Old and New London: Volume 2. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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UPPER THAMES STREET (continued).
Morchant Taylors' School—Old Mulcaster—Anecdote of Bishop Andrewes—Celebrated Men educated at Merchant Taylors'—St. James's, Garlick Hythe—Wat Tyler's Master—The Steel Yard—Holbein's Pictures—Mr. Ruskin on Holbein—The Romans in Thames Street—Roman Walls—Thames Street Tributaries, North—St. Bennet, Paul's Wharf—St. Nicholas Cole Abbey—Fyefoot Lane—Paper Stainers' Hall—Pictures belonging to the Company—College Hill—Dowgate—The Skinners: their Origin and History—The Hall of the Skinners' Company—Parish Church of St. Laurence Poultney—Curious Epitaphs—Allhallows the Great—Swan Stairs—Dyers' Hall—Joiners' Hall—Calamy's Strange Adventure.
The Merchant Taylors' School, so many years
situated in Suffolk Lane, demands a special notice.
The first intention of the Merchant Taylors' Company to found a grammar school, "for the better
education and bringing up of children in good
manners and literature," says Mr. Staunton, was
manifested in the spring of 1561. About this
period, a leading member of the fraternity, Mr.
Richard Hills, generously offered the sum of £500
(equivalent to about £3,000 at the present day)
towards the purchase of a part of the "Manor of
the Rose," in the parish of St. Laurence Poulteney.
The "Rose" was a spacious mansion, originally
built by Sir John Pulteney, Knight, five times
Lord Mayor of London, in the reign of Edward III.
Its fortunes had been various. After passing
through the hands of several noble families—the
Hollands, De la Poles, Staffords, and Courtenays—their tenancies in too many instances terminating
by the tragical process of attainder, it was granted
to the Ratcliffe or Sussex family, who obtained
leave to part with it in a more business-like manner.
Shakespeare has rendered the "Manor of the Rose,"
or "Pulteney's Inn," as it was sometimes called, a
memorable spot to all time by his allusion to it
in King Henry VIII. In the first act of that
play, it will be remembered, Buckingham's surveyor
appears before the court to impeach his master,
and tells the king—
"Not long before your Highness sped to France,
The Duke, being at the Rose, within the parish
St. Laurence Poulteney, did of me demand
What was the speech among the Londoners
Concerning the French journey."
The name of the street, Suffolk Lane, from which it is entered, and of the parish, St. Laurence Poultney, or Pountney, in which it is situated, still recalls its former occupants. Ducksfoot Lane, in the vicinity, was the Duke's Foot-lane, or private pathway from his garden, which lay to the east of the mansion, towards the river; while the upper part of St. Laurence Pounteney Hill was, until the last few years, called "Green Lettuce Lane," a corruption of Green-Lattice Lane, so named from the lattice gate which opened into what is now named Cannon Street.
The Merchant Taylors' Company purchased, for a school, in 1561, part of Sussex House, including a gate-house, a long court, a winding stair leading to the leads over the chapel, two galleries at the south end of the court, and part of the chapel. The remainder of the mansion, and the site of the garden, which lay to the east of it, were acquired by the Company about 1860, for £20,000, in order to enlarge the school. In 1873 they expended the sum of £90,000 in purchasing a large portion of the Charterhouse, and thither the school will be moved. By the original statutes of 1561 it was ordained that the high master should be "a man in body whole, sober, discrete, honest, vertuous, and learned in good and cleane Latin literature, and also in Greeke, yf such may be gotten." He might be either wedded or single, or a priest that had no benefice. He must have three ushers. The number of scholars was limited to 250, "of all nations and countries indifferently." The children of Jews were afterwards ungenerously excluded. There was, lastly, to be every year an examination of the scholars.
The first head master was that famed old pedagogue, Richard Mulcaster, who wielded the ferule, and pretty sharply too, for many years. He was a Cumberland man, brought up at Eton, and renowned for his critical knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Oriental literature. A veritable old Tartar he seems to have been, according to Fuller, who says of him, that he was a severe disciplinarian, but beloved by his pupils when they came to the age of maturity, and reflected on the benefit they had derived from his care.
Mulcaster was great at Latin plays, and they were often acted at Hampton Court and elsewhere before Queen Elizabeth. Many of his boys who went to St. John's, Oxford, became renowned as actors in Latin plays before Elizabeth and James. Mulcaster also wrote mythological verses, which were recited before long-suffering Queen Bess, and two educational treatises, dry but sound. The worthy old pedant had frequent quarrels with the Merchant Taylors, and eventually left them in 1586, and became upper master of St. Paul's School. To the Company, who would have detained him, he replied scornfully, "Fidelis servus est perpetuus asinus." He boldly resisted an attempt to tax teachers in 1581–2, was successful in preserving the immunities of the school granted after the Reformation, and died in 1610.
In 1566 the school made a tremendous stride. Sir Thomas White, a princely Merchant Taylor, founded St. John's College, Oxford, and munificently appropriated no less than forty-three fellowships in the college to the scholars of Merchant Taylors' School. Much quarrelling eventually took place between the Company and the President and Fellows of St. John's, who delayed, for inadequate reasons, the election of scholars, and declared that their funds were inadequate to support the expenses of coming to London every year to the St. Barnabas' Day examinations.
The school soon rising to eminence, several rich and benevolent citizens gave exhibitions to poor and struggling scholars, a very noble way of spending money. The most eminent of these were Walter Ffysshe, John Vernon, and Thomas Wheatenhole. The school was destroyed in the Great Fire, when only the books in the library were preserved; and ten years elapsed before the new building was completed. The new school, erected in 1675, consisted of a long school-room, supported on the east side by a number of stone pillars, forming a cloister (the only play-ground). The library was formerly the ducal chapel.
