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Title: The Fleet. Its Rivers, Prison, and Marriages
Author: Ashton, John
Language: English
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Its River, Prison, and Marriages



(Author of "Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne," "Dawn of the
Nineteenth Century," &c., &c., &c.)

Illustrated by Pictures from Original Drawings and Engravings


New York
Scribner and Welford

[Illustration: VIEW OF MOUTH OF THE FLEET _circa_ 1765. (_Guildhall Art




This book requires none, except a mere statement of its scheme. Time
has wrought such changes in this land of ours, and especially in
its vast Metropolis, "The Modern Babylon," that the old land-marks
are gradually being effaced--and in a few generations would almost
be forgotten, were it not that some one noted them, and left their
traces for future perusal. All have some little tale to tell; even
this little River Fleet, which with its Prison, and its Marriages--are
things utterly of the past, entirely swept away, and impossible to
resuscitate, except by such a record as this book.

I have endeavoured, by searching all available sources of information,
to write a trustworthy history of my subject--and, at the same time,
make it a pleasant book for the general reader. If I have succeeded
in my aim, thanks are due, and must be given, to W. H. Overall, Esq.,
F.S.A., and Charles Welch, Esq., Librarians to the Corporation of the
City of London, whose friendship, and kindness, have enabled me to
complete my pleasant task. It was at their suggestion that I came upon
a veritable _trouvaille_, in the shape of a box containing Mr. Anthony
Crosby's Collection for a History of the Fleet, which was of most
material service to me, especially in the illustrations, most of which
were by his own hand.

I must also express my gratitude to J. E. Gardner, Esq., F.S.A., for
his kindness in putting his magnificent and unrivalled Collection of
Topographical Prints at my disposal, and also to J. G. Waller, Esq.,
F.S.A., for his permission to use his map of the Fleet River (the best
of any I have seen), for the benefit of my readers.





  The River.


  Course of the Fleet--Derivation of its Name--The River of
  Wells--The Fleet choked up--Cleansing the Fleet--The
  Fleet Navigable--Wells--Ponds and Pools                            1


  Water Supply of London--The Fleet to be Cleansed--Smell
  of the River--Prehistoric London--Antiquarian
  Discoveries--Cleansing the Fleet--Fouling the River--Rivers
  rising at Hampstead--The Tye-bourne--The West-bourne--Course
  of the West-bourne                                                13


  Course of the Fleet--The Hampstead Ponds--Rural Fleet--Gospel
  Oak--Parliament Hill--Kentish Town--Brown's
  Dairy--Castle Inn--St. Pancras Wells--Burials at St.
  Pancras--the Brill                                                25


  Battle Bridge--King's Cross--The Dust-heaps--St. Chad's
  Well--St. Chad's Well-water                                       39


  Medicinal Waters--Spas--The White Conduit--White Conduit
  House--White Conduit Gardens                                      53


  Sadler's Discovery--Miles's Musick House--A Man Eats a
  Live Cock, &c.--Forcer, the Proprietor--Macklin on
  Sadler's Wells--Actors at Sadler's Wells--The Pindar of
  Wakefield                                                         67


  "Black Mary's Hole"--Its Disappearance--Bagnigge Wells--Nell
  Gwyn's Houses--Bagnigge House                                     77


  Bagnigge Wells--The Organist--Different Proprietors--"Punch"
  on Bagnigge Wells--Decadence of the Wells                         87


  Cold Bath Fields Prison                                           99


  The "Cold Bath"--Cold Baths--Sir John Oldcastle--Archery--Tea
  Gardens--Small Pox Hospital--The Pantheon--Lady
  Huntingdon's Chapel--Lady Huntingdon                             111


  The Spencean System--Orator Hunt--Riot in the City--Riots--End
  of the Riots                                                     127


  Fighting--Hockley-in-the-Hole--Bear Baiting--Bear Gardens--Bull
  Baiting--Sword Play                                              137


  Mount Pleasant--Saffron Hill--Old House in West
  Street--Fagin--Field Lane--Thieves                               153


  Bleeding Hart Yard--Ely Place--John of Gaunt--Ely
  Chapel--Turnmill Brook--The Fleet--Holborn Bridge                163


  Lamb's Conduit--Clerkenwell--Fleet Market--Rye-House
  Plot--Fleet Bridge                                               179


  Alderman Waithman--John Wilkes--Ludgate Prison--Sir
  Stephen Foster                                                   193


  Bridewell--Montfichet Castle--Fuller on Bridewell--Ward
  on Bridewell--Howard on Bridewell--Bridewell Prison--
  The City and Apprentices--Mother Cresswell--Bridewell
  Court Room                                                       205


  Alsatia--Whitefriars--Deaths in the Fleet--Ben Jonson and
  the Fleet                                                        223

  The Fleet Prison.


  History of the Fleet Prison--Female Wardens--Settlement of
  Fees--Liberty of Prisoners--Filthy State of the Fleet--A
  Quarrelsome Knight--Preference for the Fleet Prison--Sir
  John Falstaff--Cardinal Wolsey                                   229


  Prisoners--Puritans--Bibliography of Fleet Prison--A
  Warden's Troubles                                                243


  The Warden of the Fleet--Purchase of Wardenship--Bad
  Discipline--Boundaries of the Fleet--Preference for the
  Fleet                                                            255


  Complaints of the Warden--The Warden keeps Corpses--Huggins
  and Bambridge--Castell--The First Prisoner
  in Irons--Acquittal of Huggins and Bambridge--Bambridge
  and his Prisoners--Chapel in the Fleet Bagging                   265


  Admission to the Fleet Prison--The _Humours_ of the Fleet        279


  Garnish--The "Common Side"--Howard's Report--Regulations
  of the Prison--Gordon Riots--Burning of the
  Fleet Prison--Fleet Prison Rebuilt--The "Bare"--Racket
  Masters--A Whistling Shop--A Mock Election
  "_Dum Vivimus, Vivamus_"--Number of Prisoners--Destitution       293


  Escape of Prisoners--A Gang of Forgers--Abolition of
  Imprisonment for Debt--Prisoners Object to move--Opposition
  to Removal--"The Last Days of the Fleet"--Sale
  of the Fleet Prison--Begging Grate--Richard Oastler              313

  Fleet Marriages.


  Illegal Marriages--Cost of Marriages--_Peculiars_--Suppression
  of Irregular Marriages--A Fleet Parson's Reflections--Fleet
  Parsons--An Heiress Married                                      327


  John Gaynam--The Bishop of Hell--Edward Ashwell--John
  Floud--Walter Wyatt                                              339


  The Lilleys--Fleet Parsons--Parson Keith                         351


  "The Bunter's Wedding"--Fleet Parsons--Exchange of
  Wives--Singular Marriage--Irregular Marriage                     363


  A Runaway Marriage--Fortune's Married--Illegal Marriage--Fleet
  Marriage Registers--Extracts from Registers--End
  of Marriages                                                     375

  INDEX                                                            386




  SHEPHERD'S WELL, HAMPSTEAD                                        22

  THE FLEET, KENTISH TOWN                                           28

  FROM FORTESS TERRACE, KENTISH TOWN, SEPT. 28, 1845                29

  THE FLEET AT KENTISH TOWN                                     30, 31

  GWYNNE'S                                                          33

  21, 1833                                                          34

  CASTLE, KENTISH TOWN ROAD, 1848                                   35

  THE BRILL                                                         37

  BATTLE BRIDGE                                             40, 41, 42

  DUST HEAP AT BATTLE BRIDGE                                        45

  ST. CHAD'S WELL                                                   49

  THE WHITE CONDUIT                                             54, 62

  STONE IN THE WHITE CONDUIT                                        57

  WHITE CONDUIT GARDENS (INTERIOR)                                  64

    "      "       "    (EXTERIOR)                                  65

  THE PINDAR OF WAKEFIELD                                           75

  BAGNIGGE HOUSE                                                    82


  BAGNIGGE WELLS                                                    88

  HUMOURS OF BAGNIGGE WELLS                                         89

  BAGNIGGE WELLS                                                    89


  THE BAGNIGGE ORGANIST                                             91

  THE ANCIENT RIVER FLEET, AT CLERKENWELL, 1825                    100

  SOUTH VIEW OF THE COLD BATHS                                     113

  THE SMALLPOX HOSPITAL IN COLD BATH FIELDS                        118

  COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON'S HOUSE ADJOINING                         124

  FAGIN, THE JEW                                                   159


  ELY HOUSE 1784                                                   169

  HOLBORN HILL, JUNE 2, 1840                                       175

  HOLBORN BRIDGE                                                   177

  LAMB'S CONDUIT, SNOW HILL                                        181

  FLEET MARKET, FROM HOLBORN BRIDGE                                187

  BRIDEWELL BRIDGE                                                 207

  WOMEN BEATING HEMP                                               213

  PASS ROOM, BRIDEWELL, 1808                                       215

  THE ARREST                                                       228

  BAMBRIDGE                                                        273

  A PRISONER IN IRONS                                              274

  THE COMMON SIDE OF THE FLEET PRISON                              278

  THE FLEET PRISON                                                 296

  RACKETS IN THE FLEET PRISON, 1760                                303

  A WHISTLING SHOP IN THE FLEET, 1821                              306

  THIS 24 DAY JUNE                                                 311

  FARRINGDON STREET AND THE FLEET PRISON                           322

  GROUND PLAN OF FLEET PRISON                                      323

  SECTION OF THE PRISON                                            323

  EXTERIOR OF THE GRATE                                            324

  A FLEET WEDDING                                                  362

  THE SAILOR'S FLEET WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT                         364

                      280, 294, 304, 307, 308, 319, 335.


_The Fleet:_

Its River, Prison, and Marriages.


Only a little tributary to the Thames, the River Fleet, generally,
and ignominiously, called the Fleet _Ditch_, yet it is historically
interesting, not only on account of the different places through
which its murmuring stream meandered, almost all of which have some
story of their own to tell, but the reminiscences of its Prison stand
by themselves--pages of history, not to be blotted out, but to be
recorded as valuable in illustration of the habits, and customs, of our

The City of London, in its early days, was well supplied with water,
not only by the wells dug near houses, or by the public springs, some
of which still exist, as Aldgate Pump, &c., and the River Thames; but,
when its borders increased, the Walbrook was utilized, as well as
the Fleet, and, later on, the Tye-bourne, or twin brook, which fell
into the Thames at Westminster. In the course of time these rivulets
became polluted, land was valuable; they were covered over, and are
now sewers. The course of the Fleet being clearly traceable in the
depression of Farringdon Street, and the windings of the Tye-bourne in
the somewhat tortuous Marylebone Lane (so called from the Chapel of
St. Mary, which was on the banks of "le bourne," or the brook[1]). Its
further course is kept in our memory by Brook Street, Hanover Square.

The name of this little river has exercised many minds, and has been
the cause of spoiling much good paper. My own opinion, backed by many
antiquaries, is that a _Fleet_ means a brook, or tributary to a larger
river, which is so wide, and deep, at its junction with the greater
stream as to be navigable for the small craft then in use, for some
little distance. Thus, we have the names on the Thames of Purfleet,
Northfleet, and Southfleet, and the same obtains in other places.
Its derivation seems to be Saxon--at least, for our language. Thus,
in Bosworth's "Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon Language," we find,
"Flede-Fledu: part. _Flooded_; _overflowed_: tumidus[2]: Tiber fledu
wearð[3]--the Tiber was flooded (Ors. 4. 7)."

Again, the same author gives: "Fleot (_Plat_ fleet, m. _a small river_;
_Ger._ flethe. f. _a channel_). _A place where vessels float_, _a bay_,
_gulf_, _an arm of the sea_, _the mouth of a river_, _a river_; hence
the names of places, as _Northfleet_, _Southfleet_, _Kent_; and in
London, _Fleet ditch_; _sinus_.[4] Soes Fleot, _a bay of the sea_.[5]
_Bd._ 1. 34."

Another great Anglo-Saxon scholar--Professor Skeat, in "An Etymological
Dictionary of the English Language": "Fleet, a creek, bay. In the names
_North-fleet_, _Fleet_ Street, &c. Fleet Street was so named from the
Fleet Ditch; and _fleet_ was given to any shallow creek, or stream, or
channel of water. See Halliwell. M.E. _fleet_ (Promptorium Parvulorum,
&c., p. 166). A.S. _fleót_, a bay of the sea, as in Soes Fleot, bay
of the sea. Ælfred's tr. of Beda, i. 34.[5] Afterwards applied to any
channel or stream, especially if shallow. The original sense was 'a
place where vessels float,' and the derivation is from the old verb
_fleet_, to float, &c."

The French, too, have a cognate term, especially in Norman towns,
as Barfleur, Honfleur, Harfleur, &c., which were originally written
Barbe_flot_, Hune_flot_, and Hare_flot_: and these were sometimes
written Hareflou, Huneflou, and Barfleu, which latter comes very near
to the Latin _flevus_, called by Ptolemy _fleus_, and by Mela _fletio_.
Again, in Brittany many names end in _pleu_, or _plou_, which seems to
be very much like the Greek [Greek: pleô]: _full_, _swollen_, which
corresponds to our Anglo-Saxon Flede; Dutch Vliet.

But it has another, and a very pretty name, "THE RIVER OF WELLS,"
from the number of small tributaries that helped to swell its stream,
and from the wells which bordered its course; such as Sadler's
Wells, Bagnigge Wells, White Conduit, Coldbath, Lamb's Conduit,
Clerkenwell--all of which (although all were not known by those names
in Stow's times) were in existence.

Stow, in his "SURVEY OF LONDON" (ed. 1603, his last edition, and which
consequently has his best corrections), says--

[Sidenote: "_Riuer of Wels._]

[Sidenote: _Decay of the Riuer of the Wels._]

[Sidenote: _Parliament Record._]

[Sidenote: _Riuer of Wels bare ships._]

[Sidenote: Patent Record. _Mils by Baynards Castel, made in the first
of King John._]

[Sidenote: _Turnemill Brooke._]

 That the riuer of Wels in the west parte of the Citty, was of
 olde so called of the Wels, it may be proued thus, William the
 Conqueror in his Charter to the Colledge of S. Marten le Grand
 in London, hath these wordes: I doe giue and graunt to the same
 Church all the land and the Moore, without the Posterne, which
 is called Cripplegate, on eyther part of the Postern, that is
 to say, from the North corner of the Wall, as the riuer of the
 Wels, there neare running, departeth the same More from the
 Wall, vnto the running water which entereth the Cittie; this
 water hath beene long since called the riuer of the Wels, which
 name of riuer continued, and it was so called in the raigne of
 Edward the first; as shall bee shewed, with also the decay of
 the saide riuer. In a fayre Booke of Parliament recordes, now
 lately restored to the Tower,[6] it appeareth that a Parliament
 being holden at Carlile in the yeare 1307, the 35 of Edward the
 I. Henry Lacy Earle of Lincolne, complayned that whereas, in
 times past the course of water, running at _London_ vnder _Olde
 bourne_ bridge, and _Fleete_ bridge into the Thames, had beene
 of such bredth and depth, that 10 or 12 ships, Nauies at once
 with marchãdises, were wõt to come to the foresaid bridge of
 Fleete, and some of them to Oldborne bridge: now the same course
 by filth of the Tanners & such others, was sore decaied; also by
 raising of wharfes, but specially by a diversiõ of the waters
 made by them of the new _Temple_, for their milles standing
 without _Baynardes Castle_, in the first yeare of King _John_,
 and diuers other impediments, so as the said ships could not
 enter as they were wont, & as they ought, wherefore he desired
 that the Maior of London, with the shiriffs, and other discrete
 Aldermen, might be appointed to view the course of the saide
 water, and that by the othes of good men, all the aforesaide
 hinderances might be remoued, and it to bee made as it was
 wont of old: wherupon _Roger le Brabazon_, the Constable of
 the Tower, with the Maior and Shiriffes, were assigned to take
 with them honest and discrete men, and to make diligent search
 and enquirie, how the said riuer was in old time, and that they
 leaue nothing that may hurt or stop it, but keepe it in the same
 estate that it was wont to be. So far the record. Wherupon it
 folowed that the said riuer was at that time cleansed, these
 mils remoued, and other things done for the preseruation of
 the course thereof, not withstanding neuer brought to the olde
 depth and breadth, whereupon the name of riuer ceased, and was
 since called a Brooke, namely Turnmill or Tremill Brooke, for
 that diuers Mils were erected vpon it, as appeareth by a fayre
 Register booke, conteyning the foundation of the Priorie at
 Clarkenwell, and donation of the landes thereunto belonging, as
 also by diuers other records.

 "This brooke hath beene diuers times since clensed, namely, and
 last of all to any effect, in the yeare 1502 the 17th of Henrie
 the 7. the whole course of Fleete dike, then so called, was
 scowred (I say) downe to the Thames, so that boats with fish
 and fewel were rowed to Fleete bridge, and to Oldburne bridge,
 as they of olde time had beene accustomed, which was a great
 commoditie to all the inhabitants in that part of the Citie.

 [Sidenote:_Fleete dyke promised to be clensed; the money
 collected, and the Citizens deceiued._]

 "In the yeare 1589, was granted a fifteene, by a common Councell
 of the citie, for the cleansing of this Brooke or dike: the
 money amounting to a thousand marks collected, and it was
 undertaken, that, by drawing diuerse springes about Hampsted
 heath, into one head and Course, both the citie should be serued
 of fresh water in all places of want, and also that by such a
 follower, as men call it, the channell of this brooke should be
 scowred into the riuer of Thames; but much mony being therein
 spent, y^e effect fayled, so that the Brooke by meanes of
 continuall incrochments vpon the banks getting ouer the water,
 and casting of soylage into the streame, is now become woorse
 cloyed and that euer it was before."

From this account of Stow's we find that the stream of the Fleet,
although at one time navigable, had ceased to be so in his time, but
we see, by the frontispiece, which is taken from a painting (in the
Guildhall Art Gallery) by Samuel Scot, 1770 (?) that the mouth of the
Fleet river, or ditch, call it which you like, was still, not only
navigable, but a place of great resort for light craft.

The name "River of Wells" is easily to be understood, if we draw again
upon Stow, who, in treating of "Auncient and present Riuers, Brookes,
Boorns, Pooles, Wels, and Conduits of fresh water seruing the Citie,"
&c., says--

 "Aunciently, vntill the Conquerors time, and 200 yeres after,
 the Citie of London was watered besides the famous Riuer of
 Thames on the South part; with the riuer of the WELS, as it was
 then called, on the west; with water called WALBROOKE running
 through the midst of the citie into the riuer of Thames, seruing
 the heart thereof. And with a fourth water or Boorne, which ran
 within the Citie through LANGBOORNE ward, watering that part
 in the East. In the west suburbs was also another great water,
 called OLDBORNE, which had his fall into the riuer of Wels:
 then was there 3 principall Fountaines or wels in the other
 Suburbs, to wit, Holy Well, Clements Well, and Clarkes Well.
 Neare vnto this last named fountaine were diuers other wels,
 to wit, Skinners Wel, Fags Wel, Loders Wel, and Rad Well; All
 which sayde Wels, hauing the fall of their ouerflowing in the
 foresayde Riuer, much encreased the streame, and in that place
 gaue it the name of Wel. In west Smithfield, there was a Poole
 in Recordes called HORSEPOOLE, and one other Poole neare vnto
 the parish Church of Saint GILES without CRIPPLEGATE. Besides
 all which they had in euerie streete and Lane of the citie
 diuerse fayre Welles and fresh Springs; and, after this manner
 was this citie then serued with sweete and fresh waters, which
 being since decaid, other means haue beene sought to supplie the

Here, then, we have a list of Wells, which are, together with those I
have already mentioned, quite sufficient to account for the prettier
name of the "River of Wells." Of these wells Stow writes in his
deliciously-quaint phraseology:--

[Sidenote: "_Fitzstephen. Holy well._]

 There are (saith _Fitzstephen_) neare London, on the North side
 special wels in the Suburbs, sweete, wholesome, and cleare,
 amongst which _Holy well_, Clarkes wel, and Clements wel are
 most famous, and frequented by Scholers, and youthes of the
 Cittie in sommer evenings, when they walke forthe to take the

 "The first, to wit, Holy well, is much decayed, and marred with
 filthinesse laide there, for the heightening of the ground for
 garden plots.

 [Sidenote: _Clements well._]

 "The fountaine called S. Clements well, North from the Parish
 Church of S. Clements, and neare vnto an Inne of _Chancerie_,
 called _Clements_ Inne, is faire curbed square with hard stone,
 kept cleane for common vse, and is alwayes full.

 [Sidenote: _Clarks well._]

 [Sidenote: _Playes by the Parish Clarks at Clarks well._]

 [Sidenote: _Players at the Skinners well._]

 "The third is called Clarkes well, or Clarkenwell,[7] and is
 curbed about square with hard stone, not farre from the west
 ende of Clarkenwell Church, but close without the wall that
 incloseth it; the sayd Church tooke the name of the Well, and
 the Well tooke the name of the Parish Clarkes in London, who
 of old time were accustomed there yearely to assemble, and to
 play some large hystorie of holy Scripture. And, for example,
 of later time, to wit, in the yeare 1390, the 14 of Richard the
 Second, I read the Parish Clarks of London, on the 18 of July,
 playd Enterludes at _Skinners well_, neare vnto _Clarkes well_,
 which play continued three dayes togither, the King, Queene, and
 Nobles being present. Also the yeare 1409, the 10 of Henrie the
 4. they played a play at the _Skinners well_, which lasted eight
 dayes, and was of matter from the creation of the worlde. There
 were to see the same, the most part of the Nobles and Gentiles
 in England, &c.

 [Sidenote: _Skinners well._]

 [Sidenote: _Wrestling-place._]

 "Other smaller welles were many neare vnto Clarkes well, namely
 _Skinners well_, so called for that the Skinners of London held
 there certaine playes yearely playd of holy Scripture, &c. In
 place whereof the wrestlings haue of later yeares beene kept,
 and is in part continued at _Bartholomew tide_.

 [Sidenote: _Fagges well._]

 "Then was there Fagges well, neare vnto _Smithfield_ by the
 _Charterhouse_, now lately dammed vp, _Tod well_, _Loders well_,
 and _Rad well_, all decayed, and so filled vp, that there places
 are hardly now discerned.

 "Somewhat North from _Holy well_ is one other well curbed
 square with stone, and is called _Dame Annis the Cleare_, and
 not farre from it, but somewhat west, is also one other cleare
 water called _Perillous pond_[8], because diuerse youthes by
 swimming therein haue beene drowned; and thus much bee said for
 Fountaines and Wels.

 "_Horse poole_ in _Westsmithfield_, was sometime a great
 water, and because the inhabitants in that part of the Citie
 did there water their Horses, the same was, in olde Recordes,
 called _Horspoole_, it is now much decayed, the springs being
 stopped vp, and the land waters falling into the small bottome,
 remayning inclosed, with Bricke, is called _Smithfield pond_.

 [Sidenote: _Poole without Cripplegate._]

 "By S. Giles Churchyard was a large water, called a _Poole_. I
 read in the year 1244 that Anne of Lodburie was drowned therein;
 this poole is now for the most part stopped vp, but the spring
 is preserued, and was cooped about with stone by the Executors
 of _Richard Wittington_."

    [Footnote 1: The name of this church has been Latinized as
    "Sancta Maria de Ossibus"!]

    [Footnote 2: Swollen.]

    [Footnote 3: The real quotation in Orosius is "þa wearð Tiber
    seo eâ swa fledu."]

    [Footnote 4: A bag, or purse, a fold of a garment; a bay,
    bight, or gulf.]

    [Footnote 5: I cannot find this quotation in "Boedoe Historia
    Ecclesiastica," &c., in any edition I have seen, but in 1.33.
    I do find Amfleet, and in John Smith's edition (Cambridge,
    1722) as a note to Amj-leor he says "Vulgo Ambleteau or
    Ambleteuse, about 2 miles north of Boulogne"]

    [Footnote 6: The Records were kept in the Tower, and at the
    Rolls Office, in a very neglected state, until they were
    removed to the present Record Office in Fetter Lane.]

    [Footnote 7: This is the only one left whose position is a
    matter of certainty.]

    [Footnote 8: Afterwards known as "Peerless Pool," an unmeaning




London, for its size, was indeed very well supplied with water,
although, of course, it was not laid on to every house, as now, but,
with the exception of those houses provided with wells, it had to be
fetched from fixed public places, which were fairly numerous. When the
waters of the Fleet, and Wallbrook, in the process of time, became
contaminated, Henry III., in the 21st year of his reign (1236), granted
to the Citizens of London the privilege of conveying the waters of the
Tye-bourne through leaden pipes to the City, "for the poore to drinke,
and the rich to dresse their meate." And it is only a few years since,
that close by what is now called "Sedley Place," Oxford Street, but
which used to be the old hunting lodge of bygone Lord Mayors, some of
these very pipes were unearthed, a fine cistern being uncovered at the
same time.

For public use there were the great Conduit in West Cheape: the Tonne
or Tun in Cornhill, fountains at Billingsgate, at Paul's Wharf, and
St. Giles', Cripplegate, and conduits at Aldermanbury, the Standard
in Fleet Street, Gracechurch Street, Holborn Cross (afterwards Lamb's
Conduit), at the Stocks Market (where the Mansion House now stands),
Bishopsgate, London Wall, Aldgate, Lothbury--and this without reckoning
the supply furnished from the Thames by the enterprising German, or
Dutchman, Pieter Moritz, who in 1582 started the famous waterworks
close to where Fishmongers' Hall now stands.

The Fleet river (I prefer that title to the other cognomen, "Ditch"),
flowing through London, naturally became somewhat befouled, and in
Henry the VII.'s time, _circa_ 1502, it was cleansed, so that, as
aforesaid, "boats with fish and fewel were rowed to Fleete bridge,
and to Oldburne bridge." We also know, as Stow records, that more
springs were introduced into the stream from Hampstead, without effect,
either as to deepening or purifying the river, which had an evil
reputation even in the time of Edward I., as we see in Ryley's "Placita
Parliamentaria" (ed. 1661), p. 340--

 "_Ad peticionem Com. Lincoln._ querentis quod cum cursus aque,
 que currit apud _London_ sub _Ponte_ de _Holeburn_, & _Ponte_ de
 _Fleete_ usque in _Thamisiam_ solebat ita largus & latus esse,
 ac profundus, quod decem Naves vel duodecim ad predictum Pontem
 de _Fleete_ cum diversis rebus & mercandisis solebant venire,
 & quedam illarum Navium sub illo Ponte transire, usque ad
 predictum Pontem de _Holeburn_ ad predictum cursum mundanmum &
 simos exinde cariand, nunc ille cursus per fordes & inundaciones
 Taunatorum & p varias perturbaciones in predicta aqua, factas
 & maxime per exaltationem Caye & diversionem aque quam ipsi de
 _Novo Templo_ fecerunt ad Molendina sua extra Castra _Baignard_,
 quod Naves predicte minime intrare possunt sicut solebant,
 & facere debeant &c. unde supplicat quod _Maior de London_
 assumptis secum Vice com. & discretionibus Aldermannis cursum
 pre[=d]ce aque videat, & quod per visum & sacr[~m] proborum
 & legalium hominum faciat omnia nocumenta predicte aque que
 invinerit ammovere & reparare cursum predictum, & ipsum in
 tali statu manutenere in quo antiquitus esse solebat &c. _Ita
 responsum est, Assignentur Rogerus le Brabazon & Constabularius
 Turris, London Maior & Vice Com. London, quod ipsi assumptit
 secum discretionibus Aldermannis London, &c., inquirant per
 sacramentum &c., qualiter fieri consuevit & qualis cursus. Et
 necumenta que invenerint ammoveant & manueri faciant in eadem
 statu quo antiquitus esse solebat._"

Latin for which a modern schoolboy would get soundly rated, or birched,
but which tells us that even as far back as Edward I. the Fleet river
was a nuisance; and as the endorsement (Patent Roll 35 Edward I.)
shows--"De cursu aquæ de Fleta supervivendo et corrigendo," _i.e._,
that the Fleet river should be looked after and amended. But the
Commission issued to perfect this work was discontinued, owing to the
death of the king. (Patent Roll 1 Edward II., pars 1. m. dorso.) "De
Cursu Aquæ Flete, &c., reducend et impedimenta removend."

And Prynne, in his edition of Cotton's "Records" (ed. 1669, p.
188), asks "whether such a commission and inquiry to make this
river navigable to Holborn Bridge or Clerkenwell, would not now be
seasonable, and a work worthy to be undertaken for the public benefit,
trade, and health of the City and Suburbs, I humbly submit to the
wisdom and judgment of those whom it most Concerns."

So that it would appear, although otherwise stated, that the Fleet was
not navigable in May, 1669, the date of the publication of Prynne's

As a matter of fact it got to be neither more nor less than an open
sewer, to which the lines in Coleridge's "Table Talk" would well apply--

  "In Cöln, that town of monks and bones,
  And pavements fang'd with murderous stones,
  And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches,
  I counted two-and-seventy stenches;
  All well-defined and genuine stinks!
  Ye nymphs, that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
  The river Rhine, it is well known,
  Doth wash the City of Cologne;
  But, tell me, nymphs, what power divine
  Shall henceforth wash the River Rhine?"

The smell of the Fleet river was notorious; so much so, that Farquhar,
in his _Sir Harry Wildair_, act ii., says, "Dicky! Oh! I was just dead
of a Consumption, till the sweet smoke of _Cheapside_, and the dear
perfume of _Fleet Ditch_ made me a man again!" In Queen Anne's time,
too, it bore an evil reputation: _vide The Tatler_ (No. 238, October
17, 1710) by Steele and Swift.[9]

  "Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
  And bear their trophies with them as they go:
  Filth of all hues and odours seem to tell
  What street they sail'd from, by their sight and smell.
  They, as each torrent drives, with rapid force,
  From Smithfield or St. Pulchre's shape their course,
  And in huge confluent join'd at Snow Hill ridge,
  Fall from the Conduit, prone to Holborn Bridge.
  Sweepings from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
  Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud,
  Dead cats and turnip-tops come tumbling down the flood."

We get a glimpse of prehistoric London, and the valley of the Fleet, in
Gough's "British Topography," vol. i. p. 719 (ed. 1780). Speaking of
John Conyers, "apothecary, one of the first Collectors of antiquities,
especially those relating to London, when the City was rebuilding....
He inspected most of the gravel-pits near town for different sorts and
shapes of stones. In one near the sign of Sir J. Oldcastle, about 1680,
he discovered the skeleton of an elephant, which he supposed had lain
there only since the time of the Romans, who, in the reign of Claudius,
fought the Britons near this place, according to Selden's notes on
the Polyolbion. In the same pit he found the head of a British spear
of flint, afterwards in the hands of Dr. Charlett, and engraved in
Bagford's letter." We, now-a-days, with our more accurate knowledge of
Geology and Palæontology, would have ascribed a far higher ancestry to
the "elephant."

As a matter of course, a little river like the Fleet must have become
the receptacle of many articles, which, once dropped in its waters,
could not be recovered; so that it is not surprising to read in the
_Mirror_ of March 22, 1834 (No. 653, p. 180), an account of antiquarian
discoveries therein, which, if not archæologically correct, is at least

 "In digging this Canal between Fleet Prison and Holborn Bridge,
 several Roman utensils were lately discovered at the depth of 15 feet;
 and a little deeper, a great quantity of Roman Coins, in silver,
 brass, copper, and all other metals except gold. Those of silver were
 ring money, of several sizes, the largest about the bigness of a
 Crown, but gradually decreasing; the smallest were about the size of a
 silver Twopence, each having a snip at the edge. And at Holborn Bridge
 were dug up two brazen lares, or household gods, about four inches in
 length, which were almost incrusted with a petrified matter: one of
 these was Bacchus, and the other Ceres; but the coins lying at the
 bottom of the current, their lustre was in a great measure preserved,
 by the water incessantly washing off the oxydizing metal. Probably
 the great quantity of coin found in this ditch, was thrown in by the
 Roman inhabitants of this city for its preservation at the approach
 of Boadicæa at the head of her army: but the Roman Citizens, without
 distinction of age or sex, being barbarously murdered by the justly
 enraged Britons, it was not discovered till this time.

 "Besides the above-mentioned antiquities, several articles of a more
 modern date were discovered, as arrow-heads, scales, seals with
 the proprietors' names upon them in Saxon characters; spur rowels
 of a hand's breadth, keys and daggers, covered over with livid
 rust; together with a considerable number of medals, with crosses,
 crucifixes, and Ave Marias engraven thereon."

A paper was read, on June 11, 1862, to the members of the British
Archæological Association, by Mr. Ganston, who exhibited various relics
lately recovered from the bed of the river Fleet, but they were not
even of archæological importance--a few knives, the earliest dating
from the fifteenth century, and a few knife handles.

Previously, at a meeting of the same Society, on December 9, 1857, Mr.
C. H. Luxmore exhibited a green glazed earthenware jug of the sixteenth
century, found in the Fleet.

And, before closing this antiquarian notice of the Fleet, I cannot but
record some early mention of the river which occur in the archives of
the Corporation of the City of London:--

 (17 Edward III., A.D. 1343, Letter-book F, fol. 67.) "Be it
 remembered that at the Hustings of Common Pleas, holden on
 the Monday next before the Feast of Gregory the Pope, in the
 17th year of the reign of King Edward, after the Conquest, the
 Third, Simon Traunceys, Mayor, the Aldermen and the Commonalty,
 of the City of London, for the decency and cleanliness of the
 same city, granted upon lease to the butchers in the Parish of
 St. Nicholas Shambles, in London, a piece of land in the lane
 called 'Secollane' (sea coal), neare to the water of Flete, for
 the purpose of there, in such water, cleansing the entrails
 of beasts. And upon such piece of land the butchers aforesaid
 were to repair a certain quay at their charges, and to keep the
 same in repair; they paying yearly to the Mayor of London for
 the time being, at the Feast of our Lord's Nativity, one boar's

 (31 Edward III., A.D. 1357, Letter-book G, fol. 72.) "Also, it
 is ordered, that no man shall take, or cause to be carried,
 any manner of rubbish, earth, gravel, or dung, from out of his
 stables or elsewhere, to throw, and put the same into the rivers
 of Thames and Flete, or into the Fosses around the walls of the
 City: and as to the dung that is found in the streets and lanes,
 the same shall be carried and taken elsewhere out of the City by
 carts, as heretofore; or else by the _raykers_[11] to certain
 spots, that the same may be put into the _dongebotes_,[12]
 without throwing anything into the Thames; for saving the body
 of the river, and preserving the quays, such as Dowegate,
 Quenhethe, and Castle Baynards, (and) elsewhere, for lading
 and unlading; as also, for avoiding the filthiness that is
 increasing in the water, and upon the banks of the Thames, to
 the great abomination and damage of the people. And, if any
 one shall be found doing the Contrary hereof, let him have the
 prison for his body, and other heavy punishment as well, at the
 discretion of the Mayor and of the Aldermen."[13]

 (7 Henry V. A.D. 1419, Journal 1, fol. 61.) "It is granted that
 the _risshbotes_[14] at the Flete and elsewhere in London shall
 be taken into the hands of the Chamberlain; and the Chamberlain
 shall cause all the streets to be cleansed."[15]

The northern heights of London, the "ultima Thule" of men like Keats,
and Shelley, abound in springs, which form the bases of several little
streams, which are fed on their journey to their bourne, the Thames
(to which they act as tributaries), by numerous little brooklets and
rivulets, which help to swell their volume. On the northern side of
the ridge which runs from Hampstead to Highgate, birth is given to
the Brent, which, springing from a pond in the grounds of Sir Spencer
Wells, is pent up in a large reservoir at Hendon, and finally debouches
into the Thames at Brentford, where, from a little spring, which it is
at starting, it becomes so far a "fleet" as to allow barges to go up
some distance.


On the southern side of the ridge rise the Tybourne, and the
Westbourne. The former had its rise in a spring called Shepherd's Well,
in Shepherd's Fields, Hampstead, which formed part of the district now
known as Belsize Park and FitzJohn's Avenue, which is the finest road
of private houses in London. Shepherd's Well is depicted in Hone's
"Table Book," pp. 381, 2, and shows it as it was over fifty years
since. Alas! it is a thing of the past; a railway tunnel drained the
spring, and a mansion, now known as The Conduit Lodge, occupies its
site. It meandered by Belsize House, through St. John's Wood, running
into Regent's Park, where St. Dunstan's now is, and, close to the
Ornamental Water, it was joined by a little rivulet which sprang from
where now, is the Zoological Gardens. It went across Marylebone Road,
and, as nearly as possible, Marylebone Lane shows its course; then
down South Molton Street, passing Brook Street, and Conduit Street,
by Mayfair, to Clarges Street, across Oxford Street and into a pond
in the Green Park called the Ducking Pond, which was possibly used as
a place of punishment for scolds, or may have been an ornamental pond
for water-fowl. Thence it ran in front of Buckingham Palace, where it
divided, which was the cause of its name. Twy, or Teo (double), and
Bourne, Brook--one stream running into the Thames west of Millbank,
doing duty by the way in turning the Abbey Mill (whence the name),
and the other debouching east of Westminster Bridge, thus forming
the Island of Thorns, or Thorney Isle, on which Edward the Confessor
founded his abbey, and the City of Westminster.

The Westbourne took its rise in a small pond near "Telegraph Hill,"
at Hampstead; two or three brooklets joined it, and it ran its course
across the Finchley Road, to the bottom of Alexandra Road, Kilburn,
where it was met by another stream, which had its source at Frognal,
Hampstead. It then became the West bourne, as being the most westerly
of all the rivers near London, taking the Wallbrook, the Fleet, and the

Its course may be traced down Kilburn Park Road, and Shirland Road.
Crossing the Harrow Road where now is Westbourne Park Station,
_Eastbourne_ and _Westbourne_ Terraces mark the respective banks, and,
after crossing the Uxbridge Road, it runs into the Serpentine at the
Engine House. Feeding that sheet of water, it comes out again at the
Albert Gate end, runs by Lowndes Square, Cadogan Place, &c., and,
finally, falls into the river at Chelsea Hospital.

    [Footnote 9: _Journal to Stella_, October 17, 1710--"This day
    came out _The Tatler_, made up wholly of my Shower, and a
    preface to it. They say it is the best thing I ever writ, and
    I think so too."]

    [Footnote 10: "Memorials of London and London Life in the
    Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Centuries," by H. J.
    Riley, 1868, p. 214.]

    [Footnote 11: The street sweepers.]

    [Footnote 12: Dung boats.]

    [Footnote 13: See Riley, p. 299.]

    [Footnote 14: This was probably because the rushes were spilt
    in the river. At that time the house-floors were strewn with
    rushes, which were brought to London in "Rush boats;" and an
    ordinance, _temp._ 4 Henry V., provides that "all rushes in
    future, laden in boats or skiffs, and brought here for sale,
    should be sold by the cart-load, as from of old had been wont
    to be done. And that the same cart-loads were to be made up
    within the boats and skiffs in which the said rushes are
    brought to the City, and not upon the ground, or upon the
    wharves, walls, or embankments of the water of Thames, near or
    adjacent to such boats or skiffs; under a heavy penalty upon
    the owner or owners of such boats, skiffs, and rushes, at the
    discretion of the Mayor and Aldermen."]

    [Footnote 15: See Riley, p. 675.]




The Fleet, as far as can be ascertained, owes its birth to an
ornamental water, fed by springs--one of the numerous ponds in Highgate
and Hampstead--in the park of Ken Wood, the seat of Earl Mansfield,
now occasionally occupied by the fourth successor to that title; who,
being keeper of the royal Castle of Scone, prefers, as a rule, his
northern residence. In the No Popery riots of 1780, with which Lord
George Gordon was so intimately connected, Ken Wood House was on the
brink of being destroyed by the rioters, who had, already, wrecked his
lordship's house in Bloomsbury Square, and destroyed his most valuable
library. Tradition says that Ken Wood was saved owing to the landlord
of "The Spaniards," well known to all pedestrian frequenters of
Hampstead, giving them his beer, &c., until they were incapacitated, or
unwilling, to fulfil their quest, meanwhile sending messengers for the
Horse Guards, who opportunely arrived, and prevented the destruction
of the mansion. It is quite possible that this is a true story, for
a footnote (p. 69) in Prickett's "History of Highgate" says: "The
following is copied from a receipt of one of the constables of the
Hundred of Ossulston: 'Received 8s. 6d., being the proportion taxed
and assessed for and towards the payment of the several taxations and
assessments which have been made upon the said Parish (amounting to the
sum of £187. 18s. 7d.) towards an equal contribution, to be had and
made for the relief of the several inhabitants of said Hundred; against
whom, the several persons who were damnified by rioters within the same
Hundred, in the month of June, 1780, have obtained verdicts, and had
their executions respectively.'"

Commencing thus in one of the prettiest parts of the most picturesque
suburbs of London, it flows from one to the other, right through the
chain of the Highgate Ponds, fed by several rills, the first being near
the Hampstead end of Millfield Lane--which is, by some, regarded as
its source. From the lower pond it crossed the Highgate Road, and, for
some distance, it ran parallel with it, although a little way eastward.
It again crossed the Highgate Road not far from its junction with the
Kentish Town Road, the course of which it followed, until it came to
Hawley Road, where it was joined by a sister brook, whose source was
the pond in the Vale of Health at Hampstead, flowing from which, it
was fed by a brooklet, over which the abortive viaduct of Sir Thomas
Marion Wilson's construction is carried. It ran into, and through, the
Hampstead Ponds, which end at the lower east heath, near Pond Street
(a locality easily recognized when once any one has seen St. Stephen's
Church, Haverstock Hill, one of the most beautiful churches in London).
These ponds are immortal, if they needed immortality, as the very first
page of "Pickwick" gives an entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick

 "_May 12, 1827._ Joseph Smiggers, Esq., P.V.P., M.P.C.,
 presiding. The following resolutions unanimously agreed to--

 "'That this Association has heard read, with feelings of
 unmingled satisfaction, and unqualified approval, the paper
 communicated by Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C., M.P.C., entitled,
 "Speculations on the Source of the Hampstead Ponds, with some
 observations on the Theory of Tittlebats"; and that this
 Association does hereby return its warmest thanks to the said
 Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C., M.P.C., for the same.'"

Its memory is still retained in the Fleet Road.

On its way through Kentish Town it passed through a purely pastoral
country, such as we, who know the district only as covered with houses,
can hardly reconcile with existing circumstances. The Guildhall
Collection relating to the Fleet River, is very rich in water-colour
drawings and pen-and-ink sketches of undoubted authenticity, and from
them I have selected what, in my opinion, are the most suitable for
this work.[16]

From the above, and this view of Highgate, so late back as 1845, we
can fairly judge of the pleasant scenery which existed almost at our
doors--before the iron roads brought population, which begat houses,
which destroyed all rusticity, leaving bricks and mortar on the site of
verdant meads, and millions of chimneys vomiting unconsumed carbon and
sulphur, in the place of the pure fresh air which once was dominant.

[Illustration: THE FLEET, KENTISH TOWN. _Circa_ 1837.]

Here we see the Fleet running its quiet course--and the other sketches
bear witness to its rurality.


(_Water colour by A. Crosby._)]

After the Fleet had recrossed the Highgate Road near the junction of
that road and the Kentish Town Road, it passed near the _Gospel Oak_,
which now gives its name to a railway station in the locality. About
this oak, there was a tradition that it was so called because St.
Augustine preached underneath its boughs--a fact which is probably
as correct as the story that the Church of St. Pancras was the first
Christian Church in England. In truth, there are, or were, many Gospel
Oaks and Elms throughout the country; for instance, there is an iron
foundry near the parishes of Tipton and Wednesbury called _Gospel Oak
Works_. It was, as a matter of fact, a traditionary custom, in many
places, when, on Holy Thursday (Ascension Day), the parochial bounds
were beaten, to read a portion of the Gospels under some well-known
tree, and hence its name. One or two quotations will easily prove this.


In the "Bury Wills," p. 118, is the following passage in the will of
John Cole of Thelnetham, dated May 8, 1527: "Item, I will haue a newe
crosse made according to Trappett's crosse at the Hawe lanes ende, and
set vp at Short Grove's end, where the gospell is sayd vpon Ascension
Even, for y^e w^{ch} I assigne x^s."

And, in the poem of Herrick's "Hesperides," which is addressed "To

                          "Dearest, bury me
  Under that holy Oke, or Gospel Tree;
  Where, (though thou see'st not,) thou may'st think upon
  Me, when thou yerely go'st procession."

It also passed near Parliament, or Traitors', Hill--a name which
is much in dispute; some maintaining that it was fortified by the
Parliamentary Army, under Cromwell, for the protection of London,
others that the 5th of November conspirators met here to view the
expected explosion of the Houses of Parliament. This, which forms the
most southern part of Hampstead Heath, and therefore the nearest, and
most accessible to the great bulk of Londoners, has a beautiful view of
Highgate and London, and has, I am happy to say, been preserved as an
open space for the public.


We have now followed the Fleet in its course to Kentish Town, the
etymon of which is, to say the least, somewhat hazy. Being so, of
course, an immense amount of theory has been expended upon it. Some
contend that it springs from the Prebendary attached to St. Paul's
Cathedral, of Cantelupe, or Cantelows, now (in _Crockford_, called
Cantlers): one antiquary suggesting that it owes its name to the delta
formed by the junction of the two branches of the Fleet--from _Cant_
or _Cantle_, a corner;--whilst yet another authority thinks that, as
the Fleet had its source from Ken Wood--it was called Ken-ditch--hence
Kenditch or Kentish Town. Be it as it may, it was a very pleasant and
rural suburb, and one of some note, for herein William Bruges, Garter
King-at-Arms, had a country house, at which he entertained, in the year
1416, the Emperor Sigismund, who came over here, in that year, to try
and mediate between our Henry V. and the King of France.

In still older times it formed part of the great Middlesex forest,
which was full of wolves, wild boars, deer, and wild oxen; but we find
that, in 1252, Henry III. granted to Thomas Ive, permission to inclose
a portion of the highway adjoining his mansion at Kentessetone. And in
1357, John of Oxford, who was Mayor of London in 1341, gave, amongst
other things, to the Priory of the Holy Trinity, in London, a mill at
Kentish Town--which, of course, must have been turned by the Fleet. The
kind donor was one of the very few Mayors who died during his mayoralty.

It is said, too, that Nell Gwynne had a house in Kentish Town, but I
can find not the slightest confirmation of the rumour; still, as there
is a very good pen-and-ink sketch of the old house said to be hers, I
give it, as it helps to prove the antiquity of Kentish Town, now, alas!
only too modern.


And there was another old house close by the Fleet there, an old
farmhouse known as Brown's dairy.

21, 1833.

(_By A. Crosby--water colour._)]

This old Farmhouse had, evidently, a nobler origin, for it was moated;
and, in 1838, the moat existed on the east and north sides. It
belonged to the College of Christ Church, Oxford, and was held of the
Manor of Cantelows at a small fine. There was a good orchard, which at
the above date (the time of its demolition) contained a large walnut
tree and some mulberry trees. The building materials were sold for £60,
so that it evidently had done its work, and passed away in the ripeness
of old age.

[Illustration: CASTLE, KENTISH TOWN ROAD, 1848.]

The Castle Inn is said to have been the oldest house in Kentish Town,
and there is a tradition that Lord Nelson once lived here, "in order
that he might keep his eye upon the Fleet," and planted a sycamore in
the garden.

Before taking leave of Kentish Town, I cannot help recording a legal
squabble, which resulted in a victory for the public.--_Times_,
February 12, 1841:--

 "COURT OF QUEEN'S BENCH, _Thursday, February 11, 1841_.
 (Sittings at Nisi Prius, at Westminster, before Lord Denman and
 a special jury.)


 "This was an Indictment against the Defendant for obstructing a
 footpath leading from Pond Lane, at Hampstead, over Traitors'
 and Parliament Hill, to Highgate.

 "The case lasted the whole day.

 "The jury brought a verdict for the Crown, thus establishing the
 right of the Public to one of the most beautiful walks in the
 neighbourhood of the metropolis."

The Fleet babbled through the meadows, until its junction with that
other stream which flowed from the pond in the Vale of Health at
Hampstead, which took place where now is Hawley Street, and the united
brook, or river, ran across what are now the Kentish, and Camden, Town
Roads, and between Great College Street, and King Street; it then
followed the course of the present road to King's Cross, passing by St.
Pancras Church--which, originally, was of great antiquity, and close
by which was a celebrated healing well, known as Pancras' Wells. These
waters cured everything--scurvy, king's evil, leprosy, cancers, ulcers,
rheumatism, disorders of the eyes, and pains of the stomach and bowels,
colds, worms, &c., &c.

In the Church, and Churchyard, were interred many illustrious dead,
especially Roman Catholics, who seem to have taken a particular
fancy to have their remains buried there, probably on account of the
tradition that this was the last church in which mass was celebrated.
It was a favourite burial-place of the French clergy--and a story is
told (how true I know not) that, down to the French Revolution, masses
were celebrated in a church in the south of France, dedicated to St.
Pancras, for the souls of the faithful interred here.

[Illustration: THE BRILL.]

Many historical names are here preserved--amongst whom are Pasco de
Paoli, the famous Corsican; Walker, whose dictionary is still a text
book; the Chevalier d'Eon, respecting whose sex there was once such a
controversy; Count O'Rourke, famous in the world of fashion in 1785;
Mrs. Godwin--better known, perhaps, as Mary Woolstencraft--who also
was married here; William Woollett, the eminent landscape engraver,
a branch of art in which he may be said to have been the father;
Samuel Cooper, whose miniatures cannot be surpassed; Scheemaker the
younger, a sculptor of no small note. Nor in this _campo santo_ was
Music unrepresented, for there, amongst others, lie the bodies of
Mazzinghi, who brought the violin into fashion here in 1740; and Beard,
a celebrated singer in 1753. The river flows hence to Battle Bridge, or
King's Cross, as it is now termed, forming in its way a sort of pond
called "Pancras Wash," and running through a low-lying district called
"The Brill."[17] This peculiarly unsavoury neighbourhood has now been
cleared away, in order to afford siding room, &c., for the Midland

But Dr. Stukeley, who certainly had Roman Camps on the brain,
discovered one in the Brill. He planned it out beautifully. Here were
the Equites posted, there the Hastati, and there were the Auxiliarii.
He made the Fleet do duty for a moat which nearly surrounded Cæsar's
Prætorium, and he placed a Forum close by St. Pancras' Church, to the
northward of which he assigned a Prætorium to Prince Mandubrace. Is it
not true? for is it not all written in his "Itinerary"? and does he not
devote the first seventeen pages of the second volume of that work,
entirely to the Brill, assuring us of the great pleasure he received in
striding over the ground--following, in imagination, the footsteps of
the Roman Camp Master, who _paced_ out the dimensions of the Camp?

    [Footnote 16: See pages 28, 29, 30, 31, &c.]

    [Footnote 17: See previous page.]




That it was _countrified_ about this part of London, is shown by the
accompanying Copy of an engraving, by J. T. Smith, of a view "near
Battle Bridge."[18]

The etymology of Battle Bridge, which consists of only one arch, and
now forms a part of the Fleet Sewer, is a much vexed question. At one
time it was an article of faith, not to be impugned, that here, A.D.
61, was fought the famous battle between the Romans, under Suetonius
Paulinus, and the Britons, under Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, which
ended so disastrously for the natives--eighty thousand of whom are
said to have been killed. But there seems to be a doubt, as to whether
this was the exact spot where this historical contest took place, for
Tacitus makes no mention of the little river Fleet, which must then
have been navigable for light and small craft, for an anchor was found,
in its bed, at Kentish Town. He only describes it (Tacit. Ann. lib.
xiv. c. 34) a spot of ground, "narrow at the entrance, and sheltered
in the rear by a thick forest." No remains have ever been exhumed,
nor have Roman, or British, relics been found near the spot.

[Illustration: BATTLE BRIDGE.]

In the first quarter of this century the Fleet, for the greater part
of its time, ran placidly along, as we see by these two pen-and-ink
sketches, taken at Battle Bridge.[19] But, occasionally, it forgot its
good manners, and overflowed its banks, flooding portions of Kentish
Town, Somers Town, and Battle Bridge, as we read in the _Gentlemans
Magazine_, vol. lxxxviii. part i. p. 462, Saturday, May 9, 1818:--

 "From the heavy rain, which commenced yesterday afternoon at
 six o'clock, and continued pouring incessantly till four this
 morning, Battle Bridge, St. Pancras, and part of Somers Town
 were inundated. The water was several feet deep in many of the
 houses, and covered an extent of upwards of a mile. The carcases
 of several sheep and goats were found near Hampstead Reservoir,
 and property was damaged to a very considerable amount."

[Illustration: BATTLE BRIDGE.]

There must have been a Mill here, for Stow tells us that in the reign
of Edward VI. "A Miller of Battaile Bridge was set on the Pillory in
Cheape, and had both his eares cut off, for seditious words by him
spoken against the Duke of Somerset."

[Illustration: BATTLE BRIDGE.]

Here, as elsewhere, just outside London, the road was not too safe for
travellers, as the following account of a highway robbery will show. It
was committed by one John Everett, whose career in life had been rather
chequered. As an apprentice he ran away, and enlisted in Flanders,
rising to the rank of sergeant. When the troops returned, he purchased
his discharge, and got a situation in the Whitechapel Debtors' Court,
but had to leave it, and he became a companion of thieves, against whom
he turned king's evidence. He got into debt, and was locked up in the
Fleet Prison, but was allowed to reside within the Rules, a district
round about the prison, out of which no prisoner might wander; and
there, in the Old Bailey, he kept a public-house. But he could not
keep away from evil doing, and was sent to Newgate. On the expiration
of his sentence, he turned highwayman. In the course of his
professional career he, on December 24, 1730, stopped a Coach at Battle
Bridge, which coach contained two ladies, a child, and a maidservant,
and he despoiled them, but not uncivilly. The husband of one of the
ladies coming up, pursued him, and next day he was caught. It was not
then, any more than it is now, that every rogue got his deserts, but
this one did, for he was hanged at Tyburn, February 20, 1731.

The name of "Battle Bridge" is well-nigh forgotten, and "King's Cross"
reigns in its stead. Yet how few Londoners of the present generation
know whence the name is derived! If they ever trouble their heads about
it at all, they probably imagine that it was a cross, like the Eleanor
Crosses, raised to the memory of some king.

And what king, think you, was it intended to keep in perpetual
remembrance? None other than his Most Gracious Majesty King George the
Fourth, of pious memory. Why this monument was raised I have never
been able to learn, unless it was to celebrate his death, which took
place in 1830, and probably to hold up his many virtues, as bright
exemplars, to ages yet unborn; but a mad fit came over the inhabitants
of Battle Bridge, and the hideous structure arose. It was all shoddy;
in the form of an octagon building ornamented with pilasters, all
substantially built of brick, and covered over with compo or cement,
in order to render it more enduring. It was used as a police-station,
and afterwards as a public-house, whilst the pediment of the statue
was utilized as a camera obscura. I don't think they knew exactly what
they were about, for one party wanted it to be called Boadicea's Cross,
another went in for it being nationally named St. George's Cross; but
the goodness of the late king was more popular, and carried the day,
and we now enjoy the _nominis umbra_ of King's Cross, instead of the
old cognomen of Battle Bridge. It had a very brief existence. It was
built between 1830 and 1835, and was demolished in 1845; the stucco
statue only having been _in situ_ for ten years. It is said that the
nose of this regal statue had, for its base, an earthen draining tile,
and that it was offered to a gentleman for sixpence!

