Tag Archives: William Laud

Fall from grace (Archbishop William Laud, 1640)

Laud - Copy

On this day in 1640, Archbishop William Laud was arrested, and wrote in his diary:

“I was accused by the House of Commons for high treason, without any particular charge laid against me … .  Soon after, the charge was brought into the Upper House [of Lords] … .  I was presently committed to the Gentleman Usher, but was permitted to go in his company to my house in Lambeth for …  such papers as pertained to my defence … .  I stayed in Lambeth till the evening to avoid the gazing of the people … .  As I went to my barge, hundreds of my poor neighbours stood there and prayed for my safety and return to my house, for which I bless God and them”.

Laud was later imprisoned in the Tower of London, early in 1641.

Laud's trial in the House of Lords

After the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, he was tried  for and convicted of high treason in the House of Lords, in 1643-4, and eventually executed on Tower Hill, in 1645.   Among the charges levelled  against him were:  “That, by false erroneous doctrines, and other sinister ways and means, he went about to subvert religion, established in this kingdom, and to set up popery and superstition in the church … .  […] That to suppress preaching, he hath suspended divers good and honest ministers, and hath used unlawful means, by letters, and otherwise, to set all bishops to suppress them.  […] That, to save and preserve himself from being questioned and sentenced from these and other his traiterous designs, from the first year of his now Majesty’s reign, until now, he hath laboured to subvert the rights of parliamentary proceedings, and to incense his Majesty against parliaments … .”

Laud had previously been made Bishop of London in 1628, and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, and become known for his “High Church” views, and his fierce opposition to and persecution of Puritans.

The execution of Archbishop William Laud (1645)

Portrait of Laud, church of St Katharine Cree

On this day in 1645, during the Civil War, Archbishop William Laud was executed on Tower Hill for high treason.  After his execution, his headless body was temporarily buried in the church of All Hallows by the Tower before being moved to its final resting place in the chapel of St John’s College, Oxford.

Laud had previously been made Bishop of London in 1628, and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, and become known for his “High Church” views, and his fierce opposition to and persecution of Puritans.  While Bishop of London, he had consecrated the newly-rebuilt church of St Katharine Cree in 1631.  He had also commissioned Inigo Jones to undertake restoration works on St Paul’s Cathedral.

Site of Laud's execution, Tower Hill

 

 

St Katharine Cree

Another in the  series on City of London buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1666, and that still survive to this day …

st-katharine-cree

The church of St Katharine Cree was originally built in the grounds of Holy Trinity Priory in  around 1280-1303, and rebuilt between  1500-4, in the Late Gothic style, and again between 1628-31, this time in the Renaissance  style.  It was undamaged by the Great Fire, although later requiring restoration  in 1878-79, and again, after being damaged in the Blitz, between 1956-62.

avenon-gate

The tower dates to 1500-4, the porch to 1628-31, and the gateway to the churchyard, on Mitre Street, by William Avenon, to 1631.

interior

The interior contains some Late Gothic elements, such as the east window, in the form of an elaborately stylised Katharine Wheel, and the intricately ribbed ceiling; and some Renaissance ones, such as the Corinthian columns in the nave.

throgmorton-memorial

It also contains monuments to Sir Nicholas Throkmorton (d. 1570) and Sir John Gayer (d. 1649), a marble font of around 1631, and a Father Smith  organ of 1686, once played by Handel and Purcell (as well as  some  memorial plaques and a reredos salvaged from St James Duke’s Place).

gayer-memorial

The church is the home of the “Lion Sermons”, given each year on or around  October 16th in remembrance of the aforementioned Merchant Adventurer of the Levant Company and former Mayor Sir John Gayer being spared by a lion in Syria on that day in 1643.

king-charles-saint-and-martyr

It has associations from that same Civil War period with the Royalist cause, and even contains a wooden statue of Charles I, depicted as a martyr and saint.

laud-portrait

Archbishop William Laud, who reconsecrated the church in 1631, was executed in 1645 for his support of  Charles, his High Church views, and his persecution of Puritans.

 

All Hallows Barking

The first in a series on City of London buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1666, and that still survive to this day …

all-hallows-barking-6

The church of All Hallows Barking, also known as All Hallows-by-the-Tower, was originally   built in the Saxon period, and considerably added to in the later Medieval and post-Medieval.  It was undamaged in the Great  Fire, thanks to the action of Admiral William Penn (*), who ordered  his men to blow up some  surrounding buildings to create a  firebreak; although it was nonetheless partially rebuilt in the late nineteenth century.

melted-lead-copy

It was then gutted in the Blitz, when “the tower of the church acted like a chimney, drawing the flames upwards and intensifying them” and “wood blazed, stones calcinated, lead poured down walls and the bells melted”, and rebuilt again by Lord Mottistone in a “happy blend” of Ancient and Neo-Perpendicular styles, and rededicated in 1957.

A Saxon arch of around 675 survives in the nave; together with  two Saxon crosses, of 900 and 1000, in the crypt.  The cross of 900 bears a Saxon Runic inscription.  The one of 1000 features on one of its faces a depiction of Christ trampling beasts, a common motif in Dark Age iconography.

Among the  many surviving Medieval – to Post-Medieval – features are an  altar table of stone from the thirteenth-century Crusaders’ castle at At(h)lit below Mount Carmel in the Holy Land; numerous monuments, including brasses to William Tong (d. 1389) and John Bacon (d. 1437), and a canopied tomb to John Croke (d. 1477); a fine Flemish painted panelled altar-piece, known as the Tate Panel, dating to at least the fifteenth century; numerous sculptures, including a carved wooden one of St James of Compostela, dating to the fifteenth century, and a carved ivory one of Christ salvaged from the flagship of the Spanish Armada in 1588; and the seventeenth-century tower, from which Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire.

font-cover-by-grinling-gibbons

Also of note are the pulpit, originally from St Swithin London Stone, dating to 1678; and the exquisitely intricately carved lime-wood font-cover by Grinling Gibbons, dating  to 1682.

On a macabre note, the headless bodies of Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More, beheaded on nearby Tower Hill in 1535, and that of Archbishop William Laud, beheaded  in 1645, were once temporarily buried here before being moved to their  final resting places (Fisher’s and More’s in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London).

(*)  Admiral William Penn’s son, also named William, was baptised here in 1644.  Famously, he went on to found Pennsylvania in 1681.