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His son WILLIAM, lord CRAVEN, who was born in this parish, gained great reputation as a soldier under Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, and Henry, prince of Orange. He took the strong fortress of Crutzenach, in Germany, by storm; which is one of the most extraordinary actions re. corded in the history of the great Gustavus ; on these occasions the following lines are placed under his portrait :
“ London's bright gem, his house's honour, and
“Rise bravest spirit that e'er thy city bred!” * This amiable ncbleman assisted his sovereigns Charles I. and II. in their necessities, to a vast amount. He is said to have been married privately to the queen of Bohemia, aunt to the latter monarch. He is particularly mentioned here on account of the more immediate service he rendered his native city. So indefatigable was he in preventing the ravages of the fires of those days, that it was said, “ his very horse smelt it out.” During the dreadful plague in 1665, lord Craven, Monk, duke of Albemarle, and sir John Law.. rence, lord mayor, heroically stayed in town, and, at the hazard of their lives, preserved order in the midst of terror.
The account of St. Andrew Undershaft cannot be better concluded, than by a few notices of
John Stow. This able and faithful historian was born about the year 1525, in Cornhill, where mention has already been made of his family in St. Michael's church, and is supposed to have followed his father's occupation of a taylor ; he began very early to apply himself to the study of English history and antiquity; and was so indefatigable in this pursuit, that he neglected his business and injured his circumstances. This was at a period that had any liberal minded person assisted his
endeavours, such a source of knowledge might have been preserved to this country, as would be a lasting fund of useful information, of which it is now for ever deprived. There is no occasion to add further strength to this observation, than to refer to the wonderful collection of the Cotton manuscripts. Honest Stow, with a generosity beyond his prudence, collected many important documents, which the dissolution of monasteries had involved in confusion, and from their gleanings formed his invaluable Survey of London, his English Chronicle, and other works which will hand his memory down to posterity with the highest respect.
But poor Stow, though known, referred to as an authority, and respected by the most exalted personages, was patronized by none but archbishop Parker, who was a generous encourager of his studies, and assisted him during his life by several tokens of his generosity.
In these times of reformation, however creditable in the grand plan, many individuals were great sufferers for their religious opinions; our author had great share of this severity; and his persecutions were as illiberal as they were extraordinary. The jealousy of the state in 1658, occasioned an order to Dr. Grindall, bishop of London, who, narrow-minded, forgetting the merit due to so patriotic a labourer, calls our historian, “ Stow, the taylor;" this order was to search his library for superstitious books, of which, in consequence, several were found ; and not Camden, to whom he had been of essential service in the Britannia, Dudley, earl of Leicester, to whom he was known, and whom he had obliged, and other powerful but useless acquaintances could prevent his experiencing the terrors of the Star Chamber; and in 1570 he was falsely accused before the ecclesiastical commissioners upon no less than one hundred and forty articles; and shocking to state, his accuser was his own brother!
Such persecutions were, unfortunately for Mr. Stow, the fore-runners of poverty, and towards the latter end of his life, at the great age of cighty years, his circumstances
were so reduced, that he was compelled to solicit charitable contributions by brief; and what the city he had so honoured, contributed upon this occasion, may nearly be ascertained by the donations gathered in the most opulent part of Lombard Street; the parishioners of St. Mary Woolnoth collected SEVEN SHILLINGS AND SIX-PENCE. *!
Worn out with disease, with labour, and with indigence, this worthy character died of the stone cholic, April 5, 1605. “ As to his literary character, he was an unwcaried reader of all English history, whether printed or in manuscript; and a searcher into records, registers, journals, original charters, instruments, &c. Nor was he contented with a mere perusal of these things, but was ambitious of possessing them as a great treasure ; and by the time he was forty years of age, he had raised a considerable library of such works. His study was stored not only with antient authors, but likewise with original charters, registers, and chronicles of particular places. He had the greater opportunity of enriching himself with these things, as he lived shortly after the dissolution of the monasteries, when they were dispersed and scattered abroad into divers hands out of those repositories. It was his custom to transcribe all such old and useful books as he could not obtain or purchase; thus he copied six volumes of Leland's collections for his own use, which he afterwards sold to Mr. Camden, for an annuity of eighty pounds for life. He was a true antiquary, since he was not satisfied with reports, nor with the credit of what he had seen in print, but had recourse to the originals; and he made use of his own legs, for he could never ride, travelling on foot to many cathedrals and churches, in order to consult and transcribe from antient records and charters.”
Papist or protestant, he was an honest and generous man, unspotted in his life, and useful in his pursuits +."
Cecil, lord Burleigh, had similar notions of liberality, when he exclaimed before Queen Elizabeth, upon her ordering 1001. to Spencer: “ Wnat, all this for a song,” and ultimately left this admirable poet to starve ! + Biographical Dictionary.