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Title: London Signs and Inscriptions
Author: Norman, Philip
Language: English
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                          The Camden Library.

                               EDITED BY

                       G. LAURENCE GOMME, F.S.A.


                       T. FAIRMAN ORDISH, F.S.A.


                          THE CAMDEN LIBRARY.


                        SIGNS AND INSCRIPTIONS.


                         PHILIP NORMAN, F.S.A.


                        _WITH AN INTRODUCTION_


                       HENRY B. WHEATLEY, F.S.A.


                  ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW.


   _In handsome post 8vo. size; tastefully printed in antique style.
    On fine paper with rough edges, and bound in cloth, at 6s. per
       volume; bound in roxburgh, with gilt top, price 7s. 6d.;
          roxburgh binding, 10s. 6d. net. Large-paper copies,
                              21s. net._

                        published, is entitled

                           OF THE EXCHEQUER.

               By HUBERT HALL, F.S.A., of H.M.’s Public
                            Record Office.

           _With illustrations by RALPH NEVILL, F.S.A., and
      an Introduction by Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, Bart., F.R.S., F.S.A._

  ‘This, the first volume of a valuable series, is perhaps one of the
  most interesting works of its kind. The facts and anecdotes which
  are woven into the pages are curious, and no doubt will be perfectly
  new to many readers.’--_Public Opinion._

  ‘Will be immensely superior to the ordinary kind of serial handbooks,
  if Mr. Hubert Hall’s scholarly and well-written book is a fair
  sample.... His account of the origins of our national finance is
  full of valuable information which cannot be easily found elsewhere.’
  --_St. James’s Gazette._

  ‘It does great credit to the persevering industry, discrimination,
  and literary skill of its author.’--_Daily Telegraph._




I HAVE been asked to write a short introduction to this volume of the
Camden Library, and I do so with great pleasure.

The subject of sculptured signs is one of considerable interest, to
which too little attention has hitherto been devoted, and the treatment
of this important section of London antiquities could not have fallen
into better hands than into those of Mr. Philip Norman, who has devoted
many years of patient labour to the search for these signs, which are
often found in very out-of-the-way localities. Mr. Norman possesses one
most important qualification for the task he has undertaken, in that he
is an accomplished artist. He is thus doubly well equipped both as an
antiquary and as an artist.

It will, I think, surprise many readers to learn that so much is still
left to us, and I hope that the attention drawn to some of the signs
which have disappeared of late years may result in the discovery
of their present hiding-places. Some years ago there was a curious
sculptured sign over the entrance to Bull Head Court, Newgate Street.
This represented William Evans, Charles I.’s gigantic porter, and
Jeffrey Hudson, the Queen’s dwarf. When King Edward Street was widened
this sign disappeared. If it be still in existence, we may hope that,
in course of time, it may find a home in the Guildhall Museum, where so
many interesting relics of old London are preserved.

Painted signs, which were once almost universal, were suddenly cleared
away by the Act of Parliament of 1762, but these sculptured signs
remained because they were a part of the houses to which they were
attached, and they only pass away when the houses are rebuilt.

As the reader casually turns over the pages of this book, he cannot
fail to be struck by the variety of objects which have been represented
on the signs. Many of these may be considered as marks of ownership,
and the crests and coats of arms of the City Companies are frequently
found as signs.

In connection with the æsthetic revival there has been a considerable
reappearance of signs in different parts of London, mostly of artistic
ironwork; but although this helps to relieve the dull monotony of
many streets it is not a custom that would be popular if it became
universal. There can, however, be no objection to the more general
adoption of artistic sculpture on the fronts of houses. When an old
house is rebuilt, its story (if it have a story) may with advantage be
graphically represented on the front of the new one. This has been done
in some cases, and an extension of the custom would add to the beauty
of the streets, and increase the interest of the passer-by in the
almost forgotten history of his own town.

It is a satisfactory thing that the relics of former fashions of
decoration should be registered for the information of those who desire
to keep themselves in touch with the history of the past. Even in this
materialistic age there are many who love to live in imagination in a
former age, and a sculptured sign or inscription on an old house will
often help them to do this.

For centuries London was remarkable for its gardens, but this has
been changed at the end of the nineteenth century. Considering the
great value of land in ‘the City,’ I suppose it cannot be a matter of
surprise that almost every bit of garden or green place has been swept
out of existence, but I think every lover of London will sympathize
with the protest against this tendency which concludes Mr. Norman’s

I do not, however, wish to keep the reader longer from learning what
the author has to say, and I will only add that this volume will form
a most useful and agreeable addition to the extensive literature which
is gradually growing up in connection with the ever-increasing world of
houses and men which is known as London.



  _March_, 1893.




UNTIL the beginning of this century, I may almost say till the
development of our railway system some fifty years ago, though
London was continually spreading in all directions, its heart--the
City--remained very much as Wren had left it. Here many a well-to-do
trader was content to dwell in the substantial house in which his
business was carried on, and to pray in the neighbouring parish church
where his father had prayed before him. Now the church has, likely
enough, disappeared, the monuments of his ancestors are bundled
off no one knows where; perhaps the very street in which he lived
is changed out of all power of recognition. In short, to meet our
modern requirements, the City has become a mere mass of offices,
warehouses, and gigantic railway-stations, whence issue each morning
myriads of human beings who spend the day in struggling for wealth
or a livelihood, and at night return to their homes, which are spread
over an area some sixty miles in diameter, leaving the centre to be
protected by a few porters and caretakers. The decrease in the resident
population has now extended a considerable distance west.

To the observing eye, however, traces of a former state of things
are still to be seen, not only in important buildings such as the
City halls, the parish churches and the old merchants’ houses still
existing; but in objects less conspicuous, for instance, the sculptured
house and street signs which came into fashion after the Great Fire.
These have no little artistic merit, and almost all are interesting
from their associations. The greater part of my book is devoted to a
careful description of such signs; not only the existing ones, but
all of which I can find any mention. This description I have tried to
make as complete as possible, and I have allowed myself some latitude,
recording not only facts which appeared to me of interest concerning
the particular house, court, or alley to which the sign belonged,
but also its probable origin, and any story or legend that might be
connected with it.

Sculptured signs are often heraldic, and from them the transition is
natural to still existing crests and coats of arms carved on buildings
in various parts of the town. A cognate subject is that of old dates
and inscriptions, suggestive as they are of the former ownership of
property, of changes in the names of streets, sometimes even giving us
glimpses of family history; as in the inscription to Denzil Lord Holles.

My researches naturally led me into the Guildhall Museum, where the
need of a suitable catalogue (soon, I hear, to be supplied), induced me
to put together a few suggestive notes on the curiosities relating to
London which there find a home. I have added a short account of some
half dozen of the painted signs still existing in the Metropolis which
seemed to have more than common interest.

I have already referred to the extraordinary decrease of City
inhabitants. On the other hand, in outlying districts the converse
process has taken place. The little towns and villages of three hundred
years ago, then some distance from London, and numbering among their
inhabitants people of high birth unconnected with trade, became by
degrees half rural suburbs, where well-to-do citizens sought amusement
and repose. Folks of this class have now gone further afield, and for
many years the speculative builder has been at work, providing for a
humbler and far more numerous population. The space is covered with
miles upon miles of dull monotonous streets; pleasant gardens have
disappeared, hills are levelled, valleys filled up, wells choked, the
clear streams turned into sewers, nothing remaining to remind us of
what has gone before except the names, and here and there an old house,
a carving or inscription. The existence of a few of these mementoes has
attracted me to Islington and Clerkenwell, and must be my excuse for
describing in detail several of the spas and places of entertainment
with which in the eighteenth century this region abounded. Thence I
make my way back to the City, and while exploring the picturesque
districts of Great St. Helen’s and Austin Friars, I give an account of
two remarkable old City mansions lately destroyed, which may fairly
claim a place; for one was distinguished by an elaborate coat of arms,
and the other by an interesting date and initials. This latter was of
no small architectural merit, while both were the homes of eminent

Perhaps I should add that the subject of sculptured signs has been
briefly treated by me in the pages of the _Antiquary_, and that for
the _English Illustrated Magazine_, of Christmas, 1891, I wrote and
illustrated an article on old City mansions, including those which are
here more completely described.

In the course of the text I have indicated sources of information, and
have acknowledged help from several good friends. I wish here in an
especial manner to thank Mr. Henry B. Wheatley, F.S.A. As I am indebted
to him for an introduction to this volume, it would perhaps not be
becoming to dwell over-much on the merits of his great work, ‘London
Past and Present,’ based on Peter Cunningham’s Handbook; I find myself
constantly referring to it, and always with advantage. Lord Tennyson
has kindly allowed me to quote four lines dictated by his illustrious
father, which have not before appeared in print.

The illustrations I venture to commend, for few of them are the work of
my hand. They have at least one great merit, that of being scrupulously

Allusion is made in the text to Mr. Tarbolton’s valuable contribution.
There is a fine drawing by Mr. F. E. Cox; while Mr. E. M. Cox
contributes a whole series, the merits of which speak for themselves.
The Three Kings, the Bell, and the Boar’s Head may be named as
specimens. Mr. Fletcher did the charming little sketch of an
inscription formerly over the entrance to Bagnigge Wells, with its
grotesque head; and the editors of the _Strand Magazine_ and the
_Builder_ have allowed me the use of blocks from their respective

In conclusion, let me express a hope that the kind reader will not
class this volume in the category of ‘books which are no books,’ as
Charles Lamb puts it, or even as one ‘which no gentleman’s library
should be without,’ but that he will find here some useful and curious
information, put together in a form sufficiently agreeable to make him
wish for more.




                              CHAPTER I.


       HUMAN SIGNS                                            1

                              CHAPTER II.

       THREE KINGS--ASTRONOMICAL SIGNS                       26

                             CHAPTER III.

       ANIMALS REAL AND IMAGINARY                            46

                              CHAPTER IV.

       ANIMALS REAL AND IMAGINARY (_continued_)              67

                              CHAPTER V.

       BIRDS AND OTHER SCULPTURED SIGNS                      89

                              CHAPTER VI.

       VARIOUS CRESTS AND COATS OF ARMS                     121

                             CHAPTER VII.


                             CHAPTER VIII.

       A FEW SUBURBAN SPAS                                  180

                              CHAPTER IX.

       TWO OLD CITY MANSIONS                                200



                        LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


          FISH SHOP IN CHEYNE WALK            _frontispiece_

          BOY AND PANYER, PANYER ALLEY                     4

          NAKED BOY, PIE CORNER                            8

          THREE KINGS, LAMBETH HILL                       27

          HALF MOON, HIGH STREET, SOUTHWARK               41

          HALF MOON, HOLYWELL STREET                      45

          BOAR’S HEAD, EASTCHEAP                          51


          MARKS FOUND ON OLD LONDON BRIDGE                73

          HARE AND SUN, HIGH STREET, SOUTHWARK            78


          COCK, FLEET STREET                             103

          BELL, KNIGHTRIDER STREET                       108

          FEATHERS, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD                111

          MITRE, HATTON GARDEN                           116

          LEOPARD, BUDGE ROW                             125


          INSCRIPTION, DENZELL STREET                    150

          TABLET, GREAT JAMES STREET                     163

          TABLET, MOUNT PLEASANT                         164

          TABLET, UNION STREET, SOUTHWARK                165

          TABLET, WALBROOK                               166

          INSCRIPTION, KING’S CROSS ROAD                 195

          NOS. 8 AND 9 GREAT ST. HELEN’S                 201

            FROM A MEASURED DRAWING                      204






  ‘Be sure observe the signs, for signs remain
   Like faithful landmarks to the walking train.’

  GAY: _Trivia_.

UNTIL the early part of the eighteenth century, when the plan of
numbering came into vogue, not only inns and taverns, but shops and
other houses, were distinguished by signs. The wholesale traders,
indeed, were as a rule sufficiently well known not to require this
distinctive mark. In the ‘Little London Directory’ for the year
1677--the oldest printed list of the kind--hardly any of the merchants
have signs. The reverse is the case with the bankers, who, as
‘goldsmiths that keep running cashes,’ had then hardly emerged from
the shopkeeper class. Nevertheless, signs were exceedingly common; on
the rebuilding of the city, immediately after the Great Fire, many of
them, instead of being painted and hung out--though this continued to
be the more usual method--were carved in stone and built into the plain
brick fronts of the new houses, generally above or below a first-floor
window. In some cases also, the name of a court or alley was thus
indicated--a useful method when a large number of the population could
neither read nor write. It is curious that signs of a very similar
description were used by the Romans; for instance, the well-known
terra-cotta bas-relief of two men carrying an amphora, and a figure
of a goat, both found at Pompeii; the former almost identical in
design with our conventional representation of the Two Brewers. These,
however, were cast in a mould which was probably used again and again.
They therefore, perhaps, indicated a trade rather than a particular
house; like our modern pawnbrokers’, tobacconists’, and gold-beaters’
signs. I shall presently call attention to a London seventeenth-century
sign repeated in the same way.

Our plan seems to have been adopted from the Continent, where many
stone signs are still to be found. They are commonest in Holland and
the Low Countries. Here, perhaps ever since the Roman occupation,
certainly since the days of Charlemagne, brick has been the usual
building material, for it must have been that which was most easily
available. Fortunately many of the old Dutch houses still survive; they
hang together with wonderful pertinacity in spite of bad foundations,
and beautiful specimens of picturesque architecture they are, with
their step gables and stone ornamentation. The Dutch signs are often
spirited and elaborate in design; they are to be found of all ages from
about the year 1550 till near the end of the eighteenth century, but
as might be expected, the earlier ones, which are often historical,
are the best. They were placed like those in London, and generally had
an ornamental border. Sometimes in place of a sign there was a pious
distich or inscription, sometimes merely a date. A capital book on
Dutch signs by J. Van Lennep and J. Ter Gouw has lately been published.
Many of these signs from buildings now destroyed are to be seen in an
annexe of the fine modern picture-gallery in Amsterdam. I am glad to
say that our City authorities have shown a like respect for similar
relics of old London, and some interesting specimens have found a home
in the Guildhall Museum. Others have disappeared, and a certain number
are still more or less in their original positions.


In the following pages I shall try to describe all the London
sculptured signs of which we have any record; for convenience I have
classified them, and naturally begin with those in which human beings
are represented. One of the most interesting and best known is the sign
of the Boy and Panyer, which is still to be seen, its base resting on
the ground, and let into the wall between two houses on the eastern
side of Panyer Alley, a narrow passage leading from Paternoster Row
to Newgate Street. It represents a naked boy seated on a pannier or
basket, and holding what, in Strype’s time, appeared to be a bunch of
grapes between his hand and foot, ‘in token perhaps of plenty,’ as he
suggests. Within an ornamental border, apparently on a separate stone
below, is the following inscription:

  ‘When ye have sought the Citty round,
   Yet still this is the highest ground.

  _August the_ 27, 1688.’

Height fifty-two inches, breadth in the broadest part twenty-six
inches. It is now much dilapidated, and seems to be in some danger of
destruction, for one of the houses against which it stands is shortly
to be pulled down.[1] However, I am assured that proper steps will be
taken for its preservation. The property belongs by right to the parish
of St. Michael-le-Querne, having been left in 1620 by Sir John Leman
and Cornelius Fishe for parochial uses, but it is now handed over to
the Trustees of City Parochial Charities.

The sign no doubt dates from after the Great Fire; it seems, however,
to represent a previous one. Stow, writing in 1598, says that Panyer
Alley was ‘so called of such a sign,’ and confirming his statement,
a Panyer, Paternoster Row, appears in a list of taverns of about the
year 1430, which Mr. Charles Welch, F.S.A., lately discovered among the
documents of the Brewers’ Company, the landlord, John Ives, having been
a member of that company. From ‘Liber Albus,’ which relates to the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, one learns that in those days the
sale of bread was not allowed to take place in the bakers’ houses, but
only in the King’s markets. It was sold in bread-baskets or ‘panyers,’
and, the coarser kinds at any rate, occasionally in boxes or hutches.

Mr. H. T. Riley in his introduction to ‘Liber Albus’ (p. lxviii.)
stated it as his opinion that the child is handing out a loaf, and
that at a period somewhat later than the date of that volume (1419)
Panyer Alley was noted as a standing place for bakers’ boys with their
panniers. If, as seems not unlikely, this was the case, the sign would
be similar to the Baker and Basket, still existing in Whitechapel and
in Finsbury. Another idea--that the pannier is in point of fact a
fruit-basket--seems to arise from Strype’s statement that the boy has
in his hand a bunch of grapes. Fruit and vegetables were doubtless
landed from the river in the neighbourhood of St. Paul’s. Porters
carrying such produce may have passed through, and rested themselves in
this short passage on their way to Newgate Market, which, originally
for corn and meal, was after the Fire used for poultry, fruit, and
vegetables,[2] before it became exclusively a meat market.

Mr. Kerslake, in a passage since referred to with approval by Professor
Earle in his work on ‘Land Charters and Saxonic Documents’ (1888),
tries to connect the sign with a far more remote antiquity. He argues
that it may have been placed there to transmit the tradition of a
wheatmaund-stone (maund being a basket or pannier), mentioned in a
grant of King Alfred, A.D. 889, which indicated the site of the ancient
corn market, and was, in point of fact, a place where a porter carrying
a load of wheat could rest it, or the base of a market cross.[3] It
seems that the question of a town house for the Bishop of the Mercians
having come before Alfred, he gave to Bishop Werfrith a mansion or
court, ‘æt hwæt mundes stane’--thus it is spelt in the document--and
probably granted him a toll on the neighbouring market. I am not aware
of any further evidence in support of this theory.

The church of St. Michael-le-Querne, ad Bladum, or at the Corne, which
was destroyed in the Great Fire, and not rebuilt, stood close to Panyer
Alley, at the extreme end of Paternoster Row, and Stow says it was so
called ‘because in place thereof was sometime a corn market, stretching
by west to the shambles.’ The Rev. W. J. Loftie tells us that at
present the sign of the Boy and Panyer is not on the highest point in
the City, being fifty-nine feet, while the site of the Standard in
Cornhill is sixty feet above sea-level. Certainly it is not on the
highest point of Panyer Alley. A writer in _Notes and Queries_ has
lately suggested that the highest point in the City was at or near
Leadenhall Market, or the chancel of the primitive St. Peter’s Church
on Cornhill.


A statuette, also representing a naked boy, not sculptured in stone,
but carved in wood, is placed on a pedestal affixed to the wall of a
public-house, at the corner of Giltspur Street and Cock Lane, called
the Fortune of War. The spot was commonly known as Pie Corner: it is
hardly necessary to add that here ended the Great Fire of London. The
figure in question was put up after that event; an engraving of it in
Pennant’s account of London shows the following inscription on the
breast and arms:

 ‘This boy is in Memory Put up for the late Fire of London, occasioned
 by the Sin of Gluttony, 1666.’

Burn tells us that its propriety was on one occasion thus supported by
a Nonconformist preacher on the anniversary of the Fire. He asserted
that the calamity could not be occasioned by the sin of blasphemy, for
in that case it would have begun in Billingsgate; nor lewdness, for
then Drury Lane would have been first on fire; nor lying, for then the
flames had reached them from Westminster Hall. ‘No, my beloved; it was
occasioned by the sin of gluttony, for it began at Pudding Lane and
ended at Pie Corner.’

The inscription has long been obliterated, and no trace is to be
seen of the little wings with which, in Pennant’s illustration, the
boy is furnished; in 1816, however, they were still conspicuous, and
were painted bright yellow. In that curious work--the ‘Vade-Mecum
for Malt-worms’--which was written about the year 1715, the Fortune
of War is mentioned as a well-known tavern. Within the memory of
man it had the unpleasing reputation of being a house of call for
resurrectionists, who supplied the surgeons of St. Bartholomew’s
Hospital with subjects for dissection. It was here that John Bishop,
the body-snatcher, met his accomplice Williams, before the murder of
the Italian boy Ferrari, for which and similar crimes they were hanged
in 1831.

Our quaint old chronicler, John Stow, says that Pie Corner was ‘a
place so called of such a sign, sometime a fair inn for receipt of
travellers, but now divided into tenements.’ Strype in 1720 describes
it as noted chiefly for ‘Cooks’ Shops and Pigs drest there during
Bartholomew Fair.’ There are several allusions to it in Ben Jonson’s
‘Alchemist’ and other plays. The sign of the Pie probably implied
the bird now usually called a magpie, but it might have been derived
from the Pye,[4] or rules for finding out the service of the day in
the Roman Breviary, or from the good cheer provided in this immediate
neighbourhood. Larwood and Hotten mention a stone sign of a Naked Boy
with the date 1633 at Skipton-in-Craven.

A stone bas-relief of that mythical person, Guy, Earl of Warwick, is
still preserved on a house at the corner of Warwick Lane and Newgate
Street. The figure is represented standing on a pedestal in chain
armour, with a conical helmet, a sword in his right hand, and on his
left arm a shield chequy, or and azure, with a bend sinister ermine.
This seems to be wrongly copied from Guy’s shield in the Rows Roll,
which has a chevron ermine, but one arm of the chevron is, from the
position of the shield, so foreshortened that it can hardly be seen;
hence the mistake. Above is the date 1668, on one side the letters
G. C., standing, I suppose, for GUIDO COMES; on the other a coat of
arms, three mascles on a bend, to whom belonging I cannot say, so many
families have this charge. Below is the inscription: ‘Restored 1817. J.
Deakes, Archt.’

The general design somewhat resembles that of a large figure in the
chapel of St. Mary Magdalen at Guy’s Cliff, near Warwick, which, as we
learn from a modern inscription in Latin, was hewn out of the living
rock by order of Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in the reign
of Henry VI., to mark the spot where Guy was thought to have ended
his days. This Richard de Beauchamp obtained license to found here
a chantry for two priests, and annexed land thereto to the value of
twenty-four marks per annum. It had before been a hermitage. Stow tells
us that ‘Eldernesse lane, which stretcheth north to the high street
of Newgate market, is now called Warwicke lane, of an ancient house
there, built by an Earl of Warwicke, and since called Warwicke Inn.’
Elsewhere he says: ‘In the 36th of Henry VI. the greater estates of
the realm being called up to London, Richard Nevill Earl of Warwick
came with six hundred men all in jackets embroidered with ragged staves
before and behind, and was lodged in Warwicke Lane, in whose house
there were oftentimes six oxen eaten at breakfast, and every tavern
was full of his meat, for he that had any acquaintance in that house
might have there so much of sodden and roast meat as he could prick and
carry away upon a long dagger.’ At the beginning of this century the
house to which the statuette belonged was occupied by a Mr. Parry; an
inscription over the door stated that it had been a tobacconist’s shop
since 1660, no doubt rebuilt.

A well-modelled bas-relief of a woman’s head, probably intended to
represent Minerva, is on a house belonging to the Leathersellers’
Company, at the corner of Old Jewry and Gresham Street. She has
a helmet or diadem, and on her breast the Gorgon’s head; an ægis
also seems to be suggested. On each side are festoons of fruit and
flowers; the material I believe to be terra-cotta, but it is so thickly
coated with paint that one cannot be sure. Archer, who drew this
sign, thought it was a fragment of sculpture from a building of the
early part of the sixteenth century, and it seems to have something
in common with Italian terra-cotta work of that period; for instance
the medallions[5] executed by Joannes Maiano for Cardinal Wolsey, and
still existing at Hampton Court. Before the house was modernized, on
the brick wall, below the head of Minerva, there was a carving of
the Leathersellers’ Arms; and so, being used as a tavern during the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, until 1871 it was known by the
sign of the Leathersellers’ Arms, or latterly the Three Bucks’ Heads.
Of the sculptured head of Minerva no record exists. This property seems
to have belonged to the Leathersellers’ Company ever since the year
1565, when Edward Taylor, who had been its master, left by will to the
company two messuages in St. Olave’s, Jewry, to distribute among the
poorest people in the Poultry Compter a kilderkin of beer and twelve
pennyworth of bread, and the same to Wood Street Compter, Newgate, the
Fleet, King’s Bench, and the Marshalsea. In 1878 all arrears of these
payments to each prison at £1 1s. per quarter, viz. for a kilderkin of
beer £1, and for bread 1s., having been paid to this date, and the full
payment being £25 4s. a year, the company transferred to the official
trustees of charities stock sufficient to produce that amount. The name
of Cateaton Street was in 1845 changed to Gresham Street, no one knows
why. Here, in the days of John Taylor the water-poet, there was an
important inn called the Maidenhead, but this, I imagine, had for its
sign the arms of the Mercers’ Company, whose headquarters were in its
immediate neighbourhood. Later a seventeenth-century trade token was
issued from the Roxalana’s Head in Cateaton Street, the sign no doubt
commemorating Elizabeth Davenport the actress, whose favourite part
was Roxalana in the ‘Siege of Rhodes.’ Her sham marriage with the last
Earl of Oxford of the de Vere family, who deceived her by disguising a
trumpeter of his troop as a priest, is told in ‘Gramont,’ and in the
‘Countess Dunois’ Memoirs.’ Pepys saw her in 166⅔, in the chief box at
the Duke’s theatre, ‘in a velvet gown, as the fashion is, looking very

The Woman’s Head, dated 1671, which was on a house in Paternoster Row,
and has been lately added to the Guildhall Museum, was hardly a sign.
Similar heads are still on the keys of a first and second floor window
belonging to the old-fashioned house of Messrs. W. and R. Chambers,
47, Paternoster Row. Another bas-relief in the Guildhall Museum
represents a gardener holding a spade in his right hand, with the date
1670; it is rudely designed. This is a street rather than a house
sign; as late as the year 1856 it was in Gardiner’s Lane, Upper Thames
Street, near Broken Wharf. Mr. J. T. Smith, who drew it, in 1791,
for his ‘Antiquities of London,’ adds this description: ‘Against Mr.
Holyland’s stables, Gardiner’s Lane, the corner of High Timber Street,
is this sculpture, but why put up I cannot learn. Tradition says the
site was once gardens.’ Perhaps it was a rebus on the name of Gardiner.

Two bas-reliefs of St. George and the Dragon were erected as signs
in London soon after the Great Fire, and, on the principle _Detur
digniori_, should be described in this chapter. It was only natural
that the figure of St. George should become one of our most popular inn
signs; for he was regarded as the patron saint and special protector of
this our realm of England. Shakespeare speaks of

  ‘St. George that swindg’d the Dragon, and e’er since
   Sits on his horseback at mine hostess’ door.’

  ‘King John,’ Act i., Scene I.

A capital specimen of such a sign, though unfortunately in bad
condition, is at the Guildhall Museum--presented by Mr. W. Hayward,
C.E. It came from a house--81, Snow Hill--which had formed part of
a famous old galleried inn. Snow Hill was the thoroughfare between
Holborn and the City, till in 1802 it was superseded by Skinner Street,
named after Alderman Skinner, which has now in its turn ceased to
exist. Snow Hill is called in Stow’s ‘Survey’ Snor or Snore Hill, and
by Howell Sore Hill, perhaps from the steepness and difficulty of the
ascent. Strype, in 1720, speaks of the George Inn as ‘very large and of
a considerable trade, the passage to the yard being through Cow Lane.’
In Sampson’s ‘History of Advertising,’ an advertisement is given from
the _British Chronicle_ of January 18 to 20, 1762, which informs us that


  Is removed from the Three Kings, Piccadilly, to the George
  Inn, Snow Hill, London; sets out from the Broad Face,[6]
  Reading, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at seven
  o’clock in the morning, and from the George Inn,
  Snow Hill, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday,
  at seven o’clock in the morning; carries passengers to
  And from Reading, at 6s. each; children in lap
  and outside passengers at 3s.

  Performed by {Thomas Moore and
               {Richard Mapleton.

 N.B.--Takes no charge of Writings, Money, Watches, or Jewels, unless
 entered and paid for as such.

A second representation of the subject of the George and Dragon was
formerly to be seen on Bennet Hill, opposite the Heralds’ College, and
stood over the entrance to a small court, to which it gave a name. On
it were the initials P R M, and date 1667. In ‘Remarks on London,’ by
W. Stow, 1722, mention is made of ‘George Court, against the Heralds’
Office at Paul’s Chain.’ The ‘Constitutions of the Order of the
Garter’ (c. iii.) ordain that ‘the Sovereign shall put upon his (the
knight elect’s) neck a collar, or little chain or lace, having pendant
therefrom a massive golden image of an armed knight (_i.e._, St.
George) sitting on horseback.’

A relic of a most interesting old building is the figure of Gerard the
Giant,[7] ‘carved from a twisted block of timber, distorted and ill
at ease,’ which stood in the niche between the first-floor windows of
Gerard’s Hall Hotel, on the south side of Basing Lane. It is about 6
feet high, and painted more or less to imitate life. Gerard’s Hall is
described by Stow as ‘one great house, of old time built upon arched
vaults, with gates of stone from Caen in Normandy. The same is now a
common hostrey for receipt of travellers, commonly and corruptly called
Gerrardes Hall, of a giant said to have dwelt there. In the high-roofed
hall of this house sometime stood a large fir pole, which reached to
the roof thereof, and was said to be one of the staves that Gerrarde
the giant used in the wars to run withal.--John Gisors, mayor of London
in the year 1245, was owner thereof, and Sir John Gisors, mayor and
constable of the Tower 1311, and divers others of that name and family
since that time, owned it.--So it appeareth that this Gisor’s Hall,
of late time by corruption, hath been called Gerrard’s Hall.’ The
upper part of the building was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666,
but the crypt remained,[8] and on this was built a brick house, with
no remarkable feature except the above-named grotesque wooden figure,
by way of sign. This house was destroyed in April, 1852, when the
new Cannon Street was being formed. For some months the crypt--a fine
specimen of thirteenth-century Gothic--continued in existence; but as
the crown of the arched roof stood 2 feet or more above the roadway,
it was also pulled down. Mr. Wheatley tells us that the stones were
carefully numbered, and presented to the Crystal Palace Company, with
a view to its re-erection. After a time, however, they were used in
making the foundations for a new engine-house. Some of the stones are
even said to have found their way to Kensington, to be broken up for
mending the roads. There is a good view of the crypt of Gerard’s Hall
in Burn’s ‘Catalogue to the Beaufoy Trade Tokens,’ and a descriptive
article in the _Builder_ for April 10, 1852, which also gives drawings
of several devices of the nature of merchants’ marks, and an unfinished
inscription, cut on the wall of the entrance.

A curious sculptured sign, representing King Charles I.’s gigantic
porter and dwarf, used to stand over the entrance to Bull Head Court,
Newgate Street, but disappeared some years ago on the widening of King
Edward Street, formerly Butcher Hall Lane. This part of Newgate Street
was in Strype’s time named Blowbladder Street, and before that Stinking
Lane, on account of the smell which arose from slaughter-houses and
poultry-shops there. Pennant has an illustration of the sign, but
wrongly describes it as being over Bagnio Court, farther east, which
was afterwards Bath Street, and has now been ridiculously called Roman
Bath Street, though the ‘Royal Bagnio,’ whence the court derived its
name, was not erected till 1679. The house to which the bas-relief
belonged was No. 80, occupied in 1816 by Mr. Payne, a hatter; at that
time the figures were painted, their coats being red, the King’s
livery, and their waistcoats white. Not unlikely, the sign may still be
in existence.

The two persons represented were William Evans and Jefferey Hudson.
Evans, the porter, a Monmouth man, was 7 feet 6 inches high. On one
occasion, at a Court masque, he drew the dwarf out of his pocket, ‘to
the amazement and amusement of all present.’ There is an allusion to
him in the contemporary ballad of ‘The Little Barleycorn.’ Jefferey
Hudson, the dwarf, was born at Oakham, Rutland, in 1619. His father,
a butcher, kept and baited bulls for George Villiers, first Duke of
Buckingham. At nine years of age he was scarcely 18 inches high, and,
according to Fuller, ‘without any deformity, wholly proportionable.’
Having entered the service of the Duchess of Buckingham, at an
entertainment given by her husband to Charles I. and Henrietta Maria,
he was brought to table concealed in a large pie, from which he
emerged before the company. The Queen took a fancy to him, so he became
her page, and in 1630 was sent to France to fetch a midwife for his
royal mistress, but fell into the hands of a Flemish pirate, and was
taken to Dunkirk. By this misfortune he was said to have lost about
£2,500. Sir William Davenant makes a supposed combat between the dwarf
and a turkey-cock the subject of a burlesque poem called ‘Jeffreidos,’
published in 1638, the scene of which is laid at Dunkirk. How Hudson
bore the insult is not recorded; but we shall see that he was quite
capable of holding his own. During the Civil Wars the dwarf appears to
have been a captain of horse, and he followed the Queen into exile.
One of his adventures in France is referred to by Sir Walter Scott in
‘ Peveril of the Peak.’ This was his duel with Crofts, a young gentleman
of the Court, who had provoked him. The duel was fought on horseback
with pistols. Crofts came on the ground armed with a syringe only; but
a more serious weapon being substituted, he was killed at the first
discharge. It seems to have been later that Hudson was again taken
prisoner at sea, this time by Turkish pirates, and brought to Barbary,
where he was sold as a slave. He asserted that his sufferings in
captivity made him grow taller. After many vicissitudes he found his
way back to England, probably before the year 1658. In 1679, being a
Roman Catholic, he was confined in the Gatehouse at Westminster, for
supposed complicity with the Popish Plot. Mr. Inchbold points out, in
the ‘Dictionary of National Biography,’ that he did not die there,
as Scott and others have affirmed; for, ‘in June, 1680, and April,
1681, “Captain” Jefferey Hudson received respectively £50 and £20 from
Charles II.’s secret service fund.’ He died in 1682. Three portraits of
him were painted by Mytens, and he also figures in a portrait of Queen
Henrietta Maria, by Vandyke, at Petworth. His waistcoat, breeches and
stockings are, it is said, preserved.

The sculptured stone sign of the Three Morris Dancers was formerly
in front of a public-house numbered 36, Old Change, which is said to
have been pulled down about the year 1801. An illustration of the
sign exists: the central figure is a woman. A seventeenth-century
trade-token issued from here reads thus:

  _O._ IOHN.LISLE.AT.THE = Three Morris Dancers.

The word ‘morris’ is derived from the Spanish ‘morisco,’ and is
equivalent to Moorish. The Morris or Moorish pike was a weapon much
used in England in the reign of Henry VIII.; Shakespeare refers to it
in the ‘Comedy of Errors,’ Act iv., Scene 3. Elsewhere he uses the word
in its commoner sense; thus, in ‘All’s Well that Ends Well’ he speaks
of a morris for May Day, and in ‘King Henry V.,’ Act ii., Scene 4, the
Dauphin is made to say:

    ‘And let us do it with no sign of fear;
  No, with no more than if we heard that England
  Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance.’

According to Brand, the Spanish morris was danced at puppet shows by
a person habited like a Moor. Strutt, in his ‘Sports and Pastimes
of the English People,’ connects it with the fandango. Some curious
dancing figures carved in wood once formed part of the decorations in
the mediæval town-hall of Munich; the series was known as the Maurscha
tanntz. In England the dance derived from the Moors seems to have
been grafted on to the rustic May games and sports, which perhaps
were falling into disuse. The characters in the English morris-dance
were usually Maid Marian (a boy dressed up in girl’s clothes), Robin
Hood, Friar Tuck, the Fool, Tom the piper with pipe and tabor, and the
hobby-horse. A rare pamphlet[9] of 1609 tells us about a morris-dance
in Herefordshire, where the united ages of the twelve dancers were
supposed to amount to twelve hundred years; but, unfortunately, it
does not give details of the performance. Waldron, in his edition
of the ‘Sad Shepherd,’ 1783, p. 255, mentions seeing a company of
morris-dancers from Abington, at Richmond in Surrey, in the summer of
1783. They appeared to be making a kind of annual circuit. Even so late
as the time of the Queen’s coronation, there was morris-dancing of a
kind in Hyde Park, as recorded by a writer in _Notes and Queries_.

One still sees occasionally on May Day, in the less-frequented streets
of London, a dance performed by two or three sweeps to the sound of
fife and drum. They are dressed fantastically; one of them is, as a
rule, half concealed in a frame covered with leaves and flowers, and
is called a Jack-in-the-green. They are generally accompanied by a
woman. These may be considered to a certain extent descendants of the
morris-dancers, and their black faces happen to carry out the old idea.

