(iii) Hoxton to the west of Hoxton Street.
In the reign of Elizabeth the greater part of Hoxton west of Hoxton
Street was included in three estates, belonging respectively to Sir Thomas
Leigh, Sir Valentine Browne and the Haryong family.
The first had, a century before, been in the possession of Sir
Humphrey Starkey (fn. 1) , who, at his death in 1486, is said to have owned
3 messuages, 100 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow and 10 acres of pasture
in Shoreditch, held of the bishop of London. (fn. 2) . He left four daughters, (fn. 3)
by whom the estate (or the greater portion of it) was sold to Sir Thomas
Semer in 1525–6. (fn. 4)
Semer died in 1535. (fn. 5) and in 1538 the property was transferred (fn. 6) from
his son, Thomas, to Edward Elrington and Grace his wife. In 1553–4
Elrington sold (fn. 7) it (or a part of it) to Thomas (afterwards Sir Thomas)
Leigh, (fn. 8) and on the latter's death on 17th November, 1571, he was found to
have been possessed of a capital messuage and chief mansion house in
"Hogeston" in his own tenure, all houses, barns, yards, etc., to the said
capital messuage belonging, a garden, orchard, and little close in Hoxton
called The Pingle, as well as a messuage and farmhouse in Hoxton, and
all houses, gardens, etc., thereto belonging. (fn. 9)
On 14th January, 1585–6, (fn. 10) Sir Thomas's widow agreed to convey the
property to trustees for the use after her death of her daughter, Winifred
Bond, (fn. 11) and in 1623 Thomas Bond, one of the sons of Lady Winifred, sold (fn. 12)
it to Christopher Hewer and Thomas, his son. The elder Hewer died on
29th July, 1625, and on 26th February, 1625–6, Thomas also died. The
inquisition (fn. 13) taken on the latter's property gives a full description of the
estate. It contained:—
(i) A capital messuage, with chapel adjoining, lately in the tenure and occupation of
Winifred, Lady Bond, widow.
(ii) A close of meadow and pasture called The Pingle (1 acre) on the west side of the
(iii) A close of land commonly called Brick Close (6¼ acres) abutting on the north side
on the brick wall of the garden of the capital messuage, on Hoxton Street east, Old Street
south, and the field called Pitfield west.
(iv) A close of land called Pale Close (4 acres) on the west side of the capital messuage.
(v) A close of meadow and pasture (10 acres) on the west side of the Pingle and Palecroft.
(vi) A messuage formerly in tenure of Margaret Burton, lately of Christopher Hewer
and then of—Dashe.
(vii) Four cottages.
(viii) Six acres in the common field.
(ix) Four acres of land.
(x) A field called Pitfield (10 acres, 68 perches) then or late in the tenure of — Skingell,
abutting on Brick Close, east, and Old Street, south.
The property was said to be held of the bishop of London, and the
next heir was John Massie, son of Jane, only daughter of Christopher Hewer.
From John it passed to Robert Massie, and on the latter's death, to his son
Edward, afterwards Sir Edward Massie, who disposed of the property in
two lots. On 27th April, 1677, he sold (fn. 14) to Isaac Honywood (a) the "great
messuage or tenement" formerly in tenure of William Dash, and then
divided into three; (b) Pale Field, Pitfield, and Long Field, all adjoining one
another and containing 28 acres. Long Field is obviously the name of the
10-acre close mentioned above. The Pingle also seems to have been included.
On 12th November, 1679, Massie sold the capital messuage and a
field answering the description of Brick Close (and perhaps some other
portions of the property (fn. 15) ) to Katherine Austen, from whom the premises
passed successively to her son Thomas and grandson John. It will be convenient to deal with the Austen portion of the property first.
On 5th April, 1704, John Austen sold the capital messuage to Dr. Daniel
Williams, (fn. 16) the founder of the Dr. Williams' Charity. From plans in the
possession of the trustees of that charity the site of the house and appurtenances can be easily identified, within the angle formed by Hoxton Street
and Fanshaw Street, extending as far as the eastern side of Short Street on
the west, while its eastern boundary lay about 70 feet from Hoxton Street.
