Bishopsgate warde

Pages 163-175

A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603. Originally published by Clarendon, Oxford, 1908.

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Bishopsgate Warde

Bishopsgate Warde

The next is Bishopsgate warde, whereof a parte is without the gate and of the suburbes from the barres, by S. Mary Spittle to Bishopsgate, and a part of Hounds ditch, almost halfe thereof, also without the wall is of the same Warde Then within the gate is Bishopsgate streete, so called of the gate, to a Pumpe, where sometime was a fayre wel with two buckets by the East ende of the parrish Church of S. Martin Otoswich, and then winding by the West corner of Leaden hall down Grasse street to the corner ouer against Grasse Church, and this is the boundes of that Warde.

Parrish church of S. Buttolph without Bishopsgate.

Monumentes most to bee noted, are these: the Parrish church of S. Buttolph without Bishopsgate in a fayre Churchyeard, adioyning to the Town Ditch vpon the very banke thereof, but of olde time inclosed with a comely wall of bricke, lately repayred by Sir William Allen Mayor, in the yeare, 1571. because he was borne in that parrish, where also he was buried: an Ancris by Bishopsgate receyued 40.s. the yeare of the Shiriffes of London.

Petty France, neare to the towne ditch.

Now without this Churchyearde wall is a causeye leading to a quadrant, called Petty Fraunce, of Frenchmen dwelling there and to other dwelling houses, lately builded on the banke of the saide ditch by some Cittizens of London, that more regarded their owne priuate gaine, then the common good of the Cittie: for by meanes of this causeye raysed on the banke, and soylage of houses, with other filthines cast into the ditch, the same is now forced to a narrow channell, and almost filled vp with vnsauorie thinges, to the daunger of impoysoning the whole Cittie.

Hospitall of Bethelem.; Buriall for the dead prepared. Deepa ditch by Bethelem.

Next vnto the parrish church of S. Buttolph, is a fayre Inne for receipt of Trauellers: then an Hospitall of S. Mary of Bethelem, founded by Simon Fitz Mary one of the Sheriffes of London in the yeare 1246. He founded it to haue beene a Priorie of Cannons with brethren and sisters, and king Edward the thirde granted a protection, which I haue seene, for the brethren Miliciae beate Mariae de Bethlem, within the Citty of London, the 14. yeare of his raigne. It was an Hospitall for distracted people, Stephen Geninges Marchant Taylor gaue 40. li. toward purchase of the patronage by his Testament 1523. the Mayor and Communalty purchased the patronage therof with all the landes and tenementes thereunto belonging in the yeare 1546. the same yeare King Henry the eight gaue this Hospitall vnto the Cittie: the Church and Chappell whereof were taken downe in the raigne of Queene Elizabeth, and houses builded there, by the Gouernours of Christes Hospitall in London. In this place people that bee distraight in wits, are by the suite of their friendes receyued and kept as afore, but not without charges to their bringers in. In the yeare 1569. Sir Thomas Roe Marchant Taylor, Mayor, caused to bee enclosed with a Wall of bricke, about one acre of ground, being part of the said Hospitall of Bethelem, to wit on the banke of deepe ditch so called, parting the saide Hospitall of Bethelem from the More field: this he did for buriall, and ease of such parrishes in London, as wanted ground conuenient within their parrishes. The Lady his wife was there buried (by whose perswasion he inclosed it) but himselfe borne in London was buried in the parrish church of Hackney.

From this hospitall Northwarde vpon the streetes side many houses haue beene builded with Alleys backward of late time too much pesterd with people (a great cause of infection) vp to the barres.

Dolphin with out Bishopsgate; Fishers Folly.

The other side of this high streete from Bishopsgate & Hounds ditch, the first building, a large Inne for receipt of trauellers, and is called the Dolphin of such a signe. In the yeare 1513. Margaret Ricroft widow, gaue this house, with the Gardens, and appurtenaunces, vnto William Gam, R. Clye, their wiues, her daughters, and to their heyres, with condition, they yearly to giue to the warden or gouernour of the gray Friers Church within Newgate fortie shillings, to find a student of Diuinitie in the Uniuersities for euer. Then is there a faire house of late builded by Iohn Powlet. Next to that, a farre more large and beautifull house with Gardens of pleasure, bowling Alleys, and such like, builded by Iasper Fisher, free of the Goldsmiths, late one of the six Clarks of the Chauncerie, and a lustice of peace. It hath since for a time beene the Earle of Oxfords place. The Queenes Maiestie Elizabeth hath lodged there. It now belongeth to Sir Roger Manars. This house being so large and sumptuously builded by a man of no greater calling, possessions or wealth, (for he was indebted to many) was mockingly called Fishers folly, and a Rithme was made of it, and other the like, in this manner.

