ALLHALLOWS BARKING BY THE TOWER

Calm Soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city’s jar,
That there abides a peace of thine
Man did not make, and cannot mar.
MATTHEW ARNOLD.

On the south-west side of Tower Hill there stands the oldest parish
church in London. But beyond the earliest date that we find any portion
of the present building mentioned, it is more than probable that a still
more ancient church occupied this piece of ground. Consider the
importance of the site. The approach to London from the sea was then, as
now, a somewhat dreary progress between the mud-flats that fringed the
river. On the northern bank the rising ground, now known as Tower Hill,
would be the first relief to the eye after the wearying Essex marshes.
Beyond and behind that hill lay the little city, and beside that hill
was set a church. But, with the building of the White Tower, the church
was eclipsed as a landmark for boats on the river, and now it is quite
obscured from the water-side by hideous brick warehouses that only men
of the nineteenth century could conceive and erect. In early days this
church stood on the edge of London; now it is in its very centre. Yet
few buildings equally well preserved have altered as little as this old
building has–this “fair church on Tower Hill”–and we have here handed
down to us much that is unique as a record not only of English history
but of the progress of architecture. The furnishings of the church, the
carvings and wrought-iron work, also carry us through generations of
activity in such arts, and the pavement brasses and sculptured tombs
serve as memorials of many a famous Englishman. The church has an
additional interest in being the nearest ancient building outside the
Tower walls and in having received, for burial, victims from the block
on Tower Hill. Yet the close connection of this ancient church with the
Tower and its history has not, hitherto, been sufficiently emphasised.
It is well, therefore, that we should give Allhallows some of our time
when we have explored and examined the Tower itself.

Four hundred years before the Conqueror laid the foundation stones of
the White Tower, a cluster of cottages on the edge of Tower Hill, and
lying not far from the Ald-gate of the old walls of London, constituted
the germ of the present parish, and stood within sight of the earlier
church. What the history of the church was then we have no means of
knowing, but as it would be the first building of importance that Danish
invaders came upon during their onslaughts on London, it must have
passed through exciting times in those old days of raid and turmoil.

Erkenwald, a seventh-century Bishop of London, founded the convent at
Barking, in Essex. Of this convent his sister, St. Ethelburga, became
first abbess, and the abbesses of Barking were not only mitred, but were
in after days peeresses of the realm. Erkenwald made over certain rights
of the land, upon which the parish is now spread, to this convent of
Barking, and, in return, a priest was supplied from the community to
serve the religious needs of the parishioners. It was thus the surname
Barking was acquired. It is, however, a surname that is somewhat
misleading, as printers, even to this present day, have an awkward habit
of placing a comma between “Allhallows” and “Barking” and so send many
who would visit the church on an empty quest into Essex. But the poor
printer is not altogether to blame. The people here have a way of
calling themselves “Barking people” and of referring to the parish as
“Barking parish.” This leads to unnecessary confusion. The only
alternative would be to retain the term on Tower Hill and ask the good
folk of the Essex town to adopt some other name! As it is improbable
that either of these suggestions will be taken seriously, a return to
the ancient title, “Berkyngechurch by the Tower,” might solve the
difficulty.

The parish system in England took its rise under Theodore, Archbishop of
Canterbury, A.D. 668, and the number and boundaries of the parishes as
we know them to-day agree very nearly with the parochial divisions in
Doomsday Book. The ground now included in Allhallows parish was
undoubtedly included in Roman London, which extended from Tower Hill to
Dowgate Hill, the present Fenchurch and Lombard Streets forming the line
of its northern boundary. Eastward of the parish lay marsh and
forest–the great forest of Essex, of which so wide and unspoilt a
portion remains to us in Epping Forest.

[Illustration: A True and Exact Draught of the TOWER LIBERTIES, _f_urvey
in the Year 1597 by _GULIELMUS HAIWARD_ and _J. GASCOYNE_.

E. Gardner’s Collection.]

In 1087, when a great fire devastated the city, a church in the Norman
style took the place of the Saxon building, and the nave pillars of
Allhallows date from that time. Of these pillars the one that shows its
great age more than the others–which, after successive cleanings, look
almost new–is that westernmost pillar on the north side which stands
within the choir practice-room.

To this Norman building Richard I. added, either where the chancel
portion of the north aisle now stands, or near at hand, a Chantry Chapel
known as CAPELLA BEATAE MARIAE DE BERKINGE JUXTA TURRIM. This was, for
some time, the most famous shrine in connection with the building, and
became the care of the kings of England. In this Chantry was placed, by
Edward I., a statue of the Virgin, in accordance with a command received
by him in a vision, before his father’s death, in which he was assured
that he should subdue Wales and Scotland, and would be victorious while
this Berkinge Chapel was kept in repair. Tradition asserts that the
heart of the Lion-hearted Richard was placed under the altar of the
chapel here, but others maintain that after its removal from
Fontevrault, where the king was buried, it was sent to Rouen. Yet in
the time of the first Edward, an Indulgence of forty days was obtained
for all penitents worshipping at the shrine of the Virgin at Berkinge
Chapel, and in that instrument prayer is especially asked for the soul
of the founder, Richard I., “whose heart is buried beneath the high
altar.”

A little later in the history of the church and its chapels we come upon
the names of John Tiptoft and Sir John Croke, both of whom, famous in
their generations, took especial interest in Allhallows. The former was
brought into touch with the place upon his appointment as Constable of
the Tower. He was created Earl of Worcester by Henry VI., was the friend
and supporter of Caxton, and has been called “the nursing father of
English printing.” A man of great learning, he had studied under Guarino
at Ferrara, had occupied a professor’s chair at Padua, was termed by
Walpole “one of the noble authors of England,” is remembered as a good,
but ruthless, soldier, lawyer, and politician, and was, in the end, by
the influence of Warwick, the king-maker, disgraced and beheaded on
Tower Hill. Tiptoft founded a confraternity or guild at Berkinge Chapel,
and of this guild elected Sir John Croke to be one of the first Wardens.
Of Tiptoft, who was buried at Blackfriars monastery, no memorial
remains here, but Croke’s tomb we shall come upon, later, as we go
through the church.

