The Whitechapel Rumpus
Gordon Barnes, in Stepney Churches, 1967, relates that "St Mary's was the centre of a political storm in 1714, when Dr. Welton, the rector --- suspected of being a Jesuit --- had a new Altar-piece set up, in which was a painting of the Last Supper. ..... inspection revealed that St. Peter was painted in the brightest colours and appeared to be the Head of the Church! ..... Shortly after the rumpus Queen Anne died, and as Welton refused to take the oath of allegiance to George the First, he was ejected from his living at St Mary's. ..... Later he was consecrated one of the Non-Juring Bishops and went to America."
Could Monamy have been under the sway of Dr Welton during the years 1709 to 1714?
Or did he merely happen to find himself in the Parish of St Mary's?
"Willoughby Willey, a virulent Whig pamphleteer, published an account of the picture, in which he alleged that the rector had caused the artist to represent White Kennett, Dean --- later Bishop --- of Peterborough, as Judas Iscariot! ..... Hundreds flocked to see the picture until the Bishop of London ordered its removal, and peace was restored." After ejection from St Mary's, Welton held services in his house, which attracted such crowds that the Bishop of London then had him arrested for holding unlicensed services. He was fined £40 and had to sell his furniture.
"White Kennett, the historian and anti-Jacobite preacher, was incumbent of St Botolph's from 1700 till 1707." From London City Churches, by A.E.Daniell, p 323. Left, the offending altarpiece, from White Kennett, 1660-1728, Bishop of Peterborough by G.V. Bennett. The figure on the left of Jesus was held to represent the Old Pretender, aka James III, as St John.
"On Fryday Jan: 4th. 1688/9, I had a sad mischance and a very merciful deliverance, for discharging a fouling piece at a single Thrush, the burrle of the gun broke and a splinter of it broke my skull in a most miserable manner." Kennett underwent trepanning, and wore a large black patch over the scar in his forehead, "that was to become the delight of satirists and political opponents", notes Bennett, p.11.
Left, White Kennett, c 1710. There is no shadow of doubt that the altarpiece set up by Dr Welton portrays him as Judas.
In late 1714 Joseph Acres was clearly called in to preach the cause of political correctness; ie the 1688 Whig Revolution and Hanoverian party line; not without continued riot and affray. The fickle London mob enjoyed a jolly punch-up.
Another Vicar of Blewberry
great-great-great-grandson of Peter Monamy
A sample passage from Joseph Acres' sermon: "What Convulsions did a Popish King enjoying the Crown formerly put the Nation in? and how often have our Tears return'd since it has been our constant Prayer, that God would continue the Succession in the Protestant Line; and preserve it from all the Arts of treacherous and deceitful Men? Our Prayers have had a speedy and gracious Answer; we may say by comfortable Experience, that our God is a God hearing Prayer; we have waited to hear what God will say; and he hath spoken Peace unto his People, and to his Saints. O! let us not return again to Folly.
We will not hide that God has now set upon the Throne a King that is Just, ruling in the Fear of the Lord: one that will be a nursing Father to the Church of God for Good; that will put on Righteousness as a Robe, and Judgment as a Diadem; that will be Eyes to the Blind, and Feet to the Lame; and the Cause which he knoweth not, he will search out, break the Oppressor in pieces, and pluck the Spoil out of his Teeth: a King that has been a Sovereign Prince; and one that has governed his People with so much Softness and Justice, that he is the delight of Mankind, that has been followed with Floods of Tears by his former Subjects at his departure; one that we have all the reason in the World to believe, will execute Justice in Mercy; one that sets upon the Throne of Righteousness, and scattereth all Iniquity from before his Eyes, takes the method of Kind David in the Choice of his Servants; He that worketh Deceit shall not dwell within his House; he that telleth Lies shall not tarry in his Sight ---- his Eyes are upon the Faithful of the Land, that they may dwell with him."
What did the voice of Joseph Acres sound like, one wonders.
The Old Pretender: nearest to God, in certain quarters.
© Charles Harrison Wallace 2004
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