a result of the 'popish plot' fabricated by Titus Oates.

From the churchwardens' accounts, as well as from the registers at this time, we obtain records of burying in woollen, thus: on the 25th July 1685 there was 'paid for the oathes burying in woollen Guyan Braughton and the child 1s. 6d.' Burying in woollen was ordered by Act of Parliament in 1606 to encourage the wool trade. In 1678 it was ordered that a certificate of such burial should be signed by a magistrate, because when a body was buried in linen, a fine of 50s. had to be paid to the churchwardens for the poor. (fn. 107) Entries in the parish register in the year 1678 have an affirmation in the margin of an affidavit having been made before a justice of the peace. In 1680 it was allowed that the certificate could be signed by a minister of religion.

In the parish register of the year 1706 occurs: 'The Queens tax for marriages births and burials, and batchelors and widdowers is expired August 1, 1706', which was a tax imposed in 1694 for carrying on war with France. The registers were regularly inspected for levying the tax. As the registers recorded baptisms, and not births, a register of births had to be made in 1696, (fn. 108) because the nonconformists were not always baptized in infancy.

During Rector Burgess's time there seems to have been a special effort to bring the unbaptized to baptism; thus, in Register No. 5 occurs, 'Thomas Framblinge, a tannymore, aged 25 years, born at Mevis, was baptised ye 28 May 1695 by Mr. Torbuck, curate of this parish'. 'John Nowell ye son of William Nowell and of Judith his wife, his parents being Quakers, was baptised in ye 17th yeare of his age by Mr. Hall curate.' 'Isaac Moore, a black, borne in Jamaica, about the age of 20 years, was baptised by Mr. Hall ye 24th Feby. 1695.' 'Mary Hennica a black woman was baptised 16 Jany. 1704/5, she lived at Merchant Kents in Newstrete.' And on the same date 'Elizabeth Hennica a black child about 2 or 3 years old was baptised'.

From the same register (No. 5) we learn that foundlings were named after that part of the parish in which they were found, thus: 'William Launders Green, a parish child found on Mr. Buckheads stall in Cloath fare, was baptised, 17 June, 1683.' 'William Longlane, found in Longlane, baptised 28 Oct. 1683.' 'James Launders Green a foundling was baptized 3 Jany. 1694/5.' 'John Faircloth, a parish child, baptised' in 1709. There are other instances, as 'Bartholomew Close', 'William Ducklaine' and 'George Longlaine' in 1669. But sometimes the surname would not be taken from a place, as in 1670, when we meet with 'Thomas Fortune' and 'Mary Luck'.

Hatton, in his New View of London, (fn. 109) writing in the year 1708 says that the value of the living then was about £50 a year besides perquisites, and that there were prayers daily at eleven but no organ; of these daily prayers we have no record in the parish books.

The sexes were apparently divided in the church in the year 1706, for there is an entry in the register of that year, (fn. 110) 'John Stevens a child was buried 18 May 1706 at the 2nd pew dore of the women's side in the middle aisle of the church'.

Anthony Burgess died on 'the vi day August 1709, at 9 in ye evening' as recorded in the parish register, and was 'buried at St. Christopher's (le Stock) ye 10: of Augt: from Dean St., fetter lane,' (fn. 111) where, we learn by his will, he lived in lodgings. Why his executor decided that he should be buried at St. Christopher's does not appear: his predecessor, Ralph Harrison, was buried there because he died rector of that parish, as we have seen. The following extracts from his will are all that are of general interest: (fn. 112)
'I Anthony Burgess, clerk, parson of the parish of St. Bartholomew the Great in London' (&c.) . . . 'commend my soul to God trusting by the merits of Jesus Christ to be made partaker of everlasting salvation and my body I [sic] commit to the ground to be interred devoutly but privately at the discretion of my executor. . . . I give and bequeath to my nephew Anthony Smith, clerk, all and every my booths and booth grounds in Sturbridge ffair near Cambridge . . . and to the said Anthony Smith the lease of my house in Throgmorton Street, London, let to Mr. Daniell Barron' (another house in the same street and his household stuff) 'standing and being in my lodgings at Mr. Bignall's house in Dean Street, Fetter Lane.'
He gave to three nephews 1s. each only; and to the poor of the parish £50, making his nephew Anthony Smith his sole executor. The will is dated the 27th July 1709, and was proved the 6th August following: this is the same day as his burial is entered in the register.


