Historical Gazetteer of London Before the Great Fire Cheapside; Parishes of All Hallows Honey Lane, St Martin Pomary, St Mary Le Bow, St Mary Colechurch and St Pancras Soper Lane. Originally published by Centre for Metropolitan History, London, 1987.
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This large property, at the S. end of St. Mary le Bow parish and on the W. side of Bow Lane, seems at one time to have extended W. into the parish of All Hallows Bread Street and S. into the parish of St. Mary Aldermary. It probably had a frontage to Bow Lane of about 55 ft. (16.76 m.) and a depth E.-W. of 150 to 165 ft. (45.72 m. to 50.29 m.). It was bounded to the S. by tenements facing Watling Street, to the W. by tenements in Bread Street, and to the N. by 7 and 8 in this parish.
In 1858 the property corresponded approximately to nos. 5-8 Bow Lane.
Twelfth to sixteenth century
This property, or part of it, belonged in the later 12th century to Geoffrey Buscy, a usurer, and escheated to King Richard, who granted to William de Suthwerk, for his service, all the land which was Ralph de Buscy's in Corveyseria in the parish of St. Mary le Bow. William's son and heir Luke granted the land to Merton Priory. The priory granted it (apparently reserving a rent) to Andrew Trentemars, and the latter's heirs held it in 1244. Merton had £1. 10s. 8d. rent in the parish of St. Mary le Bow in 1291 and £1. 10s. rent from this property in 1535. In or before 1260 John de Boyville and his wife Dyonisia granted to Osbert de Suthfolk, vintner, all their lands with houses, shops, cellars, solars, gardens, and rents, in the parishes of St. Mary le Bow and All Hallows Bread Street. The property had belonged to Master Walter le Deveneys, phisicus, whose daughter and heir Dyonisia was. Osbert was to render 1/2 lb. cumin or 1d. in rent to the grantors at Michaelmas, and to do the services to the chief lords according to the charters which were delivered to him with seisin in the Husting. (fn. 1)
By his will proved in 1284 Osbert de Suthfolk left the houses in which he lived in the parishes of St. Mary le Bow and St. Mary Aldermary to his wife Agnes for life, so long as she remained unmarried, with remainder for sale by his executors or 4 parishioners. During Agnes' life 2 chaplains were to be maintained in the church of St. Mary le Bow, for the souls of Osbert and his wife Joan: they were to be paid out of £2. 13s. 4d. rent from the houses which William le Cordewan' held of Osbert on the S. side of the house Osbert lived in, and £2 from the houses Geoffrey cocus held of Osbert on the N. side of the same. 16s. 8d. of these rents were to remain to Agnes for repair of the house. Agnes probably lived until c. 1300, surviving Osbert's executors. On her death her son, John atte Brigge, took possession of the property, preventing the parishioners from selling it according to Osbert's will. A plea was brought against John atte Brigge in 1303: judgment is not recorded, but it seems probable that either the 4 parishioners who brought the plea (Roger le Barber, John de Writele, Ralph Godchep, and Stephen de Upton), or Elyas de Suffolk, heir of Osbert, were granted execution of the will, and before 1306 had sold the tenement in Bow Lane to Robert de Uptone and his wife Margery. Elias de Suffolk later appears in All Hallows Bread Street parish as the W. neighbour of 104/8 and possibly his tenement there was divided from this one in St. Mary le Bow and St. Mary Aldermary parishes at this time. (fn. 2)
In 1306 Robert de Upton and his wife Margery seem to have been involved in building works on 6. Elias le Chaucer, owner of 8 to the N., complained that they had inserted corbels in his stone wall and taken possession of it with their timber, and John Trentemars and Gilbert de Lesnes, probably owners or occupiers of a tenement to the S., chiefly in St. Mary Aldermary or All Hallows Bread Street parish, complained that Robert and Margery had broken down their party wall of stone. In both cases the assize found for the plaintiffs and Robert and Margery were ordered to amend the nuisance. In 1308 the Bridge Wardens distrained on Robert de Upton's tenement for 8 years' arrears of 2s. rent, of which they claimed to have been seised by the hands of Osbert de Suffolk, which Robert denied. Judgment is not recorded, but the rent does not appear in the earliest Bridge House rental (1358- 9). In the same year the prior of Merton distrained for arrears of a £1 rent of which his predecessors had been seised by the hands of Osbert de Suffolk. Robert brought a plea of naam but failed to prosecute it, and the prior retained the distresses. Margery, wife of Robert de Upton, was the daughter of Thomas Romeyn, alderman, to whom Robert gave a quit-rent of 6 marks (£4) from his tenement in Cordwainer Street. By his will, dated 1312 and proved 1313, Thomas Romeyn left this rent to Robert for the term of his own wife Juliana's life, with remainder to support a chaplain in the church of Lambeth. This bequest in mortmain was ratified by the Crown in 1321. (fn. 3)
