Old and New London: Volume 1. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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CHEAPSIDE TRIBUTARIES, NORTH:—WOOD STREET.
Wood Street—Pleasant Memories—St. Peter's in Chepe—St. Michael's and St. Mary Staining—St. Alban's, Wood Street—Some Quaint Epitaphs—Wood Street Compter and the Hapless Prisoners therein—Wood Street Painful, Wood Street Cheerful—Thomas Ripley—The Anabaptist Rising—A Remarkable Wine Cooper—St. John Zachary and St. Anne-in-the-Willows—Haberdashers' Hall—Something about the Mercers.
Wood Street runs from Cheapside to London Wall. Stow has two conjectures as to its name—first, that it was so called because the houses in it were built all of wood, contrary to Richard I.'s edict that London houses should be built of stone, to prevent fire; secondly, that it was called after one Thomas Wood, sheriff in 1491 (Henry VII.), who dwelt in this street, was a benefactor to St. Peter in Chepe, and built "the beautiful row of houses over against Wood Street end."
At Cheapside Cross, which stood at the corner of Wood Street, all royal proclamations used to be read, even long after the cross was removed. Thus, in 1666, we find Charles II.'s declaration of war against Louis XIV. proclaimed by the officers at arms, serjeants at arms, trumpeters, &c., at Whitehall Gate, Temple Bar, the end of Chancery Lane, Wood Street, Cheapside, and the Royal Exchange. Huggin's Lane, in this street, derives its name, as Stow tells us, from a London citizen who dwelt here in the reign of Edward I., and was called Hugan in the Lane.
That pleasant tree at the left-hand corner of Wood Street, which has cheered many a weary business man with memories of the fresh green fields far away, was for long the residence of rooks, who built there. In 1845 two fresh nests were built, and one is still visible; but the sable birds deserted their noisy town residence several years ago. Probably, as the north of London was more built over, and such feeding-grounds as Belsize Park turned to brick and mortar, the birds found the fatigue of going miles in search of food for their young unbearable, and so migrated. Leigh Hunt, in one of his agreeable books, remarks that there are few districts in London where you will not find a tree. "A child was shown us," says Leigh Hunt, "who was said never to have beheld a tree but one in St. Paul's Churchyard (now gone). Whenever a tree was mentioned, it was this one; she had no conception of any other, not even of the remote tree in Cheapside." This famous tree marks the site of St. Peter in Chepe, a church destroyed by the Great Fire. The terms of the lease of the low houses at the west-end corner are said to forbid the erection of another storey or the removal of the tree. Whether this restriction arose from a love of the tree, as we should like to think, we cannot say.
St. Peter's in Chepe is a rectory (says Stow), "the church whereof stood at the south-west corner of Wood Street, in the ward of Farringdon Within, but of what antiquity I know not, other than that Thomas de Winton was rector thereof in 1324."
The patronage of this church was anciently in the Abbot and Convent of St. Albans, with whom it continued till the suppression of their monastery, when Henry VIII., in the year 1546, granted the same to the Earl of Southampton. It afterwards belonged to the Duke of Montague. This church being destroyed in the fire and not rebuilt, the parish is united to the Church of St. Matthew, Friday Street. "In the year 1401," says Maitland, "licence was granted to the inhabitants of this parish to erect a shed or shop before their church in Cheapside. On the site of this building, anciently called the 'Long Shop,' are now erected four shops, with rooms over them."
"At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years;
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.
"She looks, and her heart is in heaven; but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade;
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes."
Perhaps some summer morning the poet, passing down Cheapside, saw the plane-tree at the corner wave its branches to him as a friend waves a hand, and at that sight there passed through his mind an imagination of some poor Cumberland servant-girl toiling in London, and regretting her far-off home among the pleasant hills.
