Addenda: The Order of the Hospitalls of [Henry VIII and Edward VI, 1557]

A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by R Baldwin, London, 1773.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. Public Domain.


John Noorthouck, 'Addenda: The Order of the Hospitalls of [Henry VIII and Edward VI, 1557]', A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark, (London, 1773), pp. 874-886. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

John Noorthouck. "Addenda: The Order of the Hospitalls of [Henry VIII and Edward VI, 1557]", in A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark, (London, 1773) 874-886. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

Noorthouck, John. "Addenda: The Order of the Hospitalls of [Henry VIII and Edward VI, 1557]", A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark, (London, 1773). 874-886. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

In this section


THOUGH the author was not fortunate enough to meet with the following scarce and interesting little tract in proper time to be referred to under the year when it was published; yet as some inquiries have lately been made into the rights of the corporation over the city hospitals (fn. 1), it is hoped the original regulations framed by the city legislature for their government will prove acceptable. They follow verbatim.

The Order of the Hospitalls of K. Henry the VIIIth and K. Edward the VIth, viz. St. Bartholomew's, Christ's, Bridewell, St. Thomas's.

By the Maior, Cominaltie, and Citizens of London, Governours of the Possessions, Revenues and Goods of the said Hospitalls, 1557.

OFFLEY MAIOR. Martis vicessimo Octavo die Septembris Anno Phil. et Marie quarto et quinto.

AT this court, it was agreed that all the several articles and ordinances hereafter mentioned, and expressed, and openly read to the court here this day concerning the governance and ordering from henceforth of the house of the poore in West Smithfeild and the hospitalls of this city, lately devised by Sr Martin Bowes, and Sr Rowland Hill knights, and diverse other of my masters th' aldermen, and the commoners of this city, being governours and surveyors at this present of the said houses, and of all the lands and other revenues of the same whatsoever, shall be entred of record, and from henceforth be put in due execution from time to time, according to the true meaning of the same.


The Ordinances and Rules for the Governors of the Hospitalls in the Citie of London.

To be Redd in every of the said Hospitalls at a full Courte once every Quarter, either xiiii Days before, or after the Quarter Day.

WHEREAS the most excellent and worthy princes our late sovereigne lordes kinge Henry the VIIIth and king Edward the VIth of their bountifull benignitie and charitable devotion towardes the succour and sustentation of the poor in this citie, have geven and graunted by their lettres patents, with indentures of covenants and handes to the said princes and their successors by the city made for performation thereof, to the maior and cominaltye citizens of this said citie, aswell iiii several hospitals, (that is to say) by king Henry the VIIIth, one hospitall called St. Bartholmewes the Little, and by kinge Edward the VIth, iii other hospitalls, called Christ's hospitall, Bridewell place, and St. Thomas hospital; as also certain lands and tenements; towards the reliefe and maintenance of suche poor as there are releved, and have also by their kingly prerogative, graunted unto the maior and cominaltie, for the better government of the same amongst other things in the said lettres patents, authority and power to elect and chuse governours and officers, and also to make and constitute good and holsome ordinances for godlie maintenance thereof, by vertue of the whiche lettres patents we the said maior and cominaltie have made and ordained these rules and ordinances in maner and forme followinge.

First, how manye Governours Shal be elected; the maner of their Election; and how they shal be divided, and of their Continuance.

THE number of persons that shal governe the said iiii hospitalls before mentioned shall be lxvi at the leaste, and xiiii of them to be aldermen (that is to say) vi grave clokes and viii callabre, with lii grave commoners, citizens and freemen of the said citie, whereof iiii to be skriveners, at the leaste; to th' intent that in every house may be one or moe, as neede shall require. And ii of the aldermen of the auncients graye clokes to be governours generall of all the said iiii hospitals; the senior of those twaine to be comptroler, and the other surveior; and other xii aldermen and lii commoners shal be devided equaly to the said iiii houses (that is to saye) for every house xvi persons at the least, to wit, iii aldermen, whereof one shal be a gray cloke, who shal be their president, and xiii commoners whereof one shal be their treasurer.

And yearly, upon the day of St. Matthew th' apostell, at a general court to be houlden in Christe hospital, or els in some other convenient place, by the said governours or the most part of them, shal be elected and chosen new governours to govern the said hospitalls for ii years then next ensuinge from the feast of St. Michaell the Archangell; and none to remain above ii yeares, except resonable consideration and by consent of the greatest number of the said general courte.

And if it happen any of the said governors do dye within the year (as God defend) being under the degre of an alderman, or the thresurer (the governors of Saint Bartholmews hospitall being excepted) the governors of the said hospitall in the said howse where he served, shal at the farthest within one moneth after his decease, at a full court, then and there elect and chuse one other commoner in the place of him so deceased. But if it happen that either the comptroler, or surveyor generall, or any of the aldermen or thresorers of the said hospitall, (except before excepted) shall happen to die (as God defend) then at a generall courte to be holden in Christes hospitall or els where as before, within x dayes at the farthest after the decease, then and there shall by them be chosen one other or more in the place or places of him or them so deceased, and as often as it shall happen.

At which general courte being kept on St. Matthews daye, there shall also be chosen for auditors generall of the accompts of all the said houses, xvi persons, iiii of every house, to wit an alderman and iii commoners, and the aldermen to be the ancients of such as have not been maior, to audite as well the thresorer and renters accompts, as also the accompts of all other officers in any wise accomptable to the said hospitalls.

The election being thus finished; then shall be called in before the said courte, all the bedells, who shall deliver up their staves and depart the howse, that the opinion of the court may be ha rde touchinge the doing of their duties. To the entent, yf any of them be faulty, that he or they may be rebuked or dismissed, at the discretion of the said court, and thereupon to deliver unto suche as then remayne, their staves and again astablishe them.

And for the better order and redines in the general election; the governours of every house, xx daies before the said day of election, at a courte to be holden in every of the said hospitals, shall then and there confere together, and nominate and put in writing the names of suche number of grave citizens, as by their discretion shal be thought mete to succede in the places of such as have remained there full time. To the intent, that out of the said number soe nominated, such of them as shall by the said generall court be thought meete, may succede and be governors for ii yeares then next ensuinge.

