The Medieval Records of A London City Church St Mary At Hill, 1420-1559. Originally published by Trübner, London, 1905.
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Order and Arrangement of the Accounts, Receipts, and Expenses.—The accounts of St. Mary's for the first year or so appear almost too concise, they form perhaps an abstract of accounts now lost. Very shortly, however, the plan becomes ample and settled. Its yearly order and arrangement may, after 1495, be described generally as follows:—
1. The Rents of the property of each chantry and the expenses of each.
2. The Rents of the property of the church, and the expenses of the church, both for its property and the payments for the church proper. These payments for the church proper do not include any salaries to the personal staff, the payments being for things, not to officials, that is, as a general rule.
3. The casual Income of the church, namely, the 'Casual Receipts.' This section has been printed in full throughout, till the Reformation period, for its value is very considerable. Here are recorded the amounts of the annual Hock Monday and Tuesday collections of money made by the women and men on these days respectively, and in which undertaking the former were very much the more successful. Hock Monday and Tuesday were those two days after Easter Monday and Tuesday. Sometimes the wardens went to the expense of providing refreshments in the form of bread, beef and ale, for those by whom the collections were made, p. 230. Also under this heading the receipt of money for every burial is recorded, and also the receipt of monies from sources differing very widely one from another. Virtually this section forms a burial register of the medieval parish.
4. The Receipt of the funds for the Clerk's Wages, etc.
5. The Payments out from the same fund. This section has also been printed in full till the Reformation. The payments are those to the personal staff of the church—parish clerk, sexton, etc., not for things purchased for use.
6. The expenditure upon the wax for the candles, called the 'Wax Reckoning.'
7. Two 'Allowances,' the one for Potation Money, that is, money expended for drink in connexion with the receipt of rents, the second for the expense of having the year's accounts written out fairly.
8. A 'Brief Rehearsal' of all the Receipts and Expenditure, and a general conclusion, with, after the year 1521, various signatures appended.
9. Finally, at times, such Memoranda as the churchwardens thought advisable to set down.
The Obits (expenses for yearly services for certain people) and Quitrents for various properties find no established order in the Accounts.
The Accounts were kept from Michaelmas to Michaelmas, though at the commencement and at the end of the period of our MS. some divergence from this custom will be noticed.
Of tithes no mention is made excepting in the matter of exceptional circumstances, the churchwardens being in no way concerned with those payments. See Tithes.
The Wills.—The nine Wills or parts of Wills given herewith are
valuable adjuncts to help us to understand whence the properties of
the church and charities were derived, and sometimes indicate very
clearly the situation of a particular tenement, p. 3. They also tell us
of the different services for which the charities were founded, the way
in which people in the Middle Ages made their Wills, how they
ordinarily left their property, of what that property consisted, and
various other details of interest. Such, for instance, as the bequest of
John Mongeham, the London fishmonger, who in 1514 leaves a
certain sum toward—
"the Reparacions of the body of the parissh chirch of Seint Clementtes, in Rochestur, where I was boorne," p. 20.
The following references indicate the volume and page of these Wills in Sharpe's 'Calendar of Wills of the Court of Husting, London': Rose Wrytell, 1. 306; John Causton, 1. 672; Richard Gosselyn, 2. 464; William Cambridge, 2. 463; John Weston, 2. 441; John Nasing, 2. 50; John Bedham, 2. 570.
John Porth.—John Porth, who died in October, 1525, left considerable property to the church of St. Mary.
His Will, written in London, January 14, 1524, contains instructions for a copy of that document to be entered in the accountbook of the church of St. Mary. But no copy is now present in the Records, and the deed has probably been missing for very many years, for as early as 1530, p. 353, the churchwardens took note of the disappearance of the document. Fortunately there is a copy in the Registers at Somerset House (Porth, leaf 1), and from that the following notes have been taken:—
The testator desires to be buried in the church of St. Mary at Hill, of which he was parishioner, and in the chapel of St. Stephen, at the altar's end, by his late wife Maryon.
He leaves £7 13s. 4d. a year for five years for a priest to sing for his soul and the souls of others mentioned by name, and directs that three shillings and fourpence shall be paid to the poor of the parish every 'halowentyde' for five years.
The goods at 'The George' at Billingsgate (see the Inventory, p. 36) are, at the termination of his lease of that house, to be sold and the proceeds to be divided between the poor and in masses in St. Mary's for the good of the souls of various people whose names are given.
In our text the record of the burial of Mrs. Porth is entered at p. 323, 1523–4, and that of Mr. Porth on p. 329, 1524–5.
The Inventories.—The several Inventories in our text are, most fortunately, both ecclesiastical and secular.
The chief secular Inventory is a very valuable and representative list, telling us clearly what was to be seen in the home of a well-todo London citizen in the time of Henry VIII. So ample is this Inventory that even the clothing of the master and mistress is carefully set down, even to the fact that some garments were 'moth eaten' and a bonnet of black velvet 'worn sore' (p. 44). It is interesting to note that the house contained a printed and a manuscript copy of the common medieval prayer-book, the Prymer.
The ecclesiastical Inventories tell us what was to be seen in the parish church in the years before the Reformation. These Inventories, though ample, can yet be very largely supplemented in detail from the text of the Churchwardens' Accounts.
The date of the Inventory on p. 30 should be probably some few years later than that assigned to it, for the Rector William Wild was living in 1501–2, p. 246.