There hardly seems to be any connection between "the first gentleman
in Europe" and dustmen, but there is a slight link. Battle Bridge was
peculiarly the home of the necessary dustman, and in a song called "The
Literary Dustman," commencing--

  "They call me Adam Bell, 'tis clear
  That Adam vos the fust man,
  And by a co-in-side-ance queer
  Vy I'm the fust of dustmen,"

is the following verse:--

  "Great sculptors all conwarse wi' me,
  And call my taste divine, sirs,
  King George's statty at King's Cross,
  Vos built from my design, sirs."

Close by here, in Gray's Inn Road, was a mountain of refuse and dust;
but it was as profitable as were the heaps of Mr. Boffin in Charles
Dickens's "Our Mutual Friend." This mound once had a curious clearance,
so it is said. It was bought in its entirety, and sent over to Russia,
to help make bricks to rebuild Moscow; and the ground on which it stood
was, in 1826, sold to a Company for £15,000.


  "My dawning Genus fust did peep,
  Near Battle Bridge,'tis plain, sirs:
  You recollect the cinder heap,
  Vot stood in Gray's Inn Lane, sirs?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us turn to a sweeter subject, and gossip about St. Chad's Well, the
site of which is now occupied by the Metropolitan Railway at King's
Cross. St. Chad is a saint in the English calendar, and might have been
a distinguished temperance leader, if the number of wells dedicated
to him, is any criterion. He lived in the seventh century, and was
educated at Lindisfarne (at least so Bede says), and afterwards became
Bishop of Lichfield, and, at his death, his soul is said to have been
accompanied to heaven by angels and sweet music.

A good modern account is given in Hone's "Every Day Book," vol. i.
pp. 323, 4, 5, which, as it was taken from actual observation about
fifty years since, may well be transcribed. Speaking of the aforesaid
dust-heap he says:--

 "Opposite to this unsightly site, and on the right hand side of
 the road, is an anglewise faded inscription--

 [Illustration: ST. CHAD'S WELL.]

 "It stands, or rather dejects, over an elderly pair of wooden
 gates, one whereof opens on a scene which the unaccustomed eye
 may take for the pleasure-ground of Giant Despair. Trees stand
 as if made not to vegetate, clipped hedges seem unwilling to
 decline, and nameless weeds straggle weakly upon unlimited
 borders. If you look upwards you perceive, painted on an octagon
 board, 'Health restored and preserved.' Further on, towards
 the left, stands a low, old-fashioned, comfortable-looking,
 large-windowed dwelling, and, ten to one, but there also stands
 at the open door, an ancient ailing female, in a black bonnet,
 a clean, coloured cotton gown, and a check apron, her silver
 hair only in part tucked beneath the narrow border of a frilled
 cap, with a sedate and patient, yet somewhat inquiring look. She
 gratuitously tells you that 'the gardens' of 'St. Chad's Well'
 are for 'Circulation' by paying for the waters, of which you may
 drink as much, or as little, or nothing, as you please, at one
 guinea per year, 9s. 6d. quarterly, 4s. 6d. monthly, or 1s. 6d.
 weekly. You qualify for a single visit by paying sixpence, and a
 large glass tumbler, full of warm water, is handed to you. As a
 stranger, you are told, that 'St. Chad's Well was famous at one

 "Should you be inquisitive, the dame will instruct you, with
 an earnest eye, that 'people are not what they were,' 'things
 are not as they used to be,' and she 'can't tell what'll happen
 next.' Oracles have not ceased. While drinking St. Chad's water,
 you observe an immense copper, into which it is poured, wherein
 it is heated to due efficacy, and from whence it is drawn by
 a cock, into glasses. You also remark, hanging on the wall, a
 'tribute of gratitude,' versified, and inscribed on vellum,
 beneath a pane of glass stained by the hand of time, and let
 into a black frame. This is an effusion for value received
 from St. Chad's invaluable water. But, above all, there is a
 full-sized portrait in oil, of a stout, comely personage, with
 a ruddy countenance, in a coat or cloak, supposed scarlet, a
 laced cravat falling down the breast, and a small red nightcap
 carelessly placed on the head, conveying the idea that it was
 painted for the likeness of some opulent butcher, who flourished
 in the reign of Queen Anne. Ask the dame about it, and she
 refers you to 'Rhone.'[20] This is a tall old man, who would
 be taller if he were not bent by years. 'I am ninety-four,' he
 will tell you, 'this present year of our Lord, one thousand,
 eight hundred, and twenty-five.' All that he has to communicate
 concerning the portrait is, 'I have heard say it is the portrait
 of St. Chad.' Should you venture to differ, he adds, 'this is
 the opinion of most people who come here.' You may gather that
 it is his own undoubted belief.

 "On pacing the garden alleys, and peeping at the places of
 retirement, you imagine the whole may have been improved and
 beautified, for the last time, by some countryman of William
 III., who came over and died in the same year with that king,
 and whose works here, in wood and box, have been following him
 piecemeal ever since.

 "St. Chad's Well is scarcely known in the neighbourhood save by
 its sign-board of invitation and forbidding externals;... it
 is haunted, not frequented. A few years, and it will be with
 its waters, as with the water of St. Pancras' Well, which is
 enclosed in the garden of a private house, near old St. Pancras

But, although the prophecy in "Hone" was destined to be fulfilled, yet
it was twelve years before it came about, and it was not until
September 14, 1837, that Messrs. Warlters and Co. sold, at Garraway's
Coffee House, Change Alley, Cornhill, the "valuable Copyhold Property,
situate in Gray's Inn Lane, near King's Cross, Battle Bridge," which
consisted of "The well-known and valuable Premises, Dwelling-house,
Large Garden, and Offices, with the very celebrated Spring of Saline
Water called St. Chad's Well, which, in proper hands, would produce
an inexhaustible Revenue, as its qualities are allowed by the first
Physicians to be unequalled."

[Illustration: ST. CHAD'S WELL.]

It was a good sized piece of ground; in shape of a somewhat irregular
triangle, of which the base measured about 200 feet, and from apex to
base 95 feet. It was Copyhold. The vendor was not to be asked for a
title prior to 1793, and it was held of the Manor of _Cantlowes_ or
_Cantlers_, subject to a small fine, certain, of 6s. 8d., on death
or alienation, and to a Quit Rent of 5d. per annum. We should say,
nowadays, that the assessment was very small, as, including the large
gardens, both back and front, the whole was only valued, including the
_Saline Spring_, at £81 10s. per annum, of which £21 10s. was let off,
but which formed but a small portion of the property.

What would not the waters of St. Chad's Well cure? Really I think
the proprietor hardly knew himself, for a handbill I have before me
commences--"The celebrity of these waters being confined chiefly to its
own immediate vicinity for a number of years; the present proprietor
has thought proper to give more extensive publicity to the existence of
a nostrum provided by Nature, through Divine Providence, approaching
nearest that great desideratum of scientific men and mankind in
general, throughout all ages; namely, an UNIVERSAL MEDICINE.... The
many cures yearly performed by these waters does not come within the
limits of a handbill, but, suffice it to say, that here, upon trial,
the sufferer finds a speedy and sure relief from INDIGESTION and its
train, HABITUAL COSTIVENESS, the extensive range of LIVER COMPLAINTS,
DROPSY in its early stages, GLANDULAR OBSTRUCTIONS, and that bane of
life, SCROPHULA; for ERUPTIONS ON THE FACE OR SKIN its almost immediate
efficacy needs but a trial." This wonderful water, with use of garden,
was then, say 1835, supposed to be worth to the sufferer £1 per annum,
or threepence a visit, or you might have it supplied at eightpence per

And yet it seems only to have been a mild aperient, and rather dear
at the price. In the _Mirror_ of April 13, 1833, Mr. Booth, Professor
of Chemistry, professed to give an analysis of the "Mineral Waters in
the neighbourhood of London," and he thus writes of St. Chad's Well:
"It is aperient, and is yet much resorted to by the poorer classes of
the metropolis, with whom it enjoys considerable reputation. From an
examination, I find it to be a strong solution of sulphate of soda and
sulphate of magnesia"--but he does not favour us with a quantitative

Neither does the proprietor, one Wm. Lucas, who not only propounded
the handbill from which I have quoted, but published a pamphlet on
the healing virtues of the spring, and he also adds to Mr. Booth's
qualitative analysis, "a small quantity of Iron, which is held in
Solution by Carbonic Acid."

"The Well from which the Waters are supplied, is excluded from the
external air; the Water when freshly drawn is perfectly clear and
pellucid, and sparkles when poured into a glass; to the taste it is
slightly bitter, not sufficiently so to render it disagreeable; indeed,
Persons often think it so palatable as to take it at the table for a
common beverage."

This, however, is slightly at variance with the following, "As a
Purgative, more so than could be inferred from their taste, a pint is
the ordinary dose for an Adult, which operates pleasantly, powerfully,
and speedily:" qualities which are scarcely desirable for a Table water.

That, at one time, this Well was in fashion, although in 1825 it was in
its decadence, I may quote from the pamphlet (which, however, must be
taken by the reader, _quantum valeat_):

 "JONATHAN RHONE, who was Gardener and Waiter at these Wells
 upwards of Sixty Years, says, that when he first came into
 office at about the middle of the eighteenth Century, the Waters
 were in great repute, and frequently were visited by eight or
 nine hundred Persons in a morning: the charge for drinking the
 Waters was Three pence each Person, and they were delivered at
 the Pump Room for exportation, at the rate of Twenty-four pint
 bottles, packed in hamper, for One Pound Cash."

    [Footnote 18: See next page.]

    [Footnote 19: See pages 41, 42.]

    [Footnote 20: Rhone was an old waiter at the Well. See p. 51.]




As the Fleet was "the River of Wells" it may be as well to notice the
Wells, which, although not absolutely contributing towards swelling its
volume, are yet closely adjacent--namely, White Conduit, and Sadlers
Wells. Both of these, as indeed were all the other Wells about London,
were first known as mineral springs, a fact which drew the middle
classes to seek relief from real, or fancied, ailments, by drinking
the medicinal waters, as at Bath, Epsom, Cheltenham, Harrogate,
Brixton, and elsewhere. Wherever people congregate, the mere drinking
of salutary water, is but tame work, and the animal spirits of some of
them must find an outlet in amusements, which materially assist, to
say the least, in the agreeable passing of time. But the mere drinking
of waters must have been irksome--even if people took to it as well as
_Shadwell_ in his play of "Epsom Wells" describes:--

[Illustration: THE WHITE CONDUIT.]

"_Brisket._ I vow it is a pleasurable Morning: the Waters taste so
finely after being fudled last Night. Neighbour _Fribbler_ here's a
Pint to you.

 "_Fribbler._ I'll pledge you, Mrs. _Brisket_; I have drunk eight

 "_Mrs. Brisket._ How do the Waters agree with your Ladyship?

 "_Mrs. Woodly._ Oh, Sovereignly: how many Cups have you arrived

 "_Mrs. Brisket._ Truly Six, and they pass so kindly."

By degrees these medicinal waters, or Spas, as they were termed in
later times, fell into desuetude, possibly because medical knowledge
was advancing; and the Wells, with their gardens attached, became
places of outdoor recreation, where the sober citizen could smoke his
pipe, and have his beer, or cider, whilst his wife, and her gossips,
indulged in tittle tattle over their Tea--which, although much dearer
than at present, was a very popular beverage, and so, from health
resorts, they imperceptibly merged into the modern Tea Garden--which,
in its turn, has become nearly extinct, as have the Ranelagh and
Vauxhall of a former age; which, however, we have seen, in our time,
somewhat resuscitated in the outdoor portion of the several Exhibitions
which have taken place, in the few past years, at South Kensington.

The White Conduit had a history of its own, which we can trace back, at
all events, to the fifteenth century, for it was built as a reservoir
to supply what was, afterwards, the Charterhouse.

This we can see by a royal licence, dated December 2, 9 Henry VI. an.
1431,[21] which granted to John Feryby, and his wife Margery, that they
might grant and assign to the Prior and Convent of the House of the
Salutation of the Blessed Mary of the Carthusian Order, by London, a
certain well spring (_fontein_) and 53 perches of land in length, and
12 feet in breadth, in the vill of Iseldon (Islington) to have to them
and their successors for ever, and to the same Prior and Convent, to
take the said land, and construct a certain subterraneous aqueduct from
the aforesaid well spring, through the aforesaid land, and through the
King's highway aforesaid, and elsewhere, as it may seem best &c.,
_non obstante_ the Act against mortmain (_Teste Humfride Duce
Gloucestr' Custode Angliæ apud Westm._).

As we know, Henry VIII. put an end to the Monastic Orders in England,
and, at the dissolution of the Priory, the reversion of the site, and
house thereof, was granted, on April 14, 1545,[22] to Sir Roger North,
in fee, together with "all that the Head and original Well Spring of
one Channel or Aqueduct situate and being in a certain field in the
parish of Islington"--and it also gave, all the channels, aqueducts,
and watercourses under ground "up to the site of the said House of the

But, although the spring might, and did, supply the Charter House,
yet it is possible that the Conduit House, from which it got the name
of _White_ Conduit, from its being built of white stone--was built by
Thomas Sutton, who founded the Hospital of the Charter House,--in 1611.
It was either built by him, or repaired in 1641, for, incorporated in
the building, was a stone containing his arms--and initials.[23]

The other initials have not been identified. As the "White Conduit"
it was known well into this century, but it fell somewhat into decay,
about 1812--was never repaired, and, finally, was pulled down in
1831--to make way for the completion of some new buildings in Barnsbury
Road, as a continuation of Penton Street: and the stone was broken up,
and used in making the New Road.

_Gentleman's Magazine_, vol. lxxi. p. 1161, A.D. 1801.]

So much for the Conduit itself; but it, although inert, exercised a
large share in the amusements of Londoners down to a comparatively
recent period. It was pleasantly situated in the fields, and, until
this century, during the latter half of which, the modern Babylon has
become one huge mass of bricks and mortar, it served as a pleasant
place of recreation for the Cits. There was an uninterrupted prospect
of Hampstead and Highgate--which bounded the northern view, and which
was purely pastoral, with the exception of sparsely-dotted farmhouses.
There is a tradition that, on the site of the comparatively modern
_White Conduit House_, was (in the reign of Charles I.), a tavern in
the course of erection, and that, being finished, the workmen were
carousing at the very moment of the monarch's decapitation.

Doubtless, in these suburban fields, there was, for very many years, a
place for refreshment, which probably took the form, in the Arcadian
age of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, of new milk, curds
and whey, and syllabubs, for Islington was famous for its dairy
produce,[24] as we know by the account of the entertainment given to
Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle in 1575 by the Earl of Leicester,
when the Squier Minstrel of Middlesex made a long speech in praise of
Islington, whose motto was said to be, "Lactis Caseus infans."

The earliest really authentic notice of the White Conduit House, I
can find, is in the _Daily Advertiser_ August 10, 1754. "This is to
acquaint the public, that, at the White Conduit House, the proprietor,
for the better accommodation of the gentlemen and ladies, has completed
a long walk, with a handsome circular Fish-pond, a number of shady,
pleasant arbours inclosed with a fence 7 feet high to prevent being the
least incommoded from the people in the fields. Hot loaves,[25] and
butter every day, milk directly from the Cows; coffee and tea, and all
manners of liquors in the greatest perfection: also a handsome Long
Room, from whence is the most Copious prospects and airy situation of
any now in vogue. I humbly hope the continuance of my friends' favours,
as I make it my chief study to have the best accommodations, and am,
Gentlemen and Ladies, your obliged humble servant, Robert Bartholomew.
_Note._ My Cows eat no grains, neither any adulteration in the Milk or
Cream. Bats and Balls for Cricket, and a convenient field to play in."

This gives us a very fair insight into the sober relaxations of our
great-great-grandfathers: and that the White Conduit House was, about
this time, a resort for harmless recreation; and, certainly, it would
rejoice the modern temperance enthusiasts to find that the principal
beverages there drank were "non-intoxicants." Oliver Goldsmith
used frequently to go there, walking from his house at Islington;
and, in his "Citizen of the World," letter 122, he writes, "After
having surveyed the Curiosities of this fair and beautiful town, I
proceeded forward, leaving a fair stone building on my right; here
the inhabitants of London often assemble to celebrate a feast of hot
rolls and butter. Seeing such numbers, each with their little tables
before them, employed on this occasion, must no doubt be a very amusing
sight to the looker-on, but still more so to those who perform in the

And the same story of simplicity of amusement, and refreshment, is
amusingly told in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for May, 1760, vol. xxx.
p. 242, in a short poem by William Woty, the author of the "Shrubs of
Parnassus, consisting of a variety of poetical essays, moral and comic,
by I. Copywell, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq. 1760."

  "_And to_ White Conduit _House
  We will go, will go, will go_."

  Grub Street _Register_.

  "Wish'd Sunday's come--mirth brightens ev'ry face,
  And paints the rose upon the housemaid's cheek
  _Harriot_, or _Mol_ more ruddy. Now the heart
  Of prentice resident in ample street,
  Or alley, Kennel-wash'd _Cheapside_, _Cornhill_
  Or _Cranborne_, thee, for calcuments renown'd,
  With joy distends. His meal meridian o'er,
  With switch in hand, he to _White Conduit_ house
  Hies merry hearted. Human beings here
  In couples multitudinous assemble,
  Forming the drollest groupe, that ever trod
  Fair Islingtonian plains. Male after male,
  Dog after dog, succeeding--husbands--wives--
  Fathers and mothers--brothers--sisters--friends--
  And _pretty little boys and girls_. _Around,
  Across, along_, the garden's shrubby maze,
  They walk, they sit, they stand. What crowds press on,
  Eager to mount the stairs, eager to catch
  First vacant bench or chair in _long-room_ plac'd.
  Here prig with prig holds conference polite,
  And indiscriminate, the gaudy beau,
  And sloven mix. Here _he_, who all the week
  Took bearded mortals by the nose, or sat
  Weaving dead hairs, and whistling wretched strain,
  And eke the sturdy youth, whose trade it is
  Stout oxen to contend, with gold bound hat,
  And silken stocking strut. The red-arm'd belle
  Here shews her _tasty_ gown, proud to be thought
  The butterfly of fashion: and, forsooth,
  Her haughty mistress deigns for once to tread
  The same unhallow'd floor. 'Tis hurry all,
  And ratling cups and saucers. Waiter here,
  And waiter there, and waiter here _and_ there,
  At once is call'd--_Joe--Joe--Joe--Joe--Joe--
  Joe_ on the right--and _Joe_ upon the left,
  For ev'ry vocal pipe re-ecchoes _Joe_.
  Alas, poor _Joe_! Like _Francis_ in the play
  He stands confounded, anxious how to please
  The many-headed throng. But shou'd I paint
  The language, humours, customs of the place,
  Together with all curtsy's lowly bows,

  And compliments extern, 'twould swell my page
  Beyond it's limits due. Suffice it then,
  For my prophetic muse to say, 'So long
  As fashion rides upon the Wing of time,
  While tea and cream, and buttered rolls can please,
  While rival beaux, and jealous belles exist,
  So long _White Conduit_ house, shall be thy fame.

  W. W."

Later on in the century, it was still a reputable place of resort. In
1774, there was a painting at one end of the garden, the perspective of
which served, artificially, to augment its size; the round fish-pond in
the centre of the garden, still existed, and the refreshment-rooms, or
boxes, were hung with Flemish and other pictures.

Hone ("Every Day Book," vol. ii. p. 1201, &c.) says, "About 1810, the
late celebrated Wm. Huntingdon S.S.[26] of Providence Chapel, who lives
in a handsome house within sight, was at the expense of clearing the
spring for the use of the inhabitants; but, because his pulpit opinions
were obnoxious, some of the neighbouring vulgar threw loads of soil
upon it in the night, which rendered the water impure, and obstructed
its channel, and, finally, ceasing to flow, the public was deprived of
the kindness he proposed. The building itself, was in a very perfect
state at that time, and ought to have been boarded up after the field
it stood in was thrown open. As the new buildings proceeded, it was
injured, and defaced, by idle labourers and boys, from mere wantonness,
and reduced to a mere ruin. There was a kind of upper floor or hayloft
in it, which was frequently a shelter to the houseless wanderer. A few
years ago some poor creatures made it a comfortable hostel for the
night with a little hay. Early in the morning a passing workman
perceived smoke issuing from the crevices, and as he approached, heard
loud cries from within. Some mischievous miscreants had set fire to
the fodder beneath the sleepers, and, afterwards, fastened the door on
the outside: the inmates were scorched by the fire, and probably they
would all have been suffocated in a few minutes, if the place had not
been broken open.

[Illustration: THE WHITE CONDUIT.]

"The 'White Conduit' at this time (1826) merely stands to those who had
the power, and neglected to preserve it.

"To the buildings grown up around, it might have been rendered a neat
ornament, by planting a few trees, and enclosing the whole with an iron
railing, and have stood as a monument of departed worth.

"'White Conduit House' has ceased to be a recreation in the good sense
of the word. Its present denomination is the 'Minor Vauxhall,' and its
chief attraction during the passing summer has been Mrs. Bland.[27]
She has still powers, and, if their exercise here, has been a stay and
support to this sweet melodist, so far the establishment may be deemed
respectable. It is a ground for balloon flying and skittle playing, and
just maintains itself above the very lowest, so as to be one of the
most doubtful places of public resort. Recollections of it some years
ago are more in its favour. Its tea gardens then, in summer afternoons,
were well accustomed by tradesmen and their families; they are now
comparatively deserted, and, instead, there is, at night, a starveling
show of odd company and coloured lamps, a mock orchestra, with mock
singing, dancing in a room which decent persons would prefer to
withdraw their young folks from, if they entered, and fireworks 'as
usual,' which, to say the truth, are, usually, very good."



As time went on, the place did not improve, as we may see by the _New
Monthly Magazine_ for 1833, in an article--part of "Four Views of
London." Speaking of the White Conduit--"Here too is that Paradise of
apprentice boys, White _Cundick Couse_, as it is cacophoniously
pronounced by its visitors, which has done much to expel the decencies
of the district. Thirty years ago this place was better frequented--that
is, there was a larger number of respectable adults--fathers and
mothers, with their children, and a smaller moiety of shop lads, and
such like Sunday bucks, who were awed into decency by their elders.
The manners, perhaps, are much upon a _par_ with what they were. The
ballroom gentlemen then went through country dances with their hats on,
and their coats off:--hats are now taken off, but coats are still
unfashionable on these gala nights. The belles of that day wore long
trains to their gowns: it was a favourite mode of introduction to a lady
there, to tread on it, and then, apologizing handsomely, acquaintance
was begun, and soon ripened into an invitation to tea, and the hot
loaves for which these gardens were once celebrated. Being now a popular
haunt, those who hang on the rear of the march of human nature, the
suttlers, camp followers, and plunderers, know that where large numbers
of men and boys are in pursuit of pleasure, there is a sprinkling of
the number to whom vice and debauchery are ever welcome: they have,
therefore, supplied what these wanted; and Pentonville may now hold up
its head, and boast of its depravities before any part of London."[28]

It got more and more disreputable, until it was pulled down in 1849,
and the present White Conduit Tavern was built upon a portion of its

    [Footnote 21: Cart. Antiq. in Off. Augm. vol. ii. No. 43.]

    [Footnote 22: Pat. 36 Henry VIII. p. 13, m. 31.]

    [Footnote 23: See next page.]

    [Footnote 24: In an early sixteenth century book (unique)
    printed by Wynkyn de Worde, called "Cocke Lorelles Boke" the
    dairy farming at Islington is mentioned--

    "Also mathewe to the drawer of London, And sybly sole
    mylke-wyfe of Islington."]

    [Footnote 25: These Rolls were as famous as Chelsea Buns.
    "White Conduit loaves" being a familiar street cry.]

    [Footnote 26: This revivalist used these initials as meaning
    "Sinner Saved."]

    [Footnote 27: A somewhat famous singer in the latter part of
    the eighteenth and first quarter of the nineteenth centuries.
    She sang and acted at Drury Lane and the Haymarket--and also
    sang at Vauxhall. She became poor, and on July 5, 1824, she
    had a benefit at Drury Lane, which, with a public
    subscription, produced about £800. Lord Egremont also allowed
    her £80 a year. She was somewhat related to Royalty: her
    husband, Bland, an actor at Drury Lane, being the brother of
    Mrs. Jordan, who was the wife of William the Fourth.]

    [Footnote 28: A frequent visitor at these gardens was the late
    George Cruikshank, and many subjects were transferred to his
    sketch book. He was so well known, as to become a sort of
    terror to the habitués of the place, and children were
    threatened, when fractious, "that if they made such ugly
    faces, Mr. Cruikshank would put them in his book."]



Sadler's Wells does not really feed the Fleet River, but I notice the
spring, for the same reason that I noticed the White Conduit.

A very fair account of its early history is given in a little pamphlet
entitled "A True and Exact Account of Sadlers Well: or the New Mineral
Waters. Lately found out at Islington: Treating of its nature and
Virtues. Together with an Enumeration of the Chiefest Diseases which it
is good for, and against which it may be used, and the Manner and Order
of Taking of it. Published for publick good by T. G. (Thomas Guidot)
Doctor of Physick. Printed for _Thomas Malthus_ at the _Sun_ in the
_Poultry_. 1684."

It begins thus:--"The New Well at _Islington_ is a certain Spring in
the middle of a Garden, belonging to the Musick House built by Mr.
_Sadler_, on the North side of the Great Cistern that receives the
New River Water near Islington, the Water whereof was, before the
Reformation, very much famed for several extraordinary Cures performed
thereby, and was, thereupon, accounted sacred, and called _Holy Well_.
The Priests belonging to the Priory of _Clarkenwell_ using to attend
there, made the People believe that the virtues of the Waters proceeded
from the efficacy of their Prayers. But upon the Reformation the Well
was stopt up, upon a supposition that the frequenting it was altogether
superstitious, and so, by degrees, it grew out of remembrance, and was
wholly lost, until found out, and the Fame of it revived again by the
following accident.

"Mr. _Sadler_ being made Surveyor of the High Ways, and having good
Gravel in his own Gardens, employed two Men to Dig there, and when they
had Dug pretty deep, one of them found his Pickax strike upon some
thing that was very hard; whereupon he endeavoured to break it, but
could not: whereupon thinking with himself that it might, peradventure,
be some Treasure hid there, he uncovered it very carefully, and found
it to be a Broad, Flat Stone: which, having loosened, and lifted up,
he saw it was supported by four Oaken Posts, and had under it a large
Well of Stone Arched over, and curiously carved; and, having viewed
it, he called his fellow Labourer to see it likewise, and asked him
whether they should fetch Mr. _Sadler_, and shew it to him? Who, having
no kindness for _Sadler_, said no; he should not know of it, but as
they had found it, so they would stop it up again, and take no notice
of it; which he that found it consented to at first, but after a little
time he found himself (whether out of Curiosity, or some other reason,
I shall not determine) strongly inclined to tell _Sadler_ of the Well;
which he did, one Sabbath Day in the Evening.

"_Sadler_, upon this, went down to see the Well, and observing the
Curiosity of the Stone Work, that was about it, and fancying within
himself that it was a Medicinal Water, formerly had in great esteem,
but by some accident or other lost, he took some of it in a Bottle, and
carryed it to an Eminent Physician, telling him how the Well was found
out, and desiring his Judgment of the Water; who having tasted and
tried it, told him it was very strong of a Mineral taste, and advised
him to Brew some Beer with it, and carry it to some Persons, to whom he
would recommend him; which he did accordingly. And some of those who
used to have it of him in Bottles, found so much good by it, that they
desired him to bring it in Roundlets."

Sadler's success, for such it was, provoked the envy of others, and one
or two satires upon the Wells were produced.

       *       *       *       *       *

Soon after he opened the Wells, Evelyn visited them, as we read in his
invaluable diary. "June 11, 1686. I went to see Middleton's receptacle
of water[29] and the New Spa Wells, near Islington." The Spring was
still known as Sadler's up to 1697 as we find in advertisements in the
_Post Boy_ and _Flying Post_ of June, in that year. But the "Musick
House" seems to have passed into other hands, for in 1699 it was called
"Miles's Musick House." They seem to have had peculiar entertainments
here, judging by an account in _Dawk's Protestant Mercury_ of May 24,
1699. "On Tuesday last a fellow at Sadler's Wells, near Islington,
after he had dined heartily on a buttock of beef, for the lucre of five
guineas, eat a live cock, feathers, guts, and all, with only a plate of
oil and vinegar for sawce, and half a pint of brandy to wash it down,
and afterwards proffered to lay five guineas more, that he could do the
same again in two hours' time."

That this was a fact is amply borne out by the testimony of Ned Ward,
who managed to see most of what was going on in town, and he thus
describes the sight in his rough, but vigorous language.

"With much difficulty we crowded upstairs, where we soon got
intelligence of the beastly scene in agitation. At last a table was
spread with a dirty cloth in the middle of the room, furnished with
bread, pepper, oil, and vinegar; but neither knife, plate, fork, or
napkin; and when the beholders had conveniently mounted themselves
upon one another's shoulders to take a fair view of his Beastlyness's
banquet, in comes the lord of the feast, disguised in an Antick's Cap,
like a country hangman, attended by a train of Newmarket executioners.
When a chair was set, and he had placed himself in sight of the
whole assembly, a live Cock was given into the ravenous paws of this
ingurgitating monster."

In the same year, in his "Walk to Islington," Ward gives a description
of the people who frequented this "Musick House."

  "---- mixed with a vermin trained up for the gallows, As Bullocks[30]
  and files,[31] housebreakers and padders.[32] With prize fighters,
  sweetners,[33] and such sort of traders, Informers, thief-takers,
  deer-stealers, and bullies."

It seems to have been kept by Francis Forcer, a musician, about 1725,
and the scene at the Wells is graphically described in "The New River,
a Poem, by William Garbott."

    "Through Islington then glides my best loved theme
  And Miles's garden washes with his stream:
  Now F--r's Garden is its proper name,
  Though Miles the man was, who first got it fame;
  And tho' it's own'd, Miles first did make it known,
  F--r improves the same we all must own.
  There you may sit under the shady trees,
  And drink and smoak, fann'd by a gentle breeze;
  Behold the fish, how wantonly they play,
  And catch them also, if you please, you may,
  Two Noble Swans swim by this garden side,
  Of water-fowl the glory and the pride;
  Which to the Garden no small beauty are;
  Were they but black they would be much more rare:
  With ducks so tame that from your hand they'll feed,
  And, I believe, for that, they sometimes bleed.
  A noble Walk likewise adorns the place,
  To which the river adds a greater grace:
  There you may sit or walk, do which you please,
  Which best you like, and suits most with your ease.
  Now to the Show-room let's awhile repair,
  To see the active feats performed there.
  How the bold Dutchman, on the rope doth bound,
  With greater air than others on the ground:
  What capers does he cut! how backward leaps!
  With Andrew Merry eyeing all his steps:
  His comick humours with delight you see,
  Pleasing unto the best of company," &c.

But a very vivid description of Sadler's Wells is given in
"Mackliniana, or Anecdotes of the late Mr. Charles Macklin, Comedian"
in the _European Magazine_ for 1801 (vol. xl. p. 16):--

"Being met one night at Sadler's Wells by a friend, who afterwards saw
him home, he went into a history of that place, with an accuracy which,
though nature generally denies to the recollection of old age in recent
events, seems to atone for it in the remembrance of more remote periods.

 "Sir, I remember the time when the price of admission _here_ was
 but _threepence_, except a few places scuttled off at the sides
 of the stage at sixpence, and which was usually reserved for
 people of fashion, who occasionally came to see the fun. Here we
 smoked, and drank porter and rum and water, as much as we could
 pay for, and every man had his doxy that liked it, and so forth;
 and though we had a mixture of very odd company (for I believe
 it was a good deal the baiting place of thieves and highwaymen)
 there was little or no rioting. There was a _public_ then, Sir,
 that kept one another in awe.

 "_Q._ Were the entertainments anything like the present? _A._
 No, no; nothing in the shape of them; some hornpipes and ballad
 singing, with a kind of pantomimic ballet, and some lofty
 tumbling--and all this was done by daylight, and there were four
 or five exhibitions every day.

 "_Q._ How long did these continue at a time? _A._ Why, Sir,
 it depended upon circumstances. The proprietors had always a
 fellow on the outside of the booth, to calculate how many people
 were collected for a second exhibition, and when he thought
 there were enough, he came to the back of the upper seats,
 and cried out, 'Is _Hiram Fisteman_ here?' This was the cant
 word agreed upon between the parties, to know the state of the
 people without--upon which they concluded the entertainment
 with a song, dismissed that audience, and prepared for a second

 "_Q._ Was this in Rozamon's time? _A._ No, no, Sir; long
 before--not but old Rozamon improved it a good deal, and, I
 believe, raised the price generally to sixpence, and in this way
 got a great deal of money."

Space prevents one going into the merits of the Theatre here, but it
may not be out of place if I mention some of the singers, and actors,
who have appeared on those boards--Joey Grimaldi, Braham, Miss Shields
(afterwards Mrs. Leffler), Edmund Kean, the great traveller Belzoni,
Miss Tree, Phelps, of Shakespearian fame, Marston, and others, testify
to the talent which has had its home in this theatre. One peculiarity
about Sadler's Wells Theatre was the introduction of real water as a
scenic effect. It seems to have been first used on Easter Monday, April
2, 1804, in an entertainment called _Naumachia_. A very large tank was
made under the stage, and filled with water from the New River; and in
this tank mimic men o' war bombarded Gibraltar, but were repulsed, with
loss, by the heroic garrison. Afterwards, it was frequently used for
_Spectacles_, in which water was used as an adjunct.

After this digression let us follow the course of the River Fleet.
Leaving St. Chad's Well, and before coming to Bagnigge Wells, there
stood in Gray's Inn Road an old public-house called the Pindar of
Wakefield, the pounder, or keeper of the pound at that town, the famous
George à Green, who gave Robin Hood a notable thrashing, extorting from
that bold outlaw this confession--

  "For this was one of the best pinders
  That ever I tryed with sword."

This old house was destroyed by a hurricane in November, 1723, when the
two daughters of the landlord were killed by the falling walls. It was,
however, at once rebuilt, and a public-house, bearing the same sign,
exists at 328, Gray's Inn Road--most probably occupying the original

    [Footnote 29: The New River Head.]

    [Footnote 30: A hector, or bully.]

    [Footnote 31: A pickpocket.]

    [Footnote 32: A tramp.]

    [Footnote 33: A Sharper.]





Between this house, and Bagnigge Wells, was Bagnigge Wash, or Marsh,
and Black Mary's Wells, or Hole. The etymology of this place is
contested. In the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for 1813, part ii. p. 557, in
an "Account of various Mineral Wells near London," is the following:
"Lastly, in the same neighbourhood, may be mentioned the spring or
conduit on the eastern side of the road leading from Clerken Well to
Bagnigge Wells, and which has given name to a very few small houses
as _Black Mary's Hole_. The land here was, formerly, called Bagnigg
Marsh, from the river Bagnigg,[34] which passes through it. But, in
after-time, the citizens resorting to drink the waters of the conduit,
which then was leased to one Mary, who kept a black Cow, whose milk
the gentlemen and ladies drank with the waters of the Conduit, from
whence, the wits of that age used to say, 'Come, let us go to Mary's
black hole.' However, Mary dying, and the place degenerating into
licentiousness, about 1687, Walter Baynes Esqre, of the Inner Temple,
enclosed the Conduit in the manner it now is, which looks like a
great oven. He is supposed to have left a fund for keeping the same
in perpetual repair. The stone with the inscription was carried away
during the night about ten years ago. The water (which formerly fed two
ponds on the other side of the road) falls into the old Bagnigge river."

This etymon, however, is contested in a pamphlet called _An
experimental enquiry concerning the Contents, Qualities, Medicinal
Virtues of the two Mineral Waters of_ Bagnigge Wells, &c., by John
Bevis, M.D. This pamphlet was originally published in 1767, but I
quote from the third edition of 1819. "At what time these waters
were first known cannot be made out with any degree of evidence. A
tradition goes that the place of old was called Blessed Mary's Well;
but that the name of the Holy Virgin having, in some measure, fallen
into disrepute after the Reformation, the title was altered to Black
Mary's Well, as it now stands upon Mr. Rocque's map, and then to Black
Mary's Hole; though there is a very different account of these latter
appellations; for there are those who insist they were taken from one
Mary Woolaston, whose occupation was attending at a well, now covered
in, on an opposite eminence, by the footway from Bagnigge to Islington
to supply the soldiery, encamped in the adjacent fields, with water.
But waving such uncertainties, it may be relied on for truth, that a
late proprietor, upon taking possession of the estate, found two wells
thereon, both steaned in a workmanlike manner; but when, or for what
purpose, they were sunk, he is entirely ignorant."

But Black Mary's Hole, during the first half of the last century, had a
very queer reputation. There was a little public-house with the sign of
"The Fox at Bay," which probably had something to do with the numerous
highway robberies that occurred thereabouts.

In Cromwell's "History of Clerkenwell," pp. 318, 319, we hear of the
last of Black Mary's Hole. He says, "Beneath the front garden of a
house in SPRING PLACE, and extending under the foot-pavement almost
to the turnpike gate called the Pantheon Gate, lies the capacious
receptacle of a _Mineral Spring_, which in former times was in
considerable repute, both as a chalybeate, and for its supposed
efficacy in the cure of sore eyes.... About ten years back, when Spring
Place was erected, the builder removed every external appearance of
Walter Baynes's labours, and converted the receptacle beneath into a
cesspool for the drainage of his houses. The spring thus degraded, and
its situation concealed, it is probable that the lapse of a few more
years would have effaced the memory of it for ever, had not an accident
re-discovered it in the summer of 1826. Its covering, which was only of
boards, having rotted, suddenly gave way, and left a large chasm in the
footpath. After some efforts, not perfectly successful, to turn off the
drainage, it was then arched with brickwork, and a leaden pump placed
over it, in the garden where it chiefly lies. But the pump being stolen
during the following winter, the spring has again fallen into neglect,
and possibly this page alone will prevent its being totally forgotten."

Still following the Fleet to its outfall, we next come to Bagnigge
Well, a chalybeate spring, first used medicinally, and then, like all
these Spas, merely as a promenade, and place of out-of-door recreation.

Originally, this spring probably belonged to the Nunnery at
Clerkenwell, and may possibly be the "Rode Well" mentioned in the
Register of Clerkenwell. But we are indebted to Dr. Bevis, from whose
pamphlet I have already quoted, for a history of its modern rise and
development (p. 38).

"In the year 1757, the spot of ground in which this well is sunk
was let out to a gentleman curious in gardening, who observed that
the oftener he watered his flowers from it the worse they throve. I
happened, toward the end of that summer, to be in company with a friend
who made a transient visit to Mr. HUGHES, and was asked to taste the
water; and, being surprised to find its flavour so near that of the
best German chalybeates, did not hesitate to declare my opinion, that
it might be made of great benefit both to the public and himself. At my
request, he sent me some of the water, in a large stone bottle, well
corked, the next day; a gallon whereof I immediately set over a fire,
and by a hasty evaporation found it very rich in mineral contents,
though much less so than I afterwards experienced it to be when more
leisurely exhaled by a gentle heat. Whilst this operation was carrying
on, I made some experiments on the remainder of the water, particularly
with powdered galls, which I found to give, in less than a minute, a
very rich and deep purple tincture to it, that lasted many days without
any great alteration. I reported these matters to Mr. Hughes, but, soon
after, a very dangerous illness put a stop to my experiments, which I
did not resume for a considerable time, when the proprietor called, and
told me his waters were in very great repute, and known by the name
of BAGNIGGE WELLS; which I remembered to have seen in the newspapers,
without so much as guessing it had been given to these springs. Mr.
HUGHES took me to his wells, where I was not a little pleased with the
elegant accommodations he had provided for company in so short a time."

The house attached to the Spa is said to have been the residence of
Nell Gwyn, but tradition has assigned her so many houses; at Chelsea,
Bagnigge Wells, Highgate, Walworth, and Filberts, near Windsor--nay,
one enterprising tradesman in the Strand has christened a milk shop
"Nell Gwyn's Dairy," and has gone to some expense, in pictorial tiles,
to impress on passers-by the genuineness of his assertion.

Still, local tradition is strong, and, in a book called "The
Recreations[35] of Mr. Zigzag the elder" (a pseudonym for Mr. John
Wykeham Archer, artist and antiquary), which is in the Library of the
City of London, and which is profusely "Grangerised" by the author, is
a small water colour of Bagnigge House, the reputed dwelling of Nell
Gwyn, which I have reproduced in outline, and on this drawing is a
note, "Moreover several small tenements at the north end of the
Garden were formerly entitled Nell Gwynne's Buildings, which seems to
verify the tradition."[36]

[Illustration: BAGNIGGE HOUSE. (Said to have been Nell Gwyn's.)]

But the evidence is all of a _quasi_ kind. In the long room, supposed
to have been the banqueting room, was, over the mantel, a bust, an
_alto relievo_, of a female, supposed to be Nell Gwyn, and said to be
modelled by Sir Peter Lely, enclosed in a circular border of fruit,
which, of course, was at once set down as a delicate allusion to the
actress's former calling of orange wench in the theatres. The bust and
border were painted to imitate nature, and on either side were coats
of arms--one the Royal arms, and, on the other side, the Royal arms
quartered with others, which were supposed to be those assumed by the
actress. When the old house was pulled down, the bust disappeared, and
no one knows whither it went.

I give a quotation from the _Sunday Times_, July 5, 1840, not as adding
authority, or weight, to the idea that Bagnigge House was Nell's
residence, but to show how deeply rooted was the tradition. It is a
portion of the "_Maximms and Speciments of William Muggins, Natural
Philosopher, and Citizen of the World_"--

 "Oh! how werry different London are now to wot it war at the
 time as I took my view on it from the post; none of them
 beautiful squares and streets, as lies heast and west, and
 north of the hospital, war built then; it war hall hopen fields
 right hup to Ampstead an Ighgate and Hislington. Bagnigge Well
 stood by itself at the foot of the hill, jist where it does
 now; and then it looked the werry pictur of countryfiedness and
 hinnocence. There war the beautiful white washed walls, with the
 shell grotto in the hoctagon summer house, where Nell Gwynne
 used to sit and watch for King Charles the Second. By the by,
 a pictur done by a famous hartist of them days, Sir Somebody
 Neller I thinks war his name, represents the hidentical ouse
 (it war a fine palace then) with the hidentical hoctagon summer
 house, with the beautiful Nelly leaning hout of the winder, with
 her lilly white hand and arm a-beckoning, while the King is
 seed in the distance galloping like vinking across the fields a
 waving his hat and feathers; while a little page, with little
 tobacker-pipe legs, in white stockings, stands ready to hopen a
 little door in the garden wall, and let hin the royal wisitor,
 while two little black and tan spanels is frisking about and
 playing hup hold gooseberry among the flower beds.

 That ere pictur used to hang hup in the bar parlor; its wanished
 now--so are the bust as were in the long room; but there's
 another portrait pictur of her, all alone by herself, done by
 Sir Peter Lely, still to be seen. (This here last coorosity war
 discovered honly a year or two ago, rolled hup among sum rubbige
 in the loft hunder the roof.)"

The old house, however, was evidently of some importance, for, over
a low doorway which led into the garden, was a stone, on which was
sculptured a head in relief, and the following inscription--


thus showing that the Pindar of Wakefield was the older house, and
famous in that locality. This doorway and stone were in existence
within the last forty years, for, in a footnote to page 572 of
the _Gentleman's Magazine_ of June, 1847, it says, "The gate and
inscription still remain, and will be found, where we saw them a few
weeks since, in the road called Coppice Row, on the left going from
Clerkenwell towards the New Road."

The following illustration gives Bagnigge Wells as it appeared at the
end of last century.


We have read how these gardens were first started in 1757, but they
soon became well known and, indeed, notorious, as we read in a very
scurrilous poem called "Bagnigge Wells," by W. Woty, in 1760--

      "Wells, and the place I sing, at early dawn
  Frequented oft, where male and female meet,
  And strive to drink a long adieu to pain.
  In that refreshing Vale with fragrance fill'd,
  Renown'd of old for Nymph of public fame
  And amorous Encounter, where the sons
  Of lawless lust conven'd--where each by turns
  His venal Doxy woo'd, and stil'd the place
  _Black Mary's Hole_--there stands a Dome superb,
  Hight Bagnigge; where from our Forefathers hid,
  Long have two Springs in dull stagnation slept;
  But, taught at length by subtle art to flow,
  They rise, forth from Oblivion's bed they rise,
  And manifest their Virtues to Mankind."

The major portion of this poem (?) is rather too _risque_ for modern
publication, but the following extract shows the sort of people who
went there with the view of benefiting their health--

  "Here ambulates th' Attorney looking grave,
  And Rake from Bacchanalian rout uprose,
  And mad festivity. Here, too, the Cit,
  With belly, turtle-stuff'd, and man of Gout,
  With leg of size enormous. Hobbling on,
  The Pump-room he salutes, and in the chair
  He squats himself unwieldy. Much he drinks,
  And much he laughs to see the females quaff
  The friendly beverage. He, nor jest obscene,
  Of meretricious wench, nor quibble quaint,
  Of prentic'd punster heeds, himself a wit
  And dealer in conundrums, but retorts
  The repartee jocosely. Soft! how pale
  Yon antiquated virgin looks! Alas!
  In vain she drinks, in vain she glides around
  The Garden's labyrinth. 'Tis not for thee,
  Mistaken nymph! these waters pour their streams," &c.

And in the prologue to "Bon Ton: or _High_ Life above Stairs," by David
Garrick, acted at Drury Lane for the first time, for the benefit of Mr.
King, in 1775, not much is said as to the character of its frequenters.

  "Ah! I loves life and all the joy it yields,
  Says Madam Fupock, warm from Spittlefields.
  Bon Ton's the space 'twixt Saturday and Monday,
  And riding in a one-horse chaise on Sunday,
  'Tis drinking tea on summer's afternoons
  At Bagnigge Wells, with china and gilt spoons."

    [Footnote 34: Otherwise the Fleet.]

    [Footnote 35: These papers appeared in the _Illustrated Family

    [Footnote 36: In Cromwell's "History of Clerkenwell," p. 322,
    we read, "In memory of its supposed proprietor, the owner of
    some small tenements near the north end of the gardens styled
    them 'Nell Gwynn's Buildings;' but the inscription was erased
    before 1803."]



The gardens were pretty, after the manner of the times; we should not,
perhaps, particularly admire the formally cut lines and hedges, nor the
fountain in which a Cupid is hugging a swan, nor the rustic statuary
of the haymakers. Still it was a little walk out of London, where
fresh air could be breathed, and a good view obtained of the northern
hills of Hampstead and Highgate, with the interlying pastoral country,
sparsely dotted with farmhouses and cottages. The Fleet, here, had not
been polluted into a sewer as it was further on, and there were all the
elements of spending a pleasant, happy day, in good air, amid rural




The place, however, rapidly became a disreputable _rendezvous_, and
we get an excellent glimpse of the costumes of _circa_ 1780 in the
two following engravings taken from mezzotints published by Carington
Bowles; although not dated, they are of that period, showing the
Macaronis and Belles of that time. The first is called "The BREAD and
BUTTER MANUFACTORY,[37] or the Humours of BAGNIGGE WELLS," and the
second "A Bagnigge Wells Scene, or no resisting temptation," which gives
a charming representation of the ultra fashion of dress then worn.


(_Published for Carington Bowles._)]

Yet another glance at the manners of the time is afforded by the boy
waiter, who hurries along with his tray of tea-things and _kettle of
hot water_.[38]


And there was good music there, too--an organ in the long room, on
which Charles Griffith performed, as may be seen in the accompanying
illustration. The name of Davis on the music books, is that of the then
proprietor, and the lines underneath are parodied from Dryden's "Song
for St. Cecilia's day, 1687."

  "What passion cannot music raise and quell!
    When Jubal struck the corded shell,
  His listening brethren stood around,
    And, wondering, on their faces fell."

It went on with varying fortunes, and under various proprietors. First
of all Mr. Hughes, then, in 1792, Davis had it; in 1813 it was in the
hands of one Salter; in 1818, a man named Thorogood took it, but let
it to one Monkhouse, who failed, and it reverted to Thorogood. Then
came as tenant, a Mr. Chapman, who was bankrupt in 1833, and, in 1834,
Richard Chapman was proprietor. I fancy he was the last, as public
house, and gardens, combined.

Mr. William Muggins, before quoted, laments its decadence thus:
"Besides the whitewashed walls, and hoctagon shell grotto, there war
the tea garden, with its honey suckle and sweet briar harbours, where
they used to drink tea hout of werry small cups, and heat the far famed
little hot loaves and butter; then there war the dancing plot, and the
gold and silver fish ponds, and the bowling green, and skittle alley,
and fire work ground hall so romantic and rural, standing in the middle
of a lot of fields, and shaded around with trees. Now it's a werry
different concarn, for it's surrounded with buildings--the gardens is
cut hoff to nuffin, and the ouse looks tumble down and miserable." That
was in 1840.

It was about this time that a song appeared in "The Little Melodist,"
1839--dilating on the delights of the neighbourhood of Islington, and
the first verse ran thus:

  "Will you go to Bagnigge Wells,
                  Bonnet builder, O!
  Where the Fleet ditch fragrant smells,
                  Bonnet builder, O!
  Where the fishes used to swim,
  So nice and sleek and trim,
  But the pond's now covered in,
                  Bonnet builder, O!

_Punch_, too, when it was young, and had warm blood coursing through
its veins, visited Bagnigge Wells, and recorded the visit in its pages
(Sept. 7, 1843). After a description of the walk thither, it says, "We
last visited Bagnigge Wells about the beginning of the present week,
and, like many travellers, at first passed close to it without seeing
it. Upon returning, however, our eye was first arrested by an ancient
door in the wall over which was inscribed the following:--[39]

"This inscription, of which the above is a _fac simile_ was surmounted
by a noseless head carved in stone; and, underneath, was a cartoon
drawn in chalk upon the door, evidently of a later date, and bearing a
resemblance to some of the same class in Gell's 'Pompeii.' Underneath
was written in letters of an irregular alphabet, 'CHUCKY'--the entire
drawing being, without doubt, some local pasquinade.

"Not being able to obtain admittance at the door, we went on a short
distance, and came to the ruins of the ancient 'Wells,' of which part
of the banqueting room still exists. These are entirely open to the
public as well as the adjoining pleasure grounds, although the thick
layer of brick-bats with which they are covered, renders walking a
task of some difficulty. The adjacent premises of an eminent builder
separate them by some cubits from the road of Gray's Inn, near which,
what we suppose to be the 'Well' is still visible. It is a round hole
in the ground behind the ruins, filled up with rubbish and mosaics of
oyster shells, but, at present, about eighteen inches deep.

"It is very evident that the character of Bagnigge Wells has much
altered within the last century. For, bearing that date, we have before
us the 'Song of the 'Prentice to his Mistress' in which the attractions
of the place are thus set forth:--

  "'Come, come, Miss Priscy, make it up,
      And we will lovers be:
  And we will go to _Bagnigge Wells_,
      And there we'll have some tea.
  And there you'll see the ladybirds
      All on the stinging nettles;
  And there you'll see the water-works,
      And shining copper kettles.
  And there you'll see the fishes, Miss,
      More curious than whales;
  They're made of gold and silver, Miss,
      And wag their little tails.'[40]

"Of the wonders recounted in these stanzas, the stinging nettles alone
remain flourishing, which they do in great quantity. The Waterworks are
now confined to two spouts and a butt against the adjacent building;
and the gold and silver fishes separately, in the form of red herrings
and sprats, have been removed to the stalls in the neighbourhood, with
a great deal more of the wag in the dealer, than in themselves.

"The real Bagnigge Wells, where company assemble to drink, at the
present day, is next door to the ruins. The waters are never drank,
however, now, without being strongly medicated, by a process carried
on at the various brewers and distillers of the Metropolis: without
this, they are supposed, by some classes, to be highly injurious. Their
analysis have produced various results. Soda has been detected in one
species, analogous to the German _Seltzer_, and designated 'Webb's';
others contain iron in appreciable quantities, and institute a galvanic
circle, when quaffed from goblets formed from an alloy of tin and lead:
in some constitutions quickening the circulation, and raising the animal
temperature--in others, producing utter prostration.

"Flannel jackets, and brown paper caps appeared to be the costume
of the valetudinarians who were drinking at the Wells, during our
stay. We patronized the tepid spa by ordering 'Sixpennyworth warm,'
as the potion was termed in the dialect of Bagnigge, for the purpose
of drawing the proprietor into conversation. But he was, evidently,
reluctant to impart much information, and told us nothing beyond what
we already knew--a custom very prevalent at all the springs we have

"Lodgings, provisions, clothing, &c., are to be had at low rates in the
neighbourhood, and there are several delightful spots in the vicinity
of Bagnigge Wells.

"The Excursion to Battle Bridge will be found highly interesting,
returning by the Brill; and, to the admirers of nature, the panorama
from the summit of King's Cross, embracing the Small Pox Hospital, and
Imperial Gas Works, with the very low countries surrounding them, is
peculiarly worthy of especial notice."

Two years previous to this notice, there was a paragraph in the _Times_
(April 6, 1841) which shows how the Wells had fallen into decadence.

"The Old Grotto, which had all the windows out, and was greatly
dilapidated, and the upper part of the Garden Wall, was knocked down by
some persons going along Bagnigge Road, early this morning."

The old place had fulfilled its mission. It had ministered to the
recreation and amusement, harmless, or otherwise, of generations of
Londoners, and it came to final grief, and disappeared in 1844. Its
name is still preserved in "The Bagnigge Wells" Tavern, 39, King's
Cross Road, and that is all the reminiscence we have of this once
famous place of recreative resort.

    [Footnote 37: An allusion to the hot buttered rolls, which
    were in vogue there.]

    [Footnote 38: See p. 89.]

    [Footnote 39: See ante-p. 84.]

    [Footnote 40: With all due deference to _Punch_, I think his
    version is slightly, only slightly, inaccurate. I have before
    me five copies, two MS. and three printed, all of which run--

      "Come, prithee make it up, Miss,
          And be as lovers be,
      We'll go to Bagnigge Wells, Miss,
          And there we'll have some tea.
      It's there you'll see the Lady-birds
          Perch'd on the Stinging Nettles;
      The Chrystal water Fountain,
          And the Copper, shining Kettles.
      It's there you'll see the Fishes,
          More curious they than Whales,
      And they're made of Gold and Silver, Miss,
          And wags their little tails.
          Oh! they wags their little Tails
          --They wags their little Tails
      Oh! they're made of gold and silver, Miss,
            and they wags their little Tails.
          Oh! dear! Oh! la! Oh! dear! Oh! la!
              Oh! dear! Oh! la!
                        How funny!"]




A little farther on, it washed the walls of Cold Bath Fields Prison,
the _House of Correction_, and we get a view of it in Hone's "Table
Book,"[41] p. 75. Here he says, "In 1825, this was the first open
view, nearest London, of the ancient River Fleet: it was taken during
the building of the high arched walls connected with the House of
Correction, Cold Bath Fields, close to which prison the river ran,
as here seen. At that time, the newly erected walls communicated a
peculiarly picturesque effect to the stream flowing within their

This "House of Correction" was indebted for its birth to the famous
John Howard, who had made an European tour, not to mention a home one,
inquisitorially inspecting prisons. We all know the result of his
labours; how he exposed abuses fearlessly, and made men's hearts soften
somewhat towards those incarcerated.


Howard, writing in 1789, held that capital punishment should be
abolished except for _murder_, _setting houses on fire_, and for
_house breaking, attended with acts of cruelty_. And speaking of his
Penitentiaries, he says:

"To these houses, however, I would have none but old, hardened
offenders, and those who have, as the laws now stand, forfeited their
lives by robbery, house breaking, and similar Crimes, should be
committed; or, in short, those Criminals who are to be confined for a
long term or for life....

