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

Allen, Thomas
1827

St. Catherine Cree Church.

St. Catherine Cree Church.

At the south-east corner of Cree-church-lane, in Leadenhall-street, stands the church of St. Catherine Cree. This church received its name from being dedicated to St. Catherine, the virgin before mentioned, and is distinguished from other churches of the same name, by the addition of Cree, or Christ, from its situation in the cemetery of the conventual church of the Holy Trinity, which was originally called Christ-church.

King Henry VIII. in his grant of the priory of the Holy Trinity to sir Thomas (afterwards lord) Audley, which will be noticed more particularly hereafter, gave this church also; the prior and canons of Christ-church having been originally, and always, patrons thereof. When lord Audley died, he, by his will, bequeathed it to the master and fellows of Magdalen college, in Cambridge, and their successors, whom he enjoined to serve the cure for ever; they leased out the impropriation to the parishioners for ninety-nine years; but a dispute arising between the college and the parish, at the expiration of the said lease in 1725, about a renewal, a lease was granted to Jerome Knapp, haberdasher of London; and, in order to settle the difference, it was agreed that one hundred and fifty pounds per annum should be raised by the parishioners in lieu of tithes, &c. out of which the officiating curate should he paid fifty pounds per annum, for the first ten years, besides surplice fees, &c. and, after the expiration of that term, seventy pounds per annum, besides surplice fees; and this agreement was confirmed by act of parliament in the month of May, 1727. On the back side of the north wall of the old church was a cloister, the breadth of it seven foot and above, which cloister, by the taking down of that wall, being taken into the church, gave it all its breadth to enlarge it. In digging under this wall, there was found the figure of half the face of a man, cast in lead, the mould setting likewise upon it this word, Comes. Digging under the south row of pillars, they found the skull of a man, the thickness of which was three quarters of an inch.Strype's Stow, ed. 1720, i, 65.

The architecture is interesting, as it exhibits an almost perfect specimen of the style which prevailed in the time of the first Stuarts. It consists of the most singular mixture of Italian and pointed architecture that can be conceived. The exterior is principally in the latter style. In plan, the church shews the ancient mode of distribution into nave and aisles. The west front has, in the nave or centre division, an arched entrance beneath a large window now blocked up, but showing mullions similar in design to the eastern, to be described hereafter. The north aisle has a narrow window made into two lights by a single mullion, and the south aisle is occupied by the tower, the principal part of which is more ancient than the church: in this front is a window with a pointed arch, made into two lights by a mullion. The south front of the tower has an entrance, fronted by a pediment, sustained on two Ionic columns; above which are two narrow loop-hole windows, and the upper story has in each face a circular arched window; the elevation is finished with a parapet; a turret, formed of a peristyle of columns, in a mean Tuscan order, sustaining a cupola, is erected upon the platform. The south front of the church has in the aisle four windows, nearly square in form; they are made by mullions in three lights, with arched cinquefoil heads, the central higher than the others. Below the windows are large pannels of the fantastic form always met with in works of this age; and between two of the windows is a sun-dial.Erected in 1662. Above this aisle is a clerestory; the six windows correspond in design with those in the aisle. The elevations are finished with parapets; they were formerly, however, set off with a fan-shaped ornament, on the points of reversed arches, which were destroyed by one of those tasteless improvers, who are the bane of ancient buildings. To the east wall is attached a gateway, consisting of an arch, planked with pilasters of the Ionic order, sustaining an entablature and pediment. In the tympanum of the latter is a well executed recumbent skeleton, partly covered with drapery; on a pannel beneath is the following inscription:-- THIS GATE WAS BVILTE AT THE COST AND CHARGES OF WILLIAM AVENON CITEZEN AND GOVLDSMITH OF LONDON WHO DIED IN DECEMBER ANNO DNI 1631.

