Nicholas Hawksmoor
Nicholas Hawksmoor was a British architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 born in Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west...

, probably in East Drayton
East Drayton
East Drayton is a village in Nottinghamshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 212. It is located 3 miles west of Dunham-on-Trent.The parish church of St Peter and St Paul is 13th or 14th century in date....



Hawksmoor was born in Nottinghamshire in 1661, into a yeoman
Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

 farming family, almost certainly in East Drayton
East Drayton
East Drayton is a village in Nottinghamshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 212. It is located 3 miles west of Dunham-on-Trent.The parish church of St Peter and St Paul is 13th or 14th century in date....

, Nottinghamshire. On his death he was to leave property at nearby Ragnall
Ragnall is a village and former civil parish in Nottinghamshire, England. At the time of the 2001 census it had a population of 102. It is located on the A57 road one mile west of the River Trent. The parish church of St Leonard was extensively rebuilt in 1864-67...

, Dunham
Dunham, Nottinghamshire
Dunham-on-Trent is a village in Nottinghamshire, England. It is located on the A57 road, about west of Dunham Bridge, a toll bridge crossing the River Trent. According to the 2001 census it has a population of 351. The earliest part of the Grade 1 listed parish church of St Oswald is the tower,...

 and a house and land at Great Drayton. It is not known where he received his schooling, but it was probably in more than basic literacy. George Vertue
George Vertue
George Vertue was an English engraver and antiquary, whose notebooks on British art of the first half of the 18th century are a valuable source for the period.-Life:...

 writing in 1731 wrote that he was taken as a youth to act as clerk by 'Justice Mellust in Yorkshire, where Mr Gouge senior did some fretwork ceilings afterwards Mr. Haukesmore [sic] came to London, became clerk to Sr. Christopher Wren & thence became an Architect'.

It was probably 1678 or 1679 when Hawksmoor joined Wren. He was probably unpaid at first. His first official post was as Deputy Surveyor to Wren at the Royal Hospital Chelsea
Royal Hospital Chelsea
The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers who are unfit for further duty due to injury or old age, located in the Chelsea region of central London, now the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is a true hospital in the original sense of the word,...

 form 1683 until February 1685. Hawksmoor's signature appears on a brickmaker's contract for Winchester Palace in November 1684. One of Hawksmoor's topographical sketchbooks survives in the Royal Institute of British Architects
Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.-History:...

 library, this contains sketches and notes some dated 1680 and 1683, of buildings in Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

, Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

, Warwick
Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

, Bath, Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 and Northampton
Northampton is a large market town and local government district in the East Midlands region of England. Situated about north-west of London and around south-east of Birmingham, Northampton lies on the River Nene and is the county town of Northamptonshire. The demonym of Northampton is...

. Wren was paying him 2 shillings a day in 1685 as assistant in the his office in Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...


From about 1684 to about 1700, Hawksmoor worked with Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

 on projects including Chelsea Hospital, St. Paul's Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London; it has not been inhabited by the British royal family since the 18th century. The palace is located south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames...

 and Greenwich Hospital. Thanks to Wren's influence as Surveyor-General, Hawksmoor was named Clerk of the Works at Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century and is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and...

 (1689) and Deputy Surveyor of Works at Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

 (1705). In 1718, when Wren was superseded by the new, amateur Surveyor, William Benson, Hawksmoor was deprived of his double post to provide places for Benson's brother. "Poor Hawksmoor," wrote Vanbrugh in 1721. "What a Barbarous Age have his fine, ingenious Parts fallen into. What wou'd Monsr: Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing...

 in France have given for such a man?".

He then worked for a time with Sir John Vanbrugh, helping him build Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace  is a monumental country house situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, residence of the dukes of Marlborough. It is the only non-royal non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace, one of England's largest houses, was built between...

 for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

, where he took charge after Vanbrugh's final break with the demanding Duchess of Marlborough, and Castle Howard
Castle Howard
Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, north of York. One of the grandest private residences in Britain, most of it was built between 1699 and 1712 for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, to a design by Sir John Vanbrugh...

 for Charles Howard, later the 3rd Earl of Carlisle. There is no doubt that Hawksmoor brought to the brilliant amateur the professional grounding he had received from Wren, and in Colvin's words, "enabled Vanbrugh's heroic designs to be translated into actuality."

