The north-eastern part of the parish of Shoreditch comprises the
ancient hamlet of Haggerston. The name first occurs in Domesday, which
mentions two hides in "Hergotestane" (fn. 1) held, in the time of Edward the
Confessor, by Alwin. By 1086 they had passed into the hands of Robert
Gernon. (fn. 2) The Gernon pedigree given by Ellis (fn. 3) shows that Robert had
two sons, Robert and William, the latter of whom assumed the surname of
Montfichet. His son, Gilbert, was succeeded by Richard, who died in
1203, and the latter's son, also named Richard, died in 1258, s.p. The
manor, or a portion of it, had descended to the younger Richard, for the
records contained in the Testa de Nevill (circ. 1240) show that Nicholas of
Bassingburn held a fourth part of a knight's fee in Haggerston of Richard
of Montfichet. (fn. 4) Sir Thomas of Bassingburn, son and heir of Nicholas,
in 1255 granted all his holding in "Haregotistone" in the parish of "Soresdich" to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's (fn. 5) and a document of circ. 1300 (fn. 6)
states that the Dean and Chapter held in "Hergodeston" of the heirs of
Nicholas of Bassingburn, by the service of the fourth part of a knight's fee.
What became of this two-hide manor (fn. 7) belonging to St. Paul's there is
little to show, (fn. 8) but it is possible that it is alluded to in connection with
certain property in Shoreditch, acquired or proposed to be acquired by the
priory of St. Mary Spital. In 1349, in return for a promise to increase the
number of canons by one to celebrate divine service for the King and the
souls of his progenitors, the priory obtained the royal licence to acquire in
mortmain five messuages and 100 acres of land in Middlesex not held in
chief. (fn. 9) The inquisition (fn. 10) ad quod dampnum held in connection with the
proposal disclosed the fact that certain of the property, viz., four messuages
and 24 acres of land in Hackney, Stepney and Shoreditch held by John
Blaunch and Nicholas of Shoreditch was subject to a rent payable to the
Dean of St. Paul's. The property in question may, therefore, have formed
a part of the two-hide manor. (fn. 11) It is, however, not possible to decide whether
the property even came to the priory, for in 1376 licence (fn. 12) was granted to
the prior to acquire, in part satisfaction of the five messuages and 100 acres,
one messuage and 80 acres in Hackney, Shoreditch and Stepney, all held (fn. 13)
of the bishop of London as of his manor of Stepney. (fn. 14)
At the time of the Reformation, the greater portion of Haggerston
was in the possession of the priory of St. Mary Spital and accordingly passed
into the hands of the Crown. On 26th August, 1543, the King sold to Thomas
Goodwyn a large amount of property, including (fn. 15) the manor of "Hyckmans,"
described as "now or late in the tenure or occupation of Robert Beckett,"
and lately belonging to the Priory or New Hospital of the Blessed Virgin
Mary outside Bishopsgate, and further detailed as comprising—
The total area amounted to 43½ acres. A fortnight previously the
King had granted to Goodwyn (fn. 16) licence to alienate the property to William
Cowper and Cecily, his wife, and on 3rd September, 1543, the transfer
took place. (fn. 17) On 16th October, 1548, the Cowpers sold to Anne Malte (fn. 18)
the property, described as "the manour of Hickmans with thappurtenances
in Argaston, and all that their barne and all landes, medowes and pastures,
sett, lieng and being in foure closes adjoyning, conteyning by estimacion
a hundrith [?] acres . . . the which be nowe in severall holdinges of
the said William Cowper and of one William Barlowe, citizein and merchaunte tayllour of London."
On 10th April, 1553, Thomas Hilton and Elizabeth his wife, daughter
of Anne Malte, sold to Sir Roger Cholmley (fn. 19) their several closes of pasture
ground containing six acres in the tenure of Richard Lyster, lying in
Haggerston against the house of Sir Roger, and abutting west on Haggerston Lane and east on lands of Sir Ralph Warren in the tenure of Richard
On 5th August, 1556, the Hiltons further sold to Thomas (afterwards
Sir Thomas) Curtis (fn. 20) "all that field or pasture called Hickmans field . . .
containing by estimation 27 acres . . . and one close . . .
called Barnfield, containing by estimation 10 acres, with a barn built
thereon and one garden to the same barn adjoining." (fn. 21) Apparently this
37 acres plus the 6 acres sold to Cholmley represented the whole of the
Haggerston property sold by the King to Goodwyn.
