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The London Wards - Basinghall in 1756

Coleman street and Bassishaw street Wards  in 1756 neatly engraved from a New Survey

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Index of London wards in 1756 by William Maitland



See the Plan of this Ward, joined to that of Coleman Street Ward.]

The Situation and Bounds of Basinghall Ward. Whence it takes its Name. Its present State and Government. Remarkable "Things there in. Of Blackwell hall, Masons hall, Girdlers hall, Weavers hall. Their Charter from King Henry II.

Basinghall Ward is very small, consisting of one Street, called Basinghall Street, from Basings hall, which was the principal house in it. This Ward is bounded on the East and South by Coleman street Ward, on the North by Cripplegate Ward, on the West by Cheap Ward and Cripplegate Ward : It begins in the South at Bakewell hall, alias Blackwell hall, which is the last of Coleman street Ward, and runs from thence North down to London wall, and 88 Feet East, and 54 West against the said Wall.

Of old Time, the most noble Persons that inhabited this City were appointed to be principal Magistrates there ; as was Godfrey de Magun (or Magnaville) Portgrave, or Sheriff, in the Reign of William the Conqueror, and of William Rufus. Hugh de Buck, in the Reign of Henry I. Aubery de Vere, Earl of Oxford. After him Gilbert Becket, in the Reign of King Stephen. After that, Godfrey de Magnaville, the Son of William, the Son of Godfrey de Magnaville, Earls of Essex, were Portgraves, or Sheriffs of London and Middlesex. In the Reign of Henry II. Peter Fitzwalter ; after him, John Fitznigel, &c. So likewise in the 16 of King John, A. D. 1214, a Time of great Troubles, Solomon Bassing, and Hugh Bassing, Barons of this Realm, were Sheriffs ; and the said Solomon Bassing was Mayor in the Year 1216, which was the first of Henry III. also Adam Bassing, Son of Solomon, was one of the Sheriffs in the Year 1643, the 28th of Henry III. unto which Adam de Bassing the said King, in the 31st of his Reign, gave and confirmed certain Messuages in Aldermanbury, and in Milk street, (Places not far from Bassings hall) and the Advowson of the Church at Bassings hall, with certain Liberties and Privileges. He was afterwards Mayor, A. D. 1251, the 36th of Henry III. and Thomas Bassing was one of the Sheriffs, A. D. 1269.
Robert Bassing was Sheriff, 1279, and William Bassing served the same Office for this City in 1308. This Family spread itfelf into Cambridgeshire, near to a Water, or Bourn, and was therefore, for a Difference, called Bassing at the Bourn, and, more shortly, Bassingbourn , which gave the same Arms, and left their Name to the Place where they dwelt.
Basinghall street, of which this little Ward present consists, is of no great Uniformity, as not running strait, nor of an equal Breadth. But it is graced with good Buildings, and well inhabited by Merchants.
On the East Side, beginning at the South End, is Masons alley, which, by Permission of the Owner of the house under which the Way is made, is a Passage into Coleman street, facing Bell alley, of great Convenience to the Inhabitants and all the Passengers from the North West to the Royal Exchange, &c. This Alley is paved with Flag Stones, and kept very clean. More Northward is Potters alley, or Court, as some call it, a small Place, and Shooters court, also small, with a Free Stone Pavement : Here is another Court at the North East Corner, which takes its Name from the Street, and leads through to London wall.
Then, turning from the Wall down the West Side, we meet with no Alleys or Courts 'till we come to Church alley, the Name of the Passages on both Sides the Church, which lead into Aldermanbury ; but there are a Pair of Gates in the Centre at the West End of the Church, shut up at Nights. In the Alley on the North Side is Youngs court, a very decent small Place. More to the South is Guildhall court, which is well built and inhabited by the Chamberlain, Town Clerk, and some other Officers chiefly depending on the City Business transacted in Guildhall. This Court has a Thoroughfare into Guildhall yard, that opens between the Hall and the Chapel, and it leads into the great Hall by a back Stairs.
There are 25 Feet West of Cateaton street, Northward, in this Ward.
There are to watch at the several Stands in this Ward, every Night, a Constable, a Beadle, and 12 Watchmen.
The Jurymen returned by the Wardmote Inquest, for this Ward, are to serve in the several Courts in Guildhall in the Month of March.
This Ward hath an Alderman, his Deputy, four Common Councilmen, two Constables, two Scavengers, 17 Wardmote Inquest Men, and a Beadle.
It is taxed to the Fifteen in London at 7 /. and likewise in the Exchequer at 7 /.
The present Alderman of this Ward is William Baker, Esq; and the Common Council are, Mr. William Colthurst, Deputy, Francis Cooper, Esq; Mr. Samuel Ellis, Mr. Thomas Fludyer.