And the same election, aswell made upon St. Mathews daye, as at any other time after within the yeare, at a generall courte or otherwise in any of the said hospitalls, the same shall be presented in writinge to the lord maior and courte of aldermen in the guild hall, at the next court there holden after the said daye of election, by them to be ratified and confirmed, or els to be reformed according to the appointment of the said court of aldermen.

And within viii dayes at the farthest next after the confirmation of the said election generall by the lord maior and court of aldermen, the thresorer of every house shall cause a court to be warned, and call thereunto all their governors both aldermen and commoners, as well the ould remaininge as also those that be new elected; and every man to take his place accordinge to the degree of the companie whereof he is free; except he be such a one as have borne the office of an alderman, or shrieffe, or hath fined for the same, who shall take place between the aldermen and the thresorer; then shall the clerke read the general charge of every governor as followeth.

The Charge of every Governor in generall.

WHEREAS upon St. Mathews day last past, at a general court, your worships now here present were then elected governours of this said hospital for the ii yeares next ensuinge from the feast of St. Michaell tharchangell, to succede in the places of suche as be departed, according to the confirmation and ratification of the lord maior and court of aldermen in that behalfe; your charge shall be in this government, that every of you endeavour your selves with all your wisdomes and powers faithfullie and diligently to serve in this vocation and calling; which is an office of high trust and worship; for ye are called to be the faithful and true distributors and disposers of the goods of Almightie God to his poor and needy members. In the which office and calling, yf ye shall be found negligent and unfaithfull; you shall not onelie declare your selves to be the most unthankfull and unworthie servants of Almightie God, being put in trust to see to the reliefe and succor of his poor and needy flock; but also ye shall shew your selves to be very notable and great enemyes to that worke, whiche most highlie doth advaunce and beautifie the comon weale of this realme, and chiefly of this citie of London. For by this most comendable and notable policie, idelnes the enemie of all vertue is suppressed and banished; the tender youth of the nedy and idle beggars vertuously brought up; the number of sicke, sore and miserable people refreshed, harbored and cured of their maladies; and the vile and sturdy strumpet compelled to labour and travaile in profitable exercises. Requiring every of you, faithfully to travaile, in this your office and callinge; that this worke may have his perfection, and that the nedy number committed to your charge be diligently and holsomlye provided for. And for your care towards these poore and nedye members of Christe, you shall be rewarded at his hand, and receive his blessinge in this world, and in the world to come the joyes everlasting.

And for as much as your worships now present, aswell such as be new elected, as also such as remaine of the oulde, are now all confirmed and established governors; it shall be necessarie, that presentlie from amongst you, there be chosen and elected iii almoners, for the dailie oversight of the house, as assistants with the thresorer; ii scruteners to gather in the legacies; with a rent-gatherer, and ii surveiors.

And to the intent that every of your worships may the better understande what in this government yow have to doe duringe the time your are in office, now shall be presentlie read unto you, the letters patents and grante from the kinge, with the indentures of covenants. Thereby to shew to yow, aswell what benefits the citie receveth by the same; as also what is by the city to be done in that behalf, for the maintenance, succour, and relief of the poore; with the true estate of the howse, aswell the foote of the thresorers accompt, as alsoe the number of children remaining and pencioners relieved at the cities charge.

And for the better instructinge of your worships touching the government herein; you shall understand, that by vertue of their grants from the kinge, the maior and cominaltie citizens of the city of London governors of the posessions, revenewes and goods of the said hospitalls, have made and constituted certaine ordinances and rules, declaring aswell in what maner your courtes shall be kept; as also the charge of every severall governour, according to his office and appointment; with the charge also of everye officer to the said hospitall appertaining, viz.

First of General Courts touching the Government of all the iiii Howses, and what in them is to be done.

A Generall court is to be understoode, when the greater parte of the governors be assembled, that is to say, xxxii at the leaste in number; for generall causes appertaininge to all the iiii houses. Of which number, at the leaste four shall be aldermen, and one of them to be a graie cloke. And whatsoever shall be agreed by such a number, the same to be taken as matters agreed by a generall courte, and shall not be altered or annihilated, but by a generall courte incident to matters concerninge the generall government of all the iiii houses.

Item, that no governour, either alderman or thresorer of any of the said hospitalls, be taken into the place of any such as shall happen to die within the yeare, otherwise then by election at a generall courte to be called in that behalfe as before. And that the names of the said person or persons soe elected and chosen, be presented unto the lord maior and court of aldermen before they be called unto the said hospitall, to receive their charge.

Item, that no chiefe officer in any of the said hospitalls (to wit) either clerke, hospitaler or matrone be admitted or removed, without a generall court, or els by consent of the lord maior and court of aldermen.

Item, that no leases be let in reversion, proceeding of the kings gifte, or otherwise generally graunted to all the howses, but one year before the years of the ould leases be expired; and that the same lands or howses be first surveied; and no such graunte to be made, but by a generall court; to the intent that accordinge to the covenant with the prince, the most profit may be made thereof, and to be onlye employed to the benefit of the poor and not other wise; except in wages, and reasonable consideration to the officers serving in the said hospitalls.

Of a full Court in this Hospitall called Christs Hospitall for weighty Causes, and what is thereat to be done.

A Full court shalbe when xiii of the governors of this said hospitall be assembled at the leaste, whereof two shall be aldermen, the one of them to be the president, with ten commoners besides the thresorer; and what these xiii persons or vii of them at the leaste, the president being one of the number, shall decre, ordaine or agre upon, the same shall stand in force and shall not be altered, nor disalowed, except by a like court to be called in that behalfe.

Item, that no governour be taken into this hospitall in the place of any that shall happen to die within the year, except it be at a full court, to be holden as afore, for weightie causes; and the name of him so admitted, to be presented to the maior and court of aldermen, before he be called to receve his charge.

Item, that no sale of land, tymber or wood, lease, alienation, buildinge or reparation be determined or done, of lands or tenements geven to thonlye use of Christ's hospitall, or in any wise belonginge properlie to the same, except at a full court, to be holden in the said hospitall as before.

Item, that no reward be geven to any person above the somme of v shillings at once; which must be done by the consent of the threforer and one of the almoners at the least; except first the same be graunted and determined in a full court as before.

