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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 19, No. 529, January 14, 1832 online

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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. XIX. NO. 529.] SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 1832. [PRICE 2_d_.




FISHMONGER'S HALL


[Illustration: FISHMONGERS' HALL.]

[Illustration: ARMS OF THE COMPANY.]

These Cuts may be welcome illustrations of the olden magnificence of the
City of London. The first represents the river or back front of the Hall
of the Fishmongers' Company: the second cut, the arms of the Company, is
added by way of an illustrative pendent. These insignia are placed over
the entrance to the Hall in Lower Thames-street; they are sculptured in
bold relief, and are not meanly executed. The Hall, or the greater part of
it, has been taken down to make room for the New London Bridge approaches;
the frame-work of the door, and the arms still remain - _stat portus umbra_.

The Hall merits further notice; not so much for its architectural
pretensions as for its being the commencement of a plan which it could be
wished had been completed. The reader may probably remember that after the
Great Fire of London, the King (Charles II.) desired WREN, in addition to
his designs for St. Paul's, to make an accurate survey and drawing of the
whole area and confines of the waste metropolis; and "day, succeeding day,
amidst ashes and ruins, did this indefatigable man labour to fulfil his
task." He prepared his plans for rebuilding the city, and laid them before
the King. That part of Sir Christopher's plan which relates to the present
subjects, was as follows: "By the water-side, from the bridge to the
Temple, he had planned a long and broad wharf or quay, where he designed
to have arranged all the halls that belong to the several companies of the
city, with proper warehouses for merchants between, to vary the edifices,
and make it at once one of the most beautiful ranges of structure in the
world."[1] King Charles, however, as Mr. Cunningham observes, "was never
obstinate in any thing for his country's good," and the idea was dropped:
but Wren erected the above Hall as a specimen of his intention of
ornamenting the banks of the Thames. The original hall was destroyed by
the Great Fire.

The ancient importance of the Fishmongers' Company may be thus explained: -

During the days of papacy in England, fish was an article not of optional,
but compulsive consumption, and this rendered the business of a fishmonger
one of the principal trades of London. Fish Street Hill, and the immediate
vicinity, was the great mart for this branch of traffic, from its close
connexion with the river, and here lived many illustrious citizens,
particularly Sir William Walworth, and Sir Stephen Fisher.

Strong prejudices were however entertained against the fishmongers, and to
so great an extent was it carried, that in the fourteenth century, they
prayed the king, by Nicholas Exton, one of their body, that he would take
the company under his protection, "lest they might receive corporeal hurt."
The parliament itself appears to have imbibed the general distrust, for in
1382 they enacted, "that no fishmonger should be mayor of the city." This
was repealed, however, the following year.

The fishmongers consisted of two companies, the salt fishmongers,
incorporated in 1433, and the stock fishmongers in 1509. The two companies
were united by Henry VIII. in 1536. Before the junction, they are said by
Stow, who calls them "jolly citizens," to have had six halls, two in
Thames Street, two in Fish Street, and two in Old Fish Street, and six
lord-mayors were elected from their body in twenty-four years. But being
charged with forestalling, contrary to the laws and constitutions of the
city, they were fined five hundred marks by Edward I. in 1290. In 1384,
these, as well as others concerned in furnishing the city with provisions,
were put under the immediate direction of the mayor and aldermen, by an
act of parliament still in force.[2]

The Hall, on the west side of the ward of Bridge Within, was of brick and
stone, and may be said to have had two fronts. The fore entrance was from
Thames Street by a handsome passage, leading into a large square court,
encompassed by the Great Hall, the Court Room, and other grand apartments,
with galleries. The back, or river front, had a double flight of stone
steps, by which was an ascent to the first apartments. The door was
ornamented with Ionic columns supporting an open pediment, in which was a
shield, with the arms of the company. The building was finished with
handsomely rusticated stone, and had a noble effect.

The Hall was of capacious proportions, and extended nearly the whole
length of the building. The ceiling, as well as that of the adjoining
Court Room, exhibited some fine specimens of old plaster-work. We
witnessed the dismantling of the premises previous to their being taken
down. It was indeed a sorry breaking up. The long tables which had so
often, to use a hackneyed phrase, "groaned" beneath the weight of civic
fare - the cosy high-backed stuffed chairs which had held many a portly
citizen - nay, the very soup-kettles and venison dishes - all were to be
submitted to the noisy ordeal of the auction hammer.