No mention of Brick Close by that name has been found later than the
inquisition on Thos. Hewer in 1627. From the description of its situation
as lying along Hoxton Street from the capital messuage to Old Street,
however, it is clearly to be identified with the field known at the beginning
of the 18th century as Church Field. (fn. 17) The southern portion of this field,
extending from about 115 feet north of Hoxton Square, (fn. 18) was on October 19th,
1683 (fn. 19) let on lease to Samuel (afterwards Sir Samuel) Blewitt and Robert
Hackshaw. The freehold continued in the Austen family until 1730, when
Sir John Austen sold (fn. 20) to Israel Wilkes the younger (fn. 21) over 100 houses,
including a Nonconformist chapel and The London Apprentice, all described
as "in or near Hoxton Square, Hoxton Street and King Street."
We now return to that part of the Leigh estate which Sir Edward
Massie sold to Isaac Honeywood in 1677. On 11th February, 1683–4, the
latter let Pitfield in four portions to Anthony Ball and John Brown on a
900 years' lease for building. Three of the parcels were described as: (i) 320
feet on the south fronting Old Street, 352 feet on the north abutting on
parcel (ii), 236 feet at the west end "on land lately belonging to Alexander
Pitfeild and now or formerly used as a laystall," and 222 feet at the east
end on parcel (iii) (fn. 22) ; (ii) 352 feet on the south abutting on parcel (i), 386 feet
on the north abutting "on the ditch next and between the said close
"('Pittfeild') and another field called Longfeild," 200 feet at the west end
on lands now or late belonging to Alexander Pitfeild," 225 feet at the east
end on parcel (iv) (fn. 23) ; (iii) fronting southwards on Old Street, 334 feet on the
north abutting on parcel (iv), 222 feet at the west end on parcel (i), and 168 feet
at the east end "on a feild or close or peice of ground lately belonging to
Catherine Austen and then or then late lett by lease unto Samuel Blewett
and Robert Hackshaw and intended to be built on." (fn. 24) Full details of
the fourth parcel are lacking, but it included a portion on the north side of
Queen Street (now Coronet Street) with depths of 91 feet and 87½ feet on the
west and east sides respectively. (fn. 25) This evidently represented the northernmost extension of Pitfield, as the land further north is said to have belonged
to Katherine Austen. From the above particulars, and with the knowledge
that the land "formerly belonging to Alexander Pitfeild" was Laysterne
Field, represented in Chassereau's Map by the six-acre field marked "Ashley
Esq.," (fn. 26) the boundaries of Pitfield can be identified as—on the west the
rear of the premises in Baches Street and Henson Street; south, Old Street;
north, the line dividing premises in Charles Square (fn. 27) from those in Great
Chart Street, continued east of Pitfield Street approximately 90 feet north
of Coronet Street; east, the centre of Coronet Street extended to meet the
northern boundary. Parcels (i) and (ii) were divided from (iii) and (iv) by
the centre of Pitfield Street. (fn. 28) Ball and Brown, the owners of the long lease,
endeavoured to establish a market on their property, and on 17th January,
1687–8, obtained a licence to hold two markets a week "apud Pitfeild prope
Hogsden," namely, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, for the buying and selling
of all kinds of flesh, fish and other provisions. (fn. 29) The project seems to have
fallen through, and several references occur to "a parcell of ground lately
used or intended to be used for a markett place called Hogsden Markett,
but since converted into a square." (fn. 30) This is the origin of the square still
called Hoxton Market.
On 13th June, 1690, Isaac Honeywood conveyed to Sir Peter Daniel
and others, as trustees of the Haberdashers' Company, (i) the messuage of
William Dash (then made into three messuages), (ii) Pale Field, and (iii) Long
Field, all abutting east on land and houses of Mr. Blewitt (i.e., Church Field),
north on a footway leading to Pimlico, and south on new buildings in Pitfield
Street. (fn. 31) With the exception of the hospital and charity school, (fn. 32) the estate
lay practically uncovered with buildings until the beginning of the 19th
century, the first building lease, comprising the site of Haberdashers' Place,
Aske Terrace and Haberdashers' Street, being granted in 1802. The general
position of the estate is clearly shown on Chassereau's Map (Plate 1).