Over the doorway of No. 13, Clare Street, at the corner of Vere Street,
Clare Market, is a stone sign carved in low relief, which represents
Two Negroes’ heads facing each other, with the date 1715 and initials
W S M. The house is occupied by a baker; its destruction is imminent,
should Government adopt the plan of the London County Council for
a new street from the Strand to Holborn. The neighbourhood is now
squalid, and many of the buildings have lately been cleared away, but
we know that in the seventeenth century it was well inhabited. I may
remark, as a curious coincidence, that the continuation of Clare Street
towards Drury Lane is called Blackmoor--in old maps Blackamore--Street.
Seventeenth-century trade-tokens with signs of negro heads are in
existence; one was issued from Drury Lane, and is thus described by

  _O._ THOMAS.HAYTON.IN.DRVRY = A negro’s head.
  _R._ LANE.HIS.HALFE.PENNY = An arched crown.

The following advertisement, which appeared in a _London Gazette_ for
1695, has a distinctly local flavour:

 ‘A Black boy, an Indian, about thirteen years old, run away the
 8th instant from Putney, with a collar about his neck, with this
 inscription: “The Lady Bromfield’s black, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.”’

Black attendants were common in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. In more than one celebrated portrait a black boy serves
to enhance the charm of a fair lady’s complexion. Sir John Hawkins,
after his voyage of 1564, which was partly for slave-trading purposes,
was authorized to have as his crest the half-length figure of a negro
prisoner called heraldically a demi-Moor, bound and captive. The Black
Boy was a frequent tobacconists’ sign, still sometimes seen.




  ‘Gaspar and Melchior and Balthazar
   Came to Cologne on the broad-breasted Rhine,
   And founded there a temple, which is yet
   A fragment, but the wonder of the world.’


AN interesting group of City signs is that connected with the Three
Kings, showing as it does what a hold the sacred legend, handed down
to us from a remote past, continued to have on popular imagination
till comparatively recent years. In the Guildhall Museum there is a
stone bas-relief of the Three Kings, brought from No. 7, Bucklersbury
when the house was rebuilt some years ago. The figures are represented
standing in similar attitudes; they have sceptres in their right hands,
the left arm being in each case folded across the breast. The figure to
the spectator’s left has flowing hair; that in the centre is of negro
type; the one to the right is distinguished by a large moustache. A
bas-relief from Lambeth Hill, also in the Guildhall Museum, is somewhat
similar in design; the king on the left has a crown, the others
diadems; it is dated 1667. Another sign from Lambeth Hill--the Three
Crowns--was also put up in 1667, and may possibly have belonged to the
same house.


The sign of the Three Kings was an appropriate one for inns, because
on account of their journey they were considered the patron saints of
travellers: it is also said to have been used in England by mercers,
because they imported fine linen from Cologne. Bearing on this is a
passage to be found among the Harleian manuscripts, No. 5910, vol. i.,
fol. 193, which, though already quoted by Larwood and Hotten in their
‘History of Sign-boards,’ is so much to the point that I venture to
give it again:

‘Mersers in thouse dayes war Genirall Marchantes and traded in all
sortes of Rich Goodes, besides those of scelckes [silks] as they do
nou at this day; but they brought into England fine Leninn thered
[linen thread] gurdeles [girdles] finenly worked from Collin [Cologne].
Collin, the city which then at that time of day florished much and
afforded rayre commodetes, and these merchāts that vsually traded to
that citye set vp their singes ouer ther dores of ther Houses the three
kinges of Collin, with the Armes of that Citye, which was the THREE
CROUENS of the former kings in memorye of them, and by those singes the
people knew in what wares they deld in.’

This was written by Bagford, the antiquary and ‘biblioclast,’ whose
spelling was original, to say the least.

Innumerable traditions, myths, and allegories, have by degrees been
grafted on to the brief Gospel narrative of the Three Magi; St.
Matthew, the only Evangelist who mentions them,[10] gives no authority
for fixing their number at three, nor for assigning to them a higher
rank than that of Magi, or disciples of Zoroaster; but we may with
reason hold that they are referred to in Ps. lxxii. 10, 11: ‘The Kings
of Tharsis and of the Isles shall give presents, the Kings of Arabia
and Saba shall bring gifts.’ This passage is recited in the Roman
Catholic offices of the Epiphany, and on it no doubt is founded their
claim to kingly rank. It has been generally said that to Leo the Great,
or to St. Maximus of Turin, may be ascribed the traditional number;
Dr. Northcote,[11] however, considers that Origen, who was born at
Alexandria, A.D. 185, had the same idea. St. Augustine taught that
they were three in number, from the three kinds of gifts that they
offered--gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Few subjects have been oftener treated in Christian art than that of
these astronomer kings who, guided by a star from the East, came to
worship the infant Saviour at Bethlehem. The early Christians painted
the scene, but, following literally the words of St. Matthew, they
varied their number, and showed no signs of royalty. De Rossi in his
‘Roma Sotteranea,’ speaks of upwards of twenty representations of the
subject in the Catacombs. The Virgin Mother is, in these paintings,
generally represented sitting at the side, with the Child in her lap
and the three Magi before her, but sometimes she is in the middle; and
here, in order, perhaps, to keep the balance of the composition, the
number of Magi is either increased or diminished; there are four, as
in the cemetery of St. Domitilla, or only two, as in that of SS. Peter
and Marcellinus. In _Harper’s New Monthly Magazine_ for January, 1888,
an illustration is given of this latter painting.[12] The two Magi
approach from either side; they are plainly dressed with short tunics,
cloaks, and Phrygian caps, and bear their gifts on golden trays or
dishes. De Rossi assigns it to the second half of the third century;
that of St. Domitilla is supposed to be somewhat earlier.

Let us see how the subject was treated in early mosaics. A very famous
one is that in the Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore at Rome, dating, it
seems, from about A.D. 432-440. Here the Child sits alone on a large
chair or pedestal, His hand raised in benediction; a nimbus surmounted
by a cross marks His divine origin. The mosaic is said to have been
altered in the time of Pope Benedict XIV.[13]; the Magi would appear
to have been originally three in number, and without the insignia of
royalty. In the great mosaic of St. Apollinare Nuovo at Ravenna, they
approach with measured steps, and bending in attitudes of reverence: on
their heads were crowns, since exchanged for baronial caps. The Virgin
sits enthroned in state, the Child on her lap; two angels on either
side attend them. According to the ‘Liber Pontificalis’ of Ravenna,
this work was executed A.D. 553-556, under the direction of Bishop

The legend as it has come down to us gradually assumed concrete form.
Our first detailed account of the appearance of the Three Kings is
from the pen of a Western writer--the Venerable Bede--who founded
it, probably, on reports from Italy or the East. In his treatise ‘De
Collectaneis,’ he names and describes them thus:[14] ‘The first is said
to have been called Melchior, an old man gray-headed, with flowing
beard and locks; he presented gold to the Lord, the King. Gaspar, the
second, was young, beardless, and ruddy; he with frankincense, as an
oblation worthy of God, honoured God. The third, by name Baltassar,
was dark-complexioned,[15] and had a full beard; he by means of myrrh
signified that the Son of Man should die.’ He then describes their

It has been said[16] that this account may probably be traced to early
quasi-dramatic representations. ‘In any such performance, names of some
kind would become a matter of necessity, and were probably invented at
random.’ Though the names given in the above passage are those with
which we are familiar, many others have, perhaps with equal authority,
been applied to them.

The nationality of the Three Kings has been as much discussed as the
time taken on their journey. The natural inference would appear to
be that they belonged to the priestly caste of Persia; Cornelius à
Lapide considers that they were Eastern Arabians. He says: ‘The more
common opinion of the Fathers and Doctors is that the Magi came on the
thirteenth day from the first appearance of the star and the birth of
Christ, whence the Church celebrates the mystery on the twelfth day
after Christmas.’[17] In their old age they were said to have been
baptized by St. Thomas, and to have associated with him in preaching
the Gospel. Lastly, some have asserted that they were slain by
idolaters; L. Dexter in his chronicle, under A.D. 70, adds: ‘In Arabia
Felix, in the City of Sessania, took place the martyrdom of the three
royal Magi; Gaspar, Balthazar, Melchior.’

We are told that early in the fourth century their bodies were
discovered, and moved to Constantinople by the pious Empress Helena.
Thence they found their way to Milan, being enshrined in the church
of San Eustorgio. A few years later their fame was increased by the
institution of the Feast of the Three Kings, which has been ascribed
to Pope Julius, the first of that name. After the taking of Milan[18]
by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, in the year 1162, the precious
relics were granted to Reinaldus, Archbishop of Cologne, who brought
them to that city, which proved to be their final resting-place.
Cologne, proud of the honour, adopted as her arms, argent, on a chief
gules, three royal crowns or; and so we have an interesting heraldic
record of this event.

In course of time, however, each of these Three Kings[19] has had a
shield of arms assigned to him. Perhaps the earliest examples yet known
are on the roof of Norwich Cathedral. Here we find three bosses which
date from the time of Bishop Lehart, who ruled that see from 1446 to
1472; on one is a blazing star, the next has seven stars, the third a
star and crescent moon. The first and last of these appear on bosses
at Winchester, placed there in the days of Richard Foxe, successively
Bishop of Exeter, Durham and Winchester, and founder of Corpus Christi
College, Oxford. He also gave relics of the three Epiphany Kings to
Portchester Old Church.[20] Lord Ashburnham’s picture of the Adoration,
exhibited at Burlington House in 1891, may be considered one of the
most noteworthy examples illustrating this branch of the subject. It
is attributed to Mabuse, and in Mr. Weale’s opinion was evidently
painted about the year 1509, under strong Franciscan influence. In it
are three processions in the background, of the Three Kings meeting
at the Jordan. Each procession has an azure banner; on one is a
blazing star, on another seven stars, and on the third a star and
crescent moon. These same charges are embroidered on their robes in
the foreground of the picture, and as on two of the Kings the names
of Jasper[21] and Balthazar appear, we see that the star and crescent
are assigned to Jasper, the blazing star to Balthazar, and the seven
stars to Melchior. Different versions of the arms exist; for instance,
those in a manuscript book of heraldry, which Sir David Lyndsay of the
Mount, Lyon King of Arms in Scotland, caused to be executed in the year
1522, and of which Mr. David Laing published a facsimile in 1878. Here
Balthazar is called King of Saba, whose assigned shield of arms is, or,
on a mount vert an Ethiopian proper, habited in a tunic per pale, azure
and gules, holding in the dexter hand a spear with a pennon per pale,
gules and azure, and wreathed round the temples, argent and azure.
Jasper is called King of Tarshish; his shield is azure, with an estoile
on the dexter, and a large crescent moon on the sinister, both proper.
Melchior is called King of Araby, and on his azure shield are six
estoiles proper. In the British Museum, on a superb jug of stoneware,
made at Raaren near Achen, about 1590, are the three shields of arms
of the Three Kings of Cologne. On this jug, Balthazar has the star and
crescent moon; Casper, as he is here called, the seven stars; and the
Ethiopian is assigned to Melchior. A work of art truly delightful, but
conveying no heraldic lesson, is the long fresco of the journey of the
Three Kings by Bennozzo Gozzoli, in the Riccardi Palace at Florence,
wherein the rich cavalcade is shown, winding about by rock and river
and wooded landscape, on which the painter has lavished all his poetry
of invention and feeling for fresh nature.

In England the story of the Three Kings was often introduced into
plays and pageants.[22] In the ninth report Hist. MSS. Com., Part
I., is a full description, dated 1501, of a pageant given at the
Guildhall, entitled ‘The 3 Kyngs of Coleyn.’ It seems that managers
of sacred plays were fined if they failed to give satisfaction, for in
the records of the town of Beverley, under the year 1519, occurs the
following entry: ‘Also 2s. received of Richard Trollop, Alderman of the
Painters, because his play of the Three Kings of Cologne was badly and
disorderly performed.’ Mr. Thomas Wright, F.S.A., in his edition of the
Chester Mysteries, shows that they took place on Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday of Whitsun week. To each City company was assigned a play,
twenty-four in all; to the Vintners the journey of the Three Kings, and
to the Mercers their offerings and return.

The lives of the Three Kings were printed by Tresyrel in Paris in
1498, and by Wynkyn de Worde in 1516. The gifts of these Kings were
recorded in the following Latin verses, which, if written with blood
from the little finger of a person troubled with falling sickness, and
hung about the neck, were according to an old book--‘The Myrrhour of a
Glasse of Healthe’--an infallible cure; it will be observed that they
do not quite agree with the description given by the Venerable Bede:

  ‘Jaspar fert myrrham, thus Melchior, Balthazur aurum,
  Hæc tria, qui secum portabit nomina regum,
  Solvitur à morbo, Christi pietate, caduco.’

A mediæval ring was found some time ago at Dunwich, whereon the
above lines were inscribed; it is figured in Fairholt’s ‘Rambles of
an Archæologist,’ 1871. In 1794 Mr. Craven Ord, F.S.A., described
a bas-relief of alabaster, in the church of Long Melford, Suffolk,
representing the offerings of the Magi. It still exists in good
condition; an illustration of it appeared as frontispiece to a
monograph on the church printed in 1887. Another interesting memento
was a leaden box found in the Thames, and drawn for Mr. Roach Smith’s
‘Collectanea Antiqua,’ i. 115; on which, in six compartments, are
delineated the story of the Salutation of the Virgin and the offerings
of the Three Kings.

In the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for February, 1749, vol. xix., p. 88,
it is stated that the following prayer for protection was found in
the linen purse of William Jackson a smuggler, who had been condemned
to death for taking part in the murder of Galley and Chater, two
Custom-house officers, but was so struck with horror on being measured
for his irons that he died (a Roman Catholic) in Chichester Gaol a few
hours after the sentence was pronounced upon him:

      ‘Sancti tres Reges,
  Gaspar Melchior Balthazar,
  Orate pro nobis nunc et in hora
          Mortis nostræ.

 Ces billets ont touché aux trois testes de SS. Roys à Cologne. Ils
 sont pour les voyageurs contre les malheurs de chemins, maux de teste,
 mal caduque, fievres, forçellerie, toute sorte de malefiee, mort

This paper had a rude illustration: Mr. Roach Smith gives a copy of it
from a drawing by Fairholt. A similar prayer is still distributed at
the shrine of the Three Kings.

Throughout Christendom the feast of the Epiphany, or Twelfth Day, holds
an honoured place, as commemorating the appearance or manifestation of
Christ to the Gentiles, more especially to the Kings or Wise Men, who
came from the East to do Him homage. In Spain it is called Fiesta de
los Reyes, in France La Fête de Rois. In the year 1792 it was there
pronounced an anti-civic feast which made every priest that kept it a
Royalist, and the name was for a time changed to Fête de Sans-Culottes.

It is hard to say whether the sign of the Seven Stars had its origin
from the shield of an Astronomer King, Gaspar or Melchior, or from
the seven bright stars of the constellation usually called the Great
Bear,[23] or whether it was suggested by the mystic pages of the
Apocalypse; but from whatever source derived, it was common in London
about the time of the Great Fire. A fine sculptured specimen with
ornamental border was to be seen in Cheapside as late as the year
1851, when Archer drew it. A cognate sign was the Sun,[24] a stone
carving of which was formerly imbedded in the front of a house in the
Poultry. It had at the corners the date 1668. The neighbourhood was at
one time rich in astronomical signs. In 1532 Richard Collier, citizen
and mercer of London, left his messuage called the Sun, in the parish
of St. Mary le Bow, to be sold, and the proceeds to be devoted to the
founding of a free school at Horsham in Sussex, which still exists,
and is in the hands of the Mercers’ Company. Other signs of this
description in Cheapside, were the Star, the Man in the Moon, and the
Half-Moon--the sign of a celebrated tavern on the north side, close to
Gutter Lane, rebuilt after the Great Fire. Here in 1682 Elias Ashmole
presided at a dinner, given at the charge of newly accepted Freemasons;
and, from a rare print of the early part of the eighteenth century, it
seems that here one of their lodges was held. The following appeared
in the _General Advertiser_ in 1748:

 ‘HALF-MOON TAVERN, CHEAPSIDE.--Saturday next, the 16 April, being
 the anniversary of the Glorious Battle of Culloden, the Stars will
 assemble in the Moon, at six in the evening. Therefore, the choice
 spirits are desired to make their appearance and to fill up the joy.’

The house belonged to the Saddlers’ Company, and was burnt down in
1821; No. 140 is said to occupy the site.


A sculptured bas-relief of a Half-Moon still appears to the left
of a doorway, on the north side of the Half-Moon Inn Yard, Borough
High Street. It is about four feet from the ground and has on it the
initials I T E, with date 1690; the size is only 13 by 10-1/2 inches.
This, as far as I know, is the only inn sign of the kind in London
which still remains in its original position and retains its use. The
Half-Moon, though not one of the most famous Southwark hostelries, has
a record of its own worth alluding to. In a rough map of about the year
1542, now in the Record Office, an inn appears to be marked on this
site, but the name cannot clearly be made out. The great Southwark
fire of 1676 did not extend so far east. The first undoubted note I
have of it, is contained in a broadsheet printed at Fleet Bridge,
September, 1689, and now in the Guildhall Library, entitled ‘A Full and
True Account of the Sad and Dreadful Fire that happened in Southwark,
September 22, 1689;’ from which we learn that houses were blown up,
and the Falcon and Half-Moon on opposite sides of the High Street were
on fire at the same time. Our sign gives the date of rebuilding in the
following year, and the initials of the owner or landlord. In 1720
Strype speaks of the Half-Moon as ‘a pretty large inn and of a good
trade.’ It was then in the thick of Southwark Fair, and is alluded to
in the following advertisement (September, 1729):

 ‘At Reynolds’ Great Theatrical Booth, in the Half-Moon Inn, near
 the Bowling Green, during the Fair, will be presented the Beggar’s
 Wedding, or the Sheep Shearing, an opera called Flora, and the Humours
 of Harlequin.’

Hogarth introduced a hanging sign of the Half-Moon into his celebrated
picture of Southwark Fair, which represents the High Street looking
towards old St. George’s Church, just before its demolition. The
foundation-stone of the present church was laid April 23, 1734, this
picture having been painted in the previous year. In a quaint little
book of 1815, called the ‘Epicure’s Almanack,’ the Half-Moon is
described as ‘a large establishment; its convenient accommodations for
entertaining and lodging guests extend on either side the inn yard,
and are connected by a well-contrived bridge from gallery to gallery,’
which still exists.

Sir Thomas Browne was of opinion that the human face on alehouse signs,
on coats of arms, etc., for the sun and moon, are relics of paganism,
and that their visages originally implied Apollo and Diana. Butler in
‘Hudibras’ asks a shrewd question, as yet not effectually answered:

  ‘Tell me but what’s the nat’ral cause
  Why on a sign no painter draws
  The full moon ever, but the half?’

The crescent moon, as we have seen, appears among the armorial bearings
of the Three Kings of Cologne. It was also a badge of the Percy family;
Drayton in his ‘Barons’ Wars’ alludes to one of them thus:

  ‘The noble Piercy, in this dreedful day,
  With a bright crescent in his guidon came.’

Retainers of the Percies no doubt often adopted it as a sign on this

According to Burn, a mark shaped like a half-moon represented sixpence
in the alewife’s uncancelled score. He points out that in ‘Master W.
H., his Song to his Wife at Windsor,’ printed in Captain Llewellyn’s
‘Men-miracles, and other Poems,’ 1656, duod., p. 40, mention is made of
‘the fat harlot of the tap,’ who

  ‘Writes at night and at noon,
  For tester, half a moon;
  And great round O, for a shilling.’

The woodcut attached to the ballad of ‘My Wife will be my Master,’
printed in J. P. Collier’s ‘Booke of Roxburghe Ballads,’ 1847, p. 89,
clearly indicates such an alewife’s score.

Before I leave this branch of my subject, it will be well to call
attention to the Half-Moon sign which projects over a shop numbered
36, about half-way up Holywell Street on the south side. This is the
last--still _in situ_--of another class of London house-signs, and
will doubtless soon be swept away together with the picturesque old
street to which it belongs. The material is wood, boldly carved and
gilt, with the conventional face in the centre. One of the horns was
damaged, but has lately been repaired. Diprose[25] says it was once
the sign of a tradesman who was staymaker to George III. About forty
years ago the shop was occupied by a mercer, and the bills made out
for the customers were adorned with this sign: since then it has been a


The corner-post of an alley beside it, leading into the Strand, used
formerly to be decorated with a carved lion’s head and paws, painted
red, and acting as a corbel to support the old timbered house to which
it belonged. This may have been associated with the neighbouring Lyons
Inn, once a hostelry with the sign of the Lion, demolished about
twenty-five years ago, and the site of which is occupied by the Globe
and Opera Comique Theatres. The alley remains, and is now called,
after the sign, Half-Moon Passage, but might still be described by
the unsavoury name given to it in the old maps, as Strype says, ‘in
contempt.’ The old house disappeared not long since, and the lion has
found a home in the Guildhall Museum.




        ‘Lions, talbots, bears,
  The badges of your famous ancestries.’

  DRAYTON: _Barons’ Wars_.

ONE or two of the signs to be dealt with under this heading are purely
heraldic; others are allied to nature, and have, as far I am aware, no
connection with heraldry. The stone carving of an ape seated on its
haunches and eating an apple belonged to this class; it had on it the
initials B M with date 1670, and some years ago was to be seen built
into a wall on the west side of Philip Lane, exactly opposite the Ward
School of Cripplegate Within. The space at the back was occupied by
a court, the whole being now swallowed up in the premises of Messrs.
Rylands and Sons. This marked the site of an ancient galleried inn of
which it had been the sign. A similar piece of sculpture is or was
lately in a street called the Sporrengasse at Basle. A little further
east in Philip Lane a modern sculptured cock commemorates Cock Court,
now destroyed, where another ancient inn had once stood. Drawings of
both are preserved in the British Museum.

Not far from Philip Lane, at 17a, Addle Street, there is a fine
bas-relief of a bear with collar and chain; it is above the first-floor
window of a house rebuilt about twelve years ago, and has on it the
initials N T E and date 1670--not 1610, as we are told by Archer.
Munday and Dyson, in the fourth edition of Stow’s ‘Survey’ (1633),
assert that Addle Street derived its name from Athlestane or Adlestane,
whose house was supposed to have been hard by, in Wood Street, with a
door into Addle Street.

An interesting sculptured sign of a Bear was dug up in 1882, when the
house numbered 47, on the south side of Cheapside, was being rebuilt.
It was found in a damaged state 7 or 8 feet below the surface, and
is now let into the wall inside the shop of Messrs. Cow and Co.,
india-rubber manufacturers. An old arched cellar or undercroft of
considerable height still exists in the basement, and extends to a
distance of some 30 feet below the street. This sign, which represents
a bear chained and muzzled,[26] and in heraldic language _contourné_,
or facing to the right instead of the left, has neither date nor
initials. A suggestion has been made that this is the White Bear, the
sign of Robert Hicks, a mercer at Soper’s Lane end, and father of Sir
Baptist Hicks, born there in 1551, who built Hicks Hall[27] and who,
says Strype, was one of the first citizens that after knighthood kept
their shops (eventually he became Lord Campden). This, however, is by
no means probable; the sign resembles others put up after the Great
Fire; moreover, Soper’s Lane, now Queen Street, is some distance east
of St. Mary-le-Bow Church, while No. 47 is to the west, near Bread
Street. On the opposite side of the way was a house with a similar
sign, as appears from the following advertisement in the _London
Gazette_ of October 5, 1693:

 ‘Lost from the Brown Bear, next door to Mercers’ Chapel, in Cheapside,
 a large broken silver candlestick, having on the bottom James Morris
 engraven; also two double silver scroles of sconces, and a small
 scrole of a silver sconce, &c.’

Yet another sculptured sign of a chained bear exists in the City, more
or less in its former position. It has on it the initials M E with
date 1670, and is to be found let into a modern wall at the entrance
to Messrs. Cox and Hammond’s quays, between Nos. 5 and 6, Lower Thames
Street, having fortunately escaped a fire which in part destroyed the
premises some years since. A far more terrible fire occurred in the
neighbourhood in January, 1714-15, when above 120 houses were said
to have been either burnt or blown up, and many persons perished. It
was caused by an explosion in a little gunpowder shop near Bear Quay,
and burned eastward as far as Mark Lane. The sign belonged perhaps
originally to this Bear Quay, the site of which is now covered by
the Custom House, and which in the eighteenth century was chiefly
appropriated to the landing and shipment of wheat.

A Great Bear Quay and a Little Bear Quay are marked close together
in Strype’s map of the Tower Ward. Beer Lane, further east, leading
from Great Tower Street to Lower Thames Street, was in Stow’s time
called Beare Lane. From a writ dated at Windsor, October 30, in the
thirtieth year of Henry III., it appears that the Sheriffs of London
were commanded to provide a muzzle, an iron chain, and a cord, for
the King’s white bear in the Tower of London, and to use him to catch
fish in the water of the Thames; and six years afterwards, namely in
1252, the Sheriffs were commanded to supply fourpence per diem for
the maintenance of the King’s white bear and his keeper in the Tower.
Burnet tells us that on May 29, 1542, the French Ambassadors, after
they had supped with the Duke of Somerset, went to the Thames, and saw
the bear hunted in the river. Anne, daughter of the Earl of Warwick,
and consort of Richard III., adopted the white bear as a badge. In
1539 a ‘Manual of Prayers’ was printed by John Mayler, at the sign of
the White Bear in Botolph Lane. A seventeenth-century trade token was
issued by a grocer from the sign of the White Bear, Thames Street.
Another trade token, ascribed by Boyne and others to Southwark, is far
more likely to have been issued from here; it reads thus:

  _O._ PHILIP STOWER.AT = a bear.

A curious stone bas-relief of Bel and the Dragon is preserved by
Messrs. Corbyn and Co., the eminent chemists, at No. 7, Poultry, being
let into the wall of a back room; the idol is represented by an actual
bell. Larwood and Hotten say that the sign was not uncommon, especially
among apothecaries; it is alluded to in the _Spectator_, No. 28. At
Messrs. Corbyn’s there is also a very handsome mortar of bell-metal,
said to have been used by the firm in early days, with an inscription
in Flemish or old German, and the date 1536. Messrs. Corbyn have had a
copy of the above sign inserted in the wall of their new establishment,
at the corner of Bond Street and Oxford Street; it came originally from
their old house of business in Holborn.


The stone sign of the house which succeeded the Shakespearean Boar’s
Head has happily been preserved, and is now in the Guildhall Museum.
It is well designed and tastefully coloured, that fact having come to
light when a thorough process of cleansing took place some time since.
Above the snout are the initials I. T., and date 1668; size 18-1/2
by 16 inches. The Boar’s Head tavern will be famous for all time, as
the scene of the revelries of Falstaff and Prince Hal; how far it
was really connected with Shakespeare’s immortal creation has been
discussed at length by the late Mr. Halliwell Phillipps. In the time of
Henry V., Eastcheap was noted for its cooks’ shops, as appears from the
ballad of London Lickpenny, by John Lydgate, monk at Bury St. Edmunds,
in which, while giving a countryman’s description of London, he says:

  ‘Then I hyed me into Est-Chepe;
  One cryes rybbs of befe, and many a pye;
  Pewter pottes they clattered on a heape.
  There was harpe, pype, and minstralsye.
  Yea, by cock! nay, by cock! some began crye;
  Some songe of Jenken and Julyan for there mede;
  But for lack of mony I myght not spede.’

Stow, mentioning an affray in which King Henry IV.’s sons Thomas and
John were concerned, adds in a note, ‘there was no taverne then in

Curiously enough, there is also no distinct authority in any of the
early editions of Shakespeare’s plays for the name of the tavern in
Eastcheap at which Falstaff and the Prince are supposed to meet.
Theobald was the first, in 1733, to place the Boar’s Head in the stage
directions. Shakespeare never mentions it at all, and his only apparent
allusion is in the second part of ‘Henry the Fourth,’ where the Prince
asks (speaking of Falstaff): ‘Doth the old boar feed in the old frank?’
and Bardolph answers: ‘At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.’ A
suggestion of the house may also possibly be intended in ‘Richard the
Second,’ where the Prince is mentioned as frequenting taverns ‘that
stand in narrow lanes.’ In the play of the ‘Famous Victories of Henry
the Fifth,’ 1594, on which Shakespeare’s drama was partly founded, the
Castle tavern is mentioned as the place of meeting in Eastcheap. An
allusion, however, to ‘Sir John of the Boar’s Head in Eastcheap,’ in
Gayton’s ‘Festivous Notes’ (1654, p. 277), may be considered to prove
that this was, in truth, the tavern to which Shakespeare referred. His
contemporary, Dekker, in the play of ‘The Shoemakers’ Holyday, or, The
Gentle Craft,’ has the following: _Eyre_. ‘Rip you chitterling, avaunt,
boy; bid the tapster of the Bores-head fill me a doozen cans of beere
for my journeymen.’

The earliest notice of the original house which has been handed down
to us occurs in the testament of William Warden, who, in the reign
of Richard II., gave all his tenement called the Boar’s Head, in
Eastcheap, to a college of priests or chaplains, founded by Sir
William Walworth, Lord Mayor, in the adjoining Church of St. Michael,
Crooked Lane. The endowments of this college were forfeited in the year
1549, when the house above alluded to is described as all the said
William Warden’s tenement called the Boar’s Head, Eastcheap, ‘worth by
year £4.’

The Boar’s Head is first called a tavern in the year 1537, when it
is expressly described in a lease, as ‘all that tavern called the
Bore Hedde, cum sollariis et aliis suis pertinentiis in Estchepe, in
parochia Sancti Michaelis, prædicti in tenura Johanne Broke vidue.’ An
apparently genuine memento was discovered about the year 1834 in moving
away soil from Whitechapel Mount.[28] It is a carved boxwood bas-relief
of a boar’s head set in a circular frame formed by two boar’s tusks
mounted in silver; diameter, 4½ inches. An inscription pricked on the
back is as follows:

 ‘William Brooke Landlord of the Bores Hedde Estchepe 1566.’

This now belongs to Lady Burdett Coutts, and was shown two years ago
at the Tudor Exhibition. In the year 1588, the inn was kept by Thomas
Wright, a native of Shrewsbury: ‘Thear was chosen with me at that time
out of the school, George Wrighte, son of Thomas Wrighte of London,
vintener, that dwelt at the Bores Hed in Estcheap, who sithence, having
good inheritance descended to him, is now clerk of the king’s stable,
and a knight, a very discreet and honest gentleman;’ as we learn from
the ‘Liber Famelicus’ of Sir John Whitelocke, edited by J. Bruce (p.
12). On March 31, 1602, the Lords of the Council wrote to the Lord
Mayor, granting permission to the servants of the Earl of Oxford and
the Earl of Worcester to play at the Boar’s Head in Eastcheap:[29]
which seems to indicate that the house was an important one, probably
with a yard. In the year 1623, ‘John Rhodoway, vintner at the Bore’s
Head,’ was buried at St. Michael’s, Crooked Lane. This person may have
kept the tavern in Shakespeare’s time. Two seventeenth-century trade
tokens were issued from ‘the Bore’s Head, neere London Stone,’ as it is
called in the rare tract called ‘Newes from Bartholomew Fayre.’ These
tokens are undated, but it seems likely that they were struck before
1666. One of them gives the name of John Sapcott as the landlord.

The Boar’s Head tavern was burnt in the Great Fire, and rebuilt of
brick four stories high, with its door in the centre. Many allusions
to this second Boar’s Head have been preserved; one of the quaintest
was an inscription on a tombstone in the neighbouring churchyard of St.
Michael’s, Crooked Lane, which I lately saw at the back of St. Magnus
Church, whither it migrated when its first resting-place was covered by
the approaches to new London Bridge. The epitaph runs thus:

 ‘Here lieth the bodye of Robert Preston, late drawer at the Boar’s
 Head Tavern Great Eastcheap who departed this life March 16 Anno
 Domini 1730, aged twenty-seven years.’

  ‘Bacchus to give the toping world surprise,
  Produc’d one sober son, and here he lies.
  Tho’ nurs’d among full hogsheads, he defyd
  The charm of wine, and every vice beside.
  O reader, if to justice thou’rt inclined,
  Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind.
  He drew good wine, took care to fill his pots,
  Had sundry virtues that outweighed his fauts (_sic_).
  You that on Bacchus have the like dependence,
  Pray copy Bob in measure and attendance.’

In the second edition of Maitland’s ‘London,’ 1756, we are told that
under the sign of the Boar’s Head, the following inscription was
then to be seen: ‘This is the oldest tavern in London.’ Goldsmith
was there in 1758, getting material for his charming ‘Reverie at
the Boar’s Head,’ in which, however, he assumed that he was in the
actual tavern immortalized by Shakespeare; and in 1818 another gifted
author--Washington Irving--after a similar visit, wrote an essay as
charming and as inaccurate. During their tour to the Hebrides in 1773,
Boswell mentioned to Dr. Johnson a club held at the Boar’s Head,
the members of which all assumed Shakespearean characters, one was
Falstaff, another Prince Hal, another Bardolph, and so on. Johnson’s
remark on the occasion was: ‘Don’t be of it, sir. Now that you have a
name you must be careful to avoid many things, not bad in themselves,
but which will lessen your character.’ Scruples of this kind do not
seem to have troubled the great William Pitt, at any rate when he
was young. In the ‘Life of William Wilberforce,’[30] by his son, the
following anecdote is told by the philanthropist: ‘I was one of those
who met to spend an evening in memory of Shakespeare at the Boar’s
Head, Eastcheap. Many professed wits were present, but Pitt was the
most amusing of the party, and the most apt at the required allusions.’
This social gathering took place in the year 1780.

An interesting addition has lately been made to the Guildhall Museum,
a bequest of the late Dr. Burgon, Dean of Chichester. It is a
water-colour drawing of a figure from the house in Eastcheap, supposed
to represent Falstaff, but so lean that it by no means embodies the
idea contained in his words to the Lord Chief Justice: ‘I would that my
means were greater, and my waist slenderer.’ The costume seems to be of
the sixteenth century. This was copied no doubt from the figure carved
in oak, 12 inches high, which was exhibited by Mr. Kempe to the Society
of Antiquaries in December, 1833, and which once decorated the portal
of the tavern. The figure had supported an ornamental bracket over one
side of the door, a corresponding figure of Prince Henry sustaining
that on the other. It was at that time the property of Mr. Thomas
Shelton, brazier, Great Eastcheap, whose ancestors had lived in the
shop he occupied since the time of the Great Fire. He well remembered
the last grand dinner-party, which had taken place at the Boar’s Head
about fifty years before. The guests came from the west end of the
town, and the long string of carriages which conveyed them filled
the street at Eastcheap. Hutton, writing in 1785, gives a somewhat
different account of the figures. He says,[31] ‘On each side of the
entrance to the Boar’s Head there is a vine branch carved in wood
rising more than three feet from the ground, loaded with leaves and
clusters, and on the top of each a little Falstaff eight inches high,
in the dress of his day.’

Peter Cunningham says that the Boar’s Head stood in Great Eastcheap,
between Small Alley and St. Michael’s Lane, four taverns filling up the
intervening space--the Chicken, near St. Michael’s Alley, the Boar’s
Head, the Plough, and the Three Kings. The statue of King William IV.
is considered to be a few feet east of the site. The house had ceased
to be a tavern before Pennant wrote in 1790. It was divided into two
tenements, and became Nos. 2 and 3, Great Eastcheap. Part was occupied
by a gunsmith, when in June, 1831, the building, having been bought by
the Corporation for £3,544, was immediately pulled down to make room
for the approaches of new London Bridge. It is a curious fact that,
on the opposite side of the river, at about an equal distance, stood
another famous old Boar’s Head Inn, the site of which is also now
covered by the approaches to London Bridge, and this had without doubt
once belonged to that notable man, Sir John Fastolfe,[32] who must
at least have furnished the name to Shakespeare’s matchless creation.
The back part of the City inn looked upon the burial-ground of St.
Michael’s, Crooked Lane, as did the other on the Flemish burial-ground
in Southwark. Of this latter and of the man who owned it, a rather full
account is given in the ‘Inns of Old Southwark and their Associations,’
by Rendle and Norman.