"The _Penitentiary houses_, I would have _built_, in a great measure,
_by the convicts_. I will suppose that a power is obtained from
Parliament to employ such of them as are now at work on the Thames,
or some of those who are in the county gaols, under sentence of
transportation, as may be thought most expedient. In the first place,
let the surrounding wall, intended for full security against escapes,
be completed, and proper lodges for the gate keepers. Let temporary
buildings, of the nature of barracks, be erected in some part of this
enclosure which would be wanted the least, till the whole is finished."

This was a portion of his scheme, and he suggested that it should be
located, where it was afterwards built, in Cold Bath Fields--because
the situation was healthy, that good water could be obtained from the
White Conduit, as the Charter House no longer required that source of
supply, it being well served by the New River Company--that labour was
cheap--and so was food, especially the coarse meat from the shambles at

The prisoners were to have separate cells, so as to prevent the
promiscuous herding of all, which had previously produced such
mischievous results, and these cells were to be light and airy. The
convicts of both sexes were to _work_, and their food was to be
apportioned to the work they had to do. Also--a very great step in
the right direction--they were all to wear a prison uniform. Howard,
philanthropist as he was, was very far from lenient to the rogue. He
was fully aware of the value of _work_, and specially provided that
his rogues, in their reformation, should pass through the purifying
process of hard labour. In later times, the way of transgressors was
hard in that place, and it became a terror to evildoers, being known by
the name of the _English Bastile_--which, however, amongst its patrons,
was diminished, until it finally was abbreviated into "the Steel" by
which name it was known until its abolition.[42]

This cognomen was so well known, that, in 1799, a book was written
by "A Middlesex Magistrate" entitled "The Secrets of the English
Bastile disclosed"--which was a favourable story of the management
of the prison in Cold Bath Fields. Still, it was the subject of a
Parliamentary inquiry, as we find in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for
1798-9, under date of Dec. 31, 1798, p. 398, that, in the House of
Commons, Sir Francis Burdett gave notice of his intention of moving, at
some future day, for a report relative to the system practised in the
prison, called the House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields, with regard
to the persons therein confined.

In the "Parliamentary History of England," vol. xxxiv. p. 566, we learn
that on Mar. 6, 1799, Mr. W. Dundas moved that a Select Committee be
appointed to inquire into the state of his Majesty's prison in Cold
Bath Fields, Clerkenwell, and report the same, as it shall appear to
them, together with their opinion thereupon, to the House; and a
Committee was appointed accordingly. Unfortunately, the pages of what,
afterwards, become _Hansard's_, do not record the result.

But in the _Annual Register_ for the same year on Dec. 21st there
was a long report respecting it during a debate on the suspension of
the Habeas Corpus Act. Mr. Courtenay said, that, "having visited the
prisons, he found the prisoners without fire, and without candles,
denied every kind of society, exposed to the cold and the rain, allowed
to breathe the air out of their cells only for an hour, denied every
comfort, every innocent amusement, excluded from all intercourse with
each other, and, each night locked up from all the rest of the world.
He supposed it was scarcely necessary to inform the House, that the
prison of which he had been speaking, was that in Cold Bath Fields,
known by the name of the Bastille." There was a lot more nonsense
of the same type talked by other M.P.'s and, it is needless to say,
that the exaggerated statements were anent a political prisoner--who
afterwards suffered death for treason. And in the remainder of the
debate even the very foundation for the libel was destroyed. It is a
curious fact, that people have an idea that political prisoners, who
have done as much harm to the commonweal as they have the possibility
of doing, are to be treated daintily, and with every consideration for
their extremely sensitive feelings. We, perhaps, in these latter days,
may read a profitable lesson in the suppression of treason, from the
proper carrying out of the sentences legally imposed upon those who
resist the law out of pure malice (legal).

In the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for 1796, is the following letter to--

 _Dec. 10, 1795._

 Mr. URBAN.--Your respect for the memory of Mr. Howard, will
 induce you to insert the inclosed view of the House of
 Correction for the County of Middlesex, formed principally on
 his judicious suggestions. It is situated on the North side of
 London, between Cold Bath Fields, and Gray's Inn Lane. The spot
 on which it is erected having been naturally swampy, and long
 used for a public lay-stall, it was found prudent to lay the
 foundation so deep, and pile it so securely, that it is supposed
 there are as many bricks laid underground as appear to sight.
 What is more to the purpose, the internal regulations of this
 place of security are believed to be perfectly well adapted to
 the salutary purposes to which the building is appropriated.

 "Yours, &c., "EUGENIO."

Still Cold Bath Fields Prison had an evil name--in all probability,
because prisoners there, were treated as if they had sinned against
the social canons, and were not persons to be coaxed and _petted_ into
behaviour such as would enable them to rank among their more honest
fellows, and in this way wrote Coleridge and Southey in "The Devil's
Walk," which was suggested by the _pseudo Christos_ BROTHERS who as
these gentlemen wrote:--[43]

  "He walked into London leisurely,
  The streets were dirty and dim:
  But there he saw Brothers, the Prophet,
  And Brothers the Prophet saw him."

Well, in the Devil's rambles he came across Cold Bath Fields
Prison--which, as I have said, was not beloved of the criminal class,
and, simply, as I think, for the sake of saying something smart, and
not that they ever had experienced incarceration, or is there any
evidence that they had even seen the prison, they write:

  "As he passed through Cold Bath Fields he look'd
      At a solitary Cell;
  And he was well-pleased, for it gave him a hint
      For improving the prisons of Hell.

  He saw a turnkey tie a thief's hands
      With a cordial try and a jerk;
  Nimbly, quoth he, a man's fingers move
      When his heart is in his work.

  He saw the same turnkey unfettering a man
      With little expedition;
  And he chuckled to think of his dear slave trade,
  And the long debates, and delays that were made
      Concerning its abolition."

There is very little doubt, however, that, in the closing year of
last, and the commencing one of this, century, the conduct of the
Governor--a man named Aris--was open to very grave censure. People
outside imagined that all sorts of evils were being perpetrated within
its walls, and, either through laxity, or too great severity, of
discipline, something nigh akin to mutiny occurred in the prison in
July, 1800--which was promptly stopped by the presence of a company
of the Clerkenwell Volunteers. In August of the same year, there was
another outbreak in the prison, the occupants shouting "Murder," and
that they were being starved, in tones loud enough to be heard outside,
and, once more the Volunteers were the active agents in enforcing law
and order. This latter "seething of the pot" lasted a few days, and it
culminated in the discharge of the obnoxious Governor Aris.

There is nothing noteworthy to chronicle of this prison from that
date,[44] all prison details being, necessarily, unsavoury--and this
particular one was not watered with rose water. It was a place of
hard work, and not likely to impress the unproductive class, with a
wish to be permanent inhabitants thereof. Yet, as this present year
witnessed its demolition, something more must be said respecting it.
In the _Globe_ newspaper of January 1, 1887, is this short paragraph:
"Notices were yesterday posted on the walls of Coldbath Fields Prison,
intimating that it is for sale. Tenders are invited for the site, and
all buildings, &c., contained within the boundary walls. The prison
covers an area of eight acres and three quarters."

There ought to be some record of its dying days, for the demolition of
a prison in a large community of people, like ours in London, must mean
one of two things, either a diminution of crime, or, that the prison is
not suitable to the requirements of the age.

The Ninth Report of the Commissioners of Prisons, for the Year ended
March 31, 1886, speaking of Pentonville Prison, says:

"In November, 1885, the majority of the prisoners confined in Coldbath
Fields Prison were transferred to this Prison; and since that date, the
remainder have also been removed here, that prison being now vacated,
and in charge of a warder acting as caretaker.

"The tread-wheel[45] has been taken down at Coldbath Fields Prison, and
is in process of re-erection here.

"The behaviour of the officers has been good, with the exception of
four, discharged by order of the Prison Commissioners.

"The conduct of the prisoners has been generally good.

"The materials and provisions supplied by the Contractors have been
good, and have given satisfaction.

"To meet the requirements of the local prison service, a room is being
completed for the convenience of the members of the Visiting Committee
who attend here, also a room for the daily collection of prisoners to
see the medical officer, and other purposes, as well as various minor
alterations found necessary since the transfer.

"A bakehouse has been completed, and is in working order, supplying
bread to all metropolitan prisons.

"The routine and discipline have been carried out in the same general
manner as heretofore.

"The industrial labour continues to be attended with satisfactory
results; the greater portion is still devoted to supplying the wants of
other prisons or Government establishments instead of the market.

"Uniform clothing for officers is cut out here for all local prisons,
and made up for a considerable number of the smaller prisons, also
prisoners' clothing and bedding, hospital slippers for the Admiralty,
as well as a large number of Cases and other articles for the General
Post Office have been supplied.

"The duties of the Chaplain's department have been performed
uninterruptedly during the year, morning prayers have been said daily,
and Divine Service has been performed on Sundays, Good Friday, and
Christmas day, in the morning and afternoon, with a sermon at both
services. The Holy Communion has been celebrated from time to time on
Sundays and on the great Sunday Festivals. The hospital has been daily
visited; special attention has been paid to the prisoners confined in
the punishment Cells, and constant opportunity has been offered to all
of private instruction and advice. Books from the prisoners' library
have been issued to all who are entitled to receive them, all prisoners
who cannot pass standard three, as set forth by the Education Committee
have been admitted to school instruction.

"School books and slates and pencils are issued to prisoners in their

"The medical officer states that the health of the prisoners at
Coldbath Fields, and since the transfer to this prison, has been good.
One case of smallpox occurred at Coldbath Fields; as the prisoner had
been some months in gaol, it was clear that he had caught the disease,
either from a warder, or from some prisoner recently received; he had
been a cleaner in the rotunda, and, of course, had been coming into
contact with warders and prisoners alike, in the busiest part of the
prison, the presumption is that the disease had been carried by the
uniform of some warder. There were five cases of erysipelas at Coldbath
Fields, and one at this prison, at the former place the cases came from
all parts of the prison, new and old. The air shafts were thoroughly
swept and limewashed, and disinfected as far as could be reached, and
there is no doubt that it checked the disease.

"The dietary has been satisfactory during the year, and the new pattern
clothing a great improvement.

"Every precaution is taken in classing prisoners for labour suited to
their age, physique and health.

"The sanitary arrangements are most carefully supervised; the
ventilation in the cells is very good."

       *       *       *       *       *

I offer no apology for intruding this report of Prison life, which,
if one took the trouble to look up the yearly reports, he would find
they are all couched in almost identical language.[46] I simply give it
for the consideration of my readers--who, with myself, do not belong
to the criminal classes--to show them how those who have preyed upon
them, and have deservedly merited punishment, meet with treatment such
as the indigent and industrious poor, when, fallen upon evil times,
can not obtain, and the sooner these pampered criminals feel, through
their flesh--either by the whip, hard labour, or hunger--that the
wages of sin are not paid at a higher rate than that procurable by
honest labour, the probability is that the community at large would be
considerably benefited, and the criminal classes would be in a great
measure deprived of clubs to which there is neither entrance fee,
nor annual subscription, in which everything of the best quality is
found them free of charge, and the health of their precious carcases
specially looked after, and gratuitously attended to.

    [Footnote 41: See next page.]

    [Footnote 42: J. T. Smith in his "Vagabondiana," ed.
    1815-1817, p. 51, alludes thus to the prison: "Perhaps the
    only waggery in public-house customs now remaining, is in the
    tap room of the Appletree, opposite to Cold Bath Fields
    Prison. There are a pair of hand cuffs fastened to the wires
    as bell-pulls, and the orders given by some of the company,
    when they wish their friends to ring, are, to 'Agitate the

    [Footnote 43: "After this I was in a vision, having the angel
    of God near me, and saw Satan walking leisurely into London"
    ("Brothers' Prophecies," part i. p. 41).]

    [Footnote 44: I have met with a Newspaper Cutting, with no
    clue to its authenticity or date. "DREADFUL RAVAGES OF THE
    Inquests were holden by William Baker, Esq., one of the
    Coroners for the County of Middlesex, at the House of
    Correction, Coldbath Fields, on no less than five individuals,
    namely, Peter Griffiths, Michael Hughes, James Jones, Thomas
    Lillie, and Ann Connard, all of whom had died from the effects
    of the present prevalent epidemic, or influenza, and who were
    inmates of that prison, and had been sentenced to different
    periods of imprisonment. It is a fact that, for the last two
    months, more prisoners have died in this prison, principally
    from the effects of influenza, than had died there during the
    whole of the preceding year." Possibly the poor Fleet River,
    at that time hardly degraded to the level of the Sewer--which
    now it is--may have had something to do with the unsanitary
    condition of the prison.--J. A.]

    [Footnote 45: Adopted at Coldbath Fields Prison, July, 1822.]

    [Footnote 46: Let any one compare, for instance, reports for
    1884 and 1886.]



Coldbath Fields were, a hundred and twenty years ago, fairly rural, for
(although it certainly is recorded as an abnormal occurrence) we find,
in the _Daily Courant_, November 12, 1765, "Friday afternoon, about two
o'clock, a hare crossed the New Road, near Dobney's Bowling green, ran
to the New River Head, and from thence to Coldbath Fields, where, in
some turning among the different avenues, she was lost. She appeared to
have been hard run, by her dirty and shabby coat."

These fields took their name from a spring (part of the River of Wells)
which had its source there. A Mr. Walter Baynes of the Temple, who was,
for his day, far-seeing, and made the most of the "town lots" which
were in the market, bought this plot of land, and at once utilized it
to his profit. It was of some note, as we read in a book published in
Queen Anne's reign, "A New View of London," 1708, vol. ii. p. 785.
"Cold Bath. The most noted and first[47] about _London_ was that near
_Sir John Oldcastle's_, where, in the Year 1697, Mr. _Bains_ undertook
and yet manages this business of Cold Bathing, which they say is good
against Rheumatisms, Convulsions of the Nerves, &c., but of that, those
that have made the Experiments are the best judges. The Rates are 2s.
6d. if the Chair is used,[48] and 2s. without it. Hours are from five
in the morning to one, afternoon."

We learn two things from this--the pristine existence of "tub," and the
fact that it was purely matutinal. Nay, from the same book we learn
more, for, under the heading of "Southwark Cold Bath," we find that
the "utmost time to be in, three minutes." At this latter places were
"ex votos," so frequently seen at shrines on the Continent. "Here are
eleven Crutches, which they say, were those of persons cured by this
Water." Bathing was a luxury then--water was bought by the pailful, and
a warm bath at the _Hummums_ cost 5s., equal to between 10s. and 15s.
of our money.

Walter Baynes, Esq., of the Middle Temple, seems to have been a pushing
man of business, and willing to make the most of his property. He
traded on the uncleanliness of the times, when baths were mostly used
in case of illness, and daily ablution of the whole body was unknown.
Ladies were quite content to dab their faces with some "fucus" or face
wash, or else smear them with a greasy larded rag. The shock of a
veritable cold bath from a spring, must have astonished most of those
who endured it, and no doubt invested it with a mysterious merit which
it did not possess, otherwise than by cleansing the skin, both by the
washing, and the subsequent rubbing dry.


However, we find Mr. Baynes advertising in the _Post Boy_, March
28, 1700, the curative effects of his wonderful spring. "This is
to give notice that the Cold Baths in Sir John Oldcastle's field
near the north end of Gray's Inn Lane, London, in all seasons of
the year, especially in the spring and summer, has been found, by
experience, to be the best remedy in these following distempers, viz.,
Dizziness, Drowsiness, and heavyness of the head, Lethargies, Palsies,
Convulsions, all Hectical creeping Fevers, heats and flushings.
Inflammations and ebullitions of the blood, and spirits, all vapours,
and disorders of the spleen and womb, also stiffness of the limbs, and
Rheumatick pains, also shortness of the breath, weakness of the joints,
as Rickets, &c., sore eyes, redness of the face, and all impurities
of the skin, also deafness, ruptures, dropsies, and jaundice. It both
prevents and cures colds, creates appetite, and helps digestion, and
makes hardy the tenderest constitution. The coach way is by Hockley in
the Hole."

Of course, viewed by the light of modern medical science, Mr. Baynes
was a charlatan, and a quack, but he acted, doubtless, according to his
lights, in those days; and, if a few were killed, it is probable that
many more were benefited by being washed.

Sir Richard Steele, writing in 1715, says thus:


  "Hail, sacred Spring! Thou ever-living Stream,
  Ears to the Deaf, Supporters to the Lame,
  Where fair Hygienia ev'ry morn attends,
  And with kind Waves, her gentle Succour lends.
  While in the Cristal Fountain we behold
  The trembling Limbs, Enervate, Pale and Cold;
  A Rosy Hue she on the face bestows,
  And Nature in the chilling fluid glows,

  The Eyes shoot Fire, first kindled in the Brain,
  As beds of Lime smoke after showers of Rain;
  The fiery Particles concentred there,
  Break ope' their Prison Doors and range in Air;
  Hail then thou pow'rful Goddess that presides
  O'er these cold Baths as Neptune o'er his Tides,
  Receive what Tribute a pure Muse can pay
  For Health that makes the Senses Brisk and Gay,
  The fairest Offspring of the heavenly Ray."

At one time there was a famous house of refreshment and recreation,
either called the Cobham's Head, or the Sir John Oldcastle--or there
were one of each. Authorities differ, and, although I have spent some
time and trouble in trying to reconcile so-called facts, I have come
to the conclusion that, for my reader's sake, _le jeu ne vaut pas la
chandelle_. There is a tradition that Sir John Oldcastle who was a
famous Lollard in the time of Henry V., either had an estate here,
or hid in a house of entertainment there, during his persecution for
faith. But the whole is hazy.

We know that there was a Sir John Oldcastle, who was born in the
fourteenth century, and who was the fourth husband of Joan, Lady
Cobham, in whose right he took the title of Lord Cobham. We know also,
that he enjoyed the friendship of Henry V., and was of his household.
But he got imbued with the doctrines of Wyclif, was cited to appear,
more than once, before the ecclesiastical authorities, declined the
invitations, and was duly excommunicated. He wrangled with the priests,
got committed to the Tower, escaped and hid in Wales, was accused of
heading a trumpery insurrection, and was, finally, captured, tried, and
hanged in chains alive, upon a gallows in St. Giles' Fields, when,
fire being put under him, he was slowly roasted to death in December,
1417. A pious nobleman, like the late Lord Shaftesbury, for instance,
was not popular at that time, if we may believe a few lines from
"Wright's Political Songs from Edward II. to Henry VI."

  "Hit is unkindly for a Knight
  That shuld a kynges castel kepe,
  To bable the Bible day and night,
  In restyng time when he shuld slepe,
  And carefoly away to crepe;
  For alle the chefe of chivalrie,
  Wel ought hym to wail and wepe,
  That swyche[49] lust is in Lollardie."

The English were always famous bowmen, and archery--although gunpowder
has long superseded bows and arrows in warfare--still is a favourite
and fashionable pastime, witness the Toxopholite Society in Regent's
Park, and the various Archery associations throughout the kingdom;
so that it is not remarkable that an open space like Coldbath Fields
should vie with the Artillery ground at Finsbury, in favour with the
citizens, as a place for this sport; and we find, in Queen Anne's
reign, that the _Sir John Oldcastle_ was frequented by Archers. And for
this information we may thank that old sinner, John Bagford (who spoilt
so many books for the sake of their title-pages) for preserving. It
tells its own story:--[50]

 "All gentlemen of the ancient and noble exercise of Archery,
 are invited to the annual dinner of the Clerkenwell Archers,
 Mrs. Mary Barton's, at the sign of Sir John Oldcastle (Cold Bath
 Fields) on Friday, July 18, 1707, at one o'clock, and to pay
 the bearer, Thomas Beaumont, Marshall, 2s. 6d., taking a sealed
 ticket, that a certain number may be known, and provision made
 accordingly. Nath. Axtall, Esq., and Edward Bromwich, Gent.,

There were very pleasant gardens attached to this tavern, and, like
all the suburban places of recreation, they were well patronized, and
they gave a very decent amusement in the shape of music--instrumental
and vocal--and, occasionally, fireworks. But there seems to have been
the same difficulty then, as now, as to keeping outdoor amusements,
if not select, at least decorous, for, acccording to the _Daily
Advertisement_ of June 3, 1745, "Sir John Oldcastle's Gardens, Cold
Bath Fields. This evening's entertainment will continue the Summer
Season. The Band consists of the best masters. Sixpence for admission,
for which they have a ticket, which ticket will be taken as sixpence
in their reckoning. Particular care will be taken that the provisions
shall be the very best in their separate kinds; likewise to keep a just
decorum in the gardens. Note.--Several ladies and gentlemen that come
to the gardens give the drawers their tickets, which is no benefit to
the proprietor; therefore it's humbly desired that if any gentlemen or
ladies don't chuse to have the value of their tickets in liquor, or
eating, they will be so kind as to leave them at the bar."


As a place of amusement, it seems, even in 1745, to have been on the
wane. In 1758 the Smallpox Hospital was built close to it, and in 1761
the Sir John Oldcastle was bought by the trustees of the hospital, in
order to enlarge it, and was pulled down in 1762. Noorthouck ("New
History of London," ed. 1763, p. 752), speaking of Cold Bath Square,
in which was the famed cold bath, says, "The North side of this square
is, as yet, open to the fields, but a little to the east stands the
Small Pox Hospital for receiving patients who catch the disease in the
natural way; and is a very plain, neat structure. The Center, which
projects a little from the rest of the building, is terminated on the
top by an angular pediment, on the apex of which is placed a vase upon
a small pedestal. This excellent charity was instituted in the year
1746, and is supported by a subscription of noblemen, gentlemen, and
ladies, who were desirous that a charity useful in itself, and so
beneficial to the public, might be begun near this great metropolis,
there not being any hospital of the kind in Europe. A neat hospital for
inoculating this disorder has been lately built clear of the town on
the north side of the New Road."[51]

In 1791 this hospital wanted extensive repairs, which would need an
outlay of about £800; and the trustees, not willing to incur this
expense, built another on the site of the Inoculating Hospital at
Islington; and thither, when it was finished, all the patients were
removed from Cold Bath Fields. But their new home was wanted for the
Great Northern Railway, and another place was built, and still is, on
Highgate Hill. The old building in Cold Bath Fields was first of all
used as a distillery, and afterwards subdivided.

Quoting again from Noorthouck: "Eastward from the Small Pox Hospital,
on the south side of the Spawfield, is an humble imitation of the
Pantheon in Oxford Road; calculated for the amusement of a suitable
class of company; here apprentices, journeymen, and clerks dressed to
ridiculous extremes, entertain their ladies on Sundays; and to the
utmost of their power, if not beyond their proper power, affect the
dissipated manners of their superiors. Bagnigge Wells and the White
Conduit House, two other receptacles of the same kind, with gardens
laid out in miniature taste, are to be found within the compass of
two or three fields, together with Sadler's Wells, a small theatre for
the summer exhibition of tumbling, rope-dancing, and other drolls, in
vulgar stile. The tendency of these cheap, enticing places of pleasure
just at the skirts of this vast town is too obvious to need further
explanation; they swarm with loose women, and with boys, whose morals
are thus depraved, and their constitution ruined, before they arrive
at manhood; indeed, the licentious resort to the tea-drinking gardens
was carried to such excess every night, that the magistrates lately
thought proper to suppress the organs in their public rooms."

There is no doubt but that some of these tea-gardens needed reform;
so much so, that the grand jury of Middlesex, in May, 1744, made
a presentment of several places which, in their opinion, were not
conducive to the public morality; and these were two gaming-houses near
Covent Garden, kept by the ladies Mordington and Castle; _Sadler's
Wells near the New River head_, the New Wells in Goodman's Fields,
the New Wells near the London Spaw in Clerkenwell; and a place called
Hallam's Theatre in Mayfair.

A possibly fair account of these gardens is found in the _St. James's
Chronicle_, May 14-16, 1772:

 "To the Printer of the S. J. CHRONICLE.

 "SIR,--Happening to dine last Sunday with a Friend in the City,
 after coming from Church, the Weather being very inviting, we
 took a walk as far as Islington. In our Return home towards
 Cold Bath Fields, we stepped in, out of mere Curiosity, to view
 the Pantheon there; but such a Scene of Disorder, Riot, and
 Confusion presented itself to me on my Entrance, that I was
 just turning on my Heel, in order to quit it, when my friend
 observing to me that we might as well have something for our
 Money (for the Doorkeeper obliged each of us to deposit a
 _Tester_ before he granted us Admittance), I acquiesced in
 his Proposal, and became one of the giddy Multitude. I soon,
 however, repented of my Choice; for, besides having our Sides
 almost squeezed together, we were in Danger every Minute
 of being scalded by the Boiling Water, which the officious
 Mercuries[52] were circulating with the utmost Expedition thro'
 their respective Districts: We began therefore to look out for
 some Place to sit down in, which, with the greatest Difficulty,
 we at length procured, and, producing our Tickets, were served
 with Twelve pennyworth of Punch. Being seated towards the Front
 of one of the Galleries, I had now a better Opportunity of
 viewing this dissipated Scene. The Male Part of the Company
 seemed to consist chiefly of City Apprentices, and the lower
 Class of Tradesmen. The Ladies, who constituted by far the
 greater Part of the Assembly, seemed, most of them, to be Pupils
 of the Cyprian Goddess, and appeared to be thoroughly acquainted
 with their Profession, the different Arts and Manoeuvres of
 which they played off with great Freedom, and I doubt not with
 equal Success. Whatever Quarter I turned my Eyes to, I was sure
 to be saluted with a Nod, a Wink, or a Smile; and was even
 sometimes accosted with, 'Pray, Sir, will you treat me with a
 Dish of Tea?'... A Bill, I think, was in Agitation this Session
 of Parliament for enforcing the Laws already made for the
 better Observance of Sunday. Nothing, in my Opinion, tends more
 to its Profanation, among the lower Class of People, than the
 great Number of Tea Houses, in the Environs of London; the most
 exceptionable of which that I have had Occasion to be in, is the
 _Pantheon_. I could wish them either totally suppressed or else
 laid under some Restrictions, particularly on the Sabbath Day.

 "I am,


 "Your Constant Reader,

 "and occasional Correspondent,

 "_Chiswick_, May 5. SPECULATOR."

This PANTHEON was a large circular building surmounted by a statue of
Fame. It was well warmed by a stove in its centre, and the grounds
were prettily laid out. There were the usual walks, flower-beds,
and pond, in the centre of which was a statue of Hercules, and, of
course, the usual out-of-door refreshment boxes, or arbours. But
it is just possible that it was owing to its somewhat disreputable
conduct that the landlord became bankrupt in 1774, and the Pantheon
was offered for sale. It was closed as a place of amusement in 1776,
and the famous Countess of Huntingdon had some idea of utilizing it
for the propagation of her peculiar religious views. However, the sum
necessary for alterations, proved too much for her ladyship, yet by
a strange mutation of fortune, somewhat akin to what we have seen in
our time, in the Grecian Theatre in the City Road, being taken by the
Salvation Army, the Pantheon was turned into a Proprietary Chapel,
called Northampton Chapel, which was served by clergymen of the Church
of England of strictly Evangelical principles, and it filled so well,
that the incumbent of the parish church asserted his right to preach
there whenever he liked, and also to nominate its chaplains. This the
proprietors did not quite see, and they closed the chapel. Then Lady
Huntingdon bought it, and, henceforth, it was called Spa Fields Chapel.

The illustration[53] is taken from the _New Spiritual Magazine_, and
I do not think that an uglier building could be produced. Probably
the statue of Fame was obliged to be removed, but the ventilator in
its place was certainly not an improvement. However, it is now pulled
down; but, before its demolition, it had to pass through the ordeal of
more proceedings at law. As long as the chapel was served by clergy,
nominally belonging to the Church of England, so long did the incumbent
of St. James's, Clerkenwell, assert his right to the patronage of it.
The Countess relied on her privilege as a peeress, to appoint her own
Chaplain, but this was overridden by competent legal opinion, and
nothing was left but for the officiating clergy to secede from the
Church of England, and take the oath of allegiance as Dissenting
Ministers. This the Countess did not relish; she would fain be in
the fold, and yet not of the fold, as do many others of this age, but
she had to eat the leek. She had the proud privilege of founding a
religious sect, and she left the bulk of her large property, after very
generous legacies, to the support of sixty-four chapels which she had
established throughout the kingdom. She died at her house in Spa Fields,
and was buried at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in Leicestershire, "dressed in the
suit of white silk which she wore at the opening of a chapel in
Goodman's Fields."[54]


    [Footnote 47: Conduit.]

    [Footnote 48: This, I take it, refers to a practice mentioned
    in a pamphlet, "A Step to the Bath" (London, 1700), which I
    think is by Ned Ward. "The usual time being come to forsake
    that fickle Element, _Half Tub Chairs_, Lin'd with Blankets,
    Ply'd as thick as _Coaches_ at the _Play House_, or _Carts_ at
    the _Custom House_." It has been suggested that the Chair was
    used for debilitated patients; but, knowing the use of the
    term "Chair" at that epoch, I venture to propose my solution.]

    [Footnote 49: Such pleasure.]

    [Footnote 50: Harl. MSS., 5961.]

    [Footnote 51: Noorthouck (book i. p. 358) says, "It is to be
    observed that in 1746, an hospital was founded by subscription
    between London and Islington, for relieving poor people
    afflicted with the smallpox, and for inoculation. This is said
    to be the first foundation of the kind in Europe, and
    consisted of three houses; one in Old Street for preparing
    patients for inoculation; another in Islington" (Lower Street)
    "when the disease appeared, and the third in Cold Bath fields
    for patients in the natural way."]

    [Footnote 52: See p. 89.]

    [Footnote 53: See next page.]

    [Footnote 54: _Gentleman's Magazine_, vol. lxi. (1791), p.
    589. The Chapel was pulled down in January or February, 1887.]




It is almost impossible to write about anything connected with Spa
Fields, without mentioning the famous "Spa Fields Riots," which
occurred on Dec. 2, 1816. In every great city there will always be a
leaven of disquietude: demagogues who have nothing to lose, but all to
gain, will always find an audience for their outpourings; and, often,
the ignorant, and unthinking, have only to be told, by any knave, that
they are underpaid, downtrodden, or what not, and they are ready to
yell, with their sweet breaths, that they are. So was it then in 1816.

And it is also remarkable how history repeats itself; for, part of the
scheme proposed by the agitators on that day, was exactly similar to
the proposals of certain Irishmen and Socialists of our time--_teste_
the following handbill, taken from the _Times_, the newspaper of Dec.
7, 1816.

 "SPENCE'S PLAN. For Parochial Partnerships in the Land, is
 the only effectual Remedy for the Distresses and Oppression
 of the People. The Landowners are not Proprietors in Chief;
 they are but the _Stewards_ of the Public; For the LAND is the
 PEOPLE'S FARM. The Expenses of the Government do not cause the
 Misery that surrounds us, but the enormous exactions of these
 '_Unjust Stewards_.' Landed Monopoly is indeed equally contrary
 to the benign spirit of Christianity, and destructive of the
 Independence and Morality of Mankind.

 "'The Profit of the Earth is for all.'

 "Yet how deplorably destitute are the great Mass of the People!
 Nor is it possible for their situations to be radically
 amended, but by the establishment of a system, founded on the
 immutable basis of Nature and Justice. Experience demonstrates
 its necessity and the rights of mankind require it for their

 "To obtain this important object, by extending the knowledge
 of the above system, the Society of Spencean Philanthropists
 has been instituted. Further information of it's principles
 may be obtained by attending any of it's sectional meetings,
 where subjects are discussed, calculated to enlighten the human
 understanding, and where, also, the regulations of the society
 may be procured, containing a Complete development of the
 Spencean system. Every individual is admitted free of expense,
 who will conduct himself with decorum.

 First Section every Wednesday at the Cock, Grafton Street, Soho.
 Second   "      "   Thursday    "    Mulberry Tree, Mulberry Ct.,
                                             Wilson Street, Moorfields.
 Third    "      "   Monday      "    Nag's Head, Carnaby Mrkt.
 Fourth   "      "   Tuesday     "    No. 8, Lumber St., Mint, Borough."

There! does not that read exactly like a modern speech delivered in
Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, or Dublin? Of course it was the old story
of Demagogy. The pot boiled, the scum came to the top, and it boiled
over, so that, one fine day, there was a riot. It was a period of
distress for the working classes, who did not then, as now, swarm into
London from all parts of England, and expect Jupiter to help them; but
then, as now, the rich were ever willing to help their poorer brethren,
for, in the very same _Times_ newspaper that gives an account of this
Spa Fields Riot, there is a list of subscriptions towards the relief of
distress in Spitalfields alone, amounting to over £18,000.

The story is one that should be told, because it has its lesson and its
parallel in all time. The ruling spirit of the movement was Henry Hunt,
generally called Orator Hunt, a man fairly well to do, and who did not
agitate for the sake of his daily bread. The occasion of the meeting in
Spa Fields, at which some 10,000 people were present, was to receive
the answer of the Prince Regent to a petition from the distressed
mechanics of London and its vicinity for relief. It was held first
of all in front of the "Merlin's Cave" (a name which still survives
at 131, Rosomon Street, Clerkenwell), and afterwards in the adjacent
fields. The following account of the riots is from the _Times_ of Dec.
3, 1816:

 "As a prelude to the scene that followed, and with the spirit
 of the ruling demagogue, a person mounted a coal waggon with
 three flags, on which were inscribed certain mottoes; and,
 after having harangued a small audience, draughted off from the
 general body, proceeded to the city, where the acts of violence
 were perpetrated, which will be found in another part of our

 "The speech of this orator, and the conduct of his audience, we
 shall give in an extract from an evening paper as we were not
 present at the first part of the drama ourselves.

 "'In the field was a Coal waggon, upon which were mounted about
 twenty persons, chiefly in the dress of sailors. Several flags
 were displayed; two tricoloured ones, on one of which was the
 following inscription:

 "'Nature, Truth, and Justice! Feed the Hungry! Protect the
 Oppressed! Punish Crimes!'

 "'On a second tricoloured flag, no inscription.

 "'On a third white flag was inscribed in red letters the

 "'The brave Soldiers are our Brothers; treat them kindly.'

 "'Many had bludgeons, and others pockets full of stones. One
 person in the waggon then addressed the meeting in the following
 strain:--"I am sorry to tell you that our application to the
 Prince has failed. He, the father of his people, answered--'My
 family have never attended to Petitions but from Oxford and
 Cambridge, and the City of London.' And is this Man the father
 of the people? No. Has he listened to your petition? No. The day
 is come--(_It is, It is_, from the mob.) We must do more than
 words. We have been oppressed for 800 years since the Norman
 Conquest. If they would give ye a hod, a shovel, a spade, and a
 hoe, your mother earth would supply you. (_Aye, aye, she would._
 Loud Applause.) Country men, if you will have your wrongs
 redressed, follow me. (_That we will._ Shouts.) Wat Tyler would
 have succeeded had he not been basely murdered by a Lord Mayor,
 William of Walworth. Has the Parliament done their duty? No.
 Has the Regent done his duty? No, no. A man who receives one
 million a year public money gives only £5,000 to the poor. They
 have neglected the starving people, robbed them of everything,
 and given them a penny. Is this to be endured? Four millions
 are in distress; our brothers in Ireland are in a worse state,
 the climax of misery is complete, it can go no farther. The
 Ministers have not granted our rights. Shall we take them?
 (_Yes, yes_, from the mob.) Will you demand them? (_Yes, yes._)
 If I jump down will you follow me? (_Yes, yes_, was again

 "'The persons on the waggon then descended with the flags; the
 constables immediately laid hold of the flags. Some persons
 attempted resistance, and two were therefore taken up forthwith,
 and sent to prison. The constables succeeded in getting one of
 the flags.

 "'When the second flag was displayed, it was supposed that it
 headed Mr. Hunt's procession, and there was a loud huzza, which
 stopped one of the waggon orators for five minutes.'

 "[For all the rest we hold ourselves responsible, as it is our
 own report of what passed.]."

The _Times_ then gives in detail a report of the meeting, commencing
from the arrival of "Orator" Hunt, who read the correspondence between
himself and Lord Sidmouth, and said: "The statement of Lord Sidmouth
to him was, that neither any King of the House of Brunswick, nor the
Prince Regent, since he had attained sovereign power, ever gave any
answer to petitions except they came from the Corporation of the City
of London, or from the two Universities which had the privilege of
being heard, and answered from the throne. 'If I were to carry your
present petition to the levée (added his lordship) I should deliver it
into his Royal Highness's hand, make my bow, and walk on; and if you,
yourself, Mr. Hunt, were to appear, you would do just the same thing;
you would deliver your petition, make your bow, and pass on.' This,
Gentlemen, is a little more about Court matters than I was aware of
before. (Loud laughter and applause.) The meeting had the consolation
to think, that, if their petition was not answered by the Prince
Regent, it had met with no worse fate than other petitions presented to
the House of Hanover since the accession of this family to the throne.

"He expected to have seen this day a deputation from the Soup
Committee, for the purpose of returning thanks to this meeting for
obtaining the £5,000 which the Prince Regent had granted. (Great
applause.) He was convinced that it was owing to the exertions and
patriotism of the last assembly in those fields that his Royal Highness
was induced to give this pittance: but his Royal Highness had not gone
the full length of the requests which had then been made. It was
required that he should bestow on the inhabitants of the metropolis £2
or 300,000 out of the Civil List; but, instead of this, what had been
done? Some enemy to his country, some corrupt minister had persuaded
his Royal Highness to send £5000 out of the Droits of the Admiralty,
which properly belonged to the sailors: those droits, the piratical
seizing of which had caused so much bloodshed, and the loss of so many
British lives."

       *       *       *       *       *

This was the sort of fustian that was talked then, as now, and probably
always will be, to an ignorant mob; and, as a natural sequence, words
begot actions. Blind--foolishly blind--the idiotic mob marched towards
the City, not knowing why, or what advantage they were to gain by so
doing. Naturally, there were thieves about, and they plundered the shop
of Mr. Beckwith, a gunmaker, in Skinner Street, Snow Hill, shooting a
gentleman, named Platt, who happened to be in the shop, at the time.

At the Royal Exchange, the Lord Mayor, Sir James Shaw, with his own
hands, seized a man, who was bearing a flag, and the mob, unable to
force the gates, fired inside; but as far as I can learn, without
effect. Foiled in the attempt to sack, or destroy the Exchange, by the
arrival of some civil force to the assistance of his Lordship, they
moved on, seemingly aimlessly, towards the Tower: why--unless it was to
supply themselves with arms--no one can guess. Of course, if they had
tried to take it, they could not have accomplished their purpose, but
it never came to that. They stole a few guns from two gunmakers in the
Minories, Messrs. Brander and Rea; and then this gathering of rogues
and fools dispersed, and the nine days' wonder was over.

As usual, nothing was gained by violence. Socialism certainly did not
advance--nor was any more employment found for anybody--and the thing
fizzled out. But it was not the fault of the agitators. Let us read
a short extract from a leading article in the _Times_ of December 4,

 "As to the _foreseeing_ what was to happen--have we forgotten
 Mr. Hunt's advice on the first day to petition, then, if that
 failed to resort to _physical force_. They did petition, and he
 calls them together to tell them that their petition has failed;
 and yet it is to be supposed that he foresees on their part
 no resort to physical force! Why! this would be trifling with
 the understanding of an infant. But the second time Mr. Hunt
 said nothing about physical force! Oh, no. Whilst the bloody
 business was in hand by his myrmidons in Newgate Street, and
 at the Royal Exchange--whilst an innocent gentleman was in the
 hands of his assassins--whilst the life of the Chief Magistrate
 of the city was attacked by ruffians, the first inciter to the
 use of physical force was coolly haranguing on the comparative
 merits of himself and his hunter, in Spa Fields. What! did
 anybody expect that he would get up, and accuse himself openly
 of high treason? Did Catilina, in the Roman Senate, avow his
 parricidal intentions against his country? But, to quit Mr.
 Hunt for awhile, let us recall to the recollection of our
 readers, the incendiary handbills thrust under the doors of
 public houses, several weeks ago. A copy of one of them was
 inserted in our paper of the 1st of last month; but, at the time
 it did not command that attention which its real importance
 perhaps deserved. It was of the following tenour:-- 'Britons
 to arms! _Break open all gun and sword shops_, pawnbrokers,
 and other likely places to find arms. No rise of bread, &c. No
 CASTLEREAGH. Off with his head. No National Debt. _The whole
 country waits the signal from London_ to fly _to arms_. Stand
 firm now or never.--N.B. _Printed bills containing further
 directions_, will be circulated as soon as possible.'"

I have dwelt thus at length on these Spa Fields riots because the
Socialistic and Communistic development therein contained, runs fairly
parallel with our own times; and it is comforting to know, that in this
case, as in all others in England, the movement was purely evanescent;
the love of law and order being too deeply seated in the breasts of
Englishmen. Nay, in this case, the butchers from the shambles in
Whitechapel attacked the mob, and compelled them to give up their arms,
"which the butchers express a wish to retain, as trophies and proofs
of their loyalty and courage." Hunt fizzled out, and returned to his
previous nonentity.



Still continuing the downward course of the Fleet, an historical place
is reached, "Hockley-in-the-Hole," or Hollow, so famous for its rough
sports of bear baiting and sword and cudgel playing. The combative
nature of an Englishman is curious, but it is inbred in him; sometimes
it takes the form of "writing to the papers," sometimes of going to
law, sometimes of "punching" somebody's head; in many it ends in a
stubborn fight against difficulties to be overcome--but, anyhow, I
cannot deny that an Englishman is pugnacious by nature. Hear what
Misson, an intelligent French traveller, who visited England in the
reign of William III., says: "Anything that looks like fighting is
delicious to an Englishman. If two little Boys quarrel in the Street,
the Passengers stop, make a Ring round them in a Moment, and set them
against one another, that they may come to Fisticuffs. When 'tis come
to a Fight, each pulls off his Neckcloth and his Waistcoat, and give
them to hold to some of the Standers by: then they begin to brandish
their Fists in the Air; the Blows are aim'd all at the Face, they Kick
at one another's Shins, they tug one another by the Hair, &c. He that
has got the other down may give him one Blow or two before he rises,
but no more; and, let the Boy get up ever so often, the other is
obliged to box him again as often as he requires it. During the Fight,
the Ring of Bystanders encourage the Combatants with great Delight of
Heart, and never part them while they fight according to the Rules. The
Father and Mother of the Boys let them fight on as well as the rest,
and hearten him that gives Ground, or has the Worst."

This was about 1700; and, if it was so in the green tree (or boy), what
would it be in the dry (or man)? I am afraid our ancestors were not
over-refined. They did not all cram for examinations, and there were
no Girton girls in those days, neither had they analytical novels:
so that, to a certain extent, we must make allowances for them. Tea
and coffee were hardly in use for breakfast, and men and women had a
certain amount of faith in beer and beef, which may have had something
to do in forming their tastes. Anyhow, the men were manly, and the
women not a whit worse than they are now; and woe be to the man that
insulted one. A code of honour was then in existence, and every
gentleman carried with him the means of enforcing it. Therefore, up to
a certain limit, they were combative, and not being cigarette-smoking
_mashers_, and not being overburdened with novels and periodicals,
and club smoking and billiard rooms being unknown, they enjoyed a
more physical existence than is led by the young men of the theatrical
stalls of the present day, and attended Sword and Cudgel playing, and
Bull and Bear baiting, together with fighting an occasional main of
Cocks. It might be very wrong; but then they had not our advantages of
being able to criticize the almost unhidden charms of the "chorus," or
descant on the merits of a "lemon squash," so that, as man must have
some employment, they acted after their lights, and I do not think we
can fairly blame them.

For Londoners, a favourite place, early in the eighteenth century, for
rough sports, was Hockley-in-the-Hole. Here was bear and bull baiting
for the public, a fact that was so well known, according to Gay,[55]

  "Experienc'd Men, inur'd to City Ways,
  Need not the _Calendar_ to count their Days.
  When through the Town, with slow and solemn Air,
  Led by the Nostril walks the muzzled Bear;
  Behind him moves, majestically dull,
  The Pride of _Hockley Hole_, the surly Bull;
  Learn hence the Periods of the Week to name,
  _Mondays_ and _Thursdays_ are the Days of Game."

Even earlier than Gay, Hockley-in-the-Hole is mentioned by Butler in
his "Hudibras"[56] in somewhat gruesome fashion:--

  "But TRULLA straight brought on the Charge,
  And in the selfsame Limbo put
  The Knight and Squire, where he was shut,
  Where leaving them in Hockley-i'-th'-Hole,
  Their Bangs and Durance to condole."

But Butler also talks of Bear baiting, both in the first and second
cantos of "Hudibras," especially in canto the first, where, beginning
at line 675, he says:

  "But now a Sport more formidable
  Had rak'd together Village Rabble:
  'Twas an old Way of recreating--
  Which learned Butchers call Bear-Baiting:
  A bold advent'rous Exercise,
  With ancient Heroes in high Prize;
  For Authors do affirm it came
  From Isthmian or Nemean Game;
  Others derive it from the Bear
  That's fix'd in Northern Hemisphere,
  And round about the Pole does make
  A Circle like a Bear at Stake.
  That at the Chain's End wheels about,
  And overturns the Rabble Rout.
  For, after solemn Proclamation
  In the Bear's Name (as is the Fashion
  According to the Law of Arms,
  To keep men from inglorious Harms)
  That none presume to come so near
  As forty Foot of Stake of Bear;
  If any yet be so foolhardy
  T' expose themselves to vain Jeopardy;
  If they come wounded off, and lame,
  No honour's got by such a Maim;
  Altho' the Bear gain much; b'ing bound
  In Honour to make good his Ground,
  When he's engag'd and takes no Notice,
  If any press upon him, who 'tis,
  But let's them know, at their own Cost,
  That he intends to keep his Post."

Bear baiting was so identified, as a sport, to the London Citizens who
frequented Hockley-in-the-Hole, that we read that in 1709 Christopher
Preston, who then kept the Bear Garden, was attacked and partly eaten
by one of his own bears.

Bear Gardens are proverbially rough, and this place was no exception;
but there were two others in London where bears were baited, one at
Marrybone Fields (at the back of Soho Square), and at Tuttle or Tothill
Fields, at Westminster--thus showing the popularity of the Sports,
which was not declared illegal until 1835.

Of course in these our days, we know nothing of bear baiting, and if a
Pyrenean bear were now taken about the country, as I have frequently
seen them, even if he "danced to the genteelest of tunes," his
proprietor would be in danger of the judgment--some dear mollycoddling
old woman in trousers, belonging to some special "faddy" society, being
always ready to prosecute.

Bears not, at present, being indigenous to Britain, were naturally
scarce, so the homely and offensive Bull had to afford rough sport to
the multitude, and several towns now bear testimony to the popularity
of the sport of bull baiting in their "Bull rings" (Birmingham, to
wit). In the fourteenth century we know that even horses were baited
with dogs, and as long as fox hunting, coursing, or wild stag hunting,
are recognized as sports among us, I fail to see the superior cruelty
of our ancestors. It may be that people imagine that the larger the
animal, the greater the cruelty; but I cannot see it. Anyhow, far
earlier than the Bear garden of Hockley-in-the-Hole, both bear and bull
baiting were not only popular, but aristocratic amusements. Erasmus,
who visited England in Henry VIII.'s time, speaks of many herds of
bears being kept for baiting; and when Queen Mary visited her sister
the Princess Elizabeth, they were "right well content" with the bear
baiting. Nay, when she became Queen, Elizabeth was a great patron of
the _sport_; for when, on May 25, 1559, she entertained the French
Ambassadors, as an after-dinner spectacle, she gave them some bull and
bear baiting. Her delight in this diversion did not decrease with age,
for, twenty-seven years later, she provided the same amusement for
the delectation of the Danish Ambassador. Paul Hentzner, who visited
England in 1598, speaking of this sport, says:--"There is still another
Place, built in the Form of a Theatre, which serves for the baiting
of Bulls and Bears; they are fastened behind, and then worried by the
great _English_ Bull dogs; but not without great Risque to the Dogs,
from the Horns of the one, and the Teeth of the other; and it sometimes
happens they are killed upon the Spot; fresh ones are immediately
supplied in the Place of those that are wounded, or tired. To this
Entertainment there often follows that of whipping a blinded Bear,
which is performed by five or six Men standing circularly with Whips,
which they exercise upon him without any Mercy, as he cannot escape
from them because of his Chain; he defends himself with all his Force
and Skill, throwing down all who come within his Reach, and are not
active enough to get out of it, and tearing the Whips out of their
Hands, and breaking them."

And, again are we indebted to a foreigner for a description of a bull
baiting, thus realizing Burns' aspiration seeing "oursen as others see
us," _vide Misson_.

"Here follows the Manner of those Bull Baitings which are so much
talk'd of: They tie a Rope to the Root of the Ox or Bull, and fasten
the other End of the Cord to an Iron Ring fix'd to a Stake driven into
the Ground; so that this Cord being 15 Foot long, the Bull is confin'd
to a Sphere of about 30 Foot Diameter. Several Butchers, or other
Gentlemen, that are desirous to exercise their Dogs, stand round about,
each holding his own by the Ears; and, when the Sport begins, they let
loose one of the Dogs; The Dog runs at the Bull: the Bull immovable,
looks down upon the Dog with an Eye of Scorn, and only turns a Horn to
him to hinder him from coming near: the Dog is not daunted at this, he
runs round him, and tries to get beneath his Belly, in order to seize
him by the Muzzle, or the Dew lap, or the pendant Glands: The Bull then
puts himself into a Posture of Defence; he beats the Ground with his
Feet, which he joins together as close as possible, and his chief Aim
is not to gore the Dog with the Point of his Horn, but to slide one of
them under the Dog's Belly (who creeps close to the Ground to hinder
it) and to throw him so high in the Air that he may break his Neck in
the Fall. This often happens: When the Dog thinks he is sure of fixing
his Teeth, a turn of the Horn, which seems to be done with all the
Negligence in the World, gives him a Sprawl thirty Foot high, and puts
him in danger of a damnable Squelch when he comes down. This danger
would be unavoidable, if the Dog's Friends were not ready beneath him,
some with their Backs to give him a soft Reception, and others with
long Poles which they offer him slant ways, to the Intent that, sliding
down them, it may break the Force of his Fall. Notwithstanding all this
care, a Toss generally makes him sing to a very scurvy Tune, and draw
his Phiz into a pitiful Grimace: But, unless he is totally stunn'd
with the Fall, he is sure to crawl again towards the Bull, with his
old Antipathy, come on't what will. Sometimes a second Frisk into the
Air disables him for ever from playing his old Tricks; But, sometimes,
too, he fastens upon his Enemy, and when he has seiz'd him with his Eye
teeth, he sticks to him like a Leech, and would sooner die than leave
his Hold. Then the Bull bellows, and bounds, and Kicks about to shake
off the Dog; by his Leaping the Dog seems to be no Manner of Weight
to him, tho in all Appearance he puts him to great Pain. In the End,
either the Dog tears out the Piece he has laid Hold on, and falls, or
else remains fix'd to him, with an Obstinacy that would never end, if
they did not pull him off. To call him away, would be in vain; to give
him a hundred blows would be as much so; you might cut him to Pieces
Joint by Joint before he would let him loose. What is to be done then?
While some hold the Bull, others thrust Staves into the Dog's Mouth,
and open it by main Force. This is the only Way to part them."

But the dogs did not always get the best of it--many a one was gored
and killed by the bull. Cruelty, however, would scarcely rest content
with simple bull baiting. It was improved upon, as we see in the
following advertisement. "At the _Bear Garden_ in _Hockley in the
Hole_, 1710. This is to give notice to all Gentlemen, Gamsters, and
Others, That on this present _Monday_ is a Match to be fought by two
Dogs, one from _Newgate_ Market against one of _Honey Lane_ Market, at
a Bull, for a Guinea to be spent. Five Let goes out off Hand, which
goes fairest and farthest in, Wins all; like wise a _Green Bull_ to be
baited, which was never baited before, and a Bull to be turned loose
with Fire works all over him; also a Mad Ass to be baited; With variety
of Bull baiting, and Bear baiting; and a Dog to be drawn up with Fire

I cannot, however, consider this as an ordinary programme, and it was
evidently so considered at the time; for a book was advertised in the
_Tatler_, January 3-5, 1709 (1710):--"This Day is published The Bull
Baiting or Sach----ll[58] dressed up in Fire works; lately brought
over from the Bear Garden in Southwark, and exposed for the Diversion
of the Citizens of London: at 6d. a piece." But Steele in No. cxxxiv.
of the _Tatler_, condemns the cruelty of the age, and says he has
"often wondered that we do not lay aside a custom which makes us appear
barbarous to nations much more rude and unpolished than ourselves. Some
French writers have represented this diversion of the common people
much to our disadvantage, and imputed it to natural fierceness and
cruelty of temper, as they do some other entertainments peculiar to
our nation: I mean those elegant diversions of bull baiting and prize
fighting, with the like ingenious recreations of the Bear-garden.
I wish I knew how to answer this reproach which is cast upon us, and
excuse the death of so many innocent cocks, bulls, dogs, and bears, as
have been set together by the ears, or died untimely deaths, only to
make us sport."

Of all the places where these cruel pastimes were practised, certainly
Hockley-in-the-Hole, bore off the palm for blackguardism; and it is
thus mentioned in an essay of Steele's in the _Tatler_ (No. xxviii.),

"I have myself seen Prince Eugene make Catinat fly from the backside of
Grays Inn Lane to Hockley-in-the-Hole, and not give over the pursuit,
until obliged to leave the Bear Garden, on the right, to avoid being
borne down by fencers, wild bulls, and monsters, too terrible for the
encounter of any heroes, but such as their lives are livelihood." To
this mention of Hockley-in-the-Hole, there is, in an edition of 1789,
a footnote (p. 274), "There was a sort of amphitheatre here, dedicated
originally to bull-baiting, bear-baiting, prize fighting, and all
other sorts of _rough-game_; and it was not only attended by butchers,
drovers, and great crowds of all sorts of mobs, but likewise by Dukes,
Lords, Knights, Squires, &c. There were seats particularly set apart
for the quality, ornamented with old tapestry hangings, into which
none were admitted under half a crown at least. Its neighbourhood was
famous for sheltering thieves, pickpockets, and infamous women; and for
breeding bulldogs."

Bull baiting died hard, and in one famous debate in the House of
Commons, on 24th of May, 1802, much eloquence was wasted on the
subject, both _pro._ and _con._, one hon. gentleman (the Right Hon. W.
Windham, M.P. for Norwich), even trying to prove that the bull enjoyed
the baiting. Said he, "It would be ridiculous to say he felt no pain;
yet, when on such occasions he exhibited no signs of terror, it was a
demonstrable proof that he felt some pleasure." Other hon. gentlemen
defended it on various grounds, and, although Wilberforce and Sheridan
spoke eloquently in favour of the abolition of the practice, they
were beaten, on a division, by which decision Parliament inflicted a
standing disgrace, for many years, upon the English Nation.

Hockley-in-the-Hole was not only the temple of _S. S. Taurus et Canis_;
but the genus _Homo_, type _gladiator_, was there in his glory. It
was there that sword play was best shown, but we do not hear much
of it before William the Third, or Anne's reign, or that of George
I., when the redoubtable Figg was the Champion swordsman of England.
As Hockley-in-the-Hole belongs to the Fleet River, so do these
gladiatorial exhibitions belong to Hockley-in-the-Hole. I have treated
of them once,[59] and on looking back, with the knowledge that many of
my readers may not have seen that book, and having nothing better in
the space allotted to this peculiar spot, to offer them (for I then
drew my best on the subject) I quote, with apologies, from myself.

"In those days, when every one with any pretensions to gentility wore a
sword, and duelling was rife, it is no wonder that exhibitions of skill
in that weapon were favourites. Like modern prize fights, they drew
together all the scum and riff-raff, as well as the gentry, who were
fond of so-called _sport_. They were disreputable affairs, and were
decried by every class of contemporary. The preliminaries were swagger
and bounce, as one or two out of a very large number will show.[60]

"'At the Bear Garden in Hockley-in-the-Hole.

