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The London Wards - Dowgate in 1756

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Index of London wards in 1756 by William Maitland


With a Plan, neatly engraved from a New Survey.

The Name. Bounds. Extent. Government. Aldermen and Common Council. Parishes and Churches. Watermens Hall. Skinners Hall. Tallow chandlers Hall. Innholders Hall. Joyners Hall. Plumbers Hall. Steelyard. Merchant Taylors School. Antiquities. Jesus Commons. Conduit. Cold Harbour.

VARIOUS are the Opinions concerning; the Etymology of this Ward. Some derive it from Dour gate, which, they say, signifies Water gate, and stood in the Wall next the Thames, at the Bottom of the Hill : Others will have it derived from its Situation, which is a great Descent, and the Gate which stood at the Bottom of the Hill : Which last Opinion has prevailed so far, that modern Writers have given it the Name of Downgate ; while, in common Use, the Citizens differ from both, and call it Dowgate Ward,
This Ward is bounded on the East by Candlewick and Bridge Wards, on the North by Wallbrook Ward, on the West by Vintry Ward, and on the South by the River of Thames.
It extends from St. Martins lane in the East, to Cloak lane in the West, and from thence both East and West to the River Thames, in almost a strait Line ; within which Tract are contained, on the South Side of Thames street, between it and the Thames, Old Swan lane, Cold harbour, Alhallows lane, Campion lane, Friars lane, Cosins's lane, Dowgate dock, and the Stillyard, St. Laurence Poultney hill, almost as far as St. Laurence Poulteny's, Church yard , Duxford lane, as far as St. Laurence's Church yard , Suffolk lane, as far as the Passage into Bush lane; Bush lane, almost the whole ; Dowgate hill, as far as Tallow chandlers Hall Northwards ; Checquer yard, Elbow lane, so far as the Church yard, only the South East Side of the Way ; Cloak lane, the South Side, to one hundred and sixty Feet West of Dowgate hill.

Thames street is a great Thoroughfare for Carts to the several Wharfs, which renders it a Place of a considerable Trade, and to be well inhabited. The Part of Thames street in this Ward begins Westward at Little Elbow lane, and reaches East ward to the Old Swan lane, taking in the West Side thereof. The Places on the South Side next the Thames, beginning Westward, are as followeth :

Friars lane or alley, very mean, narrow, and long, having a Passage into Dowgate dock, where there is a Lay stall for the City Soil.
Brewers lane, also very ordinary, and runs down to Dowgate dock, which is likewise as ordinary, chiefly serving for a Passage for Carts to the Lay stall.
Cosins' s lane, near the Still yard, hath an open Passage for Carts to the Thames Side. In this Place the Still yard Merchants had a large Hall.
Wild goose or Wind goose alley or court, said to be built by the Still yard Merchants.
Still yard. The Still yard, or Steel yard, a large, open Place, with a wide Passage for Carts to the River Side, where there is a Crane, and Stairs for landing Iron, of which here are always large Quantities kept. In this Yard are some good houses for Merchants who trade in Iron, for which it is of Note, but was formerly of greater, from the Merchants of Almain. Here are likewise, at present, large Warehouses for depositing Goods belonging to the East India Company.
Allhallow s lane, pretty well built and inhabited, hath a Passage to the Thames, where there is a Pair of Stairs to land or take Water at.
Angel alley also but ordinary, the lower Part next the Thames taken up by a Dyer.
White cock alley, but narrow, the lower End falling into Dyers hall ground; and here stood Dyers hall, which being burnt down in the Fire of London, was not rebuilt; but the Company disposed of the Ground, which is converted to other Uses.
George alley, but narrow and ordinary, having at the lower End a Dye house.
Ebgate lane, or Old Swan alley, indifferently large and good, leading down to the Old Swan Stairs; a Place much used by Watermen, as being a noted Landing place, and very commodious, having so good a Pair of Stairs. It is a Place well built and inhabited. The East Side of this Lane is in Bridge Ward within.
On the North Side of Thames street are these Places, viz. St. Laurence Poultney lane, comes out of Canon street, and falls down into Thames street , a Place well built, and inhabited by Merchants and other Traders. Of this Lane see more in Candlewick Ward.
Duxford lane comes out of St. Laurence Poultney hill, and falls into Thames street, a Place of no great Account.
Suffolk lane also goes out of Thames street, and, with a turning Passage by Cross lane, which is but ordinary, comes into Green Lettice lane, which is in Candlewick Ward, and so into Canon Street.
Great Bush lane comes out of Canon street and falls into Thames street ; but the Part in this Ward goeth no farther than Scotch yard, which is a good, large, open Place, well inhabited. This Lane is narrow, but well inhabited by Merchants and Persons of Repute. Out of this Lane is Chequer yard, which hath a Passage into Dowgate hill, and is a good open Place. On the South Side is a Passage into Hand yard, which is but ordinary, and falls into Thames street.
Little Bush lane, of small Account, comes out of Great Bush lane, and with a turning Passage falls into Thames street.
Double hand court, very ordinary.
Dowgate hill is such a great Descent towards Thames street, that, in great and sudden Rains, the Water here comes down from other Streets with that Swiftness, that it oftentimes causeth a flood in the lower Part. This Street is large and open, the houses well built and inhabited. On the West Side, near Budge row, is the Church yard of St. John Evangelist, where formerly the Church stood, not being rebuilt since the Fire. Adjoining to the Church yard Wall is Cloak lane, which runs Westward to College hill. Of this Lane only the South Side is in this Ward, the other Part being in Vintry Ward.
Elbow lane, so called from its bending from Dowgate with an Elbow to Thames street. Out of this Great Elbow lane, over against St. Michael's Royal Church, is Little Elbow lane, which is that Part that makes the Bending, and falls into Thames street, but a Place of no great Account.

