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

DOWNEGATE WARD

Downegate ward beginneth at the south end of Walbrooke ward over against the east corner of St. John’s church upon Walbrooke, and descendeth on both the sides to Downegate on the Thames, and is so called of that down going or descending thereunto; and of this Downgate the ward taketh name. This ward turneth into Thames street westward, some ten houses on a side to the course of Walbrooke, but east in Thames street on both sides to Ebgate lane, or Old Swan, the land side whereof hath many lanes turning up, as shall be shown when I come to them.

But first to begin with the high street called Dowgate; at the upper end thereof is a fair conduit of Thames water, castellated, and made in the year 1568, at charges of the citizens, and is called the conduit upon Downegate. The descent of this street is such, that in the year 1574, on the 4th of September, in the afternoon, there fell a storm of rain, where through the channels suddenly arose, and ran with such a swift course towards the common shores, that a lad of eighteen years old, minding to have leapt over the channel near unto the said conduit, was taken with the stream, and carried from thence towards the Thames with such a violence, that no man with staves or otherwise could stay him, till he came against a cart wheel that stood in the said watergate, before which time he was drowned, and stark dead.

On the west side of this street is the Tallow-chandlers’ hall, a proper house, which company was incorporated in the 2nd year of Edward IV.

Somewhat lower standeth the Skinners’ hall, a fair house, which was sometime called Copped hall, by Downegate, in the parish of St. John upon Walbrooke. In the 19th year of Edward II., Ralph Cobham possessed it with five shops, etc.

This company of Skinners in London were incorporate by Edward III. in the 1st of his reign; they had two brotherhoods of Corpus Christi, viz. one at St. Mary Spittle, the other at St. Mary Bethlem without Bishopsgate. Richard II., in the 18th of his reign, granted them to make their two brotherhoods[207] one, by the name of the fraternity of Corpus Christi. Of Skinners, divers royal persons were named to be founders and brethren of this fraternity, to wit, kings six, dukes nine, earls two, lords one. Kings, Edward III., Richard II., Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., and Edward IV. This fraternity had also once every year, on Corpus Christi day afternoon, a procession passed through the principal streets of the city, wherein was borne more than one hundred torches of wax (costly garnished) burning light, and above two hundred clerks and priests, in surplices and copes, singing. After the which were the sheriffs’ servants, the clerks of the compters, chaplains for the sheriffs, the mayor’s sergeants, the counsel of the city, the mayor and aldermen in scarlet, and then the Skinners in their best liveries. Thus much to stop the tongues of unthankful men, such as used to ask, Why have ye not noted this, or that? and give no thanks for what is done.

Then lower down was a challenge of priests, called Jesus’ Commons, a house well furnished with brass, pewter, napery, plate, etc., besides a fair library well stored with books, all which of old time was given to a number of priests that should keep commons there, and as one left his place, by death or otherwise, another should be admitted into his room, but this order within this thirty years being discontinued, the said house was dissolved and turned to tenements.

Down lower have ye Elbow lane; and at the corner thereof was one great stone house, called Olde hall; it is now taken down, and divers fair houses of timber placed there. This was sometime pertaining to William de Pont le Arch, and by him given to the priory of St. Mary Overy in Southwark, in the reign of Henry I. In this Elbow lane is the Innholders’ hall, and other fair houses; this lane runneth west, and suddenly turneth south into Thames street, and therefore of that bending is called Elbow lane. On the east side of this Downegate street is the great old house before spoken of, called the Erber, near to the church of St. Mary Bothaw; Geffrey Scroope held it by the gift of Edward III., in the 14th of his reign; it belonged since to John Nevell, Lord of Rabie, then to Richard Nevell, Earl of Warwick; Nevell, Earl of Salisburie, was lodged there 1457; then it came to George Duke of Clarence, and his heirs male, by the gift of Edward IV., in the 14th of his reign. It was lately new built by Sir Thomas Pullison, mayor, and was afterward inhabited by Sir Francis Drake, that famous mariner. Next to this great house is a lane turning to Bush lane (of old[208] time called Carter lane, of carts and carmen having stables there), and now called Chequer lane, or Chequer alley, of an inn called the Chequer.