Item, that there be no leases let in revertion but one year before the ould lease be expired; and that no such graunt be made but by a full court as before, or els not; and that all the same leases be drawen in paper by a scryuenor, one of the governors of the said hospitall before they be engrossed, and he to be alowed for every draught accordinge to the quantitie; and the clerke of the said hospitall to engrosse them, and to procure the sealing of all such leases before the lord maior and court of aldermen in the chamber of London, where the common seale of the hospitall doeth remaine.

That noe manner of bargaines be made for timber, tile or such like, or any other necessaries for the said howse, before the same be determined at a full court to be holden as before; and the persons then and there to be named and appointed which shalbe the doers thereof.

What is to be done at Ordinary Courts, when two or more of the Governars be assembled, the Thresorer being one.

TO examine, order and punishe any officers that shalbe found to offend at any time within this said hospitall:

To make provision in convenient time for victualls, fuell, and other necessaries, as cloth, woll, flexe, towe and lether, and other such like what soever shalbe by them thought needefull for the furniture of the houshold and releife of the children.

To paye the ordinary fees to all suche as are allowd to be officers, and all such others, as the governors of this howse have graunted any pencion unto.

Touching the Admitting of Children and Graunting of Pencioners, to be either paid in this House, or in Parishes.

THERE shal be no childe admitted into this hospitall except it be first declared to this howse by a certificate in writinge from a vestrie holden in the parishe, by whom the suite is made, and the same to be subscribed with the alderman of the warde or his deputie, and vi of the auncients of the same parishe at the least, that the said childe was there borne in lawful matrimonie, or els in no wise to be admitted. And that no poor person be admitted to any pencion, either to be paid in the parishe or in this hospitall, without the like crrtificat as before; with declaration, that the said parties have continued in this citie by the space of iii yeares, except by warrant from the lord maior and court of aldermen. And that this ordinance touchinge the admittinge of children, be not broken, except in cases of extremity, where losse of liffe and perishing would presently followe, if they be not receved into this said hospitall; which is to be considered of by the thresorer and two of the almoners at the leaste, and the same childe to be entred into the court booke, and by the thresorer and almoners to be under written, for the clarks warrant in that behalfe. And that all bills receved from parishes, as before, either for children or pencioners be kept on a file, and that there be geven warrants to the parishe underwritten by the thresorer and other governours, what shall be paid to any such pencioner wekly, so long as they live and shal have nede thereof, and dwell in the parishe, being not otherwise provided for.

For putting Children foorth to Service.

Item, the thresorer, with one other of the governors at the least, shal put forth any of the children of this howse to service, having a careful regard to whom they be put; chieflie, that they be honest personnes, and such as be well able to kepe them, and to bring them up to suche facultie, service, or occupation as they may hereafter be good members in the commonwelth. Whereas without such regard taken, they may happen to become more poore than their poore parents; and also become evil members, to the great griefe of such as daily relive them in this howse, and that as nigh as they can, to binde them with none, but with fremen of this citie; and before they be so put foorthe being men children they may write and reade and cast accomptes, being found apt thereunto.

And that suche of the children as be pregnant and very apt to learninge, be reserved and kept in the grammer-schole, in hope of preferment to the vniversitie; where they may be vertuously educated and in time become learned and good members in the commonweals.

For the Examination of Single Women being gotten with Child; and the Persons with whom they have committed the Offence.

AND that two governours or more, whereof the thresorer to be one, if he be not sicke or out of town, shall also at any time examine all single women or others being brought into this house with childe; and cause the parties whom they accuse to be sent for before them; and upon his or their confession, to cause him or them to enter into bands with suerties to the maior and cominaltie, to see the same childe kept from the charge of this citie and hospitalls; and to se the woman provided for, from that tyme untill she be delivered and churched; with suche other covenants as the case shall require. And if the said parties doe not confesse the facte, and the same by all presumptions likely to be true; they shal be committed to ward, there to remaine untill further tryal may be had thereof, or els put in suerties to answer this courte from time to time, untill the truthe may be knowen. And these matters to be used accordinge to the discretion of the thresorer and two other governors at the leaste; and this is ordained, to avoide the laying of such children in the streets, whereby this hospitall upon such extremities should otherwise be charged thereby.

A Comptroller General, A President,
A Surveyor General, A Thresorer,
Three Almoners, Two Scruteners, A Renter, Two Surveiors.

The Comptroller General.

ITEM, that the comptroller be warned to every generall court, and also to every full courte which shalbe holden in every of the severall howses for waightie causes; and that the thresorer of the howse or clarke by his appointment, where such full court shall happen to be called, do first inform the comptroller of the matter and causes. So that it may be at his choice and plesure whether he will be there, or not; or whether it will please him to appoint some other time in that behalf; notwithstanding if he be not there, yet that he be afterward informed, how the same matter was ended and determined.

Item, that after the generall courte or day of election, the coppie of the said election being confirmed by the lord maior and courte of aldermen, shalbe delivered unto the comptroler, to thintent by the same remaininge by him, he may perceve from time to time, who be the governors for the yeare ensuinge for every several howse.

Item, that the thresorer of every howse, or the clerke being thereunto appointed, doe after the generall audite of every howse, deliver into the hands of the comptroller, the just and true foote of the accompte of either of the howses; with the number of children and pencioners; and the same to be done within vi daies after the said audite daye at the farthest.

The Surveyor Generall.

ITEM, that the surveior general be likewise warned to every generall courte; and the comptroller being not in towne, he to be warned to any such full courte as shall be houlden in any of the said several howses for waightie causes; and to be informed likewise by the thresorer or the clerke by his appointment, of the causes; to thintent, that it maye alsoe be at his choise, whether he will be there or no, or otherwise refere the time until he may more conveniently.

The President.

ITEM, that the president of every severall howse shal be taken as chief ruler and governour; next unto the lord maior for the time being, of the howse whereunto he is chosen. And his authority shalbe, from tyme to tyme at his plesure, and as to him shall seme good, to cause the number of the governors to be called together and to reprove, and reprehend any governour in his office, if there shall appere good cause unto him. And all courts for waighty matters, shall by the president be appointed; and without his personn, shall no waightie matters be determined or agreed upon.

