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


Having spoken of this city, the original, and increase, by degrees: the walls, gates, ditch, castles, towers, bridges, the schools, and houses of learning: of the orders and customs, sports, and pastimes: of the honour of citizens, and worthiness of men: and last of all, how the same city is divided into parts and wards: and how the same be bounded: and what monuments of antiquity, or ornaments of building, in every of them, as also in the borough of Southwark: I am next to speak briefly of the suburbs, as well without the gates and walls as without the liberties, and of the monuments in them.

Concerning the estate of the suburbs of this city, in the reign of Henry II., Fitz Stephen hath these words:—“Upwards, on the west (saith he), is the king’s palace, which is an incomparable building, rising with a vawmure and bulwark aloft upon the river, two miles from the wall of the city, but yet conjoined with a continual suburb. On all sides, without the houses of the suburbs, are the citizens’ gardens and orchards, planted with trees, both large, sightly, and adjoining together. On the north side are pastures and plain meadows, with brooks running through them, turning water-mills with a pleasant noise. Not far off is a great forest, a well wooded chase, having good covert for harts, bucks, does, boars, and wild bulls. The corn fields are not of a hungry sandy mould, but as the fruitful fields of Asia, yielding plentiful increase, and filling the barns with corn. There are near London, on the north side, especial wells in the suburbs, sweet, wholesome, and clear. Amongst which, Holywell, Clarkenwell, and St. Clement’s well, are most famous, and most frequented by scholars and youths of the city in summer evenings, when they walk forth to take the air.” Thus far out of Fitz Stephen for the suburbs at that time.

The 2nd of King Henry III. the forest of Middlesex, and the warren of Staines, were disafforested; since the which time the suburbs about London hath been also mightily increased with[375] buildings; for first, to begin in the East, by the Tower of London, is the hospital of St. Katherine, founded by Matilda the queen, wife to King Stephen, as is afore shown in Portsoken ward; from this precinct of St. Katherine to Wapping in the west,[275] the usual place of execution for hanging of pirates and sea rovers, at the low-water mark, and there to remain, till three tides had overflowed them, was never a house standing within these forty years; but since the gallows being after removed farther off, a continual street, or filthy strait passage, with alleys of small tenements, or cottages, built, inhabited by sailors’ victuallers, along by the river of Thames, almost to Radcliff, a good mile from the Tower.

On the east side, and by north of the Tower, lieth East Smithfield, Hogs’ street, and Tower hill; and east from them both, was the new abbey called Grace, founded by Edward III. From thence Radcliffe, up East Smithfield, by Nightingall lane (which runneth south to the hermitage, a brewhouse so called of a hermit sometime being there), beyond this lane to the manor of Bramley (called in record of Richard II. Villa East Smithfield, and Villa de Bramley), and to the manor of Shadwell, belonging to the Dean of Pauls, there hath been of late, in place of elm trees, many small tenements raised towards Radcliffe; and Radcliffe itself hath been also increased in building eastward (in place where I have known[276] a large highway, with fair elm trees on both the sides), that the same hath now taken hold of Lime hurst, or Lime host, corruptly called Lime house, sometime distant a mile from Ratcliffe.

Having said this much for building at Wapping, East Smithfield, Bramley, and Shadwell, all on the south side of the highway to Radcliffe, now one note on the north side, also concerning pirates. I read that in the year 1440, in the Lent season, certain persons, with six ships, brought from beyond the seas fish to victual the city of London, which fish, when they had delivered, and were returning homeward, a number of sea thieves, in a barge, in the night came upon them, when they were asleep in their vessels, riding at anchor on the river Thames, and slew them, cut their throats, cast them overboard, took their money, and drowned their ships, for that no man should espy or accuse them. Two of these thieves were after taken, and hanged in chains upon a gallows set upon a raised hill, for that[376] purpose made, in the field beyond East Smithfield, so that they might be seen far into the river Thames. The first building at Radcliffe in my youth (not to be forgotten) was a fair free school and alms houses, founded by Avice Gibson, wife to Nicholas Gibson, grocer, as before I have noted: but of late years shipwrights, and (for the most part) other marine men, have built many large and strong houses for themselves, and smaller for sailors, from thence almost to Poplar, and so to Blake wall. Now for Tower hill; the plain there is likewise greatly diminished by merchants[277] for building of small tenements; from thence towards Aldgate was the Minories, whereof I have spoken.

From Aldgate east again lieth a large street, replenished with buildings; to wit, on the north side the parish church of St. Botolph, and so other buildings, to Hog lane, and to the bars on both sides.

Also without the bars both the sides of the street be pestered with cottages and alleys, even up to Whitechapel church, and almost half a mile beyond it, into the common field; all which ought to be open and free for all men. But this common field, I say, being sometime the beauty of this city on that part, is so encroached upon by building of filthy cottages, and with other purpressors, inclosures, and laystalls (notwithstanding all proclamations and acts of parliament made to the contrary), that in some places it scarce remaineth a sufficient highway for the meeting of carriages and droves of cattle; much less is there any fair, pleasant, or wholesome way for people to walk on foot; which is no small blemish to so famous a city to have so unsavoury and unseemly an entrance or passage thereunto.

