St. Mary le Bow 104/12

Pages 252-255

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 property lay to the S.W. of Bow churchyard, bounded by 13 to the N., 10 to the E., 8 to the S. and a tenement in Bread Street to the W. At its N.E. corner it had a doorway and a small amount of frontage to the churchyard.

In 1858 the property was no. 5 Bow Church Yard.

Thirteenth to fifteenth century

In the mid or late 13th century 12 was the fee of Fulk de Berkyngge, who granted it out of his seisin to William de Wyntonia, rendering services to the chief lords and 1 mark (13s. 4d.) to the church of St. Mary le Bow. In or before 1294 William de Wynton, citizen and draper, and his wife Maysenta granted their tenement with houses in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, situated between 13 and the churchyard to the N., 10 to the E., 8 to the S. and the tenement formerly of Ralph de Tham' (in the parish of All Hallows Bread Street) to the W., to John de Writele, citizen and cheesemonger (caseator) and his wife Isabel, for 60 marks (£40). The grantees were to render 1d. yearly to the donors and 1 mark to the church of St. Mary le Bow pro quadam parte de criptis subtus dictam ecclesiam. Possibly this rent corresponds to the one mark due from the property to the church in the mid-13th century. It is not clear what part of the crypt is referred to: the holders of the tenement may at that time habitually have occupied a part of the crypt below the church or, perhaps less likely, the rent may have been charged on the tenement as a contribution towards the cost of building or repairing a part of the crypt. In 1305 John de Wrytele, cheesemonger (furmager) and his wife Isabel were accused of dragging one Cristian le Foundour into their seld in Cheap and beating him. The jury called came from Westchepe (?Cheap ward), and found that John was not guilty of the assault but Isabel was, to Cristian's damage 3s. 4d. The seld is probably identical with 12, but this is not certain, since 12 was neither in Cheapside nor, it seems, Cheap ward. By his will proved in 1306 John de Writele, citizen and cheesemonger (casearius) left the tenement in which he lived in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to his wife Isabel for life, with remainder to be divided equally between his sons Ralph and John, followed by his son Walter. In 1308 Robert, rector of St. Mary le Bow, distrained in Isabel de Wrytele's tenement in that parish for 18 years' arrears of 1 mark rent, alleging the descent from Fulk de Berkyngg as above. Isabel denied this and brought a plea of naam, but failed to prosecute it. By her will, dated 1332 and proved 1342, Isabel de Wrytele, widow of John de Writele, casiar', left to the younger son of Walter de Writele, her son, all her kitchen and brewing vessels and a malting- trough in the house she inhabited in the parish of St. Mary le Bow. Ralph and John, sons of John de Writele, had presumably both died without heirs and their interest had passed to Walter or his son. (fn. 1)

In April 1337 John son of Walter de Writell, cheesemonger (casiar), granted and quitclaimed to John Blaunche, citizen, his tenement in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, sometime of his grandfather John de Writele. In June that year Blaunche granted the same to John Osekyn, citizen and vintner, and his wife Isabel, who in turn in November 1337 granted it to Robert de Hennewode, citizen and vintner. John de Writele, son of Walter de Writele, casear, quitclaimed to de Hennewode in 1338. By his will, dated and proved 1349, Robert de Hanewode, citizen and vintner, left his tenement in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to his wife Alice for life, with remainder for sale by his executors. In 1358, after Alice's death, Robert de Burton and John de Letton, citizens and vintners, granted the tenement cum capital fronte versus cimiterium ecclesie sancte Marie de Arcubus, to Edward III. It lay between 13 and the churchyard to the N., 10 to the E., Brokeneselde sometime of Reginald atte Conduit, in fronte versus Chepe, the tenement of Richard Vincent rector of the church of Sancte Cidis (? St. Sithe) and Nicholas Bole in Bread Street to the W. and S., and 8 to the S. also. (fn. 2)

In 1359 the king complained of purprestures and nuisances caused by the rebuilding to 13 to the N. A jury found that Richard de Kyslyngbury, owner of 13, had made a partition (paries) on or above the king's wall (probably the E.-W. wall between the tenements), 28 ft. 1 in. (8.56 m.) in length and overhanging the king's part by 3/4 in. (19 mm.) at the W. end and 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.) at the E. De Kyslyngbury had built jetties in front of (coram) the king's house, obscuring the lights of the windows of 2 chambers looking towards the churchyard and Cheapside. The rainwater from one of de Kyslyngbury's chambers fell on the hall and an adjacent chamber of 12, to their damage, and in building cellars de Kyslyngbury had obstructed the king's way from 12 to Cheapside. The jury also stated that although the king and the other holders of tenements beside the churchyard had a way to Cheapside, to Goose Lane, and to Bow Lane, all the ground belonged to the church, from the threshholds of the houses to the church, with common burial everywhere. The king ordered the purprestures to be removed. (fn. 3)

