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was converted into a parish church for the conven-
ience of those who lived within the precincts of
the hospital. At the time when Stow made his
survey it contained many ancient monuments and
brasses, but unhappily nearly all have been swept
away. The original tower still remains, but the
church itself, having fallen into decay, was rebuilt
by Dance in 1789, and again by the late Thomas
Hardwicke in 1823. Inigo Jones was baptised in
this church, and here James Heath, the author of
the "Chronicle of the Late War," was interred
in 1664.

Intimately associated with the priory of St.
Bartholomew is its rural appendage of Canon-
bury, near Islington, a favourite retreat of the old
priors. This interesting relic of antiquity, which
was presented to the priory by Ralph de Berners
in the reign of Edward the First, derives its name
partly from having been the residence of the



24 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

canons or priors, and partly from the word " bury,"
signifying a court, or dwelling-house.

" Canonbury Tower," writes Hone, "is sixty
feet high and seventeen feet square. It is part
of an old mansion which appears to have been
erected, or much altered, about the reign of Eliza-
beth. The more ancient edifice was erected by
the priors or the canons of St. Bartholomew,
Smithfield, and hence was called Canonbury, to
whom it appertained until it was surrendered
with the priory to Henry the Eighth ; and
when the religious houses were dissolved, Henry
gave the mansion to Thomas, Lord Cromwell. It
afterward passed through other hands, till it was
possessed by Sir John Spencer, an alderman and
Lord Mayor of London, known by the name of
' Rich Spencer.' While he resided at Canonbury,
a Dunkirk pirate came over in a shallop to Bark-
ing Creek and hid himself with some armed men
in Islington Fields, near the path which Sir
John usually took from his house in Crosby
Place to this mansion, with the hope of making
him prisoner, but as he remained in town that
night, they were glad to make off for fear of detec-
tion, and returned to France disappointed of their
prey and of the large ransom they calculated on
for the release of his person. His sole daughter
and heiress, Elizabeth, was carried off in a baker's
basket from Canonbury House by William, the
second Lord Compton, Lord President of Wales.



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 25

He inherited Canonbury, with the rest of Sir
John Spencer's wealth, at his death, and was
afterward created Earl of Northampton. In this
family the manor still remains." "I ranged the
old rooms," adds Hone, "and took, perhaps, a last
view from the roof. The eye shrank from the
wide havoc below. Where new buildings had
not covered the sward, it was embowelling for
bricks, and kilns emitted flickering fire and sul-
phurous stench." The present tower was probably
built by Sir John Spencer, into whose hands the
estate passed in 1570.

Canonbury Tower is rendered especially inter-
esting from its having been frequently the hiding-
place of Goldsmith, when threatened with arrest
and the gaol. Here, according to tradition, he
composed his "Deserted Village" and a part
of the "Vicar of Wakefield." That Goldsmith
resided here during the whole of the year 1763
and a portion of 1 764, there can be no question ;
the popular authority for presuming the " Vicar of
Wakefield " to have been composed in Canonbury
Tower being Sir John Hawkins ; while, on the
other hand, Mr. Mitford, in his "Life of Gold-
smith," intimates that Goldsmith composed this
charming story during his residence in Wine
Office Court, Fleet Street, between the years
1 760 and 1 762. " Canonbury," writes Washing-
ton Irving, "is an ancient brick tower, hard by
'merry Islington,' the remains of a hunting-seat



2 6 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

of Queen Elizabeth, where she took the pleas-
ure of the country, when the neighbourhood was
all woodland. What gave it particular interest in
my eyes, was the circumstance that it had been
the residence of a poet. It was here Goldsmith
resided when he wrote his ' Deserted Village.' I
was shown the very apartment. It was a relic of
the original style of the castle, with panelled wain-
scot and Gothic windows. I was pleased with its
air of antiquity, and its having been the residence
of poor Goldy."

Goldsmith's apartment is said to have been an
old oak room on the first floor, in the eastern cor-
ner of which was a large press-bedstead in which
he slept. The walls of this apartment present a
good example of oak panelling, surpassed, however,
by an upper room, which for carving and delicate
tracery is hardly to be equalled.

