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Index to Stow's original Survey of London written in 1598


Now touching the city of Westminster, I will begin at Temple bar, on the right hand or north side, and so pass up west through a back lane or street, wherein do stand three inns of chancery;[399] the first called Clement’s inn, because it standeth near to St. Clement’s church, but nearer to the fair fountain called Clement’s well; the second, New inn, so called as latelier made, of a common hostery, and the sign of Our Lady, an inn of chancery for students than the other, to wit, about the beginning of the reign of Henry VII., and not so late as some have supposed; to wit, at the pulling down of Strand inn, in the reign of King Edward VI.; for I read that Sir Thomas More, sometime lord chancellor, was a student in this new inn, and went from thence to Lincolne’s inn, etc. The third is Lyon’s inn, an inn of chancery also.

This street stretcheth up unto Drury lane, so called, for that there is a house belonging to the family of the Druries. This lane turneth north toward St. Giles in the field: from the south end of this lane in the high street are divers fair buildings, hosteries, and houses for gentlemen and men of honour; amongst the which Cicile house is one, which sometime belonged to the parson of St. Martin’s in the field, and by composition came to Sir Thomas Palmer, knight, in the reign of Edward VI., who began to build the same of brick and timber, very large and spacious, but of later time it hath been far more beautifully increased by the late Sir William Cicile, baron of Burghley, lord treasurer, and great councillor of the estate.

From thence is now a continual new building of divers fair houses, even up to the earl of Bedford’s house,[291] lately built nigh to Ivy bridge, and so on the north side to a lane that turneth to the parish church of St. Martin’s in the field, in the liberty of Westminster. Then had ye one house, wherein sometime were distraught and lunatic people, of what antiquity founded or by whom I have not read, neither of the suppression; but it was said that sometime a king of England, not liking such a kind of people to remain so near his palace, caused them to be removed farther off, to Bethlem without Bishops gate of London, and to that hospital: the said house by Charing cross doth yet remain.

Then is the Mewse, so called of the king’s falcons there kept by the king’s falconer, which of old time was an office of great account, as appeareth by a record of Richard II., in the first[400] year of his reign. Sir Simon Burley, knight, was made constable for the castles of Windsor, Wigmore, and Guilford, and of the manor of Kenington, and also master of the king’s falcons at the Mewse, near unto Charing cross by Westminster; but in the year of Christ 1534, the 28th of Henry VIII., the king having fair stabling at Lomsbery (a manor in the farthest west part of Oldborne), the same was fired and burnt, with many great horses and great store of hay: after which time, the fore-named house, called the Mewse by Charing cross, was new built, and prepared for stabling of the king’s horses, in the reign of Edward VI. and Queen Mary, and so remaineth to that use: and this is the farthest building west on the north side of that high street.

On the south side of the which street, in the liberties of Westminster (beginning at Ivie bridge), first is Durham house, built by Thomas Hatfielde, bishop of Durham, who was made bishop of that see in the year 1545, and sat bishop there thirty-six years.

Amongst matters memorable concerning this house, this is one:—In the year of Christ 1540, the 32nd of Henry VIII., on May-day, a great and triumphant justing was holden at Westminster, which had been formerly proclaimed in France, Flanders, Scotland, and Spain, for all comers that would undertake the challengers of England; which were, Sir John Dudley, Sir Thomas Seymour, Sir Thomas Ponings, and Sir George Carew, knights, and Anthonie Kingston and Richarde Cromwell, esquires; all which came into the lists that day richly apparelled, and their horses trapped all in white velvet. There came against them the said day forty-six defendants or undertakers, viz., the earl of Surrey, foremost, Lord William Howard, Lord Clinton, and Lord Cromwell, son and heir to Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex, and chamberlain of England, with other; and that day, after the justs performed, the challengers rode unto this Durham house, where they kept open household, and feasted the king and queen, with her ladies, and all the court: the second day, Anthonie Kingston and Richard Cromwell were made knights there: the third day of May the said challengers did tournay on horseback with swords, and against them came forty-nine defendants; Sir John Dudley and the earl of Surrey running first, which at the first course lost their gauntlets; and that day Sir Richarde Cromwell overthrew master Palmer and his horse in the field, to the great honour of the challengers: the fifth of May the challengers fought on foot at the barriers, and against them came fifty defendants, which fought valiantly;[401] but Sir Richard Cromwell overthrew that day at the barriers master Culpepper in the field; and the sixth day the challengers brake up their household.

In this time of their housekeeping they had not only feasted the king, queen, ladies, and all the court, as is afore shewed; but also they cheered all the knights and burgesses of the common house in the parliament, and entertained the mayor of London, with the aldermen, and their wives, at a dinner, etc. The king gave to every of the said challengers, and their heirs for ever, in reward of their valiant activity, one hundred marks and a house to dwell in, of yearly revenue, out of the lands pertaining to the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

Next beyond this Durham house is another great house, sometime belonging to the bishop of Norwich, and was his London lodging, which now pertaineth to the archbishop of York by this occasion. In the year 1529, when Cardinal Wolsey, archbishop of Yorke, was indicted in the Premunire, whereby King Henry VIII. was entitled to his goods and possessions: he also seized into his hands the said archbishop’s house, commonly called Yorke place, and changed the name thereof into White hall; whereby the archbishops of Yorke being dispossessed, and having no house of repair about London, Queen Mary gave unto Nicholas Heath, then archbishop of Yorke, and to his successors, Suffolke house in Southwark, lately built by Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolke, as I have showed.

This house the said archbishop sold, and bought the aforesaid house of old time belonging to the bishops of Norwich, which of this last purchase is now called Yorke house, the lord chancellors or lord keepers of the great seal of England, have been lately there lodged.

Then was there an hospital of St. Marie Rouncivall by Charing cross (a cell to the priory and covent of Rouncivall in Navar, in Pampelion diocese), where a fraternity was founded in the 15th of Edward IV., but now the same is suppressed and turned into tenements.