The Tresurers Charge.

YOUR office and charge is to receve and paye all such sommes of mony as by any meanes shall appertayne or belong to the relievinge and comfortinge of the poore children of this house and pencioners heere paid; and to make a true and just accompte thereof within iii months at the furthest, after th' end of every year, duringe the time that you shall remaine thresorer. And the same your accompte to be made unto the auditors thereunto appointed; and what somme or sommes of mony in the foote of your accompte by them shalbe found due to the said howse, yow shall pay within xxtie daies at the farthest after the said audite be done and finished, unto the thresorer whiche shall succeed yow, except yow remaine thresorer your selfe.

And whereas the clerke, to th' intent you should be lesse troubled, is appointed to many recepts and payments, you shall for the more securitie therein, once every moneth call him to an accompt. And on the Saterday before the moneths end, you shall at ordinary courts appoint two auditors, aswell to audite the same his accompte, as alsoe the accompte of Blackwellhall, or other such like; and if he the said clerke or any other whose accompt shalbe so audited, doe not deliver unto yow the mony found to remaine in their hands by the said auditors, within three dayes next after at the furthest, the same being by you demanded; you shall then advertise the lord maior thereof (the president being not in towne) and what any of them shall advise yow therein, the same to doe, for your better safety in that behalfe. And although here be limited one moneth for them to accompte; yet yow shall at your pleasure at any time within the moneth, your selfe call them to accompte, and use such means as may be for the most suertie therein; detaining into your owne custodie the over-plus, if any money be in their hands; or by any other waies and means, as to you shall seem good in that behalfe. Provided alwayes that the clerke of this howse exceade not at any time in arearage xl. at the most. And as you shall receve the over-plus from him, or any other of the officers at any time being found; so shall yow, if aparent neede require for payments to be made by them, deliver suche competent somme or sommes of mony, as to your discretion shall seme good.

You shall at your first entrance into your office, or within one moneth after at the furthest, receive into your hands an inventorie of all and all maner of goods in the said hospitall, aswell at the hands of the matron, as also at any other officer charged in this howse; and the same shall be indented th' one part thereof to remaine in your custodie, and the other in the custodie of the persons charged. And at every years end, to peruse the inventory of the goods, during your abidinge in office. And if it shall happen that any such officer charged, shall depart in your time: you shall se the goods in all respect whatsoever, that were by indenture committed to the parties so departing, delivered over by indenture as before, into the custodie of the new officers, what or whosoever they be. And if there be any parte or parcell thereof wantinge, which in conscience ought to be answered, yow shall cause the partie so departing away, to pay for the same, yf otherwise they canot geve accompt thereof to your satisfaction, or els to bring them before a court, that order may be taken therein.

You have also authoritie to call before yow all such personnes or officers, as have the collection or gathering of any somme or sommes of mony dew to the said howse, and to demaund, an accompt of their doeing; aswell of the collectours of the parishes, as also of the scrutiners, almoners, renters and others whosoever.

And all the officers in this howse, aswell men as women whosoever (taking wages of the citie) not behaving themselves faithfully in their offices wherein they serve; when any suche thinge shall happen; yow shall call them before yow, and admonish them for the first and second tyme at the most. But if thoffence be very grevous, and to the hinderance of the howse; then the matter shall be brought before the court, and the parties thereunto answer, and abide such order as shalbe taken in that behalfe.

And you shall not make paiment of any somme or sommes of money for any manner of provision of the said hospitall, except it be for nursinge of children and ordinary pencions, wages, and fees, before it be condescended and determined by iiii of the governours, and one of them to be an almoner: from whose hands yow shall have the bill for your sufficient warrant in that behalfe.

Also yow must diligently forsee, that such necessaries and provisions as are to be made, as of butter, cheese, hering, wood, cole, and other whatsoever; that the same be provided in due time, to the profit and commoditie of the said howses. And if any withdrawinge of the sommes graunted to the maintenance of the said howses, shall at any time appeare unto yow, by reason whereof the said howses may come to any great afterdeale, you shall then geve knowledge thereof in due time, desiringe the ayde and helpe of the rest of the governours for the redinesse thereof.

And forasmuch as your office must of necessitie be an office of much paines and attendance, by reason whereof yow shall have occasion to be oftner in the hospitall than other of the governours shalbe. It is therefore ordered, that yow with one almoner shall from time to time, in the absence of other the governours, have power and authoritie to examine all such beggers, vagabondes, strumpets, or single women gotten with childe, and other personnes that shall happen to be taken and brought before you by the bedles, or els sent by the alderman, deputie, or cunstable of any warde of this city. And them to examine, comit to prison, reproue, banishe, put to labour, punishe, or being deseased, to admit into the hospitals at your discretion. And your warrant in sending any to the hospitalls, shalbe sufficient to the hospituler, for the receaving of the same.

This is your charge; which we require of you diligently to observe. And your labours and paines herein shalbe rewarded at the hands of Almightie God, whom ye chiefly serue in this office. For, as the apostle faith, godliness shall have his reward, not onely in this world, but also in the world to come.

The three Almoners Charge of this Howse.

YOUR officer and charge shalbe at all times, as ye conveniently may, to visit Christs hospitall and there to learne and knowe the true number of children that the howse is charged with; aswell those that are harboured in the howse, as alsoe those that are founde, at the charges of the same in the countrie; for feare that yow not knowinge the true number, shall exceade in burdeninge and charginge of the howse.

Also ye shall enquire of their diet and entertainment; and of the quietnes of the howse; and whether every officer in his callinge doe his duetie; as the schole masters in teachinge; the matron in governinge the wemen, and keping the provision of bedds, sheets, shirts and other committed to her charge; the nurses in washinge and keping cleane the children; the steward in providing of victuals in due tyme, at resonable prises; the cooke in holsome dressinge, and cleane servinge of the same; the butler in dividinge their proportion of breade and drinke; the porter in geving of attendance upon the safe keeping of the howse; the keper of your cole house, in saving of your fuell, and keping cleane of the cloister, and all other outward parts of the howse; and the clerke in writinge and entring of things done and determined from tyme to tyme, in such sorte and maner, as every of them is bound to doe by his office, which in the book of the charge of officers, you shall find plainly set out. And if any shall be found not to doe their dutie, you shall reprove and admonish them, that they amend and be no more sound faultie, and that if they doe not, yow will cause them to be brought before the president and governours at the full court: that in like manner as they were admitted by them, soe shall they before them be discharged, to their shame and reproach for ever, and that settinge aside all favour and affection, if any offend after two admonitions, they be called to a generall or full court without longer sufferance.