The account given by Washington Irving of the
miseries of his "Poor Devil Author" in Canon-
bury Tower, has probably as much truth in it as
fiction. "Sunday came," he writes, "and with it
the whole city world, swarming about Canonbury
Castle. I could not open my window but I was
stunned with shouts and noises from the cricket
ground. The late quiet road beneath my windows
was alive with the tread of feet and the clack of
tongues, and, to complete my misery, I found that
my quiet retreat was absolutely a ' show house,'
being shown to strangers at sixpence a head.



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 27

There was a perpetual tramping up-stairs of citi-
zens and their families to look about the country
from the top of the tower, and to take a peep at
the city through a telescope, to try if they could
discern their own chimneys."

It was probably not in connection with Gold-
smith alone that Washington Irving was induced
to fix upon Canonbury Tower as the retreat of his
" Poor Devil Author." Here, at different times,
resided the unfortunate poet, Christopher Smart ;
David Humphreys, an indifferent poet, author of
" Ulysses," an opera ; and Ephraim Chambers, the
author of the " Cyclopaedia."

Behind Canonbury Tower stood till our time a
mansion which, according to tradition, was the
occasional rural retreat of Queen Elizabeth, and
which bore internal evidence of having been
anciently the habitation of royalty. The old
drawing-room, with its fine stuccoed ceiling, its
scroll-work ornaments, and its beautiful mantel-
piece, must at one time have been a stately apart-
ment. In the centre of the ceiling were the initials
E. R., affording circumstantial, if not positive, evi-
dence that the mansion was once inhabited by the
virgin queen. On the ground floor was another
fine apartment, known as the Stone Parlour. This
apartment had also a fine decorated mantelpiece,
on which were represented the cardinal virtues, as
well as a stuccoed ceiling embossed and ornamented
with pendants.



28 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

Adjoining this house, and standing on a rather
elevated lawn, was the ancient residence of Prior
Bolton, probably erected by him about the year
1520. The lawn was terminated by a raised and
embowered terrace, which must at one time have
commanded a fine view of the surrounding coun-
try. At each end of the wall was an octagonal
garden-house, erected by Prior Bolton, in one of
which was to be traced the prior's rebus, or device,
a bolt, or arrow, and a tun. The same quaint
device is also to be traced in St. Bartholomew's
Church and in some of the houses in the adjoining
close. Ben Johnson speaks of :

" Old Prior Bolton, with his bolt and ton."

From the same source, apparently, the ancient
and well-known inn in Fleet Street derived its
name.

Among other relics of the past the mansion con-
tained a carved mantelpiece of the reign of Eliza-
beth, and a stone passage, or corridor, in which
could be seen a Tudor doorway of considerable
beauty and elegance, ornamented by the rebus of
Prior Bolton.

Who is there who has not felt an interest in
that great Smithfield fair, which derived its name
from having been for centuries held under the
shadow of the neighbouring priory ? The privilege
of holding a fair at Smithfield during St. Bartholo-
mew tide was originally granted to the priory by



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 29

Henry the Second. It lasted for three days
being principally frequented by London drapers,
as well as by country clothiers who flocked
hither with their goods from all parts of Eng-
land ; these persons being allowed to place their
booths and standings within the walls of the
churchyard, the gates of which were carefully
locked at night.

Such was the constitution of Bartholomew
Fair till the reign of Henry the Eighth, when
there sprung up those humours and saturnalia
for which it continued to be celebrated even in
recent times. In our own time the lord mayor
still opened the fair in person ; stopping his
horse at Newgate in his way, to receive from the
hands of the keeper of the prison a " cool tankard
of wine, nutmeg, and sugar." In 1688, this cus-
tom proved fatal to Sir John Shorter, lord mayor,
grandfather of the beautiful Catherine Shorter,
the first wife of Sir Robert Walpole. While
holding the tankard, the lid suddenly fell, when
his horse, frightened at the noise, plunged and
threw his rider. So severe were the injuries
which he received that he died on the following
day.

