8 MARCH 2021
Past Master Christopher McKane writes:
I made the annual inspection on behalf of the Company of Past Master Richard Johnson's grave at St Mary Hendon this afternoon, Wednesday, 3 March 2021.
The area round the headstone is tidy and the stone itself pretty clean apart from a little discolouring at the top, and the inscription is bold and clear. The stone is set firm. Clumps of daffodils were brightening the churchyard on a dismal grey and rainy day. It's a good position on the edge of the churchyard: if he turns his head to the right RJ has a view clear down to London.
The unprepossessing, even austere, grave holds two Richard Johnsons: Richard Johnson, citizen, born 1734 (although this is not recorded on the stone), who died on February 25 1793, aged 59; "He possessed a good and generous Mind was much beloved as well as being admired for His moral principles in Literature". The second inscription is to the Richard Johnson who died on February 11 1795, aged 38, who is "our" Richard Johnson (born in 1757, date also not recorded on the stone) and whose name is followed by "Vita Humana Bulla est". They were father and son.
Johnson the Stationer wished the Master and Wardens to go to Hendon on the anniversary of his father's death to inspect the tomb and to hear the "Bubble" sermon followed by a dinner. For City Stationers it would have been a bit of an expedition.The Hendon dinner was discontinued in 1917 and the service is now held at St Bride's, although for a number of years it was held at St Martin Within Ludgate.
I would urge anyone who happens to be in the area to visit. You can park at the Greyhound pub or even closer, in Church Terrace. Just take a few minutes to stand there and contemplate the nature of 18th-century charitable giving to "old Widows", as his will put it!
Christopher McKane Past Master
3 March 3 2021
On receiving Past McKane’s the Master provided a further point of interest pertaining to the church yard! He writes:
Also in the same church yard is Herbert Chapman lured from cup-winning Huddersfield Town by Arsenal. It was he who made them the star team of the 30s, it was he also who persuaded the London Passenger Transport Board to change the name of Gillespie Road underground station to Arsenal, the only underground station named after a football club. He was a remarkable man and a replica of Epstein’s statue of him stands outside the Emirates
Stadium (see photo). Arsene Wenger now vies with him in the club’s hall of fame!
The main photo shows Richard Johnson's grave