St Botolph's without Aldgate
& other topographical odds & ends

In the Société Jersiaise article of 1981 I speculated on the oddity of the second daughter born to Pierre Monamy, and baptized in January 1679, as follows: "This girl's mother's name is given as Elizabeth, and her child was named Charity. Unless there is a mistake in the register, it seems possible that she was born out of wedlock, and named accordingly." Further digging into the Family Search records on the net, however, has produced the following data for the children of James & Ann Gilbert or Gilberte, the parents of Pierre Monamy's wife Dorothy: all christened at St Botolph's without Aldgate.

1. THOMAS - Male Christening: DEC 1648. [Died before November 1651.]
2. MARY - Female Christening: 14 APR 1650
3. THOMAS - Male Christening: 08 NOV 1651
4. JAMES - Male Christening: 01 APR 1655. [Died before August 1662.]
5. AN(N) - Female Christening: 25 APR 1656
6. SARAH - Female Christening: 28 FEB 1657. [Died before January 1663.]
7. RICHARD - Male Christening: 20 FEB 1658
8. DOROTHY - Female Christening: 08 APR 1660
9. JAMES - Male Christening: 03 AUG 1662
10. SARAH - Female Christening: 28 JAN 1663
11. CHARITIE - Female Christening: 14 MAY 1665

The birth of Dorothy Gilbert's youngest sister Charitie in May 1665 shows that Charity was a Gilbert family name, and there are several other Charity Gilberts in the archives. That the name of Charity Monamy's mother is registered as Elizabeth, instead of Dorothy, is still very strange, but it now becomes much less likely that it is anything other than a peculiar mistake in the register. At the time of Charity Monamy's birth her aunt Charity Gilbert would have been 14 years old, if living. The Bills of Mortality, published monthly in the Gentleman's Magazine from 1731 onwards, make disturbing reading: approximately one-third of all deaths recorded in London are of infants and young children.

The children of Pierre Monamy and Dorothy Gilbert were also all christened at St Botolph's. As listed in the Bulletin article, these were Peter Gilbert Monamy born March 1677; Ann, born February 1678; Charity, born January 1679; James, born January 1680; and Peter, the artist, born January 1681.

300 years after Peter's baptism I visited St Botolph's, and picked up a sheet of paper headed WELCOME TO SAINT BOTOLPH'S CHURCH, ALDGATE. These remarks come from it. "There has been a church on this site for over 1,000 years, outside the "ald" gate on the eastern edge of the City of London. St.Botolph has always been regarded as a sort of English St.Christopher, so churches at city gates were often dedicated to God in his name so that travellers could pray there on arrival and departure. ..... The original Saxon building was enlarged in 1418 and almost completely rebuilt in the next century. This church was demolished as unsafe in 1739 and the present building finished and consecrated in 1744. It is the work of George Dance the Elder, who also built the Mansion House, official home of the Lord Mayor of London. .... The magnificent organ in the west gallery is by Renatus Harris and was given to the church in 1676. [It is] the oldest church organ in London, and perhaps in the country.

Famous Residents: Chaucer lived in the parish in 1374, Daniel Defoe was married here. .... Sir Isaac Newton lived opposite the church when he was Master of the Royal Mint. .... We value our past, but we do not live in it. Today the population of our parish is small and mostly Jewish. (The Council for Christian-Jewish Understanding is based here). ..... In the midst of one of the greatest and most affluent cities in the world we try to offer comfort, support, practical help and advice to those who are often looked upon as outcasts from society." The leaflet may have been prepared by the then Rector, Malcolm Johnson.

Peter Monamy's first daughter was christened Margaret at St Olave's Church in Bermondsey, 1706. He married his second wife, Hannah Christopher, at Allhallows, London Wall, on 9th January 1707; but his first child with Hannah, a son named Andrew after a long chain of paternal ancestors, was baptised in 1708 at St Botolph's, again. However, their next child, Hannah, was baptised in 1709 at St Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, and is recorded as born in Red Lion Street. The following son, another Andrew, was baptised in 1712 at the same church. Is it possible that the St Botolph's church building was already regarded as "unsafe" by 1709, although not demolished until 1739?

The note attached to Hannah's baptism sets a puzzle. Does the "street" referred to lie between Spitalfields and Christ's Church? Or is it the little alley off the Minories? St Mary's, Whitechapel, is at the south end of Brick Lane, nearer the Minories than Spitalfields. The puzzle may be resolved, below, but Monamy's family domiciles before 1723 still need more tracking down.

Newton was appointed Warden of the Mint in 1696, and, with Locke, directed the restoration of the English currency. The biographies of Newton I have read do not confirm that he lived opposite St Botolph's; which does not mean that he didn't live there at least for a time. Daniel Defoe appears to have been married at St Botolph's in 1684. William Clark(e), Peter Monamy's Master, is listed 21/12 under the second precinct of London Bridge, and third precinct in Thames Street; and also as constable and petty juryman. His name appears regularly from 1690 to 1700, when it disappears. (Wardmote Minutes. London Bridge Ward Within, 1689-1747. GL MS 3461/3).

From Chapter VII, Vol II, Wine and Walnuts, 1823, by Ephraim Hardcastle (aka William H.Pyne, 1769-1843). "On this bridge resided certain worthies ......... Monamy, the marine painter, some of whose pictures were scarcely inferior to Vandevelde's, served his apprenticeship on London Bridge, and exhibited his works in the window of his shop, to the delight of the sons of Neptune, men and boys, who were seen in crowds gazing at his wondrous art. Dominic Serres, another painter, distinguished for his talent in the same department, also resided on this memorable bridge."    

Gordon Home in Old London Bridge, 1931, adds that another "artist who at one time had his home on the Bridge was John Laguerre, the son of Louis Laguerre. He was born in London and lived on the first floor of a house on the east side of the Bridge close to the Southwark Cathedral. .... Laguerre's studio is described as being in a bow-windowed room projecting over the water, which trembled when the flow of the river came with its full force through the arches. It was stated by (Pyne) that Hogarth had in his young days lived in this house ..." Pyne's actual words, Vol II, p.135, are "Here Hogarth, in early life, once sojourned, and etched and engraved for old John Bowles, of the Black Horse, Cornhill." Jack Laguerre, "who died in poverty in 1748", was also an occasional pub sign painter. See here.

detail from hand-coloured woodcut c 1700


A closer look at the disembodied heads. This seems to be from an earlier print, author unknown to me. One has to ask whether quite such a barbaric sight was to be seen in any other C18th European capital.

Two more questions. 1. When, and for how long, did Monamy "reside" on London Bridge? Vertue says "where he liv'd when prentice." This would be until 1704. Pyne, 1823, and preceding Thompson, 1827, says he kept a shop on the bridge; ie after 1704. His first daughter was baptised at St Olave's in 1706. But in 1708 the next child was baptised at St Botolph's, and by 1709 he seems to have been living in Red Lyon Street, Whitechapel.

2. If Hogarth ever sojourned on London Bridge, when would this have been? Mark Hallett says Hogarth, born 1697, apprenticed 1714, set up on his own, aged 22, in 1719. In April 1720 he issued a trade card: no address. Could these be the years he lived on the bridge, and first struck up acquaintance with Monamy?

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