Now of Whitechapel church somewhat, and then back again to Aldgate. This church is, as it were, a chapel of ease to the parish of Stebinhith, and the parson of Stebinhith hath the gift thereof; which being first dedicated to the name of God and the blessed Virgin, is now called St. Mary Matfellon. About the year 1428, the 6th of King Henry VI., a devout widow of that parish had long time cherished and brought up of alms a certain Frenchman, or Breton born, which most unkindly and cruelly in a night murdered the said widow sleeping in her bed,[377] and after fled with such jewels and other stuff of her as he might carry; but he was so freshly pursued, that for fear he took the church of St. George in Southwark, and challenged privilege of sanctuary there, and so abjured the king’s land. Then the constables (having charge of him) brought him into London, intending to have conveyed him eastward; but so soon as he was come into the parish, where before he had committed the murder, the wives cast upon him so much filth and odour of the street, that (notwithstanding the best resistance made by the constables) they slew him out of hand; and for this feat, it hath been said, that parish to have purchased that name of St. Mary Matfellon; but I find in record the same to be called Villa beatæ Mariæ de Matfellon, in the 21st of Richard II.

More, we read, that in the year 1336, the 10th of Edward III., the bishop of Alba, cardinal and parson of Stebinhith, procurator general in England, presented a clerk to be parson in the church of the blessed Mary called Matfellon, without Aldgate of London, etc.

Now again from Aldgate north-west to Bishopsgate, lieth Houndsditch, and so to Bishopsgate.

North, and by east from Bishopsgate, lieth a large street or highway, having on the west side thereof the parish church of St. Buttolph.

Then is the hospital of St. Mary of Bethelem, founded by a citizen of London, and as before is showed: up to the bars without the which is Norton fall gate, a liberty so called, belonging to the dean of Pauls; thence up to the late dissolved priory of St. John Baptist, called Holywell, a house of nuns, of old time founded by a bishop of London. Stephen Grausend, bishop of London, about the year 1318, was a benefactor thereunto; re-edified by Sir Thomas Lovel,[278] knight of the garter, who built much there in the reigns of Henry VII. and of Henry VIII.; he endowed this house with fair lands, and was there buried in a large chapel by him built for that purpose. This priory was valued at the suppression to have of lands two hundred and ninety-three pounds by year, and was surrendered 1539, the 31st of Henry VIII. The church thereof being pulled down, many houses have been built for the lodgings of noblemen, of strangers born, and other.[279]


From Holywell in the high street is a continual building of tenements to Sewers ditch,[280] having one small side of a field, already made a garden plot. Over against the north corner of this field, between it and the church of St. Leonarde in Shoreditch, sometime stood a cross, now a smith’s forge, dividing three ways: forth right the highway is built upon either side, more than a good flight shot, towards Kinges land, Newington, Totanham, etc.

On the left hand is Galde street, which reacheth west to a stone cross, over against the north end of Golden lane,[281] and so to the end of Goswell street. On the right hand of this Galde street, not far from Sowers ditch, but on the north side thereof, is Hoxton, a large street with houses on both sides, and is a prebend belonging to Pauls church in London, but of Soers ditch parish.

On the right hand beyond Soers ditch church toward Hackney are some late built houses upon the common soil, for it was a leystall, but those houses belong to the parish of Stebunhith.

On the other side of the highway from Bishopsgate and Houndsditch is the Dolphin, a common inn for receipt of travellers; then a house built by the Lord John Powlet, then Fisher’s folly,[282] and so up to the west end of Berwardes lane, is a continual building of small cottages, then the hospital called St. Mary Spittle, hard within the bars, whereof I have spoken in Bishopsgate ward.

From the which bars towards Soers ditch[283] on that side is all along a continual building of small and base tenements, for the most part lately erected.

Amongst the which (I mean of the ancientest building) was one row of proper small houses, with gardens for poor decayed people, there placed by the prior of the said hospital; every one tenant whereof paid one penny rent by the year at Christmas, and dined with the prior on Christmas day: but after the suppression of the hospital, these houses, for want of reparations, in few years were so decayed, that it was called Rotten row, and the poor worn out (for there came no new in their place) houses, for a small portion of money, were sold from Goddard[379] to Russell, a draper, who new built them, and let them out for rent enough, taking also large fines of the tenants, near as much as the houses cost him purchase and building; for he made his bargains so hardly with all men, that both carpenter, bricklayer, and plasterer, were by that work undone: and yet, in honour of his name, it is now called Russell’s row.

