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


It is to be observed that leprous persons were always, for avoiding the danger of infection, to be separated from the sound, etc.; God himself commanding to put out of the host every leper.[302] Whereupon I read, that in a provincial synod holden at Westminster by Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, in the year of Christ 1200, the 2nd of King John, it was decreed, according to the institution of the Lateran council, that when so many leprous people were assembled, that might be able to build a church, with a churchyard, for themselves, and to have one especial priest of their own, that they should be permitted to have the same without contradiction, so they be not injurious to the old churches, by that which was granted to them for pity’s sake. And further, it was decreed that they be not compelled to give any tithes of their gardens or increase of cattle.

I have moreover heard, that there is a writ in our law, de leproso amovendo; and I have read that King Edward III., in the 20th year of his reign, gave commandment to the mayor and sheriffs of London, to make proclamation in every ward of[441] the city and suburbs, that all leprous persons inhabiting there should avoid within fifteen days next, and that no man suffer any such leprous person to abide within his house, upon pain to forfeit his said house, and to incur the king’s further displeasure; and that they should cause the said lepers to be removed into some out places of the fields, from the haunt or company of sound people: whereupon certain lazar-houses, as may be supposed, were then built without the city some good distance; to wit, the Locke without Southwark in Kent street; one other betwixt the Miles end and Stratford, Bow; one other at Kingsland, betwixt Shoreditch and Stoke Newington; and another at Knightes bridge, west from Charing cross. These four I have noted to be erected for the receipt of leprous people sent out of the city. At that time, also, the citizens required of the guardian of St. Giles’ hospital to take from them, and to keep continually, the number of fourteen persons leprous, according to the foundation of Matilde the queen, which was for leprous persons of the city of London and the shire of Middlesex, which was granted. More, the wardens, or keepers of the ports, gates, or posterns of this city, were sworn in the mayor’s court before the recorder, etc., that they should well and faithfully keep the same ports and posterns, and not to suffer any leprous person to enter the said city.

John Gardener, porter of the postern by the Tower, his oath before the mayor and recorder of London, on Monday, after the feast of St. Bartlemew, the 49th of Edward III.: That the gates and postern be well and faithfully kept in his office and baylywicke, and that he should not suffer any lepers or leper to enter the city, or to remain in the suburbs; and if any leper or lepers force themselves to enter by his gates or postern, he to bind them fast to horses, and send them to be examined of the superiors, etc.

Finally, I read that one William Pole, yeoman of the crown to King Edward IV., being stricken with a leprosy, was also desirous to build an hospital, with a chapel, to the honour of God and St. Anthony, for the relief and harbouring of such leprous persons as were destitute in the kingdom, to the end they should not be offensive to other in their passing to and fro: for the which cause Edward IV. did by his charter, dated the 12th of his reign, give unto the said William for ever a certain parcel of his land lying in his highway of Highgate and Haloway, within the county of Middlesex, containing sixty feet in length and thirty-four in breadth.