Near unto this hospital was a hermitage, with a chapel of St. Katherine, over against Charing cross; which cross, built of stone, was of old time a fair piece of work, there made by commandment of Edward I., in the 21st year of his reign, in memory of Eleanor, his deceased queen, as is before declared.

West from this cross stood sometime an hospital of St. James, consisting of two hides of land, with the appurtenances, in the parish of St. Margaret in Westminster, and founded by the[402] citizens of London, before the time of any man’s memory, for fourteen sisters, maidens, that were leprous, living chastely and honestly in divine service.

Afterwards divers citizens of London gave five-and-fifty pounds rent thereunto, and then were adjoined eight brethren to minister divine service there. After this, also, sundry devout men of London gave to this hospital four hides of land in the field of Westminster; and in Hendon, Calcote, and Hampsted, eighty acres of land and wood, etc. King Edward I. confirmed those gifts, and granted a fair to be kept on the eve of St. James, the day, the morrow, and four days following, in the 18th of his reign.

This hospital was surrendered to Henry VIII. the 23rd of his reign: the sisters being compounded with, were allowed pensions for the term of their lives; and the king built there a goodly manor, annexing thereunto a park, closed about with a wall of brick, now called St. James’ park, serving indifferently to the said manor, and to the manor or palace of White hall.

South from Charing cross, on the right hand, are divers fair houses lately built before the park, then a large tilt-yard for noblemen, and other, to exercise themselves in justing, turning, and fighting at barriers.

On the left hand from Charing cross be also divers fair tenements lately built, till ye come to a large plot of ground inclosed with brick, and is called Scotland, where great buildings have been for receipt of the kings of Scotland, and other estates of that country; for Margaret, queen of Scots, and sister to King Henry VIII., had her abiding there, when she came into England after the death of her husband, as the kings of Scotland had in former times, when they came to the parliament of England.

Then is the said White hall, sometime belonging to Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, and justice of England, who gave it to the Black Friars in Oldborne, as I have before noted. King Henry VIII. ordained it to be called an honour, and built there a sumptuous gallery and a beautiful gate-house, thwart the high street to St. James’ park, etc.

In this gallery the princes, with their nobility, used to stand or sit, and at windows, to behold all triumphant justings and other military exercises.

Beyond this gallery, on the left hand, is the garden or orchard belonging to the said White hall.

On the right hand be divers fair tennis-courts, bowling-alleys, and a cock-pit, all built by King Henry VIII.; and then one[403] other arched gate, with a way over it, thwarting the street from the king’s gardens to the said park.

From this gate up King’s street to a bridge over Long ditch (so called for that the same almost insulateth the city of Westminster), near which bridge is a way leading to Chanon row, so called for that the same belonged to the dean and chanons of St. Stephen’s chapel, who were there lodged, as now divers noblemen and gentlemen be; whereof one is belonging to Sir Edward Hobbey, one other to John Thine, esquire, one stately built by Ann Stanhope, duchess of Somerset, mother to the earl of Hartford, who now enjoyeth that house. Next a stately house, now in building by William earl of Darby; over against the which is a fair house, built by Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln.

From this way up to the Woolestaple and to the high tower, or gate which entereth the palace court, all is replenished with buildings and inhabitants.

Touching this Woolestaple, I read, that in the reign of Edward I., the staple being at Westminster, the parishioners of St. Margaret and merchants of the staple built of new the said church, the great chancel excepted, which was lately before new built by the abbot of Westminster.

Moreover, that Edward III., in the 17th of his reign, decreed that no silver be carried out of the realm on pain of death; and that whosoever transporteth wool should bring over for every sack four nobles of silver bullion.

In the 25th of his reign, he appointed the staple of wool to be kept only at Canterbury, for the honour of St. Thomas; but in the 27th of the same King Edward, the staple of wool, before kept at Bruges in Flanders, was ordained by parliament to be kept in divers places of England, Wales, and Ireland, as at Newcastle, Yorke, Lincoln, Canterbury, Norwich, Westminster, Chichester, Winchester, Excester, Bristow, Carmardyn, etc., to the great benefit of the king and loss unto strangers and merchants: for there grew unto the king by this means (as it was said) the sum of one thousand one hundred and two pounds by the year, more than any his predecessors before had received; the staple at Westminster at that time began on the next morrow after the feast of St. Peter ad vincula. The next year was granted to the king by parliament, towards the recovery of his title in France, fifty shillings of every sack of wool transported over seas, for the space of six years next ensuing; by means whereof the king might dispend daily during those years more than a thousand marks sterling: for by the common opinion[404] there were more than one hundred thousand sacks of wool yearly transported into foreign lands, so that during six years the said grant extended to fifteen hundred thousand pounds sterling.

In the 37th of Edward III., it was granted unto him for two years, to take five-and-twenty shillings and eight pence upon every sack of wool transported; and the same year the staple of wool (notwithstanding the king’s oath and other great estates) was ordained to be kept at Callis, and six-and-twenty merchants, the best and wealthiest of all England, to be farmers there, both of the town and staple, for three years: every merchant to have six men of arms and four archers at the king’s cost. He ordained there also two mayors, one for the town and one for the staple; and he took for mala capta, commonly called Maltorth,[292] twenty shillings, and of the said merchants’ guardians of the town forty pence, upon every sack of wool.

In the 44th of Edward III., Quinborough, Kingston-upon-Hull, and Boston, were made staples of wool; which matter so much offended some, that in the 50th of his reign, in a parliament at London, it was complained that the staple of wool was so removed from Callis to divers towns in England, contrary to the statute, appointing that citizens and merchants should keep it there, and that the king might have the profits and customs, with the exchange of gold and silver, that was there made by all the merchants in Christindome (esteemed to amount to eight thousand pounds by year), the exchange only; and the citizens and merchants so ordered the matter, that the king spent nothing upon soldiers, neither upon defence of the town against the enemies; whereas now he spent eight thousand pounds by year.

In the 51st of Edward III., when the staple was sealed at Callis, the mayor of the staple did furnish the captain of the town upon any road with one hundred bilmen, twelve hundred archers of merchants and their servants, without any wages.

