Rahere. William Silver Frith. Stone. 1893. Portland stone, 2.5 m high. West Porch, St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London (Architect: Aston Webb).

According to Tina Bird, Rahere, “the minstrel who founded a church and a hospital, has been celebrated — and exaggerated! —” by poets and playwrights for centuries. Rahere, the canon who founded St. Bartholomew's, is harder to find. The primary source of biographical information on the life of the founder is the Book of the Foundation. . . . All we can say for certain is that” by 1114, Rahere was old enough -- and sufficiently well-educated -- to hold the Chamberlain's Wood prebend; that he was known in the court of Henry I (based on the evidence of charters to the church and hospital); and that he died in 1144.”

Other sculpture by Frith on this church

Photographs and caption by Robert Freidus. Formatting, perspective correction, and additional text by George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]


Bird, Tina. “Rahere, Founder & First Prior of St. Bartholomew's Priory & Hospital.” Web. 6 July 2011.

Ward-Jackson, Philip. Public Sculpture of the City of London. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

Last modified 6 July 2011