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Title: Memorials of Old London - Volume I
Author: Ditchfield, P. H. (Peter Hampson), 1854-1930 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memorials of Old London - Volume I" ***

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General Editor:

REV. P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.S.L., F.R.Hist.S.



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OLD BELL INN, HOLBORN, 1897

_From the painting by Philip Norman, LL.D._]

       *       *       *       *       *

                 OF OLD LONDON

                   EDITED BY
         P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.S.A.

                   AUTHOR OF
 _The City Companies of London and their Good Works_
            _The Story of our Towns_
      _The Cathedral Churches of Great Britain_
                   _&c. &c._

                IN TWO VOLUMES

                   VOL. I.


                  AND DERBY

           [_All Rights Reserved_]

       *       *       *       *       *

           THE RIGHT HON.
            THE EDITOR

       *       *       *       *       *


In the year of grace one thousand nine hundred and nine the citizens of
London are celebrating their Pageant, a mighty spectacle representing
some of the stately scenes of splendour and magnificence which London
streets have witnessed from the days of Alfred to the nineteenth
century. It is perhaps fortunate that these volumes of the MEMORIALS OF
OLD LONDON should appear when the minds of the people of England are
concerned with this wonderful panorama of the past history of the chief
city of the Empire. The Pageant will be all very beautiful, very grand,
instructive and edifying, and profoundly interesting; but, after all,
London needs no Pageant to set forth its attractions, historical and
spectacular. London is in itself a Pageant. The street names, the
buildings, cathedral, churches, prisons, theatres, the river with its
bridges, and countless other objects, all summon up the memories of the
past, and form a Pageant that is altogether satisfying. Many books have
been written on the greatest city of England's Empire--some learned and
ponderous tomes, others mere guide books; some devoted to special
buildings and foundations, others to the life, manners, and customs of
the citizens. This work differs from other books in that each chapter is
written by an expert who has made a special study of the subject, and is
therefore authoritative, and contains all the information which recent
investigations have brought to light. It is not exhaustive. London
contains so much that is of profound interest, that many additional
volumes would be needed in order to describe all its treasures. The city
of Westminster, the suburbs and the West End, have for the most part
been excluded from the plan of this work, and possibly may be treated of
in a subsequent volume. The domain of the city of London, not of the
London County Council, provides the chief subjects of these volumes,
though occasionally our writers have strayed beyond the city boundaries.

We have endeavoured to give sketches of London, its appearance, its life
and manners, at various stages of its history. We have tried to describe
its historic buildings, its fortress, its churches, the Exchange, and
other houses noted in its annals. Monastic London is represented by the
Charterhouse. Legal London finds expression in the histories of the
Temple and the Inns of Court. Royal London is described by the story of
its Palaces; and the old city life of the famous merchants and traders,
artizans and 'prentices, is shown in our glimpses of Mediæval London,
the histories of the Guildhall, the City Companies, the Hanseatic
League, Elizabethan London, and in other chapters. Old inns,
coffee-houses, clubs, learned societies, and literary shrines present
other phases of the life of the old city which are not without their
attractions, and help to complete the picture which we have tried to

All the chapters have been specially written for this work, and my most
grateful thanks are due to each of the contributors for their valuable
papers, as well as to those who have supplied photographs, old prints,
or drawings. I desire especially to thank Mr. Philip Norman for his
coloured sketches which form the pleasing frontispieces of the two
volumes; to Mr. Harold Sands for his skilfully constructed plan of the
Tower of London; and to Mr. Tavenor-Perry for his valuable drawings of
St. Bartholomew's Church, Smithfield, and the bridges that span the

    _Barkham Rectory,
            August, 1908._


London in Early Times--Celtic, Roman, Saxon, and Norman
  By Rev. W. J. Loftie, B.A., F.S.A.                                   1

The Tower of London
  By Harold Sands, F.S.A.                                             27

St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield
  By J. Tavenor-Perry                                                 66

The London Charterhouse
  By Rev. A. G. B. Atkinson, M.A.                                     86

Glimpses of Mediæval London
  By George Clinch, F.G.S., and the Editor                           106

The Temple
  By Rev. H. G. Woods, D.D. (Master)                                 133

Holborn and the Inns of Court and Chancery
  By E. Williams                                                     149

The Guildhall
  By C. Welch, F.S.A.                                                178

The City Companies of London
  By the Editor                                                      191

London and the Hanseatic League
  By J. Tavenor-Perry                                                224

The Arms of the City and See of London
  By J. Tavenor-Perry                                                233


Old Bell Inn, Holborn, 1897                                _Frontispiece_
    (_From the painting by Philip Norman, LL.D._)

                                                                Page, or
                                                             Facing Page

Roof Tile (Roman)                                                      3

Red-Glazed Pottery (Roman)                                             5

Roman Sandals                                                          9

Bronze Pin, with Christian Emblems (Roman)                            15

The Gates of the City:
    Aldersgate and Bridgegate (_From old prints_)                     10
    Bishopsgate and Cripplegate        "                              20
    Ludgate and Newgate                "                              24
    Moorgate and Aldgate               "                              26

Gold and Enamel Brooch (Ninth Century)                                18
    (_From the Catalogue of W. Roach Smith_)

The Tower of London (_From an engraving by Hollar, 1647_)             28

Plan of the Tower of London about 1597 (_Drawn by the Author_)        32

St. John's Chapel, Tower of London                                    42
    (_From a photo. by F. Frith & Co., Ltd._)

The Tower of London (_From a photo. by G. W. Wilson & Co._)           58

St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield:
    Norman Capital, discovered in 1863                                69
    Priory Gate and Church Tower in 1863                              70
    Transitional Capital, discovered in 1863                          71
    East Bay of South Aisle of Nave                                   73
    Screen of Roger de Walden's Chantry and Rahere's Monument         75
    Prior Bolton's Window                                             77
    Eastern Ambulatory and Purgatory before Restoration               79
    Interior of Church in 1863 (_Drawn by J. Tavenor-Perry_)          82

The Charterhouse Hospital (_From a print by Toms_)                    86

Old Porch, Charterhouse                                               96
    (_From a drawing by J. P. Neale [1813], engraved by Owen_)

Charterhouse Hall (_From a photo. by Stuart_)                        100

Old London Bridge: Showing its Wooden Houses with Projecting
    Stories (_From an old print_)                                    108

Old Wooden Houses at Cripplegate (recently demolished)               110
    (_From a photo. by the Author_)

Alley near the Cloth Fair, Smithfield
    (_From a photo by the Author_)                                   112

The Cloth Fair, Smithfield: Looking to the south-west, and
    showing the south side of the street                             114
    (_From a photo. by the Author_)

The Cloth Fair, Smithfield: The north-east end of the street         116
    (_From a photo. by the Author_)

The Cloth Fair, Smithfield: Looking to the south-west, and
    showing the north side of the street                             118
    (_From a photo. by the Author_)

Old Wooden Houses, near the Temple Gate, Fleet Street                120
    (_From a photo. by the Author_)

South View of Old St. Paul's when the Spire was standing             122
    (_From an old print_)

The Temple Church: Exterior View                                     134
    (_From a photo. by F. Frith & Co., Ltd._)

Doorway of the Temple Church (_From an old print_)                   136

The Interior of the Temple Church before it was Restored             144
    (_From an old print_)

Lincoln's Inn Gate, Chancery Lane                                    170
    (_From an old print published in 1800_)

Middle Temple Hall (_From a photo. by Mansell & Co._)                172

Lincoln's Inn Hall: The Lord Chancellor's Court                      176
    (_From a drawing by T. H. Shepherd_)

The Guildhall (_From a drawing by A. R. Quinton_)                    178

Gray's Inn Hall and Chapel (_From an old print_)                     182

The Guildhall (_From an engraving by R. Acom, 1828_)                 184

Inner Temple Hall (_From a photo. by F. Frith & Co., Ltd._)          186

The Old Guildhall (_From an engraving by Hollar_)                    188

Staples Inn Hall (_From a drawing by T. H. Shepherd in 1830_)        192

Model of Barge formerly used by the Clothworkers' Company
    in Civic Procession                                              192

Furnival's Inn (_From an old print published in 1804_)               196

The Chair of the Master of the Salters' Company                      198

Bell (cast 1463) from All Hallows', Staining, belonging to the
    Grocers' Company                                                 200

The Hall of the Mercers' Company: Entrance Colonnade and Site of
    Ancient Cloister (_From a drawing by A. R. Quinton_)             218

Merchant Taylors' Company--the Kitchen Crypt                         220

Samuel Pepys's Loving Cup                                            222

Coat of Arms of Hansa Merchant in London                             226
(_From a drawing by Mr. J. Tavenor-Perry_)

A Flemish Gray-Beard from the Steel-yard of London                   231

Sir William Walworth's Dagger (Fishmongers' Hall)                    235

Seal of Ralph de Stratford, Bishop of London                         236

The City Seal in MDCLXX                                              238

The City Arms, as portrayed by Wallis, in the Reign of
    Charles II.                                                      239





When we see the words "Celtic London" at the head of a chapter we
naturally feel inclined to ask, "Was there such a place? Was there any
Celtic London?" Although it is almost impossible to answer such a
question by either "yes" or "no," it may be worth while to examine it
briefly before passing on to the domains of authentic history.

In the first place, there must have been some gathering of huts or
houses, some aggregation of residences, to which a name could be
applied, and it must have been important enough to retain its name after
the Romans came--nay, to retain it even in spite of an attempt on their
part to change it.

But though we must accept the existence of a London in the old obscure
period when something very like modern Welsh was the language of the
south-eastern part of Britain, and though we know that London was
situated on a river which also had a Welsh name, we do not know directly
on which side of that river it stood, and have nothing for it but to
apply to the problem what a great authority has described as an
historical imagination, and try if we can find a sufficient number of
geographical or topographical facts to reduce the problematic side of
the questions involved; and so to leave certain points, certain
pedestals, so to speak, of firm ground on which we may place the
foundations of the greatest city the world has seen.

Our first facts are meagre enough. We have three words; no more. They
are Lon, don, and Thames. We are like the Oriental lady in the legend of
St. Thomas of Canterbury. She knew but two words of English--Gilbert and
London. We know three words, and, keeping them in our minds, wander down
the Thames till we find the place to which we can fit the other two
words. But, first, we must make an attempt to translate them into modern
English. The Welsh _Lynn_ is pronounced _lunn_. _Dun_, or _down_, has
passed into English. _Thame_, or _thames_, occurs in many parts of
England, everywhere denoting the same thing, and, according to most
authorities, being practically the same as the English word _tame_. The
name of the Tamar will occur to the mind as well as Thame. In the case
of the Thames, the name may very well have come over from the Continent
with the early traders--the Angles, for instance, or the Danes--and have
thus passed into British use. A great authority, Mr. Bradley, is said to
have mentioned that Lynn in London may be a personal name. The ordinary
interpretation is so simple that it seems hardly worth
while--unphilosophical, in fact--to search for another. Lynn, pronounced
Lunn, is a lake. Dun is a down or hill. London, as the first syllable
may be taken adjectively, will mean the Lake Hill. Where, then, is the
hill which stands by a lake?

If we consult a map which includes the lower Thames, and has the levels
clearly marked or contoured, and follow the coast line from, say, Kew
Bridge, we come to no higher ground for more than six miles, the surface
varying from one foot above the ordnance datum of high water to seven.
Hills are visible in the background, but none at the water's edge, until
we reach that on which St. Paul's stands. Mylne gives it as forty-five
feet high, and that on which, close by, the Royal Exchange stands he
marks as forty-eight. If we could denude this region of its myriad
houses, we should see a plain extending back to the higher ground from
the site of the Temple Gardens--that is, to Clerkenwell. Ludgate, rising
nearly fifty feet in a steep slope from the river's edge, would appear
something great in such a landscape, backed, as it would have been, to
the eastward by a still higher down, with the narrow stream of Walbrook
rushing to the Thames, between them. No other height would stand so near
the water's edge, or would be visible within a couple of miles, on this
left bank of the river. So much for our "down." But where is our "lynn"?

[Illustration: ROOF TILE (ROMAN).]

If we could see Southwark and the region immediately to the south of it
similarly denuded, we should find that, across the Thames from the
double down, an archipelago of islets extends from what is now
Bermondsey westward to Lambeth. The dry ground would be seen dotted here
and there, while every tide, every flood, every increase of water from
the upper Thames, would make the whole region into a morass. The main
stream of the great river, coming eastward round a bend from
Westminster, would deepen its channel under the down, leaving the
opposite islets in shallow water, and spreading, according to the first
author by whom the place is mentioned, "at every tide would form a

Here, then, Dion Cassius, writing in the second century, describes for
us the site of Southwark. He furnishes us with what we want--the "lynn"
for our "down," the Lon for the Don. We do not know for certain whether
this Celtic London was on the double hill or among the islets
opposite--whether, that is, the town was on the lynn or on the dun.
There is, however, a certain amount of evidence that it was on the
lynn. A British road seems to have been already in existence--the road
which led from Dover toward Chester. Where did it cross the Thames? If
we could make sure of the answer, our three facts would become four.
There was no bridge in this Celtic period to carry the road across the
Thames. At the same time, we know that a crossing was made; and, if we
judge by the course and direction of the road, it must have been at or
very near what is now called Westminster. Here the shoal-water, as
sailors say, was on both sides of the river. The islets, many of them
covered at every high tide, existed where a landing was called by later
settlers the Lambhithe. Other landing-places are denoted by such names
as Stanegate, Toothill, Merefleet, Pollen Stock, Thorney, Jakeslea and
others, all Saxon, which tell us of the condition of both banks of the
Thames at a very remote period. From this we may safely argue--first,
that the amount of water coming down being approximately the same, it
had a much wider district to cover; and, secondly, that it was much more
shallow. These names also show that, in crossing, the road from Dover
had in Saxon times certain landmarks to follow, while the use of the
word Toot, our word "tout," shows that guides existed, who could be
called upon to help travellers across. All these items are more or less
obscurely mentioned by Dion Cassius, and show that wheresoever Celtic
London stood, whether on the left or the right bank, Aulus Plautius
chose the easternmost of the double hills for his bridge head; and when
the wall was built, a couple of centuries later, it took in the western
hill as well, while the bridge rendered the ford at Westminster useless,
and the Watling Street was diverted at the Marble Arch along Oxford
Street, instead of running straight down Park Lane to the ford at

As for facts in the history of Celtic London, we have none. The late
General Pitt Rivers recorded the discovery of piles, of origin possibly
before the Roman period, in the street called London Wall, and also in
Southwark, some nine feet below the present surface. A few articles of
Roman make were found mixed with a few bone implements of a ruder type.
This, the only authentic discovery of the kind, does not prove more than
that some of the Britons lived among the Romans, and the date is quite
uncertain. As to their dwellings before the Romans came, we have remains
in various places from which we can but gather that, though some ancient
race in these islands built up such rude but vast temples as Stonehenge,
the dwellings of the people who lived by the Walbrook, or in Southwark,
were mere wigwams. A hollow was dug in the ground, and where stones were
plentiful, which cannot have been the case on the site of Lynn Dun, a
few were used in the flooring. Over the hollow the house was raised--a
bank of earth, perhaps roofed with boughs and trunks, and with some
means of making a wood fire. Rings of brass and scraps of pottery are
often found in the hollows, but of such discoveries in London the
records are silent.



With the coming of the Romans, we might expect to find ourselves on
firmer ground than in our vain endeavours to learn something about the
early Britons in London. But if we date the Latin discovery of Britain
with the coming of Julius Cæsar to the southern coast of our island in
55 B.C., it is evident that before the expedition, which was eventually
commanded by Aulus Plautius in A.D. 43, nearly a century elapsed, and
that during all that time there is no mention at all of London. To use
Dr. Guest's cautious words: "The notion entertained by some antiquaries
that a British town preceded the Roman camp has no foundation to rest
upon." In the chapter on Celtic London I have endeavoured to show that
the British town, if there was one, stood, as Ptolemy asserts, on the
Cantian side of the river. The Romans seldom or hardly ever chose a
Celtic site for a new building, but, to quote Guest again, "generally
built their _castellum_ two or three miles from the British _oppidum_."
On this principle, the new building of Aulus would be either a couple of
miles from the Celtic town, or separated from it at least by the width
of the Thames. If we suppose, as is more than probable, that Lynn Dun
was in Southwark, and that some settlement was also among the shallows
and islets crossed by the Dover Road and named by the Anglo-Saxons the
Watling Street, the Roman general, by building London Bridge and by
making a strong fort on the hill at the northern end of it, laid the
foundation of Roman London.

The new city, which speedily rose round the bridge head on the northern
side of the river, was of considerable dimensions by the time it is
first mentioned--namely, in A.D. 64. This is by Tacitus, who describes
it as full of merchants and merchandise. At the same time, except for
the pretorium at the bridge head, there were no defences. Anything like
a walled town must have been among the islets on the southern side; but,
from the character of the Roman remains found in Southwark and St
George's Fields, it is probable that the British town there was not of
any importance, and answered to Julius Cæsar's contemptuous description:
"The Britons call a thick wood, enclosed with a rampart and a ditch, a
town." The new Roman fort at the northern end of the bridge, with its
suburb of merchants' houses along the Walbrook, is the London of
history, and the first we hear about it is that--while Camalodunum was a
Roman Colonium, and Verulam a Municipium--London was only a Prefectura.
This is the opinion of Pennant; but Tacitus, who first names London as
being in existence at all and who lived and wrote about A.D. 90,
expressly mentions it as abounding in merchants and business. Dr. Guest
was of opinion that the Roman fort was made in A.D. 43. It stood above
the outfall of the Walbrook, its western wing being where Cannon Street
terminus is now, and its eastern extremity reaching to Mincing Lane.
These limits were determined in a paper by Arthur Taylor in
_Archæologia_ in 1849, and were confirmed during the building of Cannon
Street Station. The road from the bridge divided in East Cheap and
passed out towards the spot now called from the Marble Arch, where it
joined the old road which the Saxons subsequently named the Watling
Street, now Park Lane and Edgware Road, as to one branch; and as to the
other, the Ermin Street, which led towards Lincoln. The Roman governor
probably lived in his Pretorium, where, at the north-west corner, close
to the celebrated London Stone, remains of pavements and buildings have
been found. At the south-eastern corner, too, but at a lower level,
another pavement, which still exists under the Corn Exchange, may have
been part of a bath. There are no remnants of a church or a temple, but
some antiquaries fancied they saw relics of a Roman basilica, or
judgment hall, among the fragments of masonry removed for the station.
There were no burials within the walls, but they begin, even among the
pavements and villas, just outside the limits marked by the wall of the
Pretorium. That it was defended by the stream of Walbrook on the west,
and by a wide fosse on the northern side, seems certain. The Mansion
House, in 1738, was built on piles "in a ditch," according to Stukeley.
This fosse probably communicated with the Walbrook, and from what Stow
says, seems to have had a certain amount of stream through it.
"Langborne Ward," he says, "is so called of a long borne of sweete
water, which of old time breaking out into Fenchurch streete, ran down
the same streete and Lombard streete to the West end of St. Mary
Woolnothe's Church, where turning south, and breaking it selfe into many
small shares, rilles or streames, it left the name of Shareborne, or
south borne lane (as I have read) because it ranne south to the river of

       *       *       *       *       *

Stow's interpretations of names often read like bad jokes, not to say
bad puns. We remember his Matfelon, his Sherehog, his Cripplegate and
other curiosities of the kind. Sherborn Lane has now disappeared, but
there can be little doubt the "burn" or "bourne" was a relic of the
fosse of the first Roman London. It divides two wards, so was as ancient
as those wards--namely, Cornhill and Langborne; and if there was any
stream through it fell into Walbrook, between the parish church of St.
Mary on the Woollen Hithe and St. Mary of the Woolchurch Haw. This
corner, then near the modern Mansion House, was the north-western corner
of the little fort, Dowgate was at the south-western, and Billingsgate
at the south-eastern corner, while Mincing Lane, perhaps at Fenchurch
Street, completed the rectangle. What formed the defence on this, the
eastern side, we have no evidence, but it was probably one of the
"shares, rilles, or streames" which so puzzled Stow. The Walbrook was
248 feet wide.


It is evident, then, that the Roman London Bridge was well protected,
but the town which grew round it lay open to any attack. Such a
contingency was the rebellion of Boadicea, when Suetonius abandoned the
bridge fort and open town and held to Verulam and Camalodunum, which had
walls. We do not hear anything about the repairs of the bridge when the
rebellion was over. It probably, as in so many other places, consisted
of a few piers of massive masonry, and great beams, probably wide apart,
formed the roadway. The line of coins found in the Thames may have been
dropped as offerings to the river-god, or merely by careless passengers.
They dated back to republican times, and ended only with the last years
of the Roman occupation, long after the introduction of Christianity. It
may be mentioned here that in the catalogue of Roach Smith (1854), from
which we have borrowed some illustrations, is an account of a box which
had perished, but which had contained tiers of iron coins, plated with
silver, oxydised together in masses, being obviously base money coined
to pass current in Britain in the reign of Claudius, A.D. 41. It was
discovered in King William Street, almost the centre of the old fort.
Forged _denarii_ of lead or brass formed the larger part of those found
in the Thames. The bridge was probably in a line with Botolph Lane, the
old London Bridge of Peter of Colechurch being higher up, and the
present London Bridge higher again. The Roman Bridge, frequently
repaired, and frequently, too, broken down--as when Anlaf, the Dane,
sailed up the Thames with his fleet in 993--was finally removed in
favour of the nineteen arches and a drawbridge, which subsisted until
1831. (The site of the Roman Bridge is discussed in a paper on "Recent
Discoveries in Roman London," in volume lx. of _Archælogia_.)


Such, then, was Roman London during the greater part of the Roman
occupation of Britain--as it is still, a city of suburbs.

Of the date of the building of the wall we have no certainty. A recent
writer finds fault with my cautious statement in _Historic London_ that
"in 350 London had no wall," and would substitute 360. The wall was
certainly built about that time or a little later, but may have been
begun long before. It is evident that such a piece of work was not
completed in a single year, even under the Roman Emperors. Perhaps--it
is too easy to form theories--Constantine (Stow says _Helena_) projected
it and left it to be finished by his successors. It had been completed
by the reign of Theodosius, about A.D. 368.

The course of the new wall, according to Stow, was from the Tower to
Aldgate, thence to Bishopsgate, and from Bishopsgate to Aldersgate, with
a postern at Cripplegate. Next came Newgate, and Ludgate was towards the
Fleet--the wall ending at the Thames. The whole length was two miles and
a half and 608 feet. Stow did not know that several of the gates he
named--Aldgate, Cripplegate, Aldersgate, and Ludgate--were not Roman.
Nor did he know that Ludgate means a postern, and Crepulgeat a covered
way, both these gates being probably of late construction, though
possibly of the time of Alfred. The exact site of the wall and the two
landward gates seems to be indicated by the old ward boundaries, but
modern investigators have neglected them. There was another Roman
settlement, namely, at Westminster, where the abbey stands on the site
of some older buildings. Roman concrete forms the foundation of the
older part of the church and the dark cloisters. The pavement of a
dwelling was found under the nave, and a sarcophagus, bearing a rudely
carved cross, showed that the town was not walled. The Romans possibly
built here on account of the ford, and we may be sure that at times,
when the only bridge was under repair or unfinished, the crossing here
for the ancient road, which the Saxons named the Watling Street, was
found convenient. There is mention of the buildings on Thorney in a
charter at the British Museum (Kemble, D.L.V.), apparently a thirteenth
century forgery, but of interest as showing that a tradition survived.
King Eadgar is made to say that a temple of abomination had been
destroyed to make way for the church of St. Peter. Such a temple, if one
existed, was more probably Saxon than Roman.

As to the houses and buildings of Roman London within the walls we know
very little. Sir W. Tite enumerated a large number of mosaic pavements,
some of them of considerable size, and scattered over a wide area, but
apparently not marking any fine or magnificent public buildings.
Stukeley made a plan showing where, in his opinion at least, remains of
such buildings should be found; but, to put it briefly, remains of the
kind have been conspicuous by their absence on his eight sites. Stukeley
is, in fact, a very untrustworthy authority. He thought, with Stow, that
Algate, the mediæval name, meant Oldgate, or, as Stow wrote it,
Ealdgate, whereas it was in reality one of the latest. The name probably
denoted a gate open to all without toll.

The remains of the wall, which still or lately existed, have been
carefully examined by Mr. Norman, of the Society of Antiquaries, and Mr.
Francis Reader. Their account of various excavations is in volume lx. of
_Archæologia_, and illustrated by a series of plans, sections, and other
drawings by Mr. Reader, who seems to have proved that the marsh on which
Moorfield was laid out in 1605 did not exist in the early Roman time,
but was caused by the building of the wall.


If we know but little about Roman London, we know still less, if
possible, about Saxon London. So far as it was inhabited at all, it was
the capital of the kings of Essex, and is so described in a very few
documents. On this account it was an episcopal see. How the Saxons
became possessed of it we do not know. Probably Stow's account may be
accepted as the most likely:--

     "This citie of London having beene destroyed and brent by the
     Danes and other pagan ennemies about the yere of Christ 839,
     was by Alfred King of the West Saxons, in the yere 886,
     repayred and honorably restored and made againe habitable."

That Stow's account is according to the best authorities will be
apparent to any reader of Green's _Conquest of England_. In chapter iv.
he describes the condition of London and the neighbouring kingdom of the
East Saxons--"A tract which included not only the modern shire that
bears their name, but our Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and whose centre
or 'mother-city' was London." He goes on to point out that at the time
of Alfred's great campaigns against the Danes, London had played but
little part in English history: "Indeed," he affirms, "for nearly half a
century after its conquest by the East Saxons, it wholly disappears from
our view." Its position, he goes on to show, was sure eventually to draw
in both trade and population, but the Danish war arrested progress.

     "To London the war brought all but ruin; so violent, in fact,
     was the shock to its life that its very bishoprick seemed for a
     time to cease to exist. The Roman walls must have been broken
     and ruined, for we hear of no resistance such as that which in
     later days made the city England's main bulwark against
     northern attack."

Asser, in his _Life of Alfred_, tells us plainly enough of the condition
of the space within the ruined walls. It must have been that of Pevensey
now, or of Silchester before the grass grew over it. Alfred, he says,
"restauravit et habitabilem fecit." "To make a town habitable" implies
that it was uninhabited; "to restore it" implies that at some previous
period it had been what the great king then made it once more. How long
this condition of desolation prevailed within the Roman wall we have no
information. Unfortunately no successful attempt has been made to
discriminate between the Roman masonry, that of Alfred, and that of the
successive mediæval repairs, in the recent examinations of what is left
of the wall.

It is well to keep the few chronological facts before us in trying to
judge of the influence of the events of 457 on what was left of Roman
London. These facts may be briefly stated. In 369 London was Augusta of
the Romans. In 457, or ninety-eight years--practically a century--later,
the Saxons caught the Britons of London at the ford over the Cray, in
Kent, fifteen miles down the Thames, and slew 4,000 of them, the rest
flying "in great terror to London." The chronicle does not tell us
whether the Saxons entered the city then or not. Judging by analogy,
they did enter it then or soon after, and slew the Britons that were
left from the slaughter at Crayford. The Britons had certainly ceased
out of London when we hear of it again. They had so utterly perished
that not a single Celtic or Roman local name was left, except the two
already mentioned--Thames and London. There is absolute silence in the
chronicle. This ominous silence lasts from 457 to 609. We have,
therefore, a hundred years from the departure of the Romans to the
battle of Crayford, and 152 years more to the next mention of London; in
all 250 years during which there is only one thing certain--namely, that
owing to some cause, the British and Roman languages ceased altogether
to be spoken or even remembered, and together with them the Roman
religion. The change is complete, as well it might be in that long
time--as long as between the death of Charles I. and the accession of
Edward VII. This blank in the history is all the more marked because no
inscriptions have survived. We have a few--very few--examples of writing
before the Romans left. We have not a line, not a letter, during those
250 years, and when we find anything again, the writers are
Anglo-Saxon--the language is entirely changed, so entirely that not even
one local name survives.

It may be necessary to note here that some excellent authorities,
finding certain traces of Roman law and customs existing in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries, have formed the opinion that such laws were
relics of the Roman occupation. It would be interesting if we could
accept this view, just as if, for example, we could say that Paternoster
Row was so named by the Romans. But, as I shall have to point out a
little further, the origin of such usages is obvious without any
recourse to the revival of laws dead and buried centuries before; if,
indeed, they ever existed among people whose very language had wholly
died out and been forgotten. It is, to say the least, unlikely that a
continuity should exist in this respect, while the language in which it
must have been preserved, orally, if not in records, died out and left
not a trace even in a local name.


I had written so far when I received Mr. Gomme's very interesting volume
on the Governance of London. I greatly regret to say I cannot make his
views fit with most of the facts I have endeavoured to put into
chronological order above. For example, Roman London, when walled, was a
Christian city. When the Saxons had held it from about 457 to 609, it
was, we know, a heathen city, and twice afterwards returned to the
worship of Woden and Thor. Is this compatible with the survival of a
Roman constitution? Or, again, is there any London custom or law which
might not have come to it from the cities of Flanders and Gaul more
easily than after the changes and chances of two or three centuries?
This is not the place to discuss these and other similar questions, and
I for one will be extremely glad if Mr. Gomme can prove his point in the
face of so much which seems to tell against him.

The East Saxons, it is pretty certain, made but little use of London. We
only hear of it when the King of Kent, Ethelbert, set up Sebert, his
sister's son, as King of Essex, and having become Christian himself,
sent Mellitus, a Roman priest, to preach to Sebert and his people,
making him Bishop of London. So much we learn from the _Chronicle_ under
the year 609. Next, in Beda, we read that Ethelbert furthermore built
the church of St. Paul in London for Mellitus, "where he and his
successors should have their episcopal see." Beda also tells us that the
Metropolis of the East Saxons is London; so that when we, at the present
day, speak of it as the Metropolis, we mean it is the chief
ecclesiastical city of Essex; which shows the absurdity of a phrase very
common at the present day. Sebert lived till 616 or later, but there is
no distinct mention of his life in London. His supposed burial, whether
in St. Paul's or at Westminster, belongs to monkish legendary lore, and
cannot be discussed as serious history. When his three sons turned back
from Christianity they were attacked and slain by the men of Wessex, who
seem to have acquired an ascendancy over the East Saxons which they
retained till the Danish wars and the settlement of Alfred.

When we next hear of a bishop, he is a missionary from the West Saxons.
The brother of the great Chad, the bishop of the Mercians, Cedd, is
invited to preach to the heathen East Saxons by Oswy, King of
Northumbria. We may take Oswy as godfather of the East Saxon king,
Sigebert; but there are many names with little certainty in the few
contemporary records. In the confusion Sigebert is murdered, and of his
successor we know nothing. He may have reigned at Kingsbury or at
Tilbury, where--not in London--Cedd preached: at Colchester or at St.
Albans. Then there comes a story of "simony," in which the influence of
Worcester is again apparent. Then, at last, we have some documentary
evidence. The kings, or kinglets, of Essex were usually two in number.
At this time they were Sebbi and his colleague, Sighere, and they both
witness a gift made by their cousin Hothilred to Barking Abbey. The
document is printed by Kemble in _Codex Diplomaticus_ (vol. i.), and is
dated by him in 692 or 693. After this date again the East Saxons--there
is not a word about London--become pagans. Sighere and his people of the
"East Saxon province" are mentioned by Beda. The subjects of Sebbi
remain steadfast, and if we care to guess they will probably be found to
have belonged to the "Middlesaxon province." It is mentioned in a
document relating to Twickenham, which is described as in that part of
the province, and is signed by Swaebred, King of the East Saxons, under
the sanction of Coenred, King of Mercia.

The same year that Hothilred gave his land to Barking, the great
legendary benefactor of that nunnery died. This was Erkenwald, Abbot of
Chertsey, who had become Bishop of London in 675. Two years before, in
673, there is a distinct mention of a church in London. The Archbishop
of Canterbury consecrated a bishop of Dunwich "in the city of London."
The next mention is by Beda, who tells us of the appointment of
Erkenwald, and immediately after of the death of King Sebbi and his
burial "in the church of the blessed apostle of the Gentiles."

It thus appears likely that both Erkenwald and Sebbi lived in London. It
does not follow that Erkenwald built or rebuilt Bishopsgate. Newgate
was in existence under the name of Westgate very soon after. As it
opened near the church, it is surely more likely that Erkenwald rebuilt
it than the northern gate; but the history of this bishop is so overlaid
with monkish legend that we do not require any guesswork.


_Found in Thames Street._]

In the same way Offa, King of Essex, son of Sighere, is constantly
confused with Offa, the great King of Mercia. That one of the two had a
house in London is very likely, and is noticed by Matthew Paris. But it
is curious that the great Offa's biographers wholly omit to mention
London. There were some half-dozen kings of the East Saxons after the
abdication of Offa, of Essex, and there is some confusion among them and
among the Saxon "dukes" after the submission to Egbert in 823, when we
may suppose the Kinglets of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex assumed the
lower title.

Now, at last, we come to a document which throws light on the condition
of London before the Danish war, and the passage quoted from Green's
_Conquest of England_. This is a grant by Burhed, or Burgred, King of
Mercia, afterwards styled Duke, who married a sister of Alfred, and no
doubt abdicated the royal title when Egbert became king. In it Burgred
gives to Bishop Alhun, of Worcester, a piece of land--"a little cabbage
garden," as it may be translated--"in vico Lundoniæ; hoc est ubi
nominatur Ceolmundingchaga," in the street of London where it is called
the enclosure of Ceolmund, "qui est non longe from Uestgetum positus,"
which is not far from Westgate. We observe the scribe's ignorance of the
Latin of "from," and his presumption that those who read the grant would
be at least equally ignorant. This grant throws light on the condition
of London before the great Danish inroad. There is no building of note
along the principal thoroughfare between the modern Newgate and
Coleman's enclosure, now, we may safely assume, represented by some part
of Coleman Street. Moreover, such an enclosure was possible. Also the
ground was occupied by a market garden. There is nothing about a Roman
city. There is nothing about a government, municipal or otherwise; there
is a king--not of London or of Essex, but of Mercia; and there is a
bishop, but he is bishop of Worcester. The date is in full--April 18th,
857. Several other charters occur in which London is named more or less
distinctly, and it is evident that the old desolation, if not quite at
an end, was at least a circumstance worthy of remark. More than one of
these documents speak of the port and of ships resorting to it, and we
see the meaning of Green's allusion to the fact that, while London up to
that time--namely, the end of the eighth century--had played but little
part in English history, its position made it sure to draw both trade
and population. Then came the great Danish invasion, the reign and
victories of Alfred, the repair of the wall and a new London, England's
main bulwark against foreign invasion.

Asser and Stow point out clearly that Alfred's settlement came after a
long period of ruin. This period was brought to an end by the renewal of
the Roman wall. If we date the events as follows, the slow progress of
the re-settlement is apparent. The Danes pervaded London and the
neighbourhood in 872. Alfred drove them out twelve years later, in 884.
In 886 Alfred commenced his repairs, and before his death in 901, the
beginning of the tenth century, he may have seen houses and streets
newly rising, some, it is possible, where Roman buildings had stood, but
for the most part on wholly new lines. It would not have been like
Alfred if he did not leave London with a settled government; and if
there are certain foreign usages which can be traced to his time, they
had probably been brought in with the concourse of foreign merchants who
formed a large part, if not the majority, of the new citizens. A century
and a half later they were described by the Norman conqueror as
"burghers within London, French and English," and from the prevalence of
certain names we find a large Danish element among them, while the term
French indicates that perhaps the largest part were either Normans or
Gauls from the opposite coast. It is possible that a careful survey of
the early history of St. Paul's might bring a few facts to light,
whether directly or by inference; but even after the reign of Alfred we
have very little knowledge of the condition of the city and its port. It
was never taken by the Danes. During the reign of Ethelred "the
Unready," the King seems to have been shut up in London while the
marauders ravaged the country round. Either the Londoners had great
stores of provisions, or they had access to foreign markets. Edgar first
recognised the importance of this trade, and no doubt the ill-advised
Ethelred, his successor, was well advised in this respect. In years of
comparative peace, Edward the Confessor built or rebuilt Westminster
Abbey, and lived there; but London trade was not interrupted, and
William the Norman was too wise to interfere with it.


We have no remains of Saxon times in the city. The bridge continued to
exist, and must have been well fortified. There is a story, which may be
true, that Cnut dug a canal through or round Southwark, but as we have
seen, this was probably no great feat. He did not succeed in taking
London. Soon after, and down to Hastings, Normans, as well as Danes,
settled in large numbers in the city, and their names are found in the
oldest lists among those of the Saxon aldermen and leading citizens. In
the laws of Ethelred, printed by Thorpe, we find two additions to the
list of the gates. As we have seen, only two Roman gates are known on
the landward side--the Westgate, later known as Newgate, which opened on
the Watling Street; and the northern gate, said to have been rebuilt
later on a slightly different site, and named Bishopsgate. Ethelred
provides for guards at Cripplegate and Aldersgate. This provision
seems to show that the gates were then new. Of Aldred, whose name was
given to one of them, we have no special knowledge, and Stow supposes it
was called "of alders growing there," a typical guess, but nothing to
his guess about "Cripplesgate," so called "of cripples resorting there"!
But "Crepul geat" is good Anglo-Saxon for a covered way, and the covered
way here led to the Barbican. Both gave their names to wards of the
city, and in the twelfth century Alwold was alderman of Cripplegate and
Brichmar, "who coins the King's money," of Aldersgate, which is
distinctly named "Ealdredesgate."

The same document, in which these new gates are mentioned, also gives a
few topographical particulars. Thus Billingsgate is mentioned as a place
to which ships brought fish, and as being close to the bridge. This was
probably what was left of the Roman bridge. It names the merchants of
Rouen as entitled to certain consideration in the tax they pay on
cargoes of wine. The cities of Flanders, of Normandy, and of France are
named in that order, as well as Hogge (Sluys), Leodium (Liege), and
Nivella (Nivelle), and there is special mention of the Emperor's men. If
any imperial usages, any laws following Roman customs and differing from
those of other English cities, prevailed in London it is probably hence
that they came, and not through two periods of emptiness and desolation,
lasting in all at least 250 years, and probably a good many more.


London comes more and more into prominence in the second half of the
eleventh century. Whether this was on account of the increase of its
trade and wealth when the Danes had ceased from troubling, or on account
of the personal qualities of certain citizens, we cannot now
distinguish. The French or Norman element increased, and it is possible
to name a few individuals who are known to have lived within the walls
both before and after Hastings. Among them are Albert the Lotharingian,
after whom Lothbury is called. William "de Pontearch" and William Malet,
both of whom are mentioned in histories of the Conquest, were citizens.
Ansgar, the Staller, who was Portreeve the year of Hastings, appears to
have been, like King Harold, of Danish descent. He was described in
Edward the Confessor's great charter to Westminster Abbey as "Esgar,
minister," so apparently filled several offices, as well as that of
Portreeve. We begin about the same time to hear of a governing guild,
and of reeveland, or a portsoken, as its endowment. Sired, a canon of
St. Paul's, built a church on land belonging to the Knightenguild. There
is mention, apparently, of a son of Sired, who was a priest, about the
time of Hastings, among the documents preserved at St. Paul's; but I
have, so far, failed to find any reference there to this guild, of which
Stow has so much to tell. According to him, it was founded by Edward the
Confessor, or perhaps by Edgar, and had a charter from William Rufus.
Can it be commemorated in the name of the Guildhall which then fronted

More authentic are the charter of the Conqueror and a few facts which go
to prove that London and its trading and industrial citizens were but
little disturbed by the change of government. Things went on as before.
The bishop, himself an alderman, the Portreeve and the burghers, French
and English, are addressed "friendly." The liberties, whatever they
were--whether, as Mr. Gomme thinks, they had come down from Roman times,
or whether, as seems to me so much more likely, they had come over from
the cities of the continent--were confirmed to them, and everything went
on as before.

One other charter in Norman times may suffice to illustrate the position
of the great walled city and its busy and wealthy port under the Norman
kings. This was the grant of Middlesex to the citizens by Henry I. This
grant, which was only abrogated in 1888 by Act of Parliament, gave
London the same rights over the county that were held in those days by
the earls and reeves of shires. Dr. Reginald Sharpe seems to think that
this charter was granted for a heavy money payment. But there are other
ways of looking at the matter. It would appear probable that King Henry
recognised the help the city had given him; first, in obtaining the
crown, and afterwards in maintaining his position. The King, no doubt,
wanted money. The citizens did not expect favours without payment; it
would have been contrary to all previous experience. But the gift was a
very real boon, one which could not very well have been valued in gold.
That a Norman king should have been willing to grant away the deer which
his father was said to have loved like his children shows clearly that
there was a strong sense of obligation in the King's mind.

The constitution of the city during the reigns of the Norman kings, if
we may judge by what we find in twelfth-century documents at St. Paul's
and in thirteenth-century documents at the Guildhall, must have been, as
Bishop Stubbs and Professor Freeman have pointed out, that of a county.
The municipal unity was of the same kind as that of the shire and the
hundred. The Portreeve accounted to the King for his dues. He was the
justice, and owed his position to popular election as approved by the
King. Under him were the aldermen of wards, answering very nearly to
lords of manors. The people had their folkmote, answering to the
shiremote elsewhere. Their weekly husting eventually became a "county
court," and there was besides the wardmote, which still exists, and led
eventually to the abolition of proprietary aldermen in favour of
aldermen elected by the wards.

At this period the buildings of the city began to assume a certain
importance we do not hear of under the Saxons. St. Paul's became a
notable example of what we now call Norman architecture. The nave
survived until the fire in 1666. The church of St. Mary le Bow, in
Cheap, still retains its Norman crypt. The great white tower, with which
the Conqueror strengthened the eastern extremity of the Saxon and Roman
wall, contains still its remarkable vaulted chapel. A few other relics
of the style survive, but St. Bartholomew's is outside the line of the


To the old gates must now be added one more--namely, Ludgate. "Ludgate"
or "Lydgate" is like Crepulgate, a Saxon term, and signifies a postern,
perhaps a kind of trap door opening with a lid. The exact date is
unknown, but the building of a new street across the Fleet, with a
bridge of access, is evident from documents mentioning the names of
persons who dwelt "ultra fletam," which are found early in the reign of
Henry I. Another gate was subsequently added--namely, Aldgate--in or
about the beginning of the twelfth century. The names of both these
gates have been subjects of much guesswork, not only by such
topographers as Stukeley, but even by Stow. Ludgate was, of course,
assigned to an imaginary King, Lud, celebrated in the great poem of the
Welsh bard, who made London the foundation of descendants of Æneas of
Troy. Much of this was extensively believed in the Middle Ages; and some
of us imagined that Ludgate might have been called in honour of one of
the heroes of the poem, until the real meaning of the word was pointed
out. With regard to Aldgate, a meaningless name, we always find it
spelled without the "d" in old manuscripts, and usually with an added
"e." Stow perceived that to be consistent he must put the "e" in; but he
did so in the wrong place, with the result that Alegate or Allgate,
perhaps meaning a gate open free to all, is turned into Ealdgate, and
has its age wholly mistaken. It was, no doubt, built when the Lea was
bridged, traditionally by Queen Maud, about 1110. Previously the paved
crossing, the Stratford, was reckoned dangerous, and passengers went out
by Bishopsgate and sought a safer crossing at Oldford. The last of the
city gates, Moorgate, was not opened till 1415. It was erected for the
convenience of citizens passing out among the fields. It is evident that
fortification had become a secondary object. Accordingly, it is often
described as the most spacious and handsome of the city gates.

The others, especially Ludgate and Newgate, were, we may be sure,
judging by Roman and mediæval fortifications elsewhere, narrow and
inconvenient. There was probably an overlapping tower in front of the
exit, and the pathway described a semicircle, as we know was the case at
the Tower, where the present arrangement, by which a vehicle can drive
in, was not possible till the Lion Tower and its overlapping defence,
the Conning Tower, were removed. That something of the same kind existed
at the Old Bailey is evident on an inspection of the boundary of the
ward in a good map, where the overlapping is clearly marked both at
Ludgate and at Newgate. The roadways at both places were made straight,
the larger archways opened, and the stately portals, suggested by
Stukeley and others, erected, if ever, when the wall was no longer
regarded as a fortification. This view may, in part at least, account
for a statement that the Roman gate, which answered to Bishopsgate, was
considerably to the eastward of the mediæval gate, removed in 1760. The
Roman gate, to be useful and at the same time safe, probably consisted
of a narrow passage, opening into the city at a point near the northern
end of the road from the Bridge. The passage, guarded by towers, would
have its exit some distance to the eastward, and probably, before it
reached the outer country, passed back under the wall. We see
arrangements of this kind at any place, like Pompeii, where a Roman
fortification unaltered may be examined.

