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 on the S. side of Cheapside, abutting S. on the churchyard of St. Mary le Bow, E. on the way leading from Cheapside to the churchyard, and W. on 15. On the E. side of the way to the churchyard were the properties belonging in the 12th century to Christ Church, Canterbury. By the 16th century part of the churchyard to the S. of 14 was leased to the occupier, and the buildings extended over that ground as well.
In 1858 the property was no. 1 Bow Church Yard, and no. 55 Cheapside.
Twelfth to fifteenth century
In the late 12th century William de Blemunt owed a rent of 5s. 4d. p.a. at the feast of St. Andrew (30 November) to Christ Church Priory, Canterbury. Around 1220 William Blemund was said to owe 5s. 4d. p.a. at Christmas, from land in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, between the land which was of Edward Albus (15) and the priory's stone house in Cheap (20), with a lane between (vico medio). Simon Blundus of Hundeslawe (Hounslow) was holding the land for life. In 1246 John Helyland (? Glyland) had built a pentice in Cheap, apparently between the tenement of Edward son of Roger Blund and the rent of the monks of Canterbury. In 1261 x 1264 John Glyland, son of John Glyland, draper (pannarius) and citizen of London, granted to Stephen de Cornehill, son of William de Cornehill, draper (draper'), his seld with solar and stairs and all appurtenances, extending from Cheapside to the N. to the churchyard to the S., and from 15 to the W. to the churchyard and the rent of St. Thomas of Canterbury to the E., and whatever he had therein in wood, stones, buildings, and chests (arciis). Stephen was to hold of John, rendering 1/2 lb. cummin or 1/2d. of silver to the grantor and the services to the chief lords, i.e. £2 to the heirs of William (? de Cornehill, or possibly de Blemond), and £1 to the church of St. Matthew Friday Street, to maintain 4 candles and a lamp, and also 2s. to the church of St. Mary le Bow for the step (gradus). Possibly the latter was an encroachment on the churchyard. Stephen de Cornhelle was said to hold the land formerly of William Blemond, owing 5s. 4d., in the late 13th century. By his will proved in 1287 Thomas Viel left £1. 15s. quit- rent from the seld of Stephen de Cornhull in Cheapside, on the corner of the lane leading to the church of St. Mary le Bow, to his wife Cecilia, to hold for life, with remainder for sale. (fn. 1)
In 1294 Stephen de Cornhull granted his seld with solar in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, between 15 and the via regalis leading to the church, Cheapside, and the churchyard, to Mark le Vyel of Christchurch (de ecclesia christi), to hold for ever, rendering services to the chief lords. By his will proved in 1295 Stephen left to Mark of Christchurch, his vallettus, the seld next to the church of St. Mary le Bow which Mark then held. An inquisition into the lands of Stephen de Cornhill in 1294- 5 stated that since c. 1285 he had sold a seld with appurtenances in the corner of St. Mary le Bow, which Mark the draper (pannarius) holds, worth 3 marks (£2). In a later note to a 13th century rental of Christ Church, Canterbury, the land formerly of William Blemond and Stephen de Cornhelle was said to be held by Peter Elmand of John Vitalis, and to lie next to the priory's great stone house in Cheapside ex parte occidentali vico medio. It is not clear whether John Vitalis was connected with Mark le Vyel of Christchurch, or whether the reference is to Thomas Viel's rent of £1. 15s. from this tenement, which his executor William Viel sold to Mark, described as Mark Shyrewold of Christchurch, Twenham (Twineham, Hants.), draper of London, for £20 in 1305. By his will proved in 1308 Mark of Christchurch, draper, left his house in St. Mary le Bow to be sold by his executors, Richard de Wylehale, to be favoured by 20 marks (£13. 6s. 8d.) if he wished to buy it. In 1309 Richard de Clare, Richard de Wilehale, and Roger Heroud, executors of Mark le Viel of Christchurch de Twenham, granted and sold the seld with solar(s) over which Mark had by grant of Stephen de Cornhull, in the angle of the lane leading to the church of St. Mary le Bow, between the lane to the E., 15 to the W., Cheapside to the N., and the churchyard to the S., to William Trente, citizen. (fn. 2)
