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.
This free content was born digital. All rights reserved.
The block of properties (17-38) of which 17 formed the S.E. corner was bounded to the S. by Pancras Lane, to the W. by Soper Lane (subsequently Queen Street), to the N. by Cheapside, and to the E. by a lane known as Gropecunt Lane. This lane survived until the Great Fire, and ran from Cheapside, between 38 and 39, to Pancras Lane, between 17 and St. Pancras church and yard. 17, on the corner, abutted E. on Gropecunt Lane, S. on Pancras Lane, N. on 38, and W. on 18. 18, the largest property, in the centre of the block, abutted S. on Pancras Lane and N. on 26 and 37. 19-35 were shops, some of them very small, on the Soper Lane frontage. A lane, usually known as Popkirtle Lane, ran N.-S. between 18 on the E. and the backs of at least some of the shops, 19-35, on the W.; another lane, also sometimes known as Popkirtle Lane, ran southwards from Cheapside at least part of the way into the block, between 36 and 37. Although the shops, 19-35, did not disappear in the later Middle Ages like those on the W. side of Soper Lane (see 3-7), their number was reduced, and a large part of 18, measuring some 105 ft. by 48 ft. (32 m. by 14.63 m.), was being used as a carpenter's yard in the mid 16th century. By the same date part of 17 had become an additional churchyard.
Thirteenth to sixteenth century
In 1253-4 Gilbert le Bas held 17 of William Wilehale, who granted the 10s. 4d. quit-rent he used to receive from Gilbert to the priory of Holy Trinity Aldgate. The tenement lay between 18 to the W. and the church to the E. Gilbert subsequently paid this rent to the priory. In 1286 the S. abutment of 38 was said to be houses sometime of Richard de Kay; it is not clear if these were 17, or a part of it, or another property that subsequently disappeared. This Richard might be identical with, or be being confused with, Richard le Kayer who held 19 (q.v.) at his death in or before 1290. By 1275, however, 17 was held by Thomas Heyron, and was said to have belonged earlier to Roger Peverel. In 1290 Hugh Moton left a quit-rent of 6s. from the tenement of Thomas Heyron, which he had bought from Ralph le Bas, to support a chaplain in the church of St. Mary Aldermary for the souls of himself, his wife, Walter Moton and others. Before 1294 Thomas Heyron granted 17 to William de Hereford, citizen, who by his will, proved in 1298, left it to his daughter Maud. Later in 1298 Simon Godard, his wife Alice, and Benedicta widow of Hamo Box distrained in Maud's tenement for arrears of a quit-rent of £1. 8s., which Alice and Benedicta claimed as daughters of Alice daughter of Gilbert le Bas. The jury in the ensuring plea, however, found that Alice daughter of Gilbert had never been in seisin of the rent, as her daughters claimed, by the hands of Thomas Heyron or anyone else. (fn. 1)
The immediate descent of 17 is uncertain. In 1307-8 Richard Vantot paid the 10s. 4d. rent to Holy Trinity Priory, in 1311-12 and 1326-7 William Henry paid, in 1327-8 Richard Vantot, and in 1356-7 John Stanhoppe. The property was probably subsequently held by Henry de Lancastre of Faversham (Kent). In 1363 his widow Joan, with her second husband Richard Ewell of Faversham, granted their lands, tenements, and houses in St. Pancras parish to Adam Stable, citizen and mercer, and his wife Katharine, to hold for Joan's life. The property lay between 18 to the W., 38 to the N., Gropecountelane to the E. and the highway (subsequently known as Pancras Lane) to the S. In 1368 Nicholas Lancastre, son of Henry, quitclaimed to Adam Stable and Katharine in 17, and in 1375 Dionisia, daughter of Henry Lancastre, did the same. Adam Stable paid the 10s. 4d. rent to Holy Trinity c. 1368 and in 1374. In 1376 Adam and Katharine granted 17 to John Hadle, Richard Odiham, and John Dane, citizens, possibly to act on their behalf. In 1379, after an inquisition, Hadle, Odiham, and Dane obtained a licence to grant a plot of land to the W. of St. Pancras church to make a new churchyard. The plot, 17B, evidently comprised the N. part of 17, and measured 15 1/2 ells (46 ft. 6 in.; 14.17 m.) along the E. side, 17 1/2 ells (52 ft. 6 in.; 16 m.) along the W. side, 6 ells 1 ft. (19 ft.; 5.79 m.) at the S. end, and 7 ells 1 ft. (22 ft.; 6.71 m.) at the N. end, and was worth 3s. 4d. p.a. In 1385 the prior of Holy Trinity released 3s. 8d. of their quit-rent of 10s. 4d. from the whole of 17 to John Hadele for 20 years. Part of the property (17A) was occupied by a newly-built house and the rest (17B) ordained for a churchyard. After 20 years the rent should be due as before. In 1394 the churchyard was given as the S. abutment of 38. (fn. 2)
