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Lambeth Church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and immediately adjoins to the Palace. There was a Church here in very early times, but the oldest part of the present edifice, which is the Tower, is of the age of Richard II. The body, which consists of a nave, two aisles, and a chancel, was probably erected at different periods, from about 1475 to 1530. It had formerly a Chapel at the eastern extremity of each of the aisles, but in 1769 these were incorporated with the Church, which was then substantially repaired and embellished, as it has several times since been, particularly a few years ago*.
The interior is handsomely fitted up, and contains several monuments, among which are those of the following Archbishops Bancroft, who died in 1610; Tenison, 1715; Hutton, 1758; Cornwallis, 1783; and Moore, 1805; Archbishop Secker is interred in the passage leading from the Palace to the Church. In the Howard Chapel are several memorials for members of that noble family, and in the south aisle is an almost obliterated inscription, over the grave of “Art's great Mæcepas," as he is called by Lilly, "learned Esquire Ashmole.” In one of the windows is painted the figure of a Pedlar and his dog, which is traditionally said to represent a person of that calling, who bequeathed to the parish the valuable piece of land called Pedlar's Acre, which in 1504, when it was given, was let for 28. 8d. per annum, in 1810 was estimated at £250 a year, and must now produce a much larger sum, as it is covered with new buildings, some of which are of a superior order,
In the Churchyard is the monument of the Tradescants, of whom the elder was the first person who ever formed a cabinet of curiosities in this kingdom, and is supposed to have visited Russia, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Barbary, and the greater part of Asia, in search of rare plants and flowers, which he introduced into his native country. His son was also a great traveller, and both afterwards resided at South Lambeth, where they had a garden, which was visited by persons of all ranks. Beside the natural curiosities which they had collected, they also possessed a vast number of artificial rarities, as coins, medals, &c. the whole of which were conveyed to Mr. Ashmole, by the younger Tradescant, in 1657, shortly before his death. They now form a considerable portion of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. We have no account of the grandson. The tomb was erected in 1662, and is ornamented with various devices, emblematical of their extensive travels and unwearied researches; it was restored in 1773, at the expense of the parish, and the following inscription, which Pennant gives, as “both singular and historical," engraven on the stone:
* “Here,” says Pennant, “ let me mention the sad example of fallen majesty, in the person of Mary d’Este, the unhappy queen of James II; who, dying with her infant Prince from the ruin impending over their house, after crossing the Thames from the abdicated Whitehall, took shelter beneath the ancient walls of this Church a whole hour, from the rain of the inclement night of December 6th, 1688. Here she waited with aggravated misery, till a common coach, procured from the next inn, arrived, and conveyed her to Gravesend, from whence she sailed, and bid an eternal adieu to these kingdoms."
“Know, stranger, ere thou pass, beneath this stone
And change this garden for a paradise.'
of Admiral Bligh, " who first," says the inscription, "transplanted the Bread-fruit tree from Otaheite to the West Indies." He died December 7, 1817, aged
In the burial ground are also interred Edward Moore, author of Fables for the Female Sex, the Gamester, great part of the collection of essays called the World, &c.; Thomas Cooke, translator of Hesiod, and editor of the Craftsman; and Simon Forman, a celebrated astrologer of the seventeenth century*.
This extensive parish had for several centuries but one Church; but the great increase of inhabitants
* This parish appears to have been a favourite residence of the astrological quacks who flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Beside Forman, Captain Bubb, Dr. Napier, and the well known “ Francis Moore, Physician," the original author of the Almanac, lived here,
has of late years led to the erection of four others; one at Kennington, one at Norwood, another at the entrance to Prince's Road, in Lambeth Butts, and a fourth in the Waterloo Road; the first two are described under their respective heads; the third is dedicated to St. Mary, and is a brick building, of Gothic architecture, with a small tower rising from the roof, and crowned with a low spire; and the lastmentioned is a spacious and handsome edifice, with a noble portico of the Doric order, and a steeple, which, like most of those lately erected, is of rather mean appearance. The interior is neatly fitted up, and the church is dedicated to St. John. Chapels for Dissenters of every denomination abound in this parish; and some of the most useful charitable institutions of the metropolis are situated within its limits; as these are principally in the district formerly called St. George's Fields, they will be found described, with similar establishments in that neighbourhood, in the account of Southwark and its environs, at a subsequent page. In the Wandsworth road, near Vauxhall turnpike, is an Alms-house, for seven poor women, founded and endowed in 1622 by Sir Noel de Caron, who was during 33 years Ambassador to this country from the United Provinces. Several Charity Schools are also established here; and there is a large Workhouse, opposite to the new Church in Prince's Road.
Lambeth is the seat of many manufactories, whose bare enumeration would far exceed our limits; the most remarkable buildings connected with them are the two Towers, for the manufacture of Shot, the oldest of which was established in Narrow Wall, on the bank of the Thames, about 1789; it is 140 feet high; the interior was destroyed by fire in 1826, but it has been since repaired; a new and much more elegant Tower, of a circular form, was erected by Messrs. Maltby and Co. a few years since, not far from the first; it is about 160 feet high, and makes a very conspicuous appearance.
