Historical Gazetteer of London Before the Great Fire Cheapside; Parishes of All Hallows Honey Lane, St Martin Pomary, St Mary Le Bow, St Mary Colechurch and St Pancras Soper Lane. Originally published by Centre for Metropolitan History, London, 1987.
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In the early 13th century the land on the E. side of 27 was said formerly to have belonged to Gervase de Cornhell. This land need not have been greater in extent than 28, but could have occupied a larger area. There is no evidence that the successors of Gervase of Cornhill (cf. 95/3) later had an interest in this property, but the claim which John de Gisors had in 104/29 in the early 14th century may ultimately have derived from Gervase, suggesting that 28-9 may have been one property in the 12th century. In 1271-2 there was a shop of John le Bret on the Cheapside frontage of 28. John may have been identical with the John Laurence who later owned 28 and who by his will, proved in 1299, left his properties in this parish to his wife Christiana for life with remainder to his son John. The younger John Laurence was in possession by 1307, when he had here a seld which is later known to have adjoined 29-30 on its W. and N. sides. By his will, proved in 1311, John Laurenz, who inhabited St. Benet Gracechurch parish, left this seld and other properties to his wife Maud for life, to be divided after her death between his daughters Amy and Agnes. (fn. 1)
The property was subsequently in the possession of Agnes and her husband, Gilbert Cros, who in 1330 leased it to the existing tenant, Thomas de Cauntebr', citizen and mercer, for the term of his life at £10 rent. The landlords were to be responsible for repairs. Thomas had already paid the rent for the first 11 years and if he died during this time his executors or assigns were to hold the property during the remainder of that term. 28 was now described as a seld with two shops in front and solar(s) above. The property was subsequently in the possession of Agnes Loueryk, who was probably identical with Agnes daughter of John Laurenz. After Agnes Loueryk's death her properties were divided between her daughters Anne and Isabel. 28, described as a seld with houses and solars, came into the possession of Isabel and her husband, Richard Loueryk of Sandwich, who in 1350 granted it to Robert de Thame, citizen and mercer. De Thame sought an assize of nuisance against the landlord of 29 in 1356, and in 1362 granted the seld representing 28 to Adam de Carlell, citizen and draper, and Gilbert de Carleton. In 1369 de Carlell granted the seld and houses to William de Walderne, citizen and draper, his wife Juliana, and John Tanner. Later in the same year de Carlell and his wife Marion quitclaimed to de Walderne and Tanner to de Walderne's heirs and assigns, and by a further agreement Marion was to be exonerated from warranty so long as she made no claim to dower after her husband's death. (fn. 2)
In 1371 Walter (probably an error for William) Walderne, citizen and draper, and his wife Juliana granted a rent of £2. 13s. 4d. out of 28 to Stephen de Cavendissh, citizen and draper, who by his will, dated and proved in 1372, left it to increase the endowment of a chantry founded in the church of St. Mary Colechurch by his former master Thomas de Cavendissh. In 1373 John Tanner of Waldron (Sussex) quitclaimed to his brother William Walderne in the property. In 1374 John Maryns, spicer, and his wife Mary, who was widow of Adam de Carlell, claimed a third share of this and other properties as Mary's dower. William Walderne and his wife Juliana claimed that Mary, under the name of Marion, had quitclaimed her right in 1369 and vouched Adam's son John to warrant. Mary was presumably found not to be identical with Adam's wife Marion, for in 1379, when William Walderne granted the property to John Sussex, citizen and draper, and his wife Joan, his grant included a reversion of a third share of the property then held by Maryns and his wife Mary. By his will, dated 1399 and proved in 1405, John Sussex, by then also described as a burgess of Calais, left 28, now a tenement known as le Belle, to be sold by his executors. The surviving executor, John Seek of Calais, in 1405 sold the tenement, together with the reversion of the third share that Mary still held, to Thomas Brown, junior, citizen and wool-merchant (lanar'), his wife Isabel, and Brown's heirs and assigns. Brown died in 1429, when he was described as a grocer, and left the messuage with houses on it after Isabel's death to his son Thomas in tail, with remainder to his other son Philip in tail and then to the parish church of St. Thomas the Apostle as the endowment for an anniversary. (fn. 3)
