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Aldgate Ward in 1756 neatly engraved from a New Survey
Index of London wards in 1756 by William Maitland
With a Plan, neatly engraved from a New Survey.
The Etymology and Bounds of Aldgate Ward.
The ancient and present State, Triory of the Holy Trinity. The Papey. The Portugueze Jews Synagogue. Crutched Friers. Sir John
Milburn's Charity. Parishes and Churches. Navy Office, Halls, and other publick Buildings, and ancient Monuments. Aldermen and
ALDGATE Ward takes its Name from the East Gate of the City, called Aldgate, or anciently Ealdgate. The principal Street of this Ward, called Aldgate High street, beginneth at Aldgate, stretcheth West, where was once a handsome Well, but now a Stone Pump, adorned with four Lamps, is placed. From thence, the Way being divided in two, it runneth on the South.
Side of Leadenhall street to Lime street Corner, and half down that Street on the Left Hand.
In the Midway, on that South Side, betwixt Aldgate and Lime street, is Angel alley, a Thoroughfare into Fenchurch street ; and another Alley, once called Sprinkle alley, from an holy Water pot, which used to hang there, but now Sugar loaf alley.
Near this was a large house, and divers Tenements near adjoining, which some Time belonged to a dissolved Priory, but afterwards given by King Henry VIII. to one Mrs. Comwallis, Widow, and her Heirs, in Reward for some fine Puddings which she made and presented to him : Such was the Princely Liberality of those Times.
A little farther was the house of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, and of late the African house, now pulled down to enlarge the East India Warehouse in Billiter lane.
Then, somewhat more West, is Belzeter's lane, so called from the first Builder and Owner thereof, now corruptly called Billiter lane; a Place consisting formerly of poor and ordinary houses, where it seems needy and beggarly People used to inhabit ; whence the Proverb, A Bawdy Beggar of Billiter lane ; which is somewhere used by Sir Thomas More, in the Book he wrote against Tyndal.
Betwixt this Belzeter's lane and Lime street, three new houses being to be built, in the Year 1590, in a Place where before was a large Garden Plat, inclosed 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 Gate way 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 Ground, supposed to be the Remains of those great Fires, or to be the Ruins of some house burnt in the Reign of King Stephen, when the Fire began in the house of one Aelward, near London Stone, and consumed East to Aldgate. Whereby it appeareth, how greatly the Ground of the City hath been raised in that Place.
On the North Side, this Ward stretcheth to the West Corner of St. Andrews Church, and then turneth towards the North, by St. Mary ax street, on the East Side of St. Augustine's Church, which stood in the Wall, and by Bury's (corruptly now called Bevis) Marks again, or about by the Wall thro' Shoemaker' s row to Aldgate.
The Way towards the South, from the Pump aforesaid, is called Fenchurch street, down which Aldgate Ward reaches to Culver or Fishmongers alley, which is on the West Side of Ironmongers Hall.
Again, from Aldgate, out of the principal Street, close by the Gate and Wall of the City, runneth Poor jury lane, South to Crouched friers, thence to Woodrose lane, and so to Tower hill:
And out of this Lane, West, is a Street called Hart street, which in that Ward stretcheth to Sydon, or Seething lane, by St. Olave's Church : One other Lane, more West from Aldgate, goeth by Northumberland house toward Crossed, or Crouched friers : Then on the same Side is the North End of Mark lane, and Blanch appleton, where the Ward endeth.
The ancient Bounds of this Ward may be taken from the Extent of the Soke of the Priory of Christ church ; and what that is, may be known from what is wrote by one of that Convent, and preserved in an old Book, called Dunthorne;
As to the present State of the whole Ward, it stands thus :
It first begins with Aldgate street, which is broad, but short, and very well inhabited by Tradesmen; and, by giving Passage through the Gate, to and from the adjacent Parts, is a very great Thoroughfare. This Street begins at the Gate, and runs Westward to the Pump, where it divides itfelf into two Streets ; one falling into Leadenhall street, and the other into Fenchurch street. About 100 Feet N. W. of the Gate is the chief, but narrow Entrance into Duke's place, which is large, and for the most Part inhabited by Jews.
