Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London Camden Society Old Series: Volume 53. Originally published by Camden Society, London, 1852.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The present Chronicle has hitherto remained not merely unpublished, but almost wholly unnoticed. It is now presented to the Camden Society in a full conviction of its value.
The Editor has given it the title of The Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London: to which it has an indisputable claim, inasmuch as it formed a portion of the Register-book of that fraternity. This title, however, must be taken merely as distinguishing the present compilation from others of the same class, and not as explanatory of its contents. In its original character it is not a religious but a civic Chronicle.
It is well known that history, in the form of Chronicles, was a favourite portion of the literature of the middle ages. The annals of a country were usually kept according to the years of the sovereign's power, and not those of the Christian æra. The Chronicles compiled in large cities were arranged in like manner, with the years reckoned according to the annual succession of chief magistrates. Thus, in the present instance, though the Chronicle is primarily arranged in reigns, and the years are numbered by those reigns, yet the period of time included in each year commences with the London mayoralty at the end of October, and the events which follow belong not only to the two ensuing months of that year of our Lord, but also to the next year until the end of October; and not only to that year of the king's reign, but to a portion more or less of the next year of the reign, according as the date of the accession of the monarch varied from that of the Mayor's entrance into office. (fn. 1)
The present compilation is therefore properly a London Chronicle; but the Editor deemed it unnecessary to copy from the manuscript the succession it contains of Mayors and Sheriffs, as their names have now been frequently printed elsewhere in other London Chronicles, and in fact in its earlier portions the manuscript consists of little else. Nor would the book have been worth printing at all in its original character of a London Chronicle, had it been nothing more; for in the early reigns its entries are slight and fragmentary, and occasionally incorrect, as some of the marginal notes will show.
It was usual for London Chronicles to commence with the reign of Richard the First, that being the date from which the roll of chief magistrates, at first termed Bailiffs, had been preserved. Such is the case with a Latin Chronicle kept in the Town Clerk's office, and which has been already presented to the Camden Society under the title of "Liber de Antiquis Legibus." Its narrative descends only to the year 1274. The French Chronicle of London, which has also been printed for the Camden Society, embraces the period from 1259 to 1343. The English Chronicle of London, which was edited by Sir Harris Nicolas, commences with the civic æra of 1189, the 1st Richard I. and extends to the year 1483. Some portions of it are highly curious. Arnold's Chronicle, like our own, is little more than a list of Mayors and Sheriffs: it commences at the same period, and extends to 1520. Two other London Chronicles still in manuscript are described in the annexed note. (fn. 2) Besides these, Fabyan's printed Chronicle is to be classed as a London one. His name concludes the list; for though Grafton, Holinshed, and the indefatigable John Stowe, and others beside, may have been Londoners, their books were general Chronicles, and not arranged according to the succession of Mayors and Sheriffs.
Of all the foregoing, Arnold's Chronicle is that which most nearly resembles the present, detailing the same events, though not quite so fully, down to the 17th Hen. VII. A.D. 1502. After that date, these two London Chronicles are wholly different in their contents.
Stowe had either the possession or the loan of the manuscript before us, and his small and compact hand is to be seen in two or three places in correction of the original writer. (fn. 3) But we do not find that he made full use of it: of its passages relative to religious matters, which are the most curious of the whole, he has given but a small portion; and our Chronicle escaped the research of the equally industrious, and still more voluminous, ecclesiastical historian, the Rev. John Strype.
It is towards the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth that this Chronicle begins to have a character of its own. The writer had a watchful regard to the religious changes of the times, and he naturally recorded those in particular which occurred within the sphere of his personal observation, in the city of London, and in the metropolitan church of St. Paul. He appears to have retained possession of the book after the dissolution of the house of Grey Friars, and the dismissal of the rest of his fraternity; and from that time we may suppose that he continued his record in pursuance of his old habits, with no other object than his own satisfaction. It is therefore not to the Grey Friars as a body, or to the attention and accuracy of their successive registrars, that we have to attribute the chief historical value that exists in the following pages; but rather to the individual merit of him whom we may fairly regard as the last of the London Franciscans. Beyond these circumstances, we have no evidence upon which any speculations can be founded as to his name or position. From his frequent notices of Saint Paul's it might be surmised that he had some official connection with the cathedral church; but the close vicinity of his residence would alone afford him sufficient opportunities of observation.