St. Michael's, Wood Street, is a rectory situated on the west side of Wood Street, in the ward of Cripplegate Within. John de Eppewell was rector thereof before the year 1328. "The patronage was anciently in the Abbot and Convent of St. Albans, in whom it continued till the suppression of their monastery, when, coming to the Crown, it was, with the appurtenances, in the year 1544, sold by Henry VIII. to William Barwell, who, in the year 1588, conveyed the same to John Marsh and others, in trust for the parish, in which it still continues." Being destroyed in the Great Fire, it was rebuilt, in 1675, from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren. At the east end four Ionic pillars support an entablature and pediment, and the three circular-headed windows are well proportioned. The south side faces Huggin Lane, but the tower and spire are of no interest. The interior of the church is a large parallelogram, with an ornamented carved ceiling. In 1831 the church was repaired and the tower thrown open. The altarpiece represents Moses and Aaron. The vestrybooks date from the beginning of the sixteenth century, and contain, among others, memoranda of parochial rejoicings, such as—"1620. Nov. 9. Paid for ringing and a bonfire, 4s."
The Church of St. Mary Staining being destroyed
in the Great Fire, the parish was annexed to that
of St. Michael's. The following is the most curious
of the monumental inscriptions:—
"John Casey, of this parish, whose dwelling was
In the north-corner house as to Lad Lane you pass;
For better knowledge, the name it hath now
Is called and known by the name of the Plow;
Out of that house yearly did geeve
Twenty shillings to the poore, their neede to releeve;
Which money the tenant must yearlie pay
To the parish and churchwardens on St. Thomas' Day.
The heire of that house, Thomas Bowrman by name,
Hath since, by his deed, confirmed the same;
Whose love to the poore doth hereby appear,
And after his death shall live many a yeare.
Therefore in your life do good while yee may,
That when meagre death shall take yee away;
You may live like form'd as Casey and Bowrman—
For he that doth well shall never be a poore man."
Here was also a monument to Queen Elizabeth,
with this inscription, found in many other London
"Here lyes her type, who was of late
The prop of Belgia, stay of France,
Spaine's foile, Faith's shield, and queen of State,
Of arms, of learning, fate and chance.
In brief, of women ne'er was seen
So great a prince, so good a queen.
"Sith Vertue her immortal made,
Death, envying all that cannot dye,
Her earthly parts did so invade
As in it wrackt self-majesty.
But so her spirits inspired her parts,
That she still lives in loyal hearts."
There was buried here (but without any outward monument) the head of James, the fourth King of Scots, slain at Flodden Field. After the battle, the body of the said king being found, was closed in lead, and conveyed from thence to London, and so to the monastery of Shene, in Surrey, where it remained for a time. "But since the dissolution of that house," says Stow, "in the reign of Edward VI., Henry Gray, Duke of Suffolk, lodged and kept house there. I have been shown the said body, so lapped in lead. The head and body were thrown into a waste room, amongst the old timber, lead, and other rubble; since which time workmen there, for their foolish pleasure, hewed off his head; and Launcelot Young, master glazier to Queen Elizabeth, feeling a sweet savour to come from thence, and seeing the same dried from moisture, and yet the form remaining with the hair of the head and beard red, brought it to London, to his house in Wood Street, where for a time he kept it for the sweetness, but in the end caused the sexton of that church to bury it amongst other bones taken out of their charnel."
"The parish church of St. Michael, in Wood Street, is a proper thing," says Strype, "and lately well repaired; John Iue, parson of this church, John Forster, goldsmith, and Peter Fikelden, taylor, gave two messuages and shops, in the same parish and street, and in Ladle Lane, to the reparation of the church, the 16th of Richard II. In the year 1627 the parishioners made a new door to this church into Wood Street, where till then it had only one door, standing in Huggin Lane."
St. Mary Staining, in Wood Street, destroyed by the Great Fire, stood on the north side of Oat Lane, in the Ward of Aldersgate Within. "The additional epithet of staining," says Maitland, "is as uncertain as the time of the foundation; some imagining it to be derived from the painters' stainers, who probably lived near it; and others from its being built with stone, to distinguish it from those in the City that were built with wood. The advowson of the rectory anciently belonged to the Prioress and Convent of Clerkenwell, in whom it continued till their suppression by Henry VIII., when it came to the Crown. The parish, as previously observed, is now united to St. Michael's, Wood Street. That this church is not of a modern foundation, is manifest from John de Lukenore's being rector thereof before the year 1328.