Except in a few unimportant details, its boundaries are formed by East Road,
Bevenden Street, Pimlico Walk, Short Street, the rear of the premises on
the southern side of Ashford Street, Pitfield Street and the rear of the premises
on the southern side of Great Chart Street and of Styman Street.
We now come to the estate of Sir Valentine Browne. (fn. 33) The source
whence, (fn. 34) and the date on which, Sir Valentine obtained it are not known, but
as he is described as "of Hoxton" in an indenture of 20th September, 1575, (fn. 35)
with Thos. Croker, the presumption is that he was then in occupation. A
letter from him, addressed to Secretary Walsingham, and written from
"Hoggesdon," is dated 12th August, 1583. (fn. 36) He died on 15th February,
1588–9, leaving "a capital messuage with appurtenances situated . . .
in Hoggesdon alias Hockstone." (fn. 37) Sir Valentine, his son, died on
8th April, 1608. (fn. 38)
On 20th March, 1612–13, Thomas Nurse sold to William Johnson (fn. 39)
"all that mansion house or capitall mesuage with appurtenances, scituate
in Hoxstonne alias Hogsdonne . . . sometymes in the tenure . . .
of Sir Nicholas Browne . . . that ys to say the mansion house or
capitall mesuage, the moate, garden, courte yarde and all other the voyd
roomes, voyd groundes and other edifices and buyldings whatsoever, as
well without as within the compasse of the said moate in as large and
ample manner as Sir Valentine Browne, knighte, now deceased, and the
said Sir Nicholas Browne . . . enjoyed the same." Included were
an orchard, adjoining the moat, walled about "partly with bricke and partly
"with a wall of loome," a barn or stable with brickwalls, a yard adjoining
the barn in the rear, "and all and every the edifices and buyldings of one
gatehouse of tymber at the north end of the said barne or stable without
the moate, which barne or gatehouse are adjoyning to the Kinges highway
there." The property afterwards came into the hands of Sir Anthony
Roper, at whose death, on 12th January, 1634–5, it was found (fn. 40) to consist of
two messuages and divers lands, tenements and hereditaments, containing
by estimation 60 acres at "Hoxton alias Hoggesdon," lately purchased from
Sir Valentine Browne and William Johnson, and held of the Dean and Chapter
of St. Paul's as of their prebend of Eald Street. On 22nd July, 1648,
Henry Roper, brother of Sir Anthony, sold the estate to Charles (afterwards
Sir Charles) Pitfield. It was said (fn. 41) to comprise:—
(i) The capital messuage "sometymes in the occupacion of Joshua Hill and now or
"late of John Brewer," and all the tenements, houses, barns, gardens, orchards, etc., thereto
belonging, within and without the moat.
(ii) A close called Place Field (12 acres).
(iii) A close called Gore Close (8 acres).
(iv) A close called Abraham alias Apron Field (16 acres).
(v) A close called Pares Field (12 acres).
(vi) Three closes called Guyers Field, Bottom Field and Bull Field (31 acres).
In 1652, when the mansion house was occupied by Paul Tracy in virtue
of a sub-lease made by Hill, a disastrous fire destroyed great part of it. As
a result it lay waste for two years, while the moat, being unprotected, was a
source of danger to the community, one man being actually drowned in it. (fn. 42)
Sir Charles Pitfield died in 1680, (fn. 43) and his son Alexander succeeded to the
property. A list of the rooms, etc., in the capital messuage "late the
dwelling house of Sir Charles Pitfield" is extant, (fn. 44) from which the
character of the house at this time can be gathered.
On Alexander's death, he was succeeded by his grandson Charles, the
only son of Charles Pitfield, the elder, who had died before his father,
leaving debts which for some time were a heavy burden on the estate. On
15th January, 1736, Charles the younger made a settlement of, inter alia,
"all that the manor or reputed manor of Hoxton alias Hoggesdon." It
(i) The capital messuage then in occupation of Paul Hensch.
(ii) Farmhouse with barns, cowhouses, etc.
(iii) Place Field or Plane Field (12 acres).
(iv) Gyers Close or The Eight Acres (8 acres).
(v) Abraham alias Apram Field (16 acres).
(vi) Bottom Field and Bulls Field (17 acres).
(vii) The Fourteen Acres (14 acres).
(viii) Pax Field or Pars Field (12 acres).
(ix) Five acres in the common field.
