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of the rites of hospitality. For some time, however,
his advice was disregarded, yet the misappropriation
of the funds which had arisen from the dissolution
was not quite universal, as many useful and honor-
able designs were carried into eflFect by their means.
Encouraged by several instances of this kind. Sir
Richard Gresham, then Mayor of London, and father
of the civic benefactor of that name, addressed a
letter to the King, describing the extent of the dis-
tress then prevalent, and prajdng for the appropria-
tion of some portion of the monastic property to
relieve it. This letter, however, for several years, lay
unnoticed, though evidently not unknown, for the
prayer was ultimately granted. From what motive
or upon what ground, the royal bosom of Henry was
moved to this act of merciful beneficence, it is im-



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OF THE CHURCH OF THE GllEY FRIARS. 11

possible to say. It is thought, however, that it was
from no impulse of devotional or charitable senti-
ment, but rather from a superstitious fear of his
approaching end.

The demise of the. bluflf monarch's brother-in-law,
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suflfolk, in August, 1545,
had brought the idea of his own mortality forcibly
home to his mind, and such, says Fuller, was ^^ the
sympathy of tempers, intimacy of converse, and no
great disparity of age betwixt them, that he thought
it high time to bethink himself of his end, and to do
some good work in order thereunto." Accordingly,
on the following 3rd of January, the Conventual
Church of the Grey Friars was re-opened for public
worship. On the same day. Bishop Eidley, in a
sermon at St. Paul's Cross, announced the King's
gift of the Conventual grounds and buildings, with
the Hospital of St. Bartholomew, valued at the dis-
solution at £305 6s. 7d., ''for the reliefe of the
poore." This gift was specified in an indenture
executed between Henry VIII. and the Mayor and
Commonalty of London. This instrument, bear-
ing the date of December 27th, 1545, was subse-
quently confirmed by letters patent. In these it is
said that "the Grey Friars Church, with all the
edifices and ground, the fratry, the library, the
dortor, the chapter-house, the great cloister, and the
lesser tenements, gardens, and vacant grounds, lead,
stone, iron, &c. ; the Hospital of St. Bartholomew,
West Smithfield, the Church of the same, the lead,
bells, and ornaments of the same Hospital, with all
the messuages, tenements, and appurtenances, "
were made over to the Mayor and Conunonalty of



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12 A CONCISE HISTORY

London, for ever. At the same time the generosity
of Henry induced him to give to the City the
Hospital of Bethlehem, with the laver of brasse
in the cloister, by estimation eighteen feet in length ;
and the water-course of lead, to the Friar House
belonging, eighteen acres.

The parishes of St. Nicholas in the Shambles,
St. Ewins, and so much of St. Sepulchre as lay within
Newgate, were united into one parish, for the use of
which, the Conventual Church was left standing, and
the Churches of St. Nicholas and St. Ewins were taken
down. In its new condition the Church was dedi-
cated to the Saviour of mankind, and its former desig-
nation changed to that of Christ Church, founded by
King Henry VIII. Upon this event Stevens sar-
castically remarks, '^A very odd foundation, to let
two churches of four stand, subverting the other two,
and a good hospital, and — to call hiTriself a founder.'*

The arms of the Church form an ingenious device,
emblematic of the Trinity. They consist of gules,
an orle and pall, argent, inscribed with the Trinity,
in unity. The centre of the compartment bears the
word Dens ; the three branches of the pall, the word
ed ; on the upper angles of the orle are inscribed the
words Pater and FUius; on the bottom one, are in-
scribed the words Sanctus Spiritvs ; and between each
angle, on the side of the orle, the words mm est. In
the sculptures and paintings of early times, this
ingenious compendium of the Catholic faith, is said,
frequently to be found.

Shortly after the grant made by Henry to the
Mayor and Commonalty of London, he died (1547) ;
and as we have, in this part, treated, first, of the



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OF THE CHURCH OF THE GREY FRIARS. 13

chapel built by means of the united contributions of
several citizens ; second, of the church founded by
Margaret, the second wife of Edward I. ; and third, of
the same church, said, by Henry VIII., to have been
fcyimded hy Mmsdf, and brought our subject down to
the reign of Edward VI., we shall now treat of Christ's
Hospital, to which the preceding pages appeared
essential, in order to give entirety, or completeness,
to our narrative.



