ROMAN CATHOLICISM TO c. 1700
Stepney's maritime role probably accounted for
many reports of papists. In 1594 Thomas Leeds was
said to keep a priest in Thorne House, Wapping,
and his friend Nicholas Wolfe to have a hidingplace and altar in Washington House nearby. (fn. 63) A
seaman called Hill who lived at the Green Dragon,
Ratcliff, was reported to bring many seminary priests
into England. (fn. 64) The Jesuit Henry Garnett had a
house in Spitalfields in 1597 (fn. 65) and a Jesuit called
Stansby or Drury was in Poplar in 1605. (fn. 66)
Papists reported in the 17th century were connected with foreign textile workers in and around
Spitalfields or with Irish immigration into the
riverside hamlets in the 1630s. (fn. 67) Recusants in 1678
included 30 from Spitalfields, 15 from Bethnal
Green, and 9 from Wapping-Stepney. (fn. 68) In 1680 35
were listed for Spitalfields, 15 for Stepney and
Spitalfields, 20 for Bethnal Green, 18 for Stepney,
14 for Stepney and Wapping-Stepney, and 3 for
Poplar; in Spitalfields and Bethnal Green most
were apparently foreign. (fn. 69) Individuals summonsed
in 1678-9 included two weavers of Spitalfields with
foreign surnames, a victualler of Mile End, and a
framework-knitter and a weaver of Bethnal Green.
Three foreign tapestry-workers of Bethnal Green
stood surety for 16 suspected papists, mostly with
foreign surnames; a carver and a sculptor of Blackwall were also suspected. (fn. 70) John Potter of Poplar,
accused in 1681 of harbouring papists, claimed that
one was his Italian servant and that two who had
escaped were visitors from Holland. (fn. 71) In 1690 a
house in Spitalfields was to be searched for articles
used in several London chapels. (fn. 72) The curate of
Stepney had thought that there were no papists in
1706 but found eight, in Wapping, Bethnal Green,
Mile End New Town, and Spitalfields. (fn. 73) In 1714
about 60 names were reported, in Ratcliff, Wapping,
Spitalfields, and Mile End New Town. (fn. 74)
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1591-4, 510.
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603-10, 264.
Recusant Hist. x. 124.
||Hist. MSS. Com. 17, 11th Rep. II, H.L., p. 59.
||G.L.R.O., MR/RR 3.
Mdx. County Rec. iv. 101-2, 115, 118-19, 129.
||Hist. MSS. Com. 17, 11th Rep. II, H.L., pp. 148-9.
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1689-90, 538.
||Guildhall MS. 9800, file 2.
||G.L.R.O., MR/RR 22/8; list largely illegible. Details of individual congs. reserved for treatment under