In 1702, Hawksmoor designed the baroque country house of Easton Neston
Easton Neston
Easton Neston is a country house near Towcester, Northamptonshire, England, and is part of the Easton Neston Parish. It was designed in the Baroque style by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. Easton Neston is thought to be the only mansion which was solely the work of Hawksmoor...

 in Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

 for Sir William Fermor. This is the only country house for which he was the sole architect, though he extensively remodelled Ockham House, now mostly destroyed, for the Lord Chief Justice King). Easton Neston was not completed as he intended, the symmetrical flanking wings and entrance colonnade, very much in the style of John Vanbrugh
John Vanbrugh
Sir John Vanbrugh  – 26 March 1726) was an English architect and dramatist, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse and The Provoked Wife , which have become enduring stage favourites...

, remaining unexecuted.

In 1713, Hawksmoor was commissioned to complete King's College, Cambridge
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....

: the scheme consisted of a Fellows' Building along King's Parade, and opposite the Chapel a monumental range of buildings containing the Great Hall, kitchens and to the south of that the library and Provost's Lodge. Wooden models and plans of the scheme survive, but it proved too expensive and Hawksmoor produced a second scaled down design. But the college that had invested heavily in the South Sea Company lost their money when the 'bubble' burst in 1720. The result was that Hawksmoor's scheme would never be executed, the college was finished later in the 18th century by James Gibbs
James Gibbs
James Gibbs was one of Britain's most influential architects. Born in Scotland, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England...

 and early in the 19th century by William Wilkins
William Wilkins (architect)
William Wilkins RA was an English architect, classical scholar and archaeologist. He designed the National Gallery and University College in London, and buildings for several Cambridge colleges.-Life:...

Hawksmoor conceived grand rebuilding schemes for central Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, most of which were not realised. The idea was for a round library for the Radcliffe Camera
Radcliffe Camera
The Radcliffe Camera is a building in Oxford, England, designed by James Gibbs in the English Palladian style and built in 1737–1749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.-History:...

 but that commission went to James Gibbs. He did design the Clarendon Building
Clarendon Building
The Clarendon Building is a landmark Grade I listed building in Oxford, England, owned by the University of Oxford. It was built between 1711 and 1715 to house the Oxford University Press. It stands in the centre of the city in Broad Street, near the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre...

 at Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

; the Codrington Library and new buildings at All Souls College, Oxford
All Souls College, Oxford
The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford or All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England....

; parts of Worcester College, Oxford
Worcester College, Oxford
Worcester College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. The college was founded in the eighteenth century, but its predecessor on the same site had been an institution of learning since the late thirteenth century...

 with Sir George Clarke
George Clarke
George Clarke , the son of Sir William Clarke, enrolled at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1676. He was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1680. He became Judge Advocate to the Army and was William III of England's Secretary at War from 1690 to 1704...

; the High Street screen at The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College, founded 1341, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Queen's is centrally situated on the High Street, and is renowned for its 18th-century architecture...

 and six new churches in London. Although he did not live to see them built, Hawksmoor also designed the West Towers of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. In addition, he superimposed on the medieval portal, and became Surveyor of the Abbey when Wren died in 1723.

Unlike many of his wealthier contemporaries, Hawksmoor never travelled to Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 on a Grand Tour
Grand Tour
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

, where he might have been influenced by the style of architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 there. His ideas seem to derive from engravings, especially monuments of ancient Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and reconstructions of the Temple of Solomon. But he was versatile in his work, and all the buildings he designed are distinctly different from each other. The influence of Italian Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 architect Borromini can be detected in some.