In the time of Richard III. the chantry chapel comes once again into the
light of fame, and is known far and wide as “Berkingshaw.” Richard, who,
as we have seen, was no saint when dwelling in the Tower, seems to have
been influenced by the age and sanctity of Allhallows to do good deeds,
and is known here only as pious benefactor. He achieved this by
“newbuilding this chapel,” and adding to the original foundation a
college of priests, consisting of a Dean (Chaderton, a friend of
Richard’s), and six Canons. In the _Calendar of State Papers, Domestic_,
Henry VIII., 10th July, 1514, there is to be found a record of a
“confirmation of the Chapel of St. Mary in the Cæmetary of Barkingchurch
London to the Guild of St. Mary.” Provision is also made “for the
election of a Master and four Wardens annually for the safe custody of
the said chapel.”

If Berkinge Chapel during its long history had been the peculiar care of
royalty, the church, after the upheavals in the time of Henry VIII. and
Edward VI., became the care, and also the resort, of the prosperous
burgesses of the City. It was conveniently near the Tower where the
King and his Court were lodged, and where the King’s Justiciars held
their sittings, and so became a meeting-place of representative
citizens, where matters could be discussed when the City and Tower
happened to be at variance–not by any means an infrequent occurrence.
From early times, indeed, we may trace the feelings of affection which
dwellers in the City, and more especially in the parish, have felt for
their historic church. In 1265 we hear of Sir Roger de Leiburn, who was
“lodging in the Tower,” meeting the representatives of the City at
Berkyngechurche on their proposing to make their submission to the king,
after the battle of Evesham. To that meeting came the Mayor “and a
countless multitude of citizens.” Again, in 1280, the burgesses
“apparelled in their best attire” gathered at Berkyngechurche and
proceeded to the Tower to meet the King’s Justiciars “for the purpose of
holding an Inquest, or inquiring into the peace of the City.” “Gregory,
the Mayor,” as we read in the _Liber Albus_ of the Corporation of
London, “disputing the right of the Crown to hold an Inquest for the
City of London, for the honour of the Mayoralty refused to enter the
Tower as _Mayor_, but, laying aside his insignia and seal at the high
Altar of Berkyngechurche, as the last church in the City next the
Tower, entered the Tower merely as one of the Aldermen, alleging that by
the ancient liberties he was not bound to attend the Inquests, nor to
make appearance therein for judgments, unless forewarned for forty
days.” The King, Edward I., as punishment for this disobedience,
“abolished the office of Mayor, appointing a Warden in his place; which
custom obtained till 26 Ed. I., when the ancient liberties of the City
were restored.” Those of the citizens “who had accompanied Rokesly to
Berkyngechurche” were confined in the Tower for some days and would, no
doubt, on their return to their admiring families, be looked upon with a
certain awe ever afterwards.

In the archives of the Guildhall we find that in 1302 Allhallows Barking
appears as one of the advowsons of the City of London belonging to the
Abbess and Convent of Barking. But after the suppression of the convent
by Henry VIII. the patronage passed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in
whose hands it remains to this day. Another interesting fact we gather
from the ancient records of the City is that Allhallows was one of the
three churches where the curfew was rung each night as a warning that it
was time for all good citizens to be indoors, and as a precaution
against fire. This ancient curfew bell, it is believed, is that hung in
the small bell-turret on the tower of the church and upon which the
hammer of the clock strikes the hours.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century great changes took place with
regard to the structure of the church. The chantry chapels had fallen
into a state of disrepair, and it became necessary to rebuild the
chancel to which they were attached and to strengthen the fabric of the
nave. It is to this rebuilding that we owe the contrast afforded by the
massive pillars of the body of the church with the graceful, deeply
moulded Perpendicular pillars of the chancel. The manner in which the
one style has been grafted on the other, where, as Allen says, “the
pillars between the chancel and the nave are singularly composed of half
a circular and half a clustered column worked together” attracts the
attention of even the most casual observer. Mr. Fleming, in his
admirable little pamphlet on the church, sums up the various alterations
that have taken place in the structure when he says “the view of the
stately interior tells at once, and more fully than the outside
features, the story of the changes that have befallen the church through
the centuries since its foundation. For the columns of the nave are
Norman, the east window with its intricate tracery was the work of the
sumptuous Decorated period, whilst the clerestory and aisles, with the
slender clustered shafts of the chancel arcading, belong to the
Perpendicular style…. Allhallows is a good instance of the manner in
which, entirely convinced of the supreme merits of their school of
building, the architects of the Perpendicular period superimposed their
style on what had gone before. The contrast between the light clustered
columns of the chancel, with their beautiful splayed arches, and the
heavy pillars of the nave, is extremely striking, and almost remorseless
in its hint of the supercilious ease with which the men of the Tudor
period parted from the past and its traditions.”

The interior of the church was at this time embellished by mural
decorations; and lingering traces of the paint, on one or two of the
nave columns, were left undisturbed during the last restoration, in
1904. A rood-screen stood in front of the new chancel, and above it rose
the famous Duddyngton organ. Alas, no traces of either remain to us,
even in a museum. While Charles I. was on the throne the interior was
again renovated, and during the long toll of subsequent years the
history of Allhallows resolves itself into a record of successive
restorations. Few churches have been more carefully and lovingly tended
than this has been, and its present state of preservation is due to this
interest which it has always inspired in those who appreciate its worth
and beauty. Allhallows, unlike so many other churches, has not lost but
gained by its restorations. An old building, such as this, is in
constant need of attention. The problem has ever been the vexed one of
renewing without destroying. But any one who enters Allhallows to-day
will feel that the problem has been solved here with complete success.
The later restorations, including the reroofing, restoration of the
ancient battlements, and preservation of the lower parts of the outer
walls, has cost, in round figures, twelve thousand pounds, and every
penny has been wisely spent in handing down to future generations so
wonderful a memorial of the past.