In this Place are several Courts, some of which are very large ; as Broad court where the Church of St. James Duke's place stands. Out of this Court; where the Church stands, is a Passage under an Arch into another large one, called Duke's place court, or Broad place ; at the South East Corner of which is the Dutch Jews Synagogue : And to these two Courts there are two Outlets into that Part of Duke's place which fronteth London wall : Along which is a narrow Lane, called commonly Shoemaker' s row, which turning South, leads to Aldgate, and North West to Bevis marks, and was formerly full of Shoemakers Shops. Here is a small Place, called Vine court, which is but ordinary. Likewise out of Duke's place court is a Street which leadeth to another, and both formerly called Duke's place, now King's street. In this Place, in a large upper Room, was the old Jews Synagogue. From this Part is Henage lane, which falls into Bevis marks, close by the Portuguese Jews Synagogue, and then into Camomile street, which runs along by the Wall, as far as St. Mary axe : But neither this nor Bevis marks are Places of great Account. On the South Side here is Plough yard, which is pretty large, but chiefly taken up £or Stabling and Coach houses, but towards the upper End hath one handsome house, with a Garden before it, and near this Yard is Berry street, which is very handsome and cleanly kept, with good uniform Buildings on both Sides, well inhabited, mostly by Jews, who dwell privately, without Shops : This Street falls into one Part of Duke's place, where to the East is a Dissenting Meeting, and to the West a Passage into St. Mary ax:, called Greyhound alley, which was formerly very ordinary, but now well built, and inhabited by Merchants and other Persons of Repute.
St. Mary axe, a Street that comes out of Bevis marks by London wall, and runneth up South to Leadenhall street against Lime street . And this Street, especially the East Side, (which is only in this Ward) is generally taken up by Merchants, there being divers large and handsome Buildings seated backwards, with good Entrances to them shut up by Gates , and many of them have Gardens behind them.
At the North End of St. Mary axe is Fletcher's hall, and at the South Corner the Parish Church of St. Andrew Undershaft.
Leadenhall Street, a Place of great Trade, well inhabited, and a great Thoroughfare. In this Street are these Places ; Pewter pot Inn. Alleys court is the Scite on which formerly stood the Seat of Sir Thomas Allen. Axe alley, or Booker's Gardens, hath several Turnings, and leads into Duke's place. The Crown Tavern, a large and convenient house. The Scite of the Royal African house, being the Place for the Management of the Affairs of that Company, before it was dissolved by Parliament, and since purchased by the India Company for Warehouses now building. Sugar loaf court, a pretty handsome Place, with a Freestone
Pavement, well built and inhabited at the End towards Fenchurch street . Creed lane, at the West Corner of St. Catherine Cree church, which runs North into Duke's place, and chiefly inhabited by Jews.
Lime street, on the South Side of Leadenhall Street, leads into Fenchurch street, and is for the generality taken up by Merchants and Persons of Repute. The West Side of this Street lieth in Lime street Ward ; some Part in Langborn Ward ; there being in this Ward but the East Side, from Leadenhall Street Corner unto Cullum Street, so called from the Builder : And in this Part is Axe yard, which is but indifferent, Lime street alley, by some called Billiter alley, as leading into Billiter square, and through that Square East into Billiter lane ; betwixt this Alley and Axe yard is a new Court, built out of somehouses pulled down. Ebenezer Mussell, Esq. informs us, that before the Fire of London, on the East Side of Lime street, there was a large house and Garden, extending further East, and opening into Fenchurch street, on whose Scite, after the Fire, were built thirty houses by Sir Thomas Cullum, which descended by Sale from Sir Jasper Cullum to the Father of Mr. Mussell aforesaid, who now
enjoys that Estate. And that lately, 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. This happened on the Scite of the old Mansion house.
East of Lime street is Billiter lane, which goes out of Leadenhall Street, and falls into Fenchurch Street against the End of Mark lane. The Buildings' in Billiter lane are mostly very old ruinous Timber houses, and may serve to give us the best Idea of the Manner in which this City was generally built before the Fire. But the Inhabitants are chiefly petty Shop keepers. On the East Side the East India Company have built large Warehouses, and there are several good modern Buildings. About the middle on the West Side is Billiter square, an handsome, open, and airy Place, graced with good new Brick Buildings, well inhabited ; and out of this Square to the South West, is a handsome Free stone Passage, called Smith's Rents, which leadeth down Fishmongers
alley to Fenchurch street. At the South East Corner of Billiter lane, in Fenchurch street, was a house, or an Estate, belonging to Cardinal Wolsey, now made two houses, almost facing London Street.
