The borough of Southwark: Borough

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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'The borough of Southwark: Borough', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4, ed. H E Malden( London, 1912), British History Online [accessed 14 July 2024].

'The borough of Southwark: Borough', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Edited by H E Malden( London, 1912), British History Online, accessed July 14, 2024,

"The borough of Southwark: Borough". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Ed. H E Malden(London, 1912), , British History Online. Web. 14 July 2024.


It is likely that Southwark formed part of the ancient demesne of the Crown and that Cnut granted certain rights within it to Earl Godwin. From Domesday it appears that before the Conquest it was partly in the tenure of the king, partly in that of Godwin, who is otherwise known to have had a house in Southwark. (fn. 1) It is said that the king owned two parts of the profits of the stream, where ships used to come alongside, and Godwin the third. The accompanying statement that in the time of King Edward only the king took toll on the strand or in the water street (fn. 2) must indicate either that the ships 'came alongside' elsewhere than at these places or that Godwin's rights had lapsed after his death, probably the latter. Later the Earls Warenne had the third penny and other rights in Southwark, probably as part of the earldom of Surrey granted in 1089. (fn. 3) In 1131–2, (fn. 4) and again in 1156–7 (fn. 5) and 1157–8, (fn. 6) sums of 20s. or 20s. 4d. out of the aid of the borough were remitted to Earl Warenne. In 1278–9 the earl laid claim to a third part of all tolls in Southwark, however they arose, and a jury pronounced that the bailiff of the king and the bailiff of the earl had in the town a common box in which from time immemorial they had collected toll. It was always in the custody of the royal bailiff, but the bailiff of the earl kept the keys, and the two from time to time opened it and divided the money collected into three parts, of which two belonged to the king and one to the earl. (fn. 7) Stow quotes a deed by which John Earl Warenne in 1281 remitted for him and his heirs to the Abbot of St. Augustine's in Canterbury the suit to the earl's court of Southwark due for a messuage and houses in his fee on the Thames and between the Bridge House and the church of St. Olave. (fn. 8) There are other references to property held of the earls in the parish of St. Olave, (fn. 9) particularly to the Bridge House, but apparently only this one to their court in the borough. In 1347 John Earl Warenne died in possession of one-third of the tolls, (fn. 10) which he held in chief of the king as part of the county of Surrey, and Edward III authorized their descent to his heir Richard Earl of Arundel (though not yet Earl of Surrey), whose homage and fealty, it was stated, would be due for them at the king's return to England. (fn. 11) He died in 1376. On his son Richard's attainder in 1397 an inquisition by the Sheriff of Surrey discovered that he had held a house called 'le Cage' and 1 acre and 3 virgates of land with their appurtenances in Southwark which belonged to his office as bailiff of one-third part of that place. (fn. 12) 'Le Cage' was probably a prison. The king granted Richard's bailiwick to Henry Champneys, one of his doorkeepers, to hold for life, and afterwards on the same terms to John Serle, groom of the royal chamber. (fn. 13) In 1399 Thomas son of Earl Richard was restored to his father's dignities and possessions, and he was found on his death in 1415 to have held a third part of certain rents, tolls and customs with their appurtenances in Southwark of the king in chief by knight service His heirs were his sisters, Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk, Joan de Beauchamp Lady Abergavenny and Margaret the wife of Roland Lenthall, kt. The possessions of Elizabeth passed first to her son Thomas Mowbray, earl marshal, who died in 1405, then to her second son John, created Duke of Norfolk in 1424, who on his death in 1432 was found to have granted in 1431 to John Almain for life the office of bailiff of his liberties in Southwark and of all his lands, tenements, rents and services there with their appurtenances. (fn. 14) His property passed successively to two dukes named John in the direct line, and afterwards to William Marquess of Berkeley, the grandson of Duchess Elizabeth by her daughter Isabel Lady Berkeley, (fn. 15) who when he died in 1492 held of the king in chief a quarter of a moiety of the toll of Southwark. (fn. 16) The heirs of Joan Lady Abergavenny were successive lords of Abergavenny. (fn. 17) In 1451 it was found that Sir Roland Lenthall and Margaret had held one-third of a third part of tolls and customs in Southwark, of rents of assize from divers lands and tenements there which amounted to 25s. 4d., and of one tenement, an acre of land and an acre of meadow in Southwark and Camberwell. Their son and heir Edmund died without issue, and their heirs were their cousins John Duke of Norfolk and George Nevill Lord of Abergavenny. (fn. 18) The later descent of these fractions is not traceable. (fn. 19)

Warenne. Checky or and azure.

Arundel. Azure a lion or.

Mowbray. Gules a lion argent.

Berkeley. Gules a Cheveron between ten crosses formy argent.

Lenthall. Argent a bend cotised sable with three molets or on the bend.

Nevill. Gules a saltire argent with a rose gules thereon.