With these brief remarks our Chronicle may be left to the just appreciation of the reader. Some notice, however, is due to the Fraternity in whose Register it was recorded. Though the Chronicle itself contains but few and incidental items of their history, they were by no means negligent of its due commemoration: but that was done in another shape, and in the Latin language, in an earlier part of the same volume. This Register is, in fact, one of the amplest authorities for the history of the Friars Minors, as they once flourished in England; and a descriptive account of the whole volume cannot be deemed inappropriate in this place.
It may be acceptable to prefix a few historical dates, derived in part from the same source. Saint Francis, the founder and patron of the Friars Minors, (fn. 4) was born at Assisi in Italy in the year 1182; and he was still a young man when he commenced his scheme of religious observance. The Rule of his Fraternity was approved by Pope Innocent III. in 1210, revised in the Lateran council of 1215, and confirmed by Honorius III. in 1224. At the first general convention of the fraternity in 1217 its numbers were already considerable; and in 1219 it consisted of more than five thousand members. Elate with his success, Francis determined to appoint Provincial Ministers in the principal kingdoms of Europe. In the year 1224, two years before the death of their founder, (fn. 5) a deputation of nine of the fraternity, four clerics and five laics, arrived in England, with letters recommendatory from Pope Honorius III. and took up their first residence in the Benedictine priory of the Holy Trinity at Canterbury, in which city five of their number soon after formed the first Franciscan convent in England.
The other four proceeded to London, and were first entertained for fifteen days in the house of the Friars Preachers, or Dominicans. Afterwards they hired a house in Cornhill of John Travers, then sheriff, where they made some small cells, and continued until the following summer, when the devotion of the citizens enabled them to remove to the site of their future residence near Newgate. Their first and principal benefactor was John Iwyn, citizen and mercer, who gave them some land and houses in the parish of St. Nicholas in the Shambles, by deed dated in the 9th Hen. III. Upon this they erected their original building. The first chapel, which became the choir of the church, was built at the cost of sir William Joyner, who was mayor of London in 1239; the nave was added by sir Henry Waleys, who was mayor during several years of the reign of Edward I.; (fn. 6) the chapter-house by Walter the potter, citizen and alderman (sheriff in 1270 and 1273), who also presented all the brazen pots necessary for the kitchen, infirmary, and other offices; the dormitory was erected by sir Gregory de Rokesley, (fn. 7) mayor from 1275 to 1282; the refectory by Bartholomew de Castro, another citizen; the infirmary by Peter de Helyland; and the studies by Bonde, king of the heralds.
The principal contributor to the cost of supplying the convent with water was William, called from his trade the Taylor, and who served King Henry the Third in that capacity. (fn. 8)
A more magnificent church was erected about a century later, when first the choir was rebuilt, chiefly at the cost of Margaret of France, the second wife of king Edward the First, who assigned it for her place of interment; and the nave was added from the bene factions of John of Britany, Earl of Richmond, and his niece Mary Countess of Pembroke. It was 300 feet long, 89 feet wide, and 64 feet high. All the columns and the pavement were of marble. (fn. 9) This church was completed in 1327, having been twenty-one years in building. It suffered considerable injury from a storm in the year 1343, (fn. 10) and was then restored by the king, from regard to the memory of his mother.
The library was a later addition to the house, (fn. 11) and owed its foundation to the liberality of Sir Richard Whittington, the celebrated mayor in the reign of Henry the Fifth.
The few particulars which our Chronicle contains of the history of the Grey Friars may here be briefly indicated. Their arrival in England is noted under the 7th Hen. III.; (fn. 12) and their first provincial chapter in London in the last year of Henry V. (fn. 13) In 1456 is recorded the activity of their provincial, doctor Goddard, in appeaching Peacock bishop of Chichester of heresy. (fn. 14) In August, 1498, was the second provincial chapter of the Friars Minors in London: the stricter order of the Observants commencing at the same time. (fn. 15) On Saint George's day, 1502, they relinquished the "London russet," which they had for some time worn, and resumed the undyed white-grey which had been their original habit. (fn. 16) On the feast of Saint Francis, July 16, 1508, the mayor and aldermen were received with procession as founders, a custom which continued long after; (fn. 17) but it was not until 1522 that the convent began to provide a feast for the corporation on that anniversary. (fn. 18) In 1524 king Henry and cardinal Wolsey personally visited the house; and shortly after William Renscrofte, a refractory lay brother of the Observants of Greenwich, was committed to the custody of the Franciscans. (fn. 19) The next year they were visited by doctor Alleyn on the part of the cardinal. (fn. 20) In 1528, in the case of a prisoner who had broken away from the sessions at Newgate, (fn. 21) the convent asserted its right of sanctuary, a privilege that could scarcely be often put in requisition, as the much-frequented sanctuary of Saint Martin le Grand was in the immediate vicinity.
