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ST. BRIDE'S Fleet-street, erected in 1680, by Sir Christopher Wren, on the site of the church destroyed by the great fire in 1666. “ This church,” says Elmes, “is of great strength and beauty: its interior is at once spacious, commodious, and elegant." It is one hundred and eleven feet in length, fifty-seven feet in breadth, and forty-one feet in height; composed of a lofty nave, covered with an arched ceiling; and two aisles, separated below by solid pedestals supporting coupled Doric columns, which support the aisles of the nave and galleries. At the east end is a beautiful stained glass window, by the late Mr. Muss, representing the “ Descent from the Cross," after Rubens. Its handsome tower and well-proportioned spire, which is one of the highest in London, and exceeded by few in the kingdom, was originally two hundred and thirty-four feet in height; but having been injured by lightning in 1764, it was repaired and reduced to its present height of two hundred and twenty-six feet.
Among the eminent persons buried here, are Richardson, the author of “Pamela ;” Sir Richard Baker, author of the “ Chronicles ;” and Wynkin de Worde, the famous printer.
THE TEMPLE CHURCH, Or St. Mary's Inner Temple, belongs to the societies of the Inner and Middle Temple. The western part, or round, is highly interesting, as being one of the earliest specimens of the pointed style of architecture. It was built by the Knights Templars, about 1185, and displays a series of six clustered columns of black Purbeck marble, supporting the same number of pointed arches; over which is a triforium and a clerestory, with semicircular
arches. In the area, on each side, is a series of recumbent effigies of Knights Templars. At the western end is a noble doorway, with several ornamental mouldings, forming a semicircular arch.
The body of the church is of a later date, and is one of the purest examples of the style of the thirteenth century. It is eighty-two feet in length by fifty-eight feet in breadth, and is formed into a centre and lateral aisles by five arches on either side, corresponding with the same number of triple windows. The breadth of the centre aisle is the same as the diameter or central space of the circular part, whereby a pleasing harmony is kept up throughout, and unity of plan is combined with great variety of it. The restorations and polychromatic decorations of the interior have been admirably executed, under the able directions of Mr. Sidney Smirke and Mr. Decimus Burton, at the expense of the benchers. On entering the western door, the effect is picturesqe and imposing: it discloses a fine architectural picture, which, while it delights the eye by its varied perspective, strongly excites the imagination by partially revealing what can be fully enjoyed only on a nearer approach to it. The floor is paved with encaustic tiles, by Minton; and the windows at the east end are filled with stained glass, of harmonious design, by Mr. Willement.
ST. DUNSTAN'S IN THE WEST, Fleet-street, erected from the designs and under the superintendence of John Shaw, Esq. F.R. and A. 8. in 1832. The tower is of Kelton stone, a very superior kind of freestone, of beautiful colour, from the county of Rutland. Upon the tower is an enriched stone lantern, perforated with Gothic windows of two heights, each angle having a buttress and enriched finial; the whole being terminated by an ornamental pierced and very rich crown parapet. The height of the tower to the battlements is ninety feet; and the whole height of the tower and lantern is one hundred and thirty feet. The body of the church is of fine brick, finished with stone; it is of octagon form, about fifty feet in diameter, and will hold about nine hundred persons.
ST. CLEMENT'S DANES,
Strand. A handsome structure, chiefly of the Corinthian order ; erected in 1680, by Sir Christopher Wren, except the tower, which owes its present elevation of one hundred and sixteen feet to Mr. Gibbs, by whom it was added in 1719. On the north and south sides are domed porticos, supported by six Ionic columns. The altar is carved wainscot, of the Tuscan order; and the chancel is paved with marble. In the vestry is a picture (formerly the altar piece), some of the figures of which are said to be portraits of the wife and children of the Pretender.
Bishop Berkely, celebrated by Pope as having “every virtue under heaven," was buried here.
ST. MARY-LE-STRAND, Strand: one of the first churches erected by Queen Anne's commissioners, from the designs of Gibbs, and finished in 1723. " It is,” says Walpole, “a monument of the piety more than the taste of the nation."
The exterior has a double range of columns, one over the other, with entablatures, pediments, and balustrades; and in the intercolumniations there are ornamented niches. The western entrance is by a flight of steps, cut in the sweep of a circle, and leads to a circular portico of Ionic columns, covered with a dome and crowned by an elegant vase. The steeple is of the Corinthian order; and is light though solid. The interior walls are decorated with duplicated ranges of pilasters; the east end is semicircular.
This church stands on the spot where in former times stood a famous maypole, made still more famous by its removal in 1718, when it was given to Sir Isaac Newton,