History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Monument to Isaac Watts, East Enclosure

A Grade II Listed Building in Islington, London

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5237 / 51°31'25"N

Longitude: -0.088 / 0°5'16"W

OS Eastings: 532741

OS Northings: 182268

OS Grid: TQ327822

Mapcode National: GBR S7.CY

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.FYBS

Entry Name: Monument to Isaac Watts, East Enclosure

Listing Date: 21 February 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1396517

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508549

Location: Islington, London, EC1Y

County: London

District: Islington

Electoral Ward/Division: Bunhill

Built-Up Area: Islington

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Giles Cripplegate

Church of England Diocese: London

Find accommodation in
Spitalfields

Listing Text


635-1/0/10214 BUNHILL FIELDS BURIAL GROUND
21-FEB-11 Monument to Isaac Watts, East Enclosure

GV II
Chest tomb of Isaac Watts, 1748, renewed 1808

LOCATION: 532741, 182268.1

MATERIALS: Portland stone with sandstone lid

DESCRIPTION: The monument takes the form of a simple rectangular chest with moulded base and lid, set upon a stone plinth. The sides and ends have raised lozenge panels (the former inscribed ISAAC WATTS D.D.) and the lid bears a short epitaph composed by Watts himself, describing his '50 years of feeble labours in the Gospel' and citing texts from St Paul's Epistles.

HISTORY: Isaac Watts (1674-1748) was one of the most important Dissenting writers and churchmen of the early C18. He was born in Southampton and educated at the Free Grammar School in that city and at Thomas Rowe's academy in London. In 1696 he moved to Stoke Newington to serve as family chaplain and tutor to the wealthy Nonconformist MP Sir John Hartopp, and in 1699 he began preaching at the Mark Lane Independent church in the City of London, becoming its minister in 1702; both these connections would last the rest of his life. Despite long periods of ill-health, he combined his pastoral duties with a literary and intellectual career that spanned theology, philosophy, educational theory and poetry. He is chiefly remembered for his numerous hymns, which pioneered the use of non-biblical texts in church song: they enjoyed immense popularity in the C19, and many, such as 'Joy to the World' and 'When I Behold the Wondrous Cross', remain in use today. He died at the Hartopp family house at Abney Park, Stoke Newington, and was buried at Bunhill Fields with ministers from all three main Nonconformist denominations in attendance. His tomb was renewed by the Hartopp family in 1808.

Bunhill Fields was first enclosed as a burial ground in 1665. Thanks to its location just outside the City boundary, and its independence from any Established place of worship, it became London's principal Nonconformist cemetery, the burial place of John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, William Blake and other leading religious and intellectual figures. It was closed for burials in 1853, laid out as a public park in 1867, and re-landscaped following war damage by Bridgewater and Shepheard in 1964-5.

SOURCES: Corporation of London, A History of the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground (1902).
A W Light, Bunhill Fields (London, 1915).
Isabel Rivers, entry on Watts in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, www.oxforddnb.com (retrieved on 9 June 2009).

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The tomb of Isaac Watts is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It commemorates one of the leading figures of early-C18 Dissent, an influential churchman and a prolific writer whose hymns are still in use today.
* It is a well-preserved early-C19 chest-tomb, bearing an epitaph composed by Watts himself.
* It is located within the Grade I registered Bunhill Fields Burial Ground (q.v.), and has group value with the other listed tombs in the east enclosure.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Description


635-1/0/10214 BUNHILL FIELDS BURIAL GROUND
21-FEB-11 Monument to Isaac Watts, East Enclosure

GV II
Chest tomb of Isaac Watts, 1748, renewed 1808

LOCATION: 532741, 182268.1

MATERIALS: Portland stone with sandstone lid

DESCRIPTION: The monument takes the form of a simple rectangular chest with moulded base and lid, set upon a stone plinth. The sides and ends have raised lozenge panels (the former inscribed ISAAC WATTS D.D.) and the lid bears a short epitaph composed by Watts himself, describing his '50 years of feeble labours in the Gospel' and citing texts from St Paul's Epistles.

HISTORY: Isaac Watts (1674-1748) was one of the most important Dissenting writers and churchmen of the early C18. He was born in Southampton and educated at the Free Grammar School in that city and at Thomas Rowe's academy in London. In 1696 he moved to Stoke Newington to serve as family chaplain and tutor to the wealthy Nonconformist MP Sir John Hartopp, and in 1699 he began preaching at the Mark Lane Independent church in the City of London, becoming its minister in 1702; both these connections would last the rest of his life. Despite long periods of ill-health, he combined his pastoral duties with a literary and intellectual career that spanned theology, philosophy, educational theory and poetry. He is chiefly remembered for his numerous hymns, which pioneered the use of non-biblical texts in church song: they enjoyed immense popularity in the C19, and many, such as 'Joy to the World' and 'When I Behold the Wondrous Cross', remain in use today. He died at the Hartopp family house at Abney Park, Stoke Newington, and was buried at Bunhill Fields with ministers from all three main Nonconformist denominations in attendance. His tomb was renewed by the Hartopp family in 1808.

Bunhill Fields was first enclosed as a burial ground in 1665. Thanks to its location just outside the City boundary, and its independence from any Established place of worship, it became London's principal Nonconformist cemetery, the burial place of John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, William Blake and other leading religious and intellectual figures. It was closed for burials in 1853, laid out as a public park in 1867, and re-landscaped following war damage by Bridgewater and Shepheard in 1964-5.

SOURCES: Corporation of London, A History of the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground (1902).
A W Light, Bunhill Fields (London, 1915).
Isabel Rivers, entry on Watts in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, www.oxforddnb.com (retrieved on 9 June 2009).

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The tomb of Isaac Watts is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It commemorates one of the leading figures of early-C18 Dissent, an influential churchman and a prolific writer whose hymns are still in use today.
* It is a well-preserved early-C19 chest-tomb, bearing an epitaph composed by Watts himself.
* It is located within the Grade I registered Bunhill Fields Burial Ground (q.v.), and has group value with the other listed tombs in the east enclosure.

Reasons for Listing

Yes, list

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.