Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 1
The Conduits of Cheapside and Cornhill.
The Conduits of Cheapside and Cornhill.
DOWN to the century the inhapitants of the City of London appear to have depended for a supply of water, upon the rivers, brooks, and wells, by which they were surrounded, in their natural state; without attempting to collect, preserve, or distribute, those streams by an artificial contrivance, or even to bring them nearer to the metropolis: the utmost improvement of them being probably only a square wall or basin of stone erected about the wells. With the increase of the population and buildings of London, however, the natural supplies of water were diminished; and the streams of the River of Flete, or Wells, the Old Bourne, and Wall-Brook, and the Lang Bourne, became deficient and decayed, by their courses being reduced or covered over in the erection of houses, the formation of streets, and other alterations which raised the ground.
[a] This water was also probably received into a plain stone bason, since the leaden cistern enclosed in a castellated stone edifice erected in London, was not commenced building until , in the Mayoralty of Henry Wallies. This was called the Great Conduit in West Cheap; and the length of the line along which the water was conveyed to it, is stated to have measured from Paddington to James Head rods; from James Head on to the Mews-Gate, rods; and from - Gate to the Crose in Cheap, rods: or about miles in the whole. In the century benefactions for the building, support, or restoration, of the City Conduits, appear to have been in great esteem; and John Pope, Citizen and Barber, gave by his will, dated , to the Mayor, Chamberlain, and Citizens, of London, for ever, for the use and reparation of the Great Conduit, and of the other Conduits in the City, his tenement with the appurtenances, which by right descended to him.[b] In the same Conduit was rebuilt by Thomas Ilame, of the Sheriffs for that year.[c]
The situation of this aqueduct was about the centre of , opposite Mercers Hall and Chapel; and in appearance it was a long and low stone building with battlements on the top, enclosing a large leaden cistern, the water of which issued from a cock into a square stone bason at the eastern end. At the upper end of , the eastern end of that pile of buildings separating Pater-Noster-Row and Blow-bladder-street, or the present , was, previously to the Great Fire, terminated by the Church of St. Michael-le-Quern; to the east of which was erected another public reservoir, called
It was erected by order of William Eastfield, Lord Mayor, about , the year of Henry VI., in the place of an old cross, at the solicitation of several Common-Councils; the Corporation then granting Marks, towards the works of this Conduit and the reparation of others.[d] Its appearance in the century, is represented in the extremely curious and interesting Plan of the western end of West-Cheap in , engraven on the of the annexed Plates; and it will be observed that the age of its erection and decoration is expressed by the royal supporters of Henry VI. and Margaret of Anjou,—the antelope and eagle with the Tudor dragon,—on the heads of the buttresses. The plan also exhibits the direction of the pipes laid for the supply of both the reservoirs in West-Cheap; the Little Conduit being probably also furnished from the same springs at Paddington. The tower at the north-west corner of this building was perhaps intended for raising the water to the height of its original level, whence it fell down again into the cistern in the larger building, and ran through the cocks fixed on sides of it. Round the base of the structure are represented several of the ancient London water-tankards; some particulars of which are given in the account of Lambe's Chapel and Conduit contained in this work, page , note b, which vessels contained about gallons. They appear to have been inserted in the present plan as an appropriate emblem, to express the purpose of the Conduit; as it will be observed that coin is drawn against some of the houses of the street of Old 'Change, to signify that the King's Exchange for the receipt of bullion to be coined, had been originally held there. In the large Plan of London, executed by Radulphus Aggas about , the site of the Great Conduit in West-Cheap is also indicated only by the figures of tankards. Both of the Conduits in West-Cheap were nearly destroyed in the Great Fire of London, as well as all the other City Aqueducts; which were never entirely restored again to their original state.[e]
says Strype, in his account of in ,
[g] The Little Conduit at the upper end of , was partly re-erected or preserved: since the same authority, when stating that the Church of St. Michael-le-Quern was not rebuilt after it was consumed, the Parish being united to that of St. Vedast, ,—adds, that
says Strype, in another place,
[a] The following farther notice of this building appears in the , by John Chamberlayne, Edition, London: , vo. part , book iii, page .
In the edition of Chamberlayne's work, , this passage is wanting, which probably points out the time when the design of erecting any building upon this spot was finally abandoned. It may be seen in page , of the account of the Monument of London, contained in the present work, that the site of the Little Conduit in , has been always a favourite situation for placing the Memorial of the Great Fire; and in the in the , No. , Article , Nos. , , there are yet extant original designs for the Obelisk, which agree with the notices of it preserved by Strype and Chamberlayne. The represents a square pyramidal stone column, feet high, and feet in its greatest diameter, resting upon gilded dragons, surmounted at the top by a gilded ornament supporting an eagle resting upon a thunderbolt, altogether feet in height. Below the dragons is a square base of feet, ornamented with a pannel, and surrounded by gilded rails, and beneath a plinth of feet. The other drawing consists of an urn standing upon a circular base, surmounted by a figure of the City, holding a sword in the right hand, and resting the left upon an oval shield of the arms of London: the base is surrounded by an ornamental railing, and contains a door. Of the Church of St. Michael-le-Quern, also represented in the annexed ancient Plan, it will be sufficient in this place to observe that it appears to have been originally erected about the reign of Edward III., and that the name was a corrupt translation of the Latin title of St. Michael , or at the Corn; because the site was occupied by a Corn-Market, stretching up to the western shambles of Newgate-Market.[b] At the eastern end of the original Church was a Cross, called
which was removed in , the year of Richard II., and the Church itself was taken down and rebuilt in , the year of the reign of Henry VI. William Eastfield, Lord Mayor, and the Corporation then gave of the common soil of the City, feet in breadth on the north, and feet in breadth towards the east, for the enlargement of the building; which was that represented in the present Plate. The parsonage-house, mentioned by Stow, was probably the of those dwellings shewn at the western end of the edifice.[c] Beside the Conduits in West-Cheap, there was also a public reservoir in the same street called the Standard: the site of which was in the centre of the road nearly opposite the end of Honey-Lane, as it is indicated in the Plan of inserted in this work, to shew the situation of Cheapside-Cross, above the ancient representation of its destruction. The original use of the Standard appears to have been a monument erected at the place for public executions; of which Stow gives several instances between and .[d] He was inclined to believe, however, that the Standard of the and centuries was either moveable, or that it was no other than a name assigned to Cross, erected in ; because about , in the reign of Edward III., the King held a tournament, for days together, between Sopars Lane, the present ,—and the Great Cross, which stood opposite : and this could not have been done if the last Standard of stone, or any other like impediment, had been standing in the way of the clear course required for the horses. But whatever were the more ancient Standard, it was certainly a fixed erection in , when John Wells, Lord Mayor, caused it to be furnished
His design was finished by his executors, Thomas Knowles, John Chicheley, and others, who bought a license of Henry VI. to convey water to it. It appears almost unquestionable that the Standard of that period was of wood: since the King's Patent for the work issued in , the year of his reign, states that the Standard in Cheap, where divers executions of the law had been aforetime performed, was at that present very ruinous with age: that it contained a conduit; that it should be taken down; and that another competent , together with a Conduit in the same, of new work, should be strongly builded for the honour of the City, with the goods of the testator without interruption. The appearance of this Standard in the century, is shewn in another Plate of this work representing the procession of Maria De' Medicis, through , when she came to visit her daughter Henrietta-Maria Queen of Charles I., in . It is impossible that the figures with which the Standard is decorated, especially that on the dome, were erected for the occasion; since the Cross and Conduits of West-Cheap were always anciently employed as stations for pageants in the triumphs, shows, and royal processions, of the City.[e] Upon such occasions also the City Conduits alternately ran with wine for a certain space of time; the vessels containing it being placed over the water-cisterns, and a small pipe brought down from them and passed through the usual spout, from which issued a very slender stream. The use of Cheapside-Cross a Water Conduit, has been already mentioned in the account of that erection contained in the present work; and the remainder of this article is therefore devoted to some notices and illustrations of the other Plates, annexed, exhibiting the buildings and appearance of Bishopsgate and , in the year . Like the ancient prospect of West-Cheap the present Views were also derived from a contemporaneous Survey, executed in the usual old pictorial manner; a fac-simile copy of which was published by the late Mr. Wilkinson in his , London: . to. Plate I. The Plan is entitled
In the Views here inserted the materials of this ancient survey are delineated in a more picturesque manner.[f] The Plate represents the southern side of and , with the northern end of Grace-Church Street, and the edifices of Leaden-Hall and the Church of St. Peter upon ; both of which are particularly described in other parts of this work. In the foreground appears the square stone erection called from its form,
[g] built in , almost
| upon the point of intersection of the streets, as a water-standard; when the idea was formed of constructing water-works against the arches of London-Bridge, and of converting the violence of the stream rushing through them to some generally useful purpose. The inventor of the engine originally employed, was a German, Dutchman, or Fleming, named Peter Moris, but a Freedenizen of London. Having made an artificial Forcier, for that purpose, says Abraham Fleming, the Continuator of Holinshed's
[c] Before the period of this invention, Strype observes that there was no such thing known in England as this raising of water; and in consequence of its success the Corporation of London granted to Moris a lease of the place whereon his mills stood, arch of , and the use of the Thames water, for years: he paying to the Chamber of London yearly as an acknowledgement. years after, the City granted him another lease for the arch of the Bridge, also for the term of years. The Standard in , however, continued to exist until the Great Fire of London in an imperfect state; being at some times dry and at others overflowing; for which last condition it was frequently presented as a nuisance by the Inquest of Ward, under the names of
It appears from of the accounts of the Conflagration in , that none of the City Conduits were entirely destroyed by it;[d] and, therefore, as this fountain stood on the very verge of the north-eastern extremity of the destruction, it was only damaged at the same time that the opposite Church of St. Peter upon was not quite burned down. This was probably on Monday, , when the fire spread up Grace-Church Street, broke in upon , and there rapidly crossed the way; being fearfully aided by a train of wood taken down from the houses to prevent the flames spreading, and which had not been removed.[e] On the Evelyn observed that the Standard in , the statue of Sir Thomas Gresham at the , some arms carved upon Ludgate, with the effigy of Queen Elizabeth, continued with but little detriment. Another contemporaneous indication of the site of Standard is contained in a Plan of the Ruins of London taken by authority soon after the Fire, on which were laid down all the proposed improvements.[f] On account of the inconvenience of its situation, this fountain was of those which were not reerected; and the last notice of it is probably the following entry, contained in an official MS. record of the
preserved in the City Library at .
The Water-works which supplied this Standard remained established at the Old for about a century and a half afterwards; and a lofty building for the same purpose as that in , appears to have been erected on the bank of the river close to the north-west corner of the Bridge itself so early as the reign of Elizabeth. With various improvements the property continued in the family of Moris until the time of the Great Fire; and of the controverted causes afterwards decided concerning possessions therein destroyed, was upon the re-erection of those works: which shews that a considerable profit was then derived from them. The cause was heard at
Sir Matthew Hale, Mr. Justice Archer, Mr. Baron Raynsford, and Mr. Justice Morton, being the Judges. To this Court a petition was presented by Mary Moris, Relict of John Moris, against Thomas Moris, his brother and heir, Lettice Moris, Widow, and Elizabeth, Ursula, Thomasine, Anne, and Lettice, Moris, her daughters; and against Sir Martin Lister, Sir William Hartop, Michael Lister, and Richard Downton, the surviving trustees of John Moris. The petition stated that Peter Moris, the grandfather of the deceased, had received a lease for years, with a license from the Corporation of London under the common-seal to build engine or water-work in the river Thames, and to take such plot and ground in the said River as he and they should think convenient: that he had selected a place at , and had there constructed such works as supplied the Conduit, and by means of wooden and leaden pipes the houses of the Citizens, to their comfort and his own particular gain: that this property had in the course of time very much enriched the descendants and heirs of the said Peter Moris; insomuch that, with others of the family, the petitioner enjoyed the sum of per annum, by way of jointure, regularly paid to her out of the profits of the water-works, by appointed trustees,—until the time that the engine was destroyed by fire: and that Thomas Moris, the brother and heir of the deceased, refused to build the same, under pretence of the heavy charges to which it would put him; though rather, as it was believed, with a view to induce the petitioner to be satisfied with a reduction of her annuity; nor would he even give permission to the trustees to re-erect it. The petition was therefore brought to enforce some settlement as to the payment of the annuity; and the Court accordingly decreed that the petitioner should, with all convenient speed and with substantial materials, rebuild the same; where the former engine, and water-work, and house, did stand before
| the Fire: and that Thomas Moris should, upon demand, deliver to the petitioner all the materials which were, by him or his direction, taken therefrom, and saved from the Fire. This decision secured the annuity to the petitioner, and the sum of yearly to Lettice Moris, and to each of her daughters; Thomas Moris receiving the residuary produce.—The year , however, may be considered as the period when these Water-works made the greatest advance towards their subsequent extent and power. The works were then rising into estimation, and the proprietor of those at finding his profits decreasing sold them to Richard Soams, Citizen and Goldsmith, for In confirmation of this conveyance, on , Soams procured from the Corporation a grant for the arch of the Bridge,—the then belonging to a wharfinger,[a] —with a new lease of the unexpired term, namely, l years, at the annual rent of and a fine of He then divided the whole property into shares of each, and formed it into a Company. This establishment appears to have been the destruction of the remaining City-Conduits, the whole of which were also let to the proprietors of the Water-works for per annum; and numbers of the old leaden pipes which had supplied them were taken up all over London. On , a arch of the Bridge was granted for the Water-works after a long debate in the Court of Common Council; under the express condition that if the license should be found injurious to the navigation of the river, the City might revoke the grant upon repayment of the expenses.—The Water-works continued in this state until they were assigned to the Company, by an Act passed , the year of Geo. IV., with the design of improving the Old or erecting a new edifice. About years of the original grant were then unexpired, and were to be raised out of the Bridge House Estates for carrying the Act into effect; of which were to be paid to the old proprietors for rendering void their licenses and transferring their machinery.
The Engraving attached to these pages, drawn from the antient Plan of the Parish of St. Martin-Outwich,—represents part of the north side of the Church of that name, at the south-eastern side of the old Needle Street; with a portion of , and the entrance to St. Helen's on the left. |
says Stow in describing this spot,
[b] This pump is represented in the foreground of the view, and, according to the usual meaning of this author, was probably erected about . A small but handsome wood pump is still standing about the same spot, at the curb of the foot-pavement, opposite the door of the City of London Tavern, parallel with the eastern end of the Church. A View, taken from the same ancient Parochial Plan, and also inserted in this work, represents the south side of - Needle-Street with the Old Taylors' Inn, or New Hall of the Merchant Taylors, from whom the street derived its name. On the left, between that building and the west end of the Church, appear the original Alms-houses erected for the poor members of the Company; according to an ancient practice of the Incorporations of London, of having those dwellings contiguous to their Halls, which is now almost obsolete. The persons residing in the Alms-houses here exhibited, were removed about the period of the present View, since in certain strong and fair dwellings were erected for them by the Company at the west end of Hog-Lane,—now ,—, of brick and timber, in place of some small cottages given for the purpose by Richard Hills, sometime Master and Founder of the Merchant Taylors School; to which work also Alderman Anthony Ratcliffe gave an loads of timber.[c] Both the ancient Merchant-Taylors Hall and the Church of St. Martin Outwich were so much damaged in the fatal fire, which begun in Within, . The Church was taken down and entirely rebuilt: the Stone was laid , by the Master Wardens of the Merchant-Taylors Company, as the patrons of the living; and the edifice was Consecrated by Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London, on Monday, .
[a] Stow's Survey of London, Edit. by the Rev. J. Strype, Lond. 1720. fol. Vol. I. book i. chap. v. p. 24.
[b] At page 28 of the same parts of the same authority, are notices of several benefactors and gifts to the City Water-Conduits.
[c] Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book iii. chap. iii. pp. 30, 34.
[d] Ibid. book i. chap. v. p. 24. book iii. chap. viii. p. 192.
[e] In addition to the Great and Little Conduits in West-Cheap, the other public reservoirs of London consisted of the following. The Tun upon Cornhill, furnished with a cistern in 1401: the Standard in West-Cheap, supplied with water 1431: the Conduit in Aldermanbury, and the Standard in Fleet-Street, made and finished by the executors of Sir William Eastfield in 1471: the Cisterns erected at the Standard in Fleet-Street, Fleet-Bridge, and without Cripplegate, in 1478: the Conduit in Grass-Street, made in 1491: the Conduit at Holborn Cross, erected about 1491, and rebuilt by William Lambe, in 1577, whence it was called Lambe's Conduit: the Little Conduit at the Stocks Market, built about 1500: the Conduit at Bishopsgate, about 1513: the Conduit at London Wall against Coleman-street, about 1528: the Conduit without Aldgate, supplied with water from Hackney, about 1535: the Conduit in Lothbury and Coleman-street, near the Church, about 1546: the Conduit of Thames water at Dowgate, in 1568.—Of the fore-mentioned conduits of fresh water that serve the City, adds Richard Blome, in reference to their state after the Great Fire, the greater part of them do still continue where first erected; but some, by reason of the great quantity of ground they took up, standing in the midst of the City, were a great hindrance, not only to foot-passengers, but to porters, coaches, and cars; and were therefore thought fit to be taken down and to be removed to places more convenient and not of that resort of people: so that the water is still the same. The Conduits taken away and removed with their cisterns, are the Great Conduit at the east-end of Cheapside; the Great Conduit called the Tun in Cornhill; the Standard in Cheapside; the Little Conduit at the west end of Cheapside; the Conduit in Fleet-Street; the Great Conduit in Grass-Church-Street; the Conduit without Aldgate; the Conduit at Dowgate. In the account of Lambe's Conduit contained in this work, page 7, note b, will be found some notices concerning the final disuse of these aqueducts about 1701. The Conduit at the Stocks-Market after its re-erection, appears to have been celebrated principally for the fine statue placed over it by Sir Robert Viner, the whole of which was removed for the building of the present Mansion-House in 1739. Whilst the Conduits of London continued to be kept up, their springs were occasionally visited by the Corporation. And particularly, says Stow, on the 18th of September, 1562, the Lord Mayor, Sir William Harper, the Aldermen, and many worshipful persons and divers of the Masters and Wardens of the Twelve Companies, rid to the Conduit-heads for to see them, after the old custom. And afore dinner they hunted the hare, and killed her; and thence to dinner at the head of the Conduit. There was a good number entertained with good cheer by the Chamberlain; and after dinner they went to hunting the fox. There was a great cry for a mile; and at length the hounds killed him at the end of St. Giles's: Great hallowing at his death, and blowing of horns. And thence the Lord Mayor, with at his company, rode through London to his place in Lombard-Street. Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book i. chap. v. pp. 24, 28.
[g] Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book iii. chap. iii. p. 49.
[a] Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book iii. chap. viii. pp. 196, 191.
[b] The word Quern is an ancient provincial term for a corn-mill; derived from the Saxon Cveorn, or Cvyrn, the Icelandic Kuerna, and the Gothic Cwairn.
[c] Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book iii. chap. viii. pp. 191, 492.
[d] Ibid. chap. iii. p. 35.
[e] Numerous instances of these pageants, with references to the original authorities, will be found in Mr. Nichols' Account of Fifty-five Royal Processions and Entertainments in the City of London. Lond. 1831. 8vo. The roofs of the Conduits, which were generally either castellated or enclosed by an ornamental gallery, like that appearing in the annexed representation of the Little Conduit in West-Cheap,—were usually filled with choristers or minstrels in a tower.
[f] Another pictorial view of the east end of Cornhill derived from the same source as above, will be found in a Plate of the Old Royal Exchange, the Tun Conduit and prison, St. Peter's Church, &c. published in No. II. of Mr. W. Herbert's curious and unfimshed work of London Before the Great Fire, Lond. 1818. 4to.
[g] According to Cotgrave the old French term Carrefour or Quarrefour, signifies that place or part of a town whereat four streets met in a head; and it is derived from the words Quarré, square, and fourc, a fork, or anything which makes a sharp forklike angle. In Philemon Holland's translation of Ammianus Marcellinus, 1609, the phrase is used as a familiar English expression; he would in the evening walk here and there about the shops, hostelries, carrefours, &c. A term also similar was carrel, which signified a small square chamber, common in monasteries, to which every monk retired after dinner for private reading or study.
[c] Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by Raphael Holinshed, &c. 1585-86. fol. vol. iii. p. 1348. Stow's Annales, Edit. by Edmund Howes, Lond. 1631. fol. p. 696. trype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book i. chap. v. p. 27. book ii. chap. viii. p. 134.
[d] Methinks these several Conduits of London stood like so many little, bnt strong, forts, to confront and give check to the grea tenemy, fire; as any occasion should be. There methinks, the water was, as it were, intrenched and ingarrisoned. The several pipes, and vehicles of water, that were within these Conduits, all of them charged with water, till, by the turning of the cock, they were discharged again,—were as so many soldiers in these forts, with their musquetry charged, ready to keep and defend these places. And look how enemies are wont to deal with those castles which they take to be impregnable and despair of ever getting at them, that is to attempt the storming of them by a close siege;—so went the fire to work with those little castles of stone, which it were not easy for it to burn down, (witness their standing to this day): spoiled them, or almost spoiled them, it hath for the present, by cutting off those supplies of water which had vent to flow to them, melting those leaden channels in which it had been conveyed, and, thereby, as it were, starving those garrisons which it could not take by storm. Dr. Samuel Rolle's Relation of the late dreadful Fire of London in the Year 1666, Commemorated and Improved in One Hundred and Ten Discourses, Meditations, and Contemplations. Lond. 1667. 8vo. Meditat. xi. Spoiling of the City Conduits.
[e] God's Terrible Advice to the City by Plague and Fire, by the Rev. Thomas Vincent. Lond. 1667. 8vo.
[f] An exact Surveigh of the Streets, Lands, and Chvrches, comprehended within the Rvins of the City of London, first Described in Six Plats, 10th December, Ao. Domi. 1666. By the Order and Directions of the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common-Council of the said City. John Leake, John Fennings, Willm. Marr, Willm, Leybourn, Thomas Streete, Richard Shortgrave, Surveyors; and Reduced into One intire Plat by John Leake, for the use of the Commissioners for the Regulation of Streets, Lanes, &c. This Plan was engraven by G. Vertue in 1723, in Two Sheets; and in 1833 there was published a very carefully reduced copy in one Sheet by Mr. Francis Wishaw with numerous and copious notes on the sites of the several public buildings which are indicated upon it.
[a] The lease of the third arch to the Water-works did not commence until Michaelmas day, 1761, when it was granted for the term of 321 years at the old rent; though the proprietors of the works had made proposals for it in 1731, and 1743, when it was unoccupied, the last tenant having quitted it at Lady-Day 1718.
[b] Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book ii. chap. vi. p. 106: chap. vii. p. 117.
[c] Strype's Stow's Survey of London, Vol. I. book ii. chap. ii. p. 14.