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


The next is Cordwainer street ward, taking that name of cordwainers, or shoemakers, curriers, and workers of leather, dwelling there; for it appeareth in the records of Henry VI., the 9th of his reign, that an order was taken then for cordwainers and curriers in Corney street and Sopars lane.

This ward beginneth in the east, on the west side of Walbrook, and turneth west through Budge row (a street so called of the Budge furre, and of skinners dwelling there), then up by St. Anthony’s church through Aetheling (or Noble street), as Leland termeth it, commonly called Wathling street, to the Red Lion, a place so called of a great lion of timber placed there at a gate, entering a large court, wherein are divers fair and large shops, well furnished with broad cloths and other draperies of all sorts, to be sold: and this is the farthest west part of this ward.

On the south side of this street from Budge row lieth a lane turning down by the west gate of the Tower Royal, and to the south end of the stone wall beyond the said gate is of this ward, and is accounted a part of the Royal street: against this west gate of the Tower Royal is one other lane that runneth west to Cordwainer street, and this is called Turnebase lane; on the south side whereof is a piece of Wringwren lane, to the north-west corner of St. Thomas Church the Apostle. Then again, out of the high street called Wathling, is one other street, which runneth thwart the same; and this is Cordwainer street, whereof the whole ward taketh name. This street beginneth by West Cheape, and St. Mary Bow church is the head thereof on the west side, and it runneth down south through that part which of later time was called Hosier lane, now Bow lane, and then by the west end of Aldmary church to the new built houses, in place of Ormond house, and so to Garlicke hill, or hithe, to St. James’ church. The upper part of this street towards Cheape was called Hosier lane, of hosiers dwelling there in place of shoemakers; but now those hosiers being worn out by men of other trades (as the hosiers had worn out the shoemakers), the same is called Bow lane of Bow church. On the west side of Cordewainers street is Basing lane, right over against Turnebasse lane. This Basing lane west to the back gate of the Red Lion, in Wathling street, is of this Cordwainers street ward.


Now again, on the north side of the high street in Budge row, by the east end of St. Anthonie’s church, have ye St. Sithes lane, so called of St. Sithes church (which standeth against the north end of that lane), and this is wholly of Cordwainers street ward: also the south side of Needlers lane, which reacheth from the north end of St. Sithes lane west to Sopar’s lane; then west from St. Anthonies church is the south end of Sopar’s lane, which lane took that name, not of soap-making, as some have supposed, but of Alen le Sopar, in the 9th of Edward II. I have not read or heard of soap-making in this city till within this fourscore years; that John Lame, dwelling in Grasse street, set up a boiling-house for this city, of former time, was served of white soap in hard cakes (called Castell soap, and other), from beyond the seas, and of grey soap,[190] speckled with white, very sweet and good, from Bristow, sold here for a penny the pound, and never above a penny farthing, and black soap for a halfpenny the pound. Then in Bow lane (as they now call it) is Goose lane, by Bow church. William Essex, mercer, had tenements there in the 26th of Edward III.

Then from the south end of Bow lane, by Wathling street, till over against the Red Lion: and these be the bounds of Cordwainer street ward.

Touching monuments therein, first you have the fair parish church of St. Anthonies in Budge row, on the north side thereof. This church was lately re-edified by Thomas Knowles, grocer, mayor, and by Thomas Knowles, his son, both buried there, with epitaphs, of the father thus:

“Here lieth graven vnder this stone,
Thomas Knowles, both flesh and bone;
Grocer and alderman, yeares fortie,
Shiriffe, and twice maior truly.
And for he should not lie alone,
Here lieth with him his good wife Joan.
They were togither sixtie yeare,
And ninteene children they had in feere,” etc.