Robert de Upton's widow Margery married William de Weston, and before 1358 she leased the property to James Andrewe, citizen and draper, for his life plus 3 years, at £10. 16s. 8d. rent. In 1358 she granted the rent and reversion to the king. The property was described as 2 tenements with 3 shops in front of the same in Cordwainer Street, in the parishes of St. Mary le Bow and Aldermanneschurche (recte St. Mary Aldermary), lying between Cordwainer Street to the E., tenements in Bread Street to the W., tenements in Watling Street to the S., and 8 and possibly 9 to the N. Later in 1358 the king granted the rent and reversion to William de Thorpe and William del Peek, to hold for life in survivorship, with remainder to the newly-established Dartford Priory. James Andreu was still in possession in 1371, when the prioress surrendered this and other properties (probably also including 12) to the king. While the premises were again in the king's hand, James Andreu surrendered his estate to the prioress and convent and took a new lease from them for the term of his own and his wife Maud's lives and 13 years after the survivor's death, by a writing dated 8 December 1371. The king re-enfeoffed the priory with the premises in July 1372. By his will, dated and proved 1374, James Andreu, who seems to have survived his wife, left the remaining term in the tenements to John Vyne, draper, his servant. In an inquisition post mortem in December 1374, John Vyne was said to occupy the premises, but his title was not known. The tenements were worth £10. 16s. 8d. yearly, less 2s. 5 1/2d. socage for the king, £4 to a chantry at Lambeth, and £1. 10s. to Merton Priory. John Vyne acknowledged the king's right and surrendered the tenements to him in May 1375, and in June that year the king granted the same back to Dartford. John Vyne paid the sum of £1. 13s. 4d. for waste committed, and this was handed over as damages to Dartford in November 1375. (fn. 4)
The prioress leased the tenements, described as 2 messuages and 3 shops in Cordwanerstrete in the parishes of St. Mary le Bow and Aldermarichirch, to John de Norhampton, citizen and draper, for 40 years from 1375 at £15. 12s. 5 1/2d. rent. On de Norhampton's forfeiture in 1384 the premises came again into the king's hands, and were restored to Dartford, together with enough of de Norhampton's goods to cover 1 1/2 years' arrears of rent. In 1387 the prior of Merton complained of intrusion (probably disseisin of rent) by the prioress of Dartford, regarding a tenement in St. Mary le Bow. In 1392 Thomas Fourneys, chaplain of the chantry for the souls of Thomas and Juliana Romeyn in the church of St. Mary Lambeth, complained of intrusion by the prioress in the parish of St. Mary le Bow. William Sauston, browderer, John Eston, and Simon Stratton, draper, arraigned at the same time, were probably the priory's tenants in this property. The prioress claimed the king's aid, as the properties were held by royal grant, but in 1395 the king confirmed the £4 rent from a tenement in Cordewaynerstret, as granted by Thomas Romeyn for a chantry at Lambeth. For most of the 15th and early 16th centuries there are no further references to this property, but c. 1420-2 the wardmote inquest reported that 2 pentices standing on the rent of the prioress of Dartford with a garden on which the pentice stood in Hosier Lane were very defective and ruinous, to the great danger of passers-by. (fn. 5)
Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