(x) A close of meadow or pasture (4 acres) (fn. 45) "scituate near Bawmes house," purchased
by Sir Chas. Pitfield of Sir Edward Massey, and two acres adjoining.
(xi) Crane Field "two acres whereof have been lately turned into garden ground
and on them have been built lately three messuages or tenements now or late in the several
tenures of Captain Smith, Mr. Capell and Mr. Sallee, and with the said Cranefield, are
walled in and in lease to Ralph Harwood, Esq."
(xii) A close of meadow (3 acres).
(xiii) A number of houses.
Charles Pitfield died in 1740, leaving his property to his two daughters,
Winifred and Mary (afterwards Mary Sturt (fn. 46) ). Fields (ii) to (viii) and
(x) can be identified with those indicated on Chassereau's Map of 1745 as
"Harvey, Esq.," (fn. 47) while Crane Field (xi) is the field marked "Harwood,
Esq.," south of Hide Lane.
The site of Pitfield's mansion cannot be precisely identified. A list
of occupiers in 1683 (fn. 48) shows Alexander "Pittfeild" as occupying a house at
the northern extremity of the west side of Hoxton Street, and the Hearth
Tax Rolls for 1666 (fn. 49) indicate that the house of "Chas. Pitfeild, Esq."
(containing 13 hearths) was five houses north of The White Houses. A
portion of these latter premises was sold in 1762 to George Brigenshaw and
was then described as being on the north side of Constable's Alley (fn. 50) (now
Hobb's Place). It would seem, therefore, that the only building which can
possibly represent the Pitfield house in Chassereau is that situated (fn. 51) on the
western corner of Hide Lane (Hyde Road) and the Path to Sir Geo. Whitmore's
(St. John's Road).
It will have been seen that the above-mentioned property was described
as "the manor or reputed manor" of Hoxton. It certainly, however, was
not the manor of Hoxton, and, indeed, appears not to have been a manor
at all. A detailed account of Hoxton Manor would be out of place in this
volume, since it was situated within the parish of Hackney. Having regard,
however, to its name and to the fact that a portion of it seems at some time
to have been included in the parish of Shoreditch, (fn. 52) a short sketch of its
history is here given.
The earliest definite mention of it that has been traced is in an indenture, (fn. 53)
dated 6th October, 1351, of a lease by Sir John "de la Aspale" to Thomas
Harewold of "tout son manoir de Hoggeston one les appurtenances en la
paroche de Hakeneye." It had apparently been purchased with other
property by Robert de Aspale in 1305–6 from John and Maud Birtecurte. (fn. 54)
Sir John died on 28th September, 1355, (fn. 55) and the next reference to the
manor occurs in 1370–1, when it is found in the hands of Elizabeth de Aspale, (fn. 56)
his widow. An indenture, dated 29th October, 1372, (fn. 57) shows that the manor
of "Hoggeston," and other premises, all of which had been leased to the
priory of St. Mary Spital for 10 years from Michaelmas, 1371, were sold
by Elizabeth to John de Stodeye, Nicholas Brembre, John Birlyngham and
The manor is next found in the possession of Sir John Philpot (or
Phelipot) who died in 1384. By codicils to his will he provided (1) that
Margaret his daughter was to have all the lands and tenements formerly
belonging to John de Stodeye, (fn. 58) after the death of Margaret, his wife;
(2) that Margaret his wife was to hold the place called "Hoggeston," for
life, with remainder to his sons Thomas and Edward. (fn. 59)
The inference seems to be that Hoxton was not a part of the lands of
John de Stodeye, otherwise it would be natural to connect it with the sale
by Elizabeth de Aspale to John de Stodeye and others mentioned above.