The Friars Observants and the Carthusians (fn. 22) were strenuous in their opposition to the religious changes made by King Henry VIII. The Franciscans seem to have acquiesced in the course of events more passively, and the only part those in London are recorded to have taken was to give sepulture to some of the victims of the tyrant's displeasure. The corpse of the holy Maid of Kent was interred in their cemetery, (fn. 23) as were several of the Northern rebels. (fn. 24) On the 12th Nov. 1539, Thomas Chapman, doctor of divinity, their warden, and twenty-five of his brethren, signed and sealed their deed of surrender to the King, which they professed to be the result of their having arrived at a profound conviction "that the perfeccion of Christian livyng dothe not consiste in dome ceremonyes, weryng of a grey coatte, disgeasing our selffes aftyr straunge fassions, dokynges, nodyngs, and bekynges, in gurdyng owr selffes wythe a gurdle full of knots, and other like papisticall ceremonyes, wherin we have byn moost pryncipally practysed and misse-lyd in tymes past; but the very tru waye to please God, and to live a tru Christian man, wythe owte all ypocrasie and fayned dissimulacion, is sinceerly declaryd unto us by owre master Christe, his evangelists and apostoles:" wherefore they declared their determination thenceforth to "conform our selffes unto the will and pleasure of owr Supreme Hed undre God, in erthe, the King's Majestie, and not to follow the supersticious tradicions of ony foryncicall potentate or peere."
The terms of this surrender might be thought to have been dictated to the friars (fn. 25) by the King's ministers, were they not perfectly in accordance with a letter written by the warden to lord Cromwell, in which he begs for "a dispensation of our papistical slanderous apparel, the which I think it pleaseth God that we shall no more wear," (fn. 26) and "to change all customs, usages, and manners, the living and apparel that hath been offensive to God's people."
After the surrender, the house of the Grey Friars was not given up to immediate destruction. It appears to have remained unoccupied, in the King's hands, until the year 1544, when, together with the houses of the late Austin and Black Friars, it became a receptacle for the merchandise captured at sea from the French. We are told in our Chronicle (fn. 27) that every part of the Grey Friars' church was on this occasion filled with wine; but, except the injury it might sustain by such rough usage, it had not hitherto been dismantled. King Henry's letters patent of 1546 shew that the "partitions" or screens remained both in the church and chancel, the altars, pictures, images, and pulpit; the monuments and gravestones; the candlesticks, organs, and desks. (fn. 28)
We have seen how the convent had been originally established by the charity of the principal citizens, how its library had been added by the bounty of Whittington, and how the mayor and aldermen were recognised as the "founders." Like other "founders," or patrons of religious houses, at this crisis, they would naturally be inclined to urge those hereditary claims which were advanced, with more or less success, by various proprietors who occupied a similar position throughout the country; and many Londoners, though perplexed by the new doctrines, and intimidated by the arbitrary measures of the sovereign, would retain some desire for the preservation of this magnificent church. In the latter days of King Henry, when he exhibited signs of returning sympathy with the interests of religion, he was induced to make an important grant to the city, for the general relief of the poor, and for the maintenance of divine service in the quarter where the Franciscans had flourished. It consisted of the whole church of the late Friars Minors, and the whole site of their house, the buildings called the Fratrye, the Lybrarie, the Dortor, and the Chapiter House; the Great Cloyster, and the Littell Cloyster; including all the chambers and buildings which had been recently in the tenures of George Woodward and Edward Metealf, those which had been occupied by Owen Mone, the Hall and cellar beneath it occupied by Hugh Willoughby, one of the king's serjeants-at-arms, and other buildings on the north of the Little Cloister occupied by Richard Tredray; further, the king conveyed to the mayor, commonalty, and citizens by the same grant all the late hospital of Saint Bartholomew in West Smithfield, with the church thereof, several contiguous houses, and numerous small estates in all parts of the city which had belonged to the same hospital, as well as some in distant parts of the country; also the parish churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Ewen within Newgate, with some adjacent tenements. It was arranged that the church of the Friars Minors should become a parish church, to be called by the name of Christ's church within Newgate, and be parochial for all the inhabitants within the two parishes of Saint Nicholas and Saint Ewen (which two churches it was intended to remove), and for that part of the parish of Saint Sepulchre which lay within Newgate, which gate was also to be reputed as being within the said parish. The church of the late hospital of Saint Bartholomew was in like manner to become a parish church, under the designation of Saint Bartholomew the Less. The mayor and citizens were to be the future patrons of both churches; but Thomas Birkehed was appointed the first vicar of Christ church