Memorial IV: The Chapel at the Hall

Pages 42-45

Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.

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It will be noticed from the perusal of the earliest records of the Fraternity, that a Chapel at the Hall can be traced by payments for Priests and for services celebrated therein. (fn. 1) Where the Chapel stood is a matter of conjecture, nor can any evidence be found as to the date at which it was originally built. (fn. 2) The Bull of Calixtus states the foundation and endowment to have been made by some deceased faithful servant of Christ belonging to the Company, but the records of the Company do not contain evidence of endowment, and when interrogated in the 1 Edward VI., the Company certified that they had no endowed Chapel. (fn. 3) The Bull of Calixtus is set out (fn. 4) :—

Calistus episcopus [servus servorum Dei], dilectis filiis Magistris, Custodibus, Guardianis et universis confratribus confraternitatis seu societatis Sancti Johannis Baptistæ Scissorum et linearum ac armaturarum Armurariorum communiter seu vulgariter nuncupatæ, Londoniensis, utriusque sexus præsentibus et futuris, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. Sinceræ devotionis affectus quem ad nos et Romanæ (fn. 5) gentis ecclesiam, promeretur ut petitionibus vestris, illis præsertim quæ salutem animarum ac divini cultus augmentum respicere dinoscuntur, quantum cum Deo possumus, favorabiliter annuamus. Exhibita siquidem nobis nuper pro parte vestra petitio continebat quod dudum postquam per nonnullos defunctos Christi fideles de Societate seu confraternitate vestra, in qua ut asseritis quamplures prælati ecclesiastici et nobiles ac diversæ aliæ utriusque sexus personæ in multitudine copiosa sunt constituti, ad honorem Omnipotentis Dei et gloriosæ Virginis Mariæ ac Sancti Johannis Baptistæ, quædam perpetua capella in Ecclesia Londoniensi pro societatis sive confraternitatis vestræ personis et presbyteris inibi missas ac alia divina officia pro eorum ac hominum seu confratrum et sororum vestræ confraternitatis in magna multitudine confluentibus fundata et dotata extitit, certi alii de eadem confraternitate vestra existentes Christi fideles, considerantes societatis et confraternitatis vestræ etiam utriusque sexus personas in tanto numero crevisse quod dicta capella pro tot personis societatis seu confraternitatis hujusmodi receptandis minus capax foret, quandam aliam perpetuam capellam in domo sive hospitio vestræ confraternitatis "Taillours Halle" nuncupata seu nuncupato infra limites seu emunitatem parochialis ecclesiæ Sancti Martini de Oteswyche, Londoniensis, cum altari in capella, vestræ confraternitatis prædictæ devotione commodius adimplenda consistere fundarunt et dotarunt; cupitisque inibi missas et alia divina officia, quotiens opus fuerit, celebrari et decantari, necnon anniversaria Christi fidelium de confraternitate seu societate vestra nunc et pro tempore existentium, [sedis apostolicæ] licentia quoad hoc [prius obtenta], singulis anni temporibus juxta morem peragi posse. Quare pro parte vestra nobis fuit humiliter supplicatum ut vobis et commoditatibus vestris in præmissis legitime providere, de benignitate [apostolica] dignaremur. Nos igitur, vestris in hac parte supplicationibus inclinati, vobis et cuilibet vestrum ut quotiens opus fuerit per proprios aut alios presbyteros, etiam vestræ confraternitatis in quotocunque numero fuerint, quos ad id duxeritis eligendos, missas in dicta capella "Taillours Halle" super illorum altaribus cum debita reverentia et honore celebrari, et alia divina officia etiam cam panis pulsatis decantari, et anniversaria peragi facere libere et licite possitis, jure parochialis ecclesiæ de Oteswyche prædictæ, ac cujuscunque alterius semper salvo, devotioni vestræ auctoritate [apostolica] tenore præsentium indulgemus. Non obstantibus [apostolicis ac Ottonis et Ottoboni] olim in regno Angliæ [sedis Apostolicæ Legatorum] necnon in provincialibus et synodalibus conciliis editis generalibus vel specialibus, constitutionibus, statutis quoque et consuetudinibus etiam municipalibus civitatis Londoniensis juramento, [confirmatione apostolica] vel quacunque firmitate alia roboratis, cæterisque contrariis quibuscunque.

[Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostræ concessionis infringere aut ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attemptare præsumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac Beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum Ejus, se noverit incursurum.

Datum Romæ apud Sanctum Petrum]. Anno Incarnationis Dominicæ millesimo quadringentesimo quinquagesimo quinto, septimo Idus Junii [pontificatus nostri anno primo].

[Translation.] (fn. 6)

Calixtus, bishop [servant of the servants of God] to his beloved children the Masters, Keepers, Wardens, and all the brethren of the Brotherhood or Company of St. John the Baptist, generally or commonly called Tailors Armourers of the linen armoury of London, of both sexes, present and future, greeting and apostolic blessing. The feeling of sincere devotion which you bear towards us and the Church of Rome, deserves that we should favourably consent to your petitions, as far as God will allow us, especially in those cases which concern the health of souls and the increase of Divine worship. Whereas a petition (fn. 7) lately exhibited to us on your behalf, declared that formerly a certain perpetual chapel in the Church of London was founded and endowed by some deceased faithful servants of Christ, belonging to your company or brotherhood (in which as you assert, very many ecclesiastical prelates, nobles and divers other persons of both sexes are united, to the honour of Almighty God, the Glorious Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist), for the persons of your company or brotherhood, and priests meeting in great multitude, to say masses and other divine offices there for [the souls] of the brothers and sisters of your brotherhood; certain other faithful servants of Christ of the same brotherhood now living, considering that the members of your company or brotherhood of both sexes, have increased so much in numbers that the said chapel is too small to hold so many persons of this company or brotherhood, have founded and endowed another perpetual chapel in the hall or inn of your brotherhood, called "Taillours Halle," within the bounds or immunity of the parish church of St. Martin of Oteswyche, (fn. 8) London, with an altar in the chapel, for the more commodious performance of the devotions of your said brotherhood. And you desire that masses and other divine services may be celebrated and sung there, as often as necessary, and that the anniversaries of the faithful servants of Christ of your brotherhood or company, now and for the future, may be performed according to custom at the respective seasons of the year, the licence [of the apostolic see] for this being [first obtained]. Wherefore humble supplication was made to us on your behalf that we would deign of our apostolic goodness to provide lawfully for you and your convenience in the premises.

We therefore consenting to your petitions on this behalf, with [apostolic] authority, by these presents grant you and each one of you free and lawful permission to have masses celebrated whenever it is necessary, on the altars in the said chapel of "Taillours Halle" with due reverence and honour, other divine services to be sung, with the ringing of bells, and anniversaries to be performed by your own or other priests also of your brotherhood, in whatever number, whom you may choose for this purpose; saving always the right of the parish church of Oteswyche aforesaid, and any other. The [apostolic] constitutions [and those] of Otto and Ottobonus, formerly [legates of the Apostolic See] in England, and others, general or special, published in provincial or synodal councils; the statutes also and municipal customs of the City of London, whether enforced by oath, [apostolic confirmation], or any other security, and any other thing to the contrary notwithstanding.

[Let therefore no man infringe this page of our grant, or with rash daring dispute it. If any one presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God and his blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's. In the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, 1455, 7 June, in the first year of our Pontificate.


  • 1. See Mem. IX., par. 8.
  • 2. See pp. 35 and 586.
  • 3. See Mem. XVII.
  • 4. This Bull is printed from the contemporary copy in the Ordinance Book of the Merchant Tailors' Company. In one or two places the copy is manifestly incorrect, but the general sense is clear. The passages within brackets have been carefully erased in obedience to the Proclamation for the abolishing of the usurped power of the Pope, issued on 9th June 1535, which orders the Bishops " to cause all manner of prayers, orisons, rubrics, canons of mass books, and all other books in the churches, wherein the said Bishop of Rome is named, or his presumptuous and proud pomp and authority preferred, utterly to be abolished, eradicated and rased out, and his name and memory to be never more (except to his contumely and reproach) remembered, but perpetually suppressed and obscured."—C. T. M.
  • 5. Sic: an error for Romanam geritis.
  • 6. Rendered into English by Charles Trice Martin, F.S.A.
  • 7. I have mentioned elsewhere (p. 5) that I am endeavouring to obtain a copy of this Petition.
  • 8. This parochial boundary is some guide to the site of the chapel.