Kirkebyes Castell, and Fishers Follie,
Spinilas pleasure, and Megses glorie.

And so of other like buildings about the Cittie, by Citizens, men haue not letted to speake their pleasure.

Berwards lane; Tasell close; Artillary yeard; Walter Brune, Mercer, one of the Shiriffes of London, 1203; Berwards lane. Soreditch so called more then 400 yeares since.

From Fishers Follie vp to the west end of Berwards lane, of olde time so called, but now Hogge lane, because it meeteth with Hogge lane, which commeth from the Barres without Aldgate, as is afore shewed, is a continuall building of tenements, with Alleys of Cottages, pestered, &c. Then is there a large close called Tasell close sometime, for that there were Tasels planted for the vse of Clothworkers: since letten to the Crosse-bow-makers, wherein they vsed to shoote for games at the Popingey: now the same being inclosed with a bricke wall, serueth to be an Artillerieyard, wherevnto the Gunners of the Tower doe weekely repaire, namely euerie Thursday, and there leuelling certaine Brasse peeces of great Artillerie against a But of earth, made for that purpose, they discharge them for their exercise. Then haue ye the late dissolued Priorie and Hospitall, commonly called Saint Marie Spittle, founded by Walter Brune, and Rosia his wife, for Canons regular, Walter Archdeacon of London laid the first stone, in the yeare 1197. William of Saint Marie Church then Bishop of London, dedicated to the honour of Iesus Christ, and his Mother the perpetuall virgin Marie, by the name of Domus Dei, and Beate Mariae, extra Bishopsgate, in the Parish of S. Buttolph, the bounds whereof, as appearth by composition betwixt the person, and Prior of the said Hospitall concerning tithes, beginneth at Berwards lane toward the South, and extendeth in breadth to the parish of Saint Leonard of Soresditch towards the North, and in length, from the Kings streete on the west to the Bishops of Londons field, called Lollesworth on the East. The Prior of this Saint Marie Spittle, for the emortising and propriation of the Priorie of Bikenacar in Essex to his said house of Saint Marie Spittle, gaue to Henrie the seuenth 400. pounds in the 22. of his raigne. This Hospitall, surrendered to Henrie the eight, was valued to dispend 478. pounds, wherein was found, besides ornaments of the Church, and other goods pertaining to the Hospitall, 180. beds well furnished, for receipt of the poore. For it was an Hospitall of great reliefe. Sir Henrie Plesington knight was buried there, 1452.

Pulpit Crosse at the Spittle.; Chernell and Chappell of S. Edmond and of Mary Magdalen.; Sermons in the Easter holy dayes at the Spittle.

In place of this Hospitall, and neare adioyning, are now many faire houses builded, for receipt and lodging of worshipfull persons. A part of the large Church yeard pertaining to this Hospitall, and seuered from the rest with a Bricke wall, yet remaineth as of olde time, with a Pulpit Crosse therein, somewhat like to that in Paules Church yard. And against the said Pulpet on the Southside, before the chernell and Chappell of Saint Edmond the Bishop, and Marie Magdalen, which chappell was founded about the yeare 1391. by William Euesham Citizen and Peperer of London, who was there buried, remaineth also one faire builded house in two stories in height for the Maior, and other honourable persons, with the Aldermen and Shiriffes to sit in, there to heare the Sermons preached in the Easter holydayes. In the lost ouer them stood the Bishop of London, and other Prelates, now the ladies, and Aldermens wiues doe there stand at a fayre window, or sit at their pleasure. And here is to be noted, that time out of minde, it hath beene a laudable custome, that on good Friday in the after noone, some especiall learned man, by appoyntment of the Prelats, hath preached a Sermon at Paules crosse, treating of Christs passion: and vpon the three next Easter Holydayes, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the like learned men, by the like appoyntment, haue vsed to preach on the forenoones at the sayde Spittle, to perswade the Article of Christs resurrection: and then on low Sunday, one other learned man at Paules Crosse, to make rehearsall of those foure former Sermons, either commending or reprouing them, as to him by iudgement of the learned Diuines was thought conuenient. And that done, he was to make a sermon of his owne studie, which in all were fiue sermons in one. At these sermons so seuerally preached, the Maior, with his brethren the Aldermen were accustomed to bee present in their Violets at Paules on good Fryday, and in their Scarlets at the Spittle in the Holidayes, except Wednesday in violet, and the Maior with his brethren, on low sonday in scarlet, at Paules Crosse, continued vntill this day.

