Mitre, 157 Fenchurch street, St Dionis Backchurch EC3

St Dionis Backchurch pub index

This is the Mitre which is often talked about and visited by Samuel Pepys. It is a few doors from Lime street on the northern side of Fenchurch street, and opposite what was called Mitre court.

The nls maps for here

Street map by LAMAS showing the Mitre Tavern

Street map by LAMAS showing the Mitre Tavern

A listing of historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels in St Dionis Backchurch parish, City of London.

Residents at this address

The Mitre Tavern is made infamous by its mentions in Pepys diaries. It was owned at the time by a friend of his, Dan Rowlinson, and in the Pepys books, the references are often to Rawlinson rather than the Mitre - I guess there were a number of Mitre Taverns around at the time.

The Mitre belonged to the Pewterers' Company which is described by Welch. " Before the Fire the Company's property in Fenchurch Street comprised ' the great house,' Mitre Tavern, and ' the lesser house,' both held by Daniel Rawlinson, and also the Helmet. After the Fire the Mitre was rebuilt, the lesser house was not rebuilt." He does not assist us to find the exact site of the Mitre.

The Mitre stood on the north side of Fenchurch Street, close to the east corner of Lime Street, and its position is noted on Ogilby and Morgan's Map of 1677; this map can be seen at the Layers of London site. It is at 157 Fenchurch street which can be identified in the 1841 census as in the parish of St. Dionis Backchurch, although with some difficulty.

Extracts from the original deeds.
1. Lease of 1591.
This lease introduces us to William Hobson, the Vintner, who kept the Mitre for many years. The house was often referred to in the Company's records as ' Hobson's.'
In 1591. The Master and Wardens let " to William Hobson, Vintner, all that their house, with shops, cellars, etc., called or known by the name of " the Byshop's Mytre " now in the tenure of the said W.H. " from 1599 (for 4-6 years).
Hobson was probably there a year or two before this lease, for he had a daughter, Joyce, baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch in 1588. William Hobson assigned his lease to Edward Organ in 1615.
In 1615. Indenture between Edward Organ, vyntener, and William Hobson. Whereas William Hobson ... . has letten to Edward Organ all that tenement commonlie called ... . the Bishops Myter ... . for 21 yeares, and for the yearly rent of 11 poundes, 6 shillings, and 8 pence Edward Organ shall pay for a fyne to William Hobson the sum of £602.
Hobson, by his will dated 1609, bequeathed the remainder of his lease to the Master and Wardens of the Mistery of Vintners in trust for the maintenance of his daughter Joyce. She married Thomas Williams, Gent. An order in Chancery confirmed this to Thomas and Joyce Williams, and there is a release to them from the Vintner's Company in 1623.
Elizabeth, wife of William Hobson, was buried at St. Dionis in 1617.
Edward Organ had children baptised at St. Dionis between 1616 and 1622; and his wife, Margaret, was buried there in 1623.
In 1635. The Pewterers' Company leased to Ashley Cheyney, Vintner, the house called the Byshopps Mytre for 22 years, in 1635. Cheyney probably succeeded Edward Organ about 1627, in which year " John son of Ashly Cheyney " was baptised at St. Dionis.

In 1642. A lease to John Prince, goldsmith, of the house on the west of the Mitre " abutting East on the Mitre Tavern now in the occupation of Daniel Rawlinson, vintner." This shows that Daniel was here nearly twenty years before Pepys commenced his Diary. In 1652 Rawlinson leased this house as well as the Mitre.
On June 22, 1652. The Master and Wardens in consideration of the sum of £150 ... . to them in hand by Daniel Rawlinson duly paid have letten to the said Daniel
Rawlinson the Bishopps Miter (now in his occupation) at the yearly rent of £40 from 1658 for 25 years.
Daniel Rawlinson in 1660 surrendered his lease of 1652, and was granted a lease for 30 years, 1660-1690 at £40 a year.
In 1652. Lease of the house on the west of the Mitre to Rawlinson:—" All that messuage sometime in the occupation of Edward Cooke apothecary sithence in the occupation of John Prince and now in the occupation of Daniel Rawlinson abutting east upon the tavern called the Mitre.'' Edward Cooke lived in " the Helmet " next door.
There are numerous entries of members of the Rawlinson family in the Parish Registers: Daniel Rawlinson had a son, William, baptised in 1642; a daughter Margaret, in 1645; Thomas (son of Daniel and Margaret Rawlinson) in 1647; Mary in 1650; and Elizabeth in 1651.
The burial entries are of interest, and exemplify one of the many family tragedies of the Plague: 1665, Nov. 18, "Daniel son of Mr. Daniel Rawlinson." The disconsolate father on the death of his son shut up the Mitre and went into the country with his family and in the following summer, when the plague had almost died out in London, he deemed it safe to return to the City. Shortly afterwards these burial entries were made:—Aug. 6, 1666, Wm. Chombley servant to Mr. Daniel Rawlinson; Aug. 9, Mrs. Margrett Rawlinson wife of Mr. Daniel Rawlinson; and Elizabeth servant of Mr. D. R. Presumably some infected rats were still in the Mitre.
Pepys refers to these deaths; on August 10th, 1666:

In 1678, the marriage is recorded of John Mazine and Mary, daughter of Danl. R., vintner, and in 1679—" Mr. Daniel Rawlinson, vintner in this parish, buried in the Middle Isle."
In 1686, Daniel, son of Alderman Sir Thomas Rawlinson, was buried in his grandfather's grave. Sir Thomas was Dan Rawlinson's son, and was admitted to the Vintners' Company in 1670. He was Master of that Company in 1687, and Lord Mayor in 1715. Sir Thomas was lessee of the Mitre Tavern after his father's death in 1679.

In the Clifford's Inn Fire Decrees, 1667, (Guildhall, Vol. i), Daniel Rawlinson appeared as petitioner against the Company of Pewterers and stated that he was the tenant of the Mitre in Fenchurch Street: his Counsel insisted upon his desire to rebuild the premises, " and to return to the place of his former habitation and there to follow his trade of a vintner " ; and he offered to rebuild the said Taverne upon surrendering of his terme of 23 years—which he prayed might be made up to 61 years, at the yearly rent of £20.
The great interest attaching to the Mitre, however, is due to the fact that Pepys was a frequent visitor there. In the case of most taverns we are thankful for one or two visits recorded by the great diarist, but in the case of the Mitre and Dan. Rawlinson there are some forty references !
In one entry it says "Mr. Battersby; says he, ' Do you see Dan Rawlinson's door shut up ? (which I did, and wondered). 'Why, ' says he ' after all the sickness, and himself spending all the last year in the country, one of his men is now dead of the plague, and his wife and one of his mayds sicke, and himself shut up '; which troubles me mightily." Mr. John Battersby was an apothecary, and he was the tenant of a house adjoining the Mitre. This accounts for the fact that Pepys often found him there, on his visits to the tavern.
The Pewterers' Company owned the Mitre, No. 157, and the house adjoining it on the west, No. 158, which was also leased to Rawlinson. No. 159 was the house at the eastern corner of Lime Street, but these numbers now form one block of buildings, the City of London Real Property Company. In the plan attached to Dr. Richard Rawlinson's lease of a kitchen in 1730, the premises are bounded byPaul's Head Court on the east, and this Court was at No. 55. This suggests that the Mitre at one time included the site of No. 56.

Welch gives the following extract from the Pewterers' Company Records :—

1648-9. Fanchurch Street for severall taxes upon the Tenants. Upon the Mitre Tavern £8 10s. 0d. Upon the Helmet Mr. Batersby £5 2s. 6d. Upon John  Prince's house £1 16s. 6d. This proves that Battersby took over the Helmet from John Cooke soon after 1644.
The Fire Decree already quoted shows that Daniel Rawlinson was given a long lease of 61 years from 1668; this terminated in 1729.
In 1730. An Indenture between Richard Rawlinson of Gray's Inn, Doctor of Laws, and the Company of Pewterers. He leased to the Company the Kitchen beneath his two houses extending to the Mitre on the west, and eastwards to Pauls Head Alley (between Nos. 154 and 155 in 1841). A plan of the kitchen is given, which shows a " drinking room " at the back, so this was doubtless an extension of the original tavern. The plan shows Paul's Head Alley on the east of the kitchen.
The Inventory shows, " In the Kitchen: An old Dresser and 3 shelves for Pewter; one shelf for Brass Pots; 3 Drinking Boxes, and the wainscot thereby." Outside the deed is written: " Dr. Rawlinson to Company of Pewterers— Lease of ye Mitre Kitchen for 21 years at 401  p. ann."
In 1773. The tenement " formerly called the Miter Tavern " was leased by the Company to Messrs. Taylor and Wright.
To the counterpart lease of 1773 a plan of the Mitre premises is attached, which shows that they occupied almost a square site, with a south frontage on Fenchurch Street of 38 ft. 6 in.
In 1794 the house " commonly called the Mitre Tavern " was leased to Henry and Arabella Beard; and in 1812 to Mrs. Beard for 21 years.
In 1841, the house at No. 157 was called " Mitre Chambers" (Post Office Directory). The premises were sold by the Pewterers' Company some years ago.
Dan. Rawlinson was a Royalist, and must have had a difficult time in the troublous years, 1641-1660. His grandson, Dr. Richard Rawlinson, related that in 1649,
after the execution of Charles I, Dan. Rawlinson " hung his sign in mourning."

1843/Gonzalez & Dubose, of Xerez de la Frontera, wine merchants, 157 Fenchurch street/../../Kellys Directory

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