Cheapside Cross

Pages 65-66

Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664. Originally published by EJ Francis, London, 1878.

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Cheapside Cross.

I. 234. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council, stating that Her Majesty's pleasure had been signified to the Court of Alderman by Mr. Secretary Wolley, (fn. 1) for the reparation of the Cross (fn. 2) in Cheapside, as it seemed, upon some information given of some notorious defacement thereof in a superstitious manner without order of authority; not fully conceiving how Her Majesty had been advertised thereof, nor in what form she desired the said repairing to be done, it had been thought dutiful to inform the Council of the matter, that upon her pleasure being known, the repair of the Cross might be proceeded with. Such defacement as had happened was very small, and not easily discerned by passers-by unless pointed out to them by those that knew it; some part had been injured four or five years past, and not marked, and some lately, as it had been thought by light persons who had pilfered a little lead from the arms and crosses in the lower part, which were easiest to break away, and not for any public defacement, which, if they had intended it, would have been done upon the faces of the images. Steps had been taken to find out the offenders, and the reparation of the Cross would be proceeded with. Many strangers and other superstitious people, misliking the State and religion, passing by the Cross knelt down to the images there, and daily gave idolatrous worship thereunto, both in bending their knees, uncovering their heads, and other outward shows of reverence, which matters had been sundry times presented upon the oaths of men sworn in the Bishop's and Archdeacon's visitations, and which were greatly to the offence of God, and to the contempt of the laws and orders of the Church set forth by authority of Her Majesty. Finding, by experience, upon how small occasions the dislikers of the State and of Her Majesty's godly proceedings were ready to take courage to move factious enterprises, and specially what vain hopes and boastings of alterations shortly to happen the Seminarians and others had lately instilled into Her Majesty's subjects, and fearing that the repairing and garnishing of the images of that Cross might assist their objects, the Court of Aldermen desired to know Her Majesty's further pleasure therein.
Sans date.


  • 1. John Wolley, of Shropshire, educated at Merton College, Oxford; Fellow, 1553; M.A., July 1st, 1557. After the death of Roger Ascham, December 30th, 1568, he was appointed Latin Secretary by Queen Elizabeth, and, although a layman, was made Prebendary of Compton-Dundon, in the Church of Wells, 1569; Dean of Carlisle, 1578; sowrn of the Privy Council, September 30th, 1586; Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, 1589; the Rectory and Manor of Thorpe, Surrey, given to him by the Queen, 1590; appointed one of the Commissioners for the trial of Mary, Queen, of Scots; knighted, 1592. Died at his manor of Pirford, Surrey, 1595. Buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. The mounment erected to his memory is figured in Dugdale's 'St. Paul's,' edition 1818, p. 71. See Wood's 'Athenæ Oxonienses'; Manning and Bray's 'Surrey'; Calendars of State Papers.
  • 2. In the centre of Cheapside, just opposite Wood Street, stood the Cross, one of the series erected by Edward the First to his Queen Eleanor, Daughter of Alphonso, King of Castile. It was built by Michael de Cantuaria in 1291–3, at a cost of 226l. 13s. 4d. It was long the care of the Citizens, and was rebuilt in 1441, and regilt at the coming of the Emperor, Charles the Fifth, in 1522. It was broken and defaced as an object of the Romish religion in 1581; repaired in 1595; again defaced in 1600, and finally destroyed in the Mayoralty of Sir Isaac Pennington, May 2nd, 1643. It was here that Proclamations were read to the Citizens. Many pamphlets about the Cross appeared from 1641 to 1643; several of these are in the Corporation Library.