Monoux was the leading man in the Walthamstow of his time. He was concerned with its social, educational, and religious progress, and no one who has studied his good work in our parish can hesitate to rank him very high among our worthies and to praise him as a very famous man. He was of a practical character, as is evidenced by his many reforms. In a collection of "Anecdotes" relating to him, written by some one in the eighteenth century, it says that "George Monoux was possessed of a considerable estate at Walthamstow, and very much resident at his seat called ° Moones,' to which he brought a constant supply of fine spring water from a spring in Brandands, the upper part of Mill Field, through all the fields, then his possessions, conducted through earthenware pipes and in the form of long hollow bricks." Here then we find him as the purveyor of pure spring water, which was not only for his own benefit but for that of his dependents and neighbours at Chapel End. '
It is also pleasant to think of Monoux as a firm believer in the encouragement of the social life of his fellow parishioners. I find that he " built a kitchen, galleries and a large room in the Churchyard for parish feasts and wedding dinners, and also furnished the same with necessary utensils. The room in the master's house was furnished with great spits and irons and pewter and other necessities for the dressing of the said dinners." For the benefit of his neighbours he showed his thoughtfulness by leaving money " for a salary for ever for ringing the great bell at a certain hour in the night and morning the winter half-year."
Monoux was also in considerable favour with the ecclesiastical authorities, for in Strype's '°Life of Cranmer" there is the following passage: "The Archbishop granted a Licence dated July the 24th, with the full consent of Richard Withipole, Vicar of Walthamstow in Essex, to George Monoux, Alderman of London, and Thomas his Son, to have the Sacrament administered in his Chappel or Oratory, in his house, De Moones, now a Farm near Higham Hill, in the said parish of Walthamstow. Indulging therein to the Wife of the said Thomas to be purified or churched in the same Chappel."
This last reference brings me to the great work of Monoux in our parish, viz., the restoration of St. Mary's Church and the founding of the Grammar School and Almshouses. And perhaps the best introduction to this section will be in the words of Strype, who wrote thus in 1694 : " I the rather mention this, that it may serve to recall the memory of that pious and charitable Citizen and Draper, Sir George Monoux, who built the fair steeple of that Parish Church. He built also the North Aisle of the said Church, in the Glass-windows whereof is yet remaining his Coat of Arms. In the Chancel his Body was interred, under a fair altar monument yet standing." I make some reference in church work of Monoux so that here I need only mention that besides building the Tower of red brick and the north aisle, in 1535, he also founded a Chantry in Walthamstow Church, the revenues of which, at its suppression in 1547, were valued at £6 13s. 4d.
This brass, now on the chancel pillar in the north aisle, was originally mural and affixed to the wall above a fair altar monument of stone at the east end of the Monoux Chapel. The effigies of George Monoux and his lady are well engraved: each is represented as kneeling before a fald-stool, on which is an open book. The original brass inscription is lost, and that now cut on the stone of the pillar is of later date and not accurate. The inscription is: "Here lieth Sir George Monox, Knt., sometime Lord Mayor of London, and Dame Ann his wife: which Sir George died in 1543 and Dame Ann in 1500." The shields with the arms engraved are of- (1) The City of London, (2) Monoux, (3) The Drapers' Company, (4) The City of Bristol, and-merely cut in outline on the stone-Ipswich.
It may be well to remark that there is no evidence that George Monoux was knighted the "Sir" was probably used in courtesy; and in his will and later documents he appears as George Monoux, gentleman. His wife, Ann, was alive when he died in 1543, and the date for her death should probably be 1560.