The inquisition taken after Philpot's death (fn. 60) mentions that the manor
of "Hoggesdon" was held of the bishop of London. It continued in the
hands of the Philpot family until 20th June, 1634, when Sir John Philpot
disposed of it (fn. 61) to Sir William Whitmore, Sir Samuel Sawyer and William
Gibson, apparently as trustees for Sir George Whitmore. (fn. 62) In this transaction
it is described as "the mannor or lordshipp of Bames." This name is
first met with in the year 1509–10 when Peter Philpot, son and heir of Sir John
Philpot, claimed livery of his father's lands, including "the manor of
Hoggeston otherwais callid Bams." (fn. 63) This effectually disposes of the theory (fn. 64)
that the name was derived from the circumstance that the manor house was
built about 1540 by two Spanish merchants named Balms. The real origin
of the name is unknown, but it is possible that it was derived from that of
the family of Bamme, prominent London citizens in the late 14th and the
15th centuries, one of whom may have occupied it for some time. From
Sir George Whitmore the manor descended to William Whitmore, after
whose death it was sold by his trustees to Richard de Beauvoir, in 1687. (fn. 65)
It remained in the possession of the De Beauvoir family throughout the
18th century. The only portions of the property in 1745 which lay in
Shoreditch were two fields marked in Chassereau's Map "Bevoir Esq.,"
neither of which was a part of the original manor. (fn. 66)
One of the most important houses in Hoxton in the 15th and 16th centuries was the residence of the Haryong family. (fn. 67) Robert "Heryong," (fn. 68) whose
will (fn. 69) is dated 2nd May, 1500, provided that after the death of Margaret his
wife, his son Richard should have "the grete place that John Heryonge my
late fader, dwelled inne . . . with iij tenementes . . . gardens
and berns down to the flode dyche." Richard died in 1545, (fn. 70) leaving a
daughter Alice, married to Thomas Marow. On 9th February, 1612–13, the
latter's grandson, Sir Edward Marow, sold (fn. 71) to Arthur Hollingworth, inter alia,
"all that capitall mesuage and tenement garden and orchard . . . sett,
scittuat and beinge in Hoxton . . . late in the tenure or occupacion
of Sir Thomas Tressam, knight."
We first hear of Tresham (fn. 72) at Hoxton in 1583, when, after about
18 months' imprisonment in the Fleet, he was allowed a brief respite at
Hoxton, where he was "badly lodged . . . his chamber being allotted
over a noisome kitchen, rudely and disjoinedly boarded and not a whit
ceiled." On 27th May, 1583, his wife wrote to her aunt, the countess of
Bedford, asking that "he may be licensed to his house at Hogsdon, putting
in band of 2,000l. not to depart forth of that house, enjoying therewithal
a little orchard and less garden . . . it being the very next house
where he now remaineth prisoner." (fn. 73) Presumably only part of this request
was granted, for on 1st October he was still at Hoxton in a cottage which he
described as "erst a tippling ale house." Numerous letters are extant from
him or his wife written from Hoxton and dating from about this time until
There seems good reason to believe that during his lease the house was
occupied for a time by his son-in-law, Lord Monteagle, (fn. 74) and it is more than
likely therefore that this was the house where on 26th October, 1605, Monteagle
received the warning which brought about the discovery of the Gunpowder
The identification of the site of the house is not unattended with
difficulty. The facts are as follows:—
(i) The indenture of 1613, between Sir Edward Marow and Arthur
Hollingworth mentions (a) the Tresham house, (b) 2 acres in the common
field of Hoxton, (c) a garden plot containing 1½ acres near the king's highway,
(d) a messuage with close containing 2 acres late in occupation of Elizabeth
Bullingham, and (e) 14 acres in the commonfield. (fn. 75)
(ii) On 28th September, 1618, Hollingworth settled (fn. 76) on his nephew,
James Grace, and the latter's prospective bride, Elizabeth Hunt, the property
purchased from Sir Edward Marow. The description of the property agrees,
generally, with that in the deed of 1613, but the Tresham house is said to be
in four occupations. (fn. 77) No other detailed descriptions of the Grace property
occur for nearly a century.
(iii) In 1703 Ralph Harwood was in possession (fn. 78) of a messuage with
garden, late in the occupation of William Haslewood "lying on the southwest side of the ground whereon heretofore stood the dwelling-house of one
doctor Wilby," as well as another garden or orchard on the west side of the
ground, containing 3 roods, and 4 cottages and ground adjoining, containing
50 roods or poles, fronting east on "Hoxton Road." All are said to have been
purchased from James Grace.