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PART II.

CHAPTER I.

Edward VI — Bishop Ridley — The London Poor — The three Hos-
pitals ; Christ's, Bridewell, and St. Thomas's — Death of Edward
VI — Holbein's Picture — Customs of the Scholars on the Eve of
St. Bartholomew — Costume of the Children.

Henry was succeeded on the throne by his only son,
Edward VI., then little more than nine years of age.
Notwithstanding the extreme youthfulness of this
sovereign, however, the precocity of his talents is
said to have been wonderful. So ardent was he
in the pursuit of knowledge, that, at the age of
j&fteen, it is affirmed of him, that he possessed a
critical acquaintance with the Greek and Latin lan-
guages, and that he could converse freely in French,
Italian, and Spanish. A MS. in the British Museum
contains a collection of his exercises in the Greek
and Latin ; and some of his letters in French and
Latin are still extant, and exhibit an uncommon
degree of accuracy in the diction. There is also a
French tract in existence, composed before he was
twelve years of age, against the abuses of P6pery.
We have never had the pleasure of seeing this per-
formance, but we may safely conclude, that a boy



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Christ's hospital. 15

of twelve, writing upon such a subject, is not likely
to have been very profound. He also wrote papers
upon State aflfairs, on the foreign and domestic policy
of his goverment, in which, it is said, he showed great
knowledge. His most extraordinary performances,
however, are ^^ King Edward the Sixth's own Argu-
ments against the Pope's Supremacy," and ^^A
Translation into French of several passages of Scrip-
ture which forbid Idolatry, or the Worshipping of
False Gods." Writing upon such subjects discovers,
at the least, a thoughtful and, perhaps, religious
turn of mind, although the help he is likely to have
received, in such compositions, must have been con-
siderable. Besides all these accomplishments, he
was skilled in natural philosophy, logic, and astro-
nomy, which speaks still higher for his parts, and
fairly entitles him to a niche, among youthful pro-
digies, in the temple of learning.

During the early part of the reign of Edward,
the grant made by his father for the relief of the
poor had lain dormant, '^and, without reference
to this fact. Bishop Ridley, happening to preach
before His Majesty, at Westminster, in 1552, on
the excellence of charity," made a fruitful and godly
exhortation to the rich to be merciful unto the poor,
and, also, to move such as were in authority to tra-
vail, by some charitable ways and means, to comfort
and relieve them. The earnestness of this appeal
touched the royal heart ; Edward was moved to
sympathy, and ^^ imderstanding that a great number
of poor people did swarm in this realm, and chiefly
in the City of London, and that no good order was
taken of them," sent the Bishop a message, at the



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16 A CONCISE HISTORY

close of the sermon, and desired him not to depart
tUl he had spoken with him. Accordingly, they met
in a private gallery, where the Bishop was told to
be seated, and remain covered. The conversation
seems to have been principally upon the subject of
the sermon, and the remarks of His Majesty were
such as to excite the admiration of the good Ridley.
"Truly, truly," he exclaims, "I could never have
thought that excellence to have been in his Grace,
but that I beheld and heard it in him." In allusion
to the warm appeal of the Bishop in behalf of the
poor. His Majesty said, " My Lord, you willed such
as are in authority to be careful thereof, and to
devise some good order for their relief. Wherein
I think you mean me ; for I am in the highest place,
and, therefore, am the first that must make answer
unto God for my negligence, if I should not be
careful therein ; knowing it to be the express com-
mandment of Almighty God to have compassion
of his poor and needy members, for whom we must
make an account unto Him. And truly, my Lord,
I am, before all things else, most willing to travel
that way, and doubting nothing of your long and
approved wisdom and learning, who have such good
zeal as asketh help unto them ; but also that you
have had some conference with others, what ways
are best to be taken therein, the which I am desirous
to understand ; I pray you, therefore, to say your
mind." In answer to this, Ridley observed, that
the City of London was the most favorable place
for the exercise of the royal bounty, and advised
letters to be forthwith sent to the Lord Mayor,
desiring him to call a meeting of such councillors



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OF. Christ's hospital. 17

as he thought most suitable, and confer upon the
iiiatter. Edward immediately wrote this letter, and
charged the Bishop to deliver it himself, and to say
that it was his especial request, and express com-
mandment, that measures might, at once, be taken,
to further his views, and that he might be apprised
of the result. All this was done by the Bishop on
the same evening, and Sir Richard Dobbs, who was
then Mayor, gave his promise that he should pro-
ceed in the matter without delay.