Mark lane, or Mart lane, (where once used to be kept a publick Mart) entering into which, on the Left Hand, there is a large, open, square Place, with a Passage to it for Carts, called Blanch apleton court : It hath a turning Passage on the South Side, by an Alley, which encompasseth some of the houses. In this Parish was the Manor of Blanch apleton, now corruptly called Blind chapel court : It belonged to Sir Thomas Roos of Hame lake, Knt. in the seventh of Richard II. Standing at the North East Corner of Mark lane. In the third of Edward IV. all Basket makers, Wire drawers, and other Foreigners, were permitted to have Shops in the Manor of Blanch apleton, and no where else, within the City or Suburbs. More South is Pick axe alley, very small and ordinary, with a dark Entrance into it. This Lane is very long, falling into Tower street ; but the Part in this Ward is but small, viz. the East Side from the Corner of Fenchurch street, to Pick axe alley, the greatest Part being in Tower street Ward, with some Part in Langborn Ward.
Fenchurch street is long, reaching from the Pump within Aldgate to Gracechurch Street, and, for the generality, well inhabited by Merchants, and eminent Warehouse men and Shop keepers : But of this Street there is in this Ward no more than from Aldgate street to the West End of Ironmonger's hall, on the North Side ; and a little beyond Mark lane to Aldgate street, on the South Side ; the rest being in Langborn Ward. Between Mark lane and St. Catharine Coleman Church, is built, with very handsome houses in it, London Street ; at the Corner of which, in Fenchurch street, was a few Years ago a large house called the London Tavern. Over against St. Catharine Coleman Church is a magnificent house, built and inhabited by two Jews, Brothers, whose Names are Franco. More to the West is Fenchurch Buildings, a new, large, well built and inhabited Court, with a Passage into Leadenhall Street. Adjoining to this Church, Westward, is Magpye alley, in which is a Jews Synagogue, and by a narrow Passage there is a Way into French ordinary court, and so into Crutched friers. of St. Catherine Coleman's, is Range of Warehouses belonging to the East India Company, which reach quite thro' into Crutched friers, with a Passage under for Carriages. Northumberland alley, the Scite on which Northumberland house once stood, but now converted into other Buildings, is very long, which, with several turning Passages, falls into Crutchedfriers ; and for the generality is but an ordinary Place, as well for houses as Inhabitants. This was formerly a noted Place for Gaming and Debaucheries.
Crutched, Crouched, or Crossed friers, begins in the West at Hart street, and runs Eastward, taking in Part of the Navy Office ; and then turning Northwards falls into Aldgate , but that Part that runs Northward is called Poor jury lane, which is but ordinary in its Buildings. This Crutchedfriers street hath several good Buildings and Places of Name, viz. on the North Side, French ordinary court, already mentioned, being a large open Place, with good Buildings, especially on the East Side ; having Palisado Pales, with Trees before the Court Yards of the houses, and a Free stone Pavement between the houses. Out of this Court is a Passage down Steps into Fenchurch street, thro' Magpye alley.
The Navy Office, on the South Side of the Street, hath some Part in this Ward, viz. almost all the first Court, with the Side Buildings, and some small Part of the Office itself ; the other Part, viz. the back Part, being in Tower street Ward.
Bunt's yard seated not far from the Navy Office Eastward, a pretty large Place, but only for Stabling. Allam yard, taken up for Warehouses. River street, a good large open Place, with Brick Buildings, well inhabited, leads to Great Tower hill. Out of this Street, on the East Side, is Colchester street ; it hath good Brick Buildings, and falls into Woodrose lane, which begins at Crutched friers, and so leads to Tower hill, in which Lane is a Mixture of Brick and Timber houses, pretty well built and inhabited. In this Lane is Chain alley, which hath one good house and Garden to it. At the upper End of this Lane, and fronting Crutched friers, are good Brick Buildings, called Gold square, well inhabited. Gunpowder alley hath at the upper End ten Almshouses for Men and their Wives, being the Gift of the Lord Banning, and now called Oxford's Alms houses, the Earl marrying
an Heiress of the Bannings ; these have but small Allowances. Northumberland alley comes out here into Poor jury lane, where is a large Brewhouse. Black horse yard, for Stabling, with some Dwelling houses in it. Flower de lis court, but small. Three crown court, a handsome open Place, with a Free stone Pavement.
Holseys rents, very small and ordinary. Carpenter's yard, a good handsome Court, very well inhabited. George alley, long and narrow, with a Passage to Aldgate.
This Ward hath an Alderman, his Deputy, six Common Councilmen, (including the Deputy) six Constables, nine Scavengers, eighteen Wardmote Men for Inquest, and a Beadle. It is taxed to the Fifteen in London at five Pounds.
There are to watch at the several Stands in this Ward, every Night, besides the Constable and Beadle, thirty four Watchmen, and for the Liberty of Duke's place ten ; in all forty four.
