“SR. HUGH MIDDLETON’S GLORY.”
WITH this issue of FIRE AND WATER is published, for his readers, a reproduction o f a very old print published in London representing the admission of the water into the New River Head at Sadler’s Wells, Pentonville, London,on Michaelmas Day, September 29, 1613, in presence of the Lord Mayor of London, the recorder, aldermen, and a number ot wealthy citizens. Singularly enough on that same day Sir Thomas Middleton, brother of Sir Hugh Middleton to whom London owes the intraduction of the New River water within its limits, was elected lord mayor of the city for the ensuing year.
The print is entitled “Sr. Hugh Middleton’s Glory.” In the foreground stands Sir Hugh Middleton, bareheaded, by his horse, and close to him a band of musicians playing on the old sackbuts and shawms. On the other side of the pool at Sadler’s Wells, the lord mayor, wearing his gold chain of office and mounted on a spirited horse, has just declared the “fresh waters” opened-the scene represents them flowing onwards and “running gallantly” on their course. On the left of the lord mayor are the recorder of the City of London-also wearing his chain of office-the aldermen, and the “Worthy Company,” who stood by to behold the ceremony; while on the right are the clerk of the works, and others who had been employed in building the New River system and were deemed deserving of being handed down in the pages of the “Bio* raphia Brittanica” in some doggerel verses, which, with the descriptive extract of the ceremony from the above work, are reproduced on the print and ‘’Humbly inscrib’d to the Directors of the New River Company by Geo. Bickham.” The verses are as follows:
Clerk of the Works, reach roe the book* to show,
How many arts from such a Labour flow.
First here’s the oversetr, this try’d man »
An ancient soldier and an Artisan >
The Clerk next him Mathematician. ‘
The Master of the Timber Work takes place Next after these the Measurer, in like case.
Bricklayer and Engineer, and after these The Borer and the Pavier, then it shows The labourer and the Keeper of Amwell tread.
The Walkers last, so ail these Names are read Yet these but parcels of six hundred more That at one time have been employed before Yet these in sight, and all the rest will say That all the Week they had tbeir ready pay.
Now for the fruits, then flow fourth, precious Spring,
So long and dearly sought for, and now bring Comfort to all that love thee, loudly sing,
And with thy Chrystal murmurs strung together Bid all thy well wishers welcome hither.
Pennant, the chronicer of the day, then recalls that “the dauntless Welshman stept forth and smote the rock, and the waters flowed into the thirstie citie.”
Hugh Middleton (whose family name is spelled indifferently Midleton, Myddleton, and Mydelton), was the sixth son of Richard Middleton, Esq., governor of Denbigh castle, Denbighshire, North Wales, in the reigns of Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, respectively He being a ’citizen and goldsmith” of the City of London, and seeing how badly the metropolis fared in the matter of water supply, offered on March 28, 1606 to remedy the evil. His offer was accepted, and on him were conferred all the necessary power* and privieges to complete the work, which was begun on April 20, 160S. The source was a series of streamsat Amwell and Chadwell near Ware, some twenty miles to the north of London- the whole course of the New River being nearly thirty-eight miles. It followed the line from Chadwell to Sadler’s Wells, Islington, then a village to the north of London, the fall being about two inches per mile, and ending in London about eighty feet above high water mark. A cut connecting with the river Lea joins the waterway, and the water is still further increased by numerous wells, whence the water is pumped from the large underground reservoirs of the chalk strata into the channel of the New River. (For a full account of the system see London letters of FIRE AND WATER in Nos. 9 and 12. vol. xix., February 29 and March 21, 1896.)