As to local burghal authority, there may be in Domesday a reference to the forerunners of the later 'good men' of Southwark in a statement as to certain property in the borough, seemingly appendant to Kingston lordship. 'The men of Southwark themselves have proved their right to a close and the toll thereof belonging to the farm of Kingston. Earl Eustace held these.' Further, it is stated that any who committed a trespass on the strand or in the water street and was not questioned must make fine to the king, unless he escaped unquestioned to the jurisdiction of him who had sac and soc, who then should receive the fine. (fn. 20) There is thus the implication of an authority intermediary between the king and the offender able to question the latter. Domesday does not specifically mention Southwark as a borough, but places it within the hundred of Kingston; in 1130–1, however, there is a reference to the past aid of the borough, (fn. 21) and burghal payments were made throughout the reign of Henry II through the sheriff. (fn. 22) In 1251 the king directed an inquisition by the Sheriff of Surrey in full county court, by jurors from within and from without Southwark, as to the customs of that town, their value, whether they were of the body of the county or of the Crown and whether the king could grant them at farm. The verdict comprehended a list of tolls said to be worth £10 a year, with all profits, pleas and perquisites, and pronounced them to belong inseparably to the body of the county and to be included in the sheriff's farm thereof, but to be demisable by the king to any farmer who paid £10 a year to the sheriff. (fn. 23) On these terms Henry III granted the customs, with all pleas, profits of pleas and perquisites, to Henry Fitz Martin in this year. (fn. 24) In 1277, however, Edward I committed the bailiwick of Southwark to Hugh de Digneuton, to hold at pleasure and to answer for it to himself as other wardens had done, (fn. 25) and at the same time ordered the sheriff to deliver the charge to Hugh. (fn. 26) Thus the borough (fn. 27) and shire may again have been separated, except the 'third penny,' which was claimed by the Earl of Surrey in 1278 and allowed.

The next grant of the bailiwick, which was made in 1280–1 to Henry de Dunlegh, was more explicit in that it stipulated that Henry should render as well as answer to the king as other keepers of the bailiwick had done, and it ordered the burghers of Southwark to be intendent to Henry in all things which pertained to the bailiwick. (fn. 28) Finally Hugh de Yarmouth, who was bailiff in 1298, (fn. 29) is definitely known to have held the town for a yearly farm of £10 payable at the Exchequer, and on such terms the bailiwick was confirmed to him on the accession of Edward II. (fn. 30) It was similarly granted on later occasions. (fn. 31) In this period there is sometimes mention of two bailiffs of Southwark, one apparently appointed by the king and one by the earl. (fn. 32)

In 1326 the king ordered that, whereas malefactors of London fled to Southwark after they had committed offences in order to escape attachment by ministers of the City, the bailiffs of the franchise of Southwark should be intendent to their capture and the mayor and sheriff should make daily inquiry as to such evildoers and their allies and maintainers. (fn. 33) This mandate, however, cannot have sufficed for its purpose, for in the following year Edward III, having heard in Parliament the petition of the citizens that felons, robbers and other criminals of London fled from justice to Southwark and were there publicly received, granted the town, with the assent of Parliament, to the citizens, to hold in perpetuity for the accustomed farm payable at the Exchequer. (fn. 34) From this grant it appears that the rights acquired by the City were exactly those previously held by individual bailiffs, those, for instance, of Hugh de Digneuton and John de Hatton, bailiffs of Southwark, who in 1280 had attached Alan Panyot, the king's man, in the king's lay fee in Southwark, for certain trespasses, in right of the king's ownership of pleas and liberties of feudalities and of secular things granted by the king or his progenitors to persons or dignities. (fn. 35) The jurisdictional powers now vested in the citizens did not entitle them to extend the power of their own courts and officials to override or modify the existing arrangements of the borough. Thus in February and April 1382 special commissions were necessary to allow a search by the mayor and sheriffs for prisoners who had escaped to Southwark, their arrest and their conduct to Newgate. (fn. 36) In 1372 the coroner of the City was ordered to distrain the mayor, sheriffs and commonalty to answer a certain charge at Southwark; and on their appearance a jury of divers hundreds of Surrey presented to the king that the accused had entered a shop and half a shop, in the borough and parcel of it, which used to pertain to the liberty of the king there, and had claimed them as liable to lot and scot in the City. The defendants alleged that the shops, which were at the end of London Bridge, were in Bridge ward. (fn. 37) This process makes clear Southwark's independence of the City, and further the fact that the borough was not excluded from the jurisdiction of the county. Fiscally the county and borough were separate; and the office of collecting customs and other dues must have been acquired by the City in 1327. There is evidence of a like exclusiveness as regarded the burden of military service, (fn. 38) but it may have existed only by force of special mandates issued on individual occasions. The City farmed the rights they had received to bailiffs. (fn. 39) The rent paid in the 14th century varied from £10 to £12 (fn. 40); and as the farm payable at the Exchequer was throughout £10, the tenure of the borough was of little advantage to the City except as a means of influence. As such it sometimes served the interests of trade as well as those of justice. (fn. 41) Evidence of separate action on the part of burghal authorities exists chiefly in royal grants to the bailiffs and good men of Southwark of pavage in their town. (fn. 42)

