G. Holden (Godfrey Holden) Pike.

Ancient meeting-houses; or, Memorial pictures of Non-conformity in old London online

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Online LibraryG. Holden (Godfrey Holden) PikeAncient meeting-houses; or, Memorial pictures of Non-conformity in old London → online text (page 1 of 31)
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O PRINCETON, N. J.



BR 764 .P6 1870

Pike, G. Holden 1836-

Ancient meeting-houses



Shelf.



ANCIENT MEETING-HOUSES, &c.



ANCIENT MEETING-HOUSES;



OK,



MEMORIAL PICTUEES



OF



NONCONEOEMITY IN OLD LONDON.



GODFREY HOLDEN PIKE.



HE IS THE VICTOR WHO TO TRL'TH DOTH YIELD.



LONDON :

S. W. PAETEIDGE & CO., 9, PATEENOSTEE-ROW.

YATES & ALEXANDER, SYMONDS INN, CHANCERY LANE.



MDCCCLXX.



TO THE
PASTORS, OFFICE-BEARERS, k CONGREGATIONS



OF



THE THREE DENOMINATIONS



OF



PROTESTANT DISSENTERS.

The present volume is dedicated to you with all con-
fidence as to the respect you cherish for the prin-
ciples it illustrates, and the esteem in which you
hold the sainted men whose lives it records. A re-
view of the severe conflicts, and of the heroic exer-
tions of the fathers in the faith, it is sent forth as
an affectionate memorial of their loyalty to con-
science, their fidelity to revealed truth, and of their
sublime steadfastness amid difficulty and suffering.
It thus seeks to extend the pure fame of those
worthy confessors who so nobly defended the prin-
ciples of civil and religious liberty when fiercely
assailed by the corrupt forces of tyranny and priest-
craft ; to whom, therefore, under Divine Providence,
the present generation must trace its priceless ad-



vi DEDICATION.

vantages. An endeavour is also made to do honour
to those nonconforming worthies of the eighteenth
century upon whom devolved the grave responsi-
bflities which arose out of the moral victories of an
earlier period. The reader will learn something of
the patience, courage, and cheerfulness with which
the Dissenters in the old City toiled while carrying
on the work of Christ — a work now happily ex-
panded into the unexampled evangelistic efforts of
the present era. By a faithful examination of
original manuscripts and other standard' autho-
rities, it has been sought to preserve accurate
memories of the rapidly disappearing sanctuaries
of old London ; and thus, in some degree, to per-
petuate the influence of those centres of religious
life. The book is circulated with the hope that it
may strengthen the love of freedom which so emi-
nently distinguished the pastors, officers, and mem-
bers of the Churches in less peaceful times, thus
leading to a yet wider diffusion and a more mani-
fest triumph of the Spirit of Liberty.

G. H. P.

Enfield, March, 1870.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Devonshire Squabe.

Introductory — Allusion to the Baptist in Hudibras — Jasper
Fisher — First planting of the Society in Devonshire-square
— William Kiffen and his biographers — Early troubles
and conversion — Secedes from the Established Church —
Joins the ''Independents" under John Lathorp, and com-
mences preaching — His marriage — Is imprisoned — Other
troubles — Enters into the Dutch trade — His rapid rise —
Ecclesiastical condition of England on the eve of the civil
wars — Kiflfen an officer in the Parliamentary army — Bap-
tismal controversies — " Gangrene " Edwards — The custom of
anointing — New troubles — Alleged plot to murder the King
— A missing MS — Domestic sorrows — The Hewling tragedy
— Battle of Sedgemoor — The "bloody" assizes — Eeaction
of public opinion — Kiffen is called to Court — Made an alder-
man—Secedes from the church — His liberality — Death and
character — Thomas Patient — Dies of the plague in 1665 —
Is succeeded by Daniel Dyke — His death — The ancient
discipline at Devonshire-square — Eichaed Adams — His
persecution — Succeeds Kiffen — Disputes about psalmody —
Mark Key — Sir G. and Lady Page — Dr. Sayer Eudd— His
church removes to Devonshire -square — Disagreement with
the people — ^Libelled by Ivimey — Eemoves to Maze-pond —



Vlll CONTENTS.

