The Garden Guide

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

Gresham College and Aldermanbury

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In Gresham St., at the corner of Basinghall St., east of Guildhall Yard, stands Gresham College , founded by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1579 for the delivery of lectures in Latin and English on 'divynitye, astronomy, musicke, geometry, law, physicke, and rethoricke,' by seven professors. From 1597 to 1768 (except for a short interval after the Great Fire) the lectures were delivered in Gresham's house in Bishopsgate St. Afterwards a room in the Royal Exchange was used for the lectures till 1843, when a special building was erected in Gresham St. This was replaced by the present structure (by D. Watney and south Perks) in 1913. Since 1870 all the lectures have been given in English. Each professor delivers four lectures at 6 p.m. in each of the three terms of the year, Hilary, Easter, and Michaelmas (open to the public). To the east, Gresham St. is continued by Lothbury to the Bank of England; in the other direction (West) it intersects Aldermanbury and goes on to St. Martin's le Grand. In Aldermanbury, which runs to the north (right), at the corner of Love Lane, is the church of ST. MARY ALDERMANBURY, destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren in 1667-77. The modernized INTERIOR (open 11-2.15, except Saturday) now contains the oaken seats and the pulpit, reredos, and altar-rails from St. Alphage's. A tablet to the right of the entrance, commemorating Judge Jeffreys (died 1689), who is buried beneath the altar, bears the words 'The Lord seeth not as man seeth.' The earlier church was the burial-place of Henry Condell and John Hemminge, Shakespeare's fellow-actors and editors of the first folio edition of his plays (1623; memorial in the churchyard erected in 1896). The parish registers record the marriage of Milton to his second wife, Katherine Woodcocke, in 1656. Edmund Calamy the Elder, chief author of 'Smectymnuus,' was perpetual curate here from 1639 to 1662, when he was ejected by the Act of Uniformity. His grandson, Edmund Calamy the Younger, the famous Nonconformist divine, was buried here in 1732. At the other end of Love Lane is St. Alban's Church. A little farther on in Aldermanbury, on the left, diverges Addle St., containing Brewers' Hall (open daily 11-3, Saturday 11-1), with a panelled court room, a dining hall with musicians' gallery, and an old kitchen. The singular relief of a bear next door (No. 17+) dates from 1670. Aldermanbury next reaches LONDON WALL, a street so named as following more or less closely the course of the old Roman Wall, a long section of which is visible in the disused churchyard of St. Alphage (a little to the west, on the north side of the street). The original church was pulled down in the 16th century, and the neighbouring church of the Elsing Spital, a priory founded in the 14th century 'for the sustentation of a hundred blind men,' became the parish church of St. Alphage. In a handsome modern Gothic fagade (1914), on the south side of the street, is the entrance to the original north porch of the priory church, the rest of which (rebuilt in 1777) was demolished in 1923 (open 11-2.15). Here is preserved a handsome monument to Sir Rowland Hayward, first Protestant Lord Mayor of London (1570-1590), with his two wives, each accompanied by her eight children. The vestry is now a rest room for women in the City.