From J. T. Smith and others I learn that in the early part of this
century, not far from the Boar’s Head in Eastcheap, and nearly facing
Miles Lane, there was a bold and animated figure of a Mermaid carved in
relief, with her dishevelled hair about her shoulders, and holding in
her right hand something resembling ‘a bundle of flax or a distaff’;
more likely a looking-glass. I mention the sign here for the sake of
convenience, though I own its classification is a difficulty, one
writer placing it with human signs, and another with ‘fishes and
insects.’ There still exists a Mermaid carved in relief at No. 21, East
Street, Gravesend. The material seems to be cut brick or terra-cotta;
it has an ornamental border with cleft pediment. Seafaring people are
always more or less attracted by the supernatural, and so the sign has
been a favourite one here and in Holland, where also the merman, with
helmet, sword, and buckler, was not uncommon. A merman and a mermaid
are supporters of the arms of the Fishmongers’ Company, a fine carving
of which is to be seen at the back of their present hall. The badge
of the Byrons was a mermaid argent, crined and finned or, holding in
the left hand a comb, in the right a mirror. It is recorded by Strype
that ‘Boniface Tatam of London, vintner, buried in the parish of St.
Peter’s Cornhill on the 3rd Feb., 1606, gave 40s. yearly to the parson
for preaching 4 sermons every year so long as the Mermaid, a tavern in
Cornhill so called, shall endure.’ But the most famous Mermaid, perhaps
the most famous of all Elizabethan taverns, was that in Bread Street,
Friday Street, and Cheapside, for they were all one and the same--the
house standing back from Bread Street, with passage entrances from
Cheapside and Friday Street.

  ‘Souls of poets dead and gone,
  What Elysium have ye known,
  Happy field or mossy cavern,
  Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?’

Another famous hostelry in old days was the Bull, Bishopsgate Street
Within, which stood on the west side, opposite St. Helen’s Place. This
was one of the inns used for theatrical purposes in the sixteenth
century. In 1594, Anthony Bacon, brother of Francis, was lodging in
Bishopsgate Street, to the regret of his mother, because he was near
the Bull Inn, where plays and interludes were acted, which might
corrupt his servants. It was the house frequented by old Hobson,
the Cambridge carrier, on whom Milton wrote his famous lines. Here,
as the _Spectator_ tells us, there was a portrait of Hobson, with a
hundred-pound bag under his arm, having on it the inscription:

  ‘The fruitful mother of a Hundred more.’

At the Bull Inn a mutiny broke out in a troop of Whalley’s regiment on
April 26, 1649, for which one of the troopers was shot in St. Paul’s
Churchyard, and others were condemned but pardoned. The inn was pulled
down in 1866. A curious relic then rescued from the ruins consisted
of a stone 9-1/2 inches wide at the top, 7 inches at the bottom,
and 10 inches deep, shaped therefore like a keystone, and having a
narrow margin, within which was a carving of a bull with a vine and
its tendrils, and a bunch of grapes; it was dated 1642. This stone
had doubtless served as a sign or commemorative decoration, and was
the oldest of its kind in London: I have not been able to find out
what became of it. The _Herts Guardian_ for March 11, 1865, records
that ‘under the yew-tree, against the steeple of All Saints’ Church,
Hertford, is a small ordinary-looking gravestone having the following
quaint inscription:

 ‘Here lyeth Black Tom of the Bull Inn in Bishopsgate, 1696.’

From the Bull in Bishopsgate it is not a far cry to the Bull and
Mouth in Aldersgate. There are two versions of this sign, and though
comparatively modern they are worth describing, partly for their
quaintness, partly from their interesting associations; they are both
preserved in the Guildhall Museum. One was placed over the front
entrance of the Queen’s Hotel, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, formerly known
as the Bull and Mouth, which was built in 1830 on the site of the old
coaching inn with that sign. A statuette of a bull appears within the
space of a gigantic open mouth; below are bunches of grapes; above,
a bust of Edward VI. and the arms of Christ’s Hospital, to which
institution the ground belonged. Beneath is a tablet, perhaps from the
old inn, inscribed with the following doggerel rhyme:

  ‘Milo the Cretonian an ox slew with his fist,
  And ate it up at one meal, ye Gods what a glorious twist.’

Another version of the sign, which is said to have been put up about
the beginning of the century, was over the entrance to the Great
Northern Railway receiving-house in Angel Street, formerly the back
entrance to the inn yard. This, together with the Queen’s Hotel and
all the ground as far as Bull and Mouth Street north, has now been
taken by the Post-Office authorities; the amount of compensation paid
to the Great Northern Company having been £31,350.

The Bull and Mouth was one of the most famous coaching inns. Strype,
writing in 1720, describes it as ‘large and well built, and of a good
resort by those that bring Bone Lace, where the shopkeepers and others
come to buy it.’ He also tells us that ‘in this part of St. Martin’s is
a noted Meeting House of the Quakers, called the Bull and Mouth, where
they met long before the Fire.’ The name is generally supposed to be a
corruption of Boulogne Mouth, the entrance to Boulogne Harbour, that
town having been taken by King Henry VIII. This elucidation is said to
have originated with George Steevens, who has been called a mischievous
wag in literary matters. Boyne thinks it might have been originally the
Bowl and Mouth, both known London signs. A seventeenth-century trade
token was issued from a house with the sign of the Mouth in Bishopsgate
Street, and the Mouth appears in the rhyming list of taverns, which is
to be found in Heywood’s ‘Rape of Lucrece.’ Stow mentions the custom
of presenting a bowl of ale at St. Giles’s Hospital to prisoners on
their way from the City to Tyburn, and according to Parton there was
a Bowl public-house at St. Giles’s. Bowl Yard, a narrow court on the
south side of High Street, St. Giles’s, disappeared about 1846. Mr.
Wheatley, points out in ‘London Past and Present’ that our inn is
probably identical with ‘the house called the Mouth, near Aldersgate
in London--then the usual meeting place for Quakers,’ to which the
body of John Lilburne was conveyed on his death, August 29, 1657. Five
years afterwards, namely on October 26, 1662, it appears from Ellwood’s
‘Autobiography’ that he was arrested at a Quakers’ meeting held at the
_Bull and Mouth_, Aldersgate, and confined till December in the old
Bridewell, Fleet Street.

The Bull and Mouth was at its zenith as a coaching inn during the early
part of this century, just before the development of railroads. Mr.
Edward Sherman was then landlord, having succeeded Mr. Willans in the
year 1823; he also had the Oxford Arms, Warwick Lane. It was he who
rebuilt the old house, and made stabling underground for a large number
of horses. When the business of coaching came to an end, the gateway
from St. Martin’s-le-Grand was partially blocked up and became the main
entrance to the hotel, which, under a new name, flourished till its
final closing in the autumn of 1886. On September 28 of that year, the
stock of wine, amounting to 750 dozen, was sold; during the winter
the house was used as an adjunct of the General Post-Office. In July,
1887, the Jubilee fittings of Westminster Abbey were sold by auction in
the large coffee-room. They consisted of Brussels carpets, hangings,
cushions, etc., and produced upwards of £2,000. In the space cleared
shortly afterwards for the new post-office, a large piece of the City
wall has been discovered. The old Bull and Mouth Inn, destroyed in
1830, with its three tiers of galleries, was very picturesque: many
illustrations of it exist.

A seventeenth century trade-token was issued from a Bull and Mouth in
Bloomsbury, still represented by a modern public-house at No. 31, Hart

A wooden carving of a Civet Cat was some years since the appropriate
sign of an old-fashioned perfumer’s shop in Cockspur Street. An
illustration of it appears in the _Illustrated London News_ for
December 13, 1856.





  ‘Figures strange--and sweet,
  All made out of the carver’s brain.’

  COLERIDGE: _Christabel_, pt. I.

THE sign of the Dog and Duck is to be found imbedded in the garden wall
of Bethlehem Hospital, in the district formerly called St. George’s
Fields. Size, 4 feet by 2 feet 6 inches.


It is in two divisions, and is dated 1716; the part to the right
represents a spaniel sitting on its haunches with a duck in its mouth,
and appears to me a capital specimen of grotesque art. This was the
sign of the Dog and Duck public-house.

In 1642, when London was threatened by Charles I., the citizens hastily
encircled it with a trench and a series of forts. Among these was one
with four half bulwarks at the Dog and Duck, in St. George’s Fields.
In 1651 a trade-token was issued from the Dog and Duck; it has the
initials E M S, and on the obverse is a design almost identical with
the one I have described. There were, however, other houses with this
sign in Southwark: one in Deadman’s Place near St. Saviour’s Park, and
another in Bermondsey Square. Till about the middle of the eighteenth
century the Dog and Duck in St. George’s Fields seems to have been only
a small public-house, doubtless with a pond attached to it, in which
was carried on the cruel sport of duck-hunting, then dear to cockneys.
The amusement consisted in the duck diving among the reeds with the
dog in fierce pursuit; a good idea of it is given by Davenant in the
‘Long Vacation in London,’ p. 289, where reference is made to another
district famous for ducking-ponds:

  ‘Ho ho to Islington; enough!
  Fetch Job my son, and our dog Ruffe!
  For there in Pond,[33] through mire and muck,
  We’ll cry hay Duck, there Ruffe, hay Duck.’

When this ceased to be an attraction in St. George’s Fields is not
recorded, but towards the middle of last century the place came into
the hands of a Mrs. Hedger, who had been a barmaid. While she was
landlady, Sampson, an equestrian performer, who had previously ridden
at the Three Hats, Islington, set up his temporary circus in a field
opposite the Dog and Duck. Crowds followed him, and caused a great
increase in Mrs. Hedger’s business, so she sent for her son, afterwards
called ‘the King of the Fields,’ who was said to have been at the time
a post-boy at Epsom, and he shrewdly made the most of his chance. The
money as it came in was invested in building and other improvements;
soon a mineral spring was discovered--or invented--and the place became
for a time a popular health resort. A correspondent of the _St. James’s
Chronicle_ in 1761 asks, as a matter not admitting denial, ‘Does
Tunbridge or Cheltenham or Buxton Wells come up to (_inter alia_) the
Dog and Duck in St. George’s Fields?’ No less a man than Dr. Johnson
recommended the waters to his friend Mrs. Thrale. An advertisement
tells us of a bath there 200 feet long, and nearly 100 in breadth, and
old newspapers record dinners, concerts, assemblies and all kinds of
gaiety at St. George’s, or the Dog and Duck Spa. It must already have
begun to go downhill when Garrick described it thus in his Prologue to
‘The Maid of the Oaks,’ 1774:

  ‘St. George’s Fields, with taste and fashion struck,
  Display Arcadia at the Dog and Duck;
  And Drury misses, here in tawdry pride,
  Are there Pastoras by the fountain side,
  To frowsy bowers they reel through midnight damps,
  With fauns half drunk, and dryads breaking lamps.’

Finally it was closed by the magistrates, and after being occupied for
a time by the School for the Indigent Blind, was pulled down in 1811,
when, the Committee of the Bridge House Estate having, in the previous
year, agreed to exchange 11 acres 3 roods here for the ground then
covered by Bedlam in Moorfields, which amounted to about 2½ acres, the
erection of the present Bethlehem Hospital was begun on the site.[34]
It was then or soon afterwards that our stone sign was built into
the new garden wall. Several illustrations of the Dog and Duck Inn
have been preserved. A water-colour in the Crace collection by T. H.
Shepherd, purporting to be from a drawing of 1646, represents it as a
gable-ended public-house, with a gallery on one side, standing in the
fields. A view of the outside in Hedger’s time shows a brick building
of considerable dimensions. Then there is a rather indecent design
called ‘Beauty in distress,’ with the Dog and Duck in the distance.
Lastly, a rare stippled engraving of the interior, dated 1789, shows us
ladies frail and fair, with their attendant beaux, walking about and
seated at tables in a long room, which has an organ at the end; the
sign appears below.

Much might be written about the curious device which appears in the
left-hand division of the stone sign imbedded in the wall of Bethlehem
Hospital. This is the mark of the Bridge House Estate, and though in
no sense heraldic, has been described as an annulet ensigned with a
cross pattée, interlaced with a saltire conjoined in base. It is
sometimes, but wrongly, called the Southwark Arms, for arms cannot in
truth be borne by any public body, which has not received a charter of
incorporation, with a right to use a common seal; and Southwark was
never more than a ward of the City. The device resembles a merchant’s
mark, but its origin has not hitherto been satisfactorily explained.
Perhaps a letter in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for October, 1758,
from Joseph Ames, secretary to the Society of Antiquaries, may throw
some light on the subject. It seems that in pulling down a part of
old London Bridge, three inscriptions were found engraved on stone
tablets. The oldest dated from 1497. The second, which most concerns
us, had perhaps been inserted in the building on the completion of
repairs, rendered necessary by a great fire at the northern end of
the bridge which occurred in 1504, and has now found a home in the
Guildhall Museum. It measures 10 inches by 13-3/4, and is inscribed in
Gothic characters ‘Anno Domini 1509.’ At the end of the date appears
a cross[35] charged with a small saltire, which seems to suggest the
present mark, and was not unlikely the old device for the estate of
London Bridge. The third stone, dated 1514, had on it the City sword
and the initials of Sir Roger Achiley, draper and alderman of Bridge
ward; they are represented below.


Here, perhaps, by way of illustration, a few words may be introduced
on the subject of merchants’ marks. These, as early as the beginning
of the fifteenth century, were adopted instead of armorial bearings
by traders, to whom arms were not permitted.[36] They were used for
stamping goods, were engraved on rings, and often placed on monuments
as if they conveyed a certain honourable distinction. Mr. J. G. Waller,
F.S.A.,[37] has pointed out that these merchants’ marks have commonly
one essential feature in common--a cross. A simple form of mark was a
cross surmounting a mast or staff, with streamers or other devices,
apparently taken from parts of a ship; it had a forked base. When
after a time initials of names were introduced, they at first formed
part of the mark, the letter A being often made by crossing the forked
base. The cross, being an emblem of Christianity, was considered to
counteract the wiles of Satan; merchants, therefore, naturally placed
a cross on their bales as a preservative against the tempests, which
it was thought were caused by him. Mr. W. de Gray Birch, on the other
hand, suggests that the cross and streamers so often incorporated in
merchants’ marks, were derived from the banner of the Holy Lamb, which
was the usual emblem of St. John Baptist, the patron saint of wool
merchants--that is, merchants of the staple; but it seems that such
devices were also used by the Merchant Adventurers, Salters, etc.;
moreover, the cross with streamers is, in mediæval art, a symbol of the
victory of Christ over death and the powers of darkness, which seems to
confirm Mr. Waller’s view. The Lamb and Flag, as I shall have occasion
to show, sometimes appeared on the seals of the Knights Templars.

As to the Bridge House Estate, it is held in trust by the corporation
of the City of London, and is, strictly speaking, intended for the
support, lighting and cleansing of the City bridges, and two bridges
over the Lea at Stratford, where the City authorities hold some land.
This property is said to have originated in small offerings by pious
citizens to the Chapel of St. Thomas à Becket[38] on London Bridge. The
earliest document relating to it which is still in existence appears
to be a small volume on vellum, probably dating from the earlier part
of the fourteenth century, with additions made in the reign of King
Edward IV. A thorough examination of all the records would be a work of
great labour, but would bring to light many interesting facts.

The property has by degrees increased in value, till out of it they
have been able to rebuild London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, and
are now creating the huge structure by the Tower. Much of St. George’s
Fields belonged to the estate; it had been Crown land, once attached
to Suffolk House, and was included in the grant to the City, in the
fourth year of Edward VI.’s reign. The land on which stood the Dog
and Duck Tavern formed part of this Bridge House Estate. The Bridge
House itself stood on the Surrey side of the water, in Tooley Street,
and was originally a storeplace for material belonging to the City
which was used in the repair of London Bridge. In course of time it
became a granary and a bakehouse, with public ovens. The grain was for
the relief of poor citizens in time of distress, and the ovens were
used for baking it. Stow tells us that they were ten in number, six
of them very large, and that ‘Sir John Throstone, Knight, sometime an
embroiderer, then a goldsmith, one of the sheriffs in 1516, gave by his
testament towards the making of these ovens two hundred pounds, which
thing was performed by his executors.’

The stone sign of a Fox sitting on its haunches, with the initials H
W and date 1669, has been put up inside the house at No. 24, Lombard
Street, and is in capital condition. It was found in digging up the
foundations of a house in Clement’s Lane, destroyed to make room
for No. 30, Lombard Street, which extends further south than its
predecessor. In the seventeenth century there was a sign of a fox in
Lombard Street, but some distance off; No. 73 occupies the site. A
kindred sign, the Three Foxes, is said to have formerly existed, also
in Clement’s Lane, but about this I am a little bit doubtful; there was
a drawing of it in the _Graphic_ of April 21, 1877, which could hardly
have represented the actual tablet, for Larwood and Hotten say that
it had been plastered over long before this, when the house was taken
by a firm of three lawyers, who wished to avoid the rather awkward
connection of ideas which might be suggested.

Of the carving of a Griffin’s Head which formerly existed in Old Jewry
I know nothing, except that it was drawn by Archer in 1850. This
was, perhaps, an heraldic charge of the person who built, or first
possessed, the house on which it was placed. The badge of Fiennes,
Lord Dacre, was a griffin’s head erased, gules, holding in its beak
an annulet, or; that of Polle, a griffin’s head erased, azure, ducally
gorged, or.

On the east side of Shoreditch High Street, between Nos. 79 and 80,
and over the passage leading into Hare Alley, is the sculptured stone
sign of a Hare running, with the initials B W M and date 1725. I
have observed a similar sign in Flushing. Hare Alley is mentioned
in Hatton’s ‘New View of London,’ 1708. Among seventeenth century
trade-tokens is one with the following inscription:

  _O._ NICHOLAS WARRIN=A hare running.

So it is given in Boyne. A pun on the name is probably intended, but
unless the issuer was a veritable cockney the animal represented was a


The Hare in combination with the Sun, having the date 1676 and the
initials H N A, is still to be seen above the first-floor windows of
a house, No. 71, on the east side of the Borough High Street; close
to the sites of the three most famous Southwark inns, the Tabard,
the White Hart, and the George; of which the last-named still exists
in part at least, though doomed, I fear, to speedy destruction.
This house was gutted by fire a few years ago, but the sign luckily
escaped unharmed. It is now painted in various colours, which was the
old method, and, I think, improves the effect. The solicitors of the
property have kindly let me examine the deeds, and I have gathered from
them the following particulars:

In March, 1653, John Tarlton, citizen and brewer, left to his children
two tenements in Southwark. In a mortgage of 1663 they are called
‘the Hare and the Three Pidgeons.’ In May, 1676, all, or nearly all,
this part of Southwark was burnt down, the number of houses destroyed
being, as stated in the _London Gazette_, about 600. A curious little
pamphlet in my possession, licensed May 29, puts the number at nearly
500. On the title-page we are told that ‘St. Mary Overy’s Church and
St. Thomas’s Hospital’ were ‘shattered and defaced,’ and everything
‘from Chain-Gate to the Counter on St. Margaret’s Hill on both sides
the way burnt and demolished.’ I may note that on this occasion a
fire-engine with leathern hose was first used, and seems to have been
of great service in defending St. Thomas’s Hospital from the fire,
as recorded in the _London Gazette_ for August 14, 1676. In the same
month Nicholas Hare, grocer, surrendered to be cancelled a lease dated
1669, ‘of the messuage or tenement called the Hare and Sunne,’ the
said messuage having been burnt in the fire; and the Tarltons let him
the ground on building lease for eighty-one years from June, 1677. The
rent had before been £24 a year, with a fine for renewal of £70; it was
now reduced to £16 a year. The sign in question is therefore a punning
one, having been put up by Nicholas Hare, grocer, after the great
Southwark fire, as many signs of the same description had been put up
in London a few years previously, after the great London fire. How the
sun had got into combination with the hare one does not know.[39] In
subsequent documents, down to the year 1748, when the house came into
the possession of John Paris, it is described simply as the Hare. In
his will, dated 1753, he speaks of ‘my dwelling-house near the George
Inn, known by the sign of the Hare and Stirrup;’ and finally, in 1757,
in a schedule of the fixtures, are mentioned ‘in the dining-room two
large sign irons, and a large copper sign of the Hare and Stirrup;’
so the unpretentious stone bas-relief, though not taken down, appears
to have been supplemented by a sign more likely to catch the eye. It
may be noted that on these sculptured signs, where letters occur, the
initial of the owner, builder, or first occupant, is usually placed
over the initials of the Christian names of himself and his wife the
former naturally being on the left. Sometimes, however, they are all
in a line, in which case the initial of the surname is most likely the
middle one, as on the seventeenth-century trade tokens.

Centuries ago, when Islington was a little country town separated from
London by roads which were often impassable in winter, there stood near
the Green a picturesque house which, by its style, appeared to have
been built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It was an old and general
tradition that this house, which in course of time became the Pied
Bull Inn, had been the residence of Sir Walter Raleigh; but this seems
to be nothing more than a tradition.[40] There is, however, strong
evidence that Sir John Miller, knight, of Islington and Devon, lived
here some years later, for a window of a room on the ground-floor was
adorned with his arms in painted glass, impaling those of Grigg of
Suffolk, and in the kitchen were the remains of the same arms, with the
date 1624. Nelson gives an illustration of the chimney-piece in the
ground-floor room; it contained the figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity
in niches, with a border of cherubim, fruit and foliage. The central
figure--Charity--was surmounted by two cupids supporting a crown,
and beneath were a lion and unicorn couchant. Nelson thinks that the
design was intended as a compliment to Queen Elizabeth. On the ceiling
the five senses were represented in stucco, with their Latin names.
It is not known at what time the house was converted into an inn;
during the seventeenth century, no doubt, for Defoe mentions it in his
fictitious narrative of the Plague.[41] The south front of the house
was comparatively modern, and of different elevation to the older part,
and here appeared a stone bas-relief of the Pied Bull, bearing the date
1730, the year perhaps in which this addition was made to the building.
In 1740 the house and 14 acres of land were let at about £70 a year;
it was pulled down in 1827. The modern public house called the _Old_
Pied Bull, at the corner of Upper Street and Theberton Street, is about
twenty or thirty yards north of the site.

In the Guildhall Museum there is a well-executed stone bas-relief
in particularly good condition of a Lion statant, size 8 inches by
14-1/4 inches. No record of its origin has been preserved by the City
authorities. Can this be the lion referred to by Leigh Hunt in ‘The
Town’? His words are: ‘The only memorial remaining of the old palace
(Somerset House) and its outhouses is in the wall of a house in the
Strand, where the sign of a Lion still survives a number of other
signs, noticed in a list at the time, and common at that period to
houses of all descriptions.’ More likely, however, he refers to a
carved lion supporting the City arms which is still to be seen on a
jeweller’s shop, No. 342, Strand; but this is apparently of no great
age. The occupant, who has been there thirty years, could give me no
information about it. Mr. Harrison in his ‘Memorials of London Houses,’
says that Robert Haydon lodged here, when as a youth of eighteen he
first came to London from Plymouth. In the seventeenth century there
was a Golden Lion by York House, which, with other tenements pertaining
to Denmark or Somerset House, was sold in 1650 for the benefit of the

Perhaps a more interesting sign than either of the above is that of
the White Lion, a boldly-executed carving with the date 1724, which
is still to be seen between the first-floor windows of a house, now
a tobacconist’s, on the north side of Islington High Street, but in
the parish of Clerkenwell. This was once the sign of an inn which
existed at the beginning of the seventeenth century, if not earlier. In
‘Drunken Barnabee’s Journal,’ the date of which is 1638, there occur
the following lines:

  ‘Thence to Islington, at Lion,
  Where a juggling, I did spy one,
  Nimble with his mates consorting,
  Mixing cheating with his sporting.’

There is a curious allusion in Pepys’ ‘Diary,’ January 21, 1667-8: ‘It
seems, on Thursday last, he (Joyce) went sober and quiet, and behind
one of the inns, the White Lion, did throw himself into a pond.’[42]
This Anthony Joyce was cousin to Pepys; he had lost money by the Great
Fire, and afterwards kept the Three Stags, Holborn Conduit. He was got
out of the pond before life was extinct, but died soon afterwards.
Pepys was afraid that his estate would be taken from his widow and
children, on the ground that he had committed suicide, the legal
consequences of which might have been forfeiture of goods and chattels
to the Crown; but the coroner’s jury returned a verdict that he had
died of a fever. A trade-token gives the name of the landlord at the

  _O._ CHRISTOPHER.BVSBEE.AT = A lion passant.

Busby’s Folly, a house of entertainment, marked in the old maps of
Clerkenwell, and of which there is an engraving in a rare volume called
‘Views of divers Noted Places near London,’ 1731,[43] possibly, as Burn
suggests, originated with the issuer of this token. T. Cromwell, in his
‘History of Clerkenwell,’ published in 1828, gives us the following
information: ‘The White Lion, now a public-house and wine-vaults, at
the south-east corner of the street of the same name, was originally
an inn much frequented by cattle-drovers and others connected with
the trade of Smithfield. It then comprised the two dwelling-houses
adjoining, and extended also in the opposite or northward direction,
until the latter portion was pulled down to make an opening to White
Lion Row, as it was then called, being that part of the existing White
Lion Street which was built between 1770 and 1780. Where Mr. Becket’s
shop now is was the gateway of the inn-yard, over which a lion rampant,
executed in relief and painted white, was inserted in the front of the
building.’ Nelson tells us that the carriage-way was immediately under
the lion, and so continued till, the trade of the inn declining, the
building was converted into a private house. The White Lion, one would
think, must first have been used as a sign by some retainer of the
Howards, who, by marriage with Lady Margaret Mowbray, inherited, as a
badge, the blanch lion of the Mowbray family.

From the lion to the unicorn seems a natural transition. A stone
bas-relief of the latter animal supporting a shield was formerly to be
seen in Cheapside, two doors east of the Chained Swan, and opposite
to Wood Street; but disappeared some years ago, when the house to
which it belonged was rebuilt. Peter Cunningham, usually so accurate,
described it as a Nag’s Head. It seems that Roger Harris (not Sir
Roger Harrison, as stated by Archer), who died in the year 1633, had
owned the property, and by will endowed the church of St. Michael’s,
Crooked Lane, with a rent-charge on it of £2 12s. for the purchase of
bread for the poor, which was to be distributed every Sunday in the
form of one penny loaf for each one of twelve poor men or widows in the
parish. This amount is still paid annually by the tenant of No. 39,
Cheapside, which stands on the site of the Unicorn; under the present
arrangement, it is administered by the trustees of the London Parochial
Charities. The sign was of old standing. In Machyn’s ‘Diary’ the entry
for 1 May, 1561, records the fact that ‘at afternoone dyd Mastyr
Godderyke’s sune the goldsmyth go hup into hys father’s gylding house,
toke a bowe-strynge and hanged ymselff at the syne of the Unycorne, in

The unicorn first became a supporter of the royal arms in James I.’s
time, when it displaced the red dragon of Wales, introduced by Henry
VII. Unicorns had been supporters of the Scottish royal arms for about
a century before the union of the two crowns. A representation of the
unicorn often appeared in City shows. Cooke, in his ‘City Gallant,’
1599, makes a City apprentice exclaim: ‘By this light I doe not thinke
but to be Lord Mayor of London before I die, and have three pageants
carried before me, besides a ship and an unicorn.’ This fabulous
creature should have the tail of a lion, the legs of a buck or goat,
the head and body of a horse, and a single twisted horn in the middle
of its forehead. It was used as a sign by chemists and goldsmiths: by
the former, because the horn was considered an antidote to all poisons;
by the latter, on account of the immense value put upon it. ‘Andrea
Racci, a Florentine physician, relates that it had been sold by the
apothecaries at £24 per ounce, when the current value of the same
quantity of gold was only £2 3s. 6d.’ (Larwood and Hotten, p. 160.)
The horn thus esteemed was probably narwhal’s horn. The arms of the
Apothecaries’ Company are supported by unicorns.





‘Emblems of Christ and immortality.’

THE next group of sculptured signs I should like to consider is that in
which birds are represented.

Several of them clearly had an heraldic origin; but I am not aware
that this was the case with the Crane--a pretty sign empanelled in a
delicate moulding of small cut-brick, which stood over the entrance to
Crane Court, Lambeth Hill.


It is said to have been destroyed in the year 1871. One is reminded of
the Three Cranes in the Vintry, not far off, mentioned by Stow, Ben
Jonson, and others, the site of which is still marked by Three Cranes
Wharf, Upper Thames Street. The ‘Annals of John Stow,’ continued by
Howes, were ‘imprynted at the Three Cranes, in the Vintrie.’

A sign of the same description was the Four Doves, which, forty years
ago, was to be seen in front of a modern house in St. Martin’s le
Grand. Archer, who drew it, suggests that it was a rebus on the joint
owners of the property. The four doves had the initial letters W. G. I.
J. Beneath was the inscription--

  ‘This 4 DOVE Ally 1670.’

Four Dove Alley is marked in Horwood’s map a short distance south
of Angel Street, King’s Court intervening. It is now covered by the
buildings of the General Post Office.

Yet another sculptured sign indicating the name of a court was the
Heathcock--in a handsome shell canopy, which formerly graced the
entrance to Heathcock Court, Strand. It was removed in July, 1844, in
spite of the remonstrance of Mr. Peter Cunningham, who wrongly supposed
it to be the last sign of its class in London. Two picturesque old
houses fronting this court still remain. A heathcock with wings
expanded forms the crest of the Coopers’ Company; but it does not
appear that they ever owned property in this neighbourhood.

As late as 1866 a stone bas-relief of an Ostrich was to be seen in
Bread Street, together with the arms of the Tallowchandlers’ Company.
Soon afterwards the house was destroyed, and the sign disappeared for
many years, till it came, by chance, into the hands of Mr. M. Pope,
F.S.A., who has kindly presented it to the Guildhall Museum. The beak
is a modern restoration. A rough drawing, which, however, quite serves
to identify it, appeared in the _Illustrated London News_ for December
13, 1856, when it was suggested that it might have served as the sign
of a feather-dresser. Mrs. Palliser[45] tells us that Mattei Girolamo,
captain of the guard to Clement VII., placed on his flag an ostrich
swallowing an iron nail, with the motto, ‘Spiritus durissima coquit,’
‘Courage digests the hardest things’; that is, the brave man is not
easily daunted. Sir Thomas Browne wrote a paper on the ostrich, for the
use of his son.

The Spread Eagle or ‘Eagle with two heads displayed’ was, like
the Ostrich, bought by Mr. Pope some time since, and has also been
presented to the Guildhall Museum; he wrote a description of these
signs in the ‘London and Middlesex Notebook.’ Both signs were sold by
the same person; they had been in the possession of his family for
many years, and he believed that his father had obtained them from the
same neighbourhood in the City. The Spread Eagle is in fair condition,
though the sinister head has been badly restored with cement. It
has on it the initials RM and the date 1669. I have no proof as to
the original position of this sign, but in the absence of fuller
information one can, I think, fairly hazard the conjecture, that after
the Great Fire it may have been put up in Bread Street to perpetuate
the memory of the house in which John Milton, the poet, was born.
We know that his father, a scrivener, but a man of good family, had
adopted his own coat of arms as a sign. Aubrey, a contemporary, says
he had another house in Bread Street, called the Rose. In Masson’s
Life of Milton there is a transcript of a volume in the British Museum
containing miscellaneous notes, which relate to the affairs of John
Sanderson, a Turkey merchant, in the early part of the seventeenth
century. Among other things there is a copy of a bond dated March 4,
160-2/3, in which Thomas Heighsham, of Bethnal Green in Middlesex,
and Richard Sparrow, citizen and goldsmith of London, engage to pay
Sanderson a sum of money on May 5 following, the payment to be made _at
the new shop of John Milton, scrivener, at the Spread Eagle in Bread
Street_. The signature of John Milton, scrivener, is appended.

Some years since there existed in Bread Street a Black Spread
Eagle Court, at the first turning on the left hand as one entered
from Cheapside, with, as Strype tells us, a very good house at the
upper end; in several directories of the eighteenth century it is
called Spread Eagle Court. This is considered to have been on the
site of Milton’s birthplace; the ground is now covered by modern
warehouses--Nos. 58 to 63, occupied by one firm. The Church of All
Hallows, Bread Street, in which Milton[46] had been baptized, was
swept away in 1878. Its site is marked by a bust of the poet with an
inscription, set up in the wall of a new building. The Spread Eagle was
by no means an uncommon London sign; to the one in Gracechurch Street
I shall presently refer. Collet,[47] in his ‘Common-place Book,’ gives
it as his opinion that, ‘the eagle with two necks in the imperial
arms, and in the arms of the King of Spain, depicted on signboards as
the Spread Eagle, signified the east and west empire, the extension of
their power from the east to the west.’ During a great tempest at sea
in January, 1506, Philip, King of Castile and his Queen were weather
driven, and landed at Falmouth. The same storm blew down the eagle of
brass off the spire of St. Paul’s Church in London, and in falling the
same eagle broke and shattered the black eagle that hung for a sign in
St. Paul’s Churchyard, as related in Stow’s ‘Annals,’ p. 484.

An interesting sign of the Pelican is let into the string course above
a corner first-floor window of No. 70, Aldermanbury. It was the crest
of two merchants who formerly occupied the house. Their monument is
in the neighbouring church of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, the inscription
being as follows:--

  ‘Here lyeth the body of Richard Chandler,
  Citizen and Haberdasher of London, Esquire,
  Who departed this life November 8th, 1691, aged 85.
  Also the body of John Chandler, Esqre, his brother,
  Citizen and Haberdasher of London,
  Who died October 14th, 1686, aged 69 years.’

Above is the Pelican as a crest, corresponding with the sign. The busts
of these two worthy citizens in flowing periwigs appear on each side
of the inscription; their names are in the Little London Directory
for 1677. The church was burnt down in the Great Fire, and rebuilt by
Sir Christopher Wren, the parishioners subscribing liberally; Richard
Chandler gave the font in 1675. The notorious Judge Jeffreys, who
died in the Tower of London and was buried in the chapel there, was
afterwards, on petition of his family, reinterred in the church of St.
Mary, Aldermanbury. Here also Milton was married to his second wife,
Catherine Woodcock. In 1890 the churchyard was opened to the public as
a recreation ground.

The pelican[48] in her piety, or feeding her young with her blood,
was often represented in the Mediæval Church, being considered a
mystical emblem of Christ, and a type of the Holy Eucharist. Several
representations of it are to be seen in St. Mary Abchurch, the living
of which is in the gift of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. It
was the device of the famous Bishop Foxe, to whom I have alluded
in my account of the Three Kings (_ante_); and as such appears on
the woodwork of the banqueting hall of Durham Castle, with his usual
motto, ‘Est Deo gracia;’ and on the string course of the choir of St.
Saviour’s, Southwark. He died anno 1528. Heywood in his play of Edward
IV. (4to. 1600), mentions a pelican sign in Lombard Street:--

  ‘Here’s Lombard Street, and here’s the Pelican;
  And here’s the Phœnix in the Pelican’s nest.’

And by a curious coincidence, at the present day there are the signs
of a Pelican and a Phœnix in Lombard Street, both belonging to famous
insurance offices. The house[49] occupied by the latter was built for
Sir Charles Asgill, Lord Mayor in 1757.

A bas-relief, similar in style to that last described, is the Swan
with collar and chain, inserted below a second-floor window of No. 37,
Cheapside, which stands at the north-east corner of Friday Street.
This is on the site of the Nag’s Head tavern, whose projecting sign
appears in a well-known print of the procession of Mary de Medici on a
visit to her daughter, Queen Henrietta Maria--an interesting record of
the appearance of Cheapside before the Great Fire. The sign was almost
opposite Cheapside Cross. The Nag’s Head was the supposed scene of the
consecration of Archbishop Parker, on the accession of Queen Elizabeth
in 1559. This story is refuted in Strype’s Life of Parker; it probably
arose from a fact mentioned by Fuller, that the commissioners who
confirmed Parker’s election (at St. Mary le Bow Church ten days before
the consecration), afterwards dined together at the Nag’s Head close
by. The present building must have been erected soon after the Great
Fire, for a staircase, to which there is access from Friday Street,
evidently dates from that century. Indeed, in the Creed Collection
at the British Museum (vol. xiii.) there is a newspaper cutting said
to be from the _Builder_, but without a date, in which it is, no
doubt erroneously, asserted that the house was there before the year
1666, and remained standing when all around was swept away, and that
inside traces of the fire may be observed on the massive beams. The
Chained Swan is undoubtedly of heraldic origin. Ritson says it was not
customary to use the English language at court till King Edward III.
on the occasion of a celebrated tournament, held at Canterbury in 1349,
placed on his shield the device of a white swan, with the legend:

  ‘Hay, hay the wythe Swan,
  By Gode’s soule I am thy man.’

