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The London Wards - Tower street Ward in 1756

Towerstreet Ward in 1756 neatly engraved from a New Survey

Towerstreet Ward in 1756 neatly engraved from a New Survey

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Index of London wards in 1756 by William Maitland

Chap. XXVII.

Tower street Ward.

With a Plan, neatly engraved from a New Survey.

Its Name. Bounds. Extent. Modern State. Government. Remarkable Things. Farishes and Churches. The Tower of London . The Custom house. The Clothworkers Hall. The Bakers Hall. The Trinity house. Antiquities,

This Ward takes its Name from the principal Street therein, which leadeth out of the City in a direct Line to the grand Entrance into the Tower of London, and is the first Ward in the South East Part of the City within the Wall.

It is bounded on the East by Tower hill and Part of Aldgate Ward, on the North by Langbourn Ward, on the West by Billingsgate Ward, and on the South by the River Thames ; and extends from the Tower of London in the East, to the middle Way between Great Dice key and Smarts key in the West, and from the West Corner of Tower dock in the South, to within seventy Feet of the North End of Rood lane in the North, in which are contained a great Number of Streets, Lanes, &c. as, Tower street, Thames street, Mark lane, Mincing lane, and Seething lane, St. Olave Hart street ; then Idle lane, St. Dunstans hill, Harp lane, Water lane, and Beer lane ; in which Places are several Courts and Alleys.

Tower street, of which there is the Great and the Little ; of which latter only some Part is in this Ward, beginning about the Middle near unto St. Margaret Pattens Church, and falls into Great Tower street, which runs Eastward unto Tower hill, and is a spacious Street, well built and inhabited by able Tradesmen.

The Courts in this Street are, Mercers court, seated on the North Side, very long, with turning Passages, and but indifferently inhabited. Carpenters hall court, a square Place, with an open Passage into it sufficient for a Cart. Fowks court, very handsome and open, with a Free stone Pavement, and hath good houses, which are well inhabited. Black Swan court, a pretty handsome open Place, with indifferent Houses. Red Cross court, alio pretty good. Becford court, a very handsome, airy Place, with large houses, well inhabited, especialiy the upper End. White lion court, seated over againlt Barking Church, is both small and ordinary, and hath a Passage into Chitterling alley. Priests alley, both narrow and ordinary, which with a turning Passage falls into Tower dock: In this Alley are two small Courts, very ordinary, and without Names. Rose alley, over against Barking Church, being long and ordinary, and hath a Passage down S:eps into Chitterling alley, as also into Gloucester court. Then Barking Church.

On the back Side of Barking Church yard is an Alley or Passage into Tower hill, with houses on the North Side, which have a Prospect of the Church and Church yard ; on this Part was anciently the fair Barking Chapel. On the South East Corner of Tower street is a Row of houses fronting the Tower, and leadeth to Thames street, pleasantly situated, having the Prospect of the Thames.

Thames street is a Place of considerable Trade, and taken up by great Dealers, as well by Wholesale as Retail; and altho' the Street is broad enough, yet, by Reason of the Custom house, and the several Keys and Wharfs, it is extremely pestered with Carts, to the great Annoyance of the Inhabitants and Passengers through it. This Street runneth a very great Length irom East to
West, even to Puddle dock, which is about a Mile, but lies in several Wards. The Part in this Ward goeth not so far as Billingsgate, and contains the following Keys or Wharfs, viz.
the Tower dock, Brewers key, Galley key, Custom house key, Potters key, Wiggings key, Ralphs key, Temple Keys and key, Little Dice key, Great Dice key, Smarts key, and then Billingsgate ; which said Key:, are all made use of for the iading and unlading oi Merchants Goods; and some of thele Keys are more considerable than others, particularly Smarts key, for Grain, &c.

On the North Side of this Thames street, beginning towards Bishopsgate, are these Courts, viz.
Wichelers yard, taken up in Warehouses for Stowing of Merchants Goods. Nag's head court, but ordinary. Vinc court warehouse, taken up by Warehouses.

Bear lane comes out of Tower street, and runs into Thames street, a Place of small Account. In this Lane are these Courts, viz.
Gloucester court, a pretty handsome Place, wich a Free stone Pavement, and hath a Passage into Priests alley. Horn alley, but indifferent, hath a Passage into Thames street, another into Rose alley, and another into Chitterling alley, both indifferent Places. Custom house court, a good handsome Place, with a Free stone Pavement. At the upper End oi this Court is another small Court so called, which hath a Passage through the Ship Tavern into Water lane.

