Colleges: Walworth's college in St Michael Crooked Lane

Pages 577-578

A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1909.

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The church of St. Michael Crooked Lane owed much to two prominent London citizens, John Lovekyn, who was four times mayor, and his sometime apprentice, William Walworth, of Wat Tyler fame: Lovekyn rebuilding the church and Walworth adding the choir and side chapels. (fn. 1) In 1381, moreover, Walworth obtained permission from the king to suppress certain chantries established in the church by Pentecosten Russel and John Harewe, William Burgh, Henry Gubbe, William Jordain, Walter Mordon, and Thomas atte Leye, the endowment of which had in course of time become insufficient, and to found in their place a college of a master and nine chaplains to celebrate for the founders of the chantries, for Walworth and his wife Margaret, and for John Lovekyn. (fn. 2) The property which had belonged to the chantries in Crooked Lane, Bridge Street, Thames Street and elsewhere was settled on the college, (fn. 3) and further provision for its maintenance must have been made by Walworth on a very ample scale, (fn. 4) since the royal licence given to the college in 1381 to acquire in mortmain lands and tenements to the annual value of £40 could only have been granted with a view to his benefactions. (fn. 5) At the time of the foundation Walworth had assigned to the priests a house near the church for a dwelling-place. (fn. 6) Important, however, as the college was in size, it remained only a chantry and never absorbed into itself the organization of the parish church (fn. 7) as did Poultney's College and Whittington's.

It lasted until the general suppression of colleges and chantries in the reign of Edward VI. (fn. 8) Pensions of £5 a year were then paid to seven priests and one 'conduct.' (fn. 9)


  • 1. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Strype), ii, 185.
  • 2. Pat. 4 Ric. II, pt. 2, m. 12, printed in Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 1380.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Either by grants during his lifetime or by bequest. He seems to have arranged by his will in 1385 that his wife should assign the revenues of certain property in the City to the college, and that after her death some tenements and rents should be entrusted to the rector and churchwardens of St. Michael's for that purpose. Sharpe, Cal. of Wills, ii, 251.
  • 5. Cal. of Pat. 1377–81, p. 612.
  • 6. Ibid. 609.
  • 7. The rector of the church continued as before and seems not to have been connected in any way with the college. Sharpe, Cal. of Wills, ii, 251; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 371; L. and P. Hen. VIII, v, 1693 (7).
  • 8. Tanner, Notitia Mon.
  • 9. Chant. Cert. No. 88, m. 5. By 1556 the eight were reduced to five. Add. MS. 8102, fol. 4.