George Braithtvaite — Early life and conversion — Becomes
a Baptist, and commences his ministry — Unpopularity of his
treatise against public-houses — Accession at Devonshire-
square — Quarrel between that church and the Society at
Maze-pond — His last days and death — John Stevens —
Charges against him — Division in the church — Some par-
ticulars of his life — Walter Riciiards — His brief pastorate
and resignation — John Macgowan — Early life — Talents as
a writer — Death — Timothy Thomas — His disadvantages —
Genial nature — Death — The future of Devonshire-square.

PAGE 1

CHAPTER II.

Pinners' Hall.
Ancient associations of the site — The hall is leased by the
Nonconformists— Anthony Palmer— Histroubles - Eemoves
to London — Works with G. Fownes — Death — Eichard
Wavel — Sufferings — The Merchants' Lecture — Sabba-
tarian Baptists — Dr. Watts and his people in Pinners' Hall
— Jeremiah Hunt— His talents— Friendship with Collins
and Lord Barrington — James Foster — His early days —
Eemoval to London — Visits Lord Kilmarnock — Foster and
his eulogists — His popularity and defective teaching — CAiEB
Fleming — Early life— Becomes a Socinian partisan — Extinc-
tion of the church page 61

CHAPTEE III.

Crosby Hall.
Early history of the premises — The hall is leased by the
Presbyterians— Thomas Watson— His devotion and industry
—Death— Stephen Charnocke— His ancestor ' ' Eosicrucian"
—Early life of Stephen— Settles in Dublin — Eeturns to Lon-
don and serves under Watson at Crosby Hall— Works— Last
restiDg-place— False story about him— Samuel Slater —



CONTENTS. IX

The lecturers at Crosby Hall — Bei^jamin Grosvenor — A
protege of Keach. — Secedes from the Baptists — Great prosperity
of the church under his pastorate — Eetires — Society becomes
extinct page 79

CHAPTEE ly.
The Old Jewry.

The site named after the Jews — Sufferings of its early
inhabitants — Description of the old meeting-house — Edietint)
Cala^iy — Samuel Borfet — Joh:^ Shower — Early training
—He travels over Europe — Eome in the seventeenth cen-
tury — Travelling adventures — Eeturns to England in 1687 —
His engagement at Silver- street under John Howe — Eemoves
to Cripplegate — Erection of the Old Jewry Meeting-house —
Correspondence with Lord Oxford on the Occasional Con-
formity Bill — The promoters of that measure — Eobert Harley,
Earl of Oxford — Shower's last days — Timothy Eogers —
A strange story belonging to the Old Jewry, note — "A
broken vessel " — Joseph Bekn^ett — His early trials — Simon
Browxe — Shepton Mallet his birth-place, see note — Settles
at Portsmouth — Eemoves to London, 1716 — Extraordinary
hallucination — He retires to Shepton Mallett — Continues his
studies — Describes his own case, see note — Behaviour in
company — His works — Cause of the delusion — Death and
character — Thomas Le avesley — His unpopularity — Samuel
Chandler — His education and college companions — Settle-
ment at Peckham — Is engaged on a lectureship at the Old
Jewry — Eemoves to London — Popery and the Pretender —
The Gentleman's Magazine and the Dissenters — Eomanist
disputes — Chandler's zeal against the papacy — His action in
the Eebellion year, 1745— His great success — Mary Chandler
— Dr. Miles — His singular industry — Eichard Price —
Early discipline — Eemoves to London — Settles at Newington-



X CONTENTS.

green— nis book on Civil Liberty — Admirers and detractors
—Doctrinal views— Death of Mends— Centenary sermon on
tbo RoYolution— Death— Thomas Amohy— Not popular— An
archdeacon is invited to assume the pastorate — Nathaniel
White- Abr^uiam Eees — His vast industry in preparing
his Encyclopaedia— His popularity and professorship at
Hoxton— Last days of the Old Jewry Meeting-house —
New chapel in Jewin-street — Death of Dr. Eees — David
Davidson — Discouraging state of the congregation — The
pastor resigns — Extinction- of the society — Eefiections

PAGE 95

CHAPTER V.
The Sabbataeian Baptists in Old London.

