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SEPTEMBER derived its name from the place which it occupied in the Romulean calendar; it was the seventh. The sign Libra is appropriated to it.
GILES was born at Athens, but removed to France, and there died towards the end of the eighth century. 2. LONDON BURNT.
In SEPTEMBER 1829.
The fire raged with irresistible fury nearly four days and nights: nor was it entirely mastered till the fifth morning after it began.-See T.T. for 1816, p. 249; T.T. for 1820, p. 213; and T.T. for 1826, p.
Old Houses and Remains of Ancient Buildings.
Nothing can better evince the present state of improvement than the contrast which may still be made between our ancient and more modern structures in various parts of this metropolis.
To pass over the exceedingly rude dwellings of our early forefathers, the buildings of the middle ages, with stories projecting beyond each other as they ascended, still remind us of the slow march of improvement during several ages. A few of these old and curious buildings, which exhibit a specimen of ancient London, remain about Bishopsgate and Leadenhall Streets, and particularly in Holywell-street in the Strand. However, it is probable that another half century will obliterate the remembrance of them from almost every testimony but the works of those artists whose taste, skill, and indefatigable research, have preserved many rare and valuable representations of the remains of antiquity, no longer visible. Here we do not allude altogether to the houses of the common people, though, speaking of these, a writer upon architecture observed, several years since, ‘When I compare the modern English way of building with the old way, I cannot but wonder at the genius of old times. Nothing is or can be more delightful and convenient than light, and nothing more agreeable to health than free air. And yet of old they used to dwell in houses, most of them with a blind staircase, low ceilings, and dark windows; the rooms built at random, without any convenience, and often with steps from one to another. So that one would think the people of former ages were afraid of light, or loved to play at hide and seek. Whereas the taste of our times is altogether for light stair-cases, fine sash windows, and lofty ceilings.'
Among the few ancient houses still remaining in London, we may mention one on the west side of Little Moorfields, of which a cut has been given in p. 95 of the present volume: it affords a specimen of the foliated front, and may be attributed to the latter period of the sixteenth century. The house consists of oak, lath, and plaster; but the ceilings, which have evidently undergone various changes, are now destitute of ornament. This house is one of the oldest standing in the neighbourhood of Moorfields. It was not unusual to fix iron hooks into the fronts of the old houses, especially in the most public streets, whereon to suspend the tapestry, which was brilliantly displayed on rejoicing or procession days; a custom that had prevailed from a very early period.
The old house represented in the next wood cut, is on the south side of London Wall; it is of oak and plaster, and the foliage of plaster alone, and exhibits a good specimen of the foliated style in the reign of Charles the First.
The houses lately standing at the west corner of Chancerylane, as delineated in the following wood-cut, presented a genuine specimen of the grotesque bracketted front and projecting stories of the reign of Edward the Sixth. These houses were taken down by the city in May 1799, to widen the street: they were
entirely of oak and plaster. It was from the top of the cornerhouse that several cherubs flew down, and presented Queen Elizabeth with a crown of laurels and gold, together with some verses, when she was going into the city, upon a visit to Sir Thomas Gresham..
Crosby House, in Crosby Square. This ancient edifice was built by Sir John Crosbie, Sheriff. in 1470; and here Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lodged, after he had conveyed his devoted nephews to the Tower. It is singular that when Crosby House was first erected, it was supposed to have been the highest in London, and occupied the whole of Crosby-square. Henry the Eighth granted this house to Anthony Bonvica, an Italian merchant, and in Queen Elizabeth's time it was appropriated for the reception of ambassadors; though in 1594, Sir John Spencer kept his mayoralty here.
The hall, the principal of the remains, has been miscalled Richard the Third's Chapel; and, for the convenience of the late occupants, has been divided into floors. The building is still majestic; and the west side presents a range of beautiful Gothic windows: here is also a fine circular window. The timber roof, of most exquisite workmanship, is divided by three rows of pendants, ranging along, and connected by pointed arches: the whole has been highly ornamented. This hall has been let to several religious assemblies, and since to tradesmen. This noble room is of stone, fifty-four feet long, twenty-seven feet wide (exactly half its length), and forty feet high. It has eight windows on a side, at a considerable elevation from the ground, each measuring eleven feet six inches high, by five feet six inches wide; in which number may be included a spacious recess, or larger window, towards the north-east, reaching from the floor to the roof. Adjoining this recess, on the north side, is a handsome doorway, bricked up, which formerly communicated with the ground-floor in the north wing; and nearly opposite, a ponderous stone chimney-piece, calculated to give warmth to so large a space, being, ten feet five inches broad, by seven feet high. The floor has been formerly paved with hard stones, seemingly a species of marble, laid diamond-ways, but is much damaged. A number of small square tiles, the former paving of some of the other rooms or passages, were long preserved here with mere lumber. They are extremely hard, glazed, and ornamented with different figures.
The principal remains of Crosby House consist of three large apartments, viz. the ball and two o adjoining chambers, forming the eastern and northern sides of a quadrangle. The former of these sides. which faces Bishopsgate-street, extends from the entrance of Crosby-square to Great St. Helen's church-yard, a distance of about eighty-four feet, and contains the hall, a room of one story, together with some smaller apartments at each end.
The northern side is about half that length, and is divided into two stories, an upper and a lower one, cach containing a large chamber.
The present approach to the hall is from Bishopsgate-street, or rather from the passage to Crosby-square, by a modern flight of stone steps: here the only part of its outside is visible, which is not surrounded by houses. It appears of no great length, plastered, and surmounted by a stone parapet, but remarkable for the elegance of its windows. A small fragment of the outside of Crosby House itself, is to be seen likewise in St. Helen's church-yard; but though since serving as an entrance to the hall, it formed no part of it originally. Of the north wing, part of the outside is completely modernized, and the rest hid. The back entrance is represented in the following cut.
Nearly opposite to Widegate-street were the remains of the residence of Sir Paul Pindar (see the cut in p. 23 of our volume), but recently pulled down, and till lately occupied as a liquorshop. The original owner was one of the richest merchants of his time, and was ruined by his conscientious attachment to Charles the First: he died in 1650, aged eighty-four. An old house still remaining in Half-moon-street, running from Bishopsgate-street towards Long-alley, and which is easily distinguished by its raised figures upon the front, was, according to tradition, that of Sir Paul Pindar's gardener.
At the northern extremity of Aldermanbury is the site of Elsing Spital, founded by William Elsing, citizen and mercer of London, in 1329, afterwards converted into a priory of canons regular. The window of the old church of this Spital, represented in the next page, now forms a part of the north-west corner of the present church of St. Alphage.