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


“The city of London (saith Fitzstephen) hath in the east a very great and a most strong palatine Tower, whose turrets and walls do rise from a deep foundation, the mortar thereof being tempered with the blood of beasts. In the west part are two most strong castles, etc.” To begin therefore with the most famous Tower of London, situate in the east, near unto the river of Thames: it hath been the common opinion, and some have written (but of none assured ground), that Julius Cæsar, the first conqueror of the Britons, was the original author and founder, as well thereof as also of many other towers, castles, and great buildings within this realm; but (as I have already before noted) Cæsar remained not here so long, nor had he in his head any such matter, but only to dispatch a conquest of this barbarous country, and to proceed to greater matters. Neither do the Roman writers make mention of any such buildings created by him here; and therefore leaving this, and proceeding to more grounded authority, I find in a fair register-book, containing the acts of the Bishops of Rochester, set down by Edmond de Hadenham, that William I., surnamed Conqueror, built the Tower of London; to wit, the great white and square tower there, about the year of Christ 1078, appointing Gundulph, then Bishop of Rochester, to be principal surveyor and overseer of that work, who was for that time lodged in the house of Edmere, a burgess of London; the very words of which mine author are these: “Gundulphus Episcopus mandato Willielmi Regis magni præfuit operi magnæ Turris London. quo tempore hospitatus est apud quendam Edmerum Burgensem London. qui dedit unum were Ecclesiæ Rofen.

Ye have before heard that the wall of this city was all round about furnished with towers and bulwarks, in due distance every one from other; and also that the river Thames, with his ebbing and flowing, on the south side, had subverted the said wall and towers there. Wherefore King William, for defence of this city, in place most dangerous, and open to the enemy, having taken down the second bulwark in the east part of the wall from the Thames, built this tower, which was the great square tower, now called the White Tower, and hath been since at divers times enlarged with other buildings adjoining, as shall be shown. This tower was by tempest of wind[64] sore shaken in[43] the year 1090, the 4th of William Rufus, and was again by the said Rufus and Henry I. repaired. They also caused a castle to be built under the said tower, namely, on the south side towards the Thames, and also incastellated the same round about.

Henry Huntingdon, libro sexto, hath these words: “William Rufus challenged the investure of prelates; he pilled and shaved the people with tribute, especially to spend about the Tower of London, and the great hall at Westminster.”

Othowerus, Acolinillus, Otto, and Geffrey Magnaville, Earl of Essex, were four the first constables of this Tower of London, by succession; all which held by force a portion of land (that pertained to the priory of the Holy Trinitie within Aldgate); that is to say, East Smithfield, near unto the Tower, making thereof a vineyard,[65] and would not depart from it till the 2nd year of King Stephen, when the same was abridged and restored to the church. This said Geffrey Magnaville was Earl of Essex, constable of the Tower, sheriff of London, Middlesex, Essex, and Hertfordshire, as appeareth by a charter of Maud the empress, dated 1141. He also fortified the Tower of London against King Stephen; but the king took him in his court at St. Albones, and would not deliver him till he had rendered the Tower of London, with the castles of Walden and Plashey in Essex. In the year 1153 the Tower of London and the castle of Windsor were by the king delivered to Richard de Lucie, to be safely kept. In the year 1155, Thomas Becket being chancellor to Henry II., caused the Flemings to be banished out of England,[66] their castles lately built to be pulled down, and the Tower of London to be repaired.

About the year 1190, the 2nd of Richard I., William Longshampe, Bishop of Elie, Chancellor of England, for cause of dissension betwixt him and Earl John, the king’s brother that was rebel, inclosed the tower and castle of London, with an outward wall of stone embattled, and also caused a deep ditch to be cast about the same, thinking (as I have said before) to have environed it with the river of Thames. By the making of this inclosure and ditch in East Smithfield, the church of the Holy Trinitie in London lost half a mark rent by the year, and the mill was removed that belonged to the poor brethren of the hospital of St. Katherine,[67] and to the church of the Holy Trinitie[44] aforesaid, which was no small loss and discommodity to either part; and the garden which the king had hired of the brethren for six marks the year, for the most part was wasted and marred by the ditch. Recompense was often promised, but never performed, until King Edward coming after, gave to the brethren five marks and a half for that part which the ditch had devoured, and the other part thereof without he yielded to them again, which they hold: and of the said rent of five marks and a half, they have a deed, by virtue whereof they are well paid to this day.

It is also to be noted, and cannot be denied, but that the said inclosure and ditch took the like or greater quantity of ground from the city within the wall; namely, one of that part called the Tower Hill, besides breaking down of the city wall, from the White Tower to the first gate of the city, called the Postern; yet have I not read of any quarrel made by the citizens, or recompense demanded by them for that matter, because all was done for good of the city’s defence thereof, and to their good likings. But Matthew Paris writeth, that in the year 1239, King Henry III. fortified the Tower of London to another end; wherefore the citizens, fearing lest that were done to their detriment, complained, and the king answered, that he had not done it to their hurt, but (saith he) I will from henceforth do as my brother doth, in building and fortifying castles, who beareth the name to be wiser than I am. It followed in the next year, saith mine author, the said noble buildings of the stone gate and bulwark, which the king had caused to be made by the Tower of London, on the west side thereof, were shaken as it had been with an earthquake, and fell down, which the king again commanded to be built in better sort than before, which was done; and yet again, in the year 1247, the said wall and bulwarks that were newly built, wherein the king had bestowed more than twelve thousand marks, were irrecoverably thrown down, as afore; for the which chance the citizens of London were nothing sorry, for they were threatened that the said wall and bulwarks were built, to the end that if any of them would contend for the liberties of the city, they might be imprisoned; and that many might be laid in divers prisons, many lodgings were made that no one should speak with another: thus much Matthew Paris for this building. More of Henry III., his dealings against the citizens of London, we may read in the said author, in 1245, 1248, 1249, 1253, 1255, 1256, etc. But, concerning the said wall and bulwark, the same was finished,[45] though not in his time; for I read that Edward I., in the second of his reign, commanded the treasurer and chamberlain of the Exchequer to deliver out of his treasury unto Miles of Andwarp two hundred marks, of the fines taken out of divers merchants or usurers of London, for so be the words of the record, towards the work of the ditch then new made, about the said bulwark, now called the Lion Tower. I find also recorded, that Henry III., in the 46th of his reign, wrote to Edward of Westminster, commanding him that he should buy certain perie plants, and set the same in the place without his Tower of London, within the wall of the said city, which of late he had caused to be inclosed with a mud wall, as may appear by this that followeth: the mayor and commonalty of London were fined for throwing down the said earthen wall against the Tower of London, the 9th of Edward II. Edward IV. in place thereof built a wall of brick. But now for the Lion Tower and lions in England, the original, as I have read, was thus.