Water lane, a very great Thorough fare, occasioned by the Custom house, as being the ready Passage to it, and is for the generality taken up by Publick houses. This Lane is so called as running down to the Water gate by the Custom house; but formerly it was called Sporiar lane. In this Lane is Orange court, having but two houses, the rest taken up in Warehouses : And
here is Trinity house, a good, handsome, large Building, in which house is also kept the Ballast Office.

Harp lane comes out of Tower street, and falls into Thames street, a Place much pestered with Carts, by reason of their passing this Way to the Custom house keys, which is no small Annoyance to the Inhabitants. On the East Side is Bakers Hall, some Time since the Dwelling house of John Chichley, Esq; Chamberlain of the City of London. On the West Side of this Harp lane is Cross lane, which is but ordinary, and leads to St. Mary hill. St. Dunstans hill, formerly called Church lane, runs as far as St. Dunstans Church yard, and from thence down unto Thames street.
On the West Side of the said Church is another Lane called Church lane, which turneth into another towards St. Mary hill, and is called Fowl lane. This St. Dunstans hill is a Place well inhabited by Merchants, especially about the Church, and on the East Side, over against the Church, is Coffin court, which is but narrow.

Then St. Dunstans Church, called St. Dunstans in the East.

Adjoining to which, Northwards, is Church alley, which hath a handsome Free stone Paving, and pretty good Buildings on the Side fronting the Church, and this Alley leadeth into Idle lane, which comes out of the West End of Tower street, and falls into Thames street. On the West Side of this Lane is Cross lane, which falls into St. Mary hill. By this Church is Priests alley.

Mincing lane, anciently called Mincheon, is filled with very good houses, which for the generality are taken up by Merchants, and Perfons of Repute, and the Street is broad and strait, coming out of Tower street, and going up into Fenchurch street.

Mark lane, or Mart lane, being so called from a Mart there formerly kept, a Place now well inhabited, with divers large houses for Merchants, tho' some of them are old Timber houses. The greatest Part of this Lane is in this Ward, to wit, from Tower street unto that Part where the Post and Chain is placed a Cross the Street, which is above the West End of Hart street, and in this Part of the Lane are these Places, viz.
Sugar loaf alley, which is but indifferent, over against which is the old Navy Office. Well alley, being both small and narrow. Pick ax alley also small. And Star alley, which is but ordinary.
Hart street is but ahort, coming out of Mark lane, and falls into Crutched friars by St. Olave Hart street Church: It has a Church yard behind it. Over against this Church is Croffeys or Angel court, which is a pretty, open Place, with good Buildings, well inhabited.
Seething or Sything lane runneth Northwards from Tower street unto Crutched friars. It is now a Place of no great Account; but Amongst the Inhabitants some are Merchants. Here is the Navy Office ; but the chief Gate for Entrance is out of Crutched friars, in Aldgats Ward. And in this Lane are these Courts and Places of Name,
viz. John Devere's yard, pretty broad in the Middle, but ordinary, with a narrow Passage into Mark lane. Carr yard, a pretty, handsome, open Place, but meanly inhabited. Green arbour court, a pretty large Place, containing two Courts, one within another, and both bearing the same Name. Star alley, newly built for Warehouses and Tenements. Black dog alley, very mean and ordinary. Black raven court, an open Place, with good new Brick Buildings, well inhabited ; and here is kept the Transport Office. Plough yard, but ordinarily built and inhabited. Crown court, but small, with a Free stone Pavement.

Tower hill. The West Row of Buildings, with Part of the Hill which is in this Ward, is a hand some Structure, very well inhabited, and pleasantly seated in an open Air, having the delightful Prospect of the Thames and the Tower, and in this Row is Barking alley or Alleys, one leading into Tower street, and the other into Seething lane; in both which the Buildings encompass Barking Church on the North and East Sides. Then about the Middle of this Row of Buildings is Rose court. Farther Northwards is Muscovy court, a curious, large, open Place, with a Free stone Pavement, and consisting of fair new Brick Buildings, and they very well inhabited. Out of this Court is a back Passage, with a Door into the Navy Office.

Formerly there were round the Tower, old Buildings, which enclosed the Ditch or Moat ; and these stood until the Reign of King Charles II. But being found incommodious, they were, by Command from above, (Sir John Robinson being Lieutenant) pulled down, and the Moat cleansed and enlarged, with Brick work en the Outside, even to the Ground : So that now the Tower is not so choaked up, but stands open on all Sides.

