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THE OLD CHURCH.
The old church formerly consisted of a nave and A Norman altar-stone, in which appeared the usual chancel, built of stones and fint, and a low tower decoration, namely, five crosses, typical of the five with a bell-shaped roof. It has been several times wounds of our Lord. The key-stone of the south repaired, and the most recent of the restorations porch, containing the letters H.R.T.P.C. incised, has taken away-externally, at least—all traces of arranged one within the members of the other, its antiquity. In 1847–8 it was enlarged by taking after the manner of a monogram; these letters are the space occupied by the old square tower into the apparently contemporary with the Norman mouldbody of the church, and a spire was placed on the ing beneath. Part of a series of niches in chiselled south side. The west end, which was lengthened, brick was likewise discovered. These had been has an enriched Norman porch, and a wheel concealed by a sufficient coating of plaster, but window in the gable above, which, together with were discovered in the first instance on the removal the chancel windows, are filled with stained glass. of some of the stonework in the exterior of the The old monuments have been restored and placed chancel. That operation being suspended, and as nearly as possible in their original positions. the interior plastering being removed, the upper On the north wall, opposite the baptistery, is niche was discovered perfect, with mouldings and the early Tudor marble Purbeck memorial which spandrils sharply chiselled in brick, but the impost Weever, in his “Funeral Monuments," ascribes being of stone, coloured so as to resemble the to the ancient family of Gray, of Gray's Inn. former. The back of the niche was in plaster The recesses for brasses are there, but neither likewise tinted and lined so as to correspond with arms nor date are remaining. A marble tablet, the brick. Below this had been a double niche with palette and pencils, the memorial of Samuel divided by a mullion, the principal part of which, Cooper, a celebrated miniature-painter, who died however, was destroyed by the above-mentioned in 1672, is placed on the south-east interior wall. removal of the materials from without. These The church still consists only of a nave and decorations were on the south side of the east chancel, without side aisles. Heavy beams sup-window in the chancel, and had probably contained port the roof, and upon those over the chancel effigies. There was no corresponding appearance and the western gallery are written in illuminated on the north side. scrolls various sentences from Scripture, such as
A curious view of the old church, somewhat “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life ;” “He idealised, representing it as a cruciform structure that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast with a central bell-turret or campanile, was pub
There is a very elegant stained-glass lished in 1800, by Messrs. Laurie and Whittle, window over the altar, and on either side of the of Fleet Street; but if it represents any real nave are pointed windows of plain glass. The structure, it must be that of a much earlier date. walls are exceedingly thick, and will, no doubt, In this print there are near it three rural and last for ages. A narrow strip of oaken gallery runs isolated cottages, and a few young elm or plane above the nave, affording accommodation for only trees complete the scene, two rows of seats. It is approached by a single There is a tradition that this church was the last circular staircase in the southern tower, and its in or about London in which mass was said at the diminutive size is in keeping with the other parts time of the Reformation, and that this was the of the building.
cause of the singular fondness which the old We may state here that, after his execution at Roman Catholic families had for burying their Tyburn, the body of Lawrence Earl Ferrers was dead in the adjoining churchyard, where the cross taken down and carried to this church, where it and every variety of Catholic inscriptions may be was laid under the belfry tower in a grave fourteen seen on the tombs. It is, however, mentioned feet deep, no doubt for fear lest the popular in “Windham's Diary,” that while Dr. Johnson indignation should violate his place of burial. was airing one day with Dr. Brocklesby, in passing
During the removal of parts of the church, while and returning by St. Pancras Church, he fell into the additions and alterations were being made, prayer, and mentioned, upon Dr. Brocklesby inseveral relics of antiquity connected with the old quiring why the Catholics selected that spot for structure were discovered. Among others were their burial place, that some Catholics in Queen the following :-An Early-English piscina and some Elizabeth's time had been burnt there. This sedilia, found on the removal of some heavy would, of course, give additional interest to the wainscoting on the south side of the chancel, the sacred spot. mouldings of the sedilia retaining vestiges of red In this churchyard were buried, amongst many colouring, with which they had formerly been tinted. others, Abraham Woodhead, a Roman Catholic controversialist, who died in 1678; Obadiah
A hearse and one black coach, to bear Walker, writer against Luther, 1699; John Ernest
My wife and children to my grave.
