Most visitors to a grand cathedral are going to want to admire grand monuments, of which St Paul’s is packed full of – but what about the smaller monuments?
Or the smallest.
Here are, which I think are the three smallest monuments inside the mighty and grand St Paul’s Cathedral.
This can be found in the corner of the North Transept.
These two fairly small brass plaques are mounted underneath a much larger and related monument to those who lost their lives in the South African War 1899-1902.
The two brass plaques read:
5th (Militia) Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) 1888-1918 Presented by Field Marshal H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge at Hounslow 22nd June 1888
6th (Militia) Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) 1890-1918 Presented by Field Marshal H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge at Hounslow 22nd July 1890
The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1966. Their nickname, the “Die-hards” was gained the name during the Peninsular War when, at the Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811 their commander Colonel Inglis had his horse shot from under him, severely wounded and outnumbered by the French he called to his men “Die hard, 57th. Die hard!”
Above both plaques is their crest with the name of Albuera.
The following two — accidentally related — can be found in the South Choir Aisle.
Here, squashed between a box and a wall is a stone plaque with brass knot/bolt and a Latin inscription that roughly reads:
LAPIDEM QVI TEMPLO HIEROSOLYMAITANO OLUM INHAREREBAT E TERRA SANCTA REDVX HVC VSQVE ASPORTAVIT H.P. LIDDON. S.T.P. HVJVSCE ECCL. CATH. CANONICVS A.S. MDCCCLXXXVI
Which has been roughly translated as “The stone which was brought from the Temple of Solomon returning it to this sacred earth forever, presented by this ecclesiastical Catholic canon H. P. Liddon in 1886”
Henry Parry Liddon (1829–1890) was an English theologian, who came to fame for his hugely popular sermons at St Paul’s Cathedral in the 1860s. The afternoon sermon, which fell to the canon in residence, had usually been delivered in the choir, but soon after Liddon’s appointment it became necessary to preach the sermon under the dome, where from 3000 to 4000 persons used to gather to hear him.
He later travelled through Palestine and Egypt, where it is presumed he picked up this stone.
…oh, and taking photos of a lump of dark stone squashed in a narrow gap behind a storage cupboard really intrigues tourists who came over to see what I had found, and walked away less than impressed.
And finally, here is a memorial plaque celebrating the betrothal of Jacob Pennethorne to Anna Lidedon with what is described in the Cathedral archive as a bronze carving above it. The carving is said in the archive to be “of a flower and what might be the corner of a lounging chair”.
The Latin reads:
QVAS TEMPLI HIEROSOLYMITANI RELIQVIAS IACOBVSEERGVSSON VIRE PERITISSIMVS IACOBO PENNETHORNE EQVITI OLIM DEDERAT HVIVSCE FILIA ANNA S. LISSON IN HAC ECCL CATH D. PAVLI APOST CONSERVANAS ESSE VOLVIT A.S. MDSCCCLXXXIX
Which has been roughly translated as “The man Jacob Fergusson gave his only remaining daughter Anna S Liddon to the skilled horseman Jacob Pennethorne in this ecclesiastical cathedral of Paul the Apostle made from the Temple of Solomon…”
Jacob Fergusson was a Scottish architect who made his fortune in India and now rich enough dabbled in archaeology. Although he did a lot of good work, he also published a rather discredited theory that Solomon’s Temple stood not where the Dome of the Rock is located, but on the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount
He was however eminent enough to be part of the restoration committee at St Paul’s Cathedral in the late 18th century. This memorial was placed here by his daughter three years after his death in 1886.
However, the archive description of the “bronze” may be incorrect, as a report in the Biblical Archeological Society suggests that this stone fragment came from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where other similarly decorated stones are known to have been found – and is potentially from King Herod’s second temple.
Which actually makes this hidden away lump of stone really quite significant.