The list of eminent men educated at the Merchant Taylors' is a proud one. It boasts of William Juxon, Bishop of London, and, after the Restoration, Archbishop of Canterbury, who faithfully attended Charles I. on the scaffold; William Dawes and John Gilbert, Archbishops of York; and Hugh Boulter, Archbishop of Armagh.
Among these bishops was that eminent scholar and divine, Bishop Andrewes, before whom even James I. dared not indulge in ribaldry. He defended King James's "Defence of the Rights of Kings" against Cardinal Bellarmine, and in return obtained the see of Ely.
There is a pleasant story told of Andrewes while he was Bishop of Winchester. Waller the poet, going to see the king at dinner, overheard an extraordinary conversation between his Majesty and two prelates, Andrewes and Neale (Bishop of Durham), who were standing behind the royal chair. "My lords," asked the king, "cannot I take my subjects' money when I want it without all this formality in Parliament?" The Bishop of Durham readily answered, "God forbid, sir, but you should: you are the breath of our nostrils." Whereupon the king turned and said to the Bishop of Winchester, "Well, my lord, what say you?" "Sir," replied he, "I have no skill to judge of parliamentary cases." The king quickly rejoined, "No put-offs, my lord; answer me at once." "Then, sir," said he, "I think it quite lawful for you to take my brother Neale's money, for he offers it." Waller reports that the company were well pleased with the answer, and the wit of it seemed to affect the king.
The list of Merchant Taylor bishops also includes Thomas Dove, Bishop of Peterborough, chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, who, from his flowing white locks, called him the "Dove with silver wings;" Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely, Sir Christopher's uncle, who accompanied Prince Charles to Spain, and was imprisoned in the Tower eighteen years, refusing to come out on Cromwell's offer; John Buckridge, also Bishop of Ely; Giles Thompson, Bishop of Gloucester; and Peter Mews, Bishop of Winchester, who, expelled Oxford by the Puritans, entered the army, and served under the Duke of York in Flanders.
Of the other professions, Sir James Whitelocke, Justice of the Common Pleas and of the King's Bench; Bulstrode Whitelocke, his son, the author of the "Memorials of English Affairs, from the Beginning of the Reign of Charles II. to the Restoration," were Merchant Taylors' scholars. Whitelocke, the son, a but half-and-half Cromwellian, began life by supporting Hampden in his resistance to ship-money, and afterwards served Cromwell with more or less fidelity. At the Restoration Charles II. dismissed him to go into the country, and "take care of his wife and oneand-thirty children." Other pupils of the school were Thomas Lodge, the physician and dramatist, who wrote a novel, "Rosalynde," on which Shakespeare founded his As You Like It; James Shirley, the author of thirty-seven plays, who died of grief at being ruined by the Great Fire; Edmund Gayton; Sir Edwin Sandys, traveller, and author of "Europe Speculum;" William Sherard, founder of the Oxford professorship of botany which bears his name; Peter le Neve, Norroy King-at-Arms, an eminent genealogist, and one of the earliest presidents of the Antiquarian Society; Samuel Harris, first professor of modern history at Cambridge; Daniel Neale, who wrote the "History of the Puritans;" Henry Woodward, the famous actor; John Byrom; James Townley, afterwards head master of the school; Robert, the first Lord Clive; John Latham, author of the "History of Birds;" Vicesimus Knox, who wrote the well-known book called "Knox's Essays;" Joshua Brookes, the most eminent anatomist of his time; Charles Mathews the elder, and his son, the present Charles James Mathews, the popular comedians; Charles Young, the favourite tragedian; Sir Henry Ellis, formerly librarian to the British Museum; Henry Cline, the great surgeon at St. Thomas's Hospital; Dixon Denham, the African traveller; Philip Bliss, editor of Wood's "Atheaæ Oxon.;" John Gough Nichols, the antiquary; Sir Samuel Shepherd, Lord Chief Baron of Scotland (1828); Sir R. B. Comyn, Lord Chief Justice of Madras; Right Hon. Sir John Dodson, Judge of the Prerogative Court; Edward Bond, Chief Keeper of Manuscripts in the British Museum; Samuel Birch, Keeper of the Oriental and Mediaeval Antiquities at the British Museum; and the late Albert Smith.
St. James's, Garlick Hythe, was rebuilt by Richard Rothing, Sheriff, in 1326. Weever, that "Old Mortality" of his times, gives the epitaph of Richard Lions, a wine merchant and lapidary, who was beheaded by Wat Tyler's men, and buried here. According to Grafton the chronicler, Wat Tyler had been once servant to this merchant, who had beaten him, and this was the Kentish rebel's revenge. Stow says of this monument of Richard II.'s time — "Richard Lions, a famous merchant of wines and a lapidary, some time one of the sheriffs, beheaded in Cheap by Wat Tyler and other rebels, in the year 1381: his picture on his grave-stone, very fair and large, is with his hair rounded by his ears and curled, a little beard forked; a gown, girt to him down to his feet, of branched damask, wrought with the likeness of flowers; a large purse on his right side, hanging in a belt from his left shoulder; a plain hood about his neck, covering his shoulders, and hanging back behind him."
Destroyed in the Great Fire, this church was rebuilt by Wren at an expense of £5,357 12s. 10d. The coarse altar-piece of the Ascension was painted by A. Geddes, and given to the church in 1815 by the rector, the Rev. T. Burnet, brother of the eminent engraver. The organ was built by the celebrated Father Smith in 1697. On the dial, which projects from the face of the church, is a carved figure of St. James. In a vault beneath the church lies the corpse of a man in a singular state of preservation. Four or five mediaeval lord mayors are buried in this church.
