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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This property lay between 31 on the W. and 33 on the E. By 1332 it adjoined 23 on the S., but at an earlier date it probably adjoined 24 on the S., since in the 13th century 33, which lay immediately to the E., adjoined 24 on its S. side. By 1332, therefore, a part of 24 would appear to have been absorbed by 32. In the 15th century an alley ran S. from Cheapside through the middle of 32 and, in the S. part of 32, 24 adjoined the W. side of this alley. Following this rearrangement the S. part of 33 was bounded by 32 on its S. and W. sides.
About 1200 32 belonged either to Reginald Senex or to Robert de Cornhull, whose lands adjoined 33 on either side. The property is recorded as the seld of Roger son of Roger on several occasions between 1247-8 and 1252-3. In 1279-80 it was the seld of Jordan Godchep, who by his will, proved in 1290, left his seld in Cheapside to his son Gilbert, with remainder in default of heirs to his daughters Margery and Agnes. Jordan also held part of 24A-B, perhaps a capital messuage at the rear of that property which would have adjoined the S. side of 32. In 1308 32 was the tenement formerly of Ralph Godchep, who held a shop in Cheapside in 1298. In 1317 the property was in the possession of Richard Godchep and his wife Margery, who were in dispute with their neighbours to the W. (see 31) over the stone wall which divided their properties. (fn. 1)
Richard was evidently the Richard de Kyngessuttone called Godchep, citizen and mercer, who had married Margery widow of Ralph Godchep. Margery, who was also the daughter of Jordan Godchep, had at least a life interest in the property, which appears to have consisted of at least 3 parts. In 1318, with her husband Richard, Margery granted to Richard de Lemyngton, citizen and vintner, for the term of her life at £4. 6s. 8d. rent the tavern with solars which occupied a part of 32. This tavern was bounded by 33 on the E., 31 on the W., Cheapside on the N. and by the tenement of Ralph le Balancer (part of 24 or the S. part of 32) on the S. John de Burgoyne had formerly held the tavern, and the grantee was to be free of all service apart from the rent during the first 6 years of his tenure. Another part of the property consisted of two shops with a house infra claustrum (probably in the sense of 'towards the rear') and chambers, which in 1319 Richard Godchep and Margery granted at farm to Nicholas de Chalney, girdler (zonarius), for a term of 18 years from 1317 at a rent of £3. 8s., the landlord being responsible for repairs. The rent for the first 3 years of the term was to be paid as a lump sum at the time of granting the lease and de Chalneye's master, John the clerk, was named as a former tenant. A third part of the property was the chamber in their seld with its chests and cupboards (cum cistis et almariolis in eadem camera astantibus) which Richard Godchep and his wife Margery granted to John de Dallyngg, junior, citizen and mercer, for a term of 12 years from 1319 at 13s. 4d., the landlord being responsible for maintaining the property against wind and rain. At the time of this grant, which is not on record, the first five years' rent had already been paid. If the grantors were to alienate any part of the property the grantee was to be favoured as purchaser by £1. The grantee was probably the John de Dallyngg, mercer, who died in 1332-3 (see 104/3). The man of the same name who held a chamber here in 1340 (see below) was probably his son. (fn. 2)
A possible reconstruction of the layout of the property can be based on the information in these 3 leases and is summarized in Fig. 11. There were shops on the Cheapside frontage; behind them was a seld; the tavern probably occupied a cellar below the seld and the shops, and associated with it were solars which were probably above the seld and shops; there was presumably an entry leading through the shops into the seld behind, and probably through the seld to the house at the rear which was said to be infra claustrum; the tenants of this house at the rear presumably used two of the shops on the Cheapside frontage as their retail outlet.