Henry I. built his manor of Wodstock, with a park, which he walled about with stone, seven miles in compass, destroying for the same divers villages, churches, and chapels; and this was the first park in England. He placed therein, besides great store of deer, divers strange beasts to be kept and nourished, such as were brought to him from far countries, as lions, leopards, linces, porpentines,[68] and such other. More I read, that in the year 1235, Frederick the emperor sent to Henry III. three leopards, in token of his regal shield of arms, wherein three leopards were pictured; since the which time those lions and others have been kept in a part of this bulwark, now called the Lion Tower, and their keepers there lodged. King Edward II., in the 12th of his reign, commanded the sheriffs of London to pay to the keepers of the king’s leopard in the Tower of London sixpence the day for the sustenance of the leopard, and three-halfpence a day for diet for the said keeper, out of the fee farm of the said city. More, in the 16th of Edward III., one lion, one lioness, one leopard, and two cat lions, in the said Tower, were committed to the custody of Robert, the son of John Bowre.

Edward IV. fortified the Tower of London, and inclosed with brick, as is aforesaid, a certain piece of ground, taken out of the Tower Hill, west from the Lion Tower, now called the bulwark. His officers also, in the 5th of his reign, set upon the said hill both scaffold and gallows, for the execution of offenders; whereupon[46] the mayor and his brethren complained to the king, and were answered that the same was not done in derogation of the city’s liberties, and thereof caused proclamation to be made, etc., as shall be shown in Tower street.

Richard III., repaired and built in this tower somewhat. Henry VIII., in 1532, repaired the White Tower, and other parts thereof. In the year 1548, the 2nd of Edward VI., on the 22nd of November, in the night, a Frenchman lodged in the round bulwark, betwixt the west gate and the postern, or drawbridge, called the warders’ gate, by setting fire on a barrel of gunpowder, blew up the said bulwark, burnt himself, and no more persons. This bulwark, was forthwith again new built.

And here, because I have by occasion spoken of the west gate of this tower the same, as the most principal, is used for the receipt and delivery of all kinds of carriages, without the which gate divers bulwarks and gates, towards the north, etc. Then near within this west gate, opening to the south, is a strong postern for passengers by the ward-house, over a drawbridge let down for that purpose. Next on the same south side, toward the east, is a large water-gate, for receipt of boats and small vessels, partly under a stone bridge from the river of Thames. Beyond it is a small postern, with a drawbridge, seldom let down but for the receipt of some great persons, prisoners. Then towards the east is a great and strong gate, commonly called the Iron gate, but not usually opened. And thus much for the foundation, building, and repairing of this tower, with the gates and posterns, may suffice. And now somewhat of accidents in the same shall be shown.

In the year 1196, William Fitzosbert, a citizen of London, seditiously moving the common people to seek liberty, and not to be subject to the rich and more mighty, at length was taken and brought before the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Tower, where he was by the judges condemned, and by the heels drawn thence to the Elms in Smithfield, and there hanged.

In 1214, King John[69] wrote to Geffrey Magnaville to deliver the Tower of London, with the prisoners, armour, and all other things found therein belonging to the king, to William, archdeacon of Huntingdon. In the year 1216, the 1st of Henry III., the said Tower was delivered to Lewis of France and the barons of England.[70]

In the year 1206 pleas of the crown were pleaded in the Tower; likewise in the year 1220, and likewise in the year 1224, and[47] again in the year 1243, before William of Yorke, Richard Passelew, Henry Brahe, Jerome of Saxton, justices.

In the year 1222, the citizens of London having made a tumult against the abbot of Westminster, Hubert of Burge, chief justice of England, came to the Tower of London, called before him the mayor and aldermen, of whom he inquired for the principal authors of that sedition; amongst whom one, named Constantine Fitz Aelulfe, avowed that he was the man, and had done much less than he ought to have done: whereupon the justice sent him with two other to Falks de Brent, who with armed men brought them to the gallows, where they were hanged.

In the year 1244, Griffith, the eldest son of Leoline, Prince of Wales, being kept prisoner in the Tower, devised means of escape, and having in the night made of the hangings, sheets, etc., a long line, he put himself down from the top of the Tower, but in the sliding, the weight of his body, being a very big and a fat man, brake the rope, and he fell and brake his neck withall.

In the year 1253, King Henry III. imprisoned the sheriffs of London in the Tower more than a month, for the escape of a prisoner out of Newgate, as you may read in the chapter of Gates.

In the year 1260, King Henry, with his queen (for fear of the barons), were lodged in the Tower. The next year he sent for his lords, and held his parliament there.

In the year 1263, when the queen would have removed from the Tower by water towards Windsor, sundry Londoners got them together to the bridge, under the which she was to pass, and not only cried out upon her with reproachful words, but also threw mire and stones at her, by which she was constrained to return for the time; but in the year 1265, the said citizens were fain to submit themselves to the king for it, and the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs were sent to divers prisons, and a custos also was set over the city; to wit, Othon, constable of the Tower, etc.

In the year 1282, Leoline, prince of Wales, being taken at Bewlth castle, Roger Lestrange cut off his head, which Sir Roger Mortimer caused to be crowned with ivy, and set it upon the Tower of London.

In the year 1290, divers justices, as well of the bench as of the assizes, were sent prisoners to the Tower, which with great sums of money redeemed their liberty. Edward II., the 14th of his reign, appointed for prisoners in the Tower, a knight twopence the day, an esquire one penny the day, to serve for their diet.


