Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Volume 13 Section XXV

Archaeologia Volume 13 Section XXV is in Archaeologia Volume 13.

Extracts from the Parish Regifler of St. Bennet's, St. Paul’s Wharf [Map], London. Communicated by the Rev. Mark Noble, F. A. S. In a Letter to the Rev. John Brand, Secretary. Read May 3, 1798.

Dear Sir,

You will do me a great favour in laying the underwritten before the Society of Antiquaries; it is the result of what I saw remarkable in the register books of the parish of St. Benedict, usually called St. Bennet’s, St. Paul’s Wharf, London. The registers do not commence until after the beginning of the seventeenth century.

From the Baptisms is this entry.

"The lord Dormer, viscount Askot, eldest son to the right honourable the earl of Carnarvon (age 22), was born on Fryday Oct. 25, and christened [Note. at St Benet's Church, Paul's Wharf [Map]] on Tuesday November 26, 1632."

Robert Dormer (age 22), baron Dormer of Winge, and baronet, was created by king Charles I. viscount Ascot, and earl of Caernarvon, August 2, 1628. This nobleman, alike distnguished for his virtue, wisdom, and valour, fell after the battle of Newberry, Sept. 20, 1643, in his return from pursuing a party of the parliamentary forces, being killed by a trooper, who, knowing his lordship, ran, him through the body with a sword, and he expired in about an hour. He married Anna-Sophia, daughter of Philip (age 48), earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, by whom he had an only child, whose birth and baptism are mentioned above. He was William [Note. A mistake for Charles?], the second earl of Caernarvon, who dying November 29, 1709, without male issue, that title became extinct, but the barony descended to the issue of Anthony Dormer, of Grove Park, in Warwickshire, second son of Robert, the first lord Dormer; but after being possessed by Robert [Note. Rowland?], the eldest son of that Anthony, it went to the issue male of Robert, the third son of the first baron, and is still posssessed by that branch.

From the Baptisms [Note. at St Benet's Church, Paul's Wharf [Map]] are thefe other entries.

Lady Susanna, daughter of Phillip erle of Pembroke (age 29), and the lady Katheran (age 29) his wife, was baptized May 7, 1650.

Lady Mary, daughter of Phill. earle of Pembroke (age 29), baptized 13 Dec. 1651."

Phillip, sonne of Phillip earle of Pembroke (age 29) and the lady Katherine (age 29) his wife, was baptized 3 January 1652."

Lady Katheran, the daughter of Phillip earl of Pembrooke (age 29) and Katheran (age 29) his wife, borne 9 June, and baptized the 10 June 1634.’

Rebeccah, daughter of Philip earl of Pembroke and lady Katheran his wife, was borne the 18th July, baptized 22 July 1633.

Philip, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, was the fourth, but eldest surviving son of Philip earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, a nobleman, who every way disgraced himfelf by his violence, his vulgarity, and his severity to his second countess, Ann (age 60), sole daughter and heir to George earl of Cumberland, widow of Richard earl of Dorset, one of the greatest female characters that this kingdom ever gave birth to. His first lady was Susan, daughter of Edward, earl of Oxford, by whom he had the nobleman (age 29) who was the father of these children. He also had two wives, Penelope, sole daughter and heir to Sir Robert Naunton, knt. master of the court of Wards and Liveries, widow of Paul, viscount Banning [Note. This appears to be a mistake. Paul Viscount Bayning married Anne Glemham Viscountess Bayning], by whom he had an only son, William, who succeeded him. His second wife was the mother of the children whose baptisms are here given; She was Catherine (age 29), daughter of Sir William Villiers of Brookesby, in the county of Leicester, bart. Their issue, besides the above children, were Thomas, and Ann who died an infant. The Philip mentioned as baptized Jan. 5, 1652, succeeded to the family honours upon the death of his half brother, William, earl of Pembroke, &c. I shall not particularize what was the history of the others, as it is done by Mr. Collins in his peerage, who also has given their baptisms from this register.