It was built for an entrance to the cemetery; the space, however, immediately behind it has been wainscotted, and answers as porch to the church during divine service, and a watch-house at other times. The east wall of the church has, in the nave, a large window in the form of an upright parallelogram, made into two principal divisions, the lower of which has five lights, with arched heads, divided by upright mullions. The upper division is occupied by a large Catherine-wheel window, in allusion to the patron saint, consisting of a large circle inscribed in a square; in the centre is a smaller circle, from which diverge mullions, which are united to the outer circle by arched heads. The angles outside the large circle contain smaller ones, ornamented with quatrefoils. The window, upon the whole, is creditable to the time, and it shows that the art of construction, so beautifully and tastefully exerted in old English building, had not then quite fled the land. The aisles have windows similar to the southern front. At the north-east angle is an entrance; and the north side of the church, in its general features, resembles the southern one. The basement story of the tower serves as a porch. At the interior angle, which is clear of the walls, is an immense pier, to which is attached several upright cylinders, which, with corresponding piers attached to the walls of the church, support two pointed arches, sustaining the north and eastern walls of the superstructure; they are partly concealed by the belfry. The style of these remains is that of the fourteenth century. The base of the columus are hid beneath the pavement; but the height of the part which is above, shows that the level of the street has not been raised so considerably as has been generally supposed. The nave and aisles are divided by six arches resting upon five Corinthian columns, and two semi-columns attached to the extreme walls at each end of the church. The shafts of the columns are unfluted, and the soffits of the arches enriched with coffers and roses. Above the crowns of the arches is a string-course, upon which rises, by way of attic, the clerestory. To the piers, between the windows, are attached composite pilasters resting on the string-course; below which, and corresponding with the bases of the pilasters, are those brackets, so commonly seen in works of this period. The pilasters sustain a flat arched ceiling, groined in the pointed style, the rib diverging from the capitals of the pilasters, and waiting at a principal horizontal one in the centre; the intersections loaded with huge bosses, ornamented with the arms of benefactors. The aisles are similarly vaulted, the ceilings resting on the principal columns on one side, and brackets attached to the walls on the other. These specimens of groining are, however, in a very poor style. At the western end is a gallery, containing a fine-toned organ in a richly-carved case. The altar is adorned with a screen, composed of four Corinthian pilasters, sustaining an entablature. The pulpit and desks stand in the centre of the church: they once stood against a pillar on the north side, and the pulpit is only remarkable for being, with the communion table, formed of cedar. These particulars, and all the wood-work of the church, are of a more recent period than the main building. The half columns at the east end of the church are painted in imitation of Sienna marble, with gilt capitals. The east window is entirely filled with stained glass;It is to be regretted that a house built within a few yards of this window, the consequence of which is, that the beautiful effect of the stained glass is always totally lost. the lower compartment has the arms of George I. between those of the city of London, above which is the prince of Wales' crest, three feathers, and the motto Ich Dien, and the arms of sir James Campbell, lord mayor in 1629; above which is a rose, surmounted by a crown. In the middle compartment of the window, below the royal arms, is the following inscription in an oval: THE GIFT OF THE RT. HON. SIR SAM. STAINER, KNT., ALDERMAN AND NATIVE OF THIS WARD, LORD MAYOR OF THIS CITY IN THE FIRST YEAR OF THE REIGN OF KING GEORGE

The only monument worthy of particular notice, is one to the memory of Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, knt. It is affixed to the pier between two of the windows in the south aisle, and represents the knight in complete armour, with his head bare, and a ruff round his neck; the figure is recumbent on a mat, which is rolled up; under the head of the figure is a helmet, and at the feet is an eagle. The whole is covered with a canopy, formed of a entablature sustained on two black marble columns, in a bad doric order. The metopes are charged alternately with skulls, cross-bones, and hour-glasses; on the cornice are three shields of arms. A pannel at the back has the following inscription:-- Heere lyeth the Bodie of Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, Knt. the fourth Sonne of Sir George Throkmorton, Knight, which Sir Nicholas was chief Butler of Englande, one of the Chamberlaynes of the Excheqvier, Ambassador lygar to the Qvenes Majestie Elizabeth, in Fravnce in the beginning of her Raigne, & after his Retvrne was sent ambassador into Fravnce the one & into Scotlande twice. He married Anne Carewe, Davghter of Sir Nicholas Carewe, Knt. and begat by her tenne Sonnes, and three Davghters. He Died the XII. daye of February, in the year of ouer Lord God, a Thowsand Fyve Hondred three score and Tenne. Being of thage of Fyftie and Seaven years.

This monument was preserved from the old church; the ornamental canopy, however, was no doubt added at the rebuilding of the church.

At the west end of the north aisle is an elegant marble monument by J. Bacon, R. A. to the memory of S. Thorp, who died at Madras, July 15, 1791, aged 19.

The dimensions of the building are as follows: internal length 90 feet, breadth 51 feet, height of tower 80 feet.

This church, it will be recollected, was erected before the civil war, the second aera of destruction which has fallen upon the church. It was rendered obnoxious to the fanatics of those evil times, in consequence of the ceremonies which the ill-fated and pious Laud had used at the consecration, and was, in common with many other churches in the metropolis profaned by the puritans at that period, the restoration of the altar being one of the crimes alleged against the martyred bishop, the fury of the sacrilegious revolutionists no doubt destroyed the original altar, and with it the remainder of the wood-work and the stained glass in the windows. This will account for the altar, screen, and pulpit being more modern than the building, having been restored after the royal government was reinstated.