St. Alban's, Wood Street, in the time of Paul, the fourteenth Abbot of St. Alban's, belonged to the Verulam monastery, but in 1077 the abbot exchanged the right of presentation to this church for the patronage of one belonging to the Abbot of Westminster. Matthew Paris says that this Wood Street Church was the chapel of King Offa, the founder of St. Alban's Abbey, who had a palace near it. Stow says it was of great antiquity, and that Roman bricks were visible here and there among the stones. Maitland thinks it probable that it was one of the first churches built by Alfred in London after he had driven out the Danes. The right of presentation to the church was originally possessed by the master, brethren, and sisters of St. James's Leper Hospital (site of St. James's Palace), and after the death of Henry VI. it was vested in the Provost and Fellows of Eton College. In the reign of Charles II. the parish was united to that of St. Olave, Silver Street, and the right of presentation is now exercised alternately by Eton College and the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's. The style of the interior of the church is late pointed. The windows appear older than the rest of the building. The ceiling in the nave exhibits bold groining, and the general effect is not unpleasing.
"One note of the great antiquity of this church," says Seymour, "is the name, by which it was first dedicated to St. Alban, the first martyr of England. Another character of the antiquity of it is to be seen in the manner of the turning of the arches to the windows, and the heads of the pillars. A third note appears in the Roman bricks, here and there inlaid amongst the stones of the building. Very probable it is that this church is, at least, of as ancient a standing as King Adelstane, the Saxon, who, as tradition says, had his house at the east end of this church. This king's house, having a door also into Adel Street, in this parish, gave name, as 'tis thought, to the said Adel Street, which, in all evidences, to this day is written King Adel Street. One great square tower of this king's house seemed, in Stow's time, to be then remaining, and to be seen at the north corner of Love Lane, as you come from Aldermanbury, which tower was of the very same stone and manner of building with St. Alban's Church."
About the commencement of the seventeenth century St. Alban's, being in a state of great decay, was surveyed by Sir Henry Spiller and Inigo Jones, and in accordance with their advice, apparently, in 1632 it was pulled down, and rebuilt anno 1634; but, perishing in the flames of 1666, it was re-erected as it now appears, and finished in the year 1688, from Wren's design.
In the old church were the following epitaphs:—
"Of William Wilson, Joane his wife,
And Alice, their daughter deare,
These lines were left to give report
These three lye buried here;
And Alice was Henry Decon's wife,
Which Henry lives on earth,
And is the Serjeant Plummer
To Queen Elizabeth.
With whom this Alice left issue here,
His virtuous daughter Joan,
To be his comfort everywhere
Now joyfull Alice is gone.
And for these three departed soules,
Gone up to joyfull blisse,
Th' almighty praise be given to God,
To whom the glory is."
Over the grave of Anne, the wife of Laurence
Gibson, gentleman, were the following verses, which
are worth mentioning here:—
"MENTS VIS MAGNA.
"What! is she dead?
Doth he survive?
No; both are dead,
And both alive.
She lives, hee's dead,
By love, though grieving,
In him, for her,
Yet dead, yet living;
Both dead and living,
Then what is gone?
One half of both,
Not any one.
One mind, one faith,
One hope, one grave,
In life, in death,
They had and still they have."
The pulpit (says Seymour) is finely carved with an enrichment, in imitation of fruit and leaves; and the sound-board is a hexagon, having round it a fine cornice, adorned with cherubims and other embellishments, and the inside is neatly finniered. The altar-piece is very ornamental, consisting of four columns, fluted with their bases, pedestals, entablature, and open pediment of the Corinthian order; and over each column, upon acroters, is a lamp with a gilded taper. Between the inner columns are the Ten Commandments, done in gold letters upon black. Between the two, northward, is the Lord's Prayer, and the two southward the Creed, done in gold upon blue. Over the commandments is a Glory between two cherubims, and above the cornice the king's arms, with the supporters, helmet, and crest, richly carved, under a triangular pediment; and on the north and south side of the above described ornaments are two large cartouches, all of which parts are carved in fine wainscot. The church is well paved with oak, and here are two large brass branches and a marble font, having enrichments of cherubims, &c.
In a curious brass frame, attached to a tall stem, opposite the pulpit is an hour-glass, by which the preacher could measure his sermon and test his listeners' patience. The hour-glass at St. Dunstan's, Fleet Street, was taken down in 1723, and two heads for the parish staves made out of the silver.