In the year 1320, the king’s justices sat in the Tower, for trial of matters; whereupon John Gifors, late mayor of London, and many others, fled the city, for fear to be charged of things they had presumptuously done.

In the year 1321, the Mortimers yielding themselves to the king, he sent them prisoners to the Tower, where they remained long, and were adjudged to be drawn and hanged. But at length Roger Mortimer, of Wigmore, by giving to his keepers a sleepy drink, escaped out of the Tower, and his uncle Roger, being still kept there, died about five years after.

In the year 1326, the citizens of London won the Tower, wresting the keys out of the constable’s hands, delivered all the prisoners, and kept both city and Tower to the use of Isabel the queen, and Edward her son.

In the year 1330, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, was taken and brought to the Tower, from whence he was brought to the Elms, and there hanged.

In the year 1344, King Edward III., in the 18th of his reign, commanded florences of gold to be made and coined in the Tower; that is to say, a penny piece of the value of five shillings and eight pence, the halfpenny piece of the value of three shillings and four pence, and a farthing piece worth twenty pence; Percevall de Port of Lake being then master of the coin. And this is the first coining of gold in the Tower, whereof I have read, and also the first coinage of gold in England. I find also recorded, that the said king in the same year ordained his exchange of money to be kept in Serne’s Tower, a part of the king’s house in Bucklesbury. And here to digress a little (by occasion offered), I find that, in times before passed, all great sums were paid by weight of gold or silver, as so many pounds or marks of silver, or so many pounds or marks of gold, cut into blanks, and not stamped, as I could prove by many good authorities which I overpass. The smaller sums also were paid in starlings, which were pence so called, for other coins they had none. The antiquity of this starling penny usual in this realm is from the reign of Henry II., notwithstanding the Saxon coins before the Conquest were pence of fine silver the full weight, and somewhat better than the latter starlings, as I have tried by conference of the pence of Burghrede, king of Mercia, Aelfred, Edward, and Edelred, kings of the West Saxons, Plegmond, Archbishop of Canterbury, and others. William the Conqueror’s penny also was fine silver of the weight of the easterling, and had on the one side stamped an armed head, with a beardless[49] face,—for the Normans wore no beards,—with a sceptre in his hand. The inscription in the circumference was this: “Le Rei Wilam;”[71] on the other side, a cross double to the ring, between four rowals of six points.

King Henry I. his penny was of the like weight, fineness, form of face, cross, etc.

This Henry, in the 8th year of his reign, ordained the penny, which was round, so to be quartered by the cross, that they might easily be broken into halfpence and farthings.[72] In the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th of King Richard I. his reign, and afterwards, I find commonly easterling money mentioned, and yet ofttimes the same is called argent, as afore, and not otherwise.

The first great sum that I read of to be paid in easterlings was in the reign of Richard I., when Robert, Earl of Leicester, being prisoner in France, proffered for his ransom a thousand marks easterlings, notwithstanding the easterling pence were long before. The weight of the easterling penny may appear by divers statutes, namely, of weights and measures, made in the 51st of Henry III. in these words: “Thirty-two graines of wheat, drie and round, taken in the middest of the eare, shoulde be the weight of a starling penie, 20 of those pence should waye one ounce, 12 ounces a pound Troy.” It followeth in the statute eight pound to make a gallon of wine, and eight gallons a bushel of London measure, etc. Notwithstanding which statute, I find, in the 8th of Edward I., Gregorie Rokesley, mayor of London, being chief master or minister of the Kinge’s Exchange, or mintes, a new coin being then appointed, the pound of easterling money should contain as afore twelve ounces; to wit, fine silver, such as was then made into foil, and was commonly called silver of Guthurons lane,[73] eleven ounces, two easterlings, and one ferling or farthing, and the other seventeen pence ob. q.[74] to be alloy. Also, the pound of money ought to weigh twenty shillings and three pence by account; so that no pound ought to be over twenty shillings and three pence, nor less than twenty shillings and two pence by account; the ounce to weigh twenty pence, the penny weight twenty-four grains (which twenty-four by weight then appointed were as much as the former thirty-two grains of wheat), a penny force twenty-[50]five grains and a half, the penny deble or feeble twenty-two grains and a half, etc.[75]

Now for the penny easterling, how it took that name I think good briefly to touch. It hath been said, that Numa Pompilius, the second king of the Romans, commanded money first to be made, of whose name they were called nummi; and when copper pence, silver pence, and gold pence, were made, because every silver penny was worth ten copper pence, and every gold penny worth ten silver pence, the pence therefore were called in Latin, denarii, and oftentimes the pence are named of the matter and stuff of gold or silver. But the money of England was called of the workers and makers thereof; as the florin of gold is called of the Florentines, that were the workers thereof, and so the easterling pence took their name of the Easterlings which did first make this money in England, in the reign of Henry II.

Thus have I set down according to my reading in antiquity of money matters, omitting the imaginations of late writers, of whom some have said easterling money to take that name of a star, stamped in the border or ring of the penny; other some of a bird called a star or starling stamped in the circumference; and other (more unlikely) of being coined at Strivelin or Starling, a town in Scotland, etc.

Now concerning halfpence and farthings, the account of which is more subtle than the pence, I need not speak of them more than that they were only made in the Exchange at London, and nowhere else: first appointed to be made by Edward I. in the 8th of his reign; and also at the same time the said king coined some few groats of silver, but they were not usual. The king’s Exchange as London was near unto the cathedral church of St. Paul, and is to this day commonly called the Old Change, but in evidences the Old Exchange.

The king’s exchanger in this place was to deliver out to every other exchanger throughout England, or other the king’s dominions, their coining irons, that is to say, one standard or staple, and two trussels or puncheons; and when the same was spent and worn, to receive them with an account what sum had been coined, and also their pix or bore of assay, and deliver other irons new graven, etc. I find that in the 9th of King John, there was besides the mint at London, other mints at Winchester, Excester, Chichester, Canterburie, Rochester, Ipswich, Norwich,[51] Linne, Lincolne, York, Carleil, Northampton, Oxford, St. Edmondsbury, and Durham. The exchanger, examiner, and trier, buyeth the silver for coinage, answering for every hundred pounds of silver bought in bullion or otherwise, ninety-eight pounds fifteen shillings, for he taketh twenty-five shillings for coinage.