In 1312 the rector of St. Matthew Friday Street distrained in the tenement of William de Trente for 2 years' arrears of a rent of £1 to his church, to maintain 4 candles and 4 lamps, of which he had been seised by the hands of Mark le Draper. William contested this claim, but he was probably unsuccessful: the rent was still being paid in the 16th century. The rent of 5s. 4d. to Canterbury, from the land of William Blemund, was said to be denied or withheld by William Trente in 1315-16, and is recorded as denied in the following years. By his will, proved in 1316, William Trente left his tenement in Cheap in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, and one in the parish of St. Mary Bothawe, to his nephew William, son of William Noeyl and the testator's sister Alice, to maintain 4 chaplains celebrating for the testator's soul in the church of St. Mary Bothawe in the chapel which he had begun there. In 1326 William de Lancastre, tailor, was stabbed by John de Enfield, tailor, in a quarrel in Cheapside opposite Cordwainer Street: he made his way to the rent of William Noyl in the parish of St. Mary le Bow in Cordwainer ward, presumably this house, and died there after receiving his ecclesiastical rights. (fn. 3)
Joan daughter of William Noyl held the property in 1338, when the rector and parishioners of St. Matthew Friday Street distrained for arrears of the £1 rent. By 1356 John Noil son and heir of William Noil held the tenement. He granted it, giving its abutments as before, to Robert de Appelby, citizen, the grant to be void if he paid Robert £20 within 2 years. John appears to have repaid the debt, and in 1357 granted the tenement to John de Tylneye, citizen and armourer, and his wife Alice, and became bound to the same by a statute merchant of £100. The grant and the statute merchant were to be void if Noyl paid de Tylneye £40 by 2 February 1358, and if de Tylneye and his wife held the tenement peacefully for 2 years; otherwise both deed and statute were to stand. De Tylneye and his wife quitclaimed in the tenement to Noyl in 1358. Later that year Noyl granted a £5 rent from his tenements in Cheapside in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to William de Hornby of Essex, for life. He also, in May 1358, made a statute staple for £200 to John de Hatfeld, citizen and merchant, payable at Midsummer. The sum was not paid, and in December Noil was arrested and his lands seized and valued. His tenement in the parish of St. Mary le Bow was worth £2 p.a. clear. (fn. 4)
In 1368 an inquisition was held into the lands of the late William de Trente. It was found that, contrary to the provisions of his will, William Noeyl and John son of William had held the premises but found no chaplain. After John's death (after 1361-2) his sister Joan took the tenement in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, and now held it with her husband Robert fitzWilliam, but still no chaplain was being found. It does not seem that that condition was fulfilled later either. In 1373 Robert fitzWilliam of Essex bound himself in 220 marks (£146. 13s. 4d.) by statute staple to Walter de Aldebury, clerk, for merchandise bought at the staple of Westminster. FitzWilliam and his wife Joan granted 14 to de Aldebury and John Hotot, clerk, and de Aldebury granted that if he and Hotot held the property without disturbance for any debt or recognizance, and without any charge except £1. 4s. to the church of St. Matthew Friday Street and the church of St. Mary le Bow, the statute staple should be void. In 1373 John Hotot granted the property, described as a seld with solars above, with abutments as before, to Robert Kyrkeby, clerk, and William Sygor, draper. In 1374 Richard Pertenhale, whose interest in the property is not otherwise recorded, quitclaimed in it to de Aldebury and Hotot. (fn. 5)
The grant to Kyrkeby and Sygor was to the use of John Bures, citizen and draper, who subsequently took possession of the property. On his death his son and heir John Bures entered the property, and granted it to John Lungele, Henry Kyng, and Richard Bryndewode, citizens and drapers, who in 1397 granted it to William Evot, John Clee, Thomas Glyuyan, Henry Permistede, John Barley, and John Hunte, citizens and drapers. William Sygor (Robert Kyrkeby having died) quitclaimed in the same at the same time. These groups of feoffees were probably holding on behalf of the Drapers' fraternity, which was not enabled to hold land corporately until 1439. The ownership of the property does not seem to have been conveyed to the company until 1500, but they received rents from it from the 1420s. In 1400 Evot and his co-feoffees granted 14, described as a seld with solars over, to John Hende, John Walcote, Robert Somersete, William Denarston, Thomas Peke, John Mounstede (?), John Somer senior, William Weston, and Henry Harte, citizens and drapers. In 1433 