We have thus, I hope, traced the beginnings of our great city, not so
clearly as to its origin as could be wished, but sufficiently as to its
development from a Roman fort or bridge head. Others will take up the
tale here and show how the walls and gates, the churches and the great
castle, the double market and riverside landing places, became by
degrees the greatest city in the land. London, rather than royal
Winchester, held the balance between Maud and Stephen, and with the
election of Henry II., the first Plantagenet, we come upon the
establishment of the modern municipal constitution and the long battle
for freedom. The Londoner set a pattern to other English burghers. His
keenness in trade, his vivacity, his tenacity of liberty and, perhaps
above all, the combination of duty and credit which brought him wealth,
have made his city what it is--the central feature of a world-wide




It has been well and wisely said that "the history of its castles is an
epitome of the history of a country," but the metropolis may proudly
boast that it still possesses one castle whose history alone forms no
bad compendium of the history of England, in the great fortress so
familiarly known by the somewhat misleading appellation of "The Tower of
London," of which the name of one portion (the keep) has gradually come
into use as a synonym for the whole. Of the various fortress-palaces of
Europe, not one can lay claim to so long or so interesting a history.
The Louvre at Paris, though still in existence, is so as a comparatively
modern palace, in which nothing now remains above ground of the castle
of Philip Augustus, with its huge circular keep, erected by that monarch
in 1204. The Alhambra at Granada is of a by no means so remote
antiquity, as the earlier portion of it only dates from 1248, while the
Kremlin at Moscow only goes back to 1367. Probably the sole building
erected by a reigning monarch as a combined fortress and palace at all
comparable with the Tower of London is the great citadel of Cairo, built
in 1183 by Saladin, which, like it, is still in use as a military
castle; but, secure in its venerable antiquity, the Tower is superior to
all. The greater portion of the site upon which the Tower stands has
been occupied more or less since A.D. 369, when, according to Ammianus,
the Roman wall surrounding the city of London was built. At this point,
which may be termed its south-eastern extremity, the wall crossed the
gentle slope that descended to the Thames bank, on reaching which it
turned westwards, the angle being probably capped by a solid buttress
tower or bastion. Although Roman remains have been found at various
points within the Tower area, it is not likely that any extensive
fortification ever occupied the sloping site within the wall at this
point, for the original Roman citadel must be sought for elsewhere, most
probably upon the elevated plateau between the valley of the Wallbrook,
and Billingsgate, where even now there stands in Cannon Street, built
into a recess in the wall of St. Swithin's church, a fragment of the
ancient Roman milestone, or _milliarium_ (known as "London Stone"), from
which all distances along the various Roman roads of Britain are
believed to have been reckoned. From what is known of the Roman system
of fortification, it is obviously improbable that there should have been
any extensive fortress erected upon the site where the Tower now stands.
Not only would this have been opposed to the Roman practice of placing
the _arx_, or citadel, as far as possible in a central and dominating
position, but in the present instance it would actually have been
commanded by higher ground to the north and west, while to the east free
exit to the open country would have been seriously impeded by the
extensive marshes (not as yet embanked and reclaimed) that then skirted
the northern bank of the Thames.

[Illustration: THE TOWER OF LONDON.

_Engraved by Hollar, 1647._]

According to the _Saxon Chronicle_,[1] King Alfred "restored" London in
886, and rebuilt the city wall, where it had become ruinous, upon the
line of the ancient Roman one; and, until the Norman Conquest, it seems
to have remained practically unaltered, nor does it appear to have been
damaged by the various Danish attacks in 994, 1009, and 1016,[2] though
frequently repaired afterwards during the Middle Ages. Without the
wall was a wide and deep ditch, while between the edge of the ditch and
the foot of the wall was the characteristic "berm," or external terrace,
about ten feet in width.[3] There is every reason to suppose that this
wall and ditch extended right across what is now the inner ward, or
bailey of the Tower, as far as what was then the river bank, to a point
somewhere near the site of the present Lanthorn Tower "k," where it
turned to the west; for when, in 1895, the range of buildings of
fourteenth century date (then known as the Great Wardrobe, "3") that
formerly concealed the eastern face of the White Tower was removed, part
of the ancient Roman wall was found to have been preserved within it,
and a fragment, having the usual bonding courses of Roman tile bricks,
has been spared, which may now be seen above ground close to the
south-east angle of the keep, together with the remains of the Wardrobe
Tower "s." If a line is drawn northward from this point[4] across the
present moat, it will be found to meet what remains of the old city
wall, which is still partly visible above ground in a yard known as
"Trinity Place," leading out of the eastern side of Trinity Square, on
Great Tower Hill. Such Roman remains as have been found within the Tower
area do not tend to favour the supposition that any large buildings,
save ordinary dwellings of the period, ever occupied the site. On his
first approach to the city from Kent, when Duke William discovered that
so long as he was unable to cross the Thames London could not be
immediately reduced, after burning Southwark in order to strike terror
into the citizens, he left it a prey to internal dissensions, and having
in the meantime received the submission of the ancient Saxon capital of
Winchester, he passed round, through Surrey, Berkshire, and
Hertfordshire, by a route, upon which the ravages of the Normans are
clearly indicated in _Domesday Book_,[5] to a position on the north of
London, thus gradually severing its communications with the rest of
England, so that neither men nor convoys of provisions could enter its
walls. Placing camps at Slough, Edmonton, and Tottenham, William himself
remained some distance to the rear of these last with the main body of
the army, and it seems probable that the actual surrender of London took
place at or near Little Berkhampstead, in Hertfordshire,[6] some four
miles to the east of Hatfield, and then about eighteen miles to the
north of the city, which could be seen in the distance from the high
ground hard by.

According to Orderic, William, after his coronation at Westminster,
spent some days at Berkhampstead, during which "some fortifications were
completed in the city for a defence against any outbreaks by its fierce
and numerous population."[7] Meagre in details as is the history of this
early period, it would appear from the foregoing passage that William
caused two castles to be erected, one at either end of the city, hard by
the river bank, the western one becoming the castle of that Ralph
Baynard who gave his name to it and to the ward; the eastern one (after
the building of its stone keep) receiving the appellation of the Tower
of London.

When erected on new sites, the early castles seem to have consisted of a
bailey, or court, enclosed by wooden palisades, and a lofty circular
mound, having its apex crowned by a wooden tower dwelling, also within a
stockade, the whole enclosed by a ditch common to both; but though
nothing remains of these early castles in London, it seems probable that
the mound was dispensed with, and that the angle of the wall was
utilized to form a bailey, the side open to the city being closed by a
ditch and bank, crowned by stout palisades of timber, while the Roman
wall would be broken through where the ditch abutted upon it at either
end, the whole bearing a strong resemblance (allowing for the difference
in the site) to the castle of Exeter. Orderic goes on to say that
William at once built a strong castle at Winchester, to the possession
of which he evidently attached greater importance than that of London,
where the great stone keep was probably not even commenced till quite a
decade later, though Pommeraye, in a note to his edition of _Orderic_,
tells us "that it was built upon the same plan as the old Tower of
Rouen, now destroyed."

The advantages of the site selected for the Tower were considerable, the
utilization of the existing Roman wall to form two sides of its bailey,
its ditch isolating it from the city, while it was so placed on the
river as to command the approach to the Saxon trade harbour at the mouth
of the Wallbrook, then literally the port of London, and with easy
access to the open country should a retreat become necessary.

It is much to be regretted that London was omitted from the Domesday
Survey, for that invaluable record might have furnished us with some
information as to the building of the Tower, and perhaps revealed in one
of those brief but pithy sentences, pregnant with suggestion, some such
ruthless destruction of houses as took place in Oxford and elsewhere[8]
in order to clear a site for the King's new castle. Unless the site were
then vacant, or perhaps only occupied by a vineyard (for these are
mentioned in _Domesday Book_ as existing at Holborn and Westminster),[9]
some such clearance must obviously have been made for even the first
temporary fortifications of the Conqueror, although contemporary history
is silent as to this. The _Saxon Chronicle_ tells us that "upon the
night of August the 15th, 1077, was London burned so extensively as it
never was before since it was founded,"[10] which may have determined
William to replace the temporary eastern fortification by an enlarged
and permanent castle, he having then completed the conquest of England
and crushed the rebellions of his turbulent baronage.


Although the art of the military engineer was then in its infancy, the
Conqueror seems to have selected as his architect one already famous for
his skill. Gundulf, then just appointed Bishop of Rochester, was no
ordinary man. The friend and _protégé_ of Archbishop Lanfranc, by whom
he had been brought to England in 1070, he had as a young man been on
pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and doubtless profited by his travels and
the opportunity afforded of inspecting some of the architectural marvels
of the Romano-Byzantine engineers. Although Gundulf had rebuilt the
cathedral of Rochester, to which he added the large detached belfry
tower that still bears his name, built other church towers at Dartford,
and St. Leonard's, West Malling (long erroneously supposed to have been
an early Norman castle keep),[11] and founded at the latter place an
abbey of Benedictine nuns, his reputation as an architect rests chiefly
on his having designed the keep of the Tower of London (probably that of
Colchester also), and built the stone wall round the new castle at
Rochester for William Rufus. While engaged in superintending the
erection of London keep, Gundulf lodged in the house of one Eadmer
Anhoende,[12] a citizen of London, probably a friend of the Bishop,
for we find his name occurring as a generous donor to Gundulf's new
cathedral at Rochester, where, by his will, he directed his own body and
that of his wife to be interred, and to have an obit annually. Gundulf's
work therefore consisted of the great keep (afterwards called the White
Tower), which he erected close to the line of the Roman city wall, and
some fifteen or twenty feet within it. At first this was probably (like
its sister keep at Colchester) only enclosed by a shallow ditch and a
high earthen bank, crowned by a stout timber palisade, the city wall
forming two sides of its perimeter, and probably broken through where
the ditch infringed upon it at either end. With the sole exception of
Colchester keep, which, as will be seen from the following table of
dimensions, is considerably larger, the tower or keep of the castle of
London exceeds in size the great rectangular keep of every other castle
in the British Isles. Unfortunately, the two upper stories of Colchester
keep have been destroyed, but sufficient remains (coupled with the
resemblance of its plan to that of the White Tower) to show that both
were designed by the same hand and erected about the same period, while
both alike were royal castles.


                                    LONDON.          COLCHESTER.
Length (North to South) over all   121 feet            170 feet
Ditto within Buttresses            118  "              153  "
Breadth (East to West) over all    100  "              130  "
Ditto within Buttresses             98  "              115  "
Breadth of Apse                     42  "               48  "
Diameter of Apse                    21  "               24  "
Length (on South Side) over all    128  "              153  "
Number of Stories                    4               now 2
Total Height                        92 feet            ---
Height of Two Lower Stories         42   "              32 feet
Thickness of Walls                  15   "              14  "

Thanks to the drastic removals of recent years, the White Tower stands
to-day very much as when first erected. In plan it is practically
rectangular, but the north-east angle is capped by a projecting circular
turret containing the great main staircase that ascends from the
basement to the roof, serving each floor _en passant_, while the south
angle of the east face has a large semicircular projection that contains
the apse of the chapel. The main staircase terminates in a large
circular turret of two stories, that rises some twenty-nine feet above
the roof. The other angles terminate in three rectangular turrets about
fourteen feet square, and twenty-seven feet high above the roof. The
walls are at the base some fifteen feet in thickness, exclusive of the
steep battering plinth from which they rise, and which slopes sharply
outwards. They diminish by set-offs at each floor. The interior is
divided into two unequally sized chambers by a cross-wall ten feet in
thickness, running from north to south. Of these, the eastern one is
again subdivided by a thick cross-wall at its southern end, which is
carried up solid to the roof, while on the upper floors the central wall
is perforated by arcades of three, and four perfectly plain semicircular
headed arches. To the north and west the basement floor is about sixteen
feet below the existing ground level, which falls rapidly along the east
side, and on the south it is practically on the ground level, as the
ground there has not been artificially raised. The two larger chambers
of the basement have a modern plain brick barrel vault. The well, a
plain ashlar pipe six feet in diameter, is in the south-western angle of
the floor in the western chamber. The south-eastern chamber retains its
original stone barrel vault. This forms the sub-crypt of the crypt below
St. John's Chapel, and is lighted, or at least its darkness is made
dimly visible, by a single small loop in the east wall. It is now known
as "Little Ease," and is said to have served as the prison of Guy
Fawkes. The basement chambers have boldly sloped recesses in the walls,
with small loops high up in their heads, which afford the minimum of air
and light; but as they were only used for stores, this was not of great
importance. Ascending by the main staircase to the second floor, the
same subdivision into three chambers is continued, but these were
lighted by larger loops, that have been converted into larger windows at
the time of Sir Christopher Wren's renovations in 1663. The crypt of the
chapel opens from the eastern chamber, and has in its north wall a
singular dark cell eight feet wide and ten feet long, in the thickness
of the wall, in which Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have once been
imprisoned. The western chamber has in its north-west angle a latrine,
or garderobe, in the thickness of the wall. At the west end of its south
face is a large original opening, with parallel sides, having niches in
them. The masonry shows traces of where the arch and door jambs have
been torn away and the present large window substituted, probably during
Wren's alterations. There is little room to doubt that _this_ was the
_original door of entrance_, placed, as is usual, some distance above
ground, and probably reached by an external flight of steps, now
removed, protected by a similar fore building to that of Rochester

Proceeding by the main stair to the third floor, we enter first what is
known as the "Banqueting Hall," which is lighted by four large windows,
and has a fireplace in its east wall, with two latrine chambers in its
north and east walls. Passing through a low doorway in the partition
wall, we enter the great western chamber, which has a fireplace in its
west wall, a latrine in its north wall, and is lighted by eight large
windows. Two newel staircases in the western angles ascend to the
battlements. In the south wall is a doorway leading to a passage at the
head of a small newel stair, which, rising from a door in the wall on
the floor below, formerly afforded a direct communication from the
palace to the chapel of St. John upon the third floor, without entering
the keep. At the foot of this stair, in the time of Charles II., some
bones in a chest were discovered by workmen engaged in repairs, which
were said to be those of the murdered Edward V. and his brother the Duke
of York. These were transferred; by the King's instructions, to the
vaults of Westminster Abbey.

Ascending to the fourth floor, there are two large rooms separated by
the cross-wall, the arcade of which was probably filled in with wooden
partitions. The larger or western room is known as the "Council
Chamber," and the other as the "Royal Apartments." Neither has any
fireplace. Over the vaulting of the chapel, close under the flat, lead
roof, there is a curious cell about seven feet high, lighted by small
loop windows, which extends the entire length of the chapel. Formerly
used as a prison, it must have subjected its miserable inmates to even
more trying variations of heat and cold than the famous "_Piombi_" of

With the exception of the chapel, its crypt, and sub-crypt, which were
vaulted throughout, all the floors were originally of wood, and were
supported on double rows of stout oak posts, which in their turn
sustained the massive oak main floor beams.

The forebuilding, on the south face of the keep, was probably added by
Henry II. It survived until 1666, as it is shown in a view of the Tower
executed by Hollar about that date; but it appears to have been removed
prior to 1681.

The chapel of St. John is a fine example of early Norman ecclesiastical
architecture. It consists of a nave, with vaulted aisles, having an
apsidal eastern termination. It is covered by a plain barrel vault, and
on the fourth floor level has a triforial gallery, also vaulted. It is
connected by two doors with the gallery in the thickness of the wall
that surrounds this floor, from one of the windows of which it is said
that Bishop Ralph Flambard effected his remarkable escape.

It is probable that at first (except the chapel, which was covered by
its own independent roof) there were two separate high-pitched roofs,
one covering each division, and not rising above the battlements, the
wall gallery serving as a kind of additional fighting deck, for which
reason it was carried round the triforium of the chapel. As the need for
this diminished, two large additional rooms were gained by raising the
central wall a story, and superposing a flat, lead roof.

The absence of privacy, fireplaces, and sanitary accommodation on this
fourth floor, with the cold draughts from the stairways and windows of
the wall-gallery, must have been well-nigh intolerable; nor could wooden
screens, hangings, or charcoal brasiers have rendered it endurable. It
is not surprising, therefore, that under Henry III. the palace was
considerably enlarged, or that these chambers were abandoned by him for
warmer quarters below, in the Lanthorn Tower "k," and its new turret
"J" although the chapel and council chamber continued to be used down to
a much later date.

After the siege of Rochester by William Rufus in 1088, Gundulf had built
a _stone_ wall round the new castle of Rochester. This probably moved
the King to enclose the Tower of London with a similar wall, for the
_Saxon Chronicle_ tells us that in 1091 "a stone wall was being wrought
about the Tower, a stone bridge across the Thames was being built, and a
great hall was being erected at Westminster, whereby the citizens of
London were grievously oppressed."[14]

Now, as Gundulf did not die until 1108, it is by no means improbable
that, while superintending the erection of these two great towers at
London and Colchester,[15] he also constructed the stone wall round the
former, for the chronicler says of him that "in opere cæmentarii
plurimum sciens et efficax erat."[16]

As it is on record that the smaller keep of Dover, built by Henry II.
nearly a century later, was upwards of ten years in construction, while
some additional time had been consumed--in the collection of materials
and workmen--with the preliminary preparation of the site, it does not
seem probable that the great Tower of London (honeycombed as its walls
are with cells and mural passages) could have been erected in a much
shorter space of time. When the ruder appliances of the earlier period
are taken into account, such a keep could not have been built in a
hurry, for time would be needed to allow the great mass of the
foundation to gradually settle, and for the mortar to set. Although
preparations for its erection may have begun as early as 1083, it seems
more probable that the White Tower was not commenced much before 1087,
or completed before 1097.

Stow, quoting from FitzStephen's _Description of London_,[17] mentions
the White Tower as being "sore shaken by a great tempest of wind in the
year 1091," which, as I do not (with the conspicuous modesty of the late
Professor Freeman) "venture to _set aside_ the authority of the
chronicles"[18] when they have the audacity to differ from my
preconceived ideas, seems to me reasonable ground upon which to argue
that not only was the White Tower then in course of erection, but that
in that year the works were not in a very advanced state. That it must
have been completed prior to 1100 is evidenced by the fact that King
Henry I., on succeeding to the throne in August of that year, committed
to the custody of William de Mandeville, then Constable of the Tower,
his brother's corrupt minister, Ranulph (or Ralph) Flambard, Bishop of
Durham. The chronicler exultingly tells us that he was ordered[19] "to
be kept in fetters, and in the gloom of a dungeon," which must have been
either "Little Ease" or the small dark cell opening from the crypt of
St. John's Chapel, afterwards rendered famous by the imprisonment there
of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Although the great fortress-palace was to subsequently acquire a most
sinister reputation as a state prison, yet the present is the first
recorded instance of the committal of a great and notorious offender to
its dungeon cells. Subsequently, however, the severity of the bishop's
imprisonment appears to have been somewhat mitigated, for the King
ordered him to be allowed the large sum of two shillings a day for his
maintenance; so that, although a prisoner, he was enabled to fare

One day after the Christmas of 1101, a long rope having been secretly
conveyed to him, concealed in a cask of wine, by one of his servants, he
caused a plentiful banquet to be served up, to which he invited his
keepers, and having intoxicated them to such a degree that they slept
soundly, the bishop secured the cord to a mullion in one of the double
windows of the southern wall-gallery in the keep, and, catching up his
pastoral staff, began to lower himself down. Having forgotten to put on
gloves, and being a heavy, stout man, the rope severely lacerated his
hands, and as it did not reach the ground he fell some feet and was
severely bruised. His trusty followers had horses in readiness, on one
of which they mounted him. The party fled to the coast, took ship, and
crossed over to Normandy to seek refuge with Duke Robert.[20] After some
time had elapsed, he contrived to make his peace with Henry, who allowed
him to return to England, when he regained his See of Durham, of which
he completed the cathedral, and also added to the works of the great
castle there. The window from which he is supposed to have escaped is
over sixty-five feet from the ground, and his evasion was evidently
considered at the time a most audacious and remarkable feat, as more
than one contemporary chronicler gives a very detailed and
circumstantial account of it.

It is not until the Edwardian period of our history that we find castles
used as places for the secure detention of captives. In the earlier
Norman times dungeons were of little use, their policy being one of
ruthless extermination, or of mutilation, in order to strike terror into
rebellious populations.[21] Only persons of the most exalted rank, such
as Duke Robert of Normandy, Bishops Odo, of Bayeux, and Ralph Flambard,
of Durham, Earl Roger, the son of William FitzOsbern, with a few
distinguished Saxon captives, underwent a prolonged imprisonment.

The Tower of London as it exists to-day has, by a slow process of
gradual accretion round the keep as a nucleus, become what is known as a
"concentric" castle, or one upon the concentric plan, from the way in
which one ward encloses another; and its architectural history falls,
roughly speaking, into three chief periods covered by the reigns of
William Rufus, Richard I., and Henry III., all the more important
additions to the fortress occurring approximately within these periods,
as will be seen later on.

Commencing with the building of the great keep (now called the White
Tower), and the small inner or palace ward to the south of it, by
William the Conqueror, this at first was probably only enclosed by a
stout timber palisade on the top of a raised bank of earth, having a
ditch at its base. The first recorded _stone_ wall round the Tower was
that of William Rufus, already mentioned, and it is not improbable that
the wall marked "v" on the plan (only discovered in 1899 during the
erection of the new guard house) may have formed part of his work.

But little is known to have been added by Henry I. The sole remaining
Pipe Roll of his reign only records a payment of £17 0s. 6d. "in
operatione Turris Lundoniae," without any further mention of what these
works were, and as the amount is not very large, it is not probable that
they included anything of much importance. That the smaller inner or
palace ward to the south of the keep was already completed, is shown by
a charter of the Empress Maud, dated Midsummer, 1141, which granted to
Geoffrey de Mandeville (then Constable of the Tower, and third of his
family to hold that important office) the custody of the Tower, worded
as follows: "Concedo illi, et heredibus suis, Turris Lundoniae cum
'parvo castello' quod fuit Ravengeri";[22] and this "little castle" is
the before mentioned inner or palace ward, though how or where this was
originally entered from the city nothing now remains to tell us--most
probably at or near the point subsequently occupied by the Cold Harbour
Gate "u," at the south-west angle of the "turris," or White Tower
"r," for it is but seldom that the original entrance gates of castle
baileys or courtyards are removed, unless in the case of an entire
re-arrangement of the plan, with the consequent rebuilding thereby
rendered necessary.

Owing to the state of anarchy that prevailed during the troubled reign
of Stephen, and the destruction of all the Pipe Rolls and other records
that resulted, it is improbable that any extensive works were in
progress during that period.

Although the Pipe Rolls of Henry II. record a total amount expended upon
works at the Tower of £248 6s. 8d., but little appears to have been
added as to which we can speak with any certainty, unless it be the
forebuilding of the keep "y" (long since destroyed), the gatehouse of
the inner ward "u," and perhaps the basement of the hall or Wakefield
tower "l."

As at first constructed, the White Tower (like its fellow at Colchester)
had no forebuilding covering the original entrance, which was at the
western extremity of its south front, upon the first floor, then some
twenty-five feet above the external ground level. The small doorway
leading to the flight of stairs in the south wall which ascends to St.
John's Chapel, by which visitors now enter the keep, is not, and is far
too small in size to have ever been, the original entrance.

On the Pipe Rolls there are frequent entries of sums for the repairs of
the "King's houses in the Tower," probably the great hall "x," with
its kitchen and other appendant buildings; "of the chapel" (obviously
that of St. Peter, as that of St. John in the keep would hardly be in
need of any structural repairs at so early a date); and "of the gaol."
These last doubtless stood in an outer ward added by Henry I., and at
first probably only enclosed by the usual ditch and earthen rampart,
furnished with stout wooden palisades.


It is somewhat difficult to assign any precise date for the first
foundation of the "Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula apud turrim." It is
not probable that it was contemporary with the Chapel of St. John, but
was doubtless erected by Henry I. when he enlarged the area of the outer
ward of the Tower; as this necessitated a considerable increase to the
permanent garrison, St. John's Chapel in the keep would no longer
suffice for their accommodation, and a new chapel would become
necessary. If St. Peter's Chapel had only been parochial (which at its
first erection it was not), it might have been possible to ascertain the
precise date of its foundation.

In 20 Henry II. (or 1174), Alnod, the engineer, received the sum of £11
13s. 4d. for works at the Tower. Other payments occur for sheet-lead for
the repairs of the chapel, the carriage of planks, and timber for the
kitchen,[23] the gateway of the gaol (probably Cold Harbour Gate "u"),
various repairs to the "King's houses within the bailey of the Tower,"
and occasionally for the repairs to the "turris" or great keep itself.
This, when first built, was of rough rag-stone, rudely coursed, with
very open joints in thick mortar, so that these repairs (consisting,
doubtless, of patching and pointing) occur with more or less frequency.

Not until 1663 did the keep receive its final disfigurement, at the
hands of Sir Christopher Wren, who cased part of the exterior in
Portland stone, rebuilt two of the angle turrets, and "Italianised" all
the window openings, thereby obliterating many valuable mediæval

All these outlays are certified by the view and report of two inspecting
officials, Edward Blund and William Magnus, the works being carried out
by Alnod, while the writs authorising payments were signed by one or
other of the justiciars, Ranulph de Glanville and Richard de Lucy, or by
the King himself.

The following reign marks a period of great constructive activity at the
Tower. The new monarch was one of the foremost military engineers of the
age; and when we consider the valuable experience in the art of war
which he had already gained, in the decade prior to his accession to the
throne, in conducting (while Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine)
various sieges of the castles of his rebellious barons in those
provinces, it seems improbable that he would have been satisfied to
leave the Tower in the condition it then was, with a keep standing in a
small inner ward, enclosed by a plain stone curtain wall, devoid of any
projecting towers, unless perhaps the base of the Hall tower, and the
Cold Harbour Gate (see plan), and a large outer ward, only enclosed by a
wooden palisade and ditch.

Richard must have been well aware of the enormous increase to the power
of effective defence conferred by salient or boldly projecting towers
flanking with their fire the curtain walls, which in England, at any
rate, were then somewhat of a novelty. At this time the Tower was
extremely defective in this respect, its great need being not for mere
repairs, but for effective modernization as a fortress.

Before embarking upon the hazardous enterprise of the third Crusade,
Richard left his trusted Chancellor, William Longchamp, to carry out an
extensive series of new works at the Tower, all of which were probably
from the designs of the sovereign himself.

In his valuable monograph upon the Tower,[24] the late G. T. Clark,
F.S.A., has fallen into a strange error as to the actual amount expended
upon works there during the earlier years of the reign of Richard I.,
which he states "do not show above one or two hundred pounds of
outlay." When this rather dogmatic assertion is tested by reference to
the existing documentary evidence of the Public Records, its glaring
inaccuracy is at once apparent; indeed, it might fitly serve as an
illustration of Pope's well-known lines:

    "A little learning is a dangerous thing,
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring."

The Pipe Roll of 2 Richard I. discloses an expenditure, "ad operationes
turris Lundoniae," amounting to no less than £2,881 1s. 10d., in itself
a sufficiently large sum, but one which, when multiplied twenty-fold in
order to bring it up to its present-day value,[25] is increased to
£57,621 16s. 8d. of our modern money!

The custody of the Tower was entrusted by Longchamp to one of his
dependents, William Puinctel, who seems to have acted as Constable and
superintendent of the new works, according to the Pipe Roll of 2 Richard

It is well known that all the contributions levied in the King's name do
not invariably appear set out in full in the records, and there were
certainly other sources of revenue open to the Chancellor, of which he
doubtless took the fullest advantage.[26] The difficulty in this case is
not so much his raising the funds needed for carrying out these works
(which he undoubtedly did), but to account for their rapid completion in
so short a time.

If, however, it was possible, only seven years later, for Richard
himself to build, in a far more inaccessible situation, the _entire
castle_ of Chateau Gaillard in the short space of a single year, it need
not have been so difficult for Longchamp to carry out in two or three
years the works we are about to describe, especially when we consider
that he had practically _unlimited_ funds at his disposal.[27]

Until the period of which we write, the area enclosed by the Tower
fortifications lay wholly _within_, and to the west of the ancient city
wall, which had been utilized to form its eastern curtain. The perimeter
was now to be largely increased by the addition of a new outer ward,
"W," extending entirely round the fortress, having a new curtain wall
of _stone_, furnished with two large bastions (now entirely re-modelled
and modernised), known as the "Legge Mount" and "Brass Mount" towers,
"S" and "T." The so-called "North Bastion," capping the salient
angle of the wall between them, being a purely modern work of recent
date, has been _intentionally_ omitted from the plan.

The inner ward now received a large addition. To the east of the White
Tower, the old Roman city wall, where it crossed the line of the new
works (see plan), was entirely demolished, and a new wall, some one
hundred and eighty feet further to the east, and studded with numerous
towers at frequent intervals, took its place, and on the north, west,
and south replaced the former palisaded bank and ditch. Most of these
towers, as at first constructed, were probably open at the gorge, or
inner face, and not until a later period were they raised a stage,
closed at the gorge, and in several instances had the early fighting
platforms of timber replaced by stone vaulting.

When the remains of the Wardrobe Tower "s" were exposed some years ago
by the removal of the buildings formerly known as the "Great Wardrobe,"
"z" about sixteen feet of the Roman city wall was found to have been
incorporated with it; and so recently as 1904 several excavations were
made immediately to the south of it in order to ascertain, if possible,
whether any traces of the continuation southwards towards the river of
the line of the Roman wall could be found, or any foundations indicating
the point at which it turned westwards; but the demolitions and
rebuildings upon the site have been so numerous and so frequent that all
traces have been obliterated, nor is it probable that any other remains
of the Roman wall will ever be laid bare within the Tower area.[28]

A plain outer wall, devoid of towers, faced the river, and some kind of
an entrance gateway must have been erected at the south-west angle of
the new outer ward, where now stands the Byward Gate, "F." The inner
ward was probably entered by a gate, now replaced by the Bloody Tower
Gate, "m." A wide and deep ditch was also excavated round the new
works, which the Chancellor appears to have expected would be filled by
the Thames; but inasmuch as it was not provided with any dams or sluices
for retaining the water when the tide was out (a work carried out
successfully in a later reign), the chroniclers record with great
exultation that this part of Longchamp's work was a comparative

The level of the greater part of the inner ward, "7," is (as will be
seen by the figures upon the plan, which represent the heights in feet
above the mean sea-level) some fifteen feet _above_ that of the outer
ward, and but little below that of Great Tower Hill. It seems probable
that much of the clay from the ditch excavated by Longchamp was piled up
round the western and northern sides of this inner ward, thus completely
burying the base or battering plinth of the keep (now only visible at
the south-eastern angle), while at the same time it served as a
revetment to the curtain wall, and strengthened the city side of the
fortress against any attack.

Whilst these works were in progress, the Chancellor seems to have seized
upon some lands of the Priory of the Holy Trinity in East Smithfield,
and removed a mill belonging to St. Katherine's Hospital. These illegal
usurpations, coupled with his excessive and unscrupulous taxation of
clergy and laity alike for the conduct of these new works, seem to have
aroused great indignation at the time, and doubtless contributed to his
sudden downfall. His high-handed proceedings appear to have formed a
ground for claims, not settled until, long years afterwards, a rent, by
way of compensation for the land so unjustly taken, was paid by Edward

In 3 Richard I. the Pipe Roll records further expenditure upon lime,
stone, timber, brushwood, "crates" (a kind of wickerwork hurdle), and
stakes or piles for works at the Tower.

In 5 Richard I. there is an outlay upon a "palicium," or palisade,
"furnished with mangonels (or stone-casting engines) and other things
necessary," "circa turrim Lond," which probably refers to an outwork or
barbican covering the western entrance gate, for the expression "turrim"
must here be taken in its widest sense as we should now employ it,
meaning not merely the keep, but the whole castle.

The total amount expended during the last five years of Richard's reign
was only £280 14s. 10d., so that all the extensive new works previously
referred to were probably completed _before_ 1194.

Lest it be thought that undue importance has been attached to the
extensive use of timber stockades or palisades for the first defensive
works at the Tower, it may here be conveniently pointed out that, with
but few exceptions, the early castles were of earth and timber only.
The keep-towers, as well as the palisades, were of timber, and the
constant employment of timber by mediæval military engineers extended
into the fourteenth century![30]

The lower bailey of the royal castle at Windsor was not walled with
stone until 1227, yet we find it in 1216 successfully resisting for
upwards of _three months_ a vigorous siege (aided by projectile engines)
by the combined forces of the French and the Barons.[31]

Still later, we find Edward I. erecting a strong temporary castle _in
timber_ at Flint[32] in his Welsh war of 1277; and, again, in his Scotch
war, building small castles, with keeps and gatehouses, _in timber_,
called "Peels,"[33] at Dumfries, Linlithgow, Lochmaben, Selkirk, and
elsewhere in 1300 and subsequent years.

The Pipe Rolls of John show an outlay for the entire reign of some £420
19s. 8½d. on sundry works at the Tower, carried out by Master Elias, the
engineer, and Master Robert de Hotot, the master carpenter; but, save
for the stereotyped item of repairs to the King's houses, deepening the
ditch on the north towards the city, and building a mud or clay wall
round the Tower precinct or "liberty" (frequently mentioned in surveys
of later date), nothing is named, except the "Church of St. Peter at the
Tower," from which, in 1210, we find the King granting to one Osbert, a
knight, a gift of ten marks, and a hundred shillings to buy a horse for
his journey to Poitou. The Devereux tower, "c," the Bell tower, "a,"
Wardrobe tower, "s," and Cold Harbour gate, were probably all
completed about this time.

We now arrive at the long reign of Henry III., during which the various
Rolls are full of detailed information as to alterations, repairs, and
new works at the Tower, which, full of interest as they are,
considerations of space forbid our quoting _in extenso_.

In 1221 occurs the first instance of a body of prisoners being sent to
the Tower. They were taken at the siege of Bytham Castle, in
Lincolnshire, from whence seven men with carts were employed in their
transport to London, while sixteen iron rings were made for their safe
custody. New barriers _in timber_ were erected, and a well was made,
perhaps that at "w," but not probably that now existing in the
basement of the keep. A new tower adjoining the hall is built, probably
the upper story of the Hall tower, "l," having a roof of lead, and a
chapel or oratory, which still exists in this tower, and so helps in its

The Liberate Roll of 23 Henry III. contains directions from the King to
the Constable relative to the "whitewashing and painting of the Queen's
chamber, within our chamber, with flowers on the pointings, and cause
the drain of our private chamber to be made in the fashion of a hollow
column, as our beloved servant, John of Ely (probably the King's
favourite clerk and famous pluralist, John Mansel), shall more fully
declare unto thee."[34]

The chronicler records the fall of a handsome gate, with outworks and
bastions, on the night of St. George's Day, April 23rd, 1240, probably
from inattention to the foundations. The King, on hearing of it, ordered
the fallen structure to be more securely rebuilt. A year later the same
thing happened again, which the chronicler states was due to the
supernatural interference of St. Thomas à Becket, and that the citizens
of London were nothing sorry, for they had been told that a great number
of separate cells had been constructed in the fallen towers, to the end
that many might be confined in divers prisons, and yet have no
communication one with another.[35]

After more than 12,000 marks had been thus fruitlessly expended, the
King, in order to propitiate the saint, after ordering the tower to be
rebuilt for the third time, and called by his name, also ordered a small
oratory to be constructed in its south-east turret. Whether the saint
allowed himself to be thus propitiated, or that greater care had been
bestowed upon its foundations, this tower, which at first served as the
water gate of the fortress, and was known as that of St. Thomas, "I,"
was in Tudor times used as a landing-place for state prisoners, and
thence derived its dismal but better known appellation of "Traitors'

This tower, though "restored" in 1866, still stands as solidly as when
first erected. Its wide interior arch of sixty-one feet span, with
joggled arch stones, is a most remarkable piece of work.

The legend may be considered as evidence that about 1239-1241 the King
was engaged in constructing all the great works upon the south or river
front of the Tower. The Middle Tower gate, "E," the Byward Tower gate,
"F," the dam or bridge between them, the before-mentioned water gate,
"I," the Lanthorn tower, "k," its new turret, "J," the south
postern or Cradle tower, "K," the Well tower, "L," the tower leading
to the east postern, "M,"[36] the dam, with its bridge and sluices for
the retention of the water in the ditch, and the east postern, "N,"
were each and all of them works of sufficient importance to be
replaced, no matter what the cost, when destroyed by the subsidence of
foundations probably insufficient when placed upon a footing of wet and
treacherous London clay so near the shifting foreshore of the river. The
great quay, or wharf, "Kaia Regis," "O," is first mentioned in 1228.
The distinction of having been (albeit unconsciously) the founder of the
present Zoological Society might well be claimed for Henry III., as,
although Henry I. had a collection of wild beasts at Woodstock
Palace,[37] yet in this reign the menagerie at the Tower is first

In 1252 a white bear from Norway is recorded as kept at the Tower, and
the sheriffs of London are directed to pay 4d. a day for his sustenance
and that of his keeper, with a muzzle, and a strong chain to hold him
when out of the water, also "unam longam, et fortem cordam ad tenendum
eundem ursum piscantem in aquae Thamesis," or, in other words, a long
strong cord to hold the said bear when fishing in the water of

Already in 1235 the Emperor Frederick had sent the King three leopards,
in allusion to the royal armorial bearings of England.

In 1255 Louis of France presented Henry with an _elephant_, which was
landed at Sandwich, and brought to the Tower,[39] where a house or shed
forty feet by twenty feet was built to contain him, again at the expense
of the sheriffs of London, on whose Corporation the King seems to have
had a playful habit of throwing the expense of these and all other such
little matters as he could thus avoid paying for himself.

During the reigns of the three Edwards the collection of wild beasts
was largely increased from time to time, and lions were kept in the
great Barbican, "C," long known as the Lions' tower, which probably
gave rise to the expression, "Seeing the Lions at the Tower."

The menagerie remained there until, in 1834, the various houses were
found to impede the restoration of the entrance towers and gates, so
they were removed to their present quarters in the Regent's Park; but,
most unfortunately, the necessity for the conservation of the Barbican
as an important feature of the mediæval fortress was but imperfectly
understood, and it was entirely demolished, its ditch filled up, the
present unsightly ticket office and engine house being erected on its

Besides the towers already named, the outer ward was additionally
secured against any attempts at surprise by several cross-walls, "G,"
with gates, which subdivided it into several independent sections; so
that, were any one gate forced, the assailants would only obtain
possession of a small courtyard, in which they could be attacked in
flank and front, and be overwhelmed by missiles from the curtain walls
and towers. All these have long been removed, but their sites will be
found marked upon the plan. The two posterns in the north wall of the
inner ward against the Devilin and Martin towers, "c" and "g," were
not made till 1681.

In spite of all these multiplied means of defence, the Tower was once
surprised by a mob in 1381, on which occasion Simon of Sudbury,
Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Robert Hales, the Treasurer, whom they
found in the chapel, were dragged to instant execution by these lawless
miscreants, but it is possible that the way was paved by some treachery
on the part of those in charge of the gates.

Though subjected to various sieges, the Tower was only once surrendered,
after the one in 1460.

In 1263 two posterns were made for the service of the palace. One of
these was undoubtedly the Cradle tower, "K"; the other may have been
that of the Byward tower, "H," subsequently rebuilt about the time of
Richard II.

In 1267 the Papal Legate, Cardinal Ottobon, took refuge in the tower,
which was promptly besieged by the Earl of Gloucester. According to the
_Chronicle_ of T. Wykes, "the King threw reinforcements into the
fortress, and brought out the Legate by the south postern," which can
only have been one of the two posterns before mentioned, or that of the
Iron Gate tower, "N," which then gave upon the open country without
the city walls.

To return to the records. In 1240 the King directed the keepers of the
works at the Tower to repair all the _glass_ windows of St. John's
Chapel, also those of the great chamber towards the Thames, "J," and
to make a great round turret in one corner of the said chamber, so that
the drain from it may descend to the Thames, and to make a new cowl on
the top of the kitchen of the great tower (the keep?).[41]

In the following year, "the leaden gutters of the keep are to be carried
down to the ground, that its newly _whitewashed_ external walls may not
be defaced by the dropping of the rain-water; and at the top, on the
south side, deep alures of good timber, entirely and well covered with
lead, are to be made, through which people may look even unto the foot
of the tower, and ascend to better defend it if need be (this evidently
refers to a wooden hoarding projecting beyond the stone battlements,
and supported on beams and brackets). Three new painted glass windows
are to be made for St. John's Chapel, with images of the Virgin and
Child, the Trinity, and St. John the Apostle; the cross and beam
(rood-beam) beyond the altar are to be painted well, and with good
colours, and _whitewash_ all the old wall round our aforesaid

In 1244, Griffin, the eldest son of Llewellyn, Prince of North Wales,
was a prisoner in the keep, and was allowed half a mark (6s. 8d.) for
his daily sustenance. "Impatient of his tedious imprisonment, he
attempted to escape, and having made a cord out of his sheets,
tapestries, and tablecloths, endeavoured to lower himself by it; but,
less fortunate than Flambard, when he had descended but a little, the
rope snapped from the weight of his body (for he was a big man, and very
corpulent), he fell, and was instantly killed, his corpse being found
next morning at the base of the keep, with his head and neck driven in
between his shoulders from the violence of the impact, a horrible and
lamentable spectacle," as the chronicler feelingly expresses it.[43]

In 1237 there is a curious reference to a small cell or hermitage,
apparently situated upon the north side of St. Peter's Chapel, near the
place marked "q." It was inhabited by an "inclusus," or immured
anchorite, who daily received one penny by the charity of the King. A
robe also appears to have been occasionally presented to the inmate. It
was in the King's gift, and seems, from subsequent references in the
records, to have been bestowed upon either sex indifferently, unless
there were two cells, for the record mentions it in one place as the
"reclusory" or "ankerhold" of St. Peter, and in another as that of St.

The _Liber Albus_ also mentions, in the time of Edward III., a grant of
the "Hermitage near the garden of our Lord the King upon Tower
Hill."[45] This last was probably near the orchard of "perie," or pear
trees, first planted by Henry III. on Great Tower Hill, doubtless in
what were known as the "Nine gardens in the Tower Liberty," adjoining
the postern in the city wall.

In 1250, the King directs his chamber in the Lanthorn tower, "k," to
be adorned with a painting of the story of Antioch[46] and the combat of
King Richard.

From the time of John, the Tower seems to have been used as an arsenal,
suits of armour, siege engines, and iron fetters being kept there; and
in 1213 we find John drawing from the stores in the fortress thirty
"dolia" or casks of wine, and also giving orders that "bacones nostros
qui sunt apud turrim" should be killed and salted, so that pig-styes and
wine cellars then formed part of its domestic buildings.

In 1225 the manufacture of crossbows was carried on. The "Balistarius,"
or master bowyer (who perhaps gave his name to the Bowyer tower, "e,"
in the basement of which he had his workshop), had twelve pence a day,
with a suit of clothes and three servants (probably assistant workmen).
Other officials were appointed to provide and keep in store armour,
arrows, and projectile engines.[47]

With the accession of Edward I., the long list of works at the Tower
practically comes to an end.

In 1274 there is a payment of two hundred marks for the completion of
the great barbican, with its ditch, commenced by Henry III., afterwards
known as the Lions' tower, "C," which probably included the outer gate
at "B," called the Lions' Gate.

The chapel of St. Peter was rebuilt about 1305, St. Thomas' tower,
"I," was finished, and connected by a flying bridge with the upper
story of the Hall tower, "l." This, though subsequently destroyed, was
restored by Mr. Salvin in 1867, at which time, the new Record Office in
Fetter Lane being completed, the State papers formerly kept in the Hall
tower, and elsewhere in the Tower, were removed thither. The basement of
the Hall tower was vaulted, and its upper story fitted up for the
reception of the regalia. The Crown jewels were removed from the Martin
or Jewel tower, "g," where they were formerly kept, which was the
scene of the notorious Colonel Blood's attempt to steal the crown in
1673. The keeper of the regalia now resides in the upper part of St.
Thomas' tower, above Traitors' Gate, and has thus ready access at all
times to his important charge.

In 1289 the great ditch was again enlarged, and in 1291 occurs the entry
already mentioned of the annual payment of five marks as compensation to
the "Master, Brethren, and Sisters of St. Katherine's Hospital, near our
Tower, for the damage they have sustained by the enlargement of the
ditch that we caused to be made round the aforesaid Tower."[48]

It is probable that towards the close of this reign vaultings of stone
replaced wooden floors in several of the towers, and other improvements
were made in them. The clay from the ditch was sold by the Constable to
the tile-makers of East Smithfield. In the first year it only yielded
20s., but during the twelve years the work was in progress it
contributed £7 on the average every year to the exchequer, a large sum
when the relative value of money is considered, and equal to more than
£100 a year of the present currency![49]

In 1278 no less than 600 Jews were imprisoned in the Tower on a charge
of clipping and debasing the coin. Many of them are said to have been
confined in that gloomy vault now called "Little Ease," where, from the
entire absence of sanitary accommodation and proper ventilation, their
numbers were rapidly thinned by death.[50]

[Illustration: THE TOWER OF LONDON.]