Bartholomew Fair was long celebrated for its
theatrical entertainments. Pepys writes on the
3<Dth of August, 1667: "I to Bartholomew Fayre
to walk up and down ; and there, among other
things, find my Lady Castlemaine at a puppet-play,



30 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

and the street full of people expecting her coming
out. I confess I did wonder at her courage to
come abroad, thinking the people would abuse her.
But they, silly people, do not know the work she
makes, and therefore suffered her with great re-
spect to take coach, and she away without any
trouble at all." It was in a booth at Bartholomew
Fair that Rich is said to have been so struck with
the acting of Walker, afterward the original Mac-
heath, that he engaged him for the theatre in Lin-
coln's Inn. Another well-known person connected
with Bartholomew Fair was the unfortunate poet,
Elkanah Settle, who was once so reduced in cir-
cumstances as to be compelled to write panto-
mimes and contrive machinery for a Smithfield
booth. Here, in fact, it was that in one of his
own wretched theatrical exhibitions, called " St.
George and the Dragon," he was reduced to per-
sonate the dragon, enclosed in a case of green
leather a circumstance to which Doctor Young,
the author of the " Night Thoughts," alludes in his
epistles to Pope :

" Poor Elkanah, all other changes past,
For bread in Smithfield-dragons hissed at last;
Spit streams of fire to make the butchers gape,
And found his manners suited to his shape.
Such is the fate of talents misapplied," etc.

It was at Bartholomew Fair that the great actress,
Mrs. Pritchard, first attracted public attention.



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 31

We have the authority of Mrs. Piozzi, that
Doctor Johnson's uncle, Andrew Johnson, " for a
whole year kept the ring at Smithfield, where
they wrestled and boxed, and never was thrown or
conquered."



CHAPTER II.

THE CHARTER HOUSE.

Charter House Originally a Burial-ground Sir Walter de
Manny Founds a Carthusian Monastery There Dreadful
Punishments Inflicted on the Carthusians by Henry the
Eighth Charter House Purchased by Duke of Norfolk
Given to Earl of Suffolk History of Sir Thomas Sutton,
Founder of the Present Charter House Scholars and Pen-
sioners Old Court-room Charter House Square.

THERE is perhaps no spot in London which has
witnessed so much dreary horror as the ground
occupied by the Charter House. Beneath and
around us lie the remains of no fewer than one
hundred thousand human beings, who fell victims
to the frightful plague, which devastated the me-
tropolis in the reign of Edward the Third. 1 "No
Man's Land," as it was styled by our ancestors,
bore a frightful reputation. Long after the earth
had closed over the vast plague-pit, it was the cus-
tom to inter there all who had either perished on

1 It is to be noted, that above one hundred thousand bodies
of Christian people had in that churchyard been buried ; for the
said knight (Sir Walter de Manny) had purchased that place for
the burial of poor people, travellers, and other that were deceased,
to remain for ever.

3 2



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 33

the gibbet or by their own hands. Their muti-
lated corpses, according to Stow, were conveyed
hither with terrifying ceremony, " usually in a close
cart, bailed over and covered with black, having a
plain white cross thwarting ; and at the fore end
a St. John's cross without ; and within a bell ring-
ing by shaking of the cart, whereby the same might
be heard when it passed ; and this was called the
friary cart, which belonged to St. John's, and had
the privilege of sanctuary."

At the time of the great plague in the reign of
Edward the Third, the ground on which the Char-
ter House now stands consisted of open fields.
Then it was [1348] that, in consequence of the
ordinary London churchyards having been filled to
overflowing by the victims of the pestilence, the
ground was purchased from philanthropic motives
by Ralph Stratford, Bishop of London, who sur-
rounded it with a wall of brick, and built a chapel
for the performance of the burial service over the
dead. This immediate spot was known by the
name of Pardon Churchyard, a name which it con-
tinued to retain in the days of Stow. The chapel
stood on the ground between the present north
wall of the Charter House and Sutton Street.

There existed at that fearful period another
beneficent philanthropist, to whom, in fact, we in-
directly owe the present magnificent establishment,
the Charter House. That person was Sir Walter
de Manny, a native of Hainault and a Knight of



34 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

the Garter, a man not only endeared to his con-
temporaries by his singular virtues, but whose per-
sonal gallantry shone preeminent in every battle
and tournament of that chivalrous age. As com-
passionate as he was brave, he not only during the
raging of the pestilence added thirteen acres to
the ground already purchased by Bishop Strat-
ford, but subsequently perfected his pious work by
founding and endowing on the spot a religious es-
tablishment, which survived till the dissolution of
the monasteries in the reign of Henry the Eighth.
In founding his new order, Sir Walter had the
advice and experience of Simon Sudbury Bishop of
London. It consisted of twenty-four Carthusian
monks, who were formed into a branch of the Bene-
dictines, originally established at Chartreux, in
France, about the year 1080, an order principally
distinguished by its austerity and self-denial. Hence
the modern word, Charter House, is corrupted.
Over their single undergarment, which was white,
they wore a black cloak ; no other covering being
permitted them, even in winter, but a single blan-
ket. With the exception of the prior and the
proctor, they were confined entirely to the walls
of the monastery. Even in the most inclement
weather they were compelled to attend divine ser-
vice in the middle of the night. Once a week they
fasted on bread, salt, and water, and on no occa-
sion were they allowed to eat meat, nor even fish,
unless it were a free gift. When Shakespeare, in



