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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28 and 29 were originally one shop, on the E. side of Soper Lane, divided in the 14th century and reunited in one ownership in the 16th. 28 lay between 27 to the S., 29 to the N., and, in the 14th century, 36 to the E. It probably measured some 8 ft. (2.44 m.) in width and 12 or 16 ft. (3.66 m. or 4.88 m.) in depth. (fn. 1) 28-29 were part of a group of properties (25-30) which owed quit-rents to Lawrence son of William son of Benedict in the mid 13th century; this may indicate that the whole group were once one property. (fn. 2)
In 1858 the site of the property lay largely within that of no. 90 Queen Street.
Thirteenth to sixteenth century
The earliest known owner of 28-9 seems to have been Elias (le) Caller, probably in the 13th century. Thomas Edmund granted the property to John de Knopwed, citizen and mercer, before 1330. By his will of 1340, proved 1341, de Knopwed left 28-9, the shop in St. Pancras parish he had of Thomas Edmund's grant, to his wife Rose for life, to keep a chaplain in St. Pancras for his sons and his parents' for that period, with remainder for sale. Rose died in 1348, leaving to William Raven preference by £6. 13s. 4d. (10 marks) in buying the shop in Soper Lane, probably 28-9, which he held of her. Later in 1348, however, Giles Spencer, citizen and mercer, John de Knopwed's only surviving executor, sold 28-9 to Sir William Griffyn of Houghton Parva, chaplain, and John Gros, mercer. In 1349 Griffyn and Gros granted the N. moiety of the property (29, q.v.) to Roger Vyne, citizen and mercer, and his wife Agnes, and in 1350 Gros granted the S. moiety to William de Holbech, citizen and draper, and his wife Maud. (fn. 3)
By his will of 1365, proved in 1367, William Holbech left his tenements in London to his wife Maud for life, with remainder to his kinsman Thomas Holbech for life, and then for sale. Maud lived until 1392 or 1393, by which time Thomas Holbech was presumably dead. At some subsequent time her executor Stephen Speleman, citizen and mercer, sold 28 to Hugh Lyrp, clerk, and Richard Osborn, citizen, who held it in 1433. Later that year they granted it to Stephen Broun, grocer, Edmund Salle, draper, John Wolkyng, vintner, John Abbeye, grocer, citizens, and Denise Joye, widow of John Joye, citizen and tallow-chandler. Denise Joye seems to have been the intended beneficiary of this grant, and she left 28 (presumably by will, but the date is not known) to the church of St. Dunstan in the East 'for her soul for ever'. Her late husband had created a chantry in that church, but her devise seems to have been for an obit only. (fn. 4)
From 1495 or earlier to 1504 Lenyn Nikkar or Necker, also known as Nyker the tailor and Lenyn doucheman, held 28 from the parish of St. Dunstan. He paid 13s. 4d. rent, of which 3s. 4d. was abated in 1495-6 because the house was empty for a quarter during repairs. These repairs included tiling and probably plastering, with lime and sand, and cost £1. 12s. 3d.; a shop stall in Soper Lane was also mended, for 4d. In 1504-5 the old rent was paid for 3 quarters, and a new rent, of £1 p.a., from midsummer. It is not clear who paid this rent, but its rise was due to the extensive repairs done to the parish's property in Soper Lane that year. A mason made the foundation and privy vault ('drawth') and mended the wall on the E. side, and a frame for the new house was set up, followed by brickwork, tiling, daubing, and ironwork. The property had a cellar and a shop board, and a lead gutter between it and property belonging to St. Thomas of Acre (29 or 36). The total cost of these works was £11. 16s. 1 1/2d. The rent of £1 was paid in 1505-6, but the tenant was not named; thereafter the parish accounts are in summary form only. In 1548 28 was described as a shop in Soper Lane, given by Denise Joye to the parish of St. Dunstan East for her soul for ever, now held by Mrs. Stagge at £1 p.a., against which 4d. for an obit was charged. (fn. 5)
28 and 29 together were charged with 6s. quit-rent to Lawrence of St. Michael, son of William son of Benedict, who in 1258-9 granted his rents from 25-30, among others, to Philip le Taillour. By his will proved in 1292 Philip left these to the church of St. Michael Paternoster, to maintain 2 chaplains. This endowment was transferred in 1424 to the college of St. Michael (Whittington College). In 1433 the master of the college complained that Hugh Lyrp and Richard Osbarn had disseised him of the 6s. rent due from their shop and from that of Robert fitzRobert (29); the holders of 25-6 and 27 were similarly impleaded. The defendants denied the disseisin but the assize found for the plaintiff. The rent does not seem to have been paid by the parish of St. Dunstan in the East between 1495 and 1505, and is not recorded in the Chantry Certificate. (fn. 6)