In the year 1388, the 12th of Richard II., in a parliament at Cambridge, it was ordained that the staple of wools should be brought from Middleborough in Holland to Callis.

In the 14th of his reign, there was granted forty shillings upon every sack of wool, and in the 21st was granted fifty shillings upon every sack transported by Englishmen, and three pounds by strangers, etc. It seemeth that the merchants of this staple be the most ancient merchants of this realm; and that all[405] commodities of the realm are staple merchandises by law and charter as wools, leather, wool fells, lead, tin, cloth, etc.

King Henry VI. had six wool-houses within the staple at Westminster: those he granted to the dean and canons of St. Stephen at Westminster, and confirmed it the 21st of his reign. Thus much for the staple have I shortly noted.

And now to pass to the famous monastery of Westminster: at the very entrance of the close thereof, is a lane that leadeth toward the west, called Thieving lane, for that thieves were led that way to the gate-house, while the sanctuary continued in force.

This monastery was founded and built by Sebert,[293] king of the East Saxons, upon the persuasion of Ethelbert, king of Kent, how having embraced Christianity, and being baptised by Melitus, bishop of London, immediately (to show himself a Christian indeed) built a church to the honour of God and St. Peter, on the west side of the city of London, in a place which (because it was overgrown with thorns, and environed with water) the Saxons called Thorney, and now of the monastery and west situation thereof is called Westminster.

In this place (saith Sulcardus) long before was a temple of Apollo, which being overthrown, King Lucius built therein a church of Christianity.

Sebert was buried in this church, with his wife Athelgoda; whose bodies many years after, to wit, in the reign of Richard II. (saith Walsingham), were translated from the old church to the new, and there entered.

Edgar, king of the West Saxons, repaired this monastery about the year of Christ 958; Edward the Confessor built it of new, whereupon T. Clifford writeth thus:

“Without the walls of London (saith he), upon the river of Thames, there was in times passed a little monastery, built to the honour of God and St. Peter, with a few Benedict monks in it, under an abbot, serving Christ: very poor they were, and little was given them for their relief. Here the king intended (for that it was near to the famous city of London and the river of Thames, that brought in all kinds of merchandises from all parts of the world) to make his sepulchre: he commanded, therefore, that of the tenths of all his rents the work should be begun in such sort as should become the prince of the Apostles.

“At this his commandment the work is nobly begun, even[406] from the foundation, and happily proceedeth till the same was finished: the charges bestowed, or to be bestowed, are not regarded. He granted to this church great privileges, above all the churches in this land, as partly appeareth by this his charter:—

“Edwarde, king, greets William, bishop, and Leofstane, and Aelsie Portreves, and all my burgesses of London friendly, and I tell you, that I have this gift given and granted to Christ and St. Peter the holy Apostle, at Westminster, full freedome over all the land that belongeth to that holy place, etc.”

He also caused the parish church of St. Margaret to be newly built without the abbey church of Westminster, for the ease and commodity of the monks, because before that time the parish church stood within the old abbey church in the south aisle, somewhat to their annoyance.

King Henry III., in the year of Christ 1220, and in the 5th of his reign, began the new work of our Lady’s chapel, whereof he laid the first stone in the foundation; and in the year 1245, the walls and steeple of the old church (built by King Edward) were taken down, and enlarging the same church, caused them to be made more comely; for the furtherance whereof, in the year 1246, the same king (devising how to extort money from the citizens of London towards the charges) appointed a mart to be kept at Westminster, the same to last fifteen days, and in the mean space all trade of merchandise to cease in the city; which thing the citizens were fain to redeem with two thousand pounds of silver.

The work of this church, with the houses of office, was finished to the end of the choir, in the year 1285, the 14th of Edward I.: all which labour of sixty-six years was in the year 1299 defaced by a fire kindled in the lesser hall of the king’s palace at Westminster; the same, with many other houses adjoining, and with the queen’s chamber, were all consumed; the flame thereof also (being driven with the wind), fired the monastery, which was also with the palace consumed.

Then was this monastery again repaired by the abbots of that church; King Edward I. and his successors putting to their helping hands.

Edward II. appropriated unto this church the patronages of the churches of Kelveden and Sawbridgeworth in Essex, in the diocese of London.

Simon Langham, abbot (having been a great builder there[407] in the year 1362), gave forty pounds to the building of the body of the church; but (amongst others) Abbot Islip was in his time a great builder there, as may appear in the stonework and glass windows of the church; since whose decease that work hath staid as he left it, unperfected, the church and steeple being all of one height.

King Henry VII., about the year of Christ 1502, caused the chapel of our Lady, built by Henry III., with a tavern also, called the White Rose, near adjoining, to be taken down: in which plot of ground, on the 24th of January, the first stone of the new chapel was laid by the hands of Abbot Islip, Sir Reginald Bray, knight of the garter, Doctor Barnes, master of the Rolls, Doctor Wall, chaplain to the king, Master Hugh Aldham, chaplain to the countess of Darby and Richmond (the king’s mother), Sir Edward Stanhope, knight, and divers other: upon the which stone was engraven the same day and year, etc.

The charges in building this chapel amounted to the sum of fourteen thousand pounds. The stone for this work (as I have been informed) was brought from Huddlestone quarry in Yorkshire.

The altar and sepulture of the same King Henry VII., wherein his body resteth in this his new chapel, was made and finished in the year 1519 by one Peter, a painter of Florence; for the which he received one thousand pounds sterling for the whole stuff and workmanship at the hands of the king’s executors; Richard, bishop of Winchester; Richard, bishop of London; Thomas, bishop of Durham; John, bishop of Rochester; Thomas, duke of Norfolk, treasurer of England; Charles, earl of Worcester, the king’s chamberlain; John Fineaux, knight, chief justice of the King’s bench; Robert Reade, knight, chief justice of the Common Pleas.

