St. Mary le Bow 104/7

Pages 237-239

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 tenement lay on the S. side of Goose Lane, abutting E. on Bow Lane and bounded to the W. by 8 and to the S. by 6. In the 17th century it was said to measure 34 ft. E.-W. and 17 ft. 6 in. N.-S. (10.36 m. by 5.33 m.), and it may well have been that size since the 13th century.

In 1858 the property was no. 4 Bow Lane.

Thirteenth to fifteenth century

In 1268 the tenement of John le Asseur was said to lie to the S. of 8. This may be an error; no E. abutment of 8 is given in the grant, and all later references agree that the tenement lay to the E. of 8. John le Seur (alias le Asseur, le Settere) who also held 4, had died before 1282, leaving his properties either for division among his children or for sale, the proceeds to be divided. In 1294 the tenement sometime of John le Asseour, and in 1301 that sometime of Ralph le Asseur, was said to lie to the E. of 8. By 1310 the tenement had passed to Richard le Barbier of Bread Street, who by his will enrolled in that year left his tenement in Cordwainer Street in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to his wife Katharine for life, with remainder for sale. In 1318 Katharine, with Robert de Gloucester, goldsmith, co-executor of Richard's will, sold the tenement to Robert Sely, citizen and skinner, and his wife Joan, describing it as in Cordwainer Street, between 6 to the S., Goose Lane to the N., the highway (vicus regius) of Cordwainer Street to the E. and 8 to the W. 7 was described as the tenement of Robert Saly in 1323 and late of Robert Saly in 1335. (fn. 1)

The descent of 7 in the mid-14th century is not known. Possibly it remained with the Sely family, and was held by Lawrence Sely, skinner, who in 1349 left all his tenements in London to his wife Agnes for life, with remainder to his son John in tail. It might however be the tenement of John de Holegh, citzen and hosier (calligar'), in Cordwainer Street and Goose Lane which is otherwise hard to locate. By his will, dated 1349 and proved 1352, John de Holegh left a term in the tenement in which he lived in Cordwainer Street in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to John de Woderoue. He also left to his apprentice John de Beauchamp the term of the shop in the latter's custody. In an inquisition post mortem taken in 1352 relating to John de Houleye, citizen and draper, who must be identical with John de Holegh, hosier, it was stated that he died in 1351, seised of property in St. Pancras parish (145/39) and of a small messuage in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, with a solar over, and two shops with a solar over adjoining the same, worth £1 p.a. He had no heir, because he was a bastard, and in March 1352 the king granted the tenements in Goose Lane in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, which he had by the death without heir of John de Holegh, citizen and draper, a bastard, to William de Essex, citizen and mercer, and his heirs. (fn. 2)

Whether or not 7 was identical with de Holegh's tenement, before 1392 it had come to John Sely, citizen and skinner. He granted all his lands, tenements, and rents in London to John Walcote and John Leycestre, citizens, William Skrene, John Rokyngham, clerk, and Ralph Goundevile, esquire, who in 1392 granted the tenement in St. Mary le Bow parish, between 6 to the S., Goose Lane to the N., 11 to the W., and Cordwainer Street to the E., which John Sely had granted them, to William Baret, Hugh Sprot, and Walter Pynchon, citizens. By 1412 the property had probably passed to Thomas Pynchon, who was then impleaded for intrusion in a tenement in St. Mary le Bow parish by William Shiplake and his wife Margaret, whose interest in the property, probably a quit-rent, is not otherwise recorded. Thomas Pynchon granted 7 to Robert Baynard, Robert Warner, Thomas Flemyng, Thomas Walssh, John White, William Grove, Richard Whityngton, Richard Everard, Henry London, Thomas Stanebrigg, Nicholas Cheynell, John Erle, and John Bierden, and in 1423 Baynard, Warner, Flemyng, Walssh, White, and Grove, the others having died, granted it back to Thomas Pynchon and his wife Felcia, and their issue in tail, with remainder to Thomas's right heirs. (fn. 3)

Fifteenth to seventeenth century

Little is known of the history of this property between the early 15th and the early 17th century. In 1573 the N. neighbours of 6B were said to be Edward Gresham, merchant, William Philips, merchant tailor, John Wiat, mercer, and John Scot, merchant tailor, of whom the last one, or possibly 2, probably occupied 7. John Scott, citizen and merchant tailor, died between 1587 and 1589. His widow Elizabeth died between 1596 and 1598, leaving all her lease and interest in her dwelling house in Bow Lane to her tenant Robert Clarcke, tailor, charged with an annuity of £1 to Jane Taylor, midwife of Fleet Street, and £2 to her executrix for distribution to poor persons. Elizabeth Scott was said to hold the house by virtue of an indenture to her late husband. She also left 10s. to her neighbour Anthony Knyvett, but it is not clear if he occupied another part of 7 or one of the adjoining properties. In 1628 7 belonged to Thomas Locke of Merton (Surrey), who with his wife Jane leased it to Theophilus Riley, citizen and draper, for 41 years, for a fine of £60 and a rent of one peppercorn for the first year, £4 p.a. for 31 years, and £10 p.a. for the last 10 years. The property was described as a messuage or tenement in Bow Lane in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, measuring 34 ft. E.-W . and 17 ft. 6 in. N.-S. (10.56 m. by 5.33 m.), sometime in the occupation of Robert Clarke, tailor, now dead, and late in the occupation of William Wattes, tailor, or his assign, with cellars, solars, shops, warehouses, chambers, lights, etc. Riley was to spend £100 in substantially rebuilding the messuage in brick, according to the king's proclamation, within one year, and thereafter was to repair and maintain it, and at the end of the term surrender it with all doors, partitions, wainscot, and other fixtures. (fn. 4)