It appears from these insertions that at the same time, two noblemen of high rank resided in this small parish, and in the heart of the city. I do not know the exact spot; but from the many children mentioned of the earl of Pembroke he must have made it his constant town residence; and we must suppose it was also of the earl of Caernarvon, for had he had more children, it is most reasonable to suppose we should have had their baptisms registered there, had they been born in London. As the earls of Caernarvon and Pembroke, who resided in this parish, were brothers-in-law, and as one was cut off in 1643, and the baptisms of the other’s children do not commence until 1651, it seems not improbable but that the earl of Pembroke might purchase or hire the house of the executors of the earl of Caernarvon, during the minority of that nobleman’s son, and continue to rent it for some years after he became of age ; but the fact is not so; each had his own house.

That they both had their chaplains in their houses is highly probable by these extracts from the registers.

Mr. Thomas Smith, chaplain to the earl of Pembroke, buryed 24 January 1623. This earl of Pembroke was father of the earl whose children were baptized in the parish, and proves that he also resided in St. Bennet’s.

Mr. Sadler, chaplaine to the earl of Carnarvon, buryed 23 October 1632.

In this parifh stood Derby-house, now the Heralds’ College, the town residence in former times of the Stanleys, earls of Derby; and Huntingdon-house, belonging to lord Haslings, stood in, or very near to this parih; and which Mr. Pennant acquaints us, in his very entertaining History of London, "became the lodging of Richard the IIId. in his fecond year.

I saw no other persons of title in the register, but some of the members of the Heralds’ College, and of those I shall speak in an history of that college and its members, being a work I have now nearly completed, and of those gentlemen who belong to Doctors’ Commons, except "Annabella, daughter of Sir Robert Needham, baptized 10 June 1638," be an exception.

Of the Plague are thefe entries.

It began July 15, 1625. In July 7 died of it; in Augufl 42; in September 23 ; in October 3 ; and in November 1.

It commenced again June 5, 1630, in which month two were buried, and there is no other entry until

August 8, 1636 ; in that month were five buried of this dreadful disorder; in September 31; in August 6; in November 4; in December 2, when the complaint ceased.

It broke out again August 28, 1643; one was buried of it in that month, and one in September.

It appeared again August 25, 1644; 1 died in that month; in September 2 ; in April 1645, 1 ; in July 1 ; in August 12 ; September 18; October 8. In the following year, 1646, on June 18, was 1 buried of the plague, and in September 1. It commenced again in February 1647, in which month 2 died of it ; there is no farther mention of this horrid visitation in the register, not even in the dreadful year 1665; the reason of which I suppose is, that the burial ground is so small that none were permitted to bring their dead there who died of the infection.

There is nothing farther memorable in these registers except that it being the parish in which Doctors’ Commons Hands, it is wonderful to see the vast numbers of marriages by licence, before the marriage act took place, persons coming thither from every part of England to be united in this favoured temple, I had almost said, of Hymen. In genealogies nothing is more difficult than to get the registers of marriages before that act passed; it would be advisable where a pedigree is defective, in this respect, to search the registers of marriages belonging to St. Bennet’s.

There are many items of unfortunate deaths, particularly by drowning. There have been many adults baptized; one woman who was brought from Turkey; one, a quaker-woman, was baptized and married in the same day; several Africans; of one there is a declaration that he was a free negro. There have been many foundlings, especially in the beginning and middle of the last century. These children have generally had two baptismal names, the latter Bennet, that it might be used as a sirname. The number of exposed children, and murdered ones, in the period I have mentioned, when contrasted with the contrary conduct of the present inhabitants, is a convincing proof of the better morals, or better police of the times in which we live, or at least of the excellence of those benevolent institutions which are maintained by the rich to aid poverty and wretchedness.

Such are the observations I have the honour to lay before the Society, Sir, from what I have remarked in these registers. I often wonder that the London clergy do not extract the many curious particulars that must be in their registers.

I have the honour to remain.

Dear Sir,

Your most obliged, and mofs obedient servant.

Mark Noble

Barming Parsonage, March 3, 1798.