Stoke Newington is connected with the name of Edgar Allan Poe. It was here that he was at school, where he was brought over by the Allans as a child. The house still stands; it is at the corner of Edward’s Lane, which runs out of Church Street. Let us hope that the eccentricities of this wayward poet were not due to the influences of Nonconformist Newington.
The reflections conjured up by an inspection of Esher old church are sad indeed, and the details of it not a little horrible to a sensitive person. There is an early nineteenth-century bone-house or above-ground vault attached to the little building, in which have been stored coffins innumerable. The coffins are gone, but many of the bony relics of poor humanity may be seen in the dusty semi-obscurity of an open archway, lying strewn among rakes and shovels. To these, when the present writer was inspecting the place, entered a fox-terrier, emerging presently with the thigh-bone of some rude forefather of the hamlet in his mouth. “Drop it!” said the churchwarden, fetching the dog a blow with his walking-stick. The dog “dropped it” accordingly, and went off, and the churchwarden kicked the bone away. I made some comment, I know not what, and the churchwarden volunteered the information that the village urchins had been used to play with these poor relics. “They’re nearly all gone now,” said he. “They used to break the windows with ’em.”
Round about “Riselip,” as its inhabitants call it, they grow hay, cabbages, potatoes, and other useful, if humble, vegetables; and, by dint of great patience and industry, manage to get them up to the London market. It is only at rare intervals that the villagers ever see a railway engine, for Ruislip is far remote from railways, and so the place and people keep their local character.Two or three remarkably quaint inns face the central space round which the old and new cottages are grouped, and the very large church stands modestly behind, its battlemented tower peering over the tumbled roofs and gable-ends with a fine effect, an effect that would be still finer were it not that the miserably poor “restoration” work of the plastered angles, done by that dreadful person, Sir Gilbert Scott, is only too apparent.
At the west end of Laindon Church, Essex, there is a unique erection of timber, of which we here give a representation. It has been modernised in appearance by the insertion of windows and doors; and there are no architectural details of a character to reveal with certainty its date, but in its mode of construction—the massive timbers being placed close together—and in its general appearance, there is an air of considerable antiquity. It is improbable that a house would be erected in such a situation after the Reformation, and it accords generally with the descriptions of a recluse house.
On the other side of High Street stands St. John's Episcopal Church, the lot for which was given in 1796 by the Deakins' family. Reverend Walter Addison of Prince Georges County, Maryland, had visited George Town in 1794 and 1795 and held occasional services, so a movement was started to build a church. Among the subscribers were Thomas Jefferson and Dr. Balch.
At the end of the bay stands the Far Village church in all her kindly, simple seriousness. Her bells ring out the angelus over the waters of the bay, along the shores, and back into the uplands, proclaiming that she is ready, like a hen gathering her chickens under her wings, to receive and comfort all the faithful.
At three o'clock a great throng of eager men again crowded into the Old South Church and the streets outside to wait for the return of Rotch. It was a critical moment. "If the Governor refuses to give the pass, shall the revenue officer be allowed to seize the tea and land it to-morrow morning?" Many anxious faces showed that men were asking themselves this momentous question.
Dawes was soon making his way across Boston Neck, while Paul Revere went home and put on his riding suit for his long night-ride. Then, leaving orders for a lantern-signal to be hung in the belfry of the Old North Church, to indicate by which route the British forces were advancing, "one if by land and two if by sea," he rowed across the Charles River, passing near the British war-vessels lying at anchor.