Page:Chronicle of the Grey friars of London.djvu/24

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xx
PREFACE.

In the autumn of the same year the Reformers instituted a more rigorous visitation of churches than any that had previously taken place. All images were at that time pulled down throughout England, and all churches new white-limed.[1] At the same time all the altars in the church that was sometime the Grey Friars', with the walls and stalls of the choir, were removed and sold, and the whole reduced in length, in order to make it more consistent with the requirements of an ordinary parish church,[2] the arrangements for which were shortly after completed, the neighbouring churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Ewen being removed.[3] All the tombs and large gravestones were at the same time[4] taken away, and sold for the paltry sum of fifty pounds, or thereabouts.[5] Amidst the general destruction of ancestral memorials which was accomplished in those days of heartless and impious spoliation, this act perhaps exceeded all others of the kind. The church of the Grey Friars had been the favourite place of sepulture with those of the aristocracy of England who had died in the metropolis. According to the reckoning of Weever the church had been honoured with the sepulture of

  1. See p. 54.
  2. The "west church," or nave, was afterwards rented to Henry Bolton, a schoolmaster, for 10s. per ann. See this and other particulars respecting the state of the church in Elizabeth's reign in Malcolm, iii. 333.
  3. See p. 55.
  4. From Weever's statement of this transaction it might be understood that it took place in 1545; for he says they were sold "by Sir Martin Bowes, Maior of London, An. 1545." Sir Martin was mayor in 1545: but Stowe's statement is that they were sold by Sir Martin Bowes, goldsmith and alderman of London; who evidently derived his authority to sell them, not as mayor, but in some other way. He was under-treasurer of the royal mint, and probably a commissioner for the sale of church property. The city might therefore employ him as a man of experience in such transactions It is asserted in Knight's London, vol. ii. 334, that Sir Martin "caused himself to be buried where he had set so bad a precedent;" but this is one of many errors in the article in that work on Christ's Hospital. Sir Martin Bowes was buried at St. Mary's Woolnoth.
  5. Stowe's Survay.