The mural arcade of the inner curtain wall between the Bell tower,
"a," the Beauchamp tower, "b," and the Devereux tower, "c," is
probably of this period. In spite of much patching and alterations to
adapt it for the use of firearms, it bears a close resemblance in its
design to those of Caernarvon Castle and Castle Coch, near Cardiff. The
great quay, "O," does not appear to have been walled through; it had
its own gates, "P," at either end. Two small towers (now removed)
protected the drawbridges of the two posterns, "H" and "K." The
outer curtain wall, "R," commanded the ditch and wharf, and was in its
turn commanded by the more lofty inner curtain, "8," and its towers,
and these again by the keep, while the narrow limits of the outer ward
effectually prevented any attempts to escalade them by setting up
movable towers, or by breaching them with battering rams. Any besiegers
who succeeded in entering the outer ward would be overwhelmed by the
archery from these wall arcades at such point-blank range that even
plate armour would be no protection, while, should they succeed in
carrying the inner ward, the remnant of the defenders might retreat to
the keep, and, relying upon its passive strength, hold out to the last
within its massive walls in hope of external succour, before famine or
a breach compelled a surrender.

The Scotch wars of Edward I. filled the Tower with many distinguished
prisoners, among whom were the Earls of Ross, Athol, and Menteith, and
the famous Sir William Wallace. They seem to have experienced a varying
degree of severity: some were ordered to be kept in a "strait prison in
iron fetters," as were the Bishops of Glasgow and St. Andrew's (though
they were imprisoned elsewhere); others are to be kept "body for body,"
that is to say, safely, but not in irons, with permission to hear mass;
while a few are to be treated with leniency, and have chambers, with a
privy chamber or latrine attached.[51]

In 1303 the King (then at Linlithgow) sent the Abbot of Westminster and
forty-eight of his monks to the Tower on a charge of having stolen
£100,000 of the royal treasure placed in the abbey treasury for
safe-keeping! After a long trial, the sub-prior and the sacrist were
convicted and executed, when their bodies were flayed and the skins
nailed to the doors of the re-vestry and treasury of the abbey as a
solemn warning to other such evildoers,[52] the abbot and the rest of
the monks being acquitted.

No works of any importance can be assigned to the reign of Edward II.,
the only occurrences of importance being the downfall of the Knights
Templars and the imprisonment of many of them at the Tower, where the
Grand Prior, William de la More, expired in solitary confinement a few
months after the close of the proceedings that marked the suppression of
the order; and the escape of Roger Mortimer from the keep (which reads
almost like a repetition of Flambard's), the consequences to the
constable being his disgrace and imprisonment.[53]

The Tower was the principal arsenal of Edward III., who in 1347 had a
manufactory of _gunpowder_ there, when various entries in the Records
mention purchases of sulphur and saltpetre "pro gunnis Regis."[54]

A survey of the Tower was ordered in 1336, and the Return to it is
printed _in extenso_ by Bayley.[55] Some of the towers are called by
names (as for example, "Corande's" and "la Moneye" towers, the latter
perhaps an early reference to the Mint) which no longer distinguish
them. The Return shows that these--the Iron gate tower, "N," the two
posterns of the wharf, and Petty Wales, "_P.P._," the wharf itself, and
divers other buildings--were all in need of repair, the total amount for
the requisite masonry, timber, tile work, lead, glass, and iron work
being £2,154 17s. 8d.!

In 1354 the city ditch is ordered to be cleansed and prevented from
flowing into the Tower ditch, and, according to the _Liber Albus_, the
penalty of death was promulgated against anyone bathing in the Tower
ditch, or even in the Thames adjacent to the Tower!

In 1347 the Tower received, in the person of David, King of Scotland,
the first of a long line of royal prisoners, and in 1358 the large sum
of £2 12s. 9d. was paid for his medicine. John, King of France, Richard
II., Henry VI., Edward V., Queens Jane Dudley, Anne Boleyn, Catherine
Howard, and Princess Elizabeth complete the list.

The Great Wardrobe, "z," adjoining the Wardrobe tower, "s," the
Beauchamp tower, "b," the upper story of the Bowyer tower, "e," and
perhaps the Constable and Broad Arrow towers, "h" and "i," are
probably of this period.

Mr. Clark attributes the Bloody Tower gate, "m," to this reign, but an
entrance existed there long before. Most probably it was remodelled, and
the vaulting and portcullis were inserted about this time, or early in
the reign of Richard II., to whom he also attributes the rebuilding of
the Byward tower postern, "H."

There is but little to record in the way of new works after this. Edward
IV., in 1472, built an advanced work, called the Bulwark Gate, "A,"
and nothing further transpires till the reign of Henry VIII., who
ordered a survey of the dilapidations to be made in 1532. The repairs of
this period, being mostly in brickwork and rough cast, with flint chips
inserted in the joints of the masonry, are easily recognised, as are
those of Wren by his use of Portland stone.

The buildings of the old palace being much out of repair, the quaint old
timber-framed dwelling, "n," adjoining the Bell tower, "a," was
built about this time. It is now called the "Lieutenant's Lodgings," but
was first known as the "King's House." It contains a curious monument
commemorating the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, of which it gives an account,
and enumerates the names of the conspirators, and of the Commissioners
by whom they were tried.

The quaint storehouses of the Tudor period were replaced in the reign of
William III. by an unsightly building, destroyed by fire in 1841, the
site of which is now occupied by the Wellington barracks.

The old palace buildings have long since vanished entirely. Towers have
been rebuilt or restored, and in 1899 a new guard house has been built
between Wakefield tower, "l," and the south-west angle of the keep.
The hideously ugly effect of its staring new red brick in contrast with
the old and time-worn stone of the ancient fortress must be seen to be
realized, its sole redeeming feature being the impossibility of future
generations mistaking it for a building of any earlier period. During
the clearance of the site for its erection, two discoveries were
made--one of a Norman well, "w," which was found to have its top
completely hidden by modern brickwork; the other, a remarkable
subterranean passage, "9," of which the presence was only detected by
its being accidentally broken into. This, when cleared out, was found to
terminate in a horrible subterranean prison pit under the south-west
angle of the keep (with which, however, it has no means of
communication), that doubtless served as the _oubliette_ of the Tower.
The pit was empty, but the passage was found to contain bones, fragments
of glass and pottery, broken weapons, and many cannon balls of iron,
lead, and stone, relics probably of Wyatt's unsuccessful attack in 1554.
Leaving the pit, the passage dips rapidly, and, tunnelling under both
wards and their walls, emerges a little to the east of Traitors' Gate
(see plan), where its arched head may now be seen from the wharf, though
formerly several feet below the level of the water in the moat. As it
traverses the site of the Hall, there is some reason to suppose that the
lower end served as a sewer, for there was a similar one, dating from
1259, at the old Palace of Westminster, so that this may likewise be
attributed to Henry III.[56]

It will be seen that the blood-curdling description of the horrors of
the rat-pit in Harrison Ainsworth's immortal romance is by no means
devoid of some foundation of fact, though when he wrote its existence
was unknown. Rats from the river would be attracted to the sewer mouth
by the garbage from the palace kitchens, and if any wretched prisoner
had been placed in this dreadful dungeon he would speedily have been
devoured _alive_![57]

The presence of a single subterranean passage at the Tower ought not to
have aroused so much surprise, for such "_souterrains_" were a not
infrequent feature of the mediæval fortress. They may be found at
Arques, Chateau Gaillard, Dover, Winchester, and Windsor (three), while
Nottingham has its historic "Mortimer's Hole." Sometimes they led to
carefully masked posterns in the ditches, but they were generally
carried along and at the base of the interior faces of the curtain
walls, with the object of preventing attempts at undermining, at once
betrayed to listeners by the dull reverberations of pickaxes in the
rocky ground. There were doubtless others at the Tower, now blocked up
and forgotten; indeed, Bayley mentions something of the kind as existing
between the Devereux and Flint towers.[58]

There is an allusion to them in the narrative by Father Gerard, S.J., of
his arrest, torture in, and escape from the Tower in 1597;[59] but the
history of the many illustrious captives who have suffered within these
walls would in itself suffice for a large volume, while so much, and
from so many pens, has already been written thereon, that I have
contented myself with few allusions thereto, and those necessarily of
the briefest.

It is much to be regretted that military exigencies have rendered it
needful to remove from the walls of the various prison cells many
interesting inscriptions with which their inmates strove to beguile the
monotony of captivity, and as far as possible to concentrate them in the
upper room within the Beauchamp tower, with which many of them have no
historic association whatever; but as the public would otherwise have
been debarred from any sight of them, this is far from being the
unmixed evil it might otherwise appear, while they have been fully
illustrated and carefully described by Bayley.

About the time of Edward I. a Mint was first established in the western
and northern portions of the outer bailey, where it remained until, in
1811, it was removed to the New Mint in East Smithfield, and the name
"Mint Street," given to that portion of the bailey, now commemorates
this circumstance.

When, about 1882, the extension of the "Inner Circle" Railway was in
progress, the site of the permanent scaffold on Great Tower Hill, upon
which so many sanguinary executions took place, was discovered in
Trinity Square, remains of its stout oak posts being found imbedded in
the ground. A blank space, with a small tablet in the grass of the
Square garden, now marks the spot.

In a recent work upon the Tower, an amazing theory has been seriously
put forward "of State barges entering the ditch, rowing onto a kind of
submerged slipway at the Cradle tower, when, _mirabile dictu_, boat and
all were to be lifted out of the water and drawn into the fortress!"
Such things are only possible in the vivid imagination of a writer
devoid of the most elementary knowledge of the purpose for which this
gateway was designed. It suffices to point out that no long State barge
could have entered the ditch without first performing the impossible
feat of sharply turning two corners at right angles in a space less than
its own length, and too confined to allow oars to be used, while there
are no recorded instances of such mediæval equivalents of the modern
floating and depositing dock! The Cradle tower gate is too short and
narrow to admit any such a lift with a large boat upon it, nor does it
contain the slightest trace of anything of the kind, or of the machinery
necessary for its working. Although prior to the restoration in 1867
there were side openings to Traitors' Gate as well as that from the
river, not only were they too low and narrow to admit a boat, but they
were fitted with sluice gates for the retention of the water in the moat
when the tide was out, which were used until, in 1841, the moat itself
was drained and levelled, and the Thames excluded by a permanent dam.
The Cradle tower was, as already stated, a postern, leading from the
wharf to the Royal Palace, and derived its name from its cradle or
drawbridge that here spanned the waters of the moat.

When, in the time of Henry VIII. and his successors, the water gate,
"I," ceased to be a general entrance, and was only used as a
landing-place for State prisoners on their way to and from trial at
Westminster, it first received the less pleasing appellation it still
bears of "Traitors' Gate."

The procedure when the Queen or any distinguished person visited the
Tower by water was as follows: They alighted from the State barge at the
Queen's stairs, "Q," on the river face of the quay, "O," and
traversing this on foot or in a litter, entered the Tower by the Cradle
tower postern, "K," which afforded the readiest and most direct access
to the Palace in the inner ward, while it was entirely devoid of any
sinister associations.

In conclusion, it only remains for me to express my thanks to the Major
of the Tower, Lieutenant-General Sir George Bryan Milman, K.C.B., for
the permission so courteously accorded to visit and examine portions of
the fortress closed to the general public, and to the officials of the
Tower for facilities kindly afforded me to do so on several occasions.


[1] The _Saxon Chronicle_ (Thorpe), vol. i., pp. 156, 157. (Subsequently
cited as "_Sax. Chron._").

[2] _Ibid._, vol. i., pp. 240, 241, 262, 263, 280, 281.

[3] _Archæologia_, vol. lii., p. 615.

[4] See dotted line on plan.

[5] "The Conqueror's Footsteps in Domesday." _English Historical
Review_, vol. xiii., p. 17.

[6] _Sax. Chron._, vol. i., p. 339.

[7] Orderic Vitalis, _History of England and Normandy_, book iv., chap. i.

[8] _Norman Conquest_ (Freeman), vol. v., Appendix N., "Castles and
Destruction in the Towns."

[9] _Introduction to Domesday Book_ (Ellis), vol. i., pp. 116-122.

[10] _Sax. Chron._, vol. i., p. 351.

[11] The _Custumale Roffense_ (Thorpe), p. 128; the _Registrant
Roffense_ (Thorpe), p. 481.

[12] "Conventios inter Gundulfum Episcopum et Eadmerum Anhoende
Burgensem Lundoniae. Dum idem Gundulfus ex praecepto Regis Wilhelm magni
_præsset operi magnae turris Lundoniae_ et hospitatus fuisset apud ipsum
Eadmerum," etc., from the _Registrum Roffense_ (Thorpe), p. 32.

[13] The present entrances on the north face of the keep are entirely

[14] _Sax. Chron._, vol. i., p. 363.

[15] The "turris," or keep, of Colchester is referred to in a charter of
Henry I. in 1101, which recites that the King's father and brother had
previously held the castle.

[16] _Anglia Sacra_, vol. i., p. 338.

[17] Stow's _Survey of London_, "Of Towers and Castles."

[18] _Norman Conquest_ (Freeman), vol. iii., Appendix, note PP.

[19] William of Malmesbury's _English Chronicle_, book v.; and _Sax.
Chron._, vol. i., p. 365.

[20] _Orderic Vitalis_, book x., chapter xvii.; and _William of
Malmesbury_, book v., chapter i.

[21] _Norman Conquest_ (Freeman), vol. ii., ch. viii., pp. 189, 190,
"The vengeance of Duke William on the men of Alençon."

[22] _Geoffrey de Mandeville_ (J. H. Round), p. 89 and p. 334.

[23] The kitchens of the period were usually situated at no great
distance from the Hall, and were in general of very slight construction;
frequently they were only wooden-framed buildings, with walls of wattle
and daub, and thatched roofs, hence the need for the continual repairs
that figure so numerously in the early records.

[24] _Mediæval Military Architecture_ (G. T. Clark), vol. ii., p. 257.

[25] "Norwich Castle" (A. Hartshorne, F.S.A.), _The Archæological
Journal_, vol. xlvi., pp. 264, 265.

[26] Stubbs's _Introductions to the Rolls Series_, edited by Hassall, p.

[27] The total cost of erecting Chateau Gaillard des Andelys amounted to
£42,361 14s. 4d., according to the _Roll of the Norman Exchequer_ for
1198 (edited by T. Stapleton; vol. ii., pp. 309, 310 _et seq._), a sum
which compares very well with the equally great outlay upon the works at
London in 1191.

[28] _Archæologia_, vol. lx., p. 239.

[29] Roger of Wendover's _Chronicle_ (Bohn's edition), vol. ii., p. 100,
and Roger de Hoveden's _Annals_, _ibid._, vol. ii., p. 137, sub. 1190

[30] _Manuel d'Archæologie Française_ (Enlart), vol. ii., section xi.,
pp. 497-500.

[31] "The Norman Origin of Cambridge Castle," W. H. St. John Hope,
_Cambridge Antiquarian Society's Communications_, vol. xi., p. 340.

[32] _Exchequer Accounts Roll_, 3/15, 5 Edward I.

[33] _Peel: Its Meaning and Derivation._ George Neilson, F.S.A.Scot.

[34] In the ruins of the Palace of the Archbishops of York at Southwell,
in Nottinghamshire, one of the wall turrets used as a latrine chamber,
or garderobe, has just such an arrangement for the drain as that above
mentioned.--_English Domestic Architecture_ (Turner & Parker), vol. ii.,
p. 114.

[35] Matthew Paris's _English History_ (Bohn's edition), vol. i., pp.
166, 315, 326.

[36] Also known as "Galighmaes, or Galleyman's," Tower, but the
nomenclature of the various towers has been greatly changed at various

[37] William of Malmesbury's _English Chronicle_ (Bohn's edition), p.
443, sub. 1119 ad.

[38] _Liberate Rolls_, 37 & 39 Henry III., m. 5 and m. 11.

[39] _Ibid._

[40] Many curious particulars of this menagerie are to be found in
Maitland's _History of London_, vol. i., p. 172 _et seq._ In 1754 there
were two great apes called "the man tygers" (probably orang-outangs),
one of which killed a boy by throwing a cannon ball at him!

[41] _Liberate Roll_, 24 Henry III., at Westminster, February 24th

[42] _Liberate Roll_, 25 Henry III., m. 20, at Windsor, December 10th.

[43] Matthew Paris, _ut supra_, vol. i., p. 488.

[44] _Close Roll_, 21 Henry III., m. 11; and _ibid._ 37 Henry III., m.
2; also _The Ancren Riwle_ (Camden Society), pp. 142, 143.

[45] _Liber Albus_ (Riley), folio 273 b., E 35, p. 477.

[46] _Close Roll_, 35 Henry III., m. 11.

[47] _Close Roll_, 9 Henry III., p. 2, m. 9. The Close Rolls were so
called because they contained matters of a private nature, and were
folded or closed up, in contradistinction to the Patent Rolls which
(being addressed to all persons impartially) were left open, with the
Great Seal affixed to the lower edge.

[48] _Issue Roll_, 19 Edward I., at Westminster, November 30th.

[49] Accounts of Ralph de Sandwich, Constable of the Tower, 17 to 29
Edward I. Army Accounts in the Public Record Office.

[50] _Close Roll_, 10 Edward I., m. 5.

[51] _Exchequer Q.R. Memoranda_, 26 Edward I., m. 109, and _Privy
Seals_, Tower, 33 Edward I., file 4.

[52] _Memorials of Westminster Abbey_ (Stanley) (second edition), chap.
v., pp. 413, 415.

[53] _Placita. Coram Rege. Roll_, 17 Edward II., p. 2, m. 37.

[54] _Archæologia_, vol. xxxii., "The Early Use of Gunpowder in the
English Army," pp. 379-387.

[55] _History of the Tower of London_ (John Bayley, F.S.A.) (first
edition), vol. i., Appendix, pp. 1, 4.

[56] _Issues of the Exchequer_ (F. Devon), pp. 43, 74; Expense Roll for
works at Westminster Palace, 43 Henry III.

[57] _The Tower of London_ (Harrison Ainsworth), book ii., ch. xi.

[58] _History of the Tower_ (Bayley), vol. i., p. 179.

[59] _History of the Jesuits in England_ (Taunton), ch. vii., p. 166.



Anyone now visiting the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, after a
lapse of fifty years, would scarcely recognize in the present stately
building the woe-begone and neglected place of his recollections. In the
apse and the transepts, in the lofty screen to the west of the stalls,
suggesting a hidden nave beyond, and in the glimpses of the Lady Chapel
across the eastern ambulatory, he would see the completed choir of some
collegiate church, of which the principal architectural features
suggested an ancient foundation. It is true that, in the church of fifty
years ago, the Norman details were still very distinct, though the round
arches of the arcades had been parodied by the Georgian windows of the
east end, and by the plastered romanesque reredos; but gloom and
darkness overspread the whole place, encroachments of the most
incongruous kinds had invaded the most sacred portions, and to the
casual observer it seemed impossible that the church could ever be
rescued from the ruin with which it was threatened, or reclaimed from
the squalor by which it was surrounded.

To understand the difficulties which lay before the restorers, who, in
1863, commenced the task of saving the building from annihilation, and
to properly appreciate what they have achieved, as well as what they
only aimed at accomplishing, it is necessary to give some account of
the state of the fabric in that year, and, without repeating at undue
length the oft-told tale of its foundation, to give a history of the
church during the eight hundred years of its existence.

The founder, both of the priory and of the hospital, was one Rahere, of
whom but little is certainly known. Some assume that he was that same
Rahere who assisted Hereward in his stand against the Norman invaders of
the Cambridgeshire fens, but if so, this did not prevent him, later on,
from attaching himself to the court of the Conqueror's son. He is
generally described as having been jester to Henry I., and it has been
assumed that the nature of his engagement involved a course of life
calling for repentance and a pilgrimage. But whatever the reason may
have been, he apparently went to Rome in 1120, though the journey at
that particular juncture was a very unsafe proceeding. He may, perhaps,
have joined himself to the train of Pope Calixtus II., who had just been
elected at Cluny, in succession to the fugitive Gelasius II., and who
made his journey to Rome in the spring of that year. If so, he arrived
in Rome at the very worst season, and like many others who visit the
city in the summer, he contracted the usual fever. During his illness,
or after his recovery, St. Bartholomew appeared to him in a vision, and
directed him, on his return to London, to found a church in his honour,
outside the walls, at a place called Smithfield. Although visions and
their causes are not always explicable, the association of St.
Bartholomew with this dream of Rahere's may, perhaps, be accounted for.
The church of S. Bartolommeo all'Isola had been built, a century before
Rahere's visit, within the ruined walls of the Temple of Æsculapius, on
the island of the Tiber, and Saint had succeeded, in some measure, to
the traditional healing-power of the God. In classic times, those who
flocked to the shrine generally stayed there for one or two nights,
when the healer appeared to them in a vision, and gave them directions
for their cure. So, in mediæval times, his successor and supplanter
followed the same course, but provided cures for the soul rather than
for the body.

Rahere can have lost but little time in hastening home and obtaining
from the King a grant of the prescribed land, for we find that within
three years of his visit to Rome the church of his new convent was
sufficiently advanced for consecration, and presumably the convent
itself was ready for occupation. The new priory was designed for the
reception of Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine, and the
reason for the founder's adoption of this Order, apart from the fact
that it was somewhat fashionable at this period, may have been partly
because his former occupation had particularly fitted him for public
speaking, and partly because two, at least, of the men with whom he had
been closely associated at Henry's court were themselves members of this
order. And it is necessary to bear these facts in mind in considering
the never-to-be-determined question of whether the apse of St.
Bartholomew's was ever completed by Rahere.

These two friends of the founder's were Richard de Belmeis, Bishop of
London, and William de Corbeil, or Corboyle, Archbishop of Canterbury,
and they were not only themselves Austin Canons, but were actively
engaged in spreading the influence of that order. The Bishop had then
recently built the Priory of St. Osyth, in Essex, of which the
Archbishop, who had previously been connected with the Priory of Merton,
had been the first prior. Moreover, Corbeil, soon after he had received
the pallium, obtained permission to suppress the monastery of St.
Martin-le-Grand--for monasteries were suppressed in the reign of the
first Henry, as well as in the reign of the last--and devote its
revenues to building a new priory for Austin Canons, outside the walls
of Dover. This priory, known as St. Martin New-work, of which
considerable portions remain to this day, presents what may be regarded
as a model plan of a church of this order, and consisted of a small
square-ended choir, shallow transepts, and a large nave with aisles.
From this it is evident that Rahere's building differed most essentially
from the recognized type, and the question is, did his friends point out
to him his deviation from the almost invariable rule of the Austin
Canons to give their churches a square east end in time to enable him to
modify his design, or were they able to induce him, after he had
completed his apse, to remove the two easternmost piers, and to insert
in place of them a square-ended chapel? But to this question no answer
has ever been discovered.

[Illustration: FIG. 1--NORMAN CAPITAL.

_Discovered in 1863._]

[Illustration: FIG. 2--PRIORY GATE AND CHURCH TOWER IN 1863.]


_Discovered in 1863._]

At the death of Rahere, in 1143, but a small part of his great scheme
had been achieved, of the existing church perhaps no more than the choir
to the top of the triforium and the choir aisles; but judging from
fragments discovered from time to time, such as the capital to a nook
shaft shown in fig. 1, which clearly belong to this period, he had
completed other works which have now been destroyed. Perhaps during his
life-time the conventual buildings, as was the case at Merton, were
mainly of wood, and of a merely temporary character; but it may be
assumed that these, together with the cloisters, had been built when the
great arch, which formed the entrance to the priory (shown in fig. 2),
was completed about the middle of the thirteenth century. The work to
the choir and transepts went on gradually, no doubt, without any
alteration of design, or only such modifications in the details as
resulted from the changes in progress in the style, until their
completion, and it is likely that the end of the twelfth century saw the
conclusion of that section of the work. The fragment given in fig. 3 is
a fair example of this transitional style. In the building of the nave,
which was a very important part of the church with the Austin Canons,
who sought by their preaching to attract large congregations, some fresh
departure in the design was made. Evidence of this can be seen in the
east bay of the south side (fig. 4), where an Early English
clustered-shaft, with the springing of some groining, standing clear of
the older Norman pier, gives an idea of the character of the work of
the now destroyed nave. With this building, which was apparently
achieved before the close of the thirteenth century, we may regard the
priory as finished, having taken over a hundred and fifty years to

After a lapse of two hundred years, it is not unlikely that the building
had fallen somewhat into a state of dilapidation and for that reason, as
well, perhaps, from a desire for improvement and display, large works of
alteration and rebuilding were undertaken at the beginning of the
fifteenth century. Prior John Walford, of whom little is known, except
that he was summoned to a convocation at Oxford in 1407, is credited
with the work, which embraced the new east wall to the choir, and
perhaps a reredos, the Lady Chapel and chapels, on the north side of the
north ambulatory, and the rebuilding of the east walk of the cloisters
with rooms above. But although Prior John may have been the agent for
carrying out all these works, the initiative was probably due to Roger
de Walden, afterwards Bishop of London. This man, who had a most
remarkable career, was in some way closely associated with St.
Bartholomew's, for his stepmother resided in its vicinity, and he had a
brother John, a man of considerable wealth, who is described as an
esquire of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield. During the reign of Richard II.,
Roger de Walden held high and lucrative ecclesiastical appointments, and
in 1395 became Dean of York and Treasurer of England, and when
Archbishop Arundel was banished from the realm in 1397 for his share in
the conspiracy of his brother, Roger was advanced to the See of
Canterbury. After the downfall of Richard, Arundel returned to England,
and Roger was ousted from his seat; but strange though it may appear,
the Archbishop bore him so little ill-will for his usurpation that he
induced Henry IV., though with some difficulty, to agree to his
nomination to the Bishopric of London at the next voidance of the See.
As Bishop of London, he died in 1406, and though he lay in state in his
chantry chapel at St. Bartholomew's, it is believed that he was actually
buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.


It was during his years of prosperity, and before he had anticipated the
honours to which he afterwards succeeded, that he built his chantry
chapel in the church with which his early youth was doubtless
associated, and tradition, to some extent supported by both
architectural and heraldic evidence, has identified the screen in which
Rahere's monument is encased as a portion of that chapel. The beautiful
canopies and tracery, the character of the carving of the effigy and its
attendant figures, and the arms of England emblazoned on one of the
shields, all point to a date supporting the tradition, whilst the arms,
which seem undoubtedly to be Walden's, displayed on the fourth shield
make it improbable that the work can be assigned to any other person.

Of the building carried out at this time, except the screen of the
chantry chapel and some portions of the restored cloister, but little
remains, and all the evidences which might have enabled us to determine
how far the east wall was a restoration, or an entirely new work, were
swept away when the apse was rebuilt. That this east wall was not merely
a reredos is shown by the fact that the upper part rose clear of the
aisles, and was pierced by two large traceried windows in the same
position as the Georgian windows which lighted the church in the last
century, and it is quite possible that it was only a restoration of an
earlier wall, which had been built across the apse so as to make it
conform to the Austin Canon rule. The screen of the chantry chapel, the
two eastern bays of which have been destroyed, but which is shown
complete in our illustration (fig. 5), may have been continued across
the east wall, and formed the reredos itself, but all traces of this
were effaced in subsequent alterations.


One alteration was made in the choir which very much affected the
proportions of the building between the date of its first building and
the erection of Rahere's monument. Perhaps because the ground outside
the church had become raised by the building operations, which had gone
on around it, and the drainage of the interior had become defective, or
for some other reason, the floor over all the eastern part was filled in
for a depth of nearly three feet, dwarfing considerably the Norman
arcades, and burying the bases of the columns; and it was upon this
altered level the screen of Bishop Roger de Walden's chantry was built.

Having undergone such extensive repairs the priory received no further
alterations until, after another hundred years, William Bolton became
prior in 1506. It has been asserted, on what seem very insufficient
grounds, that Bolton was the architect of Henry VII.'s Chapel at
Westminster; but although this is very improbable, he was associated
with those who were engaged on the work, and seems himself to have been
disposed to architectural display. He has been credited with very large
alterations to the conventual buildings, and the erection of a tower
over the crossing; but nearly all traces of his work have disappeared,
except a doorway in the south aisle, and the beautiful window in the
triforium, overlooking the choir, which is always, known as "Prior
Bolton's window," and is distinguished by his rebus, a bolt in a tun, in
the centre lower panel, as is shown in the illustration (fig. 6).

Bolton's successor, Robert Fuller, was the last of the priors, and with
him is ushered in the era of dissolution and decay, when--

    "The ire of a despotic King
    Rides forth upon destruction's wing."

The priory was suppressed, and the great nave was deliberately pulled
down. But, except that so much of the cloister as adjoined the nave was
destroyed with it, no further demolitions took place at that time, and
it was only gradually that the conventual buildings, some of which
lasted to our own day, were removed. The choir and transepts were
preserved to form a parish church, and the area of the destroyed nave
became the churchyard. The rest of the buildings were sold by the King
to Sir Richard Rich, for the sum of £1,064 11s. 3d., not a large sum
considering the area of the site and the extent of the buildings, which
included, among others, the prior's lodgings, styled "the Mansion,"
which had housed so great a man as Prior Bolton.

[Illustration: FIG. 6--PRIOR BOLTON'S WINDOW.]

In Queen Mary's reign the Church resumed possession of the conventual
buildings, and they were occupied by the Black Friars, who, it is said,
made some attempt to rebuild the nave; but beyond some slight works to
be seen in the east cloister, they left no traces of their occupation
behind, the sole relic remaining of them being the seal of their head,
Father Perryn, the matrix of which has already come into the possession
of the church authorities.

With the death of Mary the friars retired, and the choir became, once
more, the parish church, and for the next century neglect and decay
continued the ruin of the fabric. But with the advent of Laud to the See
of London, some attempts were made at reparation. It is said that the
steeple had become so ruinous that it had to be taken down, and in 1628
the present brick tower, which stands over what was the easternmost bay
of the south aisle of the nave, was erected. Where the ruined steeple
stood is not clear, but most probably over the crossing, and as towers
were unimportant features in the churches of the Austin Canons, it is
likely that it rose but little above the roofs. Another and remarkable
erection of this period was the charnel-house at the east end, known as
"Purgatory," which was constructed with some attempt to give it a Gothic
appearance, and was attached to the reredos wall. This is shown in fig.
7, which illustrates the eastern ambulatory, as it existed before the


During the great Georgian period considerable work was done to the
church, not without some attempt at architectural improvements,
unappreciated, however, at a later date. The choir appears to have been
re-roofed, the old timbers being partly re-used, but shortened by
cutting off the rotten ends, with the result that the pitch of the roof
was considerably lowered. To this or to their own decay may be due the
destruction of the two great traceried windows at the east end, which
were replaced by two wide semi-circular headed windows, which their
designers, perhaps, fondly imagined to accord better with the Norman
arcades below. Whether the reredos screen had already been destroyed or
defaced is uncertain, or whether, as at Southwark, they were content
with hacking off the projecting canopies cannot now be determined, but
in place of it was erected a vast wooden structure, picturesque from its
very ugliness, more suited to the classic taste of the Georgian era. At
this time, no doubt, the church was re-pewed, and the great pulpit, with
its sounding-board, set up on the north side of the choir.

Among the conventual buildings which had survived to this time, and
remained in occupation, was the chapter house, which, with nearly all
traces of its antiquity destroyed, and with a gallery erected across its
west end, had been converted into a meeting-house for dissenters, the
old slype having been made into a vestry. The access to it appears to
have been the ancient one through the east cloister, which was also
standing perfect at that time. It does not appear to have belonged to
any particular sect, but was always known as St. Bartholomew's Chapel,
and among those who preached in it was John Wesley, who also
occasionally preached and celebrated weddings in the church itself.

In 1830 occurred a great fire, which destroyed this chapel, together
with all the upper part of the east cloister, and the greater part of
the south transept. Whether the great dormitory, which extended
southwards from the transepts, or any part of it, had been left
standing seems uncertain, but if so, this fire must have destroyed it.
The fine undercroft of the dormitory, which consisted of two vaulted
aisles of the Transitional period, remained perfect, and was standing as
recently as 1870, when it was ruthlessly, and, apparently,
unnecessarily, destroyed to make room for some parochial offices.

Shortly before this fire happened, some small, and not very fortunate,
attempt at a restoration was made within the church, which resulted in
more loss than gain, as it entailed the complete destruction of any
remains of the ancient altar-screen which might have survived the
previous alterations. The Georgian reredos which had taken its place was
removed, and the east wall was plastered over and ornamented with a
blank arcade in cement, which its architect doubtless thought agreed
with the Norman features of the church. The Georgian pulpit was removed,
and a symmetrical arrangement of two was substituted, recalling the
Gospel and Epistle ambones of an ancient Italian church, but lacking
their beauty.

Thus, after the vicissitudes of over seven hundred years, the church was
reduced to the appearance shown in our illustration (fig. 8), when its
restoration was seriously taken in hand in 1863.

[Illustration: FIG. 8--INTERIOR OF CHURCH IN 1863.]

The task which the restorers then set themselves to accomplish, and in
which they have been eminently successful, seemed at the time well-nigh
hopeless. All the conventual buildings, and everything outside the
actual walls of the church had been alienated, and, to a great extent,
destroyed, and of the church itself but a battered torso remained. The
nave had been destroyed at the Dissolution, and its site had become the
parish churchyard; the south transept had perished in the fire of 1830,
and its unroofed area had also become a burying-ground; whilst the north
transept had been gradually encroached upon, no one knew how, and a
large part of it was then used as a forge. The desecration of the east
end was almost worse. The great Lady Chapel, which had been rebuilt in
the fourteenth century, and which had formed part of the assignment to
Sir Richard Rich, had been for long employed for trade purposes, being
at one time the printing shop in which Benjamin Franklin had worked, and
was, in 1863, a factory for fringe. This factory had gradually extended,
on the upper floor, over the eastern ambulatory, up to the back of the
reredos wall and over the south aisle, so that it was lighted, in part,
through Prior Bolton's window from the church itself. This encroachment
over the ambulatory shows well in the illustration (fig. 7). The north
triforium was the parish school, which, with its noises, interfered with
the services of the church, and, with the roughness of its occupants,
endangered the safety of the groining below, and of the north wall which
then leaned dangerously from the upright. The whole area of the church,
which had been raised in the fifteenth century, was filled with graves,
many of which were dug below the very foundations of the piers; moisture
oozed over the grave-stones and darkness overspread the walls, so that
it struck a chill into all who entered it. It was a by-word and a

In draining the area of the church, in rebuilding the decayed piers, and
in bringing up the north wall to the perpendicular, the restorers
effected great and substantial improvements, but in lowering the floor
to its original Norman level, and in rebuilding the apse as they
believed it was first planned, they embarked on extensive operations
which were by some regarded not only as unessential, but as going beyond
legitimate restoration; in fact, as was pointed out by more than one, it
was not unlike an attempt to restore the nave of Winchester Cathedral by
clearing out first all the work of William of Wykeham. There was much to
be said in favour of lowering the floor, but the building of the apse
was open to considerable question, and there is but little doubt that
had the restorers commenced the destruction of the east wall at the top,
instead of at the bottom, and so discovered the ruins of the great
traceried windows, they would have paused in their scheme; but the
position of the fringe factory prevented this, and it was only many
years after the ambulatory arcade of the apse had been completed that
this discovery was made. The question of whether there ought to have
been an apse according to Austin Canon rule was not properly considered,
but when it was found, after the walls of Purgatory had been removed,
that there were no traces of any foundations to the missing central
piers, some doubt as to the correctness of the course they were
following was necessarily suggested. It was then, however, thought to be
too late to alter the plans, the most important part of the east wall
having then been destroyed, and the result is that we now have a Norman
apse of uncertain authority, crowned with a lofty traceried clerestory,
which, though a clever architectural composition, is only a modern
makeshift. In place of this, had the fifteenth century east wall been
preserved, we should have had in the upper part the two great windows,
much of the tracery of which still remains, and beneath them the reredos
might have been renewed. In this case the eastern portion of Roger de
Walden's screen, with its doorway, would have been saved, and Sir Walter
Mildmay's picturesque monument been left intact, making altogether a
more beautiful sacrarium, and a much more truthful representation of
what had once been, than the doubtful restoration of the rude Norman

In succeeding years the work of restoration went on slowly, but much was
achieved. The great schemes of the earlier restorers were wisely
reviewed, and reasonable limitations acknowledged. All idea of
rebuilding the nave was abandoned, and the rude brick wall which had
been built to the west end of the choir was refaced in a seemly but
permanent manner. The south transept was rebuilt over a portion only of
its former area, and, with the north transept, finished in an
appropriate manner which does not pretend to be a literal restoration.
In the Lady Chapel, when it was rescued from the fringe factory, much
of the old work in the windows was found intact, and a complete
restoration had been possible. The continuous work of the last forty
years has been crowned with success, and, although portions are
evidently modern in design and execution, the choir of St. Bartholomew's
Priory Church has been preserved for future generations as an example of
the earliest and most important ecclesiastical buildings of London.



Of the religious houses of which remains may be found in London, none
perhaps is of greater interest than the Charterhouse. Here More and
Colet kept retreat, and as a peaceful haven for pensioned age the place
still retains something of its old monastic calm. Lying behind the
markets of Smithfield, its secluded courts and gardens are barely
penetrated by the roar of the great city. The history of Bruno, the
original founder of the Carthusian order, and his six companions has
often been told. It is related by Prior Guigo that the University of
Paris, professors as well as scholars, were assembled at the funeral
obsequies of one of the most learned and pious of their number. To the
amazement of all, the dead man raised his head, and as he sank back
again on the bier called out with a loud voice, "I have been accused at
the just tribunal of God." Three times on three successive days this
terrible occurrence took place. Amongst those present on this occasion
who were struck with horror at the unexpected sentence of damnation was
Bruno, a native of Cologne. He was a Canon of Rheims and professor of
divinity. Five others with him, seized with a holy fear, consulted a
hermit how they might escape the judgment of God. To them he gave the
answer of the Psalmist, "Lo, I have prolonged my flight and remained in
solitude." They, too, were fired with the love of solitude, and begged
of Hugh Bishop of Grenoble that he would assign them a place suitable
for a retreat. This the bishop did, and the order was established at La
Chartreuse in the mountains of Savoy in the year 1084.[60]


_From an old print by Toms._]

The first Carthusian house in England was founded by Henry II. at
Witham, in Somersetshire, about the year 1178, in fulfilment of his
penitential vow taken at the tomb of Thomas Becket. Another house was
founded at Hinton, also in Somersetshire, in 1227. An attempt to found a
house in Ireland did not succeed, the institution only lasting forty
years. A third house was founded at Beauvale, in Nottinghamshire, in
1343. The London Charterhouse, with which we are immediately concerned,
was the fourth house of the order established in England. Before
entering upon the details of its history it will be well to sketch the
main features of the Carthusian order, since Carthusian houses in all
their chief characteristics closely resemble one another. Its
distinguishing marks are extreme severity and entire seclusion from the
world. The fathers live alone, each in his cell built around the great
cloister. The cell is, however, in reality a small house, and contains
four rooms, two on each floor; adjoining these apartments is a small
garden. From the great cloister strangers are entirely excluded, and the
cell is never entered except by the father himself, the prior, or his

A walk, the "spatiamentum," taken once a week together, is the only
occasion upon which the fathers leave the house; conversation is then
enjoined. Upon Sundays and Chapter feasts the monks dine together, when
some instructive book is read aloud by one of the fathers.

The Franciscans and Dominicans are preachers, the Benedictines maintain
educational institutions, Trappists and Cistercians cultivate the soil;
but the isolation of the Carthusian fathers is complete. They may not
even leave the monastery to administer the Sacrament to the dying,
unless assured that no other priest can be secured.

Their food is thrust into their cells through a small hatchway. They eat
no meat, but fish, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, bread, pastry, fruit, and
vegetables. The brethren or "conversi," who are laymen, occupy
themselves with the manual labour of the monastery, but all that is
necessary in the cell is done by the father himself. When death ends the
solitary's life he is buried uncoffined in the cloister garth, "O beata
solitudo! O sola beatitudo!"[61]

The history of the London Charterhouse may conveniently be divided into
three periods--I., the Monastery; II., the Palace; III., the Hospital.

I.--THE MONASTERY, 1371-1537

The exact circumstances under which the house was founded are involved
in some obscurity, for it would appear that at least three men were
concerned at different times in the work. The share of the first of
these, Ralph Stratford, Bishop of London, being but a slight one, may be
briefly dismissed. In 1348-49 a terrible visitation of the black death
devastated the country. The bishop, being concerned that many were being
interred in unconsecrated ground, purchased three acres of land in West
Smithfield outside the city boundaries, known as "no man's land," and
consecrated it for purposes of burial, and erected also a mortuary
chapel. The whole he called Pardon Churchyard and Chapel. It was
situated adjoining the north wall of the garden of the monastery, and
extended from St. John Street to Goswell Street. In 1349 additional
ground was required, and Sir Walter de Manny bought thirteen acres and a
rood from St. Bartholomew's Hospital, called the Spittle Croft,
adjoining the land purchased by the bishop. Here he also built a chapel,
from which building the Spittle Croft became known as New Church Haw.
Stow asserts that more than 50,000 bodies were interred here. De Manny's
original intention, as appears from a bull of Pope Urban VI. in 1378,
was to endow a chantry with a superior and twelve chaplains. This
project appears, however, subsequently to have been abandoned; for by
letters patent, dated 6th February, 1371, the King licensed De Manny to
found a house of Carthusian monks to be called the "Salutation of the
Mother of God." In this work De Manny had the co-operation and sanction
of Michael de Northburgh, successor to Ralph Stratford in the bishopric
of London. It seems probable that when De Manny was summoned abroad on
the King's wars Northburgh took up the work, and that to enable him to
do so effectually the land De Manny had bought was transferred to him by
a nominal sale.[62] The bishop died in 1361, and from his will it
appears that he had acquired the land above mentioned, as well as the
patronage of the chapel, from De Manny. Further, he left £2,000 and
various lands and tenements to found a convent of Carthusians. De Manny
and Bishop Northburgh thus share between them the credit of the
foundation, although the allusion in the Papal Bull of Urban VI.,
"Conventum duplicem ordinis Carthusiensis," refers unquestionably not to
the fact that there were two founders, but to the fact that the
monastery was intended for twenty-four monks--double the usual number.
Sir Walter de Manny, who may perhaps be regarded as the chief founder,
was a native of Valenciennes, and was descended from the Counts of
Hainault. Froissart, his fellow-countryman, is our chief authority for
the events of his life, and has recorded at length his deeds of bravery
and daring on many fields of battle. With these we are not concerned at
length. It is sufficient to note that he first came to England in the
train of Queen Philippa, distinguished himself in the Scottish wars, and
was the recipient of many grants of land and other favours from Edward
III. He was present at the battle of Sluys in 1359, and had conferred
upon him the Order of the Garter. After an eventful career De Manny died
in January, 1372. His will, dated November 30th, 1371, was proved at
Lambeth, 13th April, 1372. He left directions that he should be buried
in as unostentatious a manner as possible; but this being coupled with
the provision that a penny should be paid to all poor persons coming to
his funeral, it is not surprising to learn that the funeral procession
was a large one. He was buried in the middle of the choir, and a
fragment of the tomb was found in a wall which was being repaired in
1896, and may be seen to-day in the chapel of the Charterhouse. Various
other benefactions were made to the house, and in particular a further
grant of four acres of land from the hospital of S. John of Jerusalem in
1378. The relations existing between these two neighbouring institutions
were always of a friendly character. John Luscote was appointed the
first prior, and held office till shortly before his death, which took
place in 1398. During many succeeding years the history of the
foundation was uneventful, the peaceful life of the monks in their
secluded home affording little of interest to the historian.[63]

Happy were the monks when they had no history. Troubles gathered thick
around their successors of a later age, after the accession of Henry
VIII. to the throne.

John Houghton was elected prior in 1531, and it is around his
personality that the interest of the history now centres. "He was
small," we are told, "in stature, in figure graceful, in countenance
dignified. In manner he was most modest, in eloquence most sweet, in
chastity without a stain." Such was the man who worthily upheld the
traditions of his order during the Reformation troubles. For these and
the succeeding events we have the authority of Maurice Chauncey, one of
the fathers.[64]

In 1533 Henry obtained the sanction of Cranmer in the Archbishop's Court
to his divorce from Catherine, and the King's marriage with Anne Boleyn
was confirmed by Parliament. In 1534 the Royal Commissioners called upon
the prior and monks of the Charterhouse to make formal approval of the
marriage. Prior Houghton and the procurator Humphrey Middlemore were
committed to the Tower, the Commissioners being dissatisfied with the
nature of their answers. After a month's imprisonment they were induced
to swear to the King's laws "as far as the law of God permitted," and
were released and returned to the Charterhouse. The Commissioners
extracted from the rest of the community a similar oath, by which the
succession to the Crown was fixed upon the issue of Anne Boleyn to the
exclusion of the Princess Mary. This, however, was but the beginning of
troubles. The oath by which Henry was declared Head of the Church of
England was a more serious matter. To deny him this title became high
treason. Prior Houghton addressed the assembled fathers in a touching
manner, and bid them prepare for death. The days were solemnly devoted
to spiritual exercises. Their fears were only too well founded, and
after interrogation Prior Houghton and Robert Lawrence were committed
to the Tower by Cromwell. With them was arrested a third father,
Augustine Webster, prior of the Charterhouse in Axholme. In the Tower
they were visited by Cromwell and the Royal Commissioners, and memoranda
of the interview remain.[65] John Houghton says that "he cannot take the
King, our Sovereign, to be supreme head of the Church of England afore
the Apostles of Christ's Church."