There are to watch at the several Stands in this Ward every Night, a Constable, a Beadle, and thirty six Watchmen.
The Jurymen returned by the Wardmote Inquest for this Ward are to serve in the several Courts in Guildhall in the Month of October.
It hath an Alderman, eight Common Councilmen, eight Constables, five Scavengers, fourteen Wardmote 1 Iquestmen, and a Beadle. It taxed to the Fifteenth at twenty eight Founds.
The Alderman of this Ward is Sir Richard Glynn, Knt. and the Common Council are Mr. John Abbington, Deputy, Mr. Daniel Macbin, Mr. William Watts, Mr. Richard Swithin, Mr. John Mikvard, Mr. William Shemelt, Mr. Timothy Tales, and Mr. Christopher Robinson.

In this Ward are, First, (1.) the Parish and Parish Church of Allhallows the Great, and (2 ) the united Parish of Allhallows the Less, whose Church was not rebuilt after its Destruction in the Fire of London.

Secondly, Several Halls belonging to the Companies of this City:
(1.) On the West Side of Dowgate street is the Tallow chandlers ball, a large, handsome Building, with Piazzas, adorned with Columns and Arches of the Tuscan Order.
(2.) Somewhat lower stands the Skinners hall a noble Structure, built with fine Brick, and richly finished, the Hall with right Wainscot, and the Parlour with odoriferous Cedar. It is said to have Cost eighteen thousand Pounds building. This Hall was called Copped hall by Down gate, in the Parish of St. John upon Wall brook. In the nineteenth Year of Edward II. Ralph Cobbam possessed it, with five Shops, &c.
(3.) Innholders hall in Elbow lane, a pretty neat Building, well adapted to the Uses of that ancient Company.
(4.) In Friars lane, formerly called Greenwich lane, is Joyners hall, which is remarkable for a curious and magnificent Screen at the Entrance into it, having Demi savages and other Enrichments, well carved, in right Wainscot, and the great Parlour is wainscotted with Cedar.
(5.) Watermens hall, situate with its Front to the Thames, is a very handsome Brick Building.
(6.) Plumbers hall, which is in Chequer yard, Dowgate hill, and is a good, handsome Building.

Thirdly, Near to the East of Cosin lane (so called from one Cosin, the Builder thereof) is the Steel yard, or Steel house, as some call it. This originally was the Hall of the Almain, Anseatick, or German Merchants, or Place where they used to store Wheat, Rye, and other Grain, as Cables, Ropes, Mails, Pitch, Tar, Flax, Hemp, Linen Cloth, Wainscot, Wax, Steel, and other profitable Merchandizes.

