The history and description of the famous cathedral of St. Paul's, London: [pt.1][Page]
Yours, JACKY. HEATHERLY.Feb. 28. 1741.
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SUBSCRIBERS Names omitted.
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IT will be proper firſt to inform my young [Page 40] Readers, that upon the ſame ſpot of ground on which St. Paul's now ſtands, there was formerly a fine old church, built by Ethelbert king of Kent in the year of our Lord ſix hundred and ten, and dedicated to the ſame Apoſtle. This church ſuffered many times by lightning, fire, and other accidents; which was as often repaired: and ſuch parts of it [Page 41] as fell to decay thro' age, were rebuilt; till at laſt it was deſtroy's in the great fire of London in 1666, and one thouſand and fifty-ſix years from its firſt building.
THE old church of St. Paul's having been deſtroy'd, [Page 42] as mention'd in the firſt chapter, and the ruins and rubbiſh of it cleared in about eight or nine years after; the firſt foundation ſtone of this preſent church was laid by Mr. Strong, a maſon, and the ſecond by Mr. Long. land, on the twenty firſt of June, 1675. at the northeaſt corner, facing Cheapſide: From which time it was not completely finiſh'd [Page 43] till the year 1724. being about forty-nine years in building. It was begun and finiſh'd by the ſame architect, Sir Chriſtopher Wren, and by the ſame maſon, Mr. Strong abovementioned: The charge of which is ſaid to amount to one million of money, or upwards. The whole building is encompaſſed with ſtrong iron paliſades, all curiouſly turn'd, [Page 44] about five and twenty hundred in number; which coſt fifteen thouſand pounds.
This magniſicent ſtructure, which ſtands upon the higheſt ground in the city, near to the weſt gate, called Ludgate, is the firſt Cathedral in England built according to the rules of architecture. Its walls are of fine Portland ſtone, ruſtic work. Two ranges [Page 45] of pilaſters adorn the outſide, one above the other; the lower conſiſts of about an hundred and twenty, with their entablatues of the Corinthian order, and the upper of as many of the Compoſite, or Roman order: beſides twenty columns at the weſt and four at the eaſt end, and thoſe of the portico's, &c.
The ſpaces between the arches of the windows and [Page 46] the architrave of the lower order, are filled with great variety of curious enrichments, ſuch as cherubims, feſtoons of flowers, &c. and at the eaſt end is the cipher of W. R. within a garter, on which are the words HONI SOIT QUI MALY PENSE; in Engliſh, Evil be to him that evil thinks: and this within a fine compartment of palm-branches, and placed under an [Page 47] imperial crown, &c. all finely cut in ſtone.
All the parts of this grand church, both within and without, are built with ſuch proportion and art, that the eye is charmed with the exact order of its pillars, which ſupport the portico's dome, &c. the beauty of their capitals; the rich corniſh wherewith they are embelliſhed; the number of ſpacious [Page 48] windows, &c. In ſhort, the whole fabrick is full of beauty and harmony; and in bigneſs, ſtrengh of building, figure, and other enrichments in wood, ſtone, iron, &c. equal, if not ſuperior, to any church in Europe.
The height of the croſs from the ball, is ten feet; the diameter of the ball is ſix feet; its circumference eighteen feet; and it will contain ninety buſhels; and I have been told, that [Page 53] ſince it has been up, ſixteen men have been drinking in it at one time; I ſuppoſe, to the good health of all their friends round about St. Paul's.
1.1.4. CHAP. IV. Of the ſtrange conceptions four Indian Kings had of this great building; and how they imagin'd it at firſt to be one grent rock that grew in that place.[Page 55]
SA Ga Yean Qua Raſh Tow, one of the four Indian Kings who were in this country about thirty-two years ago, amongſt [Page 56] other curious remarks which he made whilſt he was in England, left behind him the following concerning St. Paul's church.
But, ſays he, for my own part, and from the beſt information that I can [Page 58] get of this matter, I am apt to think that this vaſt temple was faſhioned into the ſhape it now bears by ſeveral tools and inſtruments, of which they have a wonderful variety in this country.