The period of the Commonwealth has left its mark in most sacred
buildings as a time of pulling-down; but this church has the singular
advantage of remembering it as a time of setting-up. The old stone tower
which stood at the south-west corner of the building–the foundations of
which were uncovered a few years ago during the erection of that
amazing indiscretion, the warehouse which now stands upon the site–was
severely disturbed in 1649, when, on January 4 of that year, “a blow of
twenty-seven barrels of gunpowder, that took fire in a ship-chandler’s
house on the south side of the church,” created havoc in the immediate
neighbourhood. The explosion is described in Strype’s edition of Stow’s
_Survey_. “It seems that the chandler was busy in his shop barrelling
the powder, about seven o’clock in the evening, when it became ignited
and blew up, not merely that house, but fifty or sixty others. The
number of persons destroyed was never ascertained, for the next house
but one was a tavern, known as ‘The Rose,’ which was full of company, in
consequence of a parish dinner: it must have been very great, however,
judging from the number of limbs and bodies which were dug up from the
ruins. The hostess of the tavern, sitting in the bar, and the waiter
standing by with a tankard in his hand, were found beneath some fallen
beams, but were dead from suffocation. It is recorded that, the morning
after this disaster, a female infant was discovered lying in a cradle on
the roof of the church neither bruised nor singed.” The parents of the
babe were never traced. The child was given the surname “Barking,”
adopted by the parish, and “lived to an adult age.” But, while the baby
was saved, the heavy tower was doomed. As a result of the shock it
became so insecure that complete demolition was necessary. During the
Protectorate the present tower was set up, and, though it is about as
uninspired a piece of ecclesiastical brickwork as one can imagine, yet
it has a certain interest not only for having arisen during the days of
Cromwell, but for having just barely escaped destruction when the Great
Fire came to its base. It was up this tower that the ever-curious Pepys,
who lived near by, in Seething Lane, climbed hurriedly to see the
devastation of Old London. The event will be found recorded in the
_Diary_ under the date September 5, 1666.

The building of this tower brings to mind an amusing episode in the
records of the church. It appears that over the clock (the “dyall of
Barking Church,” mentioned by Pepys) the wardens then in office put up a
huge effigy of St. Michael, weighing nearly twenty tons. “Its right hand
held a trumpet and in its left was a leaden scroll, inscribed, ‘Arise,
ye dead, and come to judgment.’” St. Michael, having been scorched and
blistered by the Fire of London, was taken down in 1675–there was no
“hustling” in those days–repainted, and placed “over the Commandments
at the east end of the church.” Two smaller figures which had supported
the central effigy on the wall of the tower were put up over the organ
in the new organ-loft at the west end, where, reclining gracefully, they
remain to this day. St. Michael had a rougher time of it, and was the
cause of one of those absurd squabbles that too often mar the harmony of
a quiet parish. One or two of the congregation indicted the
churchwardens “at Old Bailey, under the statute of Edward VI., against
images,” but the prosecution was abandoned on the ground of expense. A
Mr. Shearman supported the parishioners, “and upon his own
responsibility destroyed the image.” This occasioned “a furious war of
words between him and the lecturer, Jonathan Saunders,” acting as curate
of the parish. Shearman wrote virulent pamphlets which were “published
by a friend of the Author’s, to prevent false reports,” and addressed
them to the Vicar, Dr. Hickes, and his wardens. The latter part of this
entertaining publication asserts–as a dig at Saunders as compared with
the Vicar–that “men of the least learning are always the most formal.”
It goes on to insinuate “that Barking parish was then as famous for its
love of drinking ceremonies as for its dislike of religious formality.”
The drinking ceremonies have certainly passed away. The pamphlet
concludes thus: “I hope our parish shall not lose an inch of its
reputation, nor be censured as irregular, but remain a primitive pattern
for all London, yea, and all England.” Mr. Saunders replied with
double-shotted guns, and the Shearman battery opened fire again with
unfailing vigour. The parishioners soon tired of the troublesome and
cantankerous Shearman and all his ways. His statements were considered
“rude, scurrilous, and scandalous,” and it was recorded in the minutes
of the vestry, held on April 24, 1681, that his attack “tends to the
dishonour of the Church of England as now established, and is a libel
upon the Vicar and the whole parish.” So ends this seventeenth-century
turmoil.

Before we enter the church by the north porch, our attention will be
attracted by the three carved figures above the doorway. That in the
centre represents the Virgin (the church being dedicated to St. Mary and
All Saints), with St Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, on one side and
Bishop Andrewes (who was baptised in Allhallows) on the other. This
group, as has been well said, “combines in one

[Illustration: THE TOWER FROM GREAT TOWER STREET (SOUTH PORCH OF
ALLHALLOWS BARKING)]

presentment three periods in the history of the Church, the primitive,
the mediæval, and the modern.” Inside the porch the quaint chambers on
the left are restorations of what in earlier times were, it is
conjectured, recesses for meditation and study. In front of us is the
second doorway, delicately carved, and much weather-worn owing to
exposure of the soft stone before the building of the porch. The first
glance we have of the interior of the church, from just within this
doorway, must impress us with a sense of the dignity of the building.

