The Royal Lady Chapel and Barking Alley

Sponsor

English Heritage

Publication

Author

G. H. Gater and Walter H. Godfrey (general editors)

Year published

1934

Pages

14-15

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'The Royal Lady Chapel and Barking Alley', Survey of London: volume 15: All Hallows, Barking-by-the-Tower, pt II (1934), pp. 14-15. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74962 Date accessed: 22 October 2014.


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IV.—BARKING ALLEY. SITE OF THE ROYAL LADY CHAPEL

At some point south of the later site of Green Arbour and Catherine Court lay the lands left to the Canons of St. Paul's under the will of Thomas Northflete. These lands are known to have formed the northern boundary of that piece of the cemetery or churchyard of All Hallows upon which stood the building (detached from the church itself) often referred to as Berkyngchapel or the Chapel of St. Mary. The Royal Chapel of Our Lady in the churchyard of All Hallows (to give it its full title) has been dealt with at length in Part I of this Survey, (fn. 1) but this account can now be supplemented by further material. In 1261 (17 years before the earliest reference previously known) the Abbess of Barking gave, from Hainault Wood, twenty Copulae (oak roof beams) for building the Lady Chapel of "Berkingechirche" in London, to be allowed to be carried thither free of cheminage. (fn. 2) This would seem to give the date of the building. Another document assists in the identification of the site: In 1385 William Rising, prior of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, remits 2s. of the former rent of 8s. paid by William Parker, citizen and stock fishmonger of London, for a garden, lying between the cemetery of [All Hallows Barking] church on the south, a tenement of the said William on the north, extending to a certain lane called Chikenlane towards the east and as far as a chapel called Berkyng Chapel towards the west, William Parker covenanting to rebuild the houses in the garden. (fn. 3) There are several records in the Hustings Rolls which appear to deal with Parker's property, and one dated 1392 gives the same boundaries, except that it takes in more land to the north, the western bounds of which include land belonging to St. Paul's, London (formerly of Master Thomas de Northflete), as well as the Lady Chapel. (fn. 4)


Barking Abbey.

It is clear from these deeds that the chapel was in a portion of the cemetery which projected north, and the exact site is given with measurements in the grant to Sir Ralph Sadler and Laurence Wennington in 1550 at the confiscation of the chantries under Edward VI. (fn. 5) It is described as a void plot of ground, bounded by Seething Lane on the west (frontage 25½ feet), by an alley called Barking Church Alley on the south (length 95 feet), and by the tenement of Robert Smith on the north, which also lay west of a part of the site which projected north. This projection, which is confirmed by the length of 41 feet given for the eastern boundary, no doubt represents St. Thomas's Chapel containing the chantry of (Sir) Robert Tate, which was built out on the north. (fn. 6) It would seem, from a later grant, that Robert Smith's tenement had been built on the unoccupied corner of the churchyard to the north-west of the Lady Chapel. This had its frontage to Seething Lane, and was in 1553 tenanted by Grace Smith, widow of Robert, the grantees being Thomas Reve and George Cotton of London, gentlemen. (fn. 7) Barking Alley no doubt dates from this period, having formerly been only a path across the churchyard, and being subsequently known occasionally as Chapel Alley.

Footnotes

1 Survey of London, xii (A.H.B. pt. i), p. 9 et seq.
2 P.R.O., Close. No. 77, 45 Henry III, 4th August, 1261. [Cal. (in the press), p. 418.] Kindly communicated by Mr. A. E. Stamp.
3 Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A 1650.
4 Hustings Roll 121 (153). See also idem, 130 (91, 104, 118).
5 Pat. 4 Edw. VI, pt. iv, m. 23.
6 See Survey of London, xii, p. 16.
7 Ibid. p. 19, and Pat. 7 Edw. VI, pt. xiii, m. 30.