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GOLDSMITHS' AND COACHMAKERS' HALLS. 89 decorated with imitations of fruits and flowers,and especially its magnificent altar-piece, is well worthy of a visit. Ralph,-in his "Critical Review of Public Buildings,"-speaking of the spire of St. Vedast's Church, observes,-"It is not a glaring pile, that strikes the eye at the first view with an idea of grandeur and magnificence; but then the beautiful pyramid it forms, and the just and well-proportioned simplicity of all its parts, satisfy the mind so effectually, that nothing seems to be wanting, and nothing can be spared."
In Foster Lane stands that noble modern edifice, the Goldsmiths' Hall; and in Noble Street, Foster Lane, is the Coachmakers' Hall, interesting as having been the spot in which the Protestant Association held its meetings, the precursors of the riots of 1780. In the Goldsmiths' Hall are three busts, by Chantrey, of George the Third, George the Fourth, and William the Fourth; as also some well-executed portraits of our modern sovereigns, and an original portrait, by Jansen, of Sir Hugh Myddleton.
At the west end of Cheapside, at the end of Paternoster Row, stood, till 1666, the ancient parish church of St. Michael le Querne, or St. Michael at the Corn Market. Having been burnt down in the great fire, the site of it was appropriated to enlarge the great thoroughfare of Cheapside, and, at the same time, the parish was incorporated, by act of Parliament, with that of St. Ve
dast, Foster Lane. In the parish of St. Michael le Querne, the celebrated antiquary, John Leland, long carried on his laborious literary pursuits, and here he breathed his last, on the 18th of April, 1552. He was interred in St. Michael's Church, as was also Francis Quarles, the author of the "Emblems." Sir Thomas Browne, author of the famous "Religio Medici," and of the "Treatise on Vulgar Errors," was baptized in this church.
NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ST. PAUL'S.
OLD CHURCH OF ST. MARTIN'S-LE-GRAND.-ABUSE OF PRIVILEGE OF
99 BELLE SAUVAGE.'
Ar the western extremity of Cheapside, close to St. Paul's Cathedral, runs northward the street called St. Martin's-le-Grand, so styled from the famous church and sanctuary, which anciently occupied the site of the present General Post Office. A collegiate church, dedicated to St. Martin, is said to have been founded on this spot by Wythred, King of Kent, as far back as 700; the epithet of "le-Grand," having been derived from the extraordinary privileges of sanctuary conferred upon it by successive monarchs. The old Monastery and Church were rebuilt about the year 1056, by two brothers, of a noble Saxon family, named Ingelric and Edward; at which period the religious establishment consisted of a dean and several secular
In 1068, William the Conqueror not only confirmed to the college all its ancient privileges, but, moreover, rendered it independent of all other ecclesiastical jurisdiction whatsoever, whether regal or papal. Thus an isolated spot, in the centre of a large city, grew to acquire a peculiar government of its own, subject in the first instance to the collegiate Dean, and, at a later period, to the Abbots of Westminster, to whom Henry the Seventh thought proper to transfer the jurisdiction over this highly-favoured district. In consequence of the extraordinary immunities which it enjoyed as a sanctuary, St. Martin's-le-Grand became not only a place of refuge for every description of criminal and miscreant, but in periods of political convulsion we find the rioters, when defeated by the city train-bands, safely establishing themselves within the liberty of St. Martin's, and setting all law and authority at defiance. Here, according to Sir Thomas More, "rotted away piecemeal" Miles Forest, one of the murderers of the two young Princes in the Tower. At length, during the tumults and convulsions which prevailed in 1456, the repeated outrages committed by the inhabitants of this privileged district had so entirely exhausted the patience of the respectable portion of the community, that the magistrates took upon themselves the responsibility of forcing an entrance into the monastic territory with an armed force, and succeeded in capturing the principal rioters. The Abbot of Westminster vehemently inveighed
against this violation of the rights of the Church, but apparently in vain; for, the following year, we find the King regulating the laws of the sanctuary, and defining the description of persons to whom it was his pleasure that the privileges of sanctuary should hereafter be extended.
The magnificent Church of St. Martin's-le-Grand was pulled down at the surrender of the monastery to Edward the Sixth, in 1548, shortly after which period a large tavern was erected on its site. This church,—as well as those of St. Mary-le-Bow, St. Giles's Cripplegate, and Allhallows Barking,-had, for some reason or other, the privilege extended to them of tolling the curfew-bell, long after this ancient feudal custom had been allowed to become dormant in every other parish of London.
Not only did St. Martin's afford an asylum for every description of offender against the laws of his country, but, for the space of at least two centuries, the immunities which it enjoyed rendered it a safe and convenient place for the fraudulent manufacture of all kinds of counterfeit plate, coins, and jewels. As early as the reign of Edward the Fourth, on the occasion of an edict being issued against the manufacturers of debased and counterfeit precious metals,—St. Martin's was significantly exempted from the operation of the enactment. Long, indeed, after the dissolution of the religious houses, we find, from the following passage in "Hudibras," that St. Martin's-le-Grand continued to harbour the peculiar class of people who earned