King Edward I., in the 27th of his reign, held a parliament at Stebenheth, in the house of Henry Waleis, mayor of London, wherein amongst other things there handled, the transporting of sterling money was forbidden.

In the year 1351, William Edington, bishop of Winchester, and treasurer of England, a wise man, but loving the king’s commodity more than the wealth of the whole realm, and common people (saith mine author[76]) caused a new coin, called a groat, and a half-groat, to be coined and stamped, the groat to be taken for four pence, and the half-groat for two pence, not containing in weight according to the pence called easterlings, but much less, to wit, by five shillings in the pound; by reason whereof, victuals and merchandises became the dearer through the whole realm. About the same time also, the old coin of gold was changed into a new; but the old florin or noble, then so called, was worth much above the taxed rate of the new, and therefore the merchants engrossed up the old, and conveyed them out of the realm, to the great loss of the kingdom. Wherefore a remedy was provided by changing of the stamp.

In the year 1411, King Henry IV. caused a new coin of nobles to be made, of less value than the old by four pence in the noble, so that fifty nobles should be a pound troy weight.

In the year 1421 was granted to Henry V. a fifteenth, to be paid at Candlemas and at Martinmas, of such money as was then current, gold or silver, not overmuch clipped or washed; to wit, that if the noble were worth five shillings and eight pence, then the king should take it for a full noble of six shillings and eight pence, and if it were less of value than five shillings and eight pence, then the person paying that gold to make it good to the value of five shillings and eight pence, the king always receiving it for a whole noble of six shillings and eight pence. And if the noble so paid be better than five shillings and eight pence, the king to pay again the surplusage that it was better than five shillings and eight pence. Also this year was such scarcity of white money, that though a noble were[52] so good of gold and weight as six shillings and eight pence, men might get no white money for them.

In the year 1465, King Edward IV. caused a new coin both of gold and silver to be made, whereby he gained much; for he made of an old noble a royal, which he commanded to go for ten shillings. Nevertheless, to the same royal was put eight pence of alloy, and so weighed the more, being smitten with a new stamp, to wit, a rose. He likewise made half-angels of five shillings, and farthings of two shillings and six pence, angelets of six shillings and eight pence, and half-angels of three shillings and four pence. He made silver money of three pence, a groat, and so of other coins after that rate, to the great harm of the commons. W. Lord Hastings, the king’s chamberlain, being master of the king’s mints, undertook to make the monies under form following, to wit,—of gold, a piece of eight shillings and four pence sterling, which should be called a noble of gold, of the which there should be fifty such pieces in the pound weight of the Tower; another piece of gold of four shillings and two pence sterling, and to be of them an hundred such pieces in the pound; and a third piece of gold, of two shillings and one penny sterling, two hundred such pieces in the pound; every pound weight of the Tower to be worth twenty pounds, sixteen shillings, and eight pence, the which should be twenty-three carats, three grains and a half fine, etc., and for silver thirty-seven shillings and six pence; the piece of four pence to be one hundred and twelve groats and two pence in the pound weight.

In the year 1504, King Henry VII. appointed a new coin, to wit, a groat, and half-groat, which bare but half faces; the same time also was coined a groat, which was in value twelve pence, but of those but a few, after the rate of forty pence the ounce.

In the year 1526, the 18th of Henry VIII., the angel noble being then the sixth part of an ounce troy, so that six angels were just an ounce, which was forty shillings sterling, and the angel was also worth two ounces of silver, so that six angels were worth twelve ounces of silver, which was forty shillings. A proclamation was made on the sixth of September, that the angel should go for seven shillings and four pence, the royal for eleven shillings, and the crown for four shillings and four-pence. And on the fifth of November following, again by proclamation, the angel was enhanced to seven shillings and sixpence, and so every ounce of gold to be forty-five shillings,[53] and the ounce of silver at three shillings and nine pence in value.

In the year 1544, the 35th of Henry VIII., on the 16th of May, proclamation was made for the enhancing of gold to forty-eight shillings, and silver to four shillings the ounce. Also the king caused to be coined base moneys, to wit, pieces of twelve pence, six pence, four pence, two pence, and a penny, in weight as the late sterling, in show good silver, but inwardly copper. These pieces had whole, or broad faces, and continued current after that rate till the 5th of Edward VI., when they were on the 9th of July called down, the shilling to nine pence, the groat to three pence, etc., and on the 17th of August from nine pence to six pence, etc. And on the 30th of October was published new coins of silver and gold to be made, a piece of silver five shillings sterling, a piece of two shillings and five pence, of twelve pence, of six pence, a penny with a double rose, half-penny a single rose, and a farthing with a portclose. Coins of fine gold: a whole sovereign of thirty shillings, an angel of ten shillings, an angelet of five shillings. Of crown gold: a sovereign twenty shillings, half-sovereign ten shillings, five shillings, two shillings and six pence, and base moneys to pass as before, which continued till the 2nd of Queen Elizabeth, then called to a lower rate, taken to the mint, and refined, the silver whereof being coined with a new stamp of her majesty, the dross was carried to foul highways, to heighten them. This base money, for the time, caused the old sterling moneys to be hoarded up, so that I have seen twenty-one shillings current given for one old angel to gild withal. Also rents of lands and tenements, with prices of victuals, were raised far beyond the former rates, hardly since to be brought down. Thus much for base moneys coined and current in England have I known. But for leather moneys, as many people have fondly talked, I find no such matter. I read,[77] that King John of France, being taken prisoner by Edward the Black Prince at the battle of Poictiers, paid a ransom of three millions of florences, whereby he brought the realm into such poverty, that many years after they used leather money, with a little stud or nail of silver in the middle thereof. Thus much for mint and coinage, by occasion of this Tower (under correction of others more skilful) may suffice. And now to other accidents there.