Thomas Holland, mercer, was there buried 1456; Thomas Windent, mercer, alderman, and Katherine his wife; Thomas Hind, mercer, 1528; he was a benefactor to this church, to Aldermarie church, and to Bow; Hugh Acton, merchant-tailor, buried 1520; he gave thirty-six pounds to the repairing of the steeple of this church. Simon Street, grocer, lieth in the church[226] wall toward the south; his arms be three colts, and his epitaph thus:

“Such as I am, such shall you be,
Grocer of London sometime was I,
The king’s wayer more then yeares twentie,
Simon Streete called in my place,
And good fellowship faine would trace;
Therefore in heaven, everlasting life,
Jesu send me, and Agnes my wife:
Kerlie Merlie, my words were tho,
And Deo gratias I coupled thereto:
I passed to God in the yeare of grace,
A thousand foure hundred it was,” etc.

William Dauntsey, mercer, one of the sheriffs, buried 1542. Henry Collet, mercer, mayor, a great benefactor to this church; the pictures of him, his wife, ten sons, and ten daughters, remain in the glass window on the north side of the church; but the said Henry Collet was buried at Stebunhith. Henry Halton, grocer, one of the sheriffs, deceased 1415; Thomas Spight, merchant-tailor, 1533; and Roger Martin, mercer, mayor, deceased 1573. John Grantham and Nicholas Bull had chantries there.

Next on the south side of Budge row, by the west corner thereof, and on the east side of Cordwainer street, is one other fair church called Aldemarie church, because the same was very old, and elder than any church of St. Marie in the city, till of late years the foundation of a very fair new church was laid there by Henry Keble, grocer, mayor, who deceased 1518, and was there buried in a vault by him prepared, with a fair monument raised over him on the north side the choir, now destroyed and gone: he gave by his testament one thousand pounds towards the building up of that church, and yet not permitted a resting-place for his bones there. Thomas Roman, mayor 1310, had a chantry there. Richard Chawcer,[191] vintner, gave to that church his tenement and tavern, with the appurtenance, in the Royal street, the corner of Kerion lane, and was there buried 1348. John Briton; Ralph Holland, draper, one of the sheriffs, deceased 1452; William Taylor, grocer, mayor, deceased 1483: he discharged that ward of fifteens to be paid by the poor. Thomas Hinde, mercer, buried in St. Anthonies, gave ten fodder of lead to the covering of the middle aisle of this Aldemarie church. Charles Blunt, Lord Montjoy, was buried there about the year 1545; he made or glazed the east[227] window, as appeareth by his arms: his epitaph, made by him in his lifetime, thus:

“Willingly have I fought, and willingly have I found
The fatall end that wrought thither as dutie bound:
Discharged I am of that I ought to my country by honest wound,
My soule departed Christ hath bought, the end of man is ground.”

Sir William Laxton, grocer, mayor, deceased 1556, and Thomas Lodge, grocer, mayor 1583, were buried in the vault of Henry Keble, whose bones were unkindly cast out, and his monument pulled down;[192] in place whereof monuments are set up of the later buried. William Blunt, Lord Mountjoy, buried there 1594, etc.

At the upper end of Hosier lane, toward Westcheape, is the fair parish church of St. Mary Bow. This church, in the reign of William Conqueror, being the first in this city built on arches of stone, was therefore called New Marie church, of St. Marie de Arcubus,[193] or Le Bow, in West Cheaping; as Stratford bridge being the first built (by Matilde the queen, wife to Henry I.) with arches of stone, was called Stratford le Bow; which names to the said church and bridge remaineth till this day. The court of the Arches is kept in this church, and taketh name of the place, not the place of the court; but of what antiquity or continuation that court hath there continued I cannot learn.

This church is of Cordwainer street ward, and for divers accidents happening there, hath been made more famous than any other parish church of the whole city or suburbs. First, we read, that in the year 1090, and the 3rd of William Rufus, by tempest of wind, the roof of the church of St. Marie Bow, in Cheape, was overturned, wherewith some persons were slain, and four of the rafters, of twenty-six feet in length, with such violence were pitched in the ground of the high street, that scantly four feet of them remained above ground, which were[228] fain to be cut even with the ground, because they could not be plucked out (for the city of London was not then paved, and a marish ground).