"'A Tryal of Skill to be Performed between two Profound Masters of the
Noble Science of Defence on _Wednesday_ next, being this 13th of the
instant July, 1709, at Two of the Clock precisely.

"'I, _George Gray_, born in the City of Norwich, who has Fought in most
Parts of the _West Indies_, viz., _Jamaica_, _Barbadoes_, and several
other Parts of the World; in all Twenty-five times, upon a Stage, and
was never yet Worsted, and now lately come to _London_; do invite
_James Harris_, to meet and Exercise at these following Weapons, viz.:

  _Back Sword_,       }  {_Single Falchon_
  _Sword and Dagger_, }  {_and_
  _Sword and Buckler_,}  {_Case of Falchons_.'

"'I, _James Harris_, Master of the said Noble Science of Defence, who
formerly rid in the Horse Guards, and hath Fought a Hundred and Ten
Prizes, and never left a Stage to any Man; will not fail, (God Willing)
to meet this brave and bold Inviter, at the Time and Place appointed,
desiring Sharp swords, and from him no Favour.

"'_Note._ No persons to be upon the Stage but the Seconds. _Vivat

This is not the only available advertisement, but it is a typical one,
and will serve for all.

"The challenger would wager some twenty or thirty pounds, and the
stakes would be deposited and delivered to the Challenged: the
challenger receiving the money[61] taken at the door, or as we should
term it, _gate money_; which, frequently, twice or thrice exceeded the
value of the stakes.

"There is one remarkable exception, I have found, to this monetary
arrangement, but it is the only one in my experience. For, in an
advertisement of the usual character, there comes: 'Note.--That John
Stokes fights James Harris, and Thomas Hesgate fights John Terriwest,
three Bouts each at Back Sword, for Love.'

"Preliminaries arranged, handbills printed and distributed, the Combat
duly advertised in at least one newspaper, and the day arrived; like
the bull and bear, the combatants paraded the streets, preceded by
a drum, having their sleeves tucked up, and their Swords in hand.
All authorities agree that the fights were, to a certain extent,
serious.[62] 'The Edge of the Sword was a little blunted, and the Care
of the Prize-fighters was not so much to avoid wounding each other,
as to avoid doing it dangerously: Nevertheless, as they were oblig'd
to fight till some Blood was shed, without which no Body would give
a Farthing for the Show, they were sometimes forc'd to play a little
ruffly. I once saw a much deeper and longer Cut given than was
intended.' "Ward[63] gives a short description of one of these fights:
'Great Preparations at the Bear Garden all Morning, for the noble Tryal
of Skill that is to be play'd in the Afternoon. Seats fill'd and crowded
by Two. Drums beat, Dogs yelp, Butchers and Foot soldiers clatter
their Sticks; At last the two heroes, in their fine borrow'd _Holland_
Shirts, mount the Stage about Three; Cut large Collops out of one
another, to divert the Mob, and Make Work for the Surgeons: Smoking,
Swearing, Drinking, Thrusting, Justling, Elbowing, Sweating, Kicking,
Cuffing, all the while the Company stays.'

Steele gives a good account of a prize fight:[64] 'The Combatants met
in the Middle of the Stage, and, shaking Hands, as removing all Malice,
they retired with much Grace to the Extremities of it; from whence
they immediately faced about, and approached each other. _Miller_,
with an Heart full of Resolution, _Buck_, with a watchful, untroubled
Countenance; _Buck_ regarding principally his own Defence, _Miller_
chiefly thoughtful of his Opponent. It is not easie to describe the
many Escapes and imperceptible Defences between Two Men of Quick Eyes,
and ready Limbs; but _Miller's_ Heat laid him open to the Rebuke of the
calm _Buck_, by a large Cut on the Forehead. Much Effusion of Blood
covered his Eyes in a Moment, and the Huzzas of the Crowd undoubtedly
quickened his Anguish. The Assembly was divided into Parties upon their
different ways of Fighting: while a poor Nymph in one of the Galleries
apparently suffered for _Miller_, and burst into a Flood of Tears. As
soon as his Wound was wrapped up, he came on again in a little Rage,
which still disabled him further. But what brave Man can be wounded
with more Patience and Caution? The next was a warm eager Onset, which
ended in a decisive Stroke on the Left Leg of _Miller_. The Lady in the
Gallery, during the second Strife, covered her face; and for my Part,
I could not keep my thoughts from being mostly employed on the
Consideration of her unhappy Circumstances that Moment, hearing the
Clash of Swords, and apprehending Life or Victory concerned her Lover
in every Blow, but not daring to satisfie herself on whom they fell.
The Wound was exposed to the View of all who could delight in it, and
sowed up on the Stage. The surly Second of _Miller_ declared at this
Time, that he would, that Day Fortnight, fight Mr. _Buck_ at the Same
Weapons, declaring himself the Master of the renowned _German_; but
_Buck_ denied him the Honour of that Courageous Disciple, and, asserting
that he himself had taught that Champion, accepted the Challenge."

In No. 449, of the _Spectator_, is the following letter _re_

 "MR. SPECTATOR,--I was the other day at the Bear-garden, in
 hopes to have seen your short face; but not being so fortunate,
 I must tell you by way of letter, that there is a mystery among
 the gladiators which has escaped your spectatorial penetration.
 For, being in a Box at an Alehouse, near that renowned Seat or
 Honour above mentioned, I overheard two Masters of the Science
 agreeing to quarrel on the next Opportunity. This was to happen
 in the Company of a Set of the Fraternity of Basket Hilts, who
 were to meet that Evening. When that was settled, one asked
 the other, Will you give Cuts, or receive? the other answered,
 Receive. It was replied, Are you a passionate Man? No, provided
 you cut no more, nor no deeper than we agree. I thought it my
 duty to acquaint you with this, that the people may not pay
 their money for fighting, and be cheated.

 "Your humble servant,


It was not sword play alone that was the favourite pastime at
Hockley-in-the-Hole, there was cudgel playing--and fighting with "the
Ancient Weapon called the Threshing Flail." There is an advertisement
extant of a fight with this weapon between John Terrewest and John
Parkes of Coventry, whose tombstone affirms that he fought three
hundred and fifty battles in different parts of Europe. Fisticuffs also
came prominently into vogue early in the eighteenth century, and it is
needless to say that Hockley was a favourite place with its professors.
The site of the Bear Garden is said to be occupied by the "Coach and
Horses," 29, Ray Street, Farringdon Road.

    [Footnote 55: "Trivia," book ii.]

    [Footnote 56: Book iii. line 1,000, &c.]

    [Footnote 57: Harl. MSS. 5931, 46.]

    [Footnote 58: Dr. Sacheverell.]

    [Footnote 59: "Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne," by
    John Ashton (_Chatto and Windus_).]

    [Footnote 60: Harl. MSS. 5931, 50.]

    [Footnote 61: De. Sorbière.]

    [Footnote 62: Misson.]

    [Footnote 63: "Comical View of London and Westminster."]

    [Footnote 64: _Spectator_, No. 436.]



In connection with the Fleet, I have omitted to mention one locality,
in this immediate neighbourhood, which certainly deserves notice from
its associations, namely Laystall Street and Mount Pleasant; for here
it was, that a fort to command Gray's Inn Road, was built, when the
lines for the protection of the City were formed by order of Parliament
in 1643--at the time when it was feared that Prince Rupert was coming
to attack it. For nearly, if not quite, a hundred years those lines
of defence were partially visible; and, certainly, among others,
one was at Mount Pleasant. It is a somewhat curious thing that the
names survive. A Laystall meant a dung or dust heap, and, after this
artificial mound was utilized for the community its name was euphemised
into Mount Pleasant, which it bears to this day.

This work of intrenchment was almost impressment, for we can hardly
consider that it was voluntary, when we read in a newspaper of
1643, that, by order of the Parliament, "many thousands of men and
women (good housekeepers), their children, and servants, went out of
the several parishes of London with spades, shovels, pickaxes, and
baskets, and drums and colours before them; some of the chief men of
every parish marching before them, and so went into the fields, and
worked hard all day in digging and making of trenches, from fort to
fort, wherebie to intrench the citie round from one end to the other,
on this side of the Thames; and late at night the company came back
in like manner they went out, and the next day a many more went, and
so they continued daily, with such cheerfulnesse that the whole will
be finished ere many dayes." And so these works of fortification went
on, encouraged by the presence of a member of the Common Council, and
some of the Trained Bands (the City Militia of that time) and it was a
work in which all classes joined--willingly, or not, I know not--but
the latter, probably, as the City of London was generally loyal to its
king, although on occasion, the dwellers therein, knew how to hold
their own in defence of their prerogatives. But the fear of Prince
Rupert, and his familiar spirit--the white poodle dog "Boy" (who was
killed, after passing through many a battle-field unscathed, at Marston
Moor, July 2, 1644), may possibly have had something to do with it.
Of course we know that tailors and shoemakers, are mostly radicals,
and socialists in politics, probably on account of their sedentary
work, where political discussion is rife, and from their constant
inter-association, not mixing much with the outer world; therefore
we can scarcely wonder that on the 5th of June, 1643, that some five
thousand or six thousand Tailors went out to help intrench the City
against the redoubted Prince, and that, afterwards, the shoemakers
followed their example. Two thousand porters also helped in the work.
Most probably, a moral "shrewd privie nipp" was administered to most
people by those then in power, and they were forced into taking an
active part in raising the fortifications, irrespective of their being
either _Cavaliers_ or _Roundheads_.

At all events, the fort at Mount Pleasant was raised, although never
used, and it belongs to the history of the Fleet River--as, close
by, a little affluent joined it. Gardens sloped down to its banks,
notably those of the great Priory of St. John's Clerkenwell, and, like
Bermondsey, with its "Cherry Gardens"--the names of "Vineyard Walk" and
"Pear Tree Court" bear testimony to the fruitfulness of this part of
London. There is also "Vine Street" in Saffron Hill, which latter name
is extremely suggestive of the growth of a plant which, in old times,
was much used both in medicine and cooking. It was called "The Liberty
of Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, and Ely Place"--which was in the Manor
of Portpool.

Saffron Hill, nowadays, is the home of the Italian organ-grinder, who,
although not unknown to the police, is undoubtedly a better citizen
than previous dwellers therein. Specially was West Street, or Chick
Lane, as it was formerly called, a neighbourhood to be avoided by all
honest men. It ran both east and west of the Fleet, which it crossed
by a bridge. Stow calls it Chicken Lane, but it certainly was not
inhabited by young and innocent birds. It ran into Field Lane, of
unsavoury memory, and now done away with.

This was the state of West Street, as exemplified by a cutting from the
_Morning Herald_ of Feb. 11, 1834:

 "Yesterday an inquest was held at the Horse Shoe and Magpie,
 Saffron Hill, before THOMAS STIRLING, Esq., Coroner, on the body
 of James Parkinson, aged 36, who came by his death under the
 following circumstances.

 "The Jury proceeded to view the body of the deceased, which lay
 in the upper part of a low lodging-house for travellers, in West
 Street, Saffron Hill. It was in a high state of decomposition,
 and a report was generally circulated that he had come by his
 death by unfair means.

 "Mary Wood being sworn, deposed that she was the landlady of
 the house in West Street, which she let out in lodgings. The
 deceased occasionally lodged with her, and he was a dealer in
 cat's meat. On Tuesday night last he came home and asked her
 for a light, and proceeded to his bedroom. On the Wednesday
 witness proceeded upstairs to make the beds, when she saw the
 deceased lying on his bed apparently asleep, but she did not
 speak to him. On the Thursday she proceeded to the upper part of
 the house for the same purpose, when she again saw the deceased
 lying as if asleep, but she did not disturb him, and he was
 ultimately discovered to be a corpse, and his face quite black.

 "_Juror._ Pray, how many beds are there in the room where the
 deceased slept?

 "_Witness._ Only eight, and please you, Sir.

 "Indeed, and how many persons are in the habit of sleeping in
 the same apartment?--There are generally two or three in a bed,
 but the deceased had a bed to himself.

 "Very comfortable truly. Is it not strange that none of his
 fellow lodgers ascertained that he was dead?--No, Sir, they go
 in and out without seeming to care for each other.

 "Do you mean to say, if a poor man was to take a lodging at your
 house, you would let him lie for upwards of 48 hours without
 inquiring whether he required nourishment?--Why, Sir, I have
 known some of my lodgers, who have been out _upon the spree_ to
 _lay_ in bed for three and four days together, without a bit or
 a sup, and then they have gone out to their work as well and as
 hearty as ever they _was_ in their lives; I have known it often
 to have been done. There was plenty of _grub_ in the house if he
 liked to have asked for it; but I thought if I asked him to have
 victuals he would be offended, as he might receive it as a hint
 for the few nights' lodging that he owed me.

 "Mr. Appleby, the parish surgeon, proved that the deceased died
 a natural death, and the Jury returned a verdict of 'Died by the
 visitation of God.'"

There was an old house in West Street, pulled down in April, 1840,
which tradition affirmed to have been the residence of the infamous
Jonathan Wild, and, when destroyed, its age was considered to be about
three hundred years. At one time it was the Red Lion Inn; but for a
hundred years prior to its demolition it was a low lodging-house. Owing
to the numerous facilities for secretion and escape, it was the haunt
of coiners, secret distillers, thieves, and perhaps worse. There were
trap doors connected with the Fleet River through which booty might be
thrown, or a man get away, if hard pressed; a secret door in a garret
led to the next house, and there were many hiding places--in one of
which a chimney sweep named Jones, who had escaped from Newgate, lay
hidden for about six weeks, although the house was repeatedly searched
by the police.

And there was Field Lane too, which was the house of the "Fence," or
receiver of stolen goods. It was from this interesting locality that
Charles Dickens drew that wonderful study of Fagin--who was a real
character. Cruikshank has made him as immortal, but Kenny Meadows tried
to delineate him in a clever series which appeared in _Bell's Life in
London_, under the title of "Gallery of Comicalities."

[Illustration: FAGIN, THE JEW.]

  "Welcome, Old Star, of Saffron hill.
    Of villainy a sample bright,
  Awake to Prigs, and plunder still,
    Thou merry, ancient Israelite!

  Thy face is rough, with matted shag,
    Foul is thy form, old shrivell'd wretch.
  How cunningly you eye the swag,
    Harden'd purveyor to Jack Ketch!

  Incrusted with continued crime,
    Your hopeful pupils still employ--
  Thou wert indeed a Tutor prime
    To Oliver, the Workhouse Boy.

  Poor Lad! condemn'd to fate's hard stripes,
    To herd with Fagin's plundering pack;
  And learn the art of filching wipes,
    From Charley Bates, and Dawkins Jack.

  To hear 'The Dodger' patter slang,
    With knowing wink, and accent glib,
  Or learn from 'Sikes's' ruffian gang,
    In slap up style to crack a crib.

  Hail, Fagin! Patriarch of the whole!
    Kind Patron of these knowing ones--
  In thee we trace a kindred soul
    Of honest Ikey Solomon's!

  We leave you to your courses vile,
    For conscience you have none, old Codger!
  And in our next we'll trace in style,
    The mug of Jack, the _artful dodger_."


The artistic merit of this poetry is _nil_, and my only excuse is
the introduction of a forgotten sketch by a dead artist, who, in his
day was popular and famous. Who, for instance, remembering Leech's
pictures in _Punch_, would think that this illustration ever came from
his pencil? but it did, and from _Bell's Life in London_; and so did
another, of two children fighting in Chick Lane, whilst their parents,
the father with a broken nose, and the mother with a black eye, look on

vot I callsh 'caushe and effect;' caushe if vee thidn't buy, no bothy
vood shell, and if vee thidn't shell, nobothy vood buy; and vot's more,
if peoplesh thidn't have foglesh, vy, nobothy could prig em" (_See_
Abrahams on the "Economy of Wipes").

Those were the days of large and valuable silk Bandana handkerchiefs,
and the story used to be told that you might have your pocket picked
of your handkerchief at one end of Field Lane, and buy it again at the
other end, with the marking taken out.

Long before Fagin's time, however, there was a school for young thieves
in this neighbourhood, _vide Gentleman's Magazine_ (1765), vol. xxxv.
p. 145.

 "Four boys, detected in picking pockets, were examined before
 the Lord Mayor, when one was admitted as evidence, who gave an
 account, that a man who kept a public-house near _Fleet Market_,
 had a club of boys, whom he instructed in picking pockets, and
 other iniquitous practices; beginning first with teaching them
 to pick a handchief out of his own pocket, and next his watch;
 so that, at last, the evidence was so great an adept, that he
 got the publican's watch four times in one evening, when he
 swore he was as perfect as one of twenty years' practice. The
 pilfering out of shops was his next art; his instructions to
 his pupils were, that as many chandlers, or other shops, as
 had hatches,[65] one boy was to knock for admittance for some
 trifle, whilst another was lying on his belly, close to the
 hatch, who when the boy came out, the hatch on jar, and the
 owner withdrawn, was to crawl in, on all fours, and take the
 tills or anything else he could meet with, and to retire in the
 same manner. Breaking into shops by night was another article
 which was to be effected thus: as walls of brick under shop
 windows are very thin, two of them were to lie under a window
 as destitute beggars, asleep to passers by, but, when alone,
 were provided with pickers to pick the mortar out of the bricks,
 and so on till they had opened a hole big enough to go in, when
 one was to lie, as if asleep, before the breach, till the other
 accomplished his purpose."

    [Footnote 65: Dwarf doors.]




Close by Saffron Hill, and Fleet Lane, is Hatton Garden, or Ely Place,
formerly the seats of the Bishops of Ely; which Shakespeare has made so
familiar to us in _Richard III._ act iii. sc. 4. "My Lord of Ely, when
I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there; I
do beseech you, send for some of them."[66] In Queen Elizabeth's time
an arrangement was effected so that her favourite Chancellor Hatton,
who "led the brawls, the Seal and Maces danc'd before him,"[67] should
have this little estate, the gardens of which sloped down to the Fleet
River. Hence the Bishop of Ely's place assumed the name of Hatton

There is a legend--and I give it as such--that this Sir Christopher
Hatton married a beautiful gipsy girl, who bewitched him; and the price
she had to pay, according to her compact with the Evil One, was her
soul, and body, after a given time. When that arrived, the Devil duly
came for her, and seizing her, bore her aloft, and, whilst in the air,
he rent her in pieces, and threw her still palpitating heart to earth.
Where it fell was, for years, known as _Bleeding Heart Yard_; but now,
the authorities, whoever they may be, have altered it to _Bleeding
Hart_, which, in all probability was the cognizance of the family who
resided there.

This Ely Place had very extensive premises, consisting of numerous
buildings, a Hall, Quadrangle, Cloisters, Chapel, a field, the historic
garden, _cum multis aliis_; and they occupied a large space. Only
the Chapel now remains, and that has had a curious career. At one
time marriages were celebrated there, as at the Fleet, presumably
that it was not under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, but
this fiction was overruled in the case of _Barton_ v. _Wells_ in the
Consistory Court, Nov. 17, 1789, when Sir Wm. Scott (afterwards Lord
Stowell) decided that Ely Chapel was under the authority of the Bishop
of London, and that Curates thereto must be licensed by him.

The Bishops came to London in former times, as now, and their
residences, in several cases were known as _Places_, or _Palaces_.
Thus, there was Winchester Place, in Southwark, now the headquarters of
the Fire Brigade--formerly the palace of the Bishops of Winchester, a
city which was once the metropolis of England, where Parliaments were
held, and whose Bishops to this day are titular Prelates of the Garter.
The Bishop of Bangor, who, although his see claims to be as old as any,
has not the richest bishopric, had a palace in Shoe Lane, Holborn, and
the Bishop of Lincoln also lived in Holborn.

The first mention of the connection of the Bishops of Ely, is in the
will of John de Kirkeby (who was appointed Bishop in 1286), and whose
will was proved in 1290, or 18 Edward I., and in the Close Roll of that
year, is the following (in Latin, of course):

 "_For the Executors of the Will of the Bishop of Ely._

 "Whereas the King hath understood that John, late Bishop of Ely,
 deceased, of pious memory, hath in his last will bequeathed his
 houses which he had in the parish of St. Andrew near Holeburn,
 in the suburbs, and within the liberty of the city of London,
 to God, and the Church of St. Etheldreda[68] of Ely, and his
 successors, bishops of the same place, so that they should pay
 the debts which the same deceased owed for those houses to
 Gregory de Rokesle, the King's Citizen, of London; Ralph de
 Sandwich, warden of the said City, is commanded, that, without
 delay, he deliver the aforesaid houses, with appurtenances,
 which are in the King's hand and custody, by reason of the death
 of the aforesaid bishop, thereof to make execution of the said

 "Witness the King at Westminster on the 18th day of July."

The next bishop--William de Luda (who must have been a person of some
distinction, for he had previously held the Deanery of St. Martin's
le Grand, and the Archdeaconry of Durham, besides being Chamberlain,
Treasurer, and Keeper of the Wardrobe to the King) bequeathed more
property to the See, and in all likelihood, built the Chapel of St.
Etheldreda, which, however, was most probably considerably modified
by a later Bishop, Thomas de Arundel, who held the See from 1374 to
1388--as the windows, mouldings, &c., now existing show, being about
as good an example, as possible, of _Decorated_, or _Second Pointed_

"Old _Iohn of Gaunt_, time-honoured Lancaster" lived at Ely Place for
a time--in all likelihood after his palace in the Savoy, had been
destroyed by rioters. This fact is noted by Shakespeare in "The life
and death of King Richard the Second," act i. sc. 4:

  "_Busby._ Old Iohn of Gaunt is verie sick, my Lord,
            Sodainly taken, and hath sent post haste
            To entreat your Majesty to visit him.

  _Richard._ Where lyes he?

  _Busby._ At Ely house."

Hollinshed, also, under date 1399, says: "In the meane time, the Duke
of Lancaster departed out of this life at the Bishop of Elie's place,
in Holborne, and lieth buried in the Cathedrall Church of St. Paule, in
London, on the north side of the high altar, by the Ladie Blanche, his
first wife."

The premises were of very great extent, as appears by plans taken
before its almost total demolition in 1772. Under the Chapel was a
cellar, or under croft--divided into two--and this seems to have
caused some inconvenience in the seventeenth century, for Malcolm, in
his "Londinium Redivivum" (vol. ii. p. 236) says: "One half of the
crypt under the chapel, which had been used for interments, was then
frequented as a drinking-place, where liquor was retailed; and the
intoxication of the people assembled, often interrupted the offices of
religion above them." And this statement seems to be borne out by a
reference to Harl. MSS. 3789, _et seq._, where it says: "Even half of
the vault or burying place under the Chapel is made use of as a public
cellar (or was so very lately) to sell drink in, there having been
frequently revellings heard there during Divine Service."

More curious things than this happened to Ely Place, for the Journals
of the House of Commons inform us how, on January 3, 1642-3, "The
palace was this day ordered to be converted into a prison, and John
Hunt, Sergeant-at-arms, appointed keeper during the pleasure of
the House." He was, at the same time, commanded to take care that
the gardens, trees, chapel, and its windows, received no injury. A
sufficient sum for repairs was granted from the revenues of the see.

Again, on March 1, 1660: "Ordered that it be referred to a Committee
to consider how, and in what manner, the said widows, orphans, and
maim'd soldiers, at Ely House, may be provided for, and paid, for the
future, with the least prejudice, and most ease to the nation; and
how a weekly revenue may be settled for their maintenance; and how the
maimed soldiers may be disposed of, so as the nation may be eased of
the charge, and how they may be provided of a preaching minister."

There were always squabbles about this property, and it nearly fell
into ruin; but in 1772 an Act of Parliament was passed (Geo. III., an.
12, cap. 43) entitled "An Act for vesting _Ely House_, in _Holbourn_,
in His Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, and for applying the Purchase
Money, with another Sum therein mentioned, in the purchasing of a
Freehold Piece of Ground in _Dover Street_, and in the building, and
fitting up another House thereon, for the future Residence of the
Bishops of _Ely_, and the Surplus to the Benefit of the See; and for
other Purposes therein mentioned." And the town residence of the Bishop
of Ely is now 37, Dover Street, Piccadilly. This little bargain was the
sale to the Crown of Ely Place for £6,500, and a perpetual annuity of
£200 to the Bishop of Ely and his successors.

The site and materials were purchased by a Mr. Charles Cole, an
architect and builder, and he built Ely Place, Holborn. The chapel was
let, and, eventually, to the Welsh Episcopalians of London. But the
property got into Chancery, and the estate was ordered to be sold; and
it was sold on January 28, 1874, and the chapel alone fetched £5,250.
As there was no stipulation as to its purchase by any particular
religious body, it was bought by the Roman Catholics, and is now St.
Etheldreda's Church, Convent, and schools.

[Illustration: ELY HOUSE, 1784.]

_Apropos_ of Ely House, when Bishop Coxe demurred at surrendering the
property of his see to Hatton, Queen Elizabeth wrote him that famous
letter, beginning "Proud Prelate," and telling him that, if he did not
do as he was told, she, who had made him what he was, could unmake him,
and if he did not immediately comply, she would unfrock him--signing
this very characteristic and peremptory epistle, "Yours, as you demean
yourself, ELIZABETH."

On the other or east side of the Fleet was a tributary brook called
Turnmill brook--a name now surviving in Turnmill Street--which, even in
this century, drove flour and flatting mills, and we have indisputable
evidence of its industrial powers, in an advertisement in the _Daily
Courant_ September 17, 1714, which calls attention to a house in
Bowling (Green) Alley,[69] Turnmill Street, which had the power of
utilizing "a common sewer with a good stream, and a good current,
for purposes of a Mill;" and it was on Turnmill Brook that Cave, the
publisher, in 1740, went into an unprofitable partnership with one
Lewis Paul, of Birmingham, to work a mill for the utilization of a
patent taken out by Paul for a "Machine to spin wool or cotton into
thread, yarn, or worsted." This experiment, however, was not a success.


The Fleet flowing to its bourne,[70] the Thames, was bridged over at
Holborn. Stow says: "Oldbourne bridge, over the said river of Wels more
towards the north, was so called, of a bourn that sometimes ran
down Oldbourne hill into the said river. This bridge of stone, like as
Fleet bridge from Ludgate West, serveth for passengers with Carriage,
or otherwise, from Newgate toward the west and by north." This was
written in 1598.


After the great fire of 1666 the Fleet was widened, and canalized,
from the Thames, to Holborn Bridge; thence, to its source, it took
its natural course, and, although there were then three bridges over
it, from Holborn to Newgate Street, set close, side by side, yet
it was considered too narrow for the traffic, as we see in an Act
of Parliament passed in 1670 (22 Car. II., cap. 11), entitled "An
additional Act for the Rebuilding of the City of _London_, Uniting
of Parishes, and Rebuilding of the Cathedral and Parochial Churches
within the said City." Section 7 says: "And, whereas the Way or Passage
of _Holborn-Bridge_ is now too strait, or incommodious for the many
Carriages and Passengers daily using and frequenting the same, and is
therefore necessary to be enlarged; Be it therefore likewise enacted,
That it shall and may be lawful for the said Mayor, Aldermen, and
Commons, so to enlarge and make wider the same, as that the said Way
and Passage may run in a Bevil Line from a certain Timber house on the
North side thereof, commonly called or known by the Name or Sign of the
_Cock_, into the Front of the Buildings of a certain Inn called the
_Swan_ Inn, situate on the North side of _Holborn Hill_, as aforesaid."

Sir Christopher Wren built this bridge, which was meant to be the
ornamental end of "The New Canal," as it is described in the map of
Farringdon Ward in Stow's "Survey" (ed. 1720). It must have taken some
time to complete, for it was not finished until the Mayoralty of Sir
William Hooker, whose name appeared carved upon it (although somewhat
mutilated) when it was uncovered in March, 1840. Sir William Tite,
C.B., M.P., F.S.A., &c., Architect to the City of London, writing at
that date, says: "The Sewer at Holborn Hill was opened, and as I was
passing, I saw the southern face of the Bridge which crossed the Fleet
at this place uncovered to some extent. It was built of red brick, and
the arch was about twenty feet span. The road from the east intersected
the bridge obliquely, which irregularity was obviated from a moulded
and well-executed stone corbel arising out of the angle thus formed,
which carried the parapet. On the plinth course of the parapet was
cut the inscription following, recording the fact of the erection of
the bridge, with the name of the Lord Mayor at the period:--"William
Hooke(r). (A)nno D. 1674."

Sir William Tite says it was a red brick bridge; Hatton, in his "New
View of London" (1708), says it was of stone; but then, probably, he
never really saw it, and Tite did. Hatton's description is: "_Holbourn
Bridge_ is built of Stone, it leads from _Holbourn_ to _Snow Hill_,
over the N. end of the _Fleet Brook_, where a little rivulet called
_Wells_, falls by _Hockley Hole_, running a little E'd of _Saffron
Hill_, crossing near the W. end of _Chick Lane_, and so into this

The canalization of the Fleet after 1666 was a useful work, as it
enabled barges to go up to Holborn Bridge; and that it was availed of,
we can judge by the frontispiece, which was painted in the middle of
the eighteenth century; but it was not much used, if we can trust Ned
Ward, whose sharp eyes looked everywhere, and whose pen recorded his
scrutiny[71]: "From thence we took a turn down by the Ditch side, I
desiring my Friend to inform me what great Advantages this costly Brook
contributed to the Town, to Countervail the Expence of Seventy four
Thousand Pounds, which I read in a very Credible Author, was the Charge
of its making: He told me he was wholly unacquainted with any, unless
it was now and then to bring up a few Chaldron of Coles to two or three
Pedling _Fewel-Marchants_, who sell them never the Cheaper to the Poor
for such a Conveniency: and, as for those Cellars you see on each side
design'd for Ware-Houses, they are render'd by their dampness so unfit
for that purpose that they are wholly useless, except... or to harbour
Frogs, Toads, and other Vermin. The greatest good that ever I heard it
did was to the Undertaker, who is bound to acknowledge he has found
better Fishing in that muddy Stream, than ever he did in clear Water."

HOLBORN HILL. JUNE 2, 1840. (_Art. Crosby._)]

Gay, too, in his "Trivia," more than once mentions the foulness of the
Fleet in book ii.

  "Or who that rugged street[72] would traverse o'er,
  That stretches, O Fleet-Ditch, from thy black shore
  To the Tour's moated walls?"

And again:

  "If where Fleet-Ditch with muddy current flows."

Here is a pen-and-ink sketch of Holborn Bridge--from some old engraving
or painting (Crosby does not give his authority), which gives an
excellent idea of old London--squalid and filthy according to our
ideas. How different from that noble viaduct which now spans the course
of the Fleet River! which her Majesty opened on November 6, 1869.

[Illustration: HOLBORN BRIDGE.]

    [Footnote 66: Hollinshed says--speaking of a Council at the Tower,
    relative to the Coronation of Edward V., at which the Protector
    presided, "After a little talking with them, he said unto the Bishop
    of Ely, 'My Lord, you have verie good strawberries at your garden in
    Holborne, I require you let us have a messe of them.' 'Gladlie, my
    Lord,' quoth he, 'would God I had some better thing as readie to
    your pleasure as that!' And there withall, in all haste, he sent his
    servant for a messe of strawberries."]

    [Footnote 67: Gray, "_A long Story_."]

    [Footnote 68: Afterwards Anglicised into Audrey.]

    [Footnote 69: There is now _Bowling Green Street_, Farringdon

    [Footnote 70: See next two pages.]

    [Footnote 71: "London Spy," part vi.]

    [Footnote 72: Thames Street.]



Then, close by (still keeping up its title of the River of the Wells)
was Lamb's Conduit, on Snow Hill, which was fed from a little rill
which had its source near where the Foundling Hospital now stands, its
course being perpetuated by the name of Lamb's Conduit Street, where,
according to the "Old English Herbal," watercresses used to flourish.
"It groweth of its own accord in gardens and fields by the way side,
in divers places, and particularly in the next pasture to the Conduit
Head, behind Gray's Inn, that brings water to Mr. Lamb's Conduit in

William Lamb was a citizen of London, and of the Guild of
Cloth-workers, besides which, he was some time Gentleman of the Chapel
to Henry VIII. He benefited his fellow-citizens by restoring a conduit
in 1577, which had been in existence since the fifteenth century; and,
after the Great Fire, the busy Sir Christopher Wren was employed to
design a covering for the spring, which he did, putting a _lamb_ on the
top, with a very short inscription on the front panel, to the effect
that it was "Rebuilt in the year 1677 S^r Tho^s Davis Kn^t L^d Mayor."

It is curious to learn how the suburbs of London have grown within the
memory of living men. Take, for instance, the following, from _Notes
and Queries_ (April, 1857, p. 265), referring to Lamb's Conduit. A
correspondent writes that "About sixty years since, I was travelling
from the West of England in one of the old stage coaches of that
day, and my fellow-travellers were an octogenarian clergyman and his
daughter. In speaking of the then increasing size of London, the old
gentleman said that when he was a boy, and recovering from an attack of
smallpox, he was sent into the country to a row of houses standing on
the west side of the present Lamb's Conduit Street; that all the space
before him was open fields; that a streamlet of water ran under his
window; and he saw a man snipe-shooting, who sprung a snipe near to the
house, and shot it."

It was no small gift of William Lamb to the City, for it cost him
£1,500, which was equivalent to thrice that sum at present, and, to
make it complete, he gave to one hundred and twenty poor women, pails
wherewith to serve and carry water, whereby they earned an honest,
although a somewhat laborious, living. Lamb left many charitable
bequests, and also founded a chapel, by Monkwell Street, now pulled
down. This Conduit existed until about 1755, when it was demolished,
and an obelisk with lamps erected in its place, but, that being found a
nuisance, was, in its turn, soon done away with.

[Illustration: LAMB'S CONDUIT, SNOW HILL.]

Lamb was buried in the Church of St. Faith's, under St. Paul's, and on
a pillar was a brass to his memory, which is so quaint, that I make no
apology for introducing it.

  "William Lambe so sometime was my name,
  Whiles alive dyd runne my mortall race,
  Serving a Prince of most immortall fame,
  Henry the Eight, who of his Princely grace
  In his Chapell allowed me a place.
  By whose favour, from Gentleman to Esquire
  I was preferr'd, with worship, for my hire.
  With wives three I joyned wedlock band,
  Which (all alive) true lovers were to me,
  Joane, Alice, and Joane; for so they came to hand,
  What needeth prayse regarding their degree?
  In wively truth none stedfast more could be.
  Who, though on earth, death's force did once dissever,
  Heaven, yet, I trust, shall joyn us all together.
  O Lambe of God, which sinne didst take away;
  And as a Lambe, was offred up for sinne,
  Where I (poor Lambe) went from thy flock astray,
  Yet thou, good Lord, vouchsafe thy Lambe to winne
  Home to thy folde, and holde thy Lambe therein;
  That at the day, when Lambes and Goates shall sever,
  Of thy choice Lambes, Lambe may be one for ever.
  I pray you all, that receive Bread and Pence,
  To say the Lord's Prayer before ye go hence."

It is said, also, that the old verses, so well known, were appended to
the brass, or, rather, engraved on his tombstone.

  "As I was, so are ye,
  As I am, you shall be,
  That I had, that I gave,
  That I gave, that I have.
  Thus I end all my cost,
  That I felt, that I lost."

But there is one well must not be lost sight of; for, in its small
way, it was tributary to the Fleet--and that is Clerk's Well, or
Clerkenwell, which gives its name to a large district of London. It was
of old repute, for we see, in Ralph Aggas' Map of London, published
about 1560, a conduit spouting from a wall, into a stone tank or
trough. This is, perhaps, the earliest pictorial delineation of it;
but FitzStephen mentions it under "_fons Clericorum_" so called,
it is said, from the Parish Clerks of London, who chose this place
for a representation of _Miracle Plays_, or scenes from Scripture
realistically rendered, as now survives in the Ober Ammergau Passion
Play. This little Company, which still exists as one of the City
Guilds, has never attained to the dignity of having a livery, but
they have a Hall of their own (in Silver Street, Wood Street, E.C.),
and in their time have done good service in composing the "Bills of
Mortality;" and gruesome pamphlets they were--all skulls, skeletons,
and cross-bones--especially during the great Plague.

These plays were, as I have said, extremely realistic. One, played at
Chester A.D. 1327,[73] represented Adam and Eve, both stark naked, but,
afterwards, they wore fig leaves. The language used in them, would to
our ears be coarse, but it was the language of the time, and, probably,
men and women were no worse than they are now. But, at all events
this Guild, which was incorporated in the 17 Henry III. A.D. 1232,
used occasionally to delight their fellow Citizens with dramatic
representations in the open air (as have lately been revived in the
"Pastoral plays" at Wimbledon) at what was then an accessible, and yet
a rural, suburb of London.


Hence the name--but the well, alas, is no more--but when I say that,
I mean that it is no longer available to the public. That it does
exist, is well known to the occupier of the house where it formerly
was in use, for the basement has frequently to be pumped dry. The
neighbourhood has been so altered of late years, that its absolute
site was somewhat difficult to fix; yet any one can identify it for
themselves from the accompanying slight sketch of the locality as it
existed over sixty years since. Ray Street (at least this portion of
it) is now termed Farringdon Road, and what with Model lodging-houses,
and underground railways, its physical and geographical arrangement is
decidedly altered.

Early in the last century, in Queen Anne's time, the Spring had ceased
to be a conduit, as shown in Ralph Aggas' Map, but had been turned into
a pump; and this pump even was moved, in 1800, to a more convenient
spot in Ray Street, where it was in existence (which I rather doubt),
according to Pink's History of Clerkenwell in 1865. However, there is
very good evidence of its being, in an engraving dated May 1, 1822, of
the "Clerk's Well"--which shows the pump, and a stone tablet with the
following inscription:

  "A.D. 1800.

For the better accommodation of the Neighbourhood, this Pump was
removed to the Spot where it now Stands. The Spring by which it is
supplied is situated four Feet eastward, and round it, as History
informs us, the Parish Clerks of London in remote Ages annually
performed sacred Plays. That Custom caused it to be denominated Clerks'
Well, and from which this Parish derives its Name. The Water was
greatly esteemed by the Prior and Brethren of the Order of St. John of
Jerusalem, and the Benedictine Nuns in the Neighbourhood."

In later days, the Fleet, as every other stream on whose banks houses
are built, became a sewer, and "behaved as sich;" so that it was deemed
prudent to cover some portion of it, at all events, and that part
where now is Farringdon Street, was arched over, and made into the
Fleet _Market_. Our ancestors were far more alive to the advantages
of ready cash, and consequent keen competition among dealers, than
we are, although through the medium of Co-operative Stores, &c., we
are beginning to learn the lost lesson, but, at all events, they had
the acumen to know that large centres of supply were cheaper to the
consumer than small, isolated shops, and _the Market_, was the outcome.
It is next to impossible to make a Market--witness in our own times,
the Central Fish Market, and Columbia Market, both of which are not
absolute failures, but, to use a theatrical slang term, _frosts_--and
this was an example.

The Canal, up to Holborn Bridge, was expensive to keep up, and as we
saw, by the quotation from Ned Ward, it was next door to worthless.
Meantime, sewage and silt played their work, as the stream was
neglected, and, becoming a public nuisance, it was arched over,
pursuant to an Act 6 Geo. II. cap. 22, entitled "An Act for filling up
such Part of the Channell of _Bridewell Dock_, and _Fleet Bridge_, as
lies between _Holborn Bridge_ and _Fleet Bridge_, and for converting
the Ground, when filled up, to the use of the City of _London_." The
works were begun in 1734 and was arched over and finished in 1735;
but, as buildings are necessary for a market, it was not opened, as
such, until Sept. 30, 1737. For nearly a century it remained a market
for meat, fish, and vegetables, although, of course, the largest meat
market was Newgate, as being near Smithfield; and for fish,
Billingsgate, which still maintains its pre-eminence But in 1829 it was
pulled down, in order to make a wider street from Holborn to Blackfriars
Bridge; and this part of the Fleet was called, and now is, Farringdon


The Vegetable Market, for it had come to that only, was swept away, and
a site found for it, nearly opposite the Fleet prison. It is still so
used, but it is not much of a financial help to the City, as it only
brings in an annual income (according to the last return I have been
able to obtain) of between £700 and £800. It was thought that trade
might be encouraged, and revived, if it were worthier housed, so what
is now, the Central Fish Market, was erected; but, before the vendors
of vegetables could enter into possession, a great cry had arisen as to
the supply of fish to London, and the monopoly of Billingsgate, and the
market was given over to the fishmongers. But it is not a success in
a monetary point of view; is a great loss to the City, and, as a fish
market, a very doubtful boon to the public.

The Fleet Prison, which was on the east side of Farringdon Street, will
be noticed in its place; and, as we have seen, the river was arched
over from Holborn to Fleet Bridge, after which it still flowed, an open
sewer, into the Thames.

But, before going farther, we must needs glance at a curious little
bit of Fleet history, which is to be found in "THE SECRET HISTORY of
the RYE HOUSE PLOT, and Monmouth's Rebellion," written by Ford. Lord
Grey who was a party to the plot, addressed it to James the Second,
1685, but it was not printed until 1754. In p. 28 it states, "About
the latter end of Oct. Monmouth s'd to Sir Thos. Armstrong and Lord
Grey, that it was necessary for them to view the passage into the City,
which, accordingly they did, from the lower end of _Fleet-ditch_, next
the river, to the other end of it, by Snow Hill." And again (p. 34):
"Sunday night was pitched upon for the rising in London, as all shops
would be shut. Their men were to be armed at the Duke of Monmouth's
in Hedge Lane, Northumberland House, Bedford House, and four or five
meeting houses in the City.

"The first alarm was designed to be between eleven and twelve at night,
by attacking the train bands at the Royal Exchange, and then possessing
ourselves of Newgate, Ludgate, and Aldersgate. The first two gates
we did not design to defend, unless we were beaten from Fleet Bridge
and Snow Hill, where we intended to receive the first attack of the
King's Guards. At Snow Hill, we intended to make a Barricade, and
plant three or four pieces of Cannon, upon Ship's Carriages; at Fleet
Bridge we designed to use our Cannon upon the carriages, and to make a
breast-work for our musqueteers bridge next us, and to fill the houses
on that side the ditch with men who should fire from the windows, but
the bridge to be clear."

As a matter of fact, there seem to have been two bridges over the
Fleet, crossing it at Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill, both side by side,
as at Holborn. Crosby, upon whose collection I have so largely drawn,
says that it is so, from personal observation, one bridge being 24 ft.
6 in., and the other, 24 ft. wide, making in all, a roadway of 48 ft.
6 in. presumably including parapets. From his measurements, the span of
the bridge was 12 ft., and the height of the arch was 11 ft. 6 in., but
he does not say whence he takes his measurement--from the bottom of the
Fleet, or from the river level.

To this measurement hangs a tale, which is best told in Crosby's own
words, from a memo of his in the Guildhall Library:--

 "FLEET BRIDGE, _Tuesday_, July 28th, 1840. As I could not depend
 upon the admeasurements which, at the beginning of the year,
 I had taken in a _hurried manner_, at Fleet Bridges, while
 bricklayers were placing in a brick bottom in place of the
 original one of alluvial soil, I determined to obtain them the
 first opportunity. This evening, therefore, at ten o'clock, I
 met Bridgewater, one of the workmen employed in constructing the
 New Sewer from Holborn Bridge to Clerkenwell, by appointment,
 at the Hoard there, water boots being in readiness. I lighted
 my lamps, and, assisted by the watchmen, King and Arion, we
 descended the ladder, and got into that branch of the sewer
 which joins Wren's bridge, at Holborn. We then walked carefully
 till we reached Fleet Bridge. I suspended my Argand lamp on the
 Breakwater of the Sewer, and with my Lanthorn light we proceeded
 towards the Thames. We got a considerable distance, during
 which the channel of the Sewer twice turned to the right, at a
 slight angle, the last portion we entered, was barrelled at the
 bottom, the middle so full of holes, and the water so deep, as
 we approached the Thames, that we thought it prudent to return
 to Fleet bridge." (Here they lit up and took measurements). "All
 went well till about a quarter to twelve o'clock, when to our
 surprise we found the Tide had suddenly come in to the depth of
 two feet and a half. No time was to be lost, but I had only one
 more admeasurement to make, viz., the width of the north bridge.
 I managed this, and we then snatched up the basket, and holding
 our Lamps aloft, dashed up the Sewer, which we had to get up one
 half before out of danger. The air was close, and made us faint.
 However we got safe to Holborn Bridge...."

    [Footnote 73: Harl. MSS. 2013.]




Hatton, writing in 1708, says: "_Fleet Bridge_ is even with the
Str(eet); it leads from _Fleet Street_ over the _Fleet Ditch_ to
_Ludgate Hill_; is accommodated with strong Battlements which are
adorned with six Peers and enriched with the Arms of _London_, and
Supporters Pine-apples, &c., all of Stone; and bet(wee)n the Peers are
Iron Rails and Bannisters, on the N. & S. sides of the Bridge."

On either side of where the Bridge used to be, are two obelisks, one on
the North, or Farringdon Street side, to Alderman Waithman, and on the
South, or Bridge Street side, to John Wilkes the notorious. The first
bears the following inscription:--


This Alderman Waithman was almost one of the typical class so often
held up as an example for all poor boys to follow, _i.e._, he began
life with simply his own energy, and opportunity to help him. And, as
a virtuous example of industry, when the times were not so pushing as
now; and half, and quarter, or less commissions on transactions were
unknown, we may just spend a minute in reading about him. Wrexham
was his birthplace in 1764, and his father dying soon after, he was
adopted by his uncle and sent to school. No one was then left very
many years in _statu pupillari_, and, consequently, he had to join his
uncle in business, as a linendraper at Bath. The uncle died in 1788,
and he took a place at Reading, whence he came to London, and lived as
a linendraper's assistant until he came of age. He then married, and
opened a shop at the South end of the Fleet Market, nearly precisely on
the spot where his monument now stands.

He prospered in business, and moved to other, and larger premises,
became Common Councilman, tried to get into Parliament for the City,
and ultimately succeeded in 1818. Next election he lost it, but in
all subsequent ones he was the favoured candidate. He was Alderman of
Farringdon Without, Sheriff, and filled the office of Mayor in 1823-4.
The obelisk to his memory remains, but he has dropped out of general
memory, and this revival of his life, for imitation, in industry and
rectitude of conduct, must be my excuse for taking up my readers' time.

Far different is it with John Wilkes, about whom every one knows, and
I have only to say that his obelisk bears the inscription--

  Lord Mayor.

This inscription became effaced through the weather, and was, within
the last few years, replaced with a new stone; but it was grumbled at
for not having the original word "Esquire" after John Wilkes, which was
surely a work of supererogation.

Close by was Ludgate, with its debtors' prison of Lud-gate, which was
rather aristocratic, being "purely for Insolvent Citizens of _London_,
Beneficed Clergy, and Attorneys at Law," and which was even peculiar in
the time when it existed; for Maitland, in his "History of London" (ed.
1775, pp. 28, 29) says:--

 "The domestick Government of this Prison having something very
 singular and remarkable in it, I presume an Account thereof will
 not be unacceptable to the Reader. I shall, therefore, insert a
 compendious Abstract thereof from an Account published some Time
 ago by one who had been a long Time Prisoner there.

 "For the quiet and good Government of this Prison, and the
 Punishment of Crimes and Misdemeanors therein committed, the
 Master Keeper and Prisoners from among themselves chuse the
 following Officers, viz., A Reader of Divine Service; an upper
 Steward, called the Master of the Box; an Under Steward; seven
 Assistants, who by Turns officiate daily; a Running Assistant;
 two Churchwardens; a Scavenger; a Chamberlain; a Running Post;
 and the Criers or Beggars at the Gates, who are generally six in

 "The Reader is chosen by the Master Keeper, Stewards, and
 Assistants, and not at a General Election, as the other Officers
 are. The Reader, besides reading Prayers, was, originally,
 obliged to Ring the Bell twice a Day for Prayers, and also for
 the Space of a Quarter of an Hour before Nine at Night, as a
 Warning for all Strangers to depart the Prison; but for the
 Dignity of his Office, he is now exempt from those Services,
 and others in his stead are appointed to perform them. This
 Officer's salary is two Shillings and eight Pence _per_
 Month, and a Penny of every Prisoner at his Entrance, if his
 Garnish[74] amount to sixteen Pence; and a Dish of Meat out of
 the Lord Mayor's Basket.

 "The Upper Steward, or Master of the Box, is, by all the
 Prisoners held in equal Esteem with the Keeper of the Prison;
 and to his Charge is committed the keeping of all the several
 Orders of the House, with the Accounts of Cash received upon
 Legacies; the Distribution of all the Provisions sent in by
 the Lord Mayor, and others; the cash received by Garnish, and
 begging at the Grates, which he weekly lays out in Bread,
 Candles, and other Necessaries. He likewise keeps a List of
 all the Prisoners, as well those that are upon the Charity, as
 those that are not; to each of whom, by the Aid of the Assistant
 for the Day, he distributes their several proportions of Bread
 and other Provisions. He receives the Gifts of the Butchers,
 Fishmongers, Poulterers, and other Market People, sent in by the
 Clerk of the Market, by the Running Post, for which he gives a
 Receipt, and, afterwards, in the Presence of the Assistant for
 the Day, exposes for Sale to the Charity Men, by Way of Market;
 and the Money arising thereby is deposited in the Common Stock,
 or Bank.

 "This Officer, with the Under Steward, Assistants, and
 Churchwardens, are elected monthly by the Suffrages of the
 Prisoners; but all the other Officers, except the Chamberlain,
 are appointed by the Master-Keeper, Stewards, and Assistants.
 The Design of these frequent Elections, is to prevent Frauds
 and Abuses in the respective Officers; but, when they are known
 to be Men of Probity, they are generally reelected, and often
 continue in such Posts many Months. The _Monday_ after every
 Election, the Accounts are audited and passed, and the Balance
 divided; and, if it amount to three Shillings and four Pence
 _per_ Man, the Keeper of the Prison arbitrarily extorts from
 each Prisoner two Shillings and Four Pence, without the least
 Colour of Right: But, if the Dividend arises not so high, then
 he only takes one Shilling and two Pence; the other Moiety being
 charged to the Prisoner's Account, to be paid at the Time of his
 Discharge; which new and detestable Impositions are apparently
 contrary to the Intention of the Founder.

 "Another great Grievance the distressed and miserable Prisoners
 are subject to, is, their being obliged to pay the Turnkey
 twelve Shillings _per_ Month, for no other Service than that
 of opening the Door to let in Gifts and Charities sent to the
 Prison, which often amount to little more than what he receives.

 "The Under Steward is an Assistant, or Deputy, to the Upper
 Steward, in whose Absence or Indisposition he performs the
 several Functions of his Office.

 "The Assistants, being seven in Number, are chosen Monthly with
 the Stewards; one whereof, officiating daily, his Business is to
 attend in the Hall, to enter all Charities, and keep an Account
 of the Money taken out of the Boxes, which are opened at five
 o'Clock in the Afternoon, and at Nine at Night; which Money he
 pays to the Upper Steward, at the passing of whose Accounts the
 Assistants are Auditors.

 "Every Person put in Nomination for the Office of an Assistant,
 refusing to serve, forfeits one Shilling to the Use of the
 Publick, or, in lieu thereof, to be put in Fetters for three
 Days. The officiating Assistant is invested with a magisterial
 Power, whereby he can commit a Prisoner to the Stocks or
 Shackles, for the Abuse of any Person. This Officer is to see
 the Cellar cleared every Night, by ten o'Clock of all the
 Prisoners; for which he receives six Pence out of the Charity
 Money; two Pence whereof to his own Use, two Pence to the Upper
 Steward, and two Pence to the Running Assistant. This Office was
 anciently in such Esteem, that the Assistant, at his entering
 upon it, used nightly, at Eight o'Clock, to be ushered into
 the Hall, by an Illumination of forty or fifty great Candles,
 carried by so many Prisoners.

 "The Running Assistant's Business is, to attend upon the Criers
 at the Gates, to change Money; and open the Boxes: to put up
 Candles in their respective Places, attend upon the Stewards and
 Assistants, look after the Clock, ring the Bell for Prayers;
 and to be Crier at the Sale of Provisions. His Salary is four
 Shillings and eight Pence _per_ Month, and an eighth part of the
 Garnish Money.

 "The Churchwardens are chosen from among the youngest Prisoners.
 The Upper Warden's Office is, to call to Prayers on _Sundays_,
 after the Bell has done ringing; and the Under Warden's is to
 call the Prisoners to Prayers all other Days. They are likewise
 to take cognizance of all Persons who are upon the Charity
 Foundation; who in default of Attendance are fined one Penny
 each. The Under Warden's Salary for this Service is four Pence
 _per_ Month; and the Penalty for not serving, when duly elected,
 is four Pence.

 "The Scavenger's Office is, to keep clean the Prison, and to
 fetter, and put in the Stocks all Offenders; for which he is
 intitled to receive from each Criminal one Penny, together with
 a Salary of five Shillings and eight Pence _per_ Month, and two
 Pence out of every sixteen Pence of the Garnish Money.

 "The Chamberlain is chosen by the Keeper of the Prison, whose
 Office it is to take Care of all the Bedding and Linen belonging
 to the Keeper; to place Men at their coming in, and to furnish
 them with Sheets, and to give Notice to Strangers to depart the
 Prison by Ten o'Clock at Night. This Officer, formerly, was
 obliged to make the Charity-Men's Beds, for which he received
 two Pence _per_ Month.

 "The Running Post's Business is, to fetch in a Basket the
 broken Meat from the Lord-Mayor, Clerk of the Market, private
 Families, and Charities given in the Streets, which are often so
 inconsiderable as not to admit of a Dividend; wherefore it is
 disposed of by Sale or publick Market, as aforesaid. The Salary
 annexed to this office, is four Shillings _per_ Month; one Penny
 _per_ Month out of each Man's Dividend, and one Penny out of
 every sixteen Pence of Garnish money.

 "The Criers are six in Number; two whereof daily beg at the
 Grates; he at the Grate within is allowed one Fourth of what is
 given, and he at that on _Blackfriars_ Side one Moiety of what
 is given there."

This custom is alluded to in the _Spectator_, No. lxxxii.:

"Passing under _Ludgate_ the other Day I heard a Voice bawling for
Charity, which I thought I had somewhere heard before. Coming near to
the Grate, the Prisoner called me by my Name, and desired I would throw
something into the Box. I was out of Countenance for him, and did as he
bid me, by putting in half a Crown."

Of this Grate there is a pretty and romantic story told by Stow.[75]

"When the Prison was in this Condition, there happened to be Prisoner
there one _Stephen Foster_, who (as poor Men are at this Day) was
a Cryer at the Grate, to beg the benevolent Charities of pious and
commiserate Benefactors that passed by. As he was doing his doleful
Office, a rich Widow of _London_ hearing his Complaint, enquired of
him, what would release him? To which he answered, Twenty Pound,
which she in Charity expended; and, clearing him out of Prison,
entertained him in her Service; who, afterward, falling into the Way
of Merchandize, and increasing as well in Wealth as Courage, wooed his
Mistress, Dame _Agnes_, and married her.

"Her Riches and his Industry brought him both great Wealth and Honour,
being afterwards no less than Sir _Stephen Foster_, Lord Mayor of the
Honourable City of London: Yet whilst he lived in this great Honour
and Dignity, he forgat not the Place of his Captivity, but, mindful of
the sad and irksome Place wherein poor Men were imprisoned, bethought
himself of enlarging it, to make it a little more delightful and
pleasant for those who in after Times should be imprisoned and shut up
therein. And, in order thereunto, acquainted his Lady with this his
pious Purpose and Intention; in whom likewise he found so affable and
willing a Mind to do Good to the Poor, that she promised to expend as
much as he should do for the carrying on of the Work."