In 1535 Dartford Priory had property in the parish of St. Mary le Bow valued at £11. 6s. 8d., charged with £1. 10s. rent to Merton Priory. The £4 rent to the chantry at Lambeth may still have been paid, but is not separately specified. In 1535 the priory leased one tenement in the parish of St. Mary le Bow together with another in St. Martin Orgar to John Jenken for 40 years at £11 rent, and 2 other tenements in the parish of St. Mary le Bow in Hosier Lane were leased by the priory to Robert Bogas, tailor, for 60 years from 1538 at £5. 9s. 8d. rent. Dartford Priory was dissolved after April 1539, and the properties came to the king, who in 1544 granted the 2 messuages in St. Mary le Bow parish held by Bogas at £5. 9s. 8d., and the 2 in St. Mary le Bow and St. Martin Orgar parishes held by John Johnson alias Jenkins at £11 together, to Christopher Campyon, citizen and mercer, and John Rollesley, gentleman, of London. Later in 1544 Campyon and Rollesley sold the properties to Thomas Whyte, citizen and alderman, with all houses, buildings, shops, cellars, solars, chambers, entries, lands, and reversions. Richard Boggas, citizen and merchant tailor, died in 1552, leaving the lease of the house he now lived in to his wife Elizabeth for life, with successive remainders to his brother Thomas Boggas, to Thomas's son Thomas, and to Anthony Fenn....[illegible]. Sir Thomas White made 4 wills between 1558 and 1566, of which the last was proved in 1567. In it he left his London properties to his wife Joan for life, with remainder to St. John's College, Oxford, which might with the advice of his executors sell the same to buy land near Oxford. The Merchant Taylors' company had an interest in the execution of his will and according to the 3rd version were to choose scholars to be maintained at the college. White's property in the parish of St. Mary le Bow in 1558 comprised 2 messuages with 2 shops and a warehouse in Bow Lane, then in the tenure of Peter Baker, scrivener, and his assigns, at £5. 9s. 8d. p.a.; a messuage in Bow Lane in the tenure of Thomas Foxe, merchant tailor, at £4 p.a.; a messuage in Bow Lane in the tenure of Henry Adams, clothworker, at £5. 10s. p.a.; a messuage in Bow Lane then in the tenure of the same Henry Adams, late in the tenure of Alexander Peel, merchant tailor, at £5. 10s. p.a.; and a warehouse and a chamber with adjacent privy, next to the last messuage, then in the tenure of William Lugher, merchant tailor, at £2 p.a. The total value was therefore £22. 9s. 8d. p.a., a striking increase from the value at which the property had been rated in 1535. By 1566 the reference to Alexander Peel had been dropped from the description, and the warehouse and chamber were said to be then or late in the tenure of John Daveauntre. (fn. 6)
A list of Sir Thomas White's lands, made after their acquisition by the college, indicates that they had all come to him by Campyon and Rollesley's grant. The messuage held by Thomas Foxe was said to be that formerly occupied by John Johnson or Jenkyns, but it is not clear whether the other 2 messuages and the warehouse had also been included in the property leased to Jenkyns. This list, probably dating from 1567, describes Henry Adams as a fuller, and gives the tenants of the warehouse as John Davynaunt, formerly William Langer, merchant tailor. After holding the properties for some years the college decided to divide the freehold and dispose of it in several lots. The college may have retained a small part of the property at the S. end, probably in the parish of St. Mary Aldermary, after it had sold other parts. (fn. 7)
This part was probably the southernmost tenement in St. Mary le Bow parish, and comprised the 2 messuages leased to Robert Bogas for 60 years from 1538 at £5. 9s. 8d. rent. Bogas had assigned to Peter Baker, scrivener, by 1558. By 1573 Baker had assigned the term to John Draper, gentleman, and the tenements were separately occupied by Robert Cobb, girdler, and William Beer, grocer, as Draper's undertenants. In October 1573 St. John's College sold the property to Peter Baker, citizen and court hand writer (the former lessee), and Elizabeth his wife, describing it as 2 messuages enclosed with brick walls to N., S., and W., abutting E. on Hosier Lane alias Bow Lane, with shops, cellars, solars, warehouses, sheds, entries, grounds, ways, yards, and use of the well, gutters, and watercourses. Baker promised not to erect any new building which would block the lights of the college's tenement occupied by George Eaton, chamberlain of London, to the S. A memorandum of the sale gave the abutments of the property as the messuage of Robert Hawes, merchant tailor, and the college's messuage occupied by George Heaton to the S., the messuage then held by Arthur Hewet, draper (probably in All Hallows Bread Street parish) [to the W.], and the college's messuages (6B) occupied by John Reve, Henry Adams, and Nicholas Pole, to the W. and N. (fn. 8)