The Lease of a House in Thames street.— The text of the lease of the house in Thames street is by no means an uninteresting document. The house is taken virtually by a family of three people— father, mother and daughter, for fifty years from the feast of the Annunciation in 1507, at a yearly rental of five marks. The tenant undertakes during the first year of his holding to wholly rebuild the whole house, and keep it in repair for twenty years. The church, by whom the property is owned and let, undertakes to maintain the house after that date for the thirty years following.
During the lifetime of any one of this family of three, within the fifty years, the arrangement stands. But in the event of the death of all three the property reverts to the church, in which case, on the date of the death of the last, a solemn service shall be sung in the church for the souls of all three, yearly, till the expiration of the last of the fifty years originally agreed on. This deed may be compared with the brief agreement on p. 342.
In our Rent roll at p. 376 it will be seen that the rent after thirty years is still being paid.
The Church as Trustee.—Apparently the church of St. Mary, acting through its officials, was prepared to hold property in Trust for the benefit of parishioners. Such certainly appears to have been the case in 1524, when we find the wardens entering a Memorandum in their accounts to the effect that Thomas Harman had money 'in the custody of the church,' p. 325. 'The last payment of all his money that was in the church' is entered in the accounts for the same or following year, p. 328.
Drinking.—The custom of drinking upon the conclusion of any business appears to have been very common. We read of the expenditure of money for ale at the 'hiryng' of a priest, p. 328; for drink for the clerks at the keeping of Mass of Recordare, p. 328; drink at the hiring of a Sexton, p. 331, etc. etc. At p. 163 we find—Paid to the priests and clerks in drink ' at principall ffestes,' and several festivals are mentioned, but bread is here also included, at any rate for Christmas Day. A good deal of money appears in these accounts to have been spent in refreshments. The 'Item, spent at the tavern in wyne, iij d,' entered in the account under 'Expenses for the profit of the Church,' p. 164, is not devoid of humour. The long-established custom of drink being fetched to the church for the ringers finds mention at p. 327.
In 1510–11 money was expended 'for Drynke at the havyng vpp of the belles,' p. 275. When the organ was tuned in 1532–3 money was expended on the organist " & dyuiers of the Cumpany at ye ale howse," p. 361.
At p. 187 an entry records the drinking of wine by the alderman, the parson, and the churchwarden, 'at þe cherches coste.' And at p. 305 the expense is recorded of 'drynke at the takyng downe of the sepulcre.'
Apparently the ale houses were by no means neglected by their
customers on Sundays:—
"Spent at the Son apon Mr aldirman & odir of the parish on the Sonday next aftir Seint Mathews day," p. 234.
It was not unusual to hire a clerk at the tavern:—
"paid the vjth day of Merche, at the hiring of balthazar the clerk, at the son tavern," p. 343.
At p. 276 we have the entry referring to—
"a portingale þat was killed in the shipp at Billingesgate."
Bills and Accounts.— The bills and accounts of various people for work done in connexion with the church are very frequently set out in these Records quite separately. In one case it is probable that the original list of materials still on its 'little quire' is that which is bound up with the Accounts and is printed in this edition at p. 335.
On pp. 147 and 162 we have the expenses for the clothes, boots, 'borde,' etc., of Robert and Thomas Bynge, who were apparently two choir boys in 1489–91. On p. 150 we have the full account for the repair of the vestments in 1489–90; for the reparation of the church steeple in 1479–81, p. 102; the repairing of a shop, p. 107; for a dinner, p. 275; for law costs against a prioress, p. 203; for setting up the Rood, p. 228; for making the new pulpit, p. 251. The carpenter's bill at p. 337 gives the time and payments for himself, his 'servant,' and 'for his boye.'
The wax-chandler's bill in 1524–5 was incorrect; the words at p. 330 are—'was MisRekonyd in the byll of her Acount,' and so a penny for every pound of new wax was 'abated in her hole byll.'
Dinners.—Many medieval dinners are referred to in our pages. One at 'The Cardinals Hat' is mentioned at p. 179, another at 'The Sun' at which the rector and some of the parishioners were present, p. 174. The menu of the dinner probably cooked at Mr. Sudborough's in 1510–11 is given in the bill of costs for the same at p. 275:—pike, soles, oysters (1d.), butter (1d.), a 'pye of quinsis' (vj d.), bread, ale, wine, etc.
Shops and Stalls.—Both shops and stalls are occasionally alluded to. We may instance the shop at p. 107, and a butcher's stall in Eastcheap at p. 188. The boards and timber of Terry's stall are mentioned at p. 201; the 'shopp borde in partriches shopp in Estchepe,' p. 328. Sometimes the shop would be let to one man and the dwelling-house over it to another. Such was the case in 1483–5, when John Ducklyng rented a shop at a yearly rental of sixteen shillings and eightpence, and 'William harman for the howse above' paid the same, pp. 112–13.
At p. 139 we find mention of a 'Rynnyng dorr.' Mr. Mylton the baker sold 'spiced Bunnes,' p. 139; Mr. I. Halhed the grocer sold oil, p. 140.
Apparently the floor before a stall was paved, p. 302.