And they did spend their money on it right royally, building, amongst
many other conveniences, a Chapel for the inmates, A.D. 1454, which
they endowed, so as to maintain a "preacher" or chaplain. Sir Stephen
Foster likewise provided that the place "should be free for all
Freemen, and that they, providing their own Bedding, should pay nothing
at their Departure for Lodging, or Chamber rent (as now they call it),
which to many poor Men becomes oftentimes as burdensome as their Debts,
and are by the Keeper detained in Prison as for Debt, only for their
Fees, though discharged and acquitted of what they were committed for."

Nor did his charitable goodness end here, for he gave a supply of water
_gratis_ to the prisoners, as was recorded on a brass in the Chapel,
very pithily--

  "Devout Souls that pass this way
  For STEPHEN FOSTER, late _Maior_, heartily pray,
  And Dame AGNES, his Spouse, to God consecrate,
  That of Pity this House made for Londoners in LUDGATE.
  So that for Lodging and Water, Prisoners have nought to pay,
  As their Keepers shall all answer at dreadful Doomsday."

Dame Agnes survived her husband, but was ultimately buried by his side
in the Church of St. Botolph, Billingsgate.

For a Prison, Ludgate compared more than favourably with every other in
London. As we have seen, the prisoners were select; they were helped,
in the matter of food, by the king of the City, the Lord Mayor: their
fees were infinitesimal as compared with other debtors' prisons. Strype
(ed. 1720, book ii. p. 179) says:--

 "Formerly Debtors that were not able to satisfy their Debts, put
 themselves into this Prison of _Ludgate_, for shelter from their
 Creditors. And these were Merchants and Tradesmen that had been
 driven to want by Losses at Sea. When King _Philip_ in the Month
 of _August 1554_ came first through _London_, these prisoners
 were Thirty in number; and owed £10,000, but compounded for
 £2,000. Who presented a well penned Latin Speech to that Prince,
 to redress their Miseries, and, by his Royal Generosity, to free
 them. 'And the rather, for that that Place was not _Sceleratorum
 Carcer, sed miserorum Custodia_; _i.e._, a Gaol for Villains,
 but a Place of Restraint for poor unfortunate Men. And that they
 were put in there, not by others, but themselves fled thither;
 and that not out of fear of Punishment, but in hope of better
 Fortune.' The whole Letter was drawn by the curious Pen of
 _Roger Ascham_, and is extant among his Epistles, Lib. iii.

 "If a Freeman or Freewoman of _London_ be committed to
 _Ludgate_, they are to be excused from the ignominy of Irons, if
 they can find Sureties to be true Prisoners, and if the Sum be
 not above £100. There is another Custom of the liberal and mild
 Imprisonment of the Citizens in _Ludgate_, whereby they have
 Indulgence and Favour to go abroad into any place by _Baston_,
 as we term it, under the guard and superintendency of their
 Keeper, with whom they must return again to the Prison at Night."

    [Footnote 74: "Garnish" was the _footing_ that every prisoner
    paid on his entrance, and woe become him if it were not
    forthcoming; he was simply stripped of his clothes.]

    [Footnote 75: Strype's "Stow's Survey," ed. 1720, vol. ii. p.
    26 appendix.]



The Course of the Fleet is nearly run, but, before closing this
account of the river, we should not forget the residence of the mighty
King-maker, the Earl of Warwick, whose pleasant gardens ran down to
the Fleet; and there, in Warwick Lane, after the great Fire, was
built the College of Physicians, described thus by Dr. Garth, in his

  "Not far from that most celebrated Place,
  Where angry Justice shews her awful Face;
  Where little Villains must submit to Fate,
  That great ones may enjoy the World in State,
  There stands a Dome, majestick to the sight,
  And sumptuous Arches bear its oval height;
  A golden Globe plac'd high with artful skill,
  Seems, to the distant sight, a gilded Pill."

Here they were housed until 1825, and, from the Fleet, could be seen
the Apothecaries' Hall, in Water Lane, Blackfriars,

  "Nigh where _Fleet Ditch_ descends in sable Streams
  To wash his sooty _Naiads_ in the _Thames_;
  There stands a Structure on a Rising Hill,
  Where _Tyro's_ take their Freedom out to Kill."

Then there was the Monastery of the Dominicans, or Blackfriars, which
has given its name to a whole district; and there was a fortification,
or postern, on the little river, near Ludgate Hill; and, close to its
junction with the Thames, was Bridewell Bridge, so called from the
Royal Palace of that name, which, in its turn, received its cognomen
from another well, which went to form the "River of Wells," St.
Bridget's or Bride's Well. This bridge is shown in the frontispiece,
and was necessarily made very high in order to allow sailing craft to
go under it.

It was here that Pope, in his "Dunciad" (book ii.), thus sings:

  "This labour past, by Bridewell all descend,
  (As morning pray'r, and flagellation end)
  To where Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams
  Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to Thames,
  The King of Dykes! than whom, no sluice of mud,
  With deeper sable blots the silver flood.
  'Here strip, my children! here at once leap in,
  Here prove who best can dash thro' thick and thin.'"[76]

Ward bursts into song over Bridewell, thus:--

  "'Twas once the Palace of a Prince,
    If we may Books Confide in;
  But given was, by him long since,
    For Vagrants to Reside in."

[Illustration: BRIDEWELL BRIDGE.]

The Royal Palace of Bridewell stood on the site of the Castle of
Montfichet, who is believed to have come over with William the
Conqueror. Tradition assigns it a still earlier date, even Roman, but
then, I don't say there was not a Roman fortress here, but I cannot say
there was. Certainly Cardinal Wolsey lived here, and Henry VIII. held
occasional Court.

Strype, in his edition of Stow (1720) says that after the destruction
of Montfichet Castle and its Stone being given away:--

 "This Tower or Castle being thus destroyed, stood, as it may
 seem, in Place where now standeth the House called _Bridewell_.
 For, notwithstanding the Destruction of the said Castle or
 Tower, the House remained large, so that the Kings of this
 Realm long after were lodged there and kept their Courts. For,
 in the Ninth Year of _Henry_ the Third, the Courts of Law,
 and Justice were kept in the King's House, wheresoever he was
 lodged, and not else where. And that the Kings have been lodged,
 and kept their Law Courts in this Place, I could shew you many
 Authorities of Record....

 "More, (as _Matthew Paris_ hath) about the Year 1210, King
 _John_, in the Twelfth Year of his Reign, summoned a Parliament
 at _S. Brides_ in _London_; where he exacted of the Clergy, and
 Religious Persons the Sum of One Hundred Thousand Pounds; And
 besides all this, the _White Monks_ were compelled to cancel
 their Privileges, and to pay £4000 to the King, &c. This House
 of _S. Brides_ (of later Time) being left, and not used by the
 Kings, fell to Ruin; insomuch that the very Platform thereof
 remained (for great part) waste, and as it were, but a Lay
 Stall of Filth and Rubbish, only a fair Well remained there.
 A great part whereof, namely, on the _West_, as hath been
 said, was given to the Bishop of _Salisbury_; the other Part
 toward the _East_ remained waste, until King _Henry_ the Eighth
 builded a stately and beautiful House, thereupon, giving it to
 Name, _Bridewell_, of the Parish and Well there. This House he
 purposely builded for the Entertainment of the Emperor _Charles_
 the Fifth;[77] who in the Year 1522 came into this City....
 Being in Decay, and long disused, King Edward VI. gave it to the
 City in the Seventh[78] Year of his Reign.

 "It is seated near to _Blackfriars_; from which it is severed
 by the Canal of the _Fleet-ditch_. It was obtained of the
 King at first for an Harbour of poor Harbourless People, that
 lay abroad in the Streets. It was soon after improved to be a
 Workhouse, not only to give Lodging to poor, idle, wandring
 Persons, Beggars, and others; but to find them Work, to help to
 maintain themselves. But tho' this was granted in the Year 1553,
 yet it seems, it was not before Two Years after, that the City
 entred and took possession of it by _Gerard_ their Maior, having
 obtained Queen _Mary's_ Confirmation.

 "In the time of Queen _Elizabeth_, about the Year 1570 and
 odd, one _John Pain_, a Citizen, invented a Mill to grind
 Corn; which he got recommended to the Lord Maior, for the Use
 of _Bridewell_. This Mill had Two Conveniences: One was, That
 it would grind a greater Quantity considerably than any other
 Mills of that Sort could do. And the other (which would render
 it so useful to _Bridewell_) was, That the Lame, either in Arms
 or Legs, might work at it, if they had but the Use of either.
 And, accordingly, these Mills were termed _Hand-Mills_ or

 "This Mill he shewed to the Lord Maior, who saw it grind as much
 Corn with the Labour of Two Men, as they did then at _Bridewell_
 with Ten. That is to say, Two Men with Hands, two Bushels the
 Hour; or Two Men with Feet, two Bushels the Hour. If they were
 Lame in their Arms, then they might earn their Livings with
 their Legs. If Lame in their Legs, then they might earn their
 Livings with their Arms."

 --This, perhaps, is the earliest mention of the treadmill, as a

 Still quoting Strype, (same edition):

 "The Use of this Hospital now is for an House of Correction, and to
 be a Place where all Strumpets, Night-walkers, Pickpockets, vagrant
 and idle Persons, that are taken up for their ill Lives, as also
 incorrigible and disobedient Servants, are committed by the Mayor and
 Aldermen, who are Justices of the Peace within the said City; And
 being so committed are forced to beat Hemp in publick View, with due
 Correction of whipping, according to their Offence, for such a Time as
 the President and Court shall see Cause."

Bridewell is well shown by Hogarth in the fourth picture of the
"Harlot's progress," where both men and women are seen "beetling"

In a very rare tract called "Mr. William Fullers Trip to Bridewell"
(1703) he gives a fairly graphic description of a prisoner's entry
therein. "As soon as I came there, the Word was _Strip, pull off your
Cloaths_, and with much intreaty, I prevail'd to keep on my Westcoat;
then I was set to a Block, a punny of Hemp was laid thereon, and _Ralph
Cumpton_ (a Journy Man in the Shop) presented me with a Beatle, bidding
me knock the Hemp with that, as fast as I could. This Beatle is of
Brazel,[80] and weigh'd about 12 pounds."

Previously to this, poor Fuller had to stand twice in the pillory, on
one of which occasions he was nearly killed by the mob, and when taken
to Bridewell, all black and blue as he was, he had a whipping:--"My
Hands were put in the Stocks, and then Mr. _Hemings_ the Whipper, began
to noint me with his Instrument, that had, I believe, about a dozen
Strings notted at the end, and with that I had Thirty Nine Stripes (so
that according to a certain Almanack Maker, who reckoned Dr. _Oates's_
Stripes by every String, I had twelve times Thirty Nine). I had given
the Rascal Half a Crown, but he afforded me very little favour, but
struck home at every stroak; I confess I could not forbear bawling
out, but good Sir _Robert_[81] knockt at last, and I was let out of the

The prisoners, if they chose, could find their own food, but they were
kept strictly at work as is quaintly put by Fuller--

"I had, in each Shop, the Thieves for my Fellow-labourers, and the
Journeymen, our Deputy Task Masters, were frequently calling to the
Prisoners, _Why don't you Work there, strike hard_: Then threaten,
and sometimes beat them with a small Cane. These Task-masters are so
accustomed to keeping their Prisoners hard at Work, that I have heard
themselves say, they have, frequently, (forgetting themselves) called
out, when they had no Prisoner in the Shop, as before, _Why don't you
work there_."

Ward (in the "London Spy") gives an almost too graphic account of this
prison, but expresses unmitigated disgust at the whipping of women,
which took place there, and solemnly protested against its continuance.
His description of a woman being flogged, is as follows:--

 "My Friend Re-conducted me back into the first Quadrangle,
 and led me up a pair of Stairs into a Spacious Chamber, where
 the Court was sitting in great Grandeur and Order. A Grave
 Gentleman, whose Awful Looks bespoke him some Honourable
 Citizen, was mounted in the Judgement-Seat, Arm'd with a Hammer,
 like a _Change-Broker_ at _Lloyd's Coffee House_, when selling
 Goods by Inch of Candle, and a Woman under the Lash in the
 next Room; where Folding doors were open'd, that the whole
 Court might see the Punishment Inflicted; at last down went the
 Hammer, and the Scourging ceas'd.... Another Accusation being
 then deliver'd by a Flat-Cap against a poor Wench, who having
 no Friend to speak in her behalf, Proclamation was made, _viz.
 All you who are willing E----th T----ll, should have present
 Punishment, pray hold up your hands._ Which was done accordingly:

 [Illustration: WOMEN BEATING HEMP.]

 And then she was order'd the Civility of the House, and was
 forc'd to shew her tender Back and Breasts to the Grave Sages of
 the August Assembly, who were mov'd by her Modest Mein, together
 with the whiteness of her Skin, to give her but a gentle

 John Howard, in his "State of the Prisons in England and Wales" (ed.
 1777) gives the following description of Bridewell:--

 "This building was formerly a Palace, near St. Bridget's (St. Bride's)
 Well; from whence it had the name; which, after it became a Prison,
 was applied to other Prisons of the same sort. It was given to the
 City by King Edward VI. in 1552.

 "That part of Bridewell which relates to my subject has wards for men
 and women quite separate.[82] The men's ward on the ground floor, is a
 day room in which they beat hemp; and a night room over it. One of the
 upper chambers is fitting up for an Infirmary.--The woman's ward is
 a day room on the ground floor, in which they beat hemp; and a night
 room over it. I was told that the chamber above this is to be fitted
 up for an Infirmary. The sick, have, hitherto, been commonly sent to
 St. Bartholomew's Hospital. All the Prisoners are kept within doors.

 "The women's rooms are large, and have opposite windows, for fresh
 air. Their Ward, as well as the men's, has plenty of water: and there
 is a Hand-Ventilator on the outside, with a tube to each room of the
 women's ward. This is of great service, when the rooms are crowded
 with Prisoners, and the weather is warm.

 [Illustration: PASS ROOM, BRIDEWELL, 1808.]

 "The Prisoners are employed by a Hemp dresser, who has the profit
 of their labour, an apartment in the Prison, and a salary of £14.
 I generally found them at work: they are provided for, so as to be
 able to perform it. The hours of work are, in winter, from eight to
 four; in summer from six to six, deducting meal times. The Steward
 is allowed eightpence a day for the maintenance of each Prisoner;
 and contracts to supply them as follows:--On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday
 and Thursday, a penny loaf, ten ounces of dressed beef without bone,
 broth, and three pints of ten shilling beer; on Wednesday, Friday, and
 Saturday, a penny loaf, four ounces of cheese, or some butter, a pint
 of milk pottage, and three pints of ten shilling beer.... In winter
 they have some firing. The night rooms are supplied with straw. No
 other Prison in _London_ has any straw, or other bedding.... I found
 there in 1776:--

   March 13.   Prisoners       20
   May 1.          "            7
   Dec. 3.         "           24."

It continued as a House of Correction for the City of London until its
abolition, with other Civic prisons by an Act of 40 and 41 Vict. cap.
21, entitled "An Act to amend the Law relating to Prisons in England."
But there was an exception made in its favour, and it still remains
a House of Correction in a mild way--thanks to the very kindly and
fatherly wishes and representations of the Civic Authorities.

The good old days of Apprenticing boys to some craft for seven years,
during which he was to serve his master faithfully, and in return, was
to be housed, fed, and taught his business, have all but passed away,
but not quite. There are still some refractory apprentices, as there
ever have been. We know the common saying of "Boys will be boys,"
which is applied in mitigation of juvenile indiscretion, but there is
also another apothegm, "Little boys, when they are naughty, must be
smacked, and sent to bed." Bridewell has always been a place where idle
or refractory City apprentices have had the opportunity of pondering
over the errors of their ways, and in passing this Act, a special
exemption was made, and there still exist six cells, which, I am sorry
to say, are frequently occupied by erring youths. It is all done in
the kindest, and most fatherly way. The City Chamberlain from the time
of the Indentures of the lad being signed, to giving him his Freedom,
acts as his guardian, to a great extent. Has the lad any complaint
to make against his master it is to the Chamberlain he must appeal,
and _vice versâ_. The Cause is heard _in camerâ_, and every effort is
made to reconcile the parties, but, as will sometimes happen with a
boy who is obstinate, sullen, or vicious, all attempts to bring him
to a better sense fail, then the Chamberlain, by virtue of his office
commits the boy to Bridewell, where he eats the bread, and drinks the
water, of affliction for a while, a treatment, which combined with
the confinement, hard work, and enforced sequestration from society,
largely aided by the good advice of the Chaplain, very seldom fails
to effect its object, and render that lad a decent member of the
commonweal. It just arrests him in his downward path, there is no
publicity, the thing is never chronicled in any Newspaper, as it might
be, supposing no Bridewell existed, and the case was brought before a
police magistrate--it need never be known outside his family circle,
and he escapes the taint of being a gaol bird.

Bridewell seems to have been long associated with apprentices, not all
of them "_Thomas Idles_," I am happy to say; and Hatton in "The New
View of London" (1708) writes, showing the tender care that the City of
London have always had for their poor:

 "It is also an Hospital for Indigent Persons, and where 20
 Art Masters (as they are called) being decayed Traders as
 Shoemakers, Taylors, Flax-dressers, &c., have Houses, and their
 Servants, or Apprentices (being about 140 in all) have Cloaths
 at the House Charge, and their Masters having the Profit of
 their Work do often advance by this means their own Fortunes,
 and these Boys, having served their time faithfully, have not
 only their Freedom, but also £10 each towards carrying on their
 respective Trades, and many have even arrived from nothing to be

This arrangement has, of course, had to "march with the times," and in
1860 the Master of the Rolls approved of, and sanctioned, a scheme of
the Charity Commissioners, whereby nearly all the funds appertaining
to Bridewell are utilized by two industrial schools called "King
Edward's Schools," most impartially divided--one at Witley, in Surrey,
affording accommodation for two hundred and forty boys, and another in
St. George's Fields, Lambeth, for two hundred and forty girls; so that,
even in these latter days, Bridewell still exists, and, if the spirits
of its numerous benefactors have the power to see the manner in which
their money is being spent, I fancy they would not grumble.

Before leaving the topic of Bridewell, as a prison, I must not fail to
mention a notorious, but naughty, old woman who lived in the time of
Charles II., commonly known as "Old Mother Cresswell." It is no slander
on her memory, to say that her sense of morality was exceedingly lax,
and she died in Bridewell. She evidently had saved some money, and with
that curious spirit which possesses some people, and produces adulatory
epitaphs, she would fain be better thought of after her death, than
she was estimated when alive, for, in her will, she left a legacy for
a sermon at her funeral, the preacher's remuneration to be £10, on one
condition, that he should say nothing but what was _well_ of her. A
clergyman having been found, he preached a sermon generally adapted to
the occasion, and wound up by saying: "By the will of the deceased, it
is expected that I should mention her, and say nothing but what was
_well_ of her. All that I shall say of her, however, is this: she was
born _well_, she lived _well_, and she died _well_; for she was born
with the name of Cress_well_, she lived in Clerken_well_, and she died
in Bride_well_."

There was a fine old Court-room, which is thus described in the
"Microcosm of London" (1808):

"The Court-room is an interesting piece of antiquity, as on its site
were held courts of justice, and probably _parliaments_, under our
early kings. At the upper end are the old arms of England; and it
is wainscotted with English Oak, ornamented with Carved work. This
Oak was formerly of the solemn colour which it attains by age, and
was relieved by the carving being gilt. It must have been no small
effort of _ingenuity_ to destroy at one stroke all this venerable,
time-honoured grandeur: it was, however, _happily_ achieved, by
daubing over with paint the fine veins and polish of the old oak,
to make a bad imitation of the pale modern wainscot; and other
decorations are added in similar _taste_.

"On the upper part of the walls are the names, in gold letters, of
benefactors to the hospital: the dates commence with 1565, and end
with 1713. This is said to have been the Court in which the sentence
of divorce was pronounced against Catherine of Arragon, which had been
concluded on in the opposite monastery of the Black Friars.

"From this room is the entrance into the hall, which is a very noble
one: at the upper end is a picture by Holbein,[83] representing Edward
VI. delivering the Charter of the hospital to Sir George Barnes,
then Lord Mayor; near him are William, Earl of Pembroke, and Thomas
Goodrich, Bishop of Ely. There are ten figures in the picture, besides
the king, whose portrait is painted with great truth and feeling: it
displays all that languor and debility which mark an approaching
dissolution, and which, unhappily, followed so soon after, together
with that of the painter; so that it has been sometimes doubted
whether the picture was really painted by Holbein--his portrait,
however, is introduced; it is the furthest figure in the corner on
the right hand, looking over the shoulders of the persons before him.

"On one side of this picture is a portrait of Charles II. sitting,
and, on the other, that of James II. standing; they are both painted
by Sir Peter Lely. Round the room are several portraits of the
Presidents and different benefactors, ending with that of Sir Richard
Carr Glyn. The walls of this room are covered with the names of those
who have been friends to the institution, written in letters of gold."

This Hall was pulled down in 1862.

    [Footnote 76: See next page.]

    [Footnote 77: Of Spain.]

    [Footnote 78: A.D. 1553.]

    [Footnote 79: A Beetle is a portion of a trunk of a tree, large
    or small as occasion demanded, sometimes more than one man
    could lift, _vide_ Shakspeare (2 _Hen. IV._ act i. sc. 2),
    "Fillip me with a three-man beetle," _i.e._, one with three
    handles. All exogenous fibres have to be crushed, in order to
    release the fibre from the wooden core, and this, which is now
    done by machinery, was then done by beetles, or wooden

    [Footnote 80: Brazil wood.]

    [Footnote 81: Sir Robert Jeffries the President and Justice at
    Bridewell, when he knocked with a hammer the punishment

    [Footnote 82: In Hogarth's picture both men and women are
    working together.]

    [Footnote 83: The writer is in error, as the event it
    represents took place some ten years after Holbein's death. The
    picture is now in Christ's Hospital.]



Bordering upon Bridewell, and almost part and parcel of it, was
Whitefriars, which, westward, ran to the Temple, and eastward to
the Fleet. It is so-called from a Carmelite monastery, established
here in the reign of Edward I. Within its precincts was the right of
sanctuary, and, like the Jewish Cities of Refuge, offenders against
the law might flee thither, and be protected from arrest. Naturally,
the very scum of London floated thither, to the Mint in Southwark, and
the precincts of the Savoy in the Strand, in none of which the King's
warrant ran, unless backed by a force sufficient to overawe the lawless
denizens of these localities. Whitefriars we may take as its original
name, but there was given it a nick-name, "Alsatia," from Alsace, or
Elsass, on the frontier between France and Germany, which was always
a battle-field between the two nations; and so, from the incessant
fighting that went on in this unruly neighbourhood, it acquired its

Sir Walter Scott, in "The Fortunes of Nigel," gives a vivid description
of the utter lawlessness and debauchery of this quarter of the town,
but his was second-hand. Perhaps one of the most graphic pictures of
this sink of iniquity is given in Shadwell's "Squire of Alsatia," acted
in 1688, and which was so popular, that it had a run of _thirteen_
nights. Here we get at the manners and customs of the natives, without
any glossing over; and, just to give an example of the real state of
the district at that time, I make two or three extracts, showing how
the denizens were banded together in mutual defence.

 "_Cheatly._ So long as you forbear all Violence, you are safe;
 but, if you strike here, we command the _Fryers_, and will raise
 the _Posse_....

 [_A Noise of Tumult without, and blowing a Horn._]

 _Cheatly._ What is this I hear?

 _Shamwell._ They are up in the Friers; Pray Heav'n the Sheriff's
 Officers be not come.

 _Cheatly._ 'Slife, 'tis so! 'Squire, let me conduct you----This
 is your wicked Father with Officers.


 [_Cry without, the Tip-Staff! an Arrest! an Arrest! and the horn

 [_Enter Sir William Belfond, and a Tip-Staff, with the
 Constable, and his Watchmen; and, against them, the Posse of the
 Friers drawn up, Bankrupts hurrying to escape._]

 _Sir Will._ Are you mad, to resist the Tip-Staff, the King's

 [_They cry out, An Arrest! several flock to 'em with all sorts
 of Weapons, Women with Fire-Forks, Spits, Paring Shovels, &c._]

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Tip-Staff._ I charge you, in the King's Name, all to assist me.

 _Rabble._ Fall on.

 [_Rabble beat the Constable, and the rest run into the Temple.
 Tip-Staff runs away._]."

So that we see how an ordinary sheriff's officer and the civil
authorities were treated when they attempted to execute the law; but,
further on in the play, we find a Lord Chief Justice's warrant, backed
up by a military force--and then we see the difference.

 "_Truman._ What do all these Rabble here?

 _Constable._ Fire amongst 'em.

 _Sergeant._ Present.

 [_The Debtors run up and dozen, some without their Breeches,
 others without their Coats; some out of Balconies; some
 crying out, Oars! Oars! Sculler! Five Pounds for a Boat! The
 Inhabitants all come out arm'd as before; but as soon as
 they see the Musqueteers, they run, and every one shifts for

And almost at the close of the play one of the characters, _Sir Edward
Belfond_, moralizes thus:

 "Was ever such Impudence suffer'd in a Government? _Ireland's_
 conquer'd; _Wales_ subdued; _Scotland_ united: But there are
 some few Spots of Ground in _London_, just in the Face of the
 Government, unconquer'd yet, that hold in Rebellion still.
 Methinks 'tis strange, that Places so near the King's Palace
 should be no Parts of his Dominions. 'Tis a Shame to the
 Societies of the Law, to countenance such Practices: Should any
 Place be shut against the King's Writ, or Posse Comitatus?"

This right of sanctuary was taken from Whitefriars by William III.,
the nest of rogues, vagabonds, and thieves broken up, the occupants
dispersed, and law reigned supreme in that once defiant place.

We have now traced the Fleet River to its junction with the Thames.
Poor little river! its life began pure enough, but men so befouled
it, that their evil deeds rose against themselves, and the river
retaliated in such kind, as to become a malodorous and offensive
nuisance, dangerous to the health of those men who would not leave it
in its purity. So it was covered over, about 1764 (for it took some
time to do it), and the present Bridge Street is over its foul stream,
which was curbed, and bricked in, forming a portion of our vast and
wonderful system of sewers. It has taken its toll of human life, in
its time, though but few instances are recorded. In the _Gentleman's
Magazine_, January 11, 1763, we read: "A man was found in the Fleet
Ditch standing upright, and frozen to death. He appears to have been a
barber at Bromley, in Kent; had come to town to see his children, and
had, unfortunately, mistaken his way in the night, and slipt into the
ditch; and, being in liquor, could not disentangle himself."

_Bell's Weekly Messenger_, August 2, 1835: "Some workmen have been
for a few days past engaged in making a new sewer, communicating with
the foulest of all streams, the Fleet Ditch. In consequence of the
rain the men had left off work; and, soon afterwards, a young man
named Macarthy, a bricklayer, proceeded to the sewer for the purpose
of bringing away a ladder, when, owing to the slippery state of the
works, he fell down the Sewer, but in his descent, caught hold of the
ladder he was in search of, to which he hung for nearly a quarter of
an hour, calling loudly all the time for assistance, though from some
extraordinary cause or other, no person was able to afford him any. At
length some of the labourers arrived--but too late; he had just before
fallen into the Sewer, and was carried into the Fleet Ditch; and owing
to its having been swollen by the heavy shower, floated along as far
as the mouth of the Fleet Ditch, at Blackfriars, where his body was
found, covered with the filth of the sewer, which the unfortunate man
had met with in his progress to the Thames."

And the _Times_ of October 3, 1839, records another fatal accident
during some repairs.

Naturally, this River was celebrated in verse. There was a very foolish
and dull poem by Arthur Murphy in 1761 called "Ode to the Naiads of
Fleet Ditch;" and, previously, it had been sung by Ben Jonson, "On the
famous Voyage," which will be found among his epigrams. This voyage
was from Bridewell to Holborn, and describes very graphically the then
state of the river. Too graphic, indeed, is it for the reading of the
modern public, so I transcribe but a very small portion of it, showing
its then state.

  "But hold my torch, while I describe the entry
  To this dire passage. Say, thou stop thy nose;
  'Tis but light pains: indeed, this dock's no rose.
  In the first jaws appear'd that ugly monster
  Y'cleped mud, which, when their oars did once stir,
  Belched forth an air as hot, as at the muster
  Of all your night tubs, when the carts do cluster,
  Who shall discharge first his merd-urinous load;
  Through her womb they make their famous road."

[Illustration: 1768. THE ARREST. (Drawn from a late real scene.)]

  "Sir Fopling Flutter through his Glass
  Inspects the ladies as they pass,
  Yet still the Coxcomb lacks the Wit
  To guard against the Bailiff's Writ."


The Fleet Prison.


This prison was of great antiquity, and its genealogy, like all
respectable ones, dates back to William the Conqueror, at least;
for we find, under date 1197,[84] "Natanael de Leveland & Robertus
filius suus r.c. de LX marcis, Pro habenda Custodia Domorum Regis de
Westmonasterio, & Gaiolæ de Ponte de Fliete, quæ est hæreditas eorum a
Conquestu Angliæ; ita quod non remaneat propter Finem Osberto de Longo
Campo." Or, in English, "_Nathaniel de Leveland and his son Robert,
fined in sixty marks, to have the Custody of the King's Houses at
Westminster, and the Prison at Fleet-bridge, which had been their
inheritance ever since the Conquest of England; and that they may not
be hindered therein by the Counterfine of Osbert de Longchamp._"

There seems to have been some double dealing in this transaction, in
which, as was only natural in those days, money went into the King's
pocket.[85] "And Osbert de Longchamp fined in five hundred marks,
to have the King's favour, and seizin of all his lands and chatels
whereof he was disseised by the King's Command, and to have seisin of
the Custody of the Gaol of London, with the Appurtenances, and of the
Custody of the King's Houses of Westminster: provided that Right be
done therein in the King's Court, in case any one would implead him for
the same."[86]

Robert de Leveland, the son of the foregoing Nathaniel, was bitten by
the then fashionable craze for Crusading, for he is found, in 1201,
petitioning King John for leave to delegate the care of the King's
Houses at Westminster, and the Fleet Prison, to Simon FitzRobert,
Archdeacon of Wells, for the space of three years, during which time
he should be in the Holy Land. His prayer seems to have been granted;
but he evidently drew a little money before he went away, for, in the
Chancery Rolls of the same year, he was paid £15 10s. by the City of
London, on account of the King's Prison of Flete, and he also received
other sums of £10 12s. 10d. for the Custody of the King's Houses at
Westminster, and £7 12s. 1d. for the Custody of the Gaol of
_London_.[87] By which, and also by the foregoing notice of Osbert de
Longchamps, it is evident that, at that time, the Fleet prison was the
principal, if not the only, prison in London.

Robert de Leveland re-entered upon his duties after his three years'
leave, and a document is extant[88] in which he is excused payment
of £10 he had borrowed; but (possibly in lieu) he was bound to serve
beyond the seas--_i.e._, in foreign parts--with horses and arms.
When he died is not known, but his widow evidently succeeded him as
custodian, for in December, 1217,[89] his wife Margaret has the same
allowance given her in regard of the King's Houses at Westminster "as
the said Robert had been accustomed to during his life." Thus she was
the first female Warden of the Fleet; there were others, as we shall
see by and by.

It is a moot question, and I put it forward with all reserve, as to
whether there was not even an earlier mention of the Fleet before the
very authentic case of Nathaniel de Leveland; but as it is open to
objection that there were more Fleets than one, I only give the cases,
and make no comment.[90] 1189: "William de Flete gave a Mark to have
his plea in the King's Court touching a hyde of land, versus Randolph
de Broy." And again,[91] in 1193: "Richard de Flet fined in one hundred
Marks, that his daughter might be delivered from Ralf de Candos, who
said he had espoused her."

In the Rolls are many cases which mention the Fleet, but, although it
was a House of Detention, for debtors, especially to the King, and
persons committing minor crimes, it never seems to have been degraded
into what we should now term "a Gaol." No felons seem to have been
incarcerated there, and there is no mention of gyves or chains, but
they were used in after years.

It would seem that another "lady" Warden of the Fleet existed in
Edward II.'s time, for, in 1316, "Johanne, late Wife of John Schench
deceased, who held of the King in chief the Serjeanties of the Custody
of the King's Palace of Westminster, and of his Prison of Flete,
married Edmund de Cheney, without licence obtained from the King,
in that behalf. Whereupon the said serjeanties were taken into the
King's hands, and straitway the Treasurer and the Barons committed the
Custody of the Palace of Richard Abbot, who was sworn _de fideliter_,
&c., and the Custody of the Flete Prison to John Dymmok, Usher of
the Exchequer, who was sworn in the like manner. Afterwards the said
Edmund made Fine for the said Trespass, and the said serjeanties were
restored." By which we see that thus early "women's rights" were fully
recognized, and "employment for females" in occupations hitherto
enjoyed exclusively by men, seems to have been in force.

Although not in Chronological Order, I may as well add another, and the
only other mention that has come under my notice of a female Warden
(1677):[92] "A Woman Guardian of the Fleet, marries her Prisoner in
Execution; he is immediately out of Execution; for the Husband cannot
be Prisoner to his Wife, it being repugnant that she, as jaylor, should
have custody of him, and he, as husband, the custody of her."

Without some effective supervision, as is the case with our Prison
Commissioners, abuses were bound to creep in, and the Governor
or Warden of any Prison, (who doubtless had paid heavily for the
appointment) had to recoup himself by squeezing the unfortunate
prisoners, and we shall find several examples of this in the Fleet. The
earliest seems to have been in the second year of Henry IV. (1400) when
a petition was presented to Parliament[93] which prays, in its quaint
Norman French that "les fees de Gardien de Flete sorént mys en certain"
that the fees might be settled.

It is possible that extra fees were taken for a certain amount of
liberty allowed to the prisoners by the Warden, who would allow him
to go out of gaol on certain conditions, and we may be certain, for a
_consideration_ also. The Warden was answerable for his Prisoner, and
if he escaped, he had to pay the debt, so that we may be certain that
his ephemeral liberty was highly purchased. That this was the case we
find in 7 and 8 Hen. IV. (1406)[94] "que si ascun Gaoler lesseroit tiel
Prisoner aler a large par mainprise[95] ou en baile, que adonques le
persone envers qi le dit Prisoner estoit condempne aureoit sa action et
recoverir envers le dit Gaoler." Or in English, "_That if any Gaoler
allowed such Prisoner to go at large, either by mainprize or bail, that,
then, the Person to whom the Prisoner was indebted might have his
action, and recover against the said Gaoler._" Yet, notwithstanding
this, there were many actions brought against the Wardens for allowing
their prisoners to escape. A relic of this power of the Wardens to
accord a certain amount of liberty to their prisoners, obtained till
the last hours of the Fleet. There was, in the _Rules_, a defined
district surrounding the Prison, in which prisoners, on providing
approved sureties for the amount of their debt, and paying some fee,
might reside, on condition that they did not overstep the boundaries.
That this custom of granting temporary _exeats_ was very ancient, is
indisputable, for, in the 1 Richard II. (1377) a complaint was made
that the Warden of the Fleet "sometimes by mainprize, or by bail, and
sometimes without any mainprize, with a Baston of the Fleet," _i.e._,
accompanied by a prison official, would allow his charges to go abroad,
"even into the country."

It is impossible to give a list of all the prisoners of note who were
committed to the Fleet, and they must only be glanced at, but with the
accession of Mary, some illustrious and historical names appear. First,
and foremost, and almost immediately after her accession to the throne,
we read, thanks to the preservation and collation, of State Papers,[96]
that on the 29th of July, 1553, a letter from the Privy Council was
sent to the "Wardene of the Flete, for the apprehensyone and commyttyng
of the Lord Russell, Anthonye Browne of Essex, and John Lucas." All
these prisoners seem to have been treated with great leniency, for
there is a letter (July 31) to the Warden of the Fleet bidding him to
give Mr. Lucas and Mr. Cooke _the libertye of his Garden_, so that there
must have been a garden then attached to the Fleet prison--and a
postscript orders that "he shall delyuer Mr. Anthonye Browne, and
suffer hym to goo to his awne Howse."

Nor were the others kept long in durance, for on the 3rd of Aug., 1553,
the Council wrote to the Warden willing him "To set at libertye John
Lucas, and John Cocke, Esquiers, giueing them Commaundement withall
to repaire to their Mancion Howses and their to make theire aboode
vntill they shall here further of the Queene's Pleasure." And even the
incarceration of Lord Russell was mollified, for a letter was written
on 9th Aug. to Mr. Garret, one of the Sheriffs of London, "whereby
the Countesse of Bedforde is licensed to have free access twise or
thrise in the week, unto the Lord Russell, her son, remayning in the
said sheriff's custodie, so the sheriff be present at their Talke and

I give the above so as not to spoil the continuity of the story,
but there is mention of the Fleet prison long before; for instance,
in 1355, Edward III. wrote "to his well-beloved and trusty, Simon
Fraunceys Mayor of the City of London, Hugh de Appleby, and Robert de
Charwaltone, greeting. Whereas we have been given to understand that
the Foss[97] by which the mansion of our Prison of Flete is surrounded,
and which, for safety of the said prison was lately made, is now
obstructed and choked up by filth from latrines built thereon, and
divers others refuse thrown therein, that there is cause to fear for
the abiding there of the persons therein detained, by reason of the
same; and because that, by reason of the infection of the air, and the
abominable stench which there prevails, many of those there imprisoned
are often affected with various diseases and grievous maladies, not
without serious peril unto themselves. We, wishing a befitting remedy
to be applied thereto, and that the said Foss may be restored to its
former state, in which it was when it was first made, and so improved;
and, for making provision thereon, desiring upon the matters aforesaid
more fully to be informed, have assigned you, and any two of you, to
survey the Foss aforesaid, &c."

This warrant was followed by an Inquest held at the Church of St.
Brigid in Fleet Street on Tuesday, the 9th of January, 1356, on the
oath of Richard le Cok, (Cook) Nicholas le Sporière (Spurrier), and
Thomas le Glaswrighte (Glassblower) and nine others. From it we learn
that the "Foss of Flete" ought to be ten feet in breadth all round the
Prison; that it ought to be so full of water that a boat laden with one
tun of wine might easily float round it; and that the shelving banks of
the Foss were then covered with trees. Also that it was quite choked up
with the filth of laystalls and sewers discharging into it; and that
no less than eleven necessary houses (or _wardrobes_, as they seem
very generally to have been called in the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries) had been illegally built over it "to the corruption of the
Water in the Foss aforesaid; and to such an extent is the flow of
water obstructed and impeded thereby, that the said Foss can no longer
surround the Prison with its waters, as it should do."[98]

The Acts of the Privy Council throw some light on the Fleet, giving
several instances of Committals thereto, one of the first being 9 Hen.
V. Oct. 14, 1421.[99] Wherein Hugo Annesley, who probably was then
Warden of the Fleet, was directed to incarcerate therein one Grey
de Codenore, who had been exiled, and having received his passport,
remained in England, notwithstanding.

In 1 Henry VI.,[100] 19 May, 1423, the "gardein de notre prisone de
Flete" was commanded to bring before the King some prisoners whom
he had in custody, namely Huguelyn de Chalons, Johan Billy, Johan
de Cheviers, Regnault de Graincourt, Hellyn de Bassiers, Pierre de
Mombreham, and Pierre de Pauniers "noz prisoniers prisez a la reddicion
de notre ville de Harefleu."

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are many notices of committals
to the Fleet, so numerous that I can only mention a few, one only of
which I give in the original spelling. 32 Hen. VIII. Sept. 9, 1540.

"L[~r]es was also brought from the Lord P^ivey Seale, declaring a
certayn affray to be made by S^r Geoffrey Poole in Hampshyre upon one
Mr. Gunter a justice of peax, for that (as Poole sayd) one of Gunter's
srvants had spoken evill of hym, and for that also that hymself Gunter
had disclosed to the King's Counsail in the tyme of Poole's trouble
certain secret conference which Poole had w^t hym. And answer was made
to the sayd Lord P^ivy Seale that calling the complaynt eftesones
before hym the lordes and others the gen[~t] and justices of peax in
the c[=u]trey to thentent the cryme of S^r Geffrey might be notorious
to all the C[=u]trey there he should c[=o]mytt the said S^r Geffrey
to the Flette to remayne there until further knowledge of the Kings

Evidently great interest was made for this naughty Sir Geoffrey, for we
learn on Sept. 24th that "It was declared to the Lady Poole, the wife
of Sir Geoffrey Poole, that the King's higness had pardoned her husband
of his imprisonment," and the Lord Privy Seal was directed to release
him. But he seems to have been a very cantankerous knight, for we find
him in hot water again next year. April 8, 1541, "Whereas Sir Geoffrey
Poole, Knight, had violently and contrary to the King's Highness' peace
assaulted and hurt[101] Sir John Mychaill clerk, parson of Racton in
the County of Sussex," and he had to put in sureties to keep the peace
towards the said parson, and to answer the bill preferred against him.
But it seems that he had some provocation, for a letter was written to
him requiring him to remember, as far as he could, the "haynous and
traytorous woords spoken by S^r John Michaell."

On Nov. 7, 1540, Browne, the son and heir of Sir Matthew Browne
of Surrey, was committed to the Fleet, together with some of his
servants, for burning a certain stack of wood in Surrey. On Jan. 8,
1541, John Gough of London, printer, was sent to the Fleet for printing
and selling a seditious book. On March 18, 1541, there seems to have
been a riot among some of the servants of the Gentlemen of the Privy
Chamber, and three of them were committed to the Fleet. On April
24, 1541, a smuggler was put into ward here, one Giles Hasebarde of
Southampton, a "berebruer," who had put on board "a ship of Holland,
named the Mary of Dordroyt," five pockets of wool, without a licence,
intending to send them to Flanders. For this he was sent to the Fleet,
the wool confiscated to the King's use, and the Master of the ship was
mulcted in half the value of his vessel; but Hasebarde was not long in
durance, as he was liberated on April 30th. To thoroughly understand
the reason of this man's imprisonment in the Fleet, we must remember
that he was sent there as being a _Debtor_ to the King, and in the
fifteenth century it was a very common practice for delinquents who
were confined in other London prisons to confess themselves, by a legal
fiction, debtors to the King, in order to get into the Fleet prison,
which was more comfortable. But to show the variety of so-called
crimes, or misdemeanours, which were punishable by imprisonment here,
there is the case of John Barkley of Canterbury, innholder, who was
committed to the Fleet for having molested the King's Highness with
sundry troublous supplications, and it was found that he "appered
manyfestly to be a c[=o]men barrater[102] and a malicious [=p]moter
of false and injust mattiers to the gret vexa[=c]on of the Kings
faithfull subjects."

It was also used as a house of detention, for we find Oct. 17, 1541,
that Cowley the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, was examined, but
because the time was too short to do it thoroughly, the Lord Chancellor
sent him to the Fleet "untill syche tyme as the King sholde co[=m] to
London." It seems to have been a refuge for misdemeanants, for April 3,
1542, John Bulmer Esquire, for his wilful disobeying of an order taken
between him and his wife by the Council, was committed to the Fleet.
And does not Shakespeare make Sir John Falstaff a denizen of this
prison? (Second Part _King Henry the Fourth_, last scene).

 "_Chief Justice._ Go, carry Sir _Iohn Falstaffe_ to the Fleete
 Take all his Company along with him.

 _Falstaffe._ My Lord, my Lord.

 _Chief Justice._ I cannot now speake, I will heare you soone:
 Take them away."

Sir Rd. Empson, so well known in Henry the Seventh's time, was indicted
for sending, without process, persons accused of murder, and other
crimes, "to the late King's Prisons, to wit the Fleet, the Compter, and
the Tower of London." And, from the Articles of Impeachment against
Cardinal Wolsey, it would seem that he was in the habit of committing
to the Fleet, those who thwarted him in his demands. One case (Article
38) is: "Also that the said Lord Cardinal did call before him Sir John
Stanley K^{nt} which had taken a Farm by C[=o]vent Seal of the Abbot
and C[=o]vent of Chester, and afterw^{ds} by his Power and Might,
contrary to Right, committed the said Sir John Stanley to the Prison of
the Fleet by the space of a Year, unto such time as he compelled the
said Sir John to release his C[=o]vent Seal to one Leghe of Adlington,
which married one Lark's daughter, which woman the said Lord Cardinal
kept, and had with her two Children; whereupon the said Sir John made
himself Monk in Westminster, and there died."

Here is another example of the Cardinal's highhanded method of dealing
with those who did not exactly bend to his will, in Article 41 of his
Impeachment: "Also where one Sir Edward Jones, Clerk, parson of Orewly
in the County of Bucks, in the 18th year of your most noble reign, let
his s^d parsonage with all tithes and other profits of the same to one
William Johnson, for certain years; within which years, the Dean of the
s^{'d} Cardinal's College in[103] Oxenford pretended title to a certain
portion of Tithes within the s^d parsonage, supposing the s^d portion
to belong to the parsonage of Chichley, which was appointed to the
Priory of Tykeford, lately suppressed, where (of truth) the Parsons of
Orewly have been peaceably possessed of the s^{'d} portion _out of the
time of mind_: Where upon a Subpoena was directed to the said Johnson
to appear before the Lord Cardinal at Hampton Court, out of any term,
with an injunction to suffer the said Dean to occupy the said portion.
Whereupon the said Johnson appeared before the said Lord Cardinal at
Hampton Court, where without _any_ Bill the said Lord Cardinal
committed him to the Fleet, where he remained by the space of twelve
weeks, because he would not depart with the said Portion: and at last,
upon a Recognizance made, that he should appear before the said Lord
Cardinal, whensoever he was commanded, he was delivered out of the
Fleet. Howbeit, as yet, the said Portion is so kept from him that he
dare not deal with it."

    [Footnote 84: Mag. Rot. 9 Ric. I. _Rot. 2a, Lond. & Midd._]

    [Footnote 85: Mag. Rot. 9 Ric. I. _Rot. 14b, Kent._]

    [Footnote 86: Liberate Rolls, p. 25. _Rot. Lit. Pat. Hardy_,
    p. 4.]

    [Footnote 87: Rot. Cancell. 3 John, f. 100.]

    [Footnote 88: Close Rolls, 6 John, f. 33.]

    [Footnote 89: Close Rolls, 2 Hen. III., f. 346.]

    [Footnote 90: Mag. Rot. 1 Ric. I. _Rot. 2b, Bedef._ Til de
    Oblatis Curiæ.]

    [Footnote 91: Mag. Rot. 5 Ric. I. _Rot. 2a_, Nordfolch and

    [Footnote 92: See Platt's Case cited Vaughan's Reports 1677,
    p. 243.]

    [Footnote 93: Rolls of Parl. vol. iii. p. 469.]

    [Footnote 94: Ibid. vol iii. p. 593a.]

    [Footnote 95: Allowing a prisoner to go at liberty on finding

    [Footnote 96: Hayne's State Papers, vol. i.]

    [Footnote 97: The moat or ditch fed by the Fleet, which washed
    the walls of the prison.]

    [Footnote 98: See "Memorials of London and London Life in the
    Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Centuries," by H. T.
    Riley, 1847, pp. 279, 280.]

    [Footnote 99: "Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of
    England," edited by Sir H. Nicholas, 1834, vol. ii. p. 303.]

    [Footnote 100: Ibid. vol. iii. p. 93.]

    [Footnote 101: Beneficed Clergy were given the title of Dominus or
    Sir--as Sir Hugh Evans, in the _Merry Wives of Windsor_.]

    [Footnote 102: A vexatious and litigious person--one who stirs up

    [Footnote 103: Christ Church, Oxford.]




The Fleet was, evidently, a handy prison, elastic enough to suit all
cases, for on Aug. 19, 1553, at the Star Chamber, "Roger Erthe, alias
Kinge, servaunt to Therle of Pembroke, and William Ferror, servaunt to
the Lord Sturton, were, for making of a Fraye, committed to the Charge
of Warden of the Fleete."

In September, 1553, the Fleet received a prisoner whose name is
historical wherever the English language is read, for the Privy Council
being held at Richmond, on the 1st of Sept. "This day appered before
the Lordes, John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, and Miles Coverdale,
Bishop of Exon. And the said Hooper, for Considerations the Councell
moving, was sent to the Fleete."

Turning from Mary's reign to that of Elizabeth, we find equal religious
intolerance, for we read in Strype's "Annals of the Reformation, A.D.
1582," that Fleetwood, the Recorder of London, sent a letter to the
Lord Treasurer, informing him that one Osborn, a priest and Franciscan
friar, had been examined, and confessed that "_in crastino Epiphaniæ_,
he said Mass in the Fleet (where many recusants were committed) in the
Lord Vaux's Chamber, (to whom he was related) before that Lord, Mr.
Tresham, Mr. Tyrwhit, and others," which three, at the London Sessions,
in Guildhall, were convicted on Osborn's evidence.

Fleet parsons were evidently an institution in the sixteenth century,
for besides the above-mentioned Osborn, there was another committed
to the Fleet, on May 27, 1584, one Sir R. Stapleton. His fault seems
to have been that he had preached against the Archbishop of York, for
which he was arraigned in the Star Chamber, and was, with others,
ordered to read an apology--which he did--but in such a contemptuous
manner, that he was sent to the Fleet.

In the seventeenth century, many Puritans were incarcerated here,
especially after the Restoration, when their gloomy fanaticism ill
accorded with the ideas of the age. The bow had been strung too tightly
during the Commonwealth, and when it was unstrung the reaction was
great. So many were put into prison for conscience' sake. Even in
Elizabeth's reign there were many in prison, and we can hardly wonder
at it when we consider it was an age of religious intolerance, and
the religion professed by these devotees was of a most unattractive
character. Strype, writing of A.D. 1588, says of them:

 "In the Summer Time they meet together in the Fields, a Mile or
 more.[104] There they sit down upon a Bank. And divers of them
 expound out of the Bible, so long as they are there assembled.

 "In the Winter Time they assemble themselves by five of the
 Clock in the Morning to the House where they make their
 Conventicle for the Sabbath Day, Men and Women together. There
 they continue in their kind of Prayers, and Exposition of
 Scriptures, all the Day. They Dine together. After Dinner make
 Collections to pay for their Diet. And what money is left, some
 of them carryeth to the Prisons, where any of their sort be

 "In their prayers, one speaketh, and the rest do groan and sob,
 and sithe,[105] as if they could wring out Tears. But say not
 after him that prayeth. Their Prayer is _Extemporal_."

In January, 1600, Lord Grey of Wilton was committed to the Fleet, by
Queen Elizabeth's order, for assaulting the Earl of Southampton, on
horseback, in the public street.

There is a fair bibliography of the Fleet prison in the seventeenth
century. In 1620-1 there was a broadsheet published "A briefe
collection of the exactions, extortions, oppressions, tyrannies,
and excesses towards the liues, bodies and goods of prisoners, done
by _Alexander Harris_, Warden of the Fleete, in his foure yeares
misgouernment, ready to be proued by oath and other testimonies." This
was answered by Harris, and his MS., which is in the possession of the
Duke of Westminster, was published by the Camden Society in 1879,
entitled the "[OE]conomy of the Fleete; or an Apologeticall Answeare
of Alexander Harris (late Warden there) unto XIX Articles set forth
against him by the prisoners." Of which book more anon.

Then there was a "Petition to Parliament of the distressed prisoners
in the King's Bench, Fleet and other prisons"--but this has no date.
In 1647 was published "A Whip for the Marshal's Court by Robert Robins
Gent, being his Petition to the House of Commons." The preface to
the Reader, is dated from the Author's "Iron Cage in the Fleet." In
1653 there was "A Schedule; or, List of the Prisoners in the Fleet
remaining in custody May 25, 1653." Some of them were very bad cases,
as "_William Gregory_ committed February 7, 1651, one Outlawry after
Judgment, severall other Outlawries and Trespasses, no sums mentioned;"
or "_Hustwayte Wright_ committed June 29, 1650, for £31 1s., Execution,
besides Outlawries, Latitats and Cap. no sum appearing." "_Thomas
Keneston_ committed Nov. 4, 1646, for 51,000 Actions, and severall
Orders of the Exchequer." In 1669 appeared "A Companion for Debtors and
Prisoners, and advice to Creditors, with a description of Newgate, the
Marshalsea, the two Counties, Ludgate, _the Fleet_, and King's Bench
prison." In 1671 was published "A Short Narrative, or Anatomie of the
Fleet Prison &c.," by John Knap, M.D. In 1690 there was "A plea for the
City Orphans and Prisoners for Debt." In 1691 appeared a soul-harrowing
little book, called "The Cry of the Oppressed, a tragicall Account of
the unparalleled Sufferings of the poor imprisoned Debtors and Tyranny
of their Gaolers, with the case of the Publisher (Moses Pitt)." Here
the interest is much heightened by numerous engravings showing how
prisoners were beaten, made to feed with hogs, were covered with boils
and blains, the females outraged by their gaolers, and many other
enormities. I would fain quote at length from this book, but space will
not admit of it. In 1699 we find "An Argument that it is impossible for
the nation to be rid of the grievances occasioned by the Marshal of the
King's Bench and Warden of the Fleet, without an utter extirpation of
their present Offices."

The Case as made out by the prisoners against the Warden, Alexander
Harris, in 1620-1, was, if it could have been thoroughly substantiated,
most damaging to him, but they overreached themselves by their manifest
exaggeration. A few examples will suffice. There were nineteen counts
against him all of grievous weight, but we will only take four as
a fair sample. (1) Murder; (2) Felony; (3) Robbery; (4) Excessive
Rates for Chambers. First, as to the Charge of Murder, this is the
accusation: "After knowne quarrels and fightings between two prisoners,
lodging them in one chamber, where, quarrelling and fighting againe,
and notice to him thereof giuen, and of likely further mischiefe; this
notwithstanding, continuance of them together, vntil the one murthered
the other."

This referred to two prisoners, Sir John Whitbrooke and another named
Boughton. According to the Warden's account Whitbrooke did not deserve
much pity. In July, 1618, he was given into the Warden's Custody, by
the order of two Courts, to be kept a close prisoner, but he soon
developed "dangerous energy," for on the 10th of the same month, almost
immediately after his committal, he "came into the Warden's studdy
where the Warden (in his gowne) was wryteing, and fashioned his speech,
sayeing that he came to speake with the Warden about his lodging, who
answeared that he would willingly speake about that, and money for it,
whereupon the Warden putting dust[106] upon the wryteings and turneing
his back to lay them aside, Sir John Whitbrooke strooke him on the
head with the sharpe ende of a hammer, whereof one Cleft was before
broken off, and the other cleft newly whett, giveing fower wounds to
the scull, and some bruses before the Warden could close with him; but
then the Warden thrusting him out of the studdy, did throwe Whitbrooke
on the back, and took away the hammer, Whitbrooke (being undermost) did
hould the forepart of the Warden's gowne soe as he could not rise; att
which tyme the Warden's blood abundantly gushed downe upon Whitbrooke,
and the Warden could have beaten out Whitbrooke's braynes with the
hammer, but that he was neither wrothfull nor daunted.

"Then after, two maydes servants (heareing the noyse) came into the
roome, and one loosed Whitbrooke's hands from the Warden's gowne, or
ells the Warden must have killed him to acquitt himselfe. Soe soone
as the maydes came the Warden shewed them the hammer all bloody,
telling them that Whitbrooke had wounded him therewith; the butler of
the howse then alsoe comeing upp to cover the table, the Warden bidd
him and others (which followed) to laye hands upon Whitbrooke etc.; but
to take heed they hurt him not; soe they letting him rise and rest
himselfe, he took a stiletto out of his pockett and stabbed the
Warden's deputie cleane through the middle of his hand, which
(notwithstanding it was presently dressed by a good chirurgion) did
rankle upp to his shoulder, and was like to have killed him; he also
stabbed the porter of the howse directly against the heart, and drewe
blood, but it pierced not: he stabbed the gaoler into the hand and twice
through the sleeve of his dublett, so as then they lay violent hands
upon him, put on irons and carryed him to the strongest warde of the
prison (called Bolton's warde)."