I imagine it was at firſt only an huge miſ-ſhapen rock that grew upon the top of the hill; which the natives of the country, after having cut it into a [Page 59] kind of regular figure, bored and hollowed with incredible pains and induſtry; till they had wrought in it all thoſe beautiful vaults and caverns into which it is divided at this day.
As ſoon as this rock was thus curiouſly ſcooped to their liking, then a prodigious number of hands muſt have been employ'd in chipping the outſide of [Page 60] it, and ſmoothing the ſurface; which is in ſeveral places hewn out into pillars, that ſtand like the trunks of ſo many trees, bound about the top with garlands of leaves.
It is probable, ſays this Indian monarch, that when this great work was begun, which muſt have been many hundred years ago, there was ſome religion among this people; [Page 61] for they give it the name of a Temple, and have a tradition that it was deſigned for men to pay their devotions in.
And indeed, there are ſeveral reaſons which make us think that the natives of this country had formerly among them ſome ſort of worſhip; for they ſet apart every ſeventh day as ſacred. But upon my going into one [Page 62] of thoſe holy houſes on that day, I could not obſerve any circumſtance of devotion in their behaviour: There was indeed a man in black who, mounted above the reſt, ſeemed to utter ſomething with great vehemence; but as for thoſe underneath him, inſtead of paying their worſhip to the Deity of the place, they were moſt of them bowing and curtefying [Page 63] to one another; and a great number of them fall aſleep.
Whether theſe were the real thoughts of thoſe royal ſtrangers, I will not take upon me to anſwer. But what wonder is it that ſuch ſavage kings, whoſe dwellings are in huts and thickets, ſhould form ſuch wild notions of this prodigious ſtructure, [Page 64] when we ourſelves, who ſee it daily, are filled with aſtoniſhment at the magnitude and grandeur of this glorious building; and how ſuch a work could be performed by mortal hands!
BEfore the weſt front of this grand Cathedral, is a ſpacious yard; in which, upon a lofty pedeſtal, ſtands the effigy of the late queen Anne; with four ſupporters, repreſenting thoſe dominions in her title.
On her right hand is Britannia; who appears with a very lovely and chearful countenance: ſhe has a crown of laurel upon her head; a ſpear in her right hand, and her left [Page 68] reaching to the royal arms in the front of the pedeſtal.
On her left hand is France: ſhe ſeems much dejected, very thoughtful, and in a languiſhing ſtate. Her right hand reſts upon a truncheon, and her left holds a crown, which lies down in her lap. She is clothed with a very rich robe, adorned with flower de lis; and upon her head [Page 69] ſhe has a warrior's cap, or helmet.
The fourth is America, in the habit of her country; her body being almoſt naked: ſhe has upon her head a crown of curious feather, a bow in her left hand, and a quiver of arrows on her back: [Page 70] ſhe has the head of an European under her foot, with an arrow ſticking in it; ſuppoſed to have been juſt ſhot from her bow. There is likewiſe an allegator creeping from beneath her feet; being an animal very common in ſome parts of America, and which lives both on the land and in the water.
The former were all cut out of one ſolid, rough block of marble, which was taken by one of our Engliſh ſhips, during the late war, in its paſſage from Leghorn to France; and was deſigned for the effigy of Lewis the fourteenth, on horſeback.
MY young readers having ſatisfy'd their curioſities in examining the queen's ſtatue, &c. from thence they have a full view of this grand church, whrer they may behold the beauty and majeſty of the whole, and the juſt [Page 74] ſymmetry of all its parts.
[Page 75] See in the large triangular pediment a lively repreſentation of St. Paul's converſion in his journey to Damaſcus, carved in relievo, by the ingenious hand of the late Mr. Bird; the hiſtory of which my young readers will ſee hereaſter.
In the front of the two loſty and beautiful towers, are the four Evangeliſts: In the north, St. Matthew with an angel, and St. Mark with a lion. In the ſouth, St. Luke with an ox, and St. John with an eagle.
In the ſouth tower is the famours large clock, the bell of which weighs four ton and four hundred and four pounds; and its ſound may be heard at five or ſix miles diſtance. The work of this clock is large and curious: it is kept in excellent good order, and generally [Page 78] nerally carries the hour of the day very exectly; a skilful perſon being appointed to look after it for that purpoſe.
