A historical site about early London coffee houses and taverns and will also link to my current pub history site and also the London street directory
THE OLD SWAN, THAMES-STREET,
Was more than five hundred years ago a house for public entertainment : for, in 1323, 16 Edw. II., Rose Wrytell bequeathed " the tenement of olde tyme called the Swanne on the Hope in Thames-street," in the parish of St. Mary-at-hill, to maintain a priest at the altar of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, " for her soul, and the souls of her husband, her father, and mother :" and the purposes of her bequest were established ; for, in the parish book, in 1499, is entered a disbursement of fourpence, " for a cresset to Rose Wrytell' s chantry."Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, in 1440, in her public penance for witchcraft and treason, landed at Old Swan, bearing a large taper, her feet bare, etc.
Stow, in 1598, mentions the Old Swan as a great brew-house. Taylor, the Water-poet, advertised the professor and author of the Barmoodo and Vtopian tongues, dwelling "at the Old Swanne, neare London Bridge, who will teach them at are willing to learne, with agility and facility."
In the scurrilous Cavalier ballad of Admiral Deane's Funeral, by water, from Greenwich to Westminster, in June, 1653, it is said : —
" The Old Swan, as lie passed by,
Said she would sing him a dirge, lye down and die :
Wilt thou sing to a bit of a body ? quoth I,
Which nobody can deny."
The Old Swan Tavern and its landing stairs were destroyed in the Great Fire ; but rebuilt. Its Token, in the Beaufoy Collection, is one of the rarest, of large size.
Where the Fishmongers' Hall now stands, at the corner of London Bridge, there was in olden times a very ancient tavern on the water side, of the name of the Swan, which gave its name to the present Old Swan Pier.
So long ago as 1323 a woman named Rose Wrytell left in her will, " the tenement of Old Tyme, called Ye Swanne, on the Hope in Thames Street," in the parish of St. Mary-at-Hill, to trustees to maintain a priest at the altar of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, " for her sowle, and the sowle of her husband, her father, and mother." In the parish book, under date 1499, is entered a payment of fourpence, " for a cresset to Rose Waytell's charitey."
In 1440 Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester (who was sentenced to do public penance for witchcraft and treason, and to be banished to the Isle of Man), landed at the Old Swan Stairs, carrying a large lighted taper, clad in a white sheet and barefooted.
The Old Swan Tavern and its landing stairs were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, on the second day, but were afterwards rebuilt.
In the Beaufoy collection at the British Museum is one of the tokens issued by the landlord of the Old Swan, and it is one of the rarest and largest among them. Though the hurrying passengers to and from the steamboats now plying from the pier pass by without one thought or the slightest notice, the Old Swan Tavern is there all the same.
Lots of references are made to two sources on the
Edward Callows, Old London Taverns &
John Timbs, Club life of London Volume 2