This monastery being valued to dispend by the year three thousand four hundred and seventy pounds, etc., was surrendered to Henry VIII. in the year 1539. Benson, then abbot, was made the first dean, and not long after it was advanced to a bishop’s see in the year 1541. Thomas Thirlby being both the first and last bishop there, who, when he had impoverished the church, was translated to Norwich in the year 1550, the 4th of Edward VI., and from thence to Elie in the year 1554, the 2nd of Queen Mary. Richard Cox, doctor in divinity (late schoolmaster to King Edward VI.), was made dean of Westminster, whom Queen Mary put out, and made Doctor Wonest dean until the year 1556, and then he being removed from thence[408] on the 21st of November, John Feckenham (late dean of Pauls) was made abbot of Westminster, and took possession of the same, being installed, and fourteen monks more received the habit with him that day of the order of St. Benedict; but the said John Feckenham, with his monks, enjoyed not that place fully three years, for in the year 1559, in the month of July, they were all put out, and Queen Elizabeth made the said monastery a college, instituting there a dean, twelve prebends, a schoolmaster, and usher, forty scholars, called commonly the Queen’s scholars, twelve alms men; and so it was named the Collegiate church of Westminster, founded by Queen Elizabeth, who placed Doctor Bill,[294] first dean of that new erection; after whom succeeded Doctor Gabriel Goodman, who governed that church forty years, and after Doctor Lancelot Andrewes.

Kings and queens crowned in this church: William, surnamed the Conqueror, and Matilde his wife, were the first, and since them all other kings and queens of this realm have been there crowned.

Kings and queens buried in this church are these: Sebert, king of the East Saxons, with his wife Athelgede; Harold, surnamed Harefoot, king of the West Saxons; Edward the Simple, surnamed Confessor, sometime richly shrined in a tomb of silver and gold, curiously wrought by commandment of William the Conqueror; Egitha his wife was there buried also; Hugolyn, chamberlain to Edward the Confessor; King Henry III., whose sepulture was richly garnished with precious stones of jasper, which his son Edward I. brought out of France for that purpose; Eleanor, wife to Henry III.; Edward I., who offered to the shrine of Edward the Confessor the chair of marble, wherein the kings of Scotland were crowned, with the sceptre and crown, also to the same king belonging.

He gave also to that church lands to the value of one hundred pounds by the year; twenty pounds thereof yearly to be distributed to the poor for ever. Then there lieth Eleanor, his wife, daughter to Ferdinando, king of Castile, 1293; Edward III. by Queen Philippa of Henault his wife; Richard II. and Anne his wife, with their images upon them, which cost more than four hundred marks for the gilding; Henry V., with a royal image of silver and gilt, which Katherine his wife caused to be laid upon him, but the head of this image being of massy silver, is broken off, and conveyed away with the plates of silver and gilt that covered his body; Katherine, his wife, was buried[409] in the old Lady chapel 1438, but her corpse being taken up in the reign of Henry VII., when a new foundation was to be laid, she was never since buried, but remaineth above ground in a coffin of boards behind the east end of the presbytery; Henry VII. in a sumptuous sepulture and chapel before specified, and Elizabeth his wife; Edward VI. in the same chapel, without any monument; Queen Mary, without any monument, in the same chapel; Matilde, daughter to Malcolm, king of Scots, wife to Henry I., died 1118, lieth in the revestry; Anne, wife to Richard III.; Margaret, countess of Richmond and Darby, mother to Henry VII.; Anne of Cleves, wife to Henry VIII.; Edmond, second son to Henry III., first earl of Lancaster, Darby, and Leycester, and Aveline his wife, daughter and heir to William de Fortibus, earl of Albemarle. In St. Thomas’ chapel lie the bones of the children of Henry III. and of Edward I., in number nine. In the chapter-house,—Elianor, countess of Barre, daughter to Edward I.; William of Windsor, and Blaunch his sister, children to Edward III.; John of Eltham, earl of Cornewell, son to Edward II.; Elianor, wife to Thomas of Woodstocke, duke of Gloucester; Thomas of Woodstocke by King Edward III. his father; Margaret, daughter to Edward IV.; Elizabeth, daughter to Henry VII.; William de Valence, earl of Pembroke; Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke; Margaret and John, son and daughter to William de Valence; John Waltham, bishop of Sarum, treasurer of England; Thomas Ruthal, bishop of Durham, 1522; Giles, Lord Dawbeny,[295] lord lieutenant of Callis, chamberlain to King Henry VII., 1508, and Elizabeth his wife, of the family of the Arundels in Cornwal, 1500; John, Viscount Wells, 1498; the Lady Katherine, daughter to the duchess of Norfolk; Sir Thomas Hungerford, knight, father to Sir John Hungerford of Downampney, knight; a son and daughter to Humfrey Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex, and Elizabeth his wife; Philippa, duchess of York, daughter to the Lord Mohun, thrice married, to the Lord Fitzwalter, Sir John Golofer, and to the duke of Yorke; William Dudley, bishop elect of Durham, son to John, baron of Dudley; Nicholas, Baron Carew, 1470; Walter Hungerford, son to Edward Hungerford, knight; Sir John Burley, knight, and Anne his wife, daughter to Alane Buxull, knight, 1416; Sir John Golofer, knight, 1396; Humfrey Burcher, Lord Cromwell, son to Bourchier, earl of Essex, slain at Barnet; Henry Bourchier, son and heir to John Bourchier, Lord Barners, also slain at[410] Barnet, 1471; Sir William Trussell, knight; Sir Thomas Vaughan, knight; Frances Brandon, duchess of Suffolke, 1560; Mary Gray, her daughter, 1578; Sir John Hampden, knight; Sir Lewis, Viscount Robsart, knight; Lord Bourchere of Henalt, 1430, and his wife, daughter and heir to the Lord Bourchere; Robert Brown, and William Browne, esquires; the Lady Johane Tokyne, daughter of Dabridge Court; George Mortimer, bastard; John Felbye, esquire; Ann, wife to John Watkins; William Southwike, esquire; William Southcot, esquire; Ralph Constantine, gentleman; Arthur Troffote, esquire; Robert Hawley, esquire, slain in that church; Sir Richarde Rouse, knight; Sir Geffrey Maundevile, earl of Essex, and Athelarde his wife; Sir Foulke of Newcastle; Sir James Barons, knight; Sir John Salisbury, knight; Margaret Dowglas, countess of Lennox, with Charles her son, earl of Lennox; Henrie Scogan, a learned poet, in the cloister; Geffrey Chaucer, the most famous poet of England, also in the cloister, 1400, but since Nicholas Brigham, gentleman, raised a monument for him in the south cross aisle of the church: his works were partly published in print by William Caxton, in the reign of Henry VI., increased by William Thinne, esquire, in the reign of Henry VIII.; corrected and twice increased, through mine own painful labours, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, to wit, in the year 1561; and again beautified with notes by me, collected out of divers records and monuments, which I delivered to my loving friend, Thomas Speght; and he having drawn the same into a good form and method, as also explained the old and obscure words, etc., hath published them in anno 1597.

