St James Garlickhythe monuments
St James Garlickhythe.
The church of St James Garlick Hill, or St James Garlickhythe, is just next to Upper Thames Street.
According to Stow, the London historian writing in 1600 or thereabouts, the distinctive name was because at one time garlic
was usually sold on the river bank near the church. He of course saw the pre-Fire church, which was full of monuments of
sheriffs and Mayors going back to the 14th Century. The earliest monument was of Robert Gabetre ?
Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyle, d. 1310, and Stow gives a full description of the effigy of a certain Richard Lions,
beheaded by Wat Tyler in 1381:
‘His picture on his grave stone verie faire and large, is with his haire rounded by his eares,
and curled, a little beard forked, a gowne girt to him downe to his feete, of branched Damaske wrought with the likenes
of flowers, a large purse on his right side, hanging in a belt from his left shoulder, a plaine whoode about his necke,
covering his shoulders, and hanging backe behind him.’
The church and its monuments were swept away by the Great Fire, and Christopher Wren built the new church from 1676,
opening it in 1682, before it was entirely complete. It suffered war damage, and was restored in the 1950s-60s by
Lockhart Smith and Alexander Gale.
The church as we see it today is not large – Wren followed the original medieval plan – being 75 ft in length.
The tower, just short of 100ft tall, higher if viewed from Upper Thames Street, is rather plain up to the top,
where it becomes much more decorative, narrowing through three stages, the first with pairs of Ionic pillars at each corner,
and a variety of pinnacles. Lower down projects a clock, with a small figure of St James upon it, of modern manufacture.
Seagrave Chamberlain, d.1675, Peter Jones, d.1694, and detail, and James Jurin, d.1750
The interior, with much dark wood, has a certain atmosphere, and of interest to these pages, several monuments,
17th through to early 19th century, plus a couple of later things. We note them in date order:
- Seagrave Chamberlain, d.1675, thus just before the current church was built,
eldest son of the Honourable Colonel Edward Chamberlain of Northamptonshire and sometime resident at Barbados.
A slate-coloured panel with curvy sides decorated with flowers and acanthus scrolls.
Below, a winged cherub’s head with garlands; above, a small shield in an oversize acanthus surround,
within a broken pediment.
- Peter Jones, d.1694, with Latin inscription. A splendid thing, darkened stone, curved panel with triform top,
pilasters, open pediment above, with two curtains being drawn aside by flying cherubs. Two little pots above, and central,
shield at arms with knights head, and acanthus leaves around to give a silhouette. The apron is deep, with a cartouche
surrounded by two fronds which presumably once was painted with arms, and a sort of a boss below in foliage,
on a tall bracket. Unusual, subtle and interesting.
- James Jurin, d.1750, wife Mary, d.1784, son James, d.1782, daughter
Ann, d.1786, and noting four surviving daughters, and the date of the monument, 1787.
The panel, which has a shaped base acting as an apron, with a projecting leafy bracket,
has two high relief ornaments of flowers, and an upper shelf on which rests a high relief classical pot,
again with leaves, draped asymmetrically, with curved side pieces to the base incorporating a similar design of flowers
to that on the panel. A shield on the front of the base is lost. A distinctive and well-cut piece.
- Revd William Russell, d.1787, plain rectangular plaque.
- Mary Day, d.1788, and son R.H. Day, d.1820, and fourteen other offspring who died in infancy.
An oval plaque with a disfigured small shield below.
James Wardell monument, end 18th C.
- James Wardell, d.1795, and wife Ann, d.1806. Cartouche, shaped rather like a plump back of
a violin, with swirly scrolly foliage all the way round forming a border, a shield above with fronds either side and
a small bird on top, and underneath a cherubic head with two symmetrical wings, detached from the main monument;
possibly the whole was on some backing originally. All in discoloured marble.
- Thomas White of Lambeth, d.1805, and other Whites through to 1832, the last being Charles White Williams
of Duckworth Plantation in the Island of Jamaica. The white marble tablet has a frame with rounded fluted pilasters to
the sides, and on the grey backing, a device of crossed quill pens tied with ribbons on the apron, and a broad, fluted pot
in high relief above. Signed by Simpson, London Bridge (picture below).
- William Soppitt, d.1821, and children, and wife Mary, d.1833.
As a casket end, with tiny tree above covered in a fringed drape which hangs down gracefully on each side of the casket.
- Richard Reily, d.1821, clerk of the united parishes, plain, with shelf and rectangular backing.
- George Archer Blake, d.1830, of Purneah, Bengal. As a tomb-end with a curvy pediment bearing scrolls,
stylised flowers, leaves and a central sheaf of corn. Signed INo Soward, London, which is to say, John Soward.
White monument by Simpson of London Bridge, and Conway monument by Croggon of Lambeth.
- Thomas Conway, d.1833, wife Elizabeth, d.1803, second wife Ann, d.1816,
and daughter Anna Maria, d.1836. Plain tablet with upper shelf and grey backing rising to suggest
a pediment, with a small wreath. Signed by Croggon, Lambeth.
- John Nesham, d.1835, and wife Sarah, d.1799, of Spencer Place, Kennington,
and 15 of their children, all listed, mostly as infants, and one survivor added, and a grandson.
- Robert Henry Slaney, d.1833, of Garlick Hill and Pentonville, as a tomb-end without backing,
including an upper shlf, with below it a nice repeating design of waves and flowers.
- Mrs Faulconbridge, d.1816, and daughter Maria, d.1848,
indicated as being erected after the latter’s death, as a shield hanging on the backing from a knotted ribbon,
one side of which has fallen away.
- Richard Shepherd, d.1863, wife Jane, d.1829, and several relatives,
as a tomb-end with upper shelf, eared pediment with scrolls and flowers, and nice little brackets,
on a rectangular slate backing. Signed by Druitt, Mile End, one of a dynasty of stone masons by that name.
- George Leonard Gibbs, d. 1892, rector, a metal panel with minor decoration on a backing.
Sir Frank Green, Lord Mayor, d.1902.
- Sir Frank Green Bt, d.1902, churchwarden, Sheriff of the City of London, and Lord Mayor 1900-01.
Panel on reddish brecciated marble, with baroque surround of scrolls, hanging fruits, winged cherubic head below,
broken pediment above with shield and knight’s head, in various colours. If it were not for the material of the central panel,
we could have placed this at a much earlier date.
- Finally, a modern piece - a bust of Cranmer, dating from 1989, on a little wooden base,
wearing a distinctive three-cornered hat.
Outside, the churchyard has been pared away almost entirely, but in the little remaining space, stands a modern group of
The Barge Master and Swan Marker, of the Vintners’ Company, rather sketchy in the drapes,
but with a carefully delineated face. If you like swan sculpture, see this page.
The Barge Master and Swan Marker statue, modern.
With thanks to the church authorities for kind permission to include pictures of some of the monuments; their website
is at this address.
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