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in a savage state. “ As for the Bell Savage,” says Addison,“ which is the sign of a savage man standing by a bell, I was formerly much puzzled upon the conceit of it, till I accidentally fell into the reading of an old romance translated out of the French, which gives an account of a very beautiful woman who was found in a wilderness, and is called in the French “ La belle Sauvage,” and is everywhere translated by our countrymen the Bell Savage."
In the days of his obscurity, the celebrated artist, Grinling Gibbons, resided in Belle Savage Court, Ludgate Hill. Among other works which he executed at this period, is said to have been a vase of flowers of such delicate workmanship, that they shook with the motion of the vehicles which passed through the street.
Before the establishment of regular theatres in England, the court-yards of the larger inns,—surrounded, as they generally were, on three sides by galleries,
formed not incommodious arenas in which the strolling companies erected their temporary stage.
“ The form of these temporary playhouses,” says Malone,“ seems to be preserved in our modern theatre. The galleries in both are ranged over each other on three sides of the building. The small rooms under the lowest of these galleries answer to our present boxes; and it is observable, that these (even in theatres which were built in a subsequent period expressly for dramatic exhibitions) still retained their old name, and were frequently called rooms by our ancient writers,
The yard bears a sufficient resemblance to the pit, as at present in use.” The Belle Sauvage, in the early part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, appears to have been conveniently adapted for theatrical exhibitions, and here it was that Richard Tarlton, the Grimaldi of that famous age, delighted our forefathers by his extraordinary antics and extem
Ludgate reminds us of a creditable anecdote related of Nell Gwynn, of whose kindness of heart we have nearly as many proofs as we have of her frailty. She was one day ascending Ludgate Hill in her coach, when her attention was attracted to some bailiffs, who were in the act of hurrying an unfortunate clergyman to prison. Ordering her coachman to stop, and having made some inquiries into the case, she sent for some persons whom the poor debtor named as attestators to his character, and finding him a proper object of charity, she not only discharged the debt, but successfully exerted herself in obtaining preferment for the worthy clergyman.
There exists much difficulty in ascertaining the derivation of the name of Ludgate. According to some writers, it owes its name to King Lud, who is said to have erected a gate here: there seems, however, much more reason to believe, that its original appellation was Fludgate, or rather Flodgate, derived from the river Fleet, or Flod, which flowed in its immediate vicinity. The old gate was sold, by order of the Commissioners of City
Lands, on the 30th of July, 1760, and was shortly afterwards razed to the ground.
On the north side of Ludgate Street, opposite to the entrance into Blackfriars, stands the church of St. Martin Ludgate, which possesses little interest beyond its antiquity. According to Robert of Gloucester, it was originally built in the seventh century, by the British Prince, Cadwallo. Speaking of that Prince in connexion with Ludgate, he says,
A chirch of Sent Martyn liuyng he let rere,
It is only certain that a church was standing here in 1322, when Robert de Sancto Albano was rector. At this period the presentation to St. Martin's was vested in the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, who continued to enjoy it till the dissolution of the monasteries, when, Westminster having been erected into a Bishopric, Henry the Eighth conferred the presentation upon the new Bishop. That See having been dissolved in the following reign, Queen Mary, in 1553, conferred it on the Bishop of London and his successors, with whom the patronage still continues.
The old church was burnt down in the great Fire of London, and among the monuments which perished was one bearing the following quaint and ingenious inscription :
The present edifice was built after designs of Sir Christopher Wren, and reflects but little credit on his genius. From the circumstance of several sepulchral stones having been discovered in the immediate neighbourhood, the church is believed to stand nearly on the site of a Roman cemetery. Its vicinity to Watling Street, the great highway of the Romans, renders the supposition the more reasonable. Samuel Purchas, the author of the “ Pilgrimages,” held the rectory of this church.
In St. Martin's Court, on the south side of Ludgate Hill, may still be seen a remnant of London Wall.
OF ST. PAITH.-BISHOP OF LONDON'S PALACE.—LOLLARDS' TOWER. -WICKLIFFE IN ST. PAUL's.-“ PAUL'S WALKERS
OR PAUL's MEN.”—TOMBS IN OLD ST. PAUL'S.-PAUL'S CROSS. - REMARKABLE EVENTS THERE.
.- PRESENT ST. PAUL'S.-SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN.
How interesting is the account bequeathed to us by Sir Christopher Wren, of his noble work, the laying the foundations of St. Paul's Cathedral !
At the greatest depth to which he excavated, he found a substratum of hard clay, the natural soil of the locality. Above this, nearly at the level of low water mark, he discovered water and sand, mixed with sea-shells ; thus not only rendering it evident that the sea had once flowed over the high ground on which St. Paul's now stands, but also giving probability to the supposition of the great architect, that the whole country, between Camberwell Hill and the hills of Essex, was once a branch of the sea; and that at low water it formed a sandy bay. Above the sand, on the north side, Wren found a variety of Roman urns, lamps, and lachrymatories, showing that this had once been a cemetery of that great people. Above these again, affording unquestion