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arrangements been completed, when he was seized
by a fatal illness, which carried him off on the
1 2th of December, 1611, at the age of seventy-
nine. His death took place at Hackney, exactly
six weeks after he had signed the important deeds
which conveyed his vast landed estates to the
Charter House. His body, having been embalmed,
was brought from Hackney to the house of Doctor
Law, in Paternoster Row, whence it was conveyed
to its temporary resting-place in Christ Church,
Newgate, followed by six thousand persons. In
March, 1616, it was removed to the spot where
it now reposes, in the chapel of his own princely
foundation.

The establishment of the Charter House, pre-
sided over by sixteen governors, consists of a
master, preacher, head schoolmaster, second mas-



42 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

ter, registrar, house steward or manciple, besides
inferior officers and servants. The pensioners
on its establishment are eighty "decayed gentle-
men," and sixty scholars.

The scholars are admitted between the ages
of ten and fourteen, and provided they attain a
certain proficiency in learning, are transplanted
in due time to the university, where, according
to the will of the founder, twenty-nine exhibitions
of the value of .80 a year are provided for those
who were educated on his foundation. Among
the most eminent persons educated at the Charter
House appear to be Richard Crashaw, the poet,
Addison, Sir Richard Steele, John Wesley, the
founder of Methodism, and Sir William Blackstone,
the lawyer and poet. Wesley, who survived till
the almost patriarchal age of eighty-seven, used
to attribute the health which he enjoyed through
so long a life to his having kept a promise he had
made to his father, never to miss a day without
running a certain number of times around the
Charter House playing-ground. Another eminent
person educated at the Charter House was the
late Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, Lord
Ellenborough, whose strong attachment to the
scenes of his youth may be assumed from the
wish he expressed to be buried within its walls.
A prominent object, on the south wall of the
Charter House playground, is a painted crown,
which is said to have been originally drawn in



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 43

chalk by the great lawyer in his boyhood, and
which has ever since been religiously preserved.
In the chapel of the Charter House is a monu-
ment to the memory of Lord Ellenborough.

The pensioners, or "decayed gentlemen," live
entirely apart from the scholars : having each
their separate apartment, and receiving an allow-
ance of 56 a year each, besides a table being
kept for their maintenance. None but persons
who have been housekeepers are admitted, nor
any one under the age of fifty unless he has
been maimed in war. Elkanah Settle, the poet,
and John Bagford, the antiquary, were severally
" poor brethren " of the Charter House.

Although portions of the walls of the ancient
monastery are unquestionably incorporated in the
present building, the edifice as it now stands ex-
hibits but few traces of the original structure
of Sir Walter de Manny. Perhaps the only ex-
ception is the basement of the chapel turret,
which is supported on the exterior by an original
buttress, anciently forming a part of the old tower
of the Carthusian chapel. Of the monastery, how-
ever, as it existed at the more recent period of
its dissolution, the antiquary may trace some inter-
esting remains. The chamber where the pensioners
now dine was the refectory of the old monks :
the entrances to several of their cells may still
be traced on the south side of the present play-
ground ; their ancient kitchen is still in use ; and



44 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

the cloisters, which witnessed the sufferings of
the ill-fated Carthusians, still continue objects
of unfading interest.

The other objects of note in the Charter House
are the chapel, the hall, the old court-room, and
an ancient and beautiful apartment called the
evidence room, in which the records of the es-
tablishment are preserved. The most noteworthy
object in the chapel is the large and gaudy monu-
ment of the founder, Sir Thomas Sutton, whose
recumbent effigy, in a black furred gown, with
gray hair and beard, is painted in imitation of
life. On each side of the effigy is an upright
figure of a man in armour, and above it is a
preacher addressing a full congregation. The
sculptor was the well-known mason and statuary,
Nicholas Stone, who was employed as master-
mason, under Inigo Jones, in building the Ban-
queting-house at Whitehall. His bill for Sutton's
monument, which is still in existence, amounts to
^366, 15.?.

The hall is said to have been built by Sir
Edward North in the reign of Henry the Eighth,
and to have been afterward used as a banqueting-
room by the ill-fated Duke of Norfolk. The roof
is fine and massive, besides which there are in
the oriel windows some remains of painted glass
with various armorial bearings ; the mantelpiece,
too, is curious. Above it are Sutton's arms, on
each side of which is represented a mounted piece



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 45

of cannon, supposed to have reference to his
military services at the siege of Edinburgh.

