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 substantial property lay between 145/7-8 on the E., 104/34 on the W., 145/9 on the N., and 145/1 on the S. At its S. end it extended E. as far as Soper Lane, where it was probably bounded by 145/2 on the S. and 145/3 and 8 on the N. The seld had one entry leading to Cheapside and one entry leading to Soper Lane. 145/2, next to the entry in Soper Lane, was probably once part of the property. In the 13th and 14th centuries the property was a seld, and there were 4 shops (145/9) between it and the Cheapside frontage. At the beginning of the 13th century the shops appear to have been part of the same property as 145/10, but by the mid 13th century the shops were subject to separate series of conveyances. By the mid 16th century 145/9 and 145/10 had once more come into the same ownership. Some quit-rents may have been charged on both 9 and 10.
Between the early 13th and the early 14th century 145/10 seems generally to have been known as the Painted Seld (pincta seld, depicta selda, Peinteselde, la Peintedselde). By the beginning of the 14th century it was known as the Great Seld (magna selda, la graunt seude), a name which during the first half of the century was superseded by the name Broad Seld (larga selda, la Brodeselde). The name la Bro[de]selde is first recorded in 1311 and denoted the property throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. The property was evidently noted for its size and it was wider than most other selds in this part of Cheapside. The contrast with the 'narrow seld' (8) which adjoined it to the E. would have been specially obvious.
Twelfth to fourteenth century: the principal freehold interest and quit- rents
In the late 12th century the property probably belonged to Walter le Brun, who in 1255-6 was named as a former owner of the seld. About 1197 Walter founded the new hospital outside Bishopsgate later known as St. Mary Spital. About 1200 Walter's nephew, Robert Brunus son of Michael, owned £2 rent from the Painted Seld (picta selda, depicta selda) in the parish of St. Pancras due from Bartholomew Curteys and his heirs, who presumably occupied the seld. At about this time Robert granted 6s. 8d. of this rent to Clerkenwell Priory, 6s. 8d. to London Bridge, and 6s. 8d. to St. Mary Spital. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries Clerkenwell Priory confused the rent it had acquired by this grant with one of the same value which it had received from 145/35A (q.v.). London Bridge appears regularly to have received its rent of 6s. 8d. from 10 until the mid 15th century when it fell into default; the rent remained in default for many years, but during the second half of the 16th century and in the 17th the Bridge Wardens succeeded in levying it from 145/8 (q.v.). There are no other specific references to the 6s. 8d. rent due to St. Mary Spital, which was probably subsumed into another rent which in the early 14th century the hospital acquired from 10 (see below). The descent of the remaining £1 of the rent due to Robert Brunus is not known.1
Other members of the family of Walter le Brun may also have received rent from the property. A descendant of one of them was probably Cristiana la Brune, who by her will, enrolled in 1291 left to her son Gilbert 5 marks (£3. 6s. 8d.) rent from the seld called Peinteselde. Gilbert was also known as Gilbert de Ayssindon, mercer, who by his will, enrolled in 1307, freed Rose de Coventre, then the principal freeholder in the seld, of the obligation to pay a total of £6. 13s. 4d. of the £3. 6s. 8d. annual rent which she owed to him for the seld. According to a charter confirmed by the king in 1318, Gilbert de Ayssindon granted to St. Mary Spital a rent of £4. 6s. 8d. (6 1/2 marks) from this seld, which he presumably had acquired in addition to the rent he received by his mother's legacy, although there may have been some confusion over the rents. If Gilbert was still in possession of the £3. 6s. 8d. rent at his death, it would have been among those tenements and rents in which his wife Margaret was to have her dower and which otherwise he left to his sisters Eleanor and Tyffania (or Theophania) for their lives with remainder to John, the elder son of Adam Braz, who was also known as John le Brun. The intent was thus to keep the rent in the possession of the le Brun family, who were presumably descendants of Walter le Brun. This was in accordance with the will of Cristiana la Brune, who had stipulated that if Gilbert had no heirs of his body the property was to remain to her nearest heirs. After Gilbert's death his properties came into the possession of Adam Bras, a vintner who had been Cristiana's executor and was married to her daughter Theophania, and against whom Gilbert's widow Margaret claimed dower in 1309. Later that year Adam and Theophania agreed to pay Margaret £4 a year for life out of the estate, and in 1318 Margaret and her husband Walter de Gedding quitclaimed to Adam and Theophania in a third share of the £3. 6s. 8d. rent from 10. In 1322 John Braas, son and heir of Adam Braas and presumably identical with John le Brun, granted the £3. 6s.8d. rent to Reginald de Conductu, junior, citizen and vintner, and his wife Tiphania (who was presumably Adam's widow) for the term of their lives. These grantees gave the rent back to John, who in 1323 quitclaimed in it to Reginald de Conductu, senior, alderman, and his wife Cristina. A claim in the moiety of the rent descended from Sibilla Herberd, daughter of Cristiana la Brune, to her son and heir Theobald Herberd, son of William Herberd of Riplington. In 1322 Theobald quitclaimed in this moiety to Reginald de Conductu, junior, who agreed to pay him a pension of £2 a year for life. There is no later record of the interest of the le Brun family in 10.2
About 1220 145/10 was described in an abutment from 104/34 as the land of William Pain (or Paui), brother of Robert Bloeth. By a deed enrolled in 1260 John son of Edmund Gulle, mercer or merchant (merc'), granted and quitclaimed to Henry de Coventre, John le Bas and their heirs and assigns the right which he had in the seld lying between 145/8 on the E. and 104/34 on the W., and extending from the highway on the N. to 145/1 on the S. In return the grantees gave the donor £1. 6s. 8d. Henry de Coventre seems later to have been in sole possession of 10, and in 1274-5 was said to be preventing John Conseil, girdler (seinturer), who may have been identical with John le Bas, from enjoying his moiety of the seld. This property may have included the tavern of Henry de Coventre, where in 1267-8 John the painter, clerk, and William, clerk of the church of St. Mary Colechurch, were said to have killed Peter de Paris. By his will, dated 1281 and proved in 1283, Henry de Coventre left his seld in St. Pancras parish (10), together with rents elsewhere in London, to his son Stephen, who was to have the property after the death of Henry's wife Rose. In the meantime Rose was to pay Stephen a rent of £6. 13s. 4d. and meet the charges due from the property. Stephen de Coventre died before his mother Rose and by his will, enrolled in 1310, left the £6. 13s. 4d. rent from the selda depicta to his wife Isabel for the term of her life. The rent was now due from a single plot of land within the seld (see below, ii). The reversion of the tenements and rents which Stephen's father had left to him on the death of Rose, he now left to his son Edmund, who was to be in Rose's custody while she lived and then in the custody of his mother Isabel. The seld was sometimes known at this time, and for many years afterwards, as the seld of Rose de Coventre. Rose was alive in 1311 and died in or before 1318, when her will was enrolled.3 The seld then passed to Edmund de Coventre, but it is not known when he came of age.