In the year 1360, the peace between England and France being confirmed, King Edward came over into England, and[54] straight to the Tower, to see the French king then prisoner there, whose ransom he assessed at three millions of florences, and so delivered him from prison, and brought him with honour to the sea.

In the year 1381, the rebels of Kent drew out of the Tower (where the king was then lodged) Simon Sudberie, archbishop of Canterbury, lord chancellor, Robert Hales, prior of St. John’s, and treasurer of England, William Appleton, friar, the king’s confessor, and John Legg, a sergeant of the king’s, and beheaded them on the Tower hill, etc.

In the year 1387, King Richard held his feast of Christmas in the Tower. And in the year 1399, the same king was sent prisoner to the Tower.

In the year 1414, Sir John Oldcastell brake out of the Tower. And the same year, a parliament being holden at Leycester, a porter of the Tower was drawn, hanged, and headed, whose head was sent up, and set over the Tower gate, for consenting to one Whitlooke, that brake out of the Tower.

In the year 1419, Friar Randulph was sent to the Tower, and was there slain by the parson of St. Peter’s in the Tower.

In the year 1428, there came to London, a lewd fellow, feigning himself to be sent from the Emperor to the young King Henry VI., calling himself Baron of Blakamoore, and that he should be the principal physician in this kingdom; but his subtlety being known, he was apprehended, condemned, drawn, hanged, headed, and quartered, his head set on the Tower of London, and his quarters on four gates of the city.

In the year 1458, in Whitsun week, the Duke of Somerset, with Anthonie Rivers, and other four, kept jousts before the queen in the Tower of London, against three esquires of the queen’s, and others.

In the year 1465, King Henry VI. was brought prisoner to the Tower, where he remained long.

In the year 1470, the Tower was yielded to Sir Richard Lee, mayor of London, and his brethren the aldermen, who forthwith entered the same, delivered King Henry of his imprisonment, and lodged him in the king’s lodging there; but the next year he was again sent thither prisoner, and there murdered.

In the year 1478, George Duke of Clarence was drowned with malmsey in the Tower; and within five years after King Edward V., with his brother, were said to be murdered there.


In the year 1485, John Earl of Oxford was made constable of the Tower, and had custody of the lions granted him.[78]

In the year 1501, in the month of May, was a royal tourney of lords and knights in the Tower of London before the king.

In the year 1502, Queen Elizabeth, wife to Henry VII., died of childbirth in the Tower.

In the year 1512, the chapel in the high White Tower was burnt. In the year 1536 Queen Anne Bullein was beheaded in the Tower. 1541, Lady Katherine Howard, wife to King Henry VIII., was also beheaded there.

In the year 1546, the 27th of April, being Tuesday in Easter week, William Foxley, potmaker for the Mint in the Tower of London, fell asleep, and so continued sleeping, and could not be wakened with pricking, cramping, or otherwise, burning whatsoever, until the first day of the term, which was full fourteen days and fifteen nights, or more, for that Easter term beginneth not before seventeen days after Easter. The cause of his thus sleeping could not be known, though the same was diligently searched after by the king’s physicians, and other learned men; yea, the king himself examining the said William Foxley, who was in all points found at his awakening to be as if he had slept but one night. And he lived more than forty years after in the said Tower, to wit, until the year of Christ 1587, and then deceased on Wednesday in Easter week.

Thus much for these accidents: and now to conclude thereof in summary. This Tower is a citadel to defend or command the city; a royal palace for assemblies or treaties; a prison of state for the most dangerous offenders; the only place of coinage for all England at this time; the armoury for warlike provision; the treasury of the ornaments and jewels of the crown; and general conserver of the most records of the king’s courts of justice at Westminster.


The next tower on the river of Thames is on London bridge, at the north end of the drawbridge. This tower was newly begun to be built in the year 1426. John Reynwell, mayor of London, laid one of the first corner stones in the foundation of this work, the other three were laid by the sheriffs and bridge masters; upon every of these four stones was engraven in fair roman letters the name of “Ihesus.” And these stones I have[56] seen laid in the bridge storehouse since they were taken up, when that tower was of late newly made of timber. This gate and tower was at the first strongly built up of stone, and so continued until the year 1577, in the month of April, when the same stone arched gate and tower being decayed, was begun to be taken down, and then were the heads of the traitors removed thence, and set on the tower over the gate at the bridge-foot towards Southwark. This said tower being taken down, a new foundation was drawn, and Sir John Langley, lord mayor, laid the first stone in the presence of the sheriffs and bridge masters, on the 28th of August; and in the month of September, in the year 1579, the same tower was finished—a beautiful and chargeable piece of work, all above the bridge being of timber.


Another tower there is on London bridge, to wit, over the gate at the south end of the same bridge towards Southwark. This gate, with the tower thereupon, and two arches of the bridge, fell down, and no man perished by the fall thereof, in the year 1436;[79] towards the new building whereof divers charitable citizens gave large sums of money; which gate, being then again newly built, was, with seventeen houses more on the bridge, in the year 1471, burnt by the mariners and sailors of Kent, Bastard Fauconbridge being their captain.


In the west of this city (saith Fitzstephen) are two most strong castles, etc. Also Gervasius Tilbury,[80] in the reign of Henry II., writing of these castles, hath to this effect:—“Two castels,” saith he, “are built with walles and rampires, whereof one is, in right of possession, Baynardes; the other the Barons of Mountfichet.” The first of these castles, banking on the river Thames, was called Baynard’s Castle, of Baynard a nobleman, that came in with the Conqueror, and then built it, and deceased in the reign of William Rufus; after whose decease Geffrey Baynard succeeded, and then William Baynard, in the year 1111, who by forfeiture for felony, lost his barony of Little Dunmow, and King Henry gave it wholly to Robert, the son of Richard, the son of Gilbard of Clare, and to his heirs, together with the honour of Baynard’s Castle. This Robert married[57] Maude de Sent Licio, lady of Bradham, and deceased 1134; was buried at St. Needes by Gilbert of Clare, his father. Walter his son succeeded him; he took to wife Matilde de Bocham, and after her decease, Matilde, the daughter and co-heir of Richard de Lucy, on whom he begat Robert and other: he deceased in the year 1198, and was buried at Dunmow; after whom succeeded Robert Fitzwater, a valiant knight.