Wood Street Compter (says Cunningham) was first established in 1555, when, on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel in that year, the prisoners were removed from the Old Compter in Bread Street to the New Compter in Wood Street, Cheapside. This compter was burnt down in the Great Fire, but was rebuilt in 1670. It stood on the east side of the street, and was removed to Giltspur Street in 1791. There were two compters in London—the compter in Wood Street, under the control of one of the sheriffs, and the compter in the Poultry, under the superintendence of the other. Under each sheriff was a secondary, a clerk of the papers, four clerk sitters, eighteen serjeants-at-mace (each serjeant having his yeomen), a master keeper, and two turnkeys. The serjeants wore blue and coloured cloth gowns, and the words of arrest were, "Sir, we arrest you in the King's Majesty's name, and we charge you to obey us." There were three sides—the master's side, the dearest of all; the knights' ward, a little cheaper; and the Hole, the cheapest of all. The register of entries was called the Black Book. Garnish was demanded at every step, and the Wood Street Compter was hung with the story of the prodigal son.
When the Wood Street counter gate was opened, the prisoner's name was enrolled in the black book, and he was asked if he was for the master's side, the Knight's ward, or the Hole. At every fresh door a fee was demanded, the stranger's hat or cloak being detained if he refused to pay the extortion, which, in prison language, was called "garnish." The first question to a new prisoner was, whether he was in by arrest or command; and there was generally some knavish attorney in a threadbare black suit, who, for forty shillings, would offer to move for a habeas corpus, and have him out presently, much to the amusement of the villanouslooking men who filled the room, some smoking and some drinking. At dinner a vintner's boy, who was in waiting, filled a bowl full of claret, and compelled the new prisoner to drink to all the society; and the turnkeys, who were dining in another room, then demanded another tester for a quart of wine to quaff to the new comer's health.
At the end of a week, when the prisoner's purse grew thin, he was generally compelled to pass over to the knight's side, and live in a humbler and more restricted manner. Here a fresh garnish of eighteen pence was demanded, and if this was refused, he was compelled to sleep over the drain; or, if he chose, to sit up, to drink and smoke in the cellar with vile companions till the keepers ordered every man to his bed.
Fennor, an actor in 1617 (James I.), wrote a curious pamphlet on the abuses of this compter. "For what extreme extortion," says the angry writer, "is it when a gentleman is brought in by the watch for some misdemeanour committed, that he must pay at least an angell before he be discharged; hee must pay twelvepence for turning the key at the master-side dore two shillings to the chamberleine, twelvepence for his garnish for wine, tenpence for his dinner, whether he stay or no, and when he comes to be discharged at the booke, it will cost at least three shillings and sixpence more, besides sixpence for the booke-keeper's paines, and sixpence for the porter. . . . And if a gentleman stay there but one night, he must pay for his garnish sixteene pence, besides a groate for his lodging, and so much for his sheetes. . . When a gentleman is upon his discharge, and hath given satisfaction for his executions, they must have fees for irons, three halfepence in the pound, besides the other fees, so that if a man were in for a thousand or fifteene hundred pound execution, they will if a man is so madde have so many three halfepence.
"This little Hole is as a little citty in a commonwealth, for as in a citty there are all kinds of officers, trades, and vocations, so there is in this place, as we may make a pretty resemblance between them. In steede of a Lord Maior, we have a master steward to over-see and correct all misdemeanours as shall arise. . . . And lastly, as in a city there is all kinds of trades, so is there heere, for heere you shall see a cobler sitting mending olde showes, and singing as merrily as if hee were under a stall abroad; not farre from him you shall see a taylor sit crosse-legged (like a witch) on his cushion, theatning the ruine of our fellow prisoner, the Ægyptian vermine; in another place you may behold a saddler empannelling all his wits together how to patch this Scotchpadde handsomely, or mend the old gentlewoman's crooper that was almost burst in pieces. You may have a phisition here, that for a bottle of sack will undertake to give you as good a medicine for melancholly as any doctor will for five pounds. Besides, if you desire to bee remouved before a judge, you shall have a tinker-like attorney not farre distant from you, that in stopping up one hole in a broken cause, will make twenty before hee hath made an end, and at last will leave you in prison as bare of money as he himself is of honesty. Heere is your cholericke cooke that will dresse our meate, when wee can get any, as well as any greasie scullion in Fleet Lane or Pye Corner."