_North Aisle._–As we turn to go down the north aisle we will see, set
in the pavement, a plain, square brass above the grave of George Snayth,
auditor to Archbishop Laud, who was buried here, to be near his master,
in 1651. The church is singularly rich in pavement brasses, and, before
the removals and mutilations of Puritan times, possessed an even more
remarkable collection of these memorials. At the eastern end of the
aisle we come upon the curious stone commemorating Thomas Virby, seventh
vicar. This is the only tomb of a pre-Reformation vicar that remains in
the building. Though the slab is worn almost smooth by the feet of so
many generations, yet the outlines of an elaborate design can still be
traced upon it. A rubbing taken recently showed a full-length figure,
with a dog lying at the feet to the left. The fragment of brass towards
the top of the stone bore, apparently, an engraving of the head and of
the hands, raised to the chin, in an attitude of prayer. Virby was a
remarkable man. In a fifteenth-century _English Chronicle_, edited for
the Camden Society in 1856, it appears that “in the XIX y^{r}. of King
Harry, the Friday before midsummer, a Priest called Sir Ric. Wyche, a
Vicar in Essex, was burnt on Tower Hill for heresy, for whose death was
a great murmuring and many simple people came to the place making their
prayers as to a saint and bare away the ashes of his body for reliques.
Some were taken to prison [in the Tower]: amongst others the Vicary of
Barking Church beside the Tower, in whose parish all this was done.”
Virby was charged with scattering “powder and spices over the place
where the heretic was burnt that it might be believed that the sweet
flavour came of the ashes of the dead.” But evidently this was
considered no very great offence, for Virby was subsequently set free,
restored to his position at Allhallows, and died Vicar in 1453. Nearer
the altar steps will be found the beautifully engraved brass, in the
French style, of John Bacon, who died in 1437. A heart, inscribed with
the word “Mercy,” and encircled by a scroll, lies in the upper part of
the stone, and the figures of Bacon and his wife, cut out of “latten” or
sheet-brass, and two feet one inch in length, occupy the sides. The
treatment of the drapery of both figures is quite perfect, giving, too,
an excellent idea of the costume of the time. The scroll bears the
words, “_Mater Dei memento mei: Jesu fili Dei miserere mei._” Bacon
belonged to the ancient company of Woolmen, which seems to have been the
leading guild of the Middle Ages; its members were usually adventurous
and wealthy men. Brasses dedicated to men of his craft are very
numerous; and this need excite no surprise when we remember how much of
their trade was continental and particularly carried on in those
countries where latten was milled. Bacon, we may surmise from his will
preserved at the Guildhall, was a man of substance and of many acres.
Near by will be seen an incised slab over the tomb of the wife of Wm.
Denham, Alderman, Sheriff, and Master of the Ironworkers’ Company, who
departed this life “on Wednesday at 5 of ye clok at afternown Ester Weke
ye last day of Marche A° D° 1540.” The brass has disappeared.

The finely wrought canopied altar-tomb against the north wall, close by
the Bacon brass, dates back to the fifteenth century. It is carved in
Purbeck marble and at the back has two small brasses, one representing a
man with five sons and the other a woman with seven daughters, all
kneeling. Name and date are both gone, but a shield in the left-hand
corner enables us to connect the monument with the family of Croke. Sir
John Croke, it will be remembered, was one of the early wardens of
Berkinge Chapel, a trustee to whom Edward IV. “conveyed lands for the
support of the Chapel of St. Mary” and founder of a chantry here in
1477. This John Croke, “citizen, leather-seller, and alderman of
London,” was a generous benefactor to Allhallows, leaving to it at his
death many gifts and sundry legacies “to the altar of Allhallows Bkg.,
the works of the church, to purchase vestments and books, for the repair
of the rood-loft,” and so on. It is quite probable that this memorial
was used as a chantry altar, of which there were many in the church
until 1547 and the beginning of “the years of spoliation.” A well-carved
crest will be seen on the pavement stone covering the Marishall tomb,
and, nearer the altar-steps, a grey marble slab of the year of the
Great Fire lies over the grave of Sir Roger Hatton, Alderman, whose
coat-of-arms may be traced near the head of the stone. On the north wall
we find a memorial to Charles Wathen, “the indulgent parent of nine
children,” one of which, Master William, “received his death-wound in
battling with a pirate in the East Indies” and should therefore be
somewhat of a hero to all boys in the adventure stage of their careers.
A broken pillar on this wall was put up in 1696 in memory of Giles
Lytcott, “the first Controller-General of the Customs of England and the
English Colonies in America,” whose mother was the daughter of Sir
Thomas Overbury, poisoned in the Tower. Pepys, in his account of the
Fire of 1666, refers to an “Alderman Starling, a very rich man, without
children. The fire at the next door to him in our lane (Seething Lane).
After our men had saved his house he did give 2s. 6d. amongst thirty of
them, and did quarrel with some that would remove the rubbish out of the
way of the fire, saying that they had come to steal.” This “very rich
man” was Lord Mayor in 1670, and his arms are depicted in stained glass
on one of the windows of this aisle “as a remembrance of the escape of
the church from the Great Fire.” Attached to the pillar behind the
pulpit there remains an interesting relic in the form of an elegantly
designed hat peg, the only survivor of many such pegs on the pillars of
this church, dating back, it is believed, to the early seventeenth
century. Above the Croke altar-tomb, to the left, there is to be seen
the kneeling figure of Jerome Bonalia, an Italian, probably the Venetian
Ambassador, who died in 1583 and, in his will, thus indicates his
burial-place, “Volendo che il mio corpo sia sepoltra n’ella pariochia
d’i Barchin.”

_East End._–The eighteenth-century monument that partially hides the
window at the east end of the north aisle covers the tomb of Thomas
Gordon of Tower Liberty, who, according to the inscription, had the
“singular felicity” to command “esteem, confidence, and affection in the
tender and more delicate connections of private life.” But his is
certainly the misfortune to be remembered by as ugly and depressing a
memorial as could be imagined. Even in the year of its erection a vestry
minute records “that the monument now erecting for the late Mr. Gordon
is a nuisance”! In _Machin’s Diary_, 1556, it is stated that on “the vi
day of September was bered at Barking Church Mr. Phelype Dennys, Squyre,
with cote of armes.” This Dennis coat-of-arms may still be seen, now
somewhat time-worn, on the wall between the Gordon monument and the
altar.