Curtis died on 7th November, 1560, and his granddaughter, Anne,
wife of Thomas Stucley, (fn. 22) inherited the property. On 19th May, 1561,
she and her husband disposed of (fn. 23) the 37 acres as well as other property in
Essex and the City of London to Lewis Stucley, (fn. 24) and on 19th July, 1602,
the latter's son, John, sold them to Richard Smith, citizen and haberdasher
of London. (fn. 25) In the indenture the property was described as a "parcell
of ground called Barnefeild Close conteyning . . . tenne acres
. . . in the occupacion of John Stevenson, and three other closes and
parcells of ground conteyning in the whole, 27 acres . . in the
tenure of one Rowland Oakeover."
In addition to the six acres acquired in 1553, Sir Roger Cholmley (fn. 26)
had obtained in 1540 (fn. 27) by way of exchange with the Crown, a messuage or
tenement, a dovecote, orchard, garden and close of land lately in the tenure
of Thomas Walsh, and then of Cholmley in Shoreditch and "Orgaston,"
and also a parcel of meadow and pasture lately in the tenure of John Greygoose, and then of William Upchurch. All the property is said to have
formerly belonged to the priory of St. Mary Spital.
Cholmley died on 21st June, 1565, (fn. 28) leaving to his daughter, Dame
Elizabeth Beckwith, widow of Sir Leonard Beckwith, "all my lands, tenements and hereditaments at Argeston, alias Harleston, in the parish of
St. Leonard's, Shoreditch." In the event of her marrying Christopher
Kenn (a marriage which, in fact, took place before February, 1565–6), the
property was to be vested in trustees for her with reversion to her son Roger
Beckwith. The latter died on 5th September, 1586, leaving as co-heirs
Frances Harvey, his sister, and Frances Slingsby, daughter of his other
sister, Elizabeth Vavasor. (fn. 29)
In 1595 Edward Ryder purchased from the two heiresses (fn. 30) "a messuage,
barn, dovecote, two gardens, an orchard and 12 acres of pasture . . in
Argaston, alias Hargaston alias Harleston near Hagyston in the parish
of St. Leonard in Shordiche," and on 26th May, 1596, Ryder acquired
from George Harvey (fn. 31) (Frances Harvey and Henry and Frances Slingsby
releasing) "all those fyfteene acres of pasture ground . . . scituate in
severall parcells . . . nowe or late in the occupacion of William Beacher
abutting on the heighe waye goinge from Shorditche to Chambridge
Heath towards the south, on the lane leadinge up to Hagiston towardes
the west, on the landes of one mayster Stewkly towardes the north."
By indenture (fn. 32) dated 31st March, 1601, Ryder enfeoffed Richard Smith and
William Parkhurst with the Cholmley property under the description (fn. 33)
(i) a capital messuage in Haggerston late in the occupation of Sir Roger Cholmley.
(ii) 4 acres of pasture adjoining (i) late in tenure of Edward Ryder.
(iii) 5 acres next to (ii) late in occupation of Thomas Haddon.
(iv) two closes, called Graygoose closes, of 9 acres.
(v) a close, called Shroggs close, of 6 acres lying in several parcels, abutting on the
King's way leading from Shoreditch to Cambridge Heath towards the south, a lane leading to
Haggerston west, and lands "now or late in tenure of . Stucley" north.
The Cholmley and Goodwin possessions in Haggerston were, therefore,
united in Richard Smith. Smith died on 16th November, 1613, leaving his
Haggerston estate to his wife Margery, for life, with remainder to his
elder son Richard, who was 13½ years old at his father's death.
On 30th November, 1632, Richard sold (fn. 34) the property in moieties to
Sir Andrew Jenour and John Wiseman respectively. Wiseman died on
7th April, 1637 (fn. 35) leaving a son and heir, John, aged 2¾ years. On 23rd
June, 1662, Sir Andrew Jenour and John Wiseman disposed of the estate
to Sir Thomas Byde, (fn. 36) of Shoreditch. The description of the property,
with the exception of the names of the occupiers, is identical with that of
the 24 acres of the Cholmley property purchased by Richard Smith plus
the 10 acres of Barnfield close and "three other closes or parcells of ground
conteyning in the whole 27 acres," corresponding to the 37 acres sold by
the Hiltons to Curtis. The total area was therefore 61 acres.
On 17th June, 1720, Thomas Byde sold (fn. 37) to Richard Nicholls "all that
mannor or reputed mannor of Haggerston." The contents are enumerated
(i) A messuage or tenement.
(ii) A field called the Ten Acres in two parcels of 4 and 6 acres.
(iii) A field called the Twelve Acres in three parcels of 3½, 5 and 2½ acres.
(ii) and (iii) together correspond with the 21-acre field shown in Chassereau's
(iv) The Pale Field (4 acres) lying south and west of "a lane leading to Kingsland Road"
(Slough Lane in Chassereau's Map).