At the south-east corner of Cree-church-lane, in , stands the church of St. Catherine Cree. This church received its name from being dedicated to St. Catherine, the virgin before mentioned, and is distinguished from other churches of the same name, by the addition of Cree, or Christ, from its situation in the cemetery of the conventual church of the Holy Trinity, which was originally called Christ-church.

King Henry VIII. in his grant of the priory of the Holy Trinity to sir Thomas (afterwards lord) Audley, which will be noticed more particularly hereafter, gave this church also; the prior and canons of Christ-church having been originally, and always, patrons thereof. When lord Audley died, he, by his will, bequeathed it to the master and fellows of Magdalen college, in Cambridge, and their successors, whom he enjoined to serve the cure for ever; they leased out the impropriation to the parishioners for years; but a dispute arising between the college and the parish, at the expiration of the said lease in , about a renewal, a lease was granted to Jerome Knapp, haberdasher of London; and, in order to settle the difference, it was agreed that per annum should be raised by the parishioners in lieu of tithes, &c. out of which the officiating curate should he paid per annum, for the years, besides surplice fees, &c. and, after the expiration of that term, per annum, besides surplice fees; and this agreement was confirmed by act of parliament in the month of .

On the back side of the north wall of the old church was a cloister, the breadth of it seven foot and above, which cloister, by the taking down of that wall, being taken into the church, gave it all its breadth to enlarge it.

In digging under this wall, there was found the figure of half the face of a man, cast in lead, the mould setting likewise upon it this word, Comes.

Digging under the south row of pillars, they found the skull of a man, the thickness of which was three quarters of an inch.Strype's Stow, ed. 1720, i, 65.

The architecture is interesting, as it exhibits an almost perfect specimen of the style which prevailed in the time of the Stuarts. It consists of the most singular mixture of Italian and pointed architecture that can be conceived. The exterior is principally in the latter style. In plan, the church shews the ancient mode of distribution into nave and aisles. The west front has, in the nave or centre division, an arched entrance beneath a large window now blocked up, but showing mullions similar in design to the eastern, to be described hereafter. The north aisle has a narrow window made into lights by a single mullion, and the south aisle is occupied by the tower, the principal part of which is more ancient than the church: in this front is a window with a pointed arch, made into lights by a mullion. The south front of the tower has an entrance, fronted by a pediment, sustained on Ionic columns; above which are narrow loop-hole windows, and the upper story has in each face a circular arched window; the elevation is finished with a parapet; a turret, formed of a peristyle of columns, in a mean Tuscan order, sustaining a cupola, is erected upon the platform. The south front of the church has in the aisle windows, nearly square in form; they are made by mullions in lights, with arched cinquefoil heads, the central higher than the others. Below the windows are large pannels of the fantastic form always met with in works of this age; and between of the windows is a sun-dial. Above this aisle is a clerestory; the windows correspond in design with those in the aisle. The elevations are finished with parapets; they were formerly, however, set off with a fan-shaped ornament, on the points of reversed arches, which were destroyed by of those tasteless improvers, who are the bane of ancient buildings. To the east wall is attached a gateway, consisting of an arch, planked with pilasters of the Ionic order, sustaining an entablature and pediment. In the tympanum of the latter is a well executed recumbent skeleton, partly covered with drapery; on a pannel beneath is the following inscription:--

THIS GATE WAS BVILTE AT THE COST

AND CHARGES OF WILLIAM AVENON

CITEZEN AND GOVLDSMITH OF LONDON

WHO DIED IN DECEMBER ANNO DNI

1631

.

It was built for an entrance to the cemetery; the space, however, immediately behind it has been wainscotted, and answers as porch to the church during divine service, and a watch-house at other times. The east wall of the church has, in the nave, a large window in the form of an upright parallelogram, made into

