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

LIBERTIES OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Next without the bar is the New Temple, and liberties of the city of London, in the suburbs, is a liberty pertaining to the duchy of Lancaster, which beginneth in the east, on the south side or left hand, by the river Thames, and stretcheth west to Ivie bridge, where it endeth; and again on the north side, or right hand, some small distance without Temple bar, in the high street, from a pair of stocks there standing, stretcheth one large Middle row, or troop of small tenements, partly opening to the south, partly towards the north, up west to a stone cross, now headless, over against the Strand; and this is the bounds to that liberty, which sometime belonged to Briane Lisle, since to Peter of Savoy, and then to the house of Lancaster, as shall be showed. Henry III., in the 30th year of his reign, did grant to his uncle Peter of Savoy all those houses upon the Thames, which sometimes pertained to Briane de Insula, or Lisle, without the walls of his city of London, in the way or street called the Strand, to hold to him and to his heirs, yielding yearly in the Exchequer, at the feast of St. Michaell the Archangell, three barbed arrows, for all services, dated at Reding, etc. This Peter of Savoy built the Savoy.

But first amongst other buildings memorable for greatness, on the river of Thames, Excester house, so called for that the[394] same belonged to the bishops of Excester, and was their inn or London lodging: who was first builder thereof I have not read, but that Walter Stapleton was a great builder there in the reign of Edward II. is manifest; for the citizens of London, when they had beheaded him in Cheape, near unto the cathedral church of St. Paule, they buried him in a heap of sand or rubbish in his own house without Temple bar, where he had made great building. Edmond Lacie, bishop of Excester, built the great hall in the reign of Henry VI., etc. The same hath since been called Paget house, because William Lord Paget enlarged and possessed it. Then Leycester house, because Robert Dudley, earl of Leycester, of late new built there, and now Essex house, of the earl of Essex lodging there.

Then west was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Ghost, called St. Sprite, upon what occasion founded I have not read. Next is Milford lane down to the Thames, but why so called I have not read as yet.

Then was the bishop of Bathes inn, lately new built, for a great part thereof, by the Lord Thomas Seymour, admiral; which house came since to be possessed by the earl of Arundel, and thereof called Arundel house.

Next beyond the which, on the street side, was sometime a fair cemetery or churchyard, and in the same a parish church called of the Nativity of our Lady, and the Innocents of the Strand, and of some by means of a brotherhood kept there, called St. Ursula at the Strand. And near adjoining to the said church, betwixt it and the river of Thames, was an inn of Chancery commonly called Chester’s inn (because it belonged to the bishop of Chester), by others, named of the situation, Strand inn.

Then was there a house belonging to the bishop of Landaff; for I find in record, the 4th of Edward II., that a vacant place lying near the church of our Lady at Strand, the said bishop procured it of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, for the enlarging of this house. Then had ye in the high street a fair bridge called Strand bridge, and under it a lane or way down to the landing-place on the bank of Thames.

Then was the bishop of Chester’s (commonly called of Lichfield and Coventrie), his inn or London lodging: this house was first built by Walter Langton, bishop of Chester, treasurer of England in the reign of Edward I.

And next unto it adjoining was the bishop of Worcester’s inn: all which, to wit, the parish of St. Mary at Strand, Strand[395] inn, Strand bridge, with the lane under it, the bishop of Chester’s inn, the bishop of Worcester’s inn, with all the tenements adjoining, were by commandment of Edward, duke of Somerset, uncle to Edward VI., and lord protector, pulled down, and made level ground in the year 1549; in place whereof he built that large and goodly house, now called Somerset house.

In the high street, near unto the Strand, sometime stood a cross of stone against the bishop of Coventrie or Chester his house; whereof I read, that in the year 1294, and divers other times, the justices itinerants sate without London, at the stone cross over against the bishop of Coventrie’s house, and sometime they sate in the Bishop’s house, which was hard by the Strand, as is aforesaid.

Then next is the Savoy, so called of Peter, earl of Savoy, and Richmond, son to Thomas, earl of Savoy, brother to Boniface, archbishop of Canterbury, and uncle unto Eleanor, wife to King Henry III.

He first built this house in the year 1245; and here is occasion offered me for satisfying of some deniers thereof, to prove that this Peter of Savoy was also earl of Savoy: wherefore, out of a book of the genealogies of all the whole house of Savoy, compiled by Phillebert Pingonio, baron of Guzani, remaining in the hands of W. Smith, alias Rougedragon, officer of arms, I have gathered this:—Thomas, earl of Savoy, had issue by Beatrix, daughter to Aimon, earl of Geneva, nine sons and three daughters. Amades, his first son, succeeded earl of Savoy in the year 1253; Peter, his second son, earl of Savoy and of Richmond, in 1268; Philip, his third son, earl of Savoy and Burgundie, 1284; Thomas, the fourth, earl of Flanders and prince of Piemont; Boniface, the eighth, archbishop of Canterbury; Beatrix, his daughter, married to Raymond Beringarius of Aragon, earl of Province and Narbone, had issue, and was mother to five queens: the first, Margaret, wife to Lewes, king of France; the second, Eleanor, wife to Henry III. king of England; the third, Sanctia, wife to Richard, king of the Romans; the fourth, Beatrix, wife to Charles, king of Naples; the fifth, Johanna, wife to Philip, king of Navarre.

To return again to the house of Savoy: Queen Eleanor, wife to king Henry III., purchased this place afterwards of the fraternity or brethren of Montjoy;[287] unto whom Peter of Savoy, as it seemeth, had given it, for her son, Edmond earl of Lan[396]caster (as M. Camden hath noted out of a register-book of the dukes of Lancaster). Henry, duke of Lancaster, repaired or rather new built it, with the charges of fifty-two thousand marks, which money he had gathered together at the town of Bridgerike. John, the French king, was lodged there in the year 1357, and also in the year 1363; for it was at that time the fairest manor in England.