House in S. Mary Spittle Churchyeard builded for the Mayor and Aldermen.; Pulpit Crosse in Spittle churchyeard new builded. A house in Spittle church yeard builded for the gouerners and children of Christs Hospitall. Lolesworth fielde. Buriall of the Romaines in Spittle field. Old monuments of the Romaines found; Troughes of stone found in the Spittle field.; Great nayles of iron found in the field, & fond opinions of men.

Touching the antiquitie of this custome, I finde that in the yeare 1398. king Richard hauing procured from Rome, confirmation of such statutes, and ordinances, as were made in the Parliament, begun at Westminster, and ended at Shrewsburie, hee caused the same confirmation to be read and pronounced at Pauls Crosse, and at saint Marie spittle in the sermons before all the people. Philip Malpas one of the shiriffes in the yeare 1439. gaue 20. shillinges by the yeare to the three preachers at the Spittle: Stephen Forster Maior, in the yeare 1454. gaue fortie pounds to the preachers at Paules crosse & Spittle. I find also that the afore said house, wherein the Maior and Aldermen do sit at the Spittle, was builded for that purpose of the goods, & by the Executors of Richard Rawson Alderman, & Isabell his wife, in the yeare 1488. In the year 1594. this Pulpit being old, was taken down, and a new set vp, the Preachers face turned towardes the south, which was before toward the west, also a large house on the east side of the said Pulpit, was then builded for the gouernors and children of Christs Hospitall to sit in: and this was done of the goods of William Elkens Alderman, late deceased, but within the first yeare, the same house decaying, and like to haue fallen, was againe with great cost repayred at the Cities charge. On the East side of this Churchyard lieth a large field, of olde time called Lolesworth, now Spittle field, which about the yeare 1576. was broken vp for Clay to make Bricke, in the digging whereof many earthen pots called Vrnae, were found full of Ashes, and burnt bones of men, to wit, of the Romanes that inhabited here: for it was the custome of the Romanes to burne their dead, to put their Ashes in an Vrna, and then burie the same with certaine ceremonies, in some field appoynted for that purpose, neare vnto their Citie: euerie of these pots had in them with the Ashes of the dead, one peece of Copper mony, with the inscription of the Emperour then raigning: some of them were of Claudius, some of Vespasian, some of Nero, of Anthonius Pius, of Traianus, and others: besides those Vrnas, many other pots were there found, made of a white earth with long necks, and handels, like to our stone Iugges: these were emptie, but seemed to be buried ful of some liquid matter long since consumed and soaked through: for there were found diuerse vials and other fashioned Glasses, some most cunningly wrought, such as I haue not seene the like, and some of Christall, all which had water in them, northing differing in clearnes, taste, or sauour from common spring water, what so euer it was at the first: some of these Glasses had Oyle in them verie thicke, and earthie in sauour, some were supposed to haue balme in them, but had lost the vertue: many of those pots and glasses were broken in cutting of the clay, so that few were taken vp whole. There were also found diuerse dishes and cups of a fine red coloured earth, which shewed outwardly such a shining smoothnesse, as if they had beene of Currall (fn. 1), those had in the bottomes Romane letters printed, there were also lampes of white earth and red, artificially wrought with diuerse antiques about them, some three or foure Images made of white earth, about a span long each of them: one I remember was of Pallas, the rest I haue forgotten. I my selfe haue reserued a mongst diuerse of those antiquities there, one Vrna, with the Ashes and bones, and one pot of white earth very small, not exceeding the quantitie of a quarter of a wine pint, made in shape of a Hare, squatted vpon her legs, and betweene her eares is the mouth of the pot. There hath also beene found in the same field diuers coffins of stone, containing the bones of men: these I suppose to bee the burials of some especiall persons, in time of the Brytons, or Saxons, after that the Romanes had left to gouerne here. Moreouer there were also found the sculs and bones of men without coffins, or rather whose coffins (being of great timber) were consumed. Diuerse great nailes of Iron were there found, such as are vsed in the wheeles of shod Carts, being each of them as bigge as a mans finger, and a quarter of a yard long, the heades two inches ouer, those nayles were more wondred at then the rest of thinges there found, and many opinions of men were there vttred of them, namely that the men there buried were murdered by driuing those nayles into their heads, a thing vnlikely, for a smaller naile would more aptly serue to so bad a purpose, and a more secret place would lightly be imployed for their buriall. But to set downe what I haue obserued concerning this matter, I there behelde the bones of a man lying (as I noted) the heade North, the feete South, and round about him, as thwart his head, along both his sides, and thwart his feete, such nailes were found, wherefore I coniectured them to be the nailes of his coffin, which had beene a trough cut out of some great tree, and the same couered with a planke, of a great thicknesse, fastned with such nayles, and therefore I caused some of the nayles to bee reached vp to mee, and found vnder the broad heades of them, the olde wood, skant turned into earth, but still retaining both the graine, and proper colour: of these nayles with the wood vnder the head thereof, I reserued one, as also the nether iaw bone of the man, the teeth being great, sound, and fixed (fn. 2), which amongst other many monuments there found, I haue yet to shew, but the nayle lying drie, is by scaling greatly wasted. And thus much for this part of Bishopsgate warde, without the gate: for I haue in another place spoken of the gate, and therefore I am to speake of that other parte of this warde, which lieth within the gate.