Building.—Perhaps every kind of work connected with the art of building finds mention in our text. These details will be found set out at length, for the most part, in the earlier pages, where are reproduced the accounts for the repairs of the properties of the Chantries. Particulars connected with the arrangements for the supply of water for certain tenants will be found on p. 370. The tables of materials purchased for the work on the two aisles commence on p. 334. In 1493–4 Sir James Sannys received money as compensation for 'hys glase wyndowys the he lefte behynde hym,' p. 200. The payment to carpenter Wyn, in part by reason of his 'beyng from his howce, wyfe & chilldyren,' is interesting, p. 337. So too the mention of the tiles of the houses, p. 174, 175. The 'whyte lymyng of the chirche' is recorded at p. 277.
Defaulters.—Several people during the long period of our accounts appear to have got into financial difficulties respecting money due to the church. Mr. Ralph Challenger appears on p. 369 to have failed to pay 6s. 8d., which should have been given to an applicant for the post of parish priest. In 1516–17, p. 292, we find a record of the death of one of the churchwardens, evidently during his term of office, and at p. 296 is the brief story of the very considerable unpleasantness caused by the widow refusing to part with the church monies, and how consequently she had to be brought before the ecclesiastical court sitting at St. Paul's. At p. 353 we read of the arrest of Mr. Fold, one of the tenants of the church. Mr. Fold had not only failed to pay the rent for six months for his house in Foster Lane, but had 'spoillid' things 'out of our said house contrary to the Custom of the Cittie.'
A curious instance of the death of a choirman owing money is to
be found at p. 405:—
the payment of lvj s viij d to John Hobbes for his services in the choir "for one quarters wages endynge at thannunciacion of our Ladye, and borrowed xvj s viij d of the nexte quarter, & dyed."
Money Lent to the Church by Parishioners.—Loans to the church by parishioners were not infrequent: see pp. 197, 300, 309, 324.
Distinguished Personages mentioned.—Our text contains several references to distinguished personages—the ringing of the bells when Henry VII came to St. Paul's, p. 247; the bearing of torches when the same king was buried, p. 266; the ringing of the bells when Henry VIII was crowned at Westminster, p. 266; the funeral procession of the mother of Henry VIII, when six men each held a torch in Fenchurch Street as the royal body passed on its way from the Tower to Westminster, p. 247.
In 1536–7 we have a reference to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour:—
"whan ye kyng & ye quene Rode thorowgh the Citie," p. 373.
On the same page is the entry:—
"ffor Ryngyng of the gret bell vj owres ffor quene Iane, and ffor Ryngyng of ye belles dyuers peles to the same."
Immediately next follows the record of money paid:—
"to ij men ffor beryng of ye copes to powlis [St. Paul's] & home agayn at the byrthe of prynce edward" [Edward VI].
Probably the following entry refers to the once great Cardinal
"paid to Bright for Riding to the Moore to Mr parson for to Speke to my lord Cardenall for þe takyng of þe children, iiij s iiij d," p. 328.
On p. 406 we have a reference to the 'fyve ringars that ronge the same daye' that Philip and Mary 'cam through london.'
The Three Fraternities.—The Fraternities or Guilds attached to St. Mary's were three in number, and were those respectively of St. Anne, St. Christopher, and St. Katherine. These guilds find little mention in our text. Two torches to each guild were bequeathed in the Will of Mr. Porth, and two more to each under the Will of John Mongeham, p. 20. These guilds appear to have kept their accounts quite separate from those of the church, almost the only recognition by the wardens appearing in 1512–13, when the 'Bretherhed' of St. Christopher gave vj s viij d 'towardes the makyng of the pewys in seint Iohn chapell,' p. 283, and "the wardens of Seint Annys bretherhod" gave xiij s vj d ob. for some purpose to the church. Also in 1524, p. 325, when a Memorandum referring to the accounts of St. Christopher is entered apparently for no particular reason, in the accounts of the churchwardens.
The School.—The first reference to a school in our text appears to relate to one in no way connected with the church, though apparently the money was paid for the schooling of a choir boy— 'spent vppon Bower at his scole, j d,' p. 148.
The first reference to a school connected with the church is found at p. 321 (1523–4), when sixpence was paid by the churchwardens for the preparing of a chamber 'to be a skole howse for Norfolkes [the organist] children.' At the same time rushes were strewn on the floor. Apparently this chamber was at times paid for by the organist, p. 326, and at times entered in the accounts as bringing in no income, p. 333.
The furniture for the school appears to have consisted of little more than one or two forms and a desk, pp. 349, 351. No entry of any expenditure for books occurs.
The kindly nature of Dr. Furnivall, always in accord with generous instincts, has summarised well in a brief note to the present writer, the care for the children recorded on pp. 322, 327:—"How nice it is, that care for the school-children, their playing weeks, the money to sport them and make them merry, the wicker mat for their feet, etc. My heart warms to Mr. Northfolk."
In 1537–8 a chimney was erected in the school-house, p. 377.
Gifts and Bequests to the Church.—Many records of gifts and bequests are found in our text—the velvet canopy for the Sacrament given by Mrs. Plommer, p. 163; the Antiphoner bequeathed by Sir John Mortram (a chantry priest of St. Mary's and a priest of St. Paul's Cathedral), and the conditions of his bequest, p. 181; the chalice given by Sir John Bradmore, p. 79 (the prefix 'Sir' was that commonly applied to a priest in the Middle Ages); the meeting of parishioners on the 20th of January, 1490, when several agreed, some to pay for the building of a whole arch, others to contribute various sums of money, p. 157; the bequest of a valuable cup left by the late rector of St. Mary's, and delivered to the churchwardens by 'Master Monke, wex chandeler,' on Christmas Eve, 1504, pp. 255 and 257. The same rector, William Wild, twenty years earlier had given a large service book to the church, p. 142. In 1487–8 a lady, by name Agnes Breten, had paid £27 (a large sum in those days) to have the tabernacle of the Virgin in the choir painted and gilded, p. 142.