And if by your good travaile, there shall apeare unto yow a lacke of some further ordinance or decree for the better government of the said howse or howses then before hath been made; then shall it be lawful unto yow to penn the same ordinance; and at the next full court, to make presentation thereof; comitting it to their wisdomes to be confirmed or reiected, and being agreed upon the same, to be entred into the book of ordinances.

The Scruteners Charge.

YOUR office is diligentlie to serch and enquire from tyme to tyme for all suche guistes, legacies, and byquests, as have or shalbe geven or bequeathed to the succour and comfort of the poore harbored in Christs hospitall; and the same to receve at th'ande of th'executors, or other, and to make paiment thereof unto the thresorer of the said hospitall for the time being; recevinge of him your acquittance for the same, keping a booke alwayes with yow, of the particulars thereof. Which booke ye shall bringe to the auditors of the howse, when the thresorer maketh up his accompt; to thintent the legacies by yow collected, may be conferred with the receipts that the thresorer shall make receved of you.

And for every such somme or sommes as ye shall hapen to collect and receave of any person, ye shall make an acquittance in your names, as governours and scrutiners of the said hospitall.

And finally when yow shall hapen to be in companie of good vertuous and welthy men, yow shall to the best and uttermost of your wits and powers, advance, commend, and set forth the order of the said hospitall, and the notable commodities that ensue to the whole realme of England and chiefly to this citie of London, by erection of the same; and also how faithfully and truly the goods geven to their uses are by the governours thereof ministered and bestowed.

Ye shall also enquire, who are the wardens of the scriuenors; to whom ye shall resort and most heartely pray and desire, that they will convocate and call their whole company together, and earnestly exhort them all, that at the makinge of such testaments as they shall be called unto, they put the testatour in remembrance to commend somewhat to the releife of the poor provided for in the said hospitall.

And that they may the better perswad them thereunto, ye shall deliver unto the said wardens for every housholder of that company, one bill, wherein is set forth the true declaration of all the commodities that have ensued by th'erection of the said hospitalls. Ye shall alsoe make the like request to the bishop of London for the time beinge, that he will likewise exhort all spiritual ministers within the city, not onlye to provoke and stirre up from tyme to tyme their parishioners to yeld and give to the maintenance of the said hospitalls wekely that they have granted; but also, when God by sickness shall visit or call any of their parishe, that then they faile not to put them in remembrance to make some special legacie, to the reliefe of that great and nedy number comforted and succored by th'erection of the said hospitals.

Also ye shall make the like request to the said bishop, to require all preachers, especially suche as shall preache at Pawles crosse, that they twise or thrise in the quarter at the leaste, doe moue and exhort the people, to further the said worke.

And the like request shall ye make to all such preachers and lerned men, as your selves are acquainted with all. And to the physitians also, requiring them in like manner, both by theyr doctrine and good report, to advance the same.

And at th'ands of him whom ye chiefly serve in this office, which is almightie God, you shall receive your reward for your painefull and faithfull service herin.

The Surveiors Charge.

IN the moneth of March ye shall yerelie survey all such tenements and lands as in any wise appertayneth to this howse. At whiche tyme the clerke shall be redy to attend with a rentall, wherein shalbe expressed the said tenements; with the places and streets where they are; and their yearly valew; with the names of the tenants; and upon the head of every tenement shalbe noted, the terme of yeares, if it be let out by lease; and whether the lord or tenaunts be bound to reparations. And also thereunto shalbe joyned such covenants as shall or doe mention any forfeiture of the said lease, for not observing the covenants; to th'intent that readely he may know when faults be made, whether he may re-enter for the same. And all defaults that shalbe founde in such survey, ye shall cause the clerke to enter in a booke; putting apart those tenements wherewith the howse is to be charged with reparacions, from such as the tenants are bound to repaire. And at the next court (the president being thereat) the same book of survey shalbe redd. And so much as shalbe at the same court determined to be done, the thresorer shall cause the renter to doe or see done; whereat the steward shalbe alwaies attendant; and the determination of the said court shalbe the thresorer's warrant.

And for your paines in this behalf, you shalbe recompenced with a crown in everlasting glory purchased by our Saviour Christe, for all such as travaile to the comfort and succoure of his poor and nedy members.

The Renters Charge.

YOUR charge is quarterly to collect and gather for the terme and space of one whole yeare all these rents that shalbe contayned in a rentall, and delivered yow by the thresorer of this howse for the time being; and the somes by yow collected ye shall forthwith pay unto the said thresorer.

Also ye shall doe or cause to be done all such reparacions as from time to time shall be determined by the governors of the howse at a generall courte to be done. Which shall be delivered unto you in a bill subscribed with the hand of the said thresorer.

And of all such somes as ye shall receive or pay, ye shall make accompt thereof to the said thresorer. And if at any time ye shall perceive the tenants negligent in doeing of reparacions, being bound thereunto by virtue of their leases, ye shall geve warning thereof unto the thresorer, that the governors may take order therein.

And if ye shall perceave any lease or termes of yeares to be nigh expired, or any suite to be made for them, whereby the howse may take any commoditie; ye shall also give knowledge thereof in due time.

And the fees and rewards that ye shall have, shalbe the same that God hath promised to all them that lovingly and carefullie seke to serve and please him.

THE clerke
The matron
The nurses and keepers of wards
The steward
The officer appointed to warne the collectors and churchwardens
The cooke
The butler
The porter
The shomaker
The chirurgian
The barboure
The bedles.

The Charges of the Officers of this House.

The Clerks Charge.