Now for the parish of St. Leonard at Soers ditch, the archdeacon of London is always parson thereof, and the cure is served by a vicar. In this church have been divers honourable persons buried, as appeareth by monuments yet remaining: Sir John Elrington, with Margaret his wife, daughter and heir to Thomas Lord Itchingham, widow to William Blount, son and heir to Walter Blount, the first Lord Mountjoy, which Margaret died 1481, Sir Humfrey Starkie, recorder of London, baron of the Exchequer; John Gadde, shereman of London, and Anne his wife, 1480; Sir Thomas Seymore, mayor of London, deceased 1535; Sir Thomas Ligh, doctor of law, 1545. Item, under one fair monument lieth buried the Lady Katherine, daughter to Edward, duke of Buckingham, wife to Ralph Nevell, Earl of Westmoreland, who died 1553; also Elianor, daughter to Sir William Paston, wife to Thomas Mannars, earl of Rutland, 1551; Margaret, daughter to Ralph Nevel, earl of Westmoreland, and wife to Henry Mannars, earl of Rutland, 1560; Katherine, daughter to Henry Nevel, earl of Westmoreland, and wife to Sir John Constable of Holderness, 1591; Anne, daughter to T. Mannars, earl of Rutland; Sir T. Mannars, fourth son to Thomas, earl of Rutland, 1591; Oliver Mannars, fifth son to Thomas, earl of Rutland, 1563, all under one monument; Richard and Harry Young, 1545.

Notwithstanding that of late one vicar there, for covetousness of the brass, which he converted into coined silver, plucking up many plates fixed on the graves, and left no memory of such as had been buried under them, a great injury both to the living and the dead, forbidden by public proclamation, in the reign of our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, but not forborne by many, that either of a preposterous zeal, or of a greedy mind, spare not to satisfy themselves by so wicked a means.

One note of Shoreditch, and so an end of that suburb. I read, that in the year 1440, the 18th of Henry VI. a fuller of Shoreditch appeached of treason many worthy esquires and gentlemen of Kent, but he being proved false, was attainted, condemned, and had judgment to be drawn, hanged, and quartered; which was done; his head set on London bridge, and his quarters on[380] the gates. This justice was done according to the xvith of Deuteronomy: “The judges shall make diligent inquisition, and if the witness be found false, and to have given false witness against his brother, then shall they do unto him as he had thought to do unto his brother,” etc. I read of the King’s Manor vocatur Shoreditch-place, in the parish of Hackney, but how it took that name I know not, and therefore I will turn back from Shoreditch cross to Bethelem cross, and so pass through that hospital into the Morefield, which lieth without the postern called Moregate.

This field of old time was called the More, as appeareth by the charter of William the Conqueror to the college of St. Martin, declaring a running water to pass into the city from the same More. Also Fitzstephen writeth of this More, saying thus: “When the great fen, or moor, which watereth the walls on the north side, is frozen,” etc. This fen, or moor field, stretching from the wall of the city betwixt Bishopsgate and the postern called Cripples gate, to Fensbery and to Holy well, continued a waste and unprofitable ground a long time, so that the same was all letten for four marks the year, in the reign of Edward II.; but in the year 1415, the 3rd of Henry V., Thomas Fawconer, mayor, as I have showed, caused the wall of the city to be broken toward the said moor, and built the postern called Moregate, for the ease of the citizens to walk that way upon causeys towards Iseldon and Hoxton: moreover, he caused the ditches of the city, and other the ditches from Soers ditch to Deepe ditch, by Bethelem, into the More ditch, to be new cast and cleansed; by means whereof the said fen or moor was greatly drained and dried; but shortly after, to wit, in 1477, Ralph Joceline, mayor, for repairing of the wall of the city, caused the said moor to be searched for clay, and brick to be burnt there, etc.; by which means this field was made the worse for a long time.

In the year 1498, all the gardens, which had continued time out of mind without Moregate, to wit, about and beyond the lordship of Finsbury, were destroyed; and of them was made a plain field for archers to shoot in. And in the year 1512, Roger Archley, mayor, caused divers dikes to be cast, and made to drain the waters of the said Morefielde, with bridges arched over them, and the grounds about to be levelled, whereby the said field was made somewhat more commodious, but yet it stood full of noisome waters; whereupon, in the year 1527, Sir Thomas Semor, mayor, caused divers sluices to be made to convey the said waters over the Town ditch, into the course of Walbrooke,[381] and so into the Thames; and by these degrees was this fen or moor at length made main and hard ground, which before being overgrown with flags, sedges, and rushes, served to no use; since the which time also the further grounds beyond Finsbury court have been so overheightened with lay-stalls of dung, that now three windmills are thereon set; the ditches be filled up, and the bridges overwhelmed.