At 25, Silver Street, Wood Street, is the hall of one of the smaller City companies—the Parish Clerks of London, Westminster, Borough of Southwark, and fifteen out parishes, with their master wardens and fellows. This company was incorporated as early as Henry III. (1233), by the name of the Fraternity of St. Nicholas, an ominous name, for "St. Nicholas's clerk" was a jocose nom de guerre for highwaymen. The first hall of the fraternity stood in Bishopsgate Street, the second in Broad Lane, in Vintry Ward. The fraternity was re-incorporated by James I. in 1611, and confirmed by Charles I. in 1636. The hall contains a few portraits, and in a painted glass window, David playing on the harp, St. Cecilia at the organ, &c. The parish clerks were the actors in the old miracle plays, the parish clerks of our churches dating only from the commencement of the Reformation. The "Bills of Mortality" were commenced by the Parish Clerks' Company in 1592, who about 1625 were licensed by the Star Chamber to keep a printing-press in their hall for printing the bills, valuable for their warning of the existence or progress of the plague. The "Weekly Bill" of the Parish Clerks has, however, been superseded by the "Tables of Mortality in the Metropolis," issued weekly from the RegistrarGeneral's Office, at Somerset House, since July 1st, 1837. The Parish Clerks' Company neither confer the freedom of the City, nor the hereditary freedom.
There is a large gold refinery in Wood Street, through whose doors three tons of gold a day have been known to pass. Australian gold is here cast into ingots, value £800 each. This gold is one carat and three quarters above the standard, and when the first two bars of Australian gold were sent to the Bank of England they were sent back, as their wonderful purity excited suspicion. For refining, the gold is boiled fifteen minutes, poured off into hand moulds 18 pounds troy weight, strewn with ivory black, and then left to cool. You see here the stalwart men wedging apart great bars of silver for the melting pots. The silver is purified in a blast-furnace, and mixed with nitric acid in platinum crucibles, that cost from £700 to £1,000 apiece. The bars of gold are stamped with a trade-mark, and pieces are cut off each ingot to be sent to the assayer for his report.
"I read in divers records," says Stow, "of a house in Wood Street then called 'Black Hall;' but no man at this day can tell thereof. In the time of King Richard II., Sir Henry Percy, the son and heir of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, had a house in 'Wodstreate,' in London (whether this Black Hall or no, it is hard to trace), wherein he treated King Richard, the Duke of Lancaster, the Duke of York, the Earl Marshal, and his father, the Earl of Northumberland, with others, at supper."
The "Rose," in Wood Street, was a sponginghouse, well known to the rakehells and spendthrifts of Charles II.'s time. "I have been too lately under their (the bailiffs') clutches," says Tom Brown, "to desire any more dealings with them, and I cannot come within a furlong of the 'Rose' sponging-house without five or six yellow-boys in my pocket to cast out those devils there, who would otherwise infallibly take possession of me."
The "Mitre," an old tavern in Wood Street, was kept in Charles II.'s time by William Proctor, who died insolvent in 1665. "18th Sept., 1660," Pepys says, "to the 'Miter Taverne,' in Wood Street (a house of the greatest note in London). Here some of us fell to handycap, a sport that I never knew before." And again, "31st July, 1665. Proctor, the vintner, of the 'Miter,' in Wood Street, and his son, are dead this morning of the plague; he having laid out abundance of money there, and was the greatest vintner for some time in London for great entertainments."
In early life Thomas Ripley, afterwards a celebrated architect, kept a carpenter's shop and coffee house in Wood Street. Marrying a servant of Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister of George I., this lucky pushing man soon obtained work from the Crown and a seat at the Board of Works, and supplanted that great genius who built St. Paul's, to the infinite disgrace of the age. Ripley built the Admiralty, and Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for his early patron, Walpole, and died rich in 1758.