It is governed by an Alderman, who at present is Thomas Chitty, Esq; and twelve Common Councilmen, who are, Mr. Richard Roman, Deputy, Mr. Richard Brooke, Mr. Edward Floyd, Mr. William Prowting, Mr. Osmond Cooke, Mr. Nicholas Nixon, Mr. Francis Hutchins, Mr. William Kilpin, Mr. John Woodbridge, Mr. Jonathan Granger, Mr. John Trotman, and Mr. Richard Allnutt. Under whom are thirteen Constables, twelve Scavengers, thirteen Wardmotemen, and a Beadle.

This Ward is taxed to the Fifteenth at twenty six Pounds.
The Watch in this Ward every Night consists of a Constable., a Beadle, and forty Watchmen.
The Jurymen returned by the Wardmote Inquest ior this Ward are to serve as Jurors in the several Courts in Guildhall in the Month of May.

The most remarkable Things in this Ward are,
First, Three Parish Churches, (1.) Allhalhws Barking, (2.) St. Olave Hart street, (3.) St. Diunstans in the East ; of which in our Parochial Hiltory.

Secondly, The Tower of London. One half of the Tower, the Ditch on the West Side, and Bulwarks adjoining, stand within that Part where the Wall of the City of old Time went straight from the Postern Gate. South to the River of Thames before the Tower was built. [See a large Account of this royal Fortrefs in Chap. XVI. Book I. ]

Thirdly, The King's Custom house, where we may properly mention the Reason of establishing certain Keys and Wharfs for landing and shipping Merchamdizes.

By occasion of the defrauding of the Queen of her Customs for Goods and Merchandizes brought in or carried out, by making use of small obscure Creeks, or Places where no Custom House Officer was attending, or by the Corruption of those Officers, or by other fraudulent and undue Practices, and so privately conveying them away, without paying the Custom or Subsidy due; there was an Act made in the first Year of Queen Elizabeth, Anno 1559, That no Goods should be put ashore at any Place in the Kingdom, but where she should assign and appoint by her Commission. In Pursuance of this Act the Queen ordered her Lord Treasurer, her Under Treasurer, and Chancellor of her Exchequer, to set forth and publish her Pleasure for the divers Ports of her Kingdom. And for the Port of London the said Commissioners drew up this Declaration, determining what particular Keys, Wharfs, and Stairs mould be for lading and discharging of all Manner of Merchandizes ; and what particular Goods should be landed at Billingsgate, the Three Cranes, the Bridge house, and the Stillyard; where Newcastle Coals, Beer, Deal Boards, Ore, Corn, &c. should be laid on Land; what Creeks, Wharfs, and Keys, from Gravesend to London bridge, should be no more used as Lading or Discharging Places, but be debarred utterly from it for ever; and that no Stranger, whether Denizen or not, should henceforth inhabit upon any of the Wharfs allowed, except the Stillyard only; and laitly, that all Keepers of Wharfs and Keys mould be bound to the Queen in certain Sums of Money, that no Goods should be landed at their Keys or Stairs, or put thence upon the Water to be carried abroad, before the said Goods were entered in the Queen's Custom Books.

The Custom house is situated on the South Side, present and not far from the East End of Tbames street. After the Fire of London, viz. in the Year 1668, a very handsome Office was built here ; but that being burnt in the Year 1718, it was rebuilt in a very spacious and commodious Manner with Brick and Stone, adorned with an upper and lower Order of Architecture ; the latter is with Stone Columns, and Entablature of the Tuscan Order; the former with Pilaiters, Entablature, and Pediments of the Ionick Order. The Length of the Building is an hundred and eighty nine Feet, the Breadth in the Middle twenty seven Feet, but at the End much broader.

Fourthly, Here are two Halls also belonging to Companies, viz.(i.) Clothworkers Hall, situate near the North East End of Mincing lane next Fenchurch street. The Hall is a lofty Room, adorned with Wainscot to the Ceiling, where is curious Fret work. The Screen at the South End is of Oak, adorned with four Pilasters, their Entablature and Compass Pediment of the Corinthian Order, enriched with their Arms and Palm Branches. The West End is adorned with the Figures of King James and King Charles I. richly carved, as big as the Life, in their Robes, wich Regalia, all gilt with Gold, where is a spacious Window of stained Glass, and the King's Arms ; also those of Sir John Robinson, Knt. and Bart, his Majesty's Lieutenant of the Tower of London , Lord Mayor of this honourable City Anno 1663, and President of the Artillery Company, who kept his Mayoralty in this Hall, in which Year he entertained their Majesties, the King, Queen, and Queen Mother, and their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Dutchess of York, and towards the re edifying of this Hall was a worthy Benefactor.