Clearks Hall and their alms houses in Bishopsgate street.

And first to begin on the left hand of Bishopsgate street, from the gate ye haue certaine Tenements of olde time pertayning to a brotherhood of S. Nicholas, granted to the Parish Clarkes of London, for two Chaplens to be kept in the Chapple of S. Marie Magdalen neare vnto the Guild hall of London, in the 27. of Henrie the sixt. The first of these houses towardes the North, and against the wall of the Citie, was sometime a large Inne or Court called the Wrastlers, of such a signe, and the last in the high streete towardes the South, was sometime also a fayre Inne called the Angell, of such a signe. Amongest these said Tenements was on the same streete side a fayre Entrie or Court to the common hall of the saide Parish Clarkes, with proper Almeshouses seauen in number adioyning, for poore Parish Clarkes, and their wiues, their widowes, such as were in great yeares not able to labour. One of these by the sayd Brotherhoode of Parish Clarkes was allowed sixteene pence the weeke, the other sixe had each of them nine pence the weeke, according to the pattent thereof graunted. This Brotherhoode amongest other being suppressed: In the raigne of Edward the sixt, the said Hall with the other buildings there, was giuen to sir Robert Chester, a knight of Cambridge shire, against whome the Parish Clarkes commencing sute, in the raigne of Queene Marie, and being like to haue preuayled, the saide Sir Robert Chester pulled downe the Hall, sold the timber, stone, and lead, and therevpon the sute was ended. The Almeshouses remaine in the Queenes handes, and people are their placed, such as can make best friendes: some of them taking the pension appoynted, haue let foorth their houses for great rent, giuing occasion to the Parson of the Parish to chalenge tythes of the poore, &c.

Parish church of S. Ethelburge, priory of Saint Hellens and Almeshouses.; Parrish church of S. Hellen

Next vnto this is the small Parish Church of Saint Ethelburge virgin, and from thence some small distance is a large court called little S. Helens, because it pertained to the Nuns of Saint Helens, and was their house: there are seuen Almes roomes or houses for the poore, belonging to the companie of Leathersellers. Then some what more West is another Court with a winding lane, which commeth out agaynst the west ende of Saint Andrew Vndershaft Church. In this court standeth the church of S. Helen, sometime a Priorie of blacke Nuns, and in the same a parish Church of Saint Helen.