In the year 1381, the rebels of Kent and Essex burnt this house; unto the which there was none in the realm to be compared in beauty and stateliness (saith mine author).[288] They set fire on it round about, and made proclamation that none, on pain to lose his head, should convert to his own use anything that there was, but that they should break such plate and vessels of gold and silver as was found in that house (which was in great plenty) into small pieces, and throw the same into the river of Thames: precious stones they should bruise in mortars, that the same might be to no use, and so it was done by them. One of their companions they burnt in the fire, because he minded to have reserved one goodly piece of plate.[289]

They found there certain barrels of gunpowder, which they thought had been gold or silver, and throwing them into the fire more suddenly than they thought, the hall was blown up, the houses destroyed, and themselves very hardly escaped away.

This house being thus defaced, and almost overthrown by these rebels for malice they bare to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, of latter time came to the king’s hands, and was again raised and beautifully built for an hospital of St. John Baptist by King Henry VII. about the year 1509, for the which hospital, retaining still the old name of Savoy, he purchased lands to be employed upon the relieving of a hundred poor people. This hospital being valued to dispend five hundred and twenty-nine pounds fifteen shillings, etc. by year, was suppressed the tenth of June, the 7th of Edward VI.: the beds, bedding, and other furniture belonging thereunto, with seven hundred marks of the said lands by year, he gave to the citizens of London, with his house of Bridewell, to the furnishing thereof, to be a workhouse for the poor and idle persons, and towards the furnishing of the hospital of St. Thomas in Southwark, lately suppressed.

[397]

This hospital of Savoy was again new founded, erected, corporated, and endowed with lands by Queen Mary, the third of November: in the 4th of her reign, one Jackson took possession, and was made master thereof in the same month of November. The ladies of the court and maidens of honour (a thing not to be forgotten) stored the same of new with beds, bedding, and other furniture, in very ample manner, etc.; and it was by patent so confirmed at Westminster the 9th of May, the 4th and 5th of Philip and Mary. The chapel of this hospital serveth now as a parish church to the tenements thereof near adjoining, and others.

The next was sometime the bishop of Carlisle’s inn, which now belongeth to the earl of Bedford, and is called Russell or Bedford house. It stretcheth from the hospital of Savoy, west to Ivie bridge, where Sir Robert Cecill, principal secretary to her majesty, hath lately raised a large and stately house of brick and timber, as also levelled and paved the highway near adjoining, to the great beautifying of that street and commodity of passengers. Richard II., in the 8th of his reign, granted license to pave with stone the highway called Strand street from Temple bar to the Savoy, and toll to be taken towards the charges; and again the like was granted in the 42nd of Henry VI.

Ivie bridge, in the high street, which had a way under it leading down to the Thames, the like as sometime had the Strand bridge, is now taken down, but the lane remaineth as afore, or better, and parteth the liberty of the duchy and the city of Westminster on that south side.

Now to begin again at Temple bar, over against it.[290] In the high street, as is afore showed, is one large Middle row of houses and small tenements built, partly opening to the south, partly towards the north; amongst the which standeth the parish church of St. Clement Danes, so called because Harold, a Danish king, and other Danes, were buried there. This Harold, whom king Canutus had by a concubine, reigned three years, and was buried at Westminster; but afterward Hardicanutus, the lawful son of Canutus, in revenge of a displeasure done to his mother, by expelling her out of the realm, and the murder of his brother Allured, commanded the body of Harold to be digged out of the earth, and to be thrown into the Thames, where it was by a fisherman taken up and buried in this churchyard; but out of a fair ledger-book, sometime belonging to the abbey of Chartsey, in the county of Surrey, is noted, as in Francis Thin, after this sort. In the reign of king Etheldred, the[398] monastery of Chartsey was destroyed: ninety monks of that house were slain by the Danes, whose bodies were buried in a place next to the old monastery. William Malmseberie saith,—“They burnt the church, together with the monks and abbot; but the Danes continuing in their fury (throughout the whole land), desirous at the length to return home into Denmarke, were by the just judgment of God all slain at London in a place which is called the church of the Danes.”

This said middle row of houses stretching west to a stone cross, now headless, by or against the Strand, including the said parish church of St. Clement, is also wholly of the liberty and duchy of Lancaster.

Thus much for the bounds and antiquities of this liberty, wherein I have noted parish churches twain, sometime three, houses of name six; to wit, the Savoy or Lancaster house, now a hospital, Somerset house, Essex house, Arundel house, Bedford or Russell house, and Sir Robert Cecil’s house; besides of Chester’s inn or Strand inn, sometime an inn of Chancery, etc. This liberty is governed by the chancellor of that duchy at this present, Sir Robert Cecil, knight, principal secretary to her majesty, and one of her majesty’s most honourable privy councillors; there is under him a steward that keepeth court and leet for the queen; giveth the charge and taketh the oaths of every under officer: then is there four burgesses and four assistants, to take up controversies; a bailiff, which hath two or three under-bailiffs, that make arrests within that liberty; four constables; four wardens, that keep the lands and stock for the poor; four wardens for highways; a jury or inquest of fourteen or sixteen, to present defaults; four ale-conners, which look to assize of weights and measures, etc.; four scavengers and a beadle; and their common prison is Newgate. There is in this liberty fifty men, which is always to be at an hour’s warning, with all necessary furniture to serve the queen, as occasion shall require. Their charge at a fifteen is thirteen shillings and four pence. Thus much for the suburb in the liberty of the duchy of Lancaster.