The tenements had been granted, probably by the king, to Dartford Priory by 1371, when the prioress surrendered to the Crown lands including 6, and a tenement in London formerly of Robert de Bourton and John de Legyton, executors of Robert de Hanwode late citizen and merchant. These lands were subsequently re-granted to the priory. In 1397 and 1398 the rector of St. Mary le Bow complained of intrusion against the prioress of Dartford in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, probably for disseisin of the 13s. 4d. rent. The names of the priory's tenants are not known. In 1458 the king licensed the priory, in consideration of its poverty and expenses, to grant 12, described as a messuage in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, between 11 to the S. and E., 13 and the churchyard to the N., and the tenements of Thomas Beaumont and Robert Gayton (in Bread Street) to the W., to Isabel, late the wife of John Rych, and to Thomas Urswyk, Richard Ryche, John Pulter, John Alburgh, and William Duraunt and anyone else. The sale, for a sum of money applied to the relief of grievous charges, was made and confirmed in 1459. (fn. 4)

In 1844 a vault under no. 5, Bow Churchyard, equivalent to this property, was described. It was a vaulted chamber, 12 ft. (3.66 m.) square by 7 ft. 3 in. (2.21 m.) in height, with a slightly pointed arch of ribbed masonry 'similar to some of those of the Old London Bridge.' It was said that there had been in the centre of the floor an excavation which appeared formerly to have been used as a bath but which was now arched over and converted into a cesspool. The vault is not closely datable from this description, and cannot be linked to any known rebuilding, but it seems likely that it was late medieval or 16th century in date. (fn. 5)

Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

It seems probable that 12 remained with the Riche family from the mid 15th century to the mid 16th century. In 1541 James Strilley of Nottingham, gentleman, and his wife Rachel, widow of Thomas Riche, gentleman, leased their messuage or tenement with cellars, solars, warehouses and yard adjoining, in Bow churchyard in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to George Robynson, citizen and mercer, for 40 years at £8 rent. The lessors covenanted to repair, maintain, pave and cleanse during the term if Rachel should live so long, and the lessee agreed to pay all quit-rents. In 1543 James Strilley and Rachel, with Edward Riche, gentleman, son and heir of the said Thomas Riche, granted and quitclaimed to Anthony Marker (? recte Marler), citizen and haberdasher, in their messuage in Bow churchyard, in which Marker lived. The grant was secured by a recovery made by Anthony Marler against George Ellyot, mercer, and William Carkett, scrivener, who called James Strylley, Rachel, and Edward Riche to warrant. In 1550 the tenement of Anthony Marler, haberdasher, in Bow churchyard lay to the E. of 2 tenements in Bread Street. (fn. 6)

In 1561 Anthony Marler and his wife Elizabeth granted their messuage with cellar(s), solar(s), warehouses, and void plots (vacuis fundis) in Bow churchyard to William Pireson or Pierson of London, gentleman, for £404, the grant to be void if the money was repaid by 25 March 1562 at Pierson's mansion-house in Bow Lane. The money was not repaid, and in April 1562, for a further £96, Marler and his wife confirmed the sale and quitclaimed to Pierson. In 1565 William Pierson of London, gentleman, also called William Pierson, citizen and court hand writer, and Anne his wife, granted and quitclaimed in their capital messuage with cellars, solars, cupboards (penaria), chambers, lights, etc., in Bow churchyard, to William Phillipps, citizen and merchant tailor. William Philips was named as one of the N. neighbours of 6B in 1573; but 6B and 12 do not otherwise appear to have adjoined; possibly Philips was also tenant of part of 11B to the S. of 12. (fn. 7)