In the Spectator (No. 147) there is an interesting notice of St. James's, Garlick Hythe. Steele, speaking of the beautiful service of the Church of England, remarks—"Until Sunday was se'nnight, I never discovered, to so great a degree, the excellency of the Common Prayer. Being at St. James's Church, Garlick Hill, I heard the service read so distinctly, so emphatically, and so fervently, that it was next to an impossibility to be inattentive. My eyes and my thoughts could not wander as usual, but were confined to my prayers. . . The Confession was read with such a resigned humility, the Absolution with such a comfortable authority, the Thanksgiving with such a religious joy, as made me feel those affections of the mind in a manner I never did before." The rector of the parish at this period was the Rev. Philip Stubbs, afterwards Archdeacon of St. Albans, whose fine voice and impressive delivery are said to have been long remembered by his old parishioners.
The Steel Yard, on the river-side, near Cousin Lane (now Iron Wharf), was the old residence of the Hanse Town, German, and Flemish merchants, who obtained a settlement in London as early as 1250. Henry III., in 1259, at the request of his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans, granted them very valuable privileges, renewed and confirmed by Edward I. The City also conceded them many privileges, on condition of their maintaining Bishopsgate in repair (they rebuilt it once), and sustaining a third of the charges in money and men to defend it when need was. In spite of English jealousy, the Steel Yard merchants flourished till the reign of Edward VI., when the Merchant Adventurers complained of them, and they were held, like all "other strangers," to have forfeited their liberties. In vain. Hamburg and Lubeck sent ambassadors to intercede for their countrymen. Their monopoly was gone, but the Steel Yard men still throve, and continued to export English cloth. Elizabeth, however, was rougher with them, and finally expelled them the country in 1597–8.
"Their hall," says Stow, "is large, built of stone, with three arched gates towards the street, the middlemost whereof is far bigger than the others, and is seldom opened; the other two be secured up. The same is now called the old hall. The merchants of Almaine used to bring hither as well wheat, rye, and other grain, as cables, ropes, masts, pitch, tar, flax, hemp, linen cloth, wainscots, wax, steel, and other profitable merchandise."
In the Privy Council Register of the year 1597–8, Mr. Peter Cunningham discovered an entry appointing the Steel Yard as a house "for the better bestowing and safe custody of divers provisions of the navy (naval stores)."
"In the hall of this Company," says Pennant, "were the two famous pictures, painted in distemper by Holbein, representing the triumphs of Riches and Poverty. They were lost, being supposed to have been carried into Flanders, on the destruction of the Company, and from thence into France. I am to learn where they are at present, unless in the cabinet of M. Fleischman, at HesseDarmstadt. The celebrated Christian a Mechel, of Basil, has lately published two engravings of these pictures, either from the originals, or the drawings of Zucchero, for 'Frid. Zucchero, 1574,' is at one corner of each print. Drawings of these pictures were found in England by Vertue, ascribed to Holbein, and the verses over them to Sir Thomas More. It appears that Zucchero copied them at the Steel Yard, so probably these copies, in process of time, might have fallen into the hands of M. Fleischman.
"In the triumph of Riches, Plutus is represented in a golden car, and Fortune sitting before him, flinging money into the laps of people holding up their garments to receive her favours. Ventidius is wrote under one, Gadareus under another, and Themistocles under a man kneeling beside the car; Croesus, Midas, and Tantalus follow; Narcissus holds the horse of the first; over their heads, in the clouds, is Nemesis. There are various allegorical figures I shall not attempt to explain. By the side of the horses walk dropsical and other diseased figures, the too frequent accompaniment of riches.
"Poverty appears in another car, mean and shattered, half naked, squalid, and meagre. Behind her sits Misfortune; before her, Memory, Experience, Industry, and Hope. The car is drawn by a pair of oxen and a pair of asses; Diligence drives the ass, and Solicitude, with a face of care, goads the ox. By the sides of the car walks Labour, represented by lusty workmen with their tools, with cheerful looks; and behind them, Misery and Beggary, in ragged weeds, and with countenances replete with wretchedness and discontent."
According to Mr. Wornum (a most competent
authority), in his excellent "Life of Holbein," these
two pictures were presented, in 1617, by the representatives of the Steel Yard merchants to Henry
Prince of Wales, a well-known lover of art. They
afterwards passed into the possession of Charles I.,
and are said to have perished in the fire at Whitehall, 1698. Felibien, however, in 1661, describes
having seen them in Paris; and it is more probable they were among the art-treasures sold and
dispersed in Cromwell's time. Sandrart mentions
having seen the pictures, or drawings of them, in the
Long Gallery at Arundel House. Zucchero copied
them in 1574, and Vosterman Junior engraved
them. Vertue describes drawings of them at
Buckingham House in black and white chalk, with
coloured skies, which he supposes to be Vosterman's copies. Horace Walpole, however, who
purchased them, considered one drawing only to
be Vosterman's, and the other to be Zucchero's.
The British Museum possesses copies of these
pictures by Bischop, a Dutch artist, and a sketch
of the "Riches," done by Holbein himself, drawn
with the pen and washed with Indian ink. On the
"Riches" of Bischop are written two lines on
the penalties of wealth, attributed to Sir Thomas
"Aurum blanditiae pater est natusque doloris,
Qui caret hoc moeret, qui tenet hoc metuit."