On Sunday, January 6, 1661, we read in "Somers' Tracts," "these monsters assembled at their meetinghouse, in Coleman Street, where they armed themselves, and sallying thence, came to St. Paul's in the dusk of the evening, and there, after ordering their small party, placed sentinels, one of whom killed a person accidentally passing by, because he said he was for God and King Charles when challenged by him. This giving the alarm, and some parties of trained bands charging them, and being repulsed, they marched to Bishopsgate, thence to Cripplegate and Aldersgate, where, going out, in spite of the constables and watch, they declared for King Jesus. Proceeding to Beech Lane, they killed a headborough, who would have opposed them. It was observed that all they shot, though never so slightly wounded, died. Then they hasted away to Cane Wood, where they lurked, resolved to make another effort upon the City, but were drove thence, and routed by a party of horse and foot, sent for that purpose, about thirty being taken and brought before General Monk, who committed them to the Gate House.
"Nevertheless, the others who had escaped out of the wood returned to London, not doubting of success in their enterprise; Venner, a winecooper by trade, and their head, affirming, he was assured that no weapons employed against them would prosper, nor a hair of their head be touched; which their coming off at first so well made them willing to believe. These fellows had taken the opportunity of the king's being gone to Portsmouth, having before made a disposition for drawing to them of other desperate rebels, by publishing a declaration called, 'A Door of Hope Opened,' full of abominable slanders against the whole royal family.
"On Wednesday morning, January 9, after the watches and guards were dismissed, they resumed their first enterprise. The first appearance was in Threadneedle Street, where they alarmed the trained bands upon duty that day, and drove back a party sent after them, to their main guard, which then marched in a body towards them. The Fifth Monarchists retired into Bishopsgate Street, where some of them took into an alehouse, known by the sign of 'The Helmet,' where, after a sharp dispute, two were killed, and as many taken, the same number of the trained bands being killed and wounded. The next sight of them (for they vanished and appeared again on a sudden), was at College Hill, which way they went into Cheapside, and so into Wood Street, Venner leading them, with a morrion on his head and a halbert in his hand. Here was the main and hottest action, for they fought stoutly with the Trained Bands, and received a charge from the Life Guards, whom they obliged to give way, until, being overpowered, and Venner knocked down and wounded and shot, Tufney and Crag, two others of their chief teachers, being killed by him, they began to give ground, and soon after dispersed, flying outright and taking several ways. The greatest part of them went down Wood Street to Cripplegate, firing in the rear at the Yellow Trained Bands, then in close pursuit of them. Ten of them took into the 'Blue Anchor' ale-house, near the postern, which house they maintained until Lieutenant-Colonel Cox, with his company, secured all the avenues to it. In the meantime, some of the aforesaid Yellow Trained Bands got upon the tiles of the next house, which they threw off, and fired in upon the rebels who were in the upper room, and even then refused quarter. At the same time, another file of musketeers got up the stairs, and having shot down the door, entered upon them. Six of them were killed before, another wounded, and one, refusing quarter, was knocked down, and afterwards shot. The others being asked why they had not begged quarter before, answered they durst not, for fear their own fellows should shoot them."
The upshot of this insane revolt of a handful of men was that twenty-two king's men were killed, and twenty-two of the fanatics, proving the fighting to have been hard. Twenty were taken, and nine or ten hung, drawn, and quartered. Venner, the leader, who was wounded severely, and some others, were drawn on sledges, their quarters were set on the four gates, and their heads stuck on poles on London Bridge. Two more were hung at the west end of St. Paul's, two at the Royal Exchange, two at the Bull and Mouth, two in Beech Lane, one at Bishopsgate, and another, captured later, was hung at Tyburn, and his head set on a pole in Whitechapel.
The texts these Fifth Monarchy men chiefly relied on were these:—"He shall use his people, in his hand as his battle-axe and weapon of war, for the bringing in the kingdoms of this world into subjection to Him."A few Scriptures (and but a few) as to this, Isa. xli. 14th verse; but more especially the 15th and 16th verses. The prophet, speaking of Jacob, saith: "Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff; thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away," &c.
"Maiden Lane," says Stow, "formerly Engine Lane, is a good, handsome, well-built, and inhabited street. The east end falleth into Wood Street. At the north-east corner, over against Goldsmiths' Hall, stood the parish church of St. John Zachary, which since the dreadful fire is not rebuilt, but the parish united unto St. Ann's, Aldersgate, the ground on which it stood, enclosed within a wall, serving as a burial-place for the parish."