The beautiful and softly-toned stained glass of the East window is
modern. The work of Mr. J. Clayton, it commemorates the incumbency of
Dr. Mason, the first Head of the present College of Clergy attached to
this church. The altar-piece beneath, heavy in design and gloomy in
effect, is an example of the art of 1686. Some elaborate carving is
hidden beneath the coverings and frontal of the Communion Table: it is
an excellent example of the skilful workmanship in wood that has been to
some extent neglected since the days of Gibbons. For many years the
brass altar-rails, erected in 1750, were so blackened by neglect that
they were often mistaken for rails of old wood. By their individual
gracefulness when examined at close quarters, and yet solid appearance
when viewed from the nave, these beautiful rails form one of the most
striking adornments of the building.

_Clergy Vestry._–Permission to enter this room should be obtained from
the sacristan, who will show the many interesting documents treasured
here. On the wall, to the right as one enters the room, hangs an
excellent painting of Dr. Gaskarth, twenty-seventh vicar, who was
appointed in 1686. “A highly popular Vicar, generous, and of firm, but
conciliatory manners. Under his auspices the church was twice thoroughly
repaired. He was vicar for forty-six years and died in 1732, aged 86.”
Those who have an interest in such matters are recommended to read the
beautiful Latin lines inscribed in the registers where, under the date
Dec. 1, 1703, Dr. Gaskarth records the burial of his wife. On the wall,
to the left of the entrance, there are two interesting old maps, the
lower one, which is more of a picture than a map, giving an excellent
idea of the appearance of London before the Fire, and the small one,
higher on the wall, a representation of Allhallows, standing almost
alone on Tower Hill, before the parish consisted of more than a few rows
of cottages. This is the valuable “Gascoyne survey, made in 1597.” On
the wall to the left of the fireplace will be found a key-plan to all
the tombs, brasses, and memorials of the church, placed here through the
instrumentality of the then Churchwarden, Mr. Henry Urquhart. Would that
earlier churchwardens had taken like interest in the place, and left us
such plans of the building in their day! From the windows of the vestry
there is to be had a glimpse of the graveyard, somewhat depressing, with
its many ancient and fast-decaying tomb-monuments and headstones.

The registers of the church, stored in an iron room opening off this
vestry, contain much that is of very great interest, and time spent in
their examination will not be lost. There are thirteen books, the first
beginning in 1558, with the accession of Queen Elizabeth, and extending
to 1650.

Taking the baptisms first, we are reminded that before the beginning of
the records now remaining there was, about the year 1555, the
christening ceremony of the famous Bishop Andrewes, “a native of this
parish,” in the church. As the Bishop constantly prayed for Allhallows
Barking, “where I was baptised,” this fact is beyond dispute though the
actual entry is lost. In 1609 we come upon the name of Francis, son of
Sir James Bourchier, Knt., under February 5. Bourchier was father-in-law
of Oliver Cromwell, and a City merchant of considerable importance. He
possessed an estate at Felsted in Essex, and a town house beside Tower
Hill, “then a favourite residence of the lesser aristocracy.” In 1616
we find that a son of Sir William Apsley, Lieutenant of the Tower, was
baptised here, showing the close connection that has always existed
between this church and the Tower. But the most interesting of all the
entries is that against October 23, 1644, when William Penn, founder of
Pennsylvania, was brought to the font in Allhallows. His father, an
officer of high rank in the navy, at that time “dwelt upon the east side
of Tower Hill, within a court adjoining to London Wall,” and William,
his eldest son, was born within that house, now demolished, within Tower
Liberties. It is worth while to note that it was not until quite late in
the eighteenth century that double Christian names were given to
children brought to baptism.

With regard to marriages, the register begins in 1564, and in 1650 there
is a curious entry, under March 28, which states that “a cupple being
married went away and gave not their names”! In 1763 Samuel Parr, father
of the celebrated Dr. Parr, married “Margaret Cox of this parish,
spinster.” This Margaret was “the daughter of Dr. Cox, formerly
Head-master of Harrow School.” Another interesting entry is that
referring to John Quincy Adams, afterwards sixth President of the
United States, who was thirty years old when, on July 26, 1797, he
married Louisa Catherine Johnson of this parish. Judge Jeffreys also
married his first wife here, but the entry has disappeared.

The Burial Register is most remarkable of all. In 1563, a plague year,
there were no less than 284 burials, mostly women and children, and
nearly 22,000 people died in that year in London alone. Other periods of
plague and consequent excessive mortality were the years 1582, 1593,
1625, and 1665. In 1625 “394 persons died in this parish, being six
times the average mortality.” The Calendar of State Papers for this year
contains a record of “a petition from the minister and churchwardens of
Allhallows Barking, praying that some part of the cloth for mourning for
the late King, distributed among the poor of divers parishes of London,
may be given to this parish, one of the poorest within the city walls
and sorely visited by the plague.” The plague of 1665, most disastrous
of a long series, is too well known, from sundry descriptions, to need
more than mere mention here. Before the earliest date in this book of
burials there was placed “in the graveyard of Barking church the
headless body, very indecently interred,” of Bishop Fisher, executed on
the East Smithfield side of Tower Hill in 1535. Reference has already
been made to Fisher in connection with his imprisonment in the Bell
Tower, and the removal of his body, after it had lain for some time in
this churchyard, to St. Peter’s, on Tower Green. Another victim of Henry
VIII.’s wrath, Henry Howard, the poet Earl of Surrey, was, in 1547,
buried beside the church after a mock trial and subsequent execution on
Tower Hill. His remains, also, were removed and taken, in 1614, to
Framlingham in Suffolk. Lord Thomas Grey, brother of the Duke of Suffolk
and uncle of Lady Jane Grey, was “heddyd on Tower Hill, April 28, 1554,
and berried at Allhallows Barking.” In Queen Mary’s luckless reign, “a
plot to rob the Queen’s Exchequer was discovered and the leaders sent to
the Tower.” _Machin’s Diary_ thus records the event: “On the eighth day
of July, Henry Peckham and John Daneel were hanged on Tower Hill. Their
bodies were cut down and headed, the heads carried to London Bridge and
the bodies buried in Barkin church.” Continuing our inspection of the
Burial Register, we come upon the most interesting entry of all. Under
the date January 11, 1644, we read: “William Laud, Archbishop of
Canterbury, beheaded T—-.” The last word has been almost erased. We
can but conjecture that the word was “Traitor,” and that some later hand
scratched out all but the initial letter. But why was that letter left
if every trace of so hateful a word was to be obliterated? Laud was
buried in the Vicar’s vault under the altar, but his body was taken to
St. John’s College, Oxford, in 1663. Laud’s body, “being accompanied to
the grave with great multitudes of people, who in love, or curiosity, or
remorse of conscience had gathered together, was decently interred in
Allhallows Barking … and had the honour of being buried in that church
in the form provided by the Common Prayer Book after it had been long
disused and almost reprobated in most of the churches in London.”