(iv) In 1728 the premises mentioned in (iii) were in possession of
Chas. Pitfield and were described (fn. 79) as a messuage sometime in the
tenure of William Haslewood "lying . . . Doctor Wilby deceased
and the garden thereunto belonging containing 50 roods fronting east upon
(v) In 1762 the then holders of the Pitfield estate sold (fn. 80) to John
Bassington the premises described as a messuage "some time since in the
occupation of William Haslewood and late of Richard Spiers lying . . .
Dr. Wilby. Also the garden ground thereto belonging and adjoining,
containing by estimation 1½ acres, and fronting east upon Hoxton Road."
There is no doubt that the premises mentioned in (iii) to (v) were
identical, although the descriptions vary. (fn. 81) Now in (i) the items (b) and
(e) relating to the common field may be neglected. Comparing (v) with the
remaining items in (i) it can hardly be doubted that the Wilby house
plus the 1½ acres, corresponds with the Tresham House plus 1½ acres. If
this be granted, the question of site presents no further difficulty. In 1794
Bassington let out the premises for building, and from the various leases it
appears that the property fronted east on Hoxton Street, west on "the
Causway" (St. John's Road), and south on "ground called the Britania
Gardens," (fn. 82) and that a street was to be formed throughout "about 28 feet
wide and intended to be called Myrtle Street." (fn. 83) Myrtle Street, which still
exists under that name, may be taken as representing the site of Tresham's
The site of the Bullingham house and two-acre close may with great
probability be identified with the strip of ground to the south of the above.
The history of this can be traced back as follows. In 1742 Matthew Featherstonhaugh the elder and Sarah his wife transferred to Matthew Featherstonhaugh the younger, (fn. 84) inter alia, the messuage and lands "now or heretofore
called Pimlico House and the bowling greens and barrs . . . late
. . . in the tenure of John Warren, victualler," as well as "those
messuages or tenements scituate . . . in a court or yard, there called
Whited [White Hind] yard, being now or heretofore in all 16 messuages
or tenements, the greatest part of which are scituate within the said court
and four of them being within the said court facing the road through
Hoxton, but contiguous and backward adjoining to the said tenements in
Whited Yard." The position of this property is clearly shown on
Chassereau's Map as "Featherstone Esq," lying to the north of White
Hind Yard (Pimlico Walk) and including the house called "Pimlicoe" at
the extreme west. The property had come to Sarah Featherstonhaugh from
her brother, James Brown, who had purchased (fn. 85) it, on 5th January, 1716–17,
from Nicholas Barrett and Robert Stonyclift, and it had previously belonged
to Susanna Clements and Elizabeth Hoskins. It was, therefore, the same
that Captain Benjamin Hoskins left in 1710–12 to be divided between his two
daughters, Susanna Clements and Elizabeth, (fn. 86) and formed part of certain
premises purchased by him of James Grace in 1698. (fn. 87) There can be little
doubt that it corresponds with item (d) in the indenture of 1613.
Pimlico was a noted place of entertainment at the end of the 16th and
beginning of the 17th centuries, and is frequently referred to by the dramatists
of the period. (fn. 88) In 1609 a poem (sic) was published called Pimlyco or Runne
Redcap; 'tis a mad world at Hogsdon, (fn. 89) extolling the charms of the place, and
particularly the excellence of the ale supplied.
The origin of the name is not known certainly, but if the quotation (fn. 90)
from Newes from Hogsdon, 1598, is to be relied upon, it would seem to have
been derived from an early (perhaps the original) tenant. The earliest
reference to the better-known Pimlico in Westminster so far discovered is
dated 1626, (fn. 91) and it may therefore have derived its name from the Hoxton
place of entertainment. (fn. 92)
The property lying immediately to the north of the Tresham House
site was in the latter part of the 16th century in the possession of William
Peake, who by his will dated 19th January, 1596–7 gave to the relief of the
poor an annuity of £5 4s. charged on this land. (fn. 93) On his death his estate
passed in succession to William Wall, his nephew (d. 1639), Joseph Wall
(d. 1644), and William Wall (d. 1676). On 26th November, 1690, the latter's
daughters (Katherine Hunt and Constance Wiltshire) and widow Katherine
(then wife of Henry Young) mortgaged to Wm. Crawley, Thos. Hillyard,
Jas. Fell and John Thurby, in trust for Sarah Turney, for 999 years, a piece
of property which three days later was demised to George Taylor for 100
years. (fn. 94) Three years later the property is described as Taylor's "new
great messuage or tenement, with the yards, gardens, stables and coachhouse thereunto belonging . . Also that little messuage or tenement
with the large garden ground thereunto belonging as the same was then
enclosed with a brick wall and next adjoining to the before-mentioned
premises and in the occupation of John Atkinson, gardener. (fn. 95) A portion
of the property had been let by Taylor to Edward Lidgold on 23rd October,
1691, for 999 years. That the property as a whole corresponds with that
marked "Oldfield L." in Chassereau's Map is shown by the fact that the
executrix and the devisee of "Joshua John Oldfield, Doctor of Physick" on
6th December, 1751, assigned to John Russell their interest in a property
described in terms of the "new great messuage" and the "little messuage
. . . . in tenure of John Atkinson" as above, and also excepting the
parcel let to Lidgold. (fn. 96) In 1792 the estate was purchased by Robert Nutter,
who covered it with buildings. Crondall Street ran through the centre.