Edmund was in full possession of some parts of the seld and owned quit-rents due from other parts. In 1339 he took naam from a part of the property from which he claimed a rent of £1. 10s. (see below, ii), and in 1340, when he was described as citizen, he granted the whole tenement called la Brodeselde with its stone wall, houses built there (domibus superedificatis), and rents to Edmund de Hemenhale, citizen and mercer, and Robert de Dunkele, citizen and girdler. This property lay between 145/8 and Soper Lane on the E., 104/34 on the W., and 145/9 on the N. Edmund de Coventre quitclaimed to de Hemenhale in this property in 1343. At his death in 1348-9 Edmund de Hemenhale left his shops and rents in the larga selda and his whole estate therein to Stephen de Todyngton and Thomas de Erswell, who were to hold until his children came of age. Edmund de Hemenhale's interest in the property descended to his son Thomas de Hemenhale, who was declared to be of age in 1366, when he was 21 years old or more.4
In a complex suit in 1362 and 1364 Henry son of Edmund de Coventre sought to gain possession of the property against Thomas de Hemenhale, at that time a minor. Thomas's interest in 10 consisted of 11 selds, presumably meaning plots or shops within the seld, and a total of £2. 6s. rent, apparently made up of rents of £1. 10s., 13s., and 9s. (the correct total of which is £2. 12s.). Henry sought the property by writ of execution of testament, claiming that Stephen de Coventre had left it to his son Edmund and the heirs of his body. It was claimed on Thomas's behalf that his father had been seised and that he need not answer until he was of age. Henry admitted that Thomas's father had been seised, but claimed that Thomas should answer since he was seised by virtue of the will of his father, who had left the property to Thomas in tail. The enrolled version of Edmund de Hemenhale's will was produced and Thomas claimed that he need not answer since the will made no mention of an entail. Henry admitted this, but sought a judgement on the grounds that this legacy was not the substance of the case. At a later court it was claimed on Thomas's behalf that the property should be sought by a writ of right, and that the 3 rents had not descended under the terms of Stephen de Coventre's will, but according to the terms of grants made by Rose de Coventre, who had reserved the rents to herself and heirs (for particulars of these rents, see below, ii). Against this Henry now stated that he did not acknowledge Edmund de Hemenhale to have been seised of the selds and, reaffirming that the 3 rents were covered by Stephen de Coventre's will, he sought judgement. In 1364 the objection made to Henry's writ was withdrawn on Thomas's behalf. It was then decided that Henry should have execution of the legacy concerning the selds and that since the rent was not included in the will Henry should have nothing of it.5 Henry son of Edmund de Coventre thus appears to have gained possession of a substantial part of the Broad Seld, while Thomas de Hemenhale retained quit-rents from other parts of it. The case may have been a collusive one with the intent of eliminatng the ambiguities arising from the two testaments which were cited.
Parts of the seld in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
Within the seld there was a number of plots or stations where traders had their chests or cupboards. These were ranged down either side of the seld, which was probably similar to 145/8 in layout. By comparison with 145/8, relatively few of the plots are recorded and with much less circumstantial detail. No attempt, therefore, has been made to number the plots, which in the following account are dealt with so far as possible according to the order in which they first appear in the surviving records.
