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 consisted of the shops on the Cheapside frontage below the church of St. Mary Colechurch, which stood at first floor level. The shops were probably directly beneath the church, but it is possible that they were single storey structures built against the church wall behind.
There were shops below the church in the mid 13th century, when they were built or rebuilt by Henry de Waltham, whose son granted the adjoining property along with the church to the hospital of St. Thomas of Acre (cf. 19). One of them was probably the shop on the corner of Old Jewry held for a term of years from the hospital at £2 rent by John de Enefeld, chandler, who by his will, drawn up in 1345 or 1346 and proved in 1346, left the remainder of his term to his wife Margaret. (fn. 1)
In 1517 John Circok, leatherseller, took a 40-year repairing lease from the hospital of tenements in Old Jewry (21A, q.v.) and the shops beneath the church, all of which had formerly been held by William Beane. The rent for the shops, of which there were two (20B and C), was £2 p.a. each. John Lewys paid the £6. 13s. 4d. rent for this group of properties from 1519 onwards and Robert Lewys paid it from 1524 onwards. In 1537 the hospital granted to Stephen Cobbe, citizen and haberdasher, a lease of the properties at the old rent for a term of 50 years beginning in 1550, when Circok's lease ran out; the landlord was to repair, pave and pay quit-rents, while the tenant was to clean the privies. The shops were said to be between Old Jewry on the E. and the door of St. Mary Colechurch on the W. (fn. 2)
Stephen Cobbe paid the rent to the Mercers' Company in 1542-3, and from then until 1588 the descent of the property under this lease was identical to that of 19B and C (q.v.). In 1588-9 Robert Cobbe, son and assign of Stephen, paid the rent and in 1589-91 Mrs. Coys paid it as the assign of Stephen and Robert. Thomas Buckner then paid it as Mrs. Coys's assign until 1596. There was some confusion over these leases, for the Cobbes and their assigns held a number of shops and tenements in this area from the Mercers' Company. The tenancies were then altered so that the 2 shops under the church were held with 21B. Buckner paid £8. 13s. 4d. rent for this new group of properties between 1596 and 1600. In 1599 Buckner, a citizen and mercer, took a lease of these properties for a term of 21 years from 1600 at a rent of £10 and for a fine of £200. The two shops were now occupied by Francis Romney, painter-stainer, and Philip Strelley, goldsmith. In 1603 for divers considerations Strelley, as Buckner's assign, renewed the lease for a term of 31 years from 1602. Strelley's widow succeeded him in 1603 and from 1614 onwards Ralph Strellie paid the rent. Ralph's assign, Thomas Fulcher, paid the rent from 1623, when the lease ran out. (fn. 3)
The shops were then let separately from the property in Old Jewry and from each other. In 1630 Francis Hobs, citizen and draper, was granted a lease of the shop next to the church door (20B), which he already held as undertenant, for a term of 21 years from 1633, at £3 rent and for a fine of £80 payable in 1633. This shop measured 18 ft. by 9 ft. (5.49 m. by 2.74 m.). Hobs did not live to take up the lease, but his executors paid the rent for part of 1633-4. Humphrey Smalwood paid the £3 rent for 20B between 1634 and 1637, his executors between 1637 and 1640, and John Cary between 1640 and 1650. Gabriel Marden, cordwainer, occupied the shop in 1650, when he was granted a 21-year lease from 1654 at £3 rent and for a fine of £100 payable in 1651. A fine of £120 had been asked and the shop was now said to measure 17 1/2 ft. by 9 ft. (5.33 m. by 2.74 m.). In 1660 Marden obtained permission to alienate the shop, and evidently did so to George Dickson, who paid the rent from 1660 to 1666. (fn. 4)
The shop on the corner, (20C), measuring 10 ft. (3.05 m.) E./W. and 8 ft. (2.44 m.) N./S. was occupied by Elizabeth Foster of London, widow, in 1631 when she was granted a lease of the shop for a term of 21 years from 1633 at a rent of £2. 10s. and for a fine of £50 payable in 1633. Following the rebuilding of St. Mary Colechurch in 1638, the old entry to the church from Cheapside was replaced by one further to the W. in what had been a part of 19G. From 1640 Elizabeth Foster held a shop (20A) in the old entry, which measured 9 ft. 9 in. by 4 ft. 9 in. (2.97 m. by 1.45 m.), apparently for £4 rent and a fine of £40. This shop came to be regarded as part of the shop on the corner (20C), although the two were not adjacent, and in 1640 Mrs. Foster seems to have agreed to take a lease of the property (20A and 20C) at £13 rent for a fine of £20, which seems not to have been paid. In 1651 she was granted a new lease of the corner shop (20C) for 31 years from the expiry of the existing lease (i.e. from 1654) at £6. 10s. rent, for a fine of £90, and on condition that she surrender that part of the shop which had once been the church entry (20A). In the event she took a lease, evidently of the corner shop (20C) alone, for 31 years from 1654 at £4 rent and for a fine of £90. In 1662, while she was sick, Mrs. Foster assigned the lease of this shop (20C) to her sister, Annah Crosse, spinster, who held it until 1666. (fn. 5)
After the Great Fire a narrow strip of ground was cut off the front of 19F and G and 20A-C in order to widen the street. The ground behind, occupying part of the site of the Mitre (19) and the church of St. Mary Colechurch was divided into three nearly equal units where the tenants were to build new houses. The three tenants with whom agreements were made in 1669-70 were, from E. to W., John Low, George Dixon, and John Godfrey. (fn. 6)