Anne Stanhope, duchess of Somerset, and Jane her daughter; Anne Cecill, countess of Oxford, daughter to the Lord Burghley, with Mildred Burghley her mother; Elizabeth Barkley, countess of Ormond; Frances Sidney, countess of Sussex; Francis Howard, countess of Hertford, 1598; Thomas, Baron Wentworth; Thomas, Baron Warton; John, Lord Russell; Sir Thomas Bromley, lord chancellor; Sir John Puckering, lord keeper; Sir Henry Cary, Lord Hunsdon, and lord chamberlain, 1596, to whose memory his son, Sir George Cary, Lord Hunsdon, and lord chamberlain, hath created a stately monument.

This church hath had great privilege of sanctuary within the precinct thereof, to wit, the church, churchyard, and close, etc.; from whence it hath not been lawful for any prince or other to take any person that fled thither for any cause: which privilege was first granted by Sebert, king of the East Saxons, since[411] increased by Edgar, king of the West Saxons, renewed and confirmed by King Edward the Confessor, as appeareth by this his charter following:

“Edward, by the grace of God, king of Englishmen: I make it to be known to all generations of the world after me, that by speciall commandement of our holy father, Pope Leo, I have renewed and honored the holy church of the blessed apostle St. Peter, of Westminster; and I order and establish for ever, that what person, of what condition or estate soever he be, from whence soever he come, or for what offence or cause it be, either for his refuge into the said holy place, he be assured of his life, liberty, and limbs. And over this I forbid, under the paine of everlasting damnation, that no minister of mine, or of my successors, intermeddle them with any the goods, lands, or possessions of the said persons taking the said sanctuary; for I have taken their goodes and livelode into my special protection, and therefore I grant to every each of them, in as much as my terrestriall power may suffice, all maner freedom of joyous libertie; and whosoever presumes or doth contrary to this my graunt, I will hee lose his name, worship, dignity, and power, and that with the great traytor Judas that betraied our Saviour, he be in the everlasting fire of hell; and I will and ordayne that this my graunt endure as long as there remayneth in England eyther love or dread of Christian name.”

More of this sanctuary ye may read in our histories, and also in the statute of Henry VIII., the 32nd year.

The parish church of St. Margaret, sometime within the abbey, was by Edward the Confessor removed, and built without, for ease of the monks. This church continued till the days of Edward I., at which time the merchants of the staple and parishioners of Westminster built it all of new, the great chancel excepted, which was built by the abbots of Westminster; and this remaineth now a fair parish church, though sometime in danger of down pulling. In the south aisle of this church is a fair marble monument of Dame Mary Billing, the heir of Robert Nesenham of Conington, in Huntingdonshire, first married to William Cotton, to whose issue her inheritance alone descended, remaining with Robert Cotton at this day, heir of her and her first husband’s family; her second husband was Sir Thomas Billing, chief justice of England; and her last, whom likewise she buried, was Thomas Lacy; erecting this monument to the memory of her three husbands, with whose arms she hath garnished it, and for her own burial, wherein she was interred in the year 1499.


Next to this famous monastery is the king’s principal palace, of what antiquity it is uncertain; but Edward the Confessor held his court there, as may appear by the testimony of sundry, and, namely, of Ingulphus, as I have before told you. The said king had his palace, and for the most part remained there; where he also so ended his life, and was buried in the monastery which he had built. It is not to be doubted but that King William I., as he was crowned there, so he built much at his palace, for he found it far inferior to the building of princely palaces in France: and it is manifest, by the testimony of many authors, that William Rufus built the great hall there about the year of Christ 1097. Amongst others, Roger of Wendover and Mathew Paris do write, that King William (being returned out of Normandy into England) kept his feast of Whitsontide very royally at Westminster, in the new hall which he had lately built; the length whereof (say some) was two hundred and seventy feet, and seventy-four feet in breadth; and when he heard men say that this hall was too great, he answered and said, “This hall is not big enough by the one half, and is but a bed-chamber in comparison of that I mean to make.” A diligent searcher (saith Paris) might find out the foundation of the hall, which he was supposed to have built, stretching from the river of Thames, even to the common highway.

This palace was repaired about the year 1163 by Thomas Becket, chancellor of England, with exceeding great celerity and speed, which before was ready to have fallen down. This hath been the principal seat and palace of all the kings of England since the Conquest; for here have they in the great hall kept their feasts of coronation especially, and other solemn feasts, as at Christmas and such like, most commonly: for proof whereof, I find recorded, that in the year 1236, and the 20th of Henry, III., on the 29th of December, William de Haverhull, the king’s treasurer, is commanded, that upon the day of circumcision of our Lord, he caused six thousand poor people to be fed at Westminster, for the state of the king, the queen, and their children; the weak and aged to be placed in the great hall and in the lesser; those that were most strong, and in reasonable plight, in the king’s chamber; the children in the queen’s; and when the king knoweth the charge, he would allow it in the accounts.[296]


In the year 1238, the same King Henry kept his feast of Christmas at Westminster in the great hall; so did he in the year 1241, where he placed the legate in the most honourable place of the table, to wit, in the midst, which the noblemen took in evil part: the king sat on the right hand, and the archbishop on the left, and then all the prelates and nobles according to their estates; for the king himself set the guests. The year 1242 he likewise kept his Christmas in the hall, etc. Also, in the year 1243, Richard, earl of Cornewall, the king’s brother, married Cincia, daughter to Beatrice, countess of Province, and kept his marriage-feast in the great hall at Westminster, with great royalty and company of noblemen: insomuch that there were told (triginta millia) thirty thousand dishes of meats at that dinner.

