Use the search box below to research your ancestors by surname, street name, pub name etc. etc.
Do you have detail to add, please contact me : Kevan

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


“This city,” saith Fitzstephen, “is glorious in manhood: furnished with munitions, populous with inhabitants; insomuch, that in the troublesome time of King Stephen, it hath showed at a muster twenty thousand armed horsemen, and threescore thousand footmen, serviceable for the wars. Moreover (saith he), the citizens of London, wheresoever they become, are notable before all other citizens in civility of manners, attire, table, and talk. The matrons of this city are the very modest Sabine ladies of Italy. The Londoners, sometime called Trinobantes, repelled Cæsar, which always made his passage by shedding blood; whereupon Lucan sung:

‘Territa quæsitis ostendit terga Britannis.’

“The city of London hath bred some which have subdued many kingdoms, and also the Roman empire. It hath also brought forth many others, whom virtue and valour hath highly advanced; according to Apollo, in his Oracle to Brute, ‘Sub occasu solis,’ etc. In the time of Christianity, it brought forth that noble emperor, Constantine, which gave the city of Rome and all the imperial ensigns to God, St. Peter, and Pope Silvester; choosing rather to be called a defender of the church than an emperor; and, lest peace might be violated, and their eyes troubled by his presence, he retired from Rome, and built the city of Constantinople. London also in late time hath brought forth famous kings: Maude the empress, King Henry, son to Henry II., and Thomas the Archbishop,” etc.

This Thomas, surnamed Becket, born in London, brought up in the priory of Marton, student at Paris, became the sheriff’s clerk of London for a time, then parson of St. Mary hill, had a prebend at London, another at Lincoln, studied the law at Bononie, etc., was made Chancellor of England, and Archbishop of Canterbury, etc. Unto this might be added innumerable persons of honour, wisdom, and virtue, born in London; but of actions done by worthy citizens I will only note a few, and so to other matters.

The citizens of London, time out of mind, founded an hospital of St. James in the fields for leprous women of their city.


In the year 1197, Walter Brune, a citizen of London, and Rosia, his wife, founded the hospital of our Lady, called Domus Dei, or St. Marie Spittle, without Bishopsgate of London; a house of such relief to the needy, that there was found standing at the surrender thereof nine score beds, well furnished for receipt of poor people.

In the year 1216, the Londoners sending out a navy, took ninety-five ships of pirates and sea-robbers; besides innumerable others that they drowned, which had robbed on the river of Thames.

In the year 1247, Simon Fitzmary, one of the sheriffs of London, founded the hospital of St. Mary called Bethlem, and without Bishopsgate.

In the year 1283, Henry Wallice, then mayor, built the Tun upon Cornhill, to be a prison for night-walkers, and a market-house called the Stocks, both for fish and flesh, standing in the midst of the city. He also built divers houses on the west and north side of Paule’s churchyard; the profits of all which buildings are to the maintenance of London Bridge.

In the year 1332, William Elsing, mercer of London, founded Elsing Spittle within Cripplegate, for sustentation of an hundred poor blind men, and became himself the first prior of that hospital.

Sir John Poultney, draper, four times mayor, in 1337 built a fair chapel in Paule’s church, wherein he was buried. He founded a college in the parish church of St. Laurence, called Poultney: he built the parish church called Little Alhallowes, in Thames street; the Carmelite friars church in Coventry: he gave relief to prisoners in Newgate and in the Fleet, and ten shillings a-year to St. Giles’ hospital by Oldborne for ever, and other legacies long to rehearse.

John Stodie, vintner, mayor 1358, gave to the vintners all the quadrant wherein the Vintners’ hall now standeth, with all the tenements round about, from Stadies lane, wherein is founded thirteen alms houses for so many poor people, etc.

Henry Picard, vintner, mayor 1357, in the year 1363, did in one day sumptuously feast Edward III., king of England, John, king of France, David, king of Scots, the king of Cyprus, then all in England, Edward, prince of Wales, with many other noblemen, and after kept his hall for all comers that were willing to play at dice and hazard. The Lady Margaret, his wife, kept her chamber to the same effect, etc.