By his will of 1585 William Phillippes, merchant tailor, left his capital messuage in Bow churchyard, in which he dwelt, to be sold by his executor (his widow Sybell) within 2 years, in order to pay his large debts to Richard Maye, merchant tailor, and others. The messuage was said to be held of the queen for the service of 1d., and to be worth £6 p.a. This arrangement was evidently not carried out, as in 1593 Henry Philippes of Stratford Abbey, West Ham (Essex), esquire, son and heir of William, granted the messuage, with cellars, solars, warehouses, and yard, in Bow churchyard, in which his father used to live, to Edward Ratcliff, Philip Gerrard of Gray's Inn, William Williamson of London, vintner, and William Towncrowe of London, grocer, Henry Philippes covenanted that the premises were unemcumbered, except for the dower due to his own wife Anne and 2 recognizances to the use of the orphans (sic) of William Towncrowe. The grant was to be void if Philippes paid £100, in 5 yearly instalments, to Anthony Radcliffe, alderman, and £261. 10s., in 6 yearly instalments of £40 and one of £21. 10s., to Margaret Smith of London, widow. Philippes was to retain the profits and possession of the property while he continued to make the payments; if he failed, and the grantees became seised, he was to acquit the house from his wife's dower. Possibly Towncrowe, Radcliffe, and Smith were creditors of William Phillippes, and this was the best way for his son to repay them. By 1595 the messuage had passed to Ralphe Bristowe of London, to whom Michael Fleminge of Lincoln's Inn and his wife Alice Fleminge, daughter of William Phillippes, then quitclaimed for a sum of money. At the time of her death in 1606, Margaret Smith, widow, occupied a house in Bow Lane, but it does not seem likely that this was 12, though it could have been a small part of it. (fn. 8)

It seems probable that this was the house in Bow churchyard in which John Stone, citizen and haberdasher, lived, and which he left by his will of 1609 to his wife Winefride, with all shops, cellars, solars, etc., for the remainder of the term of the lease, according to the lease he and his son-in-law Thomas Stephens had granted to Robert Jenkinson, William Bonner, and John Hall, with remainder to Thomas Stephens. Possibly the reversion of property had been settled on Stone's daughter Elizabeth on her marriage to Stephens, and the lease referred to made subsequently. Winefride Stone, widow of John, died in 1611 or 1612. In 1612 Thomas Stephens of the Middle Temple let his messuage, mansion-house, and tenement in Bow churchyard to John Bramston of the Middle Temple, for a term of years at £4 rent. In 1615 Bramston assigned his interest to Elizabeth Dale of London, widow of William Dale, late citizen and grocer; she immediately assigned her interest to John Knight, citizen and haberdasher. It is not clear that any of these occupied 12; in 1619, 'Mr. Stone's yard' adjoined part of 11. The most probable occupants in 1638 were Mr. Hubbald and Mr. Claxton, tithe- payers in Bow churchyard for houses worth £14 and £20 p.a., respectively. William Hubbald, of the parish of St. Mary le Bow, died between 1643 and 1645. In 1661 12 was occupied by Clement Stoner and probably also Robert Storey. In 1666, Clement Stoner, mercer, occupied a house in Bow churchyard with 10 hearths, and Robert Story, draper, one with 8 hearths. (fn. 9)

After the great fire

Two foundations in Bow churchyard were surveyed for Stoner in 1666. Not all the details of the surveys are consistent, but the overall width of the property seems to have been approximately 55 ft. (16.76 m) at the N. end, where it may have included the entry to Mr. Pitman's plot (11), and 49 ft. (14.94 m.) at the S. end; it was approximately 65 ft. (19.81 m.) in length. Only the N.E. corner had a frontage or entry to the churchyard. (fn. 10)


  • 1. HCP 34, m. 9d; HCP 35, m. 4; HR 22(6), 34(112), 69(114); Cal EMCR, 216.
  • 2. HR 64(29-30, 71, 117), 65(81), 77(9), 86(70-1); Cal Close R 1354-60, p. 517; Cal Fine R 1356-68, p. 70.
  • 3. CLRO, Misc. Roll EE (Escheats), mm. 31d, 32d; Cal Inq Misc iii, no. 349.
  • 4. PRO, E40/5280; Cal Close R 1369-74, p. 344; Cal Pat R 1370-4, pp. 162-3; HCP 122, m. 5d; HPL 122, m. 13d; HPL 123, m. 3; Cal Pat R 1452-61, p. 463; Cal Close R 1454-61, pp. 393-4.
  • 5. Archaeologia xxxi, 318.
  • 6. HR 243(46, 120); HPL 179, m. 56; Salters' Company, MS H1/2/1/20.
  • 7. HR 251(125), 253(64); GL, MS 20503; St. John's College, Oxford, Muniments, Register I, ff. 128-9v.
  • 8. Abs Inq PM iii, pp. 92-3; HR 273(27), 275(16); PRO, PROB11/107, f. 247.
  • 9. PRO, PROB11/113, ff. 356-9; GL, MS 20517; PRO, PROB11/120, ff. 91-92v; Inhabitants in 1638, 109; PRO, PROB11/194, ff. 219v-220; CLRO, Assessments Box 3.6, f. 6v; PRO, E179/252/32/16.
  • 10. M & O ii, ff. 21, 26, iv, f. 61, v, f. 36.