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The larger portion of the original street is included in the present Regent Street What is now called Swallow Street was formerly Little Swallow Street. Swallow Street proper commenced where Glasshouse Street (the west portion of which is now called Vigo Street) crossed it, and ended in Oxford Street, exactly opposite Princes Street. The houses on the west side of Regent Street are built on its roadway. A sufficient notion of its former importance will be supplied by mentioning that in the great trial in 1792 between Charles Fox and Horne Tooke, no fewer than five of the twelve jurymen were residents of Swallow Street. Of the remaining seven, three were furnished by Piccadilly.
When Richard Baxter was excluded, 1675, from the meeting-house
had built in Oxenden Street he hired anoth in Swallow Street, but was prevented from using it, a guard being placed there for many Sundays to hinder him from entering it. In 1690 the French congregation which had previously worshipped in the French Ambassador's chapel in Monmouth House, Soho Square, removed to a building in Swallow Street. The registers of this church are preserved at Somerset House and are full of interesting entries. In 1770 the chapel was sold to Dr. James Anderson, and was for many years subsequently used as a chapel of the Established Kirk of Scotland. Dr. Chalmers frequently preached from its pulpit. It is now the Theistic Church, founded by the Rev. C. Voysey. John K. Sherwin, the eminent engraver, died in extreme poverty, 1790, at the alehouse called the Hog in the Pound at the corner of Swallow Street and the Oxford Road, where he was hiding from his creditors. Remains of the northern end of Swallow Street exist in Swallow Place and Swallow Passage, Oxford Circus.
Swan Alley (now GREAT SWAN ALLEY) COLEMAN STREET, City, runs from between Nos. 66 and 67 Coleman Street to Little Bell Alley. Swan Alley was severed into two parts and the central portion swept away in the formation of Moorgate Street, which was carried across it. Most of the houses left are on the east side of Moorgate Street. About the middle of the 17th century Swan Alley acquired notoriety from occurrences connected with a Puritan meeting-house in it.
Upon the first day of the second month, commonly called April, 1658, many of the Lord's people being assembled together in Swan Alley, in Coleman Street (a public place where Saints have met many years) : as they were waiting upon the Lord in prayer and other holy duties, on a sudden the Marshal of the City, with several other officers, rushed in with great violence upon them. ... Old brother Canne was then in the pulpit and had read a place of Scripture, but spoken nothing to it. Now he perceiving that they came in at both doors, with their halberts, pikes, staves, etc., and fearing that there might be some hurt done to the Lord's poor and naked people, desired the brethren and sisters to be all quiet, and to make no stir ; for his part he feared them not, but was assured the Lord would eminently stand by them. While he was thus speaking to the people, exhorting them to patience, one of the officers (breaking through the crowd) came furiously upon him, and with great violence plucked him out of the pulpit, and when he had so done, hurled him over the benches and forms in a very barbarous manner.—A Narrative published by a Friend to the Prisoners, 1658.
This strange scene took place five months before the death of
Oliver Cromwell. John Canne was pastor at Amsterdam, and a leading man among the Baptists; but had apparently ceased to officiate in Swan Alley before January 6, 1661, when Venner and his brother fanatics sallied from this building and put all London in terror. Such was their desperate courage, skill and activity, that it took three days to master them, and yet Pepys records :
January 10, 1661.—Mr. Davis told us the particular examinations of these Fanatiques that are taken : and in short it is this, these Fanatiques, that have routed all the train-bands that they met with, put the King's life-guards to the run, killed about twenty men, broke through the City gates twice; and all this in the day-time, when all the City was in arms ;-are not in all above thirty-one. Whereas we did believe them (because they were seen up and down in every place almost in the City, and had been in Highgate two or three days, and in several other places) to be at
Their word was “The King Jesus, and their heads upon the gates." Few of them would receive any quarter.—Pepys.
Venner, with Hodgkins, another prominent Fifth-Monarchy man, was hanged, drawn and quartered at the end of Swan Alley in Coleman Street, on January 19, 1661; two others, Pritchard and Oxman, at the end of Wood Street, on the same day, and many more” two days later. Entick (1766) says that Oliver Cromwell had resided in a large house which stood at the east end of the alley, and was pulled down about 1750; but this was probably only one of the idle traditions which associate so many of the large old houses about London with the great Protector.
Swan Alley, near the WARDROBE, BLACKFRIARS. The Swan was the cognisance of the Beauchamp family, long distinguished residents in this part of London. The so-called Duke Humphrey's tomb, in old St. Paul's, was really the tomb of Sir John Beauchamp. In the Council Register of the 18th August, 1618, there may be seen
a list of buildings and foundations since 1615.” It is therein said, “That Edward Allen, Esq., dwelling at Dulwich (the well-known player and founder of Dulwich College), had built six tenements of timber upon new foundations, within two years past, in Swan Alley near the Wardrobe.-Chalmers's Apology, vol. i. p. 280.