The Jurymen returned by the Wardmote Inquest are to serve as Jurors in the several Courts in Guildhall in the Month of January.
The Alderman of this Ward is Robert Scott, Esq; Thomas Cocksedge, Deputy ; and the Common Councilmen are, Christopher Fullagar, John Hall, Stracy Till, John Piatt, and William Rogers.
Thus much for the Bounds. Now for Monuments, or Places most ancient and notable. first, to begin with the dissolved Priory of the Holy Trinity, called Christ Church, on the right Hand within Aldgate. This Priory was founded by Queen Matilda, Daughter to Malcolm, King of Scotland, Wife to Henry I. by the Persuasions of ArchBishop Anselm, and Richard Beaumois, Bishop of London, A. D. 1108, in the same Place where Siredus had begun to erect a Church in Honour of the Holy Cross and St. Mary Magdalen, out of which the Dean and Chapter of Waltham were entitled to receive thirty Shillings : But the Queen gave them a Mill in Exchange, and had this Agreement confirmed by King Henry, her Husband ; and gave the Church to Norman, the first Canon Regular in all England, for Canons of his own Rule.
Her Majesty also endowed the same Church, and those that served God therein, with the Port of Aldgate, and the Soke thereunto belonging, with all Customs, and twenty five Pounds Blanks, as mentioned in the following Deed, Charter, &c. as it was taken out of the Register of the said Priory, called there. Prioratus de Crichurch:
King Stephen also confirmed this Payment of twenty five Pounds ad Scalant, by a Charter, directed to William, Bishop of Exeter, the Sheriffs, &c.
And when Henry II. stiled Fitz Emprefs, Anno 1180, and the twenty sixth of his Reign, made a new Money current, the Sheriff of Exeter would not pay the Prior of Christ Church at Michaelmas the Half Year's Rent, viz. twelve Pounds sixteen Shillings and three Pence fecitndum pondus Blanc, i. e. according to the Weight Blank, (this new Money being of less Weight than Money was
when Queen Maud gave the said Gift) the said Prior, whose Name was Sir Stephen, obtained the full Payment by a Charter from that King :
For new Money was twenty Pence ob. the Ounce, twenty Shillings and six Pence the Pound; so that now the Prior's Due was twenty five Pounds twelve Shillings and six Pence, i. e. twenty five Pounds ad Scalam, at the Scale, in the following Terms :
There was another Charter, whereby this Priory was privileged to indole the Way along London Wall, and flop the Passage, and enlarge their Priory to the very Wall :
Norman Norman took on him to be Prior of ChristChurch, in the Year of Christ 1108, in the Parishes of St. Mary Magdalen, St. Michael, St. Catharine, and the Blessed Trinity, which now were made but one Parish of the Holy Trinity.
The Priory was built on a Piece of Ground upwards of three hundred Feet long, in the Parish of St. Catharine, towards Aldgate, near the Parochial Chapel of St. Michael, whose Remains are still to be seen under the house inhabited by Mr. Gilpin, an eminent Chemist, at the S. E. Corner of Leadenhall Street, and measures thirty six Feet from North to South, and sixteen Feet from East to West, with a Gothick arched Roof, supported by two handsome Pillars, and built with square Bricks, Chalk, and Stone, in the Manner of the Ruins of Rochester Castle. The Soke and Ward of Aldgate was then bounded, as is before shewn. This Priory, in Process of Time, became a very large Church, rich in Lands and Ornaments, and surpassed all the Priories in the City of London, or Shire of Middlesex; the Prior whereof was an Alderman of London, viz. of Portsoken Ward, as will be shewn in the Account of that Ward.
After this great Priory had swallowed up those four Parishes above named, and was appointed the Parish Church, the Inhabitants of the Parish of St. Catharine's prevailed with the Prior to let them build a Chapel in the Church yard of the Priory, for their more convenient and quiet Resort to perform their Divine Service in, and to appoint them one of his Canons to say Mass to them, on Condition that they continued to christen their Children in the Conventual Church, and to come thither at all solemn Times; their Devotions at the Altar of St. Mary Magdalen, where they had before resorted, being greatly disturbed by the Noise of several celebrating Mass together :
But in Time the Parishioners neglecting to come to the Conventual Church, the Prior insisted upon their Agreement to resort to the great Church for with the christening of their Children, and upon all the Holidays, especially the greater; as in the Night and Day of our Lord's Nativity, Good Friday, the Day of the Benediction of the Easter Wax Candle, the Morning of Easter Day, the Vespers and Vigils of the Feasts of the Holy Trinity, and the Dedication of the Conventual Church of the Holy Trinity ; on which Days he would allow no Service to be performed in the parochial Chapel.