The apartment known as the governor's room,
in the Master's House is also well worthy a visit.
Here, in curious juxtaposition, are portraits of the
grave founder ; of the gay and unprincipled George
Villiers, Duke of Buckingham ; of the pious Shel-
don, Archbishop of Canterbury, and of the profli-
gate Charles the Second ; of the hero, William,
Earl Craven, and the philosopher Burnet, author of
the " Theory of the Earth ; " of the handsome and
unfortunate Duke of Monmouth ; of the eminent
philosopher, Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, and
of the celebrated statesman, Charles Talbot,
Duke of Shrewsbury.

But the most interesting apartment in the Char-
ter House is unquestionably the old court-room,
with its sombre tapestry, its lofty panelled mantel-
piece, and its beautiful stuccoed and gilded ceiling.
Vividly it recalls to our imagination that magnifi-
cent period when Queen Elizabeth having in-
vited herself to pay a second visit of four days at
the Charter House with her learned chancellor,
Sir Edward North proceeded thither on horse-
back from the Tower ; her kinsman, Lord Huns-
don, carrying the sword of state before her, her
ladies following close behind her on their ambling
palfreys, and a magnificent procession bringing
up the rear. Having passed through the principal
gateway, still bearing the heraldic badge of the



46 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

Duke of Norfolk, it was in all probability to this
apartment that she was conducted, and that here
she held her court.

" Girt with many a baron bold,

Sublime their starry fronts they rear ;

And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old
In bearded majesty appear.

In the midst, a form divine !

Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line ;

Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,

Attempered sweet to virgin-grace ;

What strings symphonious tremble in the air ! "

Charter House Square stands on the site of the
burial-place of the ancient monastery. At the
northeast corner formerly stood the residence of
the Rutland family, and afterward, on its site, the
well-known theatre opened by Sir William Dave-
nant in 1656.

In Charter House Square died, on the 8th of
December, 1691, Richard Baxter, the eminent
non-conformist divine.

Pardon Passage, in the immediate vicinity of
Charter House Square, forms a curious link be-
tween the days of Edward the Third and our own
time. Pardon Churchyard, it may be remembered,
was the designation given to the ground purchased
by Bishop Stratford for the interment of the
victims of the giant pestilence in the fourteenth
century.



CHAPTER III.

ST. JOHN'S GATE, CLERKENWELL, ETC.

St. John's Gate Becomes the Residence of Cave Anecdote
of Doctor Johnson and Cave St. John's Gate now Con-
verted into a Public House History of the Knights of St.
John of Jerusalem The Order Suppressed St. James,
Clerkenwell Monuments There Derivation of Name of
Clerkenwell Sir Thomas Chaloner Newcastle House
Bagnigge Wells Sadler's Wells Hockley in the Hole.

TURNING from St. John's Street into St. John's
Lane, we face the ancient gateway of the hospital
or priory of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
In the reign of James the First, this interesting
gateway formed the residence of Sir Roger Wil-
braham, to whom it was granted by that monarch.
From this period little is known of its history till
the commencement of the last century, when it
had become the private residence of the well-known
Cave, the proprietor of the Gentleman s Magazine,
the first number of which issued from St. John's
Gate.

Boswell, in mentioning the feelings of " rever-
ence " with which Doctor Johnson first gazed upon
the old gateway, attributes it to its association with

47



48 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

the Gentleman's Magazine. "I suppose," he says,
" that every young author has had the same kind
of feeling for the magazine or periodical publica-
tion which has first entertained him. I myself recol-
lect such impressions from the Scots' Magazine.''
But when Doctor Johnson gazed with " reverence "
on St. John's Gateway, the Gentleman's Magazine
had, in all probability, but little place in his
thoughts. "If," writes Mr. Croker, "Johnson, as
Boswell supposes, looked at St. John's Gate as the
printing-office of Cave, surely a less emphatical
term than reverence would have been more just.
The Gentleman's Magazine had been at this time
but six years before the public, and its contents
were, until Johnson himself contributed to improve
it, entitled to anything rather than reverence ; but
it is more probable that Johnson's reverence was
excited by the recollections connected with the
ancient gate itself, the last relic of the once exten-
sive and magnificent priory of the heroic Knights
of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, suppressed
at the dissolution, and destroyed by successive
dilapidations."