Some earlier entries in this register are of sufficient interest to
attract attention. During 1560 there is a curious reference to the
burial of “a poor starved Callis man” which may mean a callisman (a
beggar), or a destitute refugee from Calais, which had been lost to
England two years earlier. In 1591, 1596, and 1599 there were buried in
the church two sons and a daughter of the famous Robert, Earl of Essex,
favourite of Elizabeth, which Earl “possessed a house in Seething Lane,
in this parish.” Entries regarding persons of less fame, but surely of
considerable interest to us as suggesting the state of the poor at that
time, occur in the seventeenth century. One is “a poore soldier, dying
in the streetes in ye night whose name was unknowne” (February 18,
1606); another is “a poore boy that dyed in the streetes” (1620); and
yet another is “one unknowne, starved on Tower Hill” (January 15, 1627).
With the entries for January 1 and 2, 1644, we are introduced to the
period of the Civil War, during which time Tower Hill was the scene of
frequent executions and Allhallows Barking received the headless bodies
of many of the victims. Against the dates just mentioned there are the
names of John Hotham, Esq., “beheaded for betraying his trust to the
State,” and Sir John Hotham, Knt., “beheaded for betraying his trust to
the Parliament.” Sir John Hotham and his son were beheaded in
consequence of a design to deliver up Hull to the King, which place they
held for the Parliamentary forces. With these melancholy entries we may
place another of the seventeenth day of the following June, which
records the burial of “Dorathie, daughter of Sir John Hotham, Knt., and
the Ladie Elizabeth his wife,” and tells of the passing away of the
grief-stricken child, “who desired to be buried here with her father.”
On April 23, 1650, the entry, “Colonel Andrewes beheaded; buried in ye
chancel,” refers to Colonel Eusebius Andrewes, “an old Loyalist,
condemned to suffer as a traitor. He was beheaded on Tower Hill, dying
with much firmness and courage.”

On leaving the vestry we may notice, behind the door leading into the
church, a recently discovered and much-damaged piscina, or place of
ablution for the priests serving at the altar. This was accidentally
found when the walls were stripped of their plaster, in 1904. From its
position it would lead one to suppose that the altar rails were at one
time carried along on the top of the present altar steps. But of this we
have no conclusive proof.

The best view of the interior of the church is to be obtained from this
standpoint. The high pitch of the excellently restored roof, the grace
and lightness of the chancel pillars as contrasted with the massiveness
of those in the nave, the imposing appearance of the handsome organ
case–all these striking features will leave one of the most lingering
impressions of the building as a whole, apart from its interest in
detail, with those who pause here as before a remarkable picture.

On the easternmost pillar of the chancel there will be noticed the
memorial to John Kettlewell, the celebrated Non-juror, who died in 1695,
and, by his own desire, was buried “in the same grave where Archbishop
Laud was before interred.” His funeral rites were solemnised by Bishop
Ken, who read the Burial Office, and the whole Evening Service, at
Allhallows Barking on the occasion. Ken, deprived of his see, thus, for
the last time, exercised his ministry within the Church of England.

_South Aisle._–Beneath the window at the east end of this aisle the
Colleton monument, “from the chisel of Scheemakers,” almost rivals its
neighbour in the North Aisle by its heavy dulness, but the altar-tomb
against the south wall is an early monument worthy of careful
examination. Like the Croke altar-tomb already described, it dates back
to the fifteenth century and is the more ancient of the two. A gilt
brass plate at the back of the tomb is graven with a representation of
the Resurrection. It is not now possible to ascertain to whose memory
the tomb was erected: possibly it commemorates the founder of a chantry
chapel attached to this chancel aisle.

The beautifully carved font-cover, executed in whitened wood–not
plaster, as many suppose–is the work, and some think the masterpiece,
of Grinling Gibbons, whose incomparable works of art, the carving of
fruit and flowers and decorative scroll-work, in wood, are to be seen in
other parts of this church, in other City churches, and in many a
manor-house and ancient hall throughout England. This font-cover will
repay the most careful study. Gibbons’ signature, so to speak, may be
found in the “split pea-pod” near the feet of one of the figures.