Peke and Harte, the surviving feoffees, granted and quitclaimed in the seld and solars to John Gedneye, John Brokle, Robert Whitingham, John Hiham, Robert Clopton, John Bederenden, John Carpenter, Alexander Anne, John Brykles, Alexander Childe, Clement Lyffyn, Thomas Peretre, John Norman, William Warde, Thomas Hardyng, John Wootton, William Creek, Ralph Valentyn, John Fremyll, John Stonton, Thomas Aylesby, Thomas Scot, William Aylyf, John William, Nicholas Yoo, William Wareyn, Reginald Welham, and John Knight. In 1449 the survivors of this group (Whitingham, Norman, Scot, Lyffyn, Childe, Peretre, Warde, Wotton, William, and Welham) granted the property, now described as a shop with solar over, to Sir James Forster, rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, Sir William Seggebrook, and Sir John Chirbury, chaplains, who thereupon granted the same to Humphrey, duke of Buckingham, Master John Somerset, Philip Malpas, Henry Bray, William Russell, Peter Caldecote, Thomas Cook of the parish of St. Christopher, Roger Haysand, Christopher Cattirall, and Bartholomew Villers. In 1485 Peter Caldecote, citizen and draper, only survivor of the last group, granted the property to William Stokker, kt., Henry Eburton, William Brogreve, John Jakes, and William Holme, citizens and drapers. Henry Eburton, by his will dated 1490 and proved, 1500 left the property, with others he held for the same purpose, including 11/10, to the master, wardens, and brothers and sisters of the Drapers' fraternity. (fn. 6)
Fifteenth to seventeenth century
In 1418 the tenement was held by John Prentout, draper, when the churchwardens of St. Matthew Friday Street distrained in it, taking 2 pieces of woollen cloth worth £2. 13s. 4d. for arrears of the quit-rent of £1 for candles and lamps. The churchwardens said they had been seised of the rent, which issued from a certain seld with solar and step(s) (gradus) of the solar by the hands of the tenants time out of mind. The Drapers' fraternity paid this quit-rent from at least as early as 1425. In 1423-4 the Drapers received £4 rent from John Prentout, draper, for a shop in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, and £1 from Benet Scherman for a rent in Cheapside, possibly a part of the same. In his will of 1423, proved 1424, John left his term in the tenement in which he lived in the parish of St. Mary le Bow to Robert Ergum (?), draper, his chief servant. Ergum was also to pay Prentout's executors 10 marks (£6. 13s. 4d.) yearly from all the testator's goods and drapery in his shop in Ergum's custody, to be used by the executors in paying Prentout's bequests. In 1424-5 the Drapers received £2 rent from the executors of John Prentout, possibly for arrears, and £7 for one year's rent from Reginald Welham in Cheap. Welham paid the £7 rent until at least 1430-1, and £6. 13s. 4d. rent in 1435- 6, when the company spent £1. 1s. 8d. in repairing a chimney in Welham's inn or lodging (hostiell) in Cheap, and in tiles, stones, etc. for the same. The tenant for at least part of the tenement in 1441-2 was probably John Darby, whose shop in Cheap was repaired that year; he paid £3 rent. In 1457 the wardens of the Drapers' Company let their corner tenement, with shop, solars, and appurtenances in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, called Drapers rent, to John Derby, citizen and draper, for 6 1/2 years, for the sum of £40 paid to the wardrobe for 2 tallies, the cost in law of the tallies, and 13s. 4d. rent p.a. Derby was to repair at his own cost, except for damage caused by fire started elsewhere, and the Drapers were to pay all quit-rents. (fn. 7)
In the 1480s the property was held by at least 2 tenants. In 1481-2 William Eton, mercer, paid £3 rent for the shop, to which there were some minor repairs. The rest of the tenement, (formerly) held by William Lytster at £2 rent, was vacant for the whole year. In 1482-3 Eton paid 8s. rent for 7 weeks for the shop, which remained vacant for the rest of the year, and Thomas Lytstyr paid £2 for the tenement. A cellar was built, with a privy (sege), door, window, and steps, for £17. 14s. 2d., and let for half a year for 13s. 4d. In 1483-4 Eton paid £2. 10s. rent for the shop for one year, and £1 for the cellar for 3/4 year, it remaining empty for one quarter. Thomas Lytser paid £2 rent for the year. In 1484-5 (3/4 year) Eton paid £1. 17s. 6d. for the shop, and Lyster £1. 10s. for his part, the cellar remaining vacant. Some small repairs were done. In 1492 the company leased to Thomas Lytster, citizen and leatherseller, their great tenement with shop, cellar, and solars, in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, lately let in 3 parts to 3 separate tenants, the upper part of which Lytster now lived in, for 21 years at £5 rent. Lytster was in the first year to pave the kitchen of the tenement at his own cost with hard Kentish stone, but the Drapers, were to repair, maintain, pave, and cleanse the privies, and pay all quit-rents. William Eton, who died in 1503x6, had perhaps remained as undertenant of Lytster until then. (fn. 8)