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 35

his play of "Henry the Eighth," speaks of "a
monk o* the Chartreux," he alludes to one of the
fraternity of the ancient Charter House.

Sir Walter de Manny breathed his last in 1372,
deeply and deservedly lamented. Froissart, indeed,
tells us that " all the barons and knights of Eng-
land were much affected at his death, on account
of the loyalty and prudence they had always found
in him." He was buried with great pomp in the
chapel of the monastery of the Carthusians, his
funeral being attended by the king in person, and
by the principal nobles and prelates of the realm.
By his own wish a tomb of alabaster was placed
in the choir over his remains.

The Carthusians, from the time of the founda-
tion till the extinction of their order, continued
to be respected for their peaceful and exemplary
lives ; living entirely secluded from the vanities
and temptations of the busy world around them,
practising self-denial, and dispensing alms to the
poor. Their virtues, however, availed them little
against the grasping avarice of Henry the Eighth ;
and accordingly, at the dissolution of the religious
houses, they received a visit from the king's com-
missioners, by whom they were formally required
to withdraw their spiritual allegiance from the
Pope, and to acknowledge the king's supremacy
in the Church. In case of their submission, the
prospect of honours and rewards was liberally held
out to them ; while, in case of obduracy, they



36 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

were threatened with the gibbet and the rack.
Neither, however, the fear of death, nor the hope
of reward could divert these devoted men from
their purpose, and accordingly their fate, as may
be readily imagined, proved to be a hard one.

On the 5th of May, 1535, the venerable prior
was not only hanged, drawn, and quartered at
Tyburn, but one of his quarters was actually
placed over the gate of his own monastery, a
ghastly spectacle and a terrible forewarning to its
surviving inmates. Nevertheless they continued
to turn a deaf ear alike to the threats and the
promises of the king's inquisitors, till at length,
enraged at their obstinacy, their persecutors took
the preliminary step of immuring them within the
walls of the cloisters ; whence, about a month after
the death of their exemplary prior, many of them
were dragged forth to the gibbet. Their bodies
having been cut down while they were still alive,
their bowels were taken out, and their heads and
quarters affixed to different parts of the city. Six
monks of the whole number recanted their princi-
ples and took the oath of supremacy. There now
remained only ten of the unfortunate Carthusians,
the fate of whom was even more pitiable than
that of their deceased brethren. After a long and
close confinement, such was the miserable state
to which they were reduced by hunger and filth,
that nine of them actually wasted away and died
in their miserable cells. The only remaining one



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 37

the last of the simple-minded and devoted Car-
thusians was led forth a few years later to the
gibbet.

After the dissolution of the monasteries, the
Charter House was granted by Henry the Eighth,
in 1542, for their joint lives, to John Brydges and
Thomas Hall, the former yeoman and the latter
groom of the king's nets and tents. Henry subse-
quently conferred it upon Sir Thomas Audley,
lord chancellor, who sold it in 1545 to the emi-
nent statesman and lawyer, Sir Edward North,
afterward Lord North, who metamorphosed the
old monastery into a magnificent mansion. He
subsequently disposed of it to the turbulent and
ambitious John Dudley, Duke of Northumber-
land, on whose attainder and execution, in August,
1553, it was again conferred on Lord North by
the Crown.

At the Charter House Queen Elizabeth, on her
accession to the throne in 1558, passed five days
previously to her installing herself in the royal
apartments in the Tower.