The year 1406 marked the second stage in the process of the absorption of Southwark in the city of London. Henry IV then confirmed the borough to the mayor and commonalty for the ancient farm of £10, and granted them some additional powers. They might in the person of their own servants arrest robbers, felons and malefactors in Southwark and take them to Newgate, there to justify themselves before the mayor and other justices assigned to deliver the gaol, in the same manner as felons found within the City. They were granted all goods called 'waif and stray,' and the return and execution of all writs of the king and of all estreats, precepts and mandates of any of his courts, in such form that the Sheriff of Surrey and his officers might no longer intervene in the town of Southwark, except as a consequence of the defect of the mayor and commonalty. A saving clause protected the franchises of other lords within the town. (fn. 43) Confirmatory charters received from Henry VI in 1443 (fn. 44) and from Edward IV in 1462 (fn. 45) gave also to the City the view of frankpledge, treasure trove and unclaimed goods, all handiwork, goods and chattels of traitors, felons and outlaws, escheats and forfeitures in Southwark, and all liberties and franchises which belonged to the Crown in the borough, excluding those in the tenure of the Archbishop of Canterbury or others. There is some evidence of resistance by the borough to its subjection. In 1541 a contention had arisen between the king's borough of Southwark and the City as to the latter's franchise in Southwark. (fn. 46)

The area affected by these grants was the later Gildable Manor. It was a small district on the south side of London Bridge, bounded at Hay Lane on the east, at St. Saviour's Dock on the west, and near the junction of Stoney Street and the Borough High Street on the south. (fn. 47) It has been conjectured that such was the whole extent of the ancient borough. Against this, however, it can be argued that the Abbot of Bermondsey and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the tenants in chief outside this district and within the later borough, held in the borough in the 12th century. It is more probable that the liberties outside the Gildable Manor and in Southwark before 1832 were created out of districts within the earliest area of the borough. The word 'Gildable' has been held to imply the existence of a gild in Southwark, of which there is no other evidence. It is more likely to have had reference to taxation, since it was applied to the only district in the borough which was not held in mortmain.

In 1550 the final step in the extension of the City's power over Southwark was taken. Edward VI granted to the Corporation all waifs and strays, treasure trove, deodand, goods of felons and fugitives and escheats and forfeitures in the parishes of St. Saviour, St. Olave, St. George and St. Thomas or the King's Hospital, and elsewhere in the borough and town. He gave, as his predecessors had done, the execution of writs, the power to arrest felons and other malefactors and to take them to Newgate, and all liberties which the king or his heirs should or might have had if the borough had remained in their tenure. In addition he granted that the mayor, commonalty and citizens might hold all pleas of contract and demands in the borough before the mayor, aldermen or sheriffs of the City, or any of them, in the Guildhall or husting of London, as such actions had always occurred within the City. The serjeants-at-mace might serve and execute processes in Southwark as they were used to do in the City. The inhabitants of the town and borough might be impleaded and might plead in the City in the courts already mentioned and according to the accustomed forms. Defaulters on juries were liable to amercement by the mayor and sheriffs. The mayor, commonalty and citizens had cognizance of all pleas of the Crown in Southwark and were empowered to elect there yearly two coroners. The mayor was constituted escheator in the borough and was enabled, in such capacity, to make his precept to the Sheriff of Surrey. The corporation of London were vested with all jurisdictions, liberties and privileges held in Southwark by any Archbishop of Canterbury, by the Duke of Suffolk, by any master, brethren or sisters of the Hospital of St. Thomas, Abbot of Bermondsey, Prior and convent of St. Mary Overy, or by the king or his father. The inhabitants of the borough were subjected to the officers of the City as though themselves citizens, and in like manner were admitted to participation in civic rights and privileges. The Mayor of the City, the recorder and all aldermen who had held the mayoralty, became justices of the peace in Southwark, with all powers exercised by other justices in Surrey. The royal right to the ancient farm of £10 was reserved. (fn. 48) It is not surprising that this charter was regarded by the citizens as a complete annexation of Southwark to London, as an extension of the City boundaries. Three months after it had been received the court of aldermen enacted that one alderman above the ancient number should be appointed to have rule over the borough, that he should be chosen by the mayor and aldermen from four persons nominated by the inhabitants of Southwark and that he should be called the alderman of Bridge Ward Without. (fn. 49) This creation of a dual elective authority proves that the new ward was considered to have an inferior status to the twenty-five that were ancient. The provision was, moreover, repealed in 1557 by the Common Council, and it was ordered that thenceforth the alderman of Bridge Ward Without should be chosen at a full court of Common Council by the mayor and aldermen. (fn. 50) Further, the ward was not represented on the Common Council. It is stated by Stow to have had an alderman, three deputy aldermen and a wardmote inquest of twenty (fn. 51); but it is probable that the latter body would be more correctly described as the jury of an older court, perhaps of the Gildable Manor. There is no evidence of a wardmote in Southwark. For a century subsequent to the charter of 1550 there are many references to the fact that the jurisdiction of the City extended over only a part of the borough, and that the rest was subject to the county. (fn. 52) The boundaries of the places specifically excluded by the charter from the grant to the City were too well known to cause disputes. The restriction appears to be due to a survival of the distinction between the jurisdiction in the Gildable Manor and those in the King's Manor and the Great Liberty Manor. These last had both been given to the City, and had previously been exempt from the sheriff's power. Yet their independent history, the fact that no previous grants to the City had affected them, and the centuries during which they had been excluded from the burghal administration, had probably resulted in peculiarities which tended to confusion. The friction between the county and the corporation clearly appears in the military preparations of Elizabeth's reign. (fn. 53) After the Restoration the dispute was revived, and the limits of the rival jurisdictions were no longer to be distinguished geographically. (fn. 54) The outcome was the existence in Southwark in the 18th and early 19th century of concurrent jurisdictions of the county and the City. The lord mayor, with the aldermen who had passed the chair and the recorder, held sessions independently, as did the Surrey justices, all in the town hall on St. Margaret's Hill. In 1727 an indictment was preferred against the mayor because at the City's court a licence, previously refused by the county magistrates, had been granted to the keeper of the 'Dog and Duck.' The resultant judgement was to the effect that the two jurisdictions were concurrent, and that whichever of them attached first had binding force. (fn. 55)