by the king's letters patent, with a yearly pension of 26l. 13s. 4d. Further, the mayor and citizens were empowered to appoint one priest to be visitor of Newgate, with an annual stipend of 10l.; and five other priests in Christ church "in aid of the vicar in celebrating divine services and administering the sacraments and sacramentalia there," each of whom was to receive 8l. yearly; also one other priest in the late hospital, which was now to be called the House of the Poor in West Smithfield, and who was to be designated the Hospitler. The hospital was to accommodate one hundred aged, sick, or impotent men and women, attended on by a matron, twelve nurses, and a resident surgeon. The corporation of London was bound to sustain these establishments by indentures made with the king, dated the 27th December, 1546, and the estates were granted and the foundation confirmed by letters patent dated on the 13th January following. (fn. 29)
Meanwhile, on the 3rd of January, being the first Sunday in the new year, as related in our Chronicle, the church that was sometime the Grey Friars' was again set open, and mass said at the altars—it will be recollected that no English service had hitherto been established—by divers priests. (fn. 30) On the same day, as Stowe tells us, doctor Ridley, then bishop of Rochester—and who, only a few months after, succeeded Bonner in the see of London—preached at Paul's Cross, declaring the king's gift, how that he had bestowed, for the relief of the poor, the hospital of Saint Bartholomew in Smithfield, lately valued at 305l. 6s. 7d., and for the maintenance of the new Friars, valued at 32l. 19s. 7d., and the church of the Grey parish church of Christ church had assigned lands valued at five hundred marks.
It was probably imagined that the pomp with which the new year witnessed the commencement of religious services in the long desecrated church of the Franciscans was in accordance with the altered mood of the Supreme Head of the Church of England. But this was as the flickering of the lamp in its socket. Before the close of the same month the great despoiler and small restorer lay dead in the palace of which he had deprived the archbishops of York.
In the autumn of the same year the Reformers instituted a more rigorous visitation of churches than any that had previously taken place. All images were at that time pulled down throughout England, and all churches new white-limed. (fn. 31) At the same time all the altars in the church that was sometime the Grey Friars', with the walls and stalls of the choir, were removed and sold, and the whole reduced in length, in order to make it more consistent with the requirements of an ordinary parish church, (fn. 32) the arrangements for which were shortly after completed, the neighbouring churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Ewen being removed. (fn. 33) All the tombs and large gravestones were at the same time (fn. 34) taken away, and sold for the paltry sum of fifty pounds, or thereabouts. (fn. 35) Amidst the general destruction of ancestral memorials which was accomplished in those days of heartless and impious spoliation, this act perhaps exceeded all others of the kind. The church of the Grey Friars had been the favourite place of sepulture with those of the aristocracy of England who had died in the metropolis. According to the reckoning of Weever the church had been honoured with the sepulture of four Queens, four Duchesses, four Countesses, one Duke, two Earls, eight Barons, (fn. 36) and some thirty-five Knights: and in all six hundred sixty and three persons of quality. Stowe tells us that "there were nine tombs of alabaster and marble, invironed with strikes of iron, in the choir; and one tomb in the body of the church, also coped with iron; besides seven-score grave-stones of marble." Both Stowe and Weever derived their information from a catalogue of all the sepulchral monuments, made some time before the expulsion of the Friars, which is still preserved in their register, and which has been edited in the fifth volume of the Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica. This record is a very valuable one in a genealogical point of view. To the artistic antiquary it would have offered greater interest had it described the character of the monuments more fully; but it particularizes the "raised tombs," and they were more numerous than Stowe calculated. In the choir were those of queen Margaret the first foundress of the new church, of queen Isabella, of John earl of Pembroke, John lord Dynham, K.G., sir Robert Chalons, and Richard Hastings lord Willoughby and Welles. In the Lady chapel were those of Alice lady Kingston 1439, and sir Walter Langley 1470; in the chapel of the Apostles, south of the choir, was a great raised tomb of alabaster to sir Walter Blount knight of the garter 1474, and another to John Blount lord Mountjoy 1485; in the chapel of Saint Francis was a small raised tomb to sir John Robsard knight of the garter, and others to William Danvers under-treasurer of England 1439, sir Stephen Jennyns alderman of London 1523, and Hugh Acton citizen and taylor 1530; in the ambulatory, between the choir and altars, was an effigy of Theophania, the nurse and mistress of queen Isabella; and coram altaribus (probably at the eastern extremity of the church, like the Nine Altars at Durham) were raised tombs to sir John Devereux steward of the king's house, &c. K.G. 1385, John Norbury treasurer of England, Elizabeth lady Uvedale daughter of the last, and the lady Mountchensi, an effigy of temp. Edw. I. In the north aile was the raised tomb of William Harmer citizen and salter 1512, and in the south aile that of doctor John Tavlle chancellor of St. David's 1509. Such were some of the most conspicuous monuments; but the number of persons of distinguished character can only be estimated by perusing the catalogue itself. (fn. 37)