Holbein, on his return to London from Basel, in 1531, seems to have painted many portraits of his fellow-countrymen in the Steel Yard. Mr. Wornum especially mentions a nameless member of the Stahlhof in the Windsor collection. It represents a young man with a brown beard, clad in a black cap and furred surtout, who, seated at a table, is about to open a letter by cutting the string that fastens it with a knife. The letter is inscribed "Stahlhof." But the most celebrated picture of this class is the "George Gyze," in the Berlin gallery. He is also about to open a letter inscribed "To the Honourable George Gyze, in London, in England, my brother, to be delivered into his hands." Mr. Ruskin has adorned this picture with the rich enamel of his well-chosen words. "Every accessory," he says," in the portrait of the Kauffmann George Gyzen is perfect with a fine perfection; the carnations in the glass vase by his side; the ball of gold, chased with blue enamel, suspended on the wall; the books, the steelyard, the papers on the table, the seal-ring, with its quartered bearings, all intensely there, and there in beauty of which no one could have dreamed that even flowers or gold were capable, far less parchment or steel. But every change of shade is felt, every rich and rubied line of petal followed, every subdued gleam in the soft blue of the enamel, and bending of the gold, touched with a hand whose patience of regard creates rather than paints. The jewel itself was not so precious as the rays of enduring light which form it, beneath that errorless hand. The man himself, what he was—not more; but to all conceivable proof of sight—in all aspect of life or thought—not less. He sits alone in his accustomed room, his common work laid out before him; he is conscious of no presence, assumes no dignity, bears no sudden or superficial look of care or interest, lives only as he lived—but for ever.
"It is inexhaustible. Every detail of it wins, retains, rewards the attention, with a continually increasing sense of wonderfulness. It is also wholly true. So far as it reaches, it contains the absolute facts of colour, form, and character, rendered with an unaccusable faithfulness. . . . What of this man and his house were visible to Holbein are visible to us; . . . if we care to know anything concerning them, great or small, so much as may by the eye be known, is for ever knowable, reliable, indisputable."
The original toll of the Steel Yard merchants was, at Christmas and Easter, two grey cloths and one brown one, with ten pounds of pepper, five pairs of gloves, and two vessels of vinegar. They had a special alderman for their judge, and they were to be free from all subsidies to the king.
According to Mr. Hudson Turner, the Steel Yard derived its name not from the steel imported by the Hanse merchants, but from the king's steel yard here erected, to weigh the tonnage of all goods imported into London, the tonnage-office being afterwards transferred to the City. The king's beam was moved, first to Cornhill, and then to Weigh House Yard, Little Eastcheap.
"At this time," says Pennant (in 1790), "the Steel Yard is the great repository of the imported iron which furnishes our metropolis with that necessary material. The quantity of bars strike that fill the yards and warehouses of this quarter strike with astonishment the most indifferent beholder. Next to the water-side are two eagles with imperial crowns round their necks, placed on two columns."
In few streets of London have more Roman remains been found than in Thames Street. In 1839, in excavating the ground for rebuilding Dyers' Hall, in College Street, Dowgate Hill, at thirteen feet eight inches below the level of the street, and just above the gravel, the remains were found of a Roman pavement, formed of small pieces of tiles about an inch square, bedded apparently on fine concrete; two thin earthen jars or bottles were also found near the same spot; and two coins, nearly obliterated. The lower part of the ground in which the above were discovered, for four feet six inches in thickness, appeared to be the sediment or earthy matter from water, probably from the ancient Walbrook; and in it, scattered over the surface, was a large quantity—twenty hundred weight—of animal bones.
A fibula or brooch was found in April (1831), in an excavation in Thames Street, at the foot of Dowgate Hill. The circular enamelled work in the centre was of a very peculiar description; the outlines of the features of a portrait, and those of the mantle and tunic on the bust (together with the nimbus or crown round the head) were executed in gold, into which enamel appeared to have been worked when in a fluid or soft state. The colours of the enamel were yellow, blue, purple, red, and white. This work was surrounded by a rich filagree border of gold, beautifully worked, in which were inserted, at equal distances, four large pearls. Nothing has hitherto been found that could be compared to this jewel; the gold-work interwoven with the enamel was new to every one. The general character, design, and ornamental goldwork, seemed Byzantine, and somewhat assimilated to the style of art of the time of Charlemagne; so that perhaps we should not be far wrong in assigning its date to the ninth or tenth century.
"The line of the wall on the land side is well ascertained; of that portion which Fitzstephens informs us bounded the City on the banks of the Thames, many persons have hitherto been in doubt, though without reason. At the same time what Fitzstephens adds relative to this wall on the water-side being overturned and destroyed by the water, seems altogether erroneous and improbable, as the Roman masonry is well known to be impervious to the action of that element. The present Thames Street follows the line of the Roman wall.
"In 1840 some valuable contributions to our scanty topographical materials were furnished, which confirm the account given us of the line of the wall by the before-mentioned author. The excavations for sewerage, which led to the discovery I am about to detail, commenced at Blackfriars. The workmen having advanced without impediment to the foot of Lambeth Hill, were there checked by a wall of extraordinary strength, which formed an angle with the Hill and Thames Street. Upon this wall the contractor for the sewers was obliged to open his course to the depth of about twenty feet; so that the greater portion of the structure, had to be overthrown, to the great consumption of time and labour. The delay occasioned by the solidity and thickness of this wall gave us an opportunity of making careful notes as to its construction and courses.
"It extends (as far as I had the means of observing) from Lambeth Hill to Queenhithe, with occasional breaks. In thickness it measured from eight to ten feet. The height from the bottom of the sewer was about eight feet, in some places, more or less; it reached to within about nine feet from the present street, and three from that which indicates the period of the Fire of London, in this district easily recognised. In some places the ground-work of the houses destroyed by the Fire of 1666 abut on the wall.