The Mandevilles, Earls of Essex, bore as their arms, gules, a swan
argent, ducally collared and chained or, which the Bohuns, who were
descended from them, adopted; and for this reason, no doubt, it became
a badge of King Henry IV., who was a Bohun on the mother’s side. It
is represented in the central spandrel of the canopy of the brass in
Westminster Abbey to Eleanora de Bohun, Duchess of Gloucester, who died
in 1399. From such high beginnings the Chained Swan gradually came, as
we see, to be used as a tavern sign. Another specimen, carved in stone,
was the sign of a house in Eastcheap, not far from the Boar’s Head. It
is mentioned by Pennant, and by J. T. Smith, but disappeared early in
this century.

Here I am tempted to say a few words about the Swan with Two Necks,
because, though now only represented by modern bas-reliefs at No. 65,
Gresham Street, and in Aldermanbury, they recall the memory of a famous
inn, and the sign is one of the quaintest in London. The Swan with
Two Necks ‘at Milke Street end’ is noticed by Machyn in his ‘Diary,’
August 5, 1556. In 1637, as we learn from Taylor, the Water Poet,
carriers from Manchester and other places lodged at the Two-necked
Swan in Lad Lane. Towards the end of last century it became a great
coaching centre, and continued to flourish till steam drove the coaches
off the road, when it revived in a new form. Mr. Stanley Harris, in
his amusing book, ‘Old Coaching Days,’ says that ‘the gateway out of
the yard of the Swan with Two Necks, through which the various coaches
passed, and Milk Lane and Lad Lane, was so narrow that it required some
horsemanship to drive out a fast team just started, and some care on
the part of the guard, that his horn or bugle basket, which was usually
hung on to the iron of the back seat of the coach nearest the roof, was
not jammed against the gate-post. Between four and five on an afternoon
was a time worth being in that same yard of the Swan with Two Necks
for anyone who took an interest in coaching.’ The proprietor of this
establishment was Mr. William Chaplin, who, originally a coachman,
became, perhaps, the greatest coach proprietor that ever lived.
‘Nimrod,’ writing about 1835, tells us that at that time Mr. Chaplin
occupied the yards of no fewer than five famous and important inns in
London, namely the Spread Eagle and Cross Keys, Gracechurch Street; the
Swan with Two Necks, Lad Lane; the White Horse, which still exists in
Fetter Lane, and the Angel, behind St. Clement’s. He had no fewer than
1,300 horses at work on various roads, and about that time horsed 14
out of the 27 coaches leaving London every night. When the railways
came he bowed to the inevitable, and, in partnership with Mr. Horne,
established the great carrying business, which still flourishes on the
site of the old Swan with Two Necks. In 1845 Lad Lane was absorbed by
Gresham Street.

The origin of the sign has been disputed, but it is generally
considered to have arisen as follows: The swans on the upper reaches
of the Thames are owned respectively by the Crown, and the Dyers’
and Vintners’ Companies of the City of London, and, according to
ancient custom, the representatives of these several owners make an
expedition each year up the river and mark the cygnets. The royal
mark used to consist of five diamonds, the dyers’ of four bars and
one nick, the vintners’ of the chevron or letter V and two nicks. The
word ‘nicks’ has been corrupted into necks, and as the vintners were
often tavern-keepers, the Swan with Two Necks became a common sign.
The swan-marks which I have described continued in use until the
year 1878, when the swanherds were prosecuted by the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, on the ground that they inflicted
unnecessary pain. Although the prosecution failed, the marks have since
been simplified. In August, 1888, the Queen’s swan-keeper and the
officials of the Vintners’ and Dyers’ Companies, during the process
of ‘swan-upping,’ as it is termed, captured and nicked 343 birds, of
which 178 were claimed by her Majesty, 94 by the Vintners’, and 71 by
the Dyers’ Company. To the constable of the Tower formerly belonged the
right of ‘lifting’ all swans which came below bridge. A swan not marked
is supposed to belong to the Crown. The earliest extant record giving
leave to the Vintners’ Company to keep a certain number of swans on the
river is dated 1509.

An inn with this sign painted in front is still to be seen on the south
side of Carter Lane; it has a yard at the back and some remains of old

Not many years ago a curious sign was placed in front of No. 16,
Church Street, formerly Church Lane, Chelsea, having been dug up in
the small back garden which was built over a short time previously.
The material of this sign is cast iron; it is therefore not, strictly
speaking, a sculptured sign, but may, I think, be fairly included
in the same class. The design (see _ante_, 89) is like that of a
seventeenth-century fire-back, and represents a cock vigorously
attempting to swallow a snake which he has seized by the tail; a second
snake on the ground behind him rears its head as if to strike. Above
is the date 1652. When this sign first saw the light, Chelsea was a
detached village grouped near the old church, with fine villas of
noblemen in the immediate neighbourhood. On the east side of Church
Lane houses were continuous from the church to the parsonage; one of
them was doubtless known as the Cock, but I have no special information
about it. A curious fact has, however, come to light, tending to show
that signs of this description were kept in stock, and repeated again
and again. In 1874 a sign was dug up in the foundations of Messrs.
Smith, Payne, and Smith’s Bank, No. 1, Lombard Street, which, on
comparison, I find to be similar in all respects, and, as far as I can
judge, cast from the same mould. No. 1, Lombard Street is on the site
of the east end of the Stocks Market, cleared away in 1737 to make room
for the Mansion House. I find from the ‘Handbook of Bankers,’ by Mr.
F. G. Hilton Price, F.S.A., that in 1734 there was a house here with
the sign of the Cock in the occupation of Thomas Stevenson, fishmonger.
Later in the century the site was occupied by Messrs. Harley and Co.,
bankers. A sign of similar kind, perhaps really a decorated fire-back,
is to be seen at the entrance to a Cock Tavern near Billingsgate.
This appears to be considerably older. It has been very much damaged;
possibly, as the owner says, in the Great Fire of London.


To the genuine Londoner a more interesting sign than either of the
above is the carved wooden figure of a cock, which is a relic of that
famous old tavern, the Cock in Fleet Street. A house so historic needs
no detailed description from me. The sign is quite worthy of Grinling
Gibbons, to whom--but without authority--it has often been attributed.
This formerly stood over the doorway. Some years ago it was stolen,
but shortly afterwards restored, and to prevent accidents it is now
kept inside[50] the house of entertainment, on the opposite side of
the street, to which, after the destruction of his old home, the
proprietor, the late Mr. Colnett, removed. He also with pious care
preserved the quaint Jacobean mantelpiece, which so many of us were
familiar with before it shifted its quarters. If the kind reader wishes
to refresh his memory with the sight of these and other relics, let
him pay a visit to the new Cock, where he will find excellent fare and
the utmost attention from Paul, who comes from the old house--a worthy
successor of ‘the plump headwaiter at the Cock,’ whom Lord Tennyson has

A newspaper paragraph has reminded me of a sign with a history,
which I once saw in the Minories. In the year 1719 a boy was born of
humble parentage in Whitechapel, who, as Benjamin Kenton, vintner and
philanthropist, achieved a considerable reputation. He was educated
at the charity school of the parish, and in his fifteenth year
apprenticed to the landlord of the Angel and Crown in Goulston Street,
Whitechapel. Having served his time, he became waiter and drawer at
the Crown and Magpie in Aldgate High Street, not long since pulled
down. The sign was a Crown of stone and a Magpie carved in pear-tree
wood, and the house was frequented by sea captains. Kenton’s master is
said to have been among the first who possessed the art of bottling
beer for warm climates. He, without reason, changed the sign to the
Crown; his custom fell off; he died, and the concern came into the
hands of Kenton, who restored the Magpie to its former position, and
so increased the bottled-beer business, that in 1765 he gave up the
tavern and removed to more commodious quarters which he built in the
Minories. His monogram is still to be seen over the door. Here he soon
developed an extensive wine trade, and having received excellent advice
as to investments from Mr. Harley, then alderman of Portsoken Ward,
he eventually realized between a quarter and half a million of money.
He was a large benefactor to various charities and to the Vintners’
Company, of which he had been master in 1776. An annual dinner in their
hall takes place to his memory, the funds being provided under his
will. Members of the company also attend an annual sermon in memory
of his benefactions at Stepney Church, where he was buried. The wine
business is still carried on at the house built by him in the Minories,
and here the Magpie sign has found a fitting home. The stone Crown has
unfortunately crumbled to pieces.

A few sculptured signs are classed together, because, though they have
nothing special in common, they cannot well be fitted in elsewhere. I
shall begin with a stone bas-relief of an Anchor, which has found its
way into the Guildhall Museum, where it is described as having been
presented by the executors of James Bare. It has on it the initials
B H E and the date 1669; no record has been kept of its original
position. The anchor--the emblem of true faith--is associated with St.
Clement, who, according to tradition, was cast into the sea with an
anchor round his neck, by order of the Emperor Trajan, on account of
his firm adherence to Christianity. An anchor forms the vane of the
church of St. Clement Danes, Strand; it also appears on various parts
of the church, and on the tablets which show the boundaries of the
parish--in fact, the parish marks, one or two of which are as old as
the seventeenth century. A specimen on the house numbered 11 on the
west side of New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, is dated 1693.

Sir George Buc, writing in 1615, tells us that ‘an anchor without a
stocke,’ with a capital C couchant upon it, ‘was graven in stone, over
the gate of St. Clement’s Inn.’ A good old-fashioned carving of an
anchor was on the front of Clement’s Inn Hall, lately destroyed.

A common sign in the seventeenth century was the Bell; but long
before this it had been immortalized. Chaucer, when he describes the
gathering place of his pilgrims to Canterbury, tells us that it was ‘in
Southwark, at this gentil hostelrie, that highte, the Tabard, faste by
the Belle,’ the Bell being apparently at that time a better known inn.
It was on the west side of the Borough High Street, and still existed
when Rocque published his map in 1746. The site is now occupied by
Maidstone Buildings. Another famous Bell Inn is recorded in the list of
expenses of Sir John Howard: ‘Nov 15, 1466. Item my mastyr spent for
his costes at the Belle at Westemenstre iijs. viijd.’ There are still
two capital stone bas-reliefs of this sign. One I happened by chance
to observe below a second-floor window, in a courtyard which once was
attached to the Red Lion Inn, the house in front being numbered 251,
High Holborn; it has on it the initials A T A and date 1668, and is
evidently not in its original position; the date would lead one to
suppose that it comes from a house in the City.

A sign of more interest, at least from its associations, has lately
found a home in the Guildhall Museum. It is in high relief, and was
formerly placed between the first and second floor windows of No. 67,
Knightrider Street; on the keystones of the three first-floor windows
were the initials M T A and the date 1668. The house was swept away
three years ago; I know nothing about it, except that it was a fair
specimen of the plain brick buildings commonly put up after the Great
Fire. There was, however, a hostelry with the same sign hard by, which
had a proud distinction.


From the Bell Inn, Carter Lane, Richard Quyney wrote in 1598 to his
‘loveing good ffrend and contreyman, Mr. Will^m Shackespere,’ the only
letter addressed to our greatest poet which is known to exist. It is
now preserved at Stratford-on-Avon. The Bell is also mentioned in
that quaint guide-book to taverns, the ‘Vade Mecum for Malt-worms,’
written, it is supposed, in 1715; and a seventeenth-century trade-token
was issued from Bell Yard, not yet destroyed, a passage through which
connects Knightrider Street with Carter Lane. Adjoining it, there is
now a modern Bell tavern, where Dickens is said to have often rested
when making notes for ‘David Copperfield.’

That the Bell should be a common sign is natural enough, from its
connection with the worship of the Christian Church, and the popularity
of bell-ringing in England. A gold or silver bell was often used as a
prize at horse-races; hence the expression, to ‘bear away the bell.’
Fine specimens of these bells were to be seen in the Sports Exhibition,
at the Grosvenor Gallery, a few years since. One from Carlisle had on
it the date 1599, and the following distich:

  ‘The Sweftes horse the bel to tak
  For mi Lade Daker sake.’

In Dudley, Lord North’s ‘Forest of Varieties,’ p. 175, occur the
following lines:

  ‘Jockey and his horse were by their masters sent,
  To put in for the bell--
  They are to run, and cannot miss the bell.’

A sign which has disappeared and left no trace was the bas-relief of a
Bible and Crown, formerly at the corner of Little Distaff (now Distaff)
Lane, within the precincts of St. Paul’s; it disappeared some time
after the year 1856. Larwood thinks that this sign came into fashion
among the Royalists during the political troubles of Charles I.’s
reign. A more probable suggestion seems to be, that forming part of the
arms of Oxford University, it indicated one of the presses licensed
to sell the Authorized Edition of the Bible. A wooden carving of a
Bible and Crown, painted and gilt, was, till 1853, let into the string
course above a window of the house of Messrs. Rivington and Co., in
Paternoster Row. It then moved westward to Waterloo Place, and is now
in the possession of Messrs. Longmans, whose sign was the Ship and
Black Swan, and who have absorbed the older firm. Messrs. Rivington
were originally established in St. Paul’s Churchyard in the year
1711, when, on the death of Richard Chiswell the elder, his house and
business passed into their hands. He has been called the ‘metropolitan
bookseller of England,’ and published many important works, of which
a list is given in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_. His sign--the Rose and
Crown--was changed by Charles Rivington, his successor, into the Bible
and Crown. Messrs. Longmans date, it is said, from 1725.


On a level with the fourth-floor windows of a shop at the corner of
Canon Alley and No. 63, St. Paul’s Churchyard, is a sculptured sign of
the Prince of Wales’s feathers, with the motto ‘Ich Dien,’ and date
1670; being a handsome work of art, we give it as an illustration.
The property belonged to the Dean and Chapter, but is now vested in
the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. An advertisement in the _Kingdom’s
Intelligencer_, No. 11, March 10, 1661-2, shows that there was a
Feathers Tavern in St. Paul’s Churchyard. This, however, was at the
west end; a seventeenth-century trade-token was issued from it. The
heraldic origin of the feather badge, and its connection with Edward
the Black Prince, has been fully traced by various authorities; the
motto is usually pronounced to be low German, or old Flemish, as
well as the word ‘Houmout,’ meaning high mood or courage, which the
Prince also wrote in a letter. His crest or badge was sometimes three
feathers, sometimes one, argent. They are placed separately on his
tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. An ostrich feather was one of the badges
of King Edward III., and John of Gaunt used three or one. The old
belief--that this crest was won by Edward the Black Prince from the
blind King John of Bohemia, at the battle of Cressy, is contradicted
by modern research; for King John’s crest was not a plume of ostrich
feathers, but a vulture’s wing expanded. It has been thought probable
that the Prince assumed it out of deference to his mother, Queen
Philippa of Hainault.

The carved sign of a Helmet was to be seen, not long since, over the
entrance to Helmet Court, which was on the south side of London Wall,
between Basinghall and Coleman Streets, and close to the Armourers’
and Braziers’ Hall, in whose arms the helmet is a charge. The date on
it was 1686, with initials H M. In the seventeenth century there was a
Helmet Inn not far off. Messrs. Larwood and Hotten quote lines from Ned
Ward, who says that the trainbands, after practising in Moorfields, long

  ‘For Beer from the Helmet in Bishopsgate,
  And why from the Helmet? Because that sign
  Makes the liquor as welcome t’ a soldier as wine.’

In 1550, a helmet was the sign of Humphrey Joy, bookseller in St.
Paul’s Churchyard.

On each side of the spot where Bishopsgate once stood, are stone
bas-reliefs of mitres, with inscriptions recording the fact. I learn
that the gate was sold by the Commissioner of City Lands, on Wednesday,
December 10, 1760, for immediate demolition. It had been rebuilt in
1731, at the expense of the City; when almost finished, the arch fell
down, but luckily no one was hurt. The rooms in the ancient gatehouse
were appropriated to one of the Lord Mayor’s carvers; he afterwards had
a money allowance in lieu thereof.

Another carving of a mitre surmounts a tablet, with initials T F
and the date 1786, which is built into the front of that well-known
tavern, the Goose and Gridiron, and indicates that this property is
or was attached to the See of London, or that near this site stood
the residence of the Bishops of London, before the Great Fire, which
destroyed it. This mitre, by a coincidence, also suggests the supposed
former sign. Within the memory of man, the Goose and Gridiron was a
celebrated house-of-call for coaches to Hammersmith, and the villages
west of London. Its sign, a sculptured goose standing by a veritable
gridiron, still appears on a lamp in front. Before the Great Fire,
there was a house with the sign of the Mitre hereabouts, perhaps on
this very spot, where in the year 1642 were to be seen, among other
curiosities, ‘a choyce Egyptian with hieroglyphicks, a Rémora, a
Torpedo, the Huge Thighbone of a Giant,’ etc., as advertised in the
_News_; and again, in 1644, Robert Hubert, _alias_ Forges, ‘Gent., and
sworn servant to his Majesty,’ exhibited a museum of natural rarities.
The catalogue describes them as ‘collected by him with great industrie;
and thirty years’ travel into foreign countries; daily to be seen at
the place called the Musick-house at the Mitre, near the west end of
St. Paul’s Church.’

Concerts were, no doubt, among the attractions the house afforded, till
the Great Fire in September, 1666, destroyed all. It has been suggested
that on the rebuilding of the premises, the new tenant, to ridicule the
character of the former business, chose as his sign a goose stroking
the bars of a gridiron with her foot, and wrote below, ‘The Swan and
Harp.’ Larwood and Hotten think that it was a homely rendering of a
charge in the coat of arms of the Musicians’ Company. That the Swan and
Harp was an actual sign, I learn from the _Little London Directory_ of
1677, where one is mentioned in Cheapside.

At the Goose and Gridiron, Sir Christopher Wren presided over the
St. Paul’s Lodge of Freemasons for upwards of eighteen years.[51]
It is said that he presented the Lodge with three carved mahogany
candlesticks, and the trowel and mallet which had been used in laying
the first stone of the Cathedral. In the ‘Vade Mecum for Malt-worms,’
there is a rude drawing of the sign, and we are told in doggerel as
rude that,

  ‘Dutch carvers from St. Paul’s adjacent dome,
  Hither to whet their whistles daily come.’

Also that ‘the rarities of the house are; 1, the odd sign; 2, the
pillar which supports the chimney; 3, the skittle ground upon the top
of the house; 4, the watercourse running through the chimney; 5, the
handsome maid, Hannah.’ Foote mentions the Goose and Gridiron in his
‘Comedy of Taste.’


Yet another Mitre sign exists in London, probably far older than any of
those I have described. In Mitre Court, a narrow passage between Hatton
Garden and Ely Place, stands a comparatively modern public-house,
let into the front wall of which is a Mitre carved in bold relief;
on it is cut or scratched the date 1546, which, however, appears to
be a modern addition. This is said to have formed part of the town
residence of the Bishops of Ely, the remains of which, with the ground
attached to it, were conveyed to the Crown in 1772. The site was
afterwards sold to an architect named Cole, who levelled everything
except the chapel. This last building stands hard by, and is dedicated
to St. Etheldreda. The Rev. W. J. Loftie considers that it is the most
complete relic of the fourteenth century in London. Since he wrote,
however, the restorer has, alas! been busy. In 1772 it stood in an
open space of about an acre, planted with trees and surrounded by a
wall; at that time the hall, seventy-two feet long, and a quadrangular
cloister existed. Over the chief entrance the sculptured arms of the
see, surmounted by a mitre, were still visible, and it is likely that
this mitre was afterwards converted into the sign I am considering.
The rural character of the neighbourhood in early days may be judged
by the records of it which have come down to us. In 1327 Bishop Hotham
purchased a house and lands, including vineyard, kitchen-garden
and orchard contiguous to his manor of Holborn, which, with other
properties, he settled on the church of Ely, dividing them between his
successors the Bishops, and the convent. Again, as late as 1576, when
Sir Christopher Hatton, Queen Elizabeth’s handsome Lord Chancellor,
became tenant of part of the house and garden, the rent was a red
rose, ten loads of hay and £10 a year; Bishop Cox, on whom the bargain
was forced by the Queen, reserving to himself and his successors the
right of walking in the gardens and gathering twenty bushels of roses
annually. Shakespeare, too, praises the quality of the strawberries
in Ely Garden, though little more than sixty years afterwards we have
John Evelyn complaining in his ‘Fumifugium’ that smoke is ‘suffering
nothing in our gardens to bud, display themselves, or ripen; so as our
anemones and many other choycest flowers, will by no industry be made
to blow in London or the precincts of it.’ Ely Place seems to have been
let by the see to John of Gaunt, ‘time-honoured Lancaster,’ and here in
1399 he breathed his last. The present town residence of the Bishops of
Ely, No. 37, Dover Street, has been occupied by them since 1772. It has
a mitre carved over one of the first-floor windows; Sir Robert Taylor,
R.A., was the architect.

At No. 10, Bow Churchyard a square brick house was lately standing,
which dated from immediately after the Great Fire. The office windows
on the ground-floor, with their shutters to match, had an air of
old-fashioned quaintness. The pediment of the doorway contained the
Royal Arms and supporters carved in wood; the quarterings showed that
they were put up in the time of the early Georges; let into the western
part of the house, which from the arrangement of the windows seemed to
have been originally divided into two, was a sign of spherical form,
projecting from a square stone, at the corners of which one could with
difficulty decipher the figures 1669. In the kitchen there was a leaden
tank with initials and date, T. S. 1670, supplied by water from the New
River. This house was pulled down two years ago; the sign came into
the hands of the City authorities, and is now in the Guildhall Museum,
where it has been christened the Pill.

No. 10, Bow Churchyard was at the time of its destruction occupied by
Messrs. Sutton and Co., who there carried on a very old-established
business for the sale of patent medicines, among others that which
has been known for more than two hundred years as Elixir Salutis, or
Daffey’s Elixir. It was stated that the house had formerly been known
by the sign of the Boar’s Head, which, together with the Royal Arms,
appeared on the bill-heads of the firm. If so, there must have been
frequent changes here, for in the early part of the eighteenth century
it seems to have been called the Maidenhead, to judge from various
advertisements in my possession: for instance, the following from a
London journal of 1728, which is adorned by a portrait of a typical
maiden, appropriately framed:

  ‘At the Maidenhead, behind
  Bow Church, in Cheapside, is sold for
  Two shillings the Bottle, that admirable
  Cordial, Daffey’s Elixir Salutis,
  It has been in great Use these 50 years.’

Confirming this statement there is a notice of the medicine dating
from 1673. It occurs in Martindale’s autobiography (printed by the
Chetham Society), where we are told of his daughter, who seems to
have fallen into a decline: ‘That which seemed to do her most good
was Elixir Salutis, for it gave her much ease (my Lord Delamer having
bestowed upon her severall bottles that came immediately from Mr.
Daffie himselfe) and it also made her cheerful; but going forth and
getting new cold, she went fast away. I am really perswaded that if she
had taken it a little sooner, in due quantities, and beene carefull of
herselfe, it might have saved her life. But it was not God’s will.’





                    ‘Coats in heraldry,
  Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.’

  SHAKESPEARE: _Midsummer Night’s Dream_.

A VAST amount of property in London is owned by the City Companies,
and houses which belong to them are as a rule marked by their arms
or crest. These were formerly carved in stone, and a few fine old
specimens still remain, similar in style to the ordinary sculptured
house signs. Sometimes, no doubt, a citizen put up on his own house, as
a sign, the arms of the guild of which he was a member; and this seems
to have been the case with the stone bas-relief of Adam and Eve, which
was formerly imbedded in the front wall of No. 52, Newgate Street, a
house now rebuilt. Eve appeared handing the fatal apple to Adam, the
tree in the centre, round its stem the serpent twining; at the upper
corners were the initials L S, below the date 1669. It represented the
arms of the Fruiterers’ Company, but I have not been able to discover
that the house had ever belonged to them. At Milton next Sittingbourne,
on a public-house formerly the Fruiterers’ Arms, now misnamed the
Waterman’s Arms, is a similar carved sign, one of the few I have found
out of London. Beneath is inscribed ‘The Fruiterers.’ The design
appears on a seventeenth-century trade-token issued from Rosemary Lane.
The arms of the Fruiterers’ Company, as blazoned in Hatton’s ‘New View
of London’ (1708), are: azure, on a mount in base vert, the tree of
Paradise environed with the serpent between Adam and Eve, all proper.
Motto, ‘Deus dat incrementum.’ What Ruskin calls the ‘fig-tree angle’
of the Doge’s Palace, Venice, is adorned by a famous piece of sculpture
representing this subject.

The Elephant and Castle is the crest of the Cutlers’ Company. A stone
bas-relief representing it is to be seen on the east side of Bell
Savage Yard, Ludgate Hill, having been placed there nearly thirty years
ago, some time after the famous old inn was levelled with the ground.
It formerly stood over the gateway below the sign of the Bell. In 1568
John Craythorne gave the reversion of this inn, and after his death
the house called the Rose in Fleet Street, to the Cutlers’ Company
for ever, on condition that two exhibitions to the Universities, and
certain sums to poor prisoners, should be paid to them out of the
estate. A portrait of Mrs. Craythorne hangs in Cutlers’ Hall. In
mediæval times the elephant was commonly depicted with a castle on its
back. It was then the heraldic emblem of Rome, and appears as such on
the floor of the cathedral at Siena.

The Bell Savage Inn which came to be thus associated with the Elephant
and Castle, was one of the oldest and most famous hostelries in London.
As long ago as 31 Henry VI. it is described in a deed as Savage’s Inn,
otherwise the Bell on the Hoop, thus proving the origin of the sign,
which from the time of Stow to that of Addison had caused so many
ingenious but faulty surmises. Here plays were performed, and Bankes
showed his wonderful horse Marocco. Lambarde, in his ‘Perambulation of
Kent,’[52] tells us that ‘none who go to Paris Garden, the Bel Savage,
or Theatre, to behold bear-baiting, interludes, or fence-play, can
account of any pleasant spectacle, unless they first pay one penny at
the gate, another at the entry of the scaffold, and a third for a quiet
standing.’ It was ‘upon a stall’ over against the Bell Savage gate
that Sir Thomas Wyat ‘stayd and rested him awhile,’ when foiled in his
ill-advised rebellion; as related by Howe, the continuator of Stow’s
‘Annals.’ And Grinling Gibbons once occupied a house in the yard,
where, as Horace Walpole says, ‘he carved a pot of flowers which shook
surprisingly with the motion of the coaches that passed by.’ I have a
quaint little book in Hudibrastic rhyme, ‘The delights of the Bottle,
or the Compleat Vintner,’ attributed to Ned Ward. The third edition is
‘printed for Sam. Briscoe at the Bell-Savage on Ludgate-Hill, 1721.’

The Cutlers’, though not one of the twelve great City Companies,
is still of considerable importance, and as early as the 49th year
of Edward III. is said to have elected two of the Common Council;
its first charter dated from the time of Henry V. A good sculptured
specimen of the arms is to be seen on the front of a house in
Houndsditch, at the corner of Cutler Street. They were granted by
Thomas Holme. Clarencieux in 1476, and have been blazoned thus:
gules--three pair of swords, in saltier, argent, pommelled and hilted
or, viz., two pair in chief and one in base. The crest should have by
rights pennons displayed from the castle; it was granted by Robert
Cook, Clarencieux. Supporters; two elephants or; motto: ‘Pour parvenir
a bonne foy.’ The carving referred to above was put up in the year 1734
to mark property belonging to the Company, as may be gathered from
the tablet on the west front of the same house, which is inscribed
‘CUTTLERS’ STREET, 1734.’ The hall of the Cutlers’ Company, rebuilt
after the Great Fire in Cloak Lane, Cannon Street, was destroyed for
the Inner Circle Railway. A new hall has lately been erected in Warwick


Another heraldic charge of a City Company is the Leopard, a carving of
which was formerly let into the front of a house in Budge Row, No. 28.
It was rebuilt about twelve years ago, when the sign was placed in the
passage of the new structure. The owner has kindly allowed a sketch to
be taken, which is here reproduced. I believe that the property at one
time belonged to the Skinners’ Company, having been part of a bequest
of John Draper, in 1496. The Leopard, though not supported by a wreath,
therefore represents their crest. The word ‘budge,’ whence Budge Row
takes its name, formerly signified the dressed skin or fur of lamb, and
would seem to indicate that furriers carried on their business in this
quarter, near to the Hall of the Skinners’ Company, which was devoted
to the protection of their craft. In 1338, and again in 1358, the City
authorities ordered that women of inferior rank should not be arrayed
in budge or wool.

One of the commonest London sculptured signs is that of the Maiden’s
Head, which indicates property belonging to the Mercers’ Company. I
will mention one which is to be seen above the first-floor window
of No. 6, Ironmonger Lane, with the date 1668, as it is the only
specimen of any antiquity known to me which is dated, and being
somewhat more florid in treatment than usual, it is characteristic of
the time at which it was put up. The arms of the company, granted in
1568 and confirmed in 1634, are: gules, a demi-virgin, with her hair
dishevelled, crowned, issuing out of and within an orle of clouds,
all proper. One may presume from the date that they were chosen in
honour of Queen Elizabeth. Strype says: ‘When any of this company is
chosen mayor, or makes one of the triumph of the day, wherein he goes
to Westminster to be sworn, a most beautiful virgin is carried through
the streets in a chariot, with all the glory and majesty possible,
with her hair all dishevelled about her shoulders, to represent the
maidenhead which the company give for their arms, and this lady is
plentifully gratified for her pains, besides the gift of all the rich
attire she wears.’ The Maiden’s Head also appears on the arms of
the Pinners’ Company, with the motto, ‘Virginitas et unitas nostra
æternitas.’ It was assumed as a badge of the Parr family, previous to
the marriage of Catherine Parr with Henry VIII. They derived it from
the family of Ros of Kendal.

The Mercers’ Company is very ancient; it was incorporated in the year
1393 (17 Rich. II.);[53] but long before that the mercers had been
associated voluntarily for purposes of mutual aid and comfort. They
came to light first as a fraternity in the time of Henry II., for
Gilbert à Becket, father of St. Thomas of Canterbury, is said to have
been a mercer; and in 1192, Agnes de Helles, sister of St. Thomas, and
her husband Thomas Fitz-Theobald de Helles, in founding the hospital
of St. Thomas of Acon, which is distinctly stated to have been built
on the spot where the future archbishop was born, constituted the
fraternity of mercers patrons of the hospital. The present Mercers’
Hall, in Cheapside, is built on part of this site. It was only by
degrees that the merchant adventurers became detached from the
mercers. The last link between the two companies was severed as late
as the year 1666, when the Great Fire destroyed the office held by the
Merchant-Adventurers under Mercers’ Hall. The Haberdashers’ Company
was a branch of the Mercers’, which broke off from them in the time of
Henry VI. The word ‘mercer’ would seem to imply merchant only, being
derived, through the French ‘mercier,’ from the Latin word ‘mercator.’
It is probable that those who were called mercers dealt at first
in most commodities, except food and the precious metals. Herbert,
however, considers that in ancient times ‘mercer’ was the name for a
man who dealt in small wares; and that ‘merceries then comprehended
all things sold retail by the little balance, in contradistinction
to things sold by the beam, or in gross, and included not only toys,
together with haberdashery and various other articles connected with
dress, but also spices and drugs; in short, what at present constitutes
the stock of a general country shopkeeper.’ He goes on to say that
the silk trade, which in later ages formed the main feature of the
mercers’ business, is stated in the Act of 33 Henry VI., c. 5, to have
been carried on by ‘the silkwomen and throwsteres of London,’ who, in
petitioning for that Act, pray that the Lombards and other strangers
may be hindered from importing wrought silk into the realm, contrary
to custom, and to the ruin of the mystery and occupation of silk-making
and other virtuous female occupations.

The mercers were not the first incorporated company; in this the
goldsmiths, skinners, and merchant tailors may claim precedence; they,
however, have long ranked the first, as exemplified in the following
stanzas from a song addressed to Sir John Peakes, mercer (who was
elected Lord Mayor in 1686), after a dinner given in his honour:

  ‘Advance the Virgin, lead the van,
    Of all that are in London free,
  The Mercer is the foremost man
    That founded a society.
      _Cho._ Of all the trades that London grace,
            We are the first in time and place.

  ‘When Nature in perfection was,
    And virgin beauty in her prime,
  The Mercer gave the nymph a gloss,
    And made e’en beauty more sublime.
      _Cho._ In this above our brethren blest,
            The Virgin’s since our coat and crest.’

More or less analogous to the arms of the City companies are the
arms of the Inns of Court and Chancery. The interesting and highly
picturesque gatehouse of Lincoln’s Inn, facing Chancery Lane, has on
it the date 1518, and three shields. That in the centre represents
the royal arms of England; to the spectator’s right are the arms of
Sir Thomas Lovell, K.G., who was son of the executor of King Henry
VII., had been reader to the Society of Lincoln’s Inn, and gave most
of the money required for building the gatehouse.[54] To the left
are the arms of Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, namely, or, a lion
rampant purp., placed there by the builder; which reminds one of the
historic fact that Lincoln’s Inn stands on the site of the Earl’s
mansion and grounds, once possessed, in part at least, by the Black
or Preaching Friars. Here he had a fine garden--so productive that,
besides supplying his table, it yielded, says Mr. Hudson Turner,[55]
apples, pears, large nuts, and cherries, sufficient to produce by their
sale in one year (24 Edward I.) ‘the sum of £9 2s. 3d. in money of that
time, equal to about £135 of modern currency.’ The Earl of Lincoln died
without male issue in 1312, but bequeathed his name to the property,
which passed into legal hands. His arms are still retained by the
honourable society, though it has been said that Sir James Lea at one
time proposed another device.

The Winged Horse, or Pegasus, representing the arms of the Society of
the Inner Temple, ornaments the well-known gatehouse in Fleet Street,
which dates from 1607, and has in front the feathers of Henry, Prince
of Wales, eldest son of James I. A little west is the gatehouse to the
Middle Temple, built in 1684, from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren.
It has sculptured on it, the Lamb and Flag, or Agnus Dei:

  ‘As by the Templars’ haunts you go,
    The Horse and Lamb display’d
  In emblematic figures show
    The merits of their trade;

  ‘That clients may infer from thence
    How just is their profession,
  The lamb sets forth their innocence,
    The horse their expedition.’

The Winged Horse is supposed by some to be a corruption of the ancient
seal of two Knights Templars riding on one horse, indicative of their
original poverty; for here they had their headquarters in England ‘till
they decayed through pride.’ The two designs, however, resemble each
other to a very slight extent, and in point of fact have no connection.
It seems that in the fifth year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign the Society
of the Inner Temple adopted, as a heraldic charge, the Pegasus with
the motto ‘Volat ad æthera virtus,’ at the suggestion of Gerard Leigh,
one of its Benchers, a pedantic student of heraldry, the idea being
that the knowledge which might be gained at this seat of learning
would raise its possessor to the highest pinnacle of fame. Sir George
Buc,[56] master of the revels, appears to be responsible for the lamb
and flag. He tells us that in 1615, more than fifty years after the
adoption of the Pegasus by the twin society, the authorities of the
Middle Temple had neither arms nor seal, and to supply the want he
suggested either ‘two armed knights riding upon one horse, or a field
argent charged with a cross gules, and on the nombril thereof a Holy
Lamb;’ the first having been, as I have said, the ancient seal of the
Knights Templars, and the second what they appear to have assumed
later, when they became prosperous. This at least is Sir George Buc’s
statement, on the authority of an illuminated manuscript containing
the statutes of their order, which belonged to Lord William Howard of
Naworth. Mr. Barrington thought that the Holy Lamb, as a representation
of Christ, should be encircled by a nimbus. To confirm this view and
to prove that the Templars did use the device, he gives a quotation
from Blomefield’s MS. collections for Cambridgeshire, wherein the Holy
Lamb, with its nimbus and banner, appears on the seal of a deed dated
1273, by which Guido de Foresta, ‘magister militiæ Templi in Anglia
et fratres ejusdem militiæ,’ leased out certain lands in Pampesworth,
Cambridgeshire, the rent to be paid, ‘domino Templi,’ at Dunworth
of the same county. Round the seal is the following inscription, ‘✠
SIGILLVM TEMPLI.’ From the fact that Sir George Buc suggested to the
Society of the Middle Temple the two devices which had been used by the
Templars, it is evident that the Pegasus, already adopted by the Inner
Temple, was not considered in his time to have any connection with the
original seal of the Knights Templars.