In 1514–15 several ladies of the parish collected money for an altar cloth of white and red cloth of gold, and curtains. One lady, Mrs. Ingleby, brought in £6, and by others an additional £3 10s. was procured, p. 291.
In 1519–20 John Goodwyn's wife gave three shillings and eightpence 'towarddes the braunche of the Trinite,' p. 306. And in 1521 Thomas Duckling, it is noted, still owes the 'iij s iiij d which he promyseyd towardes the organes,' p. 315.
Sometimes a gift would be marked with the initials of the donor,
Small sums are more or less frequently bequeathed by servants, p. 259, etc.
Mrs. Noneley bequeaths money for the rebuilding of the south aisle, p. 244; Mr. Hottyng bequeaths money 'towuerd the steppyll beldyng,' p. 259.
Pawning.—At p. 375 we find the entry:—
"paid to Thomas becwithe vppon a chales—viij l'i."
The foregoing appears to indicate that the church would lend money upon security.
And that the church at times pawned articles for its own
business is clearly seen by the following:—
"Item, paid to Wylliam burnynghill yat he lent vppon a senser—vij l'i vj s," p. 375.
The £1 10s. 4d. in 'pledgis in lynnyn clothe' at p. 239 is not clear, but it will be noticed that one of the churchwardens 'hath the pledges,' retaining them probably as security for money due.
Familiar Streets and Places mentioned.— Many places and churches, more or less familiar to us to-day, are mentioned in these accounts; the position of some of them will be found clearly indicated on the accompanying Map.
St. Magnus's church (rebuilt) is of special interest as regards its situation. It occupies the same position as the former church. London Bridge, however, at its last rebuilding, was moved some thirty or forty yards west, consequently St. Magnus's church no longer now faces directly the main thoroughfare to and from the Bridge. Our Map shows excellently the old and present lines of route from London Bridge.
At p. 164 we read of the hiring of a boat to take one or more of the representatives of St. Mary's to see the bishop of Salisbury then in Fleet Street.
In addition to those places in the immediate neighbourhood of the church, Lothbury, Leadenhall, Love Lane, Fish Street, etc., which naturally find mention, frequently other places, some several miles away, are referred to in these Records:—Stratford, Fulham, Kingston, etc. At times, places still further distant are mentioned, and these, for what reason it is difficult to say, appear to be almost wholly in the western division of Kent. At p. 244 we read of twentypence being expended in horse-hire when a Mr. Colyns went to Maidstone to bind Maunde the mason to perform his covenants. At p. 247 expenses connected with the riding to Shoreham to see timber are set down. At p. 331 we find the record of a man coming from Dartford, having apparently been summoned by the Vestry for the purpose of testing his suitability for service as a Clerk in the church. At p. 264 the wardens' entry of a payment 'to Nychollas Bettnam, mason, of ottam yn Kentt' for work done on the church is recorded. At p. 269 the warden enters the sum of tenpence in the accounts:— "Paid for my Costes for me & my horse to Kyngeston, for to by bourde and lathe."
The following list of Places mentioned in our text will be of interest:—
baynardes castel, 68.
bos alley, 248, 380.
botolffe lane, 196.
brig strete, 346.
clerkyn well, 111.
faenchirche stret, 247.
fish strett, 230.
ffoster lane, 13.
Gresschurch strete, 85.
Kyngeston, 256, 269.
ledon halle, 256.
lovmbarddes place, 253.
london Brigge, 13, 16.
london Brigge, chapel of, 13.
loue lane, 3.
Ludgat, 20, 273.
lumbarde strete, 94.
lyncolles in, 326.
Maidstone, 167, 244, 270.
Meneris, the, 126.
Moore (the), 328.
Myle ende, 194.
old Riall, 346.
Olde Swann (houses), 113.
ottam yn Kentt, 264.
pudding lane, 79.
Rochester, 20, 406.
Romeland, 352, 353.
Soper lane, 4.
stokkes, 168, 328.
Strattford, 229, 247.
tour wharf, 68.
Tower gate, 381.
towre hylle, 96.
Westmynster, 247, 266.
yelde halle, 256.
St. Andruis vndershaft, 346.
St. Antonys, 349.
St. Barthilmewys, 329.
Christ Church, 130.
Saynt Dunston's, 84.
St. George's in puddyng lane, 96.
seint Iohns, 293.
the Kynges chapell, 270.
Saint leonardes, 76.
St. Magnus, 230.
Seint Margret patens, 293.
powlys (St. Paul's cathedral), 296.
Seint Saviours, 292.
abbotes Inn, 267, etc. Canon Wordsworth writes:—"A Deed of Agreement between the Abbot of Waltham and the Bp. of London respecting a Chapel in the Abbot's House in the parish of St. Mary Hill will be found in MS. Harl. 6956, p. 74."
the Bell, 347.
the bere, 46.
the Cardnalles hat, 179.
the Castell, 230.
hontyngdons tauerne, 70.
the pewtre pot, 346.
the sentt John ys hede, 203.
the salutacion, 274.
the shipp, 276.
Sonn Taverne, 234, 316, 333.
the Swane at byllyngesgat, 241.
the Tylers, 332.