And now concerning the inclosures of common grounds about this city, whereof I mind not much to argue, Edward Hall setteth down a note of his time, to wit, in the 5th, or rather 6th of Henry VIII. “Before this time,” saith he, “the inhabitants of the towns about London, as Iseldon, Hoxton, Shoreditch, and others, had so inclosed the common fields with hedges and ditches, that neither the young men of the city might shoot, nor the ancient persons walk for their pleasures in those fields, but that either their bows and arrows were taken away or broken, or the honest persons arrested or indicted; saying, ‘that no Londoner ought to go out of the city, but in the highways.’ This saying so grieved the Londoners, that suddenly this year a great number of the city assembled themselves in a morning, and a turner, in a fool’s coat, came crying through the city, ‘Shovels and spades! shovels and spades!’ so many of the people followed, that it was a wonder to behold; and within a short space all the hedges about the city were cast down, and the ditches filled up, and every thing made plain, such was the diligence of these workmen. The king’s council hearing of this assembly, came to the Gray Friars and sent for the mayor and council of the city to know the cause, which declared to them the injury and annoying done to the citizens and to their liberties, which though they would not seek disorderly to redress, yet the commonalty and young persons could not be stayed thus to remedy the same. When the king’s council had heard their answer, they dissimuled the matter, and commanded the mayor to see that no other thing were attempted, but that they should forthwith call home the younger sort; who having speedily achieved their desire, returned home before the king’s council, and the mayor departed without more harm: after which time (saith Hall) these fields were never hedged, but now we see the thing in worse case than ever, by means of inclosure for gardens, wherein are built many fair summer-houses;[284] and, as in other places of the suburbs, some of them like Midsummer pageants, with towers, turrets, and[382] chimney-tops, not so much for use of profit as for show and pleasure, betraying the vanity of men’s minds, much unlike to the disposition of the ancient citizens, who delighted in the building of hospitals and alms-houses for the poor, and therein both employed their wits, and spent their wealths in preferment of the common commodity of this our city.”

But to come back again to Moregate, and from thence west through a narrow lane called the Postern, because it hath at either end a door to be shut in the night season, betwixt the More ditch inclosed with brick for tenter-yards, and the gardens of the said More field, to More lane; a part of the suburb without Cripplegate, without this postern, called Cripplegate, also lay a part of the said More even to the river of the Wells, as in another place I have showed; and no houses were there built till the latter end of the reign of William the Conqueror, and of his son William Rufus; about which times some few houses being there built along east and west, thwart before the said gate, one Alfune built for the inhabitants a parish church, which is of St. Giles, somewhat west from the said gate, and is now on the bank of the town ditch; and so was there a street, since called Fore street, as standing before the gate.

This Alfune, in the reign of Henry I., became the first hospitaller of St. Bartlemewe’s hospital in Smithfield, as in another place I have noted. And this parish church of St. Giles being at the first a small thing, stood in place where now standeth the vicarage-house, but hath been since at divers times much enlarged, according as the parish hath increased, and was at the length newly built in place where now it standeth. But the same new church being large, strongly built, and richly furnished with ornaments, was in the year 1545, by casualty of fire, sore burnt and consumed, notwithstanding it was again within a short space of time repaired, as now it showeth.

Some little distance from the east end of this church standeth a fair conduit, castellated, in Fore street. Then have ye a boss of sweet water in the wall of the churchyard, lately made a pump, but already decayed.

Then have ye a fair pool of sweet water near to the church of St. Giles, wherein Anne of Lodbery was drowned, as I have before declared.

In the east end of Fore street is More lane: then next is Grub street; of late years inhabited, for the most part, by bowyers, fletchers, bow-string makers, and such like occupations, now little occupied; archery giving place to a number of bowling-[383]alleys and dicing-houses, which in all places are increased, and too much frequented.

This street stretcheth north to Guerades Well street, which thwarteth it to White cross street; the next from Fore street north is White cross street, likewise extending itself up to the west end of Guerades Well street, and from the end thereof to Eald street.

From the west end of Fore street lieth Red cross street; from the which cross on the right hand east lieth Beech lane, and reacheth to the White cross street. From Red cross north lieth Golding lane, which stretcheth up to a cross in Ealde street, which Golding lane on both the sides is replenished with many tenements of poor people.

On the left hand, and west of the Red cross, lieth a street of old time called Houndes ditch, and of later time named Barbican, of such cause as I have before noted. And thus have you all the suburb without Cripplegate, being almost altogether in the parish of St. Giles, which hath more than eighteen hundred householders, and above four thousand communicants.

Without Aldersgate on the left hand is the parish church of St. Buttolph; on the north side of the which church lieth a way called Little Britane street, towards the priory of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield; but the highway without Aldersgate runneth straight north from the said gate unto Houndes ditch, or Barbican street, on the right hand, and Long lane on the left hand, which runneth into Smithfield.

Then from the farther end of Aldersgate street, straight north to the bar, is called Goswell street, replenished with small tenements, cottages, and alleys, gardens, banqueting-houses, and bowling-places.

Beyond these bars, leaving the Charter-house on the left hand, or the west side, the way stretcheth up towards Iseldon, and on the right hand, or east side, at a Red cross, turneth into Eald street, so called, for that it was the old highway from Aldersgate, for the north-east parts of England, before Bishopsgate was built, which street runneth east to a smith’s forge, sometime a cross before Shoreditch church, from whence the passengers and carriages were to turn north to King’s land, Tottenham, Waltham, Ware, etc.

There was sometime in this suburb without Aldersgate an hospital for the poor, but an alien of Clunie, a French order, and therefore suppressed by King Henry V., who gave the house, with lands and goods, to the parish of St. Buttolph, and a[384] brotherhood of the Trinity was there founded, which was afterward suppressed by Henry VIII. or Edward VI.

There is at the farthest north corner of this suburb a windmill, which was sometime by a tempest of wind overthrown, and in place thereof a chapel was built by Queen Katherine (first wife to Henry VIII.), who named it the Mount of Calvary, because it was of Christ’s passion, and was in the end of Henry VIII. pulled down, and a windmill newly set up as afore.