In 1332 the tenement of Richard Godchep adjoined 23 on its N. side. This had probably been the part of 24 (?24B) held in the 13th century by Jordan Godchep and was probably the tenement in St. Mary le Bow parish which John Godchep, citizen and mercer, acquired from his brother Roger and by his will, dated and proved in 1340, left to his wife Felicia for life or until remarriage. The tenement was to revert to the hospital of St. Thomas of Acre in support of a chantry for the souls of Jordan Godchep, Jordan's wife Maud, Ralph Godchep, Ralph's wife Margery, and the testator and his wife. John Godchep and his brother Roger were probably Margery's sons. On 18 November 1340 it was found that Felicia, widow of John Godchep, and William de Brampton had disseised Isabel Godchep, sister of John Godchep and daughter of Ralph Godchep and his wife Margery, of two shops which appear to have been part of 32. William de Brampton held one of the shops for a term of 6 years by grant of John Godchep, who seems only to have had a life interest in them. John de Dallyngg, senior, held a chamber, said to be part of the shops, by a grant with warranty from John Godchep. This may have been the same chamber which the elder John de Dallyngg had taken on lease from Richard Godchep and his wife Margery in 1319 (see above). Isabel Godchep admitted that this chamber was not part of the property of which she had been dispossessed. She evidently had a life interest in a part of 32, and on 23 November 1340 granted her tenements in Westcheap in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to Nicholas Clerk, armourer, for the term of her life at £6. 6s. 8d. rent, to be reduced by a third should Felicia widow of John Godchep recover her dower in the tenements. Isabel was to maintain the buildings at her own expense. By 3 December Isabel had received a loan of £13. 8s. 9d. from Nicholas Clerk in return for which she was to reduce the rent for these tenements by £1 until the sum had been repaid. (fn. 3)
Isabel Godchep's interest in 32 passed to her son and heir Henry Farman, who was generally known as Henry Godchep. Henry granted the tenements for a term of years to Nicholas Larmarer, clerk. Nicholas was presumably identical with Nicholas Clerk, armourer, who by his will, dated and proved in March 1349, bequeathed this term to his wife Joan, their children, and his servant, Simon de Caumpes. In 1350 Henry Godchep granted the tenements representing 32 which he had inherited from his mother to Thomas Bloundel, rector of St. Stephen Walbrook, and Nicholas Sporier, citizen, who immediately granted them back to Henry and his wife Agnes. The tenements were bounded by 33 on the E., 31 on the W. and 23 on the S. In 1361 Henry's sisters, Denise, widow of Richard Rok of Kent, and Margery, widow of Richard de Walton, quitclaimed to Henry, now described as a citizen, and his wife Agnes in the property, which was described as a seld called le Threlegges. The legs were evidently the badge of the Godchep family, for the design on Jordan Godchep's seal in 1283-4 had included a prominent representation of a leg or a piece of hose. In 1363 Henry and Agnes were in dispute with the owner of 31 over the stone wall 85 ft. (25.91 m.) long which divided their properties. The wall was found to belong entirely to the owners of 32, and the owner of 31 was to remove the timber he had placed on it in the course of building. (fn. 4)