In the year 1196, William Fitz Osbert, a seditious tailor, took the steeple of Bow, and fortified it with munitions and victuals, but it was assaulted, and William with his accomplices were taken, though not without bloodshed, for he was forced by fire and smoke to forsake the church; and then, by the judges condemned, he was by the heels drawn to the Elms in Smithfield, and there hanged with nine of his fellows; where, because his favourers came not to deliver him, he forsook Mary’s son (as he termed Christ our Saviour), and called upon the devil to help and deliver him. Such was the end of this deceiver, a man of an evil life, a secret murderer, a filthy fornicator, a pollutor of concubines, and (amongst other his detestable facts) a false accuser of his elder brother,[194] who had in his youth brought him up in learning, and done many things for his preferment.

In the year 1271, a great part of the steeple of Bow fell down, and slew many people, men and women. In the year 1284, the 13th of Edward I., Laurence Ducket, goldsmith, having grievously wounded one Ralph Crepin in Westcheape, fled into Bow church; into the which in the night time entered certain evil persons, friends unto the said Ralph, and slew the said Laurence lying in the steeple, and then hanged him up, placing him so by the window as if he had hanged himself, and so was it found by inquisition; for the which fact Laurence Ducket, being drawn by the feet, was buried in a ditch without the city; but shortly after, by relation of a boy, who lay with the said Laurence at the time of his death, and had hid him there for fear, the truth of the matter was disclosed; for the which cause, Jordan Goodcheape, Ralph Crepin, Gilbert Clarke, and Geffrey Clarke, were attainted; a certain woman named Alice, that was chief causer of the said mischief, was burnt, and to the number of sixteen men were drawn and hanged, besides others that being richer, after long imprisonment, were hanged by the purse.

The church was interdicted, the doors and windows were stopped up with thorns, but Laurence was taken up, and honestly buried in the churchyard.

The parish church of St. Mary Bow, by mean of incroachment[229] and building of houses, wanting room in their churchyard for burial of the dead, John Rotham, or Rodham, citizen and tailor, by his testament, dated the year 1465, gave to the parson and churchwardens a certain garden in Hosier lane to be a churchyard, which so continued near a hundred years; but now is built on, and is a private man’s house. The old steeple of this church was by little and little re-edified, and new built up, at the least so much as was fallen down, many men giving sums of money to the furtherance thereof; so that at length, to wit, in the year 1469, it was ordained by a common council that the Bow bell should be nightly rung at nine of the clock. Shortly after, John Donne, mercer, by his testament, dated 1472, according to the trust of Reginald Longdon, gave to the parson and churchwardens of St. Mary Bow two tenements, with the appurtenances, since made into one, in Hosier lane, then so called, to the maintenance of Bow bell, the same to be rung as aforesaid, and other things to be observed, as by the will appeareth.

This bell being usually rung somewhat late, as seemed to the young men ’prentices, and other in Cheape, they made and set up a rhyme against the clerk, as followeth:

“Clarke of the Bow bell with the yellow lockes,
For thy late ringing thy head shall have knocks.”

Whereunto the clerk replying, wrote,

“Children of Cheape, hold you all still,
For you shall have the Bow bell rung at your will.”

Robert Harding, goldsmith, one of the sheriffs 1478, gave to the new work of that steeple forty pounds; John Haw, mercer, ten pounds; Doctor Allen, four pounds; Thomas Baldry, four pounds, and other gave other sums, so that the said work of the steeple was finished in the year 1512. The arches or bowes thereupon, with the lanthorns, five in number, to wit, one at each corner, and one on the top in the middle upon the arches, were also afterward finished of stone, brought from Caen in Normandy, delivered at the Customers key for 4s. 8d. the ton; William Copland, tailor, the king’s merchant, and Andrew Fuller, mercer, being churchwardens 1515 and 1516. It is said that this Copland gave the great bell, which made the fifth in the ring, to be rung nightly at nine of the clock. This bell was first rung as a knell at the burial of the same Copland. It appeareth that the lanthorns on the top of this steeple were meant to have been glazed, and lights in them placed nightly[230] in the winter, whereby travellers to the city might have the better sight thereof, and not to miss of their ways.