From 1506 to 1508 Thomas Herste was tenant of the tenement in Cheapside at £5 rent. Rauf of Apowleston, goldsmith, held the same from 1508 to 1527. The Drapers paid for minor repairs, including tiling. William Smyth was tenant at £5 rent from 1527 to 1545, and in his time the company paid for more substantial works, including a new bay window for the hall and chamber in 1527-8, boarding for the hall floor and shop windows and repairs to the kitchen chimney in 1532-3, and roof repairs, including new rafters and purlins, in 1536-7. The shop and kitchen were floored or paved in 1538-9 and 1543-4. Smyth paid £13. 6s. 8d. for a new lease of the house at the corner of Bow Lane and one in Honey Lane (11/8C) in 1537-8. In 1544 the tenement late called a shop or seld, with cellars and solar, at the corner of the lane leading to the church of St. Mary le Bow, late occupied by William Smyth, mercer, was leased to Henry Phillips, citizen and haberdasher, for 20 years at £5 rent. The lessors were to repair and maintain, and Phillips was not to make any prejudicial alterations to the tenement. He paid £5 for a fine given when the lease of the tenement at Bow Church was resigned to him by Smyth, in 1544-5. Henry Phillips paid the rent from 1545 to 1559, and his widow Mrs. Anne Phillippes (d. 1571) from 1559 to 1570. The Drapers paid for tiling and paving in this period, and in 1567-8 for rebuilding the pipe of the privy, and the chimneys. No repairs were done at the company's cost after 1568. The Drapers continued to pay the £1 quit-rent to St. Matthew Friday Street until 1548, but no such rent is identifiable in the chantry returns of 1546 or 1548. Probably the rent was redeemed by the company from the Crown, but the date at which this occurred is not known. (fn. 9)
In 1566 the rector of St. Mary le Bow, with the permission of the archbishop of Canterbury, leased to John Sledde, merchant tailor, a plot of land, part of the churchyard, measuring 16 ft. E.-W. and 16 ft. 6 in. N.-S. (4.88 m. by 5.03 m.), with the buildings on a part 16 ft. by 9 ft. 6 in. (4.88 m. by 2.90 m.) of the same. A part of it, 16 ft. by 6 ft. 6 in. (4.88 m. by 1.98 m.), had formerly been held by the late John Darby, citizen and alderman, and others, for a term of years granted by William Jarvis, sometime parson. Sledde, his executors and assigns, were to hold for 99 years at 4s. rent, but were not to build on the part 16 ft. by 7 ft. (4.88 m. by 2.13 m.) at present vacant, or to sublet or assign without permission. This piece of land seems to have been the area just to the S. of the Drapers' property, on which part of their buildings stood, for some at least of which a 2s. rent had been owed to the church in the 13th century. It is not clear why it was leased to Sledde, and not to the Drapers, but it seems certain that they made use of it. (fn. 10)
Symon Croxton was granted a lease of the house in Cheap in which Agnes (probably an error for Anne) Phillipps, widow, lived, in 1567-8, to begin after her death, for 21 years. The fine was £20 at the ensealing, £40 a year after entry, and £40 two years after, with £10 also as pawn for a standing cup of that value which Sir Thomas Chamberleyne, kt., had promised to give. Croxton paid the £5 rent from 1570 to 1583. Simon Cruxson, citizen and mercer, of the parish of St. Mary le Bow, probably the same man, died in 1584 leaving his goods and leases to his wife Katharine. She paid the rent from 1584 to 1586, when she died, leaving the lease of her dwelling house and of the '2 rooms backwards' which belong to the parson of the church to her daughter Martha, wife of John Robynson. John Robynson, mercer, paid £200 fine for a lease of the property in 1586-7, and paid the £5 rent from 1586 to 1597. (fn. 11) Abraham Stephen (? recte) Speckarte paid the rent as Robinson's assign from 1597 to 1599, and Abraham Speckarte paid the same from 1599 to 1638. In 1610 Speckart, tenant of the Black Raven in Cheapside, sued for a new lease. He was offered a lease for 25 years from the expiry of the old lease, at a fine of £400, abated to £370 because he was the queen's servant, to be paid £150 in hand and the rest at year to year. On further negotiation the term was extended to 31 years, and the fine abated to £350 because paid in full in hand. Speckart is recorded as paying £330 in full for his lease in 1610-11. (fn. 12)
