The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas


At what period a bridge was erected over the Thames, between London and , seems doubtful. The notice of the existence of a bridge occurs in the laws of Ethelred II. which fix the tolls to be paid on all vessels coming up to the bridge. William of Malmsbury also mentions this bridge, in his account of the sieges which the city sustained on the invasion of England, by the Danes under Sweyn and Canute. That the bridge was erected between the years and , may safely be inferred from the circumstance, that in the former year, Unlaf or Olaf, the Dane, is said to have sailed much higher up the river; and that, in the latter year, Canute's progress was impeded by it.



In the

Chronicles of

London bridge

is an extract from the , referring to at so early a period as .

There was, at that time,

says Suorro Sturlesonius, an icelandic writer of the century,

a bridge erected over the river between the city and


, so wide, that if


carriages met they could pass each other. At the sides of the bridge, at those parts which looked upon the river, were erected ramparts and castles that were defended on the top by pent-house bulwarks and sheltered turrets, covering to the breast those who were fighting in them; the bridge itself was also sustained by piles which were fixed in the bed of the river.

Stow the historian attributes the building of this bridge to the brethren of the college of priests of St. Mary Overie; his account, which he received from Linstend, the last prior, is as follows:

A ferrie being kept in a place where now the bridge is builded; at length the ferriman and his wife deceasing, left the same ferrie to their only daughter, a maiden, named Marie (Audery), which, with the goods left by her parents, as also with the profits arising of the said ferrie, builded a house of sisters, in a place where now standeth the east part of St. Marie Overie's church, above the queere, where she was buried; unto the which house she gave the oversight and profits of the ferrie: but afterwards the said house of sisters being converted into a college of priests, the priests builded the bridge of timber, as all other the great bridges of this land were; and from time to time kept the same in good reparations; till at length, considering the great charges of repairing the same, there was by ayd of the citizens of London, and others, a bridge builded with arches and stone.

There can be no doubt that prior Linstead exceeded the truth, by ascribing all the credit of so important a public benefaction to a small house of religious; who, with greater probability, only consented to the building of the bridge, upon sufficient consideration being made to them for the pecuniary loss of their ferry from which they received a considerable revenue.

Besides, it is evident beyond dispute, that so early as the Henry I. there were certain lands appropriated for the repairs of this bridge, as appears by a gift of per annum, out of the same, to the monks of , by Thomas Arden: nor could any such society, or petty monastery or college, ever be supposed capable of supporting such a bridge, which, besides other accidents, was burnt in , though not totally destroyed; it was repaired, but decayed so rapidly, that in it was so ruinous that it was obliged to be new built under the inspection of Peter an eminent architect, and chaplain or curate of St. Mary Colechurch, in London.



These continual and large expences in maintaining and repairing a wooden bridge becoming burthensome to the people, who, upon extraordinary occasions, when the lands appropriated for that use fell short in their produce, were taxed to make up the deficiencies: it was resolved to build a stone bridge, a little to the west of that wooden fabric, whose head, in the days of William I. pointed ashore at Botolph's wharf; and the management thereof was given to the abovementioned Peter, as all our historians agree. But this architect did not live to finish so great an undertaking, which, with great encouragement from the king, and Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, who gave towards it, began to be erected in the Hen. I. for he either died, or was so worn out with age and fatigue, in the year of king John's reign, , that we find among the patent rolls of the , the following letter missive from the said king to the mayor and citizens of London, recommending to them Isenbert to finish the bridge; which recommendation is thus translated into English by Mr. Maitland:--

John, by the grace of God, king of England, &c. To his faithful and beloved the mayor and citizens of London, greeting-

Considering how the Lord in a short time has wrought, in regard to the bridges of Xainctes and Rochelle, by the great care and pains of our faithful, learned, and worthy clerk, Isenbert, master of the schools of Xainctes; we therefore, by the advice of our reverend father in Christ, Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, and that of others, have desired, directed, and enjoined him to use his best endeavour in building your bridge, for your benefit, and that of the public; for we trust in the Lord, that this bridge, so necessary for you, and all who shall pass the same, will, through his industry, and the Divine blessing, soon be finished: wherefore, without prejudice to our right, or that of the city of London, we will and grant, that the rents and profits of the several houses that the said master of the schools shall cause to be erected upon the bridge aforesaid, be for ever appropriated to repair, maintain and uphold the same.

And seeing that the necessary works of the said bridge cannot be accomplished without your aid, and that of others; we charge and exhort you kindly to receive and honour the above-named Isenbert, and those employed by him, who will perform every thing to your advantage and credit, according to his directions, you affording him your joint advice and assistance in the premises; for whatever good office or honour you shall do to him, you ought to esteem the same as done to us. But, should any injury be offered to the said Isenbert, or the persons employed by him (which we do not believe there will) see that the same be redressed, as soon as it comes to your knowledge.

Witness myself at Molinel,In the province of Bourbon, France. the eighteenth day of April.

By this royal letter of recommendation of Isenbert to be architect or surveyor of the works of London-bridge, it appears that Peter of Colechurch must either have died in the year , or by age or incapacity was rendered unfit to superintend the direction of the bridge.

For I think,

says Maitland,

it is not to be questioned but the mayor and citizens duly complied, and chose the said Isenbert surveyor of their bridge, pursuant to the said royal recommendation. Though I am apt to suspect, that the citizens were not altogether so complaisant; because it appears the same king, in the seventh year of his reign, and three years before the finishing of the stone bridge, taking the custody of London-bridge from the lord mayor, and granting it to one Friar West,This ought to be brother Wasce, the king's almoner. and obliging the city to apply certain void places within its walls to be built on, and applied to the support thereof. Besides, there is not the least mention of any such surveyor in all our historians; who unanimously declare that the completing of the work was at Peter's death committed to the care of Serle Mercer, William Almaine, and Benedict Botewrite, merchants of London, who finished the first stone bridge at London in the year 1209.

The new bridge was erected a little westward of the former, 926 feet long, 40 in width, and about 60 feet above the level of the water. It contained a drawbridge, and 19 broad pointed arches, with massive piers, varying from 25 to 34 feet in solidity, raised upon strong elm piles, covered by thick planks bolted together.


While Peter of Colechurch had the superintendence of the work, he at his own expence erected a chapel on the east side of the pier from the north end, and endowed the same for priests, clerks, &c. This was the building on the arches of London-bridge. This chapel was afterwards augmented with so many chaunteries, that there were chaplains belonging to it in the Henry VI. maintained by charitable legacies.



This edifice, which was dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, was a beautiful gothic structure, feet long, feet broad, and feet in height. It consisted of stories, both consecrated to sacred purposes. The upper chapel was an elegant structure, being supported by groups of clustered columns, and lighted by pointed arch windows, divided by stone mullions; beneath each of the windows were arched recesses, separated by small pillars. The roof was originally formed of lofty pointed arches; though when it was transferred into a warehouse, a wooden ceiling of strong beams crossing each other in squares, was erected.The lower chapel was of the same chaste and correct order of architecture, it was paved with black and white marble, and in the middle was a sepulchral monument, under which it was supposed Peter of Colechurch was buried. Clusters of small pillars arose at equal distances on the sides, and bending over the roof, met in the centre of the arch, where they were bound together by large flowers cut in the same stone; between these pillars were the windows, which were arched, and afforded a view of the Thames on each side. It had an entrance from the river, as well as from the street, from which last there was a descent by a circular flight of stone steps. This venerable edifice remained nearly in its original form till the


total demolition of the houses on the bridge, at which time it belonged to the occupiers of a dwelling-house erected above it, by whom it had been converted into a warehouse.

This chapel, with its appurtenances, was in the year , given by Henry III. to the master, brethren, and sisters of St. Katherine, near the , for the term of years.

The dreadful fire that destroyed the bridge in , with the adjoining priory of St. Mary , has been mentioned before.

In , an order of the common council was made, by which it was ordained that there should not be kept a market on , nor in any other place, except those appointed for that purpose; also that no person should go out of the city to to buy cattle, or any wares which might be bought in the city, under the penalty of the forfeiture of the thing bought.

Stow was of opinion, that, when this bridge was erected, the river Thames was turned into a large trench or canal made for that purpose; which he imagined had its outflux near , and its influx near Battersea. But this conjecture has not the least foundation for its support; for that which led the author into this


idea, are the vestigia of the canal supposed to have been made by Canute, when he laid siege to London.

Yet, after all the art and charge used and expended in the building of the stone bridge, the citizens did not find themselves so much eased as might have been expected; for in , about years after its completion, it was so ruinous, that they were obliged to apply for relief and assistance to king Edward I. for its repairs; who in the year of his reign granted to the bridge keeper a brief or licence to ask and receive the charity of his well-disposed subjects throughout the kingdom towards repairing the same, in this form:

Rex omnibus Ballivis & Fidelibus suis, ad quos, &c. Salutem. Dolentibus nobis

, &c. Which is translated by Mr. Maitland, as follows:

The king, to all his bailiffs, and liege subjects, to whom these presents shall come, greeting. It hath been lately represented unto us, and it grieves us to see, that London-bridge is in so ruinous a condition, that, unless it be speedily repaired, it must inevitably fall down; and the great number of inhabitants dwelling thereon are in great danger of being destroyed; and that the work, which taken in time, may now be prevented from falling, shall for want of sufficient help be reduced to so wretched a condition, as not to be recovered out of its ruins. Wherefore we, who are bound to take care of, and by all gentle means to provide for, both the public and private good, and affectionately to embrace those whom we perceive to be in need of our assistance, and to receive them under our royal protection. We command and require you, that, when the keepers of the said costly bridge aforesaid, or their messenger, or agent, shall come to you, authorized by our special licence and protection, to collect every where throughout the realm the assistance of our pious and well-disposed subjects, you do admit them friendly at the contemplation of God, and in regard of charity, and for shew of devotion, on this behalf; not bringing on them, or permitting to be brought, wrongs, molestations, lost hindrance, or evance; and if any damage be done them, that ye make them amends without delay; and that when the said keepers, or their messengers, shall apply for your assistance in the repairs of the said bridge, ye shall cheerfully contribute thereto, according to your respective abilities. And let each of you strive to out-run the other in such great works of charity; for which ye must needs merit of God, and have our thanks. In witness whereof, &c. Witness the king at Walsingham, the

eighth day of January


Besides these general letters patent, we find others recorded in particular to the clergy of all degrees, earnestly pressing their contribution to so laudable and necessary a work, and to exhort the people thereto. But, not finding this method effectual to raise a


sufficient fund for so expensive a work, his majesty, the next year, issued out other letters patent for taking customs or toll of all commodities in London, to be applied to the repairs of the bridge, in this form:

Rex Majori suo London. Cum nuper propter subitum, &c.

In English thus:

Whereas lately, by reason of the sudden ruin of London-bridge we commanded, that, associating to you two or three of the most discreet and loyal men of the city aforesaid, ye should take, until our parliament after Easter next past, for the supply of the reparation of the aforesaid bridge, a certain custom; as in these letters patents, which we have caused to be made from that time to you, more fully is contained; we, being willing that the taking of the said customs be continued longer, command you, that from the feast of Margaret the virgin next coming, unto the end of three years next following, to be completed, ye take the under-written custom of the aforesaid bridge: to wit, of every man on foot bringing merchandize, or other things saleable, and passing over the said bridge, and he taking himself to other parts, one farthing; of every horseman passing that bridge, and he taking himself to other parts, as aforesaid, with merchandize, or other saleable things, one penny; of every saleable pack, carried and passing over the bridge, one halfpenny. Nor will we, in the mean time, that any thing be taken there on this occasion, but in the subsidy of the reparation of the bridge: and our will is, that the foresaid custom shall cease, and become void at the full end and term of three years. Witness the king at Chester, the 6th day of July.Pat. 9 Edw. I. m. 25, 27.

And to prevent any evasion of this royal grant and command, his majesty issued a further order to the mayor, and or of the most discreet and loyal citizens associated with him, to take the same custom of a penny for every horseman, and a halfpenny for every pack, as above, which should pass between London and , on either side of the said bridge, towards the expence of its reparation.

The same toll or customs, it appears, were continued for the repairs of the bridge in the and years of Edward I. And the briefs or letters patents for gathering contributions for the same purpose were again issued, both to the people in general, and to the clergy in particular, in the of Edward II.

In , the year of the reign of Edward I. the king granted a patent of pontage or bridge tax,

in aid of repairing and sustaining the bridge of London

for years. It is a long but comprehensive charter, and mentions many commodities of the present day, viz. for every , or weight of cheese, fat of tallow, and butter for sale, ; of every of barley, ; for every weight of sugar, or liquorice, ; for every pound of dates,


saffron and cotton, farthing; for every weight of copper, brass, and tin, ; for every ells of linen coming from ports beyond the sea, ; for every horse of a price of or more, ; if less, an halfpenny, for sheep, an halfpenny, for every cart freighted with fish, &c.

In the Edward I. a grant was made to Henry de Walleis, mayor, and the citizens, of a waste piece of ground on the north side of the church yard of St. Mary Woolchurch; as also another piece, on which now stand those buildings, called the , near the east end of ; and a piece of ground, near the convent of the Friars Minors, in Grey-Friars, was granted to the same mayor and citizens by Edward III. for the repairs of this bridge: which several grants confirm the opinion, that the city had then recovered and maintained its ancient right to the custody of the bridge, and management of its revenues and repairs.

The tower, at the north side of the drawbridge, contrived to give passage for ships with provision to , and to resist the attempts of an enemy, was begun to be built in the year , in the mayoralty of John Reinwell.

About years after, of the arches at the south end, together with the bridge-gate, fell down, and the ruins being suffered to remain, of the locks, or passages for the water, was almost rendered useless; whence it received the name of the rock-lock, and is frequently taken for natural rock. The other buildings on the bridge increased very slowly, for in , when Thos. Falconbridge, the bastard, besieged it, there were no more than houses, besides the gate, and a few other small buildings. In Stow's time, both sides were built up; so that the whole length had the appearance of a large well-built street; there being left on purpose only openings, with stone walls, and iron gates over them, for a prospect, east and west, on the Thames.

The property belonging to this bridge must have been considerable. Among the Harleian MSS. is a book entitled,

A repertory by way of survey, of all the forren landes belonging to

London bridge

, together with all the quitt rents due to, and after rents due from the same.

It is in Latin, and appears to have been written in the century. In the same volume is an account of the

Quit rents of

London bridge

, arising from divers tenements of London and



from which it appears that the gross amount of the latter was , a considerable sum at the period of taking the survey, which the ingenious author of the conceives was about the middle of the century. The disbursements of , were, however


considerable, and the offices of bridge-keepers were situations of considerable note and profit.

In the year of Edward IV. , Peter Alford and Peter Caldecote, wardens of London-bridge, paid, on account of the same, the sum of , and half-pence.

Arnold, in his , an author of great credit, and older than Stow, gives us the following account of the rents, and their application for the support of this bridge in the year , &c.

The yearly Stynt of the Lyuelod belongyng to London brydge:first, for all Maner Ressaytys in the Yere, vii C li. or thereabout.
The Chargys goynge out.
For wagys and fees of the offycerslxixviviii
Item for reward ys of the offycersxxiiiviviii
Item payd out for quyt rentsXXxiiivi
Item for quyt rents dekaydixiiiviii
Item for vacacyonsxxx  
Item for costys of the chapelxxxivviii
Item expencys upon the audytours xi 
Somma of this partC lxxxxviiixviix
Rest clerevCiiiiiiii
The acompte of William Galle and Henry Bumpstede,These two wardens were allowed, in 1482, £ 21. each. Chron. p. 291.wardeyns ofLondon bridge, from Mychelmasse, A. xxii. E. iiii. (A. D.1483); into Mychelmasse after, and ii. Yeres folowynge.
The Charge.
Fyrst, the arreragys of the last accompteii C. lxviixiiiiob.
Item all maner resaytys the same yerevii C. xlvixviob.
Allowans and paymentys the same yerevii C.xliiixii ob.
Rest that is owyngeiiC. lxxxixx ob.
Whereof is dewe by Edwarde Stone and other of them arreragys in the tymelxiiivivi ob.
Item there is dewe by the sayd Wyllyam Galle and Henry Bumstede Sommaii C. xvii xiii iiii


The Acompte the next yere suynge from Michelmasse, in the fyrst yere of kynge Rycharde the iii, unto Mychelmasse next folowynge, the space of an hole yeare.
The Charge.
Fyrst the arreragys of the last acompteiiCviixiiiiiii
Item proper rentysvClxviiixiiiiii
Item foreyne Rentelixxiv ob.
Item Ferme of the Stockyslixixvi
Item Quyt Rentexxxixisxi
Item passage of cartysxxxiivii
Item Incrementys of Rentys--vvi
Item casuell Ressaytysvi-- 
Somma of all theyr chargeixClxiiiviiix ob
Allouance and dischargys the same yere.
Fyrst in Quyt Rentysxxxxiiiivi
To Saynt Mary Spytel with Annuytyes--lviii.
Item decay ofquyt rentysixiiiviii ob.
Item allowance for store-houses--xxxviiii
Item in vacacyonsxxxxviiiii
Item in decrementysiiiviii
Item allowance for money delivered to the mayrexl----
Item for beyngeof stonexviixiiiiiii
Item for beynge of tymbre, lathe, and bordelixiv
Item for beyng of tyle and brykxiiiixiii
Item for beyng of chalke, lyme, and sondxxiiiixixi
Item for yren werkexxxiiviiiiii
Item necessaryes boughtxviiiviiiiiii
Item in necessaryes expensysviiixviiixi
Item more necessaryes expensys------
Item costys of caryagexiixixvi
Item led and sowderxiiiviii--
Item for glasynge--xxxviiii
Item costys of the ramexxxiiiviix
Item masons wagysxlviiiviiiiiii ob.
Item carpenters wagysCxiiiiv--
Item laborers wagysxxiixix ob.
Item costys of the chapellxxxiiiviii
Item the wagys of the tylersxiixiivi
Item for wagys of the dawbyrxiivi--
Item for sawyarsxiixv--
Item for wagys of pavyours--xviiiviii
Item to the baker at the cok--l--
Item for fees and wagys of offycerslxixviviii
Item rewardys of offycersxxiiiviviii
Item expensys upon the audytours--xliiviii
Somma of all the paymentys and allowanceviiCxxixxi q.
ResteiiCxliixviiivi q.
Whereof is owynge and dyeu by Edward Stone, for arrerage in his time, sommaliiiivivi
Item by W. Galle and H. Bumstedelxxxixxixi ob. q.
The Acompte,anno ii Rich. tertii.
The Charge.
Fyrst the arreragys of theyr last acompteClxxxixxixi ob. q.
Item all maner ressatysviiCxliiiixv
Somma of the chargeixCxxxiiiiiiiiii
Fyrst allowance of paymentys the same yereviCxxiiiiiiix
So there remayneth the sommeCCCxxviiv ob.
Whereof is dewe by Edwarde Stone and other of theyr arrerage in theyr tymeliiivivi ob.
And so remayneth clerly dewe by W. Galle and H. Bumpstede, alias BounstedCClviixxi

In the years , and , London-bridge was repaired to some extent. In the Gentleman's Magazine for , is a letter from Joseph Ames, secretary to the society of antiquaries, containing inscriptions engraven on stone, found in pulling down a part of the edifice. These, it is supposed, were laid in the building at the different times of its repair, specified by their several dates. The oldest inscription is inches high, by inches long.

The letters are raised, and the words within a border are

Anno Domine

, with the date of , in Arabic figures.



The next inscription is similar to the above, being inches in height, by inches broad; the words are,

Anno Domini



The last inscription is supposed to record the benefactions, of sir Roger Achiley, draper, mayor, in . The tablet is inches wide, by high, and the inscription is

Anno Domine, R.


, A.

According to the author of the , sir Roger Achiley was at this period senior alderman, representing the ward of bridge within.

Of the appearance of London-bridge, about , there is extant a curious illuminated drawing in the . It is contained in a folio volume, which professes to treat of

Grace entiere sur le gouvernement du Prince


and from the style of writing and the union of the red and white roses in the title page was probably intended for that sanguinary tyrant, Henry VIII. when prince of Wales. The illumination from which the engraving in the next page is faithfully copied, represents the duke of Orleans in the Tower, sending despatches to his friends abroad. The Tower, wharf, and river before them, occupy the whole foreground of the painting; and in the back appears the east side of , with numerous houses standing upon it; the chapel of St. Thomas reaching down to the sterlings, and the violent fall of the river


through the different arches; whilst, beyond it, rise the spires of several churches, especially the very high of old , and the other buildings of London, erected along the banks of the Thames.

In , the following charges upon the bridge estate appear on the account rolls of the bridge: , Thomas Crull and Robert Draper, wardens of , salary to each of them ; winter's livery to each, -l: reward to each, For horse keeping, to each, Total to each of them, ; sum of the whole. Rental this year, l.

The gallant action of Edward Osborne, ancestor to the duke of Leeds, when he was apprentice to sir William Hewet, clothworker, has been often related, and is better known than most other portions of the history of this bridge.



, when his master lived in


of those tremendous houses,

says Pennant,

a servant maid was playing with his only daughter in her arms, in a window over the water, and accidentally dropt the child. Young Osborne, who was witness to the misfortune, instantly sprung into the river, and beyond all expectation, brought her safe to the terrified family. Several persons of rank paid their addresses to her, when she was marriageable; among others, the earl of Shrewsbury; but sir William gratefully decided in favour of Osborne;


says he,

saved her, and Osborne shall enjoy her.

In her right he possessed a great fortune. He became a sheriff of London in


, and lord mayor in



when he received the honour of knighthood at Westminister. On the , sir Thomas Osborne, great grandson of sir Edward, was raised to the peerage by the


titles of viscount Latimer, and baron Kiveton, in the county of York, and in the year following, earl of Danby; and , marquis of Caermarthen, and on , he became the duke of Leeds.

Nothing is known relating to the bridge chapel, at the disolution of monasteries, &c. in ; it is not even mentioned in the

valor ecclesiasticus

, made by order of Henry VIII.

In , a new tower was erected on the side of the bridge, in addition to the gate or tower, called the traitor's gate, from the heads of state delinquents being set up on the top of it. This new gate was formed of timber, of curious construction, with circular turrets. It is engraved in the view of London, by Hollar, for Howell's


which is accurately copied in the annexed plate.

In the year , Peter Moris, a Dutchman, contrived a water-engine, or mill, to supply the citizens with Thames water. This machine at was made to force the water no higher than . This engineer obtained from the city a lease for years, at the yearly rent of , for the use of the Thames water, and arch and a place for sinking his mill upon. And the citizens, soon experiencing the benefit of this invention, granted him a like lease years after for another arch. By which means he grew very wealthy; and it continued in his family, under various improvements, until the year , when the property was sold to Richard Soams, citizen and goldsmith Moris having , at the purchaser's request, obtained another lease of the arch, for the further improvement of the said works, after selling the whole property thereof for Mr. Soams, to prevent all disputes with the citizens, then applied to the city for a confirmation of his bargain with Moris, and obtained a fresh lease from them for the term unexpired of Moris's lease, at the yearly rent of , and fine. After which he divided the whole property into shares, at each share, and made it a company. The wheels placed under the arches were moved by the common stream of the river.

In , the managers of the waterworks gave notice they were going to rebuild their largest water wheel; but on , an act was passed for their entire removal, with a view of improving London-bridge, or erecting a new . This act, after declaring that about years of the original grants to the company are unexpired, enacted, that the corporation of London should raise out of the bridge-house estates, for carrying the act into effect, of which should be paid to the proprietors of the water works, for rendering void their licenses, and transferring all the machinery, buildings, &c. to the company.



The bridge continued in a dilapidated state till the year , when on the an extensive fire destroyed the buildings from the north end of the bridge to the vacancy on both sides, containing houses.

Stow's account of this fire is as follows:

At the latter end of the year


, viz on the

13th Feb.





at night, there happened, in the house of


Briggs, a needle-maker, near St. Magnus church, at the north end of the bridge, by the carelessness of a maid servant, setting a tub of hot sea-coal ashes under a pair of stairs, a sad and lamentable fire, which consumed all the buildings before


of the clock the next morning, from the north end of the bridge, to the


vacancy on both sides, containing


houses; water being then very scarce, the Thames being almost frozen over. Beneath, in the vaults, and cellars, the fire remained burning and glowing a whole week after. After which fire, the north end of the bridge lay unbuilt for many years; only deal boards were set up on both sides, to prevent people's falling into the Thames, many of which deals were, by high winds, blown down, which made it very dangerous in the nights, although there were lanthorns and candles hung upon all the cross beams that held the pales together.

In the Gentleman's Magazine for , is a communication from Mr. Upcott of the , containing an extract from an original manuscript journal of remarkable providences, from to about , kept by Nehemiah Wallington, a puritan, citizen and turner, of London, who lived in , and who was evidently a friend of Prynn and Bastwick, having been examined concerning them before the Star Chamber.

This MS. which is in my possession,

says Mr. Upcott,

is a


to. volume, of


pages, written in the small print hand of the


century, and is entitled

A Record of the Mercies of God, or a Thankfull Remembrance.

The account of this fire is particularly curious.

On the XI of February (being Monday) 1633, began by God's iust hand a fearefull fire in the house of one Mr. John Brigges neere tenn of the clocke att night; it burnt doun his house and the next house, with all the goods that were in them, and as I heere that Briggs, his wife, childe, and maid, escaped with their lives. The fire burned so fearcely, that it could not be quenched till it had consumed all the houses on both sides of the way from St. Magnus church to the first open place. And although there was water enough very neere, yet they could not safely come at it; but all the conduittes neere were opened, and the pipes that carried the water through the streets were cut open, and ye water swept doun with broomes with help enough, but it was the will of God it should not prevaile. For the three engines, which are such excellent things, that nothing that ever was devised could do so much good; yet none of these did prosper, for they were all broken, and the tide was verie low, that they could get no water, and the pipes that were cut yielded but littel. Some ladders were broke to the hurt of many: for several had their legges broke, some their armes, and some their ribes, and many lost their lives. This fire burnt fiercely all night and part of the next day, till all was destroyed and pulled down to the ground; yet the timber, wood, and coales in the sellers could not be quenched all that weeke, till the Tuesday following in the afternoone the xix of February; for I was then there my selfe, and a live cole of fire in my hand which burnt my fingers. Notwithstanding there were as many night and day as could labour one by another to carry away timber, and brickes, and tiles, and rubbish cast doune into the liters [lighters.] So that on Wednesday the bridge was cleared that passengers might goe over.

At the beginning of this fire as I lay in my bed and heard ye sweeping of the channels and crying for water-water. I arose about one of the clocke and looked downe Fish-street-Hill, and did behold such a fearefull and dreadfull fire, vaunting it selfe over the tops of houses like a captaine florishing and displaying his banner, and seeing so much means and little good it did, it made me think of that fire which the Lord threteneth against Jerusalem for the breach of his sabbath-day. Jeremiah xvii, verse 27.

I did heer that on the other side of the bridge the brewers brought abundance of water in vessels on their draies, which did much good. Had the wind been as high as it was a weeke before, I think it would have indangered ye most part of the Citie: for in Thamesstreet there is much pitch, tarre, rosen, and oyle in their houses. Therefore as God remembers mercy in justice, let us remember thankfullnesse in sorrow. The Names and Trades of those Houses that were burnt upon the Bridge. 1 William Vynor, haberdasher of small wares. 2 John Broome, hosier. 3 Arthur Lee, haberdasher of small wares. 4 Johane Broome, hosier. 5 Ralph Panne, shewmaker. 6 Abraham Marten, haberdasher of hatts. 7 Jeremiah Champney, hosier. 8 John Terrill, silkeman. 9 Ellis Midmore, millinor. 10 Frances Finch, hosier. 11 Andrew Bouth, haberdasher of small wares. 12 Samuel Petty, glover. 13 Valentine Beale, mercer. 14 Mrs. Chambers, senior. 15 Jeremiah Chamley, silkeman. 16 The Blew Bore, emptie. 17 Jown Gower, stiller of strong waters. 18 John Wilding, junior, girdler. 19 Danniel Conney, silkeman. 20 Stephen Beale, lyning draper. 21 Mrs. Jane Langham, mercer. 22 James Dunkin, woolen draper. 23 Matthew Harding, salter. 24 Abraham Chambers, haberdasher of small wares. 25, 26, Lyne Daniell, haberdasher of hatts; a double house. 27 Mrs. Brookes, glover. 28 Mr. Coverley, hosier. 29 John Dransfielde, grocer. 30 Mr. Newman, emptie. 31, 32 Edward Warnett and Samuell Wood, partners, haberdashers of small wares. 33 John Greene, haberdasher of hattes. 34 Hugh Powell, do. 35 Samuel Armitage, haberdasher of small wares. 36 John Sherley, do. 37 John Lawrymore, grocer. 38 Timothy Drake, woolling daper. 39 John Brigges, needle maker. 40 Richard Shelbuery, scrivener. 41 Edward Greene, hosier. 42 Mr. Hazard, the curate at St. Magnus Cloyster. 43 Mr. Howlett, the clarke at St. Magnus Cloyster.

In , there was a most extraordinary phenomena, viz. tides at London-bridge within an hour and a half. From a rare tract of leaves, a copy of which is in the , the following is extracted:--

Fryday, Februarie




, it was high water at


of the clocke at noone--a time by reason so accommodated for all imployments by water or land-very fit to afford witnesse of a strange and notorious accident. After it was full high water, and that it flowed its full due time, as all almanacks set downe; and watermen, the unquestionable prognosticators in that affaire, with confidence mainetaine it stood a quiet still dead water a full houre and a halfe, without moving or returning in any way never so little: yea, the watermen flung in stickes to the streme, as near as they could guesse, which lay in the water as upon the earth, without moving this way or that. Dishes, likewise, and wodden buckets, they set a swimming, but it proved a stilling, for move they would not, any way, by force of stream or water, so that it seemed the water was indeed asleepe or dead, or had

changed or borrowed the stability of the earth. The watermen, not content with this evidence, would needs make the utmost of the tryall, that they might report with the more boldnesse, the truth of the matter; and with more credible confidence they tooke their boates, and lanched into the streame or very channell; but the boates that lay hailed up on the shore, moved as much, except when they used their oares; nay--a thing worthy the admiration of all men--they rowed under the very arches, tooke up their oares, and slept there, or, at least, lay still an houre very neare, their boates not so much as moved through any way, either upward or downward; the water seeming as plaine, quiet, even, and stable as a pavement under the arch, where, if any where in the Thames, there must be moving, by reason of the narrownesse of the place. In this posture stood the water a whole houre and halfe, or rather above, by the testimony of above

five hundred

watermen on either side the Thames, whom not to believe in this case were stupiditie, not discretion. At last, when all men expected its ebb, being filled with amazement that it stood so long as hath been delivered, behold a greater wonder--a new tyde comes in! A new tyde with a witnesse, you might easily take notice of him; so lowde he roared, that the noise was guessed to be about Greenwich, when it was heard so, not onely clearly, but fearfully to the bridge; and up he comes, tumbling, roaring and foaming in that furious manner, that it was horror unto all that beheld it.. And as it gave sufficient notice to the eare of its comming, so it left sufficient satisfaction to the eye, that it was now come, having raised the water foure foote higher than the


tyde had done, foure foote by rule! as by evident measure did appear, and presently ebbed in as hasty, confused, unaccustomed manner. See here, reader! a wonder, that-all things considered--the oldest man never saw or heard of the like.

The next curious item respecting the bridge is a


to shoot, as out of a gun, boats with a man or boy in them, from side of the bridge to the other, without injury to boat or person. This the projector states in manner following; and heads his project with

Propositions in the office of assurance, London, for the blowing up of a boat and man over London-bridge.

In the name of God, amen. John Bulmer, of London, esquire, master and surveior-generall of the king's majestie's mines royall, and engines for water-workes, propoundeth-by God's assistance --that he, the said John Bulmer, shall and will, at, and in a flowing water, set out a boat or vessell, with an engine, floating with a man or boy in and aboard the said boat, in the river of Thames, over against the Tower-wharfe, or lower, which said boat, with the said man or boy in or aboard her, shall the same tide, before low water againe, by art of the said John Bulmer, and helpe of the said engine, be advanced and elevated so high, as that the same shall passe and be delivered over London-bridge, together

with the said man or boy in and aboard her, and floate againe in the said river, on the other side of the said bridge in safety.

He then solicits an ample subscription to enable him to exemplify his project, but, it appears, without success; for in , he proposes the following modification of his scheme, namely,

The blowing up of a gun from under the water, by the breath of a man's mouth, shall occasion the raising of such boate or vessell; which said gun shall then forthwith after be discharged by fire given thereunto, and presently sink againe; after the sinking whereof, another gunne shall be raised by such means as aforesaid, which shall be discharged also forthwith upon the floating of the said boat or vessel on the other side of the said bridge,

Nobody, it seems, was willing to be exploded in any such manner, and the end of the project was an appeal to the public, including a certificate of his ability to perform several of his projects, from Emanuel college, Cambridge, and ending with a copy of most lamentable verses, vindicating himself from his detractors.

In the years





says Mr. Maitland,

several houses were rebuilt of timber, in a very substantial and beautiful manner, some of


stories high, besides cellars, contrived within and between the piers; and stately platforms, leaded, and railed with ballasters, over the houses. But Mr. Howell, in the


bewails that the whole ruins were not then rebuilt, there being no object, as he writes, (after the church of St. Paul, then in a ruinous condition) that would conduce more to the glory and ornament of this renowned city. Forasmuch as this bridge may be called the bridge of the world, taken together in all its parts and appendages.

Nor had this ornament and glory of the city recovered from its ruinous condition in , when again it suffered in the general conflagration. Most of the buildings thereon being totally consumed, except a few at the south end, and the chapel: and the very stone-work, upon which they stood, was so battered and weakened thereby, that it cost the bridge-house to make good the damage of the piers and arches, before the leaseholders could attempt to rebuild the premises destroyed by the fire.

But the stone-work was no sooner secured, than a sufficient number of tenants offered; who conditioned with the bridgehouse for building-leases of years, at the rate of per foot running, yearly, and to build after such a form and substantial manner, as was prescribed: which was carried into execution so vigorously, that in years the north end was all completely finished, with houses stories high, and a street of feet broad between side and side. And then, in order to make the south end answerable thereto, the lord mayor, aldermen, and commoners, appointed for the letting of the city and


bridge-house lands, measuring how many feet every proprietor had in the front of his house, considering what annual rent he paid to the bridge-house, and what number of years his lease had yet to run; then calling over those whose leases were expired, and those whose leases were near expiring; they treated with the proprietors to engage them to rebuild in the same form as the houses were finished at the north end of the bridge; purchasing at avaluable consideration such of the premises, as the tenants were not able to build; and allowing to those who agreed to build, not only a longer time to some of their leases, but an abatement of the rent, answerable to the cost of their rebuilding; besides laying out on the repairs of the piers and arches, on which the new houses were to be erected. In which state, completed in about years more, Mr. Maitland says

this bridge was the admiration of all that beheld it; and, if considered in its houses,


, and the trade carried on amongst them, we may pronounce it the most stately bridge in the whole world, and justly deserving the following encomium:

De Ponte Londinensi, Ejusque Stupendo Situ et Structura, ad instar Celebris illius Hexastichi Poetae Sannazarii, de Urbe Veneta, Viderat Hadriacis, &c. Cum Londinensem Neptunus viderat Urbem, Vectus ibi propriis atque revectus aquis; Dum densam penetrat sylvam lucosque ferentes, Pro ramis funes, pro foliisque cruces; Cum super impositum torrenti flumine pontem Viderat, et rapido ponere jura freto; Cum tantos muros, ferrumina, castra, tot arcus Vidit, et haec tergo cuncta jacere suo; Arcus, qui possent totidem formare Rialtos, Metiri si quis summa vel ima cupit: Haec Deus undarum aspiciens, fluxusque retrorsum Tundere, et horrendos inde boare sonos; Nunc mihi quanta velis, terrae miracula pandas, Est primus mundi pons, ait, iste stupor.

The same paraphrased by James Howell, Esq.Author of the Londinopolis, in which it is printed. When Neptune from his billows London spyde, Brought proudly thither by a high spring tyde, As thro' a floating wood he steer'd along, And dancing castles cluster'd in a throng; When he beheld a mighty bridg give law Unto his surges, and their fury awe; When such a shelf of cataracts did ro ar, As if the Thames with Nile had chang'd her shoar, When he such massy walls, such towrs did eye, Such posts, such irons, upon his back to lye; When such vast arches he observ'd that might Nineteen RialtosThe principal bridge of Venice. make for depth and height; When the Cerulean God these things survay'd, He shook his trident, and astonish'd said, Let the whol earth now all the wonders count, This bridg of wonders is the paramount.

The only house that was not taken down was at the north end, which had been constructed in Holland, and was called the Tower of London-bridge, or the Nonsuch, from its not having a single nail in it, but being pinned together with wooden pegs. Its situation was between the and arches of the present bridge, from the end. vacancies were left at equal distances, from which a view of the river might be obtained. The Nonsuch occupying the whole breadth of the bridge, the archway under it was raised to the height of stories, and over it the following inscription was placed:--

Anno MDCLXXXV. et primo Jacobo II. Regis

This street was opened and enlarged from


to the

width of



Sir James Smith, Knight, Lord Mayor.

In the year , in the mayoralty of sir Gerrard Conyers, to preserve the passage free on the bridge, the court of lord mayor, aldermen, and common council, published the following order:

This court, being sensible of the great inconveniences and mischiefs which happen by the disorderly leading and driving of cars, carts, coaches, and other carriages, over London-bridge, whereby the common passage there is greatly obstructed, doth strictly order and enjoin (pursuant to several former orders made by this court, for prevention of those mischiefs) that three sufficient and able persons be appointed, and constantly maintained; one by the governors of Christ's Hospital, one by the inhabitants of the ward of Bridge Within, and the other by the bridge-masters; which three persons are to give their diligent and daily attendance at each end of the bridge, and by all good means to hinder and to prevent the said inconveniences; and for that purpose to direct and take care that all carts, coaches, and other carriages coming out of Southwark into this city, do keep all along on the west side of the said bridge; and all carts and coaches, and other carriages, going out of this city, do keep all along on the east side of the said bridge; and that no carman be suffered to stand across the said bridge, to load or to unload; and that they shall apprehend all such who shall be refractory, or offend herein, and carry them before some of his majesty's justices of the peace for this city and liberties, to be dealt with according to law. And further, to prevent the aforesaid obstructions, it is ordered, that the collector of the tolls upon the said bridge shall take care that the said duties be collected, without making a stay of the carts, for which the same is to be paid.

In the same year, and on the same day of the month (,) on which the draw-bridge, then decayed, had been laid just years before, (viz. ) the old draw-bridge was taken up, and a new began to be laid, which was completed within the short space of days.

A brief state of the Bridge-house account from Lady-day1726; to ditto1727, by the Bridge-Masters, Matthew Snablin and John Web.
By money in the bridge-masters' hands at the foot of the last account57699
By ditto in the tenant's hands in arrears4271133
By the rental general this year329905
By fines for this year49342
By casual receipts26768
The whole charge8907143
To rents and quit-rents49128
To taxes and trophy-money209143
To weekly-bills, necessary expences and emptions164800
To timber and boards430189
To stones, chalk, lime, terrass and bricks19760
To iron-work17000
To plumber, glazier, painter and paviour27880
To shipwrights' work and cordage6150
To benevolence to the lord mayor, &c.14568
To particular payments by order of court17370
To fees and salaries27040
To costs at audit and lady-fair29620
To money due to balance497794

of the latest fires that happened on London-bridge, took place , it broke out on the side of the bridge, and burned with great violence for some hours. The old bridge gate was so much damaged by this conflagration, that it was taken down the next year and rebuilt, being finished in .


This gate was decorated with the royal arms, under which


was inscribed

This gate was widened from


to eighteen feet, in the mayoralty of sir Edward Becher, knt. S. P. Q. L.

At length, the city became sensible of the inconvenience of not having a proper footway, which had occasioned the loss of many lives, from the number of carriages continually passing; and the building leases being expired, a plan was projected for rebuilding the street, with a colonnade on each side, by which foot-passengers might pass in security, and be also sheltered from the weather; and this was partly carried into execution at the north-east end.

The dilapidated state of the tower on the south end of is exhibited in a clever painting of the east side of The bridge, by Samuel Scott, made about .


A brief State of the Bridge-house account, from Lady-day1752, to Lady-day1753.
In the hands of the bridge-masters at the foot of their last account266996
In the hands of the chamberlain of London, paid him by Webb's securities60000
In tenants' hands in arrears at Lady-day1752241318 9 1/2
In arrear for fines then70611
Rental general this year (including quit-rents)384387
Fines set this year66200
Whole charge1025939 1/2
Rents and quit-rents paid5293
Taxes and trophy-money194114 1/2
Necessary expences351171 1/2
Exemptions Stone, chalk, terrass34044
Mason, painter, glazier, carpenter, &c.1904139
Shipwright's work and cordage104180
Particular payments by order125473 3/4
Fees and salaries28745
Costs at audit and Lady-fair160110
Whole charge5513193 3/4
And then remains474575 3/4
Whereof discharged by desperate arrears and remitted8900
And then remains due to the bridge-house at Lady day 1753465675 3/4
Arrears of rents and quit-rents2483151 3/4
Arrears of fines70611
In the bridge-master's hands150255
In the hands of the chamberlain of London60000
Remains due465675 3/4

In the year the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council, considering the many lives that were lost through the narrowness' of the arches, and the enormous size of the sterlings, which took up - of the water-way, and occasioned the fall, at low water, to be no less than feet, as well as the great expence of repairing the bridge, which for several years had amounted to per annum, came to a resolution to take down the houses entirely, and to widen or more of the arches.

An act of parliament for the above purposes being obtained, in the year , orders were immediately given for taking down the houses on both sides of the bridge, and a temporary wooden bridge was erected upon the western sterlings, for the passage of carriages as well as persons on foot, till the intended alterations were completed. This was opened in . This temporary bridge was destroyed by fire, , but the interruption to the communication was not of long continuance, the damage being


repaired in less than weeks. Another act of parliament was shortly after passed, for granting the city towards carrying on the work, which was completed in a short time, as it now appears; the center arches of the old bridge having been thrown into , for the convenience of vessels passing through. This alteration was carried into effect by sir Robert Taylor, architect to the , and Mr. Dance, surveyor of the Board of Works.

On the opening of the great arch, the excavation around and under the sterlings was so considerable, that the bridge was thought to be in great danger of falling. Mr. Smeaton, the engineer, was then in Yorkshire, but an express was sent for him and he arrived with the utmost despatch; when the apprehensions of the bridge falling were so general, that few persons would pass over or under it. Mr. Smeaton having ascertained the state of the sterlings, and called the committee together, recommended that they should re-purchase the stones that had been taken from the middle pier, then lying in , and throw them into the river to guard the sterlings. Nothing shews the fears entertained for the stability of the bridge more than the alacrity with which his advice was adopted. The stones were repurchased that day, and on the following morning, though Sunday, the work commenced; which, in all probability, preserved the bridge from falling, and secured it until more effectual methods could be taken.

By a survey of the bridge, made in the year , it appeared, that the exterior part of the foundation, on which the stone piers are laid, consisted of huge piles of timber, driven close together, on the top of which were laid large planks, inches in thickness, whereupon the bases of the stone piers were laid, feet below the sterlings, and feet above the bed of the river.

It likewise appeared, that the lowermost layers of the original stones were bedded in pitch, instead of mortar, which appears to have been done with a view of preventing the water from damaging the work, till it was advanced above the high water mark; for the modern method of building within a caissoon, as was successively practised at the erecting of the bridges at and Blackfriars, was then totally unknown.

The income of the bridge-masters, in , appears to have been as follows: for the senior --the junior . , and the rental at Christmas, , was Is. In again became the subject of considerable inquiry and speculation. From the report made by the select committee upon the improvement of the port of London, it appears that after a minute survey of the bridge by Mr. Dance, the clerk of the works, that gentleman was convinced that provided the sterlings were kept in repair the structure was likely to stand for ages. The average cost of its repairs had exceeded annually for the last years, and the wardens account for the same period varied


from to Attached to this report is an interesting plan of , taken ; a reduced copy of which is engraved in the plate.

In the next year, a


was issued, from which it appears the committee collected information and provided designs for a new bridge; some of the plans were most extravagant and gigantic. A brief notice of the principal designs is as follows:

. Mr. Ralph Dodd proposed the erection of a stone bridge of arches, feet wide, and a centre of iron, feet span, and about feet high, to admit shipping up the river; the declivity of this bridge to extend from the upper corner of Monument-yard, to , .

. A design by the same engineer for a stone bridge, to be erected about yards above the ancient bridge, on the east side of Fishmongers'-hall, to consist of elliptical arches, the centre being feet span, and feet high, the succeeding feet span, and feet high, and the outer feet span, and in height. The whole was to be adorned with statues, columns, &c. and the estimated expence was

. Design for a large centre arch constructed of cast iron, with granite piers by Mr. S. Wyatt.

. This design was furnished by Mr. Robert Mylne (afterwards architect of Blackfriars-bridge,) who proposed a bridge of arches, the centre being feet above high high water mark, and feet wide.

. Mr. Thomas Wilson, architect of the celebrated bridge at Bishops Wearmouth, near Sunderland, made a design of a bridge of cast iron, of arches; the centre being feet span, and feet high, and the others of feet, breadth of roadway feet, and estimate for the iron work alone

Designs Nos. , , and , were furnished by Mr. Telford and Mr. James Douglas; the idea was diminish the ascent by increasing the length of the bridge on the Surrey side, and by placing the largest arch nearest the city shore. Their estimate, including some important improvements along the banks of the river, amounted to .; in a subsequent design they placed the great arch in the centre, the other design being particularly objectionable on account of its awkward appearance, and the inconvenience of its navigation.

. This design was by the last architects, and proposed a bridge of cast iron, to consist of arches decorated with statues, trophies, &c. The principal arch to be l feet span, and feet


high. The estimates for this bridge and approaches to the wharfs on either side was .

The last design was sent in by Mr. George Dance, architect to the city, and professor of architecture, in the Royal Academy. His design was to erect parallel bridges, with drawbridges for the passage of vessels, the space between the bridge was to be feet, furnished with mooring chains for securing the ships in tiers. Each end of the edifice was to be formed into a semicircular area, and the estimate, including the approaches, was

The committee ultimately recommended the re-building the bridge of iron, with acentre arch of at least feet above high water. Subsequently the committee considered the propriety of erecting an iron bridge of arch, feet span and feet in height, but from the diversity and contrary opinions given by many mathematicians and engineers, on the practicability of erecting such a structure, this design was ultimately abandoned.

On the conclusion of the great frost of , which did considerable damage to , the inquiry as to erecting a new bridge was recommenced. Messrs. Dance, Chapman, Alexander, and Montague, proposed substituting arches for of the present, the expence of which they estimated at ; but upon examining of the piers it was found to be impracticable.

In and a select committee of the house of commons was appointed to inquire into the propriety of erecting a new bridge as near as conveniently to the old ; and after a laborious investigation and a survey of the river from the present bridge to Old Swan Stairs, a bill was introduced into parliament to erect a new bridge and provide for approaches, which, on , received the royal assent. By this act the corporation were to receive the sum of from the treasury, additional funds being raised on credit of the bridge-house estates by mortgages, annuities, bonds, &c. The pile was driven near the southern end of the old bridge, .

The works are carried on by Mr. Rennie, the son of the eminent architect, who erected and made the design for the ; the contract for building the bridge is of which sum was given by the treasury in , for making the bridge feet wider than the original design. The form of the bridge is a flat segment, with elliptical arches, having plain rectangular buttresses standing upon plinths and straight flights of stairs, feet wide at each end.

Dimensions ofNew London Bridge.
Span of the centre arch1506
Height of ditto from high water296
Span of the second and fourth arches1400
Height of ditto from high water276
Span of the abutment arches1300
Height of ditto from high water246
Clear water way6900
Length of bridge, including abutments9280
Ditto within abutments7820
Width of bridge from parapet to parapet560
Width of carriage-way360
Ditto of each foot-path90
Total height of the bridge on the eastern side from low water600

It was expected that, in excavating the new foundation, several interesting antiquities would be discovered, but, exclusive of the silver statue of Harpocrates mentioned before, little of value has been discovered. The most numerous have been defaced. brass and copper coins of Augustus, Vespasian, and later Roman emperors, Nuremburgh counters, ancient iron keys, and silver spoons; also a spear head engraven on the shaft, and a dagger, which had once been gilt. The principal of these antiquities are in the possession of R. F. Newman, esq. and some curious dates are in the city library.

On Wednesday, the , the stone of the new bridge was laid; as the ceremonial was of an interesting description, a full and circumstantial account is presented.

At an early hour of the morning of , the vicinity of the new and old bridges presented an extraordinary appearance of activity and preparation.

So early as o'clock, the avenues leading to the old bridge were filled with individuals, anxious to behold the approaching ceremony, and shortly afterwards the various houses, which form the streets through which the procession was to pass, had their windows graced with numerous parties of well-dressed people. St. Magnus' church on the bridge, in the Borough, Fishmongers'-hall, and the different warehouses in the vicinity, had their roofs covered with spectators; platforms were erected in every nook from whence a sight could be obtained.

The wharfs on the banks of the river, between and , were occupied by an immense multitude. was crowded, and the river from thence to presented the appearance of an immense dock covered with vessels of various descriptions.



At o'clock was wholly closed, and at the same hour was thrown open, free of toll. At each end of barriers were formed, and no persons were allowed to pass, unless provided with tickets, and these only were used for the purpose of arriving at the cofferdam.

At o'clock, the barrier at the foot of the bridge on the city side of the river was thrown open, and the company, who were provided with tickets' for the coffer-dam, were admitted within it, and kept arriving till o'clock in quick succession. At that time the barriers were again closed, and no person was admitted till the arrival of the chief procession. By o'clock, however, most of the seats within the coffer-dam were occupied, with the exception of those reserved for the persons connected with the procession.

The interior of the works was highly creditable to the bridge committee. Not only were the timbers, whether horizontal or upright, of immense thickness, but they were so securely and judiciously bolted and pinned together, that the liability of any danger or accident was entirely done away with.

The very awning,

says Mr. Hone, who was present at this interesting ceremony,

which covered the whole coffer-dam, to ensure protection from the sun or rain, had there been any, was raised on a little forest of scaffolding poles, which, any where but by the side of the huge blocks of timber introduced immediately beneath, would have appeared of an unusual stability. In fact, the whole was arranged as securely and as comfortably as though it had been intended to. serve the time of all the lord mayors for the next century to come, while on the outside, in the river, every necessary precaution was taken to keep off boats, by stationing officers there for that purpose.

The interior of the coffer-dam was ornamented with as much taste and beauty as the purposes for which it was intended would possibly admit. The entrance to the platform from the bridge, was fitted up with crimson drapery, tastefully festooned. The coffer-dam itself was divided into tiers of galleries, along which several rows of benches, covered with scarlet cloth, were arranged for the benefit of the spectators. It was covered with canvass to keep out the rays of the sun, and from the transverse beams erected to support it, which were decked with rosettes of different colours, were suspended flags and ensigns of various descriptions, brought from Woolwich yard; which by the constant motion in which they were kept, created a current of air, which was very refreshing. The floor of the dam, which is feet below the high water mark, was covered, like the galleries, with scarlet cloth, except in that part of it where the stone was to be laid. The floor is feet in length, and in breadth; is formed of beech planks, inches in thickness, and rests


upon a mass of piles, which are shod at the top with iron, and are crossed by immense beams of solid timber. By o'clock all the galleries were completely filled with well-dressed company, and an eager impatience for the arrival of the procession was visible in every countenance. The bands of the horse guards, red and blue, and also that of the artillery company, played different tunes, to render the interval of expectation as little tedious as possible. In the mean time the arrangements at being completed, the procession moved from the court-yard, in the following order:--

A body of the Hon. Artillery Company, with their field pieces. Band of Music. Marshalmen. Mr. Cope, the junior City Marshal, mounted, and in the full uniform of his Office. The private carriage of N. Saunders, esq. the Water-bailiff, con- taining the Water-Bailiff, and Mr. Nelson, his assistant. Carriage containing the Barge-masters. City Watermen bearing Colours. A party of City Watermen without Colours. Carriage containing Messrs. Lewes and Gillman, the Bridge-mas- ters, and the Clerk of the Bridge-house Estate. Another party of the City Watermen. Carriage containing Messrs. Jolliffe and Sir E Banks, the Contrac- tors for the Building of the New Bridge. Model of the New Bridge, borne by Labourers. Carriages containing Members of the Royal Society. Carriage containing John Holmes, esq. the Bailiff of Southwark. Carriage containing the Under-sheriffs. Carriages containing Thomas Shelton, esq. Clerk of the Peace for the City of London; W. L. Newman, esq. the City Solicitor; Timothy Tyrrell, esq. the City Remembrancer; Samuel Col- lingridge, esq. and P. W.Crowther, esq. the Secondaries; J. Boudon, esq. Clerk of the Chamber; W. Bolland, esq. and George Bernard, esq. the Common Pleaders; Henry Wood- thorpe, esq. the Town Clerk; Thomas Denman, esq. the Com- mon Sergeant; R. Clarke, esq. the Chamberlain. These Carriages were followed by those of several Members of Parliament. Carriages of Members of the Privy Council. Band of Music and Colours, supported by City Watermen. Members of the Goldsmiths' (the Lord Mayor's) Company. Marshalmen. Lord Mayor's Servants in their State Liveries. Mr. Brown, the City Marshal, mounted on horseback, and in the full uniform of his Office. The Lord Mayor's State Carriage, drawn by six bay horses, beau- tifully caparisoned, in which were his Lordship and the Duke of York. The Sheriffs in their State Carriages. Carriages of several Aldermen who have passed the Chair. Another body of the Hon. Artillery Company.

The procession moved up , and down Gracechurchstreet, to London-bridge, where they arrived at about a quarter past o'clock. Soon afterwards, several aldermen were seen winding in their scarlet robes through the mazes of the staircase, and in a very few minutes a great portion of these dignified elders of the city made their appearance on the floor below, the band above having previously struck up the from Next in order entered a strong body of the common-councilmen, who had gone to meet the procession on its arrival at the barriers. Independently of those that made their appearance on the lower platform, glimpses of their purple robes with fur trimmings were to be caught on every stage of the scaffolding, where many of them had been stationed throughout the day. After these entered the recorder, the common sergeant, the city solicitor, the clerk, the chamberlain, and other officers. These were followed by the duke of York and the lord mayor, advancing together, the duke being on his lordship's right hand. His royal highness was dressed in a plain blue coat with a star, and wore at his knee the garter. They were received with great cheering, and proceeded immediately up the floor of the platform, till they arrived opposite the place where the stone was suspended by a tackle, ready to be swung into the place that it was destined to occupy for centuries. Opposite the stone, an elbowed seat had been introducedinto the line of bench, so as to afford a marked place for the chief magistrate, without breaking in upon the direct course of the seats. His lordship, who was in his full robes, offered the chair to his royal highness, which was positively declined on his part. The lord mayor, therefore, declined seating himself, and stood supported on the right by his royal highness, and on the left by Mr. alderman Wood. The lady mayoress, with her daughters in elegant dresses, sat near his lordship, accompanied by fine-looking intelligent boys, her sons; near them were the lovely daughters of lord Suffolk, and many other fashionable and elegantly dressed ladies. In the train which arrived with the lord mayor and his royal highness, were the earl of Darnley, lord J. Stewart, the right hon. C. W. Wynn, M. P., sir G. Warrender, M.P., sir I. Coffin, M. P., sir G. Cockburn, M. P., sir R. Wilson, M. P., Mr. T. Wilson, M. P., Mr. W. Williams, M. P., Mr. Davies Gilbert, M. P., Mr. W. Smith, M. P., Mr. Holme Sumner, M. P., with several other persons of distinction, and the common-sergeant, the city pleaders, and other city officers.

The lord mayor took his station by the side of the stone, attended by gentlemen of the committee, bearing, the glass-cut bottle to contain the coins of the present reign, the


an English inscription incrusted in glass; the the mallet, and the the level.

The sub-chairman of the committee, bearing the trowel, took his station on the side of the stone, opposite the lord mayor.

The engineer, John Rennie, esq. took his place on another side of the stone, and exhibited to the lord mayor the plans and drawings of the bridge.

The members of the committee of management presented to the lord mayor the cut-glass bottle which was intended to contain the several coins.

The ceremony commenced by the children belonging to the ward's schools of Candlewick, Bridge, and Dowgate, singing

God save the king.

They were stationed in the highest eastern gallery for that purpose; the effect produced by their voices stealing through the windings caused by the intervening timbers to the depth below was very striking and peculiar. The duke of York joined in the national air with great enthusiasm.

The chamberlain delivered to his lordship the several pieces of coin; his lordship put them into the bottle, and deposited the bottle in the place whereon the foundation stone was to be laid.

The members of the committee bearing the English inscription on glasses, presented it to the lord mayor. His lordship deposited it in the subjacent stone.

Mr. Jones, sub-chairman of the Bridge Committee, who attended in purple gowns and with staves, presented the .lord mayor, on behalf of the committee, with an elegant silver-gilt trowel, embossed with the combined arms of the

Bridge-house estate and the City of London,

and bearing on the reverse an inscription of the date, and design of its presentation to the right honourable the lord mayor, who was born in the ward, and is a member of the guild wherein the new bridge is situated. This trowel was designed by Mr. John Green, of , and executed by Messrs. Green, Ward, and Green, in which firm he is partner. Mr. Jones, on presenting it to the lord mayor, thus addressed his lordship:

My lord; I have the honour to inform you that the committee of management has appointed your lordship, in your character of lord mayor of London, to lay the


stone of the

new London bridge

, and that they have directed me to present to your lordship this trowel, as a means of assistance to your lordship in accomplishing that object.

The lord mayor having signified his consent to perform the ceremony, Henry Woodthorpe, esq. the town-clerk, who had lately obtained the degree of LL.D., held the copper plate about to be placed beneath the stone, with the following inscription upon it, composed by Dr. Coplestone, master of Oriel-college, Oxford; and late professor of poetry in that university.


Pontis vetvsti

qvvm propter crebras nimis interiectas moles

impedito cvrsv flvminis

navicvlae et rates

non levi saepe iactvra et vitae pericvlo

per angvstes favces

praecipiti aqvarum impetv ferri solerent

Civitas Londiniensis

his incommodis remidivm adhibere volens

et celeberrimi simvl in terris emporii

vtilitatibvs consvlns

regni insvper senatvs avctoritate

ac mvnificentia adivta


sitv prorsvs novo

amplioribvs spatiis constrvendvm decrevit

ea scilicet forma ac magnitvdine

quae regiae vrbis maiestati

tandem responderet.

Neqve alio magis tempore

tantum opvs inchoandvm dvxit

qvam cvm pacato ferme toto terrarvm orbe

Imperivm Brittannicvm

fama opibus mvltitvdine civivm et concordia pollens


item gavderet

artivm favtore ac patrono

cvivs svb avspiciis

novvs indies aedificiorvm splendor vrbi accederet.

Primum operis lapidem


Ioannes Garratt, Armiger


xv. die Ivnii

anno regis Georgii Quarti sexto

a. s. m.d.ccc.xxv.

Ioanne Rennie, S. R. S. architecto.

The following translation was engraved on the reverse of the plate.

The free course of the river

being obstructed by the numerous piers

of the ancient bridge,

and the passage of boats and vessels

through its narrow channels

being often attended with danger and loss of life,

by reason of the force and rapidity of the current,

The City of London,

desirous of providing a remedy for this evil,

and at the same time consulting

the convenience of commerce

in this vast emporium of all nations,

under the sanction and with the liberal aid of


resolved to erect a bridge

upon a fonndation altogether new,

with arches of wider span,

and of a character corresponding

to the dignity and importance

of this royal city:

nor does any other time seem to be more suitable

for such an undertaking,

than when in a period of universal peace

The British Empire


flourishing in glory, wealth, population, and domestic union,

is governed by a prince,

the patron and encourager of the arts,

under whose auspices

the metropolis has been daily advancing in

elegance and splendour.



stone of this work

was laid

By John Garratt, Esquire,

lord mayor,

on the

15th day of June


in the


year of king George the



and in the year of our Lord



John Rennie, F. R. S. architect.

Dr. Woodthorpe having read the Latin inscription aloud, the lord mayor, turning to the duke of York, addressed his royal highness and the rest of the company, as follows:

It is unnecessary for me to say much upon the purpose for which. we are assembled this day, for its importance to this great commercial city must be evident; but I cannot refrain from offering a few observations, feeling as I do more than ordinary interest in the accomplishment of the undertaking, of which this day's ceremony is the primary step. I should not consider the

present a favourable moment to enter into the chronology or detailed history of the present venerable structure, which is now, from the increased commerce of the country, and the rapid strides made by the sciences in this kingdom, found inadequate to its purposes, but would rather advert to the great advantages which will necessarily result from the execution of this national work. Whether there be taken into consideration the rapid, and consequently dangerous, currents arising from the obstructions occasioned by the defects of this ancient edifice, which has proved destructive to human life and to property, or its difficult and incommodious approaches and acclivity, it must be a matter of sincere congratulation that we are living in times when the resources of this highly favoured country are competent to a work of such great public utility. If ever there was a period more suitable than another for embarking in national improvements, it must be the present, governed as we are by a sovereign, patron of the arts, under whose mild and paternal sway (by the blessing of divine providence) we now enjoy profound peace; living under a government, by whose enlightened and liberal policy our trade and manufactures are in a flourishing state; represented by a parliament, whose acts of munificence shed a lustre upon their proceedings : thus happily situated, it is impossible not to hail such advantages with other feelings than those of gratitude and delight. I cannot conclude these remarks without acknowledging how highly complimentary I feel it to the honourable office I now fill, to view such an auditory as surrounds me; among whom are the illustrious prince, heir presumptive to the throne of this kingdom, many of his majesty's ministers, several distinguished nobles of the land, the magistrates and commonalty of this ancient and loyal city, and above all (that which must ever enlighten and give splendor to any scene) a brilliant assembly of the other sex, all of whom, I feel assured, will concur with me in expressing an earnest wish that the new London-bridge, when completed, may reflect credit upon the architects, prove an ornament to the metropolis, and redound to the honour of its corporation. I offer up a sincere and fervent prayer, that in executing this great work there may occur no calamity; that in performing that which is most particularly intended as a prevention of future danger, no mischief may occur with the general admiration of the undertaking.

The lord mayor's address was received with cheers. His lordship then spread the mortar, and the stone was gradually lowered by men at a windlass. When finally adjusted, the lord mayor struck it on the surface several times with a long-handled mallet, and proceeded to ascertain the accuracy of its position, by placing a level on the top of the east end, and then to the north, west and south; his lordship passing to each side of the stone for that purpose, and in that order. The city sword and mace were then placed on it in saltier; the foundation of the new London-bridge was declared to be laid; the music struck up the national


anthem; and times excessive cheers broke forth from the company; the guns of the honourable artillery company, on the Old Swan wharf, fired a salute by signal, and every face wore smiles of gratulation. cheers were afterwards given for the duke of York; for old England; and for the architect, Mr. Rennie.

It was observed in the coffer-dam as a remarkable circumstance, that as the day advanced, a splendid sun-beam, which had penetrated through an accidental space in the awning above, gradually approached towards the stone as the hour for laying it advanced, and during the ceremony shone upon it with dazzling lustre.

The lord mayor, with the duke of York, then retired in the same form as he arrived, and returned to the Mansion-house, where he gave agrand dinner in the Egyptian-hall, to guests; the duke of York being engaged to dine with the king, could not attend.


[] P. 21, 12 mo. 1827.

[] Stow's Survey of London.

[] See vol. i. p. 54.

[] This church, previous to the great fire in 1666, stood on the north side of the Poultry.

[] Ann Waverl, 1176.

[] M. 2, No. 9.

[] Chronicles, p. 75.

[] From Vertue's plans published by the Society of Antiquaries.

[] From an engraving in the Gents. Magazine.-vol. xxiii, p. 432.

[] Chronicles, p. 84.

[] The erection of chapels on bridges is of the highest antiquity, and, no doubt, originated from the custom of making sacrifices on bridges, whence Plutarch has derived the word Pontifex. The most remarkable bridge of this sort was at Droitwich, in Cheshire, where the high road passed through the chapel and divided the congregation from the reading-desk and pulpit. The priests attached to the chapels were commissioned, as an indispensable part of their office, to keep the bridge in repair.

[] Rec. Turr. Pat. 5, Hen. III. m. 43.

[] See p. 68, vol. i. It was probably on this occasion, or one similar, that the curious song of London bridge is broken down, was made. In Mr. Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland, or A choice collection of pretty songs and verses, is a copy of this song; it is as follows: London-bridge is broken down, Dance o'er my lady Lee; London-bridge is broken down, With a gay lady. How shall we build it up again, Dance o'er my lady Lee; How shall we build it up again? With a gay lady. Silver and gold will be stolen away, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Silver and gold will be stolen away, With a gay lady. Build it up with iron and steel, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Build it up with iron and steel, With a gay lady. Iron and steel will bend and bow, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Iron and steel will bend and bow, With a gay lady. Build it up with wood and clay. Dance o'er my lady Lee; Build it up with wood and clay, With a gay lady. Wood and clay will wash away, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Wood and clay will wash away, With a gay lady. Build it up with stone so strong, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Huzza! 'twill last for ages long, With a gay lady. The author of the interesting and elegant Chronicles of London bridge, has printed a curious essay on this ballad, with the music to which it was either danced or sung, pages 145, 154.

[] Liber Albus, fol. 130, a.

[] See p. 44, vol. i.

[] 2561b.

[] Chron. of London, Br. p. 157.

[] Considerable extracts from this volume are printed in the Chronicles of London bridge, p. 252-256.

[] Also printed in the Chronicles, p. 256-267.

[] Chronicles, p. 508.

[] Royal Lib, 16. F. ii.

[] Chronicles of London Bridge, p. 304.

[] Pennant's account of London, 4to. 322. There is a portrait of sir Edward Osborne, at Kiveton, the seat of the duke of Leeds, a half length on panel, his dress is a black gown furred, a red vest and sleeve, a gold chain, and bonnet. There is also an engraved portrait on wood, supposed to be unique, in the possession of sir J. St. Aubyn, bart.

[] Chronicles of London Bridge, p. 316.

[] Vol. 43, collection of Tracts presented to the British Museum, by George III.

[] From a bronzed or copper medelet, on the obverse the engraving of the gateway above. Legend BRIDGE GATE, AS RE-BUILT, 1728 ; on the exergue, TAKEN DOWN, 1766. Reverse, a figure of justice.Chron. p. 387.

[] These arms are still to be seen o the front of a public-house, at the west end of King-street, in the Borough.

[] P. 467 ante.

[] Engraved plate ii. & vii. of the plans and drawings belonging to the third report of the committee on the improvement of the port of London, folio 1800.

[] Ibid. plate iii.

[] Neither drawing nor estimate was sent in by this architect.

[] Ibid.

[] Engravings of his plan. sections, &c. are in plate viii. of the work before referred to.

[] Vol. i. p. 32.

[] Hone's Ever Day Book, vol. i. col. 779.

[] Engraved in the Chronicles of London bridge, p. 651.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
CHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
CHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
CHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
CHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
CHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
CHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
CHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London