Henry de Coventry, who died between 1281 and 1283, and John le Bas granted to John de Hakebourne a site for a chest (locus sive spacium stacionis cuiusdam ciste) in la Bro[de]selde. This site was later in the possession of John le Chapeler, citizen and mercer, from whom it descended to his daughter and heir, Alice la Chapelere. In 1311 Alice and her husband, Ralph ate Brom of Stepney, granted the property to Rose de Coventre. This property may have been close to the plot of land in Broad Seld which Rose de Coventre had by the gift of Robert de Hakebourne and which by her will, enrolled in 1318, she left to be sold by her executors. It may also have been close to or even identical with a plot in the Great Seld which in 1326 Ralph atte Hache, called le Brewere, and his wife Alice, daughter of the late John de Hakebourne, citizen and mercer, granted to William de Causton, citizen and mercer. This plot lay between a former plot of John de Middelburgh, mercer, on the N. and a plot formerly held by William de Laufare, mercer, and now held by the same William de Causton on the S.; it measured 1 3/4 ells and 3 in. (5 ft. 6 in.; 1.68 m.) in width. Ralph atte Hache and his wife Alice may have been identical with Ralph ate Brom and his wife Alice le Chapeler, and if so John de Hakebourne would have been identical with John le Chapeler. William de Causton thus came to hold at least 2 plots in the seld, which at his death in 1354 were probably identical with the plot there which William Cove held of him and the plot next but one (proxima secunda) in the seld after that which Beatrice de Ellyng had held. Rent from the former of these was to form part of the endowment of a chantry in the parish church of St. Pancras along with rent from 2 plots next to the door of the seld in Soper Lane which may subsequently be identified as 2. De Causton's executors in 1355 sold Cove's plot along with 2 to Nicholas Ploket, who in 1356 granted the property to John Bernes and his wife Cristina, who was de Causton's widow. De Causton left the other plot directly to John Bernes. Both plots may subsequently have been part of 2.6
The £6. 13s. 4d. (10 marks) rent which, according to the will of Henry de Coventre, Rose de Coventre had to pay to her son Stephen (see above, i) came to be charged on a specific part of the seld, which in 1300 was occupied against Rose's will by Richard de Refham, mercer. Stephen was also involved in the attempt to eject Richer. In 1301 Richer acknowledged that he had no right in a plot of land containing room for 2 cupboards in the corner of Rose's seld, except for a term due to end that summer for which Peter de Sparham held the plot to the common profit of himself and Richer. Lady Joan de Breaunzon had leased the seld from Rose for a term of years to the use of an unnamed person, who was to have free use of this plot from midsummer when Peter surrendered it. By his will, enrolled in 1310, Stephen de Coventre left the £6. 13s. 4d. rent to his wife for life, stating that it was due from a plot formerly held by Peter de Sperham and then held by William de Hakeford.7
In or before 1310 Rose de Coventre and Stephen de Coventre granted to Maud de Salle and her heirs a plot of land in the seld in return for a rent of £1. 10s. This property was probably the shop held by Ralph Balle in the seld which Maud de Salle leased to John Est, mercer, for a term of 4 years from 1311 in return for a payment of £11 in advance. The agreement to grant this lease was made between Maud de Salle on the one hand and William de Garton and his wife Maud on the other, to the use of John Est. In 1376 the £1. 10s. rent arising from the property was in the possession of Thomas Hemenhale, burgess of Huntingdon and son of Edmund Hemenhale, who in that year granted it to Richard Odyham, citizen and grocer. The rent was due from a plot of Peter Elsenham on the E. side of the seld between 2 sites of shops (placee schoparum) once belonging to Rose de Coventre and her son Stephen on either side: the site on the N. was held by John Dony by the grant of Henry Coventre (son of Edmund de Coventre), and the one on the S. was held by Robert de Thorp.8
Another plot of land in the seld was at one time in the possession of John de Middelburgh, mercer, from whom it passed to John Stormy of Dromonby (Yorks.). In 1311 Stormy granted it to Hamo Godchiep, citizen and mercer, for a term of 6 years in return for a down payment. Hamo was also to pay a rent of 7s. to Rose de Coventre and her heirs and assigns. At the end of this term in 1317 Stormy leased the plot again to Godchiep, this time for a term of 8 years at a rent of £1, payable at 2-yearly intervals in advance. This property was later a shop in the possession of John Dony, citizen and mercer, who demised it to Richard Norbury, citizen and mercer. In 1379 Thomas Hemenale granted the 7s. rent from this shop to Norbury, his wife Imania, and Norbury's heirs and assigns. This rent and other properties (including 9B) were later in the possession of Adam Norbury's widow Margery, who granted them to William Melreth, mercer, Henry Frowyk, Ralph Holand, Richard Aylemer, mercer, John Boston, mercer, and John Brocour, skinner. Of these trustees Aylemer, Boston and Brocour died, and Frowyk and Holand quitclaimed to Melreth, who by his will, dated and enrolled in 1446, left them to his daughter Margaret, her husband Bartholomew Stratton, mercer, and Margaret's legitimate heirs, with remainders to Melreth's daughter Emma, her husband Thomas Tykhill and Emma's heirs, and then to be sold by Melreth's executors. Both Margaret and Emma appear to have died without heirs, and Melreth's executors granted the properties to Geoffrey Boleyn, Thomas Boleyn, clerk, William Millyngton, clerk, Richard Quartermayns, esquire, Thomas Burgoyn, and their heirs. Of these grantees Geoffrey Boleyn, who died in 1463, seems to have had the use of the properties, which were later in the possession of his descendants (see below).9
Another plot of land in the seld belonged to William de Staunton of London, apothecary, and his wife Lettice, who granted it to Geoffrey de Meldeburn, citizen and merchant of London. In 1318, when Lettice's brother, Roger de Springwell, shearman, quitclaimed to Geoffrey in the property it was said to lie between a plot held by Henry Burel, mercer, formerly of John de Middelbourgh and his wife Avelina on one side and land held by Richard But on the other.10