The Historian of Christ's Hospital has treated the grant of Henry VIII. as inoperative, and has asserted that during the early part of Edward's reign its provisions lay entirely dormant. (fn. 38) But this is altogether a mistake. Mr. Trollope was probably thinking only of his immediate subject, that is to say, a public school; but no such establishment was as yet in contemplation. The two parishes of Christ church and Saint Bartholomew's the Less were fully constituted by Henry's grant, and so was the control of the city over the hospital of Saint Bartholomew; and the city retained all the estates which the grant conveyed, neither receiving or requiring any subsequent confirmation of them from king Edward the Sixth. Among those estates was the late house of the Grey Friars, but with no specific instructions as to the purposes to which it should be devoted. Its disposal appears to have been left to the discretion of the citizens; by whom the measures proposed for the relief of the poor were kept in view, though possibly they were somewhat delayed in their execution. They in fact required time, and funds; for it was part of the original arrangement that the royal grants should be met by a general contribution from the citizens. Besides, the first measure accomplished was the hundred beds at St. Bartholomew's, (fn. 39) though those were soon found to be insufficient.
A commission was appointed by the king, and books were sent round to all the wards of the city, in order to collect contributions. This, as in more modern days, would occupy some time. On the 17th Feb. 1551–2, "the bookes of the reliefe of all the wards of London towards the new Hospitals" were received by the king's commissioners; and on that occasion the council dined with master Cowper the sheriff. (fn. 40)
In May 1552 we find bishop Ridley writing to secretary Cecill, (fn. 41) to state that the citizens were willing to provide for the poor "both meat, drink, clothing, and firing," but that they lacked lodging; wherefore he proceeded to beg "a wide, large, empty house of the king's majesty called Bridewell, that would wonderfully well serve to lodge Christ in,"—under which holy name, with much too free an adaptation of Matthew xxv. 35, 36, &c. the bishop was pleased to designate the poor, then "lying abroad, in the streets of London, both hungry, naked, and cold." (fn. 42) This application ultimately received a favourable reply, but not for nearly a year after.
Meanwhile, the citizens themselves did not cease in their exertions to mitigate the crying evil of a large houseless population. On the 26th July, 1552, began the preparing of the Grey Friars house for the poor fatherless children; and also, in the latter end of the same month, began the repairing of Saint Thomas's Hospital in Southwark, for poor impotent and lame persons. (fn. 43) This hospital had been an adjunct of the priory of Bermondsey, and had been purchased by the city of the crown, in 1550, as parcel of the lordship and manor of Southwark.
In the following month a fresh collection was set on foot. "This moneth of August began the great provision for the poore in London, towards the which every man was contributory, and gave certaine money in hand, and covenanted to give a certain [sum] weekly." (fn. 44)
In the course of four months the repairs at the Grey Friars were completed, and on the 23d of November the poor children were received, to the number of almost four hundred. (fn. 45) When the lord mayor and aldermen rode to Saint Paul's on the afternoon of the following Christmas day, all the children stood in array from Saint Laurence lane in Cheap towards Paul's, being 340 in number, attired in one livery of russet cotton, (fn. 46) the boys with red caps, and the girls with kerchiefs on their heads, having a woman-keeper between every twenty children, and accompanied also by the physicians and four surgeons, and the masters of the hospital—who were some of the most eminent citizens. (fn. 47)
On the 10th of April, 1553, the lord mayor was summoned to the court at Whitehall, where he received from the king's mouth an intimation that the appropriation of the royal manor-house of Bridewell place to the objects of a House of Occupation, or workhouse, would be conceded, and that further the king would grant for the maintenance of that house, and for the hospital which the city had already undertaken at Saint Thomas's in Southwark, all the rents belonging to the Savoy hospital, which amounted to about 700 marks per annum, and also the beds and furniture of the Savoy,— which had been converted into a hospital by Henry the Seventh, but was now to be resumed by the crown. (fn. 48) This grant was accomplished by letters patent which passed the great seal on the 26th of June, within a shorter time of king Edward's death than that which had elapsed between the former grant and the death of king Henry. By these letters patent (fn. 49) it was directed that the three hospitals should in future be called "the hospitals of king Edward the Sixth, of Christ, Bridewell, and Saint Thomas the Apostle."