YOUR charge is to be continually attendant here in this howse, or some other convenient person at your appointment, such as yow will answer for, to attend aswell upon the president, the thresorer and governors, wheresoever they shalbe, heere or else where, about the affairs of the howse, being in due time advertised thereof. To th'intent if occasion require to have any thinge put in writinge, that such order may be alwaies used by you, as the same may be entred into the books of this howse, incident to the matter.

As also to attend upon the collectors and all other personnes, about the receipts and payments of mony; which yow shall not only receave, and pay duelie, but from tyme to tyme and at all times, when it shall please the thresorer to request yow thereto, to yeild to him a true and just accompt thereof; and such money as shall at any time be founde to remaine in your hands, the same to deliver to the thresorer within iii days after your accompt so taken either by himself or by the auditors upon whom ye shall attend; as you will avoyde the peril that may fall thereof.

And all and all manner of matters whatsoever at any court, or otherwise touching the state, necessary affairs, or governance of this house, that yow shall be appointed to write, being requiset to be kept secret, you shall not in any wise open or disclose to any manner of personne or personnes whatsoever, as yow will avoid the danger that may happen to you for the same, and as the judgment of a full court for waightie causes shall judg and deeme thereof.

You shall not deliver any mony in prest to any officer of this howse, or to any other, without the thresorer will yow the same to doe, or that the same by an ordinarye court be graunted.

And to thintent that all things in your office may be the rediar answered, yow shall kepe all these books followinge, and any other that may be thought hereafter convenient, for the better ordering of all things appertayninge to the same.

First you shall kepe a court-booke, otherwise called a memorial-booke, whereinto yow shall write all things passed in any courte or otherwise. And the same yow shall passe into such other booke or books, as the cause and matter shall require. To th'intente there may redely be found any matter that shall be required of yow. And whatsoever shall be at any court by yow written down, the same shalbe redd before the breakinge up or departure, that the governors may perceave thereby, whether yow have entred all things to their mindes or not.

Item, You shall kepe a book of all the children admitted into this howse; and the same shalbe called the booke of children. Which booke shall contayne th'admission of any childe into this howse, and by what order the same was receved; directinge the same to the number of the files of bills receaved from the parishes in that behalf. Whereby the day of the month and yeare of their admission may appeare; thereby to find, when viewe is taken, whether the same childe be living and remaininge in the howse, or at nurse; at service, or els dead, in such manner as the same booke is ordered, extant to be seene.

Item, You shall kepe a booke of all the nurses which keep any of the said children of this howse, and the same shall yow call the nurse-booke; thereby to shew how many children every nurse hath, their wages wekely due for them, and a juste note of the daies they were delivered; the better to kepe a just accompt thereof.

Yow shall also keepe a pencion-booke which shall declare the number of the poore in this citie, relieved by this hospital, and paid in the parishes. Wherein shalbe expressed the tyme of their admission and their stipends wekely, which shalbe referred unto the bills on the files receaved for their admission from parishes; as warrants for paying of them in that behalfe.

Item, You shall kepe an yerely-booke for collections, legacies and benevolences, box-mony, and all other receipts and payments for the yeare, begininge alwaies the day of September; and ending the of the same month the next yeare following. Which booke shall serve aswell to accompt with every parishe severally; as also for the legacies and other accompts before mentioned.

Item, you shall kepe xiij moneth-books. Every booke shall containe all your receipts and paiments reccued and paid in every moneth; and they shall passe under these titles in their payments (that is to say) boord-wages paid weekly to the matron, and nurses; necessaries for the housholde, pencioners paid in this howse, with every of their names recited; and the several pencions, with a just accompt what is every weeke due to any of them: and also the like for children abrode at nurse. Which books are extant to be seene and daily had in use. And at every quarters end the fees and wages of officers; as be also entered into iiij of their books, such as shalbe incident to the cause, accordinge to the time of the yeare.

And the substance of all the said xiij books, aswell paiments as receipts, yow shall beare over into the former collection-booke immediately upon. To the intent, that at thend of the yeare, the same booke maye containe aswell your receipts and paiments in all respects, as also the thresorers. Wherein together shalbe the whole accompt of the thresorer for the yeare perfectly set down. Which yow shall engrosse and write faire into a booke; entituled The thresorers accompts. And besides the same, make for him a treue and iust priuate coppie thereof verbatim, which he shall have under the auditors hands, in his own tuition, for his discharge in that behalfe.

And you shall not fail to have the said iij books (to wit) the yearly collection-book, the thresorers accompt-booke and the thresorers privat coppie-booke all made in a readines in convenient time, for the audite; and thereupon geue notice to the thresorer, what tyme yow be redy; to th'intent that the auditors may be warned to audite the same; and that it be within the time limited.

Item, You shall kepe a booke wherein shall be entred all debts owing to the howse by composition, and therein declare their tyme of payment, and the maner of the bands; and also what mony remaines to any of the children, which was receved at their admission.

A booke breiflie to declare how many children from time to time have bene receved out of the parishes of this citie, and shalbe entituled Children from parishes; how many of them be living; how many be put to service; how many be dead; and how long they remained at the cities charge, before they were put forth; and how many doe remaine at the cities charge. Therewith to charge the collectours withall, when they shall be importunate in their suites.

Item, A booke breifly to declare what bands remaine, and from henceforth shalbe taken for keping of children, or otherwise, and as the same bands be delivered, the said booke to be discharged thereof.

Item, A booke of all the lands and tenements belonginge to this howse; of whose gift they be; where they lye; of their buts and boundes; for what rent they goe; when all their leases wilbe expired; with all such necessarie declarations, as in that behalfe shall be nedefull; and this booke shalbe intituled The book of lands and tenements.

You shall be also mindfull of the time for chosinge of collectors, and prepare their preceipts in a rediness for the same. And also for the viewing of all the poore in the citie, and such like, and put the thresorer in mind thereof.

And against Easter yow shall prepare a booke for the receipt home of the children, to perceave thereby, how the same will accord with your nurse-booke and booke of children: thereby to kepe your great books faire. And note also, that yow nether make nor medle in any other mans office, but in your own; and if yow se any thinge amisse in them, geue the governours to understand thereof, who will reform the same.

The Matrons Charge.

YOUR office is an office of great charge and credit. For to yow is committed the governance and oversight of all the women and children within this hospitail.