Henry Burel's plot may have been identical with the shop in the seld which, probably before 1290, Rose de Coventre granted to Henry Borel, reserving a rent of 13s. to herself and her heirs. This grant was cited in the lawsuit of 1362. At his death Burel, a mercer, possessed 2 shops in the seld and two of the shops on the Cheapside frontage (9C-D). By his will, enrolled in April 1325, he left one shop with chests in the seld, which he had acquired from John Pykot, mercer, to his daughter Agnes. Burel left the other shop with chests in the seld, which he had acquired from Wiliam de Caisho, to his son John and to the infant of which Margaret de Swafham was pregnant. Both these children were minors and Agnes was entrusted to the custody of John de Aylesham, mercer; nothing more is known of her shop. In May 1325, under the terms of the will, the wardship of Henry's son John, now a year old, and of the infant, also called John and now 8 weeks old, and the custody of the shop, were entrusted to John Somer, mercer. Somer died without making provision for his wards, and in 1331 the custody of John, the only surviving son of Henry Burel, was entrusted to John Dallyng, junior. John's shop was said to be worth £2 a year and to be charged with a rent of £1. 1s. to Edmund de Coventre. In 1339 Edmund took naam for arrears of a rent of £1. 10s. which he claimed from the shop of John son of Henry Burel, still a minor, but the naam was returned on the grounds that no more than £1. 1s. was due as service. In October 1344, when he can only just have attained his majority, John Burel granted to Simon de Garton, citizen and mercer the shop which had once belonged to Henry Burel. The phrasing of the grant suggests that the John who survived was the son of Margaret de Swafham, who can have been no more than 19 years old in 1344, while the other son would have been aged 20; but it may no longer have been certain which of Henry's sons had survived. In the grant the shop was said to lie between shops of Edmund de Hemenhale to S. and N. After Simon de Garton's death his brother Hugh de Wychyngham inherited the shop. Hugh granted it to John de Wychyngham, citizen and mercer. As a result of a grant made by John de Wychyngham the shop was subsequently due to remain to John de Aldham, citizen and mercer, on the death of de Aldham's wife Agnes. In 1372 de Aldham and Agnes granted the shop to John Ive. The shop was said to lie on the E. side of the seld between a shop which John Orgon, citizen and mercer, held of the heirs of Henry de Coventre on the N., and a shop which John Baynard held of the same landlords on the S.; the shop was 3 3/4 ells (11 ft. 3 in.; 3.43 m.) in length, probably from N. and S. This was probably the shop of which, in 1398, John de Coventre recovered seisin against John Yve, clerk, and Simon Casteleyn (probably Yve's tenant), claiming it as the son of Henry son of Edmund son of Stephen de Coventre son of Henry de Coventre.11
Another plot of land in the seld was that which Rose de Coventre granted to Richer de Refham, reserving a rent of 9s. This was the plot with cupboards and chests (cum almariolis et cistis) which in 1329 Richer de Refham, citizen, his wife Joan, and Joan's brother, Walter Furner, granted to Elizabeth daughter of Ralph Knyght; it lay between plots belonging to Edmund de Coventre to S. and N. This property was later in the possession of Clement Spray, mercer, who probably held it in 1371 when St. Mary Spital complained of intrusion by him and Henry de Coventre's widow Maud. Clement still held the property in 1376, when Thomas Hemenhale granted the 9s. rent due from it to Richard Odyham, citizen and grocer. It was now described as a little plot on the W. side of the seld between 2 plots to S. and N. which John Dony held by the grant of Henry de Coventre. Isabel Spray, probably Clement's widow, probably held the shop in 1398, when John de Coventre recovered possession of a shop against her.12
Another plot in the seld was the placea shope cum armariolo et quodam muro lapideo eidem shope adjacente which Edmund de Coventre granted to Edmund de Hemenhale, citizen and mercer, and in which he quitclaimed in 1340. This plot lay on the E. side of the seld between the plot which John de Dallynghe, citizen and mercer, held of John son of Henry Burel (cf. above) on the N., and the shop formerly belonging to Edmund de Coventre and now occupied by John de Garton, citizen and mercer, on the S.13
By his will, dated 1349 but not enrolled until 1367, William de la Panetrie, citizen and mercer, left the shop in the seld which he had acquired from Edmund de Coventre to his wife Agnes for life with remainder to his son John. Agnes later married John Shilford and in 1375 John de la Panetrie, son and heir of William, quitclaimed in the property to Agnes and John Shilford and Shilford's heirs and assigns. The property was now described as a plot which lay in the S.W. corner of the seld between 104/34 on the W., 145/1B on the S., a shop which William de la Panetrie had held at farm to the N., and a shop which Agnes de Causton had held on the E. In 1398 John de Coventre gained possession of this property when he recovered seisin of a shop against John Shelford.15
The whole property (10), late fourteenth to mid-sixteenth century
In 1364 Henry de Coventre came to be the principal landlord in the seld, in 1371 his widow Maud occupied the same position, and in 1398 his son John de Coventre gained possession of the remaining parts of the seld which were not in his seisin (see above). The property, however, did not descend directly. Henry's widow Maud was probably the Maud wife of Robert de Thorp of Cleveland (Yorks.) who with her husband in 1383 granted their properties in London and the wardship and marriage of John de Coventre to William Sharpyng, citizen and vintner. The Broad Seld was among these properties, and Sharpyng left his interest in it, which was probably restricted to the term of Maud's life, to be sold by his executors. In November 1398 Sharpyng's widow and executrix, Floria, granted to William Norton, draper, Richard Forster, Robert fitzRobert, and William Crowmer, all the selds, solars, cellars, and lands in the Broad Seld as Robert de Thorp and his wife Maud had held them. These grantees were probably trustees for John Coventre, son and heir of Henry Coventre and formerly apprentice of William Sharpyng. Later that month John granted and quitclaimed to them the selds, solars, cellars, reversions, lands, and tenements which he had in the Broad Seld. In 1393 John Coventre appointed attorneys to recover his hereditary right in the Broad Seld against John Hadle, Richard Odyham, John Shelford, draper, Henry Frowyk, and Richard Norbery, who presumably held parts of the seld or rents from it (cf. above, ii). Then, in 1395, Norton, Forster, fitzRobert, and Crowmere brought a plea of intrusion against John Hadle. As we have seen, Coventre gained full possession of the property in 1398, when Richard Odyham quitclaimed to Norton, Forster, fitzRobert, and Crowmer in the £1. 19s. rent which he had there. The property may have been the tenement in St. Pancras parish concerning which in 1400 the prioress of Haliwell brought pleas of intrusion against Forster, Crowmer, Norton, and fitzRobert. In 1402 Forster, fitzRobert, and Crowmer quitclaimed in the property and reversions to Norton, who thus became sole possessor of Broad Seld.16