About the year 1213 there arose a great discord between King John and his barons, because Matilda, surnamed the Fair, daughter to the said Robert Fitzwater, whom the king unlawfully loved, but could not obtain her, nor her father would consent thereunto, whereupon, and for other like causes, ensued war through the whole realm. The barons were received into London, where they greatly endamaged the king; but in the end the king did not only therefore banish the said Fitzwater, amongst other, out of the realm, but also caused his castle called Baynard, and other his houses, to be spoiled; which thing being done, a messenger being sent unto Matilda the Fair about the king’s suit, whereunto she would not consent, she was poisoned;[81] Robert Fitzwater, and other, being then passed into France, and some into Scotland, etc.[82]

It happened in the year 1214, King John being then in France with a great army, that a truce was taken betwixt the two kings of England and France for the term of five years; and a river, or arm of the sea, being then between either host, there was a knight in the English host, that cried to them of the other side, willing some one of their knights to come and joust a course or twain with him; whereupon, without stay, Robert Fitzwater, being on the French part, made himself ready, ferried over, and got on horseback, without any man to help him, and showed himself ready to the face of his challenger, whom at the first course he struck so hard with his great spear, that horse and man fell to the ground; and when his spear was broken he went back to the King of France; which when the king had seen, “By God’s tooth,” quoth he (after his usual oath), “he were a king indeed that had such a knight.” The friends of Robert, hearing these words, kneeled down, and said:—“O king, he is your knight; it is Robert Fitzwater.” And thereupon, the next day he was sent for, and restored to the king’s favour; by which means peace was concluded, and he received his livings,[58] and had license to repair his castle of Baynard, and other castles.

The year 1216, the 1st of Henry III., the castle of Hartford being delivered to Lewis the French prince, and the barons of England, Robert Fitzwater requiring to have the same, because the keeping thereof did by ancient right and title pertain to him, was answered by Lewis, “that Englishmen were not worthy to have such holds in keeping, because they did betray their own lord,” etc. This Robert deceased in the year 1234, and was buried at Dunmow, and Walter his son that succeeded him. 1258, his barony of Baynard, was in the ward of King Henry, in the nonage of Robert Fitzwater. This Robert took to his second wife, Ælianor, daughter and heir to the Earl of Ferrars, in the year 1289; and in the year 1303, on the 12th of March, before John Blondon, mayor of London, he acknowledged his service to the same city, and sware upon the Evangelists, that he would be true to the liberties thereof, and maintain the same to his power, and the counsel of the same to keep, etc.


The said Robert, and his heirs, ought to be, and are chief bannerers of London, in fee of the chastilarie, which he and his ancestors had by Castle Baynard, in the said city. In time of war the said Robert, and his heirs, ought to serve the city in manner as followeth: that is, The said Robert ought to come, he being the twentieth man of arms on horseback, covered with cloth, or armour, unto the great west door of St. Paul, with his banner displayed before him of his arms; and when he is come to the said door, mounted and apparelled, as before is said, the mayor with his aldermen and sheriffs armed in their arms, shall come out of the said church of St. Paul, unto the said door, with a banner in his hand, all on foot, which banner shall be gules, with the image of St. Paul, gold, the face, hands, feet, and sword, of silver; and as soon as the said Robert shall see the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, come on foot out of the church, armed with such a banner, he shall alight from his horse, and salute the mayor, and say to him,—“Sir mayor, I am come to do my service, which I owe to the city.” And the mayor and aldermen shall answer,—“We give to you, as our bannerer of fee in this city, this banner of this city to bear, and govern to the honour and profit of the city to our power.” And the said Robert and his heirs shall receive the banner in[59] his hands, and shall go on foot out of the gate with the banner in his hands; and the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, shall follow to the door, and shall bring a horse to the said Robert worth twenty pounds, which horse shall be saddled with a saddle of the arms of the said Robert, and shall be covered with sandals of the said arms. Also they shall present to him twenty pounds sterling money, and deliver it to the chamberlain of the said Robert for his expenses that day. Then the said Robert shall mount upon the horse which the mayor presented to him, with the banner in his hand, and as soon as he is up, he shall say to the mayor, that he cause a marshal to be chosen for the host, one of the city; which marshal being chosen, the said Robert shall command the mayor and burgesses of the city to warn the commoners to assemble together, and they shall all go under the banner of St. Paul, and the said Robert shall bear it himself unto Aldgate, and there the said Robert and mayor shall deliver the said banner of St. Paul from thence, to whom they shall assent or think good. And if they must make any issue forth of the city, then the said Robert ought to choose two forth of every ward, the most sage personages, to foresee to the safe keeping of the city after they be gone forth. And this counsel shall be taken in the priory of the Trinity near unto Aldgate. And before every town or castle which the host of London besiege, if the siege continue a whole year, the said Robert shall have for every siege of the commonalty of London an hundred shillings for his travail, and no more. These be the rights that the said Robert hath in the time of war.—Rights belonging to Robert Fitzwalter, and to his heirs in the city of London, in the time of peace, are these: that is to say, the said Robert hath a soken or ward in the city, that is, a wall of the canonry of St. Paul, as a man goeth down the street before the brewhouse of St. Paul unto the Thames, and so to the side of the mill, which is in the water that cometh down from the Fleet bridge, and goeth so by London walls, betwixt the Friers preachers and Ludgate, and so returneth back by the house of the said Friars unto the said wall of the said canonry of St. Paul, that is, all the parish of St. Andrew, which is in the gift of his ancestors by the said seigniority. And so the said Robert hath appendant unto the said soken all these things under-written,—that he ought to have a soke man, and to place what sokeman he will, so he be of the sokemanry, or the same ward; and if any of the sokemanry be impleaded in the Guildhall, of any thing that toucheth not the body of the mayor that for[60] the time is, or that toucheth the body of no sheriff, it is not lawful for the sokeman of the sokemanry of the said Robert Fitzwalter to demand a court of the said Robert, and the mayor, and his citizens of London, ought to grant him to have a court, and in his court he ought to bring his judgments, as it is assented and agreed upon in this Guildhall, that shall be given them. If any, therefore, be taken in his sokenly, he ought to have his stocks and imprisonment in his soken; and he shall be brought from thence to the Guildhall before the mayor, and there they shall provide him his judgment that ought to be given of him; but his judgment shall not be published till he come into the court of the said Robert, and in his liberty. And the judgment shall be such, that if he have deserved death by treason, he to be tied to a post in the Thames at a good wharf where boats are fastened, two ebbings and two flowings of the water. And if he be condemned for a common thief, he ought to be led to the Elms, and there suffer his judgment as other thieves. And so the said Robert and his heirs hath honour that he holdeth a great franchise within the city, that the mayor of the city and citizens are bound to do him of right, that is to say, that when the mayor will hold a great council, he ought to call the said Robert, and his heirs, to be with him in council of the city, and the said Robert ought to be sworn to be of council with the city against all people, saving the king and his heirs. And when the said Robert cometh to the hustings in the Guildhall of the city, the mayor, or his lieutenant, ought to rise against him, and set him down near unto him; and so long as he is in the Guildhall, all the judgment ought to be given by his mouth, according to the record of the recorders of the said Guildhall; and so many waifes as come so long as he is there, he ought to give them to the bailiffs of the town, or to whom he will, by the counsel of the mayor of the city. These be the franchises that belonged to Robert Fitzwalter in London, in time of peace; which for the antiquity thereof I have noted out of an old record.