Picturesque Notes.—These Records, too, at times place before us interesting little pictures of medieval life. For instance, the picture of the scene during the evening service in St. Mary's church on Christmas Day, when the clergy and choristers, each bearing a little lighted candle, all walked, singing, in procession to a certain tomb, p. 16. The scene at the annual memorial service for John Mongham would not be the less picturesque for the presence of members of the Fishmongers' Company in their livery, p. 21.
The last entry on p. 316 places very clearly before us the scene
at the 'Sun' tavern late in the June afternoon in 1522:—
"Item, paid on Seint Barnabis day, at the Sonn Taverne, after Evynsong, for Drynke for the kynges chappell and for the clerkis of the Towne, the Summa of xxj d."
At p. 6 another little scene is presented to us in which the position of five candles burning at certain times in the old church is depicted. The money for these candles was left by John Causton, who by his Will provides that two tapers shall be "brennyng vpon the Iren Beame afore the ymage of our lady atte high awter on Sondayes & halydaies, and ij tapers brennyng before the Aungelles Salutacion of the ymage of our lady in the body of the said Chirch, euery evenyng at the tyme of syngyng of Salue Regina from the begynnyng to the endyng;" and one taper should burn at the south altar of the church between the figures of St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. John Weston (p. 11) provides for "ij torches of wexe to brenne euery Sonday & other holy daies at the high awter of the said Chirch in the masse tyme at the leuacion of the blessed Sacrament & after, as it is the vse." Richard Gosslyn (p. 13) provides for a taper of five pounds weight to burn at the altar of St. Katherine every Sunday and at other festivals 'for euer.' John Mongham, too (p. 19), provides for torches to be "light & Burned at þe sacryng tyme of þe high masse vppon high and doble ffestes." Rose Wrytell provides (p. 2) for a taper to burn before an image of the Virgin by the altar of St. Edmond. John Bedham (p. 17) provides for an oil lamp to burn day and night in the choir before the blessed Sacrament. The scene in the old church must at times have been very solemn and impressive.
At p. 201 an entry of vij d is recorded as having been:—
"payd in expences whane sartayne of þe paryshe yede to Awew þe smoke holys betwene tyrry and Inger."
At p. 332 we have the picture of the presence of various parishioners at 'The Tylers at the hyryng of the clerk.'
The Rats in the Church.—These little creatures appear to have made themselves sufficiently conspicuous, and several efforts were made for the reduction of their number. At p. 243 we find they had paid some attention to the service books. At p. 343 we find that a bedmaker had to be called in to repair the Easter sepulchre cloth, 'wherat it was eiton with rattes.'
At p. 379 is the entry:—
"paid to the rat taker for laying of his bayte—iiij d."
At p. 322:—
"paid for Milke and Rattisbane for the Rattes in the chirch."
Personal Notes.—In several places homely and personal references occur:—'the house that olde Mouce hath taken,' p. 138; 'olde father mondaye,' p. 398, but probably this term was to distinguish him from his son Thomas, the parish clerk; 'old mastres Altroppe,' p. 368; 'another gutter in yong Mowces house,' p. 153; 'that I spent on the quest for dye' (Dye was a butcher), p. 174; 'Mothyr boyis ij s,' p. 205; 'I payd hym in hande, vj s viij d,' p. 68; 'such money as he had leyde out of his purs,' p. 133; 'paide vnto hym for his salarye of vije wekes affter mighelmas, rebatyng hym for his housrent xxij d; paide clerlye to hym xvj s ij d,' p. 133; 'payd to a sergeaunte for the arrest of our tenaunte þat dyd vs wronge,' p. 111; 'The Gardyner next to ffader kechen oweth for di. o yer,' p. 156; 'The Tayllour next to the garden gate oweth,' p. 156; 'that mylton and I spent to lambeth,' p. 178; 'beffore my dore,' p. 382.
Sad but interesting references are by no means uncommon, such as the pathetic note inserted by one of the churchwardens recording the burial of three 'of myn owne Chyldyrn,' p. 245; the wife of Robert Debenham bringing in the sum of six shillings and eightpence, the bequest of her husband to the church of which for some years he had been parish clerk, p. 236; the desire of John Mongham, fishmonger, that his body should 'be buryed in the southe Ile within the parissh churche of Seint Mary at Hill, directly afore the wyndowe of the vij werkes of mercy,' p. 19; the entry in the accounts of the receipt of money from Master Cloose for burying of his 'ij prentys,' p. 183, etc. etc.
The Abbot's Kitchen.—Not far from where the tower of the present church stands to-day, stood, a good many years before the Reformation, the kitchen of the abbot of Waltham Abbey.
The first entry in connexion with the story is that on p. 238, where we see the record of the expenses of four parishioners, who were evidently deputed to ride to Waltham to 'speke with the Abbott ffor the kechen.'
The next entry, set down in the year following, is very clear:—
In 1500–1 "was the ende of the sowthyle of owre Church takyn in wher sum tyme was the abbott of Walthams kechyn: to begynne at Ester, & ffro that tyme fforward the parych bene bownde to paye to Waltham, yerly ffor euermore, xs, ffor a quytrent ffor Ever," p. 240.
When the king seized the monasteries and their property, he
became also possessed of the quitrent paid for our south aisle, which
was consequently paid to him:—
"Paid to the Kynges Maiesties vse for the South Ile, xs," p. 391.