And also to yow is geuen authoritie to commaunde, reproue and rebuke them or any of them; and if any shall happen to disobey, whom you shall not be able to correct, yow shall from time to time make such knowen unto the almoners and governors of the howse, that they may take order with them, as shalbe thought meete by their wisdomes.

Your charge is also to searche and enquire whether the women doe their dutie, in washing of the childrens sheets and shirts, and keeping clean and sweet those that are committed to their charge; and also in the beddes, sheets, coverlets, and apparaile, (with keeping cleane their wards and chambers) mending of such as shall be broken from time to time. And specially yow shall geue diligent heede, that the saide washers and nurses of this howse be alwaies well occupied and not idle. And that their linnen be wholsomly and cleanly washed; and the same first received from the kepers be (after the washing thereof) quietly delivered unto them.

You shall also once every quarter of the yeare, examine the inventorie which shalbe delivered unto you, of the implements of this howse; as of beddes, bolsters, mattresses, blanquets, coverlets, shets, pallads, shirts, hosen, and such other; whether any of the same be purloyned, embezeled, spoiled, or otherwise consumed; and to make such lacke and faults, as by yow shalbe espied, knowen unto the almoners of this howse for the tyme beinge; that they may take order therein.

You shall also geue great charge unto all the nurses of every warde, that no child be received by them, before the name of the same child be entred into the ward-booke; nor that any be delivered to nurse or otherwise, but that they be also entred, and to whom they are delivered, with the day and month when the same is done.

You shall also neither receave nor deliver any thinge that is in the wardrop, unles yow cause the same to be written by them that are appointed thereunto. And be suer to receave from the nurses in the country, when any children die, their apparaile.

You shall take such order among the nurses or otherwise, that the hall be kept swete and cleane; and suffer non of the children to be there after their meales, except it be at service time, and when it shall please the governors to appointe them.

You shall twise or thrise in every weke arise in the night, and go aswell into the sicke warde as also into every other warde, and there se that the children be covered in the beddes, wherby they take no cold.

And laste of all, if you shall perceave that if any officer or officers of this howse doo abuse themselves, either in woorde or deede, yow shall admonishe the governors of the same, and not medle any further therin, neither to have to doo with any officer or officers, other than appertaineth to your own office and charge as aforesaid.

The Charge of the Nurses and Keepers of the Wardes.

YOUR charge is faithfully and truely to serve in this howse, to obey the matron thereof.

Ye shall also flie and eschue all rayling, skoldinge, swearinge and drunkennes.

Ye shall in your behaviour and doings be vertuous louinge and diligent.

Ye shall also carefully and diligently oversee, keepe, and govern all those tender babes and yonglings that shalbe comitted to your charge, and the same holesomly, cleanely, and sweetly noorish and bringe up.

And in like manner shall ye keepe your wardes and every part thereof swete and cleane.

Ye shall also, to avoid all idleness when your charge and care of keping the children is paste, occupie yourselves in spinninge, sewing, mending of shets and shirts, or some other vertuous exercise, such as you shalbe appointed unto.

Ye shall not resort, or suffer any man to resort to you, before ye have declared the same to the almoners, or matron of this howse, and have obtayned their lycence and favor so to doe.

Ye shall at lawful times according to such order as is and shalbe taken in this howse, be within your wardes, and places of lodginge, and se that all your children before they be brought to bed, be washed and cleane, and imediately after, every of yow quietly shall goe to your bed, and not to sit up any longer; and once every night arise, and se that the children be covered, for taking of colde.

Theis are the especial partes of your charge, whiche ye shall endeuour every of yourselves, with all your powers to observe and kepe; or els ye shall not only remaine under the corection and punishment that shall be thought meete, by the discretion of the governors; but also to be expulsed and banished this howse for ever. And whatsoever faults ye shall perceave by any other officers in this howse, the same ye shall declare unto the governors, and not otherwise medle or make but in your owne busines.

The Stewardes Charge.

YOUR office shalbe to provide all such necessarie victuales as shall be assigned from tyme to tyme by the thresorer or almoners of the howse, to the use of the poore; and the same soe provided, ye shall deliver the due proportion appointed for every meale unto the cooke. And this shall you dailie doe, in the presence of the matron or one of the almoners of the howse.

Alsoe yow shall diligently forsee what necessarie provisions are to be made, as of butter, cheese, fishe, wood, cole, &c. and in due time geue knowledge thereof unto the thresorer, or one of the almoners of this howse, that provision may be made accordingly.

You shall not embezell, or convay any maner of victualls, either to your owne use, or to the use of any person, other then to th' use of this howse as aforesaid; upon pain to be deprived of the howse and lose your office for ever.

And attendant shall yow be upon the rentar, what tyme any buildinge shalbe for this howse, and upon the workmen, and carefully to overse them in all respects.

This is your charge which se that yow doe, and have not to doe with any other man's office; but if you espie any not to doe their duties faithfully, yow shall geue warninge thereof to the governors and to medle no further.

The Officers Charge appointed to warne the Collectors and Church-wardens.

YOU shalbe diligent from time to time when yow are required, to warne the collectors and church-wardens; aswell for the bringing in of their mony, and the presentacion of their poore, as for any other causes incident thereunto. In the doeing whereof, you shall use gentle and courteous speche, as shall become yow in that behalfe.

You shall also se that there be aswell in the sicke warde, as also in every other warde, a booke kept by such a one of the grammer children as can redileft write, of all the names of the children in every warde; and when any child is receued into any of the said wardes, the same childes name, with the day of the moneth, to be entred. And so likewise when any be delivered to nurse, or in any wise remoued, either into the sickwarde, or otherwise, like to be entred. And once every moneth to confer theis ward books with the clerke, to se how they will agre with his books.

You shall also kepe the wardrobe-booke, wherein shall be written, first the remainder of all things at every Michaelmass. Into the whiche booke, yow shall allsoe enter all things that shalbe bought in the whole yeare following; setting every kind by it selfe.

And you shall kepe another booke for the said wardrobe, which shall containe the names of all the children belonging to this howse; setting the children at nurse by themselves, in such sorte that the nurses names may appeare, and how many children each of them hath, with their names; and directly against every childe, yow shall writ what was delivered: thereby to shew whether the nurses have receued more than they ought or not, and the time when any of their children die.