This Robert deceased in the year 1305, leaving issue Walter Fitzrobert, who had issue Robert Fitzwalter, unto whom, in the year 1320, the citizens of London acknowledged the right which they ought to him and his heirs for the Castle Baynard; he deceased 1325; unto whom succeeded Robert Fitzrobert, Fitzwalter, etc. More of the Lord Fitzwalter may ye read in my Annals in 51st of Edward III. But how this honour of Baynard’s castle, with the appurtenances, fell from the pos[61]session of the Fitzwalters, I have not read; only I find, that in the year 1428, the 7th of Henry VI., a great fire was at Baynard’s castle, and that same Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, built it of new. By his death and attainder, in the year 1446, it came to the hands of Henry VI., and from him to Richard, Duke of York, of whom we read, that in the year 1457 he lodged there, as in his own house. In the year 1460, the 28th of February, the Earls of March and of Warwick, with a great power of men, but few of name, entered the city of London, where they were of the citizens joyously received; and upon the 3rd of March, being Sunday, the said earl caused to be mustered his people in St. John’s field; whereunto that host was showed and proclaimed certain articles and points wherein King Henry, as they said, had offended; and thereupon, it was demanded of the said people, whether the said Henry was worthy to reign as king any longer or not: whereunto the people cried Nay. Then it was asked of them, whether they would have the Earl of March for their king; and they cried, Yea, Yea. Whereupon, certain captains were appointed to bear report thereof unto the said Earl of March, then being lodged at his castle of Baynard. Whereof when the earl was by them advertised, he thanked God, and them for their election; notwithstanding he showed some countenance of insufficiency in him to occupy so great a charge, till by exhortation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Excester, and certain noblemen, he granted to their petition; and on the next morrow at Paul’s he went on procession, offered, and had Te Deum sung. Then was he with great royalty conveyed to Westminster, and there, in the great hall, set in the king’s seat, with St. Edward’s sceptre in his hand.

Edward IV. being dead, leaving his eldest son Edward, and his second son Richard, both infants, Richard, Duke of Glocester,[83] being elected by the nobles and commons in the Guildhall of London, took on him the title of the realm and kingdom, as imposed upon him in this Baynard’s castle, as ye may read penned by Sir Thomas More, and set down in my Annals.

Henry VII., about the year 1501, the 16th of his reign, repaired, or rather new built this house, not embattled, or so strongly fortified castle like, but far more beautiful and commodious for the entertainment of any prince or great estate.[62] In the 17th of his reign, he, with his queen were lodged there, and came from thence to Powles church, where they made their offering, dined in the bishop’s palace, and so returned. The 18th of his reign he was lodged there, and the ambassadors from the king of the Romans, where thither brought to his presence, and from thence the king came to Powles, and was there sworn to the king of the Romans, as the said king had sworn to him.

The 20th of the said king, he with his knights of the order, all in their habits of the Garter, rode from the Tower of London, through the city, unto the cathedral church of St. Paul’s, and there heard evensong, and from thence they rode to Baynard’s castle, where the king lodged; and on the next morrow, in the same habit they rode from thence again to the said church of St. Paul’s, went on procession, heard the divine service, offered, and returned. The same year the king of Castile was lodged there.

In the year 1553, the 19th of July, the council, partly moved with the right of the Lady Mary’s cause, partly considering that the most of the realm were wholly bent on her side, changing their mind from Lady Jane, lately proclaimed queen, assembled themselves at this Baynard’s castle, where they communed with the Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl of Shrewsbury, and Sir John Mason, clerk of the council, sent for the lord mayor, and then riding into Cheap to the cross, where Garter King at Arms, trumpet being sounded, proclaimed the Lady Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII., and Queen Katherine, queen of England, etc.

This castle now belongeth to the Earl of Pembroke.[84]

Next adjoining to this castle was sometime a tower, the name whereof I have not read; but that the same was built by Edward II. is manifest by this that followeth. King Edward III., in the second year of his reign, gave unto William de Ros, of Hamolake, in Yorkshire, a tower upon the water of Thames, by the castle of Baynard in the city of London, which tower his father had built; he gave the said tower and appurtenances to the said William Hamolake, and his heirs, for a rose yearly, to be paid for all service due, etc. This tower, as seemeth to me, was since called Legat’s inn, the 7th of Edward IV.