Without Newgate lieth the west and by north suburb; on the right hand, or north side whereof, betwixt the said gate and the parish of St. Sepulchre, turneth a way towards West Smithfield, called, as I have showed, Giltspurre street, or Knightriders street; then is Smithfield itself compassed about with buildings, as I have before declared, in Faringdon ward without.

And without the bar of West Smithfield lieth a large street or way, called of the house of St. John there St. John’s street, and stretcheth toward Iseldon, on the right hand whereof stood the late dissolved monastery called the Charterhouse, founded by Sir Walter Manny, knight, a stranger born, lord of the town of Manny, in the diocese of Cambrey, beyond the seas, who for service done to King Edward III. was made knight of the garter: so his house he founded upon this occasion. A great pestilence entering this island, began first in Dorsetshire, then proceeded into Devonshire, Somersetshire, Gloucestershire, and Oxfordshire, and at length came to London, and overspread all England, so wasting the people, that scarce the tenth person of all sorts was left alive, and churchyards were not sufficient to receive the dead, but men were forced to choose out certain fields for burials; whereupon Ralph Stratford, bishop of London, in the year 1348, bought a piece of ground called No Man’s Land, which he inclosed with a wall of brick, and dedicated for burial of the dead, building thereupon a proper chapel, which is now enlarged and made a dwelling-house; and this burying plot is become a fair garden, retaining the old name of Pardon churchyard.

About this, in the year 1349, the said Sir Walter Manny, in respect of danger that might befall in this time of so great a plague and infection, purchased thirteen acres and a rod of ground adjoining to the said No Man’s Land, and lying in a place called Spittle cross, because it belonged to St, Bartilmewe’s hospital, since that called the New church haw, and caused it to be consecrated by the said bishop of London to the use of burials.

In this plot of ground there were in that year more than fifty thousand persons buried, as I have read in the charters of[385] Edward III.: also, I have seen and read an inscription fixed on a stone cross, sometime standing in the same churchyard, and having these words:—“Anno Domini 1349, regnante magna pestilentia consecratum fuit hoc Cœmiterium, in quo et infra septa presentis monasterii, sepulta fuerunt mortuorum corpora plusquam quinquaginta millia, præter alia multa abhinc usque ad presens, quorum animabus propitietur Deus. Amen.

In consideration of the number of Christian people here buried, the said Sir Walter Manny caused first a chapel to be built, where for the space of twenty-three years offerings were made; and it is to be noted, that above one hundred thousand bodies of Christian people had in that churchyard been buried; for the said knight had purchased that place for the burial of poor people, travellers, and other that were deceased, to remain for ever; whereupon an order was taken for the avoiding of contention between the parsons of churches and that house; to wit, that the bodies should be had unto the church where they were parishioners, or died, and, after the funeral service done, had to the place where they should be buried. And in the year 1371 he caused there to be founded a house of Carthusian monks, which he willed to be called the Salutation, and that one of the monks should be called prior; and he gave them the said place of thirteen acres and a rod of land, with the chapel and houses there built, for their habitation: he also gave them the three acres of land lying without the walls on the north part, betwixt the lands of the abbot of Westminster and the lands of the prior of St. John (which three acres were purchased, inclosed, and dedicated by Ralph Stratford, bishop of London, as is afore showed), and remained till our time by the name of Pardon churchyard, and served for burying of such as desperately ended their lives, or were executed for felonies, who were fetched thither usually in a close cart, bailed over and covered with black, having a plain white cross thwarting, and at the fore end a St. John’s cross without, and within a bell ringing by shaking of the cart, whereby the same might be heard when it passed; and this was called the friary cart, which belonged to St. John’s, and had the privilege of sanctuary.

In this charter-house were the monuments of the said Sir Walter Manny, and Margaret his wife; Marmaduke Lumley; Laurence Brumley, knight; Sir Edward Hederset, knight; Sir William Manny, knight; Dame Joan Borough; John Dore; Want Water, knight; Robert Olney, esquire; Katherine, daughter to Sir William Babington, knight; Blanch, daughter[386] to Hugh Waterton; Katherine, wife to John at Poote, daughter and heir to Richard de Lacie; William Rawlin; Sir John Lenthaine, and Dame Margaret his wife, daughter to John Fray; John Peake, esquire; William Baron, and William Baron, esquire; Sir Thomas Thawites, knight; Philip Morgan, bishop of Ely, 1434.

In the cloister:—Bartholomew Rede, knight, mayor of London, buried 1505; Sir John Popham, etc.

This monastery, at the suppression in the 29th of Henry VIII., was valued at six hundred and forty-two pounds and four pence halfpenny yearly.

A little without the bars of West Smithfield is Charterhouse lane, so called, for that it leadeth to the said plot of the late dissolved monastery; in place whereof, first the Lord North, but since Thomas Howard, late Duke of Norfolk, have made large and sumptuous buildings both for lodging and pleasure. At the gate of this Charter-house is a fair water conduit, with two cocks, serving the use of the neighbours to their great commodity.