Old Cripplegate — Curriers' Hall — Francis Bampfield —
His provincial experience — Eemoval to London — Persecuted
— Scene in Pinners' Hall in 1683 — The pastor's arrest and
death in Newgate — Edward Stennett — His residence at
Wallingford — The Castle and its privileges serve the cause of
Nonconformity — A plot defeated — Pastorate at Pinners' Hall
— Death — Abingdon — Joseph Stennett — Early industry —
Aids the Eevolution — Becomes pastor of the Sabbatarians —
A politician — Marries a French Protestant — EflPects of revok-
ing the Edict of Nantes — Tunbridge Wells in 1700 — Stennett's
popularity as an author — Many of his pieces lost — Dissenters
and the war of the Spanish Succession — Treaty of Utrecht —
The Ministry court the Dissenters — Stennett's reply-r-Last
days and death — Edward Townshend — Thomas White-
wood— Egbert Burnside— His early days— Singularities —
Some account of his denomination, note— Besith — Mill-yard,
Goodman's-fields— The records not accessible— Whitechapel
in the olden time— Petticoat-lane under James I. — Who was
Goodman ?— The Wilson MSS.— Founding of the Mill-yard
Society- The people's peculiarities— The Fifth Monarchists



CONTENTS. XI

— JoBHsr James — His arrest and trial — Prison experience —
An enthusiast in life but brave in death — Execution — His
character — Jokn Savage — JoBOsr Matjlden — Egbert Corn-
WAiTE — Daxiel Noble — Willia:!^ Slater — Places occupied
by the Sabbatarians— Their character — Other societies which
haye settled at Mill-yard, note page 159

CHAPTEE YI.
Bury Street, St. Mary Axe.

The old chapel still standing — Ancient associations of the
neighbourhood — Founding of the church — Joseph Caryl —
Early life — Conduct in the civil wars — Appreciated by Crom-
well — Great industry — Death — Willia:m Bearman — His
charities — JoHiS" Howe — ^Libelled by "Wood — The Owen
family — Early tutors — Enters the Church Establishment —
Eemoves to London — Coggeshall — Owen and the Long Par-
liament — Eemoves to Oxford — "Wood's libels — Writes against
popery, note — Savoy Conference — Eeturns to London — Widely
esteemed — Death and character — Egbert Ferguso]?^ — A
plotter and a renegade — David Clarksox — Works— Isaac
LoEFFS — Isaac Chatjxcy — Edward Terry — Isaac Watts
— His family — Early life — Tutors — Eeturns to Southampton
— Stoke Newington — The Hartopp family — First sermon —
T. Gunston — Hlness — The church's solicitude — The Abneys
— Theobalds — Watts and the Unitarians — Songs for children
— 17.19 — Watts and Bradbury — The times he lived in — The
clergy and the Jacobites — State of the common people — "The
good old times " — Strange number of suicides — Watts and
the Gentleman's Magazine — Poetical prizes— Sylvanus Urban
and' his staff, nofe — Blair's " Grave " — Watts and his asso-
ciates — Frequent illness — The Countess of Huntingdon and
Dr. Watts — Unhandsome behaviour of certain relatives —
Last days and death — Samuel Price — Meredith Towns-



Xll CONTENTS.

HEKD — Samuel Morton Savage — Tutor of Hoxton
College — Life-work — Death — Thomas Beck — Eemoval
of the church to rounders' Hall, and thence to Bethnal-
greon page 208

CHAPTEE YII.