(v) A field called Twelve Acre Field abutting south on Hackney Road in two parcels,
one containing one acre and including a brick dwellinghouse "containing in
front 36 feet, and in depth 20 feet and in height from the surface of the
earth upward to the eaves 20 feet, and consisting of two stories
besides cellars and garretts," and another referred to as 12 acres.
(vi) A parcel of 8 acres, said to have been formerly part of the Twelve Acre Field.
(vii) A field of 3 acres "heretofore laid to the said eight acres" and abutting on
(viii) A field called the Seven Acres on the eastern boundary and said to be partly in
Shoreditch and partly in Hackney.
(ix) A parcel called the Five Acres (east of Slough Lane).
(x) The capital messuage with outhouses, yards, gardens, orchards, etc., enclosed with
a brick wall.
(xi) A garden or nursery, late a close of pasture, containing 2 acres, with brick messuage
(xii) The Lord's Acre (from a deed of 8th June, 1720, it appears that this was leased from
the prebendary of Hoxton).
Exclusive of the Lord's Acre, the total area amounts to 63 acres.
Chassereau's map of 1745 (Plate 1) shows the property at the time belonging
to Nichols, the total area amounting to 59 acres, 1 rood, 6 poles.
A further portion of Hickman's Manor is referred to in a sale by
Francis Whitpayne to James Heblethwaite on 17th December, 1564, of
16 acres of arable land and meadow ground "set, lyinge and beinge in a
certen ffilde called Mylkwyvesbridgeffilde. . . parcell of the manour
of Hyckmans." (fn. 38) The property had been acquired by Whitpayne in 1555
from Thomas and Elizabeth Hilton. (fn. 39) It can be traced (fn. 40) until 1636, when
it was sold by Montague Saunderson to Charles Child. (fn. 41) In 1767
Milkwives' Bridge Field, with the exception of a portion on which had been
erected the Goldsmiths' Almshouses, was in possession of John Spranger, (fn. 42)
and is therefore to be identified with the field marked "Spranger L." in
Another portion of the estate of the priory of St. Mary Spital
in Haggerston was known as "Burgoyn's Lands." These were
apparently the lands in Shoreditch and Hackney belonging to Thomas
Burgoyn, who seems to have obtained them through his wife Elizabeth,
née Rotheley. According to a statement made in 1472, (fn. 43) they consisted of
7 messuages, 115½ acres of land, 16½ acres of meadow, 3 acres of wood,
12 acres of pasture and 6d. rent in "Argeston, Shordiche and Hakeney,"
a total of 147 acres. (fn. 44) At the dissolution the priory of St. Mary Spital was
possessed of the lands, meadows, pastures, feeding grounds, fields and
marshes called "Burgoyne's landes" in the parishes of Shoreditch, Hackney
and Stepney, lately in the tenure of Robert Hateley, and a wharf, with two
closes and an osier-bed, in Long Ditton. Also all those great tenements,
small tenements, stables, barns and 48 acres of land and pasture in Hackney
and Shoreditch now or lately in the tenure of John Welsh, and 2¼ acres in
the common field called West Field in Hackney in the tenure of Richard
Haryong, with other lands in that parish demised to John Lindsay. All the
above-mentioned were granted on 21st August, 1544, to Ralph Warren, (fn. 45)
Martin Bowes and others, and on 1st October, 1545, licence was granted (fn. 46)
for their alienation to Ralph (afterwards Sir Ralph) Warren. The property
passed to Sir Ralph's son, Richard Warren, with reversion to the latter's
sister Joan, wife of Sir Henry Cromwell. (fn. 47) In 1598 it was in the hands of
Richard's relict Elizabeth Knyvett, who had a life-interest therein. On
2nd May in that year the reversionary interest was sold (fn. 48) to Robert (afterwards
Sir Robert) Lee by Oliver Cromwell, son and heir of Dame Joan Cromwell.
Sir Robert Lee died on 22nd December, 1605, (fn. 49) and his son, Sir Henry,
succeeded to the reversionary interest. On his death the interest descended
to his son John (afterwards Sir John) Lee, a ward in Chancery, who was
still in possession in 1664. (fn. 50) An indenture (fn. 51) dated 1st May, 1717, between
Thomas Lee, of Kensington and Baptist Lee, his son and heir, and John
Diserote, for the first time gives details of the property. This comprised
(i) a messuage in Haggerston "now or late in the occupation of Edmond
Lidgold," and 47 acres of meadow and pasture lying together at or near
Haggerston, belonging to the said messuage, abutting on the lands of Sir
Thomas Byde on the south and west. These 47 acres almost certainly
represent the 48 acres mentioned separately in previous transfers, and may
probably be identified with the two fields of 26 and 18 acres respectively
shown on Chassereau's map; (ii) 23 messuages and 35¾ acres in Haggerston.