The brasses in this aisle are of singular interest. The elaborate brass
near the altar-tomb, with its ornamental border, is a 1546 memorial to
William Thynne, one of the Masters of the Household under Henry VIII. He
was the first to edit a complete edition of Chaucer’s works, “to show
that England had her classics as well as other nations.” When this brass
was taken up and restored in 1861 it was found to be engraved on both
sides. The supposition is that, at the dissolution of the monasteries,
“when many treasures found their way into the markets”–as one writer
puts it, with just a touch of cynicism–a larger brass, which had
covered the tomb of some dignitary of the Church, was cut down to the
size of the figures we see on this Thynne slab, and the back of the
former engraving became the front of the present one. Thynne “married
Ann, daughter of William Bonde, Esq., of the city of London, who now
lies by his side. He left three daughters and one infant son, Francis,
who became a distinguished antiquarian, and held the office of Lancaster
Herald. The extreme youth of this child prevented his inheriting his
father’s prestige at Court, which in consequence descended to his
nephews, one of whom was Sir John Thynne of Longleat, founder of the
noble house of Bath.” The small circular brass (1389) near by, bearing
an inscription in Norman-French, is the oldest in the City, and records
the resting-place of William Tonge, a generous benefactor to Allhallows
in the fourteenth century. The larger Rusche brass, laid down in 1498,
has had its precatory invocation erased by the over-zealous Puritans,
but is otherwise in good preservation. The engraving is rough and bold.
The details of the costume are true to contemporary drawings of the
period, and the position of the dog will recall what was said with
regard to the tracings

[Illustration: CHURCH OF ALLHALLOWS BARKING BY THE TOWER (EAST SIDE OF
SOUTH AISLE, WITH GIBBONS’ FONT COVER)]

on the Virby stone in the North Aisle. Farther west lies the Rawson
brass, dated 1518, also mutilated by the iconoclasts of the mid
seventeenth century. The central figure is that of Christopher Rawson,
“freeman of the ancient Guild of the Mercers,” and the other figures
represent “Margaret and Agnes his wyves.” In his will he mentions “a
chantry in the chapel of St. Anne in the church of Allhallows Barking”
where prayers for “his own soul and the souls of his wyves and children”
were to be said. Canon Mason, in an article which appeared in the
_Nineteenth Century_ for May 1898, says: “From a theological point of
view [this is] perhaps the most interesting monument in the church. From
the mouths of the three figures issue scrolls, which unite over their
heads in an invocation to the Blessed Trinity. But these scrolls are in
one respect unique.” Reference is made to the wording of the scrolls,
“_Salva nos_, _Libera nos_, and _Iustifica nos_, _O beata Trinitas_.”
“‘Save us’ and ‘Deliver us’ are of course expressions common enough;
‘_Vivifica nos_,’ ‘Quicken us,’ occurs in a similar context in mediæval
services; but search may be made without finding anywhere else, I
believe, in liturgical formulas or in sepulchral inscriptions, another
example of ‘Justify us.’… In the year 1518 the controversies about
justification raised on the Continent by Luther had not begun to
convulse England; and indeed Rawson’s invocation takes no side in the
controversy. He does not say whether he hopes to be justified by faith
or justified by works, but he has laid hold upon the long-forgotten
word, and craves that the blessing contained in it, whatever that might
consist of, may be given to him and to his wives.” The Basano slab, of
1624, lies above “one of the King’s servants,” and the adjoining tomb of
Dame Anne Masters, who died in 1719, records the wife of Sir H. Masters,
City Alderman, and mother of nineteen children, which goodly company of
descendants occupy much burial-space round the Rawson tomb.

On one of the pillars of this aisle a sadly dilapidated brass plate
commemorates “William Armer, Governor of the Pages of Honor to Henry
VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, who died in 1560.” His wife’s
burial is entered in the registers against May 1, 1563. She is the lady
to whom, according to the _Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII._,
payments were made “for cambric and makyng y^{e} King’s shirts.”

The daily services of the church were continued in this aisle without
intermission during the progress of the work of restoration.

_Choir._–As we walk back towards the east end and turn into the choir
portion of the chancel we may notice two quaint semicircular seats at
the foot of the pillars on the altar steps. These forms were made out of
the wood of the old roof removed in 1814. The choir stalls, of solid
oak, are comparatively recent additions to the building and bear some
fine carving representing “the fellowship of the angelic with the animal
world.” These stalls are constructed to accommodate the clergy of the
Mission College of Allhallows Barking as well as the members of the
choir. The seat of the Warden of the College and Vicar of the parish is
that which faces east. In mentioning the vicar and clergy, we may here
fitly recall many of the men who have served at the altar of Allhallows
and whose names have not been lost to fame. There is preserved a tabular
list of the vicars since the presentation to the living of Wm. Colles on
March 2, 1387. Chaderton, thirteenth vicar, was, as we have already
seen, appointed dean of the “free chaple of Berkynge” by Richard III.
Carter, appointed in 1525, was a friend of Wolsey’s, and resigned in the
year of the Cardinal’s fall, 1530. Dawes, 1542-1565, was the first
Protestant incumbent and possessed many of the attributes of the Vicar
of Bray as sketched in the verses of the old song; Wood, 1584-1591, was
the first vicar appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury; Ravis, vicar
from 1591 to 1598, was one of the translators of the present Authorised
Version of the Bible; as was also his successor at Allhallows, Dr.
Tighe. The twenty-fifth vicar, Edward Layfield, appointed in 1635, was a
nephew of Archbishop Laud. “Layfield was deprived in 1642 [by an
ordinance of the House of Commons] under circumstances of considerable
barbarity. He was interrupted during the performance of divine service,
dragged out of church [while the walls of the old church resounded to
the shrieks of an infuriated mob within and without the building], set
on a horse with his surplice not removed, the Common Prayer Book tied
round his neck; and in this manner forced to ride through the city. Then
was he thrown into prison … and no provision made for his maintenance
whatever.” Layfield was restored to his living on the return of Charles
II. His contemporaries describe him as “a man of generous and noble
spirit, great courage and resolution, and much respected in his parish,
though a High Churchman.” Vicar during the Plague and the Fire, he died
in 1680, and was buried here in the chancel. Dr. Hickes, appointed in
1681, was “one of the most remarkable and highly educated men of his
generation,” and, on the accession of William and Mary, “refused to take
the oaths, was deprived of all his preferments,” and became a Non-juror.
He was a friend of Pepys, and that volatile product of the Restoration
period often lamented Dr. Hickes’ long and dull sermons. Hickes attended
Pepys as he lay on his deathbed, and many references to this Vicar of
Allhallows will be found in the _Diary_.