And a perfectly proper punishment for any one who ran _amuk_ like
Whitbrooke because there was an organized mutiny. "And upon this some
three score prisoners breake upp all the strongest prisons and dores
of the wards and Tower chamber, assaulting the Warden and his servants
with weapons &c., according to a plott and purpose before resolved
upon, as appeares by depositions."

The poor Warden had no bed of roses, more especially as the female
element was afterwards introduced in the shape of Lady Whitbrooke, who
of course, was a warm partisan of her husband. Harris writes:

 "The lady alledgeth that in September the quarrell betweene the
 Warden and Whitbrooke was renewed.

 "The Warden answeareth that in July, 1619, Whitbrooke and
 Boughton with six others (being lodged in a great Chamber) they
 and six more shutt out thirtie of their Companie and fortefied
 the gaole against the Warden, refused all perswasions of the
 Warden, constables, and Alderman's Deputie, the comands of the
 Lord Cheife Justice, of the Lord Chauncellor and his Serjeant
 at Armes; yet yeilded to the clarke of the councell sent from
 the Lords. Whitbrooke and Boughton being then in one humour;
 and, upon unblocking the prison, Whitbrooke desired liberty; it
 was offred him upon security, he would give none, then he made
 question where to lye, to which was answeared there were five
 other roomes he might make his election of, which he would; but
 he said he would none other but where he formerly laye (it being
 indeed the fayrest). They fortified these roomes againe when the
 Warden was out of towne, soe as during Whitbrooke's life and
 Boughton's being there with their adherents the Warden had noe
 comand in that part of the prison."

It is almost needless to say that these peculiarly unquiet spirits
quarrelled among themselves. We have heard enough of Whitbrooke to know
that he was a quarrelsome cur--impatient of restraint, and thoroughly
lawless in his habits; but it is evident that he persuaded his wife
that he was an injured innocent; for, in poor Harris's "Apologia pro
sua vita," a story which he tells so naively, and so nicely, he says:

"The lady alledgeth that the Warden (for revenge) resolved and reported
he would send Whitbrooke to _Boulton_ to keepe.

"The Warden answeareth that he for governement sake and to suppresse
misdemeanours doth thretten to putt prisoners (offending) into
_Boulton's Wards_ (Many yeares familiarlie soe called as he thinketh of
bolts or irons put on them), where Whitbrooke was put when he wounded
the Warden and his servants; he continued there but a small tyme, and
was removed to a roome called the Tower Chamber (where Henry Boughton
and many others did lye), thence Boughton was removed into the common
prison in December, 1618, and Whitbrooke was removed thither June 16,
1619, soe as to that tyme they lay five moneths within one lodging, and
six moneths severed in other lodgings and noe quarrell stirred.

"The Lady alledgeth that presently at their comeing together Boughton
suddenly stabbed and wounded Whitbrooke, whereof he dyed.

"The Warden answeareth that over and above the eleaven months
aforesaid, yet from June 16th untill September 16, 1619, being 3
moneths, they two combyned in their exploits against the Warden
without falling out (for ought the Warden knewe), but 16 September
Boughton fell out with Harvey (one of his chamber felowes), whom
Boughton assayled with his teeth, and bitt him by the thombe, whereof
Whitbrooke, Willis, Harvey, and others there lodged, advised the
Warden, wishing him to take some course. The Warden sent divers
messages by the gaoler to Whitbrooke to remove thence and to lye
elsewhere; he would not, sayeing none should remove him but by
violence, and they were so strong there, as the Warden could doe
nothing, none ells durst come amongst them. Holmes and Maunsell offered
him libertie amongst other gentlemen upon bonds.

"The Warden acquainted the Lord Chauncellor of their fortifications,
of some other stabbing there, of this particular brawle, and besought
his lordshipp to send them to Newgate. The Lord Chauncellor comanded
such motion to be made at the tyme of a seale; it was moved by Mr.
Woomelayson, as appeares by his briefe, then his lordshipp wished oath
to be made of this offence, and called for presidents[107] to remove
them, in which meane tyme Boughton (being provoked and wounded by
Whitbrooke) did stabb him, whereof he dyed within 13 dayes, and it was
about 14 moneths after he wounded the Warden and stabbed his 3 servants
as appeareth by the generall lodgeings and places where they laye,
sometymes together, and sometymes severed, ensueing to be seene in the
end of this answeare to this Article, and, if the testimony (which
was long after delivered to the Warden, by a prisoner in the Fleete)
be true, then the same Harvey, and one Tymothy Willis and Sir John
Whitbrooke himselfe, did (of sett purpose) whett on Boughton to anger
and quarrell, because they scorned Boughton and meant to assayle him.

"When Whitbrooke, Boughton, &c., ymured themselves upp in the wards as
aforesaid, a view or survey of the roomes was given the Lordes of the
Councell, and they (_were_) satisfied.

"After the tyme of the supposed quarrell (which was about Whitbrooke's
and Boughton's fortifieing the house) they contynued lyeing where
they were before, amongst others.

"Wheresoever they had lyen they might quarrell when they mett, as
Whitbrooke many moneths before broke Willis his head with a pott or

These two ill-conditioned animals fell to loggerheads, and Boughton
drew upon Whitbrooke, and so wounded him that eventually he died. And
this shows the very lax discipline that then obtained in the Fleet. Of
course, no weapons should have been allowed, but "It is alsoe alledged
that Boughton did provide a sword, and it was brought him by a woeman
from whom the porter of the Fleet tooke it, and delivered it to the
Warden (as he did indeed) and therefore say their accusers that the
Warden knew the same sword was to kill Whitbrooke.

"The Warden had it about a yeare and a halfe before this accident (of
Whitbrooke's death) happened, and delivered it back againe to the
woeman that brought it, with charge not to bring any thither whatsoever.

"It was avouched that the sword was Boughton's, and put to dressing to
a Cutler, who sent it home againe, so as Boughton might have killed
Whitbrooke with it before it went to dressing, if he had intended
any such thing. Nay, Boughton had alwayes in his trunck (as appeared
afterwards) a stilletto so keene, so cleane and ready, as would soone
have done such a fact if he had meant it; yea, swords and other weapons
want not in the Fleete, and the Warden cannot prevent it. This fact
was mere accidentall, and not precogitate as the lawe hath founde
it, which acquitted Boughton of Manslaughter upon his arraignement."
Harris, I think, and, most probably, my readers will agree with me, has
made out a very fair case in his own favour; but I must not deal with
the other charges against him at such length.

    [Footnote 104: Presumably, _from the town_.]

    [Footnote 105: Sigh.]

    [Footnote 106: There was no blotting paper in those days, but
    _pounce_ was used, which was either _powdered_ resin, gum
    sandarach, or copal, or powdered cuttle fish. I believe that
    _pounce_ may even now be bought at law stationers. It was
    dusted on to the wet ink by means of a pepper caster.]

    [Footnote 107: Precedents.]




The second count brought against him by his mutinous prisoners was
"Remouing a prisoner out of his chamber, hauing 51 lib. 1 s. hid vnder
his bed, which the prisoner required he might go to his chamber to
dispose of, which was denied, and he thrust vp in another roome close
prisoner, vntill the Warden and some of his seruants rifled his bed of
that mony."

Hear the Warden's defence:--"By this is pretended that one Coppin (who
euer did beare the name of a poore fellowe) lost 51 li., with takeing
whereof, if he dare charge any person or persons the Lawe is and hath
beene open for him theis two yeares past. But his abettors haue putt
it here rather to infame, then that they can think it true, as by the
ensueing answeare appeares.

"For Edward Coppin, liued as a poore prisoner in the Fleete for
breach of a decree, and continueing above six yeares, would never be
drawen to pay the Warden one penny for meate, drinke, lodging, or
attendance; but at last he ran away, and was upon the Warden's pursuite
taken againe, but before he ran away, he was sometymes restrayned of
the libertye of the Fleete yards and walks (as is the custome of all
prisons in England); and he lodging in the three Tower Chambers with
sixteene persons, they often thretned their keeper to stabb him, to
take away the keyes of the prison, to bind him, to hang him; lastly
they fortefied that prison, soe that the Warden could not dispose or
order them. And with two malletts and steele chissells they had cutt
the stone workes of the dore, soe as noe locks or bolts could shutt
them; and while they were thus doeinge Coppin came downe to fetch
a mallett, wherewith he was taken beneath, and presentlie put into
another warde aparte from his fellowes, about three a clock in the
afternoone 15 July 1619, not speakeing of any money."

Master Coppin was one of Boughton's gang, but even that _malfaiseur_
could not back up his claim, for "A rumour was spredd in the Fleete
that Coppin had lost 50 li. The Warden heareing thereof, sent for
Coppin, and asked him: he said he would say nothing except Sir Francis
Inglefield were present. Then the Warden said, Nay, Coppin, if you have
nothing to say to me, you may depart againe.

"Then the Warden was informed by Mr. Boughton and Wall, that the day
before it happened that Coppin was removed, they had made meanes to
borrowe some money upon a pawne, and Coppin professed and swore he had
not so much (being fower (4) pounds) as they demanded. Then the Warden
caused Coppin's trunck (being new and well locked) to be opened in
Coppin's presence, and delivered it to him, in which Trunck within a
Bagg put in a Box (as they said) there was about xxix^s; and then was
sett on foote this rumour when Coppin had advised with Mr. Rookwood to
doe it.

"About January 1620, Edward Coppin confessed that he never receaved any
money since he came to Prison.

"Mr. Williams saith that he hath heard that Coppin hath confessed that
he lost noe money."

So we may acquit the Warden on this count. Poor Man! he had a rough
lot to deal with, but it is to our advantage that it was so, for
his refutation of the charges brought against him throws a flood of
light on the domestic manners of the time, and of the Fleet prison in

The third count against the Warden was one of robbery, "11 lib. 6 s.
taken out of the Trunk, and by violence, from the person of a close
prisoner sicke in his bed, by the Warden and his seruants." And
Harris meets this, as all others, fairly and straightforwardly. Says
he:--"This toucheth money taken from one Thraske, then a Jewdaiser, or
halfe Jewe, committed close prisoner by the Lords of the Councell, from
whom, and such like, though in the Gatehouse, King's Bench, Fleete,
&c., it hath beene used to take away and keepe their money, yet the
Warden tooke not his until he abused it very dangerouslie, and whether
this takeing away may be said Robbery, let the answeare followeing

"And although the complainte be used with a Circumstance, as if the
Prisoner were sick, thereby to make a shewe as if the Warden gaped at
his death and money; that was most untrue for Thraske was in perfect

This prisoner was sent to the Fleet, to be put in the pillory, whipped
and branded, and, besides, to suffer solitary confinement, but he found
means to write letters to the King and the Lord Chancellor, and the
Warden was much blamed for allowing him so to do. But poor Harris,
who must have been plagued almost to death by his very recalcitrant
charges, could not find out whence his prisoner procured his writing
materials, and at last came to the correct conclusion that he was
bribing the gaoler who waited upon him. So, with some servants, he
personally searched Mr. Thraske's apartment and person, and found his
pens, ink, and paper, and also £11 6s. in money, together with a bag
and cord with which he used to receive supplies from outside, and by
means of which he disseminated his pernicious literature. All of which
the Warden very properly confiscated, but the money was kept, and used
for the prisoner's benefit. "When Thraske had worne out his cloathes
and desired other, the Lord Chauncellor bid the Warden buy for Thraske
some cloathes, which was done accordingly, even soe much as Thraske
desired; the Warden alsoe gave him money to buy wyne for his comforte
at tymes." And, in the long run, the poor Warden declares that he was
about £80 out of pocket by his prisoner.

The last charge we will investigate, is that of "Excessiue rates of
Chambers." (No. 13 on the list of 19) "Whereby orders no man ought to
pay for any Chamber, the Warden allowing bed and bedding, aboue 2s. 4d.
a weeke, he exacteth 8s., 10s., 13s. 4d. and of some twentie shillings
a weeke without bedding." The Warden replies to this that "the Orders
of the Prison are, That noe Parlor Comoners and Hall Comoners must lye
two in a Bedd like Prisoners, They of the Parlor at ijs. iiijd. the
weeke. They of the Hall at xiiijd. If any such will lye in the Prison
then there is noe question of their payment, nor any more required. But
the missery is this that none there will pay at all, but stand upon it
that they should pay nothing, which is contrary to right, to Custome,
and to usage.... An^o 1597. The Prisoners then Articling against the
Warden Sett forth that one Prisoner paid xxxs. others xxs., xvs.,
xiis., xs. a weeke for Chamber without Bedd. The Warden then made his
Answeare to the Comittees that he took xs. a Chamber, and the rest was
for more chambers than one, and in respect of Dyett, though they had
none, but fetched it abroad.

"Soe if Prisoners will have more ease than ordinarie, and a Chamber or
two for themselves and theirs in the Warden's howse, they are by the
orders and Constitutions to Compound with the Warden for it, it being
the Warden's freehould, and demyseable.... To such prisoners as lye two
in a Bedd, the Warden is to find them Bedd, and for Bedd and Chamber
they are to pay. Whether by Bedd is meant all furniture of Bedding,
that is to be doubted, for it was never put in practise; but as for
those which lye in the Warden's freehould by agreement he is not bound
to find them Bedd or Bedding except it be so conditioned. And such
will hardly vouchsafe to lye on the comon Bedding which passeth from
Man to Man; And the Warden can as hardlie buy a new Bedd for every new
prisoner which cometh, and therefore the lodgings of ease were provided
for men of quality and not for the mean sorte of prisoners, as the
accusation would seeme to inferre; And when Mr. Chamberlayne informed
against the Warden touching Chambers, All the cheife gentlemen in the
Fleete certified under their hands that they held their Chambers by
agreement to have a Chamber alone to each, and were contented with the

That the Wardenship of the Fleet was an onerous position, may be
inferred from Harris's statement that "he hath had at one tyme the
King's prisoners for two hundred thowsand[108] pounds debt, besides the
affayres of State."

That the office of Warden of the Fleet was of very ancient origin we
have seen in the case of Nathanael de Leveland, and he also proves
that it was heritable, for he, and his family, had held it for 130
years, and more. And it had a far-reaching jurisdiction, for in the 3
Eliz.[109] we learn that "Upon an adjournment of the term to Hertford,
several prisoners were committed to the Castle there. This Castle was
part of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Queen had granted a patent to A. of
the Custody of this Castle for his Life; resolved by the Judges that
the Warden of the Fleet shall have the Custody _there_ of the Prisoners
committed by the Chancery, Common Pleas and Exchequer: For he is the
Officer of those Corts; and although the Patentee has the Custody of
the Castle, and though it be the Prison of the County, yet his interest
ought to give place to the public weal, and common justice."

In course of time, the Wardenship became a position which was openly
sold; and our old friend Harris makes no secret of it. "They likewise
alledge that I^o Elizabeth it was purchased by Tirrell at the rate of
160 li. per annum and that long after it was held at 100 li. per annum,
and refused for 200 li. But now that (thorough extortion) there is made
4,000 li. per annum by the relation delivered to one Mr. Shotbolt.

"To which is answeared, that the purchase paid by Tirrell, (as appears
by the deed inrolled) was 6,000 markes or 4,000 li. which, if it be
devided at tenne or twelve yeares purchase, being more than an office
of that nature was worth in those dayes (which is above three score
yeares past) it will bring 400 li. tenne yeares purchase, and therefore
here is _sutor ultra crepidam_, for 160 li. at that rate would yeild
but 1,600 li. in money, and there was not then the fift part of the
buildings and lodgings which now are.

"Mr. Anslowe (as is credibly informed) held it by fyne (and otherwise)
at 600 li. per annum, and had but some part of the benefitts of the
prison, nothing of the pallace at Westminster. And as for this Warden's
valuation of it at 4000 li. per annum, it might be, supposeing that if
the benefitts of the pallace were had &c. But what if the one with
the other cost in expences 4,000 li. per annum, what will be then
advanced?" &c.

This selling of the Office of Warden, led to a great squabble in the
early days of Queen Anne's reign, and it seems to have arisen in this
way. A Warden of the Fleet, named Ford, in the reign of William and
Mary, was found guilty of suffering one Richard Spencer to escape,
but was acquitted of some minor charges, and a certain Col. Baldwin
Leighton obtained a grant of the Office on April 6, 1690. On June 25,
1691, this grant was quashed, and Leighton soon after died. A Mr.
Tilley, in the fifth year of William and Mary purchased the Inheritance
of the said Office, together with the Mansion and Gardens thereto
appertaining, but on Dec. 23, 1704, judgment was given in the Queen's
Bench that the Office be seized into her Majesty's hands, and this was
affirmed in Parliament.

The discipline in the prison at this time seems to have been very
bad, so much so that many witnesses who could have spoken of Tilley's
misdeeds were hindered from giving evidence, some by being put into
dungeons; others, by violence, bribes, or other artifices. Take a case
in point, which happened about this time. The case of Robert Elliot and
others. "One Francis Chartyres was Arrested at the several Suits of
the said several Persons, about the 4th of May last, all their Debts
amounting to 140 l. and upwards, which cost them 20 l. to effect: And
the said Francis Chartyres being a stubborn and an obstinate Man, and
dangerous to Arrest, he having killed several Persons upon the like
attempt, and at this Arrest run the Bayliffs through. And after he was
taken, he by _Habeas Corpus_ turned himself over to the said Fleet
Prison. And Mr. Tilley, and the Turnkey, and one Whitwood, an Officer
of the Fleet, were acquainted, by the persons above mentioned, what a
dangerous Man he was, and what it cost them to take him; but they took
no notice thereof, and declared they would let him out for all of them;
and so they did, and the next Day the said Persons Arrested him again,
and he went over to the Fleet a second time, and was immediately set
at liberty; who coming to the Persons aforesaid, at whose Suit he was
Arrested, bid them defiance; saying, _He was a Freeman, for that he had
given 18 Guineas for it_, and they _should never have a farthing of
their Debts_, which they now doubt of, the said Chartyres being gone
for Scotland."

Hatton, in his "New View of London," 1708, gives, the boundary of the
_Rules_, and also descants on the pleasantness of the Prison, as an
abode. "Fleet Prison, situate on the East side of the Ditch, between
Ludgate Hill and Fleet Lane, but the Rules extend Southward on the
East side of Fleet Canal to Ludgate Hill, and thence Eastward to Cock
Ally on the South side of Ludgate Hill, and to the Old Bayly on the
North, and thence Northward in the Old Bayley both sides the Street, to
Fleet Lane, and all that Lane, and from the West End, southward to the
Prison again. It is a Prison for Debtors from any part of the Kingdom,
for those that act or speak any thing in contempt of the Courts of
Chancery and Common Pleas; and for the pleasantness of the Prison and
Gardens, and the aforesaid large extent of its Rules, it is preferred
before most other Prisons, many giving Money to turn themselves over to
this from others."

    [Footnote 108: Equal in our currency to about three times the

    [Footnote 109: Reports of Cases, &c., by Sir James Dyer (ed.
    1794) vol. ii. p. 204 a.]




Things got so bad that Parliament ordered a Committee to inquire into
it, and they began their sitting in Feb. 25, 1729. But, previously,
the prisoners had petitioned the Lord Chief Justice and other justices
without effect, and those petitions with Huggins' (who was the Warden)
replies were published in a folio pamphlet, which contains much
information.[110] The first petition was in 1723, and it was mainly
addressed to the extortions of the Master, the sixth Article alledging
that the fees exacted by the Warden were in excess of those settled by
Law, Nov. 14, 1693--instanced as follows:

                                                  Warden.  Legal.
  For liberty of the House and Irons at first
      coming in                                  £2  4 4    1 6 8
  Chaplain                                        0  2 0
  Entering every Name and Cause                             0 0 4
  Porter's fee                                    0  1 0    0 1 0
  Chamberlain's Fee                               0  3 0    0 1 0
  The Dismission Fee for every Action             0 12 6    0 7 4
  Turnkey's Dismission                            0  2 6
                                                  £3 5 4  £1 16 4
                                                  ======  =======

The eleventh prayer of this Petition was, "And lastly, that for the
better suppressing Prophaneness and Immorality among us, and that
the Misery of Imprisonment may in some measure be alleviated by the
Observance of good Manners, Cleanliness, and Quietude, we humbly pray
your Lordships would enable us to regulate our selves in such Manner as
the Prisoners in the King's Bench are empowered to do by a Rule of that
Court, 20 _die post festim Sanctæ Trinitatis_. 11 Anne."

Huggins replied to all the petition, but his answer to No. 6 was "The
Warden saith, That so soon as the Fees were settled by this Honourable
Court, he caused a Copy thereof to be framed and hung up in the Common
Hall of the House, signed by Sir George Cook; also a Copy of the Rules
and Orders of the House, which said copies the Prisoners were pleased
to burn, tear to Pieces, and obliterate; and the Warden denies that
he has taken or receiv'd, or any for him, to his knowledge, more, or
greater, Fees than were contained in the said Copy of Fees hung up in
the said Prison."

And as to the Eleventh prayer of the Petitioners "The Warden saith,
that the Prisoners in general, are so very ungovernable, that they
have tore up the Trees around the Bowling Green, and cut down several
of the Trees in the back part of the Prison, set by the Warden some
years since, for the better Accommodation of the Prisoners; also broke
down the Stocks in the said Prison, and the Houses of Easement were
fitted up lately by the Warden, they have torn it almost to Pieces,
and committed other Outrages, and most of them, altho' two Years in
Arrears of Rent to the Warden, refuse to pay him any Part thereof, and
will by Force, and in defiance of the Warden and his Officers, keep
in Possession of the Rooms and Furnitures, Swearing to stand by each

Petition after petition was sent from the Prisoners to the Lord Chief
Justice about the oppressions of Huggins and his myrmidons, and duly
answered in some shape by the Warden, but there was one, in which the
fourteenth Charge is as follows. "That the Warden, on the Death of any
Prisoner detains the Body from his Friends and Relations untill they
will pay him, what Chamber Rent was due from the Deceased; and in the
mean Time his cruel and unchristian like Practice, is to make the best
Bargain he can with the poor Family of the Deceased, for the Purchase
of the Dead Body, in order to give it Christian Burial, at their own
Expence, by which means he often extorts large Sums of Money, for
granting the Relations the Liberty of taking away and burying the Dead
Body; which tho' a very natural and reasonable Desire, is nevertheless
often frustrated by their Inability to purchase it at his Price, and,
rather than accept what may be in their Power to give him, he often
suffers the Dead Body to lye above Ground seven or eight Days, and
often Times eleven or twelve Days, to the great endangering of the
Health of the whole Prison, by the nauseous Stench, which being often
times the Case, is very offensive all over the House; and when he has
refused what he thought not worth his Acceptance, he buries them in the
common Burying place for Prisoners, when the Body is often taken up by
their Friends to be bury'd their own Way, and the Warden seizes to his
own Use the Cloaths, Furniture, and what ever else there is for Fees
and Chamber Rent, which he pretends to be due from the said deceased

Huggins' reply to this was diabolically insolent. "For Answer thereto,
My Lords, the Deputy Warden saith, That scarcely a Prisoner hath
died on the Masters-Side, that was not largely indebted to him; and
therefore, possibly, he might have used endeavours to get what part
of the Money was due to him, as he could fairly from the Deceased's

But the Cup of his iniquities was rapidly filling. He made one Thomas
Bambridge "_A Newgate Sollicitor, and a Person of abandon'd Credit_"
(as the petition in the case of Mr. Mackphreadris describes him) his
deputy warden, and then, things came to a climax. As we have seen,
Parliament took cognizance of the scandal, and issued a Commission to
inquire into the matter, and their first sitting was on Feb. 25, 1729.
Their report was presented to Parliament on March 20th of the same
year--so that no time was lost in looking into the evils complained of.

It recites that Huggins by a gift of £5,000 to Lord Clarendon "did by
his interest, obtain a grant of the said office (_i.e._, _Warden of the
Fleet_) for his own and his son's life.

"That it appeared to the Committee, That in the Year 1725, one Mr.
Arne, an Upholder, was carried into a Stable, which stood where the
strong room on the Master's side now is, and was there confined (being
a place of cold restraint) till he died, and that he was in good state
of health before he was confined to that room."

Huggins growing old, sold his interest in the Wardenship of the Fleet,
and his Son's reversion therein, to Bambridge and Cuthbert, for the
sum he had originally given for the place; and then Bambridge, being
his own master, went somewhat ahead, and the Committee found that he
connived at escapes, sent his prisoners to Spunging-houses, or private
prisons, not so long ago done away with, where they were well, or badly
treated, according to the money at their disposal.

And we read of one shocking case, which can best be given in the very
words of the Report. "That these houses were further used by the said
Bambridge, as a terror for extorting money from the prisoners, who,
on security given, have the liberty of the rules; of which Mr. Robert
Castell was an unhappy instance, a man born to a competent estate, but
being unfortunately plunged into debt, was thrown into prison: he was
first sent (according to custom) to Corbett's,[111] from whence he, by
presents to Bambridge, redeemed himself, and, giving security obtained
the liberty of the rules; notwithstanding which he had frequently
presents, as they are called, exacted from him by Bambridge, and was
menaced, on refusal, to be sent back to Corbett's again.

"The said Bambridge having thus unlawfully extorted large sums of money
from him in a very short time, Castell grew weary of being made such a
wretched property, and, resolving not to injure further his family
or his creditors for the sake of so small a liberty, he refused to
submit to further exactions; upon which the said Bambridge ordered him
to be re-committed to Corbett's, where the smallpox then raged, though
Castell acquainted him with his not having had that distemper, and that
he dreaded it so much, that the putting him into a house where it was,
would occasion his death, which, if it happened before he could settle
his affairs, would be a great prejudice to his creditors, and would
expose his family to destitution; and therefore he earnestly desired
that he might either be sent to another house, or even into the gaol
itself, as a favor. The melancholy case of this poor gentleman moved
the very agents of the said Bambridge to compassion, so that they used
their utmost endeavours to dissuade him from sending this unhappy
prisoner to that infected house; but Bambridge forced him thither,
where he (as he feared he should) caught the smallpox, and, in a few
days, died thereof, justly charging the said Bambridge with his death;
and unhappily leaving all his affairs in the greatest confusion, and a
numerous family of small children in the utmost distress."

He squeezed everybody, made what rules he liked, and introduced new
and pernicious customs, for, says the Report, "It appeared to the
Committee, that the letting out of the Fleet tenements to Victuallers,
for the reception of Prisoners, hath been but of late practised, and
that the first of them let for this purpose was to Mary Whitwood, who
still continues tenant of the same, and that her rent has, from 32 l.
per. ann. been increased to 60 l. and a certain number of prisoners
stipulated to be made a prey of, to enable her to pay so great a
rent; and that she, to procure the benefit of having such a number of
prisoners sent to her house, hath, over and above the increased rent,
been obliged to make a present to the said Bambridge of forty guineas,
as also of a toy (as it is called), being the model of a Chinese ship,
made of amber, set in silver, for which fourscore broad pieces had been
offered her....

"And, notwithstanding the payment of such large fees, in order to
extort further sums from the unfortunate prisoners, the said Bambridge
unjustly pretends he has a right, as warden, to exercise an unlimited
power of changing prisoners from room to room; of turning them into
the common side, though they have paid the master's side fee; and
inflicting arbitrary punishments by locking them down in unwholesome
dungeons, and loading them with torturing irons."

According to the Committee's report, Jacob Mendez Solas, a Portuguese,
was, as far as they knew, the first prisoner that was ever loaded
with irons in the Fleet. He was thrown into a noisome dungeon, which
is described as a place "wherein the bodies of persons dying in the
said prison are usually deposited, till the coroner's inquest hath
passed upon them; it has no chimney, nor fireplace, nor any light but
what comes over the door, or through a hole of about eight inches
square. It is neither paved nor boarded, and the rough bricks appear
both on the sides and top, being neither wainscotted, nor plastered;
what adds to the dampness and stench of the place is, its being built
over the common sewer, and adjoining to the sink and dunghill where
all the nastiness of the prison is cast. In this miserable place the
poor wretch was kept by the said Bambridge, manacled and shackled for
near two months. At length, on receiving five guineas from Mr. Kemp,
a friend of Solas Bambridge released the prisoner from his cruel
confinement. But, though his chains were taken off, his terror still
remained, and the unhappy man was prevailed upon by that terror, not
only to labour _gratis_ for the said Bambridge, but to swear also at
random all that he hath required of him: and the Committee themselves
saw an instance of the deep impression his sufferings had made upon
him; for on his surmising, from something said, that Bambridge was to
return again, as Warden of the Fleet, he fainted, and the blood started
out of his mouth and nose."

The upshot of this Committee was that the House petitioned the King
to prosecute Huggins, Bambridge, and their satellites, who were all
ordered to be committed to Newgate for trial. Huggins was tried, or
rather the preliminaries of his trial were arranged on the 20th of May,
1729; but his trial for the murder of Edward Arne, a prisoner in the
Fleet prison, by immuring him in the dungeon above described, from the
effect of which confinement he subsequently died, did not take place
until next day. After a long and patient trial, he was acquitted; and
he managed, not only to survive his disgrace, but live to the age of 90.

[Illustration: BAMBRIDGE.]

Bambridge was also tried, at the Old Bailey, for the murder of Robert
Castell, as before described, but he was acquitted by the Jury. Upon
this acquittal, Castell's widow brought an appeal against Thomas
Bambridge, and Richard Corbett, for the murder of her husband; but here
their luck still stood them in stead, for they were both acquitted.
Bambridge, some twenty years after, committed suicide by cutting his

Hogarth, in 1729, received a Commission from Sir Archibald Grant of
Monnymusk, Bart., who was one of the Committee, to paint a portrait
picture of his brother Commissioners with Bambridge, and the irons
used by him in the Fleet. Bambridge is decidedly nervous--and a poor
prisoner is introduced into the picture, though I cannot find, from the
Report, that he really was before the Committee of the House.

[Illustration: A PRISONER IN IRONS.]

These prosecutions somewhat purified the atmosphere of the Fleet, but
still there were grumbles, as there naturally will be when men are
restrained in their liberty, and are left to brood upon their miseries,
and incarceration; but the little pamphlet,[112] which airs these
grievances, deals principally with the hardships of fees, and the
dilapidated state of the Common Side. The title-page prepares one for a
not over cheerful ten minutes' reading.

  "When Fortune keeps Thee Warm;
  Then _Friends_ will to Thee swarm,
    Like BEES about a _Honey_ pot:
  But, if she chance to frown,
  And rudely kick Thee down,
    Why then--What then? _Lie there and ROT._"

The writer says that after the reign of Huggins and Bambridge, the
Chapel was adorned--and the great Hall adjoining, formerly for the Use
of the Prisoners, "is now made into a commodious new Coffee House, and
thought to be as Compleat a one, as any in Town (wherein one of the
Warden's Servants is put, to be useful upon Occasion). _Part of the
Pews in the Chapel being taken into it to make it compleat,[113] and
serves for a Bar and Bedchamber._

"Opposite to the Great Hall, or Coffee Room, is the Begging-Grate,
where Prisoners had an Opportunity to speak with a Friend, and
sometimes get Sight of one whose Inclinations did not lead him to pay
a Visit to the Place, wou'd drop a Shilling, and perhaps some Beer to
the Beggars; but now the same, altho' of an ancient standing, is
Brick'd up, and the unhappy Persons who can't submit to beg, depriv'd
of viewing the Street, or seeing their Chance Friends." So we see, that
although the comforts of the inmates had been somewhat looked after,
this little privilege, which they had long enjoyed, and, doubtless, as
long abused, was taken from them. It was, afterwards, restored.

    [Footnote 110: "A True State of the Proceedings of the
    Prisoners in the Fleet Prison, in Order to the Redressing
    their Grievances before the Court of Common Pleas."]

    [Footnote 111: A spunging-house.]

    [Footnote 112: "Remarks on the Fleet Prison or Lumber-House
    for Men and Women. Written by a prisoner &c., published in the
    Fleet, 1733."]

    [Footnote 113: The _italics_ are mine.--J. A.]





But enough of the miserables in connection with the Fleet Prison. We
shall find that it is even possible for a prisoner to write pleasantly,
nay, even somewhat humorously, upon his position, as we may see by the
perusal of a poem entitled "The _Humours_ of the Fleet. An humorous,
descriptive Poem. Written by a Gentleman of the College" &c., Lond.
1749. Under the frontispiece, which represents the introduction of a
prisoner into its precincts, is a poem of thirty-two lines, of which
the following is a portion:--


[Illustration: music]

  Wel-come, wel-come, Bro-ther Debt-or, To this poor but mer-ry
  place, Where no Bay-liff, Dun, or Set-ter Dare to shew their fright-ful
  face. But, kind Sir, as you're a Stran-ger, Down your Gar-nish you must
  lay, Or your Coat will be in Danger,--You must ei-ther strip or pay.



Here we see, very vividly depicted, the introduction of a new prisoner;
the Chamberlain is introducing him to the Cook, whilst the Goaler and
Tapster seem, already, to have made his acquaintance.

The notes appended to the Poem are in the original.

After a somewhat long exordium on prosperity and poverty, together with
the horrors of a spunging-house, and imagining that the debtor has
obtained his _Habeas_, which would permit him to choose his prison, the
Poet thus sings:

  "Close by the Borders of a slimy Flood,
  Which now in secret rumbles thro' the Mud;
  (Tho' heretofore it roll'd expos'd to Light,
  Obnoxious to th' offended City's Sight.)[114]

    "Twin Arches now the Sable Stream enclose
  Upon whose Basis late a Fabrick rose;
  In whose extended oblong Boundaries,              }
  Are Shops and Sheds, and Stalls of all Degrees,   }
  For Fruit, Meat, Herbage, Trinkets, Pork and Peas }
  A prudent City Scheme, and kindly meant;
  The Town's oblig'd, their Worships touch the Rent.

    "Near this commodious Market's miry Verge,
  The Prince of Prisons Stands, compact and large;
  When, by the Jigger's[115] more than magick Charm,
  Kept from the Pow'r of doing Good--or Harm,
  Relenting Captives only ruminate
  Misconduct past, and curse their present State;
  Tho' sorely griev'd, few are so void of Grace,
  As not to wear a seeming chearful Face:
  In Drinks or Sports ungrateful Thoughts must die,
  For who can bear Heart-wounding Calumny?
  Therefore Cabals engage of various Sorts,
  To walk, to drink, or play at different Sports:
  Here, on the oblong Table's verdant Plain,
  The ivory Ball bounds, and rebounds again;[116]
  There, at Backgammon, two sit _tete a tete_,
  And curse alternately their Adverse Fate;
  These are at Cribbage, those at Whist engag'd
  And, as they lose, by turns become enrag'd:
  Some of more sedentary Temper, read
  Chance-medley Books, which duller Dullness breed;
  Or Politicks in Coffee-Room, some pore
  The Papers and Advertisements thrice o'er:
  Warm'd with the _Alderman_,[117] some set up late,
  To fix th' Insolvent Bill, and Nation's Fate;
  Hence, knotty Points at different Tables rise,
  And either Party's wond'rous, wond'rous wise:
  Some of low Taste, ring Hand Bells, direful Noise!
  And interrupt their Fellows' harmless Joys;
  Disputes more noisy now a Quarrel breeds.
  And Fools on both Sides fall to Loggerheads:
  Till wearied with persuasive Thumps and Blows,
  They drink, and Friends, as tho' they ne'er were Foes.

    "Without Distinction, intermix'd is seen,
  A 'Squire quite dirty, a Mechanick clean:
  The Spendthrift Heir, who in his Chariot roll'd,
  All his Possessions gone, Reversions sold,
  Now mean, as once Profuse, the stupid Sot
  Sits by a _Runner's_ Side,[118] and _shules_[119] a Pot.

    "Some Sots ill-manner'd, drunk, a harmless Fight!
  Rant noisy thro' the Galleries all Night;
  For which, if Justice had been done of late,
  The Pump[120] had been three pretty Masters Fate.
  With Stomacks empty, and Heads full of Care
  Some Wretches swill the Pump and walk the Bare;[121]
  Within whose ample Oval is a Court,                  }
  Where the more Active and Robust resort,             }
  And glowing, exercise a manly Sport                  }
  (Strong Exercise with mod'rate Food is good,
  It drives in sprightful Streams the circling Blood;)
  While these with Rackets strike the flying Ball,
  Some play at Nine Pins, Wrestlers take a Fall;
  Beneath a Tent some drink, and some above
  Are slily in their Chambers making Love;
  _Venus_ and _Bacchus_ each keeps here a Shrine,
  And many Vot'ries have to Love and Wine.

    "Such the Amusement of this merry Jail,
  Which you'll not reach, if Friends or Money fail:
  For e'er its three-fold Gates it will unfold,
  The destin'd Captive must produce some Gold:
  Four Guineas, at the least, for diff'rent Fees,
  Compleats your _Habeas_, and commands the keys;
  Which done, and safely in, no more you're led,
  If you have Cash, you'll find a Friend and Bed;
  But, that deficient, you'll but Ill betide,
  Lie in the Hall,[122] perhaps, or Common Side.[123]

    "But now around you gazing _Jiggers_[124] swarm,
  To draw your Picture, that's their usual Term;
  Your Form and Features strictly they survey,
  Then leave you, (if you can) to run away.

    "To them succeeds the Chamberlain, to see}
  If you and he are likely to agree;}
  Whether you'll tip,[125] or pay your Master's Fee.[126]}
  Ask him how much? 'Tis one Pound six and eight;
  And, if you want, he'll not the Twopence bate:
  When paid, he puts on an important Face,
  And shews _Mount Scoundrel_[127] for a charming Place:
  You stand astonish'd at the darken'd Hole,
  Sighing, the Lord have Mercy on my Soul!
  And ask, have you no other Rooms, Sir, pray?
  Perhaps enquire what Rent too, you're to pay:
  Entreating that he wou'd a better seek;
  The Rent (cries gruffly's)--Half a Crown a Week.
  The Rooms have all a Price, some good, some bad;
  But pleasant ones at present can't be had:
  This Room, in my Opinion's not amiss;             }
  Then cross his venal Palm with half a Piece[128]  }
  He strait accosts you with another Face.          }

    "Sir you're a Gentleman;--I like you well,
  But who are such at first, we cannot tell;
  Tho' your Behaviour speaks you what I thought,
  And therefore I'll oblige you as I ought:

    "How your Affairs may stand, I do not know,
  But here, Sir, Cash does frequently run low.
  I'll serve you,--don't be lavish,--only mum!
  Take my Advice, I'll help you to a Chum![129]
  A Gentleman, Sir,--see, and hear him speak,
  With him you'll pay but fifteen Pence a Week;[130]
  Yet his Apartment's on the Upper Floor,[131]
  Well furnish'd, clean and nice; who'd wish for more?
  A Gentleman of Wit and Judgment too!
  Who knows the Place;[132] what's what, and who is who;
  My Praise, alas! can't equal his Deserts;
  In brief,--you'll find him, Sir, a Man of Parts.

    "Thus, while his fav'rite Friend he recommends,
  He compasses at once their several Ends;
  The new come Guest is pleas'd, that he should meet
  So kind a Chamberlain, a Chum so neat:
  But, as conversing thus, they nearer come,
  Behold before his Door, the destin'd Chum.

    "Why stood he there, himself could scarcely tell;
  But there he had not stood, had Things gone well:
  Had one poor Half-penny but blest his Fob,          }
  Or, if in Prospect he had seen a Job,               }
  H'had strain'ed his Credit for a Dram of Bob,[133]  }
  But now, in pensive Mood, with Head down cast,
  His Eyes transfix'd as tho' they look'd their last;
  One Hand his open Bosom lightly held,
  And one an empty Breeches Pocket fill'd.
  His Dowlas Shirt no Stock or Cravat bore,
  And on his Head, no Hat or Wig he wore;
  But a once black shag Cap, surcharg'd with Sweat;
  His Collar, here a Hole, and there a Pleat;
  Both grown alike in Colour, that--alack!
  This, neither now was White, nor that was Black;
  But match'd his dirty yellow Beard so true,
  They form'd a three-fold Cast of Brick dust Hue;
  Meagre his Look, and in his nether Jaw
  Was stuff'd an elemosynary Chaw;[134]
  (Whose Juice serves present Hunger to asswage,
  Which yet returns again with tenfold Rage;)
  His Coat, which catch'd the Droppings from his Chin,
  Was clos'd at Bottom with a Corking-Pin;
  His Breeches Waistband a long Skewer made fast,
  While he from _Scotland_ Dunghill[135] snatch'd in Haste;
  His Shirt-Tail thin as Lawn, but not so white,
  Barely conceal'd his lank Affairs from Sight;
  Loose were his Knee Bands, and unty'd his Hose,
  Coax'd[136] in the Heel, in pulling o'er his Toes;
  Which spite of all his circumspective Care,
  Did thro' his broken dirty Shoes appear.

    "Just in this hapless Trim and pensive Plight,
  The old Collegian[137] stood confess'd to Sight;
  Whom, when our new-come Guest at first beheld,
  He started back, with great Amazement fill'd;
  Turns to the Chamberlain, says, bless my Eyes!  }
  Is this the Man you told me was so nice?        }
  I meant his Room was so Sir, he replies;        }
  The Man is now in Dishabille and Dirt,
  He shaves To-morrow tho', and turns his Shirt;
  Stand not at Distance, I'll present you, come
  My Friend, how is't? I've brought you here a Chum;
  One that's a Gentleman; a worthy Man,
  And you'll oblige me, serve him all you can.

    "The Chums salute, the old Collegian first
  Bending his Body almost to the Dust;
  Upon his Face unusual Smiles appear
  And long abandon'd Hope his Spirits chear
  Thought he, Relief's at hand, and I shall eat;  }
  Will you walk in, good Sir, and take a Seat!    }
  We have what's decent here, tho' not compleat;  }
  As for myself, I scandalize the Room,
  But you'll consider, Sir, that I'm at Home;
  Tho' had I thought a Stranger to have seen,
  I should have ordered Matters to've been clean;
  But here, amongst ourselves, we never mind,
  Borrow or lend--reciprocally kind;
  Regard not Dress;--tho' Sir, I have a Friend
  Has Shirts enough, and, if you please, I'll send.
  No Ceremony, Sir, you give me Pain;
  I have a clean Shirt, Sir.--But have you twain?
  O, yes, and twain to boot, and those twice told,
  Besides, I thank my Stars, a Piece of Gold.
  Why, then I'll be so free, Sir, as to borrow,
  I mean a Shirt, Sir,--only till To-morrow.
  You're welcome, Sir,--I'm glad you are so free.
  Then turns the old Collegian round with Glee;
  Whispers the Chamberlain with secret Joy,
  We live to-night!--I'm sure he'll pay his Foy:
  Turns to his Chum again with Eagerness,
  And thus bespeaks him with his best Address;

    "See, Sir, how pleasant, what a Prospect's there;
  Below you see them sporting on the Bare;
  Above, the Sun, Moon, Star, engage the Eye,
  And those Abroad can't see beyond the Sky:
  These rooms are better far than those beneath,
  A clearer Light, a sweeter Air we breath;
  A decent Garden does our Window grace,
  With Plants untainted, undistain'd the Glass;
  And welcome Showers descending from above
  In gentle Drops of Rain, which Flowers love:
  In short, Sir, nothing can be well more sweet:
  But, I forgot--perhaps you chuse to eat;
  Tho', for my part, I've nothing of my own,
  To-day I scrap'd my Yesterday's Blade Bone;
  But we can send--Ay, Sir, with all my Heart,
  (Then very opportunely enters _Smart_).[138]
  O, here's our Cook, he dresses all Things well;
  Will you sup here, or do you chuse the Cell?
  There's mighty good Accommodations there,
  Rooms plenty, or a Box in Bartholm' Fair;[139]
  There, too, we can divert you, and may shew
  Some Characters are worth your while to know,

  Replies the new Collegian, nothing more        }
  I wish to see, be pleas'd to go before;        }
  And, _Smart_, provide a handsome Dish for Four.}

    "Too generous Man! but 'tis our hapless Fate
  In all Conditions, to be wise too late;
  For, even in Prison, those who have been free,
  Will shew, if able, Generosity;
  Yet find, too soon, when lavish of their Store,}
  How hard, when gone, it is to come at more;    }
  And every Artifice in vain explore.            }
  Some Messages Abroad, by Runners send.
  Some Letters write to move an absent Friend;
  And by Submission, having begg'd a Crown,
  In one night's Revel here they'll kick it down.[140]
  'Tis true, this one Excuse they have indeed,
  When others _Cole it_,[141] they as freely _bleed_;[142]
  When the Wind's fair, and brings in Ships with Store[143]
  Each spends in turn, and trusts to Fate for more.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The future Chums and Chamberlain descend
  The Dirt[144] knot Stairs, and t'wards the kitchen bend;
  Which gain'd, they find a merry Company,
  Listening to Tales (from _Smart_) of Baudry,
  All introduced with awkward Simile,[145]
  Whose Applications miss the Purpose pat.
  But in the Fire now burns th' unheeded Fat,
  Whose sudden Blaze brings L--nd--r[146] roaring in;
  Then _Smart_ looks foolish, and forsakes his Grin.
  The laughing Audience alter, too, their Tone,
  For who can smile, that sees Tom L--nd--r frown?
  He, magisterial rules the panic Cell,
  And rivals _Belzebub_,--in looking well:
  Indignant now, he darts malicious Eyes,
  While each Dependant from the Kitchen flies;
  Leaves _Smart_ to combat with his furious Ire,
  Who heeds him not, but strives to clear the Fire;
  Blowing and stirring still, no Pains he spares,
  And mute remains, while _Major Domo_ swears;
  Who bellows loud Anathemas on _Smart_,
  And the last Curse he gives is D--n your Heart;
  His trembling Lips are pale, his Eyeballs roll;
  Till, spent with Rage, he quits him with a Growl.

    "Now, as our new-come Guest observ'd this Scene,
  (As odd an one, perhaps, as could be seen)
  He first on _Smart_, next on his Master gaz'd,
  And at the two extreams seem'd much amaz'd;
  Which _Smart_ perceiving, says in sober Mood, }
  Sir, I've a thousand Times his Fury stood;    }
  But, yet, the Man tho' passionate, is good;   }
  I never speak when he begins to bawl,
  For, should I swear like him, the House would fall."

Here follow two or three pages of but little interest to the reader and
the Story continues:

  "But I forgot;--the Stranger and his Chum,
  With t'other to, to _Barth'l'mew Fair_ are come;
  Where, being seated, and the Supper past,
  They drink so deep, and put about so fast,
  That 'ere the warning Watchman walks about,
  With dismal Tone repeating,--Who goes out?[147]
  'Ere St. _Paul's_ Clock no longer will withold
  From striking Ten, and the Voice cries,--All told.[148]
  'Ere this, our new Companions, every one
  In roaring Mirth and Wine, so far were gone,
  That every Sense from ev'ry Part was fled,
  And were with Difficulty got to Bed;
  Where in the Morn, recover'd from his Drink,
  The new _Collegian_ may have Time to think;
  And, recollecting how he spent the Night,
  Explore his Pockets, and not find a Doit.

    "Too thoughtless Man! to lavish thus away
  A Week's Support in less than half a Day;
  But 'tis a Curse attends this wretched Place,
  To pay for dear bought Wit in little Space:
  The Time shall come, when this new Tenant here,
  Will in his Turn _shule_ for a Pot of Beer;
  Repent the melting of his Cash too fast,
  And snap at Strangers for a Nights Repast."

    [Footnote 114: Where the _Fleet Market_ is now, there was, a
    few Years since, a Ditch, with a Muddy Channel of Water. The
    Market was built at the expense of the Lord Mayor and Court of
    Aldermen, who receive the Rent for it.]

    [Footnote 115: The Doorkeeper, or he who opens and shuts the
    _Jigg_, is call'd the _Jigger_.]

    [Footnote 116: Billiards is a very common Game here.]

    [Footnote 117: Fine Ale drank in the Coffee-Room, call'd the
    _Alderman_, because brew'd at Alderman _Parson's_.]

    [Footnote 118: A _Runner_, is a Fellow that goes Abroad of
    Errands for the Prisoners.]

    [Footnote 119: A common Cant word for Mumping.]

    [Footnote 120: Persons who give any considerable Offence, are
    often try'd, and undergo the Discipline of the Pump. The
    Author was one of these in a drunken Frolick, for which he
    condemns himself.]

    [Footnote 121: A spacious Place, where there are all Sorts of
    Exercises, but especially Fives.]

    [Footnote 122: A Publick Place, free for all Prisoners.]

    [Footnote 123: Where those lie who can't pay their Master's

    [Footnote 124: There are several of those _Jiggers_ or
    Doorkeepers, who relieve one another, and when a Prisoner
    comes first in, they take a nice Observation of him, for fear
    of his escaping.]

    [Footnote 125: A cant Word for giving some Money in order to
    shew a Lodging.]

    [Footnote 126: Which is One Pound Six Shillings and
    Eightpence, and then you are entitled to a Bed on the Master's
    Side, for which you pay so much per week.]

    [Footnote 127: _Mount Scoundrel_, so call'd from its being so
    highly situated, and belonging once to the Common Side, tho'
    lately added to the Master's; if there be room in the House,
    this Place is first empty, and the Chamberlain commonly shews
    this to raise his price upon you for a better.]

    [Footnote 128: Half a Guinea.]

    [Footnote 129: A Bedfellow so call'd.]

    [Footnote 130: When you have a Chum, you pay but 15 Pence per
    Week each, and, indeed, that is the Rent of the whole Room, if
    you find Furniture.]

    [Footnote 131: The Upper Floors are accounted best here, for
    the same reason as they are at _Edinburgh_, which, I suppose,
    every Body knows.]

    [Footnote 132: It is common to mention the _Fleet_ by the Name
    of the _Place_, and I suppose it is call'd _the Place_ by way
    of Eminence, because there is not such another.]

    [Footnote 133: A Cant Word for a Drain of Geneva.]

    [Footnote 134: A Chew of Tobacco, suppos'd to be given him.]

    [Footnote 135: The Necessary House, is (by the Prisoners)
    commonly call'd _Scotland_, near which is a dung-hill.]

    [Footnote 136: When there are Holes above Heel, or the Feet
    are so bad in a Stocking, that you are forced to pull them to
    hide the Holes, or cover the Toes, it is called coaxing.]

    [Footnote 137: As the Prison is often call'd the _College_, so
    it is common to call a prisoner, a _Collegian_; and this
    character is taken from a man who had been many Years in the
    Place, and like to continue his Life; but it is hard for those
    who had not seen him to judge of the Truth of the Draught.]

    [Footnote 138: The name of the Cook in the Kitchen.]

    [Footnote 139: A place in the Cellar, called _Bartholomew

    [Footnote 140: A phrase for spending Money fast.]

    [Footnote 141: _Cole_, signifies Money.]

    [Footnote 142: _Bleed_ also signifies spending.]

    [Footnote 143: When a Messenger or Friend brings Money from
    abroad to the Prisoners, it is usual to say a Ship is

    [Footnote 144: Some of the Dirt upon the Stairs is trod into
    knots so hard it is almost impossible to break it.]

    [Footnote 145: _Smart_ generally begins his Stories with a
    _That's like_, &c., tho' it is not at all like the Story he

    [Footnote 146: The Master of the Cellar, a Man of a variable
    Temper, very passionate, malicious, and ill-natur'd at some
    times, at others very well.]

    [Footnote 147: _Who goes out?_ is repeated by Watchmen
    Prisoners, from half an Hour after Nine, till St. Paul's Clock
    strikes Ten, to give Visitors Notice to depart.]

    [Footnote 148: While St. Paul's Clock is striking Ten, the
    Watchmen don't call _Who goes out?_ but when the last Stroke
    is given, they cry _All told!_ at which Time the Gates are
    lock'd, and nobody suffer'd to go out upon any Account.]




We saw in the lines, under the Frontispiece to the foregoing poem,
_Garnish_ was mentioned, and the fact was stated as a Custom then in
force of taking the prisoner's coat to pay for his fees on entrance.

  "But kind Sir, as you'r a Stranger,
  Down your Garnish you must lay,
  Or your Coat will be in danger,
  You must either Strip or pay."

In the Criminal prisons, the prisoners themselves demanded Garnish from
a new-comer, that is, a trifle of money--to drink. In 1708, at Newgate,
this sum seems to have been Six shillings and Eightpence "Which they,
from an old Custom, claim by Prescription, Time out of Mind, for
entring into the _Society_, otherwise they strip the poor Wretch, if he
has not wherewithal to pay it."[149] And in the old Play of the _Lying
Lover_ we are introduced to a Scene in Newgate where the prisoners are
demanding _Garnish_ from some new-comers.

 "_Storm._ Nay, nay, you must stay here.

 _Simon._ Why, I am _Simon_, Madam _Penelope's_ Man.

 _Storm._ Then Madam _Penelope's_ Man must strip for Garnish;
 indeed Master _Simon_ you must.

 _Simon._ Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!

 _Storm._ Thieves! Thieves! Why, you senseless Dog, do you think
 there's Thieves in _Newgate_? Away with him to the Tap House
 (_Pushes him off_). We'll drink his Coat off. Come, my little
 Chymist, thou shalt transmute this Jacket into Liquor."


Yet although this custom was general, I have only once met with an
engraving of the actual process, which, judging by the man's agonized
countenance, was not a pleasant one to him. It occurs in the
frontispiece to a little pamphlet called "An Oration on the Oppression
of Jailors; which was spoken in the Fleet Prison, on the 20th of
February, 1730/1," &c. And under the engraving, are these lines.

  "Unhappy, friendless Man! how hard thy Fate!
  Whose only Crime is being Unfortunate.
  Are Jailors suffer'd in such Acts as these?
  To strip the Wretch, who cannot pay his Fees?
  Is there no kind _Samaritan_ will lend
  Relief, and save him from th' accursed Fiend?"

Respecting this practice let us hear what Howard in his "State of the
Prisons in England and Wales," 1777, says, in his Chapter on "Bad
Customs in Prisons." "A cruel custom obtains in most of our Gaols,
which is that of the prisoners demanding of a new-comer GARNISH,
FOOTING, or (as it is called in some London Gaols) CHUMMAGE. 'Pay or
strip' are the fatal words. I say _fatal_, for they are so to some; who
having no money, are obliged to give up part of their scanty apparel;
and, if they have no bedding or straw to sleep on, contract diseases,
which I have known to prove mortal.

In many Gaols, to the Garnish paid by the new-comer, those who were
there before, make an addition; and great part of the following night
is often spent in riot and drunkenness. The gaoler or tapster finding
his account in this practice, generally answers questions concerning
it with reluctance. Of the Garnish which I have set down to sundry
prisons, I often had my information from persons who paid it.... In
some places, this demand has been lately waved: in others, strictly
prohibited by the Magistrates"--so that we see that this custom was
already in its death throes, in the last quarter of the eighteenth

But in the interval between Bambridge and Howard, the prison was not a
pleasant place of residence, if we may judge from "The Prisoner's Song"
published in 1738, of which I give an illustration and the Words.

[Illustration: THE FLEET PRISON.]

  "A Starving life all day we lead,
    No Comfort here is found,
  At Night we make one Common bed,
    Upon the Boarded Ground;
  Where fleas in troops and Bugs in shoals
    Into our Bosoms Creep,
  And Death watch, Spiders, round y^e Walls,
    Disturb us in our Sleep.