The next tower or castle, banking also on the river of Thames, was, as is afore showed, called Mountfiquit’s castle, of a nobleman, Baron of Mountfiquit, the first builder thereof, who came in with William the Conqueror, and was since named Le Sir Mountfiquit. This castle he built in a place not far distant from Baynard’s, towards the west. The same William Mountfiquit lived in the reign of Henry I., and was witness to a charter then granted to the city for the sheriffs of London. Richard Mountfiquit lived in King John’s time; and in the year 1213, was by the same king banished the realm into France, when peradventure King John caused his castle of Mountfiquit, amongst other castles of the barons, to be overthrown; the which after his return, might be by him again re-edified; for the total destruction thereof was about the year 1276, when Robert Kilwarby, archbishop of Canterbury, began the foundation of the Fryers Preachers church there, commonly called the Blacke Fryers, as appeareth by a charter the 4th of Edward I., wherein is declared that Gregorie de Rocksley, mayor of London, and the barons of the same city, granted and gave unto the said Archbishop Robert, two lanes or ways next the street of Baynard’s castle, and the tower of Mountfiquit, to be applied for the enlargement of the said church and place.

One other tower there was also situate on the river of Thames near unto the said Blacke Fryers church, on the west part thereof built at the citizens’ charges, but by license and commandment of Edward I. and of Edward II., as appeareth by their grants; which tower was then finished, and so stood for the space of three hundred years, and was at the last taken down by the commandment of John Shaw, mayor of London, in the year 1502.

Another tower, or castle, also was there in the west part of the city pertaining to the king. For I read, that in the year 1087, the 20th of William I., the city of London, with the church of St. Paul, being burned, Mauritius, then bishop of London, afterward began the foundation of a new church, whereunto King William, saith mine author, gave the choice stones of this castle standing near to the bank of the river of Thames, at the west end of the city. After this Mauritius, Richard his successor purchased the streets about Paul’s church,[85] compassing[64] the same with a wall of stone and gates. King Henry I. gave to this Richard so much of the moat or wall of the castle, on the Thames side to the south, as should be needful to make the said wall of the churchyard, and so much more as should suffice to make a way without the wall on the north side, etc.

This tower or castle thus destroyed, stood, as it may seem, where now standeth the house called Bridewell. For notwithstanding the destruction of the said castle or tower, the house remained large, so that the kings of this realm long after were lodged there, and kept their courts; for until the 9th year of Henry III. the courts of law and justice were kept in the king’s house, wheresoever he was lodged, and not elsewhere. And that the kings have been lodged, and kept their law courts in this place, I could show you many authors of record, but for plain proof this one may suffice. “Hæc est finalis concordia, facta in Curia Domini regis apud Sanct. Bridgid. London. a die Sancti Michaelis in 15 dies, Anno regni regis Johannis 7. coram G. Fil. Petri. Eustachio de Fauconberg, Johanne de Gestlinge, Osbart filio Hervey, Walter De Crisping Justiciar. et aliis baronibus Domini regis.[86] More, as Matthew Paris hath, about the year 1210, King John, in the 12th of his reign, summoned a parliament at St. Bride’s in London, where he exacted of the clergy and religious persons the sum of one hundred thousand pounds; and besides all this, the white monks were compelled to cancel their privileges, and to pay forty thousand pounds to the king, etc. This house of St. Bride’s of latter time being left, and not used by the kings, fell to ruin, insomuch that the very platform thereof remained for great part waste, and, as it were, but a laystall of filth and rubbish; only a fair well remained there. A great part of this house, namely, on the west, as hath been said, was given to the Bishop of Salisbury; the other part towards the east remaining waste until King Henry VIII. built a stately and beautiful house thereupon, giving it to name Bridewell, of the parish and well there. This house he purposely built for the entertainment of the Emperor Charles V., who in the year 1522 came into this city, as I have showed in my Summary, Annals, and large Chronicles.

On the north-west side of the city, near unto Redcross street, there was a tower, commonly called Barbican, or Burhkenning; for that the same being placed on a high ground, and also built of some good height, was in old time as a watch-tower for the city, from whence a man might behold and view the whole[65] city towards the south, and also into Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, and likewise every other way, east, north, or west.

Some other Burhkennings, or watch-towers, there were of old time in and about the city, all which were repaired, yea, and others new built, by Gilbart de Clare, Earl of Glocester, in the reign of King Henry III., when the barons were in arms, and held the city against the king; but the barons being reconciled to his favour in the year 1267, he caused all their burhkennings, watch-towers, and bulwarks, made and repaired by the said earl, to be plucked down, and the ditches to be filled up, so that nought of them might be seen to remain; and then was this burhkenning, amongst the rest, overthrown and destroyed; and although the ditch near thereunto, called Hound’s ditch, was stopped up, yet the street of long time after was called Hound’s ditch; and of late time more commonly called Barbican. The plot or seat of this burhkenning, or watch-tower, King Edward III., in the year 1336, and the 10th of his reign, gave unto Robert Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, by the name of his manor of Base court, in the parish of St. Giles without Cripplegate, of London, commonly called the Barbican.

Tower Royal was of old time the king’s house. King Stephen was there lodged; but sithence called the Queen’s Wardrobe. The princess, mother to King Richard II. in the 4th of his reign was lodged there; being forced to fly from the Tower of London when the rebels possessed it. But on the 15th of June (saith Froissart), Wat Tyler being slain, the king went to this lady princess his mother, then lodged in the Tower Royal, called the Queen’s Wardrobe, where she had tarried two days and two nights; which tower (saith the record of Edward III., the 36th year[87]) was in the parish of St. Michel de Paternoster, etc. In the year 1386, King Richard, with Queen Anne his wife, kept their Christmas at Eltham, whither came to him Lion, king of Ermony,[88] under pretence to reform peace betwixt the kings of England and France; but what his coming profited he only understood; for besides innumerable gifts that he received of the king and his nobles, the king lying then in this Tower Royal, at the Queen’s Wardrobe in London, granted to him a charter[66] of a thousand pounds by year during his life. He was, as he affirmed, chased out of his kingdom by the Tartarians. More concerning this tower shall you read when you come to Vintry Ward, in which it standeth.

Sernes tower in Bucklesberie, was sometime the king’s house. Edward III., in the 18th of his reign, appointed his exchange of moneys therein to be kept; and in the 32d, he gave the same tower to his free chapel of St. Stephen at Westminster.