North of this property were two closes, both formerly called Billings,
and later united under the name of Home Field. The one (a) containing 3
acres was in the possession of Lady Katherine Dormer, and the other (b) of
5 acres was part of the Haryong estate, and both came into the hands of
Thomas Austen. (fn. 97) Sir John Austen and Lady Susanna Barrington sold the
united property on 24th March, 1728–9, to James Colebrooke, whose name
is attached to it on Chassereau's Map. It reached as far north as Ivy Lane.
Map of Hoxton Fields, showing archery marks, from Malcolm's "Londinium Redivivum".
The ground lying between the eastern half of Ivy (fn. 98) Lane and Ivy Street
was as late as the beginning of the
18th century "a garden or nursery for
trees, encompassed by a brick wall
and pales," (fn. 99) whereon at some
time between 1718 and 1734 James
Pitman erected "several new and
substantial bricked messuages or
tenements," (fn. 100) corresponding, no
doubt, to Pitman's Buildings on
From the above facts it will be
seen that, with the exception of the
mansions of Sir Thomas Leigh and
the Haryong family, the western side
of Hoxton Street seems to have
been almost devoid of houses, at
any rate, as far as the site of Ivy
Street, in the time of Elizabeth.
Further north it is difficult to speak
Further west lay the common
fields of Hoxton, much utilised, with
similar places north and east of the
City, for the practice of archery. (fn. 101)
Lengths were marked out in the
fields by wooden posts and stone
"rovers." All had names, and an
ancient map, first printed in Malcolm's Londinium Redivivum, showing a
large number, is here reproduced.
One of the rovers, named Scarlet, is still in existence, being preserved
by the Honourable Artillery Company, who have kindly given
permission for an illustration of it to be reproduced.
Ancient stone shooting mark, inscribed "Scarlet," preserved at the Honourable Artillery Company's Headquarters.
One notable incident is connected with the fields. On
22nd September, 1598, Ben Jonson and Gabriel Spencer
fought a duel in Hoxton Fields, (fn. 102) with the result that the
latter received a mortal wound and died instantly. Jonson
was indicted for manslaughter and was found guilty, but
escaped the capital penalty by pleading benefit of clergy,
and being branded by the letter T. (fn. 103)
Those fields, which are marked "Harvey Esq. L." in
Chassereau's Map, formerly belonged, as has been shown, to
the prebendal manor of Eald Street. Certain of the commonfields of Hoxton were, however, included in the prebendal
manor of Wenlock's Barn. This was the case with the two
fields marked "Watson L" in Chassereau's Map, and the
building shown on their northern boundary apparently was the manor house. (fn. 104)
The field next eastward, marked "Ashley Esq., L," of 16 acres, is to be identified with the "close of pasture land commonly called . . Hogsdon Shott
or Hogsdon Upper Shott," said to contain 18 acres, included among those
portions of the Pitfield property which had not formed part of the original
purchase by Sir Charles. (fn. 105) It had in fact been acquired (before 1703) by
Ralph Harwood from James Grace, (fn. 106) and is to be identified with the 14 acres
in the common field of Hoxton purchased by Arthur Hollingworth from
Sir Edward Marow. It was also, therefore, part of the manor of Wenlock's
Barn. It is doubtful whether the same can be said of the triangular field
lying across the "pathway to the Rosemary Branch." The portion of it
marked "Ashley L" represents the acre and three roods lying in the common
fields of Hoxton in a shott "commonly called Hoxton Shott." This was also
a part of the Pitfield property, (fn. 107) and can be traced back to 1648, when it was in
the possession of Hunt Grace, son of James Grace. There is no proof,
however, that it was among the property acquired by the latter from Sir
Edward Marow. The "Ingram" portion of the field, which the plan of
Wenlock's Barn (fn. 108) shows to have been the easternmost, was evidently the acre
and a rood called "the Sewer Acre," which Ingram purchased, with other
property, from John and Roberta Swynfou and which can be traced back to
1556. (fn. 109) In 1601 it was described as bounded east by land formerly of
Samuel Marow (i.e., the field sold by Grace to Harwood, mentioned above),
west by land formerly of Million, and south by the "Fludditch." The
Lee portion of this field apparently corresponds with that of Million mentioned above. Sir John Lee (d. 1673) is stated (fn. 110) to have owned 2¾ acres of
meadow or pasture ground lying in a certain field called "Hogsden Shott,"
intermixed with other lands of one Hunt Grace and others, but there is no
information as to how he came by it.