Swan Stairs, or, The Old Swan, UPPER THAMES STREET, a celebrated landing-place on the Middlesex side of the river Thames, a little "above bridge,” where people used to land and walk to the other side of old London Bridge, rather than run the risk of what was called “shooting the bridge.” [See London Bridge.] In 1441, when the Duchess of Gloucester did penance at Christchurch by Aldgate, she landed at these stairs and walked the rest of the way.
And on the Wednesday next sueing she [Aleanor Cobham) com fro Westm’, be barge unto the Swan in Tempse strete, and there she londyd.—A Chronicle of London from 1089 to 1483, 4to, p. 129.
March 25, 1661.—Come Mr. Salisbury to see me. I took him to White. hall with me by water, but he could not by any means be moved to go through the bridge, and we were fain to go round by the old Swan.—Pepys.
We [Johnson and Boswell] landed at the Old Swan, and walked to Billingsgate, where we took oars (for Greenwich). -Boswell, by Croker, vol. i. p. 469.
I scarcely ever pass over London Bridge without glancing my eye towards those highly-favoured rooms appertaining to Joseph Hardcastle's counting-house at Old Swan Stairs, and feeling a glow of pleasure at the recollection that there the London Missionary Society, the Religious Tract Society and the Hibernian Society formed their plans of Christian benevolence, on which Divine Providence has so signally smiled. This pleasure is greatly heightened when I also recollect that in these favoured rooms was brought forth that gigantic agent of moral and spiritual good, the British and Foreign Bible Society. These rooms in my judgment are second to none but those in which the Disciples met after their Master's ascension, and from whence they went forth to enlighten and to bless a dark and guilty world - Jubileo Memorial of the Religious Tract Society, p. 113.
Swan Tavern, at CHARING Cross. No. 383 of Mr. Akerman's curious collection of “Tradesmen's Tokens, current in London and its vicinity between the years 1648 and 1672 ”—No. 303 of the Beaufoy Catalogue—is a swan crowned, and holding a bunch of grapes in its bill, with the inscription, “Marke Rider at the Swan against the Mewes, 1665. His Halfe Penny.” The Swan was a tavern of repute in the 15th century. In the Stewards' Account-Book of John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, is the entry :
xxj day of Feverer 1466-7. Item my Mastyr payd for his costes at the Swan at Westemenstre.
... iis. ijd. It is the subject of a good anecdote preserved by Aubrey and confirmed by Powell, the actor, in the dedication to his Treacherous Brothers, 4to, 1696. A GRACE BY BEN JONSON, EXTEMPORE, BEFORE KING JAMES.
Our King and Queen, the Lord God blesse,
And God blesse me, and God blesse Raph. The King was mighty inquisitive to know who this Ralph was. Ben told him 'twas the drawer at the Swanne Taverne by Charing Crosse, who drew him good Canarie. For this drollery his Matie gave him an hundred poundes.-Aubrey, vol. iii. p. 415.
Swan Theatre, SOUTHWARK, in the liberty of Paris Garden, built about 1596, and used as an amphitheatre for bull and bear baiting, as well as for the acting of plays by the insertion of a movable stage when required. It was one of the largest London theatres, and a view of the exterior is found in Visscher's View of London (1616). A contemporary view of the interior has been discovered in the University Library at Utrecht, which is of the greatest interest as the only view known to exist of the interior of a Shakespearian theatre. This was first issued in a pamphlet by Dr. Gaedertz in 1888, and a more accurate reproduction of the original is given in the Transactions of the New Shakspere Society (1887-1891, p. 215).
The drawing shows a portion of the round with the movable stage in the centre. There are three tiers of seats called sedilia, separated by two galleries without seats called porticus. The galleries are covered by a roof, but the centre of the building is open to the sky. John De Witt, who wrote a short description to accompany the drawing, says that the building was capable of seating 3000 persons, but this is scarcely probable.
The theatre fell into decay and appears to have been swept away about 1633. In Holland's Leaguer, 1632, we read that the Lady of the Leaguer can almost "shake hands with the playhouse, which like a dying Swanne hangs her head and sings her own dirge.” It stood where Holland Street now is, and not far from the present Blackfriars Road.
Swan with two Necks, LAD LANE, an old inn, tavern, and booking and parcel office, from which coaches and waggons started to the north of England; a corruption of Swan with two Nicks, the mark (cygninota) of the Vintners' Company for their "game of swans on the Thames. (See Vintners' Company; Dyers' Company.] By an old law (or custom, rather) every swan that swam under London Bridge belonged, by right of office, to the Lieutenant of the Tower. Lad Lane is now incorporated with Gresham Street.