The Gong Farmers.—The gong was the w.c. Such places
would be part of the houses forming the property of the church. The
gong farmers would be those by whom the cesspools would be emptied.
It was clearly customary for these places, as now, to be emptied at
night, and that it should be done thoroughly men were often paid to
watch the gong farmers at their work, p. 373:—
"Item, paid to a man yat watched ye gongffarmers ij nyghtes."
An excellent reference respecting this subject is found at p. 240.
The Dung Boat.—This boat is at times referred to, and we may suppose that it was a vessel to carry away dung, p. 378. At p. 395 reference is made of payment to—
"whyte, the donge man, for the whoale yeare, xvj d."
The Fabric of the Church.—The church appears to have had no remarkable features. It consisted of a tower and a steeple, with a 'vane,' p. 103, chancel, and rood-screen, transepts (the cross aisle, p. 319), nave, chapels—three, St. Stephens, St. Katherines, which joined the choir, p. 69, and St. Anns—apparently enclosed by screens with doors, pp. 251, 273, 327; also the chapel of St. Christopher, p. 366, the whole being set in two churchyards and surrounded by a wall. A house apparently projected into the north churchyard, p. 301.
The upper vestry is alluded to on p. 306. The 'gret key of the vestry dore' is referred to as being kept by Mr. Russell, p. 284.
The clerestory or walls and windows rising clear above the body of the church, and on which the roof was supported, is referred to on p. 255.
The choir was apparently enclosed and the doors locked, pp. 69, 237, 293.
The interesting story of the end of the south aisle will be found under the heading The Abbot's Kitchen. The north aisle was commenced in March 1487. St. Stephens chapel was on the north side of the church, and 'made' in the 15th century by William Cambridge, p. 14.
The altar of St. John the Baptist is mentioned at p. 11.
The roofs were apparently partly of lead, partly of tiles, pp. 102, 373, 399. The floor was partly paved with tiles, pp. 257, 370. There were many gravestones:—
"for the making of Iohn Austhrop is grave, & for laying of the ston ageyn," p. 344.
In 1503–4 the church was reconsecrated, probably necessitated by the rebuilding of the aisles, p, 250.
The Two Churchyards.—From the various designations given to the two churchyards it might be imagined that there were several. Apparently from the different names there were:—the north, p. 351, south, p. 411, great, p. 163, little, p. 185, green, p. 370, pardon, p. 307, and procession churchyard, p. 100. There is, however, in disputable evidence that there were but two churchyards, for both churchyards are more than once referred to:—
"for makyng clene of bothe the Chircheyerdes, for iij days labur—xij d," p. 281.
Though it is usual to have but one yard, naturally that surrounding the fabric,—two yards would easily result where the church reached right across from one side of the site to the other, and thus divided the ground into two sections, one north and one south. Apparently, such was the case with St. Mary's, where there is every reason to believe that the old church, like the present building, had its eastern face in St. Mary Hill and its western in Love Lane.
The north churchyard remains to-day, though probably shorn of much of its proportions, but the south has apparently long since disappeared. Ogilby's map of London, 1677, apparently shows both yards, but marks only the northern as 'churchyard.'
At p. 100 reference is made to 'ij lode gravell for the procession churcheyarde'; and other references, pp. 163, 185, indicate that the paths in the two yards were gravelled. In 1492–3, p. 186, twopence was paid 'for havyng awaye of the smale stonys' in one of the churchyards.
The great churchyard was probably that on the north side of the church, for the 'copyng of the north wall in the greate chirchyerd' is referred to on p. 301. At p. 300 the coping of the stone wall at the east end of the great churchyard is mentioned. A cross enclosed by a paling stood in the great churchyard, p. 300. In 1555 yew was planted in one or both of the churchyards, p. 403.
The 'beryng owt of donge of þe pardon chirchehawe . . . a cartful' is a remarkable entry dating 1427–8, p. 67, again p. 71.
The 'pardone churchaw gate' had a lock on it 'for to kepe the Stuffe,' p. 99.
There was a 'lityll howse' in one of the churchyards, p. 101. Judging by the reference to the two churchyards at p. 231, the pardon appears to have been the smaller.
The key of one of the churchyards is mentioned at p. 261.
The Romeland.—The Romeland was a piece of land lying by the river's edge, and apparently more or less rough and waste. In 1496–7 the wardens received fourteenpence for 'Robushe to the chirche þat was leyed on the Romlande,' p. 223. In 1547–8 the wardens 'receyuid of a spanyerd for lying his shipp ther—vij s viij d,' p. 385. The Romeland was the subject of litigation in 1524–5, and at the time of the Reformation such church furniture as was not in keeping with the popular opinion of the period was taken to the Romeland and there destroyed.
At p. 389 occurs the entry—
"Item, payde to ye kynge for Rome land as will apere by quyttances—x li."