Robert Lawrence says that "there is one Catholic Church and one Divine,
of which the Bishop of Rome is the head; therefore, he cannot believe
that the King is supreme head of the Church." On 29th April, 1535, after
a trial lasting two[66] days, the three Carthusians and Father Richard
Reynolds were condemned to be drawn, hanged, and quartered. On their way
to the scaffold they passed their fellow-prisoner, Sir Thomas More, who
saw them from his prison cell. "Lo, dost thou not see, Meg," he said to
his daughter Margaret, "that these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully
going to their death as bridegrooms to their marriage." When the
scaffold was reached Father Houghton preached a brief but touching

     "I call to witness Almighty God and all good people, and I
     beseech you all here present to bear witness for me in the day
     of judgment, that being here to die, I declare it is from no
     obstinate rebellious spirit that I do not obey the King, but
     because I fear to offend the majesty of God. Our holy Mother
     the Church has decreed otherwise than the King and parliament
     have decreed, and therefore rather than disobey the Church I am
     ready to suffer."

The cruel sentence was carried out on May 4th, 1535. Part of the mangled
remains of Prior Houghton was fixed on the gateway of the Charterhouse.
Three weeks after the prior's execution, three fathers, Exmew,
Middlemore, and Newdigate, were thrown into the Marshalsea, where they
were cruelly tortured, being bound upright to posts. They were brought
to trial at Westminster, and executed on the 19th June with the same
horrible mutilations as attended the execution of Houghton. For a period
of two years after this no further executions are recorded; but
Cromwell, exasperated by the firmness of the monks, adopted a new form
of persecution. The King's Commissioners took charge of the monastery,
which was placed in the charge of seculars. Pressure of every kind was
brought to bear upon the religious, who were often deprived of food,
robbed of their books, and made to listen to sermons in proof of the
royal supremacy. Under the prolonged persecution of Cromwell's
instruments, Whalley, Bedyll, and Fylott, some few of the monks gave
way, but the major part remained firm.

In the early part of the year 1536 Cromwell took a new step. He
appointed another prior, William Trafford, doubtless with the ulterior
object of inducing the monks to transfer the property of the house to
the King. At length he succeeded, and a large number--some twenty, both
fathers and lay brothers--were persuaded to take the oath of supremacy.
At least ten, however, refused to do so. These ten were cast into
Newgate on 18th May, 1537, and here nine died of the cruel treatment
they received. William Horn, the sole survivor, a lay brother, was
transferred to the Tower and executed on 4th August, 1540. On the 10th
June, 1537, a deed was executed, rendering up the monastery to the King.
The monks remained till 15th November, 1538, when they were all expelled
with a small pension of £5 per annum, with the exception of Trafford,
who received £20. The yearly revenue of the house at its dissolution was
valued at £642 4s. 6d. Thus the monastery was destroyed, though no
accusation of immorality or wrong doing was ever brought against the
unhappy men who perished with it. The monks were faithful to their vows,
the house was well ordered. No record is to be found of any fault
proved against the London Charterhouse: "Nunquam reformata quia nunquam

Though the old buildings have been largely swept away, or altered and
added to, yet enough remains to enable us, with the help of a
fifteenth-century plan, to constitute with some degree of exactness the
arrangement of the old monastery. This plan, which is still preserved
amongst the archives of the Charterhouse, is a vellum roll ten feet
long, of four skins, showing the construction of a conduit by which the
monastery was supplied with water from Islington. The waterpipe
discharged into a conduit in the centre of the great cloister; from the
conduit it was conveyed through the gardens into the cells of the monks.
The playground of the Merchant Taylors' School occupies nearly the site
of the great cloister, and on the east and the west side of it may be
found traces of two of the cells. The lower part of the gatehouse served
as entrance to the monastery, though the doors were probably renewed
after the Carthusians had gone. The south and part of the east walls of
the present chapel are those of the monks' church, and the lower part of
the Tower was built by them probably in 1510-20. The charming little
quadrangle, known as Wash House Court, was the habitation of the
"conversi" or lay brothers, the servants of the convent. On the west
external wall of this court are the letters J. H., which may possibly be
the initials of the last Prior, John Houghton, and the wall itself of
his building. Besides these remains there may also be seen a bit of the
monastic refectory, now used as the brothers' library, though it has
been thought by some that this is the site of the prior's cell.

II.--THE PALACE, 1545-1611

During the period from 1545-1611 the Charterhouse became a nobleman's
palace, and passed through several changes of ownership. After the
suppression of the monastery the buildings were used as a storehouse for
the King's hales (that is, nets) and tents. John Brydges, yeoman, and
Thomas Hales were placed in charge of the King's property. This
arrangement, however, was of short duration, for in 1545 the King
presented the site to Sir Edward North, Brydges and Hales receiving £10
per annum by way of compensation. According to Bearcroft[67] the gift
was likely to have cost North dear. The historian tells the story on the
authority of one of North's attendants:

     "Once, early in the morning, there came from the King to
     Charterhouse, then the mansion of Sir Edward North, a
     messenger, known to be a friend of his, to command his
     immediate repair to the court, which message was delivered with
     some harshness. This was so terrible in the suddenness and
     other circumstances, as he observed his master to tremble at
     the delivery of it, who yet, finding it dangerous to use the
     least delay hasted thither, and was admitted speedily into the
     King's presence with this his servant attendant on him. The
     King was then walking, and continued doing so with great
     earnestness, and every now and then cast an angry look upon
     him, which was received with a still and sober carriage: at
     last the King broke out into these words: 'We are informed that
     you have cheated us of certain lands in Middlesex'; whereunto,
     having received none other than a plain and humble negation,
     after some little time he replied, 'How was it then? Did we
     give these lands to you?' Whereunto Sir Edward answered, 'Yes,
     Sire, your majesty was pleased to do so.' Whereupon, having
     paused a little while, the King put on a milder countenance,
     and calling him to a cupboard conferred privately with him a
     long time. Whereby, said this servant, I saw the King could not
     spare my master's service as yet."

The angry monarch was appeased, and North retained the lands. North lost
influence with the Protector and declared subsequently for the Princess
Mary, who, on her accession to the throne, created him Lord North.

Elizabeth, two days after her accession, rode from Hatfield and stayed
at the Charterhouse with this Lord North "many days," and again in 1561
stayed there for four days, as is recorded in Burleigh's diary:

     "The Queen supped at my house in Strand (the Savoy) before it
     was finished, and she came by the fields from Christ Church.
     Great cheer was made until midnight, when she rode back to the
     Charterhouse, where she lay that night."

In 1564 North died, leaving Charterhouse to his son, Roger, Lord North.
He, some months later, sold the main part of the buildings to the Duke
of Norfolk for £2,500, but retained the house which his father had built
about twenty years before, together with some two or three acres of
adjoining land. This was situated on the east side of the convent church
and on the east side of the great cloister.

The property has passed through various hands since that day. It
belonged to the Earls of Rutland during part of the seventeenth century,
and a reminiscence of their ownership remains in the name of the small
street called Rutland Place, issuing from the north-east corner of
Charterhouse Square. It was in this house that Sir William Davenant, in
the year 1656, was permitted to exhibit stage plays at a time when all
theatres were closed by the government. The land is now in the hands of
various owners--Charterhouse, Merchant Taylors' School, and others.


_From a drawing by J. P. Neale (1813), engraved by Owen._]

In providing himself with a residence on the property which he had
purchased, the Duke of Norfolk adopted a plan very different from that
of his predecessor. Instead of building for himself a new residence, he
adopted a common practice and determined to adapt to his own uses part
of the buildings which the Carthusians had left behind them. The part he
chose for this purpose was the little cloister, which had been built
probably about fifty years before, and was very easily converted into a
sufficiently stately mansion in accordance with the fashion of the day.
Fortunately, he was able to do this with a minimum of destruction of
the old work. The little cloister was, in fact, a house built round a
quadrangle. In adapting it to his own use the Duke did not interfere
with the outer walls or floors, which are very substantially built, but
merely rearranged the rooms inside. This was the more easy because the
inside rooms were probably divided from one another by wooden
partitions. The result is most interesting to the antiquary, for he
finds at Charterhouse not only an excellent specimen of monastic
building in the early sixteenth century, but also a very pure example of
the London house of a great nobleman of the same date. The Duke left
intact a smaller quadrangle opening out of the little cloister, which
had been built also in the sixteenth century for the use of the lay
brothers. He also beautified the large room which had been used for a
Guesten Hall, and perhaps raised the roof. He certainly built two
handsome rooms to the north of the Guesten Hall, on the first floor,
over what had been the prior's cell and a small part of the cloister
walk. To form an approach to these upper rooms he built a handsome
interior staircase, which may be seen in perfect condition at the
present day. A tradition exists that in order to give himself a little
more room he pulled down the east side of the little cloister, and
re-erected it in the same style, fourteen feet in the eastern direction.
These works were executed during the years 1565 to 1571, during part of
which time the Duke made the Charterhouse his residence.

In the year 1569 Norfolk was committed to the Tower for contemplating
marriage with Mary, Queen of Scots, and of being implicated in a plot
against the throne and life of Elizabeth. He was released after some
months' imprisonment upon pledging himself to abandon all thoughts of
the contemplated union. This promise, however, he did not keep. A cypher
correspondence was discovered under the tiles of the roof of the house,
and other papers were found concealed under the mat outside his bed
chamber. For this he was arraigned on a charge of high treason, and
executed in 1571.

As the Duke was executed for high treason his land escheated to the
Crown. The Charterhouse, however, continued in the possession of his
sons. It was first held by the Earl of Arundel, and on his death it
passed to Lord Thomas Howard, his younger brother, when it became known
as Howard House. Whether this arose from the favour with which Elizabeth
was always disposed to treat her great nobility, or whether it was that
the Duke had granted leases to his sons, which leases protected the
property from "escheat," is not very clear. Certainly, however, the
Howards held the property until the younger son sold it for £13,000 to
Mr. Thomas Sutton in 1611, for the purpose of founding his "Hospital."

III.--THE HOSPITAL, 1611-1908

Of the early life and ancestry of Thomas Sutton little is recorded. He
was born in 1532, the son of Richard Sutton, a native of Knaith, in
Lincolnshire. His father died in 1558. Thomas Sutton went to Eton, but
there seems little reason to believe, as Bearcroft endeavours to prove,
that he proceeded to Cambridge. It is certain that he entered as a
student at Lincoln's Inn, but did not complete his studies. Shortly
afterwards he went abroad and travelled extensively, visiting Holland,
France, Italy, and Spain. He had inherited a modest competence from his

On returning home Sutton entered the service of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk,
and later engaged himself in the capacity of secretary to the Earl of
Warwick. The Earl was Master of the Ordnance, and made Sutton assistant
to himself in this capacity for the district of Berwick-on-Tweed. Sutton
was active during the Popish reaction then taking place in the north.
He showed loyalty, valour, and wisdom, and was for this rewarded by
being made Master General of the Ordnance in the north in 1569. Two
cannons carved over the mantelpiece in the great hall still commemorate
Sutton's work in this capacity. When the country became quiet Sutton
embarked upon mercantile pursuits. He leased lands from the Bishop of
Durham and from the Crown, on which were rich and undeveloped coal
mines. In this way he laid the foundation of his subsequent fortune; so
that when he moved to London, in 1580, he was reputed worth £50,000, and
his purse, it was said, was fuller than Elizabeth's exchequer. In 1582
Sutton married Elizabeth, widow of John Dudley, of Stoke Newington. He
continued to amass wealth as his mercantile operations extended, and he
carried on a large trade with the Continent, where at one time he had as
many as thirty agents. He is reported to have fitted out a privateer at
his own charges to meet the navy of Philip, King of Spain. In 1594
Sutton resigned his post as Master General of the Ordnance, and there is
evidence to show that the question of a proper disposal of his wealth
began to occupy his mind. In 1602 Mrs. Sutton died, and the loss of his
wife no doubt tended to turn his thoughts in the same direction.
Fuller[68] says:--

     "This I can confidently report from the mouth of a creditable
     witness, who heard it himself and told it to me, that Mr.
     Sutton used often to repair into a private garden, where he
     poured forth his prayers to God, and amongst other passages was
     frequently overheard to use this expression, 'Lord, Thou hast
     given me a large and liberal estate, give me also a heart to
     make use thereof.'"

He was at all times charitable and generous with his money, and many
begging letters are extant from those who desired to profit by his
liberality. There were others with wider ambitions, and amongst these
Sir John Harrington appears to have conceived the idea of inducing
Sutton to leave his large fortune to Charles, Duke of York, the King's
second son, afterwards Charles I. No doubt he thought that this scheme,
if successful, would further his interests at court.

Harrington hinted to the King that Sutton was contemplating this
disposal of his property, and suggested that a barony should be
conferred upon him. Sutton, however, had no ambitions in this direction,
and when he heard of the matter wrote to the Lord Chancellor and the
Earl of Salisbury declining the honour. He says: "My mynde in my younger
times hath been ever free from ambition and now I am going to my grave,
to gape for such a thing were mere dotage in me." Further, he prayed for
"free liberty to dispose of myne owne as other of his Majesty's loyal

Sutton had already formed the intention of founding a hospital at
Hallingbury, in Essex, and had conveyed all his estates in Essex to the
Lord Chief Justice, Sir John Popham, the Master of the Rolls, and others
for this purpose.

In 1609 an Act was passed in the legislature for the creation of a
hospital at Hallingbury. Shortly after, however, Sutton changed his mind
with regard to the locality of the hospital, and determined to acquire
Howard House for the purpose. On June 22nd, 1611, he obtained letters
patent from King James, with license of mortmain, which set aside the
Act of 1609 and enabled him to carry out his altered intentions, and
found his hospital on the Charterhouse site. The letters patent set out,
at length, the purpose of the founder to establish a hospital for old
people, and a free school, and schedules the lands given for this
purpose, as well as the names of the sixteen original governors of the
institution. Amongst these were Launcelot Andrewes and Dean Overall.
Fuller says:--

[Illustration: CHARTERHOUSE HALL.]

     "This is the masterpiece of Protestant English charity designed
     (by the founder) in his life; completed after his death, begun,
     continued and finished with buildings and endowments, solely at
     his own charges, wherein Mr Sutton appears peerless in all
     Christendom on an equal standard of valuation of revenue."

Sutton had hoped to become himself the first master of the new
establishment, to the foundation of which his latter years had been
devoted. This, however, was not to be, and the munificent donor died at
his house in Hackney on December 12th, 1611, at the age of seventy-nine

The foundation of the hospital thus initiated was not carried through
without a legal struggle. Shortly after his death Sutton's nephew, Simon
Baxter, laid claim to the estates as next-of-kin to the founder, and in
this design obtained the support of Sir Francis Bacon, who acted as his
counsel. While the suit was still pending, this eminent but corrupt
lawyer wrote a lengthy and specious letter to King James, setting forth
objections to the proposed scheme, and hinting in effect that if the
will were set aside the King might himself obtain considerable influence
in the disposal of the property. The Courts decided against Baxter,
though this decision was not arrived at until after the governors had
made largesse to the King. They handed over to James the large sum of
£10,000, setting out that the grant was for the purpose of repairing
Berwick Bridge, then "much ruinated or rather utterly decayed." The King
received this offering, says Smythe, in a very delicate way.[69] It was,
in point of fact, nothing more nor less than a bribe, though entered by
the Treasury among "Sums of money extraordinarily raised since the
coming of His Majesty to the Crown." The whole transaction sheds a
sinister light on the customs of the period, for it is not likely that
Sutton's executors would have parted with so large a sum had they not
been apprehensive of losing the whole, a fear which no doubt quickened
their solicitude for the safety of Berwick Bridge. After this, the
organization of the foundation proceeded without further trouble, and on
December 12th, 1614, the body of Sutton was transferred from Christ
Church, Newgate Street, where it had rested since his death, to the
elaborate tomb prepared for it in the chapel of the new house where it
still rests.

The governors found much work ready to their hand. The buildings had to
be rendered suitable for the habitation of pensioners and scholars, and
a constitution for the institution had to be prepared. The buildings, as
we have seen, had been erected for an entirely different purpose. The
Duke of Norfolk's house, with the outbuildings, stables and farmyard,
were the materials which the governors had to utilise. It is a matter
for which the antiquary must be grateful, that in dealing with this mass
of sixteenth century building they did their best to preserve it, and
succeeded so well that it remains to the present day. Twenty-one
pensioners or "Pore Bretheren" were elected as the first recipients of
the charity, but in 1613 the number was raised to eighty, as
contemplated by Sutton. Forty scholars were also selected and placed
under the care of a schoolmaster and an usher. Those elected pensioners
were to be

     "no rogues or common beggars, but such poor persons as could
     bring good testimony of their good behaviour and soundness in
     religion, and such as had been servants to the king's Majesty,
     either decrepit or old; captains either at sea or land;
     soldiers maimed or impotent; decayed merchants; men fallen into
     decay through shipwreck, casualty of fire, or such evil
     accident; those that had been captives under the Turks."

The hospital did not escape its share of the troubles attendant upon the
Civil War. Some of the governors were deposed from the government of the
foundation, the internal management of which was interfered with by the
Parliament. In 1643 an order was made for the "sequestering of the
minister's and preacher's and organist's place of the Charterhouse; and
that the master of the Charterhouse do permit such as the House shall
appoint to execute the said places; and that the receiver do pay the
profits belonging to the said places to such as this House shall appoint
to receive the same." About the same time Mr. Brooke, the schoolmaster,
was ejected from his office. It is alleged that he flogged some boys who
favoured the parliamentary cause.[70] With the restoration of the
monarchy some of the governors were restored to their positions, and Mr.
Brooke, though not reappointed schoolmaster, was given lodging and
commons in the house, and a pension of £30 per annum, to be paid by his

The history of the succeeding years is uneventful. From time to time
necessary reforms have been introduced into the management of the
institution, but the intentions of the founder have been faithfully
carried out. The wisdom of Sutton in entrusting his institution to the
management of governors, who have always been men of eminence in church
and state, rather than in attempting to lay down hard and fast rules for
its guidance, has been abundantly vindicated.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, Mr. Hale, who was first
preacher, and then master for more than thirty years, introduced various
necessary reforms, and abolished abuses which in course of time had
crept in. Archdeacon Hale, besides devoting his attention to the general
care and management of the institution, was responsible for much
rebuilding and alteration in the house itself. Between the years 1825
and 1830 the preacher's court and pensioners' court, now occupied by the
brothers' rooms and official residences, were built.

What the labours of Archdeacon Hale were to one Part of the institution,
the work of Dr. Haig Brown was to the school. In course of time the
locality, once outside the boundaries of the town and surrounded by
pleasant fields, had become built over and entirely changed in
character. In 1864 the Public School Commissioners recommended that the
school should be removed into the country. It was not easy, however, to
get those in authority to consent to so great a change. Sentiment was
aroused against a plan which broke long years of tradition, and it was
not till 1872 that the school was moved to its present site at
Godalming. The credit of this step, and the subsequent success which
attended it, must be given to Dr. Haig Brown, for thirty-four years the
headmaster, and subsequently, upon his retirement, master of the
Charterhouse. Dr. Haig Brown was appointed headmaster in 1863, and it
was owing to his clear-sightedness and energy that this migration was
accomplished. He had to struggle against the prejudices of officials,
the fears of the governing body, and the feeling which he himself could
not altogether dismiss--that a great experiment was being made, and a
serious risk run. A touch of comedy was not wanting, for the boys
themselves were strongly against the move, and complained loudly that
they were being badly treated in being forcibly removed from the
somewhat dingy habitation, which they loved so well, to the breezy
uplands of Godalming. By this time, no doubt, they are reconciled to the

That part of the London site which was vacated by the removal of the
school was sold for £90,000 to the Merchant Taylors' Company, who
utilize it now for their school, for which purpose it is well adapted,
being intended for day scholars only. Charterhouse at Godalming rapidly
increased in numbers, and continues to be one of the leading public
schools in the country.

Thus, though now unavoidably severed, the two separate parts of Sutton's
foundation are still fulfilling the purposes of the founder. The London
Charterhouse remains--as Thackeray, in _The Newcomes_, depicts it--a
peaceful haven for those whose reverses in the struggle of life have
made them fit pensioners on Sutton's bounty; and the school equips, year
by year, scholars of a younger generation, who frequently attain to
posts of distinction in church and state.

  "Floreat aeternum Carthusiana Domus."


[60] _Statuta Ordinis Cartusiensis a domino Guigone Priore Cartusiense._
Edita Basle, 1510.

[61] For an interesting and accurate account of the Carthusian order,
see an article in the _Yorkshire Archæological Journal_, vol. xviii.,
pp. 241-252, by the Rev. H. V. Le Bas, Preacher of the London
Charterhouse, to whom I am indebted for much valuable information.

[62] For further details an article by Archdeacon Hale may be consulted.
_Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society_, vol.
iii., part x.

[63] Some interesting extracts from the archives of the Order bearing on
the London Charterhouse during this period may be found in _The London
Charterhouse_, by Laurence Hendriks, himself a Carthusian Father.

[64] _Historia aliquot Martyrum Anglorum maxime octodecim

[65] P.R.O. _State Papers_, Henry VIII., abridged in _Letters and
Papers_, vol. viii., 566. Quoted by Hendriks, p. 141.

[66] See Hendriks in loc. as against Froude, who asserts that the trial
was concluded in one day.

[67] Bearcroft, _An Historical Account of Thomas Sutton, Esq., and of
his Foundation in Charterhouse_. In this work many original documents
here quoted may be found _in extenso_.

[68] Fuller's _Church History of Britain_, iv., 20, 21.

[69] _Historical Account of Charterhouse_, by Thomas Smythe, p. 201.

[70] W. Haig Brown, _Charterhouse Past and Present_, p. 144.



Everything connected with mediæval life in London offers a peculiarly
fascinating field for the author, the student, and the reader. It
reflects and epitomizes all that is most important and really worthy of
notice in the story of England during what one may properly call its
most picturesque period.

The story of mediæval London presents much romance and poetry, as well
as strenuous activity; much religion and genuine piety, as well as
superstition and narrowness of vision. It would not, indeed, be
difficult to write lengthy volumes on such a subject, but it will of
course be quite understood that in the present brief chapter anything of
the nature of minute detail will be impossible. All that can be
attempted is to give one or two glimpses of mediæval life in London from
points of view which may possibly be novel, or, at any rate, worthy of
the consideration of those who desire to study the past in its human
interests, and as something more than mere bricks and mortar.


The association of the Jews with London forms an important and
interesting chapter of ancient history. As has been justly pointed
out,[71] the history of the Jews in England is divided into two marked
sections by the dates 1290 and 1656; at the former period they were
expelled, at the latter they began to be readmitted. No trace has been
found of Jews in England prior to the Norman Conquest. Soon after the
Conquest, however, the Jews came from Rouen by special invitation of
William. They were introduced as part of a financial experiment of the
Norman kings. The need of large sums of ready money such as the Jews,
and the Jews only, could furnish was specially felt at this time. The
system of barter was going out of fashion, and money was required for
commercial operations. Stone buildings, too, were taking the place of
those of wood, and the new works involved a large outlay.

Money-lending on interest among Christians was expressly forbidden by
the canon law, and it was therefore from the frugal and careful Jews
alone that large sums of ready money could be obtained when required.
The author of the interesting article just referred to writes:--

     "Though it is a moot point how far the money lent by the Jews
     was actually the King's in the first instance, there is no
     doubt that the Exchequer treated the money of the Jews as held
     at the pleasure of the King. There was a special Exchequer of
     the Jews, presided over by special Justices of the Jews, and
     all the deeds of the Jews had to be placed in charge of
     Exchequer officers, or else they ceased to be legal documents.
     The Jews thus formed a kind of sponge which first drained the
     country dry owing to the monopoly of capitalist transactions
     given them by the canon law, and then were squeezed into the
     royal treasury."

Although the Jews were useful, and indeed, in the conditions of social
life at that time, almost indispensable, they suffered many
disabilities. They were unable, from the very fact of their religion, to
enter the guilds founded on religious principles. Similarly they were
debarred from holding land, because their possession of would have put
into their hands spiritual benefices.

By the order of the Lateran Council of 1215 the Jews were compelled to
wear a distinctive mark on their clothing. In England this was made of
cloth in the shape of the two tables of the law.

The worst parts of the towns seem to have been devoted to the use of the
Jews. Thus, at Southampton there are Jews' houses built close against
the town wall. At Leicester the Jewry was situated quite close to the
town wall, and some of the residences appear to have been built against
the inside of the Roman wall there, a considerable portion of which
still remains. In London in the thirteenth century there was a Jewry, or
dwelling-place for Jews, within the liberty of the Tower of London. The
street now known as Old Jewry, leading northward from Cheapside to
Lothbury, had become deserted by the Jews, it is believed, before the
date of the expulsion in 1291, and the inhabitants had removed to a
quarter in the eastern part of the city afterwards indicated by the
street-names "Poor Jewry Lane" and "Jewry Street."

In several cases, therefore, it is evident that the pomerium, or the
space between the inhabited part of the town and the actual walls of its
outer defence, was devoted to the Jews, who took up their residence

One circumstance which embittered the Church against the Jews was the
spread of Judaism among certain classes. One Jewish list of martyrs
includes twenty-two proselytes burnt in England, and even if the number
be exaggerated, there is other evidence of Jewish proselytism in this
country. To counteract the movement the Church founded a conversionist
establishment in "New Street" on the site of the present Record Office.
Here converts were supported for life, and the building continued to be
utilized for this purpose down to the time of Charles II.


The classic pages of Sir Walter Scott's romances contain much which
illustrates the popular antipathy against the Jews. The pictures he
draws are, perhaps, somewhat over-coloured for the purpose of romance,
but that they were not without foundation in fact is evident from the
following curious incident relating to a Jew in London, narrated in the
_Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London_, under the date 1256:--

     "Thys yere a Jew felle in to a drawte on a satorday, and he
     wolde not be draune owte that day for the reverens of hys
     sabbot day, and sir Richard Clare, that tyme beynge erle of
     Gloucseter, seynge that he wolde not be drawne owte that day,
     he wolde not suffer hym to be drawne owte on the sonday, for
     the reverens of the holy sonday, and soo thus the false Jue
     perished and dyde therein."

Although there was a good deal of prejudice against the Jews, there is
reason to think that the idea of anything approaching general
ill-treatment of the race is erroneous. The Jews were useful to the
King, and therefore, in all cases before the expulsion, excepting during
the reign of King John, they enjoyed royal patronage and favour.

The evil of clipping or "sweating" the coin of the realm grew to such an
extent during the latter half of the thirteenth century that strong
measures had to be taken for its suppression. In November, 1278, the
King gave orders for the immediate arrest of all suspected Jews and
their Christian accomplices. They were brought to trial, and the result
was that nearly three hundred Jews were found guilty and condemned to be
hanged. This was during the mayoralty of Gregory de Rokesle (probably
Ruxley, Kent), the chief assay master of King's mints, a great wool
merchant, and the richest goldsmith of his time. This Mayor passed a
series of ordinances against the Jews, including one to the effect that
the King's peace should be kept between Christians and Jews, another
forbidding butchers who were not freemen of the city buying meat from
Jews to resell to Christians, or to buy meat slaughtered for the Jews
and by them rejected. Still another ordinance provided that "No one
shall hire houses from Jews, nor demise the same to them for them to
live in outside the limits of the Jewry."

By the time of Edward I. the need for the financial aid of the Jews was
no longer felt, and from that moment their fate in England was fixed.
The canon law against usury was extended so as to include the Jews. They
were henceforth forbidden to lend money on interest, and, as has been
explained, owing to their religion they could not hold lands nor take up
any trade. The expulsion followed as a matter of course in a few years.

In order to rearrange the national finances, Italians who had no
religious difficulties were substituted for the Jews. Certain Jews, it
is known, from time to time returned to London disguised as Italians,
but it was not until the time of the Commonwealth, when Cromwell took a
more tolerant view of the outcast Jews, and when the State recognised
the legality of difference of creed, that the return of the Jews became
possible. This event is fixed with some precision by the lease of the
Spanish and Portuguese burial-ground at Stepney, which bears the date of
February, 1657.


It is not by any means easy to imagine the present London as a walled
town. The multiplicity of streets, the lofty and pretentious character
of its buildings, and the immense suburban area of bricks and mortar
which surrounds it, render it an extremely difficult task to picture in
the mind's eye what the ancient city looked like when all the houses
were enclosed by a lofty and substantial wall, largely of Roman masonry,
and when admission could only be obtained by strongly defended gateways,
approached by means of drawbridges spanning the encircling moat of City


Whatever additions or reparations may have been made in the Middle Ages
to the wall of London, there is no reason to doubt that the area it
enclosed was that which its Roman builders had laid out, with the
exception of an extension at the south-western corner made to enclose
the house of the Black Friars. What happened to the wall of London when
the Roman occupation of Britain was determined by the withdrawal of the
legions is a matter which scarcely falls within the scope of this paper.
Whether the place was abandoned, like other Roman walled towns, such as
Silchester, etc., or whether it maintained a population throughout the
dark ages, are questions which have exercised the ingenuity and
imagination of several antiquarian authorities,[72] but it must be
confessed that the evidence is insufficient to enable one to settle it

Whatever may have been the early history of Londinium after the Romans
left it, the fact remains that the limits and bounds of the actual city
continued for many centuries afterwards. It is known that Alfred the
Great caused the walls to be repaired; but the precise significance of
this is not great, because he may have been merely carrying out a
long-needed work, and from the very solid character of the Roman wall
(judging from the fragments that remain) it seems scarcely conceivable
that his operations extended lower than the battlements of the wall,
unless indeed they comprised the freeing of the ditch and berme from
vegetation, obstructions, or other kinds of weakness.

What the houses of London were like when Alfred repaired the wall is not
known. Probably they were constructed of timber and were humble in size
and ornamentation. It is doubtful if anything of the nature of a house
built of masonry was constructed in London before the twelfth century.
No trace of such a structure is known to remain, but there is reason to
think that such buildings existed within the boundary of the city of

What the twelfth century house was like is well seen in the charming
example standing close by the castle mound at Christchurch, Hampshire.
In plan it is an oblong of modest proportions. The lowest storey was
low-pitched and lighted by mere slits for windows. The first floor
contained the principal rooms, which were lighted by double-light,
round-headed windows. The whole idea was to obtain a residence which
would be sufficiently strong to keep out robbers and resist fire.

Many of the architectural peculiarities of the old city of London which
the Great Fire swept away may be attributed to the fact that the city
was bounded by a wall too small for the requirements of the population.
The problem of adequately housing the people of London must have become
acute at a comparatively early period, certainly before the time of the
dreadful pestilence commonly known as the Black Death (1348-1349).

The value of space within the city, and the jealousy with which the
rights of property were guarded, are shown by the narrowness and
crookedness of the streets and lanes. Every available inch was occupied
by houses and shops, and as little as possible was devoted to
thoroughfares. The sinuosity of the public ways indicates in another way
the great value of land, because it obviously arose from the existence
of individual properties, which were probably defined and occupied at an
earlier period than the making of the roads.

Another circumstance which points to the same early settlement of
property boundaries is the irregularity of the ground-plans of many of
the city churches. This is observable in the case of churches which from
their dedication or other reasons may be pronounced of Saxon foundation.


The economising of space was effected in two well-marked directions.
Houses and shops were erected on old London Bridge, and half-timbered
houses with many over-sailing storeys were very largely built in the
city. There is an excellent representation of old London Bridge with
its closely packed houses in Robert Prycke's bird's-eye view (here

It may be well to add a word or two here to explain what is implied by
the term half-timbered houses, popular ideas upon the subject being
somewhat vague.

There are, in fact, several different interpretations as to its
significance. One meaning of "half-timber" is trunks of wood split in
half; but this is used mainly in connection with shipbuilding. One
writer states that half-timber work is so called "because the timbers
which show on the face are about the same width as the spaces between."
Gwilt describes a half-timber building as "a structure formed of
studding, with sills, lintels, struts, and braces, sometimes filled in
with brick-work, and plastered over on both sides." Parker defines a
half-timber house as having "foundations and the ground floor only of
stone, the upper part being of wood." With these different definitions
there is no wonder that popular ideas as to what a half-timber house
actually is are rather hazy.

The point of most importance, however, is not the mere verbal
explanation adopted in technical handbooks, but the characteristics of
this kind of structure, differentiating it from those built up from the
foundations of one species of material, such as stone, or brick, or

The following may be regarded as the essential features of half-timber
houses or timber-framed houses (for the terms are practically

(1) The foundations and the lower parts of the walls, sometimes up to
the sills of the ground-floor windows, are of stone or brickwork. Above
this the house is a timber structure as far as its main outline and its
sustaining parts are concerned, whatever may be the character of the
material with which the intervening spaces are filled.

(2) In old buildings of this kind each range or floor was made to
project somewhat beyond that below it, producing what are technically
termed over-sailing storeys. The advantages of this kind of construction
were manifold. It gave to rooms on the upper floor or floors greater
dimensions than those on the ground floor. It also imparted structural
balance, and afforded a convenient opportunity of strengthening the
whole structure by means of external brackets. Moreover, each
overhanging or over-sailing storey tended to shelter from the weather
the storey below it. The principle of over-sailing storeys was entirely
due to the use of timber in house construction.

(3) Perhaps the chief distinguishing mark of half-timber construction is
that the bases of the walls are always constructed of materials which
are not damaged by damp in the ground; whilst the upper part, comprising
the main body of the house, is constructed of dry timbers so arranged as
to be free from rain, and none of the timbers were near enough to the
ground to be injured by the dampness arising from it. The Anglo-Saxon
houses, which are believed to have been timber-built structures, were
probably not furnished with foundations and dwarf walls of stone or
brick, and for that reason their destruction, by the damp rising from
the ground through the interstices of the timbers, was rapid and

The use of half-timber work in the construction of London houses
indicates a desire to make the greatest possible use of the space at the
disposal of the builder. The repeated use of over-sailing storey above
over-sailing storey indicates quite clearly that the idea was not to
obtain structural stability so much as additional space.


_Looking to the south-west, and showing the south side of the street._]

There is no aspect of the ancient city of London more picturesque than
this constant multiplication of projecting storeys, and perhaps there
was no more unwholesome or insanitary plan possible than this, which
effectually excluded daylight and fresh air, keeping the streets damp
and muddy, and rendering the whole atmosphere unsavoury. Indeed, the
constant visitations London received in the form of pestilence is to be
referred to this source alone; and much as every one must regret the
loss of the picturesque old houses, with their projecting storeys, their
irregular gables, and their red roofs, it must be admitted that one of
the greatest blessings London ever received, in the direction of
sanitary improvement, was the Great Fire of 1666, which swept away the
great bulk of the wooden houses in the City.

After the fire, the original arrangement of the streets, as to their
general direction, was restored, but of course they were made wider and
more commodious. Indeed, it is not difficult to make out much of the
course of the ancient wall from an examination of the disposition of the
streets as they now exist. Such well-marked thoroughfares as London
Wall, Wormwood Street, Camomile Street, Bevis Marks, Jewry Street,
Houndsditch, Minories, and others indicate, internally and externally,
the course of the wall, and at some points, particularly Trinity Square,
London Wall, and Newgate, actual fragments are still visible. As has
already been explained, the wall is mainly of Roman workmanship, but its
embattled crest, of which a fragment _in situ_ may be seen, was built or
renewed in the Middle Ages.

In the wholesale destruction wrought by the Great Fire so much perished,
and, as a consequence, so much was rebuilt that one looks in vain for a
specimen of a mediæval house constructed of wood within the bounds of
the city. It is because of this that Crosby Place, a domestic dwelling
of the fifteenth century and of the most important class, was so highly
valued, not alone by antiquaries, but by all who love mediæval London.

Until a comparatively recent date there were some wooden houses covered
with weather-boarding at Cripplegate. These were examples of the type of
house erected immediately after the Great Fire. Others, somewhat less
picturesque, still remain between Cannon Street and the river.

A remarkable group of timber houses, presumably of about the same date,
exists in and immediately adjacent to the narrow street at Smithfield
known as the Cloth Fair. Although they present no particular feature of
architectural merit, they remain as an extremely interesting group of
old wooden houses with over-sailing storeys and picturesque gables. The
street, by reason of its very narrowness, looks old, and,
notwithstanding the various reparations and rebuildings which have been
carried out at the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, and in spite of
the many other changes which have been carried out in the neighbourhood,
the Cloth Fair remains to-day a veritable "bit" of old London as it was
pretty generally in the seventeenth century.

The accompanying views, reproduced from recent photographs, represent
the general appearance of the houses, although it is somewhat difficult
to get anything like a clear picture in such a dark and narrow street.

A little way out of the City we have the remarkably picturesque
half-timbered buildings of Staple Inn; and in the Strand, near the
entrance to the Temple, there was once a group of wooden houses, one of
which, popularly called Cardinal Wolsey's Palace, has been rescued from
destruction, thanks to the action of the London County Council.


_The north-east end of the street._]


No account of mediæval London, however brief and partial, could be
considered adequate which did not include some reference to Old St.
Paul's. One of the greatest glories of London in the old days was its
cathedral church, which, in contradistinction from the earlier edifice
and from that which has superseded it, we now familiarly designate "Old
St. Paul's."

It must have been a church calculated to inspire the admiration,
veneration, and pride of Londoners. Its lofty spire, covered with
ornamental lead, rose high above every other building near it. It
dominated the City and all the surrounding district. The spire itself
was over two hundred feet high, and, perched upon a lofty tower, it rose
about five hundred feet into the blue sky. The few old views which give
a picture of St. Paul's before the storm of 1561 clearly show the
magnificent proportions of the spire.

At the east end, a most beautiful and well-proportioned composition was
the famous rose-window, forty feet in diameter, referred to as a
familiar object by Chaucer.

The magnificent Norman nave, which well deserved admiration on account
of its architectural merit, acquired even greater celebrity under the
designation of Paul's Walk as a famous meeting-place and promenade of
fashionable folk.

Here bargaining and dealing were carried on openly and unchecked. Many
English writers refer to this extraordinary desecration of a consecrated
building, and from them we learn that the trading carried on in Paul's
Walk included simony and chaffering for benefices. Chaucer, in the
prologue to his _Canterbury Tales_, when describing the parson,

    "He sette not his Benefice to hire,
    And lette his shepe accombred in the mire,
    And ran unto London, unto S. Paules
    To seken him a Chanterie for soules,
    Or with a Brotherhede to be withold
    But dwelt at home, and kept well his folde."

The expression "to dine with Duke Humphrey," applied to persons who,
being unable either to procure a dinner by their own money or from the
favour of their friends, walk about and loiter during the dinner-time,
had its origin in one of the aisles of St. Paul's, which was called Duke
Humphrey's Walk: not that there ever was in reality a cenotaph there to
the Duke's memory, who, as everyone knows, was buried at St. Albans, in
Hertfordshire, but because, says Stow, ignorant people mistook the fair
monument of Sir John Beauchamp, who died in 1358, and which was in the
south side of the body of the church, for that of Humphrey, Duke of


_Looking to the south-west, and showing the north side of the

Perhaps one of the most vivid pictures, although it has certainly some
unnatural colouring, is that given in _The Gull's Horne-Booke_, a
satirical work published in London in 1609. Under the heading of "How a
Gallant should behave himselfe in Powles-Walkes," one of the chapters
gives some details of the place. The following extracts are perhaps the
most important:--

     "Now for your venturing into the Walke, be circumspect and wary
     what pillar you come in at, and take heede in any case (as you
     love the reputation of your honour) that you avoid the
     _Seruingmans_ logg, and approach not within five fadom of that
     Piller; but bend your course directly in the middle line, that
     the whole body of the Church may appeare to be yours; where, in
     view of all, you may publish your suit in what manner you
     affect most, either with the slide of your cloake from the one
     shoulder, and then you must (as twere in anger) suddenly snatch
     at the middle of the inside (if it be taffata at the least) and
     so by that meanes your costly lining is betroyed, or else by
     the pretty advantage of Complement. But one note by the way do
     I especially wooe you to, the neglect of which makes many of
     our Gallants cheape and ordinary, that by no meanes you be
     seene above foure turnes; but in the fifth make yourselfe away,
     either in some of the Sempsters' shops, the new tobacco-office,
     or amongst the booke-sellers, where, if you cannot reade,
     exercise your smoake, and enquire who has writ against this
     divine weede, etc. For this withdrawing yourselfe a little,
     will much benefite your suit, which else, by too long walking,
     would be stale to the whole spectators: but howsoever if Powles
     Jacks bee once up with their elbowes, and quarrelling to strike
     eleven, as soone as ever the clock has parted them, and ended
     the fray with his hammer, let not the Duke's gallery contain
     you any longer, but passe away apace in open view.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "All the diseased horses in a tedious siege cannot show so many
     fashions, as are to be seene for nothing, everyday, in _Duke
     Humfryes walke_. If therefore you determine to enter into a
     new suit, warne your Tailor to attend you in Powles, who, with
     his hat in his hand, shall like a spy discover the stuffe,
     colour, and fashion of any doublet, or hose that dare to be
     seene there, and stepping behind a piller to fill his
     table-bookes with those notes, will presently send you into the
     world an accomplisht man: by which meanes you shall weare your
     clothes in print with the first edition. But if Fortune favour
     you so much as to make you no more than a meere gentleman, or
     but some three degrees removd from him (for which I should be
     very sorie, because your London experience wil cost you deere
     before you shall have ye wit to know what you are) then take
     this lesson along with you: The first time that you venture
     into Powles, passe through the Body of the Church like a
     Porter, yet presume not to fetch so much as one whole turn in
     the middle Ile, no nor to cast an eye to _Si quis doore_ (pasted
     and plaistered up with Servingmens _supplications_) before you
     have paid tribute to the top of Powles _steeple_ with a single
     penny: And when you are mounted there, take heede how you looke
     downe into the yard; for the railes are as rotten as your
     great-Grand father; and thereupon it will not be amisse if you
     enquire how _Kit Woodroffe_ durst vault over, and what reason
     he had for it, to put his neck in hazard of reparations.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The great dyal is your last monument: there bestow some half
     of the threescore minutes.... Besides, you may heere have fit
     occasion to discover your watch, by taking it forth and setting
     the wheeles to the time of Powles, which, I assure you, goes
     truer by five notes than _S. Sepulchres_ Chimes. The benefit
     that wil arise from hence is this yt you publish your charge in
     maintaining a gilded clocke; and withall the world shall know
     that you are a time-pleaser."


This interesting open-air pulpit stood on a site near the north-eastern
angle of the choir of the cathedral church. It was used not only for the
instruction of mankind, by the doctrine of the preacher, but for every
purpose political or ecclesiastical--for giving force to oaths; for
promulgating laws, or rather royal pleasure; for the emission of papal
bulls; for anathematising sinners; for benedictions; for exposing
penitents under censure of the Church; for recantations; for the private
ends of the ambitious; and for the defaming of those who had incurred
the displeasure of crowned heads.

The Society of Antiquaries of London possesses an interesting painted
diptych, showing two views of Old St. Paul's on one side, and another,
in which the cathedral church occupies only a minor place, on the other

One of those three pictures is of peculiar value for the present purpose
inasmuch as it gives a vivid and, in a way, realistic representation of
Paul's Cross and its surroundings in the year 1620. There are certain
features in the picture which are obviously inaccurate. The view which
is taken from the north-west of the cathedral is, for example, made to
include the great east window of the choir by, as Sir George Scharf
remarked, "an unwarrantable straining of the laws of perspective."
Again, the nave and choir are improperly made to appear shorter than the
north and south transepts. But with regard to the cross itself, which
forms the chief object in the foreground, the details are represented in
a manner and with a completeness which suggest accuracy.

The representation of the actual cross is probably the best in
existence, and has furnished the data upon which artists have largely
depended in the various attempts to reconstruct the great historical
scenes which took place long ago at Paul's Cross. The pulpit proper was
covered by a rather gracefully shaped roof of timber covered with lead
and bearing representations of the arms of Bishop Kempe at various
points. Above the roof, and indeed rising out of it, was a large and
slightly ornamental cross. The brickwork enclosing the cross, which is
known to have been erected in 1595, is clearly shown in the picture.

So numerous are the great public events which have taken place at Paul's
Cross that it is not possible to give details of them in this article.