John Lofken, fishmonger, four times mayor, 1367, built an[98] hospital called Magdalen’s, in Kingstone upon Thames; gave thereunto nine tenements, ten shops, one mill, one hundred and twenty-five acres of land, ten acres of meadow, one hundred and twenty acres of pasture, etc.; more, in London, he built the fair parish church of St. Michael in Crooked lane, and was there buried.

John Barnes, mayor 1371, gave a chest with three locks, and one thousand marks therein, to be lent to young men upon sufficient pawn, and for the use thereof, to say De profundis, or Pater noster, and no more: he also was a great builder of St. Thomas Apostle’s parish church, as appeareth by his arms there, both in stone and glass.

In the year 1378, John Filpot, sometime mayor, hired with his own money one thousand soldiers, and defended the realm from incursions of the enemy, so that in small time his hired men took John Mercer, a sea-rover, with all his ships, which he before had taken from Scarborrow, and fifteen Spanish ships, laden with great riches.

In the year 1380, Thomas of Woodstocke, Thomas Percie, Hugh Calverley, Robert Knoles, and others, being sent with a great power to aid the duke of Brytaine, the said John Filpot hired ships for them of his own charges, and released the armour, which the soldiers had pawned for their battles, more than a thousand in number. “This most noble citizen,” saith Thomas Walsingham, “that had travailed for the commodity of the whole realm, more than all other of his time, had often relieved the king by lending him great sums of money and otherwise, deceased in A.D. 1384, after that he had assured lands to the city for the relief of thirteen poor people for ever.”

In the year 1381, William Walworth, then mayor, a most provident, valiant, and learned citizen, did by his arrest of Wat Tyler (a presumptuous rebel, upon whom no man durst lay hands), deliver the king and kingdom from the danger of most wicked traitors, and was for his service knighted in the field.

Nicholas Brembar, John Filpot, Robert Laund, Nicholas Twiford, and Adam Francis, aldermen, were then for their service likewise knighted; and Sir Robert Knoles, for assisting of the mayor, was made free of this city.

This Sir Robert Knoles, thus worthily infranchised a citizen, founded a college with an hospital at Pontefract: he also built the great stone bridge at Rochester, over the river of Medway, etc.

John Churchman, grocer, one of the sheriffs, 1386, for the[99] quiet of merchants, built a certain house upon Wool wharf, in Tower ward, to serve for tronage or weighing of wools, and for the customer, comptroller, clerks, and other officers to sit, etc.

Adam Bamme, goldsmith, mayor 1391, in a great dearth, procured corn from parts beyond the seas, to be brought hither in such abundance as sufficed to serve the city, and the countries near adjoining; to the furtherance of which good work he took out of the orphans’ chest in the Guildhall two thousand marks to buy the said corn, and each alderman laid out twenty pounds to the like purpose.

Thomas Knoles, grocer, mayor 1400, with his brethren the aldermen, began to new build the Guildhall in London, and instead of an old little cottage in Aldermanberie street, made a fair and goodly house, more near unto St. Laurence church in the Jurie: he re-edified St. Anthony’s church, and gave to the grocers his house near unto the same, for relief of the poor for ever. More, he caused sweet water to be conveyed to the gates of Newgate and Ludgate, for relief of the prisoners there.

John Hinde, draper, mayor 1405, newly built his parish church of St. Swithen by London stone: his monument is defaced, save only his arms in the glass windows.

Thomas Falconar, mercer, mayor 1414, lent to King Henry VI., towards maintenance of his wars in France, ten thousand marks upon jewels. More, he made the postern called Mooregate, caused the ditches of the city to be cleansed, and did many other things for good of the same city.

William Sevenoke, grocer, mayor 1419, founded in the town of Sevenoke, in Kent, a free school for poor men’s children, and thirteen alms houses: his testament saith, twenty poor men and women.