In Thames street, on the Thames side, west from Downegate, is Greenewich lane, of old time so called, and now Frier lane, of such a sign there set up. In this lane is the Joiners’ hall, and other fair houses.

Then is Grantham’s lane, so called of John Grantham, sometime mayor, and owner thereof, whose house was very large and strong, built of stone, as appeareth by gates arched, yet remaining. Ralph Dodmer, first a brewer, then a mercer, mayor 1529, dwelt there, and kept his mayoralty in that house; it is now a brewhouse as it was afore.

Then is Dowgate, whereof is spoken in another place. East from this Dowgate is Cosin lane, named of William Cosin that dwelt there in the 4th of Richard II., as divers his predecessors, father, grandfather, etc. had done before him. William Cosin was one of the sheriffs in the year 1306. That house standeth at the south end of the lane, having an old and artificial conveyance of Thames water into it, and is now a dyehouse called Lambard’s messuage. Adjoining to that house there was lately erected an engine to convey Thames water unto Downegate conduit aforesaid.

Next to this lane, on the east, is the Steelyard, as they term it, a place for merchants of Almaine, that used to bring hither as well wheat, rye, and other grain, as cables, ropes, masts, pitch, tar, flax, hemp, linen cloth, wainscots, wax, steel, and other profitable merchandises. Unto these merchants, in the year 1259, Henry III., at the request of his brother Richard, Earl of Cornewell, king of Almaine, granted that all and singular the merchants, having a house in the city of London, commonly called Guilda Aula Theutonicorum, should be maintained and upholden through the whole realm, by all such freedoms, and free usages, or liberties, as by the king and his noble progenitors’ time they had and enjoyed, etc. Edward I. renewed and confirmed that charter of liberties granted by his father. And in the 10th year of the same Edward, Henry Wales being mayor, a great controversy did arise between the said mayor, and the merchants of the Haunce of Almaine, about the reparations of Bishopsgate, then likely to fall, for that the said merchants enjoyed divers privileges in respect of maintaining the said gate, which they now denied to repair; for the appeasing of which controversy the king sent his writ to the treasurer and barons[209] of his Exchequer, commanding that they should make inquisition thereof; before whom the merchants being called, when they were not able to discharge themselves, sith they enjoyed the liberties to them granted for the same, a precept was sent to the mayor and sheriffs to distrain the said merchants to make reparations, namely, Gerard Marbod, alderman of the Haunce, Ralph de Cussarde, a citizen of Colen, Ludero de Denevar, a burgess of Trivar, John of Aras, a burgess of Trivon, Bartram of Hamburdge, Godestalke of Hundondale, a burgess of Trivon, John de Dele, a burgess of Munstar, then remaining in the said city of London, for themselves and all other merchants of the Haunce, and so they granted two hundred and ten marks sterling to the mayor and citizens, and undertook that they and their successors should from time to time repair the said gate, and bear the third part of the charges in money and men to defend it when need were. And for this agreement the said mayor and citizens granted to the said merchants their liberties, which till of late they have enjoyed, as namely, amongst other, that they might lay up their grain which they brought into this realm in inns, and sell it in their garners, by the space of forty days after they had laid it up, except by the mayor and citizens they were expressly forbidden, because of dearth, or other reasonable occasions. Also they might have their aldermen as they had been accustomed, foreseeing always that he were of the city, and presented to the mayor and aldermen of the city, so oft as any should be chosen, and should take an oath before them to maintain justice in their courts, and to behave themselves in their office according to law, and as it stood with the customs of the city. Thus much for their privileges; whereby it appeareth that they were great merchants of corn brought out of the east parts hither, insomuch that the occupiers of husbandry in this land were inforced to complain of them for bringing in such abundance when the corn of this realm was at such an easy price; whereupon it was ordained by parliament, that no person should bring into any part of this realm, by way of merchandise, wheat, rye, or barley, growing out of the said realm, when the quarter of wheat exceed not the price of 6s. 8d., rye 4s. the quarter, and barley 3s. the quarter, upon forfeiture the one half to the king, the other half to the seizor thereof. These merchants of Haunce had their Guildhall in Thames street in place aforesaid by the said Cosin lane. Their hall is large built of stone, with three arched gates towards the street, the middlemost whereof is far bigger than the other, and is seldom[210] opened, the other two be mured up; the same is now called the old hall.