It is the pleasure of those who celebrate the origin of the school now called Christ's Hospital, to designate king Edward the Sixth as its special founder. Captivated with the beau-ideal of an amiable prince, a youth the patron of youth, a scholar the friend of scholars, such a theme, in such hands, has naturally amplified itself into a goodly Protestant legend, almost rivalling some of those of the earlier creed. An historical antiquary would receive little thanks if he ventured to brush rudely against the hallowed dew of so much loyal poetry and pious enthusiasm. Still, it will be evident from the preceding statement of facts that king Edward had very little to do with the foundation of Christ's Hospital. Both the house itself, and the revenues for its support, came from his predecessor, or were raised by the bounty of the citizens themselves; and we do not trace any thing bestowed upon it in Edward's letters patent beyond the name by which it should be known. And that is nothing more than occurred in scores of other instances throughout the country—many a grammar-school being named the school of Henry VIII. Edward VI. or Elizabeth respectively, merely because it was established (or in many cases remodelled) under authority derived from the sovereign.
Moreover, Christ's hospital was not founded as a school; its object was to rescue young children from the streets, to shelter, feed, clothe, and lastly to educate them—in short, to do exactly what in later times has been done by each individual parish for the orphan and destitute offspring of the poor. Any high-flown eulogies upon Edward's love of learning are consequently in this case wholly misapplied. It does not appear that he even assisted in what the citizens were doing at the Grey Friars. All that can be affirmed is, that he was the founder of Bridewell hospital, and that he recognised Christ's hospital and St. Thomas's, which the citizens had already set on foot: the former having been originally their own foundation, and the latter having become their property by purchase.
The story runs that the king's attention was directed to this good work by a sermon preached before him by bishop Ridley in the year 1552: and that in consequence the king sent by the bishop a letter to the mayor, declaring his special commandment that the mayor should travail therein. (fn. 50) There is no reason to doubt that the sermon was preached, or that the amiable king was anxious to fulfil the part required of him: but this was not until after the citizens themselves had done what they could, and found that they required further aid from the crown. Bishop Ridley himself, in his farewell letter to his friends, written shortly before his martyrdom, attributed the chief merit to the city magistrates; (fn. 51) first to sir Richard Dobbs, in whose mayoralty the renewed effort was made, and who invited the bishop into the city council-chamber to advise with the aldermen thereon,—and next to his successor sir George Barnes, whose "endevour was to have a House of Occupation set up," and for that purpose procured the princely palace of Bridewell from "that godly king, that Christian and peerless prince."
Mr. Trollope tells us that "In the month of June, 1553, the young king received the corporation at the palace, and presented them with the charter, the children also being present at the ceremony." (fn. 52) This is purely legendary, as much so as the velvet coat and silver buttons which he says are among the archaic myths of the school-boys. (fn. 53) It was on the 10th of April, as already stated, that the king gave audience to the mayor. On the 26th of June, when the letters patent passed the seal, he was languishing in his last illness. Nor if he had lived on in health would he have delivered his charter to the corporation with the ceremonial represented. Mr. Trollope has adopted as a piece of contemporary evidence the great picture which hangs in the hall of Christ's hospital, not being aware of the element of poetry which it contains, stiff and ungainly as its composition seems to be—that it is in fact symbolical and not real in its incidents, and was painted long after the time supposed to be represented, probably in the following century. (fn. 54)
These remarks will not be thought wholly unnecessary, inasmuch as the "admirable description of the scene, preserved by one who was no doubt an eye-witness—the great painter Holbein,"—has already passed forth into our popular literature. (fn. 55) But still let us preserve our faith in the interesting anecdote related by Grafton and Stowe, that when the scheme for the endowment of the royal hospitals was placed before the pious prince, and, according to the usual practice, a blank had been left for the amount of property which it should be lawful for the city to hold in mortmain for this object, Edward with his own hand wrote in the sum, "four thousand marks by the year," (fn. 56) and then exclaimed, in the hearing of his council, "Lord, I yield thee most hearty thanks that thou hast given me life thus long, to finish this work, to the glory of thy name!" (fn. 57)
Some of the buildings of the ancient convent, including the Fratry and Refectory, were standing in the early part of the present century. (fn. 58) The walls and windows of Whittington's Library were to be seen in a mutilated state on the north side of the cloisters, and there are many engravings which represent them. (fn. 59) Even now the southern walk of the friars' cloisters remains, and its pointed arches and buttresses may be seen from the exterior. The western walk of the cloisters was under the Great Hall, which was pulled down in 1827, as was Whittington's Library about the same time. (fn. 60)
The Register of the Grey Friars of London is now bound as the latter part of the volume in the Cottonian Library marked Vitellius F. xii. It is of the size of a modern quarto book, and consists of 120 leaves of paper. (fn. 61)
The first thirty-two pages are occupied with a descriptive catalogue of the sepulchral monuments which existed in the church and cloisters, and the next eleven with an alphabetical index to the same. This catalogue, which was the authority for the summary and in many cases incorrect account of these monuments given by Stowe and Weever, was edited entire, by myself, in the fifth volume of the Collectanea Topographica, 1838, pp. 274—290, 385—398.