William Norton had probably already acquired one or more of the 4 shops in front of Broad Seld and the solars above all 4 shops and the entry to the seld. Subsequent conveyances of Broad Seld (10) probably also cover the whole of 9, apart from the shop on the E. side of the entry to the seld (9B). 10 and the greater part of 9 were probably represented by a tenement in St. Pancras parish concerning which the prior of St. Mary Spital in 1408 brought a plea of intrusion against Norton. In 1432 Norton granted these properties to William Wetenhale, citizen and grocer, David Olton, vicar of the church of Kirkton (Lincs.), Robert fitzRobert, Thomas Knolles, junior, grocer, and John Olney and Hugh Wyche, mercers. These grantees, who appear to have held to the use of Wetenhale, were to have the properties to themselves and their heirs and assigns for ever, and were to pay Norton and his assigns a rent of £26. 13s. 4d. for the term of his life. In 1433 Wetenhale's co-grantees quitclaimed to him in the property. At about this time, probably before the quitclaim, the prior of St. Mary Spital brought an assize of fresh force against Wetenhale and his co- grantees concerning a tenement in this parish, but the case failed on account of an error of pleading.17
Wetenhale died in 1457, when the Broad Seld, otherwise known as le Key, was said to contain 12 selds (i.e. shops) and 3 solars and to be worth £9. 6s. 8d. a year after outgoings. In 1454 Wetenhale had granted the property to Thomas Clerk and Thomas Swentenham, grocers, John Parker, scrivener, and John Goodyere, chaplain, who then granted it back to Wetenhale for life with remainders to his son William Wetenhale, his son's wife Margaret daughter of William Hexstall, esquire, and the heirs of their bodies, and with further remainders to the heirs of his son's body and to his daughter Margaret and her husband John Colville, grocer. By Wetenhale's will, drawn up in 1456, his wife Alice was left property in St. Mary Woolchurch parish on condition that she made no claim of dower in 9-10. The younger William Wetenhale, aged 23 in 1457, died in 1468, when the property was said to contain 10 shops and 2 solars and to be worth £6. 13s. 4d. after outgoings. The younger William's heir was his son, also called William Wetenhale, who was 266 days old. It was at about this time that the 6s. 8d. rent due from 10 to London Bridge ceased to be paid; by the mid-16th century it was being levied from 8 (q.v.).18
The third William Wetenhale entered into possession of the property, and in 1520, as William Wetenhale of Peckham (Kent), gentleman, sold it to Richard Colyer, citizen and mercer, for £100 payable in instalments over the next 4 years. Rents were due from the property to St. Mary Spital and to London Bridge. The conveyance was assured by means of a grant to Colyer, Sir Thomas Semar, alderman, John Carryll, sergeant-at-law, Thomas Carryll, merchant of the Calais Staple, John Gonne, merchant tailor, and William Loke, John Goche, Robert Colyer, and Owen Hawkyns, mercers, who were to hold to the use of Richard Colyer. The grant was executed in 1520, and in the following year Wetenhale quitclaimed to the grantees. At this time St. Mary Spital was receiving the £4. 6s. 8d. quit-rent from shops in the tenement called le Key which it had acquired from Gilbert de Ayssingdon before 1307 (see above). The hospital also received from the same tenant a quit-rent of 16s. from the solars (domibus stagiis sive solar') on the N. side of the seld over the entry and the shops on either side. In 1521, in return for a sum of money, the hospital quitclaimed to Colyer and his co-grantees in these 2 rents and any other quit-rent which they had in the property. In 1524 Wetenhale agreed to allow Colyer to recover possession of the property in Husting against himself and his wife Anne. He later refused to do this, and in 1527 Colyer brought a bill against him in the Exchequer, where the sheriffs of London were ordered to hold a view of the properties. A panel of jurors was summoned but failed to appear and a succession of summonses, naming ficticious pledges for the jurors, was then issued into the early part of 1529.19
As a result of these transactions Colyer acquired possession of the whole of 9 and 10, except for one of the shops on the Cheapside frontage (9B), which in 1495 had come into the possession of Richard Laken. This shop, which was charged with a quit-rent of 16s. to St. Mary Spital, was probably among the properties which Laken appears to have left to his wife for life and then to the Mercers' Company as the endowment for a chantry in the church of St. Thomas of Acre. Laken's widow married John Barnard, who in 1524 was in dispute with Richard Colyer over the shop. The dispute was settled by arbitrators appointed by the wardens of the Mercers' Company, who ordained that Colyer should pay a fine of 13s. 4d. to the company, should acquit Barnard for the quit-rent of the shop (probably the 16s. due to St. Mary Spital), and should pay 6s. 8d. a year for the shop to Barnard during the life of his wife and then to her successor. Mrs. Barnard presumably died in 1532, when the Mercers' Company began to receive the rent.20