The £5 rent was said to be paid by Speckart or Theophilus Rylie in 1643-5, but otherwise by Speckart up till 1638. Mr. Riley was tithe-payer for a house in Cheapside worth £20 p.a. in 1638; it seems probable that Mrs. Glover, listed immediately after him, holding a shop worth £20 p.a., also occupied part of 14. Theophilus Rylie paid the £5 rent from 1638 to 1657. In 1639 he was granted a 21-year lease of the Black Raven in Cheapside, to begin in 1641 when the current 31-year lease expired, at £5 rent and a fine of £200, payable in instalments of £50. This was finally paid off in 1646. He was offered a new lease in 1651, for 29 3/4 years from 1662, when his present lease was to expire, for a fine of £210 payable at the ensealing. This fine was reduced to £190 when it was paid in full in 1653. The lease granted in 1652 described the Black Raven as a messuage, some 23 ft. (7.01 m.) in depth from the street by 14 ft. 6 in. (4.42 m.) at the front and 15 ft. 6 in. (4.72 m.) at the back, with a cellar, a shop above it, a kitchen and dining-room on the first floor, two chambers on the second floor with a leaded gallery forwards, 2 chambers on the third floor, and garrets above. The lessee was to repair, etc. The plot measured was evidently the extent of the Drapers' ground: the buildings extended further to the S. over the land leased by the church. (fn. 13)
Theophilus Rylie paid the rent until 1657, and widow Riley paid until 1661. Her executrix paid from 1661 to 1663 and the devisees of Theophilus Ryley paid until the Fire. (fn. 14) Arrears were paid by Mr. Swift, son-in-law or grandson or Riley. (fn. 15) In 1665 George Smallwood, rector of St. Mary le Bow, leased to his son Matthew the plot of ground in the churchyard, leased by his predecessor to John Sledd in 1566. The plot had now been enlarged by another 3 ft. (910 mm.) in length, and the buildings extended, so that the whole site now leased was some 16 ft. by 19 ft. (4.88 m. by 5.79 m.), of which 16 ft. by 10 ft. (4.88 m. by 3.05 m.) was occupied by buildings and the rest still void. The buildings on the plot now leased formed part of one complete messuage fronting on to Cheapside. The lessee was to hold for 21 years at £2 rent. In 1666 Richard Rawlins (? Riley), 'bodyesman' occupied a house with 8 hearths, probably 14. (fn. 16)
After the great fire
At the time of the Fire the property was said to be held by Richard Ryley, by the extended lease to Theophilus Riley. The property was burnt, and before it could be rebuilt alterations were made to its boundaries. Matthew Smallwood surrendered his lease of the churchyard plot to the rector, who in 1670 re-leased it to him, now only 16 ft. by 16 ft. 6 in. (4.88 m. by 5.03 m.) for 56 years at £2 rent. Smallwood assigned this lease to John Randall, esquire, and Robert Grosvenor, citizens and drapers, for £250. The pre-Fire plot had measured some 14 ft. 6 in. to 16 ft. 6 in. wide (4.42 to 5.03 m.), the Drapers' part being 23 ft. (7.01 m.) in length and the church's 16 ft. (4.88 m.) though only about 10 ft. (3.05 m.) in length of the latter was built on. The foundation surveyed for Matthew Webster (grandson-in-law of Theophilus Riley) in February 1671 seems to relate to the built part of these two plots together. It measured 31 ft. 6 in. (9.6 m.) in length and 14 ft. 8 in. to 15 ft. 9 in. (4.47 m. to 4.8 m.) in width. It was now altered, however, by the addition of 3 ft. (910 mm.) in depth taken out of Cheapside, and by the loss of a strip 3 ft. 1 in. to 4 ft. 3 in. (940 mm. to 1.3 m.) in width along the whole length of the tenement, taken to enlarge the way into Bow churchyard. The new site therefore was some 34 ft. 6 in. (10.52 m.) in length and 11 ft. 6 in. (3.51 m.) in length, a net loss of some 80 sq. ft. (7.43 sq. m.). The unbuilt part of the plot leased from the church seems to have been lost at this time. In 1673, in consideration of the surrender of Ryley's lease and of his having rebuilt at his own cost, and in pursuance of a decree of 9 December 1670, the company leased to Matthew Webster of Grays Inn the new-built tenement at the corner of Bow churchyard, now or late occupied by William Currer, on ground measuring 11 ft. 6 in. E.-W. and 34 ft. 6 in. N.-S. (3.51 m. by 10.52 m.), for 50 years at £20 (? in total) for the first 13 years, then £7 p.a. for 6 years, then £14 p.a. for the rest of the term. The lessee was to repair. (fn. 17)