In this parish also was a grammar school, by commandment of King Henry VI., which school was of old time kept in a house for that purpose prepared in the churchyard; but that school being decayed, as others about this city, the school-house was let out for rent, in the reign of Henry VIII., for four shillings the year, a cellar for two shillings the year, and two vaults under the church for fifteen shillings both.

The monuments in this church be these; namely, of Sir John Coventrie, mercer, mayor 1425; Richard Lambert, alderman; Nicholas Alwine, mercer, mayor 1499; Robert Harding, goldsmith, one of the sheriffs 1478; John Loke, one of the sheriffs 1461; Edward Bankes, alderman, haberdasher, 1566; John Warde; William Pierson, scrivener and attorney in the Common Pleas. In a proper chapel on the south side the church standeth a tomb, elevated and arched.[195] Ade de Buke, hatter, glazed the chapel and most part of the church, and was there buried. All other monuments be defaced. Hawley and Southam had chantries there.

Without the north side of this church of St. Mary Bow, towards West Cheape, standeth one fair building of stone, called in record Seldam, a shed, which greatly darkeneth the said church; for by means thereof all the windows and doors on that side are stopped up. King Edward III. upon occasion, as shall be shown in the ward of Cheape, caused this sild or shed to be made, and to be strongly built of stone, for himself, the queen, and other estates to stand in, there to behold the joustings and other shows at their pleasures. And this house for a long time after served to that use, namely, in the reign of Edward III. and Richard II.; but in the year 1410, Henry IV., in the 12th of his reign, confirmed the said shed or building to Stephen Spilman, William Marchford, and John Whateley, mercers, by the name of one New Seldam, shed, or building, with shops, cellars, and edifices whatsoever appertaining, called Crounsilde, or Tamersilde,[196] situate in the mercery in West Cheape, and in the parish of St. Mary de Arcubus in London, etc. Notwithstanding which grant, the kings of England, and other great estates, as well of foreign countries, repairing to this realm, as inhabitants of the same, have usually repaired to[231] this place, therein to behold the shows of this city passing through West Cheape, namely, the great watches accustomed in the night, on the even of St. John Baptist, and St. Peter at Midsummer, the examples whereof were over long to recite, wherefore let it suffice briefly to touch one. In the year 1510, on St. John’s even, at night, King Henry VIII. came to this place, then called the King’s Head in Cheape, in the livery of a yeoman of the guard, with an halbert on his shoulder (and there beholding the watch) departed privily when the watch was done, and was not known to any but to whom it pleased him; but on St. Peter’s night next following, he and the queen came royally riding to the said place, and there with their nobles beheld the watch of the city, and returned in the morning.

This church of St. Mary, with the said shed of stone, all the housing in or about Bow church yard, and without on that side the high street of Cheape to the Standard, be of Cordewainer street ward. These houses were of old time but sheds; for I read of no housing otherwise on that side the street, but of divers sheds from Sopar’s lane to the Standard, etc. Amongst other, I read of three shops or sheds by Sopar’s lane, pertaining to the priory of the Holy Trinity within Aldgate; the one was let out for twenty-eight shillings, one other for twenty shillings, and the third for twelve shillings, by the year. Moreover, that Richard Goodchepe, mercer, and Margery his wife, son to Jordaine Goodchepe, did let to John Dalinges the younger, mercer, their shed and chamber in West Cheape, in the parish of St. Mary de Arches for three shillings and four pence by the year. Also the men of Bread street ward contended with the men of Cordwayner street ward for a seld or shed opposite to the Standard, on the south side, and it was found to be of Cordwayner street ward; W. Waldorne being then mayor, the 1st of Henry VI. Thus much for Cordwainer street ward; which hath an alderman, his deputy, common councillors eight, constables eight, scavengers eight, wardmote inquest men fourteen, and a beadle. It standeth taxed to the fifteen in London at £52 16s., in the Exchequer at £52 6s.[197]