The most remarkable Things in this Ward are.
(1.) St. Michael's Church, called Bassishaw Church ; of which hereafter.
(2.) On the West Side, almost at the South End of the Street, is Bakewell hall, corruptly called Blackwell hall, and anciently Bassing's hall, a Building of great Antiquity, belonging to the ancient and renowned Family of Bassings, and was therefore called Bassings haugh, or Hall. Authors, who saw the Arms of this Family on several Parts of the ancient Building, confirm this Opinion. these Arms were, a Gerond of twelve Points, Or and Azure.
But how Bakewell hall took that Name, is another Question. It is said that Thomas Bakewell dwelt in this house in the 36th of Edward III. and that in the 20th of Richard II. the said King, for the Sum of 50 /. which the Mayor and Commonalty had paid into the Hanaper, granted Licence, so much as was in him, to John Frosh, William Parker, and Stephen Spilman, Citizens and Mercers, that they, the said Messuage, called Bakewell hall, and one Garden, with the Appurtenances, in the Parish of St. Michael of Bassings haugh, and of St. Laurence in the Jewry of London, and one Messuage, two Shops and one Garden, in the said Parish of St. Michael, which they held of the King in Burgage, might give and assign to the Mayor and Commonalty for ever, ad opus Communitatis ;
i.e. for the Use of the Corporation : And Bakewell hall from that Time has been chiefly employed as a weekly Market Place for Woollen Cloths, broad and narrow, brought from all Parts of this Realm to be sold there. In the 21st of Richard II. Richard Whittington Mayor ; and in the 22d, Drew Barringtine being Mayor, it was decreed, that no Foreigner or Stranger should sell any Woollen Cloth, but in Bakewell hall, upon Pain of Forfeiture thereof.
An Act of Common Council, held August the first, in the eighth of Henry VIII. concerning Blackwell hall :

This house growing ruinous, and in Danger of falling, was taken down ; and in the Month of February next following, the Foundation of a new, strong, and beautiful Store house being laid, the Work was finished in the Space of ten Months, in the Year 1558, at the Charge of 2500 l. 300 l. whereof was a Legacy of Mr. Richard May, Merchant Taylor. This was demolished in the Flames of 1666, and re-erected Anno 1672. The Door Cafe in the Front, next Guildhall, is of Stone, adorned with two Columns, Entablature and Pediment of the Dorick Order; in the Pediment are the King's Arms, and the Arms of the City are lower, enriched with Cupids, &c.
The City gave to Christs Hospital the Profits arising from Lodging and Pitching of Cloth in the several Warehouses, or Halls ; for here is the Devonshire, Glocester, Worcester, Kentish, Medley, Spanish and Blanket Halls ; besides the like Profits of the Bays at Leadenhall.
From this Hall Northward, are several good houses, to the Back gate of Guildhall , which Gate, and Part of the Building within the same, are of this Ward.

(3.) Some small Distance from this Gate the Coopers have their Common Hall : It is well built of Brick, and the Hall is a handsome Room, wainscotted about fourteen Feet high, paved with Marble, adorned with several Coats of Arms in the Glass, and the Portraiture, at full Length, of Sir John Fleet, Lord Mayor, 1693, and that of Mr. Henry Stroud, another worthy Member, who at his Decease, An. 1704, when he died Master of the Company, gave 6500 l. to build and endow a Free School and Alms houses at Egham. And under the King's Arms is the Busto of King William III.
(4.) On the East Side is Masons hall, in Masons alley. It is small, but well built of Stone, and is bounded on the West by Coleman street Church yard.
(5.) The next is Weavers kail, which is neatly adorned on the Infkle with Hangings, Fret Work, and a Screen of the Ionick Order. The Company is of great Antiquity, as appears by a Charter of Henry II. in these Words, Rex omnibus, ad quo s, &c.
(6.) Almost at the North End of the Street is Girdlers Hall, well wainscotted within, and adorned with a beautiful Screen of the Composite Order.



And Last updated on: Friday, 15-Sep-2023 12:27:39 BST

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