Hawksmoor's six London churches

The act for fifty new churches of 1711 established a commission, which included Christopher Wren, John Vanburgh, Thomas Archer
Thomas Archer
Thomas Archer was an English Baroque architect, whose work is somewhat overshadowed by that of his contemporaries Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Archer was born at Umberslade Hall in Tanworth-in-Arden in Warwickshire, the youngest son of Thomas Archer, a country gentleman, Parliamentary...

 and a number of churchmen. It appointed Hawksmoor and William Dickinson as its surveyors. As supervising architects they were not necessarily expected to design all the churches themselves. Dickinson left his post in 1713 and was replaced by James Gibbs
James Gibbs
James Gibbs was one of Britain's most influential architects. Born in Scotland, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England...

. Gibbs was removed from his post in 1716 and replaced by John James. James and Hawksmoor remained in office until the commission was wound up in 1733. The declining enthusiasm of the Commission, and the expense of the buildings, meant that only twelve churches were completed, six designed by Hawksmoor, and two by James in collaboration with Hawksmoor. The two collaborations were St Luke Old Street
St Luke Old Street (church)
St Luke is a historic Anglican church building in the London Borough of Islington. It is now a music centre operated by the London Symphony Orchestra and known as LSO St Luke's. It is the home of the LSO's community and music education programme LSO Discovery...

 (1727–33) and St John Horsleydown
St John Horsleydown
St John Horsleydown was the Anglican parish church of Horsleydown in Bermondsey, London.-The church:The church built between June 1727 and 1733 in Fair Street , as one of the last churches built for the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches...

 (1727–33), to which Hawksmoor's contribution seems to have been largely confined to the towers with their extraordinary steeples. The six churches wholly designed by Hawksmoor are his best-known independent works of architecture. They compare in their complexity of interpenetrating internal spaces with contemporaneous work in Italy by Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini, byname of Francesco Castelli was an architect from Ticino who, with his contemporaries, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture.A keen student of the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of...

. Their spires, are essentially Gothic outlines executed in innovative and imaginative Classical detail.
  • St Alfege's Church, Greenwich
    St Alfege's Church, Greenwich
    St Alfege Church is a Church of England place of worship in the town centre of Greenwich in the eponymous London Borough.-History:The church is dedicated to, and reputedly marks the place where Alfege , Archbishop of Canterbury, was killed by Viking raiders on 19 April 1012.The second church built...

  • St George's Church, Bloomsbury
    St. George's Church, Bloomsbury
    St George's, Bloomsbury is a parish church in Bloomsbury, London Borough of Camden, United Kingdom.-History:The Commissioners for the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711 realised that, due to rapid development in the Bloomsbury area during the latter part of the 17th and early part of the 18th...

  • Christ Church, Spitalfields
  • St George in the East
    St George in the East
    St George in the East is an Anglican Church and one of six Hawksmoor churches in London, England, built from 1714 to 1729, with funding from the 1711 Act of Parliament...

    , Wapping
    Wapping is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets which forms part of the Docklands to the east of the City of London. It is situated between the north bank of the River Thames and the ancient thoroughfare simply called The Highway...

  • St Mary Woolnoth
    St Mary Woolnoth
    St. Mary Woolnoth is an Anglican church in the City of London, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, located on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street near the Bank of England.- Early history :...

  • St Anne's Limehouse
    St Anne's Limehouse
    St Anne's Limehouse is a Hawksmoor Anglican Church in Limehouse, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It was consecrated in 1730, one of the twelve churches built through the 1711 Act of Parliament.-History:...

Garden buildings and monuments

Hawksmoor also designed a number of structures for the gardens at Castle Howard these are:
  • The Pyramid (1728)
  • The Mausoleum (1729–40) built on the same scale as his London churches, it is almost certainly the first free-standing mausoleum built in Western Europe since the fall of the Roman empire.
  • The Carrmire Gate, (c.1730)
  • The Temple of Venus (1731-5) demolished

At Blenheim Palace he designed the Woodstock Gate (1723) in the form of a Triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

He also designed the obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

 in Ripon
Ripon is a cathedral city, market town and successor parish in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, located at the confluence of two streams of the River Ure in the form of the Laver and Skell. The city is noted for its main feature the Ripon Cathedral which is architecturally...

 market place, erected in 1702, at 80 feet in height it was the first large scale obelisk to be erected in Britain.

