The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3Allen, Thomas
The Monument is a noble fluted column of the Doric order, and was erected rather to perpetuate the charge against the Roman Catholics of setting fire to the city, than as a memento of its destruction and restoration. The Monument, like all public buildings of the period, was designed by sir Christopher Wren. This column is feet high, that being also the distance of its base from the spot where the fire commenced. The pedestal is feet high, and the plinth feet square; the shaft of the column is feet high, and in diameter: it is hollow, and incloses a staircase of black marble, consisting of steps, by which a balcony, within feet of the top, is reached. The column is surmounted with an urn feet high, with flames issuing from it.
On sides of the pedestal are inscriptions (of which the following are facsimiles), written by Dr. Thomas Gale, afterwards dean of York. The side is occupied with a piece of sculpture.
On the north side
In the year of Christ , the , eastward from hence, at the distance of feet, the height of this column, a terrible fire broke out about midnight; which, driven on by a strong wind, not only wasted the adjacent parts, but also very remote places, with incredible noise and fury. It consumed churches, the city gates, , many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, a vast number of stately edifices, dwelling-houses, and streets; of the wards, it utterly destroyed , and left others shattered and half burnt. The ruins of the city were acres, from the Tower by the Thames side to the Temple church, and from the north-east along the city-wall to Holborn-bridge. To the estates and fortunes of the citizens it was merciless, but to their lives very favourable, that it might in all things resemble the conflagration of the world. The destruction was sudden; for, in a small space of time, the city was seen most flourishing, and reduced to nothing. days after, when this fatal fire had baffled all human counsels and endeavours, in the opinion of all, it stopped, as it were, by a command from heaven, and was on every side extinguished. But papistical malice, which perpetrated such mischiefs, is not yet restrained.
On the south side,
Charles the , son of Charles the Martyr, king of Great , France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, a most gracious prince, commiserating the deplorable state of things, whilst the ruins were yet smoking, provided for the comfort of his citizens, and the ornament of his city; remitted their taxes, and referred the petitions of the magistrates and inhabitants to the parliament; who immediately passed an act, that public works should be restored to greater beauty, with public money, to be raised by an imposition on coals; that churches, and the cathedral of , should be rebuilt from their foundations, with all magnificence; that the bridges, gates, and prisons should be new made, the sewers cleansed, the streets made straight and regular, such as were steep levelled, and those too narrow made wider, markets and shambles removed to separate places. They also enacted, that every house should be built with party-walls, and all in front raised of an equal height, and those walls all of square stone or brick; and that no man should delay building beyond the space of years.
On the east side is the following:--
This pillar was began, Sir Richard Ford, knt., being lord mayor of London, in the year Carried on In the mayoralties of Sir George Waterman, knt. Sir George Hanson, knt. Sir Wiliam Hooker, knt. Sir Robert Viner, knt. Sir Joseph Sheldon, knt. And finished in that of Sir Thomas Davies, in the year .
On the west side is a large piece of sculpture, allegorically representing the destruction and rebuilding of the city. In compartment the city appears in flames; the inhabitants, with outstretched arms, calling for succour; the insignia of the city laying thrown down and mutilated, while a female, wearing a civic crown and holding a sword, shews that the municipal authority was still maintained. The king, Charles II., occupies a conspicuous situation; he is represented in a Roman habit, and is trampling under his feet Envy, which seeks to renew the calamity, by blowing flames out of its mouth. Near the sovereign are females, representing Liberty, Imagination, and Architecture. Time is offering consolation to the distressed, and Providence gives assurance of peace and plenty. There are also several other figures, including Mars and Fortitude. The whole was executed by that eminent sculptor, Caius Gabriel Cibber.
Above this, and round the cornice of the pedestal, are large enrichments of trophy work, and the king's and cities' arms, the sword, mace, and cap of maintenance, with immense dragons at the angles, the whole executed in a bold manner.
Round the base there is the following inscription, attributing the destruction of the city to the papists.
This inscription was defaced during the reign of James II., but on his abdication, and the accession of William III., it was very deeply engraved. It is due to the memory of the great architect, Sir Christopher Wren, to state the inscriptions were not suggested by him, but adopted contrary to his wishes, instead of the following elegant composition which he had prepared:--
On the site of the Monument stood the parish church of St. Margaret; the patronage of this rectory was in the abbot and convent, and the bishop of Winchester, till Queen Mary, by her letters patent, , granted to the bishop of London and his successors, in whom it still remains, but subject to the arch-deacon. The church being consumed in the great fire was not
|rebuilt, the parish being annexed to the adjacent of St. Magnus.|
The date of the erection of this church is not known, though it was of considerable antiquity, from Roger de Bredefeld and Edward Hoseland, being rectors before the year .
In the cellar of the house, No. , on the eastern side of this street, and nearly adjoining to the site of , are the remains of an ancient crypt, which was formerly groined and vaulted with stone, a low pointed doorway and the semi-pillars which sustained the vault still remain, the whole apparently the workmanship of the century. In the passage belonging to No. , on the same side of the street, a vestige of a similar crypt was recently destroyed.
At the east end of Crooked-lane and opposite the Monument, was in former times a palace built of stone, in which Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III. resided, it was afterwards let out for an inn and was known by the name of the Black-bull-inn.
Almost contiguous to the north west corner of London-bridge, was a postern gate, denominated Oystergate, from oysters being anciently sold there.
At the north west extremity of this ward, in a court leading from , to is the
 Sir C. Wren originally intended that this noble column should have been surmounted with a colossal statue of Charles II. in brass gilt, or else a figure of a woman, crowned with turrets, holding a sword and cap of maintenance, with other ensigns of the city's grandeur and re-erection.