The date of the demolition of Paul's Cross is stated by Dugdale to have
been 1643, but the late Canon Sparrow Simpson produced evidence which
clearly proves that it was pulled down before 1641, and probably
before 1635. In the charge-books of the cathedral there is an entry
under June, 1635, which shows that labourers were employed in carrying
away "the lead, timber, etc., that was pull'd downe of the roomes where
the Prebends of the Church, the Doctors of the Law, and the Parishioners
of St. Ffaith's did sett to heare sermons at St. Paul's Crosse."
Succeeding entries in the same volume render it highly probable that the
cross had previously been taken down, and that preparations were being
made for its re-erection.

The Great Fire probably destroyed any other traces which may then have
been remaining of this extremely interesting old preaching-cross. The
foundations alone have been preserved. These were discovered by the late
Mr. C. F. Penrose, the surveyor to the cathedral, in the year 1879, and
they are now indicated by an octagonal outline of stones on the
ground-level close to the north-east corner of the present cathedral

Steps are now being taken to build another cross on the site of Paul's
Cross, a legacy of five thousand pounds having been left for that
purpose by the late H. C. Richards, M.P.



[71] See introduction to the _Catalogue of the Anglo-Jewish Historical
Exhibition_, 1887.

[72] See Coote's _The Romans of Britain_ and Gomme's _The Governance of



A study of contemporary documents enables us to picture to ourselves the
appearance of Old London in mediæval times, and to catch a glimpse of
the manners and customs of the people and the lives they led. The
regulations of the city authorities, the letter-books, journals, and
repertories preserved in the Record Room at Guildhall, which show an
unbroken record of all events and transactions--social, political,
ecclesiastical, legal, military, naval, local, and municipal--extending
over a period of six centuries; the invaluable _Liber Albus_ of the city
of London; the history and regulations of the Guilds; the descriptions
of Stow, Fitzstephen, and others--all help to enable us to make a sketch
of the London of the Middle Ages, which differs very widely from the
city so well known to us to-day.

The dangers of sieges and wars were not yet over, and the walls of Old
London were carefully preserved and guarded. The barons in John's time
adopted a ready means for repairing them. They broke into the Jews'
houses, ransacked their coffers, and then repaired the walls and gates
with stones taken from their broken houses. This repair was afterwards
done in more seemly wise at the common charges of the city. Some
monarchs made grants of a toll upon all wares sold by land or by water
for the repair of the wall. Edward IV. paid much attention to the walls,
and ordered Moorfields to be searched for clay in order to make bricks,
and chalk to be brought from Kent for this purpose. The executors of Sir
John Crosby, the wealthy merchant and founder of Crosby Place, also did
good service, and placed the knight's arms on the parts that they
repaired. The City Companies also came to the rescue, and kept the walls
in good order.


_From an old print._]

Within these walls the pulse of the city life beat fast. The area
enclosed was not large, only about the size of Hyde Park, but it must
have been the busiest spot on earth; there was life and animation in
every corner. In the city the chief noblemen had houses, or inns, as
they were called, which were great buildings capable of housing a large
retinue. We read of Richard, Duke of York, coming in 1457 to the city
with four hundred men, who were lodged in Baynard's Castle; of the Earl
of Salisbury with five hundred men on horseback lodging in the Herber, a
house at Dowgate belonging to the Earl of Warwick, who himself stayed
with six hundred men at his inn in Warwick Lane, where, says Stow,
"there were oftentimes six oxen eaten at a breakfast." Eight hundred men
were brought by the Dukes of Exeter and Somerset, and one thousand five
hundred by the Earl of Northumberland, the Lord Egremont, and the Lord
Clifford. The houses of these noble owners have long since disappeared,
but the memory of them is recorded by the names of streets, as we shall
attempt to show in a subsequent chapter. Even in Stow's time, who wrote
in 1598, they were ruinous, or had been diverted from their original
uses. The frequent visits of these noble persons must have caused
considerable excitement in the city, and provided abundant employment
for the butchers and bakers.

The great merchants, too, were very important people who had their fine
houses, of which the last surviving one was Crosby Hall, which we shall
describe presently, a house that has been much in the minds of the
citizens of London during the present year. Stow says that there were
many other houses of the same class of the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, and that they were "builded with stone and timber." In such
houses, which had a sign swinging over the door, the merchant and his
family lived and dined at the high table in the great hall, his
'prentices and servants sitting in the rush-strewn "marsh," as the lower
portion of the hall was anciently named. These apprentices played an
important part in the old city life. They had to serve for a term of
seven years, and then, having "been sworn of the freedom" and enrolled
on the books of the city, they were allowed to set up their shop or
follow their trade. They were a lively, turbulent class of young men,
ever ready to take to their weapons and shout "Clubs! Clubs!" whereat
those who lived in one merchant's house would rush together and attack
the apprentices of a rival merchant, or unite forces and pursue the
hated "foreigners"--_i.e._, those who presumed to trade and had not
been admitted to the freedom of the city. Boys full of high spirits,
they were ever ready to join in a fight, to partake in sports and games,
and even indulged in questionable amusements--frequented taverns and
bowling alleys, played dice and other unlawful games, for which
misdemeanours they were liable to receive a good flogging from their
masters and other punishments. They had a distinctive dress, which
changed with the fashions, and at the close of the mediæval period they
were wearing blue cloaks in summer, and in winter blue coats or gowns,
their stockings being of white broadcloth "sewed close up to their round
slops or breeches, as if they were all but of one piece." Later on, none
were allowed to wear "any girdle, point, garters, shoe-strings, or any
kind of silk or ribbon, but stockings only of woollen yarn or kersey;
nor Spanish shoes; nor hair with any tuft or lock, but cut short in
decent and comely manner." If an apprentice broke these rules, or
indulged in dancing or masking, or "haunting any tennis court, common
bowling alley, cock-fighting, etc., or having without his master's
knowledge any chest, trunk, etc., or any horse, dog or fighting-cock,"
he was liable to imprisonment. Chaucer gives an amusing picture of the
fondness of the city apprentices for "ridings"--_i.e._, for the
processions and pageants which took place when a king or queen entered
the city in state, and such like joyful occasions--and for similar

    "A prentis whilom dwelt in our Citie,
    And of a craft of vitaillers was he;
    At every bridale would he sing and hoppe;
    He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.
    For whan ther any riding was in chepe,
    Out of the shoppe thither would he lepe,
    And till that he all the sight ysein,
    And danced well, he would not come agein;
    And gathered him a many of his sort,
    To hoppe and sing, and maken such disport."

The presence of large companies of these somewhat boisterous youths must
have added considerable life and animation to the town.

We have seen the noble in his town house, the merchant in his fine
dwelling. Let us visit the artizan and small tradesman. The earliest
historian of London, Fitzstephen, tells us that the two great evils of
his time were "the immoderate drinking of foolish persons and the
frequent fires." In early times the houses were built of wood, roofed
with straw or stubble thatch. Hence when a single house caught fire, the
conflagration spread, as in the reign of Stephen, when a fire broke out
at London Bridge; it spread rapidly, destroyed St. Paul's, and extended
as far as St. Clement Danes. Hence in the first year of Richard I. it
was enacted that the lower story of all houses in the city should be
built with stone, and the roof covered with thick tiles. The tradesman
or artizan had a small house with a door, and a window with a double
shutter arrangement, the upper part being opened and turned outwards,
forming a penthouse, and the lower a stall. Minute regulations were
passed as to the height of the penthouse, which was not to be less than
nine feet, so as to enable "folks on horseback to ride beneath them,"
and the stall was not to project more than two and a half feet. In this
little house the shoemaker, founder, or tailor lived and worked; and as
you passed down the narrow street, which was very narrow and very
unsavoury, with an open drain running down the centre, you would see
these busy townsfolk plying their trades and making a merry noise.

A very amusing sketch of the appearance of London at this period, and of
the manners of the inhabitants, is given in Lydgate's _London's
Lickpenny_. A poor countryman came to London to seek legal redress for
certain grievances. The street thieves were very active, for as soon as
he entered Westminster his hood was snatched from his head in the midst
of the crowd in broad daylight. In the streets of Westminster he was
encountered by Flemish merchants, strolling to and fro, like modern
pedlars, vending hats and spectacles, and shouting, "What will you buy?"
At Westminster Gate, at the hungry hour of mid-day, there were bread,
ale, wine, ribs of beef, and tables set out for such as had wherewith to
pay. He proceeded on his way by the Strand, at that time not so much a
street as a public road connecting the two cities, though studded on
each side by the houses of noblemen; and, having entered London, he
found it resounding with the cries of peascods, strawberries, cherries,
and the more costly articles of pepper, saffron, and spices, all hawked
about the streets. Having cleared his way through the press, and arrived
at Cheapside, he found a crowd much larger than he had as yet
encountered, and shopkeepers plying before their shops or booths,
offering velvet, silk, lawn, and Paris thread, and seizing him by the
hand that he might turn in and buy. At London-stone were the
linendrapers, equally clamorous and urgent; while the medley was
heightened by itinerant vendors crying "hot sheep's feet, mackerel," and
other such articles of food. Our Lickpenny now passed through Eastcheap,
which Shakespeare later on associates with a rich supply of sack and fat
capons, and there he found ribs of beef, pies, and pewter pots,
intermingled with harping, piping, and the old street carols of Julian
and Jenkin. At Cornhill, which at that time seems to have been a noted
place for the receivers of stolen goods, he saw his own hood, stolen at
Westminster, exposed for sale. After refreshing himself with a pint of
wine, for which he paid the taverner one penny, he hastened to
Billingsgate, where the watermen hailed him with their cry, "Hoo! go we
hence!" and charged him twopence for pulling him across the river.
Bewildered and oppressed, Master Lickpenny was delighted to pay the
heavy charge, and to make his escape from the din and confusion of the
great city, resolving never again to enter its portals or to have
anything to do with London litigation.

Then there was the active Church life of the city. During the mediæval
period, ecclesiastical, social, and secular life were so blended
together that religion entered into all the customs of the people, and
could not be separated therefrom. In our chapter upon the City Companies
we have pointed out the strong religious basis of the Guilds. The same
spirit pervaded all the functions of the city. The Lord Mayor was
elected with solemn ecclesiastical functions. The holidays of the
citizens were the Church festivals and saints' days. In Fitzstephen's
time there were no less than one hundred and twenty-six parish churches,
besides thirteen great conventual churches. The bells of the churches
were continually sounding, their doors were ever open, and the market
women, hucksters, artizans, 'prentices, merchants, and their families
had continual resort to them for mass and prayer. Strict laws were in
force to prevent men from working on saints' days and festivals, and if
the wardens or searchers of a company discovered one of their trade, a
carpenter, or cobbler, or shoemaker, working away in a cellar or garret,
they would soon haul him up before the court of the company, where he
would be fined heavily.

The life of the streets was full of animation. Now there would be
ridings in the Cheap, the companies clad in gay apparel, the stands
crowded with the city dames and damsels in fine array; pageants
cunningly devised, besides which even Mr. Louis Parker's display at the
last Lord Mayor's procession would have appeared mean and tawdry; while
the conduits flowed with wine, and all was merry. Now it is Corpus
Christi Day, and there is a grand procession through the streets, which
stirs the anger of Master Googe, who thus wrote of what he saw:

    Then doth ensue the solemne feast
      Of Corpus Christi Day,
    Who then can shewe their wicked use
      And fond and foolish play.
    The hallowed bread with worship great
      In silver pix they beare
    About the Churche or in the citie,
      Passing here and theare.
    His armes that beares the same, two of
      The wealthiest men do holde:
    And over him a canopy
      Of silke and clothe of golde.
    Christ's passion here derided is
      With sundry maskes and playes.
    Fair Ursley, with her maydens all
      Doth passe amid the wayes.
    And valiant George with speare thou killest
      The dreadfull dragon here,
    The devil's house is drawne about
      Wherein there doth appere
    A wondrous sort of damned spirites
      With foule and fearfull looke.
    Great Christopher doth wade and passe
      With Christ amid the brooke.
    Sebastian full of feathered shaftes
      The dint of dart doth feel,
    There walketh Kathren with her sworde
      In hand and cruel wheele.
    The Challis and the Singing Cake
      With Barbara is led,
    And sundrie other pageants playe
      In worship of this bred....
    The common wayes with bowes are strawne
      And every streete beside,
    And to the walles and windows all
      Are boughes and braunches tide.
    And monkes in every place do roame,
      The nunnes abroad are sent,
    The priests and schoolmen loud do rore
      Some use the instrument.
    The straunger passing through the streete
      Uppon his knees doth fall,
    And earnestly uppon this bred
      As on his God, doth calle....
    A number grete of armed men
      Here all this while do stand,
    To look that no disorder be
      Nor any filching hand.
    For all the church goodes out are brought
      Which certainly would be
    A bootie good, if every man
      Might have his libertie.

Verily Master Googe's fingers itched to carry off some of this "bootie
good," but we are grateful to him for giving us such a realistic
description of the processions on Corpus Christi Day.

Religious plays were also not infrequent. These the city folk dearly
loved. Clerkenwell was a favourite place for their performance, and
there the Worshipful Company of the Clerks of London performed some
wonderful mysteries. In 1391 A.D. they were acting before the King, his
Queen, and many nobles, "The Passion of our Lord and the Creation of the
World," a performance which lasted three days. At Skinners' Well, the
Company of the Skinners "held there certain plays yearly"; and in 1409
the Clerks performed a great play which lasted eight days, when the most
part of the nobles and gentles in England were present. Originally these
plays were performed in the churches, but owing to the gradually
increased size of the stage, the sacred buildings were abandoned as the
scenes of mediæval drama. Then the churchyards were utilised, and in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the people liked to act their plays
in the highways and public places as at Clerkenwell, which, owing to the
configuration of the ground, was well adapted for the purpose.

Strange scenes of savage punishment attract the attention of the
unfeeling crowd in the city streets, who jeer at the sufferers. Here is
a poor man drawn upon a hurdle from the Guildhall to his own house. He
is a baker who has made faulty bread, and the law states that he should
be so drawn through the great streets where most people are assembled,
and especially through the great streets that are most dirty (that is
especially laid down in the statutes), with the faulty bread hanging
from his neck. There stands the pillory, and on it, with head and hands
fast, is another baker, who has been guilty of a second offence. Blood
is streaming from his face, where cruel stones have hit him, and rotten
eggs and filth are hurled at him during the one hour "at least" which he
has to remain there.

But there were less savage amusements than the baiting of bakers. Jousts
and tournaments periodically created unwonted excitement, as when, in
1389, there was a mighty contest at Smithfield. Froissart tells us that
heralds were sent to every country in Europe where chivalry was
honoured, to proclaim the time and place, and brave knights were invited
to splinter a lance, or wield a sword, in honour of their mistresses.
Knights and nobles from far and near assembled. London was thronged with
warriors of every clime and language. Smithfield was surrounded with
temporary chambers and pavilions, constructed for the accommodation of
the King and the princes, the Queen and the maidens of her court; and
when the solemnity was about to commence, sixty horses, richly
accoutred, were led to the lists by squires, accompanied by heralds and
minstrels; after which, sixty ladies followed on palfreys, each lady
leading an armed knight by a chain of silver. The first day the games
commenced with encounters of the lance, the two most skilful combatants
receiving as prizes a golden crown and a rich girdle adorned with
precious stones; after which, the night was spent in feasting and
dancing. During five days the contest lasted, and each evening called
the knights and dames to the same joyous festivities and pastimes. The
'prentices and citizens enjoyed the spectacle quite as much as the
combatants, and the young men used to copy their betters and practise
feats of war, riding on horseback, and using disarmed lances and
shields. Battles, too, were fought on the water, when young men in
boats, with lance in rest, charged a shield hung on a pole fixed in the
midst of the stream. This sport provided great amusement to the
spectators, who stood upon the bridge or wharf and neighbouring houses,
especially when the adventurous youths failed and fell into the river.
Leaping, dancing, shooting, wrestling, casting the stone, and practising
their shields were the favourite amusements of the London youths, while
the maidens tripped to the sound of their timbrels, and danced as long
as they could well see. In winter, boars were set to fight, bulls and
bears were baited, and cock-fighting was the recognised amusement of

When the frost covered the great fen on the north side of the city with
ice, good Fitzstephen delighted to watch "the young men play upon the
ice; some, striding as wide as they may, do slide swiftly; others make
themselves seats of ice as great as millstones; one sits down, many hand
in hand do draw him, and one slipping on a sudden, all fall together;
some tie bones to their feet and under their heels, and, shoving
themselves by a little picked staff, do slide as swiftly as a bird
flieth in the air, or as an arrow out of a crossbow. Sometimes two run
together with poles, and, hitting one another, either one or both do
fall, not without hurt; some break their arms, some their legs; but
youth desirous of glory in this sort exerciseth itself against the time
of war." Lord Roberts and other patriots would like to see the youth of
the present day, not breaking their arms and legs, but exercising
themselves against the time of war. The citizens used also to delight
themselves in hawks and hounds, for they had liberty of hunting in
Middlesex, Hertfordshire, all Chiltron, and in Kent to the water of
Cray. The game of quintain, which I need not describe, was much in
vogue. Stow saw a quintain at Cornhill, where men made merry disport,
and the maidens used to dance for garlands hung athwart the streets.
Time would fail to tell of the May-day junketings, of the setting up of
the May-pole in Cornhill before the church of St. Andrew, hence called
Undershaft; of the Mayings at early dawn, the bringing in of the may,
the archers, morris dancers and players, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, the
horse races at Smithfield, so graphically described by Fitzstephen, and
much else that tells of the joyous life of the people.

Life was not to them all joy. There was much actual misery. The dark,
narrow, unsavoury, insanitary streets bred dire fevers and plagues.
Thousands died from this dread malady. The homes of the artizans and
craftsmen were not remarkable for comfort. They were bound down by
strict regulations as regards their work. No one could dwell where he
pleased, but only nigh the craftsmen of his particular trade. But, on
the whole, the lot of the men of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
was by no means an unhappy one. They were very quick, easily aroused,
turbulent, savage in their punishments, brutal perhaps in their sport;
but they had many sterling qualities which helped to raise England to
attain to her high rank among the nations of the world, and they left
behind them sturdy sons and daughters who made London great and their
country honoured.



_Master of the Temple_

"On the 10th of February in the year from the Incarnation of our Lord
1185, this Church was consecrated in honour of the Blessed Mary by the
Lord Heraclius, by the grace of God Patriarch of the Church of the Holy
Resurrection, who to those yearly visiting it granted an Indulgence of
sixty days off the penance enjoined upon them."

So we may render the ancient Latin inscription, formerly on the wall of
the Round Church, which supplies the earliest definite date in the
history of the Temple. Originally settled near the Holborn end of
Chancery Lane, the Templars had apparently been in occupation of the
present site (still called "the _New_ Temple" in formal documents) for
some considerable time before the Round Church was consecrated. There is
evidence, at any rate, that "the Old Temple" in the parish of St.
Andrew's, Holborn, had been sold as a town house for the Bishops of
Lincoln before 1163. We must suppose that a temporary church was used
during this interval--perhaps St. Clement's, which had been granted to
the Order in 1162 by Henry II. The performance of the consecration
ceremony by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the presence at it of
Henry II. and his court, show that the headquarters of the Templars in
England were felt to be of national importance. Never, indeed, since
its foundation were the services of the Order more needed. The Templars
in Palestine were being sorely pressed by Saladin, and Heraclius had
come to England to obtain help. When absolution for the murder of Thomas
à Becket was granted to Henry, he had promised to lead an army into
Palestine, as well as to maintain two hundred Templars there at his own
cost. This personal service he now found himself unable to perform.
Fabyan (died 1513) gives a quaint version of the King's conversation
with the Patriarch:

     "'I may not wende oute of my lande, for myne own sonnes wyll
     aryse agayne me whan I were absente.' 'No wonder,' sayde the
     patryarke, 'for of the deuyll they come, and to the deuyll they
     shall go,' and so departyd from the kynge in great ire."

Two years later Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin, and Henry, after
conferring with the King of France, arranged for the collection of a
"Saladin tithe" to meet the cost of the new crusade.


"The poor fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ of the Temple of Solomon"--for
such was the full designation of the Templars in commemoration of the
quarters assigned them within the area of the former Jewish
Temple--naturally had their thoughts turned towards Jerusalem, wherever
they were stationed. The design of the church which Heraclius
consecrated was determined by the circular chapel which stood on the
site of the Old Temple in Holborn, and the prototype of both buildings
was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, with which English
Templars must have been familiar from the earliest days of the Order.
The travels of Templars and Crusaders undeniably influenced English
architecture. One such influence we find in the constructive use of the
pointed arch, which is said to have been introduced about 1125 from the
South of France--a route which Norman Crusaders frequently followed. For
many years after that date pointed and round arches were used almost
indifferently in Norman work, so that the strongly pointed arches of
the Round Church are not in themselves decisive of the date of the
building. It is not till about 1170 that the real transition from Norman
to Early English can be said to have begun. In the interior of the Round
Church this movement is in full swing. The lower arcade has been
inaccurately restored and must not be taken as evidence, but in the
decorative band of arcading on the upper wall which frames the openings
into the triforium we see how the intersection of two semi-circular
arches gives the pure lancet form. The crucial point, however, is the
absence of the massive Romanesque columns which invariably mark true
Norman work. In their place we have columns of comparative slenderness,
each consisting of four almost insulated shafts of Purbeck marble, two
smaller and two larger. These columns must be among the earliest
examples of their kind in England. There is a somewhat similar treatment
(two shafts only, as originally designed) in the Galilee of Durham
Cathedral, built a few years later, whereas in the choir of Canterbury
Cathedral, which was rebuilt only a few years before 1185, the
Romanesque columns are still retained, though the style of the capitals
is modified.

The historical interest of the church is not confined to its
architecture. The eight small half-length figures between the capitals
outside the west door, though sadly defaced and only reproductions of
the originals, stand in close relation to the consecration ceremony. In
1783, according to a writer in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, they were
"very perfect," and were believed to represent on the north side Henry
II. with three Knights Templars, and on the opposite side Queen Eleanor
with Heraclius and two other ecclesiastics. This identification is in
the main correct. The king and queen are farthest from the door. He is
holding a sceptre, or possibly a roll containing a grant to the Order.
One of the figures by his side--it is difficult to see whether they are
bearded, as Knights Templars would have been--is certainly holding a
roll, perhaps the royal licence for the building of the church. Others
have their hands folded in prayer.

The unique and most successfully restored series of nine marble effigies
on the floor of the church is also of great antiquity. Six are
cross-legged, but not necessarily on that account to be regarded as
Crusaders. One of them has been supposed to represent the notorious
Geoffrey de Magnaville, Earl of Essex, who died excommunicate in 1144,
ten years before the accession of Henry II. Three others probably
represent William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (died 1219), Protector of
England during the minority of Henry III., and his two sons, William
(died 1231) and Gilbert (died 1241). The figure which lies apart cannot
be older than the latter half of the thirteenth century, and according
to tradition is a Lord de Ros. Of the others nothing is known. It seems
certain, however, that the series contains no effigy of an actual Knight
of the Order, since none of the figures are represented as wearing the
red cross mantle. Men of wealth and position were often admitted to the
privileges of the Order without taking the vows, under the title of
"Associates of the Temple." The special exemption from interdicts which
the Templars enjoyed, and the sanctity of their churches as
burial-places, made this associateship attractive to devout men, who
willingly gave benefactions in return for it. It is one of fate's
ironies that of the many Knights Templars buried in the church not a
single name or monument should have been preserved _in situ_. No
separate graves are now marked by the effigies, but during the 1841
restorations stone and leaden coffins containing skeletons were found
below the pavement. These remains have been reburied in a vault in the
middle of the church.


The outline of the Round Church was never probably a perfect circle.
Excavations have been made, and some foundations have been discovered
underground on the east side of the church, which seem to shew that an
apse existed nearly fifty feet long. This, of course, contained the
altar. Even so, however, the church must often have been inconveniently
crowded, and the spaciousness of the later addition shows how much this
inconvenience had been felt. The middle opening between the two churches
is probably the original arch by which the apse was entered, since it
does not, like the two side arches, break into the line of arcading. In
passing from the earlier to the later church, we pass from Transitional
Norman to a pure example of Early English style, the details of which
closely remind us of Salisbury Cathedral. That cathedral, which was not
finished till 1258, was begun in 1220, and the foundations of the Temple
choir cannot have been laid very long after this. Matthew Paris (died
1259) tells us that "the noble church of the New Temple, of a
construction worthy to be looked at," was consecrated on Ascension Day,
1240, in the presence of Henry III. and many great men of the realm. As
the king looked round the new church during the consecration ceremony,
it is quite conceivable that he turned over in his mind the idea of
rebuilding the east end of Westminster Abbey in this same style--a
design which he proceeded to put into execution five years later. The
combination of the two Temple Churches into one harmonious whole is a
stroke of genius on the part of the unknown architect. It might have
been a failure had there been any violence of contrast. As it is, we
feel that we are only moving one step forward in the evolution of
church-building. The general effect of the columns and arches is much
the same throughout, and the view from either church into the other
pleases the eye.

To realise the full beauty of this great choir we must in thought sweep
away the present seats and pulpit, and reconstruct the two side altars
dedicated to St. John and St. Nicolas, which flanked the high altar
dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Traces of this original arrangement are
still to be seen in the restored aumbreys and piscina on the north and
south walls. The height of these niches seems to show that the side
altars were some four or five steps above the level of the present
floor. The three aumbreys over the high altar are unfortunately hidden
by the incongruous reredos which was put up in 1841. In these locked
cupboards some of the church plate was kept. The inventory of 1307
contains various priced items of silver-gilt plate, together with
numerous relics, unpriced--among them "the sword with which the Blessed
Thomas of Canterbury was killed, and two crosses of the wood on which
Christ was crucified." The safe custody of these treasures must have
been a source of anxiety. Opening out of the staircase which leads to
the triforium a small chamber has been constructed in the thickness of
the wall, lighted by two loop-holes, one of which looks towards the
altar, the other across the church. This has been supposed to be a
penitential cell for disobedient Templars, but it was more probably a
watcher's chamber, used as a safeguard against possible theft. The three
altars seem to have been at first entirely open to the body of the
church, the idea being that the whole building was a chancel or choir.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, the space round
the high altar seems to have been enclosed by a screen with gates, thus
forming a separate chancel. The side altars were presumably removed soon
after the Reformation, and in Puritan days the communion table was for a
time brought down from the east end and placed longitudinally on the
floor in the body of the church. Probably about this time the old
stained glass was wrecked, and the marble columns were white-washed. The
only pre-Reformation monument which has survived in the choir is the
recumbent figure of a bishop, supposed to be Silvester de Everdon,
Bishop of Carlisle, who was killed by a fall from his horse in 1254. A
good many brasses seem to have disappeared. "Divers plates of brass of
late times have been torn out," says Dugdale (1671), who gives one or
two epitaphs in French. Of post-Reformation monuments but two now
remain in the body of the church--those of Richard Hooker (died 1600)
and John Selden (died 1654). The rest have been placed in the triforium.

Little else of the Templars' work now survives. Below the pavement
outside the south wall of the Round Church are the remains of the crypt
of St. Ann's Chapel, built about 1220. There is enough left to show that
the building was in the Early English style, and corresponded in its
details with the choir church. Parts of the upper chapel still existed
in a ruined state, hidden among encroaching buildings, as recently as
1825. On the west side of the Inner Temple Hall, which occupies the site
of the Templars' Refectory (or perhaps, we should say, one of their
refectories, for in the inquisition of 1337 two halls are mentioned),
are two ancient chambers, one above the other, the roofs of which are
supported by intersecting arches, rising from the four corners of the
floor. This work is perhaps a little older than the Round Church. The
lower chamber has been supposed to be what is called in the records "the
Hall of the Priests." With these exceptions the church alone remains as
a monument of the greatness and the glory of the Templars. For a century
and a half at the New Temple they were a power in the land. Men
deposited treasure in their custody. Popes conferred upon them
exceptional privileges. They stood high in royal favour. Henry II. and
Richard were benefactors. John was a frequent guest. It was while he was
holding his court at the Temple on the Epiphany feast of 1215 that the
Barons came before him in full armour to announce their ultimatum, and
his signing the _Magna Carta_ was partly due to the influence of the
then Master of the Temple. Henry III. at one time intended to be buried
in the Temple Church. His subsequent change of mind perhaps marks some
decline in the popularity of the Templars. But their downfall in England
(1308) was mainly owing to Papal pressure. Edward II. resisted as long
as he could, and the more serious charges against them, which were based
on confessions extracted by torture, are now generally regarded by
historians as unfounded.

The premises of the Temple were eventually (1340) granted to the Knights
Hospitallers, the rivals and bitter enemies of the fallen Order. They
held the property for two hundred years, but they had their own
settlement at Clerkenwell, and the Temple did not mean to them what it
had meant to the Templars. About 1347 they leased all but the
consecrated buildings and ecclesiastical precincts to "certain lawyers,"
who had already become tenants of the Earl of Lancaster and others, on
whom in the first instance Edward II. had bestowed the premises. Great
interest attaches to this settlement of lawyers, but much remains
obscure about it. Some of the early documents may have been destroyed
during Wat Tyler's insurrection (1381). A manuscript (quoted by Dugdale)
describes the scene in the law-French of the day.

     "Les Rebells alleront a le Temple ... et alleront en l'Esglise,
     et pristeront touts les liveres et Rolles de Remembrances que
     furont en lour huches deins le Temple de Apprentices de la Ley,
     et porteront en le haut chimene et les arderont."

This, however, is not the full extent of the loss which has been
sustained. The records of the following 120 years up to 1500 are
missing, both in the Inner and the Middle Temples.[73] One result of
these losses is that there is nothing to show when the two Inns became
separate societies, on the assumption that they were not independent
bodies from the outset. Chaucer's well-known description (about 1390) of
"a gentil manciple of the [or perhaps the true reading is 'a'] Temple"
is not decisive.

    "Of maisters had he mo than thries ten
    That were of lawe expert and curious,
    Of which there was a dosein _in that hous_
    Worthy to ben stewardes of rent and lond
    Of any lord that is in Englelond."

An entry in the books of Lincoln's Inn incidentally mentions the Middle
Temple in 1422, and in one of the _Paston Letters_, dated 1440, we read
"qwan your leysyr is, resorte ageyn on to your college, the Inner
Temple." It is generally admitted now that neither society can establish
any claim of priority or precedence over the other. Appeal has been made
to the badges, but they throw no light on the question. The Agnus of the
Middle Temple is apparently not mentioned till about 1615, and the
Pegasus of the Inner Temple not before 1562. It is still a matter of
dispute whether the Templars' emblem of a horse with two knights on its
back can have been altered into a horse with two wings by the ignorance
or ingenuity of some workman.

We try in vain to reconstruct with any fullness the life of the lawyers
and their apprentices at the Temple in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. But it is clear that, together with the buildings, they
inherited some of the traditions. The old church remained their place of
worship. In the old refectory they were served by "panier-men" on wooden
platters and in wooden cups, as the Templars had been before them. The
penalties inflicted for small misdemeanours, such as being "expelled the
hall" and "put out of commons," were much the same as those prescribed
in the "Rule" of the Templars, as drawn up by St. Bernard.

It is a curious coincidence that not long after the coming of the
lawyers a change was introduced in the legal profession which recalls
the organisation of the old military brotherhood. In 1333, according to
Dugdale, the judges of the Court of Common Pleas received knighthood,
and so became in a sense successors of the Knights Templars. The
creation of sergeants-at-law (now abolished) goes further back, but it
has been suggested that they were representatives of the _frères
serjens_, the _fratres servientes_, of the old Order. Had the white
linen coif worn by sergeants the same symbolical meaning as the
Templars' white mantle? Was it, as some say, the survival of a linen
headdress brought back by the Templars from the East? These are
disputable points. At any rate, the common life at the Temple, with the
associations which it recalled, cannot have been without its influence
on the lawyers. Their numbers grew apace. By 1470 courses of legal
studies had been organised, and each of the two Inns at the Temple had
more (perhaps considerably more) than two hundred students--numbers
amply sufficient to resist successfully any attempts on the part of the
Lord Mayor, backed by the city apprentices, to enforce an illegal
jurisdiction over the precincts. In the absence of maps and records we
cannot trace with certainty the gradual extension of the buildings. Such
names as Elm Court and Figtree Court suggest that in byegone days open
spaces and garden plots were interspersed among the chambers. Not least
among the amenities of the lawyers' goodly heritage was the large garden
by the river side with its pretty fifteenth century story of the red and
white roses. It has been said that Shakespeare in his well-known scene
refers to the smallness of the hall in the phrase which he assigns to

    "Within the Temple Hall we were too loud;
    The garden here is more convenient."

But do the words imply more than the obvious contrast between being
indoors and in the open air, as regards noise? We have a companion
picture to Shakespeare's garden-scene in Spenser's river-piece. Some
people see in it a reference to "Brick Buildings" which stood on the
site of what is now Brick Court:

              "Those bricky towers
    The which on Themmes brode aged back do ride
    Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers;
    There whilome wont the Templer Knights to bide,
    Till they decayed through pride."

In 1540, on the dissolution of the Order of Knights Hospitallers, the
two societies became yearly tenants of the Crown, and took over the
charge of the fabric of the church. No change, however, was made in the
ecclesiastical staff, John Mableston, sub-prior, William Ermestede,
master of the Temple, and the two chaplains of the house being continued
in their offices. There were modifications, of course, in the services
of the church; but nowhere probably in London did the Reformation cause
less interference with established custom. Dr. Ermestede, indeed,
bridges over the critical interval between 1540 and 1560 in a remarkable
way, for on Mary's accession he went back to the old form of worship,
and then accepted a third change of religion under Elizabeth. The
building of the beautiful Middle Temple Hall, soon after Elizabeth's
accession, is associated with the name of Edmund Plowden (died 1585),
whose fine monument stands in the triforium of the church. The work was
begun during his treasurership in 1561, and in 1571 he "offered his
account for the new buildings." In 1575 the fine carved oak screen was
put up. Towards the cost of this contributions were made by the masters
of the bench, the masters of "le Utter Barre," and other members of the
society. In this hall took place the interesting Shakespearean
performance recorded by John Manningham, barrister, in his diary
(1601-2). "At our feast wee had a play called Twelve Night or what you
will, much like the Commedy of Errores or Menechmi in Plautus, but most
like and neere to that in Italian called Inganni. A good practise in it
to make the steward beleeve his lady widdowe was in love with him," etc.
The halls of the Inns of Court lent themselves very conveniently for
dramatic representations at a time when there were no theatres in
London. In 1561-2 "Gorboduc," one of the earliest of English plays,
written by Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton, members of the Inner
Temple, was performed in the Inner Temple Hall before Queen Elizabeth,
and in 1568 she was also present there at the performance of "Tancred
and Gismund." Masques were frequently given in the halls of both
societies during the early part of the seventeenth century, and with
these some interesting literary names are connected, such as Francis
Beaumont, William Browne, Michael Drayton, and John Selden.


The reign of James I. is of special importance in the history of the
Temple, because the patent granted by him in 1608 relieved the two
societies from what had been a somewhat precarious tenure of their
property. As a mark of gratitude they spent £666 (about £3,500 at
present value) on a gold cup for the king, which was subsequently pawned
in Holland by Charles I. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 checked
for a time the prosperity of the Temple. For two years the buildings
were practically deserted, and readings and exercises ceased till the
Commonwealth was established. From 1651 to 1654 every barrister and
master of the bench before opening his lips in court had to take what
was called "the engagement"--"I do declare and promise that I will be
true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as it is now
established without a king or a house of lords." Soon after the
Restoration there came further troubles from plague and fire. Twelve
deaths from the plague are recorded in the Burial Register for 1665, and
the buildings were again for a time deserted. The great fire of 1666,
the flames of which, after destroying King's Bench Walk, licked the east
end of the Temple Church, was followed in 1678 by another fire which did
much damage to the buildings of the Middle Temple, burned down the old
cloisters (afterwards replaced by Wren's somewhat commonplace colonnade)
and threatened the south-west angle of the church. A bird's-eye view
made in 1671 and John Ogilby's plan of 1677 enable us to follow the
process of reconstruction after the great fire, and at the same time
call attention to the disfigurement of the church by the mean shops and
small houses which had been built against its walls and even over its
porch. It seems as if for a time all appreciation of the beauty of the
buildings was lost. The Round Church, not being used for Divine service,
became, like Paul's Walk, a rendezvous for business appointments, and
the font was often specified in legal documents as the place where
payment was to be made to complete some transaction. That is why the
lawyer consulted by Hudibras advises his client while getting up his
case to

    "Walk the Round with Knights o' th' Posts[74]
    About the cross-legged Knights their hosts."

Still, in spite of its shortcomings, the seventeenth century has at
least one claim upon the gratitude of those who worship in the Temple
Church. The organ of Bernard Schmidt (Father Smith), purchased in 1686,
still survives as the foundation of the modern instrument. The story of
the Battle of the Organs has been often told. The masters of the bench
were anxious to secure by competition the best possible make, and rival
organs were set up in the church by Smith and Harris. The decision was
eventually left to Judge Jeffreys, not apparently on account of his
musical knowledge, but because he was Lord Chancellor at the time. The
beautiful music of the Temple Church is thus strangely linked with a
name not usually associated with sweetness or harmony.

A few only of the Temple buildings are named after eminent men, and the
choice of names has been to some extent capricious or accidental. Among
lawyers thus commemorated, no one will dispute the claims of Edmund
Plowden, already mentioned. Hare Court preserves the memory not of Sir
Nicholas Hare, Master of the Rolls in Mary's reign (died 1557), but of a
nephew of his, a comparatively unknown Nicholas Hare, who rebuilt the
chambers on the south side of the court. The present Harcourt Buildings
replace earlier chambers erected during the treasurership of Sir Simon
Harcourt, afterwards Lord Chancellor (died 1727). The eponymus of
Tanfield Court was Sir Lawrence Tanfield, a well-known judge in his day,
who resided there. We cannot but regret that more of the greatest legal
names have not in this way been handed down as household words to
posterity. Two great literary names do thus survive, but in neither case
was the existing building the home of the man. Dr. Johnson's Buildings,
rebuilt in 1857, recall nothing but the site of the chambers in which
Johnson lived for a few years from 1760. Goldsmith Building, erected in
1861, stands in no relation to the poet save that it is near the stone
which serves to mark (not very exactly) his burial place. Pious
pilgrimages are still made yearly to that stone on November 10, the
anniversary of his birth. Goldsmith died in the Temple in 1774, and from
1765 onwards he occupied chambers which still exist at 2, Brick Court. A
commemorative tablet recently placed there raises the question whether
the rooms on the north or on the south side of the staircase are
properly described as "two pair right." Some years before Oliver
Goldsmith removed to Brick Court, the Temple was the residence of
another poet--William Cowper. His attempted suicide there in 1763 shows
how bad for his melancholy temperament was a solitary life in chambers.
Charles Lamb, on the other hand--as we see, for instance, from his essay
on the Old Benchers of the Inner Temple--delighted in the Temple and all
its ways. The sense of its charm may be said to have been born and bred
in him, for he was born and spent his childhood in Crown Office Row. In
later life, for seventeen years from 1800, he and his sister occupied
chambers now no longer in existence, first in Mitre Court Buildings,
and afterwards in Inner Temple Lane, from the back windows of which he
looked upon the trees and pump in Hare Court. Lamb Building, of course,
has nothing to do with Charles Lamb. It belongs to an earlier time, and
its name is derived from the Agnus of the Middle Temple over its
doorway. Within fifteen years of Lamb's departure from the Temple
Thackeray was settled for a short time in the chambers in Hare Court,
which were immortalised some twenty years later, in _Pendennis_. "Lamb
Court," in which he places the chambers of George Warrington and Arthur
Pendennis, is the result of a combination of Lamb Building and Hare
Court. Other reminiscences of his life at the Temple may be found by the
student of Thackeray in some of his other works. Dickens, though he
never lived at the Temple, also betrays the influence of its charm. No
one can walk through Fountain Court without thinking sometimes of Ruth

Of the great lawyers who have occupied chambers in the Temple nothing
can here be said. The settlement of the lawyers has now lasted for
nearly six hundred years--almost four times as long as the tenure of the
Knights Templars, and for the greater part of that time we find in every
generation legal names which still survive in history, and which have
been concerned with the making of history. The lists which have been
compiled of distinguished members of the Inner and the Middle Temple are
of great interest and importance. But even more important is the long,
continuous history of the two societies. It has preserved for us such
memorials of the Knights Templars as still survive. If the lawyers had
never settled in the Temple, the Temple Church would probably have met
with the fate which overtook the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great,
and all that could now be done would be to restore a ruin. There have
been times, no doubt, in its past history when the church has suffered
from neglect and ignorance, but on the whole the lawyers have shown a
large-minded appreciation of their responsibilities. The last
restoration of the building in 1841, in spite of one or two mistakes,
was wonderfully successful. It was one of the earliest and best examples
of the "Gothic revival" which was just beginning to set in over England.
We owe to it, among other things, two interesting works on the Knights
Templars and on the Temple Church by C. G. Addison (died 1866), who was
one of the first lawyers in modern times to study the history of the
Temple in connection with the original documents. During the last few
years a great advance has been made in this direction, mainly by the
labours of lawyers. _The Calendar of the Inner Temple Records_, with its
full and learned introductions by F. A. Inderwick, K.C., Master of the
Bench (died 1904), is never likely to be superseded; and the same may be
said of _The Middle Temple Records, with Index and Calendar_, edited by
C. Hopwood, K.C. (died 1904), Master of the Bench of that society. To
these must be added _A Catalogue of Notable Middle Templars_, by Mr.
John Hutchinson, and a privately printed list of _Masters of the Bench
of the Inner Temple_ from 1450 to 1883, with _Supplement_ to 1900. Judge
Baylis, K.C., Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple, has given much
valuable information in his well-known work on the Temple Church, which
has gone through several editions. More recently, Mr. H. Bellot, of the
Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law, has aimed at recording the legal,
literary, and historic associations of the Inner and Middle Temple, and
in a Bibliography appended to his book gives some idea of the immense
mass of material which has accumulated round the history of the Temple.
May "the two Learned and Honourable Societies of this House"--as they
are designated in the Bidding Prayer used every Sunday in the Temple
Church--long continue to be the home, not merely of professional
learning, but of general culture.


[73] The Outer, or "outward," Temple passed into private ownership at an
early date.

[74] A Knight of the (whipping) Post was a cant name for a disreputable
person, who would be willing to give false evidence.



Just as Holland denotes the hollow land, so Holborn, or Holeburn,
implies the hollow bourne--the bourne or river in the hollow. This once
forcible little stream descended four hundred feet in a journey of six
miles, taking its rise in Ken Wood, the beautifully timbered estate of
the Earls of Mansfield at Highgate. After passing through several ponds,
skirting the existing Millfield Lane, it crossed the foot of West Hill
and continued its course through what is now known as the Brookfield
Stud Farm, till, somewhat to the north of Prince of Wales' Road at
Kentish Town, it encountered another stream of almost equal rapidity,
the birthplace of which was in the Happy Valley at Hampstead. The united
current then rolled on through Camden Town and St. Pancras towards
Battle Bridge at King's Cross, from whence it flowed through Packington
Street, under Rosebery Avenue, into Farringdon Street, creating steep
banks on its flanks, which still remain the measure and evidence of its
ancient energy; until, finally, it debouched into that tidal estuary
from the Thames mediævally known as the Fleet. Holborn Viaduct, at a
much higher altitude, now spans the hollow where once stood Holeburn
Bridge, at the wharves on either side of which "boats with corn, wine,
firewood, and other necessaries" would unload. But in 1598 John Stow
knew of this burn only as Turnmill Brook. Now it no longer exists; the
damming of its waters for the erection of mills in the Middle Ages, and
its more recent absorption by the water companies, have led to its
complete disappearance.

The Manor of Holeburn, which was bounded on the east by the southern
part of the Farringdon Street portion of this stream, included both
sides of Shoe Lane; but how far west or north it originally extended is
not known. In the year 1300, Saffron Hill, Fetter (or Faytour) Lane, and
Fleet Street were all outside its bounds. Shoe Lane was known as Sho
Lane, at one end of which was a well, called Show Well, from which the
neighbourhood drew its water.[75]

It was here that the Dominicans, or Black Friars, made their first
settlement in 1222;[76] their monastery was in Shoe Lane, and in 1286,
when they moved to the eastern side of the Fleet, by Baynard's Castle,
Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who was lord of the manor and a
justiciar, bought their old houses and established the first Lincoln's
Inn.[77] Two other inns of that name, one next to Staple Inn and one in
Chancery Lane, came into existence later, as we shall see presently.
Here the earl died in 1311, and he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.
By his will, proved in the Court of Hustings at the Guildhall, he
directed that the houses which he had acquired from the monks should be
sold;[78] but the inheritance of the manor of Holeburn descended to his
son-in-law, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the King's cousin and Steward of
the kingdom. Legal business was certainly transacted at his Inn. The
yearly accounts of the Earldom of Lancaster for that period show that at
his house in Shoe Lane, from Michaelmas, 1314, to Michaelmas, 1315, the
amount of £314 7s. 4½d. was spent for 1,714 lbs. of wax, with vermilion
and turpentine to make red wax, and £4 8s. 3¼d. for one hundred and
twenty-nine dozen of parchment, with ink.[79] He was beheaded in 1322,
leaving no issue, and his widow, Alesia de Lacy, married secondly Ebulo
Lestrange,[80] in whose family the manor remained until 1480, when it
passed by marriage to the Stanleys, Earls of Derby.[81] In 1602 it was
sold by the widow of Ferdinando, fifth earl, to Lord Buckhurst,[82]
afterwards Earl of Dorset, under whose immediate successor it was broken
up for building purposes.