In the year 1256, King Henry sate in the exchequer of this hall, and there set down order for the appearance of sheriffs, and bringing in of their accounts: there were five marks set on every sheriff’s head for a fine, because they had not distrained every person that might dispend fifteen pounds land by the year to receive the order of knighthood, as the same sheriffs were commanded. Also, the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of London, being accused of oppression and wrongs done by them, and submitting themselves in this place before the king sitting in judgment upon that matter, they were condemned to pay their fines for their offences committed, and further, every one of them discharged of assise and ward.

In the years 1268 and 1269, the same king kept his Christmas feasts at Westminster as before; and also in the same 1269 he translated with great solemnity the body of King Edward the Confessor into a new chapel, at the back of the high altar: which chapel he had prepared of a marvellous workmanship, bestowing a new tomb or shrine of gold; and on the day of his translation he kept a royal feast in the great hall of the palace. Thus much for the feasts of old time in this hall.

We read also, that in the year 1236, the river of Thames overflowing the banks, caused the marshes about Woolwitch to be all on a sea, wherein boats and other vessels were carried with the stream; so that besides cattle, the greatest number of men, women, and children, inhabitants there, were drowned: and in the great palace of Westminster men did row with wherries in the midst of the hall, being forced to ride to their chambers.

Moreover, in the year 1242, the Thames overflowing the banks about Lambhithe, drowned houses and fields by the space of[414] six miles, so that in the great hall at Westminster men took their horses, because the water ran over all. This palace was (in the year 1299, the 27th of Edward I.) burnt by a vehement fire, kindled in the lesser hall of the king’s house: the same, with many other houses adjoining, and with the queen’s chamber, were consumed, but after that repaired.

In the year 1313, the 31st of Edward I., the king’s treasury at Westminster was robbed; for the which, Walter, abbot of Westminster, with forty-nine of his brethren and thirty-two other, were thrown into the Tower of London, and indicted of the robbery of a hundred thousand pounds; but they affirming themselves to be clear of the fact, and desiring the king of speedy justice, a commission was directed for inquiry of the truth, and they were freed.

In the year 1316, Edward II. did solemnize his feast of Penticost at Westminster, in the great hall; where sitting royally at the table, with his peers about him, there entered a woman adorned like a minstrel, sitting on a great horse, trapped as minstrels then used, who rode round about the tables, showing pastime, and at length came up to the king’s table, and laid before him a letter, and forthwith turning her horse, saluted every one, and departed. The letter being opened, had these contents:,—“Our soveraigne lord and king, hath nothing curteously respected his knights, that in his father’s time, and also in his owne, have put forth their persons to divers perils, and have utterly lost, or greatly diminished their substance, for honor of the said king, and he hath inriched abundantly such as have not borne the waight as yet of the busines, etc.”

This great hall was begun to be repaired in the year 1397 by Richard II., who caused the walls, windows, and roof, to be taken down, and new made, with a stately porch, and divers lodgings of a marvellous work, and with great costs; all which he levied of strangers banished or flying out of their countries, who obtained license to remain in this land, by the king’s charters, which they had purchased with great sums of money; John Boterell being then clerk of the works.

This hall being finished in the year 1398, the same king kept a most royal Christmas there, with daily justings and runnings at tilt; whereunto resorted such a number of people, that there was every day spent twenty-eight or twenty-six oxen, and three hundred sheep, besides fowl without number: he caused a gown for himself to be made of gold, garnished with pearl and precious stones, to the value of three thousand marks: he was guarded[415] by Cheshire men, and had about him commonly thirteen bishops, besides barons, knights, esquires, and other more than needed; insomuch, that to the household came every day to meat ten thousand people, as appeareth by the messes told out from the kitchen to three hundred servitors.

Thus was this great hall, for the honour of the prince, oftentimes furnished with guests, not only in this king’s time (a prodigal prince), but in the time of other also, both before and since, though not so usually noted. For when it is said, the king held his feast of Christmas, or such a feast at Westminster, it may well be supposed to be kept in this great hall, as most sufficient to such a purpose.

I find noted by Robert Fabian (sometime an alderman of London), that King Henry VII., in the 9th of his reign (holding his royal feast of Christmas at Westminster), on the twelfth day, feasted Ralph Austry, then mayor of London, and his brethren the aldermen, with other commoners in great number, and after dinner dubbing the mayor knight, caused him with his brethren to stay and behold the disguisings and other disports in the night following, showed in the great hall, which was richly hanged with arras, and staged about on both sides; which disports being ended in the morning, the king, the queen, the ambassadors, and other estates, being set at a table of stone, sixty knights and esquires served sixty dishes to the king’s mess, and as many to the queen’s (neither flesh nor fish), and served the mayor with twenty-four dishes to his mess, of the same manner, with sundry wines in most plenteous wise: and finally, the king and queen being conveyed with great lights into the palace, the mayor with his company in barges returned and came to London by break of the next day. Thus much for building of this great hall, and feasting therein.

It moreover appeareth that many parliaments have been kept there; for I find noted, that in the year 1397, the great hall at Westminster being out of reparations, and therefore, as it were, new built by Richard II. (as is afore showed), the same Richard, in the mean time having occasion to hold a parliament, caused for that purpose a large house to be built in the midst of the palace-court, betwixt the clock tower and the gate of the old great hall. This house was very large and long, made of timber, covered with tile, open on both the sides and at both the ends, that all men might see and hear what was both said and done.

The king’s archers (in number four thousand Cheshire men) compassed the house about with their bows bent, and arrows[416] knocked in their hands, always ready to shoot: they had bouch of court (to wit, meat and drink), and great wages of six pence by the day.