St. John’s street, from the entering this lane, is also on both the sides replenished with buildings up to Clerkenwell. On the left hand of which street lieth a lane called Cow cross, of a cross sometime standing there; which lane turneth down to another lane called Turnemill street, which stretcheth up to the west of Clerkenwell, and was called Turnemill street, for such cause as is afore declared.

One other lane there is called St. Peter’s lane, which turneth from St. John’s street to Cow cross.

On the left hand also stood the late dissolved priory of St. John of Jerusalem in England, founded about the year of Christ 1100 by Jorden Briset, baron, and Muriell his wife, near unto Clarkes well besides West Smithfield; which Jorden having first founded the priory of nuns at Clarkes well, bought of them ten acres of land, giving them in exchange ten acres of land in his lordship of Welling hall, in the county of Kent. St. John’s church was dedicated by Eraclius, patriarch of the holy resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem, in the year 1185, and was the chief seat in England of the religious knights of St. John of Jerusalem; whose profession was, besides their daily service of God, to defend Christians against pagans, and to fight for the church, using for their habit a black upper garment, with a white cross on the fore part thereof; and for their good service was so highly esteemed, that when the order of Templars[387] was dissolved, their lands and possessions were by parliament granted unto these, who after the loss of Jerusalem recovered the isle of Rhodes from the Turks, and there placed themselves, being called thereof for many years knights of the Rhodes; but after the loss thereof, 1523, they removed to the isle of Malta, manfully opposing themselves against the Turkish invasions.

The rebels of Essex and of Kent, 1381, set fire on this house, causing it to burn by the space of seven days together, not suffering any to quench it; since the which time the priors of that house have new built both the church and houses thereunto appertaining; which church was finished by Thomas Docwrey, late lord prior there, about the year 1504, as appeareth by the inscription over the gate-house, yet remaining. This house, at the suppression in the 32nd of Henry VIII., was valued to dispend in lands three thousand three hundred and eighty-five pounds nineteen shillings and eight pence yearly. Sir W. Weston being then lord prior, died on the same seventh of May, on which the house was suppressed; so that great yearly pensions being granted to the knights by the king, and namely to the lord prior during his life one thousand pounds, he never received a penny.

The king took into his hands all the lands that belonged to that house and that order, wheresoever in England and Ireland, for the augmentation of his crown.

This priory church and house of St. John was preserved from spoil or down pulling, so long as King Henry VIII. reigned, and was employed as a store-house for the king’s toils and tents, for hunting, and for the wars, etc.; but in the 3rd of King Edward VI., the church, for the most part, to wit, the body and side aisles, with the great bell tower (a most curious piece of workmanship, graven, gilt, and enamelled, to the great beautifying of the city, and passing all other that I have seen), was undermined and blown up with gunpowder; the stone thereof was employed in building of the lord protector’s house at the Strand. That part of the choir which remaineth, with some side chapels, was by cardinal Pole, in the reign of Queen Mary, closed up at the west end, and otherwise repaired; and Sir Thomas Tresham, knight, was then made lord prior there, with restitution of some lands, but the same was again suppressed in the first year of Queen Elizabeth.

There were buried in this church brethren of that house and knights of that order: John Botell; William Bagecore; Richard[388] Barrow; John Vanclay; Thomas Launcelen; John Mallory; William Turney; William Hulles, Hils, or Hayles; John Weston; Redington; William Longstrother; John Longstrother; William Tong; John Wakeline. Then of other: Thomas Thornburgh, gentleman; William West, gentleman; John Fulling, and Adam Gill, esquires; Sir John Mortimor, and Dame Elianor his wife; Nicholas Silverston; William Plompton, esquire; Margaret Tong, and Isabel Tong; Walter Bellingham, alias Ireland, king of arms of Ireland; Thomas Bedle, gentleman; Katherine, daughter of William Plompton, esquire; Richard Turpin, gentleman; Joan, wife to Alexander Dikes; John Bottle, and Richard Bottle, esquires; Rowland Darcie; Richard Sutton, gentleman; Richard Bottill, gentleman; Sir W. Harpden, knight; Robert Kingston, esquire, and Margery his wife; John Roch; Richard Cednor, gentleman; Simon Mallory, 1442; William Mallory, Robert Longstrother, Ralph Asteley, William Marshall, Robert Savage, Robert Gondall, esquires, and Margery his wife; William Bapthorpe, baron of the Exchequer, 1442.

North from the house of St. John’s was the priory of Clarkenwell, so called of Clarkes well adjoining; which priory was also founded about the year 1100 by Jorden Briset, baron, the son of Ralph, the son of Brian Briset; who gave to Robert, a priest, fourteen acres of land lying in the field next adjoining to the said Clarkes well, thereupon to build a house of religious persons, which he founded to the honour of God and the assumption of our lady, and placed therein black nuns. This Jorden Briset gave also to that house one piece of ground, thereby to build a windmill upon, etc. He and Muriall his wife were buried in the Chapter-house there. More buried in this church: John Wikes, esquire, and Isabel his wife; Dame Agnes Clifford; Ralph Timbleby, esquire; Dame Jahan, baroness of Greystocke; Dame Jahan, Lady Ferrars. And of later time in the parish church, Constances Bennet, a Greek born: he gave two houses, the one in St. John’s street, the other in Turnmill street; the rents of them to be distributed in coals every year against Christmas to the poor of that parish.