The fourth of the great Inns of Court--Gray’s Inn--derived its name
from the noble family of the Greys of Wilton, having been originally
their dwelling, just as Lincoln’s Inn had been the dwelling of an
Earl of Lincoln, and several of the Inns of Chancery were originally
the homes of other well-known personages. The society seems first to
have used the arms of the Grey family; afterwards they adopted the
Griffin’s Head[57] as their device, and it still adorns the pillars
of the gateway from Field Court into those delightful gardens which
were first planted, it is thought, under the direction of no less a
man than Francis Bacon. Once they were the resort of fine ladies, but
fashion has long since deserted them. The trees, however, are still
fine, the aspect of the place ‘reverend and law-abiding.’ Here there
is, or was, a rookery, which has given pleasure to generations of
Londoners. Early last summer (1892) the Benchers, anxious to utilize
so eligible a site, erected a corrugated iron structure some 90 feet
long, at the south-west corner of the gardens. They have tried to make
it look beautiful by partly covering it with trellis-work, and by
having the wooden roof painted tile colour. The rooks, however, showed
their resentment by flying off in a body, and it remains a question
whether they will again make the gardens their permanent home; for now
I hear that this erection, which has the negative merit of being easily
removable, is to be replaced by a chapel ‘in the Elizabethan or late
Tudor style,’ the windows to be fitted--or misfitted--with glass from
the present chapel, which will be turned to secular use. A little more
than a century ago Gray’s Inn was quite on the outskirts of London,[58]
‘with an uninterrupted prospect of the neighbouring fields as far as
Highgate and Hampstead.’

Centuries before the Great Fire, carved shields of arms were doubtless
common in London on public buildings and the houses of great people, as
decorations, and as guides to the unlettered class, which then formed a
vast majority of the population. Sometimes--at any rate, in the earlier
days--these arms were not carved in stone, but painted and hung out, as
we learn from the evidence of the poet Chaucer[59] in the Scrope and
Grosvenor dispute, which also gives us an interesting glimpse of the
early history of one of our noble families. He says that, in walking
up Friday Street, he once saw a sign hung out with ‘arms painted and
put there by a knight of the County of Chester, called Sir Robert
Grosvenor’; and that was the first time he ever heard of Sir Robert
Grosvenor, or his ancestors, or anyone bearing the name of Grosvenor.

The first armorial shield to which I shall refer under this heading is
from a public building, and though comparatively modern it should be
specially interesting to all citizens of London. I allude to the Royal
Arms[60]--a well-executed piece of sculpture--which is used as the
sign of a public-house rebuilt quite recently, on the south side of
Newcomen Street, late King Street, Southwark. This was taken from the
gatehouse at the Southwark end of old London Bridge, which was pulled
down in 1760, in consequence of an Act of Parliament passed four years
previously, for the destruction of the buildings on London Bridge and
the widening of the roadway.


King Street was then being made from High Street to Snow Fields,
through the former Axe and Bottle Yard, and these arms, having
been bought by Mr. Williams, a stonemason who was employed in the
construction of King Street, were placed by him more or less in their
present position. In a view of the bridgegate engraved for Noorthouck’s
‘History of London’ (p. 543), the arms appear with the inscription, G
II R, afterwards changed to G III, as we now see it.

There are still a few carved shields of arms in London, dating from
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which marked the property
of private individuals. Until quite recently the district known as
Cloth Fair and Bartholomew Close, in the immediate neighbourhood of
the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, was distinguished by its air
of picturesque antiquity. Some quaint old houses still remain; on
one of them--No. 22, Cloth Fair--is to be seen a relic which carries
us back almost to the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.
This is the armorial shield of Richard Rich, who was made a peer in
1547; or more likely, perhaps, of one of his immediate descendants.
It is surmounted by a coronet, and has been blazoned thus: gules, a
chevron between three crosses botonnée or.[61] The founder of the
Rich family was a mercer in the City, and Sheriff in the year 1442;
it was his great-grandson Richard who, _temp._ Henry VIII., became
Solicitor-General, Speaker of the House of Commons, and who took so
scandalous a part in the trial and conviction of Sir Thomas More. In
1544 the site of St. Bartholomew’s Priory was granted by the King
to his favourite, there described as Sir Richard Rich, knight, in
consideration of the sum of £1,064 11s. 3d., as appears from the
original deed; and here he is said to have lived in the Prior’s mansion
as Lord Chancellor. The tolls of the fair[62] were also granted to
him. It was provided that the church within the Great Close was to be
a parish church for ever, and vacant ground adjoining it on the west
side, 87 feet in length by 60 feet in breadth, where the destroyed nave
had stood, was to be taken for a churchyard, the site of the fair being
no longer used as a burial-ground.

Sir Richard Rich was made a baron in 1547. Queen Mary revoked the
grant in his favour, and placed here a convent of Preaching Friars,
who under Father Person began to rebuild the nave of the church,
but they were turned out when Elizabeth came to the throne, and the
following year there was a fresh grant to the purchaser, by the title
of Richard Lord Rich, and his heirs, ‘in free socage.’ The monastery
with its precincts had been enclosed by a wall which contained,
besides the numerous monastic offices, a large garden and court,
fifty-one tenements, a mulberry garden (one of the first planted in
this country), and the famous churchyard wherein had been held, since
the time of Henry I., the great annual gathering for clothiers and
drapers. This began to fall off, as a cloth fair,[63] towards the end
of the sixteenth century, but continued to be more or less of a London
carnival, and in some sort lingered on as late as the year 1855. The
first Lord Rich died in 1560; during his lifetime little building seems
to have taken place, for in Ralph Aggas’s map, which is considered to
be of about this date, the space north of the church has no houses upon
it, and the priory wall abutting on Long Lane still exists. Very soon,
however, the land was turned to more profitable account, and we find
Stow[64] writing at the end of the century: ‘Now notwithstanding all
proclamations of the prince, and also the Act of Parliament, in place
of booths within this churchyard (only let out in the fair time, and
closed up all the year after), be many large houses built, and the
north wall towards Long Lane taken down, a number of tenements are
there erected for such as will give great rents.’ The houses in the
street now called Cloth Fair probably followed the old line of booths.
The first Lord Rich’s grandson Robert, who made such an ill-assorted
marriage with Lady Penelope Devereux, Sidney’s ‘Stella,’ was raised
to the dignity of Earl of Warwick in 1618. His second son Henry was
created Baron Kensington and Earl of Holland. The titles were merged
in the next generation, and became extinct in the year 1759, when
the tolls of the fair descended to the Edwardes family, cousins of
the Riches, in whose favour the Kensington title was revived. Lord
Kensington sold these tolls to the Corporation of London in 1839.

Before we quit this quaint neighbourhood let us peep into the venerable
Church of St. Bartholomew the Great. What an idea it gives one of the
splendour of the old priory church, of which it formed but a part,
little more than the choir remaining! Much ‘restoration’ is in progress
here, and it is difficult at a glance to distinguish between the
genuine Norman work and the ingenious nineteenth-century Norman which
has lately been added. Fortunately the fine perpendicular oriel on the
south side of the triforium has so far escaped intact. It was probably
inserted by Prior Bolton (who died in 1532), and has on it, carved in
stone, expressive of his name, a tun pierced by a bird-bolt, or arrow.
The rebus occurs again on the spandrel of a Tudor doorway which leads
into the modern vestry. This Prior seems to have taken pleasure in
building, and in seeing his name thus perpetuated.[65] He reconstructed
the manor-house of Canonbury, Islington, north of the parish church,
which had been given to the convent by Ralph de Berners, and as early
as the year 1253 is enumerated among his possessions. Here is also to
be found the Prior’s rebus, on a doorway inside No. 6, Canonbury Place,
which, with No. 7, is now used for a girls’ school. It also formerly
appeared cut in stone on two parts of the wall originally connected
with the old brick tower, which is so picturesque and so full of
interesting associations.

It is, however, generally thought that the tower, as we see it, was
built under the direction of Sir John Spencer, the wealthy merchant,
afterwards the purchaser of Crosby Hall, who bought this place from
Thomas Lord Wentworth in 1570. Eleven years afterwards Queen Elizabeth
visited him here, and towards the end of the century he made great
alterations in the building. Two of the rooms attached to Canonbury
Tower are finely panelled from floor to ceiling; the very handsome
carved chimney-piece in the upper room bears the arms of Sir John
Spencer. Canonbury House is now occupied by a Constitutional Club.
Parts of the building have been modernized of late years, but the
panelled rooms are still much in their original state. The pretty strip
of garden at the back contains fruit-trees which Goldsmith may have
seen, when he lodged here in the summer of 1767.

We must not forget that the original building occupied a considerable
part of Canonbury Place. We have evidence of this in Prior Bolton’s
rebus at No. 6; and traces of Sir John Spencer’s work are to be seen
in this and the adjoining houses, where there are no less than five
richly-stuccoed ceilings, two of them with the date 1599. Here also,
inside the entrance, are the arms[66] of Sir Walter Dennys, carved
in oak. They were formerly over a fireplace, and when moved to their
present position, many years ago, the following inscription was placed

 ‘These were the arms of Sir Walter Dennys of Gloucestershire, who was
 made a Knight by bathing at the creation of Arthur, Prince of Wales
 in Nov. 1489, and died Sept. 1, 21 Henry VII., and was buried at the
 church of Olviston in Gloucestershire. He married Margaret, daughter
 of Sir Rich Weston, Knt., to which family Canonbury House formerly
 belonged. The carving is therefore 280 years old.’

The latter part of the inscription is clearly erroneous, as the
manor-house was not in lay hands till after the dissolution. Mr.
Nelson thought that these arms were placed here by some descendant
of the Dennys or Weston family, who might afterwards have lived at
Canonbury--perhaps one of the Comptons, Joan, a daughter of Sir Walter,
having married into that family. The Comptons did not come into
possession till 1610, when William, the second lord, succeeded Sir
John Spencer, having married Elizabeth, his daughter and sole heiress.
I need hardly say that they were the direct ancestors of the present
Marquis of Northampton, who still owns the property.

A famous galleried inn, the Old Bell,[67] Holborn, now almost unique
of its kind, has, imbedded in the front, the sculptured arms of Fowler
of Islington, namely, azure, on a chevron argent, between three herons
or, as many crosses formée gules. They are surmounted by an esquire’s
helmet, with a crest, which seems to be an eagle’s head with a sprig of
some sort in its beak. The first man of this family who made any mark
was Thomas Fowler, lord of the manor of Bernersbury[68] or Barnsbury,
Islington, in 1548. From him descended Sir Thomas Fowler, knight,
Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Middlesex, and apparently one of the
jurors at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, at Winchester, in 1603. If
the tradition of Sir Walter’s residence at Islington is true, they must
have lived within a stone’s throw of each other at one time. Before
being knighted, Thomas Fowler had married Jane, daughter of Gregory
Charlet, citizen and tallow-chandler, who bore him two sons. His second
wife, to whom he was married at St. James’s Church, Clerkenwell, on
March 17, 1604, was Mary, widow of Sir John Spencer, of Althorp--not to
be confused with his neighbour the rich merchant of Crosby Place and
Canonbury, who lived on till 1609. His elder son, also Thomas, was made
a baronet, but the title died out with him in 1656.

The Fowlers dwelt in a house in Cross Street, Islington, a little
beyond the church, which still existed a generation ago. The ceiling
of a room on the first-floor was decorated with the arms and initials
of Queen Elizabeth, also the initials F T I. At the end of the garden,
which had been of considerable extent, there was a small brick
building,[69] intended, perhaps, for a summer-house or porter’s lodge.
It had on the west side, cut in stone, the Fowler arms, bearing an
esquire’s helmet, apparently similar in all respects to those I have
described, except that no mention is made of a crest. In another part
of the building were the arms of Sir Thomas Fowler the younger, with
his initials and the date 1655. They were distinguished by having an
escutcheon charged with a sinister hand, couped at the wrist--the arms
of Ulster and ensign of baronetcy. It is curious that the daughter
and heiress of this Sir Thomas Fowler married a Fisher, to whom
descended the manor of Barnsbury, and that the first Fowler who settled
in Islington had married a Herne or Heron. The arms of that family
appeared in a window of the old house in Cross Street.

When visiting the Guildhall Museum, not long since, I was reminded of
another Islington family, not distinguished, but still perhaps worthy
of mention. A stone tablet, said to be from an old house in Upper
Street, Islington, has on it the inscription: N R I RVFFORDS BVILDINGS
1688, and a similar inscription is still to be seen on No. 1a, Compton
Street, Clerkenwell. The fact is, there were two groups of houses thus
named, both of which were built by Captain Nicholas Rufford, who was
churchwarden at Islington in 1690, and died in 1711, aged seventy-one.
Nelson mentions inscriptions to him and several of his family in the
churchyard. In the Islington Rufford’s Buildings Dr. W. Berriman lived
for some years. He was a famous divine, and became Fellow of Eton
College. His death took place in 1749-50.

Some pages back, in my description of the sign of the Two Negroes’
Heads, I had occasion to allude to Clare Market. Before that
neighbourhood is quite transformed, I should like to say a few words
about it and its connection with the Holles family. An old coat of arms
and an old inscription will serve as pegs on which to hang my story. In
Seymour’s ‘Survey,’ 1754 (written by John Mottley), we are told that
Clement’s Inn[70]--the fancied scene of Shallow’s exploits--descended
to the Earls of Clare from their ancestor Sir William Holles, or
Hollis--as he spells it--Lord Mayor of London in 1539. The name of
John, Baron Holles of Houghton, appears as a parishioner of St. Clement
Danes in the rate-book for the year 1617. In 1624 he was created Earl
of Clare. There seems to have been no concealment about the fact that
his titles were bought: the first, obtained through the influence of
the Duke of Buckingham, had cost him no less a sum than £10,000; for
the second he is said to have paid an additional £5,000. It is curious
that this latter dignity had some years before been refused to Robert
Rich, afterwards created Earl of Warwick, who had set his heart on
it (and is said to have also paid money for his earldom), the Crown
lawyers having solemnly declared that it was a title peculiar to the
Royal Family, and not to be borne by a subject. The princely mansion
of John Holles,[71] second Earl, was at the end of Clare Court, or
Clare House Court, on the east side of Drury Lane, next to Blackmore
Street. In Hatton’s time (1708) it had been turned into tenements. This
second Earl founded Clare Market,[72] which stands, or stood, on what
was previously called Clement’s Inn Fields. License had already been
granted by Charles I. to Thomas York in 1640, and to the antiquary
Gervase Holles[73] in 1642, to make streets and to erect houses on this
property. One of the provisions in the Act[74] passed in 1657, ‘for the
Preventing of the Multiplicity of Buildings in and about the Suburbs
of London,’ expressly states that John, Earl of Clare, having erected
several new buildings and improved the property, ‘from henceforth for
ever hereafter, on every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, in every
week, there shall be a common open and free market, held in Clement’s
Inn Fields aforesaid, where the said buildings useful for a market
are erected, and in the places near unto adjoining, and to enjoy
all liberties, customs and emoluments incident usually and of right
belonging and appertaining to markets.’ It seems, from the ‘Harleian
Miscellany,’ that the City authorities at one time began a lawsuit
laying claim to this property, but they failed in their attempt. The
market was at first usually called the New Market.

The streets in this neighbourhood are several of them named after the
family of the former possessors: as Clare Street, where, on Saturdays,
there is still something like a market; Denzell Street, Holles Street,
Houghton Street, Vere Street, and Gilbert Street and Passage. On a
squalid house at the corner of this narrow opening, and facing the
space lately cleared in what was the market, I have observed with
interest a fine stone bas-relief of the Holles arms, surmounted by
an earl’s coronet, namely, ermine, two piles in point sable, and the
motto ‘Spes audaces adjuvat,’ the supporters being a lion and that
nondescript beast, a heraldic tiger, which is supposed to have a
dragon’s head. The date beneath is 1659, showing that they were put up
for John Holles, second Earl of Clare, no doubt on a building in the
market-place. Another curious relic is to be seen let into the wall of
a public-house called the Royal Yacht, at the corner of Denzell Street
and Stanhope Street. This is a stone tablet, the inscription on which
is here given, and which speaks for itself.

[Illustration: Denzell Street·1682 So called by Gilbert= Earle of Clare
in Memory of his Vncle Denzell Lord Holles who dyed February y^e:
17^{th}: 1679 Aged 81 years:3:months a great honour to his name and the
exact paterne of his Fathers great Meritt·John Earle of Clare Rebuilt
by H^Y COCKER 1796]

It was erected by Gilbert, third Earl, in memory of his father’s
second brother Denzil--‘a man of great courage and of as great pride,’
says Clarendon, who, during the early troubles between Charles I. and
his Parliament, took a leading part on the popular side. On March 2,
1629, when the Speaker was about to adjourn the House in obedience to
the King’s order, Denzil Holles helped to keep him in the chair by
force, for which conduct he, with five other members, was committed
to the Tower and fined 1,000 marks. After many vicissitudes Holles
welcomed the restoration of Charles II., was created a peer, and sent
as Ambassador to Paris, where his pugnacity and his ignorance of the
French language[75] were alike remarkable. Mr. Wheatley tells us that
in 1644 he had been living in Covent Garden, under the name of Colonel
Holles; in 1666, and after, he was in a house at the west corner of the
north piazza, which Sir Kenelm Digby had previously occupied.

The Holles family became extinct in the male line on the death of
John, fourth Earl of Clare, who had married Lady Margaret Cavendish,
a great heiress, and was created Duke of Newcastle. This nobleman,
one of the richest subjects in the kingdom, died in 1711, from the
effects of a fall while hunting at Welbeck, leaving an only daughter,
from whom is descended the present Duke of Portland. Some years before
his death, namely, in May, 1705, still clinging to the neighbourhood
with which his family had been so long connected, the last Holles in
the male line bought from the Marquis of Powis, for the large sum of
£7,000, the house at the north-west angle of Lincoln’s Inn Fields,
now numbered 66 and 67, which touches Great Queen Street, and is still
known as Powis or Newcastle House. The Duke left the greater part of
his possessions, including this house, to his nephew, Thomas Pelham,
the well-known political leader in the time of George II., who took the
name of Holles, and was also created Duke of Newcastle. Here he lived
and intrigued, and this was the scene of his levees, so graphically
described by Lord Chesterfield. If those silent walls could speak, they
might tell us many strange tales.

Newcastle House had been built in 1686 by Captain William Winde, or
Wynne, as Campbell calls him in the ‘Vitruvius Britannicus’--a pupil
of Gerbier, and perhaps also of Webb, who was in his turn a pupil of
Inigo Jones. The structure has unfortunately been much altered for the
worse since an engraving of it was made for Strype’s Stow (edition of
1754). It replaced an older house which had been burnt to the ground on
October 26, 1684, the family escaping with difficulty. William Herbert,
first Marquis and titular Duke of Powis, for whom the house was built,
suffered severely owing to his attachment to the cause of James II. He
accompanied the King into exile, his estates were, in part at any rate,
confiscated, and he died at St. Germains in 1696. In some way this
house escaped the general wreck; perhaps it was alienated for a few
years. Strype says that ‘it was sometime the seat of Sir John Somers,
late Lord Chancellor of England’; and Pennant adds, ‘It is said that
Government had it once in contemplation to have bought and settled it
officially on the great seal. At that time it was inhabited by the Lord
Keeper, Sir Nathan Wright.’ Whatever the circumstances may have been,
it came into the hands of the second Marquis, who before its sale to
the Duke of Newcastle had already built himself another house[76] in
Great Ormond Street, on the site of which is Powis Place.

The west side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields shows interesting specimens of
architecture. Lindsey House, though much altered, is an undoubted work
of Inigo Jones. It was built probably about the year 1640, for Robert
Bertie, first Earl of Lindsey, who died a hero’s death at the battle
of Edgehill. The fourth Earl having been created Duke of Ancaster, it
was for a time called Ancaster House. Hatton, in 1708, describes it
as ‘a handsome building of the Ionic order, and (in front a) strong
beautiful court-gate, consisting of six fine, spacious brick piers,
with curious ironwork between them, and on the piers are placed very
large and beautiful vases.’ The stone facade is now plastered and
painted, the entrance door widened, the house divided into two. Inside,
a graceful mantelpiece and an alcove evidently belong to the last
century. Mr. Alfred Marks, in a valuable note on the house, ascribes
these architectural features to Ware, who was a great admirer of Inigo
Jones, and in 1743 published some of his designs. The alcove is adorned
by a coat of arms belonging to the Shiffner family, a member of which,
as appears from the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, resided in Lincoln’s Inn
Fields in the year 1759.

South of Lindsey House, there are other buildings which were probably
designed by Inigo Jones. From the house which is over the archway
leading into Sardinia Street, one may trace the Rose and Fleur-de-lys
of Charles I. and his Queen on the pilasters. They are now mostly
plastered and painted, but it may be remarked that in the extreme
south-west corner of the Fields, behind other more modern structures,
stands a house the upper part of which is outside in its original
condition. It is of red brick, the bases, bands and capitals of the
pilasters and the architraves being of stone, and it has, like the
others, the rose and fleur-de-lys in relief. But the best-preserved
specimen, externally, of work of this character now existing in London
is the harmonious red-brick building on the south side of Great Queen
Street, hard by, which was either designed by Inigo Jones or by Webb
under his influence. Let those who wish to study its fine proportions
and pleasant details lose no time, for an ominous board has appeared in
front, and much I fear that its days are numbered. Can nothing be done
to save it? Mr. Wheatley says that Thomas Hudson, the portrait-painter
(Reynolds’s master), lived in this house, which is now divided and
numbered 55 and 56. It had almost certainly been occupied by Sir
Godfrey Kneller.





  ‘Many things of worthy memory.’

  SHAKESPEARE: _Taming of the Shrew_.

I SHALL close my account with a few miscellaneous signs and
inscriptions which I could not appropriately fit in elsewhere. Several
eminent banking firms carefully preserve the signs which were used by
them before their houses were numbered; but they have been so ably
described by Mr. Hilton Price and others, that little more need be
said. The Marygold is in the front shop of Messrs. Child and Co.’s
premises, Fleet Street; it is of oak, the ground stained green, with a
sun and a gilt border: the motto underneath is, ‘Ainsi mon âme.’ The
Three Squirrels of Messrs. Gosling are worked in iron and attached to
the bars which protect their central window, and the original sign of
copper is preserved in the front office. From Mr. Price I learn that
as early as the year 1684, and perhaps earlier, James Chambers kept
a goldsmith’s shop at the Three Squirrels over against St. Dunstan’s
Church, Fleet Street; and it is a curious fact that one family of
Chambers bears the three squirrels in its arms. Hoare’s Golden Bottle
hangs over the doorway of their banking-house. Sir Richard Colt Hoare
thought it was a barrel sign adopted by James Hore, of Cheapside,
because his father, Ralph, was a member of the Coopers’ Company. More
likely, however, it was a sign of the same description as the Black
Jack and the Leathern Bottle, of which a genuine specimen from the
corner of Charles Street, Leather Lane, has lately found its way into
the Guildhall Museum. Unfortunately, the Grasshopper--the old sign of
Messrs. Martin and Co., in Lombard Street--has not been preserved.
It was the crest of Sir Thomas Gresham, who is believed to have here
carried on his business. A most interesting history of the house has
lately been written by Mr. J. B. Martin, one of the partners. A quaint
and charming sign is the little carved figure of a naval officer taking
an observation--the Wooden Midshipman of Dombey and Son. He may still
be seen in the Minories, having migrated from Leadenhall Street some
years ago. Not long since the owners sent him for change of air to the
Naval Exhibition. The figure and its associations form the subject of
a capital paper by Mr. J. Ashby-Sterry in _All the Year Round_ for
October 29, 1881.

At the corner of Charlotte Street and the Blackfriars Road there is a
figure of a dog overturning a three-legged iron pot, in its eagerness
to get at the contents; this is the sign of a wholesale ironmonger’s
establishment said to date from 1783. The Dog’s Head in the Pot, as
it is called, seems, of late years at any rate, to have been usually
adopted by members of this trade, because the vessel represented is of
iron. The sign is said to indicate a dirty, slovenly housewife. Larwood
and Hotten mention a coarse woodcut of the beginning of last century
(to judge from the costumes, copied from an older original) which
represents two old women in a disorderly room or kitchen. One of them
wipes a plate with the bushy tail of a large dog whose head is buried
in a pot. Under it are the lines:

  ‘All sluts behold, take view of me,
  Your own good husbandry to see.’

A Dutch saying, to anyone late for dinner, is that he will find the dog
in the pot; in other words, that the remains of the dinner have been
handed over to the dog to finish.

The Dog’s Head in the Pot is a very old London sign, being mentioned
in a tract from the press of Wynkyn de Worde called ‘Cocke Lorell’s
Bote.’ The person who dwelt at this sign was therein described as
‘Annys Angry with the croked buttock--by her crafte a breche maker.’
A later notice occurs in the will (dated September 3, 1563) of Thomas
Johnson, citizen and haberdasher, of London, who gave £13 4s. annually
to the highways between Barkway and Dog’s Head in the Pot, otherwise
called ‘Horemayd,’ probably a house of entertainment in the parish of
Great or Little Hormead, in Hertfordshire, by the side of the road
from Barkway to London. At a house in Westgate Street, Gloucester,
some beautifully carved Tudor panels have lately come to light. One
of them has on it a dog or leopard eating out of a three-legged pot.
A seventeenth-century trade-token, issued from Red Cross Street, and
another from Old Street, St. Luke’s, have the device of the Dog’s Head
in the Pot.

A medallion in plaster or terra-cotta, which looked as if it might
have been copied from a classical coin, was till lately to be seen on
the gable of a little fishmonger’s shop in Cheyne Walk. This, though
a humble specimen of its class, belonged to a style of decoration
once common. I have before me a view, dated 1792, of a house on Tower
Hill with similar medallions. Sometimes the heads of Roman Emperors
were thus placed, sometimes the cardinal virtues or other emblematic
figures. In the third edition of Stow, by Anthony Munday, occurs the
following passage, descriptive of Aldgate: ‘The old ruinous Gate being
taken downe, and order provided for a new foundation, divers very
ancient peeces of Romane coyne were found among the stones and rubbish,
which, as Mr. Martin Bond (a Worshipful Citizen, and one of the
Surveyors of the worke) told me, two of them (according to their true
forme and figure) he caused to be carved on stone, and fixed on eyther
side of the Gates Arch without, eastward.’ These coins were of the
Emperors Trajan and Diocletian. Martin Bond laid the foundation-stone
of the new gate in 1607. The little house in Cheyne Walk was formerly a
freehold with the right of pasturage on Chelsea Common; it was pulled
down in October, 1892. I have drawn it for the frontispiece of this
volume; the lower part appears in a delightful etching by Whistler,
called ‘The Fish-shop.’

One of the most interesting signs in existence belongs to my friend
Mr. F. Manley Sims. It does not, however, strictly belong to London,
having been brought from Poole some years ago; its earlier history
has yet to be discovered. This is a doctor’s signboard, excellently
carved, with figures in high relief. It is divided into compartments:
in the centre--more important than the rest--is the doctor himself, in
Jacobean costume, his potions ranged on shelves behind him; around, in
seven compartments, are represented various operations of surgery; and
below, in relief, appear the words from Ecclesiasticus, ‘Altissimus
creavit de terra medicynam et vir prudens non abhorebit illam.’ Anno
Domini 1623. There are traces of paint and gilding; the whole is
enclosed within an ornamental border, and has a highly decorative

Somewhat akin to the sculptured street signs are the tablets on which
are inscribed the names of the streets, and often the dates of their
building or completion. They have historical value where, as is not
unfrequently the case, they record a name now in danger of being
forgotten, and some of them are designed with a good deal of taste. So
many of these tablets remain that I shall not attempt a list, but shall
only mention a few good examples. One of the oldest is in Great Chapel
Street, Westminster, and is inscribed: ‘This is Chappeil Street, 1656.’

The following are instances of the inscriptions, which may help us to
make out the history of the streets. On a corner house at the east
side of Dering Street (late Union Street), Oxford Street, is a stone
inscribed, ‘Sheffield Street, 1721.’ Curiously enough, in Horwood’s
Map of 1799, and in another issued in 1800, the name is given as
Shepherd Street, so that here we have four changes in 170 years. On a
modern house at the south-east corner of Danvers Street, Cheyne Walk,
much of which is now cleared away, there is a stone, supported by
brackets, with a pediment which tells us that ‘This is Danvers Street,
begun in y^e year 1696 by Benjamin Stallwood.’ Danvers House, hard by,
was not pulled down till 1716. May’s Buildings, on the east side of
St. Martin’s Lane, have the name, and date 1739. Mr. J. T. Smith, in
‘Nollekens and his Times,’ tells us that they were built by Mr. May,
who ornamented the front of No. 43, St. Martin’s Lane, a few doors off,
where he resided. His house is still there; it has pretty cut brick
pilasters, and a cornice, and is now used as a restaurant. The archway
which leads into Sardinia Street, under one of the old houses on the
west side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, is inscribed above the keystone
on each side, ‘Duke Streete, 1648.’ This street was renamed in 1878,
after the chapel there, once belonging to the Sardinian minister, which
was demolished in the riots of June 2, 1780, but shortly afterwards
rebuilt, and is now known as the chapel of SS. Anselm and Cecilia. Here
Fanny Burney was married, in 1793, to General D’Arblay. A stone tablet,
which has on it ‘Nassau Street in Whettens Buildings, 1734,’ is still
to be seen at the south-west corner of Nassau Street. In Strype’s Map
of 1720 the ground here, facing Gerrard Street, is occupied by a large
mansion with a garden at the back, Nassau Street not being yet made.

Some of these tablets are well designed; a very nice example, though
not an early one, is placed above the first-floor of No. 16, Great
James Street, Bedford Row. It is an irregular convex shield, surrounded
by elaborate scroll-work of a style not uncommon about the time of its
erection, namely, in 1721. As a typical specimen it has been drawn for
this work. James Street, Haymarket, is also marked by a stone with
ornamental border, above a first-floor window of what is left of the
old Tennis Court, which is said to have been connected with the noted
Gaming House and Shaver’s Hall.


The date on it--namely, 1673, indicates, I suppose, the year in which
the street was built or finished; Shaver’s Hall existed some time
previously. The Tennis Court ceased to be used in 1866, to the regret
of many. In the year 1887 the upper part was rebuilt; but from the
tablet downwards the original walls, though stuccoed over, remain. Mr.
Julian Marshall says that in this court Charles and the Duke of York
used frequently to play their favourite game, and that the house, No.
17, at the south-western corner of James’s Street and the Haymarket, is
said to have been that through which the royal brothers used to pass,
on their way to the Tennis Court.[77] It does not, however, appear that
there was any contemporary evidence connecting them with it.

[Illustration: From Mount Pleasant]

In the region called Mount Pleasant, Gray’s Inn Lane, not far from the
new thoroughfare Rosebery Avenue, there are two or three tablets of a
different kind. Near the west end, between Nos. 55 and 56, is a plain
square stone, with ‘DORRINGTON STREET 1720’ incised in Roman capitals.
This stone is in a brick frame, with moulded hood, and projects from
the frame about an inch and a half. Further east, on No. 41, nearly
opposite the site of the prison, are two more tablets; one, similar
to that just described, has ‘BAYNES STREET, 1737.’ Over this is a far
more elaborate example of cut or moulded brick, with a pediment. It
has the inscription ‘IN GOD IS ALL OUR TRUST,’ and below some marks or
signs in relief (one of which appears to be a T-square), with the date
1737. The motto is similar to that of the Brewers’ Company, and of the
Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Company; with the latter I should think that
the builder or first possessor may have had some connection.


This last, being a house and not a street tablet, reminds me that there
are scattered about here and there on the fronts of houses, initials
and dates which by judicious treatment are made quite decorative. One
of the prettiest was a little cut brick tablet on an old house--No.
164, Union Street, Southwark--lately destroyed, which had on it
beneath a pediment the initials W. H. in monogram, and the date 1701.
Again, in Walbrook, on the west side, is a tablet merely dated 1668,
with well-designed brackets and cornice. On a modern house--No. 4,
Tothill Street, Westminster--called in 1885 the Cock, now the Aquarium
Tavern, there is a stone on which are cut the date 1671, a heart-shaped
mark, and the initials E. T. A.

[Illustration: N^o 12 walbrook]

In 1850, when Peter Cunningham wrote his handbook, the old house was
yet standing; in it Thomas Southerne, the poet, had lodged, as pointed
out by Mr. Hutton in his ‘Literary Landmarks of London.’ The heart has
puzzled me; a similar mark was formerly on a house in Peter Street,
Westminster. Can it have been a parish mark? An undoubted device of
this kind appears on a house at the corner of West Street and Upper
St. Martin’s Lane, and consists of two ragged staves crossed, with the
date 1691, and the initials S. G. F., which indicate the parish of St.
Giles’s in the Fields. A mark of the parish of St. Bride’s, dated 1670,
is in Robin Hood Court, Shoe Lane. At the corner of Artillery Street,
Bishopsgate Without, and Sandys Row, soon to be improved away, there
is a flat stone having fastened on it a piece of iron, shaped like a
broad arrow, and below the date 1682. Is this a parish mark, or can
it have been connected in any way with the old artillery ground--the
Tassel Close of an earlier time, when crossbow-makers used here to
shoot at the popinjay? In Strype’s time ‘divers worthy citizens’ still
frequented it for martial exercise. Of greater historic interest are
the monogram of Henry VIII., the Tudor portcullis, and other devices
carved on the spandrels of the arches which are under the gatehouse of
St. James’s Palace.

A general description of the painted signboards of London has formed no
part of the scheme of this book, because much has already been written
on the subject, and it would be too extensive to treat satisfactorily
in the limited space at my command. It may, however, be useful to note
a few signs of this kind still _in situ_. The Running Footman, of which
there are two specimens in Hays Mews, Charles Street, Berkeley Square,
is particularly interesting on account of the costume, and because it
is a record of the days when carriages moved at little more than a
foot’s pace,[78] and there were no police to regulate the traffic. It
is supposed to date from about 1770. Such a servant as this would be
singularly out of place in modern London; but in the East, retainers of
the same kind, who run in front and clear the way, still naturally form
part of a great man’s equipage. The Goat in Boots is to be seen in the
Fulham Road in front of a public-house lately rebuilt. To Le Blond--a
Flemish painter, who lived at Chelsea--was attributed the original
design, which seems to have been painted or repainted by Morland. Since
then, however, it has been daubed over again and again. Some ingenious
person has conjectured that the sign originated from a corruption of
the Dutch words: ‘der Goden Bode’ (the messenger of the Gods), said to
have been applied to Mercury, and to have been formerly used on houses
in Holland, to denote that post-horses were to be obtained; but this
seems improbable, as the house in old deeds is called the Goat. At the
Ben Jonson tavern in Shoe Lane a curious old wooden panel is preserved,
which bears on its two sides what are supposed to be portraits of ‘rare
Ben’; as it is nailed against the wall, one side only is now visible.
The person portrayed is a lean hungry-looking man, the very reverse
of the poet; it seems likely, nevertheless, that this was the old
signboard. A more ambitious effort is the full-length portrait of the
Duke of Cumberland--the hero of Culloden--which is on a public-house
at the corner of Bryanston Street and Great Cumberland Place, built
about 1774. It is affixed to the wall in accordance with the law
passed a short time previously. One is reminded of a letter by Horace
Walpole to Conway, dated April 16, 1747, in which he thus moralizes:
‘I observed how the Duke of Cumberland’s head had succeeded, almost
universally, to Admiral Vernon’s, as his head had left few traces of
the Duke of Ormonde’s. I pondered these things in my heart, and said
unto myself all glory is but a sign.’ Now that Hatchett’s Hotel in
Piccadilly has passed away, it is worth while to record that over the
bar of the Restaurant on this site (rebuilt 1886) was to be seen the
old painted signboard of a white horse with flowing mane and tail, and
the inscription, ‘The New White Horse Cellars, Abraham Hatchett.’ Last
year, owing to further alterations, this was removed.