In connection with Doctor Johnson and St.
John's Gate, Malone relates a rather curious anec-
dote. Shortly after the publication of Johnson's
" Life of Savage," Walter Harte, the author of
the "Life of Gustavus Adolphus," dined with
Cave. A few days afterward, when Harte and
Cave again met, the latter observed : " You made



57. John's Gate.

Photo-etching from an engraving by Peltro.



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 49

a man very happy the other day." " How could
that be ? " said Harte ; " there was no one there
but ourselves." Cave then reminded him that
during dinner a plate of victuals had been sent
behind a screen. They were for Johnson, he said,
who was dressed so shabbily that he declined sit-
ting down to table, but who had overheard the con-
versation, and was highly delighted with Harte's
encomiums on his work.

The military Order of the Knights of St. John
of Jerusalem was founded about the year 1 100, by
John Briset, a Norman baron, and Muriel, his wife.
The dress of the Order was originally a black
upper garment, with a white cross in front.

The knights were required to take an oath of
chastity ; to be rigid in the performance of their
devotions ; to yield implicit obedience to their su-
periors ; to defend Christians against pagans ; to
renounce all property independent of the common
stock ; and lastly, to relieve the needy and to ad-
minister to the sick. They were especially en-
joined, as the champions of the cross, to fight for
it to the last gasp of their lives.

To enumerate the heroic exploits performed by
the Knights of St. John in the Holy Land would
occupy far more space than we can devote to the
subject. Even when the cause of the Crusade
must have appeared almost desperate even to
themselves, they continued to defend the sacred
territory almost inch by inch against the immense



50 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

masses of infidels who confronted them. The
same heroic gallantry which had distinguished
them in the early period of their history, at the
sieges of Ascalon and Gaza, shone no less conspic-
uous at the sieges of Azotus and St. Jean d'Acre.
Of the ninety knights who defended Azotus, when
that fortress was at length taken by assault, not
one was found alive. The dead body of the last
served as a stepping-stone to the advancing infidels.
It was in the year 1310, after a long and bloody
contest with the desperate piratical inhabitants of
the island of Rhodes, that the Knights of St.
John invested themselves with the sovereignty of
that island. Here they remained carrying on
a continual warfare with the Mohammedans, and
enriching themselves by commerce till the year
1522, when the sultan, Solyman the Fourth, ap-
peared before the island with an overwhelming
armament. The details of the protracted and
bloody siege which followed in which the Turks
lost one hundred thousand men are well known.
The last bulwark which was blown up was that
of the English knights, who on four different occa-
sions drove back the Turks from the breach, and
tore down the crescent which they had planted
on the walls. The last who consented to capitu-
late was the grand master, the venerable L'Isle
Adam. When at length the Sultan Solyman sub-
sequently entered Rhodes as a conqueror, he paid
a visit to the heroic old man, with whose mis-



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 51

fortunes he is said to have deeply sympathised.
"It is not without pain," he said, "that I force
this Christian at his time of life to leave his dwell-
ing." By the terms of the capitulation, the
surviving knights were allowed to quit Rhodes un-
molested, and to retire whithersoever they chose.
Accordingly, in 1530, they took possession of the
island of Malta, which had been conceded to them
by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, where they
continued till the extinction of their Order.

One of the most remarkable features in the his-
tory of the Knights of St. John, was the long and
bitter rivalry which existed between them and the
Knights Templars. So intense, indeed, was their
mutual hatred, that, forgetful of the common
cause which enjoined them to fight side by side
against the infidel, they more than once, on the
plains of Palestine, pointed their lances against
one another. The last and most sanguinary of
these combats took place hi 1259, when the
Knights of St. John obtained a complete victory
over their rivals, 'leaving scarcely a Templar alive
on the field of battle. When, about half a century
afterward, the Knights Templars ceased to exist
as an Order, the greater portion of their posses-
sions was conferred by the Pope and the other
European sovereigns on the Knights of St. John.
Among the property thus transferred to them was
the temple in Fleet Street, which in the reign of
Edward the Third they leased to the students of



52 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

law. The prior at this period ranked as first
baron of England.