My wife I do appoint the sole Grabe, editor of the Alexandrian Septuagint, 1711;
Executrix of this my Will, Jeremy Collier, nonjuring bishop, and castigator
And set my hand unto the scrole, of the stage, 1726 ; Edward Walpole, translator of
In hopes the same she will fulfil. Sannazarius, 1740; James Leoni, architect, 1746; “Made under a dangerous illness, and “Edw. WARD."
signed this 24th of June, 1731. Simon Francis Ravenet, engraver, and Peter Van Bleeck, portrait-painter, 1764 ; Abraham Langford, Here, too, is buried Pasquale de Paoli, the auctioneer and dramatist, 1774; Stephen Paxton, hero of Corsica, who died April 5th, 1807, at the musician, 1787 ; Timothy Cunningham, author of age of eighty-two. The early part of his life he the “Law Dictionary,” 1789; Michael John Baptist, devoted to the cause of liberty, which he nobly Baron de Wenzel, oculist, 1790 ; Mary Wollstone- maintained against Genoese and French tyranny, craft Godwin, author of “ Rights of Women,” 1797, and was hailed as the “Father of his country.” with a square monumental pillar with a willow-tree Being obliged to withdraw from Corsica by the on each side ; the Bishop of St. Pol de Leon, superior force of his enemies, he was received 1806; John Walker, author of the “Pronouncing under the protection of George III., and found a Dictionary," 1807; Tiberius Cavallo, the Neapolitan hearty and cordial welcome from the citizens of philosopher, 1809; the Chevalier d'Eon, political London. A bust, with an inscription to his writer, 1810; J. P. Malcolm, historian of London, memory, is erected in the south aisle of West1815; the Rev. William Tooke, translator of minster Abbey. Lucian, 1820; and Governor Wall.
The best known to fame of the many Roman Among the eccentric characters who lie buried Catholic priests, not mentioned above, who have here is William Woollett, the landscape and been interred here, was "Father O'Leary," the historical engraver, known by his masterly plates eloquent preacher, and “amiable friar of the Order of Wilson's pictures and his battle-pieces; his of St. Francis," who died in 1802. His tomb was portrait, by Stuart, is in the National Gallery. restored by subscription among the poor Irish in He lived in Green Street, Leicester Square; and 1842–3. Many amusing anecdotes are related conwhenever he had finished an engraving, he com-cerning this witty divine :-“I wish, Reverend memorated the event by firing a cannon on the roof Father," once said Curran to Father O'Leary," that of his house. He died in 1785, and sixty years you were St. Peter, and had the keys of heaven, after his death his gravestone was restored by the because then you could let me in.” “By my Graphic Society.
honour and conscience," replied O'Leary, “it Another eccentric individual whose ashes repose would be better for you that I had the keys of the beneath the shade of Old St. Pancras Church, is the other place, for then I could let you out.” Again, celebrated “Ned” Ward, the author of the “ London a Protestant gentleman told him that whilst willing Spy,” and other well-known works. He was buried to accept the rest of the Roman Catholic creed, he here in 1731. The following lines were written by could not believe in purgatory. "Ah, my good him shortly before his death :
friend," replied the priest, "you may go further
and fare worse!” “ MY LAST WILL.