"The foundation was made in the following manner:—Oaken piles were first used; upon these was laid a stratum of chalk and stones, and then a course of hewn sandstones, from three to four feet by two and two and a-half, firmly cemented with the well-known compound of quick-lime, sand, and pounded tile. Upon this solid substructure was built the wall, composed of rag and flint, with layers of red and yellow, plain and curved-edged tiles. The mortar throughout was quite equal in strength to the tiles, from which it could not be separated by force.
"One of the most remarkable features of this wall is the evidence it affords of the existence of an anterior building, which, from some cause or other, must have been destroyed. Many of the large stones above mentioned are sculptured and ornamented with mouldings, which denote their prior use in a frieze or entablature of an edifice, the magnitude of which may be conceived from the fact of these stones weighing, in many instances, half a ton. Whatever might have been the nature of this structure, its site, or cause of its overthrow, we have no means of determining. The probability of its destruction having been effected by the insurgent Britons under Boadicea suggests itself. I observed also that fragments of sculptured marble had been worked into the wall, and also a portion of a stone carved with an elegant ornament of the trellis-work pattern, the compartments being filled alternately with leaves and fruit. This has apparently belonged to an altar. In Thames Street, opposite Queen Street, about two years since, a wall precisely similar in general character was met with, and there is but little doubt of its having originally formed part of the same.
"In the middle of Pudding Lane, running to the bottom, and, as the workmen told me, even across Thames Street, is a strong wall formed of layers of red and yellow tiles and rag-stones, which appeared to have appertained to a building of considerable extent. The hypocaust belonging thereto was partly laid open.
"In Queen Street, near Thames Street, several walls crossed the street; among them were found two thin bands of pure gold, apparently used for armlets; and midway, opposite Well Court, at the depth of thirteen feet, was a flooring of red tesserae, fourteen feet square. Three or four feet above ran' chalk walls, such as are met with throughout London, which, of course, are subsequent to the Roman epoch.
"Advancing up Bush Lane, several walls of considerable thickness were crossed, which, together with abundance of fresco-paintings, portions of tessellated pavements and tiles, betokened the former appropriation of the site for dwelling-houses. But opposite Scot's Yard a formidable wall of extraordinary thickness was found to cross the street diagonally. It measured in width twenty feet. It was built of flints and rags, with occasional masses of tiles. On the north side, however, there was such a preponderance of flints, and on the south such a marked excess of ragstone, as to justify raising a question as to whether one half might not have been constructed at a period subsequent to the other, though the reason for an addition to a ten-foot wall is not apparent. So firmly had time solidified the mortar and ripened its power, that the labourers, in despair of being able to demolish the wall, were compelled literally to drill a tunnel through it to admit the sewer. Whatever might have been the original destination of this wall, whether it formed part of a public building or a citadel, it must have been perverted from its primary destination at some period during the Roman dynasty. The excavation was carried to the depth of fifteen feet, the remains of the wall appearing six feet below the street level. Adjoining the north side of the wall, and running absolutely upon it, was a pavement of white tesserae, together with a flooring of lime and pounded tiles, supporting the tiles of a hypocaust, in rows of about one dozen, two feet apart.
"In Scot's Yard, opposite the great wall, at the depth of eight feet, was another wall, eight feet thick, composed entirely of the oblong tiles and mortar. It descended to the depth of thirteen feet, where, alongside, were pavements of lime and gravel, such, in fact, as are used as substrata for tessellæ, and are still, in many parts of the country, employed for the floorings of barns."
Having now visited the chief spots of interest in Upper Thames Street, let us note the chief tributaries north, for those south are, for the most part, alleys leading to wharves. The first, Addle Hill, like the street before mentioned by us in Aldermanbury, bears a Saxon name, either referring to King Athelstan or to the nobles who once dwelt there.
St. Bennet, Paul's Wharf, is a small church rebuilt by Wren after the Great Fire. Stow mentions the burial here of Edmund Denny, Baron of the Exchequer, whose learned son, Anthony, was gentleman of the bedchamber to Henry VIII. By his will the Baron desired twenty-eight trentals of masses to be said for his soul and the souls of his father, mother, and three wives. In this quiet and unpretending river-side church lies buried Inigo Jones, the architect of the adjoining St. Paul's (1655). His monument, for which he left £100, was destroyed in the Great Fire, that also destroyed his work at St. Paul's. Many of the hair-splitting advocates of Doctors' Commons, and laborious heralds from Heralds' College, are also interred in this tranquil spot. We may mention Sir William Le Neve (Clarencieux), a friend of Ashmole; John Philpott (Somerset Herald), who spent many dusty days over "Camden's Remaines;" and, in the north aisle, William Oldys (Norroy), the herald whose eccentricities and love of humming ale we have described in a former chapter. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's.
In Lambeth Hill is a warehouse once the Blacksmiths' Hall. The church of St. Mary Mounthaw, close by, was originally a chapel of the Mounthaws, an old Norfolk family, who lived on Old Fish Street Hill, and sold their house to the Bishops of Hereford about 1234. There was a Bishop of Hereford buried here, as well as one in the church of St. Mary Somerset, also now removed. People living close by have already forgotten the very names of the churches.
Concerning one of the Fish Street Hill churches, St. Mary Magdalen, Stow records nothing of interest, except that near it was a lane called Dolittle Lane, and another called Sermon or Shiremoniars Lane, from the Black Loft where, in the time of Edward I., the King's minters melted silver. Old Fish Street Hill and its antecedents we have already glanced at in our chapter on the Fishmongers' Company. It was the early fish market of London before Billingsgate. The stalls, says Stow, first grew to shops, then gradually to tall houses. The change of garden stalls into shops may be very well seen in our suburban roads. Sir William Davenant, the author of "Gondibert," describes the odours of Fish Street Hill with much unction.