At fol. 316 of the present paging of the volume commences an historical account, in Latin, of the origin of the rule of Saint Francis, its introduction into England, and the foundation of the house of the fraternity in London, followed by an enumeration of the benefactions made to the house; at fol. 321 an account of the building of the convent and church; (fn. 62) at fol. 321 b. a description of the cistern and its watercourse; at fol. 323 "the founders of the new church;" at fol. 324 the contributors to the glazing of the windows; and at fol. 325 b an account of the foundation of the library, in the year 1421, by the worshipful (venerabilis vir) Richard Wyttyngton, mercer and mayor of London. (fn. 63) At fol. 326 is a curious English document, being "Indentures for the wyndoes of the south syde of the churche, and soo to the farder gatte;" and at fol. 327 another indenture between the city, during the mayoralty of Whittyngton, and freer John Bruylle the warden, being the lease of an additional plot of ground. At fol. 329 is a catalogue of those Friars Minors who had suffered martyrdom; at fol. 330 a list of such as were bishops or confessors; at fol. 331 b. cardinals, members of the order; at fol. 332 a list of the Ministers General of the order; at fol. 334 a list of Ministers Provincial; at fol. 335 a list of those Friars Minors who had been kings and men of power in the world; at fol. 335 b. of those distinguished Englishmen who had entered the order; and at fol. 336 b. a few names of the most distinguished members of the Second and Third orders of Saint Francis. The whole of this very curious matter was extracted by Mr. John Stevens for his additions to Dugdale's Monasticon, and is printed in his first volume, pp. 112—125, professedly "faithfully translated from the Latin of that antient Manuscript, and what is there in English exactly transcrib'd, without varying from the Orthography." In the new edition of the Monasticon Anglicanum, vol. vi. pp. 1515—1522, the same matter is reprinted, so far as it relates to the London house, that is, to the close of the two indentures above described; but it is very much to be regretted that the opportunity was lost—possibly because the manuscript was then in a state of dilapidation from the Cottonian fire—to collate Stevens's copy, as, notwithstanding his professions of accuracy, his translation has frequent misconceptions of the sense of the original, and in the numerous proper names which are introduced it is continually incorrect. The first four names that occur are given—"Pugworth" for Yngworth, "Senonef" for Deuonensis, "Detrews" for Detreuizo, and "Monachetus" for Monacatus. (fn. 64) In the next three pages there are more than thirty names more or less mistranscribed. In p. 113, 1. 23, John Iwyn, the first benefactor of the house, is styled "citizen and physician" instead of mercer, (fn. 65) and the second benefactor is styled "John Fitzpiers" instead of Joyce (Jocius).
At fol. 337 commences the Chronicle which is printed in the present volume, and it extends to fol. 364 inclusive. The twentyeight last leaves of the book are occupied with genealogies, combined with historical details, in the form of pedigrees. They commence with Adam, and proceed through the whole of the Scripture history; a branch conducts from Japhet, through Brute, Leir, &c. to the British kings; then follow the genealogies of the English kings of the various races before the Norman Conquest, and, last of all, those of more recent times to the death of Henry VIII. in 1546, and the accession of Edward the Sixth.
At fol. 326, after the account of Whittington's Library, is the following memorandum, made, as I presume, by the friar who compiled the Register, and who was probably then acting as librarian. It will be perceived that he writes in the first person. The date here given must be near the time of the original compilation of the book: after which the register of interments, and the chronicle of events, were probably entered regularly, as the materials arose.