The civil jurisdiction of the corporation of London in the borough was exercisable in a weekly court of record held in the town hall. The judge was the steward, who was elected by the court of aldermen, before whom he took oath and was admitted to hold office during his good behaviour. (fn. 56) The court had cognizance of actions of debt, contract and trespass arising within the limits of the mayor's jurisdiction in the borough; but it does not appear that it ever tried pleas of title to land. Its proceedings were not subject to review by the ordinary City courts, nor by the court at St. Martin's-le-Grand, but might be removed to the superior courts at Westminster. (fn. 57) There is no evidence as to whether it originated after the charter of 1550 or previously. The bailiff was elected by the Common Council, by whom he might be removed, and took oath before the court of aldermen. It appears that his office was not farmed after 1733. (fn. 58) In 1788 an address of the freemen of London in Southwark prayed the mayor and corporation for a restoration of rights and for a precept from the lord mayor for the election of common councilmen to represent Bridge Ward Without. It had no response. (fn. 59) In 1814 the sessions of the City magistrates had been for many years a mere pageantry, displayed four times a year, and the City's court of record had fallen into disuse. (fn. 60) In that year a public meeting of the inhabitants of Southwark was called by the bailiff, and a petition was rendered to the court of aldermen and the Common Council for the restoration of the rights and privileges granted in 1550, the better proclamation of the jurisdiction and existence of the court of record, its re-establishment and that of the sessions of peace for the borough, the holding of a court of wardmote for the election of common councilmen and the reconsideration of the Act of Common Council of 1557. Complaint was also made of the lack of a corporate magistracy, the liability of the inhabitants to the county rate, to service in the county militia and to the obligation of having soldiers quartered on them. Additional grievances were that, in spite of its disabilities, the borough contributed a large proportion of the coal duties owing to its dense population and its many factories, and that the City derived a revenue from the water bailliage on corn landed and warehoused in Southwark and from the offices of the corn, coal and fruit meters on the Surrey side of the Thames. As a consequence the court of aldermen appointed two of their number who had held the mayoralty to be acting and salaried magistrates in Southwark; and thereafter one of these attended every weekday at the town hall. The offices were instituted of a clerk and of two marshalmen, who were elected by the Common Council and admitted and sworn before the magistrates. They acted as high constables under the bailiff, but lost many of their duties by the introduction of the metropolitan police into Southwark in 1829. (fn. 61) In 1837 there was only one marshalman. The bailiff had received licence to appoint a deputy in 1818.

The petition resulted, further, in a distribution of all aldermen who had passed the chair for rotatory attendance at the quarterly Southwark sessions with the lord mayor and the recorder who was presiding judge. This court had cognizance over all offences and felonies not capital committed within the mayor's jurisdiction in the borough (fn. 62) and of appeals against summary convictions. Juries were taken solely from the borough and were summoned by a precept to the bailiff, signed by the mayor and recorder. In 1837 the business usually occupied two days in a session. The concurrent sessions of the county magistrates were held at that date in the Union Hall. The court of record was also revived after 1814. In 1837 it sat every Monday and transacted considerable business. Two prothonotaries of the court were appointed by the steward. (fn. 63)

A court of requests or of conscience for the borough was established in 1690 (fn. 64) and in 1748–9. Its jurisdiction was limited to the recovery of debts of a less value than 40s. from inhabitants of the town and borough and of the parishes of Christchurch, St. Mary Newington, St. Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, St. Mary Lambeth and St. Mary Rotherhithe. In 1758–9 its powers were extended to include all the eastern half of the hundred of Brixton, and in 1805–6 it acquired cognizance of debts up to the value of £5. In 1837 all the inhabitants of the district allotted and all those who owned property, traded, or otherwise sought a livelihood within it might sue in the court. Fifty-two commissioners were authorized by statute and were elected in specified proportions by the vestrymen of the several parishes. A certain number of them were appointed monthly in rotation to form a court, and three or five constituted a quorum. The chief bailiff of Southwark was the ministerial officer of the court. Its business was in 1837 very extensive. (fn. 65)

By the Local Government Act of 1888 Southwark was included in the county of London. (fn. 66) In 1899 the metropolitan borough of Southwark was formed: this excludes the outlying western and southern parts of the old borough along Tooley Street and the Old Kent Road, which are comprised respectively in Bermondsey and Camberwell.