Here are alio painted the Arms of Samuel Pepys, Master of the Company, and a Benefactor, Anno 1677,

(2.) In Hart lane is the Bakers hall, some time the Dwelling house of John Chichley, Chamberlain of London, who was Son to William Chichley, Alderman of London, Brother to William Chichley, Archdeacon of Canterbury, nephew to Robert Chichley, Mayor of London, to Henry Chichley, ArchBishop of Canterbury.
This John Chichley (faith Leyland) had four and twenty Children. Sir Tho. Kirrial of Kent, after he had been long Prisoner in France, married Elizabeth, one of the Daughters of this Chichley, by whom he had this Chichley's house.

This Elizabeth was secondly married to Sir Ralph Ashton, Knight Marshal : And thirdly, to Sir John Bourchier, Uncle to the late Bourchier, Earl of Essex ; but she never had a Child. Edward Poynings made part with Bourchier and Elizabeth to have Offenhanger in Kent after their Death, and entered into it, they living.

Fifthly, In Water lane is situate Trinity house, which belongs to an ancient Corporation of Mariners, founded in King Henry V III'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 Tho. Spert, Knight, Comptroller of the Navy to that King ; who was the first Founder and Matter 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.

Sixthly, In Plough yard in the Parish of Barking is a School founded by James Hickson, Esq; for the Education of twenty poor Children. To the Head Master of which he appointed 20 l. per An. his Dwelling, and two Chaldron of Sea Coal. And to a Writing Master 8 l. per An.

Seventhly, The Antiquities of this Ward, which are come to our Knowledge, are,

(1.) A Place within the Liberties of the Tower, called the Jewry, because it was inhabited by Jews ; where there happened, 22 Hen. III. a Robbery and a Murder to be committed by William Fitz Bernard, and Richard his Servant ; who came to the House of Joce a Jew, and there slew him, and his Wife Henna. The said William was taken at St. Saviours for a certain Silver Cup, and was hanged. Richard was called for, and outlawed. One Miles le Espiccr, who was with them, was wounded, and fled to a Church, and died in it. No Attachment was made by the Sheriffs, because it happened in the Jewry ; and so belonged not to the Sheriffs, but to the Constable of the Tower.

(2.) On the North Side of Barking Church was fair Chapel founded by King Richard I. Some have written, that his Heart was buried there under the high Altar. This Chapel was confirmed and augmented by King Edward I. Edward IV. gave Licence to his Cousin John, Earl of Worcefier, to found there a Brotherhood for a a Master and Brethren. And he gave to the Curios of that Fraternity, which was Sir John Scot, Knt. Thomas Colt, John Tate, and John Croke, the Priory of Tolingbroke, and the Advowson of the Parish Church of Stretham in the County of Surrey, with all the Members and Appurtenances, and a Part of the Priory of Okeborne in Wiltshire, both Priors Aliens, and appointed it to be called the King's Chapel, or Chantry, In Capella beatx Maria: de Barking.

(3.) Somewhere in this Parish Licence was given in 44 Edw. III. for the founding of an Hospital for the sustaining of People that fall into Phrensies, &c.

(4 ) In Sydon lane were divers fair and large houses , one built by Sir John Allen, some time Mayor of London, and of the Privy Council un to K. Henry VIII. Sir Francis Walsingham, Knt. principal Secretary to the Queen's Majesty that then lived, was lodged there, and so was che Earl ol Essex, &c. And hereabouts was a capital Messuage called Sherrington house, forfeited to Edward VI. from Sir Edward Shaerrington, belonging to the Mint, attainted the 3d or his Reign : Which house the King gave to Henry Earl of Arundel.

(5.) In Mincing lane of old Time dwelled 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 Merchandizes, which they landed in Thames street, at a Place called Galley key : They had a certain Coin of Silver amongst themselves, which were Half pence of Genoa, and were called Galley Half pence. these Half pence were forbidden in the 13th Year of King Henry IV. And again by Parliament in the 4th of Henry V. by the Name of Half pence of Genoa, forbidden to pass, as unlawful Payment amongst the English Subjects. And it was enacted, That if any Person bring into this Realm Galley Half pence, Sujkins, or Dodkins, he should be punished as a Thief; and he that taketh or payeth such Money, shall lose an hundred Shillings, whereof the King shall have the one Half, and he that will sue, the other Half.

(6 ) In the sixth of Henry V. there was in the Tower Ward a Messuage, or great house, called Cobham's Inn ; and in the 37th of Henry VI. a Messuage in Thames street, pertaining to Richard Longvile, &c. Some of the Ruins berore l^oken of may seem to be of the foresaid Hospital, belonging peradventure to some Prior Alien, and so suppressed among the rest, in the Reign of Edward III. or Henry V. who suppressed them all.

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

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