Of later time, to wit, in the 6th of Richard II., they hired one house next adjoining to their old hall, which sometime belonged to Richard Lions, a famous lapidary, one of the sheriffs of London in the 49th of Edward III., and in the 4th of Richard II., by the rebels of Kent, drawn out of that house and beheaded in West Cheap. This also was a great house with a large wharf on the Thames, and the way thereunto was called Windgoose, or Wildgoose lane, which is now called Windgoose alley, for that the same alley is for the most part built on by the stilyard merchants.

The abbot of St. Alban’s had a messuage here with a key, given to him in the 34th of Henry VI. Then is one other great house, which sometime pertained to John Rainwell, stockfish-monger, mayor, and it was by him given to the mayor and commonalty, to the end that the profits thereof should be disposed in deeds of piety; which house, in the 15th of Edward IV., was confirmed unto the said merchants, in manner following, namely:—“It is ordayned by our soveraigne lord and his parliament, that the said marchants of Almaine, being of the companie called the Guildhall Teutonicorum (or the Flemish gild), that now be, or hereafter shall be, shall have, hold, and enjoy, to them and their successors for ever, the said place called the Steel house, yeelding to the said mayor and communaltie an annuall rent of £70 3s. 4d. etc.”

In the year 1551, and the 5th of Edward VI., through complaint of the English merchants, the liberty of the steelyard merchants was seized into the king’s hands, and so it resteth.

Then is Church lane, at the west end of Alhallowes church, called Alhallowes the More in Thames street, for a difference from Alhallowes the Less in the same street; it is also called Alhallowes ad fœnum in the Ropery, because hay sold near thereunto at Hay wharf, and ropes of old time made and sold in the high street. This is a fair church, with a large cloister on the south side thereof about their churchyard, but foully defaced and ruinated.

The church also hath had many fair monuments, but now defaced. There remaineth in the choir some plates on grave stones—namely, of William Lichfield, D.D., who deceased the year 1447: he was a great student, and compiled many books, both moral and divine, in prose and in verse, namely, one intituled The Complaint of God unto Sinful Man. He made in his time three thousand and eighty-three sermons, as appeared[211] by his own handwriting, and were found when he was dead. One other plate there is of John Brickles, draper, who deceased in the year 1451; he was a great benefactor to that church, and gave by his testament certain tenements to the relief of the poor, etc. Nicholas Loven and William Peston founded chantries there.

At the east end of this church goeth down a lane called Hay wharf lane, now lately a great brewhouse, built there by one Pot; Henry Campion, esquire, a beer-brewer, used it, and Abraham his son now possesseth it. Then was there one other lane, sometime called Woolfe’s gate, now out of use; for the lower part thereof upon the bank of Thames is built by the late Earl of Shrewsburie, and the other end is built on and stopped up by the chamberlain of London. John Butler, draper, one of the sheriffs in the year 1420, dwelt there; he appointed his house to be sold, and the price thereof to be given to the poor: it was of Alhallowes parish the less. Then is there the said parish church of Alhallowes called the Less, and by some Alhallowes on the Cellars, for it standeth on vaults; it is said to be built by Sir John Poultney, sometime mayor. The steeple and choir of this church standeth on an arched gate, being the entry to a great house called Cold Harbrough. The choir of late being fallen down, is now again at length, in the year 1594, by the parishioners new built. Touching this Cold Harbrough, I find, that in the 13th of Edward II., Sir John Abel, knight, demised or let unto Henry Stow, draper, all that his capital messuage called the Cold Harbrough, in the parish of All Saints ad fœnum, and all the appurtenances within the gate, with the key which Robert Hartford, citizen, son to William Hartford, had, and ought; and the foresaid Robert paid for it the rent of thirty-three shillings the year. This Robert Hartford being owner thereof, as also of other lands in Surrey, deceasing without issue male, left two daughters his coheirs, to wit, Idonia, married to Sir Ralph Bigot, and Maude, married to Sir Stephen Cosenton, knights, between whom the said house and lands were parted. After the which, John Bigot, son to the said Sir Ralph, and Sir John Cosenton, did sell their moieties of Cold Harbrough unto John Poultney, son of Adam Poultney, the 8th of Edward III. This Sir John Poultney dwelling in this house, and being four times mayor, the said house took the name of Poultney’s inn. Notwithstanding this, Sir John Poultney, the 21st of Edward III., by his charter, gave and confirmed to Humfrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, his whole tenement called Cold[212] Harbrough, with all the tenements and key adjoining, and appurtenances, sometime pertaining to Robert de Hereford, on the way called Hay wharf lane, etc., for one rose at Midsummer, to him and to his heirs for all services, if the same were demanded. This Sir John Poultney, deceased 1349, and left issue, by Margaret his wife, William Poultney, who died without issue, and Margaret his mother was married to Sir Nicholas Lovel, knight, etc. Philip S. Cleare gave two messuages pertaining to this Cold Harbrough in the Roperie, towards the enlarging of the parish church and churchyard of All Saints, called the Less, in the 20th of Richard II.