William Herne, a master of defence, and yeoman of the guard, 1580, gave lands and tenements to the clothworkers in London; they to pay yearly for ever fourteen pounds to the churchwardens of Clarkenwell, and fourteen pounds to the churchwardens of St. Sepulcher’s, towards reparations of these churches, and relief of the poor men; more he gave after the[389] death of one man, yet living, eight pounds the year for ever to the mending of highways.

Thomas Sackeford, esquire, one of the masters of requests, gave to the poor of that parish forty shillings the year for ever, out of his alms-house at Woodbridge in Suffolk, where he is buried. Henry Stoke, gardener, buried there, gave twenty shillings the year for ever, towards reparation of that church. This priory was valued to dispend two hundred and sixty-two pounds nine shillings by the year, and was surrendered the 31st of Henry VIII. Many fair houses are now built about the priory, namely, by the highway towards Iseldon.

So much of the church which remaineth (for one great aisle thereof fell down) serveth as a parish church of St. John, not only for the tenements and near inhabitants, but also (as is aforesaid) for all up to Highgate, Muswell, etc.

Near unto this church, beside Clarke’s well lane, divers other wells, namely, Skinners well, Fags well, Tode well, Loder’s well, Rede well, etc., now dammed up.

Now to return again to Giltspurre street, where I first began with this suburb, there standeth the parish church of St. Sepulchre in the Bayly, as is before showed; from this street to Turnagaine lane, by Hosiar lane, Cow lane, and Holdborn conduit, down Snore hill to Oldborne bridge, and up Oldborne hill, by Gold lane on the right hand, and Lither lane beyond it, to the bars; beyond the which bars on the same side is Porte pool, or Grayes inn lane, so called of the inn of court, named Grayes inn, a goodly house there situate, by whom built or first begun I have not yet learned, but seemeth to be since Edward III.’s time, and is a prebend to Paule’s church in London.

This lane is furnished with fair buildings and many tenements on both the sides, leading to the fields towards Highgate and Hamsted.

On the high street have ye many fair houses built, and lodgings for gentlemen, inns for travellers, and such like up almost (for it lacketh but little) to St. Giles in the fields; amongst the which buildings, for the most part being very new, one passeth the rest in largeness of rooms, lately built by a widow, sometime wife to Richard Alington, esquire; which Richard Alington deceased in the year 1561. And thus much for that north side of Oldborne.

Now from Newgate, on the left hand or south side, lieth the Old Bayly, and so down by Seacole lane end to Oldborne bridge, up Oldborne hill, by Shoe lane and Fewters lane, to the bars.


Beyond the bars had ye in old time a temple built by the Templars, whose order first began in the year of Christ 1118, in the 19th of Henry I. This temple was left and fell to ruin since the year 1184, when the Templars had built them a new temple in Fleet street, near to the river of Thames. A great part of this old temple was pulled down, but of late in the year 1595. Adjoining to this old Temple[285] was sometime the bishop of Lincolne’s inn, wherein he lodged when he repaired to this city. Robert de Curars, bishop of Lincoln, built it about the year 1147. John Russell, bishop of Lincoln, chancellor of England, in the reign of Richard III., was lodged there. It hath of late years belonged to the earls of Southampton, and therefore called Southampton house. Master Ropar hath of late built much there; by means whereof part of the ruins of the old Temple were seen to remain built of Caen stone, round in form as the new Temple, by Temple bar, and other temples in England. Beyond this old Temple and the bishop of Lincoln’s house[286] is New street, so called in the reign of Henry III., when he of a Jew’s house founded the house of Converts, betwixt the old Temple and the new.

The same street hath since been called Chancery lane, by reason that King Edward III. annexed the house of Converts by patent to the office of Custos Rotulorum, or master of the rolls, in the 15th of his reign.

In this street the first fair building to be noted on the east side is called the Coursitors’ office, built with divers fair lodgings for gentlemen, all of brick and timber, by Sir Nicholas Bacon, late lord keeper of the great seal.

Near unto this Coursitors’ office be divers fair houses and large gardens, built and made in a ground sometime belonging to one great house on the other side the street, there made by Ralph Nevel, bishop of Chichester. This ground he had by the gift of Henry III., as appeareth. The king granteth to Ralph, bishop of Chichester, chancellor, that place, with the garden, which John Herlirum forfeited in that street, called New street, over against the land of the said bishop in the same street; which place, with the garden and appurtenance, was the king’s escheat by the liberty of the city of London, as it was acknowledged before the king in his court at the Tower of London, in the last pleas of the crown of that city, cart. 11 Henry III.


Then was the house of Converts, wherein now the rolls of Chancery be kept; then the Sergeants’ inn, etc.