Death and obituary

Hawksmoor died on the 25 March 1736 in his house at Millbank
Millbank is an area of central London in the City of Westminster. Millbank is located by the River Thames, east of Pimlico and south of Westminster...

 from 'Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

 of the stomach'. He had suffered poor health for the last twenty years of his life and was often confined to bed hardly able to sign his name. His will instructed that he be buried at the church at Shenley, Hertfordshire
Shenley, Hertfordshire
Shenley is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, between Barnet and St Albans. The village is located 18.7 miles from Central London.-History:...

, his tomb stone there has this inscription:



Hic J[acet]



obijt vicesimo quin[t]o die [Martii]

Anno Domini 1736

Aetatis 75

His obituary
An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are written only for people considered significant...

 appeared in Read's Weekly Journal, no. 603. 27 March 1736. Probably written by his son-in-law
Son-in-Law was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and an influential sire, especially for sport horses.The National Horseracing Museum says that Son-in-Law is "probably the best and most distinguished stayer this country has ever known." Described as "one of the principal influences for stamina in...

, Nathaniel Blackerby:
Thursday morning died, at this house on Mill-Bank, Westminster, in a very advanced age, the learned and ingenious Nicholas Hawksmoor, Esq, one of the greatest Architects this or the preceeding (sic) Century has produc'd. His early skill in, and Genius for this noble science recommended him, when about 18 years of age, to the favour and esteem of his great master and predecessor, Sir Christopher Wren, under whom, during his life, and for himself since his death, he was concerned in the erecting more Publick (sic) Edifices, than any one life, among the moderns at least, can boast of. In King Charles II's reign, he was employ'd under Sir Christopher Wren, in the stately buildings at Winchester; as he was likewise in all the other publick structures, Palaces &c, erected by that great Man, under whom he was assisting, from the Beginning (factually wrong, Hawksmoor was 14 years old then) to the Finishing of that grand and noble Edifice the cathedral of St. Paul's, and of all the churches rebuilt after the Fire of London. At the building of Chelsea-College he was Deputy-Surveyor, and Clerk of Works, under Sir Christopher Wren. At Greenwich-Hospital he was, from the Beginning 'till a short time before his death, Clerk of Works. In the Reigns of King William and Queen Anne, he was Clerk of their Majesties Works at Kensington, and at Whitehall, St. Jame's and Westminster. In the reign of King George I, he was first Surveyor of all the new Churches, and Surveyor of Westminster-Abbey, from the death of Sir Christopher Wren. He was chiefly concern'd in designing and building a great number of magnificent Nobleman's Houses, and particularly (with Sir John Vanbrugh) those of Blenheim and Castle-Howard, at the latter of which he was at his Death, carrying on a Mausoleum in the most elegant and grand Stile (sic), not to mention many others: But one of the most surprising of his undertakings, was the repairing of Beverley Minster
Beverley Minster
Beverley Minster, in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire is a parish church in the Church of England. It is said to be the largest parish church in the UK....

, where the stone wall on the north-side was near three Foot out of the perpendicular, which he mov'd at once to its upright by means of a machine of his own invention. In short his numerous Publick Works at Oxford, perfected in his lifetime, and the design and model of Dr. Ratcliff's Library there, his design of a new Parliament-House, after the thought of Sir Christopher Wren; and, to mention no more, his noble Design for repairing the West-End of Westminster-Abbey, will all stand monuments to his great capacity, inexhaustible fancy, and solid judgement. He was perfectly skill'd in the History of Architecture, and could give exact account of all the famous buildings, both Antient (sic) and Modern, in every part of the world; to which his excellent memory, that never fail'd him to the very last, greatly contributed. Nor was architecture the only science he was master of. He was bred a scholar. and knew as well the learned as the modern tongues. He was a very skilful mathematician, geographer, and geometrician; and in drawing, which he practised to the last, though greatly afflicted with Chiragra, few excelled him. In his private life he was a tender husband, a loving father, a sincere friend, and a most agreeable companion; nor could the most poignant pains of Gout, which he for many years laboured under, ever ruffle or discompose his evenness of temper. And as his memory must always be dear to his Country, so the loss of so great and valuable man in sensibly, and in a more particular manner felt by those who had the pleasure of his personal acquaintance, and enjoy'd the happiness of his conversation.