  Were Socrates alive, and Bound
    With us to lead his life,
  'Twould move his Patience far beyond
    His crabbed Scolding Wife;
  Hard Lodging and much harder fare,
    Would try the wisest Sage,
  Nay! even make a Parson Swear,
    And curse the Sinful Age.

  Thus, we Insolvent debtors live,
    Yet we may Boldly say,
  Worse Villains often Credit give,
    Than those that never pay;
  For wealthy Knaves can with applause
    Cheat on, and ne'er be try'd,
  But in contempt of human Laws,
    In Coaches Safely ride."

When Howard visited this prison in 1774 and 1776, he found on the
former occasion 171 prisoners in the House, and 71 in the Rules. On the
latter there were 241 in the House and 78 in the Rules. And he says:

 "The Prison was rebuilt a few years since. At the front is
 a narrow courtyard. At each end of the building there is
 a small projection, or wing. There are four floors, they
 call them _Galleries_, besides the Cellar floor, called
 _Bartholomew-Fair_. Each gallery consists of a passage in the
 middle, the whole length of the Prison, _i.e._, sixty six yards;
 and rooms on each side of it about fourteen feet and a half
 by twelve and a half, and nine and a half high. A chimney and
 window in every room. The passages are narrow (not seven feet
 wide) and darkish, having only a window at each end.

 "On the first floor, the _Hall Gallery_, to which you ascend
 eight steps, are a Chapel, a Tap room, a Coffee room (lately
 made out of two rooms for Debtors), a room for the Turnkey,
 another for the Watchman, and eighteen rooms for Prisoners.

 Besides the Coffee-room and Tap-room, two of those eighteen
 rooms, and all the cellar-floor, except a lock up room to
 confine the disorderly, and another room for the Turnkey, are
 held by the Tapster, John Cartwright, who bought the remainder
 of the lease at public auction in 1775. The cellar floor is
 sixteen steps below the hall Gallery. It consists of the two
 rooms just now mentioned, the Tapster's kitchen, his four large
 beer and wine Cellars, and fifteen rooms for Prisoners. These
 fifteen, and the two before mentioned, in the hall gallery, the
 Tapster lets to Prisoners for four to eight shillings a week.

 "On the _first Gallery_ (that next above the hall-gallery) are
 twenty-five rooms for Prisoners. On the _second Gallery_, twenty
 seven rooms. One of them, fronting the staircase, is their
 Committee room. A room at one end is an Infirmary. At the other
 end, in a large room over the Chapel, is a dirty Billiard-table,
 kept by the Prisoner who sleeps in that room. On the highest
 story there are twenty seven rooms. Some of these upper rooms,
 _viz._, those in the wings, are larger than the rest, being over
 the Chapel, the Tap-room, &c.

 "All the rooms I have mentioned are for the Master's side
 Debtors. The weekly rent of those not held by the Tapster, is
 one shilling and three pence unfurnished. They fall to the
 Prisoners in succession, thus: when a room becomes vacant,
 the first Prisoner upon the list of such as have paid their
 entrance-fees, takes possession of it. When the Prison was
 built, the Warden gave each Prisoner his choice of a room,
 according to his seniority as Prisoner.... Such of the Prisoners
 (on the Common Side) as swear in Court, or before a Commissioner
 that they are not worth five pounds, and cannot subsist without
 charity, have the donations which are sent to the Prison, and
 the begging box, and grate. Of them there were, at my last
 visit, sixteen....

 "I mentioned the billiard table. They also play in the yard
 at skittles, missisipi, fives, tennis, &c. And not only the
 Prisoners; I saw among them several butchers and others from the
 Market; who are admitted here, as at another public house. The
 same may be seen in many other Prisons where the Gaoler keeps or
 lets the tap. Besides the inconvenience of this to Prisoners;
 the frequenting a Prison lessens the dread of being confined in

 "On Monday night there is a Wine Club: on Thursday night a Beer
 Club; each lasting usually till one or two in the morning. I
 need not say how much riot these occasion; and how the sober
 Prisoners are annoyed by them.

 "Seeing the Prison crowded with women and Children, I procured
 an accurate list of them; and found that on (or about), the
 6th of April, 1776, when there were, on the Master's side
 213 Prisoners; on the Common side 30. Total 243; their wives
 (including women of an appellation not so honorable) and
 children, were 475."

In Howard's time the fees payable by the Prisoners were the same as
were settled in 1729 after the trials of Huggins and Bambridge; but the
prisoners exercised a kind of local self-government, for he writes:--

 "There is, moreover, a little Code of Laws, eighteen in number,
 enacted by the Master's-side Debtors, and printed by D. Jones,
 1774. It establishes a President, a Secretary, and a Committee,
 which is to be chosen every month, and to consist of three
 members from each Gallery. These are to meet in the Committee
 room every Thursday; and at other times when summoned by the
 Cryer, at command of the President, or of a majority of their
 own number. They are to raise contributions by assessment; to
 hear complaints; determine disputes; levy fines; and seize
 goods for payment. Their Sense to be deemed the sense of the
 whole House. The President or Secretary to hold the cash;
 the Committee to dispose of it. Their Scavenger to wash the
 Galleries once a week; to water, and sweep them every morning
 before eight; to sweep the yard twice every week; and to light
 the lamps all over the House. No person to throw out water,
 &c., anywhere but at the sinks in the yard. The Cryer may take
 of a Stranger a penny for calling a Prisoner to him; and of a
 Complainant two pence for summoning a Special Committee. For
 blasphemy, swearing, riot, drunkenness, &c., the Committee to
 fine at discretion; for damaging a lamp, fine a shilling. They
 are to take from a New Comer, on the first Sunday, besides the
 two shillings Garnish, to be spent in wine, one shilling and
 sixpence to be appropriated to the use of the House.

 "Common-side Prisoners _to be confined to their own apartments_,
 and not to associate with these LAW MAKERS, nor to use the same

In 1780 the famous Lord George Gordon, or "No Popery" Riots took
place--those Riots which were so intensely Protestant, that (according
to the Contemporary _Gentleman's Magazine_) "The very Jews in
Houndsditch and Duke's Place were so intimidated, that they followed
the general example, and unintentionally gave an air of ridicule to
what they understood in a very serious light, by writing on their
Shutters, "This House is a true Protestant."

These Riots are very realistically brought before us in Charles
Dickens' "Barnaby Rudge," but then, although the account is fairly
historically faithful, yet the weaving of his tale necessarily
interfered with strict historical details; which, by the way, are
extremely meagre as to the burning of the Fleet prison. The fact was,
that, for the few days the riot existed, the outrages were so numerous,
and the Newspapers of such small dimensions, that they could only be
summarized, and the burning of Newgate eclipsed that of the Fleet. But,
on the Wednesday, June 7, 1780, the _Annual Register_, p. 261 (which
certainly has the best description I have been able to see) absolutely
breaks down, saying:--

 "It is impossible to give any adequate description of the events
 of Wednesday. Notice was sent round to the public prisons of the
 King's Bench, Fleet, &c., by the mob, at what time they would
 come and burn them down. The same kind of infernal humanity was
 exercised towards Mr. Langdale, a distiller in Holborn, whose
 loss is said to amount to £100,000, and several other Romish
 individuals. In the afternoon all the shops were shut, and bits
 of blue silk, by way of flags, hung out at most houses, with
 the words "No Popery" chalked on the doors and window shutters,
 by way of deprecating the fury of the insurgents, from which no
 person thought himself secure.

 "As soon as the day was drawing towards a Close, one of the most
 dreadful spectacles this country ever beheld was exhibited. Let
 those, who were not spectators of it, judge what the inhabitants
 felt when they beheld at the same instant the flames ascending
 and rolling in clouds from the King's Bench and Fleet Prisons,
 from New Bridewell, from the toll gates on Blackfriars Bridge,
 from houses in every quarter of the town, and particularly from
 the bottom and middle of Holborn, where the Conflagration was
 horrible beyond description."

The burning of the Fleet was done calmly and deliberately, as is well
told in "A Narrative of the Proceedings of Lord Geo. Gordon," &c.,
1780. "About one o'clock this morning (Tuesday, June 6), the Mob
went to the Fleet Prison, and demanded the gates to be opened, which
the Keepers were obliged to do, or they would have set fire to it.
They were then proceeding to demolish the prison, but the prisoners
expostulating with them, and begging that they would give them time to
remove their goods, they readily condescended, and gave them a day for
that purpose, in consequence of which, the prisoners were removing all
this day out of that place. Some of the prisoners were in for life."
And in the evening of the next day, they fulfilled their threat, and
burnt it. This was the second time it had been burnt down, for the
great fire of 1666 had previously demolished it.

[Illustration: RACKETS IN THE FLEET PRISON, 1760.
(_Published by Bowles and Carver, 69, St. Paul's Churchyard._)]

It was rebuilt, and remained the same, with some few alterations and
additions until its final destruction. We get a good view of "the
Bare" or racket ground in 1808, an outline of which I have taken from
Pugin and Rowlandson's beautiful "Microcosm of London," 1808,[150]
according to which book, "The Fleet Prison, it is believed, after the
fire of London in 1666, was removed to that site of ground upon which
the almshouses through Vauxhall turnpike, on the Wandsworth road, now
stand, until the old prison was rebuilt, Sir Jeremy Whichcott, then
Warden, having his family seat there, which he converted into a prison;
for which patriotic act, and rebuilding the old one at his own expence,
he and his heirs were wardens as long as they lived. The Office of
Warden of the Fleet was formerly of such consequence, that a brother
of one of the Edwards is said to have been in the list of Wardens."


In this illustration we find the prisoners by no means moody, but
playing at rackets and skittles. The Racket ground was under the
superintendence of a Racket Master, who was elected by the Collegians,
annually at Christmas. This post was eagerly sought after, as it was
one to which some pecuniary profit was attached, a small fee being
demanded from each person, the Racket Master having to find bats and
balls. I have before me three printed handbills of aspirants for the
post in 1841. One bases his claim on the fact that he is already Racket
Master, and says, "I feel the situation is one that requires attention
and unceasing exertion, not so much from the individual position, as
from the circumstance that the amusement, and (what is more vitally
important) the health of my fellow inmates is in some measure placed
in the hands of the person appointed." Another candidate pleads as a
qualification, that he has served as Watchman for Seven years, and
at last election for Racket Master, he only lost the appointment by
five votes. And the third publishes the caution "Collegians, Remember!
All Promises that have been (_sic_) before the Vacancy, are Null and
Void!!!" This gentleman was determined to secure, if possible, some of
the good things going about, for, at this very same Annual Election,
he issues another circular, "Having had many years experience in the
Tavern Department and Eating House Business, I beg leave to offer
myself for the Situation in the Public Kitchen, now about to become
vacant." He, too, had an opponent, who had been engaged for nine years
as a baker, and was, by profession, a Cook. The Office of Skittle
Master was also contested in that year; the holder of the place being
opposed by one whose claim to the position seems to be that he had a
wife and one child.

[Illustration: A WHISTLING SHOP IN THE FLEET, 1821.]

They made themselves merry enough in the Fleet, as we read in Egan's
"Life in London," where Jerry Hawthorn, and Corinthian Tom, visit Bob
Logic, who was detained in the Fleet. Among other places there, they
went to a Whistling Shop--of which the brothers Robert and George
Cruikshank have given a faithful representation. Here at a table,
screened off from the draught of the door we see, Tom, Jerry, and
the unfortunate Logic, whilst the other frequenters of the place are
excellently depicted. Spirits were not allowed in the prison, under any
circumstances, other than by the doctor's order; but it is needless
to say, the regulation was a dead letter. Of course it was not sold
openly, but there were rooms, known to the initiated where it could
be procured. It was never asked for, and if it were the applicant
would not have received it, but if you whistled, it would be at once


Says Logic to his Corinthian friends, "'In the evening I will introduce
you both to my friend the _Haberdasher_. He is a good _whistler_; and
his shop always abounds with some prime articles which you will like
to look at.' The TRIO was again complete; and a fine dinner, which the
CORINTHIAN had previously ordered from a Coffee house, improved their
feelings: a glass or two of wine made them as gay as larks; and a
_hint_ from JERRY to LOGIC about the _Whistler_, brought them into the
shop of the latter in a _twinkling_. HAWTHORN, with great surprise,
said, 'Where are we? this is no _haberdasher's_. It is a----' 'No
_nosing_, JERRY,' replied LOGIC, with a grin. 'You are wrong. The man
is a dealer in _tape_.'"[151]


There was a class in the Fleet, who acted, as far as in their power
lay, up to the Epicurean "_dum vivimus vivamus_," and among them the
prison, however inconvenient it might have been, was made the best
of, and the door of the Cupboard which contained the skeleton was
shut as far as it would go. We have an exemplification of this in
Robert Cruikshank's water colour drawing of "The Evening after a Mock
Election in the Fleet Prison," June, 1835. In this drawing, which I
have simply outlined (see previous page), we get a graphic glimpse at
the uproarious fun that obtained among a certain set. The gradations in
Society of this singular mixture is well shown in the following key to
the picture:

 1. Bennett the Candidate.

 2. Mr. Fellowes of the Crown P. H. Fleet Street.

 3. Mr. Houston, _alias_ Jack in the Green.

 4. Mr. Perkins, _alias_ Harlequin Billy (Architect), who tried to sink
 a shaft at Spithead to supply the Navy with Water.

 5. Mr. Shackleford (Linen Draper).

 6. Mr. Bennett, the Watchman.

 7. Geo. Weston, Esqr. (Banker, of the Boro').

 8. Mr. Hutchinson (Dr. at Liverpool).

 9. L. Goldsmith, Esqre.

 10. Mr. Thompson (Irishman).

 11. Robert Barnjum _alias_ Rough Robin (Hammersmith Ghost).

 12. Robert Ball, _alias_ Manchester Bob (wore a Murderer's Cap).

 13. Captain Wilde, R.N.

 14. Mr. Hales, the Cook.

 15. Mr. Walker.

 16. Captain McDonnough, 11th Hussars (real gentleman).

 17. Mr. Halliday (Manchester Merchant).

 18. Harry Holt the Prize Fighter.

 19. Captain Penniment (Trading Vessel, Yorkshire).

 20. Mr. Palmer, Cutler to Geo. III., near the Haymarket Theatre.

 21. Mr. Scrivener (Landlord of the Tap).

 22. Captain Oliver, Smuggler and Tapster. Capias, £117,000.

 23. Mr. Goldsbury, _alias_ Jailsbury, driver of omnibus all round the

 24. Mr. George Kent.

As a souvenir of the talented Isaac Robert Cruikshank, I append a
facsimile of his autograph, which was written in the Parlour, No. 16,
Hall, in the Fleet Prison, June 24, 1842. His method of utilizing the
blot of Ink is unique.

The remaining Notices of the Fleet must be taken as they come, as
far as possible, chronologically--and first of all let us look at
the enormous quantity of people who were imprisoned for debt. In the
_Mirror_, No. 615, vol. xxii. July 20, 1833, is a cutting from the
_Times_: "By the return of persons imprisoned for debt in 1832, in
England and Wales, just printed by order of the House of Commons, it
appears that the gross number was 16,470: of whom maintained themselves
4,093, so that three fourths of the whole were too poor to provide
themselves with bread."

The terrible destitution to which some prisoners were reduced is shown
in an extract from the _Morning Herald_ of August 12, 1833.

 "_Guild hall._ A Gentleman complained that the Overseers of
 St. Bride's had refused to relieve a distressed prisoner in
 the Fleet. The Prisoner was Mr. Timothy Sheldvake, who had
 been well known for his skill in treating deformities of the
 body. He once kept his carriage, and obtained £4,000 a year by
 his practice, but he was now quite destitute. He was eighty
 years of Age, and of that temper that he would rather starve
 than make a complaint. When applicant saw him he had actually
 fasted forty-eight hours. St. Bride's Parish had assisted the
 unfortunate Gentleman, but they denied that he was legally
 entitled to such relief. The Applicant contended that, as the
 Prison was in St. Bride's parish, and was rated at £70 a year,
 St. Bride's was bound to afford casual relief to those within
 the walls of the prison, and to recover it from the respective
 parishes to which those who have been relieved belonged.


 "The Vestry Clerk said, relief must be given out of the County

 "Sir C. Marshall said he would take time to consider the Point,
 but he thought a sufficient relief should be afforded out of the
 County rate."

    [Footnote 149: "_Memoirs of the Right Villanous John Hall_,"

    [Footnote 150: See next page.]

    [Footnote 151: A cant word for gin.]




In a Return of the number of persons in the several Gaols of England,
confined for Debt, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, May
13, 1835, we have an "Account of the Number of Persons confined for
Debt in the Fleet Prison during the following Years:

                                  1830 1831 1832 1833 1834
  Number confined                  742  700  884  746  769
  Number charged in Execution      105  136  134  126  156

And the amount of the debt and costs for which each party was so
charged varied from £2 to £18,017.

I look in vain in the _Times_ for the paragraph to which the Warden
alludes in the following letter:

 "The Warden presents his compliments to the Editor of the
 _Times_, and begs to state, that a paragraph having appeared in
 the paper of this morning, stating that the Fleet Prison is very
 full, and that a guinea and a half a week is paid for a single
 room, and that four, five, and six persons are obliged to live
 in a small apartment.

 "The Warden, not being aware of this, should it in any case
 exist, and which is contrary to the established regulations
 against any person so offending, the prison not being so full as
 in former years, there being considerably less, on an average,
 than two prisoners to each Room, and being also exceedingly

 "The Warden has also to add, that the rest of the paragraph
 relating to the Fleet is totally without foundation.

 "Fleet Prison, March 7, 1836."

In the outside sheet of the _Times_, February 21, 1838, occurs the
following advertisement: "ONE HUNDRED POUNDS REWARD.--Escape.--ESCAPED
from the Fleet Prison, on the evening of Wednesday the 14th day of
February instant. ALFRED MORRIS, late of 22 Dean Street, Tooley Street,
Southwark. The said Alfred Morris is about 30 years of Age, about 5
feet 6 inches high, dark complexion, and of a Jewish Caste, prominent
Nose, somewhat flat pointed, dark, irregular whiskers, stout figure,
and rather bow legged," &c., &c.

Anent this escape, the _Times_ of February 16th has a paragraph such
as we can hardly imagine ever could have appeared in a paper so steady
and sober, as the _Times_ now is: "THE WARDEN OF THE FLEET--(From a
Correspondent). Yesterday a gentleman of some misfortune and of great
appearance, for he wore a wig, moustaches, and a Spanish Cloak, was
introduced as an inmate of Brown's Hotel, so called from the Warden
having a license to sell wines, beer, and ale to his prisoners,
through the 'patent never ending always improving Juddery spigot and
fawcet tap,' &c. In about half an hour the said bewhiskered gentleman
leaves cloak, wig, and moustaches in the room of a Mister Abrahams,
a prisoner, and walks quietly out, very politely bidding the turnkey
'good morning.' At night the excellent crier of the Prison, Mr. Ellis,
made the galleries echo, and the rooms re-echo, with his sometimes very
cheering voice (when he announces to those who wish such things as a
discharge, for it is not all who do), in calling, _altissimo voce_,
'Mr. Alfred Morrison! Mr. Alfred Morrison! Mr. Alfred Morrison!' but as
no Mr. Alfred Morrison answered to the interesting call, every room was
searched in the due performance of the crier's duty, but no Mr. Alfred
Morrison was to be found. And the Worthy and excellent warder, the
keeper of so many others in, is himself let in to the tune of £2,600;
some say more, none say less.

  'Go it, ye cripples! crutches are cheap!
  W. Brown is no longer asleep!'"

In a leading article in the _Times_ of November 13, 1838, upon juvenile
crime, and the incitors thereto, we read the following: "The Traders in
crime do not wholly confine their seductions to the young; they often
find apt scholars among the unfortunates of riper years, especially
in the _debtor's prison_. Mr. Wakefield[152] says he knows many such
victims; and he particularizes one 'Who was not indeed executed,
because he took poison the night before he was to have been executed,
who told me he had been, (and who I firmly believe was) first incited
to crime when a Prisoner in the _Fleet_ for debt. The crime into which
he was seduced was that of passing forged Bank of England Notes. He
was a Man of very showy appearance, and he had been a Captain in the
Army; a man of good family. He said this crime was first suggested
to him by persons who were Prisoners in the Fleet; but he afterwards
discovered, having been a Prisoner there more than once, that one of a
gang of Utterers of forged Notes lived constantly in the _Fleet_, and
for no other purpose but that of inducing reckless young men of good
appearance, who could easily pass notes, to take Notes from them, and
to dispose of them in transactions. I could hardly believe that that
was true, and I got some inquiries to be made for the person whom he
had pointed out to me as one of a Gang, and I found that that person
was constantly in the _Fleet_. The Gang committed a robbery upon a
Bank in Cornwall, and they were entirely broken up, and from that time
forth the Person who had resided in the _Fleet_ disappeared, though he
was not one of the persons convicted, or suspected of that particular
Crime. I never heard of him since, but the inquiries which I then made,
convinced me that it was a fact that one of the Gang of what are termed
'family men,' that is, rich thieves and receivers of stolen goods, did
reside continually in the _Fleet_, for the purpose of seducing young
men into the commission of Crime. He was in and out of the Prison, but
a Prisoner on a friendly arrest."

The time was coming, when imprisonment for debt was to be abolished.
An Act of 1 & 2 Vict. cap. 110 had already abolished Arrest on Mesne
Process in Civil Actions, so that no prisoners could be committed to
the Fleet from the Courts of Chancery, Exchequer, and Common Pleas,
and the Debtors and Bankrupts might as well be in the Queen's Bench.
The Demolition of the Fleet was therefore confidently anticipated, as
we find by the following paragraph from the _Times_, March 3, 1841.
"REMOVAL OF PRISONERS. On Saturday a deputation from the Woods and
Forests, attended by the Marshal, visited the Queen's Bench Prison,
preparatory to moving over the Debtors from the Fleet, which prison
is about to be pulled down. By this arrangement the Country will save
about £15,000 per annum, besides getting rid of an ugly object, and
room being made for other contemplated improvements. It is supposed the
Judges will find some difficulty in removing the Prisoners from the
Fleet by Habeas Corpus, and that a short Bill will be necessary for
that purpose. The expenses of the Queen's Bench Prison in its present
profitless employment, is about £30,000 per annum to the Country."

This announcement was slightly premature, for the Act for its
demolition (5 & 6 Victoriæ, cap. 22) was not passed until May 31,
1842. The Prisoners objected to the Transfer to the Queen's Bench,
preferring their comparative liberty as they were, to the more
stringent rules of the other prison: one clause in the new Act being:
"And be it enacted, That after the passing of this Act, no Prisoner
in the Queen's Prison shall be allowed to send for, or to have any
Beer, Ale, Victuals or other Food, or to send for, have or use any
Bedding, Linen, or other Things, except such as shall be allowed to be
brought by them respectively under such Rules, to be made in the Manner
directed by this Act, as may be reasonable and expedient to prevent
Extravagance and Luxury, and for enforcing due Order and Discipline
within the Prison."

I have before me the Original Subscription list of a scheme of



  The Abolition of the Fleet Prison.

  April 9th, 1842."

The author of the Letter of "Fleta to the Lords, calling upon them
individually to Oppose the Bill _for transferring the Debtors in the
Fleet_ to the Queen's Prison, respectfully calls upon all Parties
interested in an _Opposition to the said Bill_, to render him such
pecuniary assistance in forwarding his Object, as may be consistent
with their Views or Convenience." A list of Subscriptions follows, but
although 25/-was promised, only 15/-appears to be paid. They held
meetings, a notice calling one of which is facsimiled; but it was of
no avail, and they had to go.


  The _Memorial_ to the Lord
  High Chancellor, and to the
  Judges of the Supreme
  Courts of Law, will lie for
  _Signatures_ at the Tap
  from 12 till 2 o'Clock.
  Wed. May. 4. 1842.]

One Philip Ball, a Chancery Prisoner, composed


  A melancholy Chaunt,

  _Written by a_ COLLEGIAN, _on the occasion of the Queen's
  Prison Bill receiving the Royal Assent._

Air. 'The Fine Old English Gentleman.'


  I'll sing to you a bran new song
  Made by my simple pate,
  About the end of the good old Fleet,
  Which on us now shuts its gate.
  It has kept confin'd the choicest lads
  That e'er together met--
  Of merry, jolly, rattling dogs,
  A regular slap up set.
      Of jovial Fleet prisoners,
      All of the present day.


  This good old pris'n in every room
  Contains a merry soul,
  Who for his doings out of doors
  Is now drop't 'in the hole.'
  But surely this is better far
  Than your simple plodding way,
  Get deep in debt, go through the Court,
  And whitewash it all away.
      Like a jovial Fleet prisoner,
      All of the present day.


  Such right good hearts are rarely found,
  As round me now I see;
  With such, I'm 'most inclined to say,
  Hang liberty for me.
  For T----y, S----y, V----h,
  In spirits who excel?
  How could we better live than here,
  Where friendship weaves her spell?
      'Mongst jovial Fleet prisoners,
      All of the present day.


  To racquets, skittles, whistling shops,
  We must soon say farewell;
  The Queen's assent to her prison bill
  Has rung their funeral knell;
  And Bennett, Gray, and Andrew too
  Must close their welcome doors,
  For sing song and tape spinning now,
  This damn'd new Act all floors,
      For the jovial Fleet prisoner,
      All of the present day.


  But to her gracious Majesty
  You'll long be loyal and true,
  Although this latest act of hers
  Must be felt by some of you.
  Speed through the Court, or compromise
  Like gallant Captain T----h,
  Or else you'll soon be sent to grieve
  Your guts out in the Bench.
      All melancholy prisoners[153]
      Unlike those of the present day.

Much, however, as the prisoners might grieve, it was of no use kicking
against an Act of Parliament, and those prisoners who did not take
advantage of the Insolvent Debtors Act, were transferred to the Queen's
Prison, which in its turn ceased to be a debtor's prison, and was used
by Military offenders, until it was sold on Oct. 30, 1879, and pulled
down in that and the following year. Now, legally speaking, there is no
imprisonment for debt, but people are only committed for Contempt of

The Commissioners of Woods and Forests invited Tenders for the site and
buildings of the late Fleet Prison, the estate of which contained above
One Acre, with a frontage of about 251 feet, towards Farringdon Street,
and a depth of about 230 feet. The tenders were returnable on Oct. 22,
1844, and the Corporation of the City of London became the owners of
the property at a sum variously stated at £25,000 to £29,000, and the
sale of its building materials commenced on April 5, 1845. Its exterior
was not particularly attractive.

And so it passed away, and half the present inhabitants of London the
Great do not even know its site, which was not finally cleared until
1846. As a guide to those who wish to know its locality I may mention
Street, stands on a portion of its site.



[Illustration: SECTION OF THE PRISON.]

Before quitting the subject of the Fleet prison I cannot help referring
to "the grate." Like Ludgate, it had a room open to the street, but
furnished with a strong iron grating, behind which sat a prisoner, who
called the attention of the passers-by monotonously chanting, "Pray
Remember the poor Prisoners." A box was presented for the reception of
contributions, but very little money was thus obtained.

[Illustration: EXTERIOR OF THE GRATE.]

The begging grate was served by poor prisoners who had to swear that
they were not worth £5 in the world. He was then entitled to share the
contents of the begging box, and also be a partaker of the charities
and donations to the Prison, which amounted to the magnificent sum of
£39 19s., besides meat, coals, and bread.

Prisoners of all sorts and conditions met here, on one common basis,
one of the last of any mark being Richard Oastler, who was the leader
of the Ten Hours' Bill Movement, and from this prison he issued a
series of "Fleet Papers" about Free Trade, Factories Acts, and the
Amalgamation of the Prisons. He died in 1861, and a memorial to him was
erected at Leeds.

    [Footnote 152: Evidence of Mr. Wakefield before Parliamentary
    Committee of 1837.]

    [Footnote 153: When the prisoners were removed there were two
    who had been incarcerated upwards of thirty years, and were in
    the Queen's prison in 1845.]



Fleet Marriages.


There is no doubt that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the
Marriage laws, as we now understand them, were somewhat lax, and it is
possible that it was so long before that time, for in Edward VI.'s time
an Act was passed (2 and 3 Ed. VI., c. 21, s. 3) entitled "An Act to
take away all positive laws made against marriage of priests." Section
3 provides that it shall not "give any liberty to any person to marry
without asking in the church, or without any ceremony being appointed
by the order prescribed and set forth in the book intituled "_The Book
of Common Prayer, and administration of the Sacraments_, &c." Mary, of
course, repealed this Act, and it was revived and made perpetual by 1
Jas. 1. c. 25, s. 50.

It was only after the Council of Trent, that the offices of the
Church were considered indispensable, for that Council decreed that a
priest, and two witnesses were necessary for the proper celebration
of the Nuptial tie. Still, the law of England, like the law of
Scotland, allowed the taking of a woman as wife before witnesses, and
acknowledging her position, which constituted at common law a good and
lawful marriage, which could not be annulled by the Ecclesiastical
Court. That many such took place among the Puritans and Sectarians
of the time of Charles I. and the Commonwealth is undoubted, for
it needed an Act of Parliament (12 Chas. II. c. 33) to render such
marriages legal. This enacted "That all marriages had, or solemnized,
in any of his Majesty's dominions since the first day of _May_, in the
year of our Lord, one thousand six hundred forty and two, before any
justice of the Peace, or reputed justice of the Peace of _England_,
or _Wales_, or other his Majesty's dominions,... shall be, and shall
be adjudged, esteemed, and taken to be, and to have been of the same,
and no other force or effect, as if such marriages had been had, and
solemnized, according to the rites and ceremonies established, or used
in the Church or kingdom of _England_; any law, custom, or usage to the
contrary thereof notwithstanding."

This short synopsis of the Marriage law in England is necessary, in
order to understand the subject of Fleet Marriages, which, however,
were not all disreputable. The Fleet, as we have seen, had a Chapel of
its own; and in old times, a Chaplain--so that Marriages might well be
celebrated there, in as proper and dignified a manner as elsewhere.
And, we must bear in mind that early in the seventeenth century, the
prisoners were of a very different stamp to those of the latter half of
the eighteenth century, until the demolition of the prison. Therefore
we see no impropriety in the first Marriage known on record--which
is that of Mr. Geo. Lester, then a prisoner in the Fleet, to a woman
of fortune one Mistress Babbington. This is mentioned in a letter of
September, 1613, from Alderman Lowe to Lady Hicks, and may be found
in the Lansdowne MSS. 93-17. He writes: "Now I am to enform you that
an ancyentt acquayntence of y^e and myne is yesterday marryed in the
Fleete, one Mr. George Lester, and hath maryed M^{ris} Babbington, M^r
Thomas Fanshawe mother in lawe. Itt is sayd she is a woman of goode
wealthe, so as nowe the man wyll be able to lyve and mayntayne hymself
in pryson, for hether unto he hath byne in poor estate. I praye God he
be nott encoryged by his marige to do as becher doth, I meane to troble
his frynds in lawe, but I hope he wyll have a better conscyence and
more honestye than the other men hathe."

Towards the middle of the seventeenth century clandestine, and
irregular marriage was prevalent, and it is easily accounted for. A
public marriage had come to be a very expensive affair. There was a
festival, which lasted several days, during which open house had to be
kept; there were the Marriage Settlements, presents, pin money, music,
and what not--so that the binding of their Children in the holy Estate
of Matrimony was a serious matter to parents; who probably preferred
giving the young couple the money that otherwise would go in useless
waste and profusion. So they used to get married quietly: a custom
which Pepys reprobates in the marriage of the daughter of Sir William
Penn to Mr. Anthony Lowther. "No friends, but two or three relations of
his and hers." The bride was married in "palterly clothes, and nothing
new but a bracelet that her servant had given her." And he further
says, remarking on the meanness of the whole affair, "One wonder I
observed to day, that there was no musique in the morning to call up
our new married people, which is very mean, methinks."

Misson, who visited England in the reign of William III., speaks of
these private marriages.

"The Ordinary ones, as I said before, are generally incognito. The
_Bridegroom_, that is to say, the Husband that is to be, and the
_Bride_, who is the Wife that is to be, conducted by their Father and
Mother, or by those that serve them in their room, and accompany'd by
two Bride men, and two Bride Maids, go early in the Morning with a
Licence in their Pocket, and call up Mr. Curate and his Clerk, tell
them their Business; are marry'd with a low Voice, and the Doors shut;
tip the Minister a Guinea, and the Clerk a Crown; steal softly out,
one one way, and t'other another, either on Foot or in Coaches; go
different Ways to some Tavern at a Distance from their own Lodgings,
or to the House of some trusty Friend, there have a good Dinner, and
return Home at Night as quietly as Lambs. If the Drums and Fiddles have
notice of it, they will be sure to be with them by Day Break, making a
horrible Racket, till they have got the Pence; and, which is worst of
all, the whole Murder will come out."

This senseless custom survives, in a modified degree, in our times,
when on the marriage of a journeyman butcher, his companions treat
him to a performance of the "Marrow bones and Cleavers," and also
in the case of marriage of persons in a superior station of life,
in the playing, on the Organ, of a Wedding March.

The oldest entry of a Marriage in those Registers of the Fleet which
have been preserved is A.D. 1674, and there is nothing to lead us to
imagine that it was more irregular than that of Mistress Babbington;
on the contrary, it is extremely probable that, previously, prisoners
were married in their chapel, with the orthodox publication of banns,
and by their own Chaplain. But marriages were performed without licence
or banns in many churches, which claimed to be _peculiars_, and exempt
from the Visitation of the Ordinary: as St. James', Duke's Place, now
pulled down, denied the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London because
the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of London, were Lords of the Manor,
and Patrons of the Church: but the Rector found that the Ecclesiastical
Law was stronger than he, and that its arm was long and powerful, and
the Rev. Adam Elliott was suspended (Feb. 17, 1686) for three years,
_ab officio et beneficio_, for having married, or having suffered
persons to be married, at the said Church, without banns or licence. He
did not suffer the full term of his punishment, for he managed to get
re-instated on May 28, 1687, and began his old practices the very next

The Chapel of Holy Trinity, Minories, pleaded privilege, on the ground
that it was a Crown living, and as much a _peculiar_ as Westminster
Abbey, or the Deanery of Windsor; while the Chapels of the Tower
and the Savoy sought exemption because they were Royal Chapels, and
therefore the Bishop had no jurisdiction over them. Besides these,
there were very many more chapels scattered over the Metropolis where
irregular marriages were performed, a list of about ninety having been

These Marriages so increased that it was found necessary to legislate
about them, and, in 1689, an Act (6 and 7 Will. III. c. 6, s. 24) was
passed making it compulsory, under a penalty of One Hundred pounds,
for every parson to keep an accurate register of births, Marriages,
and deaths. Another Act was passed in 1696 (17 and 18 Will. III. c.
35, s. 2-3) whereby a penalty of £100 was imposed on any Clergyman who
married, or permitted another to marry, couples, otherwise than by
banns or licence. This was enforced by another Act in 1711 (10 Anne c.
19, s. 176), which confirmed the penalty, and moreover, this section
shows that irregular marriages were getting to be common in prisons,
for it provides that

"if any gaoler, or keeper of any prison, shall be privy to, or
knowingly permit any marriage to be solemnized in his said prison,
before publication of banns, or licence obtained, as aforesaid, he
shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds,"

Of course, this did not stop the practice, although it prevented
Marriages in the Fleet Chapel. Yet there were the _Rules_, and real
and pretended clergymen for many years plied their illicit vocation
with impunity.

But there seems to have been some compunctions of conscience even among
this graceless lot, for one of them, Walter Wyatt, has left behind him,
in a pocket-book dated 1736, the following moral reflections.

"Give to every man his due, and learn y^e way of Truth. This advice
cannot be taken by those that are concerned in y^e Fleet Marriages; not
so much as y^e Priest can do y^e thing y^t is just and right there,
unless he designs to starve. For by lying, bullying, and swearing,
to extort money from the silly and unwary people, you advance your
business and gets y^e pelf, which always wastes like snow in sun shiney

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Marrying in the
Fleet is the beginning of eternal woe."

"If a clark or plyer[154] tells a lye, you must vouch it to be as true
as y^e Gospel; and if disputed, you must affirm with an oath to y^e
truth of a downright damnable falsehood--Virtus laudatur et alget."

That this custom of swearing prevailed at Fleet Marriages is borne out
by contemporary evidence. The _Grub Street Journal_ July 20, 1732,
says: "On Saturday last, a Fleet Parson was convicted before Sir
Ric. Brocas of forty three-oaths (on the information of a plyer for
weddings there) for which a warrant was granted to levy £4 6s. on the
goods of the said parson; but, upon application to his Worship, he was
pleased to remit 1s. per oath; upon which the plyer swore he would
swear no more against any man upon the like occasion, finding he got
nothing by it."

And an anonymous Newspaper cutting dated 1734, says, "On Monday last,
a tall Clergyman, who plies about the Fleet Gate for Weddings, was
convicted before Sir Richard Brocas of swearing 42 Oaths, and ordered
to pay £4 2s."

There were regular Chaplains attached to the Fleet Prison to serve the
Chapel there, and, as we have seen, the Warder made every prisoner pay
2d. or 4d. weekly, towards his stipend. Latterly the Chaplaincy was
offered to a Curate of St. Bride's Church--as is now done in the case
of Bridewell.

A complete list of Chaplains cannot be given, because all documents
were destroyed when the Fleet was burnt by the Lord George Gordon
rioters; but Mr. Burn in his "History of Fleet Marriages" (a book to
which I am much indebted, for it has all but exhausted the subject)
gives the names of some, as Haincks in 1698; Robert Elborough, 1702;
John Taylor, 1714; Dr. Franks, 1728; 1797, Weldon Champneys; 1815, John
Manley Wood, and John Jones: and in 1834, the date of the publication
of Mr. Burn's book, the Rev. Richard Edwards, was the Chaplain.

These Clergymen, of course, married couples according to Law, and
probably used the Chapel for that purpose. We know that it was so
used, for the _Original Weekly Journal_ of Sept. 26, 1719, says:

"One Mrs. Anne Leigh, an heiress of £200 per annum and £6000 ready
cash, having been decoyed away from her friends in Buckinghamshire,
and married at the Fleet chapel against her consent; we hear the
Lord Chief Justice Pratt hath issued out his warrant for apprehending
the authors of this contrivance, who have used the young lady so
barbarously, that she now lyes speechless."


But it is not of the Chaplains I would speak, but of the irregular
Clergy, or Lay men, who performed the Marriages. One thing they
all agreed in, the wearing of the Cassock, Gown, and Bands. They
would never have been believed in had they not. The accompanying
illustration[155] gives an excellent idea of the Fleet Parson, and
it is taken from an Engraving entitled "_The_ FUNERAL _of Poor_ MARY
HACKABOUT, _attended by the Sisterhood of Drury Lane_" and it has a
footnote calling attention to the "wry-necked" parson. "_The famous_
COUPLE BEGGAR _in the Fleet, a_ WRETCH, _who there screens himself from
the Justice due to his_ VILLANIES, _and daily repeats them._"

The lady holds a sprig of Rosemary in her hand, which in polite society
was always presented by a servant, when the funeral cortége was about to
leave the house:--In this case, a dish full of sprigs is placed upon
the floor, and a child is playing with them. The Mourners carried them
to the grave, and then threw them in, as we now do, flowers and wreaths
of the same.

Perhaps one of the earliest notices of these irregular Fleet Parsons
is in the first year of Queen Anne's reign, very soon after she came
to the throne, as it appears, in the Registry of the Consistory
Court,--that on June 4, 1702, the Bishop of London visited the common
prison called the Fleet, London, and took Master Jeronimus Alley,
clerk, to task, requiring him to exhibit to the Chancellor of the
Diocese, before the 24th June instant, his letters of ordination,
"and his Lords^p ordered him not to marry or perform any divine Office
in y^e Chapell in y^e ffleet, or any place within y^e Dioces untill he
has exhibited y^e same. Mr. Alley soon afterwards fled from y^e s^d
Prison, and never exhibited his orders."

But if Alley fled, there were others left, and the practice of marrying
without banns, or licence, brought forth the act of the 10th Anne,
before quoted. It was probably before this, but certainly during her
reign, that the following letter was written, which also is in the
Bishop's Registry.

 "SIR,--I think it my Duty to God and y^e Queen to acquaint
 you with y^e illegal practices of y^e Ministers and Clark in
 y^e Fleet Chappell for marrying Clandestinely as they do som
 weeks fifty or sixty couple. The Ministers that are there are
 as follows, Mr. Robt. Elborough, he is an ancient man and is
 master of y^e Chapple, and marries but very few now without
 Banns or Licence, but under a colour doth allow his Clark to
 do w^t he pleases, his name is Barth. Basset. There is there
 also one Mr. James Colton a Clergyman, he lives in Leather Lane
 next door to y^e Coach and horses, he hath bin there these four
 years to marry, but no Prisoner, he marries in Coffee houses,
 in his own house, and in and about y^e Fleet gate, and all y^e
 Rules over, not excepting any part of City and Suburbs. This
 Clark Basset aforesaid registers wherever Colton marries in y^e
 Fleet Register and gives him Certificates. Colton had a living
 in Essex till y^e Bishop of London deprived him for this and
 other ill Practices. There is also one Mr. Nehemiah Rogers, he
 is a prisoner but goes at larg to his P. Living in Essex, and
 all places else, he is a very wicked man, as lives for drinking,
 whoring, and swearing, he has struck and boxed y^e bridegroom
 in y^e Chapple, and damned like any com'on souldier; he marries
 both within and without y^e Chapple like his brother Colton.
 There was one Mr. Alley; he was a Prisoner, and ye benefit of
 weddings, but is gone to some other preferm^t. The abovesaid
 Basset rents y^e sellers of y^e Fleet, and pays for y^t and two
 watchmen 100 and £20 p. ann. but he him pays but £20 per ann.
 for y^e Clergy pay all y^e rest, and if they do not, they are
 threatened to be confined or outed. This Clark hath bin sworn in
 D^{rs} Commons not to marry any without Banns or Licence, unless
 it be such poor people as are recommended by y^e Justices in
 case of a big belly, but have married since many hundreds, as
 I and many can testifie who are confined Prisoners. The Chief
 days to marry are Sundays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, but evry
 day more or less. The Clark Basset keeps a Register book, altho
 he told y^e Bishop of London he had none; he also antidates as
 he pleases, as you may see when you look over y^e Registers;
 he hath another at his son's; he does what he pleases, and
 maintains a great family by these ill practices. £200 p. ann. he
 hath at least. The Ministers and Clark bribe one Mr. Shirley, I
 think him to be Collector for y^e Oueen's Taxes. I hope, Sir,
 you will excuse me for concealing my name, hoping y^t you will
 inspect into these base practices.

 For Dr. Newton Chancell^{rs} to My Lord of London at D^{rs}
 Commons These."

    [Footnote 154: These were touts, like those white-aproned
    gentry who used to infest Doctors' Commons, telling people
    where they could procure Marriage licences--only these
    "plyers" touted for the parsons.]

    [Footnote 155: See previous page.]



But the Act of 1712 failed to stop these illicit marriages, for one
John Mottram was tried at Guildhall, before Lord Chief Justice Parker,
found guilty, was suspended from his ministerial functions for three
years, and was fined £200. Of this case there is an account in the
_Weekly Journal_, February 13, 1717.

"John Mottram, Clerk, was tryed for solemnizing clandestine and
unlawful marriages in the Fleet Prison, and of keeping fraudulent
Registers, whereby it appear'd that he had dated several marriages
several years before he enter'd into orders, and that he kept no less
than nine several Registers at different houses, which contained many
scandalous frauds. It also appeared, that a marriage was antedated
because of pregnancy; and, to impose on the ignorant, there was written
underneath this scrap of barbarous Latin, "Hi non nupti fuerunt, sed
obtinerunt Testimonium propter timorem parentum," meaning that they
were not marryed, but obtained this private Register for fear of their
parents. It rather appeared from evidence, that these sham marriages
were solemnized in a room in the Fleet they call the Lord Mayor's
Chappel, which was furnished with chairs, cushions, and proper
conveniences, and that a coal heaver was generally set to ply at the
door to recommend all couples that had a mind to be marry'd, to the
Prisoner, who would do it cheaper than any body. It further appear'd
that one of the Registers only, contained above 2,200 entrys which
had been made within the last year."

Pennant, writing at the end of the last century, gives us his personal
reminiscences of Fleet Parsons ("Some Account of London," 3rd ed.,
1793, p. 232),

"In walking along the street, in my youth, on the side next to the
prison, I have often been tempted by the question, _Sir, will you
be pleased to walk in and be married?_ Along this most lawless space
was hung up the frequent sign of a male and female hand conjoined,
with, _Marriages performed within_, written beneath. A dirty fellow
invited you in. The parson was seen walking before his shop; a squalid
profligate figure, clad in a tattered plaid night gown, with a fiery
face, and ready to couple you for a dram of gin, or roll of tobacco."

Burn gives a list of Fleet Parsons, first of whom comes John Gaynam,
who married from about 1709 to 1740. He rejoiced in a peculiar
soubriquet, as will be seen by the following. In the trial of Ruth
Woodward for bigamy, in 1737, he is alluded to by a witness:--

 "_John Hall._ I saw her married at the Fleet to Robert Holmes;
 'twas at the Hand and Pen, a barber's shop.

 "_Counsel._ And is it not a wedding shop too?

 "_Hall._ Yes, I don't know the parson's name, but 'twas a man
 that once belonged to Creed Church, a very, lusty, jolly man.

 "_Counsel._ Because there's a complaint lodged in a proper
 court, against a Fleet Parson, whom they call The Bishop of

Some verses, however, absolutely settle the title upon Gaynam.


A Tale,


  Some errant Wags, as stories tell,
  Assert the gloomy prince of Hell
  In th' infernal Region has
  His Officers of all degrees,
  Whose business is to propagate
  On Earth, the interests of his State,
  Ecclesiastics too are thought
  To be subservient to him brought;
  And, as their zeal his service prize,
  He never fails to make them rise
  As Dignitaries in his Church,
  But often leaves them in the lurch;
  For, if their Fear surmount their Zeal,
  (They) quickly his resentment feel;
  (Are) sure to meet with dire disgrace,
  (And) warmer Zealots fill their place.
  (To) make these Vacancies repleat,
  He borrows P----ns from the Fleet,
      Long has old G----m with applause
  Obeyed his Master's cursed Laws,
  Readily practis'd every Vice,
  And equall'd e'en the Devil for device.
  His faithful Services such favour gain'd
  That he, first B----p was of H--l ordain'd.
  Dan. W----e (rose) next in Degree,
  And he obtained the Deanery.
  Ned Ash----ll then came into grace,
  And he supplied th' Archdeacon's place,
  But, as the Devil when his ends
  Are served, he leaves his truest friends;
  So fared it with this wretched three,
  Who lost their Lives and Dignity."

There is mention of Gaynam in two trials for bigamy--first in
chronological order coming that of Robert Hussey.

 "_Dr. Gainham._ The 9th of September, 1733, I married a couple
 at the Rainbow Coffee House, the corner of Fleet Ditch, and
 entered the marriage in my register, as fair a register as any
 Church in England can produce. I showed it last night to the
 foreman of the jury, and my Lord Mayor's Clerk, at the London
 Punch House.

 "_Counsel._ Are you not ashamed to come and own a clandestine
 marriage in the face of a Court of Justice?

 "_Dr. Gainham_ (bowing). _Video meliora, deteriora sequor._

 "_Counsel._ You are on your oath, I ask you whether you never
 enter marriages in that book, when there is no marriage at all?

 "_Dr. Gainham._ I never did in my life. I page my book so, that
 it cannot be altered."

The other case is from the trial of Edmund Dangerfield in 1736.

 "_Dr. Gainham._ I don't know the prisoner. I did marry a man
 and woman of these names. Here, this is a true register: _Edwd
 Dangerfield of St. Mary Newington Butts, Batchelor, to Arabella
 Fast_. When I marry at any house, I always set it down, for I
 carry one of the books in my pocket, and when I go home I put it
 in my great book.

 "_Court._ Do you never make any alteration?

 "_Gainham._ Never, my Lord. These two were married at Mrs.
 Ball's, at the Hand and Pen, by the Fleet Prison, and my name is
 to her book.

 "_Counsel._ 'Tis strange you should not remember the prisoner.

 "_Gainham._ Can I remember persons? I have married 2000 since
 that time."

We have heard of Alley, who married from 1681 to 1707; of Elborrow,
1698 to 1702; and of Mottram, who flourished between 1709 and 1725.

Of Daniel Wigmore, the Dean of the previous poem, we know little except
that he married between 1723 and 1754. The _Daily Post_ of May 26,
1738, says of him, "Yesterday Daniel Wigmore, one of the parsons noted
for marrying people within the Rules of the Fleet, was convicted
before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, of selling spirituous
liquors contrary to law."

The third dignitary, Edward Ashwell, the Archdeacon, was notorious, and
some of his misdeeds are recounted in a letter from Wm. Hodgson, to his
brother, a Clergyman. (Lansdowne MSS., 841, fol. 123).

  _June_ 21, 1725.

 "REVEREND SIR,--There was lately, at Southam, in Warwickshire,
 one Edward Ashwell, who, in my absence, got possession of our
 School, and preach'd in Several Churches in this Neighbourhood.
 I take the Liberty to Inform you, Since I hear he is at
 Kettering, that he is A Most Notorious Rogue and Impostor. I
 have now certificates on my hand, of his having two wives alive
 at this present time, and he was very Near Marrying the third,
 in this Town, but the fear of a prosecution upon the Discovery
 of the flaming and Scandalous Immoralities of his life, forc'd
 him away from us. In a short time Afterwards, in a Village not
 far from us, he attempted to Ravish a Woman, but was prevented
 by a Soldier then in the house. I Can assure you he is in no
 Orders, tho' the Audacious Villain preaches when he Can get a
 pulpit. I have a whole packet of Letters by Me, all tending to
 the Same Character, which I think Exceeds, for variety of all
 Manner of Inormous practices, what Can be Charg'd upon the very
 Scum of Mankind. The Accounts are from persons of integrity and
 known Reputation.

 "I prevented him preaching one Day at Brawnstin, Mr. Somes's
 parish. It would be A very kind and Christian Office to give
 some information among the Clergy, that they may not be Impos'd
 upon by him, particularly to Mr. Heyrick, for I Married Mr.
 Allicock's sister of Loddington. I know you will pardon this
 trouble if the fellow be amongst you.

 "I am, your affectionate Brother,


We hear occasionally of this "professional beauty" in the Registers,
and give two or three examples:--

 "June 21st, 1740. John Jones of Eaton Sutton in Bedfordshire,
 and Mary Steward of the same, came to Wood's in Fleet Lane about
 six o'clock in the morning. Mr. Ashwell and self had been down
 the Market. Wood called him, and I went with him there, found
 the said man and woman, offer'd Mr. Ashwell 3 shilling to marry
 him; he would not, so he swore very much, and would have knocked
 him down, but for me. was not married. took this memorandum that
 they might not Pretend afterwards they was married, and not

 "July 15 (1744). Came a man and wooman to the Green Canister,
 he was an Irishman and Taylor to bee married. Gave Mr. Ashwell
 2: 6. but would have 5s., went away, and abused Mr. Ashwell
 very much, told him he was a Thief, and I was worse. Took
 this account because should not say they was married, and not
 Registered. N.B. The Fellow said Mr. Warren was his relation."

It was the custom for these Fleet Parsons to carry with them pocket
books, in which were roughly entered the names of the Married Couple,
and, occasionally, if they wished their names to be kept secret,
and paid, of course, a proportionate fee, their full names were not
transcribed into the larger Register, as the following shows:--

 "September y^e 11th, 1745. Edwd. ---- and Elizabeth ---- were
 married, and would not let me know their names, y^e man said he
 was a weaver, and liv'd in Bandy leg walk in the Borough.

 Pr. E. Ashwell."

He was so famous that he was honoured with an obituary notice in the
press, _vide_ the _General Advertiser_, Jan. 15, 1746.

"On Monday last, died, in the Rules of the Fleet, Doctor Ashwell,
the most noted operator in Marriages since the death of the
never-to-be-forgotten Dr. Gaynam."

 John Floud, or Flood, did a good business from the time of Queen
 Anne, 1709, to Dec. 31, 1729, when he died within the Rules of
 the Fleet. He was a very queer Character, keeping a mistress
 who played jackall to his lion, and touted for couples to be
 married. He died suddenly whilst celebrating a wedding. Yet
 even he seems to have had some compunction as to his course of
 life, like Walter Wyatt: for, in one of his pocket books is the
 following verse.

 "I have Liv'd so long I am weary Living, I wish I was dead, and
 my sins forgiven: Then I am sure to go to heaven, Although I
 liv'd at sixes and sevens."

 John Floud had a peculiarity; if ever he wanted to make
 memoranda, which were not convenient to introduce into his
 ordinary Register he partially used the Greek character, as
 being "Caviar to the general," thus:

 "13 Jan. 1728. [Greek: marr]: [Greek: t]h[Greek: rêê s]h[Greek:
 illings] & [Greek: onê] [Greek: d]^o [Greek: chêrti]_f_[Greek:
 ichatê]. Th[Greek: ê] [Greek: bridêgroom] w[Greek: as t]h[Greek:
 ê brot]h[Greek: êr] o_f_ [Greek: t]h[Greek: ê mêmorablê]
 J[Greek: onat]h[Greek: an] W[Greek: ild] E[Greek: chêchutêd at]
 Ty[Greek: burn]."

 Marr.: three shillings and one ditto Certificate. The bridegroom
 was the brother of the memorable Jonathan Wild, Executed at

 "8 Mar. 1728. [Greek: Not]h[Greek: ing but a notê o]_f_ h[Greek:
 and] _f_[Greek: or t]h[Greek: is marriagê] wh[Greek: ich]h
 [Greek: nêuêr] w[Greek: as phaid]."

 Nothing but a note of hand for this marriage, which never was

 "27 August, 1728. [Greek: marriagê t]h[Greek: irtêên s]h[Greek:
 illings] & [Greek: onê] & [Greek: sichphênchê chêrti]_f_[Greek:
 ichatê. t]h[Greek: ê] w[Greek: oman not charing to bê marriêd in
 t]h[Greek: ê phlêêt] I h[Greek: ad t]h[Greek: êm marriêd at mr
 bro]w[Greek: ns at mr] H[Greek: arrisons in pheidgêonê chourt in
 t]h[Greek: ê Old Bailê]y [Greek: at] _f_[Greek: our achlochch in
 t]h[Greek: ê morning]."

 Marriage thirteen shillings, and one and sixpence Certificate.
 The woman not caring to be married in the Fleet, I had them
 married at Mr. Brown's, at Mr. Harrison's in Pidgeone Court, in
 the Old Bailey at four a'clock in the morning.

 "12 Aug. 1729. [Greek: phd] _f_[Greek: iuê s]h[Greek: illings
 phêr total]. N.B. Th[Greek: ê] 28th o_f_ [Greek: Aphril 1736
 mrs bêll chamê and Earnêstl]y [Greek: intrêated mê to Erasê
 T]h[Greek: ê marriagê out o]_f_ [Greek: t]h[Greek: ê booch] for
 [Greek: t]h[Greek: at] h[Greek: êr] h[Greek: usband] h[Greek:
 ad bêat and abusêd] h[Greek: er in a barbarous mannêr]....
 [Greek: I madê] h[Greek: êr bêleiuê I did so,] _f_[Greek:
 or] wh[Greek: ich]h I h[Greek: ad] h[Greek: al]_f_ [Greek: a
 guinêa, and s]h[Greek: ê samê timê dêliuêrêd mê uph] h[Greek: êr
 chêrti]_f_[Greek: ichatê. No phêrson phrêsênt (Achchording to]
 h[Greek: er dêsirê])."