Southwark returned two members to the Parliament of 1295 and to subsequent Parliaments until 1832. By the Reform Bill of 1832 (fn. 67) the parliamentary borough was extended to include the Clink and Paris Garden Liberties, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, but the number of representatives was not changed. (fn. 68) The Redistribution of Seats Act divided the new borough in 1885 into the West, the Rotherhithe and the Bermondsey divisions, to each of which one member was allotted. The first includes St. Saviour's district and St. Michael's and St. Paul's wards in the parish of St. George; the second was formed of St. Olave's district, the parish of Rotherhithe and the fourth ward of Bermondsey parish; and the third comprehends the other three wards of that parish and St. George's ward in the parish of St. George. (fn. 69)

In 1258 it was stated that by custom of the town none sold or bought corn in the market of Southwark before morning mass had been sung at the hospital of St. Thomas, (fn. 70) and in 1275 certain tolls in fairs and markets in the borough were due to the Earl of Surrey. (fn. 71) These references are probably to an ancient and prescriptive market and fair. Since Southwark was within the verge of the palace of Westminster the duty of regulating sales in it, the assay and assize of bread and ale, and the accompanying rights of punishment, belonged to the clerk of the market of the royal household, in so far as no grants had affected them. They were transferred to the City of London by the charter of 1406. (fn. 72) In 1443 the citizens acquired also the right to hold a fair in the borough on the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, 8 September, its vigil and its morrow, with a court of pie powder. (fn. 73) This was regranted in 1462. (fn. 74) In 1541 there was a contention between the town and the City as to the fairs, (fn. 75) and in 1547 the mayor and commonalty made suit to the king for its governance. (fn. 76) The grounds of the dispute are probably revealed in the latter year, when a provisional order in council directed that the profits of the fair should be collected in the presence of two ministers of the City and of the mayor and should remain with the latter, and that the mayor and his council 'should not ride further' than the place they had been wont to pass in previous years. (fn. 77) This riding was presumably connected with the holding of the piepowder court, since such customarily went round a fair or market, and there must have been an attempt to extend its jurisdiction outside the area of the Gildable Manor. The fair and the court were regranted by the charter of 1550. (fn. 78)

In 1630 a proclamation forbade Our Lady Fair in Southwark to take place on account of the plague which threatened the borough and the City. (fn. 79) The right to hold it was confirmed to the City in 1663. (fn. 80) Southwark Fair was a place of great resort for the citizens of London. In 1712 there is reference to the 'Bartholomew Fair, which they keep up still in the borough, though it be left off in the city.' (fn. 81) This means of course that the fair had become a place of riotous pleasures. (fn. 82) It was discontinued by order of the lord mayor in 1792. (fn. 83)

The dispute between the City and Southwark in 1541 concerned among other things the 'keeping of markets.' (fn. 84) There is no mention of market rights in previous grants of privileges in the borough to the mayor and citizens; but any such which existed in 1406 must then have been conferred on them. In 1550 the king granted to the City liberty to hold a market in Southwark on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. (fn. 85) The right was confirmed in 1663. (fn. 86) In 1671–2 there is mention of the meal market in Southwark, (fn. 87) presumably a part of the market or a building within its site. The market was held near the place of St. Margaret's Church in 1542, (fn. 88) but afterwards in the Borough High Street, as was apparently the fair, and such a position must have been inconvenient. There was a proposition between 1672 and 1692 to remove the market to St. Margaret's Hill. (fn. 89) It was discontinued before 1754, when the churchwardens and inhabitants of the parish of St. Saviour were enabled by Act of Parliament to hold a market on another site, in Rochester Yard. This is the origin of the present Borough Market which takes place on ground by St. Saviour's churchyard, where Rochester House used to stand. It was held in 1891 on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The market is one for fruit and vegetables and it serves, roughly, all the district of South London. (fn. 90)

Fair Street was called in the 18th century Horsleydown Fair Street (fn. 91); and the name must indicate the site of some sort of prescriptive fair, probably held on Horsleydown before the district was covered with buildings.