Richard Whittington, mercer, three times mayor, in the year 1421 began the library of the grey friars in London, to the charge of four hundred pounds: his executors with his goods founded and built Whittington college, with alms houses for thirteen poor men, and divinity lectures to be read there for ever. They repaired St. Bartholomew’s hospital in Smithfield; they bare some charges to the glazing and paving of the Guildhall; they bare half the charges of building the library there, and they built the west gate of London, of old time called Newgate, etc.

John Carpenter, town-clerk of London, in the reign of Henry V., caused with great expense to be curiously painted upon board, about the north cloister of Paule’s, a monument of[100] Death leading all estates, with the speeches of Death, and answer of every state. This cloister was pulled down 1549. He also gave tenements to the city, for the finding and bringing up of four poor men’s children with meat, drink, apparel, learning at the schools in the universities, etc., until they be preferred, and then other in their places for ever.

Robert Chichley, grocer, mayor 1422, appointed by his testament, that on his minde day, a competent dinner should be ordained for two thousand four hundred poor men, householders of this city, and every man to have two pence in money. More, he gave one large plot of ground, thereupon to build the new parish church of St. Stephen, near unto Walbrooke, etc.

John Rainwell, fishmonger, mayor 1427, gave tenements to discharge certain wards of London of fifteenths and other payments.

John Wells, grocer, mayor, 1433, a great builder of the chapel or college of the Guildhall, and was there buried. He caused fresh water to be conveyed from Tyborne to the standard in West Cheape for service of the city.

William Eastfield, mercer, 1438, appointed his executors of his goods to convey sweet water from Tyborne, and to build a fair conduit by Aldermanberie church, which they performed, as also made a standard in Fleet street by Shew lane end; they also conveyed water to Cripples gate, etc.

Stephen Browne, grocer, mayor 1439, sent into Prussia, causing corn to be brought from thence;[120] whereby he brought down the price of wheat from three shillings the bushel to less than half that money.

Philip Malpas, one of the sheriffs 1440, gave by his testament one hundred and twenty-five pounds, to relieve poor prisoners, and every year for five years, four hundred shirts and smocks, forty pairs of sheets, and one hundred and fifty gowns of frieze, to the poor; to five hundred poor people in London six shillings and eight pence; to poor maids’ marriages one hundred marks; to highways one hundred marks; twenty marks the year to a graduate to preach; twenty pounds to preachers at the Spittle the three Easter holidays, etc.

Robert Large, mercer, mayor 1440, gave to his parish-church of St. Olave in Surry two hundred pounds; to St. Margaret’s in Lothberie twenty-five pounds; to the poor twenty pounds; to London bridge one hundred marks; towards the vaulting over the water-course of Walbrooke two hundred marks; to[101] poor maids’ marriages one hundred marks; to poor householders one hundred pounds, etc.

Richard Rich, mercer, one of the sheriffs 1442, founded alms houses at Hodsdon in Hertfordshire.

Simon Eyre, draper, mayor 1346, built the Leaden hall for a common garner of corn for the use of this city, and left five thousand marks to charitable uses.

Godfrey Bollein, mayor of London, 1458, by his testament, gave liberally to the prisons, hospitals, and lazar houses, besides a thousand pounds to poor householders in London, and two hundred pounds to poor householders in Norfolke.[121]

Richard Rawson, one of the sheriffs 1477, gave by testament large legacies to the prisoners, hospitals, lazar houses, to other poor, to highways, to the water-conduits, besides to poor maids’ marriages three hundred and forty pounds, and his executors to build a large house in the churchyard of St. Marie Spittle, wherein the mayor and his brethren do use to sit and hear the sermons in the Easter holidays.

Thomas Ilam, one of the sheriffs 1480, newly built the great conduit in Cheape, of his own charges.

Edward Shaw, goldsmith, mayor 1483, caused the Cripplegate of London to be newly built of his goods, etc.

Thomas Hill, grocer, mayor 1485, caused of his goods the conduit of Grasse street to be built.

Hugh Clopton, mercer, during his life a bachelor, mayor 1492, built the great stone-arched bridge at Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire, and did many other things of great charity, as in my Summary.