On the day following, Ridley dined with the
Mayor, who had invited two aldermen and six
commoners to meet him, in order to take His
Majesty's proposal into consideration. The coun-
cillors, however, do not seem to have come to any
determinate conclusion ; and, acting upon the belief
that in the multitude of councillors there is wisdom,
a subsequent meeting consisting of twenty-four was
held. On this occasion, also, nothing definite seems
to have taken place ; but, after several adjourn-
ments, a plan was gradually developed, which, it
was agreed, should be submitted to His Majesty.
To the judgment of these councillors, it appeared,
that the poor of London might be divided into
three distinct classes. 1. The poor by impotency,
such as young fatherless children, the decayed, the
crippled, and the old. 2. The poor by casualty, as
the maimed the sick, and the diseased. 3. Thrift-
less poor, whom idleness and vice had reduced to
indigence and want. For each of these classes, a
suitable asylum, it was deemed necessary to pro-
vide. Accordingly, three hospitals were founded —
Christ's Hospital, for the education of poor children ;

c



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18 A CONCISE HISTORY

St. Thomas's, for the relief of the sick and diseased ;
and Bridewell, for the correction and amendment
of the idle and the vagabond.

Now that the plan had been discussed and adopted,
the next point was to obtain the housed into which the
pooTy the distressed^ and the thrijUess might be received.
In the case of Christ's Hospital, this was already
done by a confirmation of the grant of Henry VIII.,
whereby the monastery of the Grey Friars had been
presented to the City " for the relief of the poor."
For the second, an ancient almonry, belonging to
the parish of St. Mary Ovaries, which had recently
been purchased by the City, and, at a considerable
expense, put into complete repair, was fitted up
for the accommodation of two hundred and sixty
patients. In order to complete the plan, Edward,
at the suit of the Bishop, granted to the City his
royal palace of Bridewell, and the appurtenances,
which had been ofiered for public sale. All this
having been done, and large contributions made on
the part of the citizens for their support, a Charter
was prepared under the Great Seal, by which it
was willed and ordained, that the " Hospitals afore-
said, when they shall be founded, erected, and
established, shall be named and called the Hospitals
OF Edward the Sixth, King of England, — Christ,
Bridewell, and St. Thomas the Apostle ; and the
Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of the City of
London, and their successors, shall be called Gover-
nors of the said Hospitals." The charter compre-
hended the grant of the palace of Bridewell, and
of certain lands, tenements, and revenues of the
annual value of about £450, belonging to the Hos-



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OP Christ's hospital. 19

pital of the Savoy, recently dissolved ; together with
a licence to take lands in mortmain, or otherwise, to
the yearly amomit of four thousand marks, for the
maintenance of these foundations. When the King
inserted with his own hand, though he had hardly
strength enough to guide the pen, the sum of ^' foure
thousand markes by the yeare," he signed the in-
strument, and ejaculated, in the hearing of his
council, " Lord, I yield Thee most hearty thanks,
that Thou hast given me life thus long, to finish this
work to the glory of Thy name," — ^an ejaculation
which speaks more for his piety, goodness, and
disinterestedness, than the flatteries of a thousand
courtiers.

After having put his hand to the Charter of In-
corporation of the Boyal Hospitals, Edward gradually
sank, and, in the short space of a month, he was no
longer among the living. In the spring of 1552
he had been seized with the small-pox, before he
had quite recovered from an attack of measles ; and
the united effects of these affictions upon a consti-
tution naturally feeble, were such as to excite the
greatest alarm in those who were in the constant
habit of being near his person. The complaints were
aggravated by a severe cough, which brought on
consumption ; when, on the 6th July, 1553, ru the
sixteenth year of his age, and the seventh of his
reign, he expired ia the arms of Sir Henry Sydney —
praying God to receive his spirit, and to defend the
realm from Papistry. " In the .foundation of Christ's
Hospital," says the Reverend William TroUope, '' he
had provided the surest means, under Providence,
for the success of his prayer ; and his life was spared