The rebuilding made 2 tenements, of which one appears to have been occupied in 2 units. In 1638 Mr. Tragle was tithe payer for a house in Bow Lane valued at £14 p.a., and Mr. Middleton and Mr. Clarke for houses in Goose Lane valued at £5 p.a. each. In 1640 Thomas Locke and his wife Jane leased the 2 newly-built brick messuages, occupied severally by John Treagle, John Middleton and Clarke or their assigns(s), to Edward Darling of London, esquire, and Adrian Ballard, citizen and skinner, for 99 years, for a fine of £100 and a peppercorn rent, covenanting that the premises were unencumbered apart from the lease to Riley. This lease was probably part of a conveyance of which the other deeds do not survive, by which Riley acquired the freehold of 7. John Treagle, scrivener, of the parish of St. Mary le Bow, died in 1641 or 1642; John Middleton of the same parish died in 1647 or 1648. It is not clear who succeeded to their tenancies. Riley died c. 1657, leaving the premises to his wife Elizabeth for life, with remainder to the master and wardens of the Drapers' Company, with Alderman Adams, Sir Christopher Pack, kt., Sir Theophilus Biddulph, Robert Winch, Samuel Terricke, John Ledgingham, Colonel Camfield and Mr. Swanocke, citizens and members and assistants of the Drapers' Company, to hold until 1686 in trust for Riley's grandchildren. The trusts included an annuity of £20 to the testator's daughter, Mary Swift, after the death of Elizabeth, with the remainder of the issues equally to Mary's children. In 1686 the trustees were to assure the premises to Mary Swift for life, with remainder to Theophilus Swift her elder son in tail, followed by John Swift her younger son in tail, followed by her right heirs. Elizabeth Riley died c. 1661. (fn. 5) The occupants in 1661 appear to have been John Crouch, and probably Thomas Davenport. Early in 1666 John Crouch, seedsman, occupied a house with 6 hearths in Bow Lane, and -- Dangford (? Davenport), widow, occupied one in Goose Alley with 4 hearths. John Crouch and Elizabeth Davenport, widow, were in occupation at the time of the Fire; the latter was subsequently referred to as Philip Davenport, widow. (fn. 6)

After the great fire

By 1670 Mary Swift was dead, and members of the Drapers' Company were holding the property in trust. Theophilus Swift was of age, and had assigned his interest to Henry Mosse, his father-in-law; his brother and sisters, John Swift, Mary, now wife of Matthew Webster of Gray's Inn, and Carolina Swift, heirs to the reversion, were still under age. Because of the complicated interests the family and trustees went to the Fire Court to get a decree securing a certain term for Henry Mosse, who was willing to rebuild. The court heard that the ground was 16 ft. by 34 ft. (4.88 m. by 10.36 m.), and worth £9 p.a. to build on. Rebuilding would cost £300 and the houses could then be let for £30. The court decreed a 40-year term for Mosse, at £10 rent payable according to the trusts of Riley's will, and he to rebuild. In September 1671 Theophilus Swift, silkman, sold the 2 tofts for £50 to Henry Hanslapp of London, woodmonger, to hold to the use of Henry Mosse, who supplied the purchase money and was to occupy and rebuild the premises. Hanslapp's name was used in the conveyance 'to prevent drowneing of a certain term of years in the premises' decreed to Mosse by the Fire Court. In October 1671 a foundation was surveyed for Moss, corresponding to the dimensions quoted above. (fn. 7)


  • 1. HR 4(2), 13(97), 23(75), 30(54), 38(82); Merton College Muniments, no. 143; HR 51(84), 63(106).
  • 2. HR 81(47), 80(1); Cal Inq PM x, no. 5; CLRO, Misc. Roll EE (Escheats), m. 21d; Cal Pat R 1350-4, p. 242.
  • 3. HR 120(144); HCP 136, m. 10; HR 152(7).
  • 4. St. John's College, Oxford, Muniments, Register I ff. 128-9v; PRO, PROB11/74, f. 98r-v; PRO, PROB11/192, ff. 92v-93v; HR 304(37).
  • 5. Inhabitants in 1638, pp. 109-110; PRO, PROB11/188, ff. 79-80v; PRO, PROB11/206, f. 131r-v; HR 317(7); CLRO, Fire Ct. Decrees F, ff. 225v-227v. Riley's approximate date of death is established by Drapers' Co., RA 11: see 104/14.
  • 6. CLRO, Assessments Box 3.6, f. 6; PRO, E179/252/32/16; CLRO, Alchin Box F no. 65; CLRO, Fire Ct. Decrees F, ff. 225v-227v.
  • 7. CLRO, Fire Ct. Decrees F, ff. 225v-227v; HR 342(45); M & O v, f. 131v.