The present body of mission clergy attached to the church have their
College in Trinity Square, on Tower Hill. They do excellent work for the
Church at large, travel to all parts of England constantly, and to far
parts of the world occasionally to preach and conduct missions. In this
way the revenue of Allhallows–a seemingly large sum to the “man in the
street” (who usually remains there, to scoff at “useless city
churches”)–is taken up to the last penny for this most valuable and
useful work. The College was established in 1883, and many men known far
and wide for their work in the Church–I may instance Dr. Collins, now
Bishop of Gibraltar–have been members of it. Its first Head was Dr. A.
J. Mason, now Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, to whom Allhallows
is indebted for the restoration of the north porch and the gift of the
upper schoolroom. His successor, the present Warden, Dr. Arthur W.
Robinson, has since carried on the arduous duties of the College and has
brought all departments of the work in connection with Allhallows as a
parish church up to a point of remarkable efficiency. Never was the old
building more zealously served than it is now, and never has it been
better used by parishioners and by others whose daily work lies in the
City. A numerous congregation, consisting of those who come up from the
eastern suburbs by the early trains and have an hour to spare before
beginning work, assembles here every week-day morning at eight o’clock.
The service consists of prayers, a hymn, a short address, and an organ
recital. The Sunday congregations are large for a City church,
especially in the evenings, and on two or three occasions during the
year the church is crowded beyond the actual seating capacity–an
inspiring sight when viewed from the organ loft.

_Chancel and Nave._–In the chancel, between the choir stalls, may be
seen the James brass, of 1591, with figure about three feet in length;
also the brass, of 1612, to “Mary, wife of John Burnell, Merch^{t}.”
Burnell presented a communion table to the church in 1613. The last
brass, but the most famous and artistic of all, is that large square
sheet of latten which is set in the pavement to the west of the Litany
desk. It dates back to 1530 and is a memorial of “Andrewe Evyngar,
Cityzen and Salter, and Ellyn his wife.” The Puritan defacements are
only too plain, yet, in spite of this, it is possible to decipher the
beaten-out lettering, which ran: “Of youre charite praye for the soules
of … on whoos soulys Jesu have m’cy, Amen.” This brass is one of the
finest specimens of Flemish workmanship in England. Its only rivals are
brasses at Ipswich and at St. Albans. It is unnecessary to describe it
in detail; it can best be studied from the framed “rubbing” which stands
behind the choir screen in the South Aisle.

The very fine Jacobean pulpit was erected before England had a single
colony. There it has stood during the rise of the British Empire, and it
has survived many a storm in Church and State. Though the pulpit dates
back to 1613 the sounding-board above was erected in 1638, and is
termed, in the Vestry minutes of that year, “the new pulpitt hedd.”
This sounding-board is inscribed on each of its sides with the motto:
“_Xtm pdicam crucifixum_,” which reminds us that whether the preacher in
that pulpit looks south, or east, or west, his one subject is to be
Christ crucified. The fine sword-rests, rising above the choir screen
behind the Vicar’s stall, were erected by successive Lord Mayors and
bear their respective crests, with the City coat-of-arms. The one on the
south side, the smallest of the three, was erected in 1727 by Lord Mayor
Eyles. That in the centre commemorates the mayoralty of Slingsby Bethel,
Esq., in 1755, while the remaining one was put up in 1760 when Sir
Thomas Chitty, a parishioner of Allhallows, was appointed chief citizen.
After examining the graceful ironwork of these sword-rests, the delicate
wrought-iron design beneath the pulpit-rail should by no means be passed
over. The choir screen itself, as well as the screen behind the
churchwardens’ pews at the back of the church, is worthy of study by all
who are interested in old wood-carving.

_West End._–From north to south porch, until the 1904 restoration,
there extended an ugly, heavy gallery, which made the entrance to the
church, from either side, very gloomy. Now the former organ-loft is
rebuilt and the interior of the church, by this alteration, regains the
open appearance of earlier times. In the entrance-chamber of the tower
there is preserved a very fine leaden water-cistern on which appear the
date 1705 and the letters A·H·B, the monogram of the church, while in
the tower itself there hangs a peal of finely toned bells, eight in
number, which in 1813 replaced the bells hung, in 1659, when the present
tower was new.

The first organ in this church was that one, already spoken of, built by
Anthony Duddyngton in 1519. Though all trace of this very early
instrument is lost, the original indenture still remains. Dr. Hopkins
says, “This is the earliest known record of the building of an organ in
England.” In 1675-77 the present organ-case was erected by Thomas and
Renatus Harris, and the organ then consisted of great and choir manuals
only; but a third manual, the swell, was added in the eighteenth
century. Hatton describes the organ-case as he saw it in 1708 as
“enriched with Fames, and the figures of Time and Death, carved in
_basso relievo_ and painted, above.” The organ was improved by Gerard
Smith in 1720, and again in 1813. It was again overhauled and enlarged
by Bunting in 1872 and 1878, was partially burnt in 1880, and
“restored” (very badly indeed) in 1881. On Sunday, 3rd November 1907,
during Evensong, this ancient instrument broke down and was not used
again. The choral services were sung by the choir either entirely
unaccompanied or supported by a pianoforte played in the chancel. The
instrument is now being rebuilt by Messrs. Harrison and Harrison, of
Durham, and this well-known firm have the problem before them of
preserving what is of historic interest in the old organ and
incorporating that in the newer and more efficient mechanism of the
organs of to-day. A complete list of organists of this church, from 1676
to the present day, has been preserved.

The large and fully equipped music-room at the north-west angle of the
building is where the daily practices of the choristers are held. In
addition to the fittings incidental to the work of the choir, it
contains some interesting photos of the church and two old parish plans.
The royal arms above the door, on the side of the organ-loft, used, in
Georgian days, to hang above the altar. A spacious music-, or
school-room lies over the north porch, and this portion of the building,
though modern, is quite in keeping with the ancient church to which it
is attached. Of that old church we now take leave. Though great the
history it has already made, there is perhaps as great a history for it
yet to make.