Richard Colyer rebuilt 9-10 and at the time of his death in 1533 was living there with his wife Katharine. Colyer's establishment also included 2 in Soper Lane. By his will, drawn up in 1533, he left the Key to his wife, who was to have it until his son George was aged 21. Should Colyer's son George and his daughter Dorothy die as minors and without legitimate heirs of their bodies, a part of his estate was to be used to establish a school at Horsham, and the Key, in which Katharine was to have no interest, was to be given by his executors to the Mercers' Company, which was to use the revenue from it to maintain the master and usher at the school. Soon after Colyer's death Katharine married Robert Pakyngton, mercer, who paid the 6s. 8d. rent to the Mercers' Company from 1533-4 onwards. The Agnes Holland who paid the rent in 1532-3 probably occupied the shop (9B) from which the rent was due. Pakyngton was presumably living in the Key in November 1536 when, on leaving his house in Cheapside for mass at the church of St. Thomas of Acre, he was killed by a gunshot near the end of Soper Lane. In the earliest account of this murder, published in 1548, Pakyngton was said to dwell at the sign of the Leg, which was next door to the Key in St. Mary le Bow parish (104/34). There can be no doubt that this was a confusion for Pakyngton was a parishioner of St. Pancras and seems also to have held the shed or shops on the E. side of the Key (8). Furthermore, the Leg was not a substantial residence at that time. Pakyngton's widow Katharine, who still had control of the Key, married Michael Dormer, alderman and mercer, in August 1539. At about this time the Mercers' Company began to take an interest in Richard Colyer's will, thus implying that Colyer's children had died under age and without legitimate issue. Colyer's only executor was his widow Katharine, from whom the company many times unsuccessfully demanded the property, and in 1540 the company agreed with Dormer that he should have its interest in the Key, perform Colyer's will, and pay the company £4 rent. A year later Dormer sought a 21-year lease from the company. Towards the end of 1541, when Dormer was mayor, it became clear he was not keeping to the agreement. The matter was again the subject of discussion in June 1542, when John Maynnarde, mercer, said that he had paid Dormer £66. 13s. 4d. as a fine ('income') for the property in addition to £27. 2s. 8d. for implements there, and that he was paying £22 rent. Maynard was probably living in the property in 1544, when he was taxed as a resident of the parish. In July 1542 it was agreed that Dormer should have a repairing lease from the company for 21 years from 1540 paying a fine of £33. 6s. 8d. This lease seems not to have been put into effect, for it was about then that Thomas Pakyngton, son of Robert Pakyngton, sought the Key against Katharine Dormer in Chancery, claiming that his father had put up the purchase money for the property. In fact it seems that Robert had on Katharine's behalf effected a settlement with the prior of the now dissolved St. Mary Spital, to whom Katharine had paid over the money owed, perhaps in connection with the quit-rent from 9B. As a result of this suit the Mercers' Company seems not to have become fully possessed of the property until 1546, when Sir Michael Dormer died, having agreed to fund the school at Horsham himself during his lifetime.21
9 and 10 in possession of the mercers' company: 1546 to 1666
Until 1588 the Mercers' Company let the whole property known as the Key (9 and 10) as one. The Key was then let in 2 parts: 9-10A, a great tenement known as the Key and later as the Feathers tavern, which occupied the S. part of the property and a narrow part of the Cheapside frontage; and 9-10B, a shop called the Key, which occupied the greater part of the Cheapside frontage. Up to the 1590s the tenants of the Key owned 2 in Soper Lane, which was then acquired by the Mercers' Company. Initially the Company let 2 to the tenant of 9-10A, which adjoined it; 2 was then let separately.
9-10 as a whole, 1546-1588
In 1546 the company leased the 'great mancion place or tenement called the Keaye' to Lady Katharine Dormer, widow of Sir Michael, for a term of 21 years at £22 rent and for a fine of £33. 6s. 8d. The tenant was to be responsible for repairs and was to be able to assign the lease only to a member of the company. A schedule attached to the lease listed the following rooms and fixtures: a great shop (probably that later let as 9-10B) 'garnished about with warebenches covered with canvas'; a nether warehouse (probably on the Soper Lane frontage, cf. 2) containing a warebench covered with canvas; 3 iron racks nailed to the garret windows next to the street to support 2 poles for drying clothes; 2 wainscot shelves in the counting-house over the hall; 2 shelves in the 'fyshehouse'; a summer parlour ceiled round about with wainscot and with a wainscot portal; a hall likewise ceiled with wainscot and with a cupboard built into the wainscot; a parlour next to the street with a carved portal of wainscot; a chamber next to the street with a wainscot portal. Lady Dormer did not live in the house, and by 1562 had assigned the lease to Richard Mallory, who did live there and in that year was granted a new lease for a term of 21 years from 1567 at £22 rent and a fine of £40. Mallory died in 1567, and between then and 1572 the rent was paid by Robert Sharpe, Mallory's assign. Towards the end of 1571 the Key was said to be held and occupied by Andrew Mallory (presumably as Richard Mallory's son and heir, cf. 2), William Mallory, and Matthew Gray, all mercers, as well as Robert Sharpe.22
In 1570-2 George Wetenhale, gentleman, of East Peckham (Kent) made an attempt in the court of Husting to recover possession of the property. With the help of Lady Dormer's executor, Valentine Dale, the Mercers acquired further evidences concerning the property. The company's title appears to have been seriously threatened, and in 1571-2 the property was granted to feoffees who immediately granted it to a further set of feoffees, and so on through 6 sets of feoffees in all. This manoeuvre was intended to keep Wetenhale in ignorance of the owners of the property, so that in the meantime a fine could be levied in order to strengthen the company's title. As a result of this fine Edmund Gresham, the last of the feoffees, in 1573 acknowledged the property to be the right of John Cheke. There was a further uncertainty over the company's title to the property in 1578, when the Master of the Rolls was consulted over a chantry supposed to have been charged on it by virtue of Richard Colyer's will.23
By March 1572 the lease of the Key had been assigned to Ambrose Smythe, mercer, apparently by Robert Sharpe. Smythe died in 1584 and was succeeded as tenant by his son Francis Smythe, also a mercer, who himself died in 1586. Francis's executors paid the rent for the Golden Key in 1587-8. Successive members of the Smythe family lived in the property, and in 1586 Henry Smythe, a servant of the queen, was lodging with his mother (presumably the widow of Ambrose Smythe) at the Gilt Key in Cheapside. The existing lease was due to end at Lady Day 1588, and in 1587 Joan Smythe, widow of Ambrose, petitioned for a new one. Viewers found the Key to be in great need of repair, and Mrs. Smythe was offered a 21-year lease at £22 rent for a fine of £500. She refused these terms and in 1588 the company let the shop on the Cheapside frontage to other tenants. From now on the shop (9-10B) and the remainder of the property (9-10A) were administered separately.24