Leathersellers hall.

This Priorie was founded before the raigne of Henrie the third. William Basing Deane of paules was the first founder, and was there buried, and William Basing one of the Shiriffes of London, in the second yeare of Edward the second, was holden also to be a founder, or rather an helper, there: this Priorie being valued at 314. pound two shillings sixe pence, was surrendred the 25. of Nouember, the thirties of Henrie the eight, the whole Church, the partition betwixt the Nuns church, and Parish, Church being taken downe remineth now to the Parish, and is a faire Parish Church, but wanteth such a steeple as Sir Thomas Gresham promised to haue builded, in recompence of ground in their Church filled vp with his monument. The Nuns hall and other Companie thereunto appertaining, was since purchased by the Companie of the Lethersellers, and is their common Hall: which companie was incorporate in the 21. yeare of Richard the second.

In the Church of saint Helen, haue ye these monuments of the dead: Thomas Langton Chaplain, buried in the Quire 1350. Adam Frances Maior 1354. Elizabeth Vennar, wife to William Vennar Alderman, one of the Shiriffes of London, 1401.Ioan daughter to Henrie Seamer, wife to Richard, sonne and heyre to Robert Lord Poynings, died a virgin 1420. Iohn Swinflat 1420. Nicholas Marshall Ironmonger, Alderman, 1474. Sir Iohn Crosby Alderman, 1475. and Anne his wife, Thomas Williams Gentleman, 1495. Ioan Cocken wife to Iohn Cocken Esquire, 1509. Marie Orrell, wife to sir Lewes Orrell knight, Henrie Sommer, and Katherine his wife, Walter Huntington Esquire, Iohn Langthorp Esquire, 1510. Iohn Gower steward of Saint Helens, 1512. Robert Rochester Esquire, Sergeant of the Pantrie to Henrie the 8, sir William Sanctlo, and sir William Sanctlo, father and sonne. Eleanor, daughter to sir Thomas Butler Lord Sudley, Iohn Southworth, nicholas Harpsfield Esquire, Thomas Sanderford, or sommerford Alderman, Alexander Cheyney, Walter Dawbeney, George Fastolph, sonne to Hugh Fastolph, Robert Liade, Thomas Benolt alias Clarenciaulx, king at arms, 1534. William Hollis Maior 1540, Iohn Fauconbridge Esquire, 1545. Hacket Gentleman of the Kinges Chapple, sir Andrew Iud Maior, 1551. sir William Pickering, and sir William Pickering, father and sonne, William Bond Alderman, 1567, sir Thomas Gresham Mercer 1579. William, Skegges Sargeant Poultar, Richard Gresham, sonne to sir Thomas Gresham 1564.

Of Crosbies place, and of sir Iohn Crosbie.

Then haue ye one great house called Crosbie place, because the same was builded by sir Iohn Crosby Grocer, and Woolman, in place of certaine (fn. 3) Tenements, with their appurtenances, letten to him by Alice Ashfed Prioresse of saint Helens, and the Couent for ninetie nine (fn. 4) yeares, from the yeare 1466. vnto the yeare 1565. for the annuall rent of eleuen pound sixe shillings 8. pence. This house he builded of stone and timber, verie large and beautifull, and the highest at that time in London: he was one of the Shirffes, and an Alderman in the yeare 1470. knighted by Edward the fourth, in the yere 1471. and deceased in the yeare 1475 so short a time enjoyed hee that his large and sumptuous building. He was buried in saint Helens, the Parish Church, a fayre monumnet of him and his Ladie is raysed there: he gaue towardes the reforming of that Church fiue hundred Markes, which was bestowed with the better, as appeareth by his Armes, both in the stone worke, roofe of timber, and glasing. I holde it a fable saide of him, to bee named Crosbie, of being found by a crosse, for I haue read of other to haue that name of Crosbie before him, namely, in the yeare 1406. the seuenth of Henrie the fourth, the sayde King gaue to his seruant Iohn Crosbie, the wardship of Ioan daughter and sole heyre to Iohn Iordaine Fishmonger, &c. This Crosbie might bee the Father, or Grandfather to sir Iohn Crosbie.