Little Cabtee Lahste.

Ancient associations of the vicinity — ^Wilson's description
of the chapel — Matthew Sylvester — Life, work, and cha-
racter — EiCHARD Baxter — Kidderminster in the olden time
— Baxter's early life — Education — Condition of rural districts
in his youth — Conversion — Early industry — Goes to Court —
Great physical weakness — Commencement of his ministry at
Dudley — Precursors of civil war — Abuses in the Church —
Baxter and Kidderminster — Great benevolence — Civil war —
Eough usage of Puritans — Coventry in the war time — Baxter
in the army — Polemical disputes — The Covenant — The Ee-
storation — Dissatisfaction of Nonconformists — A Court ad-
venture — The Act of Uniformity — Black Bartholomew — Con-
dition of the Dissenters — Margaret Baxter — Her family —
Baxter and the Charltons — A charmer — Marriage — Margaret
as a wife — Her death — Eumours of plots — Dissenters and
their friends — London in the Plague time — Acton — Great
love of the populace for him — Imprisonment — The Ex-
chequer closed — Persecution — State of affairs in 1672— In-
dicted for calumny — Account of the trial — Last days —
Closing reflections — Edmund Calamy — Family connexions
— Homo in Aldcrmanbury — School days — Visits to impri-
soned Puritans — London and the great frost of 1684 —
James II. proclaimed — Two remarkable incidents, note —
Englishtravcls—Andover— Oxford— Bristol — Hoxton-square
— Caution of the Nonconformists — Calamy's visit to the Uni-



CONTENTS. xm

versity press — French prophets — Account of ejected ministers
— Walker and his collectors — Some of his heroes not martyrs
— Calam/s last days and death — Samuel Stephens — Samuel
"Wright — Jeremiah Bueroughs — Thomas Newmajs" —
Edward Pickard — Johzst Tailor — Joh:n' Fuller, &c. —
Last days of the old chapel — Closing reflections. page 265

CHAPTEE VIII.

The Ej^tg's Weigh- House.

East-cheap in the olden time — The original King's Weigh-
house — Planting of the Church — Samuel Slater — Thomas
Kentish — John" Kjxowles — Persecuted by Laud — Quakers
and " Steeple-houses" — His great zeal — Thomas Eeyxolds
— Called from Silver- street to the Weigh-house — Early life —
Eeturn to London — Settles in East-cheap — Jabez Earle
and James Eead, his assistants — Differences with the latter —
Unkindness of brethren — Death — Psalmody disputes — Non-
conformity after the Eevolution — The latter event largely
promoted by the Dissenters — Magnanimity of William IH.
— English liberty preserved by the Puritans — Opposition of
Liberals to Comprehension and Why — The Jacobitical
clergy — Anglican encroachments — Their effect — Jacobitism
its own enemy — Party writers — Apostasy of Nottingham —
— The Schism Bill — Anti-Nonconformist riots — A clergyman
hanged — Lingering love of Puritan customs — The old Dis-
senters and Christmas-day — Accession of George I. — The
King insulted in the Churches — Seditious pamphlets — The
old Dissenters and their Sunday services — The Bangorian
controversy — Eenegades — A meeting in Dr. Williams's
Library — Test and Corporation Acts — Methodism — Tithes
and their opponents — Alehouses — The old newspapers and
their readers — Ministers' stipends — Samuel Saxderson —
Eemoves to Bedford — Dr. William Langeord — Early life—



xiv CONTENTS.

Lifo-work— Death— Samuel Palmee— Edward Yen:nor—
Dr. S.UIUEL WILTO^'— Settles at Tooting— His charity-
Successful labours— Early death— John Clayton— Birth
and education — Apprenticed to a chemist — Introduction to
the Countess of Huntingdon — Trevecca College in the days
of George III. — An unpleasant adventure — Clayton becomes
a Dissenter — Acquaintance with Sir H. Trelawney —
Introduction to the "Weigh-house— Ordination — A Tory in
politics— Marriage— His life at home — His preaching —
Death page 333



CHAPTER IX.
Salters' Hall.