Robert Fabian, alderman, and one of the sheriffs, 1494, gathered out of divers good authors, as well Latin as French, a large Chronicle of England and of France, which he published in English, to his great charges, for the honour of this city, and common utility of the whole realm.

Sir John Percivall, merchant-taylor, mayor 1498, founded a grammar-school at Macklefield in Cheshire, where he was born; he endowed the same school with sufficient lands for the finding of a priest master there, to teach freely all children thither sent, without exception.

The Lady Thomasine his wife founded the like free school, together with fair lodgings for the schoolmasters, scholars, and[102] other, and added twenty pounds of yearly revenue for supporting the charges, at St. Mary Wike in Devonshire, where she was born.

Stephen Gennings, merchant-taylor, mayor 1509, founded a fair grammar-school at Ulfrimhampton[122] in Staffordshire, left good lands, and also built a great part of his parish church, called St. Andrew’s Undershaft, in London.

Henry Keble, grocer, mayor 1511, in his life a great benefactor to the new building of old Mary church, and by his testament gave a thousand pounds towards the finishing thereof; he gave to highways two hundred pounds; to poor maids’ marriages one hundred marks; to poor husbandmen in Oxford and Warwick shires one hundred and forty ploughshares, and one hundred and forty coulters of iron; and in London, to seven almsmen six pence the week for ever.

John Collet, a citizen of London by birth and dignity, dean of Paule’s, doctor of divinity, erected and built one free school in Paule’s churchyard, 1512, for three hundred and fifty-three poor men’s children to be taught free in the same school, appointing a master, a surmaster, and a chaplain, with sufficient stipends to endure for ever, and committed the oversight thereof to the mercers in London, because himself was son to Henry Collet, mercer, mayor of London, and endowed the mercers with lands to the yearly value of one hundred and twenty pounds or better.

John Tate, brewer, then a mercer, mayor 1514, caused his brewhouse, called the Swan, near adjoining to the hospital of St. Anthonie in London, to be taken down for the enlarging of the said church, then newly built, a great part of his charge. This was a goodly foundation, with alms houses, free school, etc.

George Monox, draper, mayor 1515, re-edified the decayed parish church of Waltonstow, or Walthamstow, in Essex; he founded there a free school, and alms houses for thirteen alms people, made a causeway of timber over the marshes from Walthamstow to Lock bridge, etc.

Sir John Milborne, draper, mayor 1522, built alms houses, fourteen in number, by the Crossed Friers church in London, there to be placed fourteen poor people; and left to the Drapers certain messuages, tenements, and garden plots, in the parish of St. Olave in Hart street, for the performance of stipends to the said alms people, and other uses. Look more in Ealdgate ward.

Robert Thorne, merchant-taylor, deceased a bachelor in the[103] year 1532, gave by his testament to charitable actions more than four thousand four hundred and forty pounds, and legacies to his poor kindred more five thousand one hundred and forty-two pounds, besides his debts forgiven, etc.

Sir John Allen, mercer, mayor of London, and of council to King Henry VIII., deceased 1544, buried in St. Thomas of Acres in a fair chapel by him built. He gave to the city of London a rich collar of gold to be worn by the mayor, which was first worn by Sir W. Laxton. He gave five hundred marks to be a stock for sea-coal; his lands purchased of the king, the rent thereof to be distributed to the poor in the wards of London for ever. He gave besides to the prisons, hospitals, lazar houses, and all other poor in the city, or two miles without, very liberally, and long to be recited.

Sir William Laxton, grocer, mayor 1545, founded a fair free school at Owndale in Northamptonshire, with six alms houses for the poor.

Sir John Gresham, mercer, mayor 1548, founded a free school at Holt, a market-town in Norfolk.

Sir Rowland Hill, mercer, mayor 1550, caused to be made divers causeways both for horse and man; he made four bridges, two of stone, containing eighteen arches in them both; he built one notable free school at Drayton in Shropshire; he gave to Christ’s hospital in London five hundred pounds, etc.