The signs I have referred to are comparatively well known, but that
of the Coach and Horses--No. 49, St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell--has,
I think, hitherto escaped observation. This is a large picture
representing a lioness attacking one of the leaders of a mail-coach; a
yokel with a pitchfork, and a dog, advance intrepidly to the rescue. In
the background is a wayside inn, in front a pond. The event depicted
actually took place on October 20, 1816, and is described in ‘Cassell’s
Popular Natural History,’ vol. ii., p. 119. It seems that the Exeter
mail-coach was on its way to London, and the driver had pulled up at
Winter’s-Low-Hut, seven miles from Salisbury, to deliver the bags, when
one of his leaders was suddenly attacked by a ferocious animal, which
proved to be a lioness. A large mastiff came to the rescue, but when
she charged him he fled, and was pursued and killed about forty yards
from where the coach was standing. It turned out that the lioness had
escaped from a menagerie which was on its way to Salisbury Fair. She
was eventually driven into a granary, carrying the dead mastiff in her
teeth, and there secured by her keepers. A picture of this strange
attack was long exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly; of this
picture I imagine the sign to be a copy, it seems too well done to have
been painted expressly for the public-house to which it belongs. In
the course of 1889 a curious sign, the Whistling Oyster, disappeared
from No. 13, Vinegar Yard, on the south side of Drury Lane Theatre.
Here were formerly oyster and refreshment rooms, and it seems that
about 1840 Mr. Pearkes, the then proprietor, discovered among his stock
an eccentric bivalve, which actually did produce a sort of whistling
sound; much custom for a time and many jokes resulting therefrom. In
an early volume of _Punch_ there is a fancy portrait of the whistling

In the course of this work I have several times alluded to the
Guildhall Museum, beneath the Guildhall Library, which is not known as
it deserves. It contains not only sculptured signs, but a very valuable
collection of objects of artistic and antiquarian interest, most of
them from various parts of the city. The only drawbacks are that the
crypt or room in which they are placed, being half underground, is
very imperfectly lighted, and that the collection has not hitherto
been catalogued. This latter defect will, however, I understand, be
shortly remedied. Before descending let us glance at the statues
which flank the entrance to the Guildhall Library and Museum from
King Street. They are from the old College of Physicians in Warwick
Lane--one of Wren’s buildings--some remains of which still exist,
incorporated in the premises at the back of No. 1, Newgate Street.
These statues represent King Charles II. and Sir John Cutler, a
rich merchant whose avarice, handed down by Pope[79] and others, has
become immortal. It seems that in 1675 Sir John--a near relation of
Dr. Whistler, the president--expressed a wish to subscribe towards
the rebuilding of the College of Physicians, which had been destroyed
in the Great Fire, having previously stood at Amen Corner. When a
deputation attended to thank him, he renewed his promise, and specified
the part of the building for which he intended to pay. The theatre
accordingly bore on its front towards Warwick Lane the inscription,
‘Theatrum Cutlerianum.’ In the year 1680 statues in honour of the
king and the knight were voted by members of the college. A certain
amount of money must have been furnished, and some years afterwards
Cutler advanced them more; but after his death his executors, in 1699,
claimed the whole with interest, the money pretended to be given, and
that actually given, being alike set down as a loan in Cutler’s books.
The demand was compromised for £2,000. The statue remained, but the
college wisely obliterated the inscription which, in the warmth of its
gratitude, it had placed beneath the figure: ‘Omnis Cutleri cedat
labor amphitheatro.’ Pennant[80] is responsible for the above account,
perhaps overcoloured, which he gave on the authority of Dr. Richard
Warren. Strype speaks of Sir John as a great benefactor to the college;
he had no doubt given largely to the Grocers’ Company, of which he was
warden, and a portrait of him is in their possession.

I will now ask my readers to come with me to the Museum, which well
repays a visit. I understand that the nucleus of it was formed in
1829, when various antiquities, discovered in digging the foundations
of the then new Post Office in St. Martin’s-le-Grand, the new London
Bridge, and in the destruction of the Guildhall Chapel, were brought
together; but it has only of late years become important. I have
already described the sculptured signs which here find a home; let
me now briefly call attention to other objects which seem to me
especially interesting. There is an article on them in the _City
Press_ for September 5, 1891, to which I am indebted for several
useful hints. The accumulation of earth and débris in the City is so
great, that the present town is raised many feet above Roman London.
Now that excavations for new buildings are carried down much deeper
than formerly, valuable objects are not unfrequently brought to light.
The Roman antiquities in the Museum are many and important; of these
perhaps the most striking is a large piece of tessellated pavement
from Bucklersbury, in almost perfect condition. It was found no less
than 19 feet below the level of the roadway, on which account it is
thought to be an early relic of the Roman occupation. One of the good
deeds of the much-abused Metropolitan Board of Works was the gift of
this piece of pavement to the Corporation. In the course of excavations
in the City no less than three bastions of the original wall have
been discovered. The foundations of these were formed by masses of
statuary, inscriptions, and other débris of earlier Roman buildings. A
fine specimen is the statue of a Roman soldier, found at the bastion
in Camomile Street a few years since. Then there is a sculptured lion
fiercely attacking another animal, and many similar remains of equal or
greater interest; to describe them all in the briefest way would fill
a chapter. About one other relic of the Roman occupation I shall say
a few words, because it appears to be an almost unique instance of a
joke, written by a Roman with his own hand. This is a tile found in the
Roman wall during the excavations for Cutler’s Hall in Warwick Square.
On it are the following words, evidently incised when it was still
soft: ‘Austalis, Dibusu vagatur sib cotidem,’ which was thus translated
by the late Mr. Charles Roach Smith: ‘Austalis wanders off (from his
work) by himself to the Gods every day.’ The sentence is thought to
apply to a workman who was in the habit of absenting himself at odd
intervals, for purposes of prayer maybe--or more likely of refreshment,
and to have been written by a fellow workman.

Of later objects, the various specimens of mediæval skates are worth
mentioning. Each one is fashioned out of the tibia of a horse. They
have been found from time to time in the neighbourhood of Moorfields,
and well exemplify the description written by Fitzstephen in the
twelfth century, wherein he tells us that ‘when the fen or moor which
watereth the walls of the City on the north side, is frozen, many
young men play upon the ice--some tie bones to their feet, and shoving
themselves by a little picked staff, do slide as quickly as a bird
flieth through the air, or an arrow out of a crossbow.’ Interesting
also are the flat caps of burgesses, considered to be of the time of
Henry VII., which were found in Finsbury, May, 1887, and exhibited
to the members of the British Archæological Association by Mr. J.
W. Bailey. They resemble the flatter kind of Scotch caps, or the
Basque caps, and have a peculiar little flap behind. Gold coins were
discovered in the double rims of these caps, kept there for safety, no
doubt; one of them an angel, of the time of Richard II. Then there
is a fine collection of Elizabethan graybeard jugs or bellarmines,
the grotesque heads on them being caricatured from the cardinal of
that name, who so strongly opposed the reformed religion. Among larger
objects, a splendid fireplace from the old mansion in Lime Street which
belonged to the Fishmongers’ Company, and on which Messrs. G. H. Birch
and R. Phené Spiers drew up such a valuable monograph at the time of
its destruction. An old stone conduit from South Molton Street is
worth a glance. It has on it the City arms and the date 1627, and was
found six feet below the pavement. There is interest of a kind, too,
in the inscription from Pudding Lane, affixed in 1681 by overzealous
Protestants to the house of Farryner, the King’s baker, where the
Great Fire of London first began. This inscription was taken down in
the reign of James II., replaced in that of William III., and finally
removed about the middle of last century. It was found in the cellar
and brought here when the house (latterly numbered 25) was pulled down
in 1876.

A few signs not sculptured are, I think, worth alluding to. One of the
quaintest is composed of blue and yellow Dutch tiles, and was doubtless
once fixed near the entrance of a coffee-house, but unfortunately no
record of it has been preserved. It is about twenty inches high, and
represents a boy with long hair, in seventeenth-century costume,
somewhat like that of the modern Bluecoat boys. He is standing, and
pouring out coffee; by his side is a table, with appliances for
drinking, and tobacco pipes, and above, on a scroll, the words ‘DISH
OF COFFEE BOY.’ A sign of this kind in remarkable preservation, and
finely executed, is the Cock and Bottle--three to four feet high, and
worked in blue and white Dutch tiles with an ornamental border--which
came from Cannon Street. The date of this sign is said to be about
1700; the house to which it belonged formerly stood on the south
side, and was pulled down in 1853, at the time of the Cannon Street
alterations. A public-house (Nos. 94 and 96), still called the Cock
and Bottle, occupies the site. A sign of a Dolphin which belongs to
the earlier part of the eighteenth century was in 1890 presented by
Messrs. Burrup, so long pleasantly connected with the Surrey Cricket
Club. It is painted on copper, and comes from a shop on the south side
of the old Royal Exchange, where an ancestor of the Burrup family was
first established in 1730. A unique relic is the little plate of metal,
inscribed as follows:

 ‘Abraham Bartlett, who makes ye boulting mills and cloathes, dwells
 at the sign of the boulting mill at Thames Street, near Queenhith,
 London, 1678.’

It is surmounted by a grotesque head, and fixed on a thin piece of
wood with a ring for hanging it up. The boulting-mill was used for
sifting meal by shaking it backwards and forwards, boulting-cloth being
a material of loose texture for the meal to pass through. Of doubtful
origin is a classically designed figure of a boy in low relief, with
foliated border, and the date 1633; the material of this is cast iron.
Another curious relic is a wooden statuette of Time, with scythe and
hour-glass, which formerly belonged to the clock in the church of St.
Giles, Cripplegate. The inscription tells us that it was presented by
the churchwardens, who in my opinion ought never to have removed it
from the church for which it had been carved, where it was far more
appropriately placed than it can possibly be here; though of course one
is glad that it is preserved.

Last, not least, a very interesting stone bas-relief of doubtful
origin, which purports to represent Whittington and his cat, was
bequeathed by the Rev. Canon Lysons. The figure in question is
doubtless that of a boy carrying a little quadruped in his arms. The
tablet to which it belongs seems to have been broken off on the side
to the spectator’s left, and therefore probably formed part of a
larger piece of sculpture. This relic, which at a first glance seems
to resemble a sculptured house-sign, was exhibited some years ago
at a meeting of the Archæological Institute. Mr. Lysons stated on
that occasion that it was dug up in Westgate Street, Gloucester. From
a rent-roll of 1460, he had learned that in the said year Richard
‘Whitynton,’ lord of the manor of Staunton, possessed a house or
houses, called ‘Rotten Row, or Asschowellys-place’; and from a lease
it appeared that the house, in the foundations of which the stone
was found, stands exactly on the site of Asschowellys (in modern
orthography Ashwell’s) Place. The Richard Whittington here alluded
to was great-nephew of the renowned Lord Mayor of London, living
contemporaneously with his famous namesake, the rent-roll above named
having been made within thirty-seven years of Sir Richard’s death. This
is certainly a very singular coincidence, and if it could be proved
that the tablet in question represented Whittington and his cat, we
might consider that the tradition about him, which has delighted the
childhood of so many thousands, was really founded on fact. Mr. Lysons
was strongly of that opinion; he stated, however, that the house in
Westgate Street, under which the tablet was found, besides being on the
site of Ashwell’s Place, is also on the site of a Roman temple--and
perhaps most impartial observers will be inclined to think that the
costume of the figure, and the general style of the tablet in question,
point rather to indifferent Roman than to fifteenth-century work.




  ‘Of either sex whole droves together
  To see and to be seen flock thither,
  To drink and not to drink the water,
  And here promiscuously to chatter.’

  _Islington Wells or the Threepenny Academy_, 1691.

IN connection with sculptured signs, and again when alluding to the
arms of the Fowler family, and to Canonbury, I have had occasion to
describe houses in Islington. I shall now take up the thread of my
discourse, from the White Lion on the west side of the High Street,
and ask the kind reader to explore with me the sites of some of the
old places of entertainment nearer London. A short distance further
south is the Angel, rebuilt in 1819. This was one of the picturesque
old galleried inns which have now become almost extinct. Close at
hand, on the opposite side of the way, is the old Red Lion tavern,
very much rejuvenated; it puts forward a bold claim to date from the
year 1415. On the gables are shields, apparently modern, with lions
in relief. Seventy or eighty years ago this house stood almost alone
on the high-road. Here Tom Paine was said to have written his ‘Rights
of Man,’ and the tradition is that Goldsmith, Thomson, nay even the
great Dr. Johnson, visited it. In the middle distance of Hogarth’s
picture of ‘Evening,’ there is a house, supposed to be the old Red
Lion, which shows how rural were its then surroundings. The scene is
laid in front of the Myddleton’s Head--also at that time apparently
a country wayside inn, which, says Pinks, had been built in 1614. A
portrait of the worthy founder of the New River Company projects by
way of sign from the gable. This house stood on the south side of
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, from which it was separated by the New River.
Malcolm has recorded that in 1803 it was still picturesque. He says:
‘A few paces northwards (from Islington Spa) conduct the passenger
under a portrait of Sir Hugh Myddleton (tolerably well painted), who
faces his river adorned with tall poplars, graceful willows, sloping
banks, and flowers.’ How changed is now the scene! The trees have long
since perished as utterly as the anglers,[81] ‘the noble swans’ and
water-fowl, of an earlier time; and Sir Hugh would no longer face
his once pleasant stream, which in its old age has disappeared from
sight, and taken refuge under ground. In 1831 the Sir Hugh Myddleton
tavern replaced the former house of entertainment. This, in its turn,
has now ceased to exist, having been pulled down, with other houses in
Myddleton Place, to make room for the new thoroughfare[82] from the
Angel, Islington, to Holborn Town Hall, opened July 9, 1892, under the
name of Rosebery Avenue.

One of the leading characteristics of London citizens of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was their taste for frequenting
public gardens and houses of amusement in the suburbs. Many of
these were originally health-resorts--‘spas’ or ‘wells,’ they were
called, from the springs of mineral water which had formed the chief
attraction. In such places the northern suburbs abounded, and the
parish of Clerkenwell[83] might be considered their headquarters. At a
time when travelling was toilsome and costly, sometimes even dangerous,
it was useful to have a little Buxton or Harrogate close at hand. To
supply the demand, some enterprising person discovered a spring with
rare healing powers; some doctor wrote it up, and the place became,
for a time at least, fashionable. Such a spa in St. George’s Fields I
have already described. Let me say a few words about others equally
interesting, in the neighbourhood in which we now find ourselves.

Not far from the site of the Myddleton’s Head, on the north side of
the New River, no longer visible, and close to the New River Head,
stands Sadler’s Wells Theatre, built on the site of one of these places
of health-resort. It seems that some time before 1683, a certain Mr.
Sadler, said to have been a surveyor of highways, had put up a wooden
building hereabouts, which was known as Sadler’s Music-house. In
that year his servants, when digging in the garden for gravel, were
reported to have discovered a mineral spring, and in 1684 a pamphlet
was published by a doctor named Thomas Guidot, puffing the curative
powers of the water. He speaks of five or six hundred patients being
there every morning, and assures us that the spring had merely been
rediscovered: ‘The priests belonging to the Priory of Clarkenwell,
using to attend there, making the people believe that the virtues
of the waters proceeded from the efficacy of their prayers.’ ‘These
superstitions,’ he adds, ‘were the occasion of its being arched over
and concealed at the time of the Reformation.’

In spite of this fine puff, the waters, apparently, soon ceased to
attract, though they continued to be sold in Sadler’s name for some
time, as shown by an advertisement of June, 1697.[84] In 1699 the
building was advertised as Miles’s Musick-house. The place had then
become known as a resort for very disorderly characters. Miles was
succeeded by Francis Forcer, whose father, a musician, seems to have
lived on the spot.

The son, said to have been an Oxford man, introduced the diversions of
tumbling, and rope-dancing with the pranks of Harlequin and Scaramouch.
He died in 1743, and in the following year the establishment was being
carried on by one John Warren, when it was presented by a Middlesex
Grand Jury as a place of ‘great extravagance, luxury, idleness, and
ill-fame.’ Soon afterwards it got into the hands of Mr. Rosoman,[85]
who in 1765 pulled down Sadler’s wooden erection, and built a regular
theatre on the site.

Towards the end of last century Sadler’s Wells was still some distance
from London, and the roads were by no means safe. George Daniel, in his
‘Merrie England,’ says: ‘It is curious to read at the bottom of the old
bills and advertisements the following alarming announcements, “A horse
patrol will be sent in the New Road that night, for the protection of
the nobility and gentry who go from the squares and that end of the
town; the road also towards the city will be properly guarded.” Again,
“June, 1783.--Patroles of horse and foot are stationed from Sadler’s
Wells gate along the New Road to Tottenham Court Turnpike; likewise
from the City Road to Moorfields; also to St. John Street, and across
the Spa fields to Rosoman Row, from the hours of eight to eleven.”’
On Easter Monday, April 2, 1804, a new sort of entertainment called
‘Naumachia’ was produced at Sadler’s Wells. An immense tank had been
constructed under the stage and beyond it, which could be filled by
water from the New River, and emptied at pleasure. On this aquatic
stage, the boards being removed, was given a mimic representation of
the Siege of Gibraltar, in which real vessels of considerable size
bombarded the fortress, but were subdued by the garrison and to all
appearance burnt.[86] After a time the success of the novelty was
prodigious, and many pieces of the same kind were afterwards produced.
This theatre was distinguished a generation ago as the home of
Shakespearean drama, under the management of that sterling actor Samuel
Phelps. It was rebuilt in 1879. The actual site of the old well has
long been lost; Malcolm asserted that it had been discovered some time
before he wrote ‘in the space between the New River and the stage-door’
of the theatre, and that it was said to have been encircled with stone,
with a descent of several steps. Cromwell, however, writing a few
years later, tells us that ‘persons who have an intimate acquaintance
with the theatre for the last half-century have no recollection of
the discovery; and as it is known that springs yet exist under the
orchestra and stage, it seems probable that the ancient healing
fountain might be traced to that situation.’

For a few years, during the first half of the seventeenth century,
there was a rival to Sadler’s Wells in a popular place of amusement
called ‘The New Wells near the London Spa.’ There were gardens here,
and a theatre, in which took place what we should now call variety
entertainments. Mrs. Charlotte Charke--the eccentric daughter of Colley
Cibber, was one of the performers. Ceasing to attract, it was closed in
1747, the theatre being afterwards used as a chapel under the auspices
of John Wesley, and, according to Pinks, the houses Nos. 5 to 8,
Rosoman Street now occupy the site.

Lysons, Halliwell Phillipps, and others, have confused the mineral
spring discovered by Sadler with a mineral spring of greater celebrity
called the New Tunbridge Wells; but, though near each other, they
were quite distinct. In 1699 a narrative poem was published under the
title of ‘A Walk to Islington, with a Description of New Tunbridge
Wells and Sadler’s Musick House,’ in which the fame of the wells is
ascribed to its medicinal water, and that of the music-house to such
good cheer as cheesecakes, custards, bottled ale and cider, and the
diversions of singing and dancing. An article in the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ for December, 1813, puts the matter beyond a doubt; and
their relative positions are clearly marked in Horwood’s map of 1799.
New Tunbridge Wells, or the Islington Spa (really, of course, in the
parish of Clerkenwell), was a spring of chalybeate water in a garden,
the entrance to which until 1810 was opposite the New River Head on
the south side; No. 6, Eliza Place marked the site. This street, a
continuation west of Myddleton Place, has, like it, been absorbed by
Rosebery Avenue. The spa was open to the public before 1685, as is
proved by a curious advertisement in the _London Gazette_ of September
24 in that year: ‘Whereas Mr. John Langley, of London, Merchant, who
bought the Rhinoceros and Islington Wells, has been represented by
divers of his malicious adversaries to be a person of no estate or
reputation, nor able to discharge his debts; which evil practices have
been on purpose to ruin and destroy his reputation,’ etc. The character
of the company soon after this may be judged from a burlesque poem,
published in 1691; it contains the lines which head this chapter.
In 1700 there was ‘music for dancing all day long, every Monday and
Thursday during the summer season. No mask to be admitted.’ A few
years later the spa became fashionable, being patronized by ladies of
such position as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. It was at its zenith in
1733, when the Princesses Amelia and Caroline, daughters of George
II., came daily in the summer and drank the waters. At this time, as
we learn from the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, ‘Such was the concourse of
nobility and others that the proprietor took above £30 in a morning.
On the birthday of the Princesses, as they passed through the Spa
Field (which was generally filled with carriages), they were saluted
with a discharge of 21 guns, a compliment which was always paid them
on their arrival; and in the evening there was a great bonfire, and
the guns were discharged several times.’ Islington Spa continued with,
on the whole, declining fortune throughout the rest of the eighteenth
century. Soon afterwards it was found necessary to curtail the garden,
and a great part of the old coffee-room was pulled down. About the year
1810, the old entrance being closed, a new one was made in Lloyd’s Row;
and finally, in 1840, what remained of the garden was altogether done
away with, and two rows of houses, called Spa Cottages, were built on
the site. Even now there is a house at the corner of Lloyd’s Row and
Spa Cottages, the residence of the last proprietor, which recalls the
vanished glory of other days by the inscription in capital letters,
‘ISLINGTON SPA, OR NEW TUNBRIDGE WELLS.’ At the back, in the cellar
of No. 6, Spa Cottages, I have seen grotto-work with stone pilasters;
on each side are steps descending. Here, I believe, was the original
chalybeate spring; for many years it has ceased to flow.

Horwood’s map of 1799 shows some of these suburban spas and places of
amusement very distinctly. Islington Spa is marked just south of the
New River Head, and over a hundred yards south-west of Sadler’s Wells.
The garden is of considerable size, running east, apparently to St.
John Street Road. A short distance to the west, and also near the New
River Head, is Merlin’s Cave--a rural tavern and holiday-resort of
Londoners--named, it is said, after an artificial cave, dug out in 1835
in the royal gardens at Richmond, by order of Queen Caroline, and of
which there was here, perhaps, a humble imitation.

Again, some distance to the south of the New River Head, at the corner
of Rosoman Street and Exmouth Street, one sees the words ‘London Spa,’
on a public-house with that sign erected in 1835 to replace a former
building. This is on or near the site of another mineral spring once,
as we have seen, sufficiently famous to be named in a description of
the New Wells,[87] a neighbouring establishment. In ‘Poor Robin’s
Almanack’ for 1733, occurs the following doggerel, which refers to the
month of July:

  ‘Now sweethearts with their sweethearts go
  To Islington or London Spaw;
  Some go but just to drink the water,
  Some for the ale which they like better.’

In point of fact, the spa ale sold here seems before the middle of the
century to have become famous, when the mineral water was no longer
heard of. Spa Fields, which adjoined, were an open waste, a Sunday
resort of Londoners of the lower class addicted to rough sports. I
have already referred to these fields at page 69, when speaking of the
Ducking-pond public-house and its successors, the Pantheon, and Spa
Fields Chapel, the first of ‘the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion.’
She died in the house adjoining it on June 17, 1791.

At the end of last century one might have had an almost rural walk
from the London Spa west to Bagnigge Wells, a more famous place of
entertainment. The way would have been along Exmouth Street, then
built on the south side only, and called Braynes Row; a relic of its
early days remains in the form of a tablet between Nos. 32 and 34,
which has inscribed on it ‘Braynes Buildings 1765.’ At the end of this
street was a turnpike, and at right angles to it was the Bagnigge
Wells Road, the lower portion of which had the suggestive name of
Coppice Row. North-west from the turnpike, it ran between fields as
far as a little group of houses called Brook Place, and then a few
more steps would have taken one to Bagnigge Wells,[88] within the
borders of St. Pancras. There was a tradition, unsupported, I believe,
by any evidence, that Nell Gwynne had here a place of summer abode,
‘pleasantly situated amid the Fields, and on the banks of the Fleet,’
then a clear stream flowing rapidly and somewhat subject to floods.
This was Bagnigge House, a gabled building, some trace of which still
remained as late as the year 1844. Inside, it had originally some
curious decorative features; over a chimney-piece in one of the rooms
were the Royal arms and other heraldic bearings, and between them ‘the
bust of a woman in Roman dress, let deep into a circular cavity of the
wall, bordered with festoons of delf earth in the natural colours and
glazed.’ These were afterwards removed from this position, and set
up in a long room built for assemblies and balls, which, formed the
eastern boundary of the garden. An aquatint print of the interior of
this room was published by J. R. Smith in 1772, after a painting by
Saunders. The place seems to have been opened for purposes of amusement
early in the eighteenth century; for in Beckham’s[89] curious work, the
‘Musical Entertainer’ (_circa_ 1738), is an engraving of Tom Hippersly
there, mounted in the ‘singing rostrum,’ regaling the company with a
song. The inevitable healing springs, which always, no doubt, made
their appearance when wanted, were, it would seem, a comparatively
late discovery, first introduced to the public by Dr. John Bevis,
who in 1760 wrote ‘An Experimental Enquiry concerning the Contents,
Quality and Medicinal Value of two Mineral Waters lately discovered at
Bagnigge Wells near London.’ One was supposed to be purging, and the
other chalybeate; he gives an elaborate account of each. About the year
1775 the place[90] was ‘The Sunday Ramble’ as ‘by no means barren of
amusement, and visited in the morning by hundreds of persons to drink
the water, and on summer afternoons by numerous tea-drinking parties.’
The writer tells of ‘beautiful walks ornamented with a great variety
of curious shrubs and flowers all in the utmost perfection,’ and ‘a
small round fish-pond, in the centre of which is a curious fountain
representing Cupid bestriding a swan, which spouts the water to a
great height.’ The Fleet,[91] or, as it was sometimes there called,
the Bagnigge River, now a sewer, but at that time still comparatively
undefiled, flowed through part of the garden; it was crossed by a
bridge, and the banks were rich with vegetation, insomuch that, as
Archer tells us, Luke Clennell, the artist, often came here and made
foreground studies for his pictures. But tastes change: the mineral
waters ceased to attract; people of fashion came no more. As early as
1779 Bagnigge Wells is described as a place

  ‘Where ‘prenticed youth enjoy the Sunday feast,
  And City matrons boast their Sabbath rest,
  Where unfledged Templars first as fops parade,
  And new-made ensigns sport their first cockade.’

Later it became a mere cockney tea-garden, and gradually declined, till
in Lewis’s ‘History of Islington,’ 1842, it is described as almost a
ruin. Shortly afterwards it was closed and dismantled, and now all
trace of it has disappeared, save the name, which has been appropriated
by a modern tavern at the corner of King’s Cross Road (formerly
Bagnigge Wells Road) and Pakenham Street, and a curious stone tablet
surmounted by a grotesque head, of which I here give an illustration.


This is now to be seen built into the wall between two modern
houses--Nos. 61 and 63, King’s Cross Road--probably near the
north-western limit of the garden. It is mentioned by Dr. Bevis in 1760
as having been ‘over an old Gothic portal taken down about three years
ago, and now replaced over the door from the high-road to the house.’
At that time, I believe, the grotesque head was added. About thirty
years ago, as may be learned from a letter in the _Builder_, January,
1863, the doorway was pulled down and the stone fixed where one may
still see it, in front of the houses built on the site. I was glad to
find this stone still in existence; it is worth rescuing from oblivion.
The inscription runs as follows: ‘This is Bagnigge House neare the
Pinder a Wakefielde 1680.’

The latter place, thus referred to, was an old country tavern in the
Gray’s Inn Road. Mr. Wheatley says it was on the west side, and that
the small houses between Harrison Street and Cromer Street, till
recently called Pindar Place, occupied the site; and, confirming his
statement, it is shown in Strype’s map on the west side of ‘the road to
Hamstead.’ The modern public-house with this sign is on the east side.
Tom Brown, in his ‘Comical View of London and Westminster,’ published
in 1705, gives us a pleasant glimpse of the then surroundings--of a
stile near Lamb’s Conduit, and ‘a milkmaid crossing the fields to
Pinder of Wakefield.’ There is mention of it immediately after the
Great Fire, by Aubrey. When the inscription was first put up, Bagnigge
House and the Pinder of Wakefield were probably next-door neighbours,
though their sites are now separated by a dreary wilderness of bricks
and mortar. Palmer, in his ‘History of St. Pancras,’ records that
in 1724 the Pinder of Wakefield was destroyed in a hurricane, the
landlord’s two daughters being buried in the ruins. The word Pinder,
equivalent to pinner or penner, was applied to the keeper of the public
pen or pound for the confinement of stray cattle. George a-Green, or
the Pinder of the town of Wakefield, is the subject of a prose romance
supposed to be as old as the time of Queen Elizabeth. He (so runs the
legend), with his back to a thorn and his foot to a stone, thrashed no
less a foe than Robin Hood.

Before quitting this branch of my subject, I will say a few words
about a former health-resort within a stone’s throw of the old Pinder
of Wakefield. On the east side of Gray’s Inn Road, near the upper
end, by the King’s Cross Station on the Metropolitan Railway, is a
shabby-looking passage called St. Chad’s Row, which, turning to the
north, runs into King’s Cross Road, and here is the site of the well
named after St. Chad or St. Ceadda, who founded the bishopric of
Lichfield, and died in 672. In Laurie and Whittle’s map of 1800, the
extension of Gray’s Inn Road northwards is called St. Chad’s Road.
The well, however, as far as I can ascertain, was not particularly
ancient--or, if so, the early records are lost. Hone describes it in
his ‘Everyday Book’ in the following prophetic words: ‘St. Chad’s
Well is near Battle Bridge. The miraculous water is aperient, and was
some years ago quaffed by the bilious and other invalids, who flocked
thither in crowds.... 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 Churchyard.’

The garden attached to St. Chad’s Well seems in the last century to
have been famous for its tulips; at least, if one may believe an
advertisement in my possession, which has the date 1779. It speaks of
‘The largest and richest collection of early Dutch tulips ever yet seen
in Great Britain, now in bloom, with many fine double hyacinths of
various colours raised by Van Hawsen, to be had of Richard Morris at
St. Chad’s Wells, Battle Bridge, near London; the lowest prices marked
in the catalogue, which may be had as above, and the flowers seen
gratis. No person admitted with a dog. Seedsmen and gardeners will be
furnished wholesale with Duke Vantol, Claremond, and many other sorts
of early tulips at the Dutch prices, and with the usual discount: the
grand present Auricula at 1s. per pot: Gold and Silver Fish cheap.’
Mr. Pinks gives the particulars of the sale by auction of St. Chad’s
Well on September 14, 1837. It seems that there was then a brick house
facing Gray’s Inn Lane, having a pump-room and a large garden at the
back. The water appears to have been still sold three years afterwards,
when a pamphlet was issued setting forth ‘the characteristic virtues of
the Saint Chad’s Wells aperient and alterative springs.’





 ‘The crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are
 the honourable of the earth.’

  _Isaiah_ xxiii. 8.

BEFORE the summer of 1892 a large and interesting old mansion was
destroyed in the City. This, known as Nos. 8 and 9, Great St. Helen’s,
Bishopsgate Street, was situated on the south side of the churchyard.
It was of brick, having engaged pilasters, which were furnished with
stone bases and capitals; they also had bands, on two of which,
composed, however, of cement, appeared in relief the initials A L I and
the date 1646. The projecting sills or cornices, and the deep keystones
of the first-floor windows, gave a striking character to the house. It
was also memorable as an early specimen of brickwork in London, and as
dating from a period before the formal conclusion of the Civil War,
when building operations were almost at a standstill. No. 9 had, in a
room on the first-floor, a wooden seventeenth-century mantelpiece,[92]
behind which, on its removal, were found traces of an older mantelpiece
of marble, and evidence of the former existence of a large open

[Illustration: NOS. 8 AND 9, GREAT ST. HELEN’S.]

There was a beautiful staircase, quite Elizabethan in style; a
blocked-up window with wooden transoms for casements was also
discovered; so it seems likely that some years after the building of
the house considerable alterations took place. The façade has often
been attributed to Inigo Jones,[93] but it had not his classic
symmetry, and looked like the work of a less-instructed native
genius. Besides, Inigo Jones, a Royalist and Roman Catholic, was
taken prisoner in October, 1645, at the storming of Basing House,
having been there during the siege, which had lasted since August,
1643. He was apparently not free to return to his profession until
July 2, 1646, when, after payment of a heavy fine, his estate, which
had been sequestrated, was restored to him, and he received pardon by
an ordinance of the House of Commons, to which the Lords gave their
assent. It is difficult to believe that, whilst he was passing through
such a crisis, or in the few months succeeding it, he should have been
superintending a work in the Puritan City. At the time of his release
the great architect was seventy-four years of age, and, as far as we
know, he hardly practised his profession afterwards. Aubrey tells us
that in 1648, the south side of Wilton House having been destroyed, it
was restored by his advice, ‘but he being then very old could not be
there in person, but left it to Mr. Webb,’ his pupil and executor.

The division of Nos. 8 and 9, Great St. Helen’s into two took place
in the course of last century, probably about 1750, to judge from the
style of the fanlights and projecting hoods to the front-doors, and
from the staircase of No. 8, the upper part of which, however, was
much more archaic, and may have served as part of the back-staircase
to the original house. At the time of these later alterations a new
brick front was put to the top story, the windows being protected by
high iron railings, which showed that these upper rooms were used as
nurseries. Before this there was, I should imagine, a high-pitched
roof, perhaps hipped, with dormer windows. There must also have been
an appropriate cornice and frieze, which would have balanced the heavy
projecting window-sills below. That the house always had a fourth story
is proved by the fact that both the old staircases extended to the top.
The accompanying illustration of part of the front is from a beautiful
measured drawing by Mr. H. O. Tarbolton, who studied the house very
carefully just before its demolition.


In Allen’s ‘History of London,’ vol. iii., p. 157, I find a statement
that this brick mansion (identified by mention of its initials and
date) was ‘formerly the residence of Sir J. Lawrence, Lord Mayor in
1665.’ This appears to be the origin of the idea that the house was
built for him, and that he kept his mayoralty there, which has of late
been usually accepted as a fact. There is no doubt that Nos. 8 and 9,
Great St. Helen’s was his property in 1665, but he was living in a
house of totally different appearance--an illustration of which, by
T. Prattent, published in 1796, forms the frontispiece to vol. xxix.
of the _European Magazine_. As there shown, it had elaborate plaster
decorations in front, with the City arms and the arms of Lawrence, and
last, though not least, the inscription S^r JL--K & A. 1662. Sir John
Lawrence’s residence is marked by name in the map of Bishopsgate Street
Ward accompanying Strype’s Stow, where a slight sketch of it is also
given; the present Jewish synagogue in Great St. Helen’s is a little
bit west of the site.

Having looked up the history of the Lawrence family, and its connection
with this parish, I think I can show that the initials on the pilaster
of Nos. 8 and 9, Great St. Helen’s were not those of Sir John Lawrence
and his wife Abigail, but of his uncle Adam and his uncle’s wife. The
Lawrences, like many other eminent mercantile families, were originally
Dutch or Flemish. The name was spelt in various ways, as Laurens,
Laureijns, Laurents, etc., until, when its possessors became thoroughly
anglicized, it took the English form. Le Neve, the herald, says that a
Marcus Lawrence, from Flanders, who had married Gertrude Huesen, came
and settled in London. He had, among other children, a son Abraham and
a son Adam. The latter was baptized at the Dutch Church, Austin Friars,
September 8, 1584;[94] and one may fairly assume that it was he who
there married, May 28, 1610, Judith Van den Brugghe, of Norwich, where
there was then a strong settlement of people from the Low Countries. He
was appointed deacon of the Dutch Church in 1628, and became an elder
in 1632. Eleven years later he had taken up his residence in Great St.
Helen’s, as we learn from an entry in the parish register,[95] which
suggests the forlorn condition of the homeless poor in those days. On
the 23rd of April, 1643, ‘a female infant, found dead at the dore of
Mr. Adam Lawrence, merchant, was buried in the churchyard’ there. What
house he was then living in I am not able to determine; but in the year
1646 the house just now destroyed was doubtless either built or altered
for his own residence, and on it was placed an inscription, according
to the custom of the country whence he sprang.