The Company of Salters —Their halls — The Church planted
— Richard Mayo — Kingston — Whitechapel — Popularity —
Great industry — Nathaniel Taylor — Student life — A hard
student — Character — Ministers born in 1662 — William
ToNG — Early life— Temptation — Ministry at Chester— Plants
a church at Knutsford — Removes to Salters' Hall — Industry
— One of Henry's continuators — Death — The disputes of
1719 — Arianism in the West — The ministers of Exeter —
Half-yearly synods — Circulation of pamphlets— The "peace"
meeting at Salters' Hall — Scene in the hall — Subscribers and
Nonsubscribers — Curious Tracts — Both parties appeal to the
public— Clark, the publisher — John Newman — Samuel
Newman — Early death — John Barker — Settlement at
Hackney — Retires to Epsom — Becomes associated with
Salters' Hall— Doddridge — Last days— Francis Spilsbury
—Early bereavement— Strange cause of his settling in
London— Life-work— Death— Hugh Farmer- Student life
under Doddi-idge- Removes to Walthamstow— Mr. Coward
and his household rpr/me— Settles with the Snells— Popularity
—A London lecturer— Hugh Worthington— Early days at



CONTENTS. XV

Leicester — Eemoves to London — Success in the City — Unex-
pected death — The last days of Salters' Hall. . . page 376

CHAPTER X.

Footprints of the Baptists in Old London.

Old chapels which have disappeared — Crutched Friars —
Paul Hobson — Mark-lane — The Baptists in Turners' Hall —
EiCHARD Allen — Moral bravery and rough experience —
Barbican — George Keith — Joseph Jacob — Presides over a
"reformed church " in Thames- street and in Southwark —
Character of his followers — William Collins — Ebenezer
Wilson — Thomas Dewhurst — ^Wesley and Turners' Hall —
Our fathers' mistaken notions as to the si^e of London —
Gracechurch- street — Du Yeil — Conversion — Searches for
truth — Joins the Baptists — A pastor commits suicide —
Lampoons on Nonconformists — Eeplies — Great St. Helen's —
East-cheap — John Noble — Life and character — State of
London in 1731 — Samuel Wilson — Samuel Dew — Last
days of East-cheap meeting — Tallow-chandlers' Hall —
Thomas- street — Joiners' Hall — John Harris — Joseph
Maisters — Tastes persecution — Pinners' Hall — Thomas
Eichardson — Clendon Dawkes — Huguenot settlers in
London — Petty France named after them — William Collins
— Simple Faith — Zeal — Death — Nehemiah Cox — A learned
shoemaker — Puzzles his judges — Thomas Harrison —
White's-alley — Laying on of hands — The Commonwealth
era and its pamphlets — Libels on the Baptists — Petition to
Parliament — Satires on religion— "An example, note — Hounds-
ditch — Henry Danvers — Libelled by Macaulay — A prolific
author— Governor of Stafford — Enemies — A politician and a
patriot — A "calumnious" tract — Escapes to Holland — Is
advertised for, note — The authorities for depreciating his
character — Dr. Calamy and Echard, note — Macaulay 's asper-



xvi CONTENTS.

sions unfounded — Other assertions disproved — Inferences —
Baptists prosper under Cromwell — More libellous squibs —
Clerkenwell and its old gate — John Yoxley — Dr. William
EussEL— The Old Jewry — Jeremiah Ives — Disputes with
a Eomanist—Basinghall-street— Joseph Taylor — Dr. Wil-
liams's Library — Eedcross-street — Thomas Craner —
Augustus Clarke — Thomas Mabbott — Aldermanbury —
Brewers' Hall, note — Closing reflections . . . Page 412



DEYONSHIEE SQUAEE.