As to early trades and industries, there is evidence from the 13th to the 17th century of some water mills on the river bank, in addition to those mentioned in the accounts of holdings, and of windmills on inland sites. (fn. 92) In the end of the 13th and in the beginning of the 14th century references occur to the lime-burners of Southwark. (fn. 93) Foreign craftsmen settled in the borough in the 14th and 15th centuries. Between 1394 and 1460 several conveyances took place of land in 'Burgoyne' in the parish of St. Olave, a name which is probably derived from a settlement of weavers from the Duke of Burgundy's dominions. (fn. 94) Land called 'Berghene' is marked in a map of 1542 as intervening between the Bridge House and Battle Bridge. (fn. 95) Beyond the fact of the existence in St. George's Church of the chantry of the leathersellers of London, there is a reference in 1541 to the selling of leather in Southwark. (fn. 96) The number of inns in Southwark naturally accounted for many breweries, and numerous Dutch brewers settled there in the 15th and 16th centuries. There was also apparently a settlement of Protestant refugees in the borough in the 17th century; the leatherdressers of Southwark petitioned in 1622 against the injury done to their trade by Dutchmen, who had served no terms of apprenticeship and yet employed journeymen of their own nationality to work as leatherdressers (fn. 97); and there was a Flemish burial-ground in the parish of St. Olave. (fn. 98)

The leather trade has now moved eastwards to Bermondsey. The trade in hops is localized, to some extent, in Borough High Street.

The Counter in Southwark was the prison attached to the jurisdiction of the City. It was established in a part of St. Margaret's Church, (fn. 99) presumably after the charter of Edward VI to the City. The keeper was nominated by the bailiff and appointed by the court of aldermen. (fn. 100) In 1714 it was said to be a prison only for debt, and was within part of the Marshalsea House. (fn. 101) This situation was, however, only temporary, for shortly before 1787 it was rebuilt in Mill Lane, Tooley Street. (fn. 102) It was described in 1812 as the prison for the City's court of record, but its use had been extended to admit persons convicted by the court of conscience. Debtors and vagrants were confined in it in circumstances of great misery. (fn. 103) It is alleged by Mr. E. Walford to have been discontinued before the fire of 1861, during which it was destroyed (fn. 104); and there is no evidence that it existed in 1869, when imprisonment for debt was abolished. (fn. 105) Its earlier site had given the name of Counter Street, which occurs in 1715 (fn. 106) and in 1837, (fn. 107) to the southern part of Stoney Street, and is still indicated by Counter Court.

Stow, writing in 1598, says that the county gaol of Surrey had been established in the house in Southwark known as the 'White Lion' 'within these forty years past.' (fn. 108) Records of 1681 state that the property was bought by the county. (fn. 109) It stood on St. Margaret's Hill, between the King's Bench prison and the church of St. George. In 1640 it was pulled down by the apprentices and others and the prisoners were delivered. (fn. 110) Perhaps as a consequence the prison was in 1681 so ruinous that it was no longer a place of safe custody. In 1695 the sheriff had agreed for the keeping of the prisoners of the county in the Marshalsea. The 'White Lion' estate was let on leases which expired in 1755. Subsequently, in 1759 and in 1771, the old gaol was enlarged. (fn. 111) An Act of Parliament in 1772 extinguished a right of common on an acre of land near the King's Bench prison called White Lion or Hangman's Acre, which belonged to the county of Surrey and which constituted a proper site for a house of correction. (fn. 112) This was built accordingly. In 1791 both the prisons and the court buildings on the site of St. Margaret's Church were demolished (fn. 113) and a new county gaol, which was that included in 1790 in the Rules of the King's Bench, was erected in Newington. (fn. 114)

Since Southwark was within the verge of the palace of Westminster, it was subject to the jurisdiction of the officers of the household, the steward, the marshal and the coroner. (fn. 115) In the 14th century the holders of houses in the borough were several times exempted from livery of the king's steward, marshal and other ministers and from obligation to lodge them. (fn. 116) In 1374 the king empowered the good men of Southwark to rebuild in the highway from the church of St. Margaret a house in which to hold the pleas of the Marshalsea of the royal household and all courts of the king and his heirs which had place in the town, (fn. 117) together with the house for the safe keeping of the prisoners of the Marshalsea. The prison was in the custody of the deputy marshal of the household. In the charter of 1550 all powers of the master, steward and marshal of the household within the borough were reserved to the king. (fn. 118) The court was removed by Act of Parliament in 1651. In 1654 many well-affected tradesmen in London, Westminster and adjacent parts complained that by such removal they had been deprived of all easy and speedy ways to recover their debts. (fn. 119) In 1672 the right of the lord steward of the palace and others of the household, that no privileges in Southwark and elsewhere within the verge should be granted without their knowledge, was reserved. (fn. 120) The prison of the Marshalsea was rebuilt in 1811 and discontinued in 1842. (fn. 121) Its conditions were as miserable and corrupt as those of other gaols, and there were the usual efforts to reform them in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 122)

The admiralty court was held in Southwark in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 123) Its place was at Horton Quay, 'by the tideway in the parish of St. Olave,' in 1470 (fn. 124); at the town hall, presumably that on the site of St. Margaret's, in 1625 (fn. 125); and at the Marshalsea House in 1694. (fn. 126)