By his will, dated 1591 and proved 1592, Baker left his 2 tenements in Hosier Lane alias Bow Lane in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, now or late held or occupied by Robert Cobb, girdler, and Thomas Rivington, merchant tailor, to his wife Elizabeth for life, with remainder to his daughter Judith Bennet and her heirs for ever. Robert Cobbe, citizen and girdler, of St. Mary le Bow parish, died in 1606 or 1607 but it is not clear whether he was then occupying 6A. The subsequent descent of the property is not known, but before c. 1650 it belonged to William Thomas of St. John's College, Oxford, and by 1650 to his cousin and heir Robert Thomas of Richmond (Surrey), gentleman. In 1659 it was described as 3 messuages, formerly one great messuage called the Crown and occupied by Nicholas Leman, now dead, subsequently occupied by Samuel Bazeley, citizen and clothworker, and John Ager, 'boddice-seller', both now dead. Samuel Bazeley or Baezley is probably identical with the Mr. Barley or Bakley who was tithe-payer for a house worth £16 p.a. on the W. side of Bow Lane in 1638; the other inhabitants in 1638 cannot be identified with certainty, but may have been Mr. Easterly, with a property worth £18 p.a., and Mr. Wright, with a property worth £10 p.a., listed immediately before Barley. In 1650 Samuel Baezley held part of 6A on lease from William Thomas, at £12 rent, with 19 years of the lease still to come. In that year Robert Thomas and his wife Margaret released the rent to Baezley for the remainder of the term. In 1659 Robert and Margaret sold one third of the property, which was said to be 3 messuages, severally occupied by John Ince, clothworker, William Ridgeley, and Thomas Gracedieu, or their assigns, to John Ince for £42. 10s. The intention was clearly to divide the freehold physically, and Ince was probably due to get the house he occupied, but this had not been done by 1668, when he still held a one-third share in the whole. Early in 1666 John Inch described as 'callendar', held a house in Bow Lane with 6 hearths, William Rugely occupied one adjacent with 2 hearths, and Thomas Gracedieu another adjacent with 4 hearths. (fn. 9)
The property was burnt in the Great Fire and in February 1668 John Ince sold his one-third share of a plot, formerly 3 messuages and earlier one great messuage called the Crown, measuring 40 ft. (12.19 m.) N.-S. along Bow Lane and 65 ft. (19.81 m.) E.-W. in depth, to Thomas Moffett, citizen and grocer, for £80. Moffatt then or earlier acquired the remaining two-thirds interest, and in May 1668, with his wife Katharine, sold the whole toft, measuring 39 ft. 6 in. N.-S. by 65 ft. E.-W. (12.04 m. by 19.81 m.), to Arthur Bettesworth of London, merchant, for £310. Two foundation surveys were made for Bettsworth in Bow Lane in 1668. One, in April, was for 2 foundations, evidently the front part of the property only, 18 ft. (5.49 m.) in depth; the remaining part of the plot, of irregular shape and 48 ft. (14.63 m.) in depth, was surveyed in September. In 1669 Mr. Scrimshire, of 6B, complained about Bettsworth's rebuilding, and part of the property was viewed. The two parties had adjoining yards, formerly divided by a fence wall belonging to Betsworth. There had been a calendar-house, covered with a shed one storey high, in the N.E. part of Betsworth's yard, over which the back part of his fore-building used to receive light. There had been a building 3 or 4 yards (2.74 m. or 3.66 m.) S. of the fence wall, but in rebuilding Betsworth had extended this to the boundary, building over the site of the calendar-house and replacing the fence with a party wall, through which he had made several lights into Scrimshire's yard. This new building had greatly darkened Scrimshire's yard. (fn. 10)
This, the larger part of the St. John's College property, lay to the N. of 6A, with a short frontage to Bow Lane, and extended W. to abut on property in Bread Street. It comprised the 3 messuages and warehouse occupied c. 1567 by Henry Adams, Thomas Foxe, and John Davynant. There must have been an internal alleyway to connect the houses at the back with Bow Lane, but there seems to be no reference to this. In 1572 John Davenon, citizen and merchant tailor, petitioned the college for preference in buying 2 tenements in Bow Lane in which Adams and Peele lived, together with the part he himself had, and the shed or kitchen, reserving the lights to Corbett. In 1573, as John Davnant the elder, citizen and merchant tailor, he bought the 3 messuages or tenements with