Professions and Trades.—These Records contain references to perhaps every profession and trade in medieval times—to priests, churchwardens and their children, organists, parish clerks, sextons, choristers, bishops, 230, abbots, p. 46; priors, p. 46; lawyers, p. 326; mayors, p. 155; sheriffs, p. 155; scriveners, p. 187; sompnours (William James was a sompnour in 1490–1), p. 164; grocers, p. 114; fishmongers, p. 33; bricklayers, p. 377; ironmongers, p. 153; pie bakers, p. 73; lime men, p. 102; basket makers, p. 358; glaziers, p. 102; vestment makers, p. 80; plumbers, p. 154; smiths, p. 155; joiners, 'Gymbold the Ioyner,' p. 306; alewives, 'þe wyff of the chekur,' p. 315; weavers, p. 205; artists, John Woulff, p. 316; apprentices, p. 278; costomer (officer of the customs), p. 262; barmaid, 'a woman that drew the ale, ij d,' p. 90; cobblers, 'peter Andrew, cobler,' p. 129; painters, p. 229; kerchief laundress, p. 78; constable, p. 370; gong farmers, or cesspool cleaners, p. 373; brewers, p. 346; tailors, p. 141; fullers, p. 126; salters, p. 128; master workman, p. 224; physician, p. 76; organ-makers, p. 125; carvers, p. 224; bellfounders, p. 275; founders, p. 307; pewterers, p. 299; servants, p. 293; woolmongers, p. 144; knights, p. 46; masons, p. 207; patynmakers, p. 159; cappers, p. 159; pastillers, p. 159; fruiterers, p. 127; sawyers, p. 338; poyntemakers, p. 125; workmen's boys, p. 337; drapers, p. 235; embroiderers, p. 144; upholsterers, p. 123; carpenters, p. 224; yeomen of the guard, one of the Yeomen of the Guard who died at the Swan, in Billingsgate, was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's, p. 307; watermen, p. 159; wax-chandlers, p. 91; almsmen, p. 253; stationers, p. 226; goldsmiths, p. 209; butchers, p. 77; haberdashers, p. 194; barbers, p. 161; cooks, p. 159; bargemen, p. 194; gardeners, p. 159; laundresses (for some years, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, Alys Smale washed the church linen for 3s. 4d. a year); sailors, p. 193; 'rat takers,' p. 379; labourers, p. 137; waterbearers, p. 328; bedmakers, p. 343; tilers, p. 136; sporyours, p. 10; corders and cordewaners, p. 1; bladers, p. 5; maydes, p. 236; marblers, p. 250; bokebynders, p. 379; harde hewers, p. 248; paviers, p. 391, etc., all of whom have now long since passed into the great silence.
The Guild of Salve Regina.—This Guild was not in the church of St. Mary at Hill, but in that of St. Magnus close by. The Guild received every year an annual payment of six shillings. The origin of this payment is to be found in the fact that John Causton bequeathed to the church of St. Mary a house in the parish of St. Leonard, which was taxed with this payment.
The rental at the end of the copy of John Causton's Will in MS. B thus refers to the property:—
"The parisshe of Seynte leonardes, Estchepe.
Ioh'n ffyssch'e, Grocer, vj l'i o yer; wherof is paide to the Bretherhed of our lady Salue withyn the chirch' of Seynt magnus, by yer, Summa, vj s."
London Bridge.—The property above mentioned was also taxed with another payment, namely, that of thirteen shillings and fourpence to the Masters of the Bridgehouse:—
"Item, to the maisteres of the Bryghehouse by yer, Summa xiij s iiij d."
According to the Chronicles of London Bridge, 1827, p. 295, the Masters of the Bridge House were "two Bridge-Masters having certain fees and profits, yearly elected . . . . and set over the Bridge House, 'to look after the reparations of the Bridge.'" William Cambridge in his Will states that in certain contingencies a bequest made by him for another purpose shall fall in for 'the vse and sustentacion of london Brigge,' p. 16. A similar disposition by John Weston will be noticed at p. 13, where also a reference to a contingent service in the chapel on London Bridge is mentioned. The proximity of London Bridge naturally made the same very familiar to the parishioners of St. Mary's.
Quaint Phrases.—The following extracts have an interest by reason of the quaint manner in which they are expressed:—
"payd ij [meaning 'to'] viij syngynge men," p. 403.
"for a xj [a-leven] monthes," p. 401.
"payd sondayly," that is, each Sunday, p. 110.
"Turne over the Leafe," p. 403.
"Item, paid to a prest that did serue our Cure the sondaye folowinge that sir Iohn mychell dyed, beynge our Curat, and lefte vs desolate," p. 407.
"paid to edmond matrevers ffor his wages j quarter & half endynge at candylmas whan that he went his way," p. 365.
Referring to a sum of £73 3s. 7d. we find on p. 364 the note:—
"Thys money fynyshed vp the 9 howsys byldynge."
On p. 369 is a reference to one—
"that shoulde abyne parishe prest."
On p. 329:
"þat shuld a bene clerk."
"and ther is, in monye, Summa. xix s iij d ob.," p. 141.
"In Redy monny," p. 357.
"to Ihames sharpulles ffor iij quarteres vj li. Item, for myghelmas quarter, because he was in the Contrey he had no more but xxxiij s xd," p. 371.
Tithes.—The payment 'for Mr parsons Tenth of the benefice,' £3 13s. 4d., p. 406, is the payment due to the King by which a tenth of all benefices, etc., was secured under the Act of 1534. (See Statutes Revised, 1888, p. 314.) The value of the benefice in the Valor Ecclesiastieus is given as £36 13s. 4d.
No Relics.—It will be noticed that not a penny is spent on relics of saints, nor, with the exception of a penny for part of a finger of St. Andrew, do we find any such expenses recorded in the accounts of the three other churches examined for comparison with our text.
