Reformation and  Iconoclasm in Edward VI’s  London (The Chronicle of the Grey Friars)

Another in the occasional series on contemporary accounts of events in the history of London, this one taken from “The Chronicle of the Grey Friars”  …

“Item the 5th day …  in September [1547] began the king’s visitation at Paul’s and all the images pulled down: and the 9th day of the same month the said visitation was at St. Bride’s, and after that in divers other parish churches; and so all images pulled down through all England at that time, and all churches new white-lined with the commandments written on the walls.  And at that time was the bishop of London put into the Fleet [Prison], and was there more than eight days … .

Item at this same time was pulled up all the tomes, …  altars, …  and walls of the quire … in the church that was at some time the Gray friars and sold, and the quire made smaller … .

Item … at Easter following [1548] … was much preaching against the mass.   … Item after Easter began the service in English at Paul’s … and also in divers … parish churches.  Item also at Whitsuntide began the sermons at St. Mary spital.  Item also this year was Barking chapel at the Tower hill pulled down, and Saint Martin’s [le Grand] … , Saint Nicholas in the chambulles [Shambles], and Saint [Audouen, Ewen or] Ewyns, and within the Gatte of Newgate these were put with the church that was at some time the Gray Friars: and also [St Mary] Strand church was pulled down to make the protector duke of Somerset’s place larger.

Item this year was all the Chantries pulled down …

Item this same time was put down all the going abroad of processions, and the sensyng of Paul’s at Whitsuntide, and the Skinners’ procession on Corpus Christi day, with all others, and had none other but the English procession in their churches … ”.

Below are two surviving examples of the type of Medieval wall paintings that were destroyed or painted over in so many churches during the Reformation.

Surviving Medieval wall painting, St Dunstan, Cranford

Surviving Medieval wall painting, St Dunstan, Cranford

Surviving Medieval wall painting, St Martin, Ruislip

Surviving Medieval wall painting, St Martin, Ruislip

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