 Paid five shillings per total. N.B.--The 28th of April, 1736,
 Mrs. Bell came and earnestly intreated me to erase the Marriage
 out of the book, for that her husband had beat and abused her in
 a barbarous manner.... I made her believe I did so, for which I
 had half a guinea, and she, at the same time, delivered me up
 her certificate. No person present (according to her desire).

Perhaps, next to Dr. Gaynam, the bishop, no one did more business in
Fleet Marriages than Walter Wyatt. We have already read some of his
moral apothegms. He made a large income out of his Marriages, and,
looking at the value of money, which was at least three times that of
the present time, his profession was highly lucrative. Take one Month
for instance. October, 1748--

  Oct. y^e 1 at home  2 11 6   abroad nil.
           2   "      5 13 6     "    11 6
           3   "      2 15 6     "    16 0
           4   "        12 3     "    10 0
           5   "       1 5 6     "    nil.
           6   "        10 6     "   1 4 6
           7   "       1 8 6     "    nil.
                                   Total... 17 19 3
                   From 8th to 15th  "  ... 17  6 6
                    " 15th   " 21st  "  ... 10  0 6
                    " 21st   " 27th  "  ... 6  17 0
                    " 28th   " 31st  "  ... 5   9 6
                                           £57 12 9

Or nearly £700 a year--equal to about £2,500 of our Currency. No wonder
then, that when he died, March 13, 1750, he left a will behind him,
which was duly proved; and by it he left his children in ward to his
brother, and different legacies to his family--to his married daughter
Mary, he bequeathed five pounds, and his estate at Oxford.

He describes himself, on the cover of one of the Registers, as "Mr.
Wyatt, Minister of the Fleet, is removed from the Two Sawyers, the
Corner of Fleet Lane (with all the Register Books), to the Hand and
Pen near Holborn Bridge, where Marriages are solemnized without
imposition." But there seem to have been other establishments which
traded on Wyatt's sign, probably because he was so prosperous. Joshua
Lilley kept the Hand and Pen near Fleet Bridge. Matthias Wilson's house
of the same sign stood on the bank of the Fleet ditch; John Burnford
had a similar name for his house at the foot of Ludgate Hill, and Mrs.
Balls also had an establishment with the same title.

He seems to have attempted to invade Parson Keith's _peculiar_ in May
Fair, or it may only be an Advertising ruse on the part of that
exceedingly keen practitioner, in order to bring his name prominently
before the public. At all events there is an Advertisement dated
August 27, 1748. "The Fleet Parson (who very modestly calls himself
Reverend), married at the Fleet, in Mr. L----yl's house, Mrs.
C----k's, at the Naked Boy, and for Mr. W----yt, the Fleet Parson. And
to shew that he is now only for Mr. W----yt, the Fleet Parson's
deputy, the said W----yt told one in May Fair, that he intended to set
up in opposition to Mr. Keith, and send goods to furnish the house,
and maintains him and the men who ply some days at the Fleet, and at
other times at May Fair. But not to speak of the men, if he himself
was not a Fleet Parson, he could never stand in Piccadilly, and run
after Coaches and foot people in so shameful a manner, and tell them
Mr. Keith's house is shut up, and there is no Chapel but theirs; and
to other people he says, their Fleet Chapel is Mr. Keith's Chapel, and
this he hath said in the hearing of Mr. Keith's clerk, and it is known
to most of the people about May Fair, and likewise Mr. Keith appeals
to the generality of people about the Fleet and May Fair, for proof of
Mr. Reverend's being only W----yts, the Fleet parson's deputy."




Of James Starkey, who married from 1718 to 1730, very little is known,
except that he had run away to Scotland, and could not be produced
when wanted at a trial in the Old Bailey. And also of Robert Cuthbert,
1723-30--very little is known except through the medium of his pocket
books, and they recount his love of horse flesh, and the prices he paid
for his mounts.

Of Thomas Crawford, 1723-1748, we hear something from a letter in that
curious _mélange_ of News, the _Grub Street Journal_, June 10, 1736:--

 "Gentlemen, Having frequently heard of the many abominable
 practises of the Fleet, I had the Curiosity, May 23, to take a
 view of the place, as I accidently was walking by.

 "The first thing observable was one J--- L----,[156] by trade
 a Carpenter (whose brother, it is said, keeps the sign of the
 B---- and G----r),[157] cursing, swearing, and raving in the
 street in the time of divine service, with a mob of people about
 him, calling one of his fraternity (J. E.),[158] a Plyer for
 Weddings, an informing rogue, for informing against one of their
 Ministers for profane cursing and swearing, for which offence
 he paid three pounds odd money: the hearing of which pleased me
 very well, since I could find one in that notorious place which
 had some spark of grace left; as was manifested by the dislike
 he shewed to the person that was guilty of the profanation of
 God's sacred name.

 "When the mob was dispersed, I walked about some small time, and
 saw a person, exceeding well-dress'd in flower'd morning gown,
 a band, hat and wig, who appeared so clean that I took him for
 some worthy divine, who might have, accidentally, be making the
 same remarks as myself; but upon inquiry was surpris'd at being
 assured he was one T---- C---- [159] a watchmaker, who goes in a
 Minister's dress, personating a Clergyman, and taking upon him
 the name of Doctor, to the scandal of the Sacred function. He
 may be seen any time at the Bull and Garter, or the Great Hand,
 and Pen and Star, with these words under written. '_The old and
 true Register_' near the Rainbow Coffee House.--T. S."

Peter Symson, who married 1731-1754, describes himself in his handbill,
as "educated at the University of Cambridge, and late Chaplain to the
Earl of Rothes."

His "Chapel" was at the Old Red Hand and Mitre, three doors from Fleet
Lane, and next door to the White Swan. As were most of his fellows, he
was witness in a bigamy trial in 1751. He was asked,

 "Why did you marry them without license?

 "_Symson._ Because somebody would have done it, if I had not.
 I was ordained in Grosvenor Square Chapel by the Bishop of
 Winchester--the Bishop of Lincoln. Can't say I am a prisoner in
 the Fleet. Am 43 years old. Never had a benefice in my life.
 I have had little petty Curacies about £20 or £30 per year. I
 don't do it for lucre or gain.

 "_Court._ You might have exposed your person had you gone on the
 highway, but you'd do less prejudice to your country a great
 deal. You are a nuisance to the public; and the gentlemen of the
 jury, it is to be hoped, will give but little credit to you."

When Keith of Mayfair was committed to the Fleet, Symson married for
him from 1750 to 1754.

There was another Fleet Parson named William Dare, 1732-1746, who had
such a large connection that he employed a Curate to help him; but
then, his marriages were 150 to 200 a month.

James Lando is somewhat shrouded in mystery, for it is possible that
he was identical with the gentleman who is described at the end of
one of the Fleet Registers as "John Lando, a French Minister, in
Church Street, Soho, opposite att a French pastry or nasty Cook's. His
Landlord's name is Jinkstone, a dirty chandler's shop: he is to be
heard of in the first flower next the skye."

He really was a "Chaplain of the Fleet," for he was Chaplain on board
H.B.M.S. _Falkland_ from May 29, 1744, to Jan. 17, 1746. He had a house
in Half Moon Court, the first house joining to Ludgate, which was at
the Corner of the Old Bailey. This he called St. John's Chapel, and
here he not only solemnized marriages, but taught Latin and French
three times a week.

An advertisement of his states that "Marriages with a Licence,
Certificate, and a Crown Stamp, at a Guinea, at the New Chapel, next
door to the China Shop, near Fleet Bridge, London, by a regular bred
Clergyman, and not by a Fleet Parson, as is insinuated in the public
papers; and that the town may be freed (from) mistakes, no Clergyman
being a prisoner in the Rules of the Fleet dare marry; and to obviate
all doubts, this Chapel is not in the verge of the Fleet, but kept by
a Gentleman who was lately on board one of his Majesty's men of war,
and likewise has gloriously distinguished himself in defence of his
King and Country, and is above committing those little mean actions
that some men impose on people, being determined to have everything
conducted with the utmost decency and regularity, such as shall be
always supported in law and equity."

Burn gives a list of others who married in the Fleet, but does not
pretend it to be exhaustive. Still, the list is a long one.

  Becket, John       1748
  Buckler, Sam.      1732 to 1751
  Brayfield, Sam.    1754
  Bynes, Benj.       1698 to 1711
  Barrett, Mich.     1717 "  1738

  Colton, James      1681 to 1721
  Callow, Jos.       1752
  Clayton            1720
  Colteman           1688
  Draper             1689 to 1716
  Denevan, Francis   1747 "  1754
  Davis, Wm.         1718
  Evans, John        1689 to 1729
  Evans, Ed.         1727
  Farren, John       1688
  Gower, Henry       1689 to 1718
  Hodgkins, Thos.    1674 "  1728
  Hanson, Anthony    1731 "  1732
  Jones, John        1718 "  1725
  Loveday, Wm.       1750
  Morton             1720
  Marston, Edward    1713 to 1714
  Marshall, John     1750
  Murry, D.          1719
  Nodes              1753
  Oswald             1712
  Oglesby            1728 to 1740
  Patterson          1732
  Ryder, Thos.       1722 to 1743
  Roberts, Edward    1698
  Reynolds, E.       1749
  Rogers, Nehemiah   1700 to 1703
  Shadwell, Ralph    1733 "  1734
  Shaw, James        1723
  Sindrey, Richard   1722 to 1740
  Stacy, Edmund      1719
  Shelburn, Anthony  1722 to 1737
  Stainton, John     1730
  Simpson, Anthony   1726 to 1754
  Stanhope, Walter   1711
  Standly 1747 to    1750
  Skinner, Nathaniel 1716
  Town, I.           1754
  Tomkings           1740
  Tarrant, John      1688
     "      "        1742 to 1750
  Townsend, Jacob    1754
  Vice, Jo.          1689 to 1713
  Wagstaffe, James   1689 "  1729
  Wise, J.           1709
  Wilkinson          1740
  Williams, Wm.
  Walker, Clem.      1732 to 1735
  Wodmore, Isaac     1752

Which of these is the one referred to in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for
April 1809? "I should be much obliged to you also, Mr. Urban, if you,
or any of your numerous and intelligent correspondents, could acquaint
me with the name of a tall black clergyman, who used to solicit the
commands of the votaries of Hymen at the door of a public-house known
by the sign of the Cock in Fleet Market, previously to the Marriage

Before dismissing the subject of Fleet parsons, reference must be
made to the Rev. Alexander Keith of Mayfair Chapel, who has a claim
to be noticed here, as he was an inhabitant of the Fleet. The Chapel
in Mayfair was built somewhere about 1736, to meet the wants of the
increasing neighbourhood, which was then becoming fashionable, after
the abolition of the fair in Brook-field, and the first incumbent was
the Rev. Alexander Keith, who claimed to have been ordained priest by
the Bishop of Norwich, acting on Letters Dimissory from the Bishop
of London, in June, 1731. He also stated that at the time of his
appointment as preacher in the Chapel, he was Reader at the Roll's
Chapel. He did a roaring trade in irregular marriages, and it was at
Mayfair Chapel that the Duke of Hamilton espoused the youngest of the
beautiful Miss Gunnings, "with a ring of the bed curtain, at half an
hour past twelve at night."

He had also a private chapel of his own, as we read in an advertisement
of his, April, 1750. "Several persons belonging to Churches and
Chapels, together with many others, supposing the Marriages at May Fair
New Chapel to be detrimental to their interest, have made it their
Business to rave and clamour, but in such a Manner, as not to deserve
to Answer, because every Thing they have said tends to expose their
own Ignorance and Malice, in the Opinion of People of good Sense and
Understanding. We are informed, that Mrs. Keith's Corpse was removed
from her Husband's House in May Fair, the Middle of October last, to
an Apothecary's in South Audley Street, where she lies in a Room hung
with Mourning, and is to continue there till Mr. Keith can attend her
Funeral! The way to Mr. Keith's Chapel is thro' Piccadilly, by the
End of St. James's Street and down Clarges Street, and turn on the
Left Hand. The Marriages (together with a Licence on a Five Shilling
Stamp, and Certificate) are carried on as usual, any time till Four
in the Afternoon, by another regular Clergyman, at Mr. Keith's little
Chapel in May Fair, near Hyde Park Corner, opposite the great Chapel,
and within ten Yards of it. There is a Porch at the Door like a Country
Church Porch."

His wife died in 1749 whilst he was in the Fleet prison, which accounts
for his inability to attend her funeral. Why he was imprisoned is as
follows. By advertising, and other means, his Marriages at Mayfair were
very popular, and interfered greatly with the Vested Interests of the
neighbouring clergy, one of whom, Dr. Trebeck, rector of St. George's,
Hanover Square, brought a lawsuit against him, in the Ecclesiastical
Court. He defended himself, but unsuccessfully, for a sentence of
excommunication was promulgated against him on Oct. 27, 1742.

Two could play at that game, so Keith excommunicated, at his Chapel in
Mayfair, his bishop, the judge who condemned him, and the prosecutor,
Dr. Trebeck, but none of them seem to have been any the worse for
the operation. Such, however, was not the case with Keith, for, on
Jan. 24, 1743, a decree was issued for his apprehension. This did not
take effect till April, 1743, when he was committed to the Fleet; the
marriages at Mayfair being continued, as we have seen, by Symson and

He lay in the Fleet about fifteen years, and in 1753, when Lord
Hardwicke's Marriage Act was being discussed, he thence issued a
pamphlet of thirty-two pages, with his portrait attached, entitled,
"Observations on the Act for preventing Clandestine Marriages." In
it he gives what seems to be "a plain, unvarnished tale" of Fleet
Marriages. "As I have married many thousands, and, consequently, have
on those occasions seen the humour of the lower class of people, I have
often asked the married pair how long they had been acquainted; they
would reply, some more, some less, but the generality did not exceed
the acquaintance of a week, some only of a day, half-a-day, &c....
Another inconveniency which will arise from this Act will be, that the
expence of being married will be so great, that few of the lower class
of people can afford; for I have often heard a Flete parson say, that
many have come to be married when they have but half-a-crown in their
pockets, and sixpence to buy a pot of beer, and for which they have
pawned some of their cloaths.... I remember once on a time, I was at
a public-house at Radcliffe, which was then full of Sailors and their
girls, there was fiddling, piping, jigging, and eating; at length one
of the tars starts up, and says, 'D--m ye, Jack, I'll be married just
now; I will have my partner, and'.... The joke took, and in less than
two hours ten couple set out for the Flete. I staid their return.
They returned in coaches; five women in each coach; the tars, some
running before, others riding on the coach box, and others behind.
The Cavalcade being over, the couples went up into an upper room,
where they concluded the evening with great jollity. The next time I
went that way, I called on my landlord and asked him concerning this
marriage adventure; he first stared at me, but, recollecting, he said
those things were so frequent, that he hardly took any notice of them;
for, added he, it is a common thing, when a fleet comes in, to have two
or three hundred marriages in a week's time, among the sailors."

The Marriage Act was passed, and came into force on March 26, 1754. On
the 25th Sixty-one Couples were married at Mayfair Chapel.

It was a death blow to the Reverend Alexander, although he tried to
laugh it off, if Horace Walpole may be believed. In a letter to George
Montagu, Esqr. (June 11, 1753), he says: "I shall only tell you a _bon
mot_ of Keith's, the marriage broker, and conclude. 'G--d d--n the
Bishops,' said he (I beg Miss Montagu's pardon), 'so they will hinder
my marrying. Well, let 'em, but I'll be revenged: I'll buy two or three
acres of ground, and by G--d, I'll under bury them all.'"

This may have been true, but it was mere bravado, for he appealed from
his prison to the benevolent, as we see by the following advertisement.
"_To the Compassionate._ By the late Marriage Act, the Rev. Mr. Keith,
from a great Degree of Affluence, is reduc'd to such a deplorable
State of Misery in the Fleet Prison, as is much better to be conceiv'd
than related, having scarce any other thing than Bread and Water to
subsist on. It is to be hoped he will be deemed truly undeserving
such a Fate, when the Publick are assured, that not foreseeing such
an unhappy Stroke of Fortune, as the late Act, he yearly expended
almost his whole Income (which amounted to several Hundred Pounds per
Annum) in relieving not only single distress'd Persons, but even whole
Families of wretched Objects of Compassion. This can be attested by
several Persons of the strictest Character and Reputation, as well as
by Numbers who experienced his Bounty. Mr. Keith's present calamitous
Situation renders him perhaps as great an Object of Charity himself, as
all Circumstances consider'd, as ever in his better Days partook of his
own Assistance, or that of others equally compassionate; and is indeed
sufficient to awaken Humanity in the most uncharitable. Any Gentleman
or Lady may be satisfied of the above by applying to Mr. Brooke,
Engraver, facing Water Lane, Fleet Street, by whom Donations from the
Publick will be received for the Use of Mr. Keith."

    [Footnote 156: Joshua Lilly, who kept one of the Hand and Pen
    houses, and said that he had been appointed Registrar of
    Marriages, by the Lord Chancellor, and had paid £1,000 for the
    post. He did not marry people, but kept presumable Clergymen
    to do so. He is mentioned several times in the Registers and
    Pocket-books. Once, at all events, he was in danger of the
    judgment seat, as Ashwell writes in one of his pocket-books:
    "N.B. On Sunday, November y^e 6, 1740, at y^e hour of 9, in my
    house declared that, if he had not come home out of y^e
    country, being fled for punishment, having Cut of his hair (to
    prevent being known), y^t y^e indictment for marrying James
    Hussey to Miss Henrietta Arnold, he had (been) ruin'd but y^t
    he swore it off and y^e attorney promis'd to defend him, and
    it cost him only a treat of 10/; had I staid, says the s^d
    Joshua Lilley, where I was, viz.----, the indictment would
    have stood good against me, but my taking y^e side of the
    prosecutor, y^e young ladies, I have got safe off." In a
    Register is a notice relating to him. "June y^e 13th, 1744.
    Whereas one Joshua Lilley, being a noted man for having more
    marriages at his house than the generality of y^e people could
    have, he the said Joshua Lilley keeping several plyars, as
    they are call'd, to gett these weddings, I have put his
    marriages down in a separate book, but findend ill-convenience
    arise thereby, fro' this 13th instant, do insert it w^{th} y^e
    rest." And one of his handbills describes him as "I. Lilley,
    at y^e Hand and Pen, next door to the china shop, Fleet
    Bridge, London, will be perform'd the solemnization of
    marriages by a gentleman regularly bred att one of our
    Universities, and lawfully ordain'd according to the
    institutions of the Church of England, and is ready to wait on
    any person in town or countrey."]

    [Footnote 157: This was John Lilley, who kept a public-house,
    called the Bull and Garter. In 1717 he was found guilty, and
    fined five pounds, for acting as Clerk at a Fleet Marriage. He
    was a turnkey at the Fleet Prison, and in his house he had a
    room for solemnizing marriages--which he called a
    Chapel--issuing certificates bearing the City Arms, and
    purporting to be the Lord Mayor's Certificates.]

    [Footnote 158: Probably John Evans, who married from 1689 to
    1729, both at the King's Bench and Fleet.]

    [Footnote 159: I am unable to identify these initials.]

[Illustration: A FLEET WEDDING.]



Keith's written description of a Fleet Marriage is graphic, but a
contemporary engraving brings it even more vividly before us. This
was published Oct. 20, 1747, and gives an excellent view of the Fleet
Market as it then was. It is called "A FLEET WEDDING, Between a brisk
young Sailor, and his Landlady's Daughter at Rederiff."

  "Scarce had the Coach discharg'd it's trusty Fare,
  But gaping Crouds surround th' amorous Pair;
  The busy Plyers make a mighty Stir!
  And whisp'ring cry, d'ye want the Parson, Sir?
  Pray step this way--just to the PEN IN HAND
  The Doctor's ready there at your Command:
  This way (another cries) Sir, I declare
  The true and ancient Register is Here.
  Th' alarmed Parsons quickly hear the Din!
  And haste with soothing words t'invite them in:
  In this Confusion jostled to and fro,
  Th' inamour'd Couple knows not where to go:
  Till slow advancing from the Coache's Side
  Th' experienc'd Matron came (an artful Guide)
  She led the way without regarding either,
  And the first parson spliced 'em both together."


The Context to this is a companion Engraving of "THE SAILOR'S
FLEET WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT," which most aptly illustrates Keith's
description, but the poetry attached to it will scarcely bear modern

But, if a poetical account of a Fleet Wedding is needed, it may be

  "Good people attend, I'll discover,
  A Wedding that happen'd of late,
  I cannot tell why we should smother,
  The weddings of poor more than great;
  'Twixt Ben of the Borough so pretty,
  Who carries a basket, 'tis said,
  And dainty plump Kent street fair Kitty,
  A Coney Wool Cutter by trade.

  The guests were all quickly invited,
  Ben order'd the dinner by noon,
  And Kitty was highly delighted,
  They obey'd the glad summons so soon:
  An ox cheek was order'd for dinner,
  With plenty of porter and gin,
  Ben swore on the oath of a sinner,
  Nothing should be wanting in him.

  Joe the sandman, and Bessy the bunter,
  We hear from St. Giles's did prance,
  Dick the fiddler, and Sally the Mumper,
  Brought Levi the Jew for to dance.
  Tom the Chanter he quickly was present,
  And squinting black Molly likewise,
  With Billy the Dustman quite pleasant,
  And Nell with no nose and sore eyes.

  Ned the drover was also invited,
  Unto this gay wedding to come,
  From Smithfield he came quite delighted,
  Before that the market was done.
  And Fanny the pretty match maker,
  A sister to young bunting Bess,
  She wished the devil might take her
  If she was not one of the guests.

  Dolly the rag woman's daughter,
  From Tyburn road she did stride,
  And Jenny the quilter came after
  Whose nose it stood all of one side;
  There was Roger the chimney sweeper,
  No soot he would gather that day,
  But, because he would look the compleater,
  His soot bag and brush threw away.

  There was bandy leg'd sheep's head Susan
  We hear from Field Lane she did hie,
  And draggle tail'd Pat with no shoes on,
  Who pins and laces doth cry;
  Ralph the grinder he set by his barrow,
  As soon as he heard of the news,
  And swore he would be there to-morrow,
  Atho' he'd no heels to his shoes.

  Sam the grubber, he having had warning,
  His wallet and broom down did lay,
  And early attended next morning,
  The bride for to give away;
  And Peggy the mop yarn spinner,
  Her Cards and her wheel set aside,
  And swore as she was a sinner,
  She'd go and attire the bride.

  Nan the tub woman out of Whitechapel,
  Was also invited to go,
  And, as she was 'kin to the couple,
  She swore she the stocking would throw;
  So having all gather'd together,
  As they appointed to meet,
  And being all birds of a feather,
  They presently flocked to the Fleet.

  But when at Fleet Bridge they arrived,
  The bridegroom was handing his bride,
  The sailors [_? plyers_] they all to them drived,
  Do you want a Parson? they cry'd;
  But as they down Fleet Ditch did prance,
  What house shall we go to? says Ben,
  Then Kitty, in raptures, made answer
  Let's go to the Hand and the Pen.

  Then into the house they did bundle,
  The landlady shew'd them a room,
  The landlord he roar'd out like thunder,
  The parson shall wait on you soon:
  Then so eager he came for to fasten,
  He staid not to fasten his hose,
  A fat bellied ruddy fac'd parson,
  That brandy had painted his nose.

  But before (he) the couple did fasten
  He look'd all around on the men,
  My fee's half a crown, says the parson,--
  I freely will give it, says Ben:
  Then Hymen he presently follow'd
  And the happy knot being ty'd
  The guests they whooped and hollow'd,
  All joys to the bridegroom and bride.

  Like Malt horses home they all pranced,
  The bride she look'd not like the same,
  And thus thro' the City they danced;
  But, when to the Borough they came,
  The bride to look buxom endeavour'd,
  The bridegroom as brisk as an eel;
  With the marrow bones and cleavers,
  The butchers they rang them a peal.

  And, as they were homewards advancing,
  A-dancing, and singing of songs,
  The rough music met them all prancing,
  With frying pans, shovels, and tongs:
  Tin Canisters, salt boxes plenty,
  With trotter bones beat by the boys,
  And they being hollow and empty,
  They made a most racketting noise.

  Bowls, gridirons, platters, and ladles,
  And pokers, tin kettles did bruise,
  The noise, none to bear it was able,
  The warming pans beat with old shoes:
  Such a rattling racketting uproar,
  Had you but have heard it, no doubt,
  All hell was broke loose you'd have swore,
  And the devils were running about.

  The Mob they all hollow'd and shouted,
  In the streets as they passed along,
  The people to see how they scouted,
  Together in clusters did throng;
  They made all the noise they was able,
  And thus they were ushered in,
  But e'er they all sat down to table,
  They each had a glass of old gin.

  Dinner being decently ended,
  The table was cleared with speed,
  And they to be merry intended,
  So strait did to dancing proceed;
  But Harry the night man so jolly,
  With madness he almost cry'd,
  And all the night sat melancholy,
  For he had a mind for the bride."

There are four more verses, but they are not worth
transcribing--besides, there is a very good prose account of the
doings at the Fleet, which, certainly, bears the impress of truth. It
is in No. 270 of the _Grub Street Journal_, Feb. 27, 1735:--

"Sir, There is a very great evil in this town, and of dangerous
consequence to our sex, that has never been suppressed, to the great
prejudice, and ruin, of many hundreds of young people, every year;
which I beg some of your learned heads to consider of, and consult
of proper ways and means to prevent for the future: I mean the
ruinous marriages that are practised in the liberty of the _Fleet_,
and thereabouts, by a sett of drunken, swearing parsons, with their
Myrmidons that wear black coats, and pretend to be clerks, and
registers to the Fleet. These ministers of wickedness ply about
Ludgate Hill, pulling and forcing people to some pedling alehouse, or
brandy shop, to be married, even on a sunday, stopping them as they
go to church, and almost tearing their cloaths off their backs. To
confirm the truth of these facts, I will give you a case or two, which
lately happened:--

"Since midsummer last, a young lady of birth and fortune, was deluded
and forced from her friends, by the assistance of a very wicked,
swearing parson, married to an atheistical wretch, whose life is a
continual practice of all manner of vice and debauchery. And, since
the ruin of my relation, another lady of my acquaintance had like to
have been trapanned in the following manner:--

"This lady had appointed to meet a gentlewoman at the Old Play-house
in Drury Lane; but extraordinary business prevented her coming. Being
alone, when the play was done, she bade a boy call a coach for the
City. One drest like a gentleman helps her into it, and jumps in after
her. 'Madam,' says he, 'this coach was called for me: and since the
weather is so bad, and there is no other, I beg leave to bear you
company; I am going into the City, and will set you down wherever
you please.' The lady begged to be excused; but he bade the coachman
drive on. Being come to Ludgate hill, he told her his sister, who
waited his coming, but five doors up the Court, would go with her in
two minutes. He went, and returned with his pretended sister, who
asked her to step in one minute, and she would wait upon her in the

"Deluded with the assurance of having his sister's company, the poor
lady foolishly followed her into the house, when, instantly, the
sister vanish'd; and a tawny fellow in a black coat and black wig
appeared. 'Madam, you are come in good time, the doctor was just a
going.' 'The doctor,' says she, horribly frighted, fearing it was a
madhouse; 'What has the doctor to do with me?' 'To marry you to that
gentleman: the doctor has waited for you these three hours, and will
be payed by you or the gentleman before you go.' 'That gentleman,'
says she, recovering herself, 'is worthy a better fortune than mine.'
And begged hard to be gone. But doctor WRYNECK swore she shou'd be
married; or, if she wou'd not, he would still have his fee, and
register the marriage from that night. The lady, finding she could not
escape without money or a pledge, told them she liked the gentleman so
well, she would certainly meet him to-morrow night, and gave them a
ring as a pledge: which, says she, 'was my mother's gift on her
deathbed, injoining that if ever I married, it should be my wedding
ring.' By which cunning contrivance, she was delivered from the black
doctor, and his tawny crew.

"Some time after this, I went with this lady, and her brother, in a
coach to Ludgate Hill, in the day time, to see the manner of their
picking up people to be married. As soon as our coach stopt near Fleet
Bridge, up comes on of the Myrmidons. 'Madam,' says he, 'you want a
parson.' 'Who are you?' says I. 'I am the clerk and register of the
Fleet.' 'Show me the Chapel.' At which comes a second, desiring me to
go along with him. Says he, 'That fellow will carry you to a pedling
alehouse. Says a third, 'Go with me, he will carry you to a brandy
shop.' In the interim, comes the doctor. 'Madam,' says he, 'I'll do
your jobb for you presently.' 'Well, gentlemen,' says I, 'since you
can't agree, and I can't be married quietly, I'll put it off 'till
another time,' so drove away."

Some of the stories of Fleet Marriages read like romances, yet they
are all taken from contemporary accounts. Here, for instance, is a
fact, scarcely to be believed nowadays:--"Jan. 5, 1742. On Tuesday last
two Persons, one of Skinner Street, and the other of Webb's Square,
Spittle Fields, exchang'd Wives, to whom they had been married upwards
of twelve Years; and the same Day, to the Content of all Parties, the
Marriages were consummated at the Fleet. Each Husband gave his Wife
away to the other, and in the Evening had an Entertainment together."

Or this from the _Whitehall Evening Post_, July 24, 1739:--"On Tuesday
last a Woman indifferently well dress'd came to the sign of the Bull
and Garter, next Door to the Fleet Prison, and was there married to a
Soldier; in the afternoon she came again, and would have been married
to a Butcher, but that Parson who had married her in the Morning
refused to marry her again, which put her to the Trouble of going a few
Doors further, to another Parson, who had no Scruple."

Here is another story indicative of the Manners and Morals of those
days:--Oct. 1739. "Last Week, a merry Widow, near Bethnal Green, having
a pretty many Admirers, not to be over Cruel, she equally dispensed
her Favours between two, who were the highest in her Esteem. The one,
a Butcher, meeting the good Woman, took the Advantage of the others
Absence, and pleaded his Cause so successfully, that they tuck'd up
their Tails, trudg'd to the Fleet, and were tack'd together. Home they
both jogg'd to their several habitations, the Bridegroom to his, and
the Bride to her's. Soon after came another of her Admirers, an honest
Weaver, who, upon hearing of the Melancholy News, had no more Life in
him for some time than one of the Beams of his Loom; but, recovering
himself a little from the Surprize he was seized with a sudden
Delirium, swore his Loom should be his Gibbet, and he'd hang himself
pendant at the End of his Garter, if he also was not tack'd to his
comfortable Rib: The good Widow, considering that the Butcher had not
bedded with her, and desirous of preventing Murder, consented, and away
she jogg'd to be coupled to the Weaver. On their return home, to Bed
they went, and the Butcher coming to see his dear Spouse, found her
in Bed with the Weaver; upon which a Quarrel ensued, and the Butcher
being the best Man, she left the Weaver and went to the Butcher, being
willing to please them both, as well as she could."




There are several instances of Committal to the Fleet for meddling with
Marriages. One or two will suffice:--1731. "Thursday, the Master of the
Rolls committed a Clergyman to the Fleet for marrying a young Gentleman
about 17 years of Age at Eaton School, and intitled to an Estate of
£1500 per Annum, to a Servant Maid: and at the same time committed the
person who gave her in Marriage. His Honour had some days since sent
as Prisoner to the Fleet, the Person who pretended to be the Youth's
Guardian, and who had given a Bond to indemnify the Parson."

1735. "Two Sisters were committed to the Fleet prison, by an order of
the high Court of Chancery, for drawing a young fellow into marriage,
he being a ward of the said Court."

Dec. 28, 1734. "Last Saturday Night Mr. D---- late Valet de Chambre to
a certain Noble Lord near Soho Square, went away, as was suspected,
with his Lordship's Niece, a young Lady not yet of Age, and a Coheiress
to a very large Estate. It seems they took a Hackney Coach soon after
they got out of Doors, and upon strict Enquiry, the Coachman was found
out, who declared that he took a Gentleman and a Lady up at such a
Place, and set them down at the Fleet, and by the Description he gave
it appeared to be the two Lovers, who may therefore be supposed to have
been married and bedded that Night. A Warrant was immediately obtained
for apprehending the Supposed Bridegroom, and he was accordingly taken
in Bed with his Lady, at a house in Queen Street near Guildhall, on
Wednesday Morning last, and immediately carried to Poultry Compter,
and the Lady was carried off by her Friends. In the Afternoon he was
examined, and afterwards re-committed to the same Prison. So that it
seems he is to suffer for endeavouring to get himself a _Rich Wife_,
which is a Practice followed by all the young _Gentlemen_ of _Quality_
in England; but the Difference is, _That this young fellow has married,
or endeavoured to marry an Heiress without the Consent of her Friends,
whereas the other generally marry or endeavour to marry Heiresses
without their own Consent._ It has since been found out that they were
married by a Roman Catholic Priest."

There was a faint-hearted protest on the part of the Fleet authorities,
against the Marriages, but I can find no attempt at prosecution, other
than for marrying without a stamped licence, in spite of the following

 "September, 1743. WHEREAS the Methods hitherto taken to prevent
 clandestine Marriages at the Fleet have prov'd ineffectual,
 though legal Notice hath been given by the Warden of the Fleet
 to such of his Tenants in whose houses it is reputed such
 Marriages have been suffer'd, to quit the Possession thereof;
 therefore, and as such Warning cannot immediately have the
 desir'd Effect, this Publick Notice is given, that, whoever
 shall make it appear to the Warden's Satisfaction that any of
 his Prisoners, shall at any time hereafter clandestinely marry,
 or be, in any manner however, concern'd in any clandestine
 Marriage, or suffer such Marriages to be performed in his, hers,
 or their Houses, or Lodgings, such Person or Persons making such
 Discovery, shall receive a Guinea Reward from the Turnkey of the
 said Prison.


There were several people of fortune married by Fleet parsons _vide
Grub Street Journal_, September 18, 1735, "Married yesterday Will
Adams, Esqr., to Miss Eleanor Watkins, a beautiful young lady, with a
fortune of £15,000." And in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, May 6, 1735,
"Married the Lord Robert Montagu, to Mrs. Harriet Dunch of Whitehall,
with a fortune of £15,000."

Somewhat of a curiosity is recorded in "Notes and Queries," 4 series,
vol. xii. p. 295. "I have before me an engraved medal, bearing the
following inscription, about which I should be glad of information.
'May y^e 3, 1761. Thos. Wisely Maried Sarah Boswell in the Fleet
Prison.'" This, in all probability, was a half-crown with one side made
smooth, and the above engraved upon it.

There is no doubt but that, with a duly stamped licence and until
they were specially done away with by Lord Hardwicke's Act of 1753,
these marriages were legal; still there is an instance recorded in the
_General Evening Post_, June 27/29, 1745, in which a Fleet marriage
was ruled to be illegal. "Yesterday came on a cause at Doctor's
Commons, wherein the plaintiff brought his action against the defendant
for pretending to be his wife. She, in her justification, pleaded a
marriage at the Fleet the 6th of February, 1737, and produced a Fleet
Certificate, which was not allowed as evidence. She likewise offered
to produce the minister she pretended married them, but he being
excommunicate for clandestine marriages, could not be received as a
witness. The Court thereupon pronounced against the marriage, and
condemned her in £28, the costs of the suit."

The Registers in which these marriages were entered have mostly had
an eventful and chequered career. Many have, doubtless, disappeared
for ever, and it is extremely probable that some are in private hands,
one being in the Bodleian Library. They were to be bought by any one
interested in them, and the present collection cannot be considered as
being at all perfect. We learn the adventures of some of them through
the evidence of a Mrs. Olive, who produced one at a trial at Shrewsbury
in 1794. This woman was originally a servant to Joshua Lilly, and
used to "ply" or tout for him, and at his death married one Owens,
who succeeded to one of Lilly's marriage houses, and who, probably,
bought his Registers from his representatives. At this Trial she said:
"My first husband was Thos. Owens. I had the Register Books of Fleet
Marriages in my possession from my Marriage in 1761 till I went to
America eleven years ago. I then sold them to Mr. Panton. My husband
Owens died about 1773. My husband made a will. I had the possession of
the books myself, as my husband had other business. I heard my husband
say he purchased these books. He had a Marriage House in Fleet Lane. I
used the books to grant certificates upon parish affairs."

After her Marriage with Olive she still made use of these Registers,
for we read in an Advertisement that "All the original Register
Books containing the marriages solemnized at the Fleet, May Fair,
and the Mint, for upwards of one hundred years past, may be searched
by applying to George Olive, at the Wheat Sheaf, in Nicholls Square,
near Cripplegate. The great utility of these Collections prevents any

About 1783 a Mr. Benjamin Panton bought of Mrs. Olive some five or six
hundred of these books, weighing more than a ton, and used to produce
them occasionally on trials at law, and they were always accepted as

At his death in 1805 he left these to his daughter, who still utilised
them as her father had done, as a handbill shows. "All the original
Register Books of the Marriages in the Fleet, May Fair, and Mint,
are now in the possession of M. Panton (Register Keeper), No. 50,
Houndsditch, by whom they are examined, and Certificates of Marriages

In 1813 she sold them to a Mr. William Cox, who, in 1821, sold them to
the Government for £260 6s. 6d., and the following letter shows us what
became of them.

 "WHITEHALL, _April_ 25, 1821.

 "SIR,--It having been judged expedient to purchase a set of
 books containing the original Entries of Marriages solemnized in
 the Fleet Prison, and Rules thereof, from the year 1686 to the
 year 1754. I have been honoured with his Majesty's commands to
 desire that you will receive the said books from Mr. Maule the
 Solicitor to the Treasury, and give him a receipt for the same,
 and deposit them in the Registry of the Consistory Court of

 "I have the honour to be, Sir,

 "Your most obedient humble Servant,


 "The Registrar of the Consistory Court of London, or his Deputy."

Here they remained until the abolition of the Court in 1840, by Act of
Parliament, 3 and 4 Vic. cap. 92, when they were declared inadmissible
as evidence in law. Sec. 6 says, "And be it enacted That all Registers
and Records deposited in the General Register Office by virtue of this
Act, except the Registers and Records of Baptisms and Marriages at _The
Fleet_, and _King's Bench_ Prisons, at _May Fair_, at the _Mint_ in
_Southwark_, and elsewhere, which were deposited in the Registry of the
Bishop of _London_ in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty
One, as hereinafter mentioned, shall be deemed to be in legal Custody,
and shall be receivable in Evidence in all Courts of Justice, subject
to the Provisions hereinafter contained."

And Section 20 provides thus, "And be it enacted, That the several
Registers and Records of Baptisms and Marriages performed at the
Fleet" (&c., &c., as in Section 6) "shall be transferred from the
said Registry to the Custody of the Registrar-General, who is hereby
directed to receive the same for safe custody." And it recapitulates
that they shall not be received as evidence at law.

They are kept at Somerset House, where they can be examined for a small
fee. A great number of them are memorandum books, and Burn, when he
examined them at Doctors Commons, in 1833, did not much like his job.
"It is to be wished that they were better arranged and indexed. There
are several very large indexes, which only requires a little time and
attention to ascertain to what Registers they refer. The Pocket books
also, might be bound together, and preserved from dust and dirt; and if
Government would give about £300 these objects might be attained. It
was a labour of many months to go through so many hundreds of dusty,
dirty, and sometimes ragged books."

The entries in the pocket-books are quainter than those in the
registries, as they are the first impressions, and the others are
polished up. We find from them that it was not infrequent to antedate
the Registers, and Lilley did so on one occasion, "there being a
vacancy in the Book suitable to the time." And, again, "These wicked
people came this day, Peter Oliver, of St. Olave's, carpenter, and
Elizabeth Overton, would have a certificate dated in 1729, or would not
be married if it was not to be dated to this time--went to Lilley's and
was married."

Perhaps the most extraordinary entries in these books are those of two
women going through the ceremony of marriage with each other--

 "20 May, 1737. J^{no} Smith, Gent. of S^t James West^r Batch^r
 & Eliz. Huthall of S^t Giles's Sp^r at Wilsons. By y^e opinion
 after Matrimony, my Clark judg'd they were both women, if y^e
 person by name John Smith be a man, he's a little short fair
 thin man, not above 5 foot. After marriage I almost c'd prove
 y^m both women, the one was dress'd as a man, thin pale face, &
 wrinkled chin."

 "1734 Dec. 15. John Mountford of S^t Ann's Sohoe, Taylor. B.,
 Mary Cooper. Ditto. Sp. Suspected 2 Women, no Certif."

 "1 Oct. 1747. John Ferren, Gent, Ser. of S^t Andrew's Holborn
 B^r and Deborah Nolan. D^o Sp^n. The supposed John Ferren was
 discovered after y^e Ceremonies were over, to be in person a

There is one entry, "The Woman ran across Ludgate Hill in her shift."
In the _Daily Journal_ of November 8, 1725, a woman went to be married
in that sole garment, at Ulcomb, in Kent; and in the Parish Register of
Chiltern All Saints in October 17, 1714, it says: "The aforesaid Anne
Sellwood was married in her Smock, without any clothes or head gier
on." This was a vulgar error, but the idea in so acting was that the
husband was not liable for any of his wife's pre-nuptial debts.

The candidates for matrimony were occasionally not over-honest,
as--"Had a noise for foure hours about the Money." "N.B. Stole a Silver
Spoon." "Stole my Cloathes Brush." "N.B. Married at a Barber's Shop
next Wilsons viz., one Kerrils for half a Guinea, after which it was
extorted out of my pocket, and for fear of my life delivered." "They
behaved very vilely, and attempted to run away with M^{rs} Crooks Gold

But then, again, these Fleet parsons had customers of a higher grade,
as "Dec. 1, 1716. Dan Paul, S^t James's, Capt^n in y^e Horse Guards."
"March y^e 4^{th} 1740. William--and Sarah--he dress'd in a gold
waistcoat like an Officer, she a Beautifull young Lady with 2 fine
diamond Rings, and a Black high Crown Hat and very well dressed." "Nov.
y^e 24, 1733 att y^e Baptized hed Tavern to go to M^r Gibbs for to
marry him in y^e countrey--Wife worth £18,000." "Septr^5, 1744 Andrew
Mills, Gent. of the Temple, & Charlotte Gail lairdy of S^t Mildred,
Poultry at M^r Boyce's, King's head. N.B. One gentleman came first in
a merry manner to make a bargain w^{th} the Minister for the marriage,
and immediately came the parties themselves, disguising their dress
by contrivances, particularly buttning up the coat, because the rich
wastecoat should not be seen, &c."

The Church of England Marriage Service was generally used, but, in
one instance, as shown by a pocket-book, it was somewhat modified,
as when the ring is given the Trinity is not mentioned, but the words
are altered to "from this time forth for evermore. Amen;" and when the
couple promise to hold together "according to God's holy ordinance,"
it was rendered "according to law." There seems to have been but one
example of the officiating Clergyman administering the Sacrament at a
Marriage, and that was done by the Rev. W. Dan, who describes himself
as "priest of the Church of England." "October 2^{nd} 1743 John Figg,
of S^t John's the Evang^s Gent. a Widower, and Rebecca Woodward, of
Ditto, Spinster, at y^e same time gave her y^e Sacrament."

The Scandal of Fleet Marriages remained unchecked until 1753, when
the Lord Chancellor brought forward and passed "An Act for the better
preventing of clandestine marriages"--26 Geo. III. cap. 33--which, in
its different sections, provides that the Banns of Matrimony are to be
published according to the rubric, &c., the marriage to be solemnized
in one of the churches where the banns had been published. Marriage by
licence could only take place in the church or chapel of such parish,
&c., where one of the parties should have resided for four weeks

This was the death-blow to the Fleet Marriages, as any contravention of
the law was made punishable by transportation "to some of his Majesty's
plantations in America for the space of fourteen years, according to
the laws in force for the transportation of felons."

The Act came into force on March 26, 1754, but people took advantage of
the Fleet Marriages until the last moment, and that in great numbers,
for in one Register alone there is a list of 217 weddings celebrated on
the 25th of March!

The last Fleet Wedding is recorded in the _Times_ of July 10, 1840:
"Mr. John Mossington, aged 76, and a Prisoner in the Fleet, more than
15 years, was, on Wednesday, married to Miss Anne Weatherhead, aged
62, at St. Bride's Church. The Lady had travelled 36 Miles to meet her
bridegroom, who is, without exception, one of the most extraordinary
men in this County. He takes his morning walks round the Fleet prison
yard, which he repeats three or four times a day, with as much rapidity
as a young man could do of the age of 20. The Road from Farringdon
Street to the Church, was lined with Spectators who knew of the event,
and the Church was equally filled to hear the Ceremony performed. The
Courtship first commenced 41 years ago, and Mr. Mossington has now
fulfilled his promise."


[Illustration: MAP OF THE FLEET.]



  Aldgate Pump, 1

  Alsatia, 223, 224

  Annis (Dame) the Cleare, 10

  Antiquarian Discoveries, 18, 19

  Apothecaries Hall, 205

  Apprentices and City Authorities, 216, 217, 218

  Archer, J. W., 81

  Archery, 116, 117

  Artillery Ground, 116

  Ashwell, E., 344, 345, 346

  Bagnigge House, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85

  Bagnigge Wells, 4, 73, 77, 78,
    79, 80, 81, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89,
    90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97,

  Bambridge, Thos., 268, 269, 270,
    271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 296

  Basset, Bartholomew, 337, 338

  Battle Bridge, 38, 39

  Baynard's Castle, 5-15,

  Bear baiting, 139, 140, 141

  Begging Grate, 275, 276

  Billingsgate, fountain at, 14

  Black Mary's Hole, 77, 78, 79, 85

  Bleeding Heart Yard, 164

  Boughton, 247, 250, 251, 252, 253

  "Boy" (Prince Rupert's Dog), 154

  Brabazon, Roger le, 6-15

  Brent, the, 21

  Bridewell, 206, 207, 208,
    209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214,
    215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221

  Brill, the, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43

  Brooke Street, Hanover Square, 2

  Brothers, 105

  Brown's Dairy, 34

  Bull baiting, 139, 141, 142,
    143, 144, 145, 146, 147

  Bunter's Wedding, the, 365, 366, 367, 368

  Cantelows, 32, 35, 49

  Chad's, St., Well, 45, 46, 47,
    48, 49, 50, 51, 52

  Cheape Conduit, 14

  City Authorities and Apprentices, 216, 217, 218

  Clement's Well, 8, 9

  Clerken Well, 4, 8, 9, 45, 183, 184, 185

  Cobham's Head, 115

  Cock, a man eats a live, 70

  Coldbath, 4, 111, 112

  Coldbath Fields, 111, 118, 119

  Coldbath Fields Prison, 99, 100, 101,
    102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108,
    109, 110

  Cöln, stinks at, 16

  Conduits, 13, 14

  Conduit, White, 54, 55, 56,
    57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63,
    64, 65, 66, 120

  Coppin, Edward, 255, 256, 257

  Cornhill, the Tun in, 14

  Court Room at Bridewell, 219, 220, 221

  Cresswell, Mother, 219

  Cripplegate, fountain at, 14

  Cripplegate Pool, 8, 11

  Cruikshank, Isaac Robert, 309, 310

  Dustman, the Literary, 44, 45

  Election, a mock, 308, 309

  "Elephant," skeleton of, found, 17

  Ely Place, 163, 164, 165,
    166, 167, 168, 169, 170

  Everett, John, 41, 42

  Fagin, 158, 159, 160, 161

  Fag's Well, 8, 10

  Falstaff, Sir John, 240

  Field Lane, 158, 160, 161

  Fighting, 137, 138, 139

  Fleet Bridge, 189, 190, 191, 193

  Fleet, derivation of name, 2

  Fleet Ditch, 1-7, 14, 16,
    17, 18, 19, 20, 176, 226

  Fleet Market, 186, 187, 188

  Fleet Marriages, 327, 328, 329,
    330, 331, 333, 335, 336, 337,
    338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343,
    344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349,
    350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355,
    356, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365,
    366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371,
    372, 373, 375, 376, 377, 378,
    379, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384,

  Fleet Prison, the, 229, 230, 231,
    232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237,
    238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243,
    244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249,
    250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255,
    256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261,
    262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267,
    268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273,
    274, 275, 276, 279, 280, 281,
    282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287,
    288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 294,
    295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300,
    301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306,
    307, 308, 309, 310, 312, 313,
    314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319,
    320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325

  Fleet Registers, 378, 379, 380,
    381, 382, 383, 384

  Fleet River, 26, 27, 28, 29, 100,
    155, 172, 185, 186, 188, 225,

  Floud, John, 346, 347, 348

  Forcer, proprietor of Sadler's Wells, 71

  Foster, Sir Stephen, 201, 202

  Fountain at Billingsgate, 14

  Fountain at Paul's Wharf, 14

  Fountain at St. Giles, Cripplegate, 14

  Garnish, 293, 294, 295

  Garth, Dr., 205

  Gaynam, John, 340, 341, 342, 343

  Gordon, Lord George, 25, 301, 302

  Gospel Oak, 29, 30, 31

  Griffith, Chas., 91

  Gwynne, Nell, 32, 81, 82, 83

  Hampstead, 7-14, 26

  Hampstead Ponds, 27

  Harris, Alex., Warden of the
    Fleet, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249,
    250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255,
    256, 257, 258, 259

  Hatton Garden, 163

  Hatton, the Chancellor, 163, 164

  Hemp beetling at Bridewell, 210, 211, 213

  Hockley-in-the-Hole, 137, 139, 146,
    147, 148, 152

  Hogarth, 274

  Holborn Bridge, 170, 172, 173,
    174, 175, 176

  Holy Well, 8, 9, 10

  Horse Pool, 8, 11

  Howard, John, 214, 216, 295,
    296, 297

  Huggins, 265, 266, 267,
    268, 269, 272, 275

  "Humours of the Fleet," 279, 280,
    281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286,
    287, 288, 289, 290, 291

  Hunt, "Orator," 129, 130, 131,
    132, 133, 134

  Huntingdon, Lady, 122, 123, 124, 125

  Keith, Parson, 349, 350, 354,
    356, 357, 358, 359, 360, 361

  Ken Wood, 25

  Kentish Town, 27, 28, 32,
    33, 34, 35

  King's Cross, 38, 43, 44

  Ladies' ablutions, 113

  Lamb's Conduit, 4, 179, 180,
    181, 182

  Lando, James, 354, 355

  Langbourne, 8

  Leveland, Nathaniel de, 229

  Lilley, John, 352

  Lilley, Joshua, 349, 351, 352, 378

  Loders Well, 8, 10

  Ludgate Prison, 195, 196, 197,
    198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203

  Macklin, 72

  Man drowned in the Fleet River, 226

  Man frozen in the Fleet River, 226

  Mansfield, Earl of, 25

  Marriages, 330, 331, 332, 372, 375

  Mary le Bourne, St., 2

  Mayfair Chapel, 357, 358, 360

  Merlin's Cave, 129

  Miles' Musick house, 69

  Mill at Bridewell, 209, 210

  Moat, the Fleet Prison, 235, 236

  Montfitchet Castle, 208

  Mottram, John, 339

  Nelson, Lord, 35

  Northampton Chapel, 123

  Oastler, Richard, 325

  Old Bourne, 5, 8

  Oldcastle, the Sir John, 17, 112,
    114, 115, 116, 117, 118

  Pancras, St., 29, 36, 37

  Pancras Wash, 38

  Pantheon, the, 119, 120, 121, 122

  Parliament Hill, 31, 36

  Parsons, Fleet, 328, 333, 334,
    335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340,
    341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346,
    347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352,
    353, 354, 355, 356

  Paul's Wharf, fountain at, 14

  Peerless Pool, 11

  Periless Pond, 11

  Physicians, College of, 205

  Pickwick and Hampstead Ponds, 27

  Pindar of Wakefield, 73, 74, 75

  Pools, 8-11

  Prisoners, Poor, 324, 325

  "Punch" and Bagnigge Wells, 93, 94, 95, 96

  Rackets, 303, 304, 305

  Rad Well, 8, 10, 80

  Rhone, 48, 51

  Riots, no Popery, 25, 26, 301,
    302, 303

  Rules of the Fleet, 263

  Rupert, Prince, 154

  Rush boats, 21

  Rye House Plot, 188, 189

  Sadler's Wells, 53, 67, 68,
    69, 70, 71, 73, 120

  Saffron Hill, 155, 156, 157

  Schools, King Edward's, 218, 219

  Sedley Place, Oxford Street, 13

  Shepherd's Well, Hampstead, 22

  Skinner's Well, 8-10

  Small Pox Hospital, 118, 119

  Spa Fields Chapel, 123, 124

  Spa Field Riots, 127, 129, 130,
    131, 132, 133, 134, 135

  "Spence's Plan," 127, 128

  Springs, 1-7, 8, 9, 10

  "Steel," The, 102

  Sword Play, 147, 148, 149,
    150, 151, 152

  Symson, Peter, 353, 354

  Tod Well, 10

  Tonne, or Tunne, the, in Cornhill, 14

  Toxophilite Society, 116

  Traitor's Hill, 31, 36

  Treadmill, Early, 209, 210

  Turnmill Brook, 6

  Turnmill Street and Brook, 170

  Tye-bourne, The, 2, 13, 22, 23

  Waithman, Alderman, 193, 194

  Walbrook, 2-8

  Ward, Ned, on Bridewell, 212, 213, 214

  Wardens of the Fleet, 229, 230, 231,
    232, 233, 234, 237, 245, 247, 248,
    249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255,
    256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262,
    265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271,
    272, 304, 313, 314

  Wardens of the Fleet--_Ladies_, 231, 232

  Warwick, Earl of, 205

  Wells, River of, 4, 7, 8, 53

  Westbourne, the, 23

  West Street, 155, 156, 157, 158

  Whipping at Bridewell, 212, 213, 214

  Whistling Shop, a, 306, 307, 308

  Whitbrooke, Sir John, 247, 248, 249,
    250, 251, 252, 253

  White Conduit, 4, 53

  Whitefriars, 223, 224, 225

  Whittington, Sir Rd., 11

  Wilkes, John, 193, 194, 195

  Wolsey, Cardinal, 240, 241, 242

  Wyatt, Walter, 333, 348, 349, 350

  "Zigzag," 81


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

    Some words are sometimes hyphenated, and sometimes not hyphenated.
    All reasonable variants of spelling, grammar and punctuation have
    been retained.

    There are a lot of sometimes old foreign words, and some
    French/English hybrid text from earlier centuries.

    England did not have spelling or punctuation rules until
    the various Public Instruction Acts (c. 1860-70) in Queen Victoria's
    reign. In this book, that may have also extended to French and Latin

    Mismatched quotes. Punctuation is not always regular;
    some opened quotes are not always closed.

    General Note: Mismatched quotes often occur with quotations where
    the quotation is enclosed within double quotes and each line or
    paragraph within that quote begins with double quotes but has no
    end double quote.

    Minor typographical errors have been corrected.

    All sidenotes have been moved to the start of the paragraphs in
    which they appear in the original. Where the paragraph is a
    quotation then the double quote has been moved to the start of the
    first sidenote. This ensures that all side-notes within that
    paragraph are contained within the double quotes at the beginning
    and end of the quotation.

      See Line 494: Sidenote "_Riuer of Wels_:
      and Line 607: Sidenote: "_Fitzstephen. Holy well.

    Line 770: 'discretionbus' corrected to 'discretionibus'.

    Line 1436: Unspaced punctuation, e.g. "Near Battle Bridge,'tis
    plain, sirs:", is as printed, and denotes elisions (the running
    together of words to fit the metre).

    Lines 2789-90: Mismatched quotes "Yours, &c., "EUGENIO."

    Line 8156: "cortége" is an old spelling (in use until the end of
    the 19th century).

    There are many occasions when the term 'l.' or 'li.' is used.
    'l.' or 'li.' = libra = pound/pounds. or £, so, £140 = 140 l.
    or 140 li.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Fleet. Its Rivers, Prison, and Marriages" ***

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