c 2



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20 A CONCISE HISTORY

just long enough to greet him with the promise of
that harvest, which this seminary of sound learning
and true religion was destined to yield. Instigated
(stimulated) by the pious example of their Royal
Benefactor, the citizens proceeded vigorously with
the necessary repairs of the old conventual edifice,
which, in less than six months, had sufficiently
advanced to allow of the admission of three hundred
and forty children in the month of November. They
were clothed in livery of russet cotton ; and, dn the
Christmas-day following, they lined the procession
of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to St. Paul's, from
Laurence Lane westward. Li the month of June,
1553, the young King received the Corporation at
the palace, and presented them with the charter ;
the children, also, being present at the ceremony.
A more interesting spectacle, connected, as it was,
with the recent change in the national religion, can
scarcely be conceived. Nothing so heart-stirring in
its nature has, probably, occurred either before or
since, even in the pleasing exhibitions of the more
extended train of children in their annual processions
at Easter."

Notwithstanding the enthusiasm of the reverend
writer, he excepts, to the above description, the
assembly of the charity children in St. Paul's Cathe-
dral. The scene, of which he speaks, has been
represented on canvas by no less an artist than
Holbein. This picture now hangs in the hall of
Christ's Hospital, and, whatever may be the merits
of the manipulation of the work, the positions or
attitudes of the principal figures in the painting, and
the diminutive figure of the monarch, have never



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OF Christ's hospital. 21

struck us as being very demonstrative of a true, far
less a high, conception of the subject.

Although the Royal Hospitals of Christ, Bridewell,
and St. Thomas, had, each of them, objects perfectly
distinct in themselves to carry out, yet, at first,
their revenues were a common fund, and the expen-
diture was directed by one and the same corporate
body. Christ's Hospital was to have an educational
character. Previous to the dissolution of the monas-
teries, the little knowledge which existed among the
citizens had been received in short and laboured
lessons from monks and friars ; and London could
number only four grammar schools, together with
such seminaries as were attached to collegiate
churches, before the foundation of Christ's Hospital.
On the eve of St. Bartholomew it was the practice
of the scholars of these establishments to dispute
publicly at the Priory of St. Bartholomew, in West
Smithfield, when the three who showed the highest
attainments in grammar and logic, were presented
each with a silver pen — did this suggest the use of the,
now, common and excellent sted pen ? — ^but the emu-
lation and, perhaps, the envy excited among the
youthful competitors, frequently led to a trial of skill
in another kind of logic, namely, that of the fists,
in which it may be presumed the diver pens were
not always so successful. Heutzner, a German, who
visited England in the time of Queen Elizabeth,
gives a diflferent description of this ceremony. He
says, "every year it is usual for the Lord Mayor
of London to ride in Smithfield, attended by twelve
principal Aldermen, dressed in their scarlet gowns
and robes, and whenever he goes abroad, a sceptre.



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22 A CONCISE HISTORY

that is to say, a mace and cap, are borne before him.
He is, at all times, obliged to live so magnificently,
that foreigner or native is welcome to his table,
where is great plenty. When the yearly fair is
proclaimed, a tent is pitched, and after the ceremony
is over, the mob begin to wrestle before them, two at a
time, and the conquerors are rewarded by them, with
money thrown from the tent. After this, a parcel
of live rabbits are turned loose in the crowd, and
hunted by boys, with great noise, at which the
Mayor and the Aldermen do much besport them-
selves. Before this time there was an old custom,
for the scholars of London to meet at this festival,
at the Priory of St. Bartholomew, to dispute in
logic and grammar upon a bank under a tree. The
best of them were rewarded with silver hows arid
arrows^ Alas ! for these merry, hearty, healthy,
and poetical days, for they are all gone ! The boys
hunting rabbits in the crowd, to the great exhila-
ration of the Worshipful Mayor and his Aldermen,
in their scarlet robes, must have been rare fim and
also rare crvdty ; but the intellectual combats of the
boys, upon a bank, and under a green tree, is
redolent of more classic times than the middle of
the sixteenth century.