The old great hall being new built, parliaments were again there kept as before:[297] namely, one in the year 1399, for the deposing of Richard II. A great part of this palace at Westminster was once again burnt in the year 1512, the 4th of Henry VIII.; since the which time it hath not been re-edified: only the great hall, with the offices near adjoining, are kept in good reparations, and serveth as afore for feasts at coronations, arraignments of great persons charged with treasons, keeping of the courts of justice, etc. But the princes have been lodged in other places about the city, as at Baynarde’s castle, at Bridewell, and White hall, sometime called York place, and sometime at St. James’.

This great hall hath been the usual place of pleadings, and ministration of justice, whereof somewhat shortly I will note. In times past the courts and benches followed the king wheresoever he went, as well since the Conquest as before; which thing at length being thought cumbersome, painful, and chargeable to the people, it was in the year 1224, the 9th of Henry III., agreed that there should be a standing place appointed, where matters should be heard and judged, which was in the great hall at Westminster.

In this hall he ordained three judgment seats; to wit, at the entry on the right hand, the Common Pleas, where civil matters are to be pleaded, specially such as touch lands or contracts: at the upper end of the hall, on the right hand, or south-east corner, the King’s Bench, where pleas of the crown have their hearing; and on the left hand, or south-west corner, sitteth the lord chancellor, accompanied with the master of the rolls, and other men, learned for the most part in the civil law, and called masters of the chancery, which have the king’s fee. The times of pleading in these courts are four in the year, which are called terms: the first is Hillary term, which beginneth the 23rd of January, if it be not Sunday, and endeth the 12th of February; the second is Easter term, and beginneth seventeen days after Easter day, and endeth four days after Ascension day; the third term beginneth six or seven days after Trinity Sunday, and endeth the Wednesday fortnight after; the fourth is Michaelmas term, which[417] beginneth the 9th of October, if it be not Sunday, and endeth the 28th of November.

And here it is to be noted, that the kings of this realm have used sometimes to sit in person in the King’s Bench; namely, King Edward IV., in the year 1462, in Michaelmas term, sat in the King’s Bench three days together, in the open court, to understand how his laws were ministered and executed.

Within the port, or entry into the hall, on either side are ascendings up into large chambers, without the hall adjoining thereunto, wherein certain courts be kept, namely, on the right hand, is the court of the Exchequer, a place of account for the revenues of the crown: the hearers of the account have auditors under them; but they which are the chief for accounts of the prince, are called barons of the Exchequer, whereof one is called the chief baron. The greatest officer of all is called the high treasurer.[298] In this court be heard those that are delators, or informers, in popular and penal actions, having thereby part of the profit by the law assigned unto them.

In this court, if any question be, it is determined after the order of the common law of England by twelve men, and all subsidies, taxes, and customs, by account; for in this office the sheriffs of the shire do attend upon the execution of the commandments of the judges, which the earl should do, if he were not attending upon the princes in the wars, or otherwise about him; for the chief office of the earl was to see the king’s justice to have course, and to be well executed in the shire, and the prince’s revenues to be well answered and brought into the treasury.

If any fines or amerciaments be extracted out of any of the said courts upon any man, or any arrerages of accounts of such things as is of customs, taxes, and subsidies, or other such like occasions, the same the sheriff of the shire doth gather, and is answerable therefore in the Exchequer: as for other ordinary rents of patrimonial lands, and most commonly of taxes, customs, and subsidies, there be particular receivers and collectors, which do answer it into the Exchequer. This court of the Exchequer hath of old time, and, as I think, since the Conquest, been kept at Westminster, notwithstanding sometimes removed thence by commandment of the king, and after restored again, as, namely, in the year 1209, King John commanded the Exchequer to be removed from Westminster to Northampton, etc.


On the left hand above the stair is the Duchy chamber, wherein is kept the court for the duchy of Lancaster by a chancellor of that duchy, and other officers under him. Then is there in another chamber the office of the receipts of the queen’s revenues for the crown: then is there also the Star chamber, where in the term time, every week once at the least, which is commonly on Fridays and Wednesdays, and on the next day after the term endeth, the lord chancellor, and the lords, and other of the privy council, and the chief justices of England, from nine of the clock till it be eleven, do sit.

This place is called the Star chamber, because the roof thereof is decked with the likeness of stars gilt: there be plaints heard of riots, routs, and other misdemeanors; which if they be found by the king’s council, the party offender shall be censured by these persons, which speak one after another, and he shall be both fined and commanded to prison.

Then at the upper end of the great hall, by the King’s Bench, is a going up to a great chamber, called the White hall, wherein is now kept the court of Wards and Liveries, and adjoining thereunto is the Court of Requests. Then is St. Stephen’s chapel, of old time founded by King Stephen. King John, in the 7th of his reign, granted to Baldwinus de London, clerk of his Exchequer, the chapelship of St. Stephen’s at Westminster, etc. This chapel was again since, of a far more curious workmanship, new built by King Edward III. in the year 1347, for thirty-eight persons in that church to serve God; to wit, a dean, twelve secular canons, thirteen vicars, four clerks, five choristers, two servitors, to wit, a verger and a keeper of the chapel. He built for those from the house of Receipt, along nigh to the Thames, within the same palace, there to inhabit; and since that there was also built for them, betwixt the clock-house and the wool staple, called the Wey house. He also built to the use of this chapel (though out of the palace court), some distance west, in the little sanctuary, a strong clochard of stone and timber, covered with lead, and placed therein three great bells, since usually rung at coronations, triumphs, funeral of princes, and their obits. Of those bells men fabuled that their ringing soured all the drink in the town: more, that about the biggest bell was written,—

“King Edward made me,
Thirtie thousand and three;
Take me downe and wey me,
And more shall ye find me.”

But these bells being taken down indeed, were found all three[419] not to weigh twenty thousand. True it is, that in the city of Rouen, in Normandie, there is one great bell, that hath such inscription as followeth:—

“Je suis George de Ambois,
Qui trente cinq mil a pois,
Mes lui qui me pesera,
Trente six mil me trouera.
“I am George of Ambois,
Thirty-five thousand in pois;
But he that shall weigh me,
Thirty-six thousand shall find me.”