The street of Holborn was at first simply the King's Street; afterwards
it acquired the name of Holebourne-Bridge-strate. From Newgate to a
little way west of St. Sepulchre's Church the high-road was known as "la
Baillie"; from thence it bore the same name as the river, being carried
over the bridge on to the ridge along which the Romans had built their
military stone-way, known as Watling Street, out of which, in the year
1300, there turned two streets towards the south, namely, Scho Lane and
Faitur Lane, and two towards the north, one called "le Vrunelane,"[83]
afterwards Lyverounelane, then Lyver Lane, now Leather Lane, and the
other called Portpool Lane, now Gray's Inn Road.

The justiciars, clerks in Chancery, and serjeants had frequent cause to
protest against the manner in which the stream of Holeburn was being
defiled. In the Parliament of Barons held in 1307, the Earl of Lincoln,
whose Inn was in close proximity, complained that

     "whereas formerly ten and twelve ships were wont to come to
     Flete Bridge and some of them to Holeburn Bridge, now, by the
     filth of the tanners and others, by the erection of wharfs,
     especially by them of the New Temple for their mills without
     Baynard's Castle, and by other impediments, the course was
     decayed so that ships could not enter as they were wont."[84]

Later on, in 1371, a writ was issued by Edward III. to the mayor and
sheriffs to the effect that

     "Upon the open information as well of our Justiciars and our
     Clerks in Chancery and our other Officers, as of other
     reputable men now living in Fletestrete, Holebourne and
     Smythfeld, we have heard that certain butchers of the said
     city, giving no heed to our Ordinance, have slain large beasts
     within the said city and have thrown the blood and entrails
     thereof in divers places near Holbournebrigge and elsewhere in
     the suburb aforesaid, from which abominations and stenches, and
     the air affected thereby, sicknesses and very many other
     maladies have befallen our Officers aforesaid and other persons
     there dwelling to the no small damage of the same our Officers
     and others," etc.[85]

Political exigencies had led these justiciars, clerks in Chancery, and
"our other officers," to settle outside the city walls. London had been
a free city in Saxon times, and William the Conqueror had allowed its
privileges when, by issuing his famous charter, six inches by one of
parchment, he granted its burghers to be all "law-worthy."[86]
Successive monarchs had put their seal to further charters, renewing and
enlarging previous concessions, so that none of the King's men, whether
knight or clerk, might lodge within the city walls, nor might lodging be
taken by force, and all pleas of the Crown were to be determined
elsewhere. In 1191 the burghers obtained a "sworn Commune," after the
pattern of that of Rouen, and it became a boast that "come what may, the
Londoners shall have no King but their Mayor."[87]

Henry III., jealous of political control, constantly endeavoured, by
irritating Ordinances, to cripple the powers previously conferred. On
December 2nd, 1234, he issued a

     "Mandate to the Mayor and Sheriffs of London that they cause
     proclamation to be made through the whole city firmly
     forbidding that any should set up schools in the said city for
     teaching the laws there for the time to come; and that if any
     shall there set up such schools they cause them to cease
     without delay."

Whatever the reason of this mandate may have been, the result was that
the Inns of the apprentices-at-law became fixed in the suburb.

At that date, namely, 1234, the principal officer of the Crown was Ralph
Nevill, Bishop of Chichester, the King's Chancellor, who held land on
both sides of New Street, afterwards known as Chancery Lane, and who had
succeeded to the power and influence previously enjoyed by the
justiciar, Hubert de Burgh. This once powerful minister, who had been
Regent during Henry's minority, had himself held land in New Street. But
upon his disgrace and dismissal in 1232 he was deprived of it, and it
was granted

     "to the House which the King has founded in the street called
     Newstrate, between the Old Temple and the New Temple, for the
     support of the brethren converted, and to be converted, from
     Judaism to the Catholic faith, saving the garden which the King
     has already granted to Ralph, Bishop of Chichester, his

This house became the Rolls Office, and in after times, when the Master
of the Rolls became head of the Chancery clerks, the street became known
as Chancery Lane.

The Old Temple was in Holborn, and the property extended from the
north-eastern corner of Chancery Lane to Staple Inn, and possibly
further. The Knights Templars sold it about the year 1160 to the
Bishopric of Lincoln. Their round chapel, of which the round of the
present Temple Church is a replica, still retained its chaplain in 1222,
and its ruins were still existing in Queen Elizabeth's reign, quite
close to Staple Inn. In 1547 the bishopric had to resign the property to
John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, Great Chamberlain of England, afterwards
Earl of Northumberland,[89] who conveyed it in 1549 to the Chancellor,
Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. The eastern part of the
property was built upon in 1580 by William Roper, of Lincoln's Inn; and
in 1638 the then Earl received licence to demolish his house to make way
for eighty smaller houses and one tavern. The rotunda of the Birkbeck
Bank occupies the site of what was once Northumberland Court, and
Southampton Buildings now cover the grounds of Southampton House.

On the west side of Chancery Lane, or New Street, Ralph Nevill, the
Bishop of Chichester, possessed a house which became part of the third
and present Lincoln's Inn; but his garden was on the east side of
Chancery Lane, and was bounded on the north by a ditch, known in 1262 as
Chanceleresdich. This ditch separated his garden from certain property,
occupied one hundred years later by serjeants and apprentices of the
law, which may be conveniently designated the second Lincoln's Inn. It
was situated to the east of Staple Inn, where now is Furnival Street.

Dugdale describes Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, as a person well
affected to the study of the laws, who had gathered around him numbers
of students. This statement is probably correct, for in 1292, only six
years after the earl had bought the houses of the Black Friars, Edward
I. urges the same course upon his Chief Justice of Common Pleas. He
enjoins John Metyngham and his fellows, _et sociis suis_, to provide a
certain number of every county of the better and more legally and
liberally learned for the purpose of being trained to practise in the
Courts.[90] If the Earl of Lincoln had already brought students to
London, we may be fairly certain that many of them would have come from
his lands in Lincolnshire and North Wales. The second Lincoln's Inn
appears to have been much connected with the one, and Davy's Inn with
the other.

In the year 1252, Adam de Basing, then Mayor of London, held a block of
land, about 100 yards wide by 220 yards long, on the east side of Staple
Inn, part of which was leased to Roger the Smith, and part to Geoffrey
the Wheelwright. In 1269, Simon Faber, son and heir of Roger, granted a
portion of it, lying next to Staple Inn, to Simon the Marshall, "being
in breadth at the King's street on the north 12 ells of the iron ell of
King Henry," and 48 ells long, "for the yearly rent, to Thomas, son of
Adam de Basing, and his heirs, of 10s. sterling, and to Simon Faber and
his heirs one rose at the feast of the nativity of St. John
Baptist."[91] But Simon the Marshall accepted this grant only to make a
feoffment of the property at once to Gilbert de Lincoln, known also as
Gilbert de Haliwell and as Gilbert Proudphoet, a dealer in parchment,
_parmentarius_, who held it for thirty-three years; his wife, after his
death, holding it for another five. In 1307, William le Brewere and
William atte Gate, executors of Gilbert de Lincoln, sold the property,
with the buildings thereon, to John de Dodyngton, variously described as
parmentarius and skinner, _pelliparius_, for the sum of one hundred
shillings.[92] Within five years, in 1312, John de Dodyngton transferred
it to Robert le Hende de Worcester, also parmentarius and pelliparius,
who held it for twenty years; from whom it descended in the female line
to James Gylot, who in 1369 enfeoffed of it Roger de Podyngton, and Joan
his wife, "to hold to Roger and Joan, and the heirs and assigns of
Roger, of the chief lords of that fee by the accustomed services for
ever."[93] In the same year Roger and Joan "gave" it to Walter de
Barton, citizen and cordwainer of London, to hold under the same
conditions, in whose possession it remained for seventeen years, when he
granted a feoffment of it to Robert de Cherlton, Chief Justice of Common
Pleas, Richard the Mauncyple, John Sutton, John Aldurley, and John
Parkere,[94] who in the same year transferred it to the Abbot of
Malmesbury. By an Inquisition, _ad quod damnum_, held in May of that
year, for the purpose of determining whether the gift might be legally
made, it was stated that the property was held in burgage--_i.e._, town
tenure--of the King, and there are no means between the King and the
said Robert, etc.[95] The abbot allowed Walter de Barton and his
successors to remain in occupation, the monastery receiving the rents.

Though for thirty-three years it had been held by Gilbert de Lincoln,
this property did not form a part of what was called Lyncolnesynne. It
was partly a brewery and partly a hostel, and remained such until the
reign of Henry VIII.

The property east and south of this was, in the year 1262, held by
Geoffrey the Wheelwright. That part of it lying east had been leased
direct from Adam Basing; it extended from the King's Street to the "land
of the Conversi," and was 12 ells in width at the north, 10 ells in
width at the south, and 220 yards long. That part lying south had been
granted to Geoffrey by Simon Faber; it contained

     "in length from the ditch called _Chaunceleresdich_ towards the
     Church of the Conversi on the south as far as Simon's own
     curtilage on the north 31 perches of the perch of Henry III.,
     whereof each perch contains 16½ feet,"

and in width 11 ells of the said King;

     "to hold to Geoffrey, his heirs and assigns, of Adam Basing,
     for 2s. 8d. rent paid in the name of Simon, his heirs and
     assigns, and one rose at the nativity of S. John Baptist to
     Simon and his heirs."[96]

Adam de Basing gave this property to his daughter, Avice, wife of
William de Hadestok, Alderman of Tower Ward.[97] They had a daughter,
Joan, who married Adam Bidic, the King's tailor and custodian of the
assize of cloth,[98] who in 1291 granted it to William le Brewere and
Alice his wife.[99] It was described as stretching from the King's
Street on the north to the tenement of the Bishop of Chichester on the

     "to hold to William and Alice, their heirs and assigns, for the
     yearly rent of two marks and for suits of court and all other
     services wont to be done by Geoffrey, _le Whelwriste_, in the
     time of Adam Basing, formerly citizen of London."

The widow of William le Brewere, in 1315, granted the property to Robert
le Hende de Worcester, who already held the brewery on the west.[100] In
1334 the executors of Robert sold the property (exclusive of the
brewery) to Thomas de Lincoln of the Common Bench, the King's serjeant,
who is described as son of Thomas de Lincoln.[101] Three years before,
in 1331, Thomas de Lincoln had acquired from John de Totel de Lincoln
other property to the east of this, and in 1332 a garden also, to the
south-east, from Andrew Courtays, the Coupere. These three combined
properties formed the inn which came to be known as "Lyncolnesynne." On
the 11th January, 1348, Thomas Bedic, grandson of Adam de Bedic, granted
all his rights of lordship in this property to Thomas de Lincoln, who
thus became entire owner of it.

After holding it for thirty-two years, Thomas de Lincoln, on Sunday, 1st
December, 1364, granted it to John Claymond, Justice for County Lincoln,
Peter Turke, and Robert de Ditton, "to hold to them, their heirs and
assigns, of the chief lords of that fee by the accustomed
services."[102] These feoffees, two years afterwards, granted it to
William de Worston, Justice of County Wilts., Thomas Coubrigge, William
Camme, Vicar of Westport, Malmesbury, and Robert de Cherlton, Chief
Justice of Common Pleas; and they, two years later still, in 1369,
received letters patent of Edward III, granting them licence to assign
it to the Abbot and Convent of Malmesbury,

     "to hold to the Abbot and Convent and their successors _of the
     King, the chief lord of that fee, by the services belonging to
     those houses for ever_."[103]

To the east of this property of Lincoln's Inn there was, in 1295, "a
tenement with buildings thereon, and a curtilage adjacent," belonging to
the Knights Templars, which was then held by Simon le Webbe de Purtepol,
Bailiff of the Commonalty of the Guild of Weavers. Upon his death it
came into the possession of John Wymondeswolde, chaplain and
pelliparius, who in 1328 granted it to Robert the Marshall, citizen and
goldsmith of London

     "to hold to Robert, his heirs and assigns, of the chief lords
     of that fee, namely, the Prior of the Hospital of S. John of
     Jerusalem in England and the Brethren of the Hospital, by
     reason of the annulling of the Order of the Knights of the
     Temple, by the service of ten shillings yearly."[104]

This rent was reduced in 1336 to 6s. 8d., because the tenement was
ruinous, Robert the Marshall promising to rebuild it. Eventually, in the
year 1361, it came into the hands of Gaillard Pete, or Pecche, and
eighteen years afterwards he granted it to Robert de Cherlton, Chief
Justice of the Common Bench, John atte Mulle, chaplain, Thomas de
Worston, and William Camme, their heirs and assigns, "to hold of the
chief lord of that fee for the accustomed services."[105] They demised
it to the same Gaillard and Agnes his wife for their lives, with
remainder to Roger, son of Gaillard, for his life. And eight years
afterwards the Chief Justice and his fellow feoffees granted this
property also to the Abbot of Malmesbury.[106] In the Inquisition _ad
quod damnum_ already quoted, it is stated that "the messuage and garden
are held of the King by Gailard Pete," which seems to imply that the
Chief Justice and his fellows had been acting all along as trustees; and
it is also stated that

     "they are worth yearly according to their true value 13s. 4d.
     and not more because they are charged yearly to the Master of
     the Church of the New Temple within the Bar of London in 6s.
     8d. quit rent."

The Abbot of Malmesbury had now become possessed of three properties in
Holborn: the tenement of Walter Barton, next to Staple Inn, acquired in
1387; Lyncolnesynne, acquired in 1369; and the tenement of Gailard Pete,
acquired, like that of Walter Barton, in 1387. In the reign of Henry
VIII., at the dissolution of the monasteries, there was still at this
spot a chapel, a hall, a kitchen, and a "great garden," where the monks
had "liberty to walk" when they came to London; and the brewery also was
still in existence.[107]

In 1399 a rental of the property of the Convent of Malmesbury was drawn
up, in which the following items appear[108]:--

  "De Firmario novi hospicii apud Londoniam vocati        { VIII li.
                                                          { pro missa
  Lyncolnesynne ad iiii^{or} terminos solvendo per annum  { Abbatis

  De tenemento quondam Gaillardi Poet in Holbourne           XX s

  De tenemento quondam Walter Bartone Allutarii         XIII s IIII d"

Written in a different hand, with different coloured ink, at the bottom
margin of the page, and certainly of a later date, the following remarks
have been added:--

  "London         Hospicium Armigeri jam magnum hospitium
                    quod est ruinosum reddit per annum            XL s

  Tenura          Celda proxima annexa hospicio reddit per annum  IX s

  tenencium       Secunda celda reddit per annum                   X s

  infra silvam    Tertia celda reddit per annum                 VIII s

  magni hospicii  Quarta celda que est ..."

                                        [Here the page is cut away.]

The "Inn of the Esquire ... which is ruinous" of the marginal note is
obviously the same as the "Lyncolnesynne" of the original entry, with
the rent reduced from £8 to 40s. per annum. It is not possible to date
this note, but it was probably made in the fifteenth century. In 1422
the Society of Lincoln's Inn took what is believed to be their first
lease of the Bishop of Chichester property on the west side of Chancery
Lane; but the society existed before that date, as in the Corporation
letter books Thomas Broun is described as Maunciple of Lincoln's Inn,
under date of 1417. In 1466 the society was paying 9s. yearly to the
prior of St. Giles' Hospital for Lepers for another part of its
property; and no other rents, apparently, were being paid for any other
part on the west side of Chancery Lane. But in the _Black Books_ of that
Inn (vol. i., p. 8), under a date only sixteen years later than that of
their lease of the Bishop's Inn, the following entry occurs:--

     "In the vigil of the Apostles Peter and Paul 16 Henry VI.
     (1438) John Row delivered to John Fortescue and others in the
     name of the Society to be paid to ... Halssewylle _for the farm
     of Lyncollysyn_ in arrear for the 15th year (Henry VI.) in the
     time of Bartholomew Bolney then Pensioner in full payment 40s.
     out of money received by him."

The yearly rent for the farm of Lyncollysyn is the same, therefore, as
was paid for the ruinous "Hospicium Armigeri"; and in the fourteenth
century, as Foss has pointed out, the term "esquire" was often used as a
synonym for "serjeant." The _Black Books_ also show that in 1457 a
payment was made by the society to the gardener of Staple Inn, from
which Inn access could be easily obtained to the "great garden" in which
the "Hospicium Armigeri" was situated. It would seem not improbable,
therefore, that the second and third Lincoln's Inns may, in the year
1438, have been coexistent and under the same rule. But there is at
present no evidence that this same society was connected with the Inn
in Shoe Lane, which 130 years earlier had belonged to Henry de Lacy.

John Fortescue, who received the 40s. for payment to Halssewyll, became
serjeant in 1441 and Chief Justice of the King's Bench in 1442. In 1465
he wrote his famous work, _De Laudibus Legum Angliæ_, in which he says:

     "The laws are taught in a certain place of public study nigh to
     the King's Courts.... There are ten lesser houses or Inns (and
     sometimes more) which are called houses of Chancery, and to
     every one of them belongeth 100 students at least, who, as they
     grow to ripeness, are admitted into the greater Inns, called
     Inns of Court, of which there are four in number, and to the
     least of which belongeth 200 students or more."

It is clear, then, that the difference between the Inns of Court and
Inns of Chancery was recognised in 1465, and it is also certain that one
of those four Inns of Court was that to which he himself had belonged,
namely, Lincoln's Inn. The others were undoubtedly Gray's Inn and the
Inner and Middle Temples. We have seen that in 1387 Lincoln's Inn in
Holborn was held directly of the King; we shall find that the other Inns
of Court came to be similarly held.

In the year 1294, Reginald de Grey, a member of one of the leading
administrative and legal families, was Justiciar of Chester. He received
in that year from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's a feoffment of the
manor of Portpool, which they had received in mortmain from Richard de
Chyggewell, alderman and mercer of London. It is doubtful whether
Reginald de Grey lived here; it is more likely that he acquired the
property for the training of his clerks, having found himself under much
the same necessity as his contemporaries, Sir John de Metyngham and the
Earl of Lincoln. In 1296 he was in association with Prince Edward, as
one of the Regency, during the expedition of Edward I. to Flanders. In
1307 he died, when an inquisition was taken, at which the jurors
reported that Reginald le Grey was seized at Purtepol of a certain
messuage with gardens and one dove house worth 10s. a year, 30 acres of
arable land worth 20s. a year, price 8d. the acre, and a certain
windmill worth 20s. all held of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's.[109]

In 1316 his successor, Sir John de Grey, created a rent-charge on the
property in favour of the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew, in
Smithfield, to provide a chaplain to perform daily service in the chapel
of the manor; and at an inquisition held in that year, at the Stone
Cross in the parish of the Blessed Mary at the Strand, to know whether
it would be to the King's damage if he granted the necessary permission,
the jurors reported that the property was

     "holden of Robert de Chiggewelle by the service of rendering to
     the same Robert one rose yearly, and the same Robert holds the
     tenements, together with others, of the Dean and Chapter of St.
     Paul's, and the said Dean and Chapter hold the same of the king
     in pure and perpetual alms."[110]

The grandson of Sir John de Grey, another Reginald, died in 1370, and
was succeeded by Henry de Grey, under whom the first feoffment-in-trust
of this property that we know of took place. For when he died in 1397 it
was found by inquisition that Henry, Lord Grey de Wilton, held no land
in Middlesex, because by deed he had enfeoffed Roger Harecourt, Justice
for Co. Derby; John de Broughton, Escheator for the counties of Bucks
and Beds; William Danbury; John Boner, rector of the Church of Shirland
(one of the manors of the De Greys), and others, of his manor of
Portpoole, called Gray's Inn.[111] This was probably in 1371. Similar
feoffments-in-trust were made by successive Lords de Grey until 1506,
when Edmund, Lord de Grey of Wilton, sold the manor to Hugh Denys,
verger of Windsor Castle, and others, the said Hugh's feoffees.[112]

Hugh Denys died in 1511, and by his will he desired that all such
persons as had been feoffed of his manor of "Greysynte" should be seized
of it to the use of his heirs, "until such time as the Prior and Convent
of the Charterhouse at Shene, in the county of Surrey, have obtained of
the king's grace sufficient licence for the amortisement" of the manor
to them.[113] And five years later the necessary authority was granted,
the manor being described as having escheated to the King, "by the death
of Robert de Chiggewell without an heir," to be held to the annual value
of £6 13s. 4d.

At the dissolution of the monasteries the Benchers of Gray's Inn had to
pay this amount to the Crown, instead of to the Charterhouse at Shene.
Charles II. sold the rent to Sir Philip Matthews, and in 1733 the
Benchers purchased it from parties deriving title from his
co-heirs.[114] The hall of Gray's Inn dates from 1560; the chapel is of
unknown, but of ancient date.

The New Temple was in occupation by the Knights Templars before 1186.
They were bankers for the King, who sometimes lodged there. Their chapel
was the muniment house of the rolls of chancery; there the treasure and
regalia were stored; and there Parliaments and Courts, both criminal and
civil, were held. Naturally, they needed their own _fratres servientes_,
who were provided with food "at the clerks' tables," and yearly robes at
Christmas "of the suit of the free servants of the house."[115]

The chief lord was the Earl of Lancaster. But when the Knighthood was
suppressed, in 1308, their clerks were pensioned, and Edward II. granted
the property to Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, he receiving the
issues, but holding the manor of the lord, to whom, however, he made a
"quit claim" in October, 1314, the Pope having granted the possessions
of the Templars to the Knights of St. John. Upon the execution and
attainder of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, in 1322, the King gave the
lordship to Hugh le Despencer, who also obtained from the Prior of St.
John's a feoffment of the houses and appurtenances,[116] and on the
attainder of Hugh le Despencer, in 1327, the lordship and also the ferm
came into the hands of Edward III., who put William de Langeford, clerk
of the Prior and "chief servitor of the King's religion," in charge as
"fermor" at £24 yearly. He repaired the old houses for the King's clerks
to occupy;[117] and for some years following litigants coming into
chancery would take their oaths in the Temple Church; though sometimes
at this period they would attend in the church of St. Andrew in Holborn,
Thomas de Cotyngham, one of the Chancery clerks, then being rector
there. It was William de Langeford who, in 1335, took a lease from the
mayor and commonalty of "a piece of land" without Newgate "for making a
hall and three fit chambers at his own expense, for the sessions of the
Justices appointed to deliver Newgate Gaol."[118] This early Sessions
House is described as being in the King's high street, on the way
towards Holebourne. It would have stood at the north-west corner of the
present Newgate Street.

The Temple contained an inner consecrated area, which was occupied by
the Knights, and some houses adjacent on the west owned by them, but not
improbably occupied by students of the law. It appears that when the
manor was handed over to the Knights of St. John the King retained part
of it, which, however, in 1338, he allowed them to purchase for £100,
and from that date we read no more of the chancery being held in the
Temple Church. In gratitude to William de Langeford, whose services had
secured to the Order the restitution of their property, the prior
granted him a lease of "all their messuages and places of the sometime
Temple lying from the lane called Chauncellereslane to the Templebarre
without the gates of the New Temple." This lease was dated June 11th,
1339,[119] and the lawyers have held the property ever since.

The consecrated and secular areas may, perhaps, be the origin of the
division of the property into two Inns of Court; for the lease of 1339
obviously refers only to what is now known as the Middle Temple.

There is a tradition that the students of the Inner Temple came from
Davy's Inn, which could hardly have existed at that time under that
name, but it may be noted that in the records of that Inn it is stated,
under date of 1525, that "Master Barnardston is pardoned the office of
Steward because he executed the office of Principal of Davy's Inn at the
instance of this Society,"[120] thus showing that this Inn of Court had
the right in that year of supplying one of its own members to that

In 1521 the Prior of St. John's made complaint that the Society of the
Inner Temple was occupying his lands against his will; but at the
dissolution of the religious houses in 1541, the rentals became due to
the Crown; and James I., in his sixth year, granted the property to the
Benchers of the Middle and Inner Temples in perpetuity for a fixed
rental of £20,[121] their several moieties of which Charles II. allowed
them to purchase in 1673 and 1675 respectively.[122]

The "round" of the church was completed in 1185, the choir in 1240, and
the whole building was "restored" in 1842 at a cost of £70,000. The hall
of the Middle Temple was built in 1572, that of the Inner Temple in

The property on the west side of New Street, or Chancery Lane, had been
granted to, or acquired by, the Knights Templars. Henry III.'s
Chancellor, Ralph Nevill, Bishop of Chichester, died at his house there
in 1244, and the King arbitrarily authorised his Treasurer, William de
Haverhill, to secure the property upon the Chancellor's death, so that
neither the Templars nor any other person should lay hands on it.[123]
To the north of it was a garden once held by William Cottrell, which he
had given to the Knights of St. John, who in turn had given it to St.
Giles' Hospital for Lepers.[124] In the year 1310, when Henry de Lacy,
Earl of Lincoln, died, another Bishop of Chichester, John de Langton,
was Chancellor, and was occupying the Inn of the see, whilst the
hospital of St. Giles was still receiving rent for Cottrell's garden. No
Black Friars house, therefore, ever existed here, nor did Henry de Lacy
die here; and all traditions to the contrary can be disproved.

In 1422 the Society of Lincoln's Inn, coming probably from Holborn, took
a lease of the Bishop of Chichester's property, and afterwards a lease
of Cottrell's garden. In 1537 Bishop Sampson sold the house and land
belonging to the see to William and Eustace Sulyard, members of the Inn,
from whom it descended to Edward Sulyard, who sold it in 1579 to the
society. Subscriptions for this purchase were received by the Benchers,
as is evident from the will of Sir Roger Cholmeley, dated 1565, who gave
to certain trustees a house in Newgate Market "to hold to them and their
heirs for ever towards the purchase of Lincoln's Inn and in the mean
season towards the repairs of the same."[125] The hall of this Inn was
pulled down and rebuilt in 1489; but since then, in 1845, a new hall,
Gothic in character, and of great dignity and beauty, has been erected.
The chapel, by Inigo Jones, dates from 1621, and the fine old gateway
from 1518.

The Inns of Chancery were at first independent of the four Inns of
Court, but, inasmuch as serjeants were chosen only from the latter, it
became the custom for students in the lesser Inns, when "they came to
ripeness," as Fortescue puts it, to enter one of the higher Inns if they
desired advancement. Gradually each Inn of Court took special interest
in certain of the lesser Inns, by sending to them Readers and by other
marks of patronage, until an impression came to exist, which was much
strengthened by various Orders in Council, that a certain governorship
of one over the other was a normal, legal, and time-honoured
institution. And in a few instances the Inns of Court put the coping
stone to this theory by purchasing the property of those lesser Inns, of
which they were the patrons. Thus Lincoln's Inn bought Furnival's on
December 16th, 1547, having previously held a lease of it, and Davy's on
November 24th, 1548; and the Inner Temple bought Lyon's Inn in 1581,
which they sold in 1863, the Globe Theatre being built upon its site.

It is doubtful whether Furnival's Inn was ever occupied by the Lords
Furnival. In 1331 the property belonged to Roger atte Bowe, a
wool-stapler, who died in that year, leaving his tenements in Holbourne
and a garden in Lyverounelane to his children. How or when it came into
the hands of the De Furnivals is not known; but in 1383 an inquisition
_post mortem_ was taken by the Mayor, at which the jurors recorded that

     "William Furnyvall, knight, did not die seised of any lands or
     tenements in the city of London nor in the suburbs thereof. But
     that in his life time he was seised of two shops and 13
     messuages with appurtenances in the street called Holbourne in
     the suburb of London situated between a tenement of Jordain de
     Barton on the east (_he was a Chauff-cier, i.e., an officer of
     Chancery who prepared the wax for the sealing of writs to be
     issued_) and a tenement of John Tonyngton on the west and which
     formerly belonged to Roger atte Bogh. And William de Furnyvale
     enfeoffed William Savage, parson of the church of Handsworth
     and John Redesere, chaplain, of the aforesaid messuages and
     shops to hold to them, their heirs and assigns for ever and
     they are still thereof seised. And the messuages and shops are
     worth 100s. and are held in free burgage of the king by the
     service of 11s. 4d. for all services. William Furnyvall died
     12th April last past. Joan his daughter, wife of Thomas Nevill,
     is his nearest heir, aged 14 years and 6 months."[126]

William de Furnival had succeeded his brother in 1364. Six years before
he died--namely, in 1377--he was reported to be feeble and infirm, and
it seems most probable from the above inquisition that his Inn was
occupied by clerks. Maude, the heiress of Thomas de Neville, married
John Talbot, Lord Strange of Blackmere, who was summoned to Parliament
as Lord Furnival in 1442, and created Earl of Shrewsbury in 1446. His
son, John Talbot, second Earl, was also Treasurer of England. The fifth
Earl, Francis Talbot, sold the property in 1547, then in a ruinous
condition, to the Society of Lincoln's Inn,[127] who, after holding it
for nearly 340 years, sold it to the Prudential Assurance Company, in
1888, who demolished it for their present offices. John Staynford was
principal of the Inn in 1425, and John Courtenay in 1450. It was
sometimes called an Inn of Court,[128] and had its own chapel, which,
however, was in St. Andrew's Church.[129] A coloured drawing of its
quaint little Hall, built in 1588, is in the Guildhall Library.

Barnard's Inn, situated to the east of the second Lincoln's Inn, and
opposite to Furnival's Inn, was so named from one Lionel Barnard, who
was in occupation of it in 1435. But the real owner was John Mackworth,
who was Dean of Lincoln from 1412 to 1451. He had inherited it probably
from his brother, Thomas Mackworth, of Mackworth, co. Derby, who in
1431 became owner, having married Alice de Basing.[130] At an
inquisition _ad quod damnum_ held February 2nd, 1454, permission was
given to Thomas Atkyn, citizen of London,

     "An executor of the will of John Macworthe, Dean of Lincoln
     Cathedral, to assign a messuage in Holbourne called Macworth
     Inne, now commonly called Barnard's Inne, to the Dean and
     Chapter of the aforesaid Cathedral towards this work,
     extraordinary fees were raised, and divine service in the
     Chapel of St. George, in the southern part of the said church,
     where the body of the said John is buried, for the soul of the
     said John for ever, in part satisfaction of £20 of land which
     Edward III. licenced the said Dean and Chapter to acquire. The
     said messuage is held of the king in free burgage as is the
     whole city of London and is worth yearly beyond deductions six
     marks (£4) and there is no mean between the king and the said
     Thomas Atkyn; whether he has enough of lands, &c, to support
     all dues and services, &c., remaining after the said donation
     and assignment or whether he will be able to be sworn on
     assizes as before this donation the jurors are thoroughly
     ignorant; but the country will not by this donation in defect
     of the said Thomas be burdened."[131]

This Inn became attached to Gray's Inn. In 1894 the Dean and Chapter of
Lincoln Cathedral sold it to the Mercers' Company for the Mercers'
School, and the old hall of the Inn is now used as a dining-room for the

Brooke House, to the west of Furnival's Inn, stood where now is Brooke
Street, and was probably at one time an Inn for lawyers. In the reign of
Henry V. it was held by John Gascoigne, who demised it to Justice
Richard Hankeford,[132] who died in 1431, and whose heir, Thomasina,
married Sir William Bourchier, brother of the Treasurer Henry, Earl of
Essex. In 1480 his descendant, Fulk Bourchier, died, and it was found
that he had enfeoffed John Sapcote and Guy Wollaston, esquires of the
King's body (_pro corpore domini Regis_), and others, of his property in
Holborn.[133] His descendant, John Bourchier, was created Earl of Bath
in 1536, and in 1623 Bath House passed into the possession of Lord
Brooke and took his name.

The earliest evidence yet obtained respecting the name of Staple Inn is
in the will of Richard Starcolf, a wool-stapler, which was proved in the
Court of Hustings on February 14th, 1334, and dated July 22nd, 1333,
wherein he bequeaths his tenement in Holborn, called _le Stapled halle_,
to be sold for pious uses.[134] No less than four _stapled halles_ are
known to have been in existence, at this time, at various trade gates of
the city, and the meaning of the title has been much discussed.


_From an old print published in 1800_.]

Richard Starkulf was a Norfolk man of Danish origin, and was admitted to
the freedom of the city of London in 1310. He is described as a mercer,
but no mercer could carry on his trade in those days without belonging
to a staple. After his death, as his son Thomas was still a minor, his
lands were placed in the custody of William de Hampton, of Shrewsbury,
controller of the customs in the King's staple there, and to Richard de
Elsyng, another mercer. But the tenement of _le Stapled halle_, which he
directed should be sold, came into the hands of William de Elsyng,[135]
also a wool-stapler, a brother of Richard, and the founder of St. Mary's
Hospital, commonly known as Elsyng Spital. Five years later, when
William de Elsyng made further gifts to the hospital, an inquisition was
held to know if the gift might be made without injury to anyone, and
thereat some interesting particulars respecting his Holborn property
were recorded. We are told that

     "there remains to William a tenement in the parish of St.
     Andrew of Holbourne which is worth yearly in all its issues
     100s.; thence should be subtracted 3s. 4d. quit rent yearly to
     the church of St. Paul, London, and 6s. 8d. for yearly repairs,
     the clear value thus being £4 10s.; which tenement (with
     others), remaining after the aforesaid assignment are held of
     the king in free burgage as is the whole of the aforesaid city
     and are sufficient for the maintenance of all dues and services
     and William can be put on assizes, juries and recognisances as
     before his assignment."[136]

The next person to hold Staple Inn was Thomas de Brenchesle.[137] No
record of his appointment to any duties at Holborn Bars has been
discovered, but on April 12th, 1343, he was ordered to "attach" Thomas
Tirwhitt, of Pokelynton,

     "who has taken without the realm twelve sarples of wool
     uncustomed and uncoketed (_i.e._, unsealed), as the king is
     certainly informed, and bring him before the council with all
     speed to answer for his contempt."[138]

And on April 1st, 1349, Thomas de Brynchesle was ordered,

     "upon pain of forfeiture, to be at Westminster with all the
     evidence in his possession for the time when he was appointed
     with others to supervise the state of the king's staple in
     Flanders, before the king and his council on the morrow of the
     close of Easter next, to inform them of things that will be set
     forth to him."[139]

It seems apparent, then, that Staple Inn was not unconnected in those
days with the staple of wool.

The Ordinance of the Staple was issued in 1313,[140] but there are good
grounds for believing that long before this date the site was already in
use as a custom house and wool court. The ordinance was embodied in a
statute of the realm in 1353.[141] London was no longer mentioned as a
staple, Westminster being substituted, the bounds of which were defined
as commencing at Temple Bar, and ending at Tothill.[142] But it is
likely that the Inn at Holborn Bars was still occupied by attorneys who
practised for their patrons of the Staple, and that the Merchants for
Wools still had their meetings there. In 1401 Hamond Elyot sued a
plaint of debt against Martyn Dyne, of Haydon, Norfolk, for the sum of
£26 2s. 3d., in the Court of Staple at Westminster;[143] and one hundred
years later, John Dyne, his descendant, also of Haydon, Norfolk, was a
member of Staple Inn. In his will, proved 1505, he gives the names of
the company of the Inn. Edmund Paston, grandson of the Judge, was a
member in 1467, and we learn from one of his letters that the Inn had a
Principal at that date.

In 1529, John Knighton and Alice, his wife, daughter of John Copwode of
the Remembrancer's Office of the Exchequer, sold the inheritance of the
Inn to the Ancients of Gray's Inn, after which there were other
feoffments in trust, the last of which, that we know of, dated June 4th,
1622, being that of Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, to Edward Moseley,
Attorney of the Duchy of Lancaster and others, Readers of Gray's Inn,
"to hold to them, their heirs and assigns of the chief lords of that fee
by the services thence due and of right accustomed."[144] The society
eventually became its own master, and in 1811 had no connection whatever
with Gray's Inn. It was dissolved in 1884, when its property was sold to
a firm of auctioneers, who parted with it in the same year, the
Government buying the southern portion for an extension of the Patent
Office, and the Prudential Assurance Company the remainder. The lawyers
still congregate there; the only difference being a change of landlords,
though the hall has been leased to the Institute of Actuaries. The
frontage of the Inn dates from 1570 and 1586, the hall from 1581.

[Illustration: MIDDLE TEMPLE HALL.]

Davy's Inn is most probably the correct name of the Inn, which for three
centuries past has unaccountably, possibly through Stow's mistake, gone
by the name of Thavies Inn. No record has yet been found earlier than
the reign of Queen Elizabeth in which the name of this Inn is any other
than Davy's or David's. The will of John Davy was proved in the Court of
Hustings in 1398.[145] He desired to be buried in the church of St.
Andrew. To Alice, his wife, he left his lands and tenements in Holborn
for life, with remainder to John Osbern and his wife, Emma, testator's
daughter, in tail; with remainder in trust for the maintenance of a
chantry in St. Mary's Chapel in the church of St. Andrew. The annual
proceeds of this latter bequest were still being received by the church
in the reign of Henry VIII. The testator was an attorney, and his name
occurs in many legal documents relating to Holborn in the reign of
Edward III.; he was also associated with others of the neighbourhood in
various pavage commissions. It is quite possible, however, and probable,
that the Inn which bore his name was an Inn long before his time. It was
bought by Lincoln's Inn in 1548, and sold in 1769. It has since been

New Inn, in the Strand, also called St. Mary's Inn, was a guest Inn,
says Sir George Buck, writing in 1615, hired by Sir John Fineux, Chief
Justice of King's Bench, in the reign of Edward IV., for £6 per annum,
to place therein those students who were lodged in "la Baillie," in a
house called St George's Inn, near the upper end of St. George's Lane.
In the year 1348 the will of John Tavy, armourer, was proved in the
Court of Hustings.[146] He therein orders that after the decease of his
wife an Inn, where the apprentices were wont to dwell, should be sold,
and the proceeds devoted to the maintenance of a chantry. These
apprentices are not in the original will described as _ad legem_, but
these words have crept into a subsequent transcription. The testator
was, in 1342, one of the four members of the Company of Armourers
appointed by the mayor and aldermen, and sworn to observe and supervise
the then new regulations respecting the making and selling of
armour.[147] He would certainly have had his apprentices, and it may be
he referred to them in his will. He would have been a member of the
Fraternity or Guild of St. George of the men of the Mistery of
Armourers, St. George being the Armourers' patron saint. This fact seems
to suggest that his Inn became St. George's Inn, which would have stood
not far from the Sessions House, built by William de Langeford.

The _Six Clerks Inn_, formerly Herfleet's Inn, and then Kidderminster
Inn, was on the west side of Chancery Lane, opposite the Rolls Office,
and was probably an Inn of Chancery, though unattached, at a very early
date. In 1454 Nicholas Wymbyssh, one of the clerks of the King's
Chancery, assigned it to the prior of Necton Park, co. Lincoln, to hold
of the King in free burgage.[148] It was then in the parish of St.
Dunstan. It acquired the name of Kidderminster Inn from John
Kidderminster, one of the society, who purchased it at the time of the
dissolution of the monastery. In the eighteenth century the Six Clerks
Inn Society moved to the north-western end of Chancery Lane. Stone
Buildings, part of Lincoln's Inn, now occupies the site.

_Cursitors' Inn_, also in Chancery Lane, was sometimes known as Bacon's
Inn, having been founded, in 1574, by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of
the Great Seal. In 1478 it was known as _the Bores hedde_, and then
consisted of one tenement and a large garden, about two and a half acres
in extent, bounded on the north by the grounds of the Old Temple and of
Staple Inn; on the east by that property of the Convent of Malmesbury
which had formerly been known as "Lyncolnesynne"; and on the south by a
lane now known as Cursitor Street. The rent was then being paid to the
Corporation of the City of London, who were probably feoffees of the
bishopric of Lincoln; but in 1561 they purchased it of Edward VI., into
whose hands it had come at the dissolution of chantries and chapels; and
they, in 1574, granted it to Sir Nicholas Bacon,[149] who there housed
the cursitor clerks. There were twenty-four cursitor clerks--_i.e._,
Clerks of the Course--whose business was to draw up the writs. The
Cursitor Baron administered the oaths to the sheriffs, bailiffs, and
officers of the Customs, etc. Cursitor Street perpetuates the name of
the Inn.

_Clifford's Inn_, adjacent to, and south of, the House of Converts, came
into the hands of Edward I. in 1298, for the debts of Malcolm de Harley,
Escheator on this side Trent. The Earl of Richmond was placed in custody
of it, but in 1310 Edward II. gave it to Robert de Clifford, a customs'
officer of the Wool Staple, and Marshal of England.[150] When he died in
1316 a third of it only was granted to his widow. During the nonage of
the heir in 1345, Edward III. put his clerk, David de Wollore, who was
also Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery, in charge of the property.[151] It
is said to have possessed its society at this period. It passed from the
Clifford family in June, 1468, when a grant was made to "John Kendale,
Esq., and his heirs male, of Clifford Inne, late of John Clifford,
knight, late Lord Clifford, by reason of forfeiture."[152] The Society
of Clifford's Inn was the last of the Inns of Chancery to dissolve.

Clement's Inn, an Inn of Chancery attached to the Inner Temple, was
divided within recent years from New Inn, which belonged to the Middle
Temple, only by iron railings with a gate. Its origin is unknown, but
its name connects it either with St. Clement's Church, or St. Clement's
Well. It was certainly in existence before the time of Henry VII.

_Lyon's Inn_ is said to have been an Inn of Chancery in the time of
Henry V., but the evidence on this point is uncertain. It was situated
in Newcastle Street, Strand, and was attached to the Inner Temple, who
bought it in 1581. The Aldwych improvements have wiped out the Globe
Theatre which had succeeded it.

Besides the Inns of Court and Chancery, there existed also Inns for
Judges and Serjeants, of which the most important were Scrope's Inn,
opposite to St. Andrew's Church, in Holborn, and the two Serjeants' Inns
in Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, which, however, cannot be treated of

Documents of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries make it quite clear
that Staple Inn, Furnival's Inn, Brooke House, and, of course, the old
Inn of the Earl of Lincoln, in Shoe Lane, were all within the city
boundaries. It was not until December, 1645, that the House of Lords
passed a resolution that the Inns of Court were to form a province by
themselves,[153] and the resolution was interpreted to cover also their
Inns of Chancery dependencies, so that Furnival's Inn and Staple Inn
became cut off from the city, and all the Inns became extra-parochial.

It will have been noticed that the properties of the Inns of Court, and
most of the Inns of Chancery, came to be held directly of the King. The
legal artifice of feoffment to "uses" was adopted in regard to most of
these properties; but though the feoffees were chiefly legal persons,
they did not apparently always represent the societies; nor is it quite
clear whom they did represent; but the societies had no security of
tenure until they purchased their respective properties.


_From a drawing by T. H. Shepherd._]

It has been shown that the deep hollow, at the bottom of which flowed
the stream of Holborn, formed a natural barrier between the walled city
and its suburb. It also divided the guilds and trade associations of
London from that plexus of schools of laws which at first radiated from
Holborn Bars. The guilds recognised the leading of the Mayor and
Commonalty; the schools of law looked for direction chiefly to the law
officers of the Crown. In Florence, and other cities of the Middle Ages,
the associations of judges, attorneys, and wool-merchant lawyers were as
much a part of civic and communal life as any other guild; the different
conditions which existed in England led to different consequences.

But the hold which the King's officers obtained, both over the machinery
of the Courts and over the voluntary societies of law students, was the
cause, no doubt, of the attempts which were made during the Tudor and
early Stuart periods to organise all the Inns of Court and Chancery into
a University of Law. Those attempts failed; chiefly through the lack of
wisdom displayed in issuing arbitrary and meddlesome Orders in Council,
instead of allowing unification to mature on those natural and voluntary
lines which had already been laid down.

Now the Inns of Chancery have practically vanished, leaving the Inns of
Court to monopolise all the glory of the great future which undoubtedly
still lies before them.


[75] _Inq. ad quod damnum_, 46 Hen. III., file ii., No. 47.

[76] _Duchy of Lancaster, Ancient Deeds_, L. 132-140.

[77] _Close Rolls_, 14 Ed. I., m. 2d.

[78] _Court of Hustings Wills_, R. R. Sharpe.

[79] _Survey of London_, pp. 32, 33. John Stow, reprint, 1876.

[80] _Patent Rolls_, 16 Ed. II., pt. i., m. 31.

[81] _Inq. p.m. Chan._, 20 Ed. IV., 99.

[82] _Feet of Fines_, London Trin., 44 Eliz.

[83] _Ancient Deeds_, B. 2191.

[84] _Placita Parl._, 35 Edw. I.

[85] _Memorials of London_, p. 357. H. T. Riley, 1868.

[86] _Historical Charters_, W. De Gray Birch.

[87] _The Commune of London_, J. H. Round.