The door caſe is white marble: and over the entrance is cut in relievo the hiſtory of St. Paul preaching to the Bereans. It conſiſts of a group of nine ſigures beſides that of St. Paul, with books, &c. Theſe Bereans were a ſort of people ingenous and [Page 80] mild, and who ſpent great part of their time in reading the Scriptures, obſerving whether what Paul taught was agreeable with what the Scriptures ſay of the Meſſias: and many of whom, from his preaching, chearfully embraced the faith. Acts xvii. 11.
Under the arch on the right hand, in a pannel, is St. Paul's impriſonment; and on the left hand in the [Page 81] pannel, his preaching to the Athenians, with ſome other ſcripture ſtories, all neatly carved in ſtone, by the ſame hand as the converſion.
THE aſcent to the north portico is by twelve circular ſteps of black marble: The dome of the portico is ſupported and adorn'd with ſix very ſpacious columns of the Corinthian order. Above the door-caſe is a [Page 83] large urn, with feſtoons, &c. over this is a large pediment, where are the royal arms with the regalia, ſupported by two angels, with each a palmbranch in their hands; under whoſe feet appear the figures of the lion and unicorn; and over the pediment; on the top of this north front, are the effigies of five Apoſtles, carved in ſtone.
YOU aſcend to the ſouth portico by twenty five ſteps, the ground on this ſide of the church being lower than that on the norſh: The portico is ſupported with ſix grand loſty columns, like thoſe of the weſt an north fronts; [Page 85] and is in moſt other reſpects like the latter.
In the pediment over it is the figure of a phoenix, with her wings expanded, ariſing out of the flames; which emblem ſignifies, a new church ariſing out of the old one; under which is the word RESURGAM; that is, I ſhall riſe again.
Theſe five figures, with thoſe on the north and weſt fronts, repreſent the four Evangeliſts, and the reſt of the Apoſtles. They bear in their hands the ſeveral inſtruments whereby they ſuffer'd death; or ſuch remarkable enſigns as [Page 88] allude to ſome important incident of their lives.
HAving examin'd what is moſt curious on the outſide of St. Paul's, I ſhal next endeavour to aſcend the cupola; and in my journey to the top of it, take notice of what I meet with moſt worthy of [Page 90] my young readers attention.
The whole number of ſteps to the upper gallery [Page 91] is five hundred and thirty four; of which the firſt two hundred and ſixty are ſo exceeding eaſy, that a child might go up them; they being but about four or five inches deep.
[Page 92] In this place we have a glimmering ſight of ſuch prodigious works in iron, ſtone, and timber, which hold together the dome, cupola, &c. that it is impoſſible to convey an idea of it to my readers: And though theſe amaſing works are very curious to ſee, yet my young maſters and miſſes muſt not by any means venture themſelves here without a guide.
[Page 93] The iron gallery on the top of the cupola, is the higheſt any one is ſuffer'd to go; above that are the lantern, ball and croſs; to the top of which, from the gallery juſt mention'd, is ſixty four feet; and the paſſage thither by ladders, very difficult and dangerous to aſcend.
From this gallery, in fine clear weather, we may agreeably obſerve the vaſt [Page 94] extent of this great city and ſuburbs; the great number of churches, ſteeples, publick buildings and houſes that preſent themſelves, which way ſoever we turn our eyes; as alſo the ſhips in the river, that look like a huge foreſt, and the veſſels, boats, &c. ſpread allover the Thames. Here likewiſe we have a delightful proſpect of the country, for many miles round about.
This gallery is a very great curioſity: 'Tis a [Page 96] large circle, which runs round the bottom of the inſide of the dome, of about an hundred and forty three feet in diameter, or croſs the wideſt part: 'tis rail'd in with iron of very fine workmanſhip, gilt with gold. The walls all around are painted and gilded with great beauty: but the greateſt curioſity of all is the whiſpering-place; where, leaning your [Page 97] head againſt the wall, you may eaſily hear all that is ſaid, though it be ever ſo low, and at the moſt diſtant place from you in the gallery: which affords great matter of ſurprize and innocent diverſion to all young perſons who come to amuſe themſelves with this curioſity.