The Order of St. John, like that of the Knights
Templars, was in the first years of its existence
distinguished by the austerities, the chastity, and
the self-denial practised by its members. " Re-
ceive the yoke of the Lord," were the words of
the principal to a proselyte knight ; " it is easy
and light, and you shall find rest for your soul.
We promise you nothing but bread and water, a
simple habit and of little worth." By degrees,
however, as their riches increased, so also did
luxury and licentiousness take root among this
once ascetic and self-denying Order. To the lower
classes, the notorious vices of many of the knights,
and their arrogant display of wealth, rendered them
especially obnoxious. When, in the reign of Rich-
ard the Second, the celebrated riots broke out
under the direction of Wat Tyler, the property of
the Knights of St. John was among the first which
fell a sacrifice to the fury of the rebels. " They
burnt," writes Stow, "all the houses belonging to
St. John's ; and then burnt the fair priory of the
hospital of St. John, causing the same to burn the
space of seven days after." King Richard, it ap-
pears, witnessed the conflagration from a turret
of the Tower. Of those who fell victims to the
popular fury one was the prior of St. John's, Sir
Robert Hales, who perished by the axe of the
rebels. A few days previously, when the assem-



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 53

bled rebels at Blackheath had sent to demand a
conference with their sovereign, it was the prior
of St. John's who had been the first to urge his
royal master to hold no converse with such " bare-
legged ribalds."

These events occurred in 1381, within a quarter
of a century from which time a new priory arose
from the ashes of the old, apparently far surpass-
ing it in magnificence. It was not, however, till
the end of the fifteenth century that the present
gateway was built, nor was the church completed
till 1504.

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem was sup-
pressed by Henry the Eighth, in the thirty-second
year of his reign. On the last prior, Sir William
Weston, who died, it is said, of a broken heart
on the day his Order was suppressed, the king
conferred a pension of a thousand a year, and
on the knights smaller annuities. The remainder
of their large possessions Henry seized for the
"augmentation of his crown." "The priory,
church, and house of St. John," writes Stow,
"were preserved from spoil or downpulling so
long as King Henry the Eighth reigned, and were
employed as a storehouse for the king's toils and
tents for hunting, and for the wars. But in the
third of King Edward the Sixth, the church, for
the most part, to wit the body and side-aisles,
with the groat bell-tower, a most curious piece of
workmanship, graven, gilt, and enamelled, to the



54 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

great beautifying of the city, and passing all other
that I have seen, was undermined and blown
up with gunpowder. The stone thereof was em-
ployed in building of the lord protector's house at
the Strand."

In the succeeding reign of Queen Mary an at-
tempt was made to revive the Order, and to place
it on its ancient footing. The choir of the church,
and some of the side chapels which still remained,
were repaired, and Sir Thomas Tresham, knight,
appointed lord prior. But the glory of the Order
of St. John had passed away, and on the acces-
sion of Queen Elizabeth it was for ever abolished
in England. The priory, which was of great
extent, stood on the ground now occupied by St.
John's Square, on the south side of Clerkenwell
Green.

On the opposite, or north, side of the green
stood the Benedictine Nunnery of St. Mary,
founded so early as the year noo, by one Jorden
Brisset, as an establishment for Black Nuns of
the Order of St. Benedict. The first prioress was
Christina. The last was Isabella Sackville, niece
of Thomas, first Earl of Dorset. On the site of
this convent, which was dissolved in 1570, arose
the present parochial church dedicated to St.
James. As late as the days of Pennant, a part of
the cloisters of the old convent and also of the
nuns' refectory, still remained.

The old conventual church contained many



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 55

costly and interesting monuments, many of which
were unfortunately destroyed during the progress
of rebuilding the church. Among these may be
mentioned the monument of Sir William Weston,
the last Lord Prior of the Order of St. John, and
that of the last Prioress of St. Mary's, Isabella
Sackville ; of Elizabeth Drury, widow of William
Cecil, Earl of Exeter ; of Elizabeth, wife of Sir
Maurice Berkeley, standard-bearer to Henry the
Eighth and to Queen Elizabeth ; and of the cele-
brated antiquary and collector of funeral inscrip-
tions, John Weever, who died in 1634.' The
epitaph on Weever's tomb, composed by himself,
is as quaint as any of those which he delighted to
collect. The inscription concludes :

" Lancashire gave me breath,

And Cambridge, education ;
Middlesex gave me death,

And this church my humation ;
And Christ to me hath given
A place with Him in Heaven.