[88] _Charter Rolls_, 19 Hen. III., m. ii.

[89] _Pat. Rolls_, 1 Ed. VI., pt. vi., m. 37.

[90] _Rot. Parl._, vol. i., p. 84, No. 22.

[91] _Chart. Convent of Malmesbury, Cotton MS._ Faust., B. viii., f.

[92] _Ibid._, ff. 245, 245b.

[93] _Ibid._, f. 248.

[94] _Chart. Convent of Malmesbury, Cotton MS._ Faust., B. viii., f.

[95] _Ibid._, ff. 239, 239b, 195b, 192.

[96] _Ibid._, f. 157b.

[97] _Ancient Deeds_, B. 2264.

[98] _Pat. Rolls_, 24 Ed. I., m. 17.

[99] _Cotton MS._, Faust., B. viii., f. 159.

[100] _Ibid._, f. 160b.

[101] _Ibid._, f. 161.

[102] _Ibid._, f. 162b.

[103] _Cotton MS._, Faust., B. viii., ff. 164b, 163b.

[104] _Ibid._, f. 165.

[105] _Ibid._, f. 168b.

[106] _Ibid._, f. 265b.

[107] _Augmentation Office Grants_, 36 Hen. VIII., No. 105.

[108] _Cotton MS._, Faust., B. viii., f. 253b.

[109] _Inq. p.m._; 1 Edw. II., 54, m. 11.

[110] _Inq. ad quod dam._, 8 Ed. II., 169.

[111] _Inq. p. m._, 44 Ed. III., 30, m. 16.

[112] _Close Rolls_, 22 Hen. VII., pt. ii.

[113] _Home Counties Mag._, Jan., 1904.

[114] _Gray's Inn_, p. 18. W. R. Douthwaite.

[115] _Close Rolls_, 5 Ed. II., m. 2.

[116] _Pat. Rolls_, 12 Ed. III., pt. i., m. 34.

[117] _Pat. Rolls_, 6 Ed. III., pt. iii., m. 9.

[118] _Ibid._, 9 Ed. III., pt. ii., m. 27.

[119] _Patent Rolls_, 13 Ed. III., pt. ii., m. 29.

[120] _Inner Temple Records_. F. A. Inderwick.

[121] _Close Rolls_, 165i, pt. x., No. 35.

[122] _Ibid._, 25 Chas. II., 5, m. 14, and 28 Chas. II., 6, m. 31.

[123] _Close Rolls_, Hen. III., 58, m. 15.

[124] _Harl. MS._, No. 4015, f. 198 vo.

[125] _Inq. p. m. Chan._, 8 Eliz., pt. i., No. 85.

[126] _Inq. p. m._, 6 Rich. II., No. 41.

[127] _Fines_, 1 Ed. VI., Hil.

[128] _P.C.C._ Humphry Cade, 21 Nodes.

[129] _Ibid._, John Devereux, 47, Alen.

[130] _Notes and Queries_, ser. vii., vol. ii.

[131] _Inq. ad quod dam._, 32 Hen. VI., file 451, No. 37.

[132] _Inq. p. m. Chan._, Series i., 9 Hen. VI., 54.

[133] _Inq. p. m._, 20 Ed. IV., No. 65.

[134] _Court of Hustings Wills._ R. R. Sharpe.

[135] _Cotton MS._, Faust., B. viii., ff. 247, 247b, 248.

[136] _Inq. ad quod dam._, 247, No. 14.

[137] _Cotton MS._, Faust., B. viii., f. 248.

[138] _Pat. Rolls_, 17 Ed. III., pt. i., m. 25d.

[139] _Close Rolls_, 23 Ed. III., m. 20d.

[140] _Pat. Rolls_, 6 Ed. II., pt. ii., m. 5.

[141] _Stat. of Realm_, 27 Ed. III., ii., c. i.

[142] _Rolls of Parl._, xxxiii., 28 Ed. III.

[143] _Selden Soc._, vol. x., 53.

[144] _Gray's Inn Pension Book_, p. 247. R. J. Fletcher.

[145] _Court of Hustings Wills._ R. R. Sharpe.

[146] _Ibid._

[147] _Memorials of London._ H. T. Riley.

[148] _Inq. ad quod dam. Chan._, f. 451, No. 36.

[149] _Add. MS._ 25,590.

[150] _Pat. Rolls_, 3 Ed. II., mm. 19, 8.

[151] _Ibid._, 19 Ed. III., part iii., mm. 3, 11; 20 Ed. III., part i.,
m. 25.

[152] _Ibid._, 8 Ed. IV., part i., m. 12.

[153] _Lords' Journals_, viii., p. 50.



Guildhall, the home of civic government and the battle-ground of many a
hard-won fight for civil and religious liberty, was built anew by the
self-denying efforts of a generation of London citizens just five
hundred years ago. This great work took ten years and more in building,
and, like its sister edifices of still earlier days, the Tower of
London, London Bridge, and Westminster Hall, tested to the utmost the
energy and resources of the Londoners of those times. We learn from
Fabyan, the alderman chronicler, that the building was begun in the year
1411 by Thomas Knowles, then mayor, and his brethren the aldermen. He
tells us:--

     "The same was made of a little cottage a large and great house
     as now it standeth, towards the charges whereof the companies
     gave large benevolences; also offences of men were pardoned for
     sums of money church for the maintenance of a chaplain to
     celebrate fines, amercements, and other things employed."

[Illustration: THE GUILDHALL.]

King Henry V., in 1415--the year of his famous victory at
Agincourt--granted the City free passage for four boats by water, and as
many carts by land, to bring lime, ragstone, and freestone for the work
at Guildhall. Private citizens also came forward with contributions. The
executors of Sir Richard Whittington, in 1422-3, gave two sums of £60
and £15 for paving the hall with Purbeck stone, and glazed some of the
windows, placing in each the arms of Whittington. The rest of the
windows in the hall and many of those in its various courts were glazed
by various aldermen. So much of this ancient glass as survived the
iconoclasm of the Commonwealth period was swept away by the Great Fire.
The two handsome louvres which formed such conspicuous objects on the
roof of the building were given by Alderman Sir William Hariot during
his mayoralty in 1481. The mayor's chamber, council chamber, and several
rooms above were built in 1425-6. An important part of the building was
still wanting, for the mayors could not keep their feasts at the
Guildhall until the time of Sir John Shaa. Under his leadership, and by
the help of the Fellowships of the City, wealthy widows, and other
well-disposed persons, the kitchens and other necessary offices were
completed for use at his mayoralty feast in 1501. Since that year these
famous banquets, which had till then been held in Merchant Taylors'
Hall, or Grocers' Hall, have regularly taken place at the Guildhall.

On Tuesday, 4th September, 1666, in the course of the Great Fire, the
Guildhall was ablaze, and its oak roof entirely destroyed. Vincent
describes its appearance in his little book, _God's Terrible Voice to
the City_:

     "That night the sight of Guildhall was a fearfull spectacle,
     which stood the whole body of it for several hours together,
     after the fire had taken it without flames (I suppose because
     the timber was such solid oake) in a bright shining coale as if
     it had been a palace of gold or a great building of burnished

After the Fire the original open roof was not rebuilt, but the walls
were raised an additional storey, the ceiling covering this being flat
and square panelled; eight circular windows on each side were added.
This poor substitute for a roof was built, as Elmes states, "in haste
and for immediate use, and evidently a temporary covering." It lasted,
nevertheless, nearly two hundred years, until in 1861 the plans for a
new open roof corresponding with the original design of the Guildhall
were approved by the Corporation. The dimensions of this magnificent
building are 152 feet in length, 49 feet 6 inches in width, and 89 feet
in height, from the pavement to the ridge of the roof.

In the angles at the west end of the hall, on lofty pedestals, are the
celebrated figures of the giants Gog and Magog. They have been believed
by some to be Gogmagog and Corinæus, two mystical personages who were
said to have fought together in some of those imaginary conflicts
between the Trojans and the early inhabitants of Britain, which are
recorded by monkish chroniclers of the Middle Ages. These figures were
made by Captain Richard Saunders, a noted carver in King Street,
Cheapside, and were put up about the year 1708. They took the place of
two old wicker-work giants, which it had formerly been the custom to
carry in procession at the mayoralty pageants.

The basement of the Guildhall consists of two crypts, which extend
beneath the full length of the hall above. The eastern crypt is entirely
vaulted and divided into three aisles by two rows of clustered columns
of Purbeck marble, the intersections of the vaulting being covered with
a most curious series of carved bosses representing flowers, heads, and
shields. This crypt, which, fortunately, escaped the Great Fire, is the
finest and most extensive undercroft remaining in London, and for
excellence of design and sound preservation may be considered a unique
example of its kind. For many years it was neglected and choked with
rubbish, which covered its floors to the depth of several feet. In 1851
it was restored to its original condition, and was used as a supper-room
for H.M. Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort on the 9th July, when the
Corporation entertained the leading persons associated with the Great
Exhibition held in that year. On that occasion it was fitted up as a
baronial hall, the valuable plate lent by the City Companies being
displayed upon an oak sideboard. Around each of the columns stood men
clad in armour brought from the Tower of London, each holding a torch of
gas for lighting the crypt. A charming feature of the decoration was the
treatment of the passage in the western crypt--this was filled with
trees and flowers of various kinds, and hundreds of singing birds were
let free, thus giving the appearance of a forest glade in summer-time.
There is no evidence that this crypt was appropriated to any special use
in former times, but to-day it serves the useful, if unromantic, purpose
of a kitchen for preparing the mayoralty banquet on the historic ninth
of November.

The western crypt, which is separated from that just described by a
massive wall of contemporary date, has a roof of arched brickwork
dating, probably, from the period of the Great Fire. It is doubtful
whether it ever formed an open chamber, and it is now, with the
exception of its central passage, entirely devoted to cellarage. In one
of its deeply-recessed windows were discovered, in 1902, together with
some mediæval stone coffin-lids, some portions of the famous Cheapside
cross, which was pulled down by order of the Long Parliament in 1643.
These fragments, which were removed to the Guildhall Museum, bear the
sculptured arms and badges of King Edward I. and his consort Queen
Eleanor. The cross was taken down at the request of the Corporation,
and, doubtless, by their officials, the mutilated fragments being
removed to Guildhall, where these two pieces evidently lay for over 250

On the south side of the Guildhall, and providing an entrance to it from
Guildhall Yard, is a large Gothic porch, or archway. This last addition
to the hall, erected in 1425, was one of its most beautiful features,
and has been preserved, practically uninjured, to the present day. The
porch consists of two bays of groined vaulting, the walls having
deeply-recessed moulded and traceried panelling, and being provided
with a convenient seat throughout their length on either side. The front
of the porch was materially altered in the reign either of Elizabeth or
James I., so that we cannot form a complete idea of its magnificent
appearance. It was ornamented with seven finely sculptured statues,
representing at the top our Saviour, a little below Law and Learning,
and lower still, flanking the doorway on either side, Discipline,
Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. The statue of our Saviour
disappeared at an early date, but the other six figures may still be in
existence, for they were presented by the Corporation, in 1794, to Banks
the sculptor, at whose death, in 1809, they were purchased for £100 by
Henry Bankes, M.P. for Corfe Castle. The present front of the Guildhall,
of which the east wing was removed in 1873, was built by George Dance,
the City Architect, in 1789.


Guildhall Chapel, or College, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen and All
Saints, stood in the north-east corner of Guildhall Yard, immediately
adjoining the Guildhall. The chapel is said to have been built at the
end of the thirteenth century, when Adam Franceys and Peter Faulore
obtained licence from Edward III. to convey a piece of land for the
erection of houses for the custos and chaplains of this college. The
original building became in course of time too small for the
requirements of the citizens, and in 1429, when the new Guildhall was
nearing completion, a new chapel was built. This beautiful building,
though injured and defaced, was not destroyed in the Great Fire of
London, and continued to be used as a chapel until the latter part of
the eighteenth century, when its religious services were discontinued.
The chapel was then devoted to secular use, and became the Court of
Requests until its final demolition in 1822 to make room for the new Law
Courts. The great charm of this building was its beautiful western
front, which faced the Guildhall Yard. This was adorned with three
canopied niches containing statues of Edward VI., Elizabeth, and Charles
I. (now preserved in the Guildhall Library), and with a glorious west
window of seven lights, a perfect example of the Perpendicular style.
Adjoining the chapel on the south was Blackwell Hall, which was for so
many centuries the great Cloth Mart of the city.

Among the religious services which formed so bright a feature in ancient
civic life those of the Guildhall Chapel held an important place.
Besides their attendances at the Cathedral, at Paul's Cross, and at the
'Spital, the Lord Mayor and his brethren, with the City officers,
attended Divine service at this chapel on Michaelmas Day before the
election of a new Lord Mayor, and on many other occasions throughout the
year. The sermons preached on these occasions were printed, and form
quite a large body of civic homiletics, many of the preachers being men
of great fame and reputation. The practice of attending the Mass of the
Holy Spirit (for which a celebration of Holy Communion with sermon is
now substituted) was revived, if not originated, by the celebrated Sir
Richard Whittington on the day of his own election as Lord Mayor in

Another of the good deeds of this worthy mayor was the foundation,
through his executor, of a library to be attached to the Guildhall
College, under the custody of one of its chaplains. This was duly
carried out in 1425 by the erection of a separate building of two
floors, well supplied with books "for the profit of the students there,
and those discoursing to the common people." This public library, which
appears to have been the first of its kind in England, had,
unfortunately, but a brief existence, _all_ of its books having been
"borrowed" in 1550 by the Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector, by whom, as
we learn from Stow the historian, they were never returned. The loss has
since been, to some extent, supplied by the present library, founded at
Guildhall in 1824, and rebuilt in 1873.

In the reign of Henry VI., after the completion of the great hall, other
apartments, such as "the mayor's chamber, the council chamber, with
other rooms above the stairs," were built. Of these no trace at present
remains, and two Common Council chambers have since been erected. The
first of these was a picturesque apartment, its walls being covered with
statuary and paintings, the latter being chiefly presented to the
Corporation by Alderman John Boydell. A new council chamber, of handsome
and commodious design, was erected by the Corporation in 1884, from the
designs of Sir Horace Jones, City Architect. The Court of Aldermen's
present chamber was built in the latter half of the seventeenth century,
and is a small but handsome room. The ceiling is painted with
allegorical figures of the City of London--Prudence, Justice,
Temperance, and Fortitude--executed by Sir James Thornhill, who was
presented by the Corporation with a gold cup of £225 7s. in value.
Around the walls and in the windows are shields containing the arms of
most of the Lord Mayors of the last 127 years.

[Illustration: THE GUILDHALL.

_Engraved by R. Acom, 1828._]

The artistic decoration of the Guildhall and its various apartments
includes monuments, busts, and portraits of men whom the City has
delighted to honour. In the great hall are the monuments to Admiral Lord
Nelson, by J. Smith; to the "Iron Duke," by J. Bell; to the Earl of
Chatham, by Bacon, with inscription by Burke; to the younger Pitt, by
Bubb, with Canning's inscription; and to Alderman Beckford, by Moore. On
Beckford's monument is inscribed, in letters of gold, the speech which
that famous citizen addressed, or is said to have addressed, as Lord
Mayor, to King George IV. on his throne. Around the hall were formerly
hung portraits of twenty-two judges who assisted in the special Court of
Judicature appointed to decide the disputes which arose as to sites of
property in the City after the Great Fire. These portraits, which are
now hung in the old Common Council chamber, were painted at the
Corporation's expense by Michael Wright, Sir Peter Lely having declined
the commission because the judges refused to wait upon him at his house
for the necessary sittings. In the vestibule of the council chambers are
a series of portrait-busts of statesmen, philanthropists, warriors, and
men of high eminence in the general estimation of their
fellow-countrymen. The decoration of the outer lobby was executed as a
memorial of his shrievalty in 1889-90 by the late Alderman Sir Stuart
Knill, Bart., and exhibits the Corporation and the City Livery Companies
in a very pleasing symbolical design.

At the west end of the great hall are two law courts, where the City
judges, the Recorder, and the Common Sergeant administer justice in the
Mayor's Court. The aldermen sit in rotation as magistrates in the Police
Court in the Guildhall Yard, and in Guildhall Buildings is the City of
London Court (anciently the Sheriff's Court), over which two judges
preside for the Poultry and Giltspur Street Compters respectively.

Besides the courts above mentioned, there are the departments of the
various officers of the Corporation, chief in importance among them
being that of the Chamberlain. The court over which this officer
presides deals with admission to the freedom of the City and the
oversight of apprentices. The Freedom of London was a much-coveted
privilege in former times, as without it no one was allowed to carry on
business in the City. The benefits now are wholly of a posthumous
nature, the children and widows of deceased freemen being eligible for
election respectively to benefits of an educational and charitable kind.
There is, however, an inner circle of honorary freemen, whose names have
been enrolled on the City's Roll of Fame. This highly-prized distinction
is reserved for those who, in the unanimous judgment of the Corporation,
have rendered conspicuous services to their country in their various
callings. The roll was reserved almost exclusively in former times for
eminent statesmen and naval and military commanders. In more modern
times the claims of great explorers, scientific discoverers,
philanthropists, social reformers, etc., have been freely admitted, and
the honour is bestowed without distinction of politics or creed. In
January, 1900, the Honorary Freedom was conferred upon every member of
the City Imperial Volunteers before the departure of the regiment for
active service in the South African War. The Chamberlain also deals with
disputes between masters and their apprentices, and has power to commit
refractory apprentices to Bridewell for imprisonment. There was formerly
attached to his office a little prison-cell, known as "Little Ease,"
which exercised a wholesome dread upon the turbulent 'prentices of days
gone by. In addition to his judicial duties the Chamberlain has the
responsibility of receiving and disbursing the City's cash, and all
other moneys which the Corporation administers.

[Illustration: INNER TEMPLE HALL.]

The great purpose of the Guildhall as a place of meeting for the
citizens is well seen in its use on various official occasions. Here are
held the meetings of the Court of Common Hall, that court being an
assemblage of all the liverymen of the various guilds. The Common Hall
on Midsummer Day is for election by the liverymen of the two Sheriffs
and various minor officials. The Sheriffs thus elected are admitted into
office in the Guildhall on Michaelmas Eve, and preside on the following
day at the Common Hall held for the election of Lord Mayor. The Lord
Mayor Elect is formally installed in office at Guildhall, with a quaint
and dignified ceremony, on November 8th, and enters upon his duties
after a further ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice on the following
day. The Livery also meet in Guildhall to take part in and to hear the
result of elections of Members of Parliament for the City. On all these
occasions an elevated hustings is raised at the east end of the hall,
and strewn with sweet-smelling herbs, the civic party being also
provided with nosegays. This old custom is supposed to have originated
in the days when the City was ravaged by pestilence, the herbs and
flowers being employed as prophylactics.

Now taking leave of the building, it is time to glance very briefly at
some of the important events which have taken place within these
historic walls. It was here, in 1483, that the Duke of Buckingham, sent
by Richard Duke of Gloucester, with his persuasive tongue, prevailed
with the citizens to hail the usurper as King Richard III. A different
scene was enacted in 1546, when Guildhall was the scene of the trial of
the youthful and accomplished Anne Askew, which ended in her
condemnation, her torture on the rack, and her martyrdom in Smithfield.
The next year saw the trial of the Earl of Surrey, one who was
distinguished by every accomplishment which became a scholar, a
courtier, and a soldier, and who, to gratify the malice of Henry VIII.,
was convicted of high treason. This unhappy period also saw the tragic
trial and condemnation, in 1553, of the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey and her
husband. The trial of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton at Guildhall in 1554, for
taking part in Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion, had a different result.
This trial is one of the most interesting on record for the exhibition
of intellectual power, and is remarkable for the courage displayed by
the jury in returning a verdict of "acquittal" in opposition to the
despotic wishes of the court, though at the expense of imprisonment and
fine. In 1642 Charles I. attended at a Common Council and claimed the
Corporation's assistance an apprehending the five members whom he had
denounced as guilty of high treason, and who had fled to the City to
avoid arrest. This incident is commemorated by an inscription affixed to
one of the pillars in the new council chamber. During the Civil War and
the Commonwealth period the Guildhall became the arena of many an
important incident connected with the political events of the times. At
a later period, when, in 1689, the Government of James II. had become so
intolerable that he was forced to abdicate, Guildhall was the spot where
the Lords of Parliament met and agreed on a declaration in favour of the
assumption of regal authority by the Prince of Orange, afterwards
William III.

Guildhall has been famous also for the many sumptuous entertainments
which have been given in it to royalty and other personages of
distinction at various times, apart from the annual festivity which
marks the entry into office of each Lord Mayor. From the banquet given
in 1421 to Henry V. and his Queen, on the successful termination of his
campaigns in France--when Sir Richard Whittington, in addition to the
luxuries provided for his royal guests, is said to have gratified and
astonished the King by throwing into the fire bonds for which he was
indebted to the citizens to the amount of £60,000--down to the reign of
his present Majesty, nearly every sovereign of this country has honoured
the City by accepting its hospitality in the Guildhall. Charles II.
showed so much fondness for the civic entertainments that he dined there
as many as nine times in the course of his reign.

[Illustration: THE OLD GUILDHALL.]

Apart from its strictly official use, the Guildhall is the place of
meeting for the citizens generally when any important public question
calls for the expression of their views. During the reign of George III.
the views of the citizens were in frequent conflict with those of the
Ministry of the day. Special meetings of Common Hall were summoned, at
which addresses to the King were voted, praying His Majesty to dismiss
his Ministers, and terminate the conflict with the American Colonies.
More than once the citizens have been in conflict with the House of
Commons: for the liberty of the press in 1770, when Brass Crosby, the
Lord Mayor, was committed to the Tower; and in 1805, when the liverymen
in their Common Hall supported Sir Francis Burdett, who was upholding
against the House of Commons the cherished right of liberty of speech.
In the long struggle connected with the Reform Bill the City supported
the cause of Reform, and, on the Passing of the Reform Act of 1832,
entertained in the Guildhall Earl Grey and his principal supporters in
both Houses of Parliament.

The voice of the City sounding far and wide from its ancient Guildhall
has similarly supported the great causes of Catholic Emancipation, the
removal of Jewish Disabilities, and the Abolition of the Slave Trade. In
modern times the character of the gatherings at the Guildhall has been
still more varied. Foreign sovereigns have been entertained: the allied
monarchs in 1814, the Emperor and Empress of the French (1855), the
Sultan of Turkey (1867), the Shah of Persia (1889), Alexander II., Czar
of Russia (1875), the King of the Hellenes (1881); indeed, almost every
crowned head in Europe and the civilised world has been sumptuously
received at Guildhall. In 1886, the year of the Colonial and Indian
Exhibition, the representatives of our Colonies were warmly welcomed.
Then followed the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, and the Diamond
Jubilee in 1897, each occasion being celebrated by entertainments of a
memorable character.

The two great windows in the Guildhall have also memories of the deepest
interest. That at the west end was placed there by the Corporation in
1869 to recall the many virtues and the "high and spotless character" of
the Prince Consort. The window at the east end was subscribed for by the
Lancashire operatives in 1868 in gratitude for the help extended to them
during the distress occasioned by the Cotton Famine. Of unique interest
was the Jubilee Anniversary of Penny Postage, celebrated on the 16th
May, 1890, at Guildhall, when the scene within its ancient walls
resembled a huge post-office and telegraph-office combined.

Among its many services to humanity at large the Guildhall has voiced,
more than once, the outcry against Jewish persecution in Russia. A
working-classes industrial exhibition, bazaars and concerts for
charitable objects, International congresses of scientific and social
bodies, Christmas entertainments to poor and crippled children: these
are some of the present-day uses of the Guildhall. It only remains to
add the furtherance of religious effort which it has afforded by
welcoming such gatherings as those of the Sunday School Centenary, the
mission of Canon Aitken, and the yearly meeting of the British and
Foreign Bible Society, when one of the youngest collectors present (some
small personage of four or five years) cuts the Society's birthday cake
after some hearty words of welcome from the Lord Mayor, as the genial
host of the City's Guildhall.



In these days of change, which have obliterated most of the old
landmarks of the city, when the County Council has almost transformed
London, and high warehouses and glaring shops have replaced the old
picturesque buildings of our forefathers, it is refreshing to find some
institutions which have preserved through the ages their ancient customs
and usages, and retain their ancient homes and treasures. Such are the
Livery Companies of the City of London, the history of which teems with
vivid pictures of bygone times and manners, and the accounts of their
pageantries, their feasts, and customs furnish us with curious glimpses
of ancient civic life. When we visit the ancient homes of these
venerable societies, we are impressed by their magnificence and
interesting associations. Portraits of old city worthies gaze at us from
the walls and link our times with theirs, when they, too, strove to
uphold the honour of their guild and benefit their generation. Many a
quaint old-time custom and curious ceremonial usage linger on within the
old walls, and there, too, are enshrined cuirass and targe, helmet,
sword and buckler, which tell the story of the past and of the part
which the companies played in national defence, or in the protection of
civic rights. Turning down some little alley and entering the portals of
one of these halls, we are transported at once from the busy streets and
din of modern London into a region of old-world memories, which has a
fascination that is all its own. We see the old city merchants
resplendent in their liveries of "red and white with the connuzances of
their mysteries embroidered on their sleeves," or when fashions changed,
then dominating the sterner sex as it now does only the fair, clad in
"scarlet and green," or "scarlet and black," or "murrey and plunket," a
"darkly red," or a "kind of blue," preparing to attend some great State
function, or to march in procession through the streets to their guild
services. Again, the great hall is filled with a gallant company. Nobles
and princes are the guests of the company, and the mighty "baron" makes
the table groan, and "frumentie with venyson," brawn, fat swan, boar,
conger, sea-hog, and other delicacies crown the feast, while the merry
music of the minstrels or the performance of the players delights the
gay throng. Pictures of ancient pageantry, their triumphs, their
magnificent shows and gorgeous ceremonies, flit before our eyes when we
visit the halls of the companies.


[Illustration: STAPLES INN HALL.

_From a drawing by T. H. Shepherd in 1830._]

There was a grand procession in 1686, when Sir John Peake, mercer, was
Lord Mayor. The master, wardens, and assistants, dressed in their gowns
faced with foins and their hoods, marched first, followed by the
livery in their gowns faced with satin, and the company's almsmen, each
one bearing a banner. Then came the gentlemen ushers in velvet coats,
each wearing a chain of gold, followed by the bachelors invested in
gowns and scarlet satin hoods, banner-bearers, trumpeters, drummers, the
city marshals, and many others, while the gentlemen of the Artillery
Company, led by Sir John Moore, brought up the rear. From the hall of
the Grocers' Company, which was the usual rendezvous on account of its
convenient situation or its size, they marched to the Guildhall, the
lord mayor, sheriffs, and aldermen riding on horseback. Thence they went
to Three-cranes Wharf and took barge to Westminster. On their return the
pageants met them at St. Paul's Churchyard. These were most gorgeous.
The first consisted of a rock of coral with sea-weeds, with Neptune at
the summit mounted on a dolphin which bore a throne of mother-of-pearl,
tritons, mermaids, and other marine creatures being in attendance. But
the most magnificent of all was the maiden chariot, a virgin's head
being the arms of the company. Strype tells us that

     "... when any one of this company is chosen mayor, or makes
     one of the triumph of the day wherein he goes to Westminster to
     be sworn, a most beautiful virgin is carried through the
     streets in a chariot, with all the glory and majesty possible,
     with her hair all dishevelled about her shoulders, to represent
     the maidenhead which the company give for their arms. And this
     lady is plentifully gratified for her pains, besides the gift
     of all the rich attire she wears."

The chariot in which she rode was

     "... an imperial triumphal car of Roman form, elegantly adorned
     with variety of paintings, commixed with richest metals,
     beautified and embellished with several embellishments of gold
     and silver, illustrated with divers inestimable and
     various-coloured jewels of dazzling splendour, adorned and
     replenished with several lively figures bearing the banners of
     the kings, the lords mayor, and companies."

Upon a throne sits the virgin in great state, "hieroglyphically attired"
in a robe of white satin, richly adorned with precious stones, fringed
and embroidered with gold, signifying the graceful blushes of virginity;
on her head a long dishevelled hair of flaxen colour, decked with pearls
and precious gems, on which is a coronet of gold beset with emeralds,
diamonds, sapphires, and other precious jewels of inestimable value. Her
buskins are of gold, laced with scarlet ribbons, adorned with pearls and
other costly jewels. In one hand she holds a sceptre; in the other, a
shield with the arms of the right honourable the Company of Mercers.

Such is the gorgeous being who presides over the maiden's chariot. But
she rides not in solitary state. Fame perched on a golden canopy blows
her trumpet; Vigilance, Wisdom, Charity, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude,
Temperance, Faith, Hope, Charity, Loyalty, and the nine muses, attend
upon her. She has eight pages of honour dressed in cloth of silver walk
by her side, and Triumph acts as charioteer. The whole machine is drawn
by nine white Flanders horses, each horse ridden by some emblematical
personage--such as Victory, Fame, Loyalty, Europe attended by Peace and
Plenty, Africa, Asia and America. The foot attendants are
numerous--eight grooms, forty Roman lictors in crimson garb, twenty
servants to clear the way, and twenty "savages" or green men throwing
squibs and fireworks to keep off the crowd, and a crowd of workmen ready
to repair any part of the cumbersome chariot which might, as was not
unlikely, get out of order during its progress through the city.

Beside such magnificent pageants, our present Lord Mayors' processions
seem poor and insignificant. We might go back to an earlier day and see
Henry V. returning from his victorious campaign in France, and being
greeted by his loyal subjects at Blackheath, the mayor and brethren of
the City Companies wearing red gowns with hoods of red and white, "well
mounted and gorgeously horsed with rich collars and great chains,
rejoicing in his victorious returne." The river, too, was often the
scene of their splendour, as when Elizabeth, the Queen of King Henry
VII., was crowned. At her coming forth from Greenwich by water

     "... there was attending upon her then the maior, shrifes, and
     aldermen of the citie, and divers and many worshipful comoners,
     chosen out of evry crafte, in their liveries, in barges freshly
     furnished with banners and streamers of silke, rechly beaton
     with the arms and bagges of their craftes; and in especiall a
     barge, called the bachelors' barge, garnished and apparelled,
     passing all other, wherein was ordeyned a great redd dragon,
     spowting flames of fyer into the Thames; and many other
     gentlemanlie pagiaunts, well and curiously devised, to do Her
     Highness sport and pleasure with."


But pleasure, pomp, and pageantry were not the sole uses of these guilds
in olden days. A study of the preamble to their numerous charters shows
that to maintain the poor members of their companies was one of their
chief objects. The Fishmongers had a grant of power to hold land "for
the sustentation of the poor men and women of the said commonalty." The
Goldsmiths' charter recites that

     "... many persons of that trade, by fire and the smoke of
     quicksilver, had lost their sight, and that others of them by
     working in that trade became so crazed and infirm that they
     were disabled to subsist but of relief from others; and that
     divers of the said city, compassionating the condition of such,
     were disposed to give and grant divers tenements and rents in
     the said city to the value of twenty pounds per annum to the
     company of the said craft towards the maintenance of the said
     blind, weak and infirm."

Legacies were also bequeathed to the companies for the same object, and
thus we find them in the fourteenth century administering large
charities for the benefit of the poor of London, and with the help of
the monasteries providing a system of relief and educational
organisation in the absence of any poor-law administration or State

[Illustration: FURNIVAL'S INN.

_From an old print published in 1804._]

These city guilds were also of a distinctly religious character, and
prescribed rules for the attendance of members at the services of the
Church, for pilgrimages, and the celebration of masses for the dead.
Each company had its patron saint, and maintained a chantry priest or
chaplain. They founded altars in churches in honour of their patron
saint, who was usually selected on account of his emblem or symbol being
in some way connected with the particular trade of the guild. Thus, St.
Dunstan, who was a worker in precious metals, became the patron saint of
the Goldsmiths; the Fishmongers selected St. Peter, a fisherman, and
held their services at St. Peter's Church; the Merchant Taylors
venerated St. John Baptist, whose symbol is the _Agnus Dei_. In several
cases, the saint to whom the church where they attended was dedicated,
was adopted as their own patron. Thus, the Grocers called themselves
"the fraternity of St. Anthony," because they had their altar in St.
Anthony's Church; the Vintners, "the fraternity of St. Martin," from the
like connection with St. Martin's Vintry Church. Indeed, it has been
truly observed that the maintenance of their arts and mysteries during
several ages was blended with so many customs and observances, that it
was not till the times subsequent to the Reformation that the
fraternities could be regarded as strictly secular. On election days,
when the master and wardens were chosen, the company marched in solemn
procession to the church to hear Mass. Stow tells of the Skinners going
to the church of St. Lawrence, Poultry, on Corpus Christi day, with more
than 200 torches of wax borne before them, costly garnished, burning
bright, and about 200 clerks and priests in surplices and copes,
singing. The brethren were clad in their new liveries, the mayor and
aldermen in scarlet, and on their return to their hall enjoyed a great
feast. On the Sunday following the election day the brethren attended
a mass of requiem for their deceased members, when the Bede Roll was
read and prayers offered for the souls of the departed members, as well
as for those who still survived, each brother being mentioned by name.


But the chief object of the existence of the companies was the promotion
of the prosperity of the trades with which they were associated. They
were appointed by charter "to settle and govern their mysteries," to
elect officers "to inquire of the concerns of their trades," and to
correct and amend the same. They had the right of search through their
respective trades, in order that each of them might detect dishonest
practices in his own craft and punish offenders, and to keep out and
suppress all "foreigners" who dared to carry on a trade and yet did not
belong to the particular company which governed and regulated it. To
preserve the secrets of the craft and to regulate apprenticeships were
also some of the duties of the guilds. Each fraternity had its own
duties to perform. Thus, the Grocers had the oversight of all drugs, and
their officers were ordered "to go and assay weights, powders,
confeccions, plasters, oyntments, and all other things belonging to the
same craft"; the Goldsmiths had the assay of metals; the Fishmongers the
oversight and rejection of fish brought to London which they did not
deem fit for the use of the people; the Vintners had the tasting and
gauging of wines. Many curious and obsolete trades are disclosed in the
records of the companies. The Mercers were the _Mercatores_, or
Merchants, no simple pedlars or small tradesmen, but persons who dealt
in a varied assortment of goods, such as linen cloths, buckrams,
fustians, satin, jewels, fine woollen and other English cloths, drugs,
cotton, thread and wool, silk, wood, oil, copper, wine, lead, and salt.
The Grocer was one who dealt _en gros_--wholesale, as opposed to retail
merchandise. The original title of the guild was "the Company of
Pepperers of Soper's Lane." The Drapers were makers of woollen cloth.
The Fishmongers united into one body the two ancient guilds of the
Salt-fishmongers and the Stock-fishmongers. The title of the Merchant
Taylors in the time of Edward I. was "the Fraternity of the Taylors and
Linen Armourers of St. John the Baptist," and manufactured everything
pertaining to armour, including the linings, surcoats, caparisons and
accoutrements, Royal pavilions and robes of state, tents for soldiers,
as well as ordinary garments and wardrobe requirements, except only the
actual metal work. It may be observed how minutely the work of the
trades was divided and subdivided, and how zealously each craft was
guarded, lest one tradesman or craftsman should interfere with the work
of another. The whole system of the companies was to form an absolute
monopoly for each craft. A Universal Provider, or a man who could "turn
his hand to anything," was unknown in the palmy days of the City


The Skinners, or _Pelliparii_, naturally dealt in skins and furs, which,
before the days of sombre black coats and tweed suits, were in great
request, and were the distinguishing badge of rank and high estate. The
Haberdashers united into one guild the Hat Merchants; the Haberdashers
of Hats including the crafts of the Hurriers or Cappers, and the
Millianers or Milliners, who derived their name from the fact that they
imported their goods chiefly from Milan. The Salters naturally dealt in
that necessary article of consumption, and conveniently had their
quarters near the Fishmongers. The Ironmongers were both merchants and
traders, having large warehouses and yards whence they exported and sold
bar iron and iron rods, and also had shops for the retail of
manufactured iron goods. The Vintners, or Merchant Wine-Tonners of
Gascoyne, were divided into two classes--the Vinetarii, or importers of
wine, residing in stately stone houses adjoining the wharves; and the
Tabernarii, or keepers of taverns, inns, or cook-houses. The
Clothworkers combined the ancient guilds of the Fullers and Sheermen.

The above twelve companies are styled the Great Companies, and in
addition to these there are sixty-two minor companies, several of which
are less only in name than their greater brethren. In point of numbers
and wealth some are equal to the less opulent of the great companies.
The Armourers, Carpenters, Leather-sellers, and Saddlers are especially
wealthy corporations, and have fine halls, which are scarcely surpassed
by any in the city. Some have no halls and small incomes, but there is
scarcely a company which has not an interesting history, or which does
not have some attractive and interesting historical associations.



The Apothecaries have a charming little hall in Blackfriars, and have
for centuries waged war against unsound medicines and ignorant quacks.
They would not allow anyone to "use or exercise any drugs, simples, or
compounds, or any kynde or sorte of poticarie wares, but such as shall
be pure and perfyt good." Their good work continues. The Armourers' and
Braziers' Company performed useful duties in the days when the lives of
knights and warriors depended on the good and true work of the makers of
armour. They have an interesting modern hall containing a good
collection of their wares. The Bakers' Company is an ancient
corporation, and received its charter in 1307. The Barbers, or Barber
Surgeons, were incorporated in 1461, but they existed at least a century
earlier. They combined the skill of "healing wounds, blows, and other
infirmities, as in letting of blood and drawing teeth," with that of
shaving, and no one was allowed to perform these duties unless he were a
member of the company. In their hall they have the well-known picture of
King Henry VIII. granting a charter to Barber Surgeons in 1512, but more
probably it represents the union of the Barbers' Company with the Guild
of Surgeons in 1540. The Blacksmiths have a long history, dating back to
their incorporation by Edward III. in 1325. They combined the trade of
makers of ironwork with that of Dentists and Clockmakers, and were by
Queen Elizabeth united with the Spurriers, or makers of spurs. The motto
of the Bowyers' Company, "Creçy, Poictiers, Agincourt," tells of the
prowess of our English archers when archery was the national pastime of
Englishmen, as well as their support in war. Other allied crafts were
connected with the bowyers' art, including the Stringers, or long-bow
string makers, and the Fletchers, who made the arrows. The guild of the
latter still exists, and forms one of our minor companies. The Brewers
were in existence in 1418, and were incorporated by Henry VI. The
Broderers, or makers of embroidery, flourished in the fourteenth
century, and with them were united the Tapissers, or tapestry makers;
their artistic skill was remarkable, and the funeral palls, still in the
possession of the Merchant Taylors, the Vintners, and Fishmongers, are
evidences of their excellent workmanship.

The Carpenters' Company ranks high among its fellows, and has a very
interesting history. Its first charter was granted by Edward IV. in
1477, but it existed years before, as Chaucer witnesses--

    "An Haberdasher and a Carpenter,
    A Webbe, a Deyer and a Tapiser,
    Were alle y clothed in a livere
    Of a solempne and grete fraternitie."

In the days of half-timbered houses their skill was in great request,
and they had a large and flourishing guild, which failed not to take
part in all the pageants, processions, and "ridings in the Chepe," and
in all the State functions of the city. They have a noble modern hall,
but one rather regrets the disappearance in 1876 of the old mansion
house of the Carpenters, which survived the Great Fire and recalled many
memories of the past. In order to "seek for and destroy faulty and
deceitful work of clock and watchmakers or mathematical instrument
makers," the Clockmakers' Company was formed in 1631. Some of the
members wanted a hall, and objected to meet "in alehouses and taverns to
the great disparagement of them all"; but this dream has not been
realised, and the company use the halls of other guilds. The Coach and
Coach-Harness makers have a hall in Noble Street, noteworthy as being
the place where the Gordon riots were organized. The company was formed
in 1677, and performed useful functions in examining defective wheels
and axle-trees and in the construction of coaches. The Cooks, formerly
known as pastelers or piebakers, are a very ancient fraternity, but most
of their documents were destroyed in the Great Fire. An _inspeximus_
charter of George III., however, informs us that it was incorporated by
Edward IV., but their history has been uneventful. The Coopers can date
back their existence to the reign of Edward II., but were not
incorporated until 1501, one of their duties being to pray for the
health of King Henry VII. and his Royal consort Elizabeth while they
lived, and for their souls when they shall have "migrated from this
light." The wardens had power to gauge all casks in the city of London,
and to mark such barrels when gauged. Brewers were not allowed to use
vessels which did not bear the Coopers' marks. They have a hall, and a
very interesting history, upon which we should like to dwell if space

The Cordwainers, or _Allutarii_, regulated the trades connected with the
leather industry, and included the flaying, tanning, and currying of
hides, and the making and sale of shoes, boots, goloshes, and other
articles of leather. The Curriers have a hall, and at one time were
associated with the Cordwainers. Their documents were burnt in the Great
Fire, but their records are complete since that date. Their ranks were
greatly thinned at the close of the sixteenth century, as we gather from
the record, "the journeymen free of the company are altogether dead of
the late plague." The Cutlers date back to the time of Edward III., and
their trade embraced all manner of swords, daggers, rapiers, hangers,
wood-knives, pen-knives, razors, surgeons' instruments, skeynes, hilts,
pommels, battle-axes, halberds, and many other weapons. They have a
modern hall in Warwick Lane, their former home having been destroyed by
the erection of the Cannon Street railway station.

The Distillers' Company was founded by Sir Theodore de Mayerne, Court
physician to Charles I., for the regulation of the trade of distillers
and vinegar makers, and of those engaged in the preparation of
artificial and strong waters, and of making beeregar and alegar. The
Dyers have an ancient and honourable company, which once ranked among
the first twelve. Theirs was a very flourishing industry in mediæval and
later times, when the coloured liveries of guilds and the brilliant
hues of the garments of both male and female city-folk testified to the
extent of the Dyers' industry. A charter was granted to them by Edward
IV., and they have taken their share in the great events of civic and
national history. They, with the Vintners, have the right to keep a
"game of swans" on the Thames. The Dyers' mark was formerly four bars
and one nick; now it has been simplified, and one nick denotes the
ownership of the swan by the company.

The Fanmakers obtained a charter from good Queen Anne, their company
being the youngest of all the guilds. They encourage the production of a
female weapon, which is often used with much effect in the warfare of
courtly fashion and intrigue. The Farriers were incorporated by the
Merry Monarch, in order to prevent unexpert and unskilful persons
destroying horses by bad shoeing, and have extended their good work to
the present day by devising an admirable system of examination and
national registration of shoeing smiths. The trade is naturally an
ancient one, and a guild existed as early as 1356, and we read of one
Walter de Brun, farrier, in the Strand, in the time of Edward I., who
had a forge in the parish of St. Clement on the peculiar tenure of
paying to the King six horse-shoes.

The Feltmakers, incorporated by James I., regulated the manufacture of
felt hats. Of the Fletchers, or arrow makers, whose motto is "True and
sure" we have already written. The Founders extended their jurisdiction
over the manufacture of candlesticks, buckles, spurs, stirrups, straps,
lavers, pots, ewers and basins made of brass, latten, or pewter, and
have an interesting history. They had a guild in 1472, when they began
their career with "twenty-four poor, honest men." Their ancient
ordinances contain directions about masses, burials, and almsgiving, the
carrying of wares to fairs, hawking them, and the governing of
apprentices. Their young men caused much difficulty. They loved riots
and sport, and one of the ordinances of 1608 prohibited the playing of
bowls, betting at cards, dice, table and shovel-board. One of the
principal duties of the company was the approving and signing of all
brass weights within the city, which were ordered to be brought to
Founders' Hall and there "sized and made lawful according to our
standard of England," and then marked with the common mark of the
mystery, "being the form of a ewer," the company taking the ancient
allowance for sizing. This was a very important public trust, which the
Founders continue to discharge.

The Framework Knitters' Company owes its existence to an ingenious
curate, one William Lee, of Calverton, who invented the stocking-loom in
1589. We should like, if space permitted, to dwell on his romantic
story, but in this brief sketch it is impossible. The company of
Framework Knitters sprang into being in the time of Charles II., and was
then extremely prosperous, indulging in expensive pomp and pageantries.
A gilded barge, a large band of musicians, a master's carriage,
attendants resplendent in gold-lace liveries, and banners emblazoned
with their arms, were some of the luxuries in which they indulged. But
their glory waned and their trade passed from London to the Midlands,
and little of their ancient state remains.

The Fruiterers have an active little company incorporated by James I.,
and still do useful work in promoting the cultivation of home-grown
fruit by cottagers and small holders of land. The Girdlers' Company is
an ancient fraternity, once styled the "Zonars," and formerly had the
regulation of the manufacture of girdles of silk or wool, or linen and
garters. Though the use of girdles has died out more than two centuries,
the company remains, and has a charming hall and some valuable property.
It owed its origin to a lay brotherhood of the Order of St. Laurence,
the members of which maintained themselves by the making of girdles, and
the guild was in existence in the days of Edward III., who addressed
them as "Les ceincturiers de notre Citée de Loundres."

