A board survives in St Mary's Rotherhithe that records those who donated money to the school to keep it running when finances ran low, and this way of funding the church was maintained until the early 20th Century.
The statues were added to the building when the school
was established here in 1797.
Photograph by Chris LordanHouse, later a school, now an office. c1700. Red brick with stone dressings, parapet with stone coping. 3 storeys and 3 bays. Front with stone quoins and plinth has 6-panel door with decorative fanlight to right, set into timber doorcase with panelled reveals, sunk panelled pilaster jambs supporting entablature with cornice, projecting door-hood long since removed. 1st-floor centre window has stone plaque beneath flanked by scroll corbels supporting figures of boy and girl in period costume of c1700. Ground-floor windows have brick aprons, others brick panels below. Flat, gauged-brick arches to ground- and 1st-floor windows; cambered, gauged-brick arches with keystones to 2nd-floor windows. All are sash windows with glazing bars in flush frames. Blank, brown brick return to right. Rear elevation rebuilt. INTERIOR: retains original panelling and staircase with barleysugar balusters and carved brackets. The plaque indicates that the free school founded in 1613 and instituted in 1742 moved here in 1797.
Peter Hills died on 26th February 1614, a century before the new St Mary's was built in 1714-15. Fortunately, some of the memorials were taken from the old church and installed in the new one, and the Reverend Beck, writing in 1907, tells how the three portions of a monumental brass dedicated to Peter Hills and embedded into the floor of the old church were taken into the new church and, because they were so badly eroded, were mounted on wood and hung on the wall. The brass includes a portrait of Peter Hills and both wives and the inscription reads:
Here lies buried the body of Peter Hill, Mariner, one of the eldest Brothers and Assistants of the Company of the Trinity, and his two wives; who while hee lived in this place, gave liberally to the poore, and spent bountifully in his house; and after many great troubles, being of the age of 80 yeeres and upward departed this life without issue, upon the 26 February, 1614.
This was made at the charge of Robert Bell.
Though Hills be dead,
Hills' Will and Act survives
His Free-Schoole, and
his Pension for the Poore;
Thought on by him,
Performed by his Heire,
For eight poore Sea-mens
Children, and no more
Photographs of the Peter Hills brass and the subscription board mentioned above can be see on the St Mary's Rotherhithe website at http://www.stmaryrotherhithe.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=4.