We remember in the upper end of the hall, and just behind the chair, there
stood in a niche, a full-sized statue, carved in wood by Edward Pierce,
statuary, of Sir William Walworth, a member of this company, and
lord-mayor during the rebellion of Wat Tyler. The knight grasped a real
dagger, said to be the identical weapon with which he stabbed the rebel;
though a publican of Islington pretended to be possessed of this dagger,
and in 1731, lent it to be publicly exhibited in Smithfield, in a show
called "Wat Tyler," during Bartholomew Fair. Below the niche was this
inscription:

"Brave Walworth, knight, lord-mayor, yt slew
Rebellious Tyler in his alarms;
The king, therefore, did give in lieu
The dagger to the cytye's arms.
In the 4th year of Richard II. Anno Domini 1381."

A common, but erroneous belief is perpetuated in this inscription, for the
dagger was in the city arms long before the time of Sir William Walworth,
and was intended to represent the sword of St. Paul, the patron saint of
the corporation.

The funeral pall of Sir W. Walworth curiously embroidered with gold, is
preserved amongst the relics, as well as a plan of the splendid show at
his installation, 1380.

The Fishmongers' Company is fourth upon the list of the city corporations,
under the name and style of "the Wardens and Commonalty of the mystery of
Fishmongers of the city of London." It is a livery company, and very rich,
governed by a prime and five other wardens, and a court of assistants.

The company supports a free Grammar School at Holt Market, in Norfolk,
founded by Sir John Gresham; Jesus Hospital, at Bray, in Berkshire,
founded by William Goddard, Esq. for forty poor persons; St. Peter's
Hospital, near Newington, Surrey, founded by the company; twelve
alms-houses at Harrietsham, in Kent, founded by Mr. Mark Quested; a
fellowship in Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge founded by Mr. Leonard
Smith; a scholarship in the same college, founded by William Bennet, Esq.
Mr. Smith, executor.

The _Arms_ of the Company are in a shield supported by a merman and
mermaid, the latter with a mirror in her hand. The Keys refer to St. Peter,
the Patron Saint of the Company.


[1] Quoted by Cunningham in his "Life of Wren," from a contemporary
authority.

[2] Wards of London.

* * * * *


HOLY SEPULCHRE, HECKINGTON CHURCH.

(_To the Editor_.)


From the description of the Holy Sepulchre in Heckington Church, given in
your last volume, stating that it stood there in the summer of 1789, such
of your readers as have no means of knowing to the contrary, may infer
that it is not now in existence.[1] I am led to trouble you with a few
lines on the subject, as this specimen still in the best preservation,
deserves us full an account as your limits will admit. The sepulchre
nearly, and the stalls also mentioned by you, which have been cleaned
completely, remain now in the same state as the artist originally left
them. An architect, Mr. T. Rickman, who visited the neighbourhood a short
time ago, gives the following account, which was printed in a work[2] on
the topography of the neighbourhood, soon after his visit: he says, "The
sepulchre, of which there are not many specimens now remaining, consists
of a series of richly ornamented niches, the largest of which represents
the tomb, having angels standing beside it; the side niches have the
Maries and other appropriate figures, and in the lower niches are the
Roman soldiers reposing; these niches have rich canopies, and are
separated by buttresses and rich finials, having all the spaces covered by
very rich foliage." He further observes, that "the stalls exhibit a
specimen of pure decorated work, as rich as the finest sculpture of
foliage and small figures can render it, and hardly surpassed by any in
the kingdom, and the sepulchre is of the same excellent character. The
various small ornaments about these stalls and niches form one of the best
possible studies for enrichments of this date: and it is almost peculiar
to this church, that there is nothing about it, except what is quite
modern, that is not of the same style of architecture."