Fourthly, In Suffolk lane, near Candlewick street, in the Parish of St. Laurence Poultney, is Merchant Taylors School ; a Foundation of great fame and Reputation, founded in the Year 1561, 3 Eliz. by the worshipful Company of the Merchant Taylors of London, in the Mastership of Emanuel Lucar : Richard Hills, some Time Mailer of the said Company, having before given 500 l. toward the Purchase of an house, called, The Manor of the Rose, belonging to the Duke of Buckingham, for that Purpose. And therein was this School anciently kept. But that house being destroyed by the great Fire in 1666, the present Buildings were erected upon the Site of it, at the Charge of the said Company of Merchant Taylors. The School is a long and spacious Building, supported on the East by many Stone Pillars, which form an handsome Cloister, within which are Apartments for the three Ushers. Adjoining to the School is a Library supported, in like Manner, by Pillars of Stone, and well furnished with Books. And South of the Library is the Part called The Chapel. Contiguous to these is a large house appropriated to the Head Master.

(1.) At the upper End of Dowgate hill was erected, at the City Charge, a castellated Conduit for Thames Water, A. D. 1568, and was called, The Conduit upon Dowgate ; between which and the Thames there was such a Fall of Water, that in the Year 1574, on the 4th September, the Channel role so high by a hidden Fall of Rain, that a Lad of 18 Years old falling into it, as he endeavour'd to leap over it, was drowned, being carried away by the Violence of the Stream.

(2.) Lower down on Dowgate hill there was a house, or College of Priests, called Jesus Commons, a house well furnished with Brass, Pewter, Napery, Plate, &c. besides a fair Library well stored with Books. All which of old Time were given to a Number of Priests that should keep Commons there ; and, as one left this Place by Death, or otherwise, another should be admitted into his room.

(3.) Down lower you have Elbow lane and at the Corner thereof was a great Stone house, called Old Hall, some Time pertaining to William de Pont le Arch, and by him given to the Priory of St. Mary Overy in Southwark in the Reign of Henry I. This Lane runneth West, and suddenly turneth South into Thames street ; and therefore, of that Bending, is called Elbow lane.

(4.) On the East Side of Dowgate street is the great old house, called the Erber, near to the Church of St. Mary Bothaw. Geffrey Scrocpe held it by the Gift of Edward III. in the fourteenth Year of his Reign. It belonged since to John Nevil, Lord of Raby ; then to Richard Nevil, Earl of Warwick. Nevil, Earl of Salisbury, was lodged there in 1457. Then it came to George, Duke of Clarence, and his Heirs Male, by the Gift of Edward IV. in the fourteenth Year of his Reign.

It was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Pullifon, Mayor and was afterwards inhabited by Sir Francis Drake, that famous Warrior and Navigator.

Grantham' s lane is so called of John Grantham, some Time Mayor and Owner thereof, whose house was very large strong, built of Stone, as appeareth by the arched Gates yet remaining. Ralph Dodmer, first a Brewer, then a Mercer, Mayor 1529, dwelled there, and kept his Mayoralty in that house. It is now a Brewhouse, as it was before.

(6.) East from this Dowgate is Cosin lane, named of one William Cosin, that dwelled there in the 4th of Richard II. as divers his Predecessors, Father, Grandfather, &c. had done before him. William Cosin, dwelling there, was one of the Sheriffs in the Year 1306, the 34th of Edward I.
That house standeth at the South End of the Lane, having an old and artificial Conveyance of Thames Water into it, and is a Dye house, called Lombard's Messuage. Adjoining to that house, there was erected an Engine to convey Thames Water to Dowgate Conduit aforesaid.

(7.) In the 13th of Edward II. Sir John Abel, Knt. derailed or let unto Henry Stow, Draper, all that his capital Messuage, called the Cold Harbrough, in the Parish of All Saints ad Farnum, and all the Appurtenances within the Gate, with the Key which Robert Hartford, Citizen, Son to William Hartford, had, and ought, and the foresaid Robert paid for it the Rent of 33 s. the Year. This Robert Hartford being Owner thereof, as also of other Lands in Surrey, deceasing without Issue Male, left two Daughters his Coheirs, to wit, Idonea, married to Sir Ralph Bigot, and Maud, married to Sir Stephen Cosenton, Knts. between whom the said house and Lands were parted.

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