By his will, dated 1406 but not proved until 1419, though he died in 1410, John Haddele, citizen and grocer, left his tenement (17A) next to the churchyard, to the rector and churchwardens of St. Pancras, for the support of the church clock (orlogium). The tenement was valued at an inquisition at £1. 10s. p.a. In 1423 the priory of Holy Trinity complained of intrusion by the rector and churchwardens of St. Pancras, probably for disseisin of the 10s. 4d. rent from this property and the churchyard. The rent continued to be paid to the priory until its dissolution in 1532, and then to the Crown until 1548. In 1548 the rent was said to be no longer payable, because the parish lands were in the Crown's hands (by reason of the suppression of the chantries). It is not clear, however, that these lands did actually come into the Crown's possession, but the rent was extinguished as though they had. (fn. 3)
Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
This property, known as the Clock House, represents the tenement left by John Haddele to the parish by will. By 1670, and possibly much earlier, 17A appears to have included part of the plot given by Haddele and others for a churchyard (17B), some 12 ft. (3.66 m.) in length. In the early 16th century William Burwell, citizen and mercer, lent money to the parish for rebuilding houses belonging to them in St. Pancras parish (145/11) (S. of Pancras Lane) and St. Antonin's, and also gave money, so that he should be considered co-founder with John Causton (d. 1353) of the chantry of which these houses formed a part of the endowment, and that he might have a lease of 'the Clokhouse' (between 18 to the W., the churchyard to the N., the church to the E., and the street to the S.) and of other rents belonging to the parish. There seems to have been some dispute over arrangements, settled by mediation, and in 1522 Burwell sold all his interest in the lands, rents, and chantry, to Simon Rice, for £200. Subsequently Rice surrendered the lease and his interests, except in the chantry, in return for an annuity. 17A does not appear to be listed in the chantry certificate of 1548 and may never have passed to the Crown; it was not held for superstitious uses. The rent due to the Crown from it, however, was extinguished. The parish was still (or again) in possession in 1552, when the rector and churchwardens leased the Clockhouse to Christopher Mering at £3. 4s. rent. (fn. 4)
The churchwardens' accounts survive from 1616. John Vigars paid £2. 8s. for 3 quarters of 1616-17, followed by Mr. Fox, paying 16s. in 1616-17 and £3. 4s. yearly until 1620. In 1620-1 Mr. Fox and Mr. Heblund paid the rent for the Clock House, in which Widow Hubland lived. From 1622 to 1625 William Hammond paid the £3. 4s. rent. In 1626 the rent was raised to £10 p.a., which Mr. (Mark) Taylor paid from 1626 to 1638. Mr. Taylor was tithe-payer for a house in Pancras Lane valued at £15 p.a. in 1638. Mr. Taylor and Mr. Houbelon paid the rent, probably in succession, in 1638-9, Mr. Houbelon paid alone in 1639-40, Mr. Houbelon and Mr. Lekeux in 1640-1, and Mr. Lekeux and Mr. Bridge (together) from 1641 to 1645. Mr. Bridge and Mr. Lekeux were assessed together for a fifteenth in 1642. Mr. Abraham Lokeux paid the rent from 1645 to 1650, paying also £25 for a fine for a lease of the Clock House for 19 years from 1649. From 1650 the rent appears to have been £20 p.a., less a varying amount for taxes during the period of the Commonwealth. Mr. Desmarico paid this rent for 1650-1 and Mr. (Bartholomew) Caulier from 1651 to 1659. In 1659 the parish treated with Mrs. Caulier, offering an extension to the lease to 31 years, for £70 fine, towards the repair of the church. This offer was not agreed upon, and later in 1659 it was agreed to make a lease to Thomas Hall of the Clock House, for 23 years from the expiry of the present lease in 1667, for a fine of £60. Hall paid £60 to the parish in 1659-60, and £20 rent thereafter until the time of the Great Fire. In 1666 Thomas Hall, merchant, occupied this house, which had 5 hearths. (fn. 5)