As the above gentleman's description of the present state of the church at
Heckington will give a clearer idea of many others in the county of
Lincoln, we perhaps cannot do better than close this account with it.
"This beautiful church, of pure decorated character, is one of the most
perfect models in the kingdom, having, with one exception, (that of the
groined or interior ceiling which is wanting, and appears never to have
been prepared for,) every feature of a fine church, of one uniform style,
without any admixture of _later_ or _earlier_ work. Its mutilations are
comparatively small, consisting only in the destruction of the tracey of
the north transept window, and some featherings in other windows, and the
building and wall to enclose a vestry. The plan of the church is a west
tower and spire, nave and aisles, spacious transepts, and a large chancel,
with a vestry attached to the north side. The nave has a well proportioned
clesestory. There is a south porch, a rich font, the tomb of an
ecclesiastic, and the assemblage of niches before described. In the
chancel and some of the church walls are very good brackets. The vestry
has a crypt below it. Fully to describe this church would require a much
larger space than can be allotted to it, but it may be well to remark,
that every part of the design and execution is of the very best character,
equal to any in the kingdom."

That this church was built on or near to the site of the one given by
Gilbert de Guant, the style of architecture being of much later date,
fully demonstrates; and it is more than probable that on its rebuilding,
the patent of Edward III. was obtained. Certain it is that no specimen of
an earlier style now remains; but tradition says that the foundation of
the church was laid in the year 1101, and the building completed in A.D.
1104, at a cost only of £433. 9_s_. 7_d_. This statement, if worthy of
credit, must be referred to an earlier and less costly edifice than the
present.

J.H.S.


[1] We omitted to state that our interesting particulars of the Heckington
Sepulchre were from _Vetusta Monumenta_, a splendid folio work
published by the Antiquarian Society.

[2] Sketches of New and Old Sleaford, County of Lincoln, and of several
places in the Neighbourhood, p. 224. 8vo Baldwin and Co.

* * * * *


TRAVELING NOTES IN SOUTH WALES.

(_To the Editor_.)

Guernsey, Dec. 17, 1831.


Your ingenious and talented correspondent, _Vyvyan_, in writing on the
shrimp, (the _Mirror_, p. 361, vol. xviii.) remarks that "The sea roamer
may often have observed numbers of little air-holes in the sand, which
expand as the sun advances. If he stirs it with his foot, he will cause a
brood of young shrimps, who will instantly hop and jump about the beach in
the most lively manner," &c.: these "jumpers" as they are facetiously
called, are not shrimps, but sea-fleas, and they possess the elasticity
for which their namesakes are so remarkable. They are as different as
possible from young shrimps; and if "old shrimps" _could_ "tell tales," I
doubt not but that on inquiring of them, they would tell their "companions
at breakfast table" the same thing. Your correspondent further adds, that
"strange stories are told of the _old_ shrimp," and I think, on
investigation, he will find that he has told a very "strange story" of
_young_ shrimps. In a future communication I will give you a correct
account or history of the shrimp, (if it be acceptable,) from the time
when it is first spawned until it arrives at perfection.

H.W.

(_To the Editor_.)

_Vyvyan_ has not in his _Notes_ named any county but South Wales,
generally, where he says, "Any person who can enclose a portion of land
around his cottage or otherwise, in one night, becomes owner thereof in
fee." These persons in Wales are called Encroachers, and are liable to
have ejectments served upon them by the Lord of the Manor, (which is often
the case) to recover possession. The majority of the Encroachers pay a
nominal yearly rent to the Lord of the Manor for allowing them to occupy
the land. If they possess these encroachments for sixty years without any
interruption, or paying rent, then they become possessed of the same. It
is usual to present the Encroachments at a Court Leet held for the manor,
and upon perambulating the manor, which is generally done every three or
four years, these encroachments are thrown out again to the waste or
common.

J.P.

*** We readily insert these corrections of Vyvyan's "Notes," especially as
we believe our readers to take considerable interest in their accuracy.

* * * * *



THE SKETCH-BOOK.


MY FIRE.

(_For the Mirror_.)


On new year's morning, soon after daybreak, I entered my study, which is a
little room some eight feet square, and from a wayward fancy of my own,
closely resembles the cell of an alchymist. Its walls are hung with black
drapery, on which appear the mystical signs of the planetary bodies,
Hebrew, Persian, and various cabalistic characters, the dark enigmas of
the work of transmutation, and the invocations or prayers for success
employed by the alchymist. Here and there pieces of their quaint and
uncouth shaped apparatus, the aludel, the alembic, and the alkaner, the
pelican, the crucible, and the water-bath, occupy their respective
stations. The clumsy, heavy, oaken table in the centre is covered with
copies of scarce and valuable alchymical tracts, in company with the
_caput mortum_ and the hour-glass. A few antiques, consisting of
half-a-dozen cloth-yard arrows, the stout yew bow of the green clad yeoman,
the ponderous mace and helmet of the valiant knight, and other relics of
the days of chivalry, complete the decorations of this my sanctum.

