A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for William RYDER
Bethnal Green, where Sir William lived, is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in the heart of London's East End, located 3.3 miles (5.3 km) north east of Charing Cross. A Tudor ballad about the 'Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green' tells of an ostensibly poor man who gave a surprisingly generous dowry for his daughter's wedding. The tale furnishes the parish of Bethnal Green's coat of arms. According to one version of the legend, the beggar was the son of Simon de Montfort, who then lived nearby. The name means Blitha's green and dates from 1443.
His will was dated 1669.
He was buried at Saint Andrew Undershaft, an Anglican church located at Saint Mary Axe in the City of London, near the Lloyd's Building. It is a rare example of a City church that has managed to escape both the Great Fire of London and the Second World War bombing.
The first church on the site was built in medieval times, being recorded in the 12th century. It was rebuilt in the 14th century and again in 1532, whence the present church dates. It is constructed in the Perpendicular style with its entrance located at the base of its off-center tower. The interior is divided into six bays, with a variety of original fittings that has fortunately survived Victorian renovation. It used to have one of London's few surviving large stained glass windows, installed in the 17th century, but this was destroyed in an IRA bomb attack in 1992.
The church's curious name derives from the shaft of the maypole that was traditionally set up each year opposite the church. The custom continued until 1517, when student riots put an end to it, but the maypole itself survived until 1547 when a Puritan mob seized and destroyed it as a "pagan idol". John Stow, author of the Survey of London
was buried there in 1605.
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