In the year 1397, the 21st of Richard II., John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, was lodged there, and Richard II., his brother dined with him: it was then counted a right fair and stately house; but in the next year following I find that Edmond, Earl of Cambridge, was there lodged, notwithstanding the said house still retained the name of Poultney’s inn, in the reign of Henry VI., the 26th of his reign. It belonged since to H. Holland, Duke of Excester, and he was lodged there in the year 1472. In the year 1485, Richard III., by his letters patent, granted and gave to John Writh, alias Garter, principal king of arms of Englishmen, and to the rest of the king’s heralds and pursuivants of arms, all that messuage, with the appurtenances, called Cold Harbrough, in the parish of All Saints the Little in London, and their successors for ever. Dated at Westminster the 2nd of March, anno regni primo, without fine or fee. How the said heralds departed therewith I have not read; but in the reign of Henry VIII. the Bishop of Durham’s house near Charing cross, being taken into the king’s hand, Cuthbert Tunstal, Bishop of Durham, was lodged in this Cold Harbrough; since the which time it hath belonged to the Earls of Shrewsburie, by composition (as is supposed) from the said Cuthbert Tunstall. The last deceased earl took it down, and in place thereof built a great number of small tenements, now letten out for great rents to people of all sorts.

Then is the Dyers’ hall, which company was made a brotherhood or guild, in the 4th of Henry VI., and appointed to consist of a guardian or warden, and a commonalty, the 12th of Edward IV. Then be there divers large brewhouses and others, till you come to Ebgate lane, where that ward endeth in the east. On the north side of Thames street be divers lanes also; the first is at the south end of Elbow lane, before spoken of, west from Downegate, over against Greenwich lane: then be divers fair[213] houses for merchants and others all along that side. The next lane east from Downegate is called Bush lane, which turneth up to Candlewicke street, and is of Downegate ward. Next is Suffolke lane, likewise turning up to Candlewicke street. In this lane is one notable grammar school, founded in the year 1561 by the master, wardens, and assistants of the Merchant-Tailors, in the parish of St. Laurence Poultney; Richard Hilles, sometime master of that company, having before given £500 towards the purchase of a house, called the manor of the Rose, sometime belonging to the Duke of Buckingham, wherein the said school is kept. Then is there one other lane which turneth up to St. Laurence hill, and to the south-west corner of St. Laurence churchyard; then one other lane called Poultney lane, that goeth up of this ward to the south-east corner of St. Laurence churchyard, and so down again, and to the west corner of St. Martin Orgar lane, and over against Ebgate lane; and this is all of Downgate ward, the thirteenth in number lying east from the water-course of Walbrook, and hath not any one house on the west side of the said brook. It hath an alderman, his deputy, common councillors nine, constables eight, scavengers five, for the wardmote inquest fourteen, and a beadle. It is taxed to the fifteen eight-and-twenty pounds.[187]