In 1377 Henry and his wife Agnes granted £2. 13s. 4d. rent from the Three Leggs to Agnes, widow of Walter Forster, citizen and skinner, with power to distrain both there and in the grantors' tenement in St. Sepulchre parish. Arrangements were then made which led eventually to the acquisition of 32 by St. Bartholomew's Priory. In February 1379 Henry and Agnes granted 32 to Thomas Maydeston and Robert Bryan, citizens, and John Myryfeld in perpetuity in return for a rent of £6. 13s. 4d. payable to the grantors and the heirs and assigns of Henry. In March Henry quitclaimed in the rent to these grantees, who later that month conveyed the property to Richard Brown, Thomas Eydon, and John Benet, clerks, who were to hold so long as Henry Godchep and Agnes lived and were to pay 4d. rent. In 1380 Agnes widow of Walter Forster, with her new husband Adam Chaunger, citizen, granted the £2. 13s. 4d. rent from the property to John Chyshull, chaplain, and John Mirifeld. In 1392 John Mirfeld and Robert Bryan obtained a royal licence to alienate the reversion of this property after Henry Godchep's death to St. Bartholomew's Priory. The priory was in possession of the property by 1400, when its seld adjoined the W. side of 33 and its vacant plot of land adjoined the S. side of 33. (fn. 5)
In 1455 an agreement was made between the owners of 24 and 32 whereby the former were to have a pipe through a stone wall on the W. side of an alley running N./S. within the Three Legs, by which rainwater could be carried into the alley. (fn. 6)
In the early 16th century the Three Legs was let in three parts, identified as A-C on Fig. 12. The most northerly part (A) next to Cheapside, was a tenement called 'le Three Leggs' which St. Bartholomew's Priory leased to Edward Alporte, girdler, for a term of 40 years from 1524 at £6. 13s. 4d. rent, the tenant being responsible for repairs. Alporte probably lived in this tenement; he died in 1532. Next S. were two shops with a cellar beneath (B), lying within the Three Leggs, which in 1527 St. Bartholomew's Priory let to William Botry, citizen and mercer, for a term of 15 years at £2. 13s. 4d. rent; the tenant was responsible for repairs and had liberty to convert the two shops into one, but he was not to use them other than for the sale of silks and other mercery. The two shops perhaps occupied part of the site of the seld mentioned in 1317, while the cellar beneath may have been part of the tavern. Botry was dead by 1536. The southernmost part of the property was a tenement (C) held in 1527 by Anthony Burley, citizen and grocer; it was held at will in 1536 and at Michaelmas 1538 by Bernard Cope, goldsmith, for £3. 6s. 8d. rent. At about this time 32C may have been occupied by the tenants of the S. part of 33, for in 1525 33 was said to adjoin 23B (q.v.) on its N. side. In 1536 the priory leased A and B to Stephen Vaughan of London, gentleman, who was to hold A from that year for a term of 80 years at £6. 13s. 4d. rent and was to hold B from 1541, or whenever the existing lease was surrendered, for a term of 80 years at £2. 13s. 4d. rent; the tenant was to be responsible for repairs, but the priory convenanted to repair B before Vaughan's term commenced. In this lease A was described as a tenement with 2 shops beneath on either side of the alley called the Three Legs, and B was described as 2 shops with a cellar beneath them. In November 1538 the priory leased C to Stephen Vaughan, now described as clerk of the faculty of the king's highness, for a term of 80 years at £3. 6s. 8d. rent, the landlord being responsible for repairs. The former tenant, Bernard Cope, was now dead and the property was described as a messuage or tenement with cellars, solars, and warehouses. (fn. 7)
St. Bartholomew's Priory was dissolved in 1539, and in 1540 the Crown granted the 3 parts of 32 to Stephen Vaughan and his wife Margaret for life with remainder to their male issue, for service of a twentieth part of a knight's fee and at a rent of £7. In 1544-5 Vaughan appears to have been attempting to obtain the property on different terms. In 1546, when he was described as esquire, he surrendered it to the Crown and immediately received it back in return for fee farm rents of 19s. 2 1/2d. from A, 12s. 7d. from B, and 9s. 6d. from C. Vaughan probably inhabited the property in 1541 and 1544, and in 1546, when he was acting as royal agent in Antwerp, he was endeavouring to obtain a house in Wood Street, for at his house in Cheapside (probably 32) he was 'very evil lodged'. (fn. 8) It may have been at about this time that he established himself in a house at St. Mary Spital.