Travelling.—Travelling from one place to another appears to have been invariably on horseback, p. 174, except in London, where the river offered facilities when a boat would be hired, p. 256. In 1529–30 one of the churchwardens rode with two companions to Norwich to consult the parson about the payment of the choristers, p. 350.
Articles sold by the Churchwardens.—Occasionally we read of the sale by the wardens of articles of very varied nature:—
'to make saale of the howsold stuff in the vestry,' p. 284.
Various goods are mentioned on pp. 232, 241, 271, 276, 279. In many cases articles had probably been given to the church, others were apparently at times accepted in lieu of small sums owing:—
'William turtyll patynmaker, vj s viij d. Resseyued a bras pott perh' kello," p. 157.
At. p. 231 we see that a brass pot was sold. It is natural to suppose that in some cases some articles would be sold because they had been replaced by newer.
Miscellaneous Items.—Many items of a more or less isolated nature occur in our text. The two widows renting a house by the Minories, p. 126; the extra two shillings paid to Mr. Ballard, the owner of a wood, that those who went to hew the timber might pick where they liked in 'all the holl wod,' p. 337; the payment of £4 by 'the brewers wife at The Pewter Pot against St. Andrews Undershaft,' to get back some silver plate which had been pawned, p. 346; the daily service in the choir (ordered by the parish ?), p. 347; the coins specified in these accounts as having been in the hands of the wardens—the penny, p. 94; and the gold noble, p. 272; the clerk of St. Dunstan's who died in poverty of the pestilence, p. 84; how the churchwardens sometimes let out the church goods on hire, p. 94; and occasionally borrowed goods themselves for their own services, p. 305; what was paid for the mending of various articles of plate: two shillings and eightpence 'to a goldsmith for making a censers foot,' p. 251, etc. etc.; the failure of the church authorities to let their houses on Tower Hill, so that during two years they 'only received a featherbed of the weaver's wife, price v s.', p. 121; the burial of the alderman's wife near the altar in a chapel, p. 261; and the funeral knell rung for half-a-day on the great bell for the mother of one of the chantry priests, p. 241. Of costs in the ecclesiastical courts, p. 278; of the mayor's court, p. 111; the gift of a buck to the parish by the abbot of Waltham, and where the gift was eaten, p. 250; of the house 'vppon the steyer,' p. 125; the man who filled the holy water stoups for a year for viij d, p. 343; the carrying of copes to St. Paul's apparently for the clergy of St. Mary's to take part in processions in the cathedral, p. 382; the 'stand of good ale for the maundye,' p. 406; the taking of 'gose & the clerke' to Ipswich, p. 346; the garden palings, p. 167; the tiles of the houses, p. 189; the audit meeting, p. 298; the 'settyng of ij torchis at Westmystir,' probably at the abbey church on behalf of the late king, p. 266; the drinking 'at nyght,' p. 273.
Medieval Weather.—The two references to the weather in the Middle Ages in St. Mary's parish, carry one back somehow very realistically to those times. In 1491–2 there was evidently a heavy fall of snow, 'the grete snowe' it is called, p. 172. In 1521–2 a part of the window of the Trinity 'was blown downe with the wynde,' p. 313.
The Beam-light.—The light, for the sustentation of which subscriptions were received every year apparently at Christmas, Lady Day, Midsummer and Michaelmas, p. 128, was probably a series of lights on a beam by the great Rood, the Rood beam. In 1495–6 the light was temporarily taken down, during which time certain of the subscribers 'wold not pay,' pp. 218, 221.
A Home for the Dying ?—Judging by the fact that the mention of 'the freer' 'at Billingesgate' occurs commonly if not invariably in connexion with the burial of a deceased person who had 'dyed' there, it may be with some certainty considered that the freer was a friary or brotherhood of some kind for the reception of the very sick, pp. 271, 287, 324.
God's Penny.—At times, at the engaging or 'hiring' of an official of the church a nominal sum was paid down as a kind of earnest money. Such a payment appears to have been known as a ' goddes peny,' though not necessarily being of that value, pp. 250, 252. Sometimes a somewhat similar payment was made by an incoming tenant, pp. 271, 286, 293, 311.
Occasionally such a payment was made as so much on account of work to be done, 'the goddis peny in honde,' p. 274.
Obscurities.—The following items appear at present to defy elucidation:—
Item, 'the Clerkis of the Towne,' p. 316.
Item, 'for settyng a childe at Waltham,' p. 322.
Item, 'the wardemote enquest for the churche house,' p. 385.
Item, 'ij maryages for that they were maryed in the newe howsse,' p. 398.
Item, 'for settyng of a woman into a pywe,' p. 94.
Item, 'the dewtyes of Seint Anne,' p. 278.
Item, 'Post,' p. 284.
Item, 'payed to the laystowe,' p. 397.
Item, 'Iohn polyvere for buryeng of master braymonger—xiij s iiij d,' p. 180.
Item, 'paid to the sessyng of the dong bote—vj d,' p. 359.
Item, 'paid ffor the sessyng of the laystall—iiij d,' p. 367.
Item, 'the leystoff,' p. 382.
Item, 'tenebyll weddyns day,' p. 397.
At p. 303 John Coveney receives xl s 'for the hauyng of þe yeres in his howse.' Canon Wordsworth thinks 'yeres' may mean the herse or structure placed at times over a coffin on special occasions.
In support of this suggestion we have the fact that a chalice was at one time in the care of a parishioner:—
'Payed to Mr Malbye ffor keping of the chalice—iiij d,' p. 382.