"Memorandum quod frater Andreas Bavard sacræ theologiæ professor, anno Domini 1494°, videns chorum fratrum minorum Lond' minus bene instauratum libris choralibus. Mente concepi non posse elemosinas amicorum meorum melius expedire quam in libris scribendis choralibus ad laudem divinam et ad ejusdem divinæ laudis continuationem. Qua propter conduxit (fn. 66). . . . unum scriptorem qui scripsit mihi unum legendarium in duabus partibus. Et unum antiphonarium in duabus partibus et unum psalterium et unum gradualem. Et alium impressum et in multis aliis reparavi. Et" (after this a considerable space is left blank).—Register, fol. 326.
I have before mentioned that the Register of the Grey Friars bears marks of having passed through the hands of John Stowe; and I have now to add that transcripts in his hand of the greater part of its Latin contents are preserved in the MS. Harl. 544.
Ut sciatur posicio canalium aqueductus fratrum minorum Lond'. (See p. xiii, note.)
Primo a limine portæ Johannis Sporon spacio trium pedum sub novo muro fratrum porreccio canalis in vicum versus Newgate quarenti occurrit. Semper autem dum in via jacet aquilonarem partem viæ tenet aliquantum et minus domos approximans sed quod rectitudo posicionis permittat. Sub porta de Newgate spacio .12. pedum profundatur, et directe extenditur sub muro cimeterii sancti Sepulchri exterius et ulterius, sed vici illius obliquacionem obliquatur; juxta lekewelle protenditur, ibi bivium pertransiens buttat se contra fenestram domus Johannis Muchchethe, ibique curvatur versus pontem de Holeburne inter domum Willielmi Yrotheges et pontem; ponitur sub aqua spacio .iij. pedum. Ultra rivulum illius aquæ circa spacium .viij. passuum juxta pontis murum ultra fracturam de industria factam ubi aqua plateæ descendit in loco semper lutoso. Primum spurgellum latet sub terra spacio vero .iiijor. pedum lapide marmoreo coopertum. Inde directe usque ad liwrone lane extenditur, ibique secundum rectitudinem venelle illius vel vici regirat ad aquilonem juxta occidentalem murum venellæ posicionem habens spacio distans iij. pedum. In fine autem illius venellæ a leva Secundum spurgellum altitudine fere .vij. pedum et inde directe protenditur, campum transversando et sepes ad molendinum Thomæ de Basynges quod est proximum villæ. Ubi spacio .xviij. pedum profundatur. Ibi ex parte orientali molendini a latere aquilonis infra foveam tercium patet spurgellum. Inde spacium fero unius stadii ad occidentem parum vergendo ad aquilonem, occurrit sulcus unus viridius ab oriente in occidentem protentus et spinosus ad occidentem tortuosus latitudine fere .viij. pedum, terram dividens Johannis de Derkynge quæ jacet ex parte meridionali et terram Thomæ de Basynges quæ jacet ex parte aquilonari. In illo autem sulco a capite orientali incipiendo .xvj. passus non saltus, et ibi a medio latitudinis sulci ubi signum ad hoc necessarium foret, verso vultu ad aquilonem directe super terram Thomæ de Basynges spacio pedum xiiij. latet sub terra spacio .iiij. pedum Capud aquæ quod propinquius est, unde pro majore parte aquam habemus, parum autem de capite remociori. Ab illo autem loco directe extenditur ad capud quod remocius est versus occidentem, cujus domuncula lapidia a remoto videtur. Aqua autem istius capitis adducitur ultra foveam Thomæ de Basynges a parte occidentis a latere aquilonis aliquantulum spacio a domo capitis circa .xv. passuum juxta viam quæ dividit inter parochiam sancti Egidii et sancti Andreæ. Ista aqua in domo capitis illius descendendo ad canalem super effluit et a canali parum vel nil inde recipitur; set domum totam inundat, et per rivulos et rimas parietis negligenter amittitur. Apponat remedium, fratrum considerans dampnum et amissionem tot sumptuum.
Note.—Liwrone lane is called Lither lane by Stowe, and Leather lane by Strype in 1720. There is or was a small street called Windmill street running into it, perhaps marking the site of Thomas of Basynges' mill. At no great distance, in the low ground, were several water-mills, which gave name to Turnmill street, leading from Smithfield towards Clerkenwell. The stream, as Stowe tells us, was called Turnmill brook, or the River of Wells, for there were many natural springs near at hand. It was the navigable part only of this stream, from Holborn bridge to the Thames, that was properly "the Fleet," and latterly called Fleet Ditch.