And not to be a medler in any other mens busines than your own; but if yow se ought amisse, to informe the governors thereof.

The Cookes Charge.

YOUR office is to dresse such meate as shall be delivered unto yow by the steward, to the use of the poore, wholsomly and cleanly. And that you receave no meate of the said steward, but in presence of the matron of the howse, or of one of the almoners. And the meate so receued, you shall enter every meale into a booke, and once every moneth, your book shalbe conferred with the stewards book; and your said book shall be subscribed, or signed by the matron or almoners that shall be present. And the same steward to have his allowance, accordinge to the booke so subscribed and not otherwise.

You shall have no maner of see profit or other comoditie as tallow, ashes or any other, but onely your wages and liuery.

This is your office and charge, whiche se that yow faithfully doe; and have not to do with another's office. But if you espie any thing that shall sounde either unhonest or unprofitable to the howse, yow shall geue warninge thereof to some of the governors; and you to medle no further upon pain of displeasure.

The Butlers Charge.

YOUR office shalbe to receaue of the baker and bruer, such bread and drinke, as shall from tyme to tyme be appointed by the governors of this howse, for the use of the poore. And the same to deliver again to the use of the poore at every meale; after such maner and proportion, as shalbe apointed yow by the threforer or almoners of that howse.

And alwayes the tallyes of the same baker and bruer shalbe in the custodie and keping of the thresorer, or one of the almoners, who at the bringing in either of bread or drincke, shalbe called and made privie thereunto.

You shall have no manner of fees, but your ordinarie wages.

This is your office; whiche se that yow doe, and have not to doe with other mens offices; but if any thing be amisse, enforme the governours, and medle no further.

The Porters Charge.

YOU shalbe attendant diligentlie and carefully in looking to the gates; chiefly in the winter evenings; and se them shut in at a due hour; and after they be shut in, to be circumspect who you let in and out.

And after the house of nine of the clock in the winter season, not to open the gates in any wise, except on a very great occasion.

And in somer season, yow shall kepe the gates open no longer than nine of the clock; and you shall, after they be shut in, neither let any in nor out after ten of the clocke at the furthest.

Faile yow not this to observe, as yow will answer thereunto, if any complaint come thereof, before the governors.

And yow shall not make or medle in any other man's office, but duely doe your own. But if you se any thing amisse in them, yow shall certifie the governors thereof, that they may take order therein.

The Shoomakers Charge.

YOU shall in due time put the threforer in mynde to provide lether for this howse.

And all the children under your governance, yow shall not onlie teache your science, but alsoe governe them orderly. And such of them as you cannot rule, yow shall present unto the thresorer and almoners, that such may receive condigne punishment.

And you shall not deale with any man's office and charge, but your own: and if yow se any thing amisse in others, yow shall certify the governors thereof, that they may use reformation therein.

The Beadles Charge.

YOUR charge is daily, and as occasion shall serue, to attend at this hospitall, upon the thresorer and governors of the same hospitall; and to be redy and willing to execute such business as the said thresorer and governors or any of them shall command you; and to doe such other businesses as is needfull, by the direction of the clerke, or other cheefe officers in the governors absence.

You shall visit every day all such wards as is appointed for your walkes; and shall clense all the same wards from beggars and other idle people; and the same people so found to driue away, or to carry to Bridewell (fn. 3).

You shall also, according to the ould custome, give your attendance upon the lord maior at the Guildhall, the Sessions howse and Bridewell; and there performe your office as yow are commaunded, as occasion shall serue.

You shall alwaies carry your tipstafs in your hands, and weare your blew liveries; except you be other ways licenced.

And at every court day, you shall deliver into the court house, your said tipstafs in the present court; and after the court is ended, yow may lawfullie take them againe, except the governors do detain them from yow, or any of yow for some offence, or neglecting your dutie.

All theise things you shall perform to the utmost of your power, and the orders hereunder written, and all other good orders which shall hereafter be deuised for the good of this city; whiche see that you do observe and keep.

And have not to doe with other men's offices; but if you see any officer or officers to doe amisse, yow shall informe the governours thereof, and meddle no further.

The Orders for the Beadles of this Howse.

FIRST you shall every day, two and two together, walk through your wards appointed, with your staffs in your hands; and all such vagrant and idle persons, as you shall find in your walks, or in any place abroad, yow shall apprehend and convey to Bridewell. And if yow chance to be resisted by way of the said vagrants and evil persons; yow shall call for aid to euery constable next adjoyning to assist you. And if he refuse so to doe; to take his name, and to goe to the lord maior, and deliver unto him the disobedience of the said constable. And if the lord maior doe not presently cause such constables to be punished; then at the next court of aldermen, yow to attend and make your complaint, whereby the law may be executed accordingly.

Item, if any of your citizens die within your walkes; you are to give your attendance at the howses of them so deseased; and to see that no rogues or idle persons resort thither to trouble the street.

And if any thing be given you of benevolence for your travail, to take it thankfully, without calling ought of dutie. And if yow be not of your selves able to cleare the streets of such; then yow shall call to your aid such beadles whose walks are next adjoining, to aid and assist you therein. And you shall distribute to them part of such money, as shall be geven unto yow. And yow shall not intrude yourselves to none other burials out of your wards or walkes, but unto such as yow shall be called by your fellow beadles.

Item, one of yow every Sunday, with the rest of the beadles of the other howses, shall give your attendance at Pawles cross at the sermon time: to visit all the streets adjoyning, and there to apprehend all such vagrant and idle persons, as shall be there found, by yow or any of yow; and to carry them, aswell men, as women, and children to Bridewell; whereby there may be order taken according to the law prescribed.

And if any of yow shall be found negligent in performing these orders above said, or any other orders hereafter made or deuised; upon every fault found, your staffs shall be taken from you, and to be secluded for ever more for serving in those romes. Whereof assure your selves, without any favour or otherwise, to be punished according to the governours discretion.


  • 1. Vid. Book I. p. 126, 383, 439.
  • 2. Town clerk.
  • 3. This was before the appointment of the city marshals. Vid. p. 133.