Churches

Lambeth Palace
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. George, Hanover Square
St. Margaret's, near Parliament Square

Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace, Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, SE1, has been the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury since about the 14C. The design of the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace is sometimes attributed to Wren. Several Archbishops have had mathematical and scientific connections. St. Anselm (c1033-1109) and John Pecham (or of Peckham) (c1230-1292) were before the time of Lambeth Palace. The most notable scientist Archbishop was probably Thomas Bradwardine (c1290-1349). He is generally considered to have died at Canterbury, but some sources say he died at Lambeth.

Cuthbert Tunstall (or Tonstall) (1474-1559), Bishop of London in 1522, later of Durham in 1529/30, was the author of the first arithmetic book by an Englishman: De Arte Supputandi, of 1522. On Elizabeths accession in 1558, he was in trouble, being summoned to London in 1559 and ordered to consecrate Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury. He refused, and was deprived of his post and confined to Lambeth Palace under Parkers custody, where he died on 18 Nov. He is buried in the adjacent St. Mary, Lambeth (now the Museum of Garden History), with a plaque in the chancel.

William Laud (1573-1645), Archbishop from 1633 until his execution at the Tower of London, was a mathematician and had taught at St. Johns, Oxford, rising to President of the College. There is a Van Dyck portrait of him in the Guard Room of Lambeth Palace, which has an interesting story. Laud records in his diary that in Oct 1640, he found the painting on the floor, its supporting string having broken, and added God grant this be no omen! A few weeks later he was taken from the Palace to the Tower and never left it.

Frederick Temple (1821-1902) was also a mathematician and Archbishop from 1896..

St. Paul's Cathedral

The foundation of St. Paul's was laid in 1675 and Wren's son placed the last stone in 1708. It is sometimes claimed that Wren was compelled to put an unnecessary chain around the base of the dome and that when he put it in, it actually was not taut. When the dome was strengthened c1926, the chain was found in place and taut, serving its proper purpose. In the southwest tower is a fine spiral staircase called the Geometrical Staircase not now shown, and it is not beautiful, being just an example of the merely mathematical side of Wren's mind.

The Crypt contains the tomb of Wren and the memorial stone with the famous legend Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice. The stone was over the door in the North Transept before the Second World War and was moved here during restoration. A similar inscription is on the main floor under the centre of the dome. Wren's Great Model is in the Trophy Room at the back of the Crypt. An additional chain was actually installed at that time.

There is a memorial to Florence Nightingale in the Crypt.

While in St. Paul's, you should also visit the Whispering Gallery, 108 feet across, under the lower dome, though one author thinks the effect is due to chance rather than Wrens design.

An 1869 biography of Dee calls him Chancellor of St. Pauls, while another source says he was made a Prebendary of St. Pauls by Elizabeth.

Also in St Paul's, Frederick Temple (1821-1902) is commemorated by a relief portrait plaque in the first alcove in the north aisle.

A Napier descendent, General Sir Charles James Napier (1782-1853), the conqueror of Sind, is also commemorated. Near General Gordons monument is a plaque to H.M.S. Captain and all on board which records a naval courts finding that the design of the ship was faulty and had been designed in accordance with Parliamentary wishes and against the advice of the Navy, and further that she had been badly constructed, so that her stability was dangerously small, leading to her loss in 1870.

St. George, Hanover Square

St. George's has a stained glass window from c1525, made by Arnold of Nijmegen, previously in a Carmelite church in Antwerp. The medallion over the seated figure at bottom centre is of Victorie and is claimed to show that the window was a thank-offering for the Victoria, the only one of Magellans ships to return in 1522. Marconi was married here in 1905.

The Church of St. Margaret

St. Margaret's is to the north of Westminster Abbey, beside Parliament Square. On a west tower are four handsome sundials, with an explanatory plaque beneath, by Christopher St. J. H. Daniel, 1982.

The Church has a memorial to William Caxton and a memorial and a window to Walter Raleigh (who was beheaded in the adjacent Old Palace Yard and buried under the altar here - his son Carew kept the head and was buried, supposedly with the head, in the same tomb).

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