The said King Edward endowed this chapel with lands to the yearly value of five hundred pounds. Doctor John Chambers, the king’s physician, the last dean of this college, built thereunto a cloister of curious workmanship, to the charges of eleven thousand marks. This chapel, or college, at the suppression, was valued to dispend in lands by the year one thousand and eighty-five pounds ten shillings and five pence, and was surrendered to Edward VI.; since the which time the same chapel hath served as a parliament house.

By this chapel of St. Stephen was sometime one other smaller chapel, called our Lady of the Pew, to the which lady great offerings were used to be made: amongst other things, I have read, that Richard II., after the overthrow of Wat Tyler and other his rebels, in the 4th of his reign, went to Westminster, and there giving thanks to God for his victory, made his offering in this chapel; but as divers have noted, namely, John Piggot, in the year 1252, on the 17th of February, by negligence of a scholar appointed by his schoolmaster to put forth the lights of this chapel, the image of our lady, richly decked with jewels, precious stones, pearls, and rings, more than any jeweller could judge the price for, so saith mine author, was, with all this apparel, ornaments, and chapel itself, burnt; but since again re-edified by Anthonie, Earl Rivers, Lord Scales, and of the Isle of Wight, uncle and governor to the Prince of Wales, that should have been King Edward V., etc.

The said palace, before the entry thereunto, hath a large court, and in the same a tower of stone, containing a clock, which striketh every hour on a great bell, to be heard into the hall in sitting time of the courts, or otherwise; for the same clock, in a calm, will be heard into the city of London. King Henry VI. gave the keeping of this clock, with the tower called the clock-house, and the appurtenances, unto William Walsby, dean of[420] St. Stephen’s, with the wages of six pence the day out of his Exchequer. By this tower standeth a fountain, which at coronations and great triumphs is made to run with wine out of divers spouts.

On the east side of this court is an arched gate to the river of Thames, with a fair bridge and landing-place for all men that have occasion. On the north side is the south end of St. Stephen’s alley, or Canon row, and also a way into the old wool staple; and on the west side is a very fair gate, begun by Richard III. in the year 1484, and was by him built a great height, and many fair lodgings in it, but left unfinished, and is called the high tower of Westminster. Thus much for the monastery and palace may suffice. And now will I speak of the gate-house, and of Totehill street, stretching from the west part of the close.

The gate-house is so called of two gates, the one out of the College court towards the north, on the east side whereof was the bishop of London’s prison for clerks’ convict; and the other gate, adjoining to the first, but towards the west, is a gaol or prison for offenders thither committed. Walter Warfield, cellarer to the monastery, caused both these gates, with the appurtenances, to be built in the reign of Edward III.

On the south side of this gate, King Henry VII. founded an alms-house for thirteen poor men; one of them to be a priest, aged forty-five years, a good grammarian, the other twelve to be aged fifty years, without wives: every Saturday the priest to receive of the abbot, or prior, four pence by the day, and each other two pence halfpenny by the day for ever, for their sustenance, and every year to each one a gown and a hood ready made; and to three women that dressed their meat, and kept them in their sickness, each to have every Saturday sixteen pence, and every year a gown ready made. More, to the thirteen poor men yearly eighty quarters of coal and one thousand of good faggots to their use, in the hall and kitchen of their mansion; a discreet monk to be overseer of them, and he to have forty shillings by the year, etc.; and hereunto was every abbot and prior sworn.

Near unto this house westward was an old chapel of St. Anne; over against the which the Lady Margaret, mother to King Henry VII., erected an alms-house for poor women, which is now turned into lodgings for the singing men of the college. The place wherein this chapel and alms-house standeth was[421] called the Elemosinary, or Almonry, now corruptly the Ambry,[299] for that the alms of the abbey were there distributed to the poor. And therein Islip, abbot of Westminster, erected the first press of book printing that ever was in England, about the year of Christ 1471. William Caxton, citizen of London, mercer, brought it into England, and was the first that practised it in the said abbey; after which time, the like was practised in the abbeys of St. Augustine at Canterbury, St. Alban’s, and other monasteries.

From the west gate runneth along Totehil street, wherein is a house of the Lord Gray of Wilton; and on the other side, at the entry into Totehill field, Stourton house, which Gyles, the last Lord Dacre of the south, purchased and built new, whose lady and wife Anne, sister to Thomas, the Lord Buckhurst, left money to her executors to build an hospital for twenty poor women, and so many children, to be brought up under them, for whose maintenance she assigned lands to the value of one hundred pounds by the year, which hospital her executors have new begun in the field adjoining. From the entry into Totehill field the street is called Petty France, in which, and upon St. Hermit’s hill, on the south side thereof, Cornelius Van Dun (a Brabander born, yeoman of the guard to King Henry VIII., King Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth,) built twenty houses for poor women to dwell rent-free: and near hereunto was a chapel of Mary Magdalen, now wholly ruinated.

In the year of Christ 1256, the 40th of Henry III., John Mansell, the king’s councillor and priest, did invite to a stately dinner the kings and queens of England and Scotland, Edward the king’s son, earls, barons, and knights, the Bishop of London, and divers citizens, whereby his guests did grow to such a number, that his house at Totehill could not receive them, but that he was forced to set up tents and pavilions to receive his guests, whereof there was such a multitude that seven hundred messes of meat did not serve for the first dinner.

The city of Westminster for civil government is divided into twelve several wards; for the which the dean of the collegiate church of Westminster, or the high-steward, do elect twelve burgesses, and as many assistants; that is, one burgess, and one assistant, for every ward; out of the which twelve burgesses two are nominated yearly, upon Thursday in Easter week, for[422] chief burgesses to continue for one year next following, who have authority given them by the act of parliament, 27th Elizabeth, to hear, examine, determine, and punish, according to the laws of the realm, and lawful customs of the city of London, matters of incontinency, common scolds, inmates, and common annoyances; and likewise, to commit such persons as shall offend against the peace, and thereof to give knowledge within four-and-twenty hours to some justice of peace, in the county of Middlesex.