ST. PAUL, before his converſion, having been principally concern'd in the death of St. Stephen, and his bloody mind not ſatisfied with this cruelty, threatens nothing leſs than priſons and death to the Chriſtians wherever [Page 102] he found them. And to qualify himſelf the better for the execution of this bloody purpoſe, he goes to the high prieſt to enlarge his commiſſion: and having obtain'd power to ſeiſe all Chriſtians, and ſend them bound to Jeruſalem to be try'd, he immediately ſets out for Damaſcus to put it in practice: but whilſt he was on the road, entertaining himſelf with [Page 103] the bloody proſpect, God, in mercy to him, and thoſe he went to perſecute, takes him off from his wicked deſign: a bright ſhining cloud incompaſſed him, which ſtruck him with great terror, as at the preſence of God, and threw him proſtrate on the ground, where as he lay he heard a voice out of it, ſaying unto him. Saul, Saul, why perſecuteſt thou [Page 104] me? This increas'd his amazement: and being deſirous to know the meaning of this viſion, he asks, Who art thou, Lord! The voice reply'd, I am JESUS, whom thou preſecuteſt: It is in vain for thee to reſiſt the decrees of providence, therefore be no longer diſobedient, but hearken to the commands that ſhall be given thee. At this Saul, full [Page 105] of fear and trembling, cried out, 'Lord, inſtruct me what thou wouldſt have me to do:' The voice returned, 'Go to Damaſcus, and there thou ſhalt know my will.
Thoſe who attended Paul on this journey, were ſtruck dumb with fear and amazement, wondring that, they ſhould hear a voice, but [...]e no man ſpeakings therefore taking up Saul, [Page 106] they led him to the city; and by this miraculous viſion he was converted to the Chriſtian ſaith.
When they ſaw it, they concluded this miracle could not be done but by the immediate preſence of the Deity; and therefore running about in great confuſion, they cried out, [Page 114] that the gods had put on human ſhape, and were come down among them.
But as ſoon as this miracle came to the ear of the prieſt of Jupiter, he came to Paul and Barnabas, [Page 115] bringing oxen with garlands of flowers; being ſuch victims as they offered to the gods they worſhiped, intending to offer ſacrifice to the Apoſtles: but they abhorring ſuch idolatry, rent their garments; endeavouring by arguments drawn from ſome of the plaineſt inſtances of nature, ſuch as day, night, ſummer, winter, &c to convince them, [Page 116] that worſhip was due only to that God who was the author of all thoſe bleſſings; yet this diſcourſe, ſo preſſingly urg'd by the Apoſtles, could ſcarce reſtrain thoſe poor idolaters from ſacrificing to them.
[Page 123]THE other paintings in the cupolo,And num'rous beauties in the church blow,Muſt all into my SECOND VOLUME go.For tho' my Books folk do Gigantick call,ONE will not hold the great church of St Paul.Kind reader, in my next you'll ſee a wonder,The Monument ſo tall,Shall come cloſe to S. Paul,Tho' now ſo far aſunder.
[Page 124] THE SECOND Volume of this Hiſtory, with an Account of the Monument added to it, will be ready to deliver to the Subſcribers punctually on Saturday the 20th of June 1741. and all thoſe who intend to have their names inſerted, and deſired to ſend them ſpeedily to T. Boreman in Guildhall, London.
The reader is deſired to excuſe the delay in publiſhing [Page 125] this Volume, as [...] was occaſion'd by the author's illneſs; who takes this opportunity to inform his young readers, that the Hiſtory of Weſtminſter Abbey is now in hand, and will he got ready for the preſs with al convenient ſpeed: Subſcribers are deſired to bring or ſend their names as above, and to pay down Six-pence a Set in part at ſubſcribing, it being a large undertaking.
- THE Hiſtory of the two famous Giants and other Curioſities in Guildhall London.
- [Page] 2. The ſecond Cigane [...] Volume, which compleats the Hiſtory of Guildhall: To which is added, a particular Account of the whole Proceſſion of my Lord Mayor's Shew.
- 3. Curioſities in the Tower of London. The Second Edition.
- 4. The Second Volume of the Curioſities in the Tower, which compleats tha [...] Hiſtory.