map: 1805-1819

The Environs of London, a five volume work by Daniel Lysons was published in London between 1792-1800. It is an historical account of the towns, villages, and hamlets, within twelve miles of London; interspersed with biographical anecdotes. After attending St. Mary Hall, Oxford, Lysons became, in 1790, curate of Putney, where he began work on The Environs. Horace Walpole encouraged Lysons and appointed him his personal chaplain. The work is dedicated to Walpole.

In the section on Stoke Newington, among the Extracts from the Parish Register, there is the following item:

Peter Monamy

John, son of Peter Monamy71, buried Mar. 31, 1680.

The footnote reads as follows:

Aside from the confusion of the celebrated painter of sea pieces with his father, Pierre, who must be the father mentioned in the register, there is a mystery about this infant John. The children of Pierre/Peter Monamy, baptised at St Botolph's without Aldgate, are recorded as follows:

Peter Gilbert Monamy, baptised March 1677
Ann, baptised February 1678
Charity, baptised January 1679
James, baptised January 1680
Peter, the artist, baptised January 1681

Since Dorothy Gilbert, Pierre's nominal wife, was born 1660, there seems scant room for a sixth child, John, to have been born and died before 1680. Explanations must remain conjectural, although a book entitled Uncertain Unions: Marriage in England 1660-1753, published 1992, by Lawrence Stone, may fuel speculation on the marital liaisons of Londoners of this period. This would include the early apparent marriage of Peter the painter to a woman named Margaret, as well as the enigmatic marriage recorded of Sarah Adkings or Atkins in 1700.

The later map, at left, shows the location of Stoke Newington relative to the known stomping grounds of the two Peters.

Stoke Newington, marked C, above, crops up fairly often in historical accounts of the period, notably in connection with Daniel Defoe. The township was apparently a centre of political and religious Dissent, and contained an excellent school, which was attended by Defoe. The other letters indicate: A, the Custom House; B, St Botolph's church; D, London Bridge and St Olave's church, areas connected with Peter Monamy's early years as an entrepreneurial easel painter, sign- and coach-painter, and decorator.

The Custom House was clearly an imposing edifice, frequented at various times by Pierre Monamy, notorious smuggler, counterfeiter and merchant, in the 1670s; and by Mr Thomas Walker, toad-eater to Sir Robert Walpole, notorious usurer and connoisseur, in the 1720s and '30s.

William Clark, Master of the Painter-Stainers Company in 1687, became Peter's master in 1696.

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