In consequence of its dark and gloomy aspect, and the feeling of awe with
which the family and servants regard its mystical contents, I have its
undisturbed enjoyment; nobody feels a wish to enter it even in the day
time, and I verily believe they would not do so at the witching hour of
night, lest the mystical signs should take summary vengeance on their
unhallowed intrusion.

The neighbours imagine me to be an adept in the "black art," an astrologer,
or a fortune-teller, but I have no pretentions whatever to any such titles;
this report has got abroad in consequence of a maid-servant having once
had the temerity to peep through the key-hole, and observed on the wall
opposite her "line of sight," some triangular characters. She had been in
the habit of poring over a dream book, and the art of casting nativities;
the Prophetic Almanac was her oracle, and its terrific title-page she
informed her fellow servant "had just those queer triangle things as was
hung on the walls of young master's study." She was "sure that he could
tell her fortune." This important intelligence, delivered with due
confidence to her fellow servant, of course spread like wildfire among the
other occupants of the "lower regions," and from them amongst the
handmaidens of sundry other dwellings. Thus has my astrological character
been established.

As all domestics are excluded my sanctum, of course I am obliged to "do
for myself," and this I prefer to being "done for," or having my room "set
to rights," according to their notions of neatness; my feelings on this
point are exactly those of Scott's _Antiquary_; I therefore "do for
myself," and consequently, it follows I must light my own fire. Than on
the morning I have mentioned, the "grand agent" of the chemist was never
more required. The air bit shrewdly, and it was "bitter cold" upon
entering the sanctum, although I had not quitted it many hours, having
watched the "old year out and the new year in," and then taken a short
nap; yet Jack Frost had been active during my absence, and cooled down the
air of the sanctum some degrees below the freezing point, at the same time
coating the window panes with his beautiful crystalline figures. The dark
walls did look most awful, seen through the dun yellow light of the fog,
which met my view upon drawing aside the cabalistically hung curtains. I
cast a look at the Rumford grate; its black cold bars "grinned most
horrible and ghastly." A sympathy was instantly established between them
and my nasal organ, for I found a drop of pure crystal pendant from its
extremity. Here, thought I, is an admirable question for "_The Plain Why
and Because_." _Why_ does a drop of water hang from the nose on a frosty
morning? Because the natural heat of the body sends up vapour into the
head, and that being exposed most to cold, the vapour condenses, and a
drop of water runs from the nostril, as it would do from the head of a
still. Upon looking at anything very cold, sympathy excites the same
action. This "Why and Because" was succeeded by another - Why does my
fire-grate grin so coldly? Because you will not be "done for," else Eliza
could have raised a flame there for you an hour ago. The truth of this
reply was so forcible that I resolved to "do for myself" without delay,
and evolve the "grand agent." I went to the door, expecting to see my
usual supply of fuel; none was to be found. What means this? said I, and
was about to make my wants known, but changed my intent as quickly, and
being a little excited by such neglect, determined not to be dependent
upon the domestics, but make a fire of my own. Now then for the materials.
Paper, as all persons know, who have "lit their own fires," is the
foundation; it was also mine: sundry letters in reply to sundry
unsuccessful applications written on "thick double laid post," as the
advertisements say, I seized upon, and thrust their crumpled forms between
the sooty bars of the grate with some wood, the model of a mechanical
invention of my own, which had been rejected by a Society, and why, I knew
not; I severed limb from limb, and disposed their fragments across and
athwart on the letters previously mutilated. How to obtain my coal posed
me for a moment; but I recollected that in a geological cabinet under my
window, I was the possessor of a mass of pure Staffordshire, weighing some
twenty pounds. The doors of the cabinet flew open, and out it came; I had
a strong affection for this lump of coal, having extracted it myself from
the mines, and carried it many a weary mile on my return home. I felt loth
to commit it to the flames; but this was necessity, "stern necessity:"
one or two blows of the mineralogical hammer destroyed my scruples, and
produced the proper cleavages in the mass of coal. I laid the precious
stratum, _super stratum_ upon the two former, and other deposits of
_papyrus_ and _lignum_; such was my "coal formation." The magic touch of
a Promethean elicited my "grand agent" to the thick laid post; it consumed
rather sluggishly, but the dry pine wood of the broken model caught the
flame and entered into fair combustion, cracking and sparkling, and now
and then sending out a hiss of pyroligenous vapour; hissing yourself
thought I. The fiery example was soon followed by the coal at first slowly
sending up wreaths of dirty, green, yellow smoke, but as the fire waxed
warmer these disappeared, and vivid hissing jets of ignited gas shot forth
in abundance. The hissing annoyed me; why, I could not divine; but as the
heat increased I cooled from the state of excitement produced by the testy
destruction of my papers, model, and specimen. I sat down at the fire; had
I not better, said I, have made my wants known to the servant, than have
acted as I have done? No, I hate asking for what, as a duty should have
been ready to my hands. I endeavoured to persuade myself that I did not
regret the deed I had done, but could not succeed; something whispered me
that I should suffer for it. I felt myself an "uncomfortable gentleman."
I began to trace my fire from its origin up to its present state of
perfection; the letters were of no consequence - none - the model I made
myself and can make another - certainly - the coal I paid dearly for by
fatigue, but I can get another lump, and send it home by coach, yes; then
why am I so uncomfortable. I looked at the glowing fire which was getting
insufferably hot, and gave it a passionate poke, exclaiming, I wish I
could stop your draught. Draught! draft, I repeated, what has become of my
draft that I received yesterday for my last paper? I began to recollect
myself where I had laid it, and quickly came to the awful conclusion that
I had placed it carefully between the folds of one of the sacrificed
letters.