This occasioned great Contentions between the Prior, Robert Exeter, and the Convent, and the aforesaid Parishioners ; which continued to the Time of William Haradon, and Lord Richard Clifford, Bishop of London ; who, in the Year 1414, accommodated their Differences by a Composition between them on the following Terms, viz. That Term of the said Parishioners of St. Catharine's, Christ's, or Creechurch, should have a Baptismal Font a new set up in their Church, or Chapel, for baptizing of Children, and to have other Solemnities to be there performed, (about which such Contentions had before arisen among them) for all Times hereafter : That they should resort to the Conventual Church on the Festivals and Dedication of the said Conventual Church in the Eve of St. Bartholomew, yearly ; and there, in Token of their Submission and Acknowledgment, each should, in those Festivals, offer their Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings, and that they might, if they pleased, keep the Dedication of St. Catharine in their own said Chapel or Church ; which he, the Bishop, out of his paternal Affection towards them, yielded unto. Further, that they might not ring the Bells on Easter Day, till the Office was finished at the Conventual Church.
That one of the Canons, to be placed or removed at the Pleasure of the Prior, should serve in the said Chapel, as was usual before this present Ordinance, to administer to the said Parishioners the Sacraments and Sacramentals, as anciently was done. That the Prior and Convent henceforth be not obliged to find the Ornaments, nor be at other Charges for the Chapel. All which Ordination and Composition the Prior and Convent, and the said Parishioners, received and promised inviolably to observe perpetually.
.. these, and many more sepulchral Monuments, were destroyed at the Dissolution of this Priory, which happened in July, 1531; for King Henry VIII. desirous to reward Sir Thomas Audley, Speaker of the Parliament against Cardinal Woolsey, sent for the Prior, and, after commending him for his Hospitality, with Promises of Preferment, persuaded him to surrender all the Priory, with the Appurtenances, into his Hands, in the twenty third Year of his Reign. The Canons were sent to other houses or the same Order ; and the Priory, with the Appurtenances, King Henry gave to Sir Thomas Audley, newly knighted, and afterwards made Lord Chancellor.
Sir Thomas Audley offered the great Church of this Priory, with a Peal of nine well tuned Bells, (where of the four largest are now at Stepney Church, and the other five at St. Stephen's, Coleman Street) to the Parishioners of St. Catharine Christ or Cree church, in Exchange for their small Parish Church, being willing to have it pulled down, and to have it built there towards the Street; but the Parishioners, fearing some After claps, refused the Offer. He also proffered the Church and Steeple of the Priory Church to whomsoever would take it down and carry it from the Ground, but no Man would undertake the Offer; whereupon Sir Thomas Audley was obliged to be at more Charges to take it down, than could be made of the Stones, Timber, Lead, Iron, &c. for the Workmen, with great Labour, beginning at the Top, loosed Stone from Stone, and threw them down, whereby the most Part of them were broken, and few remained whole, and those were sold very cheap ; for all the Buildings, then made about the City, were of Brick and Timber. However, the said Thomas Lord Audley built a noble Mansion of this Priory, and dwelt in it during his Life, and died there in the Year 1544; whole only Daughter being married to Thomas Duke of Norfolk, this Estate descended to his Grace, and was then called the Duke's Place.
A little more to the North West, and near North End of St. Mary at Axe Street, stood another religious house, called the Papey, an Hospital belonging to the Brotherhood of St. Charity and St. John the Evangelist, founded A. D. 1430, by William Oliver, William Barnabie, and John Stafford, of London, Priests, for a Matter, two Wardens, &c. Chaplains, Chauntry Priests, Conducts, and other Brethren and Sisters, that should be admitted into the Church of St. Auguftin Papey in the Wall. The Brethren of this house becoming lame, or otherwise in great Poverty, were here relieved ; as to have Chambers, with certain Allowance of Bread, Drink, and Coals, and one old Man and his Wife to fee them served, and to keep the house clean.
These poor Priests of the Papey (as also the Brotherhood of the threescore Priests, and the Company of Clerks that were skilled in singing Diriges, and Church Offices) commonly attended at solemn Funerals, as may be collected from the Will of Dame Jane Milbourn, Widow of Sir John Milbourn; who, Anno 1543, bequeathed to the Brotherhood of Papey to come to her Burial, and to pray for her Soul, ten Shillings ; and likewise to the Brotherhood of Threescore Priests in London, to come to her Burial, and to pray for her Soul, ten Shillings.