shops, vaults, cellars, solars, warehouses, chambers, lofts, kitchens, yards, watercourses, and other easements, now in the tenure of John Rive, merchant tailor, Nicholas Pile, merchant tailor, Henry Addams, clothworker, and himself, for £310. The property lay in Bow Lane alias Hosier Lane in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, between the street to the E., the tenements occupied by Robert Cob, girdler (6A), Arthur Heuet, draper, Thomas Mathew, merchant tailor, and himself John Davant (sic) to the S. (the last 3 being probably all in All Hallows Bread Street parish), the Star Inn in Bread Street to the W., and the messuages occupied by Edward Gresham, merchant, William Philips, merchant tailor, John Wiat, mercer, (? all in 11), and John Scot, merchant tailor (? 7), to the N. (fn. 11)
In his will of 1595, proved in 1596, John Davenaunte the elder, citizen and merchant tailor, left certain rooms in his dwelling house in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to his wife Margaret for life, with remainder to his son Edward Davenaunt, his heirs and assigns. These were the kitchen and the larder, the chamber over them in which the testator usually slept, with the privy to it, the chamber and privy over the same, a room leading to the great garret, the great garret itself, the best chamber called the great chamber with the counting-house and a privy to the same, and the great parlour, with free access as well by the ways leading from Bow Lane as from Watling Street. this suggests a house of at least 3 and possibly 4 or 5 floors. His other messuages in the parish he left to his son Edward. For the first half of the 17th century the descent of the property is not known. By 1638 it seems to have consisted of 3 tenements, occupied by Mr. Thomas Allen, valued at £14 p.a. in the tithe assessment of that year, Mr. Baldwin, at £25 p.a., and Mr. Cottington, at £16 p.a. In 1657 Lawrence March, esquire, owned 6B and leased a part of it, measuring 40 ft. (12.19 m.) towards Bow Lane and 41 ft. in depth (12.5 m.), to William Scrimshire, haberdasher, for 11 1/4 years. Despite the reference to Bow Lane, this was evidently the westernmost part of the property, lying to the N.E. of the Mermaid in Watling Street. In 1659 Marsh leased the middle part of the property, 30 ft. N.-S. by 50 ft. E.-W. (9.14 m. by 15.24 m.) to William Coddington for 21 years at £20. 4s. rent. In 1664 he leased the easternmost part, 15 ft. (4.57 m.) N.-S. along the Bow Lane frontage by 50 ft. (15.24 m.) E.- W. to Thomas Allen, barber-surgeon, for 21 years at £25 p.a. (fn. 12)
The occupants of 6B in 1661 appear to have been William Scrimshire, together with Thomas Dawson, William Doeman, and James Harris, who may have been Scrimshire's partners or associates, and whose names were bracketed with his in the assessment list, and William Coddington and Thomas Allen. By his will of 1665 Lawrence Marsh left a moiety of his messuages to his wife Elizabeth for life, and the other moiety and the remainder of the first to his son Lawrence in tail. Thomas Allen, citizen and barber- surgeon, died in 1665 or January 1666, leaving his lands and houses to his wife Mary. Early in 1666 William Coddington senior occupied a house with 7 hearths on the W. side of Bow Lane, and Caleb Nicholas, possibly Allen's successor, an adjacent house also with 7 hearths. Scrimshire does not appear to be listed in the Hearth Tax for that year, but he and Dawson, noted as partners, William Cottington and Thomas Nicholls were listed among those with houses in St. Mary le Bow precinct, Cordwainer ward, destroyed in the Great Fire. (fn. 13)
By 1668 Scrimshire had acquired the leases of all 3 parts. In December 1668 the Fire Court confirmed his agreement with Elizabeth Marsh, widow, acting as guardian for her sons Lawrence, James, John, and William, by which he agreed to rebuild, in return for an extension of all 3 leases by 40 years, and a reduction of the rents to £12. 10s., £6. 5s., and £6. 5s., payable from 1669. Lawrence Marsh was to make a lease or leases for the remainder of the extended term when he came of age. One foundation, the easternmost, was surveyed for William Scrimshaw or Scrimsheer in March 1669. The middle part of the property does not seem to have been surveyed, but the E. measurement of that part, 30 ft. 10 in. (9.4 m.), was shown on the survey for Scrimshire. The westernmost part of the property, corresponding more or less to the part 40 ft. by 41 ft. (12.19 m. by 12.5 m.) leased to Scrimshire in 1657, was surveyed for him in 1670. (fn. 14)