Misery and destruction, said I, that draft has caused my rapid fire! it is
gone and forever! Fool that I was; why did I not "blow up" the servants
for paper, wood, and coals, and be "done for properly" instead of thus
"doing for myself." Ye alchymistical spirits, said I, invoking the dark
drapery, aid me to extract my gold from yonder ashes! but they were deaf
to my calls, and the old _caput mortum_ seemed to grin in mockery. I could
bear it no longer, and rushing from the sanctum, met the servant girl on
the stairs. "A draft! a draft!" repeated I; she thought me mad; I was mad
with vexation. "Sir," said she, "you will catch cold if there is a draught
such a day as this." A cold day as this, you wretch, Eliza, why did you
not bring my coals to the door this morning, then I could have had my fire
without a draft; I want a ten guinea draft, not a foggy, frosty draught.
The girl stood amazed, but replied, "Please, sir, I didn't bring the coals
this morning because you said never to do so on a Sunday, sir." "Sunday,"
I exclaimed, "is this Sunday?" "Lord bless me, sir, yes, and new year's
day too, sir; happy new year, sir," said the provoking little wench, who
was now joined by another. I could stand it no longer, but slunk back into
the sanctum, "like a burnt child that dreaded the fire," hearing them
exclaim, "I thought how it would be, them odd things in his room has quite
turned his brain, poor young gentleman, he did not even know it was Sunday,
and new year's day neither."

I really did not know it was Sunday, for my calculaters were destroyed by
the circumstance of our having kept Christmas Day on the Monday. I was
aware that it was new year's day, and had intended to begin 1832 with good
works, instead of which I commenced it with destroying my property, thus
literally "doing for myself," and unlike most other people who invariably
suffer from a draught, I am suffering from the loss of one.

PYRAMIS.

* * * * *



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.


ADVENT.

(_For the Mirror_.)


In the North Riding of Yorkshire, the young folks retain a very ancient
custom during Advent. They make a wax figure representing the infant Jesus,
and place it in a small wooden case, with evergreens, which hide all but
the figure. A napkin is thrown over the box; and the puppet is thus
carried about, and exhibited from door to door, by a boy, the others
chanting some supplicatory lines. The same custom prevails in Wales.

In Italy, a wax figure representing the Virgin, inclosed in a beautifully
carved wooden case, is placed on the back of an ass, and exhibited through


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Online LibraryVariousThe Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 19, No. 529, January 14, 1832 → online text (page 1 of 3)