St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, situate on the south
side of Old Fish Street, in the ward of Queenhithe,
was named from Cole Abbey, from Golden Abbey, or
from Cold-Abbey or Cold-by, from its' cold or bleak
situation. John Brand was rector before the year
1383. In 1560 Queen Elizabeth granted the
patronage thereof to Thomas Reeve and George
Evelyn, and their heirs in soccage, who conveying
it to others, it came at last to the family of the
Hackers; one whereof was Colonel Francis Hacker,
commander of the guard that guarded Charles I.
to and from his trial, and at last to the scaffold;
for which, after the Restoration, he was executed.
This church was destroyed in 1666, and handsomely
rebuilt, and the parish of St. Nicholas Olave there
unto united. The following is among the monumental inscriptions:—
"Leonard Smith, fishmonger, ended his days,
He feared the Lord and walked in his wayes.
His body here in earth doth rest,
His soul with Christ in heaven is blest. The 14th day of May, Anno Dom. 1601."
The next turning eastward, Fyefoot Lane, should be written Five-foot Lane, as the lane was once only five feet wide at one end. Little Trinity Lane, the next turning eastward, derives its name from a church of the Holy Trinity, destroyed in the Great Fire, and not rebuilt (a Lutheran church now occupies its site); and here we come on PainterStainers' Hall, No. 9, which existed as a guild or fraternity prior to 1580, although it had no charter of incorporation before that year. The company of skilled craftsmen seems to have laboured hard to obtain authority over London artists, forgetful of the fact that graining a door has no very near connection with the art of Raphael. Yet, no doubt, there was a time when the illuminator and the house painter were considered kinsmen, and it were well that there was more sympathy now between the higher and lower branches of all professions.
"The minutes of the Company," says Peter Cunningham, "commence in the early part of the reign of James I.; some of the entries are curious. Orders were made to compel the foreign painters then resident in London, Gentileschi, Steenwyck, &c., to pay certain fines for following their art, without being free of the Painters'-Stainers' Company. The fines, however, were never paid, the court painters setting the painters'-stainers in the City at defiance. Cornelius Jansen was a member, and Inigo Jones and Van Dyck occasional guests at their annual feasts. The Hall is very dark. Here are a few pictures that deserve attention:—No 21, 'The Fire of London,' by Waggoner, engraved in 'Pennant's London,' but hung out of sight; No. 31, full length of Charles II., by John Baptist Gaspars; No. 37, full length of the Queen of Charles II., by Huysman; No. 33, full length of William III., by Sir Godfrey Kneller, presented by Sir Godfrey; No. 28, full length of Queen Anne, by Dahl; No. 41, 'Magdalen,' by Sebastian Franck (small, on copper); No. 42, 'Camden, in his dress as Clarencieux,' presented to the Company by Mr. Morgan, Master, in 1676. Camden left £16 by will to the Painters'-Stainers, to buy them a piece of plate, upon which he directed this inscription to be put:—'Gul. Camdenus, Clarencieux, filius Sampsonis, Pictoris Londinensis, dono dedit.' The loving cup of the great antiquary is produced every St. Luke's Day, at the annual feast of the Company. Charles Catton, herald painter, and one of the original members of the Royal Academy, was Master of the Company in 1784. No Royal Academician of the present day would ever dream of becoming a member."
In the barbarous days of the culinary art, when whales and dolphins were eaten, and our queens quaffed strong ale for breakfast, garlick was a great article of kitchen consumption, and according to Stow, was then sold on Garlick Hill.
Queen Street, that leads from Cheapside (in a line with King Street) right down to Southwark Bridge, was one of the improvements after the Great Fire. It opened out of Soper Lane, and was intended to furnish a direct road to the water-side from the Guildhall, as it still does. College Hill was so called from the College of St. Spirit and St. Mary, founded by Whittington, and described by us in a previous part of the chapter. The Duke of Buckingham's house stood near the top, on the east side. The second and last Duke used to come here and intrigue with the City men of the Puritan party.
Dowgate Hill leads to one of the old watergates of London, and gives its name to one of the twenty-six wards of the City. Stow enumerates two churches and five halls of companies in this ward—All Hallows the More and the Less; Tallow Chandlers' Hall, Skinners' Hall, Maltsters' Hall, Joyners' Hall, and Dyers' Hall. The Steel Yard, or depôt of the Hanse Town merchants, already noticed, is in this ward. Dowgate, or Down-gate, from its rapid descent, was famous in Strype's time for its flooding discharge during heavy rains: Stow mentions a boy losing his footing, and being carried down the stream, in spite of men trying to stop him with staves, till he struck against a cart-wheel, and was picked up dead. Ben Jonson, speaks of
Pennant says that Dowgate (from Dwr, Celtic, water) was one of the old Roman gates of London, where passengers went across by ferry to a continuation of the military way towards Dover. It was a water wharf in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward III. Customs were paid for ships resting here, in the same manner as if they were at Queenhithe.
In Laurence Poultney Hill many eminent persons seem to have lived towards the end of the seventeenth century. Daniel and Eliab Harvey, brothers of Dr. William Harvey, Charles I.'s physician, and the great discoverer of the circulation of the blood, were rich merchants on this hill.
The Skinners, whose hall is situated in Dowgate, were incorporated in the first year of Edward III. (1327), and made a brotherhood in the eighteenth of Richard II. Their original title is "Master and Wardens, Brothers and Sisters of the Guild or Fraternity of the Skinners of London, to the Honour of God, and the precious Body of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Furs, though known to the Saxons, were brought into more general use by the Normans. A statute of Edward III. restricts the wearing of furs to the royal family, prelates, earls, barons, knights, ladies, and rich priests. A charter of Henry VII. enumerates ermine, sables, minever, badger, and many other furs then used to trim coats and gowns. Rabbit skin was also much worn, even by nobles and gentlemen.