  • 1. Lives of Edward the Confessor (Rolls Ser.), 402.
  • 2. V.C.H. Surr. i, 305a.
  • 3. Cf. Guildford, where the Earls Warenne also had the third penny.
  • 4. Hunter, Magnum Rot. Scaccarii, 31 Hen. I, 52.
  • 5. Great Roll of the Pipe, 2, 3 & 4 Hen. II, 94.
  • 6. Ibid. 162.
  • 7. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 745.
  • 8. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Kingsford), ii, 64 et seq.
  • 9. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A 3628, 3998, 4001, 4070, 4072, 4074, 4078; Feet of F. Surr. Hil. 54 Hen. III.
  • 10. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 58.
  • 11. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 186; Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 315.
  • 12. Chan. Inq. p.m. 22 Ric. II, no. 65.
  • 13. G. R. Corner, Arch, xxxviii, 40.
  • 14. Ibid.
  • 15. G. E. C. Peerage.
  • 16. Cal. Inq. Hen. VII, i, 376.
  • 17. G. E. C. Peerage.
  • 18. Inq. printed in Arch. xxxviii, 56.
  • 19. It is interesting to notice that the third penny, the endowment of the earl as an official, had slipped into the position of heritable property, and had become separate from the earldom.
  • 20. V.C.H. Surr. i, 305b.
  • 21. Hunter, Magnum Rot. Scaccarii, 31 Hen. I, 50.
  • 22. Great Roll of Pipe, 2, 3 & 4 Hen. II, 12, 94, 162; Pipe R. (Pipe R. Soc.), i, 56; iv, 44; v, 47; viii, 111; xii, 217; xiii, 168; xv, 163; xvi, 145; xviii, 142; xix, 92; xxi, 4; xxii, 204; xxv, 213; xxvi, 193, 197; xxvii, 131; xxviii, 121.
  • 23. Mun. Gildhallac Lond. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 278, 280.
  • 24. Pat. 50 Hen. III, m. 1.
  • 25. Orig. R. 5 Edw. I, m. 21.
  • 26. Orig. R. 5 Edw. I, m. 21; Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 406.
  • 27. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 737.
  • 28. Orig. R. 9 Edw. I, m. 7.
  • 29. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, p. 383. He is called 'bailiff of the town, dwelling there in the king's service.'
  • 30. Orig. R. 1 Edw. II, m. 4.
  • 31. Ibid. 3 Edw. II, m. 3; 17 Edw. II, m. 7; 19 Edw. II, m. 4.
  • 32. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 745.
  • 33. Cal. Close, 1323–7, p. 562.
  • 34. Mun. Gildhallae Lond. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 435.
  • 35. Cal. Close, 1279–88, p. 56.
  • 36. Cal. Pat. 1381–5, pp. 143, 244.
  • 37. Sharpe, Cal. Letter Bks. of City of Lond. G, 300; H, 93.
  • 38. Cal. Pat. 1324–7, p. 10; Cal. Close, 1337–9, p. 537.
  • 39. Sharpe, Cal. Letter Bks. of City of Lond. E, 231.
  • 40. Ibid. E, 274; F, 30, 56, 83, 122, 188; H, 447.
  • 41. Ibid. H, 192.
  • 42. Cal. Pat. 1321–4, p. 313; 1324–7, p. 138; 1327–30, pp. 134, 190, 377; 1337–40, p. 447; 1343–5, p. 41; 1345–8, p. 352.
  • 43. Mun. Gildhallae Lond. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 433.
  • 44. Chart. R. 2–4 Edw. IV, no. 10, m. 28.
  • 45. Ibid. 21–4 Hen. VI, no. 34, m. 188.
  • 46. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, 839.
  • 47. Cf. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 35, and Rendle, Old Southwark, Map of Southwalk in 1542.
  • 48. W. de G. Birch, Hist. Chart of Lond. 116.
  • 49. Liber de Antiquis Legibus (Camd. Soc.), 80.
  • 50. W. Kemmish, Southwark Rights.
  • 51. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Kingsford), ii, 69.
  • 52. Acts of P.C. 1590–1, p. 307; 1591–2, p. 592; 1592–3, p. 364; 1595–6, p. 324; 1598–9, p. 364; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1619–23, p. 487; 1634–5, p. 531.
  • 53. V.C.H. Surr. i, 393–4.
  • 54. Pat. 15 Chas. II, pt. xiii, m. 1; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1663–4, p. 452; Harl. MS. 6166, p. 292; Guildhall MS. 91.
  • 55. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 553.
  • 56. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 73.
  • 57. Manning and Bray, op. cit. iii, 553; Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 116, 160.
  • 58. Ibid. 74.
  • 59. Ibid. 246.
  • 60. W. Kemmish, Southwark Rights; Candid Enquiry into Right of Jurisdiction of City of London over Southwark.
  • 61. Stat. 10 Geo. IV, cap. 44.
  • 62. This must be understood to comprehend all old Southwark except the Clink Liberty and the districts reserved explicitly in 1550.
  • 63. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 75, 108, 134, 163, 246; W. Kemmish, op. cit.
  • 64. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1689–90, p. 41; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiii, App. v, 218.
  • 65. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 161.
  • 66. V.C.H. Surr. i, 431.
  • 67. Ibid.
  • 68. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 35.
  • 69. Stat. 48 & 49 Vict. cap. 23, schedule 6.
  • 70. Assize R. 873, m. 8.
  • 71. Cal. Pat. 1272–81, p. 173.
  • 72. Pat. 7 Hen. IV, pt. ii, m. 14.
  • 73. Chart. R. 21–4 Hen. VI, m. 188, no. 34.
  • 74. Ibid. 2–4 Edw. IV, m. 28, no. 10.
  • 75. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, 839.
  • 76. Add. MS. 36767, fol. 3.
  • 77. Acts of P.C. 1547–50, p. 123. The fair is said to occur on the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, 15 Aug., presumably by an error, since in 1550 it was granted to be held on the original dates.
  • 78. W. de G. Birch, Hist. Chart. o Lond. 118.
  • 79. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1629–31, pp. 319, 554.
  • 80. Pat. 15 Chas. II, pt. xiii, m. 1.
  • 81. A Merry New Year's Gift (Guildhall Library).
  • 82. Cf. the play called 'Southwark Fair' or the 'Sheep Shearing' printed in 1729. The fair was the subject of one of Hogarth's pictures. See also Southwark Fair, a collection of newspaper cuttings at the B.M.
  • 83. Rep. of Com. on Markets and Tolls, i, 207. The fair is again called St. Bartholomew's Fair.
  • 84. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, 839.
  • 85. W. de G. Birch, op. cit. 124.
  • 86. Pat. 15 Chas. II, pt. xiii, m. 1.
  • 87. Guildhall MS. 111, vols. xi–xviii, 23 Chas. II.
  • 88. Rendle, Old Southwark, map.
  • 89. Repertories, 82, fol. 120b.
  • 90. Rep. of Com. on Markets and Tolls, ii, 161; xiii (1), 26.
  • 91. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Strype), bk. iv, map to face p. 20.
  • 92. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 43 Hen. III, no. 27; Trin. 26 Edw. III, no. 15; Hil. 11 Ric. II, no. 32; Mich. 11 Ric. II, no. 33; Mich. 19 Ric. II, no. 31; Cal. Close, 1349–54, p. 331; Close, 6 Hen. VI, m. 12; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 171, 179, 185; Chan. Inq. p.m. 24 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 27; 25 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 30; Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 44, no. 44; L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv (3), 5772.
  • 93. Cal. Pat. 1281–92, pp. 207, 296; 1301–7, p. 549; 1307–13, p. 330.
  • 94. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A 4017, 4023, 4025, 4067, 4081.
  • 95. W. Rendle, Old Southwark.
  • 96. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, 839.
  • 97. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1619–23, p. 334.
  • 98. See below.
  • 99. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Kingsford), ii, 59.
  • 100. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 76.
  • 101. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Strype), bk. iv, 30.
  • 102. Candid Enquiry into Right of Jurisdiction of City of London over Southwark, 28.
  • 103. Manning and Bray, op. cit. iii, App. xxiii.
  • 104. Chas. Knight, Lond. (ed. Walford).
  • 105. Stat. 32 & 33 Vict. cap. 62.
  • 106. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Strype), bk. iv, map to face p. 26.
  • 107. Parl. Papers, 1837, xxv, 35.
  • 108. Stow, Surv. of Lond. (ed. Kingsford), ii, 60. This is confirmed by there being no record of Gulldtord Castle as the county gaol after the reign of Henry VIII.
  • 109. Manning and Bray, op. cit. iii, App. xi.
  • 110. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. ix, App. ii, 498.
  • 111. Manning and Bray, op. cit. iii, App. xi.
  • 112. Loc. Act, 12 Geo. III, cap. 65.
  • 113. Ibid. 31 Geo. III, cap. 23.
  • 114. Manning and Bray, op. cit. iii, App. xiv.
  • 115. Stat. 27 Hen. VIII, cap. 24, s. 12; 28 Hen. VIII, cap. 12; 32 Hen. VIII, cap. 20.
  • 116. Cal. Pat. 1317–21, pp. 152, 411; 1337–40, p. 112; 1340–3, p. 49.
  • 117. Pat. 47 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 21.
  • 118. W. de G. Birch, op. cit. 124.
  • 119. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1653–4, p. 411; 1654, p. 46.
  • 120. Ibid. 1672, p. 30.
  • 121. Stat. 5 & 6 Vict. cap. 22.
  • 122. Manning and Bray, op. cit. iii, App. xxiv.
  • 123. Cal. Pat. 1429–36, p. 33; Acts of P.C. 1592, p. 230; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1633–4, p. 569; 1675–6, p. 440.
  • 124. Cal. Pat. 1467–77, pp. 52, 184.
  • 125. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1625–6, p. 421; 1629–31, p. 90.
  • 126. Ibid. 1694–5, p. 369.