The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas
1827

St. Nicholas Cole Abbey.

St. Nicholas Cole Abbey.

On the south side of Old Fish-street, at the west corner of Labour-in-vain-hill, stands the parish church of St. Nicholas, Cole-abbey; which is so denominated from being dedicated to St. Nicholas, bishop of Mera; but the reason of the additional epithet is not known; some conjecturing it to be a corruption of Golden-abbey, and others, that it is derived from Cold-abbey, or Coldhey, from its cold or bleak situation. It is known that there was a church in the same place, before the year 1377, when, according to Stow, the steeple, and south aisle, which were not so old as the rest of the church, were rebuilt; but the last structure being consumed in the great conflagration in 1666, the present church was built in its place, and the parish of St. Nicholas, Olave, united to it. This was the first church built and completed after the fire.

The advowson of this rectory was anciently in the dean and chapter of St. Martin's-le-Grand; but, upon the grant of that collegiate church to the abbot and canons of Westminster, the patronage devolved to that convent, in whom it continued till the dissolution of their monastery; when, coming to the crown, it remained therein till queen Elizabeth, in the year 1560, granted the patronage thereof to Thomas Reeve, and George Evelyn, and their heirs, in soccage, who conveying it to others, it came at last to the family of the Hackers, one whereof was colonel Francis Hacker, commander of the guard that conducted king Charles I. to and from his trial, and, at last, to the scaffold; for which, after the restoration, he was executed as a traitor, when the advowson reverted to the crown, in whom it still continues.

It is a plain substantial building, in plan shewing an oblong square, the east and north fronts of the elevation being the only portions entirely open to observation; they are faced with stone, and the angles rusticated. The tower is situated at the north-west angle of the church, within the square of its walls; the elevation is made into two principal stories. In the lower, or basement, is a lintelled doorway, surmounted by a cornice, resting on consoles, on the north side, above which is a circular window. In the next story is a circular aperture, surmounted by an elliptical pediment, and intended for a clock dial, above which is an arched window, crowned with a cornice resting on consoles; the elevation finishes with an attic, in the centre of which is a pediment, and at the angles are urns; the other faces of this story are but repetitions of that already described; from within the parapet rises a conical spire, covered with lead, and pierced at intervals with two series of circular openings, and ending in a pedestal of a poligonal form, sustaining a gallery fronted by iron rails, within which a square pedestal is formed, ending in a globular dome, sustaining a ball and vane. The north front of the church has five windows with arched heads, surmounted by cornices resting on consoles, and the elevation is finished by a parapet. The east end has three windows, and in its general appearance corresponds with the north side of the church, which has already been described. The west front has a single window with an arched head; it abuts on a narrow court, and that portion of the south side, which is not concealed, has two windows and a doorway, and is built of brick. The interior is remarkably plain; the walls of the church are made by pilasters of the Corinthian order, taking their rise from wainscotted plinths the height of the pewings, and ending beneath an entablature, applied as a finish to the walls, into divisions corresponding with the number of windows: the south wall has but one window in the body of the church, but the divisions correspond with the opposite side; it appears to have had a second window nearer to the east, which is now walled up. A portion of the plan at the west end, equal in breadth with the church, is divided from the remainder, and forms a vestibule; the partition wall is pierced towards the church with three arches, springing from bold piers capped with simple impost cornices; the inner faces having pilasters to correspond with the other portions; the arches are filled to about half their height, by screens of oak highly enriched with pilasters of the Ionic order, sustaining an entablature, surmounted by an attic, all the pilasters being richly ornamented with carving of fruit and foliage in relief: the arch towards the north sustains the tower; the two others are occupied by galleries, in the central one is the organ, erected in 1824, and opened on the 13th June, and in the other is a gallery for the charity children of the ward. By this judicious arrangement the tower, which is situated within the body of the church, is prevented from breaking in upon the design, as it does at St. Mary Abchurch and elsewhere. The ceiling is horizontal, and rests on the cornice of the entablature before noticed; it is partitioned by flying cornices into square pannels in rows, their size and number determined by the divisions of the main building. The altar screen occupies the dado of the central eastern window, it is a plain composition of oak, enriched with some handsome carving, and made by two Corinthian pillars into three divisions, and surmounted by an entablature. The pulpit and desks, which were formerly attached to the north wall, were placed in one group in the centre aisle of the area in front, and at a short distance from the altar rails, when the church was last repaired in 1824; the former is hexagonal, and coeval with the church.

The font is a plain basin of statuary marble, sustained on a balluster of black marble, with white capital and base; it occupies a pew near the central entrance. Against the north wall is a tablet of benefactions to the united parishes, below which is the following inscription: This church was built by act of parliament after the dreadful fire of London, Anno Dom. 1666. Sir Christopher Wren, architect. The cost was 5,500l.

It was finished after the fire in 1677; the amount allowed by statute amounted to 5,042l. 6s. 11d.; the residue was supplied by the parish.

The dimensions are, length, 63; breadth, 43; height of church, 36, and of steeple, 135 feet.

In the church is a neat tablet to the memory of George Nelson, esq. lord mayor 1766, died Nov. 23, 1766, aged 57.