Near Westminster Bridge is Astley's Amphitheatre, the performances at which principally consist of feats of horsemanship, of the most unrivalled description, short interludes, dancing, &c. The present building, which is very handsomely fitted up, was erected in 1804, on the site of a former edifice, destroyed, as well as a still earlier one, by fire.
The Coburg Theatre, situated in the road leading from Waterloo Bridge to St. George's Fields, is the most splendid of the minor houses, in decorations and scenery; and its performances are generally very attractive. It was built about fourteen years ago, and although its external architecture is plain, its internal arrangements are deserving of the greatest praise.
That eminent sculptor, the late Thomas Banks, R. A. was born in this parish, in 1738; the numerous productions of his chisel, which adorn the walls of Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, and other public buildings, afford proofs that his talents were of the highest order.
LEITH HILL, the loftiest eminence in the county, is five miles west by south of Dorking, and commands a most extensive and delightful view* over Surrey, part of Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Kent, Essex, and even Wiltshire, being a circumference of not less than 200 miles. Its height is 993 feet. On the top of one point a square tower was erected by Mr. Hull, who was interred here on his death in 1772; it was afterwards much dilapidated, but has been since repaired and heightened, and is now a very conspicuous object from every part of the surrounding country.
* The following description is so interesting, and the work from which it is taken so scarce, that the Editor makes no other apology for its insertion. was written by John Dennis, the celebrated critic,
whose remarks Pope and his friends found it much easier to sneer at than to answer.
“ In a late journey I took through Surrey, I passed over a hill which shewed me a more transporting sight than ever the country had shewn me before, either in England or Italy. The prospects which in Italy pleased me the most, were, the Valdarno from the Apennines; Rome and the Mediterranean from the mountains of Viterbo, the former at 40, and the latter at 50 miles distance; and the Campagna of Rome from Tivoli and Frescati: from which places you see every foot of that famous Champagne, even from the bottom of the Tivoli and Frescati to the very foot of the mountains of Viterbo, without any thing to intercept your sight. But from a hill I passed in my late journey, I had a prospect more extensive than any of these, and which surpassed them at once in rural charms, pomp, and magnificence-the hill which I speak of is called Leith Hill, and is situated about six miles south of Dorking. It juts out about two miles beyond that range of bills which terminate the North Downs on the south. When I saw from one of those hills, at about two miles distance, that side of Leith Hill which faces the Downs, it appeared the most beautiful prospect I had ever seen. But, after we had conquered the hill itself, I saw a sight that would transport a Stoic; a sight that looked like enchantment and a vision! Beneath us lay open to our view all the wilds of Surrey and Sussex, and a great part of those of Kent, admirably diversified in every part of them with woods, and fields of corn and pasture, and every where adorned with stately rows of trees. This beautiful vale is about 30 miles in breadth, and about 60 in length, and is terminated to the south by the majestic range of the southern hills and the sea; and it is no easy matter to decide, whether the hills, which appear 30, 40, or 50 miles distance, with their tops in the sky, seem more awful and venerable, or the delicious vale between you and them more inviting. About noon, on a serene day, you may, at 30 miles distance, see the water of the sea through a chasm of
LEATHERHEAD, a small town, 19 miles from Lon. don, on the road to Dorking, is beautifully situated on the Mole, over which it has a brick Bridge, of 14 small arches. The Church is a very ancient edifice, in the form of a cross, with a tower, which forms a pleasing object, seen emerging from the surrounding trees; it contains several monuments. The town is principally composed of four streets, intersecting each other at right angles, and containing many respectable houses. It had formerly a weekly Market, which has been long disused, and it is now a place of very little trade. The population, in 1821, was 1478.
MERSTHAM, a village with about 800 inhabitants, 18 miles from London, is noted for the excellent quarries in its neighbourhood, from which the stone used in building Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster is said to have been procured. Its Church has a curious font.
MERTON, eight miles from London, on the road to Epsom, is situated on the Wandle, and was formerly celebrated for its magnificent Abbey, founded in 1115, by Gilbert Norman, Sheriff of Surrey. At a Parliament held here in 1236, those laws known as the “Statutes of Merton," were enacted; and the Barons, in withstanding the insidious attempts of the prelates to introduce the civil and canon laws, made that
the mountain; and that, above all, which makes it a noble and wonderful prospect is, that at the very time that, at 30 miles distance, you behold the very water of the sea, at the same time you behold to the southward the most delicious rural prospect in the world. At the same time, by a little turn of your head towards the north, you look full over Box Hill, and see the country beyond it between that and London; and, over the very stomachers of it, see St. Paul's, at 25 miles distance, and London beneath it, and Hampstead and Highgate beyond it!”- Familiar Letters. VOL. I.