  • 1. Reg. Lond., Bancroft, 63.
  • 2. MS. Hist. of Jesus Coll. Cambs., temp. Charles II, at Jesus Coll.
  • 3. Newcourt, Rep. i, 95; Wood, Fasti Oxon. i, 190.
  • 4. Le Neve, Fasti, ii, 387.
  • 5. Ib., 370.
  • 6. So in the parish register in his own hand (Reg. i, 199).
  • 7. Foster, Alumni Oxon.
  • 8. Newcourt, Rep. i, 652.
  • 9. On the information of Mr. E. W. Reeves.
  • 10. Le Neve, Fasti, ii, 346.
  • 11. Le Neve, Fasti, i, 216.
  • 12. Lloyd says 1616.
  • 13. David Lloyd, Memoirs (1668), p. 300.
  • 14. D. N. B. says he was not appointed to Hornsey until 1615. Newcourt says the date appears not.
  • 15. Consecrated probably 26 June 1642: Le Neve, i, 216.
  • 16. E. C. Cater, Notes on Sion Coll.
  • 17. Probably Benedicat te Dominus ex Sion: Ps. 133 (Vulgate, ver. 4).
  • 18. Parish Reg. i, 199.
  • 19. Above, p. 283.
  • 20. Wills, App. I, p. 553.
  • 21. Ib., p. 553.
  • 22. App. II, p. 535.
  • 23. Strype, Stow, Bk. iii, 238 a.
  • 24. Parish Safe, P. B. i.
  • 25. Cal. State Pap., 1628/9, p. 406 (29).
  • 26. At the end of this Preachers' book is a list of collections made in 1641.
  • 27. Wills, App. I, p. 554.
  • 28. D. N. B.
  • 29. A sermon preached in the cathedral church of St. Paul on the fourteenth day of November 1641, in the evening, by Dr. Westfield, one of the prebendaries of the said church, London. Printed by J. Raworth, for J. Partridge, and is to be sold in Cheapside, at the sign of the 'Cock' in Goldsmiths' Row, 1641.
  • 30. Compare Ovid, Tr. i, 9, 5.
  • 31. Above, p. 322.
  • 32. Lloyd, Memoirs, 300.
  • 33. Seventy years.
  • 34. Par. Reg. i, f. 196.
  • 35. Ib. (though after Westfield's death it was before the induction of his successor).
  • 36. Cal. State Pap., Dom., 1634/5.
  • 37. 15 Oct. 1635, p. 87.
  • 38. Ib., 1639/40, p. 277.
  • 39. Ib., 1640, p. 433.
  • 40. Ib., 1640, p. 384, 30 Jan.
  • 41. Ib., p. 416.
  • 42. Ib., p. 433.
  • 43. Ib., p. 385.
  • 44. Ib., 1641–3 (par. 64). These papers are endorsed 'Article 6' and were probably used at Laud's trial.
  • 45. Below, p. 390.
  • 46. Below, p. 390.
  • 47. App. II, p. 520.
  • 48. Ib., p. 521.
  • 49. Above, p. 293.
  • 50. Repertories, Guildhall, 27, fo. 240 b, 15 July 1606.
  • 51. Plac. Scaccario, 10 Car. I, M'mas, 26 Oct. (1634).
  • 52. Wills, App. I, p. 555.
  • 53. Possibly her maiden name.
  • 54. Par. Reg. i, 15.
  • 55. Ib., 36.
  • 56. Ib., 66.
  • 57. Reg. Lond., Laud and Juxon, f. 114.
  • 58. Foster, Alumni Oxon.
  • 59. Par. Reg. i, f. 72.
  • 60. Above, p. 266.
  • 61. See epitaph, Jas. Rivers 1641; below, p. 462.
  • 62. Cal. Com. for Adv. Money, ii, 628, 10 Nov. 1645.
  • 63. Par. Reg. iii, pp. 57–74.
  • 64. Reg. Lond., Laud and Juxon, f. 131, the year before his translation to Canterbury.
  • 65. Née Cope.
  • 66. See genealogical table, p. 292.
  • 67. Complete Peerage, iv, 241.
  • 68. Reg. Lond., Henchman, f. 74.
  • 69. See pp. 29, 36 of 'the Records of the Provincial Assembly'.
  • 70. State Pap., Dom., 1660, No. 84, 1. Little St. Bartholomew's is the hospital church.
  • 71. State Pap., Dom., 1661–2, p. 70. Col. Cobbet was afterwards sent prisoner to Elizabeth Castle, Jersey, p. 118.
  • 72. Above, p. 167.
  • 73. An error of the writer. There was only one St. Bartholomew the Great.
  • 74. Cal. State Pap., Dom., 1662, 1 June, p. 396.
  • 75. Reg. Lond., Henchman, f. 62.
  • 76. V. M. Bk. i, 36.
  • 77. Ib., 73.
  • 78. Ib., 87.
  • 79. Ib., 329.
  • 80. V. M. Bk. i, 39.
  • 81. Ib., 9, 51, 59, 63.
  • 82. Ib., 39.
  • 83. Ib., 472.
  • 84. The chalice at Felsted has Rich's arms.
  • 85. App. II, list of plate, 1690.
  • 86. V. M. Bk. i, 469.
  • 87. Ib., 463.
  • 88. Ib., 473. The entry is not dated, but the churchwardens who sign are those elected Easter 1690, p. 500.
  • 89. App. II, p. 500.
  • 90. V. M. Bk. i, 120.
  • 91. Ib., 126.
  • 92. Ib. iii, 250.
  • 93. Ib., 321.
  • 94. Ib., 329; sec also p. 138.
  • 95. V. M. Bk. i, 349.
  • 96. Above, p. 18.
  • 97. Above, p. 249.
  • 98. Par. Reg. iii, ff. 167–72. After 4 Sept. 1665 the entries were made in the previous register, ii, f. 183.
  • 99. See p. 287.
  • 100. Newcourt, Rep. i, 235.
  • 101. Pearce, Annals Christ's Hosp., p. 197.
  • 102. Parish Safe, Deed 77, App. II, p. 576.
  • 103. App. II, p. 559.
  • 104. V. M. Bk. ii, 214.
  • 105. App. II, p. 562.
  • 106. Parish Safe, D. 90.
  • 107. Par. Reg. iv, 51.
  • 108. Ib. iv.
  • 109. i, 146.
  • 110. Par. Reg. iv.
  • 111. Ib., 110.
  • 112. Wills, App. I, p. 571.