Sir Andrew Jud, skinner, mayor 1551, erected one notable free school at Tunbridge in Kent, and alms houses nigh St. Helen’s church in London, and left to the Skinners lands to the value of sixty pounds three shillings and eight pence the year; for the which they be bound to pay twenty pounds to the schoolmaster, eight pounds to the usher, yearly, for ever, and four-shillings the week to the six alms people, and twenty-five shillings and four pence the year in coals for ever.

Sir Thomas White, merchant-taylor, mayor 1554, founded St. John’s college, Oxford, and gave great sums of money to divers towns in England for relief of the poor, as in my Summary.

Edward Hall, gentleman, of Gray’s inn, a citizen by birth and office, as common sergeant of London, and one of the judges in the Sheriffs’ court; he wrote and published a famous and eloquent chronicle, entitled, “The Uniting of the Two noble Families, Lancaster and Yorke.”

Richard Hils, merchant-taylor, 1560, gave five hundred pounds towards the purchase of a house called the manor of the Rose, wherein the merchant-taylors founded their free school[104] in London; he also gave to the said merchant-taylors one plot of ground, with certain small cottages on the Tower hill, where he built fair alms houses for fourteen sole women.

About the same time William Lambert, Esq., born in London, a justice of the peace in Kent, founded a college for the poor which he named of Queen Elizabeth, in East Greenwich.

William Harper, merchant-taylor, mayor 1562, founded a free school in the town of Bedford, where he was born, and also buried.

Sir Thomas Gresham, mercer, 1566, built the Royal Exchange in London, and by his testament left his dwelling house in Bishopsgate street to be a place for readings, allowing large stipends to the readers, and certain alms houses for the poor.

William Patten, gentleman, a citizen by birth, a customer of London outward, justice of peace in Middlesex, the parish church of Stokenewenton being ruinous, he repaired, or rather new built.

Sir Thomas Roo, merchant-taylor, mayor 1568, gave to the merchant-taylors lands or tenements, out of them to be given to ten poor men, cloth-workers, carpenters, tilers, plasterers, and armourers, forty pounds yearly, namely, four pounds to each, also one hundred pounds to be lent to eight poor men; besides he enclosed with a wall of brick nigh one acre of ground, pertaining to the hospital of Bethlem, to be a burial for the dead.

Ambrose Nicholas, salter, mayor 1576, founded twelve alms houses in Monke’s well street, near unto Creple’s gate, wherein he placed twelve poor people, having each of them seven pence the week, and once every year five sacks of coals, and one quarter of a hundred faggots, all of his gift for ever.

William Lambe, gentleman and clothworker, in the year 1577, built a water-conduit at Oldborne cross to his charges of fifteen hundred pounds, and did many other charitable acts, as in my Summary.

Sir T. Offley, merchant-taylor, mayor, deceased 1580, appointed by his testament the one half of all his goods, and two hundred pounds deducted out of the other half given to his son Henry, to be given and bestowed in deeds of charity by his executors, according to his confidence and trust in them.

John Haydon, sheriff 1583, gave large legacies, more than three thousand pounds, for the relief of the poor, as in my Summary.

Barnard Randolph, common sergeant of London 1583, gave and delivered with his own hand, nine hundred pounds towards[105] the building of water-conduits, which was performed. More, by testament he gave one thousand pounds to be employed in charitable actions; but that money being in hold fast hands, I have not heard how it was bestowed, more than of other good men’s testaments—to be performed.

Sir Wolston Dixie, skinner, mayor 1586, founded a free school at Bosworth, and endowed it with twenty pounds land by year.

Richard May, merchant-taylor, gave three hundred pounds toward the new building of Blackwell hall in London, a market-place for woollen cloths.