Vaughan died in December 1549 and by his will, drawn up that year, left most of his London property, including a mansion house at St. Mary Spital outside Bishopsgate, to his wife. His 2 messuages, 4 shops and a cellar in Three Legs Alley were left to his brother-in-law John Gwyneth, clerk, for a term of 9 years, during which he was to pay the profits to Vaughan's daughters, Anne and Jane, and was to retain only a lodging room for himself. Vaughan's heir, his son Stephen Vaughan, was at this time aged 12. (fn. 9)
In 1580 32 was in the possession Stephen Vaughan, esquire, of St. Mary Spital outside Bishopsgate, who in that year with his wife Joan let the greater part of it under 2 separate leases. Anthony Blunt, citizen and draper, took one lease for a term of 21 years at a rent of £15 and paid a fine of £420. This concerned the outermost messuage next to Cheapside called the Three Legs with 2 warehouses adjoining. Thomas Griffythe or his assigns had lately dwelled in the property. The lease also covered a shop, now divided into two parts and being part of the messuage. The shop had been sometime in the tenure of Richard Dodson and lately in the tenure of Mrs. Genynges, widow; it lay on the E. side of the entry or alley called 'the Three Legges entrey' which led into the premises and to other tenements of Stephen Vaughan in the possession of Maurice Blunte and Simon Hodson. Hodson's little shop, which was excepted from the lease, lay on the right-hand side of the alley going in. Should the tenant assign the lease otherwise than by testament, he was to pay £5 to the landlord, and £2 for any partial devise. This part of the property was probably equivalent to A and B in Fig. 12. The other lease, granted on the same day, was taken by Maurice Blounte, citizen and clothworker, for a term of 21 years at a rent of £4 and for a certain sum of money. The tenant was to pay £3. 6s. 8d. for every assignment of the lease, which concerned a messuage or tenement with shop(s), cellars, solars, warehouses, yards, courts, entries, halls, chambers, and parlours, formerly in the tenure of Robert Tailier, citizen and mercer, and lying within an entry called the Three Legs leading from Cheapside. This part of the property was probably equivalent to C on Fig. 12. (fn. 10)
In 1618 the S. part of 32 (i.e. 32C) may have been partially occupied by the yard and buildings of John Bunbury, gentleman, which lay on the N. and E. sides of 23D and 24. If this was so, Bunbury's property also included a part of 23B. Another part of 32 (perhaps 32B) may have been the tenement occupied by Lettice Heath, widow, which in 1618 adjoined the N. side of 24; Mrs. Heath probably lived there until her death in 1643, and her house was valued at £20 a year in 1638. The freehold of 32, however, remained with the Vaughan family, for in 1638 the fee farm rents due to the Crown from this and other former properties of St. Bartholomew's Priory were payable by Roland Vaughan, knight. In 1638 there appear to have been 2 tenants of the property in addition to Mrs. Heath. They were Mr. Hooke and Mr. Goddard, with houses valued at £30 and £50, respectively. In 1666, on the eve of the Great Fire the 3 parts of 32 were probably occupied by John Grimston, upholsterer, with a house of 6 hearths, John Reading, grocer, with a house of 5 hearths, and Francis Puncheon with a house of 7 hearths. (fn. 11)
Immediately after the Great Fire 32 belonged to Lady St. John, who by April 1668, when 6 foundations were surveyed for her, had also acquired 33. Three of the foundations occupied the Cheapside frontage, where 3 houses are shown on the maps of 1676 and later date. The other 3 foundations occupied the rear part of 32-3 and are represented on the map of 1676 by houses on the E., W., and S. sides of Crown Court. The boundaries of 32 and 33 are recorded in detail in the survey of 1668: it is noteworthy that this mentions an old stone wall on the W. side of 32, where a stone wall had been recorded in the 14th century, and that the boundary between 32 and 33 stepped eastwards by 2 ft. 9 in. (838 mm.) almost exactly at the point which in the 13th century marked the southernmost extent of 33 from Cheapside. Three Legs Alley appears to have been suppressed in the course of the rebuilding, and by 1676 the entry from Cheapside to Crown Court, which took its name from 33, lay between 32 and 33. Lady St. John or a predecessor probably enlarged 32 by acquiring a part of 24 which had adjoined the W. side of Three Legs Alley. In the 1668 survey 32 was said to be bounded by George Yard on the S. In fact the property was bounded on the S. by parts of 23B on the N. side of George Yard. The map of 1676 shows a little court leading N. out of George Yard, which may have provided a rear access to one of the houses in Crown Court. (fn. 12)