I have previously pointed out that in inscriptions of this kind the
initial of the husband’s Christian name is almost invariably on the
left, the wife’s on the right, and that of the surname above. The
letters in question would therefore have stood for ‘Adam and Judith
Lawrence.’ In 1650 came the inevitable ending to their long married
life. On the 9th of April it is recorded that Judith ‘Laurents’[96]
was buried in the church of Great St. Helen’s. Adam died in October,
1657. His will describes him as a merchant, and he seems to have been
a very prosperous one. He desires to be buried near his wife, in Great
St. Helen’s, and leaves £100 to the poor of the Dutch congregation in
Austin Friars, and £100 towards the maintenance of the ministry there;
also similar legacies for the parish of Great St. Helen’s, and £100 to
the poor children of Christ’s Hospital. Amongst numerous nephews, he
singles out for special favour John, who seems to have been a son of
his brother Abraham. To him he leaves several houses and gardens in
the parish, amongst others his ‘now dwelling-house, with the yards,
garden edifices, appurtenances, and hereditaments whatsoever thereunto
belonging.’ This, no doubt, was Nos. 8 and 9, Great St. Helen’s, unless
after his wife’s death he had shifted into another residence. Adam
also left to his nephew John his share in the ‘sister’s thread trade,’
whatever that may mean, which he had in partnership with Abraham
Cullen,[97] the elder, and Philip Van Cassole; and £1,500 to Abigail,
his nephew’s wife, who died in 1681, and whose monument still exists
in Great St. Helen’s Church, where it is recorded that she was ‘the
tender mother of ten children. The nine first, being all daughters,
she suckled at her own breasts; they all lived to be of age. Her
last, a son, died an infant. Shee lived a married wife 39 years, 23
whereof she was an exemplary matron of this Cittie,[98] dying in the
59th year of her age.’ This lady was eldest daughter of Abraham Cullen,
who appears to have been nearly related to the Lawrence family. One
paragraph of Adam’s will is worth quoting, because it seems to indicate
that pretentious public funerals were then not uncommon in the City,
and that he, at any rate, was free from a taste for vulgar display.
He says: ‘Lastly, my desire is that my funerall be decently performed
without anie pompe or ceremonie of mourners, and that my corps be
carried from my own dwelling house, not troubling any publique hall.’

John Lawrence, the nephew, seems to have been a pattern City merchant.
He had begun life as a Bluecoat boy, hence, perhaps, his uncle’s
legacy. In 1658 he served the office of Sheriff. On June 16, 1660, he
was knighted by Charles II., when that monarch, accompanied by his
brothers, the Dukes of York and Gloucester, and some of the nobility,
was entertained at supper by the Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Alleyne. In
1662 Sir John Lawrence appears to have built a new house for himself,
the one before alluded to, which was drawn by Prattent, not unlikely
on a ‘garden plot’ mentioned in his uncle’s will. In 1664 he was
elected Lord Mayor, and Evelyn speaks of a ‘most magnificent triumph
by water and land’ on that occasion. Evelyn also attended the Lord
Mayor’s banquet, and tells us that it was said to have cost £1,000.
He dined at the upper table with the Lord Chancellor, the Dukes of
Albermarle, Ormonde and Buckingham, the French Ambassador and other
great personages. The Lord Mayor twice came up to them, ‘first drinking
in the golden goblet his Majesty’s health, then the French King’s as a
compliment to the Ambassador’; they ‘returned my Lord Mayor’s health,
the trumpets and drums sounding. The cheer was not to be imagined
for the plenty and rarity, with an infinite number of persons at the
tables in that ample hall.’ Sir John Lawrence showed both courage and
liberality whilst the Great Plague was raging in the following year. He
stuck to his post, ‘enforced the wisest regulations then known,’ and,
when multitudes of servants were dismissed through fear of contagion,
he is said to have ‘supported them all, as well as the needy who were
sick; at first by expending his own fortune, till subscriptions could
be solicited and received from all parts of the nation.’ Dr. Erasmus
Darwin, in his ‘Loves of the Plants,’ canto ii., devotes a few lines to
‘London’s generous Mayor.’ Five deaths only are recorded in Great St.
Helen’s during the year 1665, which suggests that those connected with
the Church showed less courage than the chief parishioner, and that the
register was neglected.

In 1684 the house of late numbered 8 and 9, Great St. Helen’s was in
the occupation of one William Moses. That year Sir John Lawrence,
who so far had not handed over his uncle’s legacy for the poor of
the parish, agreed to discharge his obligation by payment of £250,
and to give £100 in addition for leave to make a family vault in the
church. In 1690 Sir John was living in Putney, as appears from the
churchwardens’ accounts.[99] He died January, 1691-2, and was buried on
the 29th of that month, in the family vault which had been constructed
for him under the church of Great St. Helen’s, but no monument to his
memory exists. The Rev. J. E. Cox, D.D., in his ‘Annals of St. Helen’s’
tells us that at the church restoration of 1865-8 ‘a quaint piece of
carved work, which had been set up to sustain the Lord Mayor’s sword
and mace, was removed to the pillar dividing the choir from the Chapel
of the Holy Ghost.’ The following is a description of it taken almost
verbatim from Allen: ‘It consists of two twisted Corinthian columns,
supporting an entablature highly enriched, and an attic panel. The
shafts of the columns are set off with a wreath of foliage running
round them. On the frieze are the arms of Sir John Lawrence, in the
attic are the City arms, and the whole structure is crowned with the
arms of Charles II., supported by two gilt angels, and surmounted with
the royal crown.’ I hope that this interesting memento of a great City
worthy, though not ‘Gothic’ in style, will be carefully preserved
during the far more wholesale restoration which is now in progress.

Sir John Lawrence’s arms were: argent, a cross raguly gules, a
canton ermine.[100] Peter le Neve says that they were granted to
him September 18, 1664, and to his brothers James and Abraham, sons
of Abraham Lawrence deceased; but it must have been earlier, as they
appear on his house associated with the date 1662. Faulkner, in his
‘History of Chelsea,’ no doubt deceived by the fact that their arms
were identical, assumes that Sir John Lawrence belonged to the ancient
English family of the same name, whose memory is perpetuated by various
monuments at the end of the north aisle of Chelsea old church. Both he
and Dr. Cox[101] go so far as to say that Sir John was buried there;
but his namesake, ‘Sir John Lawrence, Knight and Baronet,’ to whose
memory a tablet was placed against the east wall of Chelsea Church,
belonged to Iver, in the county of Bucks, and died in 1638, aged fifty
years, as appears by the inscription. For several generations the
descendants of the famous Lord Mayor continued to own the house which
became Nos. 8 and 9, Great St. Helen’s. It afterwards passed into the
hands of the Guise family, from whom it was inherited by an ancestor of
the last possessor, Mr. John Cosens Stevens. Peace be to its memory!

The passage from Great St. Helen’s into Bishopsgate Street passes
under old gabled buildings which date from before the time of the
Great Fire. On the left is the northern front of Crosby Hall, part of
a Gothic mansion unrivalled in its day, though little of the original
structure remains. This side was almost entirely rebuilt more than
fifty years ago. The oriel window, weathered by London atmosphere, has
a very picturesque effect; it is surmounted by the arms of Sir John
Crosby, the eminent citizen who built and first possessed the mansion,
and who lies buried in the adjoining church, where there is a rich
altar-tomb to his memory, with the recumbent figures of him and his
first wife, Anneys. On this tomb also are the Crosby arms, namely:
sable, a chevron ermine between three rams trippant argent, armed
and hoofed or. Sir John, a keen supporter of the House of York, was
knighted by Edward IV. in the year 1471; he served as Sheriff of London
in 1470, and held the important post of Mayor of the Staple of Calais.

Opposite to Crosby Hall, on the northern side of Great St. Helen’s
Passage, there stood till September, 1892, a structure which, though
unpretentious, had an air of quaintness, with its iron railings in
front and broad white window-frames. The inscription on a tablet above
the door of this building ran as follows: ‘These alms-houses were
founded by Sir Andrew Judd, Kt., Citizen & Skinner and Lord Mayor of
London, Anno Dom. 1551. For six poor men of y^e said Company. Rebuilt
by y^e said Company Anno Dom. 1729.’ The original alms-houses are
supposed to have been further east.

Sir Andrew Judd was a native of Tunbridge in Kent, near which town he
inherited considerable estates. Having entered commercial life, he made
a large fortune by trading in furs, and, as Stow tells us, he kept
his mayoralty in a ‘fair house’ in Bishopsgate Street, which had been
before used for a similar purpose by Sir William Holles, the ancestor
of the Earls of Clare. It was during Judd’s mayoralty, in 1550,
that the City of London obtained from the King by charter lands in
Southwark, forming now so important a property, and to which I alluded
in my account of the Dog and Duck, St. George’s Fields. Sir Andrew was
also buried in the church of Great St. Helen’s, which has been a sort
of Westminster Abbey for great citizens. A quaint Elizabethan monument
marks his resting-place. The inscription gives quite a little biography
of him; as was remarked by one of our Transatlantic cousins, ‘it
states all the facts, and rhymes in some places.’ In the ‘Historical
Collections of the Noble Families of Cavendish, Holles, Vere, Harley
and Ogle,’ ed. Lond. 1752, compiled by Arthur Collins, it is asserted
that, in building the alms-houses, Judd was only acting as executor
to his cousin ‘Elizabeth, widow of Sir William Holles of St. Helen’s,
Alderman,’ and this seems to be shown by her will, which was proved
March 28, 1544. Stow, however, does not mention her name in connection
with the charity. It was augmented by Sir Andrew Judd’s daughter,
Alice Smyth, of Westenhanger, Kent. Sir Andrew had also been executor
to the Holles family. His original alms-houses were nearer the church
than those the site of which the Skinners’ Company has now, I believe,
disposed of. He also founded and endowed Tunbridge Grammar School.

Great St. Helen’s is being so rapidly ‘improved’ that it will soon
become quite commonplace and uninteresting. A piece was shorn off
the churchyard some years ago, no one exactly knew why, and several
picturesque plastered houses, immediately west of Nos. 8 and 9, have
been pulled down within my memory. At the corner, opposite to the
pretty south porch of the church, attributed by the Rev. Thomas Hugo
to Inigo Jones, a quaint and very old building still remains, which
actually touched the house of the Lawrences. No. 10 is constructed of
wood and plaster, with projecting upper stories and massive timbering;
it dates from long before the Great Fire; the inside, however, has been
modernized. Tradition boldly asserts that Anne Boleyn’s father, Sir
Thomas, afterwards Viscount Rochford and Earl of Wiltshire, at one time
lived here. It is an undoubted fact that one of the name was intimately
connected with St. Helen’s, for ‘on the 24th December, 26th Hen. VIII.,
1534, the Prioress and Convent appointed Sir James Bolleyne, knt., to
be steward of their lands and tenements in London and elsewhere, the
duties to be performed either by himself or a sufficient deputy, during
the life of the said James, at a stipend of forty shillings a year,
payable at Christmas. If in arrear for six weeks the said James might
enter and distrain.’ Query: was this Sir Thomas Boleyn’s elder brother?
There was a right of way hereabout from very early times, for Dugdale
tells us that in the Hundred Roll of 3rd Edward I. several entries
occur relating to an attempt which the nuns made to stop up the lane or
passage through the court of their nunnery from Bishopsgate Street to
St. Mary Axe, sometimes called St. Helen’s Lane. If, as is possible,
the house dates from before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when it
first saw the light there must have been few buildings near the even
then venerable Church of St. Helen and the adjoining priory. Crosby
Place, indeed, stood hard by, on land leased from the nuns for a term
of ninety-nine years, but much open space yet remained. Even as late
as the end of last century there was a considerable field or garden
immediately to the east of the church, as shown in a view by Malcolm
dated 1799.

The buildings and grounds of Crosby Place seem to have extended at
first almost to Leadenhall Street. The houses[102] in Crosby Square
are said to have been built about the year 1678, on the site of some
of the offices which had been destroyed by fire. I cannot say how it
happened that in the early part of the seventeenth century a house of
considerable size had already been erected on part of Crosby Place,
or could it have been just outside the precincts? This was latterly
known as No. 25, Bishopsgate Street Within, or Crosby Hall Chambers.
It succumbed to the pickaxe of the builder as nearly as possible at
the same time as Adam Lawrence’s old residence in Great St. Helen’s.
The part facing Bishopsgate Street had no sign of antiquity except
two carved festoons of flowers, much blocked up with paint, between
the first-floor windows. Up a passage,[103] however, one could see
something of the north side or front, which showed architectural
features of merit. It rested on round arches composed of rustic work,
and above were pilasters furnished with capitals. On the first-floor,
looking out on this passage, there was a room adorned by a very
beautiful chimney-piece, with the initials G B and the date 1633 in
the centre panel. The lower part is of stone, the over-mantel of oak,
in very fine condition, all the delicacy of the carving having been
preserved by thick layers of paint, which have just been removed. On
the ceiling of the same room there was also a fragment of original
plaster decoration, which has been presented to the South Kensington
Museum. The site of Crosby Hall Chambers will be occupied by the Bank
of Scotland. It is proposed to put up the chimney-piece in their new

In 1857 the Rev. Thomas Hugo, F.S.A., wrote an interesting itinerary
of the Ward of Bishopsgate for the journal of the London and Middlesex
Archæological Society. His paper was republished in book form five
years later; it contains valuable illustrations of Nos. 8 and 9, Great
St. Helen’s and of Crosby Hall Chambers, besides other houses which
have passed away. The letterpress is inspired by a fine enthusiasm; but
his architectural judgment is, I think, not altogether to be relied on.
He considers that both the above-named buildings were designed by Inigo

Austin Friars, another region in the heart of the City perhaps as
interesting as that which I have just described, is, like it, rapidly
being transformed. Not long ago it still maintained a distinctive
character. Something of monastic calm seemed to linger about the old
home and grounds of the begging friars, crowned by part of their
church, which since Edward VI.’s time has been handed over to the Dutch
congregation of London. Outside, in Broad Street, there was the roar
and confusion of a mighty traffic; within the sacred precinct there was
peace: wheeled vehicles seldom entered the very foot passengers, I have
thought, used to slacken their pace, and relax for a moment the grim,
determined look which, as a rule, characterizes the man whose mind is
bent on business.

Passing round what remains of the old church, one may still see a
house--No. 10--which is an excellent example of the real Queen Anne
style; to judge from the date on a rainpipe, it was probably completed
in the year 1704. The porch has a flight of steps; ascending this,
one finds before one a spacious staircase panelled throughout, and
especially noticeable on account of its fine painted ceiling, one of
the last to be met with in a City mansion. No. 11 forms part of the
same block of buildings.

Retracing our steps, we see standing back somewhat from the main
roadway, to the right of a new passage just opened into what is called,
in mockery, Drapers’ Gardens, a tall new structure occupying the site
of another old brick mansion the associations of which were very
remarkable. The house in question, No. 21, Austin Friars, had been
built during the latter part of the seventeenth century, possibly even
before the Great Fire, which did not extend so far north; it seems
to be marked in Ogilby’s map of 1677. About the early possessors,
Richard Young and others, nothing is known of any special interest.
In the year 1705 it came into the hands of Herman Olmius, merchant,
whose name occurs in the ‘Little London Directory’ for 1677, where he
is described as of Angel Alley, Bishopsgate Street Without. He was
descended from an ancient family of Arlon, in the duchy of Luxemburg,
and was naturalized by Act of Parliament, 29th Charles II. Here he
lived and carried on his business, and here, having made and inherited
a large fortune, he died in the year 1718. His will shows that he was
a member, not of the Dutch congregation of the neighbouring church in
Austin Friars, but of the French Church in Threadneedle Street, to
which he left £150 for the benefit of the poor. At the time of his
death he possessed four other houses in Austin Friars, ‘with yards,
gardens, and appurtenances,’ a shop called the Crane in the Poultry,
and another with the sign of the Plough in Bucklersbury. He also
had much real property in Essex and elsewhere. Herman was the son of
Johannes Ludovicus or John Lewis Olmius, and of his wife Margareta
Gerverdine. He married Judith, daughter and heiress of John Drigue, who
also appears to have been living in Angel Court or Alley in 1677, and
who had also married an heiress, the daughter of John Billers. Herman
Olmius and his wife Judith had no less than ten children, but only two
of them left offspring. These were his younger daughter Margaret, wife
of Adrian Lernoult, who had predeceased him, and to whose descendants
the City property was bequeathed; and John Olmius,[104] born in 1670.
This gentleman became High Sheriff of Essex in 1707, a justice of
the peace, and Deputy-Lieutenant of the county. He died December 20,
1731, being then Deputy-Governor of the Bank of England. His wife was
Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Thomas Clarke, a descendant of
the Clarkes of St. Ives, Huntingdon, and probably her husband’s cousin.
Their son, also named John, was many years member of Parliament, and
received an Irish peerage under the title of Lord Waltham. He married
Anne, daughter of Sir William Billers, Lord Mayor in 1733, and left a
son and a daughter. The former died without issue in 1787, when the
family became extinct in the male line; the latter having married John
Luttrell, who was brother of the Duchess of Cumberland,[105] and who
became third Earl of Carhampton, had a daughter, Frances Maria, from
whom is descended Sir Simeon Henry Stuart, Bart. The Olmius family
possessed much land in Essex, and a large country seat at Boreham,
now used as a convent. At the Saracen’s Head Hotel, Chelmsford,
their fleeting dignity is still represented by two fine hall-chairs
emblazoned with the Olmius crest, namely a demi-Moor in armour between
laurel branches, surmounted by a baron’s coronet. My friend Mr. Francis
Galton would doubtless tell us that the failure of the family in the
male line resulted naturally from marriage with heiresses and from
intermarriage. Its rapid rise had also, no doubt, been in part owing to
the former cause.

The house in Austin Friars continued for several generations to belong
to the descendants of the younger daughter of Herman Olmius. In 1783
Hughes Minet came to live here, and in 1802 he bought a sixth share
from three brothers named Clarke, great-grandsons of Margaret Lernoult.
He was a merchant and banker, of Huguenot descent, and his family had
long carried on a prosperous business at Dover. His descendant, Mr.
William Minet, has just written a very interesting account of them. The
Minets lived in Austin Friars for many years, though they never owned
more than a sixth of the property. In 1838 Mr. Isaac Minet, the then
representative of the family, sold his share of the freehold, and we
find Messrs. Thomas, Son, and Lefevre established here, the last-named
being a brother of the late Lord Eversley. The final owner was Mr. John
Fleming, by whose courtesy I had the privilege of visiting the house on
almost the last day that it remained intact.

In point of fact, No. 21, Austin Friars was by no means a striking
specimen of architecture, but having remained from the beginning
practically unchanged, there were points about it worthy of record.
Externally it was a plain four-storied brick structure, the only piece
of decoration being a carved hood to the doorway which formed the chief
entrance from Austin Friars. Passing through this, the visitor found
himself in a hall, looking up a broad winding staircase with twisted
balusters. To the right was the counting-house, panelled throughout
with South Carolina pine. It had an old Purbeck marble mantelpiece, on
the upper line of which appeared in white marble the Olmius arms,[106]
quartered with those of the foreign families of Gerverdine, Cappré,
Drigue, and Reynstein. The double panes above was worthy of remark as
characteristic of the time of Wren. Under an arch at the end of the
counting-house was a strong-room lined throughout with Dutch tiles.
Mounting the staircase, one came upon the dining-room, with its
ingeniously contrived cupboard, and the drawing-room, which looked out
on what was, till within the last few years, the pleasant and ample
garden of the Drapers’ Company, now covered, all but a fragment, with
bricks and mortar. A view of this garden is given in Cassell’s ‘Old
and New London,’ vol. i., p. 517, with No. 21, Austin Friars showing
itself beyond the trees in the middle distance; but no reference to it
is made in the letterpress. On the first-floor also, above the chief
office, was a small warehouse or sample-room, an indispensable adjunct
to the old merchant’s dwelling,[107] Above were capital bedrooms, while
a narrow staircase gave access to the tiled roof, surrounded by a
stone parapet. Retracing one’s steps to the hall, one found, flanking
a passage on the side opposite to the counting-house, a lofty kitchen
still furnished with smoke-jack, spit-racks, and iron caldron-holders,
and adjoining the range an oven lined with blue and white Dutch tiles,
no doubt a legacy of the Olmius family. Formerly, also, most of the
chimneypieces in the house were fitted up with Dutch tiles, blue and
white or red and white; but these in course of time had disappeared.
In the basement were cellars, and close to them an old surface well,
which still contained water, analyzed at the time of its destruction
and found to be little better than sewage. A door in the passage was
prettily carved. Through this one passed to the outer offices, a
brewery, wash-house, coach-house and stables; and thence again there
was access by the side-entrance into the garden,[108] a quiet spot
some half acre in extent, which no doubt had originally formed part of
the friars’ grounds. It was connected by steps with a narrow terrace
running along the back of the house. Here in the summer of 1888 I saw
fig-trees still flourishing while the work of destruction had already

The boundary at the end of this garden was formed by another
interesting house, No. 23, Great Winchester Street, which has also
lately been improved out of existence. It occupied a good deal of
ground, being approached through a paved yard with a lodge on each side
of the entrance. Externally its chief characteristics were a somewhat
high-pitched roof and wings projecting forward. Inside the chief
reception-room was finely proportioned, with capital mouldings and
cornices, and there was an old kitchen range of portentous size.

Close to this house, and also adjoining Drapers’ Garden, was formerly
the garden attached to the Carpenters’ Hall, so that a few years ago
this neighbourhood was a paradise of open spaces. At the dissolution
the house and gardens of the Augustine Friars had been bestowed by
Henry VIII. on William Paulet, first Marquis of Winchester, who there
built his town residence, traces of which existed as late as the year
1844: after this mansion Winchester Street was named. From a date
carved on a grotesque bracket formerly to be seen at the north-east
corner, it appears that the street was constructed, partly at least,
in the year 1656, during Cromwell’s government. Strype says that here
was ‘a great messuage called the Spanish Ambassador’s House, of late
inhabited by Sir James Houblon, Knight and Alderman, and other fair
houses.’ Even down to our time it was a remarkably picturesque specimen
of a London street. Now nothing but the name is left, to mark its
connection with antiquity.

It may here be noted that even till comparatively recent times almost
every house in the City had a garden, or at any rate some open space,
belonging to it, as may be proved by reference to old maps and views.
Horwood’s map, published in 1799, shows how much garden ground still
remained at the end of last century. Besides this, before the days
of lifts, high pressure of water, and gas or electric light laid on,
the inconvenience of very high houses prevented their being built to
any great extent. The comparative sparseness of the population should
undoubtedly have given our ancestors a great advantage over us with
regard to health, but it was more than counterbalanced by drawbacks
resulting from ignorance--for example, the use of impure water, and
the inability to grapple with diseases which are now comparatively

The disappearance of these open spaces, and the erection of enormously
high buildings on every available spot, is, I believe, a great evil,
not only from the picturesque, but from the sanitary point of view.
Writers on sanitary subjects are agreed that, of dangers to health,
overcrowding is one of the greatest, and that, other things being
equal, the death-rate regularly increases in proportion to the density
of the population. Dr. G. V. Poore[109] has recently pointed out that
every new set of offices adds its quota to the sewage in the river;
while ‘the absence of green plants entails a great loss of nascent
oxygen or ozone which gives to air its peculiar quality of freshness.’
In his opinion, it is hardly conceivable that a high level of health
can be maintained in a spot where vegetable life languishes, animal and
vegetable life being complementary to each other.

Some will no doubt console themselves with the notion that, the City
being now to a great extent merely a place of business, those who spend
the day there (considerably more than a million, according to the last
calculation) can throw off the ill effects while they are away. To
this I reply that, if one includes the outlying parts, many thousands
still make it their home, and that, in any case, to spend a quarter
of one’s existence under most unhealthy conditions must tend to cause
illness and to shorten life. In these times of popular government, the
great City Guilds are more or less on their probation. If I am right,
the Drapers’ Company, whatever the temptation may have been, committed
a fatal mistake when they covered their garden with huge blocks of
offices, a mistake which can never be atoned for by any amount of
charitable donation. Their example has been quickly followed, and soon,
I fear, hardly one breathing-space will remain in the City except the
ground about St. Paul’s and the Tower, and here and there a bit of a
disused graveyard hemmed in by lofty offices and warehouses.




  Adam and Eve, Newgate Street, sign, 121

  Addle Street; derivation of name, 47

  Aggas’s, Ralph, map, 139

  Aldermanbury, sign in, 94

  Alleyne, Sir Thomas, Lord Mayor, 209

  Altitude, highest in City, 7

  Ancaster, Duke of, 153

  Anchor, signs, 106

  Angel Alley, 221

  Angel, Islington, 180, 182

  Ape, carving of, 46

  Aquarium Tavern, 166

  Artillery Street, Bishopsgate Without, 167

  Ashburnham, Lord, 35

  Ashby-Sterry, J., 158

  Ashwell’s Place, site of, 179

  Austin Friars, 220
    house in, 220

  Axe and Bottle Yard, 136

  Bacon, Francis, 134

  Bagnigge House, 192, 195, 196

  Bagnigge Wells, 191-196

  Bagnio Court, 20

  Baker and Basket, sign, 6

  Baltassar, one of the Three Kings, 32

  Barrington, Hon. D., on arms of Inner Temple, 132

  Bartholomew Close, 137

  Basing House, 202

  Bath Street, 20

  Battle Bridge, 198

  Bear, Brown, Cheapside, sign, 48, 49
    chained and muzzled, signs, 47, 49
    White, sign, 48
    with collar and chain, sign, 47

  Bear Quay, 49

  Beare Lane, 49

  Beauty in distress, sign, 71

  Beer Lane, 49

  Bel and the Dragon, sign, 50

  Bell, the, sign, 106

  Bell on the Hoop, sign, 123

  Bell Savage Inn, the, 123

  Ben Jonson Tavern, 169

  Berners, Ralph de, 141

  Berriman, Dr. W., 146

  Bethlehem Hospital, 67, 71

  Bevis, Dr. John, 193, 195

  Bible and Crown, sign, 110

  Billers, Sir William, Lord Mayor, 222

  Birch, W. de Gray, 74

  Bishopsgate Street, 214

  Bishopsgate, Ward of, 219

  Black Boy, advertisement, _temp._ 1695, 25

  Black Friars, 130

  Black Jack, sign, 157

  Black Mary’s Well, or Hole, 191

  Black Spread Eagle Court, 93

  Blackamore Street, 25, 148

  Blackfriars Road, 158

  Blackmore Street, 25, 148

  Bloomfield’s MS., 132

  Blowbladder Street, 19

  Boar’s Head, sign, 51, 119
    Tavern, 52-60

  Body-snatchers, resort of, 9

  Boleyn, Sir Thomas, 217

  Bottle, Golden, sign, 157

  Boulting Mill, 178

  Bow Churchyard, sign in, 118

  Bowl and Mouth, signs, 64

  Boy and Panyer, sign, 4

  Braynes Row, 191

  Brewers’ Company, 5, 165

  Bridge House, the, 76
    estate, 71, 75

  Brook Place, 191

  Browne, Sir Thomas, 43

  Bryanston Street, 169

  Buc, Sir George, 132

  Bucklersbury, 26

  Buckingham, Duke of, 20

  Buckingham, Earl of, 147

  Bucks’ Heads, Three, sign, 13

  Budge Row, origin of name, 126

  Bull, Bishopsgate Street Within, 61

  Bull and Mouth Inn, Aldersgate, 63-66
    sale of, 65
    sign, 63

  Bull Head Court, 19

  Bull Inn, mutiny at, 62

  Burrup, Miss, 177

  Busby’s Folly, 85

  Butcher Hall Lane, 19

  Byrons, badge of, 61

  Canon Alley, St. Paul’s, 111

  Canonbury, Islington, 141
    Place, 141
    Tower, 142

  Caps of burgesses, 175

  Carhampton, Earl of, 223

  Carpenters’ Hall, 227

  Cateaton Street, 14

  Cavendish, Lady Margaret, 151

  Chambers, James, goldsmith, 157

  Chancery Lane, 129

  Chapel Street. _See_ Great Chapel Street

  Chaplin, W., coach proprietor, 99

  Charles I.’s porter and dwarf, 19

  Charles Street, Leather Lane, 157

  Charlet, Gregory, 145

  Charlotte Street, 158

  Chaucer, poet, 135

  Cheapside Cross, 97

  Chesterfield, Lord, 152

  Cheyne Walk, 159

  Childs and Co., bankers, 156

  Chimneypiece, Bishopsgate Street, 219

  Cibber, Colley, actor, 187

  Civet cat, carving, 66

  Clare, Earl of, 147, 215
    Market, 24, 146
    Street, 24

  Clement’s Inn, 147

  Clement’s Inn Fields, 148
    market held in, 149

  Cloth Fair, 137, 139

  Coach and Horses, sign, 170

  Cock Inn, 166
    and Bottle, sign, 176
    Court, 47
    sign, 103
    with snake, sign, 101

  Coffee-house sign, 176

  Compton family, 143

  Compton Street, Clerkenwell, 146

  Coopers’ Company, 157
    crest, 91

  Coppice Row, 191

  Corbyn and Co.’s Poultry, sign at, 50

  Coutts, Lady Burdett, 55

  Cow and Co., Messrs., 47

  Cox and Hammond’s, Messrs., sign at, 49

  Cox, Rev. J. E., 212

  Crane, sign, 89
    in the Poultry, 221

  Cranes, Three, in the Vintry, sign, 90

  Crescent moon, 43

  Cromer Street, 196

  Crosby Hall, 214
    Hall Chambers, 218
    Place, 217
    Square, 218

  Crosby, Sir John, arms, 214

  Cross Street, Islington, 145

  Crown and Magpie, sign, 104

  Crowns, Three, sign, 27

  Cumberland, Duchess of, 223
    Duke of, 169

  Cutler, Sir John, 172

  Cutlers’ Company, arms of, 122, 124

  Danvers Street, Cheyne Walk, 161

  Darwin, Dr. Erasmus, 210

  Dennys, Sir Walter, arms of, 142

  Denzil Street, 150

  Dering Street, Oxford Street, 161

  Devereux, Lady Penelope, 140

  Digby, Sir Kenelm, 151

  Doctor’s signboard, 160

  Dog and Duck, sign, 67, 215

  Dog’s Head in the Pot, sign, 158

  Dorrington Street, 164

  Doves, Four, sign, 90

  Drapers’ Company, 230
    Gardens, 221, 227

  Drury Lane, 148

  Ducking ponds, 68

  Dugdale, Sir William, 130

  Duke Street, 162

  Dyers’ Company, 100

  Eagle with two Heads, sign, 91

  Eldernesse Lane, 12

  Elephant and Castle, 122

  Epiphany or Twelfth Day, 39

  Epitaph on drawer at Boar’s Head, 56

  Essex, Earl of, arms, 98

  Evans, William, giant, 20

  Falstaff, drawing of, 58

  Fastolfe, Sir John, 60

  Field Court, 133

  Fire at Southwark, 42, 79

  Fire of London, memorial of, 9

  Fishmongers’ Company, arms of, 61

  Fleet, banks of the, 192

  Fleet Street, 131

  Fleming, Mr. John, 224

  Fortune of War Inn, 8

  Four Doves, sign, 90

  Fowler, Thomas, 144

  Fowler family, 180

  Fowler of Islington, arms of, 144, 145

  Fox, sign, 77

  Foxes, Three, sign, 77

  Friday Street, 135

  Fruiterers’ Company, arms of, 122

  Galton, Francis, 223

  Gaming House and Shaver’s Hall, 163

  Garden produce, _temp._ Edward I., 130

  Gardens to City houses, 228

  Gardiner’s Lane, 15

  Gaspar, 31

  George Inn, 79, 80
    advertisement of, _temp._ 1762, 16

  Gerard the Giant, 17

  Gerrard Street, 162

  Gerrardes Hall, 18

  Gilbert Street and Passage, 149

  Gisor’s Hall, 18

  Goat in Boots, sign, 168

  Gog and Magog, 17 _note_

  Golden Bottle, sign, 157

  Golden Lion, house and sign, 83

  Goldsmiths’ Company, 129

  Goose and Gridiron, sign, 114

  Gosling, Messrs., sign, 156, 157

  Grasshopper, sign, 157

  Gray’s Inn, 133

  Gray’s Inn Lane, 199

  Gray’s Inn Road, 196

  Great Chapel Street, Westminster, 161

  Great James Street, Bedford Row, 163

  Great St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate, 200, 203 _et seq._
    Church, 207
    Passage, 214
    right of way, 217

  Great Ormond Street, 153

  Great Queen Street, 152, 155

  Great Winchester Street, No. 23, 227

  Gresham, Sir Thomas, 157

  Grey family, arms of, 133

  Greys of Wilton, 133

  Griffin’s Head, sign, 77, 133

  Grosvenor, Sir Robert, 135

  Guildhall Museum, 146, 171, 173

  Guy of Warwick, 11

  Gwynne, Nell, 192

  Haberdashers’ Company, 128

  Half Moon, sign, 40
    Inn Yard, Borough, 41
    Passage, 45

  Hare and Stirrup, sign, 80
    and Three Pigeons, tenements called, 79
    in combination with the Sun, 78
    Running, sign, 78

  Harris, Roger, bequest of, 86

  Harrison Street, 196

  Hatchett’s Hotel, 169

  Hats, Three, sign, 69

  Hawkins, Sir John, 25

  Hays’ Mews, Charles Street, Berkeley Square, 167

  Heathcock, sign, 90

  Helmet, sign, 112, 113

  Henry, Prince of Wales, 131

  Herne, or Heron, family, 146

  Hicks Hall, Middlesex Session House, 48

  Hoare, Messrs., their sign, 157

  Hobson, portrait of, 62

  Hogarth’s picture of Evening, 181;
    of Southwark Fair, 42

  Holland, Earl of, 140

  Holles family, 147
    arms of, 149
    Sir William, 215

  Holywell Street, 44

  Hood, Robin, 197

  Horn of Unicorn, 87

  Horsham free school, founding of, 40

  Houblon, Sir James, 228

  Howard, Lord William, 132

  Hudson, Jeffery, dwarf, 20
    Thomas, painter, 155

  Hugo, Rev. Thomas, 216, 219

  Inner Temple, heraldic charge, 131

  Inns of Court and Chancery, arms of, 129

  Islington, Upper Street, 146

  Islington Wells, 180, 188

  Jack in the Green, 24

  Jackson, William, smuggler, 38

  James Street, Haymarket, 163. _See_ Great James Street

  Jones, Inigo, 154, 201, 216

  Judd, Sir Andrew, Lord Mayor, 214

  King of the Fields, 69

  King’s Cross Road, 195, 197

  King Street, Southwark, 136

  Kings, Three, signs, 26-45

  King’s White Bear, the, 50

  Kenton, Benjamin, vintner, 104

  Kneller, Sir Godfrey, 155

  Knights Templars, 132

  Lacy, Henry de, Earl of Lincoln, 130

  Lad Lane, 99

  Laing, David, 35

  Lamb and Flag, 75, 131, 132

  Lambeth Hill, 27

  Lamb’s Conduit, 196

  Lawrence, Adam, 206
    will of, 208
    family history of, 206 _et seq._

  Lawrence, Sir John, Lord Mayor, 205
    Mayor’s Banquet, 210
    arms of, 212

  Lea, Sir James, 131

  Leadenhall Street, 218

  Leathern Bottle, sign, 157

  Leathersellers’ Arms, 13

  Leathersellers’ Company, 12

  Leigh, Gerard, 132

  Lennep, J. Van, 3

  Leopard, sign, 125

  Lernoult, Margaret, 224

  Lincoln’s Inn, 129
    Fields, 152, 153, 162

  Lindsey, Earl of, 153
    House, 152

  Lion, stone bas-relief, sign, 83
    Golden, sign, 83
    White, sign, 83-86

  Little Distaff Lane, 110

  Lloyd’s Row, 189

  London Bridge, 136
    Spa, the, 190

  Long Lane, 139

  Long Melford, Suffolk, 38

  Longmans, Messrs., their sign, 111

  Lovell, Sir Thomas, 130

  Lyons Inn, 45

  Lysons, Rev. Canon, 178

  Magi, the, 28

  Maidenhead Inn, 14
    sign, 119

  Maiden’s Head, sign, 126

  Man in the Moon, sign, 40

  Mantelpiece, seventeenth century, 200
    from the old Cock Inn, 104
    at 21, Austin Friars, 224