Later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Mrs. Stagge was recorded as paying the £1 rent from 28 to the Crown until 1561, but she had been replaced before then by John Lee, to whom a 21-year lease was granted in 1560, when he was said to be in occupation. He paid a fine of £9 and continued to pay the £1 rent to the Crown. In 1563 the Queen sold 28 to Thomas Reve and Ralph Sherman, at 30 years' purchase. Before 1581 28 had been acquired by Wilfrid Lewtre of Aveley, Essex, gentleman, who in 1583 granted it, now held or occupied by John Robins, to Hubert Reynolds, tailor, of London, together with 29 (which by that date included 36A2). (fn. 7)
28-9 (with 36A2)
It is not certain who held this property in the later 16th and 17th centuries. In 1633 Mr. Wharton had 2 tenements in Soper Lane, in approximately the right place in the assessment list. He could be the John Wharton, cook in Soper Lane, who in 1637 had Martin May and his wife and family (5 people in all), inmates, in his house; there was said to be 'no fear that they will be chargeable to the parish'. In 1638 Wharton's 2 houses are probably represented by Mr. Wharton and Mr. Saunders, with houses valued at £15 and £10 p.a., respectively. In 1642 Mrs. Wharton's 2 houses were occupied by Nicholas Vaughan and Richard Saunders, rated equally. (fn. 8) Nicholas Vaughan occupied the next house S. from 30-32 in 1662-3, when it had 8 hearths. By his will of October 1665, as Nicholas Vaughan, haberdasher, he left 28-9 with 36A2 to his wife Parnell for life, with remainder to his son John, charged with an annuity of £10 to another son Nicholas. By his will also of October 1665, John Vaughan left his interest in the reversion to his brother Nicholas in tail, with remainder to Parnell and her heirs. In December 1665 Parnell, holding a life estate, and Nicholas, holding the reversion, leased the property to Joseph Moore for 21 years at £40 rent. Joseph Moore died, survived by his widow Frances, who may be the Francis (sic) Moore, cook, who occupied the property, with 7 hearths, in January 1666. She subsequently married Thomas Warren, stationer, and Parnell Vaughan married George Day, though it is not clear if these marriages took place before or shortly after the Great Fire. (fn. 9)
In October 1668 Warren and his wife sought a decree from the Fire Court for reasonable rebuilding terms from Nicholas Vaughan, his infant son John (the heir in tail), and George Day and Parnell. A strip 5 ft. (1.52 m.) wide had been cut off the front of the plot to widen Soper Lane (as Queen Street), and the tenants said that they would only be able to rebuild one room on each floor, instead of 2 as there had been before. This seems to imply that the back part of the plot was not to be built on. The tenants said that rebuilding would cost £400, and offered to do so for a rent of £12. The owners offered £20 rent, and the court, mediating, proposed and then decreed a lease extended by 40 years, at £15 rent from 1669. George Day and Parnell were to pay all arrears of the annuity up to the Fire, then to pay nothing until 1669, and thereafter to pay only £3. 6s. 8d. p.a. for the rest of Nicholas Vaughan's life. When John Vaughan came of age a new lease for the rest of the term was to be made. The foundation survey of 1668, made for Warren and Day, shows an inverted L-shaped plot, with a frontage to Soper Lane of 16 ft. 2 in. (4.93 m.), a maximum depth E.-W. (before the land was cut off) of 30 ft. (9.14 m.) and a maximum length on the E. side of 41 ft. 6 in. (12.65 m.). The width at the S. end was 15 ft. 9 in. (4.8 m.). Mr. Vaughan had been named as the N. and E. neighbour of 27B in the survey of that property. The strip of land cut off, measuring 6 ft. (1.83 m.) at the N. end and 5 ft. (1.52 m.) at the S., contained 88 11/12 sq. ft. (8.22 sq. m.), for which Day received £22 compensation in 1670. In 1670 George Day, citizen and girdler, and Philippa Gringham (whose interest in the property is not known) entered a bond of £40 to indemnify the City for the payment of the £22. (fn. 10)