The Carriers of Manchester doe lodge at the Two Neck'd Swan in Lad Lane, between Great Wood Street, and Milk Street End.—Taylor's Carrier's Cosmographie, 4to, 1637. There was a house with this sign, in 1632, in Swan Alley, Southwark.1
Swedish Church, PRINCE'S SQUARE, St. George's-in-the-East. The date 1728 is on the front of the church. Emanuel Swedenborg (d. March 20, 1772), founder of the “New Church” or Society of Swedenborgians, lies buried in this church, and alongside Dr. Solander, the companion of Sir Joseph Banks (d. 1782).
Sweeting's Alley, originally SWEETING's RENTS, CORNHILL, at the east end of the Royal Exchange, was so called after Henry Swieten or Sweeting, a Dutch merchant who owned considerable property on this spot at the time of the Great Fire of 1666.2
August 6, 1731. — Died Mr. Charles Sweeting, an eminent, grocer Without Bishopgate, and Deputy of that part of the ward, possessed of a plentiful Estate at the East End of the Royal Exchange. — Universal Spectator, August 14, 1731.
That excellent and by all physicians approved China drink, called by the Chineans Toha, by other nations Tay alias Tee is sold at the Sultaness Head Cophee House in Sweeting's Rents, by the Royal Exchange, London.-Mercurius Politicus, September 30, 1651.
Knight's in Sweeting's Alley; Fairburn's in a court off Ludgate Hill; Howe's in Fleet Street-bright enchanted palaces, which George Cruikshank used to people with grinning fantastical imps and merry harmless sprites, - where are they? Fairburn's shop knows him no more ; not only has Knight disappeared from Sweeting's Alley, but, as we are given to understand, Sweeting's Alley has dis
1 Church wardens' Accounts of St. Saviour's. 2 Addit. MS. in the British Museum, No. 5065, fol. 138.
appeared from the face of the Globe.—Thackeray, Westminster Review, June 1840, art. “George Cruikshank.”
Sweeting's Alley was swept away for the new Royal Exchange. The site is covered by the paved area of Exchange Buildings.
Swithin's (St.) by London Stone, a church in CANNON STREET, in Walbrook Ward, destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt from Sir C. Wren's designs in 1678. The church is chiefly remarkable for the constructive skill and ingenuity of the architect. In 1869 the interior was "restored "-i.e. remodelled in 19th-century Gothic fashion, and in 1879 a new chancel and vestry were added. After the Great Fire the parish of St. Mary Bothaw was united to St. Swithin's, and this church serves for both parishes. The Rev. William Elstob, the Saxon scholar (d. 1715), was rector of St. Swithin's. The last leaf of a mouldering register records (December 1, 1663) the marriage of Dryden, the poet, to the Lady Elizabeth Howard. This interesting entry escaped the anxious researches of Malone. They were married in the old church, by license obtained only the day before. In the Register the poet's name is spelt Draydon, and the lady's Haward. No reason has been disclosed for the selection of this church for the ceremony. In the entry of the license, which is preserved in the Vicar-General's office, it is recorded that “appeared personally John Driden of St. Clement Danes, in the County of Middlesex, Esq., aged about 30 years and a Batchelor, and alleged that he intendeth to marry with Dame Elizabeth Howard of St. Martin's in the Fields, aged about 25 years.” Só neither party belonged to the parish. There is a monument in the church to Michael Godfrey (1658-1695), Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, who was killed by a cannon ball at the Siege of Namur. [See London Stone.]
Swithin's (St.) Lane, LOMBARD STREET and King William STREET to CANNON STREET. On the west side of this lane are Founders' Hall and Salters' Hall; and (standing back) New Court, the counting-house of Messrs. Rothschild, the great money merchants and the Austro-Hungarian Consulate. At the south-west corner of the lane is the church of St. Swithin. One of the bubble companies of 1720, with a proposed capital of two millions, was for a general insurance on houses and merchandise, at the Three Tuns, Swithin's Alley, but this was then a colloquialism for Sweeting's Alley.
Symond's Inn, CHANCERY LANE (east side), a series of private tenements let to students of the law and others, and so called, it is thought, from Thomas Simonds, gentleman, buried in St.-Dunstan's-inthe-West in June 1621. He was apparently the great-uncle of Sir Symonds D'Ewes. The Masters in Chancery had formerly their offices here. The ground rents of this inn are received by the Bishop of Chichester. (See Chichester Rents. Symonds Inn was demolished in 1873-1874, and a stately pile of 110 chambers, with a front of