  Marks, Alfred, 154

  Marshall, Julian, 163

  Martin and Co., bankers, their sign, 157

  Martin, J. B., 157

  Mary the Virgin, 29

  Marygold, sign, 156

  May’s Buildings, St. Martin’s Lane, 162

  Melchior, one of the Three Kings, 31

  Mercers’ Company, 14
    arms of, 126

  Merchant Tailors’ Company, 129

  Merchants’ trade marks, 74

  Merlin’s Cave Tavern, 190

  Mermaid, carved in relief, 60
    in Bread Street, 61
    in Cornhill, 61
    sign of at Gravesend, 60
      in Holland, 60

  Middle Temple, gatehouse, 131

  Midshipman, wooden, 157

  Miller, Sir John, 81

  Milton, John, sign showing birthplace, 92

  Mineral spring, St. George’s Fields, 70

  Minerva, head of, 12

  Minet, Hughes, 223

  Minet, Walter, 224

  Minories, the, 157

  Mitre Court, 116

  Mitres, stone bas-reliefs of, 113, 116

  Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, 188

  More, Sir Thomas, 138

  Morris Dancers, Three, sign, 22

  Mount Pleasant, Gray’s Inn Lane, 164

  Mouth, sign, Bishopsgate Street, 64

  Myddleton, Sir Hugh, 181

  Myddleton’s Head Inn, 181, 183

  Nag’s Head, Unicorn sign wrongly called, 86
    sign, 97

  Naked Boy, sign, 11

  Narwhal’s horn, 88

  Nassau Street, 162

  Negroes’ Heads, 24, 146

  Newcastle, Duke of, 151
    House, 152

  Newcomen Street, Southwark, 136

  New Market, 149

  New River Company, portrait of founder, 181

  New River Head, 183

  New Tunbridge Wells, 187

  New Wells, near London Spa, 186

  New White Horse Cellars, signboard, 169

  Northampton, Marquis of, 143

  Norwich Cathedral, 34

  Old Bell Inn, Holborn, 143

  Olmius, Herman, merchant, 221

  Ormond Street. _See_ Great Ormond Street

  Ormonde, Duke of, 169

  Ostrich, stone bas-relief, 91

  Oxford Arms, Warwick Lane, 65

  Pakenham Street, 195

  Panyer Alley, sign in, 4

  Parish marks, 166

  Peakes, Sir John, Lord Mayor, 129

  Pegasus, Inner Temple, sign, 131

  Pelham, Thomas, 152

  Pelican, as an emblem, 95
    sign, 94
    and Phœnix, 96

  Pepys’ Diary, extract from, 84

  Person, Father, 139

  Peter Street, Westminster, 166

  Phelps, Samuel, actor, 186

  Philip Lane, 46

  Physicians, College of, 172

  Pie, sign, 10

  Pie Corner, 9, 10

  Pied Bull Inn, 81

  Pindar Place, 196

  Pinder a Wakefielde, inn, 196

  Pinder of Wakefield, 196

  Pinder, equivalent to, 197

  Plough, sign, Bucklersbury, 222

  Poore, Dr. G. V., 229

  Pope, Mr. M., F.S.A., 91

  Portland, Duke of, 151

  Powis, Marquis of, 151
    Place, 153

  Preaching Friars, 130, 138

  Price, Hilton, on bankers’ signs, 156

  Prince of Wales’ feathers, 111

  Pudding Lane, 9

  Queen Street. _See_ Great Queen Street

  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 81, 144

  Red Lion Tavern, 180

  Rich, Richard, 137

  River. _See_ New River

  Robin Hood Court, Shoe Lane, 167

  Roman dress, bust of woman in, 192

  Roman temple, site of, 179

  Rookery, Gray’s Inn, 134

  Rose, the, 92

  Rose and Crown, 111

  Rose and Fleur-de-lys, 154

  Rosebery Avenue, 164, 182

  Rosoman Street, 187

  Rotten Row, Asschowellys Place, 179

  Roxalana’s Head, sign, 14

  Royal Arms, 135
    Bagnio, 20
    Yacht Inn, 150

  Rufford, Captain Nicholas, 146

  Rufford’s Buildings, 146

  Running Footman, sign, 167

  Sadler’s mineral springs, 183
    Music House, 183
    Wells Theatre, 181, 183, 185

  St. Anselm and Cecilia, chapel, 162

  St. Bartholomew the Great, church, 140

  St. Bartholomew’s Priory, 138

  St. Bride’s, 167

  St. Ceadda, well of, 197

  St. Chad’s Road, 197
    Row, 197

  St. Chad’s Well, 198

  St. Dunstan’s Church, 157

  St. Ethelreda, chapel of, 116

  St. George and the Dragon, 15, 17

  St. George’s Fields, 67, 70, 215

  St. Giles-in-the-Fields, 167

  St. Helen’s. _See_ Great St. Helen’s

  St. James’s Palace, 167

  St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, 170
    Street Road, 190

  St. Martin’s Lane, Upper, 167

  St. Mary Axe, 217

  St. Michael’s Crooked Lane, 56

  St. Pancras Churchyard, 198
    Well, 198

  Salisbury, 170

  Sandys Row, 167

  Saracen’s Head Hotel, Chelmsford, 223

  Sardinia Street, 154, 162

  Savage’s Inn, 123

  Seven Stars, sign, 39

  Shakespere’s Boar’s Head, 51

  Sheffield Street, 161

  Shepherd Street, 161

  Shiffner family, the, 154

  Ship and Black Swan, sign, 110

  Shoe Lane, 169

  Shoreditch High Street, 78

  Sims, F. Manley, sign belonging to, 160

  Skates, mediæval, 175

  Skinners’ Company, 125, 129, 216

  Smith, Payne and Smith, sign discovered at their premises, 102

  Somers, Sir John, 153

  Soper’s Lane, 48

  Southwark Arms, 72
    Fire, 42, 79

  Spa Field, 189

  Spas, suburban, 180-199

  Spencer, Sir John, 142, 145

  Spread Eagle, 91
    Court, 93

  Squirrels, Three, sign, 156

  Staircase, Elizabethan, 201

  Star, sign, 40

  Stevens, John Cosens, 213

  Stinking Lane, 19

  Stuart, Sir Simeon Henry, Bart., 223

  Sun, sign, 40

  Swan, chained, 87, 96-98

  Swan and Harp, sign, 115
    upping or nicking, 101
    with Two Necks, 98
      origin of, 100

  Tabard Inn, 79

  Tallowchandlers’ Company, 91

  Tarbolton, H. O., 205

  Tavern scoring, 44

  Taylor, Edward, bequest of, 13

  Temple, Inner, heraldic charge and sign, 131

  Tennis Court, 163

  Theatrical Booth, 42

  Thomas, Son, and Lefevre, 224

  Three Bucks’ Heads, sign, 13
    Cranes in the Vintry, 90
    Crowns, sign, 27
    Hats, Islington, sign, 69
    Kings, 26
      arms of, 34
      in plays, etc., 36
      the feast of, 33
    Magi, 28
    Morris Dancers, sign, 22
    Squirrels, sign, 156

  Time, statuette of, 178

  Tothill Street, Westminster, 166

  Tower Hill, 159

  Tulips, exhibition of, _temp._ 1779, 198

  Tunbridge Grammar School, 216
    Wells, New, 187

  Turner, Mr. Hudson, 130

  Two Brewers, 2

  Two Negroes’ Heads, 24, 146

  Tyburn, prisoners on the way to, 64

  Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Company, 165

  Unicorn, description of, 87
    stone bas-relief of, 86
    supporter of Royal Arms, 87

  Union Street, Southwark, 165

  Upper Street, Islington, 146

  Upper St. Martin’s Lane, 166

  Vinegar Yard, Drury Lane, 171

  Vintners’ Company, 100

  Waller, J. G., 74

  Waltham, Lord, 222

  Warwick, Earl of, 140, 147

  Warwick, Guy of, stone bas-relief of, 11

  Warwick Inn, 12
    Lane, 11

  Water carnival at Sadler’s Wells, 185

  Welbeck, 151

  Wentworth, Lord Thomas, 142

  Wesley, John, 187

  Westgate Street, Gloucester, 159, 178

  Weston family, 143

  White Bear, 48, 50
    Hart Inn, 79
    Lion, 83
      Islington, 180

  Whittington and his Cat, 178

  Whistling Oyster, sign, 171

  Wilberforce, William, 57

  Williams, Mr., and the Royal Arms from old London Bridge, 137

  Wilton House, 203

  Wiltshire, Earl of, 217

  Winchester, Marquis of, 227

  Winchester Street. _See_ Great Winchester Street

  Winde, Captain William, 152

  Winged Horse, the, 131

  Winter’s-Low-Hut, 170

  Woman’s Head, the, 14

  Wooden Midshipman, sign, 157

  Wren, Sir Christopher, 115, 131

  Wright, Sir Nathan, 153

                               THE END.

               _Elliot Stock, Paternoster Row, London._


[1] In November, 1892, this house was demolished.

[2] Hatton’s ‘New View of London,’ 1708, vol. i., p. 59.

[3] In later times there was a cross at the east end of the church of
St. Michael-le-Querne, replaced by a water conduit, in the mayoralty of
William Eastfield, A.D. 1429, as I learn from Stow. The site of this
cross is considerably east of Panyer Alley.

[4] Pye, _i.e._, parti-coloured, as in the bird. It is said to have
been so called because the initial and principal letters of the rubrics
were printed in red, and the rest in black. At the beginning of the
Church of England Prayer-Book, in that section which relates to the
service of the Church, mention is made of ‘the number and hardness
of the rules called the Pie.’ Shakespeare, in the ‘Merry Wives of
Windsor,’ says, ‘By cocke and pie you shall not choose, sir; you shall
not choose, but come.’ In this asseveration cock is supposed to be a
euphemism for God, and pie the above-named ordinal.

[5] On the Holbein gateway at Whitehall there were also medallions of
terra-cotta, as large or larger than life.

[6] The Broad Face, Reading, is noticed by Pepys as an odd sign, when
he visited the town on June 16, 1668.

[7] In style it reminds one somewhat of the Guildhall giants, Gog and
Magog, or, as Fairholt would call them, Corineus and Gogmagog. These
appear to have been made in 1708, by Richard Saunders, a captain
of trained bands and carver in King Street, Cheapside, to replace
giants of pasteboard and wickerwork, which had been carried in City

[8] Part of a similar crypt is to be seen at 4a, Lawrence Pountney
Hill; it belonged to a house called the Manor of the Rose, built
originally in the reign of Edward III. Such crypts would doubtless be
useful to mediæval merchants for the storage of goods. There are great
cellars under Crosby Hall. I am reminded that in the thirteenth century
houses furnished usually belonged to Kings or the higher nobility--at
least, this is implied by Matthew Paris, in his ‘Lives of the Abbots
of St. Albans.’ His words are: ‘Aula nobilissima picta cum conclavibus
et camino et atrio et subaulâ, quæ palatium regium (quia duplex est et
criptata) dici potest.’

[9] ‘Old Meg of Hereford Towne for a Morris Daunce, or Twelve Morris
Dancers in Herefordshire, of twelve hundred years old.’ Printed for
John Bridge, 1609.

[10] St. Matt. ii. 1.

[11] ‘Roma Sotteranea,’ by the Rev. J. Spencer Northcote, D.D., and W.
R. Brownlow, M.A., 1869.

[12] Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle suggest that these two figures may
possibly be intended to represent the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.

[13] ‘Historical and Monumental Rome,’ by C. J. Hemans, chap. xv.

[14] ‘Primus dicitur fuisse Melchior, qui senex et canus, barbâ prolixâ
et capillis, aurum obtulit Regi Domino. Secundus nomine Gaspar, juvenis
imberbis, rubicundus, thure quasi Deo oblatione dignâ, Deum honoravit.
Tertius fuscus, integre barbatus, Baltassar nomine, per myrrham Filium
hominis moriturum professus.’

[15] In fourteenth and fifteenth century paintings, especially among
the Germans, Balthazar was often a Moor or negro, the tradition being
that he was King of Ethiopia or Nubia. Ghirlandajo, in a picture at the
Pitti Gallery, gives him, not a black complexion, but a black page. The
difference of race indicated in the representations of the Three Kings
implies the wideness of the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. On
this account the three sons of Noah have been looked upon as typical of

[16] Smith’s ‘Dictionary of the Bible.’

[17] Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide, translated by Mossman, vol. i.
Others have extended the period of their arrival at Bethlehem even to
some time in the second year after the birth of Christ, as an inference
from Matt. ii. 16. According to a tradition of the Eastern Church, the
Magi arrived at Jerusalem with a retinue of 1,000 men, having left an
army of 7,000 on the further bank of the Euphrates.

[18] The Milanese afterwards consoled themselves by forming a
confraternity, which showed their veneration for the Three Kings by a
special annual performance.

[19] For these references to the heraldry of the Three Kings, I have to
thank my valued friend, Mr. Everard Green, F.S.A., whose knowledge of
the subject is unique.

[20] Foster’s Chapel, Bristol, founded in 1504, is dedicated to the
Three Kings. In Winchester Cathedral are traces of a painting of the

[21] The names of the Kings are variously spelt.

[22] A pageant was originally the structure on which the performance
took place. Archdeacon Rogers, who saw the performance at Chester
in 1594, says that ‘Every company had its pagiant, or parte, whiche
pagiants weare a high scafolde with 2 roomes, a higher and a lower,
upon 4 wheeles. In the lower they apparelled themselves, and in the
higher they played, being all open on the tope, that all behoulders
mighte heare and see them.’

[23] One is reminded of Falstaff’s words (1 Henry IV. Act i., Scene 2):
‘For we, that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars; and not by
Phœbus,--he, that wandering knight so fair.’ Again, Pistol says; ‘Sweet
knight, I kiss thy nief. What! we have seen the seven stars.’

[24] King Richard II. had two badges: the Sun in splendour, and the
White Hart. The former is shown on the mainsail of the vessel in
which he returned from Ireland, in an illumination to a manuscript
account of Richard, by a gentleman of his suite (Harl. MS. 1319). It
is also mentioned by the poet Gower. The Sun in splendour, encircled
with a cloud distilling drops of rain, is a charge in the arms of the
Distillers’ Company. I may add that the Three Crowns appear in the arms
of the Skinners’ Company, which according to Strype were granted in the
4th year of Edward VI.

[25] ‘Some Account of the Parish of St. Clement Danes,’ by John
Diprose. 1868. Vol. i., p. 257.

[26] Guillim intimates the reason for representing the bear muzzled
in heraldry: ‘The beare by nature is a cruell beast, but this here
demonstrated unto you, is (to prevent the mischief it might otherwise
do, as you may observe) as it were, bound to the good behaviour with a
muzle.’--‘Heraldry,’ sec. iii., chap. xv., p. 199. 1660.

[27] Hicks Hall was a session-house for Middlesex. At the corner of St.
John Street, Clerkenwell, and Peter’s Lane, affixed to the wall of the
Queen’s Head tavern, is a stone tablet with the following inscription:

‘Opposite this Place Hicks Hall formerly stood, 1 mile 1 furlong from
the Standard in Cornhill, 4 furlongs 205 yards from Holborn Barrs down
Holborn, up Snow Hill, Cow Lane and through Smithfield.’

A Jacobean chimney-piece from Hicks Hall, and a portrait of Sir
Baptist, are in the Sessions House, Clerkenwell Green. See an amusing
article on Suburban Milestones, in Knight’s ‘London.’

[28] Whitechapel Mount was an elevation of ground generally thought
to have been composed, in part at least, of rubbish from the Great
Fire: Lysons, however, denies this. Another idea is, that it was a
great burial-place for victims of the Plague of 1665. A fort was built
here in 1642, one of the series then thrown round London. The Mount is
shown in Strype’s map of 1720, and in a view of London Hospital, by
Chatelain. Towards the end of last century it was a place of resort for
pugilists and dog-fighters. Mount Street and Mount Place, immediately
west of the London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, now occupy the ground,
which is still slightly raised.

[29] This letter is among the Remembrancia at the Guildhall, and is
noted on page 355 of the Analytical Index, published in 1878.

[30] ‘Life of William Wilberforce,’ by his son Samuel Wilberforce,
Bishop of Oxford. Revised and condensed from the original edition.
8vo., 1868.

[31] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, January, 1834.

[32] It formed part of his benefactions, through Bishop Waynflete, to
Magdalen College, Oxford.

[33] Pepys, the diarist, on March 27, 1664, writes as follows: ‘Walked
through the Ducking Pond Fields; but they are so altered since my
father used to carry us to Islington, to the old man of the King’s
Head, to eat cakes and ale (his name was Pitts), that I did not know
which was the Ducking Pond, or where I was.’ What would he have said
now? There were several ducking-ponds in this neighbourhood; the name
of Ball’s Pond, near Newington Green, still survives. Howes in his
‘Chronicle’ says that the reservoir at the New River head ‘was in
former times an open idell pool, commonly called the Ducking Pond.’
Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, were also called ‘Ducking Pond Fields.’
There was a public-house a little west of the London Spa, with a
ducking-pond attached. It was taken down in 1770, and the Pantheon, in
imitation of the Oxford Street Pantheon, built on its site. This soon
became disreputable, and was eventually turned into Spa Fields Chapel,
demolished 1879. There was a ducking-pond in Mayfair (Hertford Street
is on the site), and another near Mile End.

[34] The ground in St. George’s Fields was not absolutely given, but a
lease was granted for 865 years at the nominal rent of one shilling a

[35] The cross had possibly some connection with the priory of St. Mary
Overy hard by, or with the rich and powerful abbey, originally the
priory of St. Saviour’s, Bermondsey. A chronicle, supposed to have been
written by one of the monks, is among the Harleian MSS. (No. 231). We
are here told that in the year 1117 ‘the cross of the Holy Saviour was
found near the Thames.’ Apparently this was the cross of Bermondsey,
placed in the church, to which pilgrimages were occasionally made. It
was taken down in 1538, during the mayoralty of Sir Richard Gresham,
and in all likelihood destroyed; but Wilkinson, in his ‘Londina
Illustrata,’ gives a view, showing in front of the building, attached
to the chief or north gate of the abbey, a small cross with zigzag
ornament, which some have sought to identify with this holy rood. It
existed with the remains of the building till comparatively recent
times. On the way to the abbey were famous roadside crosses: one north,
the site of which is at the junction of Tooley Street with Bermondsey
Street; the other south, in Kent Street.

[36] From the ‘Archæologia,’ vol. 32, I learn that ‘the seal of
Bartholomew Elys, of Great Yarmouth, 17 Rich. II., is remarkable as
giving the family arms with the substitution of his merchant’s mark in
place of the cinqfoil in base.’ Mr. Waller says that at Standon, in
Herts, is the mark of John Feld, alderman of London 1474; but his son,
on the same brass, an esquire in armour, has his shield of arms.

[37] ‘Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries,’ November 24, 1887.
A highly interesting article in the ‘Archæologia,’ vol. 37, by Mr. B.
Williams, shows that in early times simple marks, not unlike merchants’
marks, were used to distinguish property, both here and in Germany. Our
modern swan marks are a survival.

[38] At a Common Council held July 14, 33 Henry VIII., it was ordered
that the seal of the Bridge House should be changed, because the image
of Thomas à Becket, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, was graven
thereon, and it was agreed that a new seal should be made, devised by
Mr. Hall, to whom the old seal was delivered.

[39] But see Mr. Billson’s paper on ‘The Easter Hare,’ in _Folklore_,
vol. iii.--[ED.]

[40] It is told in considerable detail in a ‘Life of Sir Walter
Raleigh,’ 8vo., 1740, p. 152.

[41] ‘I remember one citizen, who having thus broken out of his house
in Aldersgate Street, or thereabout, went along the road to Islington.
He attempted to have gone in at the Angel Inn, and after that at the
White Horse, two inns still known by the same signs, but was refused;
after which he came to the Pied Bull, an inn also still continuing the
same sign.’--‘Journal of the Plague Year,’ by Daniel Defoe, 1722.

[42] This was probably one of the ducking-ponds.

[43] Its site is also marked in Ogilby’s Map of London to Holyhead.
Here is now the Belvidere Tavern.

[44] Peter Cunningham says that Alderman Boydell, before he removed
to No. 90, Cheapside, at the corner of Ironmonger Lane, lived at the
Unicorn, at the corner of Queen Street, Cheapside.

[45] ‘Historic Devices, Badges, and War Cries,’ by Mrs. Bury Palliser.

[46] Another record of him is a stone from Allhallows Church, now
imbedded in the western wall of the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, which
has on it the well-known lines by Dryden, beginning: ‘Three poets in
three distant ages born,’ etc., also the dates of Milton’s birth and

[47] Additional MS. in British Museum, 3890.

[48] In a ‘Brief History’ by Eugenius Philalethes, p. 93, we are told;
‘It is a vulgar error that the pelican turneth her beak against her
breast and therewith pierceth it till the blood gush out, wherewith she
nourisheth her young; whereas a pelican hath a beak broad and flat,
much like the slice of apothecaries and chirurgeons wherewith they
spread their plasters, no way fit to pierce, as Laurentius Gerbertus
counsellor and physitian to Henry the Fourth of France in his book of
Popular Errors hath observed.’

[49] The architect was Sir Robert Taylor, R.A. The emblematic figures
on the cornice in front are said to be of artificial stone, executed
at Coade’s factory, Lambeth, where John Bacon, R.A., worked for some
years, and where, later, Flaxman and Benjamin West also modelled. Some
houses on the north side of Westminster Bridge Road were originally
called Coade’s Row, and the name still appears on one of them. The
gallery or showroom stood there, as marked in Horwood’s map. The
factory was further north, between Narrow Wall and the river.

[50] The sign outside is a modern imitation.

[51] In Aubrey’s ‘Natural History,’ p. 277, a manuscript in the library
of the Royal Society, is the following memorandum: ‘This day, May the
18th, being Monday, 1691, after Rogation Sunday, is a great convention
at St. Paul’s church of the Fraternity of the adopted masons, where Sir
Christopher Wren is to be adopted a brother, and Sir Henry Goodric of
the Tower, and divers others. There have been kings that have been of
this sodality.’

[52] Not in edition 1576, but edition 1596, p. 233.--[ED.]

[53] See ‘City of London Livery Companies’ Commission,’ 1884, vol. ii.

[54] Sir William Dugdale, in his ‘Origines Juridiciales,’ records that
the whole cost of this gatehouse was £153 10s. 8d., ‘the brick and
tile used for the same being digged out of that piece of ground then
called the Coneygarth, lying on the west side of the house, adjoyning
to Lincoln’s Inn Fields.’ This valuable relic is now, I fear, in a
somewhat neglected condition.

[55] T. Hudson Turner in the _Archæological Journal_ for December,
1848, quoting from an account in the Office of the Duchy of Lancaster.

[56] See an interesting article on this subject in the ‘Archæologia,’
vol. ix. (1789), by the Hon. Daines Barrington.

[57] For further details about the armorial bearings, see ‘Gray’s Inn;
its History and Associations,’ by W. R. Douthwaite, 1886, chap. xi.

[58] Dodsley’s ‘London,’ 1761, vol. iii., p. 58.

[59] ‘Scrope and Grosvenor Roll,’ i. 178.

[60] The gatehouse had only been finished in the year 1728, having
replaced a previous one damaged by a great fire on the bridge in 1725.
Mist’s _Weekly Journal_, for Saturday, September 11, tells us that
about sixty houses were consumed on that occasion.

[61] Burke’s ‘Armory General.’ This seems correct; but Burke’s ‘Extinct
Peerages’ gives it, ‘gules, a chevron between three cross crosslets or.’

[62] From early days, however, the fair had increased beyond church
limits, and the City had acquired certain rights. In the fourth edition
of Stow, 1633, we are told how, on Bartholomew Eve, the Aldermen in
their violet gowns met the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs at the Guildhall
chapel, and how they rode into Cloth Fair, and made a proclamation,
riding back through the churchyard and home to the Lord Mayor’s house.

[63] In Allen’s ‘History of London,’ published in 1827, vol. iii., p.
658, we are told that the district called Cloth Fair was still chiefly
occupied by clothiers, tailors, etc.

[64] Stow’s ‘Survey of London,’ edited by W. J. Thoms, p. 141.

[65] The rebus was invented before Prior Bolton’s time; as early as
1443 the White Friars had a grant of the ‘Hospitium vocatum Le Bolt en
ton,’ in Fleet Street. This became a great coaching inn; the site is
marked by a railway office. The tun occurs in the rebus of Beckington,
of Castleton, and of Bishop Langton in Winchester Cathedral.

[66] They were drawn and described for Nelson’s ‘History of Islington,’
2nd edition, 1823.

[67] I have not been able to find proof positive that a Fowler owned
this property. The house, though of respectable antiquity, is much more
modern than the arms. By a lease dated 1722, a messuage called the
Bell, with its stables, etc., and two other messuages or tenements on
either side, adjoining and fronting High Street, Holborn, ‘formerly one
capital mansion or messuage called the Bell or Blue Bell Inn, together
with all shops, stables, and other appurtenances,’ were bought by
Christ’s Hospital for £2,113 15s. Together with the adjoining house,
it still belongs to the Hospital. There is a rent-charge of 45s.
(originally 30 sacks of charcoal) on the Blue Bell Inn, for the use of
the poor of St. Andrews, in which parish the houses are situated; it
was bequeathed by Richard Hunt, who died in 1559.

[68] Named after the Berners family, who held the estate from the
Conquest till 1422, when it passed by marriage to John Bourchier,
created Lord Berners.

[69] In Nelson’s ‘History of Islington,’ 2nd edition, 1823, facing p.
260, there is an illustration of the building.

[70] The pretty garden of Clement’s Inn is now being built over, and
the garden house will soon disappear behind bricks and mortar. The
black kneeling figure supporting a sundial, which formerly decorated
the lawn (having been brought from Italy and presented to the Inn by
one of the Earls of Clare), was sold by the Ancients in 1884 for twenty
guineas, and has now found its way to Inner Temple Gardens.

[71] Lord Clarendon says of this second Earl: ‘He was a man of honour
and of courage, and would have been an excellent person if his heart
had not been so much set upon keeping and improving his estate.’

[72] From Mr. Austin Dobson I learn that Hogarth engraved a view of
Clare Market.

[73] He wrote MS. memoirs of the Holles family, afterwards transcribed
by Arthur Collins.

[74] This Act appears to have been a dead letter. In 1580 Queen
Elizabeth had issued an equally vain proclamation to prevent the
erection of new buildings within three miles of the City gates.

[75] M. Jusserand gives amusing instances in his excellent new work on
‘A French Ambassador at the Court of Charles II.’

[76] There is a view of it in Strype’s Stow (1754), which shows a
sculptured phœnix over the doorway. The phœnix in the porch of No. 40,
Great Ormond Street suggests the possibility of some connection with
this house.

[77] ‘Annals of Tennis,’ 1878.

[78] Some of these servants, however, must have been exceedingly
active. In the _London Evening Post_ for December 31, 1735, we are
told that ‘General Churchill’s Running Footman ran against the Lady
Molesworth’s, from the upper end of St. James’s Street to Edgworth
Gate,’ and won, performing the distance, computed to be about eleven
miles, in an hour and five minutes.

[79] He is Volpone in Pope’s ‘Moral Essay’:

  ‘His grace’s fate sage Cutler could foresee
  And well (he thought) advised him “Live like me.”
  As well his grace replied, “Like you, Sir John?
  That I can do, when all I have is gone.”’

[80] ‘Some account of London,’ by Thos. Pennant, 3rd edition, pp. 372,

[81] In the _Public Advertiser_ for Wednesday, April 21, 1775, it is
stated that ‘a trout was catched in the New River, near Sadler’s Wells,
which weighed eight pounds and a half.’

[82] This roadway is 1,173 yards in length, and has cost £353,526, but
the amount will be diminished by the sale of unused lands. Running
under it is a subway for the conveyance of electric lighting, etc.,
high enough for a man to walk through.

[83] The parish derived its name from a holy well, at which the parish
clerks of London used annually to perform a miracle play. Its site
was marked by a pump near the south-east corner of Ray Street, an
illustration of which is given in Wilkinson’s ‘Londina Illustrata.’
The well still exists a few feet to the north, covered by a massive
brick arch, under the floor of No. 18, Farringdon Road--formerly the
parish watch-house. This quaint little tenement is now to be let on
building lease. The whole neighbourhood seems in old days to have had a
reputation for holy and medicinal wells.

[84] In the _Post Boy_, and in the _Flying Post_ for June, 1697, we are
told that ‘Sadler’s excellent steel waters at Islington, having been
obstructed for some years, are now opened and current again,’ etc.

[85] At the bar of the Sir Hugh Myddleton tavern there was formerly an
interesting portrait group of frequenters of the old Myddleton’s Head,
Mr. Rosoman being in the centre.

[86] Pinks’s ‘History of Clerkenwell,’ 2nd edition, p. 427.

[87] Both places are alluded to in an advertisement (dated 1747) of the
Mulberry Garden, the site of which, says Pinks, was afterwards covered
by the House of Detention. A print of it exists.

[88] The springs thus named were almost on the site of another
medicinal spring called Black Mary’s Well or Hole. Dr. Bevis makes them
out the same, and suggests that the title by which the latter had been
known was a corruption of ‘Blessed Mary’s Hole.’ Other writers seek to
derive it from Mary Woolaston--a black woman who about 1680 is supposed
to have lived hereabout, by the side of the road, in a circular hut
built of stones, and to have leased and sold the waters. According to
the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1813, part ii., p. 557, this spring
was afterwards enclosed in a conduit by Walter Baynes, Esq., the
gentleman who, in 1697, discovered the famous Cold Bath, and who owned,
in part at least, the Sir John Oldcastle tavern and gardens hard by.
According to a plan of the city and environs of London, as fortified by
Parliament in 1642-3, there was a battery and breastwork ‘on the hill
E. of Blackmary’s Hole.’

[89] See _Notes and Queries_, 3rd series, ii., p. 228.

[90] In Miss Burney’s ‘Evelina’ (chap. xlv.), published January, 1778,
there is an interesting list of places of amusement in the suburbs. The
vulgar members of the Branghton family, and others, dispute as to which
they shall visit in the evening. Miss Branghton votes for Saltero’s
coffee-house; her sister for a party at Mother Red Cap’s; the brother
for White Conduit House; Mr. Brown for Bagnigge Wells; Mr. Branghton
for Sadler’s Wells, and Mr. Smith for Vauxhall. White Conduit House is
at last fixed upon. The site of this is marked by a public-house--No.
14, Barnsbury Road; it was named after an ancient conduit which once
stood hard by.

[91] Stow calls it the River of Wells, from the numerous springs that
overflowed into it.

[92] There was another fairly good mantelpiece on the second-floor.

[93] I do not guarantee the completeness of the following list of work
in the City said to have been by Inigo Jones, but it may be useful for
reference. The Church of St. Catherine Cree, Leadenhall Street, has
been popularly ascribed to him; it was consecrated by Laud, January
16, 1630-31, and is in pseudo-Gothic style. The Classic portico to
old St. Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Jones in 1633. The repairs
under his supervision were begun in April, 1631, and carried on for
more than nine years. The Church of St. Alban’s, Wood Street, may have
been his work; it replaced the old church, pulled down in 1632. This
was destroyed in the Great Fire. The hall, theatre, and court-room of
the Barber-Surgeons’ Company were built by him, apparently in 1636.
The hall was destroyed in the Great Fire; the theatre, which had been
restored by the Earl of Burlington, was pulled down in 1763. It has
been stated that the latter rebuilt the court-room; Mr. Young, however,
in his ‘Annals of the Barber-Surgeons’ (1890), declares positively that
it is the work of Inigo Jones, repaired after the Fire. He is said to
have also built Thanet House, Aldersgate Street, which survived till

[94] ‘Marriage, Baptismal, and Burial Registers of the Dutch Reformed
Church, Austin Friars, from 1571 to 1874,’ edited by W. V. C. Moens.

[95] On the 15th of April, 1630, occurs the following entry:
‘Petronela Laurence widdowe, a Dutchwoman, was buryed in ye ten
shilling ground, att lower end of ye men’s pewes.’ I am tempted to
add the following curious baptismal entry from the register. ‘Sept.
1, 1611.--Job-rakt-out-of-the-asshes, being borne the last of August,
in the lane going to Sir John Spencer’s back gate and there laide in
a heape of seacole asshes, was baptized the first day of September
following and dyed the next day after.’

[96] The old spelling is still retained, as in the entry of Adam’s
baptism at the Dutch Church.

[97] The name is spelt in various ways. He may have been of the family
of Sir John Cullum, Sheriff of London in 1646, on the site of whose
mansion Cullum Street, hard by, is built.

[98] From this I infer that she and her husband came to live in the
parish after Adam’s death. Their son John was born December, 1661, and
died a few months afterwards.

[99] Dr. Cox mentions this. Having searched for Sir John Lawrence’s
will at Somerset House, I find that he died intestate, and that
administration of his estate was granted to his widow Catherine; so
he had married a second time. In this grant he is described as ‘nuper
de Putney.’ It appears from the register of that parish that he had a
young family, and this is confirmed by a Lawrence pedigree which has
been kindly placed at my disposal. Among the children there was another
son John, who married Catherine Briscoe; he died in 1728, leaving
several daughters and a son of the same name. There was also a son
Adam, who left no issue. Catherine, Lady Lawrence, was buried in the
vault at St. Helen’s Church in 1723.

[100] Faulkner gives some verses which he says were written about the
year 1664 on the Lawrence arms. Here is a specimen:

  ‘The Field is Argent, and the charge a Cross:
  Riches without Religion are but dross;
  White, like this field, O Lord, his life should be
  Who bears thy cross, follows, and fights for thee.’

[101] Dr. Cox says the date of Lawrence’s death was August 23, 1718,
which would be seventy-six years after his first marriage.

[102] At the back of one of these houses is the only private garden
still existing in the City.

[103] This passage, to judge from a restored plan in Hammon’s
‘Architectural Antiquities of Crosby Place’ (London, 1844), was one of
the original courts of Crosby Place; but I am rather doubtful about
it. According to this plan, Crosby Square occupied the site, not of
offices, but of the bowling-green.

[104] I observe that he and his brother Herman were subscribers to
Strype’s Stow, published in 1720.

[105] Anne, daughter of Simon Luttrell, created Baron Irnham of
Luttrelstown, 1768; Viscount Carhampton, 1780; Earl of Carhampton,
1785. She married, first, Christopher Horton, of Colton Hall,
Derbyshire, and secondly, in 1771, Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland,
brother of King George III. This so incensed the latter that he
procured the passing of the Royal Marriage Act.

[106] Olmius is merely a Latinized form of the Dutch name Van Olm, the
latter word being equivalent to Elm. The arms are given in Morant’s
‘History of Essex.’ One of the charges is: out of a mount vert, an
elm-tree proper.

[107] In 1778 John Drigue Lernoult and another let the house to Lewis
Miol, and a schedule was then drawn up which I have seen. Everything is
most carefully noted from the arch in the hall ‘with fluted columns and
carved capitals,’ to the ‘battlement wall about 2 feet 6 inches high,
coped with stone cornice.’ At that time there was a warehouse with a
loft over it, and a crane, but its position is not made clear.

[108] The plan of the garden seemed to show that it had been curtailed
when the houses to the east, Nos. 15 to 18, Austin Friars, were
erected. They were formerly called Winckworth Buildings, and on their
water-pipes were T W, 1726. In No. 18, James Smith, one of the authors
of ‘Rejected Addresses,’ lived for a time. These houses are all now
swept away.

[109] ‘London, Ancient and Modern, from the Sanitary and Medical Point
of View,’ by G. V. Poore, M.D., F.R.C.P. London, 1889.

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