The Skinners had a hall as early as the reign of Henry III., and they were among the first of the guilds chartered by Edward III. In this reign they ranked so high as to venture to dispute precedence with the powerful Fishmongers. This led, in 1339, to the celebrated fray, when prisoners were rescued, and one of the Mayor's officers wounded. The end of this was the rapid execution of two of the ringleaders in Cheapside. In the offerings for the French war (37 Edward III.) the Skinners contributed £40, which was double even the Goldsmiths' subsidy.
In 1395, the Skinners, who had previously been divided into two brotherhoods, one at St. Mary Spital, and the other at St. Mary Bethlehem, were united by Richard II. They then resided in St. Mary Axe, and in Strype's time they removed to Budge Row and Walbrook. In the Great Watch, on the vigil of St. Peter and St. Paul (6 Edward IV.), the Skinners rank as sixth among the twelve great companies, and sent twenty men to attend. In Richard III.'s time they had stood as seventh of the thirteen mysteries. They then sent twentyfour members, in murry-coloured coats, to meet the usurper on entering London, the five great companies alone sending thirty; and at Richard's coronation John Pasmer, "pellipar" (Skinner), was in the deputation from the twelve companies, who attended the Lord Mayor as chief butler.
In the reign of Elizabeth, though the richer furs were less worn, the Skinners were still numerous. They employed "tawyers," or poor workmen, to dress the coney and other English furs, which pedlars collected from the country people. To restrict merchants from forestalling them in the purchase of furs, the Skinners petitioned Elizabeth for the exclusive monopoly, but were opposed by the Lord Mayor and the Eastland merchants.
The ordinances of the Skinners in the reign of Edward II. prescribe regulations for importing and manufacturing skins into furs, fixing the number of skins in a package, and forbidding the sale of second-hand furs for new.
One of the great ceremonials of the Skinners' Company was the annual procession on Corpus Christi Day. They had then borne before them more than 200 painted and gilded wax torches, "burning bright," says Stow; then came above 200 chanters and priests, in surplices and copes, singing. After them came the sheriffs' officers, the clerks of the City prisons, the sheriffs' chaplains, mayor's serjeants, the counsel of the City, the mayor and aldermen in scarlet, and lastly the Skinners in their best livery. The guests returned to dinner in the Company's Hall. On the following Sunday they again went in procession to church, heard a mass of requiem solemnised for their deceased members, and made offerings. The bead-roll of the dead was then called, and the Company repeated their orisons. The priests then said a general prayer for all the surviving members of the fraternity, mentioning each by name. They afterwards returned to their hall, paid their quarterage, and any balances of livery money, and enjoyed themselves in a comfortable but unpretentious dinner, for which they had duly and thriftly paid in advance. Oh, simple life of quiet enjoyment!
The election ceremonies of the Company are highly curious. "The principals of the Company being assembled," says Mr. Herbert, "on the day of annual election, ten Christchurch scholars, or 'Blue-coat Boys,' with the Company's almsmen and trumpeters, enter the hall in procession, to the flourish of trumpets. Three large silver cocks, or fowls so named, are then brought in and delivered to the master and wardens. On unscrewing these pieces of plate they are found to form drinking-cups, filled with wine, and from which they drink. Three caps of maintenance are then brought in; the first of these the old master tries on, and finds it will not fit him, on which he gives it to be tried on to several next him. Being tried by two or three whom it will not fit, it is then given to the intended new master, whom fitting, of course, he is then announced with flourish and acclamation as the master elect. The like ceremonies are afterwards repeated with the two other caps, on behalf of the wardens to be elected, who succeed in a similar manner, and are announced with the like honours when the healths of the whole are drank by the company."
The arms of the Company are—Ermine, on a chief gules, three crowns or, with caps of the first. Crest—A leopard proper, gorged with a chaplet of bays or. Supporters—A lucern (lynx) and a wolf, both proper. Motto—" To God only be all glory." Hatton, in his "New View of London," boasts of the Company having enrolled, in its time, six kings, five queens, one prince, nine dukes, two earls, and a baron.
Strype says the hall in Dowgate was built after the Fire of London at an expense of above £1,800. The original hall, "Coped Hall," had been purchased by the Company as early as the reign of Henry III. It was afterwards alienated, and passed into the hands of Sir Ralph de Cobham, who made Edward III. his heir. In the later hall the mayors sometimes held their mayoralty, and the new East India Company held its general courts before its incorporation with the old Company. The hall is described in 1708 as a noble structure, built with fine bricks, and richly furnished, the great parlour being lined with odoriferous cedar. The hall was altered by Mr. Jupp at the end of the last century. It is an Ionic building, with a rusticated basement. Six pilasters, sustaining an entablature and pointed pediment, divide a double tier of six windows. In the tympanum of the pediment the architect has shown a noble disregard to heraldry by doubling up the supporters of the Company's arms, to fit into the space. The frieze is ornamented with festoons and leopards' heads. A small paved court separates the front from the more ancient building, which is of brick. The hall, a light and elegant apartment, has an Ionic screen. The court-room is no longer wainscoted with odoriferous cedar. The staircase, says Herbert, displays some of the massy and rich ornaments in fashion in the reign of Charles II.