On the west side of New street, towards the north end thereof, was of old time the church and house of the Preaching Friers; concerning the which house I find, that in the year of Christ 1221, the friars’ preachers, thirteen in number, came into England, and having to their prior one named Gilbert de Fraxineto, in company of Peter de la Roche, bishop of Winchester, came to Canterbury, where presenting themselves before the archbishop Steven, he commanded the said prior to preach, whose sermon he liked so well, that ever after he loved that order. These friars came to London, and had their first house without the wall of the city by Oldborne, near unto the old Temple.

Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, was a great benefactor unto these friars, and deceasing at his manor of Bansted in Surrey, or, after some writers, at his castle of Barkhamsted in Hartfordshire, in the year 1242, was buried in their church; unto the which church he had given his place at Westminster, which the said friars afterwards sold to Walter Grey, archbishop of York; and he left it to his successors in that see for ever, to be their house, when they should repair to the city of London. And therefore the same was called York place; which name so continued until the year 1529, that King Henry VIII. took it from Thomas Wolsey, cardinal and archbishop of York, and then gave it to name White hall.

Margaret, sister to the king of Scots, widow to Geffrey, earl marshal, deceased 1244, and was buried in this church.

In the year 1250, the friars of this order of preachers through Christendom and from Jerusalem, were by a convocation assembled together at this their house by Oldborne, to intreat of their estate, to the number of four hundred, having meat and drink found them of alms, because they had no possessions of their own. The first day, the king came to their chapter, found them meat and drink, and dined with them. Another day the queen found them meat and drink; afterward the bishop of London, then the abbot of Westminster, of St. Alban’s, Waltham, and others. In the year 1276, Gregory Rokesley, mayor, and the barons of London, granted and gave to Robert Kilwarbie, archbishop of Canterbury, two lanes or ways next the street of Baynard’s castle, and the tower of Mountfichet, to be destroyed. On the which place the said Robert built the late new church, with the rest of the stones that were left of the[392] said tower: and thus the black friars left their church and house by Oldborne, and departed to their new. This old friar house (juxta Holborne, saith the patent) was by King Edward I., in the 16th of his reign, given to Henry Lacy, earl of Lincoln.

Next to this house of friars was one other great house, sometime belonging to the bishop of Chichester, whereof Matthew Paris writeth thus:—“Ralph de Nova Villa, or Nevill, bishop of Chichester and chancellor of England, sometime built a noble house, even from the ground, not far from the new Temple and house of Converts; in the which place he deceased in the year 1244. In this place, after the decease of the said bishop, and in place of the house of black friars before spoken of, Henry Lacy, earl of Lincoln, constable of Chester, and custos of England, built his inn, and for the most part was lodged there: he deceased in this house in the year 1310, and was buried in the new work (whereunto he had been a great benefactor) of St. Paul’s church betwixt our Lady chapel and St. Dunstan’s chapel. This Lincoln’s inn, sometime pertaining to the bishops of Chichester, as a part of the said great house, is now an inn of court, retaining the name of Lincoln’s inn as afore, but now lately increased with fair buildings, and replenished with gentlemen studious in the common laws. In the reign of Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Lovell was a great builder there; especially he built the gate-house and fore front towards the east, placing thereon as well the Lacies’ arms as his own: he caused the Lacies’ arms to be cast and wrought in lead, on the louer of the hall of that house, which was in the three escutcheons, a lion rampant for Lacie, seven mascules voided for Quincie, and three wheatsheafs for Chester. This louer being of late repaired, the said escutcheons were left out. The rest of that side, even to Fleet street, is replenished with fair buildings.”

Now the High Oldborne street, from the north end of New street, stretcheth on the left hand in building lately framed, up to St. Giles in the field, which was an hospital founded by Matilda the queen, wife to Henry I., about the year 1117. This hospital, said the record of Edward III., the 19th year, was founded without the bar: Veteris Templi London, et conversorum.

This hospital was founded as a cell to Burton Lager of Jerusalem, as may appear by a deed dated the 24th of Henry VII. in these words:—“Thomas Norton, knight, master of Burton Lager of Jerusalem in England, and the brethren of the same place, keepers of the hospital of St. Giles, without the bars of[393] the old Temple of London, have sold to Geffrey Kent, citizen and draper of London, a messuage or house, with two cellars above, edified in the parish of Alhallowes, Hony lane, in West Chepe, adjoining to the west part of a tenement called the Cote on the Hope, pertaining to the drapers of London, for thirty-one pounds.”

At this hospital, the prisoners conveyed from the city of London towards Teyborne, there to be executed for treasons, felonies, or other trespasses, were presented with a great bowl of ale, thereof to drink at their pleasure, as to be their last refreshing in this life.

Now without Ludgate lieth the south end of the Old Bayly, then down Ludgate hill by Fleet lane, over Fleet bridge, up Fleet street, by Shoe lane, Fewtar’s lane, New street, or Chauncerie lane, and to Shire lane, by the bar on the right hand; and from Ludgate on the left hand, or south side, by Bride lane, Water lane, Croker’s lane, Sergeants’ inn, and the new Temple, by the bar; all which is of Faringdon ward, as is afore showed.