The old Goldsmiths' Church of St. John Zachary, Maiden Lane, destroyed in the Great Fire, and not rebuilt, stood at the north-west corner of Maiden Lane, in the Ward of Aldersgate; the parish is annexed to that of St. Anne. Among other epitaphs in this church, Stow gives the following:—
"Here lieth the body of John Sutton, citizen, goldsmith, and alderman of London; who died 6th July, 1450. This brave and worthy alderman was killed in the defence of the City, in the bloody nocturnal battle on London Bridge, against the infamous Jack Cade, and his army of Kentish rebels."
"Here lieth William Brekespere, of London, some time
Goldsmith and alderman, the Commonwele attendant,
With Margaryt his Dawter, late wyff of Suttoon,
And Thomas, hur Sonn, yet livyn undyr Goddy's tuitioon.
The tenth of July he made his transmigration.
She disissyd in the yer of Grase of Chryst's Incarnation,
A Thowsand Four hundryd Threescor and oon.
God assoyl their Sowls whose Bodys lye undyr this Stoon."
This church was rated to pay a certain annual sum to the canons of St. Paul's, about the year 1181, at which time it was denominated St. John Baptist's, as appears from a grant thereof from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's to one Zachary, whose name it probably received to distinguish it from one of the same name in Walbrook.
St. Anne in the Willows was a church destroyed by the Great Fire, rebuilt by Wren, and united to the parish of St. John Zachary. "It is so called," says Stow, "some say of willows growing thereabouts; but now there is no such void place for willows to grow, more than the church-yard, wherein grow some high ash-trees."
"This church, standing," says Strype, "in the church-yard, is planted before with lime-trees that flourish there. So that as it was formerly called St. Anne-in-the-Willows, it may now be called St. Anne-in-the-Limes."
St. Anne can be traced back as far as 1332. The patronage was anciently in the Dean and Canons of St. Martin's-le-Grand, in whose gift it continued till Henry VII. annexed that Collegiate Church, with its appendages, to the Abbey of Westminster. In 1553 Queen Mary gave it to the Bishop of London and his successors. One of the monuments here bears the following inscription:—
"Peter Heiwood, younger son of Peter Heiwood, one of the counsellors of Jamaica, by Grace, daughter of Sir John Muddeford, Kt. and Bart., great-grandson to Peter Heiwood, of Heywood, in County Palatine of Lancaster, who apprehended Guy Faux with his dark lanthorn, and for his zealous prosecution of Papists, as Justice of the Peace, was stabbed in Westminster Hall by John James, a Dominican Friar, An. Dom. 1640. Obiit, Novr. 2, 1701.
The site of Haberdashers' Hall, in Maiden Lane, opposite Goldsmiths' Hall, was bequeathed to the Company by William Baker, a London haberdasher, in 1478 (Edward IV.). In the old hall, destroyed by the Great Fire, the Parliament Commissioners held their meetings during the Commonwealth, and many a stern decree of confiscation was there grimly signed. In this hall there are some good portraits. The Haberdashers' Company have many livings and exhibitions in their gift; and almhouses at Hoxton, Monmouth, Newland (Gloucestershire), and Newport (Shropshire; schools in Bunhill Row, Monmouth, and Newport; and they lend sums of £50 or £100 to struggling young men of their own trade.
The haberdashers were originally a branch of the mercers, dealing like them in merceries or small wares. Lydgate, in his ballad, describes the mercers' and haberdashers' stalls as side by side in the mercery in Chepe. In the reign of Henry VI., when first incorporated, they divided into two fraternities, St. Catherine and St. Nicholas. The one being hurrers, cappers, or haberdashers of hats; the other, haberdashers of ribands, laces, and small wares only. The latter were also called milliners, from their selling such merchandise as brooches, agglets, spurs, capes, glasses, and pins. "In the early part of Elizabeth's reign,"says Herbert, "upwards of £60,000 annually was paid to foreign merchants for pins alone, but before her death pins were made in England, and in the reign of James I. the pinmakers obtained a charter."