Richard Duke of Glocester, and Lord Protector, afterward king by the name of Richard the third, was lodged in this house: since the which time among other, Anthonie Bonuice a rich Marchant of Italic dwelled there, after him Germain Cioll: then William Bond Alderman increased this house in height with building of a Turret on the top thereof: hee deceased in the yeare 1576, and was buried in saint Helens Church: diuers Ambassadors haue beene lodged there, namely in the yeare 1586. Henrie Ramelius Chauncellor of Denmarke, Ambassadour vnto the Queenes Maiestie of England from Fredericke the seconde, the King of Denmarke: an Ambassador of France, &c. sir Iohn Spencer Alderman lately purchased this house, made great reparations, kept his Maioralitie there, and since builded a most large warehouse neare therevnto.

From this Crosbie place vp to Leaden hall corner, and so downe Grassestreete, amongst other tenements, are diuerse faire and large builded houses for Marchants, and such like.

Water Conduct at Bishopsgate.; Sir Thomas Greshams house builded

Now for the other side of this warde, namely the right hande, hard by within the gate is one faire water Conduite, which Thomas Knesworth Maior, in the yere 1505. founded, he gaue 60.1. the rest was furnished at the common charges of the Citie. This Conduit hath since beene taken downe, and new builded. Dauid Woodrooffe Alderman gaue twentie poundes towardes the conuayance of more water therevnto. From this Conduit haue ye amongst many faire Tenements, diuerse fayre Innes, large for receipt of trauellers, and some houses for men of worship, namely one most spatious of all other thereabout, builded of Bricke and Timber, by sir Thomas Gresham, knight, who deceased in the yeare 1579. and was buried in saint Helens church, vnder a faire Monument by him prepared in his life. He appoynted by his Testament, this house to be made a Colledge of Readers as before is said in the Chapter of schooles and houses of learning.

Sir Andrew Iud his Almes houses.

Somewhat west from this house is one other very faire house, wherein sir William Hollies kept his Maioraltie, and was buried in the Parish church of saint Helen. Sir Andrew Iud also kept his Maioraltie there, and was buried at saint Helens: hee builded Almeshouses for six poore Almes people neare to the saide Parish Church, and gaue lands to the Skinners, out of the which they are to giue 4. shillings euery weeke, to the six poore Almes people, eight pence the peece, and fiue and twentie shillings foure pence the yere in coales amongst them for euer

Alice Smith of London widdow, late wife of Thomas Smith of the same Citty Esquier, and Customer of the Porte of London, in her last Will and Testament bequeathed landes to the valew of fifteen poundes by the yeare for euer, to the Company of Skinners, for the augmenting of the pensions of certaine poor, inhabiting in 8. Almes houses, erected by Sir Andrew Iud knight her father, in the parrish of great S.Helens in Bishopsgate streete in London, shee hath also giuen in her saide last will and Testament in other charitable vses, as to the Hospitals and to the poore of other Parrishes and good preachers, the some of As also to the poore schollers in the 2. Uniuersities of Oxford and Cambridge, the sum of 200 li. of which her last Will and Testament shee made her sons Thomas Smith late Shiriffe of London, and Richard and Robert Smith her Executors, who haue performed the same according to her godly and charitable mind.

Then in the very west corner ouer against the East ende of saint Martins Oteswich church (from whence the street windeth towards the south) you had of olde time a faire well with two buckets so fastned, that the drawing vp of the one let downe the other, but now of late that well is turned into a pumpe.

From this to the corner ouer against the Leaden hall, and so downe Grasse streete, are many faire houses for Marchants, and artificers, and many fayre Innes for trauellers, euen to the corner where that ward endeth, ouer against Grasse church: and thus much for this Bishops gate warde shall suffice: which hath an Alderman, two Deputies, one without the gate, another within, common counsellers six, Constables seven, Scauengers seuen, for Wardmote inquest thirttpyeeene, and a Beedle: it is taxed to the fifteene at thirteene, pound.


  • 1. Currall] 1598; currell 1603
  • 2. fast fixed] 1598; fixe 1603
  • 3. certaine] 1598; certaines 1603
  • 4. nine] neene 1603