The City of WESTMINSTER.88


"Middlesex, and in the Endowment of the same Church, and other publick Charges in and about the Parish of Covent Garden aforesaid, there be abated unto William Earl of Bedford, John Russel, and Edward Russel, Esquires, Sons of the said Francis late Earl of Bedford, out of the Fines which shall be payable unto them by Force of this Act, in Receipt of the Building in the said Parish of Covent Garden, the Sum of 7000l. the same Abatement to be made unto them by the said Commissioners proportionably, according as they shall be severally chargeable by this Act."

It was Consecrated by the Reverend Father in God ------

Juxon was then L. Bp. of London.

The Builder of this famous Church was that rare Architect Mr. Inigo Jones, one of the greatest Restorers of the ancient Roman Way of Building, and this the first. How magnificent and great doth it present itself to the Beholder. The Portico is magnificent. The Upright, with the View of the Garden and the Piazzas, is done by the curious Mr. Holler. It is the only View, in Imitation of the Italians, we have in or about London; ushered into Use by that great Encourager of Arts, the Earl of Arundel. The Cieling-piece in Prospective is admired by all that see it. It was done by an Inhabitant of the Parish. His Name was Pierce, a Painter. Of late Years it hath been adorned, in the Middle of the Square, with a Sun-dyal fixed on a Pillar of black Marble, after the Corinthian Order, ascending with Steps to the Pedestal, whereon the weary Walker may rest himself. This was done at the Charges of the Inhabitants, as appeareth by the Arms on the Capital.]

The Builder, Inigo Jones.

The Sun-dyal.

The 7th Day of January 1645, was an Ordinance of Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, for making the Covent Garden Church Parochial, and for dividing the same from the Parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, upon several Articles and Conditions: Also for giving Power to 34 Persons, to assess and levy Monies for the Payment of two Ministers, and other Parochial Uses: And also for nominating Constables and all other Parish Officers.

Covent Garden made a Parish, Anno 1645.

J. S.

12 Car. II. Ann. 1660. An Act of Parliament was made for making the Precinct of Covent Garden Parochial. In the Preamble it sheweth, how Francis Earl of Bedford, deceased, erected the Fabrick of a Church for the Use of the Inhabitants of the Precinct of Covent Garden, and did intend to settle a yearly Stipend of an 100l. and an House, then in the Tenure of William Russel, for the Maintenance, and for the Habitation of a Minister to officiate in the said Church: And that it was found necessary that the same should be made Parochial, and divided from the Parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, and that a farther Encrease of Maintenance might be provided for an able Minister.

Ann. 1660. 12 Car. 2.

By this Act the Bounds of this new Parish are set out: That is to say, beginning at the Strand, at the East End of the Messuage, called Bedford House, and including the said House, with all the Out-houses, Gardens, &c. belonging: And all those Houses within the narrow Bounds, that is to say, 40 Foot without the Brickwall, and all Houses, Edifices, Buildings, and Lands within the said Bounds, bounded by the House of Humphrey Vaughan, in Russel-street East; by the House of William Bard, in Shandois-street West; by the House of William Crisby in James-street North; and by the House of Richard Taunton in Bedford-street South. The said Precint to be divided from St. Martin's Parish. The Right Honourable William Earl of Bedford, and his Heirs, to have the Patronage of the said Church, and to nominate and appoint the Rector of the said Church as oft as the same shall become void. That he, the said Rector, shall have the Cure of Souls of the Inhabitants. That he shall have an 100l. a Year, issuing out of several [viz. Three] Houses, situate in Covent Garden, with Power to distrain for an 100l. or a Part thereof, upon the said Houses, or any of them, charged with the same Rent.

The Bounds of it.

The Patronage.

The Rector.

The Rector may, with the Consent of the Patron, from Time to Time, nominate an able Minister, to be Curate Assistant to the said Rector. And for the farther Maintenance of the Rector, and Provision of the Curate, and other Officers, every Thursday in Easter-Week there shall be three Churchwardens named: One to be chosen by the Earl of Bedford, another by the Rector, and a third by the Inhabitants. And that the yearly Sum of 250l. henceforth be charged upon the Houses of the Inhabitants, except Bedford House, to be assessed by the Churchwardens, or any two of them, by a Pound Rate, within 28 Days after Easter Thursday; to be confirmed and allowed by the two next Justices dwelling within the City of Westminster; to be collected by the Churchwardens, or such as they shall appoint. And in Case the same be not paid, to be levied by Distress and Sale of Goods. Out of this Collection the Churchwardens to pay to the Rector the yearly Sum of 150l. and to the Curate 50l. by even and equal Portions each Quarter. The Residue of Money collected, being 50l. to be employed for the Wages and Salaries of a Clerk and two Sextons; which shall be distributed according to the Direction of the said Earl and the Rector.


The Churchwardens, or any two of them, to make Rates and Assessments upon the Inhabitants, for raising Money for Payment of Scavengers for cleansing of the Streets, and repairing and amending of the Church.

Provided, the Overseers of the Poor, and Surveyors of the Highways of St. Martin's Parish, and the Churchwardens of the Parish of St. Paul's Covent Garden, may assess and collect of the Parish of St. Paul's Covent Garden, for the Relief of the Poor, and Reparation of the Highways, all such Rates and Taxes as they might have done before the making of this Act.

Nor this Act to destroy any of the Rights or Powers belonging to the Bishop of London; but that he may at all Times visit, institute, and exercise Ecceslesiastical Jurisdiction in the said Parish.]

It hath probably the Name of Covent Garden, because it was the Garden and Fields to that large Covent, or Monastery, where Exeter House formerly stood; these Grounds belonging unto it, being all encompassed with a Wall. And when this Ground, upon the Dissolution of Religious Houses, became the Estate of his Grace's Ancestors, then Bedford House was erected, where it now stands, or lately did: Whereas, before, their House was on the other Side of the Strand, formerly called, The Bishop of Carlisle's Inn.

The Garden belonging to the Convent.

R. B.

This Covent Garden, and the Lands belonging to it, was first granted by King Edward the Sixth to his Uncle the Duke of Somerset: Which, upon his Attainder, came back to the Crown. And then, in the Month of May 1552, there was a Patent granted to John Earl of Bedford, and Lord Privy Seal, of Covent Garden, lying in the Parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, next Charing Cross, with seven Acres, called Long Acre, of the yearly Value of 6l. 6s. 8d. Parcel of the Possessions of the late Duke of Somerset. To have to him and his Heirs, to be held in Soccage, and not in Capite.]

Covent Garden, the Grant of it to John Earl of Bedford.

J. S.

MSS. penes me.

As to the Extent of this Parish, (which is but small, in Comparison to that of St. Martin's) it ap-

Its Extent.

R. B.