Here, in 1811, was buried Sidhy Effendi, the “In the name of God, the King of kings, Turkish minister to this country. A newspaper Whose glory fills the mighty space ;
of the time thus describes his interment :-"On Creator of all worldly things, And giver of both time and place :
arriving at the ground, the body was taken out of To Him I do resign my breath
a white deal shell which contained it, and, accordAnd that immortal soul He gave me, ing to the Mahometan custom, was wrapped in Sincerely hoping after death
rich robes and thrown into the grave ; immediately The merits of His Son will save me. Oh, bury not my peaceful corpse
afterwards a large stone, nearly the size of the In Cripplegate, where discord dwells,
body, was laid upon it; and after some other And wrangling parties jangle worse
Mahometan ceremonies had been gone through, Than alley scolds or Sunday's bells.
the attendants left the ground. The procession To good St. Pancras' holy ground
on its way to the churchyard galloped nearly all I dedicate my lifeless clay Till the last trumpet's joyful sound
the way. The grave was dug in an obscure corner Shall raise me to eternal day.
of the churchyard." No costly funeral prepare,
Besides the graves of famous men in Old St. 'Twixt sun and sun I only crave
Pancras churchyard, this old-fashioned pank has
MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT GODWIN.
other and interesting memories associated with it. passioned; but the following will suffice as a A curious story is told which connects the unhappy specimen :and highly gifted Chatterton with this place. One “They say that thou wert lovely from thy birth, day, whilst looking over the epitaphs in this Of glorious parents, thou aspiring child. churchyard, he was so deep sunk in thought as he
I wonder not-for one they left the earth
Whose life was like a setting planet mild, walked on, and not perceiving a grave just dug, he
Which clothed thee in the radiance undefiled tumbled into it. His friend observing his situation, Of its departing glory; still her fame ran to his assistance, and, as he helped him out, Shines on thee, thro' the tempests dark and wild told him, in a jocular manner, he was happy in
Which shake these latter days; and thou canst claim assisting at the resurrection of Genius. Poor
The shelter, from thy sire, of an immortal name. Chatterton smiled, and taking his companion by “Truth's deathless voice pauses among mankind; the arm, replied, “My dear friend, I feel the sting If there must be no response to my cry, of a speedy dissolution; I have been at war with
If men must rise and stamp with fury blind
On his pure name who loves them, thou and I, the grave for some time, and find it is not so easy
Sweet friend ! can look from our tranquillity, to vanquish it as I imagined—we can find an Like lamps into the world's tempestuous night; asylum to hide from every creditor but that!” Two tranquil stars, while clouds are passing by His friend endeavoured to divert his thoughts from Which wrap them from the foundering seaman's sight, the gloomy reflection ; but what will not melancholy
That burn from year to year with unextinguished light.” and adversity combined subjugate? In three days Mrs. Shelley's passion for her husband was exalted after the neglected and disconsolate youth put an and beautiful :-“Gentle, brave, and generous,' end to his miseries by poison.*
he described the poet in Alastor ;' such he was A more affecting incident, perhaps, might have himself, beyond any man I have ever known. To been witnessed here, when Shelley, the poet, met these admirable qualities was added his genius. Mary, the daughter of William Godwin, and in hot He had but one defect, which was his leaving his and choking words told her the story of his wrongs life incomplete by an early death. Oh, that the and wretchedness. This girl, afterwards the wife serener hopes of maturity, the happier contentment of the poet, has been thus described by Mrs. of mid life, had descended on his dear head.” Cowden Clarke : “Very, very fair was this lady, Among the quaint epitaphs in this old churchMary Wollstonecraft Godwin, with her well-shaped yard, we may be pardoned for printing the followgolden-haired head almost always a little bent and ing, as it is now nearly illegible :drooping, her marble-white shoulders and arms
“ Underneath this stone doth lye statuesquely visible in the perfectly plain black
The body of Mr. Humpherie velvet dress, which the customs of that time
Jones, who was of late allowed to be cut low, and which her own taste
By Trade a plateadopted; her thoughtful, earnest eyes, her short
Worker in Barbicanne ;
Well known to be a good manne upper lip and intellectually curved mouth, with a
By all his Friends and Neighbours too, certain close-compressed and decisive expression
And paid every bodie their due. while she listened, and a relaxation into fuller
He died in the year 1737, redness and mobility when speaking ; her ex- August 1oth, aged 80; his soule, we hope, 's in
Heaven.” quisitely-formed, white, dimpled, small hands, with rosy palms, and plumply commencing fingers, that A good epigram, by an unknown hand, thus comtapered into tips as delicate and slender as those memorates this depository of the dead :in a Vandyke portrait, all remain palpably present “ Through Pancras Churchyard as two tailors were walking, to memory. Another peculiarity in Mrs. Shelley's
Of trade, news, and politics earnestly talking, hand was its singular flexibility, which permitted Says one, ‘These fine rains, Thomas,' looking around, her bending the fingers back so as almost to Will bring things all charmingly out of the ground.' approach the portion of her arm above her wrist.