A foundation was surveyed for Halle in August 1670, measuring some 29 ft. (8.84 m.) E.-W. along Pancras Lane and 25 ft. (7.62 m.) N.-S. along the E. side. The W. side included a return which narrowed the property so it was only 22 ft. (6.71 m.) wide at the N. end by the churchyard. Comparison of this with plots surveyed nearby (see 18, 38) and later plans of parish property suggests that this foundation included about 12 ft. (3.66 m.) in length of the plot given in 1379 for the churchyard (17B). A tapering piece of ground, 2 ft. 4 in. (710 mm.) wide at the W. end and containing 34 ft. 5 in. 'superficial' (3.2 sq. m.) was cut off along the S. frontage to widen Pancras Lane, for which Hall was compensated at 5s. per square foot. The terms for rebuilding seem to have been that Hall should rebuild, pay a fine of £60, and hold the house at £1 rent for some period, followed by £20 as before. In 1671 the parish allowed him to enclose an area of the churchyard, 6 ft. (1.83 m.) in depth by the width of the churchyard, adjoining his house. This plot was marked as an area or yard in a plan of 17A-B dating from the early 19th century. By that time 17A included rooms at firstfloor level and above over the passage (formerly Gropecunt Lane) formerly leading to Cheapside; it almost certainly did not include rooms over the lane before the Fire. (fn. 6)
This represents part of the plot, some 19 to 22 ft. (5.79 m. to 6.71 m.) wide by 46 to 52 ft. (14.02 m. to 15.85 m.) long granted for use as a churchyard in 1379. By 1670, and probably long before the Fire, some 12 ft. (3.66 m.) in length at the S. end of this plot seems to have been built over as part of 17A. There was a house at the N. end of the remaining part of the plot by the early 17th century, usually referred to as the house in the churchyard. It is possible that this house had existed as early as 1532, and was then occupied as the parsonage house. During a dispute in that year, the boundary wall between 18 and 38 was said to run from the parsonage of St. Pancras N. to a brick wall belonging to St. Thomas of Acre (37). In the early 17th century the house in the churchyard was occupied by Thomas Venables, who paid £5 rent for it from 1616 to 1631. Widow Venables paid the same rent from 1631 to 1636, and was assessed for a fifteenth in the parish in 1633. John Cony or Coney, later identified as citizen and clothworker, paid the £5 rent from 1636 to 1662; he held a house worth £5 p.a. in Pancras Lane in the assessment of 1638, and was assessed for a fifteenth in 1642. Mrs. Coney paid £5 rent for her dwelling house from 1662 to 1665, and Mr. Jackson paid the same for his dwelling house in 1665-6. Robert Jackson, tailor, occupied a house with 3 hearths here in 1666. (fn. 7) It is possible that a small part of 17B was the shop belonging to the parish which John Gilbert and a glazier held in 1627-8, for which the latter paid 14s. 8d. for 2 terms. Gilbert paid £1 rent in 1628-9 and 10s. in 1629-30. He was the parish clerk, and died in 1630-1. Mrs. Gilbert held a house worth £2 p.a. in 1638, which from its place between 16 and 17B in the assessment list probably lay near by. In 1666 Thomas Bates, parish clerk, occupied a house with 2 hearths, listed in the Hearth Tax list under Pancras Lane, north side, after Jackson, and probably, therefore, the same as Gilbert's. (fn. 8)
In 1671 the parish agreed to lease the toft of John Coney's former house to Henry Radcliffe, citizen and grocer, for a term of 61 years at £29. 18s. fine and a rent of 4s., under which the tenant was to rebuild a house of the second sort. Later that year this agreement was superseded by one on the same terms with John Nye. The toft to be built on measured 19 1/2 to 21 ft. (5.94 m. to 6.4 m.) in width E.-W., by 14 ft. (4.27 m.) N.-S. on the E. side and 13 ft. 4 in. (4.06 m.) E.-W. on the W. side. It probably lay to the N. of the space remaining as churchyard, since the lights of Mr. Allington's tenement (38) are mentioned in connection with the rebuilding. Nye was to have a door into the old churchyard. The church of St. Pancras was not rebuilt, and its site was used for burials. The churchyard forming part of 17 became redundant; some of it was still open in 1676, but it had all been built over, apart from a small yard, by the early 19th century. (fn. 9)