The field of six acres marked "Ashley Esq." on Chassereau's Map,
lying west of Aske's Hospital and Charles Square is referred to in the
indenture of 1728 dealing with Pitfield property other than that originally
purchased by Sir Chas. Pitfield, as six acres in Gravel Pit Close "near to the
conduit head." The eastern strip of it, about 72 feet wide, was left by
Sir Charles Pitfield in 1680 to the parishioners of Shoreditch (but has since
been lost) under the description of "all that acre of land lyeing in the
Laysterne field . . . which I lately ditched out and fenced, being
heretofore in two halfe acres (called Pitts and Brentha)." Mention of
these is found more than 200 years earlier. Joan Vince (circ. 1463) mentions
that her late husband Robert had purchased inter alia "a rode of medowe and
a pece of pasture called the Pyttes," (fn. 111) and on 8th December, 1464, John
Roket and Edith his wife, daughter of Robert Vynce, sold to John Sharp,
together with other property, "the lands called Pyttes and a rood of meadow
called Brenthawe." (fn. 112) Both are said to abut on "le Oldestrete," towards
On 9th May, 1663, Thomas Tirrey sold (fn. 113) to William Dashwood "all
those foure acres of common or pasture ground lying in the common
feild in the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, abutting upon the footeway
leading from London to Islington on the west end." This property was
purchased from Dashwood by Jane Underwood, who on 15th March,
1663–4, transferred it to the parish of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, for the
performance of the charitable provisions in her late husband's will. In or
shortly after 1672, six almshouses were erected on a portion of the ground,
three of which were appropriated to the poor of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate,
and three to those of St. Botolph, Aldgate, under the provisions of Lady
Lumley's charity. (fn. 114) An illustration of the almshouses is given in Wilkinson's
Londina Illustrata, II., facing p. 101. They were taken down and rebuilt
in 1822 and finally pulled down about 1898. On another part of the
ground was erected the "Shepherd and Shepherdess," afterwards the Eagle
tavern. The ground lies at the south-eastern end of Shepherdess Walk
extending to the backs of the premises in Westmoreland Place.
Two other strips of land in the neighbourhood, marked "St. Luke
Cripplegate Poor" and "St. Luke Poor" on Chassereau's Map were given
by William Bleyton in 1585 to the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate. They are
described as an acre and a half of pasture ground in the common fields belonging to "Hogsdon," and four acres (afterwards spoken of as three acres) of
land lying near Hoxton Field. (fn. 115) The whole of the property was in 1782
leased to the parish of St. Luke, who built a workhouse on the western strip
and sub-leased the eastern strip to "one Pitt," who erected Chatham Gardens
(now Chatham Avenue).
At the end of the 18th century building had hardly begun on Hoxton
Fields. In addition to Chatham Gardens, and a few houses on the Bishopsgate estate, the only buildings, save a few scattered in the neighbourhood
of the present Bevenden Street, were at the south-west end of East Road
and on the northern portion of the Laysterne Field (Craven Street, Baches
Street and the north side of Brunswick Place).