In 1565 the Charter House was purchased of
Roger, the second Lord North, by Thomas How-
ard, Duke of Norfolk, whose romantic attachment
to Mary Queen of Scots led him to the block. It
was the favourite resort of this unfortunate noble-
man, being at one time the scene of his revels,
at another of his desperate intrigues, and, lastly,
of his imprisonment. The greater part of the



38 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

edifice as it now stands was rebuilt by this noble-
man. In the great hall may be still seen his
heraldic bearings, with the date, 1571, the year
previous to his execution, while the pediment of
the outer gate in Charter House Square is still
supported by two lions with scrolls, his armorial
badge. It may be mentioned that the principal
evidence against the ill-fated duke was the dis-
covery under the roofing-tiles of the Charter
House of the key to the cipher of his letters.
Whether with real or feigned reluctance, Queen
Elizabeth, notwithstanding his many virtues, his
great popularity, and their long friendship, signed
the warrant for his execution, and accordingly, on
the 2d of June, 1572, the duke perished in the
prime of life on the scaffold on Tower Hill.

The Howards being the kinsfolks of Queen
Elizabeth, she was induced to divide among them
the forfeited property of the late duke, the Char-
ter House falling to the share of his second son,
Lord Thomas Howard, afterward Earl of Suffolk.
Here this nobleman was residing in 1603, when
James the First ascended the throne, and as it
was the policy of the Scottish monarch to show
favour to the surviving friends of his ill-fated
mother, he not only selected Lord Thomas How-
ard to be his host previously to his solemn entry
into London, but passed under his roof the four
days which preceded that event. Here he was
splendidly entertained by his obsequious host.



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 39

Here he showed his affection for his new subjects
by dubbing no fewer than eighty knights ; and
here, on his departure, he displayed his gratitude
to his host by creating him Earl of Suffolk, and
appointing him to the high honours of Lord
Treasurer of England, lord chamberlain of his
household, and a Knight of the Garter.

The foundation and endowment of the Charter
House by Sir Thomas Sutton is perhaps the most
princely charity for which, with the exception
of Guy's Hospital, England is indebted to the
munificence of any single individual. Sir Thomas,
who was a native of Knaith in Lincolnshire, was
born in 1531; received his education at Eton and
Cambridge, and subsequently entered himself as
a student at Lincoln's Inn. In early life he had
passed several years travelling in foreign coun-
tries, and on his return to England, in 1562,
found himself, by the death of his father, in the
possession of a considerable property. He now
attached himself to the person and fortunes of
the Duke of Norfolk, from which circumstance,
probably, may have sprung that particular affec-
tion for the Charter House and its localities,
which many years afterward induced him to
become its purchaser.

The zeal with which he served the Duke of
Norfolk induced that nobleman to introduce him
to the Earl of Warwick, whose secretary he be-
came, and by whose influence he obtained the



40 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

appointment of master-general of the ordnance
in the North. Within a few years from this period
in consequence of the successful result of sev-
eral commercial speculations, and more especially
by the purchase of the manors of Gateshead and
Wickham, near Newcastle, the coal-mines of which
yielded him immense profits Sir Thomas Sut-
ton found himself one of the richest subjects in
Europe. Wealth could scarcely have been lav-
ished on a more deserving person. To him the
scholar never applied for assistance in vain ; neither
were the poor and needy ever sent empty-handed
from his door. Ever on the watch for opportu-
nities of benefiting his fellow creatures, he was in
the habit, in years of scarcity, of storing up large
quantities of grain, which he disposed of at low
prices to the poor. More than once, while medi-
tating in his garden, he was overheard to use the
expression, " Lord, thou has given me a large
and liberal estate ; give me also a heart to make
use thereof." Not only was he the munificent
friend of the scholar, the widow, and the orphan,
but among his papers at the Charter House are
numerous applications to him for money in the
handwriting of the noblest of the land, as well
as many bonds which to all appearance he had
allowed to remain uncancelled. Among his debtors
are to be traced no less illustrious names than
those of the haughty Elizabeth and her ill-fated
favourite the Earl of Essex.



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 41

Notwithstanding his peaceful habits and gentle
disposition, Sir Thomas Sutton was far from being
the mere merchant or philanthropist. As master-
general of the ordnance in the North, especial
mention is made of him as having commanded in
person one of the batteries raised for the reduc-
tion of Edinburgh Castle in 1573.

On the 9th of May, 1611, Sir Thomas, having
completed the purchase of the Charter House
from the Earl of Suffolk for the sum of ; 13,000,
proceeded to establish his new institution on its
present footing. He had proposed to nominate
himself its first governor; but scarcely had his


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