John Fuller, Esq., one of the judges in the sheriffs’ court of London, by his testament, dated 1592, appointed his wife, her heirs and assigns, after his decease, to erect one alms house in the parish of Stikoneth,[123] for twelve poor single men, aged fifty years or upwards, and one other alms house in Shoreditch, for twelve poor aged widow women of like age, she to endow them with one hundred pounds the year, to wit, fifty pounds to each for ever, out of his lands in Lincolne shire, assured ever unto certain fiefs in trust, by a deed of feoffment. Item: more, he gave his messuages, lands, and tenements, lying in the parishes of St. Benet and St. Peter, by Powle’s wharf in London, to feoffees in trust, yearly for ever, to disburse all the issues and profits of the said lands and tenements, to the relieving and discharge of poor prisoners in the Hole, or two penny wards in the two compters in London, in equal portions to each compter, so that the prisoners exceed not the sum of twenty-six shillings and eight pence for every one prisoner at any one time.

Thus much for famous citizens have I noted their charitable actions, for the most part done by them in their lifetime. The residue left in trust to their executors, I have known some of them hardly (or never) performed; wherefore I wish men to make their own hands their executors, and their eyes their overseers, not forgetting the old proverb:—

“Women be forgetfull, children be unkind,
Executors be covetous, and take what they find.
If any body aske where the dead’s goods became,
They answere, So God me help, and holy dome, he died a poore man.”

One worthy citizen merchant-taylor, having many years considered this proverb foregoing, hath therefore established to twelve poor aged men, merchant-taylors, six pounds two shillings to each yearly for ever. He hath also given them gowns of good[106] broad cloth, lined thoroughly with bays, and are to receive every three years’ end the like new gowns for ever.

And now of some women, citizens’ wives, deserving memory, for example to posterity shall be noted.

Dame Agnes Foster, widow, sometime wife to Stephen Foster, fishmonger, mayor 1455, having enlarged the prison of Ludgate in 1463, procured in a common council of this city, certain articles to be established for the ease, comfort, and relief of poor prisoners there, as in the chapter of gates I have set down.

Avise Gibson, wife unto Nicholas Gibson, grocer, one of the sheriffs 1539, by license of her husband, founded a free school at Radclyffe, near unto London, appointing to the same, for the instruction of sixty poor men’s children, a schoolmaster and usher with fifty pounds; she also built alms houses for fourteen poor aged persons, each of them to receive quarterly six shillings and eight pence the piece for ever; the government of which free school and alms houses she left in confidence to the Coopers in London. This virtuous gentlewoman was after joined in marriage with Sir Anthony Knevet, knight, and so called the Lady Knevet; a fair painted table of her picture was placed in the chapel which she had built there, but of late removed thence, by the like reason as the Grocer’s arms fixed on the outer wall of the schoolhouse are pulled down, and the Coopers set in place.[124]

Margaret Danne, widow to William Danne, ironmonger, one of the sheriffs of London, gave by her testament to the ironmongers, two thousand pounds, to be lent to young men of that company, paying after the rate of five pounds in the year for every hundred; which one hundred pounds so rising yearly, to be employed on charitable actions, as she then appointed, but not performed in more than thirty years after.

Dame Mary Ramsey, wife to Sir Thomas Ramsey, mayor about the year 1577, being seised of lands in fee simple of her inheritance to the yearly value of two hundred and forty-three pounds, by his consent gave the same to Christ’s hospital in London towards the relief of poor children there, and other ways, as in my Summary and Abridgment I have long since expressed; which gift she in her widowhood confirmed and augmented, as is showed by monuments in Christ’s hospital erected.

Thus much for the worthiness of citizens in this city, touching[107] whom John Lidgate, a monk of Bury, in the reign of Henry VI., made (amongst other) these verses following:—

“Of seaven things I prayse this citty.
Of true meaning and faithful observance;
Of righteousnes, truth, and equity;
Of stablenes aye kept in legiance;
And for of vertue thou hast suffisance,
In this lond here, and other londs all,
The kinges chamber of custome, men thee call.”

Having thus in generality handled the original, the walls, gates, ditches, and fresh waters, the bridges, towers, and castles, the schools of learning and house of law, the orders and customs, sports and pastimes, watchings and martial exercises, and lastly the honour and worthiness of the citizens, I am now to set down the distribution of this city into parts; and more especially to declare the antiquities noteworthy in every of the same; and how both the whole and parts have been from time to time ruled and governed.