Marry, Heaven forbid,' said the other, ‘for here
I buried two wives without shedding a tear.'” She once did this smilingly and repeatedly, to amuse the girl who was noting its whiteness and pliancy, In 1803 a large portion of the ground adjoining and who now, as an old woman, records its re- the old churchyard was appropriated as a cemetery markable beauty.” Many are the verses written by for the parish of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields; and in Shelley to Mary Godwin, the dedication to “The it was buried, among other celebrities, the eminent Revolt of Islam” being among the most im- architect, Sir John Soane, and also his wife and
son, whose death, in all probability, caused Sir * See Vol. II., p. 547.
John to make the country his heir, and to found, as a public institution, the museum which bears his and liabilities in all respects as if it were a churchname in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and which we have yard; and make the necessary repair of the walls already described.
and other fences of the disused burial-ground; In 1862 the Midland Railway Company, wish- and he or they respectively shall be the person or ing to connect their line of railway in Bedfordshire persons from time to time legally chargeable for with the metropolis, obtained an Act of Parliament, the costs and expenses of and incident to any such
entitled the “St. Giles's in-the-Fields Glebe Act.” | maintenance and repair, any Act or Acts of ParliaIt was so called because this new line, in its ment to the contrary notwithstanding, provided course through the north-western part of London, that the rector and his successors, from time to would cross a portion of the above-mentioned time, respectively shall not interfere with, or wilburial-ground, which immediately adjoins the more fully permit injury to be done to, any vault, grave, famous one of St. Pancras. In one section of the tablet, monument, or tombstone, either in the disabove Act it is stated that “the rector and his used burial-ground, or in or under the chapel.” successors, at his or their expense, shall maintain In the following year the same railway company the disused burial-ground in decent order as an obtained further powers from the Legislature (who open space for ever, and subject to the same rights offered little or no opposition) to take a corner
St. Pancras. ]
DESECRATION OF GRAVEYARDS.
of the St. Pancras Churchyard for part of their main as if otherwise they could not have failed to have line, ostensibly for the purpose of erecting a pier learned from the parish authorities that the whole for the viaduct which crosses the entire yard, and extent of both the churchyard and burial-ground which, from being constructed on arches, would be were filled with dead bodies, including this very the means of allowing trains to be constantly flying corner, upon which, at that time, the sexton's past the very windows of the church, and at the house stood.
same time to be rumbling over the tombs of the In 1864, not content with the powers they had hallowed dead. The only reason for taking this obtained in 1862 and 1863, the railway company corner was because it was supposed by the engineer asked for fresh powers-namely, to take the old of the railway company “not to have been used church and the whole of the graveyard attached for interment, there being no tombstone or any thereto as being part of the land required, in order superficial indication of the fact.” This, it was to effect a junction between the main line and the maintained, would appear as if the railway company Metropolitan Railway at the King's Cross Station ; had not made those minute inquiries into the but this modest request was refused, and no further matter which they should have done, when they power was conceded to the company than to cross urged such a reason as an excuse for their acts; the entire breadth of the St. Pancras burial-ground