The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3Allen, Thomas
St. Anne, otherwise St. Agnes.
On the north side of St. Anne's-lane, within Aldersgate, is the church, which is so called from its dedication to St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, and its situation.
The church was anciently denominated St. Anne's in the Willows, from the number of trees of that species growing in its neighbourhood. Its foundation cannot be traced, but it appears to be of some antiquity, by John de Chimerby being collated thereto, on the ot . It is a rectory, the patronage of which was in the dean and canons of , until that church. with its appurtenances, was annexed to the abbey of ; by virtue of which, the abbot and convent, and, after them, the bishop of , became the patrons; but on the suppression of the bishopric of , queen Mary, in the year , granted the advowson to the bishop of London, and his successors, in whom it still remains.
The old church shared the common fate in the great fire of ; soon after which, the present was erected in its stead, and the parish of St. John, Zachary, united to it.
This church stands in a burying ground, on the north side of St. Anne's-lane. The exterior is very plain. The plan of it is square, with a tower of the same form, attached to the western front, to the sides of which are appended vestries, erected in a dwelling-house style. The upper story of the tower, which is the only portion visible, has a square window, bounded by an architrave, in each face, and is finished by a cornice and parapet, above which is a small mean turret, ending in a vane, which supports the letter
The south front of the church has windows with arched heads, enclosed in rustic frontispieces: the centre is higher and larger than the others. Below the western window is a rusticated arched doorway, flanked with pilasters. The angles of the church are guarded by rustic work, and the elevation finishes with a cornice, a pediment being added to that portion of the wall which is above the central window, and which is, in consequence, higher than the remainder. The east front is similar, excepting that the pediment is omitted, and the lateral windows bricked up. The north front is similar to the south, the smaller windows being walled up. The walls are constructed of red brick, with stone dressings, and the roofs covered with tiles, which, not being concealed by the parapet, has an unsightly appearance. The walls have recently been covered with stucco, and painted to imitate stone. The interior is very pleasing; corinthian columns, on lofty pedestals, form a square in the centre of the church; they support rich entablatures, issuing from the side walls of the church, where they rest upon corbels of a composed character, very tasteful in their ornaments; they meet in a right angle above the columns; in consequence, a cruciform shape results, very appropriate to the nature of the building, and of the best forms for distributing light into the church. The columns are painted in imitation of yellow marble, and some eminently tasteful improver has painted a long strip beneath the corbels, to create the appearance of pilasters. The compartments forming the arms of the cross are each covered with an arched ceiling, enriched with square panels, in handsome borders, and bounded by arches, whose soffits are charged with coffers and roses, forming a large square centre, which is simply groined, and adorned with an expanded flower upon the point of junction of the groins. The flat ceilings occupying the spaces at the angles of the church not comprehended on the cruciform plan, are enriched with circles, enclosing wreaths of foliage and fruit, with cherubim in the angles. The pulpit and reading desk are affixed to the pedestals of the easternmost pillars. The altar screen is in compartments; the central is flanked by corinthian pilasters, and covered with scrolls, disposed pedimentally at the sides of an urn; the lateral divisions have carved festoons of fruit in the upper panels; the east window has an irradiation surrounding
|the Hebrew name of the Deity in its arch in stained glass. A western gallery extends across the church; in it is an organ in a handsome case. The font is situated in the vestibule under the gallery; it is a neat circular basin, on an octagonal pillar, and covered with a canopy of carved wood-work.|
The church was erected by Sir C. Wren, in the year , at the expence of no more than ; the dimensions are feet every way, the plan being, as before remarked, square, and the tower and turret feet high.
The organ, erected in , by subscription, occupies the only gallery in the church. Before it are the royal arms emblazoned. Among the monuments in this church, before the repairs made about years ago, was the following:--
Peter Heiwood, younger son of Peter Heiwood, of the counsellors of Jamaica, by Grace, daughter of Sir John Muddeford, knt. and bart., great grandson to Peter Heiwood, of Heiwood, in the county palatine of Lancaster, who apprehended Guy Faux, with his dark lanthorn; and for his zealous prosecution of Papists, as justice of peace, was stabbed in Westminster-hall by John James, a Dominican friar, AD. : obit .
At present there are no monuments or epitaphs worthy notice in the church.