The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 25 St Paul's Cathedral

The Crypt of St Paul's Cathedral

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The CRYPT corresponds in size with the upper church. The mosaic pavement was laid by convicts from Woking prison. Here are the graves of many of those whose monuments we have already seen, as well as many additional monuments and graves. Among those who were buried in Old St. Paul's may be mentioned Sebba (died 677), King of the East Saxons, Ethelred (died 1017), King of the Angles, John of Gaunt (died 1399), Dean Colet (died 1519), William Lily (died 1522), Thomas Linacre (died 1524), Sir Nicholas Bacon (died 1579), Sir Philip Sidney (died 1586), Sir Francis Walsingham (died 1590), Sir Christopher Hatton (died 1591), and Sir Anthony Van Dyck (died 1641). We first reach the crypt below the south choir-aisle. At the foot of the staircase (right) is a bust of Sir John Macdonald (1815-91), premier of Canada. In the second bay, on the right, monument to Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-73). Farther on, in the aisle, is buried Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912). Beside the window in the next bay is the tombstone of Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), above which is the original tablet with its famous epitaph. This whole bay, from the window to the nave, is known as 'Painters' Corner,' for here rest Lord Leighton, Benjamin West (1738-1820), Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Landseer (1802-73), Sir John Millais (1829-96), Turner, Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Opie (1761-1807), and Holman Hunt (1827-1910), while on the walls are memorials to Randolph Caldecott (1846-86), Frank Holl (1845-88), W. Q. Orchardson (1832-1910), and Edwin A. Abbey (1852-1911). J. S. Sargent (1856-1925), though buried elsewhere, is commemorated by a figure of the Redemption, originally designed by himself for Boston Public Library. The chapel at the east end of the crypt, still called St. Faith's, contains a few mutilated monuments from Old St. Paul's and the graves of Bishop Creighton, Dean Milman, Canon Liddon, and Sir Arthur Sullivan. The Stationers' Company holds a service annually in this chapel on Ash Wednesday afternoon. We now pass through the gates to the west portion of the crypt, and find ourselves in front of the colossal sarcophagus of Cornish porphyry enclosing the remains of the Duke of Wellington. On the left, farther on, is a memorial to Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). In the space directly below the centre of the dome Lord Nelson rests in a coffin made from the mainmast of the French ship 'L'Orient,' enclosed in a sarcophagus of black and white marble originally designed by Benedetto da Rovezzano for Cardinal Wolsey. In the recesses to the right and left lie Nelson's companions-in-arms, Lord Northesk (1758-1831) and Lord Collingwood. In the recess to the right of Lord Northesk, Lord Wolseley (1833-1913), Lord Roberts (1832-1914), and Sir Evelyn Wood (1838-1919); in that to the right of Collingwood, Lord Napier of Magdala (1810-90). Farther west, on the left, are memorials to George Cruikshank (1792-1878), the caricaturist, W. E. Henley (1849-1903; Bust by Rodin), the poet and critic, W. B. Dalley (1831-88), the Australian statesman, Charles Reade and Sir Walter Besant, the novelists, and R. H. Barham. Opposite, Sir Henry Bartle Frere (1815-84), Sir George Grey, (1812-98), the colonial governor, and R. J. Seddon (1845-1906), Prime Minister of New Zealand. A bust of George Washington (1732-99) was placed in this crypt in 1921. At the extreme west end of the crypt is the Funeral Car of the Duke of Wellington, made from cannon captured by him and inscribed with the names of his victories.