Poplar and Blackwall.103

Poplar and Blackwall.

I Very willingly reply, Sir, to your Letter of the 13th Instant, wherein you desire an Account of the pious and charitable Benefactions in this Hamlet, because some of them deserve to be known better known. And here it is but just that I begin with the Society of the East India Company, not only because my particular Obligations to that Honourable Body, but also because their Bounty is the most considerable of any, tho' it be not confined to this Hamlet.

Dr. Jos. Woodward.

Our Chapel, which is very large and commodious, was built on their Ground in the Year 1654; partly by the voluntary Contributions of the Inhabitants, Mr. Gilbert Dethick leading the Way by the Gift of One Hundred Pounds, and others of the Inhabitants following, according to their Ability and Disposition. But this pious Work was chiefly advanced by those vey worthy Gentlemen, Mr. Maurice Thompson, from whom the present Lord Haversham is descended, and Mr. Thomas Tomlins, whom I must by and by mention again: Who partly by their own Bounty, but chiefly by their earnest Application to wealthy Persons of their Acquaintance, carried on this noble Building to its Perfection, at the Cost of above Two Thousand Pounds, as it is usually computed. And at the Preaching of the first Sermon in this Chapel, our aforesaid Benefactor, Mr. Thompson, gave an uncommon Instance of his great Humility and Piety, in that he condescended to go into the Clerk's Desk, * and there named and set the first Psalm that was sung in this Chapel. And tho' some, perhaps, thought that he did a Thing too mean for his Quality; as the Dancing of King David before the Ark was censured of old; yet the great Honour, whereby God has since distinguished his Posterity, may serve to demonstrate the sure accomplishment of God's Promises of exalting the Humble, and honouring those that Honour him. But to return to our Benefactors.

The Chapel: By whom built.

*'Tis related to the Praise of Sir Thomas More, that when Lord Chancellor, he put on a Surplice, and assisted the Priest in saying Mass in Chelsea Church. J. S.

Ever since the Building of this Chapel, the East India Company has been pleased to grant to the several Ministers that have officiated therein, (of which, by the Providence of God, I am the Fourth) the yearly Allowance of Twenty Pounds, as Minister of this Hamlet; with a convenient Dwelling House, Garden, and a Pasture Field of about three Acres. But they could never yet be prevailed with to grant this otherwise than during their Pleasure; tho', for want of a settled Endowment, which the Lord Bishop of London did very lately importune, by his Letter to them, the Consecration of this very decent Chapel has been hitherto deferred.

About the same Time that our Chapel was built, it pleased the East India Company to erect a School here for the Education of the Children of such Seamen as are or have been employed in their Service, to the Number of 24; endowing it with Twenty Pounds a Year, and a Dwelling House for the Schoolmaster. They also erected an Alms House about the same Time, for fourteen Seamen, disabled in their Service by Age or Accidents; to each of which they allot particular Pensions, according to their Circumstances, as they do likewise to many others, who are not lodged in their Alms-house; they that have least having the Allowance of two Shillings and Six-pence a Week, with half a Chaldron of Coals for the Winter, and a super-added Bounty at Christmas; when the Gentlemen of the Committee ome down hither to distribute a Hundred Pounds, and sometimes much more, to the Widows and Orphans of such Seamen as have served them: Which has been their Practice for many Years past.

A School and Alms-house.

In the Year 1665, Mr. John West gave a Rent-Charge of twelve Pounds a Year, to be distributed among twelve poor Men, and as many poor Women of this Hamlet, at the yearly Feast of our Blessed Saviour's Nativity.

Some Time before this, Captain John Crouthers gave a House, now divided into three Tenements, for the Use of the Poor of this Hamlet for ever; with a weekly Allowance of Bread.

In the Year 1669, Captain William Curtis bequeathed a Rent-Charge of sixty Pounds a Year, for the Release of poor Prisoners, the Relief of aged People, the placing out of poor Children to Trades; and a weekly Distribution of Bread, for the Benefit of the Poor in the Hamlets of Poplar, Limehouse, Ratcliff, and Mile-end, for ever.

Here is an Alms-house for eight poor Widows, which was formerly called Colonel Blunt's Alms-house, but ever since it has been rebuilt by Captain Harman, it has been usually called by his Name.

In the Year 1676, our aforesaid Benefactor Mr. Tomlins gave 25l. to remain as a Fund, for buying of Coals for the Poor of this Hamlet in the Summer; that they might have them at the prime Cost in the Winter.

The elder Sir Henry Johnson, besides his Contribution towards the building of our Chapel, was pleased to beautify it with Painting soon after that it was finished. And at his Death bequeathed an Alms-house for six poor Shipwrights of this Hamlet, with a weekly Allowance of Bread to the Poor.

Mrs. Esther Hawes, besides Communion Plate, which she gave for the Use of our Chapel, erected also here a very convenient Alms-house, in the Year 1686, for six poor Widows; appointing one Pound ten Shillings a Year to be paid to each of them.

These, Sir, are the Names of all our Benefactors, that I can find either in the Table that is hanged up in our Chapel, or by Enquiry among our Inhabitants. But for the Encouragement of more secret Charity, permit me to add; that I received the last Year one hundred Pounds from a bountiful Benefactor, whose Name I am not like to know, 'till the publick Reward of private Alms be given by the Judge of all; I was ordered to distribute it among the poor Widows and Orphans of such Seamen as had sustained Loss in the Service of the old East India Company, which I did accordingly distribute.

And as to this private Charity, which some unknown Persons belonging to the said Company have given, it may truly be said, that I and a Friend of mine have distributed within the Compass of a few Years, at the least eight hundred Pounds to the Widows and Orphans of Seamen that used those Voyages.

At Limehouse there is pretty Work-house set up lately by Charity for Children, to keep them to honest Labour.]

This Chapel of Poplar within the Parish of Stepney contains three Iles.

Chapel of Poplar.

On the East Window over the Communion Table are the Arms of Sir John Gaier, Kt. sometime Maior of the City of London, and Alderman Abdy: Who seemed to have been at the Charge of that Window, and (it is likely) Benefactors towards the building of the Chapel.

J. S.

There is likewise a painted Coat of Arms in the Glass of the East Window of the North Ile, inscribed,

William Dethike, dyed Aug. 22, 1655.

And in another Window in this Ile, the Dethiks Coat, with the following Inscription: