Here lieth Richard
Penderell, Preserver and Conductor to his sacred Majesty King Charles
the Second of Great Britain, after his escape from Worcester Fight, in
the year 1651, who died Feb 8, 1671.
Passenger, here’s shrouded in this Herse,
Unparalell’d Pendrell, thro’ the universe.
Like when the Eastern Star from Heaven gave light
To three lost kings; so he, in such dark night,
To Britain’s Monarch, toss’d by adverse War,
On Earth appear’d, a second Eastern Star,
A Pope, a Stern, in her rebellious Main,
A Pilot to her Royal Sovereign.
Now to triumph in Heav’n’s eternal sphere,
Whilst Albion’s Chronicles, with matching fame,
Embalm the story of great Pendrell’s Name.
Nearly an acre. This ground being
originally consecrated by a Roman Catholic, was much used by the poor
Irish. It was enlarged in 1628, and at various subsequent dates, and was
very much overcrowded, and it occupies the site of an ancient graveyard
attached to a leper hospital. It has been laid out as a public garden,
and is maintained by the St. Giles' District Board of Works. The
brightest part of the ground is north of the church, and this is only
opened at the discretion of the caretaker.
GILES'S BURYING GROUND. - St. Giles's parish has the melancholy
notoriety of originating the plague in 1665. (1) It was the fashion in
those days to ascribe that visitation to imported contagion. I
will not pause to enquire whether in the disgusting condition of many
portions of this and other districts sufficient causes may not be
operating to produce an indigenous effect, which might again be ascribed
to a foreign origin.
in his account of London, p. 157, ex- presses himself strongly on the
condition of this churchyard :-" I have," says he, " in
the church yard of St. Giles's, seen with horror, a great square pit,
with many rows of coffins piled one upon the other, all exposed to sight
and smell ; some of the piles were incomplete, expecting the mortality
of the night. I turned away disgusted at the view, and scandalized at
the want of police, which so little regards the health of the living, as
to permit so many putrid corpses, tacked between some slight boards, dispersing
their dangerous effluvia over the capital, to remain unburied.
Notwithstanding a compliment paid to me in one of the public papers, of
my having occasioned the abolition of the horrible practice, it still
remains uncorrected in this great parish. The reform ought to have begun
in the place just stigmatised.”
the present condition of this burying place is not much improved, will
be seen by the following extract, taken from the Weekly Dispatch of
September 30th, 1838 :-
ST. GILES'S CHURCH YARD.-What a horrid place is Saint Giles's church
yard !. It is full of coffins, up to the surface. Coffins are broken up
before they are decayed, and bodies are removed to the " bone
house" before they are sufficiently decayed to make their removal
decent. The effect upon the atmosphere, in that very densely populated
spot, must be very injurious. I had occasion to attend the church with
several gentlemen, on Tuesday; being required to wait, we went into this
Golgotha; near the east side we saw a finished grave, into which bad
projected a nearly sound coffin; half of the coffin had been chopped
away to complete the shape of the new grave. A man was standing by with
a barrowful of sound wood, and several bright coffin plates. I asked him
" Why is all this ?'. and his answer was, “O, it is all Irish”
We then crossed to the opposite corner, and there is the " bone
house," which is a large round pit; into this had been shot, from a
wheelbarrow, the but partly-decayed inmates of the smashed coffins.
Here, in this place of " Christian burial," you may see human
heads, covered with hair; and here, in this "consecrated
ground," are human bones with flesh still adhering to them. On the
north side, a man was digging a grave; he was quite drunk, so indeed
were all the grave diggers we saw. We looked into this grave, but the
stench was abominable. We remained, however, long enough to see that a
child’s coffin, which had stopped the man’s progress, had been cut,
longitudinally, right in half; and there lay the child, which had been
buried in it, wrapped in its shroud, resting upon the part of the coffin
which remained. The shroud was but little decayed. I make no comments ;
every person must see the ill effects if such practices are allowed to
vaults of this church are crowded with dead; they are better ventilated
than many others, - so much the worse for the public.
“The year 1665 became memorable in London by the dreadful
ravages of the GREAT PLAGUE, which first broke out at a house in Long
Acre, near Drury Lane, in the parish of St. Giles in the Fields:” - ( London
and Middlesex, by E. W. Brayley.)
Mr. Walker, speaking of the St. Giles' Churchyard in London says,
"in less than 2 acres it contains 48,000 bodies." A London
churchyard is very like a London omnibus. It can be made to carry any
number. If there is no room inside - no matter, there is always plenty
of accommodation outside. The same with a London churchyard - number is
the last consideration.
There are three things, in fact, which are never by
any accident full. These are: The Pit of a Theatre, an Omnibus, and a
London Churchyard. The latter combines the expansiveness of the two
former, with the voluminousness of the Carpet Bag.