Mrs. Smythe continued to dwell in the Key, but refused to pay any rent since she wanted a lease of the whole property. In 1589 the company offered her the Key, except for the shop and warehouse (9-10B) and 2 rooms (probably near 2) containing goods belonging to Mr. Freek, for £12 rent. She refused both this offer and a further offer of the same property, with the exception of a warehouse occupied by one Turvill with the chambers over it (probably the warehouse on the Soper Lane frontage), for the term of her widowhood apparently at £2 rent. She also refused an offer of £150 to leave the property. The company then resolved to appeal to the Lord Chancellor and to go to law. In 1590 Mrs. Smythe offered a fine of £400 for the whole property less the 2 rooms occupied by Freeke, but the tenants of the shop (9-10B) did not wish to depart, and the company held to its earlier offer. Mrs. Smythe made a further offer in 1594, this time to pay a rent of £20 for the house and rooms she then occupied (9-10A) together with the new house recently acquired by the company in Soper Lane (2). The Mercers agreed that she should hold on these terms for life, and Mrs. Smythe paid the £20 rent from 1595 until her death in 1601. She continued to live in the Golden Key, as the house was now called, throughout this period.25
In 1599, when there was a dispute over the wall dividing 145/9-10A from 104/34, Mrs. Smythe's house included 2 sets of windows in the wall, measuring 4 ft. 6 in. (1.37 m.) N./S. and 2 ft. 8 in. (813 mm.) high and overlooking 104/34. One set of windows was in the 'second storey' (probably the first floor) over the screen (probably of the hall), and the other windows adjoined the nursery chamber further to the S. Mrs. Smith's son, William Smith, mercer, was dwelling at the Golden Key in March 1600, shortly before his mother's death, and in 1602, in spite of the Queen's support for the suit of his fellow mercer, William Lewson, managed to obtain a new lease of 9-10A and 2 for a term of 21 years at £12 rent. For this he was to pay a fine of £233. 6s. 8d., in the form of an initial payment of £33. 6s. 8d. and subsequent annual payments of £50. 9-10A was described as a messuage called the Key with solars, cellars, warehouses, rooms and yards, except for a great shop towards Cheapside and a warehouse adjoining the shop. Also excepted were 2 little rooms adjoining the messuage (probably the rooms once held by Mr. Freeke), which were let to the tenant of 2 (q.v.). Smith, who had been knighted by 1603, appears to have lived in the house until 1607, when the lease was assigned to Thomas Bennett the younger, citizen and mercer, who also lived there.26
Bennett rebuilt the property and in 1610, in consideration of expenditure said to have amounted to £1000, was granted a new lease at £30 rent for the remaining 12 years of the term granted in 1602 and for a further 46 years at the same rent. One of the 2 little rooms excepted out of the earlier lease was still excepted, but the lease now included a chamber, lying towards Soper Lane, occupied by the tenant of 2, over Bennett's great warehouse and containing a chimney, a house of office, and a fair glazed window. Bennett became an alderman in 1613 and died in 1620, when he was succeeded as tenant by his widow Dorothy Bennett. Between 1624 and 1628 Mrs. Bennett was involved in a lawsuit against the tenant of 2 concerning the room in her messuage which was let with 2 (q.v.) and which had been altered as a result of the rebuilding. In 1631 Mrs. Bennett refused to pay her rent and over the following 2 years the company made strenuous efforts to eject her. She called the Mercers into Chancery and uttered foul words against them. The dispute concerned the wainscot and other items listed in the schedules attached to the leases granted between 1546 and 1602, and presumably destroyed in the recent rebuilding. In 1633 the matter was settled when Mrs. Bennett paid the arrears and with her son Humphrey Bennett, gentleman, ratified the lease of 1610 and agreed to surrender the wainscot at the end of the term.27
In 1638 Mrs. Bennett's house was valued at £60 a year, the second highest valuation in the parish. She continued to live there until 1642, when she assigned the lease to Mrs. Katharine Highlord, widow. Mrs. Highlord continued to pay the £30 rent to the Mercers' Company until 1650, when she was succeeded by Thomas Coates, a vintner. Coates probably already occupied the property in 1646, when it was reported to the Mercers that the Key was let to be a tavern. He was certainly resident in the parish in 1647, and in 1645 had kept a tavern in Cateaton Street called the Feathers, a name which by 1649 had been transferred to Coates's establishment in Cheapside (9- 10A). In 1660 Coates petitioned the Mercers for a new lease of 21 years in reversion of the Feathers tavern and promised to spend £400 on improving the accommodation. The property was now valued at £90 a year and was occupied by Coates himself and by his undertenant, a basket-maker, who held a part of the property by the back door in Soper Lane. Coates's offer was turned down several times, but in 1661 he was granted the lease at £30 rent and for a fine of £400. A year later 7 years were added to the term in consideration of the £650 he had spent on building and repairs since paying the fine. Coates became tenant of 9-10B in 1663, and in 1664 obtained permission to alienate the 2 properties, but he still held them in 1666. Coates is not, however, named in the parish Hearth Tax assessment of 1666, when the property seems to be represented by a house with 13 hearths occupied by James Powell, vintner, who was presumably Coates's undertenant. There was one more hearth at Powell's house in his landlord's possession, suggesting that Coates maintained a lodging there.28
9-10B, 1588 to 1666
In 1588 3 young men of the Mercers' Company, Humphrey Orme, Richard Heath, and Hilary Nashe, all recently servants of Ambrose Smythe, were said to dwell in the shop and warehouse of the Key on the Cheapside frontage and were granted a lease of the property for a term of 5 years at £20 rent. The 3 of them were named as paying this rent for the shop called the 'Gilden Key' until 1594-5, when Heath and Orme alone paid the rent. These 'young men of the Key' were granted an additional 5 years to their term in 1592, and in 1602 Heath and Orme took a new lease for a term of 21 years at £10 rent and for a fine of £310, of which £100 was to be paid immediately and the remainder in quarterly instalments amounting to £10 a year. In this lease the property was described as a great shop with a room or warehouse adjoining at the corner of Soper Lane end. The rebuilding of the shed (8) between this shop and Soper Lane, which was begun in 1602, threatened to block the great light of this shop measuring 6 ft. by 2 ft. (1.83 m. by 610 mm.), the light of the parlour above the shop (which may have been part of 9-10A), measuring 6 ft. by 5 1/2 ft. (1.83 m. by 1.68 m.), and a closet light measuring 2 ft. 6 in. by 3 ft. (762 mm. by 914 mm.).29