In the reign of Henry VII. the two societies united. Queen Elizabeth granted them their arms: Barry nebule of six, argent and azure on a bend gules, a lion passant gardant; crest or, a helmet and torse, two arms supporting a laurel proper and issuing out of a cloud argent. Supporters, two Indian goats argent, attired and hoofed or; motto, "Serve and Obey." Maitland describes their annual expenditure in charity as £3,500. The number of the Company consists of one master, four wardens, forty-five assistants, 360 livery, and a large company of freemen. This Company is the eighth in order of the chief twelve City Companies.
In the reign of Edward VI. there were not more than a dozen milliner's shops in all London, but in 1580 the dealers in foreign luxuries had so increased as to alarm the frugal and the philosophic. These dealers sold French and Spanish gloves, French cloth and frieze, Flemish kersies, daggers, swords, knives, Spanish girdles, painted cruises, dials, tablets, cards, balls, glasses, fine earthen pots, saltcellars, spoons, tin dishes, puppets, pennons, inkhorns, tooth-picks, fans, pomanders, silk, and silver buttons.
The Haberdashers were incorporated by a Charter of Queen Elizabeth in 1578. The Court books extend to the time of Charles I. only. Their charters exist in good preservation. In their chronicles we have only a few points to notice. In 1466 they sent two of their members to attend the coronation of Elizabeth, queen of Edward IV., and they also were represented at the coronation of the detestable Richard III. Like the other Companies, the Haberdashers were much oppressed during the time of Charles I. and the Commonwealth, during which they lost nearly £50,000. The Company's original bye-laws having been burnt in the Great Fire, a new code was drawn up, which in 1675 was sanctioned by Lord Chancellor Finch, Sir Matthew Hale, and Sir Francis North.
The dining-hall is a lofty and spacious room. About ten years since it was much injured by fire, but has been since restored and handsomely decorated. Over the screen at the lower end is a music gallery, and the hall is lighted from above by six sun-burners. Among the portraits in the edifice are whole lengths of William Adams, Esq., founder of the grammar school and almshouses at Newport, in Shropshire; Jerome Knapp, Esq., a former Master of the Company; and Micajah Perry, Esq., Lord Mayor in 1739; a half-length of George Whitmore, Esq., Lord Mayor in 1631; Sir Hugh Hammersley, Knight, Lord Mayor in 1627; Mr. Thomas Aldersey, merchant, of Banbury, in Cheshire, who, in 1594, vested a considerable estate in this Company for charitable uses; Mr. William Jones, merchant adventurer, who bequéathed £18,000 for benevolent purposes; and Robert Aske, the worthy founder of the Haberdashers' Hospital at Hoxton.
Gresham Street, that intersects Wood Street, was formerly called Lad or Ladle Lane, and part of it Maiden Lane, from a shop sign of the Virgin. It is written Lad Lane in a chronicle of Edward IV.'s time, published by Sir Harris Nicolas, page 98. The "Swan with Two Necks," in Lad Lane, was for a century and more, till railways ruined stage and mail coach travelling, the booking office and head-quarters of coaches to the North.
Love Lane was so named from the wantons who once infested it. The Cross Keys Inn derived its name from the bygone Church of St. Peter before mentioned. As there are traditions of Saxon kings once dwelling in Foster Lane, so in Gutter Lane we find traditions of some Danish celebrities. "Gutter Lane," says Stow, that patriarch of London topography, "was so called by Guthurun, some time owner thereof." In a manuscript chronicle of London, written in the reign of Edward IV., and edited by Sir N. H. Nicolas, it is called "Goster Lane."
Brewers' Hall, No. 19, Addle Street, Wood Street, Cheapside, is a modern edifice, and contains, among other pictures, a portrait of Dame Alice Owen, who narrowly escaped death from an archer's stray arrow while walking in Islington fields, in gratitude for which she founded an hospital. In the hall window is some old painted glass. The Brewers were incorporated in 1438. The quarterage in this Company is paid on the quantity of malt consumed by its members. In 1851 a handsome schoolhouse was built for the Company, in Trinity Square, Tower Hill.
In 1422 Whittington laid an information before his successor in the mayoralty, Robert Childe, against the Brewers' Company, for selling dear ale, when they were convicted in the penalty of £20; and the masters were ordered to be kept in prison in the chamberlain's custody until they paid it.