The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3Allen, Thomas
St. Clement Eastcheap.
This church is dedicated to St. Clement, a disciple of St. Peter the apostle, and ordained bishop of Rome in the year . It has the addition of , because of its situation, and to distinguish it from other churches dedicated to the same saint. It was founded in or before , for William de Southlee was rector in that year; and, before the suppression of religious houses, was in the gift of the abbot and convent of St. Peter, ; but queen Mary, in the year of her reign, gave the advowson thereof to the bishop of London for ever, who now is the patron.
It is a plain edifice of dark red brick, with stone dressings, situated on the east side of the lane, to which it gives name, at the corner of a court called church court. The south side of the church is concealed by houses. The plan is nearly square; it consists of a body and south aisle, with a square tower at the west end of the latter. The west front is in divisions; the centre contains the principal entrance, which is arched and enclosed in a heavy frontispiece of stone; above this is a large arched window, bounded with an architrave and now walled up; the elevation is finished with a cornice and pediment. The lateral divisions have each windows, the lower is long with an arched head, and the upper square and slightly arched; the elevations finish with cornices and parapets. The tower is in unequal stories; the contains, in the western front, similar windows to those last described, the has only a circular window, and the has a square headed window in each face, bounded with an architrave and surmounted with a cornice ; the elevation finishes with a block cornice and ballustraded parapet. The north side of the church has series of windows similar to those in the west front, the lower range are walled up; beneath the from the west is a lintelled entrance. The east front, like the western, is in divisions; the central contains a large arched window, with an attached vestry room beneath, and the side divisions have windows similar to the western front; at the east end of the aisle is small window, and on the south side of it were once circular windows, which are now walled up. All the angles of the building are rusticated.
In the interior, the division between the nave and aisle is made by composite columns on lofty octangular pedestals, and the same number of pilasters sustaining an architrave; the different walls of the church are ornamented with pilasters upon pedestals, attached to the piers between the windows, also supporting an architrave which is carried round the whole building; above the architrave the walls are continued as an attic, and are lighted by the upper range of windows, and on the south side by a clerestory to correspond with the opposite ; the ceiling is partly flat and partly coved; the latter portion is pierced with arches formed above the windows, and rising from a portion of a frieze above the columns and pilasters; that part of the ceiling which is horizontal has a large circular division in the centre, enclosed in a handsome wreath composed of various fruits, between square pannels. The roof of the aisle is quite plain. The altar is highly enriched, the pilasters are painted in imitation of verd antique, with gilt capitals, and the arches above are painted with angels blowing trumpets; the soffit of the window with coffers and roses. The screen is composed of pair of Corinthian columns, sustaining pediments: the central elliptical, the others angular; the intercolumniations bear the usual inscriptions; in the tympanum of the central pediment is a dove in an irradiation; the pannels contain palm branches, &c. in lime tree. Upon the altar are splendidly bound books, having crimson velvet covers with silver clasps and corners, and other enrichments of the same metal.
The wood work of this church is unusually heavy and very richly carved. The pulpit in the south side of the church is hexagonal, and has an immense sounding board of the same form; the enrichments are cherubs, festoons, and scrolls, which, with the ballusters attached to the stairs, are executed in the most splendid style, and are well worthy of attention. The aisle contains a gallery, the front of which is richly pannelled in the style of the pulpit. The western gallery is plain and sustained upon Ionic pillars, it is evidently the work of an inferior hand; it contains a very large and powerful organ; the case is marked with the same massive character as the rest of the wood work. At the north eastern corner of the church is a porch, covering the entrance to the vestry, adorned with Corinthian pilasters. The font, an octagon basin, in a pillar of the same form, is very finely sculptured, and stands within a tastefully carved ballustrade near the altar. The cover of the font is ornamented with scrolls in the form of a crown, within which is a white dove.
This church was erected in , under the superintendance of sir Christopher Wren; the expense was The length is feet, the breadth , the height , and that of the tower feet.
There are no monuments worthy of notice in this church; in the vestry is a plan of the parish made in .