Among the many associations inseparably connected
with old London, those clustering around the Dis-
sentino' Churches of the seventeenth and eic^hteenth
centuries are pre-eminently interesting. Truly, in
many instances, these ancient buildings have passed
away ; and it is equally true that the principal ones
which remain are appointed to destruction. While
traversing the city and its boundaries how many
hallowed spots are discovered — hallowed through
once having been the resting-places of Eeligion, and
the scenes of the labours of men of whom the ages
they adorned were so often unworthy. Our curiosity
respecting these places is no ordinary curiosity, al-
though the sites may now be serving for common-
place merchants' warerooms. How vainly we re-
gret that there did not arise, at least a century ago,
some ISTonconformist Stow or Maitland to hand
down facts and traditions now irrecoverably lost.
During the last century the Dissenters' chapels were
more numerous than may be imagined. On account
of altered circumstances they have disappeared. The

1



2 A^'CIE^'T MEETING HOUSES.

cluirclics of the Establishment, on the contrary, re-
main, as under the voluntary principle they never
could have remained, to witness week after week
services conducted for the benefit of heedless w^alls
and empty pews. While, however, most of the
chapels of London proper have yielded to the action
of time, several remain intact ; and with one of these
— Devonshire Square — we open the present volume.
In the third part of Hudibras a couplet occurs
which modern readers will find obscure :

That rejjreseyits no loart of the nation,
But Fisher^s Folly congregation.

In a sumptuous edition of Butler's poem, published
some seventy years ago, the annotator fails to make
clear the reference alluded to. He thought the poet
pointed at Quakerism ; and, therefore, our editor
may never have heard of William Kiffen. If such
Avas the case, !Mr. Nash resembled a late reviewer,
who only recently, and for the first time, became
acquainted with the name of Thomas Shillitoe. The
lines, however, are apparently simply a parallel
which the author drew between the Lonsj Parlia-
ment and the Baptist Assembly " neer Devonshire
Square." The distich, moreover, would seem to
refer to that period of our national history when,
in 1G41, the King, on returning from Scotland to
Hampton Court, found discontent prevailing in
London and anarchy in Ireland — a crisis which
sufficed to prompt the after-famous Eemonstrance



DEVONSHIRE SQUAEE. 6

oY tlie Commons, wlio, with a strong military guard
about their house, were debating the state of the
nation. But we are informed by the editor alluded
to, " here is an equivoque on the word reiyresent. It
means either to stand in the place of and be substi-
tuted by others, or to resemble and be like them. In
the first sense, the members they should pack would
represent their constituents, but in the latter sense
only a meeting of enthusiastic sectaries." From such
an allusion the inference is fairly drawn tliat, prior
even to the outbreak of the Civil Wars, tlie Baptists
presided over by Kiffen were a notable society.

There lived in London three hundred years ago, a
goldsmith of the name of Jasper Fisher. A^anity, it
would seem, was this old citizen's besetting sin ; and
therefore a x^rincipal aim of his existence was to
outshine his neighbours in splendour of living.
Truly enough, our goldsmith's susceptible nature
may have received a bias from the fact of uniting in
his own individuality a worker in the precious metals,
a justice of the peace, and a clerk in Chancery. Any
man, who by fortune or accident, found himself so
conspicuously raised above the vulgar, would natur-
ally set down a little ostentation to the score of self-
respect. It probably happened so with Jasper Fisher.
Whatever his illusion may have been, it prompted
the erection of a sumptuous mansion not very many
yards from the Bishop's Gate ; and this house was
one of the finest homes which the old city then con-
tained. The spaciousness of the premises, the fine

2 *



4 ANCIENT MEETING HOUSES.

apartments and costly fittings, together with the
luxuriant gardens, often became the theme of con-
versation among thrifty freemen, as they chatted
away their evening hours. In those distant days a
simpler speech and living prevailed. In a way most
quaintly graphic, old Fuller tells lis how, "a she



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