Hawksmoor in recent literature

Hawksmoor's architecture has influenced several poets and authors of the twentieth century. His church St Mary Woolnoth
St Mary Woolnoth
St. Mary Woolnoth is an Anglican church in the City of London, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, located on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street near the Bank of England.- Early history :...

 is mentioned in T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

's poem The Waste Land
The Waste Land
The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...


Algernon Stitch lived in a "superb creation by Nicholas Hawksmoor" in London in the novel Scoop
Scoop (novel)
Scoop is a 1938 novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, a satire of sensationalist journalism and foreign correspondence.-Plot:William Boot, a young man who lives in genteel poverty far from the iniquities of London, is contributor of nature notes to Lord Copper's Beast, a national newspaper...

 by Evelyn Waugh
Evelyn Waugh
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh , known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, travel books and biographies. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer...


Hawksmoor is the subject of a poem by Iain Sinclair
Iain Sinclair
Iain Sinclair FRSL is a British writer and filmmaker. Much of his work is rooted in London, most recently within the influences of psychogeography.-Life and work:...

 called 'Nicholas Hawksmoor: His Churches' which appeared in Sinclair's collection of poems Lud Heat (1975). Sinclair argued that Hawksmoor's churches formed a pattern consistent with the forms of Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism, sometimes referred to as Traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil Worship, is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship. Other characteristics of Theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is...

. This idea was developed by Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English biographer, novelist and critic with a particular interest in the history and culture of London. For his novels about English history and culture and his biographies of, among others, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot and Sir Thomas More he won the Somerset Maugham Award...

. In his novel Hawksmoor
Hawksmoor (novel)
Hawksmoor is a 1985 novel by the English writer Peter Ackroyd. It won Best Novel at the 1985 Whitbread Awards.-Story:Set in the late seventeenth century, architect Nicholas Dyer is progressing work on several churches in London's East End...

(1985) the historical Hawksmoor is refigured as the fictional Devil-worshiper Nicholas Dyer, while the eponymous Hawksmoor is a twentieth-century detective charged with investigating a series of murders perpertrated on Dyer's (Hawksmoor's) churches.

Both Sinclair and Ackroyd's ideas in turn were further developed by Alan Moore
Alan Moore
Alan Oswald Moore is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell...

 and Eddie Campbell
Eddie Campbell
Eddie Campbell is a Scottish comics artist and cartoonist who now lives in Australia. Probably best known as the illustrator and publisher of From Hell , Campbell is also the creator of the semi-autobiographical Alec stories collected in Alec: The Years Have Pants, and Bacchus , a wry adventure...

 in their graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

, From Hell
From Hell
From Hell is a comic book series by writer Alan Moore and artist Eddie Campbell, originally published from 1991 to 1996, speculating upon the identity and motives of Jack the Ripper. The title is taken from the first words of the "From Hell" letter, which some authorities believe was an authentic...

, which speculated that Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

 used Hawksmoor's buildings as part of ritual magic, with his victims as human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

. In the appendix, Moore revealed that he had met and spoke with Sinclair on numerous occasions while developing the core ideas of the book. The argument includes the idea that the locations of the churches form a pentagram
A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes...

 with ritual significance.

In 2002 Hawksmoor was the subject of an award-winning monograph by the architectural historian Vaughan Hart
Vaughan Hart
Vaughan Hart is a leading architectural historian and Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. Hart studied architecture at Bath and Cambridge Universities...

, which redefined Hawksmoor with new insights and discoveries.

Hawksmoor is mentioned in "The History Boys" by Alan Bennett, p82, where Akthar is questioned by Mrs Lintott about his interest in architecture.


  • There is a school in Towcester
    Towcester , the Roman town of Lactodorum, is a small town in south Northamptonshire, England.-Etymology:Towcester comes from the Old English Tófe-ceaster. Tófe refers to the River Tove; Bosworth and Toller compare it to the "Scandinavian proper names" Tófi and Tófa...

    , Northamptonshire
    Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

     named Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School for the architect.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.