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THE WRITING SCHOOL, CHRIST'S HOSPITAL. Several of the monastic buildings, were founded contained several chapels. No order of monks, says by different benefactors. The principal of these was Mr. Pennant, seem to have possessed the powers of sir Richard Whittington, who in the year 1429 began persuasion equal to these poor friars. They raised a magnificent library, which was finished the follow- vast sums for their buildings among the rich, and ing year, and was soon afterwards furnished with there were few of their admirers when they came to books. This library, a part of which still remains, die, who did not console themselves with the thoughts was 129 feet long and thirty-one broad, was com- of lying within their expiating walls ; and if they pletely wainscotted or ceiled, and contained twenty. were particularly wicked, thought themselves secure eight desks and eight double wainscot settles. The against the assault of the devil, if their corpse was whole cost of this erection was 5561. 108. four hun. wrapped in the habit and cowl of a friar. Multitudes dred pounds of which was the gift of Richard Whit. therefore of all ranks were crowded in this holy tington, and the rest was contributed by one of the ground. It was honoured with the sepulture of four brothers, Dr. Thomas Winchelsey, who paid like- queens, four duchesses, four countesses, one duke, wise for the writing out of the works of D. Nicholas two earls, eight barons, and thirty-five knights, de Lira, in two volumes, to be chained there, 100 whose names are mentioned by Stowe, and in all, marks. The conduit-head and watercourse had been from the first foundation to the dissolution, 663 previously given by one William Taylor, taylor to persons of quality were here interred. In the choir king Henry III.
were nine tombs of alabaster and inarble “environed The revenues of this monastery on the dissolution with bars or strikes of iron :" one tomb in the body were valued at 32l. 198. It was surrendered 12th of of the church coped also with iron, and seven score November 1538.
gravestones of marble in divers places. The ancient church, with most of the monastic In the month of September 1552, the Grey Friars buildings, were destroyed in the fire of London. The having been previously prepared for their reception cloisters, with a few other fragments, remain. The by order of Edward VI. near 400 orphans were adchurch was cruciform and of great extent, being 300 mitted upon his charitable foundation here ; and on feet in length, eighty-nine feet in breadth, and from the succeeding Christmas Day in the afternoon, the floor to the roof sixty-four feet two inches, and while the lord mayor and aldermen rode to St. Paul's,
above the door is a statue of the royal founder Edward VI. indifferently done, and much damaged; and underneath the following inscription :
“ Edward the Sixth of famous memory, King of England, was founder of Christ's Hospital; and sir Robert Clayton, knight and alderman, some time lord mayor of this city of London, erected this statue of King Edward, and built most part of this fabric, Anno Dom, 1682."
540 of them stood in a line reaching from the end of Laurence Lane, in Cheapside, nearly to that cathedral. They were all clotbed on this occasion in a uniform dress of russet cotton; but on the Easter following, that colour and material was changed for blue cloth, which has ever since been continued, and has occasioned them to receive the denomination of the Blue-coat school. This dress, which still retains its original fashion, and has a very antique appearance, consists of a blue cloth coat, quilted close to the body, having loose skirts of the same, yellow under-coat, yellow worsted stockings, black lowheeled shoes, a flat round thrum cap, tied with a red band, and the hair cut short.
The several buildings of this charity are very extensive, consisting of various irregular parts, erected at different periods, and possess very little external beauty. The south front, which is hid by Newgate Street, is the handsomest. It is composed of a fine red brick, and is ornamented with Doric pilasters, placed on pedestals. This part of the Hospital was erected principally at the expense of sir Robert Clayton, alderman and mayor of London, and was executed under the direction of sir ChristopherWren. It forms the principal entrance, and may be seen from the west side of Christ's Church, to which there is a passage from Newgate Street. In a niche
The cloisters, yet standing, were part of the friary, but have been much modernized. They are very large, and serve at present as a thoroughfare to the Hospital, and a place for the boys to play in. Over them are some of the wards, and the great hall : both are well worthy of inspection.
In the cloisters, which are still used for interments, repose several of the officers of the Hospital, as well as some of its distinguished benefactors. Among the latter, the name of Mr. Thomas Firmin, a private citizen, merits preservation as an instance of uncommon liberality. His epitaph is said to have been composed by Dr. Fowler, bishop of Gloucester, who knew him well, and is no panegyric.