The latter, by the boundaries, etc., may be generally identified with the
remaining fields marked "Lee, Esq.," in Chassereau's map, the area of which
amounted to 39 acres; (iii) 7¾ acres in Hoxton; (iv) 5 messuages and
28½ acres in Hackney; and (v) 9 acres in Bethnal Green.
The two fields marked "Dry, Esq., L." in Chassereau's map did not
belong to either Hickman's or Burgoyn's at the time of the dissolution.
Their history has been traced during the greater portion of the 16th century,
and the owners were always different from those of the two manors in
question. (fn. 52)
Mention should also be made of an estate in Haggerston to which
some mystery appertains. A certain John Deacon on 1st January, 1584–5,
fled the realm and was outlawed. At the time of his departure he was
seised in his demesne as of fee in, inter alia, one messuage or tenement with
garden and orchard, and 24 acres of land, meadow, and pasture in "Argaston
alias Hargaston alias Hurleston" in the parish of Shoreditch, then or late
in the several tenures or occupations of Thomas Bedingfeld, Thomas Haddon
and Clement Kelk, and in all "le waynescott et seelinge" within the messuage valued at £4. (fn. 53) On 14th April, 1619, James I. granted (fn. 54) to Robert
Jossey, or Joyce, and others, at a reserved rent, all the property of Deacon.
The Haggerston estate is described as a capital messuage and close thereto
belonging then or late in the several tenures of Paul Pope and Edward,
Lord Seymour, and two other closes, late in the tenure of Thomas Haddon
and Clement Kelk. It will be noticed that the details are quite circumstantial,
and there can hardly be a question of mistake. The story is resumed in
1664. Lady Salton had obtained a grant of a moiety of rents due to but
withheld from the Crown, and a certain Charles Cornell, "a poore indigent
person and noe way responsible," acting as her agent, had apparently
discovered the grant to Joyce, as well as the fact that the reserved rent was
33 years in arrear. He accordingly distrained on certain cattle then "levant
and couchant upon the premisses," and belonging to Allen Badger, tenant
of Sir John Lee, the owner of Burgoyn's. Proceedings were instituted, and
Sir John Lee indignantly disclaimed all knowledge of James I.'s grant, and
denied absolutely that his estate was ever in the possession of John Deacon
or that any part of it had ever been in the occupation of Thomas Bedingfield. (fn. 55)
There can be no doubt that in this he was quite correct. Apparently no
claim was made upon the owner of Hickmans, then Sir Thomas Byde, although
that portion which had belonged to Cholmley certainly had points of resemblance: it comprised a messuage and 24 acres, the messuage had been in
the occupation of Pope, and one of the closes in that of Haddon. The
general history of that property, however, seems quite inconsistent with
the identification, and the Deacon estate in Haggerston must remain a
Chassereau's map (Plate 1) shows such building as then (1745) existed
in Haggerston practically assembled in one spot, fronting which was
apparently the village green, in the south-west angle formed by Nursery
Lane (now Laburnum Street) and Haggerston Lane (now Weymouth Street).
The only other buildings shown are the Goldsmiths' Almshouses, and a
few north of the Hackney Road near the junction of that thoroughfare and
Goldsmiths' Row. Cary's map of 1792 shows that no further building had
then taken place.
There seem to have been two large houses: (i) the "great messuage"
attached to Burgoyn's, occupied in the beginning of the 18th century by
Edmond Lidgold; and (ii) the capital messuage in Haggerston, occupied in
the 16th century by Sir Roger Cholmley, and at the time of his death (1565)
let to Paul Pope. The water-colour sketch by Shepherd of a gateway of
brick and stone, mentioned in the issue of Notes and Queries for 23rd January,
1909, obviously represented the remains of one of these two houses. The
mount bore an inscription to the effect that the picture represented the
residence of Dr. Halley at Haggerston. The statement that Edmund
Halley, the famous astronomer, was born (29th October, 1656) "in Shoreditch
parish, at a place called Haggerston, the backside of Hogsdon," rests on
the authority of Aubrey, (fn. 56) a contemporary. It has not been found possible
to obtain confirmation of the statement. The house attached to Burgoyn's
was in 1664 in the occupation of Allen Badger, who stated that he and his
father-in-law, William Morris, had held the premises for 35 years. (fn. 57) That
attached to Hickman's was left in 1612 to Margery Smith for life. She was
living there in 1615, (fn. 58) and in the sale to Sir Thomas Byde in 1662 the house
is described as "since in the occupation of Margery Smith and late in that
of Elizabeth Wiseman." There is nothing in the above inconsistent with
a short sub-lease to Halley's father, but any long occupation by the family
is quite unlikely and any idea that Halley resided there when grown up
must be relinquished. The town residence of the family was in Winchester
Street. (fn. 59)