74

principal divisions, the lower of which has lights, with arched heads, divided by upright mullions. The upper division is occupied by a large Catherine-wheel window, in allusion to the patron saint, consisting of a large circle inscribed in a square; in the centre is a smaller circle, from which diverge mullions, which are united to the outer circle by arched heads. The angles outside the large circle contain smaller ones, ornamented with quatrefoils. The window, upon the whole, is creditable to the time, and it shows that the art of construction, so beautifully and tastefully exerted in old English building, had not then quite fled the land. The aisles have windows similar to the southern front. At the north-east angle is an entrance; and the north side of the church, in its general features, resembles the southern . The basement story of the tower serves as a porch. At the interior angle, which is clear of the walls, is an immense pier, to which is attached several upright cylinders, which, with corresponding piers attached to the walls of the church, support pointed arches, sustaining the north and eastern walls of the superstructure; they are partly concealed by the belfry. The style of these remains is that of the century. The base of the columus are hid beneath the pavement; but the height of the part which is above, shows that the level of the street has not been raised so considerably as has been generally supposed. The nave and aisles are divided by arches resting upon Corinthian columns, and semi-columns attached to the extreme walls at each end of the church. The shafts of the columns are unfluted, and the soffits of the arches enriched with coffers and roses. Above the crowns of the arches is a string-course, upon which rises, by way of attic, the clerestory. To the piers, between the windows, are attached composite pilasters resting on the string-course; below which, and corresponding with the bases of the pilasters, are those brackets, so commonly seen in works of this period. The pilasters sustain a flat arched ceiling, groined in the pointed style, the rib diverging from the capitals of the pilasters, and waiting at a principal horizontal in the centre; the intersections loaded with huge bosses, ornamented with the arms of benefactors. The aisles are similarly vaulted, the ceilings resting on the principal columns on side, and brackets attached to the walls on the other. These specimens of groining are, however, in a very poor style. At the western end is a gallery, containing a fine-toned organ in a richly-carved case. The altar is adorned with a screen, composed of Corinthian pilasters, sustaining an entablature. The pulpit and desks stand in the centre of the church: they once stood against a pillar on the north side, and the pulpit is only remarkable for being, with the communion table, formed of cedar. These particulars, and all the wood-work of the church, are of a more recent period than the main building. The half columns at the east end of the church are painted in imitation of Sienna marble, with gilt capitals. The east

75

window is entirely filled with stained glass; the lower compartment has the arms of George I. between those of the city of London, above which is the prince of Wales' crest, feathers, and the motto

Ich Dien

, and the arms of sir James Campbell, lord mayor in ; above which is a rose, surmounted by a crown. In the middle compartment of the window, below the royal arms, is the following inscription in an oval:

THE GIFT OF THE RT. HON. SIR SAM. STAINER, KNT., ALDERMAN AND NATIVE OF THIS WARD, LORD MAYOR OF THIS CITY IN THE

FIRST

YEAR OF THE REIGN OF KING GEORGE

The only monument worthy of particular notice, is to the memory of Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, knt. It is affixed to the pier between of the windows in the south aisle, and represents the knight in complete armour, with his head bare, and a ruff round his neck; the figure is recumbent on a mat, which is rolled up; under the head of the figure is a helmet, and at the feet is an eagle. The whole is covered with a canopy, formed of a entablature sustained on black marble columns, in a bad doric order. The metopes are charged alternately with skulls, cross-bones, and hour-glasses; on the cornice are shields of arms. A pannel at the back has the following inscription:--

Heere lyeth the Bodie of Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, Knt. the

fourth

Sonne of Sir George Throkmorton, Knight, which Sir Nicholas was chief Butler of Englande,

one

of the Chamberlaynes of the Excheqvier, Ambassador lygar to the Qvenes Majestie Elizabeth, in Fravnce in the beginning of her Raigne, & after his Retvrne was sent ambassador into Fravnce the

one

& into Scotlande twice. He married Anne Carewe, Davghter of Sir Nicholas Carewe, Knt. and begat by her tenne Sonnes, and

three

Davghters. He Died the XII. daye of February, in the year of ouer Lord God, a Thowsand Fyve Hondred

three

score and Tenne. Being of thage of Fyftie and Seaven years.

This monument was preserved from the old church; the ornamental canopy, however, was no doubt added at the rebuilding of the church.

At the west end of the north aisle is an elegant marble monument by J. Bacon, R. A. to the memory of S. Thorp, who died at Madras, , aged .

The dimensions of the building are as follows: internal length feet, breadth feet, height of tower feet.

This church, it will be recollected, was erected before the civil war, the aera of destruction which has fallen upon the church. It was rendered obnoxious to the fanatics of those

76

evil times, in consequence of the ceremonies which the ill-fated and pious Laud had used at the consecration, and was, in common with many other churches in the metropolis profaned by the puritans at that period, the restoration of the altar being of the crimes alleged against the martyred bishop, the fury of the sacrilegious revolutionists no doubt destroyed the original altar, and with it the remainder of the wood-work and the stained glass in the windows. This will account for the altar, screen, and pulpit being more modern than the building, having been restored after the royal government was reinstated.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Erected in 1662.

[] It is to be regretted that a house built within a few yards of this window, the consequence of which is, that the beautiful effect of the stained glass is always totally lost.

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 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
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