Immediately succeeding the opening of the school,
we have remarked that the children in russet lined
the civic procession to St. Paul's on Chistmas-day,
and, on the following Easter, they made their appear-
ance at St. Mary Spital, where three sermons were,
then, annually preached in Christmas week. It was
at one of these that the children of Christ's Hos-
pital were first clad in the Uue costume by which



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OF Christ's hospital. 23

they have since been distinguished. The shape and
form of their original brown was the same as at
present, bearing something of a resemblance to the
ejected brotherhood, to whose possessions they had
so happily succeeded. It consists of a long blue coat
which descends quite to the ankles, and is girt about
the waist by a leathern girdle ; a lemon-coloured
cassock, or petticoat — ^now worn only during the
winter, and under the coat — and stockings of yellow
worsted. A pair of white bands about the neck is
all that remains of the original ruflF and collar, which
was, at first, a part of the ordinary dress of all ranks.
The black cap formerly worn, upon the smallness of
which the boys prided themselves, as a peculiar dis-
tinction of the school, was also a relic of the cap of
larger size worn at the period of the foundation. Sup-
position has carried its opinion so far as to assign the
character of the former mantle to the coat, and the
yellow, as it is technically called, to the sleeveless
tunic of the monastic times. The leathern girdle
corresponds to the hempen cord of the pilgrim friar.
" There is an old tradition current among the boys,"
says the Rev. W. Trollope, ^^that the dress was
originally of velvet, fastened with silver buttons,
and an exact /ac-«imife of the ordinary habit of their
royal founder." The idea may possibly be traced
to the sketches and portraits of the monarch with
which their acquaintance is familiarized ; and in
which the royal mantle and sash, with the cap and
plume, may readily have been converted by the
youthful fancy into the emblems of their own attire.
Without reference, however, to so high an original,
those who have worn it are accustomed to view



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24 Christ's hospital.

it with a degree of veneration, which its antiquity
is calculated to inspire ; and the slightest change,
in any part of it, would amount, in their estimation,
to a species of sacrilege. Great interest now began
to be taken in the welfare of the establishment, the
education of the children made favorable progress,
and the annual contests on the Eve of St. Bar-
tholomew, which had, for a time, been discontinued,
but which had been resumed, were now transferred to
the cloisters of the hospital. The prize-pens awarded,
was one silver gilt to the first ; its value was five shil-
lings : to the second one of silver, value four shillings :
and the third had a plain silver pen, value three
shillings. Two masters of arts, called as umpires,
were presented with a silver rule of the value of
six shillings and eightpence ; while the masters of
the three successful candidates, received, in money,
six shillings and eightpence, five shillings, and four
shillings, respectively. These contests, however, did
not long continue, and, in Christ's Hospital, they
were succeeded by the annual commemoration of
St. Matthew's day. — It is now time, however, to speak
of the more specific objects of the hospital.



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CHAPTER II.

Poor-law Enactments — ^Parocliial Education — Eegulations for the
Admission of Children — Dame Mary Ramsey — Presentation Grant
to Aldermen.

Before the forty-third year of the reign of Eliza-
beth, the relief of the poor, in each parish, was
effected, as far as possible, by the contributions of
the richer inhabitants. In the reign of Henry VIII.
(1535), when the impending ruin of the religious
houses threatened the country with a '^multitu-
dinous sea" of vagrants, who had, previous to this
period, been relieved by the liberality of the monas-
tic institutions, an Act was passed which imposed
upon all governors of shires, cities, towns, hundreds,
hamlets and parishes, the burden of supporting
every aged poor and impotent person which was
bom, or dwelt three years, within the same limit,
by way of voluntary and charitable alms, in every
the same cities, and with such convenient alms as
shall be thought meet by their discretion, so as none
of them shall be compelled to go openly in begging."
At the same time it was enacted, that ''every
sturdy vagabond shall be kept in continual labour ;
and that every valiant beggar, or sturdy vagabond,
shall, at the first time, be whipped, and sent to the
place where he was bom, or last dwelled by the
space of three years, there to get his living ; and
if he continue his vagrant life, he shall have the



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26 A CONCISE HISTORY

upper part of the gristle of his ear cut off ; and if,
after that, he be taken wandering, he shall be
adjudged and executed as a felon ; and that no
person shall give any money in alms, but to the
common boxes, or common gatherings, in every
parish, upon pain to forfeit ten times as much as
shall be given." This latter clause was evidently
designed to counteract the deteriorating effect which
gratuitous provision invariably produces on the
labouring classes, by relaxing the exertions of the


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