The Glass-sellers have a charter granted by Charles II. to his
"well-beloved subjects the glass-sellers and looking-glass makers, which
authorised them to search in all places where glasses, looking-glasses,
hour-glasses and stone pots, or bottles, shall be made, showed, or put
to sale." The ordinances are very severe on apprentices, who, if guilty
of haunting taverns, alehouses, bowling alleys, or other misdemeanour,
were brought to the hall and stripped and whipped by persons appointed
for that purpose. Another company connected with the same substance, the
Glaziers, has little history, and we pass on to the Glovers, who existed
in 1349, and have had an honourable career. Gloves have played such a
notable part in our national life, that it would be a pleasant task to
record their history, but we must confine ourselves to their makers.
These had many allies and were united with the Pursers, and later on
with the Leather-sellers. In 1638 they recovered their independence, and
their charter states that 400 families were engaged in the trade, and
were impoverished by the confluence of persons of the same art, a
disordered multitude, working in chambers and corners, and making
naughty and deceitful gloves. Queen Victoria confirmed the charter of
the Glovers, whose corporation was the only guild so honoured during her
late Majesty's long reign.

The Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers have an ancient guild incorporated by
James I., though existing in 1461. They were concerned in fashioning the
gold and silver embroidered finery of our forefathers, who loved to make
themselves, their pages, and their horse-gear resplendent with gold and
silver. The Gunmakers perform the useful work of protecting our
countrymen from the dangers of defective guns, and their company was
incorporated by Charles I., on the ground that divers blacksmiths and
others inexpert in the art of gunmaking had taken upon them to make,
try, and prove guns after their unskilful way, whereby the trade was not
only damnified, but much harm and danger through such unskilfulness had
happened to his Majesty's subjects. They had the power of destroying all
false hand-guns, dogs, and pistols--to stamp all sound goods with the
letters G P crowned. This good work is still carried on by the company.
The Horners, in the days of horn cups and winding horns, were a
prosperous community, and their company existed in the days of Edward
III., exercising the right of search at the fairs of "Stirbridge and
Elie," their fortunes declining when glass vessels were used instead of
the old horn cups. The Innholders remind us of the old-time inns of
London, which Mr. Philip Norman in these volumes so well describes. At
one time they were styled hostelers or herbergeours, and objected to the
former title, inasmuch as their servants were really called hostillers,
the hostlers or ostlers of modern time. St. Julian was their patron
saint, for he made a hospital or inn by a river where men passed oft in
great peril. Very curious regulations were ordained for their
government, and no one was allowed to remain at an inn more than one day
and a night unless the innholder was willing to answer for him. They
have a hall, which has been newly erected, and some good portraits.

In no work was the amazing subdivision of labour so marked as in that
which related to wood. Carpenters, joiners, sawyers, and planers had
each their own separate work and organization. The joiners' work was
concerned with cupboards, bedsteads, tables and chairs, and "rayles,
sealinge boards, wainscott, chappboards and bedd timber" were their raw
materials. Their company was in existence in 1309, and they have a hall
in the Vintry. The Leather-sellers have an active and flourishing guild,
which is first mentioned in 1372, when their _probi homines_ or _bonz
gentz_ petitioned for some regulations for the prevention of the sale of
fraudulent leather. By the charter of James I. they have the full
oversight of "skins and felts called buff leather, shamoy leather,
Spanish leather, and that of stags, bucks, calves, sheep, lambs, kids
frized or grained, dressed in oil, allum, shoemack, or bark or rawed."
All proper leather was stamped with the arms of the company. They have a
fine modern hall, and can show a good record of useful work.

The ancient Loriner made bits, spurs, and all the smaller trinkets of a
horse's harness, and the guild dates back to the days of Henry III., but
its history is uneventful. The Masons have few records. By their charter
of Elizabeth they had power to view stones intended for building--as to
whether these were of proper length and measure, and well and
sufficiently wrought. The Musicians have recently celebrated their
tercentenary, commemorating the granting of their charter by James I. in
1604. They might have claimed a longer period of existence, as their
first charter was granted by Edward IV. Their bye-laws are particularly
interesting, and give minute directions with regard to their profession.
They tested the skill of music and dancing masters, forbade the singing
of ribald, wanton, or lascivious songs, or the playing of any instrument
under any knight or gentleman's window without the company's licence.
The Needlemakers existed in the time of Henry VIII., but have little
history. The Painters' or Painter-stainers' Company suggests many
reflections on their art and skill, and its history would require many
pages. Their guild existed in the time of Edward III., and received its
first charter from Edward IV. Their bye-laws order that if any member be
found rebel or contrariwise to the wardens he shall pay one pound of wax
for certain altar-lights. No tin-foil might be used, but only oil
colours. They derive their name Painter-stainers from the custom of
calling a picture a "stained cloth." The principal artists in England
were members of the guild, and in their hall are numerous examples of
the work of its members. The Pattenmakers' Company suggests a picture
of the condition of the streets of London in mediæval times, when
garbage and refuse were thrown into them, when drains and watercourses
were things unknown, and pattens were invented as a useful foot-gear,
and clogs and goloshes were sorely needed. The company appears on the
scene in the fifteenth century, and the name of the city church of St.
Margaret Pattens, Rood Lane, points out that locality as the seat of the
industry. The Pewterers, a company of "friendly and neighbouring men,"
existed in 1348, and did much to make English pewter famous and highly
esteemed in other lands. They visited markets and fairs throughout
England, and seized and condemned base pewter ware, brass goods, and
false scales. They furnished men with arms for the defence of the city,
and kept in their hall corselets, calyvers, bill pikes, and other
weapons, and paid an armourer to keep them in good order. Their history,
written by Mr. Charles Welch in two large volumes, abounds in
interesting facts, and we can only here refer our readers to those

The Plaisterers, formerly known as Pargetters, were skilful in
contriving curious elaborate and beautiful ceilings, which form such an
attractive feature in many old houses. They were incorporated by a
charter of Henry VII. The Playing-card Makers' Company was founded in
1628, with the object of counteracting the deceits and abuses practised
by the inexpert in the art and trade of making playing-cards, and by the
importation of foreign cards into this country. It has no records and
little history. The Plumbers' Company stands high in public estimation,
and has been in existence several centuries, though not incorporated
until 1611, when a charter was granted for "the utility, advantage, and
relief of the good and honest, and for the terror and correction of the
evil, deceitful, and dishonest." Their modern efforts to initiate a
national registration and training of plumbers are worthy of the highest

Every citizen knows the Poultry in the city--the locality where the
Poulters anciently carried on their trade, selling "rabbits, fowls, and
other poultry." The trade was not without its dangers. Unsound poultry
doomed the seller to the pillory, the articles being burnt under him--a
peculiarly disagreeable penalty. The company existed in 1345, but was
not incorporated until 1504, and its history has been uneventful. The
Saddlers' Company is a very honourable and wealthy corporation, and
possesses records of unusual importance, dating back to Saxon times. The
early colony of saddlers settled near the church of St. Martin-le-Grand,
and they have never strayed far from there, their present hall being in
Foster Lane. They can boast of having received many charters, the
earliest having been granted by Edward I. In early days they were
associated with a collegiate brotherhood, the house of which was
situated where the General Post Office now stands. This religious
fraternity offered masses for the souls of deceased saddlers, and shared
with them a common graveyard. They disputed much with the joiners,
painters, and loriners, who were always trying to trespass upon the
rights of the saddlers. The introduction of coaches alarmed them as much
as the invention of railways frightened the coachmen, but with less
cause. The saddle trade prospered. The Civil War caused many saddles to
be made and many emptied. Their records tell of much old-time civic life
and customs. They had a barge on the river; they buried their deceased
members with much ceremony, and their old hearse-cloth still remains;
they can boast of having a Royal master, Frederick Prince of Wales, in

The Scriveners formerly discharged many of the duties now performed by
solicitors, such as making wills, drawing up charters, deeds relating to
lands, tenements, and inheritances, and other documents. They were known
as the "Scriveners, or writers of the Court Letter of the city of
London." Their earliest set of ordinances was granted to them in the
time of Adam de Bury, mayor, in the 38th year of Edward III., a document
couched in old law French. They complained bitterly against certain
chaplains and other men out of divers countries who called themselves
Scriveners, and took upon themselves to make testaments, charters, and
other things belonging to the mystery, to the great damage and slander
of all honest and true scriveners. Their apprentices caused them
trouble, because they had not their "perfect congruity of grammar, which
is the thing most necessary and expedient to every person exercising the
science and faculty of the mystery." Every apprentice found deficient
was ordered to be sent to a grammar school until "he be erudite in the
books of genders, declensions, preterites and supines, equivox and
sinonimes." Their first charter was granted in 1617. John Milton, the
father of the poet, was a member of the company.

The Shipwrights have had a corporate life of four centuries, originally
known as the Brethren and Sisters of the Fraternity of SS. Simon and
Jude, and were established on the river side at Southwark or Bermondsey.
The use of "good and seasonable timber" in the building of ships was
enjoined by their ordinances. Their well-stored yards of timber were,
however, considered dangerous to the city, and the constant noise of
hammering offended the ears of the citizens; hence the shipwrights
migrated to Radcliffe, and they had much trouble with a colony of
"foreigners," who dared to set up their yards at Rotherhithe, and
actually obtained a charter from King James. A long and bitter struggle
for supremacy ensued, and was not settled until 1684. The art of
shipbuilding has been revolutionized by the advent of steam and the use
of iron; the Thames side is no longer the great centre of the industry,
and the importance of the company has waned, though it still exercises
some useful functions.

The Spectacle-makers' Company has no great history, though their first
charter dates back to the time of Charles I. Its membership is large,
including many illustrious names, and no less than twenty lord mayors.
It does much good in modern times by improving the skill of opticians.
The Stationers have a noteworthy history, which has been graphically
told by Mr. C. R. Rivington, and celebrated their five-hundredth
birthday four years ago. For an account of their powers, privileges, and
the story of their copyright register, I must refer the curious reader
to Mr. Rivington's book, or to my larger history of _The City Companies
of London and their Good Works_.

The Tallow Chandlers can boast of great antiquity, and possess several
charters and documents of much interest, and also the Tin-plate Workers,
_alias_ Wire Workers' Company. The Tylers and Bricklayers formed a
fraternity in 1356, and have received charters from Queen Elizabeth and
subsequent monarchs, which contain no remarkable provisions. The Turners
or "Wood-potters" showed their skill in mediæval times in the
manufacture of household furniture, and their fellowship was recognised
in 1310. They received a charter from James I., and in modern times have
shown much activity, and have enrolled many distinguished men in their
rank of Freemen. The Upholder is really an upholster, or upholsterer,
who now supplies furniture, beds, and such-like goods. His company was
founded in 1460, and received a grant of arms from Edward IV. Cornhill
was the original home of the upholder, or fripperer, as he was sometimes
called, and he used to deal in old clothes, old beds, old armour, old
combs, and his shop must have been a combination of old curiosity shop
and a store-dealer's warehouse. Later on, he concentrated his attention
on furniture; his status improved, and his guild became an important
association, though never very wealthy or remarkable.

The Wax Chandlers lived in palmy days, when they furnished the great
halls of the nobles with the produce of their skill, and innumerable
lights burned before every altar in our churches. Their guild existed
in 1371, and was qualified to make "torches, cierges, prikits, great
candles, or any other manner of wax chandlery." They still possess a
hall in Gresham Street and Gutter Lane. The Weavers claim to possess the
oldest company of all the city guilds. It certainly existed in the time
of Henry I., and they have a charter of Henry II. which is signed by St.
Thomas of Canterbury, and no less than eleven others. In the palmy days
of the cloth industry they were very prosperous, but unfortunately few
records of their former greatness remain. The Wheelwrights' Company
suggests the fascinating study of the introduction of coaches and cars,
upon which we cannot now embark, nor listen to the wails of the Thames
watermen, who complained against new-fangled ways. This guild received a
charter from Charles II., and did good service in protecting the lives
of his Majesty's subjects from "the falling of carts and coaches through
the ignorance and ill-work" of foreign craftsmen. Last, but not least,
on the list stands the Woolmen's Company, founded in 1300, when the
trade in wool was at its zenith. It has borne several names, and was
identical with the guild of the wool-packers or wool-winders.
Wool-combers were also licensed by the company. A noted member of this
ancient fraternity was Sir John Crosby, the founder of Crosby Hall,
"Grocer and Woolman," alderman of the city in the reign of Edward IV.,
whose noble house London has at length declined to spare.


From this brief record of the City Companies, and of the part each one
played in the drama of the life of London, it will be gathered that most
of these guilds showed strong and vigorous growth in the fifteenth
century, and were thoroughly established. Then came the period of the
Reformation, which proved a time of storm and stress to the companies.
They held much property bequeathed to them for the endowment of
chantries, for the celebration of masses for the dead, and for other
purposes which were deemed to be connected with "superstition." The
companies were rich. Greed and spoliation were rampant, and many
powerful courtiers were eager enough to prove "superstitious uses" as an
excuse for confiscation. Hence a very large amount of the property of
the companies, as well as of plate and other valuables, was seized by
these robbers, and the guilds were compelled to redeem their lands and
wealth by paying down hard cash to the plunderers. It was a grievous
time, but the companies weathered the storm, and regained by much
sacrifice their possessions. The system of forced loans instituted by
the Tudor and Stuart monarchs also pressed hard upon the companies.
Henry VIII. required of them £21,000--an enormous sum in those days--for
his war with Scotland. Philip and Mary demanded £100,000 for the war
with France. The Mercers alone supplied Queen Elizabeth with £4,000
after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Before the Petition of Rights
put an end to these forced loans, Charles I. extracted a loan of
£120,000 from the city, and the Civil War made further demands on the
funds of the companies, both contending parties pressing them for money.
It need not be added that little of this enormous wealth was ever
returned to the guilds, and they were much impoverished. Many of them
were compelled to sell their plate and other valuables, and some were
almost reduced to the verge of bankruptcy.

Another drain upon the resources of the companies was the scheme of
James I. to establish the Ulster Plantation upon land forfeited to the
Crown through a recent rebellion there. The King offered the land to the
City Companies for a colony, pointing out the very great advantages
which the land afforded. These were painted in very glowing colours,
but scarcely answered the expectations of the colonists. The active
citizens of London at once formed the Irish Society, raised £60,000 for
the purchase of the land from the sagacious King, and each company took
an equal share. The old county of Derry was the chief scene of this
enterprise, and in token of its new masters was rechristened
London-Derry. The colony had scarcely been established when Charles I.,
with his strange arbitrariness, removed the grant, but it was restored
by Charles II., and most of the estates still belong to the energetic
companies, and have been made the most prosperous part of the
"distressed island."

But the greatest of all the misfortunes which have befallen the
companies was the Great Fire. Hall after hall, replete with costly
treasures bequeathed by departed brethren of the guilds, with all their
archives and documents, perished in that hideous holocaust. All the
wealth that rapacious kings and the troubles of the Civil War had spared
was engulfed in that awful catastrophe. Again and again, when we try to
read the history of a company, we meet with the distressing intelligence
that all its records were destroyed in the Great Fire. Very few escaped.
The leather-sellers, pinners, and ironmongers were happily without the
range of the conflagration. All the books of the companies abound with
graphic details of this calamity. It melted their plate, burned their
records, and laid their property, from which they chiefly derived their
incomes, in ashes. At the same time they were burdened with a load of
debt, the consequence of the compulsory loans to which I have referred,
and saw no means left of paying. The clouds that hung over the companies
were as black as the clouds of smoke that issued from the burning ruins
of their halls. But their English hearts were not daunted, and bravely
did they struggle with their adversities. They immediately set to work
to do what they could to save the relics of their fortunes. They first
took steps to secure their melted plate from the ruined buildings. Then
they set about the rebuilding of their properties. Extraordinary
exertions were made. The wealthier members subscribed vast sums of
money. The houses of their tenants rose like magic from the ruins, and
it is remarkable that in no more than two or three years' time most of
the halls of the companies were rebuilt, and many shone forth with
additional splendour. The reign of Charles II. did not, however,
conclude without involving the companies in additional anxiety,
occasioned by the King's arbitrary interference in their affairs by his
_quo warranto_ proceedings. He presumed to call into question the
validity of the charter of the city of London, and declared it to be
forfeited; and not only that, but also the charters of all the
corporations in England, including those of the City Companies. The
whole business, when regarded in the light of history, appears farcical
and absurd, but the danger to the life of the corporations appeared very
real and tremendous to the good citizens of London in the year 1684.
They behaved in a most loyal and submissive manner, surrendered their
charters, expressed their fear that they had offended their sovereign,
who, "in his princely wisdom," had issued a _quo warranto_ against them,
and earnestly begged to have their charters renewed. The King granted
them new charters, which rivetted strong fetters about the guilds,
placed them, bound hand and foot, at the mercy of the King, and reduced
the city to entire subservience. James II. showed no inclination to
release the city and the companies from their bonds, until the news of
the advent of the Prince of Orange forced him to make an act of
restitution; the old charters were restored, and the proceedings _quo
warranto_ were hastily quashed. One of the first acts of William and
Mary was to renew the old charters and declare that all the acts of the
Stuart monarchs, with regard to the suppression of these ancient
documents and the granting of new ones, were entirely null and void.
This action endeared the new sovereign to the citizens, and, doubtless,
helped greatly to secure for him the English throne and the loyalty of
his people.

Public confidence being restored, the affairs of the companies began to
improve. Though still hampered by the loss of much wealth, and by the
misfortunes through which they had passed, their members were wealthy,
and gifts and bequests were not lacking. It is true that their
connection with the trades which they were supposed to govern was fast
dying out--indeed, many of their trades had for a long time become
obsolete--but the corporations still cared for their poor members,
managed their estates, promoted in some measure the trades with which
they were associated, and took their part in the government of the
affairs of the city. The value of their city property increased
enormously, and raised them from poverty to affluence. This has enabled
them to institute vast schemes of charity and munificence, which
enormously benefits the whole country, and to maintain, preserve, and
develop those magnificent educational and charitable establishments
which pious benefactors have committed to their care. In my book on _The
City Companies of London and their Good Works_ I have told at some
length their interesting story, and given a full account of their
charities and treasures, and how by wise schemes they have adapted old
bequests to modern needs, and how they maintain the hospitable
traditions of the city of London. But that story relates not to Old
London, and need not be told again.


Time and space will only allow a very brief inspection of a few of these
interesting buildings, the homes of the companies, which are, without
doubt, the most interesting features of the city of London.[154] In
Cheapside is Mercers' Hall, a fine building, erected after the Great
Fire. The usual entrance is in Ironmonger Lane. If you would try to
realize the former hall and the hospital of St. Thomas and its noble
church, you must read Sir John Watney's work, if you are fortunate
enough to obtain a copy of that admirable privately printed quarto
volume. In the present hall you will see (if permitted) a fine store of
plate, four pieces of which escaped the Great Fire, including a curious
waggon and tun, the gift of W. Baude in 1573, which moves along the
table by clockwork. The entrance colonnade, which occupies the site of
the ancient cloister, with its Doric columns, is attractive, and a fine
stone staircase protected by a wooden portcullis leads to the hall and
court rooms. The hall itself is a noble chamber, panelled by Rowland
Wynne after the Great Fire, and hung with banners and paintings. The
most interesting paintings are: an original portrait of Sir Thomas
Gresham by Holbein; Dean Colet; and a fancy portrait of Sir Richard
Whittington with his famous cat.


Grocers' Hall has been recently rebuilt, and Drapers' Hall is modern,
situated around a lovely court and garden, where a quiet stillness
reigns in refreshing contrast to the noise of the bustling throng of
busy stockbrokers in the adjoining street. Two fine pieces of statuary,
splendid specimens of Gobelins tapestry, much interesting plate, and
fine portraits of kings and queens and other worthies, are among their
treasures. The present hall of the Fishmongers was built in 1831, when
the new London Bridge, of which Mr. Tavenor-Perry, a member of this
company, tells in this volume, was erected. They have many treasures,
including the Walworth Pall, said to have been worked previously to
1381, and to have been used at Walworth's funeral, though it is
evidently the work of the sixteenth century. Numerous royal and other
portraits adorn the walls, paintings of fish by Arnold von Hacken,
Scott's pictures of old London and Westminster Bridges, and a large
representation of a pageant of ancient days, affording some idea of one
of London's scenes of old civic state.

Goldsmiths' Hall, built in 1835, is perhaps the most imposing of all the
homes of the companies, and is rich in plate, sculptures, pictures, and
other works of art. A magnificent marble staircase leads from the ground
floor, monolith pillars support the roof, and a bust of the founder of
the company, Edward III., faces the entrance. Two fine sculptures by
Storey, the Libyan Sibyl and Cleopatra, adorn the vestibule. The oak
panelling of the court room was taken from the old hall. This room
contains a painting of St. Dunstan, the patron saint of the company,
some portraits of worthies, a silver vase and shield by Vechte, and a
small Roman altar, discovered when the foundations of the hall were
being laid. This altar is mentioned in the Ingoldsby Legend of the "Lay
of St. Dunstan." The plate of this company is remarkably fine.


In Threadneedle Street is the hall of the Merchant Taylors, the name of
that thoroughfare being doubtless derived from their trade. This hall is
one of the most interesting of all the palaces of the companies,
inasmuch as the Great Fire did not completely destroy the old building,
and was stayed on the premises; hence the present hall is a restoration
of the ancient building, and not an entirely modern erection. There is
an ancient vaulted crypt, the use of which is not quite clear. It may
have been a passage leading from the street to the chapel. In the
fourteenth century Edmund Crepin granted the hall to John de Gakeslee,
the King's pavilion maker, who purchased it on behalf of the company.
The property was enlarged by the gift of the Oteswich family, who gave
to the company the advowson of the church of St. Martin Outwich (or
Oteswich), and certain shops for the benefit of the poor brethren and
sisters. The company built their almshouses on the west end of the
parish church, and attached to them a new hall, the interior of which
was adorned with costly tapestry representing the history of St. John
the Baptist, and a silver image of the saint adorned the screen.
Heraldic arms appeared in the windows, the floor was strewn with rushes,
and silk banners hung from the ceiling. A garden with alleys and a
terrace was at the rear of the hall, and in it stood the treasury, in
which plate and other valuables were stored; and there was a building
called the King's Chamber set apart and well furnished for the reception
of Royal guests, who frequently honoured the company with their
presence. This chamber, called the banqueting hall, was rebuilt in 1593,
and a few years later the space above the ceiling was deemed the most
convenient place for the storage of gunpowder. The great hall was
restored in 1671, and is "old-fashioned, ample, and sumptuous," having
all the characteristics of the fifteenth-century edifice. It is
impossible to describe all the treasures of the company, but we must
mention the two hearse-cloths of Italian fabric of early
sixteenth-century work, some valuable portraits of royalty and of
worthies of the company, two being painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller.
Happily, all the old deeds, charters, and documents were saved at the
Great Fire, and these add greatly to the history of this important

Skinners' Hall was not so fortunate, and a new one was erected, thus
described in 1708: "a noble structure built with fine bricks and richly
furnished, the hall with right wainscot, and the great parlour with
odoriferous cedar." It has been much altered, a new front being added in
1791, and redecorated a hundred years later. The company can boast of
many noble and distinguished members, amongst whom we find Edward III.
and his Queen, the Black Prince, Richard II. and his Queen, Henry IV.,
Henry V., Henry VI., Edward IV., and their Royal consorts.

Haberdashers' Hall is modern, built in 1864 on a site bequeathed to the
company by William Bacon in 1478, but the court room was erected by Wren
after the Great Fire, and has a fine ceiling. Salters' Hall--they have
had no less than five--was finished in 1827, and is very magnificent,
having a large open space in front, which adds greatly to its imposing
appearance. Some pictures were saved at the Great Fire, and there are
two fine paintings of Queen Charlotte and George III. by Sir Joshua
Reynolds. Ironmongers' Hall, spared by the Great Fire, was pulled down
in 1903, and a new hall, we believe, is in course of erection.


_In the possession of the Clothworkers' Company._]

The Vintners have a very interesting hall, built partly on the
foundations of the old hall destroyed in 1666, and very rich in its
treasures: its beautiful carvings by Grinling Gibbons, its ancient
tapestry, hearse-cloth, portraits, and valuable store of plate. Pepys
tells of the destruction of Clothworkers' Hall. He wrote, "But strange
it is to see Clothworkers' Hall on fire these three days and nights in
one body of flame, it having two cellars full of oil." After that mighty
destruction a new hall arose, worthy of the greatness of the company,
the present great hall itself being added in 1859, a noble building
lighted by fine windows containing the arms of distinguished members.
Pepys was master of the company in 1677, and presented a loving cup,
which is still amongst the company's treasures.

It is impossible in this brief survey of the Livery Companies to include
a description of the halls of the minor companies, some of which are
very fine and interesting. It has been my privilege to visit nearly all
of these ancient edifices, and to inspect many of their records and
valuable treasures. These I have tried to describe in my larger work on
the history of the companies. No volume relating to London would,
however, be complete without some reference to the ancient state and
glories of these venerable institutions, which, in spite of many
vicissitudes, much oppression, heavy losses and crushing calamities,
have survived to the present day, and continue their useful careers for
the benefit of the present generation of men. The story of the Livery
Companies furnishes wonderful examples of the tenacity of the national
character of Englishmen, of their firm determination to overcome
difficulties, and of their resolution to hand down to their successors
the traditions which they have received from a great and historic past.


[154] A full account of the history of each hall, its description and
treasures, is contained in my book on _The City Companies of London and
their Good Works_ (Dent & Co.), with illustrations by A. R. Quinton, and
reproductions of old pictures, tapestry, and plate.



A remarkable episode in the early history of London, and an element in
its making, which through the Middle Ages exercised an important and
beneficial influence on its progress and growth, was the settlement of
foreign merchants, who, at first as individuals, and later under the
control of the Hanseatic League, made it one of the principal trading
centres of Northern Europe; and no account of mediæval London would be
complete which omitted a reference to the part played by these German
and Flemish adventurers. Although it was not until the middle of the
twelfth century that the League reached that complete organization which
made it for some centuries a great northern power, the trading
communities of Germany early acquired some sort of cohesion; and we find
them established in London as early as the reign of Ethelred II. The
encouragement this Saxon King afforded them was doubtless due to the
fact that they were able to offer him the money of which he always stood
in need, in return for the privileges he was able to confer on them; and
he may have felt that he could always rely on their active support
against their common enemy--the Danes. But these first merchants were
few and unorganized, and although as time went on they increased in
number and importance, it was not until the League itself had become a
power that, in the reign of Henry III., they obtained a recognized
corporate existence.

The foundations of this originally peaceful confederacy were, curiously
enough, laid in war, and that of the baser sort--war for the sake of
pillage. The Vikings, finding themselves unable to realize the spoil
with which they were sometimes gorged, conceived the idea of founding a
market-place to which, by assurances of safety and immunity from further
theft, they could induce peaceful merchants to attend and receive, and
pay for, the goods which they had stolen. Such was the now vanished town
of Jomsborg which Pálnátoki, the Jarl of Fjon, founded about 950 in the
country of the Wends, near the mouth of the Oder. This town was intended
to be an abode of peace, where not only could the merchants reside in
safety, but to which the Viking Jarls, fighting elsewhere between
themselves, might resort to exchange the results of their raids. And
this city gradually became not only the market for the goods which the
sea-rovers gathered from sacked cities and ruined monasteries, but also
the emporium of the merchandise of the East, which reached the Baltic
from Byzantium by the Euxine and the Dnieper. It was in this Viking
market town that the first German merchants established among themselves
that association which eventually grew to be the most important trading
community of the Middle Ages.

The name which the association took to itself was a Gothic word, and was
not improbably conferred upon them by the Vikings themselves, since
Hansa means--in the language of the Goths--"a company," or "a troop,"
and in that sense it occurs in the Gothic version of the Scriptures by
Ulphilas, a copy of which is preserved in the library of Upsala. Some of
the rules which Pálnátoki made for these merchants remained in force
throughout the existence of the League, and formed the basis of the
laws by which all the factories of the Hansa were governed. The _Joms
Vykinga Saga_ contains some of these rules:--"No man older than fifty
years or younger than eighteen winters could be received." "Anyone who
committed what had been forbidden was to be cast out, and driven from
the community." "No one should have a woman within the burgh, or be
absent from it for three nights." Governed by such rules, the Kontors of
the League formed among the alien populations in which they were placed
semi-monastic establishments, holding only such intercourse with their
neighbours as their business required, much like the early British
factories established in India.

Hamburg was founded in 809 by Charlemagne, and its merchants were among
the first to take advantage of Jomsborg; and it was very shortly after
that market was opened when they appeared in London. The growth of the
League was, however, very gradual; and it was not until the foundation
of Lübeck, which afterwards became its principal city, that it assumed
its great importance. But the destruction of Jomsborg by the Danes
transferred all the Eastern trade of the Baltic to this new town, which,
as a consequence of its increasing importance, was made in 1226 a free
city of the Empire; and by 1234 it had become so powerful as to be able
to destroy for ever the naval supremacy of Denmark in the sea-fight of
Travemünde. Its treaty with Hamburg for mutual defence was made soon
afterwards, and this event is reckoned to be the formal establishment of
the Hansa League, not only as a corporate body, but as an independent
state to make treaties, and, when necessary, to levy war.


During this same period the German settlement in London had been
increasing in importance, and, although not yet recognized as a
corporate body, is frequently referred to as a guild or association.
There is but little doubt that the William Almaine, one of the three
city merchants who completed London Bridge, after the death of Peter of
Colechurch, was one of its members, and so important had the London
settlement become in the eyes of the Flemings, that in a charter granted
to the Flemish town of Damme by Joan of Constantinople in 1241, it is
specially provided that no one shall aspire to the office of alderman of
that place unless he had been previously admitted a member of the Hanse
in London.

In 1250 the permanent buildings of the League in London were commenced
by the erection of storehouses; and nine years afterwards, through the
influence of his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall and King of the
Romans, Henry III.

     "granted that all and singular the merchants, having a house in
     the City of London, commonly called the Guilda Aula
     Teutonicorum, should be maintained and upholden through the
     whole realm by all such freedoms and free usages or liberties
     as by the King and his noble progenitors' time they had

This "house in the City" was situated to the south of Thames Street,
bordering on the river, closely adjoining Dowgate Wharf, one of the
principal landing places, and it became known, later on, as the
Steel-yard. Several suggestions as to the origin of this name, more or
less ingenious, have been made, but it seems most probable that it was
due to the fact that there, or thereabouts, was situated a weighing
place for foreign goods imported by the Hansa, similar to the King's
weigh-house in Cornhill. In this settlement the merchants lived the
semi-monastic life required by their rules, avoiding as far as possible
intimate association with the people by whom they were surrounded, but
with whom they carried on their business; yet at the same time not so
exclusively withholding themselves as in the remote settlements of
Bergen and Novgorod. Indeed, in return for the privileges which were
conceded to them they were required, to a certain extent, to take part
in the civil life of London and to share in the duties of its defence.

One of the duties they were required to discharge was the maintenance of
one of the city gates--that known as Bishopsgate, from the fact that it
had been first erected by Saint Erkenwald, sometime Bishop of London;
and one of the first troubles they had with the city Corporation arose
in consequence of their neglect properly to perform this duty. It is
recorded that in the tenth year of Edward I., who had renewed his
father's charter, that a great controversy arose between the Mayor and
the "Haunce of Almaine" about the reparation of this gate, then likely
to fall, and the matter was brought before the King's Court of
Exchequer. The result was that the German merchants were found to have
neglected their duty, and they were called upon to pay two hundred and
ten marks sterling to the Mayor and citizens, and to undertake that they
and their successors should from time to time repair the gate. The names
of the merchants who at that time were residing in London, and answered
to the court, are given by Stow, and the list is interesting as showing
the different parts of Germany represented at that time. They were,
Gerard Marbod the Alderman, Ralph de Cusarde of Cologne, Bertram of
Hamburg, John de Dele, burgess of Münster, and Ludero de Denevar, John
of Arras, and John de Hundondale, all three burgesses of Tréves; so that
unless the Alderman himself was from Lübeck, the head city of the League
was not represented. An interesting point arises in connection with the
repairs of this gate. London in the thirteenth century was a city of
wood, with only its walls and churches built of stone, and brick as a
building material was almost unknown. But in the great cities of the
Hanse League, in Lübeck, Hamburg, and Bruges, brick was the ordinary
material, and for the Steel-yard merchants it was as easy to bring
bricks from Flanders as stone from Surrey or Kent, and the material
itself was very much cheaper. We know that wherever the agents of the
League settled they seem to have accustomed the people to the use of
brick, and taught them the mysteries of brick-making. This was the case
at Hull, a branch of the London Kontor, where, although in a
stone-producing country, its great church of Holy Trinity, as well as
its walls, were built of brick; and in other branches, such as Yarmouth,
Boston, and Lynn, we find early examples of brick-work. Old engravings
of portions of the Steel-yard buildings show that they were of brick,
and with their Guildhall vied in importance and beauty with the great
brick buildings of Lübeck and Bruges.

During the Lancastrian supremacy the German merchants were under a cloud
in this country, and many of their privileges were withdrawn; and
indeed, for a time, the Steel-yard was closed, whilst the fleets of the
League were actively supporting the Yorkist cause. But with the
accession of Edward IV. all this was changed, and in 1474 they were
reinstated in all their privileges, and embarked on a new era of
prosperity in London.

The close connection of the King with the house of Burgundy interested
him in the fortunes of the League in Flanders. His sister, Margaret of
York, was married to Charles the Bold at Damme, one of the principal
Kontors of the League, at which ceremony he was present; and he
attended, later on, a great Chapter of the Knights of the Golden Fleece
in Bruges, as the stall-plate bearing his arms in the choir of Notre
Dame testifies to this day. He granted the Flemish merchants special
privileges of exemption from taxation--as, for instance, to the makers
of dinanderie at Middleburg by Bruges, that the goods sent from hence to
England should be admitted free.

In 1479 the guild rebuilt Bishopsgate, which had again fallen into bad
repair, and this time we know that it was built of brick, although the
image of the bishop on the side towards the city was carved in stone;
and this date synchronises with that great period of brick building in
England which included the halls of Gifford, Hargraves, Oxburg, and West
Stow, and portions of the college at Eton. The Guildhall of the
Steel-yard seems also to belong to this date, for it was just then the
area of the enclosure was much extended. We have, unfortunately, but
very inadequate accounts of what must have been a very important
structure, although remains of it existed to the middle of the last
century; but we know that its gable was surmounted by the imperial
eagle. The interior, no doubt, was of a magnificence which would bear
comparison with the halls of the League in Flanders and Germany, and we
know that it contained two large paintings by Holbein of the triumphs of
Poverty and Riches, which, later, found their way into the collection of
Henry, Prince of Wales, and were destroyed in the fire at Whitehall.

In two particulars at least the London settlement was less exclusive
than some of those elsewhere. The merchants built no church for their
own private use, but resorted to the adjacent parish church of All
Hallows the More, which stood, until its recent destruction, at the
corner of Thames Street and All Hallows Lane. The original church
perished in the Great Fire, and with it all the monuments which could be
associated with the League; but in the rebuilt church, in the reign of
Queen Anne, was placed by one Jacob Jacobsen, no doubt a descendant of
one of the original Hanse merchants, a very beautiful screen, as a
memorial of the League. The screen is now in St. Margaret's, Lothbury,
and over the gate of it still soars the German eagle, but surmounted by
the arms of England. Although tradition says that the screen was made in
Hamburg, there seems to be but little doubt that its delicate carving is
the work of an English chisel, perhaps one of those which had been
employed at St. Paul's Cathedral.


Within the enclosing walls of the Steel-yard on the river's banks was a
fine garden planted with vines and fruit trees open to the citizens and
their wives, who in fine summer weather took their pleasure there and
drank the Rhine wines which the merchants imported from Germany and
vended at the rate of threepence a flask. This wine was brought over in
stone bottles, made principally at Fretchen, near Cologne, which, from a
rough-looking face, intended to represent Charlemagne, placed under the
lip, were commonly called "Flemish Gray-beards." When the Cannon Street
Railway Station, which occupies part of the site of this garden, was
built, many of these in a perfect state of preservation were unearthed;
of one of which we give an illustration.

With the discovery of America, and the increasing activity of English
merchant adventurers, the trade of the Germans declined, and a domestic
revolution in Lübeck, in 1537, destroyed the cohesion of the League,
which gradually became effaced during the struggles of the Thirty Years'
War. In England its charter was first withdrawn in 1552, and, although
its influence slightly revived under Mary in consequence of her Spanish
and Burgundian connections, it was finally expelled by Elizabeth.

Of the great League and its Kontor, in London, there remains, perhaps,
an echo in the expression, "A pound sterling"--a pound of the
Easterlings; but the site of its Steel-yard is now a railway station,
and its only tangible memorials remaining are some empty wine bottles.



  "Is this a dagger that I see before me?"--_Macbeth._

     Argent, a cross gules, in the first quarter a sword in pale,
     point upwards, of the last. Crest; a dragon's sinister wing,
     argent, charged with a cross, gules. Supporters; on either side
     a dragon with wings elevated and addorsed, argent, and charged
     on the wing with a cross, gules. Motto: "Domine dirige
     nos."--THE CITY.

     Gules, two swords in saltire, argent, the hilts in base,
     or.--THE SEE.

The origin of the City of London is almost as unknown as that of Rome
itself, and all its earliest history is lost in the misty traditions of
the Middle Ages, and to this may be due the fact that the arms it
blazons on its shield, and the weird supporters it claims to use, have
but little to warrant them but custom and age. Other cities, less
ancient and much less important, can give the full authority for the
armorials which they have assumed, and even the great guilds associated
with the Corporation are able to quote the reign and year--many of them
dating back to the time of Queen Elizabeth--when they received the grant
of arms which they still enjoy. But for the arms of the City of London
itself no authority can be adduced, and in the opinion of many none is
required, "seeing," as an old writer on the subject says, "that of
things armorial the very essence is undefinable antiquity; a sort of
perpetual old age, without record of childhood." That the arms which the
Corporation now use differ from those it first employed is freely
admitted, but comparatively few are aware of the modifications they have
undergone, or of the recentness of the date when they first assumed
their present form; and to those who are interested in the City itself,
or in heraldry generally, a short sketch of the history of the subject
will be welcome.

It was only in the year 1224, the ninth of Henry III., that permission
was granted to the commonalty of London to have a Common Seal; and the
seal which was then made continued in use until 1380, the fourth of
Richard II., when, to quote Stow, "it was by common consent agreed and
ordained that the old seal being very small, old, unapt and uncomely for
the honour of the city, should be broken up, and one other new should be
had." Of this first seal no copy seems to have survived, and we are left
to conjecture what arms, if any, it displayed. From the first, the
simple cross of St. George appears to have been the only bearing adopted
by the citizens for their shield, but they sometimes varied it by an
augmentation in the dexter chief symbolizing their patron saint, St.
Paul, but they appear to have used these two shields quite
indifferently. Thus, when they rebuilt their Guildhall, in 1411, they
carved both of these shields on the bosses of the groined crypt, where
they can be seen to this day, those down the centre aisle having only
the cross of St. George without the sword. On the screen to the chantry
chapel of Bishop Roger de Walden, in the church of St. Bartholomew the
Great, erected in 1386, the arms of London appear as a simple cross, and
a much later example occurred in the windows of Notre Dame at Antwerp.
In the north transept windows of that church were portraits of Henry
VII. and Elizabeth of York, which survived the damage wrought by the
Gueux; and a traveller, one William Smith, who was Rouge Dragon
Pursuivant, in 1597, says he saw with them the arms of many English
towns, including London, which had in the dexter chief a capital L, and
not a sword.


In the year 1380, as we have seen, a new seal was made, on which were
the effigies of the Blessed Virgin and SS. Peter and Paul, and in the
base on a shield the arms of the City, a cross with a sword in the
dexter chief, and on either side of it a demi-lion as a supporter. As to
the origin of the sword, there is a very old story, very generally
credited, which only requires retelling to show how inconsistent it is
with historical truth. About the part played by the Lord Mayor, Sir
William Walworth, in slaying Wat Tyler at Smithfield, there need be
little doubt, and at the hall of the Fishmongers' Company is preserved
the veritable dagger with which, it is asserted, the deed was done; and
as the addition was made to the City arms about the time of this
occurrence, popular fancy connected the two events, and ascribed the
advent of the dagger on the shield to its use in Smithfield (fig. 1).
Since, however, the new seal was made in 1380, and Wat Tyler was slain
and Sir William Walworth was knighted a year later, we have to look
elsewhere for the origin of the augmentation.

MCCCXL-MCCCLIV. (_In the British Museum._)]

Until the episcopate of Ralph de Stratford, the seals of the bishops of
London had borne the effigy only of St. Paul, and that bishop's seal was
the first on which the arms of the See of London were placed. An impress
of this seal is preserved in the Stowe collection at the British Museum,
attached to a deed of 1348, which, although in a somewhat broken
condition, clearly shows St. Paul seated in a niche, holding the sword
and a book, and beneath, in the base, the bishop kneeling, having on
the dexter side the arms of the See, and on the sinister side the
bishop's personal arms (fig. 2). The arms of the See show two swords
placed in saltire, but the field, instead of being plain, is frettée,
with a dot placed in the centre of each mesh, and in this particular
only differs from the present shield, and this may be due merely to a
desire for ornament, and not intended to have any heraldic significance.

Although St. Paul, as represented both on the seals of the City and the
See, bore a sword, this seal of Bishop Ralph's was the first which
represented the symbol apart from the saint. No doubt, with this example
before them, the Corporation, when making their new seal in 1380, added
to their arms the symbol of the patron saint of their city.

The arms of the See underwent no change from the time of their earliest
appearance to the present day, and were reproduced in many parts of the
new cathedral at its rebuilding, and may be seen exquisitely carved by
Grinling Gibbons over the entrance to St. Dunstan's Chapel; but with the
arms of the City it was very different, and, in fact, they do not appear
even now to have reached finality. When, early in the seventeenth
century, the seal of 1380 became too worn for further use, a new one was
made, which reproduced on the obverse all the essential features of the
earlier one, the details being somewhat classicised, the shield in the
base was repeated, and the lions on each side crowned; but the reverse
showed a new departure, of which no record exists in the College of
Arms. This was the addition of a crest, which consisted of a cross set
between two dragons' wings displayed, placed on a peer's helmet. It will
be seen by reference to the example preserved in the British Museum,
taken from a deed of 1670, that the shield, which is placed couchée,
bears the present arms, and is surrounded by a tasselled mantling and a
motto, which reads, "Londini defende tuos deus optime cives" (fig. 3).
No such use of a peer's helmet has ever been officially allowed to any
town or city, and it can only be presumed that as the mayors of London
were always addressed as "My Lord," the assumption of a peer's helmet
might be permitted. But it may be remarked that, at least in recent
years, the helmet is sometimes displaced by a fur cap, the headgear of
the sword-bearer to his lordship, for which there does not appear to be
the shadow of a warranty. For instance, the official invitation card to
the Lord Mayor's Banquet of 1882 has the fur cap hovering in the air
between the shield and the crest, whilst the card of 1896 reproduces the
helmet with its crest and mantling arranged in the earlier fashion.

[Illustration: FIG. 3--THE CITY SEAL IN MDCLXX.]


The crest which shows on this seal of 1670 introduces the dragon for the
first time to the City arms. The association of St. George with the
dragon is, of course, obvious, and this may have suggested its wings as
an appropriate crest to surmount his cross upon the shield, and from
this it was naturally an easy transition to the dragon supporters. They
are not known to occur before they were represented by Wallis in his
_London's Armory_, published in 1677, a work dedicated to Charles II.,
who, in accepting it, said of its author that he "hath with much Pains
and Charge endeavoured to attain a perfect and general collection of the
Arms proper to every Society and Corporation within our City, and hath
at length finished the same in a most exact and curious manner." Whether
this royal imprimatur can be held to override the absence of any grant
from the College of Arms may seem doubtful to many, but the fact
remains--from that day to this, dragons, or some fabulous monsters akin
to them or to griffins, have appeared as the supporters of the City
arms. Another point to notice in Wallis's representation, of which we
give a sketch (fig. 4), is that although he retains the peer's helmet
over the shield, he shows the fur cap, together with the mace, sword and
other official symbols, grouped as ornamental accessories at the base of
his device. The crest also has been modified, and consists of only one
dragon's wing, upon which the cross has been charged, as well as upon
the wings of the supporters, which, if descendants of the original
dragon of St. George, show thereby that they have become "Christen"

Such is the history, shortly, of the arms now used by the City of London
to decorate its buildings and seal its documents, and which Wallis,
their inventor, in the true meaning of that word, pronounces correct,
"having by just examinations and curious disquisitions now cleared them
from many gross absurdities contracted by ignorance and continued along
by implicit tradition committed contrary to Art, Nature and Order, and
repugnant to the very principles of Heraldry."

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

Bemrose & Sons Limited, Printers, Derby and London.

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