.<tatis suae 56."

The present church was erected between the
years 1788 and 1792.

Another eminent person who lies buried in this
church is the historian, Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of
Salisbury, who died in St. John's Square on the

1 The tombs of Prior Weston and of Lady Berkeley are still
preserved in the vaults of the church.



56 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

1 7th of March, 1714-15. John Langhorne, the
poet, was for some time curate and lecturer of St.
James's, Clerkenwell.

The neighbouring and uninteresting church of
St. John Clerkenwell was consecrated on the 27th
of December, 1723; the crypt forming a part of
the choir of the ancient church of St. John's
Priory. It was from the vaults of this church that
the famous Cock Lane ghost was presumed to
issue in the dead hour of the night.

Clerkenwell derives its name from its vicinity
to one of those pure and sparkling springs, or
wells, of which there were formerly several in the
northern suburbs of the metropolis, and at which
the parish clerks of London used anciently to per-
form their mysteries, or sacred dramas. For in-
stance, in the old records we find the convent
church of St. Mary repeatedly styled, Ecclesia
BeatcB Maries, de fonte Clericorum. " There are
about London," writes Fitzstephen, "on the north
of the suburbs, choice fountains of water, sweet,
wholesome, and clear, streaming forth among the
glistening pebble stones. In this number, Holy-
well, Clerkenwell, and St. Clement's Well, are of
most note, and frequented above the rest when
scholars and the youth of the city take the air
abroad in the summer evenings." This and other
springs in the neighbourhood pursued their mur-
muring course till they flowed into the Fleet River,
then a pure and limpid stream, and which from



LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES. 57

this circumstance obtained its name of the " River
of Wells."

In the days when Fitzstephen wrote, the Clerk's
Well bubbled in the midst of verdant meadows
and shady lanes ; the richly wooded uplands of
Hampstead and Highgate rising behind them.
Such was Clerkenwell when, in 1390, the clerks
performed here during three successive days in
the presence of Richard the Second, his queen,
and the nobility ; and again when, in 1409, in the
reign of Henry the Fourth, the Creation of the
World formed the subject of their drama, and
when, in the words of Stow, there flocked " to see
the same the most part of the nobles and gentles
in England." Close to Ray Street, Clerkenwell,
are some houses which still retain the rural denom-
ination of Coppice Row. Here also is a dilapidated-
looking pump, on which an inscription informs us
that the water which it supplies flows from the
Clerk's Well." '

As late as 1780, Clerkenwell, to the north of
the upper end of St. John's Street, was bounded
by fields, through which a solitary road led to

*The inscription is as follows : "A. D. 1800, William Bound,
Joseph Bird, churchwardens. For the better accommodation of
the neighbourhood, this pump was removed to the spot where it
now stands. The spring by which it is supplied is situated four
feet eastward, and round it, as history informs us, the parish-
clerks of London, in remote ages, commonly performed sacred
plays. That custom caused it to be denominated Clerks'-well,
and from whence this parish derived its name."



58 LONDON AND ITS CELEBRITIES.

Islington. At this recent period, so infested was
the neighbourhood by highwaymen, that travellers
usually preferred sleeping all night at the Angel
Inn at Islington, to journeying by this dangerous
thoroughfare after dark. Those whose business
called them into the country at a late hour used
to assemble at the upper end of St. John's Street,
where there was an avenue of trees called Wood's
Close, and where they waited till they were rein-
forced by other travellers, when they were escorted
by an armed patrol to Islington.

In the middle of the last century, when any
extraordinary performance at Sadler's Wells Thea-
tre was likely to tempt thither the nobility and
gentry from the fashionable quarters of London, it
was the custom to announce in the playbills that
a horse-patrol would be stationed for that partic-
ular night in the New Road, and also that the
thoroughfare leading to the city would be properly
guarded.

In January, 1559, we find Sir Thomas Pope, the
virtuous and high-minded minister of Henry the
Eighth, breathing his last at his mansion at Clerk-
enwell. At a much later period, between the


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