Orme and Heath rebuilt their holding about 1607, at the same time as Thomas Bennett rebuilt 9-10A (see above). In 1610, having surrendered their lease and in consideration of £160 spent by them on building and repairs, Orme and Heath were granted a new lease for a term of 40 years at £10 rent and for a fine of £400 payable in quarterly instalments at the rate of £10 a year. Orme and Heath were recorded as paying £20 rent to the Mercers' Company for the shop until 1621, when they were succeeded by Robert Hampton (also written as Plumpton and as Lampton) and Dallison Ward, who paid the rent until 1633. The rent was then paid by Mrs. Jane Heath, tenant of 2, until 1638; her executors paid it until 1642, when they were succeeded by Francis Heath, who was said to pay it from then until 1651. These rent-payers probably held the lease by assignment, but seem not to have occupied the shop. In 1638 the property was described as Mr. Blagdon's shop and was valued at £30 a year. Blagdon, who occupied the shop in 1633, had his residence elsewhere in the parish, probably on the S. side of Pancras Lane (cf. 12). Blagdon may have been a linendraper, like at least one of his successors in the property. His shop was presumably denoted by the sign of the Golden Key and it was probably in order to protect this long-established trademark that in 1638 the Court of Aldermen ordered a linendraper dwelling at the Rose in Cheapside to take down the sign of the Golden Key which he had erected there.30
By 1642 Blagdon had been succeeded in the shop by Richard Oglander, mercer, who in 1647, 3 years before the end of the lease granted in 1610, petitioned for a new lease. The shop was now found to measure 60 ft. 6 in. by 21 ft. (18.4 m. by 6.4 m.) and to be worth a fine of £200 for a 21-year lease at £20 rent. After some negotiation Oglander was granted a new lease for a term of 18 1/4 years from Michaelmas 1650 at £20 rent and for a fine of £170, which he paid early in 1648. Oglander died in 1652 when he was a resident of this parish. His legacies included 5s. to Goodwife Smith 'that sitteth at my door' and who probably traded from a stall or chair in Cheapside next to the door of the Golden Key. Oglander's widow, Rebecca Oglander, was granted permission to alienate the shop. Later in 1652 the lease was held by George Savage, who, at Mrs. Oglander's request, was granted permission to assign it. The assignee on this occasion was Francis Isaacson, a linendraper, who was recorded as paying the rent between 1652 and 1660. On 29 October 1660 Samuel Pepys and a 'company of fine ladies' viewed the Lord Mayor's pageants from Isaacson's establishment at the Key (9-10B) and Pepys afterwards entertained Isaacson at the tavern next door (9-10A). From 1660 onwards Francis Heath was again named as paying the rent for the shop to the Mercers' Company, but by 1663 had probably been succeeded by Henry Heath, mercer, who in that year with Thomas Coates, the tenant of 9-10A, petitioned for a new lease of the shop. Earlier that year the great shop and a house or rooms lately added to it and formerly part of 9-10A were said to be worth a fine of £450 for a 21-year lease at £30 rent. In November a lease of the shop was granted to Coates for a term of 21 years from the end of 1668 at £30 rent and for a fine of £500. In the Hearth Tax assessment of 1666 9-10B may be represented by a house with 6 hearths occupied by William Keyling, draper.31
9-10 after the great fire
At the time of the Fire Thomas Coates occupied the whole of 9-10. He intended to rebuild the property and in November 1666 was allowed to carry away bricks from it so long as he replaced them with new bricks when required. The Mercers' Company encouraged him to build, estimating in April 1667 that the total cost might be £2000 and that the restored property might bring in £190 a year in addition to the reserved rent of £60. In December a foundation was set out for Coates occupying the whole of the Cheapside frontage and extending back 36 ft. (10.97 m.) from the street. The messuage on this site may have been complete by February 1670, when Coates, claiming that he had spent over £1000 on rebuilding and repairing the property before the Fire and that he had paid £850 out of the total of £900 due to the Mercers for the leases which were to commence in 1668, sought more favourable terms so as to encourage rebuilding. As a result he was granted a term of 71 years from 1669 for the whole of 9-10, for which he was to pay a rent of £50. In June 1688 a foundation covering the whole of the remainder of 9-10, together with the site of 2 was surveyed for Coates.32
Coates got into difficulties and in October 1672 was declared bankrupt. Shortly before this he assigned his interest in the property by way of mortgage to George Carter, citizen and vintner, and Coates and Carter then assigned their estate in the premises to Simon Morse, citizen and draper, in return for payments of £750 to Coates and £600 to Carter. In 1673 Morse obtained a lease of the newly-built messuage on the Cheapside frontage from the Mercers' Company. This messuage and the shops it contained were valued at £110 a year and Coates's interest in the property as £1260. In 1676 the Commissioners for Bankrupts assigned Coates's estate to Henry Stead and John Winkles, to whom Coates was indebted, and soon afterwards Stead and Winkles sold their interest to Morse for £150 and then quitclaimed to the Mercers' Company. The messuage held by Morse included a yard on the S. side paved with Purbeck stone, beneath which was a vault or cellar reserved to the Mercers' Company. Also excepted from Morse's lease was any part of the property which had been used with the Feathers' Tavern and a passage on the W. side of the house 10 ft. (3.05 m.) high and 6 ft. 9 in. (2.06 m.) wide leading from Cheapside to the rear of the property then held by Coates. The company reserved the right to hang a tavern sign in Cheapside over this entry. By 1676 the yards and the rear parts of the structures of a row of houses fronting on to Queen Street occupied the S. of the property behind Morse's messuage.33