"The parish church of St. Laurence Poultney
was increased, with a chapel of Jesus, by Thomas
Cole, for a master and chaplain; the which chapel
and church were made a college of Jesus, and of
Corpus Christi, for a master and seven chaplains,
by John Poultney, mayor, and was confirmed by
Edward III., the twentieth of his reign. Of him
was this church called St. Laurence Poultney in
Candlewick Street. The college was surrendered
in the reign of Edward VI., who granted and sold
it to John Cheke, his schoolmaster, and Walter
Moyle." The following is one of the curious old
epitaphs preserved by Strype:—
"Every Christian heart
Seeketh to extoll
The glory of the Lord,
Our onely Redeemer;
Wherefore Dame Fame
Must needs inroll
Paul Withypoll his childe,
By Love and Nature,
Elizabeth, the wife
Of Emanuel Lucar,
In whom was declared
The goodnesse of the Lord,
With many high vertues,
Which truely I will record.
She wrought all needle-workes
That women exercise,
With Pen, Frame, or Stoole,
All pictures artificiall,
Curious Knots or Trailes,
What fancy would devise,
Beasts, Birds, or Flowers,
Even as things naturall.
Three manner hands could she
Write, them faire all.
To speak of Alegorisme,
Or accounts, in every fashion,
Of women, few like
(I thinke) in all this nation.
Latine and Spanish,
And also Italian,
She spake, writ, and read,
With perfect utterance;
And for the English,
She the Garland wan.
In Dame Prudence Schoole,
By Graces' purveyance,
Which cloathed her with vertues
From naked ignorance;
Reading the Scriptures,
To judge light from darke,
Directing her faith to Christ,
The onely marke."
"St. Laurence Poultney Church," says Aubrey. "was the only London church that could then boast of a leaden steeple, except St. Dunstan in the East." Richard Glover, the author of that tenthrate epic, "Leonidas," was also a merchant on this hill. "Leonidas," an epic in twelve books, praised by Fielding, and written to vex Sir Robert Walpole by covert patriotic allusions, had its day. By many people of his time Glover was generally believed to have written the "Letters of Junius," but Junius has more of the old nobleman about him than the Hamburg merchant. Sir Patience Ward, that great City politician, was living in 1677 on Laurence Poultney Hill; and in the same year also lived there William Vanderbergh, the father, as Mr. Peter Cunningham thinks, of the with and dramatist, Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim. Thomas Creede, the great play-printer of Queen Elizabeth's time, lived in this parish. The register records the marriage, in 1632–3, of Anne Clarges to Thomas Radford, farrier, of the parish of St. Martin's-in-theFields. This lady (a laundress) afterwards married General Monk, the restorer of Charles II.
"On the south side of Thames Street," says Mr.
Jesse, "close to where the Steel Yard formerly
stood, is the church of All Hallows the Great,
anciently called All Hallows the More, and sometimes All Hallows in the Ropery, from its being
situated in a district chiefly inhabited by ropemakers. It was founded in 1361 by the Despencer
family, from whom the presentation passed by
marriage to the Beauchamps, Earls of Warwick,
and subsequently to the Crown. The present uninteresting church was built by Sir Christopher
Wren, shortly after the destruction of the old edifice
by fire in 1666. Stow informs us that there was a
statue of Queen Elizabeth in the old Church, to
which the following verses were attached:—
"If Royal virtue ever crowned a crown;
If ever mildness shined in majesty;
If ever honour honoured true renown;
If ever courage dwelt with clemency;
"The only object of any interest in the interior of the church is a handsome oak screen, said to have been manufactured in Hamburg, which was presented to the church by the Hanse merchants, in grateful memory of their connection with the parish."
The Swan Stairs, a little "above bridge," was where people coming by boat used to land, to walk to the other side of Old London Bridge, when the current was swift and narrow between the starlings, and "shooting the bridge" was rather like going down the rapids. Citizens usually took boat again at Billingsgate, as we find Johnson and Boswell once doing, on their way to Greenwich, in 1763.
Dyers' Hall, College Street, was rebuilt about 1857. The Company was incorporated as early as 1472, and the ancient hall, on the site of Dyers' Hall Wharf, was destroyed in the Great Fire. The Innholders' Hall, in the same street, was also built after the Great Fire. The Company was incorporated in 1515. Joiners' Hall, Joiners' Hall Buildings, has a carved screen and entrance doorway, and the piers are surmounted with the Company's crest—a demi-savage, life-size, wreathed about the head and waist with oak-leaves. The Joiners were incorporated about 1567. The Plumbers' Hall, in Great Bush Lane, is a modern brick building. The Company was incorporated by James I. in 1611.
The celebrated Calamy gives a curious account of an adventure he met with at Trigg stairs, in this district. "As I was going," he says, "one day, from Westminster into the City, designing to dine with Sir Richard Levet, I landed at Trigg Stairs. Walking up from the water-side towards Maiden Lane, where he lived, I was overtaken by a woman who had seen me pass by, and ran very eagerly after me, till she was almost out of breath. She seemed greatly frightened, and caught hold of me, begging me, for God's sake, to go back with her. I asked her what the matter was, and what she had to say to me. She told me there was a man had just hanged himself in a cellar, and was cut down, and she ran up and saw me go by, and was overjoyed at my coming so seasonably, and begged of me, for the Lord's sake, that I would go back with her and pity the poor man. I asked her what she expected from me, and whether she thought I could bring a dead man to life. She told me the man was not dead, but was cut down alive, and come to himself, and she hoped if, at such a season as this, he was seriously talked with, it might do him good. Though I was an utter stranger to this woman, I was yet prevailed with by her earnestness and tears, which were observed by all that passed, to go back with her. She carried me up-stairs into a handsome dining-room. I found a grave, elderly woman sitting in one corner; a younger woman in another; a down-looking man, that had discontent in his countenance, and seemed to be between thirty and forty years of age, in a third corner; and a chair standing in a fourth, as if set for me, and upon that I placed myself." After reasoning with the man, and endeavouring to restore peace in the family, the good man left.