The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 26 From St Paul's Cathedral to the Bank of England

Cheapside 2

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Opposite Foster Lane, to the right (south), is Old Change, leading to Cannon St. and passing (at the corner of Watling St.) the church of St. Augustine, rebuilt by Wren in 1683 (steeple completed in 1695; restored 1850). Richard H. Barham, author of the 'Ingoldsby Legends,' was incumbent of this church from 1842 till his death in 1845. To the left (No. 141 Cheapside), just beyond Foster Lane, is Saddlers' Hall, the hall of which was rebuilt by Jesse Gibson in 1820, after a fire. Other portions of the building date from 1863-64. The interior (introduction necessary) contains portraits by Romney and Closterman, old plate, and an embroidered crimson velvet pall of the early 16th century. The Saddlers' Guild is supposed to be the oldest of the livery companies, its origin going back (it is said) to Anglo-Saxon times. On the same side, at the corner of Wood St., grows the plane-tree often arbitrarily connected with Wordsworth's poem of 'Poor Susan'; it is legally protected from destruction by special clauses in the leases of adjoining buildings. Wood St. leads north to London Wall, crossing Gresham St. at Haberdashers' Hall. Farther on in Wood St. to the right, is the church of St. Alban (open 12-3, except Saturday), rebuilt by Wren in 1685, and said to have originated in a chapel of King Offa (died 796). Silver St. diverges to the left from Wood St., a few yards farther on, and here, at the corner of Monkwell St., Shakespeare was lodging in 1604 with Christopher Montjoy, a Huguenot refugee and 'tiremaker,' whom he had known 'for the space of tenne yeres or thereaboutes.' No. 37 Cheapside (to the right, at the corner of Friday St.) is said to have survived the Great Fire. Between Friday St. and Bread St. stood the MERMAID TAVERN, famous for the club founded by Ben Jonson in 1603 and frequented by Shakespeare, Raleigh, Donne, Beaumont, and Fletcher. In Bread Street, leading to the right, John Milton was born in 1608, a fact commemorated by a memorial at the south-east corner of Watling St., on the site of the vanished church of All Hallows, in which he was baptized. To the left, almost opposite Bread St., is Milk Street, where Sir Thomas More was born in 1480.