Brown's 2 sons seem to have died without legitimate heirs. The Bell with its houses, solars, and shops came into the possession of Thomas Coton and Walter Grene, who granted it to John Olney, Thomas Knolles, Robert Oppy, clerk, and Master William Lychefeld, clerk. Knolles and Lychefeld died, and in 1449 the survivors granted the property to the chief justices of King's Bench (the same Walter Grene, esquire, and John Fortescu, knight), Nicholas Norton, clerk, Philip Malpas, alderman and draper, Hugh Wyche, citizen and mercer, Milo Wyndesore, esquire, Thomas Frowyk, and John Blofeld. Blofeld ultimately came into sole possession and in 1464 granted the Bell to Robert Grene, esquire, to his wife Cecilia, daughter of John Clay, knight, and formerly wife of John Acton, and to Robert's heirs and assigns. The tenement descended to Grene's son and heir, Edward Grene, who died seised in 1493, when the property was valued at £6 a year. It then passed to Edward's sister and heir Cecilia, who was married to William Burbage. In 1495 Burbage, Cecilia, Roger Bykenell, and Bykenell's wife Benedicta granted a third share of the property as dower to Edward Grene's widow Elizabeth and her husband, William Eyre. Later in the same year Bykenell and his wife quitclaimed in the whole property to Burbage and his wife, who immediately granted a two-thirds share to Bykenell and his wife for the term of their lives. Cecilia remarried after Burbage's death and in 1504, as Cecilia Crathorne, widow, quitclaimed in the property to Benedicta Bykenell. In 1504-5 Benedicta granted the property to William Browne, senior, alderman, his son William Browne, citizen, mercer, and merchant of the Calais Staple, William Browne, citizen, mercer, and son of Sir John Browne, knight, William Botery, mercer, John Monke, wax-chandler, and John Domy, leatherseller, who were to hold to the use of William Browne, senior. In 1506 Benedicta and her son Barnard Byknell quitclaimed in the property to these grantees. Any entails or claims to dower were presumably eliminated by means of a recovery in the court of Husting which in 1505 John More, serjeant-at-law and William Buttry effected against Benedicta. (fn. 4)
The property was subsequently known as the 'Blew Bell' and was probably held by John Whalley, a cousin of Thomas Cromwell and paymaster of the king's works at Dover. In 1540 his widow Eleanor Whalley, silkwoman, was running her business from there. By 1538 she had married William Carkeke, scrivener, who died in 1548-9. She continued to hold the property in her own right and as Eleanor Karkek, widow, was dwelling in the messuage called the Bell in 1550. William Carkeke was probably living there in 1541 and 1544, when he was taxed as a resident of Cheap ward and St. Mary le Bow parish. The landlord of the property was now William Lock, knight, who died in 1550. Lock kept a shop forming part of the Bell in his own tenure and presumably used it with his property next door (see 27). By his will, dated 1549 he left the Bell with other properties near by (27, 23B) to his sons Thomas, Matthew, John, Henry, and Michael Lock. Thomas Lock subsequently shared this property with his brothers Henry and Michael, whose interests were due to revert to Thomas. In 1554, Thomas conveyed his interest to trustees who were to hold for the use of himself and his wife Mary for life and then of his son William Lock. Thomas died in 1556 and his son William died in 1558, when William's heir was his brother Matthew Lock. Matthew later came into possession of the property and in 1598, as Matthew Lock of Merton (Surrey), esquire, with his wife Margaret leased it in return for a down-payment to Thomas Woodrove, citizen and mercer, for a term of 21 years, paying rents of £5. 6s. 8d. to the grantors, £7. 6s. 8d. to Michael Lock during his lifetime, and £12. 13s. 4d. to the grantors after Michael's death. 28 now contained two parts: a messuage lately called the 'Blew Bell' and now called the 'Gilden Bell', with its shops, cellars, solars, chambers, and rooms; and, to the S., a great shop or warehouse with an entry leading to it lately held by Ralph Radcliffe, mercer. Woodrove probably lived in the property and kept a shop there until his death in 1609. (fn. 5)
In 1638 this was probably a house valued at £40 a year and occupied by John Roe, who died that year. Thomas Plomer, esquire, who also owned lands in Oxfordshire and Surrey, in 1639 died seised of the property, which was then known as the Golden Bell. The property then passed into the hands of the Crown and in 1645 was delivered to Plomer's son and heir Walter. In 1666 it was a house of 8 hearths occupied by Benjamin Roe. Sir Walter Plomer was in possession in 1671 when he was in dispute with his neighbour William Withers (see 27) over a gutter between their two new houses. The survey of the foundation set out for Plomer records the bounds of 28. (fn. 6)