Survey of London: Volume 15, All Hallows, Barking-By-The-Tower, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1934.
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V.—SEETHING LANE (WEST SIDE). SITE OF KNOLLYS INN
The property fronting the west side of Seething Lane, and immediately south of St. Olave's churchyard, is of sufficient importance in the history of the parish of All Hallows to require some outline here. In the 14th century it consisted of various houses belonging to the Lords Grey of Codnor, and there are many references in the Hustings Rolls giving particulars back into the previous century. Much of it had belonged to the family of de Luda, and in 1303 Agnes, sister of Sir Richard de Luda, quitrented one of the tenements to Sir Henry de Grey. (fn. 1) The area south of St. Olave's churchyard was acquired by Sir Richard de Grey in 1322 from John le Brun and Amicia his wife, who had been enfeoffed by Saloman le Coffre, and it is described as abutting on further property of Sir Richard on the south. (fn. 2) Sir Richard de Luda, we gather, was a clerk, and his widow Juliana married Henry Box. Richard and Juliana had two daughters, Constance and Agnes, who inherited a house in Seething Lane called "Hereyneshalle." (fn. 3)
In 1354 Sir John de Grey, "Lord of Codenore," grants the property, now described as houses and shops, inherited from Richard de Grey his father, to Thomas de Brandon, mercer. The southern boundary is a tenement of John le Hurer. (fn. 4) In 1370 Brandon sells to Sir Robert Knollys, Kt., and Constance his wife, (fn. 5) and at the same time John Mychel, chaplain, and John Frankelyn, woolman, quitclaim to Knollys, in regard to the same property, in which they apparently had an interest acquired from Richard Vincent, rector of St. Benet Sherehog. (fn. 6) In the same year there is enrolled a grant from the King's exchequer to "Robert de Knolles, now in the King's service beyond seas, and Constance his wife, that they may have and hold a messuage in the parish of Allhallows Barkyngechirche, sometime of Thomas de Branton [recte Brandon] lately acquired by them." (fn. 7) In 1379 Knollys bought a property on the other side (the east) of Seething Lane (q.v.), and in 1381 we find the following recorded in the Guildhall: "To all persons who these present letters shall see or hear, the Mayor Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of London Greeting, know ye that we have granted unto Messire Robert Knolles Knight, our dear and well beloved fellow citizen, and to Constance his wife, leave to make a Haut-pas of the height of 14 feet extending from the house of the said Robert and Constance his wife on the west side thereof to another house to them belonging on the east side thereof, beyond the lane of Syvendenlane in the parish of All Hallows Berkyngechirche, near the Tower of London, rendering yearly to the Chamberlain of the Guild Hall of the said City for the time being one red rose at the feast of St. John the Baptist." (fn. 8)
Sir Robert Knollys, the captor of du Guesclin and otherwise famous for his prowess, died in 1407, and is remembered in All Hallows as the donor of a great silver chalice and vestments of red cloth of gold to the church. (fn. 9) He left his Seething Lane property to the college and hospital he had founded at Pontefract, Yorks. From the Hustings Rolls we learn that at the dissolution of the college (the almshouses were refounded in 1563) the King granted the property west of the street to William Ward, who sold it to Robert Wheteley, from whom "Thomas Aunsell of Barforthe, co. Beds," purchased it. He and his wife Elizabeth parted with it in 1562 to Robert Bassock, grocer, and Elizabeth his wife. In the entry in the Hustings Rolls the property is described as a tenement called "Knowles Alley or Knolles Inne," etc., formerly devised to Robert Newton and late belonging to the late dissolved College of Pomfret, co. York. (fn. 10) Robert Newton can be traced to Chichester, Sussex, for we find in the Visitation of Sussex the name of "Robert Newton owner of Knowlls howse in Seething lane in London and liveing at Chichester at this p'sent Vessetation." (fn. 11) Thomas Anscell alias Anstell of Barforde, in Bedfordshire, married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Wheateley. (fn. 12) Elizabeth Bassock outlived her husband and bequeathed the property to Thomas Bassock, grocer, (fn. 13) who was in possession in 1577. A part at least of the site of Knollys Inn was occupied from the latter half of the 18th century by the Subscription rooms attached to the Corn Exchange.