At the north-east corner of Little Trinity-lane, on the site of the former parish church of the Holy Trinity, is the

On the south side of , at the west corner of Labour-in-vain-hill, stands the parish church of St. Nicholas, Cole-abbey; which is so denominated from being dedicated to St. Nicholas, bishop of Mera; but the reason of the additional epithet is not known; some conjecturing it to be a corruption of Golden-abbey, and others, that it is derived from Cold-abbey, or Coldhey, from its cold or bleak situation. It is known that there was a church in the same place, before the year , when, according to Stow, the steeple, and south aisle, which were not so old as the rest of the church, were rebuilt; but the last structure being consumed in the great conflagration in , the present church was built in its place, and the parish of St. Nicholas, Olave, united to it. This was the church built and completed after the fire.

The advowson of this rectory was anciently in the dean and chapter of ; but, upon the grant of that collegiate church to the abbot and canons of , the patronage devolved to that convent, in whom it continued till the dissolution of their monastery; when, coming to the crown, it remained therein till queen Elizabeth, in the year , granted the patronage thereof to Thomas Reeve, and George Evelyn, and their heirs, in soccage, who conveying it to others, it came at last to the family of the Hackers, whereof was colonel Francis Hacker, commander of the guard that conducted king Charles I. to and from his trial, and, at last, to the scaffold; for which, after the restoration, he was executed as a traitor, when the advowson reverted to the crown, in whom it still continues.

It is a plain substantial building, in plan shewing an oblong square, the east and north fronts of the elevation being the only portions entirely open to observation; they are faced with stone, and the angles rusticated. The tower is situated at the north-west angle of the church, within the square of its walls; the elevation is made into principal stories. In the lower, or basement, is a

720

lintelled doorway, surmounted by a cornice, resting on consoles, on the north side, above which is a circular window. In the next story is a circular aperture, surmounted by an elliptical pediment, and intended for a clock dial, above which is an arched window, crowned with a cornice resting on consoles; the elevation finishes with an attic, in the centre of which is a pediment, and at the angles are urns; the other faces of this story are but repetitions of that already described; from within the parapet rises a conical spire, covered with lead, and pierced at intervals with series of circular openings, and ending in a pedestal of a poligonal form, sustaining a gallery fronted by iron rails, within which a square pedestal is formed, ending in a globular dome, sustaining a ball and vane. The north front of the church has windows with arched heads, surmounted by cornices resting on consoles, and the elevation is finished by a parapet. The east end has windows, and in its general appearance corresponds with the north side of the church, which has already been described. The west front has a single window with an arched head; it abuts on a narrow court, and that portion of the south side, which is not concealed, has windows and a doorway, and is built of brick. The interior is remarkably plain; the walls of the church are made by pilasters of the Corinthian order, taking their rise from wainscotted plinths the height of the pewings, and ending beneath an entablature, applied as a finish to the walls, into divisions corresponding with the number of windows: the south wall has but window in the body of the church, but the divisions correspond with the opposite side; it appears to have had a window nearer to the east, which is now walled up. A portion of the plan at the west end, equal in breadth with the church, is divided from the remainder, and forms a vestibule; the partition wall is pierced towards the church with arches, springing from bold piers capped with simple impost cornices; the inner faces having pilasters to correspond with the other portions; the arches are filled to about half their height, by screens of oak highly enriched with pilasters of the Ionic order, sustaining an entablature, surmounted by an attic, all the pilasters being richly ornamented with carving of fruit and foliage in relief: the arch towards the north sustains the tower; the others are occupied by galleries, in the central is the organ, erected in , and opened on the , and in the other is a gallery for the charity children of the ward. By this judicious arrangement the tower, which is situated within the body of the church, is prevented from breaking in upon the design, as it does at and elsewhere. The ceiling is horizontal, and rests on the cornice of the entablature before noticed; it is partitioned by flying cornices into square pannels in rows, their size and number determined by the divisions of the main building. The altar screen occupies the dado of the central eastern window, it is a plain composition of oak, enriched with some

721

handsome carving, and made by Corinthian pillars into divisions, and surmounted by an entablature. The pulpit and desks, which were formerly attached to the north wall, were placed in group in the centre aisle of the area in front, and at a short distance from the altar rails, when the church was last repaired in ; the former is hexagonal, and coeval with the church.

The font is a plain basin of statuary marble, sustained on a balluster of black marble, with white capital and base; it occupies a pew near the central entrance. Against the north wall is a tablet of benefactions to the united parishes, below which is the following inscription:

This church was built by act of parliament after the dreadful fire of London, Anno Dom.

1666

.

Sir Christopher Wren

, architect. The cost was

5,500l.

It was finished after the fire in ; the amount allowed by statute amounted to ; the residue was supplied by the parish.

The dimensions are, length, ; breadth, ; height of church, , and of steeple, feet.

In the church is a neat tablet to the memory of George Nelson, esq. lord mayor , died , aged .

At the north-east corner of , on the site of the former parish church of the Holy Trinity, is the

 
View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Dedication
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
collapseCHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
collapseCHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
collapseCHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
collapseCHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
collapseCHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
collapseCHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
collapseCHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
collapseCHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
collapseCHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
collapseCHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--History
Antiquities
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/44306
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00068
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights