The Project Gutenberg EBook of London City, by Walter Besant

Title: London City

Author: Walter Besant

Produced by Richard Tonsing, Chris Curnow and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)

Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

The Survey of London

Pictorial Agency.






With this volume we begin what may be called the second part of the Survey. All that has preceded it has dealt with the history of London as a whole; now we turn to London in its topographical aspect and treat it street by street, with all the historical associations interwoven in a continuous narrative with a running commentary of the aspect of the streets as they were at the end of the nineteenth century, for the book is strictly a Survey of London up to the end of the nineteenth century. Sir Walter Besant himself wrote the greater part of the volume now issued, calling it “The Antiquities of the City,” and it is exclusively confined to the City. For the topographical side of the great work, however, he employed assistants to collect material for him and to help him; for though, as he said, he had been “walking about London for the last thirty years and found something fresh in it every day,” he could not himself collect the mass of detail requisite for a fair presentation of the subject. In the present volume, therefore, embedded in his running commentary, will be found detailed accounts of the City Companies, the City churches and other buildings, which are not by his hand. A word as to the plan on which the volume is made may be helpful. In cases where the City halls are standing, accounts of the Companies they belong to are inserted there in the course of the perambulation; but where the Companies possess no halls, the matter concerning them is relegated to an Appendix. The churches, however, being peculiarly associated with the sites on which they are standing, or stood, are considered to be an integral part of the City associations, and churches, whether vanished or standing, are noted in course of perambulation. A distinction which shows at a glance whether any particular church is still existing or has been demolished is made by the type; for in the case of an existing church the name is viset in large black type, as a centre heading, whereas with a vanished church it is given in smaller black type set in line.

The plan of the book is simplicity itself; it follows the lines of groups of streets, taken as dictated by common sense and not by the somewhat arbitrary boundaries of wards. The outlines of these groups are clearly indicated on the large map which will be found at the end of the volume.



Streets North and South of Cheapside and the Poultry 1
Streets North of Gresham Street and West of Moorgate Street 63
Streets between Moorgate and Bishopsgate Streets 91
Streets between Fenchurch and Bishopsgate Streets 146
Thames Street and the Streets North and South of it 190
The Tower of London 288
Newgate Street and the Streets North and South of it 300
St. Paul’s 327
Fleet Street and the adjacent Courts (including the Temple and the Rolls) 362
The Temple 370
The Ancient Schools in the City of London 385
1. The City Companies 433
2. Mayors and Lord Mayors of London from 1189 to 1900 455
3. A Calendar of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London from 1189 to 1900 461


Interior of Royal Exchange   Frontispiece
Cheapside Cross (as it appeared on its erection in 1606)   5
St. Mildred, Poultry   18
Inside the Poultry Compter   19
St. Lawrence, Jewry   26
SS. Anne and Agnes   27
Blackwell Hall, 1819   31
Mercers’ Hall: Interior Facing 32
Mercers’ Hall   35
City of London School, Milk Street   39
Church of St. Vedast   43
Goldsmiths’ Hall, 1835   45
Gerard’s Hall Crypt in 1795   57
The Armourers’ and Brasiers’ Almshouses, Bishopsgate Without, 1857   65
St. Mary, Aldermanbury, in 1814   70
Porch of St. Alphage, London Wall, 1818   72
Sion College, London Wall, 1800   73
Grub Street Hermit   77
St. Giles, Cripplegate   81
London Wall   83
The Pump in Cornhill, 1800   93
St. Peter’s, Cornhill   96
Confectioner’s Shop, Cornhill   98
Garraway’s Coffee-House   99
Pope’s House in Plough Court   103
St. Mary Woolnoth Facing 106
Altar of St. Mary Abchurch   109
Salters’ Hall, 1822   113
St. Stephen, Walbrook Facing 118
The Mansion House and Cheapside   120
Stocks Market   123
Bank of England Fountain Facing 126
St. Benet Finck   129
xSt. Martin Outwich   131
Gresham College   135
Carpenters’ Hall, London Wall, 1830   144
Ironmongers’ Hall in the Eighteenth Century   149
A Remarkable Old House in Leadenhall Street   154
Leadenhall Street   155
Skin Market, Leadenhall, 1825   157
Leadenhall Chapel in 1812   160
Crypt in Leadenhall Street, 1825   161
Aldgate in 1830   169
St. Andrew Undershaft   173
Bishopsgate Street, showing Church of St. Martin Outwich, and the Pump, 1814   177
St. Helen, Bishopsgate, 1817   179
Cornhill Military Association, with a View of the Church of St. Helen’s, and Leathersellers’ Hall Facing 180
Council Room, Crosby Hall, 1816   181
Principal Entrance to Leathersellers’ Hall. Demolished 1799   184
St. Ethelburga, Bishopsgate Street   186
St. Botolph, Bishopsgate   187
Blackfriars Bridge, 1796   193
Ludgate Circus and Ludgate Hill   198
Stationers’ Hall in 1830   199
Stationers’ Hall (Interior)   201
Fleur-de-lys Court   203
British and Foreign Bible Society House Facing 206
The College of Arms   209
Doctors’ Commons, 1808   211
Queen Victoria Street Facing 214
A Bas-relief of a Gardener, Gardeners’ Lane, 1791   219
Council Chambers, Vintners’ Hall   230
Whittington’s House   236
Cannon Street, looking West Facing 250
Old Merchant Taylors’ School, Suffolk Lane, Cannon Street   254
Fishmongers’ Hall, present day   260
London Bridge Facing 260
Fishmongers’ Hall in 1811   261
St. Magnus   262
The Monument in 1752   265
The Coal Exchange   271
Billingsgate Market Facing 272
Custom House Facing 274
Clothworkers’ Hall   277
Whittington’s House, Crutched Friars, 1796   279
Pepys’ Church (St. Olave, Hart Street)   281
xiTrinity House, Tower Hill   284
Remains of London Wall, Tower Hill, 1818   285
Block, Axe, and Scavenger’s Daughter   288
Newgate Market, 1856   304
Newgate, 1799   305
Christ’s Hospital, from the Cloisters, 1804   308
An Exciting Game, Christ’s Hospital   319
The Oxford Arms, Warwick Lane   323
The Post Office, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Bull and Mouth Inn, London   329
St. Paul’s Cathedral   334
Paternoster Row (as it was)   343
Paternoster Row Facing 346
The City Boundary, Aldersgate   349
St. Bartholomew the Great   353
General Post Office Facing 354
Cloth Fair   356
Old Coach and Horses, Cloth Fair   357
Long Lane, Smithfield, 1810   358
Bartholomew Fair, 1721   359
Fleet Street Facing 364
Izaak Walton’s House in Fleet Street   366
St. Dunstan in the West (Old Church)   368
Inner Temple Gate House Facing 374
Supposed House of Dryden, Fetter Lane   380
Dr. Johnson’s House   381
Fleet Ditch, West Street, Smithfield, as it was in 1844   383
St. Paul’s School (before its removal to Hammersmith)   402

It seems convenient in treating of the history and archæology of the City to take the streets in groups, each group being in connection with the main street to which it belongs. We may in this fashion conveniently arrange the streets as follows:—

(1) Those north and south of Cheapside and the Poultry.
(2) Those north of Gresham Street and west of Moorgate Street.
(3) Those between Moorgate and Bishopsgate Streets.
(4) Those between Fenchurch and Bishopsgate Streets.
(5) Thames Street and the streets north and south of it.
(6) Newgate Street and the streets north and south of it.
(7) Fleet Street and the adjacent Courts (including the Temple and the Rolls).


Cheapside.—We begin with the true heart of London, West Chepe, as it was formerly called, and the streets lying north and south of this marketplace. St. Paul’s Churchyard and Foster Lane mark our western boundary; Princes Street and Walbrook, our eastern; Gresham Street (formerly Cateaton Street) is on the north, and Cannon Street on the south.

By the time of Queen Elizabeth we find the West Chepe, with its streets north and south, laid out with something like the modern regularity. We must therefore go back to earlier centuries to discover its origin.

West Chepe, from time immemorial, has been the most important market of the City. It was formerly, say in the twelfth century, a large open area. This area contained no fewer than twenty-five churches, of which nine still exist. The churches are dotted about in apparent disorder, which can be partly explained. For the market of Chepe was extended in fact from the Church of St. Michael le Querne on the west, to that of St. Christopher le Stock on the east, and lay between the modern Gresham Street in the north and Watling Street in the south.

It is ordered in Liber Albus that all manner of victuals are to be sold between the kennels of the streets. The so-called streets were narrow lanes, many of which remain to the present day.

2There was, however, a principal way, not a street in our sense of the word, on either side of which, on the north and on the south, as well as along the middle, were stalls and shops. These stalls were at first mere wooden sheds; the goods were exposed by day and removed at night; in course of time they became permanent shops with living rooms at the back and an upper chamber. Among the sheds stood “selds.” The seld was a building not unlike the present Covent Garden Market, being roofed over and containing shops and store-houses. Several “selds” are mentioned in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. These were the “great-seld” in the Mercery, called after the Lady Roisia de Coventre. This was near the house of St. Thomas of Acon, where now stands the Mercers’ Hall. There was also the “great seld of London,” in the ancient parish of St. Pancras, therefore on the south side of Cheapside. There was again the “seld of Fryday Street serving for foreign tanners, and time out of mind occupied with these wares”; and there was a seld held in 1304 by John de Stanes, mercer.

In the Liber Albus the seld is distinguished from the “shop, the cellar or solar.” It is also alluded to in the same book as the place where wool and other commodities are sold. Bakers were forbidden to store their bread in selds longer than one night. The seld was therefore a warehouse, a weighing place, as well as a shop. Since we hear nothing about selds in the Calendar of Wills after the fourteenth century, we may infer that a change had been made in the methods of the market. The change in fact was this. North and south of what is now Cheapside were arranged in order the stalls of those who sold everything; these stalls were protected from the weather; the various branches or departments of the market were separated by narrow lanes. It is impossible at this time to assign all the various trades accurately each to its own place—in fact, they always overlapped; but we can do so approximately. The names of the streets belonging to Cheapside are a guide. For instance, Wood Street, Milk Street, Honey Lane, Ironmonger Street, Old Jewry, the Poultry, Scalding Alley, Soper Street, Bread Street, Friday Street, Old Change, explain a great part of the disposition of the ancient market.

When we consider that twenty-five churches stood in or about the great market, and that they were all presumably more ancient than the Conquest, we may deduce the fact that the stalls very early became closed shops, and in many cases permanent houses of residence, and that the market contained a large resident population by which industries were carried on as well as shops. With certain wares, such as milk, honey, wood, spices, mercery, salt-fish, poultry, meat, and herbs, there was no other industry than that of receiving, packing, and distributing. We therefore find few churches between Wood Street and Ironmonger Lane, the chief seat of these branches; while on the south side, for the same reason, there are still fewer churches.

3The South Chepe was occupied by money-changers, salt-fish dealers, leather-sellers, bakers, mercers, pepperers, and herb-sellers. Soap-makers were there also at one time, but they were banished to another part of the City before the time of Edward the Second. “Melters,” i.e. of lard and tallow, were also forbidden to carry on their evil-smelling trade in West Chepe so far back as 1203.

A brief study, therefore, enables us to understand, first, why the churches stand thickly in one part and thinly in another; next, that West Chepe was a vast open market containing a resident population, crowded where industries were carried on, and sparse where the goods were simply exposed for sale; and, thirdly, that the place could be easily converted into a tilting ground, as was done on many occasions, by clearing away the “stationers,” that is to say, the people who held stalls or stations about the crosses in Cheapside. On one occasion, at least, this was done, to the great indignation of the people.

There are certain places in the country, and on the Continent, where the mediæval market is still preserved in its most important features. For instance, there is the market-place of Peterborough, which is still divided by lanes, and which has areas allotted to the different trades; and that of Rheims, where the ancient usages are preserved and followed, even to the appearance of Autolycus, the Cheap Jack, and the Quack, who may be seen and heard on every market day.

We may take Stow’s description of the Elizabethan Chepe:

“At the West end of this Poultrie, and also of Bucklesbury, beginneth the large street of West Cheaping, a market place so called, which street stretcheth west till ye come to the little conduit by Paule’s gate, but not all of Cheape ward. In the east part of this street standeth the great conduit of sweet water, conveyed by pipes of lead underground from Paddington for the service of this city, castellated with stone, and cisterned in lead, about the year 1285, and again new built and enlarged by Thomas Ilam, one of the sheriffs 1479.

“About the midst of this street is the Standard in Cheape, of what antiquity the first foundation I have not read. But Henry VI., by his patent dated at Windsor the 21st of his reign, which patent was confirmed by parliament 1442, granted license to Thomas Knolles, John Chichele, and other, executors to John Wells, grocer, sometime mayor of London, with his goods to make new the highway which leadeth from the city of London towards the palace of Westminster, before and nigh the manor of Savoy, parcel of the Duchy of Lancaster, a way then very ruinous, and the pavement broken, to the hurt and mischief of the subjects, which old pavement then remaining in that way within the length of five hundred feet, and all the breadth of the same before and nigh the site of the manor aforesaid, they to break up, and with stone, gravel, and other stuff, one other good and sufficient way there to make for the commodity of the subjects.

4“And further, that the Standard in Cheape, where divers executions of the law beforetime had been performed, which standard at the present was very ruinous with age, in which there was a conduit, should be taken down, and another competent standard of stone, together with a conduit in the same, of new, strongly to be built, for the commodity and honour of the city, with the goods of the said testator, without interruption, etc.

“Of executions at the Standard in Cheape, we read, that in the year 1293 three men had their right hands smitten off there, for rescuing of a prisoner arrested by an officer of the city. In the year 1326, the burgesses of London caused Walter Stapleton, Bishop of Exceter, treasurer to Edward II., and other, to be beheaded at the standard in Cheape (but this was by Paule’s gate); in the year 1351, the 26th of Edward III., two fishmongers were beheaded at the standard in Cheape, but I read not of their offence; 1381, Wat Tyler beheaded Richard Lions and other there. In the year 1399, Henry IV. caused the blank charters made by Richard II. to be burnt there. In the year 1450, Jack Cade, captain of the Kentish rebels, beheaded the Lord Say there. In the year 1461, John Davy had his hand stricken off there, because he had stricken a man before the judges at Westminster, etc.

“Then next is a great cross in West Cheape, which cross was there erected in the year 1290 by Edward I. upon occasion thus:—Queen Elianor his wife died at Hardeby (a town near unto the city of Lincoln), her body was brought from thence to Westminster; and the king, in memory of her, caused in every place where her body rested by the way, a stately cross of stone to be erected, with the queen’s image and arms upon it, as at Grantham, Woborne, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Dunstable, St. Albones, Waltham, West Cheape, and at Charing, from whence she was conveyed to Westminster, and there buried.

“This cross in West Cheape being like to those other which remain to this day, and being by length of time decayed, John Hatherle, mayor of London, procured, in the year 1441, license of King Henry VI. to re-edify the same in more beautiful manner for the honour of the city, and had license also to take up two hundred fodder of lead for the building thereof of certain conduits, and a common granary. This cross was then curiously wrought at the charges of divers citizens: John Fisher, mercer, gave six hundred marks toward it; the same was begun to be set up 1484, and finished 1486, the 2nd of Henry VII.

“In the year 1599, the timber of the cross at the top being rotted within the lead, the arms thereof bending, were feared to have fallen to the harming of some people, and therefore the whole body of the cross was scaffolded about, and the top thereof taken down, meaning in place thereof to have set up a piramis; but some of her majesty’s honourable councillors directed their letters to Sir Nicholas Mosley, then mayor, by her highness’ express commandment concerning the cross, forthwith 5to be repaired, and placed again as it formerly stood, etc., notwithstanding the said cross stood headless more than a year after. After this (1600) a cross of timber was framed, set up, covered with lead, and gilded, the body of the cross downward cleansed of dust, the scaffold carried thence. About twelve nights following, the image of Our Lady was again defaced, by plucking off her crown, and almost her head, taking from her her naked child, and stabbing her in the breast, etc. Thus much for the cross in West Cheape” (Stow’s Survey, 1633, pp. 278-80).


From an original Drawing in the Pepysian Library, Cambridge.

The cross was the object of much abuse by the Puritans, who at last succeeded in getting it pulled down. “On May 2nd, 1643, the Cross of Cheapside was pulled down. A troop of horse and two companies of foot waited to guard it; and, at the fall of the top cross, drums beat, trumpets blew, and multitudes of caps were thrown 6into the air.... And the same day, at night was the leaden popes[1] burnt in the place where it stood, with ringing of bells and a great acclamation” (Wilkinson’s Londina Illustrata).

To continue Stow’s account:

“Then at the west end of West Cheape Street, was sometime a cross of stone, called the Old Cross. Ralph Higden, in his Policronicon, saith, that Walter Stapleton, Bishop of Exceter, treasurer to Edward II., was by the burgesses of London beheaded at this cross called the Standard, without the north door of St. Paul’s church; and so is it noted in other writers that then lived. This old cross stood and remained at the east end of the parish church called St. Michael in the Corne by Paule’s gate, near to the north end of the old Exchange, till the year 1390, the 13th of Richard II., in place of which old cross then taken down, the said church of St. Michael was enlarged, and also a fair water conduit built about the 9th of Henry VI.

“In the reign of Edward III., divers joustings were made in this street, betwixt Sopers lane and the great cross, namely, one in the year 1331, the 21st of September, as I find noted by divers writers of that time.

“In the middle of the city of London (say they), in a street called Cheape, the stone pavement being covered with sand, that the horses might not slide when they strongly set their feet to the ground, the king held a tournament three days together, with the nobility, valiant men of the realm, and other some strange knights. And to the end the beholders might with the better ease see the same, there was a wooden scaffold erected across the street, like unto a tower, wherein Queen Philippa, and many other ladies, richly attired, and assembled from all parts of the realm, did stand to behold the jousts; but the higher frame, in which the ladies were placed, brake in sunder, whereby they were with some shame forced to fall down, by reason whereof the knights and such as were underneath, were grievously hurt; wherefore the queen took great care to save the carpenters from punishment, and through her prayers (which she made upon her knees) pacified the king and council, and thereby purchased great love of the people. After which time the king caused a shed to be strongly made of stone, for himself, the queen, and other estates to stand on, and there to behold the joustings, and other shows, at their pleasure, by the church of St. Mary Bow, as is showed in Cordwainer street ward” (ibid.).

In 1754 Strype writes:

“Cheapside is a very stately spacious street, adorned with lofty buildings; well inhabited by Goldsmiths, Linen-Drapers, Haberdashers, and other great dealers. The street, which is throughout of an equal breadth, begins westward at Paternoster Row, and, in a straight line, runs to the Poultry, and from thence to the Royal exchange in Cornhill. And, as this Street is yet esteemed the principal high street 7in the City, so it was formerly graced with a great Conduit, a Standard, and a stately Cross; which last was pulled down in the Civil Wars. In the last Part, almost over-against Mercers Chapel, stood a great Conduit; but this Conduit, standing almost in the Middle of the street, being incommodious for Coaches and Carts, was thought fit by the Magistracy, after the great Fire, to be taken down, and built no more.”

The great Conduit of Chepe, commenced in 1285, brought the water from Paddington, a distance of 3½ miles. It stood opposite Mercers’ Hall and Chapel. It was a stone building long and low, battlemented, enclosing a leaden cistern. In the year 1441 at the west end of Chepe and in the east end of the Church of St. Michael le Querne, the smaller conduit was erected. Both conduits were destroyed in the Great Fire—the larger one was not rebuilt. The Standard opposite Honey Lane was in later years fitted with a water cock always running. At the Standard many public executions took place (Strype, vol. 1. p. 566).

Hardly any street of London is more frequently mentioned in annual documents than Chepe. There are many ancient deeds of sale and conveyances still preserved at the Guildhall, relating to property in Chepe. In the Calendar of Wills, houses, etc., in Chepe are bequeathed in more than two hundred wills there quoted; many ordinances concerning Chepe are recorded in Riley’s Memorials.

Stow has given some of the history of Chepe. His account may be supplemented by a few notes on other events and persons connected with the street.

The antiquity of the street is proved by the discovery of Roman coins, Roman tesserae, Romano-British remains of various kinds, and Saxon jewels. It is not, however, until the thirteenth century that we find historical events other than the conveyance, etc., of land and tenements in Cheapside.

In the thirteenth century a part of Cheapside, if not the whole, was called the Crown Field; the part so called was probably confined to a space on the east of Bow Church.

In the year 1232 we find the citizens mustering in arms at Mile End and “well arrayed” in Chepe.

In 1269 it is recorded that the pillory in Chepe was broken, and so remained for a whole year by the negligence of the bailiffs, so that nobody could be put in pillory for that time. The bakers seized the opportunity for selling loaves of short weight—even a third part short. But in 1270, on the Feast of St. Michael, the sheriffs had a new pillory made and erected on the site of the old one. Then the hearts of the bakers failed them for fear, and the weight of the loaves increased.

In 1273 the Mayor removed from Chepe all the stalls of the butchers and fishmongers, together with the stalls which had been let and granted by the preceding sheriffs, although the persons occupying them had taken them for life and had paid large sums for their leases. This was a political move, the intention being to deprive the stall-keepers of their votes. The Mayor, however, defended the 8action on the ground that the King was about to visit the City, and that it behoved him to clear the way of refuse and encumbrances.

In the year 1326 a letter was sent by the Queen and her son Edward calling upon the citizens of London to aid with all their power in destroying the enemies of the land, and Hugh le Despenser in especial. Wherefore, when the head of Hugh was carried in triumph through Chepe, with trumpets sounding, the citizens rejoiced.

In October of the same year when the Bishop of Exeter, Walter de Stapleton, was on his way to his house in “Elde Dean’s Lane” to dine there, he was met by the mob, dragged into Chepe with one of his esquires, and there beheaded. Another of the Bishop’s servants was beheaded in Chepe the same day.

On the birth of Edward III. on November 13, 1312, the people of London made great rejoicings, holding carols, i.e. dances and songs, in Chepe for a fortnight, while the conduits ran wine.

In 1482 a grocer’s shop in Cheapside with a “hall” over it—perhaps a warehouse—was let for the rental of £4 : 6 : 8 per annum. The owner of the shop was Lord Howard, created Duke of Norfolk in 1483.

References to Cheapside multiply as we approach more modern times. In 1522, when Charles V. came to England, lodgings were appointed for his retinue. Among them was a house in Cheapside, a goldsmith’s. It contained one parlour, one kitchen, one chamber, and one bed. The murder of Dr. Lambe in 1631, the execution of William Hacket in 1591, the burning of the Solemn Covenant in 1661,—these are incidents in the history of Cheapside. Many other events belonging either to the history of the City or of the realm have been mentioned elsewhere.

In the sixteenth century one of the sights of London was the Goldsmiths’ Row, built in 1491 on the site of certain shops and selds. Stow calls the Row “a most beautiful frame of faire houses and shops consisting of ten faire dwellinghouses and fourteen shops, all in one frame, builded foure stories high, beautified towards the street with the Goldsmith’s Arms and the likeness of woodmen, in memory of his name, riding on monstrous beasts all richly painted and gilt.” Maitland, who certainly could not remember it, says that it was “beautiful to behold the glorious appearance of the Goldsmith’s shops in the South row of Cheapside, which in a course reached from the Old Change of Bucklersbury exclusive of four shops only, of three trades, in all that space.”

Coming now to a description of Cheapside as it is at present, we find a statue of Sir Robert Peel standing on a block of granite. The whole is more than 20 feet in height. The statue was put up in 1855, and on the pedestal is the inscription of Peel’s birth and death. On the north of Cheapside is a large stone block of building in one uniform style with shops on the ground floor. This contains the Saddlers’ Hall, and in the middle is the great entrance way solidly carried out in stone.



The date of the formation of the Company, and the circumstances under which it was founded, are unknown. It existed at a very remote period. There is now preserved in the archives of the Collegiate Church of Saint Martin’s-le-Grand a parchment containing a letter from that foundation, in which reference is made to the then ancient customs of the Guild. This document is believed to have been written about the time of Henry II., Richard I., or John, most probably in the first of these reigns. In this letter reference is made to “Ernaldus, the Alderman of the Guild.” This Ernaldus is stated by Mr. Alfred John Kempe, in his work Historical Notices of the Collegiate Church of Saint Martin’s-le-Grand, to have lived before the Conquest, by which it may be inferred that the Company is of Anglo-Saxon origin.

King Edward I., A.D. 1272, granted a charter. King Edward III., by his charter 1st December, 37 Edward III., A.D. 1363, granted that as well in the City of London as in every other city, borough, or town where the art of Saddlers is exercised, one or two honest and faithful men of the craft should be chosen and appointed by the Saddlers there dwelling to superintend and survey the craft. This charter was exemplified and confirmed by Henry VI., Henry VII., and Henry VIII.

Richard II., by charter 20th March, 18 Richard II., A.D. 1374, granted to the men of the mystery of Saddlers of the City of London, that for the good government of the mystery they may have one commonalty of themselves for ever, and that the men of the same mystery and commonalty may choose and appoint every year four keepers of the men of the commonalty to survey, rule, and duly govern the same. Furthermore, that the keepers and commonalty, and their successors, may purchase lands, to the yearly value of twenty pounds, for the sustentation of the poor, old, weak and decayed persons of the mystery, and this charter was exemplified, ratified, and confirmed by Edward IV.

Queen Elizabeth, by charter 9th November, 1 Elizabeth, A.D. 1558, exemplifies, ratifies, and confirms the previous charters, and reincorporates the Company by the name of the wardens or keepers and commonalty of the mystery or art of Saddlers of the City of London. The charter names and appoints four wardens to hold office from the date of the charter until the 14th August then following, and authorises them to keep within their common hall an assembly of the wardens or keepers or freemen of the same mystery, or the greater part of them, or of the wardens, and of eight of the most ancient and worthy freemen, being of the assistants of the mystery, and that the wardens and eight of the assistants at least being present shall have full power to treat, consult, and agree upon the articles and ordinances touching the mystery or art aforesaid, and the good rule, state, and government of the same. Power is given to elect four wardens on the 14th August yearly. Power of giving two votes is given to the master at doubtful elections. Powers are also given for the government and regulation of the trade.

This is one of the most ancient, as it is also one of the most interesting, of the City Companies. Their original quarter was at St. Martin’s-le-Grand. The saddle played an important part in every man’s life at a time when riding was the only method of travelling.

The saddlers were connected with the Church of St. Martin’s-le-Grand and made some kind of convention with the Canons, the nature of which is uncertain. Probably the Canons promised them their aid in support of their rights and privileges, in return for which their religious gifts and fees were paid to the Church of St. Martin. The mystery of saddlery, like all others, overlapped, and encroached upon, other mysteries and crafts. Then there followed quarrels. Thus in 1307 (Riley, Memorials, p. 156) there was an affray between the saddlers on one side and the loriners, joiners, and painters on the other, on account of such encroachments. The quarrel was adjusted by the Mayor and Aldermen. Another trouble to which so great a trade was liable, was the desire of the journeymen to break off into fraternities of their own. This pretension was seriously taken in hand in 1796, and such fraternities were strictly forbidden.

The Company has had three halls, all on the same site. The first was burned in the Great Fire; the second in 1822; the present hall was built after the second fire, and is at No. 141 Cheapside.

At the corner of Wood Street is what remains of the churchyard of St. Peter’s, Westcheap, the building of which was destroyed in the Great Fire: a railed-in 10space, gravel covered and uninteresting, except for the magnificent plane-tree which spreads its branches protectingly over the low roofs in front. On the walls of the old houses near are fixed two monuments, and a little stone tablet rather high up, with the inscription:

“Erected at the sole cost and charges of the Parish of St. Peter’s, Westcheap, A.D. 1687,”

followed by the names of the churchwardens.

The Church of St. Peter, Westcheap, was also called SS. Peter and Paul. After the Great Fire its parish was annexed to that of St. Matthew, Friday Street. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1302.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Abbot of St. Alban’s before 1302. Henry VIII. seized it and granted it in 1545 to the Earl of Southampton, in whose successors it continued up to 1666.

Houseling people in 1548 were 360.

A chantry was founded here at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Nicholas de Faringdon, Mayor of London, 1313 and 1320, for himself and Rose his wife, to which Lawrence Bretham de Faversham was admitted chaplain, October 24, 1361; the endowment fetched £29 : 3 : 4 in 1548, when Sir W. Alee was priest. There was another at the Altar of the Holy Cross.

Sir John Munday, goldsmith, Mayor, was buried here in 1527; also Sir Alexander Avenon, Mayor in 1569; and Augustine Hind, clothworker, Alderman, and Sheriff of London, who died in 1554.

The only charitable gifts recorded by Stow are: £2 : 4 : 4, the gift of Sir Lionel Ducket; 3s. 4d., the gift of Lady Read; 7s. 6d., the gift of Mr. Walton.

John Gwynneth, Mus. Doc. and author, was rector here in 1545; also Richard Gwent, D.D., and William Boleyn, Archdeacon of Winchester.


But the ornament of Cheapside is St. Mary-le-Bow, which derived its additional name from its stone “bows” or arches. The date of its foundation is not known, but it appears to have been during or before the reign of William the Conqueror. The court of the Archbishop of Canterbury was held here before the Great Fire; and though the connection between the church and the ecclesiastical courts has ceased, it is still used for the confirmation of the election of bishops. The “Court of Arches” owes its name to the fact that it was held in the beautiful Norman crypt which still survives. The church has been made famous, Stow observes, as the scene of various calamities, of which he records details. In 1469 the Common Council ordained the ringing of Bow Bell every evening at nine o’clock, but the practice had existed for already more than a century; in 1515 the largest of the five bells was presented by William Copland. The church was totally destroyed in 1666, as well as those of St. Pancras, Soper Lane and Allhallows, Honey Lane; the two last were not rebuilt, their parishes being annexed to St. Mary’s. Wren began building the present church in 1671 and completed it in 1680. The cost was greater than any other of Wren’s parish churches by £3000, £2000 of which was contributed by Dame Williamson. The steeple was repaired by Sir William Staines in the eighteenth century, and again in 1820 by Mr. George Gwilt. In 1758, seven of the bells were recast, new ones were added, and the ten were first rung in 1762 in honour of George III.’s birthday; the full number now is twelve. In 1786 the parish of Allhallows, Bread Street, was united with this.

The earliest date of an incumbent is 1242.

The patronage of the church has always been in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his successors, but Henry III. presented to it in 1242.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

The church measures 65 feet in length, 63 feet in breadth, and 38 feet in height; it contains a nave 11and two side aisles. The great feature of the building is the steeple, which is the most elaborate of all Wren’s works and only exceeded in height by St. Bride’s. It rises at the north-west end of the church and measures 32 square feet at the base. The tower contains three storeys. The highest is surmounted by a cornice and balustrade with finials and vases, and a circular dome supporting a cylinder, lantern, and spire. The weather-vane is in the form of a dragon, the City emblem. The total height is 221 feet 9 inches. The Norman crypt already mentioned still remains, consisting of three aisles formed by massive columns; it probably formed part of the building in William I.’s time.

Chantries were founded here:

By John Causton, to which John Steveyns was admitted chaplain, December 2, 1452; by John Coventry, in the chapel of St. Nicholas; by Henry Frowycke, whose endowment fetched £15 : 10s. in 1548; by John de Holleghe, whose endowment produced £7 in 1548; by Dame Eleanor, Prioress of Winchester, whose endowment yielded £4 in 1548.

The original church does not appear to have contained many monuments of note. Among the civic dignitaries buried here was Nicholas Alwine, Lord Mayor in 1499, whose name is familiar to readers of The Last of the Barons.

Sir John Coventry, Mayor in 1425, was also buried here.

There is a tablet fixed over the vestry-room door, commemorating Dame Dionis Williamson, who gave £2000 towards the building of the church. On the west wall a sarcophagus commemorates Bishop Newton, rector, who won celebrity by his edition of Milton first published in 1749.

The parish possessed a considerable number of charities and gifts:

George Palin was donor of £100, to be devoted to the maintenance of a weekly lecture.

Mr. Banton, of £50 for the same purpose. There were others, to the total amount of £60.

There was one Charity School belonging to Cordwainer and Bread Street Wards for fifty boys and thirty girls, who were put to employments and trades when fit.

The following are among the notable rectors:

Martin Fotherby (d. 1619), Bishop of Salisbury; Samuel Bradford (1652-1731), Bishop of Gloucester; Samuel Lisle (1683-1749), Bishop of Norwich; Nicholas Felton (1556-1626), Bishop of Bristol; Thomas Newton (1704-1782), Bishop of Bristol; and William Van Mildert (1765-1836), Bishop of Llandaff, and later the last Prince-Bishop of Durham.

Quaint sayings and traditions have gathered more thickly about St. Mary’s than about any of the City churches. Dick Whittington’s story has made the name familiar to every British child; while to be born “within sound of Bow Bells” is more dignified than to own oneself a Cockney. In sooth-saying we have the prophecy of Mother Shipton that when the Grasshopper on the Exchange and the Dragon on Bow Church should meet, the streets should be deluged with blood. They did so meet, being sent to the same yard for repair at the same time, but the prophecy was not fulfilled.

The ringing of the Bow bells in the Middle Ages signified closing-time for shops, and the ringer incurred the wrath of the apprentices of Chepe if he failed to be punctual to the second.

We now proceed to the Poultry.

Stow thus describes the place:

“Now to begin again on the bank of the said Walbrooke, at the east end of the high street called the Poultrie, on the north side thereof, is the proper parish church of St. Mildred, which church was new built upon Walbrooke in the year 121457. John Saxton their parson gave thirty-two pounds towards the building of the new choir, which now standeth upon the course of Walbrooke.”

Strype says of it:

“The Poultry, a good large and broad Street, and a very great thoroughfare for Coaches, Carts, and foot-passengers, being seated in the Heart of the City, and leading to and from the Royal Exchange; and from thence to Fleet Street, the Strand, Westminster, and the western parts: and therefore so well inhabited by great tradesmen. It begins in the West, by the old Jewry, where Cheapside ends, and reaches the Stocks market by Cornhill. On the North side is Scalding Alley; a large place, containing two or three Alleys, and a square Court with good buildings, and well inhabited; but the greatest part is in Bread Street Ward, where it is mentioned.”

Roman knives and weapons have been found in the Poultry. The valley of the Walbrook, 130 feet in width, began its slope here. Nearly opposite Princes Street, a modern street, there was anciently a bridge over the stream. We find in the thirteenth century an inquest held here over the body of one Agnes de Golden Lane, who was found starved to death, a rare circumstance at that time, and only possible, one would think, considering the charity of the monastic houses, in the case of a bedridden person forgotten or deserted by her own people. In the fourteenth century there are various bequests of shops and tenements in the Poultry. In the fifteenth century we find that there was a brewery here, near the Compter; how did the brewer get his water? In the same century the Compter—which was one of the two sheriffs’ prisons—seems to belong to one Walter Hunt, a grocer. In the sixteenth century one of the rioters of 1517 was hanged in the Poultry; there was trouble about the pavements and complaints were made of obstructions by butchers, poulterers, and the ancestors of the modern coster, who sold things from barrows, stopping up the road and refusing to move on. Before the Fire there were many taverns in the Poultry; some of them had the signs which have been found belonging to the Poultry.

The later associations of the place have been detailed by Cunningham:

“Lubbock’s Banking-house is leased of the Goldsmiths, being part of Sir Martin Bowes’s bequest to the Company in Queen Elizabeth’s time. The King’s Head Tavern, No. 25, was kept in Charles II.’s time by William King. His wife happening to be in labour on the day of the King’s restoration, was anxious to see the returning monarch, and Charles, in passing through Poultry, was told of her inclination, and stopped at the tavern to salute her. No. 22 was Dilly, the bookseller’s. Here Dr. Johnson met John Wilkes at dinner; and here Boswell’s life of Johnson was first published. Dilly sold his business to Mawman. No. 31 was the shop of Vernor and Hood, booksellers. Hood of this firm was father of the facetious Tom Hood, and here Tom was born in 1798” (Hand-book of London).

13Here is a little story. It happened in 1318. One John de Caxtone, furbisher by trade, going along the Poultry—one charitably hopes that he was in liquor—met a certain valet of the Dean of Arches who was carrying a sword under his arm, thinking no evil. Thereupon John assaulted him, apparently without provocation, and drawing out the sword, wounded the said valet with his own weapon. This done, he refused to surrender to the Mayor’s sergeant, nor would he give himself up till the Mayor himself appeared on the spot. We see the crowd—all the butchers in the Poultry collected together: on the ground lies the wounded valet, bleeding, beside him is the sword, the assailant blusters and swears that he will not surrender, the Mayor’s sergeant remonstrates, the crowd increases, then the Mayor himself appears followed by other sergeants, a lane is made, and at sight of that authority the man gives in. The sergeants march him off to Newgate, the crowd disperses, the butchers go back to their stalls, the women to their baskets, the costers to their barrows. For five days the offender cools his heels at Newgate. Then he is brought before the Mayor. He throws himself on the mercy of the judge, sureties are found for him that he will keep the peace, and he consents to compensate the wounded man.

For Stocks Market, St. Mary Woolchurch Haw, on the site of which the Mansion House stands, and the vicinity, formerly included in the Poultry, see Group III.

At the east end of the Poultry is Grocers’ Alley, formerly Conyhope Lane, of which Stow says:

“Then is Conyhope Lane, of old time so called of such a sign of three conies hanging over a poulterer’s stall at the lane’s end. Within this lane standeth the Grocers’ hall, which company being of old time called Pepperers, were first incorporated by the name of Grocers in the year 1345.” The Grocers’ Hall really opens into Princes Street.


The Company’s records begin partly in Norman-French, partly in Old English, as follows: “To the honour of God, the Virgin Mary, St. Anthony and All Saints, the 9th day of May 1345, a Fraternity was founded of the Company of Pepperers of Soper’s Lane for love and unity to maintain and keep themselves together, of which Fraternity are sundry beginners, founders, and donors to preserve the said Fraternity.”

(Here follow twenty-two names.)

The same twenty-two persons “accorded to be together at a dinner in the Abbot’s Place of Bury on the 12th of June following, and then were chosen two the first Wardens that ever were of our Fraternity,” and certain ordinances were agreed to by assent among the Fraternity, providing that no person should be of the Fraternity “if not of good condition and of this craft, that is to say, a Pepperer of Soper’s Lane or a Spicer in the ward of Cheap, or other people of their mystery, wherever they reside”; for contributions among the members, for the purposes of the Fraternity, including the maintenance of a priest; the wearing of a livery; arbitration by the Wardens upon disputes between members; attendance at Mass at the Monastery of St. Anthony on St. Anthony’s Day, and at a feast on that day or within the octave, at which feast the Wardens should come with chaplets and choose and crown two other Wardens for the year ensuing; attendance at the funerals of members; the taking of apprentices; assistance of unfortunate 14members out of the common stock; and that “any of the Fraternity may according to his circumstance and free will devise what he chooses to the common box for the better supporting the Fraternity and their alms.”

From external evidence it appears that for two centuries at least before 1345 there had existed a Guild of Pepperers, who had superseded the Soapers in Soper’s Lane, and probably absorbed them. The twenty-two Pepperers, who in 1345 founded the social, benevolent, and religious fraternity of St. Anthony, were of “good condition,” probably the most influential and wealthy men in the Pepperers’ guild; in founding the new brotherhood “for greater love and unity” and “to maintain and assist one another,” they did not desert their old guild, but formed a new fraternity within it. They did not seek, apparently, to alter the institution of the Guild of Pepperers, nor did they adopt a distinctive title for themselves; but the movement was obviously an important one, and attracted notice and jealousy, which was perhaps increased by the foreign connections of some of the members. So rapidly did the Company gain favour and strength that in 1383, not forty years after its foundation, there were one hundred and twenty-nine liverymen of whom not less than sixteen were Aldermen. At that time, no doubt, the Company exercised a preponderating influence in the City of London.

The new brotherhood was styled the Fraternity of St. Anthony from 1348 to 1357. After this year there is an hiatus in the Company’s records, and when these recommence in 1373 the title is “company” or “fraternity” of “gossers,” “grosers,” “groscers,” or “grocers.”

The origin of the term “grocer” and its application to the Company are involved in considerable obscurity. As far as can be ascertained, the first use of the word, officially, is against the Company from without, and in an aspect of reproach. It occurs in a petition to the King and Parliament in 1363, against the new fraternity that “les Marchantz nomez Grossers engrossent toutes maneres de marchandises vendables.”

It is by no means improbable that the term, first suggested by less successful rivals in trade, was adopted by the leading dealers “en gros” for the name of the company, which formed round the Fraternity of St. Anthony, and probably absorbed the whole Guild of Pepperers.

From this time forward the Company began to act with energy in the interests of trade. In 1394 we find them, together with some Italian merchants, presenting a petition to the Corporation complaining of the unjust mode of “garbling,” i.e. cleansing or purifying spices and other “sotill wares.” The petition was entertained, and the Company were requested to recommend a member of their own body to fill the office, and on their nomination Thomas Halfmark was chosen and sworn garbeller of “spices and sotill ware.”

The fraternity, after holding their meetings for three years at the Abbot of Bury’s, assembled in 1348 at Fulsham’s house at the Rynged Hall, in St. Thomas Apostle, close to St. Anthony’s Church in Budge Row, Watling Street, where they at this time obtained permission to erect a chantry, etc., and called themselves the Fraternity of St. Anthony. They ultimately collected at Bucklersbury (“Bokerellesbury”), at the Cornet’s Tower, which had been used by Edward III. at the beginning of his reign as his exchange of money and exchequer. Here the Company began to exercise the functions entrusted to them of superintending the public weighing of merchandise.

In 1411 a descendant of Lord FitzWalter, who, in the reign of Henry III., had obtained possession of the chapel of St. Edmund which adjoined his family mansion, sold the chapel to the Company for 320 marks, and in the next reign the Company purchased the family mansion and built their Hall upon the site. The foundation stone was laid in 1427 and the building was completed in the following year. The expenses were defrayed by the contributions of members. Five years later the garden was added.

In 1428 the Company’s first charter of incorporation was granted by King Henry VI., and they became a body politic by the name of “Custodes et Communitas Mysterii Groceriæ Londini.” Nineteen years later the same king granted to the Company the exclusive right of garbling throughout all places in the kingdom of England, except the City of London.

In 1453 the Company, having the charge and management of the public scale or King’s Beam, made a regular tariff of charges. It appears that to John Churchman, grocer, who served the office of sheriff in 1385, the trade of London is indebted for the establishment of the first Custom House. 15Churchman, in the sixth year of Richard II., built a house on Woolwharf Key, in Tower Street Ward, for the tronage or weighing of wools in the port of London, and a grant of the right of tronage was made by the King to Churchman for life. It is probable that Churchman, being unable of himself to manage so considerable a concern as the public scale, obtained the assistance of his Company, and thus the management of the weigh-house and the appointment of the officers belonging to it came into the hands of the Grocers Company.

Henry VIII. granted to the City of London the Beam with all appurtenances, and directed its management to be committed to some expert in weights. The City thereupon gave the management to the Company, only requiring one-third of the profits. The Company enjoyed, uninterruptedly, these privileges up to 1625, when a dispute arose with the City, and an agreement was made whereby the Company were to appoint four under-porters, and present four candidates for Master Porter, the Lord Mayor to choose one of them. Several disputes followed with the Corporation, who in 1700 ejected the officers appointed by the Company, and tried their right at law. No result is reported, but the Company filled up vacancies after that date, and up to 1797, when a Bill was passed for making Wet Docks at Wapping, and this appears to have had the effect of depriving the Company of their privileges.

The Company throughout this period kept, in common with others, a store of corn, according to ancient custom, for the supply of the poor at reasonable prices when bread was dear.

The Company was also bound to maintain an armoury at their Hall.

At the time of the Great Plague in 1665 the Company were assessed in various sums of money for the relief of the poor, and they also provided a large quantity of coals.

The next year the Great Fire of London inflicted losses on the Company from which it did not recover for nearly a century. The Company’s Hall and all the adjacent buildings (save the turret in the garden, which fortunately contained the records and muniments of the Company) and almost all the Company’s houses were destroyed. The silver recovered from the ruins of the Hall was remelted and produced nearly 200 lbs. weight of metal; this was sold for the Company’s urgent present necessities. In 1668 Sir John Cutler came forward and proposed to rebuild the parlour and dining-room at his own charge. In the same year ninety-four members were added to the Livery. The next year a petition was presented to Parliament praying for leave to bring in a Bill to raise £20,000 by an equal assessment upon the members of the Company of ability. The application to Parliament failed, and an effort was then made to raise the £20,000 among the members, but only £6000 was subscribed.

In January 1671 a Special Court was summoned to consider a Bill exhibited in Parliament by some of the Company’s creditors, praying for an Act for the sale of the Company’s Hall, lands, and estates to satisfy debts; and to make members of the Court liable for debts incurred. A Committee was appointed and in 1672 the Hall was, at the instance of the Governors of Christ’s Hospital, sequestered, and the Company ejected till 1679, when, after great difficulties and impediments, money was borrowed to pay off the debts and get rid of the intruders. In 1680 the Court of Assistants agreed that the most effectual way of regaining public confidence was to rebuild the Hall.

In order to prevent a second sequestration an Inquisition was taken in 1680 before Commissioners for Charitable Uses, and, pursuant to a decree made by those Commissioners, a period of twenty years was allowed to the Company to discharge their debts. The next year, to secure an accession of influence and talent for the support of the Company, sixty-five members were added to the Court, and a number of Freemen were summoned, and eighty-one members added to the Livery.

In 1683 the Company arranged, by arbitration, their difficulties with the Governors of Christ’s Hospital, and their prospects appeared more hopeful when the celebrated Writ of Quo Warranto was issued by King Charles II. against the City charters and liberties. The Company, with the view of propitiating the King, by deed under seal, voluntarily surrendered the powers, franchises, privileges, liberties, and authorities granted or to be used or exercised by the Wardens and Commonalty, and the right of electing and nominating to the several offices of Wardens, Assistants, and Clerk of the Company, and besought his Majesty to accept their surrender. Charles II. obtained judgment upon the Quo Warranto against the City, and all the redress that the Company could obtain was the grant of another 16charter under such restrictions as the King should think fit. His successor, James II., with a view to secure the goodwill and support of the City, sent for the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and voluntarily declared his determination to restore the City charters and liberties as they existed before the issuing of the Writ of Quo Warranto; and subsequently Judge Jeffreys came to Guildhall and delivered the charters with two grants of restoration to the Court of Aldermen.

The history of the Company during the eighteenth century is an account of pecuniary difficulties and the gradual extrication by the public spirit and foresight of the members.

As regards the profession or trade of the members, a return exists of the whole numbers for the year 1795 when the Court contained 32, the livery numbered 81, and the freemen 228. Of these, 40 were Grocers.

The number of the Livery returned in 1898 was 183. The Corporate Income was £37,500; the Trust Income was £500.

The advantages of being a member of the Company are as follows:

(1) Freemen are entitled to apply on behalf of their children for the Company’s presentations (six in number) to Christ’s Hospital; for the Company’s Scholarships for free education at the City of London School. The orphan children of freemen are alone eligible for the three presentations to the London Orphan Asylum.

Freemen are entitled to take apprentices.

Freemen, and widows and daughters of freemen, in needy circumstances may apply for relief, either temporary or permanent. Loans to freemen are practically abolished.

(2) Twelve months after a liveryman has been elected he is entitled, provided he live within twenty-five miles of the polling place, Guildhall, to be put upon the Register of Voters for the City, which entitles him to a vote at the election of Members of Parliament for the City; a liveryman is also entitled to vote at the election of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London. The livery receive invitations from the Master and Wardens to the four public dinners in the months of November, February, May, and July, in each year, and at every fifth dinner an invitation for a friend as well.

In some years when the honorary freedom of the Company is bestowed on distinguished personages, there is an extra public dinner to which the livery are invited. At the public dinner in May, called the Restoration Feast, a box of sweetmeats is presented to every guest. Liverymen, and the widows and daughters of liverymen in needy circumstances may apply for relief, either temporary or permanent.

The Hall of the Company has always occupied the same site since the first erection in 1427, when the Wardens bought part of the demesne of Lord FitzWalter in Conyhope Lane.

This building perished in the Great Fire of 1666. A new hall was built, but in 1798-1802 this building was pulled down and rebuilt. Alterations and additions were made in 1827, when the present entrance into Princes Street was constructed. There were formerly three ways of access to the hall—one from the Old Jewry; one by the lane called Grocers’ Alley; and one by Scalding Lane from St. Mildred, Poultry, of which a scrap of the churchyard still remains. The two lanes opened on a small Place on the north side of which was Grocers’ Hall and on the south side the Poultry Compter.

The hall destroyed in 1666 would have become by this time historical as the place to which the Houses removed from Westminster in 1642 after the attempt to seize the five members on 4th January of that year. The Committee appointed by both Houses met first at Guildhall and adjourned to Grocers’ Hall to “treat of the safety of the Kingdoms of England and Ireland.” It was in this hall that the City entertained the Houses, June 17, 1645, in the midst of the Civil War, and on June 7, 1649, when the Civil War was over. For forty years, 1694-1734, the Grocers’ Hall was rented and occupied by the Governors and Company of the Bank of England.

The Company numbered among its members Charles II., James II., William III., the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt, George Canning, and many others.

In the eighteenth century, the “Lane” was chiefly occupied by houses called spunging houses; here persons were confined by the sergeants belonging to the 17Poultry Compter, so that they might come to some compromise with their creditors, and not be taken into prison. Hawkesworth, essayist and man of letters, was originally clerk to an attorney in this court. Boyse, the ragged poet, was confined in one of the spunging houses. Here he wrote the Latin letter to Cave:

Inscription for St. Lazarus’s Cave.
Hodie, teste coelo summo,
Sine pane, sine nummo;
Sorte positus infeste,
Scribo tibi dolens moeste.
Fame, bile, tumet jecur:
Urbane, mitte opem, precor,
Tibi enim cor humanum
Non a malis alienum:
Mihi mens nec male grato,
Pro a te favore dato.—Alcæeus.
Ex gehenna debitoria,
Vulgo domo spongiatoria.

The Alley led to an open court. In this open place in 1688 a cart-load of seditious books was burned.

The east side of the Place is at present occupied by one wall of the Gresham Life Assurance Society, a magnificent building facing Poultry. It has finely proportioned polished granite columns with Corinthian capitals adding strength to the frontage, and a balcony with parapet running horizontally across the front. This was rebuilt in 1879. It stands on the site of St. Mildred, Poultry.

The Church of St. Mildred, Poultry, was situated on the north side of the Poultry. It was rebuilt in 1456, and, after being destroyed by the Great Fire, again rebuilt in 1676, when the parish of St. Mary Colechurch was annexed. In 1872 it was taken down, and the parish joined to St. Olave, Jewry. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1247. The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Prior and Convent of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, 1325; Henry VIII., 1541, and so continued in the Crown.

Houseling people in 1548 were 277.

Chantries were founded here by Solomon Lanfare or Le Boteler, citizen and cutler, at the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary, to which Wm. de Farnbergh was admitted chaplain, October 4, 1337; by Hugh Game, poulterer, who endowed it with rents, which fetched £10 in 1548, when John Mobe was priest; by John Brown, for himself, his wife, Margaret his daughter, and Giles Walden, etc., to which John de Cotyngham was admitted chaplain, April 6, 1366. One John Mymmes had licence from Richard II. to found the Guild of Fraternity of Corpus Christi here; the endowment fetched £10 : 8 : 8 in 1548, when John Wotton was priest thereof. Here was a “Little Chapell” valued at 60s. in 1548.

Thomas Ashehill was buried here; he gave great help in rebuilding the church about 1450; also Thomas Morstead, chirurgeon to Henry IV., V., and VI., and one of the sheriffs of London. In more recent times, Wm. Cronne was commemorated; he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the College of Physicians, and died in 1706.

A great number of benefactors are recorded by Stow, of which the most notable are: William Watson, of £100, whereof £65 was received; William Tudman, of £247 in all, for various charities; Sarah Tudman, of £80; Lady Elizabeth Allington, £200, towards rebuilding.

One free school is recorded, called Mercers’ School (Stow).

18John Williams (d. 1709), Bishop of Chichester, 1696, was rector here; also Benjamin Newcome, D.D., Dean of Rochester.

On the east side of Grocers’ Hall Court stood the Poultry Compter.

Strype describes the place and its government.


“Somewhat west to this Church is the Poultry Compter, being the Prison belonging to one of the Sheriffs of London, for all such as are arrested within the City and liberties thereof. And, besides this Prison, there is another of the same Nature in Wood Street for the other Sheriff; both being of the same nature, and have the like officers for the Execution of the concerns belonging thereunto, as shall be here taken notice of. So that what is said here for Poultry Compter, belongs also to Wood Street Compter.

19“The Charge of those prisons is committed to the Sheriffs.

“Unto each Compter also belongs a Master Keeper; and under him two Turnkeys, and other servitors.


“The poorer sort of prisoners, as well in this Compter, as in that in Wood Street, receive daily relief from the sheriff’s table, of all the broken meat and bread. And there are divers gifts given by several well disposed people, towards their subsistence. Besides which, there are other benevolences frequently sent to all the prisons by charitable persons; many of which do conceal their names, doing it only for charity sake. And there are other gifts, some for the releasement of such 20as lie in only for prison fees; and others, for the release of such, whose debts amount not to above such or such a sum” (Strype, vol. i. p. 567).

This was the only prison in London with a ward set apart for Jews. “Here died Lamb, the conjuror (commonly called Dr. Lamb), of the injuries he had received from the mob, who pelted him (June 13, 1628), from Moorgate to the Windmill in the Old Jewry, where he was felled to the ground with a stone, and was thence carried to the Poultry Compter, where he died the same night. The rabble believed that the doctor dealt with the devil, and assisted the Duke of Buckingham in misleading the king. The last slave imprisoned in England was confined (1772) in the Poultry Compter. This was Somerset, a negro, the particulars of whose case excited Sharpe and Clarkson in their useful and successful labour in the cause of negro emancipation” (Cunningham’s Hand-book of London).

When Whitecross Street Prison (1815-1870) was erected, the prisoners were removed there from the Poultry, and the site of the Compter was built upon partly by a Congregational Chapel, the congregation of which removed to the Holborn Viaduct when the City Temple was built.

The prison was burned down in the Fire, whereupon the prisoners were taken to Aldgate until it was rebuilt. It was an ill-kept, unventilated, noisome place.

It is worthy of note that the earliest bequest to the Compter mentioned in the Calendar of Wills belongs to the fifteenth century, and that most of the legacies to the prisoners were made after the Reformation and in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In some of them we find mention of the “Hole” and of the “Twopenny Ward.”

In 1378 there was an altercation between the Mayor and one of the sheriffs. Allusion is made to that sheriff’s “own compter” in Milk Street, which may be taken for that of Wood Street, as the Compter lay between the two, though it stood in Bread Street until the year 1555. In the year 1382 a sumptuary law was issued restricting the dress of women of loose life, and those who offended were to be taken to one of the Compters. In 1388 we find the porter of a Compter insulting Adam Bamme, alderman, for which he was removed from his office. We find also a householder taken to the Compter for refusing to pay his rates and abusing the collector. In 1413, an old man named John Arkwythe, a scrivener, was summoned by Alderman Sevenoke for allowing the escape of a certain priest caught in adultery in St. Bride’s Church. John Arkwythe lost his temper, clutched the Alderman by the breast and threatened him. They sent him to Newgate, but, considering his age, they let him go, only depriving him of the freedom of the City. In 1418, one William Foucher, for contempt of Court, was sent to solitary imprisonment in the Compter, and prohibited from speaking to any one except those who should counsel him repentance and amendment.

From these cases it would appear that the Compters were used partly as 21houses of detention before trial, and that trial was frequently deferred in order that the offender might endure a term of imprisonment in addition to the pillory, or the release on finding security, which would follow.

West of Grocers’ Alley is the Old Jewry, one of the most interesting places in the whole of London on account of its having been the Ghetto, though not a place of humiliation, for the Jews of London. When they came to London they received this quarter for their residence; why this place, so central, so convenient for the despatch of business, was assigned to them, no one has been able to discover. In the learned work of Mr. Joseph Jacobs (The Jews of Angevin England) he shows that Jews were in Oxford and Cambridge as well as in London in the time of the Normans.

The older name of the street was Colechurch Street. In the Receipts and Perquisites of the Tower from the Jews of London are found the following:

For two pounds found in the Jewry for forfeit 60s.  

[The sense of this entry is doubtful. Perhaps the two pounds were forfeited and 60 is wrongly transcribed for 40 (lx. for xl.).] (Guildhall MS. 129, vol. ii. p. 95a.)

From a certain Christian woman found in the Jewry for the purpose of making an exchange. She fled and threw away the money 100s. (ibid. p. 97).
From a certain goldsmith fighting in the Jewry, of a fine 21s. (ibid. p. 96).
From Nicholas, the convert, goldsmith of London, for his boys fighting in the Jewry 100s. (ibid. p. 97).
From a certain Christian found in the Jewry by night 7s. 11½d. (ibid. p. 97).
From a certain boy coming into the Jewry 66s. 8d. (ibid. p. 97).
From John of Lincoln because he was found in the Jewry by night £6 (ibid. p. 97).
From a certain Christian woman in the Jewry by night 18s. (ibid. p. 97).

It thus appears that the Jewry was walled in with gates. Had it been a simple street, a thoroughfare, there could have been no objection to any one passing through. As for the teaching of the Church respecting Jews, these extracts from Mr. Jacob’s book will show the hatred which was inculcated towards them.

“If any Christian woman takes gifts from the infidel Jews or of her own will commits sin with them, let her be separated from the church a whole year and live in much tribulation, and then let her repent for nine years. But if with a pagan let her repent seven years.

“If any Christian accepts from the infidel Jews their unleavened cakes or any other meat or drink and share in their impieties, he shall do penance with bread and water for forty days; because it is written ‘to the pure all things are pure.’

“It is allowable to celebrate mass in a church where faithful and pious ones have been buried. But if infidels or heretics or faithless Jews be buried, it is 22not allowed to sanctify or celebrate mass; but if it seem suitable for consecration, tearing thence the bodies or scraping or washing the walls, let it be consecrated if it has not been so previously.”

The earliest mention of the Jews occurs in the Terrier of St. Paul’s, 1115:

“In the ward of Haco ... in the Jew’s street (?Old Jewry) the land of Lusbert, in the front on the west side, is 32 feet in breadth. Towards St. Olave’s is fourscore and fifteen feet; again towards St. Olave’s is 65 feet, and in the front 13 feet. The land in the front is 73 feet, and in depth 41 feet, and pays 10s.”

In 1264, and again in 1267, the popular hatred of the Jews broke out with unmistakable violence. They fled to the Tower, while the mob destroyed and sacked their buildings.

In 1290 they were banished.

Their synagogue, which stood in the north-east corner of the present street, was given to the Fratres de Saccâ (see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 365), and on their dissolution it was ceded to Robert FitzWalter and converted into a merchant’s residence. Here lived and died Robert Large to whom Caxton was apprenticed.

The later history of the street may be quoted from Cunningham:

“The last turning but two on the east side (walking towards Cateaton Street) was called Windmill Court, from the Windmill Tavern, mentioned in the curious inventory of ‘Innes for Horses seen and viewed,’ preparatory to the visit of Charles V. of Spain to Henry VIII., in the year 1522. ‘From the Windmill,’ in the old Jewry, Master Wellbred writes to Master Knowell, in Ben Jonson’s play of Every Man in his Humour. Kitely, in the same play, was a merchant in the Old Jewry. The house or palace of Sir Robert Clayton (of the time of Charles II.), on the east side, was long a magnificent example of a merchant’s residence, containing a superb banquetting-room, wainscotted with cedar, and adorned with battles of gods and giants. Here the London Institution was first lodged; and here, in the rooms he occupied as librarian, Professor Porson died (1808). Dr. James Foster, Pope’s ‘modest Foster’—

Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten Metropolitans in preaching well—

was a preacher in the Old Jewry for more than twenty years. He first became popular from Lord Chancellor Hardwicke stopping in the porch of his chapel in the Old Jewry, to escape from a shower of rain. Thinking he might as well hear what was going on, he went in, and was so well pleased that he sent all his great acquaintances to hear Foster.”

Alexander Brown, the cavalier song-writer, was an attorney in the Lord Mayor’s Court in this street, and Bancroft, who built the almshouses of Mile End, was an officer in the court. Sir Jeffrey Bullen, Lord Mayor, 1457, lived in this street, where he was a mercer.

23In the fifteenth century there was standing in Old Jewry, north of St. Olave’s Church, and extending to the north end of Ironmonger Lane and down the lane as far as St. Martin’s Church, a large building of stone “very ancient,” the history and purpose of which were unknown except that Henry VI. appointed one John Stert, keeper of the place, which he called his principal palace in the Old Jewry. It was standing when Stow was a boy, but he says the outward stone-work was little by little taken down, and houses built upon the site. It was known as the Old Wardrobe. I know of no other reference to this place, but one would like to learn more. The taking away of the stone “little by little” accounts in like manner for the gradual disappearance of the ruins of the monastic houses.

The modern street is not of much interest. The City Police Office is in a court of some size near the north end. The Old King’s Head is in an elaborate building faced with red sandstone, and a grimy blackened old brick house close by contains the Italian Consulate.

In Frederick Place are two rows of Georgian houses in dull brick, varying only slightly in detail. The iron link-holders of a past fashion still survive on the railings before some of the houses. No. 8, at the south-eastern corner, contains some curious and interesting mantels. One of these has a central panel representing a boar hunt; this is in relief enclosed in a large oval. There are fine details also in other fireplaces in the house.

But these are not the only objects of interest in Frederick Place, for in exactly the opposite corner, the north-west, in a house numbered 4, are one or two fireplaces which surpass these in beauty if not in quaintness. In one of the rooms there is a very high and well-proportioned white marble mantelpiece, with singularly little decoration, which is yet most effective. All these houses are now used as offices by business men, and the evidences of bygone domestic occupation add a human interest to the daily routine.

St. Mary Colechurch was situated in the Poultry at the south-west corner of the Old Jewry. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Mildred, Poultry. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1252.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of Henry III., who presented to it one Roger de Messendene, April 21, 1252; then the Master and Brethren of St. Thomas de Acon; afterwards Henry VIII., who granted it to the Mercer’s Company, April 21, 1542.

Houseling people in 1548 were 220.

Chantries were founded here by Thomas de Cavendish, late citizen and mercer, at the Altar of St. Katherine, to which Roger de Elton was instituted chaplain, March 15, 1362-63; Agnes Fenne, who left by Will, dated March 28, 1541, £140 to maintain a priest for twenty years; Henry IV. granted a licence to William Marechalcap and others to found a Fraternity in honour of St. Katherine, February 19, 1399-1400; a further licence was granted by Henry VI., June 19, 1447, the endowment of which fetched £9 in 1548, when Robert Evans was Chaplain.

No monuments are recorded by Stow. In this church St. Thomas à Becket and St. Edmund were baptized. The parish had one gift-sermon, but no other gifts or legacies are recorded.

Thomas Horton (d. 1673), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, 1649, was a rector here.

24The Church of St. Olave, Jewry, stood on the west side, near the middle of Old Jewry, and was sometimes called St. Olave, Upwell. It was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt in 1673. It was subsequently taken down. The tower, which alone was left, is now part of a dwelling-house. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1252.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who granted it in 1171 to the Prior and Convent of Butley, Suffolk, when it became a vicarage. Henry VIII. seized it, and so it continues in the Crown.

Houseling people in 1548 were 198.

The open space, belonging to the ancient graveyard, abuts on Ironmonger Lane.

A chantry was founded here by John Brian, rector, who died in 1322, and a licence was granted by the King, August 20, 1323; Robert de Burton, chaplain, exchanged with William de Aynho, June 15, 1327. In 1548 the endowment fetched £13 : 1 : 4.

Robert Large, Mayor in 1440, and donor of £200 to the church, was buried here. Among the later monuments is one in memory of Sir Nathaniel Herne, Governor of the East India Company; he died 1679.

The church was not rich in charitable gifts and legacies. Among the benefactors, Sir Thomas Hewet gave £5 : 4s. yearly; Henry Lo gave £10 for ever; Gervase Vaughan gave a house, rented at £14 per annum, to provide bread for the poor every Sunday.

On the west side of Old Jewry there was a free school, said to be founded by Thomas à Becket in 1160, for 25 scholars. There were two almshouses for 9 poor widows of armourers, each of whom received 6s. per quarter, and 9 bushels of coal a year; those past labour received £1 a quarter. These were the gift of Mr. Tindal, citizen and armourer of London.

Anthony Ellys, D.D. (1690-1761), Bishop of St. David’s, was rector, also Joseph Holden Pott (1759-1847), Archdeacon of London.

Old Jewry runs through into Gresham Street, which is roughly parallel with Cheapside.

Gresham Street, formerly called Catte, Cateaton, or Ketton Street, or Cattling Street, when changed to its present name also swallowed up Lad Lane and Maiden Lane.

Catte Street is mentioned in a deed dated the Saturday after Ascension 1294, in which Hugh de Vyenne, Canon of St. Martin’s-le-Grand, grants to the master and scholars of Balliol, inter alia, four shillings of yearly rent from the tenement held by Martin the arbitrator, in Catte Street, opposite the church of St. Lawrence, also the same amount from the tenement of Adam de Horsham opposite the church.

On the Feast of Ascension in the year 1360 a case of great interest was heard at the Hustings of common pleas.

In this case, John de Wyclif, Master of Balliol, Oxford, was attached to make answer to Nicholas Marchant in a plea of distresses taken. Wyclif is accused of having made an unlawful seizure upon the freehold of Nicholas in the parish of St. Lawrence, Jewry, on Wednesday after the Feast of St. Gregory that year. From the pleading it appears that the house was once the property of “one Thippe, wife of Isaac of Suthwerk, a Jewess”; after her exit from England it came to King Edward, grandfather of Edward III. Their tenement in Catte Street was given (so the pleadings show) by that king to Adam de Horsham, mercer, uncle of Nicholas 25above named, at a rent of one penny per annum to the King. Wyclif joins the suit. Nicholas has to pay arrears and is amerced [hitherto Wyclif’s mastership of Balliol was ascribed to date from 1361, hence the importance of this MS.] (Historical MS. Commission, Report IV., p. 448).

There is another ancient mention of Catte Street, belonging to the year 1281, in which one Aaron, a wealthy Jew and a money-lender, contracts with Rudolph the mason for the building of a house in Catte Street.

From Aldermanbury westward to Wood Street, Gresham Street was formerly called Lad Lane. The name occurs certainly as early as 1301, as containing a house belonging to Coke Bateman, a Jew. It is first found in the Calendar of Wills in 1362, after which we hear no more of it till 1419. Here a Roman pavement was found.

One of the most important of the old coaching inns, the Swan with two Necks, stood in Lad Lane. From this place an amazing number of coaches and wagons set out every day. The sign is still to be seen over the entrance to the London and South Western Railway Company’s yard.

The street was widened in 1845. It has a picturesque appearance, for the houses project irregularly at the corners of the cross streets. The Church of St. Lawrence occupies part of the north side.


The date of the foundation of St. Laurence or Lawrence, Jewry, is not known, but the church was burnt down by the Great Fire, and rebuilt by Wren 1671-76, when the parish of St. Mary Magdalene was annexed. The new building was erected at the expense of the parishioners, assisted by a liberal subscription from Sir John Langham. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1321. The patronage of the church was in the hands of Henry de Wickenbroke, who, May 30, 1294, gave the Rectory to Balliol College, Oxford, when a Vicarage was here ordained, and in this college it still continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 148.

The church measures 82 feet in length, 71 feet in breadth, and 39 feet in height. It contains only one aisle, on the north side, separated from the rest of the building by Corinthian columns. Above the columns is a richly worked entablature, which is continued all round the church. The east front has a façade formed by four Corinthian columns with entablature, supporting the pediment. The tower, which is three storied, is surmounted by a square turret, supporting a square pedestal, and above this by an octagonal spirelet with a ball and vane; the vane is in the form of St. Laurence’s emblem, the gridiron. The total height is 160 feet.

Chantries were founded here: For William de Kancia at the Altar of St. John, July 10, 1321; by Thomas Wytton at the Altar of Virgin Mary, the endowment of which fetched £8 : 4 : 8 in 1548, when Thomas Sandlord was chaplain; by William Myldreth at the Altar of St. Michael the Archangel, the endowment of which yielded £7 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when Rowland Robynsonne was chaplain; by Simon Bonyngton, whose endowment fetched £22 : 13 : 4 in 1548 when Thomas Sylvester was chaplain; by Simon Bartlett, whose endowment yielded £5 : 4 : 8 in 1548, when Thomas Ballard was chaplain; by Simon Gosseham, for two chaplains, whose endowment fetched £14 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when Thomas Begley and Henry Whorleston were the priests.


Pictorial Agency.


The old church was the burying-place of a considerable number of eminent citizens. Among them were: Richard Rich, ancestor of the Earls of Warwick and Holland, who died in 1469; Sir Geffney Bullen, Lord Mayor in 1459 and great-great-grandfather to Queen Elizabeth; Sir Richard Gresham, Lord Mayor in 1537 and father of Sir Thomas Gresham; Sir Michael Dormer, Lord Mayor in 1541; Roger Thorney, who founded a Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge; Dame Alice Avenon, a benefactress to the parish. Against the west wall there is a monument displaying three busts, in memory of Alderman Sir William Halliday, sheriff in 1617; this was erected in 1687 by Dame Margaret Hungerford in place of that destroyed by the Fire. Dr. John Wilkins, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and vicar here in 1662, was buried under the north wall of the chancel. There are monuments also to John Tillotson, lecturer here for some years, and to Dr. Benjamin Whichcote, the celebrated preacher, who succeeded Wilkins as vicar. On the western part of the south wall a large monument commemorates Mrs. Sarah Scott, who died in 1750, leaving £700 for parish purposes. Sir John Langham was a donor of £250 for the purpose of church repairing, etc., and no gifts or bequests belonging to the parish are recorded by Stow, except two weekly lectures each at £30 per annum, the donors of which are not stated by him. There was one Grammar 27School, kept over the vestry. William Bell, Master of Balliol College, Oxford, in 1494 was a rector here; also William White, Master of Balliol College, Oxford 1125-39; Edward Reynolds (1629-1698), Bishop of Norwich; Seth Ward (1617-1689), Bishop of Exeter; John Mapletoft (1631-1721), President of Zion College; and Benjamin Morgan Cowie (1816-1900), Dean of Exeter.

Gresham College stands at the end of a row of uniform plaster-faced houses. The College itself is a great yellow-plastered building with disproportionately heavy cornice and rigid balconies.

Drawn by J. Coney.


In Guildhall Yard is a fine view of the ornamental gateway of the Guildhall. On the east is the Guildhall Tavern, and on the west, beyond the church, is an open space, formerly the churchyard, with a few plane-trees dotted about, and a fountain of Gothic design, erected in 1866, with statues upon it representing St. Lawrence and the Magdalene.

St. Martin’s House, on the north side, is a modern red sandstone building.

St. Anne’s Churchyard, with one or two plane-trees of good size, makes a break in the line of modern houses beyond.


This church stands on the north side of Gresham Street, towards the west end. The date of the foundation of the original church is uncertain, but mention is made of it in a deed dating between 281193-1212, in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was damaged by fire in 1548, reconstructed and again destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666. The present building was completed by Wren in 1681. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1322.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of:

The Dean and Canons of St. Martin’s-le-Grand, 1322; the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1510; the Bishop of Westminster by grant of Henry VIII., January 11, 1540-41; the Bishop of London and his successors by grant of Edward VI., July 4, 1550; confirmed by Queen Mary, March 3, 1553-54.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

The present building is of brick, and measures 53 feet square, and 35 feet in height. Within this area four Corinthian columns form another square. The tower, rising at the west, measures 14 feet at the base and culminates in a vane; the total height is 95 feet.

A chantry was founded here by Thomas Juvenal and Alice his wife at the Altar of St. Nicholas; to which Richard Grant was instituted chaplain, April 10, 1363.

The church formerly contained monuments to Stephen Brackynbury, gentleman, Usher to Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. William Gregory, Mayor of London, 1461, was buried here, but no monument remained in 1598.

The principal benefactors were William Gregory, alderman and skinner, and John Werke, goldsmith, both of whom bequeathed a number of houses to the parish in the fifteenth century.

Some of the most notable rectors were: John Hopton (d. 1558), Bishop of Norwich; Samuel Freeman, Dean of Peterborough, 1691; and Fifield Allen, Archdeacon of Middlesex.

At the corner of Noble Street is the churchyard of St. John Zachary, which parish is now incorporated with St. Anne and St. Agnes. This is a fairly large piece of ground surrounded by brick houses. There are many upright tombstones among the blackened shrubs within. Beyond there is a large building of red brick finished with piers of polished granite.

The Church of St. John Zachary, which was situated in Maiden Lane, was burnt down in the Great Fire and its parish annexed to that of St. Anne, Aldersgate. It was built or founded by a monk named Zachary. The earliest date of an incumbent is some year between 1217 and 1243.

The church has always been in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, from the earliest record up to 1666, when the parish was annexed to that of St. Anne and St. Agnes.

Houseling people in 1548 were 240.

Chantries were founded here by Thomas Lichfield in 1320; for Roger Beynyn and Isabel his wife before 1322.

Stow records that the monuments in this church were well preserved in his time. Some of the most notable persons commemorated were: Sir James Pemberton, who founded a free school in Lancashire, and was donor of many other charitable gifts (died 1613); Philip Strelley (d. 1603), benefactor to the parish, and Henry de Spondon, rector here in 1366.

There were some small legacies belonging to the parish, but few names are recorded by Stow. Colonel Henry Drax was donor of £20, and his wife of £30. Philip Strelley, of 40s. a year.

By the subscribers of the united parishes thirty boys and twenty girls were taught, clothed, and put out as apprentices.

William Byngham, founder of Christ Church College, Cambridge, was rector here.

In Gresham Street are also the halls of two City Companies.



It has been surmised that the haberdashers were originally a branch of the mercers, and formed a trade association for the protection and general supervision of the trade carried on by the haberdashers and milliners. They are supposed to have existed as early as the year 1372, being mentioned in the City records as having then promulgated their first ordinances. By the Company’s earlier minute books they seem to have been at one time associated with the felt-makers.

The first charter granted to the Haberdashers Company was by Henry VI. (June 3, 1448); it authorised and empowered the liegemen of the mystery of haberdashers to erect and found a guild or fraternity in honour of St. Katherine. The charter grants that the fraternity shall be a perpetual and incorporate fraternity of haberdashers of St. Katherine of London, to hold lands to themselves and their successors and with a common seal.

Henry VII. by charter united the crafts of hurriers and hatter merchants into one craft, and by another charter, 17th Henry VII., he united the hurriers and hatter merchants with the craft of haberdashers, and declared they should be one craft and perpetual commonalty by the name of Merchant Haberdashers.

Henry VIII.—November 1511—by charter of this date confirmed previous charters, and, on the application of the Merchant Haberdashers, altered and translated the style of the said guild into the name of the Master and Four Wardens of the Guild of Fraternity of St. Katherine, of the Craft of Haberdashers, in the City of London. It enacted that no foreigner or stranger in London should make any caps or hats for the use of any stranger, unless admitted by the master and wardens, under pain or forfeiture of the thing made, one half to go to the Mayor and Commonalty of the City, and the other to the use of the mystery or craft aforesaid.

Philip and Mary—1557—by charter of this date confirmed all previous charters.

Elizabeth—June 19, 1578—by charter confirmed all previous charters, and it is under this charter that the Company is now governed.

It is thought there can be little doubt that the Haberdashers Company was originally established for trade purposes, and was in former times associated with other trades, as the felt-makers and hatters. The before-mentioned charters of incorporation gave the Company considerable powers for regulating the trade in haberdashery, and for enforcing its orders in reference thereto, and these powers were no doubt exercised for many years. In course of time, however, the business or trade of haberdashery became so interwoven with other trades, such as drapers, milliners, mercers, hosiers, etc., that there is no longer any distinct business of haberdashery. The Company, however, being anxious to help those who are engaged in it have for the last eight or nine years advertised that the sum of £100 will be annually awarded as prizes to the actual inventors of new patterns, designs, or specimens of articles of haberdashery proper, provided such inventors were not manufacturers or dealers. No control is now exercised by the Company in reference to the trade of haberdashery.

Freemen are eligible for pensions and gifts if in needy circumstances. The children of freemen have the privilege of competing for certain exhibitions in the gift of the Company.

Liverymen are also eligible for the pensions and gifts under similar circumstances, and their children have like privileges for competing in exhibitions. They are also eligible (provided their fathers or grandfathers are not members of the governing body) for educational grants which are made voluntarily by the Company annually towards defraying the cost of education, and liverymen’s children who have distinguished themselves in their studies are also eligible for four exhibitions of £40 each, also voluntarily given by the Company and tenable for three years, for the purpose of pursuing their studies in the higher branches of learning. The children of liverymen and freemen have also a priority of claim over outsiders for admission to the Company’s Aske’s Schools at Hatcham and West Hampstead and Acton.

The members of the governing body, on attending courts and committees (but not otherwise), receive fees for their attendance.

30The present number of pensioners is 152, and the amount paid to them £2999 : 10s.

The present number of recipients of annual gifts is 40, and the amount paid to them £215 : 2s.

It is believed that few, if any, of the recipients of the above pensions and gifts carry on or have carried on the trade the name of which is borne by the Company. Considerable grants are made every year to poor clergy and poor hatters.

In addition to the above yearly gifts various sums are from time to time voluntarily granted to poor members of the Company, their widows and families, amounting in 1879 to £276 : 10s.

The Hall is at 77 Gresham Street. It was built by Wren but burned down in 1864.

The Trust Income of the Company is expended in schools and almshouses, the most important schools being Aske’s, referred to above. There are other almshouses at Monmouth, at Newland in Gloucestershire, and at Newport, Salop. There are also schools at Monmouth, Pontypool, Newport, Salop, and Bunbury connected with the Company. They give several exhibitions, and they grant pensions and give large subscriptions to philanthropic objects.


There is no documentary evidence in the possession of the Wax Chandlers’ Company of an earlier date than 45th Edward III., A.D. 1371, which is a petition to the Court of Aldermen of the City of London for leave to choose searchers for bad wares, and for approval of byelaws then submitted for the regulation of the craft. The prayer of this petition seems to have been acceded to, for Walter Rede and John Pope were in the same year chosen and sworn to oversee the said craft, and the defaults from time to time found to present to the mayor and aldermen, etc. These documents are set out (p. 104) in the Report of the Commissioners on Municipal Corporations in England and Wales dated 1837. That the craft of wax chandlers had an association previous to this date there are no documents to show, although from the petition it would appear that it had, but without power to enforce obedience to its orders.

The following is a list of the charters, etc., granted at various times to the Company:

1. Charter of 1 Richard III., 1484. 2. Grant of arms, 2 Richard III., 1485. 3. Further grant of arms, 28 Henry VIII., 1536. 4. Exemplification and confirmation of said charter of Richard III. by Philip and Mary, 7th June, 4 and 5 Philip and Mary. 5. Letters Patent of confirmation of said charter by Queen Elizabeth, 2 Elizabeth, 1560. 6. Ditto, ditto. King James I., 2 James I., 1604. 7. Charter of 15 Charles II., 1663. 8. Byelaws pursuant to last-mentioned charter, and the statute 19 Henry VII., approved and signed and sealed by the Lord Chancellor and two Chief Justices of the King’s Bench and Common Pleas, dated June 28, 1664, referred to at p. 100 of the above-mentioned report. 9. Charter of 1 James II., 1685 (this charter was avoided under the General Statute).

At present they have a livery of twenty-seven, a Corporate Income of £1370, a Trust Income of £230, and a hall in Gresham Street.

The use of wax tapers and candles not only in the churches, but also in the houses of the wealthy sort, caused the material to be valuable and the mystery of preparing it prosperous. The Company was in fact in great credit until the Reformation, when the greater part of its work—that of providing lights for the churches—vanished.

In ancient documents the Guildhall Yard is mentioned frequently, as might be expected. In Agas’s map the yard is enclosed, and entered by a gateway. Some of the land belonged to Balliol College, Oxford. It was widened by taking off part of the churchyard of St. Lawrence, Jewry. Here were the taverns of the Three Tuns and the White Lyon. Sir Erasmus de la Fountaine had property here and gave his name to Fountain Court.

31A passage out of Guildhall Yard and others out of Basinghall Street and Cateaton Street led to the two courts of Blackwell or Bakewell Hall.


Of this historic mansion Stow speaks at some length. He says that it was built upon vaults of stone brought from Caen in Normandy, and that it was covered over in painting and carved stone with the arms of the Basings or Bassings, viz. “a gyronny of twelve points gold and azure.” This family when Stow writes was “worn out.” In the 36th year of Edward III., one Thomas Bakewell was living in this house. In the 20th of Richard II., for a sum of £50, licence was given to transfer this hall with certain messuages appertaining to the mayor and commonalty of the City. Here was established the year after, by Whittington, thrice Mayor, a weekly market for cloth, no foreigners being allowed to sell cloth anywhere except in Blackwell Hall and in the courts thereof. In the year 1588 the house, being decayed, was taken down and rebuilt. In the Great Fire the Hall was destroyed, together with a great quantity of cloth stored by country manufacturers in its warehouses. “What,” says Lord Clarendon, “have we lost in clothe if the little Company [the stationers] lost £200,000 in books?”

“The late edifice of Blackwell Hall appears to have been erected about the year 1672, and it exhibited the dull and prison-like appearance of the older storehouses 32of London, in the unglazed transom-windows with iron bars, contained in the front. The attic was ornamented with a cornice and pediment, and in the centre was a heavy stately stone gateway between two Doric columns, surmounted by the royal arms, carved in a panel above; and the city arms, impaling those of Christ’s Hospital, supported by winged boys, were sculptured in the head of the arch. The disposition of the interior consisted of two quadrangular open courts, one beyond the other, surrounded by buildings of freestone. Within the Hall were several large rooms or warehouses, both above and on the ground floor, in which the factors employed by the clothiers exposed their cloths on the established market days, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the first being the principal. These apartments formed the Devonshire, Gloucester, Worcester, Kentish, Medley, Spanish, and Blanket Halls, etc., in which one penny was charged for the pitching of each piece of cloth, and one halfpenny per week each for resting there. The profits paid to Christ’s Hospital arising from those charges are said to have produced £1000 yearly” (Wilkinson’s Londina Illustrata, vol. ii. p. 36).

The changes gradually made in the cloth trade caused the decay of the market. In 1815 an Act was passed enabling the Mayor and Corporation to pull down the hall of St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, which was stated to be in a ruinous condition, and to replace it by buildings for courts.

The present Art Gallery, the Museum, the Library, Guildhall Buildings, the Courts, etc., stand upon the site of the Hall, the Chapel, and the adjacent ground. The Hall was taken down in 1819.

The Guildhall, like the Mansion House, Royal Exchange, etc., is so woven in with the history of the City that an account of it must be sought in the historical volumes preceding this.

We may return to the Poultry by the next north and south thoroughfare, namely:

Ironmonger Lane, which is frequently mentioned in early deeds and documents. As early as the middle of the twelfth century documents are spoken of in “Ismongers’ Lane,” in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch. In 1245 there are shops, solars, and cellars in the street. Riley (Mem. 128. 15) presents two most interesting inquests connected with two murders in this street. The lane is called variously Ismongers’, Iremongers’, and Ironmongers’.

On the east side of this street, near Cheapside, was the Church of St. Martin Pomeroy.

St. Martin Pomeroy is supposed by Stow to have gained its second name from an apple garden there, but it was more probably from a family named Pomeroy. In 1629 the church was repaired, but it was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being united to that of St. Olave, Jewry. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1361.

Photo. Sandell, Ltd.


33The patronage of the church before 1253 was in the hands of Ralph Tricket, who gave it in 1253 to the Prior and Canons of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield; after the Reformation it continued in the Crown up to 1666, when it was annexed to St. Olave.

Houseling people in 1548 were 120.

Chantries were, founded here: For Henry atte Roth, chandeler, to which Richard Scot was admitted, February 7, 1391-92; for William Love, to which Stephen Benet was collated, January 24, 1391-92. Only two monuments are recorded by Strype, neither of which commemorate persons of eminence. There was a free school, said to have been founded by Thomas à Becket, in the Old Jewry, for twenty-five scholars. There were also two almshouses for nine widows of Armourers or Braziers, the gift of Mr. Tindal, citizen and armourer of London.

John Kingscote, Bishop of Carlisle, 1462, was rector here.

In Ironmonger Lane is the Mercers’ Hall.


The Mercers, although not incorporated until the year 1393 (17th Richard II.), were in very early times associated voluntarily for the purposes of mutual aid and comfort. They come to light as a fraternity first in the time of Henry II., for Gilbert à Becket, the father of St. Thomas of Canterbury, is said to have been a mercer; and in the year 1192, Agnes de Helles, sister of St. Thomas, and her husband, Thomas Fitztheobald de Helles, in founding the hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, which is distinctly stated to have been built on the spot where the future archbishop was born, constituted the fraternity of mercers patrons of the hospital. The hospital and the Company were intimately connected until the Reformation, and afford a good example of the connection of secular guilds and ecclesiastical foundations in the Middle Ages, secular guilds being established for the promotion of trade and almsdeeds, and ecclesiastical foundations for devotion and almsdeeds.

It is probable that a guild could not be carried on without the King’s licence at this early date; and it would seem a necessary interference that the mercers had a licence at the time of Henry II., from their not appearing among the “adulterine” guilds, or guilds set up without the King’s licence, which were fined in 1180 for being established without such licence.

The Merchant Adventurers Company gradually became detached from the Mercers Company in the course of the fifteenth century, especially by the opening of the trade with Flanders in the year 1497; and yet more so in 1564, when Queen Elizabeth, by charter, constituted the Merchant Adventurers a distinct body politic or corporation in England; but the Mercers Company still kept up an intimate connection with the “Brotherhood beyond the Sea,” the last link connecting the two companies being only severed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, which destroyed the office which the Merchant Adventurers held of the mercers under Mercers’ Hall.

It is probable, however, that trade in former times was separated into main divisions, the staple and the miscellaneous, now known as mercery. Silk, when first imported, fell in England into the latter division, hence the combined appellation “silk mercers”; but on the Continent the word was applied to the vendors of all goods carried about for sale. Cervantes, speaking of the original history in Arabic of Don Quixote, says he purchased it of a book mercer; and Guicciardini, in his description of the Netherlands, speaks of merceries as well of silk as of other materials, and in another place says that mercery comprehends all things sold by retail or by the little balance or scales. Skinner, in his Etymologicon, published in 1671, says “that a mercer was mercator peripateticus” or an itinerant merchant.

The master and wardens superintended the taking of apprentices by their members, searching the weights and measures of shopkeepers belonging to the Company, and otherwise regulating their commercial dealings. The Company appointed brokers of mercery wares, under the first charter to the City by Edward II., by which it was declared that there should be no brokers in the City but those chosen by the merchants in the mysteries in which they exercised their office, and under the charter of Edward III., which declared that none should exercise the office of broker in foreign merchandise in London unless chosen by the 34merchants of the mysteries in which they should act. The Company also appointed a common meter of linen cloth and silk, a common weigher of raw silk, and tackle porters to do their work at the waterside. The Company no longer appoint to any of these offices, because of the different methods of carrying on business which have obtained in modern times.

In the 13th year of Edward II. the Companies had advanced towards the phase of “Livery Companies.” “Moultz des gens de Mesters en Loundres furent vestus de suite.

The Company seem to have exercised some supervision over the retailers of silk and other mercery wares previous to the reign of Queen Elizabeth; but such supervision was probably not founded on any legal basis, as a petition to the privy council at the commencement of that queen’s reign, praying that these rights should be recognised, was unsuccessful.

The numbers of the Company have been recruited by the admission of apprentices, and from the sons of mercers, who have from very early times been always entitled to the freedom; and one reason for the smallness of the Company may probably have been the old custom, established so long ago as 1347, that no strangers should be admitted to the freedom without the consent of the generality. The Company has never been very numerous. In 1347, when it was refounded, 103 persons paid their entrance fees; in 1527 the Company numbered 144; in 1707, when most numerous, 331; and on December 31, 1880, 166.

The earliest date of which there is a record in the Company’s books is the year 1347, when it was reorganised, if not refounded.

The statement that no one should take as an apprentice one who had carried packs through the country, called pedlars, seems to show that a mercer at this time had ceased to be, if he had ever been, a pedlar.

Previous to the charter granted by Richard II., the mercers did not pretend to be a corporation, but simply a member of the City. In their petition to Parliament in 10th Richard II., against Nicholas Brembre, then mayor, they call themselves “the folk of the mercerie, a member of the city.” The Company, having at this time no hall of their own, assembled either in the house of one of the wardens, or in the hall or church of the hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, the site of which is now occupied by their chapel and hall, and subsequently occasionally at the Prince’s Wardrobe in the Old Jewry. They had then no landed property, and their income was derived from subscriptions, apprentice fees, and fines, and amounted to about £20 a year.

The Company’s first charter, enrolled at the Record Office (the original of which has been lost), is dated at Westminster the 13th January, 17th Richard II. (1393).

The most important event in the early history of the Mercers Company was the appointment of the Company as trustees of the charities of Sir Richard Whittington, several times master or principal warden of the Company, and four times Lord Mayor of London. He died in the year 1422-23. It is not necessary to enumerate precisely the munificent works of charity which were carried out by Sir Richard Whittington in his lifetime, or by his executors after his death; suffice it to say that he, or they by his direction, rebuilt the parish church of St. Michael Royal, rebuilt the prison of Newgate, built or repaired the City conduits, contributed very largely to the building of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and of the Guildhall, to the library of the Corporation of London, and the library of the Greyfriars, and established a chaplain at St. Paul’s. Whittington appointed John Coventry, John White, John Carpenter, and William Grove to be executors of his will, which was proved in March 1422-23. On the 12th November, 3rd Henry VI. (1424), his executors obtained a charter from the King to found Whittington college and almshouses. Of both these foundations the Mercers Company were made trustees.

The Company’s second charter was granted by Henry VI. at the prayer of the executors of Whittington.

On the accession of Edward IV. it became necessary for the quieting of men’s titles that the grants made by the Lancastrian kings should be confirmed, and accordingly the statute 1st Edward IV. cap. 1 was passed, by which it was enacted that all liberties and franchises granted by Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI., to counties or corporations, and among others to the wardens and commonalty of the Mystery 35of Mercers of the City of London, should be of the same force and virtue as if they had been granted by kings reigning de jure. The Mercers Company is the only company named in the Act, the others being included in general words.


1463. This year is a most important one in the Company’s annals, as in it the court of assistants was first established. The business of the Company having very much increased, both on account of their connection with the Merchant Adventurers Company and also from the management of the trusts of Whittington, Abbot, and Estfield, it was felt that the whole burden of the Company’s affairs should not be cast upon the wardens, and that it was not desirable that the generality should be constantly called together. For many years previous to this date it had been the practice that the wardens, and the aldermen free of the Company, and their peers, should hold assemblies for the devising of ordinances or other matters, their deliberations being afterwards submitted to a general court for approval. On the 23rd of July 1463, at a general court of the Company, the following resolution was passed: “It is accorded 36that for the holding of many courts and congregations of the fellowship it is tedious and grievous to the body of the fellowship, and specially for matters of no great effect, that hereafter yearly shall be chosen and associate to the custoses for the time being, 12 other sufficient persons to be assistants to the said custoses, and all matters by them, or most part of them, finished, to be holden firm and stable, and the fellowship to abide by them.”

The rest of the history of the Mercers Company is mainly occupied by a recital of charities which were placed in their hands to administer. It is sufficient to call attention to the many and splendid endowments which have been placed in the hands of the Company.

The general court appoint three trustees of the Prisons’ Charities Trust, decide when the corporate seal shall be affixed, and determine the amount of fees which shall be paid for attendance at general courts, courts of assistants, and committees. The fee paid to a member for his attendance at general courts and courts of assistants is £4 : 4s., and to a member attending a committee, £2 : 2s.

(1) A freeman is entitled from Lady Campden’s legacy for loans, and from the money legacies for loans, to have the loan of not more than £500 without interest for not more than five years, giving approved security.

He is entitled, if his circumstances warrant it, and within the limits of the Company’s nominations, to have his sons placed in Christ’s Hospital under Daniel Westall’s gift, and clothed, boarded, and educated there from eight years old to fifteen, and perhaps to nineteen; and his daughters educated out of the Company’s funds at an expense not exceeding £50 per annum, from nine years of age to fifteen, and if they show reasonable proficiency and ability to seventeen, under regulations approved by the general court.

He is also entitled in case of old age, misfortune, or infirmity to receive relief proportioned to his circumstances out of the Company’s or out of Sir Richard Whittington’s estate, which was left to the Company specially for that purpose; and his widow and daughters are entitled to relief under similar circumstances.

(2) Liveryman.—A liveryman is entitled to the same advantages as a freeman, and in addition is invited to three dinners in the course of the year. He has the right to attend common hall, and to vote at elections of lord mayors and sheriffs and of such other officers of the Corporation of London as are elected by the livery; and if resident within a radius of twenty-five miles from the City, to vote at elections of members of Parliament for the City of London.

He is eligible, and if of sufficient position and standing he is generally called in rotation by the court of assistants, to be a member of their body.

(3) Master, Warden, or otherwise a member of the governing body.—A member of the court of assistants is summoned to general courts as well as to meetings of the court of assistants (which are held weekly, except during Christmas and Easter weeks and six weeks in August and September). He is also eligible to be placed on committees appointed by the court and on the Gresham committee.

He is invited to dine at all dinners in the Company’s hall.

He recommends in rotation to appointments to Mercers’ School, and to out-pensions on the Whittington estate, and to the Whittington almshouses.

The court of assistants appoint nine governors of St. Paul’s School under the provisions of the scheme, and also governors and members of the council and of the executive committee of the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education.

The master and wardens are members of every committee appointed by the Company. They distribute Alderman Walthall’s and Lady Hungerford’s gifts, appoint preachers in Mercers’ Chapel under various gifts, and are ex officio governors of St. Paul’s School.

They also receive under various wills of benefactors to the Company certain small annuities, and are entitled to the surplus of Blundell’s estate, which surplus amounted in 1880 to £205 : 9 : 9.

A member of the Company will probably come on to the court of assistants when he is about forty-five years of age, and he remains a member for life.

The Company does not carry on any trade or occupation whatever.

37The Mercers’ Hall is interesting as standing on the site of the ancient House of St. Thomas Acon. On the dissolution the Mercers purchased the buildings of the House.

The Mercers had occupied a house adjoining for more than a hundred years before this acquisition. The Religious House itself was undoubtedly on the site of the house where Thomas was born. The buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire. The second hall was built on the same site with another chapel in which service is held every Sunday evening. Fragments of the ancient buildings can still be seen. The present hall is said to have been designed by Wren. The entrance in Cheapside was built in 1879.

Among the more distinguished members of this great Company have been Whittington, Caxton, and Sir Thomas Gresham, Sir Henry Colet, Sir Baptist Hicks. The present number of the livery is returned in Whitaker as 187; the Corporate Income as £48,000; the Trust Income as £35,000.

For an account of the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, which at first extended from Ironmonger Lane to Old Jewry, see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 262.

King Street was constructed after the Fire, in order to give a nobler approach to the Guildhall. Pepys refers to the ground having been already bought in December 1667. Strype says that “it is well inhabited by Norwich Factors and other wholesale dealers of wealth and reputation.” He calls it New King Street.

Trump Street or Trump Alley is not named in Agas, Stow, or Ogilvy; Strype calls it Duke Street.

The mention of John Carsyl, Tromppour, Trumper or Trumpet-maker (1308), also of William Trompeor (1321) and William le Trompour, gives Riley occasion for the following notes:

“The persons who followed this trade mostly lived, in all probability, in Trump Street, formerly Trump Alley (a much longer street then than it is now), near the Guildhall; their principal customers not improbably being the City waits, or watchmen; each of whom was provided with a trumpet, also known as a “wait,” for sounding the hours of the watch, and giving the alarm. In reference to this trade it deserves the remark, that the only memorial that has come down to us of the Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, and of St. Mary Magdalen and all Saints, formerly adjoining the Guildhall, is a massive stone coffin (now in the Library at Guildhall) with its lid, whereon is sculptured a cross between two trumpets, and around its margin the following inscription: Godefrey le Trompour: gist: ci: Deu: del: ealme: eit: merci. ‘Godefrey the Trompour lies here, God on the soul have mercy.’ In Trump Alley, close adjoining, he probably lived, sold trumpets, and died—if we may judge from the character of the writing, in the latter half of the fourteenth century” (Riley’s Memorials, p. xxi).

St. Lawrence Lane.—“Antiquities in this lane I find none other, than that among many fair houses, there is one large inn for receipt of Travellers called Blossoms inn, but corruptly Bosoms inn, and hath to sign St. Laurence the Deacon, in a border of blossoms or flowers” (Stow’s Survey).

Cunningham adds as follows:

“When Charles V. came over to this country in 1522, certain houses and inns 38were set apart for the reception of his retinue, and in St. Lawrence Lane, at ‘the signe of Saint Lawrence, otherwise called Bosoms yn, xx beddes and a stable for lx horses’ were directed to be got ready. The curious old tract about Bankes and his bay horse (Maroccus Extaticus) is said to be by ‘John Dando, the wier-drawer of Hadley, and Harrie Runt, head ostler of Besomes Inne.’”

The inn was also called “Bossamez” Inn and Boscham’s Inn.

Honey Lane Market was established soon after the Fire. Strype thus speaks of it (vol. i. p. 566):

“Adjoining to this street, on the north side, is Honey Lane, being now, as it were, an alley with a Freestone pavement, serving as a passage to Honey Lane Market; the former Lane, and other buildings, being since the fire of London converted into this market. Among which buildings, was the Parish Church of St. Allhallow’s, Honey Lane; and, because it was thought fit not to rebuild it, the parish is united to St. Mary-le-Bow. This Market is well served, every Week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Provisions. The Place taken up by this Market is spacious. In the middle is a large and square Market-house, standing on pillars, with rooms over it, and a bell-tower in the midst. There are in the market one hundred and thirty-five standing stalls for butchers, with racks, blocks, and others necessaries, all covered over, to shelter them from the injury of the weather; and also several stalls for fruiterers. The west end of the market lieth open to Milk Street, where there is a cock of conduit water for the use of the market. There are two other passages into it, that is, one out of St. Lawrence’s Lane, besides that which comes out of Cheapside; which passages are inhabited by grocers, Fishmongers, Poulterers, Victuallers, and Cheesemongers.”

Complaints are found in the wardmote book of people making fires in the market; of butchers killing sheep and lambs there; and of the annoyance caused by the farmers letting soil and refuse lie about the place. Honey Lane, which led to it, is said by Stow to be so called, being a dark and narrow place, on account of the constant washing required to keep it clean—a far-fetched derivation. The name is indeed very ancient. In a grant, dated 1203-15, made by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s to one Richard de Corilis mention is made of “Huni” Lane, and in another grant of the same period the house in question, “a stone built house,” is mentioned in between Milk Street and “Huni” Lane. There was one Elias de Honey Lane in 1274.

The market was closed in 1835 and the City of London School built on its site. The school has now been removed to the Embankment and the place is let out in offices.

The Church of Allhallows, Honey Lane, stood on the north side of Cheapside in Honey Lane. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and the parish was then annexed to St. Mary-le-Bow. Honey Lane Market was on the site of the church. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1327.

39The patronage was in the hands of: Simon de Creppyng, citizen, who presented in 1327; several private persons, among whom was Thomas Knoles, Mayor of London, 1399; the Grocers Company, 1471-1666, when it was annexed to St. Mary-le-Bow.

Houseling people in 1548 were 150.


Chantries were founded here for John Fourneys, citizen, and Katherine his wife, at the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary, August 22, 1396 (Pat. 20 Rd. II. p. i. m. 21), and by Alexander Speat, Thomas Trompington, John Downe, and Henry Edelmeton. Sir John Norman, Mayor of London, 1453, was buried in this church. No bequests or charitable gifts are recorded in Parish Clerk’s Summary of 1732.

Among the notable rectors were Thomas Garrard, who was burnt at Smithfield, and John Young, Bishop of Gallipoli.

Milk Street is one of the streets of Cheapside which peculiarly recalls the site of the old market by its name. There is not much recorded of this street. 40Sir Thomas More was born here, “the brightest star,” says Fuller, “that ever shone in that via Lactea.” In the Calendar of Wills the street is repeatedly mentioned as containing shops. The earliest date on which it occurs is 1278. In Riley’s Memorials we find a cook living here in 1351; in 1377 the sheriff has “his own Compter” in this street; in 1390 one Salamon Salaman, a mercer of Milk Street, gets into trouble for having putrid fish in his possession; and in 1391 one William of Milk Street, no name or trade given, is falsely imprisoned by means of a conspiracy.

Milk Street in the thirteenth century was the residence of certain Jews. Thus in 1247 Peter the Jew had a house there; and in 1250 leave was granted to John Brewer to build a chapel in his house, formerly that of Benedict the Jew; and in 1285 Cresse the Jew had a house there. In 1294 Martin the Arbalestin lived in Milk Street; and in 1285 the mayor had his residence there, his house being rented of the Prior of Lewes.

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, formerly stood on the east side, towards the south end of Milk Street, Cheapside. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Lawrence, Jewry. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1162.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s continuously from 1162, until it was burnt down, when the parish was annexed; the Dean and Chapter now share the alternate patronage of the amalgamated parish (see Hist. MSS. Rept. ix. p. 18bc 19a as to a lawsuit concerning the patronage).

Houseling people in 1548 were 220.

Chantries were founded here by: Robert de Kelsey, about 1334, for himself, Julian his wife, Hen. de Galeys, and Sara de Eldham, to which Hen. de Kelsey was admitted chaplain, September 5, 1336; the above Robert de Kelsey endowed it with the “Caufare” in Westcheap, which fetched £3 : 14 : 8 in 1548; John Offam, whose endowment fetched £14 : 9 : 6 in 1548, when William Baker was priest; Thomas Kelsey, whose endowment fetched £12 : 13 : 4 in 1548.

A great number of the monuments in this church had been defaced by Stow’s time. He records the interment of Thomas Knesworth, mayor in 1505; Sir John Langley, mayor in 1576. No names of benefactors are recorded by him.

Lawrence Bothe, Bishop of Durham 1457, of York 1476, was rector here; also John Bullingham (d. 1598), Bishop of Gloucester.

Wood Street or Lane is the next important thoroughfare westward. It is supposed by Stow to have been so called because it was built wholly of wood; but Stow suggests also an alternative derivation, that it may have been named after one Thomas Wood, sheriff in 1491. The latter suggestion must be ruled out, because in 1394 a testator bequeathed his “mansion” in Wood Street. It is worthy of note that the first mention of the street is of houses, rents, and tenements, and so it continues until the end of the thirteenth century, when we begin to hear of shops; in 1349 a brewery is spoken of—the water, as in the case of Mugwell Street, must have been furnished by one of the numerous City wells. There were many inns in Wood Street: the Bell, the Coach and Horses, the Castle, and the Cross Keys. The Castle is still commemorated in a stone slab.

41The Church of St. Michael, Wood Street, was sometimes called St. Michael Hogge or Huggen from one of that name who lived in the lane which runs down by the church. It was destroyed by the Great Fire (with the exception of the steeple) and rebuilt by Wren, who completed it in 1675, when the parish of St. Mary Staining was annexed. It was repaired in 1888, and taken down at the end of the nineteenth century. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1150.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Abbot of St. Albans before 1150; Henry VIII., who seized it in 1540 and sold it in 1543 to William Burwell; John Marsh and others in trust for the parish—it so continued up to 1666, when St. Mary Staining was annexed and the patronage was alternately in the Crown and parishioners.

Houseling people in 1548 were 317.

The latest church was very plain and measured 63 feet in length, 42 feet in breadth, and 31 feet in height. The east front had four Ionic pilasters supporting a pediment, and in the spaces between the columns there were three circular-headed windows. The tower, which was connected with the church by a porch, contained three stories, terminated by a parapet which was surmounted by a narrow spire with a vane; the total height was 130 feet.

Richard de Basingstoke founded a chantry here before 1359, probably at the Altar of St. John Baptist. Amongst those buried in the old church was Alderman John Lambarde, sheriff, 1551, who was father to Stow’s great friend William Lambard, the antiquary; he died in 1554. The church contained a monument to Queen Elizabeth.

The legacies of charity left to the parish were: 8s. per annum, of which Lady Read was donor; 5s. per annum, of which Mr. Hill was donor; £2 for 20 years, of which Mr. Longworth Cross was donor; £1 per annum, of which Mr. Bowman was donor. There were also ground-rents amounting to £36 : 4s. leased for 61 years.

Anthony Ellis or Ellys (1690-1761), Bishop of St. David’s, was a rector here; also Thomas Birch (1705-66), Secretary to the Royal Society, 1752-65.

The modern Wood Street, for a considerable distance after Gresham Street, is one series of immensely high warehouses, on which the vertical lines of bricks between the plate-glass windows are the most prominent feature. The effect of these lines is rather neat and workmanlike; horizontally beneath the windows are carved stone designs of flowers and fruit in very heavy relief. On the other side of the street are the entries into Pickford’s Yard under an old eighteenth-century house of the plainer sort.

The Church of St. Alban, Wood Street, is too far north to fall within our present section; but as it belongs to this street it must find a place here.


The Church of St. Alban, the only one remaining in this street, is on the west side, in the Cripplegate Ward. In 1632 it was pulled down, but was rebuilt in 1634, probably by Inigo Jones, but was destroyed by the Great Fire, and the present building is the work of Wren, who completed it in 1685. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1244.

The patronage of the church, as far as can be traced, was in the hands of: St. Alban’s Abbey, who exchanged it in 1077 to Westminster Abbey; St. James’ Hospital, Westminster, presented before 1244; Provost and Fellows of Eton, 1477, with whom it remained up to 1666, when the parish of St. Olave, Silver Street, was annexed and the patronage shared alternately with the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

42The church is in a quasi-Gothic style and somewhat after the model of the church destroyed by the Fire. It measured 33 feet in height, 66 feet in length, and 59 feet in breadth, and has two side aisles divided from the central portion by clustered columns and flat pointed arches. The church terminates at the east in an apse, containing three stained-glass windows. It has been greatly altered and modernised, the most striking alteration being the formation of the apse and the substitution of three smaller windows for the original large east window. The tower attains a height of 85 feet and terminates in an open parapet; it is surmounted by eight pinnacles of 7 feet each, giving a total altitude of 92 feet. On the north side there is a small churchyard, separating the church from Little Love Lane.

There was a chantry founded here by Roger Poynel before 1366. The church formerly contained monuments to Sir John Cheke (1514-57), tutor of Edward VI. and others.

The donors of charitable gifts were: William Peel, of St. Mary Savoy, who bequeathed an annuity of £10 in 1623 for the use of the poor; Gilbert Keat; Susan Ibel, £40 for providing coals for the poor; Richard Wynne, £20 to be distributed among eight poor people, at 2s. 6d. apiece; Thomas Savage, citizen and goldsmith, donor of premises in Holborn Bridge; Mr. Londson, £1 : 6s. per annum for bread for the poor, through the Company of Embroiderers.

There was a charity school for fifty boys and twenty-five girls, supported by voluntary contributions from the Church of St. Alban and others, from which the boys were apprenticed and the girls placed out to service. The parish had in 1732 a workhouse hired in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate.

The following are some of the notable vicars of the church: William Watts (d. 1649), chaplain to Charles I.; John Adams (1662-1720), chaplain to William III. and Queen Anne.

Foster Lane was originally St. Vedast’s. It is mentioned in a document of 1281 as St. Fauster’s, which was actually a corruption of St. Vedast’s. It was, before the Fire, a neighbourhood much frequented by goldsmiths and jewellers; William Fleetwood, Recorder of London in 1571, dated some of his letters to Lord Burleigh from Foster Lane.

St. Vedast’s Church, commonly known as St. Fauster’s or Foster’s. It was severely damaged by the Fire, and rebuilt by Wren; the steeple was erected in 1697, the old one having been retained until then. The parish was united after the Fire with St. Michael-le-Querne, and St. Matthew, Friday Street, to which St. Peter, Westcheap, had been annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1291.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury; the Archbishop of Canterbury before 1396, in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when the parish of St. Michael-le-Querne was annexed and the patronage was alternately shared with the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s up to 1882, when St. Matthew, Friday Street, with St. Peter, Westcheap, were annexed; the patronage is now in the hands of the Bishop of London for two turns, the Duke of Buccleugh for one turn.

Houseling people in 1548 were 460.

The church measures 69 feet in length, 51 feet in breadth, and 36 feet in height, and consists of a nave and south aisle separated by arches supported on four Tuscan columns. The steeple, which rises at the south-west, consists of a tower, surmounted by three stages, the lowest of which is concave, the second convex, and the third an obelisk-shaped spire; the total height is about 160 feet.

Chantries were founded here: By Galfridus atte gate for himself and his wives Joan and Alice, about 1447, when Edmund Brennyng was admitted chaplain—the lands fetched £8 : 6 : 8, which was augmented by Christopher Tury and yielded in all £14 : 10s. in 1548, when John Markehame was priest, “of the age of 59 years, of mean qualities and learning”; by William de Wyndesore for himself and Tolonia his wife; by John de Wyndesore, brother of the above William; by Mr. Cote in 1530, who gave £160 to purchase lands for the endowing of it, which were not purchased, but one Mr. Hayton, in 1548, finds a priest; by William Tryston, who endowed it £6 : 14 : 4, which was augmented by Simon Atwoll to 43£18 : 5 : 2 in 1548, when Albert Copeman was priest, “of the age of 39 years, of mean qualities and mean learning.”

John Longson, Master of the Mint, was buried in this church in 1583. Among the later interments Stow records those of: William Fuller, D.D., Dean of Durham, who suffered imprisonment for his loyalty in the times of the rebellion; Sir John Johnson, Alderman of the City, who died in 1698; and William Hall, deputy of this ward, who died in 1680; Robert Herrick was baptized here in 1591. No legacies or gifts are recorded by Stow.

Drawn by G. Shepherd.


Thomas Rotherham (1423-1500), afterwards Archbishop of York, was rector here; also Isaac Maddox (1697-1759), Bishop of St. Asaph and of Worcester; Adam Moleynes (or Molyneux, d. 1450), LL.D., Bishop of Chichester, who was slain by the marines at Portsmouth, incited by Richard, Duke of York; Thomas Blage (d. 1611), Dean of Rochester; Nathaniel Marshall (d. 1730), Canon of Windsor.

In Gresham Street, between Foster Lane and Gutter Lane corners, is the Goldsmiths’ Hall.



The Goldsmiths Company is mentioned in the year 1180, when it appears to have been a voluntary association. It doubtless had its origin in a combination of goldsmiths, for their mutual protection, and to guard the trade against fraudulent workers. In the year 1300 the existence of the Company is recognised by a statute, viz., the 28th Edward I., cap. 80, which provides for the standards of gold and silver, and enacts that all articles of those metals shall be assayed by the wardens of the craft, to whom certain powers of search are also given.

The first of the Company’s charters was granted to them by Edward III., in the first year of his reign (1327).

It states that it had been theretofore ordained that all those who were of the goldsmiths’ trade should sit in their shops in the High Street of Cheap (Cheapside), and that no silver or plate, nor vessel of gold or silver, ought to be sold in the City of London, except at the King’s Exchange, or in the said street of Cheap amongst the goldsmiths, and that publicly, to the end the persons of the said trade might inform themselves whether the sellers came lawfully by such vessel or not; that no gold or silver shall be manufactured to be sent abroad but what shall be sold at the King’s Exchange, or openly amongst the goldsmiths, and that none pretending to be goldsmiths shall keep any shops but in Cheap.

By two subsequent charters Edward III. confirmed and extended the privileges before granted, and he gave the Company licence to purchase and hold tenements and rents to the value of £20 per annum, for the relief of infirm members.

Richard II., by letters patent of the sixteenth of his reign, after reciting that Edward III. had allowed the Company of the said craft to accept charitable donations, and to purchase estates as aforesaid, and that they might retain a chaplain to celebrate Mass amongst them every day, confirmed the liberties granted by Edward III. and granted and licensed the men of the craft that thenceforth they may be a perpetual community or society amongst themselves.

Henry IV., by letters patent of his fifth year, recited and confirmed the preceding charters of Edward III. and Richard II.

Henry VI., by letters patent of his first year, also recited and confirmed the charter of Henry IV.

Edward IV., by letters patent of his second year, recited and confirmed the charters of his predecessors.

Moreover, he granted that the said then wardens and their successors may be a corporation or body corporate to consist of and be called the Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of Goldsmiths of the City of London. That they may be capable in law to purchase, take, and hold in fee and perpetuity lands, tenements, rents, and other possessions whatsoever of any persons whomsoever that shall be willing to give, devise, and assign the same to them. That they may have perpetual succession and a common seal.

Henry VII., by letters patent of the twentieth year of his reign, confirmed the whole of the preceding charters, and on account of the Company being opposed in their trade search and assay, granted by Edward IV., gave them the additional power to imprison or fine defaulters in the trade at their discretion; to seize and break unlawful work; to compel the trade, within three miles of the City, to bring their work to the Company’s common hall, to be assayed and stamped; and gave them power for ever, when it was not standard, to utterly condemn the same, without rendering account to the Crown.

The whole of the liberties and franchises granted to the Company by the preceding charters are set forth and confirmed by inspeximus charters of 1st of Henry VIII., 1st of Edward VI., 1st of Mary, 3rd of Elizabeth, 2nd of James I., and 18th of Charles II.

The Company also received a charter from James II. dated 4th of May in the first year of his reign, whereby, amongst other things, that monarch reserved to the Crown a right of control over the appointment of the wardens and clerk. The statute was made void by the Act of Parliament 2nd William and Mary, cap. 8.

45The Company have also a copy of that part of the following patent which relates to their property, viz. 4th of Edward VI. The King to Augustine Hynde, and others.

The Company have also an exemplification under the great seal of letters patent granted to them by James I., in the seventeenth year of his reign (July 24, 1619), confirming to them the possession of a large quantity of property in the City of London.

The powers of the Company are exercised at the present time chiefly under the Acts of 12th George II., cap. 26, and 7th and 8th Victoria, cap. 22.

As before stated, it appears that the Company was at first a voluntary association, and had for its chief objects the protection of the mystery or craft of goldsmiths; but it was evidently also formed for religious and social purposes, and for the relief of the poor members.

From a drawing by Thos. H. Shepherd.


The powers exercised by this voluntary association over the craft were subsequently confirmed to them by their charters. The wardens fined workmen for making wares worse than standard, entered their shops and searched for and seized false wares, settled disputes between masters and apprentices, and frequently punished rebellious apprentices by flogging, levied heavy fines upon members for slander and disobedience of the wardens, and for reviling members of the livery; and generally exercised a very powerful and absolute control, not only over the members of the fellowship, but also over all other persons exercising the goldsmiths’ trade.

For the purpose of the assay they had an assay office in the early part of the fourteenth century. The statute of 28th Edward I. enacts that no vessel of gold or silver shall depart out of the hands of the workman until it is assayed by the wardens of the craft, and stamped with the leopard’s head; the leopard being at that time part of the royal arms of England.

The Company and its members, even at this early period, appear to have acted as bankers and pawnbrokers. They received pledges, not only of plate, but of other articles, such as cloth of gold and pieces of napery.

The London goldsmiths were divided into two classes, natives and foreigners. They inhabited chiefly Cheapside, Old Change, Lombard Street, Foster Lane, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, Silver Street, Goldsmiths’ Street, Wood Street, and the lanes about Goldsmiths’ Hall. Cheapside was their principal place of residence; the part of it on the south side, extending from Bread Street to the Cross, was called “the Goldsmiths’ Row.” The shops here were occupied by goldsmiths, and here the Company possess 46many houses at the present time. The Exchange for the King’s coin was close by, in what is now called Old Change.

The native and foreign goldsmiths appear to have been divided into classes, and to have enjoyed different privileges. First, there were the members of the Company, who were chiefly, but not exclusively, Englishmen; their shops were subject to the control of the Company; they had the advantages conferred by the Company on its members, and they made certain payments for the support of the fellowship. The second division comprised the non-freemen, who were called “Allowes,” that is to say, allowed or licensed. There were the “Allowes Englis,” “Allowes Alicant,” “Alicant Strangers,” “Dutchmen,” “Men of the Fraternity of St. Loys,” etc. All these paid tribute to the Company, and were also subject to their control. The quarterage paid by the members, and the tribute so paid by the “Allowes,” constituted the Company’s original income. We find frequent mention of efforts made by the English goldsmiths to prevent foreign goldsmiths from settling in London, but they did not succeed. The wise men of the craft probably knew that the best artists were foreigners, and were willing to profit by observation of their works and mode of working. In 1445, thirty-four persons, who were strangers, were sworn, and paid 2s. a head. In 1447 Carlos Spaen paid £8 : 6 : 8 to the alms of St. Dunstan, to be admitted a freeman, and in 1511 John de Loren paid £20 for the same object.

The wardens also frequently obliged foreigners applying for the freedom to produce testimonials from the authorities of the towns abroad where they had resided.

The government of the trade under the Company’s charters continued up to the reign of Charles the Second. But some time before this period, and in the interval between it and the passing of the Act of the 12th George II., cap. 26, the powers which had been granted to the Company began to be questioned, and the Company experienced difficulty in putting them into force. In 1738 the Company considered it expedient to obtain an Act of Parliament.

And the 12th George II., cap. 26, passed in 1739, was prepared by the officers of the Company, brought into Parliament by them, with the assent of the government of the time, and all the cost of soliciting it and getting it passed was paid for by the Company, although it is a public Act.

Under this Act the Assay Office is regulated. The Company are empowered thereby to make charges for the assaying and marking plate sufficient only to defray the expenses of the office, and are prohibited from making any profit thereby or deriving any pecuniary advantage therefrom.

It may here be mentioned that at a very early period we find members of the governing body of the Company, both wardens and assistants, who were not of the craft. Amongst others, the leading bankers, themselves the descendants in trade of the old goldsmiths, from the time of the Stuarts to the present time, have been some of the most conspicuous members of the body. Amongst them we find the names of Sir Martin Bowes, who was Master of the Mint in the reign of Elizabeth; Sir Hugh Myddelton, the enterprising founder of the New River; Sir Francis Child, of Temple Bar; Sir Charles Duncombe, Sir James Pemberton, Sir Robert Vyner; and in the 19th century, Robert Williams and Thomas Halifax, Henry Sykes Thornton, William Banbury, John Charles Salt, Herbert Barnard, William Newmarch, William Cunliffe Brooks, Robert Ruthven Pym, Arthur B. Twining, Charles Hoare, and Robert Williams, jun.

It remains to mention the connection of the Company with the coinage of the realm in what is called the trial of the Pyx, an office which has been performed by the Company ever since the reign of Edward I. Its object is to ascertain that the metal of which the gold and silver money coined by the Mint is composed is standard, and that the coins themselves are of the prescribed weight.

This duty was performed in ancient times at uncertain intervals, and usually had for its immediate object the giving an acquittance to the Mint Master, who was bound to the Crown by indentures to coin money of the prescribed fineness and weight. But the Coinage Act of 1870 provides for and establishes an annual trial, and since that date the Pyx has been brought to Goldsmiths’ Hall and tried annually.

In 1900, for the first time, at the request of H.M.’s Treasury, a Pyx from each of the Colonial Mints coining Imperial Coinage was tried.

47Formerly a jury of competent freemen, summoned by the wardens, was charged by the Lord Chancellor, who subsequently received their verdict.

The jury is sworn by the Crown Remembrancer, who, the trial having been made and the verdict of the jury reduced to writing, attends at the Hall and receives them; after which their names are published in the Gazette.

The number of the livery is 150. The Hall is in Foster Lane.

Privileges of membership:

A freeman of the Company has no advantages as such, except that if he be a deserving man and in need of pecuniary assistance he is eligible to receive, and would certainly receive, aid from the Company, either by pension or donation.

When the Guild first had a Hall we know not, but the Hall has stood on its present site for upwards of 550 years.

About 1340, land and a house at St. Vedast Lane and Ing Lane[2] corner, formerly belonging to Sir Nicholas de Segrave, was bought. This land still underlies part of the present Hall, and was in the midst of the gold- and silver-smiths’ quarter. In 1407, Sir Dru Barentine built the Goldsmiths a second Hall, wherefrom a gallery led to his house. Within the great hall were arras hangings, streamers, banners, tapestried benches, worked cushions, and a screen bearing their patron’s (St. Dunstan’s) silver-gilt statue bejewelled. There were chambers, parlour, ‘say-house, chapel with coloured hangings, great kitchen, vaults, granary, armoury, clerk’s house, beadle’s house, assayer’s house. This Hall decayed. Borrowing money, they built a third and larger, 1635-40, Stone being surveyor.

After the Great Fire they repaired and partly rebuilt their Hall, 1666-69, raising money slowly. Jarman was architect. The buildings, brick and stone, surrounded a paved quadrangle entered through the Doric archway in Foster Lane.

The great hall was “magnificent” with marbled floor, moulded ceiling, pillared screen, high wainscot, painted banners, costly plate. Within 140 years they found this Hall decaying. They pulled it down and built the present (fourth) Hall in 1830-35, Philip Hardwick being architect.

Like the Drapers, the Goldsmiths Company has taken up the cause of Technical Higher Education.

On the west side of Foster Lane stood also St. Leonard’s Church, which was the parish church for St. Martin’s-le-Grand. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and its parish annexed to that of Christ Church, Newgate Street. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1291.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: the Dean and Canons of St. Martin’s-le-Grand, 1291; the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1509; Henry VIII., who seized it in 1540; the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, 1553-54, in whose successors it continues, they being the alternate patrons of Christ Church, Newgate Street.

Houseling people in 1548 were 452.

A chantry was founded here by and for William de Wyndesore, at the Altar of Virgin Mary, before 1368, when his endowment fetched £3 : 13 : 4. There are few charities recorded by Stow.

The church of St. Mary Staining was situated on the north side of Oat Lane, Foster Lane, and derived its name Staining from Painter Stainers dwelling there; or, according to some from stein, the Saxon for stone, other churches being built of wood. It was repaired and redecorated in 1630, and was burnt down in the Great Fire, but not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Michael, Wood Street; the site of this church was made a burying-ground. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1270.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prioress and Convent of St. Mary, Clerkenwell; Henry VIII., and so continued in the Crown till the Great Fire, when the parish was annexed to St. Michael, Wood Street.

Houseling people in 1548 were 98.

48Two monuments only are recorded by Stow, one in memory of George Smithes, goldsmith and alderman, who died in 1615, and the other of Sir Arthur Savage, knighted at Cadiz in 1596, who was General of Queen Elizabeth’s forces in France at the siege of Amiens; he died in 1632.

The parish received three legacies, payable yearly, namely: 15s. 6d. from Lady Read and Mr. Hill; £1 : 4s. from Mr. Lawne; and 1s. 6d. from Mr. Dean.

What Gresham Street is on the north of our present section, so Watling Street is on the south. It runs roughly parallel with Cheapside and Poultry. Stow says of it:

“Then for Watheling Street, which Leland called Atheling, or Noble Street; but since he showeth no reason why, I rather take it to be so named of that great highway of the same calling. True it is that at the present the inhabitants thereof are wealthy drapers, retaillers of woollen cloths, both broad and narrow, of all sorts, more than in any one street of this city.”

How came Watling Street, the old country road, into the City? The old Roman road, as it approached the Thames, passed down the Edgware Road. Where is now the Marble Arch it divided into two, of which the older part crossed the marsh, and so over Thorney Island? The other ran along what is now Oxford Street and Holborn.

It then crossed the valley of the Fleet and entered the City at the New Gate. If now we draw a line from Newgate to London Stone, just south of its present position, we shall find that it passes the north-east course of St. Paul’s precinct, cutting it off, so to speak, and meets the present Watling Street where it bends to the south of Bow Lane; it then follows the old Budge Row as far as the Stone. That was the original Watling Lane of the City. The Saxons, however, who found the streets a mass of confused ruins, built over part of the old Watling, and continued it as far as the south-east course of St. Paul’s. The street has few antiquities apart from its churches.

There is no mention of Watling Street in Riley’s Memorials.

In the Calendar of Wills we find shops in this street in 1307, a brewery in 1341, a widow’s mansion in 1349, and shops in 1361, “lands, tenements, and rents” in 1373, a house called “le Strelpas” in 1397. The other references to Watling Street are those of “tenements” only.

The yearly procession of the City rectors with the mayor and aldermen started from St. Peter’s, Cornhill, marched along Chepe as far as St. Paul’s Churchyard, turning to the south and so to “Watling Street Close,” which was the eastern entrance to the churchyard.

After the Fire, while the rubbish was being cleared away, on the east of the street were discovered nine wells in a row. They were supposed to have belonged to a street of houses from Watling Street to Cheapside. But one hardly expects to find a well in every house.

49In Watling Street and its continuation, Budge Row, were the following churches, beginning at the west end: St. Augustine’s; Allhallows, Bread Street; St. Mary Aldermary; St. Anthony’s. For St. Augustine’s see p. 62, and for Allhallows see p. 58.


The Church of St. Mary Aldermary stands in a triangle formed by Bow Lane, Queen Victoria Street, and Watling Street. It is called Alder, Older, or Elder, Mary, from its being the oldest church in the City having that dedication. Sir Henry Keble, Lord Mayor in 1510, began to rebuild it, and left at his death £1000 towards its completion; this was augmented by William Rodoway and Richard Pierson in 1626. The building was destroyed by the Great Fire, but rebuilt by Wren in 1681-82. For this purpose the legacy of £5000 was applied, which had been left by Henry Rogers for the rebuilding of a church; stipulation, however, was made that the new church should be an exact imitation of Keble’s, so that Wren was forced to adopt methods very different from his own. The building was greatly restored in 1876-77. The church now serves for four parishes—its original one, that of St. Thomas the Apostle, of St. Antholin, and of St. John the Baptist. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1233.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of Henry III., 1233; the Prior and Chapter of Christ Church, Canterbury, 1288, who exchanged it with the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1401, in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when the parish of St. Thomas was annexed; and thus the Archbishop shared the patronage alternately with the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Houseling people in 1548 were 400.

The church is in the Tudor style of architecture, and consists of a nave, chancel, and two side aisles, separated from the central part by clustered columns and slightly pointed arches. It is 100 feet long, 63 feet broad, and about 45 feet high. The north side of the chancel is longer than the south, which gives the church a somewhat curious appearance. The tower, the upper portion of which was rebuilt about 1701, contains four storeys, with an open parapet, and is surmounted by four pinnacles. The total height is 135 feet.

Sir Henry Keble, the founder of the original church, was buried here, and a monument erected to him in 1534; also Sir William Laxton, mayor, 1556, and Henry Gold, one of the rectors here, who was executed at Tyburn in 1534. “The Holy Maid of Kent” was also buried here. The monuments in the present church are of little interest. Over the west door there is a Latin inscription recording the munificence of Henry Rogers. Mr. Garret gave £100 to the lecturer of this church, to endure as long as the Gospel was preached. The particulars of the numerous other gifts and charities did not come into the possession of Stow. There were two almshouses for the poor of the Salters Company, who are four in number, each of whom has an allowance of 1s. per week.

Thomas Browne (d. 1673), chaplain to Charles I., was rector here; also Robert Gell (1595-1665), Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge; Offspring Blackall (1654-1716), Bishop of Exeter; White Kennett (1660-1728), Bishop of Peterborough; Henry Ware, Bishop of Chichester; Henry Gold, who was executed at Tyburn, 1534; George Lavington, D.D. (1684-1762), Bishop of Exeter.

Budge Row, northward, was spelt Begerow in 1376. Of it Stow says: “So called of Budge fur and the Skinners dwelling there.”

At the south-western corner of Sise Lane, in Budge Row, there is a rectangular railed-in space about a dozen feet by six, sheltered by the corner of the adjoining house. Against the wall, facing eastward, is a monument in stone of considerable size. Two columns with Corinthian capitals support an architrave, and enclose a 50view in slight relief of St. Antholin’s as it was. Beneath the view are the words:

Here stood the parish church of St. Antholin, destroyed in the Great Fire, A.D. 1666, rebuilt 1677 by Sir Christopher Wren, architect.

On the bases of the columns are inscribed the names of the churchwardens of St. Antholin’s and St. John Baptist’s, Walbrook, respectively. While the following inscription is beneath:

The change of population in the City during two centuries rendering the church no longer necessary, it was taken down A.D. 1875, under the Act of Parliament for uniting City Benefices; the funds derived from the sale of the site were devoted in part to the Restoration of the neighbouring church of St. Mary Aldermary, where are also erected the monumental tablets removed from St. Antholin, and the erection at Nunhead of another church dedicated to St. Antholin greatly needed in that thickly populated district.

And again, right across the bases of the pillars and the stone, run the words:

In a vault beneath are deposited the greater part of the human remains removed from the Old church. The remainder are laid in a vault in the City of London Cemetery at Ilford, where also a monument marks the place of interment.

The Church of St. Anthony or Antholin stood on the north side of Budge Row, at the corner of Shoe Lane, in Cordwainer Street Ward. It derived its name from being dedicated to St. Anthony of Vienna, who had a cell here founded by Henry II., but it is not known when the church was first built. About 1399 it was rebuilt, and again in 1513, but the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed it. From Wren’s design it was rebuilt, and completed in 1682; it was remarkable for its tower, with a spire all of freestone. In 1874 the building (except the steeple) was taken down, and in 1876 the steeple was also demolished, the materials of which were sold for £5. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1181.

The patronage of the church was always in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who granted one part to John, son of Wizo the goldsmith, about 1141.

Houseling people in 1548 were 240.

In 1623 a very beautiful gallery was added to the church, every division of which (52 in number) was filled with the arms of kings, queens, and princes of the kingdom, from Edward the Confessor to Frederick, Count Palatine of the Rhine.

Chantries were founded here by: Nicholas Bole, citizen and skinner, at the Altar of St. Katherine, to which William Pykon was admitted chaplain, 1390, on the resignation of Richard Hale—the endowment fetched £6 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Robert Smythe was chaplain; John Grantham, whose endowment fetched £4 in 1548.

In this church Thomas Hind and Hugh Acton, benefactors to the parish, were buried. There was also a monument to William Daunsey, mercer and alderman of the City.

Some of the donors of gifts and charities were: the Mercers and Drapers, of £6 respectively; Sir William Craven and William Parker, £100, to which £118 were added by the parishioners, for establishing a daily lecture. There were a considerable number of charities in this parish.

Among the rectors of this church were William Colwyn, who made a recantation at St. Paul’s Cross, Advent 1541, and Thomas Lamplugh (1615-91), Archbishop of York.

On the opposite side of the street extends for some way a really old brick building, evidently built immediately after the Fire. Over a centre window is a curved pediment of brickwork. Beneath, an opening leads into a yard, and the building is used by Stationers. The west side of the lane is modern.

51St. Pancras Lane was formerly Needlers’ Lane. The church, the parish, the chantries and endowments, and the parishioners are mentioned frequently in the Calendar of Wills. The earliest entry there is of A.D. 1273, where John Hervy bequeaths to Juliana his daughter his mansion in the parish of St. Pancras, and to his daughter Johanna his shop in the parish of Colechurch. The Lane, except that it contained two parish churches, was of little importance.

Pancras Lane is an open space, once the graveyard of St. Pancras, Soper Lane. The houses are dull brick and stucco. The graveyard bears a great similarity to all that is left of the others; it is covered with dingy gravel and decorated by blackened evergreens. The iron gate bears a little shield telling that it was erected in 1886. There are one or two tombs still left.

The Church of St. Pancras, Soper Lane, stood near a street called Soper Lane, but since the Fire called Queen Street. It was repaired 1621, and in 1624 Thomas Chapman the younger built a porch to it. The building was destroyed by the Great Fire, when its parish was annexed to that of St. Mary-le-Bow. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1312.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, who granted it, April 25, 1365, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when the church was destroyed in the Great Fire and the parish annexed to St. Mary-le-Bow.

Houseling people in 1548 were 146.

Chantries were founded here by: John Causton at the Altar of St. Anne, which was augmented by Simon Rice and Lettice his wife, before 1356, to which William de la Temple was presented by the King, January 10, 1374-75—the endowment was valued at £13 in 1548, when Adam Arnolde was priest; Margaret Reynolds, who bequeathed £233 : 6 : 8, which the Mercers had, and guaranteed a rent charge of £8 : 13 : 4 for the same to find a priest.

The church originally contained monuments to John Stockton, mercer and mayor, 1470; Richard Gardener, mercer and mayor, 1478; and Thomas Knowles, twice Lord Mayor.

Two charitable gifts are recorded by Stow, the donors of which were Thomas Chapman, whose benefaction was lost by Stow’s time, and Thomas Chapman his son, to the amount of £11 : 3 : 8.

Only a few steps farther on is another melancholy little spot, with a stone slab on the wall near with inscription as follows: “Before the dreadful Fire, Anno 1666, stood the church of St. Benet Sherehog.” The railing and low wall were put up in 1842. Within the enclosure stands a tomb over the “Family Vault of Michael Davison, 1676.”

The church was called St. Benet Sherehog, from one Benedict Shorne, or Shrog, or Shorehog, who was connected with it in the reign of Edward II. It was repaired in 1628, but destroyed by the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to St. Stephen, Walbrook, and its site made into a burying-ground. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1285.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Prior and Convent of St. Mary Overy, of Southwark, 1324; then the Crown, since Henry VIII. seized it in 1542.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

Chantries were founded here: For Ralph le Fever and Lucy his wife—the endowment fetched £3 : 11 : 8 in 1548, when Anthony Gyplyn, lately deceased, had been priest; for Thomas Romayn and Julia his wife, to which John de Loughebourgh was admitted, August 12, 1326.

52Edward Hall, who wrote the large chronicle from Richard II. to Henry VIII., was buried here. The church formerly contained a monument to Sir Ralph Warren, twice Lord Mayor of London, who died in 1553. Mrs. Katherine Philips of Cardigan, the poetess, who died in 1664, was also buried here.

Only one charitable gift is recorded by Stow in this parish, that of £5 per annum left by Mr. Davison for keeping his family vault in repair. Some of this was used for charitable purposes.

John Wakering (d. 1425), Bishop of Norwich, was rector here.

Queen Street was constructed in part after the Fire, and covers the old Soper Lane, so called from the soap-makers who formerly lived here (though Stow wants to derive the name from an ancient resident). The south end, leading to the river, seems to have been the later part.

Soper Lane is mentioned in the Calendar of Wills as early as 1259, when Nicholas Bat, a member of the old City family of that name, bequeathed to his wife rents in Sopers’ Lane.

Here, in 1297, there sprang up an evening market—“Eve Chepynge”—called the New Fair. It was established against the knowledge of the mayor by “strangers, foreigners, and beggars,” and was the cause of many deeds made possible by selling in the dark, and of much strife and violence. Therefore it was abolished.

In the reign of Edward II. Soper Lane was the market-place of the Pepperers; seventy years later of the Curriers and Cordwainers. In the reign of Queen Mary there were many shops here for the sale of pies.

In the year 1316 the “good folks in Soper Lane, of the trade of Pepperers,” agreed upon certain regulations for the observance of the trade and the prevention of dishonesty.

In 1375 we find cordwainers between Soper Lane and the Conduit.

The name of Size Lane is derived from St. Osyth.

For Bucklersbury we will first let Stow speak:

“Bucklersbury, so called of a manor and tenements pertaining to one Buckle, who there dwelt and kept his courts. This manor is supposed to be the great stone building, yet in part remaining on the south side of the street, which of late time hath been called the Old Barge, of such a sign hanged out near the gate thereof. This manor or great house hath of long time been divided and letten out into many tenements; and it hath been a common speech, that when Walbrooke did lie open, barges were rowed out of the Thames, or towed up so far, and therefore the place hath ever since been called the Old Barge.

“Also on the north side of this street, directly over against the said Bucklersbury, was one ancient and strong tower of stone, the which tower King Edward III., in the 18th of his reign, by the name of the king’s house, called Cornet stoure in London, did appoint to be his Exchange of money there to be kept. In the 29th he granted it to Frydus Guynysane and Landus Bardoile, merchants of Luke, for 53twenty pounds the year. And in the 32nd he gave the same tower to his college or free chapel of St. Stephen at Westminster, by the name of Cornet Stoure at Bucklersbury in London. This tower of late years was taken down by one Buckle, a grocer, meaning in place thereof to have set up and built a goodly frame of timber; but the said Buckle greedily labouring to pull down the old tower, a part thereof fell upon him, which so sore bruised him that his life was thereby shortened, and another that married his widow set up the new prepared frame of timber, and finished the work.

“This whole street called Bucklersbury on both the sides throughout is possessed of grocers and apothecaries towards the west end thereof: on the south side breaketh out one other short lane called in records Peneritch street; it reacheth but to St. Sythe’s Lane, and St. Sythe’s church is the farthest part thereof, for by the west end of the said church beginneth Needler’s Lane, which reacheth to Soper Lane, as is aforesaid” (Stow’s Survey, p. 276).

The origin of the name of Bucklersbury is Bukerel, and not Buckle; Bukerel was the name of an old City family. Andrew Bukerel was mayor from 1231 to 1236.

Many Roman antiquities, pavements, bronzes, Samian ware, spoons, etc., have been found in Bucklersbury. A bronze armlet also found there may belong to pre-Roman times. The street is mentioned in many ancient documents, beginning with the thirteenth century. In the fifteenth century there were tenements here known as “Sylvestre tour” assigned by the Dean of St. Stephen, Westminster, to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, druggists, furriers, herbalists, and tobacconists had shops in Bucklersbury.

In 1688 there was a Roman Catholic chapel in Bucklersbury, which was one of those destroyed or burned by the mob, chiefly consisting of London apprentices, during the riots pending the arrival of the Prince of Orange.

An argument between the Dean and Canons of St. Paul’s and a carpenter of Bucklersbury shows that the parish of St. Benet Sherehog was called in 1406 the parish of St. Osyth, in which part of Bucklersbury stood. In 1455 the former name is given to the parish.

Bucklersbury was cut in two when Queen Victoria Street was made. The upper portion consists chiefly of large modern many-windowed business houses. Near the north-east corner there is an old brick house containing part of Pimm’s restaurant. In the southern half Barge Yard is modern. The Bourse Buildings, occupied by a great number of engineers, accountants, and business men of all sorts, take up a large part of the street.

Passing westward we come to Bow Lane, which was formerly called in the lower part Hosier Lane, from the trade of those who occupied it, and in the upper part, for a similar reason, Cordwainers’ Street.

54The street spoken of in the Calendar of Wills by the name of Hosier Lane belonged to the parish of St. Sepulchre without the wall. The same street is mentioned in Riley’s Memorials.

For the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow see p. 10.

In its modern aspect Bow Lane is not uninteresting.

A covered entry, inappropriately named New Court, leads into a fascinating corner. There is a gateway really and ruinously old; it is said to have survived the Fire. The ironwork pattern is lost now in meaningless and broken twists, though there is a semblance of what might have been a monogram over the centre gate. The houses all round the court evidently date from the period directly after the Fire. That facing the street is of red brick toned by age, and is said to have been the residence of a Lord Mayor. The others are of dark brick, picked out in red. No. 5 contains the offices of the Financial World.

Beyond it a narrow passage leads at an angle round to the churchyard. A more spacious way runs beside the church itself. At the corner of this is a polished granite drinking fountain, erected in 1859, supporting green painted dolphins.

In the churchyard a scene of confusion and turmoil daily takes place on the pavement which lies over the bones of the “ancient dead.” Great wooden crates and packing-cases are littered about. They are from that large modern building on the west, facing the church, belonging to warehousemen and manufacturers. But one old seventeenth-century house, of a date immediately succeeding the Fire, remains, on the south side of the churchyard, facing Cheapside. Its quiet blackened bricks and flat windows have beheld many a change of scene on the stage before it. The ground-floor windows and doorway are connected by an ornamental cornice. The red bricks of the church in Bow Lane contrast with a long narrow building of the eighteenth century which is squeezed against them. These contrast with the gaping cellars and basements of the more modern buildings.

Of Bread Street there is very early mention. In 1204 the leprous women of St. James’s received a charter respecting a certain tenement in Chepe, at the head of Bread Street; in 1290 this tenement again becomes the subject of a charter. In 1263 there was a fire which consumed a part of Bread Street.

“So called of bread in old time there sold: for it appeareth by records, that in the year 1302, which was the 30th of Edward I., the bakers of London were bound to sell no bread in their shops or houses, but in the market: and that they should have four hall-motes in the year, at four several terms, to determine of enormities belonging to the said Company.

“Bread Street is now wholly inhabited by rich traders; and divers fair inns be there, for good receipt of carriers and other travellers to the city. It appears in the will of Edward Stafford, Earl of Wyltshire, dated the 22nd of March, 1498, and 14 Hen. VII., that he lived in a house in Bread-street in London, which belonged to 55the family of Stafford, Duke of Bucks afterwards; he bequeathing all the stuff in that house to the Lord of Buckingham, for he died without issue” (Strype, vol. i. pp. 686-687).

The bakers gave continual trouble to the City by their light-weight loaves and their bad bread. When they were “wanted” by the alderman they gat themselves out of the City and to their hills beyond the jurisdiction of the mayor. It was ordained, in order to meet this difficulty, that the servants who sell the bread thus complained of should be punished as if they were masters. It was also discovered that “hostelers and habergeons” bought bread in the market and sold it to their guests at a profit. This was not allowed in mediæval times. It was ordered that every loaf was to be bought of a baker, with his special stamp, and sold at the price regulated by the assize of bread.

But there were others besides bakers who used the market of Bread Street, Cheapside; it became a place for cooks. In 1351, one Henry Pecche bought a caper pasty of Henry de Passelowe, cook at the Stocks, and found on opening it that the fowl was putrid. The case coming before the mayor, experts were called in, among them six cooks of Bread Street and three of Ironmonger Lane. The story shows how the exclusive character of a market had to be broken up for the conveniences of the people. Here we have cooks carrying on their trade in three different parts of the great market of Chepe. A few years later, one of the Bread Street cooks, John Welburgh Man by name, was convicted by the evidence of his neighbours of selling a pie of conger, knowing the fish to be bad.

In 1595 a singular discovery was made at the north-east end of this street. In the construction of a vault was found, 15 feet deep, a “fair” pavement, and at the farther end a tree sawed into five steps—Stow says: “which was to step over some brook running out of the west towards Walbrooke; and upon the edge of the said brook, as it seemeth, there were found lying along the bodies of two great trees, the ends whereof were then sawed off, and firm timber as at the first when they fell, part of the said trees remain yet in the ground undigged. It was all forced ground until they went past the trees aforesaid, which was about seventeen feet deep or better; thus much hath the ground of this city in that place been raised from the main.”

The first turning to the east going down Bread Street was, until recently, called the Spread Eagle Court. One of the corner houses of this court is supposed to have been the work-place of John Milton, whose father traded under the sign of the “Spread Eagle.” He was baptized in the church of Allhallows. House and church were destroyed in the Fire, but the register remains.

On the corner house between Watling and Bread Streets is a stone slab fixed to the wall; this bears a bust of the poet in alto relievo. The rest of the building, which runs along Watling Street as far as Red Lion Court, is in new red brick, 56dated 1878. It has ornamental brickwork and festoons here and there, and the roof terminates in curiously shaped gables, some of which follow the old shell pattern. The doorways and windows are carried out in stone. The penthouse pediment over Milton’s bust is also in brick. Beneath, two little red cherubs hold a laurel wreath. Below the head is the one word—Milton; and lower follows the inscription:

Born in Bread Street, 1608.
Baptized in the Church of Allhallows, which stood here ante 1678.

The Mermaid, like many other London inns, stood in a court with an entrance from Friday Street and from Bread Street.

On the west side of Bread Street, on a site which, when Stow wrote, was occupied by “large houses for merchants and fair inns for passengers,” stood the Bread Street Compter, one of the two sheriffs’ prisons. As we have seen, it was later removed to Wood Street.

Behind St. Mildred’s Church stood Gerard’s Hall, the entrance from Basing Lane. Of this place Stow speaks at length:

“On the south side of this lane is one great house, of old time built upon arched vaults, and with arched gates of stone, brought from Caen in Normandy. The same is now a common hostrey for receipt of travellers, commonly and corruptly called Gerards hall, of a giant said to have dwelt there. In the high-roofed hall of this house sometime stood a large fir pole, which reached to the roof thereof, and was said to be one of the staves that Gerard the giant used in the wars to run withal. There stood also a ladder of the same length, which (as they say) served to ascend to the top of the staff. Of later years this hall is altered in building, and divers rooms are made in it. Notwithstanding, the pole is removed to one corner of the hall, and the ladder hanged broken upon a wall in the yard. The hosteler of that house said to me, ‘the pole lacketh half a foot of forty in length’: I measured the compass thereof, and found it fifteen inches.

“I read that John Gisors, mayor of London in the year 1245, was owner thereof, and that Sir John Gisors, knight, mayor of London, and constable of the Tower 1311, and divers others of that name and family, since that time owned it. William Gisors was one of the sheriffs 1329. More, John Gisors had issue, Henry and John; which John had issue, Thomas; which Thomas deceasing in the year 1350, left unto his son Thomas his messuage called Gisor’s Hall, in the parish of St. Mildred in Bread Street: John Gisors made a feoffment thereof, 1386, etc. So it appeareth that this Gisor’s Hall, of late time by corruption hath been called Gerard’s Hall for Gisor’s Hall; as Bosom’s inn for Blossom’s inn, Bevis Marks for Buries Marks, Marke Lane, for Marte Lane, Belliter Lane for Belsetter’s Lane, Gutter Lane for Guthuruns Lane, Cry Church for Christ’s Church, St. Michel in the Querne for St. Michel at corne, and sundry such others. Out of this Gisor’s Hall, at 57the first building thereof, were made divers arched doors, yet to be seen, which seem not sufficient for any great monster, or other man of common stature to pass through, the pole in the hall might be used of old time (as then the custom was in every parish), to be set up in the summer as May-pole, before the principal house in the parish or street, and to stand in the hall before the screen, decked with holme and ivy, at the feast of Christmas. The ladder served for the decking of the may-pole and roof of the hall. Thus much for Gisor’s hall, and for that side of Bread street, may suffice” (Stow’s Survey, 393-394).


The crypt of this house escaped the Fire. On its site was erected an inn called Gerard’s Hall, which contained seventy-eight bedrooms, and was one of the principal hotels of the City. The whole was removed for the construction of Cannon Street; Basing Lane, which ran from Bread Street to Bow Lane, disappeared at the same time.


The Church of St. Mildred, Bread Street, still stands. It is on the east side of the street, a little to the south of Cannon Street, and is supposed to have been rebuilt in 1300 by Lord Trenchaunt, of 58St. Alban’s, knight, whose monument was in the church. It was destroyed by the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren in 1683, when the parish of St. Margaret Moses was annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1170.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, who had it in 1300, and granted it to John Incent and John Oliver, 1333; the above Prior and Convent.

Houseling people in 1548 were 216.

The present church measures 62 feet in length, and 36 feet in breadth, while the total height, to the summit of the cupola, is 52 feet. The interior remains practically in its original state. The carvings about the altar-piece and pulpit are attributed to Grinling Gibbons. The steeple, which rises at the south-east, consists of a plain brick tower, lantern, and slender spire culminating in a ball and vane. The total height is 140 feet, but only the upper portion is visible, owing to the buildings surrounding it.

A chantry was founded here by Stephen Bull, citizen, of which Thomas Chapman was chaplain, April 26, 1453.

The church originally contained monuments to: Lord Trenchaunt, a great benefactor, who was buried here about 1300; also Sir John Shadworth, mayor, 1401, who gave a parsonage house and other gifts to the church. Here too John Ireland and Ellis Crispe were buried in 1614 and 1625, the grandfather and father of Sir Nicholas Crispe, the devoted adherent of Charles I., who is greatly eulogised for his loyalty by Dr. Johnson; he died in 1666.

Few details of the charities belonging to the parish are recorded by Stow; Thomas Langham and Mr. Coppinger being the only names mentioned besides those commemorated by monuments.

Thomas Mangey (1688-1755), D.D., Prebendary of Durham, was a rector here; also Hugh Oldham (d. 1519) of Exeter.

The Church of Allhallows, Bread Street, stood on the east side of the street. In 1625 the building was repaired, but ruined by the Great Fire shortly after. It was subsequently rebuilt. In 1878 it was taken down. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1284.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Prior and Chapter of Christ Church, Canterbury; Archbishop of Canterbury, April 24, 1365, by gift (1284-85) from the above, in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when St. John’s, Watling Street, was annexed to it, these being annexed to St. Mary-le-Bow by Order in Council dated July 21, 1876.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

On the south side of the chancel there was a small part of the church, called “The Salters’ Chapel,” containing a window with the figure of the donor, Thomas Beaumont, wrought upon it. The church originally had a steeple, but in 1559 it was destroyed by lightning and not restored. The King granted a licence to Roger Paryt and Roger Stagenhow to found a guild in honour of our Lord, April 12, 1394 (Pat. 17 Rd. II. p. 2 m. 15). Some of the most notable monuments were those of Thomas Beaumont of the Company of Salters, John Dunster, a benefactor of the church, and Arthur Baron.

The following were among the numerous benefactors: David Cocke, £100; William Parker, £100; John Dunster, £200, to be laid out in lands and tenements; Edward Rudge, £200, to be laid out in lands and tenements; Lady Middleton, £100.

The most notable rectors of the church were: William Lyndwood (d. 1446), Chancellor to the Archbishop of Canterbury; Thomas Langton (d. 1501), Bishop of St. David’s. John Milton was baptized in this church.

A tablet formerly affixed to the exterior of the church in commemoration of the event was put up outside St. Mary-le-Bow after the destruction of Allhallows.

Friday Street.—“So called,” says Stow, “of fishmongers dwelling there, and serving Friday’s market.” In the roll of the Scrope and Grosvenor controversy, the poet Chaucer is recorded as giving evidence connected with this street, for when 59he was once in Friday Street he observed a sign with the arms of Scrope hanging out; and on his asking what they did there, was told they were put there by Sir Robert Grosvenor.

Cunningham also notes as follows: “The Nag’s Head Tavern, at the Cheapside corner of Friday Street, was the pretended scene of the consecration of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The real consecration took place in the adjoining church of St. Mary-le-Bow; but the Roman Catholics chose to lay the scene in a tavern. ‘The White Horse,’ another tavern in Friday Street, makes a conspicuous figure in the Merry Conceited Jests of George Peele. In this street, in 1695, at the ‘Wednesdays Clubs,’ as they were called, certain well-known conferences took place, under the direction of William Paterson, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Bank of England.”

In the year 1247, certain lands in Friday Street are held by the nuns of “Halliwelle.” In 1258, one William Eswy, mercer, bequeathed to the Earl of Gloucester all his tenements in Friday Street for 100 marks, wherein he was bound to the Earl, and for robes, capes, and other goods received from him. In 1278, Walter de Vaus left to Thomas, his uncle, shops in Friday Street. Therefore in the thirteenth century the street was already a lane of shops. The date shows that the former character of Chepe market as a broad open space set with booths and stalls had already undergone great modifications. Other early references to the street show that it was one of shops. Chaucer’s evidence shows that a hundred years later there were “hostelers” or “herbergeours” living there.

In 1363, certain citizens subscribed money as a present to the King. Among them is one Thomas, a scrivener of Friday Street, and in 1370 we find one Adam Lovekyn in possession of a seld which has been used for time out of mind by foreign tanners. He complains that they no longer come to him, but keep their wares in hostels and go about the streets selling them in secret.

In Friday Street at the corner in Watling Street is a railed-in space, all that remains of an old churchyard, the churchyard of St. John the Evangelist. This is a piece of ground containing very few square yards, separated from the street by high iron railings, and filled with stunted laurel bushes and other evergreens. A hard gravel walk runs round a circular bed of bushes, and on one side stands a raised tomb-like erection. On the wall are one or two slabs indicating the names of those who are buried in the vault below.

The Church of St. John the Evangelist was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to Allhallows, Bread Street, and both of these to St. Mary-le-Bow, by Order in Council, 1876. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1354.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, before 1354; Henry VIII. seized it in 1540; the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Canterbury, 1546 up to 1666, when it was annexed to Allhallows, Bread Street.

60Houseling people in 1548 were 100.

A chantry was founded here by William de Angre, before 1361, whose endowment fetched £8 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when John Taylor was chaplain. No monuments of any note are recorded by Stow.

In the north part of Friday Street is Blue Boar Court on the east side. This court was rebuilt in 1896, but previous to this was surrounded by old houses. One of these, No. 56, was interesting as having been the City home of Richard Cobden until 1845. It is said that this house was built on the site of a garden attached to Sir Hugh Myddelton’s house in Cheapside. The cellars beneath the building once covered the bullion belonging to the Bank of England. This was at the time when the Bank was in a room of the old Grocers’ Hall.

The Church of St. Matthew, Friday Street, was situated on the west side of the street near Cheapside. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren in 1685; it was then made the parish church for this and St. Peter’s, Westcheap, which was annexed to it. About 1887 the building was pulled down. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1322.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Abbot and Convent of St. Peter, Westminster, 1322, then Henry VIII., who seized it and gave it to the Bishop of Westminster, January 20, 1540-41; the Bishop of London, March 3, 1553-54; it continued in his successors up to 1666, when St. Peter’s, Cheapside, was annexed, and the patronage was shared alternately with the patron of that parish.

Houseling people in 1548 were 200.

The church was plain, without aisles, measuring 64 feet by 33 feet and having a tower 74 feet high.

Chantries were founded here: By Adam de Bentley, goldsmith, for himself and Matilda his wife, to which Adam Ipolite de Pontefracto was admitted chaplain, June 14, 1334; by Thomas Wyrlyngworth, at the Altar of St. Katherine, to which John Donyngton was admitted chaplain, November 13, 1391: the King granted his licence, June 16, 1404; by John Martyn, whose endowment fetched £10 in 1548, when Henry Coldewell was priest, “70 years of age, meanly learned”; for Nicholas Twyford, miles, about 1400.

The church originally contained monuments to Sir Nicholas Twyford, goldsmith and mayor, who died 1583, also Sir Edward Clark, Lord Mayor in 1696. Sir Hugh Myddelton, the designer of the New River, was a parishioner, and was buried here in 1631.

A legacy of £5 a year was left to the poor of the parish by Mrs. Cole.

James Smith, Edward Clark, and others contributed to the furnishing of the necessities of the church. The parish was to receive £240 out of the “cole-money” for the use of the parish or poor (Stow).

John Thomas (1691-1766), Bishop of Lincoln, 1744, of Sarum 1761-66, was rector here; also Edward Vaughan (d. 1522), Bishop of St. David’s; John Rogers, who was burnt at Smithfield, 1555; Lewis Bayley (d. 1631), Bishop of Bangor, and Michael Lort (1725-90), Vice-President of Society of Antiquaries; Henry Burton, the ardent Puritan, who was put in the pillory and imprisoned for his religious opinions and attacks.

The Church of St. Margaret Moses was situated on the east side of Friday Street, opposite Distaff Lane, now merged in Cannon Street, and derived its name from one Moses, who founded it. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and its parish annexed to that of St. Mildred, Bread Street. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1300.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Robert Fitzwalter, the founder, who gave it in 1105 to the Priors and Canons of St. Faith, Horsham, Norfolk, being confirmed to that house by Pope Alexander III. in his Bill dated at Turin, May 26, 1163; Edward III., who seized it from St. Faith, as an alien priory, and so it continued in the Crown till the parish was annexed to St. Mildred, Bread Street, in 1666.

61Houseling people in 1548 were 240.

Chantries were founded here by: Nicholas Bray, whose endowment fetched £8 : 16 : 8 in 1548, when John Griffyn was “priest of the age of 46 years, of virtuous living and of small learning”; John Fenne, whose endowment yielded £9 : 10s. in 1548, when John Brightwyse was “priest of the age of 46 years, of honest behaviour and indifferently learned”; Gerard Dannyell, whose endowment fetched £8 in 1548, when Nicholas Prideoux was priest.

The church originally contained monuments to Sir Richard Dobbes, mayor, 1551; Sir John Allot, mayor, 1591.

Only two legacies are recorded by Stow: 18s. per annum, the gift of John Bush; 16s. per annum, the gift of John Spot.

John Rogers, who was burnt at Smithfield in 1555, was rector here.

Distaff Lane.—“On the west side of Friday Street, is Mayden lane, so named of such a sign, or Distaffe lane, for Distar lane, as I read in the record of a brew-house called the Lamb, in Distar Lane, the 16th of Henry VI. In this Distar Lane, on the north side thereof, is the Cordwainers, or Shoemakers’ hall, which company were made a brotherhood or fraternity, in the 11th of Henry IV. Of these cordwainers I read, that since the fifth of Richard II. (when he took to wife Anne, daughter to Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia), by her example, the English people had used piked shoes, tied to their knees with silken laces, or chains of silver or gilt, wherefore in the 4th of Edward IV. it was ordained and proclaimed, that beaks of shoone and boots, should not pass the length of two inches, upon pain of cursing by the clergy, and by parliament to pay twenty shillings for every pair. And every cordwainer that shod any man or woman on the Sunday, to pay thirty shillings.

“On the south side of this Distar Lane, is also one other lane, called Distar Lane, which runneth down to Knightrider Street, or Old Fish Street, and this is the end of Bread Street Ward” (Stow’s Survey, p. 393).

The other lane was afterwards called Little Distaff Lane. Another name for this street was Maiden Lane. There was another Maiden Lane in Thames Street, and a third in Lad Lane, and a fourth on Bank side.

Distaff Lane is absorbed by Cannon Street, and the “Little Distaff Lane” has been promoted by the omission of the adjective.

Old Change.—Of this street Stow tells us everything that is of interest:

“A street so called of the King’s exchange there kept, which was for the receipt of bullion to be coined. For Henry III., in the 6th year of his reign, wrote to the Scabines and men of Ipre, that he and his council had given prohibition, that none, Englishmen or other, should make change of plate or other mass of silver, but only in his Exchange at London, or at Canterbury. Andrew Bukerell then had to farm the Exchange, and was mayor of London, in the reign of Henry III. In the 8th of Edward I., Gregory Rockesly was keeper of the said Exchange for the king. In the 5th of Edward II., William Hausted was keeper thereof; and in the 18th, Roger de Frowicke.

62“These received the old stamps, or coining-irons, from time to time, as the same were worn, and delivered new to all the mints in England, as more at large in another place I have noted.

“This street beginneth by West Chepe in the north, and runneth down south to Knightrider Street; that part thereof which is called Old Fish Street, but the very housing and office of the Exchange and coinage was about the midst thereof, south from the east gate that entereth Pauls churchyard, and on the west side in Baynard’s castle ward.

“On the east side of this lane, betwixt West Cheape and the church of St. Augustine, Henry Walles, mayor (by license of Edward I.), built one row of houses, the profits rising of them to be employed on London Bridge” (Stow’s Survey, p. 35).

Lord Herbert of Cherbury lived in a “house among gardens near the Old Exchange.”

St. Paul’s School was founded by Dean Colet in 1509, and the schoolhouse stood at the east end of the Churchyard, facing the Cathedral. It was destroyed by the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren, and then again taken down and rebuilt in 1824, and subsequently removed to Hammersmith to the new building designed by Alfred Waterhouse, R.A., in 1884. For further, see “Hammersmith” in succeeding volume. The old site in St. Paul’s Churchyard is now covered by business houses.


At the corner of Old Change and Watling Street stands St. Augustine’s Church.

It was burnt down by the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren in 1682, and the parish of St. Faith’s annexed to it. The steeple, however, was not completed till 1695. As it possessed no proper burying-ground of its own, a portion of the crypt of St. Paul’s was used for the interment of parishioners. The earliest date of an incumbent was 1148.

The patronage of the church was always in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who granted it to Edward, the priest, in 1148.

Houseling people in 1548 were 360.

The present church measures about 51 feet in length, 30 feet in height, and 45 feet in breadth; it is divided into a nave and side aisles by six Ionic columns and four pilasters. The steeple rises at the south-west, consisting of a tower, lantern, and spire. It is 20 feet square at the base, and has three stories. The lantern is very slender. The total altitude is 140 feet. No chantries are recorded to have been founded here. The ancient church contained few monuments of note. The present building has a tablet to the memory of Judith (died 1705), the first wife of the eminent lawyer William Cowper.

Some of the benefactors were: Thomas Holbech, rector of the parish, 1662, who gave £100 towards finishing the church; Dame Margaret Ayloff, £100. After the parish of St. Faith’s was annexed, gifts to the amount of £700 were received from various sources.

William Fleetwood (1656-1723), Bishop of St. Asaph, was rector here; also John Douglas (1721-1807), Bishop of Carlisle and of Sarum, and Richard H. Barham (1788-1845), author of The Ingoldsby Legends.

With this we end the first section of the City.



The second group of streets will be those lying north of Gresham Street, with Noble Street and Monkwell Street on the west, and Moorgate Street on the east. This part of the City is perhaps less rich in antiquities and associations than any other. The north part was, to begin with, occupied and built over with houses much later than the south. For a long time the whole area north of Gresham (then Cateaton) Street and within the Wall presented the appearance of gardens and orchards with industrial villages as colonies dotted here and there, each with its parish church and its narrow lane of communication with the great market of Chepe. Some of the names, as Oat Lane, Lilypot Lane, Love Lane, preserve the memory of the gardens and their walks.

In this district grew up by degrees a great many of the industries of the City, especially the noisy trades and those which caused annoyance to the neighbours, as that of the foundry, the tanyard, the tallow chandlers.

An examination of the Calendar of Wills down to the fifteenth century is in one sense disappointing, because it affords no insight into the nature of the trades carried on in the area before us. On the other hand, it curiously corroborates the theory that this part of the City was in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries purely industrial, because among the many entries referring to this quarter there is but one reference, down to the seventeenth century, of any shops. There are rents, tenements—“all my Rents and Tenements” several times repeated; land and rents—“all my Land and Rents”; there are almshouses, Halls of Companies, gardens; but there are no shops, and that at a time when the streets and lanes about Cheapside are filled with shops!

The Companies’ Halls offer some index to the trades of the quarter. There are still Broderers’ Hall, Curriers’ Hall, Armourers’ Hall, Coopers’ Hall, Parish Clerk’s Hall, Brewers’ Hall, Girdlers’ Hall; and there were Haberdashers’ Hall, Mercers’ Hall, Wax Chandlers’ Hall, Masons’ Hall, Plaisterers’ Hall, Pinners’ Hall, Barber Surgeons’ Hall, Founders’ Hall, Weavers’ Hall, and Scriveners’ Hall, which have now been removed elsewhere or destroyed. These trades, we may note, are for the most part of the humbler kind.

Coleman Street is described by Stow as “a fair and large Street on both 64sides built with divers fair houses, besides alleys with small tenements in great numbers.”

Cunningham enumerates the chief events connected with the street:

“The five members accused of treason by Charles I. concealed themselves in this street. ‘The Star,’ in Coleman Street, was a tavern where Oliver Cromwell and several of his party occasionally met.... In a conventicle in ‘Swan Alley,’ on the east side of this street, Venner, a wine-cooper and Millenarian, preached the opinions of his sect to ‘the soldiers of King Jesus’” (see London in the Time of the Stuarts, p. 68 et seq.). “John Goodwin, minister in Coleman Street, waited on Charles I. the day before the King’s execution, tendered his services, and offered to pray for him. The King thanked him, but said he had chosen Dr. Juxon, whom he knew. Vicars wrote an attack on Goodwin, called ‘The Coleman-street Conclave Visited!’ Justice Clement, in Ben Jonson’s Every Man in his Humour, lived in Coleman Street; and Cowley wrote a play called Cutter of Coleman-street. Bloomfield, author of ‘The Farmer’s Boy,’ followed his original calling of a shoemaker at No. 14 Great Bell-yard in this street.”


The Church of St. Stephen, Coleman Street, was “at first a Jews’ synagogue, then a parish church, then a chapel to St. Olave’s in the Jewry, now (7 Edward IV.) incorporated as a parish church” (Stow). It is situated on the west side of Coleman Street, near to the south end. It was consumed by the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1311.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who granted it to the Prior and Convent of Butley; Henry VIII. seized it, and in the Crown it continued till Queen Elizabeth granted it, about 1597, to the parishioners, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 880.

The church is plain, long and narrow, without any aisles, measuring 75 feet in length and 35 feet in breadth. The steeple, which rises at the north-west, consists of a stone tower, a lantern, and small spire, the total height being about 65 feet.

Chantries were founded here by: William Grapefig, for which the King granted a licence, August 6, 1321, and to which John de Maderfield was admitted chaplain, June 23, 1324; Rodger le Bourser, for which the King granted his licence, August 1, 1321; Stephen Fraunford and John Essex, both citizens of London, of which John de Bulklegh was chaplain, who died in 1391: founded July 1361; Edward IV., who endowed it with lands, etc., which fetched £50 : 5 : 4 in 1548.

Anthony Munday, the dramatist, arranger of the City pageants and the continuation of Stow’s Survey, who died in 1633, was buried here.

A very large number of legacies and charitable gifts are recorded by Stow, amongst which are: £640, the gift of Christopher Eyre, for the building and maintenance of six almshouses; £100, the gift of Sir Richard Smith, for coals for the poor; £100, the gift of Hugh Capp, for lands for the poor; £400, the gift of Barnard Hyde, to purchase land for six poor people for ever.

In White Alley there were six almshouses built by Christopher Eyre for six poor couples, each of whom were allowed £4 per annum.

Richard Lucas (1648-1715), author of several theological works, was a rector here; also John Davenport (1597-1670), he was one of the leaders of a party who went over to America in 1637, and founded Newhaven in Connecticut. He had a design of founding a university (Yale), but this was not carried into effect until sixty years later.

65Over the stuccoed gateway of the churchyard is a skull and cross-bones, with an elaborate panel in relief below, representing the Last Judgment; this is a replica in oak of the original panel, which was removed, for its better preservation, to the Vestry.

As for the present street the most notable building is the Armourers’ Hall.


The trade of armourer was of great importance in the ages when men went out to war clad in iron. There were many kinds of armour. Some were taught to make helmets and some corslets. There was armour of quilted leather worn under the armour or acting as armour.

T. H. Shepherd.


A great number of people lived by the making of armour. The custom of wearing armour decayed gradually, not rapidly. It is still kept up for purposes of show but no longer for any use in defence.

The origin of the Company of Armourers and Brasiers is lost in antiquity. The Company was, however, founded previously to the beginning of the fourteenth century, for records are in existence showing that at that time (1307-27) the Company had vested in it the right of search of armour and weapons. It would appear from documents in the possession of the Company that as early as the year 1428 the Company was in the possession of a hall. In the year 1453 the Company was incorporated by a charter from King Henry VI. by the title of “The Fraternity or Guild of St. George of the Men of Mistery of Armorers of 66our City of London,” and had licence granted to it to appoint a chaplain to its chapel in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

It is believed that the Company of Brasiers was incorporated about the year 1479 by Edward IV., and that the craft of bladesmiths was incorporated with the Company of Armourers about the year 1515, but the Company has no authentic evidence in its possession as to these facts.

In the year 1559, Queen Elizabeth granted a charter of Inspeximus, confirming the Letters Patent of King Henry VI.

In the year 1618, King James I., in consideration of the sum of £100, granted Letters Patent confirming the title of the Fraternity or Guild of St. George of the Men of Mystery of Armourers in the City of London, to the messuages and lands then held by it. The greater part of these messuages and lands is still in the possession of the Company.

In the year 1685, King James II. granted Letters Patent to the Company which (inter alia) directed that all edge tools and armour, and all copper and brass work wrought with the hammer within the City of London, or a radius of five miles therefrom, should be searched and approved by expert artificers of the Company.

In the year 1708 the Company of Armourers was, by Letters Patent granted by Queen Anne, incorporated with the Brasiers under the corporate title of “The Company of Armourers and Brasiers in the City of London.” In this charter it is recited that of late years many of the members of the Company of Armourers had employed themselves in working and making vessels, and wares of copper and brass wrought with the hammer, and that for want of powers to search and make byelaws to bind the workers of such wares in the City of London, frauds and deceits in the working of such goods and vessels had increased, and power was thereby granted to the Company of Armourers and Brasiers to make byelaws for the government of the Company; and also of all persons making any work or vessel of wrought or hammered brass or copper, in the Cities of London and Westminster, or within a radius of five miles thereof, and with authority to inflict fines and penalties against persons offending against such byelaws. And the Company was invested with power to inspect and search for all goods worked or wrought with the hammer and exposed to sale within such limits as aforesaid. No person was allowed to sell or make armour or vessels, or wares of copper or brass wrought with the hammer, unless he was a member or had been apprenticed to a member of the Company.

It would appear that the master and wardens exercised a very extensive jurisdiction in ancient days, fining and punishing members of the Company for social offences as well as for infringements of the byelaws of the Company, and hearing and adjudicating upon all questions arising between members of the Company and their apprentices, and also inflicting fines on persons making or selling goods of an improper quality.

This Company is still in the habit of binding apprentices to masters engaged in the trades of workers of brass and copper, and of pensioning infirm members of those trades. Their workshops were situated close to London Wall, below Bishopsgate, probably in order to remove their hammering as far as possible from the trading part of the City.

The Company is governed by a Master, an Upper Warden and a Renter Warden, with eighteen assistants, and, together with the livery, now number 91. The Hall is at 81 Coleman Street. Stow mentions the Hall on the north end of Coleman Street and on the east side of it. “The Company of Armourers were made a Fraternity or Guild of St. George with a Chantry in the Chapel of St. Thomas in Paul’s Church in the 1st of Henry VI.”

On the north side of King’s Arms Yard extends the elaborate and very handsome building of the Metropolitan Life Assurance Society, which has its entrance at the corner of Moorgate Street. This has deeply recessed windows, and the corner is finished off by an octagonal turret which begins in a projecting canopy over the door, and is carried up to the roof. In niches here and there are small stone figures. This 67building is the work of Aston Webb and Ingress Bell in 1891. Opposite, in great contrast, are oldish brick houses, very plain in style. Round the northern corner into Coleman Street is carried a building which is chiefly remarkable for the amount of polished granite on its surface. On the west, a little higher up, is another entrance of the Wool Exchange from which a large projection overhangs the street. There is a lamb in stonework over the door.

Basinghall Street (or Bassishaw Street) runs from London Wall to Gresham Street. The street used to contain the Masons’, Weavers’, Coopers’, and Girdlers’ Halls. Only the Girdlers’ and Coopers’ Halls now remain. The names Basinghall and Bassishaw are frequently supposed to have the same origin. Riley, however, quotes a passage in which (A.D. 1390) there is mention of the “Parish of St. Michael Bassishaw in the Ward of Bassyngeshaw,” which he considers indicates that the word Basseshaw is Basset’s haw, and Bassyngeshaw is Basing’s haw, referring to two families and not one. There is a great number of references to Basings and to Bassets. Yet the names seem to refer to the same place. Thus in 1280 and 1283 we hear of houses in Bassieshaw. In 1286 we hear of houses in Bassinge haw. Basinghall was the hall or house of the Basings, an opulent family of the thirteenth century. Solomon and Hugh Basing were sheriffs in 1214; Solomon was mayor in 1216; Adam Basing was sheriff in 1243. Basinghall passed into the hands of a family named Banquelle or Bacquelle. John de Banquelle, Alderman of Dowgate, had a confirmation and quit claim to him of a messuage in St. Michael, Bassieshawe, in 1293.

At the south-west corner of Basinghall Street was a fine stone house built by a “certain Jew named Manscre, the son of Aaron.” Thomas Bradberry (d. 1509) kept his mayoralty there.


The Girdlers Company traces its existence to a very early period, and cannot, in the strict sense of the word, be said to have been founded. It is believed to have been a fraternity by prescription, which owed its origin to a lay brotherhood of the order of Saint Laurence, maintaining themselves by the making of girdles and voluntarily associating for the purpose of mutual protection and for the regulation of the trade which they practised, and the maintenance of the ancient ordinances and usages established to ensure the honest manufacture of girdles with good and sound materials.

The earliest public or State recognition of the Company of which it now possesses any evidence consists of Letters Patent of the first year of King Edward III., A.D. 1327, addressed to them as an existing body, as “les ceincturiers de notre Citée de Loundres,” by which the “ancient ordinances and usuages” of the said trade are approved and their observance directed. The King also grants licence to the girdlers that they shall have power to elect one or two of their own trade to seek out false work and present it before the mayors or chief guardians of the places where found, who shall cause the same to be burnt and those who have worked the same to be punished; all amercements resulting therefrom to belong to the mayors of the places where the false work is found.

Some ten years later we find the girdlers presenting a code of laws for the governance of their trade to the mayor and aldermen; therefore, though their charter enabled them to search into and discover 68bad work, it gave them no power to make laws for the safeguarding of the trade. Moreover, the charter gave them no power over wages, nor did it compel the workers of the trade to join the Fraternity, nor did it empower them to hold land, to sue or to be sued. Considering these omissions, the document quoted by Riley ought not, strictly speaking, to be considered a charter.

The said Letters Patent were confirmed in 1 Richard II. (1377) and 2 Henry IV. (1401), and the Company was incorporated in 27 Henry VI. (1448) by the Master and Guardians of the Mystery of Girdlers of the City of London.

Further confirmations were made in 2 Edward IV., 10 Elizabeth, 15 Charles I., and 1 James II.

No important change in the original constitution of the Company was made by any of the charters prior to that of 10 Elizabeth, which directed that the three arts or mysteries called Pinners, Wyerworkers, and Girdlers should be joined and invited together into one body corporate and polity, and one society and company for ever, and did incorporate them by the name of the Masters and Wardens or Keepers of the Art and Mystery of Girdlers, London.

It does not appear that the Pinners and Wyerworkers brought any accession of property to the Girdlers.

The Hall has always been in Basinghall Street. Here it is mentioned by Stow along with Masons’ Hall and Weavers’ Hall.

No. 1 on the east of Basinghall Street was probably built early in the nineteenth century; the buildings which follow it are chiefly modern. The whole street is rather fine, though too narrow for much effect. There are in it many great “houses,” “chambers,” and “buildings” occupied in floors. Gresham Buildings are faced with dark-coloured stone and rise comparatively high. The ground-floor walls on the exterior are covered with the most elaborate stonework representations of flowers and foliage. The City of London Court in the passage known as Guildhall Buildings is picturesquely built in a perpendicular style of Gothic. A great square stone building opposite was built in 1890, and next to it a plain Portland stone edifice contains the Lord Mayor’s court office. The City Library and Museum form a picturesque group of buildings in the west of Basinghall Street.

Near at hand is the Coopers’ Hall with a narrow frontage.


The Coopers Company was incorporated in 1501 by charter of King Henry VII., dated 29th April, in the sixteenth year of his reign. There is no record, however, of any anterior charter. There is no doubt that the Coopers were one of the early mysteries or brotherhoods of the City of London, though it is difficult to assign a correct date of their origin. The Company’s archives, however, show that the Company had existed for a considerable period prior to the date of its incorporation. A subsequent charter was granted on the 30th August, in the thirteenth year of King Charles II. This is the governing charter, and its provisions regulate the management of the Company to the present day. Under the statute of 23 Henry VII. cap. 4, power is given to the wardens of the Company with one of the mayor’s officers to gauge all casks in the City of London and the suburbs, and within two miles’ compass without the suburbs, and to mark such barrels when gauged. By a subsequent Act, 31 Elizabeth, cap. 8, “for the true gauging of vessels brought from beyond the seas, converted by brewers for the utterance and sale of ale and beer,” brewers were prohibited from selling or putting to sale any ale or beer in any such vessels within the limits before mentioned before the same should be lawfully gauged and marked by the master and wardens of the Coopers Company. The Company do not now exercise, and have not for a considerable period exercised, any control over the trade of coopers.

69It is quite certain that a craft so technical and so useful as that of the cooper must have been constituted as a guild as soon as craftsmen began to work together at all. In the year 1396 (Riley, p. 541), “the goodmen of the trade of Coopers” presented a code of ordinances for the regulation of the trade. They complained that certain persons of the trade were in the habit of making casks out of wood which had been used for oil and soap casks, so that ale or wine put into these casks was spoiled. Therefore it is certain that their guild did not possess authority over the trade at that time. This is shown again in 1413, when certain Master Coopers again complained to the mayor that one Richard Bartlot, fishmonger, had made 260 vessels called barrels and firkins of unseasoned wood and of false measure. These vessels were ordered to be destroyed. Perhaps in order to prevent similar practices, it was decreed that every cooper should mark his work by his own trade-mark.

The Corporate Income of the Company is given in 1898 as £2400; the Trust Income as £5000; the number of the livery as 200. Their Hall is 71 Basinghall Street, on the site of two previous halls.

Close by is the “Wool Exchange and Colonial Office” with an open entry supported by polished granite pillars, whose capitals are carved as rams’ heads. This is rather a fine building, with segmental windows set closely all across the frontage. Bevois House, just completed, takes a good line of curvage and is of white stone. Before Guildhall Chambers there is an old house built of narrow red bricks, with semicircular pillars on each side of the centre window frame, and above, on a slab of stone, the date 1660. The site of St. Michael’s Church is here. A row of straight ordinary business houses succeeds. On the east are Guildhall Chambers, plastered houses built round an asphalt court. The centre one has a small portico with Ionic columns; the rest of the court is plain and severe, but not ineffective.

The Church of St. Michael, Bassishaw, was situated on the west side of Basinghall Street. It was rebuilt in the fifteenth century, but destroyed by the Great Fire, and again rebuilt, by Wren, between 1676 and 1679. In 1895 the church was closed, a commission having been issued in 1893 by the Bishop of London to inquire into the expediency of uniting this with the parishes of St. Lawrence, Jewry, and St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1286.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Canons of St. Bartholomew’s about 1140, given by the Bishop of London; Henry III.; Thomas de Bassinges, 1246, who left it to his wife by will dated 1275; Henry Bodyk, 1327, who left it to Johanna his wife; Nicholas de Chaddesdon, who sold it in 1358 to Sir John de Beauchamp, brother to the Earl of Warwick; Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, 1435, in whose successors it continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 500.

The present church measures 70 feet in length, 50 feet in breadth, and 42 feet in height, and includes a nave and two side aisles separated by Corinthian columns. The ceiling is divided into panels, and is pierced with openings to admit the light. The tower, which rises at the west, contains four stories concluded by a cornice and parapet; above this is a lead-covered octagonal lantern in two stages surmounted by a short spire with ball, finial, and vane. The total height is 140 feet.

Chantries were founded here: By John Hannem, citizen, before 1326; by John Asche, whose endowment, “called the bell on the hope,” fetched £3 : 6 : 8; by James Yardeford, Knt., whose endowment yielded £16 in 1548.

A considerable number of monuments are recorded by Stow, the most notable of which are those of Sir John Gresham (d. 1556), Lord Mayor of London, uncle to the more famous Sir Thomas Gresham; and Dr. Thomas Wharton (d. 1673), a physician who gained great glory from his labours during the Plague of 1665.

70The parish received a large number of gifts and charities, some of which were as follows: £9 from Lady Anne Vaughan, for lectures; £10 from Sir Wolstan Dixey, for lectures; £20 from Lady Anne Bacon; £70 from Sir Robert and Lady Ducie.

George Gardiner (d. 1589), chaplain to Queen Elizabeth and Chancellor of Norwich, was rector here; also George Lavington (1684-1762), Bishop of Exeter 1746-47.

Drawn by G. Shepherd.


Aldermanbury is another ancient City street. The name, according to Stow, is derived from the Court of Aldermen formerly held in the first Guildhall, the ruins of which, on the east side of the street, were standing in his day. They had then been converted into a carpenter’s shop. Here, in 1383, Sir Robert Tressilian, Lord Chief Justice, had his residence. At the north end of this street, before the memory of men living in 1415, a postern had been built leading from the City to the moor. In Riley’s Memorials there is a full account of a crowded meeting of citizens in the Guildhall, July 2, 1415, to consider the state of the moor and certain nuisances outside the postern and within Bishopsgate. It was resolved to lay out the moor, then a waste place, in gardens to be allotted to citizens at a certain rental. The street is frequently mentioned from the thirteenth century. In the sixteenth century the street had become a place of residence for the better sort. “Here be divers fair houses on both sides meet for merchants and men of worship.”



This church is of very ancient date, as appeared from a sepulchral inscription, said to have been in the old church, dated 1116. The building was destroyed by the Great Fire, and re-erected by Wren in 1668-76. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1200.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who, June 1113, appropriated it to Elsing Spital, with certain restrictions. The living is now in the gift of the parishioners.

Houseling people in 1548 were 371.

The church measures 72 feet in length, 45 feet in breadth, and 38 feet in height, and includes two aisles separated by six Corinthian columns from the nave. Externally, the church is rather imposing. The east front has a handsome cornice and pediment, with carved scrolls and figures. The steeple, which rises at the west, consists of a tower completed by a cornice and parapet. This is surmounted by a square turret in two stages, and a concave roof tapering to a point, with a finial and vane; the total height is about 90 feet. There is a churchyard on the south side, open to the public for several hours daily.

Chantries were founded here: By William Estfelde, augmented by Stephen Bockerell, at the Altar of St. George, for Stephen, Isabella his wife, and William his son, before 1363; by Henry Bedeyk—the advowson thereof was released to Sir John de Beauchamp by John de Bovenden and Katherine his wife, in 1359; by Adam de Bassyng.

A considerable number of citizens of repute were buried in the old church, amongst whom the two most interesting to posterity are Henry Condell (d. 1627) and John Heminge (d. 1630), the fellow-actors of Shakespeare and editors of the folio of 1623. The celebrated divine Edmund Calamy (the elder) was rector here for some years, and was buried in 1666 beneath the ruined building with which he had been so long connected. In the register of the church the marriage of Milton with his second wife Katherine Woodcock, 1656, is entered. The remains of Judge Jeffreys, interred in the Tower after his death there in 1689, were removed here and deposited in a vault beneath the communion table in 1693.

According to Stow, there were no legacies or bequests to the church, but a legacy to the poor, by the Lady Gresham, of £3 per annum, paid by the Mercers Company.

Among other celebrated rectors are Edmund Calamy the younger, and Dr. Kennett (d. 1728), author of Kennett’s Register, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough.


At the north end of Aldermanbury at the corner of London Wall, is the Church of St. Alphage. This parish church originally stood on the other side, against the Wall. It is dedicated to St. Alphage, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was canonised in 1012. Its old churchyard may still be seen. It is built on part of the site of the hospital and priory founded by William Elsing in 1329 and 1332. The priory harboured one hundred poor blind men, and suffered suppression along with the rest at the Dissolution. Under Henry VIII. a remnant of the priory church became parochial and was extensively repaired and rebuilt in 1624, 1628, and 1649. It escaped the Great Fire, but was taken down in 1774 and the present building erected by Sir William Staines and opened in 1777. Part of the original structure may still be seen in the porch. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1137.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Deans and Canons of St. Martin’s-le-Grand before 1324, from whom it passed to the Abbot and Convent of Westminster from 1505; the Bishop of Westminster by grant of Henry VIII., January 20, 1540; the Bishop of London by gift of Edward VI. in 1550, confirmed by Mary, March 3, 1553-54, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 345.

The present church possesses two fronts, an eastern and north-western; the north-west door leads 72into a porch, the pointed arches of which show it to have once formed part of the old priory church. This is the only relic of past times. The interior is plain, the ceiling flat, and there are no aisles.

A chantry was founded here by John Graunte, whose endowment yielded £15 : 10 : 8 in 1548.

The church contains a handsome monument on the north wall to Sir Rowland Hayward, Lord Mayor in 1570 and 1591; it was placed on the south side of the old church. On the same wall, farther east, a marble monument commemorates Samuel Wright, who at his death in 1736 left charitable bequests to the extent of £20,950.


Some of the donors of gifts were Sir Rowland Hayward, 20d. for bread every Sabbath day for the poor, 1591, and John Brown, £30 for church repairs, 1629.

There was a school for fifty boys and twenty-five girls, who were clothed and educated and put out to trades and service at the charge of the ward. There were also ten almshouses for ten men and ten women, each of whom was allowed £4 per annum, founded by the Rev. Dr. Thomas White. Part of the almshouses in Monkwell Street belonged to this parish.

A notable rector of this church was Philip Stubbs (1665-1738), Archdeacon of St. Alban’s.

73Just opposite to Philip Street is still preserved the old churchyard of St. Alphage, a rectangular railed-in space with ivy growing over the old wall that forms the backbone. On a slab near the centre is the inscription:

The burial ground of St. Alphage containing part of the old Roman City wall. Closed by Act of Parliament 1853. Laid out as a garden 1872.

To the west of the churchyard once stood Sion College. This was built in 1623 with almshouses attached, according to the will of Dr. Thomas White, vicar of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West. It stood on the site of Elsing Spital (see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 248).


From an original drawing in the possession of the President and Fellows of Sion College.

Sion College had a fine library left by the will of Dr. John Simson, rector of St. Olave, Hart Street, and a third of these books was burnt in the Great Fire, which almost destroyed the College. Up to 1836 the College enjoyed the privilege of receiving a gratuitous copy of every published book. The City clergy were Fellows of the College. In 1886 a new building on the Embankment was opened to take the place of the old one, and now the ancient site is covered by business houses.



The Curriers were incorporated by James I. in April 30, 1606, for a master, two wardens, twelve assistants, and 103 liverymen.

The exact date of the origin of the Company is unknown, but it must have had some sort of existence previous to 1363, for in that year it is recorded that the Company contributed five marks to aid King Edward III. in carrying on his wars with France.

There are no documents in existence referring to the origin of the Company.

Many indications of the antiquity of this Fraternity occur. It was attached to the White Friars’ Church in Fleet Street. The Curriers settled in Soper Lane; they asked for ordinances in 1415; they were authorised to appoint the City scavengers.

Their Hall is the third erected on the same site; it was founded in 1874. The first Hall perished in the Fire. The quarter where the curriers lived and worked was in the north facing London Wall, where they built their Hall.

Of Addle Street Stow says: “The reason of which name I know not.” It may have been derived from “Ethel,” meaning noble. In it is the Brewers’ Hall.


In the year 1445 the Brewers were first incorporated. Like many other trades, they had been associated long before. Thus in 1345 the Brewers (Riley’s Memorials, p. 225) are treated as a body, being ordered not to use the water of the Chepe conduit for making beer and ale, seeing that it was wanted for the supply of the citizens. (Fishmongers at the same time were forbidden to use the water for washing their fish.)

The original charter of February 22, 1445, granted by Henry VI., after citing the Brewers Company as one of the ancient mysteries, incorporates the Company into one body and perpetual community.

The charter granted 11th November, 2 Elizabeth, and the charter of August 29, 1563, confirm the previous charter of Henry VI.

The charter of July 13, 21 Elizabeth, appears to have been granted owing to the great increase of persons engaged in and practising the trade of brewing. The charter incorporates all persons in or about the City of London or the suburbs, or within two miles of the City.

The charter of 6th April, 15 Charles I., recites previous charters, but increases the jurisdiction of the corporation over the brewing trade in or about the City of London to a limit of four miles.

This charter of Charles I. confers a great deal of power on those in authority over the trade. It allows them to make rules and ordinances, and generally to exercise supervision over all members of the trade in and about the City, and within a four-mile radius.

Byelaws on the strength of this charter were framed for the Company on July 9, Charles I., 1641.

The charter of 18th March, 1 Charles II., after reciting the charter of 22nd February, 16 Henry VI., the confirmation of the said charter by Queen Elizabeth on August 29, 1563, and a surrender of the right to elect master, warden, or assistant, incorporates the Company again, nominates William Carpenter to be master till June 24, 1686, further nominates wardens and assistants; provides for the institution of search and quarterage, and for the binding of apprentices; gives the corporation the right to inspect brew-houses within certain limits, and to inflict penalties; orders that every assistant elected shall be a communicant, and allows the commonalty to distil aqua-vitæ or spirits.

The deed of July 1, 1684, surrenders the Company’s charter and all rights appertaining to it.

The charter of 18th March, James II., after reciting the charter of 16 Henry VI., and 4 Elizabeth, 1563, and the surrender of their charter by the Company, orders all brewers within eight miles of the City or suburbs of London to be of the corporation; establishes search and quarterage payments according to 75the number of servants employed; gives the Company power to make laws or set penalties; grants a licence in mortmain to purchase lands up to the value of £60; orders every master, warden, assistant, and clerk to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and to subscribe the declaration; orders each person elected to be a communicant.

The Company have a copy of byelaws drawn up in the year 1714, and signed by all the members of the court.

The present constitution, orders, rules, and conditions, as drawn up by the master, wardens, and assistants, were made on July 13, 1739. They provide for the holding of the courts; the election of masters, wardens, and assistants; for certain penalties for refusing to serve; for the auditing of accounts, for the election to the livery and freedom; for binding apprentices; for making the search and quarterage; for certain restrictions in the case of freemen; for power for the master and wardens to sue for penalties; for the taking of the oaths, and the signing of the declarations.

In February 13, 1857, the byelaws were altered under the Act of 6 William IV., as far as regards the taking of oaths, and an order was made that a declaration should be substituted for the oath.

The Company is governed by a master, three wardens, and twenty-six assistants.

This Company is one of the richest of the City Companies; it has an annual income of £2500 and administers Trusts and charities to the extent of £25,000 more; it has a livery of 47; it admits none but members of the trade. The Company has always, as might be expected, been rich and flourishing.


The first charter of the Company of Broderers, or embroiderers, is dated in 1561, and this is the earliest definite evidence now in the possession of the Company of the date of its existence as a Company, though the association existed long before incorporation. In an indenture of conveyance of certain of the Company’s property in Gutter Lane, dated 5 Henry VIII., one Thomas Foster (the grantee) is described as a citizen and broyderer, and “The wardens of the mystery of broyderers within the city of London” are described as a definite body in the will of the same Thomas Foster.

25th October, 3 Elizabeth, 1561.—Original charter of Queen Elizabeth.

Incorporates the freemen of the mystery or art of the broderers of the City of London and the suburbs by the name of Keepers or Wardens and Society of the Art or Mystery of the Broderers of the City of London, to have perpetual succession and a common seal, to bring and defend actions, and especially in the City of London to hold lands of the annual value of £30, for the assistance and support of poor men and women of the mystery.

Grants powers to the keepers or wardens from time to time to make good and salutary statutes and ordinances for the good regulation and government of the mystery and the freemen thereof, which shall be inviolably observed.

Grants to the keepers or wardens power to overlook and govern the art and all using the same in the City and suburbs thereof, the City of Westminster, Saint Katherine’s in Middlesex, and the borough of Southwark, and to punish all men for not truly working or selling.

20th April, 7 James I., 1609.—Original charter of James the First.

Contains only a recital and confirmation of the charter of Queen Elizabeth without any alteration or addition.

The above is an abstract of the subsisting charter of the Company.

It was the Broderers who produced the palls used by many Companies at the funerals of their members. They also made the pulpit cloths and altar cloths of the churches, the vestments of the clergy, the caparison of horses, and the decoration of arms and armour.

The livery in 1900 was 28. Their Trust Income about £32 : 9s. The beautiful art of embroidery is encouraged by this Company by scholarships at the Royal School of Art Needlework, Decorative Needlework Society, and Clapton and Stamford Hill Government School of Art.

76Milton Street, one of the dreariest and dullest of thoroughfares, deserves some comment, having originally been that Grub Street for ever associated with starveling authors. In 1600 it was inhabited by bowyers, fletchers, bowstring-makers and such occupations. There were many bowling alleys and dicing houses. Andrew Marvell speaks of the Puritans of Grub Street.

It was in the eighteenth century that the poorer sort of literary men seem to have lived here.

Swift and Pope both ridiculed Grub Street writers; and Swift’s advice to Grub Street verse-writers is worth quoting:

I know a trick to make you thrive:
Oh! ’tis a quaint device:
Your still-born poems shall survive,
And scorn to wrap up spice.
Get all your verses printed fair,
Then let them well be dried:
And Curll must have a special care
To leave the margin wide.
Lend these to paper-sparing Pope,
And when he sits to write,
No letter with an envelope
Could give him more delight.
When Pope has filled the margin round,
Why then recall your loan;
Sell them to Curll for 50 pound,
And swear they are your own!

Let us commemorate some of the Grub Street poets and a few others of the same obscure kind. The names of those selected justify my assertion that the miseries of poets fell only on those who were profligate, indolent, or incapable.

Samuel Boyse, a colonist, so to speak, of Grub Street, since he evidently belonged to that and no other quarter, was not a native of London, but of Dublin, where his father was a dissenting minister of great name and fame. The young man was sent to Glasgow University, where he brought his university career to a close by marrying a wife at the age of nineteen. As he had no means of his own, he was obliged to take his wife, with her sister, to Dublin, where his father supported them, selling an estate he had in Yorkshire to defray his son’s debts. On his father’s death Samuel Boyse removed to Edinburgh, where he published a volume of poems and wrote an elegy on the death of Lady Stormont.

He had many introductions, but his natural indolence forbade his taking advantage of them. He seems to have been unable to converse with persons in higher life, and when letters failed he made no further effort to win their favour. Like all the poets of Grub Street, he was of a grovelling habit, and loved to make 77friends with men of low life and habit; at the same time he was selfishly extravagant, and would feast upon a casual guinea while his wife and child were starving at home. The casual guinea he mostly got by writing begging letters.


At one time he was so far reduced that he had no garment of any kind to put on; all, including his shirts, were at the pawnbrokers; he sat up in bed with a blanket wrapped round him through which he had cut a hole for his arm, in which condition he wrote his verses. He died in 1749 in a lodging in Shoe Lane. A friend endeavoured to get up a subscription to save him from a pauper’s funeral. It was in vain; the parish officers had to take away the body.

The man was a hopeless tenant of Grub Street, without foresight, without prudence, without care, except for the present, without dignity or self-respect; his poetry was third-rate, yet there are fine passages in it; he had scholarly tastes, 78especially for painting and music, and in heraldry he was well skilled. In a word, Samuel Boyse is quite the most illustrious example of the poetaster who has failed to reach even the lower levels of genius; whose life was utterly contemptible; who would have brought, had such a man been worth considering, discredit by his sordidness and his want of principle, morals, and honour, upon the profession of letters.

Another case is that of Thomas Britton. He was born about the year 1650 at Higham Ferrers. He was apprenticed to a small coalman in Clerkenwell and followed the same trade. He walked the streets carrying his sack on his back, dressed in the blue frock of his profession. When he had disposed of his coal he walked home, looking at the book-stalls and picking up bargains. It was a splendid time for picking up bargains. There were still the remnants of the old Monastic libraries and MSS. together with the old books which had escaped the Great Fire.

Many collectors used to search about among the same book-stalls. Britton became known to them and was employed by them. The Earls of Oxford, Pembroke, Sunderland, and Winchelsea, and the Duke of Devonshire, were among those collectors.

Presently it was discovered that the small coalman, besides being an excellent hand at discovering an old book, was also a very good musician. Then the wonderful spectacle was to be seen of the great ones of the earth—the aristocracy, the wits, the musicians—assembling in an upper room of an itinerant pedlar of small coals to hear a concert of music. Handel played the harpsichord here; Dubourg played the violin. These concerts were begun in 1678 and continued for many years. Britton himself played the viol de gamba. But he was not only a musician and a bibliophile, he was also an antiquarian; he was a collector of music; in addition to all these things, he was also a chemist and had a laboratory of his own. He died in 1714, aged about sixty-four. He was buried in Clerkenwell Churchyard.

Let us not forget the famous Tom Brown. Though most of his life was spent in London, he was a native of Shifnal in Shropshire. He was sent to Christ Church, Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a linguist, a scholar, and a writer of pieces which were certainly witty whatever else they might be. He was so brilliant as a wit that he found it necessary to exchange Oxford for London, where he nearly starved. However, he obtained, just in time to save him, the school of Kingston-on-Thames, which he held for a while, giving it up after a very short tenure of office. Once more he came to London, and became poet, satirist, descriptive writer, and libeller. He was one of the earliest authors by profession, having, in fact, no other means of livelihood than the proceeds of his writings. There is very little known concerning his life; he is said to have been deficient in the courtliness which was necessary in the society of Addison and the wits of society; indeed, he belonged to a somewhat earlier time. He had no patron among the nobility, though it is related that he was once invited to dinner by the Earl of Dorset, who placed a bank-note for 79£50 under his plate. This was the solitary exception, however. Nothing is known as to his private circumstances, though it would be extremely interesting to learn what sums he received for his Dialogues, Letters, and Poems. He closed a short, merry, godless, waggish life at the early age of forty-one, a fact which suggests drink and good living, with other easy ways of shortening life. He is said—which one readily believes—to have died in great poverty, and he was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey.

An unfortunate poet named William Pattison belongs to Grub Street. He was the son of a farmer in Sussex. By the kindness of Lord Thanet he was sent to school and to Cambridge. He quarrelled, however, with the tutor of this College, and took his name off the boards. He then went up to London intending to live by his pen. It was a very bad time for living by the pen, and the boy, for he was no more, arrived with a very slender equipment of experience and knowledge. He began by soliciting subscriptions for a volume of poems; he seems to have had no friends; but he made some impression at the coffee-house by clever talk. When he had brought out his poems and spent all the subscription money, he fell into absolute indigence and was forced to accept a post as assistant in the shop of the notorious Curll. Before he did that, he wrote to Lord Burlington a poem called Effigies Authoris, in which he said that he was destitute of friends and money, half-starved, and reduced to sleeping on a bench in St. James’s Park. To another person he writes, “I have not enjoyed the common necessaries of life these two days.” He did not long continue in this post of bookseller’s assistant, because small-pox attacked him and he died. He was not yet twenty-two years of age.

Not with less glory mighty Dulness crowned
Shall take through Grub Street her triumphant round,

says Pope in “The Dunciad.”

Among others who lived in Grub Street was Foxe the martyrologist. General Monk is said to have had a house in a court off Grub Street. As to the origin of the later name of the street, it is in doubt, some asserting it was from a builder named Milton, and others that it was so called from Milton’s many residences in the neighbourhood. The latter explanation sounds probable; Milton lived at different times in Aldersgate Street, in Jewin Crescent, in Little Britain, and in Bunhill Fields, all within the district.

Eastward is Moorgate Street Station, and not far from it St. Bartholomew’s Church, founded in 1850 to meet new demands. Northward in White Street is the City of London College. This is a very large building occupying all the space between White’s Court and Finsbury Street. The lower part is red brick and above is glazed white brick. The character of the building changes just before the corner, having stone facings and a turret angle, which springs from above the first floor. 80This institution was founded in 1848 and was first established at Crosby Hall. It removed to Sussex Hall, Leadenhall Street, in 1881, and the present building was opened in 1884. In 1895 the secondary portion in White Street, connected with the main building by means of a bridge, was added. The institution was first established as Metropolitan Evening Classes. In 1891 it became, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, one of the constituent Institutes of the City Polytechnic. It is in union with the Society of Arts, the Science and Art Department, and the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute. The number of individual students in attendance during the session 1894-95 was 2257 (College Calendar, 1895-96). Besides languages, sciences, and arts, the curriculum includes a practical knowledge of technical subjects. There is accommodation for 4000 students.

In Redcross Street the long line of wall bounding the yard of the Midland Railway goods station occupies much of the east side. Beyond this is a grey brick house partly stone faced, and very ugly, with “Lady Holles’ School for Girls, founded 1702,” running across the front. The west side of the street is all composed of manufactories and warehouses in various styles.

There is a tree-covered space in the middle of Bridgewater Square. Along the south side is Tranter’s Temperance Hotel, a dingy building, in the same style as the houses in the street just mentioned. On the west near the south end are one or two old tiled houses. On the north the new building of the Cripplegate Without Boys’ School rises high, with narrow frontage and projecting bow window in the centre resting on a bracket. Up near the roof is the figure of a boy in a long coat standing in a niche. At this school there is accommodation for 260 boys; of these 150 are clothed by Trust, and an outfit on leaving and a situation found for all who pass the VIIth Standard.

The houses on either side of the school are of recent date, but from that on the west, to the west corner, stretches a long row of old houses with windows under the tiles on the roof. The west side of the square is almost wholly eighteenth century, in the usual style. The staircases are panelled, and have spiral balusters. The rooms are all completely wainscotted, and have heavily recessed fireplaces. The entrance ways are completely panelled, and many door lintels and window frames are perilously askew.


By far the most interesting object in the ward without the Walls is the Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, which stands at the south end of Red Cross Street. It was built about 1090 by Alfure, who became the first Hospitaller of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital; the building was replaced by a second church, towards the end of the fourteenth century, and this was burnt down in 1545. It was at once rebuilt, and escaped the Great Fire of 1666, and has remained substantially the same up to the present time. It is of exceptional interest in contrast with the uniformity of Wren’s City churches. In 1791 the pitch of the roof was raised, and during the latter half of the eighteenth century there was extensive restoration. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1181.

81The patronage of the church has been in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who received it from Almund the priest in 1100, or thereabouts, up to the present time.

Houseling people in 1548 were 2440.

This church is in the Perpendicular style and contains a nave, chancel, and two side aisles separated from the central part by clustered columns and pointed arches. The total length is 146 feet 3 inches, and the height 42 feet 8 inches; the total height of the steeple 146 feet 3 inches, that of the four pinnacles rising from the corners of the parapet of the tower 12 feet 9 inches.

Chantries were founded in the church: By Richard Chaurye, whose endowment fetched £4 in 1548; by Matthew Ashebye, whose endowment yielded £9 : 7 : 8 in 1548. The King granted his licence to found the Fraternity of Our Lady and St. Giles, September 21, 1426; there were several chantries endowed here by John Bullinger, William Lake, and William Serle, and by William Grove and Richard Heyworth.

From a drawing by W. Pearson.


Among the several memorial windows of the church the most interesting is that at the west of the south aisle, comprising three subjects, erected in memory of Edward Alleyne, the founder of Dulwich College. The earliest monument now existing is of Thomas Busby, who died in 1575. On the west wall, at the end of the north aisle, is a tablet commemorating the martyrologist John Foxe, who died in the parish in 1587. Sir Martin Frobisher was buried here, but it was not till 1888 that a monument was erected to his memory, on the eastern part of the south wall. On the same wall, farther west, John Speed is commemorated, author of various works dealing with the history of Great Britain. The chief interest attaching to this church is the fact that in it John Milton was buried in 1674; there is a 82stone commemorating him. In 1793 a monument in the shape of a bust was erected to him at the expense of Samuel Whitbread, and in 1862 a cenotaph designed by Edmund Woodthorpe was placed in the south aisle. The church contains numerous other monuments, a great many of which have a considerable degree of interest; many of them have been erected to the memory of benefactors and vicars. It was here that the wedding of Oliver Cromwell was solemnised in 1620; the register also contains entries to another family whose name is also linked with Milton’s—that of the Egerton’s, Earls of Bridgewater.

The greatest of the benefactors recorded by Stow seems to have been Throckmorton Trotman, who gave to the parish £547 in all. In later times, Sir William Staines, Lord Mayor in 1800, was a liberal donor, founding and endowing four almshouses for decayed parishioners; also the Rev. Frederick W. Blomberg, D.D., vicar of this church in 1833.

There was a school for 150 boys in the Freedom; also another for 50 girls, supported by the donation of the Lady Eleanor Holles, the Haberdashers’ Free School. There were six almshouses, founded by Mr. Allen, also the Lorrimer’s almshouses.

John Buckeridge (d. 1631), Bishop of Rochester, was vicar here; also William Fuller (d. 1659), Dean of Durham; Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), Bishop of Chichester, Ely, and Winchester; John Rogers, (1679-1729), chaplain to the Prince of Wales (afterwards George II.); John Dolben (1625-86), Archbishop of York; William H. Hale (1795-1870), Master of Charterhouse.

The churchyard contains a drinking fountain in the shape of the old Cripplegate, which is neatly laid out and intersected by a public footpath; there is also an interesting relic, a bastion of the old London Wall, 36 feet wide and about 12 feet high, the most perfect fragment of the wall now existing. It is of inconsiderable height, not more than 12 feet, and made of many odd pieces of different kinds of stone, laid in cement. It looks solid enough to last another 400 years. Ivy grows over it and over the adjoining wall, which is a modern addition. Within this bastion was formerly a small religious house called St. James-on-the-Wall (see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 368). The backs of great warehouses and the east side of the box-like vicarage surround the churchyard. Over the entry from Fore Street are several very old houses. We are outside the limits of the Fire here, as the date of the entry, 1660, testifies. This entry has a semicircular canopy or pediment containing this date, and the names of the churchwardens of the period, deeply and clearly cut. On either side are the representations of two large hour-glasses. A skull and cross-bones on the one side, and an hour-glass on the other, are carved in relief below, and the whole is covered with plaster. The backs of the houses are covered with overlapping pieces of wood which rise right up to the gable ends. Facing the street, there are projecting bays running up the front containing windows.

The street, London Wall, until the middle of the eighteenth century, consisted of a south row of houses facing the wall itself. In two places the space before the wall was occupied by churchyards, that of Allhallows-on-the-Wall and that of St. Alphage. Farther to the east, St. Martin Outwich also had a burial-ground beside the wall. The pulling down of the wall, the building of houses upon it and against it on either side, was the work of many years. To this day there are houses on the north side of the street to which access is gained by a step, showing that they were 83built actually on the wall. Towards the end of the eighteenth century a long piece of wall, where is now the opening to Finsbury Square, was taken down to allow of more sunshine in the front of Bethlehem Hospital. The appearance of the street at that time was very pleasing. Sion College, the churches of Allhallows and St. Alphage, and the Armourers’ Hall, with the venerable wall on the north, gave it a very striking and picturesque character. It is a great pity that the wall was taken down. The distance marked by the length of a lane connecting London Wall with the south side of Fore Street gives the breadth of the wall and of the town ditch beyond.


At the east end of London Wall is the church of


This church stands on the old Roman wall erected in the third century, and probably marks the site of one of the earliest Christian churches built in this country.

84The earliest authentic records give particulars of a church on the present site, which dates from the year A.D. 1300, and there is little doubt that it replaced an earlier structure, which had stood since the Norman Conquest, and had fallen into disrepair. In A.D. 1474 Allhallows Chapel was constructed, probably for the accommodation of the Ankers, or Anchorites, who were closely associated with the church. The most famous of these was Sir Simon, or Master Anker, the author of a devotional book which has been preserved in the British Museum, entitled The Fruits of Redemption, who was a great benefactor to Allhallows.

In A.D. 1527 a new aisle was added to the church. Possibly Sir Simon, when he attached himself to Allhallows, discarded the loft over the chapel, and settled himself in a cell in the bastion of the old Roman wall, which now forms the vestry. If, as is probable, he had taken a vow never to emerge from his retirement, it may be that when the new aisle was added he was persuaded to place his eloquence at the disposal of the parishioners, by consenting to preach on condition that a private passage was made from his cell leading straight into the pulpit. This would explain why, when the present church was built, the conditions were reproduced by which the pulpit is not accessible from the church, but can only be reached by a staircase leading through the vestry.

The list of rectors can only be traced back to A.D. 1335, but there is an interesting record in the Croniques de Londres, which mentions that in A.D. 1320 the priest of Allhallows (whose name is not given) was murdered by Isabel de Bury, who took refuge in the church, but the Bishop of London would not allow her to seek sanctuary there, so she was seized, and was hanged five days afterwards.

The patronage of Allhallows was for many centuries in the hands of the Prior and Convent of Holy Trinity, Aldgate. At the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century it passed to the Crown, and since then has belonged to the Lord Chancellor.

The church was fortunate enough to escape destruction during the Great Fire in 1666, but it fell into a ruinous state about a century later, and had to be demolished. The present structure, for the erection of which a special Act of Parliament was passed, was commenced in A.D. 1765, and cost £3000. The architect was George Dance the younger, and it was his brother, Sir Nathaniel Dance Holland, R.A., who presented to the church the magnificent painting which hangs over the altar. It was a copy made by himself of the famous picture in the Church of the Conception at Rome by Pietro Berretini di Cortona, a Florentine painter of repute who died in 1669. The subject is the restoration to sight of Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul) by Ananias at Damascus. The fifteenth-century monk in the crowd gives a quaint touch of mediævalism to the scene.

The architecture of the church deserves a passing notice. The plan is intended to reproduce a modified Roman Basilican church, but the evidences of the Greek revival are shown in the character of the Ionic capitals of the interior columns, as well as in the famous Greek honeysuckle ornament, which appears both in the Roman barrel-vault of the ceiling and in the frieze round the interior walls. The church is almost unique in representing the transition stage between the Italian renaissance and the short-lived introduction of the Greek style.

Among the most famous rectors during the nineteenth century were the Rev. William Beloe, the well-known translator of Herodotus and Aulus Gellius; the Rev. Robert Nares, the Shakespearian glossary writer; and the Rev. George Davys, who was tutor to the late Queen Victoria, and became successively Rector of Allhallows, Dean of Chester, and Bishop of Peterborough.

Returning to our section, from which we have somewhat strayed, we find Wood Street has been already described.

In Noble Street stood the houses of Sir Nicholas Bacon and Sergeant Fleetwood, Recorder of London. This street is dismissed by Stow in a few words; it faced the City Wall westward, and so long as the Wall was preserved there was an open space of twenty feet at least free from buildings, while without there was the City Ditch. It began at the end of Foster Lane, having the Church of 85St. John Zachary in the east, and on the west, separated by a block of houses, the Church of St. Anne-of-the-Willows. Going up the street we pass Lilypot Lane, Oat Lane, leading to St. Mary Staining Church (see p. 47), and two or three courts.

At the south end of Noble Street was Engain Lane, called also Maiden Lane, Ingelene Lane, or Ing Lane. Here a Roman pavement was found (Proceedings of Soc. Antiq. Series, i. 2. p. 184). Riley, in his Introduction to the Memorials, thinks that this lane is lost. He supposes, however, that the St. Michael “Hoggene Lane” was St. Michael Queenhithe, instead of St. Michael by Huggin Lane, which is adjacent.

A continuation of Maiden Lane is St. Anne’s Lane or Distaff Lane.

In 1339, William de Clif bequeaths tenements in Igene Lane “elsewhere called Ing Lane and Engaynes end, afterwards Maiden Lane” (Prideaux, Goldsmiths’ Company, vol. i. p. 4). In 1560, “Mother Lowndes” had a melting furnace in Maiden Lane. In 1627, Lord Nowell had the lease of a house in the lane. In 1642, Lord Campden wanted to purchase the messuage of which he held a lease, but was refused. In Staining Lane stood the almshouses of the Haberdashers for the men of that Company.

In the modern Noble Street the new Post Office Hotel is a conspicuous object on the east. Close by is Ye Noble Restaurant. Lilypot Lane is one consecutive series of the less ornamental style of modern brick and stone warehouses. Ye Olde Bell next to Oat Lane is evidently an old house, and, seen in the vista of the street, has a considerable bow forward. It is plastered. The coat-of-arms over the wooden doorway of the Coachmakers’ Hall arrests attention for a moment. Then we see Nos. 16 and 17 on either side over the entry of Fitchett’s Court, which are really old. They are of roughened red brick, dating from the rebuilding after the Fire. Fitchett’s Court is a narrow stone-flagged cul de sac lined on either side with similar houses. At the upper end is a modern glass-roofed building. It is inhabited chiefly by manufacturers’ agents, but is quaint, with a projecting bowed window near the entry, and a dark woodwork doorway with two carved brackets supporting the cornice. The house mentioned above in Noble Street on the north of the Court is The Royal Mail Tavern. The remainder of this street contains no point of interest. The Coachmakers’ Hall stands on the east side of Noble Street, north of Oat Lane.


The Hall stands on the site of Shelley House, owned by Sir Thomas Shelley temp Henry IV. Afterwards it was named Bacon House by Nicholas Bacon. “A plain man, direct and constant, without all finesse and doubleness,” who dwelt here till the Queen, Elizabeth, made him Lord Keeper in 1558, when he moved hence. He was the father of Lord Bacon, the philosopher. He sometime rebuilt this house, and was buried in St. Paul’s, where his effigy yet remains. After the 86Lord Keeper’s departure, William Fleetwood, Recorder of London, lived here between 1575 and 1586, yet he seems to have died in a house of his own building, in Noble Street, to the north of this (1593-94). By continual industry, advanced by natural good parts, he attained to the name of an eminent lawyer. He was a man of a merry conceit, eloquent and very zealous against vagrants, mass-priests, and papists. In 1638, Sir Arthur Savage and others sold the house to one Charles Bostock, scrivener. Now, the Common Scriveners had been a Company of this City by prescription, time out of mind. They made regulations for their profession in 1373; in 1390 they began their Common Paper, a book of ordinances and signatures, still extant. Yet there is no account of any Hall for them. In 1497 they met at the dwelling-place of Henry Woodcock, their warden; in 1557 at Wax Chandlers’ Hall. Their Charter of Incorporation (January 28, 1616-17) ordained a Hall, so in 1631 they bought Bacon House for £810. After the Great Fire of 1666 they rebuilt this.

Afterwards the Coachmakers Company treated for its purchase, and bought it with houses in Oat Lane, for £1600, raised by gift. For though coaches had become common since the seventeenth century began, and the Coach and Coach-Harness Makers had been incorporated in 1677, they had up till then no Hall.

Early in the nineteenth century the Hall had become a warehouse, whose counting-house retained the Coachmakers’ arms and a name-list of their benefactors. In 1841 they rebuilt it; in 1843 furnished it anew by subscription.

In 1870, borrowing money, they built the present Hall.


The date of the first charter is 31st May, 29 Charles II., 1677, and is for the general protection and supervision of the trade of coachmakers and coach-harness makers.

In the early days of the Company, the master, wardens, and assistants used to visit all the workshops within the prescribed limits of the Company’s sphere of action, but that seems to have engendered bad feelings among the various members of the trade, and so gradually fell into desuetude; but in 1864 the Company granted the free use of the hall for the operative Coachmakers’ Industrial Exhibition, which was opened under the auspices of the Marquis of Lansdowne and the Very Reverend Dean Milman, D.D. From that time to the present the Company have continuously offered prizes to those connected with the trade.

At present the number of the livery is 115. The Corporate Income is £970; there is no Trust Income. The Company have of late held exhibitions and offered prizes for the encouragement of coach-building.

St. Olave’s Churchyard is on the south side of Silver Street. A stone inscription tells us that the road was widened 8 feet in 1865 just at this point. The disused graveyard is now open to the public as a recreation ground, and the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association have distributed seats about among the old tombs. Low down by the steps at the entrance is a stone slab bearing a heading of a skull and cross-bones, and beneath the following words:

This was the parish church of St. Olave’s, Silver Street, destroyed by the Dreadful Fire in the year 1666.


This church was situated on the south side of Silver Street, in Aldersgate Ward. It was destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Alban’s, Wood Street. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1343.

87The patronage of the church was always in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Houseling people in 1548 were 130.

No monuments of any interest are recorded.

The parish received two charitable gifts: a messuage purchased for £58, the gift of Roger James; and £5 : 10s., to be paid every tenth year, the gift of Bernard Hyde.

In Silver Street, No. 24 is the Parish Clerks’ Hall.


The Parish Clerks were first incorporated by 12 Henry III., 1232, and confirmed by 14 Henry IV., 1412. In 1547, the first year of Edward VI., all lands and properties belonging to fraternities not being mysteries and crafts, were declared Crown possessions; thus the Parish Clerks suffered the loss of their hall in Bishopsgate, which was sold to Sir Robert Chester in 1548. In vain they disputed the King’s claim; in vain obtained powerful support in the City, and hoped to win the day: Sir Robert pulled down their hall, and they were homeless. Then they took quarters at the north-west corner of Broad Lane in the Vintry; the site is now thrown into the roadway of Queen Street Place. Immortal Machyn, in his diary, 1562, records that, after service at the Guildhall chapel and procession, that year the Parish Clerks went to “their own” hall to dine; this was the Broad Lane house. Little enough is known of the premises: the Clerks were paying thirty-one nobles (£10 : 6: 8) rent in 1583; in 1592 they commenced publishing the Bills of Mortality; on renewing the lease in 1628, for forty years, they handed to “the superior” £40 as fine. By this time they had been reincorporated by the 8 James I., 1611, and were confirmed by 12 Charles I., 1636. They seem to have covered their rent from 1648 onwards by letting the lower rooms and cellars on lease for £11 per annum. In 1625 the Star Chamber granted them permission to set up a printing-press in this hall for the purpose of issuing the weekly Bills of Mortality. Here also the Company appointed its own joiner, carpenter, and bricklayer, nor omitted to secure the all-important cook. By 1637 the bricklayer had new-tiled the roof; he charged £12: also the joiner had wainscotted the parlour, but the Clerks thought his bill of £13 rather too much; he must include “some convenient work in addition,” to be set up above the three doors in the newly wainscotted room, then they would pay him and appoint him their official joiner. The Great Fire destroyed this hall two years before the lease was up. For some time the Court of the Company wandered from tavern to tavern, but in 1671 ultimately settled at their present hall in Silver Street.

Monkwell Street, anciently written Mugwell, Muggewell, or Mogwell Street, was so called, according to Stow, after a well in the Hermitage of St. James at the north end of the street. The Hermitage was a cell belonging to Garendon Abbey where two or three of the brethren resided as chaplains. There is no doubt about the house or the Hermitage, and very possibly there was a well within its small precinct. At the same time the ancient form of the name, Mugwell, does not suggest the word Monk. It seems probable that the name was originally Mugwell, and that after the Dissolution the memory of the well was kept up by a corruption of the name. The street appears to have been outside the industries of North London. It is mentioned many times in the Calendar of Wills, but never in connection with workshops or trading shops. Between 1277 and 1576 there are the entries of the street. They all speak of rents, tenements, and houses. In the year 1349 we find a brewery in the street. This naturally inclines us to think that there must have been a well—? Mugwell—to supply the brewery. In Riley’s Memorials it is mentioned once only 88in connection with a tourelle of London Wall near the street. The Hermitage was succeeded by Lamb’s Chapel.


This Fraternity should also be of extreme antiquity. When or why the barbers took upon themselves the practice of surgery I do not know. It was the custom of the Roman Catholic Church to allow ecclesiastics to become physicians on the condition (Council of Tours, 1163) that they abstained from fire and steel; Rabelais, for instance, in the fifteenth century, practised medicine subject to this condition. But some kinds of surgery are necessary: bone-setting, for instance, which was understood and performed by the common people; dentistry, which at first fell into the hands of barbers but afterwards became a separate mystery practised by itinerants; cupping, blood-letting, the dressing of wounds, and amputations also fell into the hands of the barbers. But not of all the barbers. Surgery advanced by degrees; it became a distinct profession before it was recognised.

That the barbers practised blood-letting is proved by an ordinance of 1307 forbidding them to put blood in their windows in view of folks. In 1308, Richard le Barber is presented to the mayor and admitted Master over the trade of Barbers. He swore to make scrutiny among the craft, and if he found any keeping brothels or acting unseemly he would distrain upon them. The oath indicates that barbers were suspected of keeping disorderly houses; in fact they looked after the bagnios, which were always regarded with well-founded suspicion. Barbers were often appointed as gatekeepers. The reason would seem difficult to find, until it is remembered that it was strictly forbidden that lepers should enter the City, and that barbers were better able than other men from their medical knowledge to detect them.

The earliest admission of a surgeon is recorded in the year 1312. John of Southwark is described as “cirurgicus.” Clearly he was that and nothing else; not a shaving man at all.

Some of them were wealthy. For instance, Hamo the Barber in 1340 was assessed at £10 as his contribution towards a forced loan of £5000 to the King.

In the year 1376, the fraternity was ruled by two masters representing the two divisions of barbers—who could also let blood and draw teeth—and surgeons.

In the year 1388, the King sent writs all over the kingdom to inquire into the constitution of the guilds and fraternities then existing in the country. The returns appear to have been lost. But the return sent in by the barbers still exists in a copy preserved at Barbers’ Hall. It is published in extenso in Mr. Sidney Young’s book. It is a long document, and it pours a flood of light upon the guilds and their laws. The original is in Norman French.

Since the barbers were not yet incorporated, they had no authority except over their own members. They could not, therefore, prevent the formation of a Fraternity of Surgeons, who practised without any reference to the barbers. In 1376, the barbers, no doubt because of this rival guild, complained against incompetent persons practising surgery, and prayed that two masters should rule the craft, and that none should be admitted without examination. In 1390, the Surgeons’ Guild obtained powers to appoint five masters for the directing of those practising surgery and of women as well as men. The surgeons thereupon tried to exercise the right of scrutiny over the barbers, who claimed and obtained the protection of the City.

In the year 1461, Edward IV. granted the barbers a Charter of Incorporation.

The preamble to the Letters Patent, 1 Edward IV., by which the Company were incorporated, recites that the Freemen of the Mystery of Barbers of the City of London, using the Mystery or Faculty of Surgery, had for a long time exercised and sustained and still continued to exercise and sustain great application and labour, as well about the curing and healing wounds, blows, and other infirmities as in the letting of blood and drawing of teeth, and that by the ignorance and unskilfulness of some of the said barbers, as well freemen of the said City as of others being foreign surgeons, many misfortunes had happened to divers people by the unskilfulness of such barbers and surgeons in healing and curing wounds, 89blows, hurts, and other infirmities, and that it was to be feared that the like or worse evils might thereafter ensue unless a suitable remedy was speedily provided in the premises.

And it was thereby granted to the freemen of the said mystery of barbers in the said City of London, that the said mystery and all the men of the said mystery, should be one body, and one perpetual community, with power for electing two masters or governors, and that the said masters or governors and commonalty and their successors might make statutes and ordinances for the government of the said mysteries. And that the masters or governors for the time being, and their successors, should have the survey, search, correction, and government of all the freemen of the said City being surgeons, using the mystery of barbers in the said City, and other surgeons being foreigners practising the mystery of surgery within the said City and suburbs thereof, and the punishment of them for offences in not perfectly executing, performing, and using the said mystery, and should have the survey of all manner of instruments, plaisters, and other medicines, and the receipts used by the said barbers and surgeons for the curing and healing of sores, wounds, hurts, and such like infirmities. And that no barber using the said mystery of surgery within the said City or suburbs should be thereafter admitted to exercise the same mystery unless he had first been approved of as well instructed in that mystery by the said masters or governors, or their successors sufficiently qualified in that behalf.

By the Act of Parliament of 32 Henry VIII., after reciting that within the said City of London there were then two several and distinct companies of surgeons exercising the science and faculty of surgery, the one company called the Barbers of London, and the other called the Surgeons of London, and that the former were incorporated by the Letters Patent of 1 Edward IV., but the latter had not any manner of incorporation; it was enacted that the two several and distinct companies, and their successors, should from thenceforth be united and made one entire and whole body corporate, which should thereafter be called by the name of Masters or Governors of the Mystery or Commonalty of Barbers and Surgeons of London.

The Letters Patent of 1 James and 5 Chas. I., granted and confirmed to the united companies: All and singular the manors, messuages, lands, tenements, customs, liberties, franchises, immunities, jurisdictions, and hereditaments of the united companies of barbers and surgeons then held by them and enjoyed under any letters patent of any former kings and queens or by colour of any lawful prescription, with power to make byelaws, annual elections, appoint examiners of surgeons, and that no person should exercise surgery within the cities of London and Westminster or within the distance of seven miles of the said cities, unless previously examined; and by the public letters testimonial of the said company, under their common seal, and admitted to exercise the said art or mystery of surgery under the penalty therein mentioned; and that all persons so examined and admitted as aforesaid might exercise the art in any other places whatsoever of the kingdom of England, with power to appoint lectures for instruction in the principles and rudiments in the art of chirurgery.

By the Act of 18 Geo. 2, cap. 15, after reciting the before-mentioned Acts, and that the barbers had for many years past been engaged in a business foreign to and independent of the practice of surgery, and the surgeons being then become a numerous and considerable body, and finding their union with the barbers inconvenient in many respects, and in no degree conducive to the progress of the art of surgery, and that a separation of the corporation of barbers and surgeons would contribute to the improvement of surgery, it was enacted that the said union and incorporation of barbers and surgeons should, after June 24, 1745, be dissolved, and the surgeons were constituted a separate and distinct body corporate by the name of the Master, Governors, and Commonalty of the Art and Science of Surgeons of London; and the barbers were thereby constituted a body corporate and commonalty perpetual, which should be called by the name of the Master, Governors, and Commonalty of the Mystery of Barbers of London.

The Barbers Company, since their separation from the surgeons, have continued to conduct the affairs of the Company.

The Hall of the Company is mentioned by Stow with certain particulars of their history:

“In this west side is the Barbers-Chirurgeons’ hall. This Company was incorporated by means of Thomas Morestede, esquire, one of the sheriffs of London 1436, chirurgeon to the kings of England, 90Henry IV., V., and VI.: he deceased 1450. Then Jaques Fries, physician to Edward IV., and William Hobbs, physician and chirurgeon for the same king’s body, continuing the suit the full time of twenty years, Edward IV., in the 2nd of his reign, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, became founders of the same corporation in the name of St. Cosme and St. Damiane. The first assembly of that craft was Roger Strippe, W. Hobbs, T. Goddard, and Richard Kent; since the which time they built their hall in that street, etc.”

The number of the livery is about 120. There are no particulars as to the Corporate Income of the Company. The Trust Income is about £650 per annum.



The third group of streets is that which is bounded on the south by Cannon Street, on the east by Bishopsgate Street and Gracechurch Street, and on the west by Moorgate Street, Princes Street, and Walbrook, and northward by the City limits.

This, with Cheapside, includes the very heart and centre of the City. In it are the streets called Cornhill, Lombard Street, Threadneedle Street, Throgmorton Street, Lothbury, Princes Street, and Broad Street. Here were formerly the ecclesiastical foundations of the Austin Friars and St. Anthony’s. Here are the Royal Exchange, the Bank of England, the Mansion House, the offices of many Banks and of Companies; the site of such well-known houses as the Baltic, the South Sea House, Garraway’s, the Jerusalem, the London Tavern. In Lombard Street we have the first house of City Firemen and the first Post Office. In Broad Street is the site of Gresham House, afterwards Gresham College, founded with such a noble ambition, fallen now to so poor a place.

In this place it is proposed to take the principal streets and lanes and to set down whatever points of interest have not been touched upon in the large History of London.

Cornhill has been a crowded street from time immemorial. Stow says that there was here a corn market. It does not seem proved, however, that there ever was one here. Loftie points out that the London corn market was on the east side of St. Michael-le-Querne, opposite Bread Street. It has been suggested that the family of Coren Hell or Corn Hill gave their name to the ward. In 1125 there is Edward Heep Cornhill among those engaged in the conveyance of the Portsoken to the Holy Trinity Priory. But a market of some sort was most certainly held here, and it may have been originally a corn market.

We must not suppose that the division of trades and markets was ever rigidly observed. If there were bakers in Bread Street, there may have been bakers elsewhere for the general convenience. Then in 1347 (Riley’s Memorials, p. 236) there was a corn market in Gracechurch Street and another in Newgate Street. The market was opposite the Franciscan House, so that perhaps we may accept Stow’s statement and conclude that the corn market of Cornhill gradually receded 92eastward into Gracechurch Street, where it was presently absorbed by Leadenhall Market, which is reckoned by Stow as in Cornhill.

In 1310 proclamation was made in the City as follows:

“It is ordered and commanded on the King’s behalf, that no man or woman shall be so daring or so bold as from henceforth to hold a common market for any manner of merchandise in the highway of Chepe after the hour of None, as heretofore they have done; nor yet in any other place within the City, save only upon Cornhulle; and that, from Matins until the hour of None, and not after: on pain of forfeiture of the goods so carried there to sell, by way of holding common market there” (Riley’s Memorials, p. 75).

The hour of “None” is from two to three. What was the meaning of this proclamation? Why must the markets of Chepe be closed at three while those of Cornhill remained open? But in 1369, because many cheats had been possible by selling things after dark, it was ordered that at the ringing of the bell upon the Tun at sunset (not the bell of St. Mary-le-Bow, which only belonged to West Chepe), all shops and stalls were to be closed.

The Tun, of which mention has often been made in other volumes of this book, was a small prison, something like a tun, built by Henry le Waleys in 1282. Beside it was a conduit built by the same citizen. And there was a standard for Thames water brought there by the contrivance of one Peter Morris, a Dutchman. Distances were reckoned from the standard of Cornhill.

Here were stocks for the sturdy beggar, the lazar, should he venture into the City, and fraudulent dealers. Here was a pillory for similar offenders; one William Felde stood in it in 1375 for cheating hucksters of ale. Here Gyleson also, in 1348, was so put to public shame for selling putrid pork, some of which was burned under his nose to his unspeakable discomfort.

The earliest occupants of Cornhill, according to Strype, were drapers. It is, however, certain that other trades were established there. Thus in 1302 there is a baker of Cornhill; in 1318 a bakehouse opposite the Pillory; in 1345 the City poulterers are ordered not to sell east of the Tun on Cornhill, while the “foreign” poulterers are sent to Leadenhall; in 1342, “false” blankets are burned in Cornhill; in 1347 there is a turner of Cornhill; in 1364 a tailor; in 1365 the pelterers are ordered to carry on their business in Cornhill, Walbrook, and Budge Row only; in 1372 the blacksmiths are confined for the exhibition of their wares to Gracechurch Street, St. Nicholas Fleshambles’ (Newgate), and the Tun of Cornhill.

The punishment of common clerks illustrated by Stow is noted elsewhere. As regards the Tun, he writes:



“By the west side of the foresaid prison, then called the Tun, was a fair well of spring water curbed round with hard stone; but in the year 1401, the said prison house, called the Tun, was made a cistern for sweet water, conveyed by pipes of lead from Tiborne, and was from thenceforth called the Conduit upon Cornhill. Then was the well planked over, and a strong prison made of timber called a cage, with a pair of stocks therein set upon it, and this was for night walkers. On the top of which cage was placed a pillory, for the punishment of bakers offending in the assize of bread, for millers stealing of corn at the mill, for bawds, scolds, and other offenders. As in the year 1468, the 7th of Edward IV., divers persons being common jurors, such as at assizes were forsworn for rewards, or favour of parties, were judged to ride from Newgate to the pillory in Cornhill, with mitres of paper on their heads, there to stand, and from thence again to Newgate, and this judgment was given by the mayor of London. In the year 1509, the 1st of Henry VIII., 94Darby, Smith, and Simson, ringleaders of false inquests in London, rode about the city with their faces to the horse tails, and papers on their heads, and were set on the pillory in Cornhill, and after brought again to Newgate, where they died for very shame, saith Robert Fabian.

“The foresaid conduit upon Cornhill, was in the year 1475 enlarged by Robert Drope, draper, mayor, that then dwelt in that ward; he increased the cistern of this conduit with an east end of stone and castellated it in comely manner” (Stow’s Survey, p. 208).

In the time of Stow there were still standing some of the old houses, built of stone in accordance with the regulations of Henry Fitz Aylwin and other mayors. The danger of fire was thus diminished. But those houses which in many cases were built round open courts, covering a large space and of no more than two stories in height, were gradually taken down and houses of four or five stories built in their place, a fact which must be remembered when we read of the Great Fire. All those broad courts and open spaces which might have checked the Fire at so many points were gone in 1666, and replaced by high houses standing together and by narrow courts.

The Royal Exchange, the Bank of England, and the Mansion House are so mixed up with the general history of London that they must be sought for in the volumes that have preceded this.

The Weigh-house was the place where all merchandise brought across the sea was taken to be weighed at the King’s beam. “This house hath a master, and under him four master porters, with porters under them: they have a strong cart, and four great horses, to draw and carry the wares from the merchants’ houses to the beam and back again” (Stow, p. 73). The house was built by Sir Thomas Lovell, “with a fair front of tenements towards the street.” The cart therefore was taken into an inner court through a gateway, as we might expect.

There were many taverns in and about Cornhill.

In the sixteenth century was still standing one of the old stone houses of which we have spoken. This was popularly known as “King John’s House.” Now at the granting of the commune to the City, John lodged at the house of Richard Fitz Richer, the sheriff. Possibly this was the house. Pope’s Head Alley marks the site of the Pope’s Head Tavern, which had the ancient arms of England, three leopards between two angels, engraved in stone on the front. Stow thinks it may have been a royal palace.

A perspective view of Cornhill at the present day gives a very fine effect. The sides are lined with large buildings on the erection of which no time or expense has been spared, and the protuberant stone decoration and the lines of enriched windows give on the whole an appearance of wealth and dignity. Yet, taken singly, there are few of these buildings that deserve any commendation. There is a sameness 95and want of originality. Everywhere are round-headed windows and stone foliage; everywhere the same shaped roof projections and pinnacles. The flagged space in front of the Royal Exchange is decorated by trees in tubs, and on it stands an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington. This was executed by Sir Francis Chantrey in 1844. The Royal Exchange lines the side of the street for some distance and all round the ground-floor are shops, etc. Beyond it is a second open space. The statue here facing southward is of Rowland Hill. The figure is on a block of polished granite.

Beyond Finch Lane the Union Bank of Australia stands out as one of the exceptions to the general monotony of the street. It is of white stone, in a severe style without undue excrescences, and the chief ornament is a row of sculpturesque figures supporting the cornice.

On the south side of Cornhill an entrance to St. Peter’s Church first attracts attention.


This church is possibly the most ancient in the City. It was practically rebuilt in the reign of Edward IV. and thoroughly renovated in 1632, but so damaged by the Great Fire that after attempts at restoration it had to be rebuilt. The present building was erected by Wren in 1680-81. The earliest known date of an incumbent is 1263—one John de Cabanicis. There is an unbroken succession since John de Exeter, 1282.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the family of Nevil before 1263, one of whom, Lady Alice Nevil, conveyed it in 1362 to Richard, Earl of Arundell, for a term of years; in 1380 to Thomas Coggeshall and others; in 1402 to Hampweyde Bohern, Earl of Hereford. It was again conveyed about, or shortly before, 1395 to Robert and Margaret Rykedon and others, who presented to it in 1405; it was confirmed to Richard Whittington and others in 1408, who in turn confirmed it in 1411 to the Mayor and Commonalty of London, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 500.

The church measures 80 feet in length, 47 feet in breadth, and 40 feet in height, and contains a nave and two aisles separated from the central portion by Corinthian columns. There is a very fine screen, one of the only two erected in the City of London, and the only one remaining in its original position. The steeple, which rises at the south-west, attains a height of 140 feet, and consists of a tower and cornice surmounted by a cupola, an octagonal lantern, and a spire, terminating in St. Peter’s emblem, the Key. The view of the exterior is blocked on the north by intervening houses, but on the south the church is open to the churchyard.

Chantries were founded here by Roger FitzRoger previous to 1284; by Nicholas Pycot at the Altar of St. Nicholas in 1312; by Philip de Ufford at the Altar of St. Katherine in 1321; by Robert de la Hyde at the Altar of St. George in 1328; by William Elliot (William of Kingston) at the Altar of the Holy Trinity, for himself, Sarah and Alynor his wives, and for his father and mother in 1375; by John Foxton at the Altar of St. George in 1382; by John Waleys at the same altar in 1409; and by Dame Alice Brudenel in 1437 to the Altar of St. Nicholas. There were also chantries founded by Richard Morley, Peter Mason, and John Lane. The Guild or Fraternity of St. Peter was established in this church by Henry IV. in 1403 at the intercession of Queen Johanna, William Aghton being rector. The valuation of the Rectory temp Henry VIII. was £39 : 5 : 7½, to which was added tenths from the chantries amounting to £14 : 14 : 4.

A large number of monuments are recorded by Stow, some of the most notable of which were in 96memory of: William of Kingston; Margery Clopton, widow of Robert Clopton; Sir Christopher Morice, Master Gunner of England to Henry VIII.; Sir Henry Huberthorne, Merchant Taylor, and Lord Mayor of the City; Francis Breerewood, Treasurer of Christ’s Hospital; Sir William Bowyer. John Carpenter, the famous Town Clerk of London and compiler of the Liber Albus, was also buried here. In the vestry is an interesting tablet copy of one hanging in St. Paul’s Cathedral from A.D. 1300, and preserved from the Great Fire, to the effect that this church was the first founded in London, and that it was erected by King Lucius in 179—a legend which Stow himself appears not to have believed. There is here, also, the old key-board and organ-stops used by Mendelssohn when he played in St. Peter’s in 1840 and 1842. The portraits of Bishop Beveridge and Bishop Waugh, both of whom were rectors here for some years, hang on the walls. A fine manuscript Vulgate, with illuminations, written for the Altar of the Holy Trinity in St. Peter’s, is also preserved in the vestry.

Drawn by G. Shepherd.


Among the most important charities were those of: Laurence Thompson, 1601, who left £100 in trust for tea, coal, and bread for the poor of the parish. William Walthal, 1606, who left £246 : 13 : 4, £200 of which was to be lent to the struggling shopkeepers of the parish, the interest to be distributed in bread and coal. The Robert Warden (1609) bequest for Ash Wednesday sermons and Sunday bread to be administered through the Poulterers Company. The Lucy Edge (1630) bequest for the weekly lecture. Sir 97Benjamin Thorowgood’s (1682) bequest of three shops at the west end of the church for the maintenance of the organ and organist; and the Gibbs’ bequest (1864). Of these, all, with the exception of the Lucy Edge and Gibbs’ bequests, which provide for the Thursday lecturer, and part of the Robert Warden bequest, which provides for the Ash Wednesday sermon before the Poulterers Company, have been appropriated, with other endowments, by the City Parochial Charities, out of which common fund a yearly allowance is made for the upkeep of the Church.

John Hodgkin, Bishop of Bedford, 1537, was rector here; also John Taylor (d. 1554), Bishop of Lincoln; Francis White (d. 1638), Bishop of Ely; William Beveridge (1637-1708), Bishop of St. Asaph; John Waugh, Bishop of Carlisle, 1723—he is buried in front of the present altar.

Next door to the church is another of the exceptions in the street, a well-designed terra-cotta building. The building is in a late Perpendicular or Tudor style, and is appropriately named Tudor Chambers. St. Peter’s Alley leads to the graveyard at the back of the church, which is cut in two by an abnormally broad sweeping way up to the centre door. Plainly built chambers of many stories look down on the dusty evergreens of the churchyard. The next object of interest is the deeply recessed and beautifully ornamented porch of St. Michael, which stands back a little from the line of the street. By the side of the church is St. Michael’s Alley, which leads us to the graveyard. In this a small cloister or entry with vaulted roof leads through to the churchyard, a space of newly turned soil with a fringe of the inevitable evergreen bushes.

The great London coffee-house was set up in St. Michael’s Alley in 1652 by one Pasqua Rosee.


The body of St. Michael’s Church was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren in 1672; the tower was injured and pulled down in 1722, when the present tower, also the work of Wren, was erected. In 1858 it was greatly altered by Sir Gilbert Scott. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1287.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Alnoth the priest, before 1133, who granted it to the Abbot and Convent of Evesham, who gave it in 1133 to Sparling the priest; the Abbot and Convent of Evesham, who granted it in 1505 to Simon Hogan, who bequeathed it to the Drapers’ Company, who presented to it in 1515, and in whose successors it continued.

The church measures 87 feet in length, 60 feet in breadth, and 35 feet in height, and contains two aisles divided from the nave by Doric columns. The church was originally in the Italian style, but the alterations in 1858-60 by Sir Gilbert Scott give the appearance of a nineteenth-century imitation of mediævalism. The tower is Gothic in architecture, and contains three stories crowned by a parapet from the angles of which four pinnacles rise up. The total height is 130 feet. The church has always been famous for its bells, of which it possesses 12.

Chantries were founded here by: Walter de Bullingham, to which John de Bourge was admitted chaplain, August 22, 1390; Thomas Baker augmented the endowment by £2 : 18 : 8; Ralph More was chaplain in 1548, “a man of 50 yrs. who hath lyen bedridden this 18 years”; Simon Smith; William Comerton at the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary; Hamo Box, for which the King granted his licence, July 28, 1321; William Rus, whose endowment for this and other purposes fetched £27 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when William Penne was priest “of the age of 38 years, and of indifferent learning and hath none other living but this his yearly stipend of £8”; Andrew Smythe, who endowed it with lands, etc., which fetched £12 in 1548, when John Paddye was priest “of the age of 26 years, indifferently learned, having no other living or promotion over and above his stipend of £7 : 6 : 7”; Simon Mordonne, mayor, 1368, who left tenements 98valued at £9 in 1548, when John Campyon was priest, “of the age of 66 years, a good singer and indifferently well learned, having none other living besides this his stipend of £6 : 18 : 4”; John Langhorne, who endowed it with tenements which yielded £10 : 8s. in 1548, when Abail Mortcock was priest, “of the age of 36 years, whose qualities, conversation, and learning is as the other and hath none other living but this his stipend of £6 : 13 : 4.” The King granted his licence to Peter Smart and others to found a guild in honour of St. Anne and Our Lady, September 27, 1397, which was valued at £17 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Sir William Bryck was chaplain “of the age of 33 years, moderately well learned.” John Shopman and others have licence to found a guild in honour of Blessed Virgin Mary with special devotion to St. Michael the Archangel, October 4, 1442.


Alderman Robert Fabian (d. 1513) was buried here in 1513; he compiled an elaborate chronicle, The Concordance of Histories, dealing with France as well as England. This church is specially connected with the antiquary John Stow, and both his father and grandfather were buried here. Against the north walk there is a monument in memory of John Vernon, erected in place of one consumed by the Fire, by the Merchant Taylors in 1609; he was a donor of several large legacies. In 1609 John Cowper was buried here—founder of a family whose memory is still preserved in connection with Cowper’s Court, Cornhill. To this family the poet Cowper belonged.

The parish was extremely rich in charitable gifts. Brass tablets are affixed to the sides of the tower recording the dates, etc., of repairs, and the benefactors in connection, amongst whom are the following: Sir John Langham, £500; Sir Edward Riccard, £100; James Clotheroe, £50. Other benefactors were Robert Drope, donor of £30, and his wife Jane, afterwards Viscountess Lisle, of £90.

William Brough (d. 1671), Dean of Gloucester, and author of several religious works, was rector here; also Robert Poole-Finch (1724-1803), chaplain of Guy’s Hospital and a preacher of some eminence.

99No. 15 Cornhill is the oldest shop of its class in the Metropolis. The window is set in a carved wooden framework, painted green, which encloses the small glass panes in three arches. It was established as a confectioner’s shop in the time of George I., and it is a confectioner’s still. Within, the low roof and thick woodwork testify its age. It might easily be overlooked, as the brick house rising above it presents no noticeable feature.

Of Change Alley one has to note that Jonathan’s Coffee-house was the resort of those who dealt and dabbled in stocks.


Why did ‘Change Alley waste thy precious hours,
Among the fools who gap’d for golden show’rs?
No wonder if we found some poets there,
Who live on fancy and can feed on air;
No wonder they were caught by South-Sea schemes,
Who ne’er enjoyed a guinea but in dreams.

Here also were Garraway’s and Robins’ Coffee-houses. In 1722 “the better sort,” according to Defoe, who carried on business as a hosier in Freemason’s Court, met at these coffee-houses before going to the Exchange.

The present Stock Exchange was not erected till the year 1801.

100Strype thus speaks of the Alley as it was after improvements:

“Exchange Alley, that lies next eastward, hath two passages out of Cornhill; one into Lombard Street, and another bending east into Birchin Lane. It is a large Place vastly improved, chiefly out of an house of Alderman Backwall’s, a Goldsmith, before the Great Fire, well built, inhabited by tradesmen; especially that passage into Lombard Street against the Exchange, and is a place of a very considerable concourse of Merchants, seafaring men and other traders, occasioned by the great Coffee houses, Jonathan’s and Garraway’s, that stand there. Chiefly now brokers, and such as deal in buying and selling of Stocks, frequent it. The Alley is broad and well paved with free-stones, neatly kept. The Fleece Tavern, seated in Cornhill, hath a passage into this Alley, being a very large house and of great resort.” At No. 41 Thomas Gray the poet was born on December 24, 1716.

Change Alley is at present a winding and tortuous thoroughfare. It bears the date 1886 over the western entry, and contains many red and glazed white brick houses. Close by this entry is the Bakers’ Chop House, a curious little old building with projecting windows of dark wood.

In the next portion of Change Alley is a well-built red brick building by R. Norman Shaw, with a slab on the north-east corner bearing the inscription:

The site of Garraway’s Coffee House, rebuilt 1874;

and beneath is a large stone grasshopper.

Gracechurch Street, called also Grass church, Garscherche, and Gracious Street, was formerly a market for hay, corn, malt, cheese, etc. There was uncertainty about the name, for in 1329 we find it written Grescherche Street, in 1333 Grascherche Street, a form of the name which is afterwards repeated.

In 1275 there is a will by one Martin de Garscherche bequeathing property to his sons and daughters; in 1294, 1311, and 1324, we hear of tenements in Garscherche, which seems as if the place was then an open market, not yet settled down to a street; perhaps, however, the dignity of a street was sometimes conferred upon it, for in 1296 there is mention of Leadenhall in Garscherch Street, and in 1342 it is also named as a street.

In 1320 one of the supervisors of shoes was Richard le Cordewaner of “Gras cherche”; in 1347 a jury of “Graschirche,” consisting of a butcher and eleven others, accused John de Burstalle of selling corn at more than the legal price, and he was sent to prison for forty days; in 1372 it was ordained that the blacksmiths should send their work either to “Graschirche” or to the “Pavement” by St. Nicholas Fleshambles, or by the Tun on Cornhill, and should stand by their work openly. Therefore the market here was not confined to hay and corn. In 1386 one Thomas Stokes was in trouble for pretending to be an officer and taker of ale for the household of the King, under which pretence he marked with an arrowhead 101several barrels in the brewery of William Roke of Graschirche. There was therefore a brewery in the market. One finds so many breweries scattered about the City that one asks how they got the water; it must certainly have been drawn up from a local well. Another case of personating an officer of the King was that of William Redhede in 1417, who tried to carry off certain bushels of wheat at Graschirche pretending that they were for the King. He was clapped into prison and then put in pillory. “Upon the three market days ensuing he was to be taken each day from the Prison of Newgate to the Market called ‘le Cornmarket’ opposite to the Friars Minors and there the cause of the judgment aforesaid was to be proclaimed: and after that he was to be taken through the middle of the high street of Chepe to the Pillory on Cornhille; and upon that he was to be placed on each of those three days there to stand for one hour each day, the reason of his sentence being then and there proclaimed, and after that he was to be taken from thence through the middle of the high street of Cornhill to the Market of Graschirche aforesaid, where like proclamation was to be made: and from thence back to prison.”

Roman remains, such as vases, bronzes, coffins, have been found in this street.

In 1654 Brethmer, citizen of London, gave to the Church at Canterbury his messuage at “Gerscherche” as also the Church of Allhallows, Lombard Street.

The street is continually mentioned in connection with tenements, messuages, houses, and rents.

In more modern times Richard Tarleton the actor lived in Gracechurch Street, at the sign of the Saber. Probably he acted in the courtyard of the Cross Keys in the same street, licensed in 1570, but only for that year. Many pageants and processions were conducted through Gracechurch Street.

In Gracechurch Street at the corner of Fenchurch Street was St. Benet’s Church.

St. Benet, Grasschurch, was so called after St. Benedict. The date of its foundation is unknown. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, rebuilt and finished in 1685. In 1868 the building was pulled down, and in 1869 and 1870 the site was occupied by offices. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1170.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who granted it about 1142 to Algarus the priest, for his life.

Houseling people in 1548 were 223.

A chantry was founded here in the chapel of St. Mary and St. Katherine for Lady Joan Rose; the endowment fetched £14 : 3 : 4 in 1548.

Few notable monuments in this church are recorded by Stow. It originally contained Queen Elizabeth’s monument. The parish was rich in charitable gifts, some of the donors of which were: Mrs. Doxie of £50, for the better maintenance of the parson; Lady Elizabeth Newton £40, and many others whose names are not recorded.

In modern Gracechurch Street, at the corner of Eastcheap, is a fine new building of the National Provident Institution for Mutual Life Assurance. The courts opening out of the street are lined with countless window reflectors and are very monotonous. The Russian Bank is fine and of great height; on the west there is a long line of 102brick and stucco buildings which can boast no style at all. The street is given over to merchants, solicitors, bankers, agents, etc. The great building at the corner of Lombard Street is the City Linen Company Bank, and is conspicuous by reason of its stone ornamentation.

The northern portion of the street is not remarkable for architectural beauty. The street consists chiefly of great square blocks of buildings interspersed with dull early nineteenth-century brick boxes. In Bell Yard there is an almost unbroken line of old houses on the south side, and at the end the half-embedded gilt bell over a public-house points to the name-derivation. On the east of Gracechurch Street a high arch of rusticated stone leads to Leadenhall market (see p. 160). Gracechurch Buildings follow, and Bull’s Head Passage, leading to Skinner’s Place, is lined by open stalls. The flat end of St. Peter’s, Cornhill, faces Leadenhall Buildings.

Lombard Street.—Shops and tenements are mentioned belonging to Lombard Street in the fourteenth century. The Calendar of Wills has a reference in the year 1327. Riley’s earliest reference is 1382.

When the street first received its name is not known. Stow ventures back no further than Edward II., but there were Italian merchants before that time:

“Then have ye Lombard Street, so called of the Longobards, and other merchants, strangers of divers nations assembling there twice every day, of what original or continuance I have not read of record, more than that Edward II., in the 12th of his reign, confirmed a messuage, sometime belonging to Robert Turke, abutting on Lombard Street, toward the south, and toward Cornehill on the north, for the merchants of Florence, which proveth that street to have had the name of Lombard Street before the reign of Edward II. The meeting of which merchants and others there continued until the 22nd of December, in the year 1568; on the which day the said merchants began to make their meetings at the burse, a place then new built for that purpose in the ward of Cornhill, and was since by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth, named the Royal Exchange.”

The Lombards came over at first as collectors of the papal revenue; but they did much more than this: they opened up trade between the Italian towns and London—every year the fleets of Genoa and Venice brought goods from the East and from the Mediterranean. Moreover, the Italians in England sent wool from England instead of precious metals by way of Florence, if not other cities. Their wealth enabled them to take the place of the Jews in their expulsion; if the City was suddenly and heavily taxed they made advances to the merchant who could not immediately realise. Of course they charged heavy interest—as heavy as the necessities of the case permitted—and they became unpopular. The lending of money, forbidden and held in abhorrence, was absolutely necessary for the conduct of business: those who carried on this trade naturally lived together, if only to be kept in knowledge of what was going on. And as the progress of trade went on, 103their power increased year by year. Lombard Street, where they lived, was the daily mart of the London merchants before the erection of the Exchange.


“Jane Shore’s husband was a goldsmith in this street; so at least the old ballad, printed in Percy’s Reliques, would lead us to believe. No. 68, now Messrs. Martin, Stones and Martin’s (bankers), occupies the site of the house of business of Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange. When Pennant wrote, the Messrs. Martin still possessed the original grasshopper that distinguished his house. ‘How the Exchange passeth in Lombard Street’ is a phrase of frequent occurrence in Sir Thomas Gresham’s early letters. No. 67, now in the occupation of Messrs. Glyn and Co. (bankers), belongs to the Goldsmiths’ Company, to whom it was left by Sir Martin Bowes, an eminent goldsmith in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Guy, the founder of Guy’s Hospital, was a bookseller in this street. The father of Pope, the poet, was a linendraper in Lombard Street; and here, in 1688, his celebrated son was born. Opposite the old-fashioned gate of the Church of St. Edmund the Martyr is a narrow court, leading to a Quakers’ Meeting-house where Penn and Fox frequently preached” (Cunningham’s Handbook).

The house in which Pope is said to have been born is that at the end of Plough Court.

104Between the Church of St. Edmund and the west end of the street were two mansions formerly belonging, one to William de la Pole, Knight Banneret, and “King’s Merchant” in the reign of Edward III., and afterwards to his son, Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, and the other to Sir Martin Bowes, mayor, 1545. Here also was the Cardinal’s Hat Tavern, one of the oldest of the City taverns, mentioned in 1492.

The modern street gives a general impression similar to that of Cornhill. Everywhere we are confronted by solid banks and insurance offices, which seem to divide the ground between them.

George Yard contains the imposing building of the Deutsche Bank in London, as well as a couple of large houses let in flats, and presents a decidedly dignified appearance. The Bank is an immense building, with a granite-columned portico, and rusticated stonework round it.

Of the two churches now remaining in this street, one is


This church was anciently called by some St. Edmund Grass-Church, because of its proximity to the grass market. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren in 1690. In 1864 and 1880 the church was restored. After the Great Fire, the parish of St. Nicholas Acon was annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1150.

The patronage was in the hands of the Prior and Convent of Holy Trinity, London, but Henry VIII. seized it and granted it to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1545, in whose successors it continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 240.

The present church measures 59 feet in length, 40 feet in breadth, and 57 feet 9 inches in height. It is singular from its standing north and south, but this was forced upon Wren by the position of the ground at his disposal. There are no aisles. The steeple, which rises at the south, consists of a three-storied tower and octagonal lantern and spire, and a pedestal supporting a finial and vane. The lantern is ornamented at the angles by flaming urns, in allusion to the Great Fire. A projecting clock is attached to the face of the second story and is a prominent feature in Lombard Street. The total height is 136 feet.

Chantries were founded here: By Thomas Wyllys for himself and Christian his wife, whose endowment fetched £24 in 1548, when Richard Auncell was chaplain; by and for Matilda at Vane, relict of John Atte Rose, dedicated to SS. John, Peter, and Thomas the martyr, to which John Reynes was admitted chaplain on the resignation of William Belgrave, September 25, 1382; by Richard Toky for himself and Matilda his wife, to which William Howes de Blackolm was admitted chaplain, October 20, 1362; by John Longe, whose endowment fetched £35 in 1548, when William Myller and Edward Mamyn or Hamonde were chaplains.

The old church contained a monument to John Shute, a painter-stainer, who wrote one of the earliest English works on Architecture. He died in 1563. On the east wall a monument commemorates Dr. Jeremiah Milles, Dean of Exeter, President of the Society of Antiquaries, and rector of the united parishes, who died in 1784.

Addison was married in this church to the Dowager Countess of Warwick and Holland in 1716.

This parish was not rich in charitable gifts. Some of the donors were: Richard Jaie of 45s. for bread, etc., for the poor; Mrs. Joan Lowen of 52s.; Mrs. Anne Whitmore, £5.



This church went by the name of Allhallows “Grasse Church” from its proximity to the grass and hay market. It was consumed by the Great Fire, but subsequently rebuilt and completed by Wren in 1694. The parish of Allhallows was one of the thirteen “Peculiars” of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the City of London. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1279.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Brihterus, citizen of London, who in 1052 gave it to the Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury; the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, in whose successors it continued, who first presented to it in 1552.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

The interior of the church is constructed on a rectangular plan, without aisles, and with only one pillar, rising at the centre of the west gallery. It is 84 feet in length, 52 feet in breadth, and the height 30 feet. The church contains much good woodwork, the carved oak altar-piece being especially fine. The stone tower, which rises at the south-west, is divided into three stories, the lowest of which has a large doorway at its south face; the second is pierced by a circular-headed window, and the third by square openings with louvres, each surmounted by a cornice. The height of the tower is about 85 feet. The church is entered by a porch and vestibule through a doorway in the tower.

Chantries were here founded by: John Chircheman, citizen, and Richard Tasburgh, late parson of Heylesdon County, Norfolk, July 15, 1392 (Pat. 16 Richard II. p. i. m. 25); John Buck, whose endowment yielded £40 : 6s. in 1548; John Maldon, whose endowment yielded £20 : 3 : 4 in 1548, when Edward Hollonde was priest; William Trystor, who endowed it with £6 : 6 : 8 in 1548.

The most notable of the monuments in this church is to the memory of Simon Horsepoole, Sheriff of London in 1591.

The sole donor of charities seems to have been this same Simon Horsepoole, who appointed to this parish £4 : 4s. per annum.

The original church was indebted for its south aisle, steeple, and other sections to John Warner, Robert Warner, and the Pewterers.

Clothes were found for forty boys, as well as books, and the boys were put out as apprentices by a Society of Langbourn Ward.

The most notable rectors were: Robert Gilbert, Bishop of London, 1436; Thomas Langton (d. 1501), Bishop of St. David’s and Sarum, and of Winchester; Francis Dee (d. 1638), Bishop of Peterborough.

At the corner formed by the junction of Lombard and King William Streets stands the Church of


“The church was founded by Wulfnuth, son of Earl Godwin, about the time of the Confessor. This name was corrupted into Woolnoth” (Rev. J. M. S. Brooke, Rector). It was rebuilt, according to Newcourt, from its very foundations about 1438. Though damaged by the Great Fire, it was not destroyed, and Wren repaired and rebuilt various parts in 1677. In 1716 the building was pulled down and the present church, the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor, was commenced and finished in 1727. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1252.

The patronage of the church, before 1252, was in the hands of: The Prioress and Convent of St. Helen’s, London; then Henry VIII., who seized it and granted it to Sir Martin Bowes, Alderman and Mayor of London, whose son and heir, Thomas Bowes, sold it to William Pelham, December 19, 1571; Robert Viner Miles, and several other persons, the last being Sir George Broke-Middleton, who presented to it in 1883.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

The interior of the church is almost square. It contains twelve Corinthian columns, placed at the 106angles in groups of three, and supporting an entablature prolonged to the walls by means of pilasters. There is a clerestory above, pierced on its four sides by semicircular windows. The tower, which rises at the west, contains the doorway in its basement story; the cornice is surmounted by a pedestal supporting composite columns, and the summit is divided into two turrets with balustrades above. The north front has three niches, each enclosing two Ionic columns on pedestals; the south front is plain.

Chantries were founded here by: Gregory de Rokeslie, Mayor of London, 1275-81, for himself and Amicia his wife, to which John de Pory was admitted chaplain, July 15, 1333; Thomas Noket, for himself and for Alice, wife of Gregory de Norton, called atte Shire, at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Anne, in the south side of the church, to which William Weston was admitted chaplain, January 28, 1400-1401; the endowment fetched £13 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when William Wentors, or Ventrys, and Richard Browne were chaplains; Henry Brige, Knt., whose endowment yielded £13: 13 : 4 in 1548, when John Meres was priest.

Sir Hugh Brice, keeper of the King’s Exchange under Henry VII., was buried in this church; he built a chapel here called the “Channel”; also Sir Thomas Ramsey, Lord Mayor in 1577; William Hilton, Merchant Taylor and Taylor to Henry VIII., and Sir Martin Bowes, patron of the church for over thirty years.

Among the later monuments, Stow records one in memory of Sir William Phipps, who discovered a sunken Spanish ship in 1687 containing silver to the value of £300,000 sterling, and one commemorating Sir Thomas Vyner, goldsmith, and Mayor of London, who died in 1665.

The list of legacies and bequests was too long for insertion, Stow says, but was to be seen by any one in the Parish Book. He records a gift of £1 : 6s. per annum from Sir Nicholas Rainton, and one of £3 : 15 : 8 paid by the Merchant Taylors.

Richard Rawlins (d. 1536), Bishop of St. David’s, was rector here; also John Newton, author of “Olney Hymns.”

King William Street contains few associations of interest, having been built, as its name implies, in the reign of the fourth monarch of that name, whose statue on a pedestal, which outrivals every other in the City on the score of weight alone, stands at the south end. This is the work of W. Nixon and was set up in December 1844. The figure is 15 feet 3 inches high, and the whole statue weighs 20 tons. Special arrangements had to be made for carrying the Metropolitan Railway beneath it. The statue is on the site of the Boar’s Head Tavern, noted in old days as a famous rendezvous, and familiar to readers of Shakespeare from Falstaff’s frequent resort thither. Goldsmith and Washington Irvine have written on the Boar’s Head Tavern, which rose again after the Fire; the sign of the later house is preserved in the Guildhall Museum.

King William Street was cut through various lanes, which are now dealt with. At the north end in Gresham Place is Gresham Club, which was built in 1844; the architect was Henry Flower. It is for merchants and City men; the entrance fee is twenty guineas, annual subscription eight guineas, and the membership is limited to 500. It is a grey stone building with triangular stone pediments projecting over the upper windows.

Pictorial Agency.


107St. Clement’s Lane leads to St. Clement’s Church. I find a reference to rents in Clement’s Lane in 1322. In 1371 the “good folk” of Candelwyke Street and Clement’s Lane petitioned the mayor against certain plumbers who proposed to melt their lead in a place hard by called the Woodhaugh; they said that the vapours were noxious and even fatal to human life, that trustworthy people would depose to the mischief caused by inhaling these fumes, and that the shaft of the furnace was too low. In the end the plumbers were allowed to go on with their work, provided that they raised the shaft. In the lane was the bank in which Samuel Rogers was a partner.

In Church Court, we come to the ancient graveyard of St. Clement, a minute space with one great shapeless tomb in the centre of the asphalt and a few small erect tombstones in the little border running inside the railings.


The Church of St. Clement was destroyed by the Great Fire, but rebuilt by Wren in 1686, when St. Martin’s Orgar was annexed to it. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1309.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1309; then Henry VIII., who seized it and gave it to the Bishop of Westminster in 1540; next the Bishop of London, by Mary, March 3, 1553-54, in whose successors it continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 271.

The present building measures 64 feet in length, 40 feet in breadth, and 34 feet in height. It has one aisle on the south side, separated from the rest of the church by two high-based columns. The square tower at the south-west is built of brick, with stone dressings, and contains three stories, with a cornice and balustrade above. The total height is 88 feet.

Chantries were founded here: by John Chardeney for himself and Margaret his wife, to which William Hocchepound was admitted chaplain, July 23, 1371, at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary; for William Ivery.

There were very few monuments in this church originally. In the west window is a memorial to Thomas Fuller, the church historian, Bishop Bryan Walton, and Bishop Pearson. Fuller and Pearson were lecturers here for some time; the preaching of Pearson on the Creed and Thirty-nine Articles made him famous. Walton, the compiler of the Polyglot Bible, was created Bishop of Chester, 1660. The stained-glass window on the southern side was erected in 1872 by the Clothworkers’ Company in memory of Samuel Middlemore, who died in 1628, leaving a charitable bequest to the parish. Henry Purcell and Jonathan Battishill, the musical composers, who were organists at the church, are commemorated by brass tablets.

There were several gifts belonging to the parish, but the names of the donors are not recorded by Stow.

Sir Thomas Gooch (1674-1754), Bishop of Bristol, of Norwich and of Ely, was rector here.

St. Nicholas Lane, also one of the most ancient lanes in London. In 1258 we find that one Ralph was chaplain in the Church of St. Nicholas Acon. In 1275 the church is endowed with a small rent; in 1279, a testator bequeaths his “Stone house” in the lane; and in many subsequent entries the lane is mentioned. The dedication of the church may possibly indicate the date of its foundation. It was in the eleventh century that the bones of St. Nicholas were brought from Myra in Asia Minor, then in the hands of the Mohammedans, to Bari on the Adriatic, where they still lie. There grew up quite suddenly an extraordinary belief in the power of this saint. Pilgrimages were instituted, in which thousands flocked to his tomb; 108miracles were multiplied at the sacred spot; the churches without end were dedicated to his name of Nicholas. In England 372 churches are said to be named after him. It would be interesting to learn the date of this dedication. May we, however, connect this saint of Italian pilgrimage with the coming of Italian merchants to London? St. Nicholas was the protector of sailors, virgins, and children. Cunningham calls him also the protector of merchants, but of merchants as sailors. His emblem was the three purses, round and filled with gold, or the three golden balls. We may therefore at least assume that this was the church of the “Lombards” and the financiers from Italy. The churchyard still remains, a square patch of ground, railed in, very similar to the generality of such quiet little spaces. It has asphalt paths running in and out of stunted evergreen bushes. Nicholas Passage runs on the south side, and near is the Acorn public-house, an old house, with its sign of a huge gilt acorn hanging over the door.

St. Nicholas Acon was situated on the west side of Nicholas Lane, near Lombard Street; it was burnt down in the Great Fire, and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Edmund the King and Martyr, and its site turned into a burying-ground. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1250.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of Godwin: and Thurand his wife gave it in 1084 to the Abbot and Convent of Malmesbury; Henry VIII. seized it, 1542, and so it continued in the Crown up to 1666, when it was annexed to St. Edmund the King; since then the patronage is alternately in the Crown and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Houseling people in 1548 were 154.

Johanna Macany, who left large legacies to the parish about 1452, was buried in this church, also John Hall, Master of the Company of Drapers; he died in 1618.

No legacies or gifts are recorded by Stow except that of Johanna Macany, of which he gives full details.

Maurice Griffith, Bishop of Rochester in 1554, was rector here.

Of Birchin Lane Stow says it should be Birchover Lane. It is also spelt Berchernere and Borcherveres Lane. It is frequently mentioned in the Calendar of Wills. In 1260 there is “land” in the lane; in 1285 there is a mansion house; there are a bakehouse and shops in 1319; in 1326, a tenement; twenty years later, other tenements; in 1358, a place called “la Belle”; in 1363, lands and a tenement; and in 1372, tenements in “Berchers” Lane. In 1386 and the following century we have it spelled Birchin Lane. In 1348, Riley quotes the name as Bercherners Lane.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the lane was inhabited by “fripperers,” i.e. old-clothes men. Here was Tom’s Coffee-house, frequented by Garrick. Chatterton wrote a letter to his sister from this house. In a court leading out of Birchin Lane is the George and Vulture, a well-known tavern, which still preserves the custom of serving chops and steaks on pewter.

Abchurch Lane gives its name to the church of St. Mary Abchurch, which, according to Stow, is also Upchurch (see below). The parish of Abchurch or Abbechurch is mentioned as early as 1272 and 1282, and tenements in Abbechurch Lane are devised by a testator of the year 1297.



The additional name signifies “Up-church,” and is accounted for by the position of the edifice on rising ground. The church was burnt down by the Great Fire and rebuilt in 1686 from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, when the parish of St. Lawrence Pountney was annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1323.

Pictorial Agency.


The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Prior and Convent of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, who exchanged it to the Master and Wardens of Corpus Christi College near St. Lawrence Pountney, 1448; Henry VIII., who seized it in 1540, and so continued in the Crown till Elizabeth, in 1568, granted it to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, with whom it continued. Elizabeth’s grant was procured by Archbishop Parker, who gave her the rectory of Penshurst in Kent, in order that he might make over the patronage of a London living to his old college.

Houseling people in 1548 were 368.

The church is almost square, measuring 63 feet in length and 60 feet in breadth, and is surmounted 110by a cupola 51 feet in height supported by pendentives attached to the walls; the latter is decorated with painting by Sir James Thornhill. The altar-piece is adorned with carving, which is considered to be some of Gibbon’s finest work. The steeple consists of a tower of four stories, finished by a cornice, and surmounted by a cupola, lantern, and lead-covered spire, with ball and cross; the total height is about 140 feet. The building is of red brick with Portland stone dressings.

Chantries were founded here: By and for Simon de Wynchecombe, citizen and armourer, in the chapel of Holy Trinity, to which Robert de Bruysor Chesterson was admitted, November 18, 1401—a licence was granted by the King to found this, July 26, 1359; by John Lyttelton; by Simon Wryght.

The church formerly contained monuments to Sir James Hawes and Sir John Branch, mayors in 1574 and 1580; and to Master Roger Mountague, “illustrious Precedent of Bounty and pious Industry.” Against the eastern wall, there is a large monument to Sir Patience Ward, mayor in 1680, and senior member for the City of London in the Convention Parliament of 1688-89.

The parish had no legacies or charitable gifts of any considerable amount. Mrs. Hyde gave £3 : 18s. for bread. The Merchant Taylors Company (the gift of several benefactors) gave £16 : 19 : 6 for coal.

Sherborne Lane.—Stow asserts that originally Langbourn Water, “breaking out of the ground in Fenchurch Street, ran down the same street, Lombard Street, to the west end of St. Mary Woolnoth’s church, where, turning south and breaking into small shares, rills, or streams, it left the name of Share-borne Lane,” or as he had also read it, South-borne Lane, “because it ran south to the river Thames.” Wheatley thinks that Scrieburne, from scir, a share (sciran, to divide), is the more likely etymology. This “long bourne of sweet water,” Stow further relates, “is long since stopped up at the head, and the rest of the course filled up and paved over, so that no sign thereof remaineth more than the names.” The existence of the stream indeed is more than problematical. The lane is narrow, and now occupied wholly by business premises more or less modern. The back of the City Carlton Club shows on the west side, and near the north end is the narrow way into St. Swithin’s Lane at the south end of the street (possibly Plough Alley); and the back way into the old General Post Office “by the sign of the Cock” (east side, north end), both shown in Strype’s 1754 map, have vanished. The former is built up; the latter is occupied by King William Street, which was cut clean through St. Mary Woolnoth’s churchyard and the old General Post Office (formerly the residence of Sir Robert Vyner, Lord Mayor, 1675). Before the Fire the General Postmaster lived “at his house in Sherburne Lane neere Abchurch,” and hither “The Carriers’ Cosmographie, by John Taylor, the Water Poet,” written in 1637, bids repair all who desired to send letters abroad or to various parts of the kingdom.

The name occurs as early as A.D. 1300, and is very frequently referred to in the Calendar of Wills, but under quite another form, viz. as “Shiteburn Lane.” Stow’s derivation of “Sharebone” or “Southbone” Lane will not, therefore, hold.

St. Swithin’s Lane.—Oxford Court in this lane was so called from John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, who died here in 1562.

As early as 1277 we find houses in St. Swithin’s Lane. In 1310 we find turners of St. Swithin’s Lane.

111The houses are of modern brick and stone, some of them are finished with polished granite piers. The great richly wrought iron gates before the courtyard of Salters’ Hall immediately attract attention. The hall itself, built in 1823, is painted and stuccoed, and has a fine Ionic portico. Salters’ Hall was used as a Presbyterian chapel in the reign of William III.


The first evidence of the existence of the Company is a Patent Roll of 17 Richard II., 1394; but from documents in their possession, there is every reason to believe that the Company had a much earlier existence.

In 1454 Thomas Beamond, citizen and salter (at one time sheriff in London), left to the wardens of the brotherhood and guild of the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church of All Saints, Bread Street, London, and their successors for ever, land in Bread Street, whereon had recently been erected the “Salters’ Hall,” together with other property, out of the rents and profits of which he directed that the hall should be repaired or rebuilt as occasion might require. This will also gave directions for certain religious observances, and for the support of poor Salters in almshouses, etc.

At some time subsequently to 1454 an attempt was made to prove that the religious guild and the Company of Salters were distinct corporations, and that Mr. Beamond intended to bequeath the property mentioned in his will to the spiritual body exclusively, but the legal decision was that the religious guild and the Salters Company were identical.

In the reign of Edward IV., 1465, ordinances were made for the good government of the “Company of Salters”; and in a suit presented by Lord Arundel against the Company (about the same time) it was proved that the Company of Salters and the guild or fraternity mentioned in the Patent Roll of Richard II. were identical corporations.

1507.—Ordinances were confirmed by the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, and the two Lord Chief Justices, to the wardens and fellowship of the mystery and craft of Salters in the City of London, and keepers of the fraternity of Corpus Christi in the Church of Allhallows, Bread Street.

1530.—Arms were granted to the Company by Thomas Benolt, Clarencieux. This deed of grant is in the Company’s possession.

1539.—The hall in Bread Street was burnt down, and rebuilt by the Company.

1551.—In consideration of a large payment made by them King Edward VI. reconveyed to the Company of Salters the whole of the annual payments issuing out of their property in respect of superstitious uses, which had been held forfeited to the Crown at the time of the abolition of chantries in the reign of Henry VIII. (1545).

1559.—First charter of incorporation granted by Queen Elizabeth to the “Keepers or Wardens and Commonalty of the art or mystery of Salters, London.” About the same time some new ordinances were drawn up and doubtless sanctioned by the proper authorities, which make provision for the government of the guild, and prescribe oaths for its various members and officers; and also conferred the right of search in the premises of persons using the art or mystery of Salters in the City of London and suburbs thereof, for unwholesome merchandise and false weights and measures.

1607-1609.—Acts of Parliament passed in the reign of James I., confirming to the Company all their property.

In these years a fresh charter and statutes were granted by the King.

1613 to 1619.—The Company’s Irish estate was acquired by payment to the Crown of the sum of £5000 (being the twelfth part of £60,000 raised by the twelve chief companies) with the object of planting an English and Scotch Protestant colony there.

1641.—Oxford House (with gardens), which formerly stood on the present site of the Company’s hall and offices, was purchased with corporate funds of the Company, and used as their hall: this was the third, that left by Mr. Beamond (1454) having been destroyed by fire and rebuilt about 1539.

1121666.—The whole of the Company’s estate in London and the greater part of their archives were destroyed by the “great fire,” whereby heavy losses were entailed on them.

1684, 1685.—King James II. granted the Company another charter, but the whole of these proceedings were rendered void by an Act passed in the following reign, William and Mary, under which the Salters Company, amongst others, were restored to their ancient rights, privileges, and franchises.

1821, 1827.—The hall of the Company, erected after the Fire in 1666, was taken down, and the existing building was erected, being the fifth hall of the Company.

The application of salt to the preservation of food, and particularly of fish for consumption in winter, must have given rise to a distinct trade for that purpose in the earliest times; and, as civilization advanced, the term “Salter” no doubt became more extended in its commercial interpretation, until it included, as in the present day, all persons trading wholly or partially in salt, such as oilmen, drysalters, and druggists.

Salt manufacturers and merchants, oilmen, druggists, and grocers (who made salt one of their trading commodities) have been and are largely represented on the guild.

The number of liverymen is given as 183; the Corporate Income is £20,000; the Trust Income is £2000.

The only advantage incident to the position of a freeman is a claim for relief, if in pecuniary distress.

Liverymen are entitled to vote at the election for the office of renter warden, of assistant, of master and of wardens; and, if free of the City of London, for candidates for the office of Lord Mayor, and for some officers of the corporation; also, if free of the City, and resident within a radius of twenty-five miles, for members of Parliament for the said City. All liverymen not in receipt of pecuniary assistance are invited to entertainments of the Company, and have a claim for relief should they fall into misfortune.

The present Salters’ Hall and garden, with some adjoining land, occupies the site of the “fair and large built house” which Sir Robert Aguylum devised in 1285-86 to the priors of Tortington in Sussex for their town inn or mansion. The Dissolution brought it to the Crown, and Henry VIII., in 1540, gave it to John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Then it became known as Oxford Place or House. Mary probably restored it; at all events Elizabeth regranted it in 1573 to the Earldom of Oxford, then held by Edward, grandson of John de Vere above named. The new tenant apparently resided here in good style. Stow quaintly tells of his pomp. “He hath been noted within these forty years to have ridden into this City, and so to his house by London Stone, with 80 gentlemen in a livery of Reading tawny, and chains of gold about their necks, before him, and one hundred tall yeomen in the like livery to follow him, without chains but all having his cognisance of the blue boat embroidered on their left shoulder.” He appears not to have remained here long, for Sir Ambrose Nicholas, salter, kept his mayoralty here in 1575, and Sir John Hart dwelt here as Lord Mayor in 1589. Hart bought the place from the Earl, who was then dissipating his great estates from motives of pique and indignation against his father-in-law, Cecil, Lord Burleigh.


Drawn by Thos. H. Shepherd.


114The house was sold to the feofees of the Salters Company in 1641. The Great Fire of 1666 probably destroyed only a part of the great house (Wilkinson in Londina Illustrata goes too far in maintaining that the building wholly escaped, but is probably nearer right than those who say it was quite destroyed), statements to the contrary notwithstanding, for, at the request of the Bishop of London, the parishioners of St. Swithin’s assembled in the long parlour for worship whilst their church was building, and several of the companies held their courts here until their halls had risen from the ashes. The destroyed portion, perhaps indeed the whole, and the wall of the great garden, and some adjoining houses, were rebuilt about this time by the Company and their tenants. The history of the Salters’ Hall has already been told.

In 1687 a congregation of “protestant dissenters” took from the Company, on moderate terms, a lease of certain ground on which part of Oxford House had stood before the Fire. Here they built their meeting-house, where Mr. Mayo preached until his death in 1695, drawing, by his eloquence, congregations so large that it is said even the windows were crowded when he preached. William Long, writer for Matthew Henry’s Commentary, was minister in 1702. In 1716 he and Mr. John Newman, popular with the congregation, became co-pastors. In 1719 the general body of dissenting ministers met here to discuss means for stopping the spread of Arianism. “You that are against subscribing to a declaration as a test of orthodoxy, come upstairs,” cried the Arians and the private-judgment men of a stormy synod. “And you that are for declaring your faith in the doctrine of the Trinity, stay below,” replied Mr. Bradbury of New Court. A count showed fifty-seven to have gone up, and fifty-three to have remained down, giving the “scandalous majority” of four. Arianism meanwhile had become the coffee-house topic of the town. In March 1726 Long died, and Newman became sole pastor till his death in 1741. In the reign of William III., Robert Bragge started a “Lord’s Day evening lecture,” popular for many years, but afterwards removed by the originator to his meeting-house in Lime Street. The celebrated Thomas Bradbury shortly afterwards revived it at Salters’ Hall Chapel, and for more than twenty years delivered it to crowded audiences. Samuel Baker continued it on Bradbury’s resignation in 1725. Presbyterians of some eminence followed him, as Dr. William Prior, Dr. Abraham Rees, Dr. Philip Furneaux, and Hugh Farmer (1761), the writer of an exposition on demonology and miracles, which aroused sharp controversy. When the Salters determined to rebuild their hall, they gave the congregation notice to quit by Lady Day 1821. Whereupon the congregation acquired premises in Oxford Court, upon the site of which they erected a handsome new meeting-house completed in 1822. But the glory of the place as a dissenting centre was departing, and the Presbyterians abandoned it. Then came some erratic fanatics who called themselves “The Christian Evidence Society,” and their meeting-house was “Areopagus.” Their leader went bankrupt and the experiment collapsed. In 1827 the Baptists reopened the place, and remained there for some years, but, shortly before 1870, removed to Islington, where to this day the “Salters’ Hall” Chapel in the Baxter Road preserves the memory of the struggles, quarrels, and triumphs of the old City 115meeting-house. In Tom Brown’s Laconics (1709) is this allusion: “A man that keeps steady to one party, though he happens to be in the wrong, is still an honest man. He that goes to a Cathedral in the morning, and Salters’ Hall in the afternoon, is a rascal by his own confession.”

In Hudibras Redivivus (1706) this is found:

I thumb’d o’er many factious Reams,
Of canting Lies, and Poets’ Dreams,
All stuffed as full of Low-Church Manners,
As e’er was Salters’ Hall with Sinners.

On the south side of St. Swithin’s Lane is Founders’ Hall. The hall is on the first floor, and there are shops below. The building is of stone with pilasters running up the front, and the coat-of-arms is over the door, which has a very projecting cornice. The hall was rebuilt 1877. On the north side of Salters’ Hall is New Court showing through behind a covered entry. The opposite side of St. Swithin’s Lane seems to contain the offices of an absolutely unlimited number of companies. The court, opening out of it, consists of uninteresting earth brick houses shut in by an iron gate. The City Carlton Club is in Nos. 28 and 29. It is a Conservative Club, with fifteen-guinea entrance fee, and eight-guinea subscription. The building is of stone with a porch over the door. There are bay windows with polished granite columns. Richard Roberts was the architect.


The Founders Company existed as a “Mistery” prior to the year 1365, as appears from a petition to the City of London from the “Good Men of the Mistery of the Founders of the City of London.” This petition is to be found in the Letter Books at Guildhall, and the entry is also evidence that ordinances were granted on the 29th July, 39 Edward III. The Company possesses no copy of these ordinances.

In the year 1389 (Riley, Memorials, p. 512), certain “good folks of the trade of Founders” made plaint to the mayor and aldermen as to the bad work put into candlesticks, stirrups, buckles, and other things, and they prayed that certain ordinances which they submitted should be accepted by the mayor and made law. Among these ordinances was one to the effect that two or three masters should be chosen and sworn to guard and oversee the trade.

In Williams’ History of this Company (1867) he gives the above petition word for word under the date of 1365. It is certain from this document, as with many other Companies, that as yet the Fraternity of Founders had no power or authority to enforce good work on pains and penalties.

They were incorporated January 1, 1614, for a master, 2 wardens, 15 assistants, and 100 liverymen. At present the number of the livery is 79; their Corporate Income is £1855; their Trust Income is £102; and their Hall is in St. Swithin’s Lane. The original home of the Founders was that part of London north of Lothbury.

The name of Founders’ Court marks the site; this was formerly the lane which led through the Company’s buildings to a garden beyond; the buildings stretched from St. Margaret Street to Coleman Street, Moorgate Street not then existing. This hall was burnt down in the Great Fire and rebuilt. The Company let off portions of their hall, and in 1853 let the whole on a long lease and bought a house in St. Swithin’s Lane, on the site of which they built their present hall in 1877.



St. Swithin, to whom this church is dedicated, was Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor to King Egbert. Formerly the usual designation of the church was St. Swithin’s in Candlewick Street, but Newcourt (1708) states that St. Swithin, London Stone, was becoming the more common title. The stone at that time stood on the south side of the road opposite to the church. No record exists of the original foundation of the church. Probably it was built soon after the death of St. Swithin in 862, or at any rate before A.D. 1000. It is mentioned in the taxation book of Pope Nicholas IV. in 1291. The first rector given by Newcourt is Robert de Galdeford, who resigned in 1331. In 1420 licence was obtained to rebuild and enlarge the church and steeple, and Sir John Hend, Lord Mayor, 1391 and 1404, was, says Stow, “an especial benefactor thereunto, as appeareth by his arms in the glass windows, even in the tops of them.” The hall of the Drapers Company was at that time Sir John Hend’s house in St. Swithin’s Lane. The church thus rebuilt consisted of a chancel and a nave separated from the north and south aisles by pillars. There was a chapel of St. Katherine and St. Margaret. From the date of rebuilding it is evident that the style of the architecture was Early Decorated. The maps of Aggas (1560) and Newcourt (1658) agree in showing a small battlemented church, with a square battlemented tower (without spire) at the west end and level with the street. In 1607-1608 the church was “fully beautified and finished at the cost and charge of the parishioners.” It was again repaired shortly before the Great Fire, when £1000 was spent upon it. The church was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt by Wren in 1678, when the neighbouring parish of St. Mary Bothaw was annexed. In 1869 and 1879 it was entirely “rearranged.”

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Sir Robert Aguylum, Knt., who gave it by will dated February 28, 1285, to Richard, Earl of Arundel, who has licence from the King to assign it to the Prior and Convent of Tortington, June 21, 1367; the Prior and Convent of Tortington, Sussex, in whose successors it continued up to 1538, when Henry VIII. seized it and granted it June 8, 1536, to John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who sold it, 1561, to John Hart, citizen and alderman of London, who gave it to George Bolles (his son-in-law), citizen of London, from whose descendants it was purchased about 1683; the Salters Company, in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when the parish of St. Mary Bothaw was annexed, and the patronage shared alternately with the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury; Elizabeth Beachcroft presented to it in 1765, the Salters Company having parted with their share of the patronage.

Houseling people in 1548 were 320.

The church measures 61 feet in length, 42 feet in breadth, and 41 feet in height. It is surmounted by an octagonal cupola, divided by bands, and powdered with stars on a blue ground. The tower, which rises at the north-west, is square but contracted at the top into an octagonal shape. Above this a simple spire rises with a ball and vane. The total height is 150 feet.

Chantries were founded here: By Roger de Depham at the Altar of SS. Katherine and Margaret, to which William de Kyrkeby was presented, November 5, 1361—in 1548 the mayor and commonalty of London paid to carry out the object of Roger de Depham’s will, £5 : 6 : 8; by William Newe, who endowed it with lands, etc., which fetched £17 : 8 : 4, when John Hudson was priest; by James de Sancto Edmund, who left five marks per annum for an endowment in 1312; by Geoffrey Chittick, who gave lands to endow it which fetched £13 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when Sir Roger Butte was priest; by John Betson, who endowed it with all his lands in this parish, which yielded £13 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when Richard Hudson was priest.

Sir John Hart and Sir George Bolles, patrons of the church, were both buried here, but their monuments perished in the Great Fire. There is a large tablet affixed to a column on the north side of the church commemorating Michael Godfrey, first deputy governor of the Bank of England; he was slain in 1695 by a cannon ball at Namur, whither he was sent on business to King William’s camp.

In 1663 Dryden was married here to Lady Elizabeth Howard.

Only two charities are recorded by Stow: 12d. per week in bread, 50s. per annum in coals for the poor, the gift of Henry Hobener; £10 : 10s. for a weekly lecture, the gift of Thomas Wetnal.

117The parish churchyard is situated in Salters’ Hall Court, by which it is separated from the church. It is elevated above the court and contains two trees, two or three bushes and shrubs, and a few tombstones. Across it is a right-of-way to the premises of the National Telephone Company, to which it has the appearance of being a garden.

George Street was anciently Bearbinder Lane. Riley notes “Berbynderslane” in the City records so early as 1358. It was renamed George Street within the nineteenth century. If Charlotte Row, west of the Mansion House, was so called in honour of Queen Charlotte, surely this was rechristened in honour of George III., whom she married in 1761. It is quite small compared with its former extent, for it once ran from Walbrook past the south side of St. Mary Woolchurch into St. Swithin’s Lane, and also had a northern limb, passing the west end of Dove Court, into Lombard Street. Now the Mansion House stands upon all the old course west of Walbrook churchyard, and the northern limb is built over. This was the fatal spot where the plague of 1665 first made its appearance within the City. Defoe, in his history of the dire disease, relates how a Frenchman living in Long Acre, near the plague-stricken houses, moved hither “for fear of the distemper.” Alas! he was already stricken, and in the beginning of May he died, the first victim within the City walls. Strype calls Bearbinder Lane “a place of no great account as to trade: well inhabited by merchants and others.” In his time about thirty yards at the east end were reckoned in Langbourn ward, and apparently also most of the northern arm. It now belongs wholly to Walbrook ward, and is merely a narrow passage containing no houses older than the nineteenth century.

We now take Walbrook, leaving Cannon Street to be dealt with subsequently. The memory of the stream of the Walbrook coming down from the heights to the north is preserved in the name of this short street.

In 1279 and in 1290 we find that there were houses on the banks of the stream. In the year 1307, there was one William le Marischale living beside the stream. It must have been almost impossible, even then, to live near the stream, because it was a common open sewer with latrines built over it. These were farmed by certain persons. Part of the stream, however, was covered over by the year 1300; it was not till the close of the sixteenth century that it was completely covered over. Empson and Dudley, the instruments of Henry VII.’s extortions, lived in Walbrook; and later Sir Christopher Wren is said to have lived here at the house afterwards No. 5.

The modern street is chiefly composed of ordinary stone-faced business houses. But on the west side are three charming seventeenth-century buildings of mellow red brick, Nos. 10, 11, and 12. On the centre one is a stone tablet supported by brackets, and covered by a projecting cornice; this bears date 1668. A little farther up on the opposite side an eighteenth-century brick house stands over the entry to 118Bond Court. The doorway immediately opposite the entry is a nice piece of woodwork. There are also one or two doorways of different designs in the northern part of the court. These belong to old houses, though those buildings on the west facing them are quite modern.

Returning to the street, the ornamental front of the City Liberal Club, founded 1874, draws attention to itself. The front is of light stone with the windows and doorway framed in granite. Farther north on the same side is Ye Olde Deacons Tavern, next door to Bell Court, a narrow passage of no particular interest. Representations of almost every trade occupy the street; it contains two great houses let in flats, one of which, Worcester House, seems to be especially given up to the offices of company promoters.


St. Stephen, Walbrook, stands at the back of the Mansion House. It was formerly often called St. Stephen-upon-Walbrook, from the fact that its first site was actually upon the bank of the stream so named. There is only one other church in the City dedicated to St. Stephen, viz. St. Stephen, Coleman Street. The date of its foundation is not known, but it dates back at least as far as the reign of Henry I.; Eudo Dapifer’s gift of it to his Abbey of St. John, Colchester, in 1096, being the earliest reference to it. It was rebuilt early in Henry VI.’s reign, chiefly through the agency of Robert Chicheley, Lord Mayor in 1411 and 1421. It was totally consumed by the Fire, and rebuilt by Wren in 1672, when the neighbouring parish of St. Benet Sherehog was annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1315.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Eudo, Steward to Henry I., who gave it to the Abbot and Convent of St. John, Colchester, who held it up to 1422; John, Duke of Bedford, who sold it in 1432 to Sir Robert Whytingham, Knt., who gave it to Richard Lee in 1460, who gave it in 1502 to the Grocers Company, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 250.

This church is, after St. Paul’s Cathedral, considered Wren’s masterpiece. It is oblong in shape, traversed by four rows of Corinthian columns, which divide it into five aisles, of which the central is the broadest; it is crowned by a circular dome supported on eight arches. The effect thus produced of the circle springing from an octagonal base is especially graceful. The building measures 82½ feet in length, 59½ feet in width, and the height to the dome is 63 feet, to the ceiling of the side aisles 36 feet. The tower contains four stories; upon it the steeple is placed, tapering to a spirelet with finial and vane; the total height is about 130 feet. Against the wall of the north transept is a picture of St. Stephen being carried from the scene of his martyrdom; this is by Benjamin West, P.R.A., and is generally considered his best work; it was presented by the rector, Dr. Wilson, and put up in 1776, though it then stood over the reredos.

Chantries were founded here: By Lettice Lee, whose endowment fetched £14 : 10s. in 1548; by William Adams, who left £126 : 13 : 4 as an endowment for a priest to sing for his soul “as long as the money would endure”—this in 1548 was in the hands of one named Myller of Lynn, Norfolk.

The church originally contained a monument in memory of Sir Thomas Pope, the founder of Trinity College, Oxford. The oldest monument is one in memory of John Lilbourne, citizen and grocer of London, who died in 1678. On the north wall two physicians are commemorated—Nathaniell Hodges, who wrote a treatise on the Plague, and died in 1688; and Percival Gilbourne, who died 1694. In 1726 Sir John Vanbrugh the architect was interred here; he was also a playwright.

Pictorial Agency.


119According to Stow, the parish possessed £100 per annum, employed in repairing the church, etc., the exact uses of which were unknown. He records a legacy of £20 per annum for charitable uses left by one named Dickenson.

Henry Chicheley, L.L.D. (d. 1443), Archbishop of Canterbury, was a rector here; also Thomas Wilson (1703-84), author of the History of St. Margaret’s; John Kite (d. 1537), Archbishop of Armagh; and Thomas Howell (1588-1646), Bishop of Bristol.

The Church of St. Stephen stood on the west side of the original course of Walbrook stream. Over the new course of the stream a “covering” or small bridge was made for access to the church, and in 1300 the parishioners were found, by inquisition before the mayor, to be under the obligation of repairing it. Little is known of this building; that it possessed a belfry is shown from an entry in the coroner’s roll of 1278, which records the death of one William le Clarke, who, having gone pigeon-nesting in the belfry, accidentally fell as he was climbing the beams, and so ruptured and crushed his body on one of them that he died. The fatal beam was thereupon “appraised at four pence, and two neighbours nearest to the church were attached, each by two sureties, to see the fine or deodand paid” (Riley’s Memorials of London, p. 13).

The “parsonage house,” before the Great Fire, stood, Stow tells us, on the site of the first church, next to the course of the Walbrook. It was rebuilt by one Jerome Raustorne (or Rawstorne) upon a lease of forty years, commencing 1674, and by this, Newcourt says, was “reserved to the parson £17 a year ground-rent.” The parish at this time enjoyed an income of £100 a year, and with part of this, supplemented by sums of money received from leases, and from compensations for encroachments and new “lights” made upon the churchyard at the rebuilding of the City after the Fire, the Vestry determined to build a new rectory house. The leave of the Grocers Company, as patrons, and a faculty from the Bishop of London, dated 1692-93, having been obtained, the new house was built (between 1693 and 1708) adjoining the west end of the church by the tower on a piece of ground, about 20 feet square, previously occupied by a portion of the ante-Fire edifice. It was considered that the rector had a title to some portion of the ground, and to half the compensation money paid for new lights, and accordingly it was provided that in case the rector or any of his successors should find it inconvenient or inadvisable to live in the house, then the Vestry should let the same from year to year, the parish to have two-thirds of the rental, and the remaining third to go to the rector. This house is still standing, but is let out for offices, the rector living at Brockley. It is a quaint and small house, which almost touches the church wall at the back. Two of its rooms stand over the church porch. The original staircase and panelled walls remain. It is the only old house standing on the east side of Walbrook. The churchyard is situated at the east end of the church. It has a round flower-bed in the centre, two trees, and several bushes, and is kept in excellent order. It is entered from Church Row by an iron gate, and from the church by the door in the east wall.

120The Mansion House occupies the sites of Stocks Market and St. Mary Woolchurch Haw.


This church was situated on the eastern side of the market. It probably derived its name “Woolchurch” from the fact that a beam was erected in the churchyard for the weighing of wool. It was probably built about the time of William I. by one Hubert de Ria, founder of the Abbey of St. John in Colchester. His son Eudo Dapifer, Steward to the Conqueror, endowed his newly-built Abbey and Convent of St. John, Colchester, with it. The charter of foundation (1096) calls it St. Mary de Westcheping, or Newchurch, and states that Ailward Gross the priest held the living by gift of Hubert de Ria. The exact words are these, and constitute the earliest mention of the church:

Photochrom Co., Ltd.


Et ecclesiam S. Mariae de Westcheping, London, quae vocatur Niewecherche, concedente Ailwardo Grosso, presbytero qui in eadem ecclesia et donatione antecessoris mei Huberti de Ria personatum consecutus fuerat (Newcourt 1. p. 459).

In the “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of Pope Nicholas IV. (1291) occurs reference to ecclesia Sancte 121Marie de Wolchurche hawe, indicating that the names of St. Mary de Westcheping and Niewecherche had alike disappeared to give place to a title in some way derived from the wool staple and market. This is Stow’s etymology of the name. Mr. J. H. Round doubts the theory; he suggests that this St. Mary’s was a daughter-church to St. Mary Woolnoth (Athenæum, August 17, 1889, p. 223) (Woollen-hithe-hatch, or haw). This would give as the full and new name of our “Niewecherche” St. Mary-in-Woollenhaw, Church-Haw, and by contraction St. Mary Woolchurch Haw. It is actually styled St. Mary Wolmaricherch in 1280-81, which certainly appears to support Mr. Round’s theory.

The first rector given by Newcourt is John Dyne, who resigned in 1382. By licence granted 1442 (20 Henry VI.), the church was rebuilt; the new building stood farther south than the old, in accordance with a condition imposed by the licence, which ordained it to be 15 feet from the Stocks Market “for sparing of light to the same.” The foundation stone of this new building was discovered when digging the foundations of the Mansion House in 1739.

The stone was drawn by R. West, engraved by Toms, and relegated to an obscurity from which it has never since emerged: its whereabouts is unknown. The new church, whose foundation was laid on May 4, 1442, is described by Stow as “reasonably fair and large.”

The church was destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to the neighbouring one of St. Mary Woolnoth. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1349.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Hubert de Ria, father of Eudo, Steward of the Conqueror’s household; Abbot and Convent of St. John, Colchester, being the gift of Eudo; Henry VIII. seized it, and thus it continued in the Crown until the church was burnt down and the parish annexed to St. Mary Woolnoth, of which the Crown shares the alternate patronage.

Houseling people in 1548 were 360.

Chantries were founded here by: Anne Cawood, at the Altar of St. Nicholas, whose endowment fetched £8 in 1548, when Henry Cockes was priest, and to which John Chamberlayne was admitted June 2, 1525; Roger Barlow, whose endowment fetched £3 : 6 : 8 in 1548, which was spent on maintaining the Cawood chantry: by Godwine le Hodere in 1313 for himself and his wife, for which the King granted his licence July 8, 1321.

The church formerly contained monuments to several benefactors, amongst whom were John Winger, mayor in 1504, donor of £20 for church purposes; Richard Shaw, sheriff in 1505, and donor of £20.

Stow records that the list of legacies and gifts was too long for the churchwardens to give account of in their parochial visitation of 1693, but that it could be seen in the parish registers.

William Fuller (1608-75), Bishop of Lincoln, was rector here.

Of the Wool Haw it is interesting to know: “They set up a beam for the tronage or weighing of wool in the churchyard of St. Mary, Westcheping, which was henceforth known as the Wool Haw or yard, and became a wool market. The date is not known, but it was before 1275 (‘S. Mary de Wolcherche’ occurs in a will of 1265 (see Calendar of Wills, vol. i. p. 26)). ‘Les Customes de Wolchirchaw’ as ordained in the reign of Edward I., were as follows (Liber Albus, p. 216):—‘For one pound of wool (sold) to a foreigner (non-freeman) one halfpenny; and for one sack, only one halfpenny. For two woolfels and more, one halfpenny, and for one hundred only one halfpenny. For one pound of woolen yarn, one halfpenny; for one hundred only one halfpenny. If any foreigner brings wool, woolfels, or yarn through the city for sale, to the value of ten pence and more, he shall pay as custom one farthing.’

“The weighing of wool was continued here until 1383 (6 Richard II.) when John 122Churchman, having built the Custom House upon Wool Quay (Tower Ward) the tronage was discontinued in this spot” (Strype).

When the watercourse of the Walbrook was open, there was a bridge over it at the junction of Walbrook, Broad Street, and Cheap wards. At the east side of the Mansion House, running from Mansion House Street to Church Row, is Mansion House Place. It contains only the sides of buildings.

Previously to the erection of the Mansion House, Mansion House Place formed merely the east side of Stocks Market, and was planted with rows of trees. On the east, about the middle, was a court, and in it, says Strype (1720), “a good large house, the habitation of Godfrey Woodward, one of the attorneys of the Sheriff’s court.” Strype’s map shows the position of the court, which opened into a fair-sized quadrangle.

Stocks Market.—In Plantagenet London the Westcheping (Westcheping comprised at least the present Cheapside, Poultry, and Mansion House Street) had an open space, “very large and broad,” where the Mansion House now stands. South of the space was St. Mary Woolchurch Haw, already described; in the space itself a pair of stocks for punishment of offenders. By patent of Edward I., in 1282, Henry Waley, several times mayor, built sundry houses in the City, whose profits were destined for the maintenance of London Bridge. The void space by the Woolchurch he built and otherwise turned into a market, known as “Les Stokkes,” otherwise Stocks Market, sometimes Woolchurch Market. He appointed it a market-place for fish and flesh. The keepers of the bridge let out the stalls to fishmongers and butchers for term of their lives, until 1312-13, when John de Gisors, mayor, and the whole commonalty decreed that life-leases should not be granted in future without the consent of the mayor and commonalty (for full text of the decree see Strype, 1754 ed.). In 1322, Edward II. sent Letters Patent from the Tower commanding that no one should sell fish or flesh save in the markets of Bridgestreet, Eastcheap, Old Fish Street, St. Nicholas Shambles, and Stocks Market—a first offence to be punished by forfeiture of such fish or flesh as was sold, second offence by loss of freedom; and it was accordingly thus decreed by the mayor, Hamo de Chigwell. The rents of the market at that time amounted to £46 : 13 : 4 per annum. Foreigners, i.e. non-freemen, were allowed to sell in this “house called the Stocks,” but under conditions. None might cut meat after 2 P.M. rung at St. Paul’s; meat cut and remaining unpurchased at that time was all to be sold by vespers, “without keeping any back or carrying any away.” In 1320 three alleged “foreigners” were accused of selling their pork and beef by candlelight, after curfew had rung at St. Martin’s-le-Grand. One did not appear to defend himself, one acknowledged his offence; the meat of both was forfeited. The third contended that he possessed the City freedom, and his meat was returned to him (Riley, Memorials of London).

The “butchers of the Stokkes” were jealous of their honour. In 1331 they 123petitioned Sir John Pountney, mayor, and the aldermen, that ordinance should be made against certain abuses. Their prayer was granted; henceforth no butcher having once or twice failed in payment should trade in the market until he had paid his debts. The trade had evidently got into bad repute owing to insolvent butchers. Likewise no “foreigner” was to sell by retail in the market; no butcher to “take another’s man” except such man had paid his former master that he owed him, otherwise the new master was to be held responsible for his servant. Also that butchers of the market who had bought their freedom should be obliged to live in the City. Hitherto some of them had dwelt in Stratford, and had thus avoided bearing “their part in the franchise of the City.” Infringement of the ordinance was punishable by a fine of 40s. payable to the Chamber of London (Riley, ibid.).


By degrees the flesh and fish trade centred hereabouts overflowed into the King’s highway from Cheap conduit to the market, and became an obstruction. The common serjeant complained to the mayor and aldermen in 1345. As a result, ordinary butchers, poulterers, and fishmongers were to confine their operations to their houses and shops: market men to sell within the market. On fish days the fishmongers were to occupy the market enclosure, and the butchers the pent-house adjoining; on flesh days the enclosure was for the butchers, and the pent-house for the fishmongers. Obstruction of the highway henceforth entailed forfeiture of goods 124exposed for sale. That same year the common serjeant found three butchers selling from stalls in the highway of Poultry, and confiscated their meat (Riley, ibid.).

The butchers of the “Stokkes” gave £17 to Edward III. for the carrying on of the French Wars. This was a large contribution, showing their prosperous condition. Their brethren, St. Nicholas Shambles, gave only £9, those of West Cheap only £8; the greater Companies £20 to £40, the lesser mostly below £7. This old market was under strict supervision. In 1319 the market wardens cited one William Sperlyng for offering two putrid beef carcases for sale. A jury of twelve pronouncing the carcases putrid as alleged, the unhappy man was ordered to be put in the pillory and to have the two carcases burned beneath him (Riley), as in the case of the pork butcher already mentioned. In 1351 one Henry de Passelewe, cook, was cited before the commonalty on a charge of selling at the Stocks a pasty in which the two capons baked therein were “putrid and stinking, and an abomination to mankind: to the scandal, contempt and disgrace of all the City,” and the manifest peril of the life of the purchaser. Passelewe contended that when sold the capons were “good, well-flavoured, fitting and proper.” However, eight good and trusty cooks pronounced them “stinking and rotten, and baneful to the health of man.” So poor Passelewe was sentenced to the pillory, the offensive pasty to be carried before him, and a proclamation to be made as to the reason of his punishment.

Considerable prejudice existed against non-freemen using the market. In 1382 Adam Carlelle, late alderman of Aldgate, approached the places of the “foreign fishmongers” and “in a haughty and spiteful manner cursed the said strangers, saying that he did not care who heard it or knew of it, but that it was a great mockery and badly ordained than such ribalds as those should sell their fish in the City, and further that he would rather a fishmonger who was his neighbour in the City should make 20s. by him, than such a ribald barlelle was adjudged to have thus expressed contempt for the command of the king and the ordinance of the City, and was excluded from ever holding any offices of dignity in the City” (Riley, Memorials).

In 1410 (2 Henry IV.) it was found necessary to rebuild the market, and the work was completed in the next year. The annual rents were valued at £56 : 19 : 6 in 1507, an increase of £10 on 185 years. In 1543, only 36 years later, the sum reached £82 : 3s. per annum. The market must have been fully let at that time: fishmongers had 25 stalls, producing £34 : 13 : 4 in rent; the butchers rented 18 stalls at £41 : 16 : 4; there were also 16 upper chambers rented at £5 : 13 : 4—total £82 : 3s. per annum (Stow’s Survey, p. 243, 1754).

In 1509 (1 Henry VIII.) the dwellers about the Stocks obtained leave of the Common Council to substitute for a leaden water-pipe at the south-east of the market a stone conduit, or, as it is called in the petition, “a portico of stone, with a cesterne of lead therein” from which water was “to bee drawne out by cocks.” 125Time wrought changes in the market and its uses. After the Great Fire, the fishmongers and most of the butchers gave place to the sellers of fruits, roots, and herbs. It was of note, says Strype (1720), “for having the choicest in the kind of all sorts, surpassing all other markets in London.” The post-Fire market was increased by the addition of the sites of St. Mary Woolchurch Haw and its churchyard, the sites of three houses belonging to the parish, purchased for £350, and of the site of the rectory house, obtained at a perpetual rental of £10 per annum. Thus the new market was 230 feet from north to south, and 108 feet from east to west, measured at the middle; besides the open roadways or passages on the west and east sides. The eastern side was planted with “rows of trees, very pleasant.” The market-place itself had twenty-two covered fruit stalls, most of them at the north side; two ranges of covered butchers’ stalls, with racks, blocks, and scales, in the south-east corner; the remaining space was occupied by gardeners and others who sold “fruits, roots, herbs, and flowers” (Strype, 1720). Well might Shadwell ask in his Bury Fair (1689), “Where is such a garden in Europe as the Stocks Market?” Here follows an amusing description of it taken from a paper called The Wandering Spy (1705):

“I saw Stocks Market, all garnished with nuts, and pears, and grapes, and golden pippins, all in rank and file most prettily. And then on the other side for physic herbs there is enough to furnish a whole country, from the nourishing Eringo, to the destructive Savine, where a man may buy as much for a penny as an apothecary will afford for half-a-crown, and do a man twice as much good as their specific bolusses, hipnotic draughts, sudorific hausteses, anodyne compositions, and twenty other flip-flops with hard names, which only disorder the body, put nature into convulsions, and prepare a man for the sexton. But here a man may consult a female doctor in a straw hat without fee, have what quantity he pleases, of what herb he pleases, be his distemper what it will, and convert it into a juice, concoction, syrup, purge, or glister, in a quarter of an hour, without any danger to body or pocket” (Malcolm, Londinium Redivium).

Oak Apple Day, 1672, was a gala day for the market. Then it was that Sir Robert Vyner inaugurated the “nobly great statue of King Charles II. on horseback” which he had, at his own charge, caused to be set upon the conduit at the north end of the same. The King was represented in armour, his head uncovered; the horse trampled beneath its feet the fallen form of Oliver Cromwell. The whole, which was of white marble, stood upon a freestone pedestal 18 feet high, carved with the royal arms and niches containing dolphins. Handsome iron gates and rails enclosed this loyal tribute to a great king. That day the market conduit ran with wine; three years afterwards Sir Robert Vyner was Lord Mayor. Alas! the glory of the statue, as of the monarch it portrayed, was short-lived. It was soon criticised as a clumsy work, and the revelation of its 126history turned it into a laughing-stock. Early in the eighteenth century it was discovered that the loyal Vyner had found somewhere abroad a statue of John Sobieski, King of Poland, conqueror of the Turks at Choozim. The statue represented the King’s horse trampling on a Turk. It lay on the sculptor’s hands. Sir Robert, seeing the means of paying his sovereign a compliment without great expense, obtained the statue, and secured Latham to substitute the head of Charles for that of the Pole. The downtrodden Turk was christianised into Cromwell, only, unfortunately, Latham omitted to alter the Turk’s turban, which remained intact and incongruous upon Oliver’s head, and served as a confirmation of the story. There is a lampoon on the statue worth quoting. It occurs in Lord Rochester’s History of the Insipids (1676):

Could Robert Vyner have foreseen
The glorious triumphs of his master,
The Woolwich Statue gold had been,
Which now is made of alabaster:
But wise men think had it been wood
’Twere for a bankrupt king too good.

When Stocks conduit was removed, the “ridiculous statue” was relegated to the rubbish heaps of Guildhall; finally the Common Council granted it to Mr. Robert Vyner, a descendant of Sir Robert, in 1779, and it was taken by its new owner to adorn his country seat at Gantly Park, Lincolnshire. The year 1737 saw the end of Stocks Market in this place. On March 12 the sheriffs petitioned the House of Commons to remove it to Fleet Ditch, and to erect the Mansion House upon its site. Their prayer was granted; the market was removed at Michaelmas 1737, and the ancient market-place was enclosed with a broad fence. In its new home the name which it had borne for 255 years was lost, and it became known as the Fleet Market. At Michaelmas 1829, exactly 82 years after its removal, it was closed and the site cleared to form Farringdon Street. St. Christopher le Stocks, so called from its proximity to the market, stood on part of the site of the present Bank of England. Seven streets now meet before the Bank and pour forth omnibuses, cabs, and other vehicles in an endless stream of traffic. Below are the white-bricked subways of the electric railway which form a safe crossing for those who cannot ford the river of traffic.

St. Christopher le Stocks stood on the north side of Threadneedle Street in the ward of Broad Street. The date of its foundation is unknown. The building was much injured by the Great Fire and subsequently repaired. In 1780, after the Gordon Riots, it was taken down and its site is now covered by part of the Bank of England. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1280.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The family of Nevil in 1281; the Bishop of London, 1415, in whose successors it continued up to 1783.

Houseling people in 1548 were 221.

Pictorial Agency.


127The church originally contained monuments to Robert Thorne, a donor of £4445 to the parish for charitable uses; William Hampton, mayor, 1472, and great benefactor, and other donors. Few of these were to be seen after the Fire.

Chantries were founded here: By John Walles, mercer, whose endowment fetched £10 : 13 : 4 in 1548; for Thomas Legg, to which William Swynbrok was admitted chaplain, January 10, 1370-71; for John Gedney, Mayor of London, 1427, at the Altar of Holy Trinity; for Margerie de Nerford, William de Bergh, cl. and Christian Vaughan, widow, at the Altar of Holy Trinity, for which the King granted his licence, February 23, 1406-1407: the endowment was valued at £10 : 4s. in 1548; by John Plonkett, whose endowment fetched £13 : 17 : 8 in 1548; by Alice, wife of Benedict Harlewyn, late citizen and clothier, at the Altar of Holy Trinity, for the king, John Wenlok, Knt., herself, Richard, Duke of York, and Benedict her husband; the King granted his licence, March 20, 1461-62: the endowment fetched £5 : 13 : 4 in 1548.

Robert Thorne was donor of more than £4445 to the parish. John Kendrick was also a great benefactor, whose will is recorded in full by Stow. Sir Peter le Maire bequeathed £100 to the poor of the parish. There were many other donors of smaller amounts.

Among notable vicars were John Pearson (1631-86), Bishop of Chester, the theologian, and William Peirse, Bishop of Peterborough in 1630.

The site of the Church of St. Bartholomew is now also absorbed by the Bank.

St. Bartholomew Exchange, formerly called Little St. Bartholomew, stood at the south-east corner of St. Bartholomew Lane, over against the Royal Exchange. The date of its foundation is unknown, but about 1438 it was rebuilt. In 1840 it was sold, and possession given to Kames William Freshfield, junr., for the Bank of England; instead thereof the Church of St. Bartholomew, Moor Lane, was built. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1331.

The patronage was in the hands of: Simon Goddard, citizen and draper of London, who bequeathed it to his heir, Johanna, in 1273-74; Edward III. in 1364; Richard Plessy; Abbot and Convent of St. Mary Graces, 1374, confirmed February 19, 1422-23; Henry VIII., and continued in the Crown.

Houseling people in 1548 were 392.

Chantries were founded here for: Richard de Plessis, Dean of the Arches, who died 1362, when John Radyng was admitted chaplain; Mary, wife of Sir John Lepington.

Sir William Capell, mayor, 1509, was buried here, also James Wilford, sheriff, 1499. The church originally contained a monument to Richard Croshawe, Master of the Company of Goldsmiths. He lived in this parish for thirty-one years, and left by his will over £4000 for the maintaining of lectures, relief of the poor, and other charitable uses. There are no other gifts recorded.

Ralf Brideoake (1613-78), Bishop of Chichester, was rector here; also John Sharp (1645-1714), Archbishop of York, and Zachary Pearce (1690-1774), Bishop of Rochester and Bangor.

Threadneedle Street.—The derivation of this extraordinary name is very uncertain. Stow calls it Threeneedle Street, and it may possibly have arisen from some tavern with the sign of the three needles. The arms of Needlemakers Company are “three needles in fesse argent.” This is one of the humbler Companies and has no hall.

On the north side there were in the sixteenth century “divers fair and large” houses, after which came the Hospital of St. Anthony, close to the Royal Exchange.

The very interesting foundation of St. Anthony is considered elsewhere, as so long an account would interrupt our perambulation unduly. One of the oddest customs at a time when there were so many odd customs, was that the pigs belonging to this house were allowed to roam about the City as they pleased, and on the 12817th January, any year, had the privilege of going into any house that was open. But in 1281, and again in 1292, there are no exceptions made to the rule that all pigs, to whomsoever they may belong, shall be killed, if found in the street.

An open concrete-covered space beyond the Royal Exchange lines part of this street. Here there is a fountain erected in 1878 by the exertions and donations of an alderman. A gilded canopy overhangs a stone group of a mother and two children. The pedestal and basins are of granite. On the east there is a seated figure of Peabody, life size. The buildings on the north side of the street do not require much comment; the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company is the most noticeable, because the horizontal lines are broken by the deeply recessed windows. The Postal Telegraph Office next door has a little tower on the summit, and the frontage is sprinkled with rather conventional stone panels and has a superfluity of stone ornament. The Consolidated Bank, after the following corner, has a plain frontage, which makes a deep frieze across the upper part more striking; this is an allegorical subject in a stone bas relievo under a heavy cornice. The National Bank of India is a solid, well-proportioned building with symmetrical columns of polished granite running up the front.

St. Benet Finck was situated on the south side of Threadneedle Street, east of the Royal Exchange. It was dedicated to St. Benedict and took its additional name from its founder, Robert Fincke. The date of its foundation is unknown. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt by Wren, who completed it in 1673. The church was taken down in 1842, and its parish united with that of St. Peter-le-Poer. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1323. The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The family of Nevils in 1281, who presented to it as a Rectory; Master and Brethren of the Hospital of St. Anthony, then the Dean and Chapter of Windsor, 1474, up to 1844, when it was annexed to St. Peter-le-Poer.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300 and above.

Wren’s church was elliptical in shape, and measured 63 feet by 48 feet. It was traversed by six composite columns, which, with the connecting arches, supported the roof. The steeple, which rose to a height of 110 feet roughly, consisted of a tower, lead-covered cupola, and lantern.

The original church contained monuments to John Wilcocks and Dame Anne Awnsham (d. 1613), both benefactors of the parish. After the Great Fire a Table of Benefactors was set up to the memory of: George Holman, donor of £1000 to the rebuilding of the church; Anne Thriscrosse, donor of £100 for apprenticing poor children, and several other donors. On a table in the organ loft there was an inscription to Mrs. Sarah Gregory, donor of £600 for various charitable purposes. In 1662 Richard Baxter, the celebrated Nonconformist divine, was married here.

In Threadneedle Street, at the corner of Bartholomew Lane, is the Sun Fire Office with glittering gilt suns over the corner and windows. The angle has been sliced off to form an entrance. A heavy wreath of foliage in stone surrounds the window above. The architect was C. R. Cockerell. A graceful new building in white stone with engaged pillars fluted, rising from the top of the ground-floor, contains the Life Alliance and Fire Office in Bartholomew Lane. Next door is Bartholomew House with the usual stereotyped stone detail, and a couple of somewhat 129cumbrous stone figures reclining over each side window. Capel Court leads to the Stock Exchange.

Drawn by G. Shepherd.


At No. 40 Threadneedle Street is a paved courtyard shut in by iron gates and behind an archway, striking because of its size and the massiveness of its stonework. This leads to entrances of the National Provincial Bank of England, and the Mercantile Bank of India. Beyond it is the Baltic and South Sea House. This differs from all the preceding buildings because it belongs to the eighteenth century, as the deep tinge of its well-preserved bricks tells.

The centre window and doorway are encased in stonework, and the solidity of the whole structure is in contrast with its “bubble” reputation. It is now occupied as chambers by merchants, brokers, etc., and the secretary of the Baltic Company finds lodging here among others.

130On the south side of Threadneedle Street we have the Bank of Australasia. Then two great doorways with an interval between them. These bear over them the arms of the powerful Merchant Taylors Company, whose hall is behind.


The precise date of the foundation of the Company is not known, but one of the earliest civic records mentioning the Taylors as a separate craft, is the “Chronicle of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London,” which narrates their dispute with the Goldsmiths in November 1267.

In 1299 Edward I. granted them his licence to adopt the name of “Taylors and Linen Armourers of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist.” Stow says that on St. John Baptist’s Day, 1300, a master (Henry de Ryall) and four wardens were chosen, the master being then called “the pilgrim,” as travelling for the whole Company, and the warders “the purveyors of alms or quarterages,” plainly showing that the gild was originally a charitable as well as a commercial fraternity.

In March 1326 the first charter was granted to the Company by Edward III.

In 1371 the Company, under this charter, made an ordinance to regulate their trade, with the special object of recovering damages from workmen miscutting the cloth entrusted to them.

The Company acquired that portion of their Threadneedle Street estate upon which their present hall stands in 1331.

In 1351 they enrolled their first honorary member; and about 1361 obtained a grant of a chapel at the north side of St. Paul’s, in honour of St. John the Baptist, for daily service and prayers for “the preservation of them that are or shall be of the fraternity.”

In 1480 the Company received their first grant of arms, taking religious emblems, viz. a holy lamb set within a sun, the crest being within the pavilion, Our Blessed Lady St. Mary the Virgin, Christ her Son standing naked before her, holding between His hands a vesture (tunica inconsutilis).

In 1484 the celebrated controversy for precedence in processions, etc., between the Taylors and Skinners arose, which was settled by the award of the Lord Mayor that each Company should have precedence in alternate years, and that each should invite the other to dine once in every year. This custom has been ever since kept up, the master and wardens of the Taylors dining with the Skinners on the first Thursday in December, the master and wardens of the Skinners with the Taylors on the 14th July.

It was not till 1502 that the Company attained to the full privileges which they afterwards enjoyed. Under Henry VII.’s charter, not only were the Company made “Merchant” Taylors, but they ceased to be exclusively Taylors, and were permitted to receive others into their fraternity.

The principal object of the guild was the preservation of the trade or calling of the fraternity, no one being permitted to work in London as a “tailor” unless a freeman of the Company. For the protection of the trade the right of search was vested in the guild, such search being a guarantee to the public that the honest usages of trade were observed, and to the fraternity that their monopoly was not infringed. Before a tailor’s shop was opened a licence had to be obtained from the master and wardens of the Company, and they granted the licence only when satisfied of the competency of the freeman. Until the abolition of Bartholomew Fair in 1854, after an existence of 700 years, the beadle of the Company used annually to attend the fair and to proceed to the drapers’ shops, taking with him the Company’s silver yard stick as the standard by which to test the measures used for selling cloth in the fair.

In 1555, anticipation of the foundation of Merchant Taylors’ School, Sir Thomas White, a member of the Court of the Merchant Taylors Company, founded St. John’s College, Oxford, reserving forty-three out of its fifty endowed fellowships for scholars from the school.

The Company’s school was founded in 1561 on Lawrence Pountney Hill.

Great Crosby School, near Liverpool, of which the Company are sole trustees and managers, was founded in 1618 by John Harrison.

131In 1622 Dr. Thomas White established Sion College, giving to the Company the nomination to eight of the twenty almshouses which he connected with the college.

In 1666 the losses sustained by the Company in the Fire of London obliged them to let their land in the City upon small ground-rents to enable their tenants to rebuild, and their resources were thus much crippled.

The number of the livery is 288. The Corporate Income is £37,000; the Trust Income is £13,000. Their hall is at 30 Threadneedle Street.

Privileges of membership:

(1) The only advantages that a freeman in easy circumstances possesses is eligibility for the livery, and prospectively for the court, and the comfortable assurance that, should he fall into poverty by misfortune and maintain his respectability, he will receive a pension from the Company varying in amount from £5 to £40 a year, and that, should his wife and daughters be left in poverty, they will be assisted by the Company to earn a living. Freemen are eligible for certain gifts and loans of money for their advancement in life.

Poverty from ill-health, old age, or incapacity to earn a livelihood, alone constitutes a claim to a pension or donation.

The only patronage enjoyed by individual members of the court is the power of presenting boys to the Company’s school in London. Each member of the court has two or sometimes three presentations annually, according to vacancies.

The present magnificent hall was built in 1671 by Jerman. It has been altered and improved, but it remains much the same as when Jerman handed it over to the Company.

The Company has almshouses and schools, notably the great school on the site of the Charter House. It also gives largely to the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute.

At the east end of Threadneedle Street, where it meets Bishopsgate Street, stood St. Martin Outwich.


St. Martin Outwich was called Oteswich or Outwich from four brothers of that name who founded it. It escaped the Great Fire, but was rebuilt in 1796 by the Merchant Taylors Company. In 1873 the 132parish of St. Martin Outwich was united with that of St. Helen, Bishopsgate, and the former church pulled down; the Capital and Counties Bank stands on its site. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1300.

The patronage of the Church was in the hands of: Edward III., who granted it to John de Warren, Earl of Surrey, in 1328; the Oteswiches, who, by their trustee, John Churchman, conveyed it to the Merchant Taylors Company, July 15, 1406, who presented it up to 1855.

Houseling people in 1548 were 227.

A chantry was founded here by John de Bredstrete, whose endowment for this and other purposes fetched £4 : 3 : 4 in 1548. The King granted his licence to found the Guild of St. Baptist, July 15, 1406.

Money fetched 5 per cent in 1548, for one John Kyddermester the elder by his will bequeathed £200 to purchase £10 by year to keep an obite, etc., in St. Martin Outwich.

A considerable number of monuments are recorded by Stow. Some of the most notable are those in memory of: Matthew Pemberton, Merchant Taylor, donor of £50 for repairing the chapel of St. Lawrence; Richard Staper, alderman, 1594, and greatest merchant of his day; George Sotherton, sometime Master of the Merchant Taylors Company, and M.P. for the City of London, who died in 1599. All the monuments in St. Martin Outwich were removed to St. Helen, Bishopsgate, on the union of the parishes.

No detailed account of the charities is recorded by Stow. The benefactors whose names are given, were: Sir Henry Rowe, donor of £5 yearly; Mrs. Taylor, donor of £2 : 15s., for two special sermons a year.

George Gardiner (d. 1589), chaplain to Queen Elizabeth and Dean of Norwich, was rector here; also Richard Kidder (1633-1703), Bishop of Bath and Wells; Samuel Bishop (1731-95), head master of Merchant Taylors’ School.

There was near the church a well with two buckets; this was afterwards turned into a pump.

There are references to “rents” in Broad Street as early as 1258; in 1278, Matthew de Hekham, on his way from Broad Street to the Jewry, was murdered by Jews; in 1331 there is the conveyance of a very large and substantial house belonging to Edmund Crepin, citizen, and deed of hire by Sir Oliver Ingham, Knt. In 1387, the parson of St. Peter’s, Broad Street, brings to the mayor and aldermen a breviary called “Portehers,” i.e. for carrying about, bequeathed to the prison of Newgate by the late Hugh Tracy, chaplain, so that priests and clerks there imprisoned might say their service from it. And he also obtained permission to visit the prison from time to time in order to see that the book was well kept.

“East from Currier’s row is a long and high wall of stone, inclosing the north side of a large garden adjoining to as large an house, built in the reign of King Henry VIII., and of Edward VI., by Sir William Powlet, lord Treasurer of England. Through this garden, which of old time consisted of divers parts, now united, was sometimes a fair footway, leading by the west end of the Augustine Friars church straight north, and opened somewhat west from Allhallows church against London wall towards Moregate; which footway had gates at either end, locked up every night; but now the same way being taken into those gardens, the gates are closed up with stone, whereby the people are forced to go about by St. Peter’s church, and the east end of the said Friars church, and all the said great place and garden of Sir William Powlet to London Wall, and so to Moregate.

133“This great house, adjoining to the garden aforesaid, stretcheth to the north corner of Broad Street, and then turneth up Broad Street all that side to and beyond the east end of the said Friars church. It was built by the said lord treasurer in place of Augustine Friars house, cloister, and gardens, etc. The Friars church he pulled not down, but the west end thereof, inclosed from the steeple and choir, was in the year 1550 granted to the Dutch nation in London, to be their preaching place: the other part, namely, the steeple, choir, and side aisles to the choir adjoining, he reserved to household uses, as for stowage of corn, coal, and other things; his son and heir, Marquis of Winchester, sold the monuments of noblemen (there buried) in great number, the paving-stone and whatsoever (which cost many thousands), for one hundred pounds, and in place thereof made fair stabling for horses. He caused the lead to be taken from the roofs, and laid tile in place whereof; which exchange proved not so profitable as he looked for, but rather to his disadvantage” (Stow’s Survey, p. 184).

This house stood on the north side of what was afterwards called Winchester Street; the garden and grounds between it and the nave of Austin Friars’ Church having been built over. The beautiful steeple of the church, in spite of the remonstrances of the parishioners and of a letter of remonstrance addressed to the Marquis by the mayor and aldermen, was pulled down in 1604. The letter, the earliest in favour of the preservation of ancient monuments, is given in Strype, vol. i. p. 442:

Right Honorable, my very good Lord—There hath been offered of late, unto this Court, a most just and earnest Petition, by divers of the chiefest of the Parish of St. Peter the Poor, in London, to move us to be humble Suitors unto your Lordship in a Cause, which is sufficient to speak for itself, without the Mediation of any other, viz.:—for the Repairing of the ruinous Steeple of the Church, sometime called, The Augustine Friars, now belonging to the Dutch Nation, situate in the same Parish of St. Peter the Poor: The Fall whereof, which, without speedy Prevention, is near at hand, must needs bring with it not only a great deformitie to the whole City, it being, for Architecture, one of the beautifullest and rarest Spectacles thereof, but also a fearful eminent danger to all the inhabitants next adjoining. Your Lordship being moved herein, as we understand, a year since, was pleased then to give honorable Promises with Hope of present help, but the effects not following according to your honorable intention, we are bould to renew the said Suit agayne; eftsoons craving at your Lordship’s hands a due consideration of so worthy a work, as to help to build up the House of God; one of the cheefest fountains, from whence hath sprung so great glory to your Lordship’s most noble descendency of the Powlets; whose steps your Lordship must needs follow, to continue, to all posterity, the fame of so bountiful benefactors both to Church and Commonwealth.

134“So that I trust we shall have the less need to importune your Lordship in so reasonable a suite; first, Bycause it doth principally concern your Lordship, being the Owner of the greatest part of the said Speare, or Steeple; but especially that by disbursing of a small sum of money, to the value of 50 or 60 £s, your Lordship shall do an excellent work, very helpful to many, and most grateful to all, as well English as strangers; who, by this means, shall have cause to magnify to the world this so honorable and charitable an action. And I and my brethren shall much rejoice to be releeved herein by your Lordship’s most noble disposition, rather than to fly to the last remedie of the Law of the Land; which, in this case, hath provided a Writ De reparatione facienda.

“Thus, hoping as assuredlie on your Lordship’s favour, as we pray incessantlie for your continual Felicitie, we humbly take leaves of your Lordship. From London, the 4th of August, 1600.

“Your Lordship’s humbly to be commauned,

Nycholas Mosly, Mayor. Richard Martyn, John Hart, Henry Billingsly, Stephen Soame, William Ryder, John Garrard, Thomas Bennett, Thomas Lowe, Leonard Holiday, Robert Hampson, Ry. Godard, John Wattes, Tho. Smythe, William Craven, and Humphrey Weld.”

The ancient Church of Austin Friars was given by Edward VI. to the Dutch congregation, in whose possession it still continues. All that remains is the nave. In 1862 this was badly damaged by fire, but was carefully restored, the window tracery and roof dating from that time as well as many other additions. For an account of the Austin Friars, see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 345.

Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, lived in Broad Street in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Lords Weston and Dover in that of Charles I.

“Here was a Glass House where Venice Glasses were made and Venetians employed in the work; and Mr. James Howel (author of the familiar Letters which bear his name) was Steward to this house. When he left this place, scarce able to bear the continual heat of it, he thus wittily expressed himself, that had he continued still Steward he should in a short time have melted away to nothing among those hot Venetians. This place afterwards became Pinners’ Hall” (Cunningham’s Handbook).

General Monk (February 1660) took up his quarters at the Glass House. On the north side was the Navy Pay Office, on the south the Excise Office.

On the site of the Excise Office was Gresham College. Sir Thomas Gresham, who died in 1596, bequeathed his dwelling-house in Bishopsgate Street for the 135purposes of the college, besides presenting the Corporation of the City of London and the Mercers Company with the Royal Exchange on the condition that they carried on lectures in the college as he prescribed. His house was a very fine one, well suited for the purpose he had in view. After the death of his widow in 1596, lectures on seven subjects were appointed and the work began. The house escaped the Great Fire of 1666, and the mayor took the college for courts and meetings; the merchants used the inner court for their Exchange, and temporary shops were put up for the use of those who had been burned out by the destruction of the Exchange. In the history of the college there has been a good deal of litigation, the full story of which may be found in Maitland and elsewhere.


The following Regulations are given in Stow and Strype, in 1720, in full. They are here abridged:

1. Precedency of the Professors.

The three Professors of Divinity, Law, and Medicine to be Governor or President of the College in turn.

2. The Professors to live in the College.

3. The Professors to be unmarried.

4. To have a common table, and not to entertain friends as guests at more than three meals in one month.

1365. The Year to consist of five terms:

(1) To begin on the Monday before Trinity Term and to continue one month.

(2) From the first Monday in September and to continue a fortnight.

(3) From the Monday before Michaelmas Term and to continue to the end of that Term.

(4) From the Monday after Epiphany to continue two months or sixty days.

(5) From the Monday seven night after Easter Day to the end of Easter Term.

6. The Divinity Lecture to be read on Monday and Wednesday at 8 A.M. in Latin and on Friday in English.

7. The Divinity Lecturer to deal especially with the controversies which affect the Church of Rome.

8. The Law and Physick Lectures to be read, like the Divinity Lecture, twice in Latin and once in English.

9. The other lectures in Astronomy, Geometry, Rhetoric, and Music to be read alternately in Latin and English.

10. The Professors to wear their hoods and gowns.

11. A keeper of the House to be appointed by the Lord Mayor.

The college was intended to be a rival, in some sort, to Oxford and Cambridge. It seems never to have succeeded in attracting students. Dr. Johnson attributed its failure to the fact that the lectures were free, and that what is given is not valued. The House was pulled down in 1768 and the Excise Office took its place. The lectures were then read in a room at the Royal Exchange. In 1843 the present building was erected and the college entered upon a new course. So far, however, it does not seem to fulfil the intentions of the Founder as a great educational centre. Isaac Barrow, Robert Hooke, and Christopher Wren have been Professors in the college. The Royal Society held its meetings here for fifty years (1660-1710).


In Broad Street at present still stands St. Peter-le-Poer, nearly opposite the Excise Office. It escaped the Great Fire, but was rebuilt in 1791 from the designs of Jesse Gibson. In 1842-44 St. Benet Finck was demolished, and its parish was united with this. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1356.

So far as there is any record, since 1181 at least, the patronage of the church has always been in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Houseling people in 1548 were 160 or 200.

The church is circular in shape, with a recess at the north for the altar; a gallery originally ran round the building, but in 1888 the greater part of this was removed. The steeple rises at the south, the only side on which the exterior is visible, owing to surrounding buildings. It consists of a square tower, supporting a stone cupola which is terminated by a vane.

The most interesting monument which the present church contains is that in memory of Dr. Richard Holdsworth, rector here in 1623, who was for some time imprisoned by the Long Parliament. He was Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and several times Vice-Chancellor of the University. The church originally contained monuments to: John Lucas, Master of the Requests to Edward VI., who died 1556; Robert Calthrop, mayor, 1588; Sir William Roche, mayor, 1540; and Sir William Garaway, at whose expense a new aisle was made in 1616, costing £400.

Some of the charities given yearly to the poor were: £4, the gift of Lady Ramsey; £5, the gift of John Quarles, for bread; £20, the gift of Lady Richard, for housekeepers at Christmas time; £30, the gift of Gerard Vanheithuysens, to be distributed among the poor.

137There were six almshouses in Broad Street, the gift of Sir Thomas Gresham.

Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649), Dean of Worcester, was rector here; also Benjamin Hoadley (1676-1761), successively Bishop of Bangor, of Hereford, of Sarum, of Winchester.

Opposite the church of St. Peter-le-Poer stood the “old” South Sea House, and behind it the yards used by the Company. This was the back of South Sea House, the front of which was at the east end of Threadneedle Street where it runs into Bishopsgate Street. The City of London Club now has its premises here; it is a large building with a massive porch, built by P. Hardwick.

Of the other business houses in this street there is nothing to say. At the corner of Winchester Street is Winchester House (modern), which keeps alive the memory of old Winchester House, standing until 1839, the town house of the marquises of Winchester.

The Pinners’ Hall was formerly in this street (see Appendix).

Wormwood Street is a continuation of London Wall, facing it. “In the street,” says Strype, “briefly, there be divers courts and alleys.” In other words, that part of London was occupied as lately as 1720 or 1750 by a population of industrial folk not yet driven out by the increase of merchants’ offices and banks. There appear to have been no antiquities in this street, unless we reckon a small burial-ground belonging to St. Martin Outwich, which lay in the point of the wall.

Of London Wall we have already spoken.

Northward are three stations, Broad Street, Bishopsgate Street, and Liverpool Street.

There are dreary rows of old brick houses on either side of the part of New Broad Street which runs east and west. Towards the west end of the street are one or two well-built business houses. The site of the Jews’ Synagogue is occupied by Blomfield House, largely inhabited by secretaries of companies and syndicates. When we turn the corner into the part of New Broad Street running north and south, we find some large modern buildings. On the east the building is uniform for a considerable way. Broad Street House occupies all the frontage between the two passages of St. Botolph’s Churchyard. It is stone fronted and is in an Italian style. Dashwood House behind it covers a very large area of ground. It is of ugly design in red brick with each line of windows in a different style. Both of these are largely occupied by agents, engineers, secretaries of companies, etc. Dashwood House looks out on the churchyard. This is an uninviting strip of ground surrounded on the south by the backs of warehouses. A small house at the east end is called “The Old Watchhouse,” and bears an inscription to the effect that it was rebuilt in 1771 by an alderman named James Townsend.

In Blomfield Street was formerly the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, 138now removed to the City Road. The Hospital had its origin in 1804 when some gentlemen founded a free dispensary for eye diseases.

There are some large buildings on the east known as Blomfield Buildings, also the London Provident Institution Savings Bank, and the headquarters of the London Missionary Society. The bank bears an inscription to the effect that it was erected 1835 and enlarged 1875. This Society was first formed a hundred years ago (January 15, 1795) in the Castle and Falcon Inn, Aldersgate Street, and it now sends missionaries to every quarter of the world. Close by is St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Chapel, stucco-covered, and a Roman Catholic School. At the corner of East Street is a fine building called Finsbury House, with grey granite columns of considerable strength running from the ground-floor upwards. It is well proportioned and has a well-finished angle.

Finsbury Circus is surrounded by a uniform line of dull brick houses having their ground-floors covered with yellow stucco. At one point only do the area railings give way, and that is at the London Institution, built of Portland stone, with a heavy portico and fluted columns. The Institution was established in 1806 in Old Jewry and afterwards removed to King’s Arms Yard, Coleman Street. It was incorporated a year after its establishment. The present building was founded in 1815 and opened four years later.

A great many solicitors have their offices in the Circus, and there is also a sprinkling of surgeons, accountants, and secretaries of companies. The centre of the Circus is occupied by a wide space of grass surrounded by a thick shrubbery of trees.

Northward of this is Finsbury Square, built in 1789 by George Dance. At the junction of Finsbury Pavement and Moorgate Street stood Moor Gate from which northwards outside the walls stretched the great open moor, the playground of the London citizens; this is now all built over with the exception of the Square and Circus mentioned above.

Moorfields so frequently occurs in documents before the end of the eighteenth century, and played so large a part in the life of the Londoner, that it deserves some notice. The earliest mention made of it is in the reign of Henry II., and was apparently a large open mere or marsh on which water lay in parts, so that in winter it was covered with ice, and formed a playground where the young citizens practised a primitive kind of skating. It was drained in 1627, and in Queen Elizabeth’s time was much resorted to for the practice of archery. It was also used as a general rendezvous for all who desired to meet without the gates, a perpetual fair, a drying ground, a preaching place, and many other things. It is generally said that the houseless people assembled here after the Great Fire; but Moorfields could have accommodated but a tenth part of them, so that the camps must have extended northward and westward far beyond the limits of Moorfields into Finsbury Fields northwards and to Islington.

139Various attempts were made from time to time to enclose parts of Moorfields and build on the space, and these were resisted by the citizens with much ardour; but the spreading tide heeds not resistance, and gradually the whole area was built over—even in the seventeenth century the fields were enclosed and surrounded by shops.

Moor Gate was rebuilt in 1672, and the central gateway made higher than usual that the City Trained Bands might march through with pikes erect.

From end to end Moorgate Street is composed of comparatively uniform stucco-fronted houses in a hideous Victorian style, with little projecting pediments and cornices over the windows. To this there is one exception, at the south-east corner, in the British and Fire Insurance Office, a stone and grey granite building of imposing size.

Great Swan Alley is a narrow entry which comes out just beside Ye Old Swan’s Nest public-house, which is a new stone-faced building. At the north-east corner are Swan Chambers, designed by Basil Champneys in 1891.

Moorgate Court (late Coleman Street Buildings) contains the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a very fine building of stone, with panels of female figures in relief; on each panel is a shield, and the words Arts, Sciences, Crafts, Education, Commerce, Agriculture, Manufacture, Mining, Railways, Shipping, India, Colonies, Building are inscribed on these shields. This frieze extends across the whole frontage, but is cut up by intersecting columns. It is the work of Hamo Thorneycroft. The angle at the corner has the merit of being thoroughly unconventional. The figure of Justice surmounts the balcony. The building was designed by John Belcher, 1892. Facing south is a red brick and stone building known as Moorgate Court. This is in a picturesque style of Perpendicular Gothic, and the building over the projecting porch is carried up to the roof, giving relief to the frontage. Altogether this is an unexpectedly picturesque Court. In the covered entry leading to it from Moorgate Street are two old doorways, the northern one fascinating, with grotesque faces on the keystone of the lintel, and vertical Wrenian ornaments on either side. Looking back at the entry from the street we see that these doorways belong to a very old plaster house, with tiled roof, which stands back from the street line, overlooking two shops, one on either side the entry, which are finished with parapets. The windows in the tiled roof also peep over a parapet. This is the only picturesque bit in that very ugly but useful thoroughfare—Moorgate Street.

Close at hand the Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation have fitted up their ground-floor with pink terra-cotta which jars with the yellow plaster above. Altogether, to the east of Moorgate Street lie an amazing number of quiet courts, without beauty, but lined by respectable solid brick-and-plaster houses.

Between Moorgate and Old Broad Streets east and west, and London Wall and Throgmorton Street north and south, lies a typical business quarter.

In Copthall Buildings we see great modern houses. The Chambers here are 140filled by stock-jobbers and stockbrokers. Copthall Avenue is made up of fine well-built houses and little old ones. Lanthorn, Moorgate, Throgmorton, Copthall Houses are all in a sensible but not displeasing style. Some are of the lighter red brick and light stone which shows up well in a London Street, others in grey stone and granite. Copthall House, which runs round the corner along the south part of Sun Court, has windows bayed in imitation of an old style. Basil Champneys was the architect. For the old houses, Nos. 4 and 6 on the east side date from the seventeenth century. Nos. 10 and 12 are of about the same date. Nos. 22, 24, and 26 farther northward are also old, and are perhaps early eighteenth century; their discoloured bricks and the bent lines of the windows and doorway bear testimony to their years.

Of Lothbury there is not much to say; it contains the Bank of Scotland, and the chief office of the London and Westminster Bank, and numerous companies are promoted and worked from this address.

The building at the corner of Tokenhouse Yard is in the style known as Venetian Gothic. It is harmoniously carried out. There is a somewhat deeply recessed doorway. The building bears a frieze or panel on it which divides an upper window into two parts. It was designed by G. Somers Clarke and built in 1866. No. 19, the Auction Mart in Tokenhouse Yard, owns the same architect, and is characterised by the same air of neatness and finish.


St. Margaret, Lothbury, was probably rebuilt about 1440; the building was destroyed by the Great Fire; the present church was designed by Wren and completed in 1690. It serves, besides its own original parish, for 6 other parishes—those of St. Christopher, St. Bartholomew by the Exchange, St. Olave Jewry, St. Martin Pomeroy, St. Mildred in the Poultry, and St. Mary Colechurch. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1181.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: the Abbess and Convent of Barking, Essex, 1303. Henry VIII. who seized it, and so it continues in the Crown to the present time.

Houseling people in 1548 were 279.

The church measures 66 feet in length, 54 feet in breadth, and 36 feet in height. It contains a nave, chancel, and one aisle, separated by Corinthian columns. The south aisle, which is railed off, contains a side-altar at the east. The steeple consists of a three-storied tower and cornice, surmounted by a lantern and obelisk with finial and vane; its total height is 140 feet.

Chantries were founded here by: John le Boteler, sen., citizen, for himself and Matilda his wife, for which the King granted his licence, August 2, 1321; John Julyan, whose endowment fetched £7 : 4 : 0 in 1548, when John Badye was priest; John Iforde, whose endowment yielded £6 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Patrick Faber was priest.

Reginald Coleman, son of Robert, who is supposed to be the first builder of Coleman Street, was buried here in 1483. Also John Benet, rector of the parish and a great benefactor; John Dimocke, who served Henry VIII. and Edward VI.; Nicholas Style, Alderman of London, who died in 1615.

On the demolition of St. Olave’s, a monument to Alderman John Boydell, the engraver (Lord Mayor in 1790), was removed to this church.

Anthony Bedingfield gave £100 to the parish; Mary Barnes, £100; Thomas Bremley, £5; Henry 141VIII., £3 : 6 : 8; John Hanson, £50 for the completion of the church. Many other names are recorded on the Table of Benefactors.

Throgmorton Street takes its name from Sir Nicholas Throckmorton who, tradition says, was poisoned by Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Queen Elizabeth’s favourite. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton was born in 1515 and died in 1570. There is nothing to warrant the statement that he was poisoned by Dudley, with whom he was on friendly terms. What was the name of the street before the life and death of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton? Stow simply says that in Throgmorton Street, Thomas Cromwell built a large house in the place of certain tenements. The house in 1541 became the property, and the second hall, of the Drapers Company. It could hardly have been named after a man at that time only twenty-six years of age.

There were, however, other Throckmortons; the name in the Dictionary of National Biography occupies nearly eight pages. Most of them lived a good deal in London; all of them occupied good positions; the street, formerly part of Lothbury, may have received its name from one or other of the family. The following imperfect genealogy of the family will illustrate this possibility:

Sir John Throgmorton (Under Treasurer of Chamberlain of Exchequer) Lived in London, where his will is dated (d. 1445).
+Alianora, heiress of Sir Guy de la Spirn of Coughton.
├── Sir Thomas (d. 1472).
│ └── Sir Robert, Privy Councillor Henry VII. (d. 1518).
│ └── Sir George
│ +Katherine, daughter of Lord Vaux.
│ ├── Thomas (d. 1614).
│ │ └── Thomas, Baronet, 1642.
│ ├── Clement.
│ │ └── Job (1545-1601), Puritan Controversialist.
│ ├── Sir Nicholas (1515-1570).
│ │ └── Etc.
│ └── Sir John (Master of Requests, lived in London, d. 1580).
│ └── Francis, Conspirator (b. 1554, executed Aug. 1584).
├── John.
└── Seven daughters.

We have here a choice of four generations of Throckmortons, all more or less intimately connected with London, any one of whom may have given his name to the street.

The courts leading out of Throgmorton Street on the north were, in 1750, Whalebone Court, Angel Court, Copt Hall Court, Warnford Court, and Austin Friars. On the south were formerly Bartholomew Lane, Bartholomew Court, Shorters Court, and Crown Court. All of these, except Whalebone and the Bartholomew Courts, still exist.

The present Throgmorton Street is lined by the usual business houses in a 142decorative style, with a general uniformity pervading all. The Drapers’ Hall occupies a great part of the northern side with its curving frontage and highly decorative frieze.


The association from which the Drapers Company derive their origin appears to have partaken of the nature of a social and religious as well as a commercial guild. The exact date of their foundation cannot be ascertained, but they undoubtedly existed as a brotherhood at a very early period. Madox (Hist. Exch. p. 391) mentions the Gilda Parariorum, whereof John Maur was alderman, among the adulterine guilds amerced in the 26 Henry II. (1180). The Company possess a certificate by William Camden, Clarencieux King-of-Arms, certifying the arms borne by Henry Fitz Alwin, Lord Mayor 1198-1212, and that he was a member of the Drapers Company.

The earliest charter of which the Company have any record is the Charter of Privileges of 38 Edward III.

The earliest ordinances of which the Company possess any record purport to be a revision of an earlier set made in 1322. The revised ordinances were made in 1418.

The earliest accounts in the possession of the Company are those of the wardens for the year 1415. In that year the number of members is shown to exceed 100, and quarterage was received from 83 persons, and due from 13 more.

The arms of the Company were first granted by Sir William Bruges, Garter King-of-Arms, March 10, 1439-40. This grant was confirmed with the addition of crest and supporters by William Harvey, Clarencieux, July 10, 1561, and again confirmed with a slight alteration by Sir William Segar, Garter, June 6, Jac. I. 1613.

In 1607 the Company obtained an entirely new charter (4 Jac. I., 19th January), incorporating them by their ancient style of “The Masters and Wardens and Brethren and Sisters of the Guild or Fraternity of the Blessed Mary the Virgin of the Mystery of Drapers of the City of London,” and vesting the government in the master, four wardens and assistants. Under this charter the government of the Company has been carried on down to the present day.

(1) The advantages incident to the position of a freeman of the Company consist of the eligibility to participate in the various charitable funds held by the Company in trust for their members, and to become liverymen of the Company.

(2) Liverymen of the Company, as such, have no pecuniary or other direct advantages, but they constitute the class from which the governing body is elected, and every liveryman, except in cases of special disqualification, is in his turn placed in nomination for the governing body.

(3) The master is entitled to, and is paid, certain small bequests which amount to £2 : 13 : 4 per annum.

The wardens are also entitled to certain bequests and allowances which amount on an average to £106 : 4 : 10 per annum. This sum is not paid to them, but goes towards the cost of the election dinner in August, which in ancient times was provided by the wardens.

The members of the governing body, as such, have no direct pecuniary or other advantages.

Freemen and liverymen of the Company receive no fees.

The fees paid to the master, wardens, and other members of the governing body, for their attendance at courts and committees during the last ten years, average £3225 : 12 : 6 per annum.

No pensions or donations are paid to liverymen. Liverymen who have become reduced in circumstances, and have applied for and received the return of their livery fine, are then eligible to receive charitable assistance as freemen.

Assistance by way of pension or donation is not granted to any member of the Company except on full inquiry into his circumstances, to ascertain that he is in need of assistance, and that his necessity is not occasioned by his own improvidence or misconduct.

143The number of the livery of the Drapers is 300; their Corporate Income is £50,000; their Trust Income is £28,000.

The Drapers have had several places of meeting. The first is said to have been the Church of St. Mary Bethlehem outside Bishopsgate; the next, where Nos. 19 to 23 St. Swithin’s Lane now is. This was formerly the house of Sir John Hend, draper, Lord Mayor 1391 and 1404, who materially assisted towards the rebuilding of St. Swithin’s Church in 1420. In 1479 the Company’s annals have this entry respecting tithes: “Paid to the parson of St. Swithin for our place for a year VIs. VIIId.,” implying that it had now regularly passed into the Company’s hands. Herbert, in his History of the London Livery Companies, has sifted out information regarding this hall, which tells much concerning its apartments, and the brave feasts held therein on election days and other occasions. The great hall was strewed with rushes and hung mostly with tapestry, but the upper end, above the dais for the high table, with blue buckram. It must have been of large dimensions, capable of dining two to three hundred persons, and here assembled bishop and prior and parson, Lord Mayor and Mayoress, to feast with the master and wardens and brethren and sisters of the Drapers Company all seated at table in due order of rank. The sisters had a dining-room of their own, “the ladies’ chamber,” and there was a “chekker chamber” laid with mats and set apart for “maydens,” but both married and unmarried ladies usually dined in hall with the brothers of the fraternity. Besides the refectory, there was a large kitchen with its three fire-places, and there were buttery and pantry, a store-house for cloth, and “a scalding yard”; also a court-room, a “great chamber” or livery-room, and parlours hung with tapestry or painted green, and all contained beneath the shelter of leaded roofs. The Drapers continued to feast and transact their business here until 1541, when they bought the house in Throgmorton Street which had belonged to Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex.

The Earl had suffered attainder under Henry VIII. This estate formed the finest hall that any City Company had hitherto obtained. It contained, besides the buildings, a large garden at the back. This garden was still preserved until a few years ago, when the greater part of it was sold and converted into offices.

The hall, after the Fire, was rebuilt, but a hundred years afterwards, in 1774, it was greatly damaged by another fire. The present hall was altered and remodelled, with the addition of a screen, in 1866-70.

In February 1660 General Monk made Drapers’ Hall his headquarters. The Company point to many illustrious members. The Pulteneys, Earls of Bath; the Capels, Earls of Essex; the Brydges, Dukes of Chandos were descended from members of the Drapers Company.

What was said of the Mercers may be repeated of this Company. They administer their great Trust Income in the endowment of hospitals, schools, and almshouses; and they have large funds for purely charitable and philanthropic purposes. Of late the Drapers Company have taken up the cause of Technical Education; at the People’s Palace they have a Polytechnic attended by thousands of students, with classes of instruction in all the principal trades.

At the north end of Throgmorton Avenue, near London Wall, is the Carpenters’ Hall.


A brotherhood or guild of carpenters is believed to have existed in London about 1350, but under what circumstances we have no information. The first charter to the present Company was granted in 1477, 17 Edward IV. This granted to certain freemen of the mystery of carpentry of the City of London, that they or any of them might establish a brotherhood or guild within the City to remain for ever, to consist of one master, three wardens, and commonalty of freemen of the mystery of carpentry abiding in the City of London, and the suburbs and precincts of the same, and of the brethren and sisters of the freemen of the said mystery, and of all others who of their devotion will be of the same brotherhood 144or guild; and that the same master, wardens, and commonalty should be one body and one commonalty, incorporated by the name of Master, Wardens, and Commonalty of the Mystery of Freemen of the Carpentry of the City of London.

This charter was exemplified, ratified, and confirmed by Philip and Mary (a Charter of Inspeximus), and also by Elizabeth; the latter exemplification being dated 8th November, 2 Elizabeth.

James I., by charter (dated 15th July, 5 James I.), granted to the master, wardens, and commonalty of the mystery of freemen of the carpentry of the City of London, that they should exercise the powers of search, correction, and government of all the freemen of the art or mystery of Carpenters of the City, or using or exercising the said art or mystery within the said City or the suburbs of the same, or within two miles thereof, together with powers for the inspection of timber, and regulation of matters relating to the trade.

Drawn by Thos. W. Shepherd.


Charles I., by charter (dated 17th July, 16 Charles I.), reciting the preceding charters, and that various frauds and deceptions were practised in the trade, granted to the master, wardens, and commonalty of the Company, that the master, wardens, and assistants for the time being, to the number of twelve or more, of which the master and wardens for the time being to be four, being met together upon summons to be made for that purpose, should have full power and authority to appoint, constitute, and make ordinances, decrees, and constitutions in writing for the good rule and government of the master, wardens, and commonalty of the mystery, and of all other persons being free of the art or mystery, or using the same art or mystery within the City of London, or liberties of the same, and for declaring in what manner the master, wardens, and commonalty, and all such persons as aforesaid, should behave themselves, and use the occupation of the said art or mystery.

Charles II., by charter (dated 20th October, 26 Charles II.), reciting and confirming the preceding charters, granted, upon the humble petition of the master and wardens of the Company, the oversight and government of all and singular persons, whether freemen of the said mystery, or using or occupying the 145same within the City of London, or within four miles of the same, together with very extensive powers and privileges for exercising the oversight, search, and measurement of all and all manner of timber, timber stuff, and materials, and the works and workmanship thereto within the before-mentioned limits.

In 1666 an Act of Parliament was passed ordering brick building in place of wood, and all carpenters, etc., not freemen of the City employed in the building were, for the space of seven years, to be allowed the liberty of working as freemen, and all who should so help for seven years were to enjoy the same liberty for their lives. In 1693 an Act of Common Council was passed by which all persons carrying on the trade of carpentry in the City of London were compelled to bind their apprentices to the Carpenters Company.

The Company is now governed by a master, three wardens, and a varying number of assistants.

The livery numbers 150. The hall in Throgmorton Avenue was built when the old hall at London Wall was taken down in 1876. The Corporate Income of the Company is £16,000 and the Trust Income is £1180.



The next group is a triangle, of which Bishopsgate Street and Fenchurch Street are two sides. It is a part of very considerable interest, though not so full of history as Cheapside or Thames Street. It contains the great market of Leadenhall Street, which is itself a continuation of that market which extended eastward from West Chepe to the Poultry, to Cornhill, to Gracechurch Street or Grass Street, and so to Leadenhall, the distributing market of London, and from London to the country. Its financial centre was Lombard Street before the Exchange was built. At two points it had a City gate; it had three monastic houses, St. Helen’s, The Papey, and the Holy Trinity; it has been for three hundred years especially a Jewish quarter; it had the East India Houses one after the other, and it has within its borders the most ancient church in the City, that of St. Ethelburga, with three other churches which were not destroyed by the Fire.

Fenchurch Street.—The origin of the name has been generally accepted as from a supposed situation in a marsh or fen. According to Stow, “of a fenny or moorish ground, so made by means of this borne”—“Langborne.” We may admit the fenny ground, but we are not obliged to admit the existence of a stream here. Maitland, who loves to be precise, says that the stream rose in a place called Magpie Alley close to St. Katherine Coleman, and ran down Fenchurch Street and Lombard Street as far as the west end of St. Mary Woolnoth, where it turned south at Sherborne Lane (whence the name) and divided into many rivulets, where it fell into the Thames. Now, no trace of any such stream has ever been found. Moreover, though the levels of the streets have been raised by many feet, they have been raised in proportion, and if such a stream now ran along Fenchurch Street, it would run up-hill for half its course. Further, the name Sherborne does not mean what Maitland thinks at all. Its real meaning may be found in the Calendar of Wills (vol. i. p. 147, and on many other pages). Langborne appears as Langford in an early list. Somewhere near the end of Sherborne Lane was the wall, and perhaps the fosse of the Roman citadel. But Stow, and Maitland after him, call the ward Langborne and Fennie About. Langborne was one part—that of which Lombard Street is the principal part—and Fennie About the other, in the marshy ground.

147The ward is mentioned in a murder case (Riley’s Memorials) in 1276. Reference to the parish occurs repeatedly between 1276 and 1349 (Calendar of Wills). There are mentioned messuages, rents, tenements, shops, a brew-house, etc., in the parish. The street is mentioned separately later. In the fourteenth century there are dwelling-places, tenements, mansion-houses, brew-houses, bakehouses, and shops. But there are no signs of a fen in or about the street. It is suggested that as Gracechurch Street is the street of Grass, so Fenchurch Street is Foin-church, the street of Hay, both streets belonging to the market of hay, grass, and corn. But Professor Skeat replies to this suggestion: “It is impossible to derive fen from the French foin. No French oi becomes e in English. But it might be derived from the Anglo-French fein, which is the corresponding word to the French foin and had the same sense. In this case it ought to be possible to find the spelling fein. Otherwise fen can only mean fen. Note that the English fen may be spelt also fenne. But the Anglo-French fein could not take either n or ne at the end of it. I suspect Stow is right. I see no evidence to the contrary.”

Again, writing later, Professor Skeat says: “I think we can get at Fenchurch now, by help of the history.

“Fen was an extremely common word in Middle English, not merely in the sense of morass, but in the sense of the modern word mud. ‘Mud’ is quite a late word, but I presume that the thing was known in the City even in the earliest times, and the name of it was ‘fen.’ This being so, it is tolerably certain that if the name originally was anything that could be readily turned into fen, that would soon become the pronunciation and the ‘popular’ etymology.

“If we start from the idea of Hay, we proceed through the Norman form which was not foin (this could never have given us fen), but fein or fayn, or fain, pronounced as modern English fain (the nasal n in Norman being of little account except after the simple vowels a and e). But the corresponding verb ‘to cut hay’ was actually ‘fener.’ The phrase ‘Li fain estoient fené’ is quoted from Froissart in Godefroy’s Old French Dictionary, s.v. Fener. And the verb fener is still in use in Burgundy.

“It is easy to see how the word fain could thus be associated with a pronunciation fen, and Englishmen who knew no French (there were plenty of them) may very well have imagined in their hearts that the reference was to the mud in the streets. That there was mud may be taken for granted. There is some left still.

“There was also a remarkable adjective feneresse, whence the word feneresse, a female seller of hay. And there was a word fenerie which meant a barn for hay. And feneron, a hay maker.”

Professor Skeat later repeats that if the word for hay is used by itself in London, it will be in the form of fein-fain. The spelling Fanchurch is especially valuable; in fact, it settles it, for fan may be short for fain whereas fan cannot be another form of fen.

148There are extant many ancient deeds connected with this street. Here was a brew-house called Le George super le Hoop.

Roman remains have been found here, vases, things in bronze, and an iron candlestick.

At No. 119 Fenchurch Street is a tavern known as the Elephant. It stands on the site of a house called the Elephant and Castle. In the Great Fire this house, being built of stone, resisted the flames, and offered shelter to many homeless people. Is the same thing related of the churches? They, too, were built of stone. Why did not they resist the flames?

Wallace was taken, on his arrival in London as a prisoner, to the house of William de Leyre in Fenchurch Street.

At the King’s Head Tavern, Queen Elizabeth was regaled with pork and peas on a certain visit to the City.

In Fenchurch Street at present, on the south side, the building numbered 3 and 4, which contains the Castle Mail Packet Company, is well designed, with wide, deeply-recessed windows enriched by mouldings. The ground-floor is encased in grey polished granite. Langbourn Chambers is a huge mass of building. Down the side of the street are various plain brick buildings of different ages interspersed with modern erections, stone fronted.

The huge building at the west corner of Mark Lane running round into Fenchurch Street is so covered with stone ornamentation, statues, etc., that the red brickwork is hardly to be seen. This is the London Tavern, and contains the City Glee Club. Both Mark and Mincing Lanes abound in great commercial buildings. Fen Court has an old stuccoed house over the tunnel-like entrance, but in itself is all composed of flat-windowed expressionless offices. These look down on the ancient graveyard, a very large space for one of the City churches. It is surrounded by railings, and divided down the centre by a flagged path. Several flat tombstones lie in the middle, and one or two altar tombs complete the quiet picture, over which the leaves of the wych-elms throw shadows. Those who have read Mrs. Riddell’s tragic story George Geith of Fen Court will remember her description of the Court. Beyond Fen Court is the Spread Eagle Bread Company, a fine old house of the beginning of the eighteenth century. The gilt eagle spreads its wings in front of a square red-brick block with antiquated windows, and a general tint of age.

The Ironmongers’ Hall, a large building, faces Fenchurch Street.


The earliest notice of the craft is in 1351. The first charter incorporating the Company was granted by Edward IV. in the year 1463, but it appears that a voluntary company or fraternity of members of the iron trade had existed for many years previous to that date.

There followed an Inspeximus Charter of Philip and Mary, dated June 20, 1558, which 149confirmed the charter of Edward IV.; Letters Patent of the second year of Queen Elizabeth, dated November 12, 1560, by which the charter of Edward IV. was further confirmed. James I., by Letters Patent dated June 25, 1605, confirmed the privileges and possessions of the Company. He also, in 1620, confirmed the Company in the possession of certain lands and tenements therein mentioned, in consideration of £100 paid to him. James II., by charter dated March 18, 1685, confirmed all their privileges and granted new and additional privileges, and by Letters Patent, dated November 19, 1688, he confirmed the last-mentioned charter.

Stow merely mentions the Hall, which occupied the area between Fenchurch and Leadenhall Streets. It existed in 1494 and was rebuilt in 1587. The present Hall was erected in 1748-50 on the site of an Elizabethan house which had escaped the Fire.

The number of liverymen varies; it is now thirty-seven. The Corporate Income is £12,000; the Trust Income is £11,000.


1. Freemen are invited to two dinners yearly, and they, their wives, and children are entitled to the benefit of the various charities bequeathed for their use by members of the Company or others, particulars of which are furnished to them on admission to the freedom.

2. Liverymen form the court and receive fees for their attendance on courts and committees for transacting the business of the Company and the charities. The amount of fees paid to members of the Company for their attendances at courts and committees during the last ten years averages £735 for each year. No fees are paid out of the trust estates.

3. The master and wardens have no privileges beyond the other liverymen, and no liveryman receives any money from the charities.


St. Katherine Coleman stands on the south side of Fenchurch Street, farther east. Its second name is derived from its proximity to a garden, anciently called “Coleman’s Haw.” In 1489 Sir William 150White, Draper and Lord Mayor, enlarged the church; it was further enlarged in 1620 and a vestry built in 1624. It escaped the Great Fire of 1666, but by the subsequent elevation of Fenchurch Street its foundations were buried. In 1734 the building was pulled down and the present one erected from the designs of an architect named Horne. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1346.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Dean and Canons of St. Martin’s-le-Grand since 1346, then the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1509; Thomas, Bishop of Westminster, by grant of Henry VIII., January 20, 1540-41; Bishop of London by grant of Edward VI. in 1550, confirmed by Queen Mary, March 3, 1553-54, in whose successors it continued. The present building is of brick, with stone dressings. The tower rises at the west.

Sir Henry Billingsley, Lord Mayor of London, was buried here in 1606. A few monuments are recorded by Strype, but the individuals commemorated are of little note. The finest monument still preserved is that to Lady Heigham (d. 1634), wife of Richard Heigham, gentleman pensioner to King Charles I.

Sir H. Billingsley left £200 for the poor at his death, but his heirs did not carry out his instructions. Jacob Lucy was donor of £100; Thomas Papillon of £61. Other names also were recorded on the Table of Benefactors erected in 1681. There was a workhouse belonging to the parish.

St. Gabriel, Fenchurch, was situated in the middle of Fenchurch Street between Rood Lane and Mincing Lane. It was burnt down by the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to St. Margaret Pattens by Act of Parliament. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1321.

The patronage of this church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Holy Trinity, 1321-1519; the Crown from 1540 up to 1666, when the church was burnt down and the parish annexed to St. Margaret Pattens.

Houseling people in 1548 were 200.

For Rood Lane, Mincing Lane, and the other streets south of Fenchurch Street leading to Thames Street, see Group V.

Billiter Street, not, as Stow says, from its first owner Belzetter, but from being the quarter in which stood the Bell Founders. Agnes, sister of Thomas à Becket, had land in Bellzetter Lane, parish of St. Michael, Aldgate. The lane is mentioned in the Calendar of Wills in 1298, and on many occasions afterwards. Strype, in 1720, calls it a lane of very ordinary account, the houses being very old and of timber (the place escaped the Fire), the inhabitants being “inconsiderable, as small brokers, chandlers, and the like.” But the chief “ornament” of this place was Billiter Square, which was then newly built with good brick houses “well inhabited.”

Lime Street runs between Fenchurch and Leadenhall Streets.

In 1576 a passage was constructed at the north-east corner of this street; in the necessary excavation was discovered what Stow calls a “hearth” made of Roman tiles, every tile half a yard square and two inches thick. It was six feet under ground, corresponding in depth with Roman remains found on Cornhill. The passage was duly set up and was standing.

The name of the street occurs in the Calendar of Wills for the year 1298. We are now approaching that imaginary belt of the City lying between the markets and Thames Street, in which the merchants and the nobles mostly had their houses. Stow enumerates a long list of the great houses in Lime Street:

“In Lime Street are divers fair houses for merchants and others; there was 151sometimes a mansion-house of the kings, called the King’s Artirce, whereof I find record in the 14th of Edward I., but now grown out of knowledge. I read also of another great house in the west side of Lime Street, having a chapel on the south and a garden on the west, then belonging to the Lord Nevill, which garden is now called the Green yard of the Leaden hall. This house, in the 9th of Richard II., pertained to Sir Simon Burley, and Sir John Burley his brother; and of late the said house was taken down, and the forefront thereof new built of timber by Hugh Offley, alderman. At the north-west corner of Lime Street was of old time one great messuage called Benbrige’s inn; Ralph Holland, draper, about the year 1452 gave it to John Gill, master, and to the wardens and fraternity of tailors and linen-armourers of St. John Baptist in London, and to their successors for ever. They did set up in place thereof a fair large frame of timber, containing in the high street one great house, and before it to the corner of Lime Street three other tenements, the corner house being the largest, and then down Lime Street divers proper tenements; all which the merchant-tailors, in the reign of Edward VI., sold to Stephen Kirton, merchant-tailor and alderman: he gave, with his daughter Grisild, to Nicholas Woodroffe the said great house, with two tenements before it, in lieu of a hundred pounds, and made it up in money £366 : 13 : 4. This worshipful man, and the gentlewoman his widow after him, kept those houses down Lime Street in good reparations, never put out but one tenant, took no fines, nor raised rents of them, which was ten shillings the piece yearly: but whether that favour did overlive her funeral, the tenants now can best declare the contrary.

“Next unto this, on the high street, was the Lord Sowche’s messuage or tenement, and other; in place whereof, Richard Wethell, merchant-tailor, built a fair house, with a high tower, the second in number, and first of timber, that ever I learnt to have been built to overlook neighbours in this city.

“This Richard, then a young man, became in a short time so tormented with gouts in his joints, of the hands and legs, that he could neither feed himself nor go further than he was led; much less was he able to climb and take the pleasure of the height of his tower. Then is there another fair house, built by Stephen Kirton, alderman; Alderman Lee did then possess it, and again new buildeth it; but now it is in the custody of Sir William Craven.

“Then is there a fair house of old time called the Green gate; by which name one Michael Pistoy, a Lumbard held it, with a tenement and nine shops in the reign of Richard II., who in the 15th of his reign gave it to Roger Corphull, and Thomas Bromester, esquires, by the name of the Green Gate, in the parish of St. Andrew upon Cornhill, in Lime Street ward; since the which time Philip Malpas, sometime alderman, and one of the sheriffs, dwelt therein, and was there robbed and spoiled of his goods to a great value by Jack Cade, and other rebels, in the year 1449.

“Afterwards, in the reign of Henry VII., it was seised into the King’s hands, 152and then granted, first, unto John Alston, after that unto William de la Rivers, and since by Henry VIII. to John Mutas, a Picarde or Frenchman, who dwelt there, and harboured in his house many Frenchmen, that kalendred wolsteds, and did other things contrary to the franchises of the citizens; wherefore on evil May-day, which was in the year 1517, the apprentices and others spoiled his house; and if they could have found Mutas, they would have stricken off his head. Sir Peter Mutas, son to the said John Mutas, sold this house to David Woodroffe, alderman, whose son, Sir Nicholas Woodroffe, alderman, sold it over to John Moore, alderman, that then possessed it.

“Next is a house called the Leaden porch, lately divided into two tenements; whereof one is a tavern, and then one other house for a merchant, likewise called the leaden Porch, but now turned to a cook’s house. Next is a fair house and a large, wherein divers mayoralties have been kept, whereof twain in my remembrance; to wit, Sir William Bowyer and Sir Henry Huberthorne” (Stow’s Survey, pp. 162-163).

In modern Lime Street the first thing that attracts attention is an old iron gateway leading to a little paved yard where once stood St. Dionis Backchurch. Laid in a horizontal row are nine tombstones, on which one can look down. A steep flight of stone steps leads up to the parish offices, and the backs of business houses surround the court. At No. 15 is the Pewterers’ Hall.


The earliest information respecting the Company is found in the records of the City of London, 22 Edward III., A.D. 1348, when the mayor and aldermen are prayed by the good folk of the trade to hear the state and points of the trade, to provide redress and amendment of the defaults thereof for the common profit, and to ordain two or three of the trade to oversee the alloys and workmanship.

In the year 1443 (22 Henry VI.), in consequence of the complaints of “the multitude of tin which was untrue and deceyvable brought to the City, the defaults not being perceptible until it comes to the melting,” the mayor and aldermen granted to the Company the right to search and assay all the tin which was brought into the City of London.

Edward IV. (1473-74) incorporated the Company by royal charter.

This power was recognised and confirmed by charters granted successively by Henry VIII., Philip and Mary, Queen Elizabeth, James I., and Queen Anne.

An Act of Parliament confirming the Company’s powers to search for bad wares was passed in 1503-1504, 19 Henry VII. c. 6., confirmed by other Acts, 4 Henry VIII. c. 7., 1512-13; 25 Henry VIII. c. 9., 1533-34; and a statute 33 Henry VIII. c. 4., 1541-42, prohibited the hawking of pewter.

The maintenance of the good faith of the trade appears to have been one of the primary considerations in the proceedings of the Company.

In 1555 it was resolved that any member buying metal of tylors, labourers, boys, women, or suspected persons, or between six at night and six in the morning, if the metal should prove to have been stolen, should not only be dismissed the Company, but stand to such punishment as the Lord Mayor and aldermen might direct.

The Company appear to have furnished a certain number of men with arms for the defence of the City, and to have kept at the Hall equipments for them—calyvers, corslets, bills, pikes, etc.—and to have appointed an armourer to preserve them in good condition.

153The Company used to cast into bars such tin as was to be transported out of the realm, whereby the poor of the Company were wont to provide for part of their living; but after these bars were made by strangers beyond the sea, the poor were greatly “hindered.” A petition was presented to Queen Elizabeth in 1594, and after a delay of four years Letters Patent were granted to the Company, giving permission for a small charge to be made on the smelting and casting of bars of tin.

The fellowship of the craft and mystery of Pewterers of London and elsewhere represented, before Henry VIII.’s reign, one of the best handicrafts within the realm.

The master and wardens appear at the commencement of the seventeenth century to have exercised the right to nominate the casters of tin in London, and the Company received a small royalty on the casting, which was distributed to the poor of the Company. They also appear to have had from the Council of the Revenue of the Prince of Wales an allotment of certain proportions of the tin produced in Cornwall, and to have derived some profit from the privilege. In fact, the pewter trade in London was supplied with tin from Cornwall through the Company, and frequent disputations are recorded between the Company and the Prince’s Council as to the rate, which was sometimes said to be so high that the poor of the Company could not live thereby.

At a later period the Company, in order to prevent the public from imposition, and to sustain the credit of the pewterers’ trade, appointed the standard assays of the various wares and the weight of metal for each article.

The Hall stands upon a piece of ground presented to the Company by W. Smallwood, Master, 1487. The first building was destroyed in the Great Fire and the present one is that which replaced it.

The Company now have a livery of 103; a Corporate Income of £5400; and a Trust Income of £233.

The Ordinances of the Pewterers were submitted to the mayor and aldermen in 1348. They may be found in Riley (Memorials, 241). They contain clauses similar to those in the ordinances of other trades, including the power of appointing overseers of their own body. Two years later we find a Pewterer named John de Hiltone brought before the mayor on the charge of making “false” salt-cellars and “potels.” The “false” vessels were forfeited. The use of pewter for domestic purposes was universal. Dishes, plates, basins, drinking cups, measures were all made of pewter. There are luncheon-rooms in the City at the present day where steaks and chops are served on pewter: at Lincoln’s Inn the dishes are still of pewter; in the last century children and servants took their meals off pewter. These facts explain the flourishing condition of the Company and its large income.

St. Dionis Backchurch was situated at the south-west corner of Lime Street behind Fenchurch Street, from which position it probably derived its name of Backchurch. It was burnt down by the Great Fire, and rebuilt by Wren in 1674, and the steeple added in 1684. In 1878 this building was pulled down by an Order in Council. Part of the money obtained from the site was given to the foundation of a new church of St. Dionis at Parsons Green erected in 1885. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1288.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: In 1248, the Prior and Chapter of Christ Church, Canterbury; then the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury 1552, in whose successors it continued up to 1878, when the church was demolished and the parish annexed to Allhallows, Lombard Street.

Houseling people in 1548 were 405.

Chantries were founded here: By John Carby, Alderman of London, whose endowment fetched £13 in 1548, when James Servaunt was priest; by Maude Bromeholme, whose endowment yielded £5 : 7 : 4 in 1548; by John Wrotham, whose endowment was £15 : 7 : 4, when Nicholas Metcalfe was chaplain.

The church originally contained a considerable number of monuments, the most notable of which were in memory of John Hewet of the Clothworkers Company and benefactor of the parish; Sir Robert Jeffreys, Knt., Alderman and Lord Mayor of the City, who died in 1703; and Edward Tyson, M.D.

Some of the donors of charitable gifts were: Dame Elizabeth Clark, £30; Robert Williams, £25, towards a bell; James Church, £10. Many others gave various fittings for the church.

Lionel Gatford (d. 1665); Archdeacon of St. Alban’s, was rector here; also Nathanial Hardy (1618-1670), Dean of Rochester.



From a drawing by S. Rawle. Published January 1801.

Leadenhall Street was so named after the Leadenhall, i.e. the hall covered with lead, which stood at the corner of that street and Gracechurch Street. An early reference to the place is found in the Calendar of Wills in the year 1296, when certain “rents near la Ledenhalle in Gracechurch Street” are mentioned. The next reference does not occur till the year 1369. But in Riley’s Memorials, we are told that on the eve of St. John the Baptist, June 24, the mayor delivered to the chamberlain “one silver mark arising from a certain small garden annexed to Leden Hall, which mark was taken ... for completing the pavement belonging to the Court of Leaden Hall.” Riley gives a very brief history of the place:

“At the beginning of the 14th century, it was occasionally used as a Court 155of Justice; see the MS. Liber de Antiqu. Legibus, at Guildhall, fol. 61. In October, 1326, after the flight of Edward II., the Commons of London met there, when making terms with the Constable of the Tower” (Riley, Memorials, p. 138).

Stow gives a long account of the various hands through which the manor of Leadenhall passed, confusing the hall with the manor on which it was built. In the year 1411, according to Stow, the manor came into possession of the City.

Drawn by Thos. H. Shepherd.


“Then in the year 1443, the 21st of Henry VI., John Hatherley, mayor, purchased licence of the said king to take up two hundred fodder of lead, for the building of water conduits, a common granary, and the cross in West Chepe, more richly, for the honour of the City. In the year next following, the parson and parish of St. Dunstan, in the east of London, seeing the famous and mighty man (for the words be in the grant, nobilis et potens vir), Simon Eyre, citizen of London, among other his works of piety, effectually determined to erect and build a certain granary upon the soil of the same city at Leadenhall, of his own charges, for the common utility of the said city, to the amplifying and enlarging of the said granary, granted to Henry Frowicke, then mayor, the aldermen and commonalty, and their successors for ever, all their tenements, with the appurtenances, sometime called the Horsemill, in Grasse Street, for the annual rent of four pounds, etc. Also, certain evidences of an alley and tenements pertaining to the Horsemill adjoining to the said Leaden 156hall in Grasse Street, given by William Kingstone, fishmonger, unto the parish church of St. Peter upon Cornehill, do specify the said granary to be built by the said honourable and famous merchant, Simon Eyre, sometime an upholsterer, and then a draper, in the year 1419. He built it of squared stone, in form as now it showeth, with a fair and large chapel in the east side of the quadrant, over the porch of which he caused to be written, Dextra Domini exaltavit me (The Lord’s right hand exalted me). Within the said church on the north wall, was written, Honorandus famosus mercator Simon Eyre hujus operis, etc. In English thus: ‘The honourable and famous merchant, Simon Eyre, founder of this work, once mayor of this City, citizen and draper of the same, departed out of this life, the 18th day of September, the year from the incarnation of Christ 1459, and the 38th year of the reign of King Henry VI.’” (Stow’s Survey, p. 162).

Before the middle of the fourteenth century Leadenhall had become a market for poultry. In 1345 it was ordered that strange folk, i.e. people from outside the City, bringing poultry for sale should no longer hawk it about from house to house, but should take it to the Leaden Hall, and should there sell it, and nowhere else. Also that citizens who sell poultry should offer it on the west side of the Tun of Cornhill (Riley, pp. 220, 221).

The market was not, however, confined to the sale of poultry, as is proved by the following request of the commons of the City, in the year 1503:

“Please it, the lord mayor, aldermen and common council, to enact, that all Frenchmen bringing canvass, linen cloth, and other wares to be sold, and all foreigners bringing wolsteds, sayes, Stamins, Kiverings, nails, iron work, or any other wares, and also all manner of foreigners bringing lead to the city to be sold, shall bring all such their wares aforesaid to the open market of the Leaden Hall, there and no where else to be sold and uttered, like as of old time it hath been used, upon pain of forfeiture of all the said wares showed or sold in any other place than aforesaid; the show of the said wares to be made three days in the week, that is to say, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; it is also thought reasonable that the common beam be kept henceforth in the Leaden Hall, and the farmer to pay therefore reasonable rent to the chamber; for better it is that the chamber have advantage thereby than a foreign person; and also the said Leaden Hall, which is more chargeable now by half than profitable, shall better bear out the charges thereof; also the common beam for wool at Leaden Hall, may yearly pay a rent to the chamber of London, toward supportation and charges of the same place; for reason it is, that a common office, occupied upon a common ground, bear a charge to the use of the commonalty; also, that foreigners bringing wools, felts, or any other merchandises or wares to Leaden Hall, to be kept there for the sale and market, may pay more largely for the keeping of their goods than free men” (Stow’s Survey, p. 164).



158A granary was kept at Leaden Hall, the use of which depended entirely on the forethought of the mayor. Thus, in 1512, Roger Acheley, the mayor, found that there were not one hundred quarters of wheat in all the garners of the City. He took immediate steps, and not only imported wheat for present necessities, but also filled the granaries of the City. Stow adds a note as to the activity of the mayor: “He kept the market so well, that he would be at the Leaden Hall by four o’clock in the summer mornings; and thence he went to other markets, to the great comfort of the citizens.”

In 1529 a petition was presented by the Commons to the Common Council on the uses to which Leaden Hall might be put. It should not be let out to farm to any person or to any Company incorporate for any time of years, and they proceeded to give their reasons.

About the year 1534 an effort was made to convert Leadenhall into a Burse. This failed, and the Burse continued to be held in Lombard Street until the building of the Royal Exchange. This is interesting, because it shows that Gresham was not alone in desiring to have a convenient building for the meeting of the merchants.

“The use of Leaden Hall in my youth (says Stow) was thus:—In a part of the north quadrant, on the east side of the north gate, were the common beams for weighing of wool and other wares, as had been accustomed; on the west side of the gate were the scales to weigh meal; the other three sides were reserved for the most part to the making and resting of the pageants showed at Midsummer in the watch; the remnant of the sides and quadrants was employed for the stowage of wool sacks, but not closed up; the lofts above were partly used by the painters in working for the decking of pageants and other devices, for beautifying of the watch and watch-men; the residue of the lofts were letten out to merchants, the wool winders and packers therein to wind and pack their wools” (p. 166).

The market in 1754 is thus described by Strype:

“Leadenhall is a very large building of Free-stone, containing within it three large Courts or Yards, all encompassed with buildings, wherein is kept a market, one of the greatest, the best, and the most general for all provisions in the City of London, nay of the Kingdom; and, if I should say of all Europe, I should not give it too great a praise. The building hath flat battlements leaded at the top; and, for the conveniency of People’s coming to this great market, which is kept every day of the week, except Sundays, for one thing or the other, besides the principal entrance out of Leadenhall Street, there are two or three others, one out of Lime Street, and the rest out of Gracechurch Street.

“Of the three Courts or Yards that it consists of, the first is that at the north-east corner of Gracechurch Street, and opens into Leadenhall Street; this court or yard contains, in length, from north to south, one hundred and sixty-four feet, and, in breadth, from east to west, eighty feet; within this court or yard, round about the same, 159are about one hundred standing stalls for butchers for the selling only of beef, and therefore this court is called the Beef Market, many of which stalls are eight, ten, or twelve feet long, and four, five, or six feet broad, with racks, hooks, blocks, and all other conveniences for the sale of their meat: All which stalls are either under warehouses above head, or sheltered from the weather by roofs over them. This yard is, on Tuesdays, a market for leather, to which the tanners do resort. On Thursdays the waggons from Colchester, and other parts, come with Baiz, etc., and also the Felmongers with their wool; and on Fridays it is a market for raw hides, besides Saturdays for Beef, as also other provisions.

“The second market-yard is called the Green yard, as being once a green Plat of Ground. Afterwards it was the City’s Store-yard for Materials for building, and the like, but now a market only for veal, mutton, lamb, etc. This yard is one hundred and seventy feet in length, from east to west, and ninety feet broad from north to south: It hath in it one hundred and forty stalls for the butchers, all covered over, and of the bigness of those in the beef-market. In the middle of this Green yard Market, north to south, is a row of shops, with kitchens, or rooms over them, for fishmongers; and, also, on the south side and west end, are houses and shops also for fishmongers. Towards the east end of this yard is erected a fair market-house, standing upon columns, with vaults underneath, and rooms above, with a bell-tower and a clock, and under it are butchers’ stalls. The tenements round about this yard are, for the most part, inhabited by cooks, victuallers, and such-like; and, in the passages leading out of the streets, into this market, are fishmongers, poulterers, cheesemongers, and such-like traders for provision.

“The third market belonging to Leadenhall is called the Herb Market, for that herbs, roots, fruits, etc., are only there sold. This market is about one hundred and forty feet square; the west, east, and south sides have walks round them, covered over for shelter, and standing upon columns; in which walks there are twenty-eight stalls for gardeners, with cellars under them. There is also, in this yard, one range of stalls covered over for such as sell tripe, neats-feet, sheeps-trotters, etc., and, on the south side, the tenements are taken up by Victuallers, Cheesemongers, Butchers, Poulterers, and such-like.

“The rooms in the stone building about the beef-market, which is properly Leadenhall, are employed for several uses, as the west side was wholly used for the stowage of wares belonging to the East-India Company; on the east side is the meal-warehouse and the Wool-hall; on the south end is the Colchester Baiz-hall, and at the north end is the warehouse for the sealing of leather.

“The general conflagration of this city, in 1666, terminated in that part of the City near adjoining to this hall; all the houses about it, and within the yards belonging to it, being destroyed, there did, of this fabric, only remain the stonework; since which, the Courts and yards belonging to this building, and some other adjacent 160grounds purchased by the City, are wholly converted into a market for the City’s use; the place for the reception of Country butchers, and others who brought provisions before to the City, being then only in Leadenhall Street, between Gracechurch Street and Lime Street, which was very incommodious to the market people, as well as to the passengers.”


Leadenhall Market is in four rays of varying lengths; the longest is about 80 feet, the shortest about 30. These are covered in by a wide arched roof of glass, supported by girders, and are about 30 feet wide. At each entrance there is a similar design. On either side a couple of massive fluted columns are surmounted by griffins, which support the arch. These are decorated with gilt. Over the entry is an arch of great height, with a stone relief, and on the frieze below the words “Leadenhall Market.” The market was built in 1881, designed by Sir Horace Jones, and is occupied to a very great extent by poulterers and butchers. There are roughly about fifty holdings and two taverns, the Lamb and the Half Moon.

There was a chapel in the market, to which was attached a Fraternity of the 161Trinity of sixty priests, with other brethren and sisters, in which service was celebrated every day.

The chapel was taken down in 1812 (see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 373).

In Leadenhall Street have been found Roman remains, a pavement, pottery, etc.

A crypt existed under the house 153 Leadenhall Street until 1896, when it was destroyed.


“Under the corner house of Leadenhall and Bishopsgate Streets, and two houses on the east, and one on the north, side thereof, was situate a very ancient church of Gothic construction, the principal part of which is still remaining under the said corner house, and two adjoining in Leadenhall Street; but part of the north aisle beneath the house contiguous in Bishopsgate Street, was lately obliged to make way to enlarge the cellar. When or by whom this old church was founded I cannot learn, it not being so much as mentioned by any of our historians or surveyors of London that I can discover.

“Some other ancient architectural remains, perhaps originally connected with the former, were also found under the houses extending up the eastern site of Bishopsgate Street. The description of their situation, given by Maitland, fixes their locality to the side of the very house at which the fire of 1765 commenced; and which appears to have continued until that time in the same kind of occupation as it 162was when the ensuing account of these ruins was written. ‘At the distance of 12 feet from this church,’—namely the remains already noticed at the north-east corner of Leadenhall Street—‘is to be seen, under the house at the late Mr. Macadam’s, a peruke-maker in Bishopsgate Street, a stone building of the length of 30 feet, breadth of 14, and altitude of 8 feet 6 inches above the present floor; with a door in the north-side, and a window at the east end, as there probably was one in the west. It is covered with a semi-circular arch, built with small piers of chalk in the form of bricks, and ribbed with stone, resembling those of the arches of a bridge. What this edifice at first was appropriated to is very uncertain; though, by the manner of its construction, it seems to have been a chapel; but the ground having been since raised on all sides, it was probably converted into a subterraneous repository for merchandise; for a pair of stone stairs, with a descending arch over them, seems to have been erected since the fabric was built’” (Wilkinson, Londina Illustrata).

The most important house in the street next to the Leadenhall itself was the East India House, which stood near to the Hall. The Company first met, according to tradition, at the Nag’s Head Tavern, Bishopsgate; they then had a house in Leadenhall Street; they took on lease in 1701—perhaps it was their first house—Sir William Craven’s large house in Leadenhall Street, with a tenement in Lime Street. This is probably the house pictured in a print in the British Museum.

In 1726 the “Old” East India House was built, of which several parts were retained in the new buildings of 1799.

Hardly any part of the City, unless it be the south of Cornhill, is so honeycombed with courts and passages as the quarter upon which we are now engaged. For the most part they are not distinguished by any historical associations. Some of them formerly contained taverns and inns. The courts are greatly diminished in size; some of them were narrow lanes with houses standing face to face, a few feet apart; some of them formerly contained gentlemen’s houses. Why were these houses built in a court? The explanation is easy. The town-house of noble or merchant was built like a college: a gateway with a chamber over it in front, rooms beside the gate in case of a nobleman with a retinue; in other cases a wall enclosing a garden in a square, on either side rooms, at the back the Hall and what we call reception rooms, with the private rooms of the family. When land became more valuable the rooms beside the gateway became shops, then there was building at the back of the shops, the sides became contracted, and there were left at last only the court, the gateway, and the house beyond. There are several places in the City where this history of a house may be traced, the modern offices being built on the site of the old foundation, the gateway having disappeared, and the court still remaining.

“Anno 1136. A very great fire happened in the City, which began in the house of one Ailward, near London Stone, and consumed all the way east to 163Aldgate, and west to St. Erkenwald’s shrine in St. Paul’s Cathedral, both which it destroyed, together with London Bridge, which was then constructed of wood.

“It is reasonable to conjecture, that the accumulation of ruins these extensive fires occasioned left the distressed inhabitants little choice in their determination; and as it would have caused infinite trouble and inconvenience to have cleared and removed the same, they wisely preferred sacrificing a few (to them) useless buildings, raised and levelled the ground, and began a foundation for new dwellings on the site of the roofs of some of their remaining habitations. The amazing descent to the banks of the Thames from several parts of the City confirms the opinion that most of the buildings denominated crypts, oratories, or undercrofts, were, in their pristine states, level in their foundations with the dwelling-places of their original builders. What greatly adds to the probability is the circumstance of our being informed that near Belzeter’s Lane (Billiter Lane) and Lime Street, three new houses being to be built, in the year 1590, in a place where was a large garden plot enclosed from the street by a high brick wall, upon taking down the said wall and digging for cellarage, another wall of stone was found directly under the brick wall with an arched gateway of stone, and gates of timber to be closed in the midst towards the street. The timber of the gates was consumed, but the hinges of iron were then remaining on their staples on both sides: moreover, in that wall were square windows with bars of iron on each side this gate. The wall was above two fathoms deep under the ground, supposed to be the remains of those great fires before mentioned. Again, we learn, on the east side of Lime Street opening into Fenchurch Street, on that site, after the fire of 1666, Sir Thomas Cullum built thirty houses, and that a short time previous to 1757, the cellar of one of the houses giving way, there was discovered an arched room, ten feet square and eight feet deep, with several arched doors round it stopped up with earth” (Wilkinson, Londina Illustrata, vol. ii. p. 43).

In 1660 the mayor, Sir Thomas Allen, resided in Leadenhall Street and entertained Monk. At the corner of St. Mary Axe stood, in the fifteenth century, the town-house of the De Veres, Earls of Oxford.

Gibbon’s great-grandfather, one of the last of the younger sons of county families who came to London and went into trade, had his shop as a draper in Leadenhall Street.

In this street Peter Anthony Motteux, translator of Don Quixote, kept an “East India” shop. He was a Huguenot, and could speak and understand many languages. He was also employed as a linguist at the Post Office. In addition to his shop and his office, he worked as a poet and man of letters generally; being the author of plays, prologues, and epilogues. He is best known by his completion of Urquhart’s Translation of Rabelais. He was a loose liver, and died in a disorderly 164house in St. Clement Danes. Like the lady of Père la Chaise, “Resigned unto the Heavenly Will, His wife kept on the business still.”


St. Katherine Cree, in Leadenhall Street, is on the site of the cemetery of the Priory of Holy Trinity, whence it derives its name Creechurch or Christchurch. This priory is said to have been built in the same place where Siredus sometime began to erect a church in honour of the Cross and of St. Mary Magdalen. This ancient church contributed thirty shillings to the Dean and Chapter of Waltham. The abbey church here is also dedicated to the Holy Cross, and when Matilda founded Christ Church or Trinity she gave to the Church of Waltham a mill instead of this payment. But little is known of the building of Siredus; but Matilda’s Priory is said to have occupied parts of the parishes of St. Mary Magdalen, St. Michael, St. Katherine, and the Blessed Trinity, which now was made but one parish of the Holy Trinity, and was in old time of the Holy Cross or Holy Rood parish. At this time, therefore (1108), the old parish of the Holy Rood had disappeared, and four parishes appear on its site. In the perambulation of the old soke of the Priory we find the parishes of Coleman Church (St. Katherine), St. Michael, St. Andrew (Undershaft), and of the Trinity (now St. James’s, Duke’s Place), but St. Mary Magdalen and Holy Rood are not mentioned. This loss of St. Mary Magdalen is not easily explained. Could the Church of St. Andrew have been dedicated formerly to St. Mary Magdalen? Such changes in dedication are known, and, even in this ward or soke, Stow tells us that St. Katherine Coleman was called St. Katherine and All Saints.

This would make up all the parishes which are given at the several periods in this locality. The existence of St. Katherine Coleman and St. Katherine Cree as two distinct parishes adjoining is remarkable. The parish of St. Katherine Coleman belonged to the ancient establishment of St. Martin’s-le-Grand, and so remained until the Dissolution. Was it a part of this parish which was taken into the precinct of the Trinity? The inhabitants of the enclosed parish of Cree Church at first used the Priory church, but it was agreed afterwards that they should have a church erected, and use the Priory church only at certain times. This would be what we might expect of a part of a parish detached at the establishment of the Priory, but which desired to be released from the control of the prior, and to be a parish of itself, with its own church. We must not confound the parish of St. Mary Magdalen with a small parish of St. Mary the Virgin, St. Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins. This was on the west side of St. Mary Axe, and belonged to the Priory of St. Helen. The church was destroyed, and the parish united, by Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London, to St. Andrew, Undershaft, in the year 1561.

The parishioners had been allowed to worship at an altar in the Priory church, but this being inconvenient, St. Katherine’s was built through the agency of Richard de Gravesend, Bishop of London, 1280-1303. It was rebuilt in 1628-1630, possibly after the design of Inigo Jones. The steeple, which was built in the early sixteenth century, is still standing. The church was consecrated by Laud in 1631. In 1874 the parish of St. James’s, Duke’s Place, was annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1436.

The patronage of which was in the hands of the Prior and Canons of Holy Trinity, London. Henry VIII. seized it in 1540, and soon after granted it to Sir Thomas Audley, who gave it, by his will dated April 19, 1544, to the Master and Fellows of Magdalene College, Cambridge, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 542.

The church is a mixture of the Gothic and classical styles. It contains two narrow aisles separated from the nave by Corinthian columns and round arches, above which is a clerestory. The roof is groined, and the arms of the City and several City Companies are displayed on it. The building is 94 feet long, 51 feet broad, and 37 feet high. It is larger than the original church, of which the sole relic now existing is a pillar at the south-west, less than three feet above ground, owing to the higher level of the new church. The 165stone steeple rises at the west and consists of a tower surmounted by a Tuscan colonnade with a cupola and vane; its total height is 75 feet.

A chantry was founded here at the Altar of St. Michael.

The church is not rich in historical monuments. It contains, however, the tomb of Nicholas Throckmorton, Chief Butler of England and intimate friend of Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth.

Tradition said that Hans Holbein was buried here, but there is no evidence for it except that he died in the vicinity.

There is a brass in the floor in front of the communion table, commemorating Sir John Gayer, Lord Mayor in 1646 and staunch adherent of Charles I., for which he suffered imprisonment.

At the west end there is a bas-relief to Samuel Thorpe (died 1791): this is only interesting as being the work of the elder Bacon.

Sir John Gayer bequeathed £200 for charitable purposes, amongst them a fee for a sermon to be preached on October 16 annually, and though the charity is now diverted, yet the “Lion sermon,” in commemoration of the donor’s delivery from a lion in Arabia, is still kept up.

There was a charity school at the end of Cree Church Lane, in which forty boys were clothed and taught, by subscriptions from the inhabitants of the ward.

Roger Maynwaring (1590-1653), Bishop of St. David’s, was a perpetual curate here; also Nicholas Brady (1659-1726), joint author of Tate and Brady’s version of the Psalter.

The north of Leadenhall Street between St. Katherine Cree and Aldgate, from the year 1130 and the suppression of the Religious Houses, was covered with the buildings of the Priory of the Holy Trinity already described (see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 241).

The buildings of the Priory were given by the King to Sir Thomas Audley in 1531 after the surrender.

The Earl of Suffolk, son of the Duke who was beheaded in 1572, sold the house and precinct to the City of London, and built Audley End in Essex. The City seems to have pulled down the mansion and laid out the grounds in streets and courts. The disposition of these seems to preserve, to a certain extent, that of the old Priory.

When the people began to settle in the precinct, they found themselves, although so close to St. Katherine Cree, without a parish church. They therefore petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury, who obtained permission of the King to build a new church here, and to erect a new parish. The church was finished and dedicated to St. James in 1622. The memory of the consecration is described at length by Strype. This quarter was assigned to the Jews by Oliver Cromwell in 1650. Here is the Great Synagogue of the German Jews.

St. James’s was one of the most notorious of the many places for irregular marriages, those without licence, because as standing in the ancient precinct of the Priory it was without the jurisdiction of the bishop.

St. James’s, Duke’s Place, escaped the Great Fire of 1666.

In 1873 the church was pulled down and its parish united with that of St. Katherine Cree Church. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1622.

This church was in the gift of the Lord Mayor and Commonalty of London from 1622.

166Few monuments, and none of much note, are recorded by Stow. Booker, an astrologer, was commemorated by a stone inscription.

Sir Edward Barkham is the only benefactor whose name is recorded by Stow.

The modern Leadenhall Street is at the west end full of fine, well-executed Chambers. Of these, New Zealand Chambers are the most noticeable. The building is by R. Norman Shaw in the pseudo-ancient style. It was erected in 1872, and is carried out in red brick. The bayed windows on either side of the entrance are placed in wide recesses which run right up the frontage. Africa House is in a commonplace style, but has rather good stone panels on the front. On the north Leadenhall House is solidly faced in granite, with granite columns on the frontage. West India House is neatly built in white stone.

Farther eastward the street is singularly dull; it is lined at first by dreary blocks of imitation stone buildings. These are succeeded by brick buildings all turned out of the same mould. The north side is better than the south, and is chiefly made up of solid, well-built houses on various designs.

At No. 153 the ground-floor is occupied by a bric-à-brac shop. Below the parapet there is a curious triangular pediment let into the brickwork. This encloses a round stone with an inscription on it, of which the first word seems to be “incendio”; on either side is a small shelf.

The London Joint Stock Bank is a few doors off. No. 140, an Aerated Bread Shop, is fantastically built, in imitation of an old style. The Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Company is in a stone and terra-cotta building, with well-designed figures in slight relief in the corners of the windows.

Aldgate, spelt otherwise Alegate or Algate, was probably, but not certainly, opened and constructed by Queen Matilda, Consort of Henry I., who is also said to have built the bridge over the Lea at Bow. There seems no reason for doubting the story.

On the spelling of the name Professor Skeat writes, September 18, 1897:

“It occurs to me to say that in any case of interpreting spellings, the date of the spelling is of the greatest service. We now know the meanings of all the vowel symbols at all dates. If we can obtain a few early spellings of Aldgate, with approximate dates, we ought to be able to decide it. We have to remember that all, in composition meant ‘wholly,’ and was adverbial as in Al-mighty, and ‘wholly gate’ gives no sense. If ‘for all’ were intended, it would be alra, aller, or alder, the genitive of plural. This is not a question of etymology but of grammar. On the other hand, if the M.E. Ald [now spelt Old] were meant, I have proof that a Norman scribe would be apt to omit the d; so that Alegate would, in fact, be quite regular. And it would not necessarily become Oldgate in course of time; just as Acton, though it means Oaktown, is called Acton still. This is due to what we call the preservation of a short or shortened vowel, owing to stress.”

167And again, writing on 21st September, he says:

“The list of spellings which you send me is most interesting, but it is not easy to explain it. I can remember a time when I should have drawn the conclusion that they are very much against connecting the word with the Old Mercian ald, which we now spell old. But my recent investigations tell the other way; not only were perfectly common words persistently (but regularly) mis-spelt in Domesday and early charters, from the time of the Conquest till about 1350, but in many instances (as would likely be the case in official documents) such habits became stereotyped. The early scribes were nearly all Norman, and they brought in Norman spelling to that extent that the whole of modern English is pervaded by it; indeed, no one who does not know the phonetic laws of Anglo-French can explain why the word house is spelt with ou, or the word build with ui.... The explanation of the spelling Ald in 1270 is probably simply this: that this particular charter (contrary to practice) was entrusted to an English scribe. It is a simple supposition—English spellings began to prevail in these matters in the period from 1350-1400, and it is just here that we get two instances. The Normans learnt Latin easily: to an English scribe it was a foreign language. This is why the French scribes were preferred for writing Latin documents. After 1400 such French spellings as affect the true sound are rare; this is why, after that the E. form prevails. But we must remember that many Englishmen do not fully pronounce the d in Aldgate even now, but slur it over; and in days of phonetic spelling such things were reproduced. I should say the evidence can only be explained, on the whole, from the supposition that the English word was Ald, preserved in composition instead of being turned into old (as it did when standing alone); and this will explain eald also, as eald is the Wessex form of Ald, adopted in 1598 as a mere bit of pedantry, but at the same time showing that the belief then prevailed. This is all I have to say about Aldgate.”

The gate was rebuilt by Norman, first Prior of Holy Trinity. The weigh-house for weighing corn was in the gateway.

After the Fire, Aldgate was used for the prisoners who had been confined in the Poultry Compter.

In 1374 the gate was let on lease to Geoffrey Chaucer. Here followeth the lease itself:

“To all persons to whom this present writing indented shall come, Adam de Bury, Mayor, the Aldermen, and the Commonalty of the City of London, greeting. Know ye that we, with unanimous will and assent, have granted and released by these presents unto Geoffrey Chaucer the whole of the dwelling-house above the gate of Algate, with the rooms built over, and a certain cellar beneath, the same gate, on the South side of that gate, and the appurtenances thereof; to have and to hold the whole of the house aforesaid, with the rooms so built over, and the said cellar, and 168the appurtenances thereof, unto the aforesaid Geoffrey, for the whole life of him, the said Geoffrey. And the said Geoffrey shall maintain and repair the whole of the house aforesaid, and the rooms thereof, so often as shall be requisite, in all things necessary thereto, competently and sufficiently, at the expense of the same Geoffrey, throughout the whole life of him, the same Geoffrey. And it shall be lawful for the Chamberlain of the Guildhall of London, for the time being, so often as he shall see fit, to enter the house and rooms aforesaid, with their appurtenances, to see that the same are well and competently, and sufficiently, maintained and repaired, as aforesaid. And if the said Geoffrey shall not have maintained or repaired the aforesaid house and rooms competently and sufficiently, as is before stated, within forty days after the time when by the same Chamberlain he shall have been required so to do, it shall be lawful for the said Chamberlain wholly to oust the before-named Geoffrey therefrom, and to re-seise and resume the same house, rooms, and cellar, with their appurtenances, into the hand of the City, to the use of the Commonalty aforesaid; and to hold the same in their former state to the use of the same Commonalty, without any gainsaying whatsoever thereof. And it shall not be lawful for the said Geoffrey to let the house, rooms, and cellar, aforesaid, or any part thereof, or his interest therein, to any person whatsoever. And we, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty aforesaid, will not cause any gaol to be made thereof, for the safekeeping of prisoners therein, during the life of the said Geoffrey; but we and our successors will warrant the same house, rooms, and cellar, with their appurtenances, unto the before-named Geoffrey, for the whole life of him, the same Geoffrey, in form aforesaid: this however excepted, that in time of defence of the city aforesaid, so often as it shall be necessary, it shall be lawful for us and our successors to enter the said house and rooms, and to order and dispose of the same, for such time, and in such manner, as shall then seem to us to be most expedient. And after the decease of the same Geoffrey, the house, rooms, and cellar aforesaid, with their appurtenances, shall wholly revert unto us and our successors. In witness whereof, as well the Common Seal of the City aforesaid as the seal of the said Geoffrey, have been to these present indentures interchangeably appended. Given in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the City aforesaid, the 10th day of May, in the 48th year of the reign of King Edward, after the Conquest the Third” (Riley’s Memorials, pp. 377-378).

“This,” says Stow, “is one and the first of the four principal gates, and also one of the seven double gates, mentioned by Fitzstephen. It hath had two pair of gates, though now but one; the hooks remaineth yet. Also there hath been two portcloses; the one of them remaineth, the other wanteth, but the place of letting down is manifest.”

“This gate being very ruinous, was pulled down Anno 1606; when, in digging for a new foundation, divers Roman coins were discovered, two of which Mr. Bond, the Surveyor, caused to be cut in stone, and placed in the east front on each side 169the passage. The first stone of this edifice was laid Anno 1607, at the depth of sixteen feet, and finished Anno 1609.

“Here was only one postern, and that on the north side, for foot-passengers; and a water-conduit at the south-east angle thereof; but the last being disused for many years, two houses were erected in lieu of it, in the year 1734, and a postern made on the south side of the gate. The apartments over this gate are appropriated to the use of one of the Lord Mayor’s Carvers, and at present are lett to the Charity School founded by Sir John Cash” (Maitland, vol. i. pp. 22-23).

The gate was taken down in 1761.

Drawn by Thos. H. Shepherd.


In 1291, Thomas de Alegate leaves to his wife Eleanor, his houses within Alegate (Calendar of Wills). The street is often mentioned afterwards.

The ward of Aldgate in the year 1276 was called the ward of John of Northampton, the then alderman. There was a hermitage on the south side of the gate within a garden; the garden was let, in 1325, to one Peter a “blader,” or corn merchant. It is not stated whether the hermitage was then occupied. There were houses beside the gate in 1354. The Prior of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, was alderman ex officio of Portsoken Ward; in 1378 we find him sworn to fill the office “and faithfully to do all things touching that office.”

In 1349, the Calendar of Wills speaks of tenements in “Algate Street.” Roman 170remains have been found in Aldgate; at the gate there was a “Roomland”; without the gate was a great pit for the burial of those who died of the plague. In 1315 Sir John de Sandale, leaving London on business of the King, put the Great Seal into the custody of Sir William de Ayremynn at his inn near Aldgate. In the same year he received at his inn Edward de Baliol, newly returned from beyond the sea.

At the east end of the street, under a house facing the pump, was still to be seen, until 1868, a crypt formerly supposed to have been that of an ancient church, dedicated to St. Michael and taken down when the Priory of the Holy Trinity was first founded.

This handsome Gothic structure, which is situated between the east end of Leadenhall and Fenchurch Streets, under the houses fronting the pump at Aldgate, is still remaining entire, exhibiting a most beautiful specimen of ancient architecture.

It is shown (L. & M. Archæological Journal, iv. p. 223 et seq.) that the crypt could not have been that of St. Michael’s Church. The paper referred to proved that the Church of St. Michael was not on that site at all. It quotes from the Liber Dunthorne the boundaries of the soke of the monastery of the Trinity, which are very nearly the same as those of Aldgate ward.

It concludes that it was more likely the crypt of a great house, perhaps the ward house.

Rowland Taylor, before being burned for heresy, was taken to the Woolpack, an inn without Aldgate, and kept there.

A curious story is told concerning the Duke of Buckingham in 1663. “When the Duke came from Newmarket he stayed at an Inn by Aldgate. Here a fellow told him his fortune, saying that he would die unfortunately, as his father did, or that a similar attempt would be made upon him by the 1st of April. On the Tuesday prior to the date of the letter, the usher of the duke’s hall went to bed about 9 at night and rose again about one in the morning and came up at the back and private way to the duke’s chamber where only he, his lady, and a maid were talking. The maid opened the door at his knock and the usher rushed in with a naked sword, at which the maid squeaking gave my lord an alarm and he turning back snatched up a knife and by his boldness daunted the fellow so that he got within him, became master of his sword, and by that time company came in. The duke sent after the fortune-teller but the writer did not know whether he had heard of him.”

Northward of Aldgate, Mitre Street leads to Mitre Square which is surrounded by large new buildings belonging to merchants. The ward school is reached through a rounded tunnel-like entry and proves a pleasant surprise. In itself it is only a square old brick house without an atom of style or ornament, but before it is a garden plot where lilac bushes grow, and over the blackened bricks of the house and adjoining wall climb big trees, hiding the dinginess. From here we get a view 171of the old red-tiled roofs of the houses in Duke Street. In the school there is free education, and 110 children are clothed at the expense of the charity.

At the back of the ward school stood, until 1874, St. James’s, Duke’s Place (see p. 165).


St. Botolph, Aldgate, stands at the junction of Aldgate Street and Houndsditch, and is said to have been originally founded about the reign of William the Conqueror. The old building remained standing till 1741, when it was pulled down and the present one erected under the direction of the elder Dance and completed in 1744. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1362. The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and the Canons of Holy Trinity, London; Henry VIII.; Robert Halywell, by grant of Elizabeth; George Puttenham, granted by Elizabeth in the 30th year of her reign; Francis Morrice, by James I., in the 7th year of his reign, since which time it has been held by several private persons, but is now in the hands of the Bishop of London. The benefice, which had been previously united with that of St. Katherine by the Tower, was in 1899 united with that of Holy Trinity Minories.

Houseling people in 1548 were 1530.

The present church is built of brick, with stone dressings. It includes two side-aisles separated from the central portion by Tuscan columns, supporting a flat ceiling. There are a great many windows, mostly filled with stained glass. The tower stands at the south, facing Aldgate High Street, and is surmounted by a small spire.

Chantries were founded here: For John Romeney, at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to which Humphrey de Durham was admitted chaplain, June 3, 1365; by Thomas Weston, whose endowment fetched £5 : 6 : 8 in 1548; by Alex. Sprot and John Grace, whose endowments yielded £22 : 15 : 8 in 1548.

The most interesting monument in this church is a tomb inscribed to the memory of Thomas, Lord Darcy and Sir Nicholas Carew, both of whom were concerned in the Roman Catholic plots against Henry VIII. and beheaded on Tower Hill, the former in 1537 and the latter in 1538. The memory of Robert Dowe, the charitable Merchant Taylor, is preserved by a monument erected by his Company, originally affixed to a pillar in the chancel, but now removed to the east gallery.

A great number of benefactors are recorded by Stow, some of the most notable of whom were: Robert Cockes, donor of £100; George Clarke, donor of £200 for a public school, and other large sums for parish purposes. The sum total of all the yearly gifts belonging to this parish recorded, amounted to £151 : 15 : 8.

There were two charity schools, one in the Freedom having fifty boys and forty girls, erected by Sir John Cass, alderman; the other, in East Smithfield, having forty boys and thirty girls maintained by subscription.

James Ardene (1636-91), D.D., Dean of Chester, 1682, was perpetual curate here in 1666; also White Kennett (1660-1728), Bishop of Peterborough.

St. Botolph’s Churchyard is a wide gravelled space with seats provided by the Metropolitan Public Spaces Association. There is an altar-tomb near the centre, and a row of flat tombstones of the usual pattern set back against the wall of the church. There are a few plane-trees and a row of little limes. It is a pleasant breathing space, used by the poorest of humanity, who come here for a little rest and sleep.

High Street, Whitechapel, is of great width and contains some large new brick and stone buildings. The Three Nuns Hotel, an immense red-brick building erected 172in 1877, and recently added to, stands near the station. By Crown Place, No. 23, is an old bow-windowed chop-house. On the east the chief feature is the large number of shops or stalls open to the street, covered by an awning or by a glass roof. These belong chiefly to butchers, and have a characteristic aspect. The last five or six houses before Mansell Street are all of considerable age and very picturesque.

Returning now westward we find:

The church and parish of St. Mary Axe, which are mentioned in the Calendar of Wills in the thirteenth century. Stow says of it:

“In St. Marie street had ye of old time a parish church of St. Marie the Virgin, St. Ursula and the eleven thousand Virgins, which church was commonly called St. Marie at the Axe, of the sign of an axe, over against the east end thereof, or St. Marie Pellipar, of a plot of ground lying on the north side thereof, pertaining to the Skinners in London. This parish, about the year 1565, was united to the parish church of St. Andrew Undershaft, and so was St. Mary at the Axe suppressed and letten out to be a warehouse for a merchant.”

Cunningham corrects this statement. The church was called St. Mary Axe because it possessed an Axe, one of the three with which the 11,000 Virgins were beheaded.

The parish is now united with that of St. Andrew Undershaft.


The Church of St. Andrew Undershaft stands at the corner of St. Mary Axe, and on the north side is the churchyard, a little space where a few young trees grow. It derives its name from the May-day custom of setting up a pole higher than the steeple before the south door. This custom was discontinued after “Evil May Day” (see Tudor London, p. 24). The present building, occupying the site of the original one, of unknown date, was erected, according to Stow, in 1520, at the expense of a Sir Stephen Jennings, William Fitzwilliams, and others. The work of restoration has been carried on here during the last thirty years. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1361. The patronage has always been in the hands of the Bishop of London, in whose successors it continues; he presented to it in 1361.

The church is a late example of the Perpendicular style, consisting of a nave and two side aisles, and surmounted by a tower, rebuilt in 1830, which is about 91 feet in height, and contains six bells. The aisles are divided from the nave by clustered columns and obtusely pointed arches, and above this is the clerestory. The spandrels between the arches were embellished with scriptural paintings in 1726, but they are now much faded. In 1875 the series of full-length portraits of Edward VI., Elizabeth, James I., Charles I., and Charles II., were transferred from the east window to the west, and modern stained glass took their place. A chantry was founded here by Alan de Chepe in 1311.

The most interesting monument is that of the great antiquarian John Stow; it is made of terra-cotta and is placed near the eastern end of the north wall. There is another dedicated to Sir Hugh Hammersley, sheriff 1618, and Lord Mayor 1627, part of the sculpture of which is very fine. On the east wall of the north aisle is a brass to Nicholas Levin, sheriff in 1534, and a liberal contributor to the work of building the church; the brass is not large, but twenty well-defined figures have been introduced. Sir William Craven, Lord Mayor, 1640, a great benefactor to the parish, was interred here, but has no monument; also Peter Antony Motteux, who wrote comedies and masques, and died in 1718. Seven remarkable old books are preserved in the vestry, Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, Sir W. Raleigh’s History of the World, and others; a fragment of the chain which formerly fastened Foxe’s book to a desk is still retained.

This church and parish received many charitable gifts, some of the donors of which were: Robert Gayer, £50; Sir Thomas Rich, £400; the widow of Mr. Van Citters, £200, for the apprenticeship of 173two parish children, 1706; and Joseph Chamberlain, £121 : 1s. in 1706. There was a charity school for fifty boys and thirty girls who were clothed, taught, and put out as apprentices by contribution. Among the most notable rectors were: John Russell (died 1494), Bishop of Rochester; John Pricket, Bishop of Gloucester; Robert Grove (1631-1696), Bishop of Chichester; and William Walsham How (1823-1897), Bishop of Bedford and of Wakefield.


Stow died in this parish and, it is believed, in St. Mary Axe itself, his windows overlooking the grounds and ruins of St. Helen’s nunnery.

174Another parish church stood in St. Mary Axe, at the north end against the wall. It was called St. Augustine’s-in-the-Wall. In the year 1430 the church was allotted to the Fraternity of the Papey, the house for poor priests.

The house was suppressed in the reign of Edward VI., and was afterwards occupied by Sir Francis Walsingham (see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 377).

The modern St. Mary Axe is not interesting. The old house at the corner of Great St. Helen’s is the first to be noticed. Next to it is another old one, stuccoed. A few doors northward is the Grapes public-house. Then follow a succession of more or less new warehouses, with narrow frontage, chiefly in red brick, not unpicturesquely designed. A very new red brick building with much ornamental detail is St. Anne’s Chambers, Nos. 37 to 41. This is succeeded by the ward school, which is of red brick and bears its name across its frontage. It is the ward school of Cornhill and Lime Street, and was established 1710. The present building was erected in 1846. A little model of St. George and the Dragon gives a touch of vivacity to its appearance. Beyond this are large brick business houses and warehouses. Bishopsgate Avenue is occupied chiefly by stationers and printers.

Bevis Marks.—“Then next is one great House, large of Rooms, fair Courts and Garden Plots, sometime pertaining to the Bassets, since that, to the Abbots of Bury in Suffolk, and therefore called Buries Marks, corruptly Bevis Marks. And since the Dissolution of the Abbey of Bury, to Thomas Heneage the Father, and Sir Thomas Heneage the Son.

“This House and Ground is now encreased into many Tenements: And among the rest, the Jews of London have of late built themselves a large Synagogue here, wainscotted round. It stands East and West like one of our Churches. The great Door is on the West: Near to which West End is a long Desk upon an Ascent, somewhat raised from the rest of the Floor; where I suppose the Law is read. The East wall is in part railed in; and before the Wall is a Door, which is to open with a Key, where their Law seems to be laid up. Aloft on this Wall are the Ten Commandments, or some part of them, inscribed in Golden Hebrew Letters without Points. There be seven great Branched Candlesticks of Brass hanging down from the Top; and many other Places for Candles and Lamps. The Seats are Benches, with Backs to them that run along from West to East” (Strype, vol. i. bk. ii. p. 73).

The modern Bevis Marks is lined on the west by substantial red-brick buildings chiefly occupied by merchants.

Heneage Lane, leading out of Bevis Marks, a narrow and dark thoroughfare, contains the synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. It is a plain structure externally, built in the year 1700. Standing in the midst of its courts and almshouses the place has somewhat the appearance of a Spanish convent. The interior is spacious and fitted with two galleries, one for women. The children attend service under one of the galleries.

175The derivation of Houndsditch as given by Stow is as unsavoury as the reputation the street later earned. “Called Hounds-ditch for that in old time when the same lay open much filth (conveyed forth of the Citie) especially dead dogges was there laid or cast.” Beyond the mud wall that enclosed the ditch was a “fayre field” where were the almshouses of the Priory of Holy Trinity.

“In my youth, I remember,” continues Stow, “devout people as well men as women of the Citie, were accustomed oftentimes, especially on Frydayes weekely, to walke that way purposely, and there to bestow their charitable almes; every poor man or woman lying in their bed within their window, which was toward the street open so low, that every man might see them.”

At present looking down Houndsditch from Bishopsgate Within the street presents a not unpicturesque appearance. On the south, indeed, it is one continuous row of dull brick box-like houses, but on the north one or two old projecting houses break the line. No. 96 is an old stuccoed house which projects in a broad bay above the first floor. Besides these old houses several high plain warehouses break up the monotony of the street line. Houndsditch is the centre of the old-clothes trade. To the north lie huge warehouses and industrial dwellings.

Bishopsgate.—There were two northern gates to the Roman wall: one of them corresponding with Newgate and the other with Bishopsgate. But the Saxon and mediæval Bishopsgate was not built on the site of the Roman gate, but a little to the west. The foundations of the Roman gate have been found in Camomile Street; they were built with carved stones taken from some Roman building, perhaps a villa, an illustration of my theory that the wall was built in great haste and that all the stone buildings of the City were used in its construction.

The massive masonry of the ancient “Newgate” has also been found close by the later gate in Giltspur Street.

The traffic along Bishopsgate Street, which led into the Roman Fort, and to the Bridge from the north and eastern parts of the island, caused a settlement and a street to be established here long before the wall was built. For the same reason, when the City began to fill up after its long period of desolation, the line was one of the first to be settled again, while on either side there were vacant spaces, orchards, fields, and gardens. Houses and shops sprang up both within and without the wall; the latter only when the Norman power had removed the fear of another siege. It is impossible to say with any certainty when the street was actually recognised as such. Thus, to quote such facts as are accessible in Riley’s Memorials, in the Calendar of Wills, etc., we find that in 1259, 1272, 1285, and 1288 there are mentioned “houses near, or within, Bishopsgate,” and in 1309 and 1311 there are “houses without” Bishopsgate. In 1329 we find a brew-house in Bishopsgate Street. Again, in 1314 the shops of one Roger Poyntel are in danger by reason of 176an overhanging elm-tree, thanks to which we learn that there were at that time residents close by the gate; in 1305 a tourelle in the wall near the gate is given to William Coeur de Lyon, chaplain, on condition that he keeps it in repair; in 1314 another tourelle near the gate is given to John de Elyngham, chaplain in charity, on the same condition; in 1318 the upper chamber of the gate, together with a tourelle on the east, and a garden against the wall, is granted to John de Long, an Easterling, or member of the Hanseatic League, on the same condition. In 1324 he renounced his lease and, apparently, went home. (Here we have an instance of a Hanseatic merchant living outside the Domus, or Aula Teutonicorum, where they were all supposed to live. But no absolute rule about anything can be laid down in these centuries.) The Almaines or Easterlings who were responsible for the repair and maintenance of the gate, were exempt from toll. On the other hand (another illustration of the conflicting “rights” of the time), the Bishop of London claimed one stock out of every cart-load of wood that passed through the gate. Let the Bishop, then, keep the hinges in repair!

The gate was built, it is said, by Bishop Erkenwald in 685. One supposes, since he did not rebuild on the Roman foundations, that a way had been made through the wall on the west side, and that traffic had, for convenience, chosen that way. The gate was considered, in some sense, to be under the special care of the Bishop. But the burden of its maintenance was laid upon the Hanseatic merchants. The case was tried and decided in 1282, when the merchants were ordered to keep the gate, and to find men and money if necessary in its defence for one-third of the cost. On the antiquities of the gate, hear also Stow:

“The eldest note that I read of this Bishopsgate, is that William Blund, one of the sheriffs of London, in the year 1210, sold to Serle Mercer, and William Almaine, procurators or wardens of London Bridge, all his land, with the garden, in the parish of St. Buttolph without Bishopsgate.

“Next I read in a charter, dated the year 1235, that Walter Brune, citizen of London, and Rosia his wife, having founded the priory or new hospital of our blessed Lady, since called St. Mary Spittle without Bishopsgate, confirmed the same to the honour of God and our blessed Lady, for canons regular.

“Also in the year 1247, Simon Fitzmary, one of the sheriffs of London, the 29th of Henry III., founded the hospital of St. Mary, called Bethlem without Bishopsgate.

“This gate was again beautifully built in the year 1479, in the reign of Edward IV., by the Haunce merchants.

“Moreover, about the year 1551, these Haunce merchants, having prepared stone for that purpose, caused a new gate to be framed, there to have been set up, but then their liberties, through suit of our English merchants, were seized into the king’s hand; and so that work was stayed, and the old gate yet remaineth.”



178In 1731 the old gate was taken down and another erected. This, with the other City gates, was removed in 1760.

If we walk down Bishopsgate Street Within, we cannot do better than take Stow with us, remembering that he is writing in the year 1598:

“And first to begin on the left hand of Bishopsgate street, from the gate you have certain tenements of old time pertaining to a brotherhood of St. Nicholas, granted to the parish clerks of London, for two chaplains, to be kept in the chapel of St. Mary Magdalen, near unto the Guildhall of London, in the 27th of Henry VI. The first of these houses towards the north, and against the wall of the city, was sometime a large inn or court called the Wrestlers, of such a sign, and the last in the high street towards the south was sometime also a fair inn called the Angel, of such a sign. Among these said tenements was on the same street side a fair entry, or court, to the common hall of the said parish clerks, with proper almshouses, seven in number, adjoining, for poor parish clerks, and their wives and their widows, such as were in great years not able to labour. This brotherhood, amongst other, being suppressed, in the reign of Edward VI. the said hall, with the other buildings there, was given to Sir Robert Chester, a knight of Cambridgeshire; against whom the parish clerks commencing suit, in the reign of Queen Mary, and being like to have prevailed, the said Sir Robert Chester pulled down the hall, sold the timber, stone, and lead, and thereupon the suit was ended. The almshouses remain in the queen’s hands, and people are there placed, such as can make best friends; some of them, taking the pension appointed, have let forth their houses for great rent, giving occasion to the parson of the parish to challenge tithes of the poor, etc.”

After mentioning St. Ethelburga, St. Helen’s, and St. Andrew Undershaft, he goes on:

“Then have you one great house called Crosby place, because the same was built by Sir John Crosby, grocer and woolman, in place of certain tenements, with their appurtenances, letten to him by Alice Ashfeld, prioress of St. Helen’s, and the convent, for ninety-nine years, from the year 1466 unto the year 1565, for the annual rent of £11 : 6 : 8.

“Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and lord protector, afterwards king, by the name of Richard III., was lodged in this house; since the which time, among other, Anthonie Bonvice, a rich merchant of Italy, dwelt there; after him, Garmain Cioll, then William Bond, alderman, increased this house in height, with building of a turret on the top thereof: he deceased in the year 1576, and was buried in St. Helen’s church. Divers ambassadors have been lodged there; namely, in the year 1586, Henry Ramelius, chancellor of Denmark, ambassador unto the queen’s majesty of England from Frederick II., the king of Denmark; an ambassador of France, etc. Sir John Spencer, Alderman, lately purchased this house, made great 179reparations, kept his mayoralty there, and since built a most large warehouse near thereunto.

“From this Crosbie place up to Leaden Hall corner, and so down Grass Street, amongst other tenements, are divers fair and large built houses for merchants and such like.

Drawn by Schnebbelie.


“Now for the other side of this ward, namely, the right hand, hard by within the gate, is one fair water conduit, which Thomas Knesworth, mayor, in the year 1505, founded: he gave £60, the rest was furnished at the common charges of the city. This conduit hath since been taken down and new built. David Woodroffe, alderman, gave £20 towards the conveyance of more water thereunto. From this conduit have you, amongst many fair tenements, divers fair inns, large for receipt of travellers, and some houses for men of worship; namely, one most spacious of all other thereabout, built of brick and timber by Sir Thomas Gresham, knight, who 180deceased in the year 1579, and was buried in St. Helen’s church, under a fair monument, by him prepared in his life: he appointed by his testament this house to be made a college of readers, as before is said in the chapter of schools and houses of learning.

“Somewhat west from this house is one other very fair house, wherein Sir William Hollis kept his mayoralty, and was buried in the parish church of St. Helen. Sir Andrew Jud also kept his mayoralty there, and was buried at St. Helen’s: he built almshouses for six poor alms people near to the said parish church, and gave lands to the Skinners, out of the which they are to give 4s. every week to the six poor alms people, 8d. the piece, and 25s. 4d. the year, in coals amongst them for ever” (Stow’s Survey, p. 181).

Shakespeare, who lived for a time in St. Helen’s, and therefore knew Crosby Hall well, has introduced it in Richard III. Sir Thomas More lived here for a time, the guest of Bonvici, to whom from the Tower he wrote, and in whose gown, of silk camlet, he went to his execution. In 1547 Bonvici let the house on lease to William Roper, More’s son-in-law, and to his nephew William Rastell, a printer. Under Edward VI., Bonvici, Rastell, and Roper went abroad, but came home under Mary. Meantime Edward VI. had conferred the house upon Sir Thomas D’Arcy, afterwards Lord D’Arcy, who seems to have sold it to William Bond, alderman and sheriff. Sir John Spencer next became the owner of the house. He received the Duc de Sully, Grand Treasurer of France, with all his retinue.

The way in which the inheritance of this great merchant came to the Comptons is told by Hare:

“Sir John Spencer, having but a poor opinion of the Compton family in that day, positively forbade the first Earl of Northampton to pay his addresses to his daughter, who was the greatest heiress in England. One day, at the foot of the staircase, Sir John met the baker’s boy with his covered barrow, and, being pleased at his having come punctually when he was ordered, he gave him sixpence; but the baker’s boy was Lord Northampton in disguise, and in the covered barrow he was carrying off the beautiful Elizabeth Spencer. When he found how he had been duped, Sir John swore that Lord Northampton had seen the only sixpence of his money he should ever receive, and refused to be reconciled to his daughter. But the next year Queen Elizabeth, having expressed to Sir John Spencer the sympathy which she felt with his sentiments upon the ingratitude of his child, invited him to come and be “gossip” with her to a newly-born baby in which she was much interested, and he could not refuse; and it is easy to imagine whose that baby was. So the Spencer property came to the Comptons after all” (Hare, vol. i. pp. 284-85).


181In 1642 the Earl of Northampton was killed at Hopton Heath, beside the King. Here lived the Countess of Pembroke, Sidney’s sister, immortalised by Ben Jonson’s epitaph. In 1640 Sir John Langham, sheriff in 1642, leased the house; it is said to have been used as a prison for Royalists. His son, Sir Stephen Langham, succeeded, and in his time a great part of the house was destroyed by fire. In 1672, its great hall became a Presbyterian meeting-house; it was then turned into a packers’ warehouse. In 1831 it was converted into an institute for lectures and is now a restaurant.[3]


The streets and courts leading out of Bishopsgate Street Within are neither important nor numerous. On the west side going south from the gate were inns called the Vine, the Four Swans, the Green Dragon, the Black Bull, and the Cross Keys (in Gracechurch Street).

Beginning at the south end of the modern Bishopsgate we see on the west the Bank of Scotland, the National Bank of Australasia, and the Delhi and London Bank, housed under one roof in a large stone building with the lower windows enclosed in exceptionally high and bold arches. Baring Bros. Bank is opposite. It is a plain, well-proportioned brick building, symmetrical and without tawdry 182ornament; it was designed by R. Norman Shaw. It is flanked on either side by a public-house, The Black Lion and the City of London Tavern. Just opposite the entrance of Threadneedle Street the Wesleyan Centenary Hall attracts attention by its size and solidity. Four immense fluted columns run up the facade to a frieze and triangular pediment. It was erected in 1839. Close by is the Bank of Scotland. It looks out on the really fine National Provincial Bank of England at the north corner of Threadneedle Street. This has fluted stone columns running up to the frieze along the whole frontage. They enclose very tall, round-headed windows, and above the windows are deep panels of great size executed in basso-relievo. It was erected in 1833 and the architect was J. Gibson. Along the parapet of the roof at intervals are placed statues which break the hard line.

Immediately opposite the entry, on the east side of the square we see a dreary block of brick houses; these are Crosby Buildings, and are fully occupied by representatives of trade and commerce. On the south side there is an old stuccoed house with a square pillared porch. The next house is of red brick with decorative brick panels let in on the face. This is an old house which has been recased. Its fine stuccoed doorway is still preserved. On the west a large red brick building bearing date 1876 fills up the space, and on the north is an old brick house with a plain projecting pediment over the door, and brackets similar to those on the south side. No. 7 in the north-east corner is a new stone house of plain but rather original design. A couple of little plane-trees grow up at either end of the quiet square.

A covered entry leads from Crosby Square to Great St. Helen’s. The first part of this tortuous thoroughfare is lined by the side of Crosby Buildings, modern brick, on the one side, and the end of the stuccoed synagogue, which stands back from the frontage of the street, on the other. About this part, and the narrow lane which succeeds it running north and south, there is little to say; the substantial business spirit pervades even the bricks and mortar. But in the open space beyond, facing the church, are some features of interest. Nos. 8, 9, and 10 have all been rebuilt in the large-windowed flat modern style. No. 7 is a fine old red brick house. No. 2 is a delightful one and has an ornamental doorway with fluted columns and pilasters supporting the lintel, beneath which on either side are cherubs’ heads. Across the wide space before the quaint and interesting church are other red brick houses, some old and some of more modern date. Close by the entry the builder is at work on the site of some charming old gabled houses demolished within the last five years.


There is a well-known tradition that a church was built here in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine, and there is a record preserved which proves that the church was in existence before the year 1010. A church standing on this site was given by one Ranulph, and Robert his son, to the Dean and 183Canons of St. Paul’s at a date unknown. About 1212, permission was obtained to found the Priory of St. Helen for nuns of the Benedictine Order and with this the real history of the church begins. It is always stated that the north aisle of the church was used by the nuns, while the south was occupied by the parishioners, but the first rector mentioned dates from 1541, that is to say, after the suppression of the Religious Houses. On the dissolution of the priory in 1538 the church was given in its entirety to parochial uses. It was largely repaired in 1631 (under the direction of Inigo Jones), in 1841, 1865, and again in 1891-93. In 1873 the Parish of St. Martin Outwich was united with this, its church having been pulled down.

Houseling people in 1548 were 220.

The church consists of two parallel naves, each of 122 feet in length and about 25 feet in width, and a south transept, out of which two eastern chapels open. In the north wall is an arched doorway which led from the choir into the priory, also a hagioscope through which the nuns were able to discern the high altar from the cloisters. All this part and some of the south transept dates from the thirteenth century; the side chapels were added about the middle of the fourteenth and the rest dates from the fifteenth century.

A chantry was founded in honour of the Holy Ghost for the soul of Adam Fraunceys, to which Joan, Prioress of the Convent of St. Helen, presented Robert Gryngeley, May 18, 1399, and for Agnes his wife (Hennessey’s Chantries, p. 39).

The church contains a remarkable number of interesting monuments. The following are commemorated: Alderman John Robinson, Merchant Taylor and merchant of the Staple of England; died 1599. Francis Bancroft, who bequeathed over £28,000 to the Drapers Company for the erection of almshouses and a school for boys; he died 1727. Martin Bond, M.P. in 1624 and 1625 for the City of London. Alberticus Gentilis, Merchant Adventurer and a prolific legal author who was an exile from Italy on account of his Protestant opinions; he became Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford and died in 1608. Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange and Gresham College, who died in 1579. Sir Andrew Judde, Lord Mayor in 1550, and a great benefactor of the parish. Sir Julius Cæsar, judge, Master of the Rolls under James I.; his monument was executed by Nicholas Stone, Master Mason to King Charles I. Sir William Pickering, Knt., soldier and scholar, whose monument is the most magnificent in the church; he distinguished himself greatly under Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth; he died in 1574. Sir John Crosby, already mentioned in connection with Crosby Hall. Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor in 1594, commonly known as “Rich Spencer” on account of his vast wealth. The Rev. J. E. Cox, D.D., who was Vicar-in-charge of the united parishes, wrote The Annals of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate, London; he was for nine years in succession Grand Chaplain of England. On the floors of the two chapels there are several brasses very well executed.

A considerable number of benefactors are recorded by Stow, but the amounts of their gifts were small individually. Sir John Crosby, at his death in 1475, bequeathed 500 marks for the repair of the church. In more recent times Francis Bancroft bequeathed over £28,000; this has been devoted to founding a school at Woodford, Essex, for boys—100 boarders and 200 day-boys. Sir Andrew Judde left the Skinners Company trustees for the accomplishment of charitable aims.

There were five almshouses near the church for as many decayed Skinners and their wives. Six almshouses also were founded by Sir Andrew Judde; in Little St. Helen Street there were seven houses for the same number of widows, each of whom had £5 : 4s. per annum.

Thomas Horton (d. 1673), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, 1649, was rector here.

For an account of the ancient nunnery of St. Helen, see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 313.

St. Helen’s Place is a quiet corner with monotonous rows of Early Victorian or Georgian brick houses finished off with yellow paint. No. 1, near the entrance, and No. 2 have slight pillared porches over their doorways. In the northeast 184corner the small but richly-decorated front of the Leathersellers’ Hall attracts attention. The place is shut off from the street by spiked iron gates.


Dealers in leather are supposed to have existed as a society or corporation in Britain from the time of the Romans.


The “leathersellers,” as a company, are first mentioned about A.D. 1372, in Edward III.’s reign, when their “probi homines,” or “bons gentz,” their wardens or seniors, came before the Court of Aldermen, together with those of the craft of Pursers, afterwards amalgamated with the Leathersellers Company, and jointly presented a bill or “supplication” desiring some stringent regulations to be made for the prevention of the sale of other than genuine leather, and to prevent fraudulent colouring of leather.

The leathersellers were known as a corporation in London, and were governed by ordinances, 1377-99.

The first charter of incorporation was granted to the Company by 22 Henry VI., 1444. It is still in their possession, and, “after reciting the petition of Thomas Bigge and fourteen others, men of the 185mistery of leathersellers of the city of London, sets forth an ordinance made by Richard Whittington, mayor, and the aldermen of the city, 21 Richard II., A.D. 1398, that two or four of the better or more approved men of the mistery should yearly be chosen and sworn to guard and oversee defaults in the same mistery, and to present, from time to time, to the mayor and chamber of the said city aforesaid for the time being; and that none of the mistery aforesaid, to wit, master or servant, should be rebellious or contrarious to such men so chosen and sworn, duly exercising search in the said mistery, nor points, or laces, unless they were well and sufficiently made, nor straps of the leather of sheep or calf, nor thereof any other work, should falsely or deceitfully be wrought to the deception of the people under pain of the heavy punishment upon such cases ordained, and the payment of 6s. 8d.; to wit, to the use of the Chamber of the city aforesaid 40d., and to the use of the said mistery 40d.”

There are now 151 members of the livery. They have a Corporate Income of £17,000 and a Trust Income of £3000. With the Leathersellers were incorporated the White Tawyers, or makers of white leather; the Pouchmakers, the Pursers, the Mailmakers, the Galoche-makers, the Tiltmongers, the Leather-dressers, the Parchment-makers and the Leather-dyers.

The earliest quarters of the trades connected with Leather were in the north under London Wall. Here they had their first hall. After the dissolution of the Religious Houses the Company obtained the site of the nunnery known as St. Helen’s. Part of the house was converted into the Company’s Hall, the old Refectory becoming the Company’s place of meeting and banqueting. This ancient structure was destroyed in 1797, the present one was built in 1878.

The low small Church of St. Ethelburga peers over some old houses, which seem to have stuck to it as barnacles to a decayed ship.


This church is dedicated to Ethelburga, who was sister of Erconwald, fourth Bishop of London, and first Abbess of Barking. In all probability the parish was formed and the church was built in the century which succeeded the Conquest. It escaped the Great Fire, and has subsequently had a great deal of attempted restoration. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1304.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: the Prioress and Convent of St. Helen’s, London, 1366; then Henry VIII. seized it and it was granted in 1569 to the Bishop of London, and continues with his successors.

Houseling people in 1548 were 140.

The present church, originally Early English, appears to have been altered at the close of the fourteenth century or early fifteenth. It is very small, measuring less than 60 feet by 30, and under 31 feet in height, and is almost crowded out by houses. Entrance is obtained through an archway between two shops, the upper stories of which conceal everything but the top of the west window and turret. It contains a south aisle separated from the rest by four pointed arches, with a clerestory above. The roof is divided into compartments and slopes slightly at the sides. The arch at the entrance of the nave is fine and there are remnants of wood-carving, probably of the sixteenth century, on the porch.

A chantry was founded here at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Gilbert Marion, and Christina his wife, to which Thomas More was admitted chaplain, December 15, 1436.

There are tablets affixed to the wall commemorating parishioners, but little interest attaches to the individuals. The only two connected with this church of any eminence are John Larke, a friend of Sir Thomas More, who was executed in 1554 for denying the King’s supremacy; and Luke Milbourne (1649-1720), Dryden’s hostile critic, rector here in 1704. William Bray (d. 1644), chaplain to Archbishop Laud, was also sometime rector.

In Clark’s Place is a building containing the Marine Society, with the statues of 186a woman and boy in a niche. In Bishopsgate Street, No. 68, is an old stuccoed house with projecting upper stories. No. 67 is also old though not so noticeable.

Part of Ethelburga House and the numbers on the north, as far as 23 inclusive, are in this ward. The corner house has a stone mitre of large size on its corner and an inscription, rather quaintly worded, announcing that the gate stood formerly “adjoining to this spot.” Looking back down Bishopsgate from here we get a fine perspective view. The modern buildings are of all heights, but distance blends them not inharmoniously, leaving enough variety to be pleasing.

Drawn by R. West, 1736.


The Mail Coach public-house is at the corner, and on the opposite house is a small mitre in memory of the Bishopsgate.

Just outside the City Wall is


This church escaped the Great Fire of 1666, but was rebuilt in 1725-29 by James Gold. In 1615 the City gave the parishioners additional ground on the west for burial purposes. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1323.

187The patronage of the church has always been in the hands of the bishops of London since 1323.

Houseling people in 1548 were 650.

The building includes two aisles, separated from the main body by composite columns. There are galleries on the north, south, and west. The steeple rises at the east end, and the chancel, therefore, is formed beneath the tower. It is built of stone and consists of three stories, the third of which is completed by a small composite temple surrounded by a balustrade and surmounted by an urn. The remainder of the exterior is of red brick with stone dressings.

Pictorial Agency.


Sir Paul Pindar, a great benefactor to the church, who acted as James I.’s Turkish Ambassador in 1611, was buried in this church, and a monument was erected to his memory. Close to this, also in the chancel, is a brass plate in memory of Sir William Blizard, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, who died in 1835. John Keats was baptized here in 1795, and Edward Alleyn, founder of Dulwich College, in 1566. Here also Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll and father of the celebrated first marquis, was married in 1609.

There were a considerable number of small charitable gifts belonging to this parish. Of the larger, 188Ralph Pindar was a donor of £60; Nicholas Reive, of £406 : 5s. in 1626; William, Earl of Devonshire, of £100.

There was one charity school for twenty-five boys and twenty-five girls, who were taught and made apprentices by subscription and legacies. Also almshouses in Lamb’s Court for the poor of the parish, maintained by Dulwich College, and three almshouses by the pesthouse for three poor widows, the gift of Lady Lumley.

Some of the notable rectors were: Alfred Earle, Bishop of Marlborough, in 1888; Charles James Blomfield (1786-1857), Bishop of Chester; John Lake (1624-89), Bishop of Chichester.

On the site of Spital Square, Bishopsgate Street Without, stood the ancient house called St. Mary Spital, for an account of which see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 322.

Bishopsgate Street Without is a curious mixture of old houses, some with grotesque features, and modern buildings presenting only a strip of much-ornamented stone or brick frontage. After the Great Eastern Hotel on the west, the frontage of the station presents a very long row of uniform buildings in new red brick with stone dressings and ornamental gable ends. The famous old house named Paul Pindar’s was pulled down to make way for these.

Paul Pindar (b. 1565) was the son of Ralph Pindar, alderman’s deputy for the ward of Bishopsgate. At sixteen he was apprenticed to one Parvish, an Italian merchant who sent him to Venice as his factor, and he stayed there many years. In 1615 he was sent to Turkey as Ambassador by request of the Turkey Company, and he remained there for nine years. He returned in 1623, and was knighted. The King offered him also the Lieutenancy of the Tower, which he declined. Charles thereupon made him Farmer of Customs.

In 1639 he possessed £236,000, out of which he gave large sums to the King. He died August 22, 1650. The row of houses that now stand on the site of his house have fairly good shops on the ground-floors, and there are one or two archway entrances into the station premises near the north end. The Black Raven public-house is one of these. Acorn Street, Skinner Street, and Primrose Street need very little comment. They are chiefly composed of the sides of houses fronting Bishopsgate, and some ordinary modern brick buildings.

Nos. 131-2-3 are old plaster houses, and No. 120, beyond Acorn Street, has a projecting bay window carried up two stories. This is also an old house. These are all on the west side. On the east, beginning again from the south end, the first building to attract attention is the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station, erected 1885. It is an improvement on the monstrosities continually perpetrated in the name of the Fire Brigade. The Bishopsgate Institute is near Brushfield Street. It fronts Bishopsgate with an elaborate yellow terra-cotta façade, and has an open entry. The entrance to the Bishopsgate Chapel is under an old stuccoed house, and the chapel itself is a large stuccoed building. Beyond this, after a Great Northern Receiving Office, are some very old houses, plastered with rough stucco in imitation 189of stone. These are Nos. 82 to 84. One of them has wooden rusticated work from above the first story to the top of the gable end. The date 1590 is stated to have been visible on one of them within the memory of man. On the corner house of Spital Street is a tablet noting the point of the City Bounds. This was placed here in 1846.



We come next to those streets which run north and south of Thames Street. The area is bounded on the north by Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s Churchyard, Cannon Street, and Fenchurch Street; on the south by the Thames; on the east by Tower Hill and the site of London Wall; and on the west by the bed of the Fleet River, now New Bridge Street. For the sake of convenience we will begin at the west end.

The wall of the City originally crossed Ludgate Hill at the gate, and ran down nearly in a straight line to the river. The Castle or Tower of Montfichet was in the middle of this piece of wall, and Baynard’s Castle was at the south end of it. The Tower of Montfichet passed into the Fitzwalter family, who also owned the soke beside it. Now, when the first enmity broke out between John and Fitzwalter, all the castles and houses of the latter were dismantled and destroyed by the King’s command. In 1276 the Dominicans begged permission to occupy a piece of ground lying between the wall and the river Fleet. Lord Fitzwalter gave the Friars the site of Castle Baynard and of Montfichet. They also obtained permission to pull down the town wall at this place, and to rebuild it farther west, so as to include their ground. Here the Black Friars settled and built great buildings, and claimed the right of sanctuary. Westward of the Black Friars was the house of the Carmelites, called the White Friars. They claimed right of sanctuary also, a right which descended to a haunt of rogues, called Alsatia, an account of which may be read in The Fortunes of Nigel:

“The ancient sanctuary at Whitefriars lay considerably lower than the elevated terraces and gardens of the Temple, and was therefore generally involved in the fogs and damps of the Thames. The brick buildings by which it was occupied crowded closely on each other.... The wailing of children, the scolding of their mothers, the miserable exhibition of ragged linens hung from the windows to dry, spoke the wants and distresses of the wretched inhabitants; while the sounds of complaint were mocked and overwhelmed in the riotous shouts, oaths, profane songs, and boisterous laughter that issued from the alehouses and taverns, which, as the signs indicated, were equal in number to all the other houses.”

Where is now Bridge Street was formerly the Fleet River, and on its western bank was Bridewell Palace, a palace where the Norman kings held Court.

191The old palace, burnt down in the Great Fire, was built round two courtyards; in its later days rebuilt, it followed the frequent fate of such ancient monuments, and became partly a “hospital” for poor boys, partly a prison for vagrants and other unwanted persons. It was also a hospital for lunatics, and was put under the same management as Bethlehem in 1557. Bridewell is also fully described in London in the Eighteenth Century. The part of London bounded north and south by Fleet Street and the River, east and west by New Bridge Street and the Temple, is now almost entirely occupied by mammoth printing-offices; yet on the Embankment are one or two buildings of note: Sion College, opened here in 1886 to supersede the old building on London Wall; the Guildhall School of Music; the City of London School for Girls (all modern).

After Blackfriars Bridge, running behind the line of wharves and warehouses, begins Thames Street, Upper and Lower, once one of the principal thoroughfares in London, a London that knew nothing of what is now called the “West End.” It is now a noisy street “pestered” with drays and vans, with cranes and their accompaniments, so that to walk therein in work-hours is a perilous proceeding.

Yet this ancient street, Thames Street, is, not even excepting West Chepe, the most interesting and the most venerable of all the streets of London. It is the seat of the export and the import trade. From Thames Street the City sent abroad the products of the country—the iron, the wool, the skins and hides; from Thames Street the City distributed the imports to the various parts of the country.

Off the wharves of Thames Street lay the shops of all the nations of Western Europe. In the narrow lanes leading down to the stairs between the quays lived the seafaring folk and those who worked for them, and those who worked for the merchants.

London at one time was roughly divided into belts of population. The first belt is that of the Service. It consists of the foreshore between Thames Street and the river, with the lanes and houses upon it. The second is that of the Merchants, between Thames Street and the Markets of West and East Chepe. The third is that of the Markets. The fourth that of the Industries between the Markets and the Wall.

As to the first: The Wall of London, when it was first erected, was carried along the river from the south-west angle to the Walbrook. Beyond the Walbrook the south wall of the Roman fortress formed a river-wall, which was continued as far as the south-east angle.

Beyond that stream the south wall of the Roman fort was allowed to remain as the river-side wall of the City, when all the rest of the Roman buildings, temples, public edifices, tombs, and villas were ruthlessly pulled down to build the wall towards the end of the fourth century.

Now, the wall between the south-west angle and the Walbrook ran along the 192middle of Thames Street. At the time of its construction there were, therefore, no buildings between the wall and the river. It was built about the middle of the bank, which sloped to the river below, with a narrow stretch of mud at low tide; and above it rose on the hill which still exists, to the higher ground on which the City stood. The breadth of the foreshore varied, but, of course, it was not very great. The first break in the wall was that which allowed for the waters of the Walbrook. Here there was the first port—the Roman port. It may have been the only port, unless, in their haste to complete the wall, which was undoubtedly built under the pressure of panic, the builders deliberately excluded other ports. In that case there may have been many, for nothing was easier than to make a small port, such as the two which still remain of Billingsgate and Queenhithe. A small square space was dug in the mud and shingle of the foreshore. It was maintained by piles placed close together along the three sides of the square, leaving the fourth side open for the ships. Other piles furnished support for wharves and quays.

It is therefore quite possible that there may have been other such ports. Puddle Dock may have been one. In the absence of any evidence which might lead one even to form a conjecture, we may believe that Queenhithe, originally Edred’s hithe, was of later, or Saxon, construction; while Billingsgate, close to London Bridge and Bridge Gate, was probably still earlier.

What happened, therefore, was this: On the increase of trade, when London was again settled in the sixth century, wharves and quays began to be pushed out on piles upon the foreshore of Billingsgate and Walbrook, or afterwards at other places, when a break in the wall allowed access to the City. When Queenhithe was constructed as an additional port, another break was needed in the wall, and wharves and quays were built along this part of the foreshore as well. The erection of the wharf on piles was speedily followed by the erection of tenements for the people between the wharf and the wall on the bank. The wharf extended laterally; the houses grew up laterally with the wharf; the wharf was pushed out farther upon the mud of the low tide; the wall was broken into here and there at intervals, continually growing less in length. These breaks are marked, possibly, by the ancient stairs, such as those of Paul’s Wharf and Trig Stairs.

In a word, the whole of the first belt, that of the Service, is later than the Roman wall. It belongs, therefore, to the Saxon period, and in great part, perhaps, to the early Norman times. It seems likely that, if the riverside wall had been pierced or broken in parts, the Danish and Norwegian besiegers would have attacked the City at those vulnerable points. A narrow stream, such as Walbrook, with wharves on either side, could be easily defended by chains drawn across; but a dozen places where the wall was broken—and there was nothing to defend it except wooden wharves and wooden huts—would have been difficult to defend.



194Thames Street in later times, when the wall had disappeared, became the most crowded, the most busy part of the City. Its south side was wholly occupied by wharves, warehouses, and the dwellings of the working people, the Service of the port. On the north side and in the streets rising up the hill were the houses of the merchants and the better class—the second belt of the City. Here stood the townhouses of the nobles among the equally stately houses of the merchants. Here kings were entertained by the mayors and aldermen. The great number of churches shows not only the crowded condition of this part, but also the wealth of the merchants by whom the churches were founded, rebuilt, adorned, and endowed.

The breadth of the foreshore as at present built upon varies from 150 feet at its narrowest, which is at the western end, to 450 feet at its broadest, which is on either side of the Walbrook. The modern breadth, however, must not be taken to represent the breadth in the twelfth century. The excavations for London Bridge in 1831 disclosed three distinct lines of piles, representing three several occasions when the foreshore was built upon. And the oldest plan of London, called after one Agas, clearly represents the erection by the riverside built upon piles. There are no churches on this belt of reclaimed land. As it was gradually added to the City, so it was gradually added to the riverside parishes. Four churches are built on the south side of Thames Street, viz. Allhallows the Great, Allhallows the Less, St. Botolph, and St. Magnus. The dedication of the last two proclaims their late origin. The last, for instance, must belong to the late eleventh or the twelfth century. The very small size to which the parishes would be reduced if we took away the reclaimed foreshore seems to indicate that much was reclaimed before the Norman Conquest. The dedication of the churches along Thames Street—St. Peter, St. James, St. Michael, St. Mary, St. Andrew—has been supposed to indicate the site of Roman churches. Perhaps the parish boundaries may have been adjusted from time to time.

“Roomland” was the name given to the quays and the adjacent plots of land of Queenhithe, Dowgate, Billingsgate, etc., whereon goods might be discharged out of vessels arriving there.

In 1311 and in 1349 we find mention of houses built upon “la Romeland” by St. Michael, Queenhithe. In 1338, and again in 1349, we read of a tenement near the King’s garden upon le Romelonde, near the Tower. In 1339 we learn that there was a Roomland in the parish of Allhallows Barking. After 1374 we find no more mention of any Roomland. Perhaps the limits of the quays were by this time contracted and defined; perhaps the foreshore had been enlarged and the “land” behind had been built upon.

Thames Street was the Exchange, the place of meeting for the merchants. One supposes, however, that the lesser sort transacted business at the taverns. Here walked in great dignity Aylwin of London Stone, the first mayor; Whittington, 195Philpott, Rokesley, and the Beckets, Faringdons, Walworths, Sevenokes, and all the great men of the City, each in his generation, not only building up their own fortunes, but fighting against disorder and crime in their wards, and against encroachments from the sovereign.

The Fire swept through the street, raging among the stores of the warehouses, laying low churches, destroying monuments, and burning up old memories and associations.

The warehouses were at once rebuilt, but, according to Malcolm (1803), many of the buildings had in his time become ruinous or decayed. There is very little left of the building immediately after the Fire: hardly a single warehouse, and on the north side only one or two of the mansions built by the merchants. The two ports, Billingsgate and Queenhithe, still remain, though the trade of the City is no longer carried on upon the quays. The Custom House still stands very nearly on its old site; the bridge has been moved farther west; there are other City bridges—Blackfriars and Southwark; one can still walk down lanes as narrow as when they were first reclaimed from the foreshore; and there are still one or two of these narrow lanes where, as of old, the people of the Service live.

The following is a list of the old signs in Thames Street:

“The White Bear” inn; “The White Lion” inn near London Bridge; “The White Lion” inn at the White Lion Wharf; “The Blew Ancor” inn; “The Old Swan” inn; “The Bull Head” inn; “The Naggs Head Tavern” inn; “The Princes Arms” inn; “The Fling Hors” inn; “The Lion and Key” inn; “The Black Bell inn; “The Woodmongers Arms” inn; “The Crose Bulets” inn; “The Suggar Lofe” inn; “The Lobster” inn; “The Bear and Ragged Staff” inn; “The Two Fighting Cocks” inn; “The Blue Boar and Three Horse Shoes” inn; “The Horse Shoe” inn; “The Royal Arms on Shield” inn; “The Cross against Barkin Church” inn.

Thames Street itself is the subject of a great many references in the Calendar of Wills dated from 1275 to 1688. The earliest is in 1275, after which they occur repeatedly. In 1280 a tenement is mentioned as that of Ernald Thedmar; in 1282 Henry de Coventre bequeathed to his wife his mansion in the Vintry from Thames Street to the waterside.

So far, we have spoken of Thames Street and the riverside generally; let us now take our section in detail.

Only a short way to the north lay Ludgate, one of the principal entrances to the City.

Ludgate can hardly have been so named later than the Norman Conquest. Stow, in his explanation of the ancient street leading from Aldgate to Ludgate, clearly conveys the belief that it was an ancient gate. Perhaps the necessity of land communications from the City to Westminster caused the piercing of this gate and the construction of the causeway and the bridge over the valley and stream of the Fleet. 196In that case, one would naturally think of King Knut and his palace at Westminster. The name is said to mean a postern.

Ludgate was either repaired or rebuilt in 1215, when the barons, in arms against King John, entered London and destroyed the houses of the Jews, using the stones in the restoration of the City walls and of Ludgate more especially. Stow records a curious confirmation of this circumstance, the discovery, when the gate was rebuilt in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, of a stone with a Hebrew inscription, signifying the sign or note of Rabbi Moses, the son of Rabbi Isaac. On the east side, in a niche, on this renewal, were placed the statues of Lud and his two sons in Roman costumes; and on the west side the statue of Queen Elizabeth. When the gates were taken down (1761-62), Lud and his sons were given by the City to Sir Francis Gosling, who intended to set them up at the east end of St. Dunstan’s Church, in Fleet Street. This, however, he did not carry into effect, and the king and his two sons were deposited in the parish bone-house. The statue of Elizabeth met with a better fate, having a niche assigned it in the outer wall of old St. Dunstan’s, Fleet Street. The Lud gate of 1586 was gutted in the Great Fire, and the stonework seriously injured.

Ludgate was first erected into a prison in the reign of Richard II., and was anciently appropriated to the freemen of the City and to clergymen. The place soon became too small for the growing occasions of the City, and it was enlarged at the expense of Dame Agnes Forster, widow of Stephen Forster, mayor in 1454.

“Formerly Debtors that were not able to satisfy their debts, put themselves into this prison of Ludgate for shelter from their creditors. And these were merchants and tradesmen who had been driven to want by losses at sea. When King Philip, in the month of August, 1554, came first through London, these prisoners were thirty in number, and owed 10,000 pounds, but compounded for 2000 pounds, who represented a well-penned Latin speech to that Prince to redress their miseries, and by his royal generosity to free them. ‘And the rather for that place was not Sceleratorum Carcer, sed Miserorum Custodia, i.e. a gaol for villains, but a place of restraint for poor unfortunate men; And that they were put in there, not by others, but themselves fled thither; and that not out of fear of punishment, but in hope of better fortune.’ The whole letter was drawn by the curious pen of Roger Ascham, and is extant among his epistles, Lib. III.” (Cunningham).

The rules and customs of Ludgate are given by Strype:

“If a freeman or freewoman of London be committed to Ludgate, they are to be excused from the Ignominy of irons, if they can find sureties to be true prisoners, and if the sum be not above £100. There is another custom for the liberal and mild imprisonment of the citizens in Ludgate; whereby they have indulgence and favour to go abroad into any place, under the guard and superintendency of their keeper; with whom they must return again to the prison at night.

“This custom is not to hinder and delay Justice nor to defraud men of their debts 197and executions, as it is quarrelled against by some, but serves for a mitigation of their punishment; and tends rather for the expedition of their discharge, and speedy satisfaction of their creditors. While they may go and inform themselves, upon their mutual reckonings, both what they owe, and what is due unto them.” For further account of this prison see London in the Eighteenth Century, pp. 581-87.

In the year 1659, one Marmaduke Johnson, a prisoner in Ludgate, presented a memorandum on the prison and its Government to the Lord Mayor. In this document he sets forth the history of the prison, its constitution and laws, its officers, its charities, and the grievances of the prisoners.

A great many benefactors have left money to the prison, amounting in all to about £60 a year. In addition, the Lord Mayor allowed the prisoners a basket of broken meat every day; and provisions of some kind were every day, to some small extent, bestowed upon them by the markets. Besides which there were two grates, one in Ludgate, and the other on the Blackfriars side, where all day long a man stood crying, “Pity the poor prisoners.” There were about fifty of the prisoners “on the Charity,” as it was called. But the warders and turnkeys, by their exactions, got most of the money.

Ludgate Hill was formerly Bowyer Lane. On the south, until a few years ago, were to be seen some fragments of London Wall, now vanished.

On the top of Ludgate Hill, and on the west side of St. Paul’s, Digby, Grant, Winter, and Bates were executed, January 30, 1606, for their participation in the Gunpowder Plot.

The houses on the south side of the hill were set back when the street was widened in modern times. On the north side there are several old ones.


This church was rebuilt in 1437 for Sir John Michael, then mayor, but was destroyed by the Great Fire, and rebuilt from the designs of Wren in 1684. The benefice was united with the united benefices of St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, and St. Gregory by St Paul’s, by Order in Council, 1890. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1322.

The patronage of the church, long before 1322, was in the hands of: The Abbot and Convent of Westminster; Henry VIII., who seized it and granted it to the Bishop of Westminster, January 20, 1540-41; the Bishop of London, by grant of Edward VI., 1550, confirmed by Queen Mary, March 3, 1553-54, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 476.

The interior of the church is noticeable as being broader and higher than it is long, its width being 66 feet, height 59 feet, and length 51 feet. The appearance is rendered cruciform by four composite columns, which, with pilasters on the walls, support entablatures at the angles of the church. The ceiling is lowered in the quadrangular corners thus formed. The tower rises at the centre of the south front, and contains three stories; this is concluded by a cornice, above which there is a narrow stone stage surmounted by an octagonal cupola, with a lantern and balcony. The steeple is completed by a tapering 198spire, with ball, finial, and vane; its height is 158 feet. It is said to have been especially built by Wren to form a foreground to the towering dome of St. Paul’s.

Chantries were founded here by: William Sevenoke, whose endowment fetched £3 : 6 : 8 in 1548; Michael de London and John le Hatte, augmented by Roger Payn, William Pows, Simon Newell, and Thomas Froddashame, to which John de Derby was admitted as chaplain, January 11, 1392-93, on being vacated by Roger Shirrene; William Alsone, who also founded chantries in Northants and Derbys.

William Sevenoke, grocer, who founded a free school and almshouses in the town of Sevenoaks, Kent, Mayor of London, 1419, was buried here and commemorated by a monument. The other monuments recorded by Stow are of little note. No benefactors are recorded by Stow.

Sixty boys and fifty girls, belonging to the charity school of the ward, were clothed and disposed of (when fit) by subscriptions from the inhabitants.

William Glyn (d. 1558), Bishop of Bangor, was rector here; also Richard Rawlins (d. 1536), Bishop of St. David’s.

Photochrom Co., Ltd.


On Ludgate Hill we find also Stationers’ Court, where is the Stationers’ Hall.



The Company was incorporated in 1557, but it is believed that a brotherhood or society existed upwards of a century and a half previously, called the Brotherhood or Society of Text-writers.

There was a Gild of Stationers as early as the beginning of the fifteenth century. It appears to have been a branch of the Scriveners, and to have left them to carry on the preparation of legal documents while they themselves took over the production of books. The charter of the Company shows that it was regarded as a company of printers, and that Queen Mary intended it to be especially a guard against the issue of heretical doctrines.

Drawn by Thos. H Shepherd.


The original charter was destroyed in the Fire of London, but the Company have a copy of it; also of the charter granted by William and Mary, confirming the privileges granted by the charter of 1556.

The Company has continued ever since its incorporation, and still is, a trade guild consisting exclusively of members of the trade of a stationer, printer, publisher, or bookmaker, and their children, and descendants born free. The greater number of printers’ apprentices in the City of London are bound at Stationers’ Hall, and the Company’s pensioners, and the recipients of the charities under their control, are principally journeymen printers, compositors, and pressmen.

The Company was originally established for the purpose of fostering and encouraging the trade of a printer, publisher, and stationer, and from the time of its original foundation to this date a limited number of liverymen of the Company have carried on at Stationers’ Hall the trade of a publisher for their own benefit, and a division of profits has been annually made amongst the partners. Other portion of the profits has been distributed annually amongst poor freemen of the Company, applied towards the necessary expenses of the Company, and invested in the purchase of the hall and premises adjoining. The capital for this trade was originally subscribed by the members of the Company in certain proportions or shares, 200and these shares have been regularly transmitted from time to time since 1605, as in the case of shares of trade companies.

The copyright registry was first established by the Company at the commencement of the sixteenth century or even earlier. It would appear from the ancient records that a register of copies had existed previous to the incorporation. In 1565 rules were made by the Company regulating the transmission of copies upon the decease of the owner, and requiring them to be entered in the books of the Company. In 1584 the Privy Council (through the Lord Mayor) ordered that all copies should be entered in the Company’s register, and copyrights were from time to time transferred by entries in these registers. Between 1580 and 1615, there are letters from the Lords of the Council and the Lord Mayor calling attention to the publication of certain books of a traitorous or mischievous tendency. There is no mention of any power or authority belonging to the Stationers Company for the suppression of these books. On one occasion the Wardens of that Company are ordered to produce the printer of a certain pamphlet with the person who was circulating it. Various orders were from time to time issued by the Lords of the Privy Council and High Commissioners, regulating printing. In 1660 a committee of the House of Commons was appointed to prepare a Bill regulating printing, and in 1662 the Bill was passed, and was known as the Licensing Act. It required all printed works to be registered at Stationers’ Hall. This Act expired in 1681, and in 1710 the first copyright Act was passed, which has been superseded by the Act of 1842. The Act of 1710 required copies to be entered at Stationers’ Hall before publication, and the Act of 1842 makes entry at Stationers’ Hall a condition precedent to the title to sue for protection against infringements. As a printer, not as a novelist, Samuel Richardson was a member.

The most ancient hall stood in Milk Street, Cheapside, but in 1553 the Company moved to St. Peter’s College, near the Deanery of St. Paul’s, and in 1611 they purchased Abergavenny House in Stationers’ Court. This was burnt in the Great Fire. The present building was erected in 1670, and in 1805 the exterior was cased in Portland stone, according to a design by the Company’s architect, Robert Mylne, F.R.S.

The present livery is 284; the Corporate Income is but small, and the Trust Income £1200.

The Company formerly published almanacks, primers, “A.B.C.’s,” psalters, and school books, in which they maintained a valuable monopoly until the middle of the eighteenth century, when it was declared illegal.

The Company established a school at Bolt Court, Fleet Street, in 1861; this is now at Ridge Road, Hornsey. The school has accommodation for more than three hundred boys.

This corner of London to the south of Ludgate Hill was covered with narrow lanes and courts into which light was admitted by the construction of Queen Victoria Street. It is the site of the Blackfriars’ Precinct. This house was in the hands of the Dominicans. See Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 354.

Church Entry marks the site of

St. Anne, Blackfriars, standing adjacent to the walls of Blackfriars’ Monastery; it was consecrated in 1597 by Edmund Stanhope, Doctor of Laws, by virtue of a commission from the Bishop of London. It was enlarged on the south side in 1613, which was consecrated by the Bishop of London in 1617. The church was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, but the parish was annexed to St. Andrew by the Wardrobe. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1597.

The patronage was in the hands of the Crown and parishioners alternately, since the Great Fire when it was burnt down, and the parish was annexed to St. Andrew by the Wardrobe; before this the parishioners presented.

Isaac Oliver, miniature painter, was buried here.



202The charities and reliefs recorded in this parish were few. John Bobhurst was a donor of £2 per annum, also Edward Corbet and Mrs. Miller. The greatest benefactor was Peter Jorge, who founded a free school, appointing Sion College trustees.

Forty boys and thirty girls were to be taught reading and writing, and some useful work besides. All were to be given clothing once a year and two to be put out as apprentices. The school was endowed with £150 a year, and salaries for teachers. As there were many tailors among the foundation, the children of such were to have preference of admission (Stow and Strype).

St. Anne’s had some notable vicars, among them William Gouge (or Goughe), D.D., forty-six years minister of the parish. In November 1633 “Mr. William Goughe, Doctor of Divinity, prayed to be admitted freeman of the Society of Apothecaries, and was so.”

On the west is an open space fairly wide, with asphalt centre and scrubby bushes round. This is jealously guarded by iron rails and wall from all intruders. It was sacred ground, the churchyard, though there are no monuments or stones left to bear testimony. Close beside the churchyard in a carpenter’s shop are certain old arches belonging to the Dominicans’ Buildings.

Westward there is a small court, called Fleur-de-Lys, on the west side of St. Anne’s churchyard, which escaped the Fire, though here the Fire had raged most hotly. A little consideration will show the reason. An open space called Church Entry lay between the backs of the Fleur-de-Lys Houses and St. Anne’s Church and churchyard. Now the church stood high, and during the continuance of the Fire the wind blew steadily from the east. The view of the City after the Fire shows that the walls of the churches and of many houses were still standing. Therefore, even though the roof was burned, the flames blew over this court, while, when the roof had fallen, the walls of the church sheltered the little court on the other side. I dare say that, had we a more exact account of the Fire, it would be found that many houses or courts escaped in the same way.

“Eminent inhabitants—(of Blackfriars), Isaac Oliver, the miniature-painter. He died here in 1617, and was buried in St. Anne’s, Blackfriars. Lady Ayres, wishing to have a copy of Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s picture to wear in her bosom, went ‘to Mr. Isaac the painter in Blackfriars, and desired him to draw it in little after his manner.’—Cornelius Jansen, the painter (d. 1665). He lived in the Blackfriars for several years, and had much business, but left it a little before Van Dyck’s arrival. Sir Anthony Van Dyck, from his settlement in England in 1632, to his death in 1641. The rent of his house, ‘at a moderate value,’ was estimated, in 1638, at £20, and the tithe paid £1 : 6 : 8. His daughter Justina was born here December 1, 1641, and baptised in St. Anne’s, Blackfriars, December 9, 1641, the day of her father’s death. Ben Jonson, who dates his dedication of Volpone or The Fox ‘from my house in the Blackfriars, this 11th day of February, 1607.’ Here he has laid the scene of The Alchemist. The Earl and Countess of Somerset were living in the Blackfriars when Overbury was murdered. The precinct no longer exists, but is now a part of the ward of Farringdon Within. I have not been able to trace any attempt to assert its privileges later than 1735, when in the July of that 203year the Court of Common Council brought an action against Daniel Watson, for opening a shop and vending shoes in the Blackfriars without being free of the City. The court of King’s Bench gave it in favour of the City. The sheriffs could arrest here many years before” (Cunningham).

Note that the Earl of Northumberland had a town house in 1612 in the unfashionable precinct of Blackfriars.


Within the precinct were—and are—several places of interest. The Blackfriars Theatre was built in 1576. It was rebuilt or extensively repaired in 1596 when Shakespeare and Richard Burbage were sharers. In 1633 it was let by Cuthbert and William Burbage for a rent of £50. The building was pulled down in 1655 and tenements put up in its place. Playhouse Yard preserves the memory of the theatre.

Standing at the western end of Queen Victoria Street and taking a general view we see St. Paul’s Station of the L.B. and S.C. Railway. Water Lane runs by the railway. Here is the Apothecaries’ Hall.



Two opposite forces acted upon the City Companies: one separating them and multiplying Companies for different parts of the same trade or craft; the other uniting in one Company crafts which were related chiefly by using the same material. Thus the Barbers divided into Barbers and Surgeons; the Grocers into Grocers and Apothecaries; while at one time the Weavers included in their body all those trades which had to do with woven stuffs, and were so powerful that they threatened to rule the whole City. It happened sometimes that some trades were injured by the inability of the Company to look after them. Thus it was quite natural that the Grocers who imported drugs and spices and oils used by Apothecaries should include these persons in their own livery. But, the wardens not being skilled in the use of medical prescriptions and preparations, could not look after their own people. Consequently complaints became general of the ignorance and incompetence of Apothecaries for want of proper supervision. Towards the end of the sixteenth century these complaints were brought forward categorically. It took time for the matter to be understood, and it was not until 1617 that James bestowed a separate charter upon the Apothecaries in spite of the remonstrances of the Grocers.

The objects of this charter, concisely stated, are to restrain the Grocers (the former associates of the Apothecaries) or any other City Company from keeping an apothecary’s shop or exercising the “art, faculty, or mystery of an apothecary within the City of London or a radius of seven miles.” To allow no one to do so unless apprenticed to an apothecary for seven years at least, and at the expiration of such apprenticeship such apprentice to be approved and allowed by the master and wardens and representatives of the College of Physicians, before being permitted to keep an apothecary’s shop, or prepare, dispense, commix, or compound medicines. To give the right of search within the City of London or a radius of seven miles of the shops of apothecaries or others, and “prove” the drugs, and to examine within the same radius all persons “professing, using, or exercising the art or mystery of apothecaries.”

It also confers the power to burn “before the offender’s doors” any unwholesome drugs, and to summon the offenders before the magistrates.

And to buy, sell, or make drugs. Up to the passing of the Apothecaries Act, 1815, so far as the prescribed radius extended, the three first-stated objects of the charter and the existence of the society in relation to its members were identical. A member of the Society of Apothecaries and an apothecary of the City of London or within seven miles were convertible terms.

As regards the fourth object prescribed by the charter, the Society, doubtless from its want of means, has never itself until the present time bought, sold, or made drugs, but owing to the great difficulty of its members obtaining pure drugs it allowed them to raise money themselves and create stock or shares for that purpose, and to carry on such trade in the name of the Society for their own personal profit as a private Company or partnership under various titles. Owing to such trade having ended in a loss, this private partnership was dissolved in 1880, and the Society is now itself carrying on the trade at its own risk.

As regards the three first-stated powers of the charter, the Society (by means of the Apothecaries Act of 1815) extended them so greatly as to effect not only a revolution in their own sphere of operations, but also in the medical profession and in the relations subsisting between the latter and the general public.

This Act (after placing the right of search referred to in the third-stated power of the charter on a more precise and practical basis, but to which it is unnecessary to allude as having fallen into necessary desuetude by the various Pharmacy and Poisons Acts) created a court of 12 examiners to be appointed by the master, wardens, and court of assistants, who were to examine all persons in England and Wales as to their skill and ability in the science and practice of medicine, and five examiners to examine assistants for the compounding and dispensing of medicine. It authorised the Society to receive fees for granting the respective licences, and (saving the rights of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons) it empowered the Society to recover penalties for practising or compounding without such licences.

The Apothecaries Act, 1815, contained, however, two restrictions which were removed by the Apothecaries Act Amendment Act, 1874, namely, (a) the obligation of the 12 examiners being members of 205the Society of Apothecaries, and being of at least 10 years’ standing, and (b) of candidates for examination having served an apprenticeship of five years to an apothecary.

The Act of 1874 also contains other provisions which relate more to questions of medical legislation than this present inquiry. Shortly the effect of the Act of 1815 was to make the Society of Apothecaries one of the three great medical licensing bodies for England and Wales [the number of its present licentiates is between 8000 and 9000], and of the Act of 1874 was to throw open the Society’s examinerships, and to confer on it a freedom in reference to future medical reform to an extent not exceeded by any other body.

The Company consists of about 400 members including the court, the livery, and the yeomanry or freemen.

The hall, which stands on the eastern side of Water Lane, formerly consisted of the town house of Lady Howard of Effingham. It was, of course, destroyed by the Fire, but the buildings which were erected after the Fire have a delightful air of quiet and peace, such as belongs very fitly to a scientific society. The hall stands behind a small paved court; on the left hand is the shop, at the north end of the hall are the offices, the library and the court rooms. The Physic Gardens at Chelsea also belong to the Apothecaries on certain conditions, especially that the Company should every year present to the Royal Society fifty dried specimens of plants growing in these gardens, till the number of 2000 was reached. As this was in 1731, that number has long since passed and the Company’s debt is paid.

Among the more eminent members of this Company have been William and John Hunter, Jenner, Smollett, Humphry Davy, Dr. Sydenham, Erasmus Wilson, and Sir Spencer Wells. Oliver Goldsmith and Keats were also members.

Printing House Square contained the King’s Printing House.

“The first I have discovered was John Bill, who, ‘at the King’s Printing House in Black Friars,’ printed the proclamations of the reign of Charles II., and the first London Gazette, established in that reign. Charles Eyre and William Strahan were the last King’s printers who resided here, and in February, 1770, the King’s Printing House was removed to New Street, near Gough Square, in Fleet Street, where it now is. The place still continues to deserve its name of Printing House Square, for here every day in the week (Sunday excepted) The Times newspaper is printed and published, and from hence distributed over the whole civilized world. This celebrated paper, finding daily employment on the premises for between 200 and 300 people, was established in 1788,—the first number appearing on the 1st of January in that year.” (Cunningham.) The Times office is a very notable feature in Queen Victoria Street by reason of its great height and conspicuous clock. Queen Victoria Street and Upper Thames Street gradually diverge at a very acute angle. The former is on a lower level than the latter, and is divided from it for about seventy yards by a low wall only, with an open space crossed by steps. In Queen Victoria Street on the left is the square tower of St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, outlined in white stone, and thrown into relief by a rather ornamental red-brick building which stands in front.

St. Andrew’s Hill was sometimes called Puddle Dock Hill. In Ireland Yard stood the house bought by Shakespeare in 1612, and bequeathed by him to his daughter Susanne Hall. In Green Dragon Court there stood, until a year or two ago, one of the oldest of the London taverns from which the court took its name.

206The Wardrobe.—On the north side of St. Andrew’s church stands a small square which, with its trees and the absence of vehicles or shops, is one of the most quiet spots in the whole City. This square was formerly the court of the town house built by Sir John Beauchamp (d. 1359), whose tomb in St. Paul’s Cathedral was commonly called Duke Humphrey’s tomb. Before his death the house became the property of King Edward III. who made it a Royal Wardrobe House, and so it remained until the Great Fire. James I. gave the collection of dresses—called by Fuller a “Library of antiquaries wherein to read the fashion and mode of garments in all ages”—to the Earl of Dunbar, by whom they were all sold and dispersed. The wardrobe was taken after the Fire to the Savoy and then to Buckingham Street, Strand. The last keeper was Ralph, Duke of Montagu (d. 1709).

When Charles V. came to England in 1522, among the lodgings assigned to his suite was the house of Margaret Hanley, “under the Wardrobe side, having two chambers and two beds.”

Wardrobe Place is a delightful spot with an air of brooding quietness. The houses are nearly all old “post fire,” dating from about 200 years ago. That on the east side of the entry is black with age, and the lines in the brickwork waver as they cross its front. Next to it on the east side of the court is a plaster-fronted one, and then a row of three dark-brick houses with the so-called “flat arch” of brighter red bricks glowing above the rectangular windows. Nearly a dozen twisted plane trees, all young, and measured by inches only in circumference, straggle irregularly from the cobblestones of the courtyard. On the west side there are charming houses in the same style as the above-mentioned. The largest of these, No. 2, is wainscotted from floor to ceiling, and has in many rooms great projecting fireplaces forming recesses on either side half the width of the rooms. From the south-east corner there is a covered-in passage leading to the back of the Old Bell Hotel, and with Wardrobe Chambers opening into them.


The church derived its title from its proximity to the King’s Wardrobe above described. It was formerly called St. Andrew-juxta-Baynard’s Castle. After the Great Fire, the church was rebuilt by Wren and completed in 1692, and the parish of St. Anne, Blackfriars, was united with it. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1261.

The patronage of this church was in the hands of: The family of Fitzwalter, Lords of Woodham, 1361, which becoming extinct, it passed to Thomas, Lord Berkeley, then to Richard, Earl Warwick, who married Berkeley’s daughter; the three daughters of the Countess of Warwick, viz. Lady Talbot, afterwards Countess of Shrewsbury; Lady Ross; and Lady Latimer, afterwards Countess of Dorset in 1439; and the Crown, since St. Anne’s, Blackfriars, was annexed to it.

Houseling people in 1548 were 450.

Pictorial Agency.


207This church measures 75 feet in length, 59 in breadth, and 38 feet in height, and contains two side aisles divided from the nave by square pillars, encased in wood to the height of the top of the galleries. The ceiling is exceptionally fine, with beautifully moulded wreaths. The exterior is of red brick with stone dressings. The tower, which is square and of four stories, rises at the south-west; the two lower ones contain windows, the third a clock, and the highest has square-headed openings with louvres. A cornice and balustrade complete the tower, which is about 86 feet in height.

Chantries were founded here by: John Parraunt, armiger, for himself and Clemencia his late wife, and for John Loc, alias Foxton, citizen and fishmonger, and Margaret, his wife (licence was granted December 3, 1409; the endowment fetched £12 : 3 : 4 in 1518 when Thomas Mores was priest, “aged 54, meanly learned”); Humphrey Talbot, whose endowment fetched £7 : 6 : 8 in 1548.

There are three pyramidal monuments of white marble to three successive rectors—the Rev. William Romaine, a celebrated preacher; the Rev. William Goode, rector in 1795; and the Rev. Isaac Saunders, who held the living for nearly twenty years.

Some of the donors of charities were: John Lee, of a house and wharf, leased for £30 per annum; Mrs. Paradine, £3 per annum; Mrs. Cleve, thirteen penny loaves to be dealt out every Sunday.

There was a free school founded by a private person for the benefit of the children of poor tailors, where forty boys and thirty girls were taught and clothed. Also three almshouses maintained by the rent of an adjoining house, built partly by charity of the Lady Elizabeth, Viscountess Chomondeley, and partly at the expense of the inhabitants, in 1679.

Among the most notable of the rectors were: Philip Baker (d. 1601), Vice-Chancellor Cambridge University; William Savage (d. 1736), Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; William Romaine (1714-1795), Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London; William Goode (1762-1816), President of Sion College; John Harding (1805-74), Bishop of Bombay.

A little passage, right-of-way to the public, goes round the north and east sides of the church, and at the corner where this joins St. Andrew’s Hill stands the old Rectory House. This is a charming old building, dating from soon after the Fire. There is, curiously enough, no oak in the woodwork, excepting only in the cross-pieces of the window-frames. The fireplace in the study is of interest, fashioned of marble and tiles set in polished wood; and on the overmantel there is a little slab bearing the words, all in capital letters:

Laus Deo per Jesum Christum. Church Missionary Society, Instituted April 12, 1799, in this room; the committee meetings of the Society were held from June 17, 1799, to January 3, 1812: and here on January 2, 1804, its first missionaries were appointed to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

The house betrays its age in all its lines, and though there is no other special feature worthy of comment in it, the tiny garden behind is well worth a visit; it contains a plane-tree, and is a curious little oasis in a wilderness of bricks and mortar.

Queen Victoria Street was only begun in 1867-68 as a direct thoroughfare from the embankment to the Mansion House. It was formally opened November 4, 1871.

The headquarters of the British and Foreign Bible Society is solidly designed, with pilasters running up the front between the windows. Over the great door, supported by blocks of polished granite, is a heavy stone balcony, and three smaller balconies project from the windows above. An ornamental cornice runs round the roof. The architect was Mr. Edward l’Anson.

The library contains the Fry collection of English Bibles, the most complete 208ever made. This was purchased by the Society for £6000. It includes a copy of the earliest edition of Coverdale printed abroad 1535, and one of the earliest editions printed in England two years later. In the cases about the room are many objects of interest—a German Bible printed 1473; Codex Zacynthus, a palimpsest, of which the earlier writing is supposed to date from the fifth or sixth century, the later from the twelfth. The Society was founded in 1804. Its object is simply to “circulate the Bible without note or comment, in all languages and in all lands.”

Since its foundation over 140 million copies of the Bible, whole or in parts, have been issued. The Society now produces the Bible in about 330 languages and dialects. The University Press monopolises the printing of English Bibles, and much of the printing of the Society in foreign languages is done abroad. The only actual printing carried on in Queen Victoria Street is that done by one man, who works with two hand-presses for the blind. But the issue of fresh copies by the Society comes to an average of 13,000 for every working day.

The General Post Office Savings Bank offices, with a frontage of about 250 feet, are next door. The garden belonging to the old Doctors Commons stretched across the roadway at this point, and was only finally cleared away in 1867 at the making of the new street.

The Heralds’ College or College of Arms is a fine old building in deep-coloured brick. The front stands back from the street, and is supported by two wings. The small courtyard resulting is separated from the street front by high iron railings and gates. There are two brick and stone piers at each gateway, with that favourite ornament of the Stuart period—stone balls—on their summits. The back of the eastern wing abuts on Peter’s Hill, and the wide, outside flap shutters of an old-world style give the little hill a quaint aspect. The College was rebuilt after the Fire, and restored at the opening of Queen Victoria Street. It was originally Derby House, built by the first Earl of Derby and presented in 1555 by Queen Mary to the then Garter King-of-Arms; so it has long been devoted to its present use. Returning to Queen Victoria Street we see opposite in enormous gilt letters, each four or five feet long, “Salvation Army International Headquarters” right across the front of a great building.

Addle Hill, like Addle Street, is supposed to be derived from the Saxon Adel, noble. It has been found written Adling Hill. The whole space between Addle Hill and Bell Yard, and between Queen Victoria Street and Carter Lane, with the exception of Knightrider Street, is now occupied by General Post Office Savings Bank Department. Northward, on the south side of St. Paul’s Churchyard, near the west end, was the church of St. Gregory mentioned elsewhere.

Carter Lane was formerly divided into Great and Little Carter Lane. From the Bell Inn, Bell Yard, in Carter Lane, the only letter addressed to Shakespeare that is known to exist was sent to him by Richard Quiney—“To my loveing good 209friend and country man, Mr. William Shakespeare, deliver these.” Bell Yard led to the Prerogative Will Office, Doctors’ Commons.

Carter Lane, also called Shoemakers’ Row, is mentioned in the Calendar of Wills in the year 1295. The west end still retains that name in Ogilby’s map of 1677. In 1424 the exchequer paid to John Kyllyngham, master of a house called The Bell in Carter Lane, the sum of £17 : 14 : 8 for costs and expenses of Sir Gilbyn de Lauvoy, knight, and John de la Roe, Esq., and their servants and horses for twenty-eight days. The said Sir Gilbyn and John de la Roe had been sent to the Holy Land by Henry V. “upon certain important causes.” Deeds of the fourteenth century speak of tenements in Carter Lane. In this street were several taverns of note such as the White Horse, the Sun, the Bell, and the Saracen’s Head. Here was a famous meeting-house in which many of the most distinguished of Nonconformist ministers preached.

Pictorial Agency.


Here is the school for St. Paul’s choir-boys, with a stencilled frieze. The playground is on the roof.

Creed Lane was formerly called Sporier Row. An inn in Sporier Row is assigned in the fifteenth century by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s to their canons. After the Fire there were differences as to the sites and boundaries of 210houses destroyed in Creed Lane. The Lane was widened in 1750 as one of the improvements made at that time.

Dean’s Court has now warehouses erected on the north and east sides. The house over the archway was said to have been occupied by Sir Christopher Wren as his office during the building of St. Paul’s. Within this court were also the vicar general’s, the commissary and the consistory courts, and offices for procuring marriage licences.

St. Peter’s College adjoined Dean’s Court on the west side in St. Paul’s Churchyard (see under the Stationers Company, p. 199).

When Charles V. came to London in 1522, Doctors’ Commons among other places furnished for his suite a hall, a parlour, and three chambers with feather beds. Mention is made of the dining-hall of Doctors’ Commons and of the “entre going into the great canonicale House now naymed the Doctors’ Commons with a chamber over the said entre,” and of other parts of the building.

This ancient College or House of Doctors of Law was swept away in 1861-67 in consequence of alterations in legal procedure. The courts were removed, and the business of the proctors was merged in the ordinary work of the High Courts of Justice and the Bar.

The Deanery itself is on the west side standing back behind a high brick wall, painted yellow. It is attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, and was built soon after the Great Fire. The stone piers of the gates are surmounted by cones. The building itself is tiled with three dormer windows standing out from the roof and heavy projecting eaves. In the interior there is no carving or anything of antiquarian interest calling for remark, but the front door has some rich wood-carving in the style of Grinling Gibbons.

Paul’s Chain and the greater part of St. Bennet’s Hill are now Godliman Street. The origin of the name “Godliman” is unknown. Cunningham says that the earliest mention of the name is 1732. It is not found in Ogilby nor in Strype. It has been spelt “Godalmin.”

A little court named Paul’s Bakehouse seems to have been asleep while the rest of the world passed it by. It is true the house immediately fronting the entry is covered with ugly yellow plaster, but it is by no means obtrusively modern, and if we except an iron railing in the corner over an area in the north-east, and the house above it, the remainder of the court has been touched by time alone since it left the builders’ hands in the seventeenth century. The houses on the north and south sides are of brick; the northern ones bulge forward out of the perpendicular, and they have low wooden doorways. That in the south-west corner is supported by grooved pilasters. The northern building claims a better staircase in the interior—a staircase with spiral balusters and carved woodwork, low and substantial.

Knightrider Street.—Why this street should be named, as Stow says, 211“after knights riding” more than any other street, it is impossible to explain. One may, however, suppose that it was named after some branch of the Armourers’ or Loriners’ Craft. Dr. Linacre lived here. Knightrider Street now extends to Queen Victoria Street, but formerly the eastern part from Old Change was called Old Fish Street. Do Little Lane, between Carter Lane and Knightrider Street, now Knightrider Court, is found in many ancient documents called “Dolite,” “Do Lyttle,” “Doelittle” in deeds of Edwards I., II., and III.


From a drawing by Rowlandson and Pugin.


The church stands in Knightrider Street; it has been known by several other names, Coldenabbey, Coldbey, etc. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren in 1677, when the parish of St. Nicholas Olave was annexed. In 1873 it was thoroughly repaired. Four other parishes were subsequently united. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1319.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Dean of St. Martin’s-le-Grand, then the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1532. Henry VIII., who seized it, and so continued in the Crown till Queen Elizabeth granted it in 1559 to Thomas Reeve and George Evelyn, from whom it passed to several private persons and at length came to the Hacker family in 1575, one of whom, Colonel Francis Hacker, was 212involved in the beheading of Charles I.; he was finally executed as a traitor, his estate including this advowson being forfeited and thus it came to the Crown, and so continued until St. Nicholas Olave was annexed after the Great Fire, when the patronage was shared alternately with the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Houseling people in 1548 were 180.

The interior of the church, which contains no aisles, measures 63 feet in length, 43 feet in breadth, and 36 feet in height. The steeple, which rises at the north-west, consists of a tower of four stories concluded by a cornice with urns at each angle; above this a spire rises, completed by a balcony, and supporting a square pedestal with a finial, ball, and vane. The total height is about 135 feet.

Chantries were founded here: By John Sywarde and Thomas Blode, who endowed it with lands which fetched £6 in 1548, when Anthony Little was priest “of 50 years and of mean learning”; by John Tupley, who left lands and tenements valued at £12 : 8 : 4 in 1548, when Ralph Jackson was priest “of 30 years of age and very well learned”; Thomas Barnard, John Saunderash, and William Cogshale, who gave their lands in Distaff Lane to endow the same, which yielded £7 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when William Benson was priest, “46 years of age, and a very poor and sickly man.”

The church contained no monuments of any special note. Walter Turke, mayor in 1349, was interred here.

Barnard Randolph bequeathed £900 to this parish and St. Mary Magdalene for charities; he died in 1583. No other names are recorded by Stow.

Herbert Kynaston (1809-1878), High Master of St. Paul’s School, was rector here. But the most notable among the rectors is the most recent, Prebendary Shuttleworth, whose death in 1900 left a gap difficult to fill. Among the most notable of his social schemes was the foundation of a social club for young men and women who work in the City (see p. 219).

Old Fish Street, partly wiped out by Knightrider Street, was a row of narrow houses built along the middle of the street like the old houses at Holborn Bars, or like Butchers’ Row behind St. Clement Danes; or like Holywell Street, Strand. Stow says:

“These houses, now possessed by fishmongers, were at the first but moveable boards or stalls, set out on market-days to show their fish sold; but procuring license to set up sheds, they grew to shops, and by little and little to tall houses of three or four stories in height, and now are called Fish Street.”

St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, was situated on the north side of Knightrider Street at the west corner of the Old Change. It was destroyed by the Great Fire, and subsequently rebuilt and made the parish church for this and the parish of St. Gregory; but it was again burnt down in 1886, and has not been rebuilt.

In 1890 these two parishes were united to St. Martin, Ludgate. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1162.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, as a vicarage, about 1162, but about 1319 it was a rectory in the same patronage and has so continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 360.

The church formerly contained a considerable number of monuments, but the individuals commemorated were of comparatively little note. Among them was one, Barnard Randolph, common sergeant of the City of London, and benefactor of the parish. He died in 1583.

Some of the charitable gifts recorded by Stow are: A messuage, leased at £28 per annum, the gift of Thomas Berry; 40s. per annum, the gift of Justice Randall; £3 : 18s. per annum, the gift of the Company of Wax Chandlers.

213In St. Gregory’s Parish, in the Ward of Castle Baynard, there was a school purchased at the cost of Alderman Barber, where thirty boys and twenty girls were educated. There was one almshouse upon Lambeth Hill.

John Hewitt was rector here; he was tried by Cromwell’s High Court of Justice in 1658 and beheaded. Also William Crowe (d. 1743), Chaplain in Ordinary to George II.

Sermon Lane.—According to Stow this was originally Sheremonier’s Lane. The name is found as “Sarmoneres,” “Sarmoners,” “Sarmouneris,” and “Seremoneres” Lane. The most interesting mention of the Street is contained in the Hist. MSS. Comm. Rept. IX., Part I. 26b. (A.D. 1315):

“Whereas a house belonging to the Chapter of St. Paul’s, at the north-east corner of ‘Sarmouneris’ Lane, has been assigned to Sir Nicholas Housebonde, minor canon of St. Paul’s, for his residence, the said Sir Nicholas has complained that it is inconvenient for the purpose on account of the grievous perils which are to be feared by reason of its distance from the cathedral and the crossing of dangerous roads by night, and the attacks of robbers, and other ill-disposed persons, which he had already suffered, and also on account of the ruinous condition of the building and the crowd of loose women who live around it. The Chapter, therefore, assigns to him a piece of ground at the end of the schools upon which to make a house.”

In Sermon Lane is the charity school. It was built in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Two quaint figures of charity children, each perhaps a couple of feet high, project from the first floor. The boy dressed in the long lapelled coat, the girl in panniers, apron, and cap. The house is of brick. The two lower floors have ordinary wide arched windows, but the two upper ones have each a unique display of no less than nine narrow, circular headed windows in a row extending across all the front. These give a curious cloistral aspect to the place. Over the doorway and two ground-floor windows are scrolls fixed up, but on one only is there an inscription, which is clearly readable, as follows:

To the Glory of God and for the benefit of the poor children of this parish of Castle Baynard Ward this house was purchased at the sole cost of John Barber, Esq., Alderman of this ward, in the year of our Lord 1722.

And on an immense plaster slab running all across the story above is “Castle Baynard Ward School, supported by voluntary contributions.”

St. Bennet’s Hill.—Strype: “Upon Paul’s Wharf Hill, within a great Gate, and belonging to that gate next to the Doctors’ Commons are many fair Tenements, which in their Leases made from the Dean and Chapter go by the name of Camera Dianæ, or Diana’s Chamber. So denominated from a spacious building that in the time of Henry II. stood where they now are standing. In this Camera, an arched and vaulted structure, this Henry II. kept, or was supposed to have kept, that jewel of his heart, fair Rosamund, whom there he called Rosa Mundi; and hereby 214the name of Diana. To this day are remains and some evident testifications of turnings tedious and windings as also of a passage underground from this House to Castle Baynard, which was, no doubt, the king’s way from thence to his Camera Dianæ.”

In 1452 (Hist. Comm. IX.) the “Inn called Camera Dianæ,” alias Segrave, in the parish of St. Benet is assigned by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s to a Canon Residentiary of the Cathedral. And in 1480 we find the Camera described as a messuage with a garden let at eight marks a year to Sir John Clay; it was formerly occupied by Lord Berners, “but probably belonging to Richard Lichefield, Canon Residentiary, who pays to the Chapter 26s. a year for the obit of Richard Juvenis.


St. Benet, Paul’s Wharf, is sometimes called St. Bennet Huda, or At the Hyth, and sometimes St. Benet Woodwharf. The date of the foundation of the original church is unknown. It was destroyed by the Great Fire, and the present building, the work of Wren, was finished in 1683. The neighbouring church of St. Peter was not rebuilt and after the Fire the parishes were united. This rectory has ceased to be parochial, its parish having been united with that of St. Nicholas Cole Abbey. In 1879 the church was handed over to the Welsh congregation by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners ratified by an Order in Council. The patron is the Bishop of London. It is now used for services for Welsh residents in London. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1150.

The patronage of the church had always been in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s since 1150 up to 1879.

Houseling people in 1548 were 336.

The present church is built of red brick, with stone quoins and festoons over the windows. It is 54 feet long, 50 feet broad, and 36 feet high. There is one aisle, on the north side, separated from the nave by two Corinthian columns on lofty bases. The steeple, rising at the north-west, reaches a height of 115 feet and consists of a square-based tower, with a cornice, a cupola with oval openings, and a lantern supporting a ball and vane.

A chantry was founded here at the Altar of Our Lady for Sir William de Weyland, to which John Love de Canterbury was admitted, April 10, 1334.

This church formerly contained monuments to: Sir William Cheyne, Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, who died in 1442; Dr. Richard Caldwell, President of the Royal College of Physicians, who died in 1585; Inigo Jones was buried here in 1652, but his memorial perished in the Great Fire; there is a marble tablet to his memory on the north-side wall. Many heralds and dignities of the Ecclesiastical Courts were buried in this church owing to its contiguity to the College of Arms and Doctors’ Commons, among whom are John Charles Brooke, William Oldys, author of the Life of Raleigh, who died in 1761, also Mrs. Manley, author of the New Atlantis, who died in 1724. Elias Ashmole, the antiquary, was married here.

There was a charity school here for twenty poor boys; also almshouses, consisting of six tenements for six poor widows. Each widow received 7s. 4d. per quarter from Christ’s Hospital, 9s. 6d. at Christmas from the Embroiderers, and 25s. each at Christmas from the churchwardens. In the event of marriage, the benefit of this foundation was forfeited.

As this brings us down to Thames Street again, we must retrace our steps and come right along the river-side from the westward limit of our section.

Photo. York & Son.


215Puddle Dock was called Waingate in Stow’s time; it was possibly an artificial port constructed like Queenhithe, in the mud of the foreshore. Beside the dock, in the sixteenth century, was a brewery, the first of the many river-side breweries.

Baynard’s Castle has already been mentioned. There was no house in the City more interesting than this. Its history extends from the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire—exactly 600 years; and during the whole of this long period it was a great palace. First it was built by one Baynard, a follower of William. It was forfeited in A.D. 1111, and given to Robert Fitzwalter, son of Richard, Earl of Clare, in whose family the office of Castellan and Standard-bearer to the City of London became hereditary. His descendant, Robert, in revenge for private injuries, took part with the barons against King John, for which the King ordered Baynard’s Castle to be destroyed. Fitzwalter, however, becoming reconciled to the King, was permitted to rebuild his house. It was again destroyed, this time by fire, in 1428. It was rebuilt by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, on whose attainder it reverted to the Crown. During one of these rebuildings it was somewhat shifted in position. Richard, Duke of York, next had it, and lived here with his following of 400 gentlemen and men-at-arms. It was in the hall of Baynard’s Castle that Edward IV. assumed the title of king, and summoned the bishops, peers, and judges to meet him in council. Edward gave the house to his mother, and placed in it for safety his wife and children before going out to fight the Battle of Barnet. Here Buckingham offered the crown to Richard.

Alas! why would you heap those cares on me?
I am unfit for state and majesty;
I do beseech you, take it not amiss
I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.

Henry VIII. lived in this palace, which he almost entirely rebuilt. Prince Henry, after his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, was conducted in great state up the river, from Baynard’s Castle to Westminster, the mayor and commonalty of the City following in their barges. In the time of Edward VI. the Earl of Pembroke, whose wife was sister to Queen Catherine Parr, held great state in this house. Here he proclaimed Queen Mary. When Mary’s first Parliament was held, he proceeded to Baynard’s Castle, followed by “2000 horsemen in velvet coats, with their laces of gold and gold chains, besides sixty gentlemen in blue coats with his badge of the green dragon.” This powerful noble lived to entertain Queen Elizabeth at Baynard’s Castle with a banquet, followed by fireworks. The last appearance of the place in history is when Charles II. took supper there just before the Fire swept over it and destroyed it.

Baynard’s Castle is mentioned repeatedly in ancient documents. During a lawsuit heard before the Justices Itinerant at the Tower of London (14 Edward II.) a charter of Henry I. was produced granting permission to the Bishop of London to make a wall over part of the ditch of Baynard’s Castle, and referring back to the 216possession of the castle by Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, in 1106. In 1307 there were mills “without” Castle Baynard, which were removed as a nuisance. The Brethren of the Papey had a tenement adjoining Baynard’s Castle.

In 1276 Gregory Rokesley, mayor, gave the Archbishop of Canterbury two lanes or ways next the street of Baynard’s Castle. In 1423 a great fire destroyed a part of the castle. In 1501 Henry VII. rebuilt the place or restored it. In 1463 Cicely, Duchess of York, wrote from “our place at Baynard’s Castle.” In 1551 the castle was in the hands of Lord Pembroke, whose wife, Anne Parr, sister of Queen Catherine Parr, died there, February 28, 1552, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The house, as it stood a little before the Fire, was a striking and picturesque palace. The river-front was broken by three towers of unequal height and breadth; the spaces between these were ornamented by tourelles containing the windows; a gateway with a portcullis opened upon the river with a broad stone “bridge” or pier, and stairs. Within, it contained two courts.

After the Fire the site of Baynard’s Castle lay for a long time neglected. Ogilby’s map shows an area not built upon, approached by a lane from Thames Street, called Dunghill Lane. At the river-edge is a small circle denoting a tower. Strype says that it was all burned down except a little tower. Strype also says that the site was converted into “Buildings and Wharves,” but his map shows neither.

Near Baynard’s Castle, but not marked on the maps, was a place called Butchers’ Bridge, where the offal and blood of the beasts killed in the shambles, Newgate, were thrown into the river. It was ordered (43 Edward III.) that the bridge, a pier or jetty such as at New Palace Yard was called Westminster Bridge, should be taken away, and the offal should be carried out of the City.

Stow speaks of another tower on the west side of Baynard’s Castle, built by Edward II. “The same place,” he says, “was since called Legate’s Inn, where be now divers wood wharves.”

On the east side of the castle stood “a great messuage” belonging to the Abbey of Fécamp. During the wars Edward III. took it, and gave it to Sir Simon Burley, from whom it was called Burley House.

Next came another great house, called Scrope’s Inn, “belonging to Scrope in the 31st of Henry VI.”

Paul’s Wharf, a “common stair,” was very ancient, and may very well mark the site of an early break in the wall. In 1354 Gilbert de Bruen, Dean of St. Paul’s, bequeaths his “tenements and wharf, commonly called ‘Paule’s Wharf,’ to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s and their successors, so that they maintain a chantry in the Chapel of St. Katherine” (in the cathedral) “for the good of his soul and the souls of others.”

In 1344 there was a dispute concerning the right of free access to the river by 217Paul’s Wharf. The matter was referred to certain wardsmen. “They say that Paul’s Wharf used to be common to the whole city for taking water there, but they say that Nicolas de Tailleur, ‘heymonger,’ tenant by rent service of Dominus William de Hagham, collects the quarterly payments of those who take water there against the custom of the city.”

Paul’s Wharf was also called the Wharf of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Beyond Paul’s Wharf was a great house, formerly—i.e. in the fourteenth century—called Beaumont’s Inn, but given by Edward IV. to Lord Hastings. In 1598 it was called Huntingdon House, as belonging to the Earls of Huntingdon.

St. Peter, Paul’s Wharf, stood at the south-east corner of St. Peter’s Hill in Upper Thames Street. It was sometimes called St. Peter’s Parva. It was destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Benet, Paul’s Wharf. Its burying-ground may still be seen amidst the surrounding warehouses. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1315.

The church has always been in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul, since 1181, and continued in their successors up to 1666, when the church was burnt down and the parish annexed to that of St. Benet, Paul’s Wharf.

Chantries were founded here by: William Bernard for himself and Isabel his wife, to which James Payne was admitted January 22, 1542-43; Walter Kent.

No monuments remained in Stow’s time except that in memory of Queen Elizabeth.

Fish Wharf was near Queenhithe. In 1343 Thomas Pykeman, fishmonger, bequeathed to his wife the messuage wherein he lived, situate upon “la Fisshewharfs,” with shops, for life. In 1347 Simon de Turnham, fishmonger, ordered the sale of “his shops and solars” at “le Fisshewharfs in the parish of St. Mary Somerset.” In 1374 the Fishwharfs is said to be in the parish of St. Magnus. Now, there are four parishes between St. Mary Somerset and St. Magnus. The latter “Fish Wharf” is probably “Fresh” Wharf in St. Magnus’s parish. In 1291 Thomas Pikeman (father of the above named [?]), Henry Poteman, and John Aleyn, fishmongers of Fishers’ Wharf, pray that they may be allowed to go on selling fish, fresh or salted, in their houses on the above wharf by wholesale or retail, as their ancestors have been accustomed to do. The Fish Wharf of St. Magnus was also called the Fish Wharf at the Hole.

St. Mary Mounthaw was situated on the west side, about the middle of Old Fish Street Hill, and derived its name “Mounthaw” or “Mounthault” from its having belonged to the family of Mounthaul or Monhalt who owned a house in the parish. It was destroyed by the Great Fire and its parish annexed to that of St. Mary Somerset, its site being made into a burying-ground for the inhabitants. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1344.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The family of Mounthault, who sold it to Ralph de Maydenstone, about 1234, who gave it to his successors the Bishop of Hereford, in whose successors it continued till 1666, when the church was burnt down and the parish annexed to St. Mary Somerset, who shared the alternate patronage of that church up to 1776.

A chantry was founded here by John Gloucester, late citizen, before 1345, to which John Whutewey was admitted, February 18, 1381.

218Two monuments only are mentioned by Stow, one in memory of John Gloucester, alderman in 1345, and John Skip, Bishop of Hereford, 1552.

Twenty-four boys and twenty girls were taught and clothed by the gentlemen of Queenhithe Ward.

The parish, together with others, had a gift of 8s. per annum left by Randolph Bernard, and 40s. per annum left by Robert Warner.

Boss Alley, now vanished, preserved the memory of a “boss” of water placed there by the executors of Whittington. Beside Boss Alley was a house once belonging to the Abbots of Chertsey in Surrey, as their inn when they came to town. It was afterwards known as Sandie House. “I think the Lord Sands has been lodged there.”

Trig Lane follows, leading down to Trig Stairs:

A pair of stairs they found, not big stairs,
Just such another pair as Trig Stairs.

Broken Wharf is mentioned so far back—e.g. 1329 and 1349—that one suspects that the wall, not the wharf, was at this place broken. In 1598 a stone house stood beside the wharf, with arched gates. It belonged in the forty-third year of Henry III. to Hugh de Bygod; in the eleventh of Edward III. to Thomas Brotherton, the King’s brother, Earl of Norfolk, Marshal of England; and in the eleventh of Henry VI. to John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.

Within the gate of this house (now belonging to the city of London) is lately—to wit, in the years 1594 and 1595—built one large house of great heith called an engine, made by Bevis Bulmar, gentleman, for the conveying and forcing of Thames water to serve in the middle and west parts of the city. The ancient great hall of this messuage is yet standing, and pertaining to a great brewhouse for beer (Stow’s Survey).

St. Mary Somerset was situated on the north side of Upper Thames Street, opposite Broken Wharf, and was so-called from a man’s name Summer’s Hith. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren in 1695, when St. Mary Mounthaw was annexed to it. The building, with the exception of the tower, was pulled down in 1868. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1280.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: William de Staundon, who gave it by will, dated November 20, 1273, to Arabella de Staundon, his wife; Sir John de Peyton, 1335; Edward III., 1363 (see Braybroke, London Review, 146, as to a dispute about the patronage when Thomas de Bradeston claimed it); Richard II., as custodian of Thomas de Bradeston, 1387; Walter de la Pole, in right of his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas de Bradeston; Thomas de Ingaldesthorp, cousin and heir of Walter de la Pole; Henry VI., 1435; William Norris, Knight, married to Isabel, daughter of Edmund de Ingaldesthorp, 1478; Edward VI., 1550; Mary, 1554; G. Comb, generosus, 1560; Elizabeth, 1585; George Coton, 1596; and several others until the Great Fire in 1666, when the parish was annexed to St. Mary Mounthaw.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

Chantries were founded here: By and for John Gildesburgh, in the time of Edward III., at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the King granted in mortmain to Richard, son of W. de Segrave, May 18—the endowment fetched £4 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when John Bordell was priest; by Thomas Wilforde, who had a licence from Henry IV., whose endowment fetched £3 : 7 : 4 in 1548, when John Moryalle was priest.

Most of the monuments of the original church were defaced by Stow’s time, and those which he 219records are of individuals of little eminence. In later times the memory of Gilbert Ironside, Bishop of Hereford, was honoured by a stone inscription within the communion rails.

Ralph Bernard left 8s. per annum, and John Moysier 7s. 6d. per annum. No other gifts or charities are recorded by Stow.

Twenty-four boys and twenty girls were clothed and educated at the charge of the gentlemen of Queenhithe Ward.

Samuel Croxall, D.D. (d. 1752), Chancellor of Hereford, was rector here.

Timber Hithe crossed the narrow lanes parallel to Thames Street. It is now called High Timber Street. These lanes have changed their names; “Dunghill Lane,” for instance, became Gardeners’ Lane. There used to be here a quaint little figure of a gardener, dated 1670, of the kind to be found at one time in many parts of London, but now very scarce.


In Fye Foot Lane is the Shuttleworth Club, founded in 1889 by Prebendary Shuttleworth. It was intended to provide “a comfortable place of social intercourse, culture and recreation,” for men and women in business in the City. The affairs of the Club are managed by the members themselves, and no religious test of any kind is required. The Club at first went by the name of St. Nicholas, but it was rechristened the Shuttleworth Club in honour of the founder. Every form of recreation is provided—from cricket in the summer months, and dancing, to lectures and chess. In the basement there is a fine billiard room with two tables. On the ground floor there is a refreshment bar, where alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages are provided, and also dining-rooms, which look out at the back of the house on the 220dreary little strip of ground—all that remains of St. Mary Somerset Churchyard. The experiment is interesting, as this is the first mixed Club established in the City.

Of Bread Street Hill there seems to be no recorded history; here on the west side once stood

St. Nicholas Olave, destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Nicholas Cole Abbey. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1327.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Bishop of London, by whom it was given in 1172 to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, with whom it continued up to 1666, when the parish was annexed to St. Nicholas Cole Abbey.

Houseling people in 1548 were 163.

Thomas Lewen, sheriff in 1537, who died 1555, was buried here; also Blitheman, organist of the Queen’s Chapel, who died 1591; John Widnell, Master of the Merchant Taylors Company.

Stow says that the parish received no gifts for any purposes.

Hugh Weston (d. 1558), Dean of Westminster, was a rector here. The churchyard still remains.

Perhaps of all the many points of interest in Thames Street, that open dock or harbour called Queenhithe is the most interesting. It originally, as we have seen, belonged to one Edred, a Saxon, but fell into the hands of King Stephen, as valuable property had a way of falling into kings’ hands in those early days. After being held by an intermediate possessor, William de Ypres, who gave it to a convent, it came again to the Crown, and was given by King John to his mother, the Dowager Queen Eleanor. It was a valuable property by reason of the dues collected from the ships unlading here. King Henry VIII.

commanded the constables of the Tower of London to arrest the ships of the Cinque Ports on the River of Thames, and to compel them to bring their corn to no other place, but to the Queen’s Hithe only. In the eleventh of his reign he charged the said constable to distrain all fish offered to be sold in any place of this city, but at the Queen Hithe (Stow).

In pursuance of this order the larger ships, as well as the smaller ones, were compelled to come up beyond London Bridge, and were admitted by a drawbridge. In 1463 the “slackness” of the drawbridge impeded their progress, and Queenhithe suffered accordingly. At Queenhithe were delivered goods varying in quantity and quality, but the two great trades were in fish: for the fish-market, the principal one—Billingsgate not being then a free and open port—was at Old Fish Market; and grain, in memory whereof we may still see the vane on the top of St. Michael’s Church in the form of a ship made to contain exactly a bushel of corn. It was in Henry III.’s reign that the “farm” of Queenhithe was granted to the Lord Mayor and Commonalty of the City to be held by them, but the profits were soon “sore diminished,” partly by reason of the competition of Billingsgate.

St. Michael, Queenhithe, was situated on the north side of Upper Thames Street, and was sometimes called St. Michael, Cornhith. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt from the designs of Wren in 1677, when the parish of Trinity Church was annexed. In 1876 the building was pulled down. Several portions of the building and fittings were preserved; the font has been removed to St. Paul’s, as 221well as a number of the monuments, and the old oak pulpit to St. James’, Garlickhithe. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1150.

The church has always been in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s.

Houseling people in 1548 were 100.

Chantries were founded here: By Richard Marlowe, ironmonger and mayor of London, 1409 and 1417; by Stephen Spelman, who died in 1414 and endowed it with lands, which fetched £11 : 16 : 8 in 1548, when Thomas Gilbank was priest; by Robert Parres, Thomas Eure, and John Clarke, who endowed it with tenements, etc., which fetched £7 : 13 : 4, when Sir Thomas Bigge was priest.

Few monuments are recorded by Stow, as many had been quite defaced by his time. He mentions Stephen Spelman as a benefactor to the church in 1404; and here was buried also Richard Marlow, mayor in 1409, who gave £20 to the poor of the parish, and Richard Gray, donor of £40.

The gifts and benevolences belonging to the parish were registered in the parish book, but the details of them are not recorded by Stow.

There was a school for forty-three boys and girls.

John Russell (1787-1863), D.D., headmaster of Charterhouse, was rector here.

Huggin Lane was known as Hoggene Lane in 1329, 1373, 1429, 1430, 1431, 1433 (see Calendar of Wills). In its south-east corner stood the Church of St. Michael, Queenhithe. The churchyard still remains.

In Little Trinity Lane is the Painter Stainers’ Hall, opposite to which was the Lutheran Church. In Great Trinity Lane was the Church of the Holy Trinity, not rebuilt after the Fire.


This Company was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth, 1582, for a master, 2 wardens, 19 assistants, and a livery of 124. The present livery is 130; their Corporate Income is £700; their Trust Income is £2300. Their hall is in Little Trinity Lane. The history of the Company has been written by Mr. John Gregory Grace, late master. It was an ancient Gild, but how ancient cannot be learned. In the fifteenth century the Painters sent unto the mayor and aldermen the usual petition that they might be allowed to choose two persons of their Mystery who should be authorised to make search for bad and “false” work. This Company originally included painters of portraits and other kinds, as well as decorators, sign painters, etc. It might, in fact, have become the City Academy of Arts, and it seems a great pity that its nobler side was lost sight of. The hall, formerly the residence of Sir John Brown, Sergeant Painter to Henry VIII., was destroyed by the Great Fire and rebuilt immediately afterwards. The Company can show many distinguished names on the roll of members, including those of Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller, Antonio Verrio, Sir James Thornhill, and Richard Lovelace.

Holy Trinity the Less was situated in Knightrider Street. In 1607 and 1629 it was rebuilt and repaired, but it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, and its parish annexed to that of St. Michael, Queenhithe. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1323.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, before 1316; Henry VIII. seized it, when it soon came, either by exchange or grant, to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, with whose successors it continued till 1666, when the church was destroyed and the parish annexed to St. Michael, Queenhithe.

Houseling people in 1548 were 170.

Chantries were founded here by: Thomas Cosyn; John Bryan.

John Bryan was buried in this church—he was an alderman in the reign of Henry V. and a great benefactor; also John Mirsin, auditor of the Exchequer in 1471.

222No legacies or gifts are recorded by Stow.

There was a school for forty-three boys and girls belonging to St. Michael, Queenhithe.

John Rogers, who was burnt as a heretic at Smithfield in 1555, was a rector here; also Francis Dee (d. 1638), Bishop of Peterborough.

Great Trinity Lane, together with Great St. Thomas Apostle and the west half of Cloak Lane, formerly counted as part of Knightrider Street, which joins the western end of Great Trinity Lane.

It was changed to the present style after the Fire. In 1888 the underground “Mansion House” station ousted all the houses on the south side of the lane; but Jack’s Alley was a right-of-way into Keen’s mustard factory—its loss had to be made good, and hence the iron bridge which crosses the station from the lane to the factory: really it is an alley suspended in mid-air.

Great St. Thomas Apostle was an important street in old days. It was so-called from the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle.

At St. Paul’s Cathedral is a document of 1170 relating to St. Thomas-the-Apostle; that is the earliest reference. In 1181 the book of Dean Ralph de Diceto describes it as “Ecclesia Sancti Thomae,” a church with burial-ground belonging. The Cathedral canons collated to it, and one Stephen was then priest. The name at that time is simply written “St. Thomas”; it was the only church of the name in the City. A few years later the church dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket was founded in Cheapside and styled St. Thomas of Acres: after that, necessity of distinction caused the earlier church to be known as “St. Thomas-ye-Apostle.” Of the building, scant information exists. Roesia de Burford erected upon the south side a new chapel shortly before 1329.[4] At about the same time a partial or complete rebuilding of the church took place: John Bernes, mercer, Lord Mayor 1371, was a substantial contributor to the new work, and a coat-of-arms existing in the stone work and the windows until Stow’s time (1598) was believed to attest his munificence. A Fraternity of St. Eligius, or Eloy, Bishop of Noyon, had quarters here, and there was an altar to their saint. In the years 1629-1630 the building was “well repaired and finely varnished” at a cost of nearly £300. Then in 1666 came the trial by fire, and the church succumbed. The parish was united to St. Mary Aldermary, and the Dean and Chapter, as patrons of St. Thomas, were allotted alternate presentation to the united living. The sites of the church and rectory were thrown into Queen Street, cut from Cheapside to Thames Street soon after the Fire. Some small portion of the churchyard remained, east and west of the new thoroughfare. Part of the western space was shortly built upon; the very houses still stand, with the tree-planted churchyard as a garden entrance: beneath the garden are the vaults, once used as a last resting-place for deceased parishioners, now as a wine store. The western space still contained some remains of the church until plastered over in 1828. The ground was curtailed by the widening of Queen Street and the allotment of a rectory site for St. Mary Aldermary in 1851. Thus it has been reduced to a tiny and flagged square. On the north wall a tablet bears this inscription: “Near this spot stood the church of St. Thomas the Apostle, destroyed in the Great Fire of London, September 1666: the burial ground belonging to which, extending 55 feet northward of Cloak Lane, and 20 feet on an average eastward of Queen Street, was circumscribed to the space here enclosed a.d. 1851, when by virtue of an Act of Parliament 10 and 11 Vict. cap. CCLXXX, the remnant of the ground was taken to widen Queen Street and Cloak Lane. All remains of mortality which could be discovered were carefully collected and deposited within the vault beneath this stone. H. B. Wilson DD, rector: Matthew T. Bishop: John Pollock: churchwardens.” The earliest date of an incumbent is 1365.

The patronage of the church has always been in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, and was given to them in the twelfth century by Wicelonis the priest and Gervasius his nephew.

223Houseling people in 1548 were 298.

Chantries were founded here: By Thomas Romayn, whose will was dated December 21, 1312, for himself and Juliana his wife, to which John Wariner, priest, was admitted chaplain, April 20, 1368; by Roger atte Wine, whose endowment fetched £2 : 13 : 4 in 1548; by William Champneys, to which Walter Badewynde de Canterbury dio was admitted chaplain, June 12, 1368—the endowment fetched £5 : 6 : 7 in 1548 (the above three were consolidated and united in January 9, 1400-1401, when Thomas Jordan was admitted chaplain); by Richard Chawry, who gave to the Salters Company certain lands, etc., to find a priest, which were valued at £6 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Sir George Walpole was chaplain; by William Brampton, who endowed it with lands, etc., which fetched £6 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Sir John Barnes was chaplain.

Very few monuments of special interest are recorded by Stow. John Foy, citizen and Merchant Taylor, was buried here in 1625; he was a benefactor of the parish.

The charitable gifts belonging to this parish were few and small: £13 : 0 : 4 the gift of Mr. Hinman; £2 : 12s. the gift of Mr. Beeston; and others to the amount of £5.

Two almshouses for the poor of the Salters Company belonging to St. Mary Aldermary.

John Walker (d. 1741), Archdeacon of Hereford, was rector here; also Thomas Cartwright (1634-1689), Bishop of Chester.

Just beyond its eastern end, across the present College Hill, stood the Tower Royal. The wine merchants of La Reole, near Bordeaux, settled in and round the present College Hill during or before the reign of Edward I. The hill and the immediate neighbourhood became termed “the Reole”: the word “Royal” is a corrupted form, and has nothing to do with kings. The tower, tenement, or inn situated in “the Reole” stood on the north of Cloak Lane, at College Hill corner; it extended eastwards nearly to the Walbrook, northwards perhaps to Budge Row. It had a south gate, and probably also a courtyard opening into the lane; and a west gate standing on the hill. Perhaps Henry I. was the founder: Stow wishes us to believe that Stephen lodged here, “as in the heart of the City for his more safety,” which is very likely true.

The theory that the tower, or main building, was reserved to the King finds support in 1331, when Edward III. granted “La Real” to Queen Phillippa for life, to serve as her wardrobe. A few years later Phillippa repaired, perhaps rebuilt, it; particulars of the work done still survive (Cottonian MS.). In 1369, a few months after Phillippa’s death, the King gave this “inn (hospitum) with its appurtenances, called le Reole” to the canons of his college of St. Stephen’s, Westminster, the annual value being then £20. By some means the place still continued at the royal disposal, both to dwell in and to grant away. When the Wat Tyler rebellion in 1381 drove Johanna, the King’s mother, from the Tower of London, she took refuge here, the place being then called the Queen’s Wardrobe: thither came Richard II. when he returned from Smithfield, after the death of Tyler. Richard was still here in 1386, “lying in the Royal,” as Stow has it, when he granted a charter of £1000 per annum to the refugee Leon VI., King of Armenia. The place was granted by Richard III. to John Howard, Duke of Norfolk. In later times the Tower became neglected, and converted into stabling for the King’s horses. 224When Stow wrote (1598), it was divided into tenements let out to divers persons. All perished in the Great Fire; but at the rebuilding the south entrance and courtyard in Cloak Lane were plainly marked by Balding’s Yard; the west gateway by Tower Royal Court in what was then Tower Royal Street, but is now the upper end of College Hill. Neither survived; but a small lane called Tower Royal, in Cordwainer Ward, marks the western boundary.

West of the Church of St. Thomas Apostle, reaching to Bow Lane, was the great house called Ypres Inn, first built by William of Ypres, who came over from Flanders with other Flemings to aid Stephen against Matilda.

In the year 1377 John of Ypres lived there: on a certain day came John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and Lord Henry Percy the marshal to dine with him. Both the Duke and Percy had been defending Wyclyf before the Bishop of London: the citizens, enraged, sought the life of both, going in pursuit of them to the Savoy. A knight of the Duke’s hastened to Ypres Inn with the news: the frightened Duke “leapt so hastily from his oysters that he hurt both his legs against a form,” refused the consolation of wine, left the Inn with Percy by a back gate, and taking a boat at the Thames “never stayed rowing” until he came to Kennington, where he was safe. Thus the hunters missed the fox at his hole, whilst the fox, lying in hiding at the hunter’s back door, conveyed himself to a place of security. What eventually happened to the Inn is not recorded.

Garlick Hill, or Garlick Hithe, where, one supposes, garlick was formerly sold, has at present in it nothing remarkable except the Church of St. James. “Garleckhithe” occurs in a record of 1281. Of old time, Stow relates, garlic was sold upon the Thames bank near this hill: as a strong flavouring it was much in vogue for the dressing of food among the common folk: and an ordinance of 1310 relating to Queenhithe, close by, makes reference to ships with cargoes of garlic and onions. Here, no doubt, the garlic market was held, hence this particular hithe, hive, harbour, or quay was the Garlickhithe, and the church on the hill just above was called St. James-at-Garlickhithe. At the north-east corner of the hill stood Ormond Place, a great stone house, sometimes the residence of the Earls of Ormond. It had just been demolished when Stow wrote his Survey, and tenements and a tavern built on the site. The hill was “well built and inhabited” after the Great Fire, says Strype. Sir John Coke was living here in 1625.


“St. James versus vinitariam” occurs in a document of about 1170;[5] “St. James in Garleckhithe” is found written in 1281:[6] both names were at that time used without distinction, but the former was eventually dropped. “Vinitarium” or Vintry applied to the general district of the wine trade situated 225hereabouts; “Garleckhithe,” to the harbour, just below the church, where the garlic-monger made sale of his wares. St. James is the saint here honoured.

The earliest church is well-nigh recordless: it was in part rebuilt and chiefly restored by Richard de Rothing, probably the same who was sheriff in 1326; here, within the walls of his munificence, was he buried. He did not complete the restorations. John de Rothing, Richard’s son, left by will in 1375 money towards completing the repairs, towards the rebuilding of the old belfry, and for re-erecting a doorway in the north side.

It was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt from designs by Wren, 1676-1683. During the last century the church was several times repaired, but not substantially altered. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1259.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1252; Henry VIII. seized it in 1540 and granted it to Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster, the same year, viz. January 20, 1540-1541; the Bishop of London, by grant of Edward VI. in 1550, confirmed by Mary, March 3, 1553-1554.

Houseling people in 1548 were 400.

The church measures 75 feet in length, 45 feet in breadth, and 40 feet in height. There are two side-aisles separated from the nave by Ionic columns, six on either side, with a clerestory above. This is interrupted at the centre, and three eastern and three western columns each bear half of it, thus presenting a cruciform appearance. The tower, measuring 20 feet square at the base, rises at the west, surmounted by a dome, lantern, ball finial, and vane; the total height is 125 feet. The transitions are softened by vases and urns. Above the door projects a bracket clock topped by the grotesque figure of St. James in pilgrim’s garb, locally known as “old Jimmy Garlick.” Much of the woodwork in the interior was brought from St. Michael, Queenhithe, when that church was pulled down.

Chantries were founded here: By John Whitthorn, of three chaplains—one Thomas Haverbergh, chaplain, exchanges it with William Gedelston, rector of Ongar ad Castrum, Essex, July 31, 1381; by William Hawye, at the Altar of St Katharine, whose endowment fetched £12 : 18 : 8 in 1548, when Thomas Dale was priest; by John de Oxenford, citizen and vintner, which was augmented by Roger de Fordham, whose will is dated next after the Feast of St. Barnabas, 1349; by Thomas Lincoln and Richard Lyon in 1548, when John Borell was chaplain; by Thomas Bodynge, whose endowment yielded £22 : 10s. in 1548.

Richard Rothing, the reputed founder of this church, was buried here. So also were the following: Walter Nele, vintner, sheriff in 1337; John Oxenford, vintner, mayor in 1341; John Wroth, fishmonger, mayor in 1360; John Bromer, fishmonger, alderman in 1474; William Venor, grocer, mayor in 1389; William Moor, vintner, mayor in 1395; Robert Chichele, grocer, mayor in 1421; James Spencer, vintner, mayor in 1527; Richard Lyons, sheriff in 1374, beheaded by Wat Tyler; Richard Platt, brewer, founder of a free school and almshouses in Hertfordshire. There were tombs of importance: especially curious were those of Richard Lyons and the Countess of Worcester, which had either great brasses or recumbent effigies; also the tombs of Sir George Stanley, K.G., and his first wife; John Stanley; Lord Strange, 1503; and the Countess of Huntingdon. The church owned many precious things: an inventory of its jewels in 1449 is still preserved at Westminster Abbey.

There was a charity school in Maiden Lane, which by the subscription of the whole ward maintained fifty boys.

Arthur Bulkely (died 1553), Bishop of Bangor, was rector here. Also Charles Booth, Bishop of Hereford, 1516.

Adjoining to the church on the south side stood a house called “The Commons”: it had been given by one Thomas Kente for keeping his anniversary in the church. Here dwelt the chantry priests, who held the tenure. When the chantries were suppressed by Edward VI. “The Commons” was valued at 53s. 4d. a year: no 226fewer than nine “incumbents,” who had life interests in the chantry property of the parish, received pensions under Mary in 1555-1556. The total chantry property fetched £2551 : 3s. In the church was founded a Guild or Fraternity of St. James in 1375: it was practically a religious Benefit Society: the members, men and women, were sworn together for the amendment of their lives: on one Sunday in the year they held an annual feast: they paid entrance fees and periodical subscriptions. A member of seven years’ standing was eligible for a sickness or old age allowance of fourteen-pence a week, and in case of false imprisonment a needy member would be granted a sum of thirteen-pence a week. In the year 1566 the church was repaired. The parish bought the rood-loft which had been taken in Protestant propriety from St. Martin Vintry; the woodwork was utilised for their new fittings. Edmund Chapman, the Queen’s joiner, carried out the work. He was afterwards buried in the church, and his monument narrated that:

Fine pews within this church he made,
And with his Arms support
The table and the seats in choir
He set in comely sort.

Here it was that Sir Richard Steele heard the Common Prayer read so distinctly, emphatically and fervently that inattention was impossible.[7] The reader who drew forth his praise was the then rector, Philip Stubbs, afterwards Archdeacon of St. Albans. There is kept in the church a shrouded corpse in a remarkable state of preservation; formerly it was one of the show things for the benefit of the churchkeeper, but though still above ground it is not now publicly exposed. The parish registers date back to 1536, two years before Thomas Cromwell made a general order for the keeping of such records. They are amongst the oldest in the City. Before the Great Fire there stood south of the church, nearly opposite to Vintners’ Hall, a parsonage. In 1670 it was rebuilt and leased to one Richard Corbet for forty-one years.

Opposite, at the corner of Garlick Hill, was Ormond Place, residence of the Earls of Ormond. Farther east, on the same side, stood Ringed Hall. At the west end of the Church of St. Thomas was a lane called by Stow Wringwren Lane, a most interesting survival. Of old not only were wines imported into Vintry ward, but grapes were grown here. The Anglo-Saxon name for wine-press was “winwringa”; that word reversed into “wringa-win” is undoubtedly contained in the corrupted form of “Wringwren.” Perhaps a wine-press stood in the lane; the proximity of “Ringed” Hall seems to strengthen the probability.

The lane called Worcester Place serves to mark the site of Worcester House, the old residence of the Earls of Worcester. One of them, John Tiptoft, Lord High Treasurer of England, dwelt here in the reign of Edward IV. This earl was 227a patron of Caxton, and a great lover of books; to Oxford University he gave volumes to the value of 500 marks. He was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1470, when, as Fuller puts it, “the axe then did in one blow cut off more learning than was in the heads of all the surviving nobility.” Nevertheless he was known as “The Butcher of England.” He had impaled forty Lancastrians at Southampton, and slain the infant children of Desmond, the Irish chief. One of the countesses of Worcester was buried in the old church of St. James, Garlickhithe, close by. By the end of Elizabeth’s reign the premises were let out in tenements. In 1603 they were in possession of one Matthew Paris, girdler, who left them, by will bearing that year’s date, to his mother Katherine, then living in Aldermanbury.[8] The Fruiterers Company were then occupying one or more of the tenements as their Hall, although they were not incorporated until 1606. Their choice of this locality indicates that much of the fruit trade was centred here. Worcester House perished in the Great Fire. The Fruiterers were too poor to establish a new hall, but met in that of the Parish Clerks.

Maiden Lane appears as “Kyrunelane” in 1259. Stow writes it Kerion Lane, “of one Kerion sometime dwelling there,” but this etymology is guesswork, as shown by the earlier forms. Before the Fire the lane contained “divers fair houses for merchants,” says Stow, and the Glaziers’ Hall.

Queen Street was cut shortly after the Great Fire of 1666 in common with King Street, Cheapside, to connect the Guildhall with the Thames; thus the Lord Mayor now had a straight course for his procession when he “took water” at the Three Cranes Stairs on his way to be sworn at Westminster Hall. The new thoroughfare included the present Queen Street Place, and was named New Queen Street in honour of the wife of Charles II. The prefix “New” subsequently vanished. Close to Queen Street in Upper Thames Street is the Vintners’ Hall (see p. 229). The rectory house of the parish stands on a portion of St. Thomas the Apostle Churchyard; the remainder of the churchyard on this side of the street consists of a small flagged square enclosed by a railing. The portion of the churchyard on the west side of the road, opposite, contains two houses; they are the only houses remaining of the post-Fire rebuilding. In front, the churchyard serves them for a garden; its two fine plane-trees set off their quaint red brick walls and pillared and pedimented doorways. The southern house has a delightful room on the first floor, now used as the board room of the Tredegar Iron Company. The mantel is exquisite, carved with all the beauty of the Grinling Gibbons school; the walls are wainscotted; the doors all solid mahogany, over each a carved panel; the medallion cornice, of minutely beautiful detail, once carried a panelled ceiling now removed. An ante-room has a second delicately carved mantel, and a panelled ceiling.

228St. Martin Vintry stood at the south corner of Royal or Queen Street, Upper Thames Street. Authentic history dates back to the Conqueror’s reign, when Ralph Peverell gave the Church of St. Martin, London, to the Abbey Church of St. Peter, Gloucester. In a document at St. Paul’s (Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. IX.) of the year 1257 “St. Martin de Beremanes churche” is met with. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries “St. Martin de Barmannes-cherche” and St. Martin Vintry are both used. The church was rebuilt in the beginning of the fifteenth century, several bequests having been left for the purpose. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of the church, St. Michael Royal. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1250.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Bishop of Winchester; Ralph Peverell; Abbot and Convent of St. Peter’s, Gloucester, from 1388; Henry VIII.; Bishop of Worcester by grant of Edward VI., in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when the parish was annexed to St. Michael Royal.

Houseling people in 1548 were 460.

A chantry was founded here by John Gisors or Jesores, for himself and Isabel his wife, to which Geoffrey Stowe was admitted chaplain, September 5, 1368.

Very few monuments of interest are recorded by Stow. Sir John Gisors, mayor in 1311, was buried here; also Sir Ralph Austrie and Sir Cuthbert Hacket, mayors. A considerable number of those commemorated were “Vinetarii.”

According to Stow, there were no bequests or legacies belonging to the church, or for public uses; though there were a few for the poor. The Stationers Company was donor of £2 : 10s., for bread; the Dyers Company was donor of £4 every two years, for clothing; and George Lucas was donor of £2.

In St. Martin, Vintry, there was a workhouse, and thirteen almshouses founded by Sir Richard Whittington, each person being allowed 3s. 10d. a week.

Bruno Ryves (1596-1677), who suffered much persecution in Puritan times, Dean of Chichester and of Windsor, was rector here.

The site became a burial-ground. A part is now covered with buildings, but the remainder forms a small square, planted with trees—three great elms, two small limes, one large plane: six trees in all—really quite a leafy wood for the City! The paths and flower-beds are well tended. A few gravestones impart an aspect of sepulchral solemnity. Thus the site of St. Martin Vintry is not wholly effaced.

The Vintry stood east of Queenhithe; it was a wharf on which “the merchants of Bordeaux craned their wine out of lighters and other vessels, and then landed and made sale of them within forty days after, until the 28th of Edward I., at which time the said merchants complained that they could not sell their wines, paying poundage, neither hire houses nor cellars to lay them in.”

This was remedied by building storehouses with vaults and cellars for storage, where formerly had stood a row of cooks’ shops.

On the Vintry wharf were three cranes standing. They gave the name to Three Cranes Lane. At Three Cranes Stairs, in 1552, the Duke of Somerset was landed on his way to the Tower. In 1554 Queen Mary landed here, when she paid a visit to the Guildhall and “showyd hare mynde unto the Mayor, aldermen, and the whole craftes of London in hare owne person.”

On the south side of Thames Street, just above the Three Cranes wharf and 229opposite to St. Martin Vintry, stood a large house built of stone and timber; below it were vaults for the stowage of wines, for it was a wine merchant’s mansion known as “The Vintry.” John Gisors, vintner, mayor 1311, 1312, and 1314, constable of the Tower, dwelt here; also Henry Picard, vintner, Lord Mayor, 1356. In the year 1363 Picard sumptuously feasted in this house Edward III.; John II. of France, the Black Prince’s prisoner; David, King of Scots; the King of Denmark; the King of Cyprus, and many nobles. Truly an illustrious gathering. It is said that the toast of “five times five,” still drunk, owed origin to this feast of the five kings. Picard kept his hall for all comers that were willing to play dice with him; his wife, the Lady Margaret, kept her chamber to the same intent for the princesses and ladies. The King of Cyprus won fifty marks from Picard, but afterwards lost a hundred marks and was at pains to conceal his chagrin. “My Lord and King,” said the host, “be not agrieved, I covet not your gold but your play, for I have not bid you hither that I might grieve you, but that amongst other things I might try your play.” Thereupon Picard restored the monarch’s marks and good humour at one and the same time, “plentifully bestowing of his own among the retinue.” Moreover, he gave rich gifts to King Edward and to the nobles and knights who had that day dined with him “to the great glory of the citizens of London.” (Stow).


It is probable that a fraternity or company of the Mystery of Vintners, by the name of the Wine Tunners of Gascoigne, has existed in London from time immemorial.

The Company is mentioned in a Municipal Ordinance of the year 1256.

By letters patent, 37 Edward III., it was ordained and granted, amongst other things, that no merchant should go into Gascony for wines, nor use the trade of wine in England, except those who in London were enfranchised in the said mystery there, or who, in other cities, boroughs, and towns, had skill therein, and that no stranger should retail wines; and that the merchants of the said mystery of Vintners should elect four persons to see that all wines were sold by retail in taverns at a reasonable price for such wine, and of such conditions, as they were known, or named, to be; and that the taverners should be ruled by such four persons, and likewise that the said four persons should correct and amend all defaults that should be found in the exercise of the said mystery, and inflict punishments by their good advice and consideration, if need were, without the mayor, bailiff, or other chief magistrate; and the King gave licence to the said Merchant Vintners to export cloth, fish, and herrings in exchange for wines; and did ordain that all wines coming to London should be landed above London Bridge, westward towards the Vintry, so that the King’s butler and gauger and searchers might have knowledge thereof, and take the customs and prices of right due. Which Letters Patent were exemplified and confirmed by inspeximus by King Henry the Sixth by Letters Patent, bearing date the eighth day of November, in the sixth year of his reign.

By another charter of King Henry VII., the King and Queen ordained and constituted the mystery of Vintners of the City of London a mystery of itself, and the freemen and commonalty thereof were to be one body corporate and politic, in deed, fact, and name, by the name of the master and wardens and freemen and commonalty of the mystery of Vintners of London.

Other charters are recited from Edward VI., Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth.

The members of the Vintners Company, by patrimony or servitude, and their widows have, by its 230various charters, the right to sell foreign wine without a licence; and the court of assistants as the governing body, when a complaint is made that the privilege is abused by any member, summons him to attend, and after hearing the evidence on both sides, adjudicates according to its discretion. The utmost penalty is disfranchisement.

The Company exercises control only over its own members.

The Company claims to exercise through its members the privilege of selling foreign wine without licence throughout England.


Vintner Sheriff receiving the Congratulations of his Company.

It appears that from time immemorial this Company also enjoyed the exclusive right of loading and landing, rolling, pitching and turning all wines and spirits imported to, or exported from the City of London, and all places within three miles of the same. From this franchise which was, and still is exercised by its tackle porters, the Company derived a very considerable emolument till in the years 1799, 1800, 1804, and 1805, several Acts of Parliament were passed, by which this privilege was in a great measure curtailed. The Company indemnifies those persons employing its tackle porters against all losses of wines and spirits caused through their negligence or accident.

The number of liverymen called during ten years is 206. The Corporate Income is £9500; the Trust Income is £1500.

1. A freeman or his widow has a claim to relief. When admitted by patrimony or servitude, a freeman, or his widow, enjoys the privilege of a “Free Vintner,” and, if exercising such privilege, is exempt from “Billeting,” i.e. having soldiers or sailors quartered in his or her house.

2. The average annual sum distributed amongst the members of the court of assistants has 231amounted, during the last ten years, to £886 : 11s., being about £50 each per annum (income tax free).

Members of the court receive no pensions or donations.

No fees are paid to liverymen or freemen.

The average annual sum paid to liverymen and freemen, and their widows, in pensions and donations during the last ten years has amounted to £2503.

3. The qualifications for a pension are: being a member or widow of a member in reduced circumstances, between the ages of fifty and sixty, or, if younger, being in ill-health. For a donation: membership, or being the widow or child of a member.

The site of Vintners’ Hall appears in reliable records of the fourteenth century. Strype has the account of it: That Sir John Stodeye, who held it of Edward III. in free burgage, gave it in 1329, under style of the Manor of the Vintry, to John Tuke, parson of St. Martin Vintry, as a feoffment; that Tuke’s successors claimed it as belonging absolutely to the church, whereas it really appertained to the Vintners’ Company; that an inquisition was held in relation thereto before Sir Ralph Joslyn, in 1477; that a trial in the Exchequer followed; and that finally Richard III. decided the ownership in favour of the Company,[9] reciting the above statements in his grant. It is difficult to harmonise this account with other known facts; therefore, leaving it on record, we pass to better authenticated matter. Now, Edmund de Sutton owned the site in the reign of Edward III.; upon the Thames bank lay his quay, towards the high street of the Vintry his houses, cellars, and solars. Upon the east stood Spital Lane and the tenements of the Abbess of St. Clare in Aldgate; on the west, Cressingham Lane and the tenement of John Cressingham; through the midst ran the boundary line between St. Martin Vintry parish and St. James-at-Garlickhithe. Sutton’s possession was disputed, trial followed, and Sutton “recovered it from Walter Turke by Writ of Novel disseisin.” Turke was alderman of the ward, and mayor, 1349. Then in 1352 Edmund de Sutton granted the whole to John de Stodeye who was sheriff that year. The Vintners Company had as yet no licence in mortmain; perhaps Stodeye was acting as feoffee for them, perhaps not. Stow relates that he gave Spital Lane, “with all the quadrant wherein Vintners’ Hall now standeth, with the tenements round about, to the Vintners”; but the statement proves nothing either way. Stodeye’s will is dated 1375; it makes no mention of the property. His heirs granted it to feoffees, and it passed from one to another as a feoffment, until finally vested in the Company by the wills of Guy Shuldham (1446) and John Porter (1496).[10] Shuldham’s will[11] conveys the impression that of his own bounty he added to the original property of which he was feoffee. To his foundation are attributed the Vintners’ almshouses. His will describes them as “thirteen little mansions lying together.” He directs that in them should dwell rent free thirteen poor and needy men and women of the Vintners’ craft, each to have a penny every week; any of them to be ejected for misconduct after three warnings. These “little mansions” were probably on the Spital Lane (at that time Stodeye’s Lane) side of the Hall; after the Great Fire they were removed to Mile End. Not much is known of the old premises, but Shuldham’s will tells us something. There was a great hall and a refectory, a parlour with a leaden roof, and adjoining it a counting-house with two rooms above; a kitchen, pantry and buttery, a coal-house, and a “yard” with a well. No doubt the yard lay betwixt hall and river, and answered to what was the garden in later years. When the Vintners “built for themselves a fair hall and thirteen almshouses” (to quote John Stow), these miscellaneous and doubtless inconvenient buildings disappeared. In 1497 the premises were inspected for the purpose of assessing the fine for amortising them pursuant to the act.[12] Here a new pair of stocks was erected in 1609 for punishment of deserving members; here General Monk was feasted and entertained by special music on April 12, 1660, shortly after the Restoration. Six years later a restoration of a different sort was 232required; the Great Fire had wrought its work of woeful ruin, and the Vintners Company must needs rebuild. In 1823 the hall was almost entirely rebuilt again.

College Street.—The Walbrook stream, crossing the street, divided Vintry from Dowgate ward. It was spanned by a bridge called in the twelfth century Pont-le-Arch, also, but probably later, Stodum Bridge. The earliest style of the lane east of that bridge was “Les Arches Lane,” and that would be derived from the bridge. Later, just as St. Mary de Arcabus became St. Mary-le-Bowe, so this lane became “the lane called Le Bowe”; a will of 1307 so styles it. Quite possible Little College Street did not then exist, or existed only as a path on the east side of the brook; if the latter, there would thus be a bow-like passage from Dowgate Hill to Thomas Street, and both shape and name would be singularly in accord. West of the bridge the lane was probably, and in common with the present College Hill, “Paternoster Lane”; afterwards the hill became “the high street called le Riole,” but this lane seems to have retained the old title until Stow wrote of it. When Walbrook stream became arched over, the strict division between Paternoster Lane and Le Bowe Lane disappeared. The course of Walbrook so divided the lane that the north side from the church to Skinners’ Hall was included in Paternoster Lane, and the south side opposite was part of Bowe Lane; this distinction would naturally disappear on the covering of the brook. Before that event Le Bowe Lane would be all in the parish of Allhallows the Great; in 1307 reference is made to it in the parish of St. Michael’s (Wills in the Court of Hustings, pt. i. p. 190), so that the covering of the brook appears already to have taken place, at least in part, by that date. By Stow’s time Le Bowe Lane had become Elbow Lane, and ran by a crescent course from Dowgate Hill to Thames Street; Paternoster Lane continued as before. Stow makes an error in each case; he misses the true etymology of the former, implying that its elbow-like bending was the origin of its name, and he surmises that “Les Arches” was the old title for Paternoster Lane, which was not so. After the Great Fire the whole thoroughfare from College Hill to Dowgate Hill became Elbow Lane, and later Great Elbow Lane; the bend into Thames Street was renamed Little Elbow Lane. Subsequently the present styles were adopted, and, like College Hill, commemorate Whittington’s College. College Street is quaint: on the south side No. 24 has been rebuilt, and No. 27 refaced since the post-Fire rebuilding; otherwise the Vintry portion remains unaltered. The Skinners’ Hall and all the garden belonging to it are close by, though the entry is on Dowgate Hill (see p. 238).

In College Street is the Innholders’ Hall.


From the records of the Company it appears that it was a Guild or Fraternity by prescription under the name of “Hostiller” before the same was incorporated by charter.

Its earliest known record is a petition preferred on the 12th December, 25 Henry VI. (1446), by 233certain “Men of the Mistery of Hostillars of the City,” in the chamber at Guildhall before John Colney, mayor, and the aldermen of the City praying them to confirm certain ordinances which were ordered to be entered upon the Record and observed in all future times.

The next record is a petition preferred on 28th October, 13 Edward IV., 1437, by the wardens and certain men of the Mistery of Hostillers in the chamber of Guildhall, before Mr. Hampton, mayor, and the aldermen of the City, stating that the craft or mistery were called hostillers and not innholders as they were indeed, by which no diversity was perceived between them in name and their servants being hostillers indeed, and praying that they might be called innholders and in no wise hostillers, which was ordained accordingly.

On 31st July, 1 Richard III., 1483, another petition was preferred.

The present number of liverymen is 86; the Corporate Income is £1900; the Trust Income is £225.

The Innholders were an ancient fraternity which grew out of the Hostelers or Hostillers and the Haymongers. The former provided a bare lodging for travellers; the latter provided stabling. The visitor or lodger had to go to the tavern for his food and drink. The Innholder advanced a step; he received the traveller with his horses and his following. If the traveller was a trader, the inn received his wagon, his merchandise; while the stable belonging to the inn received his horses. The inn provided food, wine, and ale. The old Hosteler became the servant of the Innholder and was at last restricted to service in the stable.

Stow describes the hall as a fair house. After the Great Fire it was rebuilt (about 1670) by Wren and Jarman, and the west side of the great hall facing Little College Street is of this date. The present College Street front was built in 1886 from designs by Mr. J. Douglass Mathews, architect. It is a very handsome three-storied building of red brick. The door is of remarkably fine carving, of curious form, having the appearance of two doors, the smaller imposed upon the greater. Above the door under a pedimental canopy are the Company’s arms. The great hall, which dates from the old building, is a plain apartment, with wainscotted walls, and a flat square-panelled ceiling. The fire-place is framed in a fine piece of marble, and the mantel is of carved wood.

The reception-room is remarkable for a splendid ceiling, said to be Wren’s. It has a handsomely moulded oval panel, covering the centre, whilst the four corners bear respectively: the date 1670, the arms of Charles II., the City arms, and the Innholders’ arms. The room is panelled and has a good oak overmantel.

In the window of the staircase is some old seventeenth-century stained glass, removed from a window of the great hall. One piece has the arms of Deputy John Knott, “3rd time master 1670”; the other the arms of Captain Richard Pennar, “once master 1678.” The modern court-room is of the 1886 rebuilding, and has a good moulded ceiling and carved overmantel. It contains two curious old pictures. One the arms of Charles II., bearing the mark “C.R.2,” and showing Might and Power crushing down Rebellion whilst a peaceful king reigns. The other is a representation of the Nativity in the Inn at Bethlehem, said to have been presented by Charles II. It depicts St. Joseph holding a crucifix. The star in the Innholders’ arms is the Star of Bethlehem, which is, of course, shown in this picture.


St. Michael Royal on College Hill derived its name Royal from the adjacent lane “La Riole” (see p. 223); it was sometimes called St. Michael Paternoster from Paternoster Lane. “Paternoster-cherch” is first found written in the Calendar of Wills (Court of Hustings, Part I. p. 3) in 1259; “St. Michael de Paternoster-cherch” in 1284; and “Paternostercherche near la Rayole” in 1301. It was rebuilt by Sir Richard Whittington. Early in the fifteenth century the old church was small, frail, and ruinous: it stood where it now stands, but north and east lay unbuilt spaces, green with grass, and possibly tree-planted. Across the green to the north stood “The Tabard,” the dwelling-house of Whittington, who rebuilt the church on a larger scale, granting land of his own for the purpose in 1411. The site available measured 234113 feet long from east to west, just as now there is a graveyard 26 feet long. The new building had a castellated parapet: the tower stood at the west end, square, embattled, surmounted by a great cross. Beneath the tower a great doorway opened upon Paternoster Lane. It was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Edward Strong, Wren’s master-mason, in 1694; the steeple was added in 1713. The church of St. Martin Vintry was not rebuilt after the Fire, its parish being annexed to this. The parishes of Allhallows the Great and Allhallows the Less were also annexed in 1893. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1282.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, 1282; the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury from 1550 to 1666, when St. Martin Vintry was annexed and the patronage was alternate with the Bishop of Worcester.

Houseling people in 1548 were 213.

The church is oblong in shape, 67 feet in length, 47 feet in width, and 38 feet in height. The oak altar-piece is said to be the work of Grinling Gibbons, and above it there is a painting by William Hilton, R.A., presented in 1820 by the directors of the London Institution. The tower is square and contains three stories terminated by a cornice and parapet, with vases at the angles; it is surmounted by a shallow dome on four arches, and encircled by Ionic columns. Above this the steeple is octagonal, crowned by a pedestal with finial and vane. The total height is 128 feet 3 inches. The church was repaired and the interior arrangements remodelled in 1864; in 1895 was again repaired; at this date the carved woodwork and the organ case from Allhallows the Great were utilised on the demolition of that church. Beneath the tower is preserved a carving of the royal arms (William and Mary); this stood above the reredos before the placing of the picture there in 1820. The tower contains one bell.

A chantry was founded here by Lawrence Duket in 1289.

The church contained but few monuments of note. There was one in memory of John Haydon, mercer, Sheriff 1582, and benefactor of the parish. Sir Richard Whittington, the founder of the church, was also commemorated; he was buried here with his wife, and the traditional site of the tomb, which was destroyed in the Great Fire, is where the sanctuary rail and organ are.

The only monument of any interest in the present building is one to Sir Samuel Pennant, who died 1750, during his mayoralty; he died of gaol fever, caught in discharging his duty in visiting Newgate. There is a memorial tablet to Jacob Jacobsen on the west wall; Bishop Wadington’s arms can be seen in the south-west window.

Reginald Peacock, Bishop of Chichester, 1449, was rector here; also William Ive (d. 1485), Vice-Chancellor of Oxford; Humphrey Hody (1659-1707), Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford; and Richard Smith (1500-1563), Dean of Douai and a great pillar of the Catholic Church.

Under Whittington’s will, the church became collegiate in 1424. A college of St. Spirit and St. Mary, the college house, the almshouse, also of Whittington’s foundation, and a parcel of ground then a garden, but intended for consecration as a new churchyard, were grouped north of the church, between that and Whittington’s own dwelling. They probably composed a quadrangle. The almshouse was called “God’s House or Alms-house or the hospital of Richard Whittington.” It was for twelve poor folk, men and women, and a “tutor” who had custody of the goods, and was to preserve order. He had a separate apartment—the twelve others lived more together; all dined and supped in common hall. They were to pray daily for their founder, his wife and others; to behave seemly; to read, work, or meditate; to dress in dark brown, “not staring nor blazing in colour.” The college house was for the accommodation of five fellows or chaplains, two clerks, and four choristers; these composed the collegiate staff. The fellows were secular priests, that is to say, not 235regulars or conventual clergy; they were to be masters of art, poor men, unbeneficed. One of them was to occupy the position of master. The church ceased as a rectory when it became a collegiate. The then rector was appointed the first master and he was to continue his parochial duties.

Before the end of the century the members had formed themselves into a fraternity—Fraternitas Scantæ Sopluæ—for the reading of a divinity lecture. A little later a divinity reader was provided by a bequest, and another legacy was allotted to the fellows, so that each should deliver two additional sermons every year, either in the City or out. Whittington’s estates originally produced £63 per annum for the college and £40 per annum for the almshouse. At the suppression of the former, under Edward VI., the value was returned at only £20 : 1 : 8 per annum; the college house and garden were sold for £92 : 2s. to Armagil Waad, or Wade, Clerk of the Council, in 1548. The almshouse was not then affected, but was and is administered by the Mercers Company. It was rebuilt after the Great Fire. In 1808 the almshouse people were removed to Highgate. The Mercers’ School, rebuilt in Old Jewry in 1670, removed to Budge Row in 1787, and burnt down and removed to 20 Red Lion Court, opposite to St. Antholin’s, Watling Street, in 1804, was settled in the old almshouses on their becoming empty. In 1832 the premises were rebuilt. Externally they present a plain structure of stone, with a great projecting cornice; the interior is spacious, the flagged playground still preserves a suggestion of collegiate cloisters. Here almsmen walked, here college fellows paced, here hearty schoolboys shouted—now all is silent and untenanted. The Mercers’ School is now removed to Holborn.

The name College Hill does not occur in Stow, but Newcourt’s map of 1658 so styles it: it bore reference to Whittington’s College. As the Duke of Buckingham’s “Litany” (1679) has it, there was thus “Nought left of a College, but College Hill.” Ogilby’s post-Fire map (1677) names the street College Hill only so far north as Cloak Lane; above that it was Tower Royal Street: both portions are now reckoned as College Hill as far as Cannon Street. At the corner of the present Maiden Lane was situated, in the fourteenth century, the house and tavern of Richard Chaucer, vintner, step-grandfather to Geoffrey Chaucer, the poet. Perhaps the latter dwelt here.

After the Great Fire “a very large and graceful building” with great courtyards was erected on College Hill. Here lived the second and last Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, “for the more security of his trade, and convenience of driving it among the Londoners.” This dissolute but clever courtier was nicknamed “Alderman Buckingham” and satirised by Dryden as “Zimri” who was “everything by starts and nothing long.” The house was sometime the residence of Sir John Lethieullier, merchant and alderman, sheriff in 1674; it has since disappeared, but portions of the courtyard remain. One of these is Newcastle Court, on the west of 236College Hill, now merely a yard between backs of great houses, and a postern entrance to the Cloak Lane Police Station.


Of the general houses which Strype (1720) says were “well built and inhabited by merchants and others,” none remain, except Nos. 3 and 4 on the west side, of which the latter has a quaintly carved tympanum above the front door: and Nos. 21 and 22 on the east side. The two last or some part of them stand upon the site of “The Tabard,” Whittington’s own dwelling-house. Here are two stories of cellars in the northern house, whose foundation walls are built from stones possibly once forming the materials of Whittington’s mansion. Both premises have massive staircases, and the southernmost possesses some well-carved doorcases. The little courtyards before them are each entered through a great porch with timbered sides, 237and heavy panelled doors shut it off from the street. The arched gateways of the porches are pedimented, the tympanums filled with a profusion of luxuriant carvings—grotesque heads, drapery, garlands of flowers and fruit. Above the gateways stand porch-rooms; still higher little latticed dormer windows peep out of the quaint, tiled roofs. The porches are the pride of the hill, and well serve to mark so illustrious a site.

Stow calls Dowgate Hill “the high street called Downgate,” and by that he doubtless includes both the hill on the north side of Thames Street and Dowgate Dock on the south side of the same. The east side is now wholly occupied by the immense wall of Cannon Street hotel and station. Only a portion of the former is in the ward. Beneath the latter, opening upon the street, are several cellars called Dowgate vaults. Previously to the erection of the station a lane called Chequer Yard ran from opposite Dyers’ Hall to Bush Lane. Stow terms it Chequer Lane, or Alley, “of an inn called the Chequer.” Its former name, he says, was Carter Lane, “of carts and carmen having stables there.” Strype calls it “a pretty good open space.” Malcolm (1802) says Chequer Yard then consisted of a vast range of warehouses, many stories in height, always filled with tobacco, cotton, coffee, etc. Amongst these were the Plumbers’ Hall warehouses. Here formerly stood Plumbers’ Hall (see Appendix) and the Chequer Inn. “The Chequer” is mentioned as a brew-house so early as the reign of Richard III., when it appears to have appertained to the Erber. It was rebuilt as an inn after the Great Fire, and stood in a courtyard on the south side of the lane, near the west end. It had a gate and a passage into Dowgate Hill. Strype (1720) says it was “an inn of no great account, being chiefly for livery stables and horses.” In Strype’s 1754 edition all mention of the inn is omitted, so that it had, presumably, vanished during the intervening thirty-four years. At the north-west corner of Chequer Yard was the site of the Erber (p. 245). Previously to the erection of the station, the hill forked opposite to Skinners’ Hall and turned into Cannon Street by two narrow lanes. Of these the north-eastern was Turnwheele Lane, “from a turnpike in the middle thereof”; the north-western retained the name of Dowgate Hill. They had between them at the fork a block of buildings. When the station was built, Turnwheele Lane was covered and Dowgate Hill was widened by absorbing the block. Towards “the upper end of the hill, stood the fair Conduit-upon-Dowgate,” mentioned by Stow as “castellated, and made in the year 1568, at charges of the citizens.” In Ryther’s map, 1604 (British Museum), it is shown to stand in the middle of Dowgate Hill opposite the end of Cloak Lane. It was destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt. Allen, in his History of London, places it at the south-east corner of Walbrook, in Walbrook ward; evidently he is mistaken. On the west side the ward begins at the corner of Cloak Lane, of which only a part of the southern side is in Dowgate. Thence proceeding southwards is Tallow Chandlers’ Hall (see p. 243).

238At 8 Dowgate Hill is


It is probable that, like other traders who came to London in early times, men following the trade of Skinners were assigned some separate locality in the town and associated together for the purposes of a guild.

In course of time, as the guild grew in importance, the Skinners seem to have absorbed or affiliated unto themselves two other trades, the Upholders and the Tawyers.

It is clear that as long ago as the reign of Henry VI. the guild included among its members other than those who exercised the trades of Skinner, Tawyer, and Upholder, for in one of the Company’s books, dated 25th July, 23 Henry VI., there is a list of names of the brethren and sistren of the guild at that time. They amount to twenty in all, and include one doctor, three gentlemen, nine of no trade or description, two butchers, one dyer, one joiner, one skinner, one grocer, as brethren, and one sister as silkwife.

The Company has a copy of the charter of Henry VI., but none of that of Philip and Mary. They are Inspeximus charters, as also is that of 22nd March, 2 Elizabeth.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth differences arose between the working “artesans” of the guild and the rest of the fraternity, especially the governing body, which continued for many years and culminated in a surreptitious application in 1606 by the Artisan Skinners for new Letters Patent from the Crown without the consent or privity of the master and wardens of the guild, and in December 1606 (4 James I.) a charter was issued. Full inquiry was made. The Lord Mayor and aldermen made their report to the lords of the Privy Council, who thereupon ordered (March 22, 1606) that the privy seal that had been procured by the Artisan Skinners for this new charter appertaining to the Company of Skinners should be cancelled.

The charters and title deeds of the Skinners Company were surrendered in 1625 like those of the other City Companies, but in 1641 their privileges were restored.

After the restoration of King Charles II. the Skinners Company obtained the charter dated 20th June, 19 Charles II. It grants nothing new, but merely confirms to the master and wardens of the guild or fraternity all they had under any of their previous charters.

Passing to 1744, the Artisan Skinners appear to have thought that if they could only be more fully represented on the governing body of the Company, their trade grievances would be redressed, and they accordingly, in October 1744, presented a remonstrance to the Court.

The result of this was that in three months the master and three wardens were served with a copy of a rule for a mandamus commanding them to choose a number of Artisan Skinners to be wardens and assistants. The governing body, in reply, set out the whole of the proceedings of 1606, but the mandamus was ultimately issued and a return made to the writ. At the hearing, counsel for the prosecutors, the artisans, informed the Court of King’s Bench that he had perused the return and could not find any fault with it, and accordingly the judges ordered the return of the master and wardens to be affirmed.

In December 1747 similar hostile proceedings were renewed, and led finally to an information for a false return being filed against the master and wardens in June 1748. The cause came on for trial at the King’s Bench bar on the 24th April following, and the jurors, without going out of court, brought in a verdict of not guilty.

The number of liverymen is 200; the Corporate Income is £27,500; the Trust Income is £17,500.

A freeman of the Skinners Company is eligible, as vacancies from time to time occur, to a presentation for his child to Christ’s Hospital, ten such presentations being given to the Company under the benefaction of Mr. William Stoddart. Besides being eligible for certain almshouses and pensions, poor freemen who have fallen into straitened circumstances obtain charitable assistance from the Company at the discretion of the governing body, as also do the widows and children of such poor freemen. Freemen are entitled to 239a preference among applicants for loans under trusts administered by the Company. They are also with their sons and apprentices eligible under certain conditions for exhibitions founded by the Company, and their sons will have a preference for admission into the Company’s Middle School, referred to in another part of this return, if there should not be room for all the candidates. Liverymen have similar claims. They also attend at dinners given to the livery at the Company’s Hall, and have the privilege of occasionally introducing friends at such dinners. The master and wardens and other members of the court have similar rights and privileges. They also receive fees as members of the governing body in respect of their attendance at courts and committees as already stated.

Assistance is granted by the Company to members if it appears upon inquiry that from misfortune or by reason of sickness, infirmity, or from other good cause they are in need.

Stow describes Skinners’ Hall as “a fair house, which was sometime called Copped Hall by Downgate.” Copped Hall was purchased by the Skinners, together with several small tenements adjacent, in the reign of Henry III. (about 1260-62). The Company afterwards held it under a licence of mortmain granted by that king. It was subsequently alienated, though by what means is uncertain, and in 1326, according to Stow, it was possessed by Ralph de Cobham, the brave Kentish warrior, who made Edward III. his heir. Edward III. restored the hall to the Skinners at about the time of the Company’s legal incorporation (1327).

Of Copped Hall no plan exists, but it is probable that four small tenements occupied the Dowgate Hill frontage (50 feet), and it is known that there was a court or quadrangle somewhat like the present one with an entrance from it direct into the hall. It perished in the Great Fire of 1666, soon after which the rubbish and lead were sold. There still remain, however, some of the old walls, and the great stone fireplace of the kitchen was discovered when excavating in the present cellars about 1870. On October 15, 1668, a committee, of which Sir George Waterman, Master of the Skinners, and Sir Thomas Pilkington were members, was appointed to carry out the rebuilding, the Company meanwhile holding their courts in various places as at Salters’ Hall, the Red Bull Inn, Bishopsgate, and in the church of St. Helen.

In November 1688 “the front houses at Skinners’ Hall” were ordered to be rebuilt; in the February following the Renter was empowered to make a gateway of stone or timber as he thought fit; and the quadrangle was ordered to be 40 feet square. By 1672 the rebuilding must have been practically finished, for Sir George Waterman kept his mayoralty here in 1672-73, renting the hall for £160.

The Dowgate Hill front was rebuilt under the Company’s surveyor in 1777, and Mr. Jupp, afterwards surveyor to the Company, also made some alterations. This front is somewhat like that of Old Covent Garden Theatre in the time of Garrick. It is a regular three-storied building of the Ionic order. The basement part to the level of the first story is of stone, and rusticated; from this rise six pilasters supporting an entablature and pediment all of the same material. In the tympanum are the Company’s arms. In the facade are two doorways, one leading to the quadrangle before the great hall, the other to the clerks’ offices. Across the quadrangle is a carved doorway, the principal entrance to the lobby in front of the great hall. This hall is a very handsome apartment. It was rebuilt 1849-50 under the direction of Mr. G. B. Moore, and was restored and decorated in 1891 at much expense. Up to that time the walls had been wainscotted; they are now panelled in light oak to a higher level, the panelling being crowned by a fine frieze decorated with raised shields, and a cornice. The carved roof is richly decorated and contains a wagon-headed skylight. The entrance to the hall is at the north end through a splendid carved oak screen, which in 1891 supplanted the original Ionic screen ordered for the hall in 1760. Behind the hall is a small Committee room with a good fireplace, above which is a carved panel in the style of Grinling Gibbons. Beyond is the court room. On the floor above is the great cedar parlour or withdrawing room. It is a magnificent chamber, redolent with the scent of the red cedar, in which material the whole of the interior is executed. The cedar wood is said to have been presented by the East India Company. The walls are wainscotted up to the frieze and cornice, the former of which is carved both in light and dark wood, the whole being richly gilt. From the cornice springs the coved ceiling, which is panelled and painted, and which, some years ago, when the room was redecorated under the mastership of Mr. Charles Barry, architect, was substituted for the old ceiling. The doors are 240handsomely carved and pedimented. Over the fireplace is a panel carved in Grinling Gibbon’s best style, displaying the Company’s arms wreathed about with festoons of dark wood on the light cedar panel.

At one end, in glass cases, are two curious coloured statuettes, one representing Edward III., the other Sir Andrew Judd, both neat pieces of work.

The grand staircase is well designed, and displays some of the massy carving and rich ornaments in vogue just after the Great Fire. Attached to the hall is a small garden, in which are a tree and several flower-beds, also a curiously embossed cistern dated 1768. The original cost of the Skinners’ Hall was, according to the New View of London (1708), £18,000, but much has since been spent upon it. Several Lord Mayors and sheriffs have kept their year of office here, and in 1691 the new East India Company, before their incorporation with the old Company, began to hold their meetings here, paying an annual rent of £300. In consequence of these meetings the new Company afterwards presented to the hall a carved mahogany court-table and silver candlesticks.


The Dyers Company was in existence in 1381, and probably even earlier.

The first charter was that granted by Henry VI. in 1471; this was renewed by Edward IV. in 1472. The charter was confirmed or renewed by Henry VIII., Edward VI., Elizabeth, and Mary. An Inspeximus charter was granted, 2 Elizabeth 1559 and by 4 James I. 1606; James II. gave the Company a charter 1688, and they were re-incorporated by Anne 1704.

The number of the livery is now 61; the Corporate Income is £5000; the Trust Income £1000.

The Company has the right to keep swans on the river Thames. This privilege they share with the vintners, and the “Barge masters” of both Companies have the care of the swans.

Dyers’ Hall extends from Skinners’ Hall to the corner of College Street, and occupies the site of Jesus’ Commons, which was, says Stow (1598), “a college of priests, a house well furnished with brass, pewter, napery, plate, etc., besides a fair library well stored with books, all which of old time was given to a number of priests that should keep commons there, and as one left his place, by death or otherwise, another should be admitted into his room, but this order within this thirty years being discontinued, the said house was dissolved, and turned to tenements.”

The Dyers’ Hall consists of a plain four-storied building, the basement being of stone, the upper part of white brick with stone facings. Part of the lower story is let out as business premises, the corner at College Street being allotted to the Bunch of Grapes Inn. The great hall is a large and lofty room, but comparatively plain. It is relieved by rather handsome frieze and cornice and is lighted by two windows, one at either end.

The Company’s Hall in use prior to 1666 stood at the south end of what is now Dyers’ Hall Wharf, Upper Thames Street. It was destroyed in the Great Fire and apparently rebuilt in a stately manner, but again destroyed by fire in 1681. (Malcolm, 1802.) For several years the Company met in Salters’ Hall. Maitland (1739) says “the Company has converted one of their houses in little Elbow Lane into a hall to transact their business in.” This fell down in 1768. The next hall was erected about 1770. It was a tolerably spacious unassuming building, the exterior distinguished by a double flight of steps, but was not of any architectural merit. The present hall was built 1839-40 (Charles Dyer, architect). Some additions and alterations were made to it 1865-67 by D. A. Corbett, architect. (See Lond. and Mid. Arch. Trans. vol. v. p. 452.)

The Dyers’ Wharf estate is now covered with warehouses. Those on the riverside are known as the Monument Bonded Warehouses. The archives of the Company were destroyed in the Great Fire.

The slope of Dowgate Hill is now a gradual one, but Stow speaks of it as of rapid descent, and relates that in 1574 the channels became so swollen and swift in a heavy storm of rain, that a lad of eighteen, endeavouring to leap over near the 241conduit, was taken with the stream and carried thence against a cartwheel that stood in the watergate, “before which time he was drowned and stark dead.” Strype (1720) mentions that the hill was still so steep that in great rains floods arose in the lower parts. Ben Jonson speaks of “Dowgate torrents falling into Thames.”

Dowgate Wharf or Dock is supposed to have gained its name from its steep descent to the river, as it was sometimes called Downgate, but this derivation sounds highly improbable. One of the most ancient ferries over the Thames was at Dowgate. On the east side of the dock is Walbrook Wharf, showing the spot where the ancient stream, the Walbrook, reached the Thames.

Robert Green the dramatist, from whom Shakespeare borrowed the plot of his Winter’s Tale, died (1592) in an obscure lodging at the house of a shoemaker in Dowgate, indebted to his landlord for the bare necessaries of life.

At the north end of Dowgate Hill near Cloak Lane stood St. John the Baptist’s Church.

St. John the Baptist was situated on the west side of Dowgate Hill in the ward of Walbrook. Ecclesia Sancti Johannis super Walbroc, occurs about 1181; ecclesia Sancti Johis de Walbrook is set down in the “Taxatio Ecclesiasticus” of Pope Nicholas IV. (1291). The first mention of the church is contained in a book at the Cathedral (Newcourt, i. p. 371) compiled in the time of Ralph de Diceto made dean 1181. The entry is as follows:—“Ecclesia Sancti Johannis super Walbroc est Canonicorum, & reddit eis ii sol. per manum Vitalis clerici, solvit Synodalia ivd, Archidiacono xiid. & habet in domino suo quondam terram, quae reddit ii sol. & est de feodo Willimi de la Mare, & etiam terrulam, quae est inter ecclesiam & Walbroc & reddit iii sol.   non habet coemiterium.

Thus the earliest church stood upon the east side of the stream, a little tract of land intervening between its west wall and the bank. When the watercourse was diverted to flow more eastwards, the chancel bordered on the brook. It was rebuilt about 1412, and again in 1621, but destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666, when its parish was annexed to that of St. Antholin. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1150.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s in 1150, who granted it to the Prioress and Convent of St. Helen about 1373, till it was seized by Henry VIII. and so continued in the Crown up to 1671, when it was annexed to St. Antholin.

Houseling people in 1548 were 375.

Only two monuments are recorded by Stow as being of note—W. Combarton, Skinner, who gave lands to the church, buried 1410; and John Stone, Taylor, Sheriff 1464.

The site of the building was converted into a churchyard, and upon the wall is a stone with this inscription:

“‘Before the dreadfull Fire, anno domini 1666, here stood the parish church St. John Baptist, upon Walbrook—William Wilkins, James Whitchurch, churchwardens this present year anno domini 1674.’ The above stone was refaced, and the letters fresh cut anno domini 1836—Rev. John Gordon M.A. rector, Edward Jones, Lewis Williams, churchwardens.”

The parsonage was not rebuilt, and Strype notes (1754, vol. i. p. 516) that neither its site nor that of its garden was given in the 1693 visitation. Newcourt (Repertorium, i. p. 371) further notes that the same visitation records great 242encroachments having been made on the churchyard since the Fire “to some of which the parish had consented, and others have been done by the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, without the consent of the Archbishop and Bishop of London (as ’tis said) and the Chamberlain of London receives the rent for them.”

It was reserved for the commercial civilisation of this century to “encroach” the churchyard out of existence. The Act of the Metropolitan Railway gave the Company power to construct their Cannon Street Station (1883) under the burial-ground, and to remove the human remains. The churchyard is no more; the greater part of its site is enclosed by a brick wall which screens the opening in the roof of the station below. At the extreme west end an asphalted square has been railed in and reserved as a home for gravestones, and a large ornament bearing this melancholy and curious inscription:

Sacred to the memory of the dead interred in the ancient church and churchyard of St. John the Baptist upon Walbrook during four centuries. The formation of the District Railway having necessitated the destruction of the greater part of the churchyard, all the human remains contained therein were carefully collected and re-interred in a vault beneath this monument A.D. 1884.—Rev. Lewis Borrett White, D.D., rector; John R. W. Luck, Edward White, churchwardens.

But why sacred to the memory of the dead during “four centuries” only? Had not those buried previously to 1484 any right to commemoration? The churchyard existed in 1378 and the church in 1181. Truly inscription writers are marvellous in their discriminating powers. The vault containing the remains is situated alongside the railway line beneath.

Very interesting discoveries were made when excavating for the station. Mr. E. P. Seaton, the resident engineer, has preserved some careful notes, from which the following is an extract: “At the west end of the churchyard was found a subway running north and south. The arch was formed of stone blocks (Kentish rag) placed 3 feet apart, the space between being filled up with brickwork. The sides were of worked red ragstones, 8 by 11 inches, and 3 feet long (some 1 foot 4 inches long), surrounded with rough rubble masonry, set in mortar of a brown colour. The flat bottom varied from 2 to 4 feet in thickness and was formed of random rubble masonry. The brick invert was of much later date, about 6 inches thick and almost a semicircle. The space between the underside of that and the bottom was filled with made earth. A portion of the arch had been broken in, and was filled with human bones. The other parts of the subway or sewer were filled with hand-packed stones. This is supposed to be the centre of the ancient Walbrook (this supposition is quite correct) and made earth was found to a distance of 35 feet from the surface. Clay of a light grey colour was then found, impregnated with the decayed roots of water-plants. The foundations (it is a matter of regret that no plan of the foundations was taken; the opportunity is now lost for ever) of the old church of St. John the Baptist, destroyed 1666, and pulled down 243about 1677, were discovered about 10 to 12 feet from the surface and composed of chalk and Kentish ragstones. They ran about north-north-east to south-south-west. Piles of oak were found which seem to denote that the church was built on the edge of the brook, which must have been filled up during the Roman occupation, as numerous pieces of Roman pottery were found.” The bottom of the Walbrook valley was reached at 32 feet below the present street level, and is now 11 feet below the level of the lines in the station. During the excavations the piles and sill of the Horseshoe bridge which crossed the Walbrook hereabouts were also found near the churchyard, together with the remains of an ancient boat. These were unfortunately too rotten to preserve, but a block of Roman herring-bone pavement, formerly constituting part of a causeway or landing-place on the brook, is now at the Guildhall Museum. It was found beneath the churchyard 21 feet below the present level of the street, and was presented by the rector and churchwardens. Most of the Samian pottery and Roman coins found at this time were also presented to the Guildhall.


The first charter of incorporation of this Company bears date the 8th of March 1462, 2 Edward IV., wherein the then members of the Company are described as “our beloved and faithful subjects, the Freemen of the Mystery or Art of Tallough Chandlers of our City of London.”

It is evident, however, that a company, guild, or other association of tallow chandlers existed in London before the date of the above charter, seeing that in the year 1426, or thirty-six years prior thereto, Letters Patent were granted by Henry VI. to the mayor of the City of London, and the master and wardens of the Mystery or Craft of Tallow Chandlers of the same city for the time being, empowering them to search for and destroy all bad and adulterated oils.

Also in the year 1456, or six years prior to the said charter, a grant of arms and crest was made by John Smert, Garter King-at-Arms, to John Priour, John Thurlow, William Blakeman, and Richard Grenecroft, sworn wardens or keepers (gardiens) and several other notable men of the trade and of the Company of Tallow Chandlers (Chandeliers de Suif) of the City of London, on behalf of and in the name of their whole confraternity.

At present there is a livery of 102; the Corporate Income was not returned to the Commissioners. The Trust Income is £220. Maitland says that the Fraternity anciently dealt not only in candles, but also in oils, vinegar, butter, hops, soap, etc.

Stow designates the hall of the Tallow Chandlers “a proper house.” After the Great Fire it was rebuilt (1672). In 1884 a large red brick and terra-cotta building of five stories, standing upon a granite base, was erected on Dowgate Hill instead, and upon the site of the old house of the Company’s clerk and beadle, and the hall is now approached by a vestibule running under this building. The vestibule leads into an open quadrangle, which was diminished when the above-mentioned house was built. It is surrounded by a Tuscan piazza of ten arcades. This piazza in part belongs to the 1672 building. It was restored in 1871. The building itself is of red brick. On the first floor is the great hall, a handsome apartment 50 feet long by 27 feet wide, having a decorated ceiling, and walls wainscotted with oak panelling and looking-glass to a height of 30 feet. On the south wall are three great mirrors; in a broken pediment over the central one are the arms of Charles II. At the north end is a carved oak screen, in the centre of which are the entrance doors, of handsome carved work filled with stained glass, erected in 1894. The screen itself is of the 1672 building. A heavy carved frieze and 244cornice passes round the hall above the long windows. The pictures include two by Sir Godfrey Kneller. The court parlour is the handsomest room. It is wainscotted to the ceiling, which is magnificently panelled in oak, and richly gilt, having in the centre an oval compartment enclosed by an exquisitely moulded wreath of flowers. The rest is divided into squares and oblongs, filled with groups of flowers and fruit.

An inscription tells us:

“This parlour was wainscotted at the expense of Sir Joseph Sheldon, Knt., a member of this Company and Lord Mayor of this City A.D. 1675. Who also gave this Company a barge with all its furniture.”

On the second floor is the court-room, which is also wainscotted to the ceiling.

Dowgate, the Steelyard, and Cold Harbour were all very near together. The Steelyard was so called from the beam of steel by which goods imported into London were weighed. It stood just where Cannon Street Station now is. It had a fine hall and courtyard, and was for 300 years held by the members of the Hanseatic League, a community of foreigners who enjoyed the monopoly of importing hemp, corn, wax, linen and many other things into England, to the great loss of our own traders. (See London in the time of the Tudors, p. 82.)

Beyond the station is the City of London Brewery. The archway spanning the central entrance to this occupies the site of an earlier arch which once carried the choir and steeple of Allhallows the Less, and led to what Stow speaks of as “the great house called Cold Harbrough.” Its site is now covered by the brewery. The name of the house is conjectured to be a corruption of the German words Colner Herberg (Cologne Inn), which passed into Coln Harbrough, Cole Harbrough, Cold Harbrough, and Cold Harbour. Cologne being one of the principal of the Hanse towns, the proximity of the steelyard makes this derivation appear likely. There are several Cold Harbours in England, none of them remarkable for bleak situations, but most of them existing in places where commerce once greatly throve. The house stood at the water’s edge. It was a large building, with steps leading down to the river through an arched door. About the year 1600 it is represented with five gables facing the water, and rows of mullioned diamond-pane windows—a beautiful building. It had the right of sanctuary, though how or when gained is not known.

Until 1607 Cold Harbour had been outside the City jurisdiction, for it is one of the places added to the City’s rule by the charter of James I. to the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London in that year. It must have been deserted by its original inhabitants, the Cologne merchants, before the reign of Edward II. It belonged to the Poultney family, and was for some time called Poultney’s Inn.

“In the year 1397, 21 Richard II., John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, was lodged there, and Richard II., his brother, dined with him. It was then counted a right fair and stately house: but in the next year following Edmond, Earl of 245Cambridge, was there lodged, notwithstanding the said house still retained the name of Poultney’s Inn in the reign of Henry VI., the 26th of his reign” (Stow).

In 1410 Henry IV. gave it to Henry, Prince of Wales, for life. Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., lodged here temporarily; in the reign of Henry VIII., the Bishop of Durham’s house, already mentioned, “being taken into the King’s hands,” Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, was lodged in “the Cold Harbrough.” This Bishop of Durham remained here until 1553, when he was deposed from his bishopric and Cold Harbour was taken from him. It was granted by Edward VI., together with its appurtenances and six houses or tenements in the parish of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East, and certain lands in Yorkshire, to the Earl of Shrewsbury and his heirs. Edward VI. is said to have given it to the Earl at the instance of the Duke of Northumberland, “who practised to gain as many of the nobility as he could to his purpose.” It then became known as Shrewsbury House. Francis, fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, who died in 1560, and his son, the sixth Earl, the guardian for fifteen years of Mary, Queen of Scots, took it down, “and in place thereof built a great number of small tenements, now letten out for great rents to people of all sorts” (Stow). The Earl died in 1590. The tenements were destroyed in the Fire of 1666. No remains of the building exist unless Wren utilised some of the stones in rebuilding Allhallows the Great. Hubbard, writing in 1843, says that a foundation wall of the house and the ancient stairs still survived in his time.

Stow calls The Erber a “great old house” and says that Geoffrey Scroope held it by gift of Edward III. in 1341. It subsequently belonged to John Nevil, Earl of Raby, who appears to have died some years prior to 1396. The last of the honourable family of the Scroopes to possess it was William de Scroope, Knt., who lived in the reign of Henry IV. He gave it for life to his brother Ralph Nevil, Earl of Westmoreland, who married, as his second wife, Joan, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster. Ralph Nevil died, seised of the Erber, in 1426, and his wife in 1441. Their son Richard Nevil, Earl of Salisbury, was lodged here in 1547. He died in 1460, and the Erber passed to his son Richard, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, “the king-maker,” who was slain at the battle of Barnet Field in 1471. In 1474, George, Duke of Clarence, who had married Isabel, daughter of “the king-maker,” then received it from Edward IV. who gave it to him and his heirs so long as there was living male issue of the Marquis Montacute. If the said male issue should die during the duke’s life, then the duke to remain seised for life, taking precedence of the rights of all others than the marquis and his issue. The Duke of Clarence died in 1479. After his death, Edward, his son, was seised of the Erber, and George, Duke of Bedford, son of John Nevil, Marquis Montacute, dying without male issue in 1483, the lands remained in the hands of Edward till 1500, when he was attainted and the lands thus came to the Crown. Here they remained until 1512, when Henry VIII. gave them 246to John, Earl of Oxford, and his heirs male. In 1513 the King gave the reversion to Sir Thomas Bulleyn, Knt., and his male heirs. In 1514 he restored Margaret, daughter and heir to George, Duke of Clarence, and to all the lands of Richard, Earl of Salisbury, “who by colour of restitution entered, and was attainted in 1540. So the lands came back to the Crown, and were given in the next year to Sir Philip Hoby, who in 1545 sold the Erber to one Doulphin, a draper, who in 1553 sold it to the Drapers Company. Strype, who gives these particulars, says that notwithstanding this account “by some lawyers and historians in those days,” it appears by the Rolls (1405) that there was a surrender of the Erber from Ralph, Earl of Westmoreland, to the King for the use of John Darrel, and Walter de Arkham; that Richard III. possessed it under the name of “The King’s Palace,” and that one Ralph Dowel, a yeoman of the Crown, was keeper of this place. Dowel seems to have repaired not only the Erber, but also other houses belonging to it, “particularly a brewhouse called the Chequer,” as appears by a ledger-book of the King’s in which the accounts of Dowel are said to be examined by John Hewyk, one of the King’s auditors. Orders were given to Lethington, bailiff of the lordship of the Clavering in Essex, “to content him,” but £14 : 18 : 3 still remained in arrears due to him for the repairs. Stow says that the Erber had been lately rebuilt by Sir Thomas Pullison, and that it was afterwards inhabited by Sir Thomas Drake.

St. Mary Bothaw was situated on the east side of Turnwheele Lane, Cannon Street. The date of foundation is unknown. Newcourt mentions Adam Lambyn as a rector, who died 1279. In the Taxation Book of Pope Nicholas IV., 1291, the church occurs as Sancte Marie de Bothaw. It was destroyed by the Great Fire, but not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to that of St. Swithin. Stow supposes, for want of a better theory, that “this church being near unto the Down-Gate in the river of Thames, hath the addition of Bothaw, or Boat Haw, of near adjoining to a haw or yard, wherein of old time boats were made, and landed from Downgate to be mended.” Strype mentions that it seems “of old to be called St. Mary de Bothache,” and Mr. Loftie in his London City (1891) says that the name is “most likely from ‘la board hatch,’ a wooden gate-lock called also in some ancient documents ‘Board-Hatch.’” The map by Agas c. 1560, and Hollar’s view of London, call the church St. Mary Buttolph Lane. It is somewhat remarkable that Dowgate is almost the only one of the older City gates which has no Church of St. Botolph near by, as at Billingsgate, Aldgate, Bishopsgate, and Aldersgate. The term St. Mary Bothol occurs more than once in records of the sixteenth century. Can it be that the name bears witness to the existence of a St. Botolph’s Church here, which was dedicated to the Virgin, with the name Botolph attached as a remembrance of the former appellation? The earliest date of an incumbent is 1281.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, before 1281; the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury from 1552 up to the time it was annexed to St. Swithin in 1666.

Houseling people in 1548 were 182.

Chantries were founded here: By Lady Joan Fastolf, to which Robert Kirke was instituted, May 10, 1445; by and for John, son of Adam de Salusbury, who endowed it with a tenement called the “Key” in Coleman Street, which fetched £7 in 1548; by and for John Hamond, before 1387; by James le Butler; by Hugh Fostall.

Many noble persons were buried here, as appeared from the arms in the windows, the defaced tombs, and print of plates torn up and carried away. The most remarkable, perhaps, was that of Sir Henry Fitz-Alwine, draper, the first Lord Mayor of London, who continued in his position for twenty-four years. 247Here, too, Robert Chicheley, grocer and mayor of London in 1422, was buried; he appointed by his will that 2400 poor men should each have a good dinner on his birthday, and he also gave a plot of land for the building of the parish church, called St. Stephen’s, Walbrook.

No charitable gifts are recorded by Stow.

At the construction of Cannon Street station and hotel, in 1866-68, the churchyard was built over. Its site is now immediately under the steps leading from the hotel to the forecourt, and is occupied by part of a corridor, a carpenter’s shop, a knife-cleaning room, and a coal cellar, all of which belong to the hotel basement.

The north-western side of the station forecourt stands upon the site of Turnwheele Lane, a narrow turning which formerly led from Cannon Street by a westerly slope into Dowgate Hill, which it joined opposite the northern boundary of Skinners’ Hall. Stow calls it “a little lane with a turnpike in the middle thereof.” Strype (1720) terms it Turnwheele Lane, but the New Remarks of London (1732) style it Turnmill Lane. By the eastern side of the station runs Allhallows Lane leading northward into Bush Lane. The church of Allhallows the Great stood here until 1898, and east of it was Allhallows the Less.

Allhallows the Great was situated on the south side of Thames Street. This church has been known, at various times, as All Saints, Allhallows-ad-foenum, Allhallows-in-the-Hay, Allhallows-in-the-Ropery (“because,” says Stow, “of hay sold thereunto at Hay Wharf, and ropes of old time made and sold in the high street”), Allhallows the More (“for a difference from Allhallows the Less”), Allhallows the Great, which has been the name at least since the Fire. Of its first foundation there is no record, but from the fact that the riverside is the oldest inhabited part of the City it may be nearly coeval with the establishment of Christianity in London. The first actual mention of it is in 1361 when, according to Newcourt, one Thomas de Wodeford was rector. In 1627 and 1629 it was repaired and redecorated, and a gallery built at the west end, but the whole was destroyed by the Great Fire. In 1683 it was rebuilt, the architect being Wren, and Allhallows the Less, its neighbour, united with it by Act of Parliament. In 1877 the tower and north aisle were taken down to widen Thames Street. The church was taken down in 1898. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1279.

The patronage was in the hands of the family of Le Despensers before 1314; Richard Beauchamp; Richard Nevil, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, 1465; George, Duke of Clarence, before 1480; Edward, eldest son of Isabel, Duchess of Clarence, 1480; Edward IV.; Henry VII., as a gift from Anne, widow of Richard Nevil, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury; Henry VIII.; the Archbishop of Canterbury, by exchange, 1569, in whose successors it continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 550.

There was a large cloister originally on the south side of the church, but it was in a considerable state of ruin in 1627.

The plan was nominally an oblong square, but, owing probably to the desire of Wren to make use of the old foundations, its walls were neither built parallel nor four-square. The length was 87 feet, the height 33 feet, and the width 60 feet, of which the nave was made 48 feet wide and a north aisle 12 feet wide. To the north aisle was also attached a heavy square tower, occupying a portion of the aisle. The elevation was finished with a cornice and parapet. The tower rose above the second division from the east to a height of 86 feet. The church was celebrated for its beautiful woodwork, which, on its demolition, was removed to St. Michael Royal.

Chantries were founded here by: Richard de Preston, citizen and grocer, at the Altar of St. Katherine, for himself and Agnes his wife, and to which Alfred Lyndon was admitted chaplain in 1396; Peter Cosin whose will is dated 1291 (Pat. 43 Edward III. p. 2 m. 12); Sir Nicholas Lovin for himself 248and dame Margaret his wife; William Lichfield, augmented by Thomas Westhowe, both of which endowments fetched £8 : 16 : 8 in 1548; and William Peston.

The church formerly contained monuments to: William Lichfield, Doctor of Divinity; John Brickles, a great benefactor. Queen Elizabeth’s monument, “If Royal Vertues, etc.,” was also in this church.

Two charity schools were erected in 1715, consisting of thirty boys and twenty girls supported by voluntary subscriptions from the inhabitants of the ward.

Among the notable rectors of this church are: Thomas White (1628-98), Bishop of Peterborough; Hon. James York, Bishop of Ely, 1781; Robert Richardson, D.D. (1732-81), Dean of Lincoln; Edward Waddington (d. 1731), Bishop of Chichester; William Vincent (1739-1815), Dean of Westminster; William Cave, author (1637-1713).

In 1877 a new vestry was built on the south side of the church. It is approached from Allhallows Lane by steps, through an arched doorway, above which stands what is called “the tower,” a mean erection and a mere apology for a tower. Its height does not extend beyond the church roof. The vestry is fitted with the panelling and the pedimented doorway brought from the old north aisle, from which also come the two fantastically and beautifully carved wooden shields, now placed respectively over the fireplace and the door. The ceiling is a neat piece of panelling. The room is used for the holding of the Dowgate wardmotes. The churchyard (south of the church) is much higher than the lane at its side. It contains one tree, several tombs, and in the north-west corner the vestry-room. The enclosure remains an open space even after the demolition of the church.

Allhallows Church was dismantled in 1894. The screen, the pulpit, the altar rails, the brass candelabra, and some of the woodwork went to St. Margaret, Lothbury; the organ case, the font rails, the statues of Moses and Aaron, most of the carved woodwork, the monuments, and the stained-glass arms of Bishop Waddington went to St. Michael, Paternoster Royal. The carved-wood altar was allotted to the new Church of Allhallows, North St. Pancras, which was to be erected partially from the funds arising out of the sale. The clock by Ericke was bought by a gentleman connected with the City of London Brewery, where it now stands. The site and the materials of the fabric were sold by auction on July 31, 1894, for £31,100.


Allhallows the Less was situated on the south side of Thames Street, to the east of Allhallows the Great; it was called by some Allhallows-on-the-Cellars, from its standing on vaults. It is said to have been built by Sir John Poultney. After the Great Fire the church was not rebuilt and the parish was annexed to Allhallows the Great. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1242.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Bishops of Winchester in 1242; master and chaplains of Corpus Christi College, Candlewick Street.

Houseling people in 1548 were 200.

The steeple and choir of this church stood on an arched gate, which was the entry to a great house called Cold Harbour. Dormers were made on the south side of the church in 1613 to lighten it, and several galleries subsequently added.

249A chantry was founded here by James Andrew, the endowment of which fetched £8 : 9 : 4 in 1548.

The donors of charities to this church were: Elizabeth Bannister, £5; Anne Hope, £5; Roger Daniel, £8; and Samuel Goldsmith, £6, paid by the Company of Dyers.

Two charity schools were erected in 1715 consisting of thirty boys and twenty-eight girls supported by voluntary contributions from the inhabitants of the ward.

Cannon Street was formerly Candlewick Street. It was part of the ancient Roman highway that ran through the City and was once called Watling Street throughout its whole length. Many deeds are extant relating to Candlewick Street.

Roman remains have been found in Cannon Street including tessellated pavements and a bronze statuette of Hercules.

In 1369 mention is made of the “Yeldehalle” in Candlewick Street, probably the “Hula Dacorum,” Hall of the Danes mentioned in the Liber Albus, where we learn that it was occupied by the Cologne merchants and perhaps by those of Dinant also. The building was probably the “Great stone Binn” called “Olde Hall” mentioned by Stow.

One of the Caxton family, of whom there were so many in the City, named William de Caxton, lived here in 1342, and left to the Rector of St. Swithin his mansion in this street for the maintenance of a chantry.

The Calendar of Wills proves that we are in the most populous and ancient part of London. Between 1259 and 1350 there are more than fifty references to Candlewyke Street. The place is famous for its weavers, and especially for the coarse cloth they made here called “burel.” There was a fraternity of the “Burellers” working here. In 1334 one hundred foot-soldiers were provided with “gowns” of cloth made in Candlewyke Street. There was also a petition drawn up by the “good-folk” of this street and Clement’s Lane against the melting of lead in their midst.

From Eastcheap to Walbrook, the title was for many centuries Candlewick, Candlewright, or Canewyke Street. “Candelwykestrete” is mentioned in the City Records as early as 1308; “Canewykestrete” appears 1376-99, and again as “Cainwicke St.” in the map of Ralph Agas c. 1560. Stow gives three possible derivations: (1) From Candlewright, a maker of candles; (2) from the yarn or cotton candle-wick; (3) from candle-wike, a “wike” being a place where things are made. The proximity of Tallow Chandlers’ Hall in Dowgate Hill points to this as the candlemakers’ quarter of the City, and favours the first and third theories rather than the second. In Ryther’s map of London, 1604, it is styled “Conning Streete,” (probably a misprint for Canning Street), and Newcourt in his 1658 map of London calls it “Cannon Street,” so that the change from Candlewick to Canwyke, Conning, and Cannon appears to have taken place within a comparatively short space of time.

The weavers of woollen cloths, brought from Flanders by Edward III., probably dwelt here: “cloth of Candelwykestrete” is mentioned in City records in 1334; 250and Stow says that these weavers obtained permission in 1371 to meet in the churchyard of St. Lawrence Pountney close by. They appear not to have remained long in the neighbourhood, but their advent led to a settlement of many drapers in this part of the City and ultimately to the founding of the Drapers’ Hall in St. Swithin’s Lane. In Stow’s time the street was “possessed by rich drapers, sellers of woollen cloth, etc.” After the Great Fire the street, Strype says, was “well built and inhabited by good tradesmen.”

There are two churches in the street, which is now extended to the south-east corner of St. Paul’s, sweeping away Distaff Lane, Basing Lane, Little St. Thomas Apostle, and a bit of Budge Row. London Stone is in this street. Beside London Stone Henry Fitz Ailwyn or Alwyne, first mayor of London, had his residence. Here lived the Earl of Oxford, who, about the year 1540, according to Stow, rode to his house with eighty gentlemen in “livery of Reading tawny,” and chains of gold about their necks and “one hundred tall yeomen in the like livery to follow him without chains, but all having his cognizance of the blue boar introduced on their left shoulders.” This retinue was discountenanced by the Tudors and fell into disuse. Perhaps this earl was the last to maintain so great a following.

London Stone was probably the pillar set up in the Roman fort to mark the milliarium, the beginning of mile.

Some have supposed this stone to be the remains of a British druidical circle or religious monument. Strype quotes Owen of Shrewsbury as giving rise to this view by his assertion that “the Druids had pillars of stone in veneration, which custom they borrowed from the Greeks, who, as Pausanius writeth, adored rude and unpolished stones.” Malcolm suggests that, if it is of British origin, “policy may have induced the Romans to preserve it, as a relic highly valued by the Londoners, or as the monument of some great event.” The general opinion, since Camden’s time, seems to be that the stone is of Roman origin, but its first purpose still remains uncertain. Stow notes that some considered it to have been set “as a mark in the middle of the City within the wall; but, in truth, it standeth far nearer to the river of Thames than to the wall of the City.” He says, also, that others thought it was set for the payment of debts, on appointed days, “till, of later times, payments were most usually made at the font in Pont’s Church (St. Paul’s), and now most commonly at the Royal Exchange.”

Sir Christopher Wren was of opinion that “by reason of its large foundation, it was rather some more considerable monument in the Forum; for, in the adjoining ground to the south, upon digging for cellars after the Great Fire, were discovered some tessellated pavements, and other extensive remains of Roman workmanship and buildings.” Originally, no doubt, the erection was of considerable proportions, and a suggestion is made in the Parentalia that this milliarium was not in the form of a pillar as at Rome, but probably resembled that at Constantinople, which must have been a large building “for under its roof, according to Cedrenus, and Seidas, stood statues of Constantine and Helena, Trajan, an equestrian statue of Hadrian, a statue of Fortune, and many other figures and decorations.”


251Strype considers it likely that this stone was, in after days, the place from which proclamations and public notices were made. This is confirmed in Pasquill and Marforius (1589): “Set up this bill at London Stone. Let it be done solemnly with drom and trumpet.” Malcolm considers that it was certainly regarded for some ages as “a rallying point for the citizens in times of insurrection, as Guildhall would now be.” At any rate, when in 1540 Jack Cade, “the Kentish rebel, who feigned himself to be Lord Mortimer,” forced his way into the City from Southwark, he marched to London Stone, where he found a great concourse of citizens, the Lord Mayor being among them. Here, according to Holinshed’s account, he struck his sword upon the stone, exclaiming, “Now is Mortimer Lord of this City,” as if, Pennant remarks, “that had been a customary ceremony of taking possession.” This scene occurs in the second part of Henry IV., Act iv. Sc. 6, where Shakespeare makes Cade enter Cannon Street with his followers, and strike the stone with his staff instead of his sword. To quote Fabian, “Rome, Carthage, and Jerusalem have been caste downe” with many other “cytyes,” yet

Thys, so oldely founded,
Is so surely grounded,
That no man may confounde yt,
It is so sure a stone
That yt is upon sette,
For though some have it thrette
With Manasses grym and great,
Yt hurt hath it none:
Chryste is the very stone
That the Citie is set upon:
Which from all his foon
Hath ever preserved it.
By means of dyvyne servyce
That incontinuall wyse
Is kept in devout guyse
Within the mure of it.

However great the stone may have been in the beginning, the ravages and fires of London could have left but little of the original remaining in the sixteenth century.

After the Fire its foundations were disclosed by Wren: no doubt a certain part of its upper end had been destroyed in the flames and possibly damaged in clearing away debris, but at all events a small portion of it, in shape somewhat like a cannon ball, was saved, says Strype, and placed within “a new stone handsomely wrought, cut hollow underneath, so as the old stone may be seen, the new stone being over it to shelter and deface the venerable one.” Strype’s map 252shows that the stone, in its new case, was at first re-erected on the old site on the south side of the street. On December 13, 1742, it was complained of as an obstruction, and was removed by order of the churchwardens of St. Swithin, at a cost of 12s., to the opposite of the “kerbstone” on the north side of the street. By kerbstone is here meant the stone protecting the foot of the buildings and not (as now) a stone protecting a pavement. At the beginning of 1798 the church was about to undergo a complete repair, and the historic stone was actually doomed to be removed as a nuisance. Fortunately Mr. Thomas Maiden, a printer of Sherborne Lane, championed the cause, and prevailed on one of the parish officers to preserve it and to have it replaced against the church wall. The enclosing stone, “somewhat like a Roman altar,” had formerly a curved bar of iron projecting across the elliptical aperture through which the relic is seen; but the present grill was placed over the front of the case in 1869, when the present inscription, in English and Latin, was cut in the wall of the church over the stone at the instance of a Committee consisting of members of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society, and the parish officers. At the same time a careful examination of the stone itself was made. It was found to measure about a foot cube, and that instead of being basaltic, capable of giving off sparks when struck by steel, it was in reality an oolite, such as the Romans used extensively in their buildings, and sometimes for coffins and sepulchral monuments, thus corroborating the idea of its Roman origin.

In Cannon Street is the Cordwainers’ Hall.


The Allutarii or Cordwainers appear to have been voluntarily associated together as a craft or mystery from very remote times, probably as early as the Conquest, in close connection with the municipality of London. Its object was to encourage and regulate the trades connected with the leather industry, and included the flaying, tanning, and currying of hides, and also the manufacture and sale of shoes, boots, goloshes, and other articles of leather. In the thirteenth and following centuries several branches separated and formed distinct communities, such as the girdlers, tanners, curriers, and leather sellers.

The first existing Ordinance of the Cordwainers (Allutarii) is found in Liber Horn, folio 339, and was made in the 56th year of King Henry III., Anno Domini 1272.

The Company was originally called the “Allutarii,” and became first connected with the “Coblers” in the 14th century. Maitland explains that the Cobler was not only the maker but the vendor of boots and shoes. As people in cold countries always wanted shoes, the Guild or Fraternity of shoemakers was certainly ancient. In 1375 the “reputable” Cordwainers submitted their ordinances to the mayor. In 1378 we learn that “discreet” men of the trade had authority to seize hides badly tanned. In 1395 the Cordwainers and the Coblers—i.e. the workers in new and old shoes—adjusted their differences, but that in 1409 the dissensions between them broke out again and were once more composed. In 1387 three journeymen cordwainers were haled before the mayor, charged with illegally forming a Fraternity of themselves excluding the masters. Another indication of the existence of an ancient Fraternity is that of the brawling and fighting in 1304 of the cordwainers and the tailors.

253The first charter of incorporation was granted by King Henry VI. 1439, whereby, in consideration of the payment of fifty marks, he granted to the freemen of the Mysterie of Cordwainers (Allutariorum) of the City of London that they should be one body or commonalty for ever, that they should every year elect and make of themselves one master and four wardens to rule and govern the said mysterie, and all men and workers of the mysterie and commonalty, and all workmen and workers whatsoever of tanned leather relating to the said mysterie, to search and try black and red tanned leather and all new shoes which should be sold or exposed for sale, as well within the said City as without, within two miles thereof.

The above charter was exemplified and confirmed by the charter 4 and 5 Philip and Mary (June 17, 1557).

The charter or Letters Patent of Queen Elizabeth, dated August 24, in the fourth year of Her Majesty’s reign (A.D. 1562), exemplifies and confirms the exemplification of Philip and Mary.

The charter further grants to them the government of all persons exercising the said trade within the City of London and three miles round about the said City and suburbs, the privilege having previously run only to two miles. Also the power of making bylaws for such purpose is thereby given to the master, wardens, assistants, and commonalty.

King James I., in the tenth year of his reign, granted another charter to the Company.

A new charter was granted by King James II. in the first year of his reign, but it would appear that this charter was afterwards annulled by Act 2 William and Mary, cap. 9; but this same Act restored and confirmed all previous charters.

The first Hall was burned in the Great Fire: it stood in Great Distaff Street; since this street was swallowed up by Cannon Street, the Hall, rebuilt after the Fire, and again in 1788, and greatly altered since then, has now a frontage in Cannon Street.

The livery is now 100; the Corporate Income is £7700; the Trust Income £1600.

Of the cordwainers, Stow speaks as follows:

“In this Distar Lane, on the north side thereof, is the Cordwainers’, or Shoemakers’ hall, which company were made a brotherhood or fraternity, in the 11th of Henry IV. Of these cordwainers I read, that since the 5th of Richard II. (when he took to wife Anne, daughter of Vesalaus, King of Boheme), by her example, the English people had used piked shoes, tied to their knees with silken laces, or chains of silver or gilt, wherefore in the 4th of Edward IV. it was ordained and proclaimed, that beaks of shoone and boots should not pass the length of two inches, upon pain of cursing by the clergy, and by parliament to pay twenty shillings for every pair. And every cordwainer that shod any man or woman on the Sunday to pay thirty shillings.”

Suffolk House, in Suffolk Lane, stands upon the site of the old Merchant Taylors’ School, and hence also upon the site of the Manor of the Rose.

This was a famous mansion once called Poultney’s Inn, from Sir John Poultney, who dwelt here after his removal from Cold Harbour. This was probably in 1348, for in that year (the year after he founded his college of Corpus Christi, by the church of St. Lawrence Poultney (or Pountney) on Lawrence Poultney Hill) he gave the Cold Harbour to the Earl of Hereford and Essex, for “one Rose at Midsummer, to him and his heirs for all services, if the same were demanded” (Stow). It seems most probable that this light “service” is accountable for the name of the Manor of the Rose. Subsequently the Manor belonged to John Holland, Duke of Exeter, then to William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, attainted and beheaded 1450. His son John, made Duke of Suffolk in 1463, does not appear to have possessed it, but his son John, Earl of Lincoln, owned it at the time of his attainder in 1487. It remained 254with the Crown until 1495, when it was restored to Edmund de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, on whose forfeiture of it by treason it was granted in 1506 to Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who kept possession of it until he was attainted and beheaded in 1521. Shakespeare (Henry VIII., Act i. Sc. 2) alludes to “The Rose within the parish of St. Lawrence Poultney,” in connection with the Duke of Buckingham. After remaining with the Crown for about four years it was granted in 1526 to Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who had recently been created Marquis of Exeter. He was beheaded in 1539, when the property again fell to the Crown. In 1540 it was granted to Robert Radcliffe, Lord Fitzwalter, Earl of Sussex, whose son and grandson held it in turn. In 1560-61 it was sold and shortly after divided into moieties, of which one part was afterwards sold for the use of the Merchant Taylors’ School. All that remained intact of the mansion perished in the Fire of 1666, except a few portions of which the chief were a wall in Ducksfoot Lane, and a crypt extending from Suffolk Lane to Lawrence Poultney Hill. At the rebuilding of the City, No. 3 Lawrence Poultney Hill stood over this crypt, which remained until that house was pulled down in 1894, when, despite the protests of the antiquarians, the crypt was ruthlessly destroyed.


255After the Fire the school was rebuilt on the old site, in 1675, the head-master’s house being erected adjoining it.

The school premises were enlarged at various times, especially in 1829. In 1875 they became too small for the requirements of the school, and the old Charterhouse School having been removed to Godalming, the Charterhouse site was bought by the Merchant Taylors Company for £90,000, and Merchant Taylors’ School was moved to its present quarters. The old premises were taken down, and Suffolk House was erected in part upon their site in 1882.

The pious Robert Nelson, author of the Fasts and Festivals, was born in Suffolk Lane, June 22, 1656. His father, John Nelson, was a wealthy trader to the Levant.

Strype calls Ducksfoot Lane Duxford. The name is, perhaps, a corruption of Duke’s Footmen’s Lane, tradition asserting that this lane contained the servants’ entrance to the Duke of Suffolk’s house, the Manor of the Rose. In that case “footmen” is equivalent to retainers, or men-at-arms, whose quarters would probably be at the back of the mansion. Wilson (History of St. Lawrence Poultney) thinks it was once called Duke’s-foot-lane, meaning a narrow way to the mansion.

The only old house in the Lane is No. 2, which possesses a very interesting interior. The building is now used for offices, but was originally a merchant’s residence. The old dining-room is a fine chamber, having panelled walls profusely decorated with florid designs in raised composition. The panel over the chimney-piece is particularly good. The entablature of the handsome mantel is supported by fluted Ionic pilasters, the frieze filled with flowers and fruit, and the keystone embellished with a curious rural scene. There are several other quaint mantels in the house, one being of coloured marbles exquisitely painted with figures and scenes. The great staircase with its wainscotted walls and fine balusters is a good piece of work. The cellars are very extensive, and there are traces of a subterranean passage which formerly led to the Thames. The staircase and the old dining-room were copied by Mr. John Hare, and staged at the Garrick Theatre for Mr. Pinero’s play The Profligate, first performed in 1889.

Laurence Pountney Hill.—Stow calls this hill St. Laurence Hill. The part from Cannon Street to Suffolk Lane was formerly Green Lettice Lane, but was renamed under the present title only, on the widening of Cannon Street, 1853-54. The two houses at the corner of Suffolk Lane are splendid specimens of early eighteenth-century architecture. Both are finished with a handsome cornice. The doorways of both are side by side and have lintels and architraves of such rich 256carving as to be unsurpassed in the City by any doorways of similar size and style. The lintels are both concave: that on the southern house contains garlands of flowers, a cherub’s head, and the date 1703, that on the northern consists of a large scallop shell having in it two naked children. The staircase in the northern house, with its fine twisted balusters, is one of the best original staircases left in the City. The southern house has been modernised for business premises and spoiled. Next below is a plot recently bared, where was the vault alluded to under Suffolk Lane.

At the north-east corner of Ducksfoot Lane is an old house, a good specimen of the domestic architecture after the Fire. Next to it eastwards is the southern half of St. Lawrence Pountney Churchyard now disused. It contains three trees and several tombs. In summer a large-leafed plant covers almost the whole area. Across the enclosure is another fine old house, now used for offices, containing handsome rooms and a fine balustered well-staircase.

Dr. William Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, came to live with his brother Eliab opposite St. Lawrence Pountney Church, after the surrender of Oxford. Both Eliab and another brother Daniel were rich and distinguished merchants on the hill. Richard Glover, the author of Leonidas, was also an eminent merchant on this hill.

The character of Laurence Pountney Lane on both sides (except the modern warehouses on the east side at the corner of Upper Thames Street) is that of the rebuilding after the Fire. Perhaps as a whole this lane preserves this character better than any other thoroughfare in the ward. At the Upper Thames Street end, on the west side, is a house which, though rebuilt on the Upper Thames Street front, retains the old side wall. This is still pierced with narrow windows filled with little squares of glass in lead-work. On the same side of the lane are several carved lintels, and well-panelled deeply recessed doorways. Near the lower end is an old house beneath which is an archway leading to a courtyard, cellars, and offices. The house is partly tenanted by Messrs. Cooper, Box & Co., who first made beaver hats here in 1830 or thereabouts. The back part at the end of the yard, and the front windows were added about 1855. The cellars at the rear of the yard used to contain the vats in which the beaver hats were dyed. The lease of the house dating from shortly after the Fire is still in existence. In the yard is an arched doorway of stone, and solid arches of the same material support the walls of the house in the basement cellars. The stone no doubt came out of the ruins of buildings destroyed in the Fire; possibly some of it from the Manor of the Rose.

At the beginning of 1543 Master Arundel kept a house of entertainment in this lane, much resorted to by the gay young men of that time. Henry, Earl of Surrey, the poet, was summoned before the Privy Council to answer certain charges, when Mistress Arundel, being examined, said that the Earl of Surrey and other young noblemen frequented her house. They ate meat in Lent and committed other 257improprieties. At Candlemas they went out at 9 o’clock at night, with stone bows, and did not return till past midnight; and next day there was a great clamour of breaking of windows, both of houses and churches, and shouting at men in the street, and the voice was that those hurts were done by my lord and his company. Again at night, rowing on the Thames, they used these stone bows to shoot, as she was told, “at the queens on the Bankside” (MS. quoted by Froude, vol. iv. p. 253).

St. Lawrence Poultney or Pountney was situated on the west side of Laurence Pountney Lane, between Cannon Street and Thames Street in the Ward of Candlewick Street. Thomas Cole added to it a chapel of Jesus, for a master and a chaplain, and this together with the parish church was made into a college by John Poultney and confirmed by Edward III. At the suppression of the religious houses it was valued at £97 : 17 : 11 and surrendered in the reign of Edward VI. The church was burnt down by the Great Fire and its parish annexed to that of St. Mary Abchurch. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1318.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The chaplains of this college; Henry VIII., who seized it and so continued in the Crown till Queen Elizabeth granted it to Edward Dorening and Roger Rant as an appendage of the manor of East Greenwich.

Houseling people in 1548 were 270.

No benefactors are recorded by Stow. There are few monuments recorded, and those of little note: John Oliffe, alderman, was buried in the church in 1577; also Robert and Henry Radcliffe, Earls of Sussex.

William Latymer was master of this college; he was prosecuted for complaining with John Hooper, of Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London.

In Martin’s Lane a high tower resembling the steeple of a church projects at the end of a block of modern buildings. The old clock, which is attached and hangs out over the street, makes the resemblance to a church more noticeable. The building was erected on the site of the old church of St. Martin Orgar. The churchyard below is comparatively large and includes a row of trees. It is considerably above the level of the street. At the east end are some old seventeenth or eighteenth century houses with rusticated woodwork beneath their gables. On the west side of the lane No. 7 is an old eighteenth-century house, a fine specimen, with brick courses across its frontage.

St. Martin Orgar was situated in St. Martin’s Lane, near Candlewick Street. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to St. Clement’s, Eastcheap. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1348.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Orgarus, who gave it about 1181 to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who held it up to 1666, when the church was burnt down.

Houseling people in 1548 were 280.

Chantries were founded here by: William Cromer, whose endowment fetched £30 : 15 : 4 in 1548, when John Carre was priest; John Weston, who gave to the Augmentation of Our Lady’s Mass to be “songe by note” £12 : 18 : 8 a year in 1548; William Oreswicke, whose endowment for two chaplains fetched £13 : 5 : 0 in 1548.

The church contained monuments to: William Crowmer, mayor, who built a chapel on the south side of the church, and who was buried there in 1433; Sir Humphrey Browne, Lord Chief Justice (d. 1562); Sir Allen Cotton, lord mayor (d. 1628). There was also a monument to Queen Elizabeth.

According to Stow the parish enjoyed the benefits of many benefactors. Among others, Benedict 258Barnham was donor of £10 yearly; Thomas Nicolson of £5; Sir Humphrey Walwyn of £5; and James Hall of three tenements to the value of £18 : 10 : 0.

Brien Walton (d. 1661), Bishop of Chester, was rector here.

Crooked Lane has been partly destroyed to make way for the approach to London Bridge, which has also swallowed up St. Michael’s Lane and Great Eastcheap. In Crooked Lane stood a house before the Fire called “the Leaden Porch,” which belonged to one Sir John Sherston in the fifteenth century. The lane also contained St. Michael’s Church, the burial-place of William Walworth.

St. Michael, Crooked Lane, was situated on the east side of Miles’s Lane, Great Eastcheap, and was one of the thirteen “Peculiars” in the City, subject to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was repaired and redecorated in 1610, but burnt down by the Great Fire and rebuilt from Wren’s designs in 1687; the steeple was not built till 1698. In 1831 the building was pulled down, its parish being united with those of St. Magnus and St. Margaret. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1286.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, before 1286; the Archbishop of Canterbury, who presented in 1408, in whose successors it continued up to 1848, when the church was annexed to St. Magnus the Martyr.

Houseling people in 1548 were 354.

The church built by Wren, which was without aisles, measured 78 feet in length and 46 feet in breadth. The tower was surmounted by a circular lantern in three stages, supporting a cupola with a lofty vane and cross, and reached a height of about 100 feet.

Chantries were founded here: By William Walworth (mayor 1380) of five chaplains; he endowed it with lands, etc., which fetched £20 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when the priests were William Berte, Thomas Harper, William Hale, William Clayton, and John Nesehame; by John Rothinge, who left £6 yearly, which is appropriated to finding a Walworth chaplain; by Walter Morden, who endowed it with the “bores hedde” in Eastcheap, valued at £4 a year; by William de Burgo, who had the King’s licence June 21, 1318, whose endowment fetched £6 : 13 : 4 in 1548; by Pentecost Russel and Gerard de Staundon at the altar of St. Thomas Martyr and St. Edmund; the King granted his licence July 14, 1321, for himself, his father and mother, and G. de Staundon, late parson of Stevenage, Herts; by Henry Grubbe, for which the King granted his licence April 20, 1371; by Roger Steere, who endowed it with tenements valued at £8 : 8 : 0 yearly, which is spent towards finding the Walworth chaplains; by William Jordan, who left £5 : 16 : 8 to find a priest, but this was also appropriated to the Walworth chaplains; by Robert Brocket, who endowed it with £7 a year; by John Longe, who left 10s. per annum; March 10, 1380-81—the King granted his licence to William Walworth, citizen and merchant of London, to unite diverse chantries in this church, founded by Pentecost Russell; Matilda and Roger Steere; John Harewe; John Abell; W. Burgh; Henry Grubbe; William Jordan; Walter Mordon; and Thomas atte Leye, which by changes of time are insufficient to maintain these chantries, and he was further empowered to found a college of one master and nine chaplains there.

The church formerly contained monuments to: John Lovekin, fishmonger, four times Lord Mayor, through whom the church, 1348, 1358, 1365, and 1366, was rebuilt; also Sir William Walworth, the mayor who overthrew Wat Tyler—he enlarged the church with a new choir and side-chapels and founded a college in connection with it; Sir John Brug, mayor 1520, donor of £50.

No legacies or charitable gifts are recorded by Stow.

John Poynet (d. 1556), Bishop of Rochester and of Winchester, was rector here; also Adam Molens or Molyneux (d. 1450), Bishop of Chichester, who was slain at Portsmouth by the Marines, incited by Richard, Duke of York; Giovanni Giglii (d. 1498), Bishop of Worcester.

At the end of Swan Lane is Old Swan Pier, beneath which are the famous Old Swan Stairs; these now consist of stone steps followed by a flight of wooden ones, 259descending straight into the water. Stow calls them “a common stair on the Thames.” In 1441, when the Duchess of Gloucester did penance at Christchurch-by-Aldgate, she landed here, and walked the rest of the way. When persons did not care to risk “shooting London Bridge,” it was customary for them to land at these stairs, walk to the other side of the bridge, and then take to the water again. Pepys in his Diary (1661) mentions taking Mr. Salisbury to Whitehall: “But he could not by any means be moved to go through the bridge, and we were fain to go round by the Old Swan Pier”; and Boswell says that he and Johnson “landed at the Old Swan and walked to Billingsgate,” where they took oars for Greenwich.

The race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, open to watermen, is rowed between the Old Swan and the White Swan at Chelsea. Near these stairs was John Hardcastle’s counting-house, where were first brought forth the Hibernian Society, the London Missionary Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the Religious Tract Society.

At the end of Swan Lane (west side) is the entrance to the subway called Waterside. It passes beneath Tennants’, Commercial, and Dyers’ Hall wharves, in front of Red Bull Wharf (the only place where it emerges into the open), and ultimately runs under the City of London Brewery into All Hallows Lane. In Strype’s 1754 map the whole of the riverside from Swan to All Hallows Lane is shown as a broad path (40 feet wide) open to the water, and called New Key, upon which debouch all the lanes leading from Thames Street to the shore. It was part of a design of Wren for improving the river-bank after the Great Fire. In a map of 1819 the “key,” though mostly open, is shown to be a subway under a portion of the brewery. It is marked as a “Public Way.” It has been gradually covered over by the extension of the brewery and the wharves, so that now what was once a riverside walk has become a subway, from which the water is nowhere visible, unless one of the wharf doors happens to be open.

The Fishmongers’ Hall rises squarely beside London Bridge, and not far off is the Monument, with an absurd chevaux de frise of spikes rising from its golden ball, and representing flames, very much as they are represented in the contemporary illustrations of the Fire. St. Magnus’s white steeple makes a good foreground.


The origin of the Fishmongers Company is lost in remote antiquity; it is unquestionable that it existed prior to the reign of Henry II., and originated in an association or brotherhood.

The Fishmongers Company lost the greater part of its earlier records, books, and muniments in the Great Fire of London; the earliest existing record in the possession of the Company being a court book dating from 1592.

The privileges of the Company were confirmed by royal charters in the reign of Edward I., 1272, Edward II., 1307, and Edward III., 1327.

The first extant charter is in Norman French, dated July 10, 1364, 37 Edward III.

260It recites that from ancient times, whereof memory runs not, it was a custom that no fish should be sold in the City of London but by fishmongers, except stockfish, which belongs to the mistery of stockfishmongers (subsequently incorporated with the fishmongers), and further recites that the mistery of fishmongers had grants from the King’s progenitors in ancient times, that the fishmongers should choose yearly certain persons of the mistery to well and lawfully rule the same.

The foregoing charter was confirmed by a proclamation of the following year, July 12, 1365, 38 Edward III., which granted further power and privileges to the mistery of fishmongers of the City of London.

Pictorial Agency.


By a further mandate of King Edward III., dated July 24 in the same year, the King granted to the fishmongers of the said city, and of the liberty of the halmote of the same mistery, that no person, stranger or inhabitant, should in any manner occupy the mistery of fishmongers in the said city, or intermeddle therewith, unless he were of the same mistery; and that the fishmongers of the same liberty should be able in every year to elect four persons (to be sworn) to oversee the buying and selling of fish in the said city, and well and faithfully to rule the said mistery “for the common commodity of our people.”

In the twenty-second year of King Richard II., May 9, 1399, another charter was granted.

By an Inspeximus of 6 Henry VI., July 10, 1427, the charter of King Richard II. was confirmed.

By charter of 23 Henry VII., dated July 3, 1508, the Letters Patent of 11 Henry VI., 1433, are set forth and ratified and confirmed.

By a charter of 24 King Henry VII., dated September 20, 1508, the stockfishmongers of the City of London were incorporated by the name of “The Wardens and Commonalty of the Mistery of Stockfishmongers of the City of London,” with perpetual succession and a common seal.

In the twenty-seventh year of King Henry VIII., 1537, a charter was granted by which the two corporations of the Fishmongers Company and Stockfishmongers Company were incorporated as one company, and in the same year a deed was executed between the two companies regulating the terms of such union.

Pictorial Agency.


261The rest of the brief history furnished by the Company is a recital of the later charters, which do not seem of very great importance. The number of liverymen in 1898 was 344; the Corporate Income was £46,053; the Trust Income was £7235.

Freemen, the widows of freemen, and freewomen, being in poor circumstances, are eligible for pecuniary relief by way of grant or pension, or for election to the Company’s almshouses. The children of freemen are eligible for weekly pensions or pecuniary relief.

Loans are also made by the Company in special cases in aid of freemen in necessitous circumstances.

The Company has established a number of educational exhibitions for the children of deserving freemen, and subscribe liberally to the City of London Institute.


The children of freemen are also eligible for the nominations to Christ’s Hospital in the gift of the Company.

Liverymen have the usual privileges, and receive invitations in turn to dine at livery dinners in the Company’s hall.

The Company’s first hall was the house of Lord Fanhope given to the Fishmongers by him in the reign of Henry VIII. It was rebuilt after the Fire by Jarman. It stood on the north foot of the present bridge. The present hall was erected when New London Bridge swallowed up its predecessor.


St. Magnus stands on the south side of Thames Street at the bottom of Fish Street Hill; it was called the “Martyr” from its dedicatory saint, who suffered martyrdom in Cæsarea in the time of Aurelian 262the Emperor. It was burnt down by the Great Fire, and rebuilt by Wren, who completed it in 1676, with the exception of the steeple, which was not added till 1705. The parish of St. Margaret, New Fish Street, was annexed to this after the Fire. In 1831 that of St. Michael, Crooked Lane, was also annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1247.

Drawn by G. Shepherd.


The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Bermondsey before 1252, and the Abbot and Convent of Westminster alternately, since 1252; Henry VIII. seized it, and granted it to the Bishop of Westminster, January 20, 1540-41; Bishop of London by grant of Edward VI. in 1550, confirmed by Queen Mary, March 3, 1553-54, in whose successors it continued.

Houseling people in 1548 were 535.

The building is one of the most beautiful of all the City churches; it measures 90 feet in length, 59 feet in breadth, and 41 feet in height. It contains a nave and side-aisles separated by slender Ionic columns standing a considerable distance from each other. The steeple rising near London Bridge is seen to great advantage, and is considered one of the best of Wren’s works. It consists of a tower with a cornice, parapet, and vases, surmounted by an octagonal lantern with a cupola, which, in its 263turn, is surmounted by a slender lantern and spire, with a finial and vane. The total height is 185 feet.

Chantries were founded here by: Andrew Hunt, whose endowment fetched £6 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Gilbert Smythe was chaplain; Thomas Makinge, whose endowment yielded £16 in 1548, when Thomas Parker was chaplain; Sir John Deepdene, Knt., for himself and Elizabeth his wife, at the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary, and also at the same altar by Robert Ramsey, for himself and Jane his wife, for which the King granted his licence, February 5, 1404-1405—the endowments fetched £16 : 13 : 4 in 1548, when Joseph Stepneth was chaplain; Ralph de Gray, whose endowment fetched £4 in 1548; Hugh Pourt, who was sheriff of London 1303, for himself and Margaret his wife, at the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary, to which Hugo de Waltham was admitted chaplain, October 10, 1322—this chantry was augmented by Roger Clovill, and the King granted his licence in mortmain, June 10, 1370; John Bever, for the support of two priests, whose endowment fetched £20 : 6 : 8 in 1548, but no priests have been found since Henry IV.’s time—the King granted his licence, May 26, 1448, to constitute the Guild of S. Maxentius and S. Thomas; Andrew Hunt and several others founded and endowed the Brotherhood of Salve Regina, whose gifts fetched £49 : 0 : 4 in 1548, when John Swanne and William Bunting were the chaplains.

The old church was the place of sepulture of several persons of note in their day, amongst whom may be mentioned Henry Yeuele, master-mason to Edward III., Richard II., and Henry IV.; Sir W. Gerrard, mayor in 1555; and Sir John Gerrard, mayor in 1601; and Thomas Collet, for twenty years deputy of this ward, who died in 1703. On the demolition of St. Bartholomew by the Exchange, the remains of Miles Coverdale were brought here, as he had been rector of the church 1563-66. His monument is on the east wall, south of the communion table.

Sixty boys and forty girls were maintained in the Candlewick and Bridge Wards.

The parish did not possess many large charitable gifts: Samuel Petty was donor of £600, of which only £250 was received, owing to the bonds not being good; Susanna Chambers, £17; Thomas Arnold, £2 : 12s.; John Jennings, £13.

Besides Miles Coverdale, other rectors of note were: Richard de Medford or Mitford, Bishop of Chichester in 1389; Maurice Griffith (d. 1558), Bishop of Rochester.

Great Eastcheap, now destroyed, was in Stow’s time a market-place for butchers: it had also cooks mixed among the butchers and such others as sold victuals ready dressed of all sorts. “For of old time when friends did meet and were disposed to be merry, they went not to dine and sup at taverns but to the cooks, where they called for meat what they liked which they found ready dressed and at a reasonable rate.” In Great Eastcheap was the immortal tavern of the Boar’s Head, already mentioned p. 106.

There was apparently another Boar’s Head in this ward. Maitland mentions it:

“In this Ward there was a house called The Boar’s Head, inhabited by William Sanderson, which came to King Edward VI. by the Statute about Chantries; which, with the shops, cellars, solars, and other Commodities and easements, he sold in the second of his reign, together with other lands and tenements, to John Sicklemore and Walter Williams for two thousand six hundred and sixty-eight pounds, and upwards” (Maitland, vol. ii. p. 793).

Fish Street Hill, or New Fish Street, formerly Bridge Street, led to Old London Bridge past St. Magnus’s Church. It contained an ancient stone house which had once been occupied by the Black Prince, and was afterwards converted 264into an inn called the Black Bell. Very frequent mention is made of Bridge Street. Here lived Andrew Horne, fishmonger, City Chamberlain, author of the Liber Horne. A note which concerns him may be found in Riley’s Memorials, A.D. 1315. Among the signs of the street were the “King’s Head”; the “Harrow”; the “Swan and Bridge”; the “Star”; the “Mitre”; the “Golden Cup”; the “Salmon”; the “Black Raven”; the “Crown”; the “Maiden Head”; the “White Lion”; the “Swan,” etc. Foundations of Roman buildings have been found here. Riley has notices of the street between 1311 and 1340. Notices are found in the Calendar of Wills from 1273. In the Guildhall MSS. the earliest mention of the street is 1189. In this street stood the Church of St. Margaret, not rebuilt after the Fire. This church was on the west above Crooked Lane.

St. Margaret, New Fish Street, sometimes called St. Margaret, Bridge Street, stood on the east side of Fish Street Hill, where the Monument now stands; it was destroyed by the Great Fire, and its parish united to that of St. Magnus the Martyr. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1283.

The patronage of the church, before 1283, was in the hands of: The Abbot and Convent of Westminster, 1283-84; Henry VIII., who granted it to the Bishop of Westminster, January 20, 1540-41; the Bishop of London, by grant of Edward VI. in 1550, confirmed by Queen Mary, March 3, 1553-54, in whose successors it continued up to 1666, when the parish was annexed to St. Magnus.

Houseling people in 1548 were 200.

Chantries were founded here by: Roger de Bury, for which the King granted his licence in 1318; John Coggeshall, at the Altar of St. Peter—his endowment fetched £13 : 10s. in 1548, when Richard Bec was chaplain; Thomas Dursley, whose endowment yielded £4 in 1548; John Rous, whose endowment fetched £5 in 1548; Robert Whaplode, whose endowment yielded 40s. in 1548.

Only one monument of note is recorded by Stow, that of John Coggeshall, 1384, and the reason of his eminence is not stated.

Some of the chantries belonging to this parish were: £2 : 10s., the gift of John Wybert; £2, the gift of Katherine Parry; £1 : 10s., the gift of Mr. Mosyer.

Candlewick and Bridge Wards maintained sixty boys and forty girls.

John Seton (d. 1568), Prebendary of York, author of Dialectica; William Cotton (d. 1621), Bishop of Exeter; Samuel Hasnet, Archbishop of York 1629, are among the notable rectors.

On the east side, higher up, stood the Church and burial-ground of St. Leonard’s Milk Church, also destroyed by the Fire and not rebuilt (see p. 266). The most important building in Fish Street is, of course, the Monument.

For The Monument we quote the account taken by Maitland from the life of Sir Christopher Wren:

“In the year 1671, the Surveyor began the building of the great fluted column of Portland Stone, and of the Dorick Order (commonly called the Monument of London, in memory of the burning and rebuilding of the City), and finished it in 1677. The Artificers were obliged to wait sometimes for Stones of proper scantlings; which occasioned the work to be longer in execution than otherwise it would have been. The altitude from the pavement is two hundred and two feet, the diameter of the shaft or body of the column is fifteen feet, the ground bounded by the Plinth or lowest part of the pedestal is twenty-eight feet square, and the pedestal in height 265is forty feet. Within is a large staircase of black marble, containing three hundred and forty-five steps, ten inches and an half broad, and six inches rising. Over the Capital is an Iron Balcony, encompassing a Cippus or Meta, thirty-two feet high, supporting a blazing urn of brass gilt. Prior to this, the Surveyor (as it appears by an original drawing) had made a design of a pillar of somewhat less proportion, viz.: fourteen feet in diameter, and after a peculiar device: For, as the Romans expressed by Relievo, on the pedestals, and round the shafts of their Columns, the history of such actions and incidents as were intended to be thereby commemorated; so this Monument of the conflagration and resurrection of the City of London was represented by a pillar in flames; the flames, blazing from the loopholes of the shaft (which were to give light to the stairs within), were figured in brasswork gilt, and on the top was a Phoenix rising from her ashes, of brass gilt likewise.” The total expense was about £14,500.


From a drawing by Signor Canalsti.

The height (202 feet) is supposed to be equal to its distance eastward from the house in Pudding Lane in which the Fire broke out. Inside are 345 steps, by which any one after paying 3d. may ascend to the caged-in platform near the top. The pedestal has Latin inscriptions on the north, south, and east panels. In 1681 a further inscription, running round the base of the pedestal, was added as follows:

This pillar was set up in perpetual remembrance of that most dreadful burning of this Protestant City begun and carried on by ye treachery and malice of ye Popish factio, in ye beginning of Septem in ye year of our Lord 1666 in order to ye carrying on their horrid plott for extirpating the Protestant religion and old English liberty, and the introducing Popery and slavery.

266This was obliterated in the reign of James II., but recut in that of his successor, causing Pope’s comment:

Where London’s column, pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully rears its head and lies.

The obnoxious inscription was not erased until 1831.

On the west panel of the pedestal is a bas-relief representing Charles II. in Roman dress attended by Liberty, Genius, and Science.

In the background the City is being rebuilt, and at the King’s feet Envy tries to rekindle the flames.


This church stood at the corner of Eastcheap on Fish Street Hill; it was sometimes called St. Leonard Milk Church, from one Am. Milker, who built it. It suffered considerably from a fire in 1618, but was subsequently well repaired. The building was destroyed by the Great Fire, and its parish annexed to that of St. Benet, Gracechurch Street. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1348.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, 1353; Henry VIII., who seized it in 1540, and soon after gave it to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.

Houseling people in 1548 were 260.

Chantries were founded here by: Reginald de Canterbury, citizen, at the Altar of St. Thomas the Archbishop in 1329, when John de Lacelbrigge was admitted chaplain; William Ivorye, whose endowment yielded £8 : 6 : 8 in 1548; John Bromesburye and John Wasselbye, whose endowments fetched £10 in 1548; Margery Bedyn, whose endowment yielded £10 : 8s. in 1548; Hugo Browne, whose endowment fetched £18 : 11s. in 1548; John Doggett, whose endowment yielded £10 in 1548; Robert Boydon.

A considerable number of monuments were recorded by Stow to have been well preserved. That of the greatest antiquity was one in memory of John Johnson, who died 1280. Several were erected to various members of the Doggett family, of whom Walter Doggett was sheriff in 1380, John Doggett, a citizen of eminence in his day, buried 1456 (circa); Robert Fitzhugh (d. 1436), Bishop of London, was rector here.

Pudding Lane was formerly Rother Lane, or Red Rose Lane. It was called, according to Stow, “Pudding Lane, because the butchers of Eastcheap have their scalding houses for hogs there, and their puddings with other filth of beasts are voided down that way to their dung boats on the Thames. This lane stretcheth from Thames Street to Little East Cheap, chiefly inhabited by basket makers, turners and butchers, and is all of Billingsgate Ward” (Cunningham). But the lane has its chief claim to remembrance in the fact that here originated the Great Fire.

In Stow’s time it was occupied by basket-makers, turners, and butchers. On the north-east of the lane stood Butchers’ Hall, destroyed by the Fire, and rebuilt; burned again in 1829; rebuilt in 1831; removed to Bartholomew Close in 1884.


St. George’s Church was burnt down in the Great Fire, rebuilt by Wren in 1674, and became the parish church for St. Botolph’s, Billingsgate, which had been also destroyed but not re-erected. In 1895 267the building was closed on account of its dilapidated state. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1321. [Since pulled down.]

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Prior and Convent of St. Saviour, Bermondsey, in 1321; then the Crown, since 1541 up to 1666, when it was annexed to St. Botolph, Billingsgate, and with it to St. Mary-at-Hill.

Houseling people in 1548 were 123.

The present church measures 54 feet in length, 36 feet in breadth, and 36 feet in height. It has two side-aisles, each separated from the nave by two composite columns, placed far apart. The tower, which rises at the north-west, consists of three stories, concluded by a cornice and parapet, the angles of which are adorned with vases. The total height is about 84 feet.

Stow records a chantry founded by Roger Delakere.

The monuments of the original church were well preserved, Stow says. Those commemorated, however, were of comparatively little eminence; amongst them were William Combes, donor of £40; James Mountford, another benefactor to the church, who died 1544. Among the more recent ones was one in memory of George Clint, parish clerk for thirty years, who died in 1605.

Monument Street was only opened about ten years ago, and cost half a million of money; this was spent partly in compensation to the dispossessed leaseholders. It was designed to afford a wide and direct route to the City for the fish brought from Billingsgate. A row of new red brick buildings lines part of the way on the right; at the corner of St. Mary-at-Hill is a post-office. Beyond these buildings is the ancient graveyard of St. Botolph, Billingsgate, which church was burnt in the Great Fire and not rebuilt. The graveyard is now used as a public recreation ground, and is fronted by a neat wall with a parapet, and on either side of the gate is a high brick pier with a lamp on the summit. On the south side of Monument Street fragments of waste ground remain still unbuilt on, and form receptacles for decayed fish and garbage.

For the Coal Exchange see p. 270.


In the sixth year of the reign of Henry VIII. an Act was passed regulating the traffic of watermen, ferrymen, and bargemen on the Thames, and settling the fares to be charged by them. In 1555 a court was held by the “Company,” and in 1648 a proclamation compelled certain “dirtboats and bumboats” to submit to the regulations of “the Company.” The Lightermens Company was united to the Watermens in 1667. But the first charter of incorporation was not granted until 7 and 8 George IV., 1827; and this was amended by two acts of Victoria in 1859 and 1864.

After the Great Fire the Watermen’s Hall was erected on the south-west corner of the Cold Harbour quay, where Strype’s map shows it. It was a handsome brick building, and was in use by the Company until 1780, when, their premises being required for an extension of the brewery, they vacated them, afterwards removing to their present hall in St. Mary-at-Hill. The old hall faced the Thames upon New Key, and in front to the river there was a large flight of stone stairs, open at all times to watermen and the public. They had been in uninterrupted use for a long period since the Great Fire, and had neither gate nor other obstruction. They became at length much dilapidated, and were “altogether removed and the wharf closed up” says Wilkinson, a few years prior to 1825. The hall, wharf, and stairs are shown in an engraving published by S. and N. Buck in 1749.

268Love Lane was formerly Rope Lane, afterwards Lucas Lane, and then corruptly Love Lane.

It is a crooked winding thoroughfare paved by flags, and the houses are mainly inhabited by fish salesmen who work at Billingsgate. Beyond the church are large warehouses, and business houses in the usual style.

The back of a famous old house now used as a ward school is in Love Lane, but its front faces on to a cobble-stone yard connected with Botolph Lane by a covered entry. Within the house everything points to its having been the residence of some one of wealth and taste. The hall is paved with alternate slabs of black and white marble. The staircase is wide and beautifully proportioned and decorated. The date 1670 is on the ceiling; on the first floor four doors with rich wood carving on the pediments and lintels attract attention. Ceilings and fireplaces alike bespeak careful work. One of the latter is inlaid in different coloured marbles with a white marble plaque of a sleeping child. But downstairs, in a small room on the ground floor, is the chief feature of interest. The walls and panels are literally covered with oil-paintings with the artist’s name and the date “R. Robinson, 1696.” The subject seems to be life in different parts of the globe. The ceiling is of oak heavily carved, though, alas! whitewashed.

The house is now a ward school, and though in repair shows inevitable signs of wear and tear. The hall pavement is stained and broken, the carved woodwork thickly covered with paint and varnish, yet in spite of all this is a place well worth seeing, probably the oldest dwelling-house in the City.

St. Andrew Hubbard, sometimes called St. Andrew, Eastcheap, formerly stood in Love Lane. It was burnt down in the Great Fire and not rebuilt. The parish was then annexed to St. Mary-at-Hill. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1366.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The Earl of Pembroke in 1323; John, Lord Talbot, cousin and heir of the above, 1427; Edward IV., who restored it, 1463, to the Earl of Shrewsbury, who presented it in 1470; the Earl of Northumberland up to 1666, when it was annexed to St. Mary-at-Hill, after which the alternate patronage was shared with the Duke of Somerset.

Houseling people in 1548 were 282.

The charitable gifts recorded of this parish are very few; the donors of them were: Margaret Dean, 3s. 4d. per annum; Mr. Jacobs, £1 : 6 : 4; Mr. Green, £1. All were for the use of the poor.

The most notable rector was John Randall (1570-1622), Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.

In Little Eastcheap was the weigh-house, built on the site of St. Andrew Hubbard, and rebuilt after the Fire.

“Which said Weighhouse was before in Cornhill. In this House are weighed merchandizes brought from beyond seas to the King’s Beam, to which doth belong a Master, and under him four Master Porters, with labouring Porters under them. They have Carts and Horses to fetch the goods from the Merchants’ Warehouses to the Beam, and to carry them back. The house belongeth to the Company of Grocers, in whose gifts the several Porters’, etc., places are. But of late years little 269is done in this office, as wanting a compulsive power to constrain the merchants to have their goods weighed; they alleging it to be an unnecessary trouble and charge” (Cunningham).

Philpot Lane was named after Sir John Philpot, mayor.

At the south-east end of Rood Lane is the Church of St. Margaret Pattens, so called, according to Stow, because pattens were sold there. Formerly the lane was called St. Margaret Pattens, but when about 1536-38 the church was rebuilt, a rood was set up in the churchyard and oblations made to the rood were employed in building the church. But in 1538 the rood was discovered to be broken, together with the “tabernacle” wherein it had been placed. There was then a colony or settlement of basket-makers in the parish, among whose houses a fire broke out in the same month, which destroyed twelve houses and took the lives of nine persons.


This church was rebuilt, as Stow records, in the reign of Henry VIII.; thoroughly repaired in 1614 and 1632, but destroyed by the Great Fire. The present church was completed by Wren in 1687. The parish of St. Gabriel’s, Fenchurch, was annexed to it after 1666. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1305.

The derivation of the name is obscure; Stow’s conjecture has already been given.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The family of the Nevils in 1281; Robert Rickenden and Margaret his wife, who confirmed it to Richard Whittington, who bestowed it on the Mayor and Commonalty of London in 1411, with whom it continued up to 1666 when St. Gabriel’s was annexed, and it was therefore shared alternately with the Crown.

Houseling people in 1548 were 223.

The church measures 66 feet in length, 52 feet in breadth, and 32 feet in height, and consists of a nave, chancel, and north aisle. The steeple consists of a tower, terminated by a cornice and balustrade, with four pinnacles at the corners, above which a spire rises, culminating in a ball and vane. The spire, which is 200 feet, is taller than any other of Wren’s similar ones, and the steeple comes third in order of height of those of his churches. There is a picture on the north side of the church which is said to be the work of Carlo Maratti (1625-1713), a Roman painter. The church is famous for its canopied pews, the only ones in the city; in one of these the initials C. W., supposed to be those of Sir Christopher Wren, and the date 1686, are inlaid.

A chantry was founded here by: Peter at Vyne, at the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary, to which John Skelton was admitted chaplain 1472-73.

The original church does not seem to have possessed any monuments of note. Of the later ones, the most interesting are those of: Giles Vandeput, erected by his son, Sir Peter Vandeput, who was sheriff in 1684, and donor of £100 to the parish; Sir Peter Delme, Lord Mayor in 1723, whose monument is the work of Johan Michael Rysbrack, or Rysbrach, of Antwerp; Dr. Thomas Birch, Secretary of the Royal Society, and author, who was rector here for nearly nineteen years, was buried in the chancel, 1766. The side altar of the north aisle contains a Della Robbia plaque representing the Virgin and Child, in memory of Thomas Wagstaffe, the ablest of the non-jurors, appointed rector here in 1684 and deprived in 1690.

Sir Peter Vandeput was donor of £100 to the parish; —— Collyer of £5; Thomas Salter of £20; Richard Camden of £20. The other charitable gifts recorded amounted to £6 per annum.

John Milward (1556-1609), chaplain to James I., was rector here; also Thomas Birch (1705-66), Secretary to the Royal Society; and Peter Whalley (1722-91), head-master of Christ’s Hospital, and author of various works.



We pass on to St. Mary-at-Hill; a church well known on account of the energetic work of its rector, Rev. W. Carlile, founder of the Church Army, who popularises church work among his poor parishioners by lantern services and other devices. The date of the foundation of the original church is not known, but there is evidence of its existence in the middle of the fourteenth century. In 1616 it was thoroughly repaired, but the body of it was destroyed by the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren, 1672-77. The stone tower remained standing till 1780, when it was considered insecure and pulled down, when it was replaced by the present one. In 1892 the church was closed for two years, while 3000 bodies were removed from beneath the flooring to Norwood Cemetery. The parish of St. Andrew Hubbard was not rebuilt after the Fire, and was annexed to this. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1337.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of Richard Hackney, sheriff of London, who presented to it in 1337, and so on; it remained in private persons up to 1640, when the parishioners presented to it, up to 1666, when the parish of St. Andrew Hubbard was annexed to it, the patronage now being alternate, Sir Henry Peek having presented last in right of St. Andrew Hubbard in 1891.

Houseling people in 1548 were 400.

The church measures 96 feet in length and 60 feet in breadth, and is crowned by a cupola which rises to the height of 38 feet. The cupola is divided into panels and is supported by four Doric columns, forming two side aisles. The ceiling to the east and west of this is arched, as well as that of the side aisles between the columns, so that the appearance of the roof is thus rendered cruciform. There is a great quantity of carving in the church, but of a late date, being the work of Mr. W. Gibbs Rogers, who executed it in 1848-49 when the church was remodelled.

Chantries were founded here: By Rose Wrytell, at the Altar of St. Edmund the King, before 1336. She left six marks for an endowment, and Michael de Leek was licensed as chaplain, November 5, 1365. The value was £8 : 2 : 6 in 1548, when Christopher Burley was priest at the age of 43 years, “a good singer and well learned.” By John Weston, whose endowment fetched £8 : 13 : 4 in 1548. By John Nasing, at the Altar of St. Katherine. Harry Yorkflete the chaplain exchanged it with John atte Welle, February 20, 1395-96; Thomas Lewes was priest in 1548, “of the age of 42 years, a good singer and player on the organ and prettily learned.” By William Cambridge, whose endowment fetched £10 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when Matthew Berye was priest, “of the age of 40 years, a good singer and indifferently well learned.” By John Cawston, whose endowment yielded £20 : 17 : 8 in 1548, when Edmond Alston was priest, “of 36 years, a good singer and handsomely learned.” By Richard Gosselinge, whose endowment produced £9 in 1548, when John Sherpyn was priest, “of the age of 44 years, a teacher of children.” By John Bodman, whose endowment fetched £14 : 6 : 8 in 1548.

The church formerly contained a considerable number of monuments, but the persons commemorated are of comparatively little eminence. Sir John Hampson, Knight and alderman, was buried here in 1607. Within the communion rails of the present building the body of the Rev. John Brand lies interred, who died in 1806; he was Fellow and Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, and rector here for some years. Edward Young, the poet, was married here to Lady Elizabeth Lee, in 1731.

£10 or £11 per annum were given to the poor by several benefactors, to be expended on bread. Other gifts recorded by Stow are: £40, from Sir William Leman, for the maintenance of a Divinity Lecture; from Jane Revel; £4 : 10s. to be paid every tenth year, from Bernard Hyde.

Andrew Snape, D.D., Master of Eton College, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge 1721-23, was rector here.

At the south-eastern corner of St. Mary-at-Hill stands the mighty building of the Coal Exchange. The material used is Portland stone, and the great tower and cupola which rises above the street still retains its whiteness. The Exchange was 271opened in 1849. Monday is the principal market day, but markets are also held on Wednesdays and Fridays. Under the Exchange are the remains of an old Roman bath, which was discovered when the foundations were being made. Strype says that above the stairs at Billingsgate “the coalmen and woodmongers meet every morning about eight or nine o’clock, this place being their Exchange, for the coal trade which brings a great resort of people and occasions a great trade to the inhabitants. And this place is now more frequented than in ancient time, when Greenhithe was made use of for the same purpose, this being more commodious. And therefore it was ordained to be the only port for all such sorts of merchandise.”

Pictorial Agency.


Up to 1846 Billingsgate Fish-market contained only sheds and squalid buildings in which the fish trade was carried on. But in that year J. B. Bunning, the City architect, was employed to build a regular market. In 1872 the great increase of the trade and the necessity for further accommodation induced the Corporation to 272pull down this building and rebuild on a larger scale. Old Darkhouse Lane and Billingsgate Stairs were utilised to gain an increased site as the great bulk of the Custom House prevented any expansion eastward.

Sir Horace Jones was the architect. The building is of an Italian design and is of Portland stone with facings of yellow brick and polished grey granite plinths and wall linings. A long arcade faces Thames Street, and at each end there are pavilion buildings. Within, the basement has an area of about 20,000 superficial feet. On the ground floor the area is 39,000 square feet. The roof is on the Louvre glass principle carried on lattice girders of 60 feet span. There is a gallery with an area of 4000 feet; this is utilised for the sale of haddocks and dried fish.

St. Botolph, Billingsgate, stood against St. Botolph’s Lane, on the south side of Thames Street. It was repaired in 1624, but burnt down by the Great Fire and not rebuilt, its parish being annexed to St. George, Botolph Lane. It stood against the Bridge Gate of the first London Bridge, just as the other three churches of St. Botolph stood at Aldgate, Aldersgate, and Bishopsgate. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1343.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, who received it from Orgarus about 1181.

Houseling people in 1548 were 300.

Chantries were founded here: By and for Thomas Snodyland, late rector, who died 1349, in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of which Nicholas de Wansyngdon was chaplain, and exchanged it April 11, 1163—the King granted a licence for it December 15, 1371; by John Pickman, at the Altar of Our Lady, whose endowment fetched £10 in 1548, when Thomas Serle was priest, “of the age of 50 years, of good consideration and learning touching ordinary things”; by Thomas Aubrey, whose endowment fetched £8 : 6 : 8 in 1548, when Thomas Baynton was priest, “of the age of 60 years, of good consideration and learning”; by Roger Smallwood. Here was founded the Fraternity of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist. The endowment fetched £14 in 1548, when William Lucay was priest, “of the age of 50 years, a man of good conversation and small learning.”

The church originally contained many monuments, but most of them had disappeared by 1633. John Rainwell, mayor, 1426, had been buried in it; also Stephen Forster, mayor in 1454.

Some of the donors of charitable gifts to the parish were: Robert Fellows, of £25; William Fellows, of £25; Thomas Barber, of £6 : 18 : 6, and others of small amounts.

The parishes of St. George, Botolph Lane, and St. Botolph, Billingsgate, in conjunction with the other part of Billingsgate ward, maintained forty boys by subscription.

Laurence Bothe, rector here, became Bishop of Durham, 1457; of York, 1476-80 (died): also William Sherlock (d. 1707), Dean of St. Paul’s.

Billingsgate, like Queenhithe, is an artificial port, constructed with great ease by digging out the foreshore of mud and shingle, and protecting the square harbour thus formed by piles of timber, on which beams were laid to form a quay, and sheds were built up for the protection of the merchandise.

The port was close to the north end of the first bridge, so that goods landed here might be easily carried into the Roman fort, while the port itself was protected by the fort. After the desertion of London by the Romans, the occupation by the Saxons, and the revival of trade, Billingsgate remained the principal port, though a large share of the trade went to Queenhithe. The mouth of the Walbrook seems to have ceased very early in the history of London to be a port. Billingsgate robbed Queenhithe of its trade in spite of all injunctions of restraint.

Pictorial Agency, Photo.


273The fish-market has long since overwhelmed every other kind of merchandise. The language and manners, the rough customs, and the drinking habits of the Billingsgate fish-wives are proverbial. They have now, however, all vanished, and the market is as quiet and decorous as any other. A curious custom is noted by Cunningham. The porters who plied at Billingsgate used to invite the passengers to stop and salute a certain post. If one complied, and paid down sixpence, they gave him a name, and pretended to be his sponsors. If one refused, they laid hold of him and bumped him against the post. The custom reminds one of the same bumping practised in walking the bounds of the parish; it had probably the same origin, in keeping alive the memory of something by the infliction of pain. The custom remained when the cause and reason had long been forgotten.

This end of Thames Street was called Petty Wales. Stow has an interesting note on this subject:

“Towards the east end thereof, namely, over against Galley key, Wool key, and the Custom House, there have been of old time some large buildings of stone, the ruins thereof do yet remain, but the first builders and owners of them are worn out of memory, wherefore the common people affirm Julius Cæsar to be the builder thereof, as also of the Tower itself. But thereof I have spoken already. Some are of another opinion, and that a more likely, that this great stone building was sometime the lodging appointed for princes of Wales, when they repaired to this city, and that, therefore, the street in that part is called Petty Wales, which name remaineth there most commonly until this day, even as where the kings of Scotland were used to be lodged betwixt Charing Cross and White Hall, it is likewise called Scotland, and where the earls of Britons were lodged without Aldersgate, the street is called Britain Street, etc.

“The said building might of old time pertain to the princes of Wales, as is aforesaid, but is since turned to other use.”

The Custom House itself, with its magnificent frontage and fine quay, is the fifth built upon the same spot. The first was built in 1385. The second, third, and fourth were all destroyed by fire. No doubt the Custom officers could tell fine tales of exciting adventure, of ruin or fortune, of clever evasions and despicable tricks; but these things are secret. The House itself, with the ships, the busy wharfingers, the boatmen, and the general liveliness of the scene, are all that are apparent. Yet it requires little imagination to see the enormous importance of the business done in this solid building of Smirke’s. A great source of our national income, a large part of the nation’s wealth, comes from this house. Tons of goods—ranging 274from hemp, honey, leeches, tobacco, to manufactured goods, marble, sugar, and spirits—are daily surveyed by the Customs officers. Our total imports for 1901 were worth nearly £522,000,000.

Beyond the Custom House is Wool Wharf, then several small quays, of which one, Galley Quay, carries a history in its name. It was so called because the Venetian and Genoese galleys here discharged their cargoes. There is a tradition of some religious house having stood here also. Hear what Stow says:

“In this Lane of old time dwelt divers strangers, born of Genoa and those parts; these were commonly called galley men, as men that came up in the galleys brought up wines and other merchandises, which they landed in Thames Street, at a place called Galley key; they had a certain coin of silver amongst themselves, which were halfpence of Genoa, and were called Galley halfpence; these halfpence were forbidden in the 13th of Henry IV., and again by parliament in the 4th of Henry V. And it was enacted that if any person bring into this realm Galley halfpence, suskins, or dodkins, he should be punished as a thief; and he that taketh or payeth such money shall lose a hundred shillings, whereof the king shall have the one half, and he that will sue the other half. Notwithstanding, in my youth, I have seen them pass current, but with some difficulty, for that the English halfpence were then, though not so broad, somewhat thicker and stronger.”


The Guild or Fraternity of Bakers would seem to have been in existence as early as any other, seeing that the craft or mystery of baking is the most ancient in existence. In the reign of Henry II., A.D. 1155, the Fraternity was charged in the Great Roll of the Exchequer with one mark of gold for their Guild.

The Bakers Company, as the united Company of White and Brown bakers, was first incorporated by charter of Henry VIII., dated July 22, 1509, to make, create, build, and establish a certain perpetual fraternity or guild of one master and four keepers of the commonalty of freemen of the mystery of bakers of the City of London and suburbs thereof then dwelling, or thereafter to dwell, and of the brothers and sisters freemen of the said mystery and others who would choose to be of the same fraternity or guild within the City aforesaid, and that the same master, four keepers, and commonalty should for ever continue to be one corporate body, with power to elect annually from among themselves one master and four keepers for the superintending, ruling, and governing of the said mystery and commonalty.

Previous to 1509 there were separate Companies of White Bakers and Brown Bakers, and the White Bakers appear to have been incorporated as early as 1307. From 1509 to 1622 the two Companies remained united as the Bakers Company, but in 1622 the Brown Bakers, conceiving themselves in some way ill-used or neglected, succeeded in getting a separate charter of their own, and remained a separate Company for thirty to forty years, when a peace was patched up, and the two Companies were finally united in the Bakers Company.

Their hall in Harp Lane, formerly Hart Lane, is said by Stow to have been the residence of one of the Chichele family, a grand-nephew of the Archbishop and grandson of his brother the mayor or his brother the sheriff. It was burned down in 1714 and rebuilt in 1719. The genealogy below shows how this John Chichele was related to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Founder of All Souls.

Photo. York & Son.


John Chichele
├── Henry, Archbishop.
├── Robert, Sheriff, 1402; Mayor, 1411.
└── William, Alderman and Sheriff, 1409.
├── John, Chamberlain.
│ └── Twenty-four children.
└── William, Archdeacon.

The livery consists of 111; the Corporate Income is about £1580; the Trust Income is £320.

Roman remains have been found in Tower Street. Mention is made of the street from the thirteenth century, if not earlier, but the street is singularly lacking in historical associations. Here the Earl of Rochester, escaping from his friends, took up lodgings and pretended for some weeks, not without success, to be an Italian physician. Here was the tavern frequented by Peter the Czar after getting through his day’s work.

At the west end of Tower Street was a “fair house” once belonging to one Griste, by whom Jack Cade was feasted. After the feast he requited his host by robbing him.

There is also a house once owned by Sir John Champney, mayor in 1534. He built a high tower of brick, proposing, in his pride, to look down upon his neighbours. But he did not succeed, being punished by blindness. The house was afterwards occupied by Sir Percival Hart, Knight Harbinger to the Queen.


St. Dunstan in the East stands on St. Dunstan’s Hill, between Great Tower Street and Upper Thames Street, and was anciently known as St. Dunstan Juxta-Turrim. The date of its foundation is not known, but an enlargement is recorded in 1382. It was partially destroyed in the Great Fire and restored under Wren’s hands in 1698. This building, with the exception of the steeple, was pulled down in 1810, and in 1817 the body of the present church was built of Portland stone in the Perpendicular style by Laing and Tite. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1312.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the Prior and Chapter of Christ Church, Canterbury, who granted it, April 24, 1365, to Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, and his successors, in whom it continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 900.

The present church is in the Perpendicular Gothic style, and contains two side aisles divided from the central portion by slender clustered columns and pointed arches, with a clerestory above. It measures 115 feet in length, 65½ feet in breadth, and 40 feet in height. The steeple is one of Wren’s most striking works. The tower, measuring 21 square feet at the base, has four stories, surmounted by four tall pinnacles; from behind these spring four arched ribs, supporting a lantern and spire, terminating in a ball and vane. The total height is 180 feet 4 inches. Though it is fragile in appearance, it is very scientifically and strongly constructed. The central east window has been closely copied from fragments which were found during the excavations previous to rebuilding, and is the work of Mr. John Buckler. Many of the windows contain the coats-of-arms of benefactors, the work of Messrs. Baillie.

276The only relics of the wood-carving by Grinling Gibbons which adorned Wren’s church are the arms of Archbishop Tenison, primate from 1695, now placed in the vestry-room; and the organ case for Father Smith’s organ—this was sold to St. Alban’s Abbey, but is to be brought back.

Several chantries were founded here: The Fraternity of Our Lady founded by John Joye; by Joan Maken and Alice Lynne, at the Altar of Jesus—their endowment fetched £20 : 11 : 8 in 1548, when Philip Matthew was chaplain; for Richard de Eymne in 1285; by John Bosham cl., and Alice, who was the wife of Nicholas Potyn, at the Altar of Holy Trinity, for John and Alice, and for Nicholas Potyn (the King granted his licence June 20, 1408; the endowment fetched £17 : 16 : 8 in 1548, when Robert Neale was priest); by Richard Coldbrok, whose endowment fetched £13 : 3 : 4 in 1548, when Thomas Rock was priest; by William Barret, at the Altar of Our Lady—his endowment yielded £12 in 1548, when John Flude was chaplain.

Before the Great Fire, the church contained a monument to Sir John Hawkins, the naval hero; and here Admiral Sir John Lawson, who was mortally wounded in the sea-fight with the Dutch off Lowestoft in 1665, was buried. The present building contains a considerable number of monuments, but few of those commemorated were persons of eminence. There is a monument on the north wall to Sir John Moore, President of Christ’s Hospital, and friend and partisan of Charles II.; he died in 1702. The largest monument is one on the south side of the chapel to Sir William Russell, who died in 1705. On the north wall there is a tablet in memory of Richard Hale, in gratitude for his granddaughter’s (Lady Williamson) gift of £4000 for the rebuilding of the church. The most recent memorial is one affixed to the north wall commemorating Colonel John Finnis, one of the heroes of the Indian Mutiny 1857.

The names of a large number of benefactors are recorded by Stow, among them, Sir Bartholomew James, William Sevenoaks, Sir William Hariott, whose coat-of-arms is to be seen in the windows of the north and south walls. William Bateman was a donor of £200, and Gilbert Keate of £120.

Richard Smith (1503-63), Dean of Douai, was rector here 1554-57; also John May (d. 1598), Bishop of Carlisle; Dr. John Jortin (1698-1770), author of The Life of Erasmus; John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury; William Barlow (d. 1613), Bishop of Rochester and Bishop of Lincoln.

Mincing Lane is so called from having been at one time the residence or the property of certain Minchuns or Nuns, Stow says, belonging to St. Helen’s. This house was only founded in 1212.

This street is not mentioned in Riley’s Memorials. In the Calendar of Wills it occurs in 1273, “houses in Menechinlane”; also in 1294; in 1304, “land and shops in Minchom Lane.” In 1362, “Mengeonlane”; and many other dates up to 1620.

From end to end this street is lined with solid business houses chiefly in dark imitation stone. A building which attracts attention about half-way down on the east side is the Commercial Sale Rooms, occupying Nos. 30 to 34. This is new, of light-coloured stone, and along the frontage of the top floor run small granite columns in couples. Dunster Court is surrounded by offices, etc. In it is Dunster House, occupied chiefly by brokers and merchants. Next to it is the Clothworkers’ Hall.


The craft of Fullers, and the Fraternity of Sheermen, arose out of an association of persons subsidiary to the ancient “Gild” of Tellarii, or woollen weavers, together with the Burrellers and Testers, who seem to have been absorbed into the great guilds or companies of Drapers and Merchant Taylors, all being 277associations of persons connected with the fabrication, finishing, or vending of cloth. The earliest notice existing in the Company’s archives is in 1456, respecting the Sheermen.

It appears, by reference to patent roll of 19 Edward IV., membrane 28, “Pro Pannariis Civitatis London,” that the wardens of the fellowship of Sheermen, albeit unincorporate, had the power of search over their own craft, “according to the laudable custom of the city,” but the master wardens and fellowship of the two crafts and mysteries of Drapers and Taylors, were thereby assured that no charter of incorporation should be given to the Sheermen, etc.

The Fullers were incorporated the next year, 28th April, 20 Edward IV., “Pro Fraternitate in arte Fullorum.” They would appear to have been resident in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel Church, that parish having been called “Villa Beatæ Mariæ de Matfellon,” a designation derived, as has been supposed, from the fact of the herb called “Matfellon” (“Fullers’ Teasel”), used extensively by the fullers inhabiting that quarter, growing in a field hard by where their tenter grounds were situate; the patron saint of the Fullers, as of the Clothworkers afterwards, being the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Fullers’ Hall was in Billiter Square.

Drawn by Thos. H. Shepherd.


The Sheermen received their charter, “Incorporatio de lez Shermen, Lond.,” 24th January, 23 Henry VII., 1507-8.

The guilds or companies of Fullers and Sheermen were united and reincorporated under the name and style of “The Master Wardens and Commonalty of Freemen of the Art or Mystery of Clothworkers of the City of London,” 18th January, 19 Henry VIII.

A freeman or woman of the Company is entitled, if well accounted and continuing of good name and fame, and having fallen into poverty or necessity, to be refreshed weekly, monthly, or quarterly towards his or her sustentation and living, out of the corporate funds of the Company, as well as out of the trust funds specifically left for that purpose by benefactors; also to be decently buried on their decease at the costs 278of the Company. There are a limited number of almshouses for freemen and women, founded by members of the Company, and there are trust funds likewise left by former benefactors for the relief and sustentation of decayed or worn-out members.

The livery is 180 in number; the Corporate Income is £42,000; the Trust Income is £18,000. The hall is at 41 Mincing Lane. Stow merely mentions the existence of the hall. The original hall was burned down in the Fire, rebuilt, taken down in 1856, and rebuilt by Samuel Angell, architect. Among the most distinguished members of this Company were Samuel Pepys, President of the Royal Society, and Master of the Company in 1677; and Lord Kelvin, who filled similar positions.

This rich Company has long been remarkable even among the other wealthy Companies of the City for the encouragement and advancement of technical education. It has either wholly or in part endowed technical and scientific schools at Bradford, Leeds, Huddersfield, Keighley, Bristol, and other places. It has contributed to the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute sums amounting to £118,350, and in addition gives an annual subsidy of £3300.

Mark Lane, once Mart Lane, is mentioned in the thirteenth century; in 1276, Robert le Chaloner had a house in Mark Lane in the ward of William de Hadestocke, i.e. Town Ward. And the Calendar of Wills mentions the lane a little later and has many references to it. In 1750 it contained “divers large houses for merchants, though some of them are old timber houses.” The street escaped the Fire.

Milton’s friend Cyriack Skinner lived here. Isaac Watts was assistant preacher in a meeting-house in this street.

Mark Lane is of the same general character as Mincing Lane, but possesses a point of distinction in the Corn Exchange. The new building is on the east side, a little to the south of the old one. This is a fine building, erected 1881 by Edward l’Anson. The high glass roof is supported in the interior by rows of light stone columns. The old Corn Exchange, rebuilt 1747 by J. Woods, has a heavy colonnade of fluted Doric columns which attracts attention in the line of the street. In a small court opposite the new building is a fine doorway, and passing down the entry we find ourselves facing a splendid old red-brick City mansion in good repair. Brick pilasters ending in ornate stuccoed capitals run up to a frieze or cornice above the first floor. The elaborate pediment over the doorway is supported by fluted columns and encloses a design of cherubs and foliage.

On the east side of Mark Lane we have Nos. 69 and 70 of rather unusual design, and the remainder of the street is one uniform sweep of buildings in an unobtrusive and useful style.

On the west side near the north end was the church of Allhallows Staining.

Allhallows Staining was so called from its having been built of stone and not of timber. It was not burnt down in the Great Fire, but fell down suddenly in 1669, and was rebuilt in 1694. The building was taken down in 1870. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1258.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The family of de Waltham, 1285; the Abbey and Convent of St. Mary Graces; the Crown; George Bingley and others; Lady Slaney, 1802, who bequeathed it to the Grocers Company.

Houseling people in 1548 were 424.

The church contained a beautiful east window of pointed glass presented by the Company of Grocers.

279Chantries were founded here by: William de Grenestede, to which John de Paxton, priest, was admitted November 27, 1362; William Palmer, whose endowment fetched £3 : 6 : 8 in 1548.

This church contained monuments to: John Gostin, a benefactor to the parish; Sir Richard Yate, Knight Ambassador for Henry VIII.; William Frith, painter; and Ralf Hanson, a benefactor of the church.

Some of the donors of charitable gifts were: John Gostin, of 800 bushels of coal; Mary Baynham, of £5 : 4s.; Thomas Bulley, Esq., of £15 for the minister and poor; William Winter, of £30 for the education of six boys. Six boys were taught to read and write, and, when qualified, put out as apprentices, with each of whom was given £10, in accordance with the will of William Winter.

Hart Street, Crutched Friars, Seething Lane.—These streets may all be taken together. The most remarkable historical association of the streets is the Crutched Friars’ House, on the site of which was afterwards erected the Navy Office. The square court of the office, which had one entrance in Crutched Friars and another in Seething Lane, was originally the cloister garth of the convent. The Navy Office has been removed, but the square remains, and one may still see the lions that were placed at the principal entrance. Pepys lived for nine years in Seething Lane so as to be near his office. Sir Francis Walsingham lived and died in this street, and here the Earl of Essex had his town house.


The monastery of the Crutched or Crossed Friars was founded in 1298. The symbol was a cross worn upon their habit; this cross was made of red cloth. Henry VIII. granted their house to Sir Thomas Wyatt, who built a new mansion on part of the site.

280After the destruction of the house, the site of the church became a “Carpenter’s yard, a tennis court, and the like.” The Friars’ Hall became a glasshouse until 1575, when it was destroyed by fire. There appear to be no remains at all of the monastic buildings. For account, see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 342.

It was in Crutched Friars that the massive fragment of the three seated goddesses, the Dea Matres, was found.

Here were the Milbourne Almshouses.

“Concerning this gift of Sir John Milbourn, it appears by Dolphin’s will that he built thirteen Almshouses in his Life time on a Plot of Ground in the Parish of St. Olave’s near the Tower Algate Ward, next adjoining on the South part of the Choir, or Chancel of the Conventual Church of the Priory of Crossed Friers of London, and the Convent of the said Place, within the Precinct sometime of their House.”

Pepys’ connection with Seething Lane has already been mentioned.

In Hart Street lived Sir Richard Whittington; his house was round a courtyard entered by a gateway not far from Mark Lane.


This church is at the corner of Hart Street and Seething Lane. It was formerly called St. Olave Juxta-Turrim. The date of its foundation is unknown, but the present building was probably constructed during the fifteenth century. Stow speaks of Richard and Robert Cely as the “principal builders and benefactors,” but gives no date. It was expensively repaired early in the reign of Charles I. and again in 1863 and 1870, when several interesting relics were transferred from Allhallows Staining, which was annexed. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1314.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of the family of Nevils, 1281, from whom it passed to John Luffwick, and others about 1398, and so passed to several private persons, up to 1557, when it came to the Windsor family, from whom it passed to Sir Andrew Riccard, Knt., who in 1672 bequeathed it to trustees for the parish, of whom there are five.

Houseling people in 1548 were 1435.

The present church is built in the Perpendicular style, and contains two side aisles separated from the central portion by clustered columns and pointed arches with a clerestory above. It is one of the smallest of the City churches being a square of only 54 feet.

There are many interesting monuments, the most ancient of which is a brass in memory of Sir Richard Haddon, mercer, twice Lord Mayor (1506 and 1512). On the east wall of the south aisle William Turner is commemorated, Dean of Wells and physician to Protector Somerset; he was the author of a botanical book, Herbal, the first of its kind published in English. Against the north wall there is a monument to Sir Andrew Riccard (d. 1672), one of the greatest merchants of his age. The most interesting person connected with this church is Samuel Pepys, the Diarist, Secretary to the Admiralty in 1673, and President of the Royal Society 1684-85. He was buried here in 1703, and a monument erected to him in 1884 and unveiled by the late James Russell Lowell. His colleague, Admiral Sir John Mennis, is also commemorated by a tablet at the south end of the chancel; he was Comptroller of the Navy and part author of Musarum Deliciae. In the parish register the baptism of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, is entered; he commanded the parliamentary forces at the outbreak of the Civil War.

The most notable of the benefactors to this parish were: Sir John Worstenholm, donor of £100; Andrew Windsores, of £6 : 13 : 4; Sir James Dean, of £5 : 4s.

In Crutched Friars there were fifteen almshouses belonging to the Drapers Company for as many 281decayed freemen of that Company and their wives, to whom 5s. per month was allowed and one load of coals per annum. In Gunpowder Alley there were ten almshouses (the gift of Lord Banyan in 1631, but surrendered to the parish by 1732), which allowed each of their poor in that place 1s. to 4s. per week and two, three, or four bushels of coals at Christmas.

Pictorial Agency.


Dr. Daniel Mills, to whom Samuel Pepys frequently refers in his Diary, was rector here for thirty-two years.

Seething Lane betrays some characteristic features. A pair of similar eighteenth-century houses with porches stand on each side of the entrance to 282Catherine Court. Opposite them are old grimy warehouses. Succeeding these are huge buildings known as Corn Exchange Chambers. No. 40 on the east is an old stuccoed house, and facing the church are more towering warehouses. The churchyard is a quaint little spot, with many tombstones inclining at every imaginary angle and a few twisted young elm-trees. The gateway is curious, being surmounted by a peculiar chevaux de frise of spikes and ornamented by three stuccoed skulls.

Catherine Court is delightful in its completeness. Every house in the two long sober coloured rows, which face one another across a narrow flagged space, is of the same date. The date is given on an oval slab set in the wall at the east end, “Catherine Court, Anno Dom. 1725.”


The church of Allhallows Barking stands at the east end of Tower Street near Mark Lane Station. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Saints, whence its name. The date of its foundation is unknown, but it is to the convent of Barking that its foundation is probably due, which might carry it back to the end of the seventh century. It was endowed and enlarged by Richard I., Edward I., and Richard III. During the seventeenth century it was repaired five times; it narrowly escaped the Great Fire of 1666. There was extensive restoration during the last century. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1269.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: The kings of England, while it was a rectory, 1269; the Abbess and Convent of Barking from 1387, when it became a vicarage; the Crown, at the suppression in 1540, who exchanged it with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who presented in 1584, and in whose successors it continues.

Houseling people in 1548 were 800.

The church consists of a nave and chancel together with north and south aisles. It is 108 feet in length, 67 feet in breadth, and in height 35 feet to the ceiling of the nave, but to that of the aisles considerably less. The western portion is older than the chancel, and probably the original building only occupied the site of the present nave. The massive pillars at the west end are of Norman character in contrast to the slender columns of the eastern arches, probably not erected before the fifteenth century. The large east window, in the Late Decorated style, seems to have been left untouched during the numerous alterations of the seventeenth century. The present tower, erected in 1659 after the original had been destroyed by an explosion, is of plain brick, with a turret and weather-vane, and rises above the west end of the nave. The original tower rose from the west end of the south aisle. The total height of it is 80 feet.

Chantries were founded here by: Adam de Blackeneye, citizen, for himself and Cecilia his wife, A.D. 1295 (his will, dated 1310); Thomas Crolys, and Thomas Pilke, before 1365; John Cade; Robert Tate, mayor of London, who died in 1488; Richard I., augmented by Edward I., who erected there an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Edward IV. granted a licence to found a fraternity here (Pat. 9 Edward IV. p. 2. m. 2). This chapel was newly built by Richard III., who founded a college here consisting of a dean and six canons.

Owing to the proximity of the Tower, Allhallows was frequently used for the temporary interment of the remains of those who perished on the scaffold on Tower Hill. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Bishop Fisher, and Archbishop Laud, found here a temporary grave. Humphrey Monmouth, sheriff in 1535, is one of the most notable persons buried here. Allhallows contains the best collection of monumental brasses to be found in any London church. Some of the most noteworthy are: A Flemish 283brass, in memory of Andrew Evyngar; that of William Thynne, one of the earliest editors of Chaucer’s works; William Armer, of the Clothworkers Company; and the Tonge brass, the oldest in the City. Under the east window of the south aisle is a monument by Peter Scheemakers, the sculptor of several monuments in Westminster Abbey; the name of the Quaker William Penn is associated with this church, where he was baptized in 1644.

Some of the donors of charitable gifts were: Margaret Martin, £1 : 6 : 8 per annum for the poor; William Armer; Alice Polstead, £6 : 13 : 4 per annum; William Haines, £5 per annum. The parish received a very large number of gifts.

A school was founded in this parish, 1692, by Alderman Hickson for twenty boys. There was also a hospital for the insane, in the time of Edward III.

The most notable vicar was Thomas Ravis (d. 1609), who became Bishop of London.

Jewry was formerly called Poor Jewry Street. This street originally consisted of mean tenements, and was greatly improved by the removal of the wall which admitted air into the street and gave space for building. Stow says that “in time of old” there were Jews living in this place, whence its name. In his time there were only a few poor tenements. The name “Poor Jewry” is found in the Records of 1438. As the Jews were banished in 1290, we may therefore conclude that the name was certainly older than that date.

Trinity Square, Tower Hill, is of an irregular shape, including an oval garden. It is named after Trinity House, which stands on the north side. In Ogilby’s map is a part of Great Tower Hill. Cooper’s Row was then called Woodruff Lane; George Street was then George Yard, where was the postern of the wall. North of George Street there is still a long piece of the wall standing within certain warehouses. Here are also other walls and fireplaces which are said to have belonged to a workhouse. I cannot, however, discover that there was any workhouse on this spot. This is apparently the same part of the wall that is figured in Wilkinson’s Londina Illustrata.

Trinity House.—Maitland’s account of the house and the corporation is as follows:

“In Water Lane is situated Trinity House which belongs to an ancient Corporation of Mariners, founded in King Henry VIII.’s time, for the Regulation of Seamen, and security and convenience of ships and mariners on our coasts. In the said King’s reign lived Sir Thos. Spert, Knight, Comptroller of the Navy to that King; who was the first founder and master of the said society of Trinity House; and died Anno 1541, and was buried in the chancel of Stepney church. To whose memory the said Corporation, Anno 1622, set up a monument there for him eighty years and one after the decease of the said Spert, their founder. And by an inscription antienter than that set up by the said corporation, lost long since in the church, but preserved by Norden; we learn, that this gentleman had three wives, Dame Margery, Dame Anne, and Dame Mary, all lying in the chancel there; and that his Coat of Arms was Two Launces in Saltier, between four Hearts, on a Chief, a ship 284with the sails furled. He was commander of the biggest ship then that the sea bore, namely, Henry Grace de Dieu, built by King Henry VIII. near the beginning of his reign.

“The house, where the corporation usually meets, belonged to them before the great Fire, but how long I know not. They took a long lease and rebuilt it. This house was burnt down about the year 1718 again, but is now by the said Brotherhood built up fairly a second time.

“This corporation one of the considerablest in the Kingdom, is governed by a master, four wardens, eight assistants, and the eldest brothers of the Company, as they are called, one and thirty in all. The rest of their Company are called Younger Brothers, without any fixed number: For any seafaring men that will, are admitted into the Society under that name: But they are not in the Government.


“Their service and use is, that they appoint all pilots: They set and place the buoys and seamarks for the safe direction of ships in their sailing. For which they have certain duties payable by Merchant-men. They can licence poor seamen, antient and past going to sea, to exercise the calling of a waterman upon the Thames, and take in fares, tho’ they have not been bound to any one free of the Watermen’s Company. They do maintain in pensions at this time two thousand poor seamen, or their widows; every one of which have at least half-a-crown paid them every first Monday in the month, and some more, besides accidental distressed seamen.

“They have three fair Hospitals, built by themselves; two at Deptford, and 285one at Mile End, near London. That at Mile End is a very handsome structure with a fair chapel, and is peculiar for decayed Sea-Commanders, masters of vessels, or such as have been pilots, and their widows.

“And thus as they do a great deal of good, so they have large revenues to do it with: Which arise partly, from sums of money given and bequeathed unto them for charitable uses, partly from Houses and Lands also given them, and particularly and chiefly from ballast. For they only have, by Act of Parliament, the benefit of providing ballast for ships in the Thames; and all ships that take in ballast pay them 12d. a ton: For which it is brought to their ship’s side. They have also certain light-houses, as at Scilly and Dungeness in the West. To which Houses all ships pay one half-penny a tun.”

Drawn by Schnebbelie.


The house that was burned down in 1718 was again rebuilt and pulled down in 1787, when the Corporation removed to Tower Hill.

Lastly, in this group of streets, we arrive at Tower Hill. The memories of this place are summed up by Stow and others.

“From and without the Tower ditch west and by north is the said Tower Hill, sometime a large plot of ground, nowe greatly strengthened [straitened] by means of incrochments (unlawfully made and suffered) for gardens and houses.... Upon this Hil is alwayes readily prepared, at the charges of the Citie, a large scaffold, and gallows of timber, for the execution of such traitors or other transgressors as are delivered out of the Tower, or otherwise to the sheriffes of London, by writ, there 286were to be executed.... On the north side of this hill is the said Lord Lumley’s house.”

The scaffold was removed about the middle of the 18th century.

Many were the disputes between the King and the City as to the setting up of scaffold and gallows, which the King claimed to do, as Tower Hill was in the Liberties of the City and not the City itself. Among notable persons executed there are the names of:

Bishop Fisher, June 22, 1535; Sir Thomas More, July 6, 1535:

Going up the scaffold, which was so weak that it was ready to fall, he said hurriedly to the Lieutenant, “I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for my coming down let me shift for myself.”—Roper’s Life.

Cromwell, Earl of Essex, July 28, 1540; Margaret, Countess of Shrewsbury, mother of Cardinal Pole, May 27, 1541; Earl of Surrey the poet, January 21, 1547; Thomas, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, the Lord Admiral, beheaded March 20, 1549, by order of his brother the Protector Somerset; the Protector Somerset January 22, 1552; Sir Thomas Wyatt, 1554; John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Northumberland, 1553; Lord Guildford Dudley (husband of Lady Jane Grey), February 12, 1553-54; Sir Gervase Elways or Helwys, Lieutenant of the Tower, hanged for his share in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury; Earl of Strafford, May 12, 1641; Archbishop Laud, January 10, 1644-45; Sir Harry Vane, the younger, June 14, 1662 (“The trumpets were brought under the scaffold that he might not be heard”); William Howard, Lord Viscount Stafford, December 29, 1680, beheaded on the perjured evidence of Titus Oates and others; Algernon Sidney, December 7, 1683:

Algernon Sidney was beheaded this day; died very resolutely, and like a true rebel, and republican.—Duke of York to Prince of Orange, December 7, 1683.

Duke of Monmouth, July 15, 1685; Sir John Fenwick, January 28, 1697; Earl of Derwentwater and Lord Kenmuir, implicated in the Rebellion of 1715; Lords Kilmarnock and Balmerino, August 18, 1746:

Kilmarnock was executed first and then the scaffold was immediately new strewn with sawdust, the block new covered, the executioner new dressed, and a new axe brought. Then old Balmerino appeared, treading the scaffold with the air of a general, and reading undisturbed the inscription on his coffin.—Walpole to Mann, August 21, 1746.

Simon, Lord Lovat, April 9, 1747. He was not only the last person beheaded on Tower Hill, but the last person beheaded in this country. The Tribulation on Tower Hill, mentioned by Shakespeare, has puzzled his commentators; the reference seems to be to a Puritan congregation, but it is hard to see why they should be ready to endure “the youths that thunder at a playhouse.”

Porter. These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse, and fight for bitten 287apples; that no audience but the Tribulation of Tower Hill, or the limbs of Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to endure.”—Shakespeare, Henry VIII., Act v. Scene 4.

In 1543 Marillac, the French Ambassador, lived on Tower Hill, and the Duke of Norfolk (son of the victor of Flodden) and his brother, Lord William Howard, frequently paid him “mysterious midnight visits.” Lady Raleigh lodged on Tower Hill while her husband was a prisoner in the Tower.

“The Lady Raleighe must understand his Mats Expresse Will and commandment that she resort to her house on Tower Hill or ellswhere wth her women and sonnes to remayne there, and not to lodge hereafter wthin the Tower.”—Orders concerning the Tower of London, to be observed by the Lieutenant (Sir Wade’s Reg., 1605, 1611; Addit. MSS. Brit. Mus., No. 14,044).

William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, was born on Tower Hill, October 14, 1644.

“Your late honoured father dwelt upon Great Tower Hill on the east side, within a court adjoining to London Wall.”—P. Gibson to William Penn, the Quaker (Sir W. Penn’s Life, 615).

At a public-house on Tower Hill, known by the sign of the Bull, whither he had withdrawn to avoid his creditors, it is said Otway, the poet, died of want, April 14, 1685; but the precise locality and manner of his death are disputed. In a cutler’s shop on Tower Hill Felton bought the knife with which he stabbed the first Duke of Buckingham of the Villiers family; it was a broad, sharp hunting knife, and cost one shilling. The second duke often repaired in disguise to the lodging of a poor person, “about Tower Hill,” who professed skill in horoscopes. Smith has engraved a view of a curious old house on Tower Hill, enriched with medallions, evidently of the age of Henry VIII., and similar to those at old Whitehall and at Hampton Court.

Hatton, writing in 1708, describes Tower Hill as a place where there are “many good new buildings mostly inhabited by gentry and merchants.”



By W. J. Loftie

Pictorial Agency.


Romance has been more busy with this one building than with all the other edifices of England put together. A volume might be filled with the stories founded in the imaginations of Harrison Ainsworth and his predecessors and imitators. The benefactors, about whose doings he has so much to tell, were first appointed here by Edward VI., to the number of fifteen from the Yeomen of the Guard. The interesting drawings made by George Cruikshank of chambers in towers now long since restored away or otherwise destroyed have been mixed up with fictitious pictures of Lady Jane kneeling at a prie-Dieu on a straw-strewn scaffold, while a hangman brandishes an axe; or of the burning of a sorcerer in the confined space of Tower Green, with flames which would have been sufficient to consume the buildings of the whole fortress. Many as were the inhabitants from time to time, many as were the prisoners, great or small, no “executions,” that is, no putting to death by process of law, ever took place within the precincts, except those of four ladies of the court of Henry VIII. and one other under Queen Mary, while political considerations and fear of a popular movement in favour of the culprit led to the death in the same semi-private place of one of Queen Elizabeth’s some time favourites, Essex. To believe the tale-writers, the Tower and its courtyards were ordinary places of public punishment. It is often remarked as a matter of surprise that no blocks, no axes have remained like jewels and inscriptions in various stone towers. But if we ask why there should be any, we get no answer. The block long shown is probably an 289ordinary chopping block for faggots and of no great antiquity. The axe is of Roman make, and is known to have been brought here in 1687. Some curious correspondence is in existence as to the preparation of a block by the Sheriff of Middlesex for the decapitation of Lord Lovat. The culprit was so old, obese, and infirm that it was proposed to arrange for the provision of block at which he could kneel without lying down, and some measurements were, it is believed, furnished to the Sheriff with this object. I well remember as a child being permitted, in the old Tower Armoury, to lay my head on Queen Anne Boleyn’s block, as it was called. But Queen Anne, we know, had no block, and was kneeling up when the French executioner, sent by Lord Wentworth, then Governor of Calais, cut off her head by the sweep of a sword. Almost as unfortunate as Ainsworth’s anachronisms are those of innumerable historical writers who confound the Constable with the Lieutenant and both with the Tower Major.

Things are very different now, from the visitors’ point of view, to what they were years ago or less. In those days the so-called “Horse Armoury” was the principal object of attraction. This was built as a long wooden shed on the south side of the White Tower, and was filled with fictitious figures on which some of the ancient armour was shown as that of successive English kings from the Conqueror to James II. We emerged from this gallery by a staircase which led us up into the crypt of the Norman chapel through a window in the apse. It was impossible for any one who had not previously undergone architectural training to recognise the crypt in “Queen Elizabeth’s Armoury,” as this chamber was called. A priest’s cubicle in the side wall was pointed out as “Sir Walter Raleigh’s dungeon,” but the Queen’s robe, covered with mock jewelry, was an object of far greater interest. At every point make-believe was the rule, and when we at last visited a great hall, the roof, side-walls, and pillars of which bristled with swords, bayonets, flint locks, and other similar adornments, our powers of recognising that we were traversing the rooms of the White Tower, which, before the reign of Henry III., formed the principal residence of Rufus, Beauclerc, and other descendants of the Conqueror, were completely obscured. We could perhaps see that we had been made parties to a fiction which dwarfed the most flagrant of Ainsworth or even Victor Hugo, but better counsels prevailed when Hepworth Dixon pointed out, in his two volumes entitled Her Majesty’s Tower, the great educational value of a visit to these ancient precincts and the difficulty, under existing arrangements, of obtaining any clear ideas. By degrees everything has been changed. The visitor can pause at every step and can obtain without difficulty the fullest information. In one particular, a serious mistake was committed. The inscribed stones in the Beauchamp Tower were removed and grouped in a single chamber, and it was not perceived till too late that thus they lost more than half their historical value and all that kind of value which may be termed sentimental. There are inscriptions in all the inhabited buildings, and it is satisfactory to know that the mistake has not been repeated, while the 290example, coupled with the modern aspect of the Beauchamp Tower, forms a useful lesson for would-be architectural restorers.

The Tower of London formed the principal feature of a system of fortification by which William the Norman proposed at once to defend London from without and to prevent the Londoners from rebellion against his authority. The other castles are generally supposed to be those of Wallingford and of Berkhampstead. Here, as a feature of Alfred’s rebuilt Roman Wall, there was a bastion of extra size, and there are supposed references to a building which may have stood on the site afterwards covered by the Norman Keep, or possibly a little lower on the line of the Roman Wall, where the Wakefield Tower, much altered, now serves for the preservation and exhibition of the crown jewels.

The Norman Keep has been known at least since the time of Henry III. as the White Tower. It was commenced in or near 1078, the architect being Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, who seems to have laboured here, at Rochester Cathedral and Castle, at West Malling, and probably in other places until well on in the reign of Henry I. When, in 1108, he died, his works here and elsewhere were still uncompleted. He probably left the Keep, to which there was no entrance except by a system of scaffolding and ladders connected with the Cold Harbour Tower and the Wakefield Tower by strong walls enclosing a narrow triangular court. The precinct surrounding this fortress gradually grew partly within, partly without, the City boundaries, until it extended over the Outer Ward, as far as the Bell Tower to the west, the Devereux on the north, and the Martin on the east. It included the parish church, afterwards known as St. Peter’s, and the Lanthorn Tower on the south-east, part of an extension of the royal apartments. Adjoining the palace there was a little later, say, in the reign of Henry III., an open space or “garden” south of the White Tower. What had formed the Outer Ward of the Norman Castle now became the Inner Ward of still more extensive precincts under Richard and John. Bishop Longchamp took in a further tract to eastward. King John in 1210 and later years strengthened himself against the Barons of Magna Charta by increasing the outer fortifications, and work went on constantly during the long reign of Henry III. and did not add to his popularity with London citizens. Under Edward I. we first hear of the Barbican, afterwards, down to 1834, known as the Lion Tower. There are two interesting views of this building in Ainsworth’s book: one evidently a careful woodcut of Cruikshank’s drawing on the spot before the destruction of the building; the other an etching with imaginary figures. Outside the defences at this corner was the so-called Conning or Con Tower, a building of timber, opening into a narrow passage. It led out at right angles to the north. The wooden gate, on this site, still faces this way, and it is probable that not only the Tower gates but the City gates at Newgate and Bishopsgate were similarly planned, a point too often forgotten.

291As early as 1347 gunpowder was made in the Tower for the French wars of Edward III.—“pulvis pro ingeniis suis,” as we read. The Salt Tower must have received its name from the storage of saltpetre. In 1381 Richard II. was lodged here for safety from Wat Tyler’s mob; and here they seized the Archbishop Sudbury and murdered him. It was here in 1399 that Richard II. surrendered the crown to Henry IV. Jack Cade’s mob attacked the Tower unsuccessfully. It was attacked again ten years later with a similar result, and after this period the history of the fortress as a fortress may be said to terminate.

From the time the Tower combined the functions of a palace and a prison it became customary for every new sovereign to ride in state to the coronation at Westminster through the City from the gate of the Tower. Thus it was that Queen Anne (Boleyn), who had figured in such a procession, was afterwards a prisoner and was here condemned to death and beheaded on Tower Green. Here again her daughter, Elizabeth, after having been a prisoner during the reign of her sister Mary, passed out to her coronation, pausing on the way at the Lion Tower, where in a short prayer she compared herself to Daniel emerging in safety from the lion’s den. The last English king who thus went to Westminster was Charles II. He and his brother James II. were lodged in the Tower on several occasions of public danger, but the Civil War, then recently ended, had shown plainly the weakness of mediæval fortification against artillery. At the time of the death of Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, who in 1683 committed suicide or was murdered in his lodgings in the Lieutenant’s House, both Charles and his brother were in the royal apartments.

When the Tower ceased to be used as a palace, the old buildings to the south of the Keep fell into ruin and have now all disappeared. They included an annex of some size and importance which contained a few Roman bricks, possibly taken from such parts of the wall as here reached the river’s bank. The garden disappeared with the hall and the wardrobe, and even the names of the buildings adjoining were changed. The Garden Tower is now called the Bloody, and the odd reason used to be given that it was because here the sons of Edward IV. were smothered. This is extremely unlikely, and the name of the gateway was more likely derived from the supposed suicide of Henry Percy, eighth Earl of Northumberland, who was found dead in his bed with three bullets through his heart on June 21, 1585. The Hall Tower, since the disappearance of the adjoining Hall (in which Queen Anne Boleyn was tried), has been renamed The Wakefield, and here the regalia, described below, are now shown. This is the sole relic, with the White Tower, of the Norman buildings of Gundulf. There is a Norman crypt, but the upper structure has been “restored” away, with large but unsightly windows, and there is a bridge for the convenience of the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, whose apartments are in St. Thomas’s Tower, usually renamed 292The Traitors Gate. Between the archway of this gate and the Byward Tower, the chief entrance from the outer ward, is a long wall, facing which, on the north side of the narrow roadway, the buildings of the Lieutenant’s Lodgings look over the walls of the inner ward, ending with the Bell Tower. The bell now does duty at St. Peter’s Church. The roadway is continued to the north as Mint Street, which further on used to be known as Irish Mint Street. From the corner under the Bell Tower we see the Beauchamp Tower, and beyond it again the Devereux. There is a walk along the leads of the roofs connecting the Bell with the Devereux, and here, it is said by the romance writers, Lady Jane, confined in the Lieutenant’s Lodgings, used to meet her husband, who carved her name in his chamber in the Beauchamp Tower. The Lieutenant’s Lodgings have of late been renamed The King’s House, and in the late reign, the Queen’s House, a change for which no reason has ever been assigned.

The towers along the south curtain of the outer ward are the Cradle, so named probably from an arrangement for receiving supplies from a boat on the Thames, the Well, and the Develin or Galleyman’s, so named after an old warder. On the north side are three comparatively modern forts, called Legge’s Mount, North Bastion, and Brass Mount, the first from George Legge, Lord Dartmouth, Master General of the Ordnance in 1682.

On the eastern side of the inner ward are some old and, for the most part, unrestored buildings known as Martin’s Tower, at the north-eastern corner; Constable’s Tower, Broad Arrow, and the Salt Tower, already mentioned. The regalia used to be kept in the Martin, which was also known as the Burbidge or Brick Tower. Here in 1671 the crown, then in the custody of Talbot Edwards, was stolen by Colonel Blood, who carried it nearly to the gate of the Byward Tower before he was stopped. He was eventually pardoned by Charles II. The Broad Arrow shows us what some of us remember—the Beauchamp before Salvin’s ruthless “restoration.”

The Church of St. Peter ad Vincula was so called from the Romanist saint’s day, August 1, on which it was consecrated, and not from any allusion to the Tower as a prison. It has often of late been described as a Chapel Royal, but if there is any Chapel Royal in the Tower it is St. John’s. What we now see was built in 1512, after a fire. The old church was long vacant because of the murder, by the parson, of a friar named Randolph in 1419. Edward IV. proposed to place here a dean and chapter, but died before anything was arranged. Edward VI. put the church under the care of the Bishop of London, and it has since usually been served by a chaplain appointed by the Crown. The organ was formerly in the Chapel Royal at Whitehall. There are few monuments, but the burial-places in the chancel of the headless bodies of two of the wives of Henry VIII., as well as of the Dukes of Somerset and Northumberland and some others, are marked by an encaustic pavement, 293highly inappropriate to what Lord Macaulay described as the saddest spot on earth.

There are several oratories in the different towers, as, for example, the apartments over the Traitors’ Gate, known as St. Thomas’s Tower, where the Keeper of the Jewels is lodged. A similar place for private prayer in the Wakefield Tower has been in great part obliterated. Here, according to an ancient tradition, the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., stabbed Henry VI. at his devotions in 1471.

The yeoman waiters or warders are not Yeomen of the Guard, but members of a separate corps. There are forty yeomen, all old soldiers and ranking as sergeant majors in the army. They seemed to have been called beefeaters from the very beginning in Tudor times. The word “yeomen” is often reckoned as “gentlemen,” being next below “esquire.” They were only fifteen at first, but Charles II. improved their position and increased their numbers. Part of their duty used to be to assist the yeoman gaoler in the custody of prisoners. Persons condemned were by them handed over to the Sheriff of Middlesex at the Con Gate, where the City and Tower precincts meet.


The crown and other parts of the regalia of the state were long treasured in the Martin Tower. They were previously in a building adjoining the palace, on the south side of the White Tower. The removal took place about 1641, which may be the date at which the palace buildings were finally pulled down. There had been a “secret jewell house” in the White Tower in which the most precious or venerable objects were kept. At the time of the Great Rebellion they were taken to Westminster and were all broken up and, as far as possible, destroyed. This sacrilege, for so it must be called, took place in 1649, in the August which followed the death of Charles I. A certain number of articles were sent back to the Tower, no doubt to be melted down at the Mint. These last included “Queen Edith’s crown” of silver-gilt and “King Alfred’s crown” of gold wirework, with a few slight jewels set in it and two bells. This must have been an object of the highest antiquity, perhaps reaching back to the eleventh century. It need hardly be remarked that “Queen Edith” is a wholly mythical person in this connection, no wife of a sovereign of the house of Wessex being called “Queen” or wearing a crown. The Confessor’s wife was “the lady Edith,” his mother “the old lady.” There is no saying what England lost by the wholesale destruction of these old crowns. There is a certain satisfaction in reflecting that the Roundhead treasury was not greatly benefited, the value of the objects sold or melted amounting only to £14,221 : 15 : 4. The Crown jewels as we see them now consist mainly of those required at a coronation, but the old “Regalia” comprised “one christall pott” standing on crystal balls and mounted with silver gilt, with a mannikin on the 294handle, valued then at £9; two gold trencher plates at £85; more than two dozen crystal cups mounted in gold, and many set with jewels; crystal and gold dishes; a crystal watch, valued at £30; salt-cellars of all kinds of precious materials; twenty-six agate bowls and cups—agate was thought to protect the drinker against poison; mazers, some mounted in gold; an “old rusty knife, forke, and spoone,” garnished with gold—it is often asserted that Charles II. brought in the use of forks, but there were several forks in the old collection; candlesticks; an old woman of gold for a salt-cellar, and numerous objects of mother-of-pearl. In addition there were many single stones, and among them “one ruby ballass pierced, and wrapt in a paper by itselfe, valued at £4.” The Puritan framers of the catalogue did not dare evidently to call any attention to the historical and monarchical associations of this stone. It remained unsold until Oliver Cromwell coming into sole power, and perhaps foreseeing that, if he lived, these things might be useful in a coronation, stopped the sale and destruction of the Crown jewels. This ruby, though it is not of first-rate quality and is pierced, was saved and is identified by antiquaries as the jewel which Peter, King of Castile, gave to the Black Prince in 1367, as part payment, it is supposed, for his help in the battle of Najera. Peter, who received the name of “the Cruel,” is said to have fought the Moorish king of Grenada for the sake of his jewels, of which this was one, and to have murdered him in cold blood. Henry V. wore it at Agincourt, in 1415, in his helmet. Another relic of the old regalia is the sapphire in the front of the circlet. It was carried away by James II. when he left England in 1688, and was restored by Cardinal York (Henry IX.) by will, with some other jewels, to George III., in 1807. Another sapphire figures in the cross on the summit of the State crown, as it did on that of Queen Victoria. Its history points to its having been worn by Edward the Confessor in a ring. The legend connecting it with the present regalia is in the Coronation Book of Edward VII., p. 56 (Cassell and Company, 1902). A silver-gilt spoon of thirteenth-century work, possibly of twelfth, is the only other object known to have been in the old regalia.

The other objects exhibited were chiefly made for the coronation of Charles II. Silver or silver-gilt plate of that period is very scarce, and the examples before us, most of which were made by Sir Robert Vyner, are of the highest quality of which the period was capable. It is not necessary to go through the different items of which the collection consists. It will be sufficient to warn the visitor that when he reads on the label “Crown of St. Edward,” he must take it as if the words were “Crown (made by Vyner in imitation of that in the old regalia called the Crown) of St. Edward.” The State crown was worn by King Edward VII. at his coronation and is the same as that of Queen Victoria, somewhat enlarged. It is of silver and has about 3000 diamonds, 227 pearls, 5 rubies, 17 sapphires, and 11 emeralds. The Sword of State was carried by the Marquis of Londonderry, the 295Sceptre by the Duke of Argyll, and the Sword of Mercy by the Duke of Grafton. At the coronation of George III. the sword was forgotten and was left behind in St. James’s Palace. The Lord Mayor’s sword was borrowed in the Abbey and was borne by the Earl of Huntingdon. The right sword was, however, brought and laid on the altar before the close of the service. At the coronation of George IV. it was carried by the Duke of Dorset, and at that of William IV. by the Duke of Wellington. At the coronation of Queen Victoria the sword was borne by Lord Melbourne. Three other swords were borne at the coronation of George IV., those, namely, of temporal justice, of spiritual justice, and of mercy.

A visitor who has time should not leave the Wakefield Tower without seeing an interesting series of stars, collars, and badges of the different orders of knighthood. They are exhibited in the side cases, as are also the silver trumpets of the Guards and other objects of the kind.


Although great stores of arms were accumulated in the Tower during the Tudor reigns, we do not know of any special collection of ornamental suits until much later. The armourers of Henry VIII.—men from Italy, and in particular from Milan and Mantua, whence such words as milliner, portmanteau, and others—dwelt and worked at Greenwich, where in the Green Chamber were twelve suits of tilting armour for men and horses, in the Great Chamber, nine, and in the Harness Chamber, seven, some of them still incomplete when the inventory was made in 1631. The tilting suits were removed to the Tower in 1660. Previously the arms stored there were chiefly for soldiers, and comprised, in the reign of Elizabeth, 2000 equipments for foot-soldiers, known as demi-lances, as many corslets, 1000 shirts of mail, 3000 morions or helmets, and as many steel caps, called “skulles” in the inventory. Towards the end of the reign the more ornamental horse and tilting armour began to be brought up from Greenwich, but the removal was not complete till the time of Charles II., when the old palace was pulled down to make way for the first buildings of what is now Greenwich Hospital.

Soon after, the picturesque building, now used as a military hospital, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren for the reception of the armour. About the same time, Wren’s friend, Grinling Gibbons, was employed to carve the horses on which the full knightly panoply could be exhibited. Some of these horses still remain and must be admired as real works of art. Previously, no doubt, the equestrian armour was placed upon horses such as are now called clothes-horses in a house, or saddle horses in a harness room, convenient enough for the purpose, but unsuitable for any scenic effect.

The armour was next removed to the Small Armoury. The name does not 296mean that the building was small, but that it was designed for the storage and exhibition of small arms, as distinguished from cannon and other great guns. It was situated where the Waterloo Barracks are now, and was entirely destroyed by fire in 1841, having become a store and being full of inflammable material. It must have resembled the central part of the great barrack at Winchester, built also by Wren. It was 245 feet long by 60 wide. Founded by James II., it was finished by William and Mary, who at the opening dined in the great room in state “having all the warrant workmen and labourers to attend them, dressed in white gloves and aprons, the usual badges of the orders of masonry,” as Dodsley tells us, writing in 1761. The “entablature and triangular pediment of the Doric order” of which he speaks, “and the king’s arms, with enrichments of trophy work,” were saved, and are now built into a wall on the south side of a storehouse near the new Lanthorn Tower. The great Small Armoury was undisturbed in 1821, but large quantities of weapons had overflowed into the White Tower, where an armourer named Harris, whose operations were much admired in their day, with his successors, arranged them in various fantastic designs, many of them very ingenious. It was Harris who made the trophies of arms at Hampton Court. “He was a common gunsmith, but after he had performed this work, which is the admiration of people of all nations, he was allowed a pension from the Crown for his ingenuity.” This Small Armoury contained, at the time of the fire in 1841, 280 stands of muskets and small arms, ready for use.

The horse armoury had fortunately been removed some ten or twelve years before the fire. A shed-like gallery, already mentioned, was built south of the White Tower, and was ready in 1826, when the collection was removed and arranged by Sir Samuel Meyrick. The visitor on entering saw a long line of equestrian figures, twenty-two in number, clothed in the armour supposed to belong to various reigns from Edward I. to James II. As a fact, very little of the armour dated before the time of Henry VIII., and the chain mail on a figure labelled Edward I. probably came from India. A rearrangement was made by Mr. Hewitt about 1859, and a catalogue. Ten years later a further arrangement was carried out by Mr. Planché. In 1883, the whole collection was removed to the upper stories of the White Tower, where it has been examined and put into something like order by Lord Dillon, whose views are considerably more scientific than those of Meyrick, Hewitt, or Planché. The change in the aspect of the collection is considerable, and the visitor may be certain of a great number of pieces of which few could be considered authentic before. Lord Dillon calls attention to the mounted figure in chain mail which used to do duty for Edward I. and before that, for William the Conqueror. There are several other suits of Oriental armour, but this one seems, in part at least, to be Persian. The only dated suit was sent to Charles II. by the Great Mogul about 1660. In the so-called Council Chamber is a suit worn by Lord 297Waterford at the Eglinton Tournament. It shows armour of the time of Richard III. Several suits made for Henry VIII. are beside it, and some also from Nuremberg of the same date. The finest “was sent over in 1514, having been made by Conrad Sensenhofer, whose mark is on the helmet. It was a present from the Emperor Maximilian to his ally and relative, Henry VIII. Another maker is well represented, Missaglia of Milan, by a suit for foot combats. Another bears the Burgundian “cross ragulé,” which must not be confused with the ragged staff of Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth’s Earl of Leicester. This last-named suit is very rich in extra pieces for the protection of the left side in tournaments. Another was worn by Dymoke of Scrivelsby at the coronation of George II. It would be tedious to go through all the armour, but a case in the first room contains an extensive collection of helmets, many of them modern imitations, made in Germany, of ancient forms. “The genuine tilting helmets,” says Lord Dillon, “will be distinguished from false ones by the arrangement of the ocularium or eye slit, which in the modern examples would allow of the easy insertion of the opponent’s lance point.”

It may be worth while here to observe that in the lists two knights passed each other on the left hand. In many modern pictures of mediæval fights we see the knights each with his lance in the right hand and pointing towards another knight on his right. This would have been impossible, the weight of the lance alone being sufficient to make it so. If the combatant struck his opponent, he must infallibly have put his shoulder out and probably would also have broken some of his ribs with his heavily mailed elbow. In old pictures, and particularly in those representing tilt yards, the knights will be seen keeping the “off side,” the lance being held diagonally across the horse’s neck, the elbow being free so that no fracture ensues when the point strikes anything hard. The extra pieces in the so-called Leicester’s suit were, therefore, as Lord Dillon points out, “for the tilt yard and protected the left side, that on which the riders passed each other.” Pictures in the National Gallery and illuminated manuscripts in the British Museum may be consulted on this subject.

Of the more miscellaneous objects in the collection it is not necessary to say much here. Everything is carefully labelled. There is some Greek bronze armour from Cumæ near Naples. The series of halberds is remarkably fine and varied, as are the swords, the maces, early fire-arms, and gauntlets. We may sum up, in the words of the Guide of 1888, and make up our minds “that of the early linen armour, supplemented with iron, of the Bayeux Tapestry, we have no examples extant; that of the Crusaders and their ‘panoply’ in the twelfth century we are almost equally ignorant; that monumental brasses and illuminated manuscripts enable us both to judge how the knight was armed in the thirteenth century, and also to identify a rare helmet here and there as of the same period; but that for authentic suits of cap a pie 298and even much less, and for horse armour, apart from mere saddlery or harness, we must depend on a period long after the invention and common use of guns and gunpowder, a period when the skill of the armourer was exercised to ornament tilting suits, defence against fire-arms proving impossible.”

For an account of the ancient foundation known as St. Katherine’s by the Tower see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 335.


For history see p. 292.

The earliest date of an incumbent is 1355.

The patronage of the church has always been in the hands of the Crown; it was constituted a rectory with a rector and three chaplains by Edward III., February 10, 1353-54.

The chapel consists of a nave and chancel and an aisle on the north side, separated from the nave by columns of the Decorated period of architecture. It is 66 feet in length, 54 feet in width, and 25 feet in height.

In this church are buried: Anne Boleyn; Katherine Howard; Sir Thomas More; Cromwell, Earl of Essex; Lady Shrewsbury; Admiral Lord Seymour; the Protector Somerset; John Dudley, Earl of Northumberland; Lady Jane Grey; Lord Guilford Dudley; Sir Thomas Overbury; Sir John Elcot; Okey the Regicide; the Duke of Monmouth; Lords Lovat, Kilmarnock, and Balmerino, and others of lesser note.

The Minories lies within Portsoken Ward. Stow says:

“This Portsoken which roundeth as much as the Franchise at the gate, was sometime a guilde and had this beginning as I have reade. In the dayes of King Edgar more than 600 yeres since, there were thirteen knights wellbeloved to the king and realme (for service by them done) which requested to name a certain portion of land on the east part of the Citte, left desolate and forsaken by the inhabitants by reason of too much servitude. They besought the king to have this land, with the Libertie of a guilde for ever; the king granted to their request with conditions following that is that each of them should victoriously accomplish three combates, one above the ground, one under ground, and the thirde in the water, and after this at a certaine day in East Smithfield they should run with speares against all commers, all which was gloriously performed.”

Of the Minories, Stow says:

“From the west part of this Tower Hill towards Ealdegate being a long continual street amongst other smaller buildings in that row there was sometimes an abbey of Nunnes of the order of St. Clare called the Minories.”

This abbey was founded in 1293 by Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, King Edward I.’s brother, and was suppressed in 1539. For account see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 329.

The Minories was later noted for its gunsmiths. “In place of this house of Nunnes is now builded divers faire and large houses, for armour, and the habiliments of war.”



On the suppression of the abbey its chapel became a parish church for the inhabitants of the old monastic precincts. It escaped the Great Fire, but was entirely rebuilt in 1706, at the expense of Daniel King, Lady Pritchard and the parishioners. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1595.

The patronage of the church originally in the hands of the Crown passed by its union with St. Botolph, Aldgate (1899), to the Bishop of London.

The building is very unpretentious. Since 1899 it has been used as a Sunday School and parish institute. It has no proper tower, only a turret at the west end. There is some fine carving at the west end, preserved from the old church and bearing the date 1620.

No chantries were founded here.

The church contains monuments to Colonel William Legge, Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance to Charles I. and Charles II., who died in 1672, also his son, first Lord Dartmouth, Admiral of the Fleet, who died in 1691. When the vaults were examined in 1849 a head was brought to light, said to be that of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey, which had been preserved from decay by sawdust; it is now kept in a glass case in the vestry of St. Botolph, Aldgate. The church was attended by Sir Isaac Newton, when Master of the Mint.

Daniel King was donor of £200 and Lady Pritchard of £100 in 1706, for the rebuilding of the church. No legacies or bequests are recorded by Stow.



The sixth group of streets in our division of the City contains all those streets lying north of St. Paul’s Churchyard and Ludgate Hill.

We may consider this group as connected with Newgate Street and the streets to the north, and Paternoster Row with the streets and lanes to north and south. These lie partly in the ward of Farringdon Within and partly in that of Farringdon Without.

Probably at or before the beginning of the thirteenth century, certainly in its latter half, the present two wards of Farringdon Without and Farringdon Within formed but one ward under one alderman. That ward in early records is found named, as are most other wards, after its successive aldermen, thus: “Ward of Anketin de Auvergne” (1276-77) (Riley’s Memorials); “the ward which was that of Ralph le Fevre” (1278); “Ward of William de Farndone” (1283); “Warda Willelmi de Farendone infra et extra” (1286-87). Yet just before the last date the ward was called after the two City gates which it contained, thus: “Warda de Lodgate et Neugate: Willelmus de Farndon [aldermannus]” (c. 1285) (Sharpe, Calendar of Wills); and so it continued some time, for we find: “Warda Ludgate et Neugate presentat Nicholaum de Farndon [aldermannum]” (1293). In each case the whole ward, both within the gates and without, is intended, but it is said that the part without the gates was sometime known as the “Ward of Fletestrete” (Riley’s Memorials). In the fourteenth century the name of William de Farendone became permanently attached to this ward, as: [warda] “Farndon Infra [et] Farndon Extra: Nicholaus de Farndon [aldermannus]” (1319-20) (Sharpe); [warda] “Farndone infra et extra” (1320) (Riley); “Warda de Farndone” (1320); “Garde de Faryngdone” (1383). In 1393 the ward was made into two wards, each with its separate alderman. Henceforward the aldermanry without the walls was known by an equivalent to the present style, as: “Ward of Farndone Without” (1415) (Riley); “Ward of Faryndone Without” (1416) (Riley); “Ward of Faryngdon Without” (1444) (Catalogue of Ancient Deeds); “Warde of Faringdon Extra, or Without” (1598) (Stow); and so on with varieties of spelling.

The Roman gate of the west stood a little to the north of the later gate. The massive alcoves of the gate were uncovered in Giltspur Street near the end of the nineteenth century.

301According to Stow, the “New Gate” was erected by Henry I. to relieve the traffic which had been stopped by the enclosures of St. Paul’s Precinct. Formerly, he said, the traffic had been conducted along a single street leading from Aldgate to Ludgate. There is evidently some confusion here. The “West Gate” is mentioned in a charter dated 857. It is possible that it means Ludgate; it is not, however, probable that the Saxons allowed the trade of the north and the west, which was brought down the great highway to the marsh of Thorney and was then, even before the Roman occupation, diverted along Oxford Street and Holborn, to resume its old course across the Marsh and Thorney Island, or that they would have gone out of their way to construct a new line of route along the present Piccadilly and the Strand.

It seems perfectly certain that the old line of trade was followed, partly because trade always does follow in accustomed lines, and partly because there was no reason why it should not do so. I read, therefore, the history of Newgate as follows:—The Roman Highway lay along Oxford Street and Holborn; it crossed the valley of the Fleet by a causeway through the mud and by a bridge over the stream—the causeway kept in place by piles and the bridge also resting on wooden piles. On the other side, the causeway sloped up the bank to the west gate, which stood on the hill as part of the Roman wall. When the Saxons in the sixth century came in to the City the causeway and the bridge had been swept away and destroyed; the old gate was ruinous. The merchants themselves, when they resumed the former trade, found it easier to break through the wall than to clear away the ruins of the old gate. They then made their own causeway and built their own bridge over the marshy valley and the stream. When Alfred restored the walls, he accepted the new gate and probably strengthened it, and built up the wall over the old Roman gate. This gate it was which Henry I. rebuilt, not, as Stow says, built. By this time, however, Ludgate had been opened as a postern; another causeway and another bridge had been built across the valley, and houses were springing up along the rising ground of Fleet Street and the Strand. And it is also quite possible that the rebuilding of the gate led to some reconstruction of the line of way through the City.

Henry I., therefore, rebuilt New Gate.

It was a prison from the first. All the City gates were prisons, the upper chambers being strong and easily guarded by the permanent watch below. Newgate, however, became a more important prison than any of the others, “as appeareth,” says Stow, “by records in the reign of King John and of other kings.”

It would take a whole volume to pass in review the prisoners of Newgate. Let me take one—an obscure person—because he belongs to the life of London, whereas the better known prisoners belong to the history of the country. It was on the eve of Pentecost, 1388, that William Wotton, Alderman of Dowgate, went to the Shambles in Newgate Street and asked of one Richard Bole, a butcher, the price of 302certain pieces of beef. Richard replied that it was four shillings. “That,” said the Alderman, “is too dear.” Quoth Richard, impudently, “I do verily believe that the meat is too dear for thee; who, I suppose, never bought as much meat as that, for thine own use.” Observing, then, that the inquirer wore an Alderman’s hood, he asked, “Art thou an Alderman?” “Yes,” William Wotton replies; “why askest thou?” Whereupon he said, “It is a good thing for thee and thy fellows, the Aldermen, to be so wise and wary, who make but light of riding on the Pavement, as some among ye have been doing.” Here we have reference to some grievance of the day. Why should the Aldermen ride upon the pavement? One supposes that the pavement was meant for the convenience of the stalls and not intended for horses. It was constructed in 1339.

However, William Wotton very speedily had this impudent butcher laid by the heels in Newgate. He was haled before the Mayor and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, after which he was to carry a lighted taper through the Shambles and Chepe as far as St. Lawrence Lane, when he was to offer his taper at the Guildhall Chapel. His fellows of the same trade, however, petitioned, and the imprisonment was remitted; but he walked in procession bearing that lighted taper, an object-lesson to those who would beard an Alderman.

In the fifteenth century the want of ventilation and the confinement of many in so narrow a place bred gaol-fever, which never afterwards left the prison. In 1419 the gaolers of Newgate all died, and prisoners to the number of sixty-four.

The case of Hugh le Bever may also be mentioned. He was charged with the murder of his wife Alice. He refused to plead. He was therefore taken to Newgate and there put in penance until his death. That is to say, he was placed in solitary confinement—one can still see the narrow cell in the old gate-prisons (for example, that at Rouen)—and there left to his own meditations, with a daily allowance of bread and water. One wonders how long the poor wretch lingered there. Perhaps his mind fell into a comatose condition in which the days passed on without any other feeling than that of blank misery, while the body grew weaker. Perhaps he went mad. Perhaps he begged to be taken out and hanged. So difficult it was, so heavy the task of making the people obedient to the law.

In the fourteenth century we find a new departure of a remarkable character. There sprang up a new thing in the land—a feeling of compassion for the misery of the unhappy prisoners of Newgate and other gaols in London. The wills beginning in the year 1348 show bequests for the poor prisoners. From 1348 to 1500 the wills published in the Calendar show eighty-one such bequests. This is very curious. It shows an humanising influence of some kind—what was it? Not the influence of monks and friars, because their spiritual force was fast declining. Was it the Lollarding with which the City of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was notoriously “infested”? The question is not easy to answer. But the fact remains. 303Further, we find that light bread was confiscated and given to the prisoners of Newgate; that all other kinds of food when confiscated for any reason, were also sent there; and that broken meats were sent to the prison from all men’s tables. It would appear, therefore, that no food was supplied to prisoners at the time, an inhuman practice, followed, until their abolition, by all the debtors’ prisons, causing for hundreds of years miseries unspeakable and incredible, were it not that compassion is a plant of such slow growth and so fragile.

The outbreak of gaol fever of 1419 was caused by the well-meant but injudicious action of the Mayor and Corporation.

They issued an ordinance, the reason of which is explained by the preamble.

“Whereas the commendable intentions and charitable purpose of those who have been governors and presidents of the City of London heretofore have ordained a prison, called Ludgate, for the good and comfort of poor freemen of the said city who have been condemned, to the end that such poor prisoners might, more freely than others who are strangers, dwell in quiet in such place, and pray for their benefactors, and live upon the alms of the people.... Now, from one day to another, the charitable intentions and commendable purposes aforesaid are frustrated and turned to evil, inasmuch as many false persons, of bad disposition and purpose, have been more willing to take up their abode there, so as to waste and spend their goods upon the ease and licence that there is within, than to pay their debts; and, what is even more, do therein compass, conspire, and imagine oftentimes, through others of their false coin, to indict good and loyal men for felonies and treasons of which they have never been guilty.”

In other words, freemen of the City chose rather to live in the gaol of Ludgate, on the alms provided for poor prisoners, than to work and pay their debts; and, worse still, they made use of their time to get up conspiracies against honourable citizens. The only remedy that could be devised was to move all the prisoners to Newgate, and close the gaol. This was done in the month of June, but in November, Richard Whittington being mayor, it was found that most of the wretches taken to Newgate had died there, “by reason of the fetid and corrupt atmosphere”; whereupon Ludgate was reopened, “seeing that every person is bound to support and be tender of the lives of men.”

In April 1431, Whittington being dead, the prisoners of Ludgate were once more removed to Newgate, and, to the general indignation, eighteen of them were led through the streets, pinioned as if they had been felons, to the Sheriff’s Compter, probably with the view of not crowding Newgate again. But in June of the same year they were all taken back to Ludgate, which remained a debtor’s prison for the citizens of London till the year 1762, when the gate was taken down and the prisoners removed to the London Workhouse in Bishopsgate Street. This double removal looks as if works of enlargement or of repair were in progress at 304Ludgate. Twenty years later, in 1454, it was greatly enlarged by Dame Agnes Forster; see also p. 196.

Meanwhile, however, New Gate and Prison had been enlarged or practically rebuilt by Whittington, who began it, and his executors, who finished it. He seems to have furnished the prison with additional chambers on the south side. It is pleasant to think that one of the last actions of this great and good man was to improve the “fetid and corrupt atmosphere in the noxious Prison of Newgate.”

It may be remarked that the gate was decorated with a bas-relief of the famous cat, showing that there was current in Whittington’s own life the story of the cat.


Other works of repair, enlargement, and restoration were carried on in 1555 and in 1630. In 1666 the gate and prison were destroyed in the Great Fire, but rebuilt in 1672.

The gate was removed in 1767, and now the prison has been demolished also.

The modern account of Newgate Prison will be found in London in the Eighteenth Century, p. 538.

Outside Newgate and on the western edge of the river, there was a suburb dating from very early times. It grew up round Smithfield where horses were bought and sold, and where young men shot with the bow and ran and wrestled. It contained the people who belonged to the service of the religious houses there, 305and those who belonged to the hospital. We also find, outside Newgate, “rents” in the thirteenth century, and bakehouses and tanneries also outside Newgate, while the spurriers in 1355 are enjoined to work in their quarters outside Newgate until curfew rings from St. Sepulchre’s Church.


Within Newgate, where a “pavement” was constructed to keep the stalls from the mud of the unpaved street, was the Market of the Shambles. Here were two churches—St. Ewen’s, at the north-east corner of Warwick Lane, and St. Nicholas Fleshambles in what is now King Edward Street, formerly Butcher’s Lane or Stinking Lane. Both parishes were united to form that of Christ Church after the Dissolution.

Newgate Market is generally spoken of as a meat market only, which in later years it became; but formerly many other things were sold there. It is the natural tendency of markets to admit goods for sale other than those for which they were created.

Thus we find in the fourteenth century that wheat was sold in the “corn market of Newgate”; that poulterers who were freemen had to sell their fowls either in Newgate Market or else west of the Tun in Cornhill; that cheese brought into the City by “foreigners” had to be sold in the market between the Shambles and Newgate, and nowhere else; that blacksmiths were forbidden to sell their goods 306except in the pavement of Newgate or else by the Tun of Cornhill; and that pork was also sold in the market. Further investigations would doubtless bring to light the fact that it became a general market.

There was a great deal of trouble with the butchers. They were an unruly class—we have seen how one of them was put to shame for impudence; they persisted in pouring the blood from the shambles down the gutters; they carried the offal through the streets, and threw it into the river at the Temple. In 1369 strict ordinances were passed that animals should be slaughtered outside the walls. As the butchers disobeyed the law it was again proclaimed two years later, with the exception for the butchers of East Chepe and the Stocks. I do not think, however, that the slaughter of beasts was ever carried on without the walls. The market stood all along Newgate Street, with a “Middle Row” of sheds, under which were the stalls for the sale of grain, cheese, butter, poultry, etc., besides that of meat. The butchers also had their stalls in Butchers’ Lane. The Middle Row became like that in Holborn—a row of houses over shops. This Middle Row must have made Newgate Street narrow and intolerably dark and close. The Great Fire swept it away, and among the improvements made after the Fire it was ordered “that the Ground where the Middle Row of the Shambles stood and the ground of the four late houses in Newgate Market between Warwick Lane End and the Bell Inn there shall be laid into the streets” (Maitland).

Those who can remember Newgate Street before the butchers’ shops were taken to Smithfield, can bear witness to the horrible appearance of the street, lined as it was with butchers’ shops, where the passenger, who never went through the street if he could avoid it, was jostled by greasy blue smocks, and saluted on the cheek with ribs and legs of bleeding ox flesh. The end of Newgate Street and of Paternoster Row facing Cheapside was, in 1720, called Jackanapes Row, a modern name given for some unknown reason. Passing along Newgate Street on the north side we come to Christ’s Hospital.


When we pass from the pre-Reformation schools to the great institution of Christ’s Hospital, which has become indissolubly associated with the name of Edward VI., the first Protestant king of England, we might expect to find that we passed from darkness to light; from groping in the dark after fragmentary hints of evidence, to an era of charters and documents well known and well understood. Yet there is no great school the history of which has been more misunderstood or misrepresented than that of Christ’s Hospital. In 1898, at the laying of the foundation stone of the new buildings at Horsham, Sussex, which are destined to convert Christ’s Hospital from a London school into a “non-local” public school, 307the Duke of Cambridge, as Chairman of the Governors of Christ’s Hospital, gave the layer of the stone, the Prince of Wales, a succinct version of the story of its origin.

“It was founded,” he said, “by the saintly King Edward the VIth, who, besides assigning it a site in the City of London, with his own hands inserted in the charter power to take lands in mortmain, which has enabled the munificence of subsequent benefactors to provide for nearly three and a half centuries for the nurture and education of children.”

So the historian of Cambridge University, Mr. J. Bass Mallinger,[13] speaking of Edward VI. had said: “Upwards of 30 Free Grammar Schools founded at this time have permanently associated the name of Edward VI. with popular education”; and among the thirty free grammar schools founded by him, he includes Christ’s Hospital.

Carlisle, in his Endowed Grammar Schools, made a more cautious statement.

“The precise endowment of the institution by the Royal Founder is not known. It is certain that part of the premises which it now comprises, commonly called Grey Friars and the Cloisters, with a part of the building, were given by Edward VI.”

A closer examination of the facts will show us that Christ’s Hospital was not founded as a grammar school; that neither site nor buildings were given by Edward VI.; and that he did not inscribe a licence in mortmain with his own hand. Christ’s Hospital was founded as a Foundling Hospital and Ragged School for gutter children of both sexes, by the inhabitants of London, by means of public subscriptions and rates, on a site and in buildings already acquired by the City from Henry VIII., and Edward VI.’s contribution to it consisted of a piece of parchment, some confiscated church linen, and his name.

Perhaps the most startling revelation to those who have heard so often of the magnificence of the foundation of Edward VI., is to find that Christ’s Hospital at first had no endowments beyond its sites and buildings, and never received a penny of income from the property comprised in Edward’s charter.

Christ’s Hospital is alone among the great public schools in that it has entirely departed from the class and the objects for which it was originally intended. Winchester and Eton, Westminster and St. Paul’s were intended always for the same class or classes which now frequent them. The scholars were meant to be, and were, taken from the poorer members of the upper middle class, squires, parsons, barristers, merchants, and the like, “who could not, without help, send their sons to the University”; the commoners or paying boys from the richer members of the same class. Christ’s Hospital, unlike these, was intended for the poorest of the poor. Its foundation was not due, like that of the other ancient public schools, to any single founder, or to any desire to further education. It was a part of a great 308scheme to put down pauperism, and so effect by voluntary and charitable effort what in Elizabeth’s day and since has been effected, or attempted, by compulsion and the Poor Law. It was intended to rid the streets of London of the curse of sturdy rogues and vagabonds, on principles which were strictly in accordance with the doctrines of political economy, and would be highly approved by the Charity Organisation Society. It aimed at getting rid of the poor by setting those who were merely unfortunate to work, while making things unpleasant for the undeserving and idle, and by bringing up their children in the way they should go to earn their own living.


The establishment of Christ’s Hospital is inextricably mixed up with that of the other “Royal Hospitals,”[14] St. Bartholomew’s and St. Thomas’s Hospital and the Bridewell. It may be traced to a movement to rid London, and especially the parish churches, of the crowds of poor, some sick and diseased, some mere idle “rogues and vagabonds.” Historians like Father Gasquet in his Henry VIII. and the Monasteries, following some older authors, laudatores temporis acti, write as if beggary and vagrancy were a special product of the Reformation Era, and 309were caused by the suppression of the monasteries. This is putting the cart before the horse. It could easily be shown that hundreds of years earlier the State made efforts to put them down. But for the present purpose we need go no further back than the first part of the sixteenth century. In London an Act of Common Council,[15] passed in 1518, before Luther had ever been heard of beyond Wittemburg, and long before the suppression of monasteries had even been dreamt of by Henry, directed that for getting rid of “all mighty beggars, vagabonds, and all other suspect and evil-disposed persons out of this city, every alderman in his ward shall get two or three persons in each parish to form lists of all persons living on alms, and certify them to the Common Council.”

But, while the monasteries and friaries, and especially the latter—those great schools of pauperism and seminaries of beggary—were continually creating new swarms of the poor they were supposed to relieve, any real diminution of beggary was hopeless. We find the Common Council in 1533, before the suppression, vainly trying to abate the evil by the institution of a voluntary poor-rate, directing the aldermen to “weekly depute some honest persons of every parish to gather the devotions of the parishioners, and the same to be delivered at the church doors to poor folk,” so as to prevent them crowding into the churches, carrying their disgusting sores and infection with them.

Almost immediately after the dissolution of the monasteries, August 1, 1540, the City began to negotiate with Henry VIII. for the purchase of the “four houses and churches of Friars,” the Black, White, Grey, and Austin, because they were the finest buildings in the City after St. Paul’s and St. Martin-le-Grand. The Grey Friars’ Church was no less than 300 feet long. The City urged that they would be “a very great comfort, aid and refuge for the avoiding and eschewing” of plague and sickness. They offered “a thousand marks esterling (£666 : 13 : 4), if they can be gotten no better cheap, down for them.”[16] Sir Richard Gresham was the negotiator, and had to inform the court of aldermen that His Highness thought the citizens “pinchpence” to offer so little, and refused. At last, however, in 1547, they came to an agreement, not for all the houses unfortunately, but for the Grey Friars only. They also acquired St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, which had been dissolved as part of the Priory of St. Bartholomew, and Bethlehem or Bedlam Hospital, which, being in the hands of the secular clergy, had not been dissolved. What was paid for the grant does not appear in the documents; though that something considerable was paid there is little doubt. On December 27, 1547, the City got a conveyance from Henry, confirmed by charter of the same date, with a licence in mortmain precisely in the same words as the one which, we are told, was so providentially invented by Edward VI.; as was perhaps not surprising since the formula was some two centuries old.

310Henry purported to make the grants of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Grey Friars’ Church, cloisters, and conventual buildings with the whole precinct, and all the houses in it, valued at some £50 a year, because he considered “the miserable estate (the poor, aged, sick, sore and impotent people), as well men as women, lying and going about begging in the common streets of the City of London[17] and the suburbs of the same ... to the great infection and [an]noyance of his grace’s loving subjects.”

St. Bartholomew’s was to be a hospital or house for the poor. The Grey Friars was not granted for a hospital but for a church. It was to be a parish church for the Grey Friars’ precinct, Newgate and St. Sepulchre’s parish, with a vicar; “a visitor of Newgate,” or prison chaplain, and five other priests, partly curates, partly chantry-priests, all to be appointed by the corporation of the City. The City, that is, “the Mayor and Commonalty and citizens,” were given a licence in mortmain to hold lands up to the value of a thousand marks a year for the purposes of this grant. By the same grant they were made the custodians of the Bethlehem Hospital.

The Common Council, on obtaining possession of the Grey Friars’ Church, promptly gutted it[18] of all its famous and beautiful tombs, royal and civic alike, stripping down its stall-work, and reducing the dimensions of the nave. In fact, they emulated the Crown and nobility in the work of plunder and destruction, not sparing their own ancestors.

At first efforts were made to maintain St. Bartholomew’s Hospital by voluntary donations, “a weekly collection of the devotion of the people,” but this was found not to “take any good success or semblance of good contynnance,” and by an order of Common Council, September 29, 1547, “a moietie or half deale of one hole fiftene” was levied for its support. In December 1543 certain dues levied in respect of the measuring of leather up to 500 marks a year were granted to it; and the other 500 marks to be paid out of the half-fifteenth[19] was assessed instead on the Companies at the rate of £24 a quarter from the Mercers down to 13s. 4d. a quarter from small Companies like the Glaziers.

In 1549 the City was already in treaty with the Protector Somerset[20] “for the alteration of parcel of the foundacion of the house of the poor.” Nothing, however, was done during his stormy reign, which ended by his being sent to the Tower in January 1550. In the following Lent, Lever,[21] the Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, preached some famous sermons at St. Paul’s Cross, inveighing against the breach of the Acts of dissolution both of monasteries and chantries, according to which the proceeds were to be applied “for erecting of Grammar Schools, the further 311augmenting of the Universities and better provision for the poor.” He voiced, not merely the wishes of his own college and university, but also those of the City of London. Edward VI.’s action has been attributed to a sermon of Ridley “the martyr,” the Bishop of London, in 1552. It seems doubtful, however, whether Ridley was the prime mover or only an agent of the City. A letter of his own, intended to be pathetic, but which surely must have had a ring of comicality even to his contemporaries, goes to show that Lord Mayor Sir Richard Dobbs was the originator of the movement.

“O Dobbs, Dobbs, alderman and Knight, thou in thy year didst win my heart for evermore for that honourable act, that most blessed work of God, of the erection and setting up of Christ’s holy hospitals and truly religious houses which by thee and through thee were begun.... Thou didst plead their cause (the cause of Christ’s ‘silly members’) yea and not only in thine own person thou didst set forth Christ’s cause but to further the matter thou broughtest me into the Council Chamber of the City before the Aldermen alone, whom thou hadst assembled there together to hear me speak what I would say as an advocate by office and duty in the poor man’s cause.”[22]

The Bishop, in fact, acted as the Bishops of London now do, as a kind of public orator and common vouchee of all charitable organisations; he was not the originator or organiser.

The detailed story of the foundation is told in an account written by J. Howes, “Renter” of Christ’s Hospital, in the form of a delightful dialogue between Dignity (an Elizabethan alderman) and Duty, or Howes himself.[23]

Dobbs, he tells us, with the Bishop and a few others, “devised a book” to provide for the various classes of poor. “First[24] they devised to take out of the streets all the fatherless children and other poor men’s children that were not able to keep them, and to bring them to the late dissolved house of the Grey Friars, which they devised to be an Hospital for them, where they should have meat and drink and clothes, lodging and learning, and officers to attend upon them. They also devised that there should be provision made to keep the sick from the whole, and laid a ‘platte’ (a plot or plan) to have purchased Finsbury Court, and there to have kept the children in fresh air in the time of sickness, because they feared lest through the corrupt nature of the children, who might infect one another, being packed up in one house, and so put the whole city in danger of infection. Then the Governors devised that the sucking children and such as were not able to learn should be kept in the country and always at Easter brought home.” The lame and aged poor were to be removed to St. Thomas’s Hospital, forthwith; the “Lazar” people should be removed out of the streets, and have 312monthly pensions paid to them to the end they should not annoy the King’s subjects resorting to the City; and all the decayed poor citizens should be made known and every one of them have weekly a pension according to his necessity. But “all the idle and lusty rogues, as well men as women, should all be taken up and conveyed into some house where they should have all things necessary and be compelled to labour.” A committee of thirty was appointed to collect statistics. They reported that the number to be provided for was—

Fatherless children 300
Sore and sick persons 200
Poor men overburthened with their children 350
Aged persons 400
Decayed householders 650
Idle vagabonds 200

They then set to work to provide ways and means.

The committee of thirty found close on £1500 themselves. The parsons were set to work to extract weekly “pensions” from their parishioners; boxes were distributed to the wardens of every Company. There was a “devise that every honest householder in London should have a bill printed, wherein there was a glass window left open for his name and for his sum of money,” and the churchwardens were to get these filled in.

In February 1551[25] the City began to negotiate for the purchase of “the Hospitall in Suthwarke,” the Hospital of St. Thomas à Becket in Southwark, which until the Dissolution had been in the hands of Augustinian canons. On the 25th March the Privy Council granted an order for the purchase to be carried into effect. A detailed estimate of the charges and net income of the hospital on the proposal to purchase is extant at the Record Office.[26] From this it appears that the total gross value of its possessions was £314 : 17 : 1: the charges for the poor, the priests, and so on were estimated at £154 : 17 : 1, leaving a surplus of about £160 a year. Of this, £36 odd was derived from land estimated at twenty years’ purchase, and £123 from houses and cottages taken at fourteen years’ purchase. The City paid £2461 : 2 : 6 down for the grant of the endowment, with the hospital site and buildings thrown in. The transaction was completed by Letters Patent of August 12 and 13, 1551, which included a licence in mortmain up to £46 a year above the issue of the lands, i.e. £200 a year in all.

Having acquired St. Thomas’s Hospital for the sick poor, the City next set itself to work to petition[27] the King for a grant of the old palace of Bridewell. For 313the proposed inhabitants of this they had in “readiness most profitable and wholesome occupations for the continuing in godly exercise ... which is the guider and begetter of all wealth, virtue and honesty.” This was followed up by a further grant of the Savoy Hospital, founded by Henry VII. on the site of the old mansion of John of Gaunt, and completed by Henry VIII. It was intended for old soldiers and pilgrims.

We gather from Howes that the motives of the King in making the grant of Bridewell, and of the revenues of the Savoy Hospital, to Christ’s Hospital were not of the very highest order.

“What” [says Dignity] “should move the King to depart from so beautiful a house as Bridewell was, so richly garnished, with so great charges, and being so late builded, and to convert the lands of the Savoy to the City?”

“The situation of Bridewell” [replies Duty] “was such that all the cost was cast away; there was no coming to it but through stinking lanes or over a filthy ditch, which did so continually annoy the house, that the King had no pleasure in it. And therefore the King being required by the citizens to converte it to so good a use God moved his heart to bestow it to that use, rather than to be at any charge in keeping of it, or to suffer it to fall down; and so not profitable to any. And this, I am sure, was the reason that moved the King. For at that time it stood void and was daily spoiled by the keepers. And now as touching the turning over of the Savoy lands you shall understand that the Savoy was erected by King Henry VIIth in the time of papistry chiefly for pilgrims, wayfaring men, and for maimed and bruised soldiers that they might have meat, drink and lodging for a time. The pilgrims being suppressed and so no use of them, and as for such wayfaring men and soldiers as that house did commonly harbour, [they] were none other but common rogues and idle pilfering knaves, which they received in at night and every morning turned out at the gates without meat, drink or clothes; and so lay wandering all day abroad seeking their adventure in filching and stealing, and at night came and were received in again. And so the Savoy was nothing else but a nursery of all villany. The revenues and profits of the rents came wholly to the use of the Masters, who were priests, and officers of the house. And so the virtuous prince King Edward had great reason in converting the lands to the City, where the poor received the profits.”

The Savoy lands were worth £450 a year; but the institution was in debt to the amount of £178, which the City had to pay off, and they also had to pension the officers of the Savoy Hospital to the extent of £101 : 6 : 8 a year.

According to Howes, all the income from endowment went to St. Thomas’s Hospital, the Bridewell was maintained by labour, and Christ’s Hospital chiefly by the liberal devotion of the citizens; but if any one of these three wanted then the other two did supply the lack.

314Meanwhile on July 26, 1552, the City began to repair the Grey Friars for the use of the poor children.

Separate committees of the thirty above-mentioned were appointed to prepare or “make sweet” the various places for the poor. That for Christ’s Hospital consisted of Mr. Roe, “which was afterwards Lord Mayor,” as Treasurer, and Stephen Cobbe, John Blondell, Thomas Lodge, Thomas Bartlett, Thomas Eaton, and Richard Grafton as “surveyors.” “The late dissolved Grey Friars at that time[28] stood void and empty, only a number of ‘whores and rogues’ harboured therein at nights; saving one Thomas Bryckett, vicar of Christchurch, with whom the Governors compounded and bought all his tables, bedsteads and other things; and made out of his lodgings ‘a compting house and lodging for their clerk.’” Then they appointed officers: a warden, clerk, steward, butler, under-butler, cook, two porters; surgeon, barber, tailor, coal-keeper, a “mazer” or bowl scourer, a matron, twenty-five sisters or nurses, a porter, and a sexton. With them were also the schoolmasters in the old triple division of grammar, song, and writing, with reading (assumed in the ordinary grammar school to have been already mastered) added.

There was—

£ s. d.
A Grammar Schoole Mayster, John Robynson, whose yearly fee was 15 0 0
A Grammar Usher, James Seamer 10 0 0
A Teacher to wrighte, John Watson 3 6 8
Schoolmasters for the Petties ABC, Thomas Lowes and Thomas Cutts, whose yearly fees to each of them was 2 13 4
A schule maister for musicke 2 13 4
A teacher of pricksonge whose yearly fee was 2 13 4

John Watson the writing master was also clerk, in which latter capacity he received £10 a year. The status of the various teachers may be judged from the fact that the head surgeon received the same stipend as the head schoolmaster; the under-surgeon received £4 against the usher’s £10, while the arts got £8. The “Absies,” i.e. ABC or elementary schoolmaster, received 13s. 4d. a year more than the barber, and a great deal less than the porters, who had £6 a year each.

The foundation was a stupendous charitable effort, the money it cost being certainly underestimated by the common reckoning at twelve times the then value, or £30,000 of our money. It included, for instance, “500 feather beds, and 500 pads of straw to put under the feather beds, and as many blankets and 1000 pair of sheets” from one contractor alone. In all, double that number was provided. But many “there were that brought feather beds, coverlets, sheets, blankets, shirts and smocks, and disbursed great sums of money, which never came to any public account.” The “virtuous prince” himself was most generous. He issued a warrant 315under his own hand “that all the linen belonging to the churches in London should be brought and delivered to the Governors for the use of the poor, reserving sufficient for the Communion Table, with towels and surplices for the ministers and churches.” The linen, we are told, did good service, “and especiale in St. Thomas Hospital.”[29]

In November 1552[30] no less than 380 children were taken into the house. At first the “idle men and women” were also brought into Christ’s Hospital “and put in what is now (i.e. in 1582) the schoolmaster’s house, where they were kept from doing any further harm, although not employed to any occupations, for the place served not.” When Bridewell was obtained, the workhouse folk were removed there; but this was not before midsummer 1554.[31]

The preparation of Christ’s Hospital was entirely done by voluntary contributions. For St. Thomas’ the City granted £100, and “turned over” to it “£50 a year of that which had been purchased from the King.” But no endowment income was forthcoming for Christ’s Hospital. Nor is it possible to ascertain how much capital was given for Christ’s Hospital alone as the contemporary “State and charge of the new erected Hospitals—A.D. 1553”[32] gives the cost of St. Thomas’ indistinguishably mixed with that of Christ’s Hospital. The total was £2479 : 15 : 10, towards which £2476 was received in subscriptions and donations.

Though Christ’s Hospital was in full working order from November 1552, the legal foundation, which appears to have been delayed by the conclusion of the arrangements about Bridewell, was not complete till June 1553. An “Indenture of Covenants,” dated June 12, 7 Edward VI. (1553), was made in English between the King and the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London, which was carried out by Letters Patent in Latin on the 26th June. The patent contained grants of the manor of Bridewell, the lands belonging to the Savoy Hospital, and the bedding in the same; but not the hospital itself. It created the City Corporation a special corporation with a separate common seal by the name of “the Governors of the possessions, revenues and goods of the Hospitals of Edward the Sixth, King of England, of Christ, Bridewell and St. Thomas the Apostle,” and gave them a licence in mortmain to hold lands for the purposes of the three hospitals up to 4000 marks (£3333 : 16 : 8) a year.

The charter in the most distinct terms emphasises the poor law character of the foundation, and states also with equal distinctness that the idea did not originate with the King. “Whereas we pitying the miserable estate of the poor, fatherless, decrepit, aged, sick, infirm and impotent persons, languishing under various kinds 316of diseases, and also of our special grace thoroughly considering the honest and pious endeavours of our most humble and obedient subjects the Mayor and Commonalty and citizens of our city of London, who by all ways and methods diligently study for the good provision of the aforesaid poor and of every sort of them”—such is the preamble to the grant. The charter deals with every class of destitute poor: sick, aged, orphans; the poor by misfortune; and rogues and vagabonds; the wilfully poor. The preamble states as its object “that neither children yet being in their infancy shall lack good education and instruction, nor when they shall attain riper years shall be without honest callings and occupations, nor that the sick or diseased when they be recovered and restored to healthe may remain idle and lazy vagabonds, but that they in like manner may be placed and compelled to labour.” In like manner the conclusion of the charter is a grant to the corporation of power to search towns and playhouses, and arrest ruffians, vagabonds, and beggars.

The story of the boy king inserting the licence in mortmain with his own hands is absurd. The licence, occupying a good quarto page of close print, is in the usual legal common form. The story arose, no doubt, from an exaggerated version of Strype’s[33] tale that “space was left in the patent for His Grace to put in what sum it pleased him” up to the yearly value of which the City might hold lands in mortmain for the hospitals, not Christ’s Hospital alone, but all together. “He looking on the void place called for pen and ink, and with his own hand wrote this sum, 4000 marks by the year.” Unfortunately for the story, in the patent the sum is written in the same hand as the rest of the document, and the sum had been previously settled, since it appears in the agreement executed a fortnight before, and could not have been altered without a breach of contract. In the agreement it is written in a different hand to the rest of the document; but there is no reason to think that it was Edward’s own hand, which it does not the least resemble. So much for the legend of St. Edward the VI. It is as apocryphal as the picture, said to be by Holbein, which hangs in the Great Hall of Christ’s Hospital and shows Edward on his throne surrounded by the Council, giving the charter to the Lord Mayor on his knees, while 15 boys and 15 girls of the Hospital kneel in the foreground, the smallest boy and girl facing the throne and holding up their hands in rapt admiration. It is a matter of history that the poor boy-king died within a week of the date of the charter—July 6, 1553,—and was invisible for many days before he died; a passing glimpse of him being exhibited to assure the people that he was still alive.

The foundation of Edward VI. nearly succumbed under his successor Mary. When “she came out of Norfolk and was to be received into London, the Governors set up a stage without Aldgate and placed themselves and the children on the stage, and prepared a child of the Free School to make an oracion to hir. But when she came near unto them she cast her eye another way and neither stayed nor gave any 317countenance to them.” “She did not like ‘the blewe boyes,’” said Howes; “but if they had been so many Grey Friars she would have given them better countenance.” According to him, “the Friars made great friends and great means to be restored to that house because it stood whole, and was not spoiled, as other houses were, but they never durst open their mouths to suppress that house as long as Friar John was within the land.” He tells a famous tale, “how Friars Peto and Perrin did their good wills to have subverted all.” But Friar John, a Spaniard, was brought by the rest of the Commissioners to have his opinion, who, “being there at dinner-time and seeing the poor children set at the tables in the hall and seeing them served with meat, he was so wrapt in admiration that suddenly he burst into tears, and said in Latin to the company that he had rather be a scullion in their kitchen than steward to their king.” “Alfonsus,” the King’s Confessor, also supported them, while Dr. Story was made a friend by having been given the lease of the house where he dwelt, which was “parcel” of the Friars, for he thought that if the Friars were restored that then they would bring his house in question; while the Bishop of Chichester being tenant of the chief lodging of the Prior was also friendly for the same reason. The children were therefore kept undisturbed, though Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, when Chancellor, “clapped Mr. Grafton fast in the Fleet for two days because he suffered the children to learn the English Premier when they should have learned the Latin Absies (A, B, Cs).”

There is plenty of evidence as to the class of children taken into Christ’s Hospital. The most striking is a passage from Howes’ book. “A number of the children,” he says, “being taken from the dunghill, when they came to sweet and clean keeping and to a pure diet died outright.... And a number of them would watch daily when the porters were absent that they might steal out and fall to their old occupation.” This is corroborated by the Court Book of the Hospital, which unfortunately only begins in December 1556, with such entries as this: May 10, 1557, “Graunted that a woman child left on Mr. Gunter’s stall in Cornhill, and by him kept since Candlemas, should be admitted.” November 8, “a woman childe left in a pewe at St. Peter’s, Cornhill, admitted.” March 14, 1557, a child “found in Thames Streete near the Bridge admitted.” In the “Children’s Register,” beginning 1563, we come across many names pointing to the foundling origin of the children. Richard Nomoreknowen, five years old. He died in the sick-ward in 1570. Augustine Old Change, six years old. “To service, March 30, 1567.” “Dorothy Buttriedore” (she had evidently been deposited behind the buttery door), “three years old. To service, 1570. Delivered to Mr. His for his own, but received back. Delivered to Margaret Garraway for her own, 1571; again to F. Tousbury, April 19, 1572.” “Jane Fridaiestreete, aged six, sent to service 1568.” Perhaps the two quaintest names were “Grace-That-God-sent-us,” “delivered out on the 19th, and died April 21, 1563,” and “Jane-that-God-sent-us,” sent to service 1568.

318Stow says of Christ’s Hospital: “A full Courte shal be when xiij of the Governours of this said Hospitall be assembled at the least, whereof two shal be Aldermen, the one of them to be the President, with ten Commoners besides the Thresorer; and what these xiij Persons or vij of them at the leaste, the President being one of the Number, shal decree, ordaine or agree upon, the same shal stand in Force, and shal not be altered nor disallowed except by a like Courte to be called in that behalfe.

“Item. That no Governour be taken into this Hospitall in the Place of any that shal happen to die within the Year except it be at a full Courte, to be holden as afore, for weighty Causes; and the Name of him so admitted, to be presented to the Maior and Courte of Aldermen, before he be called to receive his Charge.

“Item. That no Sale of Land, Tymber, or Wood, Lease, Alienation, Buildinge, or Reparation be determined or done, of Lands or Tenements geven to th’ onlye Use of Christ’s Hospitall, or in any wise belonginge properlie to the same, except at a full Courte, to be holden in the said Hospitall as before.

“Item. That no Reward be given to any Person above the Some of v Shillings at once; which must be done by the consent of the Thresorer and one of the Almoners at the least; except first the same be graunted and determined in a full Courte, as before.

“Item. That there be no Leases lett in Reversion but one Year before the ould Lease be expired; and that no such Graunt be made but by a full Courte, as before, or els not; and that all the same Leases be drawn in Paper by a Scryvenor, one of the Governours of the saide Hospitall, before they be engrossed; and he to be allowed for every Draught accordinge to the Quantitie: And the Clerke of the said Hospitall to engrosse them, and to procure the Sealing of all such Leases before the Lord Maior and Courte of Aldermen, in the Chamber of London, where the Common Seal of the Hospitall doeth remaine.

“That noe manner of Bargaines be made for Timber, Tile, or such like, or any other Necessaries for the saide howse, before the same be determined at a full Courte, to be holden as before; and the Persons then and there to be named and appointed which shal be the Doers thereof” (Stow, Appendix II.).

In 1680 Sir John Frederick rebuilt the hall at his own expense; Sir Robert Clayton rebuilt the east cloister and south front. In 1825 the Hospital was largely rebuilt.

The two chief classes in the school are the Grecians and Deputy Grecians; of which many of the former go on to the universities with exhibitions. The Mathematical School was founded by Charles II. in 1672, and the boys are called “King’s boys.” The King’s boys and Grecians are the only boys who remain in the school after the age of fifteen. The ancient costume, consisting of long blue gown, leather belt, yellow stockings, combined with an absence of head-covering, 319makes the boys conspicuous wherever they may be. The old customs of supping in public in Lent, and the visit to the Lord Mayor on Easter Tuesday, are still kept up. But the old English diet of bread and beer for breakfast was done away with in 1824.

Among the most distinguished names of old scholars are those of S. T. Coleridge, the poet (d. 1834), Charles Lamb (d. 1834), Leigh Hunt (d. 1859). The system of admission is by presentations by governors; the Lord Mayor makes two presentations annually. A governor must give at least £500.

For an account of the Grey Friars see Mediæval London, vol. ii. p. 348.

Photo, R. W. Thomas.



Christ Church, which unites the ancient parishes of St. Ewen’s and St. Nicholas and part of St. Sepulchre, stands on the eastern part of the noble Franciscan Church which was greatly destroyed by the Fire.

On the suppression of the convent of the Franciscans, their Church was named Christ Church and was made parochial. After the Great Fire it was rebuilt by Wren between 1687 and 1704. St. Leonard’s, Foster Lane, was annexed to this parish in 1672. The earliest date of a custodian is 1225. The earliest date of a vicar is 1547.

The patronage of the church was given by Henry VIII. to the governors of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, in whose successors it continues.

The present building contains two side-aisles separated from the nave by slender Corinthian columns. 320At the east part of the church shelves are attached to the north and south walls, to hold loaves for distribution among the poor. The steeple attains a height of 153 feet.

The original church of the Franciscans was a favourite place of sepulture. Dame Mary Ramsey, a benefactress to Christ’s Hospital and other institutions, was buried here in 1596, and a modern tablet records her deeds on the north wall of the church. The two most conspicuous monuments are those of the Rev. Samuel Crowther and the Rev. Michael Gibbs, both of whom were vicars of the parish for many years. Lady Venetia, wife of Sir Kenelm Digby, was buried here. Also the celebrated Nonconformist, Richard Baxter, in 1691, and his wife in 1681. On the east wall a tablet commemorates John Stock, who at his death in 1781 bequeathed £13,000 to charitable purposes.

No large gifts are recorded in this parish by Stow: John Bankes was donor of £1 for a sermon; Thomas Barnes was donor of £1 for a sermon, and several others were donors of the same amounts.

There were two charity schools, one for fifty boys and one for forty girls.

Some of the most notable vicars were: Sampson Price (1585-1620); William Jenkyn (1613-1685); Robert Cannon (1663-1722), Prebendary of Westminster; Joseph Trapp, D.D. (1679-1747); and William Bell (1731-1816), Prebendary of Westminster.

King Edward Street was formerly Butchers’ Lane or Stinking Lane or Chick Lane. The Franciscans, on their coming to London, were allotted a piece of ground on the west side of this lane, probably the least desirable place of residence in the whole city. When we read of shops and tenements in the Shambles, this is the place intended.

Roman Bath Street comes next. This place was formerly called Pinnock’s Lane, i.e. Pentecost Lane. Houses in Pentecost Lane are mentioned as early as 1280. It contained the forbidden slaughter-houses. At the upper end stood the Royal Bagnio. There were two Bagnios—this of Pinnock’s Lane and another in Long Acre. The Royal Bagnio was opened in 1679; it was simply a turkish bath, a place for sweating and hot bathing: for a time it was very much esteemed as a preventative against some forms of disease and a cure for headache. The Royal Bagnio contained one large room with a cupola and several smaller rooms, the walls of which were lined with Dutch tiles. The place was converted into a hot and cold bathhouse, and finally closed and pulled down in 1876.


This church was rebuilt, Stow says, about the time of Henry VI. or Edward IV., mainly by “one of the Pophames.” The greater part was destroyed by the Great Fire, and in 1670 it was again rebuilt, by whom is uncertain. It received considerable alterations in 1738, 1837, 1863, 1875, and again 1878-80. The earliest date of an incumbent is 1249.

The patronage of the church was in the hands of: Roger, Bishop of Sarum (1107-39), who gave it to the Prior and Convent of St. Bartholome